Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas 

from the Bentz Bunch!

M - Missed our Christmas letter... here's your update!

E - Esther, age 4 is our baby.  No more birth announcements, we're just adopting college kids now :-)

R- Renita beat breast cancer this year!

R- Redheads, why yes - 5 of 8 children are!

Y - Y'all - you might could hear some of us say that now and again 'round these parts... (our best Arkansas slang!)

C- Co-op.  One of our best blessings, our KCA homeschool family!

H- Homeschooling.  All 8 of them!!  10th grade to Preschool.

R - Racing.  Matt won a couple of trips to drive race cars with HP.  Renita just races around town in her big, white van!

I- India.  Sam and Renita went on their first mission trip.  A life changing adventure for both!

S- Sam, age 16 and Selah, age 10.  Our "s" kids.

T - The rest of them - Luke -14, Noah-12, Lydia-9, Joshua -7, Chloe-6, Esther -4.

M- Matt and Misha.  Matt has a thing for redheads, even the dog has red hair!

A- Arkansas, a beautiful place to visit...when are you coming?

S- Savior - Our reason to celebrate this season.


Friday, December 20, 2013

American Girl Club - Colonial Christmas Party

I just had to bring this one back - We really "outdid" ourselves this time!

For our American Girl club this month - we went all out and had a "Colonial Christmas" party.  We brought out the china, silver, even the cloth napkins!  Everyone dressed in their finest, colonial style (or at least, our interpretation of it.) The MCA - aka...Masculine Club of Awesomeness, even participated - they "Did Hard Things" and put into practice what they've learned by serving our young ladies.

I think I had almost as much fun setting up the house for the 42 (yes, 42..) place settings!  Every mom dusted off the china and brought out the table linens.  My house looked amazing!

Our "craft" for this night was assembling the Fruit Pyramid centerpieces.  I am in love with our handiwork...pretty impressive I'd say!

After our dinner was finished, we treated several homes in our neighborhood to a "large" group of dressed up "colonials" singing Christmas Carols.  I think we were a hit!

What an enchanted evening it was!  The food was amazing - Smoked Turkey, Venison Stew, Beef Pie, Sweet Potatoes with Apples, Green Beans, Mashed Potatoes and Gravy and homemade bread.  Dessert was Raspberry Flummery and the most amazing Bread Pudding anyone has ever tasted!  Punch, Cider and Egg Nog as well.

The American Girl Moms - amazing women!

Our Colonial Young Ladies (with their best manners...)

The "Littles" even had silverware!  The knives were a big hit....

The MCA Men - they clean up nicely!

How will we top this evening?

A "Last-Minute-No-Mess-Even-Your-Kids-Can-Make-Them" Cookie

Ok - I'm not much of a cook...  BUT, if you need a"Last-Minute-No-Mess-Even-Your-Kids-Can-Make-Them" Cookie recipe , I'm here for you!

Here you go:

Heat oven to 200 degrees (not hotter, did you know you can actually burn chocolate kisses?  Don't ask how I know this...)

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet

Have your child lay out a layer of pretzels (we like the holiday shape ones from Sam's Club)

Put a chocolate kiss on each pretzel (you can use Hugs too, for a stripey look)

Heat for 4 min.

Firmly press an M & M into each kiss

PLUS A BONUS Recipe for you (these are highly addicting, make with caution & self-control, or give away immediately!):

THIS YEAR we went wild, we melted Rolo candies (follow the same recipe as above) and pressed in a pecan.  Presto - we had "turtle treats"!

We can really mass produce these treats around here, good thing too - we eat as many as we make!

It was so much fun that we made 33 (YES!) gift boxes for my hubby's co-workers in just a short time.

I picked up these adorable treat boxes at Christmas clearance last year (75% off!)  So, we put a couple of our treats in a cute baggie, added a candy cane, some hot chocolate, and some more candy for color - and we had an adorable treat.  Looks like we spent hours - but, we didn't!

Best part - just throw away the parchment paper, and clean up is done too!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas Writing - I Needed Help!

I'm so excited, I just have to share.  I teach a bunch (14 to be exact) wild and creative 3-4th graders writing at our Co-op.   I have to stop to breathe... 14 of them and only 1 of me.

Well, I was supposed to get a break  , I mean have to go to jury duty this week.  It's our final week before Christmas break. 

I called to check on my jury duty status - like how long will I be there, what kind of snacks to bring,  no children - right?, and that kind of thing.  I started with "I'm a homeschool mom of 8" - the judge's secretary put me on hold and came back and told me I was excused by the judge!  Wow - I've never had that response before :-)

Anyway, back to the regularly scheduled rant about my writing class.  GLUP!  I'm now going to be teaching tomorrow!! (of course, I usually don't prepare until the day before... see comment "I'm a homeschool mom of 8" above)  We're currently working in the All Things Fun & Fascinating by IEW.  But, covering Christmas poetry should be a fun day.

Off to my friend - Pinterest.  I found wonderful, FREE templates for each of our Christmas poetry types, and they are too good not to share with you!

Christmas Acrostic:   Take the word "Christmas" and create a poem with each letter.  (If you're on my Christmas card list...I want you to know I had this idea loooong before I saw this lesson!)

Christmas Cinquain:  A poem of syllables.  Cute template with instructions

Christmas Senses Poem:  Describe Christmas with a line for each sense.

A couple of ink cartridges later, I'm ready for class, and with cute printables!  I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.

Friday, December 6, 2013

India on my Mind - Part 2

Did you miss my intro post...  read it here.

We did it, we actually traveled 27 hours to the other side of the world, and we were in India.

India is an overload to your senses.  It's bright, crowded, noisy, smelly, hot and completely wonderful! I know that not all of you would agree...  but, I fell in love at first sight!

Our first task was to go shopping... we needed Indian apparel.  We wore the - "Salwar Kameez".  A tunic like top, with drawstring baggy pants.  I'm telling you, Indians are on the right track - comfortable clothing that is pretty too!!  So many colors, fabrics and designs to pick from.  It was an experience in itself, picking out our outfits.    Imagine Black Friday - everyday!   I got 4 new outfits for around $60, what a deal.  

We actually had to cross the street to meet back up with our van. It was a bit like a "Frogger" game... Here, I tell my children to carefully look both ways before crossing. In India - we had to look for an opening and run for it! I was terrified, but excited.

People, people, people - everywhere! Animals too... Motorcycles and Auto rickshaws are the main vehicles, but there are many trucks and buses too. All shoulder to shoulder, no lanes. Rule of the road - "largest vehicle has the right away". Hey, with my big van, maybe I could drive in India?!

Here we are in our new outfits. Sam did the typical male thing... the men went to one store, picked out one shirt and were done. The ladies of the group took a little longer... :-) But, he chose well, I think India looks good on him!

Aren't we colorful?

Stay tuned...more to come!