Friday, August 30, 2019

FOR HIM: Back to School Feast 2019

The best part of our Back to School Feast is unveiling the theme.
Mr. Nielson and I start planning months
 ahead to find the perfect words to guide us throughout the year.
Once the family is sitting down at the table with crowns on our heads, 
we presented the theme.
This year we chose our theme from one of the most influential 
talks I've ever heard given by Joy D. Jones entitled: For Him
"When serving our God becomes our 
main priority in life, 
we lose ourselves, and in due course, 
we find ourselves"
The talk is about learning how to do everything and anything in life
with Him in mind, particularly service.
Sister Jones says: 
"Can such a godly focus apply in everything we do? 
Can performing even a menial task become an opportunity to 
demonstrate our love and devotion to Him? I believe it can and will.
We can make each item on our to-do list become a way to glorify Him. 
We can see each task as a privilege and opportunity to serve Him,
 even when we are in the midst of deadlines, duties, or dirty diapers.

On each Nies plate was a little box.
Inside the box for the boys was a tie clip with a Morse code
message on the front that says: FOR HIM  
Inside the little box for the girls was a dainty gold
ring with their birth-month flower engraved on the front.
On the inside of the ring is two words: FOR HIM.
"For Him" is a reminder for the Little Nies
 to remember that EVERYTHING we do is FOR HIM.
With that powerful message in mind,
daily serving, and loving, and finding compassion
with those we live and work with, or who we go to school with will
be easier and more meaningful for us and for them.
And He will help us shift our minds and hearts
to serve out of love rather than duty.

Do it (whatever that may be) FOR HIM because when we love Him,
 He can help us truly, honestly, and deeply love and serve others.

"The Lord taught us how to make the process of serving others
 easier and more meaningful...
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, 
with all thy might, mind, and strength; and in the name of 
Jesus Christ thou shalt serve him.”

* * * * * * *
Feast Details:
succulents for the table
Morse code tie clips
gold rings
Theme design
notebooks, photo theme game, framed theme

Thursday, August 29, 2019

It was a close one.

Mr. Nielson had planned on taking the Little Nies kayaking on the
 Haw river Saturday while I prepared and set up for our feast, but
sadly the weather had other plans.
It rained most of day which forced plan B; 
school shopping at the mall, movie, and lunch.
Around 5:45 the family pulled up to The White House after
 a long full day of what Mr. Nielson said was "just wasting time".
I met them in the garage and told them that they had to quickly
pass through the kitchen and dining room, and up to the stairs to their rooms
so they wouldn't see the table and surprises just yet.
And just like every year, on their beds a was another surprise:
 dresses for the girls, and ties and socks for the boys.

My last instructions to the Nies were they couldn't come
 down the stairs until 6:30.
That was really hard for Lottie who occasionally would
 peek her head over the banister ledge
while I added the last touches to our dinner.
It really did feel like Christmas eve.
Then it got a little harry.
At 6:30 I yelled for the family to come down and
Lottie practically jumped all 18 steps to the front door where
 her smile turned to a frown because she slipped in her tap shoes
on the wet front porch. Then the boys laughed at her (which made it worse),
and then Ollie complained his crown was too tight
(I'm just so glad he's not too cool to wear it).

Then we waited for Claire and Jane who were upstairs in
a little sister tiff.  I was sure Satan was attempting to hijack our night
with a few last minute complications.

I have to admit, it was a close one and that stupid little devil failed because
we had the most wonderful spiritual dinner and program. (SUCKER).
I mean, sure it took a million years to get everyone
downstairs, looking good, tears wiped,
 and and ready for a few photos before dinner.
 But it was worth it and we did it!
And someday we'll reflect on the photos and night and have a good
laugh (at the devils expense too).
And sure it took TONS of patience from me and Mr. Nielson because
there was many times I wanted to throw my hands up and give up.


lemon pie with cream
pink grapefruit & lemonade bublie

Back to School Feast 2018

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Feast Details

The Back to School Feast was our best yet (I say that every year).
Mr. Nielson took the kids ALL DAY on Saturday 
(movie, lunch, school shopping at the mall, etc...) 
while I went to the grocery shopping for the feast,
set up the table, and prepared our dinner.  
It takes me all day because I try and make it as special as 
I possibly can, plus a day of creative quiet is super fun. 
 It's all around a great tradition.

I used green and gold for our theme colors this year, and
ordered a beautiful green ombre table cloth to cover the table.
I dyed my own napkins green ombre to match the tablecloth which
as it turns out was pretty cool to make, and looked extra fancy.

As usual, each Little Nie got a giant scribble pad, and little notepad 
with our new family theme printed on it.
Of course we had gorgeous stained glass stars by Piggy & Dirt.
Each of the kids personal stars was a different color of green glass,
 and the family theme star was made up of each kids green glass, it was perfect!
A few weeks ago in the garage Mr. Nielson and the boys made a wooden
 giant box and painted it black for my 48 tiny succulents to rest in.  
I luuuuuvvvvv it.

Setting the table is almost as fun as the actual feast.

I also had all of our family themes! (13 of them) made into a
fun memory game so Lottie (and all the kids) can memorize
past themes. It's been a fun thing around our house.

(More details tomorrow).

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

First Day of School 2019

It was the FIRST day of school here in North Carolina.
Claire: 12th grade
Jane: 11th grade
Oliver: 9th grade
Nicholas: 7th grade
Charlotte: 2nd grade
This morning as I took the token first day of school photos,
I was holding back tears thinking that this was
 Claire's last first day of grade school with her siblings. 
I was holding back tears thinking that this is Jane's 
last year of school with Claire.
I was holding back tears thinking about Oliver
 starting his first year in High School.

I was holding back tears thinking about Nicholas
all alone in middle school without Oliver with him.

And I was holding back tears thinking about Lottie 
just even going to school. (I want her to be 2 or 3 years old forever).
Especially since she's had kind of a rough start with her teacher situation,
her classroom, and her trying to understand why all of her other friends 
are in the other classes together without her. 
BUT...she can do it...I can do it, we can do it together!
I picked up Gigs and Lottie at the bus stop.
Nicholas had a lot to tell me on the ride home,
and Lottie pooped out and fell asleep in the car.
  (I doubt she slept much the night before).
Just as we pulled up to The White House,
my high-schoolers pulled up too.
Perfect timing!
Later that evening around the dinner table with burrito bowls
the kids all gave us a full report on their day.
Hearing what French class was like for Jane and Ollie had 
me laughing out loud.

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