Sunday, November 27, 2011

Winter Holidays

We have been taking advantage of the beautiful weather we are having to decorate our home for Yule. It is great to finally have a house where we can decorate and not have to worry about the neighbors being upset with our decorations. I remember one year we put lights on the bush in front of our apartment. We had deer in front of the bush. It looked very nice. Our upstairs neighbor knocked on the door a short time later. She wanted us to come out and look at the toy soldiers she had added to our display. She just couldn't understand why we did not like her little soldiers in front of our place. I tried to explain that we are pacifists and don't approve of soldiers, toy or otherwise. She just didn't get it. Turns out she didn't know what a pacifist was. I don't know what happened but sometime during the night those toy soldiers moved over to the other side of the sidewalk away from our apartment.

Now we don't have to worry about such things. Our yard is truly our yard and no one is going to add to our display. I like the simple look of white lights. Bob likes all the brightly colored lights. But this year he humored me and put out white lights. Our tree from the last few years died so we had to buy a new one. We found a package that had two trees instead of one. I love it. Two little deer, two little trees and one Happy Holidays sign. In a couple of weeks we will add a tree inside in front of that big window. But for now this is it. The packages are all wrapped and ready to tuck under the tree.

Happy Winter Holiday of Your Choice Everyone.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


My friend Jenna over at Harm None Kynd Creations is having a great giveaway. You can check it out on her facebook page. You can also check out all of her great stuff on her Etsy store or on her web page. She is a wonderful artist and a great person. I really really want to win this so please don't sign up for the giveaway. Just go buy something from her. Remember, it's small business Saturday. Do as much of your holiday shopping as you can from small businesses.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Black Friday

We will soon be celebrating a fairly new holiday in the Winter Holiday Calendar. The day after Thanksgiving has come to be known as Black Friday. Black Friday is the day that traditionally the holiday decorations come out and the holiday sales go up. It used to be the beginning of the holiday shopping season. It seems though that lately those sales have been starting earlier and earlier. And the holiday shopping season has begun. A few years ago a few stores, mostly the big box stores, began opening early in the day on the day after Thanksgiving. It was not unusual to see the stores open their doors at 5:00 or 6:00 am. As the years have passed that hour has moved earlier and earlier. Now many stores are open at midnight on Thanksgiving night with big sales going on. I've even heard of a few stores that are opening Thanksgiving evening. All of this is to convince you to spend more and more money on holiday gifts.

There are people who just don't buy into the whole "more is better" philosophy. We have declared that the Friday after Thanksgiving should be called Buy Nothing Day. You should take this day to relax and spend it with your family at home. Do not contribute to the corporate greed that seems to be taking over this wonderful holiday season.

So I have been asked what my Black Friday shopping tips are. Here is my opinion:
1. Stay home
2. Do not buy anything on this day to contribute to the greed of the big box stores and general corporate mindset.
3. Take the time to enjoy shopping for your friends before this season of greed begins.
4. Shop local whenever you can.
5. I know I don't have to say this, but, Buy American as often as possible.
6. Buy handmade as much as possible.
7. Shop from the mom and pop businesses that are struggling to stay afloat.
8. Shop from small independent stores or handcrafters such as those on
9. Make gifts whenever you can.
10. Give from your heart, not your wallet.

If you still have holiday shopping to do, a wonderful homeschooling mom over at Not So Average Mama is having a great giveaway. She is offering a $50 gift certificate for Check out her blog and enter her giveaway. THen come back and let us know if you win.

Happy Winter Holiday of Your Choice,

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Homeschooled Kids Play So Well Together

Today was homeschool soccer day. We love going to homeschool soccer. It is so much more than just an hour of soccer. The moms get to sit and chat for hours. After soccer the kids play all afternoon. Usually the little ones play on the swings and the slide on the playground. The older kids go off to play "in the woods." It's not really woods but a few trees that go down into a small valley. The kids like it because the moms can't really see them. You have to walk over to the edge of the hill to see what they are doing. They think it's a great place to play.

A few days ago we had a really bad storm. The aftermath of the storm is that there are tree branches down everywhere. Today one of the kids got an idea to drag some of the branches over to an area where there are a few trees in a circle. Pretty soon another child saw what he was doing and decided to join him. They had a branch that was too heavy for the two of them to drag so they called some of their friends over to help. I looked over to see ten kids dragging this huge branch across the little valley. They placed it between two of the trees. I saw that they had drug other branches between the other trees.

I went back to my conversation until one of the moms called another mom over to look at the kids. That's when I saw 20 or 25 kids dragging branches toward the circle of trees.

The little ones were carrying small branches. The bigger kids were carrying larger branches. They put the biggest ones in a circle between the trees. Then the put medium sized branches on top of the biggest ones. Then the little ones brought their contributions to the circle.

They held them up while the bigger kids put them on top. These kids had build a wonderful fort in the middle of the woods. My son said it was a hotel and they each had a room. Someone else said it was a big nest. I'm not sure what it was supposed to be. I was just so impressed with the way this large group of kids from 3 to 15 were working together to build this thing. They didn't have any adults giving them advice or telling them where to put the branches. They were working together and figuring it out themselves. It wasn't long until all the parents there were standing around looking at the creation their kids were involved in. Of course it wasn't long until cameras came out and everyone was snapping pictures. I felt bad that I only had cell phone camera. But I was so pleased to see that the only thing the parents were doing was taking pictures. No one stepped in to offer advice. No one stepped in to tell them how to do it better. They just let the kids work on their creation.

At one point the park ranger stopped by to see what was going on. He stood there amazed at the way these kids were working together. Have you witnessed a time when your kids worked together to create something awesome? What wonderful projects do you have to share with us? I know we are all so proud of our little ones. Please share with the rest of us one of the many awesome things your children have done.

Oh and that boy who thought it would be fun to drag the branches into the circle of trees, his name is Dakota. I'm his mom.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Winter Is here Already?????

I really really really hate winter. My favorite time of the year is fall. I love the sound of rain on the roof and the leaves blowing all around. I love the smells of a newly lit fire and the aroma of pumpkin pie baking. Fall is my favorite time of the year. The only drawback with fall is that it leads into winter. Well yesterday we had our first taste of winter a bit early. They first started forecasting snow in the higher elevations. Then they brought it down to where we live, but they said we would get a dusting to an inch. And they said it wouldn’t start snowing until late evening. And would stop well before morning. You can imagine my surprise when about mid morning there was already snow mixed in with the rain. By noon time it was entirely snow. Soon we started hearing things crack and pop outside. There was a huge limb in the back of my husband’s truck. I told him I thought he should move his truck into the driveway so it would be further away from the trees that lined the street. About ten minutes after he moved his truck a very large limb came down. Only minutes earlier it would have gone right through the windshield of his truck. Now the truck was safe in the driveway away from the trees. A few minutes after that the lights blinked and then went off. It seems that the heavy wet snow falling on trees that still had most of their leaves was just too much weight for them to bear. As the limbs started falling down, so did the light wires.
We were without heat. Again. On Wednesday, a pipe coming out of the furnace developed a leak. My husband had to shut the furnace off and drain all the water out of the pipes and the radiators to keep the basement from getting flooded. He ordered the parts right away that night and paid extra money to have them delivered by Friday morning. On Thursday night he was able to remove the old pipes and get everything ready to put the new ones in place.
On Friday we were hosting a party for 50 homeschoolers. I kept apologizing to everyone about how cold it was in the house. We had one little electric heater that we kept on in the dining room. That is where most of the people hung out for the afternoon. The kids of course didn’t mind. They were running in and out the doors all afternoon. They had a great time. At one point in the afternoon they all lined up and went up and down the street Trunk or Treating to each car as the moms stood by their cars handing out treats to everyone. They had a great time with that. Finally all the families went home and I was able to start a fire in the fireplace. I was afraid to have a fire with so many little ones in the house.

When my husband came home from work Friday night he was able to put the new pipe pieces in place, fill the pipes up with water again. And we had heat. It was the first time I was warm in 3 days. Little did we know that in just 18 hours we would lose heat again.

So when the power went out on Saturday we immediately lit a fire in the fireplace so we would stay warm. We spent the evening laying around the living room relaxing. We finally went upstairs to bed. Since Dakota had no nightlight in his room he slept on the floor in our room. The water bed was quite toasty so we snuggled in for a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately by morning the waterbed was starting to lose it’s toastiness. We put an extra blanket on the bed and snuggled for a while to stay warm. When we got up there was still no electricity or heat. So we light another fire and hung out in the living room. I was able to make breakfast using the gas stove. I just had to light it with a match instead of the instant on feature.

About 2:30 this afternoon the lights came back on. We still don’t have internet. I’m hoping they get it fix tomorrow. I hate not having access to the internet. Especially when there is an emergency situation like this storm. When I finally get internet back I will post this article with a few pictures.
Carrying the downed branches out to the street so they can be picked up.

It's now Tuesday and we still don't have phone, internet, or tv. I am at a local restuarant with WiFi right now. I don't have the pictures on my computer yet. I'll have to add them later.
Pictures added on Wednesday. We now have all of our services restored.