Our Hanukkah Gift Guide + Favorite Resources

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Consider this a Hanukkah gift guide of sorts, for setting up everything you need to celebrate Hanukkah in your home!

Granted, there is very little you actually need, so don’t let this list intimidate you!

To celebrate Hanukkah, all you really need are 9 candles. 

That’s it.  Stick some little votives in baby food jars and call it a day. Been there, done that, and sometimes the simplest (and cheapest!) are the most meaningful.

However, as you grow to celebrate Hanukkah year after year, it’s fun to add in special bits and pieces and spruce things up and add to the tradition.

Menorahs.


1. Led Battery Operated Menorah  2. Star of David Menorah  3. Multi-Colored Menorah 4. Tree of Life Hanukkah Menorah  5. Kidcraft Wooden Hanukkah Set  6. Beeswax Hanukkah Candles 

 

 

Decor.

1 Hanukkah Gel Clings  2. Design A Dreidle Kit  3.  Felt Hanukkah Banner  4. Canvas Pouches   5.  Hanukkah Tea Towel  6.  Table Runner  7. Hanukkah Platters  8. Menorah Serving Tray

 

Just for Fun.

  1. Hanukkah Mad Libs   2. My First Hanukkah  3.  Dog Chew Toy  4. Dino Rawr Raglan  5.  Create Your Own Beeswax Hanukkah Candles  6. Ugly Hanukkah Sweater Cookie Kit  7. Dog Collar  8. Hanukkah House  9.  Jelly Belly Hanukkah Gift Box  10.  Maccabeats Hanukkah CD  11.  Chocolate Gelt Coins  12.  Latke Spatula 

 

Books.

  1. Maccabee – The Story of Hanukkah   2.  My First Hanukkah   3.  Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah  4.  A Parakeet Named Dreidel  5.  The Hanukkah Guest  6.  Maccabee Meals  7. Hanukkah Lights  8. The Everything Kid’s Hanukkah Book  9.  Yitzi and the Giant Menorah  10. Oskar And The Eight Blessings 11. Celebrate Hanukkah With Lights, Latkes and Dreidels  12. One Candle

 

And never forget that it’s never too late!  Hanukkah began Tuesday night this year (2017) but even if you don’t join in until the 8th night, it’ll be worth it!  Don’t wait until next year, but join us in celebrating that Light that has overcome the darkness!

Happy Hanukkah!

 

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Why We Choose To Celebrate Hanukkah (and how we do it)

this post contains affiliate links. It costs you nothing to click through, but it helps support my blog and coffee addiction.

(Hey you! Busy Mama! if you don’t have time to read the entire post, just skip to my P.S. at the end – I want to hear from you!)

……………………………………

Yep, it’s me.  Here after a reallllly long blogging hiatus.  I’m hoping to sit down soon and write a nice newsy post and catch you up to speed on our crazy happenings around here, but in the mean time, I thought I’d pop on because it’s the start of Hanukkah and I just had to share what we’re doing (and why)!

I posted recently on instagram about why we’ve chosen to celebrate Hanukkah, even though our family is not Jewish –

“We get asked if we’re Jewish because we celebrate Hanukkah, and no, we’re not Jewish, but we do observe this AMAZING 8 day celebration that commemorates the unlikely success of a small band of Jews that victoriously pushed back against the Greek army. Not only that, but once they reclaimed the temple, they wanted to dedicate it back to God by celebrating the feast of Tabernacles (an 8 day Feast) but there wasn’t enough oil to light the menorah for that long. However, their oil continued to burn and did not stop burning until they’d finished their celebration! This is a celebration of MIRACLES with a powerful message and reminder for all that the darkness cannot overcome the Light.” (catch my full post here)”

So that’s the short version.

The even shorter version is:  It’s life changing.

We’ve been celebrating Hanukkah since my children were very little, but each time it rolls around (sometime between late November and late December), I learn even more – about the story of Hanukkah and more importantly, the goodness and overwhelming love and faithfulness of God.

He always keeps his promises. No exceptions.

He swore that he would never allow the Jews to be wiped form the face of the earth, and not only did he fulfill that promise, but He went over and above and blessed the Maccabees desire to rededicate the temple, allowing their menorah to stay lit for 8 days, when their was only enough oil for one.

If you want to learn more about the WHY and WHAT of Hanukkah, take a minute to check out these few clips on the history and celebration of Hanukkah – and why Hanukkah is not just for Jews!

and also this one:.

And now onto the HOW of celebrating Hanukkah!

Your Hanukkah celebration can be as simple or elaborate as you choose.  Personally, we like to keep things simple and meaningful, but there is technically only one thing you’ll need:

a Hanukkiah – a menorah that is specific to Hanukkah.  A traditional menorah has 7 branches – one for each of the seven Feasts of the Lord, and it’s used all year in Feast celebrations.  However, a Hanukkiah has 9 branches – one for each day of the festival, and one branch called the sh’mash or servant candle, and it’s used to light all of the others.

this one is a complete kit with candles and all

this is a fun (and safe one) for the kids

this one, this one and this one are on my wish list!

To celebrate, grab your menorah (or make your own!  simple DIY ideas here) and on the first night, light the servant candle and then extinguish the match.  Then, use the servant candle to light the first candle and allow them both to burn down completely.  On the second night, repeat these steps, lighting the first and second candles.  Continue on until you reach the eighth night, thus lighting all nine candles.

Aside from lighting the menorah each night for 8 nights, there are no other specific guidelines to celebrating Hanukkah.

Here’s how OUR FAMILY celebrates Hanukkah –

 

Lighting of the Menorah.

Jewish families will recite prayers as the candles are lit, and this is a wonderful component to add, whether you are Jewish or not.   Our family takes a little different route, and instead, we pray before lighting the candle (more on that in a second) and then as a, uh…joyful….if not melodious….expression, we sing this song, getting faster and faster until it’s a jumble of shouting and we can’t go any longer.  I blame this tradition purely on my husband.

 

Prayer.

This is, to me, one of the greatest aspects of our Hanukkah celebration and the most important part to pass on to our children.  Hanukkah is the season for Miracles.  It’s commemorating a time when God did the impossible and this is a truth that I want my children to cling to.  During the 8 days of Hanukkah, our family spends time each night praying for those that need miracles.  I post on social media, asking for prayer requests that we then place on cards in our Hanukkah calendar, and then I divide the requests as evenly as possible over the 8 nights (thanks to my dear friend Angela for the awesome idea!).  We also spend time as a family writing down our own requests and reminders to pray for our dear brothers and sisters in Christ through out the world.

 

Decor.

We keep this simple as well, with homemade buntings, cut out stars, lights, lots of twinkly lights.  Homemade is the name of the game around here, and here are the ideas and projects I’ve compiled.

 

Stories.

We read a Hanukkah story every day for 8 days, and I’ve got a wonderful list of titles that we work from as I slowly build our home library. I’ll be sharing our reading list soon – so check back!

 

Food. 

Our family also celebrates with donuts on the first and last nights of Hanukkah.  There’s no rhyme or reason to imbibing on these particular days  – other than I choose not to serve donuts every night, despite the temptation to do so.  Donuts and latkes (think fried hashbrowns from heaven) are “traditional” Hanukkah fare – as is any food fried in oil – a tip of the culinary hat to the miracle of the oil.

So remember:  donuts = miracles.

Isn’t Hanukkah amazing!

If you’re looking for some Hanukkah cooking inspiration, check these out –

Menorah waffles

Deep fried cookie dough

Cheese latkes

Sufganiyot (Hanukkah jelly donuts)

gluten free latkes

gluten free + Paleo Apple latkes

Paleo Hanukkah recipe round up

 

Gifts.

Yes, our family does still celebrate Christmas in an abbreviated way (more on this in another post).  However, my husband and I decided that we’d give our gifts to the kids on the last night of Hanukkah, and Christmas gifts are reserved for grandparents and extended family on December 25th.

If you’ve never celebrated Hanukkah before, I can’t recommend this enough!

And I know.  One.More.Thing. to add to an already packed and chaotic holiday season.

However, please believe when I say that it’s absolutely worth it!

Do as little or as much as you’d like.

Simply read the story of the Hanukkah miracle to your children.

Sit quietly together and pray for those that you love, because this is the season for miracles.

Eat a donut or two.

or eight.

 

In the midst of this crazy month, Hanukkah is a time to slow down. To remember and pass on to our children the promises of God and his supernatural intervention in the lives of those who honored Him and refused to compromise.

P.S.  Our family truly DOES want to pray for you!  As part of our personal Hanukkah celebration, we want to spend time on each of the eight nights of hanukkah, praying for those of you that need miracles – those that need to see God move in unexplainable ways and to see the darkness over come in your own life or in the lives of those you love. If you’d like us to pray for you, please comment below or email me. We’ll be placing each request in the pockets of our Hanukkah calendar and pulling them out each night to pray. Please never be afraid to ask for prayer or reach out. My children would love to pray for you! May you know the Light that has conquered darkness during this season!

 

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2017-2018 FREE Printable Charlotte Mason Inspired Homeschool Calendar

 

It’s FINALLY here!!!

THANK YOU to you poor patient mamas who have so kindly emailed me, saying, “uh…calendar…where is it?”

I had every intention of publishing it in May, and somehow May turned into August …[hangs head in shame]….

Below you will find the links to each month (August 2017-July 2018) that also happen to correspond to the pages in my Charlotte Mason Naturalist Planner.

And as a bonus this year, I also have a full academic year at a glance calendar sheet which is SO helpful for getting a bird’s eye view of where you’re going and what’s coming next!

It’s great for simple planning and reference, or print multiples and use them as your child’s attendance records by marking off each date.  You’ll also see under each month a small lunar calendar, great for referencing in your nature journals!

Enjoy mamas and have a wonderful, adventure filled school year!

(click on each month to open it in a new tab, then right click and choose “print”)

August 2017      September 2017      October 2017

November 2017      December 2017      January 2018

February 2018      March 2018      April 2018

May 2018      June 2018      July 2018

NEW 2017-2018  Year At A Glance Charlotte Mason Homeschool Calendar

And don’t forget, once you print these off, show us how you’re using them on instagram and facebook by using  #vkmwplanner

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