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I love to laugh and love with my family, read, exercise, cook and sew, all the while giving thanks to God for his immeasureable love and faithfulness to me.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Blessings

This little Indian, her sidekick, J and I all want to wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings.
We are humbled and give so much thanks for how our family has grown this past year.
"I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High."--Psalm 7:17

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jesse Tree

"Out of the stump of David's family will grow a shoot--yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root...In that day the heir to David's throne will be a banner of salvation to all the world.  The nations will rally to him, and the land where he lives will be a glorious place."--Isaiah 11:1,10

Our decorations aren't out yet (even though the girls would love it if they were), but something I have started preparing for, for this Advent season, is our Jesse Tree.  This is the first year we're doing one, but since I had decided a while ago to do it, it was manageable.
Branch ornament--one for our family's tree and one for each of the girls when they get older.
The idea behind a Jesse Tree is rather simple.  It is a way to anticipate Christ and celebrate Christmas and His coming.  Each day, as a family, you read the Bible and trace Jesus' story from the beginning, right up until the time when he makes his miraculous appearance here on Earth.  A handmade ornament corresponds to each day and to the Bible story being read.
Branch ornament, creation of the world, apple with snake
Some people use paper ornaments, others use felt while I've also seen some that use actual objects.  However you choose to do it is fine.  The important thing is the anticipation and preparation of our hearts to receive Christ.  A way to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.  Intentional acts.
Noah's arc w/rainbow, camel and tent, sandals
There are tons of examples online of how people have set up their Jesse Trees.  Some begin the first day of December and go for 25 days.  That is what we're doing.
ram, Jacob's ladder, Joseph's coat
Others strictly follow the season of Advent, which changes each year.  There isn't a right or wrong method but the important thing is to pick one and stick to it.  There are also variations in some of the ornaments, focusing on different passages from the Bible.  Again consistency is about the only requirement.
10 commandments, Rahab's red rope, Ruth's wheat
When I started in mid-October making ornaments, I decided that if I was making 1, it was just as easy to make 3.  That way, each girl would have their own complete set of ornaments when they get older and move out to start lives of their own.
David's crown, candle, Elijah's altar
Some ornaments were no-brainers!  Others took a bit more researching.  Pinterest to the rescue!  Ha!!
Jonah's whale, city of Bethlehem, Esther's scepter 
After a trip to the craft store for some fun foam sheets in various colors, some leftover felt, and embroidery floss I was ready to start.
watchtower, jingle bell--'jingle for Jesus', shell
Day 20's story is about Zechariah and Elizabeth.  I was drawing a blank on how to represent it, so I settled on a jingle bell since Zechariah lost his voice but I'm thinking he'd jingle for Jesus if he could.
Mary's heart, Joseph's hammer, cradle or manger, star
The star is actually a glittered star glued onto a t.p. roll that the Noodle made a couple of years ago.  We'll put this on the top of the tree on December 25 to represent Jesus' birth.

  I also purchased this gorgeous book by Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift, as our devotional.  The pictures are beautiful and it is definitely appropriate for families, no matter what the ages of the children.  
Now we're ready to usher in the Christmas season!!

Monday, November 24, 2014


 I'm sure if your neighborhood is like ours, people are starting to decorate for Christmas.  Wreaths are going up and lights are too.  Christmas trees are starting to twinkle in the darkness.
 Last night, as we were going to our home group, we passed by a house that is all.decked.out.  She oohed and ahhhed!  Such wonder and excitement!
She talked about it all evening and wasn't able to fall asleep because she was thinking about "Christmas trees, lights and the car".  Bless her heart--this is only the beginning!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

First Snowfall of the season

It was doing this
all day yesterday.  Beautiful big, fluffy white flakes.  I can say that since I didn't have to travel anywhere on the highways, only around town and close to home.  Those commuting to and fro probably had a few more choice words for the snow.

The Noodle was itching to get out and play around in it after school, so once she got home, we piled on the layers.
The park was quiet and unmarred until we got there.  We made sure we left our mark with lots of snow angels.
Today Daddy and the girls decided to build a snow family.
I dashed out for the final photo session.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Date Night

Remember when an evening out was something that you eased into?  Glass of wine?  Jammin' out to some good tunes perhaps?  Taking your own sweet time as you pulled together your outfit?

That's not exactly how the scene played out the last time J and I had a date night--ha!  He had a fund raising event for a Board that he sits on, so it was a chance for us to get gussied up and hit the town.
The getting ready part was certainly a family affair.  Where are my shoes?  Of course, on Mei Mei, where else?!  Yes, you may each play with a fancy purse...just don't break the straps--careful--that one was my grandma's!!  Whatever you do don't touch the shoe polish.  Deeeep breaths.
We were finally ready, Lala and Papa were here and everyone was showered and in their proper (read: own) clothes. Ahhhh, big exhale.
J and I had a nice time at the event but even more importantly, we enjoyed the drive out there and back--just being together, talking and laughing about what kooky little family we have and how we wouldn't change it for the world!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

All that candy..........

I think I can speak for most mamas out there, that after Halloween, it is all about candy management. Initially our little cherubs only want "one more piece...promise!", but that ends up still being a bunch!

What do we do with it all?!  I know that some families donate it to a dentist and the kids get paid a certain amount per pound.  Other families take it to a local drop-off center and it is shipped to troops stationed oversees.  I've even heard of a "switch-witch" who comes to the house after a few days and switches out all the candy and in its place, leaves a desired toy.  All good ideas, but as I said here, I've been feeling pressed upon to be a bit more intentional.
And then the Holy Spirit nudged me and I realized we could use the candy to demonstrate the tithe to the girls. Now don't get me wrong, using candy is certainly not a deep spiritual thing, but it is relative to their everyday life and (at least right now) pretty powerful and meaningful.  Exactly the way that our Christian walk is suppose to be.

In Malachi 3:10 the Lord says: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house.  Test me in this," says the Lord God Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it"--NIV

10%.  That is all the Lord requests.  The first 10%--not the leftovers, or the 10% after I've paid all my bills, or if I have money left over at the end of the month, but 10% right off the bat.  And then watch and wait.  Watch how I will pour out my blessings.  Watch and see the overflow I will provide if you trust in me.  Interestingly enough, this is the only place where the Lord challenges his people to test him.  Everywhere else in the Bible we are specifically warned "not to put the Lord your God to the test"--Deuteronomy 6:16.

The Lord knows how hard it is to trust him with our stuff.  Whether it is candy, toys, our 401K, our time, whatever.  But when we do, how it pleases him!
So that's what we did.  During our weekly family time (will have to blog about that later), they counted the candy out into groups of 10 (hey, instant math lesson--bonus!) to find the total amount. Then the girls closed their eyes and picked out 10%.  We wanted to make sure that they didn't just pick the candy that they didn't like.  Remember, the first 10%, or the best, not the leftovers or scraps.
When all was said and done, both were excited to give to the Lord (success!!) and while it was obviously more meaningful for the Noodle, I've no doubt that Mei Mei understood that a portion of her candy was being given back as well.  We prayed over the candy, that the Lord would use it to bless someone else just as we had been blessed and then we packed it up.  We still have a boatload of candy to manage, and while their teeth may rot, at least (hopefully) their little souls will have a better understanding of what it means to give back the first-fruits to the Lord.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Whew...Halloween has come and gone and we can catch our breath!  Can you guess what the Noodle went as?  Mei Mei was her side-kick ;)
The Noodle had gone out last weekend and done some trick-or-treating with a few of her friends at the various merchants around our town.  It was a beautiful fall day--perfect for gathering treats.
We had already discussed how the candy she got on that day would be donated.  I had a feeling we would be overrun with sugary goodness by the time all was said and done.  I was right!
Thursday, our small group from church (which actually isn't very small, especially when there are 13 kiddos between only 3 of the families in the group!!!) went trick-or-treating at a local nursing home. The residents were so pleased to see the children so I am glad we were able to be a blessing to them.
By the time Friday rolled around we still had trick-or-treating in our own little town as well as the Noodle's Halloween parade.  The weather was suppose to be crummy so everyone was already prepped that it would be a shorter night.

Mei Mei went up with me to watch the parade and loved seeing all the costumes.  Not surprising were the number of Elsas that were spotted.  There was only one paleontologist though, the Noodle!
Friday night we had pizza with a neighbor family and then after a few snaps, bundled up.
It actually wasn't as bad as it was the year before.  Even though it was raining and cold, it was more of a misty drizzle rather than the windy downpour from 2013.  Mei Mei was waay into it--running from house to house but was more than happy to sit in the stroller for the last 15 minutes as we trundled home.

Now, about all that candy................