Hey, It's Jade!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Countdown to Christmas - Names of Jesus Recap...

During the Advent Season, the days leading up to Christmas, Preston, Callen and I did something I found on Spell Out Loud.  It was a Names of Jesus Chain, which helped us not only countdown the days to Christmas, but also learn more about Jesus - the Reason for the Season!  
Our Names of Jesus Chain!
The boys enjoyed pulling a chain link off every day, and watching it go from long to short!  We also learned some new ways to refer to Jesus, like Rose of Sharon, Bright & Morning Star and Friend.  =)

Along with that, we colored an ornament for each name, which we found here.  Most of the time Preston did the coloring, but occasionally Callen or I did one.  The final product on our tree branch is quite lovely!
Very colorful, indeed!
And we also filled in the Usborne Advent Calendar to Color.  There was a door or window scene to open and color for each day December 1st through 24th.  This was Callen's favorite part... he LOVED coloring on this book.
Working together (Callen coloring my table!)
Final product!  Definitely one-of-a-kind!
I enjoyed doing something this season that helped us focus on the real meaning, Jesus!  

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011 Recap...

My goodness, I have a serious Christmas hangover.  I'm not the only one, right?  Geez.

Christmas Eve...
My parents came over, we all went to church for the Christmas Eve Service at Grace Fellowship Church.  It was really good - loved the music!  When we got back home, we ate delicious food like taco chili, my mom's tuna sandwiches (YUM!), Nutella Tarts, brownies, tamales, cheddar bacon dip, and so much more.  Then we got to open presents.  We mostly watched the boys enjoy their gifts.  They got books, clothes including a winter coat for Preston and cute monkey pjs for Callen, a tent/tube thingee to climb around in, a puzzle, a Glow Station and more!  My parents really spoiled those kids!  Michael got a tool and I got a Dutch Oven (yay!). After the kids were in bed (finally!), Michael and I stayed up and watched It's A Wonderful Life.

Christmas Morning...
The boys got to check their stockings, and then peek inside the Santa bags to see what their big gifts were.  Preston got a kid-sized guitar and Callen got a toy box for his room!  Then we headed back up to GFC for the Christmas Morning Service.  It was the exact same program, but the boys and I were helping with the nursery and Michael was helping with the stage.

Christmas Day...

After that, we came back home and gathered things up and went over to Michael's parents' house for lunch and more gifts.  We had the traditional ham and cheese sandwiches and potato chips, along with lots of sweets, of course.  And then, yes... more presents!  We again, mostly watched the boys tear into their haul (again, they were totally spoiled!).  They got more books (lol!), more clothes, a dinosaur, a car, a giant stuffed Scooby Doo, a neat art set and more!  I got some kitchen gadgets (yay, a garlic press!) and Michael received some gift cards to Abuelo's and Lowe's!  And we got a cotton candy maker!  We brought over Michael and Preston's guitars, and along with the piano and the various toy musical instruments they have, the family did some Christmas carols.  Lol.  It was kinda ridiculous.    
We hung out some more, Michael took a nap, the kids played.  Then, as soon as we got in the car to head back home, the boys crashed... we took more naps at home.

When I awoke from my nap, I opened the front door to turn on the Christmas lights and there was a box on the front porch that said "To The Clarks."  Inside were some toy trucks, a duck hunting game, some clothes for Michael and me... and an envelope of cash.  Michael and I just started crying, it was such a blessing.  We don't know where it came from, but thank you, Jesus!  The money is definitely going to help with paying for our car repairs (our car is in the shop right now to get the head gasket and water pump replaced).  We are still just in shock about the whole thing.  God is such an amazing provider!  I know He is.  It's still just such a neat thing to experience it like this!  

Merry Christmas, y'all!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Homeschool Recap, Dec 23rd (Christmas Break)...

In my life this week...
Christmas is merely days away.  DAYS!  Like... two!  Whooooaaaa!  Ok.  So, I made a last minute decision this past weekend that we would go ahead and take this week off of school too (was already planning to take next week off because Michael will be off of work all week then).  I'm glad I did.  It's been a nice break, for sure.  On Thursday, we found out that our car needs a major engine repair.  Our ONE car.  Yikes.  So, today I'll be calling and maybe visiting some mechanics/shops trying to find a place that can a) get us in and out quickly and b) not cost us an arm and a leg.  Not sure either of those is even feasible, but we'll see.  Sigh. The car will be paid off in May.  Figures, huh?

On top of that, Callen fell flat on his face last Saturday night, and I'm not sure, but he might have broken his nose.  It was crazy.  I felt so bad, but I didn't think there was much we could do.  His nose was swollen and he got some bruises around the top.  The next day I was able to poke it a bit and he didn't flinch or fuss, so I figured it must not be hurting him.  He kept pointing to his nose and saying "Boom!" like he was retelling the story of how it happened.  Poor kid.
A few days after the fall.
What's not working for me...
Broken car.  Broken laptop.  Yep, the lap top is still in disrepair.  We got the inverter part delivered (finally!) that we thought would fix it.  Nope.  Still dark.  So, we've ordered a back-light bulb and we'll see if that will fix it.  We're trying these low-cost options first, next will be to replace the whole screen... and after that?  Nothing.  We can't afford anything else at this point.  Christmas, broken big ticket items, end of the year bills due... it's been a bit trying around here the past week.  I know God will provide, though.  He always does.  So, it's not hopeless.

I'm praying for...
A blessed Christmas for everyone!  We've had a rough week, and could use some joy and peace.  I know nearly everything I wrote about this week was negative and depressing.  But Jesus is the reason for the season and with Him, there is only joy and love and hope and peace and prosperity!  I know that He is the greatest gift of all and He lives in our hearts!

In our homeschool this week...
Well, ever since I announced to Preston that we'd be taking two weeks off for Christmas break, he has been saying, "I wish it was January 2nd so we could do school again."  What?  This is the same boy that complains nearly every morning that he doesn't wanna do school.  Silly kid.  We have been doing Fall, Winter and Christmas activities, though... so we are kind of doing "school."  I had some Fall activities printed and ready to go for a while, we just never had the time (or energy) to work them in.  So, I figured, hey... earlier this week was still Fall, so we did 'em.  Preston liked it.  He traced and colored leaves that I had flattened from our various trees around here.  He also completed a little booklet about signs of Fall.
Our workboxes this week!
Then, on Thursday, we read books about the First Day of Winter!  And we have been reading Christmas books all week, of course, too!  See our book basket post from this week here.  We did lots of baking earlier this week as well... Nutella Fudge and Pumpkin Spice Cookies, which we gave to the neighbors and our delivery people (UPS and USPS mail carrier).  It was some delicious stuff!

Advent/Seasonal activity: Our first full week of doing the Names of Jesus Countdown Chain from Spell Out Loud.  Each day we take off a chain link, learn about that particular name for Jesus, color an ornament from here and put it up on our tree branch.  Preston is also doing the Advent Calendar to Color from Usborne each day as well.  Callen wanted in on the action this time around, and has lovingly scribbled his additions to the Calendar.  But that makes it all the more special.  =)

We are using My Father's World First Grade. See our curriculum here.
Blog Hoppin' with:
MFW Blog Roll The Homeschool Mother's Journal Hip Homeschool Hop Button Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Photobucket

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Homeschool Kids Who Don't Do Anything...

This is adorable. And... oh, so true:


"And we have the same great teacher every Fall!"

Read Aloud Thursday: December 22nd (Christmas Edition)

Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope Is the Word  is a fun weekly meme to showcase the books you are reading aloud to your children.  It is so important to continue reading to your kids, even after they've learned to read themselves!  Read to them until they move out if you can!  I read to my 21-month old at naptime and bedtime and to my 6-year-old a chapter from a book every nite at bedtime, and read to both of them all throughout the day.  Sometimes my older reads to my little, which always blesses my heart!  I also use this opportunity to highlight some of the great Usborne Books & More titles I have to offer.

Christmas Book Basket #2
Last week, I gathered up a bunch of our Christmas books this week and put 'em in a basket in the living room so that the kids could look through 'em as they wanted.  I did the same for this week, only this time we used lots of library books too!  Books like Mrs. Claus's Crazy Christmas, Pooh Bear's The Sweetest Christmas and The First Day of Winter (which we, of course, will read today - the first day of Winter!).  I don't really have time to review them all, but the boys really enjoyed Santasaurus - a story of a little dinosaur who's only only Christmas wish is to fly in Santa's sleigh.  It's pretty cute to see the little dinodeers (instead of reindeer) and refer to the little guy's parents as Momosaurus and Dadosaurus.  Heh.  And, as always, The Polar Express is a delight to read and enjoy.  Can't miss out on that one!  I have all the makings to create a lapbook for it, but since my computer was down all week and we're nearly out of ink anyway, I decided that it can wait till next year.  Preston will probably benefit from it more next year anyway.  Lol.

A quick spotlight on a few Christmas Usborne books we played with this week.  Yes, I said "played with" instead of read because they're fun!  The first one is the Pull Back Busy Santa, which just so happens to be half-off right now (only $12.50!).  It's a delightful book with a little story about Santa's journey on Christmas Eve, punctuated with four tracks that a little toy, pull-back Santa uses to zoom all over the place!  The kids LOVE this one, of course!  Who wouldn't?  The other book we played with was the Christmas Sticker Book.  Adorable Christmas and winter scenes, then decorated by stickers!  Preston loved getting to design his own pages.  Sadly, this one is out of stock, not available anymore.  Glad we got our hands on it when we did!  More Christmas Usborne offerings can be found at www.HeyJadeBooks.com.

A lot of the books we checked out from the library were pretty old, and not available to show up in the Amazon widget, unfortunately, so I also added some movies we watched!:


[This post does contain affiliate links.  If you purchase a product through a link clicked here, I do receive a small compensation, and I want you to know I greatly appreciate it!]

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Story of Christmas...

Here's another video from a mixture of Christian musicians/artists, telling the story of Luke 2...

Friday, December 16, 2011

Homeschool Recap, Dec 16th (Wk 14)...

In my life this week...
Everyone in the house was sickly this week.  Not fun.  I think it was just a round of colds... lots of snot, coughing and gunky throats.  We seem to be on the mend, but there's still lots of tissue use going on 'round here.  We haven't been doing anything too exciting.  Listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, and just taking it easy.

My favorite thing this week was...
Oh, before all the sickness hit, on Saturday (my birthday!), we went out to a ranch and had the best time!  The boys really enjoyed being cowboys!  We did a hayride, ate the most delicious chicken from a giant smoker, Callen got to sit on a "neigghh!".  So much fun!
My cowboys!
What's NOT working for me...
Still waiting for the part for my laptop to come in.  Hoping it'll be here soon and will be the fix for it.  If not... I don't even know.

I'm reading...
Well, besides all the Christmas books, I picked back up with Anne of Green Gables.  Well, technically, I moved on to Anne of Avonlea.  Can't wait to see what Anne gets herself into next!

I'm grateful for...
A Savior who blesses us, even when we grumble and are ungrateful!  The Lord is constantly providing for us in so many different ways.  What right have I to complain about anything?  ANYTHING?!?!?  Sometimes I'm a real jerk, even when it's just inside my own head.  Forgive me, Father, for questioning, doubting, complaining and just generally being a butt.  Amen.

Ahem, anyway...

In our homeschool this week...
Tot School:  Callen is enjoying Christmastime.  When asked what Santa says, he replies, "oh! oh! oh!"  And when I ask where Baby Jesus is, he points to our nativity scene.  He has also decided he likes the song "We Wish You A Merry Christmas," as he says 'WISSS!"  It's terribly cute!  He is about to climb out of his crib at any moment, so I am constantly on alert.  We are in the process of getting Preston a twin bed to move in to, so we can give Preston's toddler bed to Callen.  They grow up too fast!  Callen is still very interested in coloring and enjoys doing the Advent to Color every day.  Don't you dare leave him out!  Lol.  And, my goodness, does that boy love our Christmas tree...  Eep!
Come out from behind there!
Bible: Proverbs 30:5, "Every word of God is flawless; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him."  And we discussed, read and illustrated Noah and the Ark, God's promise, The Tower of Babel and started talking about Abram.  The boys had a great time trying to build their own Tall Tower with blocks.  Preston got it just as tall as he was before it toppled.
Working on our towers!
After two more blocks, it fell!
Reading/Writing: Spent time working on writing words we were reading in our Bible stories, talked about "ew" and "ea."

Math: This week's theme was charts and graphs, something Preston is very familiar with.  Did the pages in the Complete Book of Math on the subject, and continued to fill in his Weather Chart (we do a new one every month to keep track of the weather - at the end of the school year, we'll make a large chart using all the months' info!).  We also read Lemonade for Sale, which talks about graphs.

Science: This week's science them was Rainbows, which went nicely with the story of Noah and the Ark, of course.  We watched a Cat In the Hat episode about learning the order of the colors, and he already knew Roy G. Biv.  He colored in some rainbows, and we made rainbows using a glass of water and flashlight (since it was cloudy all week and we couldn't use the sun!).  We also read a cute little book called Skyfire.

Music/Art:  This week's hymn was "How Firm a Foundation", and there were many new vocabulary words in this one to learn!  He liked it, though.  We also talked about chimes/tubular bells and the xylophone.  We looked at a landscape portrait from our Come Look With Me book.  We didn't do Drawing with Children this week, we just weren't feeling up to it.  Tried to lighten the load a bit.

Spanish:  We skipped Spanish lessons this week too.  Might try to get in some review this week and next, and not introduce anything new.  He's getting a bit mixed up with the last few weeks' words.  Probably a good time for a break with this anyway.

Advent/Seasonal activity: Our first full week of doing the Names of Jesus Countdown Chain from Spell Out Loud.  Each day we take off a chain link, learn about that particular name for Jesus, color an ornament from here and put it up on our tree branch.  Preston is also doing the Advent Calendar to Color from Usborne each day as well.  Callen wanted in on the action this time around, and has lovingly scribbled his additions to the Calendar.  But that makes it all the more special.  =)

We are using My Father's World First Grade. See our curriculum here.

Blog Hoppin' with:
MFW Blog Roll The Homeschool Mother's Journal Hip Homeschool Hop Button Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Photobucket

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday: December 15th (Christmas Edition)

Read-Aloud Thursday @ Hope Is the Word  is a fun weekly meme to showcase the books you are reading aloud to your children.  It is so important to continue reading to your kids, even after they've learned to read themselves!  Read to them until they move out if you can!  I read to my 21-month old at naptime and bedtime and to my 6-year-old a chapter from a book every nite at bedtime, and read to both of them all throughout the day.  Sometimes my older reads to my little, which always blesses my heart!  I also use this opportunity to highlight some of the great Usborne Books & More titles I have to offer.

Christmas Book Basket!
I gathered up a bunch of our Christmas books this week and put 'em in a basket in the living room so that the kids could look through 'em as they wanted.  And we have spent a while reading through some of them together.  This evening, Preston, my 6-year-old, read me The Night Before Christmas, and I read him the Texas version!  Lol.  Then, for bedtime, I read my 21-month-old God Gave us Christmas.  I noticed that it has a lot of references to the Names of Jesus, which we are doing as our Advent/Christmas Countdown this year, like "Light of the Word" and "King of Kings"... so I might be re-reading that one to Preston soon!

Several years ago, I found a neat booked called The Homeless Christmas Tree.  This book was a wonderful find because I actually know where this tree is in Fort Worth, Texas!  It's based on a true story, and you can drive by the actual tree at any time of the year and see it "dressed" for whatever holiday is closest!  I always wondered about the history of that tree, and was quite surprised to find a book on it!  Super neat!

And, of course, I have to talk about some Usborne books.  A lot of the Christmas titles went out of stock even before Thanksgiving, but I got my hands on the Advent Calendar to Color and 1001 Christmas Things to Spot.  We have been having a blast with those these past few weeks!  Both boys enjoy coloring in the Advent flaps and looking at all the busy pictures in the spotting book.  Usborne has some wonderful Christmas titles... stories, activities, cook books, games, coloring books, cards and so much more!  There's still time to order for Christmas, too!  Orders up until December 20th, are most likely going to be delivered before Christmas Eve! www.HeyJadeBooks.com

Here are all the books currently in our Christmas book basket:


Check back next week for another basket-load of Christmas reading!

[This post does contain affiliate links.  If you purchase a product through a link clicked here, I do receive a small compensation, and I want you to know I greatly appreciate it!]

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Broken. And sick.

Not much coming from me this week.  My laptop is broken... the screen just went dark on me, out of nowhere.  After much research and suggestions from friends, we think we have diagnosed the problem.  We are waiting for a part to be delivered that HOPEFULLY fixes it easily enough.  Please pray with us that it IS!

And my whole household has been down with a cold or something.  Hubby had to take two days off of work, kids are snotty and coughing and oh-so-whiny.  I pretty much laid around all day today.  We're gross.  Hoping we're getting all this out of our system this week, and that Christmas will be wonderful!  Here's hoping!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Homeschool Recap, Dec 9th (Wk 13)...

In my life this week...
I shall be celebrating my birthday tomorrow, so I've spent this week lamenting 31.  Not, really.  I have never felt my age, nor really worried about it.  It is what it is.  Heh.  I had a fun Usborne book party on Tuesday evening.  I actually really enjoy getting together with ladies I don't know (well, I knew the hostess, but that was it) and just taking note of how different personalities and attitudes make this world go round.  You know what I mean?  It takes all kinds, right?  Anyway, we put up Christmas decor this week, so that was nice.  We don't have lights up outside yet, except the nativity and projector, but maybe we'll get around to that this weekend.  It's been coooollllddd, but I think this weekend might be nice.  We'll see.  I've been enjoying the cold out there by drowning myself in hot cocoa.  What?

What's not working for me...
I came home from running some errands, getting a birthday present and birthday lunch with my mom and the boys today to find my laptop sitting there dark.  It's on, and I can barely make out that there is stuff on the screen, but not enough to use it. This scares me... what can you do for a dark screen on a laptop?  Please, don't die, laptop!  Please!  Anyway, because of that issue... I can't get to the pictures I have for this week's homeschool recap.  I take them off my phone and save them to my computer.  And that sucks, 'cause I had some great pictures from stuff we did.  Dang it.  :::insert extremely unhappy face here:::

In our homeschool this week...
Tot School:  Callen was a mess.  As usual.  Love that kid soooo much, but he wears me out.  He and his brother have really started playing well... and not so well together.  I say that because they love doing stuff together, but it always results in a bonked head or someone putting a pillow over someone else's face...  you know how it goes.  That's just how it is with brothers, right?  The good news is that Callen has learned a bunch of new words in just the past week!  He's repeating a lot more things, and it's exciting.  He just hasn't been saying a whole lot till lately, so I'm glad to finally here him using new words!

Bible: Proverbs 13:13, "He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded." Ouch.  Right?  Yeah, we've been going over this one around here, big time.  It partners perfectly with our Adam & Eve studies the first part of this week too.  We added pieces to our time line, about "The Sad Day" (aka That Darn Snake!) and Cain & Abel.  Preston read and then illustrated each of the stories in his Bible Notebook.

Reading/Writing: Worked on a few different sound blends.  

Math: This week's theme is measurement.  We actually gave Preston a measuring balance for his birthday, because I knew the timing would be just right!  Haha.  He has had all kinds of fun with it, trying to balance out handfuls of goldfish and whatnot.  We also read a great assortment of measuring books.



Science: This week's science them was Solar System and the Planets.  So much fun!  Who doesn't love space stuff?  We read about a million books this week.  Ok, we didn't read all of them, some we kind scanned because I did kinda over-do it at the library on this subject.  But, we found a really fun Disney book called Wonderful World of Space... and Preston loved looking through that book.  A Lot.  And, of course, I already had several Space Usborne books for us to look at as well like First Guide to the Universe, Space and See Inside Space.  I really enjoyed talking to my son about Creation vs. The Big Bang, it was really neat to hear what he thought about it.  Yay, homeschool!


Music/Art:  We continued our hymn work on "O For A Thousand Tongues to Sing" from Charles Wesley.  Learned about conga drums and timpanis.  And looked at a portrait called The Old Stagecoach.  We also both drew a still life picture from our Drawing with Children book.  I wish I could show you.  :::pouty face here::: 

Spanish:  La Ropa!  Clothes words again this week.

Advent/Seasonal activity: Our first full week of doing the Names of Jesus Countdown Chain from Spell Out Loud.  Each day we take off a chain link, learn about that particular name for Jesus, color an ornament from here and put it up on our tree branch.  Preston is also doing the Advent Calendar to Color from Usborne each day as well.  Callen wanted in on the action this time around, and has lovingly scribbled his additions to the Calendar.  But that makes it all the more special.  =)

We are using My Father's World First Grade. See our curriculum here.
Blog Hoppin' with:
MFW Blog Roll The Homeschool Mother's Journal Hip Homeschool Hop Button Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Photobucket

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Win a Life Application Study Bible Family Pack or iPad 2!


Now through December 24th, there is a great giveaway going on at The New Living Translation Facebook page!  Each day, one person will win a Life Application Study Bible Family Pack, which includes 5 Study Bibles for the whole family!  And each week, one person will win an Apple iPad 2!  Everyone who enters gets a free download copy of The Life Application Bible Study for the Book of Luke.

Entry is easy, simply go to The New Living Translation Facebook page, like it, and enter your name and email address!  Literally takes just a few seconds!  Again, there are winners every day!  Or, you could be a weekly winner of an iPad 2!  Definitely worth a few seconds of your time, huh?

If you won the Apple iPad2, would it be for you?  Or would you be giving someone a really awesome Christmas gift this year?

[I was not compensated for posting the information about this giveaway other than being entered into a Tyndale Blog Network exclusive giveaway for a free Life Application Study Bible and Life Application Study Bible Family Pack.]

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Lip Balm Junkie #2

Thankfully, he doesn't eat it!
The first thing Callen does upon entering my bathroom is go directly to the drawer, open it, and find a tube of lip balm ('cause there's only, like, a dozen of them in there, ha!).  He then, of course, applies it.  Over.  And over.  And over.  But, at least he doesn't eat it.  He also often digs in the pocket of my jeans when I least expect it to find the one I happen to be carrying with me at the time.  And if you dare pull out your lip balm, you better be willing to give him some too.  Or else.  I mean, I really don't know where he gets it from.  Ok.  Yes, I do.  Guilty as charged.

Great eBooks to Check Out!


I ran across Sarah Mae's 31 Days to Clean earlier this year, and it got me moving! I went through the 31 days and really cleaned my house. There were things in this book that motivated me and kept me going, and :::gasp::: had me LOOKING FORWARD to cleaning each day. Weird, huh? It's a wonderful book with scripture and Biblical references to meditate on... giving you a little bit of Mary and a little bit of Martha each day. I love how simple it is, but profound. And hey, it really did help me clean my home! See my blog post from back then: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5.

31 Days To Clean can be purchased for $4.99 here.  It is available as a PDF, or can be downloaded specifically for your Kindle or Nook.


Sarah Mae has also recently written an eBook on ... how to sell an eBook.  You know, someone had to!  So, if you've been considering writing a book but have been nervous about how to get it out there and wonder how to make it a successful endeavor, this might be the eBook for you!  

How to Market and Sell Your eBook can be purchased for $4.99 here. It is available as a PDF, or can be downloaded specifically for your Kindle or Nook.
[The links above are my own affiliate links, and I do receive compensation for any products purchased through them.]

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Some Holiday Cheer via Music Videos

This one is hilarious because it's various Christian artists singing The 12 Days of Christmas (some not very well, I might add). Includes Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, The Afters, Addison Road, Casting Crowns and many more!  Definitely worth watching!


This one is Tenth Avenue North, and these guys are hilarious - they have done a fine job of a video here. You HAVE to watch till the end to see the awesome choreographed dance! I'm serious, you wanna see the dancing.


And, of course, I have to add Relient K's Sleigh Ride video. I just love their version of this song!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Six Years Old? No. Way.

My Little Man!
It's so hard to believe that my first-born son is six years old today.  But the same way, I barely remember life without him, so... I guess I can believe it.  Love you, Preston Pants!

Five years old!
Four Years Old!
Three Years Old!
Two years old!
One year old!
One day old!