Friday, October 31, 2014

The Future Occupation of Blossom4

I'm thinking that Blossom4 is going to grow up to be a Trick Rider.  That's what I used to want to be when I was a girl. 

I love how creative little ones can be! 

Have a terrific weekend!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Let us put God first

I was reading a post on regarding making God the priority of your homeschool.  This quote is wonderful:
"If you don’t put God first in your homeschool,
if you don’t teach your children about God,
then you have failed."

That's pretty hard core, but I appreciate that kind of honesty.  Plus, reading the entire post let me see that this quote came from a seasoned homeschooler.  The beauty of this quote is that you can remove "homeschool" from the quote and insert "parenting."

Many Christian moms are borderline obsessed with having more children, yet they've not mastered the most basic building block of Christian motherhood - their part in their child's Christian education. 
You are a disciple maker - literally. 
This child came into the world by your body and now you have a heavy responsibility to make a disciple of her (or him). 
At the end of the day, what will you have done to that end?
Let us put God first.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What Love Is...

This is love.

I got to spend the weekend at my parents' house with the girlies.  My Mom said, "What do YOU want for supper?"  I wanted her egg rolls, except she can't eat deep friend food, so I gave another answer.  Lo and behold, guess what she made anyway. 

Yep, EGG ROLLS.  They are like no other.  (Egg rolls at a Chinese Restaurant don't even deserve the name of egg roll, for your information.) 
And, they're such a labor of love. 
Chop all the veggies and chicken,
stir-fry them,
roll each egg roll by hand
and fry til blissful deliciousness. 
I ate four.  I was only sorry I couldn't stuff any more in my guts. 
So, yep, that's love.  Egg rolls.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Friday Thought

An inspiring quote I stumbled upon the other day:

"The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow,
but the rainbow won't wait while you do the work."
Patricia Clafford

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cabin Entertainment

We got to get away at the cabin for a few days recently.  Upon arrival, we had a slight hiccup with the stovepipe, prompting us to have a colder first night than usual AND prompting a trip to the hardware store in a town over the mountain on the following day.  I told the girlies it was an adventure and they just rolled with the punches, I'm glad to say.  The Blossoms were so glad we had to go to the hardware store, because that meant they got to attend the Flaming Foliage Festival parade of queens.  This is monumental, in fact, because Blossom1's 4-H leader won Fair Queen this year and is something of a local celebrity to the Blossoms.  Additionally, if you know the Queen, you get extra candy, just sayin'. 

Aside from the small stash of odd and ends of toys that I have stowed at the cabin, I don't pack much in the way of entertainment.  That is, unless you consider countless e-books as entertainment, then, I pack uber heavy (in the form of a Kindle Fire).  Otherwise, the Blossoms entertain themselves.  (There's woods, water and fire, what more do you need?)  This long weekend included swiping some mountain family kindling to repurpose into "The Hammersley Queen," a vessel fashioned exclusively for sailing the spring waters of our nearby creek. 

Her trusty captain, Blossom1, worked diligently and was rewarded with a seaworthy vessel. 

Blossom2 discovered a deer jawbone while the whole family was hauling wood for the winter cabin stash.  She derived great pleasure from carefully removing the teeth from the jawbone to add to their collection/museum.  Yes, there are now deer teeth in my house.  It's a scary thing that I'm mostly ok with that.

Blossom3 decided to make her scrap wood into a penguin, in honor of Blossom4's favorite animal.  Mommy thought his beak was cool, though it hadn't made it on him yet in this pic. 

Blossom4 was content to climb on the picnic table and lose everyone's nails (much to Mommy's chagrin) or steal the hammer and run.

While Daddy took Blossom1 and Blossom2 on a (long, locational-skill sharpening) hike, I did a little walking with Blossom3 and Blossom4.  Autumn light is a magical thing, in my opinion.   If it's just a glimpse of the beautiful light that exists, it makes me think that light in Heaven must be breathtaking.  (See Reepiceep's experience with liquid light in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader for more inspiring thoughts on light.)

Some of my time with the "little Blossoms" included teaching Blossom4 how to throw sticks and stones into the creek.  She loved it!   She kept using the sign for "more" and "again!" 

Monday, October 20, 2014

9 Tried & True Toys for Girls

In case you didn't know, I LOVE Christmas!
Did you notice my countdown??? -------------------------->

So, are you thinking about shopping?  I have girlies ranging in age from almost 18 months to 9 years.  Every now and then I take a look around us to all the toys we own and think about what I'd buy if I had to do it all over again.  The choices on this list are what has proven to be tried and true thus far, what has been well-loved and more than frequently played with.  Maybe this will help you with your Christmas toy shopping.

These dolls are worth it.  Period.  And, as most people know, if something happens, you can send them to the American Girl's Doll Hospital.  There's nothing worse than a little girl's broken heart because Mommy had to throw away a cheap doll that had only one leg and an arm hanging by a thread.  Besides, the one American Girl doll that they own (which we buy them around the age of 5 or 6), is about the only one they play with anyway (with the exception of #2 on this list).  I buy accessories for the dolls at a local doll clothes store, but have found doll clothes at craft shows, Wal-Mart and Target.  I repeat though, the doll is worth it - sturdy, lovable and age-appropriate (Get lost, Barbie!).  One of my favorite little side notes on these dolls is how much they encourage reading.  Almost all American Girl dolls come with books.  Just another way to get your little girl reading!
Aside from their American Girl doll, the Blossoms each own one Bitty Twin Doll or Bitty Baby Doll.  American Girl knows about making dolls that hold up to real life play.  Seriously!  As far as accessories go, I've found that the same clothes for the 18" American Girl Dolls usually fit the 15" Bitty Twin or Bitty Baby Dolls.  Do the math - 4 Blossoms at 2 quality dolls a piece that get tons of use - AND all the clothes fit all the dolls.  That's way better than countless cheap dolls laying around, unused and clothes that only fit 1-2 dolls.

(Side note: The American Girl doll is an 18" doll that is a girl.  The Bitty Twin doll is a 15" doll that is a baby with short hair, which the girlies love.  The Bitty Baby doll is a 15" doll that is a bald baby.  Just in case you are not an expert on the world of American Girl, as we are.  He he. :)

Blossom1 received this castle for her 4th birthday (I think.)  I'm pretty sure that it has been played with every day since then.  They love the figures.  They love the princesses.  This thing sees a lot of wear and tear.  It was worth the bit of the higher price tag.  Since I'm also a (closet) princess fan (Long live Cinderella!), Mommy thinks it's uber cool too and doesn't mind plopping down on the floor to set up a ball.  Like a car that's gets great gas mileage, I'm pretty sure this toy will be ran into the ground.

#4 – Classic Books
I'd spend more money in a heartbeat for all the classic books - Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, Trixie Belden, Beverly Cleary, American Girl and Boxcar Children.  The girls have a pretty well established library, but now that I see what it does for them and how much they read, I'd buy even more.  We're not book snobs either - yard sales, book sales, and ebay have great deals on used well-loved books. 

#5 – Doll House
We bought Blossom1 the Fisher Price Loving Family Doll House when she was 2-3 years old.  Each of our girlies have played with it a lot, along with the huge basket of furniture sets that we own.  It holds up well (and ours has been CLIMBED and sat on!) and all the accessory sets are still in stores, which is more than I can say for a lot of toys out there.  Now that I realize what animal lovers they are, if I had to do it again, I might have spent a little more money and invested in a Calico Critters doll house collection.  But, how was I to know that we'd have FOUR critter-lovin' girlies and it would have gotten more than average use?  I guess my point is, all girls need a doll house.  If you're going the Wal-Mart route, try the Fisher Price Loving Family.  If not, try another nice option, but always make sure it's quality so it holds up. 

Three of the Blossoms currently own a Razor Scooter.  They are holding up fabulously.  Despite the ideal that girls are all sugar and spice, our girlies play hard.  Still, I'm confident the scooters will be kicking when they're in high school.  I find that impressive.  AND, they fold up, making them super portable for throwing in the back of the truck in a heartbeat.  I'm looking forward to buying one for Blossom4 when she's old enough.  I also love that they are a terrific price point for what you're getting.  We spent $27-$40 on each of the scooters.  They were so pleased because each of the Blossoms owns their favorite color (it's like it's personalized!).  I would note that we did purchase non-Razor beginner (three-wheeled) scooters for Blossom1 & Blossom2 when they were about 3-4 yrs old.  I wouldn't do that again.  They weren't worth the money for the very small amount of time the girlies used them.  They weren't high quality.  They broke easily.  It really didn't take much for the girlies to learn to use the Razor Scooters (at the age of 4), which are a hands-down buy again product. 

We own 3-4 of these books that work well for baby to toddler to preschooler age.  One Mom I know said that her daughter's speech therapists use these books for speech therapy with children.  They're that good!  They are sturdy books with vivid illustrations of things like first words, the alphabet, opposites and animals.  Blossom4 will bring me one of these books about 90% of the time if she wants a book read to her.  I've purchased them for our church nursery and would give them as a gift any day.  I've found them in store at Walmart also. 

We own three sets of these fantastic magnetic dress-ups and I've purchased a huge set for our church nursery.  We own the princess, horse and bear family dress-up sets.  Melissa & Doug keep coming out with more versions of it.  EVERY one is a winner.  The girlies love the creative play.  It's a tried and true toy that last for years and years.  Plus, they come in a convenient wooden storage container.

#9 – PAPO Animal Figures or Schleich Horses
We have a family full of animal lovers and I've picked up these horses from Pet Stores, Tractor Supply and even yard sales.  We've got a basket full of el-cheapo models in addition to these brand name figures.  I'd buy the brand name PAPO or Schleich figures again.  They are so true to life.  They keep their color.  They hold up to play super well.  We haven't had one break yet.  I can't say the same for the countless tears that have been shed over the broken horse legs and such on the el-cheapos.  ("You're going to throw away Whitey????  Sob."  "Yes, Honey, his leg is sharp."  "But I can GLUE IT.  Wail!!!!")

#10 - Kitchen Toys
I really wanted to put kitchen set on the above list, but I hated to admit (as my husband so succinctly pointed out), the kitchen set just doesn't see that hard, everyday use.  When I overhauled the girls' toys and rooms over the weekend, I actually moved the kitchen set out of Blossom3 and Blossom4's room because it was seeing so little playtime.  (Their auntie graciously pointed out that why would you want to play with it, when Mommy lets you work in the real kitchen?)  In any case, the kitchen set will have a little break in the basement for a while.  What I had to admit though, was that the plastic tote of kitchen toys that includes tea sets, dishes, cups, utensils and pretend food HAD to remain in their bedroom.  I was right on!  About 10 minutes after everything had found its new place and lesser used toys made their way elsewhere, Blossom2 came in and shyly said, "What I really miss is the kitchen stuff, Mama."  "Don't worry Honey, it's right here on this shelf!"  (Happy smile from Blossom2)  And Mommy realized that while the kitchen set sees only occasional use, the kitchen accessories factor in to virtually every play they concoct.  So, how bout it?  Pick up a set of cute little pots and pans or dishes and cups for the sweet little miss in your life!  In this case, most any brand will do.  It just has to hold imaginary soup!
Mothers of boys, I'm sorry.  I've got zero experience there.  Um, can I recommend Legos?  
Happy Christmas shopping!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Occupying the Littles - Part #2

I've embarked on a mission to share a peek into our school time, especially as it relates to what the Little Blossoms do all day.  I encourage you to check out part #1, as well as the humorous side of it.  Take a peek at what I don't do also!

Little ones just want to be a part of it.  Blossom3 gets regular preschool time and has had that ever since she could ask for it.  It's a much longer time than when she was younger.  (She is now 4 1/2)  Now Blossom4 does many of those things with us.  It may be sitting on my lap while we do flashcards or parroting what Blossom3 says.  It might be scribbling on a paper while Blossom3 writes or does workbooks.  They just want to be WITH you.  Just today, she scrambled from my lap saying, "Vowww, VOWWWWW," because I said to Blossom3 that it was Vowel time.  She then butted in front of Blossom3, pointed incessantly at the flashcards and said, "EEEeeee, IIIIIIiiiiii, EEEEeeeee, IIIIiiiii..."

#6 - Baby Gear/Equipment
When the Blossoms were younger, I used everything from a swing to an exersaucer to a bouncy seat.  Handy dandy doodads that they are, they don't replace an attentive Mommy trying to predict and meet baby's needs before they become a screaming bundle of school time chaos!

#7 - A Couch
My most favorite piece of furniture in our school room is our couch.  I can nurse a baby and have a child read aloud to me.  I can supervise math problems on a white board while I bounce a baby on my knee.  We're comfy, we're together and it's all good (mostly.)  And, there's room for everyone. 

Bonus tip!
#8 - Time devoted only to the Littles
Most of us tend to think that if we take time for them - say, 15 minutes in the heart of school time - we'll get behind.  However, I look at it as an investment.  Mommy has devoted time just for them.  This is why I will often get Blossom1 and Blossom2 going and sit down and read a few stories with Blossom3 and Blossom4.  It goes a long way toward making them feel as if they are not excluded and ignored.  Building a few block towers, coloring a few shapes on their paper with them or anything to spend time only with them is such a big help in keeping them happy while you work with your older children.  It always works for us!

If I had to sum it all up, I'd say that you can't ignore half your kids, for the benefit of your school-age kids.  It doesn't work.  The littles will be miserable and so will you.  (And, if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!)  Sometimes things take a little longer because there are little ones around.  I've come to expect that and we take it slow.  Our school room is rarely "library quiet."  I'm okay with that.  Growing up in a homeschooling household with three other siblings, I learned very quickly how to concentrate with a lot going on.  I'm convinced that it's a useful life-skill, so I'm not worried about that.  Here's hoping a few of my tips have inspired you.  My list is by no means exhaustive, especially since our days are constantly evolving. 

Blessings to you!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Occupying your littles - Part #1

Now that you know what I don't do, I thought you might be interested in the reverse.  So, HOW do I actually entertain younger Blossoms when I'm working with the older Blossoms? 

Here are a few of my strategies:

#1 - Blanket time
I train my little ones to play on a large blanket for set periods of time.  Think approximately 15 minute increments... not hours.  Then, I rotate their toys.  Blossom4 doesn't understand this totally yet (She's almost 18 months), so I keep Blanket Time for when I really need it, like hard core, heavy duty phonics or math instruction time  - the times we absolutely cannot have interruptions.  Around 2 years of age, I will expect her to play in that designated area with the toys I provide for more than just my heavy duty learning times.  She has to stay on the blanket and play quietly.  That's part of helping out our family.  I remember working on this with Blossom3.  It was a matter of discipline.  You could literally see her thinking, "You mean I can't go where I want and pester who I want to pester????"  Please note that I do not discipline a SIX MONTH old for crawling off the blanket.  I do punish a 2-3 year old for that offense.  Age makes the difference.  I use the age to decide when and how long to use Blanket Time in our day. 

#2 - Toy Rotation
I give them 1-3 toy/toy sets to play with and change them out every 15-30 minutes.  I use this concept in conjunction with Blanket time, and also with playing in the school room and dining room.  Yes, it requires thought and attention on my part.  I don't mind.  I knew it wasn't going to be easy when I signed up for this trip.

#3 - Area Limitation
I close all the doors to "danger" areas, meaning areas that need supervision, like Blossom1 and Blossom2's room.  They have bunk beds, which are terrific for climbing, but not if you are Blossom4 and Mommy isn't right there.  The bathroom doors get closed too.  Any room that they have access to is supposed to be basically safe.  Baby gates are great for this. 

#4 - Pinterest
I do use Pinterest to supplement occasional activities beyond what we might own.  I once filled a sink with snow and let Blossom3 play with it.  I allowed her to play with water and floating objects in a sink another time.  I don't do this every day, simply because I don't have the time and energy to execute amazing Pinterest-worthy activities, but I do use it for the change of pace that is needed sometimes.  Busy bags and other such things are great ideas, and educational too!  Pinterest is loaded with these creative activities. 

That's part #1.  Check out part #2.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

What I don't do

I mentioned that a lot of people ask what my littles do while I homeschool and I shared the humorous side of it with you all.  As I sorted through some of my thoughts on the matter, I wanted to also share a few things I don't use to occupy the littles while I homeschool the older girls. 

#1 - Television
There is no TV on at all. I don't believe that watching television is helpful or healthy to a child.  It fries their brain!  It kills their imagination!  It makes them drooling zombies!  :)  Therefore, I do not use TV to entertain the littles.  I've refused to change my approaches to childhood for my own convenience.  I want the younger Blossoms to have the same wholesome and imaginative days that Blossom1 and Blossom2 had prior to their school days. 

#2 - Video Games
See point #1, especially, "It fries their brain!  It kills their imagination!  It makes them drooling zombies!"  And, have you ever noticed how cranky children are when they are finished watching a movie or playing video games for long amounts of time?

#3 - Captivity
A caged lion is never a happy lion, or at least that's my philosophy.  Young children (or at least, our young children) just want to be with Mama, so I try to keep as much WITH Mama time as possible.  I don't send them into a room to play for long periods of time all by themselves, UNLESS they are old enough to really want to do that.  Blossom3 and Blossom4 spend most of their time playing directly in the school room.

#4 - Naps
Most people assume, "Oh, you must wait til naptime to do school." 
Firstly, my girls (and most children) do best hitting the schoolwork right away in the morning.  I'd have WAY more attitude problems on my hands if I waited til naptime to work with the older Blossoms. 
Secondly, most moms' self discipline level is already stretched thin.  They do best doing the most important item of their day first or the day gets away from them.  Hence, we have devotions, get dressed, knock out a few chores, eat breakfast and jump into our schoolwork.
Thirdly, this Mama is tired by 1 o'clock in the afternoon, so naptime is a rest time I look forward to.  Fourthly, there's no way we could fit all of schoolwork in during naptime. 
Lastly, what happens when they outgrow naptime? 

#5 - Sugar
It backfires.  Let's just put it that way.  They bounce off the walls and then, they crash and it gets really bad. 

So, there it is; a few things that I don't use to occupy the little Blossoms.  We don't have perfect days here, by any means.  We try though.  And, little by little, we have good, steady progress in schoolwork AND we have younger Blossoms who play imaginatively.  Perhaps you can benefit by the little peek into our lives. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

And then he was free

Back in June, we brought a jar of tadpoles home from our vacation at our family's cabin

The little black tadpoles morphed quickly and were promptly released as uber-tiny peeper frogs.  The much larger brownish-green tadpole has been morphing all summer in the aquarium on the dining room table.  It's been fascinating for us to watch him.  (Even Blossom4 called, "Fahhh, FAHHHH," when we'd peer into his tank.)

(Photo Credit to Blossom1)

Since yesterday was the last warm day we'll probably have for a while, we released him (ahem, his name is PolyFrog), even though he still had his tail.  He took off swimming and jubilantly hopping on golden submerged leaves. 

Since my childhood rang with strains of "Bullfrogs and butterflies, we've both been born again..." I've always thought of tadpoles as representatives of salvation.  While I think that those are good examples, they are not perfect examples.  This little guy's morph process took months.  Salvation is a change that comes in an instant, at the moment of the heart's surrender.  That's the miracle God does in us.  It's like no other phenomenon in nature.  And, it's a beautiful work I continue to pray for my lost loved ones to experience. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Even a 4 yr old needs a good hot meal

I love it when the Lord gives a moment of inspiration. 

Leading our children in devotions is something that is important to me.  I want them to know that it's normal for a Christian to feed their spirit.  Actually, recently I told the Blossoms that the dean of our Bible School always explained it this way,

"Some people feed their bodies three hot meals a day, but then, they feed their spirit a snack.  Feed your spirit good hot meals!" 

Being that we regularly eat regular wholesome meals, it was a good lesson for the girlies.  Nourish your spirit well!  Don't just snack spiritually! 

Today, I watched Blossom1 and Blossom2 read their Bibles after breakfast and I realized that Blossom3 was tired of waiting for me to have a little time with God so that I could then read her Bible to her.  I suddenly remembered the fabulous free audio feature on my (highly recommended) Bible app, "YouVersion."  I led her to a comfy chair, handed her my Kindle and pushed play.  She happily listened chapters of Luke being read while Mommy had some time with God.  When I was done, I sat down and read her Bible to her.  (I still like the one-on-one time.)  We then continued with the rest of our girlie devotional time. 

I hope you see my heart here... sharing this isn't a means of bragging about our home life.  The moment of inspiration (from the Lord!) reminded me how many terrific tools we have at our fingertips to help us in our pursuit of Godliness.  The time the girlies and I have with God is something that is constantly being adapted to suit their ages.  The important thing is to use the tools we have and just keep at it.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Magic Basket

Back in the day, all my creative paper-crafting supplies fit into one shoe box.  My sister, who was my roommate at the time, dubbed it "The Magic Box."  I've since applied the concept of all supplies in one place to other things.  My cleaning bucket is also marked, "The Magic Bucket."  Although, it may be in the hope that the magic would work and I wouldn't have to clean the bathroom.  (I digress...)

Going into the school year, I made one small change that's made a world of difference for working with three children at different times, with different needs every day.  I call it, (Drum roll, please), "The Magic Basket."

I decided I was tired of sitting down to work with one of the Blossoms, only to jump up for a pen, a highlighter, the stopwatch or some other such miscellaneous item.  The Magic Basket is my brilliant solution.  Since we have about 40 days of school in, I can safely say that it is working wonderfully for me. 

I snagged a small basket from the Dollar Tree and stocked it with the following:

- mason jar of pens, highlighters and dry-erase markers
- small notebook
- every size of sticky note that I'd ever need
- index cards
- dry eraser
- pink eraser
- small pencil sharpener
- timer
- stopwatch
- tape
- cough drop
- tissues (though they weren't in the pic)
- small white spanking spoon (also not shown)
- white out
- extra ponytail holders
- extra clippies

The Rugged Mountain Man pointed out that this was a great idea, until Blossom4 gets into it.  I store this in a drawer when not in use.  When it is in use, it is right by my side.  So far, so good.  Maybe this little solution could work for you.

Friday, October 3, 2014

One Shirt Alert: Avon

It's another one shirt alert!  I realize that this one's a little chilly for tanks, but I'm still getting a ton of use out of these jewel-toned beauties.

For $29.99, you get FOUR tanks.  The purple, pink and teal tanks are one shirt wonders!  (The white is a little too see through for one shirt wear, but still wonderfully usable for layering.)  They are vintage soft and also a bit thin (which explains the white see-through problem), but still great to wear by themselves.  I love the flattering neckline, the lace accent on the shoulders and the perfect length.  Since I've been using them for layering, I'm able to get so much more use out of stuff that was sitting in my closet.  (I'm doing a happy dance right now.)  I did notice that the sizing was a complaint in the reviews.  My sizing seemed just about on.  They are made to be a bit more fitted.  Honestly, I'd be afraid to order up since I think the neckline would be too low and gapey.  My summary on these shirts is this:

If they had these in 5 more colors, I'd buy one of each. 

Seriously.  That's how much they've helped my wardrobe... and that's getting them at the tail end of summer too.  I can't wait to use them next summer!

One word of advice:
Don't wash in the same load as your husband's cargo shorts that have a (dumb) patch of Velcro on the pocket.  Yes, it does stick to the lace accent.  Yes, the lace looks icky after that.  The happy ending is that the fuzzy lace has relaxed a bit in the washings since then, making it more wearable again.

Sizing: Good
Price: Good
Neckline: Perfect
Length: Good
Color: Rich
Buy Again: Definitely


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Then, they lived here.

I had to laugh.  I was trying to follow Jamerrill Stewart and on Pinterest because she posts a lot of free Kindle books and free is right up my alley.  In the process, I found this:

This sums up how it's been lately.  I'm working with the girlies and they are good little Blossoms, but my day is taken up with school and cooking and such... I feel like the house hasn't been deep-cleaned in years.  <Don't judge.> 

A clean house is important to me because I know it's my job to take care of the house and I want to do all things with excellence. 

Every day, I'm striving for excellence in housekeeping as well as in everything else.  Oh, and Blossom2 and Blossom3 are on a paper-snowflake making kick.  So there are tiny pieces of miscellaneous paper


I think I start to twitch as they are joyously making another paper snowflake.  (I haven't figured out what triggered this new kick, but they are seriously enjoying it.)  (I also haven't figured out what I'm going to do with the stack of 25+ paper snowflakes and additional "pretty" scraps that are lying on the printer... gifts from my loving Blossoms!  I told them it was too early to hang them on the windows.  I'm sorta glad I did, as we wouldn't be able to see the fall foliage outside at this rate.)  I think the thing that makes me twitch is the fact that the vacuum cleaner is in the shop right now.  Oh, the irony.

I noticed the overwhelmed feeling makes me sigh and promptly taints my outlook about everything. Even when I accomplish one huge thing every day (of educating our children patiently and faithfully), I brush that aside come afternoon, because all I can think of are the thousand things that still need to be done.  I finally took it to the Lord because I know the desire for excellence is good and right.  The overwhelmed feeling isn't good and right.  I think it means I'm carrying burdens that weren't meant for me.  I heard the line from the old song this evening, "Oh, what needless pain we bear... all because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer."  I carried it to the Lord.  He will show me what to do.  Until then, I'm going to continue doing the best possible job on what I can manage - a great homeschool, prompt, healthy meals for my family and a moderately tidy home.  Just don't stare at the corners of the floor when you use the bathroom here.