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.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

I have to apologize because I have been meaning to post about our Christmas for days now.  It has definitely been a different holiday this year as we have been taking turns being sick.  It started a couple of weeks before Christmas with both Tyler and I both having sore throats.  Then my arthritis decided to act up a whole bunch which it hasn't done in a long time.  Thankfully it is much better now but it was quite painful while it was going on.  Also a couple of days before Christmas Tim came down with an awful upper respiratory virus which got passed on to Christian and a little bit to Tyler.  Then on top of all that as my parents traveled to our house form Wisconsin my mother came down with the flu.  We are really grateful that wasn't passed on to anyone one else but she did have to spend much of her trip in bed. :(  Somehow my father and I made it through unscathed.  I am thanking God for that as we needed a couple of healthy people to take care of the sick ones.
I know that sounds rather bleak but it really wasn't as bad as it sounds.  We did miss out on some of the things we would have liked to have done but we were able to enjoy a bunch of our regular traditions too.  We really loved doing a Jesse Tree this year for the first time.  I know both Tyler and I were really sad it had to end.

Here is Tyler putting the last ornament on the Jesse tree.
This is something I think we will be doing every Christmas now.  It was a wonderful thing to spend part of each day reading scripture and focusing on the true meaning of Christmas.
One thing I had wanted to do this year is to make more homemade gifts with the boys.  Because of all the illness this didn't happen as much as I would have liked.  Tyler did want to make a special gift for Christian however and so that was a big priority.  I helped him to make a Christmas sensory box and Christian is finding it very interesting.

  We took a plastic ornament box and hid some jingle bells, snowflake beads, bendable snowmen, and other small objects and hid them in cotton which is our snow.

We also made a little I Spy type book to go with it that shows all the hidden objects he can find.

He had so much fun making this for his brother.  It makes my little mommy heart happy to see him do something special for Christian.
Tyler also made a dvd for his grandparents of him singing songs which is becoming his annual tradition too.
That is about all we accomplished for homemade gifts.  We will try to start a little earlier next year and hopefully make a lot more.
We were blessed to all feel well enough to open all our gifts together on Christmas Eve.  It was a good time and we were all thankful to receive such generous gifts.  Christian got a big fuzzy blanket from my parents and an MP3 player and digital picture viewer from us and many more gifts he is really enjoying.  He is hard to find gifts for so I am extremely happy to see that he seems to be enjoying all he received.  Tyler got some cds and a new Alphasmart from my parents and some games and Star Wars action figures from us and many more gifts.  He is loving them all but did tell me today that Blokus is his favorite.  He played it twice today alone.  Tim got a Ipod docking station with a digital picture frame from me for his desk at work, some games form my parents, and a calender and nerf gun from the boys.
I got a sewing machine (my very first)  from Tim.  I have been wanting to overcome my fear of sewing for awhile.  I have been reading through the manual before I go out and purchase any fabric and even though I am having some bad home economics class flashbacks I am pretty excited about it all.  Tyler got me Greg Mortenson's new book Stones Into Schools.  He wants to read it with me so I was really moved by that.  I am touched that he shares my passion for Gregs work in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Christian got me a new mouse for my computer.  My much loved mouse of the last 4 years died and so this was a much appreciated gift.  My parents gave me a lovely teapot and a sweater.  I loved all these gifts and the others I received.
I am going to share just a couple of pictures of Christmas Eve.  I took a lot of pictures but I don't want to make this too long so I will just pick a few.

Tyler waiting to see what Grandpa is getting.

Christian is loving his new MP3 player!
Tyler was very excited to get Snow Buddies!

Here I am opening up my sewing machine. :)

Grandma with her presents from Christian.  He gets her a teddy bear and a candle every year.

Tim opening his gift from me. Electronic gifts for him always bring big smiles! ;)

Even Lucy got gifts.  Here she is checking out the big stocking of treats Tyler got for her.

 That is all the pictures I am going to post for now.
It was a nice Christmas overall.  Everybody is finally starting to feel a little better now and so we are just enjoying some nice family time together while Tim has off.
I hope everyone else had a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Woodbine House Holiday Sale

Woodbine House is having their annual holiday sale and you can save 20% on over 80 books and DVDs.  They are the best resource I know of for books about disabilities. 
Just thought I would share!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Plead the 5th

We have been having kind of a rough week here.  A lot of anxiety about Christmas and being out of routine going on.  I do, however, have one funny story to relate from today.

Last week Tyler, Tim, and I were having a discussion about something silly that I can't quite recall.  Anyhow I told Tyler he should plead the 5th.  He was unfamiliar with the term and so we explained it to him to which he dug out the amendments to the constitution and read them through.  He has been pretty interested in them all week.  We have studied the constitution before but this has for some reason sparked more of an interest.

Well today he was discussing with Lucy, our dog, how naughty she is and how if there was a Santa for dogs she would surely get coal.  He did feel, however, that she shouldn't be found guilty of all the things he feels she has done without knowing her rights.  So he dragged out the amendments again and proceeded to inform her that not only did she have the right to a speedy trial, a lawyer, and a jury but that she had the right not to incriminate herself.  It was so cute!

Kind of makes up for the rest of the week which I will gladly plead the 5th about!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Night in Bethlehem

Tonight Tim and Tyler spent some time in Bethlehem.  They left after dinner and even made it home for bedtime.  Pretty impressive, huh?
Okay, they didn't really go to Bethlehem.  A local church has a rather large dramatization of Bethlehem and the nativity.  We have never been there before but I think it greatly exceeded Tyler's expectations.

Here is Tyler at the gate to Bethlehem.
They had a ticket or list of places to visit as they went along and when they visited each place they punched a hole in their ticket.

As you can see there were lots of things to do.  Tyler was really excited about registering for the census and paying his taxes.  

I guess he didn't want to be in trouble with this guy!

 They had a good time checking out all the little shops and such.
This one is the weaving shop.

Here is the blacksmith at work.

The man in the brown robe to the right was the chief priest.

Here is the innkeeper which I understand was quite clear about the fact that he had no room!

And as the wise men did so many years ago they followed the star which led them to...

Tyler was quite taken with "the baby Jesus".  And a little with...

the angel.  I won't say anymore on that though lest I embarrass him.
I am thankful to this church for doing such a great job and allowing everyone a chance to experience what it might have been like in Bethlehem during the birth of our Savior.

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

I am a northern girl transplanted in the south for the last 7 years.   The rest of the family is quite adjusted to it all but not me.  Don't get me wrong it is beautiful here and the people are wonderful, warm, and genuine.  I just miss the change of seasons and the snow in winter esp. at Christmas.  See this is the view out my back door today.

It is so brown and dreary and doesn't look much like Christmas at all.

And then there is this...

This is my parents house, the one I grew up in, and this is what Christmas should look like.

This is the view from their house. (big sigh!)

So today because we have no real snow (big sigh again) we made snow flakes.  There are the regular kind

and then there are some 3 dimensional ones
and then there is the mother of all snowflakes.

It is about 2 feet across.  I never meant for it to be that large but I had never made the 3 dimensional snow flakes before and so I thought each small part was supposed to be a full sheet of paper.  OOPS!  It is kind of neat though and Tyler is super impressed with it.
If you have never made the 3 dimensional ones before here are the instructions.  It is actually super easy but it is a little time consuming.
As I was sitting and looking at the snowflakes this evening it struck me that these would also look great in red as poinsettia.  Tomorrow we are reading the Legend of the Poinsettia and so I thought this might make a fun craft to go along with that.  I quick made one to see how it would look and I am very pleased.

I glued on some paper leaves and some green pom poms in the center and I really think it looks good.  This will be fun to make more tomorrow.
I hope everyone is enjoying their Christmas and if you live somewhere where there is snow could you enjoy it for me too!  Thanks!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Enjoying Christmastime

Our day got off to a bit of a rough start as Tyler was grumpy and Christian got up way too early and Lucy decided she is going to try and dig her way to China from the backyard.  I quickly straightened out though and ended up being a pretty good day overall.
We started this morning with our Jesse tree.  We read the verses and hung up the ornament.  This our first year doing the Jesse tree and we are really enjoying it.  We are using the ornaments and verses from Tired, need sleep.
Here is a picture of our Jesse tree so far.

We are studying the names of Jesus instead of our regular Bible book right now.  I had bookmarked a beautiful garland craft with the names of Jesus that I wanted to do this Christmas to go with our study.  I decided to change it to ornaments however because I don't have enough ribbon for garland.  I hung them by our dining room window which is where we do school as a reminder of some of the names we are studying.

I am very pleased with how they turned out.  It was also another opportunity to use my new circle cutter. :)  Yes, I really am that geeky.
This afternoon I made peppermint playdough for Christian which turned out nicely but he wasn't interested in it today ( he got up  WAY too early).  We will try it tomorrow and I think because I have enough we will use some to make candy cane ornaments too.
This evening I made hot chocolate in my cocomotion.  I got it last year for Christmas from my hubby and I LOVE it.  It is so easy and makes awesome cocoa.

If you love hot chocolate you might want to check it out.  While I was having my hot chocolate we played To Bethlehem.  We got the game last year but I never has a chance to play it with the rest of the family because Christian was sick and I was busy taking care of him.  It is sooo much fun.  It has all kinds of cards with great discussions on different things about Christmas and you have to do crazy things like put a towel on your head or wear socks on your hands.  You also get to sing Christmas songs and it is just a fun family time.

Tyler won the game but we all had a great time playing.
Tomorrow I think we need to start some Christmas baking because everybody keeps asking about it.  Usually I have baked a ton by now but I just haven't been able to find a good block of time yet.  I think I will get everything ready tonight and maybe I can start tomorrow.
I need to go now and prepare for tomorrow.
I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays as much as we are here!

Peppermint Play Dough

Today, I am going to make peppermint play dough for Christian. I put red food coloring in half of the dough so we can make candy cane shapes with it. It smells really good too!

Peppermint Play Dough

2 cups flour
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup salt
1 tsp. vinegar
1/4 tsp. peppermint extract
food coloring

Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add water and vinegar and stir until stiff. Knead until desired consistency. Divide dough in half. Form a bowl shape with each half of the dough. In the first half drop in the peppermint extract and knead until dough is smooth. In the second half drop peppermint extract and red food coloring and need until color is spread throughout dough. You can add more food coloring until you get the red color you want. Store in a freezer bag or airtight container in the refrigerator. If should last at least a month if stored after each use. Bring the dough out of the refrigerator about 5 minutes before you wish to use it so that it is more pliable. You can also leave out a shape you have created to harden for at least 24 hours if you wish to keep it. Spraying it with varnish to preserve it after it is completely hardened is also a good idea.

* This recipe is not edible and young children should be supervised.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Cookie Facts and Opinions Sorting Activity

I made this activity to work on sorting statements of fact and opinion.  Since it is Christmas I thought it would be fun to use cookies.  I hope you enjoy it!

Tyler's Christmas Decorations

We are pretty Christmassy here!  I had shared some pictures of our living room decorations in an earlier post but today Tyler would like me to show you the decorations in his room.

Tyler has his own tree and it is decorated in a diverse collection of ornaments.  He has homemade ornaments, Elvis ornaments, lots of football ornaments (no big surprise there), and a bunch of ornaments that we have handed down to him over the years.

Quite the mix isn't it?

Tyler has always loved Christmas villages so for several years now we have been buying him one new building and one figure each year.  His is the North Pole village from Department 56.  He loves it and it has been a lot of fun collecting these for him.

This is his newest addition.  He picked it out last week.  He will be getting the matching figure on Christmas.
I think it is a lot of fun for him to have some decorations that he gets to set out in his room!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pearl Harbor Remberance Day Lesson Resources

Tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.  We try to make sure we observe all the military holidays in our country.  They are important to us and so here I sit planning out what we will study about Pearl Harbor for the next couple of days.  I thought I would share some of what I have found.



A good child's book on Pearl Harbor
Air Raid- Pearl Harbor The Story of December 7, 1941


We had a flotilla here today and we were eager to attend as we had been planning on going to one a week or two ago and it was changed because of high winds.  It was a very chilly day here and actually seemed wintry which was nice.  We arrived over at the marina at around 4pm as the sign we had seen said that is when it began.  We did not realize that they had choirs and clowns and other festivities planned before the flotilla.  The flotilla didn't actually begin to around 6pm.  There were a lot of people there which can be very difficult for Christian so we spent some time playing outside at the playground by the marina.  Christian really enjoys going up and down the steps of the playground equipment.  It is too bad we live in a single floor house.

After about an hour and a half however Christian was ready to go home.  Tim and Tyler took us home quickly and then returned to the marina to enjoy the flotilla.

Here is Tyler back at the marina.  I love him in his cap!
They enjoyed themselves and Tim tried to take some pictures but he didn't have a tripod with so I will just post the best ones he got.

I really love the way the lights reflect in the water.


This is the boat that brought Santa.

Here is the jolly man arriving!  It was nice for him to stop here at our base. 
I know all the kids were excited. ;)
It was a fun day and I am glad Tyler got to experience a small flotilla at least.  Hopefully next year we will make it to the big one!

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