Cute (& easy) last minute Valentine craftiness

Instead of offering you some of my own tutorials I thought I’d share some of the Valentine’s Day crafty goodness out there. There’s a ton of clever Valentine’s Day craft ideas and fun to be had!

I am in love with these minimalist fabric and paper cards here.

Cute fabric postcard that is mailable here and here!

Awesome fabric postcards I love here.

Alternatives to traditional cards:

Happy New Year to you

Happy New Year to all my dear friends. I pray this will be your best year yet, filled with hope, joy and a big dose of patience.

This year you will find some changes here on my blog and at PrincipledMom, so stay tuned! There are revamping of things already there and some exciting new things as well. And if there is something you think we should be doing, please let me know. The point of PMom is to help.

May God richly bless you and your family in 2008.

The Christmas joys of year-round schooling

If you know me at all, you know I love the Christmas season. There’s nothing like it. I love the music, the gift of Christ, the decorations, the food, the family traditions, all of it. It’s great stuff.

Since we have school all year long we can take time to stop and smell the roses evergreen. We usually follow a loose plan for the month of December which includes the following, in no particular order:

  • Advent inductive study 
  • decorating the house
  • cooking
  • crafts/art
  • games
  • shopping
  • making gifts for family and friends
  • going to parties
  • participating in our church’s children’s Christmas production
  • Decorating our Jesse Tree

The list is big but I set aside one day each week of December for an activity. For example, Mondays are craft day, Tuesdays are for special games, Fridays are for baking, etc. This gives us a good variety and the kids know what they can look forward to. It also helps us to pace ourselves so we don’t get overly busy.

Also we have started reading Lynne Cheney’s book about Washington on Christmas Eve as a new tradition. It’s good to teach our children to be mindful of the sacrifices made for our liberty.

The pace is relaxed and we do a sort of unschooling thing because we are always learning, just not is a formal way. I also have tons of printables, Christmas-themed books and more for those bored moments and read-alouds. We can snuggle and talk about the true meaning of Christmas as we enjoy the tree, Christmas music and some hot cocoa. Hurry up December!

Advent studies

I love the Christmas season and always enjoy trying new things to inspire our spiritual focus of the holiday. Click on the titles for more info.

Advent Inductive Bible Study

This f*r*e*e printable study takes you through the Christmas season with daily Bible readings and activities. The coloring and marking of the text is something my kids really enjoy. Thanks to Eleanor Zweigle for writing it and thanks to Miiko for hosting it on her Web site this year.

Artful Advent e-book

 Michelle Geffken has written a lovely book for the advent season that I had the privilege to review last spring. It is art-focused (so you know I love it already!) but it’s not your typical homeschool resource. She has given you tons of ideas and concepts but leaves the planning to you. This frees you up to do all sorts of things your family will enjoy without the crafty stuff you may not want to do. The excitement of the Christmas story unfolds through projects your family does together, even when your days are filled to the brim with other Christmas activities. If you have time to look at a picture or tear off a postage stamp, you can do the activities in this book! She even broke it down into ages groups so the whole family can enjoy art on their level. And the book is also full of clickable links to make things even easier during this busy time.

The ideas are simple and use things you already have around the house (including the internet), so you won’t have to make time (and invest more cash) to enjoy art lessons during Advent. It’s not just for Catholics either. The Christmas Story is for every Christian.

Advent Bible Study

This is another study, but for teens and adults. I like the way it is laid out. It is weekly with a theme and lots of Bible study activities.

10 things I am thankful for

With only two days until T-Day I wanted to put keystroke to screen and list some things I’m thankful for. This list does not include the big three: my salvation, my family or my life. Those are obvious to me. *smile*

  1. warm homemade pumpkin bread–with real butter
  2. digital camera to capture my kids in time
  3. catching my favorite song on the radio–at the beginning of it
  4. creating a handmade book that works out just right
  5. easy potty training of my son (NO MORE DIAPERS!!)
  6. the delicious smell of old books
  7. the feel of sea glass in my hand
  8. one more hour of sleep
  9. conversations with my grandmothers about their childhoods
  10. slipcovers

I am grateful to God for the life I have: a warm home, family to love and to love me and time to do what needs to be done–and what I want to do. And for placing me here in America, the greatest country in the world. Okay, that works out to more than ten but the last few were a bonus. Be thankful for that too.

Making more of Easter

Melissa has some terrific ideas to make Easter more meaningful. See them here. We are adding to our traditions. Last year we started a tradition of serving communion on pillows in the LR and reading from the account of the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday. It was such a sobering experience. I can’t wait to try some of her suggestions.

Hope her ideas will inspire your family to make Easter more of an event.

Thanksgiving poetry

I have posted a lot of poetry lately. Well, here are some more beautiful poems for the holiday. Enjoy!

At Thanksgiving

For the wealth of pathless forests,

Whereon no axe may fall;

For the winds that haunt the branches;

The young bird’s timid call;

For the red leaves dropped like rubies

Upon the dark green sod;

For the weaving of the forests,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the sound of water gushing

In bubbling beads of light;

For the fleets of snow white lilies

Firm anchored out of sight;

For the reeds among the eddies;

The crystal on the clod;

For the flowing of the rivers,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the rosebud’s break of beauty

Along the toiler’s way;

For the violet’s eye that opens

To bless the new born day;

For the bare twigs that in summer

Bloom like the prophet’s rod;

For the blossoming of flowers,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the lifting up of mountains,

In brightness and in dread;

For the peaks where snow and sunshine

Alone have dared to tread;

For the dark of silent gorges,

Whence mighty cedars nod;

For the majesty of mountains,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the splendor of the sunsets,

Vast mirrored on the sea;

For the gold fringed clouds that curtain

Heaven’s inner mystery;

For the molten bars of twilight,

Where thought leans glad yet awed;

For the glory of the sunsets,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the earth and all its beauty;

The sky and all its light;

For the dim and soothing shadows,

That rest the dazzled sight;

For unfading fields and prairies,

Where sebse in vain has trod;

For the world’s exhaustless beauty,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For an eye of inward seeing;

A soul to know and love;

For these common aspirations,

That our high heirship prove;

For the hearts that bless each other

Beneath Thy smile, Thy rod;

For the amaranth saved from Eden,

I thank Thee, O my God!

For the hidden scroll, o’erwritten

With one dear name adored;

For the Heavenly in the human,

The spirit in the Word;

For the tokens of Thy presence

Within, above, abroad;

For Thine own great gift of Being

I thank Thee, O my God!

Boys and girls Thanksgiving of 1892

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Never since the race was started,

Had a boy in any clime,

Cause to be so thankful-hearted,

As the boys of present time.

Not a girl in old times living–

Let the world talk as it may–

Found such reasons for Thanksgiving,

As the girls who live to-day!

Grandmas, in their corners sitting,

Toiling till the day grew late,

What knew they with endless knitting,

Of the jolly roller-skate?

Grandpas sitting by the fender,

Reading by the fagGots’ blaze,

What knew they of modern splendor

Found in incandescent rays?

Where they toiled in bitter weather,

Braving rain and snow and sleet,

Gathering sticks of wood together,

We have radiators’ heat.

But these fruits of modern science

They first planted seed by seed,

In their strength and self-reliance

We may find a noble creed.

With the dawn of great inventions,

Came the anti-warring days.

Men are sick of armed contentions,

God be thanked with heart-felt praise.

Once a boy was trained for fighting,

Now the world is better taught,

‘Tis an age when wrongs are righting

By the force of common thought.

Once a girl was trained for sewing,

Spinning, knitting, nothing more.

She must never think of knowing

Aught of things outside her door.

If she soared above her spinning,

If she sought a life more broad,

She was looked upon as sinning

‘Gainst the laws of man and God.

Now a girl is taught she’s human,

Brain and body, soul and heart–

All are needed by the woman

Who to-day would play her part.

Swift and sure the world advances,

Let the critic carp who may.

God be praised for all the chances

Boys and girls enjoy to-day.

Lucy Larcom

The Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving

It may be I am getting old and like too much to dwell

Upon the days of bygone years, the days I loved so well;

But thinking of them now I wish somehow that I could know

A simple old Thanksgiving Day, like those of long ago,

When all the family gathered round a table richly spread,

With little Jamie at the foot and grandpa at the head,

The youngest of us all to greet the oldest with a smile,

With mother running in and out and laughing all the while.

It may be I’m old-fashioned, but it seems to me to-day

We’re too much bent on having fun to take the time to pray;

Each little family grows up with fashions of its own;

It lives within a world itself and wants to be alone.

It has its special pleasures, its circle, too, of friends;

There are no get-together days; each one his journey wends,

Pursuing what he likes the best in his particular way,

Letting the others do the same upon Thanksgiving Day.

I like the olden way the best, when relatives were glad

To meet the way they used to do when I was but a lad;

The old home was a rendezvous for all our kith and kin,

And whether living far or near they all came trooping in

With shouts of “Hello, daddy!” as they fairly stormed the place

And made a rush for mother, who would stop to wipe her face

Upon her gingham apron before she kissed them all,

Hugging them proudly to her breast, the grownups and the small.

Then laughter rang throughout the home, and, Oh, the jokes they told;

From Boston, Frank brought new ones, but father sprang the old;

All afternoon we chatted, telling what we hoped to do,

The struggles we were making and the hardships we’d gone through;

We gathered round the fireside. How fast the hours would fly–

It seemed before we’d settled down ’twas time to say good-bye.

Those were the glad Thanksgivings, the old-time families knew

When relatives could still be friends and every heart was true.

Edgar Albert Guest

Giving Thanks

For the hay and the corn and the wheat that is reaped,

For the labor well done, and the barns that are heaped,

For the sun and the dew and the sweet honeycomb,

For the rose and the song and the harvest brought home –Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the trade and the skill and the wealth in our land,

For the cunning and strength of the workingman’s hand,

For the good that our artists and poets have taught,

For the friendship that hope and affection have brought –Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

For the homes that with purest affection are blest,

For the season of plenty and well-deserved rest,

For our country extending from sea unto sea;

The land that is known as the “Land of the Free” –Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving!

Anonymous

Thanksgiving

The year has turned its circle, The seasons come and go.

The harvest all is gathered in And chilly north winds blow.

Orchards have shared their treasures, The fields, their yellow grain,

So open wide the doorway – Thanksgiving comes again!

Anonymous

An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving a short story by Louisa May Alcott