December 31, 2009

Most Played Tunes/Albums 2009

I love, love LOVE my ipod! This has to be the best thing created in the past decade. : )

I looked back to see what were my most played tunes and albums in the past year and here are the results. If you know me, many of these are not surprising.

Top 3 Songs:

#1 Desert Song (Brooke Fraser)
No surprise here. This song became my anthem, for the second half of 2008 and into the new year.

#2 God of our Yesterdays (Matt Redman)
Another not so new song but that encouraged me through difficult days.

#3 By Our Love (Christy Nockels)
I had the opportunity to introduce this song to our church a few months ago and since, it has become a calling to our congregation and our family to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those around us.

Top 10 Albums

#1 "Relentless" by Natalie Grant
One of my vocal heroes. She is so talented and her lyrics really touch my heart. This album is perfect in my opinion.

#2 "Across the Earth" by Hillsong United
Can't get tired of this one. "You Hold me Now", "Soon", "Desert Song". This album get me singing, dancing, praising no matter where I am.

#3 "Life Ligth Up" by Christy Nockels
Another vocal hero. I still prefer some of her Watermark albums over this one but still...who can resist playing Nockels over and over again, right?

#4 "Hope Rising" by Fee
LOVE this album!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#5 "Kari Jobe" by Kari Jobe
Sweet and anointed voice.

Didn't make it to the top 5 but worthy to mention...

*Matt Redman's new album is GREAT! Favorite tracks: "This is is How We Know", "Comunion Song" and "You Alone Can Rescue".

*Leeland/Heath "Follow You" it's a wonderful song. It's a call to give, since we have been given so much.

*Heather Headley's "I Wish". Makes me cry everytime as I think of the prayers I pray for my children's future.

* I don't listen to a lot of mainstream music anymore but Leona Lewis "Happy" it's my favorite pop song. I love her voice too!

December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Hope everyone is having a blessed Christmas time.

Christmas time is always hard for me because I'm far from my family and this year we are also far from Brad's family as well. At the same time, one nice thing about being far from family is that our Christmas was very stress free, quiet, relaxing and we truly enjoyed our time together with the kids.

On Christmas Eve we went to our church's candlelight service. The boys love this more and more every year. Afterwards, we made a tent (bedsheets) in our living and let the boys sleep there for the night after opening our stockings by the fireplace.

On Christmas we spent the day at home, enjoying family time. We read the account of Christ's birth from the gospel of Luke, sang some carols together. Opened our last advent calendar bag and prayed together thanking God for the gift of Jesus.

We went out to the local asian neighborhood in Houston (along Bellaire) to get some yummy Vietnamese subs for lunch. In the evening, we had our Christmas feats at home with ham, lobstair tails, cornbread, rice, salad and sweep potatoe pie. Oh, and a birthday cake for Jesus too.

Today we spent the day resting and did some after Christmas shopping at Old Navy and Ikea. Great deals!!!

I love that Brad is able to be home with us. Being in the health care field not always allows him to be off work during holidays but I'm glad he was able to be here this weekend and will be as well next week for new year's.

December 23, 2009

New family videos

I finally had a chance to upload some new videos so I moved the video bar to the top. Just click on the images and a larger screen will pop up right here. It won't take you into Youtube.

#1 Boys singing Mighty to save

#2 Sarah's first steps

#3 Boys reciting Psalm 100

#4 Sarah smiling at her Lily doll

Note to my blogger friends: as you may or may not know both Brad's family and mine and many of our friends are far from us at the moment and so I like to post videos here mostly for them to watch. You are welcomed to enjoy them as well. : )

December 21, 2009

Gingerbread Fun

Today is Gingerbread Fun Day in our house. We started the day by reading "Gingerbread Baby" by Jan Brett.
Here's a picture of the fantastic house the boys made!! I'm so proud of them. They worked so hard and delegated without mom having to lead, who will decorate each section. Didn't they do a great job??

We purchased this kit from Costco and it's the best one so far. It came with 9 different types of candy, 2 different colored icing, icing dispenser with extra decorating tips, house parts, tree and gingerbread boys.

Here's Noah's baby...

And Caleb's...

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The gingerbread babies were gone after I took the pictures. And after a fun morning working on these, the boys enjoyed a beautiful sunny time in our yard to burn all the sugar, of course!!
For lots of more fun Gingerbread Baby activities, visit Homeschool Share's.
Back tomorrow with new videos, including a special Christmas greeting. : )
Another super fun book to read is "The Gingerbread Cowboy".

Christmas Week!

Yey! Christmas week is here!

I've had so much fun watching the boys get more and more into the Christmas festivities this year. This week we are taking a break from school work and just building some Christmas traditions.

Today will be making our Gingerbread House and reading one of our favorite stories Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby! Lots of gingerbread fun planned for the day. I'll make sure to post some pics.

After today I'll be taking a blogging break, but will return next week to share what the Lord has been teaching us about parenting.

December 18, 2009

Still more updates: Caleb

This fall, Caleb also had a chance to be part of WAM on Wednesday nights at church. Here are some pictures from their concert. His group performed a poem and rhythm that all kids wrote together. The entire program was focused on the attributes of God. At the end, all the children sang a worship song, written by some of the students as well.
Some here will understand how exciting for me is to see my little boy up on stage singing his heart out for Jesus! I'm a proud mama!
This soccer season just finished due to many weather cancellations. Caleb is improving in his skill and growing to be a great team player. He still LOVES to play soccer he is a great blessing to his team and to his coach.

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He also attends a missions program called "Boys of Iron" at our church and he looks forward to it every week. The boys have done many great service projects this year and learn and pray for many missionaries all over the world.
He is also attending science lab classes at the Houston Museum of Natural History. This has been a wonderful addition to our schooling year. Science is his favorite subject and he has been able to get some extra laboratory time this way. Some of the topics they've covered are electricity, storms, animal defense mechanisms, shape science, chemistry and more.
We have been encouraged to see little fruits growing in his spiritual life as well. I continue to be blessed to experience daily his creativity and reasoning skills. Can't wait to to see how the Lord will use those gifts in his future. ,

December 17, 2009

More updates: Noah's Turn

Noah: our sweet, tenderhearted, funny, expressive, athletic, happy, emotional, excentric middle child. He is growing so fast! This fall he had a chance to be part of my WAM class at church, where he became my helper almost every week. He loved being in mom's music class and singing praises to Jesus. There he is on the picture above at our Parent Night.
He continues to be a faithful companion to his big brother Caleb and a very caring big brother to Sarah. He is always looking for hugs and giving hugs. Looking for ways to help around the house and to show his love with his actions.

He is such a joy to teach as well. Already reading 3-4 letter words, doing K math and so far great handwriting (it does look like he will be a lefty like his mami). I must say I didn't push any of this. But he continues to ask for more so I will officially start him on Kindergarten in January.

Noah has a lot of energy to burn so we try to keep him active and encourage him to jump in the trampoline A LOT! He enjoys singing and dancing as well, being silly and making everyone laugh.
Recently, we were talking about what jobs people do and he told me he wants to be a business man and maybe become a cook and have his own bakery. Since then, he's told me to teach him how to cook! I thought that was very sweet of him and just shows so much about his determination. Looks like the strong will side of him is already showing it's benefits!
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Family Updates: Sarah

11 months!!

Hello, everyone, it's time for my monthly update. As you can see, I'm not a little baby anymore. I'm on my way to toddlerhood! And here's a picture of me with my new favorite toy. I'm busy these days walking around the house and have already adventure to do up to 6 steps on my own. Very soon I won't need this walker.

I've got a few new words under my belt and I'm really enjoying dancing to any music and trying to reach anything my brothers are playing with.

I love food...real food. No more strained or mashed foods for me. Now I can eat all kinds of table food very well. My favorites are bananas, rices and beans. As you know I've got that double tropical island heritage going on so I'm sure I make both side of grandparents very proud with eating choices.
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December 16, 2009

Testing for Starch

As part of our Cranberry Thanksgiving study, we did a hands-on activity to test for starch on food. We gathered different items (fruits, veggies, sugar, flour, water, oil, cornstarch) and pour a drop of iodine on them.
The iodine serves as an indicator by turning black if there's starch present. This was a simple activity but the boys enjoyed it very much.
Note: noticed the boys still wearing their jammies...gotta love that about school at home. :-)

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December 14, 2009

Family Update...Rejoicing in His Wonderful Works In Us

Last Sunday, we finally got a chance to take some pictures together at church. I'm posting some of my favorites here, especially for our family in Chicago and Puerto Rico who are always asking for more recent pictures. I'll try to post more often...I promise! : )

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We truly have so much to rejoice for in our home. This fall season was very busy, between family, church, work and boys activities. I don't blog enough about what's going on with the rest of our family life (other than school and the kids stuff) so I wanted to take a chance this week to share some additional blessings.
Starting in late October, we had colds going on in our home for six straight weeks. Some weeks one kid, some all three, some all of us! I rejoice that we survived those weeks, and thankful that they were just colds.
We did have one incident with Sarah where she began to experience wheezing and had to receive her first rounds of albuterol. It was scary for me, but in comparison with some of the people around us, our sickness was mild.
Brad's job continues to go very well. I'm so thankful that he's had very steady hours. I rejoice at seeing how the Lord is using him there to care for the elderly and speak to others about Christ.
As for me, I continue to sing at church with the worship ministry, now on a more regular basis. Often it is a sacrifice but I'm so thankful Brad supports me and encourages me to continue to use my gifts for the Lord and the church body. It is such a privilege to be infront of the congregation to lead in sung worship. I rejoice in that God chooses to use me inspite of all my imperfections.
I also started leading our church's four year old kids choir class as part of the children's Worhip Arts Ministry (WAM). We've had average of 28-30 kids per week attending our class on Wednesday nights. This semester we focused on teaching the kids songs about the attributes of God. This has taken a lot of preparation time for me but I rejoice at this wonderful opportunity. I've had some great, loving leaders to help me and the kids are adorable. So full of energy but so sweet at the same time!!
Last October was also my 30th birthday! It was a big deal for me. I really enjoy being "the young one" in my family and circle of friends. I rejoice to look back and see how the hand of God it's been at work in my life in so many ways. I'm thankful to see that I'm not who I used to be. That God is changing me and molding me to become more like Him. I rejoice, because I know that He has given me so much strenght in this journey of motherhood. And day by day drawing my closer to Himself. I rejoice because even when I keep falling, He is always there to pick me up again, extending His compassion and mercy.
Brad made sure my birthday was a special one and provided me with an entire day of pampering and relaxation (that I sooo needed!). He also had planned for my good friend Laura Laramie and her husband Nick to come from Chicago to visit us! We had such a wonderful time together!!!
Many more reasons to rejoice coming up later this week.

December 09, 2009

Child-Like/ Stress-Free Christmas Decorations

I love decorating for Christmas but I've decided that for now I really want all our decorations to be "child friendly". Here's some of this year...

Our Christmas tree full of ornaments made by the boys. Look closely and you'll see even the "angel" on top is Noah. A bit of sarcasm there if you know my precious middle child. :) I let the boys put up all the ornaments this year and resisted the temptation to re-arrange them.
This is our advent table. The wagon on the right was made by Caleb as part of Home Depot's Kid's Workshop. I filled it with numbered little gift packets, that the kids are opening one per day till Christmas. We read a verse each day that goes along with each little surprise inside.
In our school room we have a small Christmas tree full of all the ornaments we received from the FIAR Ornament Exchange the past two years. Caleb added cotton balls for snow.
By the little tree I added a very cute plastic nativity set I found at a thrift store a few years ago. The set is missing two wise men but it's proven to be a hit with the boys, especially Sarah, who loves to stand by the table and "kiss" the baby Jesus. : )
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Noah's 1st Mat Man

Today Noah made his very first Mat Man all by himself. This activity is part of Handwriting Without Tears, (Get Set For School preschool curriculum. We LOVE this program!! Noah is already writing the capital letters and numbers very well and without any reverses or letter confusion. We are using the slate chalkboard, woodpieces and the workbook.

Note: frugal schooling here...I made Mat Man's hands by tracing Noah's hands on blue contruction paper. Didn't see a need to purchase the ones offered by the company (I'm sure they are more durable than mine). I told Noah Mat Man was going to wear his hands. We thought this was great! I used modeling clay for the eyes, nose and belly button. Wood pieces and blue letter mat are from HWT.
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December 07, 2009

School in the Snow

Since we only get snow here in Houston once in a few years, the teacher in me had to do at least a little bit of school in the snow, right?

First, I gave each boy a piece of black construction paper and a magnifying glass. They were to "catch" snowflakes with the paper and observe with the magnifying glass. This was so simple but they had a lot fun looking at the different shapes and sizes of the flakes.
Later on, we used old "swiffer" containers, fill them up with water and put some food coloring drops in them. We left them outside overnight (we had freezing temperatures that night) if they would turn into ice blocks.
Well, I forgot to check early the next morning! When we went to the yard the blocks were already melting but we were able to save some. The boys still enjoyed playing with the ice. : )
Before the snow melted we put colored water into spray bottles in primary colors (red, blue, yellow) and used them to spray it on top of the snow and make new colors!! We had a very colorful yard for a few hours.
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Cranberry Thanksgiving

Some pictures of our art lesson for Cranberry Thanksgiving. The boys were to draw pictures of day and night using the book as inspiration.

We ended our week by making Grandma's Famous Cranberry Bread (using the recipe on the back of the book). It turned out so yummy!! This will become a yearly tradition in our home. I think we will bake this bread every year around thanksgiving.
We also added cranberry-apple juice and homemade cranberry sauce to our Thanksgiving feast.
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Thanksgiving Fun

So late posting these but Caleb worked so hard on this lapbook that I had to post some pictures. We used Live n Learn Press FREE Thanksgiving Lapbook templates. This was great for review. It involved a lot of writing so I helped a little with that and just had Caleb dictate the answers to me.

The boys made these "touchy feely" turkey pictures. Aren't they cute? Noah wanted his turkey to have all kinds of fun things on it (stickers, yarn, tissue, lace, glitter, foam, felt and buttons).
Caleb's coloring of the Mayflower. He's been working hard on staying inside the lines (this has been a challenge for him) so I was very proud of his work on this page.
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December 04, 2009

Houston Snow!!!

Today the Lord gave us a wonderful blessing of seeing some snow in Houston. It accumulated to about an inch in our yard. And it stayed most of the day there. Right now is evening time and it's starting to melt.
The boys had a blast, especially Caleb who is been asking if we were going back to Chicago this winter to see snow.
The teacher in me could not avoid planning some learning activities with the snow so I will post those pictures tomorrow.

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