Saturday, December 9, 2017

Our Week in Photos #24

What a fabulously fun week of Christmas fun!

Saturday was a busy day with Christmas program practice, some fun Christmas activities, and a concert

 We stopped at Denny's Farm Market for some fun.  Josh enjoyed seeing Santa again :-) (I didn't make Nate pose for a photo this time HA!) 
A local potter had a Christmas Ornament decorating station set up.  The boys loved painting their ornaments  To make it better, all of the ornaments were hand made by the artist  So cool! 

 A stop at the grocery store meant a photo shoot with Sandy the horse (and a chance to win $100!) 

Finally, the boys sang in a concert with the Local Choir.  It was fun to see them on stage having fun singing. 

On Sunday,  the boys had their annual church Christmas program.  They have been rehearsing for months and it is always so fun to see the final program. 
 I loved Josh in his little sheep hat!

This guy, Nate, begged for a bigger part!  He had the whole play memorized and was secretly hoping the guy playing the lead would get sick HA! 
 One of my favorite photos - they love to sing!
 The final bows.
 On Wednesday, we went on a Field Trip with our on-line school to the movies and got to see the movie "Wonder".  Wow.  What an amazing movie.

 Finally, on Friday night we went to a "Bethlehem Village" - it was put on by another local church.  They did a interpretive dance of the Nativity - it was really quite impressive.

 The boys were able to create a neat ornament for the tree.
 And of course there were animals. :-)

And I love this donkey :-)  If I had a farm, I'd have a donkey.  (Not really - but I wish I could live next door to a farm that had a donkey  . . and a cow.  So I could see them but not have to clean up after them HA!)

That's our week! 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Weekly Menu - the countdown to Christmas

I'm working on putting our Christmas menus together.  All of the different events and activities that require food all coming to an end on Christmas day with dinner!  BUT, before that happens, we still have to eat dinner for a few weeks.  I'm working really hard to plan meals around events so that we don't spend money we don't need to spend on eating out.  (Even when it would be so much easier HA!)

Here's the plan for the coming week.

Friday - We are going to a Bethlehem Village that is set up by another church in the area.  They will have food (like chili) available so I'm just going to make Tacos - it's easy and "light" so if we want food later, we won't be stuffed.

Saturday - Today is Christmas Tree day!  Before kids, we always had lots of snacks to eat while decorating.  I've learned that with kids, they just want dinner HA!  I want something easy!  So . .we are going to grab something while we are out (Now, that's easy!)

Sunday - The boys and I are going to my mother-in-laws church for her Christmas program and then eating dinner at her house.  Sunday evening, I'm going to try a new pasta dish!

Monday - Tortillini and Sausage Soup.

Tuesday - Chicken Enchiladas

Wednesday - Tonight is Awana so I'm planning on the boys and I eating out :-)

Thursday - Chicken in the crock pot, potatoes and veggies

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Countdown! Having fun as we count down to Christmas!

On Monday I wrote about our advent activities as we learn about the true meaning of the season - Jesus. 

Today, I'll show you our fun countdown activities.

 First up is our Grinch Calendar.  You can find the original idea over at Chica and Jo.  It's such a fun little calendar that allows you to read through "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".  It was really easy to put together and this is our third or fourth year using it so it holds up well.  I will admit that some of my ribbons are falling off - I'm going to add a "tickler" to my holiday folder for next year to get some nice fluffy ribbon and update this.  One of the great things this year is the boys can read the cards themselves and they love that!  They pull the card, read it, and then open their gift.  The gifts are always a struggle for me - I don't like to buy clutter to add to the house but I don't want to spend a fortune on stuff either!  Day one they opened a Christmas long sleeve t-shirt which I just loved!  I'm trying to stick with both fun things they like (such as little Minecraft figures) and their favorite treats. 

Our other fun countdown is a Christmas Countdown Calendar.  The last few years they've done Lego countdowns but my mom found these fabulous Crayola Countdowns and the boys are really enjoying them.  Each day offers another craft supply and I believe at they end they will get to make something. 

There are so many great ideas out there! 

Confessions of a Homeschooler has a great little countdown with all kinds of fun activities to do throughout the season.  I really like this one and might try to incorporate it next year.
Several years ago I tried doing the "Book a day" by wrapping up 24 books and the boys opened one each day.  Neither the boys nor I were really that interested in it.  Instead, I plan on using The Christmas Carol next year as a read aloud and using the information from Confessions of a Homeschooler  (Can you tell I like her blog??)

Monday, December 4, 2017

Advent - Preparing for Jesus

I love to plan as much fun as I can around the holiday season but, I also find it of the utmost importance to always bring the focus back to the reason of the season - the birth of Jesus Christ.  I've done a variety of different things through the years depending on the boys ages and, after searching through a bunch of Pinterest ideas, I narrowed it down to two simple things things this year.  How did I pick?  Ultimately I wanted . . .free :-)

 The first thing we are doing comes from 1 plus1 plus 1 equals 1, a great resource for homeschooling all year long.  This is the Jesse Tree.  Each night we read the Jesse Tree card.  There is scripture reading you can do as well but for this year, we are just reading the "story".  Then, there is an ornament to hang on the tree.  Since we do this at bedtime, the ornament gets hung on the boys tree in their room and I hang the story cards in their room as well.  Ideally, if you do this, laminating the ornaments for future use is a great idea but I was out of lamination sheets so I'll have to do it later :-)

Secondly, we are doing this idea from Activities For Kids.  It is so super simple.  Just print each of the verse sheets (provided for free) on your choice of colored paper.  Each night we read the verse of the day (the kids are reading them!) and add it to the chain on their tree.  I considered putting together the chain and then removing one each day like a "normal" countdown chain but, instead we are adding a "link" each day and wrapping the chain around their tree.  Such a simple way to incorporate the Christmas Story. 

Don't worry that it is already December 4th, you can start these now and just double up a few days.  I can almost guarantee that we will end up missing day due to plans or activities away from home that bring us home late - it's not about being perfect and never missing a day; it's about doing something to focus on Jesus!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Our Week in Photos #23

Some weeks start out and I think we won't have much "to show" at the end of the week.  Yet, every week it's fun to look back and see what we've done!

 This week in school, Nate had to create a "still life" art piece with real things at home.  This is what he created and yes, he was very proud of his work. 

 On Tuesday, we went to see Santa.  Yes, we go early :-)  Several years ago, I wanted until just before Christmas and the boys (and I) were so sick that we couldn't go.  I learned  my lesson - go early!  Not to mention it was 60 degrees on Tuesday so, as you can see, we didn't even need coats!  This Santa House is about15 minutes from us - it's awesome.  They boys got to sign the "Naughty and Nice" list before seeing Santa! 
 Josh loves the guy in the big red suit!  He walks right in, sits down and tells him what he wants. 
Nate does not enjoy this at all.  He appeases me, albeit without a smile, by standing in the doorway.  What he didn't know was that Santa was sneaking up behind him for this perfect shot!!! 
 On Thursday we were able to meet some family for dinner including my oldest brother, Kel.  The boys had been planning for WEEKS to "make" him taste all levels of hot sauce because, well, Kel likes hot sauce.
 Uncle Kel did not disappoint!  The last one (from the Mexican restaurant we were eating at) was the hottest and made him sweat just a teeny bit HA! 
 All of the sauces!
 It really was a special treat to see my brother and sister-in-law as well as my nephew, his wife and they little guy! 

 December 1st brings lots of new fun.  We started our Grinch countdown; the boys got to open day one in their new advent calendars from Nana, and we did our first day of our Christmas Story Advent as well. 
 Josh and his cat.  Why is the cat sitting with Josh?  For one simple reason - the cat loves spaghetti and that is what was for dinner!!!
 Then we headed downtown for the parade!  We ran into our friends (we thought they weren't coming!) and the kids were all thrilled!
The Tree sits right in the center of town.  It's pretty cool 

 A couple of my favorites - the trucks decorated with lights!
The boys in front of the tree!  It was really a great night (and not even that cold!)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Weekly Menu

Last week I was kind of scrapping the bottle of the barrel (or fridge and freezer) in order to use up leftovers and other stuff that has been sitting around in the cupboards for awhile. (That sounds appetizing!) As we enter December, my goal is always to keep meals simple and well planned.  We have fun activities to do whether at home or out and about - I try to avoid random eating out because it "eats" up the grocery budget faster then, well, groceries!

I'm using the menu from Confessions of a Homeschooler as my inspiration.

Friday:  Tonight is our local Christmas Parade and lighting of the tree.  I always struggle with dinner on this night because  we have such a little amount of time to eat between when Darryl gets home and when we need to head downtown.  So, speghetti and breadsticks is the plan!

Saturday: We have a busy day with practices and then a concert in the evening.  My crock pot is my friend today.  Pulled Pork BBQ, Mac and Cheese and Baked Beans

Sunday: Today is my "cheat day".  We are heading to get our Christmas tree after church so we will stop at a fast food place in town before traveling on to the Christmas tree farm.

Monday: Breaded chicken, Carrots and Peas, crash potatoes

Tuesday: Chicken Quasidillas with a salad and guacamole.

Wednesday: Pork Roast, Sweet Potatoes, and green Beans.  Darryl is taking the boys on a field trip today so I'm going to enjoy the smell of the pork roast in the oven all afternoon!

Thursday: BBQ Ribs, Corn, and Mashed Potatoes. Tonight I'm heading to a Christmas tree so, again, the crock pot will keep me on track today so we can eat dinner before I head out.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

A little Blog Inspiration - Confessions of a Homeschooler

One of my all time favorite blogs to read and follow is :

It is through Erica's BLOG that I have found amazing teaching resources that I've been able to use over and over again with my kids.  I recently noticed that the preschool the princess attends uses Erica's preschool curriculum which is a pretty big deal.  She also offers great videos and sells amazing resources based on her knowledge she has gained through the years she has homeschooled each of her kids.  I feel like she makes my homeschool live a little easier. 

One of the extras that she does each month is posts a menu.  Within the menu are links to many of her meals so you can even find the recipes.  I've made many of her recipes and they are always good (simple and good - that is a great thing!). 

Well, in December her menu also includes crafts and activities to do with the kids too - a triple bonus! 

If you are looking for some meal and planing inspiration - just click HERE.  Trust me, I plan on using her monthly menu to plan our December meals to keep my life so much more simple!!