Friday, November 30, 2007

Beautiful Christmas Wallpaper

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Jesse Tree

I love ideas like this, but I'm not very creative. So the Jesse Tree sparked my interest from the first time I heard it, but the need to make my own ornaments, or buy a very expensive pre-made set, automatically set it on the back burner.

But, it's on fire today, baby! And you can have one too.

Let me backtrack. We got a subscription to God's World News for 2-3 grades, Taking Off. We get a two week set of a pamphlet type newspaper every other week and a teaching guide. And about once a month I get really fantastic full size posters. Last moth it was a detailed drawing of Plymouth Plantation, this month, the symbols for the Jesse Tree!

So I was ready to go. I used magnets to hang it on the downstairs freezer and thought that we could use the poster and read about each symbol. But then, as I was requesting enough Christmas books at the library online to reach the maximum hold limits for each family member's library card, a thought struck me. Why not google and see if some good hearted person hadn't, by now, posted printable Jesse Tree ornaments. And they had, bless their hearts! More than one of them. Here they are:
  1. Cute tree ideas and kiddie style ornaments
  2. Free printable book and ornaments pdf - I have not read this, I'm just finding free ornaments, not endorsing websites, one way or the other.
  3. Simple patterns you can embellish
  4. And my favorites, that can be printed in small or large sizes
  5. This is a great website where you can buy several types of ornaments and they have a great jesse tree advent activity calendar online!
  6. While I'm at it, here are some preschool advent crafts and activities .

Hurry and you can begin your Christmas countdown tomorrow! Oh, and don't forget, Sunday is the first Sunday of advent, so get those wreaths out too. Have I mentioned that I love Christmas?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

PA Trip Pics

pajama snowball fight with Dad and Aunt Rachel

Rachel and Daddy

Me and my beloved

Mama and Rachel

Rachel and Anna Kate

A Gerber baby at the Doll Museum
I had one just like her - named "Rose"

Rosie got her first Eagles outfit

trying to dry out the cornbread for the
stuffing a little faster - hehe

Boyd Bear Factory

farmhouse at Gettysburg battlefield

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm Jealous!

Yes, I'm driving past beautifully decorated homes with trees twinkling in the windows and I'm insanely jealous. But I will completely unpack and put everything away first. I will. I will.

We had a lovely trip to PA. The fall colors were still beautiful there, and we even got a one or two inch snowfall one night that prompted a pajama clad snowball fight. Brian's birthday was today and almost everything is put away - just some laundry and odds and ends to catch up. Now that this birthday ( and all of the special "from scratch" gluten free baking that comes with it) is over, maybe we'll finally get back on track with school. Oh, and did I mention that our heat pump apparently quit the day we came home? I'm going to think about that another day. Right now the space heaters are doing a better job than the heat pump ever did...

Don't know that I'll be back full force, but I hope to get up some pics and maybe a snowball fight video soon. :^)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving...and a blogging break

This autumn has been so exceptionally lovely here. Everywhere we go we enjoy the beautiful trees. It's been dry and sunny - beautiful days, but drought conditions. It rained for hours last night, and we give thanks.

Psalm 67 is coming along beautifully. Ever since I made up songs for the proverb of the day this summer, my children think that I ought to make a song of all their Scripture memory - even the entire book of John! But Psalms were written for singing. And this Psalm came together. In reality, it's probably rather choppy, but in my head...well, in my head it's in four part harmony with orchestra and sounds a bit like Rutter. Either way, it helped the memorizing along for me, at least. You can't walk through Target composing a psalm if you don't know the words...

I've been a bit scarce. It's been a crazy week. Don't expect to hear from me again until after Thanksgiving; I'm taking a little break and promise to make up for my lack of Thanksgiving posts at Christmas. I have zillions of Thanksgiving things to do and share, but ended up with little time for either. And that's okay. I'll get you an updated Thanksgiving booklist some year!

And for those who have prayed for me and my family - thank you! Brian, after seeming to be continually worse for the majority of the year, has been so much better the past couple of weeks. He still wears down easily, but the change from connstant misery is a great gift. We have done little, if anything different, but the knee pain that exacerbated all of his other pain, has drastically diminished to the point that he is not having to use a cane. Praise the Lord! His almost continual headaches have also subsided for the most part. We are very grateful and we give thanks whether it lasts for a week or a lifetime. Thank you for praying for him.

If you weren't around last year, go to my November 2006 archives. I blogged about our favorite Thanksgiving tradition and a wonderful storybook, among other things. I think you'll enjoy it. I pray that all of you dear bloggy friends of mine have a holiday filled with love, family, good food, good football, and much thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Remembering by Christmas lights

This past Sunday was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. Our church supports Voice of the Martyrs and often calls the persecuted church to remembrance. We watched a short film dramatizing the arrest and torture of a young Chinese woman, the editor of an underground Christian newspaper. At the end of the film, it noted that she spent six years in prison - making Christmas lights for America. A man from our church went to the front to pray, and before he prayed he called on the fathers to lead their families in remembering our brothers and sisters in bonds whenever we see Christmas lights and even planning to set aside time throughout the holidays to specifically remember and uplift them in prayer, perhaps by the light of our Christmas tree.

This is what I want to do. Challenge you. Spread the word. The Christians in China are mocked and humiliated by having to make Christmas lights. Why don't we remember them by Christmas lights? What if so many people committed to do this that it would no longer be a mockery to those Chinese believers, but an encouragement and reminder that the lights they made would be a sign for their American brothers and sisters to uplift them in prayer?

So this Christmas, when you turn of the lights to admire your tree, remember the church in China. When you load up the van and head off to see Christmas lights, pray for those who were put in a van and never seen again. When you tromp down a street in the wintry cold admiring the lights in the shop windows and on the lampposts, remember your brothers and sisters in cold prisons. Gather your family and remember by Christmas lights.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:3, ESV)

And then, let's take the challenge one step further. If you buy Christmas lights made in China, would you commit to donating $1 for each strand to the persecuted church? Think of it as helping the family of that Christian who may have made those lights. Just go to Voice of the Martyrs and click on donations.

Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy...
-from Hebrews 11

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My gift today

Today Ethan brought me a present. A sand bucket full of brightly colored leaves and a branch that looked like a Christmas tree. Scary how well my six year old knows me.

Fall on the farm

bracelets from cotton that they picked,

carded, and helped spin.

shucking and dekerneling corn

sack races

couldn't resist

popcorn break

washing gourds

Rosie loved using the old farm machinery

reading break - I like how the light is
hitting the Bible

folk music

Friday, November 09, 2007

Five things to do this weekend

  1. Attend a fall farm day or reenactment.

  2. Make Creamy Curried Pumpkin Soup. Pair it with Orange-Spinach Salad.

  3. Put out or fill up your bird feeders. Or make these bird treats.

  4. Get an oil change before any holiday driving.

  5. Plan your Thanksgiving menu (if you're cooking) or what you'll contribute to the feast you're attending.

Autumn Colors

This picture of our backyard trees was taken today. I don't remember ever seeing that tree turn red. Maybe it has, but it's bigger and brighter this year. I've seen new birds at the birdbath, a blue jay and my sweet juncos. I'm savoring this season glimpse by glimpse, flavor by flavor, crisp nights, and woodsmoke in the air.

Our fall colors peaked earlier this week. We drove through the country on Monday, and of course, I didn't have my camera. I'm trying to learn to not be frustrated when that happens, but instead appreciate the ability to now see things as pictures and keep them in my memory even if they're never in a snapshot. My favorite "memory picture" was of a large lake that we cross over on our drive. We approach from above it, so it lay before me, the sun was high and bright, the trees around it were vibrant, the sun reflected off the water in sharded mirrors of light, and there was a man fishing in a small boat. I wanted to share that picture with you too, so now I have.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Hot Chocolate Season has officially begun!

Thankful Children

How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child's personality. A child is resentful, negative—or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness,they draw people.
- Sir John Templeton
graphic from Anne's Place

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Milkshake

I brought some Edy's Pumpkin ice cream home a couple of weeks ago and had planned to make some gluten free gingerbread to go with it. That hasn't happened, so tonight I used it for milkshakes. Just put milk in the bottom of the blender, about 2 cups, I think. Then add a block of cream cheese and about half the container of pumpkin ice cream and that should make about 5 small milkshakes.

BTW, I was using up some mint chocolate chip ice cream that wasn't enough for the three of us that were awake, so I made that into a milkshake, but it ended up too thin. So I added half a pouch of chocolate instant pudding. It worked perfectly, thickening the shakes and improving the flavor and texture.

Homemade gifts for young kids

  1. Lacing cards made from cereal boxes

  2. Melted and remolded crayons

  3. Paper dolls - one of Anna Kate's favorite toys is a set of American Girl characters cut from the catalogue and mounted on cardboard, then laminated. Ethan has a set of Zelda characters. This is an especially helpful idea when your child falls in love with a movie , book or show that you can find pictures of, but no toys.

  4. An alphabet book or favorite things book - my mother used a magnetic photo album and cut out pictures of disney characters, favorite foods, and other happy things from old catalogues - Rose loved it

  5. Bean bags - beans are cheap

  6. A personal photo album

  7. A costume box of accesories, hats, etc.

  8. An old jewelry box with costume jewelry - my grandmother passed one of these on to my then 3 year old daughter, just a box, a necklace, a braclet, and a bright pink scarf, I think and she was thrilled with it

  9. Print out personalized stationary

  10. Video of several episodes of a favorite show

There are so many great, easy, and virtually free ideas, especially for young kids. Most of these are gifts I've given my kids or someone else has given my kids. Some years are lean years and no one minds saving money and giving more peronal gifts even in fat years, so add your ideas for kids...

graphic from Anne's Place

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

2nd Annual Thanksgiving Psalm Memory Challenge

Each year for Thanksgiving, we memorize a new Psalm and review the previously memorized ones. So we've memorized Psalm 100, then Psalm 150 last year, and this year I've chosen Psalm 67.

To the Chief Musician. On stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.

1 God be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause His face to shine upon us, Selah
2 That Your way may be known on earth,
Your salvation among all nations.

3 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
4 Oh, let the nations be glad and sing for joy!
For You shall judge the people righteously,
And govern the nations on earth. Selah

5 Let the peoples praise You, O God;
Let all the peoples praise You.
6 Then the earth shall yield her increase;
God, our own God, shall bless us.
7 God shall bless us,
And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

Now, it's your turn. Choose a Psalm to say with your family at each meal (or however you memorize) and leave your name in the comment box with a link to your Psalm on your blog.

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the LORD!

graphic from Anne's Place

Chris Rice: Come to Jesus

Stupid Question

Okay, guys, anyone want to try to answer one of my dumb Bible questions? This one has popped into my head more than once and I'm curious to see if any of you have a good explanation. (I'm sure there is one, but it eludes me.)

If Adam and Eve were husband and wife, and they were the only ones in the Garden, then why were they so concerned about being naked after the Fall? I recognize that they were aware of their spiritual death and nakedness before God, but how does physical nakedness figure into that? The only other person around was God and they tried to cover themselves. But don't you ever pray in the shower? With other people around the potential for sin, lust, and the need for modesty is obvious, but what was up with the original reaction?

Hope this question isn't too PG-13, but I was about to e-mail Brian with it and decided to throw it out here first instead.

Surviving abortion

I'm sure that most of you have already seen this article, but my husband e-mailed it to me today and I thought about it again.

I think that one thing Christians should take away from this is that the gospel is of utmost importance in the fight against abortion. Preaching the "right to life" or the "sanctity of life" is not enough. The saddest thing to me is that the mother seemed seemed to truly love and want that child, yet had no concept of God and his right over life. To me that was the bottom line. If there is no God then life and death responsibility would fall to parents and doctors. She really felt that it was necessary to save the life of at least one and she had no God to trust in. It is breathtakingly sad. If people do not believe that there is a God that is over all and in control of all then even those who would say that they believe in life would feel that it was necessary to make these kind of decisions that belong only to God.

And yet a sovereign God intervened and let what should have brought death make life thrive instead. I'm going to pray that He captures that family for himself - what a story that would be!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - November Things I Love

November comes

And November goes,

With the last red berries

And the first white snows.

With night coming early,

And dawn coming late,

And ice in the bucket

And frost by the gate

The fires burn

And the kettles sing,

And earth sinks to rest

Until next spring.

- Clyde Watson

  1. Crosscards lovely November wallpapers
  2. Disagreeing with Thomas Hood
  3. Memorizing Psalms. We'll polish up Psalm 100 and Psalm 150 from previous years. Today I relish the task of choosing the new one for this year's Thanksgiving celebration. Which would you choose?
  4. Singing "Come, Ye Thankful People, Come" and "We Gather Together". I think there ought to be more Thanksgiving music. "Over the River and Through the Woods" is great, but really it needs more of its own holiday music. Any favorite Thanksgiving albums?
  5. Buying poppies. My grandfather used to buy them for me at the bank when I was a little girl and I still love to find a veteran accepting donations for poppies.
  6. the end of Daylight Savings Time and dinners by candlelight - coming this Sunday!
  7. Thanksgiving decorations - I got a lovely cornucopia on clearance last year, pilgrims from a floral arrangement my parent sent the first year we were married, a cute little pilgrim and Indian playset....
  8. Going home for Thanksgiving. AHHHHH!- I'm so excited!! Terri, congratulations!! I'm coming to see your sweet new Adelyn Grace (love that name!). And I'm going to meet my cousin's new husband, and I'm going to watch football with my dad and brothers, and my sister Hannah is going to pop up from Virginia...AHHHH! (shaking head, screaming)
  9. Remembering meeting Brian for the very first time 12 years ago. He saw me in a doctor's office waiting room and went home and told his parents that he'd met the girl he was going to marry - we hadn't even had a conversation! They asked about my name. He'd only heard them call my first name, but said the last name didn't matter because it was going to change! Less than three weeks later he spoke with my dad and we two crazy-about-each-other, head-over-heels-in-love kids were espoused... And I'm still head over heels and crazy about him.
  10. Chrysanthemums. They just say "November" to me. Might have to do with this.
  11. The day after Thanksgiving official start to Christmas - please refrain from playing Christmas music at least until after Thanksgiving dinner. It's just not right. See #4. Thanksgiving needs its own special music so people will quit crowding it
  12. Our church's special anniversary service that typically falls the Sunday before Thanksgiving. And I'm going to miss it (see #8). Did you just hear my heart break?
  13. Pumpkin food - pie, cake, muffins.

What do you like about November?