Dec 21

girltalk {christmas} links

2010 at 2:41 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

Kevin DeYoung has written a short biography of the real Santa Claus. Part one (of two) is up today.

In his post, Disturbing Christmas, my dad explains why Christmas should disturb us before it should comfort us.

And Dad also has a wonderful gift idea for everyone on our list—and it’s free.

We can all learn from the godly character of Mary, mother of Jesus, in this article by Nancy Wilson.

In a transcript of an old radio broadcast, Elisabeth Elliot draws spiritual truth from the Christmas Carol, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

Dec 20

A Pefect Pairing

2010 at 2:49 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

You can’t beat a good book paired with a hot drink this time of year. And I have a pretty sweet recommendation for both. For a little Christmas reading that will remind you of the significance of this holiday, look no further than chapter five, “God Incarnate” in Knowing God by J.I. Packer. This book is a “must read” that should be ordered today if it doesn’t already have a home on your shelf. I’ll just give you sneak peak to hold you over until you get to enjoy the full experience:

“It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the profoundest and most unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. ‘The Word became flesh’ (Jn. 1:14); God became man; the divine Son became a Jew; the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. And there was no illusion or deception in this: the babyhood of the Son of God was a reality. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as is this truth of the Incarnation….The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity—hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory—because at the Father’s will Jesus Christ became poor and was born in a stable so that thirty years later he might hang on a cross. It is the most wonderful message that the world has ever heard, or will hear” (p. 53, 63)

Now the only thing to make your reading of this chapter any sweeter is to have a cup of homemade hot chocolate in hand. My mom has been making hot chocolate for years and it is a family favorite. Oh and did I mention that it is super easy to make? Here are the directions:

Combine one 11-ounce jar of non-dairy creamer, an 8 quart size box of dry milk (will make 8 quarts when mixed with water), 1 pound of Nestle’s Quik and ½ a box of powdered sugar. Mix it all together and use 4 to 5 heaping teaspoons per cup of hot water. I like to top mine off with a huge scoop of cool whip, but marshmallows are also allowed.

Merry almost Christmas, everyone! We’ll catch ya again tomorrow.

—from the archives

Dec 17

Friday Favorites: Your Christmas Traditions

2010 at 2:40 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Holidays | Traditions

Hi all, Janelle is doing a photo shoot for a friend’s newborn baby this afternoon, so she asked me to post the Christmas tradition ideas. It was so hard to pick from all your creative entries, but here are a few of our favorites. I lam trying to figure out how I can add all six of them into my family’s Christmas traditions this year! Ok, that might be a bit much, but at least one or two. Or three. Hope you enjoy these as much as we did. And check back later for 52home—Janelle said she might post one of her pics from today’s photo shoot. May the wonder of Immanuel—God with us—bring you comfort and joy this weekend. Nicole for the girltalkers Cinnamon Roll Giveaway from Emily Every year I make dozens and dozens of cinnamon rolls to give out as gifts and to enjoy with our family Christmas morning. The really fun part is getting all our kiddos together (5; ages 8,6,4,2&1) along with my husband, bundling up in our pjs and winter coats and going around to our neighbors, delivering our rolls, christmas carols and our family christmas letter. Our children LOVE to do it and we have to hold them off Christmas morning, until a reasonable hour. It has been a way we are seeking to live on mission in our nieghborhood and redeem the emphasis on getting to giving. Christmas Clues from Susan My husband grew up doing “clues” every Christmas. In addition to stockings the kids would get one big family present. But they had to find it. His Dad would prepare “clues” and when they figured them out and followed them they would find the prize. Dad used everything from crossword puzzles to Hangman and picture riddles. This is such a highlight in our family history that we have started doing it too. Here’s a recent example. Last year when we got the kids a Wii we had four clues for them. Each was taped to the bottom of a Little People Nativity character and hidden throughout the house. Each child was given a room to search in and when they had found all of the clues they had to come together and try and figure out the meaning. The first clue was a picture of our babysitter (“Nan”); second the Roman Numeral X (“ten”); then a picture of a female deer (“doe”) and finally a picture of a child going down a slide with a speech bubble (saying “whee!”). Nan-Ten-Doe-Whee. The extra time invested in preparing the clues (which usually means a late night after all the presents are finally wrapped) has been so worth it. Not only have their detective skills improved but they have learned to work together and have fun! Christmas “Services” from Patti When my kids were young, I started a tradition that I hoped would focus their hearts on Christmas day back from all the gifts they received, to serving one another. My inspiration was that God so loved us that “he gave”, and I wanted to create a means for them to do the same for each other. So on Christmas Eve, we secretly drew names with all those that were sharing our holiday. We each had to think of a way we could serve that person by the end of Christmas Day, and we wrote it down on a given piece of paper, which went into a small envelope amd nestled into the branches of our Christmas tree. For example, if I drew my daughter’s name, I would think of a way to communicate sacrificial love to her in a way that would touch her heart, like drawing her a bubble bath, complete with candles, music, and a hot towel for Spa Time, or relieving her of her dishwashing duties after the big Christmas meal. After gifts are opened on Christmas morn, we pass around the envelopes so our secret is revealed, and everyone serves their person at some point in the afternoon or evening. Now my children are grown, but when we share Christmas together, we still do our special tradition, which we simply call ” Christmas services”. “I thought of you…” from Dava On Christmas mornings ever since my now six foot tall sons (3) were little, we GIVE our gifts. The pile by each person has the gifts they are giving, not getting, and “I thought you could use this Dad” or “I thought of you the minute I saw it” can be heard instead of “it’s MY turn”. Book Game from Ava We have an annual “book game” on Christmas Eve which works well for a family full of bookworms. My dad picks out books for everyone in the family and wraps them up without putting anyone’s name on the books. Then, everyone has to guess and take which book might be theirs. After everyone takes their books, Dad tells us who guessed correctly. Everyone else has to do another round until everyone has the book that is for them. Then, we all open our books. The books are always so thoughtful and tailored really well to our interests. We love it! Christmas Notes from Amy When I married my husband I found that his family has a wonderful tradition that we now continue with my in-laws as well as with our own 3 kids. Each person writes every other person a note to put in their stocking. On Christmas morning when we open stockings (along with the small gifts inside) we have several notes from family members. We read them and then put them back in our stockings so they are there the next year as well. That way, each year we are able to read our current letters as well as past letters. After a few years the stockings get really full and the letters get moved to a box to store them in. Each Christmas eve I love sitting down and writing a special letter to each of the members of my family. I love that when my kids are older they will have a whole box of letters from my husband and I going back to when they were infants. I also never get tired of reading the past letters from my husband to me.

Dec 16

What’s in the Bible? DVD Winners

2010 at 4:22 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Fun & Encouragement

We are excited to announce the winners of our What’s in the Bible? DVD Giveaway. Thanks to all of you who entered to win. It was so encouraging to read notes from moms, grandmas, aunts, Sunday school teachers and friends telling us how you want the children you love to understand the Bible’s message of the gospel. May God give you your heart’s desire! We hope these videos will be a blessing to the winners. Thanks to the folks at What’s in the Bible? for your generosity!

I would love to have the video for my own children. Being the only Christian parent of a two parent household, I can use all the extra resources I can get to provide my children with as much exposure to God and his Word.

I would like to give this video to Esther (13) and Daniel (5), two very poor Nigerian children (whose devoted Christian parents sell various items for a living… on the streets of Athens, Greece.) They are faithful, serving members of the International, English-speaking church that my husband, Steve, pastors here in Athens, and I know they would share the video with the Sunday School class so all the refugee children who attend our church could also view it, multiplying the impact of one video.

I nanny for a family with three kids (ages 3, 7, and 10) who are non Christians, and I would give the DVD to them. In my two years with this family, I’ve been trying to share Christ with them, especially since their parents are not Christians, and I am always on the lookout for resources that I can use with them.

I would love to give this video to my little son, Nathan (age 5), with Down Syndrome. Of everything in his life, he seems to identify best with the Veggie Tales videos for learning. This looks like a perfect match for his continuing to learn Scripture.

Dec 15

What’s in the Bible? Christmas Blog Tour and Giveaway

2010 at 2:02 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under Homemaking | Holidays

Recently one of my favorite authors, Randy Alcorn, blogged about a new video series for kids from Veggie Tales creator Phil Vischer. What’s In the Bible? is a 13-DVD series designed to walk kids and families through the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. After watching the first video with his grandson, Randy Alcorn wrote:

I was impressed with the depth of biblical background and commentary on God’s great drama of redemption. Yet it’s so engaging to children and adults (namely me) that it remained fun and entertaining throughout. My grandson Matt retained a great deal of the material, bringing it up days later. What a remarkable combination of entertainment and biblical substance. I envision parents learning God’s Word right alongside their children, leading to spiritually significant conversations, and heightened interest in Bible study, something we desperately need. I applaud Phil Vischer’s efforts, and eagerly look forward to watching more of “What’s in the Bible” with my grandchildren…and when they’re not available, maybe by myself!

With an endorsement like this, we were eager to let girltalk readers know about these videos and participate in What’s in the Bible? blog tour: 12 Questions of Christmas. Today we present video 11 of 12. Check out to find the location of tomorrow’s video (as well as previous videos) in the series.

Who is Immanuel, and what does he have to do with Christmas?

The kind folks at What’s in the Bible? have graciously given us four copies of video #1: “In the Beginning” to giveaway to girltalk readers. Contact us before 10pm today and tell us (in one or two sentences) about the child(ren) you’d like to give this video to, and we’ll announce four winners tomorrow.

What’s In The Bible? DVDs 1-4 (Genesis - Ruth) are available now. Check out to learn more.