Monday, June 23, 2014


The older I get, the more I realize that this earth, just isn't home.  It isn't Heaven.  Heaven's where things are perfect.  Heaven's where all is right.  Heaven's where peace reigns.  Heaven's where there aren't any tears.  Heaven's where there isn't any pain.  I remember something our Dean said back in my Bible school days.  "The Earth groans and travails.  It's all off-kilter."  It's true.  Everything's been out of sync since that day in the Garden of Eden.  When the Second Adam, Jesus Christ, came, He fixed salvation for us, but the rest of the mess from the fall of man, is yet to be fixed.  And that's what we have to look forward to. 

My cousin died tragically last week at the age of sixteen.  A nice young man.  Funny.  Kind.  Generous.  Helpful.  Sweet.  Happy.

In tragedies, we all grasp at why.  Why Brent?  Why not the scumbag down the street?  Why? 

Mostly, people grasp for the answers til the heartache isn't so stifling and it doesn't require thought to simply breathe the next breath anymore.  Passing time eases the pain, but it doesn't answer why.

Losing a baby in the womb is a different kind of tragedy from losing your 16 year old son, but before my cousin Brent died, that was my only frame of reference with tragedy.  This thought comforts me.

People get what they truly deserve in Eternity. 

The Godly are rewarded in Eternity, whether they were taken early or late from this Earth.
The ungodly finally receive the punishment they deserve.

God is still a just god.  Tragedy makes me remember more and more the temporary, imperfect place that this Earth is.  And, I look forward to Heaven, where wrong will be made right.

I do hope to see Brent again.  May the Lord comfort our family.

Glam up a Stroller!

I picked up this well-loved "beaut" on the side of the road on the way home from church one Sunday.  (free!)  My husband hosed it off to rid it of years of dust and leaves.  (Hello Jake, you photo-bombing Golden Retriever!)

I wanted to work on it RIGHT AWAY but the Rugged, Mountain Man knows me so well.  He said, "You can't work on that stroller til the wood is stacked."  Don't get mad at my man because...

A. I love a challenging, creative project.
B. Refurbishing a stroller is far more interesting and fun than stacking wood, (which is the girls' and my responsibility because gathering, cutting, hauling, and splitting our year's supply of wood is a ton of work for one man).


A pretty stroller will not keep you warm in winter.  AND, it is much smarter to stack in spring and sew in summer.  (Don't believe me?  Try stacking in 90 degree weather.  It ain't pretty.) 

So, here I am, about 2 months later, finally tackling the stroller, since we finished the wood-stacking a week or so ago. 

To glam up your stroller, start disassembling.  Keep all your screws, straps and such in one place.  Namely, a place that a certain BabyBlossom cannot reach.  For obvious reasons.  The comfy seat part was attached with screws, which I removed.   I spray-painted the frame with that cool Krylon spray paint specially formulated for plastics.  SO NEAT.  (Remember to ventilate well and watch out for over-spray.)

 Now, this project isn't really for the sewing faint of heart, but you can do it!  Just carefully take your seat apart and use it to make a pattern.  I ripped open seams wherever possible.  In other spots, I simply had to cut it apart.  (The point of no return!)  Always remember these things:

1. Cut around your "pattern" leaving about 1/2 inch for your seam allowance.
2. Leave about an inch for more finished edges.  (I turned under and turned it under again and then top stitched.)
3. Mark where your safety straps go as early as possible. 
4. Go slow.  If you hurry, you're more likely to make a mistake. 

Please admire the pocket.  It was an engineering feat.  At least, for my skill level it was. 

Anyway, one busted needle, a broken seam-ripper and a kid with spray-paint on their hiney and hands later, it's finally finished!  I'm so pleased!!!  :)

Now that's GLAM!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Just lookin'

We catch things here.  Toads.  Bugs.  Morning Doves.  Yes, even snakes at times.  (not with bare hands)  And, I don’t like it when they croak.  (No pun intended.)  But, we’ve been getting into a groove. 

Catch it.
Feed it.  (or attempt to feed it).
Watch it.
Release it.

So much fun!  Even BabyBlossom loves looking at the Eastern Swallowtail caterpillar that we have currently abiding in the neat little “habitat” that someone gave us.  (He's munching on cilantro in here.  Check out this link if you want to know more

The toad was great too!  They saw him whip out his lightning fast tongue and snag a fly.  I have never even witnessed this phenomenon, but the Blossoms have.

How. Cool. Is. That.  (Blossom1 is appalled at the periods in the middle of the sentence.  My Master Homeschooling Mama reputation is apparently at stake.  I must emphasize though!) 
Yep, there's no harm in looking.  And, it's amazing what you might see in the process.

(or learn... Blossom1 is convinced he's fattening up already.  I think it is in order to make a chrysalis.  She's adamant that caterpillars molt.   If you'll excuse me, I have to go research whether or not caterpillars molt.  :)



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Talented Friends

I love knowing talented and creative people.  Everybody's gifts are so different!

My friend, Julie, has a thing for felt.  Her hands whip up creative things that make my mouth water. 

Felt Hamburger Set

Felt burgers!

The sandwich version is delectable too!

Felt Pizza Set

But, I must say, the pizza is my favorite.  Adorable, fun and appetizing!

Julie is a dedicated mama to four Blossoms of her own.  (good friends of our Blossoms!)  Her Etsy shop "LamaMamaCreations" can be found here.  Check it out!  I love Etsy because it's so custom order friendly!  Don't hesitate to contact Julie if you don't see what you're looking for.  You're guaranteed a handmade, imaginative product every time. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

the Caspian Chronicles

My Sister and her husband and their Bun-In-The-Oven are living in Arkansas for 3 1/2 months.  Or a little under 3 months now.  And, my family gets to watch her cat, Caspian.  Blossom1 has taken over his correspondence, because, you know, that's essential.  Cat owners must hear from their felines!  Our family has been very entertained by this, so I thought you'd enjoy them.

Dear Master,

 I miss you Master. Where have you been?
I have used the litter box many times. The big huge dog that lives here ate my supper.
I have not gone upstairs yet. Every minute of the day there are big loud noises coming from upstairs. I hope there are other cats living here although we have not been introduced yet. Every morning someone comes past me and makes very loud noises. She says something about chickens.  I guess they are a bird of some sort.  Birds sound tasty.  I have found out that there are many hiding places in this place. I hear humans talking about something known as "outside."  I think it is a myth, but I haven't seen it with my two eyes yet.  The Innkeeper here tried to hold me and pet me and I did not like it at all.  I showed him.  He said I haven't heard the end of him yet.  Please come get me soon before those little humans get me.  They are scary looking!  All of their fur is on their head!  And they don't meow or talk quietly like you do!
You're brave and noble Caspian
(Via Blossom1)


Dear Caspian,

It will be many days before I come to see you again. Give the little humans a chance. They are quite nice, once you get to know them. Even their fur is pretty. :)

Master Brandon and I loved hearing from you. We laughed and laughed and laughed. We're not laughing at you; we're laughing with you. 

One day you will come out of hiding and discover wonderful things that we have never shown you. 

Mistress Naomi & Master Brandon

Dear Mistress,

I am doing better here.
Those "Girls" as you call them are nicer than I thought they would be.
I let them pick me up.
Their fur is kinda pretty too.
I found out there are two other cats here, their names are Tabby and Toby.
Tabby is a grumpy caterpillar on legs.
Toby is a handsome ruler.
I found out that the place called outside is not a myth.
The people here let the door hang open on purpose, I went outside.
It is scary out there.
It is full of loud noises and dark scary corners.

I hope you will come back soon
Your brave and noble
(Via Blossom1)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Good-Bye Jet Dry

I like stuff that works.  Like, REALLY works.  And I've tried "life hacks" and "household hacks" from Pinterest that just don't work.  So, I hope you know me well enough to remember that I'll only share stuff that truly works for me.

My sister was the one who originally had to convince me to try this.  We have calcium rich water, which means only one kind of dishwasher detergent works for us (Liquid/Gel Cascade Complete,, in case you're wondering), so I was hesitant to even attempt something other than Jet Dry.  I took the plunge... yanking open that little compartment and sloppily dumping in Distilled White Vinegar.  We've been using that for over a year now.  I've seen no change in my dishes.  In fact, I noticed a bit of improvement on our drinking glasses.  Less spots!  Needless to say, I'm not going back.  I use vinegar for so many other cleaning jobs around here, mainly because I can use it diluted.  That means, the Blossoms can safely clean with me.  Gotta love that!  So Vinegar's always in the house.  And, now it's working for me in my dishwasher.  Give it a shot!  I bet you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Quotable Quotes

From the Mouth of Blossom3

Although I frequently work with Blossom3 on proper pronunciation, she occasionally rattles off some fabulous phrases.

- She sat down to the piano, banging a "chord" with her left hand,
"Look Mama, I p'aying 'The Idiots are Comin.'"  (The Indians are Coming)

- "Is it true dat when dere are holes in leaves, it means a cow-pillar (caterpillar) was eating?"

And then, just a hint of sweetness, mixed in with mispronunciations... it'll melt your heart!
- "Mama, I tink dat BabyBlossom is da p'ittiest baby dere is!"

Monday, June 9, 2014

Gotta Get-A Vision

Sometimes you just gotta get a vision of where you're going.  I'm glad the Lord can open our eyes in only an instant.

Devotions with our girls have evolved over the years.  When Blossom1 was little (newborn to 2years), I read her a Psalm or other Scriptures aloud.  We prayed together.  When Blossom2 came along, we used Read-Aloud Bible Stories by Ella K. Lindvall.

Eventually, with Blossom3 getting older too, we used this book awhile.

I'd looked at devotionals, like Keys for Kids, but have come back to Bible stories again and again.  I wanted them to have the Word.  I didn't want stories about being a Christian; I wanted the Bible in their language.  I wanted them to grasp the significance of finding their nourishment in the Word.  And, I figured it was my responsibility to foster it.

Now that Blossom1 and Blossom2 are proficient readers, devotional time has evolved some more.  We've been reading our Bibles simultaneously in Mama's bedroom or, on beautiful spring mornings, on the back deck.  Blossom1 prefers her "spine and pages" Bible, while Blossom2 prefers to read on her Kindle, like I do.  Then, Mama reads out of the Read With Me Bible by Dennis Jones to Blossom3.

And, I've been asking them, "So, what did you read about today?"

"Did anything stick out to you?"

"What did you think about that?" 

I can foster discussion with my own children.  My heart was so excited as I dreamed about the future, realizing that I'll be able to talk about the Word with my children!  I had to get a vision of that!  And now, the vision is beginning to come to pass. 

I was thrilled to hear Blossom2's take on Queen Esther and how she must've listened to what God wanted as to the timing of speaking to King Xerxes. 

I share these things not to brag, not in the least!  It is God's grace that leads us every day.  I share them to challenge you to dream, to get the Lord's vision concerning your children and the Word. I'm thrilled with His vision!

"Where there is no vision, the people perish..." Proverbs 29:18

Friday, June 6, 2014

75 Reasons Why Mommies Never Get Sleep

I was chatting with a cousin and she mentioned that life with four children was going fine.  She said, "The other night I had FOUR HOURS of sleep when no one bothered me."  I thought it was an odd things to say then, but I get it now.  The odds are against Mommy sleeping.  It'd be a lot funnier if you weren't so tired, right?


1.       “I’m scared.”

2.       “What if there is a bear/skunk outside?”

3.        “I’m hot.”

4.       “I’m sweaty.”

5.       “I’m cold.”

6.       “I don’t have any covers.”

7.       “I don’t have enough covers.”

8.       “I lost my doll/stuffed animal.”

9.       “I want to be with you.”

10.   “I want to sleep in your bed, Mommy.”

11.   “I want to snuggle with you, Mommy.”

12.   “I want to sleep in Sissy’s bed.”

13.   “I have to go potty.”

14.   “I already went potty in my panties.”

15.   “My hiney leaked.”

16.   “My sheets are wet.”

17.   “The floor is wet because I almost made it to the potty.”

18.   “I can’t find clean panties.” 

19.   “My hair is in my eyes.”

20.   “I don’t feel good.”

21.   “I thought I saw flashes of light.  It might be lightning.”

22.   “I thought I heard thunder.”

23.   “It is raining.”

24.   “It is raining VERY hard.”

25.   “I see lightning.”

26.   “I’m afraid of thunder.”

27.   “I think it is going to storm.”

28.   “I heard a noise.”

29.   “There’s something tapping on my window.”

30.   “Our nightlight is acting funny.”

31.   “We don’t have a nightlight.”

32.   “Toby (the cat) was licking me.”

33.   “Jake (the dog) barked at something.”

34.   “One of the animals was sleeping on me.”

35.   “I am too excited to sleep.”

36.   “Is it time to get up yet?”

37.   “It’s light out.”

38.   “I’m too nervous to sleep.”

39.   “I had a bad dream.”

40.   “Sissy is in my bed.”

41.   “Sissy is snoring.”

42.   “Sissy is awake, why can’t I get up?”

43.   “Sissy took my pillow.”

44.   “Sissy took my covers.”

45.   “Sissy is hogging all the room.”

46.   “Sissy’s feet are in my face.”

47.   “Sissy won’t lay still.”

48.   “Sissy won’t be quiet.”

49.   “I want to play.”

50.   “I’m hungry.”

51.   “I’m thirsty.”

52.   “You didn’t give me a kiss.”  (I did.)

53.   “You didn’t tuck me in.”  (I did.)

54.   “I’m stuffy; my nose is bothering me.”

55.   “I heard Daddy.”

56.   “I want to say good-bye to Daddy.”

57.   “I want to wave good-bye to Daddy.”

58.   “I want to hang out with Daddy.”

59.   “I want Daddy to kiss me before he leaves.”

60.   “I want Daddy to hug me before he leaves.”

61.   Baby Blossom: “I need milkie.”

62.   Baby Blossom: “I need more milkie.”

63.   Baby Blossom: “My diaper leaked all over you.”

64.   Baby Blossom: “My diaper leaked all over the bed.”

65.   Baby Blossom: “I feel like rolling and crawling in my sleep and my head bonked you in the face.”

66.   Baby Blossom: “Mommy, you ate too much chocolate, so now I’m ready to take on the world.”

67.   Toby puked on the floor.

68.   Jake puked on the floor.

69.   Jake needs to go outside to see what is in the yard.

70.   Jake needs to go out because someone fed him something they shouldn’t.

71.   Jake is too hot.

72.   Toby or Tabby want to be all cat, all night.

73.   A purring animal is standing on Mommy.

74.   A purring animal is standing on Baby Blossom.

75.   A sleep-walking child sounds like a household intruder.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Springtime Goodness

Everybody's springtime/early summer must look a little different.  I keep calling this season summer because we're done with school and to me, that's summer.  My girls are technical.  It isn't summer til June 21st.  Either way, I find this season so refreshing.  When I realized that, I thought it was a bit of on oxy-moron.  The first few weeks after school is out are catch-up weeks for me.  Anything from rotating Blossom clothes to planting and weeding the garden to finishing up stacking all the wood we need for winter time warmth.  Over the weekend, I got the big idea that I am finishing the wood stacking.  This weekAll of it.  And then, Monday dawned bright and clear.  We began stacking steadily along.  My ambition grew from, "We're going to finish it this week" to "We're going to finish this today."  And we did it.  Nothing but wood.  Oh and some nursing Baby Blossom, and maybe a picnic at the wood site.  And more wood.  Yes, I was sore Tuesday morning.  But, why would I call that refreshing? 
It's refreshing to finish things.  It's refreshing to accomplish the tasks that need to be done.  School time is a season of our year that relegates other things further down the priority list.  We never fluff on school, but rotating clothes or extra organization projects take a back seat.  So, I find that accomplishing things in larger (not just half-hour or quarter-hour) chunks of time refreshing.  Additionally, I love what the Blossoms are learning as we work.  (This should come as no surprise to you, my reader friends.  Childhood work ethic is near and dear to my heart.)  Stacking wood is hard work for them too.  Raking bark, rolling large logs, picking up wood chips and other such miscellaneous jobs keep them busy when they aren't stacking.  I want them to know that sometimes you gotta work now to prepare for later.  It's in the Bible... remember the ant!!!

"If you want to be warm this winter and next, we gotta stack this stuff!"

They could see the big picture then. 

And, then there are strawberries.  Reaping the fruit of work you put in season/seasons ago is refreshing.  We weeded and planted and put straw down on the strawberries, so that we could have strawberries now.  More work then, for good stuff now.  Strawberry Shortcake (that Blossom1 made!)... Strawberry Fruit Pizza... just wait til we get to the Strawberry Pie!  Won't the Rugged, Mountain Man be happy?!!

I'm finding the time with the Blossoms refreshing as well, which is funny because this isn't any more or any less time with them than during the school year.  I've fought for a bit of a slower pace for right now and it's paying off in peace dividends.  More time for us to comment to each other on the beautiful scent of the springtime air.  More time to chat about Almanzo Wilder and ice houses.  More time to help teach Blossom3 to tie a shoe.  More time to say yes, when I'd gotten into the habit of "No, we don't have time."  More time to smile.

It's no wonder I'm finding this time refreshing.

Monday, June 2, 2014

10 Things You Can Do To Bless New Moms

I've had 4 children and I have family members that are expecting now.  (C'mon, Baby G, get here already!  In honor of them, I thought I'd post some ideas for blessing new moms.  It's such an amazing time, when new baby arrives.  Why not do what you can to bless a new mommy?

1. Make her an easy to reheat, nutritious meal.
Search her Pinterest boards if you need to know what she likes.

2. In that meal, avoid ingredients that will hinder her start on the path of breast-feeding. 
(Just say no to gassy, saucy, spicy or caffeine-containing foods!)  If you don't, your blessing can become a curse.

3. Bring her bottled water or some other nutritious hydrating beverage.
She is adjusting to a new routine with lots of new responsibilities, and in there somewhere, she's gotta remember to hydrate herself. 

4. Help with the peripheral stuff.
"I'd love to wipe down your kitchen for you."
"Can I pick up anything for you at Walmart?"
"Do you mind if I fold laundry while we chat?"
Your help is great, but leave baby to her.  She doesn't need baby-sitting; she needs rest.  Do whatever you can to facilitate rest, without separating baby from Mommy.  It's bonding time!

5. Let her make all the decisions about baby. 
You had your babies.  Now she's having hers.  Only give advice when she asks.  Really.  I still remember the time that two very experienced moms talked over me to express how hot my baby was, completely ignoring my opinion about MY 1 week old.

6. Pray for her and him and baby.
It isn't glamorous, but if you care about them, you don't care about glamour or glory, so pray God's will be done in baby's life.

7. Visit short.
Out-staying your welcome is about you, not them.  Mommies need rest and to care for themselves and baby.  Snap a pic holding baby, chat a few minutes and then sign off.  Better for people to wish you'd stayed longer, than wished you'd just leave already.  If baby is sleeping, Mommy could be sleeping.

8. Keep your conversations positive. 
Asking an emotional just-gave-birth mama sticky questions or involving her in arrogant, comparative conversations isn't very kind.  So, no matter how bad you want to know how long she pushed, how many stitches she had, whether or not she had drugs, save it for some day when she feels like chatting about that.  Too personal questions can add to her stress and the unsettling feelings that she may already be having about knowing or not knowing what she's doing in this new, great Motherhood adventure.

9. Share a meaningful Motherhood scripture verse with her, without being pushy or bossy.
She'll be more receptive and it'll stick with her for a good long time.  One mom shared, "...He will gently lead those who are with young."  (my paraphrase of Isaiah 40:11)  It stuck with me all these years and is one of my favorite verses now.

10. Intervene only if the baby's life is in imminent, obvious danger. 
Otherwise, mind your own business, even if you think this baby is your business.  If God wanted you to be baby's mother, you would have delivered baby.  What baby's mommy learns in the trenches of motherhood, crying out to God for grace, strength and wisdom for herself, will serve her well later on.  She needs to experience motherhood, even when it's rough (and may be rough on you).  She gains confidence this way, knowing that she CAN mother this baby well because God has brought her through.

And one more, just for good measure...
11. Be positive about Mommy AND Daddy's parenting abilities. 
Some new parents don't like the fish-bowl phenomenon that they are living in.  Whether it's teasing, magnifying faults or uncertainty, commenting, be careful what you say about parents' abilities. I KNEW my husband was going to be an excellent Daddy.  He just didn't like the spotlight with everyone watching him.  I appreciated when people minimized the fish-bowl phenomenon in whatever way they could, even it was just keeping their comments to themselves.