Gift Guide: Games for Kids

The Moys love a good board game, so I’m not sure why we didn’t have a Gift Guide for this already. :p This is not an extensive list as we play many various games after family dinners at my parents’ house every Sunday. We will for sure add to this list soon!

(*Disclosure Policy: These are great products that we have used and love, or have been recommended to us! Links are affiliate links. We will get a small percentage of the sales if you make a purchase through the links at no extra cost to you.)

Sorry– The kiddos chose this one for this list, but I have never been a fan of this game because I think it is mean to send someone packin’ from their space if you don’t have to. :p We have the newer version with the Fire & Ice pieces, but we don’t usually play using those pieces. I think it is a bit confusing, but it can be fun too. I think maybe someone else needs to do a soundbyte for this one. :p haha Oh, but not to fret! They also have this is various versions like: Moana, Star Wars, and more!

 

The Ladybug Game* – We LOVE this one. It is for younger kiddos, but we still love it. It was created by a girl, and there is no reading involved to play this game. It is great for learning to follow directions and beginning counting for younger children.

 

 

The Game of Life– This is another of the girls’ favorites. It is a bit long for my taste, but they really enjoy this one. I believe we have the newer version that has careers like fashion designer(?), which are fun for the kiddos. I do like that they learn about “life”.

 

 

Eye Found It!* – You would think this is a game that kids will get bored of it, since once you have found all the items, you kind of know where it is, but they still love it! I think they are mostly a fan of the super duper long board, but that’s fine if they are having fun. 🙂 If you enjoy I Spy books, this is the perfect game for you.

 

 

Checkers* – We have the sports version of checkers, but it may be a collectible. It has the baseball teams on the board, and the pieces are baseball helmets for the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants. 🙂 This is definitely a classic.

 

 

Gravity Maze* – Melody received this last year for Christmas, and I thought (I’m sensing a theme of me thinking wrong :p haha) it wouldn’t last long at our house since it is more of a logic, solo game. M does enjoy it more, but they can play this for quite awhile once they get into it. There are many levels so it is a challenge if you want to do some thinking.

 

 

Kanoodle* – We received this as part of a summer fun kit full of books, Mad Libs, puzzles, etc. I figure we would bring some items to my parents’ house that the girls can play with when it was too hot to hang out for long periods of time outside. So….it turns out that MY MOM really LOVES this game! My dad likes it too. This one and another logic game (IQ Twist) are still at their house! It looks like they have an Extreme version* and a Genius version of this game as well. Anyone want to buy it for my mommy for Christmas? :p (I already have something in mind for her. hehe)

kanoodle

 

Hedbanz* – We have also played the smartphone app version of this game, but who doesn’t like wear a plastic headband with a picture card on their head. We had family over for Christmas one year, and they tried to get out of playing it by saying they only speak Chinese. Well, guess what? You can play this in Chinese too! :p hehe I think they all had fun. 🙂 We did play the phone version of this yesterday. Always a good time.

hedbanz

 

Jenga* – We have the classic version of Jenga, but they have lots of different versions of this one too. And of course, there’s some generic brand called jumbling tower, but do not be fooled – the original is the best. :p I have seen the human-size version as well. I have not played, but it seems like it can get dangerous. And I must be a party pooper because I’m not a super huge fan of this game either. Norm LOVES it though. The girls also enjoy using the blocks along with other blocks to build little cities in our house, or they use it as dominoes. Love their creativity and thinking outside the box!

jenga

 

 

I’m not sure if there are anymore gift guides coming soon on our blog this year, but if you have any guides you would like us to put together, leave a comment below and let us know.

What board games do you and your family enjoy?

Other Gift Guides:
Children’s Christmas DVDs
Easy Read Books (Fiction)
Chapter Books (Fiction)
Series Chapter books (Fiction)
Stuff for Advent & Christmas

Gift Guide: Stuff for Advent & Christmas

Advent is still (a few years) new for us. The first Christmas we were at our current church, they asked our family to light the first candle. I had no clue what all it meant, but through the years, I have really enjoyed this season of preparing for His arrival.

(*Disclosure Policy: These are great products that we have used and love, or have been recommended to us! Links are affiliate links. We will get a small percentage of the sales if you make a purchase through the links at no extra cost to you.)

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas* – This has come as a recommendations from many, and we have it on our “to buy” list. This is the family version of The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp.

 

Love Comes Near: An Advent Bible Study – We really enjoyed Love Comes Near last year. I have worked with Jenni Keller in HelloMornings, and we got to meet for a retreat last year before Advent. She gifted us with this lovely Bible study, along with a kit to use with our families for Advent. The girls enjoyed doing the reading and activities each day.
love_comes_near_kit

love_comes_near_garland

 

The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas – This has come as a recommendations from many, and we have it on our “to buy” list. If you have not read any of Ann Voskamp’s books, she writes in a flowy and poetic way. I have not read this book, but I have read One Thousand Gifts, and while, it is not my typical choice of books, I really enjoyed the message, and I am certain I will enjoy this one as well.

 

Come, Lord Jesus: The Weight Of Waiting – This is a new one from my online friend of many years, Kris Camealy, that I will be reading this year. I loved her book for the Lenten season, Wholly, Holey, Holy: A Lenten Journey Of Refinement. Her words are beautiful, and I know I am ready for some calming words this season.

 

More Than Candy: A 25-Day Christmas Countdown that Counts – This countdown by Sarah Mae puts a more hands-on approach to what it meant when Jesus entered this world as a little baby. I know this is one we will read through again…good for anytime really! 🙂 If you think random acts of kindness are amazing, you’ll enjoy intentional acts of kindness ideas in this book.
more_than_candy

 

All the Colors of Christmas Devotional – Focus on the Family puts out an Advent devotional every year. I can’t remember if we received one as an insert in our Thriving Family magazine, but you can download one online.
all-the-colors-of-christmas

 

Truth in the Tinsel (the code is old in the link, but there should be a Black Friday special coming soon) is fun for the little ones, and I just got the recommendation for Pieces of the Promise puzzle, which looks like a great indoor-day-when-it’s-cold-outside activity.

I’m not sure if there are anymore gift guides coming soon on our blog this year, but if you have any guides you would like us to put together, leave a comment below and let us know.

What Advent and/or Christmas books or activities do you enjoy?

Other Gift Guides:
Children’s Christmas DVDs
Easy Read Books (Fiction)
Chapter Books (Fiction)
Series Chapter books (Fiction)

Gift Guide: Children’s Christmas DVDs

We thought we would throw some DVDs into the mix. I *think* some of these are available to stream, but you can make sure to have them on the list of movies to watch for next Christmas if you decide to buy them. Since we don’t own a TV, we don’t own a ton of DVDs, but we do check them out from the library and watch them at family members and friends’ homes. 😉 Thanks family members and friends! 🙂 And all that to say, there are lots of Christmas movies we haven’t seen yet. We would love some recommendations!

Merry Larry and the True Light of Christmas, Saint Nicholas: The Joy of Giving, The Little Drummer Boy, The Ultimate Christmas Collection – What’s not to like about talking vegetables? :p Every show has a great lesson for the kiddos (and adults) to learn. There are a few other Christmas DVDs, but I don’t think we have watched them before. You can find a PARENT GUIDE to the themes of all the VeggieTales DVDs on their website.
saint nicholasdrummer boy

What’s in the Bible Christmas – I love this DVD because we get to see how all these Christmas symbols came into being. The tree, candy canes, stockings, Santa Claus, the word Christmas. It does talk about the background of Saint Nicholas, so depending on what emphasis your family has put on Santa and your kiddos, be prepared for questions. THIS POST on the What’s in the Bible? website gives a good review of what the DVD covers.

The Promise: Birth of the Messiah – We got this DVD two years ago, and it is still one of the girls’ favorites for Christmastime. There are some pieces of the real Christmas story that we usually don’t discuss or see as often when we think about Jesus’ birth. You can read a more DETAILED REVIEW of this DVD on our review blog.

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Definitely a classic, but beware if you haven’t watched this one in awhile, remember that they do use the words “stupid” and “blockhead” quite a few times. I think the girls mentioned this in passing one time, but otherwise, it has gone mostly unnoticed.

Mickey’s Magical Christmas – (Mickey’s Christmas Carol) – This one is not available on DVD anymore, but it is a compilation of some older Mickey Christmas films, but is shown as old videos in a “current day” setting when they are snowed in at the House of Mouse. The whole casts of Disney movies are there to help a friend find Christmas joy again. Mickey’s Christmas Carol is one of the features in this movie.

The Polar Express and The Original Christmas Classics Gift Set are also great. The girls haven’t watch The Polar Express and it has been years since we checked out the book from the library, but I watched it with my students when I taught PreK.

Coming soon will be a gift guide for non-fiction books, Christmas books, and books on our to-read list! I already share the books I have enjoyed reading each month (although I still need to give an update for this month), so check out the complete book list HERE and some of the monthly updates HERE.

What Christmas movies do your children enjoy watching? What did you enjoy when you were a kid?

Truth in the Tinsel: Days 1-12

truthinthetinsel_300-250If you follow me on Instagram, you have already seen these photos. If you don’t following me on Instagram, why not?! :p But also, here are some photos of our girls working on their Truth in the Tinsel crafts. The captions are also from when I posted on IG.

In the midst of all the fun Christmas activities, it is nice to sit and reflect on the different events that led up to the reason why we celebrate Christmas – Jesus! The girls are loving discovering the word that we will be focusing on each day, and the fun craft that accompanies the Scripture passage.

Advent Day #1: Light | They weren’t too thrilled to have their pic taken but were proud of their candles.
Day1

Advent Day 2: Kingdom – It took awhile for the paint to dry so the girls were anxious to finish the crowns. I think they might add glitter later.
Day2

Advent Day 3: Zechariah | One of Emily’s fave parts of The Promise DVD (giveaway, link in profile) was when Z gets his voice back, so reading about Zechariah’s unbelief of the Christmas miracles was pretty exciting…finding out why he lost his voice…
Day3

Advent Day 4: Gabriel | They are getting so excited to do Truth in the Tinsel each day. This particular day’s craft was a little tricky for little fingers, but they had fun customizing their angel.
Day4

Advent Day 5: Mary | These Marys will be finished later…the girls were getting ready to watch The Sound of Music LIVE last night, and so Mary didn’t quite get her hair done…and I heard glitter will be added to her fab outfit.
Day5

Advent Day 6: Mary/Elizabeth | Day 7: Song | Day 8: Sun | We have been reading and doing the ornaments, but haven’t gotten a chance to post. The girls are still deciding on what to do for the CD/song since we don’t have flat marbles. I think they are adding ribbons. And, in other news, our tree is up, so Emily added the chain to the tree.
Day678

Advent Day 10: Dream | One last thing before bed. Thanks @oohamanda ! The girls really enjoy hearing the Christmas story a day at a time, and seeing how everything came together. P.S. If you noticed that we missed a day, it is because we are looking for one more craft stick for Joseph.
Day10

Advent Day 11: Jesus’ Name | It was hard to find names and letters, but we did it! | Day 12: Census | Broke down and got the printable ornaments. | We have had quite a few activities these days (and a sick child) so I need to sort through them to find all the Tinsel ones. Emily got to go to Living Bethelem and it was fun for her to sign her name to be a part of the census.
Day1112

If you weren’t able to do an Advent activity this year, you should consider doing Truth in the Tinsel next year. I had this since last year, but didn’t get around to doing it because of other Advent activities, but I am glad we got a chance this year!! I  think the crafts really get the kids excited about learning what happened before Jesus was born. And if you are wondering about all the preparation for the crafts…I am not a crafty person, and I also hate shopping, so I just found what I could at home to use, and for the ones where I didn’t have the materials, I ended up using the printable ornaments. You can use the code JOYCE20 for 20% off the ebook. The code expires after Christmas, so get on it! 🙂

P.S. There is also a Spanish version: La Verdad en el Oropel.
P.P.S. There is also church curriculum.
P.P.P.S. Here is a great post about using Truth in the Tinsel with younger kiddos.
P.P.P.P.S. I just like having the P.S.es here because it reminds me of writing letters or notes to friends in elementary and middle school. :p

Day 12 of Seeds 12 Days of Christmas

12daysRemember how I just blogged about Seeds Family Worship? It’s the LAST DAY OF Seeds 12 days of Christmas! I hope you got some great ideas for the Advent season to connect your family to Jesus through God’s Word.

20% OFF
It is also the last day to use the promotion code GIVESEEDS2013 to get a 20% discount off regularly priced merchandise. What a great deal! Click here to visit Seeds Family Worship (Remember to check my name so I receive credit for your purchase. It is under “Additional Questions” below your payment method.)

Audio Advent Tips (0:49)
Philip Morlan of Seeds Family Worship discusses how he helps his family understand the truth about what Christmas is.

Video from Jason Houser
To see Jason Houser’s final message, you can click on this Post by Seeds Family Worship. Thank you for joining us for the Seeds 12 Days of Christmas! We pray that you and your family have a very Merry Christmas.

While the 20% code can’t be used on the apparel, there are some great stuff on sale right now on the Seeds site. Head over there and check it out! What a great way to remind yourself to memorize Scripture!

seed-grey-go-teel

Christmas Ordering Deadlines:
TODAY!! Dec. 10th for Standard Shipping – FedEx Ground, USPS (domestic only)
Dec. 18th for Expedited Shipping – 2nd Day, Next Day Delivery
Note: All delivery services remove guaranteed delivery times close to Christmas. These shipping dates are estimates. Orders placed after specified dates may likely be delivered to destinations within continental U.S.

Make sure to visit Seeds Family Worship on the web:
Website | Store | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Vimeo

Day 11 of Seeds 12 Days of Christmas

12daysRemember how I just blogged about Seeds Family Worship? Day 11 of the Seeds 12 days of Christmas is ending! I will be sharing links these next few days for the Advent season. There will be great ideas for Advent that will connect your family to Jesus through God’s Word, as well as special videos and performances.

20% OFF
Also, during these 12 days (November 25 – December 10), you can use the promotion code GIVESEEDS2013 to get a 20% discount off regularly priced merchandise. What a great deal! Click here to visit Seeds Family Worship (Remember to check my name so I receive credit for your purchase. It is under “Additional Questions” below your payment method.)

Audio Advent Tips (0:49)
In this audio clip, Jessica shares about the joys of singing Carols together as a family…What are your family’s favorite Christmas carols?

Video from Jason Houser
Jason Houser talks about a global giving idea

Christmas Ordering Deadlines:
Dec. 10th for Standard Shipping – FedEx Ground, USPS (domestic only)
Dec. 18th for Expedited Shipping – 2nd Day, Next Day Delivery
Note: All delivery services remove guaranteed delivery times close to Christmas. These shipping dates are estimates. Orders placed after specified dates may likely be delivered to destinations within continental U.S.

Make sure to visit Seeds Family Worship on the web:
Website | Store | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Vimeo

Day 10 of Seeds 12 Days of Christmas

12daysRemember how I just blogged about Seeds Family Worship? Day 10 of the Seeds 12 days of Christmas is ending! I will be sharing links these next few days for the Advent season. There will be great ideas for Advent that will connect your family to Jesus through God’s Word, as well as special videos and performances.

20% OFF
Also, during these 12 days (November 25 – December 10), you can use the promotion code GIVESEEDS2013 to get a 20% discount off regularly priced merchandise. What a great deal! Click here to visit Seeds Family Worship (Remember to check my name so I receive credit for your purchase. It is under “Additional Questions” below your payment method.)

Audio Advent Tips (0:49)
Listen to Philip Morlan’s encouragement to strive for simplicity this Advent:

The other day a friend said her daughter was talking about babies, and she asked when we were supposed to talk to our kids about that kind of stuff. Seeds Family Worship actually has a project that is a collaboration with FamilyLife. Passport 2 Purity is a weekend getaway designed for parents to prepare their children for the teen years.
3Christmas Ordering Deadlines:
Dec. 10th for Standard Shipping – FedEx Ground, USPS (domestic only)
Dec. 18th for Expedited Shipping – 2nd Day, Next Day Delivery
Note: All delivery services remove guaranteed delivery times close to Christmas. These shipping dates are estimates. Orders placed after specified dates may likely be delivered to destinations within continental U.S.

Make sure to visit Seeds Family Worship on the web:
Website | Store | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Vimeo

Day 9 of Seeds 12 Days of Christmas

12daysRemember how I just blogged about Seeds Family Worship? Day 9 of Seeds 12 Days of Christmas actually ended already, but I wanted to tell you about the great Advent stuff that  has been shared. I will be sharing links these next few days for the Advent season. There will be great ideas for Advent that will connect your family to Jesus through God’s Word, as well as special videos and performances.

20% OFF
Also, during these 12 days (November 25 – December 10), you can use the promotion code GIVESEEDS2013 to get a 20% discount off regularly priced merchandise. What a great deal! Click here to visit Seeds Family Worship (Remember to check my name so I receive credit for your purchase. It is under “Additional Questions” below your payment method.)

Audio Advent Tips (1:31)
Jessica from Seeds shares advice on how to explain your family’s approach to Advent to extended family.

Video from Jason Houser
Here’s a video with a hilarious look at life in the Houser home… it involves a tree, a running leap, and an angel! Tell us how you have fun together as a family during Christmas… we’d love to hear your stories.

Check out Seeds’ Advent Week 1: Our Coming Hope post! What does Advent look like at your house?

Christmas Ordering Deadlines:
Dec. 10th for Standard Shipping – FedEx Ground, USPS (domestic only)
Dec. 18th for Expedited Shipping – 2nd Day, Next Day Delivery
Note: All delivery services remove guaranteed delivery times close to Christmas. These shipping dates are estimates. Orders placed after specified dates may likely be delivered to destinations within continental U.S.

Make sure to visit Seeds Family Worship on the web:
Website | Store | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Vimeo

For the Holidays: The Sparkle Box

DSC_0695bWe’ll be featuring some of our favorite things if you need Christmas gifts/activities ideas.

sparkleThe Sparkle Box – We received The Sparkle Box last year to review. You can read our review of The Sparkle Box HERE. I have grown up volunteering as a part of Jr. Optimist Club and K.E.Y. Club, and lots of other places, so lending a helping hand during the holidays definitely has a place in my heart. I would love for my girls to understand that even though the “things” of life are fun, it can also be fun to give! At the beginning of November, we brought out our book, and re-constructed our own Sparkle Box so that we can fill it with gifts for Jesus this holiday season. (You can’t tell from the photo, but the box is glittery and sparkly.) 🙂

What are some of your favorite things? Any recommendations for great Christmas gifts?

Affiliate links for other things we enjoy and would recommend.

Day 7 of Seeds 12 Days of Christmas

12daysRemember how I just blogged about Seeds Family Worship? Day 6 of the Seeds 12 days of Christmas is ending! I will be sharing links these next few days for the Advent season. There will be great ideas for Advent that will connect your family to Jesus through God’s Word, as well as special videos and performances.

20% OFF
Also, during these 12 days (November 25 – December 10), you can use the promotion code GIVESEEDS2013 to get a 20% discount off regularly priced merchandise. What a great deal! Click here to visit Seeds Family Worship (Remember to check my name so I receive credit for your purchase. It is under “Additional Questions” below your payment method.)

Audio Advent Tips (1:33)
Jessica Morlan of Seeds Family Worship tells about how her brother and his wife gave her kids a gift that encouraged giving.

All of ‘Em Seven Pack (Vol. 1-7) is a great deal if you want to go all in! Remember that each volume comes with 2 CDs, one for you and one for a friend. So for me (I think shipping costs depend on where you live), it comes out to be about $12ish per volume ($6ish per CD! Yes, I’m a data/numbers geek.). This would be a great collection to have in your church’s children’s ministry. (Code is not valid for this order…only one individual volumes.)
7cdsChristmas Ordering Deadlines:
Dec. 10th for Standard Shipping – FedEx Ground, USPS (domestic only)
Dec. 18th for Expedited Shipping – 2nd Day, Next Day Delivery
Note: All delivery services remove guaranteed delivery times close to Christmas. These shipping dates are estimates. Orders placed after specified dates may likely be delivered to destinations within continental U.S.

Make sure to visit Seeds Family Worship on the web:
Website | Store | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Vimeo