Monday, January 30, 2012



Natalie - Birth Day


N2's 1st Birthday










Happy Birthday to our new resident six year old! We are making merry today with birthday donuts, a day off school, and friends over for dinner. It's going to be a good day.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Beyond Opinion :: Reading to Know Bookclub January 2012

One of my January reading goals was to read Beyond Opinion by Ravi Zacharias as part of the Reading to Know bookclub. As of today, I am crying uncle and throwing in the towel. This is an extremely meaty book about living and defending your faith and what it means to have a Christian worldview. What I did read, I was encouraged by (and I'll share a few things below), but this was a TOUGH book for me to get through. That said, I don't regret the time spent on this and I plan to put this on my shelf for reference and referral, especially as my children get older and we'll spend more time on the apologetic side of their education.

One of the most helpful things that this book did for me was give me some simple definitions of things that I have (ashamedly) been fuzzy on. Words such as postmodern, a "worldview", what does an athiest actually believe (or not), etc. Words that in the context of a conversation I could nod and "um-hmm" and get the gist of where the person was going, but now I have a little more meat to sink my teeth into in regard to some of these terms.

I now feel like (from the first chapter) I have a better understand of why there is so much intolerance to the Christian lifestyle and worldview. People nowadays are brought up under teachings that highlight individuality and uniqueness. Because of this, the concept of one overarching Creator and Lord is not diverse enough to meet everyone's needs so it's refuted. Sadly, thought I'm not saying it's right, it makes sense to me.

I was also struck by the chapter on youth and apologetics. There were so many good things that I underlined in this chapter. A few of them:
  • passively refusing to prepare them [youth] to make wise choices = actively arranging for them to sin
  • faith and commitment cannot be more than vaguely real when you are unable to have a simple conversation about them.
  • reach teens by helping them develop conversation skills (p47) I wish I had had more training in this as a teen!
  • mentor teens diligent in Biblical worldview studies but also full of joy in their relationship with others and full of wonder at the world around them. Something I ponder in terms of social media and how that affects our relationships with others. Can someone really see your joy or wonder through a facebook status or tweet vs. a face-to-face conversation, a phone call, or even a person email or note in the mail? Speaking to myself here... : )
  • the single most important social influence on spiritual lives of teens = PARENTS. Especially fathers. (p56
  • A quote from George Washington: "The future of this nation depends on the Christian training of our youth." (p58)
And so on.

I barely scratched the surface on the chapters on science and faith and may at some point go back and read more there, but for now, I'm encouraged. Books like these are a good reminder to me that it's okay to have questions about my faith and it's okay to ask them. What's not okay is not looking for the answers or doing to the soul searching needed to find them. When that happens I fail myself and the children I am training by giving less than my best.

Thanks, Sky, for suggesting this book for the Reading to Know bookclub. While I didn't finish, I still came away with much to think about! And, I'm looking forward to next month's book, Running Away to Home: Our Family's Journey to Croatia in Search of Who We Are, Where We Came From, and What Really Matters. I went to Croatia in 1998 on a mission trip and I'm feeling inspired to dig out a few pictures and scan them in ... taken in my pre-digital days!

For more on the Reading the Know book club visit Carrie's blog at Reading to Know.

Reading to Know - Book Club

Instagram Friday // January 27

A little of this week's randomness:

Yesterday started fairly early with percussion.

Some mornings need percussion.

It ended with an impromptu jam session in the front room.

Husband on electric guitar, little girls on keyboard, biggest and baby on piano. 10yo neighbors comment "you must be lucky to have all this." Yes, yes I am. :)

I'm guessing it goes without saying that it was a loud day yesterday? : )

N1 took part in a cooking field trip on Wednesday. Her concoction that she left the class with:

She gave it to her Dad. Hmpf.

We had to get out a bit on Tuesday to meet a service person at our church. The kids ran around outside (in short-sleeves!) and got some much needed fresh air.

A little outside time while we wait at the church.

The boy thinks he's big stuff running with the sister. He will probably get upset with her in about 2.2 seconds, but for now he's good.


Just a little Friday randomness!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Story Girl and The Golden Road // 2012 L.M. Montgomery Challenge

L. M. Montgomery Reading Challenge 

With the end of January, comes the end of another L.M. Montgomery reading challenge. This month I was able to reading The Story Girl and The Golden Road, revisiting time with the King cousins on their farm in (where else) Prince Edward Island. I love these stories and as I read them this year as a parent of many small children, I seem to understand a bit more why I am drawn to these books and their characters.

For the unfamiliar, these two books are set among the King cousins and a couple special friends:
  • Sara Stanley (aka the Story Girl)
  • Beverly & Felix King (Bev is our narrator)
  • Dan, Felicity, and Cecily King
  • Peter (the hired boy)
  • Sara Ray (the neighbor girl)
The children were descendants of Grandfather King who put together an amazing farm on PEI, complete with an orchard perfect for the many adventures and mishaps they found themselves.

Coming from a family of only one sister and very few cousins that we didn't see much growing up, I absolutely LOVED the idea of a large family. During most of my growing up years, we weren't able to live close to family and while I have many letters saved from corresponding with grandparents, face-to-face time was rare and something that makes me a bit regretful to look back on and think about. (As an aside, I don't regret the path that my parents did take, just what might have been if I could have had the best of all worlds). These children were actively involved in each others' lives - this year and half (or so) that the book spans where they live and learn and work together is an incredible time of bonding and friendship for all of them. Even though there is no epilogue to these books, I imagine that they all stay in touch as they grow older, writing long newsy letters, and have grand reunions at each others' weddings down the road.

They were also tied together by the King farm. It was home to all of their parents (and the aunts and uncles that they haven't even met) and there are many stories passed down and shared from the previous generations escapades and (mis)adventures. Even when the children start moving on at the end of The Golden Road, they leave with the knowledge that the family farm will be there to welcome them back should they need to return. It will always be home to them. As someone who moved quite a bit growing up, I love the idea of the home that you spend years at, adding bits and pieces to make it unique, such as the King orchard which had a tree planted for every family member and even some honored guests. My girls love to hear stories about trips that we took to my grandparents' home that was set in a small town in Oklahoma and the (fairly tame) adventures that I had there growing up. 

All that to say ... these books impress to me to benefit of leaving a legacy to your children. Along with a spiritual legacy (which is by far the most important), it is important for me to make sure my husband and I pass on a legacy of stories of our childhoods, and that I help my children capture their childhood stories so that they can remember and pass them on. When the little girls ask me for a story from when I am a little girl as I tuck them in, some nights I am wracking my brain trying to think of something that I haven't told them before. It is important to be deliberate in sharing these stories with our children - our adventures, embarrassing moments, what scared us, and our mistakes and the forgiveness in those situations.

In my opinion, these books are wonderful and the time spent reading them is well worth it. I have enjoyed this trip down memory lane and look forward to the day I can pass these on to my girls as well.

Thanks, Carrie, for the annual nudge to pull my L.M. Montgomery books off the shelf and indulge in a little comfort reading. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Project Life Week 3 // January 15-21

Week 3.


The left side:

  • N2 holding a friend's new little baby at church.
  • a meet up with some special friends!
  • the littlest girl doing her school
Why the flowers on the bottom right photo? Well, last week we had a super fun bloggy meet-up with our penpals-now-in-person-friends from Hope is the Word! Since Amy has chosen not to put her children's faces on her blog, I add a few well-placed flowers to hide her girls' very cute faces. : ) We had a great time with Amy and her munchkins. The girls hit it off immediately (as if there was any doubt about that) and Amy and I had no problem jumping right into conversation as well. The hour we had to chat sped by MUCH too quickly! I've so appreciated trading emails with Amy over the past several years and it was such a blessing to be able to talk face-to-face. 


A little photo evidence of our mischievous boy fit into one of the journaling spots.


The right side:

  • N2 with her Awana leaders. Note to Erin - you made the Project Life album! : )
  • Pictures of what we have been reading this week.
  • a photo of the boy ... because he is pretty stinkin'cute. : )
  • The little girls with our neighbor.


The journaling card I used below for our "recently reading" page is a free download from Emilie Ahern. She's offering a free Project Life journaling card on her craft blog every Friday and she has some cute stuff. I went ahead and purchased her birthday set in anticipation of N2's birthday next week and can't wait to use them.


Photo collage created in Photoshop using templates from Paislee Press.


This is another Project Life printable from Emilie below. I love these simple lined cards.


Boy journaling written on labels and stuck right on the side of the photo. I ran these labels through my printer so that they would have graph paper on them (a la this tutorial) and really like how they turned out.


That wraps up another week in our album. How are we almost at the end of January already? This month has flown by ... or so it seems to me. So thankful for this approach to scrapbooking that is helping me look at the little details of our days and capture bits and pieces to include and remember.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Friday, January 20, 2012

Project Life ::: Week 2, January 8-14

Week 2 of Project Life.

This week has another 12x12 insert cut down to hold 6 4x6 photos. (Obviously, when these run out, I need to invest in some of these page protectors). There's also an 8 1/2 x 11 insert holding our coloring pages from  last week's painting day! A full week it was. : )


On the left:

  • a photo from the boy's 15 month check up on Monday. (This would have been a Sunday photo slot, but I didn't have one to include this week). A few stats are included on the card. He has a funny look on his face in this picture, but he was really relaxed and resting his head on N1's shoulder. Little did he know that his shots were next!
  • a photo of my coffee and bag in the car
  • up close of N1. (She looks tired to me in this picture, but I loved this shot of her.)
The journaling cards include a photo of N1 running into the library by herself to pick up a hold (and how I feel about that!), and one of the boy eating coloring with crayons.


Up close:


Our insert on painting day. I cut and pasted the text from the blog post into a 4x6 card on my computer and it just b.a.r.e.l.y. fit with some editing.


8 1/2 x 11 insert.


I had to use 2 8 1/2 x 11 inserts to get all three girls color wheels in ... I could have stopped and scanned them in and shrunk them but I was feeling lazy and I love them full size. I ended up with one side empty so I just slid in a note that N2 wrote B one night while she was laying in bed.


It's awfully cute. : )


The right side:

  • A close up of B from painting day.
  • Our "snow" day. Ha.
  • The girls helping me clean and cut fruit after a grocery story run. N2 was explaining to B how to cut strawberries, and between the two of them, they were eating as many as they were cutting!
  • A photo from a company dinner we had Saturday.


One photo of the boy in a journaling spot. His face! I can hear him yelling when I look at the picture.




For the large pictures of N1 & B, I didn't do any day-specific journaling but a little life-right-now for both of them.



Happy Friday! We have Bible study this morning and I'm hoping to get a little school done this afternoon before our weekend starts. I'm already looking forward to my Monday night when I pull out my PL stuff and get to do this all over again. : )

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What We've Been Reading in January 2012

Benjamin Franklin by Ingri and Edgar d'Auliere. (Mentioned this one yesterday).


A Picture Book of Benjamin Franklin by David Adler. (Love is picture book biographies)


Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. This was actually from N1's winter reading list, but I read a couple of the first chapters aloud to her to give her a jump start. (She finished it yesterday).


Winter Days in the Big Woods


Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall and Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina


Our current chapter book: The Long Winter.

No big reviews today, but just a small smattering of what we've read aloud recently.

Linking up with Read Aloud Thursday this week.