My husband is a Christmas decoration fanatic. Seriously.
In fact, his family warned me about this before we got married. Seriously.
And they were serious. They cautioned me that I probably wouldn't be putting up many Christmas decorations after we were married . . . that this would probably be Elmer's domain from now on.
Okay, well, that sounded fine. And it mostly was. Especially when I had two little crumb gobblers running around the house making mischief!
Now, as the girls grew old enough to help trim the tree and put up a few decorations, we had to work through a few things with them helping. After all, they were infringing upon Daddy's domain, and maybe their placement of ornaments wasn't quite exactly where he would place them on the tree.
I could overlook it . . . until the girls were in bed. Maybe a few ornaments needed to be spread around a little bit more. But Elmer? He struggled with it. Gradually, though, he's become more relaxed about the entire decorating process. Whew!
Except for outdoor Christmas lights. His goal is to be the first person in our neighborhood to have their lights strung and ready to go before Thanksgiving. He usually is. :)
Don't worry - he only turns them on momentarily before Thanksgiving evening to make sure they're working properly. But after that turkey dinner is finished, and it begins to get dark, those lights are ON! :)
One part of Christmas that has always been part of my domain is the . . .
Christmas door decoration!
We've usually had a fresh wreath up, sold by local youth orchestra students. Last year, though, they weren't selling them, so we bought a swag made by a friend of ours who was raising funds for her own Girl Scout camping experience the following summer.
This year, we are blessed to have a huge, beautiful, aromatic wreath made from Balsam fir. Wreaths of Maine sent it to us so we could give their company a try and see what we thought.
Oh, my. It is stunning! And it smells so freshly different than the other firs and pines we have in the Pacific Northwest. The photos you see, above, are some of their actual Christmas wreaths! Balsam fir would be classified in my neck of the woods as having "whorled" needles, also known by some as "bottlebrush," so it has its own unique, full look, unlike most of the grocery store wreaths around my community, which are made of pine and fir branches having flat needles.
We've never ordered anything live like a mail order-wreath, so I wasn't sure what to expect.
The Balsam fir Christmas wreath arrived well packaged in a very sturdy, large box. It would have been more fun for Rudolph and the other reindeer to deliver this instead of FedEx, but this time of year, FedEx employees are more like Santa's elves, anyway, right?
We peeked inside. Oooooh, aaaaahh, wow! Tightly packed so it won't slip around - nice!
Now for a closer look:
Sadly, my photo makes this wreath look small. Trust me - it is not small! It's almost 2 feet wide across the wreath!
And, this wreath is very full and double-faced, so it will look just as full and beautiful on one side as on the other (although the decorations aren't on both sides). If I had a window in our front door, I wouldn't be staring at a cardboard or wooden base on the back side, like so many local wreaths sold in our area. Nice!
The box also included care instructions and the metal wreath holder. Oh, and yes, the plush velvet bow is separate, packed specially so it won't become crushed in shipping.
We were instructed to take the wreath out of the box and let it "breathe" for 1-2 hours so it could bounce back to its original shape. It really made a difference - we could tell that the wreath was much more full a couple of hours later.
The directions on how to attach the wreath holder were clear enough for most people. I'm not most people, so I had to study it for a couple of minutes and try a few different things. Keep in mind, people, that I'm mechanically challenged. 99% of Americans, including my husband and my children, would not have a problem with the directions!
After the wreath was hanging on the door, I remembered that I hadn't yet attached the velvet bow! Oops. That's okay. It was easy to do. Even for me. (Grin.)
Brittany was excited about our new wreath, because she, our little entrepreneur, discovered that Wreaths of Maine primarily sells their wreaths as fundraisers for children, and often, as homeschool fundraisers!
And if that isn't right up Brittany's alley, I don't know what is!
Our wreath and fundraising kit didn't really arrive early enough for her to go door-to-door among local businesses and among friends, earning commissions on each wreath that she sold.
But come early next November, that is exactly what Brittany plans to be doing!
Should you choose to order a wreath, spray, or swag from Wreaths of Maine before Christmas, you may select Joy in Our Journey 5063 on the last page of checkout, and Brittany will be credited with a small commission for each wreath sold using her account #.
We're very pleased with our beautiful wreath. I know you will be, too, should you choose to purchase one from Wreaths of Maine. Online orders may be placed individually by December 16th, so that still gives you two more weeks to browse their website and see which wreath you'd enjoy the most. Wreaths of Maine also sells swags, sprays, and pine roping.
I did have a couple of questions for Wreaths of Maine, about selling wreaths, and they promptly emailed me right away with an answer. Some of the parents on the TOS Crew with me mentioned that their children earn funds by selling Wreaths of Maine Christmas wreaths, and some have earned a fair amount of money by doing so. Of course, that makes Brittany extra pleased with another way to earn some extra income for maybe a new camera lens, or something fun like that!
Only a small group on the TOS Crew was chosen to receive a Christmas wreath from Wreaths of Maine. Read what they have to say about their experiences with this company!
Of course, you can find Wreaths of Maine on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Follow them there in order to get inside information on their special sales and promotions!
Fine print: Wreaths range in price from $31 - $47. Shipping is only $3.95 per wreath. Not bad at all! Wreaths can be shipped to Alaska for $19.99 via the postal service as of December 2011.
Disclosure: I received one Classic Christmas Wreath from Wreaths of Maine in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was provided.
We have our Christmas winners to announce!
The winner of the "Christmas Lodge" DVD is . . . Kristina S.!
The winner of the mp3 download of the full album, "One Silent Night" by FFH is. . .
The winners' names and emails have already been forwarded to the company sponsoring these two giveaways. Thank you to you, all of my Joy In Our Journey readers, who took the time to sign up for these two giveaways. Wish I had enough to give away to you all!
If you've been visiting Joy In Our Journey for more than a few months, you'll notice that I love reviewing and using godly children's Bibles and other biblical books and Bible studies for children and teens!
We have a portion of our bookshelf in our schoolroom that just holds Bible devotionals and Bibles that we enjoy using from time to time. We do our best to spend 4-6 nights per week having a family Bible time together, and the girls and I spend time together having a Bible/discipling time most school mornings as well.
From young toddlers through the teen years and into adulthood, there are so many godly books and Bibles for every phase of development.
Some of you have young children in your home and are looking for toddler and preschool Bibles that will introduce your littles to the basics of the Christian faith.
Other readers here on Joy In Our Journey are almost grandparents! Or are grandparents! And would like to build their own little library of books and materials to use with their grandchildren.
Some of you may not be parents at all, but may know of a church library or a pregnancy center or rescue mission where an excellent toddler/preschool Bible would be a welcome item.
So, I'm going to be giving away a beautiful family Bible (for families with children around the ages of 4-8 years old) here on Joy In Our Journey! This isn't a children’s Bible. It is a Bible story book that includes key verses and parent pages called “Family Talk” and “Family Fun” to assist adults in discussing the stories with children.
But first, let me show you some samples of the pages inside this precious Bible:
Isn't that beautiful? I just love it!
To enter this giveaway, it's quite simple. All you need to do is to leave me a comment saying how you'd use this book if you were to win it. Would you give it away as a gift to friends or grandchildren? Would you keep it in your home to use with your own young children? Or keep it for when grandchildren come to visit? Or would you donate it to a worthy organization who could have need for it?
If you'd like to go ahead and sign up for an email subscription whenever I post giveaways, freebies, book reviews, and other helpful information for families, just let me know in a separate comment that you did this, too, for one extra entry. Please, only a maximum of 2 comments per person. Thanks!
I'll be selecting a winner on Monday, December 12th at midnight (Pacific time), and Baker/Revell Publishing will ship the book out to the winner ASAP! This book giveaway is available for all of my readers here, whether you are in the U.S. or are an international reader.
Can't wait to see who will win a copy of this book! Merry Christmas to you all!
A special "thank you" to Baker/Revell Publishing for sponsoring this Christmas giveaway!
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends,
Father in Heaven, we thank You!
Hi! I'm Julieanne!
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