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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Word of the Year...

As most of you know, I am a part of a wonderful online community who all use Five in a Row (FIAR) homeschool curriculum. For years now we have challenged eachother with choosing a Word of the Year instead of thinking up New Year's resolutions that most of us break anyway. For me, choosing a word that represents my hope and goals for the future is much more do-able. It serves as a litmus test as to what I should be striving for in the New Year. 

I know I have been doing it for more that 2 years but somehow I have braindumped my words from previous years. 2010's word was Strength as we entered a new year of changes with me staying at home, and trusting that all of our provisions would be met. The word Strength meant more than just physical strength, it was emotional as well. It was a constant reminder that God is my strength and I could do all things through Him. That word was a comfort to me during some really stretching times.

A good mental picture of my life, and probably others as well is a pendulum. The pendulum swings from one side then back, over and over rarely just staying in the middle. Either a lot or a little but rarely a happy medium. Because of that, my word from 2011 was Self-Discipline to get to the middle. To listen to that voice to get off the computer and play with the kids, to complete school when all we wanted to do was play, to fold the laundry and complete all the other home chores before getting another project out. You get the picture... Can't say that I am in a happy medium yet, but it was in the forefront of my mind to be obedient to God's still, small, voice. Can I use this as a Life Word? Sigh....

So all of this leads me to my Word for 2012... Some years I have to spend a copious amounts of time thinking and praying over what word to choose but this year it was loud and clear. 


nur·ture

1.
to feed and protect: to nurture one's offspring.
2.
to support and encourage, as during the period of training ordevelopment; fosterto nurture promising musicians.
3.
to bring up; train; educate.

This word is so warm. Such a contrast to last years word. Another word that kind of goes along with this is INVEST. I find that so often I am spread thin. In all the aspects of my life, I want to be the be all and in turn, I am nothing of value because I don't spend the time really becoming invested in the things that I do. So I plan on digging deeper. In my relationships - both spiritually and personal. Nurture myself as well - read, develop and stretch.

I hope to blog about the depth of my word at a later time but for now, leave a comment on your Word... Or what your hopes and dreams for the New Year!

Happy New Years to you!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas!

Whew! This week has been a whirlwind of fun! For the next few posts it will be mostly pics to get caught up. Got a lot ready and waiting so hold on for the ride!


Christmas Eve is such a magical time for our family. All advent season we read a devotional that has really been the most loved time of the Christmas season. If you haven't started Jotham's Journey or any of the other books, I highly recommend them!

Anyway, back to Christmas Eve! We ended up putting up our stockings the day of as we didn't want Jake hanging from them. Low and behold, he really could have cared less! He was more interested in hauling around his best friends, the trio of snowmen! A sweet friend's Aunt who was very dear to me made these years ago. I love that Jake enjoys them so!



Poor kid was naked since he was about to open the first Christmas present!



Can't go wrong with a little "Choo Choo!"



The kids were so excited about their jammies! Jake was telling Kylie all about his.



Cheese!



Getting the reindeer food out!



It is so funny each year because my kids don't believe in Santa at all. They know about the historical figure of St. Nick and all of the wonderful things he did when he was alive but when Christmas Eve rolls around, traditions abound!



Putting out Santa's cookie and the reindeer's treat!



Testing out the milk!



Off to bed but this is what they were greeted with the next morning. Totally overwhelmed Kylie!



Luke finally got up and was pleased as well.



First things first. A little Stocking action!



Then sibling presents. Kylie was kind this year!



Jake liked Lukes gift!

 



Kylie's gift from Gambi.



She even has special glasses to match Kylie's!



Gambi's gift to Luke... Or is it Jakes?



He totally "got" the whole opening gift thing.



Love the excitement over fun toys!


But after all things were said and done, my heart melted to see the joy in the gift of siblings. All the toys in the world couldn't replace the fun and joy they have in eachother.  They would all show such joy in each gift given to eachother. To watch all the kids huddled around Elmo and talking to Jake in Elmos voice made me so happy!



Yes, the gift of my family is wonderful. I could get all mushy to let you know what family means to me, blah blah blah... but I think if you know me, that is a given so I will save you my ramblings for some other time. So I will show you what made my Christmas! Oh yeah! My own jar of Nutella! Yum!


I will leave you with that yummy craving... I am off to make something Nutella'y... 

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year!





Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!



From the Jackson Family to your family! May you pause and embrace the joy of Jesus' birth today. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Drummer Boy...

We are in the heat of the Christmas Season... Stores are packed full of Christmas goodies, gift ideas are buzzing on places like Pinterest and yet the economy is down, people are watching their wallets more then ever. In a way  I am glad that people are actually focusing on how much money they have (or don't have) as it allows them time to pause and reflect on what is really important in life.

In years past I have tried my best to imagine what Mary and Joseph must have been feeling on that long road to Bethlehem. Two years ago that wasn't too hard as I too was pregnant during Christmas with Jake. Every time Jake would move, kick and flutter I felt a bit closer to Mary as she too felt those kicks of Jesus inside. As I was pregnant with Jake, we were unsure of our future, having lost our job and our house at the Children's Home we knew that the birth of Jake would cause some changes in our life. Mary was about to face some changes of her own after the birth of her sweet son. Changes that would alter the world and bring God to us in the flesh.

This year I think I have been able to relate more to a character in a carol. Not to spiritual mind you but serves a good punch for those who are budgeting and really struggling with the whole Christmas gift giving thing. I have always loved The Little Drummer Boy and as I child I remember hearing that song on a favorite Christmas record that I think we still have! The sweet Drummer Boy knew he had no gift to bring the Christ child but he did have one thing... His talent of drumming. He saw others bring great and expensive gifts to the King and I can't imagine what must have been going through his head. Was he embarrassed? Ashamed? I am sure but it didn't stop him from sharing his most prized treasure with the family.

So this year I am going to be the Drummer Boy. While I don't play the drums, I do have talents to give...

 A friend of mine posted this wonderful reminder on Facebook the other day:


Free Christmas gift ideas:

A gift of encouragement: Encouragement is a powerful gift. (Proverbs 12:25)

A gift of time: Time is a valuable gift, a precious commodity. (Ephesians 5:15-16). 

The gift of prayer: The greatest gift we can give someone is the commitment to pray for them consistently. (James 5:16). 

A secret gift: Give a gift to someone in need in secret without them knowing who it is from and with no hidden motive and no apparent benefit to you. (Matthew 6:3-4) 

"Grab your Christmas list and set aside some time to pray for each person on that list. Do you need to rethink some of the gifts you are giving this year? It is not too late! Ask God how you can best honor His birth by the gifts you give to others." 


So while I would love to do much more during this season, I am just going to give my best to Him and continue to serve Him where I can. 


Praying you have a wonderful Christmas Season!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The December Mega Post!

We have a rule around here... No Christmas activities before Thanksgiving. Period. But once Thanksgiving is over, then it is full Christmas tilt around here! Welcome exhibit 1 - The Christmas parade!



We huddled with friends and waited until the parade made its way down to us. Our kids made the time pass by quickly as they anticipated what would be coming down the road.




Yes, we strapped him down to his stroller but we found out he can just get up and walk off!

Group after group passed us by and the kids loved watching every float (of sorts) and mascot. I had to laugh at the semi truck with people just sitting on the trailer bed. It drove past us and I was kind of worried for the people on there! One step and they were goners right? 


But when I caught the back of the truck the sign had me in stitches. Say wha??? Student driver? You have got to be kidding me! People on the trailer, children on the side of the road... Surely I hope not!



Marching band after marching band, dancing groups and other civic groups paved the way for the reason why everyone gathered. Mr. Santa himself flying in on a faux sled and reindeer.


He was such a great looking Santa!


***

Cooler days mean for hunkering down at home. Warm food, crafting, family time and lo and behold school! I find the more we homeschool, there is an eb and flow to our life. Sometimes it is heavy on social gatherings, (because homeschoolers are unsocialized you know...) sometimes it is heavy on getting out in our world and experiencing what is around us. Winter is my time to focus on school at home without most of the distractions of life and what goes on outside this house. While I love to get out and play, I also love our safe warm house.

There was a cloudy day last week where if it were colder it would have definitely snowed. We heard that there were flakes sighted not too far from us but as we waited with our noses pressed to the window, no flakes came. So what do you do when it doesn't snow outside? You make it snow inside!



Our kids get Little Passports and each month we receive a package from places around the world. This month it included make your own snow! Perfect!

So we stirred and stirred and this is what came of it.


The kids wanted to make more but my senses prevailed and this is all they got... But it satisfied them for the afternoon!


***

I was thrilled to learn about the Christmas lights at Tanglewood Park! A bit of a drive but so worth the fun! I think I had heard of it last year but I couldn't see paying a bunch of money for Christmas lights but now I understand! This year they had "throwback" night so we went ahead and went for it! We weren't disappointed...


Mom, this little lady on the golf cart is for you!


***
Back to the homefront...

Spelling work.



Learning about the phases of the moon! Yes, those are Oreo's. I really enjoyed this lesson!




And for you Five in Rowers out there, we were "rowing" Owl Moon. We have dissected an Owl Pellet before but these were huge!! Somehow we did a lot better the time before because this time we just all got grossed out!






***
Someday we will be able to have a real tree that is on the ground but with a Jake running around I feel that the tree would probably end up on the ground. So a tree on the table it is. Finally we decorated the tree and we had a great time!



We were going to put Jake to bed right before we decorated but he pitched a huge fit! Really?? So we made him use his limited vocabulary to ask politely to stay up. He passed with flying colors so we had him help. He actually did a pretty good job!


Well that was until he crashed two glass balls together but who could stay upset at this guy?



Love having little helpers! (yes, I can't stand decorating the tree and I am fully supportive of others doing the work!)


Help they did. We had that tree up in no time!


My favorite night time activity now is to get a cup of decaf and sit in the glow of our tree. Ahhhh...


I think Cutie Pie, our elf likes it too...


May you embrace this Christmas time by dialing down and enjoying what all really matters. It isn't the big gifts that your kids will trash in a month, it isn't a ton of parties, but it is the simple quiet of the birth of a Savior. Merry Christmas!