Monday, November 25, 2019

{This and That} :: Thanksgiving and Advent

It's Thanksgiving Week and the First Sunday of Advent is coming up this weekend! With that in mind, I thought I'd kick off with some links from the archives that might help in your planning...

On Thanksgiving:
Cooking Up a Thanksgiving "Feast"

And on Advent:
A Time to Prepare (written SIX years ago!)
My whole Advent archives with lots of ideas for observance


Let's talk gifts!

As usual, I'll be spending some time this week trying to get Christmas gift plans and purchases in order so I can spend a quieter Advent. I always have a few last-minute things I have to handle in December, but it's nice to get the bulk of it finished or at least planned out so it doesn't consume my mental space in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

If you are looking for ideas too, I have a bunch of gift ideas for you in the posts below...
A Few of Our Favorite Things (ideas from last year)
What We're Reading...and Crafting and Playing :: Christmas Edition
My Top Ten Christmas Books for LittlesOur Favorite Keeping SuppliesCM-Friendly Easter Basket Ideas (...that would be great for Christmas gifts too!)

My {Getting Started with Handicrafts} series is also a great place to start for gift ideas. I love gifting art and craft supplies, partly because they promise lotsof worthy leisure time and partly because they are consumable and therefore aren't adding to our household clutter. ;)  (Speaking of, I have another post coming up later this week that I think you'll love! It's our newest crafting obsession. :))

And to add to the ideas: a few of our favorite things from THIS year...


These reusable sticker pad sets by Melissa and Doug have been a huge hit with my littles (and middles) this year. Several of the kids got them as birthday gifts early in the year and they have been in daily use since then.

I got my two oldest daughters a set of these stretchy floral headbands for their birthdays and they love them.

My almost-11yo daughter just picked out a new commonplace book and she chose one of these. They really are eye-catchingly pretty for the tweens and teens in your life.

If you don't yet have a portable terrarium (aka critter shack!), it would make a great gift for any age, all the way down to the littles.


And before I totally switch gears here, a couple ideas for mama...

I have three books on my personal wishlist this year: Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, The Woman Who Was Chesterton, and The Day is Now Far Spent. These have all come highly recommended by friends and I'm itching to read them! Do you have any books on your to-buy list?

And if education and encouragement is what you're after, the 2019 CMEC Retreat Package provides a healthy dose of both! :) Perfect timing as we head into those challenging winter months. (The 2018 Retreat Package is still for sale also if you missed it last year.)

By the way, the CMEC will be offering a DISCOUNT on both packages in honor of Thanksgiving later this week, so if you haven't purchased yet, this week is the time to do it!


Speaking of the CMEC, this past week were our Winter Form Meetings. Two nights to meet online Form by Form, sharing successes and struggles, getting answers to questions, and thinking through a few topics that moms often have questions about.

This term, we tackled dictation and mapwork. I posted a follow-up on Instagram and was deluged with DMs, so I'm planning a post here on the blog soon. We are finding some simple maps to be a wonderful accompaniment to our geographical readers.

Speaking of Instagram, I also put up a live in-process look at brush drawing in my Stories a couple weeks ago, courtesy of my 8yo, Bridget. (Her finished work is on the right below.) I saved the videos to a Highlight, so you can see it at the top of my feed. Even if you aren't on Instagram, you can still click over and view -- just click the little circle labeled "Brush Drawing." Hopefully it is a helpful look at another simple but rewarding part of our week. (We are using May Mallam's lovely reprint from Riverbend Press for our lessons, alternating with painting from life.)


Justin turned four this month!

I am so thankful for this little guy. What you can't see from these photos is how absolutely filled with life and joy he is. He brings smiles to all of us every day, and there is nothing I like better than watching him sing musicals to himself, draw "weekly paintings" (he's dying to be a big kid!), or cuddle with baby brother. He is a gift.

And that's our last family birthday of the calendar year! Although Justin always corrects me that the last birthday in our family is actually Jesus. Can't argue with that. :)


I was thinking of taking Advent off from the blog, but I have quite a few posts in the queue that I'm hoping to get to, so I'm taking that on as part of my Advent observance instead! We'll see how many I finish before baby arrives in (hopefully) early January. Stay tuned! :)

(Links above may be affiliate links. Thanks for your support.)


  1. Loved reading through this, Celeste. I got most of my Christmas shopping done already, also, so that I can "relax" during Advent, also. ;) I love your gift suggestions. I may tuck a couple away for birthdays. I'm going to go peek at your past Advent posts. Thanks for linking to them. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. I love your blog, Celeste, even if blogs are a dying art! 😅 Thank you as always for sharing your ideas - we are ((hopefully)) wrapping up Christmas shopping here this week as well. With sanity in mind, we're trying to do as much shopping on Amazon as possible, so your links are helpful!

    I particularly enjoyed reading back over your schooling plans for Advent - I think especially with littles, keeping structure is so important for everyone's sanity, so the touch of tuning it to the season sounds lovely.

    A blessed season to you all!


    1. Thanks so much, Nicole! :) I try to do my shopping mostly online too. Not a huge fan of stores during the holidays -- it seems any time of day, any day of the week is a bit of a madhouse! I can't wait to see on Instagram how you live out Advent with your sweeties. <3

  3. I will echo Nicole's comment and say that I love your blog too, Celeste, even though I don't comment often. It's so generous and loving of you to offer all of this helpful information to the rest of us out there, when (I have a feeling) you are a very busy and often tired mama. :)

    Thank you for these particular suggestions - I just added those floral headbands to my Amazon shopping cart. Surprisingly, they are the same price in Canada, which doesn't happen very often!

    1. Thank you, Laura! You are always so encouraging. :) Two of my girls are wearing those headbands as I type, so I hope your girls like them as much as mine do! :)

  4. Thank you for this list! I get really overwhelmed trying to buy gifts for my large family. Do you have guidelines you follow? Like how many gifts each child gets? What about group presents? thank you Celeste!

    1. Hi there! Yes, buying for such a big group can be very overwhelming! We don't use specific guidelines, but I have a spreadsheet and just fit things in as I plan. We usually limit it to a few small presents per child, and I do try to make it "even." :) It really varies year to year. We will occasionally do a big-ticket item as a family gift alongside some small things for each person. We most often gift craft supplies, books, and then maybe a couple other things each for each child. I am always curious how other families do it too! :)