Monday, January 23, 2012

Burlap Table Runner

source:  Country Living

I saw this and dreamed of the look on my table.  So, one evening, when my father sent a couple of yards of burlap home with my husband I got creative and this is what I created. . .

It is not to the exact image above, especially since one of the girls just pointed out while looking over my shoulder, "Mom, there is sugar on the table and George's booster seat on the chair," but then we all know I traded the "Beautiful Home" magazine look years ago for finger-print stained walls, sipee cups, loads and loads of laundry and smooshed down sofa cushions (from years of kids jumping on them) for my precious peas and I wouldn't change a thing.  I can add in little pieces of "Beautiful" in my home and that's the key word that I choose to embrace - "Home."  Through all the chaos - my home is PEACE for me.

Here is the best news of all - you can have one of these beautiful table runners because I created two and put one in my etsy shop * see the side bar for the link *.   and I promise there will be no peanut butter finger prints on your table runner!

May your day be blessed!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Twenty-one again

Every year this man that I love, tells everyone he knows, "I'm twenty-one again,"  and every year that he tells this to someone it causes the children to have a quick math lesson.  They instantly chime in, quite frequently, with a "No, Dad that's NOT right."

You can see the wheels spinning in their minds and then a light bulb clicks on.  With a quick burst of wonder each spouts out - "Dad, you've been twenty-one for twenty-four years now."  He just chuckles like he always does when one of them surprises him with a witty remark.

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!  I'm looking forward to many more "twenty-ones" with you.  I love you very much.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Mint Tea

When my mint is not being consumed by the slugs in my front yard, it grows quite prolifically.  Amazingly, it is also continuing to grow through our mild winter months!  So, with that in mind I decided to try my hand at mint tea like the West Ladies teach on their "The Art of Herbs" DVD.

Since the mint is right outside my front door - quite handy if I say so myself - I gathered a rather large bunch of mint stalks (really just enough to cover the bottom of a medium sized bowl), pulling all the leaves off and putting them into a bowl.  I didn't take the time to measure the water in the bowl, nor do the West Ladies, so if I had to guess, it was probably 4 - 6 cups of cold water that was added to the bowl.

Here's the fun part, take your hands and squish the leaves down into the water.  There is not an exact "squishing" time to follow, so I quit when the water turned bright, minty green.

Get your pitcher ready . . . you'll need a piece of cheesecloth, larger than the top of your pitcher.  Strain the juice into the pitcher, catching all the leaves.  The best part of this, if that didn't make enough tea, you can go back to adding more water to the bowl and squishing the same leaves all over again.  Don't forget to compost the mint leaves once you are done with them.

Now I added about 2/3 cups honey and stirred really well.
The first taste was "WOW!"  I thought I had just swallowed a pack of mint gum.  It was very strong and not so appealing.  The frugal girl inside of me decided to let the tea sit in the refrigerator for awhile (before throwing in the towel by throwing the tea to my plants) and see if the mint and honey merged to make a more mellow "mint" taste. 

The next day turned out to be much better.  When I poured another glass, instead of "WOW" it was "OOOOH" that's really good and fresh tasting.  What a great way to use mint! 

Now, it's your turn - How have you used mint?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

cold winter nights: snuggly quilt


Remember this sneak peak of a quilt square I was working on.  Well, it became this:

Our second oldest daughter loves Pirates of the Carribbean and now she has some pirates to snuggle up next to on those cold winter nights in Sparks.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


So often we try to fit a mold, an idea, of what homeschooling should be, or could be, or looks like. Yet, it's not about a mold; it's rather about freedom, discovery and learning to do life.  We need to learn from veteran home school families - taking breaks is not cause for guilt or discouragement.   Just like in a garden – the soil must be left to rest and rejuvenate.   Everyone reaches a point where rest and a different approach are sorely needed. Sometimes the best way to rejuvenate yourself and your kids is to break the normal routine. 

1 — Take a look at your curriculum. Look at each of your kid’s work — is it too much? Is it too little?  Rest assured, its okay to switch curriculum in the middle of the year if it’s not working for your family.   Over our Christmas and New Year's break,  I take some time to look over the curriculum choices and then make the changes that are needed.   Sometimes, I add something new and fun, other times I drop the mundane work or the lessons that a child is not ready for yet. Although, I’ve never entirely switched everything in January before — knowing that I can gives me the freedom to choose what works best for the family.  Never base your curriculum choices on what other families are accomplishing – make sure your children are smiling after a school day, not frowning.  Some suggestions for a change of pace:
~ try lapbooks (A Journey Through Learning)
~ try a Charlotte Mason inspired nature walk (moments with mother culture) 

2 — Declutter.  Although this sounds like an “organizational tip” for the New Year, sometimes it might be just what your house needs in order to make schooling more enjoyable for all.  So, put down the schooling for a day and declutter!  First, go through the mounting piles of paperwork.  Sort, file and throw away any excess.  Next, consider moving on to the toys. Once again, get rid of the excess, the broken, and the missing pieces.  Finally, go through your school supplies weeding out the old markers, dead pens, pencils, and more.  My little ones love to spend time sharpening pencils – this is a fun activity that helps momma out immensely.  Make a game of “Search and Find” - go through the house and find a specific number of things to throw away and then that same amount of things to donate.  This makes decluttering even more fun.

3 — The Best plan is the one made not merely thought about.   Some of us are schedulers and some are not, yet just recently I created some new goals for our family for the upcoming year.  When you think about it, it really only takes a few minutes to jot down a Day’s Draft to the flow of your day.  I have not always homeschooled with a loose schedule.  My first year homeschooling looked so similar to a public school day, except that the kids were still in their pajamas and we were at the dining room table.  Over the years, I’ve found that I do like to have a general idea of what we’ll be doing or fieldtrips we’re going on. Take a look at your day’s plan and see if your schedule is working for the family.  Try something new:
~ begin the day with family devotions
~ Plan on attending a Home school convention in the spring – it will motivate you beyond words.
~spend the day learning and cooking together
~complete the afternoon school work first and then the morning school work
~create work stations in your home that the children rotate through, having some activities that they can accomplish without much assistance
4 — Rest.    Rest is so important, which is why in Matthew 11:28 - 30, God tells us to rest. . . Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light."
Make sure to take some time this week to sit and be still. Enjoy those children that you’re blessed to be able to homeschool.  Play a game, read a book, take a walk, and sit with them.  This is where our hearts and minds should be focused on – the eternal perspective of raising our children— the planning, scheduling, and decluttering can wait. Our family should be placed high on our priority list, but if you are weary, first rest your soul.  Your children want a well rested momma, not one who is foggily flowing through her days.