Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ideas anyone?

During the past several weeks, as I've come to terms with the fact that summer is ending (over?), I've started looking ahead to Christmas. Oh yes, I know, fall is a lovely time of year too, and I have already enjoyed putting out some autumny decorations. But Christmas, CHRISTMAS! and Advent! They strike a thrilling chord in my inner part.

One of my personal struggles the past several years has been how to make Christmas meaningful for our family. The real celebration is that Christ came to earth so save us, not that we get presents... but presents are so much more tangible, especially in this house full of little boys. One Advent tradition we've done for a couple years is to make an Advent wreath and light a candle each morning as we make (memorize) our way through Luke 2. This is one I personally enjoy to the max. The boys like it too, but every morning there will inevitably be a fight over who gets to blow the candles out. Oh well, so it's not perfect. Neither was the manger.

Anywho, back to the title of this post... I've been seized by the idea of hosting a Christmas open house in December. I love having people over, and I've desperately missed having large gatherings at our home since leaving Washington. So I'm taking initiative and inviting the town! But, um, what do I do? I've got some ideas... spiced cider and hot chocolate, Christmas cookies, snacks and appetizers, candy canes on the tree for the children (and adults too), background music, perhaps some games like a Christmas word search sitting on a counter for any who want to try (not completely sold on that one yet). I'm toying with the idea of favors of some sort, but not quite sure what, especially for a potentially large group of people. I've got lots of pinecones if anyone has a super-simple pinecone craft idea!

But once again, I'm struggling with how to make this gathering a celebration of Christ and not just an excuse to sip hot beverages and eat nummy snacks. Any ideas, either religious or party-oriented, are welcome. No, more than welcome -- wanted, yearned for, desired, longed for, dare I say needed?

Friday, September 12, 2008

A special occasion; a large fruit; and a weekend at camp

First things first, Wade and I celebrated our 8th anniversary on Sept. 9 -- yea! Although we didn't go out and do anything special, Wade did pick up a beautiful bouquet of roses for me, and I made one of his favorite desserts for him.

Our garden produced the largest tomato I've ever seen... and I turned it into spaghetti sauce. Dude, when you've got almost a dozen tomato plants you just do what you gotta do!

Our family extended the summer and postponed the beginning of school until after the homeschool family camp at Trail's End Ranch the weekend following Labor Day. There were horse rides; archery lessons; great music by The Fiddlers Three (unfortunately they don't have a website or I'd link it), a group of four siblings who play fiddle, banjo, bass fiddle, accordion, guitar, drum, penny whistle and harp, and who provided rousing music, an instrument "petting zoo" and insightful talks; good food; and of course the high ropes adventure rides -- zip line, big swing and flying squirrel.

Here Isaac helps out by ringing the bell for dinner.

Isaac thoroughly enjoying his ride on the big swing.

Levi also got a thrill out of the big swing.

Levi finally got up the courage to ride a horse, a loved it (as did Luke, even though there's not a picture here).

Lij even took a go-round, smiling most of the way around the corral.

All that walking plum tuckered Luke out. Good thing Daddy was there to help out.

Lij tried out a violin...

... and a the harp during the musical petting zoo.

Luke and I (Kerri) coming down the zipline -- even though we were harnessed in we still both felt the urge to hold on tight!

A view from a bluff at the camp. Trail's End Ranch is located maybe 10 or so miles south of Ekalaka, Montana, which is about 35 miles south of Baker, Montana, on Highway 94. It's a different kind of beautiful than I grew up with, but breath-taking nonetheless.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Does my heart good

An on-going saga of who gets to sit by Mom at mealtimes was solved recently by assigning specific seats for each boy for each meal. Tonight at dinner as Isaac sat down in one of the coveted seats by yours truly, he said, "You know why we always want to sit by you? It's cuz you're pretty." Awww.