Month: December 2012

  • Last Year’s Resolutions

    Thought we’d do a quick review, for old times’ sake.  Although I didn’t re-visit this list once, after I made it.  Got’s t’do something about that next year… or just not make one, I guess!!  ((The black are the ones I actually managed to do!!))

    Family & Friends

    • I resolve to be more hands-on with my husband.
    • I will curb my insta-temper, try to be less emo.
    • I’ll spend more time cuddling my kids.
    • I will visit all 40 sites I read once a month, at least.
    • I’ll create a more peaceful/comfortable atmosphere for my family.
    • I resolve to keep poisonous relationships at bay as much as possible.
    • I will hand-write a two letters a month.

    Faith Matters

    • I aspire to finish the “Fruits of the Spirit” series
    • I will finish TorahClass: Deuteronomy this year.
    • I’ll learn about the 12 tribes/stones/colors/constellations.
    • I aspire to put up 3 prophecy/current events posts a month.
    • I will read through the entire New Testament.
    • I aspire to do a non-twaddle pictoral timeline of Messiah’s life.

    Personal Projects

    • I’ll learn to shoot/clean all of my firearms.
    • I resolve to copy all Xanga posts to hard copy.
    • I will catch up all of my scrapbooks.
    • I will finish painting the mudroom.
    • I will help frame up my bedroom closet.
    • I aspire to paint Lydia’s ceilling.
    • … And stain her carpeting (if I can’t find replacement cheap).
    • Same with the boys’ room.
    • I aspire to put wood-looking vinyl tile down in the little bathroom.
    • … And laminate in the dining room.
    • I’ll finish Isaac’s afghan…
    • … and fix Lydia’s.  **SIGH!**
    • I will build a cube bookshelf for homeschool stuff.
    • I aspire to do something about the dining room chairs.

    Survivalism Preps

    • I will target practice at least once a month.
    • I will build a can good rotation rack
    • I aspire to build front steps for my house.
    • I aspire to incubate chicken/duck eggs into hatchlings.

    Homeschool Endeavors

    • I will finish the first TWO Charlotte Mason books.
    • I will take my kids to a different park once a month.
    • I will keep a garden log for our nature notebooking.
    • I will finish the holiday lapbooks for our collection.
    • I aspire to catch up our history readings.

    Physical Goals

    • I will run a 5K again.
    • I aspire to reach my target weight of 147.
    • I will become obsessive about drinking water.
    • I’ll keep a food journal every day.
    • I’ll update my CPR/ First Aid training.


    • I will take the kids camping at least twice.
    • I also will take them to Great Wolf Lodge and Michigan Adventure.
    • I will take them bowling, rollerskating, and to the movies at least once.
    • I will put them back in dance this year.
    • I aspire to look into the free family guitar lessons.
    • I will take them to a parade, a tractor show, and a fair.
    • I aspire to make it to Fernwood Garden and St. Joseph’s lighthouse.
    • I aspire to take the kids to Chicago or the U.P… or both.
    • I will start keeping a reading log.
    • I’ll take the kids to three theatrical productions this year.
    • I will (along with Lydia) continue to sing every other week.
    • I aspire to visit Garfette and either see a show or sing with her.

    Actually, I don’t think I did too badly, for not having looked at it.  And a few of them got half finished (like the dining room chairs)… but I can’t count it, because it’s not finished.  And I made it from 200lbs down to 185(ish).  Still… I can be happy with that – and work harder next year to do even MORE!

    And as a BONUS…!!  I like doing my Facebook Year in Status, but they never let me do what I want.  So this year I just took the statuses from their list and created my own.  Here it is – you definitely will need to click to be able to read it!

  • Charcoal & Children
    Lessons November/December (3-11)

    My blog has been crazy.  Just crazy.  We did the thirty days of Elul, followed directly by the Rosh Ha’Shana posts, followed by the Yom Kippur posts, followed by the Sukkot posts.  Then I had a reprieve and could do some normal writing in between, but there was Halloween and costuming distracting me, and 17 Cheshvan, and then Election posts, at which point the entire family was sick for three out of four weeks of November, which cut into my putting together of posts.  We recovered just in time for Thanksgiving on it’s heels, followed closely by Hanukkah, then 12/21 and then X-mess.  *WHEW!!*  And of course we’d started school in there, way back after Sukkot, and do you think I’ve had five seconds to do any adventure posts, picture posts, SOTW posts, or art posts?  Heck, no!  I was lucky to squeeze in a Thankful Thursday, here and there!

    So here I am.  Playing catch-up on the school blogs I should’ve been posting all along (but didn’t have room for).  Which… y’know, I’ve had that Math lapbook sitting in the wings since… October?  And the charcoal lesson of ‘Cup n’ Curl’… that was October, too, I think.  Just waiting for it’s time to slip in and go public on my site.

    Then, I got this idea.  An amazing idea.  We would do a poem not on our AO poetry list.  We’d do ‘The Night Before Christmas’, but we’d do it in little segments, over November/December.  It’d get us in the mood, it’d be fun, it’d be like telling a story with our artwork!  So we did!  And because it would take WAY too much room, I’m going to do the artwork a little differently this time.  I’m going to do a ‘collage’ of our pictures that you can enlarge, to see how everyone interpreted the phrases.  I printed the poem in grey broken up to match the pictures, and we got those report covers from the dollar store, and put together little picture books for each child to keep.  They turned out REALLY nice, too!!

    NoTe:  As always, click the collage to enlarge for a better look at the artwork.  The pictures with no name on them are Brian’s – I wrote the kids’ names on their easels, but not Brian’s.  Also, I’m still working on getting a photo editor that doesn’t blow chunks.  It took three programs to get these, and I don’t like the results, even then.  Still… click in and have a look!

    T’was the Night before Christmas

    (Now correctly attributed to Major Henry Livingston, Jr.)

    T’was the night before Christmas and all thru the house,
                                             Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

    The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
                                             in the hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

    The children were nestled, all snug in their beds,
                                            while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.

    And Mama in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
                                            had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

    When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
          I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter –
                                     Away to the window I flew like a flash,
                                            Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash…

    The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
              Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
                     When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
                                   But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

    With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
               I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
    More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
        And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

    “Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN!
                           On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!
    To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
                 Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

    As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
              When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
    So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
                With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

    And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
                       The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
    As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
                   Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

    He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
               And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
    A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
               And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

    His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
           His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
    His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
           And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

    The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
           And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
    He had a broad face and a little round belly,
           That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

    He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
           And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
    A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
           Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
           And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
    And laying his finger aside of his nose,
          And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

    He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
                 And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
    But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

  • May your day be blessed…

  • Charcoal & Children
    Lesson Two: Cup & Curl

    So I didn’t like how deep the first book jumped into charcoal after its first initial intro to tools/technique.  Luckily, I’d ordered a book from the library called “Start Sketching and Drawing Now” (LINK).  The voice it’s written in is more kid-friendly, and we like it.  I don’t plan to buy it (it’s expensive!!), but we can check it out of the library, occasionally.  And use it WITH our other book.  We’ll see.

    What we learned this week is that drawing with sketchy, light lines is too broken and fuzzy.  That drawing with regular, even-pressured lines that are unbroken is too boring and plain.  What you want is to hold your pencil the wonky-way, hold it to your easel, and try to get a shape by making a variety of lines.  I’m SO, SO, SO glad they gave us an example to follow:

    Like that.  So we got out coffee mugs and gave it a shot!

    Then, because that did NOT take very long at all, we decided to flip the paper over and do a poetry selection, as well.  Using our easels, our funky hand-hold, and our new technique of ‘not too sketchy, not too straight’, we did THIS poem:


    (Sometimes attributed to Longfellow)

    There was a little girl,
    and she had a little curl,
    right in the middle of her forehead.

    And when she was good,
    she was very, very good,
    but when she was bad,
    she was horrid.

    One day she went upstairs
    while her parents, unawares, 
    in the kitchen down below
    were at their meals.

    And she stood upon her head,
    on her little trundle bed,
    and she then began hurraying 
    with her heels.

    Her mother heard the noise,
    and thought it was the boys,
    a-playing at a combat
    in the attic.

    But when she climbed the stair
    and saw Jemima there,
    she took her and did spank her
    most emphatic!   

    NoTeS:  Interestingly, nobody did a drawing of a spankin’.  All except Lydia drew a little girl kicking her feet against the wall. Well… it is a vivid image, LoL!!  Brian added a cat, Ethan added a mother, and Isaac added transformers under the bed (naturally).  But y’know what?  I *HATE* the way my editing program handles these.  I’m trying to score an Adobe Photoshop 4 off eBay that’ll boot up to my system in a compatibility mode, because… it took THREE different programs just to do this, and they all stink.  Yeah, well.  Hopefully that’ll be fixed, soon.  Still, if you want to enlarge, you know to click, right?

  • I’m Thankful For:

    • Finally being able to post a thankful blog without trying to squeeze it in between posts that really rank higher than this one does.  Which is crazy, but there ya go.  It’s been a busy few months here at the blog.  Not that anyone really notices, anymore.  Social platforms seem to have taken the business away.  S’a good thing I blog for myself as much as other people!
    • X-mess being over.  The kiddie gift-exchange went really well, our crafts turned out good, the visit to great-grandma’s was nice, the light/firework display on Ariebill was phenomenal, the movies and eggnog/popcorn was delicious… and we freezed our freakin’ BUTTS off at my mom’s X-mess present activity.  ((She took the kids horseback riding ON X-mess day.  Told me it was an indoor arena so it’d be fine, but the arena turned out NOT to be heated, so it was 29 degrees for two hours and kids with no mittens/snowclothes.  We just froze.  Seriously… I haven’t been that cold since the time I got hypothermia… and my kids’ fingers were turning blue.  Mare-y Christmhorse.))  But it’s over.  And it (overall) went good.
    • Everyone loved their gifts.  Another huge plus.  In fact, Aaron was so overcome with his Captain America action doll that he couldn’t speak, he just jumped up and down and squeaked “OOOH!!  OOOH!!  OOOH!!!”  It was really cute.  And Lydia gets to take her N2A card (present) to McD’s tonight to load up Angry Birds, Triple Town, and all sorts of other games to her Nook-now-K’nook.  She’s VERY excited. 
    • Snow yesterday!  It started at 4pm, and we have enough for them to go out and play in it, today.  Now THAT has them geeked.  We’re even skipping a holiday magic show to play outside.  THAT exciting.  ((Which works for me, because I’m betting that magic show will be PACKED with bored school kids, and… I don’t embibe.))
    • The X-mess bonus Brian got yesterday at his Christmas work luncheon. One crisp hundred dollar bill is always nice!
    • Jumbo Oreo White Chocolate balls his co-worker Rick made with his wife and packaged up in a beautiful red tin for our family. They’re so big and rich we had to chop them in half and share!
    • THE DRYWALL IS DONE!!!!  Now I just need paint and a few rollers to do up the walls nicely and then we can put the house back together.  Which… I really need.  In fact, I think the tree has to come down New Year’s day.  I need to reclaim my space, again!!
    • Brian getting THREE days off in a row: Sun/Mon/Tues.  It was nice, because usually X-mess is when production plants send their injection molds out to be fixed/cleaned, so typically they worth thru.  But not this year!
    • Pretty Winter Solstice suns all over my fridge.  We had a good time schooling ‘lite’ this week and last.  It just was difficult with present wrapping, trips out to mail gifts/cards, pick up last minute things, X-mess crafts, the additional art…  but we had fun.
    • Extra side work for while Brian was home those three days. Brian is excited about keeping the machine going all the while, as he likes to putter a little here and there when he’s home. And for the extra money – it’ll be perfect timing for our camping reservations that have to be made the first of the year!
    • Our charcoal drawings. We stepped them up to every day, for the holidays, and did ‘Twas the Night before Christmas’ in charcoal, a phrase or two a night, and putting our pictures together as little flip-books. I’ll post in a day or so, but I *LOVE* us sitting down with cocoa and candy canes to stir with, and just create!
    • For the first time in years, I’m feeling the urge to get back on the stage.  Oh, I niggled about it when we auditioned for ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’, but I knew that was going to be a bad deal from BEFORE the audition (based on the instability and mental state of the director… add on that she was pregnant and not only psycho and possessed – literally -  but as an added feature, hormonal).  Then the decent people from my theatre group called and actually invited me to perform in ‘Cinderella’ (no audition required!)… but it was two months after the Midsummer thang, and I was still angry (at the board for ignoring my problem when I addressed them, and… at the board, for taking Psycho on as a board member), and I wasn’t ready to do anything, so I declined.  Anyhow, now that time has passed, I think the best revenge is doing a role, and nailing it impeccably, and proving I’m not down for the count.  I’m antsy to get back onstage.  But because of the board/Psycho… I’m not sure I’ll go back to my theatre group.  There are other, closer shows… and I think a fresh start would be nice.  Have been thinking a lot about it, though.  I love that feeling of heady excitement that drives me to perform… and I haven’t felt it in a long, long time!
    • My X-mess miracle.  I was looking for presents, and found this envelope peeking out of a hiding place I use for our summer taxes.  See, our winter tax bill comes for X-mess, and I can’t ever pay it until our income tax return comes… and when we get that $$, I put aside $800 for summer taxes and hide it until we need it in August.  So when I found that envelope this weekend, I thought, “That isn’t right!  I should’ve paid that in August!”  So I fished the envelope out…?  It said “WINTER TAX 2012″ on it.  So I got out our winter tax bill… it’s $900 this year.  The money in that envelope?  $1100.  So I can pay our taxes before the end of the year, AND have two hundred dollars (which… is already earmarked, but helps with a sticky spot, perfectly).  Merry X-mess to me from… me!  Because I have NEVER put aside $$ for winter taxes, before!  That also means 2012 taxes won’t have to come out of this year’s return, either!
    • FOUR DAYS LEFT of my weight-loss challenge.  It’s called the New Years Eve Challenge… and I fell off the wagon this week.  X-mess kicked my booty… we were gone until late three nights in a row, so I didn’t Shred, we’ve had eggnog and chocolate and holiday cookies and cakes… and the drywall guys who needed babysitting (I couldn’t just go downstairs and get on the elliptical for a quarter hour, leaving them with the fine china, so to speak!)… so I have plateau-ed.  My last four weigh-ins have all been at 187.  Which is NICE… not gaining is always good.  But I don’t know if I can ditch those two pounds in four days.
    • I am grateful that my MFP group is going to continue… we’re changing our challenge from a New Year’s goal to a Valentine’s Day goal.  So when Brian and I start Shred Level 2 on New Year’s, I’ll have a group to log in with, still… and of the 76 people in our group who initially signed up for the challenge, there’s something like only 20 of us left… nice and intimate.  It kind of feels like the old ‘StorkNet’ days.  Before I became a moderator and saw the behind-the-scenes, that is.  LoL!!
    • I am grateful for my husband.  Seriously, wholly, amazingly blessed.  Brian is… well, when we were young and dumb, I didn’t appreciate him the way I do, now.  I catch myself looking up at him, and… all I want to do is hold him.  He takes my breath away.  He’s handsome and SO easygoing and willing to go along with my craziness, and he’s there to steady me when I stumble and make everything better when my mom makes me want to tear my hair out (she did the whole ‘Something happened, but I can’t tell you, thing that DRIVES me CRAZY)… and then I come home to our place, where we don’t insinuate and are open and honest, with my husband who… he puts everything into perspective and soothes me, and… it’s just SO different from what I had growing up.  He is incredible.  There’s just nobody like my Brian.  I watch movies and think, “These romantic comedy heroes… they don’t hold a CANDLE, not a one of them…!”  I’m so grateful that the Lord gave me my Brian.  He sure knew what He was doing when He hooked us up.
    • Motivation.  A week ago (B.C. – Before Churchmess), I looked at this blog (filled up thru the end of the year, barring this ‘thankful’, which was waiting, blank)… and I thought “Well, I could start on my New Years’ Aspirations…”   And not a thing came to mind.  But today?  I woke up relieved that the hollydaze is over and we’re on the downhill and there’s SO much I’ve got in my head to see and do and try and work on…!!
    • I’m grateful that the ground FINALLY froze.  You laugh, but it’s important to us critter-keeping people.  With all the wet we’ve had (ie., the ENTIRE month of October, half of November, and half of December), my critters have been wading in 34-degree muck/mud.  Getting the ground froze makes it SO much nicer for them.  They have straw to bed/warm in, but it was SO nasty, from the mud, and now we can clean everything up, get them dry and warm, and not have that whole MESS.  It really matters… and makes tending them a lot nicer, too!
    • Banket!  The kids and Brian bought me Banket for a gift.  I love banket.  Seriously good stuff… but a total pain in the hiney to make (it takes TWO days)… so when they buy it for me, it’s a total treat.  ((NoTe:  Banket is a dutch almond pastry that melts in your mouth.  I’m Dutch on just about all sides, so it’s something I grew up eating/loving.  And because this is West Michigan, banket is a fairly well known thing, and getting the ingredients is never a problem, although I hear the rest of the country has issues getting the almond paste.  It’s WORTH it, I’m telling you…))
    • Owen being fully potty trained.  It was the smoothest, most expedient process I’ve had, yet.  It’s SO NICE not to have to use my dresser top as a changing station, anymore!! LoL!!  And he’s much happier, too.  We haven’t had an accident in weeks – and that’s just amazing.  And so good!
    • A mega-huge list of things to be grateful for.  It means I’m blessed!
  • Cut/Copied Directly from Extinction Protocol

    Weather goes haywire over Europe:
    scientists baffled by erratic swings of jet stream
    Posted on by

    December 25, 2012 CLIMATE…Jim Palmer, professor of climate physics at Oxford University, told AFP the weather extremes are explained by the northern hemisphere “jet stream,” a ribbon of air that speeds around the planet high up in the atmosphere. The stream is akin to a length of rope “that you wiggle a bit,” said Palmer — its undulations differing from year to year. This winter the jet stream is particularly wavy, pulling cold air in over Russia from the far north, and bringing hotter air up from the south over France and its neighbors. “The question: Is the waviness and the unusual configuration of the jet stream the result of climate change? We don’t know. The models are probably not quite good enough to tell us,” said Palmer, though there was “some evidence” this may be the case. -TD
    When the ice melts, the Earth spews fire
    Posted on
    December 24, 2012GEOLOGY - It has long been known that volcanic activity can cause short-term variations in climate. Now, researchers at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (Germany), together with colleagues from Harvard University (Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA) have found evidence that the reverse process also occurs: Climate affects volcanic activity. Their study is now online in the international journal Geology.

    The periods of high volcanic activity followed fast, global temperature increases and associated rapid ice melting. To expand the scope of the discoveries, Dr. Kutterolf and his colleagues studied other cores from the entire Pacific region. These cores had been collected as part of the International Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) and its predecessor programs. …“In times of global warming, the glaciers are melting on the continents relatively quickly. At the same time the sea level rises. The weight on the continents decreases, while the weight on the oceanic tectonic plates increases. Thus, the stress changes within in the earth to open more routes for ascending magma” says Dr. Jegen. …The next step is to investigate shorter-term historical variations to better understand implications for the present day. –Space Daily

    aNNa’S FiNaL NoTe:  This is what I keep telling people, that they’re not getting.  Only I didn’t have the kewl graphics Extinction Protocol cut/copied from other sources.  So I cut/copied them from EP.  For you.  Merry Day-After.

  • May Your Day Be Merry & Bright!

    I am not available today.  My mother has decided she’s tired of buying gifts, so this year she has arranged a special outing as the kids’ X-mess present.  I’m sure they’ll like it, and it’s an adventure (that I can post, later, I’m sure), but… call me old fashioned.  Like the lyrics of that Carpenter’s song…   But I’m sure we’ll still have a good time.  I can’t tell what we’re doing though – it’s a surprise. 

    And there’s always the kid gifts, afterwards.  That was MY new idea.  My kids made gifts last year (out of pine cones, yarn, glitter, paper… it was… creative, but impractical and messy, and they mostly fell apart before we got them unwrapped.  So this year I gave each child a $10 bill.  We went to the Dollar Tree (where everything is a buck), and they got to each shop for their list of people: their four siblings, their three cousins, and their two parents (with the extra dollar to cover tax).  They LOVED it – such a grown-up thing, shopping and picking out gifts, and wrapping them up.  So my mom decided to do the same with my sister’s girls, and so this evening after we get back, they’ll open presents from the kids.  So I do get my family gathered together, after all… and I’m really, really glad of that.

    And in case you didn’t know, there’s a special conjunction of Jupiter (Yehovah) and the Moon (Humankind) and the Plieades (His chosen ones) today.  Just to make the day a little more special!

    Anyhow, I wish you a merry & bright day, today!

  • The Portrait Post

    Every year I have the kids pictures done, around the holidays.  It’s just what I do.  They grow so fast… I like to have a nice anthology of that.  And yes, I take a lot of photos, but getting them all in one shot, dressed nicely and looking polished?  I just like that.  My anal side, shining thru. 

    I don’t do presents, per se, for the family – grandparents get a nice collage frame of the portraits, and a few wallets for the pocketbook.  And then we make an ornament together as a family and give them as our ‘gift’, too.  I figure that’s enough.

    Brian and I are only in the picture every third year (which was last year)… so this year it’s just the kids, but I still wanted to share!  So here they are – our children, 2012:

    The blue background was scarier than I hoped it would be,
    I was envisioning for winter blue… but it’s okay.  Something different.

    Lydia Rose, 12

    Isaac, 9

    Ethan, 7

    Aaron, 5

    Owen, 3

    I think they turned out quite well, this year!

  • Our Adventures:  Holiday Happenings!

    I’m way behind.  I realize that.  And honestly, we haven’t had much TIME for ‘adventure’ trips, per se.  We’ve been busy feasting, schooling, doing crazy holidays like Halloween and Election Day… which are, actually, adventures in their own right.  And some adventures… like getting the flu or potty training kick-off or going to a chicken pox party…?  I just don’t take pictures of stuff like that.  But we have had our share of fun – the calendar has been PACKED since… forever, and we always are doing something or other!

    So this post will serve as a compilation of the stuff we’ve had going on (and a picture post, t’boot!).  So… shall we get to it?

    The first Saturday in December is always the Santa Claus parade.  At least half a dozen that I know of… we like to go to this one.  It was December first, this year.  Don’t they look stoked to see Santa on the… trolley?  We went to this tiny (((tiny))) Mexican restaurant afterwards, and the food was SO good!!

    Owen’s birthday is December 7… this year he turned THREE.  And started potty training just days later.  And was fully trained just days after that.  And in just a few more days, he’ll be giving his crib to my brother, because Uncle Matt is going to have a baby, and the baby needs its crib… and he’ll go in and sleep with the big boys in the kid’s room!  Talk about some big adventures!

    December 7th was ‘Santa on the Showboat’ in Lowell, and we’d never been before, so we decided to give it a go.  There were strolling carolers, ice carvings, horse-drawn carriage rides, free hot toddys and roasted chestnuts, warming fires, snowmen to hug, live reindeer… and the grand finale was seeing Santa on the Showboat (with cookies and cocoa upstairs).  We had a terrific time.

    Santa on the Showboat.  Aaron (5) is still my child that is terrified of Santa.  So this year, Daddy was his hero and got his picture taken holding Aaron (for comfort purposes).   What a nice daddy!!

    Hanukkah!!  We had our feast on the first night, read menorah stories the second, watch ‘Hanukkah: Lights’ the third night, had a ‘fry nite’ with the deep fryer the fourth night, and here’s Brian helping me with latkes on the fifth night. 

      Here are the kids, checking out their gelt cups.  Every morning, the woke up to find chocolates or sweets in their gelt cup!  Ironically, I’ve checked over our X-mess presents, and there are eight for each child… so I’m thinking next year we’ll just do our presents – one a night – for Hanukkah.  I like it, better.  Let the non-believers have the X-mess day for their gifts.  We do Brian’s grandparents on X-mess Eve and my mom on X-mess day, and that works out pretty well.

    Owen really likes his Hanukkah chocolate bear.

    The sixth night was the new moon celebration, the seventh night was Shabbat, and on the eighth we used Ali’s little chocolate candies to play dreidel with.  Did I mention that Ali sent us five little packages – one for each child to open – and we received them with just enough nights left to do one every remaining night of Hanukkah.  That was SO kewl!  Anyhow, here we are, playing dreidle!

    Of course, we’re not done.  We’ve got all of our X-mess stuff coming up, which will include going to light displays, a big activity Grams is substituting for presents, and our nice traditional Eve with Brian’s grandparents.  So of course there will be more pictures.  But I had to add these fun Holiday Happenings!
  • Creation and Shabbat

    I learned the kewlest thing from a new Jewish site, the other day:

    Every step of the process that leads up to Shabbat 
     represents a part of the order of the creation of the world.   

    First Day:
    Formless Earth, void, light/understanding, Night/Day
    Tohu VaVohu, inchoate matter was created –  Preparation for Shabbos.

    Second Day: 
    Firmament above/below of waters in sky/Earth.
    Spreading out the Heavens –  Spreading the tablecloth.

    Third Day: 
    Land and Vegetation, yield of fruit/seed
    Desheh Eisev – Placing the Challah on the table.

    Fourth Day: 
    Sun and Moon, lights in the Heavens
    The two Me’oros- Putting two candles on the table and later lighting them. 

    Fifth Day: 
    Creatures of the waters, creatures of the air
    Fish – the first course of the feast meal

    Sixth Day: 
    Beasts of the earth, land-dwelling creatures, man
    Animals- the main course of the feast meal.

    Seventh Day: 
    Day of Blessing, Sanctification, and Rest.
    Shabbat feast celebration!

    I had never seen this before – thought it was pretty amazing.  This is why I love Judaism… it shows the many layers far better than anything I ever saw in my thirty years in churchianity.  Amazing!

    Information gleaned from :

    Also… if you would send up a prayer?  Yesterday the week-long drywalling of our house was finished.  It was humorous, because we simply homeschooled around them, but they wanted to participate – to the point where they’d get off the ladder and come peek over our shoulders to see photos of Saturn taken from the backside and back-lit by the sun, to the point where they were whistling piano lessons and asking questions along with the kids. 

    But the most interesting thing was…. well, yesterday as he was wrapping up, Drywall Brian asked if we go to church for Christmas service.  I don’t know if it’s the rows of Bibles and study books, the verses all over the walls, the hymns we sing for school, or the Hanukkah stuff still up around the house on TOP of the Tree, but… he was probing about our beliefs.  And I ended up having a LONG discussion with the guy about churchianity and the difference between Judaism and Christianity and what Truth really is.  We talked feasts, Shabbat, Yeshua vs. Jesus, the Blood and Water, Faith and Works… and you have to know, I’m NOT an evangelist.  It’s the least of my spiritual gifts.  So if you could pray for Drywall Brian.  Because he was really interested, and I think I blew his mind, a little… and I’m hoping he looks into these things, for himself.  ((And I tease that we weren’t raptured on Solstice because Yehovah wanted me to be here to witness to this guy… so there’s that little giggle.))  But if you happen to think of it, pray for him?  Thanks.