Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fresh beginnings in a New Year...

New goals,

New hopes,

New ideas,

New plans,

a renewed attitude...

In His strength, I will overcome,

In His grace, I will trust,

In His peace, I will desire,

In His silence, I will obey.

In His love, I will serve,

In His presence, I will praise

...humbly seeking His will, not mine...

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and do not lean on your own understanding.
~Bring my decisions to God in prayer,
use my Bible as a guide,
& follow God's leading~

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
and He will make your paths straight.
~to receive God's guidance, I must submit to His will~

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your body,
and refreshment to your bones.
~to be in awe, to fall at His feet w/ humble respect

Honor the Lord from your wealth,
and from the first of all your produce;
so your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will overflow with new wine.
~to give to God first will conquer greed,
help to manage God's resources,
& opens us up to receive God's special blessings.~

Proverbs 3; 5-10

Sunday, December 26, 2010


from our home to yours....

My parents with their special

Oldest brother, Joe, conquers bop-it in one try!

My lil sis, Joe, & me.

My sister Janelle, & her husband Chris.
He was the chef of the day!
Prime rib & potato soup... Yummy!

Katie-girl made me a necklace, finger-knitted a lil scarf, and gave me a self-made coupon book FULL of helpful things!!

My sister-in-law Chanelle, & her friend Jeff.
He is reading about finger-knitting, along with all the many other ideas in "How to be the Best at Everything" book.

...and what do we do with a house full of children... send them outside to play!

Christmas evening,
when everyone went home,
my older boys had a blast outside...

with all the many gifts between all the children,
the one simple thing that entertained them most was...
mini-nerf guns & venturing out in the dark backyard. =)

May your New Year be full of Grace, Health, & Joy;
and may Jesus Christ's gift of eternal life give you much hope throughout the year!

Blessings to you & yours,


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Season of Grace

Shopping done,

Christmas dates done,

Internet down.

hmmm... what to do...

be home-bound & happy, of course!

We started our Monday with sugar-cookie cut-outs. Just ignore the messy floor & hutch, along with my no make-up face; hey, at least we were out of our jammies! ;^)

Monday afternoon we watched
then proceeded to finish up our Jesse Tree ornaments. We use our own devotional style, but I have had these ornaments to create with for the last several years. Katie loves for me to read the details for each of the ornaments, then let her "remember" what ornament goes with the story; and the older brothers love to pipe in the answer before she can. I love to see my children grasp the ancestry tree of Christ, following God's promises along the way.

Our week is full of simplicity, leaving chaos at the door. No more perfection-wanna-be out of me. No more hustle & bustle, rush to do everything, as the peace of my attitude speaks more clearly to those dear to me. Our daily agenda: baking, craft, movie, and a detailed jurisdiction.
(after all, I want our house smiling at us come Christmas morning!)

Snowball cookies, Christmas chains, Mickey Mouse's Christmas Carol, & bathroom detail.

Wed- Fudge, paper snowflakes, The Christmas Story, & living room detail.

Thurs- Peanut Butter Blossoms, Angel ornament crafts, Charlie Brown's Christmas, & kitchen detail.

Friday- It's Christmas Eve! Our oldest son, along with my sister, her husband, & their 3 boys should be here by evening! We will visit, laugh, enjoy popcorn and watch The Nativity Story.

May your Christmas be blessed with peace, laughter, & His love!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Confessions of an unscheduled week...

because I like keeping things real,
and after all,
no one reads on friday, right?

9:30 up & checking e-mails
The senior student has been up, showered, and working on geometry already this morning. My 3rd grader is working on her dad's Christmas present; she is also stalling to do her school work. I ponder about a healthy breakfast, then fix School Day Biscuits (aka biscuits w/ cinamon sugar & frosting). The aroma gets my 8th grader to crawl out of bed; he begins his math while waiting for breakfast. =)

10:00 the littles are up...
The kinder is helping Mr. Tot build a marble tower...they soon part ways as the kinder wanders off to play with Mr. Potato Head while Mr. Tot proceeds to dump out all the toy cars to play with on the Candyland game board. Yes, this does mean that all the Candyland playing cards are scattered amongst the floor... and where is mom? Out in the living room encouraging her daughter to begin her math lesson.

11:00 simplest of chores...
toilets swiped, laundry swapped about, breakfast dishes being done... the older boys are watching "Monk" while Katie is practicing a card trick, and the littlest boys are now fighting over a controller to a game system (we have 3 controllers by the way).

12:00 lunch time
consists of salami, cheese, & crackers followed by apple slices w/ peanut butter.

1:00 Katie is now whining about not getting up more Christmas decorations (we have only done the tree), and I am bargaining for a clean house... the front door entry way gets cleaned. (?)
Grandma is baking cupcakes for a week end event. The older boys are now playing a video game, and the littlest boys are watching a movie. "The Best Christmas Present of All" with Donutman. Me? I am going through our budget and planning to pay bills amonst Christmas shopping.

2:30 Katie gets distracted by learning to Hand Knit (which seems kinda cool). TJ (13) is wrestling on the bed with the littlest boys.

Grandpa is up (he worked til 4:30 a.m) and now has the littlest boys running wild outside with him. Katie & TJ are fighting. TJ is pestering, Katie is screaming, I do not like neither choice... they now are "reading" quietly.

3:30 Katie is now playing outside w/ the littlest boys...and...they find a long lost Easter egg...and yes, she did eat the candy that was inside it! I am now tidying up the house with the intentions of being ready to decorate the house tonight. The older boys are playing Chess. The dear husband calls to let me know he is at the hospital(?). Did I mention he has a dry sense of humor? Yeah, well, he was checking out a job site which is at a hospital building. Funny, eh?

4:30 I am now going through paper clutter on our computer/school desk...bills, assignments, crafts, teacher notes, coupons, etc... The older boys are unloading the dishwasher, Katie is hand-knitting again, and the littlest boys are running through the house chasing each other (pretending to be Ninjas I do believe) with their tinker-toy swords.

5:00 All is quiet! All the kids are watching "Elf", cept Bryson, whom has nodded off for a nap. I am still pushing through paperwork. Daddy is now home, yay for me!

6:00 I am going with Katie to her ballet class for a special parent night, while Dad (& Andrew) took Nick to soccer practice. TJ had the challenging job of babysitting his sleeping littlest brother...he played a game while we were gone.

8:00 We are all back home now. Bryson is now up. Dinner? hmmm... fried eggs & left over French Toast for most of us, pizza for the rest of 'em. Did I mention I don't cook much?

9:00 The littlest boys play randomly about the house with stuffed animals and plastic fruit. Somewhere along the line the magnetic ABC letters came out too, as the rest of us sat together to watch two, yes 2, episodes of 24.

11:00 Dad heads to bed, as does Katie. I check my e-mails (again) and drop a note on facebook. I get sidetracked by reading a few blogs (hey, atleast I'm honest, lol).

12:00 Bryson (whom has new found energy) starts bullying Andrew in which TJ tries to rescue him; mom (me) intervenes by channeling my wild childs energy to play with a ball in the kitchen. Nick escapes to the bedroom during all the chaos.

12:30 The oldest boys head to bed, the littlest boys lay down to watch a movie. Do I dare admit it is a "Care Bear" movie? I spend this quiet time creating our Christmas Letter, planning some Christmas day activities, and then decide to type up this post; aimless, eh?

2:00 Everyone is finally asleep.... We never did get to the Christmas decorations, and as I look about the house I see a sink full of dishes; hats, shoes, coats strung about; cars, fruit, Mr Potato Head, & stuffed animals covering our floors. The trash needs to be taken out (as in over-flowing), and the tree needs water... I will head to bed in about an hour (after the house is smiling at me), and now you will know why I wasn't up until 9:30 a.m. in the first place.

So...How are YOUR days looking lately?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tis the Season ...

for thought pondering questions.


Why does everyone else seem to pull off fabulous family pictures during the holidays?
seriously, we pile everyone together and hope for the best...hmmm, maybe there is a better technique to it?

Why does there always seem to be an underlying thought that I am forgetting to do something during the holidays?
making a list, checking it twice... should I just let Santa worry about such things?

Simple or elaborate? decorations, that is.
I love the twinking lights, nativity scenes, & trinkets of glimmer... yet, does simplicity seem to bring Christ more into focus?

We keep it simple, sibling buying/making gifts for each other does bring meaning...
but what are other ways for us to display "we care" to the other people in our lives that we love?

The Christmas Letter!
I actually enjoy creating our Christmas letter. It is fun to ponder about blessings amongst trials in our year... although I am thrilled to read other folks message, who really actually likes to read ours??
(I can just picture someone rolling their eyes while reading my musings ;^)

Christmas Day! My hope is for joyful celebrations; a day filled with family, fun, fellowship, & food... yet how best can my actions display the most precious gift of this day,
the love of Jesus Christ?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

l.i.f.e. Academy

Our latest field trip was to a local children's museum. Andrew received a "family" membership for his birthday! yay! Grandma Michele & Aunt Chanelle came with us to explore our new found fun!

~December goals~

We missed most of our formal lessons last month due to illness, snow, & holidays. We will be practicing what we do know as a review this month.

nothing formal this month, just practice & review.

Fine Arts:
Composer Piotr Ilyich Chaikovsky "The Nutcracker"
Artist Musee D' Orsay "The Dance Class"
Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day"

Last month we studied the Pilgrim heritage, and are continuing on to Jamestown this month.

reviews, practice fast facts, and a pop quiz this month.

free reading choice

The water cycle, cloud study, weather analysis, & experiments on salt water.

Note: We intentionally have a light load for our studies in December as to focus our attention more on Christ through this can-be chaotic season. We will focus on peaceful purpose & loving attitudes. We will enjoy some hands-on activities such as crafts, baking, games, and add to our Jesse tree each day. Lesson on finances are a must during this season by earning money & spending wisely towards sibling gifts to each other. This will also include researching different charity causes, and donating to one of them.

Our Classroom Schedule:

1/2 hr writing
1/2 hr English (grammar, punctuation, & vocabulary)
1/2 hr Science
1/2 hr Literature
1 hour Math

1/2 hr French
1/2 hr Fine arts
1 hr history
(reading, map work, & sometimes history related activities)

Fine arts is broken into days:
Monday is our official Bible lesson,
(w/ scripture review the rest of the days)
Tuesday is our composer study.
(we continue to listen to the musical piece all week)
Wednesday is our artist study.
Thursday is our poet study.
Friday is our Nature Study.

Notice that I did not list a time on our schedule =)
Ideally we would do 9 a.m. - noon, and 1 p.m. - 3 p.m.,
but I am into keeping it real, right? so....

We have been staying up late (is 1 a.m. late? ok, ok, it's more like 3 a.m. for me),
and I am getting up around 9 (laughing at myself, because I am a morning person, the day is half over by then!) while the others get up around 10. This would mean our "morning studies" is done closer to afternoon, and our afternoon studies are done more towards evening. I don't really care when it gets done as long as it does.

Anyone else have odd hours? just wondering...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Andrew is 6
Why yes, there is only 2 candles on the cake, but Andrew just thought he was sharing a turn with his little brother. Hey, give us a break, it was all we had in the drawer, and Andrew was not about to wait for us to run to the store...so... simple is as simple does =)
Grandma made the cake; she is practicing her new cake decorating skills! All the kids cheered her on~ more decoration = more frosting.

And just in case we don't seem simple enough, check out our home-made wrapping paper. Each sibling gets to decorate their own paper! (psst, I bought a humongous roll of this stuff for $1 at a garage sale years ago).

Birthday gifts seems to have a pattern with each child-

Something practical- snow boots & tennis shoes
Something educational
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book
Something family bonding
- Hungry Hungry Hippos
(yes, even the older boys play this too)
Something personality related- new action figures.
A handful of miniature ones. Andrew loves his "peoples", always has. You know, the Fisher Price kind. Andrew is now 6, and I figure it is time to introduce "bigger boy" toys to him. I am not at all thrilled with current action figures for the most part; seems to me that cartoons are more meant for adults nowadays. So, when I pick out a handful of Incredible Hulk, Spiderman, Batman, Superman...this is with the intent of letting him see the old classic cartoons.

Andrew is proud to be 6!
His (our) 6 yr old goals are:
1) Keep our (his) clothes on~
I swear the child thinks Mogli (from Jungle Book) is his brother.
2) Be willing to communicate clearly by using his words thoughtfully.
3) Learn to read
4) To be an official participant of our chore list (yay me!)

The "little" years go by so fast,
and off he goes to his "middle" years...
Can I still say Learning w/ the Littles if now he is a middle? hmmm.....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Our Seasonal Tree~


Ee - eagle
Ff - frogs
Gg - grasshoppers
Hh - harvest
Ii - inchworms