Happy Birthday Creator-King

Finish Well Homeschooling Podcast, Podcast #103, Happy Birthday Creator-King, with Meredith Curtis on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast NetworkHappy Birthday Creator-King

In “Happy Birthday Creator-King,” episode #103, Meredith Curtis talks about birthdays and what makes birthdays special for the birthday person, the family, and the guests. How does the birthday person want to celebrate? As we celebrate Jesus, our Creator-King’s birthday, we can plan our Christmas celebration as a birthday where Christ is the center of all our plans, rather than an afterthought. If you can grasp these principles as a family, it will change your Christmas celebrations forever to be more festive and joyous than you could ever imagine.



20th Century History Book by Powerline Productions, Inc.


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Show Notes

Introduction: Our Favorite Birthday Tradition: The Encouragement Game.

For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16 NASB).

What makes a birthday special for the birthday person?

What makes a birthday special for party guests and family?

Christmas is a birthday.

How God the Father prepared for Christmas. Lining up empires, lining up languages, prophetic words, mysteries, angels, a star, birthday party guests,

Genesis to Revelation role of Christ as Creator/Redeemer

God the Father commemorates special events e.g Passover. Commemorate stones crossing Jordan.

When we celebrate His birthday, do we get the Passover meal ready, visit the stones near the Jordan or do we go to the high places?

Is Jesus, the birthday person, the focus of all our preparations or is he on the periphery?

What Jesus likes….

  • Worship
  • Marriage
  • Family
  • The Poor, Needy, those in Jail
  • Celebrations (e.g. in Nehemiah)
  • Prayer
  • The Word
  • Us to Enjoy what He has given us
  • Generosity


Let’s throw a party!

Gifts for Baby Jesus

Time set aside for Worship

Romantic Lights

Family Devotions

Family Memories

Reading His Word

Inviting the Lost to the Birthday Party


Merry Christmas from our families to yours.


Christmas Resources

Christmas Devotions by Meredith Curtis Celebrate Christmas with a traveling dinner by Meredith Curtis and Laura Nolette Celebrate Christmas with Cookies Unit Study by Meredith Curtis Celebrate Christmas in Colonial America by Meredith Curtis

Happy Birthday Creator-King

Planning the holidays with tech

Planning the holidays with tech

63: Planning the Holidays with Tech


Here are some ideas for planning the holidays with tech


I covered the topic in detail in Episode 10: Christmas Shopping the Techie Way
You might also find this blog post about using Trello for gift shopping helpful.

Google Calendar

Use Google Calendar to keep track of who needs to be where, who will be in for meals, who needs the car etc.


Trying to work out the best day to hold a holiday party, get together with friends, plan an outing with others? Doodle is a great tool to do that easily.

Trello or Google Sheets

I like using Google Sheets to plan meals and who will help prepare and clean up. You could also use Trello for this.
And I like using Trello to create my weekly and daily ‘to-do lists’. You could use it to assign chores to your children. Listen to the episode as I give some suggestions on how to do this.


I have been using Anylist for years and it makes grocery shopping so much easier. Once you have your menus set, add everything to the app and it sorts it into “sections” to make it easier to find items in the store. You can add all your family members to the app so that they can easily add items they need too.

Google Maps or Waze

Before you leave home to run errands, visit friends etc, check with your favorite GPS app to make sure that the route you usually take is the quickest during the holiday period.

Show sponsor, FundaFunda Academy has some fun resources for families today on cold winter days. Play in teams and see who can solve Mystery of the Amber Room or Mosby’s Treasure first.

Subscribe to the podcast so you don’t miss future episodes.

And be sure to join our Facebook group where we can talk about this together.

If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Planning the Holidays with Tech #technologypodcast #homeschoolpodcast #christmasplanning

Florida Christmas Roadtrips

Florida Christmas Roadtrips

Florida Christmas Roadtrips

Episode 82

Florida Christmas Roadtrips. As you probably already know, we love Christmas around here! In this episode, Suzanne lists some new places to visit for Christmas this year. Well, they are new to us. If you haven’t been, or are looking for something new to do this year, make plans to visit some of the places we have discussed on this episode.

It’s sure to be a bright and merry Chrismas here in Florida!


Events mentioned on the show:

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Thank you to our Sponsor – A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood Movie!

Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiveness from America’s most beloved neighbor.

12 Stories of Christmas

12 Stories of Christmas

12 Stories of Christmas

Episode 81

12 Stories of Christmas. It’s our favorite time of year! We love Christmas time around here. In this episode, we talk about some of our favorite Christmas stories… both books and on the big screen.

Listen in for some great book and movie suggestions for your family this holiday season. Get ready to snuggle in for a good Christmas story this year.

If your Christmas library is looking bare, we have suggested some of the books you might want to add to your collection. These books also make really great gifts. It’s always nice to receive a good book that can become part of your family’s Christmas tradition.

Books mentioned on the show:

    • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
    • ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
    • The Nutcracker by Susan Jeffers
    • The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski
    • How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
    • Letters From Father Christmas by JRR Tolkien
    • Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
    • The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg
    • The Carpenter’s Gift by David Rubel
    • The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry – Illustrated by P.J. Lynch
    • Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble
    • A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz

Hallmark Christmas Movie List


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Why We Love Hallmark Christmas Movies

Why We Love Hallmark Christmas Movies
Finish Well Radio, Podcast #079, Why We Love Hallmark Christmas Movies, with Meredith Curtis, on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network

In “Why We Love Hallmark Christmas Movies,” episode #079, Meredith Curtis talks about her own experience with Hallmark movies and why they are so satisfying to watch. She goes on to explain how the things we love about Hallmark movies are related to deeper desires that are in our hearts. She encourages you to explore the miracle of Christmas, different from the intangible “spirit of Christmas” in Hallmark movies, so that you can experience full, abundant life this Christmas and every day that follows.





Rejoice! for unto to us a child is born! - with Powerline Productions, Inc.


Powerline Productions, Inc.

Being World Changers, Raising World Changers!

We offer books and ebooks to help you homeschool to the Glory of God!

Help yourself to a free Christmas Devotional and many other helpful free resources at Joyful and Successful Homeschooling!


Show Notes

Introduction: Even though they are cheesy and predictable, we love them.

Why Hallmark Christmas movies are satisfying:

Small towns

Close-knit Families

Good people with morals and kindness

Bad people can change, experience transformation

Hero is perfect and trustworthy

Guy heroine attached to is not really good, a pretender

The “spirit of Christmas”

Our Real Desires

Warm, loving relationships

Want to belong to a group of people that love & care for one another

Want to be surrounded by good people who bring out the best in us

Want to be good

Want to experience transformation

Want to belong to the “Perfect One” who loves us perfectly

Want to be set free from the impostor

Know that there is something significant about Christmas to experience—not the “spirit of Christmas, but the miracle of Christmas.

Experiencing the Miracle of Christmas

Jesus offers us life and life more abundantly. He offers us rest and a burden to carry that is easy and light. Jesus offers us joy, peace, hope, and love.

Example of Bank Account full of money

There is nothing wrong with putting your feet up and watching a Hallmark Christmas movie, but realize that that good feeling from the movie is temporary, but the miracle of Christmas is yours today, changing your life forever.

Merry Christmas from our families to yours.


Please share your favorite Hallmark Christmas Movie Below


Christmas Resources

Curtis Family Christmas TraditionsCelebrate Christmas with a traveling dinner by Meredith Curtis and Laura NoletteCelebrate Christmas with Cookies Unit Study by Meredith CurtisCelebrate Christmas in Colonial America by Meredith Curtis





Why We Love Hallmark Christmas Movies

Tech Toys and Games

Tech Toys and Games

Episode 12: Tech Toys and Games

—> Check out our sponsor, FundaFunda Academy’s Scratch Christmas Coding Contest. This contest is for those who can’t program in Scratch yet, as well as for those who can. There are 2 different divisions, and new programmers can learn along with video tutorials as part of their entrance fee of $5. The winners will earn themselves gift cards. Registration closes 23 December 2018.

Here are some ideas of STEM toys and games that are likely to be played with for a long time after they are opened.

If you found this useful, please subscribe to the show and give a rating and maybe even a review!

Contact Meryl via email on meryl@mediaangels.com or connect with her on Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook

Tech Toys and Game

Peaceful Parenting Even Through Holiday Stress

4 Practical tips for peaceful parenting even through holiday stress. #Christmas #parentingThe holidays can sometimes be super-stressful and can leave even the most peaceful of moms feeling snappy with her kids.

As we’ve talked about before, stress is a really common trigger. Moms who are stressed and overwhelmed are much more likely to yell at their kids. Since our goal is peaceful parenting, let’s dive in and talk about some common stressors, and how you can alleviate those to avoid blowing up at your family.

1. Family relationship stress

The first common stressor that we have during the holidays is family dynamics. Around the holidays, most people have to interact with family or friends who they may not get along with, or who may be outright toxic.

We may dread coming face to face with that one person who always seems to push our buttons. We might even daydream about how we can avoid that person altogether.

While we may not be able to avoid family drama, we can control how we respond to it. In order to make family encounters less stressful, be sure to set some boundaries with yourself. If someone pushes your buttons, you don’t have to engage with them. Just don’t take the bait! It isn’t worth it.

Be sure to take breaks as often as you can. Stepping out for some fresh air every now and then can help you regain your composure and remind yourself not to take things personally.

2. Financial stress

The holidays can get really expensive. Between buying gifts, decorations, stocking stuffers…oh, and don’t forget all the extra food for Christmas dinner. Plus travel expenses if you have to go out of town…whew! It really begins to add up!

If we’re stressed out about money, this could distract us from the things that truly matter, and could compound other stressors.
One way to combat the money stress is to understand that less is sometimes more. It’s okay to cut corners sometimes!

No one will notice if you have three side dishes instead of four. If someone gets a gift that’s on clearance, they will appreciate the thought.
Also, don’t under-estimate the power of sentimental or homemade gifts. One of my favorite gifts I ever received was a sweet hand-written letter from a relative. It honestly meant more to me than any store-bought gift could have ever.

And chances are, the gifts you get your kids will end up broken or not played with. The kids will remember how you made them feel, not what you bought them. They’ll value the time you spend with them, way more than any gift money can buy.

3. The stress of high expectations

The holidays are such a meaningful time of year, usually filled with good, nostalgic memories of the past and we often dream about the perfect Christmas.

We might imagine our family happily decorating a magazine-worthy Christmas tree. But reality looks much different. In real life, the kids are fighting over whether we should use white lights or colorful lights, your favorite ornament falls to the floor and breaks into a thousand pieces, and the tree falls over as soon as you put the star on top.

So how do we fight against the stress of high expectations? Well, one thing we can do is to remind ourselves that things rarely turn out the way we imagine they will. Having high expectations for how things will go, or how someone will react to a gift, really sets ourselves up for failure or hurt feelings.

It’s best to keep our expectations low, not saying that we should be pessimistic, but just more rooted in reality. We don’t have to over-complicate things for them to be meaningful or special.

Related podcast: 4 Perfectionist Parenting Pitfalls

4 The stress of busyness

The holidays are the busiest time of year. There’s shopping to do, cards to write and address, recipes to cook, gifts to wrap, parties to attend, decorations to put up…and don’t forget the added pressure to make sure your children have special memories and are sufficiently taught the true meaning of Christmas.

And that’s on top of the normal stuff like laundry, dishes, and school work. I’m tired just thinking about all that!
Being super busy can lead to exhaustion and burn out. It can also cause us to miss out on the small moments. The holidays come and go and we were too busy to enjoy them or soak up the moments.

This year, let’s be intentional about saying no so that we don’t have to be quite so rushed. If someone asks you to volunteer to host a Christmas party, don’t feel obligated to say yes. It’s perfectly okay to say, “I wish I could, but I can’t this year.”
Or if you’re asked to bake cookies or coordinate something and you’re already stretched too thin, just say no. “I’d love to help, but no, not this time,” is a perfectly acceptable response.

You also don’t have to attend every function you’re invited to. We have a large extended family and it is literally impossible for us to be in five places at once. My thought is this…if a family member is THAT upset you can’t make it to Christmas, perhaps they could spend some time with you one of the OTHER 364 days of the year.

About guilt…

And let me add, you can say no without the stress of guilt. I know what it’s like to be a people-pleaser. I know what it’s like to experience guilt when you can’t do something or when you have to say no.

So friend, if you’re feeling guilty or stressed about any of these things, take a deep breath…and give yourself permission to let it go. Replace that guilt with thankfulness and joy. You got this!

Join Marianna Chambers as she talks about practical ways to become a more peaceful parent. Having children is a wonderful blessing, but it can also be quite stressful. Every day we hear from moms just like you who are struggling to be the gentle parent they want to be. Moms desperately want to raise their children on a firm foundation of love, but those sweet kids sure know how to push our buttons. (And boy, do they push them!)

Marianna Chambers is a counselor, parenting coach, blogger, homeschool mom, and best-selling author. She’s passionate about supporting and encouraging moms. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram, or read her blog here. You can also join her private Facebook group for Christian moms on a peaceful parenting mission.

Five Ways to Optimize Your Christmas Budget – MBFLP 217

Five (no, more) ways to make the most of your Christmas budget!


Whether the economy is strong or struggling, the traditional Christmas gift-buying rush is a major expense. When you’ve got a big family like ours, that only accentuates it! This week, we’re talking about ways we’ve learned to make your Christmas budget go a long way, even with lot of kids and a little bit of money.

Big Family, Small Budget

We have a big family – eight children, and now they’re getting married and bringing new family and grandkids into the mix. So a long time ago, we had to figure out how to budget for a fun Christmas that didn’t bankrupt the whole operation!

We’ve found several concepts that have helped us make the most of our Christmas shopping. Let’s talk about the kids first.

Shopping for the Children

  1. Look for presents which are both educational and fun. There are more than you think!
  2. Find gifts that encourage interaction. Multi-player games can entertain more people than single-player varieties.
  3. Choose gifts that are appropriate for multiple ages. Remember you can team older and younger players together so different ages can have a chance at games. Sometimes you can even give a larger gift for multiple children to share.
  4. Look for creative and constructive gifts. Art supplies, craft kits (see below!), construction toys, model kits, and tools are great ideas. For school-aged kids, we found it was better to buy inexpensive but real tools and supplies rather than the toy varieties that aren’t really useful.
  5. Seek out gifts of lasting value. Toys and games which have been popular for a long time, classic books (for children as well as older readers), clothing that won’t go out of style – these won’t fall out of fashion!

What About Each Other?

Smart gift shopping when there's lots of kids and not lots of money

  1. Be sure you’re in agreement about shopping – like how much to spend on each other. Be honest … and don’t cheat.
  2. Know your mate’s preferences – practical or whimsical, surprise or planned gifts. The only right answer is the one that makes your mate happy.
  3. Don’t overlook experiences, services, or pre-owned treasures. We’ve done all of these at different times.
  4. Old Christmas is an option. Christmas used to be celebrated on January 6, and some people still observe “the twelve days of Christmas.” When we were newlyweds, we exchanged gifts on Old Christmas – after taking advantage of the year-end clearance sales! Mom and Dad might agree to do this for each other, even while sharing the usual December 25 event with the children.

Pro Tip

Family Gift List – A few years ago, we started a family gift list on Google Docs. We try to keep this updated all year long, with options divided by price range – free things, $5 gifts, $20 gifts, more expensive gifts. This has been a big help as our kids reach for adulthood and have more specific interests and needs. It’s also helpful for birthdays, Valentine’s, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, and anniversary presents!