Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Program 2010

The kid's Christmas program was last Sunday night.  Callie said a welcome poem.  She was sooooo nervous, but did a wonderful job!!  My camera didn't record the first couple of words. :( 

Simon says a small part...

The older kids and teen choir.
A very happy Callie!!
Seth, still not able to open his mouth all the way, but sang his best.
Poor Samuel, this was the best shot I got of eye peeks out between the angels!!! :)
The younger class singing Away in a Manger.
A beautiful solo....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chocolate Chips on the floor....I think NOT!!

A short story.........
Mommy goes into the kitchen and a 10 year old boy comes running out of the music room.  His mouth is STUFFED full of something.  She asks what it is….the boy holds up a finger suggesting she wait until he has finished chewing up his food.  This makes the mommy slightly perturbed.  He can talk with his mouth full of food any other time.  She is suspicious of WHAT is in her son's mouth.  She demands that he tell her NOW!!! 
“It’s just a few chocolate chips.” The boy tells his mommy. 
“WHERE, did you find them?” asks the mom. 
The guilty looking boy replies, “I found them on the floor.”  
Hmmmmm…..methinks the boy did NOT find them on the floor!!  Finally the truth comes out.  The boy had been hiding a bag of chocolate chips in the attic stairwell.  This makes mommy mad and sad!!!  Punishment follows and the sneaky boy is sent to his room.  Apparently he worked on this sweet card of apology and placed it in his mommy’s kitchen where he was so sure she would find it later that evening.  She did not.  This made the boy very sad. 
He thought to himself, "What kind of mom doesn't find the apology note from her son?" 
For you see, the VERY sorry boy put it right outside her music studio where she would see it the minute she finished teaching lessons.
The mommy found the sweet card during the day while the boy was at school.  It made her smile.  She thanked her son on the way home from school later.  He was glad she finally found it and has no more plans to hide chocolate chips EVER again!!
 This was ALL the money he had leftover after Christmas shopping for his brothers, sister & Daddy!
The same evening the chocolate chips went missing(and before I knew he had made me such a sweet card), Simon sewed his sister a nightgown for her doll.  He did a great job!!  Although I'll have to admit, I was just a bit scared when he used my serger for the first time!!!  Callie was beside herself with excitement for she knew that Simon was making her a Christmas gift and she wasn't allowed in the room! :) 
Here is Simon, with the Christmas gift he made for his sister.  She's going to LOVE it!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Choosing to see the positive.....

Usually Callie has to start in on her school work first thing in the morning.  Today, with Samuel being home from school, they were begging to play outside.  I gave in, and off they went.  Much to their delight they found that the water in their pool was frozen and had such great fun 'skating' on it!!  I enjoyed watching the fun from the comfort of my warm living room!!
Here is a short video clip of their the very end Samuel starts getting a little wild in his attempts to skate and Callie ends up in tears!!!  Don't worry...she's a-okay now!! :) might want to pause my playlist over to the right before playing the video.

I just love how a child can take something that looks ugly and dirty(the swimming pool full of dirty water that should have been emptied out and stored away) and turn it into something full of joyous fun!!!  I so wish it was easier for us as adults to do that.....You see, I have been looking outside my window at the kiddie pool saying to myself, "girl....that pool should have been stored looks so junky outside and is just cluttering up the backyard......"  Now, my kids have made me realize that it's a good thing it got left outside this year!!!  It will be a fun backyard winter kid-sized ice skating rink!!!
My prayer for today is that God will help me to look at the upside of things....for Him to show me the positive in help me find the things to be thankful for in each and every situation. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Fruitcake & First Snow

Making fruitcake is NOT an annual Christmas baking tradition!!!  This is a once every few years thing I do.  On the spur of the moment, late Monday night, after a wild & crazy evening of making gingerbread houses(for which I still haven't blogged about), I declared Tuesday evening to be fruitcake making night!!!  I make a quick run to the store before picking the kids up on Tuesday to get the last few items we needed.  Here it all is ready to chop......Doesn't all that fruit look yummy!!!  I had wanted all the kids to help, but they took one look at all that ooey-gooey sticky fruit and ran away!!!  Seth was the only one brave enough to stay and help....
 All the fruit FINALLY chopped!  Seth is pouring the liquid ingredients over can tell what he thinks of the mess!! :)
 This is a mix-with-hands project.....
 At this point Seth took over the camera and took probably a dozen or more pictures of my hands.....I won't bore you will them all.....
 And for all of those gasping at my bare hands touching the food....yes, I washed them first!!! lol
 At this point, my hands/fingers were exhausted!!!
 All mixed to wash this goo off my hands!!!!
 All that hard work paid off.....beautiful fruitcakes await us for later!!
While I was talking to my sil on Skype, Callie took a break from her school work to play in the first snow of the season!!!  She was throwing little snowballs at the window where I sat. 
 Scooping up some snow off the hammock pillow that still hasn't made it into the trash can!!! It was damaged this summer and needs to be thrown out.  It did make a great place to scoop off some snow though!!!

 Wiping off all the snow.....
On a side note.....her brothers were sooooo disappointed when they got home from school and all the snow had melted!!!  They didn't get to enjoy playing in it!! :(  I'm sure they're will be plenty more a-comin'!!

Advent: The Candle of Peace

Late last night, after our annual Christmas Celebration Supper, we came home to have our second Advent reading and candle lighting.  It was Seth's turn to do our reading and light the Candle of Peace.
Then, it was time to hide the nativity pieces for the week and hunt for them in the dark with a flashlight! Please excuse all the busy-crazy-no-time-for-cleaning-last-week-clutter in the background of the pictures!!! My house is VERY real right about now!!! :)
Last week, it was youngest to oldest, in the hunt for the nativity pieces.  This week, we declared the oldest would go first!!! :)  Seth found one of the angels.  And yes, we really are in the DARK, with just a flashlight......I took pictures with FLASH nearly blinding us all in the process!!!
I LOVE this picture of Simon searching for the elusive donkey.....Do YOU see it?
He FINALLY found it!!!!

Finding just the right place....
 Samuel spotted the second angel right away on the MESSY computer desk!!!
 I snapped this picture JUST as his angel tumbled down from the roof.  He needed just a bit of help to get it to stay!!
Callie was soooooo excited to FINALLY search for her piece...she was just a bit miffed that she was LAST this week!!! :)
What it REALLY looked like while searching for nativity pieces....
Callie puts the little shepherd boy outside of the stable.  The kids are already asking what pieces will be hid next week!!!
Second Sunday of Advent
Candle of Peace.  We'll relight the first candle of Advent, the candle of hope.  Then we'll light the second candle of Advent, which is the candle of peace.  This candle helps us remember that Jesus was called the Prince of Peace.  He wants us to learn how to live together in peace with each other.  That means not fighting with our brothers and sisters or hurting someone else's feelings.  As we think about Christmas, let's find ways to be kind and loving to other people.

Bible verse for today. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."  Luke 2:14

Prayer. Dear Jesus, we want to be kind, helpful, and caring to other people no matter who they are or what they look like.  Teach us how to live in eace every day with our family, friends, and everyone we meet.  Amen.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Advent: The Candle of Hope

A few years ago, we started celebrating the 4 Sundays of Advent in our home.  This is something the kids look forward to each year.  After church on Sunday, the kids take turns with a simple Advent reading and then light the candle/candles for that day.  After that, pieces from our Nativity set are hid around the living room.  The lights go out and one at a time, the kids use a flashlight to find a figure to put in our manger.  By the last Sunday of Advent, our Nativity set is complete and baby Jesus, is placed in his bed.
 We were happy that our cousin, And'rea, got to spend this first Advent celebration with us.  She took part by hiding the 4 Nativity pieces for the kids.  The kids enjoyed playing a few games with her afterwards!
For anyone is the simple reading for the first Sunday of Advent....

First Sunday of Advent
Today is the first day of Advent.  The word 'advent' means coming.  So this is a time to think about Jesus' coming to earth as a baby.  Advent starts today and ends when we celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas.  There are four Sundays in Advent.  We'll light a candle on each on those Sundays.  Each candle stands for a special idea about this holy time of the year.

  The first candle we light is the candle of hope.  People were looking for a Savior to come and help them.  When Jesus was born, that hope came true.  Jesus was the Savior of the world, and He came to teach them and save all people everywhere.

Bible verse for today:
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord."  Luke 2:11

  Dear God, as we begin Advent, help us to learn the true meaning of Christmas.  We want our hearts to be ready to celebrate the birthday of Jesus.  Amen.

Our Thanksgiving Week.....

It all started with a good price on a spiral slice ham at Aldi's.  I decided that we would have a Thanksgiving Meal on Sunday afternoon.  I spent Saturday baking and cooking.  Sunday after church we sat down to a meal of ham, glazed carrots, green beans, potato salad, coleslaw, deviled eggs & homemade bread.
And for own version of this recipe and sweet potato pie.  I'd never had sweet potato pie before and this tasted just like pumpkin.
 Our Thanksgiving Meal at home a few days early!
 Another close-up of this yummy dessert.  I'm thankful to Angie for sharing the recipe for this.  It was a hit at our house.  For my version, I substituted blueberries for the raspberries.  Added spices to the cake batter and sprinkled both chocolate and cinnamon chips on the top along with a handful of chopped pecans.
 And then it was on to getting ready for all the kids' Thanksgiving parties.  Here we are along with 400 cotton balls, a sheet of construction paper and globs of glue to create a sheep for Simon's costume.
 I was amazed at how fast the 400 cotton balls disappeared when we glued them down.  I thought we'd have tons left.....we actually ran out and had to use a little white batting for a small section on one side.
 The morning of Samuel's party I jumped out of bed after realizing we had forgotten to create his  potato for the 'best-dressed potato' contest.  We threw this together in a BIG hurry at little after 7:00AM!!!  Samuel picked out the sweet potato to use and we created a 'mouse' per his instructions. 
 I poked the toothpicks into the veggies and he put them on.  He also insisted we put glue on the top and roll the potato in salt!!!!  I should mention that a BIG bunch of the crumbs slipped off the plate and made their final resting place in the backseat of Daddy's car on the way to work that morning!!  The potato safely arrived at school and even won a prize. :)
 I still have not figured out WHY my pictures sometimes rotate the WRONG way....Any help out there?? is David with his harp(the 5 minute rubber-band harp idea I had, turned into an hour and a half of work for my wonder people go running when I mention my ideas!!!!) and the 400 cotton balls sheep!  Did I mention that the sheeps' head fell off before he presented his costume for the contest.  He simply told the judges that is sheep was dying!!!! LOL  He tied with another boy for Best Biblical Costume....
 I took my camera along for our Thanksgiving time with my family and didn't manage to take one single picture!!!  It was a fun time.  Lots of food.  Shopping with my mother and sister-in-law.  Enjoy lunch out at a gluten-free recipe where we ate some incredible pizza!!!  My SIL also bought me some GF choc. chip cookies that I have been enjoying!!!  And she also baked me a loaf of GF bread!!!  She's a great sister-in-law!!!!  I enjoyed not one, but two yummy breakfasts while staying with my parents.  It is wonderful to have someone else cook!!!  My dad made the best eggs one morning...I'm gonna have to try to duplicate them here one day. :)  We arrived back home late on Friday, thanks to the use of my parents' washer unpacking was a breeze.  It is sooooo nice to bring home all clean clothes!!

Saturday morning, we decided to put up the tree.  Of course, I decided the attic needed to be cleaned out and organized before decorating for Christmas.  The kids helped me pull out everything in the attic and we sorted through and organized everything.  I have a load of things to take off to the Salvation Army.  This will make load #18!!

We turned on Christmas music and shaped branches......the job that makes me cranky every year.......:(
 Our 2010 Christmas tree....Simon wanted to put on all homemade ornaments this that's what we did.....I'll admit I wanted to put up my beautiful musical ornaments on the tree this year....oh well....there's always next year!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A perfect day until............

Have you ever had one of those absolutely perfect days that happen once a year or so?  Today was one of those days.  I got up.  Had a load of laundry washing BEFORE 7:30AM!!!!  Around 8:00AM started the housecleaning.  Callie and I vacuumed carpets, washed floors, walls, chairs, swept down cobwebs(yes, I cleaned these up just for you, Sarah), made beds, cleared clutter, put away clean laundry.  By 10:15, the house was clean and we were getting ready to leave on Callie's 'field trip'.  We had planned a trip to the mall.  They have a small indoor playground that she loves to play on.  As a bonus, we stopped and picked up a few cuts of Christmas fabric at Jo-Anns.  Then it was a stop for a GIANT cookie slice at the Cookie Co.  This was Callie's first cookie from this place.  She was over the moon.  She spied Santa and wanted to go see him.  While there, she got a coupon for another FREE cookie(now WHY didn't we go there before I PAID for a cookie???) and a cookie cutter.  Next stop, was the indoor playground.  After that, she chose to go to Burger King for her lunch.  Everything was perfect.  She was listening and having fun and BEAMING from ear to ear!!!  After lunch, it was on to the bank to get some cash for our groceries.  I hit pay dirt and found 2 GIGANTIC homemade-style pepperoni pizzas at Aldis for $1.99!!!!  They were on clearance.  The expiration date was not until the end of next week.  I was over the moon with this find.  I had wanted a pizza dinner for the kids.  Two grocery stores & one pony ride later, I decided to swing by Family Video and rent a special DVD for the kids as a surprise tonight.  It was one they had put on their Christmas list.  I was feeling on TOP of the world. 

Wellllll..................let's just say that came to a SCREECHING halt on the way home from school.  I had decided NOT to go to the library for the SECOND time this week.  Apparently one 10 year old boy had his heart set on going to the library and proceeded to gasp in dismay and slink in his seat and sulk as we passed by without stopping.  This is where I made my BIG mistake #1!!!!!!!  His attitude made me feel terrible and I decided to go around the block with much complaining on MY part and go BACK to the library.  I shouldn't have given in...but I did....I know it was wrong...I made a mistake....Well, I decided to take what I thought was a shortcut.  It looked like an alley that went ALL THE WAY through.  I should have realized when my van started driving on concrete and not blacktop that something was amiss.  I even wondered what in the WORLD the metal poles that I was dodging were doing in the road.....but did I STOP.....NO!!!!  Not until I realized the end of the 'alley' was a drop-off curb into the parking lot at the courthouse!!!!  I pondered momentarily driving OFF the curb and bumping onto the parking lot.  I'm glad I DIDN'T for there walking out the doors of the courthouse was a police officer.  He stood there at the doors staring at me and my van and my predicament.  How was I, the girl that doesn't like to back up, going to back around all those metal poles!!!  Not to mention once I backed up and pulled forward. I realized that there was a GIGANTIC Christmas tree set up with cables holding it down.  I was just going to do a u-turn.  Well, all the cables coming off the tree prevented that.  So it was back up a little bit....pull forward a little bit....back up a bit more....pull forward a bit more long LAST I had my van pointed in the right direction!!!!  Oh, and I should mention that I did pause in all my backing up and pulling forward to roll down the window and apologize to the police officer.  I told him, "Sorry, I thought this was an alley!"  He just shook his head.  I'm VERY thankful he didn't walk over and ticket me!!! 

 By the time, I FINALLY arrived at the library, I'm sure my blood pressure was sky-rocketing.  Not to mention, my heart was literally thumping over the entire close counter with the law!!!  Well.....we parked at the library.  Two men were standing right beside the entrance smoking away.  Now what happened next, I can't explain.  All I can think of is that I was slightly stressed, and when I starting inhaling smoke, something just snapped.  My super-woman pillar I had set myself up on for the day was rapidly crumbling at this point.  I marched right up there and told them VERY firmly that it was against the law to smoke that close to a public building.  I then asked the poor librarian, who was down on her hands and knees gathering up books from the book drop, who I could call about the two men smoking!!!  Goodness....I'm embarrassed of my VERY childish behavior. :(  Seth reported that within a couple minutes the men walked away.  They were probably afraid of what the 'crazy' woman would do upon leaving the library if they were still there!!!! 

Upon leaving the library, I had to back out of the parking space.  It is extremely difficult to back out after school.  People come RACING through the parking lot and nearly hit you as you try to back out!  Well, I checked BOTH ways for cars coming.  It's a one-way street through the parking lot, but occasionally someone goes the wrong direction.  I even check for back-up lights on the cars parked behind me.  Nothing.  I start to back out.  Am almost out far enough to put the car in drive again, when ANOTHER car behind me quickly whips his tiny little red car out of his space and nearly backs into me!!!  I honk the horn in hopes that he won't back up any further.  He doesn't.  By this time....I'm ready to have my 12 year old start driving for me.  Surely that won't be any more of a stress on my already frazzled nerves!!!

It's hours later, I've calmed down and realized the error of my ways.  Oh, if there were just an un-do and a re-do button for things that happen!  Now the pizza, is ready....the kids are happily eating....after a near catastrophe when a certain 5 year old raced through the living room bearing a plate with an enormous slice of pizza.  You can about imagine what happened when the hot slice slid off his plate and skittered across the CARPET!!!!!!  There were tears and  a very frustrated mommy that is trying so hard to have more patience, but it just isn't coming fast enough!!! :)

The night is still surely can't get worse...right?  And tomorrow will be another day........

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's never too late to carve a pumpkin!!!

Yep....I know we're just a bit late around here carving a pumpkin....but...better late than never...Right?
Can you tell this boy is just a little happy that mommy is FINALLY going to carve his pumpkin!!!!
Samuel took a field trip to a pumpkin farm last week at school and they each got to pick a pumpkin to take home.  I wasn't really surprised when I saw he had picked out the BIGGEST pumpkin he could carry!!!
 Pulling off the lid to see what awaits us inside...
 There was a whole lot of "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeew gross going on during this process!!!"
 Drawing the face for mommy to carve out....
 All carved and ready for a candle..
 All lit up....
 Another picture..just because I love this pumpkin!!!
 Callie wanted to pose with Mr. Pumpkin.
 And what do you do with all the ooey-gooey seeds you took out of Mr. Pumpkin?  Why you make sugar & spice roasted pumpkin seeds to snack on!!!  They smelled sooooo incredibly YUMMY roasting in the oven.  The kids were just a bit hestitant to try them.  Once they did, I couldn't keep them out of the dish!!!  I'm tempted to go find another pumpkin to carve just so I can roast some more seeds!!!!
Sugar & Spice Roasted Pumpkin seeds
1 cup washed pumpkin seeds
1 T. Olive Oil
1 tsp. cinn.
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. allspice

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.  Place on a foil covered cookie sheet.  Bake at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes stirring occasionally.  Remove from oven.  Allow to cool slightly.  Place in a bowl and start snacking!!!!