A Tom Hanks Themed Dinner Party

Instead of going out for Valentine’s Day, my husband and I like to create a fun meal at home. Last year we created a Hamilton themed dinner.

This year we decided to create a Tom Hanks themed dinner. For the past two years or so we have been watching Tom Hank’s movies in chronological order. It’s been a fun ride! I peaked in the 90s when we got to watch Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and A League of Their Own. My husband has already gotten me to watch more adventure movies than I care to watch in a lifetime because of the DaVinci Code series books and others. We only have about 8 more movies of his to go before we have watched them all! Continue reading

Countdown to Christmas with Children’s Books

This year we are counting down to Christmas with Christmas children’s books! The idea is that every day leading up to Christmas we unwrap one book and read it together.

We have a basket in our living room with the countdown-to-Christmas books. I wrapped the books simply. This year I wrapped them mostly in packing paper from Amazon boxes. Last time I used newspaper. Continue reading

Fewer Choices, Less Stress for the Holiday Season

When my youngest child, Molly, was 5 years old, an elderly friend took our family to the Dollar Store. For Christmas, she wanted to treat each of our children to five things from the store; five things of their choice.

The day we met at the store, it was crowded with people getting ready for Christmas. Everyone was trying to get in and out quickly, but we leisurely browsed up and down each aisle so the kids could see all the choices. In the first aisle, Molly saw some pretty wrapping paper and bows and picked them up. When she did, I said, “Are you sure? Maybe you will like the next aisle better.”

The second aisle was filled with toys! By the time we were two steps into the aisle, Molly had picked three more things. She was excited about the five things she had picked out.

A minute later one of her sisters found something fun on the shelf and said, “Look Molly! Look at this! You should pick this instead!” She reluctantly chose that toy instead of one of the items already in her arms.

This pattern continued up and down every aisle. Either I asked Molly if she was sure, or one of her sisters persuaded her to pick something else. Once we had finished browsing up and down every aisle, we checked out, and went home happy with our purchases –or so I thought.

Read the rest of the story at Pandora’s Box Gazette.

Rachel Schmoyer writes a regular Family Life Column for Pandora’s Box Gazette the fourth Monday of the month. Thanks for reading! 

Easy Thanksgiving Journal for the Whole Family

Packed away in my tote of fall decorations is a little brown blank book that came from the dollar store. Warmth spreads through my heart when I flip open the cover and see handprints, doodles, and scrawled words inside.

Each year for the past 11 years our family has taken some time on Thanksgiving Day to write or draw what we are thankful for. Each family member gets one page. Even the babies and toddlers participate by having their hand traced. Then either my husband or I jot down a few things the little one is really into at the moment.

 

Continue reading

Trick or Treat Gospel Tract

Halloween is coming soon! In our family, my husband, Tim, takes the kids around to Trick or Treat in the neighborhood. I gladly stay home and hand out candy. A lot of the kids know me since I stand at the school bus stop with my kids and try to be a friendly face for all the kids’ morning.

Every year, I hand out a gospel message of some kind along with a big handful of candy. I had success finding good Trick or Treat tracts the first couple years.

Continue reading

Hamilton Themed Dinner Party

I arranged the venue, the menu, the seating…

for my husband and me to celebrate Valentine’s Day at home with a Hamilton Themed Dinner.

hamilton-star

Over the past several months both of us have thoroughly enjoyed the Hamilton soundtrack.  We originally started to listen after our kids repeatedly watched Studio C’s lip sync version of Non-Stop. Continue reading

5 Christmas Gift Giving Tips from the Expert Gift Giver

(Don’t take this post too seriously. Merry Christmas!)

The typical American is stressed out at Christmas time. There are decorations to hang, family get-togethers to plan, and dozens of cookies to bake. But most stressful of all are the gifts to be purchased and given.

Who should get a gift? What should you get for them? Where is the best place to buy the gift? When should you give it? How can you do gift giving the right way?

Exhausted woman in a Santa hat sitting with a long shopping list of gifts, surrounded by bags and gift boxes, vector illustration, EPS 8

God the Father, the ultimate gift-giving expert, offers these 5 tips for infusing joy into gift giving again.

 

Tip #1

The best Christmas present is given out of love not out of duty.

John 3:16 says

For God so LOVED the world that he GAVE his one and only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but will have eternal life.

Tip #2

Make sure your gift is given at just the right time. Not too early and not too late.

Galatians 4:4 says

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.

Tip #3

Build anticipation by creating a scavenger hunt or clues for finding the gift.

Matthew 2:1-3 says

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

Tip #4

Think “outside the box” when it comes to wrapping the gift.

Luke 2:7 says

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

 

Tip #5

Include various descriptive names of the gift so the receiver understands the gift’s full value.

Isaiah 9:6 says

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

These 5 tips will put you well on your way to a joy-filled gift giving season. If you need further gift giving guidance, consult the expert, God the Father, through prayer or in a Bible near you.