Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Books

Christmas Books

Each year at Christmas I choose a new book to be unwrapped and read on Christmas Eve. One year I thought it would be fun to unwrap a new game instead of a book. The kids were very vocal in their disappointment--they love having their Dad read them a new story each year.

Over the years some of our favorites include Max Lucado's Alabaster's Song, The Crippled Lamb, and Jacob's Gift. There is also Susan Wojciechowski's The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey and Ruth Bell Graham's One Wintry Night. The last few years we've read The Legend of the Christmas Tree by Rick Osborne and The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg. I'm looking forward to reading all the blog carnival posts on Christmas reading as I have yet to chose a book for this year.

For family devotions we are reading Jotham's Journey by Arnold Ytreeide. From youngest to oldest, the kids are enjoying this Advent mystery adventure.
441745: Jotham"s Journey: A Storybook for AdventJotham's Journey: A Storybook for Advent

Personally, I'm not reading any books related to the season. Maybe next year I'll have my act together enough to read a Christmas devotion. Currently I'm reading Susan Hunt's Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women. I just finished Ann Platz's great book, Queen Esther's Reflection, also dealing with mentoring.
77197: Spiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring WomenSpiritual Mothering: The Titus 2 Model for Women Mentoring Women

By Susan Hunt / Crossway Books & Bibles

Hunt knows what women need-each other. Using Scripture and true stories from a Presbyterian congregation, Hunt demonstrates the model of the "mothering mandate" in Titus 2:1-5 and encourages you to develop and strengthen the bonds between older and younger women in your life.

90128: Queen Esther"s Reflection: A Portrait of Grace, Courage, and Excellence

Queen Esther's Reflection: A Portrait of Grace, Courage, and Excellence
By Ann Platz / New Hope Publishers
Discover how to transform your home, marriage, and work into a royal anointing! Platz uses the story of Queen Esther to explore spiritual beauty. You'll learn how to grow in excellence, graciousness, and humility; experience fasting and prayer; prepare for ministry to others; and more. An ideal mentoring resource. Includes study questions.

Christmas Music Favorites

Christmas Music Favorites

We have several family Christmas traditions and two of them are collecting Christmas music and books. (I'll have another blog later today on Christmas books.) At the start of the Christmas season we begin listening to our new music along with old favorites. On Christmas Eve the children unwrap a new Christmas book that we read together after dinner.

This year things have been hectic and I have not purchased our new music but plan to get Casting Crown's Peace on Earth CD. You can watch a live version of I Heard the Bells on Christmas from the album at MMCW.

Our Christmas listening is eclectic to say the least. I enjoy unique Christmas CDS such as A Walton Christmas. This CD is a compilation of Christmas songs sung on the TV series The Walton's. Of course, it ends with the memorable family goodnights--goodnight Jim Bob.

Another favorite is A Christmas TV Dinner. It is another smorgasbord of songs taken from classic TV shows. Songs include Gene Autry & The Melody Ranch Gang singing Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer, the Brady kids singing Silent Night and my favorite--Ben, Little Joe, and Hoss Cartwright (from Bonanza) singing Merry Christmas, Neighbor. Both A Walton Christmas and A Christmas TV Dinner were bought years ago at Big Lots for around $3.

My all-time favorite is the instrumental Christmas in the Smoky Mountains featuring authentic Appalachian instruments. I love the sound of the dulcimer on this cd. The arrangements to uplifting songs such as O Come, All Ye Faithful and Good Christian Men, Rejoice is beautiful.

While it is not a Christmas CD, my family's favorite listening right now is New Life Worship's Counting on God CD by Integrity. New Life Church as been through some deep valleys over the last two years. Many of you will recall the fall of their former pastor Ted Haggard. Just a year later the church faced tradegy once more when an armed gunman came onto their campus and opened fire, killing two teenage sisters. This CD is a response to what this congregration has walked through and their confidence and declaration of their faith in Christ.

So, what's your favorite Christmas listening? I'd love to hear!
By the way, this post is part of a blog carnival hosted by Molly at I'm new to all of this blogging business but this is a fun way to see chat via blogging on specific topics. If you would like to join, click on Molly's link and you'll see the box to enter your blog address!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Black Friday

Christmas Shopping for Girls

Last year the number one requested item by our daughter was a Hannah Montana wig. By Christmas afternoon the wig was matted and frizzed beyond repair but our little rock star was bopping her way around the house in sheer delight. Hannah Montana is still a favorite of my daughter, but the real life actress Miley Cyrus has fallen from my graces as someone I want my daughter role-playing.

This year shopping for a nine year-old in an environment where little girls are bombarded with siren calls to dress, play, and act like adults is a challenge but not impossible. If you have a young daughter you know exactly what I mean--adult style clothing, dolls that look like prostitutes, and music that is still adult even if a child is singing it.

This morning I hopped online to my favorite girl site-- Today's Black Monday sales include free shipping on all orders plus an additional 10% off sale items. I was thrilled to pick up both the Molly and Samantha Mystery Party games. Similar to a dinner theatre, it is made for girls and perfect for birthday parties or any get together. At $4.50 each it was a bargain I could not pass up.

Another great item was the American Girl Mystery Puzzle. This is actually four 300 hundred piece puzzles that have glow-in the dark clues to solve a mystery.

If you have little girls, the Mini Magnetic doll sets at $5 are a steal. Perfect for Christmas but don't rule out putting up for birthday presents too. These make great travel games.

American Girl dvds have free shipping today too--including the new Kit Kittridge movie. Family friendly, all AG movies have a good plot that everyone can enjoy. My boys liked the Kit Kittridge movie which deals with a family facing the challenges of the Great Depression.

American Girl products can be pricey so sales like this are worth taking advantage of for Christmas and future presents. If you are looking for dolls that will inspire play and learning you may want to look at the doll and book sets. Dress-up is never so much fun as when girls and dolls can dress alike--American Girl has this done this right. Clothing is age appropriate for dolls and girls.

Going on and on like this about girl gifts would lead one to think I do not have three boys. My two younger boys are easy to buy for--they want the same of everything they see. My teen is another story all together. Toys for a 15 year-old are costly to say the least. American Eagle Outfitters has free shipping on all orders today with some great sales on sunglasses, necklaces, hats, jeans, and shirts.

What are your favorite Black Friday sales sites? Pass them along--I'd love to hear about them and of course take advantage of more sales tonight!
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