10 Audios Your Family Should Own

When our older children were very young, we started investing in audio books for our family. This has been one of the best investments that we have made in raising our children, as our younger ones are still listening to them today… and loving them.

We have invested in more than 10 audios, but this will be a list of our top ten that I know your family would enjoy as well.

10 Audios Your Family Should Own | www.joyinthehome.com

10 Audios Your Family Should Own


Sugar Creek Gang | www.joyinthehome.com

The Sugar Creek Gang is one of our favorite audio series that includes adventure, suspense and wholesome values for the whole family.

The Sugar Creek Gang audio book series features this well known group of boys who always find a mystery to solve and an adventure to be had. Your boys will love falling asleep listening to these stories, or let the whole family listen on your next long car ride, even mom and dad will like to listen!

There are six audio sets in this series. We love to add a new series every Christmas and is a perfect gift for the family or an item to share with grandparents or other family that love to give gifts for holidays and birthdays.




Jonathan Parks | www.joyinthehome.com

Jonathan Park is amazing! My children learned so much about creation, and why evolution doesn't make sense just from these audios. Our whole family loves them and often will listen to these on long trips. I have even missed a turn to NY, which I know the way like the back of my hand, but I was so into the audio that I wasn't realizing that I missed the exit.

Each adventure is based on real places and scientific discoveries– all designed to build your faith!


Sir Malcolm | www.joyinthehome.com


Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince is from Lamplighter Publishing, which are one of my favorite kinds of books to read to my children. Their CDs are a new product and AMAZING!

A bold intervention by the King's most trusted knight could prove to be the cure for an unfitting heir to the throne. Far from the walls of the palace, will an unworthy prince learn what it means to be an entrusted king? Dare to join Finnian as he ushers Thomas into the legendary world of Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince, a place of adventure and undeniable truth. 



Hedge of Thorns | www.joyinthehome.com



The Hedge of Thorns is another Lamplighter Publishing products. The message in this audio is powerful for all ages.

John is determined to find out what is on the other side. And that which is forbidden makes his quest all the more irresistible! Desperate to break through the hedge, he devises a plan that unknowingly places his little sister in perilous danger. In a moment of passion and disregard for his parents' warnings, John does the unthinkable-and learns the hard lesson that there are grave consequences to crossing the boundaries that God has set for him. This unforgettable lesson has left an indelible mark on his life and will leave the same upon those who hear this story!



Charlies Choice | www.joyinthehome.com
Charlie's Choice is from the Lamplighter Publishing collection. One of my favorite books about the importances of good choices.

Hold on to your seat because you are about to take a journey with Charlie, a boy of adventure and risk. Dissatisfied with his lot in life, Charlie dreams of a better future, where money can cure all ills. He dreams of living in luxury and ease, and is determined to make his dreams come true!




The Captive | www.joyinthehome.com


The Captive another of the wonderful collections from Lamplighter Publishing is one with suspense and adventure, with a lesson tucked inside.

Kidnapped by Algerian pirates, our recent graduate Anselmo finds himself on a merciless slave ship heading to the auction block in a foreign country. Having escaped the cruelty of his first master and the death grip of the desert, Anselmo is taken captive by a new master, where he finds mercy as well as condemnation.






The Pilgrims Progress | www.joyinthehome.com The Pilgrim's Progress is a timeless book full of Biblical allegories. This audio is a dramatization of the unabridged book. Your entire family will love how this book will come to life and bring them into the story. Truly, one of my favorite!

I have amazing memories of this playing on a trip and seeing my husband's tears run down his face from the moving story that symbolizes our perilous journey.  Then my children wanting their daddy to reenact some of their favorite parts, at one of our local playground.






The Pilgrim's Progress: Part Two Christiana | www.joyinthehome.comThe Pilgrim's Progress: Part Two Christiana is a must listen to after your family listens to the first part. My children needed to know what happen to Christian's family and we all loved it!

The journey is full of adventure and suspense with victories to celebrate.






Hinds' Feet on High Places | www.joyinthehome.comHinds' Feet on High Places is similar to the Pilgrim's Progress, as it is written in allegory format.

“Oh, if only I could escape from his Valley of Humiliation altogether and go to the High Places.” It is with this cry that Much-Afraid, crippled and disfigured, begins her journey, leaving her Fearing relatives behind, and pressing on the Realm of Love. As the Chief Shepherd explains, no Fears can live in this realm, because “perfect love casts out fears and everything that torments.”





Living Principles of America | www.joyinthehome.comLiving Principles of America is a one of a kind CD series consisting of 36 CDs that are dramatized to share our American history from Columbus through some of our most famous inventors like Edison and Ford.

This has been one investment that we will be making for a second time, since our first ones were cassettes and they are growing tired and worn from the hours of enjoyment that our family has received from this series.



10 Meaningful Last Minute Gifts

I know a last minutes shopper or two. I think most everyone does. You may be one yourself. If you are, these 10 meaningful last minute gifts could help you when you are trying to get everything on your list done quickly.

10 Meaning Last Minute Gift Ideas | www.joyinthehome.com

Here are 10 meaningful last minute gifts:

  1. JewelryNecklaces are great for women and watches are great for men. However, rings and earrings are also a great last minute idea.  When I bought my husband his watch, I also bought a stuffed animal and put it around the neck of the bear and wrapped the scarf of the bear around the watch. It took him a little while to see the watch but when he did he was really surprised!
  2. Bible – Have their name added to it, for a more meaningful gift. Most Christian Book stores can add a name to it within a few minutes. I purchased one for my hubby a few years ago and had my nickname for him put on the Bible. The man doing it asked me a few times if I was sure that I wanted to put ‘that' on the Bible. I assured him that I did and my husband loved it. I call him ‘Smexy' – which is a combination of ‘smart' and ‘sexy'.
  3. Coat/Jacket – A dressy coat or jacket would be a meaningful gift that will keep you in the mind of the receiver for a long time.
  4. Scarves – Infinity scarves are becoming very popular for women. Men are starting to wear more dressy scarves with their dress jackets, as well.
  5. Electronics – Who would love something electronic, like an ipod, ipad, Kindle Fire or an upgrade on their smart phone? If you are splurging on some electronics for a music lover, don't forget to purchase an iTune gift card to get them started with their favorite music!
  6. Perfume – Buying a fragrance that you love for the one you love, even if it is a last minute gift will be one that will bring a smile! I remember the first time I bought a cologne for my husband, we were engaged. He let me wear his sweater home on night, a few weeks before we were married and I slept with the sweater, just to keep smelling this fragrance that make me think of him!
  7. Kerigs – With the love of specialty coffees, the Kerig is one appliance that seems to quite popular in many homes. If you don't have one, it could be a great last minute gift idea that would be sure to please. Don't forget to get a good supply of flavors.
  8. Camera – In the world of digital photography, so many are falling in love with taking their own photographs and finding hobbies in photography.  You could always start with a point and shoot camera or a DSLR camera, like Nikon (I love mine!).  If they already have a DSL, consider accessories like an upgraded lens or a tri-pod.
  9. Tools – Both men and women need tools – men need them for the garage and women need them for the kitchen.  I'm not very good with knowing what tools my husband needs, but I remember one Christmas surprising him with a miter saw! Most women love Kitchenaid Mixers and high end knives.
  10. A Getaway – Giving a getaway that is a last minute gift idea will be one thing that looks like you spent a long time putting together. If you go with this idea, be sure to add a few gifts under the tree for an outfit or two that can be used on the getaway.

Did you know that you could try Amazon Prime for 30 days for free and it comes with 2 days free shipping on thousands of items? It also includes unlimited streaming of popular TV series and movies, plus free borrowing of ebooks.



10 Gifts Children Can Buy for Their Parents


If you have younger children in your home, like I do, then you know how difficult it is to find smaller gifts that you would really want to get for Christmas.  This is why I wanted to have a good list of gifts children can buy for their parents. I wanted my younger children have some ideas that would be usefully and make them feel good when buying them.

10 Gifts Children Can Buy for Their Parents www.joyinthehome.com

Here are 10 gifts children can buy for their parents:

  1. Calendars – Everyone needs a new calendar.  The dollar store and Walmart sell a variety of them that will give even the youngest child a fun time to pick one that fits their parents just perfectly.
  2. Stamps – Most people still use stamps to mail out things. Have the children pick out which stamps that they want to give.
  3. Envelopes – Stamps need envelopes, so if you have more than one child, the other one can pick out some mailing envelopes that will go perfectly with the stamps.
  4. Pens and Pencils – Even though we are a homeschooling family, I can never have enough pens and pencils. I always have these on my wish list.
  5. Car scrapers – Depending on where you live, a car scrapers can be a big necessity that you would love to receive from your children. My children loved to pick out their favorite colors when choosing scrapers for gifts.
  6. Spatulas – It may be because I cook a lot, but spatulas are always a great gift for my kitchen.
  7. Coffee mugs – If there is a hot beverage lover in the house, a coffee mug is a great gift for children to buy for their parents.  You may even want to have a custom photo mugs made for them.
  8. Candles – Children love candles and so do most women, which makes this a perfect gift.
  9. Joke books – My husband loves jokes and my children have always loved getting him joke books, so they all could laugh together.
  10. Ornaments – Adding a new ornaments to the tree because it was a gift from your child could be a great tradition.

These are great gifts children can buy for their parents and ones that parents would love to get. I hope you enjoy these ideas to helping your little ones enjoy the shopping experience!

20 Christmas Books for Mom

I love reading especially during the Christmas season. If you are like me, you may want to know if there are Christmas books for mom that you haven't already read.  I hope you find some new ones in this list of 20 books that I have created based off some that I have read and some that I look forward to reading.

20 Christmas Books for Moms | www.joyinthehome.com

20 Christmas Books for Moms

I love to do anything I can to relax during the Christmas season, to help with the stress that often comes with extra social parties, shopping, family commitments and the hustle that often comes with the month of December.

Cuddling with a blanket, and a fire is always a joyful time for me, but these are some of my favorite Christmas reads that moms would really enjoy.

To do this with my family around, I offer them a book from our favorite Christmas books for them, and just enjoy a quiet evening together.

I hope you make enjoying a Christmas book a new tradition in your holiday season, because you will love it once you do!

Why a Manger Replaced Our Christmas Tree

Why a Manger Replaced Our Christmas Tree www.joyinthehome.com

Growing up, I was a Santa Claus believer through and through, so the Christmas tree resembled the promise of coming gifts.  It served me as the symbol of all the desires that I could imagine and the anticipation of what I would find the morning of Christmas.  Once the presents were open the Christmas tree lost its grasp on my attention and my hope of something to come.

I had what was going to be given to me and the anticipation of gifts had past.

The once beautiful Christmas tree that had been void of gifts leading up to Christmas morning returned to that same place of being void, as gifts found their new places through the home.  Although it looked the same as it did just 24 hours before, it lost its promise and with it my excitement.

After continuing with the traditions that our parents had passed on to us, we wanted to focus our attention on more than the earthy gifts of Christmas morning, but the gifts that the birth of Jesus provided to us.

When we replaced our Christmas tree with a manger, we found our focus on knowing the best gift was already given, as Jesus was laid in a manger in Bethlehem.  Having a manger as symbol of Christmas in our home has allowed us to remind ourselves through the season of Christmas and even after the gifts have been open, that we are still waiting for something…. a promise.

This simple manger has quickly reminded us that Jesus' birth was for a purpose and His gift of salvation, although is readily available to us today, it is His gift of everlasting life that has us looking at this manger as I once did the Christmas tree.

I'm longing for His promise… His coming… His gift of eternal life.

Replacing our Christmas tree with a manger has been a good thing for our family to put the focus on the gifts that Jesus' birth provide for us. This doesn't change how we celebrate with our family, but rather enhances how we anticipate the gift that is still coming.

Learn how to make your own manger!

How to Make a Manger | www.joyinthehome.com


A Christmas Breakfast Kids Love

A Christmas Breakfast Kids Love www.joyinthehome.com
This Christmas breakfast is a tradition that my parents did when I was very young and one that I brought into my own family, while adding some new traditions of our own to reflect our desired traditions while celebrating Christmas our way.

The thing that makes this tradition a favorite with kids is they wake up to this table all set for them when they wake up ‘incredibly early' and ready to start with the days celebrations. My parents always told us that Santa Claus set the table for us, which made it very special to my believing heart. However, my husband and I had long decided that we weren't going to bring Santa Claus into our days celebration, staying true to his upbringing and my desire to be truthful to my children about why we celebrate the way we do.

I remember the first Christmas breakfast when I started this tradition and marked the start of the day as a celebration of Jesus' birthday. My small children's face light up with surprise and joy as they scanned the table to see what it all included.  It has been no different for my younger children now.

A Christmas Breakfast Kids Love www.joyinthehome.com
As our children come down the stairs, our eat-in table is in full view.  They are joyful over the ‘Happy Birthday' banner draped across the window, the balloons hanging over the table, the ‘bouquet' of candy canes in the center of the table and the individual boxes of their own cereal, place inside my Christmas dishes.

This past year, we added a new tradition of reading Bible verses about ‘gifts'.  We will do this every year, as it was a beautiful opportunity to turn their hearts to Him and the gifts that we already attained because of His birth and resurrection.  If you would like to start that tradition as well or just study what the Bible says about gifts, you can print your own 12 Bible Verse Cards about ‘gifts' and get started when you are ready.

Wrap Up Shopping With My Gift Ideas www.joyinthehome.com