Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Baby

Jessica gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at 12:13 a.m. December 30.

There were a couple of complications, so baby River is in NICU, but should be released tomorrow.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

What to Do with the Rest of Vacation

With over a week left of Christmas vacation, you might be wondering what to do. Well, I have some ideas. It's an easy list really. It's what we are doing. Why not join us? Choose any seven and do one a day.

  1. Read one book. We are reading an easy version of Peter Pan that we can read in one sitting. Then we are going to watch the movie. 
    We read books whenever possible in the evening. We have read Number the Stars, The Giver,  Call it Courage, The  Courage of Sarah Noble, Robin Hood, The Prince and the Pauper, Homer Price (part), Heidi ( a 1900s version), Behind the Bedroom Wall (WWII), Shades of Gray (Civil War), The Year of Miss Agnes and more. Last summer we read 100 picture books even though my children at home are 10, 10 and 14.
  2. Do one puzzle.This is a puzzle that was my mom's in the 1930s. It does not have interlocking  pieces, so it's very easy to knock it all apart. Anyone seen these puzzles before?
  3. Memorize one verse. Our verses for 2015 are Matthew 5:14-16.  We memorized them last January. We decided that our verse for this coming year is Micah 6:8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good and this is what he requires of you:to do what is right, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
  4. Walk one mile. We are going to walk at the park at least once next week.
  5. Volunteer one hour. We are going to go to the shelter where we got Travis and Sasha and take some of the doggies on a field trip to a park. In the summer we take them kayaking. It's almost an hour away, so we don't get there very often. 
  6. Try one new recipe. Haven't decided on this yet.
  7. Make one craft. We have been doing loads of craft that you've seen in the past posts on this blog. We will be starting projects for our "Week of Kindness" (or maybe two weeks) we'll be doing in February.
  8. Set one family goal. We decided that we are going to try and go tubing in NC this summer. We are planning the date, finances and travel plans.
  9. Write one letter. Haven't decided on this yet. `
  10. Play one game. We've been playing Escape, a new Wii game Ty has, and Skip It. Yesterday Jasmine managed to hit a Christmas ornament and send it flying.

  11. Draw one picture (and give it to someone). The twins are practicing their drawing and then are going to draw a picture to send to their birth father in Haiti when a friend goes down there.
  12. Start one new tradition. If you want an easy one, light sparklers on New Year's Eve and talk about how Jesus is the Light of the World, and have each child share how he/she will be a light in the coming year. Our new tradition this year will be the Polar Bear plunge about an hour away. It means getting up at 6 a.m. on Jan 1.
  13. Clean out closets and storage areas and donate one bag of stuff you no longer need to a thrift shop or local charity. 
These are just a few ideas. There are many more easy ways to make the most of Christmas vacation. 

Check back to see if we make it through our list, and let me know how you spend vacation.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

from our family to yours!

(We will have a new family member within the week!)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Pillows

I'm sharing one last Christmas craft. I know it's a bit late for this year, but you can use this idea for any holiday. Simply change the colors.

You need:
One hand towel per pillow.
Decorations such as ribbon, rick rack, buttons etc.
Sewing machine and thread or you could hand sew the pillow. 
Needle to hand sew 

 The kids decide how they want to decorate their pillows.

 Then they decorated one half of the towel.

 Pillow is ready to sew shut and stuff

Jessica sews ribbon on Jasmine's pillow 

Sew inside out leaving an opening to turn the pillow inside out and then fill it. Stuff with poly fill and hand sew the opening close.


Jessica helping Jasmine with her pillow

Jessica's finished  pillow
Finished pillows
You could make these for Valentine's Day, St Patrick's Day or  Easter by simply changing the pillow color and decorations.

You could make a special birthday pillow by using the child's favorite colors, using button in animal or toy shapes and using iron on letters to spell his name or initials. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Building a Graham Cracker Village

Before vacation is over, you may be looking for something to do. Involve your whole family in this project and see who can be the most creative.

You need graham crackers, frosting or peanut butter to act as glue, assorted candy or other food items for decorations.

Then use your imagination.

This is Jessica's cool penguin encounter.

 Jasmine and I built a nativity.
We had envisioned a much more elaborate stable, but it kept collapsing!

The other kids' projects collapsed before pictures.

So we decided to try again and built a graham cracker village the last two days.
 We found the easiest way to cut graham crackers is by "sawing" them with a steak knife.
 You needed two end pieces and two side  pieces for each house.

And you need two half squares for the roof.

You can cut the end pieces shorter and use 1/4 a cracker for the sides to make a smaller house.

 Here is our finished village. We've had a snowstorm! You can see that there are cars stranded.

 The people are as big as the houses. The snow is coconut flakes. 

 The trees are made from ice cream sugar cones frosted and turned upside down. The snowbanks are peppermint circus peanut candy (it's usually orange, but the Christmas ones are white) covered in coconut flakes.

So if you get bored during vacation, try building a village of your own.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Easiest Reindeer Ever!

I have several more crafts to post before Christmas, but I'm running out of days. Here are the easiest reindeer ever to make. 

You only need Nutter Butter cookies, M&Ms or other candy, pretzels and frosting to use as glue, or you could use peanut butter to attach the candy and pretzels.

You could also make white eyes with frosting in a tube and black pupils with writing gel.

A Good Tradition:
One thing we've done every year for over 20 years is make a birthday cake for Jesus. 
The kids work in two teams--boys' team and girls team and make two cakes. Notice the difference in the cakes. The boys used white frosting and green sugar. The girls used food coloring to make green frosting.

Last year we did only one cake because only the three youngest were home. They chose a two colored "red velvet" cake.

This is a really easy way to remember the importance of Christmas.

One other easy tradition is to light a sparkler (or use a glow stick) and talk about how Jesus is the light of the world and how you can be a light to others. This is good for either Christmas or New Year's Eve.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Graham Cracker Reindeer

Jessica and I were messing around trying to figure out how to make a reindeer from the left over graham crackers that we had from our graham cracker houses.

We melted almond bark.

Then we used a spoon to spread it on the graham crackers.
We added a red m&m for the nose. Yep, it looks kind of messy. Cuz we're real people and do not claim in any way to be proficient at this.

Then we added pretzels for antlers

 Jasmine helped me make eyes by adding white dots of frosting and then tiny dots of black frosting used for writing to make pupils.

And here's what they look like done. Some have m&m noses, others have mini jelly beans. Yeah, kind of lopsided and a few look like they got hit by a car, but they were fun to make and fun to eat. 
We even took some to Felicia from Stare If You Must when she drove down with her crew last week.

 Can you tell that Benjamin like them?

So if you're looking for something fairly easy to make, then give them a try.

We had some chocolate left over, so we dipped pretzels.
You could do these with white almost bark for Valentines' Day.