Monday, September 29, 2008

Mess is More

My friend Julie has hit on a corner of what I've been thinking about. Must have something to do with the 3 hour conversation we had in the car the other night.

Mess is necessary. I have three little boys, it would be SO easy to plug them into the TV (though I see serious patterns of conflict and discontent that come with that entertaining black box) or video games (I really want my children to know each other, and how many blades of grass are in our backyard rather than all the secrets to the game) and keep a perfectly clean house, and I wouldn't 'have' to interact with them a bit. This is not what I want our family to be about. Even if it's hard sometimes.

Before going any further, I must say that I am an advocate of moderation. My boys do have a tv and computer game allowance. My job as stay at home teacher, is to compete with these brain-consuming electronic gadgets and keep the boys happy just living and building and using their imaginations.

Would you believe that we have a tree house, a swingset, and a plethora of outside toys in the backyard, and my boys are just drawn to the mud pit? What am I saying, of course you believe me! These are boys we're talking about? A spoon and bowl and you have the best hobby in history: mud pies.

This goes for inside too;
tinkertoys, marble racers, lincoln logs, blocks, playmobile, legos, puzzles, games, and of course a good set of markers or colored pencils, paper and scissors are the indoor version of those good fun toys that keep my kids coming back for more...and being creative and inclusive, relational and learning. Notice, NONE of these activites are mess free. Mostly, they're messy. Forts in the living room, muddy shoes in the closet that left clumps through the house, water on the floor, 26 lincoln logs in any given room? It's all good.

Ok, well, let's be real. This is something that I'm growing into, it's only taken 7 years. Even 2 years ago I seriously struggled with toys all over the playroom. Now the boys are older, and I realize I have 3 choices; let the kids turn into veggies, keep after them to "clean up" in a way that will make them go upstairs just to get away from me, or just let the mess be.

I will never forget a conversation I had w/ my husband's late Aunt. Her three girls were grown and gone, and cancer had taken her husband 10 years before. We stayed with her for a weekend, and I commented to her, "Your house is so neat, and clean too."
Her reply stopped me in my tracks, "One day your house will be this clean too."
Heaven forbid! Should I want an empty home so that it will be neat, clean and tidy? No, today I will embrace the days my husband works from home, and I'm able to school all three of my boys right here, to be part of their mess-adventures.

So that's what I'll do, I'll let 'em be...I watch them make their messes. Sometimes I'll jump in too, knowing that all too soon they'll be grown and tidy enough, and I'll have a quiet, clean house to keep me lonely. I'll choose today.

An interesting article from the New York Times...

It could always be worse...

Wordless Weekend

Saturday, September 27, 2008


No, this is not a big contest-giveaway, it's just a giveaway. I'm going to post a handful of things I want to let go of, first come first serve. Don't hesitate to speak for something if you're not in our hometown...maybe we can still get it to you!
  • two potty seats (the kind you put ON the potty, with handles for little ones) one claimed
  • two bed rails that hook under the bed to keep little ones from tipping out both claimed
  • 6-8 Dora learning to read books
  • several disney & veggie tales movies on VHS Veggies claimed
  • a handful of board books, a little worn
  • Snow bibs; black size 6, navy size 5, black (new) size 4-6
More to come!

Friday, September 26, 2008


Because it's all I'm feeling this morning, after taking a look at Jen's blog this morning.

28 Things for Which I'm Thankful
  1. A kind husband who loves and supports me, and is my best friend.
  2. The beginning of a green thumb.
  3. Things I love in my home, dishes, quilts, plants, boys.
  4. Grace.
  5. The career of my choosing, with many great benefits.
  6. The ladies' Bible Study (and Shelli, for leading it)
  7. Sweet memories of my daddy when I was little.
  8. Three sweet boys that are whispering birthday secrets this morning (mine is next week. :)
  9. Old, dear friends.
  10. I can run, and I have a great trail to run on right here.
  11. Our stinky, chewy puppy.
  12. Autumn.
  13. Jesus' daily presence in my life.
  14. The buds on my orchid.
  15. Support within Homeschool Groups and my newfound book group.
  16. Women's Wellness
  17. God wants me to ask for help- everyday.
  18. Food in our pantry everyday
  19. Snow days.
  20. New, dear friends.
  21. Three living Grandparents, and the other who I'll see again one day.
  22. A friendship with my mom
  23. That I'll never stop growing, getting wise- and hopefully, child like.
  24. Who I am in Christ.
  25. Books.
  26. Who I'm not, because I have Him.
  27. The big windows in my bedroom.
  28. Blogging friends. ;)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

darts, cherry trees and cookies (a teaching blog)

I'm finding out quickly (as I would've guessed) that my boys learn very differently. Little Critter (like most PreK kiddos)is the kind of learner that likes to get his hands on the information to learn it.
(#845 I love to teach just three students in my very home, I get to cater to my boys' learning styles and paces).
So I've been exploring funky non-conventional tactile teaching ideas w/ Critter, and I'll share some of them with you in case you're doing this too...please share what you're doing!
Today we came up with a game of magnetic darts. We are, of course working on many levels, number recognition, counting and addition. The game really reinforced all these things and the kids aren't thinking "school" at all.

On that note, yesterday we had and early doctor appointment, then storytime at the library, by the time we had lunch and were settled in the boys wanted to be outside. I grabbed a pile of books and flashcards**, we had school in the tree house yesterday. Who knew school could be so fun. Certainly the most time I've spent up there in that house, and the whole experience got even better as we read a poem about all a child could see and imagine by climbing a up a cherry tree....we imagined we were in a cherry tree, looked over the fences into three yards and dreamed about life in someone else's yard.

*In need of a little preschool/home teaching inspiration? Head over to another mom's blog for just that.

So now you're finally getting a little blip...look at how and what we're doing for school. Outside of sharing that I'm really enjoying teaching and being with the boys, I think I haven't posted much. I've read some amazing blogs, mom's that post exactly what they do all week. NOT my style, but you'll get the adventurous hightlights throughout the year though.

I'm always asking folks if they've discovered some good books to teach from. My favorite discovery this year is Paddle to the Sea, by Holling Clancy Holling. This is a fun adventure we're following, a small boat made of wood who begins it's journey on the snow ready for thaw, and floats downstream into different territories, cultures & natural habitats. A very fun book for us with great illustrations. Do you have any great books to share? I'm looking for more great History and Geography resources (whether formal teaching or not)

Of course baking cookies was also on the agenda today...our sweet puppy got a bad reputation last week when he got up and gobbled up the dough I made while Ralph was gone. I was ready to sell the dog to the next stranger who passed on the road...but alas, his great running partnership saved him. I'm happy to have cookies now, I've eaten four already and the boys loved helping out- with the cooking and eating. They'll be fun to have for my book group tonight, I'm hosting.

*If you get a minute, hop over and look at my sweet friend Kristin's blog. Kristin has been through cancer, surgery, and a lot of stuff in the last several years. Kristin is currently having a lot of pain, and really needs prayer. She may have to have another surgery, please pray for healing and that her body will be well! It never fails to amaze me, how Kristin takes every hardship with a faith in Our Good God, that His plan outweighs our comfort at times. I pray for a faith like this.

**I found a really fun flashcard game to play with Scooter, helping him to memorize his addition and subtraction...look for it. Kind of think I got it at Walmart.

And yes, I promise my boys will be wearing clothes one of these days. What's so bad about half naked? (not that I'm subscribing)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nature Challenge #1

This is our first official nature challenge, though not our first outing by far. Ha! The boys had no idea they were "schooling." Took along a little favorite friend too. The two things we'll be learning up on are herb the beautiful caterpillar (living in the comfort of his own bug box here) and some puffy little balls (coccon? plant?) on a desert plant found in the canyon. Of course, the boys were very busy studying climbing, red ants, spiderwebs wedged in tiny rock caves, lizards and how to make a dust storm in two minutes. An interesting observation... seems the closer to the ground a person is, the more they tend to look at it and see all the interesting stuff down there. Once a person gets bigger, they tend to look up- for something to climb. Good, clean fun. I wouldn't have it any other way...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Translate please....

Peanut speak;

Altoids= Outside Toys :)
All done = aye-ya (a year ago)
smarshmallows & smushrooms

Scooter used to call Chocolate= quochet

Little Critter used to say "puckle" for couple....ahhh, the memories

Mmmmm...speaking of chocolate, think I have some somewhere here.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Simple Start to the Week...

To visit the wonderful here

For Today...

Outside my Window...dark, cold skies and howly wind. Mmmm, autumn

I am, Bible Study & I can't wait to spend some time with Him!

From the learning rooms...lesson plan modified yet again and ready for Monday early. Some new books too, science, Memory Verses to learn, Fify Famous Stories Retold

I am thankful husband is home! What a help and friend he is to me.

From the kitchen... seeds are drying on the counter, chocolate chips in the cupboard waiting to be baked into cookies.

I am wearing...jeans, sweater, t and socks

I am reading...100 kids books, and reader's digest. :)

I am hoping...for yet another better structured week, and to tune out all those other voices this week- to listen to my Father better.

I am for boys to be busy with something other than wrestling...

I am hearing..."cry out to Jesus..." and an angry windchime

Around the house...we moved our computer downstairs, so little piles of piles to put away, and a big empty spot upstairs.

One of my favorite things...quiet evenings to just be....quiet

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The, school pics, a tuppeware party, hosting our book group, Bible Study, a dr appointment, to rest.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

October 2000, My handsome Dad and I

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Conversation Overheard:

Scooter explains the workings of the digestive system to Little Critter:
Scooter: Then all the liquid goes into this bag called the bladder, that holds it until *(it comes out of you)
LC: You mean, a bag- like those pelicans that scoop up fish and water and hold it in the bag?
Scooter: Yeah, just like that, except your bladder doesn't fly!

*My own editing
Pudding Painting for school (thanks for the reminder Karin, I'm still watching to see YOUR blog)
Look at that cutie-scootie face

Friday, September 19, 2008

Good thoughts to chew on

Travel over to my friend, Sara's blog for a little reminiscent thought provoking journey today. It's good to be reminded of how precious seasons in life are. I borrowed this photo from her, she took them (up North) on a walk.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Autumn Nature Studies Part 2

Back with more fun ideas to help fill your fall with good activity!

  • Compare seed pods that you find. Notice the many different ways that seeds travel
  • Make a seed mosaic. Glue different seeds on a stiff paper or cardboard in a design or picture.
  • In early fall find a field of milkweed with monarch eggs or monarch caterpillars. Collect a few. Also collect plenty of milkweed leaves to fee them. Watch the caterpillars grow and form chrysalides. Once they emerge, set the monarch butterflies free on a warm, sunny day.
  • If you plan milkweed seeds in your yard, milkweed plants will grow in the spring. Then monarch butterflies may come and lay eggs on them!
  • Plant your favorite flowering bulbs in the yard. After winter they will grow and bloom. If you don't have a yard, put the bulbs in the refrigerator for six weeks. Then plant them inside in a pot. Keep them watered and they will bloom in your house.
Have fun! And Share what you do with us!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...

Outside my Window...sunny skies and my sweet peas smell so sweet!

I am thinking...I am grateful for blogging breaks.

From the learning rooms...learning spanish, read chapter three of Paddle to The Sea and I didn't want to put it down.

I am thankful sweet husband, his friendship and the crazy wrestling games he plays with the boys.

From the kitchen...lots of fresh flowers, nothin' cooking.

I am wearing...a red T and jeans & bare feet

I am reading... Psalms, Lifeguard, When Children Love To Learn, Little House on the Prairie, Voyage of the Dawn Treader

I am hoping...for peaceful days

I am creating...dried stick arrangements for my home.

I am hearing...the boys wrestling on my bed. Yes, I'm letting them. And the dryer reminds me to come fold clothes. Chris Rice mellows downstairs.

Around the house... boys, boys, clothes, toys, boys, flowers, toys. In that order.

One of my favorite things...peace from my Father in chaos.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The keeping, school, boy scouts, Bible Study, Awanas, Storytime, a trip to Outside-In, Walmart, Groceries...stay at home who?

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
This is Little Critter..September 2005

See more here....

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Portland in September (Do you love ikea?)

As some of you know my dear peanut-butter-packing friend and I just went to Portland for three very fun days with four very fun kids. We had a great time, our trip consisted of the following;
  1. A brief but so fun visit to see a dear friend who's recently moved. Got to smooch on her babes and see the FABULOUS job she's done getting moved in and settled, in spite of being in a smaller place.
  2. A wonderful, but too short, visit with my sweet sister and my too-sweet-curly-cute-headed-nephew at the park.
    We got to walk, chat and watch the boys play together.

  3. A fun stay at a hotel was in store next. The boys just loved being at the hotel, playing legos, jumping around, eating doughnuts at the breakfast bar....
  4. A trip to the Portland Zoo, way too much walking for these feet of mine. Highlights were the bat exhibit (we've been reading The Magic School Bus' The Truth About Bats). the ginormous salmon and sturgeon
    swimming in a huge tank,
    the giraffe and of course the huge and somehow cute hippos.
    If you asked my boys their favorite part, they'll tell you it was the ice cream. Kids and candy...what're gonna do?
  5. After the zoo, because we weren't tired enough, I accidentally drained the battery in the Pilot, leaving us high and dry in the parking lot at Fred Meyer. Fortunately, there was a nice sale where we both picked up some spoils and snacks. Mr. AAA came to our rescue and fixed that battery problem, and we were back to the hotel for a little r&r.
  6. Friday we got up, cleared out and headed to Ikea for our big shop. My boys were all tucked in at the play land while Karyn, Aspen and I shopped to our hearts' content for an hour (not long enough) when I picked up the boys and then quickly finished my shopping. It was great fun, and I'm working on organizing a day trip back to Ikea for grown-up-girls-only...A saturday in November christmas/household shopping trip for a woman's delight. Sign up in the comment box. You need not be local...we can all meet!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Quoting Quotes...

" The atmosphere in which a child gathers his unconscious ideas of right living emanates from his parents. Every look of gentleness and tone of reverence, every work of kindness and act of help, passes into the thought-environment, the very atmosphere which the child breathes; he does not think of these things, may never think of them, but all his life long they excite that vague appetency...toward things sordid or things lovely, things earthly or divine."
~Charlotte Mason

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Audacious Autumn

I have said before that Autumn and Spring are my favorite times of year. That is no different this year, I simply love the changes in the air.

The way the shadows grow longer sooner in the day.
Coolness, sharpness on this mountain air,
the slow change in the colors around, bright pastels rust away to autumn colors.

The trees, of course, the trees...flash the bright colors of their leaves in one last shout that they are the grandest bit of nature around.

My crockpot chuggs away, making my work a bit lighter and wafting the house with scents of dinner to come. I pull out the jeans, the sweatshirts and sweaters, tuck away swim trunks and look forward to snuggling up in a favorite sweater and quilt on the couch with a favourite book or a boy. Another blanket on the bed, and too soon we'll shut the ol' house fan down.

I love the fall.

A very fun thing I wanted to share...we're collecting seeds this year. Perhaps I'm having more fun with this than the boys are, but we're finding seeds!

You'll find us outside in our flowers squishing away at the wilting away seed pods and flower, searching for signs of life. We've started a bit of a collection for our nature museum we're building. Drying, waiting and planting...with great hopes of a huge harvest of many, many flowers next summer. I need to borrow seeds of some willing neighbors too, we've had an offer for a bit of a tour from a wild-flower-flowing neighbor, I'm excited to get down there. Maybe this week....

Anyone know...should we sow these seeds in the fall or the spring? Tips?

Post Script~ I've moved all my herbs indoors, as well as my potted jasmine without consequence. With eastern light they seem to be doing well. I can just taste my favorite mozzerella-basil-tomato on sourdough in January, and look forward to figuring out what on earth to do with a pineapple sage. Herbs, they are the spice of the kitchen, and SO much cheaper this way! As for the jasmine, it's too cold to winter it out, so we'll see how it does indoors. My bedroom smells sweetly of sweet peas, roses and jasmine. Ah, I'm rich!