Alllllllllll the sugar

LOTSA sugar. Tis the season. 
Unexpected events have led me states away from my big two.  Goodness, I miss them so.  I read to them over the phone tonight. I have never been away from them overnight except when giving birth.
But I do have the tiny one with me.  Prayers for health and an uneventful 2018 for my family are definitely in motion. <3  I left unplanned, so I don't have pictures uploaded for sharing.  Although my posting may be sparse, thoughts and prayers are definitely appreciated.

A good, good week.

This week flew by. How is it Saturday already?!

It's been a good, good week. 

One of my goals for my family for the Christmas season is for us to not get knee deep in the "What's in it for me" mentality.

This week I am proud to say my kids have not been "mine-o-saurs".

They played board games at an assisted living with our 4-H group on Wednesday.

They brought a story and craft to do with the kids in a special needs preschool with our homeschool co-op on Thursday.

They spent their morning making cards for a different assisted living community, joined the residents for music time and then passed their cards out on Friday. (Lovely cards below)
There are 9 days left before Christmas.  How many days can we squeeze in a bit of above and beyond kindness to others?  I'm challenging our family. Perhaps you can join us and challenge yours.

Tis the season.

We're Decked 2017

This tree is finally up. We're decked.  Homegrown, hand cut, popped in a winebarrel on top of burlap sacks I got for free at the local coffee roasting company.  Whimsical. Festive. Free. Good enough. It's unique and different and it makes us all happy.
 Although, real life, I cannot say the decorating was all joyful. My frustration with the chaos and mess in the top pic, paralleled with my husband taking a snooze, not worried a bit with the house still a disaster in the bottom pic.  Alas, all is tidied, festive and complete.
The merriment was there, though.
 Especially given it's little miss's first Christmas.  Next up, Christmas cookies making, per request.  It wouldn't be Christmas without cookies. The Santa who visits this house agrees wholeheartedly.

It's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together

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When I'm at work and I get this pic Emailed to me from my husband.  SO thankful these kids have an AWESOME dad who does so much with them and for them.  Apparently Anna-Kate enjoyed her first sledding adventure.  It's 11:45pm now and she's up telling me all about it (darn teeth!).  Oh, and that hat...hand knit by an awesome co-worker (thanks Steff!).  More snow in the forecast.  Loving the winter wonderland.

First Snow

Glad we brought that Christmas tree in, as it would have been snowcovered just hours after my crew cut it down.  It's a winter wonderland out there now.

 Anna-Kate's first snow.
 Since it won't be her last, we'll just stay inside by the fire.  Happy winter, Mainers!

Oh Christmas Tree

Nothing like an impending snowstorm to get us to bring a tree in as soon as possible.  Ordinarily we all go together to pick and cut, but it was not possible this year to get everyone awake/ready/outside before the snow.  I stayed with the baby and my husband went with the two big kids.

I looked out the window and saw this:
 Yup, those would be the big two kids dragging this tree alllllll the way back home on their own.  My husband supervising.
 I tell you, this man knows how to work smarter and not harder.

 They knew it had to be 'the one' because of the nest in it.  Have I shown Adrian's nest collection? It's all over half of our living room. One more to add to his massive collection.
 And here she is. Charlie Brown would be proud.  Homegrown, hand cut and a white pine. (So no needles lost in the house, even if you don't water. My kind of tree!)
 And look at city-boy-who-is-never-ever-going-to-be-a-farmer giving the thumbs up and posing like he did the work!  Tree is cut, next up is to get it up and decorated...hopefully before Christmas. It is snowing as I type, glad we got this tree in before the winter wonderland covered it.

Crafty kids.

Lately I have been less than stellar at remembering my camera when we go places. Since I do not own a cell phone, if I forget my camera, I have no way of taking any photos.  We had an old fashioned Thanksgiving program, two hikes in the woods, twice to the ocean and oodles of 4-H experiences lately...and no camera. Perhaps a couple of pics after the fact, but not during. Thankful for my 4-H friends, as I can always count on them to snap a couple. It's fun to actually be in the pictures for a change too. 

A couple of crafty coasters.
 And scooters decked for the holiday parade.
And my little reindeer in the Christmas parade.
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And look at that, me too! (Thanks Jen)
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Maybe one of these days, I'll snap out of confused brain and get back into my thinking brain. Pictures or no pictures, it's nice to have the memories!

Merry Making

 Admittedly, our merry making is tardy.   All that we have done that is holiday-like is make these centerpieces (with LOTS of random nature things...oh the creativity), got down some Christmas books and we have the advent calendar my uncle mailed us going.  That's it.  At the Sunday School class I teach, my kid was just about the only one out of 24 who didn't have the tree up. 
 I keep saying "Today is the day", but then the day is done before any merry making commenced.  Today I made some delicious food, made a month's worth of bread, cleaned out the chicken coop, did plies of laundry, read oodles of books and then had a fun time laughing with friends. Although we remain undecorated for Christmas, there is still a whole lot of goodness in our days. We'll get the tree eventually. Maybe even tomorrow. Or maybe not. Either way, the hustle bustle of the season isn't going to put pressure on me this year!

"I'll read to them, mama".

Reading. It's my absolute favorite thing to do with my children.  I could talk books, look up books, order books, hold books, smell books, organize books and read books all day long. I love picture books, chapter books, audio books. Fiction. Non-Fiction. Old books. Modern books.  My husband wants me to read more books so we can do what he loves-watch the movie that corresponds with the book.

That being said, I also have strong feelings that children do not need to know how to read themselves in those early years. I've felt this way for a long time and am now living my soap box.  In my mind, those early years are to fall in love with books and fall in love with being read to. It's time for the imagination to soar and ideas to be developing. It's not time to make reading 'work'.

Of course even with strong convictions, one always hopes their views measure up when it really counts.

Age seven, he's a reader now and doing quite fine. 

Even more, he loves books.  Picture books, chapter books, audio books. All books.

My decision to wait until he was ready ended up being a good decision.  Phew.

Now it's his turn to read to his sisters. It won't be long before it's their turn to learn to read.  We are in no hurry.  Right now it's time to fall in love with the stories.


At the sewing machine again, finishing these UFOs I started.  Here's a nightgown with puffed sleeves for a friend I'm bartering with. Need to make a matching one for her doll before Christmas.  Hoping to get pajamas made for our trio before Christmas.  Love time behind the sewing machine. What are YOU crafting for Christmas?

"Me too"

I have not stitched much of anything in some time.  However, I made time to stitch when my little girl asked for a Bible carrying case so she could be like me.  Her is hers, with tiny yellow owls.
And here's mine.  <3


Goodness, it's tough getting the to cooperate for the camera for Christmas pictures.  I did get a couple of good ones, finally, and need to go through them.  For today, here's the outtakes, which do tell the story of "us". Blessed x3.

Waste Free Christmas

I have two more on board with waste free Christmas!

It's been a number of years since we've bought wrapping paper. The items our family buys for each other are mostly wrapped in reusable bags, most of which I made.  Grandparent presents are mostly wrapped with the brown paper that comes as a packing material and tied with ribbon.   We have a tradition of putting the empty bags under the tree Christmas Eve and Christmas morning we find the bags filled.  Much less work for me! Plus eco friendly. Win/win.  My kids are old enough to make their own reusable bags now.

My kids actually made these bags at a 4-H event. I led a couple of classes teaching a bunch of 4-Hers how to make their own reusable bags at a county wide event. Thankful for my 4-H mom friends (thank you Sara!), as I have this precious picture of me helping my own kids.
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Here is a picture of a past nearly waste free Christmas. Reusable bags, upcycled wrapping paper, homemade stockings and a Charlie Brown white pine from our own backyard.  Plus every unwrapped present below (as well as many in the packages) are second hand.

Was this Christmas pictured magical for my children? Absolutely.

 Sometimes less is more.


Drawing book, a frame so I could finally Frame sweet Anna-Kate's picture, a book, brand new (plastic still on) 2 CDs Laurie Berkner, Paddington, Bird field guide, a wooden circle box and a terracotta pot.

Wood is in!

I guess I'll call it in the 'nick of time'. 

 Thankful for my helpers...and the supervision.


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