Monday, January 30, 2017

Christmas on the Homestead - Dec 2016

Last family picture of 2016 - Christmas Day
A few days before Christmas, my other set of parents, Dad and Diana, bombed up for the morning to exchange gifts and took us to lunch. Nana happily received some Rina snuggles.  

We gave them a blog book with all of our Heppner and Nehalem Bay family campouts that I've blogged about. They loved it! Such good memories. 

Nana made Hailey and Rina matching camo aprons. They are adorable! They wear them all the time. I want one!

Nana also brought Rina a beautiful cross-stitched dress from her summer vacation in Italy. So special! They also gave her the dress that is under the apron. She loves it all.  My niece, Jess, and nephew Andrew came up with them, so that was a special treat.
We had a very pleasant Christmas Eve. The kids got to open their presents from Michael's folks. Craft pillow and warm socks - Hailey was in heaven! Josiah got a camping utensil tool and alpaca socks, too. 

Rina received a sweet new outfit from them.
Michael helped Rina open her stocking first thing in the morning as soon as the big kids got up. 

Since Christmas was on a Sunday, we opened our stockings in the morning and then made the kids wait until after church to open gifts. Mom and Larry joined us.

Snapped this cute picture of Rina in her Christmas dress. This was the first time she let us put a hairband in. She loved her dress.

 Hailey in her Christmas dress. 
 Josiah - looking every bit the teenager. 
Sibling picture. Hard to get them all in one place! 

Grandma Kricket knew just what color of scarf Hailey would like!
It didn't take long for Rina to figure out how to unwrap presents. She was very meticulous and made sure it was ALL off the present and into the garbage before playing with the gift.
Michael can now reload Josiah's bullets for his hunting rifle! 

This was Rina's big gift from us. She uses it all the time. It is a working cleaning set. Now I can clean and she isn't trying to grab my broom or mop, she has her own. Love practical gifts like that!
I got a waffle maker that I use all the time and gift certificate from Michael to get my hair done. I'm so excited!
Josiah's big gift from us was this Ninja snorkeling mask. He was thrilled and tried it out in the bathtub to make sure it works. He can't wait for this summer to start river/creek walking again, using this thing. 

We got a screaming good deal on this drone for Hailey. She wanted one desperately, ever since Josiah had bought his with his own money. She was very surprised to get it. 

We gave Mom and Larry a blogbook, too, filled with all our adventures of dirt-biking and four wheeling in the Alvord Desert since I started blogging. They loved it. So glad we were able to find a gift that was meaningful for the parents this year. 
Opening gifts is exhausting for a 19 month old!

As usual, God blessed us more that we could ever hope for during this season. But honestly when it is all said and done, the only gift that matters is the gift of Jesus. What a privilege to be able to share in celebration that most extraordinary gift with our family!

God Bless,

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Homestead Happenings - Dec 2016

As usual, December was jammed packed with all kinds of activities. We started the month off with a week of selling Christmas trees for Josiah's Boy Scout Troop 700. The boys were very committed and sold every single tree! This is their one big fundraiser they do all year to help pay for troop charter fees and also gain "Scout Bucks" to help offset the cost of summer camp. Michael has officially become an Assistant Boy Scout Leader. It's a big commitment, but Michael likes that it gives he and Josiah something they can do together. 

Josiah has been busy making knives out of broken saw blades and then sewing sheaths for them out of sheep hides that he and his dad naturally tanned a few years ago. He is also learning to weld and cast aluminum. 
Michal repurposed our old metal railings from the back porch we tore off the house and is making them into trellises where we can plant more grapes in the spring. Rina loves to eat grapes right off the vine. 

Hailey and I joined Grandma Kricket and Larry Pop to watch our local Nutcracker production. 

Our friend, Alli, did a great job dancing her parts!

Nothing makes Hailey's day more than a snuggle and a hug from Rina!
I let the kids decorate the tree this year for the first time. They did a great job! As the month went on, the ornaments on the bottom moved to the top, but we knew that was going to happen. Good thing we used plastic ornaments as Rina couldn't stop touching them. 

Our first snow turned into a month of snow. Rina isn't a fan, but she will play in it for a few minutes. 

When she gets in the sled, she automatically lays down. It is so funny! The kids pulled her around while doing the chores. The sheep thought she looked pretty funny, too. 

First round of snowmen. You can't tell, but these were taller than the kids. 
We got more snow a few days later and Josiah had some friends over for a snowball fight, complete with snow berms to hide behind. It was really cold that day, I was surprised they lasted as long as they did. 

 I took some time to be "Fun Mom" and froze my face off while hauling the kids around the pasture on a sled. They had a great time! The sheep love to chase them which makes it all that much more fun of course.
Rina likes to dip her cheese sticks in cake batter. Apparently it is delicious, who knew?

Had some friends from church over for dinner one night. This big guy was born three days before Rina. They are adorable together and get a long great. Even share binkies now and then - blech. 

My sister came up for a few days right after Christmas. Lily loved reading to Rina. 

The cousins all got to skate together several times during their visit at our local outdoor rink. Thank you Grandma Kricket for taking them!  

Oops! Clash of the redheads! 

A busy, but enjoyable month seeing family and friends we don't get to see super often. Thankful the weather cooperated for traveling because as soon as January hit, traveling became extremely dangerous around here. It's the worst winter in 10 years so far!

Good-by 2016, hello 2017!

See you in the New Year. God Bless, Jackie

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Homestead Happenings - Nov 2016

Off to a Boy Scout flag raising ceremony at a local assisted living center on Veterans Day. God bless the amazing veterans of this country!
Visiting the elderly with our Boy Scout family. We loved hearing the stories of how these people and/or their family members served their country. They even fed the Boy Scouts and their families after the flag ceremony. Was very nice! They loved seeing the boys in uniform and of course Rina and Hailey charmed them, too

How does a homeschool Mom get a foot rub from her children? Get them hooked on a good book and tell them you'll read the next chapter IF they rub your feet. It worked for me!
The Boy Scouts helped pack Operation Christmas Child boxes this year.
Our little cookie-making helper.
Hailey made the perfect Anne Shirley when she went to the Anne of Green Gables tea party at the local library with friends. Fun times! Josiah wanted to dye her hair green but she wasn't going for it.
One of Josiah's friends and a couple of the cousins came over for a visit. They all had a great time working on Josiah's fort and even made a really safe fire pit in the side of the bank. Good "clean" fun! Seriously worth the dirt coming inside the house to see the kids playing, creating and being productive outside. 

I kept thinking of that Paul Overstreet song, "They Were Sowin' Love", as I watched Michael teach Rina how to toss the grass seed in our pasture. Such precious moments indeed!
Thanksgiving was a simple this year. We ate turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, rolls, salad, pumpkin roll and sweet potato souffle made with sucanat instead of brown sugar. Delicious!  We even ate off paper plates. I'm in survival mode right now. Michael's folks joined us for the holiday. It was great to have them visit.
Our friends, Jeni and George and their kids, Gracia and Naomi also joined us for the feast and brought a wonderful cauliflower dish and the homemade cranberry sauce. They are foodies, too, so we always get excited about trying new recipes on each other.
Kids played monopoly while we played Mexican Train dominoes. Gotta play games on holidays. It's tradition!
So proud of my nephews, Josh and Marcus, and all their hard work with helping the Dufur Rangers get to the A1 state championship. They won!!!! Probably one of the most intense football games I've ever watched. Won it by a last minute touchdown and conversion that put them 4 points ahead. A huge round of applause to Crane who played extremely well and made Dufur work for it! Excellent game.
Snapped this picture of Rina riding the horse in the nursery. She is getting better about going into the nursery. We usually keep her in during the worship time and then if she gets restless during the sermon, we take her into the nursery. It's getting easier!
Hailey taught Rina how to pray. Here is a cute little video of it:

We started bringing out the Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving. It's been awhile since I've had a kid old enough to ride the reindeer. She promptly got bucked off right after I snapped this picture. Little ones bring such joy and help us to switch things up as we were unable to put half our Christmas decorations out because we just don't have very many high places to put things. Made it much easier to clean up though!


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