Thursday, December 31, 2009


In the last few weeks . . .

:: He decided that dressing himself from head to toe is totally easy. Putting on his own shirt is now a piece of cake instead of a big wrestling match.

:: He has been eating a TON these days. Like if we're having sandwiches for lunch he is eating three. THREE! Two bowls of oatmeal for breakfast, a second breakfast about an hour later . . . he must be turning into a hobbit.

:: Ender ventured into 100 piece puzzles. He received two for Christmas and it's been fun to watch him work on it for awhile and then wander back several times through the day to continue his work.

:: He followed the directions on a new set of trio blocks to complete the project on his own for the first time. In the past he has asked for help around step 2 and this time he finished it completely on his own. When did that happen?

:: Ender has been helping Daddy around the house this month. He is rarely to be found without a measuring tape, a pencil and paper in his hands writing all kinds of numbers.

:: Since Ender first saw his bike on Christmas morning I don't think he's taken his helmet off except to sleep, and that's only because we made him.

:: Ender, you are sweet and affectionate, caring for your family and taking good care of us. You make sure that we read every day, remind us to laugh, you make great jokes, and think through everything. Four-years-old looks good on you, Son. You are such a blessing to me and I love you more than I can put into words.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Goal Check

Last year I set up 10 goals for myself to accomplish and secretly told myself that if I did even half of them it would be a good year. Here's the end-of-year check-up:

1. Plant a garden this year and hopefully end up with edible produce. We tried strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, spinach and loose leaf lettuce. We ended up doing pretty well, but I battled a few squirrels over those tomatoes. I'm already looking up ways to keep them away from the tomatoes next year. The peppers did really great, and I have a few bags in my freezer full of sliced jalapenos. This spring I think we will only plant 1 of each kind of pepper so we won't be over run, and I think I will better know how to care for the tomatoes this year.

2. Eat at-home prepared meals only for a week. Thanks to a tightening of the belt this fall we've done this quite frequently in the last few months. My goal in this was to get used to being in the kitchen every single day again, and thinking of our meals differently. My views on food and meals have changed so much this year.

3. Read 20 fiction books this year. Because of my mad dash in October and November I think I'm going to end up with 31 for my final total! Superman argues that the Laura Ingalls Wilder books shouldn't count since they are so short, but at least nine of the books on there were over 500 pages, so I think it balances out. Next year I'd like to keep better track of my non-fiction reads as well.

4. Start Bible memory with Ender and build it into a habit. We started out well, and we're ending well, but the middle months left a lot to be desired. That is my fault, not his, but we're making this into a family event for next year and I think that will be the key to consistency for me.

5. Keep my nightstand area completely clear for 30 days except for vitamins, Bible and 1 current book. This hasn’t happened yet. This may never happen in my lifetime. But it's important to Superman, so I keep trying. Maybe next year.

6. Keep/Toss/Donate 15 items each day for 30 days. I finished this in January/February. It felt so good to get some of those little things out of the house and it didn't take long to do each day. I may need to keep this one for next year as well.

7. Move systematically through the house to declutter and re-organize. I did well, but it's been a few months since I completed this and already I need to go through again. The boys have outgrown toys and clothes, we have acquired some things without making the room for them . . .

8. Drink water. Make juice an occasional thing and soda a rare thing. I did well with this a lot of the time, but awful at certain points too. It is better though, and I'm trying to hold onto this habit.

9. Move to using as many fresh ingredients as possible in our cooking. I am so happy with our diet changes this year. We aren't allowing much junk food in the house because Superman and I can't resist the temptation if it's here. So we're making healthy snacks plenty available so there is no late night "oh-no-what-did-I-just-eat?!?" moments of panic.

10. Re-evaluate my goals every 3 months. I didn't check in on this at all this fall, but we seem to have made it okay. I'm working on my goals for 2010 and praying for guidance in this coming year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Last 2009 Daybook


Outside my window… PILES of snow. You may have heard about a little blizzard we were hit with on Christmas Eve. And then it just keeps snowing. We don't get this kind of snow very often around here, especially not in December. It usually hits in late January or early February, and rarely more than an inch at a time. Usually it's a dusting that melts by the end of the day. When Ender woke up Christmas morning he asked if it was real snow outside. He sort of remembered seeing snow last year, but he wasn't really sure.

I am thinking… about money. Is that okay? We were hit with two big things last week- Superman was in a minor car accident on the 23rd in his work truck (the one we own) and we have to replace one of his lights and the front bumper. Insurance covers most of it, but we still have the unexpected expense of the deductable. Then, on the 24th Superman's  company announced significant changes on Christmas Eve that will cut Superman's paycheck significantly. We are praying (and submitting lots of resumes) for a new job.

I am thankful for…  our beautiful Christmas. Snow on the ground, Ender discovering that Santa had eaten the cookies he'd left, that the stockings were filled, and best of all there was a bike next to the tree with HIS name on it . . . (All Ezra cared about were the donuts for breakfast!)

Always Learning…  I'm feeling really good about Kindergarten stuff now and have a good idea of where we'll be going for the rest of this year with Ender. I promise to share more details later.

From the kitchen…  Sugar cookies with Nana on Christmas Eve, mulled cider and lots of hot chocolate (don't forget the marshmallows!

I am wearing…  A long jean skirt, knee high Christmas socks, a long sleeve tshirt and a hoodie. I am soooo not a winter person!


I am creating…  a very cool sweater in a very bright blue. Still. But I am on the last few rows- one more movie night with Superman should do it.

I am going… to find a tux for Ender today! My sister got engaged on December 19th and they are getting married January 2, and Ender will be their ring bearer. We just have to find him a tux and he'll be ready. He's already done this for . . .  well, four of my siblings, so he's a pro.


I am reading… Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey and Homeschooling: A Family's Journey.

I am hoping… to finish cleaning out all the closets before the end of the week. They are all disasters! We tackled Ender's yesterday, and I'm planning to work through Ezra's today. They are growing too fast, and I never seem to keep up with packing up their outgrown clothes and toys. 


In my prayers . . . My sister-in-law Abby who announced at the family Christmas that she and my brother are expecting their first child. She has been very ill so far, and if she doesn't stop losing weight soon she may be facing hospitalization for a bit to get the hyperemesis under control.

Also, my sister that is getting married on Saturday- she and her fiance are also expecting a baby in early February. They have so many changes happening within just a few weeks time. It is a lot to have going on all at once.

I am hearing… Steven Curtis Chapman's new album Beauty Will Rise. I still pray for their family and this album is a beautiful tribute to their young daughter.


Around the house… I'm letting Christmas linger a bit- but the tree will have to come down sometime.


One of my favorite things… Ender whispering to me last night before I left his room, "I love you all the way to the moon . . . and back."

 A few plans for the rest of the week … Wedding stuff for my sister, a little "winter cleaning", trying to stay warm, hosting a New Year's Eve party. Oh, and the wedding on Saturday!

Monday, December 21, 2009


In the last few weeks . . .

:: Said his first real sentence. "Where are you going, Daddy?" he asked when he saw that Superman was putting his shoes on to take the garbage out.

:: When Ender's fish died Ezra patted his brother's back and said, "s'okay Ender" and gave him a hug.

:: His new favorite word is "WHAT?!?!?" said in a very high pitched and incredulous tone. He says it every time someone says something silly.

:: This is the first year he has remembered a bit about Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph. We've been reading one or two books each day and talking about Jesus' birth every day. He's been holding his baby as baby Jesus for about 2 weeks now and talks about Him constantly. Combine this with his love of opposites and you have an interesting morning:

Me: Ezra, what do you want to wear today?

Ezra: Baby Jesus (laughs)

Me: The green shirt or the blue shirt?

Ezra: Green baby Jesus. (hysterical laughter)

Me: What do you want for breakfast?

Ezra: Baby Jesus.

UM . . . . .


I told a friend about this and she laughed and said, "You do realize that he's telling you that the answer is ALWAYS Jesus, right?"

:: Ezra, your compassion and sincere love for your brother is such a joy to see. I love that you always ask for a snack for your brother when you are getting one for yourself. You look around for Ender whenever you're trying to decide what to play. You literally cheer when you hear Ender's door open in the morning because you are SO excited to see him each day. I am so happy that you two are so closely knit and watch over each other so carefully, cheering each other on and hugging each other so much more often than you argue. A dear brother is such a precious gift.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Last Night


10:00 p.m. Superman and I started talking about his coursework for next semester, getting books, schedules and other brain-bending matters. We both finally get to sleep around 12:30.


1:00 a.m. Ender needs help using the bathroom, and I get him back to bed afterwards.


1:20 a.m. Ezra is coughing a ton for some reason. I go check on him and get him a drink.


1:25 a.m. Ender comes in crying that he wants to sleep in our bed. He climbs in and falls asleep almost immediately. Superman carries him back to bed.


1:40 a.m. Ezra wakes up crying. He finally falls back asleep after lots of singing and cuddling. It's now 2 a.m.


2:40 a.m. Ender is back. At least he's on Daddy's side of the bed.


3:00 a.m. Ezra starts coughing and crying again. I despise coughs that show up in the middle of the night. How he went from zero symptoms at his 8 p.m. bedtime to a gross nose and ugly cough in less than 8 hours is beyond me. He's not able to stay propped up very well in his bed to breathe easier, so he comes in with us so I can help him sleep sitting up. After I get Ezra settled in I take a sleeping Ender back to his bed.


3:45 a.m. Ezra is kicking and tossing and turning. I try to settle him back, but he's too restless. Back to his bed he goes, so that we have a chance for some sleep.


4:30 a.m. Guess who's back? Ender!


4:50 a.m. And another little boy cries again because of this cough, so he joins us.


5:45 a.m. Superman's alarm goes off. Both boys are sleeping so soundly that neither wake. Superman takes them both back to their beds and leaves for work. I usually get up when he leaves at 6:15, but for *some* reason I'm worn out. I change my alarm to 7 a.m.


6:45 a.m. Ezra cheerfully calls "Mama!" from his room as if he got 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep. And wouldn't you know he has only the tiniest sniffle this morning?


I'm on my third cup of coffee. How about you?

** A note to say that this is really atypical. We're not usually up 50 gazillion times at night, but last night was so special it deserves it's own post. **

Monday, December 14, 2009


Have I ever told you that I'm a giant geek that researches everything to death? Just thought it was fair to warn you before jumping into this post.

I mentioned before that we spent a lot of time on our trip talking about what we want Kindergarten to look like for Ender next year and about our individual expectations for homeschooling in general.  We've had the general conversation many times before, but this time it felt more refined for some reason.

We spent more time talking over the weekend, and in between discussions I've been reading a ton, so thought I'd share a giant info-dump on the things I've found in my kindergarten search.


Scope and Sequences:

For these I was looking for a wide spectrum of Kindergarten objectives. I was curious to see what was average and to see where Ender fits- or if he fit at all.


Hollywood Schoolhouse


I also have reference to my Montessori albums and the book What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know.


General Resources:

1. This giant list that includes a TON of links for every subject.

2. Kelly's Kindergarten for ideas.

3. Mini Office to help Ender write independently (scroll to Jan. 2005)

4. BrainPOP Jr.


6. Serendipity

7. The Brain Food List from HolyExperience.



I know science isn't a huge deal in Kindergarten, but when you have a science loving boy, it is. The scary thing about this for me is that science is my weak area. In my searching I've come across some great lists:

1. MacBeth's Opinion

2. Good Science Books

3. Fun Schooling's Science List



1. Math Journals

2. More Math Journals (scroll down to April-July 2006) 

3. Math is Fun


Feel free to add links in comments. Any links to K-3 materials works here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

7 Quick Takes

Jen has more Quick Takes at her place.



This week has gone so fast! I finished all the laundry last night while Superman was in class, and as soon as I get the suitcases taken down to the basement we'll be completely unpacked from the trip. Then I I have to catch up on the regular house stuff . . .


I have a baby shower to go to tomorrow and no gift- yet another thing that completely slipped my mind because of the trip . . . I think I'm going to make a few bibs tonight- maybe a few burp cloths too? Do you have a go-to last minute baby gifts that you like to make?


I'm really stuck on this Kindergarten thing. Trying to keep it simple, but also satisfy my husband's request for "real schoolwork" is tricky. I think his concern is mostly grown out of the things relatives have said to him about our decision to homeschool and having tangible things to show them concerning the boys' education would make him feel better. We're working on it.


I REALLY have to finish up Christmas gifts!!! The truth is that I need to start making in September rather than late October so I can be done earlier and not still be making until the day before Christmas Eve! I have still to finish:

An apron for my sister-in-law

Capes for the boys

A bag for Ender

An apron for Ezra

I know that list doesn't look too bad, but I still work a full week next week and I'm just too tired on most of those evenings to stay up and sew. So I'm going to work at them this weekend and try to get as much done as I can so that I can hopefully finish up on my days off the few days before Christmas!



We've been having a great time with our Advent reading list this week. I'm so thankful for the list posted at Serendipity because I was having a really difficult time sorting out good reads at our library. Our local library has holiday books marked with a sticker on the side, and some of them at first glance through looked like good books, but at a more thorough read were not what I was looking for for helping my young ones to understand this season.

We're using the books on the lists marked Stories for Preparing Little Hearts plus some of the books on the list for Fireside Tales, specifically the Jan Brett books, but also a few others.


We had our first snow on Wednesday. It was barely enough to call it a first snow (since you could still see our grass through most of it!) but it counts. It's been bitterly cold this week- so cold that we have only left the house to get to the grocery store once. We get a lot of ice here and we also had our first ice of the season, and that doesn't usually show up until January. It looks like we may be in for a LONG winter.


I'm hunting more books to read. My to-be-read stack is a little sparse for my taste. I've finished a few series in the last few months and I'm looking for more to try. Ideas? The only genres I don't read are romance and hard science fiction. I love all kinds of fantasy, YA, mysteries, historical fiction and mainstream stuff. Have a look at my book list for this year if you want to see what I've been reading recently.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What I Learned on My Vacation

Superman laughed at my title,but I thought that I surely couldn't be the only kid who had to write "summer vacation" essays the couple of years I went to regular school. The title seemed to fit, so there it is. Laugh away, Superman!
Things I Learned on Vacation:

1. I do not "relax" well. It felt so strange to have nothing that *had* to be done and it took most of the trip to get used to that. There was no cleaning of bathrooms or doing of laundry- I didn't even make the bed! While it was nice to have the break it made me realize how much I like the routines of those things and how they give structure and rhythm to my day. . . . well, I won't include doing laundry. I loathe laundry and don't think I will ever be convinced of thinking that there is some kind of peace in folding laundry.

2. I really rely on specific routines during my days. I'm so used to packing my shoulder bag with the snacks, drinks, books, favorite airplane, favorite black doggie, etc. that I didn't realized how streamlined the system had become until I had to pack my little bag for a few hours at the beach and I started looking around for the sippy cups. Packing was as easy as sunscreen, towel and a book and that felt really odd!

3. I have a serious information acquirement problem. We had no internet access and using our phones cost quite a bit per minute so we had to plan our calls accordingly. I didn't realize how often I google things! I was also surprised to discover that it actually felt wrong to not be able to look that information up right away.

I generally keep up on a collection of homeschooling blogs and a message board, sewing and knitting blogs, and a message board for mothers- I missed keeping up on it all, but the time without them made them feel less needful and I know that is for the better. I've struggled with this feeling that if I don't keep up on new ideas and activities that I will miss something that might be important for my kids to learn. What I really need to do for a time is step back, and follow up on the next point without a ton of outside influence.

4. I'm a lot more stressed out about starting "real school" with Ender next year than I thought. That was the primary topic on my mind while we were gone, and I was having a bit of a serious panic. I have a general idea of how I want kindergarten to look, but then I'm having a panic that maybe I'm not including enough, tempered by the educator in me saying- this is Kindergarten. He will be five. You don't have to do everything right now. But then my Mama heart starts worrying that I might be missing something really important- what if he really does need history or more science than I plan to provide or something like that?

The other factor in this is Superman, who has no idea what the possibilities for homeschool include and has a rosy picture of "school at home" where we all happily sit at the table for 3 hours a day doing paper after paper. So, since our ideals are slightly opposite, we're both trying to meet in the middle on this. I need to make some final decisions about whether or not to continue with Montessori math, to buy a text, to make our own plan . . . too many choices! Do we include history yet or wait until he's older? Should I include science? How much?

I'm working on it, and the time without distractions over vacation was tremendously useful, but it was only a start.

Points 3 and 4 are directly related. I just have to figure out how to balance the two parts of my brain, make a plan for Kindergarten and not second-guess it. I'm open to suggestions.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009



Outside my window… Frost. Potential for snow. REALLY green grass in my front yard. I don't know how that happened exactly, but it's bright green.

In December.

I am thinking… about our December schedule. Fitting in our family stuff with extended family stuff, work schedules, Superman's finals this week, finding time to really be in the season . . . Hopefully this is the last year of craziness like this. Only 5 months til graduation now!

I am thankful for…  my beautiful boys. And grandparents that love them so much that they kept them for an entire week and still cried when they dropped them off at our house Sunday because they would miss them so much.

Always Learning…  We've all been taking it easy and our plan for the rest of the month is to enjoy Advent books (many from the Serendipity list) and some Christmas-y baking and crafting.

From the kitchen…  Um, my kitchen is bare! I picked up the bare necessities of milk, bread and eggs yesterday to keep us in sandwiches and breakfast for a few days til I could get my brain together to go grocery shopping.

I am wearing… Jeans, knee high Christmas socks, two camis and a long sleeve t-shirt. I'm a cold girl today!

I am creating…  a very cool sweater in a very bright blue. I saw it on Soulemama a few weeks ago, bought the yarn and took it on vacation. Superman may have rolled his eyes at me because I was knitting while sitting out by the pool, but I'm very happy with it so far.

I am going… to get groceries later, for sure! I'm just waiting to see if it really does start sleeting when they say it will. If not, we're going to make a mad dash and hope the weather holds!

I am reading… A TON. If you go look at my booklist you may be a little, um, surprised at how much reading I've done since I last daybooked on Nov. 16th. I'm going to guesstimate low at 3000 pages of fiction. Yes, that's *three* zeros. You know how I said I read Twilight in like 2 days once I actually got going on it? Yeah, turns out my sister had the set so I borrowed them and finished them all by the 3oth. Ahem.

Otherwise, current reads are Storm Front by Jim Butcher (fiction) and The Power of Play by David Elkind (nonfiction).

I am hoping… to finish up Christmas gifts this week.

I am hearing… Christmas music. Steven Curtis Chapman is my favorite voice these days.

Around the house… I'm almost done with all the post-trip laundry and I'm counting that as a giant victory.

One of my favorite things… Ezra's special kisses. He's so sweet and affectionate.

 A few plans for the rest of the week … Catching up, hanging out at home and  celebrating the season.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

See You Later!

We're packed and ready to go. The boys are off to their grandparents and Superman and I will soon be on a plane.

We'll see you next week!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas Trees

I finished the stackable Christmas trees last night while watching Twilight. (Yes, yes, I know- just finished the book, so had to see the movie. The book is much better, just like usual.)

I went with reds and greens since these are for the boys and they are still learning all the Christmas tradition stuff. I zig-zagged the edges with the opposite color and hand stitched the edges closed.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

About Last Night . . .


:: I finished everything on my list except hemming Superman's pants.


:: I also made extra stuff and stayed up way too late.


I'm a rule breaker.


:: I actually took pictures. My apologies that they're dark, but it's a lovely shade of gray outside and looking to be that way until at least March.


Gigantic pile of stuff to do:


The red skirt with a million pleats:


And another skirt I made in late summer, but never photographed:


:: I also read about 300 gazillion pages of Twilight. Well, maybe not that much- I'll just put it this way- I started the book (yet again) on Sunday and finished it last night. I've tried to get into that book  no less than four times and this time I had nothing waiting in my to-be-read pile and it was either keep reading that or don't read anything. So I kept reading and didn't stop. The writing itself isn't anything amazing, but the story was certainly compelling. I've got the others on order now. So all you Twilight people that have been harassing me every time I've started the book and put it down again can just stop it. I'll read them as soon as I get back from my trip!

Monday, November 23, 2009

UFO Week

Okay- it's Un-Finished Object week here. There's a point every few months where I realize that I'll never find my desk again if I don't finish off all the little projects hanging out. The rules?


1. Don't start anything new until the list is done. *Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But when I'm working on something it's so easy to get distracted with ideas for new things or have the temptation to "just cut this out real quick . . ."


2. After the list is done, finish cleaning off the desk! *Somehow my desk becomes the collection site for everyone else's spare parts. Off to their homes they go!



1. Hem Superman's pants.

2. Take the hem of Ender's pajama's down.

3. Finish the blue linen wrap skirt.

4. Fix the red skirt and topstitch.

5. Zigzag the Christmas trees.


Most of these things are really fast finishes that just involve changing thread color. The blue linen skirt is only cut, so that will take a few hours. I'm going to try to get it all done today except that linen skirt. Think I can?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

7 Quick Takes


If you'd like to read more quick takes, go visit Jen. She's cool like that.



Superman and I are going on a trip sans children. For more than a night or two.

Color me nervous.

The panic attacks started exactly 2 nights ago when I woke up at about 2 a.m. completely convinced that Ender had broken his arm while we were gone and we weren't there for him. Never mind the fact that he'll be with grandparents who love him very much and take amazing care of him when we're not around, but you know. Maternal paranoia. 



I finished Kushiel's Mercy yesterday morning. It was so good that I stayed up late reading and actually woke up earlier than usual to have extra time to read and finish it up. I could not put it down and now I'm sad that the serious is over. I need to find something in the same vein while I'm on such a big fantasy kick in my fiction reading.



I've been addressing envelopes for our Christmas cards this week and Ender was inspired to make his own. He's been stamping and writing cards to everyone in the family to hand out on Thanksgiving.

They're on old "Thank You" cards with monkeys on them, but if you call them Thanksgiving monkeys it's all good.



I spent a ridiculous amount of time pleating last night. What a lesson in patience! Superman and I were catching up on a few of the shows on our DVR and after awhile he looked at me and said, "what exactly are you doing?"

I tried to explain but he waved me off and asked, "If it's that much trouble why would you do that to yourself?"

I wondered too! It's worth it- the skirt is going to look great, but I don't want to mess with pleats for a long, long time. Or ruffles either. Good thing I have boys, I suppose!



The boys helped decorate for Thanksgiving this week:

The "countdown to Thanksgiving" chain belongs to Ender. We started making countdown chains quite awhile ago, and it has really helped him with teen counting. The wreaths were a spontaneous kind of thing. I don't know how we got on the topic of wreaths, but Ender asked me why we had a Christmas wreath but not a thanksgiving wreath, so he decided to make one. We cut some leafy shapes and used cardboard from an empty cereal box to cut the wreath shape. Ezra even got in on the wreath making and did a pretty good job with the glue stick.



 I continue to be amazed at how personality comes out in kids so young. Ezra has always been very opinionated, and especially so in his art. He is a "maker" like me and at the very least draws every day. His new adventure into collages has been very fun to watch. It's still a very physical process for him, but this week he placed pieces very specifically on the page and named the work when it was complete. I've tried to stay away from the naming thing, but Ezra insists on it. Most often he calls his work a "duck".

I'm going to switch up the collage supplies this week and add a little bit of fabric and felt to see what he does with that.



I'm spending the weekend trying to avoid getting the gunky nose stuff the boys have. I'm imagining there will probably be abundant time on the couch, warm blankies and favorite movies. Hopefully some good napping from the boys to help them get over this stuff.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Finally Some Sun!

We've been stuck in cloudy rainy yuckiness for a few weeks now, but this past weekend brought some sunshine and unseasonably warm weather! Outside we went . . .

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pajama Time

I caught I good sale on flannel prints a few weeks ago and bought a few to make pajamas for the boys. The boys are only one size apart in clothes so I cut them all to the same size and just gave Ezra a deeper hem.

I *love* making pants. It makes me feel like I've done so much in so little time! After just a few hours of work there were not one, but SIX pairs of pajama pants ready to be worn! Sometimes it's nice to have such a quick project at hand, plus the boys really like to have matching pajamas sometimes.

Monday, November 16, 2009


Outside my window… the weather is finally acting November-ish, but I wish it were jus tthe cold kind. It's drizzly and gray where we are, and up north where Superman works it's rotating between snow, sleet and drizzle. Poor guy is outside in all of this today.


I am thinking… about Thanksgiving food. I'm responsible for one side dish and a dessert this year for my side of the family, and another dessert for Superman's side.


I am thankful for… a slow weekend. We had no where to go but church on Sunday and I caught up all the laundry and cleaning by noon on Saturday. There was soooo much sewing this past weekend! (Pictures starting tomorrow!)


Always Learning…  We had a slightly slower week this past week with a lot of time spent at the table writing the letters of the alphabet Ender has learned to form so far (A-F, N, R and T in both upper and lowercase). He spent most of the summer begging me to learn to write letters but when we started to work on them he just wasn't ready. It's amazing how much kids develop and change in just a few months. I'm glad we waited a little longer because he has become very confident in this area. I don't think that would have happened if we'd started before he was really ready.


Ezra has spent a lot of his time with the buttoning turkey and his latest fascination is carrying the child-sized chairs around the living room. He's been joining us for collages. He's not quite ready to cut on his own, but he *is* the resident king of the gluestick.


From the kitchen… Lots of leftovers. We're trying to use up as much of what's in the house as possible since we will be gone so long at Thanksgiving and I don't want to come back to any surprises in my refrigerator.


I am wearing… Dark denim jeans, a white cami and sweater on top. I'm all about the layers lately. Oh yes, and awesome argyle socks.


I am creating… December lesson plans and MORE Christmas sewing. I finished Superman's gift over the weekend, and worked on stockings. I'm hoping to finish those in the next day or two.


I am going… to get the house in really great shape before next Wednesday so we can come home to a really clean house.


I am reading… Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey. I do actually read books by other people too, it's just that hers are like 600 pages . . .


I am hoping… For a more relaxed week of teaching in the studio this week.


I am hearing… The boys talking to Ender's fish as they eat their morning snack. They love to tell him what their plans are for the day. 


Around the house… We want to get the Christmas tree set up this coming weekend since we will be leaving on Thanksgiving and won't be back until December 5. I'm trying to figure out where the Christmas tree might be able to go and all the other Christmas things we want to have set up for the boys for when we come back.


One of my favorite things… bubble baths. I've been able to have one in the evening a few times this week to de-stress. I can read without feeling like I should really be doing something else.


A few plans for the rest of the week … Making packing lists, more sewing, taking back the enormous stack of fall themed library books and replacing them with winter books, Superman's midterm for 1 class, and finalizing thanksgiving plans with family.

Friday, November 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes


If you'd like to see more quick takes, visit Jen.



I never cease to be amazed by AnnVoskamp. I made her my first stop each morning while I drink my coffee and gather my mind. Her words are such an encouragement and help me to remember what is important. This week included: kids' poetry suggestions, Scripture memory in practice, and beauty in plain life.



I finished two books this week and added them to this year's list: One Second After by William Forstchen and Kushiel's Justice by Jacqueline Carey, the 5th in in her Kushiel series. Forstchen's book was about the possibility of the United States being hit by several EMPs, essentially wiping out the infrastructure of the entire country. The basic problems of food, shelter and medical supplies for communities who were unprepared was only the beginning. I couldn't stop reading this book and stayed up WAY too late unable to find a good place to break for the night.



Another book I've been reading this week is Mary Ostyn's Family Feasts for $75 a Week. If you're already a frugal grocery shopper there aren't a lot of new shopping tricks to learn- plan your menu ahead of time, shop according to sales and stock up on great sale items as much as possible. I was surprised that she specifically wrote that she doesn't use coupons and used the old arguments that often off brands are just as cheap if not cheaper, and also that coupons are mostly for foods they don't use. While both arguments can be true, combining coupons with sales almost always knocks the name brand price below the off brand price (and if it doesn't I won't buy it). I agree that coupons ARE for a lot of pre-prepared foods and foods that we don't buy, but there are coupons for other things too- milk, eggs, spices, baking goods, cereals we often buy, etc. I don't clip coupons for foods we won't use, but there are still plenty of coupons out there that fit our eating style.



I was most impressed with the recipe's in Mary Ostyn's book. For once a family cookbook that is actually comprised of family friendly recipes without 1 random exotic ingredient in most recipes! I loved that there were ways to help me extend recipes (making double with the intent to freeze one, meals that use the same basic ingredient so that the leftovers from one meal don't go to waste) and there were seriously dozens of recipes I can try that will meet approval, even by my self-described super-picky husband!



I've been hanging around craftster like CRAZY this week on the nights I can't sew. Looking at all the amazing finished projects keeps the creative juices flowing. :)



We're taking the boys to their first bonfire tonight. We're so excited to make s'mores and roast hot dogs- like ridiculously excited. Ender is asking me every 5 minutes if it's time to go yet.



I have lots of sewing to share with you from the last week or so. I just can't seem to find the time to photograph. I sew at night lately and the light stinks of course, so I keep planning to take pics in the morning, but mornings are the busy time of day . . . anyway! I'm planning a big picture taking session for Saturday in the good light and I'll share next week. It's mostly Christmas related sewing, but not necessarily Christmas-y.

Thursday, November 12, 2009



That's what Ezra calls something when he doesn't know what the right word is: Booga.


And ever since he first used it and we all laughed about it he has used it again and again with glee. It's part of the family vocabulary now- we all use it. Now if we want to say that someone is being silly we say they're being a Booga.



When my youngest brother was 3 years old he announced to everyone he was changing his name to Coo-ee. And he wasn't three, he was seven-and-a-half. (A very important half). He stuck to it for an entire year and absolutely refused to respond to his given name. So we all called him Coo-ee for a year and now make sure to bring it up in front of his girlfriend every once in a while just to see him turn shades of red.


It's the inside things that bond a family and knit you together so that when you live far apart 25 years later you all come together with the commonality of the shared home life, the jokes, the re-telling of stories.


I have a large family; I am the oldest of nine. Only four of us live within an hour of home, and everyone else has gone away to follow work, a spouse, or a calling- a missionary brother in Utah, a brother in Nebraska, one in Kansas, another away at college, and my baby sister working with children across the ocean in the Philippines. It is only 5 weeks til we get to see each other again, but now it's so much more- wives, husbands, a fiance, a new baby- all coming together for Christmas.


We try to explain to the "extras" what it was like to grow up together, how the family dynamic worked, but there just aren't words. It's in the way that one brother calls another "Albert" (even though that's not even remotely close to his real name), the way the brothers argue over the Risk board even as grown men, the sisters knitting together and eating pie while the boys aren't watching, everyone coming together to sing, to be still for Christmas and know the moment for what it is.


Remembering Faith.


Family together.


Prayers for babies, the ones already with us and the ones to come.




Only five short weeks.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Heard Around the House

Ezra thinks that all flying insects are bees and is very afraid of them. Over the weekend we were going out to the car to run some errands and a fly went by right in front of Ezra. He started to cry and ran back to me. I hugged him and told him it was just a fly and flies are nice to little boys, but he kept crying. Ender came over to us, patted his brother's back and said, "hold my hand, Ezra, and I'll take you to the car. I'll keep you safe from the bees."


Ezra grabbed his brother's hand and held tightly all the way to the car, saying "Ender- safe. Ender- safe."


*insert happy tears here*

Monday, November 9, 2009

Buttoning Turkeys


I linked these turkeys from Montessori Journey last week, and I made ours over the weekend.



I doubled up the felt for a little extra durability, and my favorite part is the wood buttons. I have a brand new little obsession with buttons, which is soooooo not good! Do I really need another thing to collect?



Ezra snatched the turkey away from me the second it was finished and spent a good twenty minutes buttoning and unbuttoning. It took him a very long time to button them the first time (this is his first work with buttons) and just as I was about to show him how to work with the buttons Ender stepped in to tell him how to do it and he did a great job!

Friday, November 6, 2009

7 Quick Takes



If you'd like to see more quick takes, go visit Jen.



Only seven weeks until Christmas now! I never used to care- Superman and I were always kind of ambivalent about gift giving, but with kids around I get almost more excited than they do. I'm making several things for Christmas this year so I'm trying to be ahead of the game to get everything done in time.



This weekend is my first big sewing weekend dedicated to Christmas gifts. I cut out Christmas stockings awhile back but never got to sew them so I'm working on those first, followed by Superman's gift and finishing a quilt top for Ender and another for Ezra so I can get those off to be machine quilted.



I saw this tute for stackable Christmas trees quite awhile ago and immediately saved it to my "future project" folder. They are so cute, and I *know* I have enough scraps to make these!



I mentioned in my November links list that I was planning to make superhero capes for the boys. We have an awful lot of "Saving the Day!" going on around here lately.

And remember the button turkeys from that post? I'm planning on some Christmas buttoning activities too- maybe a Christmas Tree or a snowman?



One of the projects on my "if I have time" list is this cute yo-yo garland that I bookmarked last year. If I find myself ahead of schedule sewing-wise after Thanksgiving that garland will be calling my name!



Need Some advent ideas? Sarah has a few lovely posts about her Advent planning.



I come from a family with no holiday traditions-seriously, absolutely zero. Superman's family only has the tradition of opening gifts on Christmas eve instead of Christmas day.

When Ender was born we really wanted to think about creating some traditions for the family, and so far our Christmas traditions include decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving, spending Christmas Eve with Superman's family and coming home to open up a package of Christmas pajamas to wear on Christmas Eve. This year will be the first talking about Advent with the boys. Does your family have traditions for Christmas?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Outside my window… It's a crisp morning. I'm just waiting for the first frost so that I can dig up the lily bulbs. We brought the little  lemon tree inside not too long ago and it's doing well.


We've had a few cardinals visiting the crabapple tree in the backyard in the last few days, and they boys are so excited to see new birds!


I am thinking… about the holidays. Only 7 weeks now until Christmas, and I will be out of town for one of those weeks. I need to spend a lot more time at the sewing machine!


I am thankful for… a clean kitchen. I've been making that a focus in the last week or so while I've been feeling overwhelmed with other things and it helps so much to always come down to a clean kitchen in the morning. I feel like I'm ahead on my day!


Always Learning… We picked up a few School Zone workbooks at the store that were pretty cheap (I think $3 a piece?) because Ender asked for some papers to do. I think that desire was born out of two things- he is *really* into writing right now, and also his friend at church goes to preschool and talks to him about bringing papers home, so I think he wanted the same thing.


Ender has been working his way through the Math Readiness book whenever he likes and he's been doing 3 or 4 pages at a time. Right now it's a lot of counting and matching groups with the same number, both skills he's had for quite awhile, but using his pencil to connect them makes it more exciting. He's really seeking to write a lot  and this is satisfying some of that need without the exercise of forming readable letters.


Ezra has been using descriptive speech lately and his 2 word vocabulary is expanding. Lots of "blue shirt" and "pretty flower" kind of talk. I'm so happy to hear his language expand now. He's been on the borderline of needing speech therapy several months, but this is the first time he's been firmly in an "average" category. He also said "love you" to his daddy the other day for the first time. I love those little words from little mouths!


From the kitchen… A really good potato soup earlier in the week, and on the menu for the weekend is a roast with potatoes and carrots, chili, and fresh bread.


I am wearing… My long red linen skirt, a black long sleeve t-shirt, and black knee socks. I really need to finish those new slips so that I'll be a little warmer in my other skirts.


I am creating… Christmas stockings and December lesson plans.


I am going… to sew like a maniac starting this evening while Superman is in class and through the weekend.


I am reading… Kushiel's Justice by Jacqueline Carey.


I am hoping… that this annoying cold clears up soon. It's difficult to blog or sew or do any of my extras when I'm asleep by 8:30.


I am hearing… Little Einsteins and little boys munching on crackers and cheese for snack.


Around the house… I’m keeping up on the minimums housekeeping wise, but sleep is definitely coming in first place.


One of my favorite things… Is it too soon to claim the frozen Apple pie filling? I had some last night and I'm sooooo glad that I put that away for this winter!


A few plans for the rest of the week … Helping Superman study for another competency exam, spending time outside while we have the sun with us, sewing, and finishing out the garden.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Our November


Some of our fall/November/Thanksgiving plans:


Thanks and Giving Trees


What's Alive?


Learning to Button with Turkeys


Candy Making


Superhero capes (shhhh! don't tell- these are for Christmas!)


Leaf projects: collections, rubbings, drawings, paintings . . .


Using some ideas from Jean Warren's November calendars.


Picking from the excellent Thanksgiving and Fall ideas from the Crafty Crow.


And our habits to build this month are generosity and kindness, particularly with brother.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I've Been Tagged!

Erin tagged me for The 8 question Meme.


Six names you go by:

Mama (to the boys of course!)

Honey (the husband)

Babe (again with that husband)


Miss Erin

Mrs. W


Three things you are wearing right now:

Navy Blue long sleeved t-shirt

Jean skirt

new argyle socks that make me really happy, but Ezra says "hippo" every time he sees them. No idea why.


Three things you want very badly at the moment:

Peace to some medical issues for Superman.

An answer guide on how to get a 2-year-old to sleep more than 45 minutes at a time.

May 2010 to come quickly! (Graduation day for Superman)


Three things you did last night/yesterday/today:

I went to bed early.

I finally finished off the last of the apples.

I just sat to knit during naps yesterday. No cleaning or keeping up. Just knitting.


Two things you ate today:

A ton of chips and salsa- my comfort food!

WAAAAAY too much halloween candy.

Two people you last talked to on the phone:

Two sisters- T and C. C called to tell us that she and her boyfriend got engaged while on her short term missions trip to the Phillipines! (He is there until January, she was only there for a few weeks.)


Two things you are going to do tomorrow:

Go pick up a few notions to finish up sewing projects I started last weekend.

Get into Christmas sewing!


Your three favorite beverages:
Dr. Pepper (I'm trying so hard to stay away from it though because it affects my sleep tremendously)

Hot Chocolate

Cranberry Juice

Consider yourself tagged if you'd like to play along!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Apple Pie, Apple Crisp . . . Mmmm


We spent most of last Saturday making and freezing apple pie filling. The house has smelled cinammon-y for days! (My favorite fall scent.)




And after putting up all that pie filling, we finished our day with an apple crisp, because really- what's a little more peeling and slicing when you have all that yumminess to eat as a reward?


Monday, October 26, 2009


Weekend = cooking, reading and sewing.

We spent our weekend with apples. Lots and LOTS of apples. I made and froze several jars of apple pie filling and applesauce, and I made two apple crisps over the weekend. We had apple pancakes Sunday morning for breakfast, and I still have apples left. They are wonderful crisp Fuji apples that we picked at a farm north of us. The boys had a wonderful time picking them, but I don't know how we'll ever eat them all. I've spent two days coring, slicing, peeling and cooking and there are STILL more apples!

I suppose I'll be making more applesauce tomorrow. And apple crisp for breakfast.

I updated my reading page. I've plowed straight through all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books this month, save The First Four Years. I find that I don't ever want to stop reading them and I've been disappointed at hitting the end of each book and having to wait to get to the library for the next one. I started Jennifer Weiner's Best Friends Forever 2 nights ago and I'm about half way through. It's fine so far, but not as good as I'd hoped it would be. Next in the reading queue is the next Jacqueline Carey book and the last Laura Ingalls Wilder book as soon as it comes in at the library. I'm out of ideas for where to go next.

And the last weekending thing- I did sew. A lot. The boys are now each 3 pairs of pajama pants richer, and I have a new skirt. Or I will when I finish gathering the blasted ruffle and sew it on. For now though, we'll pretend that it's NOT annoying to gather without a ruffling foot (can't find it ANYWHERE!) or else this post will quickly turn into 18 million paragraphs about how much I loathe gathering by hand. I should have started with sewing the slips I cut last week, but I'm feeling really nervous about working with slippery material and I thought the skirt would be soooo easy . . .

But again. Not talking about the stupid ruffles.

Oh, oh, and! I pulled out My christmas fabrics I bought way back in the spring and I'm going to get started on Christmas stuff this week. I have a few small gaps in my teaching schedule this week so I'm going to try to sneak in a bit of Christmas sewing. I really want to get all my Christmas sewing done before Thanksgiving this year.

Stop laughing! If I aim for it all to be done by then I might actually be done on time. :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Seven Quick Takes



If you'd like to see other quick takes, go visit Jen.



It's been a quiet week here. If you've emailed or messaged me since last weekend I probably haven't gotten back to you (but I will try before the end of the weekend). I haven't been much on the message boards I typically frequent, or even online at all. Sorry about that, but it was much needed quiet.



I was "that mom" on three separate occasions this week - once in the post office while I held a hysterical toddler (hysterical because I wouldn't let him just wander about the place), once in the middle of Target when my 4-year-old threw himself to the ground and then kicked me in the shin (over my refusal to buy candy), and once in a parking lot where I wrestled with Ezra for what felt like 10 years to buckle him into his car seat as I said over and over, "Car seats are not negotiable!" while people walked by staring at me.


I'm tired. And it feels like the boys are ganging up on me sometimes.


The reality is that they could tell that I was on edge and they hadn't seen their Daddy in almost three days, so they were on edge too. Extra sleep and good food is a great cure for edginess.



So I've been hiding out, spending a lot of time cooking and talking with Ender, changing little bits of our routine to make it easier on me, reading for a few hours after the boys are in bed (real books, not online), and getting to bed early. I needed a massive recharge.



When Superman came home on Wednesday, there was a long discussion about why we're doing this- why I'm working, why he's taking such a heavy course load this semester and next, where we want to be by this time next year and 5 years from now.


A re-focus, if you will, partnered with lots of prayer.


A reminder of what my husband has asked me to do, a reminder that this is indeed a short season, and that life will be peaceful again in just a few months.



In my non-online, post-little-boy-bedtime free time this week I've:

:: Cut pieces for 6 pairs of pajamas for the boys

:: cut material for two new slips for myself and one new skirt

:: cut beautiful, beautiful Alexander Henry fabric for a sunny apron to help me through the dim winter months

:: Read 3 books

:: cast on wristers for myself

:: cleaned my sewing table so I can actually sew for the first time in a few weeks. This is the weekend. Next week might be a million crafting posts since I have about a million things simply waiting to be made.



Why has Superman been away so much this week, you ask? Well, after work he's had at least one school-related stop to make each day- new classes started up, he had to do the whole advisor things one night to deal with the special requirements of applying for graduation and taking a last competency exam. He's been home every night, but between some craziness at work with late hours and his combination of class nights he didn't see the boys awake any time from Sunday evening until Wednesday night, and then only for an hour or so before bed. He had class last night, but thankfully once he's home tonight he'll be home until Monday morning.


We so need this time with him.



The most helpful bit of this week? An hourly schedule. A simple thing really, but I need something mindless so I could just look at the list and do whatever it said. 9 o'clock? School things with Ender. 10 o'clock? Off to the kitchen to take care of a few more of those apples. Laundry? Meals? Even reading? All on the list, designated to a time when I knew it would be taken care of.

I don't generally like to be told what to do with every minute of my day, but I needed it this week. I'm thankful for this coming weekend and the free time held there.


Time with Superman and my boys.


Time to sew.


Time to be outside, take a picnic (perhaps for the last time this season), and just be.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Outside my window… It's dark. I usually write early in the morning, but I'm up late. I haven't had caffeine in ages, but one little Dr. Pepper at lunch and I won't be asleep any time soon. I really should know better by now.

Our leaves are almost all changed over- there are very few green leaves left! The trees in our front yard have huge leaves and Ender is really impressed that the leaves are bigger than his head. He wants to keep every single one of them.


I am thinking… about how to make our early mornings run better. I'm not naturally a morning person, but over the summer I had gotten into the habit of getting up early to help our mornings. I've been terrible about it in the last few weeks though- I need to plan ahead a little more in the evenings and actually get up with my alarm clock every day for a few weeks to help my body get used to it again.


I am thankful for… weekends. It was a good weekend.


Always Learning… Ezra has started to notice shapes. We talk a lot about circles, triangles and squares, but all he has so far is "shapes! Shapes!" which actually sounds like "sip! sip!" Hey- it's a start.

Ender's new thing this week is a book about rocks and minerals. He has a special box of rocks he has collected from camping trips, visits to new parks, rocks from the back yard and a variety of other places. A few are shiny or have a cool shape, but most of them seem like ordinary rocks. He has a reason why he chose every single one, and he keeps them ordered in his own way. He is in love with this new book and has spent quite a lot of time on it.


From the kitchen… 80 Gazillion pies worth of apple pie filling for future pies and crisps this winter. That's pretty much all I'm doing in the kitchen this week- apples every single day!


I am wearing… My favorite jersey jammies.


I am creating… nothing new this week. I need to finish up a few things so that I can get started on Christmas stockings and Christmas gifts.


I am going… to catch up on the house this week.


I am reading… Little Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.


I am hoping… for some resolutions to the schedule problems I'm having.


I am hearing… most excellent silence.


Around the house… I'm de-toying the house. It was becoming too much and it was time to put away some of the outgrown things. So our infant and under-2 toys are all packed up and in storage. I also sent Ezra's 24 month clothes to storage along with his crib. He's growing up too quickly!


One of my favorite things… Homemade Tomato Soup. I made a bunch yesterday. That is my soul food right there.


A few plans for the rest of the week ... lots of apple pie making, quiet time in the evenings (I have hats to finish!), and Superman starts new classes this week.


Lots of prayer.


Lots of white space.


Hard stops.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Seven Quick Takes



If you'd like to read more quick takes, go have a look at Jennifer's place.




Know an introvert? Are you an introvert? You have to read this: Survival Guide for the Quieter Species. I'm an introvert. Working with my music students is fun and rewarding and the perfect job for me, but this much social contact every day of the week make me want to hunker down at home every other moment of the day.




Yesterday I asked Ender to hand me something and he said, "Sure," handed me the tool and paused for a moment. Then he said, "Mama, did you know that "sure" is the spanish word for "yes?"

I fell over laughing.




In Ezra news, he decided that minty blue adult toothpaste was a great treat yesterday morning and had himself a snack. One call to poison control and lots of milk later, he's just fine, but I'm trying to figure out how to get blue vomit out of the carpet. Thank goodness that's all I'm worrying about! (And the toothpaste is on a much higher shelf now.)




I got the newest Jennifer Weiner novel from the library today. I absolutely loved her first novel Good in Bed, and I have enjoyed some of her work since (namely Goodnight, Nobody- my favorite of hers so far) but some were less than exciting and I never could get into The Guy Not Taken. I really want a good chic lit read. All I've been reading this year is historical fiction and fantasy novels.




I've spent time reading  (and re-reading) Ann Voskamp's post, Seven Rungs. I'm trying to soak up the wisdom there and all that's on my mind lately is our home environment and how to simplify our daily rhythm to make room for the things that are important to me.




For some reason Ender hasn't been wanting to eat much at meals lately so our solution lately has been to have a "snack plate" for meals. So for lunch he might have a slice of ham, some cheese and apple slices- your usual lunch fare, but magically if we call it a "snack plate" he'll eat every bite. Call it lunch and he's not interested. Four-year-olds are tricky creatures.




I've been knitting up a storm this week- finished up both pairs of mittens and I'm almost done with hats for two little boys. I'm hunting a pattern for my niece for Christmas as my next project. She will be 3 months old at Christmas, and there are just way too many adorable patterns out there! Suggestions? Ravelry links?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Elephants on Parade

Ender *loves* elephants. He has a little elephant that he carries almost everywhere and for weeks now he's been looking at countless elephant books and drawing elephants day after day.

I knew that he was choosing to draw elephants daily, but I hadn't really recognized how much he had progressed in his drawings until last night when I was putting files away. I moved to a file crate system at the beginning of August to help me keep track of the ideas I come across and I've been using the file folders to store their work after the week is over. The plan was to use it to keep things sort of organized until I had free time to really go throught the files every 4 weeks or so.

To be honest, I just haven't been that organized. Sure artwork and papers have gone into the right files at the end of the week, but I haven't been back through everything since I first set everything up in early August. In my free time over the weekend I worked on those files and saw exactly how much Ender's drawing has changed in those dozens and dozens of elephants. I thought I 'd share a few:

The first is from early August progressing to the last one which was drawn last week.

And just for some extra sunshine on this cloudy October day:

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