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





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. Generally, this is the time when people get addicted to drugs and find themselves in beverly hills drug rehab for treatment and cure.

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!



Christmas Eve Traveling Dinner

Finish Well Radio, Podcast #078, Christmas Eve Traveling Dinner with Meredith Curtis and Laura Nolette on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio NetworkIn “Christmas Eve Traveling Dinner,” episode #078,

Meredith Curtis and Laura Nolette share their special Christmas Eve tradition, The Traveling Dinner, how it got started, what they do, where they go, what they eat, and how it has made their Christmas celebration more meaningful. Grab a cup of coffee, hot tea, or spiced cider and let’s talk about this and other festive and Christ-centered traditions that make the season bright and filled with cheer.





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


Laura: The First Christmas Traveling Dinner

How our tradition got started.

Merey: How the Curtis family joined the Nolettes on year just to try it out

Laura & Merey: Our first Traveling Dinner together.

What we bring, eat, wear.

Laura: Crane’s Roost Traveling Dinner

Merey: Post-Hurricane Traveling Dinner

Laura & Merey: Doing Devotions & Singing

Gemini  Springs, Soccer, Walks in the Woods

Laura: Expanding, Including Others

Merey: Would you like to have your own Traveling Dinner?

Laura & Merey: What makes Christmas traditions meaningful for all ages.

More ideas to try in your house.


Please share your Christmas Traditions with us!


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





Christmas Shopping the Techie Way

Christmas Shopping the Techie Way

Episode 10: Christmas Shopping the Techie Way

1. Throughout the year collect ideas in Evernote

2. Get your family to create wishlists (Pinterest, Amazon, Google docs/sheets)

3. If you need more ideas

4. Use Google sheets to keep track of what you want to buy, where you have bought it, how much you have spent and if it has arrived.

5. Read reviews before you buy – Amazon is a good place to start)

6. Be sure to compare prices at various online stores

7. Read email newsletters for free shipping and specials

8. Shop through portals to save money

9. Buy gifts that can be delivered electronically as last-minute gifts

  • e-gift cards
  • video games from Steam
  • App games from iTunes
  • ebooks
  • subscriptions – magazines, Spotify, software (eg Adobe), Kiwi crate, snack boxes, Birchbox etc

10. Use tech to “take” oversized gifts with you if you are traveling – either print out a picture or create a QR code from the picture (first save the picture on a Google doc and then use the url to create the QR code.)

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

Christmas Shopping the Techie Way

A Christmas to Remember

A Christmas to Remember

Podcast #40

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:8-15


In this episode, Florida Parent Educators Association’s (FPEA) Chairwoman, Suzanne Nunn talks about the importance of passing on family traditions. Why it’s important to remember where our family traditions came from. This season, spend some time looking back on your family traditions and maybe create some of your own. It will be a special season of creating and remembering. Make this a Christmas to Remember. 

Check 0ur Pinterest Board for lots of Holiday Ideas and Inspiration.

Please join us as we travel along this journey on our podcast adventure. Let’s get connected! Learn more about the Florida Parent Educator’s Association and homeschooling in the beautiful state of Florida.

Visit www.fpea.com to learn more about who we are!


Some Great Christmas Movies to watch with your family!

Unplug the Christmas Machine – Pt 2

Carol Topp, Homeschool CPA, continues unplugging Christmas by explaining the 4 things children really want for Christmas: Children want realistic expectations about Christmas gifts and children also want an even pace to the holidays. Carol shares tips how to do that. Her ideas come from a book she read 20 years called Unplug the Christmas Machine. This was originally broadcast in 2014, but worth repeating!

Visit Carol’s website here






Have you ever thought about starting a homeschool co-op? Are you afraid it will be too much work? Do you think you’ll have to do it all by yourself? Starting a homeschool co-op can be easy! This book Homeschool Co-ops: How to Start Them, Run Them and Not Burn Out will give you ideas, inspiration, tips, wisdom and the tools you need to start a homeschool co-op, run it and not burn out!

Click Here to request more information!


Holiday Series: 6 Christmas Stress Mistakes to Avoid

Special Holiday Series Replays while Melanie is on Christmas Break:  Are you already beginning to experience stress this season? The busyness can get to us. But we can make things better by avoiding the six mistakes I’ll discuss in this episode.

[box] Want to read this episode as a blog post? READ HERE or SUBSCRIBE ON ITUNES or ON STITCHER[/box]

Christmas Stress Mistakes You Don't Want to Make: Podcast

Mistake #1: Not Planning A Homeschool Break

What we typically do is get busy with other things this time of year. There is more shopping and cooking and even chatting going on. After all, it’s Christmas! Somehow in the midst of all the extra activity, we end up not doing school. But it isn’t a planned break. We just sleep in, do some Christmas shopping, or watch Christmas movies instead of homeschooling. We aren’t doing a Christmas unit study. That’s different. We find ourselves falling into a Christmas break. The result is we feel guilty. We really wanted to get a lot done before Christmas. But we didn’t. And we don’t feel refreshed like we should from a planned break. Instead of falling into a Christmas break this year, decide whether you really are going to do a Christmas unit study. Plan what to do. If you don’t have time to plan, try the Christmas Traditions or Christmas Around the World online unit studies from Techie Homeschool Mom. They’re done for you.

If you don’t want to do a Christmas unit study, plan when you are going to take a break and for how long. If you feel behind on your regular studies, decide what you want to accomplish before Christmas. Make a realistic list for yourself and your children. Give your children the option of finishing early if they finish their work early or you finish your family work early. This is the process I used to create the most motivating homeschool planner ever. Continue reading here.


Homeschool Sanity Facebook Page

try the Christmas Traditions or Christmas Around the World online unit studies from Techie Homeschool Mom

the most motivating homeschool planner ever

6 Short Workouts You Can Do at Home

The Organized Homeschool Life

Have a happy homeschool week!

Start Strong and Finish Well With Christmas Traditions

FW Radio - Podcast #55 - Start Strong and Finish Well With Christmas TraditionsIn “Start Strong and Finish Well with Christmas Traditions” with Meredith Curtis, Episode #055, Meredith shares ways to establish Christmas traditions that work for all ages and will be enjoyed by the whole family now and in the future. She shares specific traditions that her teens loved long after childhood was over.  Traditions can be used to celebrate God’s goodness, instill godly character, and refresh our spirits—Meredith puts traditions through that filter. She also shares how to ebb and flow with traditions, as children grow up and have families of their own.

Curtis Family Christmas Traditions

Merey Christmas from Merey & Laura. We want to bless you this Christmas with a copy of our Christmas devotions, Curtis Christmas Family Devotions. Download your copy FREE on our JoyfulandSuccessfulHomeschooling.com website on the Free E-book Gifts Page.


Special Thanks to our Network Sponsor, Kiwi Crate!


We’d like to thank our Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network sponsor, Kiwi Crate!

KiwiCo has monthly subscriptions of hands-on projects that make learning fun! Their core offering is projects that make learning about STEAM — science, technology, engineering, art, and math — accessible and are designed to spark creativity, tinkering, and learning. Some recent favorite crates are the Slime Lab, Physics Carnival, and Paper Circuits.

Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network is excited to be able to offer you the chance to try them for FREE. To learn more about their projects for kids ages 2 to 16 AND to redeem this exclusive offer, click here to get your first month free today (just pay $4.95 for shipping)

Show Notes

Baking cookies with Mom.

Christmas Traditions are Awesome & Fun!

Celebrate God’s Goodness/Bringing the Story Alive

Blog Post: “The Wonder of God’s Love at Christmas” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/the-wonder-of-gods-love-at-christmas

Blog Post: “Christmas Traditions: The Traveling Dinner” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/christmas-traditions-the-traveling-dinner

Teach Truth & Cultivate Godly Character

Blog Post: “’Tis the Season to Be Generous I” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/tis-the-season-to-be-generous-i

Blog Post: “’Tis the Season to Be Generous II” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/tis-the-season-to-be-generous-ii

Blog Post: “Christmas Tradition: Shoebox” https://powerlineprod.weebly.com/blog/christmas-tradition-shoebox

Establish Family Identity

Blog Post: “Living, Loving, and Learning at Christmas” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/living-loving-learning-at-christmas

Be Refreshed

Blog Post: “Keep Christmas Well” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/keeping-christmas-well

Start Strong

Be Proactive

You are Creative (don’t believe Satan’s lies)

Think in terms of honoring Christ

Blog Post: “Christmas Traditions: Advent Wreath” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/christmas-traditions-advent-wreaths

Blog Post: “Christmas Tradition: Caroling” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/christmas-traditions-caroling

Think in terms of fun for all ages

Blog Post: Christmas “Picture Books to Read Aloud” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/christmas-picture-books-to-read-aloud

Never too late to start.

Traditions can be silly.

Blog Post: “A Very Barbie Christmas” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/a-very-barbie-christmas


Stay the Course

Make Family Time a Priority

Keep it Simple

Blog Post: “Simple Gift-Giving for Christmas” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/simple-gift-giving-for-christmas

Blog Post: “Simple Christmas Pleasures” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/simple-christmas-pleasures

Blog Post: “Financial Sanity at Christmas” http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/financial-sanity-at-christmas

Keep it Fun

Be willing to Let Go if It Saps Life, rather than brings Life or Adapt

Blog Post: The Family Christmas Photo http://www.meredithcurtis.com/blog/the-family-christmas-photo

Finish Well

Merey’s Easter Basket Story

Our Children Always Need Our Love

Allow Children to Take Over Traditions they want to Take Over

Pass the Baton

Be Willing to Let Go and Try New

Remember the Wonder of Christmas

The Birthday that Cut History in Two

The Wonder of God’s Love for His Enemies

The Reason we Sing, Dance, and Rejoice.

Christmas Resources

Christmas Resources

Celebrate Christmas with Cookies by Meredith Curtis



Merry Christmas!