Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cracking some NUTS

I heard someone once use NUTS as an acronym for Nagging Unfinished TaskS - as in, those are the things driving us NUTS! I liked it and it has stuck with me.

So, this week (between naps to try to get rid of this crud), I am tackling some NUTS and boy, does it feel great!

I know Miss Manners would NOT approve, but I finally did official written thank-you notes to the amazing brick crew that helped us out ... in May of 2009. We thanked them verbally and also here on the blog, but I also wanted to write them a quick thank you. (completely blew it on the quick part) I do have one more to write to the company thanking them for their extreme generosity, so that one is still on my to-do list.

I have caught up on my home school records for this year - whew! I know it is easier to just keep them up as I go along, so hopefully I will have the discipline to do so. I also have a goal of laying out the first couple of weeks of school for the new year, so the kids have an idea of what is coming. I know what I plan to do, but I think it will be very helpful for all of us to know.

This week, I also want/need to clean out the basement bathroom area. It has kind of become a catch-all for stuff that we don't know where to put and it is a disaster. We have guests coming to visit and it is time to clean it up.

So, now I am a little less nuts :) Hee!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

White Christmas 2010!

How was your Christmas? We had a WHITE Christmas this year – which is very amazing for Alabama. Absolutely loved watching it fall. I even had to force myself to not include a video of the snow falling (since most people have seen snow fall)! You’re welcome.

The downside of our Christmas day was that 3 out of 4 of us were sick. John has managed to keep fighting it and has not come down with anything … yet.

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The kids managed enough energy to open presents, but were then wiped out for the afternoon. Poor things. Savannah’s sickness was particularly frustrating because it kept coming and going. Just when I thought it was bad enough to take her to the doctor, she would be fine only to relapse again the next day. Finally, she seems to be good for 2 whole days in a row.

Here are some shots of our pretty snow.

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The snow is normally very wet in Alabama, so it sticks to the pine trees. It looks like a winter wonderland and is absolutely beautiful. After it snowed, it turned pretty cold, so we still have snow on the ground in some places. It is supposed to warm up and then rain tomorrow morning, so I am sure that will be the end of it. LOVED it while it lasted.

Psalm 24:1 The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wise men still seek Him ...

Merry Christmas to each of you! May He be glorified in our hearts!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some funnies

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Lilly's behavior cracks me up every time. Now that we have 3 dogs vying for food, she has started carrying off her "dish" so she doesn't have to share. yes, that is a coffee container - our cute matching ceramic dog dishes didn't stand a chance up here :)

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On our walk the other morning, I found this HUGE leaf! I had the kids pose with it - if you look closely, you can see their eyes peeping through the holes.


Monday, December 20, 2010

What I'm pondering ...

I have seen this verse twice within a weeks time and it is one of those 'jumpers'.
Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

I have been bugged this Christmas at what Christmas has become in America. Commercials on tv drive me absolutely crazy. It's not enough that they bombard us with stuff to buy, but it is the "manner" in which they try to sell this stuff to us. The commercials are stupid, downright racy, and annoying. And, please don't get me started on the drug commercials because we could get stuck there a while.

Also, I went shopping last Saturday and that didn't help matters :) Because of the tremendous amount of traffic in and around the stores, I couldn't get to where I needed to go. Yes, I realize that the last Saturday before Christmas is probably about the worst day to try shopping, but I had anticipated the worst so I was prepared. Or so I thought.

I also saw where someone wrote (and I'm paraphrasing) "Christmas is not just about Jesus - it's about the kids, too. Kids should have a happy Christmas and that's all I'm trying to give them."

Really? I don't agree. Isn't Christmas about what we have already received? Isn't it about what God has done for us through sending Jesus? Isn't it ALL about Jesus, or if not, shouldn't it be?

This verse gets a lot more interesting when I looked at the prior couple of verses:
Jeremiah 2:11-13
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
(Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious God
for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,
and shudder with great horror,”
declares the LORD.
13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Read those again, paying attention to what these verses are saying. "my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols."

I have to ask myself - where I am exchanging God for worthless idols? Where am I digging my own cistern and not receiving from the spring of living water?

I am not trying to be Scrooge or the Grinch, but I am trying to readjust my thinking to what Christmas really is and why we celebrate. I want us to train our children well. I want to enjoy this glorious season and remember the true reason that He came.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Birthday fun

We had a birthday celebration in our house yesterday – Savannah turned 10!!! She had a fun day starting with presents and ending with cake and ice cream!

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Believe it or not, we do actually have wrapping paper – she chose newspaper because Hadden had newspaper :) Daddy did all of the legwork and research for her present and she LOVES it!

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She loves to do anything crafty or creative, so he thought a sewing machine would be a good choice for her. I agreed! She has been using it at every spare opportunity since yesterday :)

Daddy then cut a cute heart in the cake and served it to her. Wisely, she split it with her brother.

Ok – now we can start shopping for Christmas.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Honey Dids!

As in, my honey did these! I must say, however, that I don’t have to make honey-do lists. If anything, he needs to make them for me :)

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Vertical blinds!!! These have actually been completed for quite some time and I’ve got to brag on my hubby a little – he saved us a LOT of money on these. None of the stores had the exact dimensions for our openings, so in order to get them “boxed” to fit, we would have to order them custom and that would have been expensive (think $70+ per opening). John found these at Wally Mart for about $20/box. And he modified them to fit our openings!! I was and am very impressed. He made how-to videos here and here in case you have a need to do something similar.

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Also, this week, he has been installing horizontal blinds on the windows. As the sun has moved lower in the sky during the winter, we have areas in the house where it is difficult to work during the day because of the glare. The office and the home school area are the most affected, so he went ahead and did blinds. Although we would have preferred something more updated with a nicer design, the budget doesn’t allow it at this time. In fact, we were able to get gift cards for the big box store with the credit card points we had acquired while building the house, so these really didn’t cost us anything extra :)

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Any idea what this is? John recently made 2 of them (because more must be better :). This is our tv antenna! John found the design on the internet and decided to try it and it works! We don’t watch a lot of tv, but it is fun to have some options when we do :)

He has also been working on the cap for the well head.

He has also been doing prep work to finish up the top edge of the house.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas tree update

A couple of people asked questions about the tree, so I thought I would just write a quick post.

How did we get it back home?
It was actually pretty easy. The cedar trees that we have on our property grow fairly tall and thin and the trunk is pretty slim. The trunk on ours is probably about 4" diameter. We cut it down fairly close to the house and close to the trails, so we just carried it. The trickiest part was trying not to step on the branches!

How many lights did you use?
Well - I like a LOT of lights, but most of my strings of lights are still in the box. Stringing them was pretty challenging - I just kind of walked around the tree going up and down stairs. If you look at this picture, you can kind of tell that the lights are spiraling and I didn't want the tree to look like a giant candy cane!



I did add white lights to the garland on the stair railing in order to bring in more lights.

Thanks for all of your fun comments (both here and other places). We are enjoying the tree and it is so nice that it is not in the way. I don't know about you, but as much as I love Christmas and the decorations, I am ready to have them out on Dec 26th - I think a lot of that has to do with the tree being in the way. We'll see how I am this year :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

As random as it gets

We will be soon heading down south for our annual We Care Christmas banquet. Needless to say, Savannah is very excited. A couple of weeks ago (yes, weeks), the kids kept running out of clothes to wear – strangest thing. I knew I had just done laundry, so it wasn’t possible to already be out. When I questioned them about it, they said that they were already packed for the Christmas party trip! I think I drive them crazy because I pack (at the very earliest), the day before we go. So, as a workable solution, I had them make detailed lists of what they wanted to take. I also told them that they weren’t allowed to pack clothing until 2-3 days ahead of time.

So, this sign on the chalkboard cracked me up – T-5 countdown and packing schedule!!

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I wanted to make monster cookies the other night (oatmeal, peanut butter, choc chips and M&M’s!), so I asked John to grab some at the store while he was there getting milk. He wanted to open them when he got home, but I protested that they would not make it to the cookies, then. (because I would eat them). His solution?

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He gave me a not-so-subtle reminder! Yes, him. (don’t let the innocent look fool you)

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And, at long last … our little Christmas village! My Mom bought these little unpainted houses for me *several* years ago – I loved them so much, I bought little lights, people, road, trees, etc to go with them. Well, it turns out that these little houses are harder to paint than it might seem, so I did parts of two until this year. (One year, I put the unpainted houses up anyway!) This year, the kids helped me to paint most of the remaining houses (one is still not completely finished). We had a blast. John got us set up with the power for the lights and voila! Now, I need to send a picture to my Mom :)

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First is with the flash, but it floods out the little lights. The street lights are all battery-powered. The next picture is without a flash, so you can see the “street” lights.

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We have also been inspired by several different sources to do a “Jesse tree” during the Advent season. Each day, we read Bible verses about specific people in the lineage of Jesus. It has been really neat. For some of the days, I have coloring squares for them to color and other days, I just have the one from the material that I found online.  We are all enjoying it.

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Bloglines is back! I like it better than Feed Reader, so I have switched back.

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Psalm 33:13-15 From heaven the LORD looks down and sees all humankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth— he who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One year ago today ...

We woke up in the house!!!!