The Homemaker’s Christmas Gift Guide {2014 Edition}

Christmas is one week away. I’m sure you want to be done with Christmas shopping, but the reality is that you are probably not done yet (or your hubby would appreciate some gift ideas for YOU)!

Here’s my last-minute, homemaker’s Christmas gift guide! Here are gift ideas for your sisters, mother, girlfriends, and might be a good guide to pass on to hubby.

The homemaker's gift guide - 2014 edition

Flirty Aprons – 70% OFF

These are my very favorite aprons – so cute, great quality, and they add a flare to your kitchen! I own several myself and have purchased aprons in previous year’s sales for all of the girls in my family! How can you pass it up when you can get one of these aprons for as low as $7??

Get 70% OFF any of their aprons with coupon code: HOLIDAY70

Our favorite flirty aprons!

My sister and I in our flirty aprons a couple of years ago <3

Here’s a video I made on how to make homemade chapstick and you can see my newest Flirty Apron in action!

The Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner

This is the planner that I’ve been using for several years now and I think it’s the perfect gift for helping the homemaker’s in your life to kick-off their year right.

Last year I wrote this guide to Homemaking and Time Management for the New Year and my secret weapon is my daily planner! You can find out more about the Homemaker’s Friend Daily Planner HERE!

Here’s a video showing how I use my homemaker’s daily planner:

Homemaking From Scratch Online Conference

For 8 days only – December 16th through the 23rd – there is a super special sale going on for the Homemaking From Scratch Online Conference!

You can get all the details for the sale HERE, but basically, it’s a Christmas sale! When you buy yourself a ticket to this pre-recorded conference designed specially for homemakers, you can get a second ticket for just $10! This makes each ticket less than $20 each which is the lowest price we have ever offered!

This online conference includes: 13 video sessions from top homemaking bloggers and authors, 3 printable bonus resources, a conference notebook with session notes and additional resources, and access to conference sessions anytime, anywhere, and on any device.

HFS conference Ad - 600x300 Christmas Sale

*Top Photo: Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo

The homemaker's gift guide - 2014 edition

Give the Gift of Transformation for Homemakers

Christmas is quickly approaching and I’ve been on the hunt for Christmas presents for family and friends.

But the thing is, I want my gifts to be meaningful. Instead of junk that will be forgotten about by January, I want to give presents that will have a lasting impact. Presents that will keep on giving.

And most of all, presents that are Gospel-Focused. 

Instead of junk that will be forgotten about by January, I want to give presents that will have a lasting impact. Presents that will keep on giving.

Pssst: I’m going to share about it below, but the Homemaking From Scratch online conference has a special sale going on right now! Buy 1 ticket to the conference (for yourself or a friend) and get a second ticket for just $10!! This is the lowest price we have ever offered on a ticket before. Buy one for yourself and one for a friend, or buy two tickets to pass on to friends! A very meaningful gift for homemaker’s in your life! Find out more HERE.

So over the weekend, while I was contemplating this and planning gifts for family, I kept coming back to the Homemaking From Scratch Online Conference and how this conference has been such a blessing in my own life the past 3 months. I know it would be the perfect gift for other women in my life.

In October, I had the joy of organizing this conference and was so blessed by the 13 conference sessions on various aspects of Gospel-Centered Homemaking by the most amazing homemaking bloggers and authors.

While the live portion of the conference was over in October, we made sure to record everything so even those not able to attend live would be able to watch this conference anytime, anywhere.

Get instant access to the Homemaking From Scratch online Conference and get an additional ticket for just $10! The perfect Christmas present!

With a ticket to this pre-recorded conference that you can watch or listen to at your convenience on any device at any time, you get access to:

  • 13 conference sessions on various aspects of homemaking
  • 3 printable bonus resources
  • A conference notebook with session notes and additional resources
  • Access to the conference sesions, anytime, anywhere, and on any device

The purpose of the Homemaking From Scratch eConference is to encourage woman in Gospel-Centered Homemaking and gives you the tools you need to thrive within your home while bringing glory to God.

Homemaking Made Easy While Bringing Glory to God

Session topics from 11 amazing homemaking bloggers and authors include:

 Give the Gift of Transformation

So while I was dwelling on the conference this weekend, I decided that the conference would make perfect Christmas presents for so many young women, mothers, and homemakers that I know. So our first annual Christmas Sale was born!

For 8 days only – from December 16th to the 23rd – you can purchase a ticket to this online pre-recorded conference and get a second ticket for only $10!! 

I know this conference has had such an impact on my own life so I want to make it as easy as possible to envision how it can impact your life. Here’s how you can take advantage of this sale.

1) One for you, one for a friend

If you have been wanting to purchase a ticket to this online, pre-recorded conference for yourself, now is the perfect time! You will get full-access (including bonus resources and a digital conference notebook) when you purchase a ticket as well as the option of purchasing an additional ticket for just $10!

I know a lot of my young-mommy friends would greatly benefit from these sessions, especially the one on Biblical Motherhood – a heart to heart!

2) Two for your friends

If you have already gone through the Homemaking From Scratch Online Conference (or just know a few people who would love it!) then you can gift both of the tickets to friends or family – all we need is their email address!

3) Pair up with a friend

Maybe you and a friend have been dying to go through this conference. Pair up and one of you can buy the tickets and you can split the difference! The second ticket doesn’t have to be a gift.

Wish you could attend a homemaking conference by can't afford the time or expenses? Register for this all new, online, pre-recorded conference and watch from the comfort of your own home!

Testimonials

When the live-conference was over, I was so overwhelmed by the response we had from women who attended. I wanted to share just a few of their responses because their responses where such a blessing to ME!

“It’s inspired me and made me a little more forgiving with myself for not being perfect! As a really young wife and mother (I was pregnant at 19) I missed a lot of the typical time where girls grow up and figure life out, and I’ve always felt like the worst mother and wife ever because of that.this conference really helped me to forgive and accept myself! THANK YOU!” – Anna

“Ive been so burned out trying to be super woman and do everything at once. I just had my second baby and it has been hard to learn to balance two kids. I’ve felt discouraged and lost motivation to care for my home. I almost stopped trying all together. The conference helped me refocus and get motivated again. Thank you so much. You ladies have blessed me greatly!!!” – Elizabth

“I have been working at keeping my house in order and you have provided wonderful ways to help me organize and given me ideas I hadn’t thought of. I love the Prioritizing Time with God session and I am planning on putting this to work. Love the How to approach the bible and establish the habit of daily time with God. The Practicing Hospitality I will be using as well. Thank you for doing this and making it affordable.” – Bethany

“I am so blessed to be able to have this be part of my life. I have four grown children, eight grandchildren. They are all very busy and did not have time to participate. I told them I would be able to and I would share as much with them as I could. What great family get togethers we are having. New topics each week will be on the menu!!
Love this opportunity. God is amazing!!!” – Gretchen

Christmas SALE!! Buy 1 ticket to the online homemaking conference and get 1 ticket for $10!!

 

Keeping Christ in Christmas Gifts

By Erica, Contributing Writer

We are used to the common phrase, “You can’t see the forest for the trees,” habitually at Christmas time we can’t see Christ for the Christmas gifts!

Keeping Christ in Christmas

 So, with that thought, I bring to you, this idea list that may boost your ability to help others (and yourself) include Christ in your Christmas gifts.

Audio Books & Dramas

  • Lamplighter Audio Dramas – available in MP3 or on CD.  Our family loves these, our favorites are Teddy’s Button, Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince, and Jessica’s Prayer.
  • Jonathan Park – this is an exciting audio series that follows Jonathan, the son of a paleontologist on worldwide adventures learning about the wonders of Creation. There are 10 different albums available, these are enjoyed by children and parents alike.
  • Patch the Pirate – Patch the Pirate offers over 35 different audio adventures that will teach your children about the Biblical themes such as salvation, right friendship, running the Christian race. Each story also includes great songs that will encourage your children to love the Lord and obey Him. Good for ages 6-12.
  •  Down Gilead Lane, Red Rock Mysteries, Devotionals by Keys for Kids are great audio stories that will encourage your family to love the Lord and each other more. Kids for decades have been listening to Uncle Charlie give his daily devotions on Keys for Kids, but these are a great extension of that same type of Bible teaching.
  • Chuck Black’s Kingdom Series or Knights of Arrethtrae Series. These books are an exciting Biblical allegory set in a medieval time period. As you listen you begin to recognize the Biblical characters as you listen to the storyline. These are for teens and adults are a personal favorite of my  husband.
  • Consider giving a membership to Christianaudio, similar to Audible, with a large selection of audiobooks that will encourage Christian faith.

Books

  •  Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young encourages parents to challenge their boys in different areas of their life through careful parenting, so that they can become strong leaders and men of God.
  • For married couples, Now You’re Speaking My Language by Gary Chapman helps couples learn how to communicate more deeply through honesty.
  • Women of all ages will enjoy books by Barbara Johnson. She was a funny author and encourager of people who are going through difficult times, as she herself had extremely hard times when her son went into a prodigal lifestyle, her husband was in a horrible car accident, and another son was killed in war. She has a few serious books, but a majority of them have funny titles like,
  •  Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg is a great book for someone looking to deepen their relationship with God.
  • The trivia guru will enjoy a book like The Complete Book of Bible Trivia which has over 4,500 questions and answers about the Bible inside.
  • Christian Heroes Then and Now Books by the Benge’s are biographies of Christians with inspiring faith and obstacles in their life that God helped them overcome. Great for kids ages 10+. They also have a Young Readers Series for ages 5-10.
  • The Terrestria Chronicles by author, Ed Dunlop, is another allegory of Biblical stories and truths in a medieval time frame.

For the Home

  • Etsy is filled with shops that have great quotes of Bible verses, hymns and Christian song lyrics painted on objects, as vinyl decals, or available for digital download for you to frame and give as a gift.Christmas YWG
  • Use Tagxedo  to make an encouraging mixture of Bible verses or words, like pictured above, and frame them yourself!

Apparel, Jewelry, and Misc

  • Kerrusso has a lot of Christian themed t-shirts, hoodies, jewelry, keychains, and more.
  • CTA, Inc. has a lot of good gift ideas of mugs, ornaments, mini-calendars, and other items centered around God.
  • Blank Journals with a Bible verse or godly quote on the cover, are one of my favorite gifts to give with a note inside that says, “Write down the blessings God has given you inside this book or keep track of how God has worked in your life inside.” Affordable journals can be found at Hobby Lobby.
  • Olive Tree App with Strong’s Concordance – This will help the Bible buff be able to study quickly by simply tapping on the Bible word choice of study and having the Strong’s definition pop up. There are also many other options on using this app by taking notes, highlighting, and adding other Bible study tools you can purchase and add to your app.

Movies & Technology

  • Give a family gift of a Clearplay Membership – Clearplay has three different ways you can filter movies and edit out inappropriate parts. You set the settings on how strict you want them to edit your movie for your kids and for yourself. It will silently bleep out cussing, inappropriate romance, skip over violence, disrespect to parents, etc. They now allow you to use Clearplay on streaming, DVD, and Blu-Ray. This is a great way to make family movie night guaranteed to be wholesome.
  • Kids will enjoy Noah Justice’s Awesome Science DVD’s – Noah teaches how earth science backs up the Biblical record of events. There are 9 DVD’s including Explore The Grand Canyon, Explore Yellowstone, and  Explore Mount St. Helens.
  • If your recipient loves history, KJB: The Book That Changed the World is a great documentary and acting scenes that teaches how King James made the choice to translate the Bible into English.

This list of gifts is in no way complete so please add your Christ-centered gift ideas in the comments! We would love to hear about them.

How We Set Our Hearts on Christ at Christmastime

By Katie Bennett, Contributing Writer

I love this time of year for so many reasons. It’s festive and fun with plenty of excitement and merriment. But it’s also tricky. Cultural values stand at a contrast with godly goals.

how we set our hearts on christ at christmastime

As a parent, I wonder, “How do I guide my children towards joy, truth and gratitude for what Christ did at a time when the temptation to turn to idolatry, selfishness and materialism is so great?

As a woman I wonder, “How do I remove myself from the chaos of events and obligations to truly rediscover awe in God’s magnificent gift at the time when they are most profuse?”

For us, this has meant a lot of intentionality.

There have been several changes we’ve made as a family over the years to foster a Christ-centered not stuff-centered Christmas. Here are a few to get you thinking.

How We Set Our Hearts on Christ at Christmastime

Do an advent activity

I am SO excited this year to be doing Truth in Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands for the first time! It looks absolutely wonderful.paperbackfront

For each day in December, my children and I will look up a Bible verse, make a simple ornament and discuss the coming of Jesus. It’s all laid out so simply in this amazing ebook, available for instant download here. If you’re not doing something else to celebrate the advent of Christmas with your children, I would encourage you to check out this one.

Don’t break the bank on Christmas gifts

All the mindless consumerism just doesn’t measure up to a meaningful Christmas experience. So, we’ve chosen to pare our gift-giving way back over the past years.

Instead of spending x amount of dollars on every aunt, cousin, sister, and son at Christmas, we make gifts unless we have something very specific to buy that we KNOW the other person will love.

3D4B4141-2Last year I made felt flower wreaths. This year I’m making and canning apple butter. Not only do these things cost less, but ultimately they probably show love better than something off the shelf. They represent our time, effort and care.

Overall, we simply don’t want gifts to be our focus or that of our children. Matthew 6:24 Jesus says we cannot love and serve both God and money. It’s one or the other. Yet many of us have decided that we can, in fact love both, especially round about Christmastime. Don’t do it!

For our family, we want gifts to be appreciated, not expected. We want to show love to those who receive our gifts, and we know this does not have to equate with dollars spent (despite what our culture may tell us).

So we go light on presents and keep them as personal and relational as possible.

Love the Poor

Are we not celebrating Jesus? Did He not champion and love the poor? Was He not born into lowly conditions on the very night we are acknowledging?

We are. He did. He was.

Over the past several years, my church has participated in a movement called Advent Conspiracy. One component of this movement is to reclaim Christmas by giving sacrificially to the poor around the world, specifically through organizations like Living Water International (drilling clean water wells) and the International Justice Mission (freeing slaves). My family has enveloped giving to organizations such as these into our Christmas tradition, and it has deeply impacted each of us.

What a profound eye-opener it has been for us to compare our first-world selfishness to the third-world plight of others at a time of year when our wish-lists are long.

If you’d like to learn more about Advent Conspiracy, check out my blog series on the topic here or their website at www.adventconspiracy.org.

So what about you? What would it mean for you to slow down and set your heart on Christ this Christmas season?

Whistle While You Work With Your Children

By Erica, Contributing Writer

Just whistle while you work
And cheerfully together we can tidy up the place
So hum a merry tune
It won’t take long when there’s a song to help you set the pace

And as you sweep the room
Imagine that the broom is someone that you love
And soon you’ll find you’re dancing to the tune

Whistle While You WOrk With Your Children

Are you familiar with this song from Snow White? or maybe you remember the wonderful scene in Mary Poppins where she convinces Jane and Michael to help her clean their nursery room? I don’t know about you but I want to be a sweet mother that motivates her children to do the housework without nagging or yelling like they did. It sort of seems like a skewed sense of reality, but in my estimation it has to be possible some of the time.

I asked some of my friends and family members what they have done or do to get their children involved in household tasks. They gave me some fantastic input that I believe will be beneficial to you and me both.

Work beside them.

This is the key to working with your children. It goes beyond giving them a job to perform and walking off hoping they will complete it. First, this teaches them how to do a job before you assign them to do the job by themselves. Second, it is a great example of servant leadership.

If you are willing to work beside them then they feel valued. If they see you, even as an adult, doing any job no matter how big or small, then they can understand that in a spiritual concept of service toward others. Finally, it is a way in which you will be able to gauge each child’s abilities. When you watch how they do things then you can tell whether the job is too hard for them or age appropriate.

A Special Note: While you work beside them, be filling their hearts with good quality time together without harsh words and criticism. A big turn-off children have to chores is that they feel like they can never do the job to their parents’ satisfaction. If they need help, you should use helpful words to correct them without insulting them personally.

Use music to get your work done together.

What made these fictional characters like Snow White and Mary Poppins successful? They used music while they worked. I have created a couple of Pandora stations that help us get our work on. This is one of the best things you can do to create fun memories of cleaning together.

Find an age appropriate task for each child.

Even a two-year-old will want to participate in helping you because they love you. Allow them to even pretend to work when they may not really be helping. If they think they are appreciated in contributing at a young age then I believe it will set them for good work habits for a lifetime. There are all types of chore charts that are on the internet that will help you find age appropriate chores for each of your children. I have this chart posted at my house by The Happy Housewife.

Allow your child to do a job they like to do.

You may have a cabinet full of dishes waiting to be washed or a laundry hamper filled with dirty laundry because you have jobs you do not like. Your children will have chores that they prefer over others just like you. It is not wrong to teach them how to do all jobs that are required in your home. You may have continual resistance if you regularly assign your child to a job they do not enjoy, it may be more helpful for you to give them the job of their heart’s desire.

Household Chores with Children 2

Use working together as a tool to teach other things educationally, spiritually, and physically:

Educationally

Teach counting, the alphabet, shapes, matching. Review math facts, vocabulary, work on spelling lists.

Spiritually

Recite scripture, sing spiritual songs, talk about Bible stories, discuss Biblical character qualities like diligence, thoroughness, and order.

Physically

Most chores will teach your children good eye-hand coordination. Quick work done properly can be good exercise for the heart. Make a game out of your work, race against the clock or against each other.

Mentally

Teach your children how to do new things (this is why rotating tasks is important). This will stretch their abilities and then will equip them for greater tasks, that will then, hopefully, lead them to greater responsibility.

Give the chores a fun name!

My husband is an Oklahoma Sooners fan and their famous chant is, “Boomer Sooner!” So, I named our sweeping chore, “Broomer Zoomer.” The kids love that name since they love to cheer for the Sooners too. We also have other tasks named, Washing Machine Man, Silverware Sargeant, and Vacuum Volunteer. It’s a little corny to name the tasks, but it will be a positive motivating factor because if they like the name of the task then it will excite them to perform the job itself.

We may not be able to always be so sweet at getting our children to help us with the household chores as Mary Poppins, but I believe that if you make an effort to work beside them then it will be a benefit to you not only today but also in the long-term picture of your family life.

If you are a Snow White or Mary Poppins and you have a great idea on how to get your children to work with you happily and cheerfully, please leave your input in the comments!