Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christ Mass Everyone

The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger."
And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying:
"Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." (Luke 2:10-14)
May the favor of our Lord rest with you this joyous Christmas season.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Geronimo Christmas Vocabulary

The Geronimo Stilton series includes several Christmas stories. I asked Nathan which one he wanted to use for his next vocabulary lesson. He picked The Christmas Catastrophe. I have to admit that this is not the best book in the world. However, I let him pick, so The Christmas Catastrophe it is. This book was created to showcase the hospital (which it does more obviously than creatively) but, if you have a child who needs to go to the hospital or is afraid of the hospital or is just interested in the hospital, it may be helpful. Nathan struggles with vocabulary of all sorts, so I added some hospital lingo to the list. I think I forgot to change the title on one of the pages so please forgive me!

Christmas Catastrophe

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Photo Memory Quilt

About three days ago I decided to make my in-laws a photo quilt for Christmas. My father-in-law has very advanced lung cancer and had a stroke a few months ago. He is doing as well as is possible for as sick as he is but he is often tired and cold. So, I thought, "Hey, what about a quilt?" Then I thought about how sentimental he is and that someday in the not far away enough future Mike's mom will be without her soulmate and I thought this kind of quilt would make a great gift for both of them. He may enjoy it more now while he's resting and she may be comforted by all the photos of him after he's gone.So, nothing like starting a quilt a week before Christmas. There's no incentive like a close deadline, is there? I used photo fabric to transfer the photos. You just put the fabric right through your printer, peel the paper, and rinse. I'm thrilled with how it's looking so far. My backing fabric is in the dryer and I just cleaned the dining room floor in preparation for sandwiching the quilt. I'm a little nervous about how to quilt it with all the pictures. I guess I better figure it out soon!In other news, this little black kitty has been visiting for the week. She belongs to my sister-in-law and we just love her to pieces. Fortunately for us (but not them) my sister-in-law and her boyfriend are stuck in VA due to the snow and can't pick Colette up today as planned. So we get to love her for a little longer.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy Anniversary

17 years with this fabulous man! This is our engagement picture. A good friend took a roll of film for us and to be honest, they're better than our wedding pictures. Since we're snowed in today, we've got filet mignon and asparagus in the fridge and wood for a fire ready to go.

Suprised but I shouldn't be.

One of the joys of schooling at home is the flexibility. Of course, sometimes the flexibility means we do too much, we are away from home too often or we forget that it is important to finish the work that we don't especially enjoy (and I'm not just talking about the kids, here). However, generally speaking, flexibility is really great.

I've mentioned before about our Advent lesson plans. We've stuck to them (pretty much) throughout this hectic season. Even though my boys are middle school age now, they still enjoy the trappings of childhood wonder: opening the advent boxes each day, arranging the nativity, lighting the tree, baking cookies and reading stories. This year we continue to read The Jesse Tree. In addition, as previously mentioned, I've added one story per day from The Real Saint Nicholas (you can read a portion yourself here).

I should mention that I read these stories to the boys. I've always read aloud to them. We don't do it as often as when they were little but we still share books. It has been joyous to share these stories with the boys. Of course, we've read the Jesse Tree many, many times. The St. Nick stories are all of varying length but all new to us. I wasn't sure how the boys would like them.

As I mentioned above about flexibility, this Advent season we've had many opportunities to experience together here at home and in the community. So, at least once or twice a week our read-alouds have gone by the wayside. The boys (especially Nathan) never cease to remind me that we need to "catch up" on our stories. There is no skipping of chapters in this house (maybe that's the INFLEXIBLE part). Mostly, I believe, it is from pure enjoyment. I don't know why this surprised me so much. I know that this shouldn't have surprised me at all. I plan on reading aloud to the boys until they leave home (if they let me). There is something so peaceful about sitting together and sharing a story together.

I hope this season, and all the seasons to come, you take the time to share stories as a family. And don't be surprised if your kids (young and old) let you know if you've missed a day!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


From the spelling book: aggravate.
From the younger brother: how to practice the meaning of the word on my brother (who likes the Nativity without any imagination).

Monday, December 14, 2009


Yesterday was Gaudete Sunday or Rejoice Sunday. One of the things our priest talked about was rejoicing even when we don't get our way. So I thought it was fitting to show you what I am rejoicing about. I'm not a lover of colored lights. I really love white lights on a Christmas tree and around the house. Nathan really wanted colored lights. He didn't beg or whine about it, he just said, "Mom, I was thinking, since we have to buy new lights anyway, what if we got colored lights for the tree?" I couldn't argue with his logic. I love to see him happy. He really doesn't ask for much (this is the child who only put one thing on his Christmas list). So, I bought colored lights.

You may also notice the unusual ornaments on the tree. The boys have been obsessed for the past month with perler beads. Specifically in making Mario items from them. So, we have a tree with colored lights and Mario mushrooms. The boys are happy. It feels more festive in the house. We're in the last full week of school before Christmas break. Life is good.

We also had a little lesson in selflessness. I can't remember if I told you that our family was participating in our Parish Christmas Concert or not. The boys were NOT happy about having to play with mom and dad. Nolan especially was grumpy about this. After the tree was lit and we were hanging ornaments, I explained to the boys that sometimes you give of yourself just because another person asks, even if you don't want or don't like the request. We used the examples of the concert and the tree. Good lessons all. They did a great job at decorating and at playing for the concert. It was a good day.

Happy Monday.

Friday, December 11, 2009


a baby quilt.

Catching Up

I'm always amazed at how quickly time goes by. I can remember my mother saying those words when I was a child and thinking she was crazy. I guess we are so consumed by our lives as adults we can't slow down.

I have to say that I do feel life is slower now that we are homeschooling and I'm not working. School is still busy every day and I'm still scrambling to get those lesson plans together, but there is time to rest, too.

Lots has happened since I last wrote. My baby (Nolan) turned 12. Next year I'll have two teenagers. This picture is his GIGANTIC cheese burger. He wanted a cheese burger instead of cake. That's how much he loves cheeseburgers. In all reality, the burger wasn't as big as it looks but it was still mighty large.
I've been sewing, too. A good friend from church has hosted two gatherings of women to chat and craft. I've been taking the quilt along. I was able to finish is last week. It thrills me to death that Nolan gets almost as excited as I do about these quilts. I'll try to get a picture up soon.

Speaking of Nolan (seems this post is all about him), I've been working on a water colored fabric/quilted piece inspired by one of his drawings. He's been excited to see the progress. You never know what your kids will be excited about.

What they AREN'T excited about is playing as a family for our Parish Christmas Concert. I picked the song O Little Child by Hiram Ring. Hiram is a wonderful local musician and you should really check out his music. The song is so beautiful but the boys were less than happy that I'm making them play along. It's good for them and I just leave it at that.

Well, we're off to read our Jesse Tree story. Have a happy weekend.
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