Wednesday, December 31, 2008

the day in pictures (start at the bottom and move up)

I kind of loaded these backwards. So start down here and scroll up. It just takes too long to move all of these pictures around. But here is our family opening gifts this year. Our theme was homemade gifts. And the girls were more excited to GIVE than receive this year. Details on the homemade gifts deserves a separate post.

Monday, December 29, 2008

What you DIDN'T get for Christmas we all know it was a slim Christmas this year around here. We were too busy moving, packing, cleaning and so on to do any Christmas shopping. And to be completely honest, we were to CHEAP to actually spend the money. We really didn't get anything for each other this year. We did manage to get the girls some little things on Christmas Eve eve (AKA December 23) so there was something to open under the tree. But everything else was neglected. And though, I am not going to do the old "feeling sorry for myself" routine, it is kind of fun to think about things that you DIDN'T get for Christmas but you would have enjoyed unwrapping.

We played this game back at Thanksgiving time with my whole family and listed things that we would give our loved ones if we could afford it. It really was fun and I think it is almost therapeutic to dream big dreams.

So, here is my list of things that it would have been fantastic if Santa had put these these in my stocking this year. (A girl can dream right???)

  • a New Inductive Study Bible (HERE)
  • a really nice juicer (HERE - 2nd one on the page)
  • a good camera (HERE - to replace my old broken good camera)
So...dream with me. Share with me what you DIDN'T get for Christmas, but you would have loved it if you had? Do tell.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


We had a great time as a family checking out the local HUGE hotel and Christmas display. You know the kind of hotel that has a boat ride inside and a GIANT Christmas tree. It has been so long since we just did things like this for fun. Not packing, not cleaning, not working in the yard...just having fun together as a family.

Then we splurged and got tickets for ICE. It is a beautiful ICE display that takes months to make. One part of it was dedicated to the true Christmas story with a Nativity and a narrator that tells the story of Christ's birth.

The main ICE display this year is the GRINCH. These large ICE sculptures are larger than we are. And here at the end, the GRINCH's heart grew 3 sizes that day.

The girls next to the ROAST BEAST...Notice that wall behind the display is all of ice too.
The highlight was the huge ICE slide. Chuck and the girls waited in the cold to go down (you sit on your coat to slide).

Tissy on the slide.
Tally on the slide (she was the brave one who went first).

Entering WHO-VILLE. Good thing they loan out the jackets to keep you warm.

One of our favorite parts...the ICE tunnel. What incredible work. This was a COOL treat for our family. I just love this picture.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Weird but Wonderful Week

Weird...recovering from the driving and packing and moving.

Wonderful...being together with not having to say good-bye at the airport again.

Weird...waiting to see if our traumatized bunny would bounce back after the long drive.

Wonderful...finally having the rabbit eat and drink and act normal.

Weird...celebrating Christmas in an odd house.

Wonderful...having new friends invite us over on Christmas afternoon.

Weird...having everything you own packed away in a box, and stacked in the garage.

Wonderful...having the hope of getting into a new house within a month. way to make any food (only paper plates). pressure of cooking a fancy meal for Christmas.

Weird...feeling like this isn't home yet and everything seems new.

Wonderful...Chuck has been here for 8 months and he can lead the way.

As usual, I am trying to focus on the positive. I can't find my cord to upload pictures so it may be awhile before I can post pics. But I wanted to continue to stay in touch. I have been thinking a lot about how Christmas can be both a wonderful time and a difficult time for people. And though it hasn't been difficult, it has been kind of weird around here. It is a season of waiting, and trusting, and being patient, learning to be flexible, and trying to adjust graciously.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the night before Christmas...

and all through the house...

We are so glad to be done with the mess...

Now that we have moved,
I will miss seeing my girls run around
in boots and a dress...

Hope your holiday time is special this year.

We are grateful to be together and to have our loved ones near.

Have a wonderful Christmas. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers as we have gone through these past 8 months. We are so grateful for our wonderful friends and family.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

we're here - we're safe - we're tired

We have had such a whirl wind last week. We were able to pack up the house (couldn't do it without help). Friday turned out to be the longest day. I had to pick up Chuck at the airport and then off to pick up the last moving truck. Hurried home to meet our helpers (a MANY thanks to the help) so we could start loading the truck. Let's just say...we have tons of stuff (note to harder at getting rid of things). We had to run and sign papers Friday afternoon. While we were doing that, my dear friend "K-Sue" came and rescued my kids from the chaos and took them to her house. We had some difficulty getting all the things in the truck and there is no way we could have fit that last bit of furniture so...thanks for taking it my local friends.

One of the biggest issues was trying to figure out how to get our big lawn tractor and play set on the truck. We were able to get the play set on the truck and we had to borrow a trailer to get the tractor here. That turned out to be a larger project than we anticipated. But all said and done...we got our stuff here.

We stayed at K-Sue's place on Friday night and that was a HUGE blessing (she even fed us a FANTASTIC meal). At times like this, the help from friends mean so much. We really couldn't have done this with out all of the help that we have had. The packing, loading, cleaning, feeding, kid watching...the list goes on. And now that we are on this end. We have help from our new friends. It is hard to on the receiving end of all the help.

A quick update on the house that we put the offer is on the verge of being a short sale so we have to be patient to hear if the bank has accepted our offer. It would help to find out if we are unpacking here or waiting until the next place.

Well...we are off to the store to find some food. It is COLD here. It will be 8 degrees tonight. When we left our last place, it was 80. BIG difference.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

free to the first ones to claim these before Friday night

We have decided NOT to bring these few things to our new home. And we are ready to give them away...but you have to take them by FRIDAY evening.

Sofa and Loveseat (ultra suede) we had them in our guest house.

Table and Chairs (Also used in our guest house. The table has drop down sides and small butterfly leaf that is stored underneath. Green painted with 4 or 5 chairs. When open it is round).

Girls white dresser and desk. I painted these white and added the pink flower knobs. I had picked them up at a second hand place and fixed them up to match Tissy's room.

OK local friends, email me if you want to have these have to take them by FRI night.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's been a crazy few days, and boy, am I tired.

In the past 3 days we have...

  • Finished packing most of the house.
  • Picked up a truck and packed it full of boxes and furniture.
  • Prepared school work for the girls to do while I was gone for 2 days.
  • Drove for 12 hours with Chuck to our new (let's keep it vague here) living destination.
  • Unloaded the truck with Chuck in the cold night (after driving all day).
  • Returned the truck and looked at houses with the realtor.
  • Got approved for the new loan.
  • Made an offer on a house!!!!!
  • Now flying back home to finish up the rest of the house.
  • Get ready for the last load for this weekend.
It has been a CRAZY week. Let's just say...God is good. And we couldn't do this without our support system. (Thank you!)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saint Lucia

This morning the girls woke us up by coming in the room early (while it was still dark) wearing their new Saint Lucia dresses and crowns and said "Saint Lucia invites you to breakfast." They brought in coffee and sweet cake for breakfast. Then we all gathered up on our bed and enjoyed breakfast together.

We have this Christmas tradition that the girls work on this (often with Grammy's help) and plan it and help us celebrate Saint Lucia Day (Dec. 13). This year was extra special because Grammy made them new gowns (their Christmas present) and Daddy was home to help us continue on in this family tradition. In the past, the girls have made make shift gowns out of night gowns and kitchen trash bags, but now they have dresses that will last for years to come.

This is one of my favorite holiday traditions. This idea came after we read the Kirsten AG books. I grew up in the midwest where Scandinavian traditions were quite common.

Even in the midst of our chaos and mess, it is still important to have things that make this time feel special for the Christmas season.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lapbooking workshop

I hosted a lapbooking workshop with my friend Tiffany the other night. She is the one who got me hooked on this in the first place and several people had asked to have a hands on workshop for Moms. I offered to host it at our roomy kitchen table. It turned out to be a fun night. Hopefully it wasn't too much work for Tiffany. We had met a few weeks ago to come up with some folds and work on the design of the lapbook and she did the rest.

We had about 12 people come and learn some basic folds for lapbooking. The sample lapbook we made was for the 12 days of Christmas and what they really mean. The idea is that once you learn some of the folds, then you can use those ideas with different topics. I already want to make a lapbook about Annie Oakley (just picked up a biography on her the other day).

As we move on from here to our new town/state, I am praying that we find another great homeschool group that we can connect with. One that will welcome us as well as this one has.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

It appraised !!!!

That's right. Our house appraised for the agreed amount. Woo Hoo !!! Today there were lots of inspectors here crawling around and checking out what a solidly built house this is =). We are planning on and moving ahead with our plans to pack up and be out of here. We are continuing to put our faith in God as we pack in faith that all the details will be buttoned up with out any hitches.

We have seen how there is opposition from the enemy to try and discourage us as we celebrate this victory. But we are blessed by how God has fought the fight for us and we are clinging to the TRUTH. We have been given many opportunities to continue to glorify God in all of our actions and at times it hasn't been the easiest. I will take these opportunities to be refined even more and praise God for what He is bringing us through.

I am grateful for Grammy and my little helpers as we scrounge around in dumpsters looking for boxes. Trying hard to go green and reuse all that we can without buying new boxes. It will be a busy few weeks as we press on and follow the path where God has led us.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Stick Together Family

We found this phrase in a reader that we use for school. I use Pathway readers (HERE) and I love their sweet simple stories. I love how they reinforce values about respecting parents, doing what's right, consequences for bad choices, working get the idea. In one of the earlier readers, the phrase being a stick together family really caught me eye. It is something we have often referred to as how our family wants to be. This phrase would be in our family mission statement. Working as a team. Meaning, when it is time to tidy up or put the dishes away or even bring in the groceries. We do it as a team. We stick together.

Though we are individuals, God put us together as a family unit. We don't tolerate not getting along, selfishness, or looking out for "ME". Even though the past 7 months, our family has not lived together under one roof, we are still a stick together family. Chuck could not be working where he is working if we weren't here supporting him. I couldn't spend my day schooling the kids if Chuck didn't support me.

I was reminded of this concept when I was watching a Little House episode with Tissy this morning. Pa had lost his job and they couldn't pay their bill at the Olsen's store. They worked together to get the money to get out of debt. Pa worked for another farmer while Ma and Laura worked the field. Mary worked for a neighbor sewing while her sister took up the slack in the chores. Tissy looked over at me and said, "They are a stick together family."

In these times, we need to be so grateful for the family God has blessed us with and thank God for his mercies as we continue to stick together.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Chuck won another Emmy!!!!!!

Just talked to Chuck and he found out that he won another Emmy! Last year he won 2 (he was a first time winner) and the whole thing was such a special night (HERE). Even though we weren't able to go to the banquet this year (maybe next year our life won't be so crazy), I am still just as proud of him.

Congrats Chuck! I am so proud of you and all your hard work. Congratulations to the whole team and all the winners. What a great bunch of guys you have been able to work with.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Plymouth Colony Pocket Books

If I had been more on the ball I would have had this posted last week when we finished it and it would have been appropriate for Thanksgiving. But, I am thankful that we finished it in time for the holiday and we were able to appreciate some history from the beginning of our country and
how difficult times were back then.

This is similar to a lapbook just a little different style. This is a pocket book and they are loads of fun for the hands on kind of learning. This ones comes from Evan Moor (HERE) and it is the Plymouth Colony Pocket Book (HERE). The idea is to have different pockets for information that the kids work on. The book that you get from Evan Moor tells you how to step by step do all of this. All you really need is to copy the pages for each child and have the extra large kind of construction paper. You could put the info into file pockets instead (we might try something like that next time).Pocket 1 included the Voyage to the New World. The mini books included in this pocket were a Mayflower ship, a trunk of things to take to the new world, map with route and words to know flap book (vocab words from the info that you read to the students ~ each pocket has "words to know").
Pocket 2 was the New World and included the Mayflower Compact, word search and words to know. Each pocket also includes a few paragraphs that the kids can read and color (the information). For the teachers information, I read the page of info for the kids while they are coloring and cutting for the mini books.

Pocket 3 was Building a Village. On this one we made a "tithing man stick" (used to keep children and adults behaving properly in church), a town crier booklet and words to know. For the town crier, I had the girls write their own info and then ring a bell in the yard and act it out as if they were the town crier.

Pocket 4 was all about the Plymouth home. The girls made a portable diorama (on the left) along with the other basics for this pocket. They learned about the keeping room and we studied how simple the life was.

Pocket 5 was about the Plymouth Family. They made puppets (on the left) and we studied some typical pilgrim names. One of their favorites was making the "stew of good manors" as we learned about how strick the family was.

Pocket 6 was about Working in Plymouth Colony. We learned about the farming and the different trades and crafts that quickly became popular. The mini books included a quilt book, a sign for a shop, and a mini book that listed the crafts and trades.

Pocket 7 was about going to school in Plymouth Colony. The girls made a horn book and a reader that would have been used then. The horn book has a sheet of wax paper on top and they used a stick to copy the alphabet.

Pocket 8 included a conclusion of all that we learned about the Pilgrim life and what the Pilgrims gave us. The goose thing on the left is a copy of an old time toy (kind of wish we could make it out of wood, it is cute).

We were able to do 2 pockets a day for a few days to get our project done before Thanksgiving. Ideally, it would take longer. All in all, I do really like these, almost as much as lapbooks. And if you are looking for other pocket book ideas, Evan Moor has quiet a few. Most of them only have about 4 pockets each. Click HERE for some ideas.