What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Thursday, December 27, 2012


Sweet moments of happy still lingering from Christmas. 

He fell asleep on me.  I couldn't resist.

Embroidered pillowcases?  Love.  Quilts?  Love.  The Bear?  Love.

I finished that knitted dishcloth, by the way.  ;-)

Last minute gift making

This is what happens when your crazy brother swipes your camera

The camera went off without me and everyone thought it was hilarious.  I love their REAL smiles.  This picture makes ME smile.

For Mom- these were the two keepers.  You decide!  ;-)

Christmas morning.   Stockings are one of my favorite parts of Christmas.

I wasn't the only one making gifts this year.  Andrew stitched this cow for Papa all by himself. 

This was the first year in 10 that we stayed home for Christmas and by the time I realized I would be feeding my own family for dinner, it was too late!  We ate leftover lasagna for dinner but I made Brandy Snaps for dessert so that made things "feast-ish".

Candles, too, always make things special.

A timely read and some beef stew with a biscuit,  It was snowing- so it was perfect.

Hope the joy of Christmas is long lingering for you also!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Merry Christmas to you and yours~ from me and mine!  May your JOY be great, for HE HAS COME!

And this years' letter~ for the record (and giggles).

Merry Christmas!

This past year has been a flurry of activity for us, as I am sure it has been for you!  Time has a way of doing that, doesn’t it?
We celebrated being in our new (permanent!) home for a whole year on October 31st and I couldn’t help but look back at all the things we have accomplished here so far. 
We came into a place that lay listless and still~ dormant and sleeping soundly~ and we shook it awake again- and have every day since we stepped foot on the place!  I think, though, that the Place rather likes the playful feet that once again tromp circles round the house, the laughter that echoes through hallways and the quiet whispers that go on well into the night.
It certainly looks as spiffy as ever, with fresh colors on the inside, new barn boards on the outside, and wood floors rediscovered throughout!  It can’t help but shine. 
We call it, affectionately, HOPESTEAD because we have grand hopes and dreams for the place.  It will take time for them all to be realized, but the greatest has already become real; We are Home.

The biggest reason we have accomplished as much as we have this year just happens to have a name- Matt.  The man is a machine!  You wouldn’t believe how much he accomplishes around the Place, despite his crazy work schedule and all-too-frequent trips out of town.   His idea of fun is working at home and I have to work at not being jealous of his attentions.!  He is one of a kind.
The children too, are one of a kind….all four of them. 

Corynn is in her last year of single digits (How can that be?  I am too young to have a nine year old!  Right?!?) and she is such a joy.  She has such a sweet heart and helpful spirit- Lately, her little sister has been climbing into bed with her at night (and subsequently, taking almost all of it for herself!) so I asked Corynn laughingly one morning “SO-why do you let Adele’ sleep with you if you have just an inch or two to squish into (your own) bed with?”  And she said, “Well.  She says ‘Pleeease Wyn.  Can’t I sleep with you?’ in such a sweet, sad little voice I just HAVE to let her!”  That is the kind of girl our Corynn is.   A real gem.  I am enjoying sitting back and watching the young lady growing from the girl.

Andrew is 6 now and is, not surprisingly, still smitten with cows.  He has breeding books by his bedside and writes cow chores for copywork.  When he was still five, he drew an amazing three-dimensional collection of barns and outbuildings  (a farm “town”) which I will keep forever because I am still in awe of it.  He still talks with a drawl and has a cowboy gait, and I am thinking that that is just how is going to be…  I love it.   He’s working on learning to read- with lots of cowboy books!

Adele’ just turned four last month but is so petite and teeny that you can’t help but think of her as the baby of the family.  But baby she is not.  She loves to “do school” and she colors amazingly well.  She stays within the lines of all her coloring (and often draws in eyelashes on the people- the girlie girl!) and draws really great portraits.  She is fiery though and can hold her own when there is conflict in the house.  My mom says I deserve it, for what I put her through.

Judah is probably the biggest, dearest 2 year old you ever did meet.  The boy just melts me into a puddle.  It won’t be long before he outgrows Adele’- they look more like twins than anything.  He is a big, loveable, happy boy who is enamored with tractors and trains- and makes all the boy noises that go with them.   But he is still baby enough to crawl on my lap and snuggle with me (for a few seconds anyway.)  I am potty-training him and before he pees he will look at me with a glimmer in his eye and say “Here it comes!” as you would if a toy train were nearing you  or a sheep was trudging your way.  Life is just so pleasant with children to make it fresh and new and fun.

(Yes.  I did just write a pee story in an annual Christmas letter.)

I am doing well.  I turned the big 3-0 this year…I am officially grown up.  (And don’t ever expect to write my age again.  You’ve been forewarned.)  Matt can’t joke about robbing the cradle anymore!   One thing that occurred to me this year was that at 30 years old, my life is everything I ever dreamed it would be.  I have arrived! 
Some people wouldn’t believe me, many people would scoff- but I really feel like I am living the dream.  It can be hard work- caring for these souls and this house, home educating and growing our food, being and doing everything when Matt is gone…but I feel so amazingly blessed that my life is what it is.~ Hard and trying and overwhelming at times~ but mostly sweet and tender and lovely and most of all…worthwhile.

God is good. 

I pray that you will see God’s goodness throughout the coming year and that this Christmas-time, you can’t help but be drawn to a Fathers’ love, who sent his Son~ the greatest Gift.

Love from us all~ the Newmans

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Jolly Good Times

I took this week off of school instead of next week (like the public schoolers) because I knew I would need most of my time PRE-CHRISTMAS, not POST. Every day I wonder, though, if that was a big mistake; the children seem more...QUIET...when doing math than when running around the house in a state of free oblivion.

This is the madness that ensues...

The Judahbear makes a scarily sweet girl, don't you think?

I am fluttering to and fro trying to finish the making and the wrapping and the writing and the tying with red ribbons and the baking WITHOUT the snitching (try THAT one!) and all the things I enjoy so much.

I actually enjoy a good pre-Christmas bustle.


Every morning the first thing that is spoken is the Christmas countdown (five more days!) and then, added for effect "And TOMORROW it will be only FOUR days!" as if I needed THAT reminder...

I still have things yet to do, quite a bit in fact- but I think five days ought to be PLENTY of time to hatch all my plans.  Right?!?  And yet- here I sit...blogging.   ;-)  In all fairness- I just finished canning up the last of our pumpkin patch into Pumpkin Butter to pass along to all our neighbors and librarians and such. 

Here are a few Pinteresting plans I am working on (and will be working on up until the very end) with a few extra projects thrown in for good measure.

Pleeenty of time............

What are your days looking like this fine day FIVE before Christmas?

Any last minute to-do's in your workshops?

Are you feeling Jolly or just overwhelmed?

Five more days!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lookie Lookie!

Lookie, lookie at what came in the mail the other day.....

I am just SO STINKIN' excited!

The postcards I had made to thank all you lovely people who gave donations came---and they are so beautiful.  They look like you could just plop one off a rack at some postcard KIOSK.  Nice sturdy, colorful little things.  That they are my pictures....well, I feel just a smidgen famous- even if I am the only one who sees them right now.

Pretty much everyone is getting some for Christmas.  Just because.  They MUST.

This is the LAST week I am going to pester/beg/plead/petition you all to donate to the good cause that is our friends'.  (I promise.)

I know- it is the worst time.  A week before Christmas.  But if anyone hasn't already and wants to donate a little (or big!) something to a great cause- NOW is the time!

You'll get some perdy (ifIdosaysomyself) cards out of the deal....

I'll be mailing off the postcards and all other prizes/ thank-you gifts after Christmas.  (Too many last minute projects BEFORE Christmas...you understand.)  

Last weeks' winner of the book The Practical Homesteader was Zac C.  If you want the book Zac, email me at sgrbear724@yahoo . com with your addy, would'ya?  There were only two contributors last week- so it was a 50/50 chance of winning!

If the same is true for this week- think of the possibility of you winning this~

... a hand crocheted sage-colored doily and a sparkly (the best kind) beaded bracelet with a metal clasp.

They could be yours!  Any donation is eligible, no matter the size!

We went to visit our friends the other weekend, and they are doing remarkably well for all that they have been through.  Amazingly well.  And they were overcome with gratitude to you all (they happen to read the blog) and the many wonderful people who have donated time, clothes, resources on their behalf.  I couldn't get the poor woman to stop saying THANK YOU.

They don't even know how much money they will be receiving- only that strangers are doing something for them.

Let's work together to blow them out of the water, shall we?!?  :-)

And if you have no idea what I am talking about in this post~ read this

Monday, December 17, 2012

Decking the Halls

::: Our Deck The Halls party~ In which we ate snacks for dinner, untangled lights to find they didn't work anyway, laughed at a boy who had no idea about angel-topping, drank the first eggnog of the season (not homemade) and ended the evening with dancing by ChristmasLight. :::