Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from Polly (12), Tigger (9), Sweet Pea (6), Miss Lili (3), and iBoy (0, or 7 months)!

I'll be taking a bit of a blogging break for the next week or so.
See you in 2014 - with some exciting new to us things and news to share.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Weekend Links - December 21, 2013

Yesterday was our oldest's 12th birthday. We thought planning and hosting a birthday party would be a bit too complicated this year with our house situation (and not to mention CHRISTMAS, which always complicates her birthday). So we let her have her best friend sleepover and we all went to our zoo for the Festival of Lights, then out for Orange Leaf frozen yogurt (at 10 PM!). This morning the girls are watching movies, painting their nails and preparing for our big trip to the mall where The Birthday Girl will get her ears pierced.

All in all, a party would probably have been less complicated. But the Birthday Girl is happy and we've had fun and that's what counts.

Other than some stocking stuffers, all our Christmas shopping is done, so bring on the big day!

On the links -

Spiritual / Inner Life
Marriage / Parenting
Social Media
Homeschooling / Education
In the News: Duck Dynasty Edition
For Fun
Enough of all that, here's a video of the Hunt Sisters singing Silent Night (love this group!):

So, what caught your eye this week? Are you ready for Christmas?
This post is linked here:

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Diversions

Adorable little girl signs her Kindergarten Christmas concert for her deaf parents:

My kids ask for this one every year:

And this one:

And my husband asked for this one:

What Christmas "bideos" (as Miss Lili would say) do you watch every year?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Weekend Links - December 14, 2013

Busy, busy. Good busy, and lots to tell you about when I get a chance. But for now: links!

Spiritual / Inner Life
Homeschooling / Education / Writing
Christmas and Gift Ideas
What's your favorite Christmas movie? Have a gift idea list? Please share in the comments!
This post may be linked here:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

One Way to Keep a Preschooler Busy During the Holidays

So, it's the holidays. You have roughly 50,000 things to do. The 3 year old has already watched a video this morning. She is tired of playing by herself while the big girls do school. The baby needs to nap.

What to do?

Break out the old-school tech, of course.

The first step is: be sure you own a record player. (I'm partial to my Crosley, but any turntable will do as long as it's in working order.)

The second step: find a read-along record. Maybe you have one from your childhood. I found this Little Critter's Christmas record at a thrift store for a quarter.

Final step: save it for Christmas time. Only break it out when you need it. Show her how to follow along in the book, play the record, and use your next minutes wisely. You'll have to come back and switch from Side A to Side B but that's a small price to pay for a relatively still 3 year old.

She may want to listen again. You can reluctantly agree. Try to hide your glee, lest she catch on.

Play it, again, Mom.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Twitter Tuesday

Forgive the repeats, for those of you who saw these when they were originally posted to Twitter. I want to preserve some of my favorites here on the blog - that way I never forget when Miss Lili asked to watch "silly bideos".

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weekend Links - December 7, 2013

Happy December 7! In our family this is a big day because it is my sister Lisa's birthday. When I was growing up we usually waited until after her day to get a tree and decorate it.

My family is still keeping that tradition alive. Yes, I am admitting to you that we do not yet have a tree. My kids remind me of this daily. Maybe we will Monday. Or maybe Tuesday. If we don't do it one of those days the next chance is Thursday and then we have no clear days until the next Monday. My kids are not going to be cool with that.

We may not have a tree but we do have plenty of links. If you're in one of the areas of the country currently buried in snow, I hope you're warm, cozy, and ready to read.

Spiritual / Inner Life
Marriage Parenting
Homeschooling / Education
In the News
Made Me Laugh:
Post of mine this week that I really hope you'll read: Stretching Me.

Final link: Young Boy With Terminal Disease Gets to Play in the Snow. If that first picture doesn't make you smile, there is no hope for you.

So, what caught your eye today?
This post is linked here:

30 Things I Love

...about Lisa.

Yes, an unthinkable day has arrived: my little sister just hit the big 3-0.

Which is amazing when you think about it because we are now the same age. OK, no. I'm older.

Anyway, all age related jesting aside, here are 30 Things I Love About Lisa (AKA Lulu) and 18 pictures of our early life together (I know there should be 30 but, well, there aren't. My OCD side is just going to have to get over it):
1. All her friends (including me) claim she's their best friend. This is less about us and more about the kind of amazing friend Lisa is.
2. She has a great sense of humor (and she "gets" mine).
3. She speaks fluent sarcasm.

4. She also speaks fluent Movie Quotations and she recognizes mine, even the ones from obscure movies we watched in our childhood.
5. She forgives readily.

6. She loves to read.
7. Her singing voice is amazing (and she lets me sing with her sometimes).

8. Her smile is infectious.
9. We trust her implicitly with our children.
10. She is creative.
11. She treats life like an adventure.
12. She's brave.

13. She's willing to look silly when the occasion calls for it.
14. She beautiful but not vain.

15. She's a Peacemaker (the uber-middle child!)
16. She shares my childhood memories.

17. I can be who I am and she still loves me.
18. It doesn't matter how long we're apart - we always pick up like we saw each other yesterday.

19. She keeps secrets and confidences.
20. She has an iron backbone when she needs it.

21. She's generous.
22. She's a fantastic mom to Roman (my beautiful nephew).

23. The way she encourages her husband and continually works on her marriage inspires me.
24. She loves dessert as much as I do.

25. She strives for excellence.

26. She sings and hums as much as I do.
27. She knows what I'm going to say before I say it-

28. But we can still sit up until 3 AM talking.
(Awkward Family Photo, anyone?
 I'm not sure what Santa's deal is 
but I think we're rocking our haircuts and applique pants, don't you?)
29. She loves God and His Word.
30. I don't remember life without her and I wouldn't want to. Those 2 1/2 years must have been boring, lonely ones indeed.

Love you, Lulu. Wishing you the very happiest of birthdays! (Welcome to 30. It's not so bad here.)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Favorite Pins Friday

Lots of lovely things on Pinterest these days (It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!) but here are just a few of my favorites from the past week:
These are, of course, words I try to live by.

Great free printable, for those of us who are working on the spiritual discipline of taming our tongues (and really, I guess that should be all of us):
Source: Do Not Depart
I think this is a great idea for a narrow entry:
Source: Shanty 2 Chic
Check out this fantastic seat - what amazing fabric!
Two treats I hope to make soon:

So, what are you pinning these days?
Looking for Christmas ideas? I have a board just for that:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Top 10 Worst Christmas Songs

A timely repost from the Candid Diversions archives (December 2011):
There is a common, but unfounded rumor going around that I am addicted to Christmas music. You may have heard this from my {occasionally} grinch-like husband. (Sample dialog: "And they'll sing and they'll sing and they'll sing...")

Just to prove that I do not love Christmas music indiscriminately (because, I think I love wisely and well) here is a list of Ten Songs That The Christmas Radio Station Should NEVER Play Ever Again Because Some Other Songs Are SO MUCH BETTER:

10. Grown Up Christmas List. I don't care if Amy Grant sings it, Vanessa Williams or (even worse!) Michael Buble. Cut. It. Out. The Santa Claus thing is creepy enough ("He sees you when you're sleeping" anyone?) without having a fully grown adult asking Santa for something.

9. Christmas Through Your Eyes. I am not a Gloria Estefan fan. Full stop.

8. All I Want for Christmas is You. Mariah Carey, Justin Bieber, Michael Buble (again!), LeAnn Rimes...please remove all versions of this obnoxious song from your Christmas playlists. There are better things to listen to. Like the Emergency Broadcast System tests.

7. Wonderful Christmas Time. I usually love Sir Paul but this song is annoying. It's like part of a cool song but he couldn't think of the rest. And it's annoyingly catchy (witness my children, after hearing it once or twice being repeating "Simply having a wonderful Christmas time," which is essentially the entire song anyway, for the rest of the day).

6.Christmas Time Is Here. One of the most depressing songs of the season, no matter who covers it. And while we're at it, please permit me to remind our local radio station that the Charlie Brown theme song is NOT a Christmas Song at all.

5. Anything by Kenny G. guarantees we will be changing the station immediately. If, in your misspent youth you happened to see Norm MacDonald express his opinion on Kenny G's Christmas music, let me just say I agree completely with Norm. If you don't know what I'm talking about, never mind.

4. Likewise: anything by Johnny Mathis. I particularly dislike when the radio plays his version of "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas." Why would you play that when you could play Bing Crosby's version? Or Alvin and the Chipmunks? Yes, even the sped-up, squeaky voices of imaginary woodland creatures is better than Johnny Mathis.

3. Same Old Lang Syne. NOT a Christmas song. This is a depressing song about meeting a former flame ("at the grocery store"), going out together, drinking, and then saying goodbye. Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-LA!

2. Christmas Shoes. Depressing. Manipulative. Nonsensical. (Spoiler alert: What was that kid doing in a store by himself anyway? If his mother was so close to dying shouldn't he be by her side?) Truly one of the worst Christmas songs to be released in recent memory. (If you're really looking for an amazing Newsong offering that will give you goosebumps, listen to "Arise My Love" right around Easter.)

And, the worst "Christmas song" (I use quotation marks advisedly here), in my humble opinion:
1. Last Christmas. First off, George Michael is a truly disgusting person. Second of all, this song is whiny, ridiculous, not really about Christmas anyway, and a complete waste of space on the radio. And yet it feels like I hear it every time I walk into any department store to do some shopping. Please, please stop playing this. I'd even take Johnny Mathis over this. It's just that bad.

So, what would make your list?
This post is linked to Top 10 Tuesday at Oh Amanda.
The images in this post are Amazon Affiliate links for demonstration purposes only. I wouldn't want you to actually listen to these songs. Save your ears!