scavenger hunt :)

June 7, 2014

yesterday we “hosted” a scavenger hunt for Madison’s CC class. it was a BLAST! this is something she has been wanting to do with her CC friends for months … and a couple months ago we put June 6 on the calendar and suddenly the day arrived. 🙂 we created a list of one hundred items the teams had to find in the mall. we ended up with 9 kids so i divided in to two teams; they had to stick together, everyone on the team had to see the item, and the first time to return with the list complete won!

i was so thankful that a dear girlfriend offered to watch josiah as i am not sure how i could have managed overseeing activities with both boys at the mall. would not happen! josiah had a *blast at lori’s (yeah!) and caleb was a chill dumpling on my lap, allowing me to visit (say what?! actually conversate with the mama’s?! LOL). we had a sweet time visiting, caleb was mostly entertained playing with my phone, a snack, a toy and some kind mama’s who talked to him (but he never left mama’s lap).

i expected the kids would take about an hour but it was nearly *two hours before the winning team returned! they were happy, full of funny stories of various hard-to-find items (a mall employee named sara topped the list 🙂 ).

a great, frugal and fun summer activity for sure!


such a darling group!!

such a darling group!!



i took a pic of the completed list, front and back, as it will surely get lost and so it will be here should we want to reference it, or if anyone wants to use it for their scavenger hunt!

i took a pic of the completed list, front and back, as it will surely get lost and so it will be here should we want to reference it, or if anyone wants to use it for their scavenger hunt!


SCAV list

girlfriend crafting day

September 22, 2013

we had a really sweet time at our home yesterday! madison invited her classmates from classical conversations – the girls, that is 🙂 – over for an afternoon of journal-making and ice cream.

we’d been talking about organizing something for these awesome kids to do and finally a few weeks ago i just said, let’s do it! a crafting time is a no-brainer for my artistic, creative girl. she was so excited and swimming with ideas, but finally narrowed it down to journal-making, because it is frugal and has more appeal to a variety of girls vs a very girly-girly craft that may not interest some.

{an aside: as a mama who has decided to keep my daughter home – out of a large school setting – i believe i carry a great responsibility to steward well her time particularly as it relates to cultivating and growing friendships. i have to be intentional about ensuring she has adequate and positive opportunities to spend time with friends with whom she can share her growing life. i take this seriously and grapple often with this responsibility … and the fact that she spends her mondays in CC seminar with honestly some of the most incredible young teens *ever* makes it simple to decide to create more time with some of these kiddos!}.

the supplies for the party were simple: cheap “composition” books, some pretty paper and rubber cement, then a collection of random pens and stickers and glitter glue that maddie had in her stash. easy & cheap. the day was totally lovely!

chores were done to ensure everything was clean and guest-ready; after that, maddie had a blast setting up!



crafting 4



crafting 2






such sweet girls!!

such sweet girls!!


an added bonus was the opportunity i had to connect with some of the other mama’s … one that i hadn’t yet met and ended up having a really awesome heart-sharing time of conversation with as she dropped her daughter off.  what a blessing!

another mama was a childhood friend of mine – crazy! – and now our daughters are enjoying their growing friendship so much. in fact, when this mama came her daughter was protesting having to leave, insisting her mom sit and visit with me longer. 🙂 no problem!

i was struck by a comment one mama made: that we are all overwhelmed by the intensity of this *very* academic, challenging, rigorous classical schooling program and that i – having two small babies at home – opened my home to host this wonderful time for the girls. honestly, i don’t feel like it’s that big of a deal as far as effort, etc. it’s so worth it!

most of all, it’s worth it because relationships matter. they  matter to GOD – he designed us for relationship with Him and for unity with one another. it can be so easy to let the busy-ness of life get in the way,

i have also been thinking about how *stuff* can get in the way of relationships … not having the “right” stuff, having too much stuff. STUFF!

i confess that since we’ve moved and haven’t yet been able to furnish the way that i’d love to, it can feel a little intimidating having company over. i want so badly to have the big comfortable couch that would be cozy and beautiful; the lovely pillows and rug and pictures and …


on the flip side, i know someone who has such nice stuff, who cares so much about all this stuff, that she doesn’t have company (especially little people) because getting all that stuff messy would totally stress her out.

how crazy is all this?! so, i determined to no longer put off opening our home … in order to do what matters most: love people. build relationship.

make memories.


December 22, 2012


my sweet friend heather made these, and gave them to a group of us mama’s at a recent homeschool mama’s brunch. what a beautiful (and thoughtful!) reminder that our work in our homes is our ministry. she encouraged us to hang it in a place we see often (over my kitchen sink) to be reminded, when days are rough or monotonous or challenging … this is right where GOD has us, and this is our most important work.

“My joy isn’t dependent on keeping my house as orderly as i would like, or on obtaining possessions to put in it, or on getting all the schooling done, or accomplishing anything else on my To Do list. My joy is dependent on my relationship with the LORD and our celebrating this life he has given me.

So make the choice to celebrate life with your family.  It is so easy to think that life consists of the assorted responsibilities, tasks and crises that fill up the hours of each homeschooling day.  But it doesn’t. The parts of life that matter most are the unexpected moments and memories that happen each day – the ones that won’t be forgotten.

Choose to be thankful, and learn to be content. You’ll find the joy that GOD wants you to know.”

(Season’s of a Mother’s Heart, Sally Clarkson)

presentations :)

May 12, 2012

this has been presentation of learning week! yesterday, maddie presented a science experiment project to a group of homeschoolers at the home of michele, our dear “e.s” (educational specialist). maddie did a really good job – she spent a lot of time preparing and gave her speech from memory, even projecting her voice and smiling 🙂 proud of my girl for improvements being made.

maddie and michele 🙂

and this morning, it was our turn to present a country to our homeschool co-op group. we had selected france months ago, and spent time this week researching. it was *much* more low-key than when we presented tanzania in the fall (and spent many MANY hours researching and preparing). i just am not in the space for that this week, during this season … so i lightened up on my expectations, decided we’d meet at the park instead of our home, and it was lovely. totally lovely, sharing what we’d learned and just being together.

here are a few pics of my sweet precious ones this morning at the park …

don’t let his deliciousness fool you 🙂 he made our presentation time quite interesting as he was not about to hang out in mama’s arms while we presented … he had to get down!!



she says, “give sister kisses?”

a full, beautiful week of learning … and yes, this mama is ready for summer! hee hee

{it is interesting, this juxtaposition: carrying forth with daily life and learning and the realities therein, while holding this wondering about big financial questions hanging for us right now. as i’ve shared, our lives have been feast or famine since we took the leap and left our “real” jobs nearly three years ago … and right now, a number of specific things have not come through the way we anticipated and hoped. conferences, projects, events … all happening but more slowly or with significantly less up-front profit. so, i am believing and choosing to trust; hubby is working about 20 hours/day … looking for a miracle soon! and through this, babies need feeding and laundry needs washing and meals need cooked and presentations must go on. so, it does and they do and GOD is good, through it all. }

our lapbook experience (again) proved totally awesome. this style of learning suits madison so well: creative, holistic, using different learning mediums to gain a deeper understanding. i love it, too!

i decided to change things up a bit with schooling last month. we were in a bit of a rut and maddie had been asking to learn about volcanoes, so i found this great resource. we’d done lapbooking before – primarily character study units. it’s incredible how many different areas of learning are offered just in this one lapbooking site. we had a hard time picking just one!

i selected the “volcanoes” unit study, which included learning about earthquakes and tsunamis as well. i printed the “schedule” which ended up taking three weeks to complete. the schedule and information offered served as a jumping off point for me – i wanted to dive a little deeper and provide a bit more of a challenge for madison. in advance of the study for the following day, i found information online about the subjects we’d be learning. i saved the links for her reference the following day. we also went to the library when we started and checked out several books on volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis …  good stuff! the books and online sites provided additional opportunities for her to learn and research the material, which happened pretty naturally as we went through it each day.

{for those unfamiliar with the whole lapbook concept, basically you use the plain file folders and staple them together to form “flaps” that open and can be used to display various materials inside. super cool and simple.}

here are a few pics of the finished lapbook …


the cover


one of the "flaps" opened ...


the inside flap


the left flap


a (sort of) aerial view of the whole lapbook!

when we finished this project, we had a special evening set aside for madison to share all that she’d learned and done with hubs. the time “teaching” him actually ended up teaching her a lot more as my (brilliant) beloved had questions and inquiries that ended up deepening her knowledge of certain areas (despite occasional groans of protest – ha!).

here are some pics from that night … 



lapbook shake-up

March 20, 2012

sometimes i need to change things up in our schooling when i feel like we’ve settled in to a rut. for us, the rut looks like: let’s get through the “essentials”, quickly and be “done” with schooling.

and then i remember … and life and our experiences remind me: learning doesn’t end! AND mama’s approach and perspective really shapes how our schooling time unfolds each day.

so, maddie has been asking to learn about physical science-type things: earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis. she is curious and wants to learn.

{and may i share that this wanting to learn, this curiosity … is something i am so thankful for!? it challenges and stretches me to stay on my “game” and keep focused and intentional}.

we talked last week and agreed that this week would be a totally different kind of learning week: we’d stick with some basics (math, reading, grammar) but instead of the usual history, science and other misc learning, we would focus totally on a unit study.  she requested we use the lapbook format which i am so thankful that sweet jessica introduced me to a few years ago … it offers my creative, hands-on learner an opportunity to learn while creating and putting together this fabulous final product.

(here’s a great site with free lapbook templates and ideas).

all weekend, maddie was literally squealing with excitement, so excited to start our study this week!

today was day one, and it went really well. as usual, i underestimated how long it would take to do some of the work and projects so we didn’t complete all of my “day 1” plan. but that’s ok. she learned, i learned, and it was good!

i will post pics and an update of the lapbook once it’s all complete.

odds and ends

November 2, 2011

a few things from my corner of the world these days …

:: we don’t “do” halloween but had fun at a few local festivals this past weekend … the trunk or treat at our church was super fun. we brought mylia, and met mom there. the girls were so cute!


:: as the pictures above show, the leaves changing are utterly *glorious* this year! the fall weather has been sublime … clear, sunny afternoons with a touch of cool lingering. love.

:: hubby has been asked to write a piece to appear in the washington post – go babe! it should come out this week – can’t wait to see his article in print.

:: speaking of my favorite guy, he is racing … his national org is “exploding” … they have events with CNN this weekend in portland, long island and silicon valley. in a few weeks, they have an event at rutgers university ( *very* exciting times. thank GOD!

:: the newness of the schooling year has worn off, the excitement of our tanzania project passed, and i was feeling a need to infuse something new and to reinforce something old. so, i’ve reprinted maddie’s “chore chart” to keep her (and me) on track for her daily chore expectations. i added some new things to our weekly schedule {some daily journaling with prompts; looking through some lovely and inspiring catalogs about birds; starting a new spelling program, incorporating some arts}.

:: the best addition to our daily schedule has been her scripture writing on the subject of fear. interestingly (or not), this is a struggle for mama and is resurfacing as a struggle for my girl. i hate it. respecting her privacy i will not share details here, but suffice to say that we are seeking victory in this area!! and we serve the Victory-giver! i am having her look up the verse, write it in her bible journal … then together we create a beautiful page, decorated with the verse. monday she did isaiah 41:10.

:: josiah is, quite honestly,  BEYOND the sweetest most precious little boy ever. he is just so GOOD, so adorable, and so fun. each day brings more joy, more laughs, more gratitude. i can’t believe he will be 7 months tomorrow! (post w/updates and highlights to come).

:: shifting major gears (!), the sleep thing continues to be a serious nightmare (no pun intended, lol). after several days of intense and agonizing sleep training, it became obvious that he was experiencing some physical discomfort that prevented me from feeling comfortable letting him cry. since then, it’s gone downhill. he literally wakes up every 1 – 1 1/2 hours. last night i laid him down at 6:30 (he was totally sleepy and ready for bed) and he woke every hour until i hit a wall, 10:30ish, and brought him to bed w/me. when he wakes, he rolls over to his back, loses his pacifier, and begins to scream loudly, while rubbing/scratching his head/neck voraciously. it’s the *worst*. it’s obviously poor sleep habits but something else? today when we were at his ped (for maddie’s allergy testing) i had her check his left ear, since he seems to mostly rub that side. it’s all clear. his swollen glands we’ve been feeling? yep, there and normal. nothing physical she could see. i’ve even tried benadryl – no effect. so, back to square one. i am so weary and told hubby i feel like i’m just on call 24-7, there is no reprieve and has been no uninterrupted moment in my life for 7 months. which sounds complaining but is just keeping it real.

:: we all LOVE taking a bath with our boy! seriously, it’s just so *sweet*. if he is upset or itchy or whatever, being in the water immediately calms him. and for us, it’s just so yummy and lovely. it’s usually me or hubs but last week maddie got in on the fun. look how cute: