Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rein in the Runaway Horse

Way back in my Bible college days, I remember our Pastor sharing that it's much better to rein in a runaway horse, than to try to kick a dead one into action. 

It's true in ministry and it's true in homeschooling (or just parenting). 

Give me a kid that wants to learn and we'll go on an amazing journey together. 
That interest, that curiosity, that desire will fuel an endless drive. 
In sharing this little truth, I will not list all the terrific, creative and different ways that I utilized my children's interests to teach them something today or this week.  Nope. 
(Are you tired of braggy blogs?  I am.) 
Dear Mama friend 'o mine,
Take your cloudy head out of your morning cuppa and think... Did your seven year old baby greet you with a sparkle in their eye this morning?  What was the bursting question your five year old could barely fit betwixt the chatter at the breakfast table?  What was it that your two year old was clamoring to see?  What scheme has your ten year old concocted and devised?  My friendly word for your tired body and soul is to go with it.  Their schemes and chatter don't have to wear you down.  You don't have to drag them, hooked by the jaw, into the schoolroom of life.  Capture the sparkle in a jar and study it.  Clarify the question and overwhelm them (for once) with more to wonder at.  The next time I hear, "Mama, I have an idea," I think I'm gonna lean in and capitalize.  It's the beauty of childhood that I'm sometimes too tired to value.  No longer.

Go with it, friend.  And, may the adventure be glorious.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

What Makes Up For It

I've been thinking about what the Blossoms will remember years from now.  I think we all concur that with parenting, the days are long, but the years are short.  By about 7-8pm, my Mommyometer has risen to levels not conducive to the happiness of those around me.  Inevitably, I start to think that the Blossoms will only remember a tired, cranky mama.  It's discouraging, to say the least.  I am not now, nor ever, excusing my behavior.  This is why I was ruminating on the whole thing.  I don't want them to think that tired crankiness is a normal and Godly way to be. 

"Am I doing right?"

"Am I doing enough?"

"I wouldn't want to be around me, if I were them!!!!"  (wail!)

Amidst my muddly puddle of sad discouragement, I felt like the Lord reminded me about love.  It covers a whole ton of sins.  You can be the most gifted person in the world and yet, without the missing ingredient (love), you're nothing.  On the flip side, love covers a lack of all the greatest skills and strategies imaginable.  I can funnel the love of God to my children as often as possible and it will make up for a whole lot.  My focus turned from my failures and weaknesses to mirroring God's love abundantly.  Love will make up for it all.  The Blossoms will remember love. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


How tired is your faith?  I'm just wondering.  I know how life can be.  I know how the grind can wear you down.  But, it is imperative that we keep the faith.  It is imperative that we pray and not lose heart.  (Luke 18:1)  Sometimes we pray and we see nothing and then, we just shrug and move on.  We can't get disheartened about God's will in our families, homes and neighborhoods. 

I recently read the parable in Luke 18 about the woman who went to the unfair judge.  He wasn't a good judge, but she kept bothering him and eventually, he gave her what she needed - protection from her enemy, all because of her persistence.  God is NOT an unfair judge.  He's the perfect Father who leans forward when His children pray. 

He's not like our distracted, multi-tasking, spread-too-thin parenting selves. 

We cry out for change in our families.  We plead for strength for our days.  We intercede for His will to be done around us.  He sees our persistence in prayer.  Combined with His already present love for us, it compels Him to answer our faith.

He's listening.  He's making it happen.  We just need to keep believing.  We WILL see it. 

Andrew Murray once mentioned that we ought to be praying so constantly that there is a steady stream of answers coming daily. 

Fellow believer, please keep praying in faith.  Don't lose heart. 

..."However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
(Luke 18:8)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Fair Snapshots

Yep, we're a tried and true Chevy family.  This thing hauled our "all terrain wagon" and all sorts of equipment, projects, snacks, water and such back and forth to the Fair numerous times this week.  What a work horse the Great American Land Yacht is!

And, what a good week it's been.  Blossom1 has called it a great week, for sure.  It went by so fast!  Tonight, we can go pick the animals up, as well as all the exhibits.  I'm so thankful for how smoothly it went.

Blossom4 adores the Fair as much as her older sisters do.  She's already insisting we head back to the "Pair" and refuses to believe that it is over.  (Secretly, she just likes to wear her boots out and about.)

Mommy and the rest of the Blossoms can't argue with that.  Nobody thinks anything of boots...

or dirt... or manure...


or anything else classically rural (like camo!) 

The Blossoms were thrilled to finally catch the Tiger show on Thursday night. 

It takes a special person to walk around in a ring with nine full sized tigers doing tricks and stunts. 

Simply, amazing!

May next year be even better and may we learn even more!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Teddy Grahams and Fair Reflections

How to survive the Fair in one easy step:

Birthday Cake Teddy Grahams!

Seriously though, I feel like this year is going even better than last year.  When we arrive home from our treks to the Fair, I make it clear to the Blossoms that it is time to work. 


They are made to understand that they have already spent their play time feeding animals, sweeping barns, socializing, learning from fellow 4-Hers and browsing the unique nuances of a small time county fair. 

That one single thing has kept the house tidy, the wash caught up and their rooms in order.  I'm not bragging, I'm heaving a sigh of relief and noting that I should use this clear, unapologetic approach after playdates, library trips and days at the amusement park.  I'm glad that they see the correlation of the sacrifices involved in this 4-H gig.  I don't want the orderly life that we thrive within to be one of those sacrifices. 

After we plow through the home work, there's still a little time to enjoy summer a bit, time to marvel at the ever present beauty God placed around us.

The other Fair lessons are always abundant ~ being humble enough to learn from the folks around us, being brave enough to step out and try something dauntingly unfamiliar.

Being light-hearted enough to laugh at your mutt rabbits' placing...

 Being just plain thankful for learning and the rewards of hard work and perseverance...

We're thankful that God has let us be a part of the Fair.  May we be a witness while we are there.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Breakfast al fresco

Breakfast al fresco, anyone?

Summer has some serious perks, ya'll!

Friday, August 7, 2015

This week

I think you all remember that the Fair is a pretty big deal here.  We don't camp there for the week (yet), though I certainly understand each family's reasoning for doing so.

It's been such a busy week, supervising the Blossoms' Fair pursuits.  Blossom1 worked hard.  I mean, hard.  She's done tons of research, organizing facts and such.  Wow.  I'm impressed.  I've stepped in when she was stuck and encouraged when she was tired, but she did these projects, all by herself.  I told her how I her perseverance was so amazing.  She hoped that it would pay off at the Fair (maybe it will).  But, even if it doesn't, I shared that God sees and He always rewards hard work and perseverance.  It's the bigger lesson I always want the girls to learn.  Man doesn't always reward, but God always sees and He rewards. 

Blossom2 was working on cataloging, classifying and organizing her growing rock collection in order to take it to the Fair.  Her perseverance in doing that (seemingly mundane) task, was amazing to me too.  I was so thrilled to see that type of self-directed education going on.  I mean, the girl is delving in to adult level rock books to find out what she wants to know.  I now understand what my mother had to go through when she let us have drawers full of rocks in our closet. 

I've been working on getting things in order to make sure the upcoming week is a smooth one.  I don't want us to eat junk all week and I want the house to stay clean amongst all the busyness.  When you're making a minimum of two trips to the fairgrounds every day for nine days, it can be tricky. 

The Fair is such an inspiration ~ so much science, so many animals, so many ideas, so many 4-H projects to consider in the future and so many people that are willing to answer questions and share their knowledge.  We're looking forward to soaking it all in.

As you can see, the Blossoms haven't been only working this week.  They've been on another Little House on the Prairie kick.  "Mary, Laura, Grace and Carrie" have bonnets all over the house.  Good wholesome fun!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Nutritious Nutella Frappe

Around here, we call eggs, "Gockies."  Apparently, it's a term stemming from the Rugged Mountain Man's Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. 

And, we've got loads of Gockies on this here micro farm.  So many that Blossom4 runs the opposite directions and screams in agony, "Noooooo, please no gockies, PLEASE, NOOOOOOOO" when I announce that there will be Gockies for breakfast. 


In an effort to make the eggs more palatable, I like to serve a little something fun with them.  The Blossoms were totally in love with this spur-of-the-moment creation of mine!

Nutritious Nutella Frappe
2 cups Whole Milk
1/2 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
Generous dollop of Nutella (or generic Chocolate Hazelnut spread)
Splash of Vanilla
10+ ice cubes

Pour milk, oats, dollop of Nutella and vanilla in the blender.  Whir til smooth.  (Better to over-blend than under-blend.  Oats mix in well when blended plenty long.)  Throw in the ice cubes and blend again. Serve immediately.  Serves 2-3 


Voila!  Uber tasty, filling AND nutritious!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Tissues vs. TP

Potty Training Journey #4 has begun and this mama is chilled out about it.  In fact, when someone asked me four months ago if I was potty training yet, I think my response was something like, "Heck, NO!"  My parameters (despite how "ready" everyone insists kids are when they are suddenly aware what potty is, want their diaper off after doing business and can hit the mark before bathtime) go something like this:

- The child must be aged 2 1/2 yrs old.
- It must be SUMMER time.
- There must be no major life changes going on.
- It must be after big vacations and the like.

THEN, we commence potty training. 

For me, watching the toilet paper unroll is like listening to nails on a chalkboard.  So, in order to save myself the headache of watching the toilet paper unroll endlessly, I learned somewhere along the way to teach little girls to wipe by using tissues

Oh man.  #mamalifehacks

A tissue box doles out the perfect amount of tissue for a little person.  Blossom4 loves to reiterate Mama's words of "onee WUN" (only one)! 

So, if a box of tissues can help Blossom4 AND Mama,  let's buy stock in Kleenex!!!

Now, here's to a smooth potty training journey, that skips the boredom phase!  Wouldn't that be awesome!?!