Kindergarten A to Z: Weeks G and H

This has been in draft mode since I posted the last kindergarten update in January.
Bad blogging habit #126: Forget to change status on simple post. πŸ™

G is for granola bars.

G is for good, even if it’s not picture perfect!

H is for honey cookies.

We are currently working on “o” and “p.” I don’t want to leave o, as the character trait is obey. πŸ˜‰ We made a marshmallow dessert for m, but forgot poor n, so we’ll combine a few and catch up. Maybe I’ll even ask Mr. Super-Photographer to take some “real” pictures for us, instead of my poor, shadowy, excuses!

Kindergarten A to Z: Weeks E and F

We are starting week “m” today, after breaking for Thanksgiving, Christmas and snow fun.

I have a backlog of our letter treats from last fall. Paul looked over this draft yesterday and was happy to see what he had learned and was eager to learn more.
That doesn’t sound right. I’ll try again:
Paul looked over this draft yesterday and was happy to see what he had eaten and was eager to make more. That’s my boy!

E is for homemade eggnog and F is for fruit salad and of course, our staple letter cookies!

Proverbs 1:7
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Five Minute Friday: Reflect

Five Minute Friday

I haven’t written anything in weeks, but by chance, or providence, I checked Lisa-Jo’s blog before I went to bed, after chatting with my husband who has been in her part of the country, McLean/Vienna area, for work this week. Flying out of Dulles to Missouri tomorrow. I can’t wait.
And it’s made me:



I have been a quasi-single parent for 66 hours and have about 18 hours to go, not that anyone’s counting or anything.;)

The first day or so went well; speech and debate, nearly 60 degree weather. Super! I can decide everything: evening activity, bedtime, my evening plans.

Then came another beautiful day and with it, the threat of bad weather coming, so we rush to get everyone out of the house to stock up on groceries before church yesterday. Not so cool.

Mom gets a slight bit grumpy and by the time we got the probably 100+ pounds of food in the house and younger ones ready for bed and their room was a wreck. She may have said that they couldn’t put their new Norfolk pine in their window seat because they were goofing AND, it was too late to talk to Dad on the phone and have prayer time.

Then she was completely convicted by a five-year-old who was heartbroken and asked if he could pray and read Bible. I asked his favorite verse. “The Lord is my Shepherd one,” he whispers in the late night dark.

So, I texted my sweet, forgiving husband and ask if he’ll call. The youngest three were so blessed, as was I. The older ones were too, I’m sure, they just didn’t make their relief so obvious.

Evening saved. Mom forgiven. All was well.

I told my husband this evening, after the sleet and snow started coming and the temperature dropped to the low 20s, that being in charge was not all it was cracked up to be. He graciously (and wisely) and warmly, in the 60 degrees in Virginia, replied that he was glad I understood that.
(So, we’ve had a few discussions lately about decision-making, planning, etc.)

I’m grateful for the chance to reflect on our family, leadership and blessings. I am more than exhausted from being on diabetes duty at night, which is another huge, huge, huge gift my husband gives to me.

I am praying for all of the moms who are alone all or much of the time for different circumstances. Blessings to you.

Psalm 23 (KJV)

1The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Five Minute Friday: Grace

Five Minute Friday


In the spirit of the post I wrote last month when the FMF topic was mercy, I will begin with a few definitions.


2. (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
“the graces of the Holy Spirit”


1 a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b : a virtue coming from God
c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace

When you get what you don’t deserve.

Elizabeth M.:

1. Receiving goodness from God on a daily basis in the form of two wonderful parents, a super husband and six incredible blessings by birth.

2. The patient, loving kindness and forgiveness of Jesus on the days when I’m not feeling grateful for the above grace-gifts.

1 Corinthians 1:3 (NIV 1984)
“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and The Lord Jesus Christ.”

Squinting family photo from the deck of a ferry during our Virginia trip in July. πŸ™‚

**I forgot to set a timer–I don’t think it was too much over the limit though.

Kindergarten A to Z: Weeks A and B

This year is a first. The first school year without a preschooler. Paul is official now: a kindergartener. We did Sonlight kindergarten for Adam many years ago and unfortunately or fortunately, depending on whether the glass is looking half empty or half full in the mommy guilt department, Luke, Rachel, John and Isaac pretty much unschooled their way through kindergarten. That included lots of reading aloud by me, some messy spur-of-the-moment crafts, playing, playing and more playing. Those were the good times. The down-side was too much chaos brought on by not enough structure.

I wanted to have a fun, good year with Paul and finish my kindergarten teaching years well. I was very pleased to find an alphabet-themed year on Elizabeth Foss’ blog. I won’t be using the bulk of her ideas, as her plans include studying the Catholic saints and fairy stories. I have theological differences with the saints study, as I am not Catholic, and not using the fairy stories is purely personal preference, as I just don’t enjoy them.
However, she completely had me with the apple pie with letter “a” cut-outs for the crusts.

I used a 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby and bought the Wilton alphabet and number bucket last month. It was hard to keep it in the closet!
I gave Paul the “A” last week and the “B” and “P” for Paul this week. He enjoyed them so much that I gave him the whole bucket and he has been carrying it around the house.
He wasn’t particularly interested in making a pie, so we tweaked the star cookie recipe (the first time using it) from Elana’s Pantry and used the “A”s and had applesauce on the side. πŸ™‚
This week I chose brownies, and we again used (and tweaked) one of Elana’s recipes.

“A” cookies and applesauce at the dinner table.

“B” is for brownie on the banister. (Stair view).

Facing into the kitchen. (Enjoy the clutter). πŸ˜‰

I’ll write more about what we’re doing for kindergarten next week, plus the other five grades in the next few weeks.

1 Corinthians 10:31(ESV)
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Furniture Feature Friday: A Tool Box Makeover With My Boys

Furniture Feature Fridays

Last month, we volunteered with my mother at her town’s food pantry. It also has a thrift store, so we stopped in when we were finished. It was my first visit and for the most part, I didn’t see anything I needed. Then…I saw it. A dusty, dirty old tool box. I didn’t know what I would do with it, but thought I really needed it.

It sat under my desk for about three weeks. While we were on our latest adventure to Virginia, I read several issues of Country Living magazine. I saw a picture of a tool box that was filled with children’s books and instantly knew that was what I would do with my box. Voila!

Tuesday afternoon, my youngest was looking at it and I told him I was planning to paint it. Ever the type-A, seize-the-moment kind of guy, he replied “Now?” So, we got started!

I forgot to take a before picture, but after vacuuming and scrubbing, we were ready to paint:

My two youngest boys and a neighbor’s grandson helping.

My oldest (celebrating his birthday) and youngest sons polishing the handle after sanding.

Paul, the youngest, finishing the job.

The inspiration for the project.

Paul again, posing with our field guides, science and nature books.

Completely Full.

I used the same Olympic, low VOC, latex paint in apple red that I have alternated on my stairs.

Proverbs 30:5 (ESV)
“Every word of God proves true;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”

Birthdays, Boys and Blessings: Hello New Week

I’m writing, for the first time, a “Hello new week” post and linking in the comments at Lisa Leonard’s blog.

The new five-year-old telling me a story at the park in Virginia earlier this month.

The will-be-17 tomorrow-year-old posing for me at the pool at the Homewood Suites in Virginia.

Lifeguarding for my boys, minus the two oldest, plus two neighbor’s grandsons.

Painting an antique thrift-store tool box this afternoon with my two youngest and a neighbor’s grandson.

Hello today’s birthday date with my five-year-old youngest.

Hello celebrating my oldest turning 17 (!!!!!) tomorrow. How in the world?

Hello meeting new neighbors yesterday (they came to introduce themselves–we are a lame greeting committee) πŸ™

Hello continuing the major de-cluttering. We are very grateful for a gracious trash service and will be giving them a gift Wednesday morning as a thank you!

Hello lifeguarding.

Hello cooler temps, which make being outside wonderful, but the un-heated pool not-so-much. (Yea! Short lifeguarding break!) πŸ™‚

Hello getting the children registered for our second year of speech and debate.

Hello going to the big city county fair on Friday for the first time in years to see the children’s first year blue ribbon 4H exhibits that moved on from our club’s small county fair. (That was a confusing mouthful!)

Hello volunteering with Rachel to sort new school supplies for the Salvation Army with new friends on Saturday.

Hello planning on enjoying the last month of summer before we start school after Labor Day.

And, Hello doing this again next week!

Psalm 135:5 (NKJV)
For I know that the Lord is great,
And our Lord is above all gods.

When A Cuddle Is Just What You Need: Out Of The Blue On Thursdays

I was feeling out of sorts yesterday morning, anxious about an afternoon doctor’s appointment, when Paul asked if we could cuddle. He doesn’t do that as often anymore, he’s almost five and can usually be found tagging along after an older brother or two or chatting with his sister. So, when he asked, I knew that was the ticket.
I needed to quit mindlessly wandering the house going from task to phone to task to iPad, to interrupting the engineer’s work, to worrying.
We cuddled. We read a stack of library books. He enjoys the children’s non-fiction animal books, so our stack included an armadillo, cotton-tail rabbit and buffalo. All short and sweet, like Paul, and full of great photos.
Cuddle time lasted maybe 15 minutes before he was on to an activity with his brother, called out to the bonus room to see some fun invention, but it was just what I needed. A great gift to get my day back on track.

Telling me a story last week at the park in Glen Allen, (plain old) Virginia (as opposed to West VA) πŸ˜‰

Matthew 18:1-6 (ESV)

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, β€œWho is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, β€œTruly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5 β€œWhoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

“No! No! No!” “Don’t Put Me On Your Blog!!!”

The Six Sibs and their Mama are enjoying Glen Allen, VA this week while The Blog Engineer works down the street from our Homewood Suites Hotel.
This morning we visited Crump Park, a Henrico County park.
Luke jumped into the bouncy animal and the blog title was his response to me grabbing my camera (aka phone). He was obviously in good humor about it and is honored (or should be) to be the subject of this post, after all, it was his idea!

He sees his mother with a camera. πŸ™‚

Panicking as the photo shoot commences.

Realizing escape is futile.

Working toward freedom.


The youngest brother Paul, who is NOT almost six-feet tall, waiting impatiently for a turn.

Psalm 126:3 (ESV)
The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.