Christmas Handbells for Children

Last night, I had my Christmas piano recital, and I left my little handbells out, along with some simple music I put together so the kids could play around. I’m amazed how even the littlest kids can figure out these bells because of the colors. In fact, one little boy (6yo) who is not a piano student yet, and who has not done anything with music, picked up the bells and started playing “Jingle Bells” by himself. They love it!

Several parents have asked about these bells and the music, so I thought I’d share here.

I bought a pair of simple rainbow-colored handbells years ago, like the ones found here. There are 8 bells ranging from C to C, and from red to pink.

Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells pg1

And here’s the free music I put together.

Songs are:

  • Jolly Old St. Nicholas
  • Jingle Bells
  • The First Noel
  • Joy to the World
  • Angels We Have Heard on High
  • Away in a Manger/Cradle Song
  • Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer

So if you have kids, try it out. It’s seriously the easiest thing ever, and they love it!



Friday Funnies: The Reality Of Being The Youngest of Five

I can’t remember exactly what we were doing as a family, but at some point, I leaned over and saw my youngest son (5) writing this…

(See if you can figure out his inflection; notice the first word in the upper left corner. It will give you a clue as to what he meant.)



Poor kid.

I’m pretty sure therapists have their patients write down their frustrations from time to time. If that’s the case, he’s all set.

In my husband’s defense, this easily could have been written about me.

“Hey, Mom. Mom? Mom?! MOM! MOM!!!!!!!!!”

The realities of being the youngest of five.

The other kids think he’s spoiled rotten. This makes me think otherwise. :)


And since I’m showing pictures…Do you ever pick up your camera and find a completely illogical and random picture?


Apparently this is what happens at our house when my hubby and I go out to dinner. In case you can’t quite see it, let me explain what we have here:

  1. Up front is Afro Princess Rapunzel with her baby stroller.
  2. Basketball boy seems normal enough until you realize he’s wearing a Winnie the Pooh costume. I didn’t realize Pooh could dunk.
  3.  Bob Marley is the one holding a guitar, sporting a  ninja costume and a yellow floaty. Huh? A floaty?
  4. The mad scientist is wearing I don’t even know what. Not sure if I want to know.
  5. Cowboy Pumpkin Boy is riding his horse. He’s probably the most logical costume, assuming it’s logical for a pumpkin to ride a horse.
  6. The one up front in the lovely pink cherry skirt is a boy wearing reindeer antlers and wielding a light saber. Classic.
  7. Oh, and my daughter is in pajamas on the table.

You know, when people say this generation has no creativity, I beg to differ.

When we got home that night, I asked my kids, “So what did you do with your friends tonight?”

They said, “Oh, we made a video.”

Let’s just say I’m anxious to see this video.

Have a great weekend!

PS) I haven’t posted on the blog much in the last month because every extra ounce of time has been spent finishing that room shown above. You can probably see the bucket of plaster and ladder in the picture. The basement is almost done. Yay! I guess the kids like it. :)

Friday Funnies and Writing Tip #3: Know Your Priorities


If you haven’t noticed, I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to. 

I also haven’t been writing as much as I used to, which is why I just BARELY finished Augustina this weekwhen I hoped to finish it months/years ago. 

Here’s why:

  1. I have five kids.
  2. I love my five kids.
  3. I’m a stay at home mom to my five kids, so technically it’s my job to take care of them. 


My oldest is 16 and the youngest, Jacob, is almost 5. Jacob does not attend preschool, so we’re together ALL THE TIME.

This sometimes causes issues. :)

Jacob is a pretty smart kid.

His entire motivation in life is to be seen as an equal to his older siblings and their million friends. He hates being the littlest in everything, and often he forgets that he’s not, in fact, a teenager.

Because of this desire to be ‘old’, he’s been learning to read for awhile. He has most of the smaller words down. He loves to type new words he’s learned on the computer. He’ll even ask me to open Microsoft Word for him so he can type what he knows. (Future author in the making.) If he gets stuck on a word, he’ll ask me to help him spell it so he can type it “All by myself.” 

This is what I found him typing this week:

  • Now…I need to preface this with: I was extremely sick this weeklike flat in bed with the stomach flu. It was awful. I haven’t been that sick in a long time. Because I was sick, he may have spent a little extra time on the Wii. Don’t judge me too harshly.
  • (However, if I’m being truly honest here, he was obsessed before the week started.)

As I’m helping the other kids get ready for school, he says to me,

“Mom, how do you spell FRIEND?”

I help him spell it, and then I steal a peek at his project. This is what I see on my computer:Capture

With an inward sigh—I love that kid—I smile and let him keep typing. From across the kitchen, I help with a few more words, hard ones like WORLD and THOSE.

When I check back, this is what I see:

Capture2Picture my smile fading here.

If you don’t know who Bowser is, thank your lucky stars. He has taken over our household lately. He is one of the characters on Super Mario Brothers, a stupidly addicting Wii game. I personally HATE Bowser right now. This didn’t help the relationship.

Me to Jacob: “Um, who else is your friend, buddy?”

Here’s what he added:


Me really starting to panic: “What about your friends in the neighborhood? At church? You have lots of other friends!” Doesn’t he?

Jacob: “Oh yeah. I forgot.”


He named quite a few others. (If your kid is his friend and wasn’t on the list, please don’t disown us; he honestly said their names!) But by then he was sick of typing and wanted to go play the Wii


Guess what he’s not playing today.

So here’s writing tip #3.



I love to write. It’s my escape. It’s my joy. But it’s my hobby, and I love my kids MORE.

I guess this was a little reminder that perhaps I need to spend even less time in my imagination and more time in Jacob’s.

This is our last year together before he starts school full time. I’ve had a kid at home with me for sixteen straight years and it’s going to end in nine months. Instead of wishing it away, cringing that my book STILL isn’t done, I should be enjoying these last few months with my youngest.


I thought I was doing that, but obviously I could use a little improvement. My mom reminds me that someday I will miss these days. 

Maybe your writing schedule could use some tweaking as well.

What are your priorities? If writing isn’t your job, then it probably isn’t your first priority. So how do you fit writing into your life? Or even if writing is your job, it still probably shouldn’t be FIRST on your list. So…

  1. Know your priorities.
  2. Set your priorities.
  3. Live your priorities.
  4. And don’t let anything come in your way. Not even a great story.



No. It won’t.

At best, your story will entertain someone for a depressingly short amount of time. I think one of the most powerful lessons for authors comes at the end of the Truman Show, when the whole world seems to be on the edge of their seats waiting to see if Truman will choose freedom. But the second he makes his choice, the whole world sits for two seconds contemplating his decision, and then they flip the channel to see what else is on TV. 


Our stories are great, but really, they’re not that great. They’re just entertainment, so don’t lose your priorities over it.

I have to remind myself of this often.

So if you don’t see me as much as you used to–or maybe as much as I sometimes want–it’s because I’m trying to keep my youngest from having a Wii addiction.

Right now I’m off to play dinosaurs in a different kind of pretend world. As of right now, all his dinosaurs are namedcare to guess?Bowser. My goal is to change that. :)

Have a great weekend.

How do you set priorities when it comes to writing? Do you schedule time or squeeze it in? How has your writing time changed with your life? Comment here.

Other writing tips:

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Friday Funnies: Maybe I Should Leave the House More Often



It’s possible I’m not getting out of the house enough.

In fact, I know I’m not.


In an effort to keep my youngest (the notorious 4yo from the UofM library fiasco) entertained, I’ve spent the week playing hours and hours of UNO, his new favorite game.

I should warn you: if you’re going to let a 4yo deal when you’re not watching, fate will tip wildly on his side.

Don’t believe me?



Not even so much as a lousy little Reverse.


He took the Hunger Games motto to heart. “May the odds be ever in your favor.” Or more accurately, “May the odds be ever stacked against you, you gullible mother of mine.”

I’m happy to say I almost won that round. Apparently, cheaters almost never prosper.

And just to show what hanging with a 4yo around the clock does to your brain, I find this video clip incredibly funny.

I’ve watched it more times than I should admit.



Funny, huh?

The writers of Sesame Street have a great sense of humor. I aspire to be one of them–sort of.

(I’m assuming you’ve already seen the Harvard baseball team version of this song. If not, it’s here. You must watch the whole thing. What makes this even better is that my daughter (13) was doing this little dance to the radio as we were driving. We pulled up to a red light and the man next to us, an older man in his 70s, started doing the dance with us. Classic. I love funny people!)

Have a great weekend!!!

Do you have any other “Call Me Maybe” video clips? We’re starting a collection at the Belliston household. (Must be kid-friendly) 

Comment here.

related posts: Four-year-olds and Curators Don’t Mix