Wednesday, January 25
Monday, January 23
You may not know this about me, but I do love to pray. How often am I found with a difficult circumstance staring me in the face and feeling completely helpless? Large and small problems, for sure, but all of which need solutions.
I feel encouraged to say, that as I grow older, it no longer takes me days or even weeks to realize "I know what I can do about it, I can pray". It's nearly my first thought any more to pray to our good God who knows our requests before we can form them into words.
The kids are used to patiently sitting through the prayers of their parents. As Jack & Lena and I sit down on the couch each morning to read and pray as school starts, lately they've been used to Mom going a bit long in the prayer time.
Due to a recent heartache in our former church family, I warned the kids this morning, "We've got a lot to talk to God about today, guys."
And they got it. And we prayed. And it was the most important thing we did all day. And we're standing with you all.
Friday, January 20
Wednesday, January 18
Monday, January 16
Friday, January 13
Jack was away this afternoon with a friend. So Lena and I got our craft on!
She's still reading books about "kids around the world" and we found an accompanying multi-cultural (sort of an overused word?) craft book. She picked out this native warrior breastplate to make. Hot glue for a cool craft + Pandora + Sugar Plum Tea = happy girls!
Wednesday, January 11
We are having such a fun time with our nature study this year using the book "The Nature Connection".
On a recent warm January day, we wrote a nature poem as we hiked.
:: "Warm Winter, Cold Day," by Jack & Lena ::
:: Dead corn, Panting dog ::
:: Light breeze, Fallen trees ::
:: Cold ice, Grey rocks ::
:: High sun, Stream run ::
So, that was that! The lesson for the kids here, is that poems need not rhyme all the time!!
I felt a bit funny putting the kids in winter wear on such a warm day. But as you can see by the puddle fun, it was a good decision! They played in the creek for quite a while, too, and were pretty wet when all was done.
Monday, January 9
As the reflections and memories of our Christmas season build, I'm thankful for the third year, now we've celebrated advent in our home.
It truly serves to lengthen and deepen our celebration of the anticipation of the birth of our Christ, much beyond the receiving of gifts. It is almost anti-consumerist in the way we participate and provides our family with rich memories and traditions for which to return in coming years.
If you've never considered celebrating the season of advent, a quick google search would give you the whys and how's, or give me a buzz and I could give you my hour soap box speech. But for this space, here are eight things I love about this year's advent season:
1. eating by candlelight :: Next year we're going to start the first day of advent with just one candle and grow from there! I've got a special space in mind to build a spot for this in the kitchen. A perfect reason to remodel the kitchen a bit!
2. a short and sweet devotional book :: We've used a different "reading" every year we've done advent thus far. I think depending on the ages of our kids, too, this is certainly appropriate as a family might require different themes to dwell on each year. This year, the book we enjoyed pointed every reading directly to Jesus as the long awaited one.
3. brainstorming activities to do with the kids :: Every year post Thanksgiving the kids and I make a huge list of fun activities to do during the advent season. Funny that on this year's activity list, nearly half the ideas revolved around snow...of which we've seen an abnormally small amount!
4. creating traditions :: If you've ever tried decorating a Christmas tree with kids, here is a sanity solution for you! Start by decorating the tree together. Then when it gets either too crazy or the kids lose interest, bring out the hot cocoa and put on the Polar Express. It's a tradition we've used for 5 years, now! The kids love decorating and I love rearranging while they merrily drink cocoa and watch a great family movie!
5. suprise advent activity :: The activities we do each night for advent is likely family fun we would get to during the holiday season. But the kids love the anticipation of our evening activities!
6. advent calendars :: I've yet to use the same idea every year. Eventually (note to self: check pinterest) I'd like to settle on using the same advent calendar every year. Especially if it's something we make together.
7. slowing down :: I'm sure as the kids age, we'll change what and how we do it. But I think doing advent has really slowed us down and helped us to truly appreciate the season and the meaning behind it for more than just Christmas Day/Eve.
8. planning ahead :: I've heard a lot of great things about the Jesse Tree and I believe you can hunt that down from simplemom.net or a holyexperience.com. I'd like to look into it more for next year, too.
Wednesday, January 4
Well, sort of, parent teacher conferences. In our house, it's more of a parent/teacher child conference!
I'd recently seen several lists of "year in review" type questions (see here or here) which got me to thinking. First thing back to school Monday morning, we met on the couch. It's a new aspect of our routine the last month, and it's working well. Other than saying to Lena, wait for me to start this, etc....they do breakfast, chores, and then free read on the couch until we're all gathered. I'm usually last ready, so they're not waiting for the day to start but having a good read until we can begin together.
Jack, of course, could start school on his own...but then by the time I sit down for a proverb and a prayer, he's already into a subject and hard to draw out.
But, I digress.
So this morning, as was usual before our holiday break, we met and read the first chapter from our new novel "The Great Turkey Walk," had a proverb and prayed for our day. Then we got down to brass tacks. The kids traded chores as we do every few months. They like switching around and picking new things to do and pawning the dishwasher job onto someone else. Then we went through some questions to gage where we're at in school for the year.
Are we having fun?
Jackson: Well, in parts, its fun, yes. Like, not having 7 hours of school. So it is kind of fun, in a way, yes.
Lena: Sort uh. Umm, hmmm. Let's see. All the different craft projects from around the world we've been doing is fun. Painting. Nature study and science projects. There's not always so much interesting stuff.
Mom: The mornings are fun, definitely. I really lose steam after lunch, though, and the tasks that we leave until then seem more of a struggle to get through. I try like crazy to get it all done before noon, but some things (like Jack's math, craft projects with Lena) are better left when PJ is in his room for a bit resting or playing. I'm finding having a hot cuppa coffe or tea is really helpful and helping us relax and enjoy the tasks after lunch. Oh, and pandora radio, too. I have a new station "January Music" I'm really digging.
Are we making progress?
Jackson: Yes, we are, for sure. In places like division, cursive, history, quite a few places. Science, nature study.
Lena: Yes. Uh-huh. Ooh, I don't know. I practice reading so much and can read books on my own.
Mom: Slow and measured, for sure. That is the kind of progress we want, for sure, though at times teacher and student get impatient!
Is the curriculum working?
Jackson: The books, for sure. I've learned a lot of different words from books. The computer, it's just as good as doing any normal studies. Even though I'd like to learn more of my age group, like archery. I like more active things. Like, football flashcards.
Lena: Yes, but I have no idea. What does "how-so" mean.
Mom: Yes, but there is always room for better planning on my part. I try to do as much with the basics in our learning as possible. I much prefer to teaching skills without worksheet and without purchasing things. Pre-assembled curriculum, however, is beginning to sound more appealing. So, I'm doing a little poking around into that topic.
We hope you join us in the next semester!
Monday, January 2
It's the color that says "Christmas is over and the New Year is here" like no other!
W :: H :: I :: T :: E
Doesn't this below sink cabinet cry..."Use these products to clean," or "Make some more homemade soap" or "Put the dog gone cabinet doors back on us...and paint them a color!"
I guess the paint fumes are getting to me! Here I am baring my cupboards for all!