Currently… Fall Edition

Thinking… about ways that I can serve and bless the people in my life that could really use some extra love and support this holiday season. This has been on my mind for a few weeks now. I can’t help but wishing myself extra rich so that I could send financial support to people I know and love. I know money doesn’t fix everything but cancer, life, babies, illness, and job loss are expensive things. A generous gift of money certainly would relieve some stress, buy some fun seasonal extras, that of course can be done without, but having makes the holidays special, or could pay for bills and fuel.

Feeling… like I want to ask you a favor. This has to do with what I’m currently thinking. As you may or may not know I’m the praying type. I spend a lot of time talking to the Lord about life. While I’ve never had dreams, visions, or angelic visitations, I do know that He hears me. He really hears me. The morning after I poured my heart out to him about how can I significantly help a few people in my life, I got an email about a silly little contest. It’s a photo card contest and the winner gets $1500, a camera, and some holiday cards. When I read the email I knew it could be an answer to my hearts desire to help. So here’s the call to action. Will you please vote for my pictures? You can do that HERE (no need to sign up or anything, just click on it! And you can vote every day until December 3rd.). If I win I’m going to split the money into two $500 gift cards and five $100 gift cards and give it all away (and I already have a good idea on who I’ll give those seven gifts to!). The camera will go to someone I know who has been saving for one and would really use it, and I might just keep the holiday cards :). I feel like my odds are awesome if you are willing to help. I’m shocked at how few entries there are! So if you have the time I would appreciate the help and with little to no real effort on our parts we just might be able to really bless a few families this year.

WatchingThe Lunchbox. This film was a recommendation from a friend and we loved it! It’s such a cute foreign film and I highly recommend it for your next date night. I think we rented it on Google Play for $3.99 which makes for a cheap date when you watch it in bed while munching on homemade cookies.

ReadingCarry On, Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life. I know that I talk about it a lot but I just love it. It’s a collection of essays about life, hard things, and mothering. She cusses a bit and I don’t agree with her views on everything but the main points hit me to the core. I’m so excited about it that I bought a dozen copies to give as Christmas gifts this year. If you are a loyal enough blog reader that you are reading these words right now (hi!) then I’m going to give away 2 copies to anyone who comments on this post. No rafflecopter, no shout-outs that it’s a giveaway, it’s just for a few people who are kind enough to read what I write when no recipe is involved. Thank you for being here. (Update: I’m sending books to Amy-Alisa, Christina, Danielle, and Kim, but don’t worry I’ll do this again!)

Excited… to go to Kentucky and Indiana for Thanksgiving!!! It’s been years and years since we spent Thanksgiving with my family, none of my kids even have memories of it. We are going to make the long 29 hour road trip next weekend and I tear up if I think about it too much. Going home is always so good, even if it’s not an easy thing to get there.

Missing… my baby. He turned one a few weekends ago and is now trying to walk. When did he turn into a toddler? He says “hi”, “Da”, and signs “all done”. He’s probably the cutest child ever.

Working… all the time. 80 hour work weeks for Thomas and just that many hours for me (I’m a mom, that means I work pretty much all the time), but I’d be fibbing if I said I didn’t like my current job the best of any I’ve had. I get to read as much children’s literature as I want, my sous chefs only ask for food as pay, and at this particular time in life, I’m not on night shift any more *knock on wood*. It’s not everyone’s ideal but I’m loving it.

Stressed… CHRISTMAS GIFTS!!! Yes, I just yelled at you. Here’s my deal, I want to give my kids 4 gifts each and I want to give my kids a million gifts each. I heard a little poem once (not sure where) that said what kids needed for Christmas: something to wear, something to read, something you want and something you need. LOVE that. But at the same time I want to give my kids lots of things, they are my kids! I love them and want to shower them with gifts. Here’s where I’m all stressed out… four gifts is not enough in today’s world. I don’t want to be totally worldly but my oldest attends public school. She struggles a bit with anxiety, especially when it comes to how other people perceive her. I’m afraid that she’s going to come home after Christmas break in tears because she heard about the million things everyone else got. She is a golden child; kindness and a real awareness of others are natural for her. But the comparison game is part of who we are, like it or not. I want my child to have a magical Christmas and I feel a pressure that, in part, translates magic into an abundance of gifts. I’m a practical person but this number of toys thing even gets me comparing. A few years ago when I had 3 small kids, the oldest being 5, we had a very normal Christmas. My kids all got the 4 things and I was so happy with myself. It felt like a huge Christmas compared to other years when we were in collage. I had everything under the tree and the Santa gifts laid out on our ottoman. I was enjoying the spirit of Christmas until I got on Instagram and saw all of the other displays of Santa toys mom’s were posting. I was SHOCKED. My kid was getting a little shopping cart and someone his same age was getting that plus a whole kitchen, food, dolls, aprons, stuffed toys, doll houses and more. The more I looked though the more I realized that that was normal. Then the worry set in. What if I’m not doing enough or giving them enough. I can, I could, maybe I should. Where’s the line between practical (do kids really need more toys?) and magical (it is Christmas after all!). Talk me through this. I want to hear your opinions on the matter. This was easier when my kids were smaller; as they age and become more aware of things and people around them, as well as themselves, the water starts to feel murky and the territory uncharted. I’m not going into debt for gifts. We never have and never will. But I can afford a couple of Lego sets per kid, a wooden train set I’ve been eyeing, an American girl pet puppy, craft stuff, books (oh the books I want to buy), as well as Christmas jammies, a new family game… No, I’m not filling up a room with toys, but when you have a bunch of kids it ends up a lot of stuff fast. Any thoughts for me?

Proud… to be an American. There was a Veteran’s Day program at May’s school which we all went to. There was a man there who told a story about a POW exchanged that he witnessed on a bridge between American and Japanese soldiers. The story was strong and well told and there was literally not a dry eye in the room. We live a pretty comfortable existence and have so little experience with war. I’m so grateful for generations past who helped to forge my current happy reality.

Wanting… you to know about this wonderful company called Dignify. Ashley at Under the Sycamore mentioned Dignify in this blog post (beautiful pictures too) and I was totally smitten. Here’s what Dignify does and sells.

We sell premium quality, ethically made, fair trade kantha quilts. Call them whatever you want – kantha blankets, sari throws, “Indian blankets”, vintage sari kantha – all you need to know is: They are hand-stitched in Bangladesh from six layers of reclaimed sari cloth. The women who make them were previously living on the street, or working in sex work (often these go hand in hand), or in a vulnerable situation at risk of such.

I bought this blanket for my Christmas gift to me from Thomas. I’m so excited to be investing a little money into things that matter. A company like this is one I can really get excited about, and my, isn’t that gorgeous! I can’t wait until it gets here and I can enjoy it after Christmas. I’ve already been thinking of whoever sewed it. What is her name? What is her story? One day I’ll know those details and thank her for sharing her gifts with me.

Wishing… I could reach out of the screen and squeeze you and then hand you a dozen eggs, a jar of homemade cider, a loaf of bread, and ask you how your day went. You read my blog. You read the words that I have to say and you read recipes that I make just for you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I wish you were closer so that I could be a better friend to you.

Eating… Junk, junk, and more junk. Hello donuts, holiday candy (curse you Cadbury eggs that are no longer just sold at Easter), pie, and eggnog saltwater taffy (it’s so good). I haven’t had a green smoothie in weeks. We eat pretty healthy meals but snacking and desserting are getting the best of me. Tis’ the season!

Drinking… wassail! Love the stuff nice and hot in the morning with a fried eggs or two. Mmmm. Recipe coming soon!

Loving… all things plaid. I have some Christmas plaid burlap in the fabric section at our store and it’s glorious. I just can’t figure out what to use it for.

38 Recipes for Busy Moms
42 Responses
  1. Pat

    Love your thoughts on blessing people who need a little extra love this year. I have a few people in my life who are a bit overwhelmed with life this year who I’d like to bless. Love your heart for people.

  2. Jodi

    Melissa, I will vote for your photos. I always love them. Don’t fret about buying gifts for your kids. Remember that you are not the only one buying for them. Grandparents, maybe aunts and uncles? It all adds up in the end. I felt the same way you did when my kids were little. It’s that built in, no off switch, running on overtime anxiety mom’s secretly have for their kids 🙂 Have a safe trip back to the Midwest. We got a light dusting of snow in east central Illinois yesterday! Just enough to stick to the roof and grass making everything look like a postcard!

  3. Beka

    I have this same issue every year. We made a decision to not spend all kinds of money at Christmas. We have a flat $40 for each child. It’s hard, but I try to prioritize. When I think about it, they just don’t NEED more toys. They are quite happy with the toys they have. One doll is more than sufficient, and can be given a few more accessories every year. I also want the things they have to be quality. Dollar store toys benefit almost no one, because they fall apart so quickly. I want the kids to understand that there is SO much more to life than the things we have or are given. I’m a big believer in books, so my kids will always have at least one book for one of their gifts. So it’s time to get creative. For my son this year, I got him a lego chima book, which has some legos with it to build with the story. That takes up half of the $40 right there. He’s a big fan of dragons, so I will make him one with some yarn from the store ($4) and some stuffing I already have. And I will most likely buy him a movie on some topic he loves. So three gifts will bring me right about to the total we aim for. It’s not a lot. But it will all be cherished. And then it’s time for heart work 😉 Because more than things, I want my kids to have the gift of contentment in all circumstances. I want them to be beautiful inside and out. My biggest gift to them at all times is to try to help them learn to use hard times to be thankful. To grow. I hope that in the end, they will have this gift. It is always hard to deal with their disappointment that their Christmas is not as big as other people’s has been. But each year it gets a little easier, and there’s nothing like seeing the true joy on their face when they get the one thing they’ve wanted for so long <3

  4. Tay

    My kids get a little something with their stockings from Santa, a gift from their parents, and a gift from a sibling. Then when you add a cousin gift and stuff from grandparents, it’s a lot of stuff. Especially because my parents are divorced and also because they are the only grandchildren on my side of the family. Also, I make it a point to have cooler stuff from us parents and not Santa.

    I understand what you mean about wanting to give so much and not have to worry about money getting in the way of giving. It’s a beautiful thing to be frustrated about, and where there is a will, there is a way. Your giving heart is inspiring me to dig a little deeper.

  5. Angela Roses

    My kids are still little, so I can’t contribute to the comparison part of your plight. But, I am planning on the 4 gifts (plus one from Santa) and I wanted more votes on that to be heard. If we don’t start doing what we think we ought to do then it is only going to get worse. The more people who speak up about, for example, giving fewer gifts, the more popular it will become. If not, then it will always be lost.

    I don’t know if you remember me, but I am a friend of Rivka’s. You and I met while we were all at college. Love your blog! I’ve added a few recipes from you to my regular line-up!

    1. Thanks for the comment Angela. And YES! I do remember! Did we first meet when they were in that crazy tiny apartment and you had to sit on their bed because that was the only option?! HA! They are so great aren’t they.

  6. marseille

    We like to have A noncommercialized Christmas, so Santa brings 1 present ($20-30), we give something on Christmas eve like a game, PJs or a CD. Then we give 1 or 2 smaller presents on Christmas morning from us. I figure we arent going to compete with the other kids anyways…they are getting game systems or motor bikes.

  7. Sherrie Brinkerhoff

    Hi Melissa, I love to read your blog. You are such a remarkable person with an adorable family. I will definitely vote for your pictures to help you help someone else. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

  8. Amy-Alisa

    Hey Melissa! Count me in on the book draw. Also, by worldly standards, we also do a low-key Christmas. We try to incorporate the children in thinking of serving others and not receiving so much, and I think that helps them not feel left out of the present overload. And as they get older, they understand that more. We just do the something-to-wear, something-to-read, and something-to-play-with plus pjs and stockings. We’re down-scaling even that this year since we made a big trip this summer and I just hope to focus on spending time together with tasty food, fun games and music. Best of luck with your holidays, it’s a tricky balance.

  9. Hi Melissa! The book sounds awesome! I’d be interested for sure:)
    I voted for your picture!!
    Also, I like the concept of the 4 Things poem, but I do think it’s a little unrealistic…to a point. It’s not like kids NEED everything you see on Instagram, nor should all of that be the norm. But I know my parents made it a point to make Christmas a little more magical than the norm, when we didn’t get the newest or greatest thing. I think if you add in a couple of more wants/reads (from Santa and yourselves), a stocking stuffer or two, and then temper that by having your kids give back to another kid in need (donate a toy/help shop for food for a needy family/etc), they’ll get the true meaning of Christmas whilst also enjoying the magic of the day.

  10. Jamie

    I love that poem too on what to get your kids for Christmas. I think it sounds like the perfect solution but I don’t have kids yet…I am sure I will struggle like you with wanting to spoil them once I do! 🙂

  11. AnnaBanana

    Since you asked, I am giving my 2-cents worth about presents. When I was young, it got to me how we just didn’t get as much stuff for Christmas as my friends. I remember my friend saying her mom said they spent something like $100-300 on each kid in her family depending on the year. I was so jealous. I have no idea what my parents spent but being a kid I just felt it probably wasn’t as much as they should have…compared to the other kids. One year, because I kept telling my dad I needed more gifts, he gave me more gifts…i.e., a small bag of potato chips wrapped up, some dollar store items individually wrapped. It went on and on, but it was indeed more gifts. I learned to just be thankful for the thought my parents put into presents all those years when.it wasn’t enough or wasn’t the right thing.

    Fast forward to me being a parent, with a healthy dose of reality and financial burdens thrown in the mix. It seems like as our family grows we have less and less money to stretch. We used to spend easily $100 per kid. Then we switched to just trying to get a few presents from Santa, a couple from us. The last few years it has been down to 3 presents total, Santa and parents combined. It is all we could afford. My kids have not complained at all. They are totally in love with the Christmas season, with our tree decorating, cookie baking, Advent calendars, and Bethlehem dinner. as we have been able to give them less, they haven’t complained at all…I mean of course a kid at school will have gotten a present that they thought they might have wanted, but that’s it. Last night, at 2 a.m., I was crying in my front room because this year (after a basement flood and some other unexpected expenses this month) I literally have no idea what we will actually be able to afford for our kids’ Christmas. 3 humble presents each seem like they would be worth all the world right now to my mother’s heart. BUT I have faith that either we will have a small miracle will happen or we will make Christmas as magical and full of love and fun as we can with hardly anything to pull it off. For reference my older children are 11, 8, and 6, and they really have a blast at Christmas and even if they have a wish list a mile long and we can only do one thing from it, they have not ever complained (okay, 1 boy has but not much and not obsessively).

    This has been long, but I guess my point is that Christmas magic is important, I get that, but as cliche as it sounds, the traditions, the memories are what they really care about and so I would just go with what you feel is comfortable and sustainable as your family grows and run with it. Forget Instagram/Facebook pics and comparison-thief of joy! Imagine being able to give your child every gift in their wildest dreams, but without all the traditions, love, family, service and true meaning of the holiday also. It would obviously not be their happiest holiday, so it truly is just the time and love you give way more than, “Are there enough presents here?” FACT!

    1. AnnaBanana. I sure like you. I cried while I read your comment and you are just so right. So very right. Thank you for taking the time to write that out. It matters to me. Thank you.

    2. Tay

      oh man, that made me cry, too! It is so true that comparison steals joy, and that what they really want is family time and love, not a bunch more stuff to clutter up their happy childhood.

  12. We give three gifts that our boys can ask for on their lists. Plus stockings, and all the relative gifts, so it adds up quickly, I know. (sigh) I found cadbury scream eggs for 75% off after halloween, and they currently live in my freezer–the downstairs one, so they’re harder for me to get to. My kids don’t know about them. 😉

  13. Norma mccomas

    Love your stuff so much!!! We just got home from a trip to Indiana for mil funeral. It was great to be home for a few days and see family, but sad for the reason. 2600 mile round trip. Harder than it used to be since old age set in!! 🙂 Love you sweetie! Xoxo

  14. hey friend! I love these ‘currently’ posts.

    My sister (has 7 kiddos) told me that she gives 3 presents at Christmas patterned after the 3 gifts of frankincense, gold, and myrhh that Jesus received. One of three gifts is a gift that can be shared with the rest of the family (a game, movie, etc). Another of the gifts is one that the child really really really really wants, like #1 on their list! The third is usually a handmade gift or sometimes a book. I really liked this idea, so it is what I do now. I like that it incorporates sharing–so it is really like more presents for the whole family. And luckily my kids are small enough that what they really want is usually legos or books, not expensive video games or anything like that–might have to change my rule if that starts happening 🙂 And I like the handmade aspect, I think it teaches my boys that not everything has to be shiny and packaged to show love, plus I love making things. Santa only brings stocking stuffers here (he always leaves new ammo for all the nerf guns) and Christmas breakfast (cereal we never buy, fruit, nuts, etc). I had a friend growing up who said Santa also left a book at the foot of their bed Christmas morning, so when the kids woke up super crazy early they had a new book to read. I do that too, because I LOVE BOOKS! I love Christmas season, but I try really hard to teach my boys it isn’t about the presents–it’s about the family time, the friend time, and the love. I admit, there have been a couple Christmases that I have gone crazy and bought all the presents, but I’m trying to be simpler 🙂

    and hey…if you need to stop off for a potty break or dinner or something, we live just off I-70 in Palisade CO! You would be more than welcome! I hope you have the most wonderful Thanksgiving!

  15. Kaley

    You know, these posts are the ones I read regularly (I just can’t keep up with a recipe every day). And I’m so excited you’re coming home for Thanksgiving! When will you be up in Indiana?

  16. Kim

    I don’t have a great solution for you. We are incredibly lucky in that our kids are so grateful and not materialistic at all. I wish I could take the credit for that, but I think most of it is their personality. But we do really try to focus on Christ and his birth at Christmas time. I think over the years those lessons will sink in and they will start to understand the true meaning of Christmas. And we talk honestly with them about money and budgets and about true needs and wants and being practical. They are a little older than your kids, but it is never too early to start those conversations. Of course we keep it age appropriate, but I think it is good for kids to understand limits and that everything they have didn’t just appear. We had to work and save and sometimes sacrifice. That is something they will have to learn sometime, and I think it is better to learn it now instead of when they are young parents and go into debt trying to give their kids the same elaborate Christmas their parents gave them, or that the other parents are giving their kids. And a couple of years, they did say, “Well, Santa can bring it for me” in regards to a big ticket item. So we told them that we still have to pay Santa for what he brings.

    You are very practical, and I think it is fun to do something for Christmas that you wouldn’t do during the year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be lots of gifts. I find it is the traditions and the things we do as a family that get remembered and make the memories magical and special. And we do what the poster above said, they get 3 gifts. And each one is themed similar to the above poster. Our kids loved the idea when we presented it to them and it makes gift giving much more intentional which in turn makes it mean so much more. I think you are doing great and I love reading your blog. And I think your kids are so lucky to have you as a mom!

  17. Kelly C

    I just found your blog a little while ago when I was searching for hobby farm blogs. These posts are some of my favorites! I love to read the things you are up to and I appreciate your humility and kindness. I usually skip the food posts! 🙂

  18. Jamie

    Hey! I love these currently posts.
    I love to hear your heart for helping others, and the spirit of the holidays. Thanks for the reminder.

  19. Denis

    Where I live, a friend of mine take his kids and wife out to deliver Christmas hampers to needing families, and the children are so humbled by what they see when bringing the hampers to the door that they decide that maybe they don’t need that GI Joe with the kung fu grip or Barbie with the 42 outfits after all. When they see that some people don’t even have FOOD, it changes their whole perspective on giving and receiving. They follow a Christian based faith as you do, and this becomes part of their giving over and above their tithe. When older they will be able to help out at a Christmas dinner served to the homeless. They are still too young for that yet. Perspective is a great thing!

  20. Darling girl, don’t fret! I don’t have a good answer for you and you’re a few years ahead of me in the kid department. Mine are still fairly oblivious to what goes on at other peoples’ houses at Christmas (and birthdays… and Easter… and Halloween…:), but I know we try very hard to create magic in lots of other ways besides gifts. I’m afraid I’m not all that concerned about the comparison game and that’s just something my kids will have to live with as long as we share a roof! We plan to be “different” in lots of ways that we are prayerfully figuring out, and I’ve just had to face it and let the worry go! You’ll figure it out. And when you do, drop a sister a line:)

  21. Michelle

    We try every year to help someone in need, because even though we are in grad school and living on loans, we have enough food (simple, but enough), a warm house, clothes, blankets, shoes that fit and lots of family and friends that love us. Some people don’t have those things and it’s a good reminder to be grateful!

    As for gifts, I always feel the same way! Between great-grands, grands, cousins, aunts and uncles, each of my girls gets 4-7 presents without getting any from us! One year I decided to get 3 gifts per girl and the girls were so ungrateful. They didn’t take the time to enjoy each gift and Christmas morning wasn’t very much fun with them complaining about their gifts. Since then, Matt and I don’t give them anything under the tree. They know that we stuff the stockings, and that’s is where I give little things. Each girl always gets a book or two in their stocking, a toothbrush and toothpaste (tradition!), a little candy, something like a cute headband or some cute clips, and some kid lip gloss. Because we don’t give them any gifts under the tree, Santa brings one really nice present. This year he is bringing E a set of roller skates, N a Sofia dress from the Disney store, C a new Frozen backpack and L a nice animal book. My girls don’t even notice that we didn’t give them a gift because they already have so many!

    What is more important to me about Christmas is enjoying the season with traditions. Reading books by the lights on the Christmas tree. We do get a new Christmas book for the family each year. Making little Christmas treat bags to give to teachers and friends. Changing our two countdown calendars, and playing with our nativity set. I spend a lot more time making memories with them than I do shopping for them. We have never spent more than $50 on each girl (we have never had the money), but during Christmas we spend a lot of more time with them. And you know what is funny? The girls care less bout the gifts and are so much MORE excited about doing all our traditions.

    Don’t know if that helps assuage your guilt, but coming from another family of of four where money is always tight, I can honestly say that we get so much more joy from doing things together as a family.

  22. I try really hard not to overdo Christmas (because it’s SO easy to… ). I hadn’t heard the poem before a few years ago, but that’s exactly what we try to do… plus candy. I figure I can always wrap them up so there’s lots to open, if that’s what that kid needs because that is magic to them (so this year P is getting drawing pencils and sketching paper… I’ll wrap them separately, but I don’t wrap each pencil). I also really go nuts with the stockings, but I figure that’s just treats and once a year, it’s not like a million toys. I struggled as a kid with not having as much as my friends did… but they were getting video games and TVs… my parents were never going to buy that for me, and it was something I had to learn eventually. I’m hoping it’s easier for my kids, because it was, honestly, difficult. One thing I’m trying to do is think about EACH kid as an individual… not just getting stuff because it was cheap. I’m hoping my kids will feel my love that way.

  23. Danielle

    I think Christmas is so overdone in a lot of ways. It’s such a beautiful holiday, and so much of the (fun!) stuff just gets in the way! If your husband is on board, give as few gifts as you want to. It’s ok for your family to do things differently than others! I think it’s actually really healthy for kids to learn that early. Hopefully it will help them so they won’t grapple with it as much later in life! You are on the right track. It would be so easy to over give because kids are so easy to please, but you are doing them a favor to limit. Just my two cents.

  24. Oh, how I hear you on the Christmas thing… I also struggle with making sure it’s “fair” between Milo and Sophie. The truth of the matter is that Milo is very content with what he has, and doesn’t need much. Sophie needs lots of things developmentally and there are plenty of things she’ll be so excited to open. So… how do I sort it out and make it fair? How do I get a reasonable number of gifts?

    I grew up in a family with just enough money to stay comfortable. My parents didn’t buy us gifts or extras throughout the year–even birthdays were very modest. But for Christmas, my parents pulled out all the stops. Not a trace of a gift was under the tree up until Christmas morning. They’d barricade the hallway so we couldn’t peek, but when we were finally let through the hall into the living room, we saw stuffed stockings, gifts under the tree, and platefuls of candy and treats on the kitchen counters. It was the one all-out event of the year.

    As an adult, I struggle with the desire to facilitate gratitude and contentment. I also want to let Christmas be special. All that to say, there is no one right way to celebrate. If you stick to the 4 gifts rule and school friends get chatty and her feelings are hurt, you can certainly talk it through with her. I know you are the kind of person and mama who can make it right and nurture her little heart through it. If you decide to pull out all the stops, there is no need to apologize for it either. Christmas magic is magical no matter what way it’s done. I think you get to establish the traditions that you like and that are important to you–whether that’s to big or keep it small.

    AND YAAAAAAAAY!!!! YOU GET TO GO HOOOOOME FOR THANKSGIVING!!!! I’m doing imaginary cartwheels and silent cheers for you!!!

  25. Oh the Christmas debate- always an issue! Our children receive pj’s on Christmas eve and we eat dinner that night on the livingroom floor each year. They love having an indoor picnic. Then they get a stocking from Santa and that is it from that guy. We then give 3 gifts to each child. I feel bad at times that we can not give them more especially because aside from us they only receive small gifts from my mom and sometimes one of my sisters. No big family spoiling them here! It’s getting harder as they get older (my oldest is about to turn 7) but I’m hoping that the family time and the events we do together leading up to it will fill them with the true spirit of the season.

    This year we decided to focus our gifts on activities or physical things instead of just toys. For their birthdays our children have received a scooter, a rebounder and a snowboard. For Christmas our entire family is receiving ice skates- something we can do together for free in the months to come. We asked for a provincial parks pass from my mother so we can spend time outside the entire year.

    I have no doubt you will figure out what is best for your children and your family- good luck!

  26. Dani

    I’d love to win a book! I have 4 & 5 year old boys and we are still trying to figure Christmas out. We tell them that Jesus only got 3 presents and if 3 presents were good enough for Jesus, then it’s certainly enough for them! Kids tend to get a case of the “gimmes” around Christmas due to an overload of toy commercials with junk they “need”. We like to kick the season off by trying to give perspective that they are already so fortunate and need to give to other kids who aren’t, so we do Operation Christmas Child and we love it! I also wanted to mention that I love your blog 🙂 Idon’t knkwmany ChristianMoms in my area, so your blog is fantastic!

  27. I love plaid too 🙂 And I’m going to get on and vote for your picture right now! I know your prayers are heard too.
    About Christmas gifts, I think you do it just right. I think the ‘magic’ of Christmas is the spirit that we bring into our home, and our traditions. Goodness, girl, I know you be cookin’ in the kitchen with your babies! So I KNOW there is magic there. That’s what they are going to remember, their smiling momma.
    Each year I plan on making Christmas really simple, but then I start dreaming of all of the gifts that I know my kids would like to open! It is SO hard. I start adding more and more. This year I’m hoping to keep it to two or three. Is that lame? They don’t need books, we have WAY too many of those because I am a book hoarder. I may buy them some clothes. I have one toy in mind for each of them and then I hope to have santa just bring an add on to their wood train set. That makes Christmas morning sound really boring. But I walk into the toy closet and see the doll house from last year that has never been played with, the dinosaurs that are never touched, and all of the other plastic in there and I just want to burn it all. Why would I bring in more? I keep having to tell myself that. Because I’m determined to not buy a ton again! Ahhhhh… we need to talk.

    1. Jen

      I just found your blog and LOVE it! Nice to find someone so down to earth in such a materialized world. I say give your children what you can afford. My 2 and 5 year old enjoy opening gifts more then anything. A few “big” gifts along with Santas gifts and the rest small treasures just to open. Books, crayons and coloring books. Always reminding them of why we give gifts and Jesus’s birthday. Forget those other folks who forget what Christmas is about or worse, don’t believe. Your kids have you and your loving family which is the best gift of all. I love your recipes too!

  28. Stephanie M.

    I think your son was the cutest photo to choose from on the site! Wish I could give camera to my daughter, she loves photography. We combine with her Art and World History lessons by visiting Museums and Art Shows. I homeschool her with the help of a Cyber Charter. My cell phone only does so much for the classics.
    Have a great Thanksgiving filled with happiest of memories and be safe with any travels! Love your blog, can’t wait to explore further into the site.

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Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.

Dinner Ideas for Busy Moms
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