Monday, November 30, 2015

Dave's First Snowman

Here's the "Christmas Card" worthy photo of the snowman that Dave and the kids made this evening.  I can't believe it is his first ever official snowman!  He's lived in Minnesota since 1998.

He was apparently on a roll and making up for lost time.  Here is the 'full, unedited version'-- Calvin & Hobbes-style:


Sunday, November 29, 2015


In order to spread out the craziness of Justin's birthday, travel to Phoenix and Christmas, we decided to have Justin's birthday party a week early this year.  And to do something unheard of...... not invite any family or friends (we figured that we'd celebrate with them separately, closer to the real date). 

I should say, we still had SOME friends.  Justin's entire Children's Farm class was invited, and about half of them and their immediate families attended!  He was over-the-moon excited to host a party for all of his school friends!

You'll notice someone very important missing from the photos, however!  Poor Alexandra was too sick to attend the party, so Auntie Rorie came to Woodbury to hang out with her while we were keeping tabs on 14+ preschoolers.  I think she was happier in the end to have a quiet afternoon watching a movie with Auntie.

The party was a smashing success- Justin was a great host, the kids were absolutely delightful and it was so fun to meet so many parents!  Thanks to all who attended and made J's 5th birthday party special!

 Lots of fresh fruit and veggies on a farm!

 The craft table-  Make Your Own Tractor signs!

 Five years old, how???

 We asked all the kids to bring a piece of artwork/card for Justin in lieu of a present.  Then we put them all up on a display board for everyone to enjoy during the party.  The kids were so proud to show him the cards they had made!
Justin was really good at sharing his john Deere collection with his classmates.  He did, however, ask me to 'put away my Model A' because he didn't want it getting broken by accident.
My Cricut machine got quite the workout to make all the goodie bags. They turned out great!

Friday, November 27, 2015

A Quiet Thanksgiving

We had a very nice, quiet Thanksgiving this year.  On Thanksgiving Proper we were glad to have Brad join us for a fun afternoon.  The day AFTER Thanksgiving (coined "leftover day") at our house, we were happy to have the Mulders and Masons join us.  I am SO thankful for the wonderful network of friends and family that are our support system.  We are so lucky to have each and every one of these beautiful people in our lives!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Operation Christmas Child

We've participated in Operation Christmas Child for years now.  Traditionally our church is a drop-off point, and we work to make our shoeboxes at home and then bring them in.  This year, however, Shepherd of the Valley had a knock-it-out-of-the-park OCC Family ServeFest event for our members! 

(he's getting a little TOO comfortable with the camera.....)
Alex and Justin prepped two boxes each, and Dave and I did a few more.  We were told to 'save some room' for crafts we would make at the ServeFest party, but we didn't save ENOUGH space for all the super-cool stuff they prepared.

The junior high kids made so many neat 'extras'-- hair ribbons, mini chalkboards, small toys.... and there was a 'shop' that you could select extras from to fill up your box.

There was a very nice prayer room set up so that individual families could pray over their boxes.
 And then there was pizza for all the families.  Justin is holding a photograph that volunteers took when we walked in the door and then printed for us to put in our boxes.  We also filled out cute 'about us' sheets for the OCC kids to learn a little more about OUR kids.
 Justin and Alex delivered the boxes to the 'post office' and we piled them up under a massive Christmas tree in the front of the church lobby.
After this part of the evening was done, there were games and even a movie for those of us who had enough energy to stay up past our bedtimes (hint: this was not any of our family!)  The Family ServeFest was a huge hit, and everyone had a fantastic time!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Warm and Cozy

I'm getting all ready to 'warm and cozy' the house for winter.  I'm thinking 'Hygge' is the way to get through the next few months.  Our rhythm is starting to thicken and slow down and we're starting to turn inwards, gathering new books and games to squirrel away for that first big snowfall.  Welcome, winter!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Indoor Bunny Brothers (round 2)

Justin and Victor snuggle.
So.... the Bunny Brothers started off indoors,  then we brought them outdoors for the summer, but now that the air is getting chilly it was time to bring them back in.  But no more escaping bunnies (remember this--- ).  They have brand new bunny 'box stalls' (thank you Gramps!!)to call home (in the playroom).  I think they like them!

The best part of THIS setup is that after we do our bunny chores in the morning, the kids always stay downstairs and play for an hour or so-- the bunnies love having the company and enjoy watching 'the show'.  They'll be happy to get back to munching fresh grass in the springtime, but for now it's a safe and warm place for them to winter.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Plant Observation at Como Zoo & Conservatory

We spent a wonderful day at Como Zoo and Conservatory.  We went to sketch and do some nature observation that revolved around the plant kingdom.  It was a fantastic day with my two favorite kids in the world.  I am so lucky to be able to homeschool and spend quality time with them!  Enjoy the photos:


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Microscopic World!

We are so lucky to live where we do--- we can bike to so many neat places!  We are just starting to study God's animal kingdom creations in science class.  As an overview of Creation, we talked briefly about the Universere (macro), our Earth and then the microscopic world that exists beneath our fingertips.  In order to get an idea of what that microscopic world looks like, we took a field trip to collect a water sample from "Blackbird Pond".
 There's a non-microscopic organism that lives in water...... Justin was excited to find a snail shell.
 Trudging back up the hill to our bikes was a bit muddy, but worth it--
 To bring home THIS!
 We made some predictions and then prepared a few slides.  It was really fun to try and 'catch' the living organisms in the viewfinder and watch them swim around.

We did some observational drawings and discovered that there is a whole other WORLD that lives in a drop of water!  God cares for each little creature in that drop of world as much as He cares for us--- and in the scale of the Universe we look like those little microscopic creatures!  It's pretty mind-boggling to think of the beautiful complexity of His Creation.