November 15, 2007

We're moving along....

It's day number 46! Janelle has a few more days logged than that since she began over the summer, but Jordyn is excited that her number line is growing l-o-n-g-e-r!


My Gacko

I LOVE my Gacko (aka 'my jacket')! Everyday I ask Mommy to get it for me so that I can go outside. Sometimes I cannot go out, but that doesn't matter, I wear my gacko anyway! It's especially handy if I need to stuff extra bits of breakfast or lunch into the pockets. Gackos are wonderful--you can wipe your nose on it, stuff animals in it, unzip it and ask Mommy to rezip it several times a day, and a bunch of other things. Though I have several gackos around, this one is my favorite because it's soft on the inside. If Mommy would let me wear it to nap, I would! But that's not happening she says. Oh, well...when I wake up the gacko goes back on anyway. Do you have a favorite gacko too?

November 13, 2007

Simple Advent Fun for the Family

The season of Advent is a joyous occassion for the family! Advent is a time of anticipation, of longing and of waiting for the birth of the Messiah, Christ who came to earth for us.  Celebrated the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, Advent this year officially begins on Sunday, November 28th.

An Advent calendar is a special way to mark this passing of time and can be a practical tool to teach little ones (and big ones!) about the Christmas story and the true 'reason for the season'.  This calendar usually counts down the 24 days before December 25th, but can be adjusted by a day to begin December 1st if wanted.

Last year I chose a simple method to celebrate our family traditions, and to prioritize the many ideas of how to influence our children with the meaning of Christmas ~ a calendar of envelopes!  Each morning from December 1st, at our devotional time we opened one envelope that first focused on giving or sharing, and then sometimes on an activity or craft to be completed that day.  I opted for mostly quick & easy ideas and other days had more time or effort required.  Practical and fun, this idea is easy to duplicate!

First, the supplies needed ::

24 or 25 envelopes of any color or size

same number of index cards or cardstock pieces to fit envelopes

clothespins (mini ones can be found inexpesively at crafting stores)

any type of sturdy string, rope or way to hang envelopes

number stickers if desired, or simply write in pen or marker

Because we used our calendar as a teaching tool, our ideas included the focus on giving generously of ourselves just as Christ did.  We wanted our children (then ages 4, 7 and 11) to know that giving didn't always require purchasing an item, but could be something we already had.  Along the way, we also incorporated various family traditions such as reading the Christmas story or making gingerbread cookies as activities for fun.  One each index card, you can include both a giving focus and an activity or craft, or simply one or the other; whatever is best and easiest for you.

 Some ideas that worked for us ::

~ prayed for those who may feel alone this season, may Jesus be near to them

~given the gift of a smile

~given the gift of a hug

~written notes of appreciation (or draw a picture) for someone in our family or church

~shared a special something with a family member

~shared the gift of a Christmas carol with someone—over the phone, at home or somewhere else

~made a treat for those in our community who serve us; example~the lady who delivers our mail, our librarians, those who service our cars

~chosen items for families around the world through the gift catalogs of World Vision & Gospel for Asia

~ snuggled up in PJs and read Christmas books together

~ given the gift of laughter by telling jokes

~ painted wooden ornaments to give to family, friends or teachers

 ~ gone out to eat as a family (a treat for us!) and given an extra tip to our waitress or waiter

~ given the gift of our time by making a ‘coupon’ to serve another

~ given a gift to the birds outdoors by making pinecone birdfeeders for the winter ahead

~ surprised a neighbor with flowers on their doorstep

~ made lots of gingerbread cookies for ourselves and to share

~ read and acted out the Christmas story from Luke 2

The list can go on, be creative!  The key is to keep it practical, especially if there are little ones involved, and to included ideas that perhaps your family is already doing and a few you would like to try.

Advent is a time of celebration, not stress.  A time to remember the gift of Christ's coming and to share of ourselves.  Keep it simple and enjoy...

November 8, 2007

He Speaks!

Josiah said his first 3 word sentence recently. At almost two years old, he has an abundance of words and while he's been stringing two of them together for a bit, he's decided to expand his skills.

What was this flash of brilliance worthy of blogging?


Need I say more?

November 5, 2007

Stories of our Faith

Wanting to focus some on the history of Christianity, last week we took time to read a story of courageous action in the life of Martin Luther. After listening to Mom read an excerpt from the book Trial and Triumph, the girls chose to act out the story of the posting of his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. Jordyn was a poor woman buying indulgences and Janelle represented the church council. Dear Mom was Martin Luther ("because you know the story best Mommy"). Scenes switched as we rehearsed the ripple effect of one man's questioning and searching. We became the printers who spread copies of the theses throughout Germany and Europe; then we were the ones who threatened Martin not to speak out. Finally, we acted out the common German people who were happy to receive the Bible in their own language after Luther had translated it for them.

After the hulabaloo of costume changes and such, we took time to remember examples from the life of Jesus....another courageous man who defied the empty religious practices of his day to bring hope to others. We prayed for courage and strength for ourselves, that we too would not simply point others towards outward practices, but toward relationship with a real God.

Our time ended with a rousing rendition of one of Luther's hymns, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God". Janelle led by playing the melody line on the piano, Jordyn pranced & danced around, and Josiah tried to be heard above the music as he yelled for someone to get him his sippy cup.

It was a beautiful time. :o)

The Girl, The Grasshopper and The Owl

No, this not the title of an Aesop fable. It's the pictoral adventure of one young girl who loves science! We didn't catch the specimens ourselves :o), but ordered a dissection kit from Home Science Tools which included a frog, an earthworm and a grasshopper. Thinking it would be a good idea to do a 'dry' dissection, we worked on the owl pellet kit as well. Very interesting! And owl swallows its prey whole and regurgitates a pellet containing all of the bones.

Here are a few pics of the dissections Janelle has worked on so far:

taking a look at the owl pellet...

separating out the bones...

and the grasshopper...

(Jordyn suggested that we not show close up pictures because 'it might make people sick').

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