Monday, March 19, 2018

Snow and Sheep

Almost a year ago Adrian and I began planning and dreaming about a trip to Europe this spring.  My father-in-law is on sabbatical over here and they invited us to visit as well as having some other invitations from friends and family so here we are!  

We flew out of Denver on Friday afternoon, March 16th after my sweet dad drove us to the airport.  Packing for this trip has been an exercise in getting closer to our ideal.  

Last time we were in Florence we had to pay a good amount of money to put bags into the "bag hold" at the train station and because the cost was so high we were still hauling quite a bit on our backs, trying to "tuck" bags that were too big for "tucking" under the table at the restaurant, etc.  We knew that we would eventually like to travel with only one backpack per person to allow for more comfort/flexibility in travel in a lot of ways.  

Our first time to really do this was a trip to San Francisco mid-February.  One backpack per person . . . but that trip was only about 36 hours.  This trip is 32 days!  I am pretty pleased about making it into only five backpacks this time!  

We flew to London's Heathrow and I asked Adrian if we couldn't take a steamer next time.  The flight really was fine but it is just so hard to try to sleep on a plane and you know you are supposed to be sleeping and getting hit with jet lag.  

When we arrived we ate lunch and hired a car.  We drove to Hampton Court Palace which once belonged to Henry VIII among other notable people where we met Adrian's Aunt Helen and cousin Leo.  It was so wonderful to see them again and it was very interesting to tour the palace.  

of course you sit on the floor of a centuries old palace to check your maps - I was impressed with the displays and how well done everything was.  I would recommend it if you're in the area.  

We enjoyed tea before heading to Swindon, England for the night.  

We ended the day at a restaurant that we really like called Nando's.  Chicken, veggies, French fries . . . excuse me, chips . . . etc.  It is our second time to have gone there on a first day in England.  It is a nice little tradition and it feels comfortable to know what you are getting there.  

We stayed the night at a Double Tree in Swindon that was really clean and nice.  Unfortunately Cora, Adrian and I were all up for nearly three hours in the middle of the night but surely jet lag will get better!  
We got up this morning and had a very nice breakfast complete with baked beans, sausages, fried tomatoes and white grapefruit.  Then we drove from Swindon to Wales in the snow and crossed over this magnificent bridge!  

During the afternoon we trudged through the snow a mile and a half or so to the grocery store.  It was a really fun walk.  I enjoyed seeing the signs in both Welsh and English for each aisle at the grocery.  

As we walked along we passed a field of grazing sheep.  

I can tell I didn't sleep all that well last night.  Jet lag is hard.  

Not an awesome photo but I wanted to document and remember that Cora and David really enjoyed working in their travel journals on the drive.  Thank you for the stickers Aunt Helen!  

to be continued . . . 


Friday, January 26, 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

today . . .

I got to hold and snuggle a BRAND new baby!  Less than 24 hours old!  It was an exquisite spot in my day!  


Monday, January 8, 2018

pretty homes and white space

Anyone else purging and organizing like crazy??

Hoping I can keep it up even as we start back to school today but I know from experience that usually teaching & keeping us all fed + the life training that comes along with being a family (hello, I'm looking at you, rooting out selfish behaviors and sharp words particularly in these colder months when we are all inside together more) are usually more than enough to keep me busy in any given day, but we'll see.  

I've been challenging myself to get rid of half of what is in any given drawer, box, etc.  I am really enjoying having white space in my storage areas.  

I am also realizing that all of the decor I collected at Canton, antique stores and estate sales over a good 15 years or so from about 2000-2015 no longer really fits my style . . . hmmmm.  

I'm okay with that but also thinking about how to still have beautiful things in my home without spending a bunch/contributing to the "fast fashion" of home decor.  

Any thoughts??


happy little corner of my home filled with a sweet gift from a dear friend!  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

we love our library!

Cora and I got to spend time just the two of us on Thursday morning when brother's one day a week homeschool academy was back in session and her school was still on Christmas break.  

We went to the library to pick up our holds and turn in books.  We also went to the children's section, to storytime at her request and she got to pick her own four books to check out on her own card.  

Both of my kids love checking out their own books with the self - check machine on their own cards.  They each take their card to the machine whenever we go to see how many books are currently on their accounts.  Our guideline for now is that you may check out as many books as you are old to help them best keep track of and learn responsibility for their books.  

We also checked out a Grow a Reader kit - fun orange suitcases full of books, audio materials, toys, etc. all around a certain theme.  This one was baking.  That afternoon Cora and Nana baked bread together like the Little Red Hen.  

We also spied the State Parks backpack hanging on the hook by the checkout wall when we walked in.  Our library system has a backpack that includes a pass to enter the state parks available for check out.  We were able to check the backpack out and visited Roxborough State Park for the first time over the weekend for some really nice hiking.  

We love our library!

What is your favorite thing about your library?


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Monday, December 18, 2017

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Dressember 2017

Hello Friends and Family!  

It is Dressember!  December??  December . . . Dressember!  

As many of you already know, in 2014 I learned of a group of people using the month of December to raise awareness and funds to support a cause I have become passionate about over the past several years.  

We think of slavery as being a thing of the past but in many ways and in countries all over the world INCLUDING the U.S.A., slavery is active today!  Many, many of the goods we purchase and the foods we eat are produced by people who are:

-  not paid a fair wage for their work, 

-  kidnapped from their families in order to perform the work 

-  often treated extremely poorly while doing the work such as coercion, threats, physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse, dangerous working conditions, being denied education, healthcare, etc. 

Then there are the young girls and women in our country and others who are seduced into thinking they will be given a secure job such as nannying or being a housekeeper and instead are sold into prostitution. 

The problem is huge and complex but that doesn't mean that nothing can be done.  

This group of people that I discovered via a college friend on instagram calls this month DRESSember :)  Each participant is wearing a dress every day in December, in all kinds of weather and doing all kinds of activities to raise awareness and also to raise money that will go to the International Justice Mission and A21.  

International Justice Mission has already relieved more than 40,000 people from oppression.  That is 20,000 alone in the past few years!  A21 also does amazing work in this realm.  Both organizations also work to protect and prevent this type of thing from even happening in the first place.   

I highly respect these organizations and have partnered fully with them in fundraising/bring awareness for two years.  This year I have not formally signed up to lead a campaign but I am still wearing dresses many days during Dressember and am fully supporting three friends who are registered as Dressember advocates.  In this small way, I am a freedom fighter!  

I would be honored if you would consider joining me in fighting for freedom for those who have no voice and have no hope.  I am giving to my amazing sister-in-law and neice, Cecily and Callie, and friends Ashli, and Melissa.  I would feel so honored if you would choose to come alongside our fellow human beings, moms, sisters, children and fathers, people just like us who need us to speak up for them because they are trapped in a space with no voice, no advocate.  If giving to Dressember is one of the ways you want to show love this year please click on one of these names below and become a freedom fighter with us!  

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

ten on ten - November 2017

Today was a very normal and happy day.  

We have spent a lot of time at home this week and it has been just delightful.  

Our Fridays are "play and project days".  We let go of the specifics of our routine for the rest of the week and we all indulge in the things we want to do.  Often I feel like as much or more learning happens on these days as in the days when I formally plan and teach lessons.  I know it is good for our spirits too and we return refreshed for the routine on Mondays.  

There was a lot of pretend play happening at our house today.  Kings and queens and princesses and battles.  I love when I hear the mimicking of things we've read in stories and books.

There were also several opportunities to work on . . . interpersonal relationships.  But I truly believe if they can learn to get along with one another they can learn to negotiate many, many other scenarios in life.

This morning found me doing a bit of meal planning.  Do you have recipes stuck in a binder or somewhere from pre-internet days?  

I went on a walk late morning and listened to a couple of podcasts.  I feel like this is my "professional development time"!  
The weather was sunny and while I was afraid I'd be cold before I set out I ended up being hot by the time I got home.  

One of the podcasts I began listening to today mentioned this book, Snow Treasure, so I came home and looked it up.  I am on our library's website multiple times a day!  Such a wonderful resource that we are very thankful for.  

Just capturing his everyday, working from home spot.  

I am so very thankful that he supports me staying home with our kids!  

 a little fridge decor
printable from Ann Voskamp

Cleaning up when we are done with an activity is not a strong suit around here right now.  It drives me kind of crazy except that I realize I am not very good at it either (it depends on what it is and where but my family room counters are rarely clear).  Looking at this chair in a photo also makes me realize how dirty it is.  

If something is feeling too intense (and if you know us, you know our video choices in this house are VERY tame - this was animated cars talking about the fruits of the Spirit) this is how I find her watching a video, as far back from the tv as she can get.  so sweet.

Leftover pork sandwich for lunch!  Adrian made a super yummy pork meal the other night!

deciding where I want to hang this as I ready the house for hosting Thanksgiving this year!

afternoon birthday party for our sweet friend!!

Happy weekend to everyone!


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

snowy morning walk

We love our neighborhood and are so thankful that we continue to meet and get to know more and more neighbors.  Since the summer my friend Abby and I have been walking together once a week in the mornings and it has been such an encouragement and a blessing not to mention incentive to actually get outside and move, take in nature and the changing seasons.

Last night we got SNOW!  It was such a beautiful morning to walk and we were some of the very first ones out in it!  AND I am so thankful that it is light again in the mornings!  We have been hefting the maglite along on our walks the past month or so.  

On my way home I enjoyed the thrill of hearing a crow caw and another crow distantly answer. 


I am thankful for the state that we have adopted, for amazing friends in the same stage of life, for the amazing and varied creation God has made and the enjoyment I am finding in learning more and more about it.  

Now to for breakfast, read alouds, math and writing!

Have a great day!


Sunday, November 5, 2017

telling time

We did a mini time unit the other day.  

We played this matching game to match analog and digital clocks showing the same time.  

Then we made our own sundials!  It was a lot of fun and it was amazing to me how accurate they were!   

We also like this book a lot for learning about time.  It has a little tune to sing all the words to.  

And as we head into the holiday season, this is one of my favorite posts about giving our kids our time.