Tuesday, December 30

4 Cool Creativity Websites (for the kids AND you)

In these last days of the year I get in this creative mode. Partly because I don't have to get up and get the boys moving, partly because I know that the break from school will feel like it zoomed by (which it did) when Friday rolls around. In case anyone else feels like doing something creative with what remains of Christmas break, I thought you might enjoy following the links!





Saturday, December 27

January's Plans

I sat down last night to plan our next unit of study and outlined a few things. Then we went to the library today to get our resources to flesh it all out. I came home with 30 books on China. So, if you're going to study China in the next month, the Midland library in Portland is cleaned out. Just a little heads up.

Sunday, December 21

Thursday, December 18


  • More snow -- the kind that sticks.
  • Our last day of school before we break for Christmas.
  • A couple days left to create Christmas gifts.
  • A fire in the stove left by dh before he went to work.
  • Kids who are actively engaged.
  • A singing two-year old.

Tuesday, December 16

Five Things I'm Loving Right Now.

There are some great things happening for us right now and it's hard to focus on school especially with Christmas on the approach. In this last week before we break for Christmas we're just working on finishing things up so we can have two weeks off. I'd be crazy to think the kids are learning anything new right now. So, we're doing some fun review.

5. Love this animated, interactive website. http://edheads.org/
We're working through the simple machines module this week, but you can also learn about the weather and even knee surgery (!).

4. Loved the snow in Portland this week. It amazes me that the city doesn't plow it's streets though! What is up with that? With more snow in the forecast I guess we'll just hang out at home until we completely run out of milk and bananas.

3. Love the Jesse Tree that we're doing in lieu of the advent wreath this year. It entails a short story to read each day and a felt ornament to hang on our "tree" (this thing is full of family history). It does not entail arguing over who gets to light a candle and dealing with the wiggles. Just right before bed or after dinner. We're a couple days behind tho...

We're using this book as our guide and we borrowed a lot of felt ornament ideas from here.

2. Loved our playdate with Anna, Jaden and Jonah Olson yesterday. Our boys had a great time playing together and I just loved talking about life and ministry and kids with Anna. I'm also very impressed that they were willing to venture out on the icy roads! It helped the cabin fever for all of us, I think.

1. Love the potential that lies thick in the air these days. 2009 is going to rock.

Sunday, December 14

Kind of crazy for here

Wind: E at 12 mph
Humidity: 83%

Thursday, December 11

Homeschoolers for Heifer International

I found out about this too late to participate with my boys, but we are going and buying! The event is a chance for homeschoolers from all different locations, styles, and philosophies to come together, share their talents and contribute to a good cause. I have two friends who will be participating and donating their proceeds.

Portland Homeschoolers Children’s Market

A fun festival of child-created, child-run booths offering services, activities, food and wares to other home schoolers and their family and friends!

Friday, December 12th
2pm - 5pm
Liberty Hall, 311 N. Ivy, Portland

With a performance by The Vibrations a local homeschooling family band!

Please come and join us for this fun event. There will be many gifts, edibles, and activities that appeal to guests of all ages and all budgets!

Carnival Games -- Holiday Ornaments -- Baked Goods -- Raffles -- Arts and Crafts -- Jewelry -- Face Painting -- Live Music -- Handmade and Altered Toys -- Gifts for All Ages

Free Admission! Portion of all proceeds go to charity.
Please join us! Bring your friends and family!

Tuesday, December 9

Quote of the Day

"What fun thing are we going to do today, Mom?" B, age 6

So nice to hear in the middle of anti-school season.

Friday, December 5

I Should be Making Cookies Right Now

Subtitle: How This Homeschooler Does Christmas

The short answer -- it's never the same way twice. Inasmuch as I believe in constantly tweaking the educational process, I believe in doing the same to the Christmas season.

1. Advent at home. We have done simple crafts after lighting the candles, read the scriptures for the week and attempted discussion while the kids did a coloring page, completely gave up on the advent wreath altogether one year and this year we are embarking on telling the whole story of Jesus in the Bible through the Jesse Tree.

2. Worship. This is a consistent part of our season, but I love that it's never the same from year to year. Even the time of the Christmas Eve service changes up -- though the kids and I love the midnight time the best.

3. Parties. Some years there have been more than I could handle. Some years there was only one. This year it's just two and they are on the same day. I have to find some white elephant gifts...

4. Presents. We have always just bought the kids three gifts. (There's the stockings too but that tends to be a cumulative effort with at least one set of grandparents.) This year's different in that we're trying to make a few more. Tomorrow I'm hosting "Make Something Day" for the first time and I hope my creative friends inspire me to make some cool things.

4. Service. We've distributed toys with the Salvation Army for about five years now in different locations using several different methods. This year I think we'll be doing some bell-ringing! We do it on a school day and it COUNTS.

5. Schedule. I have had years where I plowed ahead in school with the kids M-F all the way up until Christmas. Some years were not so heavy with school, but were peppered with other activities. This year we're taking off Fridays from Thanksgiving until after New Year's.

6. Celebration. Sometimes it's at our house. Sometimes it's at my parents. Sometimes Chip's mother comes up. Sometimes we hand out hoodies to homeless. Sometimes we eat Rosemary Pork Roast. Sometimes we eat Mema's Ham. Sometimes we have extra guests over. You get the idea.

I know there are families who thrive on tradition. As comforting as that sounds, it's not the way we do things. I simply find too much freedom in flexibility. If something's not working for the family or if the message is getting skewed we can switch things up and not feel like God is some small-minded bookkeeper who is only pleased if his birthday comes off in a certain pattern. He didn't even tell us to celebrate it in the first place. Which is an interesting idea all on it's own.

What are you switching up this year?