A Mother’s Feast: May 2015

Welcome to another month of Feasting.  I have been both blessed and challenged by what has been shared in the month of April. Thank you to everyone who linked-up with their own thoughts on motherly feasting.

Mother's Feast Option 3

Have you visited April’s collection of links yet? Here’s a few highlights you won’t want to miss.  (Well, you shouldn’t miss any of them.  But I don’t have time or space to highlight them all)

Laura at Windy Hill Homeschool shared her thoughts on an influential book, Elizabeth Prentiss’ Stepping Heavenward.

Remember the saying “great minds think alike?”  Well, this month Mandie from Teaching Future Dragon Slayers and Anna from Mahers Hill Academy each brought our attention to the importance of learning things that don’t come easily.  Carol at journey-and-destination seemed to continue this thread of thought with her post on Uniting Scientific and Literary Cultures.

Kati from Purposeful Abnegation shares with us her plans and schedules for a Pre-Mother Education Course, and River from Beautiful Chaos discusses how her personal Feasting has been working out in the flow of daily living.

Don’t forget that you can join us on Instagram using the hashtag #amothersfeast 

This month, I have at last ventured into the world of Tolkien and am listening to The Hobbit as my current audio book. I’m still allowing myself to be quietly filled with wonder, but when I read the following passage in Elisabeth Elliot’s Loneliness, I found myself particularly struck by it.

The heroes of the world’s great legends let themselves in for all kinds of fearsome troubles because of the promise of a great reward – the favor of the king, a pot of gold, marriage to a princess. Because there was a shining goal they entered in with heart and will to participate in the as yet unseen and unknown hazards of the dreadful journey. Their heroism lay in acceptance – a wholehearted acceptance of conditions other men would avoid at all cost – and in endurance. The dark caves, tunnels and labyrinths were not problems to be solved but hazards to be traversed, the storms and heavy seas were to be braved, the giants and monsters to be slain. All were accepted and endured in view of the prize.

It reminded me once again of the value of reading literature, of spending precious time in the world of heroes and villains, saints and sinners, trolls and goblins.  To be reminded of the hazards, and the worthwhile prize.


Beginning A Morning Well

WWW ladydusk

For the past year there has been a quote from Mere Christianity on the side of my refrigerator.

“The real problem of the Christian life comes where people do not usually look for it.  It comes the very moment you wake up each morning.   All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals.  And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day.

As someone who is naturally lackadaisical and tried to make up for this flaw with frantic attempts to do everything and satisfy everyone, this quote really touched me.  Sometimes I forget, in all of my laboring to do right, that my effort isn’t, (or at least ought not to be,) all about me.  It’s about doing the work that my Lord has given me to do, and doing it within the limitations that He has seen fit to place upon me.  But I can only do that work if I can hear His Voice.

I have found the stillness of the morning to be the best time for this.  I no longer check my phone before I get out of bed, or grab my tablet and spend a few happy moments on the wonderful AO Forums.  I don’t sit right down and review the busy day ahead.  I take my pen, and copy out a few verses from Hebrews. I sing a song, and pray for a little while.  I’m trying to seek His voice first of all, and I’m finding it makes is easier to distinguish His voice from all the others.




A Mother’s Feast: April 2015

A Mother’s Feast: April 2015

Mother's Feast Option 3

Hello again, my friends.  It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Though absent from the blogging world, I have been quite active in the “everyday life” world.  Indeed, thanks to an unexpectedly restful month spent at my parents home, I have found myself finally managing to blend my grandiose ideas into the nitty-gritty of everyday life. Truly, the past two months have been a time of feasting for this (once weary) mother.

You see, in spite of all my contemplating on the need for something other than practical pursuits, I was used up.  Wrung out mentally, emotionally and physically, with only my own needs and broken dreams overwhelming every moment of my days, I lacked any strength with which to enact change.  I had lost all perspective, wandering in some lost land and terrified that I would drag my children into it with me.

But thanks to my many gracious and wonderful online friends, and their wise pursuit of better things, I was able to realize that I had lost all perspective. So one day my sister called, and I spoke honestly about the things I was struggling with. Quick decisions were made, and I found myself at my parent’s home, resting.  Suddenly I had help in the middle of the night.  Suddenly I could rest and my children were still tended to.  Suddenly my family was surrounded with love and care, and all I had to do was recover.  Suddenly I realized that I had never been created to face such things alone, that others stood ready to pick up the burden I could carry no longer.  Suddenly I understood why God tells us we need each other.

The biggest change began with a book I purchased on a whim a while ago: The Book of Not So Common Prayer.  Written by Linda McCullough Moore, I had never heard of either the book or the author. I can not remember the last time I purchased a book without having some inkling of what the pages would contain. But purchase it I did, and in those early days at my mother’s house I began to read it.

Somehow this book seemed to address the issues at the very heart of a mother’s need to feed her mind and soul. How can we expect to really know God, to benefit from His guidance, if we are unwilling to take disciplined steps to ensure we spend time with Him?  She wrote as a busy author and mother, one who had learned to allow the transformation of self that came when one purposefully determined to spend time with God.   Not because it makes us holier, or because it earns us “good points. As Mrs. Moore says, “Prayer changes our lives, but prayer is not a self-improvement project.”

“We will find that just the effort to pray is very instructive in itself. When we try to be good, we see exactly how bad we are.  When we narrow the channels in our lives, in the sense that we impose certain boundaries on time and activity, this heightened focus means we bump more often into the sides, the constraints, and these often serve as wonderful correctives. It truly is a holding environment, a space in which to ‘live, and move, and have our being.’ (Acts 17:28)”

“In the end, instead of being confined, we feel only more expansive and free.  This freedom comes from living with restraints conforming to our nature. A little boy is given goldfish in a bowl but wants his fish to be free, and so he scoops them up and puts them on the floor, where they can play unimpeded by the glass container.  We are no wiser than he, confusing freedom with a lack of limits. The discipline of regular praying times frees us to fit with our design and know the harmony of living as we have been created to live.”

As I read these pages and wrestled with the ideas contained within them, I found myself pointed back to where I needed to be: at the feet of Jesus.  One passage that I found particularly convicting was this: “Do we pray in order to know God better? Or do we pray in order to tell God what he and we already know in great detail about ourselves, our lives, our needs, our wants and wishes, our miseries and dissatisfactions, and the ultimate direction we would like to see things go, failing in the end to know the Lord to whom we pray?”  This was exactly what I had been doing.

My first weak struggles back towards the land of the sane and capable were accomplished on my knees, a book open before me and my pen at my side.  I began to copy out the book of Hebrews by hand.  I finished The Book of Not So Common Prayer and I began another.  I emerged from my daze and found that I had thoughts again, thoughts worth speaking of. I smiled at my children again, and gradually they relaxed in my presence as my constant tears subsided.  I learned to first place my troubles at the feet of Jesus before I discussed them with others.

Now I’m back home, and those first few days I almost slid back.  I cleaned and unpacked, and didn’t even step outside.  At the end of two days I felt my temper fraying and my sadness increasing.  But I heard something else, too.  I heard my soul saying “What about me? You have been given a way to nourish your mind and feed your soul.  Are these things truly worth starving?” As the eloquent Linda Moore says, “Prayer is not something we do in a vacumn. Prayer is affected by the hours in the day when we aren’t praying.”

So the next day I left my messy living room a mess. We went outside and spent all morning in His creation while we learned.  Instead of panicking and scolding myself for oversleeping, I would waken and thank God for the rest He had allowed me to enjoy.  I planted flowers outside my door, and I picked up a book, and I read for 10 minutes.  Two days later a kind friend called and asked is there was any way she could help. So I swallowed my pride, invited her over, and she helped me clean that awful living room.

As I scribble these thoughts into an old, water-damaged notebook, I am reminded again of my need for balance.  The blending of idealism and reality is not impossible, but it is difficult and requires discipline.  Meals, tidying up, clean laundry: none of these things are less important than they were before.  Rather I must  continue to do That Thing I Hate: walk away from a task and move on to the next thing that must be tended to.  Maintain rather than complete. Every time I choose to do something I am choosing not to do a hundred other things.  Therefore the things I choose must matter.

That’s been my journey these last few months.  How have you been?  I’d very much love to hear about what you’re studying, learning, feasting upon.

Question: would you all enjoy it if I began to post a collection of links on this and related topics midway through each month?


Any posts on this topic are welcome.  From practical to philosophical, from grand plans to nitty-gritty implementation, there is much need for this issue to be discussed.

This link-up will be open for a month: please feel free to add more than one link during that time.

Remember to link to a specific post and not your whole site.



365 Picture Books

What happens when……….

………you realize chubby hands and fussing babies are being directed towards the toy box instead of snuggled on the couch?

………. you face reality and acknowledge your long-term love affair with picture books is not going away?

………..there is a Read-Aloud Revival podcast urging everyone to begin a reading streak?

……….. you finally sign up for Instagram and realize you have an excuse to share book pictures?

Well, a brilliant idea is born, of course! I’d like to invite you all to come along as we read through 365 picture books in 2015.  Taking place via social media as well as here on the blog, I’m going to indulge my passion for picture books, snuggles and writing all at once.


What does all this mean?

You can expect to be bombarded with photos of picture books via Instagram. Each bok will have the title and author listed, as well a number indicating how close we are to reaching our goal.

Quaint commentary from equally quaint youngsters will be shared (if appropriate).

There will be a blog series that discusses absolutely nothing but picture books.  Alphabet books.  Recent releases.  Peter Spier.  Folk tales.  Fairy tales. Caldecott Medal authors. Really-rotten-books-I-wish-I-hadn’t-grabbed. The only limit I’m going to place on my enthusiasm  is a requirement that any book I review must be in my personal collection.

From time to time I’ll post some mystery pictures, and we’ll see who can identify the book. There won’t be a prize other than the soul-wrapping warmth of having properly identified a beloved illustrator.  Which is, obviously, the greatest prize of all.

I’d love for others to take up this challenge as well.  Grab the image from above for your blog, and/or post about your progress on the social media platform of your choice. Use the hashtag #365PictureBooks, and remember to include the number of books you’ve read so far.

Anyone who can make it through 365 different picture books, and has posted about their progress on a regular basis, will get their name on the 365 Picture Books honor roll.  Just because.


A Mother’s Feast: January 2015

It’s January!  Which means it’s time for our very first A Mother’s Feast link-up here at Stronghaven. In case you missed it, here’s the original “What is this all about?” post.

Mother's Feast Option 3

I’ve been humbled and encouraged by the outpouring of interest in this endeavour. Most of my ideas start out quite impulsively and never come to fruition, and it’s mostly due to all of you that history did not repeat itself this time.

A special mention goes to Brandy Vencel for designing the nifty graphic, as well as to Mystie Winckler and Karen Andreola for their valiant encouragement.  Thank you, ladies.

This post has been difficult to write.  Not because I lacked ideas, but because I had so many!  Should I tell of my personal plans for learning in 2015?  Should I write a heart wrenching essay on why this issue matters so much?  Should I chatter away about seasons of life and making time? I hope to write all of those posts eventually, but for today I’ve decided to share a story.  It’s the story behind a picture, the picture that has become the image representing A Mother’s Feast.

What a rich morning it was!  I’d woken to a quiet house, I had quietly brewed my tea, and sat down at my desk with my Bible, Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening devotional, my handy bullet journal and a cup of colored pens.  The house was warm with the bone-soaking, toe-heating warmth that only wood heat brings, and I wrapped my hands around my mug of tea and felt content.

As I read through the morning’s devotional selection I was struck by how the words of Spurgeon echoed words that my brother had spoken to me only the day before.  I quietly contemplated the words I had read before choosing an elegant blue shade of ink with which to capture the concepts I was contemplating.  I read a chapter from Proverbs and one from Philippians, choosing a verse to copy into my journal as a rich thought for the day.

My devotions over, I texted briefly with My Man, who had already been at work for hours.  As I spoke with him, I looked at the scene before me and briefly basked in the love it portrayed.  My mother-in-law’s sewing box, filled with all our art supplies.  The patriotic mug my own mother sent to me.  The pens my husband purchased for me just so I wouldn’t have to choose.  The Spurgeon devotional, a gift from my sister-in-law when I was spiritually struggling.  My hard-cover Thompson Chain Reference Bible, a birthday gift from My Man.

In the crib behind my back the baby stirs, wakens and fusses.  On the couch beside me a sleeping boy stretches, and sits up.  The quiet is over.  Lightly bouncing the baby on my hip, I balance the camera in one hand and attempt to capture my morning moment.  Toddling feet cross the kitchen, and a sleepy Boo greets me with “I’m so hungry, Mom!”  It’s 5 AM.

This was a real morning in my home.  I really did sit and bask in the richness of it, and I found my soul refreshed and filled, able to face the day ahead with increased equilibrium.  But there was more to that morning than idyllic moments.

The reason I was up so early was a massive toothache that had been stretching on for days. The house was so cozily warm because I had risen every few hours throughout the night to feed the stove.  The bitter cold outside had made the pick-up engine refuse to start, which meant My Man hadn’t been able to take the propane tanks to town to get filled. I was unable to sip on the tea I brewed: the warm liquid aggravates my tooth.  My Man would be coming home early today, but only because I have been unable to head out into the biting cold to feed the critters.  When I sat down at my desk I had to clear a place on the floor for my feet: I had not been able to vacuum for a few days, and had not even insisted on tidying the living room the night before.  Less than an hour after I snapped that photo I was curled up on the couch, holding a heat-pack to my face and moaning while the children stared in horror.

I want everyone who looks at the restful photo of my morning to remember that it occurred as one moment of peace in a very chaotic day.  This is how our feasting will generally occur. Only rarely do we have grand moments that come together when everything lines up properly.  No, the majority of our time for nourishment will come when we step away from the necessarily busy pace of the day to quietly feed our souls a few words.

Much of my reading will occur due to insomnia. My commonplace book will always contain those baby scribbles from when I failed to shelve it properly and my little ones decided to imitate mother.  Many early mornings will be missed because the baby nursed three times that night and I was semi-comatose.  Many devotionals will be read under my covers as I try to keep the light from waking the children just yet.  Many book discussion thoughts will be scribbled on the backs of envelopes and grocery lists, and many of those scribbles will never reach another mind. But they will happen, and they will be my feast.


Any posts on this topic are welcome.  From practical to philosophical, from grand plans to nitty-gritty implementation, there is much need for this issue to be discussed.

This link-up will be open for a month: please feel free to add more than one link during that time.

Remember to link to a specific post and not your whole site


A Hymn for the Year Ahead

Be Still My Soul

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.

Be still, my soul: begin the song of praise
On earth, believing, to Thy Lord on high;
Acknowledge Him in all thy words and ways,
So shall He view thee with a well pleased eye.
Be still, my soul: the Sun of life divine
Through passing clouds shall but more brightly shine.


Mother Culture Link-up

Mother culture is a topic that has been much on my mind this past year, but mostly in the form of wondering if it really, actually was worth my time.  I first discovered this concept in a Parent’s Review article of the same name, an article from which I will quote extensively. If you haven’t read it before, I would urge you to take the time to do so now.

To be honest, I have forgotten why feeding my mind and soul is so important.  Right now nothing matters besides the dishes and the animals and the snippy children and the noses that need wiped.  All I want to do is tidy and clean over and over again, the only way I know to express my love and prove my worth.  My mind is tired and my body is exhausted and my soul is in agony and all I can see is the doll that needs picked up and the math page that needs finished.

All at once (to take an extreme case), a young girl who has all her life been sheltered and shielded, not only from every trouble, but from every experience of life, is made responsible for the home happiness of her husband………………….. Before she marries, she pictures to herself little of the extreme difficulties of managing that most complicated of machines, a household–not for one week only, during her mother’s absence, but for year after year, without stop or stay, for the rest of her time.

If these two things are difficult, how very much the case is complicated when a wholly untried responsibility comes upon her, and not only her own health, but that of another depends on how she manages her life. And then, perhaps, just as she is grasping the situation, and one child fills her whole heart, more room is wanted, and more and more, and the servant questions goes on, the management of expenditure goes on, the desire to be more than ever her husband’s companion grows stronger and stronger, and the centre of it all is one little woman–wife, mother, mistress all in one! Then it is that she gets overdone. Then it is that she wears herself out. Then it is that, in her efforts to be ideal wife, mother, and mistress, she forgets that she is herself. Then it is, in fact, that she stops growing.

I am a good housekeeper now.  It’s been a week, more than a week, longer than I have ever gone in my life.  I have a clean and tidy home, the meals are served on time and all the school work is getting done.  It is the culmination of years of research, weeping, prayer, lists, heart-ache, longing, striving, effort upon effort upon effort, failure upon failure upon failure.  Years of learning to see myself as I truly am, and then not allowing that horrifying realization to handicap me. I have run this race, and I have achieved my goal.

Yet today my Rosie sat down to sew herself a little shawl for her doll, and quietly commented that she hopes very much she won’t be a mom when she grows up.  Further questioning revealed that she would like to be able to make beautiful things, not always work and only think about making things.

Last night, when I tried to explain my transformation to a confused husband, he seemed horrified rather than pleased. I’m still not sure why, and not knowing bothers me.  I feel as if I finally have something to offer, something worth loving, but the people I am trying to serve have already discovered how to not need me.

There is no sadder sight in life than a mother, who has so used herself up in her children’s childhood, that she has nothing to give them in their youth. When babyhood is over and school begins, how often children take to proving that their mother is wrong. Do you as often see a child proving to its father that he is wrong? I think not. For the father is growing far more often than the mother. He is gaining experience year by year, but she is standing still. Then, when her children come to that most difficult time between childhood and full development she is nonplussed; and, though she may do much for her children, she cannot do all she might, if she, as they, were growing!

Is there not some need for “mother culture”? But how is the state of things to be altered? So many mothers say, “I simply have no time for myself!” “I never read a book!” Or else, “I don’t think it is right to think of myself!” They not only starve their minds, but they do it deliberately, and with a sense of self-sacrifice which seems to supply ample justification. There are, moreover, unfortunately, only too many people who think that sort of thing so lovely that public opinion appears to justify it. But does public opinion justify anything?  Does it justify tight-lacing–or high heels–or bearing-reins for horses? It can never justify anything which leads to the “Oh, it’s only mother” tone in any young person.

It seems that once again I have finished a project only to lift my head and realize life has collapsed outside of my tunnel vision.  Always before it’s been some wonderfully creative project that left my home in shambles.  This time it has been the achievement of practicality only to realize that I’ve lost something along the way, and I truly do not understand what it is.

It would seem as if we mothers often simply made for ourselves the difficulties we find in after life by shutting our minds up in the present. What we need is a habit of taking our minds out of what one is tempted to call “the domestic rag-bag” of perplexities, and giving it a good airing in something which keeps it “growing.” A brisk walk will help. But, if we would do our best for our children, grow we must; and on our power of growth surely depends, not only our future happiness, but our future usefulness.

What is mother culture, you ask?  I think it is purposefully stepping outside of the moment, considering something outside our own immediate sphere for a brief time. It is acknowledging the fact that we Mothers are also people, people with minds and souls and bodies that need wise tending. I’ve become quite skilled at living in the moment, at treasuring moments, at applying myself to the task of the moment.  These are all good things that needed to be conquered, but I do not want to stagnate here.  I very much want to keep growing, to remain available to a busy man who wants someone delightful to talk to or an attentive girl who is just discovering the allure of creating beautiful things.

In 2015 I’ll begin hosting a monthly mother culture link-up, and I’d love for you to join me.  We can talk about what we have learned, about how we managed to make the time to read or journal, about why it’s important to not let our minds and souls grow stale.  The posts can be practical or philosophical. You can be encouraging and optimistic or poignantly introspective. You can write about your goals or your accomplishments. But please lets acknowledge the hope and purpose of steady, purposeful self-education.

I plan to create a special page where I will link each month’s post in order to create a sort of permanent archive on this topic.  That page will also include a set of rules and a more succinct description of the concept of mother culture.

Mother Culture: What it is and What it is Not

It’s Not Selfish

What is Schole

Until January, my friends……………………


Thanksgiving 2014

This past week began with My Man being gone on business.  Together the children and I managed to hold the loneliness at bay by having a giant “sleepovers.” Each night everyone but the baby piled into my bed and we watched Brave on the laptop.  And when it was over we’d just restart it, until everyone had drifted off to sleep. Then I would lay in the darkness and listen to the sounds of their breathing, and feel the bed gently wiggle as each one turned and tossed, and I would feel so thankful.  Thankful from the depths of my soul that here, surrounding me, were little people who depend on me and keep me depending on God.

By the third night I think we could have just turned off the sound and quoted the entire movie word for word. 😀

In one of the funnier moments, the children were wondering why their father is so very talented at the work he does.  Little Boo matter-of-factly states “It’s because he has big nipples.”

We all just stared at her for a moment, then Zorro (obviously prepared to leap to his father’s defense,) says “He has WHAT??!!!”

Boo holds her arms out and boldly flexes.  “Big nipples.  Like me.”

We *eventually* explained that the word she was looking for was “muscles.”  When we could talk through the laughter……

We had fun making some felt crafts as gifts for Thanksgiving, and I particularly enjoyed listening to Rosie agonize over which Superhero mask she should make for her father.  “The Hulk is strongest, but Batman is the most handsome…..”  She eventually chose to go with Batman.

Then, glory be, he was home for 4 days straight and we slept and snuggled and cooked and built and shopped and loved and laughed and generally basked in the warm glow of Thanksgiving and the haze of prosperity with which we are blessed.




Bullet Journal Attempt

I have about 20 blog post drafts, 3 gifts to make and a Thanksgiving celebration to plan.  So I thought I’d take a moment to do what I do best: procrastinate.  It’s sort of Amy Jo’s fault.  Okay, it’s all her fault.  She mentioned Bullet Journals, and I just HAD to look it up one morning, which led me to discover that it would solve ALL of my problems and I would magically become superwoman!


Okay, not quite.  I’m jumping in mostly because (A) I’ve had this grid journal for years and now have an excuse to use it and (B) as much as I love Paperless Organization, there are aspects of it that really didn’t work for me. It requires periodic access to an electronic device, and I’m wasting too much time on those.  Also, I don’t think it’s good for the children to see me constantly checking my tablet, which they mentally associate with gaming.  But I absolutely need something which I can access repeatedly.

I don’t know if Bullet Journaling will solve any of these issues, but I managed to set my system up in tiny bits throughout the day: it was the least time-consuming to figure out of all the systems I’ve tried.  Admittedly, the principles and methodology laid out in Paperless Home Organization have gone a long way towards helping me discover what does and does not work.  All that to say… I couldn’t find anything about homeschool mothers utilizing such a system.  So I figured I’d talk a little about what I’m doing, and later I’ll decide if it works.

I have a set of “beginning pages” immediately after the index which contain information I need to reference to plan my days.

Daily Rhythm this page reminds me not to get bogged down into one particular aspect of our day.


Recurring Tasks These pages remind me of tasks that will roll around regularly.  I have one page for monthly tasks, one page for each day of the week, and I *might* add a daily page, I haven’t decided.


School Notes  One page for each topic, in which I can write down a book to buy, a memory selection to add to the rotation or a resource I am considering utilizing.  Many of these ideas come to me during school time, and I don’t like trying to enter them into the Evernote.


Important Contacts  There’s not very many addresses and phone numbers that need to be kept on paper: but for those that do, they go on this page.

Planning Ahead If there’s an important event that’s far enough ahead I don’t have the pages prepared for it, I will mark it on this page and then transfer it to the appropriate month when ready.

Chore Lists  We have 1/2 hour chore times after every meal, but I have trouble focusing on my work and coming up with tasks that the children can tend to. They each have a few standard chores, but those only take them 10 minutes or less. I’m hoping that by having a standard list of appropriate chore ideas, I can look at the beginning of each day, decide what is the most pressing need and add it to their list of assignments.

I gave each month it’s own shopping list.

The Daily Calendar is where I really changed things up.  I tried going with just one page, but not far into the first day I realized that  I’m going to need a two-page spread for each day.

Each daily page will be given 5 sections

Household is anything related to indoor maintenance.

School is anything related to the children’s education.

Personal is where I jot down tasks for my personal education, notes on the children’s health or behavior, a prayer request, an inspiring thought or a tender moment, a book I want to add to my list, a letter I want to write…..

Farm is for anything related to outdoor maintenance: the garden and animals both come under this heading.

Writing is where I will add blog tasks, thoughts I want to share on the AO Forum or note one of the 100 random (but catchy!) sentences that occur to me throughout any given day.




Delight and Disaster

Our Pumpkin is truly blossoming. Adorableness abounds.

She marches around the house saying “Muuah.  Muuuaah. Muuaahh.”  It took a little while, but we figured out that she is not attempting to say “Mom”: she’s kissing us.  When someone kisses back at her she becomes excited and thrilled and generally acts as if all is right with her world again.  If she hears any noise that sounds like akiss she begins calling “Muuahh.”  We’re having fun with this.  *looks innocent*


She can very clearly nod “yes” or “no” to questions.  What’s funny is when she hasnt quite decided on her answer, so she swings her head in a few circles before settling on one or the other.  🙂  Even though she’s not talking at all she understands everything said to her, and her ability to answer questions is quite handy.

She’s running to give hugs when Daddy comes home.  She’s bringing books to anyone she thinks might read to her.  She calls the cat by running around the yard meowing loudly.  She giggles when birds come to the feeder outside her window.

Unfortunately, her talent for disaster has taken some precipitous bounds as well.

It started last Sunday with the Cornstarch Incident.

The next day she discovered how to climb atop the kitchen table, where she not only broke the eggs that were in the basket, but she carefully painted a path across the table with them, and then climbed down and added egg to the cabinet door…. And her hair…. And the floor… and the wall…. all within the space of half a math lesson.

Next she discovered how to remove her diaper.  But she was wearing an adorable little dress which disguised this fact.  There were puddles, and worse, to clean up from that one. The same day of the diaper removal a rooster got into the living room.  I have had chickens for 9 years and never, ever has one WALKED INTO MY HOUSE!!!!!! Any guesses as to what was the first thing that rooster did when he got nervous?  *sigh*

The following day, my lovely little lady discovered how to open the toilet, a source of endless wonder.

And then, she found the dog bowl……..


Life, lived rapidly, seems to be my Ordinary Moments these days.

On a brighter note, I can finally drink coffee again. I’m not sure if I’ve already mentioned this, but it’s a Really! Big. Deal.  In honor of that, I thought I’d add a picture that has been making me chuckle all week long.  It showed up on my FB feed and now lives in my head.  😀

Funny Coffee

Oh, and it looks like the cat is pregnant as well as the dog.  The children discovered a large orange tom far up a tree the other day. They spent the better part of their free time trying to coax him down, or climb up to him, but neither option succeeded.  The following day he was gone, and now Clever is looking suspiciously rotund.