About

12.08.2019

6 Ways to Toddler-Proof Your Christmas Tree



Young boy and girl decorating a small Christmas Tree in their home

The Christmas season; one of the most cherished times of the year, until you have a baby or two in the house.  Some may opt to skip the tree but for others, that option doesn't seem realistic. "It's just not Christmas without a tree" you might say. So here are a few ideas you can try. Keep in mind these ideas are just to help you get through this amazing discovery stage that your child is going through.  It may not be pretty, but you do what ya gotta do when you have a toddler or a mobile baby.

We are missionaries in Honduras and both of my children were born here. We have lived here for 5 years and last year was the very first Christmas we actually celebrated in our home. So for the first 3 years, I didn't decorate because as soon as the 15th of December came we were on the road headed to visit family. We are staying "home" this year again and I have decorated but we are now out of the toddler stage. So I am going to give you some ideas to help you this Christmas season to keep your toddler safe and still be festive. 

1. Furniture barricade
You decorate the tree exactly how you want it but you put it up in a corner.  Then, you put furniture around it so that no wandering hands can reach it.  When we visited my parents this was the route they chose to take and it worked fairly well.  Once it was time to open presents we just moved the furniture so there was an opening to the tree.

2. Gate
You can buy a few baby gates and make a barricade around the tree. This option is a bit more pleasing to the eye.  It doesn't block off the tree from view and is definitely more aesthetic. You may have to rig it well so that the gates don't collapse easily and watch out if your kids are climbers.

3. Lift it up
You can get a smaller tree and put it up on a piece of furniture.  I have two small trees that go on top of a buffet when they were younger they were not able to reach them.

4. Felt Tree
This can be an alternative or just a distraction. The first time putting it up my kids played a good 45 minutes. They love taking it all down and redecorating it whenever they want.


5. Kid's special tree
This has been a favorite in my house. I bought a small tree and kid-safe decorations and I let them have at it.  They love it and redecorate it all the same.  This is good because it takes the attention off of "your" tree and they don't feel as attracted to it because they have their "own".  This helps but sometimes doesn't work if your nice tree has ornaments that attract their attention, like a Spiderman. My 4-year-old was so intrigued by it that, even though I had it up high, he somehow managed to get it down start playing with it and you guessed it....he broke it. So if you have any sentimental ornaments put them away for a couple of years.
Aerial view looking down on a young boy and girl sitting on the floor preparing to decorate a little Christmas tree

6. Watch 'em like a hawk. 
You could just decorate like you always do and watch 'em like a hawk and nag until your blue in the face.  This one requires so much work because you can't take your eyes off of them. Or maybe other people's kids are more obedient than mine are. If you do go this route, I would suggest not to put ornaments on the lower branches of the tree.


So regardless, of which one you decide to try this year remember that while decorating it's always important to be over-protective with the types of decorations that you use.  I advise keeping all the breakable decorations put away until they are a little older and stick with soft ornaments that aren't easily destroyed. Make sure there are no little pieces that can be pulled off and choked on; this includes lights.

Soon enough your littles will pass through this investigative stage and you will be able to decorate to your heart's content without worrying about a tree falling down or someone breaking your favorite ornament.

Whether you are in the United States or in another country remember the real reason why we celebrate this season.  While you are decorating you can teach you kids generosity when society doesn't    This time of year shouldn't be stressful and burdensome but a time to slow down and focus on God and family. 

Have you done something different during the Christmas season to keep your tree and decorations safe? Please share in the comments below. 

12.01.2019

Central American Memoirs- Real Life Stories from Honduras


 I am a high school ESL teacher in Honduras. My family and I have lived here for a little over 5 years serving in the community and church as missionaries. What exactly is missions?
This country is quickly criticized and its migrants judged. Migrants need help and support, there are many ways to help in your community

I hope by reading this story your viewpoints and opinions of undeveloped countries will change.   Leaving their families behind is not something that migrant workers want to do, but unfortunately, the hope of survival bids them farewell. A migrant isn't just someone who comes illegally, but also those who come legally looking for a way to support their family.

 A few weeks back we worked on personal narratives in class.  I love personal narratives because it is a way to get to know your students.  Some students choose meaningful stories while others just write something because they have to.  I was particularly impressed by one of my student's work. Not only was it well written but the story brought tears to my eyes.  Don't forget this personal narrative is written in English which is the student's second language


Long Time No See
by Nedy Chávez 11th Grade TLCBS

Have you ever had this feeling where everything feels surreal? All your surroundings are meaningless; nothing else matters. Just that one thing. That's what happened to me, and it was one of the best moments I have ever had.

Six years. Six long years since my dear dad left to work in the United States. He left when I was just two years old. The only contact we had since then was from behind a screen. Until one cold day, people crying, complete sadness, a nice white coffin lying in a room. My grandmother remained only in our hearts, and everyone was there to honor her memory. 

Suddenly, my babysitter asked me, "Who is that man standing over there?" With curiosity, I looked carefully and saw someone unexpected. Happiness running through my body; energy, sadness. I had all these mixed feelings and sensations in me. I ran as fast as I could and hugged the mysterious man who was my father. My sisters followed me. All of us, in one big hug; crying. My mom was watching us from a distance with a big smile. We could have stayed there forever. 

"I love you, my dear daughters," he said.  We all kept hugging, everyone watching, a beautiful moment, as he gave us a warm kiss on our foreheads. Still hugging, we entered the house. He was sad because of his mother, but happy at the same time. We never separated from one another. We sat together, continuing with the sad and hurtful event. His cheeks were warm and wet as he gazed at his mom, my grandmother, laying still, lifeless and all alone.

I realized that my family is the most important thing in life. Family will always be there, no matter the circumstances. That moment will be etched into my mind every single day for the rest of my life. My dad will always be in my heart, making me a better person. It was a bittersweet moment because we lost someone dear to us, but also God brought us someone we missed so much. 


 

11.10.2019

3 Ways to Turn Stumbling Blocks Into Stepping Stones

"The only difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is the way in which we use them."

Stepping Stones in a tropical garden with text overlay "3 Ways to Turn Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones"

I feel like God always speaks to me through the normal, mundane things that happen in life. I had taken a picture of my daughter jumping from stepping stone to stepping stone in a beautiful tropical garden not far from our home here in La Ceiba, Honduras. While editing the picture 'the stumbling block into stepping stone thing' came to my mind. I wrote a small caption "Turning Stumbling Blocks into Stepping Stones" with the picture and posted it on Instagram a few weeks ago. However, I couldn't get it out of my head.  I knew the Lord had more to say than what I wrote on that post.