Fun Little Project

I am itching for spring, as you may have noticed from yesterday’s post.  Mostly because that is the time I declutter, re-organize, and sometimes actually get to be creative!  Right now is the start of friend birthday season for me, and I am so excited to do this little craft for some of my friends.  I found some glass water bottles on sale at Target, and they have an Orla Kiely design.  Orla + glass = love.  I wanted to personalize them, so I got some metal tags from Hobby Lobby, and used my metal punch set.  It was a simple project, but lots of fun.  (I purposely left my letter punch set out for the kids to find and play with afterward!)  I wanted to use little nails to put the metal onto the lid, but decided to use my favorite E6000 glue instead.

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When I was done, I just wiped away the excess glue and it was set.  Now I have to decide if I want to give my last few away or save one for myself, too…

Peaches and Sunsets

This is our 5th winter in this home, and yet it surprises me every time — peach blossoms in mid-January.  From the looks of things, we may have another prolific year.  (It’s very hard for me not to count my chickens before they hatch!)  I took these pictures today after a night of horrific winds.  I’m thankful these beauties survived, though our entire avocado tree fell and our garbage bins were down the street!





I’ve been remembering to close the chicken coop up every night, and love seeing a beautiful sunset as I leave the chicken yard.  No more chickens for you, Mr. Bobcat!  And, I can’t wait to kick Malachi and his diggers out of our garden boxes and start getting veggies and flowers, again.  (Praying for a better gardening year than last year!)

Best Lunch Ever

Here’s the conversation I had with myself tonight.

Me:  Go to bed

Me:  But you have to blog

Me:  Can’t it wait… I’m tired

Me:  No!  You have to record your most special lunch ever!

Me:  OK, you win…

And that’s about how it went.  Truly, we had one of the most blessed days ever yesterday.  In fact, it was quite the weekend!  Friday we went to see Matt Maher after getting a call Wednesday from our local radio station that we won tickets.  Despite feeling sick, it was an AMAZING concert, and so much fun to have a date!  Sunday was our anniversary.  Let me skip right to dinner.  While the kids were at AWANA, we enjoyed a fun dinner of Spanish Tapas in Claremont.  As we both love trying new foods, (and this place was SO good), it was a lot of fun!

And now for the best lunch ever… Our girls gave us a list of ingredients they wrote from their new cookbook, and made us a wonderful lunch and dessert for our anniversary.  The table was even set with real flowers.  PRECIOUS!

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Daniel helped minimally, and I did nothing.  I think I kind of like having bigger kids.  Oh, and thank you Grandma for giving Allison the cookbook!

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I only took one picture of the food and it was blurry.  Bummer.  But, both Daniel and I truly loved it all.

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For dessert, homemade tiramisu.  Sadly, the kids didn’t really like it — after all their hard work!  (I think Allison made it by herself.)  But, Daniel and I liked it.

Thank you for such a special anniversary surprise, kids!  You are a huge blessing, and loved more than you know!!


Somehow, after Christmas I always seem to re-evaluate everything.  It is not even a conscious writing of goals or resolutions, though I sometimes wish I were so disciplined.  Mostly, I like to de-clutter, (which I am guessing is a common post-Christmas activity for moms), and in so doing reorganize, which makes me re-evaluate everything!

All that to say, we are back in the full swing of homeschooling, yet I am re-thinking it all and planning next year in my head while this year is barely half over!  Why do I always do this to myself?

One thing I am thinking about is simply more freedom for the kids.  It is ironic, because if you were to ask me my biggest struggle with homeschooling, I would probably tell you I am not structured enough.  And yet, I am still leaning toward more freedom.  I want the kids to continue to love learning.

January seems to be an excellent time to experiment with all of this.  We have many beautiful days outside, where the kids have been on scooters, making bug houses, and enjoying the chilly sunshine.  I could listen to them for hours as they make up games based on their books or imaginations.

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Then we have the cozier days where we are inside sipping tea, (and espresso for me using my new Christmas present), playing with animals, painting, or reading.

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I laugh every year when I get new ideas and think, “This is it!”  Really, every year is so different and every year we find new and fun ways to homeschool, (as well as new ways to fail!)  There is no magic “it.”  If you would have told me that when I began homeschooling, I probably would have freaked out and been determined to find the right way.  It is only over time, and trusting God, that I have become comfortable with the constant change and realizing no other mom has it all together and could do it better.  God has trusted me with these kids, and it is up to me to trust Him every day for what I need to teach them.  He is faithful!

Looking Back…

Blogging can be so unpredictable for me.  I wonder if other bloggers do this…. Sometimes, I just go into my pictures and see what’s been happening, not having a clue what I am about to blog about.  A picture will catch my eye, and boom — that’s it!  Such was the case tonight.  I looked back and realized there were a few things I never blogged about before Christmas because I didn’t want my Mom, (#1 fan), to see before she got here.

  1.  Pierced Ears.  Our two oldest girls finally got their ears pierced.  They wanted to surprise their Grandma, so I wasn’t allowed to blog about it.  We thought it would be a quick process, but with the paper work and Christmas crowds, it seemed to take forever.  The two youngest were so sweet and encouraging and I was VERY proud of them; especially Sierra, who can’t wait to get them pierced herself.  And Malachi, who was exhausted.  And Daniel, who was stuck in a crowded girly shop holding Malachi.  And Allison and Natalie who were super brave.

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        2.  Another biggie: Sierra learned to ride her bike without training wheels.  The irony is, she hardly rode it with training wheels.  She did much better without!  I don’t remember what prompted Daniel to take them off, but he did and off she went.  Great job, Sierra!  (I think Malachi is almost ready, too!)

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       3.  Our Christmas picture.  I never put it on here so our cards wouldn’t be spoiled.  I actually should have zoomed it in a bit, but we had fun taking the picture in our chicken yard.  I’m glad I don’t have to think about it again until next year!

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So I guess that’s what I am blogging about today!  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.  🙂

Gross or Cool

We know about the bobcat.  He’s gotten 2 cats and several chickens.  But, it began to get cold and we began to get lazy about making sure they were locked up, and… Yes, we had another bobcat attack.  (Two in the last 2 weeks, actually).  We lost 3 chickens total.  I am no longer lazy because I do not want to wake up to the awful squawking, nor do I want to have to chase a bobcat with a broom again.  (Terrifying!)

Thankfully, the kids are ok with it all.  They understand the risk of having chickens in our backyard when we live in bobcat and coyote territory.  And, they even get a little excited about the possibility of new baby chicks in the spring.  What I didn’t expect was them being ok with my husband’s idea.  was not ok with my husbands idea.  I told him he totally grossed me out and I was appalled… yet, deep down inside of me there was a tiny something that thought he was the coolest dad ever.

You see, he decided to turn our tragedy into “school,” and dissect poor Rhonda to see if she had any eggs inside her.  (Yes, he really did!)  He even made me take some pictures, though I was totally appalled.  I held the camera far from my face, snapped a picture, and ran back inside.

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I even tried printing a diagram of the chicken’s egg cycle to give him so he wouldn’t need to dissect.  But alas, he had to dissect.  I saw a bit.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I tried to tell myself it was cool.  The kids were in the same boat as me.  In the end, we concluded that it really was a cool experiment — even if we didn’t find an egg.  Daniel showed them lots of other “cool” stuff.  But, I learned my lesson… NO more leaving the coop gate open at night!


This week my husband was on a very different schedule than normal.  Rather then 48-hour fire shifts, he was in a class where he finished each evening.  In anticipation, I told myself he would be gone every night.  I figured he would finish class late and not want to fight traffic.  To my surprise, he was home 4 out of 5 nights — a fun treat for us all!

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Another fun treat — waking up to snow-covered mountains after the rain.  This was the view from my office window.  Brilliant blue.  Brilliant white.  Chilly hair.  Happy me!

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The last remnant of our Christmas is the beautiful paper whites my mom brought for us.  They are in full bloom, and stinking up the kitchen nicely!  I just love the enamel bowl she brought for them, as well… they transfer perfectly into our Valentine decor!

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After a shopping spree at Target with Malachi one rainy day this week, we decided it was time to pull out the Valentine decor.  There were SO many cute items in the dollar section that I went a little bit crazy.  Pulling down the bins is always so much fun for the kids, and a perfect motivator to have them clean ahead of time!

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Kissing the cat… random.

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School went surprisingly well this week, despite the rain and cold.  (It just made our Thankful Thursday tea party even cozier).  There were some trials with attitudes that made me sad, but in the end worked out for the better.  Somehow I always forget that the trials are what grows us and keeps us humble!  Thank you for the trials, Lord… even though they aren’t fun!

Today we watched “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” that I found at the grocery store for $5.99.  It was even more exciting as I was at the store with just Natalie, and the two of us happen to be just finishing that book.  The fireplace roared and the 6 of us cuddled up on the couch with our gummies.  I feel refreshed…  Happy weekend to you!

The Puzzle

Well, then…. do you remember the puzzle that we dumped out on New Year’s Eve?  Basically, it looked like this:

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And then I became obsessed over it… and worked… and worked…

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and worked…  (it didm’t help that it was cold and rainy outside and warm and cozy inside… or that I was exhausted from the “busyness” of Christmas break and just wanted to rest… or that my personality cannot stand to walk by an unfinished puzzle!)  So, alas…

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I completed the puzzle!  I even had a little help from my 2nd daughter and husband.  HOORAY!  I told my kids the word “psychedelic” meant colorful, though I knew it was more crazy than that.  To satisfy my own curiosity, I looked it up only to find it had nothing to do with color.  It means “pertaining to drugs.”  Oops.  Anyway, now that the crazy puzzle is over, I am hoping to be more productive.  We did accomplish school this week… even if I did have to answer math problems while searching for a puzzle piece.  🙂

See, Daniel… if we just had a cabin, I could move all our puzzles up there and I wouldn’t have any puzzles to distract me from my duties here at home.  And, we would have fun putting them together while up in the cabin with the snow falling outside.  Win, win!

Happy New Year!

The new year is here!  I always picture myself so relaxed in the new year… the string of holidays and birthdays behind me.  I plan to journal, pray, reflect, and be super organized for the New Year.  But, life never seems to slow down, does it?  We get the house in order just in time to hit the school books, extra-curricular activities, and all that once again.  (Thankfully I have a new Nespresso machine from Christmas to help keep me going!)

School starts again Monday.  I have a list a mile long to accomplish tomorrow.  But, I do feel ready to get back into a routine.  For now, here is our New ear’s Eve: a dollar-size pancake breakfast, homemade pizza and traditional puzzle making with our dear friends, and a repeat of this lemon cake to use up some of our plethora of lemons, but also because it is THAT good!

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For the record, we finished almost none of the puzzle and went to bed far before midnight.  (Though, I may have stayed up until midnight last night and am getting close again tonight because the crazy psychedelic 1,000 piece fish puzzle has me in a trance!)

Happy New Year!