Please note: All images on this blog (except where noted) are original works of Miki Baxter and cannot be duplicated without permission. Also, if you're inspired by a project featured on here, then please link back to me and give proper credit. Thank you!!!


New Blog Address

It's been a time of reflection, rebuilding, recovery and renewal...whew!  I'm ready to start blogging again and am starting afresh by continuing this blog on a new Wordpress site.  Come join me at Beautiful Century, A Beautiful Life!


Days 23 - 25: Merry Christmas!

Though the little one and I stayed home to recover from an overnight illness,
the rest of the family enjoyed services on Sunday.
And we enjoyed a beautiful candlelight service last night.
When we exited from the church, it had snowed!
Snow in the Mountains
Christmas Morning
  After our traditional Christmas breakfast,
we went sledding!
 All three kids at once!
 Our Snow Angels
 Merry Christmas!!!


Days Seventeen - Twenty-Two: Movies & Parties Galore

From an American Girls Club Christmas Party at Barnes and Noble 
to the party at the kids' school that I did the decorations for
(they take classes once a week as a supplement to homeschool),
it has been a busy week!  
The kids performed with their music classes - 
Barnabas takes World Percussion and Piano classes, while Mireille takes Guitar.
In the evenings, we cuddled up on the couch and watched Christmas movies.
It snowed this week, and there's even a chance we'll have a white Christmas!!!
In the midst of such a busy season, it's important to balance activity with rest.
I've let the kids sleep in and take things at a slower pace.
It's Christmas time, after all.


Days Thirteen - Sixteen: Holiday Activities and Reflection

Instead of posting these pics Friday morning, sorrow filled my heart and I couldn't write.
I can scarcely describe the myriad of emotions inside even now, days after the tragedy.
After my baby's bath this morning, I held him close for a number of minutes.
He snuggled into me also and lay still.
A precious pause on an ordinary day.  A gift.
My kids are sick of may be a little bit tired of me constantly snapping pics of them.
Day Thirteen:  Our library had a Marionette Puppet Program which included singing and dancing -
I am thrilled that my kids throw themselves into activities, 
even if they seem a little different than what they expected.
 The storyteller used natural elements to represent a bear and other forest creatures.  
The marionettes represented a Woodsmen and Winter.  
In an era of lots of flash and technology as entertainment,
I adore stories told in simpler ways, through song and imagination.
Day Fourteen: Mireille is a part of a Book Club with the loveliest group of girls.  
They decorated gingerbread teddy bears and angels based on the book they read for November,
drank hot chocolate and wassail while playing Christmas games.
The boys stayed home and spent the afternoon playing together with Legos and games on the XBox.
Day Fifteen: We all went to see a local Christmas Program called "The Nutty Nutcracker,"
based on the ballet but with a unique twist. 
This year they incorporated the story into a 1940s radio program - a very creative idea and presentation!
Day Sixteen:  The Christmas Play 
 My son Barnabas was in the Christmas play at church...
after months and months of rehearsal, it was awesome to finally see the show.
The children did a marvelous job!
Now if I can only get the songs out of my head...
 The service started with all the little ones coming up on stage to sing Christmas Carols.
With support and encouragement from his big sister, Keizo was happy to do his part.

So far, this Christmas season has been a whirlwind of activities, fun and meaningful.  
The tragedy that unfolded last weekend reminds me to stop in the midst of the busyness 
and remember what is truly important.
To not take life for granted.
To treasure the moments together.
I reminded the older children to always turn to the Lord,
in happy times and in sad times.
To cling to Him - the only stability in an uncertain time.


Day Twelve: Advent

My sister-in-law told me about this advent series last year,
and we enjoyed the first book, Jotham's Journey, immensely.
The kids begged me to get the next book in the series, Bartholomew's Passage.
The stories are exciting, and the devotions following each chapter 
are thoughtful and uplifting.
Though we started the book late, we quickly caught up this week 
and are eager for each day's reading!
I highly recommend this advent series 
and am thinking about getting the rest of the books to use throughout the year.
Another item we are using is an Advent calendar called The Story of Christmas.  
The description from says:
"Wonderfully illustrated and brimming with holiday spirit, 
the calendar features 24 jewel-like miniature board books 
nestled in a three-paneled, stand-alone backer. 
The books are numbered 1 through 24, 
and, like the peek-a-boo windows on an Advent calendar, 
are meant to be opened one per day from December 1st through Christmas Eve. 
Read in sequence, they capture the magic of the first Christmas, 
from Gabriel’s visit to Mary (Book 4) 
to the Three Wise Men gazing at the star (Book 9) to Jesus' birth (Book 24). 
Each book is one of four different trim sizes and features a gold thread loop 
so that after it's read, it can be hung on the Christmas tree."

These are tools to remind us daily about the wonder and spirit of this beautiful season.
I love snuggling with my little ones on the couch 
and reading these books each day.
They are a big part of making our 25 Days of Christmas meaningful! 


Day Eleven: A Day In The Mountains

 On the last day of Grandma's visit, we spent the day up in the mountains.
We are blessed to live so close - our views from around town:
It was a perfect day.
The majesty of the mountains never fail to impress 
and also leave deep impressions in our hearts,
helping to put things in perspective...
 A gorgeous sunset as we made our way home.
Thank You, God, for Your beautiful artistry!


Day Ten: A Practical Response

A friend and I were chatting about our desire for this holiday season to be about more than just ourselves...even the 25 Days of Christmas was supposed to be about more than our family's fun activities. We pass by people with cardboard signs throughout our town and wonder how to respond.  

We want to. Do something.  But what exactly?  Not being prepared with an answer and response makes us turn our heads away and end up doing nothing.  We sometimes remember to pray and that IS a response.  But we want to model compassion for our children, that if there is something we can do to help others that is in our power to do so, we should.  Pray for the problem and pray for the solution, God's way.  
We invited other homeschooling families from our church to make bags filled with practical items to give out to those we come across with the cardboard signs.  Water, snacks, handwarmers, gum, tissues, hand sanitizer, chapstick...we included a tract and a Christmas card in each bag.
With donations of items from church members, we were able to make three times the amount of bags we had planned for each family!
With our cars loaded, we are prepared to respond to others less fortunate with a kind word and practical gift...and we plan to keep our cars stocked too beyond this holiday season.  Carrying in our hearts the love we have received through the gift of Jesus Christ and finding ways to pour out to others His Love in ways that will minister to body and soul.  During the worship dance services, the pastor encouraged us to LEAK out into the community beyond the church walls.  Giving these bags is one way for us to LEAK with our children!