Christmas Around the World – Curriculum Review

One of the things I wanted to be sure to do with my kids when we decided to homeschool was to learn about how different countries around the world celebrate Christmas. I remember in public school learning about it and how much fun it was to try different foods, learn about different children and all the things they did for the holidays. It’s one of my favorite memories of school.

For geography we are using a curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler, we really like it and it does include a small section for Christmas but it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. Then I received this curriculum from Paradise Praises. This book is packed full of so many resources, worksheets, it’s awesome! Katie Hornor has done a phenomenal job of putting this curriculum together. It covers 29 countries and then at the very end has Christmas Carols from all over the world you can study. How fun is that? Music is a big part of our life, so I thought this was a very fun addition.

At the beginning of the book you’ll find your table of contents, this makes it easy to find which countries you want to study about. You’ll also find a section on how to use this book and how the lessons are laid out (which I’ll talk about in a minute). I also like that Katie has included extra resources, there’s an entire list in the book and includes the link where you can find them. This resource list includes printable passports, travel calendars, coloring pages, crafts, journals, maps, and more! (You can see the table of contents below with all the countries that are included.

As for the lessons in this book, each country has a section that talks about Christmas in that country. There are extra learning resources and recommendations on what you can incorporate for that particular country. For instance, for Italy she suggests a few books for extra reading, a coloring book and a travel guide. There’s also some recipes and coloring pages that you can check out as well! Also, for each country you will find book lists, coloring pages, journal entries for writing, notebook pages, and then each country has a different activity you can complete (i.e. word matches, crossword puzzles, etc – these all vary by age/skill level).

I highly recommend this book for your geography lessons, it’s a great addition to utilize near the holidays, or all year if you wish! I’m already planning how we are going to utilize this come November as we start preparing for the holidays. I’m excited to share some fun activities and recipes with the kids when we begin using this.

You can find more information about this curriculum and other resources that Katie Hornor offers HERE at Paradise Praises, or you can purchase this curriculum directly from Amazon HERE. (This is an affiliate link, I will receive a small profit from your purchase. All profit made on this blog goes directly back to Mustard Seed Mommy.)

 

I received a free copy of this curriculum and received compensation for my review, however all opinions and statements are my own. A positive review was not required.

Gift Guide for 2-3 Year Olds

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It’s that time of year folks! I’m sure you’ve started making your Christmas lists and asking your children what they would like for Christmas. Toddlers are hard sometimes though, they can’t really tell you exactly what they want and they truly don’t need very much…. so what do you get for them?

Here are my top ten gift ideas for the toddler in your life!

Wooden Blocks 41gdneij8lYou can’t go wrong with blocks, they provide so much entertainment for the little ones in our lives. Bird loves to stack them really tall and knock them down, she likes to have her big sister help her build big castles for her dolls and she has started sorting her colored blocks into groups as well. These are also a great investment because they will play with these for several years! This particular set is made by Melissa & Doug, they are a great size for little hands. You can purchase them HERE from Amazon, and right now they’re on sale!

Green Toys picmonkey-collageThese are some of the COOLEST toys, they are made from 100% recycled materials. You won’t find any glue, batteries, screws or paint on these toys. They are nice and chunky and easy for little hands to hold and they have wide variety of choices to choose from. Bird’s favorite is her tea set like the one in the top left photo. She LOVES playing with it, as well as the other kitchen toys we have purchased for her kitchen. There are some great deals on a lot of these toys on Amazon right now, you can find them HERE.

Plush Baby Dolls 71pqqzgqml-_sl1500_Plush babies are so fun and they are the easiest to clean when they get dirty. This set is adorable, I love that it comes with a sleeper, diaper and lovey. Your little one will love nurturing their own baby, and this is a great gift for girls AND boys. Bubby loved playing with his plush baby doll when he was Bird’s age! You can find this particular set on Amazon HERE.

Wooden Puzzles81dyzju5ifl-_sl1200_This is one of Bird’s favorite Melissa & Doug wooden puzzles. It’s one she can piece back together herself and she loves telling me what each farm animal is and what sounds they make. Melissa & Doug have a large variety of wooden puzzles like this and others with the wooden peg handles for even easier handling. These are also on sale right now over on Amazon, you can find a large variety HERE.

Finger Paints 91po-h4cyll-_sl1500_Finger paints can be super messy, but they are a lot of fun… I compromise by using the Mess Free Color Wonder finger paints by Crayola. It’s still messy, but a little less so… and with two older siblings and a new one on the way, this is the best way for us to be creative and not make a GIANT mess! But you can always choose from the large variety of finger paints that Crayola offers, Amazon has a great selection HERE.

Melissa & Doug Sort & Snap Color Match 81i-umgp0kl-_sl1500_This is such a fun toy, we originally bought this for Bubby when he was 2 and now Bird loves pulling this out in our den downstairs. She doesn’t necessarily care about matching the colors yet (and you can actually turn these over to a black and white version of the image as well) snapping the pegs in is great for their fine motor skills, and they love doing it! You can find this HERE on Amazon. Bonus… it’s on sale too!

Mr. Potato Head 71e5ymhqml-_sl1500_Who doesn’t love Mr. Potato Head?! We have an entire bin of pieces to be creative with. We actually purchased a large set to accompany this one, Disney Springs has a toy store with a whole area dedicated to Mr. Potato Head. It’s AMAZING! This simple set is a great starter set though, and you can buy more to add to it later on! This is also a very affordable option if you need some low cost ideas. You can find this set on Amazon HERE.

Little People Sets 61im4nt8zgl-_sl1428_Little People sets are great, we don’t necessarily like the big sets (that include big play sets like the farm, dollhouse, etc.), but we love getting the sets of people and animals. You’ll find everything from farm animals, to zoo animals, to Disney Princesses, Disney villains and more! The options are endless! Bird uses these for everything, we’re even getting some new people to go with her wooden dollhouse we purchased for her for Christmas! They are chunky and durable, perfect for those little toddler hands! You can find this set on Amazon, and others HERE.

Bristle Blocks 91lmlox0l2l-_sl1500_These blocks are so neat, you may remember playing with these blocks in elementary school as a child. You can do almost anything with these blocks, Bird loves to make tall stacks and little cars with hers. I do recommend removing the smaller pieces before letting even your 2 year old play with these until they are mature enough to know not to put them in their mouths, but otherwise these are an amazing option! You can find this set HERE.

Cozy Coupe 81gbxeczfll-_sl1500_Everyone knows what the Cozy Coupe is! I think this is a great gift for little ones, it can be used inside or outside and they will play with these car for HOURS. Bird got one last year for Christmas at age 1 and she would just sit in it and watch her siblings play for hours, she LOVED it and STILL loves it at almost 2. You can find the red version on Amazon HERE or the pink one HERE.

That’s it! Did you find some great ideas? Do you have more suggestions? Feel free to leave a comment to say hello and what you think! I’ll be posting a few more gift guides in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out! If you want to be alerted of new posts, go to the right hand column and sign up to subscribe to my posts! Then you won’t miss any family updates or the gift guides coming soon!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive compensation for your purchases. This money is used for the upkeep of my blog and to provide for our family, so thank you for supporting Mustard Seed Mommy!

2015 Christmas Giveaway

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Don’t miss out on this Christmas giveaway, lots of fun prizes for one lucky winner!

Hosted by:
Kay from The More The Merrier
Amy from This Mamas Life

Giveaway-CollageSponsors:

Guitar Hero Live – $99.99 Value
Made With Love & Kisses Blanket (Fuzzy Flurry Blue “Cool Monkey” Blanket) – $48.00 Value
Peg + Cat book – $10.00 Value
YOXO “Wynd” Pegasus – $29.99 Value
Jamberry Gift Card – $50.00 Value
Civilized Cats Book – $15.00 Value

GreenTreeJewelry – 3 Pairs of earrings chosen by sponsor – $44 Value

 

*One Lucky Reader will receive the items shown above
*Prize Package Valued at More than $200.00
*Giveaway starts November 30, 2015.
*Giveaway will end at 11:59pm est on December 14, 2015
*Giveaway is open to US only
* You must be 18 or over to enter
* Winner will be chosen at random via GiveawayTools
* Winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner will be chosen.
* The lucky winner will be notified by email at the end of the Giveaway.
* Participating blogs are not responsible for prize shipment or fulfillment

 

*Disclaimer: The More the Merrier & This Mamas Life received the items above in exchange for reviews & this giveaway. All opinions expressed are those of our own.

24 Books of Christmas

This post may contain affiliate links. Purchasing through them helps support our family and this blog.

 Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone it’s time to start thinking about CHRISTMAS! (And if you’re a Mustard Seed Kid that also means birthdays!) We celebrate Christmas in many different ways but one of my personal favorites is a tradition that J and I started two years ago. We choose 24 books to read starting on December 1st and every night until Christmas Eve. It’s a joy to read so many wonderful books to our children and as a book lover it just makes my heart swoon!

So, here are our top 24 books to read for Christmas!

1. Polar Express by Chris Van Allsbury

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This is one of our all time favorites, we like to read this one and then watch the movie with some hot cocoa!

2. One Wintry Night by Ruth Bell Graham61WSArywilL

This is an AMAZING book. If I had put these in order of my favorites… this would be number one for sure! The illustrations are just gorgeous, Richard Jesse Watson did a fantastic job bringing Mrs. Graham’s book to life. It’s also always fun to read a story that’s based near your hometown!This is a longer book, we never read this entire book in one night, but I promise you won’t regret adding this one to your list!

3. Alabaster’s Song by Max Lucado

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Alabaster’s Song is one of my mom’s favorite Christmas books. I remember her reading this to us and she did so with Alabaster’s lisp! His lisp makes this a little harder to read, but it’s such a cute book. There’s even an animated movie based on this book now!

4. The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston

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This is another Christmas story that is based in our Blue Ridge mountains!

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

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I’m pretty sure you can’t have a Christmas book list without including Mr. Grinch! Our kids not only love the book, but they also enjoy watching both the live action and animated movies adapted from this book.

6. A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz

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We have the board book version of this book, and I must say it’s very well loved! My mom purchased this one for my kiddos, she’s a big Snoopy fan.

7. My First Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore

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We purchased this version of The Night Before Christmas at Babies R Us before Boogie’s first Christmas. It’s a touch and feel book with lots of sparkly stars and fun touch and feel pages. This is my absolute favorite version, it’s great for our little ones and they really enjoy it!

8. The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado

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You really can’t go wrong with any of Max Lucado’s books, especially his Christmas children’s books. This is one of my all time favorites.

9. Wake Up, Santa Claus by Marcus Pfister

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This is a fun little book that our kids enjoy. We do like to read a lot of Christian based Christmas books, but this is a fun Santa story that any kid would enjoy.

10. How the Reindeer Got Their Antlers by Geraldine McCaughrean

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Another fun book that we enjoy reading!

11. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski

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LOVE the illustrations in this book. It’s also a little lengthy but a great book! This one has also been adapted as a movie!

12. Are You Grumpy, Santa? by Gregg & Evan Spiridellis

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Boogie giggles through this entire book, she says it’s “so silly!”

13. The Christmas Candle by Richard Paul Evans

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Another of my favorites, and this one is illustrated with some gorgeous paintings by Jacob Collins. Truly exquisite work he did for this book. And the story is pretty great as well!

14. Olive, the Other Reindeer by Vivian Walsh & J. Otto Seibold

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Who doesn’t love Olive? We love reading about her many adventures and this one is super fun for the holidays!

15. Jacob’s Gift by Max Lucado

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Didn’t I tell you I like Max Lucado’s books? This is another fantastic one!

16. The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett

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Follow a young girl named Teeka as she tries to get the reindeer ready to fly for Christmas Eve… this book is adorable and my kids laugh at how stubborn those silly reindeer are! Poor Teeka!

17. Mortimer’s Christmas Manger by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman

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This is a precious book, Mortimer searches for a warm and safe place to sleep and ends up discovering the true meaning of Christmas in the process. Love love love this book!

18. A Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel

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Bad Kitty is at it again! Who doesn’t love reading about the outrageous antics of Bad Kitty? We sure do!

19. Mary’s First Christmas by Walter Wangerin Jr.

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Once again, another book with some pretty amazing illustrations. I love this story!

20. One Christmas Dawn by Candice F. Ransom

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Another sweet story based in the mountains of NC! 

21. Merry Christmas, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourt

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We like the original Stinky Face book, so of course this one had to be on our list as well!

22. Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman

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This one is by the same authors of the Mortimer book above. This is a cute one that we always include in our Christmas countdown!

23. The Christmas Star by Marcus Pfister

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I try to save this one for Christmas Eve, this is a great one about Jesus’ birth! And this author also wrote Rainbow Fish!

24. The Mouse Before Christmas by Michael Garland

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This one is so fun! That little mouse goes on a wild ride with Santa! 

Thanks for checking out our 24 Books of Christmas list! I enjoyed creating it to share with you! Be sure to pin and share this, and please subscribe so you can stay up to date with us! God bless and Merry Christmas!

Hello 2014!

Hi! It’s been a while, right?! I really missed blogging, but I’m thankful that I made the decision to take a few weeks to enjoy the holiday season and my sweet babies! It’s been a crazy month for us… lots of big changes! My last few posts were about Bubby turning ONE… still can’t believe that!

01 jan

 

J celebrated his 27th birthday, we did so by going to see this really awesome light show in town. Boogie was a little grumpy during it (she was hungry and we were heading to dinner after the show) but she LOVED the 12 Days of Christmas lights they had on display. We did lots of Christmas and winter themed crafts of course, built a gingerbread house, made lots and lots of cookies (which we shared with all of J’s staff at work) and thoroughly enjoyed spending time together this season. Boogie is finally at the age where she REALLY gets Christmas and Santa and Baby Jesus’s birthday, so it was a lot of fun this year. She also knew that once Christmas came that her birthday was next, so that was very exciting for her as well.

02 feb

After Christmas we took Boog to see Frozen, this was her first time to the movie theater… she LOVED it. She was a little frightened at first with how loud it was, but once she sat down, started enjoying her juice and popcorn, she was set. The movie was GREAT, if you haven’t taken your kids, do so! It’s a wonderful movie! After that she wanted to have a Frozen birthday party (thank goodness I hadn’t already purchased Sofia party supplies, haha!) so we stocked up at Walmart and Target with snowflake and winter themed decor (I will post about this more thoroughly another day!). My big girl is THREE…. AH! I can’t believe it!

03 mar

 

So, birthdays were celebrated, Christmas was celebrated…. AND we are buying a house 😀  I cannot begin to explain to you how excited we are. We have completed the inspection and the appraisal, working on completing paperwork at the bank, and we are set to close at the end of January! This will be our FIRST house, we have always rented, so this is just INCREDIBLE!

04 apr

 

I’ve always been disappointed that we weren’t able to buy a house prior to having children… but now that I have children, I’m thankful that we weren’t able too until now. I’m sure the house we would have purchased years ago would be drastically different from what we have chosen now. And I imagine I would not have been focused on what would work for a family, but what would have worked for ME. This house is incredible, I can’t wait to share pictures of it once we get settled!

05 may

So that’s about it for the past month, these coming few months are going to be super busy… so I’m hoping to have a few guest posts pop up here and there while we pack, move and get settled into our new home. If you’re interested, there’s a contact button at the top of this page, just click that and shoot me a message with your info and I will get back to you with more information!

06 jun

 

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, be looking for more updates, guest posts and hopefully some giveaways in the near future! Until then…. here are some more pictures of my babies from this past year!

07 jul

 

08 aug

 

09 sept

 

10 oct

 

11 nov

 

12 dec