I have seen this thing called “My Social Book” come up on my Facebook feed numerous times over the past few months. Mostly I’ve just ignored it.
However, a couple weeks ago I got curious. So I had a closer look.
On closer inspection the idea was kind of cool. The opportunity to create a yearbook of sorts of your social media feeds. After some playing around in their app I decided I would buy a book.
So, I chose the dates the book would include. And customized a cover. I chose January 1 to Dec 31 2014. I used the 25% off coupon I’d seen on Facebook, and I placed my order.
It told me the order would be delivered between January 4 and 6. It came December 29.
I was on my way out the door when it came so I only gave it a cursory look. Needless to say I was happy with what I saw.
On our drive my 9 year old read it aloud and looked through it with my 7 year old. They LOVE it! I kept hearing….I remember when…or do you remember when…
It was lovely.
When we got home late that night I finally sat down and flipped through the entire book.
I LOVE IT!
The memories it brought back were amazing! Reading the silly things my kids said and seeing their pictures from a few years ago and remembering everything we did together….priceless!
I am pretty good at remembering to take pictures when we do something. However, despite my best intentions….I am not too good at putting those pictures into scrapbooks or photo books. Those pictures just seem to pile up and sit around waiting on me to sort and label and get into photo books to be printed. Everytime I spend months sorting and labeling my photographs…by the time I finish, there are several thousand more to do.
So the opportunity to have several years worth of yearbooks at virtually the touch of fingers was well worth he risk!
I loved my 2014 book so much I ordered 2012 and 2013 last night too. Next week I will finish off my set with 2015.
On my 2014 book I got plain paper. But on all the rest I went with glossy. I got hard covers for all as well. I figure these books will see a lot of reading so hard cover will hold up best!
There is a coupon code on the back page….feel free to take advantage….
Code is valid until April 1 2016 and only on orders over $55.
I don’t have any pictures for this blog. It just isn’t right to take pictures of handing out a small gift to someone in hard times.
Usually we go out Christmas Eve afternoon and find homeless to hand them to. This year Jason worked until 2. By the time he got home and I finished the baking, we barely made it to the 6pm Christmas Eve service.
So, we decided to drive around downtown I hopes of finding 15 people to bless. And indeed we did manage to find some. It was a rougher crowd this year, since it was cold and late and most were inside for the night in the various shelters.
We did however find some really needy people to bless. We had 2 warm blankets and we gave them to the first 2 people we saw hunkered down for the night.
Kieran got a talking to from a gentleman who had already been generous with the liquor. He was told about 50x to stay in school until he was 25. But I was super proud of Kieran. He looked this gentleman in the eye the entire time and he shook his hand several times. And although even I was uncomfortable he didn’t show it to this gentleman.
We found a couple sleeping in front of the bottle depot doors with 4 baskets of bottles. They said they’d have to stay there for 2 days. They weren’t willing to let the bottles go so they could have a warm place to sleep. We gave them each a bag.
We found a gentleman who was trying to stay away from security and we blessed him too.
Karyssa and I blessed a gentleman who was trying to get to the Drop in Center. He was a couple blocks away. He fell over twice and we helped him back up and by the time we were across the street from the Center with him, helping him stay on his feet, a worker from the Drop In saw and came and helped him the rest of the way. The worker knew him by name and helped him.
Fifteen people were the recipients of our gifts tonight.
However, the real blessing was all ours. We left feeling humble and grateful for all we have. We wished we could have done more. Every year it is the same. And somehow every year we manage to do a little bit more.
But this year our gifts went to the most desperate of the homeless. And it sure felt great to be able to help and see how the warm socks and blankets and cookies were sure appreciated.
Tonight the kids and I wrapped the last of the gifts.
Theirs have been wrapped for awhile.
However, we had the box of gifts for the homeless to wrap. We needed to sort out the warm socks and the gift cards for meals and the gift cards for hot drinks. We needed to figure out how many gifts and how large each gift would be.
We decided on 15 gifts. So we sorted through and found a brand new reusable travel mug for each gift. We added a gift card for hot drinks and a gift card for food. Finally we added warm socks. A few got a little extra. We had one brand new fleece jacket and 2 soft warm brand new blankets. We had some candies too and a few other miscellaneous things like toothpaste and hand cream and soap.
When everything was all sorted we found we were a little bit short of what I would have liked, but not much. And really we had made the gifts extra generous anyway. Still I really wanted to make sure each gift had at least $10 to $15 in gift cards for hot drinks to somewhere like Starbucks or Tim Hortons as well as $15 to $25 in food gift certificates for McDonalds or subway or something. In the end we were 2 coffee cards short and 4 meal cards.
That’s when our oldest son stepped up. He had said he wanted to do something to contribute and I suggested he wait to decide what until we finished wrapping the gifts.
He decided he would buy 1 coffee card and 4 meal cards. And when he was trying to decide if he could afford to do the final coffee card…my youngest son said he wanted to help his brother and he would buy it. After much discussion about how this shouldn’t be to help his brother, but should be to help the homeless he decided he was still going to buy a gift card.
So tomorrow I will take my excited 7 year old to buy a gift card out of his own money…his birthday money. And my 16 year old is going to also buy some gift cards out of his own money from his job.
Tomorrow the kids will each make 3 personal Christmas cards to add to the gifts. And then they will get to give away the gifts that have their cards in them.
Some days I know I’m raising the kids right!
I can’t wait until Christmas Eve when we get to find people to personally give them to. The kids love that part the most! (And so do I!)
Better late than never….
This year has been an eventful one!
(Kieran is missing from this picture)
It has seen our children grow and mature. It has seen new schools and new friends.
Kieran is 16 and grade 11. Katarina is 14 and grade 9. Karyssa is very very soon 12 and 7th grade. Kianna is 9 and 4th grade and Keilan is 7 and 2nd grade.
Kieran is eager to complete high school and is a working man now. He works at Cineplex and quite likes it.
Katarina is enjoying the last of her time in Jr High and is gearing up for High School. She will be going to a different High School than her brother. She is eager to take IB classes.
Karyssa has made the transition well to Jr High. She has many friends and loves her new school. She has joined Katarina in playing percussion in band.
Kianna is going strong in her school. She is unexpectedly the last one left at her school from our family. I wasn’t sure how she would take that. But she loves it. From now on, she will be alone in all her schools. No older siblings to help her or bug her. She is our funny girl. She keeps us laughing at the most unexpected times!
Keilan has struggled greatly this year. We have finally pulled him home for school. The funny thing is, he is super smart. Just super distracted. So he’s already learned more science and social studies and spelling and cursive and storytelling in a week at home than he has learned all year in school.
It is an adjustment for me to give up any free time I may have had so that I can teach him. But it’s worth it! I have to find a new way to balance house work and exercise and teaching time and work. But I’m confident with a bit of time keilan and I will be able to find a routine that finds balance for us both.
Jason is working like crazy. This economy has definitely affected his work. His work is in some ways busier than ever as he’s doing the job of previously 4 people. In January it should be down to 2 or 3. But it is always day to day if the company is going to survive. It is more stressful on him than me.
It has been a good year. We’ve had our ups and downs. But more ups than downs. We are looking forward to 2016 and all the new and exciting things it will bring!
Merry Christmas everyone!
May Christmas be full of remembering Christ’s birth and not be overshadowed with commercialism. May you each get the opportunity to experience the immense blessings that come with giving!
Well, I’ve pulled Keilan now from his school. I’m not sending him back for even one more day.
One day this week we will take Christmas cards and jars of soup for Christmas gifts to his teachers and principal. They all tried hard with him. I sure can’t fault them that and I don’t have any bad feelings towards them.
Late last night we submitted Keilan’s Educational Program Plan to our home schooling agency. Last week we had already submitted the notice of transfer.
Now we start home schooling and wait on official approval. I was told they would push it through quickly, and would do their best to get it done prior to Christmas break, which for them is December 16.
So, today we home school. We start our full plan and daily routine. We’ve kind of already done this on a number of days he’s stayed home. But today it’s official he’s not going back.
I am happy for him. He’s excited too. We’ve found some amazing apps to supplement His educational journey. They will also keep him learning and busy and out of trouble while on my bus throughout the day!
All I can say is thank you Jason for all your work on the official Education Program Plan!