For the beauty of the earth, For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth Over and around us lies,
Lord of all, to thee we raise This our grateful hymn of praise.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

31 Days to Clean--Day 22

Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to Clean

"If you’re priority is to keep your house in order and pay attention to your kiddos,
but you find yourself on the computer more often than not, you may have to regulate
yourself by setting a time limit."

Ouch! That hurt. Nobody said this much pain would be involved. :D I have to say, the days I've been able to do the "assignments" I've dug for much less treasure on Treasure Isle. :)

Today was very simple. Clean the window in the office, etc.  My "office" is a corner of the family room where my awesome roll top desk is located. I love my desk. Some probably think I love it too much. ;) This week I'll be showing it more love.  Anyway, The window was easy to clean. As was the area surrounding.  Of late it had become a collection area that didn't get cleaned even if company was coming.  Now I've thrown all that in the garage (I'm dealing with it this summer & it's stuff to store there so it's not purposeless). I'll probably go on to start the other office assignments due to the busy-ness of the rest of the week. We have violin tomorrow morning since there was a holiday yesterday & I need to get the kids' haircut this week as well.  It's time for their annual paid haircut.  I usually cut it myself, but before recital I pay to have it cut so it looks really nice.  It will be Babycakes' first haircut. Now he won't have hair hanging in his eyes in his birthday pictures. :)

As for the scheduling, I will have to put this off until a later date simply because our normal routine is about to be thrown out the window for Summer Intensives. Our normal routine revolves around ballet classes but in July the kids participate in Summer Intensives which, for The Teenager, is an all day, every day event, similar to school.

In the meantime, I used this site ( to create a list of chores that need to be done by everyone each day. We will post it and the kids will write their initial in the square if they do it. Guess I should thank my dh now for not letting me give them all "S" names. :D

Here's our "command central." I use the wipe off weekly calendar for events that happen every day. It stays the same most of the year, until Summer.  There are a few things missing because I have already started updating it for Summer. I use the monthly, traditional calendar for things that are different each day, like doctor's appointments, field trips, special rehearsals, etc. I post other information like the ballet annual schedule, upcoming concerts we might want to attend, reading lists (though those will eventually end up on their own school boards once the Summer Reading gets started at the library.). I try to decorate it seasonally. At Christmas I bought cheap ornaments from Target and hung them up. This Spring and Summer we got various flowery decorations from the dollar bin at Target. Not sure where I'll find room for our schedule.  This was the biggest board I could get so it's not going to grow anymore. :D

Monday, May 30, 2011

31 Days to Clean--Day 21

Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to Clean

"The important things in life require us to step up and carefully consider the cost. I
can’t imagine driving my car across a bridge that was thrown together by someone
who said, “Let’s see how much weight it can take before this thing breaks.” But I can
drive my car over that bridge with confidence when I know that it was carefully
planned out and designed with endurance in mind."

Today's topic was planning. As the quote from the book shows, planning is probably a good thing. I've never been particularly good at it coz I wasn't raised in a family that planned in great detail.  It wasn't until my oldest son was in his first Nutcracker that I even bought myself a calendar to put dates in.  Now, I'm a calendar addict.  I've been trying to transfer that over to list-making. It hasn't gone well until I read this book.  I would get very frustrated because with five kids my list always seems to get interrupted but never seems to get done. But realizing that it's one thing at a time has helped.

I do have an app on my phone that is great for those lists that get interrupted.  It's call Do It Tomorrow. The great thing about this app is you can either forward to tomorrow things on your list that don't get done, or it will automatically forward it for you, just in case you forget about your list completely. :D

I worked on all the bathroom tasks today since the other days were just too busy to get much of anything done.  It had been so long since I'd cleaned out the cabinet under the sink (I want to say at least four years) I was able to condense our medicine box and our bandage box to one. We used to have quite a bit of medicine around when Thing 1 & Thing 2 were younger because they were very sickly due to their respective conditions. Two grocery-trash bags later the cabinet was clean.  Now we'll be able to find something again. :)

I decided to go ahead and replace the rugs since their non-skid backing was gone.  That stuff goes quickly. :/ I also got my flowers in.  I bought some vases at Target with some rocks for the bedroom vase & shells for the bathroom vase.  I've never used these things before so the flowers in the large vase look a little off to me. In the photo they look blurred because of the shadow.  I didn't notice it until I uploaded the pics.

 Here's a floor you won't worry about fainting on. ;) 

The Weekend

Song of the Day:  No Not One by Brandon Heath (see post below)
Reading: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs (read free, online here)
Verse:  1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.


Can't believe it's Monday already.  So glad for the holiday. It's nice to not HAVE to be somewhere.  I did go to the "plant store" this morning to get a few indoor plants and to the grocery store for our normal shopping.  Doing the bathroom cleaning assignments today for the 31 Days. I finished the bedroom assignments yesterday. Getting the closet cleaned was huge motivation, I just kept going from there. Now all the room needs is grown-up paint (it was the kids' room before we had Babycakes) and maybe a nice chair & lamp for reading. :)

Saturday we went to the book sale at the library.  Got a few nice things including a DVD of The Wizard of Oz.  The little kids have never seen it.  It's weird to think how, when I was their age, nearly everyone at school watched it on TV once a year. It was such a big deal.

They had to watch it on our portable DVD player since we hadn't hooked up our new one yet.

This is the view from my clean room.  OK, the screen's not so clean (neither is the window) but I won't have time for that until August or September so I'll just have to deal. :)

I was trying to read yesterday afternoon in my clean room when H-F brought in one of his Kindy workbooks. He used the number chart to help him count to 100.  I'm very proud. :)

You can see our changing closet in the background. I suppose some day it will be a real closet...or maybe I'll make it into a reading nook. *longing sigh*

Since we bought the boys wardrobes for their clothes, we had two empty cubbies where they used to put their clothes (in baskets). Now we had empty floor and wall space since cleaning up our storage closet bedroom so we put them here.  These are some of my theology & Christian books.  I'm trying not to get sidetracked trying to figure out how to organize and catalogue them. That's what happens whenever I re-organize my books, which is why I don't like to do it often.

Here's the first wall.  You can see what the indoor plants are for. I need to find my vase, or maybe I'll find one at Target later, and I'll put some roses from the garden on the side table there.  It will at least make the room more colorful. Oh, and the rabbit was a gift from my dh so I think he's OK with it there. :)

Here's the second wall. You can see the other plant I purchased.  The cubbies are not empty due to a lack of books (I have around 3,000) I just had enough dust for one day and had to give it a rest.  Dust starts to make me sick after a while so I'll work on the rest of these books later in the week.

Here's the last wall (the rest of it is just window).

Looks like we'll get some blackberries this year.  My fave.

I've been practicing taking pictures holding the camera (or in this case, my phone) backwards. This was a fairly good result. 

Happy Memorial Day and Blessings to the families of our fallen soldiers.

No Not One - Brandon Heath - with lyrics

Book Giveaway

Raising Homemakers is giving away a stash of Clarkson books to commemorate their blogiversary. If I win I will certainly never forget them. :D

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Five Pieces by Emily Bontrager

My friend's daughter has published her first book.  Check it out, check it out-ers. (My apologies to Greg Gutfeld for always stealing that line from him.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

31 Days to Clean--Day 18

Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to Clean

Making Your Personality Work for You.

I have to confess, I peeked yesterday. ;) While I look ahead at the assignments, I don't generally read ahead. I just don't have the time, what with Treasure Isle and the kids wanting to play Petville again. ;D Anyway, when I took the personality quiz yesterday I wasn't really sure it fit me so when I had a free minute yesterday I read ahead to find out what it meant as far as the challenge was right on.

"The “I” Style
You would rather do practically anything than clean! You’re super fun and very
people oriented, so cleaning your home, with no one to really talk too but little ones,
is extra hard on you. If only you could have someone over every day to talk and clean
with you, this whole cleaning thing wouldn’t be so bad!"

That's the awful truth. If someone would come help me and we could talk while we were cleaning, then repeat at their house, I'd have an awesomely cleaned house.  Everything else was spot on as well.  So, I've decided to reward myself (I thought maybe forwarding the information to my dh would be either un-submissive, or an exercise in futility. :D). Tonight presented me with the perfect opportunity to figure out how to do that. At first, I was going to buy cute decorations for the house, but that gets costly.  Tonight, at the last ASL class I realized it would be a reward to get together with my classmates & continue working on our signs.  That way I can get out with people & grow, or at the very least, maintain, my skills.

For our other assignment...the cleaning portion...I cleaned the closet out, and good.  No before & after pic coz I forgot to take a before and I'm too tired (lazy) to get up and take an after.  It really wasn't as difficult as I've been telling myself it would be all these months.  It's not like there's a lot to it, or a lot that needs to be in there.  Our closet is actually used for our baby changing station. We have a dresser that is low enough to be used as the changing table.  We've used this dresser for all our kids this way.  We've never actually owned a changing table.  We are in the midst of moving all the baby stuff into the big boy room so I just took everything out of the closet.  Only the diaper bags are hanging.  Now it's nice and neat again & we can actually find the wipes & the lotion, & reach the diapers without leaving the baby unattended. ;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

31 Days to Clean--Day 17

Homemakers Challenge - 31 Days to Clean

Your Cleaning Style is the title of today's chapter. "Style" seems to be a bit of a stretch of the definition in my case. :D There were a couple of important sentences in today's reading that I'd like to share. 1) "'if only I were like so and so, I would be such a better wife, homemaker, mother…' These are thoughts from the enemy!" This is so true.  We are not to model ourselves after others, only our Savior. If we find ourselves thinking this way about anything, I think it's safe to say these thoughts are not from Him. 2) "DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP! I don’t care how many times you “fail,” don’t quit, press on, and know who you are in Jesus." It is so important to remember our place in Christ.  It is He who will help us, He who will be with us and give us strength.  Today's verse from the GMG study said, "And I am with you always, to the end of the age." He is with us if we are in Him. He will transform us into His image, the design He has for us, how He wants to use us for His glory & our good.

Today's assignment was another simple one for me.  We have only one shelf in our bedroom.  It is in the closet.  There's today's assignment and part of tomorrow's all in one.  Hooray for small rooms & large families. :D



All that lovely space will sure come in handy tomorrow when I clean the closet. :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Review: Sunshine through the Storm

When we couldn't get the recommended book for our tornado lapbook through our local library, I decided to order this book from Christian Light Publishing.  Obviously, I've been spending some time on their site as we have recently switched to their homeschool program in an effort to make Christ more central in our education experience.  To that end, this book was very helpful .  This is a nice story you can read with your children in one sitting.  I liked the way prayer was so central in this Christian family's life. Their hope during their difficult time was in Christ. It was a positive book that portrayed the good that God causes to come from the bad.  Exactly the sort of thing I'm trying to instill in my children. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Song of the Day:  It's Just Like His Great Love (see post below)
Reading: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs (read free, online here)
Verse: Rom. 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 

Ever have a day when things just don't go the way you planned? I have about 7 of them, every week. :D Oh, well, at least I had a nice time with Babycakes at the farmer's market & library this afternoon.  It's good to actually go one-on-one with him.  He doesn't get that much, as you can imagine. :)

It's just like His great love

The three oldest and I had worship at home this morning due to their rehearsal. Thing 1 requested this song. I have to admit that, though I grew up Baptist, I don't remember ever singing this. As I read through it I found I really loved the words. I have found them to be true throughout my life. Jesus does roll the clouds of all kinds away, enabling us to see him & his works better. It may not happen when we expect it, but it always happens when we need it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Another crazy, busy weekend.  Learned a lot of little things so don't forget to check that your alarm is set the night before a busy day. :D Won't forget that again for a while.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Song of the Day:  Word of God Speak by Mercy Me (see post below)
Reading: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs (read free, online here)
Verse: Ps. 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.


So yesterday Thing 2 finished his first reading workbook.  Yikes!! That was fast.  Basically 6 school days.  I got online and ordered the rest of the level 100s for him so he could finish them as quickly as he'd like.  Unfortunately, I didn't pay attention to the fact that he was going to finish his first language arts workbook today. Fortunately, they hadn't shipped it yet so I was able to add on the next four & two more of the social studies workbooks, just in case. :D  I was so glad that I hadn't used expedited shipping.  I thought about it so he could get his reading done, but decided to save the extra $2.

Later we had another "small" Providence at ballet. DH called to see if H-F wanted to be picked up, which he did so dh was on his way.  I waited outside in the parking lot and chatted with a friend whose son is in Thing 1's level.  DH arrived, we transferred carseats & kids, but before he left The Teenager came out having opted not to take his second class because his leg was hurt.  I had already made an appt for next week with the accupressurist, but my son felt he couldn't wait that long since he has two long rehearsals this weekend.  My friend (whose wife is an osteopath--is that the right term, I can't remember) said that she'd had a cancellation for tomorrow morning so I will be able to get him in to be worked on tomorrow.  It really just worked out so perfectly.  I am a very blessed person. :)  Now if we can figure out the park day we were supposed to have with our friends who are moving out of town...

"Word of God Speak" by MercyMe (lyrics) (excellent quality)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Since Last Monday (pt. 5)

Normally Sunday's are our slow day...our only slow day.  Not so this last Sunday.  The ballet academy decided to have Thing 1's & Thing 2's Level Placement exams on Sunday afternoon.  So the three of us stayed home from morning service and read the bible, sang songs from their new hymnals, & prayed.  Then, after a sandwich, we went up to ballet.

We went to Starbucks in between LP's. I had already taken Thing 1 to his favorite place, Coffee Bean, where they observed that they hadn't seen us in a very long time...that's what happens when you are busy.

An interesting thing happened over night on rained.  Now, I suppose in most of the world this is normal, but in SoCal it's unheard of.  To top it off, it was a cold rain, so it snowed in the mountains.  That's impossible. ;)

Some of what was left by the time the clouds lifted.

Babycakes at church Sunday evening.

A couple of pics from Monday.

H-F decided to ride his trike to school on his last day.

Here he is with his fave teacher.  I think it's going to be a difficult two months explaining over and over and over that he won't be going back until mid-August.

Since Last Monday (pt. 4--in which we played some more...and made it, just in time))

So Thing 2 had his level dance rehearsal, at the same time The Teenager had his Red Riding Hood rehearsal (he's the wolf).  Dad stayed home & bathed Thing 1 who, after all his later rehearsals, would also have a violin recital.  (I did mention we were really busy last weekend, right?)

After the first rehearsal we went to 7-11 for a snack & drink, then we ventured into a plant store we have been driving by for the last 8 years. The did have plant stands, but they were all the same style.  So we looked around a bit & bought the basket I'm using now.

Then I took the kids over to the park to play while we waited for them time for the next rehearsal.

Thing 2 worked the swing all by himself.  I was very proud. :)

Then we were back to the studio for the boys' dance rehearsal.  I haven't seen it in a long time so I stuck around and read Dance Magazine & watched.  I found this way cool dance-mom dream item.

As soon as the boys finished, Thing 2 had to throw on his dress clothes and we had to race off to his violin recital.  We made it just in time...meaning, technically we were late, but not too late to be in it.  We had barely sat down in the pew when it was time for him to go on.  I can assure you I never want to do that again.  I didn't even get a good picture coz I didn't have time to set up my camera. :/  But I did get a little video. (hopefully it'll work at some point)

Afterwards we went up to Chick-Fil-A for dinner.  We were very excited that H-F opted to play in the playground.  He doesn't do that often since he broke his leg...a year and a half ago. :)

Since Last Monday (pt. 3--where we dumped a lot of pennies..and played some more)

Friday night was the annual MCC Sale in Upland.  My dh is from a Mennonite family which is how we learned of this fun event.  The kids love it.  But The Teenager loves ballet more.  He wouldn't miss it this year.  I did pick him up after his rehearsal and bring him over so he did get to go for a few minutes.

I really hoped to find at least one or two CLE books but didn't find any.  I found a few biographies, and a couple of old wildlife encyclopedia's to add to my set.  Thing 1 & Thing 2 found hymnals & Thing 2 found a nice KJV.  There weren't as many books there that I needed like last year.  I bought about 50 or more last year so I can't complain. :)

The kids save pennies through the year and them dump them into the box via a very noisy "slide."

The Teenager was at rehearsal this year so didn't get to drop any pennies.  I doubt he would have anyway.  I saw several moms dumping their kids' pennies in while their teenagers stood on the side watching.  Truly, the best thing in life to be is not-a-teenager-anymore.  What a waste of fun times to be had insisting on being "cool."

On Saturday morning we were back, though not as early as we had planned.  Someone woke up in the middle of the night, I can't remember who, and I decided that it might be better to let Thing 1 sleep a little later than 6am since he also had a recital that night.  In hindsight it probably would have been fine, but better safe than sorry. :)

Here are some interesting things you can buy at the sale.

I really wanted one of these rotary phones, but they had the old wires and I don't know if you can convert them.

Some old political cards.

The middles waiting for the kids' auction.  They didn't get the first thing they wanted to bid on so I let them bid for something else.

It's pretty cool, radio controlled truck with MP3 player.  They could argue whether they were going to listen to Brahms or Jeremy Camp while driving it.  But they didn't get that either so they have to find something else to argue about.

I bought this at the book sale.  I also got a Theodore Tugboat video & an 80s version of Grammar Rocks.  Basically it's the Grammar Rocks videos only in between it has kids & Cloris Leachman singing & wearing 80s clothes.  It's painful, I gotta tell you.

Here's what my dh did when he got home.  I took Thing 2 and The Teenager back to ballet for more rehearsals.  But that's enough for another entry.  

Since Last Monday (pt. 2--where we played at some parks)

Friday came in like a lion, and pretty much left like one too. :)

Got up & headed for the park to meet with our Catholic friends at their homeschool park day.  (We're not Catholic, just a lot of our friends are...and since Calvinists and Catholics don't usually kill each other in this country... ;))

When we got there no one else was there.  That's unusual for us at this group, so I thought maybe I'd misunderstood and the day had been cancelled.  So we went to check out another park up the street.

Had to add this last one.  Thing 2's face is too funny. :D

While we were playing I saw one of the folks from the homeschool group drive by so we packed up (meaning we got back into the car) and drove back to the other park.