Living Math for Elementary Students

In the process of ordering upcoming curriculum for the year, Ive been thinking a lot about Luc and how we want to do kindergarten with him this fall.  I knew we were going to be using the free online Progressive Phonics and our Bob books and Leap Frog videos. I just wasn’t sure about math. That is, until I found this book over at Queen’s Homeschooling Supplies.

We’ve done living math in the sense of reading a living math book from the library or our own collection. And the kids love this but it is, obviously, not enough for a full school year’s curriculum. Now, if you took the time to map out enough living math books and set up hands-on activities to go with them I am sure you can have a very fulfilling living math experience. But, since this isn’t my season for adding extra, this is the first, truly, Charlotte Mason style math book with a full scope and sequence for elementary students. It is really for students age 4-7 (hoping they’ll add more to the series) but will be a blessing for us this upcoming fall. I will be able to use it with Luc (5) and Lilah (3 1/2) at the same time. It is so endearing. Click the preview pdf to take a look!

We are doing the Life of Fred: Fractions with Gabe this fall instead of Math U See to see how he does with this style of living math. I think, because he is math oriented, that he will love it. How can you not love Fred? I am hoping that this dipping our toes into the world of living math will be a good thing for us. Here’s hoping!

The Learning Room ~ Musical Schooling

Weeks Febraury  14 – 25

We’ve been musical schooling this week. A term I made up to go along with our car schooling! It’s been a light two weeks on my end, with planning anyway. We had the heart holiday off and two playdates and beautiful spring weather and my new camera to play with. So I’ve taken the “sometimes lame is better then best” approach the past two weeks by jotting down on recycled scrap paper 3-4 things I knew the kids could get done independently during school time that they needed to work on, mainly math and language arts. I didn’t worry about the plan being perfect or complete or even that it got written down in a notebook or at a certain time. I just made sure they had 2 hours of school work they could work on and I took 2 minutes or less before bed to jot it down on old paper for the next day. What did I do during the two weeks?

Week number one: clean mold. Yep, unfortunate but true. Who knew that doing 3+ loads of laundry a day and 3+ loads of dishwasher a day creates extra humidity which, if mixed with the cold temps outside, makes the perfect breeding ground for mold?

Week number two: dealing with colds and washing mud. Everyone here got change-of-the-weather colds from dramatic 65 degree weather down to 3 inches of snow again. And due to the front of the week spring weather, I had a mountain of clothes that were so caked with mud they needed to be rinsed in the tub before even hitting a prerinse. Then another prerinse, a soak overnight, a morning wash, treating stains and one more wash, a final rinse. Most everything came out clean so that’s good.

Back to the musical schooling

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we discovered an amazing new site called Rhythm Rhyme Results. It is a group of people who are trying to reach out to kids in a new and innovative way. We stumbled on them by mistake through you tube and my kids fell in love with the hip hop educational songs. Gabe was so enamoured of the 44 Presidents Rap that he decided that he will add being a president to what he wants to do when he grows up. I was amazed at the quality of the songs. The educational information packed into each one was incredible and it is not kid-watered-down songs but songs that resonate with truth and justice and higher thinking. It is not catchy little jingles to Barney-like music but true artistic, poetic hip-hop. And since there is no Lady Gaga music playing in our car (we are K-Love fans), it is a rare treat for my kids to partake in this style of music that naturally appeals to their sense of rhythm and love of dancing.

So, naturally, I had to download their music. I went to Amazon and downloaded all the songs I could. We called it homeschooling educational budget spending. And I, being that 80’s girl who loved making tapes of just the perfect mix of songs, mixed us up some CD’s. We mixed them in with some other fun educational CD’s we have from Have Fun Teaching CD’s and They Might Be Giants Science CD and a few free Animaniacs mp3’s and came up with a Grammar Songs mix, a Geography mix, a Science mix, and a History mix. I was so excited that I put it into practice immediately. We had to drive to Pop’s house for his birthday dinner and we listened to the Grammar songs on the way up and the History songs on the way back. Perfect car schooling. They were so good, in fact, that I will be listening to them on the way up to my mom’s Homeschooling Retreat tomorrow even though no kids will be in the car with me. Does that make me a nerd? I’m so making a copy for my sister to use with her preschooler class!

The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Anyway… I’ve started to make a tape… in my head… for Laura. Full of stuff she likes. Full of stuff that make her happy. For the first time I can sort of see how that is done.  ~ Rob Gordon in the movie High Fidelity

Linking with Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers @

An Educational Treasure Chest (aka Charlotte Mason freebies)

Sometimes you stumble across a site that just makes your mouth water as a homeschooling momma! Today was such a day!

I opened my email box and found my new Homeschool Freebie of the Day email and saw a link to this wonderful, hard-working mom’s site, We Don’t Need No Education (don’cha just love that title?) for Grammar Land Worksheets! As this is the next to do in our language arts lineup I was super excited! Then I started poking around her other things and there is a treasure trove of free resources for Charlotte Masonites (is that a word?)!!!

I also see she has a new site, Mind-Fires Academy that I will be visiting soon too.

Happy hunting!!!

P.S. Here is the link for Grammar Land for anyone wanting to download this veritable language treasure!

Field Guides as Living Books

A field guide ~ that handy little book (or big book, as the case may be) that tells you factually exactly what you need to know about what you wanted to know about.

Not exactly what we think of when we think living books. Living books for me usually encompass thoughts about a really great story that captures my heart and emotions…ties me to a piece of knowledge, whether that be history or science or art or music or even math. Isn’t that the Charlotte Mason way?

It is, but oh can it be so much more!

Around this house it is the field guides that are the beloved books that steal my children’s hearts. It is the field guides that are in tatters with missing covers and a few torn pages, well-worn from the turning and turning that happens to them. It is the field guides that my children will turn to over and over that lead to the most interesting discussions and interest-led learning opportunities. It is the pictures that capture their imagination at the pre-reading level and then grow with them as they enter into the reading fold. It is the realist that touches them as their natural curiosity is insatiable.

And it was the same for me when I was a child. Yes, I remember falling in love with Laura Ingalls and Nancy Drew and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But, really, it was the Golden Guide’s pocket book on butterflies that captured me and stirred up my heart for later adult hobbies. So why shouldn’t it be the same for my children?

After all, Charlotte did say ~

…knowledge, that is, roughly, ideas clothed upon with facts, is the proper pabulum for mind. This food a child requires in large quantities and in great variety. The wide syllabus I have in view is intended in every point to meet some particular demand of the mind.   ~A Philosophy of Education p. 256.

And our favorite field guides around here:

Encyclopedia of Animals,9780681460249

Borders bargain at $9.99!

Hammond’s Animal Atlas

The same from my childhood with a new spiffy cover!

As well as all the other Golden Guide Pocket Books…especially the Pond Life

(Although, I personally like the older shabby chic cover better.)

Of course, we all remember this review! Great book, great bargain!

Extensive and up to date! Another Borders bargain!

(find here used at Amazon)

Universe…what can I say except this is a must see book! (another Borders bargain)

It takes you across our galaxy from stars to planets and moons to meteors all in the order of how many light years away from earth it is. And the pictures are phenomenal. One of my personal faves!

Visual Dictionary…bargain for us at Barnes and Nobles and now you can get it bargain priced as used!

Smithsonian’s Rock and Gem

Animal Tracks and Signs: Track Over 400 Animals From Big Cats to Backyard Birds

Animal Tracks & Signs…a gift from Grandma!

(The poop quiz is their favorite, of course!)

Stokes Beginner’s Guide to Birds

I think we use this one on almost a daily basis in the spring time! And the diminutive size means it is constantly getting lost as little hands snatch it and carry it around in pockets and purses.

The Bird Songs Anthology…which they’ve looked at so much that we’ve had to glue the sound part on several times and now we just set it in with the stuffed birds basket. Most listened to bird? The ptarmigan. This erupts in giggles for hours! (And the giggling is contagious…just to warn you! Don’t believe me? Go hear for yourself!)

Field Guide to Wildflowers

(native to our forests in Nebraska…will update later with a picture since I can’t find one online)

Trees of North America

One of the best identifying books ever whether you have a pinecone, a leaf, a piece of bark or a tree seed. Real time pictures of each part of the tree…just flip pages until you see what you’re holding in your hand from that nature walk!

And, of course, we can’t forget the Crinkleroot Guides! I don’t think there is a book alive by him that we don’t love!

Product Details Product Details Product Details Product Details


Naming Love

I’m on chapter three of Ann’s new book and the thing that strikes me is the act of doing in naming. It is not that the doing is outrageous, extraordinary, magnificent. It is precisely that the doing is mundane. This naming of mundane is naming love…God’s love to us, our love to each other. Unconditional, sacrificial love…this thanksgiving that we do names that love and only then can we recieve. This is what resonated most with me in this chapter. In order to recieve the joy, the gift, we must first name it and take it out of mystery. Move it from insignificance to most significant.

Today I will name love.

Gifts #341 ~ 364

~ a word of encouragement when I am floundering

~ being little one’s security even when not convenient to the moment

~colored noodles pastel hidden in playroom

~ enjoying snow even without the camera

~ sunlight streaming across handwashed dishes

~ vinegar that softens and clarifies the toughest minerals

~ praying while working

~ This Is The Stuff and learning patience

~ remembering gentle tones one minute at a time

~ a husbands story and tithe blessings

~ fixing my favorite rocking chair

~ eating out and bearing fruit

~ life group communities

~ light play and sunbeams across dirt-stained floors

~  frolicking deer and honking geese

~ warming bare naked feet on deck wood in rare 60 degrees weather

~ making snow dragons

~ writing love lists

~ slipping warm socks on in the cool of the evening

~ seeing the firsts…hands reaching, muscle memory forming

~ upsizing clothing on soft, healthy baby fat skin

~ money blessings for a camera

~ the smell of spring through my windows

~ first juicy drips of outside grilled burger


Journaling…the easy way!

Just had to share this video with all today! I linked to it from Dawn’s site and just fell in love..again! Dawn really does journal this way and I tried it for a year. It was wonderful. The only reason I stopped was having more babies and running low on scrapbooking stuff. But now I am seriously considering taking it back up again!

This is especially a must to watch for those of you who think you must scrapbook in a particular way or that scrapbooking is too hard/time consuming/expensive or that journaling is diary writing glorified as an adult.

And now…I must hunt for that smash pen/glue stick!!!

Another great journal link: Ann’s journaling

The Learning Room ~ More Project Work

We have continued on with project work this week. I feel our biggest accomplishment was sticking to the generic schedule ~ doing school work from 10-12 each day no matter if chores were done or not and using later free time to pick up the slack on chores kids were too lazy to get done in a timely manner. For me, who has a huge tendency to get distracted by side projects, this was a major win for the week. And the biggest benefit of having them work on projects for school, aside from the obvious freeing up of my time, is seeing from an unbiased view what they actually need work on.

And, can I just rave for a minute more about Junie B. Jones? That little girl has stolen our hearts and our lunchtimes! We have read through two of her books this week and will be going to the library a week early tomorrow just to get some more. This is the most endearing book series and just begs to be read aloud. I wish they had been around for me as I was an emerging reader!

Junie B. Jones's First Boxed Set Ever! (Books 1-4)

Lily, age 7,  has officially finished her first chapter book all the way through. I think she felt very proud of herself! She did much better at her narration chapter summaries this week due to last week’s coaching. The Junie B. Jones project dominated much of her time and thought. And she slowed way down on the Fancy Nancy project I think due to the fact that it involves a lot of writing and that was tiring her out so she kept procrastinating. I finally had to goad her on a bit so that I could get her to the fun part of the project (cutting out and decorating the hearts – you know, the fancy stuff).

Her area of most-needed-improvement was her penmanship. We only picked out one sentence from each of her narrations to use as copy work to go along with her picture narration. I felt this was just the right length to model good grammatical sentence structure and work on penmanship as well. Well, let’s just say her penmanship is wayyyy under par. I thought maybe this was just a hurrying-through-my-work sort of thing when I see it in her everyday play writing, but now I am having second thoughts. I also thought as she got older some of it would work itself out naturally, especially with her being a girl and having the desire for the pretty cursive handwriting. Again, I was wrong. I didn’t want to bombard her with over-criticism so we worked on putting her finger between words to properly space them and I think I will come back next week with some excersizes to address the neatness issue. Maybe it’s time to invest in an actual cursive program for her. Anyone out there using a good one that isn’t too hard for a first grader to use?

With Gabe, age 9, we needed to cover narration versus plagerism this week. I picked narration as part of his project work hoping that because it was based in books he already loved to read the narration would come more naturally. I couldn’t have been farther from the truth. He basically wanted to stay immersed in his math books, not because he was working on something challenging but because he wanted to avoid narrations. I called him on it and he admitted it and said this invention stuff was just beginning to feel too much like history. All of the sudden the books weren’t interesting anymore. So we, again, went over how to do a narration. Then I had him just bite the bullet and sit down to do the task at hand whether he felt like it or not. He did a great job but I had a nagging suspicion as he kept glancing back towards the book that he was actually copying the information. I had just read an article on plagerism in the new edition of Old Schoolhouse Magazine and had thought how we had really not ever discussed it before. So, on my suspicion, I checked his work and found I was right. After praising how well he did at staying on task and finding all the information asked of him, I asked him if he knew what plagerism was and we practiced, much to his disappointment, how to redo his narration without copying. We discussed how this was why mommy required narrations so that his brain could constantly be exercised in coming up with his own sentences because that is a very hard task to master, even for adults.

So even though the work we did was not high in volume, I felt we definitely made up for it in quality by learning some very important skills this week.

Unschooling Fun ~ lots and lots of fun Valentine’s card making going on here! Again, see sidebar for the great free vintage clip art sites! Even the hubby got involved and made some really cool paper heart airplanes. He is so talented!

Onto mommy’s unschooling fun ~

Making PDF’s: mommy is learning how to convert word documents into pdf files (oh how I love them!) and how to upload them to the blog world so that I, too, may share and give back to this wonderful online community! Here is my first conversion I tried. It is the worksheet I made up to go with Lily’s Mission Addition project.  So please click on it and leave me a comment on if it does or does not work!

Mission Addition Worksheet

Also, I’ve been researching point and shoot cameras versus DSLR’s. I really (stressing the really) want a DSLR camera! I long to take my photography to the next level and get that great bokeh (fancy word for depth of field, wide aperature, cool-looking blurs – see how I’m learning?). So far I’ve come up with that, though DSLR’s have really come down in price, they still might not be quite in my budget yet. Maybe I am asking the impossible but, a challenge to you dear readers, who out there has a point and shoot camera that they love that takes pictures similar to a DSLR? I am all ears, my friends!

Linking up with Weird, Unsocialized Unschoolers @

Knowing One Another

I wake up panicked, the images burned into my retina. I can’t take it back…this dream thing. Why? Why would I dream this? Why now? I have this urgency to see him. To wrap myself around him, clinging. I have this need…this deep-seeded need to be in union with him. To know him. To have him know me.

Sometimes we let dailiness slip in and steal this knowing. At least I do. Not the doing. That physical act is easy enough if you can slip it in between children’s occupied playing or before the night’s soft flannel sheets call you to just lay down in rest. But that knowing…oh, that tricky soul-binding, never-take-it-back-again knowing. That is different. That is more then the physical. It is the invisible soul string that holds two lives together. It is good. A gift from above.

Today I will not let the mundane of the day steal it away from me. I will give of myself…completely, fully, utterly give. And He will say, “It is good.”

The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.  ~Genesis 2:24-25

Simply Doing It

Small step buttonD1

Small steps towards simplicity…this is the challenge of the week from Elizabeth Foss. Small is the key word for me this week. Last week I mentioned how easy it is for me, the lover of plans, to get caught up in the planning and never in the doing. So this week I just spent the week doing.

This, for me, was no small feat. It required lots of praying and lots of nudging from the Holy Spirit. In the past I’ve always felt simplicity calling me to get rid of, strip bare as Elizabeth says. And that kind of simplicity definitely has its place especially if you are feeling suffocated by the clutter of your life, material and emotional. But this week was a new kind of simplistic discipline, if you will. Whenever I thought about doing something, if it was at all feasible in the moment, I just did it…right then. No planning. No procrastinating. No excusing.

This is how my week went…

  • I simply changed one small chore around. Instead of redoing the chore wall chart, instead of fretting about planning on how to go about the change, I just made it. Right then that very day.
  • I simply laid the baby down when he fell asleep from nursing. Then I went right to task doing one thing, anything that came to mind (usually dinner prep or a household chore), that I couldn’t do while nursing him.
  • If there was a task that came to my mind that only took one minute (like as in a literal timed minute, i.e. bagging up the trash or sweeping up a bit of crumbs or wiping down a counter) I just stopped right then and simply did it.
  • I simply expected the interruptions and disappointments to come my way. And when they inevitably did I remembered that I had the Holy Spirit living inside of me and, therefore, could choose to accept and walk through instead of react.
  • I simply read to the little ones without planning a reading list or making it match any sort of unit study. I just read when I thought about it or at lunch or in the morning or in the evening. Even if it was just one book. I simply read.
  • I simply did one computer task (answer an email or send an encouraging note, quickly organize a few homeschooling files, update the checkbook, etc.) before playing on the computer (see blogging!).
  • I simply kept my promises. If I promised to make hot tea when we got home and then was reminded later by little ones after I had already forgotten, I simply stopped what I was doing and went to keep that promise weather I felt like it or not.

…and my house was cleaner then it ever has been. Dinner arrived on the table every night on time without the melodrama of 5 p.m. meltdowns. Kids got one on one time. Buried school issues got dealt with. I did not linger too long on the computer. I felt peace, calm. And, at the end of the day, isn’t that really what it’s about?

Linking up with Elizabeth Foss at In the Heart of My Home with Small Steps Together

Vintage Valentine’s Free Clip Art!

What have we been doing today? Wish I had pictures to show you. Valentine’s will be here soon and it’s time to get ready. We are preparing our traditional banner and getting ready to make some cards. This year I am branching out into the world of free vintage digital clip art (as if I need one more excuse to be on the computer, right?) and I’ve added some lovely buttons over on my sidebar if anyone is interested.

Guided Project Work

January 31 – February 4

At the beginning of the week I mentioned that during my potty training time with Ivy I would have the two older kids working on guided project work. I was very excited about this concept and the kids were too. We’ve done project work in the past with trying to allow the kids to pick and work on something that they were interested in but have had little success with this style (no matter how promising it seems at Camp Creek!!!). Mainly, it seems, because my kids seem to still want me there to guide them and I, having too many littles, end up not being able to be there in the way they want. Or the littles constantly get into their stuff thereby defeating the purpose of taking their time to complete a project.

I thought our new method would be more constructive. I let them pick out library books they were interested in. Then, unknowingly to them, I read through their books and put together a few mini projects they could use with their books. I incorporated their specific learning styles and what they need work on currently.  That way it would still be interest-led (i.e. no reading books mom made them read) yet still accomplish goals I had for them (i.e. math, reading practice, science, history, copywork, etc.) while freeing up mommy for toddler-devoted training time.

Lily’s Projects (seven years old)

Fancy Nancy's Favorite Fancy Words: From Accessories to Zany

Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy

  • Reading 4 Fancy Nancy books (reading practice), writing new “fancy” words on heart templates with one word to describe their meaning (vocabulary, handwriting practice), paste those heart templates onto cardstock and decorate in a fancy way, paper punch each one and bind it into her very own fancy flashcard vocabulary set (project work, crafting).
  • Read Mission Addition and solve the question at the end of each chapter (math with emphais on adding and value place). I made my own worksheet for her. Maybe if I ever learn how to do that whole pdf thing then I’ll share!
  • Read Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying , tell mom an oral narration after each chapter, draw a picture narration, copy down a small portion of narration (that mom dictated) to go with picture narration, bind together in a folder (narration, reading practice with a chapter book, reading comprehension, copywork/penmanship, spelling, punctuation grammar practice).

Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying Book & CD Set (A Stepping Stone Book(TM))Mission: Addition


Gabe’s Projects (nine years old)

Mistakes that WorkedAccidents May Happen

  • Read Mistakes That Worked and Accidents May Happen, pick top three favorite inventions from each book (six total), draw a picture narration of invention, include a short narration on who invented it, when invented, and the accident or mistake that caused the invention, copy a famous quote by Mark Twain, bind and make into a folder for show and tell to mom and dad (science, history, copywork, narration/reading comprehension, researching skills, project work, oral speech skills).
  • Read Go Figure and Why Pi?, pick one project and one puzzle from each book, take the Go Figure math quiz, read specifically about pi from each book and do a notebooking page, copy a famous quote by Galileo, bind all work into a folder for show and tell to mom and dad (math with emphasis on story problems, math in the read world, how science and math merge, and introduction to pi and geometry; science; copywork; logic and problem solving skills, oral speech skills).

Go Figure!: A Totally Cool Book About Numbers (Bccb Blue Ribbon Nonfiction Book Award (Awards))Why Pi?

So, how did our week go?

Lily did very well. She really enjoyed all her projects and has been working diligently daily with little help from me other than asking how the occassional word is pronounced and having me help with the dictation for her copywork. I did discover that she needed coaching in narration, or more to the point summarization. She has never had a problem narrating for me and actually quite enjoys it. But this is her first chapter book that she’s methodically read through. So I noticed on her narration that she was having a hard time summarizing her thoughts as this is a much bigger story then she normally reads. So we talked about how a narration is just a summary of what happened so we needed to know what happened at the beginning of the chapter, in the middle of the chapter, and at the end of the chapter. We practiced on one of her Fancy Nancy books and then I think it clicked for her so her narration today was much improved!

Gabe started the week off strong. He loved working independently and that he was working through books that he already loved to read. But the novelty quickly wore off for him. Once he realized that he was actually going to be doing work and that some of his work was going to challenge him (i.e. that he wasn’t going to get it right the first time sort of thing) then he wanted to quit and give up. Even with the puzzles he first picked, not being able to do it in five minutes and perfect frustrated him and he sank to the lowest denomonator and did the puzzles that he’s already done before or were easy to figure out. (A homeschooling mother’s worst nightmare!) We talked a lot about perserverance and how rewarding it will feel to figure it out on his own. He seems dubious and is still coming to me for help instead of trying to do things on his own. I just keep redirecting him and reminding him why mommy is not helping this week. This may be one to talk over with the hubby.

Other unschooling fun ~

  • Continued reading Little House in the Big Woods at lunch time. The kids just love this story and it has come up several times during other discussions such as why we are not buying lettuce right now for lunch sandwiches and grocery store food versus growing your own and preserving.
  • Several independent crafting projects – mainly to make their own toys. We’ve got sock puppets galore and cereal boxes being made into cardboard houses.
  • A lunch discussion today involving living math. Lily wanted to know just why it was that I was always saying (mainly at lunch) that we are having water so that the milk stretches  till I get to the store next (we go through 7+ gallons a week!). So I explained to Lily and Gabe about milk and pricing, which they didn’t think was very much. Then I had them guestimate how much we spent on food in one week and then for one month. (Gabe’s answer about $300 a month or $70 a week, Lily’s answer about $20 a week or $60 for the month.) I told them the real answer (between $500 – $600) and we talked about just why daddy works and what that money is used for. Then we talked again about milk prices and the sale and normal price of milk. We worked on averages to come up with a round figure and then practiced multiplying that by 7 gallons and then that number times 4 weeks (about $80 per month on just milk!) It was a good eye opener for them both. Lily is just now starting to understand the value of money and Gabe has a better grasp due to his lack of winter chore money from gram and pop.

Linking up with…

@ Wierd, Unsocialized Homeschoolers today! 

I’m taking back my house…

After running my hand over a sticky, grubby table for the millionth time…

After having little random who-knows-what-it-is-but-it-feels-gross-stuck-on-the-bottom-of-my-sock experiences walking through the kitchen…

After sitting on chairs that have a layer of goo perpetually coating them…

After finding too many dirty cups or silverware hiding under table legs…

After getting so tired of nagging and nagging and disciplining and nagging and more disciplining to stay on task…

I am officially taking back the clean-up-the-table-and-chairs-and-sweep-the-floor-after-meals chore from my seven year old daughter!

She has now been reassigned to folding and putting away the laundry after every meal. (And if you don’t think there won’t be a basket to fold after every meal, you are sadly mistaken my dear friend!!!) 

Our house is once again blessed. My kitchen is blessedly clean and I am not having anxiousness about the summer coming and dealing with bugs in the country. My tone is blessedly more gentler as it is much easier to have seven year old expectations with laundry folding (don’t care if they’re put away a bit wrinkled as long as they make it to the right drawer and our laundry isn’t stacking up by the hamperfuls) rather then kitchen clean-up. Her time is blessed because she has more of it. A win win for everyone!

Punxsutawney Phil and The Best Coffee Cake Ever!

Happy Groundhog’s Day!

Watch video  here for Punxsuatwney Phil’s official prediction.

Happy Early Spring!!!

 ~ What we’re reading today ~

Groundhog at Evergreen Road

Groundhog at Evergreen Road (Smithsonian's Backyard)

It’s Groundhog Day by Steven Kroll

It's Groundhog Day

And, while reading, my hubby made this fantastic coffee cake called (very appropriately) The Best Coffee Cake Ever found over at Pioneer Woman. Oh how I wish I had a camera to show you! It was delectable and light and fluffy. We made it on a sheet pan instead of a cake pan and it came out just perfect.

~ A coloring sheet to enjoy for fun while your eating scrumptious cake snacks. ~

Groundhog Free Printable Color Sheet

~ Fun Trivia ~

Did you know that another name for a groundhog is woodchuck?

~ What you’ll find us saying today. ~

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

Enjoy your day!

HIS Timing

I wasn’t going to post today. I was planning on really digging in and having a filled, focused day like yesterday. But then I read Elizabeth’s post on simplicity. And then I read Jenny’s post on simplicity. And this is where I have been struggling lately. I was convicted. I want…crave…need simplicity in my life. I see it in Him. I see it in His order. Like Elizabeth said, the simple and complex together in unison. I look out the window at the beautiful snow covered fields with the lightly falling down and the frosted trees and it is simple…simply beautiful.

But then I stare at the frosted window and marvel at the actual complexity of an ice crystal. My mind can’t even begin to wrap around it…the mathematics, the science, the geometry. How can He be so simple…I AM…and yet so complex…Alpha to Omega?

But it is really only me who makes it too complicated. It is me who gets distracted as I am in the middle of one chore and start doing another without finishing the first. It is me who thinks I must have a perfect plan in order to do school, assign chores, make a menu or grocery list. And it is me who gets derailed because I don’t have a perfect plan therefore the thing doesn’t get done because I am still “working” on my plan. Not that planning is bad, but my planning always seems to stay in planning and never moves to action.

Why did yesterday work so well? Aside from the obvious praying and staying in Him, I think it came from the simplicity of me not getting sucked into my own complexity. Does that make any sense? I stayed in the moment. Instead of getting distracted by another chore I was reminded to stay with the one I was doing and when I did that the chore got done in a timely manner and I was still on schedule. Did everything get done that I wanted in the day? Well, no. But then no day ever will. When I was tempted to hop on line I was reminded that I would have the freedom later and that allowed me to give attention ~ simple, blessed attention ~ to the one who needed it. When I needed to pull together a menu for the week and everything in my being wanted to sit at the computer and map it out I, instead, pulled out a piece of scratch paper and spent 10 minutes chicken-scratching a rough menu based on what I knew we had in the house. Does it look pretty hanging on the fridge? Nope. But I do know exactly what to make for dinner tonight and I still had time to finish up dinner yesterday while the little one napped.

And, of course, knowing all this does NOT make it easier to do or apply to my own life. I still must live in His grace and strength moment by moment or else I end up caving to myself…my fleshly desires. Not the obvious drinking and gluttony we all think of but the subtle flesh cravings…perfectionism, organization, doing what I want when I want. None of the things I want to do are bad. Most are really quite good and uplifting and helpful. But the time in which I do them is all wrong. And I think that is the key. His timing. His timing is always perfect. If we rest in Him our burdens will be light not because the work is easier but because His timing of the work will edify, purify and make us into who He plans us to be.

It is this truth I will rest in today as I am wrestling with caring for six very individualized, complex, perfect little beings.

Thank you Elizabeth for allowing us to link up and explore this ever-needed conversation of simplicity for mothers in this very complex, fallen world.

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