Thursday, September 30, 2010

Makin’ soup…

Baby’s up and pushing his little walker all over the place, squealing, stopping to plunge with wild abandon into a pile of books, emerging with one held up, triumphant… He’s all about car and truck books at this point, and if you don’t read the one he wants to hear, he’ll protest loudly until you do.

And I’m making this soup. Yummm. Cornbread to follow…

Planning to be a cheerful lady for the hubster when he gets home. Gotta love the sweet hilltops with the valleys, right? =)


I have so much in my life. God has blessed me more than abundantly. I have a wonderful, godly husband that I soooo do not deserve, two beautiful, fun, and healthy boys, a nice house, a car to drive, good food on the table, etc., etc. I can go on and on. Really, I’ve got very little to complain about…

But, like everyone else I know on Planet Earth, I worry. I want despite what I already have…

There are a couple of significant areas of my life right now that I have absolutely zero control over. That’s really tough for me. All I can do is pray. And then pray again. And then pray some more.

This fallen world is a tough place to live. Those who follow Christ aren’t exempt from the junk that everyone else has to deal with… we just get to know that there’s a blessed and good end to it at some point. We struggle and fall and struggle some more. There isn’t enough true rest on this earth to really refresh us for long.

I don’t know what God’s answer for me and my family will be in these areas. I don’t do well with waiting, and I feel like I’ve already waited for too long. Most days I handle it all well, but other days, I struggle. This is one of those.

Thanks for praying for me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A is for Acorn…

One of the lovely (and not so lovely) things about homeschooling is the wide variety of educational philosophies and curriculum choices. There’s so much out there that it can be overwhelming….

But I need to remember that I do have an advantage here. My mom taught me through example that its not the particular curriculum you use or educational philosophy YOU like most that matters… A hodgepodge of stuff that works best for YOUR CHILD can still produce a child that loves to learn and becomes a lifelong learner. Strict adherence to a particular method can be frustrating for mom and children…. and it doesn’t really matter as long as they have access to good books, very limited access to tv and video games, and curriculum that teaches them in the way that they learn best.

I’m experimenting a bit with unit studies. A friend down the street loaned me Before Five in A Row. Basically, you take a good children’s book, you read it every day for 5 days, and each day you do a different activity related to the story. For instance, we read The Carrot Seed yesterday. We talked about how carrot seeds grow, and then we cut the top off a carrot, put it in a dish on the windowsill with water, and we’re going to attempt to grow a carrot top. He’ll need patience, just like the little boy in the book, and he’ll need to check in on his carrot every day, etc., etc.

But I’m not sure that unit studies alone are best for his particular 3-year-old boy mind right now. So I’ve come up with the fly by the seat of your pants, lots-of-little-learning-experiences-that-take-less-than-an-hour-while-the-baby-naps curriculum. Today’s curriculum…

A Is For Acorn

- Write the capital and lowercase letter A on the Magnadoodle. Tell him the two sounds they make. Give word examples- alligator, ant.

- Do the Letter Bag. Fill a bag with things that start with the letter A and have him draw them out.

- Make an acorn man with the glue stick. Write the word “Acorn” on the page with the Acorn Man. Have him practice writing a letter A there.

- Dance to a music and movement song together.

- Read Imogene’s Antlers. Stop and let him say “antler” every time it appears in the story.

- Do one worksheet of line drawing practice. Let him cut it with scissors after he’s done, not fussing too much about exactly how he’s holding them. =) Let him color on the back.

- Make Ants on a log for snack together. (peanut butter on celery with raisin Ants.)

Monday, September 27, 2010



Thankful for….

- Soft, soaking rain falling for the first time in weeks…

- Boys who sleep in and take long naps…

- Arrival of a new baby niece, complete with my brother’s loved features imprinted across her tiny face…

- A dear friend who soothes me with theological knowhow as I fight against theology I know in my heart to do injustice to God’s love, loans me lovely books, and cuddles my boys…

- The sensuous writing of Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence”…. you can almost taste the fresh fruits and cheeses…

- Little boy spinning in circles as his toy plane goes “Up! Up! Up!,” and I dance around the kitchen, prepping breakfast casserole for tomorrow and dinner for today…

- An empty sink and clean laundry…

- A full to-do list…mostly checked off…

- A mercifully lovely start to the week after a rather rotten weekend of sickness…

- Time to make this list…

Friday, September 24, 2010

The God within…

Suffering with a stomach bug today. Woke up in the middle of the night, threw up, and my first thought was, “David has to be in court tomorrow, and he’ll get a contempt citation if he stays with me. I am in trouble.” I pick the best days to get sick. Woke him up in the middle of the night with my sickness, and as we lay there, him knowing he had to get up at 5:00 a.m. to drive to court, and me wondering what today would bring, and what I would do since I get no sick days… I said, “Life is hard sometimes, isn’t it…” And in the dark I heard a quiet, “Yes.”

Thank the Lord for my mother who drove up this morning to love on my boys so I could sit still and beg my queasy stomach to calm down. Having her here was such a blessing… I can’t even tell ya.

But since I can sit still and upright at this point, here I am. Found this quote on the net a minute ago and thought I’d share it. It was quoted in the context of the whole “Eat, Pray, Love” phenomenon, but it certainly applies all the time and in all situations, seeing as how its true and all.

From G.K. Chesteron’s Orthodoxy (p. 81):

“Of all horrible religions the most horrible is the worship of the god within. . . . That Jones shall worship the god within him turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones. Let Jones worship the sun or moon, anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within.

Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.”

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

a question of mistaken identity…

So… my sister-in-law, Terri, and I often share book recommendations. We both snarf down books like its going out of style. Keeping up with our ravenous appetites can be tough.

I was excited when she told me about a book that she’d recently loved. She said that the title was “Green Dolphin Street.” Now, seeing as our local library often does not have books that I hear about and would like to read, I was super excited when a search promptly pulled up the title. Bingo.

I went to the library, and I got it. I started reading. It. was. awful. The central theme of the book was a justification of adultery, plain and simple. Lots of intellectual justifying of the goodness of this affair, etc., etc. I kept reading, growing more and more puzzled. It was awful… but Terri had recommended it, so there must a plot twist, something, anything. Nope. Awful from start to finish.

My opinion of Terri’s good book judgment suffered. We don’t always like the same books, but she hasn’t ever recommended a book before that was mainly a justification of sin.

Sooo…being the obnoxious person that I am, I casually mentioned on Facebook chat that I’d despised her recommendation. Told her I couldn’t get past the adultery plot, since it was central to the book.

She appeared puzzled. She had not remembered adultery being the main theme of “Green Dolphin Street.”

Something clicked. I asked her to give me the author’s name, please. Elizabeth Goudge is the author of “Green Dolphin Street.” The book I had read was written by a man.

I read “On Green Dolphin Street” by Sebastian Faulks. Not the same book at all. My husband did a lot of laughing about this one. Terri, my opinion of your taste in books has been redeemed. =)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Keep it simple…

I found this article today, and it spoke to me. =) The more I look at Charlotte Mason’s philosophy, the less worried I get. Simple is better when they’re young…

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Looking for the clubhouse…

These thoughts popped in my head as I got a long overdue shower this afternoon. Ahem. So I thought I’d post them, for what they’re worth. Granted, I’m aware that that might not be much.

I was thinking about how some homeschooling bloggers avoid being very “Rah Rah!” about homeschooling. There’s a lot of “this works for me, but I’m certainly not suggesting that your choice is in any way inferior to mine” going around the mommy blogger sphere. I understand why this is… nobody wants to add extra to the loads of mommy guilt that we all feel over our decisions.

But… I’d like to find the “Rah Rah!” homeschooling clubhouse, please. I’m hoping for a quiet corner of the internet where those of us in agreement can climb in and pull up the rope ladder. There would be nice, hand lettered signs on the outside that say, “If you don’t think homeschooling is the most awesome thing EVER, please don’t come in. We don’t want to offend you. The Private School Clubhouse, and the Public School Clubhouses are just around the corner. Peace out.,” etc.

I think that a lot of us would like a little more “Rah Rah!” about our particular choices on some days. It helps keep us going when times are tough because of those choices. Unless you’re being smacked in the face that this choice isn’t right for you, you want to hear why it’s great.

For instance, the mom who’s spending $20,000 a year on her children’s private school education might not want to hear on a particular day that somebody else’s children are thriving in their local public school. If so, then she wonders if she’s totally wasting her money. Why not get that bathroom remodel and great big soaking tub she’s always wanted instead? If it doesn’t really matter that they go to private school, she wonders periodically if she might as well tear her money into bitty pieces and eat it. She needs to go to the Private School Clubhouse and kick back for a bit…

And if my children will thrive in the local school, then why am I planning to bust my hump every day to teach them? Might as well throw their backpacks on them, tell them to go wait for the bus, and put my feet up, right? If I feel like this, maybe its time to visit the Home School Clubhouse for some Little Debbies and a chat about the wonders of unit studies. =)

There are days when the clubhouse might come in handy for all of us, I think. It’s encouraging to see others get really excited about a choice that you’re embracing as well. What would be your clubhouse of choice? =)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mother’s Jewels…


Aunt Eleanor wears such diamonds!

Shiny and gay and grand,

Some on her neck and some in her hair,

And some on her pretty hand.

One day I asked my mama

Why she never wore them, too;

She laughed and said, as she kissed my eyes,

My jewels are here, bright blue.

They laugh and dance and beam and smile,

So lovely all the day,

And never like Aunt Eleanor’s go

In a velvet box to stay.

Hers are prisoned in bands of gold,

But mine are free as air,

Set in a bonny, dimpled face,

And shadowed with shining hair!”

- Eugene Field

before and after…


Before we have a cluttered playroom overfilled with toys… so many toys that all the parts of different toys were buried, all the puzzle pieces were everywhere, etc.


And after several hours of labor by the parental units….

No more train table, just train track in a box with plenty of floor space for building. No more basket of doom where toys are buried, never to be seen again….  I’ve got basic craft supplies in bins, and I’m breathing a whole lot easier about putting together a little bit of school this fall for the big one…

Ahhh, feels so nice to get rid of excess stuff….


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Life… and Breakfast cookies…

It’s been a busy week already, and we’re only at Wednesday. =) Lots of firsts, with a new Sunday School class of 3-year-olds for me and David on Sunday and the first day of MOPs yesterday.

We moved up with the two’s that we taught last year in Sunday School, so most of the kids were ones we’ve already come to know and love. This year, we’re going to take on some new things that they’re more ready for. We’re going to ask for prayer requests and pray together every week. And I’m hoping they’ll sing more with us this year. I love to sing kiddie songs! =)

The first day of MOPs went really well. This will be my 3rd year being a small group leader. I hope I have it together more than I did last year, since I don’t have a newborn anymore. We had a LOT of new moms come for the first meeting. I sat with two of them, both pretty new to town. One mom had only moved to our city a week ago! Well, she came to the right place. We have so many transplants at MOPs, and there were definitely some of us at the table that could encourage and sympathize with moving woes. It was nice to feel like God was using me to be a blessing, even in something small like that…

We babysat this morning for a friend’s little girl who is Evan’s age. She fits in well with the boys, and Seth did a good job of being a big helper with the “babies.” I couldn’t believe it, but she cried and didn’t want to let go of me when her mom came. Hilarious! Well, Anna, I guess you’ve ensured that I’ll be sitting for you again!

And I got to try a new recipe this morning. Here’s the link for Breakfast Cookies. They are surprisingly filling and healthy. I think I made them a little too moist at first, so if that happens to you, just add a little flour. My boys loved them with scrambled eggs. I think I’m going to freeze the rest in batches so that we can add them to the breakfast rotation around here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Aunt Mary’s Honey Oat Wheat Bread…

I have a problem. I have finally produced a loaf of wheat bread that is so good that my husband wants me to stop buying sandwich bread from the store. It’s moist, it’s fluffy, it’s delicious… This is my second week making it, helped greatly by the fact that I packaged up a bag of the dry stuff for use this week.

Use at your own risk. You may have a store bought bread mutiny on your hands…

Aunt Mary’s Honey Wheat Oat Bread

1 1/4 c. buttermilk (not sour. It matters.)

1/3 c. honey

1 egg

4 T. butter or oil

1 c. bread flour

2 1/2 c. white wheat or whole wheat flour

1 c. oats

1 t. salt

1 T. yeast

2 t. wheat gluten (I’m not sure if you can skip this or not. Find at health food stores)

Load your breadmaker. Hit the dough cycle. After that’s done, take dough out and make a slightly flattened rectangle with it. Fold in both sides, fold under the short ends, and you have a loaf. Put it in a large, greased loaf pan in a lighted oven. Let rise until its about an inch above the rim of the pan. Bake at 350 for 38 minutes.

Oh, and if you home bakers out there have any cost breakdown estimates, let me know. I got a quart jar of raw honey for $5. Everything else I bought at Walmart. Gluten was free from Mom. I probably can’t beat $2.49 a loaf for Nature’s Own, but the taste is worth it….

Friday, September 10, 2010


I’m tired. And sometimes I’m amazed by how easy it is for me to get this way. My life isn’t that super crammed with things on the calendar. My to do list often has just the essentials on it. How do the working mothers do it? Well, maybe their houses don’t get as trashed every day, I tell myself, but then, I don’t really know.

But I’m still whupped by the time the boys go down for nap, my poor, tired bones just aching to rest. It’s Friday, and I’m done in.

The floor is sticky, there’s dust in the corners, the deck is mess of cobwebs, leaves, and random toys. I don’t care. And I’m thrilled about that. I kick the toys away from the center of the playroom, ignore the stains on the rug, and call it “picked up.”

Soup is in the crockpot, and I care not a bit that the single gal who’s coming for dinner will be using a dish towel to wipe her hands in the downstairs bathroom. This is hospitality “young mom” style. You can come in; just don’t look too closely at my house. But go ahead and admire the handprint art on my windows. Ain’t it cute? That lavendar candle will cover over the faint, lingering scent of teething poop, won’t it? I thought so…

Happy Friday. I’m going to lie down.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

on the climbing of stairs…


Laundry whirring, bread kneading in the Zoji, clean dishes draining quietly…

I can sit for a minute, and that’s good. Got so many little tidbits of things in my head… little fall plans and random errands and desires for this week and next. I like seeing the month’s calendar filling in here and there with places and loved people.

Good weekend with the parents at Breezy Point (though I am currently kinda pooped). Seth had his first time fishing in the boat with Papa. He stayed there, happy as a clam, reeling in his line over and over again… for an hour and a half. And he’s only 3. I think that Papa may be training his fishing buddy for the patience required to actually fish with any sort of seriousness.

I appreciate the multiple ways in which my parents are generous with us. Dad patiently lets Seth “help” him with all sorts of tasks he could do faster on his own, like fishing or mowing. Mom sends her fresh garden produce on so that we’ll have something besides fast food to eat on the way home. They never begrudge us an evening to go out, no matter how few evenings we’ll have with them. Meals are planned and executed with little fuss but plenty of work, and I have to kick Mom away from the kitchen sink to enjoy a sunset with her grandbaby before its all gone. Thank you, Mom and Dad.

Community Bible Study starts this Thursday. Seth and Evan will both have new teachers, and I’m so excited to hear Seth randomly tell me the Bible verses he’s memorizing with his class. He learned more from being in CBS this past year than he did from Sunday School or MOPs. I’m totally impressed with their children’s program so far.

And a few crafts that are on my fall to do list…. I want to make these cookies for both boys’ Sunday School teachers and CBS teachers. We’ll see if that happens or not. I bought the food coloring anyway… And I want to make this wreath for my door. I’m thinking of spray painting it silver and hot glueing some fake cranberries on there and calling it a Christmas wreath. I haven’t seen any wreaths I really liked in the stores for less than $50, and I’m not paying that, so we’ll try this. Maybe. =)

There are many stairs that I have yet to climb on my way to a productive and organized fall season. Whatever. I’ll just do my best and let the rest go. So many desires… so little time. =)