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Showing posts from December, 2016

Christmas Wrap-up and a Look at the New Year

We had a really great Christmas. Did you?

If you followed along in December you saw that the kids and I made an Advent Chain at the beginning of the month and did an activity each day of it. The activities ranged from doing something for someone else, baking/cooking, studying a tradition, and just having fun. I can honestly say that I felt more Christmas-y as the big day was approaching than any other year in my past, except for the year that we had an Old Fashioned Christmas. That was a good one.

We fell off the Jesse Tree and Advent Wreath devotions and ornaments and such. And I just had to accept that we are not at that place in our lives. We love Jesus full-out. But we are more of a Martha kind of family instead of a Mary one. We do our love of Jesus instead of soak in our love of him. Maybe that will change in years to come, maybe it won't. At times I felt bad about it, like I was failing, but then I decided to give us a break and let us enjoy what we enjoy in the Christmas …

The Simple Women's Daybook

Looking out my window ... it's a beautiful, sunny day! Cold temps but not too cold.
I am thinking ... that I am going to get my Christmas stuff down and put away today.
I am thankful ... for such a great month of December. I am usually kind of a Scrooge when it comes to Christmas. But not this year! I think making an Advent chain and doing some kind of Christmas activity every day really helped to boost my mood. Plus, several of our activities were for others, and it's pretty hard to be in a bad mood when you are performing an act of service for someone else less fortunate. We are definitely doing that again next year.
One of my favorite things ... total peace and quiet, has not happened for well over a week. I have loved all of the holiday activity, but it has certainly wiped me out. 
I am creating ... a mental list of what I need to pack to go to Hawaii at the end of January.
I am watching ... When Calls the Heart, Project Runway Junior, Top Chef, Shooter
I am wearing ... my pjs…

How to Make Christmas Special for the Big Kids

This is the first year that we had no "believers" in our home. That meant no clandestine Santa deliveries, cookies and milk, and reindeer food. Actually, it was kind of nice! I've spent 21 years sneaking gifts under the tree. In fact, for many years, Rick and I stayed up half the night on Christmas Eve wrapping presents because there just wasn't a time or place to do it without getting caught.

But with no belief in The Big Guy in Red, Christmas can lose its magic! How do you make Christmas special for big kids (and by "kids" I also mean those 6'3" ones and the ones who are married with their own babies)?

Here are a few things I do to keep things fun ...

The Christmas Eve gift. Each year for Christmas Eve we all get to open one gift, and it's always been the Christmas pjs. But some of us don't even wear designated pjs to bed anymore, so I decided to chuck that idea and come up with something else fun. I bought each member of our family a fun…

Celebrating 13 Years

On Thursday we paused in our Christmas activities to celebrate Eli's 13th birthday. His wish was for the family to have dinner together at Applebee's and then go to the movies for a double header to see Rogue One and then Assassin's Creed. We had a great time honoring our sweet boy! Throughout the day I posted 13 photos of Eli on Instagram. I thought I would share them here, too.















This year Eli turned into a young man. You can see the difference just one year has made between the photo of him holding the Millennium Falcon and the one of him sitting at Applebee's. The transition has been a difficult one for him, but he is pushing forward. He has started to talk about his future, to have dreams and plans and aspirations. But, mostly, he just enjoys hanging out in his room playing video games and with his Nerf gun collection. He is a true teenager in every sense of the word. We get a few sighs and some attitude these days, but those do not outnumber his smiles and hugs. I…

Wednesday Hodgepodge

What's left to be done on your Christmas to-do list? Wrap Christmas gifts for two of the kiddos, cook lots of food, clean the house.

The Hodgepodge lands on the first day of winter this year. What's your favorite thing about winter? I love when it's cold outside but warm in the house. My electric fireplace is "burning" all day long and it feels so cozy. That's what I love most ... coziness!

In what area of your life are you immature? Feel free to elaborate or not. The official definition of immature is "not fully developed". In what ways do I still need growth? ... In being the daughter God wants me to be, a good daughter to my earthly parents, a good wife, a good mother, a good teacher, a good friend. I have room to grow in every area of my life, so I would say I am pretty darned immature.
What was the most (or one of the most) important lessons you learned in 2016? I  have talked about this a lot on the blog lately. I have really realized how muc…

The Simple Woman's Daybook

Tuesday Coffee Chat is on hiatus for a few weeks. So, let's Daybook instead.
Looking out my window ... It's sunny and pretty this morning after some gray, foggy days. This weekend's snow is ever-so-slightly melting.
I am thinking ... about how uncommitted people are today. If you are invited to an event and say you are going to be there, do not make other plans later and then cancel. It's rude! And then really don't post photos on your Facebook page of you doing something else besides what you said you were going to be doing. Put the event on your calendar and then show up like you said you would. If you don't want to do something, then don't say yes in the first place. It can actually be hurtful to the person you are standing up (especially if that someone is a child). It's just plain rude and inconsiderate.
I am thankful ... for brighter days ahead and an attitude to match them.
One of my favorite things ... is Christmas Day. Thankfully we do not have to …

Words of the Year ~ 2017

I do not think I am going to be able to limit my Word of the Year to just one word. There are just too many words to describe what I have gone through emotionally this year and where I see myself going because of it. I came across this quote today that pretty much sums up how I am feeling as 2016 comes to a close.


I am praying for myself and giving myself permission to live the Created me to my fullest, unabashedly and fearlessly, understanding that the relationships that remain while doing so are the ones I was meant to have. The others, maybe not, and good riddance.

Shine on!

Weekly Wrap-up ~ The 12 Days of Christmas

We are now into the 12 Days of Christmas, and we are feeling the festivities. I was very intentional this year to have the kids help me come up with Advent activities so that we could enjoy some aspect of Christmas each day of December.




This week we drove through the Christmas in the Park light display in our town while drinking hot cocoa, watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas", studied about and celebrated Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Lucy, made gingerbread men, and attended our local high school's Christmas program.

We are wrapping up a few things with regular schooling. We read all but a few of the final chapters of Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians series) and The Green Ember, which yesterday was free on Kindle. It might still be today, so check it out! We will finish both those books early next week.

We are finishing Volume 2 of IEW's Fix-it Grammar Robin Hood. Only one more week of lessons.


And we finished the last lesson in Scienceandmath.com'…

When Mama Teacher is Just Not Feeling It

Some days the kids are a little sluggish. Our relaxed homeschool style caters to that because they can just do their work curled up on the couch in a blanket. But as the teacher, my day is go-go-go no matter what. On top of school there are meals to prepare, housework to complete, dogs that need to go potty, etc.

I am a scheduled kind of girl so when we have our day planned we just go for it, checking those things off the list. I do not have to feel 100% to accomplish all I need to in one day.

But what if the mama teacher wakes up one day and thinks, "Nope. I just can't today."

I woke up feeling that way on Monday.



I had some coffee. That didn't help. In fact, it didn't even taste good. (Red alert!) I took a shower. Nope, that didn't perk me up, either. I just knew it was going to be one of those days.

Sometimes it's situational, sometimes it's hormonal, and sometimes there is absolutely no reason I can find. It just is.

So how do we handle a school …

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Are you more task oriented or people oriented? Elaborate. I'll be with you in a minute. I have a task to complete.

December 15 is National Wear Your Pearls Day ... do you own/wear pearls? If you're a man answering the question, does your sweetheart own or wear pearls? Everyone share a 'pearl of wisdom' with us here today. No, I don't own pearls. A 'pearl of wisdom' for today ... This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. I woke up saying these words today and hoping to make them my daily mantra to help me remember to focus on today and all it has to offer.

Speaking of pearls ... oysters? Are you a fan or not a fan? If you answered yes, tell us your favorite way to eat oysters? If you said no, be honest .. have you ever tried one or does just the idea of eating an oyster make you gag a little? Ugh, no! I have never tried one, but I do not have any desire to eat anything that is going to try its best to crawl back up my throat …

Tuesday Coffee Chat

If you could make ONE holiday wish this year, what would it be?

It seems that lately I am hearing a lot of "Are you okay?" and "Are you in a bad mood?" and "Why are you in a bad mood?" and "Mom is cranky all the time now."

And, I am. Cranky, that is. Despite my best efforts.

I have had a lot on my mind lately. Most of it centers around my relationships, my part in them, my lack of them, my inability to take care of them. And with dwelling on these thoughts I actually make the relationships I do have worse.

I feel really tired and frustrated. I feel stuck a lot of the time, like I want to do things differently but don't know where to start. I haven't been sleeping well because I wake up and worry about it. It is so incredibly aggravating because I have always been a confident person so have just happily pushed forward in my relationships regardless of any return on my investment. But when I look back on them now I actually only see my mis…

Red Light, Green Light, Eat Right ~ An Eating Plan for Children {Review}

This is a topic I have been reluctant to write about on my blog: How to approach your child when she is overweight.

Three of my children have always been stick skinny, actually underweight to be exact. So worrying about their food was not something I ever did. It's sad because for years I didn't worry about the food my children ate because they weren't overweight, but I also didn't worry about nutrition, either. I equated what they ate with what they weighed. Even though they were skinny, it is doubtful that they were very healthy. So I didn't really have a healthy viewpoint when it came to food for my children.

My fourth child has been overweight since she was about 5 years old. Now, she is also built very different from the other three. She is not tall and lanky. She is shorter, stouter, with a more athletic build. That's good, because she's an athlete. (None of my other three kids played sports.) God knew what He was doing when He made her. There is a l…

Weekly Wrap-up ~ December School

We are still moving along. I always love this time of year with schooling because it is spent finishing up some units or volumes of curriculum, finishing some good books, throwing in some holiday activities (and calling them "school" because, hey, the public schools do it!), and going on some field trips.

When we conclude our first semester we will feel accomplished and completely free to enjoy an extended break. Or, at least, that's how I will feel. The kids will just feel FREE!

This week's Advent activities included decorating gingerbread houses, making food garlands for our birds, studying St. Nicholas and having a St. Nicholas Day Feast, making homemade Christmas cards using a tutorial from Hodgepodge Mom, watching A Christmas Story (my kids had never seen it), and playing games as a family.


Yesterday we went on a field trip to Lexington, Missouri. In Missouri history we had been studying the Civil War. There were two major Civil War battles in Missouri: Wilson …