Linked with:
Growing Home

 





I must first say that the title of this post was inspired by Gin @ At Home in Doe Hill. She wrote a post called Being Between that captured the essence of what my family life has been like the days between Christmas and New Year.

In my life this week…
    We've just been relaxing, enjoying my Husband being on vacation. . .just loving on each other. It feels so good to wake up a little later each morning, knowing my sweetie is still there. We listen to the sounds of our children laughing and playing and spend a few moments talking. It's the simple things that make the biggest difference in life. The days between Christmas and New Year have been peaceful, restful, and joyful for our family . . .no set times to keep, a VERY relaxed schedule, Christmas goodies to snack on, fun and games. . . family time.
    My daughter's slippers. . .yep, comfy time!
     
In our homeschool this week…

    We're currently on Christmas break in our school, and it's a much needed break. But here are some things my children have been doing. . . 
    They colored some candy canes.
    TM went to play outside in just a dusting of snow!
    TM made a snow globe from a kit she got for Christmas.
    SJ got a puzzle for Christmas. . .
    . . .she's working on it. 1,000 pieces is a lot!
    SJ also got a Hello Kitty coloring book.
    This is her favorite picture she's colored!
    My sonny boy (JR) playing a computer game. He's really in the zone!
     





















 
I am inspired by…
    A friend of mine who prepped meals ahead of time a froze them. I know that idea is as old as time, but let me just share how I am so bad at menu planning. That is truly an area that I need to strengthen. . .especially since my family is growing and most of my children are well out of the toddler stage of eating habits. My plan is to put away a month's worth (or maybe 2) of meals so that when the baby is born, we're good to go.
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
    For the most part, we've been hanging out at home. We've had more pajama days than we've had in a long time. And when we have gone to run errands, we've come right back home to the PJs and comfy clothes.
    Today, we did venture out to my nephew's birthday party. It was held at Chuck E. Cheese and of course the kids were excited about that one. My husbands parents, siblings and their families were there and it's always good to fellowship.
My favorite thing this week was…
    Spending Christmas day with my husband and children. . .laughing and playing and giving glory to God. My daughter told me that she loves Christmas because it feels so good to celebrate Jesus and spend time with family. She said, "Mommy I feel warm inside." How sweet! You can go here for a few pics of our Christmas day.
What’s not working for us…
    Winter sniffles. My sons have been battling a few sniffles this week. The oldest son is feeling much better now. He told me, "Mommy, the germs are out now. They are at level zero!" :o) Good for him, but my baby boy is still at bit cranky with a runny nose.
Things I’m working on…
    I need to do some planning for when we resume our normal schooling schedule. I also need to prepare for my homeschool portfolio review. Hopefully I'll begin those things today (or maybe tomorrow). Gotta snap out of vacation mode sooner or later!
    One thing my kids and I accomplished yesterday was removing the leaves from our back patio. I couldn't take it anymore. Every time someone went in or out, every time the little dogs were let outside or back in, there would be piles of leaves IN MY HOUSE! It was really getting on my nerves. . .sweeping my floors 1,000 times a day was more than this pregnant mama could take. :o)
    So, the kids and I  bundled up and worked together to sweep off the back patio and make it leaf free! We dumped the leaves (per Daddy's request) around the base of the trees in the yard, so they would break down and "feed" the trees. The kids actually had fun. But here's why: they said, "Mommy it's fun because we're working together." Yeah! Team Family!!!
I’m reading…
I’m cooking…
    I made Lemon Zucchini Bread--mmm, good. . . 
 
I’m grateful for…
    The time God has given me, the breath in my nostrils, the beating of my heart, my life--thank You, Lord.
I’m praying for…
    My very dear friend, Kim. She lost her dad last week and the funeral service (home-going service, as we like to say, since he's now with Jesus) was on Thursday. If you feel inclined, please join me in praying for her and her family.
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Who told my oldest daughter (SJ) that she could grow up on me? LOL
Very thankful for the young lady that she's becoming.


Linked with:
Growing Home

Our Days in Between

by on Saturday, December 29, 2012
I must first say that the title of this post was inspired by Gin @ At Home in Doe Hill . She wrote a post called Being Between that ca...



So, the weather in my part of the country has been pretty good for fall and into winter, over all. That means my kiddos have had many days to go outside, get some fresh air, run, scream, play, pretend. . . in a nutshell: be kids!

Part of their fun has been digging in the dirt to find "treasures." Here's one of their finds:
A tiny silver toy car.
So on they went around the yard, digging and scratching and having lots of fun. One day, they came in to show me the "shells" of some mysterious "nut" they found, perhaps walnuts, they reasoned. Me and my "city" eyes were like, "Oh yeah! It is a shell, but I think it's an old crab apple shell, not a nut." I told the kids that once they were finished playing with the "crab apple shells" to put them back at the base of the tree, because they will break down and help the earth.

The kids agreed and off they went, happy to have their "shell" collection. The left a few of them on the picnic table on our patio to show to Daddy when he got home. Here's where the lesson begins.

The "shells". . .or so we thought!

Daddy looked out the patio window and asked the children, "Did you guys put these things on the picnic table?" My youngest daughter proudly proclaims, "We did, Daddy! They're walnut shells; we wanted to show them to you!"

And so the nature lesson, began. . .

He informed the children (and Mommy) that those weren't walnut shells, neither were they the hull of a crab apple. Rather, they were pieces of horse manure that came from the compost that my husband spread around the base of the trees this fall. HORSE MANURE!!

The reactions that followed were varied. . .

I'm like, "Honey, those weren't crab apple shells, old crab apple shells?" as I slowly remembered that he did make a trip out "to the country" to get free compost from a horse farmer. It also dawned on me that we don't have "crab apple trees," so why would we all of the sudden have crab apples in our yard? (Also turns out that I didn't really know what a crab apple was either--goodness! What I always called a crab apple is really the unripened fruit of a walnut tree!)** 

My oldest daughter said, "Well, it's a good thing I always wash my hands after playing outside!" And she continued playing her computer game, pretending not to be phased by this in the least bit. (Yeah, right!)
My son said, "Eeewww!" And then proceeds to double over in a fit of giggles. He's five; things like this are always hilarious.

My younger daughter was completely disgusted. She said, "Daddy, you mean that was horse poop? Oh, no! Are you sure? Are you kidding, Daddy?" Then she began wondering if she was sure to wash her hands really well the day they found the "shells"! LOL

My husband explained to them what compost was made of and how he uses it to "feed" the earth around our bushes and trees. He told them that over time, it continues to break down and becomes very rich soil.

I think all were convinced, except one little girl!


**Mommy's science lesson on the difference between
walnut trees and crab apple trees. Never too old to
learn, right?!?


Walnut tree with unripened nuts. . .
I always called these crab apples. . .


THESE are crab apples. . .
I just won't even say what I thought these were!

What's in the Dirt: A Lesson Learned

by on Wednesday, December 26, 2012
  So, the weather in my part of the country has been pretty good for fall and into winter, over all. That means my kiddos have had ...
MERRY CHRISTMAS. . .
from our family to yours!!!!
 
Pics from parts of our day. . .

Husband and me
My girly-girl playing with her new tea set!


Smooches!

"Sonny-boy" concentrating on something (??)
My oldest laughing at something her little sister just said!
We're playing Bingo.

Say cheese (with oatmeal on the chin!).

"Baby bump" makes an appearance.

Merry Christmas 2012

by on Tuesday, December 25, 2012
MERRY CHRISTMAS. . . from our family to yours!!!!   Pics from parts of our day. . . Husband and me My girly-girl playing with...
This is a Christmas novella, making it a very easy read. The setting is located in a close-knit town off of Lake Superior in Michigan. Bree Matthews, along with her husband, Kade, are investigating the death of a sky-jumper. As his mysterious death unfolds, they realize that Kade's wayward sister is somehow involved.

While trying to solve this mystery, Bree and Kade are having some troubles of their own. . . .baby troubles. Although Bree has a son from her first marriage, she longs to have a baby with Kade. They've been trying for three years to conceive without success. Kade has reached the point where he's okay without a baby of their own. He's happy to raise Bree's son as his own and even suggests adoption. Bree isn't convinced her husband is as happy as he says he is. . .

******************************************

This book was a light and fast read; great for Christmas break. Apparently, this book is one in a series of books. I think that because I wasn't already familiar with the characters, their introduction into the story seemed to be rather choppy, and at times hard to follow. Other than that, the story line remained relatively light. Overall, the book was a pretty good read and maybe would have been better had I read the other books in the series before this one.


I review for BookSneeze®

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
In my life this week…
A bit of hustle and bustle here and there. I went Christmas shopping for my little ones this past Sunday afternoon. Three stores in 2 1/2 hours was no easy feat for this pregnant lady! When I came home, sweet Husband helped me wrap every single present before the kids came downstairs from their afternoon nap!

The children and I put some finishing touches on our handmade Christmas presents for our extended family, too. Everyone is getting excited as we count down to Christmas Day. I am enjoying watching my children be careful to keep the true meaning of Christmas in their hearts. That is a blessing.

In our homeschool this week…
Well, we are officially on Christmas Break, and have been since Wednesday. We've been on a very light schedule since last Thursday, and worked up to a good stopping point on Monday and Tuesday.

We are reading through A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens as our "read aloud." The kids love my Scrooge voice!
A CHRISTMAS CAROL (ILLUSTRATED with Special Kindle Format)
Only $0.99 on Kindle!

We've been doing some fun little crafts here and there. Here are a couple:


(You can click HERE for a post on how we made ours!)

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…Don't be afraid to take a break when you need to. This is something I have to constantly remind myself. Burn out is no fun!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Last Saturday, I went to a Christmas dessert party a friend of mine hosted. It was a lot of fun with many delicious desserts and the best cranberry punch ever! It was fun to fellowship with a few other ladies. There was an anonymous gift exchange and I received a mistletoe-scented candle with a candle snuffer!

We went to the post office and stood in a line that went from a few feet in front of the door we entered in, all the way to the counter. (Someone remind me not to do that next year.) But, I'm happy to report that the little care package we sent to my parents arrived safely and in a very timely manner.

I went to the doctor's office for blood work. I had to drink a sugary drink and then get my blood drawn an hour later to check for gestational diabetes. Praise the Lord my results came back normal.

My favorite thing this week was…
Sleeping in!! I've been able to wake up somewhere between 7:30 and 8 each morning, since we're not following our school schedule. My children have been SO wonderful about getting up and starting their morning chores without my prompting, which allows me and the babies (one in the crib and one in the womb) to get a few extra zzzz's.

I’m cooking…
I hope to make a few batches of Christmas cookies tomorrow. I'm planning on making classic sugar cookies as well as gingerbread cookies (per my oldest daughter's request).

I’m grateful for…
A God who calms my fears and for answered prayer.

I’m praying for…
Please, if you feel inclined, pray for a very dear friend of mine who lost her father today. Her name is Kim and she and her family need to be lifted in prayer during this time. The blessing: Her father went home to be with the LORD.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…



Linked with. . .




Christmas Break Happenings

by on Saturday, December 22, 2012
In my life this week… A bit of hustle and bustle here and there. I went Christmas shopping for my little ones this past Sunday afternoon. ...
 

Looking for a gingerbread house alternative? Well, here's a fun and simple edible Christmas craft to do with the kids: SUGAR CONE CHRISTMAS TREES!! (Pardon the caps, but I'm feeling the Christmas spirit!)

Here's what you need:
*Sugar cones
*Vanilla icing
*Green food coloring (to make the icing green)
*Candy for decorations (we used M&Ms)

Very simple directions:
*Turn the sugar cones upside down and slather the green icing on.
*Decorate with M&Ms, sprinkles, coconut, glitter, gumdrops, whatever you may have on hand.
*Stand back and look at your pretty work. . .then if you're like my children, go ahead and take a bite!

Here are some pictures:
From this. . . .

. . . .to these!



I put wax paper down, but as you can see,
the table got smeared a time or two! :)


 

I got this wonderful idea from. . .


. . .or for an even yummier treat, fill the sugar cone with cookie dough and bake it first. Then, decorate it! Click below for details. . . .



This craft is one way we are celebrating our Christmas Break from homeschooling (along with wearing our PJs as much as possible!).

What ways are you celebrating the Christmas season with your families?


Sugar Cone Christmas Trees

by on Thursday, December 20, 2012
  Looking for a gingerbread house alternative? Well, here's a fun and simple edible Christmas craft to do with the kids: SUGAR CONE C...

With Christmas just one week away, I'd like to share with you some gifts we've made for our loved ones. You can make these gifts in time for Christmas day. They're easy and lots of fun to make!

But, before we go any further, here is my disclaimer (LOL!):


#1 Christmas Tree Ornaments
Star Ornament

Homemade ornaments are as old as time, but they are always cherished and were very easy to make. My kids and I made our ornaments from homemade clay using:
1/2C cornstarch
1C baking soda
3/4C water 

Dump all the ingredients in a medium pot. Put the pot on the stove on medium-low, stirring frequently. Once a clay ball is formed, remove from heat. Allow the clay to cool in a bowl, covered with a damp cloth. Once it's cool, roll it out to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutters. Use a straw for the hole to hang with string or ribbon. Bake in a 175 degree oven for 1hour, turning halfway through.

These can be painted or left white, which reminds me of the snow. We sprinkled glitter on our clay before we cut out the shapes. We personalized them, including the date, once they were dry.

Original Source. . .
#2 Personalized Mugs
Mug with Christmas tree

So, who knew you could by a plain, inexpensive, white coffee mug (ahem--dollar store!) and jazz it up yourself, using SHARPIE PENS!?!?! Yes, decorate the mug or put a personalized message on it, using Sharpie pens. Then bake the mug for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Then let it cool completely before touching the ink. This sets your design so it doesn't rub off. We had a lot of fun making these!

*Note: If you use a yellow Sharpie, just know that it will come out darker, like a golden, honey color.*
Original Source. . .

Source: buzzfeed.com via Stacie on Pinterest


#3 Play-Doh
Blue and red homemade "Play-Doh"

This is a tried and true gift idea for children. Kids love the stuff and it sparks imaginative play, which is great. (Playing with Play-Doh is my son's "go-to" free time activity during school!) We made this Play-Doh for the cousins for Christmas, but it's a nice gift idea for any occasion. My children don't know that later, I'm going to make more as Christmas presents for them!!! Anyway this recipe uses:
1C flour
1C water
1/4C salt
2tsp. cream of tartar
1Tbs. vegetable oil
food coloring

Dump it all in a pot and stir continuously on medium heat until a dough ball forms. Remove from heat and let it cool on wax paper. (Or, if you're impatient like me, put it in the freezer for a bit!) Once it's cool, knead it until it's nice and soft, then store it.


And guess what?! It really looks and feels like the Play-Doh in the stores. I don't think I'll be buying it any more! Especially since all of the ingredients are edible and I don't have to worry if a certain 1 year old I know decides to take a bite!

*Notes: I purchased the my storage containers on clearance at Big Lots--they were 3 for $1.80. (I think the original source reused left over applesauce cups!) Also, if you want a more vibrant color, use lots of food coloring, but keep in mind the color will become richer as the dough is heated.*
Original Source. . . 




So, there you have it--3 easy to make, inexpensive, homemade, heartfelt gifts! Have a Merry Christmas!

Linked with:



Growing Home




SUPER Easy Christmas Gifts

by on Monday, December 17, 2012
With Christmas just one week away, I'd like to share with you some gifts we've made for our loved ones. You can make these gifts in...
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