Hi! Thank you for stopping by today! My name is Bronwyn. I am a follower of Jesus, wife of a Marine, and mother of 2 autistic boys. We have been a homeschooling family for going on 7 years now and loving it! I also love to read, cook, bake, and walk.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Just about finished

I am so excited I am just about finished with my Advent calender for Christian.  All I have left to do is attach the ribbon to hang it and put on the velcro that will hold the tins to the calender.  I am waiting for the clear velcro dots that I ordered to arrive and they should be here by Tuesday and then I can fill the tins and hang it.  I am very happy with how it turned out.  I really wish I had time to make more for gifts.  Well, anyways, here are the pictures.

Here is the calender without the tins.

Here it is with the tins set on.

This was so much fun to make.   Here is the blog post that inspired me to make this if you want all the directions.  Mine is a little different than the instructions but it is close.  If you have a half a day or so set aside you could create this still before December or give it as a gift.   I hope you enjoy it! 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

supersized post ;)

I have been sooo busy around here trying to get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This is my first year of blogging and so I guess I didn't realize how hard it was going to be to keep up with blogging during the holidays.  I apologize for not keeping up so well here lately.  I know I am also so far behind on reading the blogs I like to follow and on emailing people back.  I am going to try and catch up this weekend though!   

I have been working hard on making an advent calender for Christian.  I am trying to make one similar to one posted here.  So far I have the little tins completed.  Here is a picture.

It is A LOT of work but they are turning out really cute.  I printed out the labels that came with the tins using a template from Wilton and clipart from Word.  I cut out Christmas scrapbook paper circles and inserted them under the lids so they show up around the labels.  I also cut out strips of paper and glued them around the tins.  Here are a couple of closer pictures.

Sorry it's a little blurry!

Here is a picture of all the tins from the side.

This weekend I am hoping to work on the calender part where these all get attached to.  It is fun and I wish I had more time because I would love to make a few more of these for gifts.  Maybe I will work on some during the year so that I can give them next Christmas.

Besides the calender I also worked on ordering our Christmas cards.  This was a process I thought would only take a couple of minutes and ended up taking two hours!!!  We had received something in the mail from Compassion that said they were teamed up with Dayspring and that you could order cards with pictures of your Compassion child on the back of the card.  The link is here if you are interested.  I designed our card and uploaded all the pictures of our family and our Compassion child and went to order the cards and the website locked up.  I did this four more times and each time it did the same thing.  It didn't save any of it either so each time I had to start completely over.  I was so frustrated!  After four times I started to think maybe I would try bringing up the website on Internet Explorer instead of Firefox and Yippee it finally worked.  Of course by then I had done the whole thing five times.  I am just glad I got them ordered though and  I can't wait for them to arrive.  I am so excited to send one to our little Sulokyhoni in India so that she can see that she was on our Christmas cards too. 

Tim has been having some health issues and so he was at the doctor yesterday for bad headaches and a very red eye.  He didn't get any answers so I am sad for him about that.  His father died of a brain cancer so I always get a little scared when he has a lot of headaches.  He has also having a lot of pain in his foot and is at the podiatrist today for a second time this month.  He is double jointed and they believe he may have a nerve pinched in one of his joints.  It causes him a lot of pain.  Last time he was there they gave him a shot of steroids hoping to lesson some of swelling around the joint.  It didn't help him much and today he is supposed to be getting some insoles that hopefully will help some more.  I think it is eventually going to end up in surgery which he is not to thrilled about.  He is not one for being laid up in bed.

He will be attending a men's Bible study this Friday and Saturday at a friend's church.  I am excited for him to go because he doesn't get a lot of time with other christian men.  I think he will really enjoy it!

Tyler is doing well.  He is enjoying getting ready for the holidays.  He has spent a lot of time downloading Christmas music to his I-Pod.  He is so into music this year.  Thankfully it is all christian music.  He is doing well at school.  He has completed all 12 of his boxes every day this week which he has been struggling to do at times this year.  He has been listening to The Legend of Squanto from Focus on the Family this week which we have done for the last couple of years.  We have also been enjoying The book of Thanksgiving for several years.

It is a great book with recipes, great poems for copywork, and great ideas for Thanksgiving traditions but Tyler really likes  the Turkey Day Trivia.  Did you know the heaviest turkey was 75 pounds?  Can you imagine having to cook that? 

Christian is still a little under the weather with a cold and well to be honest quite cranky.  He has his sleep all messed up again too and the combination isn't too pretty.  He woke up early yesterday after having gone to sleep late.  He was so stuffy and cranky all day and then around 4 pm he just feel asleep on the ottoman. 

It is sort of dark because I didn't want to use the flash and wake him up.  He was so sweet though.  It just all caught up with him!

Sorry to write such a long post!  I haven't been able to find much time and today I had some so I thought I would get everyone caught up with what we are up to.  If you have made it this far down thanks for sticking with me!

Have a great day!

Christmas Poster Center Idea

I got a new gadget last week and I have to admit I am a bit obsessed.  I LOVE my new Martha Stewart Circle Cutter.

It is the best!  I got it for a advent calender I am working on for Christian but now I am a circle cutting fool!  I had some leftover Christmas scrapbook paper and Tyler was looking at it yesterday and commented that it would make nice ornaments.  I was inspired to make us a new center for December. 

I took a green posterboard and cut out a Christmas tree and glued it on to a blue posterboard.  I cut some holes with an Exacto knife and put paper bards through the holes.  I opened the bards only far enough for them not to pull through the holes and taped them on the back.  They need to poke through on the front so that you can hang the ornaments on them.

This is what the back of each bard should look like.This is what each bard should look like at the back.

This is the front of the poster with the bards in.

I then took me scrap paper and my handy little circle cutter and cut 4 3" circles from each pattern of paper.  I glued ribbon on the back of each with the glue gun.

I am going to use half of the ornaments for Christian to match the patterns and to hang them up with the white side of the ornaments showing to play memory.  For Tyler I am going to use the other half of the ornaments.  I wrote a writing prompt on the back of each  of his and will hang them up and let him pick a prompt.

We will store all our ornaments on 3M hooks by the posters.

It only took me about a half hour to make this.  The longest part was gluing on the ribbons.  You could also put math problems on half of the ornaments and the answers on the other ornaments and have them match them or sight words on half and the matching pictures on the others.  I am sure there could be lots of variations.  I think it will also be fun just for Christian to play with and put the ornaments on too! 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tyler's Workboxes for Monday

I haven't posted on our workboxes in awhile so as I am filling boxes tonight I thought I would share what will be in Tyler's workboxes tomorrow.  Before I get started let me share with you  a link for the adorable puppy workbox numbers we are using right now.  We got them from Sunflower Schoolhouse.

We are using them to go with our Dog unit study.  Honey has a bunch of other great workbox numbers based on themes too.
Tyler has 12 boxes for Monday and rather than fill this post with a bunch of pictures I decided to make a slide show.  It will take you from box 1 to 12.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A little of this and that

Tim has been off most of this week and therefore we have been off of school for the most part.  We did do some school on Monday and Tuesday.  Tyler got to do his Veterans Day lapbook which he really enjoyed on Monday.  It turned out very nice and was lots of fun for him.

We also started studying and praying for Vietnam this week.  This will definitely carry over in to next week because of our short week.

I purchased a unit study for Vietnam because I have been busy with other things and didn't think I would have much time to make up activities for him.  I am kind of sad that I did now because looking through it I know I will have to modify and retype it to work for us anyhow.  I need to make myself a big sign to remind myself of this before I get lazy and purchase things I am not going to be able to use anyhow.  Oh well, I think it will be fun to explore Vietnam next week.  Just researching it I came to realize how many preconceived notions I had about Vietnam really aren't very accurate.  I really didn't have any idea how beautiful it is there either.  I learn so much from homeschooling my kids!

Today we went to Walmart as a family to get some Christmas wrapping paper and a few other things.  Tyler got Lucy, our very spoiled dog, a big stocking full of bones and treats.  He is excited about giving it to her at Christmas.  I also got some little Christmas ornaments and Christmas trivia cards to put in our school treasure chest as rewards.  Christian did pretty well despite the amount of people but when he finally decided it was time to go he got very cranky.  I guess he had all the noise and crowds he could take.

When we got home from Walmart Tyler and I went grocery shopping.  We used two carts because we were also shopping for Thanksgiving.  I think it is honestly the best I have seen Tyler behave at the store ever.  He pushed one cart behind me the whole time and was very careful to not bump into anyone or anything. He carried on a very nice conversation with our checker.  He even pushed one cart out to the car and then when we arrived home he helped unload the car.  It always gives me a glimmer of hope for his future when he has days like today.

Tonight as I am sitting here waiting for Christian to fall asleep I am trying to get ahead on some Christmas stuff.  Every year for some time now we have had a tradition in our house where I gather all the Christmas books and pick out 25 and wrap them with Christmas paper.  We open one book each day starting on December 1 up to Christmas day.  They are all picture books and every year I buy a couple new ones and sneak them in too.  Tyler likes to guess each book before we open them so it gives him a couple of surprises.  They are not all one type of book.  Some are serious and some are just silly and fun.  Even though my boys are getting older we all really enjoy this tradition.  My husband and I still enjoy the beautiful picture books this time of year too.  This year our list is:

1.        The Berenstain Bears-The Bear’ Christmas
2.       The Nutcracker
3.       Mickey’a Christmas Carol
4.       Toy Story Andy’s Christmas Puppy
5.       The Littlest Angel
6.       Gingerbread Baby
7.       The Mitten
8.       The Night Before Christmas
9.       Christmas Oranges
10.   The Legend of the Christmas Stocking
11.   101 Dalmations A Christmas for Giving
12.   Santa Kid
13.   Alvin and the Chipmunks A Chipmunk Christmas
14.   The True Story of Christmas
15.   The Christmas Miracle of Jonathon Toomey
16.   Lady and the Tramp Lady’s Christmas Surprise
17.   Arthur’s Perfect Christmas
18.   I Want a Dog for Christmas Charlie Brown
19.   A Charlie Brown Christmas
20.   The Polar Express
21.   The Legend of the Christmas Tree
22.   Merry Christmas Curious George
23.   Tangerine Bear
24.   A Christmas Bell For Anya

25.   One Wintry Night

The last two books are our new ones for this year.  They look like wonderful stories and I am sure they will be great additions.   I am happy to have them all wrapped and ready to go in December.

Tomorrow I hope to finish up our Christmas card order.  We are doing photo cards through Dayspring because they have a great Compassion International design and we can even put a picture of our Compassion child on the back of each card.  I got a nice picture of Tyler for the card but I am still struggling to get one of Christian I may just have to go back through recent pictures and find one I like.  Here is the one of Tyler though.

He decided to wear the sweater all on his own the day I took the picture so I seized the opportunity. 
Well, I think that is about all for now.  I hope everyone has a great fall weekend and are enjoying getting ready for the holidays!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Gift Idea for Special Needs Kids

Christian, our son with severe autism, is extremely hard to buy gifts for.  He needs things that are visually stimulating and don't require a lot of fine motor skills.  Durability is also a must as most toys don't make it that long around here.  I was excited to find a toy that I think he is going  to love and I thought I would share it because I know he isn't the only hard to shop for child out there.

This is the VTech Digital KidiLook Digital Photo Frame.  Christian loves to look at pictures but he chews on actual photographs even if they are laminated.  Most digital frames would be too delicate for him but this one looks a little more rugged and we have a good history with VTech toys so I am optimistic.  It holds about 100 photos which you download from your computer via USB and you only have to shake it to shuffle pictures.  I bought one for Christian for less than $25 at amazon.  I think he is going to love it.  Just thought I would share!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thanksgiving Tees

Over the weekend I started working on Thanksgiving t-shirts for the boys.  I though it would be fun to do something where we could list the things that they are thankful for.  I am hoping to get a cute picture of them when the shirts are dry. 

I took one of my leaf cookie cutters and traced it with pencil several times on each shirt.  Then I took fabric paint and traced over the lines I had drawn.  In each leaf we wrote one thing that they are thankful for.  Tyler listed all of his and then I thought about what Christian would say if he could talk. 

This shirt is Tyler's and he is thankful for dad, mom, Christian, Lucy, friends, music, football, his I-pod, and the Macy's parade.

Tyler was chattering away to me while I was painting on what he was thankful so we ended up with one mistake.  Instead of a d in friends there is now a b.  Oops!  Fabric paint is very unforgiving!

Here is Christian's shirt.  His is still drying which is why the cardboard is still in the middle.  He is thankful for dad, mom, Tyler, the park, the beach, music, Veggie tales, Bojangles, and most of all big hugs!

I can't wait to see them on.  I think they are pretty cute.

Happy Birthday Marines!

Happy birthday to a very special group of men and women!  For 234 years our marines have lived by strong principles and served with great valor.  I am so proud of my marine and all those who serve along side him.   

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Orphan Sunday

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families.
Psalms 68:5-6

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Isaiah 1:17

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
Matthew 18:5

Orphan Sunday from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!
Matthew 25:40

On Sunday, November 8 at 4pm CT you can click on the above button to watch a webcast with Stephen Curtis Chapman, Geoff Moore, Dennis Rainey, and more about Orphan Sunday.

It is God's plan for His people to care for orphans.  Please take the time to consider that today.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We have all been a little under the weather here this week.  Nothing too awful just sore throats, stuffy noses, and that sort of thing.  Just enough to make everyone a little sluggish and irritable.  

It really wasn't a terrible week overall.  Christian and I didn't accomplish much school wise but he did straighten out his sleep schedule a little bit.  (at least for now)  I am not sure if it was daylight savings time or if it was him feeling sick or just a combination of the two.    He has been asleep by midnight every night this week!  Yipee!   I have actually been getting at least 6 or 7 hours of sleep every night!  I think I could used to this.

Tyler has been working really hard at school this week.  He is still loving his dog unit study.  This week we talked about seeing eye dogs and he was impressed by the amount of training that goes into a dog becoming a seeing eye dog.  We have been going a little slower than the lesson plans dictate but he is absorbing so much.  It is always interesting to observe how much more attentive he is when it is something he is interested in learning.  

We finished studying/praying for Pakistan this week.  I wanted to allow a week for each country but we rabbit trailed on this one a WHOLE bunch!  It's okay though as I am sure Pakistan can use some extra prayers.  Tyler finished up a project this week for our Pakistan time.  It is a bus he made based on Pakistani truck art.  If you have never seen their truck art I encourage you to check it out because it is really pretty amazing.  Here are a couple of links for that:



Tyler made his using a cardboard box which we cut off the front and overlapped it to make the hood of the bus.

He then painted the whole bus gray to cover up all the writing and labels on the box.

Next he decorated it with paint, stickers, colored paper, and crayons.  He had a lot of fun with it! 

Last we put on wheels (jar lids)  on their axles (wooden dowels) and secured them with beads and a little glue.  It really doesn't look very much like the Pakistani trucks but he had a great time making it and I think he will remember this about Pakistan.

He really loves anything he can make that he can play with later.

We are still finishing up reading Three Cups of Tea but we should be done by Tuesday.  Tyler has enjoyed this book immensely!  We have also finished collecting all the change we can find around the house for Pennies for Peace  and our grand total came out to $25.65!  We are pretty amazed at how much change we have just sitting around.  It is sad to think how much we take something like our  change and think it is worthless when it can do so much good if we put it all together.  It is a nice thought to think that we have helped some child in Pakistan to have a brighter future!

This week promises to be a busy one for us as well.  Monday and Tuesday I hoping to focus on Veteran's Day.  We will be doing a
free lapbook from Currclick. 

It looks like it will be a good one!  We will also be reading two books we usually enjoy for Veteran's Day.  They are:

The Wall


Tyler has also chosen Vietnam this week for our prayer country so that we could honor those who served in the Vietnam War at the same time.

Tim has off work most of this week too so hopefully we will also get some good family time with our Vet!  
I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!
Blessings to all of you!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

Samaritan's Purse is getting ready for their national collection week.  They will be collecting boxes to send to needy children around the world from November 16 - 23.  This is a great opportunity to provide a child that might not otherwise receive a gift this Christmas with a box full of goodies.  This is a fun thing for kids to do and allows them an opportunity to touch the life of another child.  We will be working on ours this next week.  If your church or organization is not collecting boxes you can find a collection location near you by entering your zip code on the Samaritan's Purse Website.   You will also be able to track the destination of your boxes this year.  I think that would be a lot of fun for most children to see where their gifts are going to.

Before you start your shopping for family and friends this year please take a moment to consider those who are less fortunate!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's a rough life!

Look who I caught sleeping on the chair.  She's not allowed on the furniture but frankly she was so cute it was hard to kick her off.  It's a rough life when you sleep all day! 

Monday, November 2, 2009

Yikes!  I just realized I haven't been on here in 5 days so I am sorry if this is one of those long rambling posts. 

Christian's birthday was on Wednesday so we took the day off of school.  We got him a new trampoline for his birthday and he is really loving it.

He doesn't like sweets so we didn't have a cake but we did get chicken strips and french fries from Bojangles for dinner because that is his favorite.  He enjoyed that very much.  He had a relaxed birthday which is just the way he likes it.

On Friday we had school.  Tyler is learning about Revelation in Bible and so we did a neat project.  He was learning about the opening of the seven seals in Revelation 6.  We made a large scroll and I wrote down the references for the verses that describe the opening of each seal.

Tyler wrote down a description of what will occur at the opening of each seal.  We then place velcro to represent each seal so that as the scroll is opened you stop at each reference.

He had a lot of fun making this and it was a great way to remember our lesson.

Friday night was Mom's night for my homeschool group and we met at Booksamillion for coffee and conversation.  It was a wonderful time as it always is.  It is definitely something I look forward to each month.  It is nice to have the time out with friends that homeschool special needs children.  I think my boys also enjoy the time together.   They like to order pizza and act silly with dad.

Saturday we carved pumpkins and enjoyed the beautiful fall leaves in the backyard.  Christian is feeling a bit under the weather so unfortunately he didn't get to play outside.  He is stuffy and just has a cold I think but it is making him super cranky so he has mostly been inside.

Tyler and Lucy had a great time playing in the leaves together.  Our trampoline is filled with them!

Tyler carved his pumpkin on Saturday too.

He worked really hard and even saved every last pumpkin seed so we could roast them.

Today we mostly hung out at home and watched football.  It was a good weekend.  I didn't accomplish everything I had hoped to because Christian needed a little extra care because of his cold but that is okay. 

Tomorrow is my mom's birthday.  So... Happy Birthday Mom!  It is also my Aunt Debbie's birthday because they are twins.  So Happy Birthday Aunt Debbie too!

This is my mom and my aunt when they were 3.  Aren't they adorable?  

I'm off to fill workboxes now.  Hope everyone has a great week!  

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