A Christmas Tree for the Family

A Christmas Tree for the Family

Christmas Tree Farm

A CHRISTMAS  TREE FOR THE FAMILY

Another Christmas Memory

Do you put up a Christmas Tree for the Family? Is your tree full of special memories? Like ornaments you made when you were REALLY little?

Do you get a tree from a tree farm or a tree lot or, maybe, you like the kind that doesn’t drop its needles? There are all kinds of trees, just like there are all kinds of families!

But Belinda is very particular about HER tree! Maybe she dreamed about trees with lights and snow and even snowmen?

Can Belinda Help Choose the Tree?

If kids get to help choose the tree in your family, are they excited?? Belinda sings one of her favorite Christmas songs all the way to the tree farm! If you can guess which song, send me a note in the comments. Lots of kids like this song!

She can think about her pretty dream, but once she gets to the REAL tree farm, she is on a mission!

There are SO MANY trees to choose from. What if her dad picked the wrong one?? Only one way to solve that problem – well, at least three ways!

Helping the Grownups Get It Right!

So what do you think she did?? What would YOU do if you wanted to remember a tree? Well, if you’ve read today’s story, you know that Belinda puts her mittens on one tree, her scarf on another, and her warm winter hat on a third (she definitely likes threes!).

A Special Surprise at the Tree Farm!

One of the best things about Belinda’s trip to the tree farm was meeting up with her friend, Elizabeth! She even told Elizabeth her plan for choosing a tree. She said it had to be, “BIG and TALL and FAT and FRIENDLY.”

A Very Good Friend

Elizabeth agreed that there were way too many trees that were BIG and TALL and FAT and FRIENDLY. Even though Elizabeth was a very good friend, she didn’t like the idea of putting her favorite blue hat on a tree, so she joined Belinda in putting mittens and scarves on HER favorites too. Their parents would have some tough decisions to make.

It’s a Treasure Map!

Once the parents knew what the girls’ “Treasure Map” looked like, it was easy to check out all the trees and find the perfect one for their families. And, of course, find some slightly frozen mittens and scarves and one red hat too. 

Only 18 Days Till Christmas

With a whipped cream mustache from her cocoa, Belinda hugs her friend when they say good-bye. Soon she’ll be home, sitting at the kitchen table drawing the next page of her Advent Calendar – a Christmas tree wearing mittens and a scarf and a hat – and maybe she will add a snowman, just for fun!

Let me know in the Comments how you’re doing on your journey and whether you have a December 7 drawing of your very own in your house.

Please share your own experiences and suggestions in the Comments below. And tell me about your favorite Christmas books!

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Christmas Cookies and Family Stories

Christmas Cookies and Family Stories

Christmas Cookies

CHRISTMAS COOKIES AND FAMILY STORIES

Make a Memory with Cookies

Christmas Cookies and Family Stories! Belinda loves thumbprints with jam! Last year, mom had to guess which “thumbs” were hers. Or dads. Or… Well, she probably didn’t let her cat, Custard, make any thumb print cookies (that doesn’t mean Custard didn’t eat any!).

If you remember Belinda at all, you know she thinks in “threes.” One of her favorite cookies has green sprinkles like Christmas trees.

And she likes chocolate chip cookies when they are still gooey!

But her FAVORITE is the kind she made last year and put her finger in. (She really wanted to have paw print cookies made by Custard, but somehow that didn’t happen!)

Do You Lick the Beaters?

Belinda looked at her father with a serious face. She had dough all over it and said, “Good thing Mom wasn’t here! She doesn’t like me to lick the beaters. She says the eggs in the dough have not been cooked and could make me sick.”

She looked at her father (who was looking very innocent) and said, “I won’t tell if you don’t!”

Belinda Was Mad at Custard Yesterday!

When Belinda first woke up on cookie baking day, she laughed at a memory of Custard. He must have stepped on her head while she was sleeping because her hair looked like porcupine quills!

Custard wasn’t laughing at all. He didn’t like being compared to a porcupine (do you think that cats know what porcupines are??).

But today was a great day. It was cookie day!

Gramps Has a Funny Hat – AND He Steals Cookies Too! 

Belinda always laughs at the hat Gramps wears. It says, “Your dog ate what??”

Belinda always says, “I guess it’s a vet-er-in-ar-i-an joke!” Her grandfather, after all, was a veterinarian and had taken care of a LOT of dogs in his life. (And some cats too.)

Cookies were ready to eat by the time Gramps came in. She thinks he managed to steal more cookies than Custard (and he did!). But Gramps said, “Shhh! Pretty soon your father will know all my secrets and then where will we be?”

Only 20 Days Till Christmas

Belinda knows where she will be! She will be at the kitchen table trying to decide what to draw on her Advent Calendar. She’s thinking about, maybe, cookies and cat whiskers!

Her father would definitely like to see those drawings!

I love making that journey with her, year after year.

Let me know in the Comments how you’re doing on your journey and whether you have a December 5 drawing of your very own in your house.

Please share your own experiences and suggestions in the Comments below. And tell me about your favorite Christmas books!

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Grandmother’s  Christmas Gift

Grandmother’s Christmas Gift

Grandmother's Christmas Gift

GRANDMOTHER’S CHRISTMAS GIFT

What Did Grandmother Send??

“Grandmother’s Christmas gift was too big to be a book or a cookie, so I had to shake it just a little bit,” Belinda said. “It made a soft noise!”

Who’s Howard?

Belinda, the hero of the story, talks to someone she calls “Howard” quite often. When she was little, she could not quite pronounce “Hallowed” (as in hallowed be Thy name). She could only say, “Howard.” And Howard it became.

Sometimes A Little Girl Loves Surprises

Christmas GiftToday, December 4, Belinda has a wonderful surprise from her grandmother. But she knows that her present is not what makes it Christmas!

It’s green, like a Christmas tree! And it’s soft like Custard’s fur. But even Belinda knows that her surprise is not what makes it Christmas.

Can You Guess the Surprise?

What could be green like a Christmas tree and soft like Custard’s fur but NOT a book or a cookie? What would make a little soft noise? Can you guess?

Did Belinda Tell Howard the Secret?

I think she did! She said, “I had some trouble with the pretty ribbon, but Dad helped me. And he said I didn’t have to worry about breaking it.”

She could hardly believe the gift was for her! She was so excited, but her dad said that he was sure it was for her. AND there was more!

Grandmother Told A Story!

Belinda remembered that there was a STORY about her gift! Maybe it was a fairy princess gift? Or maybe it had magical powers?

Time to Find out the Secret!!

A Letter from GrandmotherBelinda raced down the stairs and reminded her father. “The story, story, the story!”

If you know Belinda, you will know that she always asks her questions in threes! Gramps rolls his eyes sometimes, but she has so many quesions.

Grandmother Has a BIG Surprise Planned for Belinda! 

I don’t want to spoil the story but I hope you are reading along! It’s not too late – there is plenty of fun to come as Belinda finds her way from the magic of the trees and the reindeer all the way to the wonder of the manger.

I love making that journey with her, year after year.

Let me know in the Comments how you’re doing on your journey and whether you have a December 4 drawing of your very own in your house.

Please share your own experiences and suggestions in the Comments below. And tell me about your favorite Christmas books!

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The Girl Who Found Christmas

The Girl Who Found Christmas

The Girl Who Found Christmas

THE GIRL WHO FOUND CHRISTMAS

Start Reading Today!

The Girl Who Found Christmas begins today! Just like an Advent Calendar with 25 doors, there are 25 bedtime stories for families to share, starting December 1.

The Storyteller

My name is Barbara Escher, known to my grandchildren as “Mom Mom,” to my best friend as “Sunshine” and to some of my readers as “That Christmas Lady.”

I actually like that name best because I have loved Christmas my whole life, and writing about it is the best thing I can think of!

I am very proud to be the author of The Girl Who Found Christmas: An Advent Calendar Storybook.

That Advent Calendar Thing?

Advent CalendarBefore I talk about the story I want to be sure you know about Advent Calendars.  Some might look like this, with a door (or window) for the first 25 days in December.

The doors or windows might even be hiding pieces of chocolate!

I admit that that sounds pretty good. But opening a door or a window is over so quickly! And my own children liked the Advent Calendar SO much that I wondered if there was a way to make the fun last a lot longer.

What’s Better Than Chocolate?

Well,  that took a lot of thinking and wondering. Until I wondered …

What About Bedtime Stories?

How about a bedtime story every single night, instead of just a piece of chocolate?

It sounded like a good idea to me because all the kids I know LOVE bedtime stories. But what would an Advent Calendar bedtime storybook look like?

Time for Cocoa!

Cocoa mugI thought about it and thought about it some more. I thought about it so much, I needed some cocoa!

That made me think about Christmas and the stories we love. About the Christmas tree, the cookies, the lights and decorations. AND the nativity scenes that many of us have in our homes at Christmas time!

Next thing you know, I started thinking about a little girl who loved Christmas as much as I did.

A Girl on a Mission to Find Christmas!

Before you knew it, I had a little girl in my mind. A little girl with red curly hair and freckles and green eyes. I just knew that the little girl’s name was Belinda, and somehow or other, I knew she had a cat named Custard!

Find a book and read Chapter 1! Let me know in the Comments how you’re doing on your journey and whether you have a December 1 drawing of your very own in your house.

If you don’t have a copy of my book, please find another book, buy some crayons, sing a song, read a book to a child, or write one if you have to. You can do it! 

Please share your own experiences and suggestions in the Comments below. And tell me about your favorite Christmas books!

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On Your Way to Christmas!

On Your Way to Christmas!

On Your Way To Christmas

ON YOUR WAY TO CHRISTMAS!

Four Weeks from Today

 I have been told that I need to create a video and put it on YouTube if I want anyone to find my book! Too bad I don’t know how to do that yet (I’m working on it!).

On Your Way to Christmas: Step 1

OK – if I could create a video, Step 1 would be to find a copy of my book BEFORE DECEMBER 1!

The book’s 25 bedtime stories begin on December 1, just like an Advent Calendar. So you still have time to get a copy and get ready to read. Which brings me to my next important step in the video!

STEP 2: BUY CRAYONS!!

The importance of this step cannot be overstated if you want to keep up with the story. The heroine (whose name is Belinda) will be making an important journey, and your reader can participate right along with her.

Belinda’s mom has given her a big challenge. She is on a mission to figure out what Christmas is really all about! And every day, she thinks about it. Sometimes she prays a little about it, just in case she needs some help.

But the most important thing is that she has to draw a picture for her mom by the end of each day. If she believes that Christmas is all about the tree, I’ll bet she will be reaching for some GREEN crayons!

Your readers might think that the answer is something different, and you can draw a picture of your own. You can even start building your own Advent Calendar, with pictures of each day’s new idea about Christmas.

And did I mention paper?? Any paper is ok for drawing, but big, blank sheets are great! Just right for drawing and hanging up on the wall. You don’t need special paper or artist paper, your little artists will be creative with their own unique ideas and a box of crayons!

STEP 3 On Your Way to Christmas: Make Cocoa!!

Cocoa mug

You might think that drawing would get a little messy with cocoa around, but I’ll bet you and your little readers can handle it. Sometimes you might want to draw first. Or read first. Or maybe go outside for a walk and THINK about it. Who knows what ideas you might come up with?

Do people in your neighborhood decorate for Christmas? Are there silly snowmen on the lawn, running out of air or standing tall?

Do some people have angels on their lawn? Wow! Now that’s a pretty cool idea. I wonder if Belinda ever drew a picture of angels?

Do you think angels are what Christmas is about? After all, the angels did make an important announcement when the Baby Jesus was born! Or maybe Christmas is about shepherds? Or wise men?

You can get a lot of ideas from walking around! Maybe now is time to go home for that cocoa?

 STEP 4: Cuddle Up and Read!

Best of all – time to cuddle up with your favorite reader and enjoy a Christmas book! It’s not time yet to start reading The Girl Who Found Christmas, so you might check out one of my favorite books, Rupert’s Snowman by Phillipa Warden. I fell in love with Rupert and his passion for bringing the snowman home a long time ago. You might love Rupert too! 

Go find a book, buy some crayons, sing a song, read a book to a child, or write one if you have to. You can do it! 

Please share your own experiences and suggestions in the Comments below. And tell me about your favorite Christmas books!

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