Winner Winner Chicken, NOT Turkey, Dinner!!

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Ok, I really don’t want another turkey dinner. I ate so much turkey yesterday that I sort of just slid around the rest of the night. Slid to the couch. Slid off the couch to get water. Slid upstairs to bed. Slid into the sheets. Dreamed of angry turkeys, slid outta bed this morning…

You get the idea.

BUT, enough about me. WE HAVE A WINNER!!!!!

After a very scientific drawing of names (hat, paper slips, very upscale) our winner of Charlie and Noel is:

RACHELLE G!!¬† ūüôā

I will be sending you a book pronto, my friend. Thank you all for your sweet comments. Oh the traditions! I love it.

Here is my favorite tradition for our family thus far:

I decorate tastefully with all the sweet, antiques from my grandma and my mom.  And then my boys come in and mess with it all and add a plastic dinosaur or two.

And so it goes.

Happy post Thanksgiving Day friends. Stay grateful. It’s the only way to survive.

Don’t let a turkey tell you otherwise.

 

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‘Tis the Season for a Book Giveaway!

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I am grateful for endless pictures of cats in pilgrim hats.

 

Did you know, tomorrow is Thanksgiving?

As is the tradition, tomorrow I will post a list of my Top Ten Things I am Most Grateful For (and yes, I know that ends with a preposition, grammar friends. Don’t hate the player, hate the game).

Phew.

Anyhow. Today I am grateful for this blog, and writing, and fellow writing friends who get this life, and why sitting down with a glowing screen or a pencil and paper is as much a part of our day as flossing (which implicates, then, that we writers have great dental health on top of our ability to alliterate a lot – ’tis true!)

Anyhow. Would you like to get a free book out of all this gratitude? And then you could be grateful, too?

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Franziska Macur has written a sweet gem of a book about celebrating Advent in a way that is meaningful and magical. Your younguns will love it – each day of advent is a short chapter in the book, with additional discussion questions. It’s¬† a simple, rich, wonderful way to celebrate Advent.

Before the season starts to rev up, with shopping and decorating and baking and parties, enter below for our giveaway, and perhaps Charlie and Noel can help you keep your center.

Here’s the deal:

1. If you would like to enter – leave a comment below about your favorite tradition that you have as a family at Christmas!

2. For an additional entry, go to Franziska’s blog, Home, Naturally and “like” and comment to enter! Click here!

3. You can also go to my facebook page, Momsieblog, and “like” there for one more chance to win! Click here!

 

Giveaway will go through Thanksgiving Day. A winner will be announced Friday the 28th.

Now, go forth and enter. Happy Thanksgiving to you, my readers.

And remember this: I am forever grateful for YOU.

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie and Noel

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Christmas time is my favorite time of year. I love the music, the decorations, I would put my tree up if I could on November 1, but the husband is weird and told me I have to wait until the day after Thanksgiving.

I can sneak Christmas in. I have slowwwly started putting up a few garlands here and there, and some lights, hoping he won’t notice. Since he is an engineer which means he never notices anything unless there’s some type of spreadsheet attached, we’re probably good. If he asks, I just tell them the garland is cat toys.

Anyhow.

I do have a thing about this season that I don’t like:

RAMPANT CRAZY BUYING OF ALL THE THINGS FOR OUR LOVED ONES. MUST HAVE ALL THE TOYS!

It’s called Black Friday for a reason, ya’ll. Hmmmm, what else is black? Coal. Darth Vader. And, I can’t even say it. This stuff:

black_licorice_jelly_beans_313_Shudder.

Do you see what I’m getting at here?

I can’t help but wonder, if we took all that money, all those Furbies and slippers and gadgets, and we piled ’em all up somewhere, maybe we could give a whole lot of that to kids who are hungry?¬† Or people who don’t know Jesus? Or maybe, someone who is stuck in a hospital room Christmas Eve???

I know, I sound very Mother Teresa-ish here. That was the aim. Mother Teresa and I are tight, ya’ll. We get each other.

Ok, ok, I’m not telling you to go all Bob Cratchitt and just figgy pudding it for Christmas and that’s it. You can get a few things, yes. But, do we have to get ALL the things?

It just kind of bugs me.

So, here’s my antidote. I bought a book. And here it is:

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Yes, I know. I’m telling you to buy something when I just told you not to. It is always possible that Momsie has an issue with contradicting herself, but this book is well worth it. Charlie and Noel tells an endearing story about how to talk and teach our littles about Advent. It is a sweet, spiritual, slow down, a let’s sit down and read together kind of book, and I love it. The main character, Charlie, has a rather antsy view of Christmas – he just wants Christmas to get here, already, mainly because of the presents!¬† Even his chocolate Advent calendar doesn’t really appease him, and Charlie cannot really help but just want the Great Day of Opening All the Gifties to be here.

“On Christmas,” he thought, “There will be much more chocolate!”

Well said, Charlie. And true, yes.¬† But really, we all know there’s a LOT more to it than that.

Franziska Macur has written a charming little book of twenty-five chapters, one chapter for each day in December, that helps Charlie see the point much more clearly.

My boys loved taking the time to read a chapter a day last December. We would sit at the base of our Christmas tree after dinner and read and talk. Red would lay on his back and look up at the lights twining through the branches and listen. Blonde would help read a bit and ask his usual six majillion questions. We would talk over the discussion points at the end of each chapter and I would realize that we are building traditions as we speak.

And here’s another Christmas miracle: To do all this I would have to actually stop cleaning/wiping/planning/organizing/cooking/doing for a few minutes to sit down and read with my boys. ¬† So, Charlie is teaching me a few things too.

 

If you’d like to know more or order the book, click here to visit Home, Naturally, Franziska’s blog.

Or go here to order via Amazon.

Don’t be like this guy:

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Embrace this season in all its glory. Merry Christmas (before Thanksgiving, even!) to you.

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Screen Shot 2013-11-03 at 4.28.11 PMHere it is… December 2.

Wait, what?

Well, just so you know, I have my advent book all ready to go and we’ve been reading and discussing.¬† Blonde is working in a diorama…

Last night my children made an entire Nativity scene out of marshmallows and some fresh greenery.

And we have also memorized the birth of Jesus in Luke.  Not bad for a 3 and a 5 year old, eh?

Oh come on, I am completely full of tinsel.  (chortle).

We got back from our weekend of family and gluttony and in all the post gluttony haze, I realized – HOLY CHRISTMAS CANNOLI, IT’S DECEMBER ALREADY!¬† HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

If you are feeling a bit wobbly from this sudden attack of December, take heart.  Relax.  Take a breath.

Celebrate Christmas with help from my author friend, Franziska Macur.¬† She has written a gem of an advent book for children.¬† It’s sweet, simple, and it has fun little activities and even (gasp) crafts that I might be able to handle (meaning:¬† NO GLITTER IS INVOLVED.¬† AT ALL. PRAISE JESUS.)

Go here to read more about Charlie and Noel.¬† You’ll be glad you did.¬† And don’t worry, you still have time to start an advent season that really is an ADVENT season, and not just a survival of December and all its overboard merriment.¬† I love merriment just as much as anybody, but it can get a little frenetic, this merry time of year.

Charlie and Noel will keep you grounded.  Cuddle up with your little ones and enjoy!

And, speaking of merry:

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HAPPY DECEMBER!¬† I GET TO LISTEN TO PANDORA CHRISTMAS MUSIC NOW!¬† (I have five stations all devoted to Christmas – it’s very important, to have a variety. )

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Today’s post¬†was brought to you by my absolute giddiness that it’s now (cue drummer boy): ¬†TIME TO GET READY FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!! ¬†Two full months of music and trees and white lights. ¬†I’ve got my Pandora Christmas all ready to go, and it’s gonna be me, and Josh Groban, and some chestnuts.

And it was brought to you by this little book:

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That being said, there are two big problems with today’s post:

1. ¬†ALL I really, REALLY want for Christmas is Jesus, the music, a tree, the white lights, and two little boys who don’t go nutball for every heavily packaged, impossible-to-open toy in the universe. ¬†Oh, and maybe my peanut butter balls.

2. ¬†I had to actually read today’s manuscript all the way to the very. Last. Page.

Don’t worry. ¬†I loved the book. Adored it. ¬†I simply didn’t want the magic of it to come to an end. ¬†Sounds corny, but it’s true.

Franziska Macur of Home, Naturally has written an endearing story about an impatient six year old named Charlie.  All he wants is for December 25th to get here, already, so he can tear into his Christmas gifts, hoping it will be the biggest Christmas ever. Our author has also told a story that helped this mom with my impatient desire to tear into every Christmas craft and notion that sweet Pinterest has ever thrown at me, all to make this year the best Christmas ever.

And our author gets me.  Her writing shows me she understand that sometimes Christmas can feel like a full-on run and tackle between Walmart, Martha Stewart Specials, home made everything, Keeping Traditions Alive by Jolly, making the pageant(s) on time, and oh, yes! the baby Jesus.

And she gets that children are sometimes the most unwitting targets and victims of all this. ¬†They are targeted for their simple desires to play and play some more, so, of course, TOYS ya’ll! ¬†Keep ’em coming! ¬†And they are victims too. ¬†I strongly feel that all the emphasis on all these making¬†magical Christmas memories is simply a way to take our Savior and put Him in a very non-magical, serious time slot (sorta like the news verses watching the Rudolph special – a toddler has no choice but to hunker down to Rudolph).

There is a great scene in the book where the history of our Christian advent is explained:

‚Äú‚Ķeven people in the 17th¬†century had something resembling an Advent calendar. Some families put up a new religious picture each day, others painted 25 chalk strokes on the living room door and each day a child could erase one. Others set up the nativity scene without baby Jesus and put one piece of hay into the manger on each day.‚ÄĚ

Charlie looked up.¬†‚ÄĚI think I like chocolate better.‚ÄĚ

Said like a true toddler.

And yet, Jesus understands our longing for magic.  He created it.   And Franziska Macur has written a very magical story that illustrates this well, for kids, and for tired momsies.

The book is set up in simple, daily readings. ¬†Each reading tells the continuing story of Charlie and Noel (yes, he’s a talking donkey; he’s adorable), and I tell you, it is lovely. ¬†It has simple crafts and follow up questions on some days; other days provide thought-provoking reading for the parents. ¬†It gives some really great ideas on how to find joy through service, through giving, and it even gives great counsel to your toddler about that dreaded List o’ Presents You Really Should Get Me. ¬†(I loved this list as a kid. ¬†I used to outline mine with subcategories and multiple headings. ¬†Color coded. ¬†Spiral bound. ¬†Good times.)

As someone who always, ALWAYS, starts out her Christmas season with this rally cry: “This year we are going to tone it down. ¬†It’s going to be simpler. ¬†But memorable. ¬†Magical. But biblical. We won’t get caught up in the Walmart Shuffle. ¬†We’ll make memories, not spend money. ¬†It will be service oriented, ¬†but not too hectic, AND- (at this point I have totally cued the Braveheart theme and have slowly crawled up on top of my couch. ¬†I am William Wallace, ready to slay Toys ‘R Us flyers and overstuffed calendars, for the glory of The Perfect Christmas.) ¬†– AND this year every gift we give will be homemade! ¬†No one will want our gifts! ¬†It will be the best Christmas EVERRRRRRRR!!!”

And then the Rudolph special airs along with a commercial for Thomas the Legoland Wii Extravaganza Playset (with extra Star Wars play set engineers – Obi One Kenobi as Sir Topham Hatt!), ¬†and I’ve lost my sword and my horse, and my lousy Scottish accent. ¬†And my mind.

The Christmas season is not meant to be jetted through at a calendar-scorching twelve parties a week.  It is not meant to be feted to death or over-scheduled or, for some, just endured.  It is meant to be magical.  And not in a Rudolph kind of way.*

In a Jesus kind of way.

We all long for it; sometimes we just don’t know how to put this longing into words. ¬†Charlie and Noel is the kind of book that will first help you remember the Christmas your heart knows. ¬†And then, it will help you teach this remembering to your children.

Click here for more information about¬†Charlie and Noel¬†at Home, Naturally’s bookstore:

And here  at Amazon.com.

Welcome, Christmas.

 

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* I would like to add, for sweet Rudolph’s benefit, I really have nothing against the little glowing guy. ¬†Rudolph is an innocent stop-motion animated bystander (along with his annoying dentist elfin friend). ¬†Rudolph is a classic. ¬†He is beloved and a wonderful part of Christmas cheer. ¬†I’m just saying he is not the “reason for the season.” ¬†And these days, the whole Reason seems to be lost amidst the nuttiness that starts BEFORE Halloween in the aisles of Target and Walmart across this nation. ¬†(And‚Ķ as much as I like to lambast Walmart, we buy it, don’t we?)

But not the Abominable Snowman. ¬†He’s not an innocent. ¬†He still scares me.

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