Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Time for resolutions.

Well the New Year is quickly approaching us and it's time for people to start promising themselves promises that will typically only be kept till February. I have been there done that. So this year I am going to focus on things that I want to work towards becoming better at.

1. I want to garden. I think I need to start on a small scale. Eventually I would like to get to the point where I can have a big enough garden that I will be able to can vegetables that will last us till the next year. I want to be able to make my tomato sauce, pizza sauce, and spaghetti sauce. I really would like to be able to get to the point that I do not have to buy veggies at the store.

2. I suppose this is part of gardening but I am separating the two. I would like to grow my own herbs and learn how to dry them and freeze them.

3. I would like to become better at couponing. There is money to be saved, more than what I am now. I want to learn how the coupons can stack. I think part of this is also to not take the kids grocery shopping. I think I need to set time aside when I can go by myself and not feel guilty for being gone and not feel like I have a time limit to be gone grocery shopping. I need to take them time to find the deals and clip the coupons and really use them.

4. I want to become better at sewing. I know there are things that I could make instead of going out and buying them and it would save money. I talked to my sister in law Kayla and she said she would help me learn to sew. I mean I know how to do very simple things but I want to learn the complex. Some of the things I would like to make this next year are a new tree skirt for out Christmas tree, curtains, and there are some other random things.

5. I want to perfect my noodle making, my pasta and my bread making. I would love to get to the point where I didn't buy pasta, bread or noodles at the store anymore.

6. I would like to have some more organization in my life. I started this December with a monthly menu. It has been so nice to know what we are going to have and be able to have meals ready when Eli gets home from work. I need to start up my cleaning schedule again.

7. I really need to get some type of exercise this year. I had wanted to start using the wii fit again and had grand plans but then our tv was stolen and we can't use our wii till we get a new tv. I am hoping that shortly after the first of the year we will be able to get a tv.

8. I want to work on photography a bit more, I have a lot to learn.

9. I want to focus more on spending quality time with my family and friends.

10. I want to work on purging some of the things that we really don't need to hang on to.

11. I want a work station for my crafting and sewing.

I am sure I probably could go on and on. I think I will stop there for now. I need to be realistic in all this. I know that this list is something that may take the whole year or a couple years but it's something to work towards.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The end of Advent

So the last week on Advent was a little busy but we tried to stay on track.
Sunday 18th- build a snowman together. I think that when I put this on the calendar I was hoping for real snow. But there we were with 60 degree weather. So we got a little creative.

Monday 19th- Camp out under the tree. The kids slept in the living room with the tree and watched a movie.
Tuesday 20th- Have a birthday party for Jesus. This was so much fun. We invited some friends over and had a party.

Wednesday 21st- deliver gifts to families that have shown our family love and suppose this year. We actually did this early because we ended up leaving for my parents this day.
Thursday 22nd- make reindeer food. we didn't get to this one. we just ended up relaxing at my parents.
Friday 23rd- Watch a Christmas movie that you have never seen. We watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. We have seen it many times but the kids had never seen it.
Saturday 24th- Attend church together and read The Night Before Christmas. We all went to church. Lilly fell asleep shortly after we got there. After dinner we looked at the book The Night Before Christmas while daddy recited it. Eli had to memorize it in school and he still knows 85% of it.

We had this season and I look forward to tweaking our calendar a bit next year. I think next year we will add in the 12 days of Christmas celebration.

Monday, December 19, 2011

End of the third week of Advent

With me being sick at the beginning of the week and Lilly ending the week with being sick gave us a interesting week. So here's what was on the Calendar to this week:
Dec. 11th- Make a Ginger Bread Manger together. (This didn't happen. Instead I went to Urgent care. I was diagnosed with Strep, which I knew I had.)
Dec. 12th- Take Family Christmas pics. This didn't happen either! Mainly because I was not having a pic taken of me looking the way I did. So I figured when everyone is well we will take it.

WOW! We are doing very well this week.

Dec. 13th- Make Peppermint Bark together. The kids had a lot of fun smashing the candy canes. The peppermint Bark was so yummy, I blogged the recipe HERE!
Dec. 14th- Build a puzzle together. Ellie doesn't have the patience for puzzles but Silas likes to do them.
Dec. 15th- Decorate Sugar Cookies together. This was fun! Here are some pics:

Dec. 16th- Play Games Together The kids played games together while we worked to wrap presents for our Adopted family and put the gift baskets together that we were giving the people that have helped us out this year.
Dec. 17th- Go out and enjoy Hot Chocolate from Tim's. We were so busy on Sat. that we didn't make it to Tim's but I made the kids hot Chocolate Friday night and we drank it and watched Christmas movies. Can't watch movies at Tim's!

It has been a trying week but it has been a good week. We are eagerly awaiting Jesus' birthday.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WOW! It's that time of year.

It's that time of year when people start wrapping up the year. The today show posted the mysterious "Who will be People Magazine's 2011 person of the year" post today. Seeing that kind of made the end of the year reality. Really this is it the end has come, that it the end of 2011. And to that I say good ridden!
It has been a long hard year. As I look back I see a whole lot of negative that 2011 has healed for us. And yet in all those negatives there are hidden nuggets of love and support.
The year started out pretty smooth I think. I am having a hard time remembering the first of the year. Hmm, note to self you maybe should journal and keep track better.

In May Eli was in a car accident totaling his car. He was okay though!

In June we had to have our Septic tank worked on. That caused a huge mess but wasn't as bad as we expected.

In June I went with our youth group on a Mission Trip to Bay City, MI. What a trip! AMAZING!

I think maybe July is when the year started to rapidly go down hill.
I was on a Chrysalis team. During the Sunday night of the weekend while Eli was away at some secret event, lol, our home was broken into. The person kicked in the front door and then ripped the tv off the wall and left. We had to replace the front door, the wall and the tv. The front door was the most immediate replacement that needed to happen. We had a guy from our church who came and put it in for us for free. It took us a while but in August we finally got the dry wall fixed and again a guy in our church who knows how to dry wall came and fixed it for us. The tv well, we are saving for that. The funny thing is that not weeks before we sold our only spare tv in a yard sale. I laughed, what else can you do. About a month after a family in our church came and said I am bring you a tv. We have an old one just sitting around and you can use it till you can get one. I don't know who was more thankful for that me or the kids.
The next weekend after my flight Eli was on a team. And that was just all together a rough weekend of hearing noises and such. Oh and the van broke down.

Well the next weekend was our planned and paid for 10 year anniversary trip. We took the MegaBus to Chicago and then took the train to San Francisco. From there we rented a car and drove to Napa Valley. Getting a car was quite an adventure. So much that I was in tears, go figure! Our hotel in Napa was Amazing. We actually were staying in the Sonoma Valley but drove to Napa Valley the 2 days we were there. We have some great friends that live in St. Helena. It was so nice to be able to spend time with them and see where they are living. They taught so much about the area and wine. It was a lot of fun. We did have more rental car drama but who doesn't have rental car drama. We also had bank drama while there. "Sir someone in California is trying to use your debit card. We turned it off." We had a bit of money issues as well. Luckily a friend picked up the insurance check from our mail box and deposited it to our account. Cause of course we spent our spending money on a new front door. Doesn't everyone right before they go on vacation? But luckily that all worked out and we had our spending money back. After many wine tastings and sight seeing we left heaven and headed to San Francisco. We drove to Muir Woods, Amazing! We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and down Lombard Street. We drove along the Embarcadero and across the by bridge. We were on the lower level of the Bay Bridge in bumper to bumper stand still traffic. Can I just say never again will I be on that bridge. Talk about an Anxiety attack I think we were close a couple of times. We then got lost in Oakland, yes in Oakland. I cried! I was scared it wasn't pretty! Oakland is not a very inviting place and the news doesn't help that a bit. We got to the airport turned our car in and headed on public transportation to our hotel. We go there late! We got our hotel room and then decided we were starving. I don't think we ate lunch that day. We were deep in the forest with the red woods. Did I mention that was too amazing for words. So anyways on with the night. We decided to walk tot dinner. It was dark, cold and did I mention late. So late that the only people out on the streets near our hotel were homeless, gangsters, and hookers. I was scared. I think I cut the circulation off in Eli's finger because I was grasping them too hard. But then we got to union Square and things were a bit more populated. We ate at the Cheesecake factory on top of the Macy's. It was cold but the food was so good. This was actually our anniversary day so we had a good meal. At dinner I told Eli "we are taking the Bart back to the hotel." I was not about to walk back there 2 hours later than when we walked from there. So we finished out our trip in San Fran with trips around on the cable cars, see the Golden Gate Bridge, seeing Alcatraz, 2 trips to Ghiradelli (YUMM!), and a trip to Fisherman's warf. It was a good trip with many other things mixed in that we did. I am not one to go to a city I have never been to and just sit. I want to go see and do everything that I can. I also refuse to eat in restaurants that I can eat in at home. Well except Cheesecake Factory but it's one of the only places we knew of that was open late and we rarely go there. We finished up and flew home. Wow, what a trip but it was good. The kids spent that time with Eli's parents. Savilla took them to the flea market to look for treasures and all kinds of things. It was good that they were with her then. I know it made her tired but she would not have had it any other way. Looking back it was such blessing that she was feeling good and they got to spend that week with her.

August brought us back to school. Ellie and I were both excited. I think we both hoped this year would go better. She has a great teacher this year.

September was hard.
My washer backed up all over the laundry room. The same day that happened Savilla was admitted in the hospital. Eli was there almost every day and night. September was hard, finding out there really wasn't anything they could do and that the cancer had spread. While things were not going well with Eli's mom we had some time with her. She had her good days and bad. She was having a hard time with her short term memory but the kids were able to spend some of her last days smiling with her and laughing. It was good to have those days even though they were really hard for those of us that understood they were some of her last. But through all this I had people that tried to help figure out my washer so I could do laundry. I had friends doing my laundry, helping with my kids when they were sick, and I had friends bring me pizza at 10PM just to be with me.

October became a little more difficult. Waiting for what's coming was hard. You never know the day but you know it's coming. I can honestly say there isn't much that I remember. I even slacked with the kids Halloween costumes. We used what we had an borrowed. Which isn't bad but then didn't really get to be what they wanted to be. We spent some time at the Hospice Care Unit with Eli and the family. Eli came and went Trick or Treating with us. I was also on an Emmaus team and the weekend was this month. It was really hard. I could see Savilla in everything we did. I was an emotional mess and will probably never be ask to be on another team.

November started out sad. We had to say goodbye to a wonderful woman. It was hard on the kids and it still is especially Silas. Eli's car has had issues this month. Eli went to Youth Workers and while he was gone the van yes it broke down. Eli went and got to be with some good friends that he doesn't get to see that often. I am sure it was nice for him to get out a town for a couple days and be able to focus on something else. We had a good Thanksgiving to spite Savilla not being there. During the month of November we made a Thankful Tree. Every day we put a leaf on the tree with something we were thankful for. At then end of the month we had a very full tree.

December has come and we are knee deep in December. We are 1/2 way through Advent and so close to Christmas. I am trying to say no to things that I don't need to take time away from my family to do. I am trying to say let's wait till January to do that. I am trying to be with my family and do things together as we prepare for Christmas. I am praying that the end of the year is so uneventful and we can just relax and enjoy each other.

As I typed this and looked back maybe 2011 wasn't all that bad. There was good in everything negative that happened. And heck we had an amazing trip to Cali. I just pray that 2012 is maybe a little less eventful. When you can recognize and see the hand of Christ in what happens. And see that good comes from the bad things that happen so there not all that bad. But a little less eventfulness would be nice. I am kind of afraid to post this. I am afraid if I do something will happen. Oh well good will come from it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

End of the Second week of Advent

This week went by very quickly.  Here's what we did according to our Advent Calendar.
Dec. 4th- Rest and enjoy time together.  Nothing like a lazy Sunday afternoon nap.

Dec. 5th- Make Christmas cards together.  Here's a pic:

Dec. 6th- Play a round of Uno before bed.  My kids love to play Uno and so do I.

Dec. 7th-  Sing Christmas songs together while traveling in the car.  This was fun.  We spent a lot of time in the car today so we got a lot of songs sung.

Dec. 8th- go buy and donate canned goods.  Ellie's school was collecting so we just let her take them to school the next day and donate them.

Dec. 9th- pile in the car and go check out Christmas lights together.  We had a lot of fun looking at lights. There is a house not far from ours that we have deemed the best decorated house this year.  Daddy was with the boys that night so we need to take him to see this house.  It was really pretty.

Dec. 10th- Make Christmas treats together.  I woke up this morning feeling like crap but we pushed through the day.  We made Hot Chocolate stirrers and Chocolate covered marshmallows.  We also made out own green sprinkles.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Our security

2 weeks ago Marty spoke at our church while Mike was out of town. I think one of the most interesting things he said during his message was when he showed this clip. He talked about Linus and his blanket. Linus' blanket was his security, he never put it down. But Linus had such security and compassion in the story he was telling that he had to put his blanket down and use both hands to tell it. It took both hands and the story was at that moment his security. Do we have that kind of security in the story of Jesus or in Jesus the man, our Lord? Do we hold onto other things that become our security, things we can't let go of to tell of Jesus and experience him?

The end of the first week of Advent

Since my last post I figured it would be easier to post about Advent a week at a time. So I only did half of the first week in my previous post so I will finish that week up here and then post about this week on Saturday.

Dec. 2nd- We made a hand wreath. I think it turned out really cute.

Dec. 3rd- We played games together.
We played Whack-a-Mole and Uno. We had fun for a while and then a certain person got aggravated with Uno and cheated by giving all his cards to Silas when Si wasn't looking and made the kids think he won. That's when things went downhill. Silas started sobbing because he didn't win. We got the kids ready for bed and did our devotion and then once we left the room Ellie started saying things to Si to upset him. It was a horrible bed time.

The kids really enjoy getting to see what is under the flap on the calendar each day. And for the most part they enjoy the activities.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


It dawned on me tonight that it would be good to post about what we are doing for Advent. I made a Calendar.

I started it on the 28th, I should have started it on the 27th but I messed up. So we took the 27th to explain Advent to the kids and to start this devotional that I got to do with the kids. This devotional is very simple and easy for the kids to understand.
So with the Advent Calendar I put an activity for us to do as a family for each day. So far we have done the following;
Nov. 28th-Set up the Nativity
Nov. 29th-Watch a movie about Jesus and Christmas
Nov. 30th-hang up the Christmas countdown
Dec. 1st.- Start reading The Best Christmas Pagent Ever.
tomorrow we are suppose to make a wreath made from cut outs of the kids hands.
I think this is going to be fun and hopefully it will encourage family bonding and being more aware of the reason for Christmas. I know that my kids know that we have Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus. But to often Santa and the hype gets in the way. I don't think the thought of Santa is entirely bad. I think that putting Santa above and before Jesus is when we get into trouble. The idea of Santa came from a great account that all kids need to learn about.

Monthly Menu

When my life becomes unorganized I can't think clearly. I like to have lists and schedules for everything. I can be spontaneous but it is becoming less and less the older I get. I like to be prepared for what's coming. Before Thanksgiving I was had everything organized and was ready for things through the end of the year. I was ready for Advent, for gifts, for activities, for almost everything. Last week I even sat down and planned out a menu for the month. I have every meal scheduled breakfast, lunch and dinner. I started to get really down on myself the other day because I hadn't had the menu up 2 days and already had to change it. I had to stop myself and let myself be flexible and not beat myself up because I couldn't fulfill the plan for dinner that night. I had to tell myself that it was okay and sometimes day and evenings get hectic and you just have to rearrange things and it's okay to rearrange. So I am trying to stick with the menu and be okay with changing it up a bit.