Browsing Category


Holidays, Homelife, Uncategorized

Begin a Jesse Tree Tradition

It is evening during the season of Advent.

Our family gathers in the family room and plugs in a small, lighted tree.  Hot drinks and yummy snacks serve to make this purposeful Advent tradition even more special.  Someone reads the designated scripture passage and we discuss its meaning.  After a brief discussion, an ornament is hung on our Jesse Tree as a reminder of the scripture passage we read that evening. Continue Reading

Holidays, Homelife

5 Days of Meaningful Christmas Traditions

The baby was 6 months old.  His siblings were 2, 5 and 7 years old and the Christmas season was upon us. December had arrived and I was an overwhelmed mom of four children under 8.

Decorations.  Dinners.  Shopping.  Serving.  List making.  Baking. Family.

I was overwhelmed and exhausted and I knew I was going to crack.  There was no way I could do everything planned in my head for the Christmas Season.  It was time to eliminate everything and then add back only the most important items to our family. Continue Reading

Holidays, Homelife

Begin a Family Advent Dinner Tradition

My parents host weekly Sunday dinners on each of the four Sundays of Advent.  This tradition began about the time I was finishing up my college degree and continues for them to this day.

My parents were intentionally slowing down and celebrating the season in a meaningful way. For several hours on each Sunday of Advent, they enjoyed an extended afternoon of relaxing together.  Advent dinners were another great reason to gather together all of their children, who were slowly leaving the nest.  And it worked.

But like many extended family traditions, our move to Raleigh changed everything. A five-hour drive was not going to be possible for our family each Sunday.

That left us with a decision: Would the Advent dinner tradition continue in our own home?

Our family continues my parents weekly advent dinner tradition as one of our meainingful Christmas traditions.

Short answer: Yes. Yes, it would.

As our first Christmas in Raleigh approached, my kids began to create guest lists. We were a bit surprised. Advent Dinner TableWe had only lived in the area for 4 months, but they never even questioned the continuation of this tradition.

We realized that Advent dinners had become an important part of the Christmas season for our kids, and we decided to continue them at our home in Raleigh.

Our first Advent dinner took place on foldable tables and a random assortment of chairs from around the house because we didn’t have a dining table.Advent Dinner

Since then, we have purchased and painted a dining room table though we still have to gather lots of extra chairs. But the tradition continues each year.

Each Sunday evening our family and friends gather around simple homecooked meals.  I don’t mind cooking, but I don’t love cooking so the food is typically kid-friendly and easy. Advent dinners menus are typically tacos, chili, pulled pork, or Italian.

Of course, we always enjoy our food on the fanciest of dishes and the matching beverage glasses.

What I love most about this tradition is the gathering with friends throughout the busy month of December.

Advent Dinner Tradition

Before eating, we begin with scripture reading and the lighting of the Advent Candle.


Each week of Advent has a special focus represented by a candle on the wreath:

Week One – Hope – Purple Candle
Week Two – Peace – Purple Candle
Week Three – Joy – Pink Candle
Week Four – Love – Purple Candle
Christmas Day – Christ – White Candle

The kids present take part in reading and lighting the candles.

After dinner, we enjoy conversation and games followed by dessert. I hope this simple, but meaningful tradition continues as my children enter adulthood.

Resources for Advent

There are lots of choices when it comes to Advent Wreaths.

Advent candles come in packs of 4 or 5. We prefer to use 5 because it includes the Christ Candle.


Ann Voskamp releases a video each week of Advent and writes her thoughts on her blog.

Background information on Advent can be found in this post.

This Advent home worship guide can be modified for weekly Advent dinners.  Scriptures and thoughts are included and can be adapted for a shorter reading if needed.

Enjoy the Advent Season.

Learn about our Weekly Advent Dinners as part of our meaningful christmas tradtions.

This post is Day One of the 5 Days of Meaningful Christmas Traditions. Stay tuned for four more days and learn about four more of our family’s traditions.


Brave Writer, Holidays, Homelife, Homeschooling

Cyber Monday Deals

After a weekend of eating and Black Friday shopping, it is time to curl up with your laptop and hit the deals.

That’s right.  It is Cyber Monday and boy do I have the most amazing Homeschool Deal to announce!

Visit the Brave Writer Holiday Shoppe and pick up a few specialty items.

Brave Writer Cyber Monday Deals

My most favorite ever curriculum is 30% off the ENTIRE store today (with exception of the amazon based products).  That’s right. Brave Writer products are 30% off today with the code: GIVETHEMPIE.

Best of all, the Brave Writer Holiday Shoppe has new products for you to check out:

This first one is definitely on my list.

The Brave Writer Holiday Shoppe will offer a special blend of tea for the holidays.Gilgamesh Tea – Describe on their site as “a fruit and herbal blend with a warm spice flavor profile that is slightly sweet. It’s perfect for children just learning to enjoy a cup of tea with hints of the season: apple, cinnamon, and pomegranate.”   (Each tin contains enough for 15 cups of tea)

The Brave Write Holiday Shoppe will offer hashtag shirts in the Holiday Shoppe.Brave Writer Shirts – Check out the list of Brave Writer hashtags on these shirts.  If you are a fan of the Brave Writer Lifestyle then you will love what you see here.  Best of all, the shirts are available in black or white and have a variety of neckline choices.  They can be printed on short or long sleeve shirts as well as printed on hoodies.

In addition to these new products, you can order curriculum titles for 30% off, so think ahead for next semester AND next year!

In addition to the tea and a shirt, I hope to purchase: Faltering Ownership (writing projects for 11-12-year-olds).  I’ll be modifying the projects in this guide for my kids ranging in ages from 7-14 years old this year.  I own Jot it Down (ages 5-8) and Partnership Writing (ages 9-10) and often pull from them, so it will be nice to have the full set!

Need a few ideas:

Top Ten Arrow Guides
How we Use the Arrow Guides
Brave Writer Retreat DVD’s – My Weekend Experience
Party School Ideas: Poppy by Avi; Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery; The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton

Other Homeschool Cyber Monday Deals

Amazing deals on Kiwi, Doodle, and Tinker Crates and a $10 credit toward your order.

Get $10 and a great deal on kiwicrates.

Chalk Pastels Guides at You are an Artist are all half off!  We have used the American Landmarks book this year and loved the results.

Black Friday-Cyber Monday sale

Fashion Challenge Deal Deadline

Finally, don’t forget that today is the last day to sign up for the Fashion Challenge Annual Membership. Read more in my previous fashion challenge post.

Get the Annual Fashion Challenge Membership and learn all about how it works.

Enjoy Cyber Monday!  If you want links to amazing amazon deals today, be sure to follow me on Facebook. I’ll be sharing them throughout the day.

Gifts, Holidays

Great Gifts for a Homeschool Mom

Educating the kids at home is a big task for any parent.  Research.  Plan.  Implement.  Repeat.

Every day.  Every week.  Every year.

The teacher deserves a special treat in recognition of their homeschooling efforts.  Maybe the homeschool teacher is your child.  Maybe it’s your spouse.  And maybe it’s your parent.

No matter who you see rocking out the job of a homeschool parent, you can find something on this list to brighten their day. Continue Reading

Gifts, Holidays, Homelife

Top Gifts for a Harry Potter Fan

Our house is full of Harry Pottery Fans. Six of them to be exact.

One of the teenage fans is the die-hard type.  She is the kid who has read the entire series about 15 million times.  She can answer the trivia questions that we can’t even find answers for on the internet.  #truestory

Then there is me.  I adore the books and the characters.  I used to teach a Harry Potter class for kids at the local community college.  If I had the time, I would read the series about 15 million times.  Instead, I just engage in good conversation with the kid that does.

The rest of the house loves the books as well.  Everyone has read them.  Seen the movies.  And has fallen in love.  Yes, we are a house of Harry Potter Fans.

{This post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure for more information.} Continue Reading