• Christmas
  • Christmas In Bolivia

    As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, I’m exited to share some Christmas traditions, and how we celebrate Christmas in Bolivia; my homeland.

    Christmas in Bolivia - The Musings of Mum

    My family immigrated to the United States when I was just 11 years old, my husband’s family arrived from the Philippines in the same year. Seven years later, we married and formed a family that has managed to keep Bolivian and Filipino traditions, while also adopting American traditions, and in recent years British traditions. I guess you can say we love Christmas, and we love to pass down traditions.

    I’d love for you to grab a cup of hot chocolate, and learn a bit about how Christmas is celebrated in Bolivia.

    The Nativity and The Christ Child

    In the latter weeks of November, every family sets-up elaborate nativity scenes. These include lakes, hills, houses, all sorts of animals, shepherds and angels. Many of these take up entire rooms in many homes. I remember working on our nativity setting for hours with both of my parents. Just take a look at some of the pictures below.

    The Musings of Mum - Pesebres

    The central piece of the nativity of course is the Christ child typically made of porcelain or plaster. It is typically passed down from generation to generation. Traditionally, it should be gifted to you, purchasing one for your own nativity is considered very bad luck.

    Christmas in Bolivia - The Musings of Mum

    This one belonged to my grandmother’s grandmother. Though it’s chipped in several places, and it’s not as fancy as others, it has a great deal of sentimental value. It has been passed down for 5 generations, and I will one day pass it down to my oldest daughter.

    Yet another tradition related to the Christ child is to clothe him in new garments each year, and since a great majority of the Bolivian population is catholic, believers take the Christ to the Misa de Gallo (Christmas Mass) on Christmas Eve for a yearly blessing.

    The Food

    comidanavidena
    The traditional Christmas meal is the Picana Navideña or Lechón al Horno.
    The Picana Navideña is a tasty meaty soup, that has chicken, beef, and lamb. It’s served with fresh cheese, potatoes, celery, squash, carrots, onions. It is mainly seasoned with parsley, oregano, salt, white pepper and wine. You can see the complete recipe here.
    The Lechón al Horno (pork roast) is served with potatoes, sweet potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes and onions. Check out the recipe here.
    Of course, it’s not Christmas in our house without panettone, hot chocolate and if we get really lucky, some api (hot sweet drink made of purple and white corn).

    The Celebration

    Like in most countries around the world, singing villancicos (Christmas carols) is common in Bolivia. Children go door to door singing and dancing, and often getting some hot chocolate and buñuelos (fritters) in return.
    Families gather for the traditional Picana or Lechón and fellowship on December 24th. The celebration continues until late in the evening with singing, dancing and a brindis de Noche Buena (Christmas Eve toast) right at midnight.
    Gifts are exchanged after midnight, so the celebration can last all night. It often does at our house!
    Christmas in Bolivia - The Musings of Mum
    On Christmas Day, breakfast consists of sweet breads, buñuelos, panettone, hot chocolate and api.  The Christmas festivities and gatherings last until Día de Reyes, the Epiphany celebrating the day the Three Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem bearing gifts for the Christ child.
    To read more about our family’s Christmas traditions, read my contributor post on the iHomeschool Network blog here, and to learn how other countries around the world celebrate Christmas, click on the image below.
    christmas-around-the-world-63001
    What are some of your family’s Christmas traditions?

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  • Apologetics
  • Apologetics At Home: Top 10 Kid-Friendly Resources

    (This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.)

    Eleven years ago, I left a job at a company I loved, because my faith was under attack. I was mocked, and wrongly accused, yet the worst part was lacking the words to articulate my belief in Christ; and not having the ability defend my faith. This experience later inspired me to seek answers that would not just allow me to communicate clearly, but to have the ability to make a case for Christ and to even possibly persuade further discussion with an unbeliever.

    Apologetics at Home: Kid Friendly Resources - The Musings of Mum

    There are many reasons why apologetics should be a priority in every Christian home; last week I shared 5 reasons why you should teach apologetics to your children. If you haven’t yet, I urge you to read last week’s post.

    Now that you understand the importance of apologetics in your home, I’ll share my top 10 kid friendly resources.

    1. Cold-Case Christianity for Kids – This free interactive website allows kids to investigate Jesus and the case for God with a real detective (J. Warner Wallace). There is also a book companion for kids ages 8 to 12.
    2. The Truth Project – My favorite resource by far, due to the complexity of some of the topics, I’d recommend this for kids in middle school and older.
    3. Kids Answers – This website is run by the awesome staff of Answers in Genesis. You will find free videos, and activities, as well as questions and answers on just about any topic.
    4. 14 Ways I Teach Apologetics to My 5-Year-Olds – Quick and efficient examples by Natasha Crain, author of Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side.
    5. Case for Christ for Kids – For ages 8 and up, based on Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ.
    6. Creation for Kids – Part of creation.com, has a wide selection of articles, activities and games.
    7. Teen Apologetics – Great list of resources geared for teens, by Creation Science 4 Kids.
    8. Who is God and the What We Believe Series
    9. BJU Press – Biblical Worldview –
    10. Jonathan Park Adventure Series – Action packed adventures loved by boys and girls of all ages.

    3 John 1:4

    Join me next week, as I share resources to equip and encourage you to a deeper understanding of God’s word.

    What are your favorite apologetics resources for kids?


  • Famous Birthdays
  • J. Paul Getty: Industrialist, Art Collector, Philanthropist

    (This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.)

    J Paul Getty - The Musings of Mum

    The Industrialist

    John Paul Getty was born on December 15th, 1892, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    After graduating from Oxford University with degrees in political science and economics, he returned to the Unites States and made his first million by the age of 23. He began drilling for oil in California in the 1920’s and his fortune continued to grow. After his father’s death in 1930, he became president of the Getty Oil Company and began to purchase other oil companies which he later merged into the Getty Oil Company.

    During the 1940’s, Getty invested part of his fortune in an extensive art collection, that he would later share with generations to come. Before we learn more about his love for art, watch his mini biography below.

    Art Collector & Philanthropist

    My love of fine art increased – the more of it I saw, the more of it I wanted to see.

    J Paul Getty

    J Paul Getty believed that “art is a civilizing influence in society”, and worked to make art available to everyone. In 1948, he donated pieces from his personal art collection to the Los Angeles Museum of Art, in 1953 he established the museum trust and in 1954 he displayed his collection in is Malibu home. Getty’s mission was to share the art he loved.

    In my opinion, an individual without any love of the arts cannot be considered completely civilized.

    J Paul Getty

    The Museum

    Living in Southern California has its perks. We’ve had the opportunity to visit The Getty Center a few times, and we have seen beautiful works of art. If you’re anywhere near the Getty Center or the Getty Villa, I highly recommend you pay them a visit, however if you’re too far, the museum’s website has thousands of images of artwork available for download, and a great deal of resources, including hundreds of videos of talks, and collections on their YouTube channel.

    Wether you visit the museum in person or virtually, be sure to check out the top 10 must see things at the Getty Center. On our last visit we spent some time admiring Van Gogh’s Irises, sketching in the gallery and walking through the gardens.

    For Further Reading

    Full biography

    As I See It: The Autobiography of J Paul Getty

    The J Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collection

    The Roads of the Romans


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    For more December birthday celebration posts, click on the image below.

    iHomeschool Network - Famous Birthdays

  • Crafts
  • 5 Days of Easy Christmas Crafts: Christmas Light Stencil Art

    Christmas Crafts - The Musings of Mum

    Supplies:

    Christmas Crafts - The Musings of Mum

    black cardstock (1 per child)

    scissors

    scrap paper

    Prep-Time: 2 minutes 

    Directions:

    1. Cut out Christmas bulb shaped pieces out of the scrap paper.
    2. Use the paper cutouts as stencils and trace with chalk on black paper.
    3. Using green chalk draw cord from bulb to bulb.

    The verse we’re using for today’s craft is:

    And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

    Luke 2:10

    Christmas Crafts - The Musings of Mum

    Click on the image below, for more easy crafts your pre-schooler will love.

    5 Days of Christmas - The Musings of Mum

  • Famous Birthdays
  • Steven Spielberg: Filmmaker, Storyteller, Dreamer

    (This post contains affiliate links, see my full disclosure here.)

    spielberg-long

    I think it’s very safe to say that Spielberg is a well-known name in most households. It definitely is in mine, and not just because I am the proud mother of a film student.

    Spielberg was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on December 18th 1946. At the age of 10, he took over as the family filmography and in 1963, at the age of 16 he wrote and directed his first his first full-length film. Spielberg got his first professional job at the age of 21, making him one of the youngest directors of his time.

    You can read Spielberg’s biography here, and watch his mini biography below.

    The Filmmaker and Philanthropist

    Spielberg has over 150 producer credits on both television and film. You’ll find his name in the credits well-known movies like Schindler’s List and even on cartoons like Pinky and the Brain. Some of his most popular films include:

    1. Schindler’s List
    2. Jurassic Park
    3. Raiders of the Lost Ark
    4. Saving Private Ryan
    5. Jaws
    6. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial
    7. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
    8. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    9. Catch Me If You Can
    10. Minority Report

    As a result of his involvement with Schindler’s List, he established the Righteous Persons Foundation which is dedicated to supporting efforts that build a diverse and vibrant Jewish community in the United States and the USC Shoah Foundation which collects and preserves testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust.

    Quotes From A Storyteller and Dreamer

    Spielberg claims the best advise given to him by another filmmaker was to never let go of the child inside. It’s that child-like ability to dream that has inspired many of his films. I love the following quotes, because they inspire us to dream!

    “When I grow up, I still want to be a director.”

    “Only a generation of readers will span a generation of writers.”

    “When you listen, you learn. You absorb like a sponge and your life becomes so much better than when you are just trying to be listened to all the time.”

    “I don’t dream at night, I dream at day, I dream all day; I’m dreaming for living.”

    “All good ideas start out as bad ideas, that why is takes so long.”

    “Sometimes a dream almost whispers… it never shouts. Very hard to hear. So you have to, every day of your lives, be ready to hear what whispers in your ear.”

    For Aspiring Filmmakers

    As a lover of classic cinema, I love what he has to say to aspiring filmmakers. I also force my kids to watch back and white, and even silent films.

    To learn more about Spielberg, check out the links below:

    10 Interesting Steven Spielber Facts – I specially like number 8!

    Steven Spielberg Filmography

    Steven Spielberg Fast Facts

    Who is Steven Spielberg?

    Steven Spielberg: A Biography, Second Edition

    Do you have an aspiring filmmaker in your homeschool? 


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  • Encouragement for Moms
  • Chronic Beauty: A Courageous Fight to Live Fully

    As a mother of 3 teen and 2 pre-teen girls I deal with more than my fair share of conversations about beauty both inward and outward. Like every good mom I assure them that beauty comes from the inside out, but I also remind them of their outward beauty. Let’s face it, we all need a reminder from time to time.

    Chronic Beauty - The Musings of Mum

    God’s Word tell us we are made in His image, and that we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

    I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

    your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

    Psalm 139:14

    What happens though when your chronic illness affects how you look on the outside and takes away the confidence you feel on the inside? or when your chronic illness affects you on the inside, but it is not obvious on the outside?

    “Frequently our illness skews our sense of beauty and self. What others see is rarely how we feel.”

    Look up the work ‘selfie’ on Google, I got 382,000,000 results in .52 seconds. The Oxford dictionary defines a selfie as ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media‘ and per Wikipedia, selfies are ‘usually flattering and made to appear casual‘.

    How many selfies have you taken of yourself today? This week?  This month?

    We’re not talking about how many you shared on social media, but rather how many selfies you took, before posting?

    Trust me, I’m not against selfies. I’m simply stating that we take selfies which are ‘usually flattering’ to remind us that we are beautiful, we are special and amazing women created by God.

    Lyme Warrior, has created a calendar featuring the stories of 12 women who are courageously battling chronic illnesses. Women that may not typically post selfies on social media, but who are beautiful, special and amazing.

    Will you help raise awareness by visiting the Lyme Warrior website? You will and learn more about lyme disease and the Chronic Beauty campaign. If you could, please stop by the Chronic Beauty store and purchase a calendar to learn about the featured women.

    Proceeds from this campaign will be split to benefit all the featured conditions.

    Chronic Beauty - Lyme Warrior

  • Crafts
  • 5 Days of Easy Christmas Crafts: Handprint Wreath

    Handprint Wreath - The Musings of Mum

    Supplies:

    Handprint Wreath - The Musings of Mum

    paper plates (1 per child)

    green cardstock (3 per child)

    red ribbon

    scissors

    glue

    jingle bells

    Prep-Time: 20 minutes (20 kids)

    Directions:

    1. Outline child’s hand on green cardstock and cout out as many as you can.
    2. Cut out inner part of paper plate.
    3. Glue cut out handprints all around the plate and ‘curl’ fingers out, like ribbon.
    4. Tie a ribbon to the bottom of the wreath.
    5. Add some bells for fun.

    Today’s craft Bible verse is:

    Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!

    Luke 2:14

    Handprint Wreath - The Musings of Mum

    Click on the image below, for more easy crafts your pre-schooler will love.

    5 Days of Christmas - The Musings of Mum

  • Crafts
  • 5 Days of Easy Christmas Crafts: Stained Glass Window Ornaments

    Stained Glass Window Ornaments - The Musings of Mum

    Supplies:

    Stained Glass Window Ornaments - The Musings of Mum

     

    contact paper (1 sheet child)

    colorful tissue paper

    black cardstock (1 sheet)

    red yarn in 4″ pieces (1 per child)

    scissors

    tape

    Prep-Time: 10 minutes (20 kids)

    Directions:

    1. Cut cardstock into 1″ squares.
    2. Cut tissue paper into 1″ squares.
    3. Cut each sheet of contact paper into two large circles.
    4. Layer tissue paper onto the circles, making sure every spot is covered. Trim off the edges.
    5. Tape yarn to cardstock squares and tape on to the circles to complete the ornaments.

    The verse we chose for todays crafts is:

    In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

    John 1:4

    Stained Glass Window Ornaments - The Musings of Mum

    Click on the image below, for more easy crafts your pre-schooler will love.

    5 Days of Christmas - The Musings of Mum

  • Crafts
  • 5 Days of Easy Christmas Crafts Your Pre-Schooler Will Love!

    Crafting with littles is one of my absolute favorite things. Even though my kids are now between the ages of 9 and 21, I get to do a great deal of crafting with pre-schoolers on a weekly basis. I’ve taught Sunday school for nearly 10 years, and I’ve spent 8 of those years in the four-year-old ministry. I’ve seen hundreds of them through the years and I’m convinced this is the ministry I want to serve in for the rest of my life.

    Since we get roughly one hour with 16 to 20 four-year-olds every week, and have to cover a bible lesson, worship, and make at least 10 restroom runs my assistants and I like to keep our crafts as easy as possible, getting most of the prep-work done at home the week before is crucial.

    This week I’m sharing 5 easy crafts for your homeschool, or Sunday school.

    5 Days of Christmas Crafts - The Musings of Mum

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    Day 1 – Table Top Christmas Tree

    Day 2 – Stained Glass Window Ornaments

    Day 3 – Handprint Wreath

    Day 4 – Stencil Chalk Art

    Day 5 – Jesus in a Manger (12/2)

    If you’re looking for more pre-school craft ideas, follow my Pinterest board.

    What is your favorite pre-school Christmas activity?


    Join other iHomeschool Network bloggers in the 5 Days of Christmas link-up!

    5 Days Of Christmas - iHomeschool Network

  • Crafts
  • 5 Days of Easy Christmas Crafts: Table Top Christmas Tree

    Table Top Trees - The Musings of Mum

    Supplies:

    Table Top Tree - The Musings of Mum

    green cardstock (1 sheet per child)

    colorful tissue paper

    liquid glue

    paint brush

    jingle bells (because every Christmas craft is better with bells)

    red yarn

    tape

    scissors

    Prep-Time: 15 minutes (20 kids)

    Directions:

    1. Roll cardstock into a cone, cut excess so tree can stand upright. Be sure to leave a small hole on the top.
    2. Cut or tear tissue paper in 2″ pieces.
    3. Brush glue on tree, and cover with tissue paper, and let it dry.
    4. String up bells and thread through the top of the tree.
    5. Share a Christmas story or Bible verse as you work with your child.

    Also, we add a short and meaningful Bible verse to every craft we send home. It’s a great reminder of what we learned each week.

    The verse we chose for today’s crafts is:

    A shoot will come from the stump of Jesse; from his roots, a Branch will bear fruit.

    Isaiah 11:1

    Table Top Tree - The Musings of Mum

    Click on the image below, for more easy crafts your pre-schooler will love.

    5 Days of Christmas - The Musings of Mum