Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review

I have been tossing around ideas for the past two weeks on how to review 2013 on my blog. I wanted to do something creative, unique and not too complicated. To start the 2013 in review series of posts I will give you a basic overview of my family's year.

January: We started the year by getting sick. My whole family was sick for about a week all at once, all unable to get our of bed. Except for me. I only got a fever which was a blessing because someone needs to cook for everybody. I learned during that time how to make chicken noodle soup!!! We got better just in time for Grandma and Grandpa Steenson's visit. They treated us by taking us to Disneyland for three days. It was SO MUCH fun!!!  We all loved it.

February: In February I started eating all raw food which I did for 6 weeks up until my birthday. It was an interesting experience. We celebrated dad's birthday by cooking a very nice meal and getting all dressed up. Also Dad and us four olders (Emilie, Hannah, Sean and Scott) went skiing with our friends at China peak for the first time. That was alot of fun.

March: In March I turned 17. I didn't really want to turn 17 because I really liked 16 but it wasn't my choice. Also in March was one of our favorite events of the year; the Sound of the Trumpet conference. 
Before the Sound of the Trumpet conference my dear friend, Lacy came up for a visit. We had so much fun together making skirts, having tea and listening to Disney music!!

April: In April our dear friends, the Gindorfs, visited. We had a wonderful time with them; cooking fancy meals, going on photo shoots, dressing up in formal dresses and going to Skywalk to celebrate Tobin's 10th birthday.

May: In May I started doing the 313 project with Haley. (which I am still doing, by the way. I just need to post the pictures) Doing this project has really shown me my lack of creativity and has been a challenge but I have loved doing it. Grandma and Grandpa Sostrich also visited us in May just in time for our violin recital (which my mom had to remind me of because I have conveniently wiped that event out of my memory)

June: In June Dad took us to a Piano Guys concert. It was amazing!!! We all loved it and I want to go again next year. Grandma and Grandpa Steenson also came out for another visit which was good because We started crazily preparing for our upcoming summer adventure. We made historic costumes, cooked food, fixed trailers, packed, washed, ironed, charged, cleaned, chased fires, endured smoke etc. Elianna also got her first tooth. We left for our trip on the 26th. Our first stop was at our previously mentioned friends, the Gindorfs and their church camp.

July: we spent the whole month of July adventuring around the country  Some of the highlights for me were the History Conference, Colonial Williamsburg and the Creation Museum photography class.

August: In August Sean and Scott celebrated their 14th birthday. At the end of the month we had our church camp which is also one of my most favorite events of the year. It was a blast as usual. 

September: In September Dad and Scott went on a trip and Elianna learned to clap. I can't think of anything else exciting that happened. I was probably to busy with school and cooking to remember.

October: At the beginning of October Nathan celebrated his 4th birthday. We also went on a trip to Washington to visit Grandma and Grandpa Sostrich and attend the Family Economics conference. Elianna also learned how to sign please and shake her head no. Her vocabulary is expanding!! Mom also celebrated a birthday. And, my good friend Hannah III came over for a much anticipated sleepover and movie marathon. 

November: In November alot happened. Brendan turned 8 at the very beginning. Then my aunt and her kids came up for a visit and to help us get ready to host the Fatherhood conference. The conference went really well. We cooked alot of food and had alot of leftovers but I hope the talks were encouraging for the dads and young men. Elianna also celebrated her first birthday. She loved the cake and was wondering what she had been missing all this time. Mom and Dad celebrated their anniversary by going to dinner at the restaurant in the hotel where they were married. For Thanksgiving we went down to my Aunt and Uncle's house which was wonderful. Hannah and I made most of Thanksgiving dinner which was a new experience for us and only the roles didn't turn out!!

December: December started off with Grandma and Grandpa Steenson, Aunt Alana, Uncle Spencer and their kids and Lacy all coming up to help us celebrate Hannah's 16th birthday. For her birthday we had an English Contra dance which was lots of fun. Afterwards we went into the holiday season with gusto!! We have lots of holiday traditions including Christmas shopping at World Market, our church's annual hymn sing, listening to The Christmas Carol at night, us four olders putting on a play Christmas eve and sharing goodies with our neighbors across the street. On Christmas Elianna got Roseaolla, which she is almost over now. After Christmas Dad, Tobin and Brendan went camping in Berego for four days. And now here we are; preparing for new years, enjoying each others company in a loud sort of way and thanking God for all the many blessings He has bestowed on us this year. For everything is from His hand and we should give Him thanks!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Workout Challenge

Tomorrow is the last day of 2013!!!  That means that today is the second to last day of 2013!!  Wow, this year flew by!  I am working on my year-cap blog post(s), so those will be forthcoming.  Anyways, most people make New Year's resolutions or goals or whatever you would like to call them.  I am one of those people being that I function best when I have goals to work towards.  I have a post forthcoming about that too.  I read somewhere that weight loss and staying fit and healthy are in the top five most common New Year's resolutions.  It makes sense being that we just came out of the holiday seasons; some of us faring better than others.  You have to start sometime, so why not at the very begining of a brand new year after you have just come away from a month or so of enjoying tons of amazingly delicious and not-so-good for you food.  So in hopes of a healthier and fitter 2014 I am announcing two things!!!  First, that I am dedicating Monday to blogging about health and fitness topics.  I love studying nutrition, health and fitness so I am going to share what I am learning with y'all on Mondays.  Also I am starting a workout challenge type thing.  I found a website that posts a workout calendar every month that focuses on a certain type of exercise (i.e. push ups, sit ups, etc.) and assigns a certain amount to each day and slowly builds up.  They do a different type of exercise each month.  I am going to try it this year because I get bored easily when it comes to exercise.  Sometimes I do T-Tapp, sometimes I run, sometimes I sprint, other times I will Irish Step Dance and other times I just read.  I like change and I am always willing to try something new.  I am going to try following this site's calanders for a couple of reasons: 1. to give myself a plan 2.to give myself some change 3. to give myself a challenge and 4. to give myself some goals.  And guess what!!!???  I am inviting you to join me!!!  Every month I am going to post the calendar on my blog and if you are so inclined you can challenge yourself with me.  It is always nice to know someone is in agony with you ;);p  So here is January's calandar.

Who just love squats and pushups????   By the way, do you do girl push ups or guy push ups?  I do girl push ups (please don't scorn me for that but I just cant do guy push ups), but maybe after a month of practice I will be able to pull off a couple of guy push ups and make my brothers proud of me!! :):)
Anyways, I am looking forward (kind of) to doing this and I hope some of you will join me. please, please, pretty please......


P.S. The website I got this from suggested taking a "before" picture before you get started so you could see improvement at the end of the month.  If you want to do so go ahead but that is one thing my self-respect will not allow me to do; so I will just hope that I will notice improvement without the painful reminders :/

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy First Day of Winter!!!!!!

Happy first day of Winter!!!!!!!!!!!! I absolutely love this season! I love the holidays, the cold the unpredictable weather, the storms, the occasional snow, the wind, the fires, hot chocolate, coffee, baking, scarves, hats and fuzzy socks and coats. Oh yes, I love this season. Do you like it too? What is your favorite part of winter?
 The color of springtime is in the flowers; the color of winter is in the imagination. 
~Terri Guillemets

 Welcome, winter. Your late dawns and chilled breath make me lazy, but I love you nonetheless.
 ~Terri Guillemets
 Now winter nights enlarge
The number of their hours;
And clouds their storms discharge
Upon the airy towers...
~Thomas Campion,

"Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest Is a faithful messenger to those who send him, For he refreshes the soul of his masters."
Proverbs 25:13
"and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
Acts 14:17
Today is also the shortest day of the year. Enjoy it!! Happy Winter!!!

How to Properly Put on a Pillowcase

In this video Hannah demonstrates how to put a pillowcase on a pillow in such a way as to keep the pillow inside.
video

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas of 1914 by Hannah

Dear Mum, Dad and my darling sister, Jane                                                            December,26,1914
    It is the day after Christmas and I am wishing that I was home with you. I can just see you all sitting around our glowing tree.
     We soldiers celebrated Christmas in such an odd way yesterday. On Christmas Eve as we were firing upon the Germans we looked across No Man's and and saw that the Germans had lit candles on one of the trees. We could faintly hear them singing Christmas carols. The words were in German but we all knew the tune. It was Silent Night. The boys on our side began to sing it in English. Before we knew it almost all of the wesernfront had ceased fire. Peace reigned along the lines. When dawn broke on Christmas day the guns were still silent. It was the first sunrise that I had seen in a long time that was unmarred by smoke. I looked up when heard a shout from No Man's Land. Some of our boys and some of the German boys had crossed the line and were now mingling. I climbed out of the trench and hurried to join them. The sight that met my eyes took my breath away. Food, cigars and wine was all being exchanged. Some men were trading souvenirs. A few were trading the buttons on their coats. I even saw one of our boys giving a young German a much needed hair cut. I approached a German who I guessed to be about my own age. We shook hands. I gave him my New Testament and in return he gave me a photograph of a cottage on a little hill. I assumed that it was his home. Later on there was a joint burial service for the dead on both sides. At the end we all sang some more Christmas carols. I shook hands again with the young soldier before we returned to our lines. We could not speak to each other but we smiled a lot. I returned to the trench with a new friend.
     Today we  resumed fire once again. As I sit here in the mud amongst the sand bags I look around and see on the faces of my comrades the tears that i could not hold back myself. I know that we willl be the cause of the deaths of the friends we made yesterday. I closed my eyes and prayed that the yound soldeir was somehow able to read the New Testament that I had given him. I know that his soul is in God's hands.
I am called to man one of the guns.
Know that I love you all.
Peter

P.S.                                                                                                                      December,27,1914
Last night they made a charge on our lines. We fought them hand to hand. Afterwards I found my young german friend. He had been killed on our line. I found him clasping the New Testament I had given him. I knelt down beside him and lifted up his soul to God.
Peter




OK so I shared a link to a video and you really have to see the video because if you don't see the video it ruins my story because the video goes with the story Not really but you get the idea. :)

~*~Hannah II

The link is safe, it does not have any bad advertisements that I saw and it doesn't play an ad before the video. At least, it didn't for me. I am sorry I couldn't post the video on here but it wasn't on YouTube.

This letter was based on an actual historical event. Though the writer of the letter is fictional everything else really happened.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday's Words to Remeber


Quite frankly, there is no reason we need to sound like we never left second grade. I don't see anything wrong with sounding like we just walked out of a Victorian era novel ;);)  Having good grammar and a decent vocabulary is attractive to everyone. Well, most everyone that is. This is something Hannah and I have been working on.

How to Listen to a Sermon


This post was supposed to appear yesterday but I ran out of time; so here it is now.

Last Sunday dad preached on worshiping in truth and half of his sermon was on how to listen to a sermon. It is not a topic commonly taught on but it is important. Most of us listen to a sermon every week and we are responsible for every sermon we hear. (Luke 8:18) Thus it is important to know how to get the most out of a sermon. Here is what Dad suggested for getting the most out of a sermon along with some of my additions.

Prepare:
  • Be deliberate about getting ready
  • Try to get as much prep done on Saturday.I usually try to gather everything I need to bring to church (Bible, notebook, violin, etc.) into one place the night before. I also plan what I am going to wear and make sure it is ironed. That way I am not as rushed Sunday morning.
  • Read and discuss the text that is going to be preached on Sunday. You can do this with your family or by yourself. Well, you can't discuss it by yourself but you can read and study it on your own.
  • Discuss last weeks text with your family to tie it in to the upcoming sermon.
  • Sing the songs that are going to be sung on Sunday. this may or may not be possible for you depending on whether you can find out what songs are going to be sung or not. But if you can find out ahead of  time do so and sing them all week. This way you will be familiar with the songs and you will be confidently singing along. (I am an advocate for hearty singing in church by the way )
  • Pray for the upcoming service. Pray that you will be ready to worship. Pray that God will be glorified. Pray that you will be drawn closer to God. Pray that the pastor is prepared (he really appreciates that. Take it from a pastors daughter.)
  • This is going to sound very mundane but; Eat a good breakfast. If you don't eat breakfast because you are so rushed your stomach will be growling and it will be horribly distracting.
  • Also make sure you get a good nights sleep the night before. That way you wont be fighting sleep throughout the sermon. It is no fun to have to viciously fight sleep for an hour. I have had many such experiences and I do not wish to relive them.

Receiving the Preached Word:
  • Listen attentively. Remember that the pastor is bringing God's word to you. Be an active listener. Follow along in the Bible. You have come so prepared you should have a great desire to hear and learn.
  • Try to calm yourself and eliminate distractions. This is sometimes difficult especially if you have little siblings to watch and the preacher preaches in front of a window : / But do your best to eliminate the distractions.
  • Take notes. This helps me immensly. Taking notes is very simple. Listen for main points. Indicator words include "so my point is" "here we see" Listen for lists to jot down like "the four lessons we learn are..." Write down any scripture references. Write down anything that stands out. Write down any questions and answers. This is probaly not the proper way to do it but it is what i do and it helps me remember and absorb the sermon. If you have taken a note taking class forgive my improper style and tell me what you do. I would greatly appreciate it.
  • Look at the pastor. this helps you not get distracted and also lets him know you are listening.

Practicing the Preached Word:
  • Strive to retain what you heard. If you are anything like me you will naturally leave church and forget about what you learned so it takes an effort to remember and apply what you learned. Malachai 3:16
  • Discuss what you learned with others. This could be with your family or your friends at church. Compare notes if you are blessed with note taking friends or just talk about the most important things you learned.
  • Strive to maintain what you heard through meditation. No, not the type you do in yoga. Sometime later Sunday evening or on Monday before you have forgotten what you learned, take time to look back over the text and your notes so that you can refresh and remind yourself of what you have been taught. 
Again, preaching is very important (Romans 10:14) It is how God builds His kingdom. We should not take it lightly. I hope this was as helpful for you as it was for me.

P.S. Tell the pastor how much you appreciated the sermon after church. You don't know how much that encourages him.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday's Words to Remember

"He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?"
Micah 6:8

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hannah's 16th Birthday Party

Hannah is the most wonderful sister in the world. i am so grateful to God for her. I don't know what I would do without her. We have so much fun together. We are not twins but supposedly we look like twins. I think it is more the fact that we love to dress alike and we are always together. Anyways, on Saturday we had a birthday party to celebrate. For her birthday Hannah wanted to have an English Contra Dance with as many of her favorite people as could come. I think that a good old fashioned English Contra dance is one of the most social activities. Hannah had a wonderful time and she is very thankful to everyone who braved the freezing cold, snow and ice to come. I danced every single dance so I didn't get any pictures of the actual dancing but Sean took a couple pictures of the first dance which was a father daughter dance.
  
Hannah, Lacy and I
We danced the Virginia Reel first, 4th and 5th. It is such a fun dance and it is quite easy.
Actually I danced the father daughter dance with my uncle Spencer, who surprised us all by driving all day from southern California just to come to the party, because my dad danced with Hannah and his daughter is only one. He was a really great dance and conversationalist at the same time ;)

 Mr. Parish was our wonderful dance caller.
  We also did a dance called The Duke of Kent's Waltz. It was alot of fun; a little more complicated than the Virginia Reel but still fun. I had done it before in Colonial Williamsburg. We tried the Grand March and didn't do too badly.




 We did a quiz to see who knew Hannah the best. I will say that the quiz was rather difficult because I made it and I know Hannah better than anybody :):) It was fun to watch everyone discussing the possible answers.




 The winners were Ivy and Michelle for the 12 and under group and Hannah III and Lily for the older people. Good joy, girls!!!!
 My absolutely adorable cousin. She had so much fun dancing.

For a surprise Sean, Lacy and I sang a song we had worked hard on for 36 hours,  for Hannah. Her reaction was definitely worth all the work. And I would do it over again embarassment and all to see the look on her face when we started singing. Except I wasn't embarrassed. Sean and Lacy were such good sports to learn a song they had never heard before with only a days notice and sing it in front of people :) I am sorry for any inconvenience, Lacy and Sean. Dad videoed us singing but for some reason the camera woudn't focus but here it is anyway.
video

I hope everyone had a wonderful time. It was definitely a memorable night!!! Happy birthday, Hannah!!!

Hannah in a Winter Wonderland

Friday, December 6th was Hannah's 16th birthday. Saturday, December 7th was the first snow of the season. That morning as soon as it was light outside and we could see the snow; Hannah, Lacy and I went outside for a birthday photoshoot. It was a winter wonderland outside. We stomped and clomped, slipped and slid around in the wonderful snow. With the sun and the clouds and the snowfalling off the trees everything was breathtaking. We had so much fun outside. The photoshoot also gave me an opportunity to catch up on my 313 pictures ;)
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Did y'all enjoy the snow? What is your favorite thing to do in the snow?