Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

The kids chose a more traditional face for our pumpkin this year. (Last year's had hands.) Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Fall Books

Because I love fall, I love fall books too! Here are three that are definitely worth checking out!
Robbins is the illustrator of Autumn Leaves and the simple words and
beautiful pictures are very inspiring. This is a great book to read before and after a nature hike. How many of these leaves could you find?
Why Do Leaves Change Color pulls science and fall together. This is written for 5-9 year olds, but is a great introduction to photosynthesis for the younger ones too. There are also a few fall crafts/experiments to make learning truly fun.
The last book is, I think, the most creative. Look What I Did with a Leaf sparks everyones imaginations and gives you a really good reason to back outside and collect a few more leaves. We haven't done this art project yet, but it's definitely on our "to do" list!
Happy reading and Happy Fall!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I Love Fall

I love fall! Growing up, this was the time of year of jeans and sweatshirts, playing in the leaves with our family's dog. It was the time of year of football and cozying up with a book. I guess not much has changed!
I have been collecting fall ideas to add to our days of home school and our evenings of festivals and playing outside. Here are a few of my favorites:
Make a roly poly igloo Hollow out the inside of a raw potato. Make a small door on the side like an igloo. Put your potato near the ground. Pile leaves around and water the potato slightly. Check for roly polies the next day.
Investigate spider webs Use a spray mist bottle to mist a spider web and look closely at the design.
Collect leaves Collect leaves in as many different colors as you can find.
Rake leaves Buy a child-sized rake and let your little one rake away.
Take a hike We live on a mountain, so we're totally spoiled on this one.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Thank You Mom!

Just picture black everywhere you now see a beautiful grey-blue and you will understand why I am so thankful. I left my kids with my mom at my house for a few days, and when I came home this sparkly, amazing sight was waiting for me. This oven hasn't been cleaned in years, maybe even tens of years! Aren't moms wonderful?

Monday, October 26, 2009

New Table

I just have to brag a little on my mom. (I have done this before with pillow case dresses and a card board play house) This table has been getting rave reviews at our house, and maybe you know someone handy who might be able to put one together as well (or you could always leave a request as a comment and I could pass it along to my mom!)
Mom found a pattern for a kids' picnic table on line and enlarged it to fit all the kids we always have around our house. Here are my older two enjoying a snack on it. It's made of decking material, so it should be virtually indestructible (though my children will probably find a way...) I am so thankful to have such a handy mom!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Abridge or Undabridge?

When I was teaching middle school in the public school system, I got irritated at the very mention of "abridged." I was frustrated that anyone would cut to pieces wonderful novels that were friends to whom I wanted to introduce my students.
Recently I've had a change of heart. My daughter has been reading her way through this stack of abridged novels and loving every word. She is meeting my friends early and in a way that she can understand, and I'm very thankful! We read through most of them together in the past few years, but the excitement and pride in her face when she finishes another novel--a Little Women or an Anne of Green Gables--is definitely worth what these inexpensive abridged novels cost. (This particular set were from Hobby Lobby--$2 a piece.) I think it was my mom who said that abridged novels are a good thing when they introduce one to the book at an early age, so that when my daughter picks up the unabridged Little Women or Anne of Green Gables a little bit later in life, she'll see them as old and cherished friends.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Puzzle Boy

I don't know if any of you can identify, but I have a (4-year old) puzzle boy. I think he could work puzzles all day long! He loves blocks and cars and trains, but the puzzle is his passion. While we were homeschooling one morning last week, I gave him this as his project: take
blocks out of his block box and put them on the same color paper. I thought he would put a few blocks out then tire and move on to something else. The next time I noticed him, I saw THIS! He had emptied the entire box of blocks (quite a few because of a very generous Grandma!) and not only placed them on the papers, but build towers out of each set. Amazing! I definitely recommend this project for those of you with like-minded children!
I'm linking this to things I love Thursday over at Diaper Diaries. Go there to check out all the other things people love!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Get Away

Recently I read an article that was making the rounds on Facebook. This particular article made the case that moms really don't need time away from their kids--that this is a modern myth. I firmly believe the opposite!
Recently my husband and I had the opportunity of visiting the beach with the couples from our small group from church. It was an amazing weekend! We learned a lot more about what it means to really live in community...AND we became better parents! How did we become better parents by leaving our children behind and running off to the beach? Well, it is a bit of a mystery to me, but I know that it happens. When we came back to our little ones after five days away, every smile, every word, every hug was the best thing that had ever happened to us! We would have never known that kind of joy without going away!
The article from Facebook pointed out that women often shirk their mothering duties by saying, "I have to have my time away," and I agree fully; there is no room for laziness is Godly parenting! BUT there is a ton of room for stealing away to read a bit, for evenings away from the kids, and for weekends at the beach. Getting away makes us better mommas.
So getting away for a weekend works for me! Check out other "Works for Me" ideas at We Are That Family.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It's Pumpkin Time Again!

It's that time of year again! Bring on the pumpkins! I love pumpkins! I've always been on the fence about Halloween (yes to having fun, no to being ghoulish!), but I've never had one problem with pumpkins! The picture to the left is our pumpkin from last year with all three kids' handprints cut out. (Stay tuned for this year's pumpkin carving.)
I really like this prayer for carving pumpkins adapted from Mary Kate Warner's Sunday School site:
Dear God,
Open my mind so I can learn about You. (Cut the top of the pumpkin.)
Take away all my sin and forgive me for the wrong things I do. (Clean out the inside)
Open my eyes so Your Love I will see. (Cut out eyes.)
I'm sorry for turning up my nose to all You've given me. (Cut out a nose.)
Open my ears so Your Word I will hear. (Cut out ears.)
Open my mouth so I can tell others You're near. (Cut a mouth.)
Let Your Light shine in all I say and do! Amen. (Place a candle and light in the pumpkin.)
I also love pumpkin recipes! My newest experiment was the 3-part Pumpkin Cake:
Part I:
1 yellow cake mix
1/2 c. butter
1 egg
Take out 1 cup cake mix, set aside for Part III. Mix remaining cake mix, butter, and egg. Press in bottom of 9 x 13 inch greased cake pan.
Part II:
2 c. pumpkin
3 eggs
2/3 c. milk
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Mix all together, pour over 1st layer.
Part III:
1 c. cake mix
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter
Crumble and sprinkle over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes.
And of course, as with any other subject, I love books about pumpkins! The Pumpkin Patch Parable is a great one by Liz Curtis Higgs. The farmer plants, harvests, washes, cleans out, and lights up his pumpkin as a parable about God doing the same for his people. It is illustrated well and has applicable Bible verses on every page.
This blog is linked with Things I Love Thursday on The Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Spider Web

Look what rain can do to an already amazing part of nature! Wow!
A very October-y pic for your enjoyment today-- and to go along with all things spiderish, check out this little book from your local library (or order it online if you can find it; it's short, but worth it!) It is with a set of three other parables from nature taken from Mrs. Gatty's stories from nature (1855) that give us truths about God and ourselves through the mouths of His tiny creatures. This one is based on Psalm 104:24 "O Lord, what a variety you have made! And in wisdom you have made them all! The earth is full of your riches." Indeed!

Linked to 5 Minutes for Mom, Extraordinary Mothers, Ordinary and Awesome, Seven Clown Circus, Momdot and My Sippy Cup Runneth Over! (I just had to link to that last one because I LOVE that name!)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Blog Award

Thank you so much to Kara at Home With a Purpose for awarding me my very first blogging award. I am so flattered!'s how it works:
1) Accept the award.
2) Post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, along with his/her blog link.
3) Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you've newly discovered (Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award).
And here are my very favorite blogs (forgive the fact that there aren't 15, but I really do enjoy and admire each and every one of these blogs!)

The Diaper Diaries Who doesn’t love Things I Love Thursday? And there is an adorable pic of the newest addition to this blogger’s family on the current page!

A Pocket of Rocks This blogger forever has a place in my heart because she did a blog about Of Such is the Kingdom! Bless her soul! I love the fact that the name of her blog is inspired by a handful of rocks her daughter picked with care and gave to her.

Work at Home Mafia Yeah for Kim! She is always posting about freebies and coupons and ways to use our love of being on the computer for the greater good of our families. (Or at least that’s how I justify it!) The last freebie we enjoyed was a package of granola in the mail. My kids appeared from no where as I pulled it out of the mailbox. Needless to say, that little packet did not make it back to the house!

I Blame My Mother Sarah has cute ideas and incredible talents. My favorite post lately? She posted about a dentist who is paying kids for their Halloween candy. The candy will be sent to our troops! What a great idea. I’m hoping the dentists in our area get the memo. I love trick-or-treating, but I’m always trying to hide the candy afterwards!

Please Pass the Salt A friend recommended this blog to me because I too love salt, and lo and behold, I know Moriah from college! How fun to keep up with someone I usually never see! She has a ready whit and she also writes for Chic Critique (

Katherine Marie Photography This blog is AMAZING! She posts some of the most awesome pics of kids and babies that I’ve ever seen. And I LOVE her theme of the week ideas. Really, you should visit and look at her archive of these. It is eye candy as well as inspiration!

Mama Go For a Run This is a blog also written by someone I “run” into in the community. She is a way more serious runner than I am, but I love her advice and inspiration!

Blossom Kids This is such a professionally done blog! They showcase many great internet products from around the world, and have great ideas for making being a momma stylish and fun.

Homemaking Fun I love the name of this blog. So many mommas think of it more as “Homemaking Drudgery.” (I know I have that horrible habit myself!) Jadi has great ideas for having a beautiful home and creative and happy children.

The Tuininga Increase This blogger is one of my heroes! Not only does she homeschool a slew of children, but she has time for a beautiful scripture card business on the side.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


I really like beans! Not necessarily to eat, though I can make a mean bean soup. This week we had a lot of rain (A LOT). And one of those days when everyone was ready for something new to do, I broke out the beans. I'm sure we've all done this, I just tend to forget how very worth it this game is. Empty a bag of beans into a large bowl, provide a few smaller containers and a good size spoon, and let your little one have at it. This evening we were both wearing our aprons for added fun. My baby enjoyed herself for quite a while, and what did it cost me? A cheap bag of beans and one sweeping of the kitchen. Well, well worth the time of whine-free play!
Oh, and while I was starting this blog, my hubby said, "What was that thing you said you could do with the beans?" No, he didn't want a bowl and a spoon! He wanted a home-made heating pad, which I was able to quickly make. Like I said, I love beans!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Patriot Post

I don't know how many of you keep up with the news, but I definitely find it difficult to stay on top of what's happening outside my tiny little sphere. If anyone is looking for a great way to know what's happening and here about it from a Constitutionally conservative point of view, check out The Patriot Post. They have quotes from and links to the news on their site during the week, and on Friday they publish an original Digest that reviews the news from the week. You can read the Friday edition in about 30 minutes--that gets an A+ in my book! I can be relatively well informed and only have to sacrifice 30 minutes! Oh, and they don't have any advertisements (for anyone but themselves!) on their site.
For instance, in reading this week's Patriot Post, I learned of the commander in Afghanistan's plea for more troops and the ensuing outcry by the media (yes, I REALLY don't listen/watch/read news very much during the week.) Here's what the Patriot Post has to say about it:
"For our part, we believe Gen. McChrystal understands the score very well in Afghanistan. Having weighed the options, he took a calculated gamble to use the media to place the onus on Obama to follow through with his stipulated policy. Gen. McChrystal and, more importantly, his troops lose that gamble only if he receives just enough support from the Obama administration not to get the job done. Of course, that would never happen -- right?"
The Patriot Post is definitely a "finer thing" so I'm linking to Finer Things Friday.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

For Your Viewing Enjoyment...

Last fall I borrowed a friend's (really nice!) camera and walked around a nearby college campus to take pictures for a poetry book. These are a few of the pics. Isn't our God glorious!
linked to other great pics here and here and here!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ode to a Gallon-sized Baggie

Thou bag of clarity and humbleness,

Holding more than I can ever ask of you!

Always striving to give more than your best

May my words give a little of what is due--

Lowly servant, blessed household necessity!

You hold them and ask nothing in return--

Leftovers, freezer meals, or play dough

And clothes unwrinkled for travel efficiency

You’re there whether I want to bag a diaper or

Mix dry ingredients without a bowl!

Yes bag of a thousand uses, you

Should be lauded by housewives everywhere;

Holding our snacks for a day at the zoo

You have always been there

(When we might have missed our picture!)

To waterproof our camera on a wet amusement ride

To bring out creativity, to protect us with ease.

And lest we think all your uses numbered,

We hear our offspring cry,

“May I have a baggie, please?”

(You can look here for more ideas!)

Linked to: Friend Making Monday (Poetry is a hobby I would love to be able to do better and more; this was a bit of an exercise for it!) and Making Your Home Sing Monday (Odes were meant to be sung, of course!)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Preschool Homeschool Box

While I'm teaching the oldest girl, the boy often has to entertain himself. To help him do that, we created a box just for him. Besides this box he has preschool activity books and coloring books and paper and scissors and markers and crayons. Even with all those fun things beckoning, THE BOX has made a big hit. As you'll see we have in it an alphabet puzzle (an old favorite), a set of word strips my mom made and laminated for the kids, a set of string and play dinosaurs, the exercise the alphabet cards, foam beads to string, a shadow puzzle game, playing cards, Hungry Monster Alphabet Cards (from a book that was on sale at a local bookstore), dice and a HUGE array of flash cards. I'm sure we'll add to the box as the year progresses, (suggestions are definitely welcome!) but for now the boy is content with his very own box of activities.

Find more things to love at Things I Love Thursday.

Free Preschool Projects E-Book

Laura from asked for reader comments with recipes, activities, and crafts for young ones. She received so many comments that she created an e-book with all the ideas. You can download and print this book for free, or you can download it and read it electronically. It's definitely worth taking a look!