Thursday, January 31, 2008

Boys and Girls are Different

Yesterday Elizabeth and Silas each wanted to write a story. They both began the same way--a princess was in a garden. I wondered as he began if my boy was just going to copy my girl, but the difference in the stories' outcomes were remarkable. Elizabeth's was full of flowers, fairies, and wishes coming true. Silas's involved a lot of knights slaying dragons--and buying real estate!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Ed Stetzer points to an interview with Chuck Swindoll where Swindoll makes this statment:

The problem with legalists is that not enough people have confronted them and told them to get lost. Those are strong words, but I don’t mess with legalism anymore. I’m 72 years old; what have I got to lose? Seriously, I used to kowtow to legalists, but they’re dangerous. They are grace-killers. They’ll drive off every new Christian you bring to church. They are enemies of the faith. Other than that, I don’t have any opinion!

So, if I am trying to force my personal list of no-no’s on you and make you feel guilty if you don’t join me, then I’m out of line and I need to be told that.

I appreciated this, since I come from a legalistic background (much of it self-imposed), and since Swindoll's book Grace Awakening was so pivotal in my understanding of God's grace. It's truly one of the most life-changing things I ever read.

Quite honestly, I feel certain that I would not have been open to correction during my most legalistic days, but I too have reached a point where I don't care to pander to those who add to God's Word with rules He never put there. I put myself under that burden for enough years to know how spiritually lethal it can be.

Horatio Hornblower

For Christmas I got Billy Horatio Hornblower: The Complete Adventures. I think it was actually a commenter here who first recommended them when I once mentioned enjoying Ioan Gruffudd's performances in Fantastic Four and Amazing Grace.

This series did not disappoint. Hornblower moves up the ranks of the British navy during the French Revolution, demonstrating courage, honor, and loyalty. The stories are full of swashbuckling action and suspense. We enjoyed every minute.

The other day I ordered the final two movies, Loyalty and Duty (3 something from Amazon for the set!). We haven't watched Duty yet, but I feel certain that it will measure up to the rest of the series. If you're looking for an adventurous series that demonstrates strong and honorable character, you'll enjoy this series. I think it would especially be inspiring for teenage sons.

And like I said, we've always like Gruffudd. Maybe it's because he's from Wales, like my ancestors (I hear), and other cool people...

Catherine Zeta-Jones...

Paul Potts...

And Welsh Corgis.

(A brief disclaimer...We decided that these movies were too intense for our little ones, mainly because of the battle scenes. They weren't extremely bloody, but they were more graphic than our children could handle. Also, be aware that there's some French Revolution-era sailor language and one very brief rear nudity scene.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sweet Sarah

I’ve wanted to write something about my sweet youngest (youngest for a few more weeks anyway) for a long time, especially since I have lots of family and close friends who read here. I think I mention the older kids more often because they are big enough to “do things.” Sarah just is.

Our 2 ½ year old, cute little roly poly snuggle girl, she has an infectious giggle and a great sense of humor. She’s big for her age, weighing nearly as much as Silas (who’s 4) and wearing clothes Elizabeth wore around age 4. This makes it hard at times to fulfill her frequent request, “Hold me!” (especially in the last trimester of pregnancy). Out of my three, she’s most verbally advanced for her age, and she grasps things the others didn’t get till they were older. For example, I hear that most children don’t differentiate between sexes till around age 3, and I seem to recall this is about the age my others reached this milestone. She has recognized the difference between little boys and little girls for a long time, probably since before she turned two. She’s also careful to use the proper gender when she speaks. The other day she told me, “Yes ma’am--Mommy. Yes sir--Daddy.”

She’s a girly girl who loves dresses, jewelry, shoes, and baby dolls. She appreciates routine and tidiness, and she will tell me, “This room is a mess! We need to clean it up!” She also informed me the other day, “My hands have germs on them. They just JUMP ON!” She’s conscientious about things like flushing, closing doors, and turning out lights.

She loves to eat. Loves. To. Eat. Anything! There’s very little she turns down, but it’s no surprise considering how fast and tall she has grown. Chocolate tops her list of favorite foods.

She’s hysterically funny, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident. Either way, she loves to make people laugh. Recently we were following a new friend to eat at a restaurant and she told us, “I’m going to be punny [funny] for that man.” Her favorite expression is, “That’s punny!” She also thinks it’s “punny” to make people mad. She quickly learned that she could get to Silas by calling him “little boy.” Billy says he looks forward to coming home each day to hear about the latest Sarah funny-isms. A couple of the latest…

At Christmas, she was listening to a CD and Little Drummer Boy came on. “I like that song,” she said. “Rubber Band Boy.”

The toilet at our new house came equipped with a nasty, very squishy old padded seat. The first time she saw it she said, “I love this cozy potty!”

She has an imaginary friend named Bakah who shows up every now and then. I hear her occasionally carrying on a conversation, “OK, Bakah,” and then she will go into a monologue. She has a pair of soft rubber baby nail clippers that she uses as a flip phone. “I’m calling Cinderella,” she says. “I got her a phone at Wal-Mart.”

She’s always been and easy child. Sure, she has a naughty streak, but overall she is just pleasant and easy. She always slept, never dirtied her diapers at night (even as a newborn), and pretty much likes everyone to be happy, because she is usually happy. She’s even potty trained herself.

One of the funniest things about her is that she develops weird obsessions over particular objects, like her sippy cup (which even has a name—Pinky), a doll bottle, a little set of keys, or the dollar bill she’s carried around for the past couple days. Whatever the current object is, it’s the first thing on her mind when she wakes up and the last thing she thinks of before she goes to sleep.

So that’s our little joy. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading about her. I feel so blessed to have three (now four) precious children, each one a wonderful gift with a unique personality and special characteristics. We’re thankful for our sweet Sarah. I could kiss her to pieces!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Homeschooling Freebie

One of the greatest things about homeschooling in the age of the internet is that there are SO many free resources available. Here's a free printable flash card generator. I just printed a set and they are very nice. And using cardstock from my stash, free!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Artsy Bulletin Board

Somebody gave me this little bulletin board that was just the right size for the small wall in my kitchen. Plain bulletin boards are boring though. So I borrowed an idea from Cherry and covered it with contrasting patterns of scrapbook paper. For the embellished thumbtacks, I hot glued buttons onto plain tacks. Billy says this is one of my best projects ever.

For more detailed pictures, see my craft blog. (Uh, actually I will have to do that later today...)

Show and Tell Friday hosted by Kelli.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Office Day 4 and Entry: Check!

Yeah, I got a little off track. And it's lame to count the entry as a room. But it WAS messy.

More thoughtful posting later today, I hope.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Instead of TV

After moving and sickness, I've declared a ban on daytime TV at our house. Well, technically we don't have TV, but the kids have grown very dependent on movies. I don't want "entertainment" to become their default mode.

Yesterday they helped me make a list of things to do instead. Here it is. What would you add?



Board games

Play dough





Dress up

Play outside


Tea party

Make music


Monday, January 21, 2008

Since I'm Sure You're Dying to Know...

I promise I'll have more interesting things to blog about shortly. Right now I am just consumed with finishing these household tasks.

I have gotten bogged down a little the past couple days. Actually I just did a little yesterday since it was Sunday, although I was home all day because the kids were still not well enough to take to church.

Then today I caught up from my day of rest. *g*

But I have the living room mostly done. I have to admit with some consternation that there is not a place for everything yet. The books are mostly in place, but as for the cd's and movies...I am just too tired to sort and organize them all right now. Soon, I hope. But everything that's not in cabinets will be orderly. And the rest will just have to stay behind closed doors for now. I've succumbed to the dreaded condition of leaving it for "the time being!"

For Future Reference...

Just found this Waldorf doll tutorial via a lovely blog I just discovered, Cultivating Home. So excited...I have wanted to make a Waldorf doll for a long time!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kitchen: Check!

The fridge is clean.

The stove and sink are shiny.

The floors are mopped.

I even alphabetized my spices. (Now you know for sure that these are the crazed ramblings of a woman in nesting freak-out mode.)


The kitchen is now worthy of the tea towels!

Office Work Day 3: Check!

Running a bit late since it's Saturday. But it's done!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dining Room: Check!

All except for the microwave (which will be moving soon) and the garage sale boxes...Which should also be out soon. But there is a place for everything that belongs in the dining room, and everything is in its place! I'm so happy!

Laundry Room

I looooove my laundry room! Laundry has always been my waterloo, and although a great deal of my trouble has been poor execution, some of it has just been inconvenient arrangements. I prayed for an adequate laundry room and this one definitely fit the bill!

We got this vintage dresser secondhand for a little bit of nothing. It's just right for the spot, and now I have a place to fold laundry AND storage for old towels and other supplies.

I've heard for years that you should fold the laundry as soon as it comes out of the dryer, but it just didn't seem feasible to me. I guess it is more feasible to search for socks and wrinkled shirts out of the mountain on the couch. Anyway, since we've been in this house I've followed that advice religiously. If I can't fold it immediately, it stays in the dryer. What a difference!

These little baskets are the other thing that made a great difference in my laundry success. An older lady at church passed on the tip. Each child has a basket above the dryer, and when I sort the clean clothes, they go directly into each child's basket. When the baskets are full, they go to their bedrooms to be put away. This is a great time saver.

I got the baskets at a garage sale, by the way. Love them!

Show and Tell Friday hosted by Kelli.

Office Work Day 2: Check!

And finished a couple hours earlier than yesterday, I might add. Yay!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Laundry Room: Check!

The laundry room is clean and organized--as much as it will ever be. There's a place for everything laundry-related. Everything is in its place. It's now a tidy and highly functional space! The only thing I'd like to do is rearrange the chest freezer. I may let Billy help me with that job, though, since it's full of boxes of grass-fed beef.

Pictures of the real thing to come.

Office Work Day 1: Check!

I almost thought of a good excuse to procrastinate, but once I got started it wasn't as bad as I thought. And I'm done for the day! Woohoo!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Yesterday I organized all my craft supplies in an attempt to clear out the hall and hall closets. (If you want to see a picture, check out my craft blog.) I have been so proud of myself for not buying much "stash" and using what I have in my hand. Well, turns out I had no idea just how much I have in my hand. My supplies were absolutely disorganized and I kept finding items I didn't remember or thought were lost or used up. I thought I was nearly out of paints, glues and tapes, thread, and ribbon, yet when it was all together I discovered that I had a full basket of each. Shameful. But now there is a place for everything crafty, and everything is in its place, so if it becomes a mess it's nothing more than sheer laziness on my part.

I have two goals for the next 10 days. One is to complete an office job each day that I have put off/not been able to do for a long time. Catch up my office work piece by piece. This will be the more challenging, because I truly despise it--but if I hadn't let it go I wouldn't be facing such a daunting task either.

The other is to completely organize and clean one room each day until the job is done. Then to maintain those rooms while tackling the others. Ten days give me plenty of time, even if I have an unproductive day or two.

There. I said it, so y'all hold me to it! Someone was asking for pictures of my new house, so as I get my rooms organized I'll have to show a bit of what I've accomplished!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


We've been in the house a month and I still have a lot to unpack. Of what is unpacked, I need to dismantle, re-sort, and organize a large portion that we shoved on shelves and in closets for "the time being." How I've come to dislike those words! I can't really clean the house because very few items have a permanent place. It's all still in some state of chaos. How do you clean chaos?

I know we have far too much stuff, and we have said several times recently that we are going to slash our number of possessions dramatically. That's easier said than done though. The bottom line is that it takes an enormous amount of time and energy to manage excess stuff, time and energy that could be better spent elsewhere. If I had half the stuff I had I would have had the house put together long ago.

I think about people like Sara and Debra who have both drastically downsized recently, Sara to a motor home and Debra to a one bedroom apartment. Granted, Sara only has one small child and Debra's an empty nester, so I clearly require a bit more than they. Nevertheless, their stories of freedom from excess possessions are compelling.

These thoughts led me to do a little exercise with myself, partly for fun, partly to try to get my view of what I own in perspective. I imagined what it would be like if I were forced to live with one tenth my current possessions, divided into rough categories of the most space and time-consuming stuff. It was enlightening. I had to think: What's important to me and why? What do I really need? What would I want most? Most of all, it made me realize afresh what a materialistic society we are, and how frightfully spoiled I am. Even this list encompasses far more than most people in the world own, which makes me feel ashamed.

Although it will probably bore you to tears, here are a few of my notes. Below I'm listing the things I'd keep if I could only keep (roughly) 10% of what I own in each category. Don't be alarmed, I'm not really going to reduce my possessions by 90%. This is a game. And obviously this isn't really factoring in anyone's wishes but my own. But it helped me get a clearer view of what I hang onto and why.


Kids' most basic curricula
A general gardening book
A household how-to book
A cookbook (probably something all-purpose like Betty Crocker)
2 or 3 good health books (general, pregnancy, and natural)
Renovation of the Heart by Dallas Willard
Edgar A. Guest collected works
James Whitcomb Riley's complete verse
One Man's Meat by E. B. White
Any Elizabeth Goudge novels I have

And a few kid books:

Little House on the Prairie series
Happy Little Family series
Little Britches series
Picture books by Tasha Tudor
Picture books by Beatrix Potter
A few little boy picture books


Visual Bible-Matthew
Star Wars (For Billy, 'cause I could care less)
Ben Hur
Horatio Hornblower series
Princess Bride
My Big Fat Greek Wedding

And for the kids...I guess I'd have to say a few of their Nest Bible movies


Dining room table/chairs
B's antique pieces-desk, pie safe, and chest of drawers
Obviously a couple basic pieces of living room furniture
A book case


Basic stuff necessary to cook and eat, like stainless pots and utensils, basic plates and cutlery...This list got long and boring, but I was embarrassed to realize that in spite of its length I still probably only listed 10% of what I actually have.

Kitchen Gadgets

Come on, they deserve their own category, right?!

Wheat grinder
Bread machine
Toaster oven

China Cabinet

Tea pots
Grandma's tea cups


As much as I love papercraft, I have to say that you won't be creating any heirlooms or anything of lasting value with paper. So...

Sewing machine
Some fabric
Needles, thimble, thread, scissors--hand sewing/embroidery supplies


A doll or two for each girl
A truck and teddy bear for Silas
1 set blocks
A ball


Most of us don't have excess clothes

We do, however, have a lot of hand-me-downs. I'd have to keep only the highest quality/my very favorites.


So what about you? Are you happy with the amount of stuff you have? Is it too much? What would you get rid of if you had to? What would you keep?

Still Under the Weather

Sometime in the middle of last night, trying for hours to quell Elizabeth's cough, I decided I'd better take the kids to the doctor today. E's bronchial passages are severely constricted and irritated, Silas has an ear infection, and Sarah is actually pretty chipper. I have laryngitis, so between me not being able to talk and Silas not being able to hear, we are quite a sight! Elizabeth has been our translator--listening to me whisper and then repeating it loudly enough that Silas can hear! Anyway, we came home with a boatload of medicine. Hopefully tonight will be more restful and we'll all soon be on the mend. I have lots of blogging ideas, I just haven't felt up to organizing my thoughts. See you soon!

P.S. Just in case you were wondering, the thing that finally got E to stop coughing long enough to go to sleep was hot peppermint tea with a big spoonful of honey. All the medicine I tried didn't work as well as that!

I find that we seem to come down with this stuff after a high-sugar holiday. Last time we were this sick was right after Halloween. Hmmmm, interesting.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sick Day

The kids have all had runny noses and stuffy heads for the past few days, and last night it deteriorated into chills (for some), sore throats, and coughs. Elizabeth has been up coughing since 3:30, so I kept them all home from church. I am tired too. E visited my room every 30 minutes to tell me she STILL couldn't go to sleep. Finally I put her to bed with a book. She read for hours I think, before she watched the sun come up. Right now they are all still in their pj's, wrapped in quilts, watching our favorite Jesus movies, The Visual Bible. (A side not--I highly recommend these. We call them the "happy Jesus" movies. I'm not a fan of most Jesus movies because He always looks like He's been sucking lemons. This is a great Jesus! And word for word from the Biblical text as well.) I am moving in slow motion, but I think this morning will hold a few loads of laundry and some craft organization. After Billy gets home and we eat lunch it is going to be nap time!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Pretty Cups

I wanted to show you these three sweet cups for Show and Tell Friday (although I'm joining very late this week). I got the Beatrix Potter mugs for the girls for Christmas. They are bone china, and I found them at Tuesday Morning for a third their original price. Very sweet!

I've had the bunny cup for years. When I was a teenager I used to babysit for our pastor and his wife (Dr. Collin, who later introduced Billy and me). Their kids gave me the cup for my birthday one year. I treasure it! Their oldest, who was in first grade then, is now a senior in high school, and their "little" boys are way over six feet tall. Where does time go? Now I have a 7-year-old of my own.

Show and Tell Fridays hosted by Kelli.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pretty Paper Cone

Today Elizabeth and I practiced making paper cones to hold party favors for her upcoming birthday tea. To see the rest of our attempts, check out my craft blog.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Just for Fun

Recent international hits on this blog:

United Kingdom

Actually I usually have more international hits than this. It's always fun to see where my readers are coming from!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Eight Random Things...

About me. Lots of people in blog land have done this little meme. It feels kinda narcissistic, but it was fun too. Now you know how strange I really am!


1. I don’t like to watch TV in the dark.

2. I know how to milk cows and goats, spin yarn on a spinning wheel, quilt, bake bread from scratch (without a machine), sew and knit at an beginning level, and grow a garden.

3. I don’t like plastic. I think it’s a necessary evil.

4. Messiness drives me stark raving mad. When my house or van are messy, I often feel on the verge of a freak-out. Most people (even my husband) would never guess this because I try not to freak out, and my house and van are usually messy.

5. I was home schooled K-12.

6. I like things to be exact. For example, when I set the digital timer for 60 minutes, if it runs over to 61 minutes I have to bring it back down to 60. It drives me nuts to see the little red squiggly line when spell check doesn’t recognize a word like “homeschool,” so I change it to “home school” just so I won’t have to look at the line. I don’t like to view my blog while I’m logged into Blogger because the tool icons look cluttery. I feel intensely unsettled when rugs or picture frames are crooked.

7. I didn’t wear makeup till I was 25, even on my wedding day. Now I wear it every single day, and I never, ever leave the house without it.

8. I would love a huge family. Like 8 kids.

Now it's your turn! What are 8 random things about you?

Friday, January 04, 2008

Tea Towels

Today for Show and Tell Friday, I thought I'd show you a Christmas gift from my parents. When I opened the package, I found this clever fabric envelope.

And inside, these sweet tea towels. Aren't they beautiful? Almost too pretty to use. I don't know where my mom found them, but they are perfect. And a lot nicer than the ratty old tea towels I've been using!

Show and Tell Friday hosted by Kelli.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Today I spent several hours organizing my closet, bedroom, and bathroom. Not cleaning, just organizing. Woohoo! It is so wonderful to have a place for everything and everything in its place. My goal for this evening is to finish doing the same thing in the kids' rooms. It is impossible for them to keep them tidy when they don't know where anything goes, and when their rooms are so overcrowded with stuff that they feel overwhelmed. I am trying my best as I unpack to deal with things as I run across them rather than waiting to deal with them later. That way I will not run across boxes labeled "misc." 5 years from now and finally find that long-lost whatever. :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year!

There's lots of buzz in the blogosphere about resolutions and goals. The idea of New Year's Goals brings fond memories for me. When I was growing up, we always spent New Year's Eve at home. We had a snacky supper of cheese ball, chips and dip, and other junky foods and drinks that we didn't get at any other time of year. Then we each shared a list of goals for the coming year. These were not high-pressure goals, just things we would like to accomplish in the next 12 months. Later, we added a list of desires as well...things we'd like to see happen in the next year. Then my dad collected the lists and kept them till the next New Year's Eve. We'd read them and see how close we came to reaching our goals. What fun!

I still make a personal list of goals around New Year's. In past years these goals have been more low-key and just a guideline or idea of things I'd like to accomplish. This year is a little different. There are some things on my list of goals that simply must happen this year, no doubt about it. My goals for this year are more serious. I haven't even started on my list of desires yet. I plan to, but the past weeks have been so crazy I'm a little behind. That's OK. I'm not going to stress about it. Right now my desire is just to get my home fully unpacked and organized so I can focus on other things.

What about you? Do you make a list of goals or desires for the coming year?