Monday, November 28, 2011

A Trip Around the World for about $50 {Advent Calendar ~ 2011}

Our Around the World for Christmas List is shaping up beautifully! I put in all the cards in the Advent Calendar this morning and the kids, one by one, came out and asked me when we were going to start opening the cards. lol!

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We got some ideas from our curriculum “Children Around the World” from Winter’s Promise, but many other great ideas come from free websites. My two favorites:

http://www.whychristmas.com/cultures/

http://www.teachingheart.net/worldmas.html

Each and every day has an activity or a craft and I shared as many links as I could just in case you wanted to join along!  I have chosen a treat, a tradition, a craft, a recipe, and a few stories for each country/culture to focus on each day and I will share our most loved ones as we go along.  This has been a labor of love, but I have to tell you that I am more excited about it than the kids are!

Our Christmas Around the World advent list:

1. Journey to Bethlehem!!

2. (China) Fried Wonton cookies

3.(Japan) Swan and Crane Origami Ornament

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4. (Russia) Metryoshka Doll and Russian Tea Cakes with Russian tart cherries

5. (Great Britain) Pomander oranges & put your shoes out for St Nicholas Day

6. (Great Britain) *Small gifts left in their shoes overnight* Christmas Party Crackers (Easy and Not So Easy party cracker instructions)  Shortbread & Wassail 

7. (Scandinavia) Straw Ornaments

8. (Germany) Hidden Coin Gingerbread Cake

9. (Italy) Gingerbread Manger Scene and making a St Lucy Wreath

10. Getting our Christmas Tree

11. Put up lights with daddy

12. Shopping with daddy

13. (Greece/Italy) Write love notes to parents to open on Christmas Eve & St Lucia Paper Dolls (for St Lucy’s Day)

14. (Africa) Make a Christmas drum

15. (Philippines) Make Christmas Stars out of whatever we can (sticks, straw, beads and wire... all kinds.

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16. (Australia) Celery Rose print wrapping paper & making S’mores

17. *This starts the weekend of lights that leads right up to Hanukkah* Zoo lights w/ hot cider

18. Fantasy Lights w/ cocoa

19. Driving through Gem Heights looking at lights w/ warm honeyed milk

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20.(USA) *Happy Hanukkah!* Dreidel for Chocolate coins and Challah bread. Hanukkah coloring sheet.

21. (Canada) Christmas tree cookies to our friends and neighbors

22. (Mexico) Making paper poinsettias

23. (Guatemala) Sawdust Ornaments

24. Family Christmas Movie

25. Open Stockings!!

I will send you the table I made with a treat, tradition, craft, story list, and recipe for each country if you would like. I spent so much time on it I would love for others to get something out of it!  Just drop me a comment or an email. 

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And now I am going to bed with this sweet young man.  Have a beautiful night!

Friday, November 25, 2011

{this moment} - Thanksgiving Nap

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

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I am thankful…

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nine Months In - Nine Months Out

From this:

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To this:

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To this:

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“What? Snow White ate poisoned APPLES?”

And already a Jedi.

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We are so proud.

Just shows that our family is strong in the force. Winking smile

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tea ‘n’ surf - Christmas!

I have a box of books in my garage that were given to me.  They are small spiral bound books that are blank aside from the company logo that was dated in 2008.  I want to cover them pretty.  I would love to find something super simple, but completely lovely to cover them to give as gifts. 

Log your memory

I found this idea from Homegrown Hospitality and she has the pattern over at her blog.  What an adorable idea, isn’t it?

And a bit of whimsy to go with it:

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Oh yes!  I will.  The link for these on Pinterest was dead, but I managed to find the same picture after some searching at Bockfitz.  She says it’s super simple… but it surely isn’t simple for someone who doesn’t wet felt.  Cuz I haven’t been able to figure it out yet and I have tried and tried!  (I will keep trying and let you know how if I figure it out.)

Some more things I have been thinking about making:

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My crafts and gifts Pinboards are just positively brimming with wonderful ideas!

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If only I could find the time to make some of them.  That is my next goal.  To make more time.  Winking smile

Any craftiness brewing where you are this season?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Stone Soup

I am guessing everyone already knows the story of Stone Soup. It has been told hundreds of different ways…. but the book that we have was this one:

Three very smart travelers come into a town where everyone is scared and worried all the time. The villagers are all very private and everyone only works for themselves. The strangers claim that they can make soup with nothing but three stones. The villagers all gather around wanting to see this miracle and the strangers say things like “Of course, stone soup should be well seasoned with salt and pepper.” and the people start opening their hearts to help make this miracle happen. In the end they have a huge feast on the soup ‘made with nothing but stones’.

I have been amazed how many things you can make with things you find in your dying winter garden! “With nothing but stones!” lol… Once again I am thankful for California and all those lush green pastures in warmer climates where I can get my children fresh foods that are safe from the crazy winds and the frost that keep coming here each night. I am so thankful for knowing how to make food from scratch and my dying winter garden that is still giving us subsidies for our dinner.

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Part of being thankful this month for us is that it’s the leanest month of the year.  We have been through much harder times… and having such memories, these times when I have to tighten my belt seem really scary for a little while. Until I see where we really are. And how we will never be back there, with food stamps and food banks and a car that is broken half the time… we will never be there again.  And I am SO thankful! 

Although we are looking fondly at the times of leisure, even now we have everything we need and often a bit more!  We are broke with a purpose.  We are broke because we CHOOSE to be broke to keep on our road to being debt-free… and it’s HARD… man, is it hard sometimes.  But we have less than 2 years until we are debt-free (including cars, but not school loan.  Sallie Mae owns a piece of my soul.) and each month that ticks by without debt is one more closer to that freedom.  So we are working every angle and making cuts where ever we can.

We have been using every scrap out of the garden.  Right now we have green tomatoes ripening on the windowsill that I saved from the first hard frost last week.  The last salad greens that are growing now are being used for salads and soups.  Even the baby pea greens are being cut up and added to salads.  I planted them so late that they didn’t flower before all the pollinators were gone for the season.  (Another lesson for next year!) 

Logan helped me gather the last of the potatoes and carrots from the garden and we cut off the eyes of the potatoes and put them back into the dirt to start up another crop for next year (this is an experiment and I will let you know how it goes!).

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The kids love finding new things to put in ‘stone soup’ and I am finding ways to be super creative with the rest of the budget as well. We still eat like kings. Even with a smaller budget I am super selective about the foods we eat. It’s just a bit… different.  And each night when I sit down to another wonderful meal, even though sales rule the menu, gratefulness rules the table.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Thankfulness and gratitude

This is the month of thankfulness for us here in the Rose Garden.  We started the month off with a Thankful Tree and it’s shaping up rather beautifully:

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We have tons of stuff on there.  It has given us an opportunity to love on each other a little bit without being too sappy. (Which has been great for my teen who would NEVER say this stuff out loud, but he has several leaves up there with things like “Parents that care if you succeed” and “A mom that makes you great food”.  In times when he can be super trying on a regular basis these types of things really give me hope.  He is still turning into a great person.  He’s just 15.) 

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We have been able to tell each other that we are grateful for the things we each do in writing and the tree makes me smile every time I look at it.  Smile

Recently we had a food drive at our church for our local food bank.  I pulled out all of the change I could find and gave it to the kids with the stipulation that they had to find as much of a meal as they could at the store for the food drive.  Before we left, we read the book Can-Do Thanksgiving. 

SUCH a sweet book!  It’s the story of a can of peas and the little girl that decided to give her can of peas to the food bank and volunteer there for Thanksgiving.

In our own trip to the store we spent the better part of an hour discussing the particulars of the meal.  Logan was insistent on a can of peas just like in the book.  Cyan decided that they needed dessert.  Before we left we had the makings of a pretty decent meal.

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We dropped it off at the church with the other offerings.

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This week we are working on our Operation Christmas Child boxes.  I picked up one for each kiddo and they are all planning what to put in their boxes before we drop them off this weekend for sending. 

It has been a wonderful month so far of watching my kids turn from wondering what they will get for Christmas to making sure that their gifts and meals are just perfect for those in need.

I am thankful indeed. 

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

My sweet crazy baby

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I know.  He’s all I ever post pictures of anymore… but you have to admit, he’s darn cute!  He has also taken over my life.  He is a mama’s boy like no other and he doesn’t sleep much… so neither do I.  I see him nearly every moment my eyes are open and often that is at 1, 3, 4, and even sometimes again at 5 in the AM before he wakes at 6:30.  His stomach is having issues again, and he has decided that he doesn’t want food anymore… just to nurse.  Even when he does want to eat food he wants real food, not baby food, which causes a few issues with the ingredients and makes it much harder to pin down what he may or may not be reacting too.  BUT… he is CUTE!  He is smiley, has a great personality and is just adorable to watch.  Even Logan will walk through the room and let me know if Luke is doing something cute.  Which is nearly all the time. 

He is crawling at top speed and has now been able to stand for 7 wks.  He turned 8 1/2 mos today.  It’s crazy to think that he will walk before 9 mos but I think it just may happen.  He wants to be up, mobile, and running…. and he is dedicated to it.

Here is a video from last week of him being cute and playing with a pillow he pulled down from the couch.  Obviously, he was really proud! 

Enjoy!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A fun weekend…

Some pictures from our fun!

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My Dad’s new beach property:

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Last day of the harvest festival at a local farm:

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And the last day of Cyan’s unit study on the wetlands with a field trip to Nisqually Valley Wildlife Refuge!

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Hope you are all having an amazing weekend!

(Alex was there too… but he declined any pictures.  I have one video of him from the whole weekend in which he moves a log that is about 400lbs using a lever.  But it’s too big to share.)

Friday, November 04, 2011

{this moment}

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

Friday Fun

Every other month or so we get a Friday off from co-op.  Most of the time we have schoolwork to make up and so spend our days doing that, but this week we were all caught up… so Cyan and I set out to make a fun evening for Logan and his visiting friend:

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A play silverware tray for a cash register, printed money from Google Images, felted wool bowls for display, small glass jars and wooden food from our play kitchen and we had a adorable little store for the boys to play in.

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What kind of pampering is going on in your house this week?

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(Thanks to Steve of Blue’s Clues for teaching me how to draw.  Winking smile )

Thursday, November 03, 2011

A Tale of Two Pumpkins - Recipes

There was this can of pumpkin….  I split it between some really great ingredients and  and made it into something beautiful.

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I have seen quite a few of these dips coming up… most of which say things like “Only three ingredients!” and then include things like Cool Whip or Dream Whip.  I can’t tell you how annoyed these messages make me.  That is SO MANY MORE than three ingredients!  So here was my response to that… a yummy dip that is ‘only 5 ingredients’ and yes… it’s really only 5.  :)

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip

  • 1 8 oz package cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 - 5 Tbs brown sugar  (this depends more on the brand of sour cream you use.  I have found that with Daisy sour cream I only need 2)
  • 1 tea cinnamon
  • 1/2 can of pumpkin puree
  • and if you like it, add in a little pumpkin pie spice. 

Whip ingredients together and chill.  That’s it!  Gingersnaps were the best loved dippers but the apple slices were a hit as well. And the stuff tastes just like pumpkin cheesecake!

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Pumpkin Spelt Pancakes

dry

  • 2 1/2 c spelt flour
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 tea baking soda
  • 1/2 tea salt
  • 1/2 tea pumpkin pie spice
  • dash cinnamon (or more)

wet

  • 1/2 can pumpkin
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 3 Tbs melted butter
  • 2 lg eggs
  • 1/2 tea vanilla
  • 1/2 cup water

Mix dry in one bowl and wet in another. Once completely mixed, combine mixtures and cook on a well greased griddle on Med heat until dry around the outside. Then flip and cook on other side. Serve with butter. Syrup is optional. ;)

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A month of Thankfulness

We have so much to be thankful for!  This month I decided to try out an exercise.  I wanted to see if we could write down all the things we are thankful each day at breakfast… to start our day off right. 

I found some die cut leaves at a teacher supply store and decided that they would be the perfect way to keep our thankfulness thoughts at our finger tips!  I put out a pretty basket filled with the leaves and a few sharpie markers on our kitchen table, and each morning we sit down and write down what we are thankful for.

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Then we tape them up on our tree coat wrack in the homeschool room:

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As this tree fills up we are all starting to see the many blessings we have been given  and how wonderful our lives are.  It has taken the place of our petition punch cards for behavior.  No treats required.   Just a bunch of love dished out with breakfast each morning.

We are traveling around the world for Christmas!

It’s almost that time of year again!  Time for advent crafts and fun. 


This year, we are traveling around the world for Christmastime!  I am excited to see what types of traditions happen in other cultures during this magical time of year.  For some (Northern Hem) it is the coldest darkest portion of the year, but for others (Australia) it is mid Summer!  The traditions are just as varied as the weather this time of year and I am excited to share that with my kids. 

Our Christmas Around the World advent list:
1. Put up lights with daddy
2. Pagoda Manger & Fried Wonton cookies (China)
3. Fish tree ornament (Japan)
4. Metryoshka doll Christmas card (Russia)
5. Pamander oranges & put your shoes out for St Nicholas Day (Great Britain)
6. *Small gifts left in their shoes overnight* Christmas Party Crackers & Wassail (Great Britain)
7. Straw Ornaments and hidden bean cake! (Scandinavia)
8. Gingerbread Manger Scene (Germany) *only cooking and cooling*
9. Gingerbread Manger Scene (Italy) and making a St Lucy Wreath
10. Getting our Christmas Tree
11. Journey to Bethlehem!!
12. Shopping with daddy
13. Write love notes to parents to open on Christmas Eve (Greece/Italy)
14. Make a Christmas drum (Africa)
15. Make Christmas Stars out of whatever we can (sticks, straw, beads and wire... all kinds. Philippines.)
16. Celery Rose print wrapping paper & making S’mores (Australia)
17. *This starts the weekend of lights that leads right up to Hanukkah* Zoo lights w/ hot cider
18. Fantasy Lights w/ cocoa
19. Driving through Gem Heights looking at lights w/ warm honeyed milk
20. *Happy Hanukkah!* Dreidle for Chocolate coins and Challah bread. (USA)
21. We are sending a Christmas tree to a friend! (Canada) *cookies to neighbors*
22. Making paper poinsettias (Mexico)
23. Sawdust Ornaments (Guatemala)
24. Family Christmas Movie
25. Open Stockings!!

We got some ideas from our curriculum “Children Around the World” from Winter’s Promise, but many other great ideas come from free websites.  My two favorites:


Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy Halloween!

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It has been a very hectic week and I am looking forward to calmer weeks ahead.  Our Halloween was great though with lots of kid made costumes and pumpkins!  Both of these were designed and completed by Cyan (above) and Logan (below) and they were also grown in our garden. 

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!!

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