I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today…

Outside my window… clothing on the clothesline blowing in the breeze

I am thinking…I am so blessed

I am watching… kids topping strawberries to freeze for strawberry lemonade and strawberry syrup for waffles this winter

I am thankful for… my husband and his devotion to his family
From the kitchen… chicken legs marinating in the fridge and the hint of strawberries in the air from the jam we made yesterday

I am wearing… capris, t-shirt and an apron
I am reading… The Orphaned Heart and 1Thessolonians

I am praying… for wisdom, finances, friends and family
I am creating… a home

I am looking forward to… swimming with the kids a lot more this week

A picture for today

(Simple Woman's Daybook)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Garden, organizing and musings that may or may not go together

I love my garden. I have always enjoyed looking at other people's gardens but I had no idea how I would feel walking through my own. We have had a bigger garden at my mother-in-law's house but there is something so nice about walking outside in my pj's and garden clogs in the early morning.

If the flowers on my cucumbers and green beans are any idication, I better get my canning pantry organized. Steve is going to modify my garage shelvegs in the next few weeks so that we can be more organized in the overflow pantry. If I have that all together I do a much better job at managing our food and spending less on our groceries.

I am in the throws of getting our curriculum together. Not the easiest task but fun to imagine and plan things for next year. With our first year under our belt I feel a little more confident going into the next one.

We have been enjoying the pool very much. We saved up with the kids and got a sturdier one this year. We could have put it on a card and paid it off soon but we felt that this would be a great way to involve the kids and teach them a lesson about saving ahead of time. We sold some extra things in the shop, took cans in to the store and just plain saved. In less than three weeks time we had the $300. It's 15' X 4', enough room for the kids to play some fun games but not too big for the younger ones. I cannot believe that we only have one kiddo left in a life jacket.

Which takes me to my next topic. Our family dynamic is changing. This fall I will no longer have any preschoolers in my house when our youngest turns 5. I'm not sure that I am ready to cope with that! The thought does bring me to ponder how done we are. Barring any major miracles we are done having children biologically. But there are other ways to raise children. We adopted before and have thought about doing it again. Not sure we are ready for that either but we are always open to consider whatever God brings our way. We just like raising kids. A little confession for you. **I am a terrible housekeeper. ** I love to have things clean, I do laundry, the kids help out but I really do not enjoy it. Any organization I have going on here is out of sheer desperation with my hands gripped tightly around the neck of sanity. It's not easy managing a house of seven and there are days that I feel I am in a perpetual state of tired but it is just who I am, who we are. This season will pass and my kids will move on to raising their own and then what? I have already told my kids that if they would like I will come and help do their laundry when they have children. It may or may not be a subtle bribe on my part to keep them close. But people, I know that of which I speak...the laundry....oh the laundry. If I weren't so ridiculously bent or wired to need to have it all together I would have accepted more help back in the days of five kids five and under.

I digress. It's gorgeous this morning and the weather man promises of more days like this in the coming week. Well, my towels are staring at me through the window on the clothes line, time to go. Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Does it get any better than this?

Steve had a lunch meeting out at the coast yesteday. He went to work at the normal time but in the late morning we picked him up and headed out. Due to the time of the meeting, if we had headed back, his day would have been done. We knew this and formulated a plan to stay and play with daddy on the beach for the rest of the afternoon when the meeting was over. In the meantime we picked up picnic supplies and saw some sights while we waited. When he was done we...
...found seaweed,

played in the water,

climbed dead tree trunks,

had a picnic and just generally had a great time.

Seriously, does it get any better than this?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Monkey see, monkey do.

After breakfast this morning we went out to work in the garden. Some kids wanted to earn money picking rocks out of the garden. Lil asked if she could mow the backyard.

Who am I to say no to that?

Lij immediately got out his lawnmower to work with his big sister.

If she stopped to fill it up with gas, well, he needed to get more gas also.

The lawn now looks great, little guy feels like he helped and everyone got some needed sun this morning.

Rocks have been exiting the garden as well and that makes me very happy. (The green beans are doing very well, thanks for asking!)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Let the summer begin.

The kids and I decided that we wanted to have a picnic today. We made tuna, egg and pickle salad sandwiches and cut up some apples. A nice blanket and some grass provided all that we needed.
I thought it would be a good time to talk about plans for the summer. Who we would like to have over, talk about favorite VBS's we would like to go to as well as get ideas from the kids on what they would like to do this summer.

We made a list mostly for my sake. I tend to forget some things and then the summer gets away from us and before we know it is school time again. I am hoping the list will help keep me on track. Shortly after the planning and eating parts were over, this little guy yelled my way...

"Hey Mom, look! I'm just hangin' around."

Looks like it's going to be one enjoyable summer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

I'm a little lost.

We had a family BBQ this last Saturday and I left my camera at my mother-in-law's house. I went to grab my camera three seperate times to catch some life moments and I was so disappointed each time. It looks like we will need to venture the two miles over there sometime today to pick it up. There was the moment that I spotted the three olders sitting together on the bench swing in the backyard chatting together, one big brother helping a little brother do something later on and then one other moment that I can't recall right now. See why I need that silly little camera to help me remember these things?

I did capture this beautiful moment last week before leaving my camera willy nilly wherever I went. We use puzzles around here to foster development in the part of the brain that deals with logic and problem solving. So how do you get a girl to do a puzzle that really does not enjoy them but struggles in those areas? You pick up a United States map puzzle at the Dollar Store and casually leave it out on the counter and say nothing, that's how. Then said daughter who is currently interested in all 50 states will look at the brand new puzzle and ask if she could be the first to try it out. My response? A nonchalant "Oh, sure, I suppose" . ;-) Sneaky, no?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Productive free time

Last night, we went over to my mother-in-law's house. We try to go over every once in awhile to play and visit and garden and BBQ or whatever the evening calls for. We lived on her property for eight months in a travel trailer while looking for a house to buy and the kids miss running around out in her back field and she missed having them around every day. We aren't doing our large garden over there this year also since we have a good plot where we live now but we do still have 3 dozen tomatoes there to keep an eye on.

Getting wood in all winter long can be a challenge at times for my mother-in-law or Nana as we call her. Various family members in the extended family will try through out the cold weeks to go over and get a pile of wood in for her. She can bring in smaller stuff but it's nice for her to have a nice pile in on the back porch for whenever she needs it. (It was 70 degrees out, but anything lower than 80 and Lil has a coat on.)

My sister-in-law came up with a great idea to make kindling bundles out of a pile of scrap wood. In years past, different relatives would come over to chop kindling here and there. But this idea would have that part taken care of ahead of time. While our family and my sister-in-law were over at Nana's last night, the kids helped. The twins worked at chopping the kindling and then all three older ones helped tie the bundles at the end of the night.

When they are all done, they should have enough bundles to last her about seven months. We told the kids that working on the kindling was optional, they could just play in the back field if they preferred. They really like working with adults though so they jumped at the chance to help, and it makes the progress much quicker at the scrap pile.

Kindling bundles. What a great idea! I will love taking a picture of the stack when it's complete.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Unexpected Surprise

Yesterday, Els got to spend the afternoon at her Nana's house with her aunt and nana. She had a grand time pitchforking mowed grass from the field onto the burning burn pile, playing with a cousin and just generally doing whatever her little heart desired. She told her aunt that she wishes we had goats and cows because there isn't enough to pitchfork around our house. Who knew?

She greeted me with this beautiful arrangement that she had made herself when I picked her up. She was one content little girl when she got home. That and she slept really, really well.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Desperate times...

call for desperate measures. We had a nice thunderstorm yesterday with quarter sized hail predicted. While the hail didn't come to our backyard, the heavy, heavy rains did. My two oldest and I rain through the yard getting thoroughly soaked, finding buckets or any other container to turn upside down on the small plants coming up in our garden. Lightening was striking fairly close by and the thunder was intense. It was an adventure the kids will talk about for awhile I think.

These plants have been work and cost money. I wasn't going to lose them so easily.

I am happy to report that our efforts were not in vain and harvest is still on schedule. And strangely, we discovered that we have enough buckets for three harvests. It's not a pretty picture but it worked!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Daddy's Birthday

We recently celebrated Steve's birthday. It is interesting to see what ideas the kids come up with each year for their dad.
They all went in together this year and bought a book about Egypt for him. He loves anything Egypt and this was a perfect choice.

The gift from me was simple but exactly what he wanted.

Then there was the creative portion of the gift. The kids all headed out to the work area scrap wood in hand. This creation was the collaberation of Bub and Lil. A birdhouse.

A very large birdhouse which is why it is sitting in a flower bed at the moment. We need to find a good spot and hang it properly so it doesn't fall. They had no adult help on this and we were quite impressed. Em and Els are still working on their creation. Lij made a little rocket airplane out of wood and he picked out the shapes himself. It is residing in his room as he asked his dad if he would be willing to share with him. His daddy was more than happy to share.
Happy Birthday hon!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The party goes on.

The family and friend graduation party went really well. A lot of fun was had by the adults and the kids. Food, laughing, volleyball, music. We are looking forward to doing it again.

Now that party continues for me here as I watch our garden grow. I love seeing the plants come up. Right now, you can almost watch the green bean plants grow each day. Yesterday they were just peeking through the ground. The picture below shows what I saw this morning. Amazing.

The radishes are coming along nicely.

I love this time of year!

The kids and I spent a part of our morning yesterday marking out and planting their own plots. Those are the squares you see back by the prune tree and grapes. They were pretty excited to pick their own items and get them in the ground. I let them pick through our seeds. It looks like we will be looking forward to lots of leeks, bok choy and jalapeno peppers!