Tuesday, December 31, 2013

13 for 13 {Photos That Tell the Story}

I'm linking up with Pam at Everyday Snapshots for 13 Photos That Tell The Story of 2013. Come and join us!

I hardly have any pictures from the first half of the year. Too many during the fall. I cheated and have 14 pictures though.

January-Caleb's 12th birthday. The only picture I have of it and the only picture taken that whole month! It's not a good picture either.  : ( (The poor kid! I had so many of Tyler's birthday.)

February-Nature Study! One of those rare days that was warm and called for venturing out in the woods!

March-comes Easter! And the fact that Tyler is getting too old for egg hunts. He wants everyone to know that he just played along for the candy and to make his Grandma happy!

April-Tyler's first time turkey hunting and he got his first turkey. His picture received the most likes on our credit union's Facebook page which won Tyler $50!

May-Tyler went with my parents to visit my brother and his family and celebrate Liam's second birthday. The rest of us had to stay home and help out with a scouting event. Tyler came home with some adorable pictures of Liam, but my favorite was taken of Tyler at his first visit to the Lego store. He got to go through the store and take pictures of sets he wanted for his birthday.

June-We celebrated Tyler's 9th birthday at the Raithel Family Farm with a fishing derby. I added an extra picture because I was feeling like it was a year of pictures of just Tyler and we needed to get Caleb into some more pictures! Caleb's fish didn't win the derby though.


July-Brings the start of a new school year.

August-Is when we got our start to the outdoor season. Lots of nature study and family outings through October! This was a day spent at the family farm. It got a lot of attention on Facebook. I think they were looking for something, but they don't recall what was going on at the time.

September-We celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary with a camp out at the Raithel Family Farm. One of my favorite pictures due to the grass color.

October-More nature study at our usual spot.

November-Tyler is finally mature enough to go deer hunting. Scott took him during youth season and during regular season. He didn't get a deer, but he was excited when his Dad got one.

December-Wonderful Advent and Christmas celebrations! My mom made all her grandson matching pj bottoms. Liam is the littlest one and he is two and a half.

 Bonus-Scott and I at our annual "vacation without the kids vacation" at our usual bed & breakfast spot close to home.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

On the Second Day of Christmas . . . .

The Three Wise Men arrived at our house searching for the Son of God.

We decided to jump on the Wise Men adventures band wagon and place them around the house searching for Jesus. I decided not to start this during Advent, but make it a Christmas activity instead. (Tyler didn't want his picture taken and Caleb really wasn't as excited as he looked.)

We made Christmas cookies this morning. I bought this nativity cookie cutters set. I had it on my wishlist for a while and watched the price and I was able to get it for under $8. We used "sanding sugar"  instead of icing (going for easy here!), but we had have some icing left from our St. Nicholas cookies, so some got icing. To make sugar cookies easy, I always use the Betty Crocker bagged mix. It comes out perfect every time and I don't have to worry about it and it makes the task fun.

Caleb opened the second book for our "12 Days of Christmas" and this book was one that he has been patiently waiting to get, The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus series). I told Tyler that even though the book was for Caleb today, that I'm sure he will want to read it too one day. Tyler said he didn't think so, lol! I'm thinking that Caleb isn't going to be interested in the Humphrey book that is coming tomorrow.  ; )

We read about St. Stephen in our new saint book that the boys got yesterday. We all got a good laugh out of St. Stephen being the patron saint of stonemasons. While Caleb was assembling the Three Wise Men, I read The Nativity book to them.

There were a lot of dishes to wash this morning and the laundry was piled up from missing laundry day yesterday. I'm ready for a nap now!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Caleb with his most wanted Lego set.

Tyler and Caleb with their First Day of Christmas book gift. We did two today so they each had one to open. This is the only day with two books. Tyler is holding Saints: Lives and Illuminations also by Ruth Sanderson.

Tyler with his most wanted Lego set.

Tyler trying out the recorder that was found in his stocking.
My camera is having problems and these are they only some what useable pictures that I got this morning.  : (  If anyone out there uses a Nikon Coolpix, can you tell me what setting you use inside? The "party indoor" setting messes with the color, pictures are blurry, and make the boys look like ghost. Weird!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Winter Wonderland

We got some ice over the weekend and a little dusting of snow yesterday. The roads stayed clear and we got to visit with family over the weekend.

We celebrated Christmas with my parents and my brother and his family. My mom made the boys mustache pj pants and everyone had to wear a mustache too. Below is Liam, Tyler, and Caleb. Liam is two and a half. The boys are handsome with their mustaches!

This tree doesn't normally lay on the deck. I don't think any of the branches have snapped.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Our Third Week of Advent {2013}

The third week of Advent started out with a very busy Sunday! Besides Sunday morning Mass, we had an Eagle Court of Honor to help with and attend for a family friend and a church Christmas party right after that. At least they were at the same location.

Goof balls!

Books we read this week:
* The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojceichowski (from our local library)- This was the first time we read this book and Tyler enjoyed it. Most likely it was the wonderful illustrations. It is a nice little Christmas story with a typical story line (harden heart turns soft by a child).

* Christmas Tree Farm by Ann Purmell- I picked this book out from our local library because it fit in with our science reading. It contained good basic information on how a Christmas tree farm is ran, but the writing is blandThe illustrations were humorous though. 

*Finished up Kersti and Saint Nicholas by Hilda Van Stockham-I truly enjoy the writings of Hilda Van Stockham and she pleased me again with this story. The boys enjoyed it, but it wasn't their favorite.

* Finished up How a Christmas Tree Grows.

Typically of my boys, they finished up their school work a day early to extend their Christmas Break.

We have pretty much kept up with our Jesse Tree. Weekends don't happen though. We watch the videos from Holy Heroes and the boys color the ornament. This week the ornaments didn't happen though. Tyler is tired of doing the ornaments and our tree is pretty full. I think I will buy some ornaments for next year because it doesn't look like I will get the boys to make one for each day.

On Thursday we worked on making salt dough ornaments. The first recipe I used was a dud, but I was able to find another recipe and still had enough salt and flour left and it made a perfect batch! I sprinkled the ornaments with glitter that I had left over from a craft project from last Advent. The recipe said bake for ten minutes which I'm sure is a typo. I baked mine for 45 minutes and they still needed to sit out and dry over night (still not completely dry two days later).


Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Plans {2013}

I'm linking up with Pam @ Everyday Snapshots in her Living Liturgy series. Today it is all about Christmas planning!

With an easier schedule during Christmas, I plan for us to focus on celebrating some feast days and keeping up with daily gospel readings and prayer.

Something new we are doing this year is a gift for the 12 days of Christmas. There is a book for each day (two for Christmas Day) and the boys will be sharing the book. Some books were intended for just one boy, but the budget wouldn't stretch for 24 books.

Our Christmas book basket will include some of the gifts above and these:

* Christmas in Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren

* Gifts of the Heart by Patricia Polacco (from our local library)

* Finish up Letters from Father Christmas by J.R.R. Tolkien (new to us this year)

* Cranberry Christmas by Wende and Harry Devlin (new to us this year)

* Silent Night by Will Moses (new to us this year)

* The Christmas Bird by Sallie Ketcham (from our local library)

* The Twelve Days of Christmas by Jan Brett

* The Legend of Old Befana by Tomie De Paola

* The Story of the Three Wise Men by Tomie DePaola (from our local library)

I've decided to put off baking Christmas cookies until Christmas and I see us doing that the day after Christmas Day. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

"Most" Post of 2013

I'm linking up with Sarah at Amongst Lovely Things for "Most" Post 2013 {link-up}.

I don't do any major blogging and I usually just blog about what it going on around here, but I wanted to take part anyway!  ; )

My post with the most clicks: 2013-2014 Curriculum Plans Seventh Grade

Post with the most comments: Advent Plans 2013

Post with the best picture:Late September Nature Study. Picking this one was hard. This post and another had some of my favorite pictures. I love this one of my boys!

Post that was hardest to write: Living Liturgy

Post that is my personal favorite: First Friday in September Nature Study

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Our Second Week of Advent {2013}

This week started with decorating the tree after Mass on Sunday. We are not consistent about when we decorate the tree. My goal is to have it up around four weeks. The original plan was for the third Sunday in Advent, but we have events going on all day and night. The last Sunday in Advent is Christmas with my parents and my brother and his family, so the second Sunday seemed like the only time free for tree decorating.

Sorry about the bad picture! I just couldn't get the camera to work that day.

Some books that we read this week:
* The Christmas Cobwebs by Odds Bodkin (from our local library)- nice little story of a family from German and spiders.

* Still reading Kersti and St. Nicholas by Hilda Van Stockum - I'm really enjoying this book, but the boys think it's just ok. Maybe that is because there are seven girls!)

*Started How Far to Bethlehem: Plays and Poetry of Frances Chesterton - We have read a few poems and they are beautiful!

*Still reading Christmas Trees and How They Grow by Glenn O. Blough - This is a delightful science read! I'm sure techniques for growing Christmas trees has changed over the years, but the plant science hasn't. It's a nice science living book!

*Cobweb Christmas The Tradition of Tinsel by Shirley Climo (from our local library)-This was a nice folk story, again with spiders and a short, old, German woman.  

I'm finally understanding that all the books I picked to read during Advent isn't going to get finished. Some will save until Christmas and some will have to wait until next year. A busy end of the week caused for some feast days to go uncelebrated too. :(

We got our first snow fall! It was really just a dusting, but enough for the sleds. It has been very cold too! A second round of snow came last night. Still not enough to make the boys happy, but it did get them outside!

Tyler sledding down the sidewalk during first round.


Round 2 of snow. Just enough to get them outside.

A family puzzle was started and looks to be finished in record time.

 The manger is slowly building up with soft bedding for the coming Child.

I'm enjoying a new CD I bought for the Advent season. Advent at Ephesus is just beautiful music from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles. My favorites are Come Thou Redeemer of the Earth, Gabriel's Message, and O Come, O Come Emmanuel. I'm having a hard time getting my boys to enjoy it though.

I'm looking forward to a more relaxing week coming next! I see us finishing up the books to end our school term. Gift wrapping to get ready for our first Christmas celebration. Making salt dough ornaments. And no extra activities!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Our First Week of Advent {2013}

We decorated an Advent Altar with our Nativity set, Jesse Tree, and Advent/Christmas book basket underneath. I asked Scott two days before Advent to build me a little table for our domestic church altar . . . . I got a temporary rustic old outdoor bench. I got a place mat from Target last night to try and cover it up. (It doesn't help much!)

We have a bag of "straw" under the table ready to be put into the manager for sacrifices made. We've been talking about how to make sacrifices. This is very hard for my boys. I have to start being intentional and telling them sacrifices I make through out the day. I keep repeating, "Had you not complained about doing that chore, you could have put a piece of straw in he manager," very often! This is hard work!

We are reusing an Advent Calendar I got last year (Amazon, I think).

We have been watching the daily videos from Holy Heroes and Tyler has been coloring the ornaments. I just tape some yarn to the back and hang it on a branch. The boys cut down a branch on Thanksgiving and put it into a coffee can, spray painted green, with rocks and all tied up with some ribbon! I'm hoping to purchase or make a nice set of ornaments to use year after year some time before next Advent. The videos are nice, but Caleb feels they are too young for him. He does watch them without complaining though.

We also  have been enjoying free Advent Adventures and again Caleb is at the end of the age group for this. They also have the Jesse Tree video, an Advent activity explained, a daily Mass instructions, and various print outs. This has been a highlight of our day.

Here is the non-traditional Advent wreath that I bought. I went with cheap candles since I had to buy the wreath (Christian Book Distributors) and they burn about a half inch in 15 minutes. They won't be lit every night to make it through the season. I do plan to buy nicer candles for next year. I'm not sure I completely like this wreath and may get a traditional one for next year.

Our school work has changed to leave our afternoons free for other Advent activities. Well, that WAS the plan. It didn't go that way, but changes can be made for next week. Less formal school work and less time being out of the house during school time is on next week's plan.

We enjoyed starting our Advent reading, but we didn't get to far, yet.

St. Nicholas came for a visit too! We don't do shoes here. Instead we hang stockings that my Grandmother had for my boys at her house. We got those after she passed away and they have been used for St. Nicholas ever since. Caleb enjoyed a new pair of slippers and some chocolate candy. Tyler is loving his St. Nicholas wooden peg doll from St. Luke's Brush. He carried it around all day admiring it. The boys also got a new book, The Miracle of St. Nicholas. We checked this out from the library last year and loved it! I was able to get it for $9 new at a homeschool conference in August!! I'm happy to report that I got through reading it this time without crying. It's just a beautiful story. The boys like it too.

We made St. Nicholas cookies. I bought a large cookie cutter from St. Nicholas Center and the boys helped with making the cookies and putting icing on them. This activity was a hit! Icing artist we are not!

Today I'm doing some extra cleaning to get ready to do some decorating tomorrow. The boys are setting up a tree in Tyler's room. I really would like to get my hands on a Playmobil Nativity set. Anyone seen any?

What did you do during the first week of Advent? 

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