Category Archives: Christmas

Taking the Emphasis off of Gifts at Christmas

Christmas. A tree with presents piled underneath and stockings hung by the fireplace. Growing up, we’d always wake up early and try to whisper quietly for as long as we could stand it. Our morning would start with emptying stockings and amazing homemade cinnamon rolls. We’d then sit around the living room floor and go into the presents! So many great memories.

Is it Christmas without piles of presents under the tree? These are 8 great ideas to help your family take the emphasis off of gifts. Need to read this for this year!

We know you can buy presents on a budget, but what if you simply don’t want to have your focus on gifts this year? What if you want to take the emphasis off of gifts? What can you do to help your children know that Christmas is more than just presents?

I have come up with 8 ways of taking the emphasis off of gifts at Christmas.

Choose what works for you and take baby steps. If you uproot everyone of your traditions at once, your day might be spent with a lot of tears. Young children won’t understand your verbalization of why you are doing things differently.

Gift Less

This is a great first baby step. Instead of doing no presents, simply have fewer and then incorporate a few other ideas into your day. Christmas doesn’t have to be this big elaborate deal. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars and have stacks of presents for each child. Be selective about what you buy. Your children don’t have to have everything on their wishlist. They might even appreciate what they do receive more than when their attention is divided between so many new things.

Family Gift

Stuff a stocking with little goodies for each family member but forgo individual presents and instead buy something everyone’s been wanting or go someplace fun!

Purchase some new movies, video games, board games, a swing set, trampoline or something that the entire family can do together instead of tearing through piles of presents. Spend the rest of the day creating memories and enjoy the one big gift.

Experience Gift

Go to the movie theater, rent a hotel room and use the indoor pool. If you live where it’s warm, take a trip to the beach or park. There are a lot of options if you think out of the box. Trampoline Park, museum that’s always been a little too pricey to make your budget cut, ice skating. This will, of course, depend on the age of your kids and interests in your family.

Add in special snacks and treats you wouldn’t normally have and make Christmas about the memories instead of the rush of opening presents that’s over in minutes.

If the experience you select isn’t open on Christmas day, spend the day relaxing, cookie decorating, movie watching, or serving and go on your adventure in the next week or two.

Go Serve

The family gift and experience gift both downplay gifts but you can take it a step further. Look around your area and find a service project your family can be involved in on Christmas day. Maybe help serve a Christmas meal.

I can guarantee your family will bond and you’ll remember this Christmas forever. Growing up we spent several Christmases delivering Christmas meals that a local church put together to those that are home-bound.

Go Minister

Contact your local nursing and assisted living homes. Spend a little time on Christmas talking with the residents that are spending the day without family. Listen to their stores, sing  carols with them, let them enjoy being around your kids.

Donate

You can either skip gifts all together and maybe have your family pick out items from the World Vision Gift catalog to enrich the lives of others around the world or give the difference of what you normally spend to an organization you select together.

Open Your Home

Keep your ears open around your work, church, areas of activity etc for those that have no place to go for the holidays. Invite them into your home, let them spend time with your family, enjoy a meal together, bring out the games and have a great time.

Christmas doesn’t have to be a day that revolves around gifts for your kids to cherish. Select some ways to take the emphasis off of gifts this year, you won’t regret it. Focus on family, memories, serving, and others this year and it will be a Christmas you’ll remember!

Have you tried taking the emphasis off of gifts at Christmas in your home?

Is it Christmas without piles of presents under the tree? These are 8 great ideas to help your family take the emphasis off of gifts. Need to read this for this year!

If you are looking for more Christmas posts, check out these:

11 Tips for Christmas Presents on a Budget
Gift Ideas for a Teenage Girl
Gift Ideas for a Two Year Old
Homemade Gift Baskets (Food and Drink Themed)
Losing the Christmas Chaos
Look Upward
When Christmas Becomes a Joy Killer

Or if recipes are more your thing, I have a fantastic fudge recipe you need to try!

Linking up to these fun parties!

 

Gingerbread Latte

Guest post from Kara (one of my wonderful sisters whom you met last week)

I’ve been barista at a quaint, little drive-thru coffee stand for over a year now, and I can honestly say I enjoy a good, tasty cup of coffee anytime. My favorite part of working at a coffee shop around Christmas, is the delicious, Christmas-y latte flavors. You know the ones I’m talking about, peppermint mocha, gingerbread, pumpkin spice, and eggnog; my mouth is watering just at the thought of them. But on my days off, I don’t want to drive all the way there for just a coffee, so with the encouragement of Dee, I came up with my own latte/coffee recipe that I can make at home! That means I can stay in my warm home, in my pajamas, and drink a warm, tasty latte.

This recipe comes in two parts – the cold brew and then the latte. MAKE SURE to PLAN AHEAD for the cold brew – you need 12-24 hours.

COLD BREW

Ingredients: (may half, double, triple to whatever amount you would like)

  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 cup coffee grounds (Coarse or medium-coarse)
  • Coffee Filters

Instructions:

Yummy and perfectly spicy gingerbread latte. Perfect thing to get you going on a cold winter morning.

  • Separate the coffee grounds into several coffee filters and tie with rubber bands
  • Set the little coffee bags into a pitcher and pour the water on top.
  • Let the coffee grounds sit in the water on the counter 12-24 HOURS.
  • After 12-24 hours has gone by, remove the coffee bags and throw away.
  • Get a second pitcher with a strainer lined with another coffee filter. Pour the coffee through the filter.
  • Store in the fridge in a sealed jar. Keeps for about 2-2 1/2 weeks.

Yummy and perfectly spicy gingerbread latte. Perfect thing to get you going on a cold winter morning.

4.5 from 2 reviews
Gingerbread Latte
 
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ cup cold brew
  • 1 cup milk or half & half (I suggest the half & half or at least a mix of both)
  • ⅛ tsp. ground clove
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3½ tbs. brown sugar
  • whipped cream, optional
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan on low heat.
  2. Heat to your desired temperature, stirring occasionally.
  3. (optional) If you like foam, use a whisk to beat mixture until you get a foamy surface.
  4. Ladle out into mug, top with (optional) whipped cream and/or cinnamon.
Notes
Everyone has their own coffee tastes, some stronger and some weaker, so as long as you start with 2⅓ cup of milk/cold brew, you can easily adjust to meet your taste.

 

This week continues all things Christmas at From this Kitchen Table. (Find all the posts here.) Be sure to come back this week for a fabulous recipe for a pumpkin cheesecake (in a pie pan) and thoughts on losing the Christmas chaos! You can follow us on Facebook or subscribe by e-mail to be sure you don’t miss out!

The perfect gingerbread latte. Uses a cold brew. Great for the cold winter days.

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Delicious Fudge – Fanny Farmer’s Fudge Recipe

You can’t really go wrong with chocolate and butter. Fudge is deliciously rich and decadent. The smells always make me drool as I walk past shops in the mall. I come across fudge being sold in flower shops, local diners, and have even seen it at an outdoor sporting goods store.

I can’t bring myself to spend $7.99 for a 1/2 pound when it is so easy and much cheaper to make myself. (Or maybe I’m just a scrooge.)

This is the recipe my mom always used and it’s a winner. (I have to ask who in the world is Fanny Farmer? I might need to go do some research.)

Don’t worry if when you add the butter it looks as though it won’t combine. Just keep on beating – it will come together!

Enjoy!

Fanny Farmer's Fudge recipe. Super easy and so rich and decadent.  One of my favorites.

Delicious Fudge - Fanny Farmer's Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • 4½ cups sugar
  • 1 (13 ounce) can evaporated milk (or homemade)
  • 18 ounces (3 cups) chocolate chips (I like semisweet)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped nuts, optional
Instructions
  1. Boil sugar and milk for 6 minutes.
  2. Stir constantly.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Add remaining ingredients except nuts.
  5. Beat well until thoroughly combined. This will be easiest with a hand mixer or KitchenAid stand mixer. Around 5 minutes. If you stop too soon the butter might separate.
  6. Fold in nuts.
  7. Spread into a 9x13 pan.
  8. After it's firmed up, cut into squares.

 

This week continues all things Christmas at From this Kitchen Table. (Find all the posts here.) Be sure to come back next week week for a fabulous recipe for a gingerbread latte and more! You can follow us on Facebook or subscribe by e-mail to be sure you don’t miss out!

Bring your favorite chocolate dessert to Roxana’s home baking #chocolateparty and win amazing prizes from Imperial Sugar®Gold Medal Flour®Safest Choice™ Pasteurized Eggs and KitchenAid®

Thoughts on looking upward this Christmas season. Don't be distracted by the hustle and bustle.

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Gift Guide for Teenage Girls

Teen girls. They have to be one of the hardest groups to buy for. I’m excited for you to meet two of my sisters (maybe someday you’ll meet them all – there are 4 more!), Kara and Julia. As a sophomore and senior, they are the perfect ones to write this gift guide (and they have good style to boot).

They wrote this post to moms, but take the ideas and buy for any teenage girl in your life.

Remember, I’d recommend that you research any media or book suggestions before you purchase them for your child (or if you are buying for someone else’s child, run it buy their parents first) as each family has different guidelines.

Now, here’s Kara and Julia!

Gift Guide for Teenage Girls - 11 ideas any girl would love. (Written by two teens)

Some links are affiliate links.

Teenagers can be very hard to buy presents for sometimes. As the years go by, it gets more and more difficult. So, coming from two teenage girls, here is what we and most other teenage girls would love to receive.

1. Clothes

If you know your daughter’s style and favorite store, any teenage girl would LOVE to have more clothes to add to their closet. Some of the popular stores for teens: Target, Forever 21, Aeropostale, Hollister, and Wet Seal.

2. Phone or iPod Case

Girls like to change their phone cases just as much as they like to change outfits. One of my favorite places for cases is Wallflower Designs. You can also look at Amazon.

3. Money

Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t be happy with receiving money. You can do whatever you want with it: save it, buy a favorite thing, or spend it on anything else you want.

4. Movies

Most girls love to watch movies. You can cuddle up on the couch anytime and watch a good film. I have a collection of movies that I keep stored up in my room that I can just pull off the shelf anytime I want to. One of my personal favorites is The Avengers.

5. CDs

Just like movies, teens LOVE music. We could listen to it all day if our parents would let us. I keep a collection of CD’s in my room just like I do with movies. But if your child isn’t an album kind of person, get them an itunes gift card… which brings us to the next suggestion. I just love the Imagine Dragon’s album Night Visions

6. Gift Cards

Don’t know what types of music, clothes, jewelry, etc. your child likes? Well, gift cards are always a safe bet. It allows your child to be assured that they actually will get what they like. You can easily buy a gift card from your daughter’s favorite store, but if you’re not sure, you can never go wrong with iTunes, Starbucks (or any other food place), or any of the clothing stores I listed above.

7. Jewelry

Any girl would be happy to receive any kind of jewelry – rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, or anything else you can think of. I just love it when someone buys me an adorable necklace or a cute bracelet. You can find jewelry at almost any clothing store and even online. If you know their style and know they would love it, surprise them, but some teen girls can be pretty picky. You could make a date out of it and take her jewelry shopping so she could pick out her favorites.

8. Books

If your daughter loves to read, any book would be the best gift ever. If she already has a collection of her favorite novels, you can look and see if there are any she’s missing, or at least get her taste in books. If you’re not sure, one of our top favorite books ever is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

9. Perfume, Body Lotions and Spray

I know for me, I absolutely love body spray. It is my number one must have before I leave the house. Not only do I get lots of compliments from friends, but also it is a great way to smell fresh all day long. Bath and Body Works is always a given for a great place to buy from.

[Note from Deanna – you can also make your own to avoid harmful chemical. Check out this recipe for Body Spray or this one for Body Butter]

10. FOOD

This is a must have. Christmas is that time to fill yourself on foods that aren’t good for you. So why not go all out on one day? Just fill your daughter’s stocking with cookies, candy, gum, etc. Even if you have a daughter who is into eating healthy, you can still get tasty energy bars and healthy snacks she’d love!

11. Sunglasses and Accessories

Accessories are a HUGE part of a girl’s wardrobe. Scarves, hats, sunglasses, shoes, purses and you name it. Last Christmas this was all I asked for from friends. I loved it. You can easily dress up a casual shirt with a hat and scarf, and it’s super cute. Forever 21 has ADORABLE accessories, and you can find more at Target, Walmart, Payless (or any local shoe store) and basically any clothing store.

Depending on your budget, you can mix and match any of these options to create an awesome gift. Although we can be picky, we’ll love anything you give us.

 

Thank you, girls! If you have questions for them or want to run a gift by them, ask in the comments! What are you favorite buys for a teenage girl?

This is the fifth post in the Christmas series at From this Kitchen Table. (Find all the posts here.) Be sure to come back for the next post – a recipe for a Gingerbread Latte. You can follow us on Facebook or subscribe by e-mail to be sure you don’t miss out!
Gift Guide for Teenage Girls - 11 ideas any girl would love. (Written by two teens)


Look Upward

Today I’m excited to share with you the words of someone else. I’m so thankful for her thoughts, heart, and influence, not only here but throughout my life. I’m excited to introduce you to my mom, Vicki! I can’t think of a more fitting person to write the first guest contribution on this blog as she shares her thoughts on keeping your eyes on Christ at Christmas.

It happened again today.

I took my eyes from the vertical position, heavenward, and turned them toward the horizontal. My focus went from following only what the Holy Spirit is directing me to do to focusing on what my friends, neighbors, church, authors, and radio show hosts are telling me I should be doing.

Why do I continue to do that? I know what looking horizontally brings – fatigue, depression, feelings of inadequacies, trying to please others, the fear of letting others down, and frustration. I guess if I had to sum it up, I would say it makes my burdens heavy. Like a chain around my neck, I carry the burdens alone. But, oh the difference when my eyes have been looking upward.

“What next, Lord? Okay, I’ll do it.” Today, God has told me to go “there.” As Vance Havner said,

“’There’ is the place of God’s purpose. God has a ‘there’ for you, somewhere He wants you to be, something He wants you to do. You can never be truly happy elsewhere, nor can you please God anywhere but ‘there’.”

The path is not always easy. The days are not without trials. The problems are still before me. The difference is only in the weight of the burden. When I walk where He tells me to walk, the burden on me is light because He is carrying it for me.

During this Christmas season, we celebrate a day 2,000 years ago when God told His only Son, Jesus Christ, to go ‘there’ – the place of God’s purpose – and He went. Help me in all the hustle and bustle of this Christmas season to keep my eyes centered only on Him. For only then will I be where He wants to use me today.

This week continues all things Christmas at From this Kitchen Table. (Find all the posts here.) Be sure to come back the rest of the week for a gift guide for teenage girls (written by my two teenage sisters) and to get a fabulous recipe for a gingerbread latte. You can follow us on Facebook or subscribe by e-mail to be sure you don’t miss out!

Thoughts on looking upward this Christmas season. Don't be distracted by the hustle and bustle.

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Homemade Gift Baskets – Food and Drinks

Awesome list of Gift Basket ideas! Perfect for family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Can use this for Christmas or birthdays!

This is the third post in the Christmas series at From this Kitchen Table. (Find all the posts here.) Be sure to come back over the next few weeks to read more thoughts, get some new recipes, and receive gift ideas. You can follow us on Facebook or subscribe by e-mail to be sure you don’t miss out!

It’s December. Parties and dinners to attend. Presents or hostess gifts might be required. Every year I find myself brainstorming ideas for my church staff party and for family.

I’ve assembled some ideas that I’ve seen, received, or made. Make them simple (and super affordable) or add the optional ideas to jazz them up a bit. You could even combine a few baskets into one – Popcorn/Movie Basket and the Hot Chocolate one go together pretty well.

1. Hot Chocolate Basket

  • Hot Chocolate: Purchase hot chocolate or make your own mix and package it in a small mason jar. You could also do hot chocolate balls or hot chocolate spoons
  • Toppings: (place this in small jars from Hobby Lobby or little food bags)
    Marshmallows (If you feel up to it you can even make them! These look yummy or check out this recipe for peppermint marshmallows. This recipe is made with honey)
    Mini Chocolate Chips
    Sprinkles
    Carton of Heavy Whipping Cream
    (optional)
  • A mug or two (completely optional)
  • Packaging:
    Find a basket or tin (Hobby Lobby has a great selection of both you can buy on sale) or even a gift bag and arrange all the goodies!
    You can also put everything inside of the mug as packaging if you’re going to give it to a single person. Tie cellophane around it with a bow or ribbon to complete the packaging.

2. Tea Basket

I love tea but it’s not often that I splurge on a fun new flavor.

  • Tea Bags Some brands to consider:
    Yogi has some amazing flavors (Egyptian Licorice is fabulous, but it’s not recommended when nursing or pregnant)
    Tazo
    Twinings
    Traditional Medicinals  (choose this or one of the next two if you want the cleanest tea)
    Numi
    Rishi
    Celestial Seasons is an option available at your local store.
  • Small Jar of Honey (Optional) Buy a small glass jar and put honey in it or buy a honey sampler already packaged.
  • Packaging A basket or you may put a bow on a single box or tape several boxes together and tie it with ribbon.

OR

  • Loose Leaf Tea
  • Stainless Tea Mesh Tea Ball
  • Small Jar of Honey (Optional) Buy a small glass jar and put honey in it or buy a honey sampler already packaged.
  • Packaging Leave it in it’s original packaging and tie the tea ball on with a bow or move the tea into a canister or glass jar and arranged in a small basket.

3. Ice Cream Sundae Kit

  • Toppings: (Put the sauces in mason jars and place the other topping in small jars from Hobby Lobby or little food bags)
    Chopped nuts
    Hot Fudge Sauce
    (This recipe is super easy with sweetened condensed milk or try this one to make it from scratch)
    Caramel Sauce (Here are a couple of recipes)
    Chopped candy bars, cookies, sprinkles or whatever else you feel
    Carton of Heavy Whipping Cream (Optional)
  • Ice Cream Scoop (optional)
  • Ice Cream Bowls or Cones (optional)
  • Packaging:
    Find a basket or tin (Hobby Lobby has a both selection of both you can buy on sale) or even just a gift bag works great and arrange all the goodies!

4. Cheese & Crackers Basket

  • Assorted Cheeses (personal favorites are Havarti and Smoked Gouda)
  • Crackers (a box or two)
  • Summer Sausage (optional)
  • Specialty Jellies (optional)
  • Small cutting board and knife (optional)
  • Packaging:
    If you are using the cutting board you could place everything on top of it, wrap it in cellophane, and tie a bow around it. Otherwise the basket or gift bag route is a simple way to go.

5. Nuts and Dried Fruits (Healthy Snacks) Basket

This would be another one that I would love! These are all things I enjoy snacking on but don’t always have the budget to purchase.

  • Snack Ideas:
    Almonds
    Walnuts
    Pecans
    Cashews
    Dates
    Apricots
    Raisins
    Craisins
    Other dried fruits or nuts
  • If you want something else to add, Lara Bars or dark chocolate are fun
  • Packaging: Leave in original package, put in small food bags, tins from Hobby Lobby, or mason jars. Place in a gift bag or basket.

6. Candy/DIY Snacks Basket

  • Purchase:
    Bag or bar of better quality chocolate (Ghiradelli, Lindt, a fair trade brand etc) or an assortment of them.
  • Packaging: Put a bow on it or place in a small basket

Or

7. Movie Basket

  • Movie (optional) If you know a movie they’d love you can buy it, get a Redbox digital gift card ($10 minimum), include a couple dollars to cover a Redbox rental or skip completely and focus on the snacks.
  • Popcorn Supplies
    Popcorn Kernels – 1/2-1 cup of kernels in a bag, jar, or tin
    Coconut Oil – (Makes movie theater like popcorn. Order online or you can find it at Wal-Mart now) A couple of Tablespoons per 1/2 cup of popcorn in a small container
    Butter 1 stick is more than enough for 1 -1 1/2 cups of popcorn
    Sea Salt Optional, as most people will have salt they can use.
    Directions: Put oil and 3 kernels of popcorn in the bottom of a large pan with a lid and place over medium – medium high heat. When all three kernels pop add /2 cup or corn and put lid back on. Shake frequently until corn is popped. (May have to quickly empty out some of the popped corn to allow the rest to finish popping) Dump into a bowl and top with melted butter and salt to taste.
  • Popcorn Seasoning (optional)
  • Candy
    Add a few of their favorite movie candy bars or make these homemade Crunch or Heath Bars
  • Packaging: Place all of the supplies into a large bowl (it will become the popcorn bowl!). You could find plastic or paper popcorn containers to add as well. Wrap a festive ribbon around the bowl and you are set.

8. Fruit

  • Fruit Whatever you like and what’s in season: apples, oranges, cuties (my daughter would love to see a basket of these), grapefruit, pomegranate, bananas, pineapple, kiwi etc. The options are endless.
  • Packaging Arrange them all in a basket and add a bow.

What homemade gift baskets have you given or received?

Be sure to come back next week for the next post in our Christmas series! You can follow us on Facebook or subscribe by e-mail to be sure you don’t miss out!

Awesome ideas for gift baskets! Perfect for families, adult siblings, coworkers, hostess gifts etc!.

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Gift Ideas for a 2 Year Old

This is the second post in the Christmas series at From this Kitchen Table. (Find the first post here.) Be sure to come back over the next few weeks to read more thoughts, get some new recipes, and receive gift ideas. You can follow us on Facebook or subscribe by e-mail to be sure you don’t miss out!

10 Gift Ideas for a 2 Year Old. Fun ideas any child would love!

Here are 10 of the ideas that I came up with for gifts for a 2 year old. There are more, so eventually this might have to have a sequal and I haven’t even touched on books!

All these you can order from Amazon (affiliate links used). Be sure to order by December 17th to be sure your presents arrive for Christmas if you are using free standard shipping!

Two toy brands that I really like are Alex Toys and Melissa and Doug

1. Thinkfun Roll and Play Board Game

This is a fun first game for your child – boy or girl! The recommended age is 18 months and up. I’d agree with that. We bought this for our daughter’s second birthday and she loved it. Easy for them to catch on to and it is not competitive. At almost 3 she will still get this out to play.

2. Melissa & Doug Shape Sorting Cube

Our daughter was given this for Christmas last year at 22 months. It was a challenge for her, but she quickly got good at it and learned shapes (quatrefoil, parallelogram, trapezoid) she otherwise wouldn’t have. This was an excellent step up from the 5 shape plastic shape sorter she had.

3. Lauri Toddler Tote

We have several Lauri toys but not this exact set. This looks like a perfect set for your child once they are 18 months old.

4. Stars

Okay, so this one is purely a want and non educational but my daughter has the Cloud b Twilight stars and she LOVES them. Every night she wants to fall asleep with them on. We were fortunate enough to find her red ladybug stars at a garage sale and it was a few dollars well spent. The Pillow Pet Dream Lites are quite a bit cheaper and isn’t the penguin adorable? We haven’t used one personally though.

5. Peg Puzzles

Puzzles are always a hit! The pegs make it easy for little fingers to grab. We still have some puzzles that I grew up playing in our house. It’s fun to watch our daughter use the same ones. I found a Curious George puzzle and some by Melissa & Doug and Hape that look good options.


6. Stickers


What child doesn’t love color objects that they can stick all over the place? You can completely cater to your child’s interests here. This will take you to a general search.

7. Music Makers

Singing, playing the piano, picking up random sticks and banging on furniture playing drums are all things our daughter likes to do. She’d love a set like this  – might get a little loud for mom though. :-)

8. Flash Light

Any time we get a flash light out our daughter begs to use it. She’s going to be getting a flash light this year and I know she will be thrilled. We haven’t decided which on yet, but there are lots of options on Amazon.
Gift Ideas for a 2 Year Old

9. Blocks

Once she hit 2 1/2 our daughter really started to get into playing with blocks. These are a fun and creative toy. I remember building towns with my sisters using Duplo blocks when I was growing up.
Gift Ideas for a 2 Year Old

If you want something a little cheaper these are another good option:
Gift Ideas for a 2 Year Old

10. Bath Toys

I love bath time! I get to sit and watch the kids play while reading a few pages of a book. Win win situation. We don’t have a lot of toys but what we have gets used! I prefer not having squirt toys (are any toys with small holes) because mold will end up growing inside. Click here to go to a general search page and below are some items that my daughter would enjoy. 
Gift Ideas for a 2 year Old

Gift Ideas for a 2 year Old

Gift Ideas for a 2 year Old

What gifts have the 2 year olds in your life loved?

Be sure to come back Friday for the next post in our Christmas series! You can follow us on Facebook or subscribe by e-mail to be sure you don’t miss out!

Gift Ideas for 2 year olds - boys or girls.

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When Christmas Becomes a Joy Killer

This is the first post in the Christmas series at From this Kitchen Table. Be sure to come back over the next few weeks to read more thoughts, get some new recipes, and receive gift ideas. You can follow us on Facebook or subscribe by e-mail to be sure you don’t miss out!

When Christmas Becomes a Joy Killer

How many of us feel relaxed, carefree, calm, joyous and able to enjoy the holiday season to the fullest as we pass Thanksgiving and move closer and closer to Christmas? I know that most of those adjectives aren’t ones that would come to the front of my mind.

The season starts with a tree and decorating inside and out. There’s practicing for school and church Christmas programs. Then throw in holiday parties and open houses, caroling, lots of holiday baking. Oh yeah, don’t forget you have to see everyone in your family and shop for presents too. The 25th arrives before you have time to breathe. You wake up early, paper is torn off presents, food is inhaled, the car loaded and unloaded. When it all ends you are tired and exhausted, wondering what happened to the day. You might even be a little relieved it’s all over.

Maybe it’s time to do things differently. Maybe it’s time to slow down and think about what we are doing. Maybe we should focus on the true reason for celebrating.

Do you know what? We don’t have to do every little (and big) thing that presents itself to us. We don’t have to say yes! If Christmas isn’t about the presents, cookies, parties, get togethers, performances, elaborate decorations, fancy meals and so forth we should be able to say no (even when it’s hard) without feeling guilty.

Let go of the pressures and expectations that normally come along with this month. Let go of trying to keep up with the Jones’. Even let go of having to keep every tradition.

The Action Plan:

Sit down with your husband (or by yourself if you are single) and go over your plans for Christmas and the month of December. Discuss what traditions are the most important to you, what memories you want to make. Decide how you want to handle visiting family and parents. It is so easy to carry rules and expectations with us from our past. It’s important to remember that you are your own family now. It’s okay if how we celebrate looks differently than our friend’s, neighbor’s, or sister’s way. Your kids and spouse will probably be happier with doing less if it means a more relaxed and happier mom and wife.

When, after having this conversation, you find yourself saying no to activities, don’t feel bad. Remember you are saying yes to the ones that are most important to your family and allowing yourself the sanity to enjoy them.

What steps do you take to ensure you actually enjoy the Christmas season and focus on what’s most important?

Come back tomorrow for gift ideas for a 2 year old! You can follow us on Facebook or subscribe by e-mail to be sure you don’t miss out!

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