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Archive for November, 2007

This:

It is raining outside, no surprise in the Northwest. Christmas music is playing and the banana bread is smelling yummy. This morning started off with cleaning and more cleaning. I cannot believe how messy a girls room can get. Well, I’ve blogged on that before and believe me when I say I have not yet found a solution. Although one may come in the form of boxing everything up and stick in garage until we can move it to the new house. That will make things easier for when we list our home. We are hosting small group here tonight and the girls are disappointed that their friends cannot come. One family had to cancel. Our small group consist of parents and children and I absolutely love it that way. The kids are not in the way and I believe it sets such a great example to them.

That:

Last night a friend invited me to attend a talk on Advent. It was so neat to hear such great ideas. My favorite was what to do with the stocking. In Germany St. Nicholas day is celebrated on Dec.6th. The lady suggested doing the same here. Fill the stocking the night before and the family can open their stockings on the 6th. Then all St. Nick’s decorations get put away and the rest of the month is focused on Jesus. I don’t know about you but I have always struggled with what to put in the stocking. She suggests putting 4 types of items in it: gold coins (for the dowry her provided for the three sisters), something made of wood (for the toys he had carved for poor children), something good to eat (for the food he provided for the poor), and something warm (for the clothing he provided for the poor). I just love this idea, and each item has meaning. This is definitely something that I will incorporate in our traditions.

What are some of your Christmas traditions?

Susan

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How was your Thanksgiving?

We had a good time. It was pretty mellow and the long weekend was very relaxing.  While I did not join the masses at 4am or even 7am, I did manage to get a little shopping in here and there throughout the weekend.  I am happy to report that I am nearly finished with my shopping. Boy, it sure pays to simplify and buy less!  It is such a huge blessing to be ahead of the game in getting ready for Christmas, especially this year.  Why you ask?  Well, we have been going round and round about what to do with our house, fix it up, build, sell, and on and on.  Recently we decided that selling and moving would be the best option for us, so it ends up that we found a house. Yes, before we listed our house.  We made an offer several weeks ago, they countered, we countered, they countered again and then we declined.  So we let the house go, trusting that the Lord had something better for us.   Week before last they called our agent and asked if we were still interested and we are.  We make another offer on the house and if all goes well, we will close on Dec 21st.  That means one crazy December.  We will leave for California to my parents house for Christmas two days after we close.  Nuts huh?!  The good news is that we will have two months to get our house ready to list and we will also have time to slowly pack up and move somethings out before hand.  Also, we will work on painting the new old home and getting a few things ready for us to move in. It is a smaller house, and I will need to declutter my cabinets and storage places but I am looking forward to simplifying my life. More stuff means more to take care of and more stress. I am ready to let it go.  I am excited to be in the new old place (it is about 50+years old, likely the same builder as our current home). It has a better floor plan than ours and it is in a culdesac in a quiet neighborhood. Right now we live on a  busy street.   The kitchen in the new house is about 2 years old and so is the bathroom and laundry room.  The bathroom is a good size but there is only one. We hope we will be able to add on to this house.  The best part of this house is location, location, location.

Such a strange way to end the year. Oh well.

Susan

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Happy Thanksgiving

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday with friends, family and maybe even strangers. We will be at church tonight for the annual simple supper service. We will have soup, bread and water, and then a lovely service with music, testimonies, teaching, and giving. Tomorrow we drive all the way across town to spend the day with my in-laws. In hand will be the annual mash potatoes and pumpkin pie, my all time favorite pie. I will make sure to make two and leave one at home!

Don’t forget to give thanks, for we have much to be thankful for. Besides my family, friends, good health and a roof over our heads, but also a country where we can worship freely, and a Saviour that loves us so much.

Bless you all,

Susan

PS- and from the words of Todd Wilson (The Family Man)

“Be Real… and get rid of that Martha Stewart Thanksgiving picture in your head right now! It aint gonna happen!”

PPS-The worship service was fabulous. You should have been there.

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What a great day with friends

We were invited to brunch over at some friends house.  If there is a perfect family match for us, this particular family is it. They have three daughters, all blond as blond can be, all within the same ages as my brunettes. The girls love each other.  The mom and I get a long great, have tons in common including homeschooling. We go to the same church. Our husbands have the same dry sense of humor and they work at the same place.  We ended up spending the whole day there.  The dads left in the afternoon to see a movie and we finally got home around 8:00.  It was a very fun day of fellowship!

Susan

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You know, Christmas. It is coming right up quicker than you can get to the middle of a tootsie roll centered lollipop.

Well, I have.  I have thought about how every year, I am going to do something different. I am going to make it simple, and stress free. HA!  Never happens.  I really want to focus on Jesus more. I want to teach my kids to focus on Jesus more.  I want them to not be greedy and only think of how many presents they get to open up.  But each year, I get lost in all I have to do and I get stressed and while I am planning and doing fun things with the kids, my mood is often grumpy and grumpy.  That is not a memory I want my kids to have.  What to do?

Our pastor taught this morning on the Advent Conspiracy–“An international movement restoring the scandal of Christmas by substituting compassion for consumption.”  This is not to exit the culture nor is it giving up all our family traditions.  We were challenged to look at how we spend our time and resources this season and see if we are led to make changes in how we worship the King.  This was a timely sermon because it is the exact thing that was on my mind.

I have been trying to figure out what things make the season difficult for me.  One is the Christmas tree.  For some reason the whole event of getting the tree, setting it up and decorating it doesn’t quite fit the Currier and Ives image in my head. It is a lot of work and often disappointing.  How can I make this different.  Well, some changes we have decided on this year is to not take out all the ornaments.  While I love the ornaments I have collected throughout the years for myself and my kids, I don’t want to risk them getting destroyed by a puppy.  As far as getting a tree, we have that problem solved too.  We just so happen to have a volunteer tree in our backyard that is the right size for cutting down.  We will cut it and drag it into the house. No deciding on where to go and how to get it home this year.  As for decorating it, I will have the girls make paper ornaments out of some premade papers I bought. All they have to do is punch them out and fold and glue them together and decorate with glitter if they want. We will hang pine cones, from our yard, and string popcorn and cranberries.  It will be homespun and hopefully enjoyable to put together.

The second and probably the most dreaded tradition is the Christmas card.  More specifically the Christmas photo. Oh, how I put so much pressure on myself to have the perfect image of our family to share.  Photography is not my strong point and my kids are not very cooperative.  Then the decision to buy a card, make a card, write a letter or not, insert a photo or make a photo card.  Finally it’s the long list of names that cards are sent to.  Ugh!  I tired just thinking about it.  I have decided to start early and the goal is to have them finished before Dec. 1st.  I also will not spend a whole lot of time looking for the perfect photo.  And my list is going to get dwindled down to the most important people.

Lastly, getting presents for my inlaws and my parents is highly frustrating. What do you get people with no needs, and very few hobbies. Each person is quirky and extremely difficult to buy for. Add that to a person whose love language is giving and receiving gifts and you have a problem on your hands.  Not sure what to do about this yet.  As far as my own kids go, I could buy and buy and buy. The problem here is self control and not indulging them too much. I have an idea for one very special gift each for the girls and some stocking stuffers and I hope to call it good with that. I am also working on very specific lists for the grandparents to get for the girls. They appreciate this and in my declutter mode I have been on for oh, about a year or two, this will be very helpful to me.

Another thing to think about this Advent season is how we will worship our King.  What our pastor mentioned is that our worship will be inconvenient (monetarily, time, and sacrifice). What will we cut out to make room for how we might serve His people this year?  Our worship will need our persistence, as there will be obstacles to overcome and our worship should be joyful. As we do things and give things for Jesus, we need to have an attitude of joy and in doing so, He will fill us abundantly with His peace.

May the joy and peace of our Lord be with you as you contemplate how you will celebrate the Advent Season, and may you also join our family in the Advent Conspiracy.

God Bless,

Susan

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Food again

Is it just me or is food getting more expensive?  Or is it that I have more children than 10 years ago, or that maybe said children are getting bigger and are eating more like an adult?  Whatever the reason is, it seems as if I cannot keep food in the house, and it seems as if I keep running out of money to keep food in the house.  Am I the only one with this problem?  I only have three children. How do families of 5, 6, 7, 8 or more children do it?  Well, I better go see what I can find for these kids to eat.  Maybe I can make a tomato paste soup?

Susan

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Photo time

Max, a hair cut gone bad. This is NOT a poodle.

Princess, Pixie, and Peanut in our backyard

Jamestown replica- free download at homeschoolinthewoods

Reading time with my Kinesthetic Peanut

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