Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ramblings....

The night before last the dog woke me up at midnight and I didn't get back to sleep until after 3 AM, only to wake up a few hours later.  I felt tired, but not overly.  I made myself stay up yesterday until my regular bedtime and then promptly fell asleep last night.  I got a pretty good night's sleep and even slept in a little this morning.  So, why am I so tired this afternoon??????  This is one of those days where I'm feeling pretty emotional.  Don't ask me why?  Not because I wouldn't want to tell you, just because I don't really know.  Maybe lack of sleep catching up with me.   Maybe my husband 60 hour weeks or this week's 70 hours has something to do with it. 

Tera had her annual checkup today.  She has grown 3 inches since last year.  She got her 7th grade booster shot, so we're all set for next school year.  We went to Chick-fil-A afterwards for a mommy/daughter lunch.  Although, we had to hurry to get back home, it was still nice!

I've taken a break from letter of the week with Michael until after Christmas.  I purchased Truth in the Tinsel ebook, so we'll start that next week. This advent devotional with daily scriptures, crafts and activities should be very exciting for him.  I bought the ornament templates in addition to the set for Tera and Daniel to participate.

We've started our daily Jesse tree devotional and will start Advent on Saturday.  Tomorrow night is our town's tree lighting program.  It will be the first time we've ever attended.  Tera and I recently joined the CCI (Citizens for Community Involvement) which is an organization that provides food baskets and presents to needy families in our local community.  The CCI is also in charge of the tree lighting, so we'll be baking cookies tomorrow (or maybe later tonight if I get enough motivation) for part of the refreshments.  It will be a nice kick-off to our advent season.  


I've got several posts in my head that I need to get worked out.  I should be doing that now, but I'd rather ramble....

I've been praying this scripture found in Ephesians 3 for my family this week:
  
When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth.  I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.   Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.  And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.  May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.   Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

I'm overwhelmed by the fact that God is with me everyday...giving me peace that transcends how I'm feeling in this moment, hope for a future and grace when I just can't seem to get it all right (which by the way is most of the time).  

 





Monday, November 26, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like....

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That phrase strikes terror into some people's hearts!  But I love Christmas and the Advent season leading up to December 25th.  It is the "most wonderful time of the year!"   We had a very relaxing Thanksgiving weekend.  JP didn't get up until lunch time so we leisurely made a very simple meal for dinner.  Au gratin chicken, hasselback potatoes, green beans, grapes and rolls.  We had a store bought mince meat pie and pumpkin tarts for dessert.  It doesn't sound so simple when you list it out, but compared to a big turkey dinner...it was a breeze.   JP got some things done around the house, which are always on his big to-do list.  Our upstairs now has 4 new shatter proof light fixtures.  If you know our boy, you'll understand why this is so important.
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We watched a few movies...(Ernest is a big family tradition around here!)  We also watched Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which was a big hit!


We read tons of books...(I'm on a biography kick right now)

Mythmaker: The Life of J.R.R. Tolkien, Creator of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

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Today was our last swim lesson.  Michael's teacher brought him a big bag of M & M's...he made a friend for life.  We lost Tera's swimsuit. Glad it was a bit snug. 

So thankful Tera decided to change her science fair project to something she's more interested in!  She was on the verge of tears because she couldn't figure out and verbalize the basic principles of the project she wanted to do.  We suggested she pick something she knew more about and go deeper.  Now, I have a very happy child bouncing around and planning out what sounds like a terrific project!

It's beginning to look a lot like...days I'm really going to enjoy!




Friday, November 23, 2012

Inchies Project

We had some friends over to do an Inchie project that inspired me at that artist woman : How to Make Fall Inchies

Before everyone arrived I cut out 9- 3 in. by 3 in. squares for each child.  These are not true inchies  (1 in. by 1 in. squares) but still in the spirit of a scaled down miniature project.  I outlined each miniature project so I would know what color backgrounds we'd need and how many.

So, we started doing one background at a time using tempera/watercolor paint and whatever patterns the kids choose.  We used plastic wrap on one to create a textured background. 



















After we finished all the background, we worked on other inchies while those dried. 
















It got quite hectic at times and took us several hours.  I think for future projects like this, I would break up doing the backgrounds one day and embellishments the next.  Or do one project a time and mount them when we're done.  I love the overall effect of the collages.   I especially enjoy the uniqueness of each project.  This is a great directed art project that still allows for individual creativity. 



Our finished inchie projects


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: DAY 30

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It's been quite a journey the past 30 days. I've been thankful for the people who've decided to travel this road with me.  I'm thankful that the next few days I'll get to power down the computer and spend my time with the ones I love the most.  I've got a stack of biographies, lots of good food ready to be prepared and my husband home for 4 days straight! 

What will come of this gratitude journey?  My hopes are:
  • that I'll "count my blessings" everyday. 
  • that every season will be "a season of Thanksgiving"
  • that this habit I've started will continue until I can "be thankful in all circumstances." 
  • that I'll be drawn into a deeper relationship with Him, because I'll be constantly reminded of His goodness, mercy, grace, love and forgiveness. 
  • that I'll be reminded that the eternal is more important than this temporal world.
  • that I'll remember that this is not the end...we are just passing through. 




Steven Curtis Chapman - Long Way Home (Slideshow with Lyrics) from steven-curtis-chapman on GodTube.



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 29

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Today I'm giving thanks for:  

  • home videos
  • forgiveness
  • fresh baked rolls
  • relaxed school days
  • my intact family unit
  • lights at the ends of tunnels
  • faith, hope and love
  • being a big sap when it comes to stories of life
  • a nice warm bed to sleep in
  • uninterrupted sleep
  • my bread machine
  • God being "bigger than the bogeyman!"
  • finding things that were lost
  • being found by God when I was lost.
  • forgiveness
  • a daughter who darns her socks and is my right hand
  • a son that can amaze me and try my patience all in the same day
  • a cranky toddler who just needed to eat an early supper and have an early bedtime
  • a husband he speaks calmness into any situation
  • a mom who knows my mood just by the tone of my voice
  • forgiveness
  • grace and love shown to me every day!
 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8


Monday, November 19, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 28

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Today, I'm thankful: 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
2 Corinthians 5:17


Sunday, November 18, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 27

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I'm thankful for:

  • quiet days at home
  • our college student swim teachers
  • white chocolate dipped pretzels
  • someone else making tomorrow's lunch.    Thanks, Tera!
  • dads who teach their kids how to do things
  • the sound of music made by little hands
  • being able to read
  • common sense
  • spinach and eggs
  • cast iron cookware
  • knowing that God is with me in the good times and bad
  • freedom to worship Him
  • mild weather
  • being able to put my dog outside for a while
  • toys that make kids create and keep them occupied for longer than 5 minutes
  • God giving me one more day to live
  • Jesus dying for me 
  • home videos
  • my grandma's afghan
  • a husband who understands my moodiness and knows when something is bothering me

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24




Saturday, November 17, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 26

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Today I'm thankful:

  • my nightmares are not real
  • that God is "the God who sees"  He sees me and loves me!
  • for single moms who are so brave
  • for all the ways my kids help out around the house, sometimes even without being asked
  • that I can see
  • that I can move freely 
  • for central heat and air conditioning
  • for garbage service
  • for fresh herbs
  • brother squabbles

I saw this video and it sums up what I've been feeling throughout this journey of 30 Days of Thanks.  We have so much to be thankful for that we don't stop and recognize.  No matter what we are going through, we still are so blessed. 




Friday, November 16, 2012

Nope, no "N" week, not necessarily

Monday began with swim lessons.  Tuesday, we went and test drove a car.  Wednesday, was piano, library and errands. Thursday, we picked up new car. Today, the kids and I shopped for a local Christmas-for-the needy program while JP went to register the car.  Needless to say, we didn't quite get around to too many "N" activities this week.  The kids did manage fruit loop necklaces.  You are never too old for this activity!























JP bought some new light fixtures (non-breakable ones) for the kids' rooms and here's the great box it came in.  This has kept Michael entertained for a couple of days now.  There is a tall one I'm saving that is printed with a skyscraper.  We'll save that one for a rainy day or at least until this one gets torn to pieces. 



A new-to-us car that the Lord worked out for us to buy.    We expressed interest in this car and went out to look at it.   We knew if the Lord wanted us to have it, it would work out.  When I talked to the seller the next day I found out the night before it had been spoken for, but the deal fell through.  So, we are now the owners of a low mileage car that was a great deal for us.  We were privileged to buy from a fellow home schooler and the whole transaction down to insurance and registration went smoothly. 



Michael modeling his new Native American headband.



I keep saying next week will be less busy, less hectic but that seems like it's never going to ever happen in this lifetime.  Especially when your husband has worked 60 hours weeks for almost 5 weeks straight.  We are all looking forward to a 3 day week next week. 

30 Days of Thanks: Day 25


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Thankful for: 

  • JP having everything he needed the first time he went to register the car.
  • comfortable jeans
  • Cuban food
  • music
  • funny picture books  
Chicken Cheeks
  • second chances
  • not having to cook 
  • my washer working correctly today
 Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.
1 Chronicles 29:13




Thursday, November 15, 2012

Don't give up on the read aloud!

Studies have shown that reading aloud to children makes them "more likely" to become an lover of books and reading.  We always read to our younger children, but as they get older and become independent readers it can be a challenge to continue this worthwhile exercise.

I've had a hard time lately finding "my groove" with a daily read aloud.  Now, we do read picture books with our youngest.   My older children are such avid readers and they also like to listen to audiobooks--really, really long audiobooks.   We've always read books aloud, but for some reason we haven't been very consistent lately.   There have been quite a few books we've started and never finished.  So, instead of just giving up on the whole idea.  I decided to scale back a bit and start anew.  

Here are some tips on keeping the read aloud in your daily schedule:  

Start with easier books that have shorter chapters.  Last year, I read Dicken's unabridged Christmas Carol in four days.  I was burned out on reading aloud for a while after that.  We've read lots of longer books in the past, but sometimes it can be overwhelming especially when time is tight.  There are great books out there that are shorter and seem more doable.  We are reading aloud this Avi book right now and my kids love it. 


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Find books that appeal to a wide age range.  There are timeless books out there like The Boxcar Children that any age child can enjoy.   Short stories or fairy tales are great places to start as well. 

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Pick funny books.  We were introduced to Sid Fleischman while reading The Whipping Boy.  Daniel and I just finished his autobiography The Abracadabra Kid (which is a great book for a budding writer or magician).  Daniel wanted to explore some of his other books listed in the index.  He found the McBroom books and suggested we read them aloud.  They are short, funny and have great illustrations. 
McBroom Tells the Truth (Adventures of McBroom)


Go slow.  Who cares if it takes you weeks to finish a book?  As long as you are enjoying it, time doesn't matter. 

Don't be afraid to use audiobooks!   My kids are always checking out audiobooks from the library.  There are also great websites online with free audiobooks.  We listened to The Hobbit on youtube a few weeks ago.  

I love Books Should Be Free website with over 3,000 free audio books. 

Take suggestions.   When you are stumped on what to read next, have your kids' make a suggestion.  Sometimes we take turns on who gets to pick the next read aloud.  I have drawn the line on some suggestions, if I felt like it would be a struggle for me to read out loud.  (Redwall is a book that my kids love, but they also listen to a full cast audiobook...I don't read Redwall books out loud.) 


Keep it handy!  Try to keep your read aloud laying out where you can see it.  It helps to have that little reminder to read.  Take it with you when you know you have to wait somewhere.  Five minutes here and there can really add up.  Listen to audiobooks in the car.  

The last piece of advice I have when it comes to read alouds is this:  

Don't give up...it's too important!


This post is linked up this week at :
 Hip Homeschool Hop Button

and:

  Carnival of Homeschooling

Check out this week's Carnival here.

30 Days of Thanks: Day 24

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Giving Thanks for:
  • a warm toasty house
  • finding new read-aloud books
  • old comfy sweatshirts 
  • Lowe's skyscraper and robot boxes


















  •  a new to us car bought from people we trust

  • good choices
  • clean sheets
  • pleasant weather
  • flexible schedules
  • a four day weekend next week
  • someone who got 2 A's in math when they been pulling high C's for a while now

 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 23

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Today I'm thankful for: 

  • when God confirms situations through circumstances...it's very cool
  • clean laundry (I think I've said that before)
  • warranties on appliances
  • great deals
  • kids who need to go to the library again after one week 
  • being able to share with others what God is doing
  • good advice
  • happy endings
  • good books
  • a brother that cares about me enough to worry
  • getting some of my afternoon chores done early
  • my son asking me if chewing gum and practicing his flute was a good idea BEFORE he did it.  

I will praise you forever for what you have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.
 Psalm 52:9


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

30 Days of Thanks: Day 22

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Today I'm thankful for: 

  • being able to pray about issues that I'm dealing with
  • faces that light up when they get mail
  • kids who have cool, "artsy" hobbies
  • my camera
  • homemade soup
  • facebook
  • Spelling Power and Easy Grammar
  • being home in the afternoons
  • my education
  • a clean refrigerator

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.
 
Psalm 28:7


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