Thursday, August 10, 2017

ten on ten - August 2017

So funny that I didn't blog all "summer" (it's still summer but my last blogpost was about finishing our math book - hence homeschool year for 2016-2017 and today we began our 2017-2018 homeschooling year!)  

I wasn't planning to start school today.  I have been planning most of the summer and have quite a few things ready but yesterday due to a sewer back up at our house - bleh - we had to be out of the house for a while so I spontaneously took the kids school supply shopping.  

They each chose a spiral notebook, something fun to write with and some kind of adhesive (both ended up choosing glitter glue!) :) 

They were so excited about their new supplies that David asked if we could start homeschool right away so we did!  

This morning there was a scavenger hunt with clues to find their spirals.  I had written a note to each of them and David wrote me back today!  Yay!  I think this is going to be a neat avenue of communication for us in addition to a way of handling assignments, practicing writing as well as a place to cut and paste in things we are learning, etc.  

We have had a TON of rain lately!!!  It is mostly nice but I could also feel my mood lighten when the sun came out for a while this evening and was shining through the window as I was working on dinner.  

I woke up at 5:50 this morning and texted my neighbor who I have been walking with weekly to say that maybe we'd better reschedule since I heard rain and thunder from my cozy bed but after deciding that we would reschedule, both of us ended up texting back and saying "let's do it!"  The thunder had stopped and so had the rain mostly.  

When I got home we ate breakfast and did our Bible story about the 12 spies over breakfast and did a small feast of books, cleared the table, free time, scavenger hunt to find spirals, reading what I wrote and then writing me back with ideas of field trips he wants to take this year.  

Next we did math and it went great today!  One page together, Cora wanted right in there too so we did math together on the abacus.  

Then I sat outside on the swing and prayed and read my Bible while they played an improvised game of soccer inside. 

We ate lunch.  Cora made a fruit salad for us to enjoy! We read more/watched some YouTube and then Mama was done!  We have just finished a big road trip, plus three sets of company and the aforementioned sewer back up + starting school so I finished a novel I started yesterday and took a nap while they had quiet alone time. 

drying out the carpet after our incredible carpet cleaner enzyme treated it for us!  

We did laundry after that and they watched Wild Kratts and then we did some math aloud on the white board all together during dinner and Adrian did one page with him as we were finishing up.  I'm really thankful for how this first day went and am looking forward to the different things that we are going to be adding in this year!  

I was so wiped out and not planning to start today but I realized that this is such a sweet reminder from our God that I don’t do this in my strength!  *I* feel like I have absolutely nothing to give right now but I feel quite confident that all of this is in His Hands!!  I feel excited that He is leading the charge on this journey and that He took our day and will take our entire year and make it what HE wants. 

Happy beginning of school to all of the rest of you reading who are teachers, students and administrators!  


Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Today we finished math!!!

This has been a bit of a slog for David and me and now we are DONE!  I am so thankful!  

God always sees us through as we trust in Him.  

We officially begin summer break now and I have some ideas for making next year more smooth in the math department.  

Hooray for new beginnings and now for a nice long exhale!

p.s. he wanted to stand on something tall so it would be like a medal podium.  :) :) :) 


Monday, May 29, 2017

one day, zero dollar bathroom refresh

Our downstairs bathroom is fine but it has never been one of my favorite parts of the house.  It is fairly small and feels dark.  These are photos from shortly after we moved in.  

Four years ago, just a day or two after we came home from the hospital with Cora, a leak sprang in the plumbing between the upstairs and downstairs bathrooms (which are stacked on the two floors).  Adrian had to tear out the drywall above his sink and disconnect the electrical to the light fixture and take it out to work on the leak.  He was more than willing to redo the drywall and fix everything then and there but I begged him to just leave the gaping hole in the ceiling and just hang out with us and help me with a new baby and an almost three year old!  

Those days were super sweet times and I wouldn't trade our afternoons of sitting on the couch snugging a newborn during David's naps and watching movies together for a finished bathroom these past four years.  

sweet boy two years ago 

My amazing mother-in-law showed up for under 36 hours in March, a quick stopover visit between two other destinations and announced on the morning of her full day here that she knew what we should do that day, redo the bathroom!  What a fun announcement!  I do not know where she gets her energy and stick-to-it-ness but she is astounding when it comes to projects!  

We emptied walls and took down towel bars bent from children hanging on them and mismatched to begin with. 

I began to rummage through my storage area to dig out various decorative treasures amassed at flea markets, garage sales, etc. and not currently in use elsewhere in the house.  

glue gun and drill employed together!  

Rebecca (my mil) concocted a sort of chalk paint from leftover paint plus a package of milk paint that I once upon a time picked up at an estate sale for $1 and had never used.  She painted all of the dark "wood" - in reality it is plastic - panelling "polar bear" which is the same white we used in the upstairs bath in the fall.  

The original to the house, 1950s towel bars that had previously been in the upstairs bath before the remodel (where I used hooks instead) were lined up side by side for this bathroom.  

The metal grate on the wall is from the original screen door from the house into what was at first the backyard before they added on our sunroom in the 1980s.  I picked up the wooden arch somewhere along the way and have displayed it different places but never yet on a wall and I like it!  The pressure gauge was an estate sale find that has always been one of my favorites.  

We used the mirror that was original to the upstairs bathroom that we had taken out during that remodel downstairs and my MIL wired this neat basket onto the black scrolly metal brackets that I have had forever and never really used much and it became a spare toilet paper holder.  

The Ansel Adams photo was found at the Arc thrift store ages ago!  It is framed in a garage sale frame and hung with some black ribbon over an old sewing machine drawer knob screwed into a neat looking old metal square plate.  

Unfortunately, the leak doesn't particularly want to be fixed once and for all (60 year old plumbing!) so we have left the ceiling open still but I strung up white bulb lights on S hooks leftover from our pot rack when I took everything out of the kitchen that doesn't get used weekly and it is now either gone or in secondary storage.  We also put up a black and white stripe strip of fabric in front of the open ceiling portion which masks it nicely.  The big black iron hook is awaiting a hanging plant, preferably string of pearls.  

This hanging basket set that used to be in the nursery holds bathroom stuff and a plant but I would love to find a more permanent solution but for one day and zero pennies, using what we had works!  

I bought this fabric to cover the swing outside but then I didn't like it and used a 25 cent remnant from one of my favorite thrift stores in town, the Bargain Box run by the Assistance League and benefitting many wonderful projects.  We made it into a "window mistreatment" as the Nester would say and I got to use this pulley that I have had FOREVER and never used.  

My brilliant mother in-law rigged up this pull system with an old knob I had in my collection an an old door plate.  I love it!  

It is not perfect as we did not repaint the top of the walls, etc. (we only spent a day on it afterall!) but it looks SOO good compared to what it has been and I am enjoying using it (and honestly am more apt to clean it) than before!  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

sweet cousins

These cousins hold a special place in each other's hearts!  

So thankful we got to spend time together on a 2 hour layover on our way home from vacation!!


Saturday, May 27, 2017

lemon picking this morning

We woke up this morning in Southern California.  My grandma has a lemon tree in her backyard that was one of my granddaddy's prides and joys.  

This morning we got to pick lemons to bring home and enjoy for summer!  

I am thankful for a very fun vacation and visit with family!  Now we are off to sleep in our own beds.  Home is nice too!  

Monday, May 1, 2017

"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again." ~ Elizabeth Lawrence

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

"  Because your faithful love is right in front of me—
    I walk in your truth!
I walk all around your altar, Lord,
        proclaiming out loud my thanks,
        declaring all your wonderful deeds!"

Psalm 26:3, 6 & 7

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

ten on ten - April 2017







hair brushing




lining up




photographing (by Cora - here Mama, I'll take your picture) 

lunch preparing


more tidying











We had a big day today (started this post on the 10th, am now finishing on the 11th) and yet it was very ordinary as well.  Full of blessings and I'm so thankful for today and all of our days at home!  

I want to remember what our days were like at this stage so I am journaling this for myself.  Feel free to read if you feel like it.  :)  

At our house you can get up at 7:00.  If you wake up before that you can read or play in your room.  I wake up at six most mornings to shower and get ready, try to get a handle on breakfast prep, read and pray, maybe listen to some Julie Bogart while I unload the dishwasher . . . most mornings my kids ROCK at this . . . even Cora who does not have a clock in her room (sidenote: why are alarm clocks so ugly?  This has been my hindrance in buying one for her.) but this morning she was up at 6:30 so she went back into her room (with some gentle guidance) and proceeded to create with her new art kit.  

Breakfast seems to always have several bumps in it at our house in this season.  Deciding what color straw, throwing a whining fit when your preferred straw color isn't available, not liking what is for breakfast, being grumpy about needing to finish a glass of water or about not getting MORE breakfast . . . seriously, breakfast could last ALL day.  

breakfasting today:  leftover blueberry muffins that I made ahead for Sunday breakfast to help it be a day of rest, a beautiful REAL (the kids, especially Cora are impressed and enthralled by this fact) palm branch from Sunday school to remember Jesus coming into Jerusalem, scrambled eggs and green chile made by Adrian for me - Cora is allergic to chicken eggs and David prefers no green chile in his - a memory verse 3 x 5 card to review, puppets on the table for me to talk to them with in funny voices are very popular.

Our book stack that we do selections from during breakfast in the mornings.

glasses staying out on the counter all day and a pitcher help us in our quest to consume enough water through the day

What is working for us these days is to take a potty break after each meal and read a book . . . the upside is we are getting more reading in!  

I can't believe how long her hair is getting!  And we are so thankful for hand me down clothes and hair things!  

me and my girl

white dishes on display were inspired by a walk through a shop in downtown Littleton last week.  This little space feels springy to me. 

prepping books for us to read later in the day . . . doing the ever present book rotation from the library, our personal library, etc.  We love books!  

It's interesting how innate "playing school" is.  We homeschool and so "school" settings of lots of kids lined up listening to a teacher are more rare for my kids than some but Cora is constantly lining up "kids" or "our friends" these days and singing a song with them or reading to them, etc.  It's really cute.  (and gives her an outlet for being bossy ;) )

After reading the Legend of the Indian Paintbrush last week, David and Cora set out to make their own paints with flowers, weeds, grasses and vegetable scraps, oh and pinecones.  David is trying to figure out here why the huge stack of bricks has not yet compressed the pinecones he put in between them on Friday and where to go from here.  I love how his mind works.  

We are attempting to be good neighbors by picking/uprooting our dandelions as soon as they show up so we aren't spreading downy fluff seeds to neighboring yards.  And besides, how sweet is this??

Originally I went outside alone to journal, read and pray and have a few minutes by myself but I could hear strife and bickering through the open door so I knew it was time to get my littles outside for a break in the great outdoors too.  I called them out to see our new daffodil blooming and then sent them around to the backyard to see the iris coming out.  By that time they were hooked and finding their own things to do and play outside including the preceding pics and some of the following (they loaded out of order and weren't correcting so I'm leaving them).  

When we came back inside Cora wanted to take my picture.  

Today I made a big salad with cheese chunks for Cora and I in it (David's dairy allergy is getting MUCH better but he hasn't really developed a taste for cheddar cheese) and all three of us loved that fresh, yummy lunch.  

We have begun trying to do a Flykids challenge most days (which honestly has been about one day a week lately but still better than nothing!) to chip away at keeping our rooms cleaner in small increments of time and activity.  I gave them each a big rubbermaid tub to dump everything from their floors into and at times we will pull items out and work through whether to keep them or give them away, where they go, etc. but at least if nothing else, they can easily pick up their floors and that makes a world of difference.  David dubbed it their "disaster boxes"!  

We are firmly entrenched in the lego phase!  Lego creations all day long and hearing all about their creation, features, etc.  

This huge science poster of himself that David did at our one day a week homeschool classical academy just makes my heart super happy for some reason and he added in all of the white chalk words after reading more books about the human body.   

We do a lot of our schooling during breakfast, lunch and dinner!  It's what works well for us.  The school year is wrapping up.  David's last day is May 4th although Cora's preschool will continue through the end of May.  I can't believe I'm going to have a second grader soon!!!

Walter, the Lazy Mouse has been a highly anticipated and much loved read aloud this week!  We finished today!  After reading couch each day David heads to "quiet alone time" during which he works on math, builds and creates with legos, draws, plays outside, reads, occasionally watches Wild Kratts, etc. and Cora goes down for an afternoon nap.  

We also had two visitors this morning!  Visitors are so fun.  Both visits were super quick, dropping off hand me downs, letting me show off the one day, zero dollar bathroom refresh, picking up the leopard gecko we pet sat and bringing goodies.  We are so blessed by many wonderful friends!! 

And out of order in how our day went, we planted our sensitive plant today!  Thank you Clementine and Mrs. Melissa!  

David told me today that he likes demolition.  I THINK I already knew that!  ;) Here he is demolishing a stick.  

They took turns sweeping mud off the front porch.  I am working really hard on not cleaning up after them all day but training them to think about messes before they make them to a reasonable degree and to decide if they are willing to clean it up.  

For about a year now I have been making laundry a joint effort where the kids and I all work together on it.  I will be honest, it was terrible there for a while.  Our day would turn into meltdowns during laundry.  I would get frustrated that they couldn't seem to stick to a task and finish it.  Remember we are all working together here, it is not like I say "get to it" and disappear.  Some things that have really helped us have been setting a timer for 15 minutes and when it goes off I say something like "when the red table is empty" (meaning they have put away the things that I have folded and set on that child sized table in our family room) "then you are done".  They like to know there is an end in sight and exactly what needs to happen to get to that end.  

We also moved WHEN we do it.  It used to be right after breakfast.   I have discovered that for our family in this season, after we do a structured breakfast time with reading poetry, working on a memory verse, singing a hymn, doing a devotional as well as sometimes other reading/discussion/youtube video on a topic of interest, etc. and we clear the table, that everyone needs to be able to get up, get energy out and be self-directed for awhile - including ME! 

So now we have a big chunk of free time after breakfast and reconvene in the 11:00 hour to do laundry, flykids challenge, lunch and the bulk of our school.  Nap doesn't usually happen until sometime in the 3:00 hour!  Thankfully that is working for us right now.  

As far as laundry, I also give them separate jobs now instead of them collaborating on the same thing.  When they were both working together to switch laundry from the washer to the dryer, clothes were flying everywhere, I was frustrated, they were dissolving into giggles.  Now they still play during it to some degree and take swings on the trapeze we have hanging next to the laundry room as they go by but everyone is more focused and efficient.  I also started using a basket placed at the base of the washer for whichever kid gets the privilege of sitting on top of the washing machine that day (they LOVE that) to drop the clothes down into and THEN load them into the dryer from that basket instead of trying to go straight from washer to dryer.  It is a much better system for us!  

They are really new to folding socks, as in it started in the last week or so.  David told me he pretends that one sock is swallowing the other sock and then it gets really big.  They look pretty funny when he's done but they are matched and stuck together and inside a drawer!  I'll take it!  

So that is a little glimpse into our day in this season.  If you actually read all of this I hope it was interesting to you!  I know even in a few months things will have changed once again in the flow of our family and schooling life and I will forget how we once did things if I don't write it down!