Monday, December 11, 2017

"Love" Advent Collage

During Advent for the past three years, we have made a collage together as a family with the goal of having one collage for each of the four weeks of Advent.  We have loved our other projects so much that they remain on the walls throughout the entire year! 


The finished project; ready to hang! 

These projects remind me of how as a family we can face anything together. Even if situations are messy; beautiful things can still happen! 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

2nd Sunday in Advent--Peace

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. 
Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid."
John 14:27

Friday, December 8, 2017

Last Day

Hallelujah! The last day of school before Christmas break!

A little bit of puzzles...

A little bit of snow...

A little bit of art...

And a whole lot of Nutcracker!  (We worked through the "Learning Activities for Specific Movements of the Ballet" from the unit I wrote a couple of years ago for Real Life at Home.)  He had the Overture stuck in his head for the rest of the day. 

Michael and I finished every thing on our list for the week, which was a miracle!  I cannot say that I finished well today.  I was cranky about the cold and snow and leaving the most intricate art project until the last day.  But we are done!  A late karate class and driving in the snowy weather were not my first choice to spend a Friday evening, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  

ACT and belt test tomorrow and hopes for dry roads!  

Thursday, December 7, 2017


After getting up early to head out to the gym, the two older ones decided they needed to stay at home to work on school work.  We are finished tomorrow until mid-January.  Hallelujah!  Quizzes and tests and projects due.  The kids have been working so hard. We are all so ready for a break!  Tera has her last class tomorrow and she has managed to have perfect attendance this semester.  I'm amazed at the maturity shown by my kids.  They are pretty cool people, if I do say so myself.  

It was so cold here today that I spent the day keeping the fire going.  The coldest day of the season.   I was not looking forward to leaving the house.  But tonight was date night and we haven't had our weekly date for two weeks in a row.  We tried a new restaurant and it was okay, but definitely doesn't merit a repeat visit.  

I didn't work out again today, but did take a nap this afternoon.  I'm ready to get back into my daily exercise routine.  I am always so disappointed in how easy it is to take a break from such a consistent habit.   

Michael and I finished "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" and watched this version:  

So glad tomorrow is Friday! Finishing up our week with  art projects and music for Michael, and sadly, not quite as much fun for Tera and Daniel. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wednesday Waiting for Friday of Next Week

I feel like I'm counting down the days until Tera's final next Wednesday. She has the ACT on Saturday and Michael has a belt test if he is feeling up for it. A meeting, a rehearsal and then her final exam. I'm so ready to wind down for the season. Much earlier this year than most years. 

Michael and I did a lot of reading and he worked on puzzles.   We are almost done with both "The Christmas Carol" and "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever".  The Miracle Jar was also on our list of books today.   Most importantly, I got a walk in today for the first time in over a week! 

And this Eric Carle inspired snowman!

This afternoon, we went to see "The Man Who Invented Christmas".  Michael is still trying to figure out if he likes "The Christmas Carol" or not.  But my two Dicken's fans LOVED this movie!  There was tons of name dropping and book quoting that only the avid Dicken's reader would pick up on.  And more I'm sure they missed! 

I'm hoping to be snuggled under a blanket sipping hot chocolate while watching tons of Christmas movies by Friday of next week!  That's the plan anyway! 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A Rainy Christmas Tuesday

With Michael still under the weather, we decided to forego venturing out in the rain this morning for gym and karate.  I slept in and the kids worked quietly until I got up.  I found Michael lying down on the couch reading "The Secret Keepers" by Trenton Stewart. 

While I got a shower, he listened to the second "chapter" or stave of "The Christmas Carol" from this free audiobook site similar to Librivox.   We continued in our reading of "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" ending with the question:  "Another chapter?"   

We love the Focus on the Family Radio Theater version of "The Christmas Carol" and listened to correspond with what we have already read.  Michael worked on this "How to Draw a Nutcracker" project from Momista Beginnings at the same time listening to Classics for Kids:  Tchaikovsky set which includes biographical information on the composer, ballets, Christmas music. Classics for Kids is one of our favorites!  

In the midst of the busyness, I'm still finding time to write out my Inscribe the Word passages, read She Reads Truth and follow through on my goal of listening to while reading along the four Gospels this month. (Signing off from Facebook for the week may be the reason why I've been successful.)   We purchased The Word of Promise audio Bible a couple of years ago for the kids.  This version is dramatized with over 100 different voices including sound effects and background music. Quite an enjoyable listening experience!

Our last concert of the season! 

Monday, December 4, 2017

A Christmas Monday

Michael is definitely under the weather today.  So, our Christmas study is/was actually perfect for him!


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Stave 1)
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (2 chapters)
The Story of the Nutcracker Ballet by Deborah Hautzig
The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith
The Nutty Nutcracker Christmas by Wilson Swain
Freddy Goes to the North Pole by Walter R. Brooks (Michael is reading on his own)


Timez Attack
Hooda Math



The Nutcracker Ballet 

and our Advent/Jesse Tree devotions

Tonight, we had the dress rehearsal for the Christmas concert that Tera, Daniel and I are performing in tomorrow night.  Praying for good health all around! 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

1st Sunday in Advent 2017

Our annual go out to breakfast after shopping for the "angel tree" kids we pick out.  

1st Sunday of Advent--Hope

We light our first candle of Advent on the 4th Sunday before Christmas.

I love our Advent traditions.  We are on Day 6 in our Jesse Tree devotions and ornaments.  Read more about that here.

Last year, Michael and I added a new resource to our list--Jotham's Journey:  A Storybook for Advent.  There are four different books with characters and stories  that intertwine with each other leading up to the birth of Jesus.  While they are fictitious, the stories teach Biblical truths.  I found this resource late last year, so I ordered the kindle version.  This year's story we ordered in paperback form--Ishtar's Odyssey. 

Michael is already talking about which one he wants to read next year. 


Another favorite:  The Nativity Story

I love this movie!  It is so well made and brings visual representation to the Jewish culture that Jesus would have been born into. 

The Nativity Story

Michael is complaining of a sore throat that I'm hoping is just allergy, since we are kicking off a very busy week and sickness is not welcome here!  Tomorrow starts our last week before Christmas break.  Michael and I will be doing a Christmas themed school week that I will share tomorrow.  

I have signed off of Facebook for the week, just because sometimes you need a break from the barrage that is called your newsfeed.  We have a lot going on this week and I feel like I need to focus on being in the present.  

A short nap today in the afternoon sun to make it through until bedtime.  Potato soup and rolls for dinner with enough left over for dinner tomorrow night.  It's been a full day!  

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Fort Loudoun Candlelight Tour

The annual Candlelight Tour at Fort Loudoun

Christmas Parade 2017

You know you live in East Tennessee when you see this in your Christmas parade as you are being serenaded with "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer".   By the looks of it, the reindeer didn't fare any better than grandma.  

The haul...


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