Wednesday, January 30, 2013

L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge ::: Rilla of Ingleside

January is the best month for reading with old friends.

As part of Carrie’s Reading to Know Bookclub and her L.M. Montgomery Reading Challenge, both in January - I killed two birds with one book so to speak : ) – I pulled the book Rila of Ingleside off my shelf. It has been years since I’ve read Rilla. In times past, I would have said that this was not one of my favorite of the Anne books for two reasons. One, there’s not much Anne in it and two, I always felt this was a tag along book. Did she write it because the Anne series was such a big hit and she knew she could sell another book in the series? A little bit cynical on that second reason, but I did wonder. : )

That said, this run through of the book was a delight. The story is set right before Rilla’s 15th birthday and the eve of World War I. She so wants to be considered grown-up but still carries quite of bit of childishness about her. Through the story we see her maturation as she grows up during a time when her brothers and sisters (and many friends) are serving their country, not knowing if she will see them again or how she can help in her small way.

How did this impact me? I was recently at a birthday celebration for a young friend who had turned thirteen. Many folks there were sharing bits of wisdom and encouragement to her and one thing that a friend said really resonated with me and ties with my appreciation of this book. She said that, Biblically, you are a child and then you are an adult. That, in a nutshell, should be the focus of my parenting. To take a child, given to me by God, and raise them, love them, nurture them, educate them, so that they will be a mature adult. There is nothing about raising a less-moody tween or a polite teen in the Bible – the goal is raise a successful adult. It has given me much pause to think on this. I am leaning toward the idea that I am doing my girls (especially right now) a disservice if I think of raising them in terms of their teenage years as my focus for survival. I’m raising future adults and so train them towards that end. This was modeled so well in Rilla of Ingleside. At the beginning of the book, she was very concerned about “childish” things. Not necessarily bad things, but not showing signs of maturity. Through the experiences she has, with the backdrop of World War I, she becomes a loving, responsible, mature adult … a testimony to her parents’ (fictional) training to show her growth and maturity when it was time.

I hope this makes sense as I type it out. (It seems to make sense in my head, at any rate). : ) As I look at my girls, one especially who is getting altogether to close to her teen years for me to think about, I want to be mindful of the fact that right now she is a child and embrace that – her interests, her pursuits, and her childish spirit and heart. Yet, at the same time, encouraging growth and maturity in her spiritual walk, her emotional control and moodiness, and the fruit of the spirit that I want to see grow in her life. Yes, Rilla of Ingleside is a fictional book, but it really did tie in with thoughts I’ve been pondering on and was a wonderful start to my 2013 reading (and parenting). : )

Linking up with both the Reading to Know bookclub & L.M. Montgomery wrap-ups in a few days. Thanks, Carrie, as always, for hosting! 

Past L.M. Montgomery reviews:
Lantern Hill and Chronicles of Avonlea, 2009
The Emily Series, 2011
The Story Girl and The Golden Road, 2012

Monday, January 28, 2013

New Favorite

Three days in a row. New favorite.

This has been my new go-to breakfast for the last couple of weeks. I ran out of sweet potatoes over the weekend and have been missing having this the last couple of mornings! I’ve been trying to cut back on my amount of white flour and carbs in general and this has been a GREAT stand-in for an egg sandwich for breakfast.

I run my potatoes through my food processor to save time, then mix the raw sweet potatoes with an egg, some salt and pepper, and a dash of Lawry’s seasoning salt. The recipe calls for cinnamon and onion as well, but I haven’t had either on hand and so I made them without. I cook them on a hot skillet and until crispy and add one more egg along side (or on top) of the potatoes.

Super yum and extremely filling!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Project Life 2013, Week 3 :: January 8 - 20

Ah, Project Life, I love you.
Another week in the books. I printed the pictures up a few days ago and spent a lovely hour this Saturday afternoon stuffing them into pockets and doing my journaling. No inserts this week either, so it went together quickly. Of note, I exclusively used the digital Olive kit this week and I have to say, I am quite smitten with it. When it was first announced, I wasn’t sure that I would like the colors and patterns in this kit. When it was released to digital several weeks ago (and on sale) I went ahead and snatched it up, and I have to say, I really like how it looks in my album. The colors are so soft and beautiful.
Almost done with #projectlife week 3 using the olive kit. I wasn't sure what I thought about this kit but I really like how this week is coming together!
The other thing of note that was a first for me this week: I used photoshop to place my smaller photos – those I would have glued onto a journaling card – directly onto the JPG digi files and printed them as one piece of paper. I loved this! A timesaver as far as cutting down both the journaling cards AND the photos and then gluing them. I’ll be trying this trick again.
Anyway, on to this week.
On the left:
  • on my date card, a photo of some of B’s copywork. The verse: “be still and know that I am God…”
  • T with B & the boy, curled up under an old comforter that has now made its home downstairs.
  • breakfast/morning prep
  • art at CC.
On the right:
  • N2 working on a lapbook on the earth.
  • N1 getting a little creative time when the boy took an extra long nap one afternoon. (Those naps are becoming more rare!)
  • a longer journaling card about a breakfast that I went to on Saturday
  • we LOVE the train table at the bookstore
I just can’t get over how much I like the Olive kit. I’ll be going to this one more often, that’s for sure.
Project Life is a product and a system created by Becky Higgins and available on It can be anything you want it to be. You can view all my posts about Project Life here. I'm always happy to answer questions about how Project Life works for me, if you have any.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Very Cold Daybook near the End of January

Outside my window... it is dark. And cold. The dog and I went out very quickly this morning!

I am thinking... of what a nice day off we had yesterday. MLK Day always sneaks up on me because we’ve just finished with a big Christmas break. I went back and forth numerous times over whether or not to do school yesterday because T was off and ended up compromising with the part of me that knows we don’t have much wiggle room for extra days off in our schedule. T went out for a bit in the morning and we got some basics done – a little language arts and math for the big girls – and called it good. I gave B a day off entirely. She had her first friend sleepover (where she went to a friend’s house by herself) over the weekend and it wiped her out.

Winter sun.

A shot of winter sun streaming in yesterday.

I am thankful... for T. He provides for us so well and is so constant.

In the kitchen... things are a changing. We have been looking at what we are eating and ramping up our veggies. And, I don’t think this is just a January phase that we are going through (at least I hope not). I have long felt that white flour / sugar / excess carbs and I have needed to come to a parting of the ways and I’m slowing working on eliminating a lot of them from my diet. Just in the last week, I can see a wee bit of energy return and some brain fog lift and I like that.

Husband made dinner. #1000gifts

I am wearing... jammies. Must get moving as we have CC today.

I am creating... hmm. Nothing exceptionally crafty right now. Project Life is happening. I’ve been in listy mode (when am I not?) and have been making all sorts of them.

I am going... a fairly light week this week. I’ll be saying that for about six more weeks and then soccer will start for two girls and then it will get busy I predict! Classical Conversations today and, depending on how tired the boy is after a big morning of playing while we do school, we might go to the library. Tomorrow and Thursday look relatively free and Friday is Bible study.

I am teaching… Earth Science is the hot topic at the moment. It’s our memory work focus for CC and we have been reading through Christian Kids Explore Earth and Space and it’s just the right fit for us right now. We are also working on an Earth lapbook from A Journey Through Learning that I was sent to review. This is the first of their lapbooks that I’ve used and so far, I’m impressed. More soon. I always loved Earth Science as a kid (maybe because I had a Dad and Grandpa that were very into maps) so science has seen more school action that it has in a long time which is good. : )

I am reading... nothing right at the moment. I fizzled out on French Kids Eat Everything … it was good, but I felt like I got the gist of what she was saying and didn’t need to press on. Hopefully I haven’t missed something life changing later on the book. : ) I need to put together some February reading goals and that should get me excited to pick something up. I’ve also been spending much too much time on the computer perusing a few new-to-me homeschool blogs. I love the online inspiration, but it does take away from the written page.

Around the house... I need to do a little maintenance. It’s not terrible because overall it’s fairly picked up. But I’ve taken a few too many days off of running the vacuum for my taste. (How do stairs get so dirty looking so fast? I don’t get it…) The laundry monster has been calling my name as well.

I am pondering... Doing things well. Where I am, where I am not, and where I can start changing. It’s not enough to want to change. The work has to be done to get there. (Easy to type, hard to do).

One of my favorite things... winding down in the evening. Working on new routines of NOT falling asleep downstairs, but winding down with hot tea. A blanket. Usually a little dog curled under one arm. Writing on my gifts list. I don’t manage it every night, but I’m getting better at it.

Day's end. 

A peek into my day...

The cuteness. I will miss her being little.

This girl. This dog. They make me smile.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Project Life 2013, Week 2 :: January 7-13

Week 2 is in the books. I put this one together last night after our family movie night while the girls were playing a bit before bed. Another very simple week that went together pretty quickly.
On the left:
  • racquetball racquets and balls (yes.) Working towards moving more and not killing myself in the process. : )
  • a fun day at CC working on painting like the Italian artist Giotto, ie., creating paint with crushed chalk/pastels and egg yolk.
  • a simple shot of N1 and the boy reading.
The journaling cards on the left side are mostly from the new Studio Calico subscription service. The jury is still out on whether or not I think this is a good investment and something that I’m going to stick with. The title card, “our story”, and the red “arrow” on the far right are from the kit. Also from the kit is “make something today” – it’s printed on a transparency and I backed it with red cardstock to make the letters really pop. The “see/hear/taste” etc., card is from my Seafoam kit. I can see that card being used a LOT this year to sum up different aspects of a week when I don’t necessarily have a photos.
On the right:
  • random school shot of B writing. (The background paper and the “b” are from Cosmo Cricket’s Dutch Girl elements and paper.)
  • some of the boy’s favorite books right now
  • Daddy and boy reading
  • ice cream date with one of the girls
The “hello” card and the “today” card are both from the Studio Calico kit. “Remember This” is from the Wellington Childhood digi kit which I can already see will be getting a lot of use. Browns and red that are throughout. The 4x6 on the bottom right is from the digi Cobalt kit. I love being able to print off my favorite cards. The journaling card on the far right is a file that Cathy Zielske offered for free on her blog for Instagram photos and I am going to predict that may show up one or twenty times in my album this year. Here it is up close:
So cool.
A shot of the “b” card up close. I really like how this one turned out, too. I haven’t had a lot of time to play with some of the digi supplies that I collected a few years ago before the boy was born and I’m trying to remember what all I have stashed away on the computer!
And that’s that!
Happy Saturday. : ) We’ve been going and going today and it’s finally slowing down for us this afternoon. One little girl is spending the night at a friend’s so we are down by one tonight. I have a suspicion people are going to be asking for food in the near future so I should probably be thinking about moving in that direction. : )
Project Life is a product and a system created by Becky Higgins and available on It can be anything you want it to be. You can view all my posts about Project Life here. I'm always happy to answer questions about how Project Life works for me, if you have any.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Today's copywork.

Today needed a mid-afternoon reboot. Mama wasn’t focused and things were going downhill fast. One child took a spill down a few stairs. Another got in trouble for not helping pick up. And in all that there is a boy that thinks he doesn’t need a nap anymore.

It’s time to be still.

Stop striving in my own strength because it is not a peaceful house when that happens.

The plan:

A little Curious George.

Massive clean of my desk (while said video is on) and purging ANYTHING that is remotely distracting me from getting our school work done timely thinking I will get to it at some point.

There will probably be a cup of decaf coffee in my future. And the writing down of everything I can think.

And some time to sit and be still and love on these little people that are getting big much too fast.

Copywork by B. She did such a good job on this verse. : )

Friday, January 11, 2013

Project Life 2013, Week 1 ::: December 31 – January 6

Week one is in the book! Nothing fancy this week – I was trying hard to stick with just the Seafoam kit but I ended up branching out in just a couple spots. Running my week from Monday through Sunday is going to take some getting used to … I ended up printing photos on Tuesday and doing the journaling last night before tucking people in bed. All in all, though my time to work on it was spread out, it still went together pretty quickly. And that’s kinda the point. : )
On the left:
  • birthday lunch with my birthday twin at one of our favorite restaurants. Yum, and three interrupted hours of kid-free conversation wasn’t bad either.
  • a little bit about my word for the year.
  • cousins that managed to get a hold of my phone. I didn’t count how many similar pictures like this I had to delete off my phone.
On the right:
  • T reading to the girls one evening. After he and I went to see The Hobbit (one of my birthday requests), we found my beat-up copy and have been slowly working through it some evenings. Those are some seriously long chapters, but we downloaded it onto a couple of Kindles so our readers can read along with him. That helps!
  • N2 and her little BFF at a super fun birthday sleepover.
  • I have restated reading lessons with B and so far, it’s going so much better than it did last fall. We are taking it very slow and out of the six lessons we have done in the last two weeks, I think we have had tears only once. I’ll take that!
  • snuggling the puppy and winding down before bed.
Up close at a couple of journaling cards spots. For my 3x4 cards, I used Seafoam exclusively this week. I love the colors on the cards and how well everything coordinates.
Love the journaling card that ended up on the far right. N2 was struggling to come up with a gift to give her grandpa at Christmas and we came up with the idea of coffee coupons. She can make a cup of coffee in our Keurig (have had practice making lots of hot chocolate of late) and we felt it was the perfect gift for her. He redeemed one of her coupons on Sunday and she was so excited. : )
Other materials used:
Happy Friday! We are waiting for T to get home with some dinner (I have the night off!) and then it’s Family Movie Night. Ready for some winding down with my gang before the whirlwind of back-to-back birthday celebrations tomorrow. Have a wonderful weekend!
Project Life is a product and a system created by Becky Higgins and available on It can be anything you want it to be. You can view all my posts about Project Life here. I'm always happy to answer questions about how Project Life works for me, if you have any.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Read-Aloud Thursday ::: Books for the Boy

I am, by no means, an expert of boy books. We are two years into our journey with our little guy and are slowly growing a little library of books that he loves. We have a set bedtime routine of reading a few favorite books, however, he has recently been requesting more books throughout our days and we have all been happy to oblige. This read-aloud Thursday is dedicated to some of those books that we have ready to him enough times that I can count them as big hits!

Books the boy loves.

One of our girls (N2 to be exact) picked up these books for the boy on our last trip to the library. Written by Jane Yolen (author of our beloved Owl Moon ), these “How Do Dinosaurs...” books are a big hit with our boy. We brought home one on coloring, cleaning your room, taking care of your cat, and counting and have been through multiple reads of each one. “Dine-Toors” in general are a bit hit with the boy now – the other day we found a “dine-toor” shirt in our drawer (apparently handed down to us by a friend, and boy, were we excited!

Another favorite series with our little guy has been the Bear books written by Karma Wilson. It all started with Bear Snores On which is a MUST READ at bedtime at least once, if not twice through at night. (I now have this book completely memorized if anyone would like a demonstration. : ) ) We next added Bear Stays Up for Christmas to his library and that gets read almost every night (although it may disappear shortly for the season). The gentle rhymes in these stores are very sweet and I adore the artwork in these books. Expressive and cute animals will win me over every time. We have picked up a couple other Bear titles from the library and I have a feeling more will make it into our permanent boy library as well.

  Digger Man was another library book, one that I found on the new books shelves and grabbed on a whim. We are very into trucks now - “triar tucks” (fire trucks) and “tash tucks” (trash tucks) being two current favorites. : ) As I was previously a mom of three girls, I am very fuzzy on the names / identities of different types of construction equipment, so I’m working on educating myself. To that end, Digger Man came home with us. There is nothing that is ground breaking in this book. Just the words of a little boy telling his younger brother about how when he grows up, he’s going to be a digger man, have his own digger, and he has some Big Plans for what he is going to do with his digger. A very sweet story that has been requested for rereads multiple times, ergo, it makes our list.

Last, but not least is one of those children’s classics that I love. I’m sure there are very few that are not familiar with this book, but Good Night, Gorilla is the sweet wordless book of the zookeeper putting the animals to bed at night and the mischief that ensues. We get so giggly when we read this book! On a good night, the boy can almost tell me this story on his own in his precious two-year old way but most of the time we are pretty sleepy and content to let Mama describe this one.

I’m linking up with Amy’s Read-Aloud Thursday, my first for 2013 (and the first chance I’ve had to participate in several weeks!) Hopefully, in the near future, I’ll be back with some of our thoughts on our current chapter book (Jane of Lantern Hill).

Happy Thursday! We are finishing our last full day of school for the week today and tomorrow it’s back to Bible study and we roll on into a full weekend. I’m hoping to be able to do a Project Life post some time this weekend – it’s on the list at any rate! : )

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

First Daybook of 2013

Outside my window... a grey, rainy morning. I’m thinking there will be lots of coffee and reading aloud done today.

I am wearing... pajamas. Must get moving on some real clothes here in a moment.

I am thinking... about abiding, my word for 2013. I was reading John 15:9-11 yesterday morning and listing the many benefits that we gain from abiding in Christ and His word. So many found in just those three verses. That’s probably a whole ‘nother post. Good stuff.

I am thankful... for my morning hours alone. This morning I had a little girl waken earlier than she was supposed to and she came in and sat with me. My quiet time didn’t happen, but little people getting up early with me is more rare as they are sleeping a bit later. She sat quietly with me and read while I wrote some emails and it was fun hanging out with just one girl in the quiet.

In the kitchen... I’m trying to make it to Saturday before restocking the cupboards so we have been making do on some things. : ) I think I expended most of my creative kitchen energy getting us through our school break and company visiting. However, strangely, these people still insist on eating. On my list of things to make are these chicken enchiladas as well as fish tacos. (I made up my own recipe the other night and they were super yummy in my opinion, however this recipe looks good),

I am wearing... jammies. That won’t last long though as I hear little folks stirring.

I am creating... I am working on my 2013 project life album. Pictures are printed for week one (Dec 31 – Jan 6) and I hope to get the journaling done later today after we are done with school. This year, I’ve decided to run my week from Monday through Sunday so that I can group my weekend days together. That is taking some getting used to in thinking about my layout as well as when I work on it. When I wrapped up my week on Saturday, I had Sunday afternoons to work on my album. I guess I can still do that, though I might not have a Sunday picture at the time. Tweaking the system for 2013. : )

I am reading...

Books the boy loves.

I am hoping... for a healthy baby to arrive soon for a friend!

Around the house... trying to get back into the routine of a little housework + homeschooling. It was a lot easier to keep on top of the house when we were on our Christmas break from school. Coincidence? I think not. : )

A favorite quote for today... or a blog post instead? This one on goals v. to-do lists. Nothing earth shattering, but good, timely for the beginning of the year with a blank calendar in front of me.

One of my favorite things... a blank calendar in front of me. : ) The year ahead has such possibility before me in January, does it not? (That sounds like a very Anne-ish thing to say, but it’s true!)

A few plans for the rest of the week… It’s quite obvious that we are back to our regular schedule! CC started up this week, as did Awana, our Friday Bible study, and the girls’ Sunday night choir. On top of that we have not one, but TWO birthday parties on Saturday. It seems like birthday parties go in spurts – we either have none on the calendar or we get back to back to back invitations. We are looking forward to catching up with friends as we get back into our routines again!

A peek into my day...

Reading lessons, day 3. A few tears and the jumped in and rocked it.

I’ve started reading lessons with this one again and it’s going a bit better than in the fall. Pondering how I can help her and maybe the need to switch to something else (I have been eyeing All About Reading and think it might be a good fit for her because of the manipulatives). She is SUCH a different girl than her sisters (and I wouldn’t want it any other way) and we are still trying to find our way this year in some areas.

Happy Wednesday! It’s time to get moving on our day and get some little folks moving towards breakfast and clothes.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Wrapping up 2012 in Books

Sixty-two books. The grand total of books that I finished (or came very close to finishing) in 2012. Considering I had a couple of months where I did well to finish one book, that’s not too shabby. You can find the whole list of my 2012 reads here as well as what I highlighted as the best of the year.

My December goals were:
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I finished this for the December 2012 selection of the Reading to Know bookclub and thoroughly enjoyed it. I spent several evenings at the beginning of the month under the afghan, munching on homemade chex mix and reading Dickens. Thanks Carrie, for challenging me to check this classic off my list.
Afghan + Dickens + homemade chex mix.
  • The Fruitful Wife: Cultivating a Love Only God Can Produce by Hailey DiMarco. Amazon offered me a copy of this book for a review and I took them up on it after Carrie (again!) posted a great review of it on her blog. Eager to get into this one because I’m sensing a fruit of the spirit theme will be happening around here starting the first of the year. More this soon I hope… This book was excellent and I could not put it down. I think it’s safe to say that while it is billed as a marriage book there is so much more in here about abiding in Christ and how to grow the fruit of the spirit in our lives. This will be a resource for me for years.
On my reading list for December. However, I also finished:
January now looms ahead and I’m going to continue with my monthly bookish posts. They have helped me set some short term goals and I’ve actually gotten some of those books that I’ve wanted to read checked off my list. For 2013, I am also going to make a concerted effort to buy less books and plow through the ones that I already own and haven’t gotten to. That’s not to say I WON’T buy any this year … I’m not ruling anything out. : ) So, that said, for January I’m going to try and tackle: For the January Reading to Know bookclub, I’m also tacking on a couple L.M. Montgomery books. I’m reading Jane of Lantern Hill aloud to the girls (our first LMM selection to be read aloud) and Jane is one of my favorites. (I read Jane for the 2009 LMM Challenge and blogged her here). I want to reread Rila of Ingleside on my own for the challenge. It’s been a while since I’ve spent time with her. : ) I’d love to add a few more books to my list, but I’m trying to be realistic. Activities start back up this week and there is school planning to be done as well, but I’m going to try and keep my reading momentum going!

Happy Thursday! Back to school for us today – I’m ready for a little routine and order around these parts though I’ve loved our days off!

2012 Monthly Reading Goals: December’s post will take you to all the posts for 2012.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

2012 is a wrap

The last week.
On the left:
  • a shot of T leading Christmas carols at church, the week before had been full of music prep for him.
  • Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls for Christmas day.
  • a small collage from Christmas. I put the phone/camera down for much of the day (which was nice) so just a few to remember the day by.
The second half of the week was full of family visiting and our first snow of the year!
All the Christmas journaling cards above were from In a Creative Bubble.
Here’s a shot of the start of my 2013 album. Super simple, but I love how it turned out. The “celebrate everyday” card is from the Seafoam kit and the numbers and initials are Amy Tangerine thickers that I found at my local scrapbooking store. (Note: they were way cheaper at the store than on Amazon. Yikes.)
I'm ready to start my 2013 #projectlife album! Bottom right card is from the Seafoam kit. @elisejoy
Happy New Year. : )

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2013: Abide


verb (an action word)
1. To remain, stay or continue
2. To wait for
3. To bear patiently; to put up with;

Also, abide by:
1. To be faithful to
2. To accept the terms or consequences of

And, abiding:
1. Lasting; permanent

What I will be thinking and pondering about this coming year.
  • abiding in Jesus
  • praying for more of Him and less of me
  • what it looks like to be abiding in the “vine” and what fruit will come out of nurturing that relationship
  • studying the fruit of the spirit in depth and learning as much as I can about each one and praying and practicing each one
  • abiding in what He has provided for me. Learning to be content in all things and changing my typical “glass half full” perspective to a more Biblical one of gratitude what God has provided and allowed for me.
  • abiding / continue / be faithful to the care of my husband, children, and home. Putting them first and not letting myself get lazy in care of them.
  • abiding and resting and taking care of myself in the season of small (and not as small anymore) children
And I’m sure much more will come of this year of abiding in Him.

Happy Twenty-Thirteen. : )

2012: Here
2011: Serve
2009: Joy