Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent OR not...

I am seeing a lot of blog posts about Elf on a Shelf, advent, Jesse tree..... etc. I have always wanted to do "something" leading up to Christmas day, but have never had it work out before. I think I have decided on basically Advent "ish" activities

I am using The Family book of Advent by Carol Garborg

2.99 @ Life Way

It is perhaps too young for Kate but I think it will be a simple daily activity that will be a launching point for discussion with the two older ones. 

There are a lot of supplies needed for a lot of the days, I might substitute or "skip" an activity if I can share it in a different way without time and expense.  However a lot of the activities are just fun craft stuff that we could do regardless.

We will also use an ADVENT calender...

I am using this garland to make our advent calender.  We will have 25 snowman draped across on this garland, each snowman will be numbered 1-25.  On the back of the snowman will be a little sheet of paper that allows an activity, treat or instruction.

FOR example:

1. Make a wreath (the kids will get to decorate a wreath that we will use with our advent activities.
4. donuts for breakfast
9. take each of the girls at VOLLEYBALL a treat.
12. go out for dessert after Emily's gymnastics meet.
20. take crafts to the nursing home
23. make a dessert and go deliver it to the home less around our house.
25. Jesus is the only gift you ever really need....

And light an ADVENT wreath "candle" on each Sunday before Christmas:

again budget wise I wanted to get the "point" across but not spend a lot.  I looked at the actual wreaths that they sell, but didn't want to spend that much so I MADE my own.  I just used tissue scrunchies (99cents @ Target) I cut a green paper plate that I had and placed it all on a tray that I already had.  I used tea lights that YOU GUESSED it I already had.  So cost of "wreath" 99cents!

*************disclaimer--- yes I see the worried looks I am getting surrounding tissue paper by lighted candles BUT they will only be lit for a few minutes under supervision and then blown out.***************

• November 28, 2010 - First Sunday of Advent

• December 5, 2010 - Second Sunday of Advent

• December 12, 2010 - Third Sunday of Advent

• December 19, 2010 - Fourth Sunday of Advent

I am very excited about doing this!  We have never "done" Santa with the kids, they have never even made Christmas lists (although we have asked for suggestions before), so they don't think it is all about GETTING.  But I do want to make sure to really focus on our relationship with each other, on GIVING, on GOD and how HE sent HIS son to come to Earth and die for us. 

We have a number of Service activities that I would like to get done this month, we have a limit on our extra funds so we will need to be creative in finding ways to GIVE of our self to others. 

HOW are y'all celebrating this holiday season???

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday to do...school wise

Okay I don't usually post what I WILL do for school but since I have really had trouble in the GET ER DONE department I thought it might help me with some accountability for a few weeks.

SO my TO DO LIST for school this week is:

Bible- next 5 stories.
in addition we are doing daily advent activities starting on the 1st.
Our daily devotions. The kids have a break from their Word of LIFE program at church.
We will be also going over their songs and reading parts for their church play daily.

Math- the kids need to do 7 lessons this week... which should not be a problem. I also need to catch up on grading.. FUN. If Emily is still having trouble with money then we will most likely break from MATH U SEE work and simply do cards, play and learning money websites for the week.

Spelling- simply get 5 STEPS done.

Writing with EASE- get 5 lessons done.

First Language Lessons- get 7 lessons done. We will also start a new poem.

History- review what we have done up to now. We are focusing on STATES on our next history get together so we will play our states games I am sure.

Science- I have to FINISH reading chap 6 (we just had a few pages that we didn't get to) READ all of chap 7 and start chapter 8. Now I do not have to do that all this week of course, I think that would be impossible but I do have to get it done before we meet again.

Learning Language Arts through Literature- EMILY, we have about 8 lessons to catch up on this week. I am cutting out one activity from each lesson that Emily just simply does not need to do...so that will help time wise. I will hopefully get more than 8 lessons done this week... I want to finish up this BOOK!

Handwriting- simply one lesson a day-

Writing- Kaitlin, she needs to finish her final draft of her last assignment and start her next one.

Matt and Emily will each do a DRAW AND WRITE, draw a picture and write a few sentences on OUR THANKSGIVING DAY.

Art- we will most likely do Harmony Art MOM, crafts from the ADVENT program, and a fall craft from my list I Posted a few days ago. The kids will also start making a craft that they will take to a nursing home sometime in Dec for a service project.

Music- we will start listening to the music of the  NUTCRACKER.  I have a color book that goes with it.  We will hopefully watch a few different versions of the Nutcracker before we are done....This is an ongoing activity through December.

So here is our school week. Check back on Friday to see if I did it all, feel free to send me encouragement though out the week too! :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Little Rock...

Well we went to Little Rock for Thanksgiving... it ended up a little differently than planned, but we got to see all our family and that is what matters!  We left for Little Rock on Wed. morning and by Thursday early afternoon Kaitlin was violently ill!  She missed Thanksgiving dinner and couldn't keep anything down for the next 32 hours!  So we didn't get to do everything on our list, but thankfully no one else has gotten sick yet!

So here are some shots of our FAMILY time together!

Embassy Suites        Little Rock, Arkansas

"Gandpa" with Ethan

"Gandma with Emily Jean

E & E watching a show!

Emily Jean swimming at the pool!

Thanksgiving Dinner at Cracker barrel!  YUMMY.

checker girl!

Pa and Matt Man

Ethan Drake!

Ma Ma and Emily Jean

Giving "Gandma" her "hor na plenny"

Sarah Jean and Ethan!

Robbie, Sarah, Emily Jean and Ethan left Friday morning along with Hal and Vickie and Sam, Kristal, Conner and Camille came in from Memphis.  They so graciously drove to US so Kate wouldn't have to be in the car so much!  Sweetness!

Granny sent the kids Christmas outfits so we dressed them all up and took pictures in the lobby...

We "DID" Christmas early for the kids so we could see them open their presents!

and so ends our trip.  We were grateful to be able to go, to see our family and to get home safe and sound!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


Yes I said it.. .the big "B" word.

I want to say that I used to have a problem with this, and I am TRUTHFULLY much, much better but unfortunately I think it is in my nature to take on a lot. For one thing weirdly enough I think I do better with the more I have on my plate- I have had this confirmed by family members who think I do better the busier I am. For another thing I want to help and do... I want to!

So I am talking to myself but I am also addressing what I see, read, and hear.

People are too busy.

We were signing up Kaitlin for volleyball and the practice time she was given was Wed night at 8:00. I of course called the coach to ask if this was the only available time and the reply was.. "as the coach who is volunteering, this is the only time that works for my daughter and I."

HMMMM...now reading into THAT situation I would assume they are too busy. I understand she could be a working parent or have a weird schedule but 8:00 on a Wed night. Needless to say (I hope) we said no to volleyball. After many calls we ended up being able to get her on a different team, they meet on Tuesdays at 7:00 (sigh). Still better than Wed at 8:00. We opted for that one!

During our last season, moms would drop "x" kid off, run to pick up "x" kid and drop by to get a birthday present to take "x" kid to a birthday party, all the while late to pick the first "x" kid up from the game.. that the mom didnt even get to watch.

Sound like fun, no?

In the home schooling world--- it is not always much better... we think of our selves as so HANDS on. But our hands are TOO busy.

Dance, Art, Girl Scouts, AHG, Boy scouts, Piano, class at museum, field trip, co-op, book club, park days, Baseball, soccer, karate, Drama, church activities, charity work, school work- ya forgot about that didnt ya!, Gymnastics, 4H, Civil air patrol...

the list goes on.

We must set up boundaries but also within those boundaries we need to make sure that the activity our kids are involved in OR activities they are involved in meet a criteria.

In Home Educating Family magazine I was reading an article called Too Much To Do, by Rebecca Ingram Powell

a few questions she asked-- which we have all heard but forget.

1. Why are you home schooling?

2 What is your vision for your children and your family?

3. Are the activities in which your kids are involved serving to make those goals a reality?

4. Is the time you are investing worth the benefits you are receiving?

Now I was the ultimate, do everything mom... I was headed down the path of true burnout. IT however was NOT for the reasons you are thinking. I could handle organizing BSCH, I could handle the load of AHG, I could clean my house, I could school my children, I could do a Book club and have my kids each in a sport... I did it for over two years and different heavy schedules before that. BUT... I was heading toward burn out because I wasn't happy.

I had forgotten my vision for home schooling.

I had not lined up our activities with that vision.

I had kept my kids in activities that was either NOT helping them or in some way hurting them (Not physically but other ways)

I was spending time doing all the things FOR NAUGHT.

The time I was spending was senseless. It was NOT accomplishing what I wanted to accomplish.


I re prioritized.

I re aligned what we are doing with our vision. It is not perfect, I still have some tweaking to do... I am working on it. But it is much, much better. I am happier. I am not perfectly happy.. but I know that things are better.

Not only are the activities we are doing more in line with what we want but I also have time to INCLUDE the things we want...

Church---In the past years we have gone to churches, but only been slightly involved. WE are very involved right now and that takes TIME. In fact I am slightly overwhelmed just adjusting myself to weekly church 3 or 4 times a week, which is how we want it but it is just different!

Service--- I thought I would get this from AHG or Boy scouts- but it was NOT happening. So we are doing what we want for our family. I did not have time for this before but spent a lot of time on stuff I didnt truly care about. I am not judging the groups, or by ANY means the program I am just talking about MY family.

Family time--- I just want to BE with my family. Sometimes this time gets lost in the shuffle of DOING something. For instance- I understand that everyone needs to play a part- do a job, or contribute. BUT both my girls were in Scouts for 3 years and NOT once did I get to sit and enjoy their accomplishments at a ceremony- I was moving, doing, cleaning, in charge, planning etc. I would run around like a chicken with my head cut off.

TRUTH- I love that, I do.

TRUTH- after it was over and I was at home and it was quiet. I would think to myself.. I missed it. I just missed it. I didnt get to see Emily turn and scan the audience for my face when she received her award. I didn't get to stand and wait for Kaitlin to rush up to me afterwards and show me each patch... I just missed it. All those moments I cant get back... I was too busy.

I wish we would all sit back, take a moment, pray, think, plan and re prioritize our life.

I think we would be happier.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Deep thoughts...

Do not even such things as are most bitter to the flesh, tend to awaken Christians to faith and prayer, to a sight
of the emptiness of this world, and the
fadingness of the best it yield?

 Doth not God by these things (ofttimes) call our sins to remembrance, and provoke us to
amendment of life? How then can we be offended
at things by which we reap so much good?....

Therefore if mine enemy hunger,
 let me feed him; if he thirst, let me give him drink.
 Now in order to do this,
 (1) We must see good in that, in which other
 men can see none.
 (2) We must pass by those injuries that other
 men would revenge.
(3) We must show we have grace, and that we are made to bear what other men are not acquainted with.
 (4) Many of our graces are kept alive, by those very things that are the death of other men's souls....

The devil, (they say) is good when he is pleased; but Christ and His saints, when displeased.

—John Bunyan

In our manner of speech,
our plans of living,
our dealings with others,
our conduct
and walk in the church and out of it

—all should be done as becomes the gospel (Phil. 1:27).

—Albert Barnes

Need I say more???

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Counting Your Blessings...

When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,

When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,

And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.



Count your blessings, name them one by one,

Count your blessings, see what God hath done!



Count your blessings, name them one by one,

*Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

[*And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.]


Are you ever burdened with a load of care?

Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?

Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,

And you will keep singing as the days go by.



When you look at others with their lands and gold,

Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;

Count your many blessings—wealth can never buy

Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.



So, amid the conflict whether great or small,

Do not be discouraged, God is over all;

Count your many blessings, angels will attend,

Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Kaitlin- belated but well wished!

My baby girl turned 12 last week, no I did not forget... we DID celebrate.  I am just behind in posting!

I remember the day she was born, I remember how little she was.
I remember how scared I was.
I remember how blessed I felt that she was healthy.
I remember how excited I was to be a "family".

MY BABY girl is growing up.  She is 12 years old. 

She still plays and messes around.
She is still learning responsibility.
She is still "young" in so many ways.
She does not know what it means to me a "MEAN Girl".
She doesn't necessarily care about "cool".
She LOVES God.
She is a keeper of the animals.
She wants to help.
She loves history and animal facts a lot.
She LOVES to read... I cannot keep her in books!
She is currently liking volleyball.
She is the only person in our family to ever have a pet. (dog, hamster, hermit crabs--- the list would be HUGE if we would allow it)
She draws beautifully... I wish I had that talent!
She is a great swimmer.
She does not quit... it might be hard, but she presses ON.
She takes criticism well and tries to be better.
She forgives me, often!
She has a quiet spirit.
She likes to try odd and weird food, in fact she "went" vegetarian earlier this year but it didn't last!
She loves bugs and catching them!  We usually have SOMETHING in a jar!
She is adventurous.
She says she doesn't like stuff but will usually try it.
She is good with babies, they tend to like her.

I don't know when she started to grow up or where the time went...