Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Fun

I love that Connor still will give Mom big hugs. Not in public though or if any of his friends can see him but I'll take what I can get, of course it helps if I appeal to his stomach with his favorite Christmas breakfast.

Remember the post on "The Last Straw"? Scott took ths further and made a stable of presents to surround the manger of secret acts of kindness for Jesus. It helped to cement the idea further that Christmas is about Jesus.

La Posada with our friends. We had a great final night of our "Christmas Around the World" Unit study by celebrating La Posada. The kids went to several neighbors homes asking for shelter for Mary and Joseph and were rudely turned away. ( I had asked the neighbors ahead of time) We then knocked at our house and Scott was the good innkeeper and invited everyone in for a wonderful Mexican fiesta.

The Annual Cookie Party. We had a food from around the world potluck and made cake balls and Sinterklaas bags to give to neighbors.

Zoo Lights with the entire family. It was the first time we had gone and we loved it. Yeah for Alex for planning a great family outing!

Happy New Year to all and May God Bless Your Coming Year!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Joy in Serving Together

One of my favorite things is to serve as a family. The entire family served during our church's Christmas program, "Reel to Real". Scott played his french horn, all the kids sang and I directed the Kids Choir. Even though the kids and I had to spend the entire week practicing (oh wait, we had one evening off) and Scott raced from the airport to the dress rehearsal, I loved every minute of it. Through the weekend of performances and tear down everyone did a great job and was willing to step it up. I love my family and I love serving Jesus with them.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Gingerbread House

I have recently read a thread on a message board commenting that one reason to have your child in a traditional school setting is so that your child doesn't miss making "fun crafts". I think home schooling is a great oppportunity to do these crafts and have the time to REALLY do them. Not to mention the fact that we also had a story and lesson which pointed us back to the reason of the season - Jesus!

Did I mention that we made it from scratch! A new experience for all of us but we are so happy with the end result.

It helps to have a friend or two that are willing to go along with your schemes and jump in for the fun.

Tomorrow's challenge - Cake balls and Sinterklaas bags with 16 children from age 2 - 14. Home schooling is awesome.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Last Straw Again

Several years ago, I bought a book called "A Candle in the Forest" which is a compilation of Christmas stories by Joe Wheeler. (click on the title of the blog post for a link to the book) One of the stories is called, "The Last Straw" by Paula MacDonald and is about a family whose children can't stop bickering and fighting. The Mom remembers a tradition her Grandmother told her about where each person in the family writes their name on a piece of paper and then they each draw a name and play "Secret Angel" for a week. Each time someone does a kindness, like make a bed or does someones chore secretly they can place a straw in the nativity to prepare a place for Jesus when he comes on Christmas Eve. Thus, their home is transformed from a place of bickering and anger to a joyous home where each member places each others needs first.

Each year, I read this story out loud and then we draw names each week for several weeks during the Advent season. We have a basket and strips of fleece that can be placed (secretly) in the basket every time we do a kindness for another family member. Then on Christmas Eve, after everyone has gone to bed, Scott and I place a "baby Jesus" in the basket and put the basket under the tree.

We have found this to be a great way to prepare our hearts and home for the coming Christmas celebration. It's one more way to have "J.O.Y". (Jesus, Others then Yourself)

***Edited later to add: If you have older children "who are getting too smart for their britches" as my Grams says, you might want to state that they are not to purposely try and figure out everyone's Angel. It does not bring love and harmony to a home - trust me.