Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Traditions: The Way We Celebrate

About a week ago, a couple of my friends probed me about my family's Christmas traditions.  I really hadn't given much thought to traditions.  In my way of thinking, I considered traditions as getting into a habit, a rote behavior.  I, personally, did not want to begin doing things just out of habit. Another thing that kept me from really getting into starting family traditions is the fact that I did not grow up with such traditions.  I was pretty much always in transit. A lack of stability makes it difficult to look forward to anything.

Vic and I didn't have an in depth discussion about the way we would celebrate before children. We knew that we were not going the commercialized route. We knew that Christ would be the focus, and that big gifts were for their own birthdays or bought just because. Our first Christmas together was simple.  We ate a nice dinner and spent time together. 

Now that our family has grown by two additional people, I've found myself wondering more about traditions.  Can they be more than rote? Can they be pleasant memories to look back to for comfort or a smile?

As Christmas gets closer and closer, our daughters have brought to my attention that we actually do have a few traditions.

Each year for the past four years, we deliver meals on Christmas morning through a local mission. Giving is very important to us, and it is something that we want our girls to have instilled in them.
Packaging food at the local food bank.
We sing Happy Birthday, Jesus.  We don't go out and buy a birthday cake, but each year we bake a dessert.  The first year we sang we baked a cheesecake.  This year we are baking a cheesecake.

This year we made our cards.  We sent out more this year than ever before.
Gifts are not a huge part of our celebrating, but we do put together a box for the girls.  The box usually has simple things that will be appreciated by our daughters.  It was recently brought to my attention that they look forward to the Bubble Tape Gum that is usually in their box.  I, now, see the pink roll of gum as our part of the gift tradition.

I keep decorating simple. Simply because I don't want to have a lot of stuff to put away, but we do put up an artificial tree and stockings. We put up a tree because I like ornaments. I thought I would have Hallmark ornament tradition, but I didn't fully get going. We have Hallmark ornaments for our first Christmas and the girls' first Christmases.  At first I didn't realize it, but I have noticed that I go out and purchase a new ornament each year.  So maybe we do have an ornament tradition after all.

I painted this ornament in 2012 at a local pottery place.
Let's not forget about the food. The only rule is not eating Thanksgiving dinner on Christmas.  Most years I cook lasagna.  This year I will cook lasagna.

Those are the traditions we have grown to love over the past 4-5 years.  We mix up each year with other activities such as our church's Christmas program, viewing light decorations, checking out a family flick at the theater, and getting out in our community and serving.  We do not always prepare with Advent, but I'd like to think we are preparing our hearts each day throughout the year.  There are few days that go by when I am not in remembrance.

What are your family traditions? Have you written a post about them? Share your link and I'll come by and read them.


©2009- 2014 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Five Minute Friday:: Adore

Adore... There's so many paths that I could take.  But as I sit here and think about what I will write this tune begins to play in my head

"O come let us adore Him. O come let us adore Him. O come let us adore Him. Christ the Lord."

Take two...

During this season, I could easily write about my Savior because I truly adore Him.  But, today I choose to write about my family. If it was not for my family, I don't know if I would truly understand His love for me or mine for Him.  I adore my family because God saw fit to bless little ol' me.  Never had I imagined marriage or motherhood. Each day He grows me to be more like Him even when I fight back. Even when I think I can't do this.  He pushes and pushes me.  So maybe this was more about Him than my family.  I know that I see the Savior's love for me through them often.  To adore means to love and respect. To adore means to worship. To be in a place to do both, worshiping my Savior and loving my family is a truly a blessing. 

Sorry if this post didn't make much sense.  I left it because I didn't know where to start.  I came back and just typed like Five Minute Friday says.  

This post is linked to Five Minute Friday {this is the last one for the year}.
  Want to join in? Visit

©2009- 2014 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Thursday, December 18, 2014 A TOS Review

November and December are more relaxed months in our homeschool.  We often pull away from the routine studies, and add more enrichment type activities.  The Schoolhouse Teachers Yearly Membership was a nice complement to our lessons.    The is a part of The Old Schoolhouse family which made the year long membership for my family and review possible. The website offered wide range of activities and lessons. provides lessons and activities ranging from preschool to high school, and includes most subjects such as math, art, critical thinking, language, and history. One great component of the website was the courses that are offered throughout the school year.  For instance, Art Technique is a course that is offered, and each week the instructor provides lessons for the student or students. The lessons are grouped by month so each month there are four lessons that focuses on a particular theme, skill, or medium. The class's instruction is given through written instructions.  The parent is able to download and print the week's lesson.  The instructor provides an example of the work so that the parent and child will have an idea of the end result of the art project.  We love art in our homeschool so this class was a huge blessing for us. The instructor who happens to be the creator of ARTistic Pursuits, Brenda Miller, provides a materials list at during the first lesson of each month.  I like the fact that each week is archived so if you missed a week for whatever reason, you can make it up before moving on to the next lesson.

Not only does offer courses, but they have a section on the site named Dailies.  This is the area I was drawn to the most particularly the Daily Word Puzzler.  The girls found the Daily Word Puzzler fun, and looked forward to doing it each day. It called for us to pull out magnetic letters that we hadn't used in months maybe even a year.  The girls used their brainpower to figure out the word the clues were describing.   It took them a few tries, but they finally got the hang of it.  The hardest part for them was remembering to leave the word that they just spelled on the board in order to build the next word since the previous word's letters were to be used. This was a great change of pace for us. I didn't print the answers so I was figuring out the clues right along with the girls.  We actually got stumped on one clue.

Can you guess it?

 "A noun naming a fairy or tiny imaginary being."

I won't leave you hanging. Here are the letters for the puzzler: t u l b t re f y

Last, but not least I liked the fact that with a membership I have access to the The Old Schoolhouse Planners.  Although I am not a huge planner, the additional information within the planners is invaluable.  The planners have reproducible notebooking pages including Famous Missionaries, Historical Figures, Famous Inventors, and more.  I have also printed the Story Starters, History Timeline, and Attendance Sheets.

The variety of the lessons and resources makes a great add-on for many homeschool families.  It isn't restrictive which makes it easy to pick up and start at any point during the year.  A plus for this online curriculum was the the fact that there are plenty of lessons and classes that we could do together.  All of the lessons that completed were for both girls, ages 10 and 7.

I have not used every component of the website, and focused mainly on the areas that were discussed above.  You can read more reviews from other Crew members here. Review
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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Out and About: Our Field Trip to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library

Visiting the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum was one of the grand highlights of this week.  The girls, my dad, and I trekked to Springfield, IL. This trip was a total surprise for the girls.  I don't always share my plans for the day with them so they didn't find out until we were in the car headed to Springfield.  We haven't visited any history museums before so this was a new environment.  As I sit and think about it, most of the museums we have visited are either science or children museums.

Even though I don't have anything the compare the museum to, I found it really impressive. The curator has done well with ensuring that everyone will learn something during their visit.  The museum had two journeys.  The first path was of President Lincoln's early life including childhood, marriage, and the years before presidency.  The second path focuses on the Presidential years up to his assassination.

There were also two short length video presentations, but we did not view either of them. Maybe next time.

The one video we were able to see was Tim Russert's commentary of the 1860 candidates. It was a play on today's elections. It was very entertaining to say the least.

We all learned new facts about the Lincoln family.  Our history lovers, Grandpa and Dania, had a great time recounting the knowledge they have gained over the years.  Dania gave us a synopsis before we headed into the exhibits, and she was on point as we read the displays.  Ramya went through and read most if not all of the plaques. Her favorite was Tad and Will at Mr. Lincoln's law firm creating a huge mess!

I found the life-sized figures of the Lincolns and others to be amazing.  It felt as if I was there with them during these historical moments.

We had a limited amount of time for this visit so we were not able to visit the library or his house.  I am hoping that we will make it back to visit in order to see all that we missed.

2015 marks the 10th anniversary of the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library, and as part of the celebration every 10th day of the month the museum will have a special activity planned.

©2009- 2014 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

In My World: What's Keeping Me Busy

This week has been full to say the least.  I've found myself often questioning how was I going to get everything done.  I usually try not to place too much on my plate, but you know there are times when the usual just doesn't pan out.

This is what my week has been about so far:

Preparing for one of the well-known craft shows in my town.

Visit for more designs

Every time I participate in a new event, I find myself becoming anxious.  The last few events have gone so well.  I know that God is faithful, but I still find myself with these feelings.  It begins to pour over to other areas which is never good. I am thankful that this week I was able to pinpoint the root of the emotions. My scripture for this week has been Philippians 4:6. I have been able to find peace and calmness.

Our first born turns 10!

Birthdays generally take a little more time and attention, and really I have all year to prepare for this day.  I feel a little melancholy about her turning 10, but I am thankful that she is such a sweetheart so her getting older hasn't been a bad experience. I just want to enjoy and be present in every moment because I know time isn't stopping for me.

Hair!  Hair wanted to keep me busy, but I couldn't imagine myself doing it.  Just the thought of washing and straightening two head caused me nausea.  For that reason, we splurged. I must say it was worth since they really did need their ends trimmed.

She doesn't ask for parties. She always wants to be pampered in sort of way so this year was a trip to the salon. I didn't tell her that I was taking them.  I only told her that I was not going to be able to straighten it.  She was very thankful, and even allowed her little sister to go first which I thought was really nice.

On top of these things, I went to work at the library twice this week so far.  Tonight I will actually lead story time for the little ones.  Praying that I will do well.  It's been awhile since I led the library's story time.

The door I decorated at the library.
I also wanted to share that I am now officially a part of the The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew!  I am excited to be a part of the team that I have followed for many years.

How are you keeping busy this week?


©2009- 2014 A Little This... A Little That. All rights reserved. All photographs, text, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the author.