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Thursday, November 30, 2017

15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time

15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays


This is the last All Wrapped Up blog post!  I hope you enjoyed this month of gift guides and Christmas ideas.  Today, I'd like to focus on exalting Christ at Christmas time.  This is a frequently discussed topic among Christian parents, so I thought I'd put all the basic ideas in one place.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays
Nativity Book Countdown

The first blog post in this series was a Nativity book countdown, listing twenty-four stories that could be read one a night until Christmas.  Families that already do bedtime stories would find it easy to add these books to their routine.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

Of course, Nativities are a traditional Christmas time decoration, but there are so many from which to chose from.  I thought this toddler friendly Nativity set is adorable.  She made it with scraps of fabric and plain peg dolls.  My kids have enjoyed the Fisher Price plastic set with cute, chunky pieces.  Someday, I'd like to own this Willow Tree set, perhaps after the kids are a bit older and I have knicknacks again.  There are also other homemade Nativity ideas on Pinterest if DIY is more your style.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

Although most people know that December 25 is not Jesus's birthday, some families chose to help their children focus on Christ by having a birthday party for Him sometime during Advent.  These celebrations can be as simple as a homemade birthday cake or as elaborate as a fully-themed party.  Decorations can be birthday, Christmas, or Nativity-themed.  Presents can be donated to charity or a local church.  Be sure to sing "Happy Birthday!"


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

We introduced JOY (Jesus, Others, Yourself), our Kindness Elf last year.  The kids have been talking about her all year and wondering what she's been up to lately.  They're looking forward to her return after Thanksgiving.  JOY reminds us to be kind to each other during Advent.  We don't really use her as an Elf-on-the-Shelf alternative, but a few "Christian" versions are available in the form of the Wandering Wisemen, the Christmas Angel, the Donkey in the Living Room, and the Shepherd on the Search.  Whatever toy you chose, they can all be used to point your children to Jesus this Christmas.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

Traditionally, the Jesse Tree has been used to teach people Biblical history and the prophecies about Jesus.  The idea comes from Isaiah 11:1, "A branch will come from Jesse's stump," which Christians believe is referring to Jesus.  The Jesse Tree is 24-30 ornaments that represent different Bible stories or concepts.  Every day, the family gathers to do a Bible reading or devotional and to add another ornament to the tree.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

Truth in the Tinsel is a brilliant program from O Amanda.  She uses sensory experiences to help kids experience the first Christmas in a new way.  I really like her Holy Week materials as well.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays
Nativity Story Family Date Night

Earlier in this series, I showcased 10 movies for Family Date Night.  One of those movies was The Nativity Story.  I don't have much else to add this time around, except to say that I did find some cute Nativity themed foods on Pinterest recently.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

There are many opportunities for charity giving at Christmas time.  This mom decided to help her kids focus on Christ by having them earn money through their acts of service and kindness.  When someone noticed the child working with a cheerful heart, being compassionate, helpful, considerate, or humble, then the mom or dad would add money to their pouch.  On Christmas Eve, the kids counted their money and decided what to buy from a charity catalog for a person in another country.  I love this idea!  Burlap bags can be purchased on Amazon.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

Another great way to have your Christmas tree point to Christ is with these Names of Christ DIY ornaments.  A family could also make their Advent devotionals match the names by looking up verses and discussing their meaning.  This blogger also has the names in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Spanish, so you could have lots of ornaments on the tree.  They could also be used for a matching game, where participants would have to match the same name in different languages.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

It's become a family tradition for us to read the first 24 stories of the Jesus Storybook Bible.  We have these free cards printed and hung on our wall in order.  Every day, we flip over one card and read the story.  The hyperlink for the tile picture goes to a printable for making Jesse Tree ornaments, which could also be used with the readings.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

I attended both Lutheran and Catholic school, so the Advent Wreath is very dear to my heart.  There are 4 candles arranged in a circle.  Each Sunday, a new candle is lit, while a special set of verses and a devotion is read.  The first week, one candle is lit, the second week, two, and so forth.  I love the beauty of the Advent Wreath and would love to have one in our home someday.  I especially love it's ties our ancient faith.

15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

An easy way to remind yourself and others about Christ at Christmas is through your home decorations.  There are thousands of free printables on the internet- chalkboard, subway art, and everything else.  Just print and stick in a frame for an easy, Christ exalting decor option.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

Christmas Pageants and Living Nativities are very popular during Advent.  If you're children aren't involved in a production at church (or even if they are), they could also put on a skit for the relatives.  Or perhaps you could take your neighbors and some Christmas cookies through a drive-through Nativity.  The blog post I linked above has great ideas for cheap and easy costumes.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

I love peppermint!  Candy cane season is my favorite time of all.  Fortunately, I discovered peppermint essential oils so I can have the smell all year long.  It's also really neat that you can use the candy cane to point to "the reason for the season."  I think it would be great to print off these bookmarks and pass them out to people around your neighborhood or at a store.  It would make a great family project.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

I love playing Christmas music!  I drive my husband crazy sometimes (wink), but I enjoy listening to the old favorites and newest albums.  It's so great while you're driving, baking, cleaning, wrapping gifts or whatever you're doing this season.

The header picture is from the new Casting Crowns CD that was just released this October.  I listened to it while writing this blog post.  I really love "Somewhere in Your Silent Night" and "It's Finally Christmas Time."  Although it's a short album, I highly recommend it.


15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

Well, that's the end of my pre-Christmas series.  Although I don't currently have any more Christmas blog posts scheduled, it wouldn't surprise me if I wrote a few more before the big holiday.  I've really enjoyed this series and might end up making it a tradition (perhaps not with the exact same theme).  I hope you liked reading these posts as much as I liked writing them!



More Advent Ideas can be found on this Blog Post
15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays


You can find all the posts on the launch page.
15 Ideas to Exalt Christ at Christmas Time from In Our Pond  #christmas #nativity #christian #advent #jesus #holydays #holidays

Monday, November 27, 2017

Choo-Choo Train Gifts

Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday
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Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday

My boys love everything with wheels, which lately has meant trains!  Tadpole enjoys putting things into lines, which is exactly what trains are all about.  He especially likes the magnetic cars that allow him to make really long snakes to drive through my kitchen.  If you have a train-loving son or grandson (or daughter/granddaughter), I'm sure you'll find something for him on this list.


Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday

These first two toys are classics.  Every child should have a hat to wear while he runs through the house blowing the train whistle.  If you get one set for every kid, it'll be like living in a train yard!


Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday

This is the track set that we own, because it's interchangeable with a bunch of other brands.  It would be great on a train table or or just on the floor.  Builder toys like this allow kids to plan, problem solve, and enjoy the fruits of their labor.  And, imagine how large of a track you could build if you had more than one box of these?


Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday

These are Tadpole's favorite trains, because they magnetize together and can be pulled along as a big snake.  A great companion to this train is the letter cars, either as the full alphabet or to spell out a child's name.


Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday

Both of my boys have their eyes on this remote control train.  They like to watch Thomas on TV occasionally, and recognized the blue engine instantly.  This would be our first remote control vehicle, but I'm sure it won't be our last.


Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday

Skimmer carries a tiny train engine with him everywhere he goes, which means that I frequently have one of these mini cars in my pockets.  Both boys love the minis, and would just die for a pile of tiny trains like these.


Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday

Another classic children's toy is a train table.  There are many different designs and sizes available, so finding one that fits your family is possible.  Ones with built in storage is a good idea for keeping all the train stuff together.


Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday

This was the first train that we owned.  We love that Green Toys is made from recycled milk jugs and is fully recyclable.  We've also been impressed how well the coloring has lasted, even after the toys have been out of the sun.  This train is more challenging than the magnets, because it has a hook and eye set up.  It's large enough for hauling lots of other toys.


Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday

Duplos are a classic toy and have made my list of Tough Toys for Tough Kids two years in a row.  The train sets are very fun, and allow for a lot more play expansion.  Whether the tracks runs through the zoo or the city, the Duplo train is a great addition to your collection.


Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday

I couldn't have Duplos without Legos.  I thought this Christmas train and Santa village was very cute and would be adorable on a mantel.  Of course, it would also make a great birthday or Christmas gift, or given piece by piece as part of a holiday countdown.


Choo-Choo Train Gifts from In Our Pond  #giftguide  #christmas  #holidays  #playtrains  #birthday

I had no idea when I started looking for the Polar Express book that there was so many affiliated products.  I just kept adding them, because they helped fill out the picture.  I think the bell ornament would be a neat Christmas Eve gift or a good souvenir for a wintery train ride or movie night.  The family movie night fun could continue with the matching game or a book reading.  And, how amazing would it be to have the official Polar Express train circling your tree?


I hope you enjoyed this train-themed gift guide!  Come back again tomorrow for another installment.


Click on the Picture to See the Other Gift Guides in this Series!
All Wrapped Up- a gift guide series from In Our Pond

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Romantic Gifts for Lovers

Romantic Gifts for Lovers- a gift guide from In Our Pond #anniversary #christmas #gifts #valentinesday #holidays

Today is my twelfth anniversary, so I thought it would be a good day to do a Gift Guide of romantic things.  We got married the day after Thanksgiving, and Bullfrog says that our anniversary is always "Black Friday" so we can have a four-day weekend every year.  We don't usually go gifts, but this list is definitely tempting me.  Can you guess which one I would buy?

This list isn't just for anniversary presents.  The gifts on the list could be given for Christmas, Valentine's Day, or anytime!


Romantic Gifts for Lovers- a gift guide from In Our Pond #anniversary #christmas #gifts #valentinesday #holidays
1- Up House Craft Kit

2- Kissing Mugs

3- Huge Teddy Bear

4- Gold-Dipped Rose

5- "I Love You" Toilet Paper

6- Date Night Stormtrooper

7- Jumbo Heart Pillow

8- Battery-Operated Wax Candles

9- Wicker Picnic Basket

10- TableTopics Couples

11- Heart of the Ocean necklace



Only 5 more days of Gift Guides!
Click on the picture to go to the full list.

Romantic Gifts for Lovers- a gift guide from In Our Pond #anniversary #christmas #gifts #valentinesday #holidays


Friday, November 24, 2017

Gifts for Campers and Glampers

Gifts for Campers and Glamper: a gift guide from In Our Pond

Camping Gear is such a great thing for holiday gifts.  Whether you're buying for the backpackers in their 20's, the tent campers in their 30's, the glampers in their 40's, or the RVers in their 50's- every camper needs more stuff!  This category is also a great one for "camping evangelism."  Have a friend that you want to bring camping with you?  Buy them a tent!  Have a relative who is always cold?  Buy them a sub-zero sleeping bag!  Know someone who complains about eating only hot dogs camping?  Buy them a camp cookbook!  There is no end to the amount of things you can buy for camping!

I had so much fun putting this list together.  I asked others for their favorite camping items, I polled my children, and I shopped Amazon.  I hope you find something for everyone on your list.




Gifts for Campers and Glamper: a gift guide from In Our Pond
1- Coleman Xtreme Cooler
Car Campers love their coolers and this Coleman is one of the best.

2- Reversible Outdoor Mat
I love our outdoor rug!  It's made of woven plastic, so nothing sticks to it and dirt and sand fall through it.  It's great for the kitchen area, in front of the tent, or to create a play area for children.

3- Hydration Backpack
A backpacking and hiking staple.

4- Expanding Marshmallow Forks
Another camping staple.  We love to eat our marshmallows stuffed with candy.  Starbursts are quite amazing roasted over the fire as well.

5- Enamel Cooking Pot
There are as many types of cooking pots as there are campers, so each shopper should research on their own to find the best fit for their recipient.  I really like the classic look of this enamel one.




Gifts for Campers and Glamper: a gift guide from In Our Pond
6- Happy Camper Stone Coasters
These coaster are so colorful and fun, they'd liven up any trailer or RV.

7- Campfire Grill
If you want to move past food on a stick, then you probably will want this campfire grill.

8- Rubber Mallet with Tent Stake Hook
This super practical tool is a must have for tent campers.  Stakes are much easier to drive if you have a hammer (don't try to use your shoes) and the hook on the back makes taking them back out again super simple.

9- Camping Rules Pillow
Throw pillows are a necessary part of a glamper's gear, and this one is perfect for a trailer or RV.  It has all the "rules" listed out to help everyone know just what to do when they're camping.

10- Blow-Up Air Bed
We sleep on a regular air mattress, and this air bed looks very luxurious.



Gifts for Campers and Glamper: a gift guide from In Our Pond
11- Unbreakable Wine Glasses
We don't drink wine, but these pink glasses were too fun not to include.  Wine and Glamping just go together like popcorn and movies.

12- Flushing Camp Toilet
A flush toilet while camping has to be the height of luxury!  No more middle of the night trips to the cold outhouse for the woman you love.  She'll never stop thanking you!

13- Pampered Camper Wood Sign
Campers who like to decorate their trailer, RV, or cabin will chuckle at this whimsical sign.

14- Realtree Pink Comforter
True Glampers don't use sleeping bags- they sleep in real beds with real sheets.  Top your luxurious bed off with this fluffy camo comforter.

15- Gourmet Girls Campfire Cookbook
Glam girls don't eat hot dogs!  They cook real gourmet food over the campfire, which they, of course, pair with just the right wine.  This book just might get your picky friend into the woods.



Gifts for Campers and Glamper: a gift guide from In Our Pond
16- Camping Chair
We always have so many camping chairs when we're out, but we love to get new ones too.  This teal one is such a pretty color!

17- Folding Camp Kitchen
A food prep area is very important, and it's nice if the kitchen stuff doesn't happen at the table.  The great thing about a folding kitchen like this is that it allows you to stay outside while you wash dishes.

18- Wenzel 10-Man Cabin Tent
We have a 2-room cabin tent a lot like this one, and we love it.  We put two queen air mattresses in it and could probably fit a third.  Plus all our gear.  It's a winner!

19- Melamine Plastic Dishes
I really like the look of these plastic dishes.  They look like the enamel ones of old, but with the lightness of melamine.

20- Coleman Lantern
I've had my eye on this neat lantern for a while.  With all the flashlights attached, it give 360 light.
One or more flashlights can be removed without
the rest of them going out.  So cool!



Gifts for Campers and Glamper: a gift guide from In Our Pond
21- Yard Ornaments
These flamingos would be the perfect gag gift for someone who just bought their first trailer or RV.  Pink, plastic birds are a classic of Glamping.

22- Throw Pillow
I decided to have some fun putting together the Glamping-est list I could think of.  These birds on a bike make me laugh.

23- Flamingo Lights
So much fun!

24- Drink Holder
This is the tackiest drink holder I could find.  Adorable for the glamper in your life.

25- Pink Sheets
I actually like these pink flamingo sheets, and I think they'd be perfect for a retro teardrop camper.





Gifts for Campers and Glamper: a gift guide from In Our Pond
26- Northwoods Caddy
I'm in love with buffalo plaid right now.  This caddy is so cute!  I'd put picnic stuff in it.

27- Coleman Sleeping Bag
We own this sleeping bag for one of the kids.  It's very nice.  The outside is canvas, so it's not too slippery.

28- MyJo K-Cup Coffee Maker
This little device is pretty neat.  It uses hot water to press K-cups directly into your mug.  It think this would be great for college students too.

29- Buffalo Plaid Sheets
These flannel sheets look so cuddly for cold fall nights in the woods.  If/when I get a tent trailer, I want to do it up in the plaid.

30- Flannel-Back Tablecloth
We always cover the picnic table with flannel-backed tablecloths.  They have plastic tops that wipe off easily.  Just watch out for marshmallow forks




I had so much fun putting this list together, and it was hard to know when to stop.  I could have put so many more items on the list and done more "trailer decor" themes.  But, I'll just have do blog about those another day.

Come back again tomorrow for another All Wrapped Up blog post!

Click on the Picture to Go to the Post List
Gifts for Campers and Glamper: a gift guide from In Our Pond




Thursday, November 23, 2017

No Cost Gifts for Everyone

Happy Thanksgiving!  For today's All Wrapped Up blog post, I thought I'd focus on the immaterial.  Please enjoy this list of no-cost gifts you can give to anyone.


No Cost #gifts for #everyone- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #birthday #holidays


No Cost #gifts for #everyone- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #birthday #holidays



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

World War Two Gifts for Flyboys

World War Two Gifts for Flyboys- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #holidays #ww2 #flyboy #airplanes #mustang #spitfire #axisandallies

My husband has loved WWII airplanes for as long as I've known him.  He paints them on canvas, models them with plastic, flies them in simulators, and visits them at airshows.  My boys (5 and 4) have caught his enthusiasm and have learned many of the planes names.  Today's "All Wrapped Up" post is dedicated to all the Flyboys, from six months to 106 years.


World War Two Gifts for Flyboys- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #holidays #ww2 #flyboy #airplanes #mustang #spitfire #axisandallies

We have quite a collection of WW2 airplane books, but my husband is always adding more to his list.  Any one of these books (or others) would be great presents for adult historians.  Sadly, I didn't find a child-friendly one for my boys.  I think I'll have to make something for them someday- maybe a picture book called "B is for Blenheim."


World War Two Gifts for Flyboys- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #holidays #ww2 #flyboy #airplanes #mustang #spitfire #axisandallies

Those who grew up during WW2 or those who appreciate their music will love this collection of songs.  Perfect for letting the soothing jazz take you away into your memories.


World War Two Gifts for Flyboys- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #holidays #ww2 #flyboy #airplanes #mustang #spitfire #axisandallies

I bought these die-cast planes for the kids when we went to the WW2 fly-in this summer.  They loved them!  Each plane is about four inches long and has a four inch wingspan.  They would make great stocking stuffers or souvenirs for young pilots.


World War Two Gifts for Flyboys- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #holidays #ww2 #flyboy #airplanes #mustang #spitfire #axisandallies

We have a bit of history with Tex Hill and the Flying Tigers.  My husband prepared airplanes to go in a museum (including figuring out the engineering for how to hang them from the ceiling) and got to place his Flying Tiger nose art in the exhibit.


World War Two Gifts for Flyboys- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #holidays #ww2 #flyboy #airplanes #mustang #spitfire #axisandallies

When your Daddy loves airplanes, the son wears a bomber jacket.  I don't even know how many we've owned in our short family history.  The puzzle looks like something my boys might enjoy doing in the future.


World War Two Gifts for Flyboys- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #holidays #ww2 #flyboy #airplanes #mustang #spitfire #axisandallies

I was going to picture a different model, but my husband said this brand is his favorite.  He has made several models and has done a few with the kids as well.  I can see my whole house getting filled up with them very easily (wink).

World War Two Gifts for Flyboys- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #holidays #ww2 #flyboy #airplanes #mustang #spitfire #axisandallies

I'd love to find a book version of this poster, because I know my boys would love it.  It shows the common planes for the major countries and give a bit of stats about each one.  This poster would be great for enthusiasts.  They could even challenge themselves to see all of them in a certain amount of time.


World War Two Gifts for Flyboys- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #holidays #ww2 #flyboy #airplanes #mustang #spitfire #axisandallies

I found this ceiling fan and had to include it.  I would be so cool in a young pilot's bedroom or in a man cave.  The pilot photo would also be good in an airplane-themed room.




Click on the Picture to Go to the Blog List
World War Two Gifts for Flyboys- a gift guide from In Our Pond #christmas #holidays #ww2 #flyboy #airplanes #mustang #spitfire #axisandallies