Halloween 2015


Jack dresses as his favorite character from the anime series Bleach. 




Our bones display.


Even Cairo got in on dressing up.  Anytime we put a backpack or clothing on her, it makes her behave 10 times better than usual.


My oldest daughter did an awesome job painting her boyfriends face.

We had a wonderful time hanging out with friends old and new. The kids went trick or treating and then held the great candy trade. We are looking forward to doing it again next year.

Our Studio Ghibli themed Halloween

This year we decided to do a theme for decorating and dressing up. The theme we could all agree on was Studio Ghibli. We love all the movies and watch them often.

Here are the decorations:


First up, I took some round black tissue decorations and added some google eyes to make soot sprites. We hung these from the ceiling.


Instead of the traditional scarecrow we made a Turniphead scarecrow.


We made a No Face figure to stand in the corner on our porch.


And then we had the kodama or tree spirits. We made as many as we could in our short period of time and put them all over the front yard.


We even put some on the roof.




A pumpkin carved with a figure of Teto.


A pumpkin with Turniphead.


A pumpkin with Totoro carved.


And the rest of the decorations. The chalkboard above was placed right by the front door.


This chalkboard was on the other side of the door.


The top of the door.


Just inside the front door.



On top of our school shelf.


The dining room. This table was used for food.


And above the kitchen sink.


Right outside the dining room, in the backyard we had a drink station.



The tables for eating.


On the back lawn we set up the movie screen. We also put out some blankets to sit on. The screen was also visible from the eating tables.


Last, but not least our costumes.  Jack dressed as Lord Yupa from Naussica.



I dress as Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle. :) We had friends near and far join in with us and dress like their favorite Miyazaki character such as: Porco Rosso, San, Totoro,  Naussica, and Arriety. We had a fun time and are thinking of carrying the theme over for next year. Which means we have all year to make more kodama!



I hope you all had a lovely Easter.  Ours was good.


We spent the day relaxing and  enjoying ourselves.


Well except for Talisa, she had an art final to work on.


I relaxed with a project I've been wanting to do.


Our sweet neighbor brought us a cake.


I may have gone a little overboard on my promise of an excellent egg hunt.  This is only half of the eggs I stuffed.


We made our older kids hunt for eggs, despite their protests that they were too old.



We ended the evening by watching The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  Two out of four kids have declared it their new favorite movie.  It's a  good one.



We had a pretty laid back New Year's Eve. We started by going to a matinee of The Hobbit with friends. Then home for homemade pizza, a game of Ticket to Ride, a bonfire and some fireworks.


We are really loving this game.  I am hoping to pick up the Germany one soon.


It was fun to practice low light and firework pictures.


Wishing you all love and light in 2014!


Our Christmas

We were doing so well this Christmas season and then I got sick. Really sick. I am just now coming up of the bottom. So here are our late pics and Christmas wishes.


Watching some of our favorite young friends in the local production of The Nutcracker.


Studying for finals.


My love.


It seems like every time I went into the living room there was more ornaments on the tree and more lights hanging up around the room. Sneaky little elves.



Making cookies for the big guy.


Able to spend some time with this guy for a couple of days.



It was all about Star Wars this year.


We had a wonderful Christmas and hope you did too. Wishing you all love and laughter!


A few more pictures from our snow day.

Yesterday we were able to make it to a Christmas Festival that is held in our town every year.


They had reindeer out front this year which was new. And it was probably the best part of the whole festival. 


Sorry for the blurry pic. Hard to get him to hold still. I took this while we were waiting for Talisa to meet us at the festival. I love how he has his earphones and ipod. I've noticed almost every time we go where it will be noisy and crowded he grabs his earphones and ipod.


Since the freezing weather is rare in our area, Alex took the opportunity to fill some balloons with colored water and set them outside. This is what we had today.  Very cool.  I think there will be more of those in our future. I also have a freezer full of snow.

Oh it has been cold.  I really can't imagine it any colder, but that is what the forecast for the weekend is saying.  I am planning on having a cozy weekend in, making gifts and making merry!

Our advent list


In no particular order:

  1. Watch Frozen
  2. Charlie Brown's Christmas and the Grinch
  3. Elf
  4. Prancer
  5. Decorate Ninjabread men and sugar cookies
  6. Write letter to Santa
  7. Drive to look at lights with hot chocolate
  8. The Nutcracker
  9. Sleep under the tree
  10. leave treat for mailman, UPS man
  11. family game night
  12. doughnut shop
  13. candy shop
  14. snowman pizza
  15. The Santa Clause
  16. Prep and Landing
  17. Scrooge- Albert Finney version
  18. Eggnog and treat
  19. St. Nicholas day
  20. St. Lucia day
  21. snow day- we don't usually get snow here, but will drive to somewhere close that does. Of course as I am typing this it is snowing outside, but that is a fluke. 
  22. make pine cone bird feeders and other treats for the birds.
  23. Christmas crackers
  24. Candlelight dinner and bonfire for the Solstice.
  25. Open gift early
  26. gifts and treats to neighbors
  27. shopping/making gifts for each other
  28. shopping for the community kids
  29. ring the bell- our usual charity that we do it for is not doing it this year. I haven't been able to find out info for doing it somewhere else so we may need to bag this. :(  And Jack already made special strings of bells for us to ring.
  30. local Christmas festival
  31. Homeschool group party
  32. online school group party
  33. Dinner with the cousins.
  34. Dinner with the grandparents.


Of course some nights we will do more than one and some will be sure to be repeated which is why there are more than 24. 

December 2 2013


The tree is up. I didn't notice until I looked at this pic today that we had some lights out. I guess I will have to look into that tomorrow.  For the first time we are having more of a plan for our advent.  So many fun things to do this time of year. I am trying to keep it calm and have plenty of time to just soak it all up. 

We have two mini trees that we set up one on the dining room table and one in Jack's room. Our little tree hugger.

We have started a garland for the tree and whatever else may need it. We are making it using our lucet that we used during our Viking studies last year.


He says its a lot like the Rainbow Loom. 


December 1 2013...

...or the day I try to get back in the blogging spirit. Because December should be easy to blog about, right? Fun, exciting and special! Maybe I will even pick up my real camera one day. 

Did you have a good Thanksgiving? Ours was nice and relaxing. We changed things up this year and didn't cook a turkey. My hubby brought up the valid point that it wasn't a real favorite of anyone here. We cooked ribs instead. Still did the potatoes, rolls, cheese ball and all the other favorites. It turned out great. My oldest son made it for dinner and my father in law.  Here are some pics from the long weekend:


The hubby.


Love these star ornaments we found at Target.


Our little tree hugger.


Steve playing Perplexus, a new favorite around here.


There is always someone playing music around here.




We still have one rose.


I dyed my hair. It was supposed to be auburn. It's more of a rockin' reddish-purple.  Everyone loves it, except me. I need to get used to it I suppose.


I'm also working on custom orders for the shop. This is a key chain in progress. I am making 3 with the same saying for an adoptive mother and her two birth mothers.  They are all amazing.

Here is a link to the shop:
Abundant Soul

Use the coupon code grateful13 for 20% through Tuesday December 3.


Happy December 1st!


December 18






Not much to say in these parts. We have been soaking up family time the past few days. Thankful for what we have and who we share our lives with.  I have been taking advantage of the fact that Jack said I could take as many pictures of him as I want.  Favorite memories over the past few days:

  • Jack and his huge piece of peppermint chocolate cake.
  • a mother-son date including a movie, dinner and Christmas shopping
  • making cookies with the family. We have a lot of zombie and ninja themed gingerbread men.
  • spending the morning reading Christmas stories and singing Christmas carols next to the tree.
  • going for a walk by the river to look for rocks. Coming back with 5lbs of them because every single rock was amazing.
  • watching Jack fall in love with a sport and be excited about it. Fencing is his life.
  • Jack waking up every day asking if it has snowed. Tonight it finally started to snow, I went in to tell him and he was already asleep. Hopefully it will be there in the morning.
  • I have declared the whole week a Christmas week. 


busy day



Today we had our group Christmas activity for our online school.


We had a fun time seeing our friends and making some decorations.

Jack did these in art class today. They are of Mary and baby Jesus.  I love them. He did so well.




Jack is really excited for Saint Nicholas day.  He even straightened his room up after all his classes this evening.


Our little St. Nick checking out the gifts.  She is such a silly cat.


checking my list

Today was a good day! I actually had enough energy to get some things done. Either that or realizing that Christmas Eve is 3 weeks from today spurred me into action. Yikes!


We brought out the Christmas decorations and Jack decorated himself as well as the tree.  More pictures to come. 

I shipped the first orders out for my etsy store. Squeeee!

I started Christmas shopping.  I was able to finish shopping for our two secret Santa kids. And get most of ours done.

I started a few new cuffs. Alex came up with an awesome design for one that I will hopefully get done in a few days.

I did the laundry.

We did school! Yay for that. Especially on a day that we end up doing two unit tests.  Excited that today's history lesson was on Saint Nicholas, just in time for the holiday this week.

Found this while shopping. Love it!

It was a pretty good Monday all around.


November already.

It's hasn't been the week I had planned.  I had planned on taking the week off of school, doing some fun science experiments, and enjoying time with friends.  What a turn of events. My father in law suffered an aortic dissection.  So we spent Tuesday night waiting for him to get out of surgery and have spent any spare time we have over at the hospital.  He is now doing well in  a regular hospital room and we are all trying to adjust to what this all means. We are very thankful that everything has turned out so well, that so many things were lined up just right so that everything would work out well. We are also very thankful for all the support we have received. Also very thankful I had everything in order so that we could drop everything and be where we were needed.

I had planned to do nanowrimo and nanblomo, but neither one is happening yet.  last time I tried to do those my father was in the hospital in ICU.  I think maybe it is a sign. 


The Halloween party went on as planned, thanks to the kids.  We couldn't be at the hospital anyways since my fil wasn't resting while we were there and it helped us lighten up a little.


Zac also wanted the kids to be able to celebrate and have some sense of normal. They look forward to the party all year.



And these are basically the only pictures I took. There is always next year. 



We didn't have much planned for Easter this year.  We had company staying with us, which was by far the best part of Easter, and Steve was working. I was planning on celebrating on Monday, but in the afternoon on Sunday Jack started asking about doing an egg hunt.  Alex and I decided to pull off a last minute celebration.



Jack is the only one who hunted eggs, at least until I realized how much candy that would mean for him. Then I had to beg the older kids to hunt some. 

 The kitty even got in on the action.




We had the hunt, found the Easter baskets that the bunny had misplaced, had dinner and then watched a movie together. It was a great finish for our fun weekend.

scenes from Christmas 12/26

So busy. So much fun. And so much to be thankful for.


Friday we rang the bell for  the Salvation Army.  This was such a neat experience. It is on the list already for next year. 



Jack taking a break for bell-ringing, singing and dancing.


The big kids got a big suprise on Christmas Eve. I love the pics of their faces.


It's not often we can pull a big surprise on them.


Jack decorated some gingerbread men for Santa.



Christmas morning.

IMG_5246 IMG_5265


We hope you all had a wonderful holiday. :)

scenes from the weekend 12/18





Anyone ready for Christmas?? We aren't! :)  But the plan for this week is to take it how it comes and enjoy it. I think it will work. We still haven't had everyone together at the right time of day with the right weather for a Christmas card pic, so I bought cards to send out and we'll have to send the pics along later. Sigh. The story of my life.

On to the list for this week:

  • Christmas shopping with Jack
  • mail out Christmas boxes--at least something got finished, well almost 1 more thing to get and then hopefully they will be in the mail tomorrow afternoon. 
  • call some dentist to get a second opinion and get everything in order to hopefully get the teeth fixed over Christmas break.
  • Bake for the neighbors. Zac really wants to have a handmade something. I'm hoping this means he really wants to wash dishes. :)
  • Nutcracker ballet. We'll go and watch some of our favorite little people perform.
  • Salvation army bell rining. The kids are really excited about this- planning outfits, learning Christmas songs on the guitar and finding the perfect holiday hat to wear.  Jack has really been curious on why we are doing it, who it will help and why people sometimes need help. It has been a great learning opportunity for him. 
  • park day
  • wrapping gifts- always Christmas eve, always staying up way too late watching a fun movie.
  • School this week for Jack is light and easy. We'll be reading the Nutcracker and doing some light learning on Germany and Russia tying it all in to the story and performance. We'll also paint some nutcracker ornaments to hang on the tree. But the majority of the week will be about giving and appreciating those around us.


Yay the computer is back!


Candle holder covered in mod podge and sprinkled with glitter.

first attempt at a pocket gnome. He still needs a hat.


a felt bunting garland for the tree.


repurposing the now to small desk for a lego table.

wood ornaments with beeswax polish.


homemade snow globes.

kindle cover. The ribbon comes aorund the front and ties, but I didn't want to cover the mushroom. :)




Today was one of those days. I had to check and make sure it wasn't a Monday. I think it had a lot to do with the chocolate coins that Saint Nicholas gave the kids in their shoes. After a busy morning fixing other people's problems :) and after a quick photo shoot with the rugby teams we had a full on meltdown. Ay-yi-yi.  Been a while since I've seen that.  So I gave the boy two options. A walk or a nap. 

Of course he chose the walk.


After his shoe, his new shoe, got stuck in the mud and he melted again.


I redirected his attention to looking for rocks and eventually the complaining stopped. The muddy shoe was forgotten and we enjoyed some time out.






The night didn't get much better.  Tonight after we tucked him in, Jack called me to my room and told me, "I guess I'm getting coal for Christmas."

I'm not sure where he picked that up, but we talked about trying harder and how every day is a new day. For now he seems to be stuck on the coal idea. I can tell you Santa Claus just took chocolate off the list. :)


the big day

Today was Jack's choir performance at the festival. I couldn't believe how excited he was. Of course I took video of  the performance which filled my card and couldn't get a picture of just him. :( But it was awesome, they did so good.


Tonight we pulled out our gingerbread kit and started to decorate.


Aren't these the coolest? We found a it that made 4 dog houses complete with Snoopy and Woodstock. We love them.


Quick and easy and the we got our gingerbread fix.