Friday, December 13, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Dream Vacations, Santa Confusion, and Some Good Old Puns about Pears

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


I don't want to make you jealous, but I just got back from the best vacation of my life.

I went along with Phillip on a business trip, and it was awesome.

Of course, three nights of uninterrupted sleep and four days of showering with no need to yell several times through the bathroom door "WHAT IS GOING ON  OUT THERE?!" would've been magical enough, but his business trip was in Florida, which meant I went from this:

Click to read the funniest summary of the week from your favorite family of 8 on the block! This week's 7 Quick Takes will make you laugh, cry, and feel better about your family chaos. #7quicktakes #7qt #unremarkablefiles #funny #real #bigfamily

to this:

Click to read the funniest summary of the week from your favorite family of 8 on the block! This week's 7 Quick Takes will make you laugh, cry, and feel better about your family chaos. #7quicktakes #7qt #unremarkablefiles #funny #real #bigfamily


Even now I can enter into a Zen state while washing the dishes if I think about how this was my life 72 hours ago...


By the way, I highly recommend tagging along when your husband's business trip is a multi-day conference at a swanky resort.

Phillip was in talks and workshops from 8 to 5:30 every day, during which time I walked on the beach (I may have been levitating) and laid by the pool (I may have been having an ecstatic out-of-body experience.)

After his workday was over we'd meet up and he'd ask how my day was. I'd try not to rub it in by saying dismissively, "Oh, I just watched the sun set from the hot tub. How was your meeting?"

I guess I wasn't very successful at not rubbing it in.


I came home a day before Phillip did, so when his flight got in I went to go pick him up.

Despite my best efforts I was, of course, late.

"I'm so sorry!" I said when I pulled up to the curb, where Phillip was freezing in his sweatshirt waiting for me. "There wasn't any gas in the van so I tried to take your car, but the wipers were frozen to the windshield so I needed to scrape the ice off, but I couldn't find the scraper and by the time I found it in the kids' ball bin I was so late I just ended up taking the van anyway, and when I tried to call and tell you my phone died in my hand."

Phillip just laughed and said, "Welcome back to your life."


In our family we "do" Santa, but Christmas is primarily a religious holiday for us so we don't emphasize him very much. Anyway, I realized this past week that my 3-year-old didn't even realize that Santa is a person/character.

We were at toddler morning at the roller skating place, when an employee dressed as Santa stepped out on the rink. Surprise!

"Look!" I said to my 3-year-old. "It's Santa!"

He looked in the direction I was pointing and said, "He's hanging."

I had no idea what he was talking about so I said, "Santa is right there! Do you see him?"

"Yeah, he's hanging."

Then I realized he was talking about the Santa decorations dangling from the ceiling overhead, and he was looking right through the random guy wearing a red suit on the skating floor.

You guys, he had no concept of Santa as an actual humanoid figure that walks around and talks. He just assumed Santa was a Christmas decoration we put up in December.

So whoops, I guess we never really explained to the 3-year-old how Santa works. I gave him a barebones primer and we approached Santa, and do you know what he asked for? A "wrapped-up toy."

Well, that one should be easy.


Because Phillip is in the bishopric and they work together at church, the bishop (the leader of our congregation) gives our family a gift at Christmas.

Phillip and I were still in Florida when he dropped off a fancily-packaged box of pears, so when we came back my 8-year-old pointed to them and told us, "Apparently these are from the bishop."

I laughed and repeated, "A-pear-ently?"

Which turned out to be a mistake because she then told that joke about 97 more times.


My 13-year-old's violin lessons are a half-hour drive, but we got stuck in an accident slowdown on the freeway this week. We sat there for so long I finally had to just call the teacher and say we weren't coming.

It was pretty fun to sit in traffic for 30 more minutes until we reached the next exit and turned around for home.

Maybe it was actually a good thing, though, because my daughter's bow wrist has been giving her a little trouble.

Her teacher suggested resting it until Christmas, which seems like a long time for someone as dedicated to the violin as my daughter, but it could be worse. She said she hurt her wrist when she was earning her master's in violin performance and had to delay graduation so she could rest it for 6 weeks.


Okay, I'm going to voice what may be an unpopular opinion here. Or maybe everyone secretly agrees with me: The Polar Express is creepy as heck.

I'd always heard was a cute movie about the magic of Christmas, and was sad that my older kids wouldn't watch it. Every time I suggested it they'd moan, "No, not The Polar Express! I watched that in school and I hate it!"

I should have listened.

I watched it with my younger kids and about 10 seconds in when the main character opened his eyes, I heard my 5-year-old whisper, "Creepy..." That should have been my first clue.

Why did every scene look like a clip The Sims? What's with the hobo? What's with the 12-year-old taking coffee from a hobo? Why all the horror movie marionettes? And most importantly, why was every single character a clicinally depressed store mannequin possessed by the spirit of Tom Hanks?

Seriously, I just can't with the animation. Those people were dead inside and their faces will haunt my dreams. (Strangely, this trailer of The Polar Express redone as a horror movie actually made me feel a little better.)

Just to clarify, when I asked last week for Christmas movie suggestions on the blog and Facebook, no one suggested The Polar Express. You guys are too nice to have done something like that.

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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Top 10 Funny Memes about Parenting from 2019

It's that time of year when we all look back at how we've grown as parents over the year... and then try not to laugh when we think about all the ridiculous kid-related shenanigans that have gone along with it.

Enjoy my 10 favorite memes and vemes created by yours truly in 2019. And remember, sharing is caring!

10. The "overcrowded browser" analogy needs a little tweaking. (Click here to see the video that inspired this meme!)

Laugh about the ridiculousness of keeping tiny humans alive! These are the 10 most hilarious parenting memes and relatable mom truths of the year. #parenting #funny #truth #unremarkablefiles #parentingmemes

9. Just a little back-to-school wisdom for the other parents out there.

Laugh about the ridiculousness of keeping tiny humans alive! These are the 10 most hilarious parenting memes and relatable mom truths of the year. #parenting #funny #truth #unremarkablefiles #parentingmemes

8. Riiiiiight about 4:00...

Laugh about the ridiculousness of keeping tiny humans alive! These are the 10 most hilarious parenting memes and relatable mom truths of the year. #parenting #funny #truth #unremarkablefiles #parentingmemes

7. Thirteen-year-old me had no idea my mom was doing it back.

Laugh about the ridiculousness of keeping tiny humans alive! These are the 10 most hilarious parenting memes and relatable mom truths of the year. #parenting #funny #truth #unremarkablefiles #parentingmemes

6. May is approximately 864 school days long.

Laugh about the ridiculousness of keeping tiny humans alive! These are the 10 most hilarious parenting memes and relatable mom truths of the year. #parenting #funny #truth #unremarkablefiles #parentingmemes

5. And in the winter, it's hot chocolate!

Laugh about the ridiculousness of keeping tiny humans alive! These are the 10 most hilarious parenting memes and relatable mom truths of the year. #parenting #funny #truth #unremarkablefiles #parentingmemes

4. I know this is utter nonsense, but Imma just let 'em finish and see where it goes...

Laugh about the ridiculousness of keeping tiny humans alive! These are the 10 most hilarious parenting memes and relatable mom truths of the year. #parenting #funny #truth #unremarkablefiles #parentingmemes

3. To my neighbors: I'm really sorry.

Laugh about the ridiculousness of keeping tiny humans alive! These are the 10 most hilarious parenting memes and relatable mom truths of the year. #parenting #funny #truth #unremarkablefiles #parentingmemes

2. When you're not a spring chicken anymore.

Laugh about the ridiculousness of keeping tiny humans alive! These are the 10 most hilarious parenting memes and relatable mom truths of the year.

1. Well, good for them. The answer is still no.

Laugh about the ridiculousness of keeping tiny humans alive! These are the 10 most hilarious parenting memes and relatable mom truths of the year. #parenting #funny #truth #unremarkablefiles #parentingmemes

If you liked these, share your favorites on social media and check out my favorites from 2018, 20172016, and 2015!

And after that, you should probably get up and check on your kids. They're leaving you alone for a long time and that should make you very suspicious.

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Friday, December 6, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Snow Days, Something to Think about Next Time You See the Nutcracker, and Alternatives to Getting Dentures

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


Congratulations to Amanda, the winner of the Stella Nova game giveaway!

In case you missed it, Stella Nova is a fun family board game focused on the birth of Christ and it's perfect for playing during the month of December. You can see my family's review or go to the Stella Nova website to learn more.

If you're not Amanda and didn't win a free copy of Stella Nova, all is not lost! You can use the button below to get 20% off Stella Nova (regular price $39.95) in plenty of time for Christmas.


We got a foot and a half of snow earlier this week, totaling two school cancellations on Monday and Tuesday. This was directly after they'd already had several days off for Thanksgiving, so we were living it up.

The kids were joking about how we'd had Saturday about 5 days in a row, and we had no idea what day it actually was or where we were supposed to be. We mostly just sat around playing and watching Christmas movies in our jammies. It was pretty awesome.


As is our Christmas tradition, I took the kids to see The Nutcracker.

Just before the ushers came down the aisles with gigantic protester-style signs with a 'no pictures' sign that I really wanted to take a picture of but didn't.

It was my 5-year-old's first time. He was so intently focused, way more than certain 8-year-olds who were melting out of their seats with boredom by the end (to be fair, I've always felt like the second act dragged a little.)

He looked confused when the Nutcracker removed the bulky mask over his head, so I leaned over and whispered, "Look at the Nutcracker! He's a prince now!"

The 8-year-old heard us, looked the dancer up and down with a grimace, and added: "And I can see his buttcrack."

Those white tights just don't leave much to the imagination, I guess. (And dang it if I'm not going to think "The Buttcracker" every single time I see the ballet now.)


The 3-year-old is suddenly calling everyone "stupid" when he's mad. (That's actually a step up because he used to hit everybody instead. Baby steps, people.)

Phillip put the kids to bed when I was at church youth activities this week, and he said the 3-year-old was not happy about it. Their conversation went like this:

"I want Mommy."

"Sorry, Bud. She's not here."

"I want Mommy."

"She's not here."

"I want Mommy."

"She's not here."

He paused to consider this, then said, "I want Mommy."

Not knowing what else to do, Phillip put him down and said, "Fine. Go find Mommy."

With all his 3-year-old bravado falling away, he wailed "She's not here!" and collapsed, grief-stricken, into Phillip's lap. "You're stupid!"

I laughed and told Phillip not to feel bad. That very morning the 3-year-old called me stupid for not making him waffles from scratch for second breakfast.


I need some input or advice here. Backstory: I grind my teeth in my sleep (I clench them, actually) and need a mouthguard so I don't wake up with headaches.

I had a legit one made for me by a dentist a long time ago that I really liked, but a few years ago it got stepped on and broke in half.

I just about choked on my own tongue when my current dentist said a new one would cost $776, of which $0 was covered by insurance.

So I explored other options.

I bought a cheap over-the-counter boil-and-bite mouthguard, which was okay at first but it was so big and bulky that after a while it started to feel like I was sleeping with a tire in my mouth.

I did a more expensive ($100) Internet thing where they mail you a kit, you make a mold of your teeth and send it back, and they mail you a mouthguard made of flexible, soft plastic. It only lasted a year before I wore it out.

So then I tried another over-the-counter brand made of hard plastic, but I can't get the fit right.

I even considered just paying for the expensive dentist-made guard, but mine says he only makes soft guards which are the ones that wear out and need to be replaced every year or so, so that's out.

I'm about to give up and just get dentures. Any other suggestions?


Over the long (long, long) weekend, the kids and I watched The Muppet Christmas Carol, and even though we watch it every few years, I forget every time how much I like it.

When my 8-year-old asked what 'humbug' meant, my 13-year-old told her, "It means 'whatever.'"

I love how she can translate 1800s Dickensian English into modern-day talk.


Speaking of Christmas movies, I'm in the market for good suggestions. I want to watch at least a few more good ones this month, but in a family of 8 everyone's got opinions and someone's always vetoing every choice.

We tried A Christmas Story and the kids thought it was boring.

It's a Wonderful Life puts me in a stupor of existential despair.

I love Elf but the kids refuse to watch it, claiming that his social awkwardness brings them physical pain.

The Jim Carrey Grinch movie is weirdly sexual. I don't get it.

Home Alone was the biggest failure of all: the kids were begging with actual tears in their eyes to turn it off, which I guess is understandable because most of the "funny" parts are things that would actually kill someone in real life.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. What are your favorites?

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Motivational Posters for Toddlers

The next time you walk into the office of a high-achieving professional or maybe a school principal, take a look at the walls. 

You're likely to see at least one motivational poster, the kind with an inspiring nature photo on a black background to illustrate a concept like "teamwork" or "success."

But what if you're not a corporate shark? What if you're, say, a toddler?

If toddlers had offices, these are the motivational posters they'd hang in them.

A toddler's motivational poster would encourage problem-solving:

And dressing for success:

And maintaining a curious mind:

Truly successful toddlers know how to play their target demographic:

And aren't afraid to be assertive:

And they know how to seize the moment when it really counts:

With a little determination, toddlers can reach the stars (or at least the scissors on the counter:)

Even if they are sometimes hard to work with:

And they don't always have it together:

But even so, we parents enjoy having our toddlers as co-workers (or is it 'bosses?') just the way they are.

Feel free to email me for high-resolution images of these motivational posters for toddlers: it just occurred to me that they'd make lovely nursery decor to inspire your baby.

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Friday, November 29, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Reasons to Get Excited, Someone Other Than Me Changing a Toilet Paper Roll, and a Thanksgiving to Remember

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


Amazing news! Phillip and I are taking a spur-of-the-moment trip and I'm so excited about it. The night we bought the tickets I was like a kid on Christmas Eve. I couldn't even sleep.

In December, he's going to a conference for work in Florida and asked if I wanted to tag along. At first I was like, "Oh, I don't think so. We'd have to find someone to stay with the kids and reschedule some appointments and it's so much prep work for a short trip I'm not even sure it would be worth it..."

A few days later the weather got cold, and I was like HECK YES I AM GOING TO FLORIDA.

Even better than the 72-degree weather forecast is the fact that Phillip's ticket and the fancy resort is already paid for by his work, and we used airline miles to buy my plane ticket so our total out-of-pocket cost was $11.50.

We'll be paying someone to stay with the kids for 3 days which will be pricey, but even so, the cheapskate within me is jumping for joy.


While we're gone, a friend's young adult daughter and her husband are going to stay here with the kids, drive everyone to their activities, and make sure everyone stays fed and alive.

I'm only slightly worried that spending 3 days immersed the chaos of our daily life will make them never want to have kids.

When I mentioned my concern to Phillip, he shrugged and said "They'll be fine, they just have to take care of the kids. They don't have to register for soccer."

That's true. Outlining the realities of soccer season would do WAY more to deter teen pregnancy than that high school project where you have to carry around a baby doll for a week, no contest.


Sometimes I feel like I'm running a little too behind on everything, but every now and then I'll be too far ahead, and that messes things up, too.

A while ago, I applied online for a credit card. I hadn't received the cards in the mail yet, but I'd been getting emails with titles like "Don't forget to activate your card!" and "Activate! Shop! Earn 2% cash back!" and "Have you activated your card yet?"

After several weeks of the emails I called customer service to tell them I'd never received the card, figuring it had probably gotten thrown out with the junk mail by mistake. So they cancelled the account and sent out a new card with a different number.

The original card arrived in the mail the next day. Of course it'd been cancelled, so that did me no good.


Our family was talking to the bishop at our end-of-year tithing settlement at church, and when my 8-year-old mentioned buying a bunch of sweets with her birthday money, the conversation turned to candy.

She went on an on about how she loved candy, so the bishop asked, "If a carnivore eats only meat and a vegetarian eats only plants, what is someone called who only eats candy?"

"Diabetic," my 13-year-old piped up.

It's not like she's wrong.


This week's Twilight Zone moment is brought to you by my 3-year-old:

When my 5-year-old called from the bathroom that we were out of toilet paper, I asked the 3-year-old to bring him some, which he did.

A few minutes later I went up to the bathroom to make sure everything was okay, and was really puzzled to see the new roll of toilet paper installed on the holder.

"How did that get there?" I asked my 3-year-old.

"I brought it here."

"But who put it on the holder?"

"I did."

I just stood there, thinking about the Berenstain Bear book where Brother and Sister Bear broke a vase and concocted an elaborate lie blaming it on a colorful bird that flew in through the window, and wondering if something similar was going on here.

Honestly, I think I'd have been quicker to accept a story about a colorful bird coming in and changing the TP roll, but whatever happened, I suppose I should just be thankful that it did.


Speaking of thankful, we still haven't put away all our Halloween decorations and may have pumpkins frozen to our front porch, but our Thanksgiving was still fantastic.

Not having family nearby, we've done our own Thanksgiving dinners for 10 years and let me tell you, cooking an entire Thanksgiving dinner from scratch is quite an ordeal. But now that the older kids are getting old enough to be really helpful (both with the cooking and the cleanup,) it was really enjoyable.

We usually go around the table and say what we're thankful for. I wanted to start with the youngest so he wouldn't just repeat whatever the other kids said, so I asked my 3-year-old "What are you thankful for?" As expected, I got a blank stare so I rephrased the question: "What makes you happy?"

He thought for a minute and answered, "If I go up to Jesus, he'll be happy."

My 11-year-old, on the other hand, is thankful for mashed potatoes. So we had it all at our table, folks.


After dinner, we got a fire going in our pellet stove and, since the couch cushions spend more time on the floor than they do on the couch, we just arranged them in front of the fire and took a nap.

It started out just Phillip and I, but then the younger three kids all zoomed in like heat-seeking missiles.

There wasn't much sleeping going on after that, but I enjoyed cuddling with my little people by the fire more, anyway.

Enjoy some Friday laughs with this week's 7 Quick Takes! The 8-person Unremarkable Files family usually has at least some chaos you can relate to (but hopefully not all of it!) #7qt #7quicktakes #unremarkablefiles #lifewithkids #real #relatable #funny
Picture taken by Phillip.

After this, I got up and ate homemade pie that I didn't even have to make myself, so it was pretty much the best day ever.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend and don't forget to enter my Christmas giveaway if you haven't already! (It ends tomorrow.)

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Friday, November 22, 2019

7 Quick Takes about Odd Things to Hear on the Radio, Improved Names for Exercise Moves, and a Giveaway

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


My 8-year-old's baptism on Sunday was very nice. Twice as many people as we expected came, including two of her friends from school who are not members of our church, just to support her.

Also, the police showed up.

They didn't bust down the door or anything (which would have made a great story,) but they did walk into the building politely asking if any of us had called 911 on a cell phone and said they were checking it out.


After the baptism, someone told us to take anything we wanted from the church's lost and found because they were just about to get rid of all the contents.

We perused it and ended up taking home this timely reminder:

In case you're confused by the cover illustration, this boy is taking the sacrament (what we call the communion or Eucharist,) which we regard as a weekly way to recommit to the promises we make with God when we're baptized.

We thought it was quite serendipitous and plan to review the book at home often, since if you ask my daughter about the most memorable part of her baptism I'm 95% sure she'll tell you about the space heater someone put in the bathroom to keep her warm while she was drying off after going under the water.


I have a complicated relationship with exercise. I guess it's not that complicated, I just don't really like it.

I've been on hiatus lately, but when I started feeling some instability in the joints in my back I was like, "Okay fine, I'll exercise!"

It's been a couple of weeks and I've been working out almost every day. My back feels better and my boys no longer ask what I'm doing when I start flailing around to a YouTube video.

In fact, they're really interested. The 5-year-old likes to invent new moves, and the 3-year-old likes to watch me closely to make sure I'm doing the same thing as the people on the screen.

One day he was watching me follow along, doing squats while holding weights in my hands, and asked, "What's that?"

"My weights?"

Pointing at me, he said, "No, THAT."

I looked down. "The drawstring on my pants?"

"No, THAT!" he said, jabbing his finger at the screen. "The squashing!"

"Oh, the exercise?"


"It's called a squat."

But I'm totally calling it "The Squashing" from now on.


The kids had a piano recital this week. We didn't start preparing as early as we should have, but I'm toooootally trying to be fine with that and accept that we were doing our best to keep up with the rest of life and not obsess about it.

This duet of "Merrily We Roll Along" was pretty epic.

Anyway, it was a time crunch getting their songs performance-ready. Each child was playing two pieces, one classical and one fun song of their choice.

Our 8-year-old's classical selection needed a lot more work than her fun song (which was actually pretty solid,) so we told her to spend her practice time on the classical piece.

Ironically, when the recital came around she completely bombed the fun song because she straight-up forgot how it went.

Phillip tried to make her feel better by telling her about his recent voice recital where he forgot the words to "Unforgettable."

It's not her: irony just follows our family wherever we go.


Phillip likes to do this annoying thing where he steals my thunder when I ask him to "guess."

For example, when I come home from a couponing trip to CVS loaded down with what is obviously hundreds of dollars of merchandise and gush, "Guess how much I paid for this??" Phillip guesses something ridiculous like 50¢. When I tell him it actually cost $5.49, it doesn't seem that impressive anymore.

But this takes the cake.

On the way to pick up the 15-year-old from school, a song came on the classical radio station that sounded weirdly familiar, but... not. When I asked my phone to identify the song, I learned it was "She's Leaving Home" by the Beatles, but redone in a Baroque style.

Forgetting how Phillip outdoes me every single time, I said that night, "I heard the weirdest thing on the radio today  you'll never guess what it was."

"Ummm... an American eagle farting the national anthem?"

I can't make this up, ladies and gentlemen. There's no way to top that.

(If you're not too preoccupied thinking about farting eagles, I'll have you know there's an entire collection out there called Beatles Baroque. So if you've ever listened to "Penny Lane" and thought, "Eh, it's okay but it could really use a harpsichord. Maybe some pan pipes," I know just the album for you.)


We got our family photos for our Christmas card taken at JC Penney.

Usually I have the appointment on my radar way ahead of time and spend days going through the kids' closets finding coordinating outfits for everyone to wear. But this time I didn't remember until 9 PM the night before.

I don't think Phillip knew what he was getting into when he offered to help me out. Cobbling together matching outfits for 8 people using only what we have on hand (especially when we're all kind of minimalists when it comes to clothes) is a Herculean task.

But in the end, did we do it? Yes!

And did we get everyone there on time the next day? Yes!

And if you're wondering, "Yeah, but did anyone in your family pee their pants in the middle of your photo shoot while the studio was running an hour behind schedule and 3 irate families were rage-waiting in their Christmas PJs for you to finish blotting urine off the photo background with a paper towel?" the answer is also yes!


The last thing you need to know this week is that I'm hosting a product giveaway and I want you all to go enter to win.

I'm giving away a copy of a fun new board game that's perfect for families as the holiday season starts ramping up.

It's called Stella Nova, which means "new star" in Latin, and it's all about the Nativity as we know it from the Bible. If your goal is to celebrate a Christmas that's more about Jesus than it is about presents or Jingle Bells, you should definitely enter to win a copy.

You can visit the Stella Nova website to learn more, then read my family's review and enter the giveaway here.

And if you have friends or family or people from your church who might be into winning, I'd consider it a personal favor if you'd tell them about the giveaway. Thanks a lot, guys!

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Review of Stella Nova: A Christian Family Board Game

Raise your hand if you love Jesus and like free stuff!

I'm glad I have your attention because I'm super-excited for this giveaway of Stella Nova, a family board game that is fun and celebrates the true meaning of Christmas.

Enter to win a free copy of Stella Nova: the Christian family board game that keeps Christ in your family’s Christmas! Learn about Jesus, have family fun, and create new Christmas traditions. Giveaway ends November 30th! #giveaway #christmas #christian #nativity #jesus #kids #family

As a Christian I look forward to celebrating the birth of my Savior every year, but by mid-November I'm drowning in a glossy full-color avalanche of hot holiday toy catalogs and... it's easy to lose sight of why we're buying all those gifts in the first place.

That's why I was thrilled when Christian Haven offered to send me a copy of Stella Nova.

Stella Nova is a Christian family board game  the name means "New Star" in Latin.

With a combination of strategy, luck, and knowledge about Bible trivia, players race their game pieces across a historically accurate map of the Holy Land to be the first Wise Man to reach the Christ child in Bethlehem.

Along the way, players face obstacles like thieves and sandstorms, and everyone has to use their supplies wisely to make it from one city to the next without running out.

Our family has played and enjoyed many board games that follow a similar strategy/luck formula, but the most unique and meaningful part of Stella Nova, in my opinion, was the trivia cards that get you through the game.

There are two kinds of trivia questions: geography or Bible. The ancient history and geography ones were really hard, but my teenagers enjoyed the challenge (and apparently know more about what's where in the Middle East than I do.)

I stuck to the Bible trivia questions, which were all about the Nativity story. I loved that the Bible verse with the answer was on each card, and when I saw that we pulled out our scriptures and made them part of the game.

We made the rule that the younger kids were allowed to look up the answer if they didn't know it, and as a result, my 8-year-old was legit reading from the Bible while we played and having fun doing it, which makes this game well worth it, in my eyes.

The game was rated for ages 8 and up, which seemed pretty appropriate to me since reading and a little bit of strategy is required.

The 5-year-old couldn't play by himself, but he wanted to be on my team and enjoyed rolling the die. The 8-year-old caught on quickly and actually ended up winning the game.

Game play lasted about an hour and 45 minutes with 5 players  of course, we would have finished sooner were it not for the genetic condition all my children seem to have inherited where they need to be reminded every single time it's their turn. (We've been struggling with this problem for years and I'm convinced there is no cure.)

My advice when playing Stella Nova for the first time is to read the directions ahead of time and be prepared to summarize. Even though the rules aren't complicated, the directions take a long time to read and people will get antsy if you try to do it when everyone is already sitting at the table.

Unless you bring snacks, which in retrospect is also a good idea.

Picture a bowl of M&Ms here and you've got a decent game night.

Stella Nova was easy enough for my 8-year-old to understand, challenging enough for my teenagers to enjoy, and focused on Jesus Christ and the story of His birth.

What's more, we had a good time together and I only threatened to duct tape the kids' mouths shut once! (Just kidding. It was twice.)

I consider that a rollicking success, and I'm looking forward to playing Stella Nova again this holiday season with my kids.

Phillip and I are always looking for ways for our family to remember and celebrate the real reason for the Christmas season, and we're happy to add Stella Nova to our toolbox!

If you're looking for family fun and a new way to keep Christ at the center of your Christmas this year, I highly recommend checking out Stella Nova's website.

The giveaway may be over, but you can still get a copy of Stella Nova in time for Christmas and you can get a 20% discount (regular price is $39.95) by purchasing with the "buy now" button below:


The prize: one Stella Nova game

How to enter: follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. (U.S. residents only, for this one.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This giveaway is sponsored by Stella Nova and I was compensated for this review. But all opinions are 100% my own, as always!
Enter to win a free copy of Stella Nova: the Christian family board game that keeps Christ in your family’s Christmas! Learn about Jesus, have family fun, and create new Christmas traditions. Giveaway ends November 30th! #giveaway #christmas #christian #nativity #jesus #kids #family
Enter to win a free copy of Stella Nova: the Christian family board game that keeps Christ in your family’s Christmas! Learn about Jesus, have family fun, and create new Christmas traditions. Giveaway ends November 30th! #giveaway #christmas #christian #nativity #jesus #kids #family

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