Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Smiths!

A Live Nativity-ing We Will Go...

Two of the three live nativities we visited this particular weekend were based off of Group Publishing's visit to Bethlehem.  We got to smell (and ride!) a lot of animals, talk to Roman soldiers, render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, grind grain into a fine powder, make our own jewelry, visit a carpenter's shop and so much more!  Here are just a few pics which in NO WAY give a good idea of how wonderful it was to visit Bethlehem circa our Savior's birth.


Our last week of school before our Christmas Break was Christmas-themed, focusing exclusively on sheep.  We even chose this year's Christmas read-aloud in keeping with this theme:  A Shepherd's Prayer by Richard M. Barry.   And to conclude the week, we visited 3 live nativities with sheep, sheep and MORE sheep.  What grand memories!

The first sheep we came in contact with during
Super Sheep Week!

This fake flock was complete with fake poo on the gound behind some of them!

A shepherd keeping watch over his flock at night.  :)

Sweet little (LIVE!) lamb.  :)
Took forever for the little bugger to cooperate
so that I could get this shot!

COS admiring the sheep ornament she made.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Now you see them...
Now you don't!
Congratulations, JDS!!!

One down...three to go!

A Christmas Musical

COS with her most beloved friend, A.F., 
ready for the musical to begin.
JSS with his new friend, A.B.,
side stage & waiting for the musical to begin.
COS (purple pj's) is in all of the following pics, 
which have been cropped for a closer view,
and JSS (blue/red pj's) is in many of them.  He was
in the middle, so we unfortunately
did not get many clear shots of him.
He was nervous being in front of so many
people (the place was packed!), so he 
was just fine where he was.  :)

Crazy Christmas Scavenger Hunt!

Looking for a great Christmas Party idea?  Host a Crazy Christmas Scavenger Hunt with your friends!  We began ours at PotBelly Sandwiches at 5 PM.  After dinner, we went over the rules and then the teams sped out of the parking lot on their 2 hour quest for the craziest Christmas items around.  We met back at 8:15 at Starbucks for dessert/hot beverages while the judge (yours truly) deliberated and awarded the prizes to the winning team ($5 S'bux gift cards). 

Here are a few photos from our party with our TAG group (teen activity group for local home school high schoolers).

Dinner @ PotBelly's 

One of the rules was that every team member had to be
in every photo for it to count.  Here Job's group
waited patiently in order to get this shot: a parent
teaching their child to ice skate!  
Their persistence paid off...his team won!
Going for maximum points:  Police officer wearing
a santa hat.  Unfortunately no officer is allowed
to wear ANYthing not a part of their official
uniform while on duty, so this photo (from the
police station!) got them NO POINTS.
Big fun, though!
Having a blast at S'bux after the hunt was over!


We began the Trust unit (KONOS) the first week in December by studying Deception/Illusion.  This ended up being a real favorite with us as it went deep in Scripture and gave tons of ideas for applying (ie. the fun stuff we get to do to drive home the teaching points!).  Here are a few of our favorites:

COS painting her "magic" wand.
JSS during "Masquerade Charades," 
a game where you had to dress, walk,
talk and act like the person you were
masquerading as while the players
guessed who you were.  Can you guess
who JSS is masquerading as in the following three photos???

Just to giggle-inducing not to include!  

During our History of Illusion field trip with
a local home school group.  JSS and COS
had primo spots (see photo at top)...and used their position
to desperately try to figure out how the 
magician was deceiving them!

Our week-long study culminated in a 
Smith Family Magic Show on Friday night.

Perhaps the world's most UNtrustworthy dog...
at least when it comes to food!  This is how
we found Elanor when we got home from a
5 minute errand...tangled in the full garbage bag
looking every bit the obsessed dog she is!

Precious Time with Those Most Dear

We were blessed by G'ma Post visiting us in November!  What a blessed time we had with her that Friday and Saturday!  Come back any time, G'ma!  You're wonderfully pleasant & easy company to have!  We love you!

Update #2: INDIANS (Attentiveness)

We studied two Indian groups:  
Plains Indians & Southeast Indians.

Here JSS and COS are learning a little geography as they map the U.S.,
outlining the geographic regions of these groups of people.
Here they made & decorated their own teepee's like
the Native American's did.  We're only missing our
long poles, which gave the teepee it's frame.
Notice two things: the smoke flap at the top & 
the opened door flap, which signified
that a guest was welcome to come inside.  :)
Hand-making their very own moccasins.

Modeling their hand-made moccasins.
An event Simon took the boys to while we were studying Indians.
JSS learned to throw a hatchet...and hit the target!!
One of the Native American dishes we made.  This one
is called "Three Sisters Succotash."  The three sisters
are corn, beans and squash.  This was a delightful dish!
(See recipe below)
Trip to Moundville, AL.  This is the largest mound.
Treking up to the largest mound was a feat!
Enjoying the view and taking advantage of 
the beautiful fall foliage the Southeast affords.
The view of some of the surrounding mounds atop the big one.
It's a matter of perspective, I suppose, but we love this photo of COS!
Enjoying some more of that beautiful fall foliage.
Skipping rocks on the Black Warrior River in AL.
Gorgeous Smith genes, man!

"Three Sisters Succotash"
Yields:  5 one-cup portions
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time:  20 minutes

1 tbsp veg. oil
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 jalepeno or other small hot chili pepper, diced
1 cup green or golden summer squash, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ground cumin seed
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
2 cups canned lima beans, drained (or frozen, thawed)
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Place a large saute pan on high heat until very hot.  Add 1 tsp of the oil, the corn, peppers, and onion, then saute until the vegetables start to brown and caramelize slightly.  This should take only about 5-7 minutes.  Add the remaining oil, squash, cumin, salt, black pepper and garlic.  Cook for another 3 minutes on medium heat.  Add the broth, cilantro, and lima beans.  Simmer until all the vegetables are tender.  It should take about 5 minutes.  Enjoy our new favorite dish!