Thursday, May 29, 2014

More beadery

Virtuous women in training:

She works with her hands in delight!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Laundro-shock:  Noun. 
That feeling that envelops a homemaker's being as one opens the dryer, only to find it, AND the washer empty.

After a full day on one's feet at an amusement park, that's almost as good as chocolate!

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Real Purpose of Dining Room Tables

- An art center in a free garage sale find treasure chest (that thrilled the Blossoms down to their toes!)
- Bags of bead projects in process... and beads EVERYWHERE!

- An elephant puzzle in progress (again)
- A stack of collected artwork, along with a red Lei from today's parade
- A plant from a girlie's day at work with Daddy
- A science experiment in progress (which I'll tell you about soon!)

I look at all this mess and it's happy clutter.  I loved making bracelets with my daughters today!  (It made them smile too.)  I love stopping at the table and dropping a piece or two into a puzzle for a happy little girlie.  I love sharing fond memories with our daughters about a science experiment.  This is what a dining room table was meant for!

Hope you all had a happy Memorial Day!


Friday, May 23, 2014

Tips For Hand Me Downs

The Lord has always blessed us with hand-me-downs.  And our girlies think it's cool.  If I'm to be a good steward of these blessings, as well as those thrift store and garage sale treasures, it requires a bit of organization and discipline.  I've been rotating clothes each season for 8 years now.  Here is what I've learned.

#1 Store by size CLEARLY LABELED, in plastic bins, with a dryer sheet or two for freshness. 

My Mom suggested the dryer sheet and I've never had trouble with musty smells.  Our clothes are all stored in the basement!  I never wash clothes when I get them out of storage.  Out of the box and straight into the closet is my motto.  If however, you do have a musty scent, dump the contents into your dryer with a dryer sheet and you should be good to go in a half hour or so.

#2 Keep specialty items separate.

I used to have to dig for the next size swimming suit or snow pants.  Not anymore.  I store all the swimming suits in one box and all the snow pants on one rack.  That way, I can just move them to the next sized item.  It's much easier to dig through one box or rifle through one rack, than 5 bins. 

#3 Don't put everything in the dresser or closet.

This was huge for me.  I always thought, "Well, maybe they'll have a reason to wear this..."  And then, I'd find myself putting some clothes away unworn!  I have four girlies.  Sooner or later, everything will get used and that's why God has provided abundantly.  I don't have to have 4 stacks of t-shirts and 3 stacks of bottoms in the closet, just because that's what we have.  We select a reasonable amount appropriate for the season and the rest stays in storage to be kept nice for the next girlie who has different taste or body build or needs.  As my sister pointed out, you can always head back down to the basement to get more if you need to. (and this has happened only ONCE since I've put this into effect)

#4 Set it up like shopping.

I grab a laundry basket, the plastic bins from their closet or dresser drawers, trip down to the basement and place the new-to-them clothes, right in there.  When the girlies started having an opinion on clothing, this became even more important.  Blossom2 won't wear embroidered t-shirts.  "They pest me."  I thought they were cute and in really good shape, but I let her choose.  That way, I know she'll wear them.  At times, I say, "Well, that's enough shirts, if you want that one, you'll have to choose one to put back."  And she does.  TOO MUCH STUFF becomes a burden and it's a terrific lesson for them to learn now.

#5 Try it on like you're shopping.

We rotate clothing for one girlie at a time and they try on whatever I throw at them.  Then, I can weed out any modesty issues immediately.  It's less of a battle if the immodest pieces never make it into the closet.  It's hard to bemoan what you don't see every day.  I can also find out if a girlie needs slims or regulars or a different size shirt or if something needs to be mended.

#6 Be picky about what you keep. 

Don't keep it if it isn't modest.  Don't keep it if you, the parent, don't like it.  If I wouldn't come home from the store with it, we don't keep it.  I used to keep everything thinking maybe I could make it modest with a few alterations or maybe it'll eventually get used.  I've learned my lesson on that.  I save my tiny bit of sewing time for the most important mending and chuck the immodest and beyond help clothing right away.

#7 Be careful what you put in their closets or drawers.

If you stuff it chock full, it'll take super special care to keep it nice and tidy.  They're KIDS; make life easier for them with fewer items. 

#8 Make sure you have stuff to match with items you've chosen.

Since I rarely buy pieces for their wardrobe, I try to apply the rules I would use if I was shopping.  For example, we've had numerous adorable skirts, but I realized that Blossom1 never wore them.  That's because I didn't think ahead enough to make sure that shirts were selected that would match with them.  And, I say, "shirtS" because having optionS are wise.  This time, I held up the cute, colorful plaid skirt that Blossom2 had selected and we took a look at the shirts we selected.  We traded out a few of the shirts so she had 2-3 options to wear with it.  I'm a busy mama, so I love fostering independence.  They can find something to wear with what they've got, without needing Mama all the time.

There you have it.  Hope it goes a little smoother for you.  My girls pitched in this year and helped a whole bunch.  Afterward, we went out for soft pretzels and ice cream!  They deserved a reward after all that work! 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Dealing with Disappointment

I think the Blossoms are learning how to deal with disappointment.  On Friday, the long-anticipated children's play was cancelled at the very last minute, due to flooding.  And, they dealt with it so well.  We grocery-shopped instead and they had hardly a word of complaint coming from their mouths.  Today, after helping Mommy to pack to head to our favorite family retreat, our cabin, for a rare midweek overnighter there, the truck broke down in the middle of the road! 

The cabin is the I CHING in our family's book.  It is the answer to life's questions (if I may quote You've Got Mail).  It is better than ice cream (only because we get ice cream at the tiny country store there, smack dab in the middle of nowhere.)  To name a few of its attractions ~ s'mores...the creek...fresh, spring air... mountains... oh yes, and then, we were going to meet up with our homeschooling pals to do homeschooly things!  Things that included water shoes and aquatic life and a craft.  For our country girls, it doesn't get much better than that.

And then, the truck went ka-put. 
Yes, ka-put.
In the middle of the blindest curve there is on a road a few miles from home.

After the nice neighbor man pulled it out of harm's way (the girls were already out) and then brought us home, it sank in. 

No cabin.
No creek-walking.
No pals.
No s'mores.

:(  This one was a little tougher than missing a mere children's play.  There's been a little whining, but Mommy reassured them.  You can't count on weather.  You can't count on vehicles.  You can always count on God.  Always.

Guess I'll get to the unpacking.  Maybe the girls and I will have a picnic in the yard tomorrow.  And make some microwave s'mores.  :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Today I:

- almost washed the remote control, thanks to Blossom4

- squirted salt water up Blossom3's nose

- helped Blossom1 write an email from a cat

Yep, it's just an average day here at the Blossom farm. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Long and Short of the Long Necklace

Hello friends!

Things are always interesting around here, but especially so lately.  Heavy rains Thursday caused us to be without power all day on Friday.  I ended up with 3 extra children on Friday, which is slightly more interesting without power.  It all went well though.  :)  The girlies were glad too, since they were unable to see the children's play we were going to see at the local playhouse Friday morning.  Having friends over makes up for the flooded parking lots and roads leading up to the playhouse and subsequently cancelling the show!!!! 

Oftentimes I share things that work here in my little bloggy space.  Things like teatime, rubber-band cup identifiers and budget parties.  One of my taglines for this blog has been, "Honest Thoughts, Humorous Blossoms."  I like to share my honest opinions too.  So, today, I'm sharing something that doesn't work. 

:(  75-100 Inch Necklaces  :(

I dress simply and accessorize to fancy things up.  I don't like messing with my clothing all the time.  I get dressed.  I like to leave my clothing and jewelry alone after that.  No hitching.  No adjusting.  No tip-toeing around pieces you have to be careful with.  That isn't for me.  Since I dress with simple pieces of a wardrobe, I latched onto the idea of a 75+ inch pearl strand as an easy way to dress up a plain Walmart shirt and a pair of jeans or skirt.  (From Barbara Bush to Jackie O, pearls always say CLASS and GLAM, in my opinion.)  I ordered a custom size from my favorite Etsy pearl jewelry seller PearlsStory.  (It was a gift from the Rugged, Mountain Man.)  She gave me a great price ($20ish and always free shipping!)  The necklace itself is not a disappointment at all.  It is heavy (read quality) and very beautiful.  I'm not sad that it is in my jewelry box.  You can search Pinterest and the internet for multiple ways to wear these necklaces, which I did.  Now, after about a year of wearing it, here is my assessment.

Every time I wear them, I am constantly adjusting the necklace. 
It doesn't stay in the loops. 
It slides. 
It (almost) chokes me. 
Up and down.
Up and down.
Up and down.

I conceded to defeat yesterday after church.  I had fussed with that lovely necklace  (Yuck.)

So, here's the plain truth of it.  Long necklaces are high maintenance and I am not. 

I am not getting rid of the lovely long pearl strand any time soon.  Rather, on the way home, I tied the necklace in a knot, like a scarf.  It stayed put for 10 minutes, which I considered a victory after my all-day tug and fuss game.  So perhaps the knotted look is the future in this accessory for me!  I'll let you know...

It sure makes a great prop for Baby Blossom 9 month pics though!  (that, and a vintage dress!)

(photo credit to my talented sister!)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Desperate times...

Desperate times call for desperate measures...

It's clothing rotation time!  Hence, a Brownie in a Mug is needed.  Hmmm, with chocolate ice cream.  That, and maybe some Dr. Pepper. 

It's a hard job, but somebody's gotta do it.

To be a child in the spring

Oh, to be a child, off school in the springtime!  When the weightiest decisions to make are what flavor of freezie-pop to choose, which flowers to pick for Mama and how best to perfect one's wolf howl!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Just because

Some reflections on time commitments:

- Just because you want to do the particular activity,
doesn't mean you should attend it.

- Just because your child/children want to do it,
doesn't mean you should.

- Just because your friends are doing this activity/commitment,
doesn't mean you should.

- Just because your friends are planning it,
doesn't mean you should.

- Just because your friends want you to attend a certain activity,
doesn't mean you should.

- Just because it is convenient,
doesn't mean you should.

- Just because you have a free day,
doesn't mean you should.

- Just because it looks fun,
doesn't mean you should.

- Just because it looks interesting,
doesn't mean you should.

- Just because it is educational,
doesn't mean you should.

- Just because one or two of your children are old enough for it,
doesn't mean you should.

I've been asking myself tougher questions lately. 

Does God want me to do this?
Does it interfere with what God does want me to do?
Will I still have enough time to do what God wants me to do?
Does my husband want me to do this?
Does it interfere with other things my husband wants me to do?
Will I still have enough time to do what my husband wants me to do?
Do I feel like this is a wise decision or use of our time?
Does this align with what God wants our children to be doing and learning?

I realize these aren't popular questions, but they are helping me to be careful to weed out the chaos that over-commitment can create in a household. And chaos is not peace.  One of my heart's desires is for a peaceful home.  May the Lord continue to lead me and guide me in this area of homemaking. 


Friday, May 9, 2014

Growing Down Every Day

I was chatting with our girlies yesterday about their witnessing endeavors.  And, I shared that we should follow God's leading about when to have a conversation with someone about the Lord.  I wanted them to know that this hearing from God thing isn't too complicated for them.  When I expressed that I believe it is easier for them to hear from God, than an adult, they were surprised.  It was such a precious thing to share that that's the way God wanted it.  He wanted things simple.  I was privileged to share that an adult has many things in their lives that complicate hearing from God.  A child's mind is simple and innocent.  God delights in that.  And, I shared that God told ME to become more like THEM!  Oh, the wonder of the Gospel!  The beauty of it! 

In my devotions this morning, I read Matthew 11:25-26,
"At that time Jesus said, "I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.  Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight."

There is something simple, innocent and quick to forgive about childhood.  Help me, Lord to become more like a child every day.  We spend so much time on growing up.  I think I'd rather grow down.  :)


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

When You're the Only One

The Rugged, Mountain Man wisely said,

"Sometimes you gotta stand up for what's right,
even if you're the only one."

It's a succinct point.  Let me tell you, it takes courage (and might I add, GRACE) when you're in that situation. 

I want our girlies to get that point.  As the girlies and I were drinking up a treat of leftover soda, Blossom1 commented that sometimes, she drinks soda at a party because everybody gives her a hard time for not liking it. 

Thoroughly appalled (and slightly angered) Mama. 

We chatted then at the lunch table about how it really doesn't matter what other people say about what she drinks.  If you know there's nothing wrong with it, (consciences are useful things!) and you don't like it, drink what you want.  I want her to have that grace and courage to stand up.  Like her Daddy said,

"Even if you're the only one."

If no one stands with you,
for right.
for holiness.
for good.
for justice.
for mercy.
for less sugar (?).

Whatever it is, standing alone for God's side, is better than a crowd on the wrong side.  And, I'd rather the Blossoms learn this lesson over soda, so it can serve them well later.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Some of the fun of having girlies!

There are always flowers in my house.  :)

Random, sweet, homemade cards make my day!

Colorful shoes!  So fun!  (PS - the Red Dorothy-inspired flats were a garage sale bargain for a quarter!)  Blossom3 is tickled pink (red?)... Blossom2 is slightly, but bravely, disappointed, as she missed snagging them by only a half size. 
Girls are such blessings!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Late Night Thoughts on Parenting

Am I frittering away these formative years with our children?  I want to be purposeful about raising them.  We chose this way of life for a reason.  Staying home, home-schooling... I think of people who carefully rear children in their belief system.  I don't see them letting the days slip by rushing their children from activity to activity... letting events dictate the training.  (The training dictates the events.)  It's so much more intentional.  Raising them up in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  That's what matters to me.  I despise this floating along with the current, letting activities, events and commitments whittle away at the vast quantity of time needed for quality parenting/training.  I feel the Lord tugging at my heart.

Don't let the minor things over shadow the major things!

I'm making the changes now... maybe not everyone will understand, but we're talking eternity here.

"Good job, Dominique.  You shuttled them around and kept a busy schedule for your daughters, but you failed to train them in My ways."

I just can't have that.  It's HIS purpose and He put it in me long ago.  I won't desert it, whether people understand or not.