Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Christmas Post

"We need a little more Christmas in Christmas this year."  
                                         ~quote from The Christmas Post

This was a 1940's set Broadway style musical.  It was so great, and my family had a ball being in it.  They had 4 performances last week.
Marissa and Daniella as newsies

Briana on the left

Briana as one of the sales associates~back center

Ashley and her friend Dulce (Sweet Ruth) as shoppers

Marissa as the Little Girl lost in the store.  Can you see her in the back looking out the window?

Sales associates~ look happy

A sinking ship~Briana is in the center

James, Marissa, and Daniella in the Nativity scene.  Daniella quoted John 3:16, and Marissa quoted Luke 2:11-12.

Marissa in her Little Girl outfit

My 2 elegant 1940's girls.  Can you see the 2 hours worth of hair curling?  : )
The coat Ashley (right) is wearing actually belonged to my grandmother.

 Well, it's absolutely impossible for me to transfer my excitement about this show and how great they all did; how funny and fun it was. 
Remember this week to keep a little more Christmas in Christmas this year!
Blessings and Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2007

It's Finally Beginning to Seem a Lot Like Christmas

The Homeschool Blog Awards end on Dec. 15th.  If you haven't voted for your favorite blogs, go HERE to vote. 
I was nominated for Best Homeschool Mom, and some of my friends were nominated for other categories.  Jonatha for Best New Homeschool Blog, and Ashley, who is the daughter of my friend Heidi, was nominated for Best Teen Gal Homeschool Blog.  Tia and AmyBeth ~Best Blog Design, and  Mary for Best Encourager, Best Live-What-You-Believe blog, AND Best Cyber Buddy.  If I left anyone out, I'm sorry, and let me know. 
We've had so much fun the past couple of days.  James, Ashley, Briana, Marissa, and Daniella are ALL in a Christmas Production at our church.  And, it IS a production.  This show compares to shows at Dollywood.  They have a professional set, which belongs to our music director personally.  He bought it from the church he had been with several years ago.  They are doing 4 performances~last night and Sunday night, then next Friday and Saturday.  It is a Broadway style musical set in the 1940's complete with neato costumes and swing dancing (yes, in a Baptist church!!).  I literally spend 2 hours each performance day curling Ashley's and Briana's hair.  Thankfully, Marissa and Daniella are dressed like boys for their biggest parts, so their hair just goes under a hat most of the time.  The show is so fun to perform and watch.  They're all still in bed this morning!!
James has been doing a study on electricity with Marissa and Daniella.  I am so glad for them, because he is very good with science and making it fun and interesting for them.  I'm not!  I found 2 of the Science in a Nutshell Kits, complete, at a used curriculum sale for only $10 each!
Yep, school in her PJs complete with her friends, and look at that snaggle tooth.  : )  "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth". 
Daniella's circuit~

Marissa has loved this study and walks around the house giving examples of things she's learned.
Marissa's circuit~

Electricity, a little daily math, cookie baking and decorating, dress rehearsals and performances, daily reading, some jigsaw puzzles and board games have pretty much made up our schooling for the past week.  Briana is finished with her college classes until mid January, and Ashley is in her last week, with 2 finals this week.  Her classes are 8 week courses, so she only takes 2 at a time.  I'm finally getting in the Christmas mood~maybe this show 2 nights in a row did it.  So, I'm really looking forward to the next 2 weeks!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Getting to Know You-Christmas

This has been passing around on email, and I thought I'd share it here.
1. Wrapping paper or gift  bags? definitely wrapping paper, much more fun
2. Real tree or  Artificial?   real tree of course (sniff.....ahhhh!)
3. When do you put up the tree?  usually the first weekend in December; we were earlier this year
4. When do you take the tree down?  when it starts to turn brown and the ornaments start falling off  :-)
5. Do  you like  eggnog?  no                                                
6. Favorite gift received as a child?  Hmmm...l don't really remember anything specific.  I remember one time getting little Dawn dolls, and my grandfather gave me this stage they could stand on, and it moved to make them look like they were moving around.   I remember a couple of other dolls, too.
7.  Do you have a nativity scene?    Oh,yes.   14 or so, plus a couple of nativity ornaments
8. Hardest person to buy  for?  My husband and my dad                    
9. Easiest person to buy for? Marissa
10. Mail or email  Christmas cards? mail
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? some suction cups with the little hangers on them
12. Favorite Christmas movie?  A Charlie Brown Christmas
13. When do you start shopping for  Christmas?   sometime in November
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?  I don't think so, but I've given a few to my mom
15. Favorite  thing to eat at Christmas?  Peanut butter fudge, divinity with nuts, boiled shrimp
16. Clear lights or  colored on the  tree? colored and blinking......although if I could have 2 trees (!) I'd love to have one with clear
17. Favorite Christmas song?  hmmm..hard to pick a favorite.  Tennessee Christmas, Angels We Have Heard On High,  O Little Town of Bethlehem, Winter Wonderland, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, Emmanuel........
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?   stay at home, sometimes we travel for New Years
19. Angel  on the tree top or a star?  angel          
20.  Open the presents Christmas Eve or  morning? presents from immediate family on Christmas Eve, "Santa" and stockings on Christmas morning (even though my girls all know, we pretend Santa), and grandparent gifts that afternoon
 21. Most annoying thing about this time of year?   hmmm.....traffic and the dark, sadness about the people who don't have a relationship with Christ and do all of this with no real purpose
22. Favorite ornament theme or  color?  our eclectic collection of memory-filled ornaments and  green, red, and gold~ garlands and ribbons
23. Favorite for Christmas  dinner?  ham
24. What do you want  for Christmas this year?  a wall fountain for my front porch or a new kitchen faucet, anything to fix up or decorate my house
Anyone can feel free to do this on your blog.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Miss Marissa and Best Homeschool Mom Award

Tomorrow we celebrate Marissa's 10th Gotcha Day!  I let her pick the meal she wanted and a treat, so we will spend the morning getting 2 crockpots full of chili going, and the afternoon making/cutting out/decorating sugar cookies.  (Two pots of chili means I don't  have to cook Tuesday night!)  Somewhere in there we need to work in taking her flowergirl dress to the alterations lady.  If you've never read Marissa's adoption story, you can read it and see photos HERE.  We love you to pieces Miss Marissa.

  In other news, I stand amazed and dumbfounded to be nominated for the Best Homeschool Mom Blog Award.  Thank you!!  
When I started this blog I never expected to find some great friends, much less to receive an honor for writing about our lives.   Even if no one out there votes for me (except my kids--you'd better vote for me! ), it was a thrill just to be nominated.  There are a lot of great moms, dads, and teens nominated for awards, so please take time to GO VOTE for your favorites and make some new friends.   Voting starts Dec. 3, and I think goes through about the 17th. 
You know, when Ashley and Briana were little, I thought being a mom was about the only thing I was pretty good at.  Then we adopted 2 little ones, and they (and God) challenged everything I had ever done or believed about parenting and homeschooling!  I've been on a journey for several years to learn all over how to be a good mom for them.  We all do different things, have different ideas, and different styles, but the thing most of us have in common is the burning desire to do what is best for our children.  We change math curriculums 14 times, we have pet frogs when we hate anything remotely amphibian, we do what it takes to help that child be the child God intended~~to follow their God given dreams and desires, to learn the way they need to learn, to go off the beaten path and maybe take flack, even from other homeschoolers, because we're doing it different, we read and reread their favorite books until our eyes cross (insert Billy and Blaze and Woof stories), we provide as many of the learning opportunities as we are able, and the list goes on.  That's what being the Best Homeschool Mom is, and I am so proud to know so many of the best!! 
This week Heidi gave me the Blog Friend Forever award.  Thank you so much!  You are my biggest encourager and fan! LOL!  You have blessed my life more than you realize. 

I have lots of friends here, some I'm just getting to know, but when I think of this award, three names come to mind.  One would be to pass it right back to Heidi.  If you don't know this lady, she is a faithful forever friend.  When ARE you coming to the mountains so we can hang out??  The 2nd would be Denise.  I have felt a connected friendship with Denise almost from the start.  It's funny that these 2 ladies only live about an hour apart, so Denise hitch a ride with Heidi!  The third person is Jonatha.  She has been a faithful blog friend since I first started blogging.  She is such a sweet lady and has a house full of beautiful girls. 
Okay, it's time for me to get busy doing some internet Christmas shopping.  All of you who have those countdown tickers for Christmas really make me mad! 

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm So Proud of My Smart Daughter!

 I am so proud of and for Ashley!  I mentioned her college term paper in my last entry.  It is for her philosophy class through Liberty University. She had to pick a religion they had studied, include that religion's beliefs and present the gospel to a person of that religion.  She chose Islam.  She got her grade today.  A 96!!!  Yay, Ashley!  This is a really hard course, but she loves it.  She put a lot of time and emotion into this paper, and I know a great grade was important to her.  And, just for the bragging mom record~~ she made an A on her midterm, too!
As long as I'm bragging, if you didn't happen to see Briana's pictures in the previous entry, be sure to check them out.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Nutcracker Sweet

We had a nice Thanksgiving  with my parents.  They came over on Wednesday evening.  Marissa was disappointed that it rained, because it meant we didn't get to spend the afternoon leaf sledding.  That's a super fun family event.  If it dries out soon, we owe her one.  She had been excited and looking forward to it for 2 weeks--counting down the days. 
On Friday and Saturday, Briana performed in the Nutcracker Sweet.  This is her 4th year.  In the past she has always been in the Corp de Ballet, so this year she was ecstatic to be chosen for the Dew Drop Fairy solo on Friday night, as well as the Spanish trio on Saturday night.    She also danced in the party scene with her Dad again. 
In the party scene with her dad
Waltz of the flowers finale
Waltz of the Snowflakes
Spanish Trio
Dew Drop Fairy Solo
Signing Autographs!!
With the Sugar Plum Fairy
As you can see, we had a great time.  The rest of us are plugging away.  Ashley finished a term paper this week for her philosophy class.  Her paper was to include the beliefs of another religion (she chose Islam) and to present the gospel to someone of that religion.  Brain power stuff.    Five out of six of us (not me!!) are in a Christmas musical, so they are practicing for it 2 days a week.  While they're at practice I am having some wonderful, long times with the house to myself! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Our Thanksgiving Centerpiece

This creatively challenged Mom was able to "steal" and combine a couple of ideas from others for a fun centerpiece.  Fun, because my girls had a blast creating it.  Unfortunately, I don't do big crafty things like this with them very much.  I hope this has gotten me out of my rut. 
While searching online last week, I found the idea to carve out the inside of mini pumpkins and put in a tea light.  Then yesterday, I saw that Angela and her children had waxed leaves.  They put theirs with pinecones (which I don't have here at my mountain home), and they were so pretty.  I did a google search to find out how to wax leaves.  So, yesterday afternoon we took a walk up our little road and collected leaves.  Most of them are past peak, but we still found some pretty ones.  We put them under some heavy books, then carved out our pumpkins and let them dry overnight.  Today we had a ball waxing the leaves, and here is our Thanksgiving centerpiece. 

The dark table makes it look a little dark, so the reds don't show up as well, but it's really pretty, especially when the candles are lit.  We put the leaves on a tray to keep them from  scattering and so it can be moved easily if needed. 
Here are a few photos of the process. 
Walking down our quiet little road.

Collecting leaves

Cleaning out pumpkins

Waxing the leaves (Marissa had just gotten out of the bath.  That's why her hair is wet!) 

Making the arrangement

The finished product

     Happy Thanksgiving
"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting."  Psalm 107:1

Monday, November 12, 2007

Life in Pictures

Ta-Da!  45 quarts total.  The darker ones are cinnamon; the light-plain.  And if you really feel the need to count, 2 are missing from the picture!

Ashley is going to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding in January.  Marissa is going to be the flower girl.  We just got her dress today.  I couldn't resist adding these pictures.  It will have to be hemmed when we get her shoes and it gets closer to time.  (I measured her today, and she has grown almost 1 1/4 inches in the last 6 months!...but not tall enough for the dress.)

Here are a couple of pictures from my trip to the lake with Ashley, Briana, and their friend.
View from the dock.

The girls out on the paddleboat

Ummmm.....I'll let you decide!     Any guesses?

Cooking lunch--they cooked for us and insisted I relax.  They didn't have to insist too hard.

Back at home, Daddy took the little girls on a hike in the National Park.

Marissa ready to head for home at one of the relaxed baseball games our homeschool group had.

Shooting off the rocket Marissa put together

A few shots from our trip to the aquarium.  We're going back this Wednesday.
Looking at the Poison Dart Frogs

Hugerific Catfish

Holding a horseshoe crab

In the shark tunnel



touching a sting ray

Praise the Lord from the earth, Sea monsters and all deeps; fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word; mountains and all hills; fruit trees and all cedars;.....Both young men and virgins; old men and children.  Let them praise the name of the Lord, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven.   Psalm 148:7-9; 12-13