Friday, November 27, 2009


Please think about the "KEEP CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS" war that's going on. It's NOT showing Christ's love. Showing His love is living in a "Christ-Like" manner We should remove the obstacles that keep us from making Christmas ALL about Him. We MUST NOT have an "in your face, I'm gonna say Merry Christmas whether you like it or not!" attitude! NOBODY can really take Christ out of Christmas--not even our government. They can try, but it's up to us as Christians to personally make Christmas about CHRIST in our own homes and in our attitudes toward others!! So say "Merry Christmas" this season. But do it lovingly. Leave the pins, buttons, and bumper stickers home this year!

On that note... I don't think putting up a Christmas tree is a bad thing. We're not worshipping the tree. In fact, I DESPISE the song "Oh Christmas Tree". We're not saying that Christmas decorations have supernatural god-like powers and can take the place of Christ--they can't see us when we're sleeping and know when we're awake.

Focus on Christ with the music you listen to, videos you watch, and the books that you read with your children. Winter songs are nice, but I try to keep them at a minimum. I'm still planning to put my Christ-centered Christmas books list together, but it's so time consuming, and I've not yet had the time to do it.

Until next time...

blessings, joie

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

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Just sitting here compiling and enjoying my Christmas playlist. I sneak Christmas in a little bit everyday! I know that a lot of people struggle with Christmas being out in the stores WAY before Christmas. It's what stores do -- sell things! It doesn't bother me because I'm thinking about Christmas gifts in September (do I start my crafts then, when I should? No! In fact, I haven't started yet, and it's 30+ days away!) We don't do anything with Halloween, and for me it doesn't take away from Thanksgiving either. As believers, we should be thanking Him everyday for our blessings anyway! We don't save it all for one day of the year, do we? I hope not! And what are we MOST thankful for? A REDEEMER! So to me, it's all one big holiday celebration to honor our God and King!!

We love our new car, Mark! For us, it's like a brand new car! Still no camera, so still no pictures. Jim's hinted that we might replace our digital camera with an upgraded model! YAY! I don't think they make the model that we have anymore: Fuji Finepix S5200.

Haven't figured out yet what I'm going to do about a family Christmas photo. I think I'm going to ask my sisters to take pictures at our annual Thanksgiving family dinner. We'll get together the Sunday after Thanksgiving for a traditional turkey dinner. I our home, on Thursday, we've decided to make homemade pizza a tradition for Thanksgiving! This will be our 3rd year. We'll have our family dinner at Donna's on Sunday. The day AFTER I'll make a roast chicken and have the traditional sides. (Jim and I prefer chicken over turkey). It's always nice to eat "leftovers".

I better start putting together my yearly Christmas letter! In the past I've kept notes in a word processing document of what's happening during the year. This year, I forgot. So I'll just have to go by memory.

Nathan's latest passion is learning about raising ducks! He wants to start in the spring, but I don't know if we really can do anything here. There's just so little room on our lot. Half our lot is taken up by the house and "parking lot". Everyday we read the duck-raising book together. It's his choice to do it with me. He also enjoys Bible reading with me. Again, his idea. We're both reading the book of Luke, so he asked me a week or so ago if we could read it together. We're also trying to get devotions in during the day instead of at night. We always seem to run out of time, and we're in a hurry to get through them. It shouldn't be that way. I really enjoy reading allowed to the older boys after Owen goes to bed, but we haven't had time to do that lately. The book we're reading is Carry On Mr. Bowditch.

Speaking of reading allowed, Owen wants me to read Jotham's Journey to him this year. Jim and I have talked about it. Jared was almost 6 when I started to read it with them. We're considering it. Jim actually doesn't think it'll be a problem. I know that some people won't agree with that; but we as parents know our own children better than anybody. I know what he can and can't handle. If I find there's a part that just won't do, I'll skip over it. I also want to purchase the next book in this series Bartholomew's Passage.

Nathan's making our own Advent candles this year. I bought the boys a candle-making kit last spring. It has metal votive candle molds. So this year we'll use votive candles instead of tapered ones.

Last year in my Christmas letter, I mentioned how Jared was FINALLY a real reader. I was so excited because, before that, I couldn't get him to read more than one book here and there. He was really into reading Hardy Boys books last Christmas time. Unfortunately, the spark fizzled out right after I wrote the letter!!! It's taken him pretty much all year to get that spark back. Now I think it's here to stay! Because he's not a fast reader, I think it's been discouraging for him. Although he reads his Bible daily, I don't think its the same as reading for entertainment. Besides, Jared is busy doing other things in the summer.

I'm considering letting Nathan start blogging. I'm not sure how yet. I'm reading about kids learning through blogging. It's also a way for kids to share their interests and projects with family and friends. It's also good for typing and language arts skills!

Went to our local thrift store last weekend for the first time in ages. Hit a jackpot. For $2, we bought 1 Hardy Boys double feature book (Jared's thrilled), 2 decorative votive candle holders (for Nathan to use for Christmas gifts), 2 decks of cards (for Nathan's card collection)1 Scrabble game (see picture below) 1 shirt for Owen (the reason why they gave it away is because the collar is crooked! It'll be fine for play around the house! Lately he's been a cowboy, so his bandana covers it completely!)

I just love dimensional decorating with letters!

I love my new Christmas tree embossing folder!

I'm going to try and add an old picture -- from my childhood or of our ancestors with each blog post...

My mother's maternal grandmother,
Maria Toth Graf

Until next time...

blessings, joie

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Thursday, November 12, 2009


FYI: There are several Christmas videos (and books) for young children that aren't about Santa Claus. I've enjoyed discovering and acquiring these over the years. Here is a list of the videos that we still enjoy! I will post my list of books as soon as I can. I'm eager to hear more ideas! Just leave a comment! ***NOTE: This is only a list--to give you ideas of what is out there. These are videos that we have in our home library only. The links will take you to Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, or Ebay where you can find more information and/or purchase them on your own. ***

* A few marked with a lavendar asterisk are available in our local library system!

I'm CONSIDERING getting the new Veggie Tales video about St. Nicholas, but only IF they don't indicate that that's where Santa Claus comes from. St. Nicholas wasn't a magic, supernatural being with supernatural God-like powers that "knew when you were sleeping and knew when you were awake and knew if you'd been bad or good." AND if you were bad, you just might be punished with coal in your stocking and no gifts!

I also just learned that there's another Nanny & Isaiah video "...welcomes the Savior". I'm going to buy it used on Amazon. I'll add it if we like it.

Some of these videos are only available "used". Some of my links take you to Ebay or Amazon Marketplace.

SO glad I don't have to give up these precious videos yet -- with Owen being little still! I'll miss them when he grows out of them! I'll play them for myself then! Or I'll just MAKE my kids watch them!! ;o)

I hope this list helps! I'll add to this list if I find anymore videos.

Please add yourself as a follower of my blog. It's simple to do. I love your comments, so take a minute and leave one if you'd like! They inspire me!

blessings, joie

Monday, November 9, 2009


A couple of weeks ago, Sammy Grayson stopped working. :o( Sammy is our Ford Escort. The transmission went. Uggh! We've been without a second vehicle for a while. Thankfully, Jim has had the pick up for work. Since then we've been looking--actually, we've been looking for a long time because Nathan barely fit into the backseat of the Escort. We wanted a diesel van, but they're hard to find used. Because the need to replace our car was so great, we had to put aside the idea of getting a diesel and get another car quickly. Our friend, mechanic and Christian brother Joe did some shopping around for us and got us a nice Mercury Grand Marquis. When I get my camera working again, I'll post a picture. It's really nice. Joe came by this afternoon with the car on a lift truck. The boys were so excited! He then took away our van Lucy and the Escort, Sammy Grayson. Lucy's been sitting in our driveway unusable for 2+ years! The boys were sad to see them both go, but life goes on. We haven't named this car yet, but rest assured, we will soon! We are so thankful for Joe and all the work he did on our behalf -- running to DMV twice, bringing the car to us, adding some extras, etc. God is good! Update: the boys decided on Mark for the Marquis!

Ran errands today with Jim. I really DON'T LIKE running errands. It makes me grumpy. We went to the Walmart at Crossgates Commons. I haven't been there in a long time--before the 2-levels with the escalators! The boys couldn't wait to show me! Jim had taken them there in the past. While we were there, we ran into Laura, a girl that Jim had worked with at Fed Ex. Jim always spoke so highly of her. We met her for the first time today. She was so nice! She recently got engaged!

Pictures from the recent past, PCB (pre-camera breakdown). I might've mentioned last time that Nathan and I like to photograph our food! We want to make a cookbook of our favorite family recipes! THIS is when I wish I did digital scrapbooking!

Nathan's drawing of a CSX truck! Nathan isn't interested in drawing, so I was surprised and really impressed!

Pizzadillas! (quesadillas with mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and sauce) YUM!

flowers from my sweetie--no special reason

Quite the load of dirty laundry, wouldn't ya say!

Borrowed several Thanksgiving videos from our public library. Tonight the boys watched Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving. It was terrible! Pointless. They talked very little about the first Thanksgiving--which is why I borrowed it. Just awful... We also borrowed The Mouse and the Mayflower. I watched that as a kid! It's very cute. They love that!

I'd like to write more, but I'm very tired tonight, so I'm going to turn in early.

Until next time....

blessings, joie

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