Have a dressed up day!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A little contest.  Don't tell my kids.  Below are the pumpkins they painted to decorate the porch.  Delia was not able to paint with us this year, so, to be fair, I'm showing last years pumpkins, also.  Gotta give my oldest baby a chance to win.

Check them out, double check, triple check, and post a comment with your favorite. 

I'm going to buy the winner a new car, or a yacht, or stuff their pumpkin with several trillon dollars. So vote responsibly.









Here's a few candid shots of the artists at work.  Such geniuses - they make a mama proud.

Check out the tongue - such concentration.

Check out the tongue - like father, like son.

OK, vote.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Love Shack

This is what I love.  This is what I live for.  This is why I am alive.

An evening at home.  Right now this is where they want to be, here together, at home. 

Each one doing their own thing - together.

Delia's portfolio image.

Shelby's making her costume.

Izzy's working on yet another pumpkin.

You can't hear what is going on in the background.  Max's lullaby music, tennis shoes banging around in the dryer, the dishwasher.  Laughter.

And now, what sustains my very being.  He breathes out, I breathe in . . .

The man I love.  Daddy, who at 10:00 on a work night, having only been home less than an hour, right in the middle of it all.  Giving advice, offering help, encouraging.  Loving them. 

Right where he wants to be.  This is my life - right where I want to be.  Love shack.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Father Knows Best

Get a homeschooling mom started and she can talk  (ramble, converse, discuss, chat, argue) for days about what she enjoys about schooling her children.

I enjoy saying, "Yes."  "Yes," to going outside to do schoolwork.  "Sure," to baking cookies right now.  "Okey dokey," to staying in our 'jammies all day.  "Yeah," to more science today and less math.  "Alright," to quitting for the day - early.

Today Isabela dropped a bomb of a question.

"Mama, it says to underline.  Can I circle, instead?"

Such freedom, I'm not sure what to do with it.

There are many times I answer "No," also.   "No," to going outside to do schoolwork.  "Nope," to baking cookies right now.  "Are you crazy?" to staying in our 'jammies all day.  "Not today," to more science today and less math.  "Shut 'yo mouth," to quitting for the day - early.

Consistency is the key to truly great parenting.

When I say yes to my children it is because, at that moment, I feel confident that saying yes will bring no harm to them.  Quite the opposite, that an answer of yes will bring good or joy to them.

When I say no they can be assured that I have their best interest at heart and that my wisdom surpasses theirs; that saying no will bring good to them - eventually.

This is the way it is with our Father God.  The pain and confusion that we feel when He says no can be lightened by the faith and confidence we have in knowing He sees all, knows what is best, and would never harm His children.

Jeremiah 29:11 says,
“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord,
thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and NOT FOR EVIL,
to give you hope in your final outcome.”

Contentment and joy is not a gift.  It is a choice we make.  According to Ephesians 3:20, our Father is "able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think."  No matter what the answer, see the glass as half full, appreciate both the water and the air, and try to find the ray of light.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Aprons, Part 2

Back to the basics.  Back to aprons. 

I promised you a part 2, and here it is.

Today's apron has come a long way since the 12th century.  Like aprons, we do not have to stay the same.  Unchanged.  Unmoved.  Stifled.  We can grow and blossom and bloom into the beautiful creature God intended for us to be - but only if we prepare ourselves.  Like today's aprons we can be beautiful with a purpose.  Our Father's purpose.

I challenge you all, if you don't already have one, to find an apron you love and begin wearing it.  It will make you feel pretty and powerful.  More importantly, find within yourself your purpose - and wear it proudly.  Stains and all.

My sister, P., will not blog.  She says she knows her weaknesses all too well.  I think she's not giving her strengths enough credit.  I enjoy her writings often and wanted to share them with you - and, as usual, when I ask, she gives.  I'm six years older than she, but for years now I have been wondering exactly who is the big sister here.

Enjoy my guest blogger - my sister, P., and her musings on aprons.  Be careful, she'll get 'ya thinking.

Have you ever known anyone like this? No matter where they are—fine restaurant, cheap fast food, or at their own dinner table—they are going to drop something on their shirt. Maybe you are this person, I know I am. I have a friend that used to laugh at me about it, but has recently discovered that she is fast becoming a part of this special breed. The problem for her is that she hasn’t been like this for long. Thus, she hasn’t learned the fine art of checking EVERYTHING in case it needs to be sprayed BEFORE you wash it! She has ruined quite a few shirts lately because of this fatal error.

I not only have this problem when I eat, I also have the “spillage” problem when I cook. Since I bake often it is not uncommon for my sweet husband to come home and find me much dirtier than when he left for work. Then one day I got a brilliant idea: why don’t I wear an apron?

It is amazing the thoughts that go through my brain sometimes.

Now, in some areas, I am not a simple person. Most of my ideas are not-so-simple things. When I get ideas, I get ideas! I have a friend (the same one who is now a sister-stainer) that often laughs at my inability to just do something. She says that I wander … you know what I mean. I will get an idea and then make the statement, “I wonder (wander) if I could make it better if I did this or that?” I am never satisfied with just using the same ol’ wheel. I have to reinvent it. So, when I got the brilliant idea of an apron, I had to find the “perfect” one. Thus began my googling search for an apron pattern. And, I found it. I spent way too much on the pattern only to have it arrive and discover that the apron was cute, but not sufficient to cover my entire boob area. I hate those one-size-fits-most things.

This is where my sweet husband came in. He is really great at just about everything. Do you have one of those?

He drew some new strap pieces for me and redesigned the main part so that it would cover most of my rear. (I have that bad habit of wiping my hands on the sides of my rear instead of a towel … oh well)

Finally I got what I was looking for! Now I can enter my kitchen (actually, my sister says that I never leave it) and not get disgusting while I cook. My apron has just the right amount of material to offer ample coverage for my boobies and my rear. I even have a rather large pocket on the front. I only use it for my cell phone, but I like it the size it is. This apron does an excellent job of keeping me clean.

Did you know that the Bible speaks of aprons? Well, not exactly in the term “apron,” but the idea is similar. In Ephesians 6, Paul writes to the people of God about being “strong in the Lord” (v.10). He tells God’s people that they should “take up the full armor of God” (v.13). Verse 14 also instructs them to “put on the breastplate of righteousness.”

Did you see the apron? It is called the "breastplate of righteousness."

Can you tell that I am a girly-girl? Most everyone else sees “knightly” armor like King Arthur would have worn, but no, not me. I see an apron.

Even though Paul discusses several different pieces, I just want to look at the breastplate of righteousness (the apron). Romans 3:10 tells us that “there is none righteous, not even one.” Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:33 that we should “seek first His kingdom and HIS righteousness.” Second Corinthians 5:21 states that “He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin ON OUR BEHALF, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

You see, when I put on my breastplate of righteousness, I am putting on Christ’s righteousness. And His righteousness is more than sufficient for any “mess” I might face during my day. The Bible tells us that “His strength is perfect” (Phil 4:13) and that “…God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able ” I do not have to worry about my breastplate of righteousness being too small in some areas. God knows exactly what size I need (unlike my one-size-fits-most apron pattern).

When I put my apron on I am ready to do battle … kitchen battle. I can handle just about any mess that will come my way. It becomes my covering as well as my towel. I can face my counter top and my stove with confidence!

The armor of God does the same for a Christian. We become outfitted to do battle—spiritual battle.

So, how’s your spiritual apron? Are you wearing it today? If not, spend some time seeking first His kingdom and then go put that other apron on and make something chocolate to celebrate!

“I will rejoice greatly in the Lord, my soul will exult in my God; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation. He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10 nasb

Thursday, October 22, 2009

This Homeschooling Mama's Best Friend

I love notebooking - and better than that, Izzy loves it.  I know some people's arguments, that notebooking is busy work and a waste of time;  but, to me,  it is tangible proof that my child is learning.  Maps, definitions, drawings, and oh - reports - reports are yummy to me. 

This year, with our co-op, we are studying the Holling C. Holling books through the Beautiful Feet Geography and Literature curriculum.  We have just completed the first book, Paddle to the Sea.  Someone please tell me how I accomplished eleven years of homeschooling and never knew about these books?  I love them.   Thank you, Mr. Holling Clancy Holling.  Where did you get that name?

As a supplement to the teacher's book I used Homeschool Helper's unit study.  http://www.homeschoolhelperonline.com/units/paddle_to_the_sea.htm 

One of the assignments through Homeschool Helper was to study the tracks of the animals Paddle encountered on his journey. Since Izzy is an animal lover she looked forward to each new chapter introducing a new animal.

Somehow growing up I failed to learn that Lake Huron resembled a trapper.  Who knew?  Not me. 

If you overlook the misspelled words, that's a pretty cool page.  Notice the !!!'s - we are still working on professionalism.  Maybe it won't take as long as breaking the "doodling of hearts" habit.

One day she and her friend Emily made beaver dams in our backyard.

Reports.  Like I said, yummy.

We briefly touched on the basics of the states that Paddle passed on his journey.

Study of Lake Superior -  which resembles a wolf.

We saved some studies for her daddy to enjoy with her, copper was one of them.  When he's not talking over our her head, He's Too Good To Me is a, well, let's just say -  he remains a teacher-in-training.  Yeah, lets leave it at that.

Maps are almost as delious' as reports . . .

. . .  they run a mighty close second.

Izzy's Paddle. 

We discovered this short film, made by Bill Mason in 1966.  It doesn't follow Paddle's path exactly as told in the book, but we enjoyed it anyway. 

Notebooking - I love it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Max wants a . . .

Can you guess?

Popsicle.   Red, orange . . . any color will do.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Out of Whack

Someone please remind my hormones how blessed I am.

Someone please remind my hormones what a beautiful day it is.

Someone please remind my hormones that my children are treasures, not trouble.

Someone please remind my hormones that chocolate for 3 meals a day + snack does not constitute nutrition.

Someone please remind my hormones we volunteered for this.

And finally, someone please remind my bad hormones that good ones are coming to the rescue - eventually.   So they can take a hike.

Monday, October 19, 2009

You've Come A Long Way, Baby

Months ago my dad-in-law forwarded an email to me about grandma's apron.  It was a poem about how grandma's apron was used.  I remember it mentioning her gathering eggs in it, shooing flies away, using it as a potholder, and wiping away tears with it.  It was a lovely little poem and I should have kept it.  It reminded me of my Ma.

Today's aprons are hip and happening. They are not just for protecting clothes any longer - they are the clothes.  It's all the rage to wear an apron in place of carrying a purse.  A bib apron with pockets instead of a purse, interesting.  Better than a fanny pack.  Anything's better than a fanny pack.  Smock type aprons with criss-cross backs over T-shirts, interesting.  You can't keep a good thing down.  I like the idea.  I have a meeting Tuesday night and I might give this fad a try.    

My daughter, Shelby, never cooks without an apron on.  Unlike me, who never wears one.  But, since they are now hip and happening, maybe I should change that.  Because, you know, I'm all about hip and happening.  Just ask my girls.  Well, maybe not, they think I live in another century.

Below are some photos of some of my favorite aprons.

This one deserves to be first, it was my Ma's.  One of my safely tucked away treasures. My mama guesses it to be at least 51 years old.  The top strap was ripped selvage from a piece of fabric - she was frugal.  Check out the safety pin, there was always a safety pin.  When Ma died I put this in a little plastic zippy and for years I could smell her when I opened it.  Sad, I know.  Let's move on.

This one was a gift to Shelby from her Aunt R.  Lovely and hip, just like its owner - and her aunt.

This was the first item Isabela ever sewed.  She made it at Children's Camp when she was 8.  Check out the stitching.

My dear mother goes through things in spurts.  She may make quilts for months - and then, never again.  Florals for months, making wreaths, candles, spray painting the furniture.  Then she never does that particular hobby again.  Lately, she's been making aprons.  Below are some of hers.  I'm not good at secrets - Merry Christmas early, my sweet sisters.  Don't worry, my mama can't keep Christmas secrets, either, so I'm really not spilling any beans.  Under each one I will share a little interesting apron tid-bit.

You can track aprons back to the 12th century.  The word originates from the French word naperon, which means napkin or small tablecloth.

Men wore them first for hygienic protective wear (that's a mouthful, why don't we just say to keep clean).

In the 16th and 17th century the color you wore determined your trade.  Barbers wore checked, butchers and porters wore green, and masons wore white. 

This is the one I might wear, if I can bear to leave my purse behind.  With jeans and a cute little shirt.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Below are a few aprons my sister, P., has made, along with a few more tid-bits.  P. always wears an apron and has passed that love down to her daughter.

Your beau is thinking of you if your apron becomes untied. Isn't that sweet? Tie those aprons loosely, ladies.

The "tied to his mama's apron strings" phrase rings true. Children really were tied to their mama's aprons so they could play closely and safely.

The 1940's saw the beginning of the frilly, little half apron.

My beautiful neice, S., in an apron she made herself.

While cruising the aisles of Hobby Lobby recently I discovered a great little book.

A is for Apron, by Nathalie Mornu.  This book has templates and patterns in the back -but they must be enlarged.  If you love aprons or sew aprons, you need this book.  Fun and interesting with aprons way too good-lookin' to hide away in the kitchen.

Aprons, they cover us and protect us.  They make life easier.  Check back later for part two on aprons, from a secret guest blogger.

To my sister P., Happy late Birthday.  This book is yours, it's making its way to you in a little bubble envelope as you read this.  I love you, adore you, and miss you - make me the one on page 81, 'k?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pack up last season in your old green box and . . .

Today is the day.  Should have been yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that . . .   But, today is the day.

Sounds exciting, doesn't it?  Wish it was. Today I begin going through all the boxes of fall and winter clothes.  Each year about this time I sit making goofy faces and silly smiles.  I'm daydreaming.  My mind clearly sees a better future.  A future where closets are large enough to hold a year's worth of clothing.  All seasons hanging side by side in perfect harmony. 

This is a dream, because, apparently, my children's clothes do not like one another.  The summer clothes do not like the winter ones, they are such "pills."  The winter ones do not like the summer ones - such "show-offs."  This is all I can figure 'cause no matter how hard I try they cannot be as one.  One set, after being unmercifully sqashed by the other, always packs itself up and takes up precious storage space in - guess where?  Our room.  I have a dream . . .

If my storage boxes could look like these lovely trunks,

or maybe wicker . . .

or leather, yummy . . .

Look at the color and clean lines of these babies . . .

Or my favorite, these antique steamer trunks . . .

I'm eclectic to the bone.

But sadly, my storage boxes look like these.

Except in an ugly green color.

So, until we get closets that look like these . . .

(Which ain't never gonna happen, honey.  Would some people please go feed the hungry or shelter the homeless - in your closet, no doubt?)

. . . I will just have to be content with that little corner of my bedroom that safely harbors last season's saves.

So now I'll just slap myself out of the "land of pretty boxes," roll up my sleeves, and be grateful for those green things that treasure up those clothes I'm so grateful for. 

What's the use of worrying?
It never was worth while, so
Pack up last season in your old green box,
And smile, smile, smile.
Drawing of me losing my cool courtesy of budding artist, Izzy.

Have a dressed up day!

. . . put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Colossians 3:12