Thursday, December 31, 2009

I'm Living the Party Life Now

You know, I'm not sure whose brilliant idea this New Year's party was, but it's OK. It's going to be fun. Around 5:00, I'm going to change all the clocks. The kids probably won't notice. Then we can ring in the new year a few hours early and send them to bed. It's all good.

I'm in the middle of making clock cookies and I'll post the results later. They are fabulous so far. That will be the only sweets we have tonight. Sister said she had powdered donuts for in the morning but I told her we cannot start the new year like that. We'll eat something healthier.

I just wanted to tell you about last New Year's Eve. Or maybe it was the year before. Anyway, we were at Walgreens picking up a prescription for one of the girls and there were all these people walking around in little black dresses. Well, not people.....women. Even at the nearby shopping center there were folks dressed up.

I looked at S and said, "WHY is everyone so dressed up?"

"It's New Year's Eve, Brenda." he said.


I didn't even realize what day it was. All these people were dressed up to go out and I was at the drugstore picking up meds for someone's snot. Don't I live the glamorous life?

And tonight I'll be having a bubble wrap stomp with the 10 and under set.

Don't envy me. You too can party like this!!!

Look for me on magazine covers soon.

(Happy New Year everyone!!!)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Starting Back

My birthday, all of my life, was the day we headed back to school from Christmas break. Or the day before. Or the day right after. Ug. Happy Birthday! Get up and go to school!

You know I have control over that now, right?

Still, since it's a Monday, we probably will start back on my birthday. It messes the week up when we skip Monday.

I have no plan or clue what we are going to do in January, and frankly I have no motivation to think about it yet. Maybe I need to get the Christmas decorations down? For sure I need to rearrange the playroom. Perhaps after New Year's I will feel more like planning.

Sister and I usually get the girls together over Christmas break to do something fun. For several years we did a Christmas cookie day in December. Last year we did snowman day. This year we decided to celebrate New Year's together.

We will be changing our clocks so that "midnight" is actually 10:00--a good hour past any one's bedtime. They probably won't even know. (Hee Hee) We'll eat supper together and then kick off the party. Among other things, we found these cute little bags for them to open each hour of the party. Those will be easy and free to make, and cheap to fill. (bubbles, a bit of candy, etc.)

We will make noisemakers from water bottles filled with dry beans and decorated with curly ribbon and stickers, etc.

There will be a bubble wrap stomp at "midnight." Along with the noisemakers.

We will decorate calendars and mark important dates for 2010. In other words, every one's birthday.

I am planning to attack clock cookies using JulieMom's tutorial on royal icing. These, and the whole party really, are inspired by a Max and Ruby episode. If they fail, I guess we'll let them eat cake.

I crack myself up.

So today necessitates the playroom being rearranged to fit four squealy girls in there on New Year's. Sigh. I guess I'd better get going.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Christmas 2009
The aftermath at our house.

Little Bit was very happy with the gift Grandma got her!
Sweetheart was pretty happy too! (My dad and S in the background)

Sweetheart and Moose at "the kids' table" ready for Christmas dinner.
Little Bit and Gnat. Didn't Sister and I do well coordinating our girls? Not planned.
Christmas night. The dolls were all tucked in. :) This just made me happy.
Sunday afternoon Little Bit lost her first tooth in her Dilly Bar.
My beautiful Sweetheart....
The tooth fairy came last night! See the fairy dust on her forehead? What a joyful Christmas weekend we had!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Arms are Sore, But I'm Typing Anyway

S bought me my birthday present early! He used all the gift cards he got for Christmas and bought me a Wii. (There was still some out-of-pocket but they helped!) Oh I have wanted one! We just have Wii Sports (not Wii Fit) but obviously that is enough for me as my arms are sore from boxing and the fitness test told me I am as fit as a 59 year old.

Hello 2010--the year of fitness.

We did pretty well on Christmas spending. I made a lot of gifts (yes, Brenda. WE KNOW.) and that helped with the expenses some. Still, Christmas just costs money. We made it without charging anything so I am proud of that. BUT, we really, really have to be good stewards of our money this year. As a wife who does not have a salary.....I will have to work hard to do what I can to use the money S makes wisely. There are lots of ways to do that but the most important thing is keeping up with the checkbook.

Hello 2010--the year of financial responsibility.

We have set a goal for our family to read through the Bible this year. I'm good at making that goal, by the way. My plan is for Sweetheart to read through her Day By Day Kid's Bible while Little Bit listens each day. S and I will read the real Bible using the One Year Bible plan. BOY is this going to take discipline!!!! But I am convinced there is nothing more important than God's Word for our family. We need it. We need it to get into our children.

Hello 2010--the year of Bible reading. And discipline.

I'm not about making resolutions. I do understand the word---resolve. As in, I resolve to....
I understand that. It makes sense. But I prefer to talk about New Year's goals. These are just a few of ours.

I also want to keep up with the housework, declutter more, make lots of progress in school, start our own company, eat healthier, etc. etc. etc.

However, this much I know: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One More Normal Day

Well, the gifts are under the tree. The main areas of the house are picked up better than usual. The groceries are purchased. I'm DONE spending money. SO over it.

I have to tackle the homeschool room tomorrow because, as I've mentioned before, it is the first thing to your right as you enter our house. And there is no door on that room. I don't really WANT to tackle that room because I don't want to think about school until AFTER Christmas but oh well. At least I can stack everything nicely, huh?

On a good note, I found the floor of the sewing room today. I haven't seen it in a while. It was really, really, really bad in there and we had just been walking over it all for months. I thought about sharing pictures, but decided not to shame my husband in that way. :)

I'm excited to have my husband home for a few extra days and to spend time together as a family. I'm excited for the girls to open their gifts.

And I must confess, I've already fantasized about taking down the Christmas decorations.

Don't get me wrong--I LOVE Christmas. It's just that I remember how much I love restoring everything back to it's right order afterwards too. I was telling S tonight how pretty our house looks decorated for Christmas, but it's just so much stuff everywhere! It will feel like simplifying and decluttering all in one when I put it all away.

The girls have been playing together all day long for days now. I'm not sure what's going on. They have been getting along really well. I'm not complaining!!

I know blog reading is already down and there will be days and days of no traffic in blogland at all. So I just wanted to "sign off" and wish you all a Merry Christmas! Thanks again for walking with me through all the sewing this month. I'm happy to put that all away tomorrow.

Enjoy your weekend!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Doll Beds Are DONE

Did you hear me scream earlier? It's because I'm finished!!!!! I'll tell you, I am so pleased with these gifts. I just wanted to squeal the whole time I was working on them. Once it became apparent that wooden doll bunk beds were not going to happen, I kept thinking about the doll bed I had when I was little.

It was made from a cigar box spray painted white with white spools glued on the bottom for legs. There was a little mattress stuffed down inside and a tiny pillow. However, it was for a small doll. It was kind of the same concept that led me to make these for the girls' 18" dolls.

First, you need a Sterilite 28 quart container or something of similar size.
Then add a piece of 2" foam. Mine is covered with an old sheet and sewn up on the ends.

Add a bottom sheet. These are made like a pillowcase and the foam mattress just slips inside and I tucked the open end underneath.
Then you add a top sheet. These were left until the end when I saw I had enough fabric. They aren't completely necessary.

And a reversible comforter.
And a tiny pillow with a matching pillowcase.
And a decorative pillow.

Last, I used rub on scrapbook letters to add the doll's name to the lid. (Thanks JulieMom for that tip!)
Here are some of the other doll's beds.

The bedding for Sweetheart's Kit Kittredge doll was really a challenge for my brain. I knew it was important to Sweetheart that the bedding be authentic. Even though she doesn't even know she's getting doll beds.
So, I made Kit's sheets plain white. I also made the pillowcase white, but then Mom and I decided that rick rack would be authentic. Not really sure that it was on bedding, but they DID use rick rack back then for other things. My dad informed me he NEVER slept on anything but a plain old white pillowcase but oh well.
The bedspread is supposed to look like a quilt. I really like how it came out and how it doesn't look like modern bedding. And since Kit got plain old white sheets, I splurged and ordered Kit's Amelia Earhart doll for her bed.
The girls are really excited mostly because the presents are BIG. I can't wait for them to open them.
And I don't want to sew anything until 2010, m'kay?
Also, thank you to my bloggy friends for all the encouragement and tips along the way. I really don't know what people without blogs do when they have a problem! :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The To Do List

S asked me what I had to do tomorrow and I told him, "I just need to clean the house." And THEN, over the course of the next hour, I also remembered that I need to:

1. Catch up on the checkbook
2. Go grocery shopping (which means make a meal plan and a list)
3. Cut Sweetheart's hair
4. Go to the feed store
5. Get gas
6. something else I'll remember later

And suddenly, "clean the house" was all the way at the bottom of the list. See how that happens? The fact is, I need to do all those things tomorrow--including cleaning the house. Guess I better get up and at 'em in the morning!

I have one more thing to finish and I'm all done with Christmas gifts. Once I wrap that last one, there will be great rejoicing in heaven. Or at least here in Texas. And I really do have to clean the house well as we are hosting S's family on Christmas Eve. Since we are finished with school for 2009, we should have plenty of time to make the house look really nice.

But you see what already happened to my to do list, don't you?

I really am motivated to get everything in order because I'd like to start the new year with a straight and clean house. It's all I want for Christmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Progress Pictures

OK. Here are some pony tail scarves I made. These are for Sweetheart and I also made some for my niece Gnat. The other two little girls don't have enough hair for these. The tutorial is here.

Here is the bedding for one doll. This doll likes horses and is a cowgirl. (I know this because she came with a horse and a cowgirl outfit) The decorative pillow and the trim on the pillowcase are cut from a black bandanna.

It's reversible. And that yarn really is red even though it looks pink-ish in this picture.

Here are two other decorative pillows. Can you tell what THOSE dolls like? (And I know that because I asked Little Bit what her dolls like and she told me.)

The real challenge is going to be Kit Kittredge's bedding. Kit is the American Girl doll from the 193o's. I know she would have had white sheets so I'm using an old crib sheet for that. But she would not have had a comforter on her bed.....she would have had a quilt. Or perhaps a chenille bedspread but I'm not buying chenille for this project. The problem is, I don't quilt.

We'll see how that goes. I'm still thinking on it.
OK fine. Really, I'm putting it off while I work on easier things. Whatever.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Almost Time to Panic

There are 7 days left until Christmas. SEVEN. As in, ONE WEEK.

I still have a LOT of sewing to do on those stupid doll beds. Whose idea was this anyway????

I have one bedspread sewn and just need to finish tying the yarn ties on it.

I have 3 of the "decorative" pillows taken care of. I have one more to go.

Then I just have to......

1. Sew 3 more bedspreads.
2. Finish sewing up the ends of 2 mattresses.
3. Sew sheets for all four beds.
4. Sew pillowcases for all 4 pillows.
5. Put their names on the lids of the boxes.
6. Wrap them.

And did I mention I can't really work on these while the girls are here and awake? That makes it tough since they are ALWAYS here and no one naps anymore.

Thank you for listening. I feel much better. I'm going to go sew a bone-shaped decorative pillow now and eat some Raisin Bran. Progress pictures tomorrow because it makes me feel good to show you how things are coming along.

And to gripe just a little too.

Whose idea WAS this???

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Better Catch Up!

Little Bit has completed books A, B, and C of Explode the Code. These books are really easy and only cover the consonant sounds. I didn't even have her do the handwriting pages and we haven't nearly finished her Handwriting Without Tears books. But, as usual, when Little Bit makes up her mind about something, it's set in stone.

I'm waiting until after Christmas to start her next phonics book. I didn't want to start and then stop it right away. Plus, I'm getting some homeschool stuff for Christmas that I'd like to use in her phonics time.

But apparently she's made up her mind it's time to read.

She sits in the backseat of the car and tries to read Berenstain Bear books. A bit hard, but you can't tell her that. Last night she took a library book about doll houses to bed with her and made a list in her diary of what she wants in her doll house.




brkbl stuf...breakable stuff

Seriously? Who tries to sound out "breakable stuff" when they are first starting out?

I think I'd better get with it. This one is ready to read!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Driving Foolishness Away

Lately I've been thinking about foolishness. There are many foolish adults in this world and many more foolish children. You can see them everywhere. I am constantly amazed by the way some children are allowed to behave. I don't want my children learning from their example and I have been thinking about HOW to raise children that are NOT fools.

The answer, of course, is found in God's word. I just flipped back to my concordance and found a plethora of verses on foolishness. Proverbs is full of this topic. I think we will be studying this in school. As we read what the Bible says about fools, the girls will form a picture of a fool in their heads. Hopefully, they will remember this character, "the fool" and recognize him when they see him in real life. Hopefully, they will recognize foolish behavior and know how important it is to stay away from it. And to not behave in that way.

The Bible tells us foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. It also tells us how to get rid of that foolishness. And I believe it. I don't even need to debate it with anyone. The world's wisdom tells us that this method will psychologically scar our children and lead them to be violent but I know better.

It isn't only about driving it out---although that is an important part of the deal--it's also about instructing. It is important. Very important. And it starts here.

This article, however controversial the author to some people, has really good things to say about it. We must guard what media is being fed to our children. We do not want them having fools for role models. That includes real-life people they are around too. Which is why middle school makes less and less sense to me every day. :)

The more I think about it, the more Proverbs becomes a gem in my mind. I have not been studying God's word with my girls they way I should, but these thoughts about fools has reminded me of the importance of it all.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Brenda Blathers On About Her Christmas Gifts

If you are just joining us, I'm making the girls doll beds this Christmas. Shhhh if you know my girls! :) I got the mattresses done and wanted to share some other things I have finished. Finishing feels good!

I bought 2 pieces of 4" thick foam at the fabric store, but when I started cutting it in half, I realized it was too thick. Since I couldn't return it, I just cut them all in half the other way so they are 2" thick. THEN I was able to return one of the foam pieces I hadn't touched since the one piece was enough for all four beds. It would be a lot easier to just buy 2" thick foam. That would be my suggestion. :)

Since the foam was now really ugly from being hacked by a too-short electric fish filleting knife, it needed to be covered. So I cut up an old sheet that was sort of bleached out on one side and we only used for covering plants and things like that. Don't worry, I washed it.

All done!

I have 3 more to sew up on the ends. Sigh. That bores me just thinking about it.

I tried to sew a button on the foam to make it look more like a cushioned mattress, but I couldn't get it to tie tight enough to stay pressed down. It wasn't worth the effort, but it would have been cute if it worked. Here is a bare-bones bed. You can't tell the scale from this pic, but the beds are actually quite large. The sides of the tub aren't straight, so at the top it's much bigger than the inside bottom is. Plenty of room to tuck in the bedding on the sides, thanks to the size of foam I bought.

My nieces are getting reversible aprons inspired by this tutorial. I realize the tutorial is for a doll quilt and I somehow got inspired to make aprons, but it was another great way to use those fabric samples my mom gets in the mail. I tried to grab their favorite colors for their aprons.

See? Reversible!

Oooh! Aaaah!

I will be adding a children's cookbook to this gift. And I'm getting them each a little toy too. They aren't old enough to get ALL practical gifts yet!

That comes later. Like when you are 38 and you find a $50 gift card in your old Christmas cards and you buy.......a vacuum cleaner and groceries with it.
And you are excited.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Handmade Christmas Progress

Our dining room table has been COVERED in sewing stuff, sewing machine, fabric, and 14,000 Wal-Mart sacks for a few weeks now. We call it "the dining room table" but let me explain that we do not also have a kitchen table. This is our only one.

I'm tired of cleaning it off and especially a few nights ago because I planned to sew right after dinner. So, I had a really big brainstorm that involved us eating on TV trays. I hauled chairs into the living room for the girls to sit in and we were going to sit on the couch. I got out our Christmas place mats to make it a more special occasion.

As we sat down to eat and watch a movie on TV that we thought came on at 7:00 but actually came on at 6:00....just as we were starting supper, Sweetheart said,

"Mom! We're just like Matilda's family!"

(If you don't know that movie, the horrible family sits around every evening with the lights off, mom wearing sunglasses, and watches stupid game shows while they eat TV dinners.)
Niiiice. Thank you dear.

And yes, I cleaned off the table the next night.

OK--on to the progress. I can't post sister's cute present here because she might see it. It's been very enjoyable to work on. Too bad it's kind of small and can't constitute her whole gift. Here are the pillows I've been making for my mom.

All she has to do is stuff the 16" pillow form into a different case for each season. I'm through with the winter pillow and here is the fabric for the backs of them all---most of it lovingly donated by a friend with an awesome craft closet. And with that donation, the only cost of this project was the muslin for the front and the pillow form. And muslin is cheap. The leaves were all these little sample squares my mom gets from some fabric company. She has boxes of these things and I was so glad to find a good use for them.

See? One for each season. Here is the tutorial for those pillows.

Here are some ornaments the girls made. Well, I hot glued the popsicle sticks together and they painted and I glittered. Maybe I should say WE made them. We are going to use them as gift tags. Glitter will be everywhere. I found that tutorial online also but now cannot find it anywhere! I did find several like it just by googling though.

I REALLY REALLY wanted to give the girls wooden bunk beds for their dolls. (They each have 2 special dolls). They were just too expensive and S said too difficult to make. I pleaded my case a few times to him and then stopped before I turned into a nag. :) But I REALLY wanted to give them doll beds for Christmas. So.....

I brainstormed some more and eventually found myself in WalMart with a tape measure borrowed from the hardware department measuring Sterilite containers. I found the 28 quart container was the right size to fit the bill. They were $4 each. Score!

Here are the pillows I made last night from pillow ticking scraps my mom had. Free? Double score!
The beds are going to be great. They don't bunk, but they can slide under the girls' beds when not in use, or stack up in the corner of the toy room. I'm going to paint each doll's name on the lid. Any tips for painting on plastic lids?
I'll keep you posted on bed progress. Tonight I hope to cover the mattresses.

Monday, December 7, 2009

NOT Cattle

We had to drive to a local Bible bookstore this weekend which just happens to be located near the biggest mall around. Oh my word, the traffic.

We drove past most of it to get to our destination but I couldn't help but stare at the LONG line of cars all trying to get into one lane and one place at the same time.

It reminded me of cattle. Moo. Get in line.

I went to college in a country town and the agricultural department had cows out by the highway. At milking time, the cows just automatically got in line to be milked. No questions asked. Moo.

May I just say......we are not cattle. Get out of line!

I was so glad we weren't in that line for the mall. And I was so glad to read this article today too.

Why are you doing what you are doing? Not just at Christmastime, but in all aspects of your life? Are you just in line doing what the other cows are doing? Or are you depending on God's road map for your life?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sunday Evening Wrap-up

Whew! What a weekend!

We started out with snow on Friday. We had snow last year too (which is a record, by the way). I've lived here my entire life and I think it snowed 2 times in my childhood. This makes 3 times my children have seen snow here in Texas. Crazy!

We were at Giovanna's house for a playdate when it started. The kids went out and had fun for 5 minutes and we spent the next 30 minutes drying their clothes and warming them up. :)

I know it wasn't much if you are used to such things. It wasn't as much as last year. But we were excited anyway. When we got home, there was even more snow. (Shhh! Don't tell her kids.)

On Tuesday, it will be 70 something degrees here. Welcome to Texas.

On Friday night, S and I had a Christmas party to attend so the little girls ended up spending the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house. We went home to a quiet fun-filled night with the rabbits sheltered in the girls' bathroom. They are very active at night. We were really determined that they would be FINE outside. We had provided extra hay, a cardboard box, and a tarp over the house to cover the windows. Then we heard the freeze was expected to last 10-14 hours and it was going to be in the 20's most of the night. We were still determined they would be fine until a friend mentioned something about how devastated our girls would be if we killed their pets. FINE. Did I mention they are really active at night? And the girls' bathroom is right next to our bedroom?

Saturday I worked on the house. I mostly worked on sorting through toys with the girls. I thought we needed to get rid of a lot of toys but it really turned out we just needed to put things away where they go. (I will still be getting rid of some.) It was that maddening kind of sorting where you have piles and piles of tiny objects that all need to be put away because you had the nerve to look under furniture or behind shelves. I sat down and passed out objects to the girls for them to put in the correct place.

Polly Pockets. (a tiny shoe)
Lego. (a single pink Lego)
Pet Shops. (a little cast for a Pet Shop's foot)
Polly Pockets. (a miniature shirt)
Dollhouse. (a small chair)
Polly Pockets. (a microscopic hanger)
Robin Hood. (a little quiver of arrows)
Toy Story. (Mr. Potato Head's arm)

Repeat 462 times until pile is gone.

And I got about 1/116 of the sewing I need to do for Christmas....done.

So there's always that.

OH! And I started hacking through the homeschool room and yes--I rearranged a little. The jury's still out on how the furniture landed but we'll see.

We have S's work Christmas party this coming weekend and I have no shirt to wear--which is bound to make for a memorable evening.

Are you enjoying these tiny paragraphs of disjointed thoughts?

Is it any wonder women have trouble sleeping what with all this going through our heads?

So the word of the week is PRODUCTIVITY. I've got to get big things done around here. Actually that's not true. It's more like sorting through all those stupid little Polly Pocket shoes--I've got to get a lot of little things done but throw them all together and they make one big pile.

How's that for a visual?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Caroling We Will Go....Maybe

I am so excited about the Winter Choir I signed the girls up for. A homeschool mom is putting this together and I heard about it through someone in our homeschool group. After I signed them up, I was sent an e-mail with a list of songs for them to learn. We do all of the rehearsing here at home. There were links to lyrics and videos for them to sing along with. (Helpful for a non-reader!) I provide them with a green or red sweatshirt, and they will need to make an jingle bell instrument.

The whole choir will get together for one or two practices at a park, which will be a bit of a drive for me. Then they will perform 3 or 4 times in various places (nursing homes, caroling in a neighborhood, and a shopping center maybe) and you just come to whatever performances you can make it to.

Little Bit is not so sure. She's not much for getting up in front of people. Very unlike Sweetheart, who loves to do any new thing that comes her way.

That reminds me of when 5 or 6 year old Sweetheart played Mary in the Christmas play at church. The narrator said, "Mary gently lay the babe in the manger" and Sweetheart bent down to put the doll in the manger and all we heard was CLUNK! Everyone sitting near the manger got tickled and laughed. I was afraid she would be upset but she carried on like a trooper. When she sat down with us I hugged her and told her what a good job she did. She smiled and said, "Mommy? I a little bit dropped the baby."

Yeah. I heard. She loves that story.

So back to the choir. I told Little Bit she was going to the practices and that she would go caroling. As for the other performances, I'll leave that up to her. But she is going to learn the songs and they can perform them here at home for the grandparents and Daddy.

Anyway it sounds like a nice, relaxed way for them to participate in a choir. I haven't found any homeschooling thing yet that I can't attach the word "relaxed" to. I think that's one thing I really love about homeschooling.

And if you are not a homeschooler, would it surprise you to find that ALL ages are welcome in this choir? Even toddlers if they are so inclined to sing. Or wander.

Maybe it's because there is no money attached to our job, but homeschool moms are about as relaxed as they come.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I Love Because He Loved Me When I Had Nothing

I tend to think of us as not well off. Oh, we aren't poor. I know that. Even in rich America, we aren't considered poor. We aren't comfortably well-off.....but definitely not poor. We could be comfortable if I went back to work. We used to have plenty of money. We didn't even need to keep a close eye on the checkbook because there was just enough money. And friends, we ate out a lot.

But that would go against so many things that we have come to cherish and hold in high priority. Our situation is the result of decisions we have made about what's important.

So what is my point of all this? Surely you didn't click over here to hear my State of the Finances Address.

It's just that earlier today I was worrying about spending too much on Christmas. I was thinking about how we need to be really careful and how there just isn't a lot of extra waiting in the wings.

Just now it hit me--God wants me to share anyway.

I have this....this....pre-thought in the back of my head. It's not really a conscious thought, but it's something that affects how I operate nevertheless. I have this pre-thought that if we just were more comfortable, then I would be able to share more. I would give to more charities. I would give more to church. I would help the poor. I would do all these things if I just had a bit more money myself.

God didn't say to help those in need if you have the means. He said to help those in need. He said whatever you have done for the least of one of these, you have done for Me. For Him. For our Lord.

Do I really think that we are so pitiful that I don't have anything to share? No. It's that I'm guarding what we do have. Or what we MIGHT need. I can't give our canned goods to the food drive, what would we eat? I can't spend $15 on fleece to make blankets for the people sleeping in their cars this winter....we might need that money. I can't just go foolishly giving away the things God has provided for our family!

Please forgive me, Lord. Everything we have came from You. I will share because You shared with me. I will give because You gave to me. I will help those in need because You told us to.

And you didn't put a stipulation about being comfortable first in that statement either.

I'm Dreaming of a Cheap Christmas

We have never gone ALL OUT for Christmas, as in really expensive stuff. But, I usually try to wrap everything up separately so they girls will have lots to open on Christmas morning. It gives the impression that we went all out when we really didn't. I always start out small, and add to my list until there is more under the tree than I intended.

Now. Having said that, I know that my children get more on Christmas morning than many, many children in the world do. Truly.

This year...not only because of money but also because of priorities, I decided to keep it to three gifts per girl. I can't remember who said it, (was it Dana? It sounds like Dana.) but "if it was good enough for the Lord, it's good enough for them." As I said before though, no gold, frankincense of myrrh here.

So I was really proud of all my hand-crafted ideas. Thought I was saving TONS of money. Well.

The fabric store robbed me today people! I didn't do so good on finding the cheapness even though everything I bought was on sale. Guess it just adds up after a while. No matter. The gifts will be fabulous and I really am working hard to keep everything cheap. I'm using lots of scrap buster projects. Can you say free?

Anyway, I've already caught myself adding to my original idea of three gifts so today I pulled in the reins. Decided I'm done. They have three things to open (well, you know, after I SEW THE FABRIC) and that is enough. I shall fight further temptation to add on.

I can work on that while I'm up all night sewing for the next three weeks.

Whose idea were these hand-made holidays anyway?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December is Different

Are you so over me re-posting old posts that I already posted? Me too. But we are back in town now so I can really write new posts again. Glory be!

Yesterday we put up our inside Christmas decorations. And the top 3rd of our pre-lit tree is already in darkness. Lovely. We had school in the "Christmas room" as Sweetheart called it yesterday (formerly known as the living room). We did that for 2 reasons. #1-we can't even set foot in our messy homeschool room and #2--we want to be in the Christmas room.

This happens every year. December rolls around and we just homeschool differently for a month. For one thing, we are halfway through several parts of our curriculum and can afford to take the month off from them. *Patting myself on the back for sticking with it from August-November.* That means a shorter school day, which Mommy needs because of the other thing that happens every year.

I try to hand-make most Christmas presents. That means a lot of crafting and sewing. Which means I need to be at the dining room table instead of off in the separated-from-the-rest-of-the-house homeschool room. We did this last year too, so I could sew and also because of the other thing that happens every year.

Our homeschool room is TRASHED people! The Berenstain Bears call it "messy build-up" and that is exactly what it is! This happened last year too. Three months of not putting things exactly back where they go, stacking instead of dealing with, dropping and not picking up, hanging work all over the walls, playing in there after school hours (which has been banned), art supplies being mixed in with school stuff....and we have ourselves an unusable room.

Don't worry, I'll tackle it. I used to get this in my classroom in public school too. By December, you just need a big 'ol teacher's workday to get re-organized. And that usually meant rearranging furniture too. Don't think I'm not itching to do that in our homeschool room because rearranging is in my blood.

But for now we'll be homeschooling by the Christmas tree, and in the dining room, and anywhere we can find. December is different and I love it!

Oh! Check out the December issue of Heart of the Matter Online magazine. I hear there is a really great article on...say, page 10.