Happy December from the Dekker family!
I’ve been slow on getting ready for Christmas this year — in fact, we still don’t have any decorations up (I’ve been doing less and less decorating every year) and the kids haven’t even asked about it yet.
I also haven’t even started the process of ordering Christmas cards… I’ve even considered not sending them this year!
I’m still very excited for the Christmas season, but more than ever before, all the “extras” just feel like they’re getting in the way of celebrating instead of adding to the fun and joy of celebrating.
I’m always in favor of purging things (physical, emotional, mental) that feel like excess baggage… and this year, decorations and cards feel like extra baggage. Who knows, inspiration may strike in the 11th hour and I’ll pull something together… but I’m not stressing about it!
Despite our lack of decorations and Christmas card progress, we have been enjoying our favorite Christmas songs and goodies for a few weeks already (more on this below)!
Here are a few more of my favorites for the month!
FAVORITE MOMENT = Paiting Nails with Nora
Yes, I painted my fingernails — probably for the first time since high school (and even then, it was only for special occasions like spirit week or prom!)
I’m not really a “nail person”… and wouldn’t you know, my Nora just loves painting her nails, putting nail decals and stickers on, and growing her nails as long as her piano teacher will allow! 😉
I splurged a bit for Nora’s 10th birthday and surprised her with the full manicure set from Olive & June (with a coupon code) along with 10 different nail polishes.
We each did a manicure that first night, and I was impressed with how good it looked.
A week later, I was honestly flabbergasted that I still didn’t have any chips or smudges (even with all the yard work, housework, baking, cooking, fixing, washing, typing, piano playing, etc. I do each day).
The picture below is after 8 days… not too shabby!
When I put Nora to bed after our first night of manicures, she said in her prayers, “…and thanks that my mom and I could have lots of fun doing something that I know my mom doesn’t really like doing.”
So it looks like I’ll be doing more manicures in the upcoming months!
Use this link to get 20% off your order (and usually a free nail polish) if you’re interested in trying some of the Olive & June nail polishes yourself (or if you have a nail-loving daughter or granddaughter!)
PAST FAVORITE = Lighted Vests
Dave and use these lightweight, inexpensive lighted vests when we go walking/running in the morning or evening. They are adjustable and fit easily over our heaviest coats.
These vests offer “constant on” or “blinking” LED lights on the back (they come with batteries!) and reflective material on both the front and back.
They also come with a handy storage pouch.
We don’t use the vests much in the spring or summer when the days are longer, but they sure are handy for dark winter mornings and evenings.
FAVORITE CLOTHING = Orvis Sweatshirts
Last year, I purchased 2 sherpa fleece quarter-zip sweatshirts from Costco and basically lived in them all winter.
They were quite tattered and worn this year, so I headed back to Costco to see if they had anything similar. I was originally bummed when I didn’t see anything… until I came across a pile of extremely soft, cozy sweatshirts marked down to only $7.99.
I picked up 2… and have basically worn them every day since — the insides feel like the softest fleece material ever!
Here’s the Costco link for this exact shirt (although I’m not sure how much longer the link will work).
James and I were matching one day and he wanted a picture.
FAVORITE BOOK = The Wonder of Creation
The Wonder of Creation is the 3rd children’s devotional in a really fun series about God and Science — written by Louie Giglio — and it JUST released last month.
We own (and LOOOVE) the first 2 books, so when I saw a third book was coming, I immediately pre-ordered it.
The book arrived a couple of weeks ago and we have already enjoyed many of these new devotionals.
Here are links to all 3 of his “God + Science” devotionals:
- Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids about God and Science
- How Great is Our God: 100 Indescribable Devotions about God and Science
- The Wonder of Creation: 100 MORE Devotions about God and Science
If you have nature-loving, science-intrigued kiddos, I’m confident they will enjoy these daily devotionals as much as our children have over the past several years.
And honestly, you’ll enjoy them too. Dave and I have actually learned quite a bit about the science aspect of things, and Dave has used some of the devotionals with his high school students (the books are geared towards ages 5-12).
The illustrations are fantastic and the application concept is so apparent by the end of each short devotional message.
GET THE NEWEST BOOK: The Wonder of Creation
FAVORITE MEDIA = Amazon Music Unlimited
I’ve mentioned before that the only time I ever listen to music on the “radio” is during the Christmas season… and this year, like many years prior, I’ve happily capitalized on Amazon’s 3-months FREE Music Unlimited!
I signed up in mid-November and will enjoy Christmas music (usually just instrumental) from now through the end of January. Then I’ll cancel my membership before being charged.
Dave always listens to music, so he also benefits from our 3-month free trial!
If you’re in the mood for ad-free Christmas music (or any type of music) that you can play or stream to any device, I’d recommend cashing in on this fantastic Amazon freebie while it’s still here!
Just remember to cancel before your 3-month trial is up to avoid the $7.99 monthly fee.
Try it Now: 3 Free Months of Music Unlimited
FAVORITE HOBBY = Holiday Baking
Our home might not look all that Christmasy… but the kitchen sure smells good!
Clara and I have already surprised the big kids with several batches of our favorite Christmas cookies and bars, as well as 2 large batches of fudge and a really delicious dark chocolate pecan pie (recipe from a friend).
Needless to say, our after-school snacks have been elevated to a new level these last few weeks!
If you’re looking for easy, family-friendly holiday treats that use ingredients you probably already have in the house, let me hook you up!
Simple Christmas Favorites:
- The perfect cut-out sugar cookies
- Spiced molasses cookies
- Creamy lemon bars
- 4-layer caramel peanut butter fudge
- The most delicious (from a box) bundt cake
RELATED READING: Find your new favorite recipe in my virtual recipe box
FAVORITE RECIPE = Bacon-Wrapped Sausage Bites
Yup, they taste as good as they sound — and they are SOOOOO easy!
These delicious bacon-wrapped sausage bites are a holiday treat around our house and I’ve already made them once.
With only 3 ingredients, they are the perfect addition to a holiday brunch, a tasty appetizer that pairs well with almost anything, or a yummy sweet + salty snack everyone will gobble up.
You can assemble them in advance and bake when you are ready to eat… or bake them completely ahead of time and keep them warm in the slow cooker. You really can’t mess these up!
My only words of advice would be to make MORE than you think you’ll need — these always go quickly.
GET THE RECIPE: Bacon-Wrapped Sausage Bites
FAVORITE QUOTE = To Kill a Mockingbird
“People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for.” – Atticus Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird)
I recently re-read this classic novel and then Dave and I borrowed the DVD from our library (yeah, we know how to have a good time!)
Dave loves To Kill A Mockingbird and has fond memories of reading it with many English students during his first few years of teaching, so he was more than willing to re-watch the movie and listen to me talk about the book over the last few weeks.
One quote (among many) that stuck with me was when Atticus said, “People generally see what they look for and hear what they listen for.”
I suppose this isn’t really a “favorite quote” but one that resonated with me because I know how true it can be in my own life.
How often do we simply see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear?
FAVORITE ARCHIVED POST = Christmas Cards
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t know if our family will send out a traditional Christmas Card — Dave thinks we should, but I don’t really feel like it (and let’s be honest, I’m the one who does all the work!)
So in lieu of the fact that I still haven’t ordered cards for 2021, I thought it might be fun to look back on many of our past Christmas cards (especially for newer readers!)
That’s all for this month. 😆
If you’re interested, you can scroll through ALL my Favorite Things posts HERE!