Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent of Activities

I love Christmas.  It is a time to celebrate Jesus' birthday first and foremost.   I also love spending the month focusing on my boys and spending time as a family.

We have planned an entire countdown calendar of events for this month of Advent (in no special order!)

1 - Making gingerbread houses with our friends in Atlanta.
2 -Skating
3 - Christmas Lights in Canton 
4 - Seeing Peter and the Wolf performed by Czech Puppetry Guild
5 - Our church's Christmas program, "The Gift"
6 - Baking Christmas cookies with my sister's family on Christmas Eve
7 - Christmas caroling
8 - Reading our Advent book, Jotham's Journey, every night before bed
9 - Drinking lots of hot chocolate in front of the fireplace
10 - Having a camp out with s'mores and hot dogs in front of the Christmas tree
11 - Adopting a child from the Angel Tree
12 - Volunteering with Salvation Army Angel Tree
13 - Volunteering with the Christmas Village Cafe du Monde
14 - Watching "Elf"
15 - Buy/make the boys an ornament
16 - Invite college kids over for a Christmas pancake supper
17 - Reading all our old Christmas books from when the boys were little
18 - Buy hot chocolate/coffee for one of the Salvation Army bell ringers
19 - Leave a present in the mailbox for our letter carrier
20 - Give out candy canes with "Christmas notes" taped to them to anyone we see at drive-thru windows.
21 - Deliver special treats to my husband and all his staff at work
23 - Play lots of Christmas music

Christmas Eve - Take special treat to fire fighters down the street because it is no fun to be away from your family on Christmas Eve!
Christmas Day - Go to Christmas services and invite someone over to eat lunch with us who doesn't have family in town.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ready to Hit Pause

I should so be in bed asleep.   Sundays are such long days for me.   However, I am sitting here trying to finish all of the boys' school work.    I really want to go into next week without any schoolwork looming over my head.    I want one full week completely school free.   

I am so thankful that I get to homeschool my boys.   I love the time we get to spend together.   I love the flexibility it allows us.   I love that the boys can fly through an entire chapter in one day if they aren't having any problems or spend three days on one lesson if they are struggling.   

However, it is so much work to plan lessons for two different grades for twelve different subjects every day.    My brain is tired.    I'll admit it.    Biology and Latin are killing me!    All this kingdom and phylum and classification.....  oh my!     I took Latin a LONG time ago in high school.     Every time we do a lesson I remember just how long ago that was.     Why didn't I pay more attention the first time?  

It will be nice to have a Thanksgiving break.   I am looking forward to having two days to just bake and play games with the boys before we leave.     I would love for it to get really cold so we could build a fire and roast hot dogs and marshmallows and play games of Uno.   

I guess I should get back at it.    Just a few more Latin lessons and I can finish grading and get the boys' backpacks filled with schoolwork for after Thanksgiving break.    

After that I am ready to hit pause on all things school!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trying to Get A Christmas Card Photo

The boys have reached the age where they are not fans of taking photos.     When I told them I really needed to get photos for our Christmas cards the looks on their faces were priceless.     After about five pictures they said, "Are we done yet?"   

The cards are done and at the printers.   I am hoping they will get back before we have to leave for Thanksgiving so I can get them addressed and all ready to send out.    Just one more thing checked off my "to do" list.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Just A Little To Do

Deliver canned goods to local food pantry.
Get Big Guy a new pair of tennis shoes.
Cook food for husband's Thanksgiving office dinner.
Cook food for Gatlinburg.
Wash clothes.
Pack clothes.
Pack games and entertainment for trip.
Finish school assignments before Thanksgiving break.
Grade school assignments.
Refill and Pick Rx from Pharmacy.
Attend a wedding.
Choir rehearsal.
Set hold for mail with the post office.
Church Thanksgiving dinner.
Get car into the shop for tune up.
Find someone to take care of cat and fish while we are gone.
Attend last co-op classes.
Purchase tickets online for events we are attending in Gatlinburg.
Return library books.
Finish Christmas cards.
Get the house clean!!

And my husband wonders why I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off these days???

Friday, November 11, 2011

We Give Thanks

The social networks have been filled with people listing reasons they are thankful this month.   It is sweet to read the things that everyone is thankful for on their statuses.    However, in reality God desires for us to live a life of thanksgiving and gratitude every day.

Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.    Hebrews 13:15

It is one of my greatest desires and challenges as a Mom.    The only way to teach my boys the attitude of gratitude is to live it myself.     When I see them being less than grateful for something I stop and wonder, "Are they getting that attitude from me?"     It keeps me on my knees.

Each night as we gather as a family for our family prayer time we have made it a goal to focus on the things God has blessed us with.     We have been writing those things on strips of paper and putting them in our thankful jar.    This is what our jar kind of looked like.... before I accidentally broke it.    I was cleaning and knocked it on the floor.   Cleaning -- it just leads to no good!   *smile*  

I borrowed this picture so you could see what I mean.   Our thankful jar was much like this one.

Anyway, with the strips we have been collecting we will make a garland for the boys' Christmas trees.    I love the thought of them being able to look at their tree and see a list of answered prayers and blessings that the Lord has given us this year.    

I hope that this will help all of us remember the real reason for the season and continually cultivate an attitude of gratitude.    God has blessed us so abundantly and is faithful to us every day.     I never want to fail to thank  Him for those blessings!

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.    Colossians 3:17

Big Football Weekend

Last weekend was a big weekend for football.    The 4H organization gave us tickets to the MSU football game and, of course, LSU and Alabama was playing.     Hubs and Little Guy decided that they would go up to Starkville for the Bulldog's game.    Big Guy and I stayed home for the Alabama game.

Hubs sent me the above picture.    I just love it.   My beautiful niece and my adorable son hanging out and tailgating.    How much do I love these two?    My niece is in the colorguard with the MSU band.   She has really enjoyed being a part of the band.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A MadCAAP Trick or Treat

Although I am not a big fan of Halloween, this year when one of my adopted "kids" said, "Why don't we go trick or treating and collect canned goods for needy people?"    What an amazing idea!    

I told a group of high school students to just meet at my house and we would canvas as many houses as we could in the trick-or-treat hours.   The group you see in the picture above started in our neighborhood.    I drove my van around as they divided up into little groups and went from house to house.      As they gathered cans they would put them into the back of the van.     I loved seeing their faces as they came back from collecting cans.

We started at 6:00 and finished about 8:30.     That seems like a lot of time, but it really isn't when you are walking from house to house knocking on doors and waiting on people to find canned goods for you.    It did not seem like we were able to go a lot of houses; however, we were really excited about the number of cans we were able to collect.   One sweet man didn't have any canned goods but gave us a monetary donation.   So sweet!

We are donating our canned goods to MadCAAP.   MadCAAP is the Madison Countians Allied Against Poverty.    Last year they prepared 750 Thanksgiving meal boxes for needy families in Madison County (where we live).    This year they are planning for at least that many again.    The deadline to have these boxes completed is November 14.    Their needs list to finish these boxes consist of:

  • cans of corn
  • boxes of instant potatoes
  • cans of sweet potatoes
  • boxes of stuffing mix
  • donations to cover the cost of turkey and rolls

Here is the link to MadCAAP    If you live in Madison County, you can make a PayPal donation through their link while you are there.

If you don't live in Madison County, I am sure that there is an organization very much like MadCAAP in your community who is preparing for Thanksgiving and could use your generous donations right now too.