Ten Great Christmas Music CDs

Last week I shared some of our favorite Christmas Movies and today I’m sharing some of our favorite Christmas music! There’s no better way to get into the spirit of Christmas than to listen to melodic hymns or dancing around the house to “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”.  🙂

These are Special Times by Celine Dion

1. These are Special Times by Celine Dion. I’ve been a fan of Celine Dion’s music for a long time now, and this CD is definitely one of my favorites!

Noel by Josh Groban

2. Noel by Josh Groban. Oh man, Josh Groban’s voice is so beautiful and his rendition of Panis Angelicus lifts my spirit right to heaven very time.

Christmas by Michael Buble

3. Christmas by Michael Buble. This CD just came out this year and all I can say is “GO GET IT!” Or put it on your Christmas wish list. 🙂 There are a lot of versions of “Ave Maria” out there and I must say that his is one of the best. I get chills listening to Michael Buble.

My Christmas by Andrea Bocelli

4. My Christmas by Andrea Bocelli. I’m not a huge fan of Andrea Bocelli but I like to listen to his music once in a while; and, his Christmas CD is just wonderous. His version of the “Our Father”, “What Child is This”, and “God Bless us Everyone” is just lovely.

O Holy Night by Jackie Evancho

5. O Holy Night by Jackie Evancho. If you enjoy this darling from “America’s Got Talent” you will love this CD. This CD only has four songs on it, but each song is so beautifully done. And if you get the DVD version there are videos of interviews of Jackie during her journey through the show.

A Holly Jolly Christmas for Kids

6. A Holly Jolly Christmas for Kids. This fun, 3-Disk collection of Christmas songs is sung for kids by kids. A great CD to to get you dancing with your little ones. 🙂

The Very Best of Bing Crosby Christmas

7. The Very Best of Bing Crosby Christmas. You KNEW a list of Christmas music wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Bing Crosby, right?! There are a few Bing Crosby Christmas albums out so pick any of them and enjoy. 😉

Ultimate Christmas

8. Ultimate Christmas by Various Artists. This compilation CD has all the well-known Christmas songs that are sung by artists such as Nat King Cole, Der Bingle, Elvis, and Judy Garland. And speaking of Elvis…

Christmas Peace by Elvis Presley

9. Christmas Peace by Elvis Presley. I grew up with my parents listening to Elvis all the time, so yeah, he’s on my list of favorites. Besides, tell me whose foot DOESN’T start tapping to Elvis’ “Santa Bring my Baby Back to Me”?! LOL!

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas

10. Have a Jolly Holly Christmas by Burl Ives. My goodness, how can I NOT include Burl Ives? Have you heard his song “Christmas is a Birthday”? This song is sweet and meaningful and it’s worth buying the CD for this song alone.

I can’t resist one more!

The Christmas Collection by Il Divo

11. The Christmas Collection by Il Divo. Listening to this quartet gives me goosebumps so I just had to include them!

Can  you tell I have a “thing” for men’s voices??! I do. There’s something about a man’s deep, melodic voice (when sung well) that I just love.

Now it’s your turn. Do share your favorite Christmas CDs with us!

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.

(This post contains affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.)

Our 10 Favorite Christmas Movies

One of the best things about the Advent/Christmas season is being able to cuddle up as a family and watch Christmas movies. Here are a few of our favorites:

Elf

1. Elf. No matter how many times I watch this movie I always laugh like crazy!

It's a Wonderful Life

2. It’s a Wonderful Life. Need I say more? This is a classic.

Miracle on 34th Street

3. Miracle on 34th Street. The original one. (In my opinion the remake stinks.)

Scrooge

4. Scrooge. I few Christmases ago I made it my “mission” to watch every version of a Christmas Carol that I could find. The George C Scott version is by far a favorite; but, we really enjoy the musical  version even better. (Watch out, though: during Scrooge’s time with the 3rd ghost he goes to hell which MAY be a little scary for the little ones.)

March of the Wooden Solders

5. March of the Wooden Solders. I guess this movie isn’t for everyone. I remember watching this on TV every year as a little girl; but it hasn’t been on TV for years. Too, bad!

White Christmas

6. White Christmas. A fun, light-hearted Christmas movie with great music!

A Charlie Brown Christmas

7. A Charlie Brown Christmas. Okay, not exactly a movie; but, who DOESN’T love a little Charlie Brown? And the Christmas play scene of the nativity is one of the most touching I’ve ever seen.

Last Holiday

8. Last Holiday. This is a definite “chick-flick” but fun to watch!

Star of Bethlehem

9. The Star of Bethlehem. Not a movie, but a documentary “proving” the existence of the Star of Bethlehem and birth of Christ. A real eye-opener!

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

10. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. (And Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Clause is coming to town…) No list would be complete without these classics, even if they aren’t movies in the traditional sense!

What’s your favorite Christmas move? Do share!

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.

(Contains affiliate links, see my disclosure page for details.)

Words to Live By: Life Lessons

Hope for Tomorrow

(Photo Credit)

Ten Ideas for Hostess Gifts

The holiday season is fast approaching, and with that comes dinner invitations and parties! Parties and dinners, of course, usually entails bringing a hostess gift. For me, that used to mean bringing a bottle of wine, or flowers or a dessert. Now I know better. 😉 I remember once going to someone’s house for dinner and several people bringing wine (me included!) and several others brought flowers.

Now, I try to personalize the hostess gift to match the interests of the hostess. Here are some of my favorite ideas that won’t break the bank! (Not only that, these ideas can be used for almost any occasion, not just the holidays, such as birthdays.)

1. Disposable camera. This is popular at a lot of weddings these days, but can be fun for any occasion. Pass the camera around and then offer to have the film developed. To take it one step further, why not surprise your hostess and organize the pictures in an album before giving her the pictures? I know, for me, I often forget to take out my camera when I host a gathering and it would be great to have someone capture the memories for me!

2. Decorative calendar for the New Year. There are many types of calendars that are quite lovely. You can even go online and have personalized calendars made, if you have enough time. Also, if you are giving the calendar to a family member or close friend, pre-fill in some important dates to remember such as birthdays, anniversaries or events.

3. Gift certificate. A $5 or $10 dollar gift certificate makes a terrific hostess gift. Who doesn’t love a gift certificate to their favorite store?! Put it in a pretty envelope or card and you are good to go. Or, go one step further and make a homemade gift certificate that is redeemable for one afternoon of watching  her kids (or other fun activity)!

4. Spiritual bouquet. A spiritual bouquet is nothing more than a homemade (or store-bought) card with a list of prayers and/or spiritual devotions that were (or will be) offered for that person. You can decorate the card as simply or as elaborate as you want. Here is an example of a spiritual bouquet to get you started.

5. Framed scripture verse. You can use Microsoft Publisher or other software to create and print out the host’s favorite scripture verse on fancy card stock and frame it for her.

6.  Candles. You can never have enough candles, can you?! 😉

7. Ornament. You make a tree ornament or buy one inexpensively. As a nice touch you can have the ornament personalized for your host. When my husband and I were celebrating our first Christmas together, my mother-in-law gave us a personalized ornament that brings me a smile every year when I hang in on our tree.

8. Music. You can easily get some beautiful Christmas or other music CDs for $5 dollars or less in the clearance rack. Or, you can take the time to make a compilation of the host’s favorite music onto a CD.

9. Costume Jewelry. If your hostess likes to wear jewelry (personally, I don’t), you can find some really nice costume jewelry inexpensively. Etsy has lots of  costume jewelry in all different price ranges. Of course, if it’s your thing, you can certainly make your own.

10. Gift baskets. Gift baskets make great gifts for any occasion. You can quickly put together a small basket that is theme based. For example, you can do a tea basket with different tea samples and/or tea towels or a small basket with bathroom or kitchen accessories.

I’d love to hear you ideas, too! Do you have a unique hostess gift idea you can share with us?

P.S. Download this list, no opt-in required, for future reference: 10 Ideas for Hostess Gifts

(This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday.)

10 Thanksgiving Crafts From Pinterest

Thanksgiving is only a couple short weeks away, and I’ve been looking for some simple (and fun) craft ideas. I’ve mentioned this before, but my new favorite place to look for ideas is Pinterest; and, I’ve found some cute ideas there for Thanksgiving. Here’s just a few:

1. Be Thankful.

Be Thankful

Pinned by Tilisa Howell

 

2. Thanksgiving Hat Crafts.

Thanksgiving hat crafts

Pinned by Chelsea Ewert

 

3. Placemats.

placemats

Pinned by Rebecca Phalen

 

4. Story of Thanksgiving Crafts.

Story of Thanksgiving

Pinned by Cindy Schival

 

5. Turkey Craft.

Turkey

Pinned by Ashly Dower

 

6. Paper Crafts.

Paper Crafts

Pinned by Christy Kramer

 

7. Thanksgiving Wreath.

Thanksgiving Wreath

Pinned by Jacqueline Mills

 

8. Thanksgiving games and crafts.

Games and Crafts

Pinned by Brenda Kirk

 

9. Thanksgiving card and craft.

Thanksgiving card and craft

Pinned by Marri

 

10. Thankful Box.

Thankful Box

Pinned by Ann Hathaway

 

Aren’t these great ideas? I particularly love the thankful box! Do you have any favorite craft ideas to share? Leave the idea or link in the comments. Thanks!

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)

Words to Live By: When Facing a Storm

Dance in the Rain(Photo Credit.)

Ten Family Game Night Ideas

As the days are getting shorter and the air is getting cooler, we are slowly moving from outdoor activities to indoor activities. For our family, that means the return to game nights! We have a standard weekly game night, but usually wind up playing games together several nights during the week and weekends.

Andrew is six, so the games we play are  for the younger crowd; however, I must confess that I enjoy playing them as much as he does! Here are some of our favorites:

1. Scrabble, Jr. I’m so happy that my son is carrying on my tradition of loving Scrabble® – even if it is the junior version!

2. Candyland. Who hasn’t played this classic game?! Candyland was a great game when Andrew was smaller and learning his colors and it still continues to be one of his favorites.

3. Chutes and Ladders. Another classic game. I can’t tell you how annoying it is to get close to the end of the game only to land on one of the slides that brings you back to the beginning of the game!

4. Trouble. Oh, watch out with this game, it can get a little loud AND frustrating. 🙂

5. Silly Sentences. Not only does this game teach reading and grammar (almost without the children realizing it), it’s fun!

6. Hungry, Hungry, Hippo. This is a loud game, so I personally can’t play this game for too long; but, Andrew loves it!

7. Don’t Break the Ice. My son totally has this game backward. The object of the game is to NOT let the little polar bear fall; but Andrew always wants to make it fall! Ha!

8. Connect Four. When I was growing up, I only knew of one version of this game; but, now apparently there are three – and all of them are fun.

9. Operation. The version of this game that I remember is a little different than the one that is out now. However, it’s still just as fun. (Although I don’t get the same kick out of having to retrieve the “runny nose” as much as Andrew does!)

10. Twister. I can’t play this game because of physical limitations; but, I do get to spin the board and call out the colors and placement (and laugh at everyone else trying to contort their bodies to get into the right position!). This is definitely a HILARIOUS game for the whole family.

What about you? Does your family have a regular game night? What games do your family enjoy playing?

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Works for me Wednesday.)

Words to Live By: Kindness

I love this quote by Mother Theresa:

Our words have power. We have the power to break to build up those around us with our words. What are your words saying?

(Photo Credit from Pinterest)

Are You Talking Like a Pirate Today?

Ahoy Mateys!

Did you know that today is the International Talk Like a Pirate day? Aye, it tis! I stumbled upon the talk like a pirate website by accident and thought it sounded like a fun thing to do with Andrew.

The website has some great ideas but be warned, the writers are somewhat crass and there are talk and recipes about alcohol – but, then again, what would you expect from a bunch of pirates, right?! They do have some appropriate stuff for junior pirates, a party kit and even a curriculum you can use, too, though.

“Plundering” (borrowing) from some the above linked curriculum, here is what I am doing with Andrew today:

Handwriting/Spelling/Reading: We will talk about the words that pirates used, such as ahoy, avast, embark, disembark, foul and grog. I’ll have him write the words out and read them back to me and I’ll adapt our usual spelling activities using the words above.

Math: Not sure how to incorporate pirates into the math lesson, so I’ll probably do our regular math.

Geography: We will talk about global positioning (longitude and latitude), nautical directions and seafaring.

Art: I will let him color this pirate boat.

Religion: Usual curriculum; plus, as a treat, I will let him watch the Veggie Tales movie, “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything.” 🙂

I may make one of the drink recipes from the site or find a “pirate friendly” recipe to make for lunch and/or dinner. And of course, we will be talking like pirates! Arrr!

What about you? Doing anything fun for “Talk Like a Pirate Day”?

Disclaimer: Yes, I know that real pirates and piracy is a terrible thing and I will be making sure Andrew knows the difference between pretending and real pirate life. Please take this post and these activities in the spirit of fun they are meant to be! 🙂

Ten Odd Search Terms That Reached This Blog

search resultsWho doesn’t love reading their blog stats? I do! It is fun watching the viewer count (a little too!) slowly go up (with some dips, too). One of the things I’ve noticed, when checking out the stats, is some of the strange terms that people have used to get to my blog.

As way of example, here are some of the search terms people have used who have found my site. Most of these aren’t “way out there” per se or particularly funny, but I thought they were strange. Odder still is that all of these terms were searched at least two or more times!

1. Purchase chlorine resistant.

2. History of.

3. Bikini Catholic.

4. Search throat.

5. Philadelphia pressure washing intext:posted.

6. Big pants.

7. How to build teens.

8. Potato pancake church.

9. Eggtastic.

10. Who do you.

What about you? What strange search terms have people used to get to your blog?

(Linked to Top Ten Tuesday.)