December 24, 2009

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. 2 Cor 9:15

December 21, 2009

Frugal Christmas Gifts

I picked up this set of blocks at Goodwill a couple nights ago. It was, with tax, $1.08. We have enjoyed it sooo much - just playing and stacking next to the Christmas tree. I don't know what is so special about these blocks, but it seems like you can make ANYTHING with them; they stack so well and they don't fall down. I decided to research how much they were brand new...OH MY here if you are interested in seeing how much I saved by going to my local thrift store. It makes me laugh out loud! Thank you Lord, for good gifts.

EDITED: I just went to the link and the price is no longer listed - it is $179.00 normally. HAHAHA I'm still laughing over my 'steal'

December 18, 2009

The last weekend before Christmas

Christmas as a day in the calendar comes in its season, whatever our response may be. God sends it, like his sunshine and his rain, on the evil and the good, on the just and the unjust. But Christmas in its divine meaning will become real to us only as it reenacts itself in our own experience. An old seventeenth-century poet, Angelus Silesius,

“Though Christ a thousand times
In Bethlehem be born,
If he’s not born in thee,
Thy soul is still forlorn.

“The cross on Golgotha
Will never save thy soul,
The cross in thine own heart,
Alone can make thee whole.”
(from Christmas Making by J.R. Miller - one of my new favorite authors)

December 17, 2009

Keeping up on our Homeschool

This is one of my favorite school books. It always serves to get our hearts and minds on the "Right" things for the day. This is how we used it today.
First, we read the story about the author of the hymn "This is my Father's world." It is so good for the children to read happy biographies about men and women who LOVE the Lord. There are so many people in our culture praised for their own looks or accomplishments. These biographies encourage devotion to God and a Godly lifestyle. Then we listened to the hymn and sang it. We also read a devotional about the different things God created. This was fun because it led right into our next activity.
Secondly, the children each took a turn to tell us all about three things that God created - being sure to mention the color, size, smell much detail as they could. There was a little bit of competition as they tried to come up with something different and more unique than their siblings. I thought this was O.K. because it gave glory to the creativity of our God. We kept a little list going every time something different was mentioned...for instance all the colors God used in making fruits.
Then, we memorized the verse that was included in the book and made it into a little song.
Tonight we are going to buy one of each apple that is sold in the grocery store. Our nephew, Beris, who is an apple farmer, is staying with us a few weeks. We are going to do a taste test (to God's glory) and also a little quiz for Beris to see if he 'knows his stuff'.
Here's a link to the wonderful hymn: This is my Father's World.

December 14, 2009


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December 14, 2009

Outside my window...

No more Ice - the cold spell has passed and we are back to rain and grey skies. I think I will miss that icy sunshine.

I am thinking...

It is not so important what I do, but who I am.

I am thankful for...

My Church Family

From the kitchen...

Sausage/Pea Soup, chocolate chip cookies and extra Body Balance - seems there are a lot of sick people lately and we want to build up our immunity.

I am wearing...

Brown Pants, a green and brown checked shirt, and a cream colored sweater - brown mary janes

I am creating...

A Christmasy home today. Our nephew is in town helping Mr. Santos at the I get to stay home and be a favorite thing. I will set up a tree and some paper crafts for the children...Can't wait.

I am going...

To mail a few little gifts and cards I have ready

I am reading...

Christmas stories with the kids.

From the school room...

Snowflakes, paper chains and paper angels.

I am hoping...

To be a blessing to someone family? It seems there has been a lot of grumpiness around here lately - I know that I have the power to change that - Sometimes, I just get sucked up into the negativity and complaints, but I AM the I am hoping to make my home a peaceful happy place. First item on the list, SMILE.

I am hearing...

Quiet. Makes me feel rested.

Around the house...

An empty corner for a Christmas tree. A bare space for the Nativity. A blank wall for a Christmas quilt to be hung.

One of my favorite things...

Grateful children and a smile from my husband.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:

Memorize with the children the song "The First Noel" - they have to sing it Sunday and are far behind...At least they know by heart, Luke 2

Here is a picture thought I am sharing…

I am in awe of how our Lord is in charge of all things.

December 13, 2009

A cute skirt

Every year at Christmas, some of the ladies in my church take part in a one-year commitment to be a Secret Sister. For one full year we commit to praying for and encouraging our Secret Sister. We give gifts and cards and, most especially, pray for one another. I was extremely blessed by my Secret Sister last year. So many times a card from her would brighten my day; a kind gift would make me SO happy. On my birthday, last month, she bought me CLOTHES. How Fun! She originally got me a cute brown courduroy skirt, but, unfortunately, it didn't fit.

Last night, I exchanged it for the skirt above...isn't it CUTE? I love it because it goes with EVERYthing. It is long enough that I can wear leggings underneath in this cold weather. It is also very slimming...which is always good - doncha think? Today, I wore it with a grey turtleneck sweater, tights, and my red Mary Janes (they have a small heel) In the warmer weather it will look good with a tee shirt and pretty sandals.

Just wanted to share my new favorite thing.

December 12, 2009

Tis the season for...lying and stealing?

She must have been waiting for her chance because I am rarely out of the shop. She needed a stool to reach it; she needed me to be out of the shop; she needed enough time so as not to get caught. This was most definitely premeditated.

Somehow, someway, her chance came. Doesn't it always come? The Bible says, No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. Her temptation came and she succumbed. The pink bubble-gum flavored candy stick - the one with the blue stripes - went into her pocket.

But when would she enjoy her prize? She would need to work out just as many details in order to eat it. The temptation comes easily enough, but with it comes MORE temptations. Only these temptations are different. It seems they cannot be avoided. Now she MUST lie. Now she MUST hide and deceive - deceive not only her mother, but now her sister and brother too. If she didn't, she would get caught.

She hid the prize in her desk. Sometimes she would sneak into her room and lift up her desk to feel under the papers. Yep, it was still there. The smooth, hard bubble gum stick. Oh, she could just taste it. If only she had some free time where she could get away to enjoy it. Occasionally, she would want to tell her sister...but would her sister share her joy or turn her in? Sometimes she would smile thinking of her brother asking for a lick and giving him one...but would they enjoy it knowing it was stolen? The item in her desk consumed her thoughts.

A few days later, I came in to help clean her room. Everything needed to be spotless and in order. Overnight guests would be arriving soon. "Here, let's put this in your desk," I said.

I walked towards the desk with the little book. "NO MOM!" the child shouted. "I have special cards in there for Noah, uh, and uh, I don't want him to see them."

It was too late, the lid was lifted. I was curious. "What special notes, my love?" I lifted the papers to reveal the stolen candy stick.

Heavy sighs from mother and daughter.
I could have just let this go. After all, the candy came from our own shop...and she hadn't eaten it yet...and it's just a little bit of candy...But no. This is where the rubber meets the road. "be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless." 2Pet 3:14
Character is built brick by brick. We didn't let it go. We knocked out a few bricks and boards and laid in some new ones. No matter what we have to do is more important who we are.
I had the same temptation just yesterday. I printed some pictures at Walmart. When I got to the checkstand, I looked at my black and white photos and noticeed they were very BLUE. Oh, how disappointed I was. $13.00 for THESE? Yuck. Well, I unloaded my purchases. The unpaid photos I held behind my notebook. Wow, the pictures were the same size as my notebook. Hm? If I just held them there, I could walk out of the store without paying for them. No one would know. Hey, it's not like I would enjoy the pictures anyway. I couldn't add them to my Christmas cards like I hoped. Sure, there were three or four that I liked, but the line was long and those pictures only amounted to a dollar at most. Yep, she tallied me up and I kept the pictures behind my notebook. I put my bags in the cart and off I went...
BACK to the photo department. I waited in line, gave my ugly black and whites back and paid the $1.85 for the pictures I did like.
No, I didn't steal the pictures...but I almost did.
Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. Jeremiah 23:24
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Job 28:28

December 07, 2009


So the low tonight is 18 degrees...the high tomorrow...a whopping 30 degrees. No snow - yet. Clear skies and frozen toes and fingers. We could hardly warm ourselves today and all for the sale of one tree. A man and his son came by the farm. They cut down their tree and were gone all in about ten minutes...WOW...Probably because they were freezing. Some good friends came to visit breaking up the cold monotony of the day. We drank peppermint tea and chatted with icy toes around the wood stove that was never hot enough for me.

The children memorized their Christmas verses. I organized my purse. We ate chicken soup that I warmed in the crock pot for lunch, and other than that, we were COLD. I have been home for almost two hours now and I still have not removed my coat...Should I go to the farm tomorrow? NAH! Mr. Santos has tomorrow off of school...maybe he wouldn't mind going to the farm alone? We'll see.

I shouldn't complain. Here are some highlights of our December life:

Free Spice Drops for the Shopkeeper

A walk across the farm every morning.

My little Noah man bringing in the wreaths.

The littles doing their school work.

Naomi Baloney putting the reader board letters away - and learning how to alphabetize at the same time

Wreaths actually selling (smiles)

Pony rides and good friends

December 05, 2009

Failures and Fix-its

What a busy week we have had! I don't think I will have time to post much until the new year if things continue as they are. On one hand, we are exhausted! We get up and get out to the farm, trying to leave the house is some semblance of order, come home after a long COLD day, eat and prepare for the next day. On the other hand, it is so fun and not TOO much work. Sometimes all we do at the farm is sit by the wood stove and read stories or practice our recitations for the Christmas Program. People come into the little "shed turned shop" and share conversation or troubles and it is very relaxing...but it is still time away from home...I am glad for Sundays, when the farm is closed and we go to church and come HOME.

Here are some highlights from our new adventure:

~Runaway Twine ~

On our first day we were very busy - plus we didn't know WHAT we were doing. It's not like we went to a class to learn how to run a tree farm. It's not like we had a supervisor to give us orders. We have employees - but they are young - A beautiful yet bossy eight year old, a feisty and giggly six year old and a happy distracted five year old - The Santos Children.

Mr. Santos was on the far end of the farm helping a wholesaler load and cut trees. He sent the "employees" back up the hill with a giant ball of twine. There were some customers waiting for it in order to tie their tree down. Well, the employees made it to the top of the hill...Not before stopping along the way to pick up a very good walking stick and winding through the trees in figure eights.

At the top of the hill waited the customers (three young people in their late teens or early twenties)- very patiently - which was a blessing. Suddenly the huge ball of twine fell out of the hands of the oldest employee and went rolling down the hill leaving a nice long trail of twine. There were shouts and fusses and the twine, now a tangled mess, was slowly brought up the hill only to be dropped AGAIN. Fifty miles of twine stretched out over the parking lot and hill. The kids, ahem employees, were overwhelmed. I came out of the shop because I didn't know why the customers were just hanging around. I also wanted to know what they were looking at (why they didn't help the children is beyond me)...I quickly ran to cut some twine and gave a piece to the customers. Unfortunately, the customers didn't know what to do with the twine, so I helped them tie their tree down. Then the children and I began gathering and rolling the twine before the next wave of people came in.

The Failure? Mr. Santos was ANGRY at the employees. There were lots of tears, slumped shoulders, and stress. The Fix-it. Twine is ready and available at the shed where the customers can get it easily and Mr. Santos acknowledges the limitations and gifts of the employees.

~Welcome to the Farm~

It is very exciting to the Santos Family Farm Employees when a customer comes in. There is an invisible "bell" at the gate entrance. When a customer drives in the bell goes off. It sounds like three voices yelling "Mom, someone is here, someone is here!" On the first day, maybe the second day too, (it's all such a blur) the children would run out to the customer's car and open their door for them.

Oh My.

We have now trained the employees that some people don't LIKE children. Some people don't like valet tree service. Some people might be on the phone when they drive up to the farm and don't appreciate noses and fingerprints pressed into the glass of their car windows.

We now welcome all our visitors with waves and welcomes from the shop, allowing them time to get out of their car - OR not.

~That's an ugly tree~

A lovely family came in - good friends - and picked out a unique tree. That is what is so wonderful about a tree farm, all the trees are unique. Well, one of the employees commented on it. "That is an ugly tree. It looks like a Charlie Brown Tree. You sure like ugly trees."


Thankfully, these were good friends with a sense of humor. The employees really are so helpful and these little things are funny and no big deal. What IS a big deal is the prideful stress the bosses experience and pass on to the employees. The Failure? Pride. Lack of a sense of humor. Tension. The Fix-it? Relax and smile. What a fix-it. We laugh a lot more and come home much less fatigued.

Well, I could go on and on, but I've got to get breakfast on the table...maybe if I stop blogging I will have time to clean the kitchen before we dash out to the farm. Happy day to you!


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