Tuesday, December 22, 2009

December 18-22

December 18

Our advent calendar for this year - just simple little tags that I printed and cut out. Some days it's an announcement of an activity to come and some it was documentation of what we did.

December 19

On Saturday we all got dressed up to go on a date with Daddy! Travis and I had talked about taking the girls to see The Nutcracker but the Nashville Symphony and ballet was way more than we wanted to spend - especially not knowing how BBoo would do. We went to the Green Hills School of Dance performance and it was perfect - in price and length. The girls were mesmerized!

December 20

Sunday Family Lunch ~ extending the table so everyone fits around it ~
This really is not a very good picture - it's one that I found on my phone that N1 must have taken when my sister, husband, and niece were putting in the table leaf on Sunday. But, what a precious memory. One definitely worth chronicling, even if it's not perfectly photographed.

December 21


December 22

Just a random everyday photo of my Betsy-Boo but it just happened to capture her impishness so well. She is getting to be such a BIG girl.

Touching Wonder

You are invited to visit uReadBooks.com to listen to this new Christmas audio special!

uReadBooks presents:
Touching Wonder -
A Christmas Radio Special

Does it seem like you have heard the Christmas story a few too many times for it to still hold the wonder that it once had? With his instant classic, Touching Wonder, author John Blase breathes new life into the story of the Nativity. Just in time for the holiday season, uReadBooks.com presents a half hour Christmas special featuring excerpts from this new book.

About the book:
Little children understand how amazing the Nativity story is. But, sometimes, as we become men and women, we put away the childlike with the childish. The result? We lose something vital—the wonder of it all. When author John Blase went looking for the lost wonder of Christmas, he went back to the place he’d last seen it—the stories from Luke 1-2. What he found fills the pages of his new book, Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas (David C Cook, September 2009), with flesh and bone and dust and night and a baby’s cry; the intimate union of human and divine—the Incarnation.

By boldly imagining the first two chapters of the gospel of Luke, writer, editor, and former pastor John Blase has created an instant classic for Christmastime. In a tale that reads like a novel parallel parked by the record of Scripture, Blase beckons those who could use a little wonder in their lives to step onto the stage of history and witness the long awaited coming of the Messiah. With Eugene Peterson’s The Message Bible translation as his backdrop, Blase adds his own voice and commentary to the historic events, exploring the renowned drama from an array of viewpoints.

In Touching Wonder, readers will meet a cast of unruly unlikelies—a frightened teenaged girl, a worried carpenter, a collection of senior citizens, a disillusioned young shepherd, even an angel or two—moving toward the realization that the little one just born is the One. This imaginative retelling of the grand miracle will leave readers wide-eyed, slack-jawed, and heart-full. The Lord is come!

In this lovely and distinctive book to be read…and re-read…and pondered in the heart, young and old will recapture the wonder of the Christmas story by seeing through the eyes of those who lived it. The book’s graceful design and Amanda Jolman’s beautiful line drawings combine to make this a thoughtful Christmas gift as well as a wonder that families will treasure for years to come.

Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas
by John Blase

David C Cook/September 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday Felicities ::: December 18

Things that are making me happy...
  • bagels with onion & chive cream cheese
  • The Sing-Off on NBC ... thoroughly enjoying this acappella competition!
  • realizing that (minus one gift card I need to pick up and anything extra I want to do) I am DONE with Christmas prep!
  • evenings with my guy
  • days with my girls
  • thankful that N1 had strep this week and not next
  • antibiotics and insurance
  • new babies
  • Christmas movies
  • the funny (FUNNY) things my girls have said recently
  • N1's very loose tooth
  • moments of thankfulness in spite of struggles
Happy Friday. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 11 - 16

December 11
Bedtime. :)

December 12
Dress rehearsal for the Christmas program - Noelle sang so well this year (she and Natalie's class sang "Go Tell It On the Mountain") and both did GREAT!
December 13

STAR WARS IN CONCERT!!! Travis and I enjoyed a GREAT date night on Sunday - Dad bought us tickets to the Star Wars Concert and it was excellent! The Royal Philharmonic + C3PO as host + clips from the movies ~ all put together by the brilliant John Williams. A superb concert! Thanks, Dad!

December 14

In the beginning - humble wood blocks, a couple bottles of acrylic paint, and two very happy N's that painted the afternoon away while Betsy napped. Obviously there is still a little work to do to turn them into Christmas gifts. :)

December 15

No picture today. I suppose I could have just captured a regular "moment" but truth be told, all us girls laid around today. Noelle didn't feel good and was throwing up (turns out she has strep throat) and so we watched TV all. day. long. Lion King, Cosby Show episodes and Star Wars were on tap while we vegged and snuggled. Then Natalie and Betsy & I went to Jordan's choir concert and enjoyed that. But, man, the littles were tired by bedtime!

December 16

There is a house a couple streets over that rents FM air space and puts on a great light show in their front yard with them timed to Christmas songs. A fun little outing for all of us this evening.

You can click any to see them bigger in Flickr. I skipped December 10 because I'm waiting on a picture from one of the other Girl Scout Moms of all our troop together in their new vests. :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 9

December 9
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Getting my crafty on! I realized - kind of at the last minute - that it might be nice if I had a Christmas goodie for the Girl Scout girls and our meeting is tomorrow! A few clear ornaments, blue (Daisy colored) tissue paper and a letter for their initial and they don't look half bad.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Christmas Lamp by Lori Copeland

Congrats to Amanda - winner of the book giveaway from last week!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Christmas Lamp

Zondervan (October 1, 2009)


Lori Copeland


Lori Copeland has been writing for twenty-five years and has over three million copies of her books in print. She began her writing career in 1982, writing for the secular book market. In 1995, after many years of writing, Lori sensed that God was calling her to use her gift of writing to honor Him. It was at that time that she began writing for the Christian book market.

To date, she has more than 95 books published, including
Now and Always, Simple Gifts, Unwrapping Christmas, and Monday Morning Faith, which was a finalist for the 2007 Christy Awards. Lori was inducted into the Springfield Writers Hall of Fame in 2000.

Lori lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband Lance. They have three sons, two daughter-in-laws, and five wonderful grandchildren. Lori and Lance are very involved in their church, and active in supporting mission work in Mali, West Africa.


Christmas trees, twinkling lights, skating in the park, and holiday displays are the hallmark elements for celebrating Jesus birth for the sentimental residents of Nativity, Missouri. Will fiscal responsibility replace Christmas their traditions when times are tough? Though their priorities and methods clash, Roni Elliot and Jake Brisco want the same thing, for the town to prosper. As the two get to know each other better, each begins to gain a new perspective on what the real wealth of Nativity and the season might be.

If you would like to read the first chapter of
The Christmas Lamp, go HERE

Sunday, December 06, 2009

December 6, 7 & 8

You can click any picture to see it larger at Flickr.
December 6:

December 6

Lyrics are O Come O Come Emmanuel

December 7:

December 7(a)

December 7(b)

For this day, I made a little envelope out of some Christmas paper I have been hoarding for a while. Inside are some lists (provided by Shimelle - thanks!) that give a little holiday overview for our family. Some thoughts on our calendar for December, cards, holiday food, etc. I didn't take any pictures on Monday so it seemed like a good day to include a list-y kind of post ... and I do love a good list. :)

December 8:

December 8

The card behind the picture pulls out and has journaling on the front and back.

We had our first homeschool Christmas party today - a Christmas storybook social. It was our family, the B*****s, J*******s, and J****s and I think everyone had a good time. I read "The Cobweb Curtain" and had a (messy) craft where the kids could make glittery cobwebs. Then K* read a section from "The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe" - the section with Father Christmas - and the J* kids acted it out. Then the kids played and ate and ate and played and the mamas chatted. Fun for all. :) Noelle loves having kids over to play with - I really need to do more of that for her. Must think on how I can set up some playdate opportunities.

Also, so cute! - Natalie was MOST enthralled with baby J*. :) She told G* that his feet were very small - smaller than Betsy's! And she asked G* what the baby's name was. When G* told her, Natalie said that we hadn't named our "babies" yet. Mommy and Daddy hadn't gotten them for the girls yet and were still trying to get some. So cute. :) My girls definitely have baby on the brain. :)

*Names have been omitted to protect the innocent ... and those that might not want their name online.
**We are NOT pregnant. My girls are ready for a baby, though, and sometimes talk like we are so I want to make sure there is no confusion on this point. At least right now. :)

December 5

December 5
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Trimming the Tree.

We went with a small table top tree this year and I kind of like how small and simple it is.

I will post Sunday and Monday's picture on Monday. :)

Friday, December 04, 2009

December 4

December 4
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

We don't have many adult Christmas parties that Travis and I go to. His work doesn't have one and neither does mine. :) That said, the Boyd Christmas party has been an annual event for us for many years and it's always so much fun. Tonight I got to catch up with Gina and Erin and snuggle brand new baby Jake. And eat some pretty fabulous snacks as well. Another great tradition.

Please excuse the weird colors in the picture. I scanned my page tonight to see what would happen and probably won't do that again. :)

Friday Felicities ::: December 4


Things that are making me happy this week:
  • it makes me happy that one of the junior high boys from church called me last night to ask if he could borrow my copy of Sound of Music for a school project.
  • that our bunny will come to me when I call her
  • peppermint creamer
  • online shopping
  • Triscuits with cracked pepper and olive oil
  • good young adult books and hitting the jackpot on cool kid books at the library yesterday
  • Christmas cards - sending and receiving
  • Sharpie pens
  • reading our Advent verses every morning as we start school and listening to the girls tell me the story
  • O Come All Ye Faithful
  • clipboards :)
  • December

Thursday, December 03, 2009

December 3

December 3
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

Cold weather comfort food on a night where Travis came home late and I was uber-tired.

Multi-book Giveaway: Treasured / God Gave Us You / God Gave Us Christmas

I was recently provided these three books for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group and they were generous enough to provide me with an extra copy of each to give away! Take a look at the books below and leave a comment if you are interested in winning a copy. (I'll be giving them away as a group so if you win, you win all three). Please make sure that I have an email address for you if you enter to win. I'll close comments and draw a winner on Wednesday, December 9.

Cigar boxes. Refrigerator doors. Scrapbooks and sock drawers and top shelves. These are the places we store our treasures–the keepsakes that tell the story of whom and what we’ve loved, how we’ve lived, and what matters most to us. God is a collector, too, whose treasures are tucked securely into the pages of his book: a golden bell here, an olive leaf there, a scarlet thread, a blood-stained cloth, a few grains of barley. Each of these saved artifacts reveals a facet of his heart and tells the story of a Father whose most precious possession is…us.
Treasured, Leigh McLeroy considers tangible reminders of God’s active presence and guides us in discovering evidence in our own lives of his attentive love.

God Gave Us Love
: As Little Cub and Grampa Bear’s fishing adventure is interrupted by mischievous otters, the young polar bear begins to question why we must love others… even the seemingly unlovable. In answering her questions, Grampa Bear gives tender explanations that teach Little Cub about the different kinds of love that is shared between families, friends, and mamas and papas. Grampa explains that all these kinds of love come from God and that it is important to love others because… “Any time we show love, Little Cub, we’re sharing a bit of his love.” This sweet tale will warm the hearts of young children as they learn about all the different sorts of love, while the gentle explanations of each provide a valuable opportunity to encourage children to share with others a “God-sized love.”

God Gave Us Christmas:
As Little Cub and her family prepare to celebrate the most special day of the year, the curious young polar bear begins to wonder… “Who invented Christmas?” Mama’s answer only leads to more questions like “Is God more important than Santa?” So she and Little Cub head off on a polar expedition to find God and to see how he gave them Christmas. Along the way, they find signs that God is at work all around them. Through Mama’s gentle guidance, Little Cub learns about the very first Christmas and discovers that… Jesus is the best present of all. This enchanting tale provides the perfect opportunity to help young children celebrate the true meaning of Christmas and to discover how very much God loves them.

My thoughts on these books: Treasured is a very interesting book. It takes things (objects) that we see throughout Scripture (for example, an olive branch) and uses that to explain why God treasures it and what we are to learn from it. A little different perspective on some of the symbols of our faith that we see throughout the Scriptures.

The two books by Lisa Bergren, God Gave Us Love and God Gave Us Christmas are in the same vein as her God Gave Us You and God Gave Us Two books. (My girls ADORE her God Gave Us You book.) I'll admit that I didn't find these two books quite as enchanting as her others that we have already read, they are very sweet. My girls love the sweet polar bear cub and the way the Mama Bear (and the Grandpa Bear) explain things is well-done.

Remember to leave a comment if you are interested in winning a copy of all three of these books. :)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

December 2

December 2
Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd

This year, I'm trying to fit in some more crafty moments with the girls, especially for Noelle. The girl LOVES anything that has to do with art. This morning I took a deep breath and brought out *gasp* glitter glue and we spent time making simple snowflake ornaments. (Simple as in a kit from Walmart). In my book, that was $5 and an hour and a half that was well spent with my oldest girl. And the glitter ... well, it wasn't so bad after all.

The journaling is on a card that will be behind the page.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

December 1

December 1

How appropriate - that this, our first frost of the year, is also December 1 and the first entry of this year's December journal. A frost slows things down ... things become more still under a blanket of crisp white frost. That's how I choose to look at December this year - yes, there will be events and parties and things to do - but in spite of and in the midst of all of it, I choose to pause and wait this Advent season and make sure what is really important stays in focus.

Originally uploaded by stephaniedshepherd