Friday, December 28, 2012

Post in Pictures

I am busy enjoying time with my family and I admit to ignoring the blog slightly. Back to some sense of normalcy next week, I promise! Until then...a few pictures to keep you amused~

Christmas Eve


All it takes is a helicopter to make my man smile!
My sweet girl, who keeps my blog in order, turned 15 this month as well!

Things to come in January-
Fun Fridays- Favorite "Read Alouds" for families
A book Giveaway
Guest post by my oldest
And a No-Spend January challenge!

Monday, December 24, 2012

From our home to yours...

Merry Christmas!

yes, when there are six of you, perfection is not the goal!  ;)

See you back on Friday!  Until then, may you enjoy this season of joy and hope with the people that mean the most to you!

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Tree, A Homecoming and other random stuff...

Well, I should start with the homecoming...

Can you find her under the pile of boys?

She's back!  Woo hoo!  Can I just say it is so nice to have all my little chicks under one roof.  College may be good, but having everyone home is even better.  ;)

And then there is the last tree which I refused to put up until she got home.  All decorated and NOW the season can begin.

Not safe, I know, but someone was holding onto him!

We have been busy making cookies, sewing, singing, reading, watching Christmas movies and just being together.  Oh, how I love this time of year.  It is a time that forces our family to slow down and remember what is important in life.  Activities and endless busyness may be short term fun, but there is a danger in allowing even the good things in life to crowd out the BEST things.  I encourage you, my friends, to remember that FAMILIES, no matter what that looks like in your lives, are the BEST things!  Take time to enjoy them this special holiday season.  Hold them close and tell them you love them.  We all need to be reminded.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fun Fridays- CD Edition

No giveaway on this one friends, but I do have another audio series I want to share with you...Jonathan Park!

Remember how I said the boys learn history from Odyssey?  Well, this is our science!  OK, not really our science, but close.  My oldest son is a walking encyclopedia these days and any time I ask where he knows something from he was on Jonathan Park.  Or better yet, when I try to teach him some new, cool thing he responds, I already know that!  Yes, you guessed it,  from Jonathan Park!

Here's why we love this is based on Creation Science!  That to me is worth its weight in gold.  It is challenging to find science related materials that do not spout evolution out as a fact.   No worries here.  The episodes discuss what the Bible says in reference to all facts discussed, and when arguing against evolution are very straightforward in their explanations.  Pair that with drama and adventure and you have a happy family!

And a bonus- when you visit the Jonathan Park website you can download homeschool study games, get ideas for activities tied to the different episodes, listen to the week's adventure and get a peek behind the scenes.
There are several series now, each containing 4 Cd's.  You can buy them from Vision Forum, as well as other Jonathan Park merchandise. 
While the boys in your family may be particularly enthralled by Jonathan and his escapades, these are worthy of whole family listening and been known to keep us busy on long road trips! Give them a try and let me know what you think.

This post is our personal opinion only and was not written for Vision Forum or any Jonathan Park affiliate.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

And the winner is...

Tim-Melissa Williamson!

I have sent you an email!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012



Comment at this link for your chance to win The Adventure in Odyssey Christmas Classics Cd set.

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

EVERYWHERE you turn!

Yes, I do have a slight obsession with Christmas trees.  Do not tell my husband!  OK, he knows, but please do not mention it or ask how him many we have, as it tends to get him started on a speech about his crazy obsessed wife.
It all started with this...

Actually, it was a lot smaller one (now our Angel tree, but I digress) and stayed up year round with a few Americana ornaments on it.  I loved it.  We lived in Colorado at the time and it just felt homey to me.  Then a few loving friends started to feed my fetish and we HAD to get a bigger tree.  I mean, no one wants a crowded tree, right!  And for the record, I do not leave it up all year anymore, though I may have been tempted once, or twice.

The Nutcrackers started in my dancing days.  My mom gave me a new one each year I danced in the ballet.  I have fed my own fetish since then, thank you very much

Then there is this one..

My cross tree.  It actually started out smaller too (see a trend here?), but because friends love me they have helped me cover a bigger tree.  Not blaming them; just saying!  I love this one too!  Makes me smile every time I pass it.  It reminds us of the Savior for whom this whole season is about!

"For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord!" Luke 2:11  NEVER FORGET why we have a reason to celebrate!

Then came this one...

Our angel tree.  I just had a lot of angels, friends, and they needed somewhere to go.  So I put them on the once-Americana tree.  See, re-purposing at its best!

Then there is (stay with me), the kid's tree.

 This is where we put all those homemade ornaments- think glitter, sequins and lots of glue and all the Disney and Sesame Street ornaments that have been given to the kids.  They eventually will take some of those with them as they leave the house, but let's not talk about that now, please.

After years of spending a ton of money on fresh trees, my wonderful hubby bought me the tree of my dreams for Christmas a few years ago.  hmmm. Maybe he thought that would stop me from buying more.  Anyway...

Here is a picture of it from last year.  We have not put it up this year yet because I REFUSE to do so until our oldest gets home from college in 4 days!  4 DAYS YA'LL!!!

There may or may not be a small tree on the front porch and there is one in my oldest's room, but that is it!  Really!  For this year!  Next year I am thinking a forest of a few trees together could be really cool.  Don't 'ya think so?

Then there are the nativities.  Well, next year I will show you those.  ;)

And just so you do not think we are all about decorations and stuff let me tell you a few little other tidbits!  We love the Advent season as a time to be quiet, reflect on God's love and to remember that He came to earth as a baby to save us all.  Every year that time looks a little different for us, but this year we have begun a new book called Jotham's Journey.  So far- LOVE IT!  There are a few in the series and I know you can rotate through them for several years.  Even our olders love read-alouds by candlelight at Christmas.

And as far as gifts...
I am an only child, so I grew up with a lot of presents everywhere.  My mom and step father spoiled me, in a good way, and I have wonderful memories of Christmas with them.  That being said, we have FOUR kiddos, not one, and knew we needed to scale back.  So in the past few years we have cut presents down.  We try  to stick with:
 Now granted, sometimes the wear or watch (also read) is sometimes a few things wrapped together, but we want the children to understand that it is not all about the gifts.  The "wish" is often their special gift.  In addition to that concept, we have asked Grandparents to keep things small and contribute money to our vacation fund.  The years that has worked we have given them photobooks with pictures of our fun as a thank you.  Our goal is to create memories, not collect things!

Things!  Oh, don't get me started because that is a whole new series I hope to attack in January!  Jesus did not die on a cross so we could have things!  He did so so we could have life and have it abundantly.

So while I assemble and decorate my many trees, may I never forget that true joy is not in the pretty things that please our eyes, but in the ONE that holds our hearts!  JESUS!

This post is part of a Sharing Christmas blog hop that will go live Saturday the 15th.  Come back and enjoy all the links to wonderful Christmas posts by my CREW buddies!

We are also linked up to The Modest Mom website today!  Check out her 12 Days of Christmas sale and giveaways!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Fun Friday, CD Edition and a second giveaway!

We tease a lot in my house that what History my sons know they learned from Adventures in Odyssey.  Sad to say, that may not be far from the truth!  We started collecting this series years ago when the girls were small and they listened to them on- wait for it, TAPES!  Now we have graduated to CDs- lot and lots of them.

Do you have any?  They are about a great little town called Odyssey and a fun place called Whit's End.  Through the magic of imagination, the characters visit all sorts of places in many different time periods.  Lots of fun fiction telling lots of fun real facts!  And all from a Christian point of view.  Though my older son listens to them almost every night before he goes to bed, we also listen to them when we are traveling.  It is one of the few series I know of that is enjoyable to listen to at any age.

In fact the kids have listened to them so much they can name a CD and start reciting it. It has become sort of a game in my house.   It is like living with a group of actors around here.  Cute most of the time, annoying, well sometimes!  ;)  But I can say, there are far worse things to have memorized and I love that they can listen to something that has good clean fun, biblical morals and standards and teach a little history on the side.

This week for you I have Adventures In Odyssey Christmas Classics, a collection of 12 Christmas episodes, to giveaway!  Have fun entering!

Product Details

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 6, 2012

And the Winner is...

Sarah A!
Congratulations Sarah on winning The Brinkman Adventure CDs!  I have sent you an email.
Thanks to all who entered!  Pop in tomorrow for my next giveaway!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Back on CREW!

You may have noticed that there are no upcoming reviews listed for January.  They are coming though, and I cannot wait to share with you all the exciting vendors that are scheduled for the new year.


Yes, I have been invited back for another year of The Old Schoolhouse Crew Review Team and I am so honored.  I work with about 200 other people, guys and gals, who have a love for homeschooling and want to pass on news of new and old products alike that have blessed our lives.  Remember though that not all the products reviewed are for homeschoolers exclusively!  Last year things reviewed ranged from classic homeschooling materials to new apps to voice lesson Cd's to videos and games for the whole family.

It is a privilege to get invited back to use these products with my family and let you know what I think!  I thank those of you who have commented in the past on reviews I have written.  I consider it a way to give back to a community of friends that have blessed me greatly for over 13 years.

 If you have any ideas on how I can improve my reviews, or things you would like to see added, I am always open to suggestions.

 Get ready to an exciting 2013 and THANK YOU Kate, Debra and Marcy for having me back!
I am taking it easy this month, so see 'ya back here on Friday for another Holiday Giveaway!  Don't forget last Friday's giveaway closes this Thursday.