Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our DIY Christmas Pictures

Each Christmas I usually send out a picture card to our extended family.  This year I dreamed about matching clothes and the perfect setting and even maybe a professional photographer.  All nice thoughts, but none of that happened.  As I usually do, I think about something and then on the spur of the moment decide it needs to happen right then.  So one day last week the boys mowed the grass and raked leaves.  They got cleaned up and I then asked the boys if I could please take pictures of them.  I might have promised they could play video games when we were done.  I gathered props- the quilt from Caleb's bed, a $2 garage sale vintage suitcase, a small tree, a basket of ornaments, and my chalkboard signs.  All things from around the house.  Caleb put on his favorite long sleeve shirt and I found a hand me down shirt in Luke's closet that would work for him.

Picture taking began.  We first had the idea that Captain would sit quietly and gaze at the camera and we'd get a perfect picture of the three of them.

We were able to get one picture of him looking at the camera- I have to admit I love this picture.

 The boys and the dog were a little silly and fidgety.  I think I should have used the outtakes on the Christmas card.

I finally got a perfect picture of the boys!

Caleb was done, but Luke was happy to keep posing.  I love that boy and his smile and those freckles and his heart!

The next day I decided I wanted to try to capture a picture of the whole family.  I mean people want to see me and hubby too, right?  I gathered Caleb's quilt, made the boys put on their shirts again, talked hubby into posing too, and placed my camera on a step ladder, and set the timer. It took us a few times to get everything right.

 Finally a family picture!  No matching clothes, no professional photographer, no fancy setting.  The picture certainly isn't perfect and I wish the chain link fence wasn't in the background, but guess what? It's fine.  The picture is about the people.  And I certainly love these three guys! 

Merry Christmas from the Garzas!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Animal Cell Model

For Caleb's Biology class he was assigned to either make a plant or animal cell 3D model. The suggestions given were to use food, styrofoam, or candy.  I didn't want to have to go to the store and by any supplies.  Caleb agreed to look around the house and see what he could use, and he had a brilliant idea to use an old Ethernet card he had saved in his room. 

He needed a barrier for the outside to represent the plasma membrane.  I found an embroidery hoop in my craft items that worked perfectly.  We found the box in our stash of boxes, used green construction paper, string that we had, and he labeled everything.

In his Biology class at co-op he had to present his project.  His teacher said his was the most creative.  I love how this project turned out!  And it didn't cost us a cent.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Pick up your mat

Each year at our homeschool co-op, the younger students are assigned a history project.  The project can be about anything they are studying that year in history.   This year is the ancients and Luke is studying the Bible, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and Ancient China.

Luke decided that he wanted his project to be about a Bible story and that he wanted to build something.

He (with my help) worked on this for about three days.  First, he built the house using Styrofoam bricks.  We used Creatology Project Bricks from Michael's, cost with coupon - $7.99.

We bought three bags of peg people from Hobby Lobby plus felt for their clothes.  Cost around $20.00.  First, Luke gave them all eyes and smiles and one a mohawk.

Luke painted on their hair and I helped with the beards.  Then we dressed each person using felt, gauze bandage, ripped up t-shirts, twine, ribbon, and leather shoelaces.  I helped with the clothes since we needed to use the hot glue gun.

Luke was so excited to work on his project each day.  He kept saying, "This is the best project I've ever done."  He also exclaimed, "This is so much fun, I love building things." 

Have you guessed what his project is on?

He based his project on the story of when Jesus was in a house and it is was full of people and four friends tried to get their crippled friend to see Jesus.  They couldn't get in the door so they climbed on the roof, made a hole, and lowered their friend through the roof.  And Jesus healed him!

Luke was so excited about this story from the Bible. ( Luke 5:18-26)

 See the house is filled with people and the door is blocked?

Luke and I talked about how we would want to be one of the friends who cared so much for their buddy to go to so much trouble for him.

Luke had a writing assignment to go with his project.  Here's what he wrote:

Homes in Israel during Bible Times
Luke Garza

          During the time of Jesus, houses were unique.  Houses were made of stone or mud bricks.  Poorest people’s houses only had one room.  The room was divided into two parts.  One part of the room had a beaten earth floor.  In the cold, their animals would live here.  The other part of the house was a raised platform where the people lived.  People with more money had an upper room.  The roof was important.  They dried fruit and grains on the roof, and sometimes slept there when it was hot.  People sat on stools as chairs were expensive at the time.  Tables were also expensive and most people would use a straw mat instead.  Most people slept on a mattress full of wool and straw.  The whole family slept on this mattress under a goat hair blanket.  Not many people acquired lush furnishings.  This is my report on the unique homes in Israel during Bible times.

We used cardboard for the base and for the roof.  We made the roof removable so the inside would be easily visible.

It was Luke's idea to crumble some of the bricks on the floor.

We love our homeschool co-op!  The boys love having a weekly day of school and spending time with their classmates and having a locker and participating in a P.E. class and attending field trips.

I love the structure and accountability it adds to our homeschooling, and being part of a community.

Luke is an amazing, smart, brave, funny, and full of life 4th grader! So thankful for him.

Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, "Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!"  And immediately, as everyone watched, the man jumped up, picked up his mat, and went home praising God.  Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe, and they praised God, exclaiming, "We have see amazing things today!"                   Luke 5:24-26 (NLT)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Harvest Festival

Last Saturday we attended the Harvest Festival in Woodville, TX.  We've gone almost every year for the past six years or so. 

It's at a living museum of pioneer life, complete with a main street and lots of buildings filled with period items.  There's music and dancing all day on the main stage.

Sometimes I really wish I lived in a simpler time.  Maybe when husband and I are older I can talk him into wearing a period costume like the ones below, and we can pretend for a day we live in a different time.

This place just makes me happy.  It's so quaint and peaceful and just my style.

Over the years, on the stage, we've heard bluegrass, country, and gospel music; a whistler; seen a Russian dance troop, cloggers, and a Native American dance.  The acts are always entertaining.

The man in the blue kept trying to get the boys to sign up to join him in the army and to get their picture taken with him.  They declined on the picture and joining the army.

There is a second stage and I think this dulcimer group played almost all day.  I love, love to hear them play.  Again, I think this is another thing hubby and I can do in our senior years.  I'll just have to talk him into it.

Suddenly, our peaceful day was disturbed.  A reenactment of a shootout occurred.  The "lady" accused one of the men of man-handling her, so the man in the long jacket shot the accused who fell over presumably dead.  But the man was only injured and was able to sit up for a minute and shoot the other two guys.  But not before one of them took one more shot at him. All three men ended up dead from the shootout. 

This used to be Caleb's favorite building to visit.  

Caleb used to adore trains.  When he was younger we would spend forever in this building watching all of the trains.  This year, though, we were in and out pretty quickly.

 The day is just made better by lunch at The Pickett House Restaurant.  It's world famous.

The food is served family style.  There's all you can eat fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes and gravy, greens, black-eyed peas, biscuits and cornbread.  This is the only thing on the menu.  Not sure the picture does this meal justice, but it was so good!

Oh, and the peach cobbler for dessert is so delicious.  I might have had two servings, since neither boy likes cobbler.

Luke loves camo.  He was so excited to get to wear these hand me down paints from Caleb for the first time.  In the morning as he was getting dressed, he cautiously asked me if he could wear his viper shirt with his camo pants as he wasn't sure it matched.  Looks like a perfect outfit to me for a day in the country. Oh, and his look was completed with his camo $2 yard sale Justin boots.

Luke rang the school bell and then...

these two little guys went up to the bell and kept looking at the bell and trying to figure out how to reach the rope and make the noise too.  It was so cute. 

We finished the day with a hike through the trails that surround the village.

The best part about the Harvest Festival is spending time with these guys.  It surely wouldn't be as fun without them. 

Lastly, we rode a school bus to get back to the parking lot.  My homeschool boy thought this was the best thing ever.  Probably the favorite part of his day.  He sat in the back seat and smiled through every bump.

Till next year.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


 He loves the cool fall mornings and asks please may he do school outside.  I say yes.

The guys prefer to eat in front of the t.v. on Sundays during football season.  They don't want to miss a second of the big game.

He loves sweaters and asks to wear one to co-op, even though its going to be 80 degrees.

Please Mom can I build a fort outside?

Yes to the $3 dollar throw from the estate sale.  

Less and less do the boys want their picture taken.  He said yes to this one.

He asked and asked for a puppy.
 (February 2013)

The puppy is now a dog who needs his daily walk.  

A long time ago he asked me to marry him.  Best yes I ever said.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!"
 Isaiah 6:8