December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Yes,  I know it isn't actually Christmas ...quite yet.  But, I won't be back here in the next two days so I'm wishing you one now.  And a happy new year, too, just in case!  May your celebrations be blessed and full of joy!

Baby's first Christmas.

Trimming the hearth.

Still waiting and expectant for the babe in the manger. 

And just for fun, the photo that won't be on our cards this year:

God bless you and your families!

December 16, 2013

Quilts for Kids.

This is a catch-up post of sorts.  As a part of American Heritage Girls, Elizabeth needs to earn Service Stars.  (She earns a star for her vest for every 5 hours of service).  Since, driving around and being out of the house a whole lot doesn't really work for my family, I thought that Quilts for Kids was a perfect option.  Quilts for Kids sends you a kit with all of the quilt pieces and you pay for shipping, purchase the batting, assemble the quilt and send it back.  They then give the quilt to a child in a hospital.
Elizabeth learned to sew a (mostly straight) line.
I took out my fair share of seams!
She also pinned pieces and pressed seams.
Having two of us working together actually made the process a whole lot quicker.
I did most of the seaming of the strips and basting.
She tried her hand at quilting but holding all of the layers together was pretty difficult for little hands.
Quite honestly, some of the quilting came out a bit wonky.
But I was tired of ripping seams!
I hope that whoever receives it knows that it was made with love even if it isn't perfect.
Caroline thought she was a good help with the basting.
But, she wasn't a help even if she was cute.
The finished quilt.
I love the colors they put together! 

If you are interested in making a quilt for a child in a hospital, check out Quilts for Kids.

December 14, 2013

Tour a Country: Peru

I love the DK Eyewitness books, lots of good pictures.  We don't own this one but I'd like to get it.  However, we do own this one and it is a quick read.  Nice for the younger set.

Then for videos (and these are on Amazon Prime Instant video, so if you have Prime you can watch for free):

Travel with kids:  You really only see Macchu Picchu in this video.  By my kids really enjoyed seeing the train ride and other kids just having fun as they explored.

Greatest journeys and Globetrekker (these are often on PBS late at night, I enjoy them but don't know that they are always kid appropriate, and this one isn't free).

Saint Study: St. Martin de Porres
 Martin de Porres
This is a very colorful book about his life, but I will tell you it doesn't paint a pretty picture of his early interactions with the priests of his time.  All true, but I know some of the reviews on Amazon didn't like that.  However, I do think the books shows his perseverance and how their opinion changed of him.  There is also this one for older readers.

Studying about llamas:

Something for the littles (why not?)--Go, Diego, Go, Season 1 Episode 8:   AND read Llama Llama Red Pajama.

You can also watch Call of the Wildman, episode 2 and this one on the Manu Biosphere Reservation in the Peruvian Rainforest:

December 13, 2013

The end of the year.

Our school officially came to a close yesterday for 2013.
Caroline looks awfully excited that it is Christmas break!

So, as a recap, here is a glimpse into our year.  Nevermind that the pictures that follow were all taken on the same day....
Some math and spelling.  With an animal cookie snack.

Smart games to keep the younger set occupied.

A little religious study.

More spelling.

Now.... onto relaxation and puzzle-building.

And celebrating the rest of Advent into Christmas!

December 11, 2013

Funnies and a feast day.

Happy Feast of Our Lady of Guadeloupe!   Do you think it is funny that I should combine the feast of Our Lady and the funny things kids say?  Maybe it is!  This post has been hanging around in my folder and well... As we were talking about Our Lady this morning, Peter and his love for all things Mary made me think of this post.  So that's the tie-in.  ;)

A little collection of funny things the kids have said or done lately:

We were having a conversation about how no one is perfect.  Nicholas pipes up and says, "Dad, you're not perfect!  You drink coke on sprite- only days!"  ( keep in mind that Nick has no concept of what an " inside voice" is).

Along the lines of carbonated beverages... Liz and her brothers were playing "dance party" and she set up a "bar".  Out of curiosity,  I asked her what drinks she was serving at the bar and she replied, "oh, lots of different drinks: coke, soda, pop."  Lol!  My kids idea of a "bar" is the counter one at a restaurant.

We have a statue of Our Lady of Guadeloupe that is a favorite among the younger set.  I think because she is right at their level.  Peter and I were talking and suddenly he says (about the statue), "My Mary!  And the Father and the Son.  So pretty.  She sleeping. She clapping. My Mary!  I love you!"  As he is talking in his two-year-old speak, he is caressing her head and ends with a hug.  So sweet!  Out of the mouths of babes.

So, happy feast day to our beloved Mary!

Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Mystical Rose,
make intercession for holy Church,
protect the sovereign Pontiff,
help all those who invoke you in their necessities,
and since you are the ever Virgin Mary
and Mother of the true God,
obtain for us from your most holy Son
the grace of keeping our faith,
of sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of life
of burning charity, and the precious gift
of final perseverance.


December 10, 2013

The day after.

Well, the day after the real Saint Nicholas day, of course!  We celebrated our St. Nick on Saturday which turned out to be a very cold and jam- packed day.
There were stockings to be discovered, of course. 
Caroline doesn't have a stocking yet.
But she still got a toy, a book, and an ornament (baby's first!). 
My Nicholas with his own St. Nick.
Our tradition for St. Nick stockings includes an ornament for the tree, a book, some candy (especially chocolate coins), and a matchbox car.  This year I found some little Perler bead sets to include and last year we started a family puzzle and I found this one for this year.  
Then, there was breakfast followed by sledding with Dad.
(And, ahem, Dad getting his car un-stuck).

O Tannenbaum...
After a quick lunch, we headed out to our favorite tree farm to pick a tree.
It was only something like 20 degrees out.
We stepped off the truck, and picked the first tree we saw.
I'm not joking--it was a world record in tree picking!

We managaed to get a picture of all of us on the truck. 
And one of Caroline with her hood removed for a quick second.
And then we had time for shenanigans while we waited for the truck to come back around.
Snowballs on ice is always a fascinating activity. 
This one is up to something!

After our fair share of popcorn and hot chocolate, we loaded the tree on the car and headed home.
Just in time to turn around and head back out to our town's little Christmas parade. 
A blurry pic of Nathan.
He couldn't help it--he was shivering from the cold!

The band is my favorite part. 
Candy is the kids' favorite part. 
And more hot chocolate and sugar cookies.
You can't beat a day filled with sugar from morning till night.
Sitting snuggled in the chair with the baby is Ken's favorite.

And, alas, we got the tree up but still no ornaments!
(If I do say so is a pretty tree, albeit a bit crooked still).

December 9, 2013

St. Nick

Our St. Nicholas day was a little unusual this year.  We had planned to move our St. Nick celebration to Saturday so that we could share it with Dad.  And, we have co-op on Fridays, which makes for an early and hurried start to the day.

Instead, we got snow.  Which meant no co-op and St. Nick either!

But we DID have snow.  Which was fun, fun, fun.
Even having to shovel the drive can be fun!
Caroline and I stepped out for a bit and she didn't want to go back inside.
We did read a few St. Nicholas books, one of which was The Bakers Dozen.

Don't be fooled, the real excitement of the day was that Caroline was pulling up everywhere and standing without holding on.
However, we were inspired by the book to at least mark the feast day by making the cookies in the book.  My very own Nicholas did a fantastic job of cutting the template.
Nicholas and Elizabeth rolled and traced and rolled some more!
And we watched the Veggietale's St. Nicholas movie.  Which was very enthralling to Caroline.  Funny!
That was our St. Nicks.  Except it wasn't.  Because we really celebrated on Saturday.... Sure, I've got pictures.  Sure, I'll share with you.  Only it might take me a month!  :)

December 2, 2013

Ten months.

Ten months today, December 1st and the first day of Advent!  Here is Miss Caroline all dressed and ready to go to Mass.

She was 23 lbs and 32.5 inches long at her doctors appointment last week (when she was diagnosed with her first ear infection of the season and first antibiotic, lol!).  Carrie is crawling and pulling up and mastered the up AND down of the single step at my aunt's house on Thanksgiving day (though she hasn't tried the steps here yet).  She is a picky eater and largely prefers to do it herself or just give her a bottle!  She says "all done" in sign language and "hi" which a sounds more like "Aye!" 
And, yes, I made the crochet bolero she is wearing.  ;)

November 25, 2013


There's a teenager in the house!  Nathan celebrated his 13th birthday a week-and-a-half ago.  And it was good!  Three parties in three days and it couldn't have been better!  (Well, the pictures could have been better.  The camera is finally back from the shop but it wasn't here in time for the birthday!)

First, just us on his actual birthday.
The only mix in the house was a gluten-free brownie mix.
It was good!
Pizza, brownies, and a new bike, you can't beat that!

Next up, first-ever friend party.
And one blurry cake photo.
It was a campfire cake, not that you can tell here.

We had 14 boys (in addition to my crew) over for the party.
All homeschoolers, and what great kids!
They all had so much fun together and they made the day really special for Nathan.
I really enjoyed having them here, too!
Archery tournament. 
Airsoft war.
I had to laugh at this picture, geared up for battle.
My biggest worry was that someone would get hurt.
Other than injuries from thorns, they all played fair and just had a great time.
Especially when they all could gang up on the dads who joined in the fun.

We also roasted hot dogs, made survival kits, and finished the night off with sneak-into-base in the dark and run-around ping-pong.

Then, day three of fun.... the extended family party, with grandparents and godparents.
Quick and easy cookie-cake.
But, still, thirteen candles.

It ended up being a rainy day so lots of games indoors.
And, frankly, it would have been peaceful until we had some nasty weather blow through.
Tornado warnings, high winds, weird clouds.

And, the first time I've ever made people eat dinner in my basement, lol!
Yay, for a ping-pong table turned buffet-table!

And, look at that... two basement pictures in one post.
Must be a first!

Thankfully, the weather passed and the birthday boy had one fabulous weekend!