Thursday, November 19, 2009


After a long break from card-making, I made a few cards when I should have been doing other things! I now see that you can't get the camera too close, or they look like they're in a fishbowl. Well, that's the best I can do for now... there's lots to do to get ready for 3 kids' birthdays and Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

That was then, this is now

I was talking with a mother of three the other day, and it made me remember the days when I had three little ones, instead of six...

Then: My kids all took their naps at the same time, so I could have some "me" time.

Now: Remind me... what's "me" time? I've even learned to blog without concentrating!


Then: My kids all went to bed nice and early, so Daddy and I could have peaceful, quiet evenings together.

Now: Who wants to miss out on those extra hours together as a family?!! We've all adjusted to teen time... late nights and sleeping in!


Then: We could fit into a sedan. Going on a trip? Throw that family of five's stuff in the trunk!

Now: Extended SUV for us! Going on a trip? Attach those luggage holders! There's not much storage space in the back of an eight-seater.


Then: It was such a good feeling when all of the laundry was done.

Now: Laundry... I actually love doing laundry, but there is always more waiting. There is no such thing as being done.


Then: All my little ones gathered around to hear The Trumpet of the Swan.

Now: I read Hop on Pop in the mornings, The Lightlings in the afternoon, and discuss Sproul's Essential Truths of the Christian Faith in the evening.

I love my life! It's a little crazier than it used to be... a little busier and a lot noisier. But I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Never say never

I remember the day I said "I'm not a cloth diaper person."

Look what's hanging to dry in my laundry room......

And look at this sweet diaper! If you could only feel how soft it is. It's made of cotton fleece.

And diaper cover...

I was talking with one of my sweet friends the other day. She is a mom of four little ones. We decided that she could be described as a "homeschooling, home-churching, home-birthing, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, cloth diapering, co-sleeping mommy". After discussing her description, she asked me how I could be described. My first reaction was just to say I was very 90's.

I had my first baby in the 90's. I was young, inexperienced with babies, and armed with my faithful, What to Expect books. Everyone in my circle of friends at the time was doing the same thing as I was. I had never heard of homeschooling, or home birthing or churching for that matter. I had never seen anyone wearing their baby in a sling. Cloth diapering seemed old-fashioned and unnecessary. And I was warned not to put my baby in bed with me or I might smother it.

Well, the things that seemed old fashioned then are in vogue again now. OK, they have been for some time now, but I'm slow to change. Yep, that's me! I started mothering my babies a certain way, and just stuck with what had worked for me. I had switched to Seventh Generation disposable diapers on my last few babies. So, I felt good enough about that. I really don't like thinking of bleached diapers on my sweet little newborns.

But after seeing some of my new friends using cloth, I asked them some questions about how much work it is. They assured me it was as easy as using the sanitary cycle on my washing machine. So, I got on youtube, watched some videos about cloth diapering, and decided to go for it! The cuteness of these little diapers alone was hard to resist. And here I am now, with Bum Genius and Kissa's hanging in my laundry room.

I'm not a die hard. I use my chlorine-free disposables when I leave the house and overnight. But I am having a blast! Who would have thought that I would love cloth diapers!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Flu season

Here is a great link to a Shonda Parker's blog, which has a great article about flu prevention and treatment. She is a very knowledgeable lady, who's advice can be trusted...

Shonda Pedia: Swine Flu Update

In addition to this great article, I'll mention a few things we are doing at our house:

Since it takes a day or two for the virus to make a home in our bodies, we do these things after we have been out around other people ...
1.) Swab out our noses with salt water on a cotton swab, or do a nasal wash with Xlear or our netti pot.
2.) Gargle with salt water or Listerine.
3.) Rinse our eyes with saline drops.

I have also heard that colloidal silver (be careful what you use is made by a reputable company and taken in proper doses) is knocking the swine flu out successfully and is also being used as a preventative treatment.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Favorite Green Household Products

I've tried just about all of the more environmentally safe automatic dishwasher liquids, and this is my favorite. Mrs. Meyers gets my dishes the cleanest and has the best fragrances. It is important to me to go green in the dishwasher because a soap residue stays on the dishes, so I'd rather the soap that I use not contain harmful toxins. I order mine from

I like Seventh Generation laundry detergent. We always have clothes on, so we tend to wear the laundry soap we choose. Besides the old reasons for avoiding the wrong surfactants and detergents, I just heard a report about the ingredients in typical laundry detergents bringing on puberty prematurely.

I love Dr. Bronner's soap! Our favorite fragrance is the almond. It's great to feel good about using this soap on the little ones, besides the rest of us.

I was ordering other brands of dish washing liquid on until Walmart started carrying this. I read a consumer report on the different green brands and whether or not they really were green. They gave the Clorox products a thumbs' up. I also use the glass cleaner and bathroom cleaner pictured below.

Reality Check: We do not use ALL green products at our house. We just try our best. The healthy alternatives are not as easy to find at the store and are generally more expensive. I just treat each good choice as a victory. It's easier to stay positive and encouraged when I allow myself to fall short of perfection and just do the best that I can.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grandma!

This week we had another family reunion featuring our favorite birthday girl, Grandma. Janie gave Grandma plenty of smiles and baby coos for her birthday.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Curriculum we love

Here are some of our curriculum choices this year. If I've listed it here, that means we love it! The kids love it... I love it!

Rosetta Stone Spanish: The easiest way to learn a language... for the student AND for Mom! Believe the commercials.

Truthquest History: The ultimate living history book list! If you enjoy learning history through literature, this is an incredible resource. Michelle Miller's commentaries through the guides are extremely helpful.

Teaching Textbooks: Everyone I know who is using this curriculum for math is ecstatic. The teaching DVDs are easy to navigate and lessons are taught very well. My kids rarely need any additional help. And they love the graded lessons and quizzes and the grade book feature.

A Reason for Handwriting: This is great for practicing handwriting for any elementary grade (beginners through cursive). Where other handwriting books may give sample sentences to practice, A Reason gives scripture verses as the copy.

Institute for Excellence in Writing: This is a big hit with many homeschool families I know. This is our first year to use it, so I'm still in the learning process. I am very excited about it! I've tried teaching writing on my own without any curriculum at all because English is my favorite subject, and it's time to call in some reinforcements. Gotta love the DVD teacher when things get tricky!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Six weeks!

My sweet little baby number six is six weeks old today! Oh, could I be any more in love?

I'm so glad someone told me many years ago, that those first six weeks are a blur and that it's hard to mess things up too badly. I was advised that at that point, it is more of a beginning time for starting good habits with the baby, and that the goal for the first six weeks is to just survive. That is a big relief to any new mother who is stressing about "doing things right".

I actually usually write off the first three months, myself. Until Janie, all of my babies have had pretty bad colic for the first three months. So, by this time, I have come to expect life to revolve around caring for a newborn for three months, and letting a lot of other seemingly important things slide. OK. I also let a lot of important things slide. I'll admit it.

Janie doesn't have colic. That's just a miracle that I'm still trying to even comprehend! So, I'm quite excited about being able to establish a new six-kid schedule sooner than I had anticipated. The kids are doing school again... at least about 80% of what I would like them to be doing. Yay for checkmarks on those daily schoolwork checklists! It's good to see those again. And since it's really the beginning of a new school year, they are MOSTLY excited and motivated to be studying again.

Besides schoolwork, I'm anxious to get 3 square meals a day going! In anticipation of a new baby, I bought a pantry full of things that the kids could fix for themselves. So, there's been a lot of spaghettios and macaroni and cheese eating going on around here. That's a far cry from our Maker's Diet days! Sydney did learn how to make healthy homemade mac'n cheese when we ran out of boxed. Kurt has been making his own extremely low-calorie meals since Janie was born, which is when he started his diet. We have benefited from some of his cooking, but he's on a different schedule than us, so many times he's offered us great healthy stuff but we had already eaten.

So, now that we have made it to the six week mark, and life is starting to feel a little more like normal, or at least our new normal, I am adding two more tasks to my days besides mothering a newborn. 1.) schoolwork and 2.) feeding my children vegetables. Any other moms out there have such high aspirations as me? Ha ha!

I actually have my own school work to do this year, too. So, I've got papers to write in all my "spare time"... good one, huh? I'm finishing up my degree, finally. Thankfully, I'm able to do almost all of it from home, and Kurt and the kids are very supportive, so they don't mind pitching in and helping with things so I can have some computer time.

Well, this post was supposed to be an encouragement to moms everywhere who have newborns. I know so many right now who have brand new babies in their homes! But instead it became more of an update of my life. Sorry! I really do want to encourage moms with tiny ones that even though it's a tiring and trying time, it is only temporary. Life moves so quickly, and it's alright to extend some grace to ourselves. This is a precious time, and it's quite alright to take things slowly, lower expectations for a little while, and drink in this moment that will someday be a memory...

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Cocoon

A sweet lady at church made Janie a "cocoon" as her shower gift. It's an adorable wrap to take baby pictures with. I've been trying to get a good picture in it since she was born over five weeks ago. Between the full days that come with a newborn and houseful of kids, waiting for her face to clear up a bit from the newborn pimples, and unsuccessful attempts at taking the pics, it took me a while. But here she is... emerging from her cocoon! She wasn't happy about posing at first, but after nursing her to sleep in the cocoon, we tricked her into it. I took my little sleepy girl over to the bed to pose her while Sydney grabbed her hat, the camera, and the blanket to lay her on.

Baby toes are my favorite!!!

Got her all posed...

Sweet little angel...

I love her so much!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My six

Here are a few pics taken recently. Sydney took all of them, except the one of her and Janie, of course. Thanks Syd!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Janie Kate

Sweet little Janie came out to meet us on Wednesday, August 12th. She was born at 11:02 a.m. weighing 7 lbs 6 oz. She tied her big brother Andrew for biggest baby status. She tied her big brother Austin for overdue baby status. She came 5 days after her due date.

It feels really neat to have so many girls in the house! She has dark hair like her biggest sister, Sydney, which is a little blast from the past, since I haven't had a dark-headed baby since 2000!

For now, life is all about Janie! Our days revolve around her.... filling her belly, burping her, wrapping her up, holding her close, breathing in those baby smells, trying to make her smile, changing diapers, and peeking in at her while she sleeps. I know very well how quickly these precious moments fly by!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cousin Camp (part two)

Any occasion is not complete without "Chubby Bunny".

Cousin Camp

My wonderful sister in law hosted a cousin camp for 12 of the family's cousins. My two little ones made it 14 on this day of cousin camp when we met at the park.
The kids spent a few days together making summer fun memories. Here they are having a jumping jack contest and an egg toss. Notice my little Macy with her big look-alike cousin, Kassandra! And there is Aunt Joanna taking care of one of her campers, cousin Karley.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The kids' picks

While working on the computer today I noticed my little preschooler on the floor flipping through a book, making up a story. I looked over to see what she had pulled off the shelf, and it was one of our Come Look With Me books. It makes me so glad when I see the kids selecting their own favorites off of our schoolroom shelves. It's always so interesting to see what appeals to each different personality. That's why I like to try to keep a variety of books available for them to peruse.

I thought I might take an opportunity to give you a glimpse of what my kids' favorites are at this moment. If I've approved it because it's come highly recommended to me, and then my kids fall in love, then it's definitely worth mentioning.

Macy's (preschool) pick:

Come Look With Me books are a series of fine art books. They aren't the type of books we sit and read from cover to cover, although you could since they are well written. Mostly I've let the kids look and read as much as they desire. The littlest ones often bring them to me to look at like a picture book, and we sit together enjoying the artwork together, commenting as we go. These are great for very small children through the elementary and middle school years. If you are new to fine art yourself, you will appreciate the commentary that helps to explain how to talk about art with your children. Love these!

Andrew's (3-4th grade) pick:

Magic Tree House series. Andrew is devouring these right now. They are mysteries, which also touch on history. There are definitely more serious, classic choices for this age range, but for a reluctant reader, these are a great way to get the reading desire jump-started without compromising your library with other series that bring in bad attitudes and too much "junk food" for the mind. There is some magic, but definite lines are drawn between good and evil.

Sydney's (jr high) pick:

Alone yet not Alone by Tracy Michele Leininger. This is Syd's all time favorite book. It is part of Vision Forum's Beautiful Girlhood series, which is based on the lives of women in history who demonstrated godly character during times of incredible challenge.

Austin's (8-9th grade) pick:

He has loved the last three classics that he's finished and said he recommends them all. They are Moby Dick, The Three Musketeers, and The Count of Monte Cristo.

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