Monthly Archives: December 2015

Christmas Eve Traditions (WITH activity and recipe!)


The Horrell House loves the Christmas season just as much as you do! We love celebrating every year and we look forward to the spontaneity and fun it brings, but we also look forward to our favorite traditions.

Christmas Eve is particularly special to us, and as such, we have created some pretty spectacular traditions in our family. They are especially meaningful given that we celebrate the holidays as a secular family and we feel it important to not only use Christmas as a time to explore values such as generosity, but also to relish in the delights of wonder and whimsy.

The entire season of the yule is magical-I want my kids to never lose their sense of adventure and delight that surrounds the holidays…even if we are living in a sub-tropical climate 😉

The anticipation of Santa, of seeing reactions of surprise, of sharing new toys, of eating tasty food, and of spending quality time together builds on Christmas Eve.

So without further ado…our top traditions:

1.) We start the day with our awesome breakfast of sweet potato hash while listening to our favorite songs. Mine is Wham’s “Last Christmas” hehe.

2.) Go to the store to get last-minute stuff. Each kiddo gets to choose one item for dinner. Christmas Eve dinner is easy and laissez-faire. It tends to be a hodge-podge of their favorite food!

3.) Track and call Santa Claus!

4.) Take a warm bubble bath, then open their traditional gift of brand-new PJs.

5.) We load up in the car to go scout the best light displays! This year, we are in a new state, so we’ll see what’s in store. Thankfully, it’s also going to be a full moon-extra fun!

6.) When we get back, we drink some hot cocoa, bake some cookies, and watch our favorite Christmas movies which include Home Alone (throwback to MY childhood!), Elf, The Santa Claus, Jingle All the Way, Frozen, Charlie Brown.

7.) One of the more fun activities we do is play a game named after the poem, “Twas the night before Christmas”. Not only is it fun, it’s a ingenious way to develop reading, writing, and theatrical skills!

8.) Lastly, we set out the reindeer and Santa food, as well as our stockings, and call it a night!

While my kids may not believe wholeheartedly that Santa is real, they wholeheartedly believe that the magic of Santa and all that he represents, is real and good. As a mom, their enthusiasm for the holidays is contagious. To me, it confirms all that is good and right in the world, and that is what Christmas means to me.

For an super-duper easy breakfast recipe, click here!  OR:  Sweet Potato Hash.jpg

“Twas the Night Before Christmas” activity:

  • Sit in circle
  • Have children get a notebook and pencil, paper and crayons, their favorite puppet, or Christmas PJs.  Have the youngest child begin by reciting, “Twas the night before Christmas in the ______ house”. The child sitting next to him/her completes the sentence by either writing, singing, acting, etc. what THEY want to happen. Keep rotating in the circle until your story is complete! Make sure your family is the focus.

Everyone has a gift to share



As we get nearer to Christmas and parents start frantically shopping or ordering online (after all, Amazon has TWO DAY shipping!), it is comforting to be reminded that some of the greatest gifts are those given freely and authentically-everyone has a gift to share.

Your kids don’t really care what they find under the tree come Christmas morning. They won’t remember the multitudes of gifts they even requested! No, they’ll remember YOU and the TIME.

How was it special? How did you all FEEL?

They’ll remember that you tried. That you worked to make the holidays happy. That they made their best friend a one-of-a-kind piece of art. They’ll remember the meal around the table and the family not often seen.

Presents are cool! They ARE! It is a way to say, “hey, I listened to you and want you to enjoy the surprises in life!” But presents don’t have to be only physical gifts. No. The way to raise kids who are generous themselves is to help them develop their inherent gifts by demonstrating how.

Everyone has a gift to share. Arguably, the most important gifts are those that show gratitude and appreciation, that inspire people. Our friendship and time allow for us to help others and lift them.

Have your child show their gratitude for their friends and siblings by giving them the freedom to make or purchase a gift of their own choosing. Inspire your child to help others by volunteering your time at a local event, shelter or drive, even if it’s just an hour.  Cultivate healthy friendships and encourage them in your children’s life by being not only the parent, but a friend too.  And lastly, give your children the gift of your precious time. In a hectic world, it is hard to make time. It is hard to be present and not give presents! When you give your child your time, your well-thought physical gifts are all the more special. You’re giving them the best memories and the best holiday. You’re giving them the knowledge that we all have something to give to our fellow humans, no matter our financial status. But most importantly, you are giving them the real, unfiltered YOU.



What do you feel are your best gifts you share with the world? Share in the comments!


A Cute Birth Announcement…When You Don’t Want to Share Your Pregnancy.

As a mom to five, I am used to hearing it all in regards to how many we have.  Just recently, while the hubs dropped us off in front of Target because of a downpour of rain, a woman made this comment, “Wow, it’s like a clown car. They just keep coming out!” Now, I didn’t know how to infer her apparent indignation, but I think is’t fair to assume it was something better left unsaid.

So as you can see, when I became pregnant with my fifth, I decided that I could (for the most part) hide behind the anonymity that is social media and refrain from divulging the status of my uterine components.  Let’s just say that after two kids, especially if they happen to be the “perfect” combo of boy and girl, people-even well-meaning family members, are less than excited about another pregnancy. I didn’t want the criticism, the questions, and the tasteless jokes.

When December rolled around and I birthed three weeks early, I was so excited to finally share with majority of my friends and all of my family (who weren’t local to me). I’d always wanted to do one of those cute birth announcements but never got around to it. Now was the perfect time-Christmas!

We were expecting her on New Year’s(ish), but as fortune would have it, she came before Christmas. So, we got a cute and colorful hat box, staged the Christmas tree, and had the other four kids “unwrap” their early gift from Santa. Then, just like any other millennial mom, I shared it to Facebook.

Of course, our combined pregnancy and birth announcement caused some confusion and a bit of shock, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was nice to have something to ourselves as a family and to surprise our friends and family.

Now, the running joke is that should we ever have another little one, I won’t announce until the first birthday!

Take a look at our announcement and share your creative birth and/or pregnancy announcements in the comments!

No babies were actually wrapped in the hat box in the making of this birth announcement.

A Quick Welcome

Hi! Welcome to the HH.  First, I want to say how happy I am that you’ve decided to drop in! Second, I wanted to introduce the blog-you’ll find more information here.  You’ll notice that the archive has few posts and most are to do with formal/academic topics in collegiate education.  That’s because the Horrell House didn’t start as the HH.

No, it began as proof of my participation in a professional learning environment (PLE) while I was obtaining my master’s degree in Education. It was our (my colleagues and I) way of sharing our learning experiences, our continued work, and our commitment to fully understanding our materials and tasks while dispersing our ideas to the general public.

After graduation, I decided to blog about topics that my experiences as a home and preschool educator, as a postpartum professional, and as a yoga teacher inspired.  Rather than simply educating though, I wanted to begin something relative to today’s parents; to be…fun AND informative.  I think people are multi-faceted. I strive for this blog to be just as layered as a Royal’s wedding cake 😉

Love and Light,