Friday, December 29, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Christmas!

My Yule Log isn't the prettiest thing, but it sure was delicious!

Christmas!  What a wonderful time of the year, that is, if it's not so busy that you can't contemplate the reason for celebration.  It's an amazing thing, isn't it, when you stop to think about it:  the Creator became the created, God limited Himself to being a human.  It's crazy, but so wonderful!

We had a quiet Christmas at home this year.  John couldn't even find any co-workers who needed some place to have Christmas dinner.  So we enjoyed each other and had a great time!  It was nice to be low-key and not have to worry about the mess being cleaned up for company.  Or trying to figure out how to get the dining room table cleared off because it's become the repository for Christmas gifts that need to be kept out of Hannah's hands.  :)

This week has been a nice mix of busy, i.e. doing things, and resting.  We took the week off from school, and we have all been enjoying the break.  The girls (but not Hannah) participated in a soccer clinic Wednesday through today which they enjoyed.  I appreciated the time with Daniel; it's not often that he's the only child -- not including the ever-present Hannah.  :)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:

  • John being home Tuesday and, of course, Monday
  • how excited the children were as they opened their gifts.  It's like they forgot that John and I bought the presents so we knew exactly what they're getting.  They still show us like we may not know.  :)  It's fun!
  • being correct at how much my children enjoy some of their gifts.  When I saw these certain items in a catalog, I just knew they would love them.  
  • how much fun the girls had at their soccer clinic and how much they learned
  • that they moved the clinic indoors for two days because it was cold and rainy
  • getting the house mostly back in order after the storm of unwrapping presents hit.  Am I the only one who has trouble figuring out where the new gifts should go?  
  • no school!!
I think we're going to take down the tree this weekend.  It's supposed to stay cold, so we may as well stay inside and take care of that chore.  Other than that, we don't have any plans.

What did you enjoy this week?  Do you have trouble figuring out where some of your children's gifts should go?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December Reading

Yes, Hannah is reading a book about pharmacy!

We were busier this month than I had hoped, so I didn't get as much reading done as I would have liked.  But two of the books were excellent, one was pretty good, and one was entertaining, so I can't complain!
  • A Good Place to Hide by Peter Grose.  This book tells the amazing story of how one French community rescued, hid, and took to safety thousands of people during World War II.  Honestly, I didn't think much of the French people because of their government's actions during the war, but this book changed my perspective.  I cannot recommend this book more highly, and Sarah Beth (11) loved it, too!
  • Come, Let Us Adore Him by Paul David Tripp.  This book contains wonderful Advent devotionals for the month of December.  No, I haven't quite finished it since December isn't over yet, but I can't imagine it won't continue to be just as good for the last few days.  Put this one on your list for Advent readings next year.  
  • Patriot Pirates:  The Privateer War for Freedom and Fortune in the American Revolution by Robert H.  Patton.  The title of this book intrigued me, and it does contain many interesting facts.  But it's a little dry in places.  I did enjoy learning about how important privateers -- basically, pirates commissioned by the government -- were to securing our independence from Britain because I had no idea!
  • The Hundredth Queen by Emily R. King.  When Kalinda is chosen to be the rajah's one hundredth queen, she becomes immersed in a political world where the high stakes could cost her her life.  She also has to fight in an arena against some of the rajah's courtesans who also want to become his queen.  This book was a good one for my running on the treadmill:  not too deep with lots of action.  :)
What have you read lately?

Friday, December 22, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Quiet One!

Oh my goodness!  This week was so nice and quiet!  We didn't have Classical Conversations; I cancelled piano lessons; and I didn't have Bible study.  It was so nice to have a wide-open week with nothing pressing to do, nowhere to go.  Yes, we have another planned for next week, and I'm looking forward to it!

Here are a few things I enjoyed from this week:
  • I took Sarah Beth to see Sleeping Beauty and her Winter Knight on Saturday.  I didn't realize that it was a panto which seems to be a comedic musical calling for audience participation, but we had a good time.  And that's what counts, right?
  • Preparing for Christmas.  I had time to get things done like wrap presents.  :)
  • Sarah Beth spent all day Tuesday with one of her friends.  I'm so glad she has opportunities like this, time to be a friend instead of always being the oldest child.
  • Running last minute errands.  I took the other four children with me Tuesday to run a few errands, like picking out Christmas gifts for John at a dollar store.  
  • Baking Green Kiss Cookies, at least, that's what we call them.  :)
  • The Health Museum.  I've meant to take the kids this fall since we're studying the human body in Classical Conversations, but we were just too busy.  Finally, we had time this week.
  • School.  Yes, I've enjoyed getting a few math lessons done this week, probably more than my children have.  :)
  • Puzzles.  I bought several Christmas puzzles, and we've enjoyed putting a couple together over the past few days.  Sarah Beth and Rachel are amazing at puzzles, and I enjoy spending the time with them.  Unfortunately, one of our puzzles is missing two pieces.  How do I know that we didn't just loose them?  We had just finished a 1000-piece puzzle without misplacing a piece (or letting Hannah carry one off).
We have another quiet weekend planned, just finishing up things for Christmas.

What did you enjoy this weekend?  What do you have planned for the weekend?  Have you ever put together a new puzzle only to find that it's missing a piece?  Or two?

Friday, December 15, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Snow!

My favorite snow picture, showing how much the kids enjoyed playing in it!

Can you believe it snowed here in south Texas?  Isn't it crazy?!  Apparently, the last time it snowed was back in 2002 or something like that.  When I saw the forecast before I went to bed last Thursday night, I didn't believe it.  "No way!"  I thought.  "It won't stick even if it does snow."  But when I woke up in the morning, the ground was covered!

Technically, maybe it didn't really stick since it wasn't on the ground, but the snow coated the grass and trees and everything else, so we had plenty to play with.  And play we did!  Unfortunately -- or fortunately, depending on how you look at it -- the snow was mostly gone by noon.  But we enjoyed it while it lasted!  We even made a snowman!

The same day, to make things even more exciting, we heard a knock at the door.  A couple in our neighborhood have a nephew who visits them occasionally, and he is about Sarah Beth and Daniel's ages.  When he comes to visit his aunt and uncle, he drops by our house, too.  All of our children enjoy playing with him.

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • Mary's sixth birthday!  We had a fun day with a drive up to Houston for her to pick out some legos for her birthday.  She wanted Ham and Spinach Pie for supper along with a chocolate layer cake ("you know, one that goes up") with vanilla icing.  Done!
  • Bible study.  It was our last meeting this year, so we went out for brunch.  Yum!
  • No CC this week.  We ran errands instead.  ;)
  • Having babysitters who are available most of the time.  I will have needed them four times this week!  
John and I have a work party tonight.  Tomorrow I'm taking Sarah Beth along with a friend and her mother -- my friend! -- to a musical in the afternoon.  It should be a fun day!

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Mary's Sixth Birthday!

Today is Mary's sixth birthday!  Things are never dull when Mary is around!

She enjoys her little sister and is glad not to be the baby of the family anymore.

She played soccer last spring and LOVED it!

Mary has such a neat personality!

She's not even afraid of Union soldiers storming up the hill!`

Much too cute to be an angel since real angels are scary-looking.

She played in snow the first time last Friday and was absolutely delighted!

We know that God has great things in store for Mary, and we are privileged to play a part in it!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Some of Our Favorite Children's Christmas Books

As you know, we love books at our house.  And I'm always on the lookout for new books to add to our Christmas collection.  In case you feel the same way, here are a few of our favorite Christmas books, some of which are out of print.  Hopefully, you can find them at your library which is where we discovered these gems.  
  • On Christmas Eve by Margaret Wise Brown.  This book captures the wonder and excitement that children have on Christmas Eve.
  • Mousekin's Christmas Eve by Edna Miller.  I love this book!  After the family moves out of the house where Mousekin lives, he has to make a journey through a cold night if he wants to survive.  He arrives at another house, finds a Christmas tree, and discovers a safe place to sleep.  The illustrations along with the text in this book are marvelous!
  • Fancy Nancy's Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O'Connor.  Nancy wants so badly to decorate her Christmas tree, but her family is waiting for her grandfather to arrive to help.  She thinks of several diversions but finally can't think of anything else.  A disaster happens.  What I enjoy about the Fancy Nancy books is that she respects her parents and the close family they portray. Without diminishing Nancy's real disappointment, her grandfather helps her overcome the disaster in a pleasing way.
  • The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski.  After moving to town, a family helps a bitter woodcarver to learn how to feel joy again by sharing their friendship with him.  A wonderful story!
  • Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas by Russell Hoban.  This story is reminiscent of The Gift of the Magi but more easily understood by children.  Emmett Otter and his mother both sacrifice items they love and need to try to make a happier Christmas for the other one.  This book was made into a movie which was nicely done.
  • The Christmas Story by Robert Sabuda.  This book is amazing!  It contains the familiar Christmas story of Jesus being born which is amazing enough, but the pop-ups in this book are absolutely wonderful!  Yes, it's worth the price tag -- if you don't let your children tear it up.  :)
  • Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry.  When Mr. Willowby gets a terrifically tall tree for Christmas, he has to cut off the top because it won't fit in his parlor.  The top goes through different people and families as each one discovers it is too tall for their house, so they cut off the top, ending up with the Mouse family getting the very tippy top.  The poetry in this book is really nice, as are the illustrations.
Here are a couple of board books we like, too:
  • Christmas Parade by Sandra Boynton.  This board book has wonderful rhythm as you read the different sounds each instrument makes during a Christmas parade.  
  • The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg.  Mr.  Sonneman moves into town, opening a candy store.  He explains to his helper Lucy the symbolism of the candy cane, how it tells about Jesus' birth and death.  
What Christmas books do you enjoy reading to your children?

Friday, December 8, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Cold Rain

Mary and Rachel at the Christmas parade.

Okay, I didn't really enjoy two days of cold rain.  As a matter of fact, these days were fairly miserable when we had to venture outside.  But it was nice to have a change in the weather.  It's supposed to warm up a little today and this weekend, and I'm grateful!

We started the week with several children having colds, so we had to stay home from Classical Conversations on Tuesday.  We were all pretty disappointed since it was the last meeting of the year, and we were having a party.  Oh, well!  It was more important not to infect everyone else.

Here are a few more things I enjoyed this week:
  • We were invited to join a local church's float in a Christmas parade.  Mary and Rachel chose to participate, and they had so much fun dressing as angels!
  • I found a babysitter for the mornings when we have Bible study.  Everyone is happier with that arrangement:  I don't have to deal with the kids during the study, and they aren't bored waiting for us to finish.
  • Yesterday John's company threw a Christmas party for children.  Ours had such a good time, especially because I told them to eat whatever they wanted, I didn't care.  (I get tired of being asked every other minute if they can have something.)
  • Hannah gave me a kiss on Wednesday.  It's the first time she's given anyone a kiss, and I got her first one!
  • I'm enjoying everyone being well again!
We don't have much planned this weekend except that John and I are attending a local Christmas concert.  Other than that, I hope it will be a quiet weekend at home.

What did you enjoy this weekend?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, December 1, 2017

What I Enjoyed the Past Two Weeks: Thanksgiving and Grandparents!

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of fun!  My parents arrived last Monday, and their visits thrill all of us.  My mother helped prepare a couple of the sides for Thanksgiving dinner while John fried a turkey.  I appreciated all of the help!

Thursday morning, several of us ran in a Turkey Trot.  Daniel, Rachel, and Mary ran in the kids' run, and we adults ran the 5K.  My kids did great with Rachel and Mary finishing fourth in their divisions.  John and I both had personal best times, and we both finished tenth in our age divisions.  Isn't that funny?  My father won his division!

While we didn't do any Black Friday shopping per se, my mother and I did go out to find Christmas presents for my children -- her grandchildren.  They love receiving early Christmas presents, and my parents are glad to see them get them.

We took my parents back to the airport Monday morning and met some friends at the zoo that afternoon.  We haven't seen them in a while, so it was wonderful to spend some time with them.  And we always enjoy seeing the animals at the zoo.

After that, it was our standard week with Classical Conversations, piano lessons, etc., although I did skip Bible study because I needed the time at home to catch up.

One of my favorite parts of the week was Monday morning when my father dissected a sheep heart with my children.  Someone gave us a sheep heart last summer, and well, dissecting isn't my thing.  So I coerced asked my father to do it.  My kids loved spending the time with him and learning new things.

We may do another race tomorrow; we haven't decided yet.  Tomorrow Rachel and Mary are going to be in a Christmas parade, but that's it for our weekend.

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?