living on pb & j

Ordinary moms living on Prayer, the Bible, and Jesus!


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9 Ideas for Adding a Little “Magic” to Christmas!

Christmas is coming!! I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but I really like to plan ahead. Since the Christmas season begins as soon as the Thanksgiving meal ends, it’s time to plan ahead!

If you’re like me, you make lots of plans to make this an extra special day, then before you know it, it’s here! You haven’t had time to prepare everything. Supplies should have been bought last week! But you’re too busy to go to the store today! You should’ve started the “12 Days” 3 days ago! You know how it goes… church dinners, family get-togethers, school activities, parades, shopping, cooking! Where do you begin? Where does it all end? You’re so tired you can hardly enjoy the season!

But…

I’ve been looking on pinterest for some great (and fairly simple) ideas to start some new traditions for our family. I wanted to find some things that were fun and “magical” but also, things that would point our children to the Savior, and the true reason we celebrate this season! So, I want to share a few of those ideas with you!

1. Clear all unnecessary items from your calendar! Easier said than done, right? But seriously, I teach piano, but I have already wrapped it up for the year. Those few extra weeks off won’t hurt my students, and it frees up two afternoons EVERY week {plus all that cleaning – the lessons are in my living room}! Say “no” to things that are unimportant. Can that dinner with friends wait until after Christmas? Do you have to paint the bathroom right now? You can volunteer at the library in January. If it can wait, then let it wait. That way, you will have all the extra time you want to make Christmas special!

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2. Have a Christmas Family Brunch. This one is simple, and we’ve already been doing it for a few years. We have the Boyer Christmas Brunch after we open our gifts. We live away from our families and are often on the road for Christmas Day. But on the day we have our “Christmas’ we do this. I have a pretty extensive menu (although it sure doesn’t look like it in the picture!), but I want to keep it pretty much the same every year. We have a hashbrown casserole. (This is the basic recipe except I use cream of chicken instead of cream of mushroom – also you can put it together the day before and just throw it in the oven that morning.) And the other “must-have” is Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Muffins. These are SO yum, and take a little bit of time to make, and that makes it more special! I shared the recipe here. (They’re still good if made the day before.) Besides that, we usually have some ham, biscuits, and sometimes a marshmallow-type salad like this, and always Sparkling Juice. A few rare treats really make this time memorable!

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3. Make a Christmas Adventure Box. This one looks great, and I’m so excited to do it! It starts December 1st, and goes through Christmas. Each night, the children open the special “box”, in which you have already placed a wrapped object. This object is then used to tell a part of the Christmas story. Other topics are covered too, such as prayer, thankfulness, the legend of the Candy Cane, and others. I love the spiritual focus, wrapped in complete simplicity. And you could always go through the list (like I’m going to do)and use just 10 or 12 ideas instead of 25 days!

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4. Go to a Christmas parade. I have already looked up the ones in our area so we don’t miss them! So check our your local paper or google it, like I did.

5. Make a pocket calendar. I’m going to do it this year. There are so many cute ones on the market, but I’m cheap! So, I’m going to take a beautiful Christmasy ribbon and add 25 marked clothes pins to it. Then I’ll grab a cute little felt bag (or a gift bag) to move across the ribbon and add little treats for my kids each morning. Here are some more ideas for diy pocket calendars.

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6. The Christmas Book Basket. You may have seen this idea going around facebook and pinterest the last few months like I did. I bit, and couldn’t resist the simplicity and the cuteness. Read a Christmas book to your children each night! You can get a basket to sit by your tree or couch. Wrap 24 books and place inside the basket. Let your children take turns choosing one. Then grab some hot chocolate, a cozy blanket and read that book. This website has a lot of Christmas books that are tried and true. They are a mix of secular and spiritual. I ordered several from the library already, because remember, I’m cheap!

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7. The Elf on the Shelf “idea.” You’ve seen it everywhere! It’s so cute, that little elf! But the story is that he is Santa’s helper, and he reports to Santa every night. So each morning, you will find him in a different spot. It’s so cute! But at the same time, my husband and I just aren’t comfortable doing it. So, here are a few variations. Hide a cute little Christmas-type figurine somewhere in your house each night after the kids are in bed (like a snowman). Then when the children find him in the morning, he can have a special treat for them. Or variation #2 that I like – have a nativity scene in your home, but have it empty. Let Mary and Joseph travel around your house until they arrive at the stable on Christmas Eve. Then in the morning, you can read the Christmas story to them and add baby Jesus, and the shepherds, wise men and animals. So sweet! And it’s just as fun!

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8. Buy a new Christmas ornament for each member of your family. We have done this every year for our children, and for ourselves. Each year, we try to think of one of the major events or highlights of that year. For instance, we bought an ornament of the Alamo the year my husband and I took a trip to San Antonio for our anniversary! This year we are going to try to find a church, since my husband became a pastor this year. We also try to choose ones for our children that shows what they’re “into” that year.

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9. Special Bible reading. I also found this awesome idea! But I have so many other ideas, I’m not sure if we will have time to do it. But, this is the link for a special Bible reading chart that takes you through the prophecy of the coming Messiah, all the way to His birth, and also passages on how Christ is supreme and deserves our worship and praise. There are also many other options out there for Family Christmas Bibles, and booklets. This is a great idea! You could also combine it with #3!

So, there they are! Share your favorite Christmas traditions (only if they’re simple, please!) in the comments below.

❤ Joy

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DIY Housewife!

Who doesn’t like a little DIY in their life? Well, I like a LOT of DIY! It is so fun to take old ‘junk’ and give it new life…and it is so much more affordable than buying brand new furniture from the store.

I love finding a deal and a bargain. There are a lot of great shops that offer good prices to make your home stunning and beautiful. Tjmaxx, Target, Home Goods, Marshalls, Hobby Lobby…those are some of my favorites…but nothing beats a great cheap one of a kind find!

Garages sales, thrift stores, and even dumpsters are this girls best friend…HA!:))

I just want to inspire you to get creative. You don’t even need to BE a creative or crafty person to develop your own DIY skills. Pinterest is your teacher and guide!:) YouTube offers tons of great how to videos for redoing furniture and upholstery.

Here are a few DIY projects I’ve done over the fall and summer. I enjoy doing it to make extra money for my family…and once you start you can’t stop! The possibilities of making old into new are endless!:)

{Create a Fall or Thanksgiving topiary with things lying around the house. Just paint your little pumpkins!}
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{Or Make a NO sew curtain with hot glue and drapery clips. Simple and Cheap! I found this fabric at Joann’s on sale & used a coupon.}
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{Use an old baby Crib to make a chalkboard easel!}
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{This old TV tray on the left was painted gold and made into a chalkboard to dress up my mantle!}
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{This garage sale find got a fresh coat of paint and a new chalkboard finish!}
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{I’m currently working on painting my dining table and chairs a pretty distressed white. The distressing will hide the love and distress my four children will bring to them! HA!}
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A homemaker has the best job in all the world! In fact, God says she is valued more than rubies. Enjoy being the interior designer of your home! Make it a place where love, joy, and peace abide…and why not add a touch of cozy too! Hope this inspires you to spruce up your interiors while spreading love to your family. Enjoy!

Love,
Heidi S.


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More Than A Card

One thing that I love to do, if I have time, is to make something special instead of just sending a card for a special occasion. This is an easy, inexpensive & unique way to, instead of just sending a card in the mail, to make someone’s day fun. And who doesn’t like dessert?!?! 🙂

Here are some of the cookie & brownie cakes I’ve done for friends or family. I’m no artist by any means but it’s fun & they always love the thought behind them. You can do SO much more than just these ideas.

All I do is make a large cookie or brownie & then pipe icing for whatever occasion I want it to be. 🙂

New Home 

Josiah told me he specifically wanted me to put a trampoline in their yard since they invited him over to jump on it. 🙂 

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Congratulations on your New Addition

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Feel Better Soon! 

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Happy Birthday

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Have fun being creative!

~Rachel