Garden Journals, pt. 5

So…. part 5!  (This was before spring break, which feels like eons ago!)  For part 5 in our garden journals, I had the kids copy pictures of all the birds we commonly see in our backyard.  We used colored pencils, which are my favorite!  We learned that the birds I was calling turtle doves are actually mourning doves.  I also learned their sound is much like an owl, and I grew up hearing them so they must live near my parents, as well!

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My favorite bird, (which I sadly did not capture with my camera this time), was the cedar waxwing.  We were surprised to find 4 or 5 of them huddling around a puddle in our backyard one Sunday morning before church.  When we looked up their breed, we discovered they are a northwest bird, who were probably just down here for the winter.  We have not seen one since!  Thankfully, we still see robins once in a while and hummingbirds daily.

Perspective and Planters

“Are you sad that you have to do dishes on spring break?” one of my daughters asked me.  My first thought was, “Yes.”  But, what came out of my mouth was totally different.


I explained how dishes meant we had a nice meal, and plenty of food, and family time.  I even admitted how I kind of enjoyed the warm water on cold days like this.  Of course, my lazy self would prefer no dishes — but if I could just have the right perspective, they didn’t seem so bad.  In fact, they were a blessing.  As Laura Story so eloquently put it in her song, What if our blessings come through raindrops? Perspective.

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Every spring break I take on a project.  Last year it was writing the book of James on my bathroom wall.  This year’s project was a bit simpler.  I had seen a picture on Pinterest of a window looking out over lavender fields.  It was gorgeous.  Since moving my family into that house wasn’t feasible, I decided to do the next best thing; plant lavender outside our bedroom window.  Perspective.  I looked for planter boxes and alternatives all over online, but none of the ones I loved were in my price range.  Finally, I took the kids to Homegoods.  There I found several viable options, but none of them came in sets of 2.  (My only qualm with Homegoods!)  Then I spotted something I thought might work across the store that I was pretty certain I had seen on the other side of the store.  Yes, I found twin trays!  Only one was white… but I could paint them both anyway!  Hooray!

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Next came the planter boxes to go on top.  Again, I couldn’t find what I was looking for.  So, I drew a picture and asked my husband to do the honors.  I am blessed by his many talents!  After a few nails and a little stain, voila!

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It’s been too cold to open my windows for the smell to come in, but aren’t they lovely?  Now when I look out my window I just see the lavender tops and I am so content.  Perspective.

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On to the next project…

Garden Journals, pt. 3

Our third day of garden journaling, we drew pictures of beneficial bugs: predators, pollinators, and plants that attract them.  Can I just say I LOVE Sharpies?

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I also love seeing the drawing of a 6 year old next to the drawing of a 9 year old — a good reminder of how fast time simply flies!  (Today I also paid them a nickel for every weed they pulled of our lawn by the root.  Worth every penny!  And, the chickens loved eating the weeds.)

Garden Journals, pt. 1

I’ve had this idea in my head for a spring time activity for a while, but have never actually attempted it. Lately, our school work has seemed just like that; work.  It was time for a fun activity that we could all do together.  I am truly hoping by keeping these garden journals, we will be inspired to get going on our garden!

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First, we decorated our {brown bag} covers with stickers and markers.

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gj 4Our first entry was picking a seed packet, copying it with black marker, and then water coloring it.  Seed packets are so cool!

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 Somehow, I think that I have to have everything organized and ready to go before jumping into a project.  But, when I give in and start a project before actually knowing all that it will entail, God inevitably fills in the gaps and gives me the creativity I need right when I need it.  I am now filled with ideas, and can’t wait for more journal pages!  Praise God for his faithfulness.  Why can’t I remember to lean on Him more often?
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Didn’t they turn out lovely?  This really is what our school day needed… a little fun project the kids could look forward to, do together, and inspire us toward our garden!

Getting Warmer…

Before leaving for our cruise, Southern California was experiencing a heat wave.  We got back, only to experience more of the same.  I can’t wait to blog more about our cruise, but I’ve been busy trying to balance enjoying this beautiful weather with getting back into the swing of things.  It’s been a good week, and an even better weekend.  I think I am finally caught-up on “stuff.”  (Of course, caught-up only lasts a few hours around here before laundry, dishes, and messes pile up.  A mom’s life is blessed and busy!)  **sigh**  Here is a glimpse of our warm weather activities:


Making “Fairy Water”


Washing the car.



Enjoying glorious apricot tree blossoms.


Painting fairy houses from Grandma.


It is hard not to want this weather.  All the windows are open.  We start our days on bikes and scooters.  But alas, it is not even spring yet, so I am praying for rain.  In the meantime, you can find us outside!

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…


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!

One Week

My mom has been with us for a week now.  I am using less hand lotion because the dishes are magically done for me.  Exercise and errands mean alone time.  Can I just say it is glorious?  Meanwhile, and most importantly, the kids are loving the family time with Grandma… whether it is a coloring date, building fairy houses, reading stories, making s’mores, playing in the rain, or doing string art.. everything is more fun with Grandma!

gah 1 gah 2 gah 3 gah 4 gah 5 gah 6 gah 7 gah 8Now to get ready for a special Christmas, and more family!