Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Luke Turns 2!


I can hardly believe our little Luke turned two years old last month! These last two years have flown by so fast! 

Luke is such a ham. He's very verbal, has a lot of energy, and is always trying to make everyone laugh(that is, when he's not trying to steal cookies out of the pantry...;)

On his birthday we just had a laid back family day. His birthday was on a Sunday so we went to church, took naps, had pancakes for dinner, and ate hulk cake for desert. 



Seriously, what did we ever do without pinterest?!

Luke loves the Hulk. He loves to stomp around, and growl, "Hulk Smash!" So I knew I had to try and make him a Hulk cake. It might not be as beautiful as the picture I saw on pinterest, but it worked. :) Also, it cracks me up that when Jack turned two, I made him an Elmo cake, and I'm pretty sure he didn't even know who the Hulk was. And now Luke doesn't know who Elmo is, but loves the Hulk.

I'm kidding, Luke definitely knows who Elmo is. :)


Yes, even though it was "just" the seven of us I(with help from some excited brothers and sisters) still made an entire cake and 24 cupcakes. I go overboard sometimes, have I mentioned that?


All of our Avengers. :) At every meal the kids would sing "Happy Birthday" to Luke, so by the time it was actually time to sing to him he sang right along with them.

These last two years have been gone by so fast, but what an incredibly blessed two years it has been. Luke has brought so much joy and laughter to our home. 

Happy Birthday, Luke! We can't wait to see what the Lord does in your life!



Monday, April 20, 2015

My "Complicated" Life


Some days I giggle over how complicated I've made my life.

Motherhood is hard work, so we have five little ones in five years.

And then, once some of those children begin to reach school age, we make the decision to homeschool.

And, as if that didn't already make things "busy", we decide to seriously limit how much television and video game playing the kids do, because we can tell such a difference in their behavior when we limit those things.

Then there are the days, I find myself complaining about how hard this all is.

I whine about how needy they all are, and how I don't feel like there's enough of me to go around. I get frustrated by the messes, the child who isn't understanding a certain math concept, the other child who refuses to potty train,  and the fact that I want some more time to sleep

It's a good thing God pats me on the head and tells me that I'm totally justified in my feelings.

Oh. Wait.

Actually God says he will supply all the grace I need to get through the day. He gently reminds me that when I am weak(which is always) he is strong. I hear him whisper to my heart that I can do all things through him who gives me strength, and to work like I'm working for him.

These children that he's given my husband and I to raise and train, are gifts from him.

This is the life we have made for ourselves. And I wouldn't trade it for anything. No one is making me do this. This is the path that God has led us down.

That doesn't mean it's not hard, or that I'm not an exhausted, weary mess most of the time.

But God, in his mercy, provides all the grace I need to get through these days.

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Linked to the Modest Mom & Titus 2 Linkup and Wise Woman Builds Her Home

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Easter 2015


With each passing year, my desire to create lasting memories with my family grows stronger.


Or maybe the fact that my mom was pretty big on holidays, and it's now been passed onto me. 

At any rate, we love holidays around here(well....my husband might not love holidays like I love holidays, but he's a good sport and goes along with my rituals and ideas.;)

On Good Friday we dyed eggs.


They were very excited. :)




Max was completely mesmerized by his purple egg(he was also a fan of throwing the eggs on the floor, just to be sure that they really wouldn't break, ha!)

We also talked about how our sin is dark and ugly. To demonstrate this we rubbed some mud on our arms. Then we talked about how sometimes we try to fix ourselves and make ourselves better, and rubbed a mud soaked rag on our arms to show that even when we try to fix ourselves we can sometimes make things even messier. Finally we washed our arms with clean water, to remind us that only Jesus can wash our sin(thanks for the idea, Mrs. Gore!) I was pleasantly surprised by how much the kids seemed to understand and enjoy this analogy.


On Easter morning we made resurrection rolls .like we did last year, and read the Easter story.

After we rushed around trying to get everyone ready we were able to get some pictures before church.



Sweet sisters. :)


Silly brothers.



The combination of beautiful weather and melted marshmallows for breakfast made for lots of dancing, singing, and giggling. :)


Maybe one day, we'll be able to get everyone to look at the camera at the same time. :) I hope everyone had a great Easter!



Thursday, February 26, 2015

How we do Homeschool


Every once in awhile, I'll receive an email from one of you asking how our family does this "whole homeschooling thing." While I'm happy to answer these questions, I'll be the first to admit that this has all been a huge learning process for me, and that I'm always open to trying new ways of homeschooling. And obviously I've only been doing this for two years so I still have plenty to learn in this area. :) I have tried several different schedules and routines, but for now this seems to be what I default to.


6:30/7:30- Kids usually wake up, typically the girls are the first ones up, and everyone eats breakfast as they wake up. Jack, Anna, and Lily do their morning jobs(pick up rooms, make beds, brush teeth), and I help Luke and Max get dressed and ready for the day.

As soon as Jack finishes his morning list, he comes and sits down to do his math and copywork. I'll try and get Luke, Max, and Lily set up with some water color paints or play dough, then sit down with Anna to do her math and copywork. Whenever Jack finishes, he reads to Lily and Max(we try to let Luke be in that mix too, but it doesn't work out too well yet.) Luke usually ends up on my lap playing with the math-u-see blocks while I do Anna's reading lesson.


Once Anna and I finish up, we all gather in the living room for "circle time." We start off with our Bible reading-which I usually have Jack read to us, although sometimes Jack and I take turns, then we move on to talking about the calendar and what day of the week it is. We might also try and do our Classical Conversations memory work if everyone's not getting too restless by the end of calendar time.

Circle time moves into reading time. We usually read some picture books that the kids have picked out, and then we'll read some books that have to do with the history and science we're talking about at the time.

By this point everyone's tired and restless(including me, if I'm being honest) so we take a break and have a snack, and the kids play for awhile.


At some point I'll have Jack read to me from his chapter book we're working on, and then Anna will usually request me to read some American girl to her, which Lily is always more than happy to sit in on. The little boys are usually alternating between clinging to me and playing trains and dinosaurs by now. :)

Twice a week, I aim to do spelling with Jack and Anna, and do some copywork with Lily. While I do spelling with Anna, Jack does letter flashcards with Lily(having an older child is so helpful!) Luke and Max make huge messes do blanket time during this.



By the time we make it through all this, it's lunch time and everyone needs a break. After lunch, I try to clean up a bit, and then spend a little time playing with the little boys before I put them down for their nap. Before nap I try(although I'm not always great about it) to sing and read them one more book of their choosing.

Once Luke and Max are settled into their naps, I pull out the legos for the older three kids and I read to them from our chapter book. Once a week, they'll do written/drawing narrations from what we've read, and depending on the day we might do classical music study, a science experiment, or an art project.


I aim to be done around 2, and then the older three kids go have quiet time. They usually draw, play legos, or play with their dolls. When it's nice out they play outside, but since it's winter right now, they have to make do with more legos and drawing. :)

And...I usually squeal and giggle as I walk to the living room, and collapse on the couch for the remainder of nap time, thankful to have made it through another day of homeschool. :)


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lily Turns 5

Last week my spunky little Lily turned 5! Oh, my does this little girl keep us on our toes! :)

About a week before her birthday, I decided to throw a smallish princess birthday party for her during the week with a few of her friends. And then it worked out that both sets of grandparents were also going to be able to come in town on her party, and since her party wasn't even on her actual birthday, we had a lot of celebrating last weekend!

We started out the party by decorating cupcakes:


And, lest you think that there's a lot of kids in this picture...


We had the big boys decorate their cupcakes at a separate table. :)


Next we played the "Tangled" game, where the kids had to wrap each other up in Rapunzel's hair(also known as yellow crepe paper.) We tried to make it a race, but it got a little hectic, and then the kids decided it would be more fun to tangle up the moms.


Ha! Not a bad idea, I have to say. After the party my mom, mother in law, Anna and I took Lily to get her ears pierced..


But then she saw these Princess Elsa bears at Build a Bear, and changed her mind about getting her ears pierced. "I'll get my ears pierced next year!" She declared as soon as she saw the bears. Ha! I suppose if Disney doesn't come out with any new princess movies this year, that might be her birthday present next year. :)


On her actual birthday, we had a pretty relaxed day of church going and hanging out as a family. But we did eat nutella on everything for lunch, and had birthday strawberry cheesecake that night, so I think her birthday was a success.

Lily is so spunky, outgoing, and full of energy. Anna is her best friend, and she dotes on Luke. She has a big heart that loves babies, and she's always looking for ways to make us laugh.

Happy birthday, Lily, we pray every day that you will grow in your love for the Lord, and that you'll follow Jesus with your whole heart!


Saturday, January 31, 2015

My favorite books of 2014(plus a giveaway of some of my favorites!)

One of my favorite things to do when I was a child was cuddle up in my moms lap and read books with her. When I got a little older, and entered elementary school, my mom took a part time job at our local library, and I literally spent hours after school and during the summer surrounded by good books. Eventually, it got to a point where I would spend most of my free time reading, even to the point of keeping a flashlight in our car so that I could read on long car rides in the dark.

I have always loved to read, and while I might not have quite as much free time to spend reading as I used to, I still managed to read some good books this year.


First up is a book I read over the summer, called Atlas Girl. It's basically a memoir of the author, Emily Wierenga's life. The story takes you back to her childhood as a missionary/pastors child in Africa, through her battle with anorexia, to caring for her sick mother who has a brain tumor. It's a raw story, and I was completely hooked within the first couple of pages. In fact I finished it within two days.


Another favorite from this past year was Treasuring Christ when your hands are full by Gloria Furman. Every page of this book is full of gospel truth, and how it applies to us as mamas.Gloria's heart for the Lord shines through this book, and it encouraged my heart tremendously to keep seeking him and pointing my children to him. It was a needed reminded to not focus so much on the here and now, and to "stamp eternity on my eyeballs." If you are a mama in the trenches, do yourself a favor and get this book. 


This was more of a fun read for me. I grew up watching full house, and always loved Candace Cameron's character DJ. It was interesting to read about her childhood and getting a more "behind the scenes" look at what was going on while she was on the show. She also shares what life was like after Full House ended, and how she became a Christian. It's basically her life story so far, and it was a really fun and enjoyable read!


With 5 young kids and homeschooling, I think it's safe to say I have been in "survival mode" off and on for a few years, so I was excited to get to read this book by Crystal Paine earlier this year. Not only does she give you practical ways you can simplify your life, she also shares some of her own story of how she got out of her own survival mode.

Some other books I read this year were Trim Healthy Mama(loved it!), Educating the Wholehearted Child(also loved it:), and Large Family Logistics(this one was just ok.)

Would you like to win a copy of Atlas Girl, Treasuring Christ When Your hands are full, or Say Goodbye to Survival Mode?!

Just enter below and I'll pick a random winner by the end of the week. :)

Linked to the Modest Mom & So Much At Home.

(amazon links are affiliates.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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