Unique Gift

Back in October, when we went to the Chattanooga Aquarium my husband fell in love with the jellyfish exhibit. He mentioned that he would like jellyfish for Christmas. I was then on a mission to find him some for Christmas.

I asked everyone I knew if they knew where to get them.  Finally, after a quick internet search, I found a company that had exactly what I wanted.

Jellyfish Art is a company that sells everything you need to get started with jellyfish ownership. They have a detailed instruction book and several You Tube videos to help along the way. They also have an Arrive Alive Guarantee that ensures the jellyfish will be alive and living for at least 10 days after they are delivered.



I ordered the aquarium about a week and a half before Christmas Eve. It came with everything needed for quick setup (except spring water). The instruction book said that we had to wait two weeks before redeeming the jellyfish in order to have the proper environment for them. I hadn’t known this when I placed my order. I took our water to the local pet store to be tested and it was perfect! I sent an email redeeming the jellyfish. The company informed me that because I wasn’t waiting the two weeks, the Arrive Alive Guarantee would be voided. Since our water was perfect, I decided to proceed. I hid all of this in my big girls’ bathroom, knowing my husband would never go in there.


On Christmas morning, he was quite surprised.

The jellies have since been relocated into our bedroom. They are so relaxing to watch.

I feed them with a pipette and watch them eat. A few minutes later, the food has moved into their clover-shaped stomachs. It is all very intriguing. The aquarium has different color lights and a remote. It’s fun to see the jellyfish in different colors.


This is a unique gift that was such a pleasure to give. If you are looking for something for someone who has everything, a jellyfish might just be a great choice!


Charlie Brown Christmas Dinner and a Movie

My children and husband had never seen Charlie Brown’s Christmas. I bought the movie and planned one of our Advent activities to be dinner and a movie so we could fully enjoy the experience together.

I found a roll of Charlie Brown wrapping paper at Dollar Tree. I decorated the table with that and the new nativity set I convinced my husband I “needed” for Christmas.


I made chicken with Peanut sauce, Pig Pen’s not that dirty rice, pigs in Linus’ blanket, and Peppermint Patty brownies.


The children did truly enjoy the explanation of each dish. After dinner, we watched the movie. I have to admit that for many years I have felt like Charlie Brown. This year, I decided that I was going to let the world do its thing with Christmas and that I would do mine. I have enjoyed it more than I have in years. I still haven’t gotten everything done and still feel stress, but it’s way less than Christmas passed.

If you’re wondering what Christmas is really all about, Linus explains it best.


Linus’ King James version scripture reading from Luke 2: 8-14, read:

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”


More Advent Ideas

Each day of Advent we do our reading and one of the children gets a treat. Some of the days have an additional treat to do as a family. Some of the examples include:

*picking up Starbucks and driving around to look at lights

*making a gingerbread house

*Charlie Brown Christmas dinner and a movie

*making treats for our teachers

* watching a Christmas movie

*going to a Christmas concert

Some of the gifts that I give them are:


*Christmas movie

*hand sanitizer with a cute holder

* Christmas ornament relating to each one’s birthday party from the year

*one gift specifically for them

They each look forward to when it’s their turn.

It does take some planning and there have been moments of selfishness that have made me think about calling the whole thing off. I tried to turn those moments into learning experiences instead of punishing everyone. They turned into talks about people who are less fortunate, the meaning of the season, and the fact that Advent (just like Christmas) isn’t about “things”.  It’s about a the birth of a baby sent to save the world.




Christmas Countdown

December 1 is right around the corner. We usually start our Advent readings on that day. We also will start the Grow Your Heart challenge again this year. December always feels so full of activity. Since December is so busy, I thought I would re-post a few things from last year to give anyone out there a head start in getting ready.


What we do for Advent

Grow Your Heart

Teacher Gifts

Snowmen Oreo Balls

I have a few new things planned for this December that I hope to get to share with you.


Snowglobe Cupcakes

Back at Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law told me about these cupcakes she’d seen on Pinterest. She said they looked like snowglobes and were entirely edible. We’d made gelatin bubbles for my son’s birthday so I already knew how to make the globes. I thought these would make great desserts for our Christmas Eve gathering.

We started the process, two days before. I had one of my daughters make the globe part. She’s a master with gelatin, so the process went really smoothly. I bought jelly candy lollipops for the inside of the snowglobe. Christmas Eve morning, I made the cupcakes. Later in the day we decorated and assembled the cupcakes.017015.JPG022


They were almost too cute to eat!

Keto Peppermint Patties {Low Carb}

Peppermint during Christmas time is practically required. I used to love candy canes and the peppermint bark that came around every Christmas. Now, that I’m low carb I make my own peppermint treats.

This could probably also be used as a fat bomb for those that do the keto diet, especially is you left off the chocolate.

Low Carb Peppermint Patties

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup Splenda

2 tsp. peppermint extract

1/2 of a whole bar of unsweetened chocolate (no sugar at all)

2 Tbl. Spenda

1 tsp. vanilla

Start by adding the coconut oil, 1/4 cup Splenda, and the peppermint extract together in a bowl. Stir until it is as smooth as possible. Set aside. In a microwave safe bowl, put chocolate. Melt. Add to melted chocolate 2 Tbl. of Splenda and vanilla in a bowl.


In 3 to 4 cupcake liners, put the coconut mixture. Then place the chocolate mixture on top. (Mine got pretty thick so I rolled it between my hands and place the circle on top, but yours may be more pourable. Either way, the taste is not affected. ) Place in the refrigerator until solid and cold.




Grow Your Heart

Pretty much everyone has read How the Grinch Stole Christmas or at least seen the movie. Well, since I can feel a little Grinchy about Christmas this new Grinch Good Deeds Grow Your Heart program is perfect for me. .

Along with our daily Advent scripture reading, we will be racing to do as many good deeds as we possibly can for the next 24 days. The best part of all is that at the end of the 25 days,you can send in your good deeds letter and Random House and First Book will donate a book to a family in need in your own community. How great is that?!good-deeds-letter

There are lots of printables on Seussville.com.  There is even a printable activity book.

We introduced the whole thing to our children last night at dinner. I made Grinchy Spicy Broccoli and Chicken Casserole, Grinch Cookies, and they had Grinch Punch (Lime Sherbert and Ginger Ale) too.

We read the book and we went over the Good Deeds Journal. They got started right away doing as many good deeds as they could.


“Then the Grinch thought of something
he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought,
doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas…perhaps…
means a little bit more!”

Hopefully, this along with our daily Advent reading will make the holiday seem more like it should. I would love to think that my own little Whos would celebrate Christmas even if the Grinch had stolen all that we think makes up Christmas; that their spirits wouldn’t be dulled by a lack of presents or a tree. I want love to shine through this season just like it did all those years ago in a simple stable.


Getting Ready for Advent

If I am completely honest, I have to admit that Christmas is not my favorite holiday. I don’t know when or exactly why it happened, but for as long as I can remember, Christmas makes me kind of sad.

I want to love it for my kids if nothing else. So I am really trying. Last year we celebrated Advent and it really did help us take time to reflect and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas.

Last week I went out to Hobby Lobby and got little envelopes that the Bible verses and the message about their treat or activity will be in.




I found a list on Pinterest last year for the verses and plan on using it again this year. It comes from a great site called The 36th Avenue


photo credit: The 36th Avenue

I came up with the little gift or activity for each day.

Some include:

Drive around and look at lights

Christmas movie night with a Christmas snack

Starbucks gift cards


Make and decorate cookies

Go to a Christmas concert

Make ice cream cone Christmas trees


making ice cream cone Christmas trees 2014

We’ve decided to do another activity to help turn the kids attention to others instead of themselves. I hope to share that with you tomorrow.

In the meantime, if anybody out there has suggestions or some ideas of ways to make Christmas more meaningful and enjoyable, I’d love to hear them! I can use all the help I can get.

Spicy Broccoli Casserole{Low Carb}

My sweet husband loves broccoli rice casserole. It’s one of the dishes he looks most forward to eating for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Going low carb means finding an alternative to that rice filled dish.

I came up with a recipe this Thanksgiving and it received rave reviews from both carb eaters and low carbers. We also have diabetics on both sides of our family, so it felt good to give them a dish that wouldn’t contribute to raising their sugar levels very much, if at all.


2 large broccoli crowns

1 container of Philadelphia jalapeno cream cheese

1 can jalapenos

2 small blocks of habenero cheese (cut into small pieces)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup full fat sour cream

Steam the broccoli. In a bowl, add broccoli, cream cheese, habenero cheese, sour cream, jalapenos (I drained mine and only used the juice). Gently mix until everything is well incorporated. Pour into a greased baking dish. Put shredded cheddar cheese on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until bubbly. Serve hot.

I would love to hear if you try it. I hope you enjoy it as much as our families did.



Christmas Eve Countdown

Christmas Eve is one month from today.  What that means to me is that I need to kick it into high gear and get stuff done.

One of the subjects in our homeschool is Handicrafts. So, the girls and I will be working on some DIY projects that will double as gifts.

We will be working on several of the Handicraft projects I’ve pinned in Pinterest.

These little bow bracelets are so cute. The tutorial we are using is on the Polka Dot Chair website.


Photo credit: Polka Dot Chair

Another craft we’re going to work on is a reusable cup sleeve. This tutorial  is on Crafty Staci

coffee sleeve

Photo credit: Crafty Staci

Of course, there will be body scrubs in Mason jars. I have a true love with Mason jars. Don’t get me started…

Back to the body scrubs, there are lots of recipes online. I’ve always just made my own with coconut oil, sugar, and whatever essential oil I like best at the time.

I’m sure there will be many projects and crafts done between now and Christmas Eve.

It’s countdown time…Let the creating and crafting begin!