Friday, December 31, 2010

a new year….

masted ship 

Our family ship has come into harbor. The sails are up, even if they are thin. The hull has patches, but it’s intact. We’ve taken on water, but we’ve also bailed it. Pirates have boarded, but David and I have fought them off together, and we’re stronger for it.

I don’t know exactly what the New Year will bring. Nobody does. I’m sure it will be full of its share of beauty and struggle just like every year I can remember….

But I’m taking this post from Ann Voskamp as my mantra for the year. Worries assault me from all sides on a lot of days. How will we do it all? How will we survive and thrive when this and this and that happen?

Fear about the future is an enemy that wants to steal my joy. I need to learn, over and over again, to live here and now…

Sunday, December 26, 2010

cozy in a winter wonderland…


This isn’t our current snow, but it looks just like it. I’m too lazy to upload current pics… =) We got about 6 inches of Christmas snow!!! It started around 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Day, and it came down all night long and all day today until lunch…

David rigged up a sled with a laundry basket and long pieces of duct tape for handles. Very classy. He managed to pull Seth around in it after a few false tries to get his technique down. He had to bribe Seth with cake to try it again after he accidentally dumped him the first few times. It worked… =)

They made a giant snowman with the wet, powdery snow. I’m glad David got pictures. He’s impressive. Baby Jesus donated some of his gold coins for eyes. Our snowman has bling…

This has been one Christmas to remember… We feel so blessed today. We’re cozied up together in soft, white stillness, Christmas lights twinkling over the mantel, soft afghans wrapped around us as we read books and play cars.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry Christmas!



Merry Christmas from our littlest Wise Man (who carries Jesus’s presents in the hood of his robe)….



… and from our biggest Wise Man, who carries them with his desert giraffe. =)

Wise men still seek Him….

Friday, December 17, 2010

THe simple woman’s day book…

For more Simple Woman’s Daybook, go to

Outside my window... the sky is gray, the air is frigid, and there are little patches of snow that haven’t melted yet in the backyard.

I am thinking... that I’m having trouble getting my brain to wake up today. It’s drowsy. =)

I am thankful for... a warm house with working heat, that today is Friday, and that we don’t have too many plans for the weekend.

From the learning rooms... Seth is making circles on the Magnadoodle and having me count them, and we did a set of progressive puzzles with increasing numbers of pieces this morning. He is also playing with the small plastic bugs that he only gets to play with when Evan naps. =)

From the kitchen... thawing chicken to cook later for chicken chimichangas. Glad that I have leftover toffee bark from last night’s party to serve to our dinner guests tomorrow night.

I am wearing... gray exercise pants, a navy shirt from Goodwill that says “Hangin’ with my peeps,” and a brown sweater. Very stylish, I know. Oh, and dirty white bedroom slippers.

I am going... to an indoor playground with the boys after lunch. And to pick up some plantains for fried plaintains tomorrow.

I am reading... “Father Brown: The Essential Tales”- by G.K. Chesterton

I am hoping... that David doesn’t come down with the cold he thinks he might be starting.

I am hearing... “I’ve got to get a hitcher for my tractor,”- Seth, and the hum of the fridge.

Around the house... I’m hoping to lay a fire in the fireplace when the kids go down for naps. Lets not even talk about the shower I’ve been avoiding cleaning for weeks…

One of my favorite things... Christmas lights over the mantel.

A few plans for the rest of the week…making cupcakes and icing for Baby Jesus’s birthday breakfast, putting together the wise man presents for Seth and Evan to deliver to him on Christmas Day, dusting, etc.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...


That’s my mentor mom, Lisa, and the fabulous table she put together for our MOPs Christmas tea. I think we get the award for tallest candlesticks. =)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

snowy day fun…

DSC_1037 taken on our snowy mountain vacation…

We woke up to snow on the ground this morning… not much, but enough to cancel schools in N.C. and make a pretty white dusting all over everything…

What to do on a snowy day?

- Eat homemade gingerbread, prepped the night before…

- Make an easy snow scene- I cut up some cotton balls and gave Seth a sheet of blue construction paper. He glued them on as if they were falling from the sky, and then we did a nice layer of big ones across the bottom for snow drifts on the ground…

- Look at pictures of snowflakes on the internet… Seth told me unprompted that snow was frozen water. Sooo proud…

- Read lovely snowy day books like The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt, Owl At Home by Arnold Lobel (he has the sweetest cozy fireside scenes in a lot of his books), and Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik

- Put the big boy in rain boots, a coat, and a hat and let him explore the back yard while watching from the windows… He stays out for 5 minutes. I don’t blame him. =)

Toffee Pretzel bark…

I just made this bark for a party tonight, and it is easily the best I’ve ever had.

I’ll post the link, but here are my modifications…

1 12 oz. bag of dark chocolate chips
¾ cup broken pretzel pieces
¾ cup Heath toffee pieces, divided
6 ounces white chocolate chips

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. In a microwave on low power, melt the dark chocolate, stirring until the chocolate is smooth. Remove from the heat, and stir in all of the pretzel pieces and ½ cup of the toffee pieces. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

3. Melt the white chocolate in the same manner as you did the dark chocolate, stirring until completely smooth. Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and spread the white chocolate on top of the hardened dark chocolate layer. Sprinkle with the remaining toffee, using your palm to lightly press them into the white chocolate. Return the pan to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

4. Use a sharp knife to cut the bark into pieces. (I usually just press the tip of the knife into the bark and let it break into pieces/shards.) Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

cranium cariboo…


Hey, y’all. Sorry so silent for awhile. We’ve been vacationing in the mountains, and I’m still catching back up with regular life…

While we were there, we pulled out this game to play with Seth. I got it for $1 at a great thrift store I know near the beach where all the people who own fancy houses take the barely used board games that their children have outgrown. Ahem.

Anyway, I really, really liked it. It’s a wonderful learning game for a preschooler. It tests a variety of knowledge skills in one game in a way that was engaging for Seth, and that is hard for me to find in a game. The board is a series of squares that flip open to reveal compartments when your preschooler inserts a large plastic key in the locks above them.

You can play beginner or advanced. The cards on the squares have words, shapes, and colors on them. You draw a card, and the child has to match the number, color, or shape on the card to one on one of the squares. Seth really got into it. He could pick out a letter C at the beginning of a word or count that there were 3 triangles on one card. He loved opening the square with the key if he was right.

Some of the squares have rubber balls in them. The child takes them out and puts them down a chute. Once he finds all 6 balls and puts them down the chute, a little treasure chest opens.

It was easy for me to see that he had the number 1 down, but 2 and 3 were tougher for him. He correctly identified B and C every time, but not A. I learned a lot about where he is right now from this game, and he improved at recognizing his letters and numbers every time we played.

It looks like this game might not be made anymore, and that makes it kind of expensive on Amazon. But if you see if used somewhere, snap it up. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed…

Any great toddler games out there that you love? Do tell….

Friday, December 03, 2010

When all the gifts are for him…

There is a fantastic Christian blogger named Ann Voskamp whose family doesn’t exchange presents on Christmas morning… just like us! I emailed her, and she included our tradition in this wonderfully helpful article. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Nativity and advent ideas…

I figured that its about time to pull out my nativity and advent links…

We’ll start with this one from She Laughs At The Days… you can transform that tacky Santa advent calendar into something more meaningful with just a little artistic flair…

Here’s a printable Nativity scene for your children to color and glue. My kids are a little young yet, but I’m planning to keep this link..

We’re using this simple list of Advent readings this year… scroll down for the readings, copy and paste into Word…

And here are some simple Advent activities that looked really accessible for preschoolers…