Monday, December 17, 2007

Some Holiday Reading....

My great husband just nabbed this for me at one of the university libraries...

It has quite the hefty price tag, and I have been really wanting to read it, so I was glad to find we could borrow it.

For my fictional reading I am (slowly) reading this.....
I am quite enjoying it, except that I always fall asleep after a just a few pages. Which is great for my sleep, but means I am moving pretty slowly through it.

The older kids and I have begun to read The Striped Ships. I am glad that I began it with just the older ones. The first chapter was fairly graphic in one scene and I almost read right through it before I realised what it was describing.

The younger set if really enjoying the Father Christmas letters and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. After our Harry Potter binge (still continuing for some family members) it has been so refreshing to pull out C.S. Lewis again. Today we read of Ramandu and his daughter: what beauty Lewis captures, what awe and majesty. Matt, my husband, had just stepped in when we were reading it and we were both captivated again....

I hope that this Advent and Christmas you find a corner of peace to enjoy a good read!

Any books on your bedside table begging to be opened?? (I have The Imitation of Christ that is calling me. On our other bedside is my husbands stack.... all of which would have my head reeling in minutes. His idea of bedtime reading is my idea of mental aerobics!)

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Great Read...

We have read this one a few times and always enjoyed it....

A Breath of Fresh Air....

Our Advent plans went a little astray over the last 10 days, but for a wonderful reason- my mom and dad were here for a great pre Christmas celebration.

Prior to their coming we had had a lot of -35 and under days. Not the days to tell the kids to go play outside. Well, by the time they had been here a couple days the weather broke. Hey -15 is not cold after the cold weather we had been having- it felt balmy. So we got OUTSIDE. EVERY. DAY. For four or five straight days.

Now, it is not like I do not appreciate creation. My husband has always joked that I should live outside (this is usually said at my grumpier times) since I am always so much happier. But with the onset of the cold winter, and lots of knitting projects and kids who were happily engaged in their pursuits I did not make it a priority. But it has been 'a breath of fresh air' (excuse the pun).

We now have a huge pile of snow awaiting excavating into a full fledged snow hut, large enough (hopefully) to spend a night in!

So...while some of our beautiful Advent plans may not have reached execution, it has been a lovely time, and we all feel in a better more gracious space!

Have a blessed Advent.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Advent Plans....the simple version

If I have learned one thing living here with my children it is that if I don't just plan simply than we are all overwhelmed. Sure I might have a few more suggestive ideas that I will strew but I have found that my kids have so many creative streaks of their own that it is best if I just plan lightly!

Through looking at our Advents past, and also talking with some dear friends, I have decided on a few things that I would like to work into these next few weeks. I was inspired by Willa to list my ideas here....

Advent Wreath
-we always have our advent wreath that I make anew each year. This year I thought that on Sunday evenings we could have an extra special time with baking and songs, and sometimes friends, around our wreath.

Jesse Tree
-We have never done this before so this will be our first year. The children LOVED making the different symbols to hang on the tree. We will do this with Papa at dinner.

Carols and the Messiah
-I want to work this into our morning read aloud time.

Spiritual Reading
-The Glorious Impossible
-St. Nicholas by Demi

Crafts and Baking
-One craft a week (Nativity pictures ala Hannah, popcorn and bead chains, paper chains, illuminated scripture)
-Gift making
-Bake together once a week (to have goodies for Sunday)

In our Morning Read Aloud Time
-I would like to read some Christmas poetry, continue memorising our Christina Rosetti poem, sing carols and have some great reading aloud sessions. All this doesn't have to happen every day, and it's usually best if it doesn't!

I would like our prayer time and read aloud time to be the focus of our mornings, after that we will do what fits until lunch (probably not much for us slow risers!). After lunch I would like to have rest time and/or tea time and do our crafts or baking. Lately we have been doing a neat art project on Friday and this would be great to continue with.

For myself, I am going to make my devotional life a priority. Using a couple prayer books I have here, I am going to spend some time in this area that I have been sadly neglecting.

Overall, I want this to be a time of peace, of living intentionally together and serving one another, and enjoying a time of a slower pace (which seems to go against the whole drive of the culture surrounding me!).

Have a blessed Advent...

'Exam' Reflection

Our first attempt at an exam week went off great! The children loved the change in routine (so did I) and the essays they wrote or narrated were excellent. Even my little Caleb narrated some great things and drew a wonderful Royal Garden.

I think next time I would try to have a little more variation in the types of requests I gave for narrations for the different subjects, probably even just focusing in on a few subjects as far as the essays and use discussion for the rest!

Overall, I think it was a great success (even in the midst of a 24hr bug sweeping through the house). We finished it off with a great read aloud session and a trip to the pool!