Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Collages and Swimming Pools

Don't collages just take you back to your grade school days?  I used to love making them.  As we wind up our school year (SUPER BIG YAY!), I wanted to do  a few fun things.
We transitioned from world geography to US geography with a collage "About Me".
We wrote the scripture about being fearfully and wonderfully made and then pasted carefully chosen magazine cut-outs(Oh! Remember the bottles of Elmer's white paste and the rubber cement?).
The kids loved them. 

And now they are gracing the fun little space above my school room windows!

Saturday we had to get out of the house for Bitlings.
One more trip to the indoor pool before summer begins!

Ellie is always the first to want to go home...And besides, 'swimming isn't really anything but jumping in the water and filling your nose with water!'.
Well, then.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

How to Plant a Garden (in my family)

First, you go out to the old, weedy, grassy garden plot that came with the piece of land you just bought last year.  You take a look around and try to look like you know what you are doing. Then you admit to yourself that you know very little about preparing, planting, and tending a nice garden in a dry state, and you're not even sure you want to try this one. Then you tell yourself that if you don't start now, you'll never get what you want. And besides, it's good for the children.
 Next, you grab all the shovels, hoes, pick-axes, trowels, and garbage bags you have.  Then you find the cutest kids you know and bribe them with Popsicles and get to work.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Field Day!

When our older boys were small, we found about a really great program for home schoolers.  PE Plus is taught by a wonderfully warm and Godly man.  The children learn not only sports and games, but also Bible stories, character building stories, and good sportsmanship.  
We took about a five year break from PE, as our older ones got busier with conflicting things, but this year Thomas and younger got to sign up for the spring semester.  They enjoyed it, and looked very forward to the annual Field Day, where PE Plus classes from around the area compete and win ribbons.  They 'had a blast, oh my goodness!', as Sarah said.  Hannah and Thomas were helpers, and Emma, Nate, Sarah, and Ellie participated.  Okay, Ellie kind of participated.  She was fighting a cold and is quite introverted by nature, so when she saw me toward the end of the day, she opted out of her team's activities, and clung quite tightly to her familiar Mama.
And with the exception of a five-minute snowstorm (yes, it's true), it was a beautiful day, full of great physical exercise and fellowship with old friends from our community.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

We Have Five Teenagers in Our Home

Our fifth-born, Thomas, turned 13 last month.  He is a joy to be around.  He is innovative, over-the-top helpful, kind, sensitive, and a fast learner.  His love for God and His Word is growing and that is exciting.

Having a houseful of teenagers young adults is crazy.  Not only are we needing an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of them all (and the cars!!) these days, but watching them and walking with them as they change day by day is quite a whirlwind sometimes.  If one isn't going through early adolescent drama, another is figuring out the working man's world, or discovering just how true the Bible is, or how strong their character is.  The world now has a pull on them I never thought possible. Some situations cause me to sit back and seriously hold my breath.  Will they find the right path?  Do they know what to do?  What if they really blow it? Do they even care? Letting go while watching from the sidelines can be joyous, and terrifying too.
But I will say this - that in the middle of it all, my kids impress me many times. They are trying to wait for that serious relationship instead of dating around. They are jumping in to harder things more as they get older.   I often hear them apologizing to others whom they've hurt.  They are caring more about their own Bible studies. They pray through circumstances and know God hears them.  They say 'I love you' through the house.  They are thankful for their family and faith. Uh, most days, thankful for the family...
So, even though they are very truly eating us out of house and home, and the laundry piles are most certainly part of the Rockies by now, I find my older ones just wonderful. Terrifying...Over-dramatic...Sometimes worldly...Potentially grumpy...But wonderful.

Monday, May 12, 2014

When Your Math Lesson is HARD

As a homeschool Mom, I have come to really value the efforts my children put forth themselves.  I like helping my children, but to see them start to own something -a chore, a good character trait, a new job, a HARD MATH lesson...it's just the best.
My Emma is one of the hardest working people I know.  When she cleans, she puts Cinderella to shame.  She is extremely literal and seriously crosses all of her t's and dots all of her i's. Sometimes she has some learning struggles, and hits a wall.  This particular section in her math book has not been her favorite.  The last few lessons she has given me a mix of the deer-in-the-headlights look, and teary-eyes.  But she doesn't give up.  Ever. And that makes me very proud of her.  I tell her, 'I'd take one child who struggles but is diligent and serious-minded anyday over a hundred half-hearted ones who get things easily but don't give it their best.'  She smiles and says, 'Thanks, Mom'.  And she keeps working on that horrible math lesson.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Rain and Pizza Bread

Rain is pretty rare around these parts.  When we do get rain, it usually pours down hard for 10 minutes, hails, thunders and just makes a big statement.  And then it moves on strongly and quickly like nothing ever happened. 
Today, we had an Oregon rainy day. You know, gray and cool and drizzly and cozy all through the afternoon.  Kind of like a small piece of paradise, if you ask me.
As the rain trickled down, we got an itch to bake.  We made up our recipe and called it 'Pizza Bread'.  And now I'm going to have to do an extra mile on my workout to, um, take care of the pizza bread. Yeah.
After all that fun was over, the children got the itch to go outside.  And run.  In the rain.
Ho ho! Is that rain we see?

And rain we smell?

Time for a little plotting, planning, and baking!

Homemade pizza sauce on homemade pizza dough.  Oh yeah!

"I'm a gonna woll out da dough wiff dis toy"

Not really restaurant-pretty, but didn't they do a nice job?

And wow, wouldn't you like to have that for lunch on a rainy day?!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Not for Germaphobes

Hannah and I like to follow a blog from Washington state, and today the blogger's daughter got married.  They live-streamed it and we just spent the last hour and a half watching it and crying.  
You may be wondering what my younger ones were doing all that time, while Mommy was engrossed...
(Warning:The following photos may send you into a tizzy, if you happen to be one of those who cringes at dirt and stuff like that...)But for a Mom like me, not so much.  I loved how busy and happy there were.  Besides, there's always the shower.
And I didn't mind that I got to watch the wedding in quiet!
The Wedding

At first, I thought they were looking for critters.  Perhaps, but then I saw them out the window, dunking again and again.  

Feels so good to swish your hair around in a sandbox pool full of muck! And no, Michael is not still in his jammies at 1:00 in the afternoon.

So great to be outside!