Saturday, April 18, 2015

Springtime in our yard

I love this time of year when the flowers come.  All that color and growth (and the warmth of the sunshine!) beckon me outside, when normally I'm perfectly content indoors.  My lilacs are now in full bloom, and the whole yard smells of them.  The birds are happily chirping from about 5 in the morning on into the evening, and I love it all. 

Three years ago we created a little garden area by the side of our home. 


I sketched out an idea in my journal, and then we just went for it.  We cut a curved path into our grass and took some rocks from other places in the yard (that aren't really made to be walked on, but who says you can't repurpose landscaping rock?! ;))

My hard-working boys, putting in the rock path (Spring 2013)
I did a bit of research and we decided to plant perennials that were happy in the shade, and planted ferns, hosta (White Margined Hosta & Plantain Lily), Brunnera Macrophylla "Jack Frost", and some Dicentra Spectabile Bleeding Hearts (white and rose-pink).  Three years later and this is my favorite spot in our yard.  We've since added a birdbath, a white hydrangea and some peony plants, some tulips and some other things Mark has tucked into the empty spaces.  The whole area is beautiful and flourishing, and it makes me so happy.  :)

White Margined Hosta (Hosta tardiana undulata 'Albo-marginata') & Bleeding Hearts
Here was a little visitor to our birdbath this morning:


I hope you're having a wonderful day today!


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Three photos from this week

From my journal: praying through this verse this week (from Romans 2), particularly in my interactions with the kids.  I've been asking the Holy Spirit to alert me when there is an opportunity for kindness, and to repent when I have not been so.


Happy news: my "little" brother Micah and his wife Tara had a baby boy! Finn.  He's darling and perfect and I am always in wonder over the miracle of pregnancy and birth; the whole amazing process, and the tiny, perfect babies that God creates.  I get to be an auntie again and my kids are over the moon excited about having a new cousin!


And: breakfast.  I make this in some form or another for breakfast every morning, so I decided to snap a picture of it in process.  This is from this morning, and it's about a T of chopped onions, a cup of chopped spinach, a few T of corn and some ground turkey (2 oz).  Then I fry an egg into the middle of it and add salsa on the top.  Sometimes I switch out the meat, depending on what we have (bacon, sausage, ground beef, leftover roast), and corn is a new addition, but it's almost always onions, spinach and the egg with some meat thrown in.  Sometimes I sprinkle smoked paprika and/or cumin on top and YUM.  Love.

Happy Saturday to you!  I'm off to make myself a latte and tidy the kitchen, then my room (so: at the very least: make my bed), while the kids do room clean-up, then make a meal plan and get a grocery list ready, then pick up my Ella from her cousins house, where she slept over.  (Missed her!) and do some Easter baking and cooking.  Love to you and yours,


Monday, March 30, 2015

History narrations

One of my goals for this school year-- well, for every school year- was to be more diligent in history narrations.  It has really been a good thing for all of us, and and here are a few things I like about it:

1. It requires that I know what they're reading, so that I can know if they are narrating well.  And I have found that I love reading along with them as they're learning these things.

2. It requires me to stop and truly pay attention.  No mmhmm-ing while I'm busy doing something else.  I have to really tune in to what they're saying.

3. My kids- especially my boys- LOVE it.  They get to have my undivided attention and talk and talk and talk.... ;)  (In fact when I first handed out their history lesson plans, Isaac read weeks ahead, which is a lot of reading.  I finally told him that he needed to stop, because I really didn't have time to listen to him narrate for that many hours.  ;)

I think doing history narrations has its challenges, too, the main one being that it requires quite a bit of that listening time on my part.  If all three of my kids are doing history on the same day (and they are, twice per week), and they are all reading from a few different books, that equates to a lot of narrating. 

One of the ways I addressed this is that I've assigned drawn narrations for one of their books (The Story of the Greeks).  The chapters/stories are fairly short and easy to narrate with a single picture, so I printed off some of these free printable pages.  Now instead of telling me all about this book with their words, they get to do it through drawing, which they love.  :)  Win-win.  :)

Some of Isaac's drawings

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Thank you, friends, for your kinds words and emails from my last post.  You're all so very sweet.

In my journal the other day, I listed some things I was thankful for in our homeschooling day, so I thought I'd list them out, here, too...

* * *

4802 | being able to sleep in a bit today (thank you, Peter Pan, for entertaining the kids.)  ;)

4803 | morning hugs from Audra

4804 | Bible time with the kids over breakfast (reading about Moses)

4805 | getting outside for playtime and Nature Study and- when I called them in, they asked for extra time outside because they were having so much fun playing whatever game they'd made up out in the yard together.  [Time given. ;)]

4806 | storytime with the kids on the couch, all the kids, all gathered around.... that sweet coming together that reading provides. 

4807 | the All Kinds of Kisses book that Adelia chose for me to read, a book about farm animal mommies snuggling and kissing their little ones, and in which I announced that she would be getting kissed every time I read the word "kiss".  So I tried to smooch her for each page and she hid beneath the blanket and giggled, and all the kids along with her.

4808 | Audra (6), telling me about the movie Peter Pan and how "that girl was acting all fancy and stuff" toward Peter.  (I believe we would call it flirtatious but I loved her description!)

4809 | the sounds of the kids practicing piano

4810 | a good day of math for Ella~ no tears!

4811 | Clipboards!  how well they've taken to them, and how great it is that they are working more independently.

4812 | Spelling with Isaias

4813 | Mark home for lunch

4814 | dinner in the crock pot (pork roast)

4815 | Mr. Putter & Tabby books, because we just love them.

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**Still counting up those "thousand gifts" in my journal.... :)

Monday, March 23, 2015


On Sunday I noticed a family lingering around after the service, so I walked over with Ella and introduced myself and peppered them with questions.  ;)  The woman said this was their first week, then told me her name and the names of her kids.  I asked her if they knew anyone in our church community, and they did, and she mentioned they knew some people from various homeschooling circles.  Great!  So I asked about homeschooling, and she told me of their involvement in MP3 (in case that's not a familiar term: MP3 is a partnership with a local public school, where homeschooled kids can take some classes at the school), and how her eldest was now in public high school.  So then I turned to her eldest and asked him how the transition had been for him from homeschooling to public school.  He said it had been pretty good, and then his mom said, "I think a lot of people think homeschoolers do it the 'old way'; that they're at home all the time in their kitchen!  But our kids have had so many different learning environments that the transition wasn't really a big deal for him."

I don't know this woman at all, nor her story.  And she doesn't know us at all.  She doesn't even know that we homeschool.  But her description of the type of family who stays home and schools in the kitchen?

Um, that would be us.  :)   It's just me with the kids, some books and the kitchen table, folks. 

Her statement stung me.

And Satan knew it.  I was plagued with doubt for the rest of the day and in the wee hours of the morning when I couldn't sleep.  I kept turning her comment over and over in my mind and questioning: Are we doing ENOUGH?  I've been battling it ever since.  I know his accusations well, and this is right along the lines of where he likes to prod me.  I compared and fretted and doubted and feared:  Are we doing enough?  Will my kids be ill-prepared for college/"the real world" (whatever that is) because we aren't MP3ing or because they haven't had "various learning environments"?  Most of their learning happens right here in our home.  With me.  Once a week we have a piano teacher come in.  They're involved in a weekly program at our church and so I guess you could call that a different learning environment but their daddy is there for half of it so it may not count.  (Because yes, I was counting.)

If you're logical like my husband, you would say, "Enough for WHAT?  They're going to be fine."  Case closed.  ;)  And I know they will.  And I know it's dumb.  Satan is dumb.  But I fret.  Not about future academics.  But about whether they'll be able to make friends and whether they'll be grounded and secure in Christ.  Will they love GOD?   I just want them to grow up and love Jesus.  That is my heart; my greatest desire and prayer.  I just want them to love Jesus. (*tears*)

I've been battling these thoughts and praying on and off about it since then, and God ever so gently but clearly reminded me this morning that HE is their keeper.  And I am not.  It is not on me or any environment that we may provide to get them to a certain place with Him.  May I never find solace in our ways or values or methods, but in HIM alone.  It is ALL HIM.  It is all His work in them. And I can entrust them to Him because He is trustworthy.

(photo from 2007)

I will faithfully do what He has given me to do.  By that I mean that I will love and seek God.  I will love their daddy and encourage him.  I will love my kids and encourage them and pursue relationship with them.  And I will instruct them about God and His ways.  I will pray for their hearts to be tender and responsive to Him.  And I will keep on entrusting them to Him.

That is my offering.