This Easter Basket Bundt Cake is an easy dessert for you next celebration — transform a simple Bundt cake into a stunning Easter Bunny centerpiece that everyone will rave about! [Read more…] about Easter Basket Bundt Cake Recipe (Easy Spring Dessert!)
This Easter Robin’s Nest Bundt Cake recipe will be the talk of your holiday celebration! An easy milk chocolate bundt cake (quickly) transforms into a robin’s nest with a little frosting and candy eggs…the Easter bunny will definitely be stopping by to check it out! [Read more…] about Robin’s Nest Easter Bundt Cake (EASY Spring Cake Recipe!)
This peppermint triple chocolate bundt cake is the perfect holiday dessert! It is SO easy to make, but don’t let that fool you– it is SO good and turns out perfectly every time! [Read more…] about Holiday Peppermint Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake
The Holidays can get overwhelming QUICKLY! When that happens I like to do a brain dump into my handy dandy Christmas Notebook!
Most times of the year I can get by with digital planning, but when it comes to Christmas, there are too many balls in the air! So having a notebook where I can keep track of it ALL has been a game changer! [Read more…] about How I keep Christmas Organized (with Free Printable!)
I don’t like to critique books because I think authors are so talented and work so hard on their writings…but I did want to share my favorite advent devotionals with you this year!
Here’s what I’m looking for in a devotional:
– I want to learn more about the life of Jesus
– I want to feel inspired and hopeful
– I want to look forward to reading it each day
So here they are! My favorite advent devotionals for individuals and families in order that I like them:
My Favorite Christmas Devotionals (in order!)
My Favorite for Individuals: Jesus Calling for Christmas by Sarah Young
Cost: from $6.95 used
Description: Jesus Calling® for Christmas is a compilation of 50 seasonally appropriate devotions from Sarah Young’s bestselling brand. In addition to the heartwarming devotions, enjoy scriptures about the Christmas story and exquisite seasonal images.
What I like about it:
– I really (really) like that this is written from the perspective of Jesus talking to me. For me, it causes the text to feel very personal and resonate in a way that other devotions haven’t.
– I love that it starts with the devotional then lists out the full scripture reference
– I love that it is BEAUTIFUL to look at!
– And it doesn’t have dates or day numbers, so I never feel behind
– It has a ribbon book mark
I would highly recommend this devotional for anyone and as a wonderful gift!
Favorite for Families: Advent Devotions & Christmas Crafts for Families by Victoria Duerstock
Cost: from $12.16 used
Description: Victoria Duerstock wants to support families in their desire to make Christ the focus of all their celebrations this Christmas. Each day of this family devotional includes not only a Scripture and short short reflection for the twenty-four days leading up to Christmas, but also inviting full-color images and simple Christmas crafts that can be done as you focus on the rich meaning of this season. Find easy-to-follow instructions for:
- Stained Glass Ornaments
- Cinnamon Oatmeal Soap
- Mason Jar Luminaries
- Homemade Marshmallows
- Scrap Ribbon Tree Ornaments
- And many more!
Each devotional through the four weeks of Advent is focused on the themes of Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love and is meant to be read with the entire family, or by the older child who needs something just for them in this special season.
What I like about it: If you are looking for meaningful devotions and really cool crafts to do with your kids, this is it!! Adeline couldn’t get enough of this book and began making a supply list right away for all that we’ll need.
– The devotions are meaningful and still appropriate for kids
– I love the discussion questions that go along with each
– I appreciate that the craft projects are really nice and not “corny” :)
Looking forward to using this as part of our homeschool this Christmas season!
Unwrapping the Names of Jesus by Asheritah Ciuciu
Cost: from $9.99 used
In Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, Asheritah Ciuciu leads readers through the four weeks of Advent (Hope, Preparation, Joy, and Love). Each week:
- Begins with an interactive family devotional that equips readers to celebrate Advent together
- Offers five daily reflections that focus on that week’s name of Jesus
- Includes suggestions for fun-filled family activities or service projects
This devotional can be used by readers in their own personal worship times or as a tool to engage in family worship during the busy holiday season. Either way, participants will gain a greater sense of awe and wonder at who Jesus is.
What I like about it: This is a really neat angle for an advent devotional, to explore the different names of Jesus and how they display his different characteristics.
– This can be done as a family or alone which is really cool!
– Each day has a devotional, challenge, prayer and verses for further study (you can go to their website to print extra materials, too)
– I like that it follows the weekly themes of advent: Hope, Preparation, Joy & Love and gives directions for the lighting of the advent candles
– It doesn’t have many pictures in it, but is still nice to look at
Family Ages: I think this would be best to do with upper elementary kids and older :)
In the Manger by Max Lucado
Cost: from $2.00 used
Description: Pastor and New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado invites readers to witness the birth of Christ as they’ve never seen it before, through twenty-five inspirational selections from his most popular books. Selections are taken from 3:16, God Came Near, The Applause of Heaven, and more.
While reading In the Manger you will stand in awe that:
- The Author would enter his own story.
- The Word would become flesh.
- The Creator would become creation.
Join Mary and Joseph inside a stable, beside a shepherd, at the feet of the King in the manger.
What I like about it: I love that this devotional can appeal to men and women alike, as well as those who are newer to their faith and those more experienced. Max Lucado has a gentle way of convicting and inspiring that causes hope to rise up and I think we all need a little more of that this Christmas season!
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
Cost: from $1.99 used
Description: Oswald Chambers wanted all people to have a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ. Chambers could take the Scriptures, ask probing questions, and ignite a passion in people to want to know God better. Let these 366 thought-provoking meditations, in this updated-language edition, challenge you to be the person that God designed you to be.
What I like about it: This was the first devotional I ever owned, and while it isn’t specific to Christmas, I believe you find the devotionals that come up during the Christmas seasonal to be beautiful, challenging and inspiring!
If you’re looking for a devotional to use year round– this is it!
Our Hope and Expectation
Cost: Free on Kindle! And beginning at $1.99 in print
Description: Our Hope and Expectation explores the Advent season and celebrates the joy of the twelve days of Christmas and the day of Epiphany. It includes daily devotions based on year B scripture readings (in the Revised Common Lectionary) for Sundays and festival days between the first Sunday of Advent (November 29, 2020) and Epiphany (January 6, 2021). In addition to devotions, the book offers household blessings and prayers to enrich your preparations and celebrations.
What I like about it: I found this devotional to be a little more academic, but also had more scriptures to read throughout it, so if that appeals to you, I think you’ll really like it!
The Way to the Manger by Jeff & Abbey Land
Cost: Around $11.99
Description: The Way to the Manger engages families with the biblical truth of Christmas through twenty-five Advent devotions that redirect children and families to their need for a Savior and the amazing gift of Jesus Christ. Sure to become a keepsake that is revisited year after year, this book also provides talking points and activities for families to enjoy together, bringing the focus of Christmas back to Jesus and family time.
What I like about it: This book is BEAUTIFUL! The writing, the stories…I’m thinking we’ll do this one, too!!
The Advent Storybook by Laura Richie
Cost: from $9.99 used
Description: Add The Advent Storybook to your family holiday traditions and enjoy the rich images and thoughtful retellings of ancient stories that feature God’s recurring, faithful promise to rescue us. A simple question at the end of each story helps readers engage in understanding the bigger story God wants us all to know—the good news of Jesus coming to save us. Parents and children alike will delight in the biblical messages of joy, hope, and peace every day as they look forward to celebrating Jesus’ birth.
What I like about it: I really appreciate how they tie together stories from both the Old Testament and the New Testament to give an idea of how it all ties together. I found the illustrations to be a little dark, but otherwise appreciated that there is a scripture with each day and that the stories are fairly concise :)
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas by Ann Voskamp
Cost: from $7.98 used
Description: With vivid, full-color illustrations, downloadable ornaments, and moving scenes from the Bible, this book is a gift your whole family can experience each day leading up to Christmas.
- Devotions by Ann Voskamp, bestselling author
- Daily Scripture readings
- Discussion questions
- Meaningful Advent activities
- Beautiful illustrations
Person by person, story by story, retrace the lineage of Jesus. Fall in love with Him all over again as you experience God’s plan of salvation for us―from the Garden of Eden to the manger and beyond.
What I like about it: I really wanted to love this book, because I have really enjoyed and appreciated Ann Voskamp’s other writings, but this one isn’t our favorite. Some of the stories didn’t seem geared to young kids and I found myself editing some of it as I read it.
I like many of the other options better for a family devotional!
And if you’re looking for some other ideas for the upcoming holiday season…
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For many people gift-giving is a big part of Christmas, and we want to give you some minimalist gift ideas for all price ranges, starting at just a few dollars!
My twin sister Diana and I are complete opposites when it comes to gifts. She is a gift person and loves everything about Christmas — gift-giving and wrapping and shopping…. All of it. I could go every Christmas and birthday without gifts and be just fine. To Diana this is unthinkable!
So here are some of our favorite gift ideas that are practical, consumable and great for the simple-living person in your life — or even if they’re not…. Anybody!
Consumables make great gifts for people we like to recognize, like teachers, mailmen, piano teachers, coaches & friends. I like to give gifts that I know people will use!
This is a no-brainer, I mean who doesn’t like coffee??! (okay, I know there are a few out there, but I don’t understand them ;)
Sweet & Spicy by Good Earth is amazing! Even if someone is not a big tea drinker, this one is warm and a bit tangy, a safe bet for anyone on your list. You can get it on Amazon, but it’s also available at most Walmarts, Targets & other grocery stores!
Mrs. Meyer’s cleaners
These cleaners and soaps are a very useful gift! They’re made with plant-derived ingredients and essential oils, and come in all kinds of amazing scents! The Peppermint scent is fun for this time of year. You can get them at Target or online at Grove.co.
If you want to be really practical, wrap your gift in a towel instead of a gift bag or wrapping paper!
Greeting card gift box
For someone who enjoys acknowledging others, get some fun greeting cards and put the collection in a cute box. You can get them for fairly good quality at the dollar store these days, including faith-based cards. Add stamps or a nice pen to increase the value :)
Special DIY Gift for Your Kids or Grandkids
Print photos with your kids or grandkids and make your own photo canvases. Paint the edge of a canvas black and Mod Podge the photo over it — it’s that easy!
It looks fancy but you really don’t need a lot of time for this — Tom & I took selfies in the backyard with the kids, and I uploaded them through the Walmart app. Once we picked up the photos, it only took me about 20 minutes to do all four of them!!
Watch my tutorial below on how to make these.
Gift baskets with a bundt cake pan and the ingredients for a recipe make a fantastic gift!!
This No Fail Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake is a copy cat from Nothing Bundt Cakes Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake – and it’s PHENOMENAL!! (Even if you don’t make this gift basket, you should print and bake this recipe for yourself!!)
Every time I bring this cake anywhere I am asked for the secret and the recipe. And this will be a fun gift they can make again and again!
Then get the cellophane gift bag from the dollar store and you’ve got an amazing practical & delicious gift.
A cupcake gift basket with this Hello, Cupcake! decorating book is also a great idea that you could do together with your kids or grandkids. You could have your own cupcake wars or bake-off during Christmas break and have a lot of fun together. :)
Hair & Personal Care Products
If you’ve ever gotten a really good hair product from a salon, you know what a difference it makes — but they can be a bit costly and it can be hard to spend that kind of money on ourselves.
So if you’ve found a product that you really like, consider giving it as a gift!
Kevin Murphy Bedroom Hair Flexible Texturising Hairspray
This hairspray smells amazing, I got this one for Diana and she loves it!
ACURE Brightening Facial Scrub
Diana loves this one too! It’s great to use in the winter when our skin gets a little drier.
How have I never thought of this as a gift before!? Pillows get so old and grungy, but if you add pillow covers, the old pillows make great inserts!
A lot of people like to change up the covers seasonally without getting new pillows.
Cook Once, Eat All Week Cookbook
We love this cookbook with 26 weeks of gluten-free recipes. It helps you get a delicious, healthy, and affordable dinner on the table QUICKLY! We still make our favorite recipes from here regularly.
The Promises of God Storybook Bible
This is an awesome storybook Bible that we love to read with our kids.
One Line A Day Journal
This journal is a really cool gift for someone who enjoys writing! It’s an easy way to record small moments in life every day of the year, for five years. Super fun!
If you want to get something fun for yourself…
Diana and I have used these halo hair extensions, and they are awesome! They’re subtle enough that people don’t quite know what’s different, but offer many compliments ;)
Once you get used to putting it on, it takes no time at all!
Remember what’s important
Some people would say that the minimalist thing to do would be to not give gifts at all (and certainly not throw pillows!). But gift-giving originated as a way to honor or appreciate someone. It’s only been recently that it has become commercialized and turned into an event to see how many presents we can fit under the tree.
Opt out of gift exchanges that aren’t important to you so you have more space, time and resources to invest in the people that you do really care about. :)
Will you share some of your favorite gift ideas, especially things that are consumable, a bit practical and fun to receive? Those ideas are so helpful!!
Blessings as you prepare for this Christmas season!
And if you’re looking for some other ideas for the upcoming holiday season…
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