Advent Activities 1-4

You may recall that this season of preparation and waiting is my favorite.  I love it.  And I love making each day filled with little activities keeping our hearts and minds focused on the real meaning of Christmas.  I’m feeling a little stretched thin this year, so the planning isn’t what I would like it to be…but I’m just trying to move forward without the pressure of doing everything memorably. =)  If the boys have a general joy-filled sense that the Christmas season is about celebrating Jesus’ first coming and anticipating His second one, I’ll be pleased.

We are using Advent Calendar workbooks given by Grandma Cleve this year as our study (thank you, Grandma Cleve!!!). And Micah is coloring a picture for each day from his CBS teacher (Side note – CBS is his favorite day of the week now!  How far we’ve come by the grace of God!!).

Day 1 – make snowflakes and hang them from the ceiling in the boys’ room:

Day 2 – watch a Christmas movie:


Day 3 – breakfast for dinner (Micah’s birthday): WAFFLES (thanks, Amy, for the waffle-maker!)

Day 4 – Red and green dinner (one of my personal favorites!):


Other Updates

Thanksgiving week pics – writing down things for which we are thankful and sending birthday cards to Great Grandpa:

Various creation pictures:

We all had a visit to the dentist and we have no cavities!  Phew!


Micah and Daddio worked on ridding our roof/gutters of leaves:


I went for a bike ride with Ethan:


And we continue to love playing Dominoes:


I’m sure you’ve noticed the family wearing shorts…the weather has been very warm this season!  I’m hoping that the cold is coming…along with some snow…but for now we are sure enjoying the warm temperatures and sunny days!

Grandpa Russ’ Visit!

Grandpa Russ drove out to spend Thanksgiving with us again this year.  We are loving this tradition and really enjoy having him in town for the holiday.  This year he arrived on Wednesday afternoon and left on Sunday morning.  We squeezed a lot of casual fun in that time.  We spent a lot of time outside, going for walks, and playing various games.

We also celebrated Thanksgiving twice.  We had two smaller feasts – one on Thursday and another on Saturday, when Ashley, Zach and Caleb were back in town.  Micah was my big helper in the kitchen. =)  It was a great way to celebrate!  (And in between the two celebrations, I got to decorate the house for Christmas while listening to the new Hanson Christmas CD!)

Feast #1:


Feast #2:


We’ve got lots for which to be thankful!  Thanks, Grandpa Russ, for coming out for another fun visit!

Christmas Blankets

So back when my parents were in town, my Mom and I started working on Christmas/winter pillow covers.  This project got me super jazzed!  So when the boys and I were at the fabric store for something unrelated and I saw fleece on sale 50% off…I decided to make Christmas blankets with the boys.  Don’t even get me started at how much I ended up spending on this endeavor…my word…but we had fun working on them together and I am hopeful that we will find them adorable and cuddly for years to come!

And the pillows that got this whole thing started…


I sent this picture (below) to my Mom to “guilt” her into finishing the final two pillows.


Doesn’t she do wonderful work?!


Our Life

I’ve got some fun updates to make this week, but I’ll start with the basic life as we live it type post.

We made it to week 9 in Classical Conversations, Cycle 3.  Micah again participated in his own class last week!  I got a few hugs throughout the morning, but he participated well and had a great time!  He did a presentation on his hand-me-down camera and a couple of the girls in the class proclaimed that they are putting it on their Christmas list now. =)  Ethan did his presentation on a Lego creation he made.  We’re learning about the human body and will be putting some muscles, bones, organs and other parts of the body on our traced bodies at the end of the 12 weeks.  So, I snapped a picture of Ethan getting traced.  You’ll see the finished product in a few weeks.

We stopped in at Joann Fabrics for *one thing* I wanted for my Halloween costume…and we left with enough fleece to make two massive Christmas blankets for the boys!  Oops.  I had a coupon and there was a buy-one-get-one deal going on…and they picked such darling fabrics…that will match our Christmas pillows my mom made for us!  Anyway, we’ll be working on those in the coming weeks.  Micah, in particular, loved this store.

We enjoyed celebrating pumpkin day…it was a good excuse for a special pumpkin treat.


I went to my very first book club.  It was a lot of fun!  I had missed the first one because Mike was out of town, but this time I just decided to ask Ike to come watch the boys so I could still attend.  We were discussing “The Scarlet Letter”, a book the boys will have to read when they get into the Challenge program (that’s high school in CC language).  I tried to take good notes while reading it and discussing it so that I will be more prepared for those daunting years!  How awesome is my cousin, Ike??  He came dressed as Chewie to surprise my two excited Chewies.


Micah continues to love building with MagnaTiles and setting up battles.

Both guys are doing great in school.  E is learning more about multiplication and solving problems like 46×3.  He really enjoys Math.  Micah is still working on addition and is showing some improvements in his reading, too.  He enjoys writing quite a bit and often asks to do extra sheets for that.  Today he even made his own extra worksheets.  I am not in the stage of correcting his writing, so I think he finds it to be a small risk with great reward. =)

Daddio is home for a good stretch now, so we are soaking up time with him!  The guys worked in the yard…and on our roof (eek!!!) this weekend.  Good to have him back!

And we’ve been really enjoying our church.  I am the helper in Micah’s Sunday School class and I’m super impressed with their intentionality in teaching the Bible to these kids.  We’re building a really firm foundation and that’s so great to see.


Still to come…Ethan’s first piano recital and the Halloween party.

Daily Grind

You might remember that we had loads of produce from our trip to Miller Farms.  Well, we decided to blanch our tomatoes and make homemade spaghetti sauce.  In all honesty, it was just okay.  The process was fun and it smelled delicious, but the sauce itself was sub-par in my opinion.  And it wasn’t because we ate it with a spaghetti squash we had picked, either, because I tried it with regular ol’ noodles later in the week and it was still just so-so. 😉

Micah continues to love to build with magnatiles.  Again, I highly recommend them to people and am so thankful that Cass told me about them long ago! =)

Ethan continues to love playing piano (3 weeks in – woot, woot!).  He was the star student of the week again.  I believe that means he plays the iPad piano game more than others…so either I’m more lax about it than other parents or he’s more obsessed with it than the others.  At any rate, it’s a fun tool and he’s picking up piano quickly and loves to show off his new songs.  He has also now begun composing his own songs.  He tells me that Mozart was younger than him when he began composing. =)

Micah and I spend time working on reading during piano lessons and then head out for a walk.  On this particular day, he brought his camera to take pictures along the way.  He was interested, primarily, in the interesting mailboxes.

We attended a birthday dinner and soaked up time with Daddio this past weekend.

And here are some randoms from throughout the past week…a look at my current pile of books, a carwash experience and the boys enjoying Grandpa Russ’ popcorn in their army attire. =)

As you know, a huge part of our daily grind is homeschooling, but I’ll do a separate post on that!

Grandpa Russ

Grandpa Russ came out for a visit last week!  He usually likes to come during the summer, but our summer was a little hectic, so he came out in early “fall” (although still technically summer…) and enjoyed the hot weather with us. 😉 We always enjoy his visit – we spend a lot of time outside and usually enjoy ice cream a couple times, too!  He also got to see what daily life is like around here, so he joined us at PE + (our first class of the school year) and listened in on some of our homeschooling around the house.


We went to the reservoir twice while he was with us.  It was lots of fun to use the kayaks he had given us last summer with him.  Hopefully he could get a sense of how much we all enjoy using them!!  One of the times we had Ace, Zach and Caleb join us which added to the fun!

Day 1:


Day 2:





Sadly, I pinched a nerve in my back and was in excruciating pain when he first arrived and for the first bit after that.  So, I didn’t participate in the kayaking, but I was able to walk at that point, so I just walked and then finished a book.


Look at how nicely Micah decorated the floor on the night I couldn’t move off the floor:


Thanks for coming out for a visit, Grandpa Russ!  We loved having you!!