New Year’s Eve ideas

I wanted this New Year’s Eve to be extra special, so I was up bright and early this morning scouring the web for ideas.

Here’s what I found:

Time Capsule from Women Living Well

I made this printable survey everyone fills out to put into the time capsule.  You can get it free here.

New Year's Eve Survey for time capsule

I also love Courtney’s idea of having everyone kiss everyone else at the stoke of midnight.  If you have a big family, that could take a while, but everyone will feel loved at the end of the night!

I am going to run by the Dollar Store today and buy noise makers, party hats, etc.  The kids will get such a kick out of that!

I also love this idea I found where this mama made little gift bags to be opened on the hour beginning at 8:00.  Not sure if I have enough time to pull that one off this year, but I do think the kids would love it!!

I also plan to buy Sparkling Grape Juice to use for a toast.  We usually do this every year.

Please leave comments about how you will make New Year’s Eve extra special for your family.

Happy New Year!!



Pizza Night

I don’t know about for you, but Pizza and a movie make for a fun Friday night around our house!  I made this yummy homemade-ish version last night and it was an easy and affordable meal that we all loved!

Here’s all I needed to buy for the pizza:

Pre-made pizza crusts

Olive Oil (already had)

Stewed tomatoes (Italian style already seasoned with basil, garlic and oregano)

Italian Seasoning (already had)

Cheese (I already had cheddar cheese, which I grated…and I purchased fresh Mozzarella from the deli for $1.49, Managers Special)

Here’s what I did:

I spread olive oil on the pizza crusts.

I sprinkled the crust with Italian seasoning (and sometimes I also sprinkle with a little Garlic Salt to give the crust more flavor).

I put the can of tomatoes (1 can was enough for both pizzas) into my blender and  blended for just a second to make it the consistency of tomato sauce.

I spread that on the crusts and topped with the cheeses.

I added olives to the grown up pizza, but the kids were just fine with this all cheese version.  You could add pepperoni, ham or whatever your family likes.   Sometimes I even buy the individual crusts and then line up the ingredients in the center of the table and let everyone make their own pizza.

I baked at 425 for about 10 min.

I bought pre-made garlic breadsticks from the frozen section of the grocery store.  I also bought marinara sauce for dipping the breadsticks in.  (Actually, I bought spaghetti sauce which was on sale for 10/$10 at Kroger.  Nobody knew the difference.;)

I wish I’d thought ahead and bought salad ingredients, because a nice salad would have topped this meal off well!

We finished the meal with Pillsbury Ready to Bake Sugar Cookies. (Hard to believe, but they have the Valentine ones out already!)

Best of all, this entire meal cost about $10, a fraction of what we would have spent if we’d gone out for pizza!!

By Kathy Hutto Posted in Recipes

Chocolate Pretzel Squares Snack

Here’s a great, last minute holiday snack for you take to that Christmas party coming up…

These little snacks are made by lining mini pretzel squares on a baking sheet and topping each one with a Hershey’s Hug (like Hershey’s Kisses, but they are white chocolate with dark chocolate stripes).  Put these in an oven and bake at 200 degrees just until you notice the Hugs beginning to melt.  Take out immediately and top with the other pretzel square.

So easy and sooo yummy!!


Christmas Gift for teen daughter

I received the following letter note from a friend.  She is putting together a scrapbook for her 19 year old daughter for Christmas.  Read the note to find out more.  I think this is going to be a very special gift!!!

Dear Friend,

I have a favor to ask of you.  I am making a Christmas Gift for my daughter.  In keeping with Titus 2, I would love for you to share something in writing that you have learned from the Lord on your journey with Him.  (Maybe something you wish you had known when you were 19.)  Whatever encouragement you feel led to share will be wonderful!

Please know how grateful I am that you would take the time to speak into my daughter’s life.  I have asked you to be a part of this because I admire your walk with the Lord.  Your faith and example have been a blessing to me.

I pray that you and your family will have a Christmas blessed and full of the knowledge of God’s great love for you!  Thank you so much for your input.

I stand in awe of the greatness of our Lord and Savior…He is so good!

Titus 2 Gift

She included the note and a piece of cardstock.  She also included self-addressed stamped envelope.


Christmas Week-Super Fun Memories

Okay…I just posted about the Minivan Express (click to read more on that), but I also wanted to go ahead and share what’s in store for the rest of the week.  After the Minivan Express (which we did on Saturday), my children have high expectations, so we had to get creative.

Here’s our plan for the week.

Monday – Make gingerbread houses and watch the original Home Alone movie.  We will make life a little easier for ourselves by purchasing those Gingerbread House Kits from the grocery store.

Tuesday – Have a BB shooting contest.  We will make a posterboard with a huge face and two bulls-eyes for the eyes.  We will use my husband’s old Red Rider BB Gun and see who can “shoot the eye out.”  Then, we will come in and watch, The Christmas Story movie.  The ONLY WAY we could watch this is because my husband has the ability to capture the movie on his computer and edit out any bad language.  Once you get it all edited, it is hilarious! (If you can’t edit the movie, just substitute the Minivan Express on this night)

Wednesday – Go out and decorate a tree outside with Christmas lights and ornaments.  We will then come in and watch, A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Thursday – Secret Santa…we will ride to Walmart and purchase lots of Chapsticks for 98 cent each.  They have this huge bin at the front right now.  We will drive around to all of the restaurant drive-thru windows and deliver our Chapsticks to the poor souls who have to work at a window that opens every two seconds and lets in a burst of freezing air!  We will remind the children that we are spreading Christmas love.  🙂  You could also give tracts or invitations to your church’s Christmas Even candlelight service with the Chapsticks.

Friday – We will go out for ice cream and come back to watch Frosty the Snowman.

Saturday – We will attend the Christmas Eve candlelight service at church.  If your church doesn’t have a service like this, you could go star gazing outside and talk about the star that the wise men followed.  Maybe you could even borrow a telescope to make this time extra special.

Sunday – We will have a birthday party for Jesus.  We will actually have a birthday cake and party snacks.  We will each bring Jesus a gift.  In advance, we will think of something we will give to Jesus and write it on a piece of paper.  We will wrap the paper up and open the presents and read them during our birthday party for Jesus.  Examples are…more time in prayer; reading Bible more; showing love to others, etc.  Try to encourage your family to be specific about their gifts…”I will spend 15 minutes each morning in prayer.”  or “I will visit the nursing home once a month.”

We are still doing our Reasons for the Season advent all week.  This week is extra special as we learn about John the Baptist’s purpose and on through Jesus’ birth.  Let me know if you would like to receive a free copy by emailing  Even if you haven’t done any of the others, this last week is the most special and you could just do those.

We are also doing What God Wants for Christmas each night.  This has been a favorite activity for our kids for many years and we just have to squeeze it in too!!



The Minivan Express

The Minivan Express idea came from Confessions of a Homeschooler and it was sooo much fun!  You can actually print the tickets from Erica’s website!! So anyway…here’s what we did.

We printed the tickets and put them in the kids’ coat pockets in advance.

Saturday night after everyone had on their pajamas, my husband secretly went outside and moved the minivan to the front…down the driveway just a little.

He ran to the front porch and began blowing my son’s wooden train whistle.  The kids eyes got big as they wondered, “What was that?”  I told them to get in their slippers and put on their coats and we would go and see what was making the noise.

We opened the door and saw my husband standing by the van, waving a camping lantern.  Immediately, the kids ran to him.  In his best impression of the conductor from the Polar Express movie, he said, “Tickets please.”  They (of course) said, “What tickets?”  And he asked them to reach into their coat pockets.  What a thrill when they found the tickets there!  He punched them using a hole punch and told them to, “Climb Aboard.”

We rode down the road a bit and he pulled over and said, “Time for refreshments.”  [We had made hot chocolate and put them into those disposable coffee cups with lids and put them in a basket in the front seat, in advance.]  He passed out the hot chocolate and the kid could barely keep from jumping up and down with delight!!

We rode around and looked at Christmas lights and then came back home and watched The Polar Express movie (which you can buy at Walmart for $10 right now).

What a great memory we just made!!!


Birthday Party for Jesus

Yesterday in my Kindergarten Sunday School class, we had a birthday party for Jesus.  It was so special and the kids had so much fun!  We let them each make tiny birthday cakes made from Rice Krispy Treats.

Here’s how…

Cut out the Krispy Treats using two different sized biscuit cutters.  You could also use the rims of two different sized glasses.

We gave each child a tiny cup of water.  (You can use Karo syrup, but we thought that might get way too sticky for our Sunday School class).  They dipped their finger in water to wet the top of the bottom layer and put the second layer on their “cake.”

Next, they wet the top of the cake (which made the sprinkles stick to the cake) and sprinkled away!!

We topped each cake with a candle and sang, Happy Birthday” to Jesus.  Each child got to blow out his/her own candle.

We made the party feel extra special by putting a nice table cloth over our Sunday School table and by serving punch from a punch bowl.  We also served Cheese Puffs.:)

BTW…you could use these little cakes for a girl’s birthday party or tea party later in the year.  Also, you could cut one circle and insert a popsicle stick and instantly you have a Krispy Treat lolipop!  Don’t you just love Rice Krispies!!

Krispy Treat Birthday Cake

Family Devotion-Jesus is Born

Each Sunday, our church makes available a Family Devotion to be picked up and completed during the coming week.  I am on the team that creates these.  I have pasted the Family Devotion Guide for last Sunday below:

Family Devotion Guide

December 11th

We are very excited about the Hometown Nazareth sermon and Sunday School series. The weekly sermons, Sunday School lessons, together with these weekly devotion guides, are intended to help you to draw closer to your family while deepening your personal understanding of the Christmas story.  These guides have been purposely designed so that every type of family may benefit from them. We recommend that parents become familiar with this guide before leading the discussion with their children.

Theme:  The Wise Men’s Visit

 Family Memory Verse:  Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Discussion Starter:

Cut out star shapes from yellow construction paper and secretly tape one to the wall in each room of your home.  Give each child a flashlight and turn off all the lights.  Have them go from room to room in search of the star in each room.


Read Matthew 2:1-12

The Wise Men or Magi were distinguished men from the East who came to honor Jesus with gifts.  The Bible says in Matthew 2:9, that the star stood over where the young child was.  Scholars believe that Jesus was a child of possibly the age of two when the Wise Men visited.

The Wise Men presented Jesus with three gifts.  For this reason, some people believe there were only three Wise Men; however, there may have been more than that.  The Bible doesn’t say how many were there.

 Ask, What were the gifts that the Wise Men gave to Jesus? (gold, frankincense, and myrrh)   What gift would you give to Jesus?


Younger Children – We know the wise men were wealthy because of the gifts they brought, but the Bible doesn’t say they were kings.  Perhaps they wore crowns, but we can’t be sure.  One thing we do know for sure is that they brought gifts fit for a king and that Jesus is the King of Kings.  Visit Burger King and ask for crowns.  Turn the crowns inside out and provide items to decorate.

Older Children – Design homemade wrapping paper to use when you give gifts this Christmas.  Use a roll of brown postal paper and decorate with stamps, paint pens, etc.


Ask God to help you seek Him and point others to His gift of Salvation.

Advent Activity:

Week 3:  Light the 1st , 2nd , and 3rd  (representing Joy) candles during your Family Devotional Time.


Sermon Journal for Children

From the very beginning we have chosen to train our children to sit quietly with us during the church service. Sure, there were plenty of times we had to take a back row seat during those fidgety toddler years, but for the most part, the kids understood that this was a special time and they needed to be quiet.  (BTW…a bag of Fruit Loops handed out very slowly, one–at–a–time– can work wonders!)

Now that they are older, I want my children to listen and learn from the sermons.  I found this really great Watch Me Grow Sermon Journal that I wanted to share with you.  There are three different cover designs to choose from or you can download it instantly and put in your own notebook.  You can check them out at the following site:

We can look through our children’s sermon notes through the week and discuss anything that they didn’t understand or even gain a better insight into their spiritual development.  We could use these during our Family Devotional times.

For me, this is a must have on the Christmas list this year!  I know they will be so much more meaningful than the plastic toys that will just fill the toy box in the coming year.:)


Peppermint Cookies – Teacher’s Gifts

Why not let your little ones help bake up a batch of peppermint cookies for their Sunday School Teachers, AWANA leaders, etc.  These are sooo easy!

  • Buy a roll of Pillsbury Peppermint Cookie Dough.
  • Slice the roll into rounds and then cut those rounds into fourths.
  • Roll each fourth into little balls.
  • Place on a cookie sheet and bake as directed.
  • When they come out of the oven, place a Peppermint Hershey’s Kiss on top of each.
  • When cool, store in gallon-sized ziploc bags and then put them in a cookie tin, decorative bag, or simply on a festive paper plate wrapped with plastic wrap.
  • Add a tag and you have an easy and inexpensive Christmas gift!  Best of all, your children helped!

These Peppermint Hershey’s Kisses are actually flavored like peppermint!