Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Birthday Celebration

My very dearest friend, Christi, had a birthday Monday and we decided it would be fun to go out and celebrate with some of our friends. I was so thankful to finally be feeling well enough to enjoy a dinner out with adult conversation.

Happy Birthday Christi! I hope it is a great year!!!

Monday, December 29, 2008


Christmas Day in Pictures ... a morning in our pj's ... an afternoon of playing with new toys ... a wonderful Christmas dinner with our good friends, the Rhyne's, ... a birthday cake to celebrate the birth of our Saviour!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas the Night Before Christmas

At last, the night before we celebrate the birth of our Saviour! The excitement level at our home seemed to grow exponentially as the day went on. We baked a cake for Jesus' birthday, that we will serve with Christmas dinner tomorrow. We attended our church's Candlelight Christmas Eve Service, even though all I really wanted to do was curl up in bed with a hot cup of cider ... it seems this pneumonia is still hanging on. Ava Mae was so sweet during the church service - she just could not wait to have a lit candle.

The kids had fun today tracking St. Nick's progress using Norad's website and even making a phone call to them to check the status of his arrival here in Georgia. The kids finally fell asleep around 10:00PM and St. Nick made a stop at our home shortly after 11PM.

Tomorrow we will do our favorite thing ... eat a big breakfast, enjoy reading the Christmas Story as a family, then open some gifts. Our good friends, the Rhyne's, will be joining us for Christmas Dinner tomorrow evening. On the menu, a Boneless Standing Rib Roast, Sweet Potato Souffle, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, Shrimp Cocktail and Yorkshire Pudding. Most of our dinner is compliments of Dinner A'Fare.

Our family wishes everyone a very Merry Christmas!

"Go Tell It on the Mountain ... Jesus Christ is Born!!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2 Days and Counting ...

Tonight was family night, the first one I have been truly able to enjoy in the last two weeks. Yesterday I woke up finally feeling a little better, at least having the strength to get up and out of bed. I hope to never again have pneumonia or, at least, not at Christmas.
One of the Irish traditions we wanted to add this year to our Christmas celebration was a Yule Log. The kids and Daune went out this week and collected items for us to decorate a large piece of firewood with. We will light the Yule Log for 12 nights beginning on Christmas Night through the Epiphany.

We also made sugar cookies tonight ... we tried a new method of decorating the cookies. We painted them with an egg yolk and food dye prior to baking them. Then after they came out we decorated the Christmas trees. Each of the kids had their own cookie to have fun with. We also decorated a few for Santa.

3 Days and Counting ...

Last night we delivered gifts to the family we had adopted for Christmas. We were joined by our family friend, Jen and some friends from church, Dawn S., and her son Aiden. I think it truly hit home the sentiment ... "it is so much better to give than to receive". Even our children were so excited to deliver all the gifts we had so carefully chosen and wrapped.

Many of our friends generously added to what we had already done ... giving clothes and toys for all the children. My good friend, Dawn S. organized collecting a huge car load of baby clothes and items for the new baby due in the home any day. Lexi had a Christmas Party with many of her homeschool friends and they wrapped almost all of the gifts themselves that we brought to the family last night.

What a wonderful way for us to teach our children the true meaning of Christmas.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

4th Sunday of Advent

Wow ... I cannot believe it is the 4th Sunday of Advent. It seems like just yesterday it was Thanksgiving. Of course, it has not helped that I have been sick for over 10 days now with pneumonia. It has really, it seems, expedited Christmas.

Earlier this week I was really questioning in prayer how it is I would come down with pneumonia in such an inopportune time ... with no family around to help, I could not figure out how I was going to finish up all those little details that a Mom needs to get done before Christmas, when I feel so horrible. In moments like that I try to remind myself that "If God brings me to it ... he will bring me through it". With that change of thought also brought dear wonderful friends with offers of help. My very good friend, Jen came over yesterday and baked Christmas cookies with my girls, then today she showed back up to wrap all of my Christmas presents, tomorrow she is heading out to finish some little items I needed for the kid's stockings. My dear friend, Tammy came over this past week and took the kids to her house so I could get some much needed rest, she went grocery shopping for us and, then, brought us food for two dinners. Yesterday our HFC Leaders and very close friends - the Roach family brought us soup, dinner and a frozen lasagna for later in the week. Today, after an elder prayed for me at church, we were blessed with more offers of help for meals and watching the kids. How this has humbled me ... God is so good and he truly cares about me and my family and provides for us!

So, tonight, as I lit the 4th candle of Advent "Joy" - I did so with Joy in my heart!

"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" 1 Thessalonians 5:16 - 18

Thursday, December 18, 2008

7 Days and Counting

With just 7 days until Christmas the kids excitement level is growing. Devin came to me yesterday and said "Mom I am so excited about Jesus birthday and I am trying not to be so excited about presents." I thought that was the perfect statement to sum up the way all three of our children are feeling about now.

I have been down with pneumonia since this past weekend which has slowed us down quiet a bit, though to my children's dismay we have not cancelled school work.

Here are some pictures from the past week ...

Last Tuesday, our homeschool group's fieldtrip to Back to Bethlehem - this is one of our favorite field trips every year.
Lexi visiting with a fruit vendor at Back to Bethlehem.

Lunch after Back to Bethlehem ... pizza buffet.
Last Wednesday night at JFBC, Ava Mae's 3 year old Christmas Choir Program.

Lexi's American Girl Christmas Party - a group shot.

Our service project for the party ... wrapping gifts for a family we have adopted for Christmas. Many of the girls brought items to donate, along with what we had already purchased.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Second Sunday of Advent

This weekend has been one where I have barely had time to catch my breath ... where to begin:
Ava Mae's class at Timothy had a Nativity Play on Friday, and she played Mary.

Saturday, was Christmas Jubilee at our church where I was in charge of part of the planning along with teaching a class on Christmas Traditions.

Today at church our family had the honor of lighting the second candle of Advent. The evening ended with Devin and Lexi performing at JFBC with their Children's Choir. We then enjoyed the Christmas Packages Program they were holding at the church.

Tomorrow I host the Women's Ministry Team at our home for our team's Christmas Party.

I think after that I will crash for a day or two. All of these weekend events were wonderful and I would not have changed attending or participating in any of them but, wow, how is it that everything gets crammed into a period of just a few days.

I am looking forward to Family Night on Tuesday evening where we can spend some downtime together as a family just enjoying a Christmas movie and sitting by our fireplace.

And, let's see, can I count shopping, cooking and cleaning tomorrow as school work with the kids? Maybe Home Economics??

Friday, December 5, 2008

Baking, Baking and Gingerbread House Making

The past two days of our Advent celebration have found us in the kitchen, alot! Our first round of Gingerbread House making on Tuesday night did not go well. So, we headed back out to Michael's and found a bigger Gingerbread House to make. Each of the kids were responsible for decorating one side. And, then I had the pleasure of standing in the kitchen for one hour after assembling to make sure the house did not fall back apart. A friend suggested that next year I hot glue the Gingerbread House together before icing. Not that the thought had never crossed my mind but, I am this Gingerbread purist who feels that it should be icing and not glue that holds your house together. Anyway, next year ... hot glue!

This year I decided to bake for all of Devin's teachers at our Homeschool Co-Op we attend on Fridays. Lexi and Ava Mae just have two teachers so it is easy to pick up gift cards for them. But, Devin has seven teachers, including assistants for all of his classes. I would grow broke. Yesterday, we baked Nestle Toll House Bars with M&M's, made Haystacks, Fudge and Buckeyes. A wonderful friend, Jen, came to my rescue and spent the day helping out with all of the making. Plus, the kids were so sweet and spent the day playing together after homeschool - acting out a crazy nativity play with their nativity they have. Then it was some other make believe game that I did not quite understand but, it involved Ava Mae delivering mail and it kept them busy for three hours.

The front of our Gingerbread House:

Lexi's side of the Gingerbread House - featuring a deck:
Devin's side of the Gingerbread House:
Ava Mae's side of the Gingerbread House:

Gift Card Holders for Lexi and Ava Mae's Teachers:


Devin's Teachers' Gifts Boxed and Ready to Go:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday Family Nights

My husband and I decided one item we would add to our calendar this December was Family Night. In trying to change the way our children think about the Christmas Season we wanted more focus placed on making memories. Those are the things you remember the most - not what toy you did or did not receive on Christmas morning.

So Family Night, is every Tuesday night. We pick a movie to watch, light the fireplace, have some family activity and make Smores. Last night we watched Polar Express and we were going to put together a Gingerbread Village but, I realized early into that experience it was going to be way too difficult. So, that idea was scratched and today the kids and I will head out to buy a single gingerbread house to decorate.

Last night I finally began assembling all the pieces to our Advent Calendar. I admit, a little behind, I had no idea it was going to have so many pieces that I would need to find and then place in the corresponding boxes. My best friend, Christi, warned me to start early when assembling a Playmobil set. She was right! I hope to have it assembled sometime before Christmas.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thanksgiving at Home

As previously posted ... we spent Thanksgiving at home this year with little ones who were recovering from upper respiratory infections. A change in plans brought me the opportunity to cook the Thanksgiving meal, which I really enjoyed.

My husband was great and took the kids to several movies during our Thanksgiving Holiday giving me time to cook and also work through my "to do" list. Which I am so happy to report is now completely done.

Here are some photos from Thanksgiving ...

My signature dish at holidays - Company Potatoes:

Lexi's favorite part of Thanksgiving Dinner - getting to eat the turkey leg:

Paula Deen's Pumpkin Cake - my husband said better than Pumpkin Pie:

After Thanksgiving Activity - Decorating our Christmas Tree:

Ava Mae and Maggie taking a nap after all the fun:

It was a wonderful holiday with time to be with my husband and kids and be thankful for all God has provided for us.