One Warm December Morning {In Pictures}

The gratifying accomplishment of outdoor decorating complete.


Nature's own beautiful display.



A child's progression of mischief in play.


Imaginative stew, discoveries to awe and discarded mittens when it's all said and done.


The warmth and comfort of companionship.









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Little Drummer Boy, Canadian Style!

Check out this version of Little Drummer Boy by Sean Quigley, a 16 year old from Winnipeg!
Love it!
You can read more about him here.

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Crafting Our Way to Christmas!


We've been working away on our Advent activities from Truth in the Tinsel and having SO much fun!
My muffin tin advent plan didn't work out as planned but thankfully we have an Advent calendar my sister-in-law made for us and it has been perfect!
Each day one of the girls pulls out an ornament to hang on the calendar tree, a card with the activity clue on it and candy!
This is definitely the most exciting part of their day!
Then we sit at the table and read the related Bible passage.
As they work on their craft we discuss what we just read which has lead to some interesting conversations!
I love how they are becoming familiar with the WHOLE Christmas story through these activities!
Also, considering that my energy is diminishing with each added week of pregnancy, I am so glad to have everything planned out for what we are going to do each day of Advent!
The girls are thrilled with being able to do a craft every single day and they are so simple that I am not finding it the least bit overwhelming!

Without furthur ado, here are some photos of Piper and Taitum and their crafts!

Working away on their candle 'stained glass' craft!


Which look beautiful on our front window!


Taitum dove right into painting her crown for King Jesus!


And they look ever so lovely, bejeweled and hanging on the tree!

These are the girls' Zacharias crafts.
They used a bubble wrap bubble for his mouth.
Then to symbolize how God took his voice from him, the girls got to pop the bubble!
By far their favorite aspect of the craft!

Piper carefully adding Mary's buttons with glitter glue.
The glitter glue was a big hit and was put to good use with 'extracurricular' crafts once our Advent craft was done!


Finally, the girls' own rendition of Gabriel (who they refer to as the 'fairy' - in their minds, angels and fairies are synonomous! lol)









Five Minute Friday: Tired


I'm joining The Gypsy Mama's Five Minute Friday.
"For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not."
Today's topic: Tired
To take part, click on the above link.


GO

My body is beginning to feel the weight of the gift it bears.
Slowly, slowing down.
The aches and pains are setting in, right on schedule.
By the end of the day a most ungraceful limp carries me around.
Bending to pick up the stray toys with a grunt. 

The effort for such a simple movement is unbelievable.

The roll and flip out of bed each morning becomes an ever increasing feat.
Our school time together is not quite so full.
Naps are getting longer.
Pushing a grocery cart laden with food and children more of a challenge.
And the dust remains for another day.

I am just plain tired.

Although I'd like nothing better than to lie down and not move, it isn't an option.
My two little beauties fill the house with happiness and energy and 'what can we play now's.
There is therapy in pushing through and making a day as productive as I can manage.
My little tag team cheer me on with hugs pulling me close, all spontaneous like.
And then, the declaration: "When I grow up, I wanna be like you, Mama!"
And tired doesn't feel like the same kind of burden anymore.


STOP

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Our Jesse Tree


I finally did it!
This year, I actually got around to making a Jesse Tree and implementing a related devotional with the family!
It's pretty simple - paper, paint, sharpies and printable ornaments from the free ebook How To Celebrate Advent With a Jesse Tree.
And chances are, the point of the tree is a little over the kids' heads.
But you have to start a tradition sometime!
And this is one I think is awesome!
The Jesus Storybook Bible has been very helpful in sharing each of the stories we focus on as we follow the lineage of Jesus.
I even added a quote from the book to the tree:


"Every story in the Bible whispers His name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle - the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together and suddenly you see a beautiful picture." ~ The Jesus Storybook Bible


And so each night, we read a new story (or rather, a really old one!) of God's plan to send a Rescuer, the promised Messiah.
Prophecies of old telling of a Saviour to come.
Happenings intricately woven with a promise, a plan, pointing to the One who would deliver us.
It is stunning really, to read and realize God's sovereign hand at work in histroy.
A tradition well worth passing on to our children!




It Makes You Dream of Jubilee (Eyes On the Prize)

One of my most favorite artists, Sara Groves, has a new album out - Invisible Empires!
This just might be near the top of my Christmas wishlist!
But first I entered the giveaway at Molly Piper's blog!
Here's a song from her new album...
Let's just say I've already played it a million times!

When you see a family free
It makes you dream of Jubilee
Keep your eyes on the prize
Hold on


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Planning For Christmas

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent.
As always, I'm procrastinator extraordinaire!
Tonight, I am finally taking the time to get my Christmas-y act together!
Not that I haven't been thinking about what I plan to do with the kids over the holiday season!
It's my favorite time of year!
And I love the challenge of implementing Christ centered activities into our learning.
In the culture we live in, it can sometimes be difficult to point our childrens' minds and hearts (and ours!) to the real reason for the season.
But I truly believe it is our responsibility as parents to direct their focus (and change ours)!
Anyhow, without rambling on too much more, I'll simply share with you some of the things we'll being doing this December.
I'm super excited about ALL of it!

We've made it a tradition in our family to celebrate Advent.
This is taking time in the weeks leading up to Christmas to anticipate the coming of Christ.
As per usual, we will be lighting our Advent candles at supper each night.
But instead of doing our usual Advent devotion, we are going to make our first attempt at constructing a Jesse Tree.

(What is a Jesse Tree? The Jesse tree is the family tree of Jesus. It goes back to the very beginning, to Creation, and traces His family through the Old Testament, and it ends when He is born on Christmas day.


A Jesse tree is a little like an advent calendar, except that it emphasizes the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ.
Like any advent countdown, the Jesse tree has one ornament per day. Unlike a calendar, though, the Jesse tree tradition focuses on a Biblestory, a character, a devotion each day. ~from How To Celebrate Advent With A Jesse Tree)


This is something I've wanted to do for a while but was unsure of how to go about it with young children.
Then I came across a free e-book: How To Celebrate Advent With A Jesse Tree at Feels Like Home.
The devotions for each day are geared to younger kids and it includes printables to use for the ornaments!
Once I have our tree constructed and started I'll share more with you!

(We'll be using this book, The Jesse Tree by Geraldine McCaughrean, as well!)

Secondly, I wanted something related to Advent to go along with our school time.
I was at a bit of a loss though because I wanted to do some different things from what we did last year but really did not have the time or energy to come up with all new crafts related to the different themes of Advent.
Thankfully, a new e-book by Amanda at Impress Your Kids was released: Truth in the Tinsel.


It is simply amazing!
I always worry when I order an e-book that its going to be full of ideas I've already done or come across online.
But  I was not disappointed with this purchase!
Each day focuses on a different aspect of the Christmas story and includes a Bible passage to read, a craft to make, discussion ideas and a related activity.
There are also printables for creating a paper chain or calendar with a clue for your child about each day's topic!
I can hardly wait to get started! 

Finally, we need some sweets!
And frankly, I'm fed up with the lack of quality in the store bought advent calendars - so we're making our own!
Using a mini muffin tin, some magnets, printable numbers and a variety of treats from the bulk barn, I'm putting together an advent calendar like this:



On the backside of each number magnet I'll be adding the clue for the day's topic from Truth in the Tinsel!

Well, that's that for our plans for the month ahead!
Now I better get moving as I still need to cut out ornaments and build a tree!
I'll keep you posted on how all these projects turn out but I hope these ideas get you creative juices flowing for teaching your children about the true meaning of the coming season, too!

Related links:


Additionally, if you have older children, I highly recommend The Jesse Tree Journey , a free e-book by Ann Voskamp! I love the printable ornaments provided!

I also highly recommend Hubbard's Cupboard's advent activities for those with young children! This is what we used last year and it was wonderful!




















The Food Is So Delightful (The Weather Outside Is Frightful)


The cold weather arriving leads to warm, yummy food being baked and devoured, right?







Also, Pinterest is a dangerous, dangerous thing!

What new things are YOU baking these days?


Follow Me on Pinterest

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The Human Body

For a few weeks now we have been focusing our learning on different aspects of the human body.
Originally, I had planned it as our unit study leading up to Halloween.
I figured it would be helpful to learn about what's inside their body since much of it is displayed at Halloween as being scary!
It certainly was helpful in that regard!
In fact, we've ended up spending about 3 weeks on this theme because of Piper's interest and enthusiasm!
I often forget that information like this is brand new to them!

To begin with, I filled their workboxes with activities such as -



a magnetic puzzle (from Learning About My Body) which required assembling the outer body


Then adding the inside parts to the correct locations,



a bone search (drawing a line from the bone to where it is located in the body)


and a q-tip skeleton craft!



Then there were some various activites we did together to better understand the functions of the different body systems we studied.

For the digestive system, I set up the blender and added to it the same things they were eating for snack that day. As they ate I turned it on and then gave them each a chance to see what happened to the food!


Piper thought it smelled good!
She enjoyed this little experiment so much she asked to do it again!

Taitum liked looking at it but wanted little else to do with it!
Haha!
Can't say I blame her!


On another day, Daddy brought home a model of a heart from school!
The girls thought this was so cool!
(Yes, Taitum is kissing the heart! Silly girl!)




They spent lots of time exploring it, taking it apart and putting it back together.
It pays to have a science teacher for a Daddy!


Another fun activity we did was to make a cardboard finger in order to demonstrate how muscles work!
I assembled it since it was a tad too difficult of a project for a 4 or 2 year old!
But Piper especially had a blast playing with it and causing the finger to move by pulling the attached string!
She ended up coloring it and now has it on display in her room!



There were tons of coloring pages and cut and paste pages that the girls did, too!
They were all from this book: Learning About My Body.
This resource was really great in that it really simplified things - perfect for little ones!



And, of course, we read many related books!
Our favorites were:

(Simple yet informative and especially alluring because of it's interactive aspects.)


(As with all Cat in the Hat books, this one was super fun to read but gave loads of information. The girls LOVED this one!)


(Taitum's personal favorite. Again, very simple but easy to follow.)



Finally, we learned the Bone Bounce song!
I even learned some new vocabulary from this song!

"The Bone Bounce"
(Tune: "If You're Happy and You Know It")

Lucy Jensen


Put your fingers on your cranium, on your cranium.
Put your fingers on your clavicle, on your clavicle.
Put your right hand on your sternum,
Put your left hand on your sternum,
Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.
Put your hand on a humerus, on a humerus.
Put your hand on a radius, on a radius.
Put your right hand on an ulna,
Put your left hand on an ulna,
Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.
Put your hands on your ribs, on your ribs.
Put your hands on your hips, on your hips.
Put your right hand on a femur,
Put your left hand on a femur,
Find your bones; find your bones; find your bones.
Put your hand on a fibula, on a fibula,
Put your hand on a tibia, on a tibia,
Put your phalanges on your phalanges,*
Put your phalanges on your phalanges,
Find your bones; find your bones, find your bones.



Now that this unit study is done, I'm considering taking a break from unit studies for the next couple of weeks.
My energy levels are progressively decreasing the closer I get to my due date and I feel it would be wise to concentrate on our daily subjects.
(And focus on moving these girlies in together. AND preparing the nursery!)
As well, I feel I'd be better prepared for all our upcoming Christmas activities (which I am So very excited about!) if I make some spare time to concentrate on them!
So off we go towards Christmas!



Helpful human body related links:






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I love motherhood.

We're a smiling family.

I'm a covenant keeper.

I love my husband.

I am above self pity.

I am a nation builder.

Motherhood=Adventure

Worth more than rubies.


“I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ~ the life He has given me.”

~ Sally Clarkson







My Hubby

My Hubby
He's my bestest.

Piper

Piper
She is my compassionate, dramatic, fun to be around 6 year old. She loves to shop, get dressed up fancy and anything else that screams girly!

Taitum

Taitum
She is my goofy, snuggly 4 year old who loves to sing and dance and smile all day long!

Renly

Renly
She is our one year old smarty pants! She does all she can to keep up with her older sisters and to keep them in line!

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