Woolgathering {A Copycat Attempt}

This is an attempt to mimic my favorite blogger ever (because she is the coolest.)...
Except I don't really know what woolgathering means...
Just a second.
Ah, here it is.

Woolgathering: Indulgence in aimless thought or dreamy imagining; absentmindedness.


Anyhow, now that we have that all sorted out, here are my aimless thoughts, er, woolgathering.

- Piper has been begging me for a winter outfit for her doll (think American Girl but not). She is SO disturbed that her doll, Adele, has on summer attire in these freezing temperatures. We ventured off to the toy store to see how much a new outfit was...$20!! Um, no. I have been since searching for free patterns to make the desired clothes and I think I've found something doable!

- I can not believe that I am excited about homemade doll clothing. Daughters change a person.

- I'm super excited about a polar bear painting we're doing tomorrow. I get more into the art projects than the kids do sometimes...

- Considering growing sugar crystal sticks after our borax crystals experiment was a success.

- I cannot find the toilet paper roll holder stick thingy. Cannot.

- I'm really worried Winterfest is going to be a bust with the rain today and tomorrow and super cold temperatures coming. All I really want to see are the dog sleds!!

- I'm STILL reading Les Miserables. I started it in November. But it really is too good to stop. 

- Renly can stand all on her own. One problem: she clasps her hands together in the most pitiful and fearful kind of way and fake cries the entire time.

-Same kid = two new teeth. I'm patting myself on the back for that one.

- I bought Borax this week for the above mentioned science experiment. Now I have a whole box of it and I'm seriously considering making my own laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent with it. I've officially gone over the domestic edge.

- Speaking of the domestic edge, I am up to my ears in laundry - both clean-needs-to-be-folded stuff and dirty-needs-to-be-washed-and-dried stuff. Yet I blog...

- I have bags and bags of stuff that needs to go to Value Village. I keep starring at them, wishing them away. Not loading 3 kids plus all the stuff into the van on a bitter cold day wins out every. single. time.

- I joined Spring Clean 365 on FB. Day 1: Clean computer. Guess who is typing away on a dusty keyboard and looking at a smudgy screen?

- Taitum is my lucky sicky of the day. (Some schools have student of the month...We have sicky of the day.)  She keeps asking 'You 'nuggle me?'. Genius child. She knows I can't say no.

- Piper is on a Valentine's coloring page spree. Sometimes I join her. It reminds me that there are aspects of childhood I hugely miss.

- Carving soap is madly therapeutic. Go grab a bar of Ivory and try it. You can thank me later.

- I heard recently of someone seriously attempting to make a Christmas gift per month so when Christmas comes it won't be a mad frenzy trying to come up with and complete homemade gift ideas. I'm going to try. Except January. Obviously. On the other hand, this could be reminiscent of my Spring Cleaning 365 attempt.

- My husband was caught on Pinterest today. True story.

- I'm so terribly excited about my birthday trip to the States. Shopping. Good food. Lovely (although occasionally inappropriate) company...love you M&D! 

- Ren seems to finally be able to tolerate cow's milk. (Which means the doc's suggestion I was all growly about proved to be a good one....) However, the child LOATHES it. My hope of weaning her just escaped my grasp....

- I am voluntarily trying mussels tomorrow all in the name of my children's education. I'm already gagging at the thought of it.

I had a lot of woolgathering.
Maybe too much.
In fact, it's rather addicting.
I have WAY too much wool to gather.
Blame Heather.

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Jack and Jill {Letter J}

For the past two weeks, Taitum has been learning Jack and Jill and the letter J.
(I had intended to do a rhyme a week but things got hectic and so we ended up spreading this one out over two!)

Day 1:

Tait was commissioned to build a hill and then attempt to go up it while we sang the rhyme!
Of course, Piper and I helped with the building and took turns, too!
(It's harder than it looks!)
This activity caused a lot of laughter and was Tait's favorite activity!
She asked to do it everyday!

Day 2:

I made little buckets out of styrofoam and pipe cleaner and numbered them one to five.
Taitum then had to use tongs to transfer the corresponding number of water pompoms into the buckets.
She surprised me with how good she was at handling the tongs!
She needed a little help with the counting (mostly because she gets ahead of herself) but it took her no time to complete this and dump them all out to try again!

Day 3:

I printed off this J is for Jack and Jill do-a-dot sheet and Tait used pompom magnets to fill in the circles.
I left this out for a few days afterwards and it was used a lot by both girls - they just love using those magnets!

 Day 4:

Of course, Tait had no idea what a well was or what it meant to fetch a pail of water!
So this activity hopefully helped get the point across!
I filled the tub with water and threw in the foam letters that we have learned so far.
Then I provided Tait with a pail and got her to 'fetch' a letter!
She would pull one up and tell me which letter it was, I'd stick it on the wall of the shower and she'd go after another one!
She quite liked this although it was a challenge to fetch those letters!
My hubby said I should have made her go up the basement stairs each time to be really accurate but I think that would have been overdoing it! Haha!
(Also, I should note she doesn't know all the letters we have done so far. These activities are meant to introduce her to the letters of the alphabet and help her to become familiar with them over time. So don't freak out if your 3 year old doesn't know their letters yet. It's ok! Neither does mine!)

Day 5:

Finally, we did a letter J craft.
Tait glued on the letter, applied smiley faces for Jack and Jill, drew their bodies and glued on wooden shapes to make their bucket and the well.
Last of all, she used blue glitter glue markers to make the water splashing out of the bucket as they fell!

Despite the fact that it took us a bit longer to get through all the activities for this rhyme, Taitum, again, thoroughly enjoyed having her own special school time!
I am loving it too!
And Piper has been so considerate as well.
Sometimes she asks to join in which I generally welcome but other times when I have provided her with her own school work to do, she goes off and works quite diligently on it.
(I think it makes her feel like a big girl to have work she can do all on her own!)

Next week, I am planning on doing 'Sing a Song of Sixpence' with Taitum.
We will be using 'king' in the rhyme to learn the letter K!

Friday Favorite Things{7}

Simple moments to warm the heart on these bitterly cold days...

So very curious about everything.
She stood and watched the mixer the entire time it was on.
I stood and watched her the entire time, too.

There's been a lot of this lately.
Big sister is determined that little sister will walk soon.
She is the sweetest little coach and Ren loves the special attention.

Opening her first ever paper snowflake.
Such delight!

Can you guess this babe's favorite treat?
It's a mess but this little face makes me squeal every time!
So. Much. Cuteness.

She encourages me everyday.
I am amazed at the person she is becoming.
She reminds me daily that I am her best friend.

Forever on the go, figuring out how to get from one place to another.
Watching her problem solve is a favorite pastime...

Sometimes that problem solving doesn't quite work out the way she thought it would.
Found her hanging out in the basket of clean diapers, all snuggled up and waiting for someone to pass by.

Fish tank cleaning day.
This scene made us all crack up.
Emma the fish looks so impressed.

friday favorite things | finding joy

A Lovely Way to Nod Off

Not every bedtime, but often I read to the girls from a novel.
They snuggle up in their beds and I sit back against the wall, usually with a coffee in hand.
It took some practice for one little girl in particular to learn to stay still and listen.
But this has become a beloved pastime for me and my two oldest.
I enjoy the stories as much as they do!
Sometimes I choose books I've read before and enjoyed.
Other times I pick a known classic that I'm interested in reading for the first time too!
Together we enter in to these make believe tales that make us smile and giggle, sometimes sad or upset.
In many ways, I feel like this is more valuable than any of the school lessons we do together in the run of a day.
And yet it is not work, it is a pleasure.
I want them to know that - the joy of reading a great book, joining in on a great adventure, falling in love with timeless characters, feeling anticipation over what will happen in the next chapter...

Right now we are reading Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne.
And let me just say - it's a million times better than the Disney version!
Our reading time often ends with a deep, happy sigh from one girl child who whispers, "Mama, I just love Winnie the Pooh."
And an inquiring, "What's the next chapter called?" from another.
Other times, I find one or another sound asleep and I can't help but think that is a lovely way to nod off.

"You seem so sad, Eeyore."
"Sad? Why should I be sad? It's my birthday. The happiest day of the year."
"Your birthday?" said Pooh in great surprise.
"Of course it is. Can't you see? Look at all the presents I have had." He waved a foot from side to side. "Look at the birthday cake. Candles and pink sugar."
Pooh looked - first to the right and then to the left.
"Presents?" said Pooh. "Birthday cake?" said Pooh. "Where?"
"Can't you see them?"
"No," said Pooh.
"Neither can I," said Eeyore. "Joke," he explained. "Ha ha!"

With one chapter left of Winnie the Pooh I've been thinking about what to read to them next.
I'm debating between The Tale of Despereaux and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

What is your favorite childhood novel?

Turning One {And How She's Changed Me}

Two other little voices joined me in song
All a buzz with excitement 
Movement never ending
While her big, beautiful blue eyes stare
And wondering
What is this?

One whole year 
And I feel much the same, my little Ren
How could you go from this...

To this 
In a mere twelve months?

I should know by now
How fleeting those tiny baby moments are
In a flash they are gone
But your sisters have taught me well, my darling
And I have drunk deep of your newborn scent
I have rocked you longer than necessary
I have found ridiculous joy in rising to nourish you at all hours of the night

In the quiet
Those moments of me and you
It will never come again
But I have learned the error of holding on too tight
Like sand in your hand
If squeezed too tight, it pours out anyway
And you will have missed the joy of feeling it trickle through the fingers of an open palm

I have sought to take in the wonder of each moment
To let it come and go
And to simply thank the God that is good
For snuffy nosed silliness 
And hand phone telephone calls
For clapping happily to every song
And snuggling in to the crook of my neck
For discoveries of sound and voice
And warm, rosy cheeks in the morning.

With you
I have come to terms with the reality that I can't do it all
But I can do something
Each and every day
I can take time to hold you
To roll a ball back and forth
And take turns balancing a toy on our noses
The housework and emails and errands can wait
If only for a minute or two
Because I can't do everything
But I can spend time with you

Thank you, little girl
For slowing your Mama's pace
Reminding me that sweet, simple memories with my babies
Are infinitely more important than a clean toilet
For charming me each and every day
With that grin
And those precious baby rolls
Helping me truly embrace life as Mom

Happy 1st Birthday, Renly!
You are my sunshine!

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel {FIAR}

I've been putting off completing this post because it's a long one and I have a lot to say!
Our first week back to school was a good one and we accomplished most of what we set out to do!
It felt so good to be back into the routine of things!

I wasn't so sure how much the girls would enjoy a book about a machine considering they have never showed much interest in such things.
To my surprise, they really enjoyed this book!
It was a really sweet story and provided us with many different topics to talk about!

This week I attempted to put many of Piper's lessons related to the story in a lap book.
I'm hoping this will provide her with a way to show others what she is doing in school and give her a sense of accomplishment in all she does throughout the week.

Day 1:

We talked about steam engines - how they work, why they were such a useful invention and what has since replace them.
Piper was extremely interested in the youtube videos I had to show her.
This one was our favorite:

We also talked about stewardship.
Mike Mulligan took such good care of Mary Anne, his steam shovel, that she could still dig extremely well.
I explained to Piper what good stewardship meant and asked her to think of ways she could be a good steward of her things.
I was going to record her answers for her but she asked me to write them out so she could print them on the paper I had printed for her lapbook.
I wasn't sure she was capable of so much copywork but she surprised me with how well she did!

Day 2:

We talked about personification.
As a visual representation of this literary device I gathered some toys - some with eyes and/or faces painted on them and some without.
I had Piper sort the objects that had been given human qualities from those that had not.

Next, she personified an object herself by giving a flower eyes and a smile.
This was a very basic understanding of the literary device but we eventually moved on to talk about how this also involved giving objects or animals feelings or making them talk.
Throughout the week, Piper began to point out different objects around our home and characters in stories we were reading that had been personified!
Her greatest challenge was pronouncing 'personification'! Haha!

We've also begun to fill out a story map for each of the books that we row.

Day 3:

We did a little art lesson involving trees.
First, we practiced drawing a tree that was seen from further away.
Then we drew one close up that included more detail.
On her own Piper also attempted a pine tree as is found in the mountain scenes of the book!

Day 4: 

Piper learned that squares have 4 equal sides and 4 equal angles.
She went hunting for squares to cut out of a magazine and glued them in her lapbook.

Then both girls worked together to make squares with elastics on their geoboard.
This was a first and they were fascinated with this activity!

Piper was so intrigued by steam engines and how they worked.
I decided to print her off a picture of a train showing a diagram of a steam engine.
I made her a copy of her own to fill in.
I left it with her after a snack as something to work on if she wanted to while a I took a quick shower.
When I came back to the kitchen later on I found this:

Not only had she correctly filled in the train, she had also added a track and trees (like the ones she had learned to draw during our art lesson a few days earlier)!
Needless to say I was very impressed!
This girl just keeps amazing me!!

The girls also had their first experience with Lego!
I had picked up a box of construction vehicle Lego for them knowing that our next two rows were about construction vehicles.
When I opened it, I realized the instructions were far too complicated for my girls.
I figured I could at least put it together and then let them play with the constructed vehicles.
I began to build and wasn't surprised that Tait quickly lost interest and went off to play with something else.
However, Piper stuck right by my side and worked hard to help me piece together aspects of the trucks.
She was so interested and eager to be a part of the constructing process!
I definitely plan to invest in more Lego sets.
It ended up being a really fun thing for her and I to do together and both girls enjoyed playing together with the finished product!

That was our first week of 2013!
It was very full but very rewarding!
And it has been a delight to watch Piper experience new things and tackle new challenges!
Next, we moved on to row Katy and the Big Snow but I'll share that another time!

Delightful Learning

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Itsy Bitsy Spider {Letter I}

September to December, homeschooling went exceptionally well.
Our days went smoothly.
(Well...as smoothly as can be expected with 3 littles in the mix...)
But overall, I am happy with the routine we have established and the curriculum we are using.

However, I felt like Taitum was missing out.
Don't get me wrong - by choice, she is there for nearly every second of our school time.
The problem was that it was frustrating for her.
She often couldn't do the activities at the same level Piper was doing them.
So even though I was including her in everything she was getting discouraged by the fact that her coloring or drawings or whatever did not look like Piper's.
I attempted to provide her with more age appropriate activities that corresponded to what Piper was doing but the bottom line was she was not developmentally ready to sit and work on a worksheet or attempt to cut something out unaided.

I knew what she needed - more hands on, movement and sensory based learning activities.
So over Christmas break I prepared a mini curriculum for Taitum that is all her own.
Considering how well Piper's school work is going, I felt comfortable adding a little extra to my planning and to our day.
Additionally, this provides Piper with a new challenge that I wasn't sure she could handle yet - individual work.
Long story short - she has blown me out of the water with her ability to listen to my instructions and sit and work on something all by herself!

Anyhow, back to Tait.
She loves to sing and is really good at memorizing rhymes so I've planned a different nursery rhyme for each week that corresponds with the letter we are learning.
We only spend 20 - 30 minutes each day learning one on one together but it has proven to be the perfect amount of time and such a confidence builder for her.
Taitum is so thrilled every day to have this time together with me.
And I can't explain to you how happy it makes me to make special time just for her!

This past week we learned the Itsy Bitsy Spider to go along with learning the letter 'I'.
Here's what we did:

Day 1:
We made the spider with construction paper and googly eyes.
The water spout was a leftover wrapping paper roll that we painted.
We used these props the rest of the week to re-enact the song.

Day 2:
We had some contact paper fun!
I taped it to the table, added some spider bodies and numbered them 1 -5.
Taitum then added the correct number of legs to each spider by sticking pipe cleaners onto the contact paper.

I figured she would want to do some more 'sticking' once the legs were added so I simply cut up some construction paper into squares.
We then had a chance to learn about squares while 'feeding' them to the spiders!

Day 3:
Taitum practiced her colors with this little spider game.
She would roll the dice, name the color it rolled to and add that color clothespin to the spider!
This was such a fun game for her and she was delighted to teach it to her sister later in the day.

Day 4:
For our letter wall she made a letter 'I' itsy bitsy craft.
She glued a cut out letter 'I' to her paper, used her thumbprint to make the spider's body and added legs with a marker.
She then glued a cut out sun in the sky and used the eraser of a pencil to dab blue paint on for the rain.

Day 5:
Finally, Taitum used plastic spiders and paint to make spider prints all over the letter 'I'!
Piper joined us for this activity and both girls had a blast shrieking and giggling over the 'yucky' spiders in the paint!

Next week we plan on learning Jack and Jill to go along with letter 'J'.
I'm hoping that things continue to work out so well as they did this past week!
Taitum is also continuing with her All About Reading Pre Reading curriculum (which I've simply incorporated into this time together) and still joins us for much of Piper's schoolwork.
She is so quick to learn things and such a joy to spend time with!
And hearing her sing the song we're learning while off playing at other times during the day is just the icing on the cake!
In fact, we sang the "Itsy Bitsy Spider all through the grocery store today! 

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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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