Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Letter 2009

Greetings Family & Friends!

This past year has been a year of growth, of trials and blessings, of some things changing and other things remaining the same. But we have the assurance that our God is faithful and everything He does is good.

This last Spring, James was hired back on with the same company he had worked at up until last December, when he was laid off. We are so thankful to the Lord for His provision! He has been keeping busy managing the Outdoor Advertising division. We do ask you to continue to keep us in your prayers as the economy and housing market have been slow to turn around. Charlotte has been busy with homeschooling, homemaking and taking care of the children. She enjoys knitting, crocheting and trying out new dishes on the family.

This year we joined a small homeschooling co-op with 3 other families from our church. This has been such a blessing for our family! We also joined 4-H and have begun raising rabbits. The children have had some great opportunities for public speaking and community service. We hope to breed the rabbits to show at the county fair as meat pen rabbits. We are loving our church family, learning more about our Savior and growing in grace everyday.

Mr. Lego (12y., 13 in February) is taller then his Momma! He loves playing and inventing new Lego contraptions, reading and drawing. Bookworm is now 10 and really loves to knit and crochet. She loves making blankets and scarves. Dasher just turned 9 and loves playing with her little cars. She loves copywork and math in school. Nutsy is almost 4 1/2y. (!) and loves to follow her older siblings around trying to do all that they do. She has started preschool type schoolwork and loves to play with her dollhouse. Our parakeet Sunny, is always entertaining us and Flo and The Man Rabbit (who still doesn't have a name!) will be having baby rabbits (Lord willing!) in March.

We are so thankful for the promises that God gives us in the scriptures, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." (Jer 29:11) May we all continue to trust in the Lord this coming year and remember His perfect promises!

The Joyful Hearts Family

Monday, December 21, 2009

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am so grateful for our precious church family and the encouragement they are to me.
What I'm reading:
Cookie recipes.
What I'm listening to: Rich Mullins CD - Songs.
What we're learning:
Formal learning is taking a break this week, but we heard a great sermon yesterday on the comforts of the gospel and the tender mercies of God.
What I'm watching: My Sweetie and I watched our annual viewing of Planes, Trains and Automobiles over the weekend.
What's cooking:
Tomato-Basil Pasta Soup.
What I'm buying: I need to run out for some fun holiday paper plates for our cookies and I also ran out of frosting!
What I'm wearing:
Jeans, dark blue sweater, tan socks.
What I'm thankful for: That we don't have to worry where our next meal is coming from.
What I'm creating:
Cookies - Chocolate Crinkles, S more's Bars and Sugar Cookies.
What I'm praying: That I will make good use of my time.
What I'm planning:
On going to the canned food distribution place again tomorrow morning with the kids, then off to caroling at the assisted-living home we visit in the afternoon.
What I'm looking forward to:
Christmas morning with just our family, friends coming that afternoon, then visiting extended family next weekend.
A picture to share:

~Christmas 2008 at Grandpa & Grandma's house.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dasher Turns 9

Today my sweet Dasher-girl turns 9. I can't believe it was 9 years ago that she was born, all 2 pounds, 12 ounces of her. During her pregnancy and then in the months after her birth, I saw God's hand in her life, sustaining and keeping her, for the many plans He has for her future.

Here are some sweet memories:

~4 weeks old and getting bigger every day.

~13 months old, and in one of her favorite places

~2.5 years old with her cutie-pattutie pony tails.

~5.5 years old and on a merry-go-round, one of her favorite rides.

~2 months ago at the Aquarium.

For her birthday we are going to have a fun lunch, do a craft and then have one of her favorites, Chili and Cornbread for dinner. I am so thankful for my precious little girl and the blessings God has brought our family through her sweetness!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I need to start looking for another dentist.
What I'm reading:
Sadly, not much right now.
What I'm listening to:
Our local Christian station playing Christmas music.
What we're learning: Last week of school before vacation. Homer and Ancient India in history, the older children have their state presentations this week in co-op.

What I'm watching: The kids bouncing one of those little rubber balls around the house.

What's cooking:
I have cookies on my mind...chocolate crackles, s'mores bars and sugar cookies will be created in the kitchen sometime this week.
What I'm buying: Christmas gifts....if you know me well, you know that shopping is one of my least favorite things to do. Yes, I know I am weird.

What I'm wearing:
White sweater, blue jeans and dark green socks.
What I'm thankful for:
That through these hard times my husband still has his job.
What I'm creating: Gifts...and I'm not telling!
What I'm praying:
That I will be continually reminded of God's faithfulness.
What I'm planning:
To buy our buck rabbit this Saturday!
What I'm looking forward to:
Our church dance practice this Thursday and a fun Christmas party on Friday.
A picture to share:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not-Too-Late Thanksgiving Photos

December is already a third of the way through, (!) and I just realized that I never posted any Thanksgiving photos. So here goes...

Getting ready to feast. Notice my son. He is all prepared with his napkin tucked under his chin.

Yum yum.

My 92 year-old grandpa. What a blessing to have him with us!

A rousing game of Spoons.

Shuffling, and me having fun with the shutter speed on my camera.

The whole gang.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I forgot about my laundry and now I am behind for the day.
What I'm reading:
Literature for school: The Hittite Warrior and The Bronze Bow.
What I'm listening to:
Silly, giggling girls.
What we're learning:
This week we are learning about the prophets Elijah, Elisha, Joel and Obadiah in history; Dasher has a state presentation in our co-op and the older children are working on their 4-H oral presentations.
What I'm watching: The giggly girls tormenting their brother. Secretly, I think he likes it.
What's cooking: Potato-Onion Creamy Soup for this cold day.
What I'm buying:
Our Christmas cards from Shutterfly.
What I'm wearing: Denim skirt, purple flannel shirt and my trusty slippers!
What I'm thankful for: That my Sovereign God is unchangeably good to me, in ALL things.
What I'm creating:
Not really anything this week...we are catching up with everything from being sick last week.
What I'm praying:
That I would make wise use of my time.
What I'm planning:
A birthday celebration for a special little girl next week.
What I'm looking forward to:
Our co-op this Wednesday and getting together with friends this weekend.
A picture to share:

~Taken this last weekend during our family photo shoot

*I really enjoy doing these Monday Musings and I know lots of you like reading them too. The idea is not originally mine; I have seen different variations on other blogs and have modified it to fit my style. So if it so intrigues you, I would love for you to join in too! You don't need to refer to myself or my blog and you can call it anything you want. And even if you don't have a blog, you can post it on Facebook or as an email. But all I ask is that you let me know so that I can enjoy what you write too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Rabbit Adventure Begins

So if you haven't figured it out yet, I'll fill you in: we are raising rabbits. This is part of 4-H which we started this year with the three older children. I am excited about the opportunities with 4-H...community service, oral presentations, leadership, and all the stuff they learn with their projects. We are in the rabbit project, where we learn all about rabbits and then plan on going to the County Fair with them. All rabbits can go to fair, from the cute mini-lops that will just show, to the more plain-Jane ones like the New Zealand's that we are raising for show and then also the meat market.

But before you buy rabbits you need cages. This was a lot harder to get than I thought it was going to be. All the pet/feed stores we visited had the kind of cages where they need bedding and then walk around in their you-know-what. (Yuck) Not only is it better for the rabbits to have all wire cages but it also smells better too, which was a huge plus for me. So what do you do when you can't find any wire cages? (Not even on Craigslist!) Make your own! And don't you think that when you make your own you save money? Yup, that's what we thought too...

This started in our garage with rolls of wire mesh and wire cutters.

Then we used J clips to connect it all together. (Which we had to buy a special J clip clipper-tool for) This took a full day and my poor Sweetie had some sore hands.

Then, since the cages can't sit directly on the ground, some type of frame is needed. We didn't have space to spread 4 cages across our yard so we decided to stack them. Off to Home Depot for some 2x2's and screws...

I think we ran out of metal brackets so there were at least 2 trips there and back. Notice Bookworm in the next picture, my cowgirl...

After measuring, screwing together, then taking apart certain pieces because they were really not 2x2's, we stood the whole contraption up.

So far so good. We still needed to figure something out for their business, (you know...) so back to Home Depot for someway to protect the poor bunnies on the bottom. We also kindly gave the top rooms a roof. Now that looks better.

We put it in the spot we planned to put it in and realized that a window eave was preventing it from going back all the way and now the thing was sticking out on our lawn. So my faithful working bunch proceeded to actually move our lawn line out 6 inches and replace the bender board. We also needed to wrap it in tarp to protect our house from bad aiming male rabbits. This added up to two more trips to Home Depot.

Finally, (and in case you were interested) rabbit p**p is supposed to be a really good fertilizer. So good, that when one lady at my church found out that we were raising rabbits, she called dibbs on my first two bags of the stuff! Since no one wants to crawl under our hutch and clean it out periodically, we thought it would be smart to actually collect the stuff in something, so back out to Home Depot we went. (Actually, I think we went to OSH for this one...the people at HD were getting to know us too well...) The collection system has only been working for a few days now...I'll let you know how it works.

It's amazing but we completed this whole project in 1 week. This last Saturday we went to a rabbit show and bought a doe, and she had to wait in a transport cage for a few hours while we finished up her 5 star accommodations. Here is Flo, soon (we pray!) to be Momma Flo, hanging out in her new abode.

And our adventure continues! We still need a buck (nothing is going to happen without him) and we would really like one more doe too. Then we have breeding, picking out babies for meat pen, showing at fair and selling the rest of the litter. Fun times ahead! Stayed tuned to find out what happens...