Monday, November 30, 2009

The Perfect Christmas Tree

While the themed, color-coordinated trees are lovely; I wouldn't trade our family tree for a 100 of those "picture-perfect" trees. I love our assortment of ornaments collected and made over the years. Every year as I pull the ornaments out of the box and unwrap them, I give the kiddos a recap of where the ornament came from.

"I remember putting this one on the tree when I was your age."
"I bought this one after Christmas when I was a teenager."
"One of Dad's friends gave us this cowboy one."
"The neighbor made these two for us last year."

We have duplicates of some, either from when I was a kid or ornaments we made as a family. The kids like to put their ornaments on the tree. They remember what the ornament looks like from their first Christmas and the ones we made last year, and most of the ones in between.

While our tree won't be pictured in any magazine, it is my picture perfect Christmas tree!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Advent Drawers

Our wonderful neighbor gave us this cool advent box, that opens to show 24 drawers. The kiddos take turns opening the drawers. Some days there is candy inside the drawer and other days in a paper with an activity. Some of the activities include Christmas parties, making ornaments, or seeing Christmas lights. What's in the box depends on our time frame for the day. This year I'm thinking of adding in a word search or a maze.

I'm on the lookout for additional Christmas season activities. Please share any you have!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Gratitude Tree Update

Our Gratitude tree filled up quite nicely. There were even more leaves added on Thanksgiving day, but I forgot to take another picture. Our neighbor liked the tree so much, she asked to keep it when we took it down. Probably because the kids put her on one of the leaves. This morning when we were packing up the Thanksgiving decorations, the kiddos put it on a piece of poster board and took it to her.

Now the Christmas decorations are up and the tree is ready to be trimmed!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pie Day!

In case you didn't know, yesterday was Pie Day, at least in our house. Every year, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the day I make the Thanksgiving pies. Yesterday I made two pumpkins and two Chocolate Mousse Praline Pecan pies. I know that last one has a long name, but it's worth every letter! I had a very special helper yesterday! One of my kiddos was a huge help, now that's something to be thankful for.

I also made rolls and cornbread for today's stuffing. I was exhausted by the end of the day - maybe that's how baker's stay so thin... I still need to make the peach crisp this morning before I start the Thanksgiving cooking.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I Love Thanksgiving!

I love Thanksgiving, and not just because it's the official kick-off to legal Christmas celebrations.
  • I love the parade
  • I love the food
  • I love having family and laughter fill my home
  • I love the after-dinner street hockey game
  • I love the pies (yes, that is different from the rest of the food!)
  • I love watching Louisa May Alcott's "An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving" on the Hallmark channel
  • Finally, I love watching "Elf"! (Its allowed after dinner)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Triple WooHoo!

WooHoo # 1 - Congratulations to YW for winning the 100th post giveaway!

WooHoo #2 - I finished reading my nutrition textbook!

WooHoo #3 - We finished our annual tradition of making Christmas cards as a family!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Gratitude Tree

I've seen many versions of gratitude trees, so I thought I'd share ours. The older kiddos helped cut the out tree and the leaves. We've all been writing the things we are grateful for on the leaves and taping them to the tree. One of the first leaves put up at the top said "Heavenly Father", and I wasn't even the one who put it up there! I'm grateful for children with good hearts who know that their blessings come from a loving Heavenly Father!

The picture is from the first morning we put it up. It's already much fuller. I need to cut out more leaves! I'll post another picture before we take it down.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

100th Post Giveaway

I've such a blast with my little blog the last few months, I'm already up to my hundredth post! I thought I'd share the excitement by giving away this cute Thanksgiving tag . I had so much fun making it, I had to make myself one. I can't wait to scrapbook my Thanksgiving pictures! Everyone who posts a comment will be entered in a random drawing. I will post the winner next Monday. Good luck!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Photography Club - Aperture

Last week we had another installment of our photography club. We learned about aperture. Aperture is how much light the lens allows. It works in conjunction with shutter speed, which determines how long the light is allowed to enter. It's pretty straight forward, except that the smaller the f-stop (the scale of measurement that is used for aperture) the more light that is allowed in the lens. This is a very simplified definition of aperture.

My pre-digital textbook discussed depth of field along with aperture. Depth of field is the range in focus. Pictures that have the foreground, the background or both out of focus have a shorter depth of field. On the film camera in the book, it was very clear the relationship between aperture and depth of field. I was having trouble translating it to the digital camera. Fortunately, we had a guest "speaker" to our photography club. Our good friend, Mary, came to visit with us. She's an awesome photographer and gave us some instruction on photography and my kiddos new camera. As far as I understand, depth of field is defined by aperture. Now I just need a little hands-on experimenting to completely get my head around it :) I'll post pictures after we have another field trip!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Eating Disorder?

Last week I was reading a chapter on eating disorders for my nutrition class. I must admit I read with indifference. One look shows that I'm not anorexic. I really dislike throwing up, so I'm not bulimic (nor do I use laxatives or extreme exercise). There was a table with five columns about how people feel about food and their bodies. The first column was the unrealistic ideal, for those who have no body issues and food is strictly a means to nourish the body. The fifth column was for those who have serious, life threatening disorders. I was mostly in the second column, which reaffirmed this chapter didn't really apply to me. I read for the assignment and to see if anyone I love was in danger of a eating disorder.

Then I came to a part about chronic dieting. My first thought was "Something else that doesn't apply to me". I don't "diet", as in I'm not on or off a diet. I've never tried the Grapefruit diet, the Atkins diet, or any other "diet". I've modified my lifestyle, by trying to eat less fats and sugar, more healthy foods and overall less calories. I remember a couple years ago I was trying to loose weight slowly by moderately reducing my calorie intake and moving my body more. I began making progress.

I had several people tell me that you couldn't be serious about losing weight unless you dropped your calories to around 1200 per day. I balked at that. I had taken a nutrition class and learned that 1600 calories was the baseline of what a woman's body needed. But I kept hearing the 1200 calorie thing and somewhere along the line I gradually reduced my calories to between 1300 and 15oo per day. That's Chronic Dieting!

About a year ago I gained back the little bit of weight I lost and its coming off even slower. Now I have an idea why. The University of Nebraska did a study that showed severe dieting (less than 1600 calories) causes people to loose more lean muscle tissue (that's the good stuff) than fat. A moderate decrease in calories (300-500 per day) and a moderate increase in exercise will help you loose more fat and keep your metabolism up, than significantly cutting your calories, with or without exercise.

In the labs I've finished for my nutrition class, I've been consistently low on my intake of important nutrients, from antioxidants to fiber to calcium. At first, I figured it was OK because I take a multivitamin. Now I think it's because I haven't been eating enough, especially of the right foods, since I exceeded the recommendations sugar and for some types of fats.

I think I'm going to take a break from logging my food and when I start again, I'll be going back to shooting for 16oo calories a day! How exciting to have the answer be to eat more!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shhh... Don't Tell

The Family channel has been showing Christmas movies and we've been watching them. Christmas generally is not allowed until after Thanksgiving, but it's fun to sneak a little in here and there!

We've also been practicing Christmas music on the piano, it takes me a looong time to get a song sounding decent. And besides, Thanksgiving is only two weeks away. I need to get my Christmas shopping done!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Scavenger Hunt

Last night for part of our National Young Readers Week celebration, I had a little scavenger hunt. Everyone got a list of random items. The twist was to find a book that talked about the item or had a picture of the item. One of the items was soap, so the scavenger hunter pulled "Becoming Naomi Leon" because soap has a major role in the book. I had dog on my list, so I pulled one of the McGrowl books. For ball, I found a picture of a football in "Pigsty" (a fun picture book).

Here's a sample list: String, Ketchup, Ribbon, Straw, Clothespin, Cup, Nail, Sock, Cereal, Napkin

We only had 10 minutes for our scavenger hunt. I was hoping to have more time, but life happened. The under 10 crowd got into the spirit of the game, while the older kids got overly competitive. If I were to do it again, I'd probably stick to the younger kids.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

National Young Readers Week

Happy Young Readers Week! Yesterday we read a couple more chapters from our book club book, The Prophet of Yonwood. I love some of the ideas on this website I'll let you know which we try later in the week!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Apple Dumplings

I've heard of Apple Dumplings since I was a kid, you know, the Apple Dumpling Gang. But I wasn't exactly sure what an Apple Dumpling was, I guessed a dessert. I found a recipe that sounded yummy and I finally tried it for tonight's treat. It cooked in this sugar water that was on the border of being too sweet, but it wasn't. It was like an individual apple pie, only easier!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Dear Santa Letter Week

Dear Santa Letter Week is almost over! It runs from November 3 to the 7th - by my count that's only 5 days... but anyway. I was just thinking last week that Santa and his elves needed time to make all the wonderful things children (young and old) are wishing for this year. Wouldn't it be easier for him if he had his gift list down before December? Maybe even by Thanksgiving. Apparently I'm not the only one who thought the Jolly One needed some advance notice! I know what we're doing tonight :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Got Halloween Candy?

Halloween night, I go through the candy and throw away anything that looks suspicious. The inspected candy goes into community candy bowls, a chocolate bowl or a not chocolate bowl. Some of the kiddos and I don't like how the fruity candy infuses it's taste into the chocolate. Anyway...

So here's my secret - don't tell! When they go to school, I take out candy for their stockings and hide it in the freezer until Christmas eve. Right now mine is quadruple bagged in some inconspicuous, frozen place. Not only does it cut down on the candy available now, it saves me money in December. The kids have never missed it because I only pull the candies there were a lot of like, Snickers, Twix, etc.

I still have a ton of candy, maybe I should hide some more?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chicken Canning Fool

In the last week, I've canned 36 jars of chicken. Yeah! I'm have over a third of my year's supply of chicken. I think I have enough chicken in the freezer to do another batch. I also have canning hamburger in my near future. Maybe with the Thanksgiving sales, I can get some ham too. I think the meat is the most expensive part of food storage. While I may not have my year's supply of food, it's nice to know I could live for several months of it!

Monday, November 2, 2009

More Christmas Treats

Yesterday, I whipped up some caramels. I guess technically anything that takes over an hour to make, isn't whipped up. I figured since I was going to the trouble, I'd make a double batch. It takes a lot longer that way, and they seem to be going as fast as a single batch. I was hoping to stick the second batch in the freezer for Christmas, but somebody is already squawking. And the family wonders why I don't make them very often! Between the speed they are devoured and the numerous burns on my hands (and one to the eye), I don't see the incentive to making them early. They sure are good though!


Related Posts with Thumbnails