Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Double Digit Birthday!

It has arrived! The day my first baby Benjamin Cooper turns double digits. I asked him this morning if he felt older and he said no, but he wasn't born until 10:39 p.m. so I think he thinks he'll feel older when that minute arrives. Its obvious he's older because he got money and clothes from us and was completely happy about it. We've avoided birthday parties since he was 5, but you can read the previous post about his sleepover. He's my introverted child, so I'm not sure he had a great time because we kept finding him by himself away from his friends. He said he'll only invite 4 next time. He's going on a "man" trip with his daddy. J and I made a list of things for them to talk about. It really hit me hard how grown up he is and is becoming daily. I can only continue to pray for God's protection over him, and that he would grow up with wisdom, knowledge and joy as he makes decisions each day. I am so proud to be his momma. And I'm so thankful for the man he is becoming.

Happy Birthday Super Cooper! We are proud of you!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Surviving the Sleepover

We are wrapping up our first sleepover, celebrating Coop's 10th birthday. Many of you know I avoid birthday parties at all costs, but since it was the double digit birthday, I suggested he have a sleepover. (Yes, it was my idea. I kept asking last night "Whose idea was this?) So I thought I would do a public service blog giving you the things I have learned from this experience to help all of you parents who have not yet braved the sleepover. Let me prefice this by saying all of the boys are very polite, kind to each other and did their parents proud. But they are 4th grade boys. So here are the lessons I have learned.
1. Don't over invite thinking they probably won't all come. They will ALL come. With my 3, we had 11 total.
2. Get a babysitter for the 3 year old. I spent most of the night trying to keep him out of the fray. He actually got hurt, but it had nothing to do with the boys, just his excitement of the whole night messing with his balance.
3. Get a babysitter for the 7 year old. I spent most of the night comforting him when he couldn't keep up them. He did really well until bedtime. Devastating to make him go to bed 2 hours earlier then the big boys, but Dad was wise and knew we would not survive Saturday if he didn't go to bed at a decent time.
4. Have lots of things planned. I didn't have much and they didn't like any of my ideas. I'm still at a loss of what to do with boys at a party. They don't want to do a craft or bake. The Wii didn't even take up much time. All they wanted to do was play basketball, inside or out. They didn't care. Our poor neighbors.
5. Have the party be over at 9. I said 10, thinking I would get up, take a shower, make breakfast and at 9 walk around with my sweet, calming voice "Good morning boys. Rise and shine." Ha! They were up at 7:45. Breakfast was done by 8:30. Back to basketball in the foyer.
6. Do not interrupt if you are having a moment of silence. Even if the birthday boy asks, do not offer hot chocolate in the middle of the movie when they are actually quiet.
7. Divide them up when its time to sleep. I finally took a few out of the playroom and moved them to the den. I should have had them in 8 different rooms.
8. Have an AMAZING husband! I could not have survived this without him. As I'm blogging, he's refereeing the basketball tournament on the nerf goal in the foyer. Whistle and everything.
9. Wear ear plugs. Even though I am certain that its still quieter than screaming, giggling girls, its amazing the noise level out of boys. Plus there is the added bonus of bodily sounds.
10. Something will get spilled. My great idea was as a party favor to have sports bottles with their names to drink out of. Great idea! But then the hot chocolate came in a different cup with a lid, but a large hole to drink out of. I'm waiting until they leave to see the damage of the hot chocolate. At least I have brown carpet.
Again, over all it wasn't too bad. My tree was unharmed. No major injuries. No fights. Lots of good manners. I think the birthday boy had a good time. And all of these boys are welcome in my home again, just one at a time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Potato Chowder Recipe

Quick, yummy recipe for you!

3 cups fat free milk (I use 2% because that's what we usually have)
1 can cream of potato soup
2 cups old fashioned frozen hash browns
salt to taste

That's it! Mix the milk and soup together in a pot, and then add the hash browns. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Tonight I cut up two potatoes into small chunks and boiled them in a separate pot while putting together the soup. When they were tender I added them in. Serve with shredded cheese and cut up cooked bacon or bacon bits as toppings. Yummy with warm crusty bread. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Keeping Christ in Your Child's Christmas, Part 3

Last day of ideas. Hope something has jumped out at you as something to try this year.

·Make a Jesse Tree:
The Jesse tree represents Jesus' family tree. The name is taken from Isaiah 11:1, in which Jesus is referred to as a shoot coming up from the stump of Jesse, the father of David. The ornaments on the Jesse tree tell of Jesus' ancestors, and of the events leading to Jesus' birth.
Adam and Eve Apple (Genesis 2:4-3:24)
Noah Ark or rainbow (Genesis 6:11-22, 7:17-8:12, 20-9:17)
Abraham Knife (Genesis 12:1-7, 15:1-6)
Isaac Ram (Genesis 22:1-19)
Jacob Ladder (Genesis 27:41-28:22)
Joseph Colorful coat (Genesis 37, 39:1-50:21)
Moses Tablets of the law (Exodus 2:1-4:20)
David Harp (1 Samuel 16:17-23)
Isaiah Lion and lamb (Isaiah 1:10-20, 6:1-13, 8:11-9:7)
Mary Lily (Luke 1:26-38)
Elizabeth Small home (Luke 1:39-55)
Joseph Hammer or saw (Matthew 1:18-25)
Make a Jesse tree for your home. First, take a large, bare branch and secure it in a pot of sand or rocks. (You can also use a large potted plant or evergreen.) Create ornaments that trace Jesus' royal line by making symbols for some of the people found in the Hebrew testament. Make the ornaments out of cardboard or construction paper and decorate as you like. Instead of hanging all the ornaments on the tree at one time, you may want to hang one on every other day of Advent. Read the Scripture citation given here as you hang each ornament on the tree. Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2000/12/The-Jesse-Tree.aspx#ixzz1erlEaIcI

· Make a Chrismon Tree, a tree with ornaments that reflect the real meaning of Christmas.
A chrismon, a combination of the words "Christ" and "monogram," is a symbol that represents Jesus. The very first chrismon was the Chi Rho, a combination of the first two Greek letters of "Cristos," or Christ.
A Chrismon Tree is a tree decorated with such common chrismons as crosses, stars, angels, doves, fish ("icthus"), and triangles representing the Holy Trinity. Chrismon ornaments can be made from any type of material, whether paper, cloth, Styrofoam. The chrismons are often white and gold--white to represent Jesus' purity, gold to represent his sovereignty.
Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2004/11/How-To-Make-A-Chrismon-Tree.aspx#ixzz1erlaVhZ1

Great websites with lots of ideas!
· http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/Christmas/21-Ways-to-Keep-Christ-in-Christmas.aspx

· http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/nativity_printables.htm

· http://christianity.about.com/od/holidaytips/p/keepchristmas.htm

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Keeping Christ in Your Child's Christmas, Part 2

More ideas!

· Keep a basket of Christmas books around for children to always have access to.
· Have a child friendly nativity set that children can play with. Buy one for new babies as a sweet first Christmas gift.
· Use an advent calendar to count off the days. UBC has a great preschool calendar with activities you can use. Other ideas include ones with Bible verses for each day, or symbols for each day of the Christmas story, a paper chain where a chain is taken off each day.
· Do something good for others: sing at a nursing home, buy gifts for a family in need, make cookies for a neighbor. Talk to your kids about how helping others is pleasing in God’s sight.
· Have your children reinact the Christmas story, dressing up like shepherds, Mary and Joseph, or the angels. Great way to help them remember the story.
· At dinner, read Christmas cards that are received each day. Pray for those that sent the card.
· Give a gift of service to family members. Jesus taught us that it is "more blessed to give than to receive." Acts 20:35. Giving an unexpected gift of service will demonstrate Christ-like love. Make it personal and meaningful. Remember the homemade coupon books that you may have given your mom or dad?
· Write a Christmas letter to a missionary. Many missionaries are unable to travel home for the holidays, so it can be a very lonely time for them. Write a special Christmas letter to a missionary of your choice, thanking them for giving their life in service to the Lord.
· Hang a Christmas stocking for Christ. Most families have a Christmas stocking for every member of the family to be filled with gifts from Santa. In addition, parents could hang up a white stocking for Christ, and on Christmas Eve every member of the family could insert a piece of paper listing their gift to Christ this year. Examples: being nicer to others, praying more often, etc. (This is my favorite new idea that I think we are going to try this year! Here is a link to a fun stocking my friend Terri found we might get. Or we may just do a simple white one.

Stay tuned for more!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Keeping Christ in Your Child's Christmas, Part 1

We had a great parent coffee last Thursday, and shared lots of ideas. I'll share some with you over the next few days. One of our weekday teachers shared an article with me that said that you really can't take Christ out of Christmas. He loved to party and fellowship, so anytime you get together with believers, he is there having fun with you! I liked that! Takes some of the pressure off. But here are a few ideas for you. Sorry I didn't get them up last week so you could start them on the 1st. Better late than never!

To start, this is my favorite site It has 25 days of ideas! Love it!

Here are ideas gathered from our weekday teachers, preschool director and myself.
· Buy or kids can make something as a birthday/Christmas gift for Jesus. Wrap it and put it under the tree for Jesus. Unwrap it on Christmas morning, and then over the years you can look at His gifts and talk about them together.
· Invite Jesus to Christmas celebrations by setting out an extra place setting for Him. It would be cute to have a dress up gold crown and set it on His plate!!
· Give your children 3 gifts from Santa because Jesus received 3 gifts.
· Make a birthday cake for baby Jesus and sing Happy Birthday to Him.
· Wait to put baby Jesus in the nativity scenes until Christmas Eve. You can have the baby Jesus wrapped up in a gift box, and let that be the first gift that they open on Christmas Eve night or Christmas morning.
· Go with your extended family to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve
· Read the Christmas story from Luke before you open presents.
· Play 'I spy baby Jesus' all season long. It helps to focus their eyes on Christ instead of other things as they actually searched for him everywhere.
· Display a manger scene in your front yard. You can make the manger yourself and use hay from your garden to fill it. Use a doll as baby Jesus. Swaddle him and wrap a beautiful bow around him. Highlight him with a yard spot light.
· Allow your children to choose from the World Vision catalog a special extra gift to buy and pray a blessing over. You can get things like mosquito netting or goats.
· This is my idea. We put a manger scene on our fireplace, but take Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus out. We take Mary and Joseph as far away from the manger as you can, usually upstairs, and each day of December move them closer and closer until Christmas Eve they arrive at the manger! And then baby Jesus joins them Christmas morning! Cade pointed out that the shepherds and wise men weren't there either, so our shepherd and his sheep are on a table in the den and the wise men are under the boys' tree in the other room. I think we may wrap baby Jesus up and put him under the tree.

More ideas tomorrow!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Silver Spoons

Quick story to see if anyone agrees with me. I went to get a spoon the other day out of the silverware drawer and there were none. No problem, I'll look in the dishwasher. It was almost empty, only 2 in there. Where are the spoons? I went all over the house and found 6 total. Well, that's just not enough. Yes, I could go to Walmart and buy a few that don't match. But just the thought of that makes my skin crawl. Not the Walmart part, I love Walmart, the non matching spoon part. So I went online and looked for my silverware only to find that it has been discontinued. Nor surprising, we've had it 15 years. Now what? I found it on a discontinued website for $8 a spoon. I'm not that much attached to having them match. That's ridiculous! I then discovered a wonderful thing, restaurant warehouse websites! You can buy silverware a dozen at a time. The first few I found only had them by 2 or 3 dozen. I don't think I need that many! Then Ebay led me to this site, and I got a dozen of my spoons from 15 years ago for only $29 with shipping! I was so excited today when they arrived! When I informed my husband of my purchase, he wondered why I didn't go to Walmart and buy random spoons. Who is going to notice that our spoons don't match? I would! And it would bug me every time I opened the drawer. Aren't they beautiful? Its the little things in life!