Amy Scott's Thoughts

Sharing the thoughts that bounce around in my brain!

January Celebrations! January 23, 2023

Filed under: Family Time,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 3:34 pm

January can be a bleak month for some after the joy of holiday celebrations in December. My January birthday makes the festive and fun vibes continue on even after the Christmas season has passed and we’ve welcomed a New Year. I’m all for making my birthday into a celebration that goes beyond the actual date of January 14th. Not only my birthday, but January itself affords many other moments of celebration. It’s the small, simple joys that add up. They add some confetti to the middle-of-winter atmosphere.

We finished our 18th week of school on Thursday. We are officially halfway through our school year!!! Since we don’t have teacher conferences to reward the kids for positive feedback, we developed a reward system of our own. At the end of the 1st & 3rd quarter, the boys can select a $10 reward. At the end of the 2nd & 4th quarter, they receive a $20 reward. It’s essentially our version of paying for good grades. Making the “grade” isn’t really the focus, though. It’s a reward system based on completion of work and the general attitude of the quarter. I’m thankful my kiddos enjoy being students. It makes being their teacher rewarding and I want to honor the effort they have made.

This weekend was a fun one! The perfect mix of productivity, rest, and socializing. Friday was my weekly “clean the house” day. I do a list of chores once a week to get the house to its base level of clean (bathrooms, floors, dusting). Housecleaning day depends on our plans (and if the house should be tidy for company). Cleaning never takes a full day so there was time to rest before a late night out at book club. The post-Christmas book club is special because we all have new books to share.

Saturday, we had my forever friend, Maggie, and her family over for the the day. The kids happily played with toys while the adults played Wingspan and watched the Chiefs play the Jaguars. Maggie and I share a birthday month with our birthdays only a couple weeks apart. This last weekend was in the middle of our two birthdays so we took a moment to celebrate 37 with brownies, candles, and a song.

Sunday morning was church and then a quiet afternoon/evening. It was also Lunar New Year which our kids latched on to celebrating a few years ago. It has turned into a low-key tradition for us. Our version of Lunar New Year consists of red envelopes with a small amount of money and then Chinese food for dinner. We certainly don’t go all out, but it’s fun to make the day a little extra.

One last highlight of the week was finding a new quilt for our bedroom. Our comforter set has been showing its age for a while, but I’m so picky when it comes to bedding. The stress of finding the right bedding almost paralyzes me. In my opinion, the bed is a huge focal point of our room and I want it to look put together. Too many throw pillows or throw blankets or added layers start to overwhelm me, though. After a long search, Jeremy and I settled on a navy quilt with a herringbone pattern to it. It works well with the sheet set and throw pillows we already have. Jeremy was the one who suggested we move from gray bedding to navy and it certainly makes the bed pop on the gray wall. I’ve enjoyed seeing our color palette of blues, grays, and creamy whites expand throughout the house.

That sums up the January celebrations for now. Small things, but definitely bright spots in the midst of the cold wintertime. The holidays might be over, but the time for celebrating is not!

Wrapping up his unit on the rainforest biome!
Couldn’t help but chuckle! Apparently the rainforest spread to our coffee table!
Graham was so excited for this Animal Crossing stuffy as a part of his quarter reward!
Thankful the bedding search is finished!
Surprise snow on Saturday! It didn’t accumulate but it was fun to watch!
Birthday buddies!
 

Happy Birthday to Me! January 15, 2023

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Family Time — Amy Scott @ 5:37 pm

Yesterday was my 37th birthday! Happy birthday to me! It was a good day filled with food and family. Since our family likes to celebrate birthdays over multiple days, birthday “weekend” kicked off on Friday. The boys presented me with flowers and cards when I woke up. We picked up Chipotle for lunch, Crumbl Cookies for dessert, and Papa Murphy’s pizza for dinner. Part of the birthday celebration was not having to cook this weekend! Yesterday, Jeremy and the boys grabbed my free Starbuck drink and a Safeway maple bar for breakfast. We had mac and cheese and chocolate cake for lunch with my parents and sister. Then dinner was tacos and cranberry bliss bars with my in-laws. Now we’re living off the leftovers as we relax over this long weekend!

Books are big part of my birthday celebration as well! I’ve reached an age where my gifts come in envelopes and I’m totally okay with that. I’ve had a blast online book shopping this weekend. I love, love, love growing my home library. I’m super excited to share more about my new books at the end of the month in my book post. I will share two book highlights now, because my joy really can’t be contained!

Book highlight number one, my pre-ordered, signed copy of Roseanna M. White’s new book, Yesterday’s Tides, arrived on Thursday. This was an unexpected treat since the book doesn’t officially release until the 24th. I was able to read it Friday into Saturday and I absolutely loved it! Finishing it on my birthday felt like a gift. I was enthralled with the duel timeline set in WWI and WWII. It was a mysterious puzzle to see how the first timeline affected the second. A very compelling read! I also love that White included cameos of characters from her previous historical fiction works in this novel. It was like bumping into good friends. I couldn’t ask for a better way to wrap up my birthday!

My second book highlight involves our new coffee table. In 2021, I read The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables: The Enchanting Island that Inspired L. M. Montgomery by Catherine Reid. I thought to myself that if we ever had a coffee table this book would go on it. Well, we got a coffee table, so I ordered the book! The beautiful Prince Edward Island landscapes that showcase the world of L.M. Montgomery practically make me heartsick. It’s a dream of mine to roam these spaces in-person someday. After studying L.M. Montgomery over the years, I’ve been deeply moved by her sense of place and belonging, especially in nature. Her friendship with the trees and flowers has colored my own view of home. On my walks around our house, I can’t help but admire our landscape, especially our trees, and feel a sense of companionship. Also, fun fact, I remove dust jackets from books and the foil art on this book is such a delight! The best kind of surprise reveal!

I’ve enjoyed styling our new coffee table. It’s been the project of the week. I pulled out the nice chess set the boys got for their birthday and set it up on the lower shelf. Beside the chess set, I have a beautifully illustrated nature poetry book (The Lost Words), a Where’s Waldo book (for fun), and my new PEI landscapes book. On top of the table, I found a tray to hold our remotes, coasters, and a fake plant to finish the look (I have no desire to keep real plants alive, not my skill set).

As you can tell, it’s been a lovely birthday weekend. I’m looking forward to the rest of this long weekend filled with comfy clothes, tasty leftovers, and plenty to read! I can’t wait for all my book mail to arrive so I can share the official birthday haul with you all soon!

When you don’t have stairs in your house.. you make them!
Such a beautiful book cover!
Making the coffee table feel like home. I might not excel at home d├ęcor, but I do enjoy it.
5 stars! A real birthday treat!
Sweet cards and flowers from my favorites!
Birthday vibes with Crumbl
Officially 37
 

Hello 2023 January 5, 2023

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 2:40 pm

Does the New Year sneak up on you? It always seems to sneak up on me! I get so focused on the holidays and multiple family birthdays in December. The whole month is one big celebration and then BAM! It’s January! A New Year! I try to reflect on the year I’ve had and set intentions for coming year, but my brain can’t seem to focus on these concepts until the very end of the year. I’m too busy partying in December for reflection. What are my thoughts on 2022? In some ways it was a slow year of rebuilding after pandemic conditions. We still had quite a bit of time around the house. We came back to in-person church and joined a homeschool co-op. Our family vacation to Sunriver, OR was also major highlight. Reading was top priority in 2022. I challenged myself to see how many books I could read in a year and I was shocked to find it was over 200 (thanks to that extra time at home).

Now that 2023 is here, I have some thoughts for the coming year. I try not to make super serious and intense New Year’s Resolutions. I find it beneficial to challenge myself, but my personally type does that all on it’s own without the need of a resolution (I’m an Enneagram Type 1). Since fun isn’t my normal M.O., I try to add yearly goals that bring me joy (thus, the reading goals in 2022 and baking goals in 2021).

What are some of my thoughts for 2023?

I’m working on a whole Bible in two years plans right now. It will wrap up in April and I hope to start a one-year chronological Bible afterward. I thought about doubling up and starting my new Bible while finishing my current plan, but that seemed like a lot. Starting my new Bible in April will mean that the dates are off (it starts on January 1st), but I think this will help me extend grace to myself when I miss a day. I’ll already be off from the actual date, so it’s not as big of a deal. I have a one year Bible that got in high school and have used multiple times, but I decided to get a new one. I wanted a fresh slate and I’m looking forward to the chronological format.

My reading goal for 2023 is 100 books. I’ve also decided to keep track of pages read for an additional challenge. To grow our home library, I plan on letting the boys each pick a new book once a month to purchase. We ordered the January books on Amazon and then also made our way to a popular used bookstore on January 1st. We are doing a good job of growing our home library so far in 2023! I’ll be intrigued to see what they pick each month. I’m hoping this will give me a consistent structure for purchasing kids books. This approach should keep my book shopping in check and spread it out evenly over the course of the year.

As silly as it sounds, I have hopes to watch more television in 2023. In 2022, television time meant a lower book count and I was all about seeing how many books I could read. While I do prefer books to television, I have a few favorite shows I hope to watch again. Jeremy and I started Once Upon a Time this week. This was our favorite show when it was on air and we have so many good memories surrounding this show! I also watched the Call the Midwife holiday episode last night. Television feels like such a novelty now!

Now that Christmas break is over, it’s back to school for our homeschool family. We are two weeks away from finishing our 2nd quarter. Time really has flown by! For the next two months, I’ll be co-teaching a drama class at our homeschool co-op. Each week, we plan to take a classic story to read, discuss, and recreate. We’ll incorporate drama techniques and terminology as we act out these well-known stories. Our first week went really well! Our story was The Gingerbread Man and the kids had a blast acting out the tale (lots of running and giggles). We wrapped up the class by munching on ginger cookies! Next week we’ll dive into Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

While it’s hard to believe the holiday season is behind us, I am excited for the all the possibilities that lie ahead in 2023. I’m not quite sure what to expect by I am hopeful and optimistic. Each day is an adventure, a blank page ready to be written. I hope 2023 is a good story waiting to be told!

Visiting Powell’s was a great way to kick off the New Year!
The January Books!
In a goal to add more furniture to our living room, we got a coffee table! The hope is to also add some bookshelves when they come back into stock at Ikea.
A new coffee table and four additional throw pillows in the loving room! I’m excited to “style” the coffee table soon. Of course, I’m planning for coffee table books!
Back to the school books! Don’t judge our school uniform – pajamas and comfy clothes! I promise we dress normal in public!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – December 2022 December 31, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 9:00 am

Bookish Thoughts for December

Brace yourselves! The book list is long this month! Most of Christmas break as been spent chilling around the house and that meant lots of free time to read. Also, I might have gone overboard on Christmas rom-coms this month. In fact, a good portion of my books this month as actually novellas. The average novella takes less than two hours to read. As you can imagine, I easily finished one Christmas love story a day… sometimes two… I use to obsessively watch Hallmark movies all Christmas season, but we no longer have the Hallmark Channel. I used Kindle Unlimited to fill the void with books that pretty much are Hallmark movies (but better, because they are books, right?!). Anyway, I’ve loved all the Christmas rom-coms… but they are the book equivalent of cotton candy. Very fluffy. It’s been a fun run, but I’m ready to add some diversity to my reading diet in 2023. However… I still have Kindle Unlimited for a few more months, so I expect some fluff will show up in my future book lists. I can’t help myself. In real life and in books, I’m drawn to the sweet stuff.

My home library grows quite a bit in December and January thanks to Christmas and my birthday being less than a month apart. Book shopping is my absolute favorite form on shopping! I added 7 new books to my bookshelves this month, plus 8 to my Kindle. I have 3 more books arriving in the mail this next week. Yay! My book shopping is on pause now until after my birthday. As an avid reader, I’m trying to assess which books from the this last year I want to give a permanent spot on my bookshelf and which new books I take a chance on. Buying new books means I don’t have to rely on the speed of the library, but… sometimes buying an un-read book means adding a dud to the collection. Lots to think about before the next book order!

I want to give some space in this blog to talk about my Kindle Paperwhite. I used my birthday money last year to purchase it. I was unsure how I would feel about using a Kindle instead of an actual book. Oh my goodness! I can’t say enough good things about Kindley (the name of Kindle). I’ve read so many books on Kindely this year. And thanks to Kindle Unlimited and the library, I’ve never lacked for something to read. My Kindle Paperwhite was definitely one of my best purchases in 2022. Also, the cover is navy blue which happens to be my favorite color, so everything about Kindley gives me happy vibes.

Since it’s December, let’s wrap up with reading goals. I doubled my reading goal in 2022 and then some. 2022 was a record breaking reading year. The grand total came in at 264 books which beat 2021 by 85 books (179 in 2021). My sister-in-law mentioned that this year she kept track of pages read instead of books. This concept intrigued me. I realize there are no-hard-and-fast-rules with book counting, but I always struggle with counting novellas… maybe they should count as .5 instead of a whole book, but that’s too complicated. I might join the page counting club in 2023. I haven’t officially decided so you’ll have to check with me at the end of January 2023!

Part of December’s book haul and more books are on their way!!!

Top Picks for December

Non-Fiction: Are My Kids on Track: The 12 Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach by Sissy Goff (MEd, LPC-MHSP), David Thomas (LMSW), and Melissa Trevathan (MRE). I’ve read multiple book now by David Thomas and I appreciate his wisdom and insight into how boys are wired. This book had similar material to what I’ve read in his previous works, but I liked how it was formatted. Also, this book would be a fabulous resource for a parent with both a daughter and a son. I even found myself highlighting sections written for girls because the information was so applicable. So often I get hung up on academic milestones that I forget the importance of social, emotional, and spiritual milestones. This book is an excellent reminder of what’s truly important in the hearts and minds of children.
Fiction: The Father Christmas Series by Robin Jones Gunn. I grew up reading Robin Jones Gunn and having her characters become formative friends in my reading life. Her Father Christmas series is a favorite to read around the holidays. The story takes place in the fictional town of Carlton Heath outside of London, England. The main character Miranda sets off to find answers about her father based off a picture of Father Christmas her mother kept hidden. The characters are lively and friends become family. The town’s annual production of A Christmas Carol also plays a prominent part in the story. Hallmark made a movie trilogy out of the books, but of course, the books are better, in my opinion.

Book List for December
1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • Are My Kids on Track: The 12 Emotional, Social, and Spiritual Milestones Your Child Needs to Reach by Sissy Goff (MEd, LPC-MHSP), David Thomas (LMSW), and Melissa Trevathan (MRE). – 4 stars
  • Women Rising: Learning to Listen, Reclaiming Our Voice by Meghan Tschanz – 4 stars

Fiction:

  • Kiss Me Now by Melanie Jacobson – 3 stars
  • Kiss the Girl by Melanie Jacobson – 3 stars
  • Kiss and Tell by Melanie Jacobson – 3 stars
  • Cotswolds Holiday by Kasey Stockton – 4 stars
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – 3 stars
  • The Impossible Princess by Keira Dominquez – 3 stars
  • A Sugar Creek Christmas by Jenny B. Jones – 4 stars
  • His Mistletoe Miracle by Jenny B. Jones – 4 stars
  • The Holiday Husband by Jenny B. Jones – 4 stars
  • The Most Real McCoy by Julie Christianson – 3 stars
  • My Own Best Enemy by Julie Christianson – 3 stars
  • Pretending I love Lucy by Julie Christianson – 3 stars
  • The Even Odder Couple by Julie Christianson – 3 stars

Fiction: Christmas Novellas

  • His Stand-In Holiday Girlfriend by Kasey Stockton – 3 stars
  • Snowed in on Main Street by Kasey Stockton – 3 stars
  • Melodies and Mistletoe by Kasey Stockton – 4 stars
  • Snowflake Wishes by Kasey Stockton – 4 stars
  • The Twelve Dates of Christmas by M.T. Knights – 3 stars
  • Re-Gifting Christmas by M.T. Knights – 3 stars
  • A Holly Jilly Christmas by Emma St. Clair – 3 stars
  • A Christmas Spark by Cindy Steel – 4 stars
  • Not So Alone for Christmas by Jenny Proctor – 4 stars
  • Christmas After All by Cece Louise – 4 stars
  • No Room In the Inn by Gracie Ruth Mitchell – 3 stars
  • Finding Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn – 4 stars
  • Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn – 4 stars
  • Kissing Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn – 4 stars
  • The Twelves Holidates by Emma St. Clair – 4 stars

 

Merry Christmas and Happy (Almost) New Year! December 30, 2022

Filed under: Family Time — Amy Scott @ 2:33 pm

Christmas 2022 is in the review mirror. There is always so much anticipation for Christmas and then it’s over in what seems like a blink! I love the whole Christmas season. We make the celebration unfold over the course of December (and maybe even some of November). Our December started off with a full calendar, but the second half of our month has been slower. We’ve been home with extra time to bake treats, read books, and play games. The week after Christmas is always a fun one as the kids jump from new toy to new toy. There is always something to do (or in my case, always something to read)!

Let’s chat about Christmas! This year we opted to do all our family gatherings in two days. In years past we’ve gathered over multiple weekends to accommodate schedules, but this year it worked to do our Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Christmas Eve, we gathered with my parents and sister to have brunch and open presents. After dinner, the boys opened their presents from Jeremy and I and their gifts to each other. We don’t always follow the “something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read” strategy, but this year we were close to it. Each kid got a LEGO set, a board game, pajamas, and a book. Board games don’t fall under the need category, but growing our game collection is always fun!

Christmas morning the boys opened their stockings from Santa. They had some time to pull out their new toys and play before we hit the road to visit GG (Great Grandma) and my extended family (who live about an hour away). We do a kids’ gift exchange where the kids draw a name and shop for each other. My boys drew the names of two of our younger cousins which means I got the joy of buying books for littles. Toddler/preschool books are some of my favorite. Even though I’m no longer an Usborne Books & More consultant, I still love book shopping with them. After a visit up north, we took off for a meal of appetizers and a gift exchange with Jeremy’s family. Once the gifts were opened, the kids settled in for cousin play time while the menfolk settled in for a game of Lord of the Rings Risk.

We have a tradition of shopping the day after Christmas. Jeremy and I have reached an age where most of our “gifts” come in envelopes (which I totally have no problem with). We enjoy hitting the stores after Christmas to see if we can score some good deals. Our stops this year included Costco, Target, Old Navy, Barnes & Noble, Macy’s, and Hallmark. The kids scored with their Christmas cash. Jeremy and I… not so much. I was so hopeful that Barnes & Noble would be a success for me, but sadly, the store was a zoo and I couldn’t find the books I had in mind. When we got home that evening I hopped on to Amazon and Thrift Books and came away with quite the book haul. I’m feeling much better now!

2022 is almost in the rearview mirror as well! I’m working on my thoughts for my book blog tomorrow. I’ve certainly reached my reading goal this year and then some… I have some thoughts on what I’d like to see happen in 2023, but nothing firmly decided. As I reflect on 2022, I’m thankful for the adventures we’ve had and the friends and family we’ve spent time with. 2022 started with pandemic restrictions and it’s been wonderful to move toward “normal” life again as the year unfolded. Coming back to in-person church and joining a homeschool co-op have been huge blessings in our weekly routine. 2022 has been a formative year as we imagine what life after the pandemic looks like. We’ve grown and changed so much over the last few years. It hasn’t always been comfortable, but the growth has been good. I’m very intrigued to see the direction of 2023. If anything, the pandemic has taught me cautious optimism. No matter what, God is good and we have so much to be thankful for. Happy (Almost) New Year!

Christmas Eve Tradition: Opening gifts in matching pajamas in front of a fake fireplace!
This table has been set up all week for LEGO building and extra play space!
Merry Christmas from the Scott family!
Last week it was an ice storm, this week it was a wind storm. We lost power for about 3 hours on Tuesday evening. The boys enjoyed our “fancy” dinner by candlelight. Thankfully, our generator powered the microwave so we could finish our dinner that was cooking when the power went out.
Board games by lantern light!
Beaker Creatures are a stocking stuffer favorite!
This week’s baking project: chocolate cake!
So many new board games to play this week!
 

Christmas Break December 23, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf,Cooking Experiments,Family Time,Getting Creative — Amy Scott @ 2:24 pm

We are a week into our Christmas break and it really has felt like a break. Our family has slowed down considerably. We’ve spent a majority of the week around the house resting. We’ve also had some festive and fun outings. We kicked off our break last Thursday by hitting the grocery stores and stocking up for our time at home. We also had the boys go Christmas shopping for each other. It’s neat to see what they pick and if they can keep a secret from each other. Every year they’ve managed to keep their gifts a surprise and I’m always impressed! I know how tricky it can be to keep a special gift a secret.

Jeremy and the boys have blessed me with some time out of the house to visit with friends. I got a Starbucks Red Cup of peppermint hot chocolate with a friend last Thursday and enjoyed a Christmas-themed book club on Friday night. On Monday night, my forever friend, Christa, and I got dinner together. I love getting together with friends this time of year. As a family, we drove through a local Christmas light display at a park and celebrated our nephew’s birthday with a bowling party.

Our time around the house has been filled with holiday movies and shows. We watched White Christmas over the weekend and Jeremy has had the Christmas episodes of The Great British Baking Show on. We’ve done lots of baking over the last week. Jeremy and the boys have made two loaves of French bread and I’ve made dozens of cookies. These days at home have been filled with reading, games, LEGO building, and tasty treats. The change of pace has been appreciated (especially, by me – the most introverted, homebody of the family). I’m truly happiest at home! It’s been nice to take a break from routine and just chill.

We are currently waiting for temperatures to rise after a storm covered our area in a layer of ice overnight. We were prepared for the power to go out, but thankfully, it didn’t (at least, not yet)! I’ve love time at home, but it would be less fun with no heat. The weather inspired me to get my Christmas baking done yesterday before the freezing rain moved in. It’s a blessing that we have nowhere pressing to go and we can wait out the wild weather. Even now, freezing rain falls outside my window and I can’t help but be disappointed that it’s not snowing! Freezing rain, while interesting, isn’t my favorite form of frozen precipitation. On that note, I wish you a warm and wonderful Christmas weekend! Merry Christmas (Eve Eve)!

This might be one of my favorite parts of Christmas! I love them thinking of each and excited to give a special gift.
All ready for book club! Gingerbread bundt cake, a wrapped book for a gift exchange, and a stack of books to talk about!
The Scott men are working to perfect their favorite French bread.
Snuggled up watching White Christmas. A Muppet’s Christmas Carol, White Christmas, and While You Were Sleeping are my all-time fav hoilday movies.
Enjoying a bowling birthday party!
Frist time making salt dough ornaments as a part of the church scavenger hunt.
First time making Egg Nog Fench Toast
Chocolate chip cookies with Christmas M&M’s
I love boxed mixes. I have no judgement for shortcut baking. These gingerbread cookies are so yummy!
Since I didn’t see any real snowflakes during this cold snap, I guess the sugar cookie version will have to do.
 

Gingerbread and Snowflakes December 14, 2022

Filed under: Family Time,Getting Creative,Homeschool Adventures,Travels — Amy Scott @ 7:05 pm

We are officially on Christmas break! Christmas traditions, festive foods, time with friends and family. Bring it on! Actually, as you can guess, we’ve been in full holiday season mode this whole month. It’s just nice to take school out of the mix for a bit. I love homeschooling my boys, but this teacher is ready for a rest! The kids might be a little excited, too. They worked extra hard this week so they could start their break today instead of tomorrow. We’re all ready for a change of pace.

Some of the festivities this week revolved around gingerbread. Every year we buy the gingerbread house kit from Costco. Owen informed me it’s actually a gingerbread mansion. (It’s important to get these details correct.) I love this kit because the house (aka mansion) comes pre-assembled. No struggles with structural integrity. Hallelujah! We always purchase the kit in November to make sure it doesn’t go out of stock and the kids beg to do it right away. Waiting for December is hard. This Friday was a home day and the perfect day to dive into our gingerbread kit. My favorite part is Jeremy’s icing snowman that literally melted within minutes of him making it. It feels very authentic and a unique touch. More fun with gingerbread this week included decorating gingerbread cookies with friends and a foam gingerbread house craft for school. I’m hoping to make some gingerbread myself in the next week or so. Graham is my cinnamon kid so he is just as excited as I am for this spicy, sweet treat!

Now for the snowflake bit of the week. On Saturday, we traveled up The Bellevue Collection to watch Snowflake Lane with friends. We love this parade filled with music, dancing, costumes, special lights, and (my favorite part) snow! Well, the snow is actually soap, but the effect makes me so happy that I don’t mind it’s not the real deal. We don’t make it up to Snowflake Lane every year, so it’s always a special celebration. This was our second time meeting friends for the event and that makes it even more festive. This time we met early enough to have dinner together and then grab treats from Starbucks before finding our spot on the road. Saturday was a rainy PNW day, but thankfully, it dried up in time for main event. A visit to Snowflake Lane is always a favorite Christmas experience. “Snow” much fun!

Another highlight of the week included Graham losing his second tooth. He swallowed his first lost tooth and now his second one went down the drain! What are the odds? The kid hasn’t been able to leave a tooth for Tooth Fairy yet. Thankfully, he handled the loss well. He doesn’t care too much about the tooth as long as a dollar is the end result. Turns out the Tooth Fairy is very understanding of mishaps like this. She’s a sweetie!

I love this time of year! Christmas cards are collecting on the fridge. Christmas music is often playing the background. The yummy treats and special gatherings make each week feel like a party. One day last week, I saw a post on social media with the message “hold on to your peace” in reference to this time of year. Then the very same statement was in the devotional I read with the boys at the start of school. When a message repeats itself in my day (this time within the hour), I know it’s not a coincidence, it’s the Holy Spirit. The holiday season can get anyone amped up and stressed out – myself included. I can get overwhelmed and let anxiety rule my thoughts unless I’m intentional to hold on to my peace. We’re coming off of a busy season and I can’t say peace has been my priority. Heading into this break, I hope to schedule a little less activity and let myself (and my family) rest. The holidays don’t have to be a mad dash through a Christmas calendar obstacle course. I’m hoping to keep peace in mind as we celebrate over the next few weeks. I hope you can do the same. Merry Almost Christmas!

An Introvert in her December habitat – hot chocolate, Christmas novel, fake fire with instrumental Christmas music, and white lights on the tree. Very peaceful!
Threw together a batch of Christmas cookies for the scavenger hunt. This is around two of Christmas cookies with hopefully one or two more baking sessions to come.
The 2022 Gingerbread House (Mansion)
The snowman is my favorite part!
We braved the mall in December for Snowflake Lane (and got a Mickey Mouse calendar).
Snowflake Lane 2022
I find fake snow so magical!
Santa Sighting
Red Cups and family adventures with my forever friend!
How my kids decorate cookies… Abstract art…???
Now for the foam version… the gingerbread theme was strong this week!
 

Star Stomp and Other Christmas Adventures! December 7, 2022

Filed under: Children's Ministry,Family Time,Homeschool Adventures — Amy Scott @ 7:19 pm

We are only one week into December… but if I recap the whole week for you, it will seem like we’ve lived an entire month in seven days! The big focus on the week was Star Stomp, our church Christmas musical. Friday evening was practice for the kids with solos and drama parts. Graham got to spend a special evening with Nana and Papa while the rest of us worked on the production. I did my final role as a “substitute star” on Friday night. I was able to practice my backstage role at Saturday’s dress rehearsal so I was ready for Sunday morning. We had some family members come on Saturday to watch the dress rehearsal and that made it extra special. Sunday’s performances were amazing! The kids did the best they’ve ever done! Owen did a fantastic job as Lil G and Graham was a super star in the choir!

Over the last week, we’ve seen snowflakes most day and even had some accumulation from time to time. Sunday morning was a slow drive into church since the roads were snowy and icy. Usually, I stay home if there is snow on the road (even a dusting), but the kids had to get to the musical… soI did it. I was nervous the whole way, but we made it! Sunday afternoon into the evening, the snow came back and started to stick. Again, we had another snowy drive down to the church. This time for a Christmas party and lucky for me, Jeremy was behind the wheel for this drive.

Tuesday was our second Christmas party of the month. This time with our co-op friends. I put together 30 gift bags filled with fidget toys and sweet treats for a Left/Right game. The kids had a blast passing the gifts right and left with the silly story I read about Santa losing his toy sack. Mr. & Mrs. Claus were surprise guests at our party. I wasn’t sure if we were going to make a Santa picture happen this year, so it was nice the opportunity came up with no effort from me. The boys requested LEGO Super Mario sets from Santa (which is no shock). We wrapped up the party with a Secret Santa gift exchange. Graham got a dragon egg that hatches and grows in water. My countertop in now Baby Dragon Command Center. Very fascinating stuff.

This week I’ve tackled my Christmas cards and got them to the mail. I also wrapped almost all of our Christmas presents. Our shopping is mostly complete except for a few small things. I’m feeling good about the Christmas to-do list. If parties, productions, and projects weren’t keeping us busy enough, our church is also hosting a scavenger hunt the entire month of December. In the midst of our commitments, our family is completing holiday challenges in the scavenger hunt app. We’re doing the best we can, but we’re currently in 10th place. We’ll need to up our game soon!

So here’s the stats – two musical practices, two musical performances, two Christmas parties, multiple days with snow, Christmas cards out, Christmas wrapping mostly done… this week has been a LOT! The good news is the rest of the month mellows out now. We have some Christmas plans and traditions to make happen, but it shouldn’t be such a mad dash. We are ready to rest up and enjoy a bit of Christmas vacation right around the corner!

Making mini-snowmen for the Scavenger Hunt. Yes, he is barefoot and crazy! Good thing we weren’t out for long.
So proud of all the hard work these two put into Star Stomp! Such a memorable choir experience!
This musical had so many fun elements like star glasses and gloves that react to black light. For one song the kids did motions with light tubes and for another song we had ribbon dancers.
Snapped a pic on the monitor of my hubby rapping while I worked backstage.
Ready for our co-op Christmas party! Santa hats, Christmas shirts, jingle bells – check!
Gotta wear my Christmas sweater as much as I can this month!
Such a fun surprise to have Santa and Mrs. Claus at our Christmas party!
Taught the boys how to make paper snowflakes today as a part of the scavenger hunt. Owen made two, Graham made six… I made…
I made a dozen paper snowflakes. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I forgot how much fun they are to make!
 

December Arrived with a Flurry December 1, 2022

December arrived with a flurry! A flurry of snow that is! As I write this post a light dusting of snow is melting in my yard. I’m a little sad there wasn’t more, but I’ll happily enjoy whatever snow we get. Ever since Monday, we’ve seen snowflakes falling throughout the day. I love looking out the window as the flurries fall. The end of November has also been a flurry – a flurry of activity!!!

Where to start? On Wednesday, the 22nd, we decorated the house for Christmas. Jeremy worked a half day and since our Thanksgiving weekend was full to the brim, this seemed like the best time to make the merriment happen. Decorating the house is almost a holiday in itself for our family. We sipped hot apple cider and listened to Christmas music while adding Christmas cheer all over. The boys select an ornament each year and it’s no surprise that they chose Luigi and Yoshi from Nintendo Super Mario. We added a Mario ornament to our big tree and I just ordered a Grinch ornament today because our family (specifically Graham) has an obsession with the Grinch this year.

We spent most of Thanksgiving Day with Jeremy’s family. We enjoyed good food, a bunco tournament (I won so many prizes for being the biggest loser), and yard games. We finished the day with an untraditional pizza dinner with my parents. The rest of the holiday weekend was filled with family, friends, and shopping. We hosted a sleepover with some of the cousins Friday into Saturday. We had friends over for dinner on Sunday. We hosted a play date on Monday. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had company over five days in a row. Wow! I got the baulk of the Christmas shopping done online with Black Friday sales and we visited a few stores Saturday afternoon. I’m feeling very good about where my Christmas shopping is at now. Even though November wasn’t over, I was starting to feel behind!

Sunday was Christmas musical practice and the start of Advent. The church calendar is running our lives at this moment! Owen had drama practice for the musical last night and he’ll have another practice tomorrow. Saturday is a dress rehearsal for the whole choir and then Sunday is showtime! I’m so excited to see Owen and Graham preform in their first Christmas musical. I’m so proud of the whole team – kids and leaders alike. It’s been a wild ride! It will be neat to see it all come together on Sunday.

I taught a Christmas cookie decorating class on Tuesday for our homeschool co-op. It went so well (considering I didn’t know what to expect). I provided all the decorating supplies and the students brought cookies to frost. I let the group know in advance what cookies I would be demonstrating so they could bring similar cookies to class. These kids focused intently on their decorating and their cookies turned out amazing. Our co-op could open a bakery! I loved listening to Christmas music play on my portable speaker while kids creatively decorated cookie after cookie. Our boys were worn out after the big weekend, so I kept them home from the cookie class. When I got home, we pulled out all the supplies and did mini-version of the class with our family.

That sums up the flurry of activity we’ve had this last week. We are headed into another big weekend with the Christmas musical right around the corner. I love how fun and festive the activities are this time of year. After a busy season for our family, I’m also looking forward to slowing down and savoring the season over the next few weeks! Happy first day of December!

Making the house merry and bright!
The Christmas season is officially here!
Graham is a whole Christmas vibe!
The Start of Advent
Prepping for my cookie class on Monday night. I had plenty of frosting left over, but better safe than sorry!
Snapshots from Tuesday’s cookie adventures!
Studying the layers of the Earth this week.
Not a bad way to start December! Let it snow!
 

What I’ve Been Reading – November 2022 November 30, 2022

Filed under: Amy's Bookshelf — Amy Scott @ 2:59 pm

Bookish Thoughts for November

Here we are on the last day of November! It’s book post day! You’ll notice a theme to my November reading. I’ve been using my Kindle Unlimited subscription almost exclusively. I was going to unsubscribe at the end this month, but I decided to keep KU for one more month. I’ve discovered Christmas Rom-Coms and there is no stopping me now! It’s been a month of reading books that are the equivalent of Hallmark Christmas movies! I love it! November has been very merry and bright for my reading life!

At the end of October, I discovered books by Courtney Walsh. Her Christmas novels sucked me in and I moved on to her other books. I did a binge of some of her works on KU. I haven’t read them all yet. She has a similar plot in her stories – the tragic death of a love one in the past before the story takes place – and it made her books a bit heavy to read one right after the other. Her writing might be best mixed in with some diversity. I also stumbled upon The Christmas Escape series in KU. The final book in the series released today and I can’t wait to start it! Each book features a female main character traveling for the holidays and finding love. The books are written by different authors and I appreciated the exposure to new authors. These books gave me all the Christmas feels. I thoroughly enjoyed them.

You’ll notice a lack of non-fiction this month – only two books in that category. I feel somewhat bad about that, but I’ve had a blast with Christmas novels, so I don’t feel too bad. Also, this month was a busy month for our family so quick and light novels fit my mental capacity. This month I was definitely thankful for Christmas novels and Kindle Unlimited!

The six Christmas Escape novels I read this month. Cotswolds Holiday is not pictured because I just downloaded it today. Can’t wait to finish up this fun series.

Top Picks for November

Non-Fiction: Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love by Sally Clarkson – I can’t say enough good things about Sally Clarkson and her writing! She has become a favorite of mine and a true mentor! She shares her wisdom with honesty, empathy, and encouragement. Her journey in homeschooling, motherhood, and ministry has been an inspiration to me. Own Your Life was a reminder to live an intentional life and stay the course in doing good work. It paired well with M is for Mama from last month. Living a life of integrity, priotirzing character development, leaning in your purpose are messages that bolster your soul as you read this book!
Fiction: A Quilt for Christmas by Melody Carlson – Melody Carlson is one of my go-to authors. If she writes it, I’ll read it! I’m not a quilter so I wasn’t sure how attached I would be this story, but it took me no time to be invested in the cast of characters who make up this sweet Christmas novella. It’s a multi-generational tale that shares the power of community. The main character is a widow who is new to town and without friends or family to celebrate the holidays with. Meeting the family next door in an unexpected way leads to forming a unique quilting group that comes together to create a quilt in time for Christmas.

Book List for November
1 Star = I did not like it. 2 stars = It was okay. 3 stars = I liked it. 4 stars = I really liked it. 5 stars = It was amazing.

Non-Fiction:

  • Own Your Life: Living with Deep Intention, Bold Faith, and Generous Love by Sally Clarkson – 4 stars
  • Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess by by Bobby Fischer, Stuart Margulies, and Don Mosenfelder – 3 stars

Fiction:

  • Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh (Harbor Pointe Series) – 4 stars
  • Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh (Harbor Pointe Series) – 4 stars
  • Just One Kiss by Courtney Walsh (Harbor Pointe Series) – 3 stars
  • Just like Home by Courtney Walsh (Harbor Pointe Series) – 4 stars
  • If For Any Reason by Courtney Walsh (Nantucket Love Story Series) – 4 stars
  • Is It Any Wonder by Courtney Walsh (Nantucket Love Story Series) – 4 stars
  • What Matters Most by Courtney Walsh (Nantucket Love Story Series) – 4 stars
  • A Match Made at Christmas by Courtney Walsh (Nantucket Love Story Series) – 4 stars
  • Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh (Paper Hearts Series) – 4 stars
  • Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh (Paper Hearts Series) – 4 stars
  • How to Kiss Your Grumpy Boss by Jenny Proctor (Sweet Rom-Com) – 3 stars
  • Faking Christmas by Cindy Steel (Christmas Escape Series) – 4 stars
  • Christmas Baggage by Deborah M. Hathaway (Christmas Escape Series) – 4 stars
  • Host for the Holidays by Martha Keyes (Christmas Escape Series) – 4 stars
  • A Newport Christmess by Jess Heileman (Christmas Escape Series) – 4 stars
  • Later On We’ll Conspire by Kortney Keisel (Christmas Escape Series) – 4 stars
  • A Not-So Holiday Paradise by Gracie Ruth Mitchell (Christmas Escape Series) – 3 stars
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok (Jewish American Fiction) – 3 stars
  • A Cup of Cheer by Heather Miekstyn (Sweet Holiday Romance) – 4 stars
  • A Christmas Dare by Heather Miekstyn (Sweet Holiday Romance) – 4 stars
  • A Quilt for Christmas by Melody Carlson (Christmas Novella) – 4 stars
  • Scrooge and the Girls Next Door by Melody Jacobson (Holiday Rom-Com) – 4 stars