Who's Gonna Stay?

I've had Sarah Groves' Cd Invisible Empires on repeat in the van as of late.
My girls listen intently to all the music I play.
Occasionally, I put on children's music for them but unless its Seeds, I get annoyed by it rather quickly.
So they've simply gotten used to listening to Mama's music.
They even enjoy it.
It's normal for requests like, "Can you turn it up, please?" to make their way up from the back of the van.
As well as requests that it be turned down for a moment so that they can ask a question about what a certain line means.
This has led to some very interesting conversations during our travels together!

Anyhow, I love when they start singing a song on their own.
I always find it interesting to hear which one remains in their minds as they sing it out while playing or coloring.
Piper was singing this one today.
She kept repeating the line "Who's gonna stay and think about it?".

Here's Sarah Groves explaining what the song is about:

It got me thinking.
I hope that I raise my girls to stay and think about it.
To be biblical and intelligent.
To take the time to consider the repercussions and consequences of things happening in our world.
To discuss and observe and form an opinion.
To be unafraid to tackle the challenges their generation will face from a Christian perspective.
I hope I raise women who are relevant and aware within their culture and who are faithful to our God.

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Friday Favorite Things {1}

{it's a moment to step back, reflect, and be grateful for the good in the everyday}

Listening to my oldest girl's thoughts while mixing clay for a science project.
I love quiet afternoons, working on things together as the sun shines in on us.
Hearts connect while another gal snaps away.

I returned from the bathroom to find an older sister helping the younger.
Taitum was soaking up the attention and Pipe was so patient and kind.
These moments are priceless.
I hold them close.

Pointing at our 'bug hotel' which got left out of the picture but I think its so cute how my girls are forever asking for their picture to be taken with me lately.
It feels weighty but grand to be someone's hero.

Bridging the generational gap.
Piper asked questions like "Where were you born?" and wanted to know about her great grandmother's mom.

While I was sweeping after supper one night, Tait kept coming out asking me to help her write hers and Piper's names on paper.
I was a little annoyed at being interrupted multiple times but after they went to bed I came across this.
She was making personalized menus.
This was important to her.
I was reminded that my kids and what is important to them needs to be more important to me than housework.
My children teach me motherhood's finest lessons.

Piper working on her printing workbook.
She has been so careful and attentive to follow the instructions that I give her.
I love watching her work so diligently.

Checking for bugs in our 'bug hotel'.
This causes such excitement.
Digging in dirt, constructing things from random materials, discovering insect visitors.
Childhood was made for such things.

friday favorite things | finding joy

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Apple (Picking) Variety

Some are apple pickers...

 Some are apple eaters...

And some are apple tree nappers!

But they're ALL the apple of my eye!

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Prayer For A Child {BFIAR}

This is a little girl's prayer written as a poem.
With its vintage picture and rhyming couplets, this book is absolutely charming!
Both my girls adored it but especially Piper.
There were certain lines I'd read and she would stop me and say, "Oh, Mama! Can you write that down for me, please?!"
I ended up typing up the whole poem for her and highlighting her favorite parts.
She drew a picture on it, we laminated it and it is now hanging beside her bed.
I thought this was just so sweet and I love how she connects with the books we read!

Her favorite parts?

"Through the darkness, through the night
Let no danger come to fright
My sleep till morning once again 
Beckons at the window pane"


"Bless the hands that never tire 
In their loving care of me"


"Bless my Father and my Mother 
And keep us close to one another"

The girls also traced their hands, cut them out and I wrote on each of the fingers the names of people they are praying for.
Then they glued it all together and added some glitter (just because!).

One line of the book says:

"Bless other children, far and near
And keep them safe and free from fear"

To go along with this, we took some time to learn all about our sponsor child, Joel.
We found the country he lives in, Burkina Faso, on the map and made the country's flag.
We talked about his family and what he does each day.
We chatted about his birthday while making birthday cake crafts to pin up by his birth date and a picture of him on his last birthday.
The girls also drew pictures for him that we will send with our next letter!
(That's what they are holding up.) 

Using the Compassion International homeschool lesson plans, we talked about how kids in places like Burkina Faso like to play sports and games, just like us.
But because they have very little money, they don't have easy access to sports equipment.
Instead, they are very creative and make things using items they have on hand.
The girls gave this a try by making a ball out of grocery bags and twine!
We then found a box that was headed for the garbage to use as our goal.
And then began our first ever game of bag ball!

Both girls had a blast with this!
There was lots of hooping and hollering for each goal they made and because the ball was made of bags, nothing was broken (and no one was hurt!) during this rambunctious little game!

Because the poem refers to things that the little girl is thankful for, I figured it was a good time to start our thankful wall.
Every year I mean to do this but by the time I remember, Thanksgiving is upon us!
This year, we've got a good start!
Each morning the girls tell me something they are thankful for.
I write it down, they decorate their card and we add it to the wall!
So simple but we have all enjoyed this daily activity!

The girls learned the song "Jesus Loves the Little Children" this week, too.
This song has now been echoing through our home for the last week and half!
I tried to capture it on video for you because their little voices singing in unison are oh-so-cute but alas, my camera hates me.
If I'm able to get it in the days to come, I'll share it in another post!

That's all for this book!
We are now on to rowing How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World - our very first FIAR row!

Delightful Learning

Ordinary Life

In ordinary life we hardly realize that we recieve a great deal more than we give and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich. 
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer







Today's graces:

1. This get up. 2. One sister waiting for another. (The baby doll on the shoulder is the icing on the cake!) 3. Smiling sicky. 4. How she always checks for Mama. 5. Painting with nature. Those intent, concentrated faces are why I do what I do every day. 6. Her silliness makes my heart sing.

The Best Course of Action

There is something I'm learning as a Mama
And I'm learning it one hard day at a time
It's not advice I'd ever been given
But that I now know to be true
And remind myself of often

photo by Renee Walton Photography

After a day or two of whiners and complainers
Of disobedience and disorder
And scrubbing window writers off the couch
Picking gum off the floor
And re-reteaching a child to clean up their mess when asked
After dealing with bottom of the bathroom sink toothpaste eaters
And the newly dubbed non napper
(As well as the stubbed toe/irritated sister/stepped on toy screamer who created such a beast.)
Once they've turned their nose up at a supper or two
And have delighted in finger painting with mushy bananas
When they've done all that and maybe a little bit more
And you're feeling ready to burst
Or fade
Or freak
Or simply faint
What is the best course of action?

photo by Renee Walton Photography

I am told
Is the way to go
Run off on your own
Get away

And they would be right
Sort of
Because yes, a breather is good and needed sometimes
Walk around your closest department store
Pushing a cart of nothing
(Or in my case, a cart of everything that I will inevitably put back and end up buying only a carton of milk.)
Enjoy a coffee with a friend
Especially the type that will ignore the smudge of something on your shoulder
Or the dried glue in your hair
(If you don't have such a friend find one. They are invaluable.)
But distance never solves the dilemma of discouragement

photo by Renee Walton Photography

But no one ever talks about the other part
The most important thing to do
When your kids are driving you crazy
And motherhood feels like a whole lot more than you remember signing up for
Want to know the secret to rejuvenating the mother's heart?

Spend time with them.

photo by Renee Walton Photography

You heard that right
Skip through the parking lot holding that little one's hand
Look her in the eye when she tells you she loves you
Hug them tight
Sing to your baby and drink deep of that baby smell
Giggle at those open mouth, slobbery kisses
Read a book and snuggle close
Laugh fully at their goofiness
And be goofy, too
Kiss their Daddy and remind them that he is the best
Make up silly songs together
Go along with the classic games of childhood and pretend you don't know where they could be
Be the tickle monster

photo by Renee Walton Photography

So simple
But unbelievably good
To forget the housework and the hurry and the heaviness of the days gone by
And just hold them.

(And the five year old sits in the back of the van, belting out "You are a Savior and you take brokenness aside and make it beautiful, BEAUTIFUL!" And then, "Sing it with me, Mama! Sing it!")

I Am An Artist {BFIAR}

I Am An Artist by Pat Lowery Collins was the second book we rowed last week.
I've been packing in the most ourdoors-y books I possibly can so we can enjoy every last drop of  these sunny days!
This book is about observing different aspects of nature and that doing so is creative and artistic in and of itself.
The illustrations are beautiful and the girls loved pointing out various items they noticed in the pictures.
It also went together well with our latest science lessons - observation and natural communities.

"I am an artist when I follow a line where it leads me"

The book showed a leaf and a caterpillar as examples.
So when the girls discovered a caterpillar themselves while playing outside one day they were thrilled and came running, asking that I take a look and a picture!

"I am an artist when I run my fingers over a shiny pod or across the rough bark of a tree"

The book describes textures found in nature so we went on our own texture hunt!
I drew spots on the driveway where they could place the items they found and classify them according to the texture words I provided.

"I am an artist when I cut an apple to see the star inside"

Neither Piper nor Taitum knew about the star inside the apple so this was extra fun!
They ate the apple for snack...

And then proceeded to make apple prints as well!

"I am an artist whenever I look closely at the world around me."

This week's science lesson was about natural communities.
Piper chose a spot in the front yard to place an embroidery hoop and we observed what grew and lived within that space.

"I am an artist when I look through a sun shower for a rainbow. I am an artist when I find one."

Finally, on Friday we did a craft I've been wanting to try for awhile!
We glued crayons to a canvas and blow dried them until they melted, creating a vibrant, rainbow colored piece of art!

This was our first time rowing 2 books in one week but it went very smoothly!
Have I mentioned how much we LOVE Before Five In A Row?!?
Next we're off to discover Prayer For A Child!

Delightful Learning

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photo by Renee Walton Photography

I remember sitting on the edge of her sister's bed nights before she was born
Wondering how in the world I'd be able to love the child growing within me as much as the one slumbering before me
It's hard to understand how a love so deep, unfathomable can be multiplied
Truly, it must be experienced
And after a whirlwind labor and delivery 
When they placed her in my arms
Experience it, I did
This squinty eyed, blotchy faced infant starred up at me
Looking like a worn and weary traveller who had reached home at last
And we named her
Bringer of joy
Because we knew she would
And celebration 
Because she was and is
That quirky, brilliant smile
That fills her face and brightens my heart
Those bouncing golden curls
That trail behind her as she swooshes back and forth, around and around
Endless energy and happiness and life
My heart melts when she asks, "Mama, you 'nuggle me?"
Yes, my darling.
The answer is always yes.
Because as quickly as I can count
1. 2. 3.
These moments. These gifts.
They are flying by.
But she has found the most perfect ways to create a pause.
Her silly answer to my question: 
"Tait, why you so cute?"
"Is from my mudder!"
Makes time stand still as we throw our heads back and laugh
Til there are tears in our eyes and an ache in our belly
And then at night as I peak in 
All is slow and still and sweet
Her Eggy rabbit cinched in tight
Thumb in mouth like that first night in the hospital
I drink in the smell of a day's well worn toddler 
I kiss a warm puffy cheek
And I count
As I close the door on another cherished moment
That I must tuck away 
Deep inside

Happy 3rd birthday, Taitum Jubilee!
Your Mama loves you more than all my kisses or tightest squeezes can explain! 
(You make my heart shine.)

photo by Renee Walton Photography

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Moments To Remember: All The Reasons

Moments to Remember was developed as a simple way to look back on our week as homeschoolers and find photos that encompass the memories we want to remember. 
The week may have been tough, there may have been more bumps than smiles, but in the end these are the moments that keep us going, the ones we need to remember.

As I mentioned in my last post, this past week was so wonderful!
We got off to a bit of a rocky start this year but thankfully everything has calmed down and it certainly feels like we have more of a handle on things!

The pictures above are of the girls happily playing with some school room toys together as Renly makes close observation and of Piper sitting quietly waiting for some creatures to appear during a field trip to the lake.
These were moments in my week that encouraged me and reminded me of all the reasons why we have chosen to educate our children at home!
Each day will always have its own unique challenges but its so nice to have those times that reassure and re-energize!

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Play With Me {BFIAR}

This week we completed our row of Play With Me by Marie Hall Ets.
We had begun it the week before but it ended up being such a busy week that we weren't able to do it justice.
It is such a delightful story that I felt it was worth spending the first half of this week on!

So, what is it about? Here is Piper's narration of the story:

The little girl tried to catch animals. (So they would play with her.) The animals ran away. She sat so quiet and all the animals came out and sat by her. Then a baby fawn came out and licked her cheek!

Now that you have the rundown, on to all the fun we had!

Since the story takes place near a pond and involves a frog and a snake, we played this grid game.
The grid contained lily pads and the girls used frogs and snakes for markers.
They rolled the dice and placed the corresponding number of critters on the grid. 
This continued until their grid was full.

We went to a nearby lake and imitated the little girl in the story by sitting quietly and waiting to see what creatures would appear.
This was SO hard for Taitum! Haha!
That girl loves to move!
She stayed put for a few minutes and then went off to explore.
Piper, on the other hand, was very intent on this activity and sat waiting for quite awhile.
I was a little afraid nothing would appear and she'd end up being very disappointed!

We eventually moved further in to a log that was in the water.
I gave Tait a magnifying glass to keep her occupied and we waited some more....

Thankfully, some frogs began to appear!
It was hard to keep the girls still at that point!
They also saw dragonflies, butterflies, water bugs and fish jumping in the middle of the lake!

We went for a walk on the trail that surrounds the lake, too.
Piper kept making us stop and be quiet in the hopes that an animal would come out!
Taitum also really had her heart set on seeing a rabbit like the one in the story.
Although we did hear squirrels chattering in the woods, the only animal that made an appearance was a chickadee.
But that was alright because the girls were just so enthusiastic about our little adventure! 
They kept thanking me as we walked for bringing them there!

We played "Who Am I?" where I would give clues and Piper and Tait would guess which animal from the story I was referring to!
Once they got it right, they would glue the picture of the animal inside the clue card.
They loved this!
Piper asked if she could play this with her Daddy when he got home so after supper I pulled the cards out and she came up with clues to give him!

We played a little addition game called "How Many Blue Jays?".
We'd say the little rhyme about the blue jay in the tree who would fly away and bring home so many friends.
Then Piper would have to add them to answer how many birds were now in the tree.

Finally, we discussed loneliness since the little girl in the story appears lonely after all the animals have run away from her.
We talked about what it meant, whether they had ever experienced it themselves and if they could think of anyone who may be lonely.
They thought of their Gran Nan since she lives alone.
I asked what we could do to help and together decided a visit was in order!
The girls baked her some Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies one morning and we headed over to her place.
I think they made her day and hopefully they learned the joy of brightening someone else's day!

This week was our best so far!
We are finally settling into a good routine and rhythm.
As a result, we accomplished a lot but were so relaxed and able to truly enjoy our time together!
We also rowed I Am An Artist by Pat Lowery Collins but I'll tell you about that in another post!

Delightful Learning

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I love motherhood.

We're a smiling family.

I'm a covenant keeper.

I love my husband.

I am above self pity.

I am a nation builder.


Worth more than rubies.

“I am more convinced than ever that even in the midst of the mundane, burdensome, and oftentimes frustrating tasks of life allotted to me as a mother, God wants me to find his joy. He wants every single day of my life to be a celebration of his blessings, whether large or small. He wants me to celebrate life ~ the life He has given me.”

~ Sally Clarkson

My Hubby

My Hubby
He's my bestest.


She is my compassionate, dramatic, fun to be around 6 year old. She loves to shop, get dressed up fancy and anything else that screams girly!


She is my goofy, snuggly 4 year old who loves to sing and dance and smile all day long!


She is our one year old smarty pants! She does all she can to keep up with her older sisters and to keep them in line!

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