Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 3

The Carols of Christmas {a Review}

I'm a sucker for Christmas, I'm a sucker for Christmas books are always a soft-spot for me. I love them. I recently finished The Carols of Christmas by Andrew Gant, which was a good read. A bit heady at parts, but I loved finding out a bit of the history behind some of my favorite Christmas carols.

I did think it would read as more of a short story narrative, particularly given the title mention stories, but it read more as a research paper. The author has definitely don't his work and knows what he's talking about. It's just rather lost on me, who doesn't have much musical history or theory knowledge. All in all it was an interest book and one I'm sure I will go back and look at again and again.

I received this book for free through the BookLookBloggers review program. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own. You can find my disclosure policy here.

Friday, December 12

Forever Christmas {a Review}

This post may contain affiliate links, ready my disclosure policy here.

I recently read the book Forever Christmas by Robert Tate Miller, which is the story of a man, Andrew, who has gotten things a little mixed up in his life…his priorities being top. It’s just before Christmas and through a series of events his wife ends up getting hit by a car on Christmas Eve, fortunately the story doesn’t end there, because that’s just depressing at Christmas. He’s given a second chance at how he’s been directing his life, and that is what this story is about.

At first I really did not like this book or the character Andrew. He was just the type of character that I wanted to give a swift kick in the pants, but that’s the point: We aren’t supposed to like him. Just as he’s given a second chance at how he’s living his life, we get a second chance to see him as he should be.

I found the story to be a quick read, enjoyable {once you get over the initial nastiness of Andrew’s story line}, and an all around good story. I also happened to love the cover of the book!

*I received this book for free from as part of their blogger review program. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, December 10

Thursday, December 4

O’ Christmas Tree

This past weekend we headed into the woods at our friend’s family tree farm to pick this year’s Christmas’ tree: It took us all of about 5 minutes, which is a record. We usually spend a good half-hour walking around trying to find the tree that is just right. Matt chopped it down, and we dragged it out. We, of course, had to get our family Christmas-Tree-Getting picture. It just struck me how incredible this picture is, particularly compared to the last few years.DSC_0177

My how the kids have grown in the past few years…and every year there’s been more and more snow: Which I love! Maybe one of these years everyone will look at the camera and smile nicely.

Christmas Tree Collage

Do you do a real tree or no? Cut it down yourself?

Monday, December 1

Monday, January 13

What’s Going on in The White House

I keep waiting for this ride to slow down so that I can get off for a bit and recuperate, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. So much has been going on around here in the past month or so! And none of it is little stuff, it all seems to be life changing, HUGE things.

On Thanksgiving my sister announced that she was pregnant and due the end of March {with a little boy}! We’re all excited for the new addition this year, which will be one of MANY in 2014. We have no less than 6 or 7 babies being born this year, and we’re only into August due dates!DSC_0303

Just after Matt’s birthday we lost his grandmother; which was a hard, HARD blow for all of us. His grandfather had passed away in January 2013 {1 year ago today} and 11 months later his grandma was gone. I am so glad that I get to spend some time with her {sans kids} before she passed away. 

Matt and I started dating almost 14 years ago, and within a few months of that both my Oma and my Opa passed away. It was really hard on all of my family when that happened {my Oma was only 69 and my Opa was 77}; I missed my Oma and Opa so very, very much.

But God gave me another set of grandparents during that time, Matt's, Grammy and Poppo. Not a replacement or a substitute, but someone to love me and give me the hugs and love that only grandmas {and grandpas} can. They both have been an incredible blessing in my life and we owe so much to them.

When my Oma died it was really rather sudden, and there were things that I wanted to say to her that I just didn’t. I was 17, I didn’t know the importance of saying those things, or that it wasn’t “cheesy” to do that. With Grammy I don’t have that regret; I was able to thank her for being my Grammy too, because she every way that mattered.

Onto happier things…

We celebrated Christmas and had it very low key. It’s not easy when your family all lives within 10 minutes of each other and you feel like you have to see everyone. We decided to spend Christmas Eve with my family and go to church with my parents; which was wondering, since we were able to do Santa Claus with the kids. Henry DID NOT LIKE IT AT ALL!

Christmas collage

Then we spent Christmas Day morning home and just enjoying some quiet time together. In the afternoon we headed up to Matt’s parents and did Christmas with them. It was actually one of the nicest Christmases we’ve had, because we weren’t running. I’m thinking this is going to become our tradition. PicMonkey Collage2

Not soon after Christmas Matt’s sister’s water broke. {I don’t even remember if I ever even mentioned that she was pregnant?!} On the 27th our niece, R, was born, 5.5 weeks early. My sister in law had the same due date as I did with the triplets {February 2nd}, so we now have LOTS of Christmas birthdays! She’s home from the NICU now and doing well. We were able to meet her last week.

New Years’ was incredibly eventful. Matt was in bed at 7:15pm, it was a regular work week and day for him. I went to bed before 11pm. I just did not see the point in staying up, alone, to ring in the new year. We don’t even have TV that I could have watched the ball drop.

Ave has been very busy with numerous science experiments {and awesome Christmas gift that she received. She’s been very interested lately in learning how things work. I can see the big girl lurking just under the surface sometimes of the little girl in front of me. Things that I think won’t have much affect on her, seem to devastate her {a broken toy} and things that I think area going to be a big deal, aren’t. It’s crazy. She and I went to her first movie a few weeks ago…she thought that was pretty neat, but decided that she’d rather stay home and watch movies.

Ave collage

The week after New Years that triplets had an Early Intervention Assessment. We’ve noticed that they’ve been, what I consider, very delayed in speech. Avelyn was talking up a understandable storm by 20 months old, and these guys have less than 20 words each.

The EIA was great. The people who did the assessment, we’re really helpful and told us that the kids are doing great, being either AT LEVEL or ABOVE for their actual ages. The big thing is the speech: Both boys qualified for help. James is having a hearing test in the next couple of weeks, and then we’ll setup an appointment to come up with a plan for them.

It feels good to know that we’re doing something. And we’re also working more with sign language, which we’ve always done, but stopped because we felt that was perhaps hindering their speaking. It was good that we did stop because we then noticed their speech. The EI people did tell us that there is no harm in continuing to sign, so we’re back at that and learning new words.thumann

I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but I’m working on the route with my dad twice a month {have been since October}, making deliveries and driving the truck. It’s great to get out of the house a bit, and bring in a little extra money, and my MIL watches the kids on those days. But sometimes it is hard losing that day at home. I’m usually up and gone before 6am, and depending on the weather and how many deliveries get home anywhere from 4pm to 9pm {most of the time it’s closer to 9pm}.

Progress is moving forward with our home renovations. Matt and I have been deep in discussions the past few weekends tweaking our construction plans and deciding where we can cut a few expenses and what things we’re not at all willing to give up. The more and more we work on these plans the more excited I’m getting about all of it. I keep having to remind myself that there is a REALLY, REALLY, REALLY long road ahead.

I think that’s the majority of what’s been going on. We’ve certainly managed to keep our plates full lately!

How are you doing? What’s new in your life?

Ps. sorry for all the crappy iPod pictures. Very often that’s what I have at hand to take a picture.

Sunday, December 22


Pardon me, while I go and have my cry….


Two years old….2 YEARS OLD! They’ve grown a bit since they were born {you can find all of their growing up posts here}. Hard to believe that it’s been 2 years already…I’m not sure where that time has gone. They’re now the age Avelyn was when they were born.

Two years doesn’t sound much, but then you think about how these little ones went from weighing less than 5lbs {and a touch over for James} to being solid, BIG kids, it’s incredible.

*Weighing in at 32.8 lbs {born at 4lbs 13.5ounces}, measuring 2’11” tall
*Started saying “Hola” today, after playing with a new toy.
*Calles Elanor, Ewanohr, and Jamie is ‘Ames or Mamie. If you ask him his name it’s ME!
*Loves having a fit to get your attention only to look at you and go “Hi Mommy”.
*When you tell him, “make a face”…he makes the most hysterical looks.
*Making a few sentences: “I do!” being the main one.









*Weighing in at 32.8lbs {born at 5lbs 3ounces}, measuring 3’ 2” tall
*Still waiting on that ONE tooth to poke through!
*No new words, but boy does he babble lots of sentences!
*Has yet to scale the Christmas tree, but not for lack of trying ;-)
*Makes an angry face that melts into the biggest warmest smile ever.











*Weighing in at 25lbs {born at 4lbs 9.5 ounces}, and measuring 2’ 9.5” tall
*She is a ham…H-A-M! As you can tell from this picture: More and more I see Mini-Me.
*Starting to string a few words together, has a few sentences in her repertoire.
*Loves making animal sounds.












The kids are all doing well: We do have an appointment with Early Intervention to have the kids hearing and speech checked, since they are delayed, and Jamie especially so. Avelyn was speaking TONS by 20 months, so we really noticed it. It’s very hard sometimes to understand anything but a few words. Henry and Ellie you can kind of figure it out, but you can really see frustration on Jamie’s part.

I’m more concerned about Jamie and his hearing than the other two. My mother in law had pointed out to me that he speaks like a deaf person does, very mono-tone, with no variations, which is exactly it! I couldn’t put my finger on what it was precisely but that’s it. I don’t think he’s deaf, but from talking with a few people {our pedi included} it could be just a few decibels that he’s off, which would result in his speech being lacking. More to come on that.

No major birthday party pictures to share: We’ve decide to hold off on birthday parties and try doing half-birthday parties. We just did cupcakes in the afternoon with Matt’s parents {since they were the only healthy people available…we’ve been fighting stomach bugs since last Thursday…and still going…}DSC_0481

Line’em up!
{I will admit to bribing once again: This time it was pretzels.}

The birthday babies on the way to church for their First Christmas Pageant!

pageant collage

Even Mommy and Daddy got in the pageant {I strategically cropped myself out of this picture}. And before you drive yourselves crazy, yes that is the same picture of Jamie. I have no idea why I have no other pictures of him.


Thursday, December 19

Wednesday, December 11

W.I.P. Wednesday

I managed to get quite a few things started and finished since my last post. The kids’ Christmas outfits are sitting patiently by waiting until Christmas Eve, the jammies were finished just in the “Nick” of time for St. Nicholas Day, and I got the binding stitched on the boys’ quilts…I’m now just hand stitching it down.

I love how the boys’ quilts came out. There are a couple of spots of quilting, that I would’ve done differently {more symmetrically}, but they’re beautiful still. Once they’re finished, I stitch the label on them, and pack them away until next year…when, hopefully, the kids will all move into their big kid rooms!Sailboat Quilt collage

And here are the kids in their jammies! We had to pull out one pair of bottoms from last year for Ellie, her nightie kept hiking up on her and she was getting cold at night. I had to bribe them with chocolate to get this picture.


Linking up with Lee at

Thursday, December 5

Wednesday, November 27

W.I.P. Wednesday

I picked up the boys’ quilts last week!!! I have yet to pull them out and look at them, but I will have to this evening after the kids go to bed. I’ve got a couple of things in the works. Next week is St. Nicholas Day, which means I’m in the process of making PJs for the kids {I guess it’s going to be a tradition}. I had bought a TON of fabric last year, with the intention of making ALL of us PJs, but that didn’t happen, so I had plenty to use. I did decide to do something different, the girls are getting nighties, the boys are getting pants.

Growing up my Oma made my mom and I beautiful matching nighties with buttons on the front and puffy gathered sleeves, hems down to our toes, they were beautiful. I cannot find a pattern like that. They were probably from the same pattern that my Oma used when my mom was a little girl. Someday….

In the mean time I wanted something simple and easy, and since I couldn’t find a pattern that I loved I started searching for alternative methods. I found one using a t-shirt that was too short, and adding the skirt to the bottom. Bingo! That’s what I did. I had a few trials and error, I haven’t sewn kids clothing since LAST Christmas.Girls nightgowns from a knit shirt and skirt at

I took the shirts that I used as the tops for last year’s PJs, trimmed the bottom and stitched on a skirt. Ellie’s is still super long, but I’m not sure if I want to hem it further or not. These will probably fit them for a few years, since the top is so stretch, which was somewhat problematic with sewing. I’m not at all familiar with sewing with knits, but didn’t feel like investing too much time and energy into research.

I still have the boys’ pants to do, they’ll have the same shirts from last year too {there are perks to intentionally buying clothes that are too big…they last longer}. I think I’m going to use a current pair of pants as a template, because last year it was a nightmare trying to find an easy template that was free.

So, what’s on my list of things to accomplish in the sewing department:

  • Start and finish the boys’ PJ bottoms
  • Alter the kids’ Christmas outfits from LAST year {yay for them coming out too big…I just need to move buttons and let out hems}.
  • Cut bias binding for the boys’ sailboat quilts and stitch on
  • Cut bias binding for MY quilt and stitch that on
  • Start working on a baby quilt for my SIL…{I can’t start until this fabric is released though}
  • Figure out what I want to do for the girls’ quilts…I’m thinking a sampler, but I want to put their names on them the way I did the boys {but not with the call signs}

And add to this list the rest of the Christmas stuff I’d like to do. Christmas is going to be low-key this year, I’m not even sure how much we’re going to do with gifts. We’ll have our tree, doing that Sunday, and stockings and Christmas lights and cookies, but I don’t think I’m putting up my village {James will break it} and I’m not doing a ton of baking. I do need to get our Christmas cards finished and mailed, but that won’t take long. I really do love this time of year.

What’s on your to-do list for the next few weeks?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced today, for WIP Wednesday.

Friday, November 22

Truth in the Tinsel

This post contains affiliate links: Click here for my disclosure policy.

This is the first year, that Avelyn is really old enough to get involved in crafts and projects that involve scissors, glue and other dangerous materials. A few years ago I had heard of Truth in the Tinsel, and was interested in it. Last year I bought a copy and decided we would do it, then I looked at the list of materials and kind of got overwhelmed: It didn’t happen.truthinthetinsel-leaderboard

This year, I decided I was going to take my time and really put the effort into preparing for Truth in the Tinsel, which is what I’m doing now! There’s a whole ‘nother week to get ready for Advent and the Christmas celebrations! Yesterday, I sat down with my printed out copy and set to looking at Truth in the Tinsel and organizing what materials we need to get, but I got overwhelmed again.

I love crafts. Crafting is one of my FAVORITE things to do; with a 4 year old, not so much. Then I read the last page of Amanda White’s {not a relative} ebook, and that clinched it. I don’t NEED another thing to feel like we HAVE to do this Christmas. I don’t NEED another thing to feel guilty about because I DIDN’T DO it. We can do Truth in the Tinsel and NOT let it take over Christmas, and not feel guilty because we accomplish the entire thing! Wooo! That made me feel a bit better.

So what are we doing?cover-230x300

I’m going to see to it that we have some of the materials on hand {we have a good portion of them} for the ornaments in Truth in the Tinsel. There were a few projects in there that I really liked, about half, which is a decent number to do, without leaving my head spinning.

I spent maybe 10 minutes reading through the supply lists, looking at each day, and deciding what I wanted to do. If the bathroom is your quiet place {it’s not mine, with 4 pairs of eyes looking over the gate} or maybe you can sneak into the pantry, go for it, spend a few minutes and just look at what is doable for you.

If you want to do something but not sure what, check out pinterest; there are tons of ideas for things on there. If you really just want to focus on doing a reading each day with the kidlets, but need something to keep them entertained, Amanda came up with this last year, printable ornaments for  Truth in the Tinsel.

These are awesome because they take ALL the pressure off: Print them out, hand them to the kids to decorate {crayons, paint, glitter}, string’em up, and DONE! I plan on doing these for the days that I don’t want to get into a huge project. Voila! You have fun ornaments to go along with the story, with zero effort.

I’ve recently been indoctrinated as the Sunday School teacher in our church, please, hold your applause. I plan on taking 4 elements from Truth in the Tinsel, and matching them up with a craft project for us to do during the 4 Sundays of Advent. Hopefully it works out and the kids enjoy it!

I think the most important thing for all of us parents to remember during this time of year is that it’s not about doing or perfection. If we do nothing more than talk to our kids, read to them, share with them the why and WHO of this season, the Lord with surely bless that.

You can pick up your copy of Truth in the Tinsel HERE, and the Truth in the Tinsel Ornament Printables HERE.
If you or your church are interested in a full out curriculum for Sunday School, youth groups or small groups, you can find Truth in the Tinsel Church Curriculum HERE.

Visit if you need some of the supplies to do the projects.