20 Ways to Become a Child Again at Christmas

Laura Ingalls Wilder’s, Little House on the Prairie, was one of my favorite book series as a child. I gobbled them up as soon as they hit the library shelves. During this time of year, one quote from her seems to sum up the magic of the season:

Become a Child Again

I imagine that playing like a child again is part of the magic of being a grandparent. It is with that in mind that I have compiled this Christmastime Fun with the Grandkids list. I hope you enjoy. Please let me know if you have traditions or ideas you don’t find here.

Become a Child Again at Christmas

  1. While driving around looking at Christmas lights, have the kiddos dressed and ready for bed in their Christmas pj’s. Tuck them in the backseat with blankets, hot cocoa and Christmas cookies. Our kids would usually fall asleep, so it was easy to tuck them in when we got home.christmas lights
  2. Attend a tree lighting ceremony. Fairhope, AL celebrated their annual tree lighting on November 17, 2022. Driving through this magical city will elicit ooh’s and awes until after Mardi Gras. The Christmas decorations come down after the holiday, but the trees remain lit until after Fat Tuesday.
    Fairhope Tree Lighting
    Photo credit: Stephen Savage of Fairhope, AL

    Small town tree lightings happen all over the country. Having one tree dedicated to the city is a fun and exciting event to attend. This tree is located in Chickasaw, Alabama, just north of Mobile.

    Chickasaw, Alabama Christmas Tree
    Photo credit: Karen Marie Moulton, a dear friend.
  3. Visit the Birmingham Zoo Glow Wild (Glow Wild will be magical now through January 16, 2023)  or a local attraction that decorates for Christmas. Bellingrath Gardens in Mobile, AL has been a holiday tradition for 28 years. Walk through the gardens now through January 4th, 2023. They offer hot cocoa and snacks at the Live Oak Plaza.
  4. Make christmas candy together. What you make doesn’t matter. Invite your grandkids to bring their best buddy and bake something delicious. It can be fudge, divinity, cookies, or a gingerbread house. I’ve seen  a YouTube video of ladies who gather with their kids every year to put a gingerbread kit together. The event takes place on a porch decorated like a winter wonderland. The floor and work surface is covered with butcher paper for easy cleanup. Sam’s has a gingerbread house kit now, that would be easy and fun to put together. No matter their age, any baking can be fun and messy! christmas baking
  5. Visit a live nativity. Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, AL has a walk-through nativity December 7-9 from 6:45 until 8:45. It is both wheelchair and stroller accessible.
  6. Drop by the library in early December to check out Christmas books.
  7. Read a classic like “A Christmas Carol”.
  8. Decorate the tree together.
  9. Hide the pickle ornament on the Christmas tree. We have been hiding the pickle now for several years and it is still a family favorite. Even with the adults! Purchase a pickle ornament and one person hides it on the tree. The rest of the family goes on a pickle hunt and whoever finds it gets to open a gift. I usually purchase a gift just for the pickle, but you can also opt to let the winner open one of their gifts early.
  10. Make stocking stuffer gifts together for mom and dad and/or siblings. Some ideas include making candles, decorating small picture frames with Christmas baubles, making ornaments, putting together a hot cocoa recipe with marshmallows, etc.
  11. Rent a karaoke machine to sing carols at gatherings, or if you have a pianist in the family… what a wonderful memory of the family singing around the piano.
  12. Bake a pizza with Christmas shaped cheese and pepperoni.
  13. You’ll feel so much like a child at Christmas with this one! Build a quilt tent together and string some lights. Better yet, add a small tree inside just for kids, allowing them to create and decorate their own ornaments. You can add egg-crate mattress toppers to the bedding to make it a bit more comfortable for Grandpa and Grandma. Sleeping over in the tent might become a tradition everyone loves.
  14. Since penguins have become synonymous with Christmas, go on a penguin hunt: make a scavenger hunt list of birds in your area and mark them off as you head toward the local zoo. The last birds you’ll see are penguins at the zoo. Be sure your local zoo has penguins before you go!
  15. Weather permitting, have a Christmas picnic either at a local park or in your own backyard. Cut sandwiches with cookie cutters in Christmas shapes, purchase some christmas shaped treats at your local grocery store, use holiday paper products. Play Christmas Hangman – all words have to be holiday themed. Lie on your back and try to make Christmas shapes out of the clouds.
  16. Read the story of Jesus’ birth in the Bible and draw pictures of different scenes, like the manger, shepherds with their sheep, angels, Mary on the donkey or the wise men bowed before the Christ child. Color or paint the pictures after you draw them. Or purchase a coloring book with the story illustrated for you. Color the pages together as you read the story.
  17. Since your family will be gathering at Christmas, make a family tree together and tell the story of how your family began. Have your grandkids present it to the family on Christmas Day.
  18. Play puzzles and games: we loved playing games during the school holidays. Like old maid and go fish when they are young, Uno, tic-tac-toe, checkers, Parcheesi. Recent purchases include Code Names, Phase 10, Trivia Pursuit, Poetry for Neanderthals and Apples to Apples.
  19. Host a christmas movie night – this is a great opportunity for matching pj’s, christmas afghans for each child, and fun movie snacks. Drink hot chocolate out of christmas mugs with marshmallows and sprinkles, eat some popcorn with red and green candies.
  20. Pile all the kiddos into the back of your pick up truck with blankets, pillows and hot cocoa. Drive safely and slowly – just in your neighborhood to take them caroling with a karaoke machine. They can sing without getting out of the vehicle. This activity is for adults and children to enjoy together. If you have a golf cart and a trailer, decorate the vehicle and trailer too.

These fun activities will have you feeling like a child again at Christmas! If you have more ideas, please share them in the comments.

 

Be Grateful Now for Who You Are

Don’t give advice, unsolicited. I know. But, as I reflect this week on things to be grateful for, this is the number one thing that keeps popping into my head.

Be grateful now for who God created you to be

That’s the advice I would give my daughter, nieces and younger women of today, if they asked me. As I consider the stage of life I’m in right now, I want to roll around on the floor like a puppy or purrrr like a kitten. I’m thrilled to just sit in a place of gratitude that I’ve made it through the landmines of unnecessary worry, the missing floorboards of insecurity, the blurred vision of other’s perception and the outdated notion that somehow I might not be fashionable enough for the day. Don’t get me wrong. Retirement has it’s challenges, but overall, for now, today, I’m so very thankful for who God as Creator, made me to be.

Consider the lilies of the field. (Matt. 25:28)

be grateful now

 

Have you ever looked at a flower in your garden and thought, “Those colors really don’t go together. What was this little bloom thinking when she got dressed this morning?” Or have you whispered to a friend while considering the lily, “She obviously doesn’t have a mirror or a friend on this planet!” No? Why not? Well, of course it’s because she’s a natural beauty.

You are a natural beauty!

Does a lily ever look in a mirror? She has no need to look in a mirror. She is the reflection of God’s very nature. All of creation reflects His beauty. Consider her again. You never see her long, tender leaves folded over themselves – twisting in worry. Her bending in the breeze isn’t a result of stress over whether rain will fall or the sun will warm her petals today. She doesn’t care what color she is or what color the blooms are around her.

The lily is content with her caretaker. She trusts Him. Her roots are secure and if they turn a little gray, who cares!? Her face turns naturally toward the sun and she grows and matures in her own soil. She blooms where she is planted as they say.

This is only a test

My adult daughter nor my nieces have given me reason to write this. I know they are rooted in proper soil. I know to whom they turn their face in troubled and peaceful times, and I am so very grateful for that. No. I offer this advice because of my own struggles in my 20’s and 30’s. I didn’t blossom into a secure lily of His field until I was about 50. Perhaps that’s just the way my life was suppose to be – lessons I needed to learn and such.

As I was writing this, the greatest thing happened. I’m on my back porch and suddenly over a loud speaker I heard the words, “Attention! This is a test of the emergency warning system. This is only a test!” Then the siren went off for about 30 seconds and stopped. Again over the speaker, “Attention! This has been a test of the emergency warning system. This is only a test!”

Isn’t that what life is anyway? A test. All my worries, insecurities, desire to please others, stress, trials and tribulations are but a test. And all lessons learned are learned best by trial and error. So, now I think I’ll just add one more thing. Listen to the warnings! They are meant to protect you. Watch your step as you head into the storm shelter, being careful to know from where your help comes! Don’t trip over the lies of the world. Trust in the ONE who created you.

He made you for such a time as this. He designed your personality, your style, your interests. He fashioned you to be an influencer within HIS world. Not the world.

Thanksgiving 2022

So, as we head into Thanksgiving 2022, I am grateful to Him for making me who I am. Not in a proud, look how great I am kind of way, but, in a thank You for teaching me, kind of way. I’m grateful for the early Bible stories I was taught as a child. I only wish I had dissected the verse about the lilies a bit earlier. 😉  I’m thankful for the work ethic I learned while washing utility trucks on Saturday with my daddy. I appreciate the advice of a literature professor at Jefferson State Jr. College who suggested I consider a career in writing. The coffee money I’ve earned from this craft I love, could have been my downfall. But, I’ve learned that one or two comments from a friend or family member makes my writing priceless. My Mona Lisa. The “leaves” of my life.

Roses and Bible

Words can be gold or they can be poison. The word GRATITUDE is golden, but somehow doesn’t begin to describe the joy I experienced as a “work-from-home-mom.” I didn’t stay. Raising a family is busy work. Praying is hard work. Trusting is the hardest. But, somehow, 007 and I decided when my oldest was only 2 months old that my “job” would be caring for, teaching, loving, nursing and taxi-ing our children to and from wherever. That was our decision and we were fortunate to be able to make it happen.

I’m grateful for Larry Burkett, (Crown Financial Ministries) God rest his soul, who taught me how to budget. Yes, I was an envelope-toting-mom and when an envelope was empty, we did without. Cash was king! No credit card debt which meant we learned to sacrifice. Those sacrifices taught me appreciation in a way that debt never would or could.

Grateful for family

This year, I’ll have all my family together. The California son will be here with my daughter-in-love and my Birminghamians will sleep under my roof as well. I look at the 4 of them and I see love, faith, loyalty, and yes, beauty. I praise God that they make each other happy.

CoziNest Family Photo

They are all beautiful. But, it’s not only skin deep. Today I’m so grateful for who God made each them and who He made me. It is through His work in us that gives us pause to count our blessings. I pray He continues His work in all of us.

So, ladies, what gratitude advice would you give your adult children for their future?

Fighting the Frump with Corina Holden

How do you fight the frump?

This post contains affiliate links by which I might make a small commission should you purchase from this page. I recommend this program because I have used it, love it and want to share it with my readers.

Corina Holden is a young mom of 4 who was fighting the frumpiness of motherhood until she decided to do something about it. Her plan for “systematizing” her personal style is a win-win for her and all of her followers… like me! I stumbled upon her Instagram page and spent half a day reading and researching. It was like a reference catalog for avoiding frumpiness. In the quiet of my own private library (an online wealth of information!) I discovered the solution to my over-50 fashion dilemma. And I want to share it with you, in case you are in the same slump I was.

Corina Holden

As a retiree, there are days that I don’t want to get out of my pajama’s.  If nobody’s coming by and we aren’t going out, why bother?!? One of her comments woke me up from my frumpy slumber. It was time to change.  And yes, change is possible … even for an old dog.

“What you wear should come easy and make you feel cute and comfy without much thought. That’s why Frump Fighters® systematizes style and makes it EASY, FUN, and DO-ABLE for moms like you and me so we can feel put together QUICKLY and then move on to our ‘everyday’ with confidence—whether home with the kids, at work, or out doing errands.”

And to that I would add — whether home with the hubs, alone or spending a day with the grandkids. I was struck by the words “cute and comfy without much thought.” I wish I had the HOURS back that I’ve spent standing in my closet trying to decide what to put on this body. And I hate to admit that a lot of those days I just gave up and stayed in my pjs. Until I found Corina.

The easy style and unpretentious approach to fashion you find in her system is SO refreshing. As a 60+ year old who no longer wants to wear stilettos 👠, I have found new freedom in her tried and true formula for styling a cute and comfy outfit.  I purchased the 4th Edition What to Wear Calendar and I love it. I am about to pull the trigger on the interactive platform that allows you to use your own personal wardrobe in an easy to use app.

Frump-less Formula

What I love about her formula is how easy it is to decide what to wear every morning. Her outfit calendar is gorgeously divided into seasons, months, weeks and days. I did it the old fashioned way to start and printed the Summer Season and put it in a three ring binder.  For three glorious months I’ve simply looked at the month of choices, select the day of the week and voilà! My whole outfit is planned for me. I simply add my own personal touches here and there. Fighting the frump is less of a battle every day now!

 

Fighing the Frump

Fighting the frump with fewer PJ days

My whole attitude has changed toward what I used to call my pajama days. The sad thing was that they had honestly turned into pajama weeks at times. Now, I still have a day occasionally where I just feel like a nap or browsing through a magazine. But even on those days I choose something extremely comfy and it’s amazing how much more I get accomplished. There’s just something about getting dressed 💃, making your bed 🛏 and brushing your teeth 🦷  that makes for a better day. 😉 Don’t you agree?

I think our little Shih-tzu even feels better when I get dressed. I mean just look how bright her eyes are!! O’hara, the cat is pretty chill no matter what!

Prissy and Ohara

What do you think? If you check out this fabulous platform, leave me a comment. Fighting the frump is super easy with Corina’s formula. Or even if you don’t — I’d still love to know your thoughts on getting dressed after retirement. And for your enjoyment, here are a few late Summer, early Fall outfit ideas.

Natural Stone Bracelets to Diffuse Tension in the Office or Home

Have you ever just wanted to cry because of the stress and pressure of a long day?  Sometimes no matter how hard we try, the thoughts and worries of life seem to hang like a stone around our neck. But what if there were actual stones to drape around our neck or adorn our wrists that help to slow the tumbling avalanche that is our thoughts? Natural Stone Bracelets when coupled with essential oils, help smooth not only the surface, but our deepest, darkest moods.

diffusing tension

Diffusing Tension

A friend of mine recently told me this story about using essential oils in her office.  She works in an environment that at times is dark and depressing. Her office is secluded from others. She and the staff struggle to remain positive in an office that deals with mostly bad news on a daily basis. She stumbled on an opportunity to try essential oils. After several days of diffusing lavender oil she noticed that people in the office started hanging out at her door. They wanted to talk and seemed more cheerful. Funny thing, tho. They had no idea why!

The next oil she tried was spearmint. It seemed to energize those who spent time in her office. Work was getting done in a timely manner and moods were improved. She began experimenting with blended oils and after some time, the mood of the office was much improved. The bad news was still shared on a daily basis, but was undeveloped in the minds of the staff.

David and Goliath

Goliath was the proverbial giant of obstacles. But, a young David had a stone and a sling. He was able to stop the enemy by slinging a natural stone. While, this post does not promise any particular outcome, why not try a much smaller stone to moderate the stresses that seem unsolvable?

Since my friend shared her story, I have started using essential oils, too. I diffuse them with steam in my bedroom in the morning and before bedtime. My diffuser is rather large and the aroma spreads throughout most of the house. Unfortunately, not all employers will allow a diffuser in the office. So CoziNest now suggests the simple use of natural stone bracelets with pure essential oils.

Natural stone bracelets

Just dribble a couple of drops of the fragrance-of-your-choice to a natural stone bracelet and rub the bracelet in your hands. It will not only distribute the oil across the beads, but will also create an “aroma tent” in your palms to inhale the essence. Wear the charm of the day on your wrist and inhale periodically through the day. We currently have lavender oil in stock. As the demand increases, we will add other oils to our list of favorites.

 

Natural Stone Bracelets

Wiktionary defines bracelet as a small “piece of defensive armor for the arm.”   I propose that this is exactly what a natural stone bracelet with essential oil is. It is a defensive armor against unhealthy living. There are oils that are ingested for our health, inhaled for our mood and applied to the skin for healing various conditions.

armor

Benefits to Essential Oils

 *** Oils have been used in healing since ancient times. Many priests use them for anointing and treating several types of maladies. 

😇  The oils give you energy. You’ll stay focused to complete your tasks without the jitters you get with caffeine.

🍽  Activates enzymes in your digestive system to help with upset tummies.

📚  Improves your learning, memory, and focus.

😎  Boosts your immune system and helps keep you healthy.

I’m not an expert by any means, but since my friend introduced me, I love using these oils. If you would like to try this simple way to make your office or home more inviting and pleasant, try burning candles at home, and wearing natural stone bracelets with essential oils at work.

If you happen to be a candle girl, then here is one that will transport you to a tropical paradise! These candles are infused with citrus essential oils and will delight your senses.

Brookstone Candle Set of 2

 

Crashing these fabulous parties:

Sunday

Happiness is Homemade,

Mommy Moments

Across the Blvd

Keeping It Simple

Monday

Handmade Monday

The Scoop at Cedar Hill Farmhouse

Tuesday

 

Wednesday

Wise Woman Linkup!

Wordless Wednesday

 

This post contains affiliate marketing links and if you purchase, I will receive a small commision. Thank you!

 

The 10 Rewarding Roles We Women Live Daily

The 10 or so Roles We Live By

On my “About Me” page I mentioned the roles we live by. Not rules. That’s not a typo. Hehe. Stephen Covey talks about our roles in life and how focusing on them can help us find our purpose in life. I find that especially true when we, as women, enter the empty nest stage of life. How many hats do you wear?

We are still mothers, but parenting adult children is different than it was when they were in grade school. We are still wives, but now we can focus more on each other as spouses than we could while taxiing the kids to and from baseball practice or ballet lessons. Our roles may be the same, but with different or expanded perimeters now that the nest has emptied. How have you adjusted? Are you in the early stage of finding perhaps a new role or are you full throttle into a new and joyful life?

I started this blog as my newest role after my daughter went to college. It has been a tremendous blessing. Then, I opened an antique booth and worked that business for 5 years. That too was a blessing, offering me a way to meet and make new friends, earn a little fun money and provide others a fun shopping experience in a local antique mall.

Writer - One of our Roles

Now, I’m returning to the role as writer, encourager, and hopefully friend to those who are interested in finding or improving their roles in life during the golden years.

Discovering Your Roles

Here’s a list of my roles to help you name yours.

  • Believer, Child of the King
  • Wife
  • Mother
  • Mother-in-love
  • Daughter/In-love
  • Sister/In-love
  • Grandmother (someday for me)
  • Friend
  • Neighbor
  • Writer/Blogger

Each week, as I plan my days ahead, I look at this list and brainstorm ideas of ways to bless those affected by the many hats I wear. How do you fulfill your roles?

 

The Spirit of Gardening

Emilie Barnes is another author who inspired me to live my best life. Check out these other posts to help you think through your roles or how to fulfill them.

The Spirit of Loveliness: Hospitality

The Spirit of Loveliness: In the Garden

For instance, my role as believer leads me to study His word and pray in order to have a relationship with the Father. This one role filters down through all the others. He teaches me to prioritize what is important.

Just this morning I was reminded to seek His kingdom and all things like food, clothing and my very purpose in life will come to me. Speaking of clothing, there are so many different hats we women wear.

Please leave a comment describing your empty nest and how you are filling it these days.

It’s About Party Time! Introducing Nora Fleming

Nora Fleming and Carol Zeien, Two New Women in my Life!

There’s so much to unpack in this week’s post! All kinds of great new things are happening at CoziNest. First, and most importantly. let me introduce you to two new women in my life. Carol Zeien and Nora Fleming!  Carol, is a beautiful – inside and out, lady who is my new business partner at the shop at Southern Antiques & Accents.

She brings with her a wealth of knowledge about retail, a mutual love of our Lord and a dear, sweet friendship. She moved to the Fairhope area about a year ago and we met through a group of artist on the Eastern Shore. It is rare in life that you meet someone and feel you’ve known them your whole life, but this is the case with Carol.

Carol Zeien

For 12 years in the state of Iowa, Carol owned and operated her own tea room and gift shop, named Imagine This. The thing she still loves about her business is being able to use her creativity to help others make their own creative vision come to life while contributing financially to her family. She continues to paint as a freelance artist under the name Imagine This.

She is married to Don, Retired Chief Warrant Officer 3, US Navy who served 22 years in active duty. Their two daughters are Chandler and Camden. Chandler is married to Dustin Brannam, Captain, US Marine, and they are stationed in San Diego, CA. Chandler is a physical therapist at Rady Children’s Hospital. Their youngest daughter, Camden, is a student at Pensacola State where she is preparing for a career as an aesthetician.

carol and don zeien

Carol’s expertise in choosing inventory has already made a big hit in our shop. We now offer Mad Dash Food Mixes which sell out every time we sample them. They are selling like hot cakes for gift baskets as well as quick and easy dinners for our patrons.

We also offer teas from AppWyld Teas in North Carolina, scones, jams and lemon curd! AppWyld also makes their own bath salts and bath bombs which are brand new in the shop! Come in soon to make up a gift basket for those on your Christmas list, or to mark dinner off your grocery list.

Key Lime Pie Package

 

Carol is an incredibly talented artist

She paints commissioned pieces as well as some beautiful wall art that is for sale in our shop. She sent me a picture of this sheep a few days after we met and it SOLD immediately. Can you believe the eyes?

 

Carol Zeien Sheep

After hanging “Be Still” in MY den, we’ve been busy filling the shop with new and exciting inventory. One of my favorites is Nora Fleming.

An Ah-Hah Moment with Nora Fleming

A few months ago a customer of mine called with a suggestion. She asked me to consider carrying Nora Fleming in my shop. I had never heard of of Nora Fleming, so I asked her to tell me about it. Robin, thank you so very much!!! As she talked about the collection, I could hear her passion about the line and so I filed it away for future consideration.

When Carol and I discussed inventory weeks later, I asked if she had heard of it and yes! She had actually carried the line in her store in Iowa and was totally on board with adding it to our inventory.

I fell in love with the line as soon as I started researching. I have always loved entertaining and the simplicity of these platters, trays and bowls with interchangeable minis is such a no brainer!

If you love playing hostess but don’t have the space to store serving pieces for every holiday, Nora Fleming is your new best friend. The minis are small and don’t take up much space, but offer you so many options for every holiday and event of the year. One gift. Every occasion. Here’s how it works:

1. Select your base and mini

Nora Fleming Bread Tray

 

This is our bread tray with the collegiate helmet for the University of Alabama. We currently have Auburn, AL and and LSU in stock. We can order other schools if Nora Fleming has the license for your particular team.

 

 

LSU is represented here with the Octagonal Platter.

2. Dab hole in base with water and slip mini into the hole

nora fleming maple tidbit

3. Pull the mini stem from underneath to secure

These platters, trays and crocks make a great start to a gift basket. Brides love them. They make a great family gift for those family Christmas games like Dirty Santa or for the name you draw at the office. Start with a tray and mini, then add one of our Mad Dash Mixes, tea, scone mix or lemon curd for a unique gift for under $100.

Your gift will be loved and you’ll have ideas built in for the next birthday or holiday. The minis are both affordable and loveable and make collectors very happy!

 

Nora Fleming Minis

There’s a delightful mini for 12 months of the year! They are collectible and do retire, so be sure to get the ones you love as soon as you see them. They may not be here the next time you come in. Locations who have permission to carry Nora Fleming are limited to 25 miles between stores. We are lucky to have this line in Fairhope! Drop by the store to see the new line and hear about an upcoming promotion.

Our current inventory of minis include options for Valentine’s, Easter, Spring, St. Patty’s, birthdays, Summer, patriotic holidays, Fall, Football season, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, We may not get another order in before Christmas, so If you are a collector, hurry in!

If you are already familiar with Nora Fleming, please comment below and tell us about your favorite mini or event. We would love to hear! Also, please share this email with your friends! We want to spread the word about this beautiful new line in Shop #115 at Southern Antiques & Accents in Fairhope, AL.