Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Fun!

These are the Texas Elves! If you want to see the Disco Elves, you'll have to visit Super's blog. Then there is the World of Elves according to Tutone. (updated 12/24/08.)

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!
Here are some of my favorite pictures from this year!

Here is Super, myself and Tutone at my bil's wedding in October.

These are of the boys at my bil's wedding. I love the ties that they picked out!

And these were pictures of all of us at the Grand Canyon. What an awesome trip!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Angels

You knew I would have to do it, right?

OK. If you don't watch football, then you didn't know, because you didn't even know it happened.

I'm not going to get into the whole argument about whether or not, Welker should have done it. They called him for a penalty. He will probably get a fine on top of that.

But for me, it was fun to watch. Because although I hate snow...I love the Patriots. I love angels. And I love that he played college football for a Texas university. Maybe not "The" University of Texas, but my second favorite Texas university.

Merry Christmas, Wes!

Christmas Countdown

We've been doing the pre-Christmas hurry and scurry in our house. I'm sure your family has too! Finishing those last things on the huge list of things to do can be nerve racking. But since I'm the one who put all these things on the list I have nobody to blame but myself!

Phil, who was out of town working for a good portion of December, flew back into town on Wednesday night. As soon as he arrived, we ran right out to the stores with thousands of closest friends. Everybody's favorite is last minute shopping, right?

Here's the deal. You have choice. You can make friends with everybody in line or you can be hassled that there are too many other people in line. I choose to make new friends. My goal on these shopping trips is to find the one person who looks like they haven't smiled in at least a week and talk to them. Phil doesn't find this nearly as entertaining, but he has certainly gotten used to me. Besides, in Texas, I fit right in! When we moved here, the first week someone else started a conversation with me while I was standing in the grocery line FIRST! I thought, "I am finally home!"

On Thursday evening, we had the boys' friend over. They decorated a gingerbread house...and my floor...and the dog who was laying on the floor. I don't know how clearly you can see in this picture, but those little dots on the top of her head are not just because of a bad picture. Those are sprinkles. Nasty! You can see their gingerbread house creation on our school blog.

On Friday and Saturday, there was more shopping. The big present was a digital piano. Everybody is very excited about that! So our front room has now become the library and conservatory instead of just the library. Super is also getting a violin. I wouldn't tell you, since he reads this blog, but he already knows!

There have already been fights over the piano. We have had to set the timer so that turns on the piano are distributed fairly. Tutone was even heard to say, "You play Wii first. I want to play piano first." Super responded, "No, you got to play first yesterday!" Imagine fighting over playing piano first, and not Wii!

Today, we got our Christmas cards made and most of them addressed. That was a big accomplishment! Tomorrow I have to mail them. All the presents have been bought, but they still have to be wrapped. Most of our baked goods have been distributed, but I have a few left that need to be handed out. Oh and of course, the last week of the advent calendar. Can't forget that!

I hope that even with your big to do list, that you too are finding time to have fun with your family. We have been having a great time with all the activities on our advent calendar. We have been taking some time to play our new piano together, as well as play Wii sports. By the way, if you ever play Wii bowling with me, I need room...lots of room.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Calgon Take Me Away!

Have you ever had one of those days? Well, my family had a few right in a row. It was definitely a "Calgon, take me a way!" kind of week. I wonder if they make Calgon in chocolate flavor?

Please forgive me that the Advent Calendar did not work yesterday. It should be working now. Thank you for your patience! I hope you are having fun with your children and the activities.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Speaking of Angels!

Here are some new pictures of Babybird!

Isn't she adorable? My boys love the way she is holding her hands in the first picture. They told me that she obviously already knows how to say her prayers before she goes to sleep! Too cute!

Monday, December 8, 2008

...Crazy for Christmas!

There are many things that your children can do to help you around the house. My children have produced a video to show you how they help me around the house at Christmas.

If you are looking for activities to do with your children, that are a little more, well, constructive than these, you can find an advent calendar at the bottom of this page. Just click on today's or any past day's square and it will take you to the activity for that day! Have fun and God Bless!

...The Butterfly Award!

I was given "The Butterfly Award" from my friend Tammy over at Adventures on Beck's Bounty. Thank you! That was so cool!

Now, I have the honor of awarding ten more blogs with "The Butterfly Award". The Butterfly Award is given from one person to another for the coolest blog. It's one of those pass it on things so...here are my choices...

1. The Frans Clan
2. Counter Cultural Mom
3. Counter Cultural School
4. Homeschool Dawn
5. Trusting in Him
6. The Song in My Head
7. Lessons from the Barn
8. Grace for my Day
9. Sprittibee
10. Dawn Writes

Now they get to pass it on...

...Not a Creature was Stirring...

...except for a mouse...in my attic! Don't think for a minute that just because I like football that I am tough. There are many things that I am a tomboy about...I like sports, but I am a girl!

Now I like animals as much as the next person, unless the next person is Super, of course. So I need to find a way to kill this mouse before Super decides that we need to keep it...or the dog decides to eat it and Super is scarred for life...or Tutone decides that a great way to torture his brother would be to turn the mouse into a science experiment. Sigh.

But whatever we were feeding that mouse seems to be making it stronger not killing it!

Want a great mental picture? Midnight last night....me in the attic...with a broom...and my whistle! And the kids saying, "Mom! What are you doing?" But I didn't hear any more mouse noises! Maybe I gave it a heart attack with the whistle. Here's hoping!

...Tree Trimming Time!

I love Christmas!

My friend Lauren is very particular about things, as is my husband Phil. Whenever I give them give them a hard time, they back each other up by saying, "There's nothing wrong with that." So when it comes to this time of year, they tease me mercilessly that here is something that I am particular about...my Christmas tree. For some reason, this is something that they both are NOT particular about. And this time, I don't get it!

But still people ask me, "How do you make an artificial tree look that way?" Here's a few tips on how to make your artificial tree looks it's best...

1. First, use lots of lights. Use at least 100 lights per 1 foot of tree. I prefer 150 per 1 foot. (I got that from my mother. My father LOVES it!) The first time I explained to Phil how I wanted it done, he looked at me and said, "Ummm...yeah. You can take care of that!" Now we have a prelit tree!

2. After the lights are on your tree, run one or two garlands (depending on the height of your tree) along the pole. This will hide the metal pole and make the tree look fuller.

3. Once the branches are spread out look for holes. If you can see through the tree to the other side, take a solid color, shiny ornament that matches your tree color, and stick it inside the tree. This accomplishes two things. One, it fills in the hole to make the tree look fuller. And two, it reflects back the light make the tree brighter and more colorful.

4. I will admit this is a personal preference. When I start to put the ornaments on the tree, I separate them into colors and types. I divide my tree into four parts, then I divide the ornaments into four parts. Each side of the tree gets an even amount of types of ornaments and colors, so that things are spread out. Not too many colors are put together. Finally, when I start working on one side of the tree, I divide it again, into three parts - top, middle, and bottom -- and I do the same thing.

And now you finally understand why nobody will help me decorate the tree at church except my two best friends - my husband and Lauren. Thank you Lauren and her children for helping me decorate all those trees at church last week. Love you!

Off to decorate our house!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Celebrating the Season!

My dear friend Molly @ Counter Cultural Mom is hosting a blog carnival. I had heard of these but I had no idea what they entailed. Little did I know how easy they were! Uh oh! Watch out world! Anyway, Molly's blog carnival is Celebrating the Season. She asked us to share our favorite Christmas music and books.

My favorite Christmas carol is Hark the Herald Angels Sing. The lyrics were written by Charles Wesley, who was the brother of John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist church. However, the tune was originally very solemn. A hundred years later, Felix Mendelssohn composed a cantata to commemorate the invention of Johann Gutenberg's printing press. It was the English musician William H. Cummings who took Mendelssohn's composition and adapted it to Wesley's lyrics.

My reason for loving the carol is more simple than it's history. When I was a little girl, my grandmother gave me a music box. It was a silver angel that spun in place. The song it played was Hark the Herald Angels Sing. There are many modern versions available. Charlotte Church has a gorgeous voice. I find her rendition the most enjoyable.

As for Christmas literature, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a must read. If you have only watched the movie, you are missing out! Written in 1843, Dickens wrote the book to revive his dwindling checking account and instead revived the dying Christmas traditions in Victorian England. That's quite an accomplishment! Shortly thereafter, Queen Victoria began sending out official Christmas cards. Victorians were excited about celebrating Christmas again because of one book. If you are looking for a book on tape to travel with this season, I suggest A Christmas Carol narrated by Patrick Stewart.

Of course, Dickens went on to write four other Christmas books. They are filled with strong moral messages. Worth reading for older students, I would not suggest them as a read aloud for younger ones. Of the other four Christmas books, I enjoyed The Cricket on the Hearth, but nothing can match Dickens' A Christmas Carol. I am sure that's why it sold six thousand copies in one week. Quite a feat in those days.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

She's No Angel...

No, I'm not talking about myself. Although I could be...but I'm talking about my dog. I love angels. I collect them. So when the kids talked me into that cute little fuzzy puppy and asked to get her, they said, "And we will take care of her, and you won't ever have to do anything for her, and we could name her Angel."

Now, she's a huge 75 pound dog who sleeps with - you guessed it - us and snores incredibly loudly all night long. Then tonight, as I was typing my Corinthian Christian Academy blog entry, I kept hearing this strange sound downstairs in the kitchen. It sounded like someone doing the dishes. Hmmm...but I could hear Super and Tutone in Super's room decorating a Christmas tree. (Yes, he has his own.)

I thought maybe it was Phil. But it sounded strange, like the same sound over and over again. So, I called downstairs, "Honey?" The noise stopped. But Phil didn't answer me. Then about 45 seconds later the noise started again. So I called, "Honey?" and started walking down the stairs. No answer, this time the noise didn't stop but seemed to get louder and if a noise can get faster, the noise got faster. At that point, I knew what it was!

I crept into the kitchen to try and catch her in the act. If you could have seen her, you would have laughed. I, on the other hand, yelled! She was standing at the counter licking a plate from dinner. But it was the way she was standing, as if she was a person. And she casually just turned and glanced at me over her shoulder as if to say, "Is there a problem here?"

No, she's no angel. It's too bad I love her! But there is no way she's sleeping in my room tonight!

Remind me to give you my slow cooker Pot Roast recipe! Apparently, 2 out of 2 preteens and 1 out of 1 dog agree that it rocks!

Mommy? Is that Santa Claus?

If you have ever turned around in the store and wondered if that child was talking about you, then it's time to start thinking about that "diet" word again!

In my last article on this topic, we were left looking at an extra large turkey's butt. Now we are wondering, "Did I really have to eat the whole thing?" Last week, I suggested that everyone might want to pick one thing a week to change. The choices were accountability, water, food journals, food choices, and exercise. It seems like everyone I know chose accountability. And they chose me as their accountability partner! I was left telling 35 people my most intimate secrets, so I might as well admit to everyone here, since that's pretty much my whole readership of this blog anyway...I gained 1 lb. Bummer!

Just a quick word of caution about what accountability is and what it isn't. See, when we chose accountability last week, we weren't supposed to brag to everyone about how bad we were. That's not what accountability is! Yes, you are supposed to be honest. But it's not about bragging. I'm not asking for horrible feelings of guilt. I'm not going to make everyone go in a room and say 6 "Hail Marys" and 2 "Our Fathers" or anything. But guys! Come on! Let's at least make an effort here!

Accountability is about support. Find someone who is serious about losing weight. This is the person who you can call or email and ask for advice. Find someone who has been there. Trade recipes and ideas. Discuss the things that are difficult. Come up with ways to overcome it. Pray for each other! Accountability is not about whether or not you lose weight this week, but if you have a partner and you trade information in a supportive manner. Bragging about what you shouldn't have eaten isn't supportive!

I'm not going to go into great details here about my journal. People who chose me as their accountability partner will hear all about it. I tried and I failed on the weight loss. I'll get back on the horse again this week. I'm pretty sure that pound will be gone at the end of the week. But I did well on my accountability goal. I have plenty of partners! My change this week is...more water. (I know, can you believe it? Can I really drink MORE water? I think so!)

If you need to, try that accountability thing again. Otherwise, move on to the next step! Good luck and God bless!