Friday, December 23, 2011

Feast of Dedication - Day Four
We turn from darkness to light

Your eye is the lamp of your body. 
When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 
Luke 11:34

" their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ "
Acts 26:18

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Feast of Dedication - Day Three
We are lights

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.  Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness.  If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”
Luke 11:33-36

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Feast of Dedication - Day Two
God's Word is our Light

Your word is a lamp to my feet 
and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105

For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life...
Proverbs 6:23

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Feast of Dedication - Day One
The Lord is our Light

The sun shall be no more
your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
give you light;
but the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.
Isaiah 60:19

The LORD is my light and my salvation;
 whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

John 10:  "At that time the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon. So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe.  The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not part of my flock.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one."
 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?" The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God." Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I said, you are gods'? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'?  If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father."  Again they sought to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Winter Divertissements

Love this yunomi cup by a talented young potter named Marshall Sykes
The green wool is a mitten I'm knitting for Lydia.
The Rowan Colourscape yarn doesn't know what it wants to be yet... For now just "granny circles".

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Thursday, November 03, 2011

How I schedule our school day

I like to do all of our family work together at the table in the morning.  After lunch and a break, we start up again in the afternoon with computer time, individual work, and one-on-one moments as needed.  Since we have one computer that we use for typing, Teaching Textbooks math, (math), and (phonics for the pre-readers/beginning readers) AND our music theory software, I have figured out a way to juggle the one and only computer, AND the one and only mama, between kidlets...  I like to use Post-it tabs so I can move things around on a page and figure out who goes where and when.    Here is a loose schedule of our daily routine: (Click here!)   And here is a photo of how I use the Post-it tabs (oops, yes... some real names are revealed!).  The end result is entered into and printed out for my Home Management binder.  I review and make changes as needed every two months.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Nature Studies

On Tuesdays we go on Nature Walks through our woods.  Today the girls were on the look-out for algae, fungi, and other nonvascular plants.   If you click on the photo of the tree stump (bottom photo) you can see the  fruiting body of some sort of mushroom beginning inside, along with some rain water.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Quality of Mercy

The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice.

Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice (Act IV, Scene I)

Friday, October 28, 2011


Yesterday I was in the W.C. a moment too long, apparently, when I saw Bronwyn's fingers and golden locks appear under the door.

"Mama, can you get out?"

"No, not right now."

I hear rummaging around in a drawer in the hall.

"Bronnie, what are you doing?"

"Looking for sump-ing to get you out."

"I can get out, I'm just not ready to get out."

"Are you washing your hands?"

"Not yet."

"Mama, wash your hands right now!  See if you can get out."

Later that evening I was getting ready to go out, and I couldn't find my Phillips Light Touch Hair Brush... now, this is not paid advertisement for Phillips, but this brush does not pull or hurt... it glides through tangles like slicing warm butter... so you can imagine in a houseful of girls, this brush is in high demand.  Since I could not find *my* brush, I picked up a random brush I found on my nightstand (happened to be a Conair Gel Grips brush).

Bronwyn came in my room and saw me using that brush and asked "Mama, why are you using that brush?"

"Because I can't find my brush."

She leaves and returns in an instant with *my* brush.  "Here, Mama, use this.  That brush hurts.  Don't ever use that brush again."

Of course, I obliged.  That child is always looking out for me and my gray hairs.

Last night it was very chilly, and I sent Bronwyn to bed with an extra blanket... my favorite burgundy red throw to snuggle under in the evening while sitting in the living room.

This morning we woke up to several children with headaches, sore throats, and sniffles.  I, myself, have a headache and fever chills, even though warmly dressed, so I asked "does anyone mind if I crank the heat up?  I'm very cold."

Then I came in here to check e-mails.  A moment later Bronwyn came to me and said, "I brought your red blankie downstairs.  I went upstairs and got it so you can't be cold.  I put it in your chair."

Bless her sweet little heart.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


"Because," explained the king, "peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace."  - Sagar Parsi

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Fanny will be five in nine days.  I am still trying to figure out what to give her.  Any ideas?  The conversations go like this....

Mama (46! Since yesterday!!):  Fanny, what do you want for your birthday?

Fanny (4, for now):  Penguins

Mama: You have been asking for penguins for every birthday and Christmas since your second birthday, you have a lot of penguins.  What else do you want?

Fanny: A bike.

Mama: Soon there will be snow, and it will be cold riding bikes.  You will get a new bike when the weather is warm again.  What do you want now?

Fanny:  School books.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fursty Chickens

Mary, Catherine, Lydia and I briefly discussed where the chickens were roosting as we left to go to a friend's house last night.  After a minute of silence, Bronwyn (3) said....


"I can say the same words you guys say."

Mama: "Yes, you can, but sometimes I can't understand your words.  I'm not always sure what you mean when you say 'I vewy fursty'"

Bronwyn:"You don't know what fursty mean?  Fursty mean when you fursty."

Well, I'm glad we got that clarified.  Reminded me of the "what makes you sad?" conversation.

"Tears make me sad"

What makes you have tears?

"Umm... water in my eyes"

What makes you happy?

"A smile on my face"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Today's Lessons

This tickles me.  I "do school" with Fanny in the afternoons but often she doesn't want to wait that long, so she will quietly take her box of workbooks to the other end of the table and put herself to work.  Something just tugs at my heartstrings to see a four-year-old so studious.  :)

Yes, I did my nails while they were working on their workbooks.  Busted!  :D  And Elizabeth came home from out and about and brought me a Frappacino.  Don't worry, I didn't drink that big thing alone.  No sooner was it in my hand when Bronwyn was looking at it longingly saying "I sursty", and she was only the first one in line.  Yes, mamas must always share, mustn't we?  :)

Friday, October 07, 2011

What We Use for History & Geography

We follow up our Bible time with History, because we are currently using the Old Testament for our History spine and since we already have our Bibles out for Catechism, it's handy dandy and we're good to go!

We are currently in Ancient Egypt.  This is our third time through Ancient Egypt in our 11 years of homeschooling as I like to rotate through history from Ancient to Modern times and back again.  Each time through the children are at a different level and take away different things.  Along with the Bible I use a family study handbook by Simply Charlotte Mason curriculum called "Genesis through Deuteronomy & Ancient Egypt".  This handbook gives me ideas on how to expand our lesson with narration, suggests highlights to add to our timelines, and offers up some hands on activities to try.

Throughout our study of Egypt we also use the Oxford First Ancient History book, David Macaulay's enchanting book "Pyramid", and The Mystery of the Hieroglyphs, which is the story of the Rosetta Stone.  Some other books we enjoy are Boy of the PyramidsPharaoh's BoatPharaoh's of Ancient Egypt, and the Newbery Award winner The Golden Goblet.   Shortly after we read Pharaoh's Boat, NOVA broadcast their special Explore a Pharaoh's Boat, which largely followed the book and included online activities to complete the journey.

For the older girls I like to use Nancy E. Gantz' commentaries on the corresponding Old Testament book that we are reading.  With the younger girls I sometimes read our Bible history portion from Catherine F. Vos' The Child's Story Bible.

As for Geography (and Social Studies) I like A Child's Geography by Ann Voskamp with Tonia Peckover, Uncle Josh's Outline Maps (books and/or CD), and Then and Now Bible Maps.

Four books I leave laying around on the coffee table for the girls to look through from time to time are:

Peter Menzel's Material World,
and his Hungry Planet,
and What I Eat
and James Mollison's Where Children Sleep.

I feel these books give them some much needed perspective on the world we live in.

My next homeschool post will be about our Science and Nature Studies. :)

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

What We Use for Scripture Memory & Catechism

Catechism isn't just for Catholics.  :)

Our homeschool day starts with scripture memory time.   Lydia (8) and I work together on her verses in the dining room, while Mary (11) and Catherine (10) go into the living room and work together on theirs.  We set the timer for 15 minutes and, surprisingly this is sufficient!   Lydia usually gets one verse down in that time, and we still have time to work on her other verses.  I like to use the Scripture Memory booklets from Scripture Memory Fellowship.  Even though my personal favorite translations are the ESV and the NASB 1977 version, and most of our school reading is out of the NLT, we have chosen the NKJV booklets to memorize from.  For a long time I couldn't decide what translation to use for scripture memory... after all, these verses stick with you for a lifetime... but I spent so much time hemming and hawing I realized NO scripture would stick with us for a lifetime if we didn't start memorizing it, so I closed my eyes and picked one, so to speak.  :)

After our scripture memory time, we roll into our Catechism time.   I read from Training Hearts Teaching Minds: Family Devotions Based on the Shorter Catechism.  I like this book because it is divided by days of the week, and all I have to do is read from that day's lesson.  After we have read through that, the girls open up their Westminster Shorter Catechism for Kids workbooks by Caroline Weerstra.   Lydia and I work through hers together, and Mary & Catherine work independently.   I feel the workbooks help cement what they learned from the devotions... instead of just listening, they get to write down what they learned, and give it that little extra boost.

That's what our homeschool does for Bible.   In my next homeschool post I will talk about what we use for History & Geography.  :)

You Are My I Love You

I am your Parent, you are my Child
I am your Quiet Place, you are my Wild

I am your Calm Face, you are my Giggle
I am your Wait, you are my Wiggle

I am your Dinner, you are my Chocolate Cake
I am your Bedtime, you are my Wide Awake

I am your Lullaby, you are my Peekaboo
I am your Goodnight Kiss, you are my I Love You

(From the book "You Are My I Love You" by Maryann Cusimano)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Fire Dresses

Bronwyn (3), out of the blue, very serious, and heading off to bed:  I don't like fire dresses.
Mama:  You don't?
Bronwyn:  'Cause you spin around, and then you die.

I wonder what happens if you don't spin around?

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Come Little Leaves

by George Cooper

"Come, little leaves" said the wind one day,
"Come over the meadows with me, and play;
Put on your dresses of red and gold;
Summer is gone, and the days grow cold."

Soon as the leaves heard the wind's loud call,
Down they came fluttering, one and all;
Over the brown fields they danced and flew,
Singing the soft little songs they knew.

"Cricket, good-bye, we've been friends so long;
Little brook, sing us your farewell song-
Say you're sorry to see us go;
Ah! you are sorry, right well we know.

"Dear little lambs, in your fleecy fold,
Mother will keep you from harm and cold;
Fondly we've watched you in vale and glade;
Say, will you dream of our loving shade?"

Dancing and whirling the little leaves went;
Winter had called them and they were content-
Soon fast asleep in their earthly beds,
The snow laid a soft mantle over their heads. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Miss Fanny (4) has been my most strong-willed four-year old ever.  Each of my four year olds have required a personalized system of discipline.  Some behaved with just The Look.  Some behaved after some episodes of time out (though my 11 year old swears a time out is cruel and unusual punishment, and she would have preferred a quick swat to the rear "because it's over quicker, and you get the message").  But nothing has worked with Fanny.  She'd taken to coming out of bed at all hours and throwing tantrums, waking the household.  She'd cry "I want mama!" but she would keep up the refrain even when she got Mama, and had her right there.  Nothing consoled her.  She was just mad it was night time when she wanted to play.

After a few weeks of this, Bronwyn (3) began copying Fanny's showdowns.  Obviously faked, but perfectly mimicked, right down to the squint of the eyes and the tilt of the frown.  She arose three nights in a row, *right* after I had finally gotten Fanny calm and in bed and asleep.  On the third night Fanny was still awake when Brownyn started her 2 am show.  I pointed out to Fanny that Bronwyn was copying her.  That she was the big sister, that Bronwyn adored her, and wanted to be just like her... and she was the one teaching Bronwyn to do this.  I told her I needed her to help show Bronwyn how to behave in a nice way, but instead she was showing Bronwyn how to be a brat.

Since that speech, wonder of wonders, Miss Fanny has been angelic, even at night time.  She even started using the words Please and Thank You, when in the past she has professed she cannot use those words.  She now calls them happy words.

Every night before my girls go to bed, I pray with each of them, asking them what they are thankful for, for that day.  Last night when I asked Bronwyn what she wanted to pray, she said "that I sleep at dark time, and that I wake up at morning".   Last night I had the first uninterrupted night of sleep in ages.  Bliss.

Now I completely understand the phrase "Will wonders ever cease"?

I wonder how long it will last?  I will worry about that tomorrow, for tomorrow is another day.  Right now I will just be THANKFUL.  :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

‎"Society's acceptance is a prison disguised as a palace." - Alphas

Friday, August 19, 2011

Our Home Classroom: What I will be using for Kindergarten with Fanny

She will be learning good habits, like accuracy, attention, candor, cleanliness, courtesy, even temper, gentleness, kindness, modesty, neatness, obedience, order, punctuality, regularity, remembering, respect, thoroughness, and truthfulness.

She will have lots of outside play time.

We will read lots of books together, like Miss Rumphius; James Herriot; Katie Meets the Impressionists; Katie and the Mona Lisa; Katie and the Sunflowers; The Biggest Bear; Thy Friend, Obadiah;  Imogene's Antlers; Now We Are Six; The Magic Hill, Little House in the Big Woods; Little House on the Prairie; Farmer Boy; On the Banks of Plum Creek; By the Shores of Silver Lake; The Long Winter; and Little Town on the Prairie.

We will spend 10-15 minutes a day on a reading lesson.

She will spend a few minutes a day writing Mama letters and Baby letters.

We will spend 10-15 minutes a day on a math lesson.

 She will do useful crafts, like beading, sketching, clay sculpturing, finger painting, flower arranging, gardening, photography, pottery, rubber stamping, scrapbooking, videography, spool knitting, watercolor painting, weaving (pot holders!), cleaning mirrors and sinks, clearing the table, drying dishes, dusting, emptying trash, folding laundry, mopping, organizing, raking, sweeping, setting the table, computer skills.

Together with her sisters she will learn about the works Rembrandt, John Singer Sargent, Paul Cezanne, Edouard Manet, Diego Velazquez, and Jan van Eyck.

Together with her sisters she will listen to the compositions of Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Strauss, Tchaikovsky, and Stravinsky.

Together with her sisters she will listen to the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson.

And she will be committing some important words to memory.

That's about it!  :)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I am so enjoying my Kindle!  I never have to forget to bring a good book... I just bring one, and all my books are right there in it!

I just finished re-reading Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss.  What an encouragement to step heavenward! 

Now I've moved on to Tozer, whose quotes I've always loved, but whose books I've never actually read.

In Stepping Heavenward, when Katherine is going through a crises of faith, her mama encourages her to read books written by godly men & women who have traveled the journey before her.   And so... Tozer.

After losing Noah I've had a bit of a crises of faith...  though I've come to a spot where I am realizing the trials in this vapor of life will someday seem so tiny, no matter how big, when we come to that day where He wipes every tear from our eyes.  I don't feel losing Noah was a punishment in any way.  I felt the grief, but not the anger.  Yet I've had the calm knowledge I will see him again... and for some reason that knowledge has awakened a need in myself to know Him better than I have done.  And strangely... not a need to know Him in order to understand Him... but a need to know Him in order to worship Him for who He truly is.  A need to love Him.  I know my Noah is there with Him... being loved on.  And how can a mama help but love those who love and shelter their babes, when she is unable?

"The natural man must know in order to believe; the spiritual man must believe in order to know." - A.W. Tozer in The Dwelling Place of God
Came home from a delightful evening with friends to find my older girls had enlisted the younger ones to tidy up my happy corner.  This mess is a place! :)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Fill in the blanks...

Outside my window.... a wall of green Ash trees.

I am thinking...this blog is awful quiet.

I am thankful for...a clean house.

I am wearing...a blue & turquoise Indian cotton maxi dress with elephants on it.

I am creating....words on a page.

I am with Ems.

I am reading.... Heaven at Home: Establishing and Enjoying a Peaceful Home by Ginger Plowman

I am hoping.....the weather will cool a bit for the evening.

I am hearing...the dishwasher and girls giggling.

One of my favorite things... three year olds and their way of saying things.

A few plans for the rest of the week..... sending our dairy goats off to live somewhere else.  Hopefully.