Sunday, December 16, 2007

Merry Christmas

I have plans to snuggle in this week, as the weather has finally turned cold enough to use blankets, and work our way through the holiday book basket. I am going to be taking an internet break to do some of my own personal reading and reflecting. I will be back in this little spot on the 31st! May the Lord bless each of you!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Miss Molly I knew you would ask!!! What are we reading? We are reading books from Sonlight Year 5. We are not necessarily a Sonlight "family". When we lived outside the USA, it was such a blessing to get everything in one box. Now that we are here, I enjoy picking and choosing and following the kids interests more. But Year 5 I knew we had to do. I want all the kids around 10ish-12ish to read through the books put togetehr in this very special year. Year 5 is not so much a study of a history of a place but the study of people groups. We are at the very beginning of Year 5 (yes, I know that technically we are halfway through the school year. Don't ask!). I think with all the tangents and further exploration we are doing it could take us three years to finish this. We are reading the classic The Island of the Blue Dolphins. I loved this book as a young girl. I thought it would be adventurous, romantic and a little scary to be left all alone on an island. It has been such a delight to watch my children's reactions to this personal favorite.

We are also reading Torches of Joy, which I alluded to here. It is the story of John and Helen Dekker, missionaries to Papua New Guinea.

We are using the book 100 Gateway Cities of the 10/40 Window, as a prayer guide. It has been fascinating plotting the different cities on our map and fun to do further research on the Internet.What did homeschoolers do before Google? And we recently threw in Mosque by David Macauly. I love this man's books. I also do a mini-read aloud with the littles. We snuggle under the covers on my bed and are (believe it or not Miss Molly) reading through Milly-Molly-Mandy!

Well, there you have it. I am off to bed now, as it is late, because I spent too much time fooling around with that header!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl!!!

She is twelve. I may not be able to finish this post due to an electrical malfunction of my keyboard. I am not sure how well it can stand up to the amount of tears that might be shed on it. My baby girl L1 turned twelve today. I surprised her with a special trip out to lunch with her bestest friend. After lunch she spent the afternoon at her gal pal's house and then came home and spent an insane amount of time playing Howrse. She was thoroughly pleased with her day. What can I say about her? She is a mixture of sweetness, delight and a dash of tomboyness and a sharp tongue. Her first love in life at the moment (and I suspect will continue for quite some time) is horses.

She spends hours visiting our neighborhood wild mustang Adam. They have become rather close. He will come running for the fence when he sees her approaching. She has also been blessed with riding lessons. This past month she has begun jumping. L1 loves it. Her only thought is of going higher and faster. I admit to not watching most of the time.

When she can't get near a horse, she spends her time building elaborate jumps for the family dog. That dumb dog will not sit for me but will run any crazy course L1 dreams up.

My crazy girl, I love you. I love the way you make me laugh, your encouraging words and the joy you bring to my every day. Oh, I pray we will be friends one day. The best of friends. And the ironing out of you becoming you,drives us closer, not farther,apart! Happy birthday!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Back to "Normal" Chaos

The chaos of the craft fair is over. All our bits and bobs are sitting patiently on a wee table to find new homes. We are getting back to normal business around here, which means back to read-alouds!

Read-alouds are every one's favorite part of our home school adventure. The sad thing is, they are the first to get bumped when the schedule gets tight. Everyone continues squeezing in their own personal reading and the littles (what I call my non-fluent readers) always manage to find someone to read to them. It is settling down and ALL of us sharing the same story that goes. This weekend I providentially came across an audio download titled "A Less Hurried Approach to Homeschooling" by the Bluedorns.

It has some extremely practical points on the nitty-gritty of how to do read-alouds with a bunch of kids. I found it inspriing and encouraging. Please, no one create an image in their head with children snuggled beside me,others at my feet, listening quietly with rapt attention. It has never happened. Everyone is allowed to do pretty much what they want as long as they remain quiet doing it.

There are lots of interruptions, questions about the story, which I welcome and then questions about what is for lunch, which I do not welcome! The littles will often play with my hair, draw, puzzles or play quietly with small toys. The older kids draw, crochet or work on some other handiwork project. When we are in a pinch for time and still want to get read-alouds done, the kids will fold laundry while I read. Today, we made play-doh. (It doubled as math!!)

Everyone settled down with their still warm play-doh and I curled up in the rocking chair for a rather pleasant read-aloud time.It is nice to resume familiar routines.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sneak Peek

**lil' bibs**

**lil' totes**

Sunday, December 2, 2007


This afternoon, my mom and I went to the theatre to view the movie Bella. It was a sensory feast. I was captured with the colors and sounds of New York. They spoke quite a bit of Spanish throughout the movie, this tickled me. I want to take my sister to see it and ask her if she recognizes any of the places. I am curious to know whether she thinks it gave an accurate glimpse into New York City life. The story line is brilliant.They captured the feelings and reactions of a young woman who has discovered an unplanned pregnancy with great clarity. I found tears welling up in my eyes as I remembered the process of finding out I was pregnant with L1. The sadness of life plans averted and changed, not willingly by the participants of life but by an unforeseen hand, struck a deep cord within me. Those changed plans may seem a disaster at first but this movie ends with hope. The sweet hope of a Love bigger than ourselves . I feel as if I am babbling on now. I am not a movie critic and most of the time not a very good writer. My words can not do this movie, this small bit of beauty and hope, any justice. Please, go and see it for yourself.

**I tried to embed the trailer but it did not work. Please, head over here and watch it. I will conquer this whole embedding thing. I will!!!***

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Birthday Goodness!

I would love you to meet Annie. She was the final birthday gift I received this year. I am over-the-moon thrilled to have her live in my house. Sadly, my house is not as cute as her acorn abode.I am eagerly looking forward to learning more about her and have enjoyed imagining what adventures lie ahead of her. I have also enjoyed the thought of being able to gloat and say," Well, yes, I have an original Annie. One of the first ones ever created!" Te-he! NOW, that does sound like fun,huh? Oh, dear sweet friend, keep creating!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Our Conspiracy Plan

I have mentioned briefly before my struggle with the holidays. I want to slow down once the holidays begin to come around. My desire is to savor this time with family and friends. I want to reflect on the gifts given to me. I have a yearning to simplify, dwell on those things beyond the everyday and give out of the gratitude that wells up in my heart. Every year, no matter how hard I try to beat back the onslaught of important "have-tos", "shoulds", and "expecteds", I get caught up in the crazy frenzy and miss what I so deeply desire. This year will be different. We are going to be very intentional in the giving of our time and resources. We will also be intentional about our receiving,too! The kiddos and I have often pored over this catalog. As we were making the most important birthday list we make all year, ideas for gifts from it kept coming up. After exploring this movement that is taking place, studying Year 5 from Sonlight this year and our deep desire to give, we came up with our plan. All the handmade goodies Mom makes we could sell and then use that money to buy the gifts we want to give to Jesus this year. I will be setting up a table at the Pinewood Christian Academy's Annual Craft & Book Fair (THIS RUNS DEC.10TH -15TH). We will take 50% of the sales made there to purchase our gifts. I had also wanted to set up an online store, that would be open the entire month of December and have 80% of the sales made there to go towards purchasing more gifts. BUT . . . my list was larger than my capability capacity this year. So, if you are local (or will be in the area) stop by and have a look-see at our humble offerings. The kids have a new bike(just like kids,huh?) in mind first,one daughter can not imagine anyone going without a fresh drink, and a piglet would be pure fun after reading about how important they are to some cultures. I will be posting some sneak peeks at the beginning of next week. There is a lot of whispering going on around here! I think more plans are being made.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Want to Join Us?

Yikes! Someone kindly pointed out to me that when you linked through to the video I had, it also took you to some inappropriate stuff. Sorry about that. I am still trying to figure out this whole video embedding thing. So here is a link to the user's page who made the videos for the Advent Conspiracy. There is nothing scary on his page but when you click through the videos on his site, you will be in You Tube land. Please, be wise and view You Tube with great discretion!Once again, sorry about that.


Monday, November 26, 2007

The Making of Lists

Howdy, one and all! I am finally resurfacing after a lovely break with J and the kids. There is much to share but right now this girl is going to crawl under the sheets and pass out. Today was the first day back to "school" for us (ummm in awhile!) and it was rough. I have two birthday posts to write. I hadn't realized how much the kiddos enjoyed them, until two somebodies, pointed out to me I haven't written theirs,yet. I also have one final birthday goodie to share. Man, my birthday rocked this year!!! The kids and I have joined a conspiracy, there will be a shop opening up to aid the effort and I have to write some more posts about my amazing (single)sister, who found a job here by us and is not moving away to some dreadful place where it snows. I also really need to update my books read list. Do any of y'all actually look at that? I like it. It is very tangible proof I have accomplished something!!!! Be back in this space tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Here a Birthday, There a Birthday . . .

. . .Everywhere a Birthday!!! Well, at least that is how it feels around here in the fall. I celebrated my birthday at the beginning of this month. My small group had cake for me. J invited the folks over for an impromptu dinner (made by him!). I got to spend time with my sister and my "bosom" friend. All in all, it was rather lovely. I also received this book, as a gift.

I have wanted to get my hands on it ever since it came out. I just was never able to rationalize purchasing another craft book. I have been trying very hard to discipline myself and only buy what I need. I have some serious stash I need to use up around here. Know what I mean? I even went so far as to spend an evening reading the entire book, cover to cover, at the local mega-bookstore. The desire for it was not dampened. I only accomplished fanning the flames higher. So, since receiving this beauty, it has been a constant companion. I am working up quite a list. I think I will be revising it though. I truly need no list, just one of everything ,please! Beginner or experienced seamstress, put this one on your Christmas/Birthday/JustBeenAWonderfulPerson list!

Monday, November 12, 2007

DONA International

This past weekend, with great trepidation, I took the first step toward becoming a doula. I attended a 16-hour workshop in Kissimmee, with my "bosom" friend. I loved every minute of it. I love babies, and birth, and the amazing strong women who give themselves over to it. Doula comes from a Greek word which means servant. A doula serves a woman at one of the most intimate times of their lives. I am going to be able to have that privilege!!! I love the energy at births. I love watching not just a baby being born but a family. I have a long road ahead of me,many steps left in the certification process. I have my own self-doubts to wrestle to the ground. I have to figure out what I am going to do with six kiddos, while I run off to serve these ladies! I want this bad, though. Really bad and I know this is my calling. Really and truly, I enter a certain groove. A comfortable spot of knowing who I am and what I can do. I will keep you guys updated on my progress. I have quite a bit of reading to do. I am glad the weather has turned. There is a lot of coffee in my future.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Introducing Jane/June

I would like to take a moment to introduce you to Jane and June.

This is June. We find her, on a fine fall day (November 1st to be exact) reviewing her holiday list. June has finished all she has planned -cookies are baked & in the freezer,all presents are purchased & wrapped, Thanksgiving menu planned, Christmas cards addressed, stamped & signed!!! Yes, June is a marvel. She even had time to whip up a festive apron. Now what shall we do for New Year's???

I would like to introduce you to Jane. Poor, poor Jane, she thought it would be festive to home dye her hair red & green. As you can see it did not turn out so well. On the 23rd of December, around midnight, she realized her scheme of making matching pj's for the kiddos was not going to happen. In despair, she tossed the scissors and is retreating to her room with a cup of joe and chocolate until mid-January.

This Topsy-turvy doll is my entry for the 2007 Holiday Softie Awards. (Please, stop by and browse through all the amazing entries) I am not a big holiday gal. There are multiple reasons for this,of which none I am going to go into. Too much navel-gazing for me, thank you very much! This little gal was great therapy. Everyone in my house has decided I need to place her on the table and use her as a way to give everyone a heads up as to my state of being! I am thinking maybe it is not such a bad idea!

The thing is though, now I am getting a little weirded out about having her up there for the "world" to see. Does anyone else get this knots in their stomach feeling when showing your work to other folks?

Monday, October 29, 2007


Just what was I thinking? Sigh . . .

Friday, October 26, 2007


The boy's room is complete. (Well,mostly.Tomorrow we move everything back in and he still needs some curtains and new bedding but the really big stuff is done!)He knew exactly what he wanted on his walls. We found the inspiration over at blik.WARNING:: You could drop some serious dough over there!

My dad and I made the stencils and then The Boy and I painted them on. The Boy also knew he wanted to use chalkboard paint to make a chalkboard above where his desk will be.

The floor was the tricky part. It used to be a shaggy, rental brown, floor to floor carpet.I loathe carpet. Besides all the germs and dirt that get trapped under it, keeping it nice looking with six kids, two dogs ,six cats and a rat is impossible. We have recently tiled the rest of the house but I needed to be able to do this project on my own. I was concerned about my skills in that area. There was the stick on tile option. Which I thought at first I would go with but it ended up being cost prohibitive and I really wanted something indestructible. We chose to paint the cement floor.

First we cleaned it really well with a solvent I am sure will be found to cause cancer! Then we simply painted a design on with regular ole' paint. We actually used the leftovers from several different projects. Then we sealed it with a wet-look cement sealer. This process took about a week due to high humidity levels around here. It took the paint forever to dry. The girl's room was pretty crowded for awhile. The Boy requested a special logo for his floor and J was glad to help out with this part of the project. All in all, I am very pleased and more importantly so is The Boy. Next up, the girls room but I truly need a couple of weeks without the chaos home improvement causes around here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Flow (and gushing)

This post has sparked a lot of thinking on my part today. Before I go any farther, please pop over here and read it. I will wait. OK, did you really read it? I mean it . . .That amazing gal Stefani can say it far better than me any day. After you are done reading this post go back over there and read this and this and this. Those are just some of my favorite. I am sure you will find your own. Add her to your blog roll. She is a wonderful writer, photographer and is sure to bring a smile, of one variety or another ,to your face. Alright so you read it and I can go on. I am fascinated by the way the human brain works. The slew of kiddos around here has me devouring most everything I can on brain development.After bumping into this post I realized that the things that are considered "optimal" for brain growth are the very things that produce "flow". There is a vast amount of information out there on this subject. I could write a whole book. (Well, if I had some spare time) So I am just going to highlight a few key points and let you tnihk on it awhile.

Things that enhance brain development:

:: An attentional mind-set to the task at hand.This makes me think of the studied look my children assume when they get in the flow.

::Low to moderate stress. Flow is hard to achieve in the hustle & bustle of rushing to & fro. I often need to remind myself that too many "good" activities cause stress,too.

::Coherent,meaningful tasks. It is important to remember what an adult considers meaningful & coherent will be very different than what a child considers meaningful & coherent.Children find great meaning in the process of an activity.Adults tend to be very outcome oriented.

::Repetition of task. If you have children, I really do not need to comment on this.

::Sufficient time. I find this the hardest. I constantly feel like I am hacking away at our schedule to create more time for my children to just exist and find their own way.

That was just a teeny, tiny tip of the iceberg. If this has produced in you a desire to learn more check out books written by Jane M. Healy, PH.D or Eric Jensen.

*a certain someone's birthday is coming soon*

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scrappy Kitties (and little pouches,too!)

I have been very blessed this past year to teach the Jr.High girl's Sunday School class at my church. It is an amazing bunch of young ladies and I am enjoying their fresh perspective on things. We have been memorizing scripture together. This month we are working on Psalm 121. I wanted to provide them with an incentive and I knew candy bars were not going to cut it for this group of chic gals.(King-size candy bars are a standard youth group prize.) Both of these projects came from Denyse Schmidt's book. They were infinitely easier than that other project.

The zippered purses were easy to whip up,just like Denyse said. The pink is a vinyl, the other colors leather, that I picked up thrifting. I went a little wacky with the designs. Denyse just sticks to the zigzag in her project but it is very open to creating your own look.

The kitties were inspired by her Steve cat. Little blue Chloe is a reinvented wool blanket.

Boris and Chloe are both sporting bits & bobs from my vintage notion stash. I am having difficulty parting with theses two cuties!

If you have not checked out Denyse's book, please do.The book is divided into three sections. The first section is a comprehensive tool,techniques and basic sewing skills section. The second section contains twenty projects (like the cats & purses) and the third section contains ten quilts. I want to try my hand at all of them!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Yep, She Fell Off the Fence

I had carefully plotted out our course for the day. Everything was running smoothly. Most everyone had finished school and we were heading into lunch ahead of schedule,then they came running.

"The girls fell mommy! And N3 can not get up!"

Quickly I jogged out to the backyard and found N3 laying on the ground.H4 had also fallen but thankfully only received some "road rash". I think she might have been spared worse by falling on her sister! N3's arm was twisted funny under her, crying,out of breath, I carried her inside. It hurt to put ice on her arm and it was beginning to swell a little. J would be home in 30 minutes, so we waited on Daddy to see what he thought. He confirmed my suspicions that it was possibly broken. Off to the doctor we went. (After dropping the rest of the kiddos off with a friend. I heart my friends!)An x-ray showed it was a fracture and she would need a cast the next day. Our first.

Interesting statements N3 has made:

::"Yeah, no school for three weeks!"

::"Yeah, no baths for three weeks!"

::" Mom, I don't have anything that goes with red for church."

::" Instead of kung-fu, I can perform cast-fu!" (said while waving cast in a violent manner)

It has not slowed her down at all, though!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What a Day!

Oh, why do I even bother to make lists? I never make it past the getting dressed part:) More tomorrow. This mama is going to get some coffee.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Life Goes On

I feel apprehensive about the posting I made last week about my Dad. I could not bring myself to write another word keeping that information inside me,tra-la-la skipping along like nothing happened. I feel like I blurted it out really fast, with my eyes shut tight and then on to happier thoughts, though. That is not what it is like. It is hard to live with someone ,so close to you, that isn't always there for you the way you think they should be.

It's hard to love, honour and give when you so desperately want to demand your rights. I find it next to impossible to balance this new role I have been thrust into and all the usual life stuff with six kids and the poor,bottom-of-the list husband. (Somewhere in there should be the animals but you can neglect them for awhile, as long as you ignore their messes!)

I hate having to confront my selfishness. I enjoy things my way and at my leisure. BUT ya' know what? It's OK. God has called me to love. That love is not just for people in Africa, China or a country in some special window. That love is also meant for those around me, those closest to me. He knows it is impossible for me to love, with this fleshly heart. That is why, the creator of this amazing universe has said He will use me to do the impossible because all things are possible with Him. I still clean up messes.

I still enjoy sweet smiles, hugs and songs from A5. I get up in the morning excited to see God do the impossible in me. I have chosen to daily walk in that expectation. Life will never be normal. Normal is a setting on my dryer. BUT life can be full of an incomprehensible joy found only in Him. I am fighting for it! How about you?

Thursday, October 11, 2007


One of the nice advantages of being THE Boy is you get your own room!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The First Quilt

Saying that H4 is not a morning person is a major understatement. She comes by it honestly,though. Neither her dad or I wake up quickly. Every morning she lugs out her twin size,duvet covered, down comforter and crawls up on the couch.The problem with the routine was that the comforter got dragged across my floors. We sweep them but there is a reason when asked ,"What color tiles are you looking for, ma'am?" I replied quickly'"Dirt"! All this dragging about was causing the comforter to be washed more frequently than I would have liked. I thought to myself, what she really needed was a lap quilt. My next thought was . . ."I bet I could make one."

After having done some of the smaller projects from Denyse Schmidt's book I decided to tackle a quilt.I picked "Flock of Triangles" for my first project. I was drawn to this particular one because of the use of orange fabric in the photo. (No, not because I read all the directions from begining to end and thought I had the skills to make the quilt!!)I wanted the quilt to speak a little of who, at this moment, H4 is. My dear friend friend summed up H4 once perfectly,"She is a party waiting to happen!". H4 is that and more. She may be slow to wake up but once she gets going-WATCH OUT! My little imp does everything with gusto and often sweeps this mama up in her pint sized whirlwinds.

After having made the quilt, I wish I had started with squares! This was one hard quilt. No matter how I cut or sewed, I could not get points on my triangles. There are a few that managed to emerge but trust me, they were an accident. It was not because of any skill I posses in this area. I loved the process of selecting colors, love the bumpy texture it came out with and LOVE the smile on H4's face when she tells folks about the quilt I made for her. I am just so not lovin' those triangles.

N3 sat down with me the other day to discuss the colors for her quilt.

HER "Mom, I would like light blues and purples. OK?"

ME "Sure sweetie. You can pick any color you want but mama is cutting the fabric into squares.OK?"

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Happy Birthday!!!

Amidst the wild ride last week was,we celebrated life. Sweet N3 has reached the very old and wise age of nine. At our house we usually have two birthday celebrations. One is with family and then one with friends. This year N3 had a sleepover. She had a gaggle of girls here for a Webkinz party.

There was a water balloon relay, a custom designed pin-the-cold-pack-on-the-pig-Dr.Quack's-assistant game and a raw egg on a spoon race.(I have no idea what to call these games. Sorry for the rambling descriptions.) N3 requested a Plumpy cake, which actually was not as terrifying to make as I thought it would be.

Her party went off without a hitch thanks to some very dear ladies who stepped in to help J manage the crowd. Thanks ladies!!!

My girl has quite a bit of spunk and a zany sense of humor. She is a creative spirit and like her mother, can not stp until the idea is out of her head and on the table being photographed.`

::Penny Pockets, created & photographed by N3

::Learning the fine art of breadmaking

::Playing Project Runway

::Her favorite spot

::Never without a pair of these

Off to plan the next birthday! Counting down-17 days!!!