Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving Crafts

A friend of ours got a bunch of craft kits from Oriental Trading Company and gave the surplus to us. They were all Thanksgiving themed, and the children had such fun "crafting" for two days straight right before Thanksgiving!

Here are some of the finished crafts. I forgot to take a picture of the pinecone turkey, but he didn't last long anyway. :-(

Our daughter added a verse to her sticker poster and then turned it into a placemat by covering with clear contact paper.

Very fun! Thanks Beth!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I love family traditions! When I was growing up my family had several traditions surrounding various holidays that became very special to me, and we have tried to build traditions with our own children. Early in our marriage, my husband and I talked about what each of our family traditions were, what we wanted to continue from each of our families of origin, and what traditions we wanted to start that would be unique to us. Some of our traditions have been very intentional and some have sortof evolved as we had more children. But I am convinced that it is the traditions we have and the memories we make carrying out those traditions that give our children a strong sense of their childhood.

Our tradition on Thanksgiving morning is to have special muffins (blueberry with glaze on top) and tangarines for breakfast while we watch the parade on TV. We LOVE doing this!! The children look forward to seeing the different floats each year.

During (me) and after (the children) the parade, we get ready for our Thanksgiving feast. This year, our son C found a recipe in Highlights Magazine for holiday meatballs, and he really wanted to make these. So he and I made them together. He shaped them with his very own hands. We had them in the evening, after our big turkey meal. They were very good!

L dried dishes.

Daughter G set the table,

and made the cranberry relish.

Little Man mostly colored on the "tablecloth". :-) Great way to keep him occupied while we waited for our guests to arrive!

Some of our many loved ones, whom we are so thankful for!

This is our college age nephew with his grandma (my mother in law).

My sister in law with her little grand-daughter.

Our nephew Aaron with his family.

Another tradition we do on Thanksgiving is to go around the table and have everyone say something they are thankful for. Sometimes it happens at the table, and sometimes it happens in the family room afterward, but we always look forward to this time. It often turns into a recap of the year, the trials and hardships and joys that each of us have experienced, and how those events have shaped us. We had another wonderful time together this year, sharing what we were thankful for. I feel that one thing God has done for me this year is to give me a more grateful heart. There is no way I could express my gratitude for all God has done for us during our unemployment, and all He has done in us. I am more thankful than ever for the gift of being content no matter what we have, for the fact that my husband does currently have a job, and for our home and church family that has stood by us through all our struggles. God is so good!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Twist on Black Friday Shopping - UPDATE

It worked!!!!! I went straight up to the customer service counter, which was empty even though the store itself was filled with shoppers, asked for my price adjustment, and in less than 30 seconds it was done! Whoo-hoooo!!!!!

And even better, when I bought the item a few days ago I signed up for a Target Red Card (which I never plan to use again) which gave me a 10% discount on my purchase. This discount more than paid for the 4 GB memory card I bought to go with the item I purchased! So I got a $140 item for $86 and the memory card for "free"!

And I got to sleep in today.

I am so psyched.

I'm also really excited for this to be opened at Christmas. :-) It will essentially be our oldest son's only gift, and he has been longing for one of these for at least two years. I can't wait to see his reaction!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Twist on Black Friday Shopping

I have never gone shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Waking up before the crack of dawn and fighting crowds of crazed shoppers is not really my idea of fun. And most of the time, the doorbuster deals are not things I want or need or was going to buy anyway. This year, however, I was tempted to give it a try because we were looking for a good deal on one of these.

I followed a link from the Happy Housewife blog to a website called A Full Cup, which is dedicated to finding deals and saving money. There was tons of information there about Black Friday deals, and I stumbled upon Target's Black Friday ad paper, which hasn't been released to the public yet (you can see it here). Lo and behold, one of their items to be deeply discounted on Friday was the exact item I was looking for!

Then I read even better news. Target has a price adjustment policy which states that if an item you purchase goes on sale within two weeks of purchase date, you can show your receipt and be refunded the difference. So I'm testing out that theory this week. Tonight I went and bought the item in question at full price, and sometime on Friday (not at 5 a.m.!) I will take my receipt to customer service and ask for a price adjustment. If it works, it will be a savings of $52. Whoo-hooo!! There were lots of women at the Full Cup forum who said they did this last year on Black Friday and it worked great. So I'm very hopeful. Another cool thing about buying early is that they haven't run out of that particular item.

On Friday I will get to sleep "in" (whatever that means), eat a leisurely breakfast in my pj's, read a good book in front of a warm fire, and still get a fantastic black friday deal! I'll let you know if it works!

Thanksgiving Recipes

What is your menu for Thanksgiving this year? I have some of our favorite recipes posted on my cooking blog if you're looking for something new and different. One is for cranberry relish, one is for a broccoli casserole that is really yummy, and the third one is for cran-raspberry pie which is an AWESOME dessert! I'd love to hear your favorites too!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Our Week in Review

Here are a few highlights of our week last week.

In Bible we read John chapter 13, which talks about the Passover Feast which Jesus and his disciples shared together just before his arrest and crucifixion. This is commonly referred to as the "Last Supper". We talked about how this was Jesus' last chance to tell his disciples the important stuff. His last shot at imparting wisdom and truth to them. So we need to attach that weight of meaning to these words. His "last words" actually span the next 4 chapters, so we are not all the way through them yet, but we noted that one of the major things Jesus seemed to have wanted them to get, was to love one another as He loved us. I have been pondering what that means for me as His follower, and what it means for our family. Here are their Bible Journal pages of the last supper:

(Little Man chose to color a page from an Old Testament coloring book instead. A lovely prerogative of being the youngest child!) ;-)

We love our new schoolroom, but it has been rather chilly down there lately, especially since we still don't have a furnace (more on that in another post), so we have done school upstairs quite a bit this fall. Here Little Man is doing a preschool activity at the kitchen table and C is in the background doing math right in front of one of our borrowed space heaters.

Again, right in front of a space heater!

Son G had to do some correcting this week of 5 digit multiplication problems. Daddy helped check his work. :-)

And son C finished his Math U See Alpha book with a lesson on telling time! He was sooooo excited to learn about time, and when I gave him his new Beta book, his eyes were shining and he said, "I'm so tempted to start this book right away today!" Don't you just love that enthusiasm?

We have been working on writing every day this year, thanks to our wonderful little co-op!

I just wanted to highlight this dandy little writing tool that IEW sells, called a portable wall. It is only $7 on their website, and it is a tri-fold cardstock that visually shows all 9 IEW writing models, has an entire page of -ly adverbs, synonyms for the word "said" (which is a banned word), and loads of other helpful tools for writing. And when it's opened up, it helps cut down on distractions too. We use it almost daily and my children LOVE it! (I need to get a couple more!)

Daughter G worked on another science experiment this week from her Apologia General Science textbook. The purpose of this one was to illustrate the process of experimentation, and it was a wonderful illustration. First she had to gently drop an egg in water and see what happened. As you can see, it immediately sank to the bottom of the glass.

Then she added a tsp of salt, stirred it until it dissolved, and then recorded what happened to the egg. The first several times there was no change, but she continued this process 6 times until.......

......the egg floated! It began to float on the 4th attempt, but she continued adding a tsp at a time until the entire end of the egg was up out of the water. We talked about trial and error, and how important it is to not give up when the first experiment you do to explain a hypothesis, fails. We can learn more from our "failures" than our successes at times! (hmmm, great life lesson couched in science here!)

For this week, we are doing half days today and tomorrow, and Wed will be getting ready for Thanksgiving all day long. The kids are super excited for Thursday, and so am I!

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes - 2009

Operation Christmas Child is a ministry of the relief organization, Samaritan's Purse. It involves shopping for and packing a shoebox full of goodies that will be sent to a needy child somewhere in the world. I encourage you to visit their website and learn more about this incredible ministry ~ it is always amazing to us to see how the boxes are transported to remote locations. And with what joy they are always received!

Our children love doing this each year, and we look for items all year long that would be appropriate to send. We packed just two boxes this year, one for a girl and one for a boy. It seemed like such a paltry offering compared to the need, but for the two children who will receive these boxes it could be life changing!

This year Samaritan's Purse has added tracking numbers, so we can look online and see where our boxes end up! We are very excited to know what country (and perhaps what city) "our" children are in.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just FYI

If you turn a jar of applesauce upside down in your fridge so that the last little bits will be easier to get out, and it gets pushed to the back of your fridge and you forget about it for several months, and then you discover it and think that it's really gross and open it so you can pour it down the sink and recycle the jar, it may just explode forcefully and send fermented applesauce all over your kitchen.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

J is for Jesus

And Jerusalem, Jet Plane, and Jello!

Before splitting up into our two groups, young 5's and the writing class, each week one of the older students reads a Bible story to everyone and leads us in prayer. This has been a great practice for all our older children in reading to a group, including younger siblings, and praying outloud. Here our daughter G is reading about God's promise to Abraham that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars.

After this group devotional time, we split up into our two classes. The older children and I went downstairs for writing and the young 5's read more stories about when Jesus lived on earth. They also read about Jerusalem, and then found it on a map and globe. Our son C was impressed that a city from ancient times is still in existence today! (we have yet to go through Year 1 of Tapestry of Grace, so this was a novel concept to him!)

They arranged chairs into a jet plane shape, and "flew" to Jerusalem.

F.L.I.C. is the name that all the children gave to our co-op. We took nominations, voted the following week, and the winner was "Families Learning In Christ". Isn't that a great name?

While in Jerusalem, they wore head coverings.

Apparently they serve red jello in Jerusalem!?!!?

Meanwhile, the writers each shared their compositions from the preceeding week and learned the ins and outs of writing a topic sentence and a clincher sentence. This is a very important concept in writing which will only become more significant as they get older and write more sophisticated papers for school ~ I think they got it (I'll find out tomorrow!).