How He loves

To celebrate this day of love I thought I would share one of my favorite songs that talks about the Greatest Love.

I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about the way He loves…

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:

Blank books for children

With the holidays fast approaching and a sluggish economy, you may be looking for create gift ideas that are easy on your pocketbook. Blank books are great gifts for children, even those who don’t usually enjoy books or even read yet. With a little imagination you can take a blank book and make it a one-of-a-kind gift the child in your life will treasure.

  • Make it into an alphabet book they can fill with words and pictures for each letter.
  • Cut and paste random pictures and phrases as journal prompts.
  • Add pictures of things the child loves.
  • Draw in random frames for them to add their own custom art work.
  • Add pictures. The child can make up a story to go with the pictures.
  • Make a picture book that has no words. Let the pre-reader make up a new story each time.
  • Make a drawing book that has only half of each picture. The little artist can fill in the other half.
  • Add random affirmations or compliments. As they fill up the book they will come across your kind words.
  • Include some “Poetry Recipes,” simple poetry ideas (like haiku or cinquains) they can practice in their book.
  • Sprinkle “story starters” throughout the book for budding authors.
  • Include pictures of family and friends.
  • Call it something special, like a Dream Catcher or Idea Machine. Not everyone likes to journal but everyone likes to capture their ideas at one time or another.
  • Add inspirational quotes or stories to feed their passion in a subject.
  • Add library pockets with tags, envelopes, fold some pages and add other scrapbook paper goodies they can manipulate.
  • Add words at random they can add to their writing vocabulary.
  • Ask them questions about themselves on a few pages and let them talk about themselves.
  • Draw some random shapes and let them doodle them into their own creations.
  • Make your own dot-to-dots or coloring pages by tracing family’s or pets’ faces.
  • Give it to them to start a back and forth journal with a parent. Sometimes children will write things that can be hard to say out loud and it can be a great communication tool.

Make sure to include colored pencils and an eraser so they can create to their heart’s desire. My next book arts post will give you some ideas on making books from scratch for children.

My Valentine’s Day gift to you

Do you have any idea how much God loves you? He is crazy about you. You are always on His mind. He wrote you a valentine–His Word. God is for you. He is in love with you as His child. Drink it in

For this Valentine’s Day I thought I would offer you a little printable reminder of God’s love. Do you know all the things God’s love does for you? This list comes two on a page so you can print out a few and put them all over: the fridge, the mirror, your Bible. You may even want to mail one to a friend.

What God’s Love Does for Me

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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

Artful Advent! cover

 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.

Order now and you get 4 free gifts!


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.

Jesse tree

“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.”   Isaiah 11:1

The Jesse Tree

We are starting one new tradition each Christmas at our house. We love advent calendars and we love devotionals for the month of December, so I discovered a way to do both of these in a fun and meaningful way.Those of you in mainline denominations may know about the Jesse tree. I did not. At least not until I happened across one on one of my cyber-trips.

It traces the lineage of Jesus each day leading up to Christmas, through the likes of Abraham, Rahab, King David and Mary. You recount the amazing stories of the people, recognizing God’s Providence and marveling at His intricate ways. The Jesse Tree is a theme that goes back to the middle ages, and maybe before. There were many tapestries and altar pieces in churches devoted to Jesus’ lineage.

The way we celebrate this today is to make a tree. We make ornaments that fit the story of the day and place them on the tree. This year at our house we will use the ficus tree in the dining room. Next year I plan to have a great little tree for the table–or maybe the wall. We will make ornaments over the next year that will be more permanent. This year they will be more “kid crafty” and we will work on them as we discuss the story each day.

Some links to learn more:

If your family celebrates this tradition, I hope you will leave a note and a link to a picture of your tree.

10 things I’m 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. 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.

My favorite Christmas reading

I can’t give a complete list because I’m sure I’ll forget something, but this is my family’s list for Christmas reading. It’s not long but the works are quality.

  • Account of the Christmas story in Luke 2 (KJV), read by candlelight
  • Louisa May Alcott’s Christmas Treasury: The Complete Christmas Collection from River Oak Publishing
  • The Candymaker’s Gift by David and Helen Haidle from Honor Books
  • The Christmas Lizard by Cory Edwards from Honor Books
  • The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado
  • An Early-American Christmas by Tony daPaola
  • This is the Star by Joyce Dunbar (along the line of “This is the house that Jack built”)
  • “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” poem

I am enjoying Alcott’s writing very much these days. There is a nice bio of her in the book as well. Your kids will enjoy the candymaker, with it’s beautiful illustrations and focus on Jesus, and the Oscar the lizard also learns the true meaning of Christmas. Early American Christmas focused on the blessing of God’s bounty and not on the gifts. The poem is just for fun.

You may wonder about some of the publishers. River Oak is an imprint of Honor Books, a Christian publishing house with an emphasis on gift books. I have done a lot of proofreading for Honor Books and these are some books I received after I worked on them. I hope you will look for them in your local Christian bookstore or at And you might even find them at your library.

Last week’s lessons (and still more poetry) Nov. 21-25

I am surprised at the number of poems that have peppered my posts lately. Must be a “season” heehee. Well of course it was a short week in our celebration of Thanksgiving. Princess G asked to read Psalm 100 before dinner. I was very proud of her initiative and she read aloud beautifully. I wish she’d speak up more but she did a great job. While we are on the subject, I thought I’d share a poem she wrote last year (I was surprised at the result–she was only 6). It may inspire you to do something similar for Christmas.

Giving Thanks
Today I will go
Unto the house of the Lord,
Remembering what God has done:
Keeping me safe,
Everlasting love for me,
Years and years of life.

So her latest poem has a little different flavor:
God has great powers
So He gave us flowers.
Girls are so sweet
When they meet.
I love God;
He’s sure not odd.

This poem made us laugh. The last line was originally “He’s not a pod” but I couldn’t let that stay, so she changed it a little. She worked hard on that little poem, on her bed with a note pad and pencil. This was the big English work we did last week.

We read more of the Pilgrim story, and we read through “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving,” by Louisa May Alcott. We laughed at the “bear” and the funny things that happened as they were cooking dinner. I think the story will become a tradition around here.

We also started our holiday notebooks and gathered materials for that. We had a good time listening to carols online and chatting and printing. I let her choose what she wanted in her notebook and we created pages for each topic. We printed pages for people to write what they were thankful for (she wanted it to read “Whatcha thankful for?”) and took around for the family to sign. We also printed some pages for recipes, journaling, traditions and the Advent study we are doing.

We reviewed some things we had discussed in JBC up to this point. That’s always good to do. We will break from that this month and do our Advent Bible study.

So I guess last week was mainly reading and writing and having a good time. She also worked on some math, including a multiplication table with half of the numbers missing, for her to fill in. She got them all right! YEA!!! We had a good time and I’m very happy with how last week came out. We spent time together around God’s word and some good writing–even if we aren’t quite up to Ms. Alcott’s caliber…just yet.