Friday, December 24, 2010

What we've been up to...December 2010

I thought I'd post all of the pictures from the last couple of weeks to catch up and be ready to post Christmas pictures right after Christmas. We got a new music curriculum and have been working through it this December. This is the first of the many Opal Wheeler biographies of composers that we've tried. We were so excited to get it and it hasn't been disappointing. We thought we'd start with Handel for Christmastime since he wrote the Messiah. It comes with 1)a very readable, interesting story of his life to read aloud, complete with lots of pictures, 2)a study guide with comprehension questions, character quality highlights and expanded points of interest from the story, and 3)CD of Handel's compositions that are integrated into the story and CD-ROM with coloring sheets that can be printed off.

Handel coloring sheets. Coloring while doing the read aloud makes the activity something all of the kids can participate in. Cecily doesn't stick with coloring for long but everyone else enjoys the time to listen and color.

The Christmas tree. It's very simply decorated by the kids this year as I wasn't in the mood to be picky. :)

Some dinner help.

The kids had a fun project making beaded snowflakes to send to extended family members.

It was a kit that came with six snowflake forms to adorn. I was glad I got it. They really enjoyed it.

Even Amelia could put on the beads, keep them on and create a lovely design.

William with his latest engineering feat.

This was the first year that we planned ahead enough to give Advent gifts to the children for each Sunday of Advent. We've wanted to do it for several years. This last Sunday of Advent they all got some something that was arts/crafts oriented. Here Amelia and Cecily are enjoying their new gifts on Monday morning. Cecily got a coloring book and crayons.

Amelia got some pink wooden beads and elastic to make bracelets and necklaces.

We received a surprise in the mail this week that was picture-worthy. This gorgeous tower of treats was sent to us from The Fruit Company by my sister, Joy and her family.

The boxes had choclate-covered cherries, nuts and fruit in them. That was a really fun, totally unexpected surprise. Thank you Joy!!

Somehow she manages to give away that we let her try out the chocolate-covered cherries. :)

William sits by Cecily at every meal. He does a good job being patient with her and helping her.

After dinner. We settled ourselves downstairs to open some gifts and read some Christmas letters from friends and family. We usually open any gifts that are for the whole family on the evenings of the week before Christmas.

Peter's brother Mitchell, and his family sent us a cute glass ball ornament with a painted snowman on it.

They also sent us a CD to enjoy.
Here is Sam enjoying his Advent gift. He's already put it together and is now painting his model of a F-4 Phantom.

Cookie making, of course.

We haven't done a lot baking actually. So Amelia and I enjoyed making these nut horns together yesterday.


36 weeks pregnant mom. It seems almost odd that the baby isn't here to celebrate with us.

Opening another gift from my sister Joy.

One more from Joy...

A family ornament! How did they fit us all on there?

A gift from my other sister, JoAnn.

This picture doesn't capture the excitement this gift created. This is a DVD series of some of the greatest nature footage ever captured. We watched it this year and thoroughly enjoyed it. I believe there are 5 discs in the series and we skipped the last because of some worldview issues. Otherwise these videos are highly recommended. The kids were so surprised and thrilled to get them.
That catches you up through last night. Whew!! Now it's Christmas Eve. We are enjoying the day so much. Cooking Christmas dinner and getting food ready for tomorrow. We think we'll watch It's a Wonderful Life tonight. Ending with a wish for a VERY Merry Christmas to you! I'll be back to post pictures of our celebration after it's over.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Decorating the Tree

Girls are ready to eat.

We had a fun appetizer dinner downstairs on the night that we decorated. We had summer sausage and cheese on crackers, meatballs, deviled eggs and shrimp cocktail. High protein for my sake. It was simple but festive for the sake of getting the tree adorned.

This was our family ornament for the year. We visited the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse when we were at the Oregon Coast this summer.

This isn't a great picture of it, but William made this ornament for me and surprised me. He made it out of pipe cleaners and tin foil. It's actually very pretty, shiny and colorful. It looks beautiful hanging on the tree.

I just think this ornament is neat because it is made out of coal.

So much fun. The kids LOVE to get out the ornaments and remember them all from last year. Many are gifts from my mother and they cherish them. The decorating night is always a looked forward to evening.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Getting the Tree

I'm finally taking a breather from all of the Christmas preparation and celebration to post a few pictures. We visited a local tree farm a little over a week ago. There was just enough snow to make it feel like winter.

The search for the perfect tree begins.

The selection at this farm is not that great. There are mostly long-needled trees that look kind of shaggy and yellow. There are some lovely short-needled trees, but they are all very small.

Some of us don't really care. Any tree will do. :)

They enjoy the process and the tree we end up with is just a bonus.

A brief moment of sourness (I don't remember why).
Quickly cured by the whisker treatment.

Finally settled on the biggest short-needled tree we could find. William is giving the saw a try.

Sam finishes it up.

:) Time to head home.

Ben and Cal help carry it to the car.

Still not sure what all of this is about. Ready for her lunch and her nap.