From House to Home {Link Party}: Christmas Pictures

Christmas collage

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It’s time for our From House to Home Link Party:


From House to Home!

Only 2 rules:

1. Link up family-friendly posts (exact post, not website) about making your house into a home: homemaking, parenting, homeschooling, marriage, loving God! Giveaways, too!

2. Link back to my site with the button below or a text link. Thanks! The code can be found at the top of the Link Party page. (If you don’t link back somewhere on your blog, your link might be deleted.)

I Choose Joy!


Follow on Bloglovin

See the wonderful blogs I’ve linked up to here.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from the Mayo’s! Remember the Savior as you celebrate today!

I’ve heard about this baby boy
Who’s come to earth to bring us joy
And I just want to sing this song to you
It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
With every breath I’m singing Hallelujah

A couple came to Bethlehem
Expecting child, they searched the inn
To find a place for You were coming soon
There was no room for them to stay
So in a manger filled with hay
God’s only Son was born, oh Hallelujah

The shepherds left their flocks by night
To see this baby wrapped in light
A host of angels led them all to You
It was just as the angels said
You’ll find Him in a manger bed
Immanuel and Savior, Hallelujah

A star shown bright up in the east
To Bethlehem, the wisemen three
Came many miles and journeyed long for You
And to the place at which You were
Their frankincense and gold and myrrh
They gave to You and cried out Hallelujah

I know You came to rescue me
This baby boy would grow to be
A man and one day die for me and you
My sins would drive the nails in You
That rugged cross was my cross, too
Still every breath You drew was Hallelujah

(Lyrics by Cloverton, original song by Leonard Cohen)

Free Christmas Resources from Friends and Heroes

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I’ll be doing a review of Friends and Heroes in January. But, in the meantime, Friends and Heroes have some great FREE Christmas resources that might interest you:

1.  A Christmas music video which can be viewed or even downloaded for free.
2.  A free online Advent Calendar.

Each day includes a Bible reading plus a goodie like a puzzle, coloring sheet, music video or Bible story video. Each day is designed to be a fun way to turn the hearts of children and families to the deeper meaning of Christmas.



(This post contains affiliate links.)

J is for Jotham’s Journey

ABCs of Homeschooling through the Holidays

I’m blessed to have joined a group of amazing bloggers for the series “The ABCs of Homeschooling Through the Holidays” over at Upside Down Homeschooling.


J is for Jothams Journey.

I have written a post about using the book Jotham’s Journey for some wonderful family time during December.  Head over there to read what we do!


Review/Giveaway of Celebrate Jesus: An Advent Journey For Families

Celebrate Jesus Advent Guide


I’m really excited about the resource I’m reviewing today: Celebrate Jesus: An Advent Journey For Families by Amy Blevins.

It’s an Advent Guide chock full of all kinds of wonderful ideas–and it’s only $4.99!

Here are some examples of ideas I got from it that I’m going to try this year: Listening to a great version of A Christmas Carol on CD, wrapping up our Christmas books and opening one each day, using advent candles, listening to wonderful music–songs I haven’t thought of before, and baking some new treats!

What will you find in Celebrate Jesus?

  • 81 pages in a downloadable ebook
  • Each day of Advent (this year starts on Sunday December 1) has Scripture readings and activities listed
  • Activities include listening to a particular song (you can use the website she suggests, or YouTube!)
  • Lots of craft ideas
  • 13 holiday recipes
  • 24 pages of copywork

Celebrate Jesus an exciting Advent celebration for families.


(To order, click on the above graphic.)


 What I like:

Here is what I really liked about this advent guide– It’s not overwhelming!

Each day is completely laid out for you.  See Day One below.  It has a Scripture printed there.  (By the way, there are 2 versions–King James Version and English Standard Version.)  That is the Scripture that you’ll read aloud with the family.  There are also questions included for Moms and older teens to work through together.

So, at the table together, you’ll light the Advent candle (this can be simple, something you make, or something you buy).  Then read the Scripture, sing or listen to the song, and then do an activity.  Day One’s activity is to “act out” the darkness and then the Light coming into the darkness.  Finally, you end with a question or two to think about and help everyone apply what they’ve learned.

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One craft my kids enjoyed doing was using old Christmas cards to make placemats.

You’ll also find instructions for

  • Beaded Wreath Ornaments
  • A “Birthday Gift” for Jesus
  • Star Ornament
  • Bookmarks
  • 3-D Nativity
  • Paper Stars
  • Cinnamon Ornaments
  • Christmas Cards
  • And more!

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On certain days it’s suggested to have a simple treat during your study time. But there is also a recipe section. I wish I had time to try out all of these yummy recipes– including Peanut Butter Fudge, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Bread Machine Rolls, Party Punch, and Company Potatoes.
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Here are some pictures of copywork pages my kids did.  There is a different Scripture for each of the 24 days of Advent.  You may choose the ESV or KJV versions.  I like that each page has a small picture to color as well.  :)

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About the Author:

Amy Blevins is a Christian homeschooling mom of 6 (including 4-year-old twins), is married to a military man, and lives in California. She is a blogger, and you can read more about her at her websites Bow of Bronze and Homeschool Encouragement. The products she has written include “Listening to Learn: Using Audio Files in Your Homeschool,”Thanksgiving Copywork for Children,” “Christmas Copywork for Children,” and “Celebrate Jesus: An Advent Resource for Families.”

Celebrate Jesus: Fun for families every day of Advent

(To order, click on the above graphic.)


The Giveaway:

One blessed reader of I Choose Joy! will win a copy of Celebrate Jesus: An Advent Journey for Families in ebook format.  Winner will be chosen Saturday November 30.  Enter through the Rafflecopter app below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the KJV and ESV Ebook versions of Celebrate Christmas in order to write this honest review. I am also an affiliate for all of Amy Blevins’ products/books.)

Review/Giveaway of “The Story of Christmas” board book

Giveaway of The Story of Christmas

We have received another precious book from Tommy Mommy, The Story of Christmas.  It’s a small padded board book and tells the story of Christmas through rhyme and with adorable illustrations.  My daughter (in the picture) had fun reading it to herself!

The Story of Christmas

*ages 0-3

*Shows children the true meaning of Christmas

*Durable padded board book with a small trim size and carry-me handle, perfect for little hands!

See a Flipbook here!

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Enter a giveaway to win this book through the Rafflecopter app below.  The winner will be chosen next Friday November 15 and will have 24 hours to respond to my email.  U.S. only, please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

(Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to write this honest review.  Post also contains affiliate links.)

Collage Friday–Christmas 2012

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Well, I’m back from “vacation” and ready to start my regular work again:  homeschooling and blogging.   The other work didn’t take a rest.  :)

We had a wonderful Christmas this year–thankfully everyone was well from the flu and colds by the 21st.

The kids enjoyed some great presents.  Several received roller blades (which they even use in the winter by roller blading in the garage!).

One son received an iPod, which will double as a birthday present.  And I got a new camera!  Hopefully that means you will see an improvement in the pictures here in 2013.  We got Photoshop Elements also, so I need to get to work on learning how to use it.

Enjoy a few collages in the meantime.

Opening Presents:

PicMonkey Christmas presents


Annual Sleigh Ride with My Husband’s Side of the Family:


PicMonkey Collage- Sleigh Ride


Oldest Son Playing Violin for the Christmas Eve Service:

PicMonkey Collage Violin at Church


Don’t forget to get your FREE photo calendar!  (Shipping & Processing starts at $5.32.)

Linked to
friday favorite things | finding joyHomegrown Learners

(Post contains affiliate links.)

Funny Friday- Twelve Days of Christmas

Click through if you don’t see today’s Funny Friday from YouTube.

Christmas presents

Some more pictures from Christmas!


















Here’s a cute idea when the kids need something to do:  On day one of “Snow Days” Vistaprint features Magnets! Order one with lots of blank space for drawing. When you need an activity, stick it to the fridge and let your kids draw their own artwork with dry erase markers!  Kids can draw their own colorful artwork for display in your kitchen. Today they are 50% Off, with FREE Shipping! That’s $4.99 for a small magnet (11.25” x 8.5”) or $9.99 for a large one (17.3” x 11.25”), including free shipping!  *I just ordered one of these, blank with a cute border, to write our weekly meals on and post on the fridge!

(Contains affiliate links.  Thanks for supporting I Choose Joy!)

Merry Christmas from the Mayo’s

Our Christmas letter, written by my husband.

Dear Friends and Family,                                                                        Christmas 2011

Among the outlands of the Big City there lives a family of the King.  Highborn nay, for they were of lesser-than-royalty means.  Unto Him, though, they were born again, not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

They testify to the true light that had come into the world, the one that gives light to every man.  Adventus  – Ecce advenit Dominator Dominus, in the old Roman tongue.  “Behold, the Lord, the Ruler is come.”  In study, the senior children of the family labor the ancient language, a pillar of the Western Way.  In greater study the family hopes on the Revelation of God.

In a lesser way, yet still of the glory of God is now told the advent story of another family child.  His or her – we know yet not – birth shall come, Lord willing, of the time of Summer Solstice.  The first, this child be, of the family seven or nine if counting patriarch and matron, to be born in that twelfth of the year.  Great joy and some trepidation abound mother and father dwelling, they do and will, on the blessed event.

“Fear not,” though, the Heavenly Host had once said at the advent of the King’s Son.  It would seem the Spirit of that Host would gladly now proclaim a message of comfort and joy to these sojourners to the Celestial City.  For the revelation of God proclaimed blessing to a man whose quiver is full.  “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.”  Though convinced of divine revelation, the family’s preacher wonders on the word “youth.”  Aged in the flesh he has become – yea, well-nigh a half century – though his spirit is renewed every morning – Great is thy Father’s Faithfulness!

Far from fear, the brood anticipates enchantment and thrills at the next child’s coming.  Be it boy, then five golden rings there be.  Be it girl, then four calling birds shall sing.  And what of this kin of the King?  Adopted of spiritual descent, the King gathers their souls for heaven’s joy.  In proclamation of what the Lord has done, the band’s older three confessed His grace accepted.  Ceremony was had in the eighth month of the Roman calendar, and these three symbolized the death-to-life journey in the large waters by the Big City.  Though riotous the ribbons of the lake pounded, all three along with yet another four of the same fellowship came up out of the waters.

There be the patriarch yes, and the seven plus one of which we speak.  But what of the unsung one, the matriarch and her blessed sacrifice?  For through the clamor of corporal change, she bears each new life and enlarges in fuller blessing this warrior remnant.  War there will be, if it be among men too, then parallel wars be they.  Struggle against the flesh and blood there may be, but against the rulers and authorities, and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms, there will be.

The unsung one shall be sung.  “Blessed!” exclaims her children and her mate when they rise in her presence.  A war bride she be and the yeoman’s load she carries, thy children gather about her, and the Word of the Lord is on her lips.  Perfection nay be she, but a readiness she fits to tell the wondrous stories of unseen things above.

Yet she and they and he all bow this Christmastide (and of every day) to worship the King!  Adventus – yes there was He.  Adventus – yes there will He be.  Come Lord Jesus and set us free!

Love, The Mayos – Michael and Gena and their children