• Val Harrison

Podcast & Blog: Making Christmas FUN, Bonding, Meaningful, and Tasty too!



CLICK HERE to listen to Making Christmas Memories, episode 66

Val Harrison, The Practically Speaking MOM, is joined by her two youngest daughters, Abby and Emma, as they share lots of laughter and family traditions to bring you closer to each other and to Christ. Some of the ideas are silly and some are serious, AND they also share their favorite SIMPLE Christmas party recipes. All of this is in episode 66, Making CHRISTMAS Memories with Abby, Emma, and Val.



Don't miss Val's Favorite SIMPLE & QUICK Christmas Party Recipes at the end of this blog post!


Since Val is taking a break from the podcast for a few weeks to enjoy Christmas with her family, be sure to subscribe to her Monday emails as she has a special Christmas email she'll be sending that includes some extras you won't want to miss. Watch for a Christmas gift from Val - a gift certificate to use at the shop at her website, PracticallySpeakingMOM.com. She'll also include some links to some of her former Christmas episodes and some of her favorite episodes..


Merry Christmas, my intentional mom friends! Abby, Emma, and I are so excited to spend time with you this week on the podcast!


We laugh A LOT in this episode. You know, sometimes I think the listeners enjoy Abby & Emma so much when they're on the show that they'd rather the show be THE PRACTICALLY SPEAKING DAUGHTERS podcast.. LOL. We do have a good time together.



In episode 66, we've got a list of FUN CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS that our children have loved through the years. I hope you find them to be as bonding and memorable as our family. On this episode, you'll hear:

🎄 "The Christmas Break Song" - a silly song about school break written by Abby and sung by Abby & Emma

🎄 How your family can try our funny tradition of a MIXED-UP VERSION of the 12 Days of Christmas -our version includes "seven buckets of sticky notes" and "two maids a cleaning." What will YOUR family's mixed-up version include???

🎄 Some ways we've done SIBLING GIFT EXCHANGE through the years

🎄 Our Silly STOCKING TRADTION

🎄 The GIFT NUMBERING MYSTERY that I use each year so that kids can't guess their gifts!

🎄 Our favorite SIMPLE Christmas Party Recipes (SEE THE RECIPES BELOW)


And we share some ways we keep CHRIST in Christmas:

🎄Christmas Advent Here's a link to some FREE advent resources

🎄 Some of our favorite CHRISTMAS MOVIES The Nativity Story (a $2.99 rental on Amazon) and the following are FREE on Amazon Prime: Veggie Tales The Star of Christmas, Veggie Tales St. Nicolas, Veggie Tales the Little Drummer Boy

🎄 When our kids were little they would dress up and re-enact the Christmas story for their grandparents

🎄 And we love performing in Christmas programs with our church or homeschool co-op

🎄 We have lots of children's books about the true meaning of Christmas – this year we are reading them to my grandsons throughout December over FaceTime. I sent them snacks and crafts to do while we listen to Christmas Stories with Grandma.

🎄 On Christmas Day we read the Christmas story from one of the gospel books of the Bible and We light the candles of the ADVENT WREATH while we sing Christmas carols

🎄We also Christmas carol at nursing home each year with our homeschool co-op – this year we still got to do this, thanks to one of the podcast listeners who read my post about our need for a karaoke machine so we could continue to sing at the nursing home during the pandemic – we needed a mic & amplifier so we could be outside big windows with the microphone and the residents could be inside with the amplifier. "Thank you!" listener Christi R, for purchasing a karaoke machine for us to continue this ministry. We and another family sing every month at the nursing home but in December our entire homeschool coop joins us to Christmas carol to the residents. We were so thankful that we were able to continue this tradition this year thanks to this generous gift from one of the podcast listeners.




❄❄❄Hey moms, while I’m officially taking a break from the podcast until Jan 11, keep an eye on your email as I’m planning to send all of my email subscribers a SPECIAL CHRISTMAS EDITION email just for my subscribers including a coupon to use in the shop at my online home at PracticallySpeakingMOM.com.


If you have subscribed but haven’t seen an email from me: ✅Check your spam folder.

✅If you don’t see it there either, email me at val@PracticallySpeakingMOM.com so we can fix that right away.!! I so want to stay connected with you directly. I will NOT spam your email and I will NEVER share your email address with anyone!!



Our Favorite SIMPLE Christmas Recipes:


I should explain to you, first, that I'm all about simple and quick and that goes for my approach in sharing recipes with you as well. If you have any questions, just email me or ask in the Intentional Mom, Strong Family Facebook group!


Val's Party Cheeseball

10 minutes

What you need:

1 Brick Cream Cheese,

1/2 Stick Butter,

1/4-1/2 tsp Garlic Salt,

1/4-1/2 tsp Mrs. Dash,

1/4-1/2 cup shredded cheddar,

Any hot jelly but I prefer jalapeno peach or jalapeno raspberry.


What to do:

1. Use a hand mixer to blend the cream cheese and butter together until smooth and well-blended.

2. Add in the seasoning and mix until blended

3. Add shredded Cheddar and mix by hand

4. Shape into a ball

5. Cover in hot jelly.

Serve with your favorite crackers or veggies.



Val's Party Wassail

Five minutes to mix plus time for it to heat up

What you need:

2 Frozen cans of Apple Juice, 1 Frozen Can each of Cranberry Juice, Lemonade, Orange Juice, Cinnamon and Cloves to taste.


What to do: Mix it all in a crock pot or pan on your stove top. Also add cans of water per directions on the cans. Heat and serve. Yum! (I wouldn't recommend actually eating the cloves, so you can put them in and leave them or put them in a little cheesecloth pouch and remove before serving or you can leave them out and it is delicious without them also).


Chocolate Pom Clusters

5-20 minutes to make plus 15 minutes to chill You need: Mini-Cupcake Wrappers, Healthy Chocolate Chips, and Pomegranate Arils (the little juicy seeds inside the pomegranate).

Here's a link to where I buy my favorite healthy chocolate from Trim Healthy Mama. I've been purchasing products from them for about five years and this year decided to become an affiliate. So, if you order any Trim Healthy Mama products through this link I may get a small financial benefit).

In episode 66 I also share some options at your local store for healthy-ish chocolate, such as Lily's chocolate chips. The only negative with Lily's is that it has soy lecithin which is not great when you're trying to keep your hormones balanced, Or Enjoy Life which contains sugar. Trim Healthy Mama chocolate chips don't contain soy lecithin or sugar and they are a flat little disc, so they melt really well. And with Trim Healthy Mama chocolate I am confident in the purity of its sourcing.

What to do:

1. Melt chocolate in the microwave stirring about every 30 seconds. In my microwave it just takes about a minute. Of course you can be even more healthy with these by avoiding the microwave and heating them on the stove top. I don't opt for this option with these because it takes such a small amount of chocolate that I don't have a tiny enough pan for the stove top. I like to melt them in a coffee mug in the microwave.

2. Put a spoonful of melted chocolate in a mini-cupcake wrapper.

3. Put a spoonful of pomegranate arils on top of the chocolate and press down gently.

4. Sprinkle a little more chocolate on top.

5. Place them in your fridge for storing until you're ready to serve them. They will be solid within 15 minutes.


It will take you about five minutes to make two dozen OR 20 minutes if you include the time to remove the arils from the pomegranate. Here's a video I found for doing this. Here's another one that is a little longer to watch but has some great info that your kids might enjoy also.


Christmas Caroling at the Nursing Home


"May God bless you and your family this Christmas season. I know for many of you, there are difficult aspects of Christmas, whether it is the first Christmas without someone you love or you've got illness or financial concerns or lonliness... I pray that you will lean in to Lord and allow Him to bring you comfort and companionship. Merry Christmas! Christ the Lord is with us!"

-val

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