Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Favorite Photos {2011}

Joining in on this fun link up party ... I was just going through all my pictures this morning on my computer. {I am going to do a slide show for New Year's Eve to show the kids of our year in review.} I could not narrow down my favorite photograph of the year to just one - it was between these two. Both of them were moments of such joy - one on a boat on the Gulf of Mexico at sunset in August and the other, in January of this year in our front yard after a major snowstorm.

What picture or pictures are your favorite from 2011? Join in the fun over at Rachel's blog - Finding Joy and see what everyone else is sharing.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Glimpses of Christmas

A wonderful day spent at home celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Dear sweet neighbors brought us breakfast - a nice and very welcome surprise.

Reading from the Bible and then opening gifts.

A restful afternoon followed by an evening spent with good friends here in our home. Enjoying a Christmas night smorgasbord and dessert table.

Singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.

Merry Christmas

"Go tell it on the mountain ... Jesus Christ is born!"

From our home to yours ... wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

1 Day : Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve ... Ava Mae says it seems like it took forever to get here. Ahhh, to be a child again. :)

This day hold lots of traditions for us -

Breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

Delivering gifts to our Adopt-A-Grandma {today's Random Act of Christmas Kindness}.

Baking cookies for Santa Claus.

Candlelight Christmas Eve service at our church.

A beautiful sunset as we were heading home from church.

Christmas Eve dinner by candlelight.

Friday, December 23, 2011

2 Days : Remembering the True Meaning

Love all the nativities we have around our home ... pointing us in each room toward remembering the true meaning of CHRISTmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

3 Days : Our Christmas Card

Our Christmas Card this year ...

"Wishing you the gift of faith,
the blessing of hope
and the peace of His love
at Christmas and always!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

4 Days : Some Baking and a New Ornament

Today began the baking process ... two baked goods down, just one to go. Getting things ready to deliver to friends tomorrow.

Also, Lexi received a gift from Mr. Grinch today - a new ornament for our tree. Thank you Ted for a beautiful ornament that will grace our tree for years to come and will always be a sweet reminder of the special time in Lexi's life.

TOS Crew Review : Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting App - Letters Make Words

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I love my iPad2, not only is it a great resource for me personally but, we use it consistently in our homeschooling {looking up a period of time in history, using an app to locate a constellation in the night sky, finding out what bird is making a particular sound - to name just a few ways we are able to use it}. Now, I can add practicing handwriting to our list of uses. Recently we were given the chance to review a brand new app for the iPad called Letters Make Words from Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting.

This was the perfect app to use with my 7 year old, 1st grader. Ava Mae loves using my iPad but, is not a big fan of handwriting sheets. So, when I first asked her to try out Letters Make Words she was a little reluctant but, she immediately fell in love with the app. She even enjoyed the new style of writing she was learning {Barchowsky Fluent Handwriting}. She told me it looked a little like cursive - which she wanted to learn first before printing anyway.

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Here is a little about how the app works, directly from their website:

"Learn and teach handwriting with phonics, an app designed by a Handwriting Specialist and an Early Childhood Specialist. The purpose of Letters Make Words is to help beginning writers develop good handwriting habits for all academic and adult needs, and to learn basic phonemes.

The first screens offer suggestions of how to use Letters Make Words. Then letters are presented. The user can select any letter. Each one comprises a complete unit of instruction for that letter, a warmup pattern, the letter and a word to trace and to sound out. When a letter has a different sound depending on its usage in words, choose from either of two words. The next screen has three words to sound out with a silly sentence for the child to write on paper."
The voice on the app is very easy to listen to and with my daughter she needed no instruction on how to use the app at all. I watched as she opened it for the first time, chose a letter, and dove into her first lesson.

Ava Mae's written work that went along with the app seems to be improving the more and more we use it. I think a great addition to the current app would be a way for the children to use their finger to print on the screen itself and be scored on how well they did but, this was the only area I could see some improvement being beneficial. Overall, we have really enjoyed using Letters Make Words.

The app is being offered on iTunes at a special introductory price of $2.99. It is intended to use for ages 4+.

Would you like to read what my fellow crew mates thought of the Letters Make Words app
? Then head on over to the TOS Crew Blog.

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I am reviewing this product on behalf of the TOS Crew. I received no compensation, other than a free download of the app Letters Make Words, for the writing of this review. The contents of this review express my personal opinion of the app.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5 Days : Give This Christmas Away

My absolute favorite Christmas song this season ... "Give This Christmas Away" by Matthew West and Amy Grant.
This Christmas we have been making our focus as much outwardly as possible. Giving Christmas away, less about us and our presents, more about others and celebrating God's presence.

If you have not heard the song ... here it is:

"Give this Christmas away
If there’s love in your heart
Don’t let it stay there
Give this Christmas away
And your life will be changed
By the gift your receive
When you give this Christmas away!"
I hope you have had the opportunity this Christmas to give a little love to someone in need!

Monday, December 19, 2011

6 Days : A Christmas Party and Dinner with Mr. Grinch

Today our friends hosted a wonderful Christmas party ... there was a delicious lunch, fun games, and gingerbread house making.

Tonight, we hosted Mr. Grinch from the production of "How the Grinch Found Christmas". Lexi's good friend, JK, who played the other Cindy Lou was here with her mom. It was a great evening. While the adults enjoyed sitting around and chatting after dinner - the girls choreographed a ballet dance set to "White Christmas".

Love this time of year - especially the extra time we have to spend with dear friends!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

7 Days : Christmas Lights

Another one of our favorite traditions, going to see the "Lights of Life" at Life University.

Then tonight, we came home and had our Advent devotion and lit all 4 candles on our Advent wreath.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

8 Days : Smores

Thankful our temps were heading back toward freezing tonight ... it meant we could have a fire and roast marshmallows for smores!

Friday, December 16, 2011

9 Days : A Visit with Santa and The Pink Pig

We went in to Buckhead today to see Santa and ride "The Pink Pig". Love being able to do things while the mall is not yet completely crazy! No line to see Santa and less than a fifteen minute wait to buy tickets and ride "The Pig" {being the multi-tasker that I am - was able to purchase two Christmas gifts while my husband and kids waited in line}.
Our Random Act of Christmas Kindness today was to pay the toll on GA 400 for several of the cars behind us.
Tonight was date night with my husband. Finishing up gifts for the kids - glad I waited on a few of the items as I got some really good deals.