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Christmas - Part 2

Our actual Christmas celebrations were pretty low key. We opened gifts with the Talen family on Christmas eve. My goal this year was to take pictures of the kids with their grandparents and this is what we got.
 The rest of the gifts of all of the family that live far away we let the kids open slowly over the days following Christmas. We gave the kids a play kitchen and most of the gifts this year were accessories to that.
Chef Joash is ready to cook up some tasty food!

Christmas - Part 1

Actual Christmas has been pretty low key and that is just fine with me. While I certainly miss my family in the States, it nice to just stay home for the Christmas season. And because of this, we can pace ourselves a bit for Christmas. The kids have a lot of gifts to open from relatives near and far, so we have been spreading them out through this week. We will get to all of that later, but I just had to share this gift. 
Wilbert made a vacuum manure tank for our little farmer. I am always quite impressed with what Wilbert is able to make from stuff that he finds around the farm, and this is no exception.
The hose is from a Play Mobil Fire Truck Joash received for his birthday. It happened to come with an extra end, which Wilbert put on this tank. So now the hose can hook up to the fire truck, or the tank. We had one very excited boy!

Christmas Program

Now that Joash has started school we have entered the world of Christmas programs. Joash had his Pre-K Christmas program on Friday and he played the part of a wise man. We were a little nervous for him in the program since so far Joash has pretty much clammed up at the front of church and doesn't even stand when the children sing their song each Sunday after the Children's Message. So, my hopes for him was that he would stand when he was supposed to and move where his teachers told him to go.

And he did so well. He even said his line along with the other wise men and sang a little bit. He looked happy and like he was having fun, so that was wonderful to see. The program was a nice little retelling of the Christmas story and great way to start of our Christmas break!

Gingerbread Houses

Another Christmas tradition we started this year was to do a gingerbread house. Now, I didn't go all out and make the gingerbread from scratch or anything. I just bought a kit when they were on sale. We ended up making a mini village because all of the other kits had pre-assembled house and I wanted Joash to see the whole process of making a gingerbread house (other than the actual making of the gingerbread).
Here is Joash with the finished village. .
And this is Joash by the house he decorated all by himself.  Joash really enjoyed doing this, so I think the gingerbread house will be another Christmas tradition for us.

Piano Bench

When we moved to the farm house, one thing we were on the look out for was a nicer piano than the one we had. At the same time, an older woman from our church was moving from the house she had lived in for many years to an apartment in town. And of course she needed to down size. She heard we were interested in a piano and offered  hers to us. 
It is a lovely piano. While we have yet to have it tuned, enjoy the look of it and the little bit of playing that happens on it. One thing I knew I wanted to change though was the fabric on the piano bench. It is my first time every doing anything like this, but I think it turned out quite well.
Before:  After:
Quite a difference and it really freshens it up a bit.

Thunder by Bonnie S. Calhoun

Selah has always felt different from the rest of her family. And on the day before her eighteenth birthday, she learns the man she thought was her father really isn't and her biological father is a part of the outcast group. Knowing this, Selah knows why she has always felt like an outcast. And she also knows she will never be able to live at home again. Thunder by Bonnie S. Calhoun follows Selah on her journey from home toward the truth.
Selah did not want to marry the person her father was forcing her to marry. So, she decided to try and prove her worth by capturing on of the “Landers” who float across the ocean to the coastal village her family lives in. The government the mountains will give a big reward for any “Landers” who are brought to them still wearing the mark on their face that distinguishes them. But instead of capturing her the Lander, Selah ends up befriending him and travelling with him north to find her biological father and learn the truth about who she is.
Th…

19 Months

Mom: Mataya, my big girl. You are 19 months today!

M(ataya): Really? I was too busy to notice.

Mom: Yes, it is true. What things are you busy with?

M: Well, I really like all kinds of things. I like to colour, uses stickers, look at books and hold my babies and monkeys.
Mom: What books are your favorite?

M: I really like the tractor magazines with combines and cows in them. And I like the books that have pictures of monkeys, ducks or pigs in them. I am very good at those animal noises.

Mom: Yes, you are.  What others things do you like to do?
 M: I like to dance and move. I also like to go outside, especially to the barn and tractors. And I like to run errands with you, Mom, while Joash is in school. I really like to look in your purse for snacks.

Mom: I know. Good thing I always have a little something for you. What do you like to eat?


M: My food preferences haven't changed much in the last while, but I don't really know why I have to eat supper. I think I eat enough at lunc…

Christmas is Coming

Advent is upon us and Christmas has been coming slowly to our house as well. This is the first year I feel like we are able to really start some traditions that will carry on for years to come. I think that is because we are staying on the Island for Christmas this year and Joash is old enough to really get it.
So we have made Cut-out Sugar Cookies....

 We got our Christmas tree yesterday...in the rain. There is a Christmas tree farm not to far away, so we took the whole family yesterday and hunted for the perfect tree. It was a bit rainy, but we all had boots and rain coats on, so we still had a good time.
 This tree is our Advent Tree. We are going through the book Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp. It is a lovely book and one that we intend to use for years to come. The ornaments on this tree go with the reading for each day. They were some free printable pages from her website. This year I colored them, but in the future I hope the kids will do that.
 And we are also do…

Snow Day = Snowman

The weather cannot seem to make up its mind lately. Is is winter? Fall? Spring? Last week we had a big blast of winter which resulted in Joash's first snow day. He didn't seem to phased by it. The snow was very wet, perfect for snow construction. So, we were all out in the snow by 8:30 in the morning.
Joash likes to climb the "mountains" from the snow that slides off of our roof  And since it was perfect for building a snowman, we had to do it. Joash was excited that it was just about the same height as him.
And now our snowman is gone as it is sort of warm and rainy today. But I am sure another one will be built soon.

Recognition

I am very much enjoying how Mataya is learning to recognize things and she is quickly grasping the idea of pointing things out in the pictures in books. 
A few days ago, we read this story in the children's Bible for devotions after lunch.  Mataya quickly pointed at Abraham and said "Opa!" She was very excited and we all found it rather funny. Opa and Oma are away right now, so I guess she misses them.

18 Months

Mom: Mataya, can you believe it?

M(ataya): Believe what Mom?

Mom: You are 18 months old already! 1 1/2 years old! What a big girl you are!

M: Thanks Mom! I like being a big girl. I like it when you let me sit next to you on the couch or put me in a chair by myself. I like that I can run around and get into pretty much anything I want to

Mom: It is fun to see all of the different things you do everyday. What else do you like to do? M: I like to be by you and brother. I like to say new words, especially ones that make you laugh. I enjoy looking at books and I like to play with brother's sticker books and peel the stickers off. I wish that brother would share his tractors more with me, but most of the time he is nice to me. I also like to look animals, but I don't like it when the cats get too close. And I can make a really nice cow sound. Would you like to here it?

Mom: In a little bit. What about eating?

M: I love to eat breakfast and lunch. Yogurt is still my favorite thing, though…

The Patmos Deception by Davis Bunn

Sometimes it seems as if just when we get under us and are ready to run, the bottom falls out once again and we fall even harder than before. Carey Mather's experiences that at the beginning of The PatmosDeception. But will a visit from an old friend help her to overcome her biggest fears?
Carey Mathers feels as though she has things all under control. She has a great degree, a great job lined up and is excited at the possibility of living in Greece and doing a job she has been working hard to secure. But once she arrives in Greece, she finds her place of employment closed and it at an utter loss once again. Then she receives a call from an old friend, Nick Hennessy, who wants to hire her to work with him on a story about disappearing Greek antiquities. Figuring she has nothing to lose, Carey agrees and quickly finds herself in the middle of an intense investigation of an organized crime group. And, not only does Carey fear the disappearance of more artifacts, but also that Nick…

Leaves

We have really had a lovely fall. And last week there was a few lovely days that we took advantage of to get outside for a bit and play in the leaves. 
Mataya loved walking through leaves and hearing the sounds they made. It is so nice that she is walking and now that we have the proper footwear, she can really go anywhere she wants too.  It was really sunny, so pardon my shadow.
 "Too bright, mom!"
 Joash in his bed of leaves.
But the last few days have been rainy and cool, we actually saw snow yesterday, but it didn't stay on the ground. I am afraid winter is not that far off, though.

Joash's Birthday Celebrations

Well, we have had quite the weekend celebrating with this four year old. In the morning, there were lots of decorations up.  We had cake at coffee time. Joash had requested a farm cake with a barn, two tractors and a farmer. I was pretty pleased to find this nice farm candles at the Bulk Barn.
 When then did a little family outing to the corn maze. It was a cool, drizzly day, so we had the whole place to ourselves.
I am pretty sure Joash would have been just as please to play in the giant sandbox all day, even with the rain.

 Mataya had fun too.
 Then we came back home for presents. Joash opened his gifts from Mom and Dad, Mataya, Grandma and Grandpa and Oom Emil and Tante Karisa. He has been playing with them all non-stop.
 Oma and Opa came over Sunday for lunch, more cake and of course they had a few gifts too.
And today there were a few more presents in the mail from Tante Reina, Aunt Joy and Uncle Chad, and Aunt Dawn and Uncle Nick. Joash has had a great birthday!

4 Years Old

Someone is very excited to be turning 4 today!
What is your favorite color? Orange What is your favorite toy? Race Track (a Hot Wheels Track one of the uncles left behind in the house for Joash.) What is your favorite food? Grapes What is your favorite tv show? Andy's Airplane What is your favorite outfit? What I am wearing now (it was a pair of track pants and a long sleeve t-shirt with soccer ball on it) What is your favorite game? Shark Attack (another one left behind by the uncles) What is your favorite animal? Cow What is your favorite song? "Peace and Tender All Through the Night" (known to most of us as "All Through the Night" What is your favorite book? All of the Franklin ones  Who is your best friend? Daddy What is your favorite thing to do outside? Ride in the tractor  What is your favorite drink?Chocolate milk What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Tag blanket What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Pizza What do you want to be when…

House Tour - Part 3 - The Guest Areas

For this part of the tour you are going to need to use your imagination. These rooms are in a bit of an unfinished state yet. However I wanted to share because I wanted all of you to see that we have room for lots of visitors.
The first guest area is known as The Apartment. It has its own entrance from the outside, but can also be accessed through the toy room. When you enter form the outside, the first room a nice little nook with built in bunk beds.  Then you enter the living/sleeping area. Imagine a bed along the wall on the left. The door straight ahead leads to the toy room.
 There is a fully functional and well supplied kitchen. All you need is food!
 And its own bathroom
The upstairs is a room known as the Big Room. It has served many different purposes over the years, but it is our intention to make this into a nice guest room. Right, it is storing all sorts of things that we just don't know what to do with yet.

 It also has a loft that can work nicely for another sleepin…