9 memorable Christmas traditions for families

9 christmas traditions

It’s that time of year again! Time to create or revisit holiday family traditions. Need some fresh ideas to add to your family’s list of fun customs for Christmas? Here are some memorable suggestions:

Adopt a family. Many families are struggling this time of year, so our family “adopts” a family and provides a Christmas dinner for them. We include a turkey or ham, stuffing (if we provided a turkey), two cans of vegetables, a bag of potatoes, and a dessert. Alternatively, if your house is big enough, why not invite someone who has nowhere to go for Christmas to your house to enjoy Christmas dinner with your family?

Read the real Christmas story. I love the tradition of reading Luke 2:1-20 on Christmas Day and reflecting on the real meaning of Christmas. A baby born who would one day die for the sins of mankind so they could have eternal life. Have each family member take turns reading verses, or have mom or dad read it in its entirety.

nativity scene.jpg

Go Christmas lighting. From the time our two daughters were toddlers, we have changed into pajamas and loaded into our SUV for a trip around our town to check out the Christmas lights. Each year we vote on a home to win the “Christmas Winter Wonderland Prize.”

christmas llights.jpg

Attend Candlelight Eve Service. Christmas wouldn’t be complete without attending the Candlelight Eve Service at our church. Not only do we attend, but we also make it a point to invite neighbors and friends who may not otherwise know about the event.

Host a treasure hunt. Each Christmas Eve, my husband and I write numerous “sticky notes” with clues on them for each of our girls. We then place them strategically around the house. On Christmas Day, the girls race to find clues, and subsequently, one of their Christmas gifts. Treasure hunts are fun, and if you have a zany sense of humor like the Zeller parents, try to rhyme the clues with silly words.

Collect an ornament a year. When we decorate the tree, I love the memories that go with each decoration. From the time I was born, my grandma, Nanie, would give each grandchild a decoration each year for Christmas. That has expanded into decorations for each great-grandchild. Not only does Nanie supply her grands and great-grands with homemade decorations, but we also pick out a special ornament as a family to add to our tree each year.

Give an ornament to each of your children each year the day after Thanksgiving. Better yet? Encourage your children or grandchildren to create a special Christmas decoration for the tree. Homemade ornaments are by far the best!

Christmas decoration 4

Remember Christmas songs of old. Why not make it a tradition to go Christmas caroling? Around the neighborhood, downtown, in businesses (with the owner’s/manager’s permission) or, better yet, nursing homes would love to have their residents cheered with the voices of carolers. Bring along a few generic wrapped gifts to hand out to those residents who might not otherwise receive a gift. Suggestions may include fuzzy socks, a pretty journal, or fragrance-free hand lotion.

Bake and deliver goodies. Our family enjoys the tradition of making Christmas goodies and delivering them to neighbors and those in our community who have blessed us throughout the year.

Christmas cookies.jpg

Partake in a board game. A friend of mine plays board games with his family to determine who chooses/opens the next Christmas gift.

It’s never too late to start a Christmas tradition that can be passed on to further generations. When your children and grandchildren are all grown, they will have fond memories of the traditions you embraced and cherished as a family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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scrumptious gluten free/egg free pumpkin bars

781603_index_boxBecause Lon and I both have gluten and egg allergies, I’m always on the lookout for delicious recipes that we can enjoy. Our daughters love to help bake in the kitchen and I’ve used that love for baking to teach them measurements.

They also love being taste-testers, although I don’t think my youngest will ever try baking powder again! 🙂

Check out this scrumptious gluten free/egg free pumpkin bar recipe. It’s perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas desserts or any time of the year. If your diet allows gluten and eggs, simply replace the gluten free/egg free items below with wheat flour and eggs.

Scrumptious Gluten Free/Egg Free Pumpkin Bars

You will need:

1 c. sugar

1/2 c. oil

egg replacer to replace two eggs (we use Ener G egg replacer)

pumpkins1 c. pumpkin

1 c. gluten free flour (I use Gluten Free Pantry flour)

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Please note that oven temperatures can vary. I usually have to instead preheat my oven to 340 degrees).

Mix all ingredients together except the pumpkin until lightly mixed. Add the pumpkin and mix thoroughly. Grease a pan with gluten free cooking spray and pour the batter into the pan. Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until fully baked (cooking time will vary).

Frosting

4 c. gluten free powdered sugar

6 tbsp. of butter (if you are on a dairy- free diet, use dairy free substitute)

3-4 tbsp. of milk (if you are on a dairy-free diet, use an alternative milk. We use Rice Dream rice milk).

Mix thoroughly.

Allow the pumpkin bars to cool, then frost. Cut into small bars and enjoy!


the top 11 curriculum choices for high school students

back to school

School is just around the corner! Here are some suggestions for top curriculum choices for high schoolers:

Math:

Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1

Literature/Language Arts:

Skills for Literary Analysis – James Stobaugh (Master Books) Note: This book is written for seventh and eighth grade. However, it is extremely thorough and would be excellent for ninth grade.

Creative Writing:

Wordsmith Craftsman (Common Sense Press)

Science:

Exploring Creation With Biology (Apologia)

History:

World History and Cultures in Christian Perspective (Abeka)

Civics:

Constitutional Literacy (Apologia) Note: Be sure to purchase the DVDs that accompany the workbook.

Government:

American Government in Christian Perspective (Abeka) Note: I recommend Abeka books, however, I would not recommend their tuition/DVD/streaming program.

Bible Study:

I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist Curriculum by Frank Turrek and Chuck Winter (Apologia)

James Under Pressure by Pam Gibbs

Vocabulary:

Vocabulary from Classical Roots (Educators Publishing Service)

Psychology

Psychology: A Christian Perspective by Tim Rice (Homeschool Psych)

Health

Total Health: Choices for A Winning Lifestyle by Susan Boe (Purposeful Design Publications)

Best online classes:

Schoolhouseteachers.com Provides online classes for preschool through high school with everything in between and in nearly every subject.

Best go-to website for everything homeschool:

HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) includes homeschool laws for each state, consultants, forms and sample letters, and current information regarding homeschooling issues.

What are some of your favorite curriculum items?

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas!

From my family to yours…I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

I wanted to share a verse we found inside a Christmas card we received this year:

His destiny was the cross…
His purpose was love…
His reason was you. ~ Author Unknown

May your Christmas be filled with love, hope, joy, and a constant reminder of the real reason for this wonderful time of year! Merry CHRISTmas!

 

She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins ~ Matthew 1:21

 

 

Gluten free delicious no bake cookies

Today I thought I would share with you a favorite family recipe.  We are a family with multiple food allergies, so this recipe has been modified to be gluten free and milk free (we can have butter in moderation). If necessary, it can be modified back to include regular milk.

Gluten Free Delicious No Bake Cookies

Combine in a large pan and boil for one minute the following ingredients:

2 c. sugar

1/2 c. rice milk (we use Rice Dream)

1/4 c. cocoa (gluten free/dairy free brand)

1/2 c. butter

Add until smooth

1 tsp. vanilla

1/3 c. peanut butter (if you have peanut allergies, use sunbutter instead)

Remove from heat and and add –

3 c. oatmeal (gluten free brand)

Stir and drop by tablespoon on a cookie sheet. Cool in the refrigerator before enjoying.

Yield: 18-20 cookies.

And now for a funny story that correlates to the above recipe…

Last Wednesday I made my husband Lon his favorite cookies – the above-referenced no-bakes. I didn’t realize he had a checkup at the doctor’s office that day to renew his CDL. Needless to say, Lon has to go back and have a blood test before they’ll issue the CDL because his sugar levels were off the charts. Hmmmm. After some prodding, he admitted to me that he ate 14 no-bakes in the couple hours before his physical, LOL!

Don’t forget to check out my recipe for the best ever gluten free pumpkin bars at https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/scrumptious-gluten-freeegg-free-pumpkin-bars/