Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What a Difference A Season Can Make

Oh, what a difference a season can make!  While I love being on vacation, taking "littles" to a rustic cabin in the middle of no where, means LOTS of packing.  I dreaded the unpacking as well.  I once calculated that it took me a week or more to get everything back in order!  I didn't realize how much having "littles" affected that. 

(Back in the day, the shoe lineup at the cabin looked more like this for ALL of the girlies... tiny, tiny little shoes!")

Now that the girlies are 8, 6, 4 and 15 months, I've noticed quite a difference.  We've worked with them for quite some time to pull their weight around here.  Additionally, the "What Next?" concept made great strides in Mommy having help too. 

I couldn't believe it when we had everything unpacked and put away in 2 days.  WOW.  Amazing. 

My heart was chock-full of gratitude as I communicated to the girlies how much I appreciated their help - how I couldn't have done it without them.  I want them to know the satisfaction of a job well done.  They certainly deserve it.  Mommy is grateful to look around a tidy, "normal" house only days after vacation. 

And, I'm sharing this as a word of encouragement to mothers with "littler littles" than me.  They won't be THAT little forever.  Sure, it's crazy when they are all little-little because you're the only one pulling the load.  Keep at it.  Keep letting them "help."  Continue requiring the smaller jobs.  Don't stop supervise because it takes a little longer.  It's worth it.  I'm so pleased to be able to taste just a little of the joy of working alongside my own daughters.  Now, I'm smiling at the days ahead.  :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ahhhhhhh, vacation.

A cabin in the middle of "nowhere..."  It doesn't get much better than that. 

Blue skies.

Fresh air.

Birds chirping.

A creek laughing and gurgling.

Children "slopping" (in above creek).

Fireside chats.

Always food for thought... Like the words, "Just trust."

Monumental words in fact.  Timely words, reinforced in my spirit from seemingly every direction. 

"Just trust."

All the what-ifs that flit through my brain and all the things that could happen.  All the things that did or didn't or mightn't have happened in life to my family. 

"Just trust."

I was talking to the Rugged Mountain Man about fear a few months ago.  He said, "Sometimes you just gotta get back up on your horse and trust God, Honey."  It was a timely and much-needed word.

And this, "Just trust" word was simply the Lord reinforcing that moreso.  It's time to go beyond recognizing satan's workings of fear in my heart and mind.  Stand up and just trust God.  Oh, the peace that comes with trusting Him.  Oh, the peace!!!

Why not just trust the Lord?  What do we have if we don't have trust?

"Just trust."

Now, I'd best get to that unpackin'.


Friday, July 25, 2014

Work stuff

I guess I've been talking about work a little bit lately.  One of the things I tasked for Blossom1 to do was clean the bathroom.  Only, I didn't tell her to "clean the bathroom."  She knows how to do all the individual tasks, but I assigned one at a time.  Maybe this doesn't seem like rocket science to you, but it made sense to me. 

First, clean the mirrors.
Then, do the sinks and counter tops.
Then, do the toilets.

One by one, she completed each task and moved from bathroom to bathroom. 

She asked why we were doing so much cleaning today.  I replied that I always clean all the bathrooms on Thursdays.  She usually just got tasked with other things.  It did open my eyes a bit.  I want her to know all the workings of the household, so I think I'm a bit inspired to involve her even moreso in the days ahead. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

the What Next concept

Amidst the packing, I enlisted the help of my small army on the premises.  They were learning the "What Next?" concept.  I assign a task.  They complete it.  Then, something mysterious happens.  They disappear.  It's so strange.  Suddenly,  I find them reappearing in the yard, playing.  But, wait?  I needed H E L P. 

It's a concept known as initiative to some.  Our Blossoms have got to learn it.  So, we drilled this concept this week.  You obey by completing your task and then, return and ask me, "What next?"  For play-loving bodies, it's a little difficult to grasp, but they can enjoy the rewards of working hard to get somewhere and then enjoying the fruits of that work. 

But, when they start saying, "What next?" be ready.  If you aren't, it'll drive you half buggy to try to think through your list while your 4 year old is saying, with her usual persistence,

"What next, Mama?  What you want me to do now?"

"Mama... MAMA... what you want me to do now?"

"Hey, Mama, I said WHAT NEXT??"

It'll force you to be ready.  Hey, that's a good problem to have though.  And, they'll appreciate a time to work and a time to play. 

When it's time to work, we work.
When it's time to play, we play. 

Shhhh, what's that?  I can hear the creek at the cabin calling to me!  Just a little more work and we'll be there.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Case of the Missing Washcloths

Lots of things go missing here. Actually, quite often I offer a reward to motivate little treasure hunters...

"Fifty cents for whoever finds Blossom3's missing flip-flop!" 

(Blossom3 offered Fifty Dollars to whoever found Mommy... I had to nip that one in the bud.  No giving away your fifty dollars.  Besides, I would've won since I found myself first.) 

I was packing for our vacation and couldn't find wash cloths. 

Really?  I mean, we have stacks and stacks of wash cloths!  The wash is caught up!  What is going on here? 

I sent Blossom2 to look for some.  She came back with two princess wash cloths.  Two, for a family of six and a week at a rustic cabin?  I searched three different cupboards!  Still, NONE.

Finally, I found them, SHOVED in the back of the Blossoms' bathroom cabinet, the victims of sending a certain younger Blossom to put wash cloths away. 

And yes, people sometimes wonder what a Stay-At-Home Mom does all day.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Quality Time amidst the Chaos

I told my husband that I like Blossom1's 4-H sewing project because it is helping me be more systematic about teaching her to sew.  Teaching her the skills of home-making is something that's near and dear to my heart.  And if a 4-H sewing project helps me be more organized in that learning time, why not?

It doesn't always look like roses and warm fuzzies though. 

I was sprawled on the floor with Blossom1, trying to pin the skirt we were making to the t-shirt to transform it into a dress.  We'd purchased a shirt with a small oddity I originally thought was no big deal.  I got it home and realized it was going to be more complicated for a beginner sewing student.  There I sit, BabyBlossom climbing on me and pestering to nurse and almost stepping on pins in the process.  Blossom2 is "scootering" (read: WHIZZING) back and forth at lightning speeds, while yakking with Blossom3.  Blossom3 is also scootering, while lobbying for a freezy pop or some other sort of junk food.  Jake is barking.  Blossom1 is trying to learn how to pin sewing projects properly.  I'm trying to block out the chaos, without blocking out the chaos. 
"No, you can't have a freezy pop right now." 
"Please don't run over your sister's toes." 
"Put that away."
 In my mind, I'm fighting the thoughts that perhaps I've ruined Blossom1's 4-H project by letting her buy a t-shirt that is too difficult for this outfit.  And Blossom1 says to me,

"This is fun.  I'm glad you're teaching me to sew."

In my mind, "Seriously?  There's a baby gorilla on my head and I can't even see where you're sticking the pin and you still think this is great?"

Totally amazing.  It did my heart good.  It didn't matter to her.  I was focused on her and we were doing something together. 

By the way, we finished her dress today and it's beautiful. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I blame Grandma

It all started because Grandma had been doing a lot of globe-trotting lately and wanted the girlies for an overnighter at her place.  Now, BabyBlossom still nurses so she was still at home with me.  And, even though my to-do list didn't go away for that 24 hr period with 3 less Blossoms in the house, I promised myself that I would do something I wanted to do.  Like scrapbook.  I haven't scrapbooked in years.  Pretty much since Blossom3 was born.  I think you can figure out that life happened.  So, I took my rusty scrapbooking self over to and determine that I'd enjoy at least one page even if that's all I scrapbooked for the next 10 years. 


Next thing I know, I'm challenging my sister to a page-a-day challenge and she and I are on fire scrapbooking! 

I figured out that I can do a page in 15 minutes, which was a revelation to me.  Paper scrapbooking (as opposed to digital scrapbooking) can take an hour or more for a page - yikes!  Totally unrealistic.  But 15 minutes I can do.

I enjoyed that scrapbooking session and I've been squeezing it in here and there again over the last few days.  I realize that it's summertime and the demands on my time are different than fall/winter, but I'm just enjoying this a little now. 

I realized that scrapbooking helps me count my blessings
Moms get tired. 
Moms lose perspective. 
Moms get overwhelmed. 
Then, you take a few minutes, glance through pics of those you love and what you've done with them and you realize afresh the treasures God's given you.  Preserving memories is worth it to me if it's just another thing helping me to the place of gratitude.

Thanks, Grandma.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Zither?

It's our latest nifty garage sale find! 

A Zither!

A zither is a very simple form of a hand-held harp.  I was grateful to Blossom1's piano teacher who showed us how to tune it and did the honors the first time around.  We took it home and Blossom1 was playing Oh, How I Love Jesus in a only a matter of minutes.  It's been really neat to hear all of the Blossoms plinking away on this surreal sounding instrument.  That's worth $3.00, for sure!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Peach Palmer or Super Mom Sun Tea

This post has been a long time comin'.  I really didn't mean to hold out my "How to be a SuperMom" recipe!!!

I make this stuff and the stars sparkle in the Blossoms' eyes.  It's remarkable in fact.

I lived in Texas for about 7 years of my childhood.  Besides the fact that I think cowboy hats and cowboy boots are normal attire and I can't figure out why people stare at these accoutrements, I also think that sun tea is something that normal families make in summertime.  I can still remember jars of this stuff sitting out on patios, porches and deck railings of our little Southern town. 

I took it a step further and created this tasty and refreshing Arnold Parlmer-esque version of it a few summers ago.  (In case you're wondering, an Arnold Palmer is half iced tea, half lemonade.)  As I said, the Blossoms adore it. 

Without further ado, here's our recipe:

Peach Palmer or Super Mom Sun Tea

3-4 tea bags of Peach Tea
3-4 tea bags of any other Fruit Tea
(our favorite is Raspberry, but we've had so much fun exploring other flavors)
1/2 gallon of Water

Place this in a glass gallon container in the morning and steep in the hot sun til Supper time.  (It's weak if you only steep til Lunch time.) 

At Supper time, remove the tea bags.  Add the following:

1 1/2 cups Sugar

Mix well.

2 cups Lemon Juice
Fill to the top with Water.

Mix well.  Stir in Lemon slices, Lime slices or Frozen Berries as you desire.  Serve ice cold to thirsty families and watch it disappear!

PS - For smaller families, this recipe can be halved and steeped in a quart jar. 


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Blossom2 on Caves

Blossom2 doesn't get much press.  That's just her personality.  She likes to slide in under the radar, in much the same way that her Daddy does.  I've been really thrilled lately because some of her interests have caused her to step out of the shadows of her sister's interests. 





Being that that stuff is all around us, we've stocked up on library books on those subjects and then, headed over to a local cave for a tour.  Blossom2 (and Blossom3) were completely mesmerized.

They're the three in the middle, petting the "Kneeling Camel."  Later, we asked the girls how they liked the cave.  Aside from the, "Can we come back next weekend?"  Blossom2 promptly declared that she liked Rooms 4 and 5 best. 

Jaw drop.

I can't even remember which rooms those were! 

We'll see where else her interests lead us.  Perhaps to the local university's mineral science museum next.  I did have to make some sort of rule though.  No more Wal-mart bags of rocks in the house.

Monday, July 7, 2014

A new season

A new season for us:

THREE Blossoms that can ride bikes all by themselves!  As I saw this little moment unfold, it struck my heart in the same way the snapshot of our first clothesline full of baby clothes did...





It never gets old, this whole being-thankful-for-what-you've-got thing. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014


I wrote the post on no harm in looking at God's creations on a Friday.  We fed the caterpillar fresh cilantro and dill and gave him cotton balls soaked in water.  We all enjoyed looking at him.  I learned that Blossom1 was right.  Caterpillars DO molt.  And, he got fatter and fatter.  Then, Sunday morning, he wasn't moving at all. 

"GIRLS, you KILLED him!!!!!!!!!" I wailed.  (Inwardly I was thinking that I'd never write about catching and releasing again...)  How embarrassing!

An hour later, I walked past his habitat again.  He was a chrysalis.  And, his molted skin was sitting next to the chrysalis.  The girls and I were tickled pink!  (and, I'm pretty sure I apologized.)  It was just a waiting game then. 

Guess what. 


I checked the chrysalis this morning and it was the same as usual.  When I dusted this afternoon, I noticed he had hatched.  We were only slightly sad to have missed the great emergence.  It was miracle enough to liberate this beautiful butterfly after seeing him as a caterpillar not so very long ago. (1 1/2 weeks to be exact)

Blossom3 was thrilled to witness its release!

Don't be alarmed.  Neither the butterfly, nor the Blossom are bleeding... that's pollen from the lily we tried to place him on.  

Finally, he perched on a bush, dried his wings and fluttered away,

Leaving his empty chrysalis as an addition to the Blossoms' museum.  What an amazing miracle!  How could anyone doubt that there is a God!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Faithful God

I rarely listen to music anymore.  It's funny how something that is such an issue in the teenage world, becomes very minute later on.  But, that's another post for another day.  :)  My friend, Betty Crocker, sent me this video.  I especially enjoyed the repetition in this song.  Such a great, clear message!

Faithful God by Shannon Wexelberg

We make the choice to trust our faithful God.  These words will reverberate in my spirit today.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Crystal Rock Garden

Sometimes I love going back to my childhood and re-creating those memories for my children.  In my mind's eye, I can still see this Crystal Rock Garden "growing" in a pan on the kitchen table.

The Backyard Scientists books were always layin' around the house when I was a kid.  This one is the Crystal Experiment from pages 8-9.  It's very handy that all of the ingredients for these experiments can be found at the grocery store!  I made my own little modifications and I also found directions on this site.

You'll need:

  • Charcoal Briquettes (or pieces of sponge or brick or porous rock)
  • Distilled Water
  • Uniodized Salt
  • Ammonia
  • Bluing
  • Food Coloring
  • Non-Metal Pie Plate (glass is great)
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Empty Jar

  1. Place your sponge and charcoal in the non-metal pan. You want pieces that are roughly 1-inch in diameter, so you might have to break the charcoal and cut the sponges. 
  2. Spritz water, preferably distilled, onto the sponges and charcoal until it has been thoroughly dampened.
  3. In an empty jar, mix 3 tablespoons (45 ml) uniodized salt, 3 tablespoons (45 ml) ammonia, and 6 tablespoons (90 ml) bluing. Stir until the salt is dissolved.
  4. Pour the mixture over your garden.
  5. Add and swirl a bit of water around in the empty jar to pick up the remaining chemicals and pour this liquid onto the substrate, too.
  6. Drop food coloring across the surface of the 'garden'. Areas with no food coloring will be white.
  7. Sprinkle more salt (about 2 T or about 30 ml) across the 'garden'.
  8. Set the 'garden' in a warm, undisturbed area. (Crystals are very delicate!)
  9. On days 2 and 3, pour a mixture of ammonia, water, and bluing (2 tablespoons or 30 ml each) in the bottom of the pan, being careful not to disturb the delicate growing crystals.


I would say that this was probably the least kid friendly of all the experiments we've done so far.  Ammonia, rubber gloves and such made it more of "just watch Mommy do this."  (You'll notice the age on this book is for 9-14 year olds.  The other two books in the series are for 4-12 year olds.)  Still, they certainly enjoyed checking out the crystal growth each day, and there were parts of it that they could do.


Pouring on the salt and then the food coloring:

Within a few hours, it looked like this:

Day One:

Day Two:

Up close to our favorite crystals:
(I'd like a maxi skirt in that brilliant blue please.) 

Day Three:

Day Four:

Day Five:

Day Six:

Day Seven:

Into the garbage can it went, and the glass dish went through the dishwasher and back into dish circulation (in case you're wondering). 
The Crystal Rock Garden is one for the scrapbooks!  :)