Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A couple other things...

We found some material for the kitchen window! Because of the width and the look I was going for, I made a real valance instead of doing a mistreatment. I've been enjoying sewing lately, so it was actually fun to put this together. (I'm not thrilled with either of the pictures, but the second one does a bit better job of showing the colors in the fabric - it's actually more green than gold when you see it in person.)

I recently got our family picture frames up in the hall, and today I ordered some pictures printed. Jonathan picked them up, and I was pleased to get some updated pictures of the kids on the wall. I was also pleased to leave the non-updated picture of my man and I. There's nothing like wedding pictures for pretending you haven't changed in the last 14 years... :-)

Christmas Bookcases

My beloved Bubba Eric and dear sis-in-love Beka gave us a generous gift of Christmas money when Beka and the Cousins visited in December. We decided to use it for materials to make bookcases for our Reading Nook. And at last, I have pictures of both shelves to post!

Today, I mistreated the window so our little Nook would look more finished. The little rocker is in dire need of re-finishing, but that's a project for another day. So is establishing some sort of order to the books.

We'd like to add another bookcase eventually, but these two, plus the older shelf on the right, made it possible for me to finish unpacking almost all of our book boxes (there are quite a few books in our room, plus two bookcases that don't show in these Nook pictures).

We are excited about and really enjoying our Reading Nook. Thank you, Byrds, for the lovely shelves! And thanks, Dad and Mom Smith, for helping us put them together!


Jonathan says that you know it's gonna be good when the Lowe's employees are swarming the discount display. Last night he picked up three of these (note the price tag!):

And six of these (again, $1!):

I'm not sure where they will end up, but I am positive they will be a help in my organizational efforts! One of the shelves has already found a home in this corner of our room/office/den:

Even though the shelf has been placed on top already, this is still a "before" shot. Someday, I'd like to have a tall storage cabinet for my school supplies (so I can shut the doors!) but for now, these are my school "shelves." That's the changing table that Jonathan and his dad made when we were expecting Davey. We haven't used it for a while, and I'm hoping to make this little corner a lot tidier over the next week or so.

The Eyes Have It

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I am loving the sunshine today! If a task can be done outside, that's where it's happening. This morning I finished planting the corn, and got the last of Grace's hem torn out (while sitting in the sun). Before the Littles went down for a nap, we read outside for about a half hour. Now for some logging, then a reward of some more reading outside!

Grace's Ruffle

Finished taking out the first hem on Grace's skirt and gave her a ruffle today.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Another benefit of blogging

I'm working on getting our logs finished of our hours of schooling this year. I'm pretty sure the four oldest have enough hours for the year, and Katie is pretty close, but I still have to go back and back sure the kids got everything on their log sheets, add up the totals, etc. And I'm finding it quite helpful to visit the archives of my blog to jog my memory about various activities for each month. A nice serendipity.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Have you seen her?

Over the last couple of days, I've been seeing all these news headlines on my various feeds about some big surprise on a British talent tv show. I'm not into tv; I'm not into reality shows, tv talent shows, etc. But last night when Sue told me about this amazing performance, I headed to youtube to take a look.

I can't embed the video, but it's so worth the click. Check out Susan Boyle.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Fun Afternoon

This afternoon, we met up with Dad and Mom Smith and several families from our home school support group at nearby Shaw Nature Reserve. We'd been there once before, and thoroughly enjoyed our first taste of it this year, taking a close to 3 mile hike.

Also, Dad and Mom Smith bought us a family membership for our birthdays! The membership covers up to 10 adults (children 12 and under are free) and includes admission to Shaw, the Missouri Botanical Gardens (including the Children's Gardens), and the Butterfly House. The part of it we will use the most is the admission to Shaw Nature Reserve. It's about 15 minutes away from us now, and has so much to offer! But we're looking forward to checking out some of the other spots, as we've lived in the St. Louis area for almost 9 years now and have never been to any of them. We're also hoping to take some friends and family to enjoy some of these displays of God's creation.

I just couldn't pick a few pictures to post, so I'm embedding another slideshow. Just click on it to go to the album (where you can see large ones and/or download full size pics). Enjoy!

Need some plant identification practice?

Here's some digital "specimens" from our trip to Shaw Nature Reserve today. Click on the slideshow to get to the Picasa album.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Here's some recent shots of our chickens. Some of the hens have started laying - woohoo!

Sewing Again!

It's been a while since I've done any significant sewing. At our last house, there was just no good place to have the sewing machine set up, and it was therefore rarely used.

One of the things I love about our current home is that there is room in the laundry room (a nice bright cheery room) for my sewing desk and "stuff." I finally got enough stuff unpacked and put away that I can now access the sewing machine easily, and I got busy last Thursday on some skirts for the girls!

I've had this thought for a while that I should be able to make skirts for them from pillowcases (inspired, I'm sure, by Vanessa at V&Co.). I picked up three recently for a quarter each, and decided to give it a go!

Each of the skirts is a bit different. Ellie's the purple one. It was super-simple; I pretty much just cut off the sewn end and make a casing for the elastic. I didn't shorten it at all, because she really liked it this long.

Katie's was pretty basic as well. I cut a decent bit off to get it the right length, made the casing, added the elastic, and hemmed it.

Grace's is the short one. It was a bit more adventurous, as I used these guidelines for an A-line skirt. It was still very easy and fun to make.

I mis-figured on the length of Grace's, so I decided to use the polka-dot trim from the pillowcases to make a ruffle. My first ruffle ever! I grabbed a floral skirt, tore out the hem, ironed it, and proceeded to make and attach the ruffle with the help of this tutorial. The ruffle was so fun and looks adorable. It also is attached to Katie's skirt, not Grace's. Oops! There's no way I'm taking it off, so I'm going to look for some other material to coordinate for a ruffle for Grace's skirt. I'm thinking I might have some denim that is a similar weight to the flannel. Or I could find some flannel that coordinates. Any thoughts?

I have enough left over from Kate and Grace's pillowcases that I'm planning to make them some hair scrunchies.

Oh, and I almost forgot a funny part of this project. I was thinking all along that the flannel pillowcases were homemade. See why?

Well, when I turned one of them inside out, I was shocked to find that these uneven pillowcases were not only store-bought, but a nice brand!

Just goes to show that you can't judge a case by its cover. Or is it that you can't judge it by its brand??

A flurry

You know you've been a bad blogger when you have to go look and see what you talked about in your last few posts. I'll try to do a little catching up tonight.

It was a joy to have the Emmaus Bible College Ensemble in concert in our area in mid-March. The music and memories were a blessing, and I also met a wonderful EBC mom who was such an encouragement to me as a home teaching mom who still feels like the journey has just begun.

Jonathan spent most of a day in late March wrestling with a rented front-tine tiller to get our garden tilled. It was hard work, and I was/am so proud and thankful! This shot was taken when he was not quite halfway done.

March 27th was our chapel talent night - lots of fun! The evening included acoustic guitar, electric guitar, piano, hammered dulcimer, solo and group singing, a hobby presentation, and more. And when the joyful noise died down, we had a great game of Canasta. Pardon the poor quality of the pictures, please.

Friday, April 10, 2009


O teach me what it meaneth,
That cross uplifted high,
With One, the Man of Sorrows,
Condemned to bleed and die!
O teach me what it cost Thee
To make a sinner whole;
And teach me, Savior, teach me
The value of a soul!

O teach me what it meaneth,
That sacred crimson tide,
The blood and water flowing
From Thine own wounded side.
Teach me that if none other
Had sinned, but I alone,
Yet still Thy blood, Lord Jesus,
Thine only, must atone.

O teach me what it meaneth,
Thy love beyond compare,
The love that reacheth deeper
Than depths of self-despair!
Yes, teach me, till there gloweth
In this cold heart of mine
Some feeble, pale reflection
Of that pure love of Thine.

O teach me what it meaneth,
For I am full of sin,
And grace alone can reach me,
And love alone can win.
O teach me, for I need Thee,
I have no hope beside—
The chief of all the sinners
For whom the Savior died!

O teach me what it meaneth
The rest which Thou dost give
To all the heavy-laden
Who look to Thee and live.
Because I am a rebel
Thy pardon I receive
Because Thou dost command me,
I can, I do believe.

O infinite Redeemer!
I bring no other plea;
Because Thou dost invite me
I cast myself on Thee.
Because Thou dost accept me
I love and I adore;
Because Thy love constraineth,
I’ll praise Thee evermore!

by Lucy A Bennett (1850-1927)