Thursday, May 24, 2012

Some kids say, "I'm bored"...

...some kids, like Big Littles just start making trouble.  Big Littles never complains of boredom, but I can tell when he needs something to do because he starts being a pest in every possible way.  (And I do love that boy.)   Yes, the boy needs to keep busy doing something productive, and that means putting him to work or giving him some direction in his play.  Apparently my Dad was the same way.  My Granny used to tell the story that she would get exasperated trying to keep my Dad busy, so she would finally just say, "Go outside and chase yourself!"

While running off energy is good, I'm always looking for more creative ways to keep him busy doing things that are productive and positive that do not include TV, movies, or screens of any kind.  Problem is, my brain gets muddled and I have a hard time remembering all of those brilliant ideas.  But my dear friend, the Deputy Headmistress, blogging at The Common Room has compiled a wonderful collection of ideas... a treasure trove of ideas...  She's been compiling these ideas since the year I was born, first on index cards, and now in an e-book that you can read on your Kindle, tablet, or just on your computer:

She was sweet enough to send me a free copy to preview, and even though I've been reading her blog for a long while, it is so useful to have all of these ideas in one place.  There are games in this book that I played as a child, but forgot the rules, such as "Sardines in a Can" as well as a great many that are new to me.  There are things to do inside, outside, in the car, in the kitchen, or in the bathtub.  There are activities for a wide range of ages, so I see myself using this resource for years to come.  The best thing about this collection of ideas is that nearly every one includes things most people already have around their house.  No need to spend hours of prep time or make a trip to the craft store for a 15 minute activity.  This book is about getting creative with what you already have.

Imagine... you find yourself waiting for an extra long time in a doctor's waiting room and your little ones are getting antsy.  You pull out your kindle, tablet, or whatever, and instead of letting your little ones play "Angry Birds", you look up a game in this e-book and give the little ones something much more clever, creative, and stimulating... you teach them "Hull Gull Odd or Even" or "Coffeepot".

 "The cure for boredom is curiosity.  There is no cure for curiosity."  ~Dorothy Parker

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Building Character: LOVE

Last week, I introduced a series I'm beginning on the blog on Building Character.  As a family, we are studying a character trait each week and I thought some of you might be interested in keeping up with it.  (If you want more information on the nuts and bolts of what we are doing, you can read how to get started on this post.)

We are starting out with the Fruits of the Spirit and are going in order, so week one, we talked about LOVE.

Art Print - Fruit of the Spirit Print
Fruit of the Spirit print from Grey Linen Shop on Etsy

The operational definition of LOVE that we use is, "Giving to others without seeking personal reward."  The opposite of love is selfishness.  All week long, we highlighted actions that we saw that were done out of true love.  It really challenged our incredibly self-centered (and age appropriately so) pre-school child to think about showing kindness when there was no benefit for himself.

The corresponding Bible passage we used is 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 -
"Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never fails."
With our little ones, we emphasized that love is kind and that it does not seek its own.  We chose the Bible account of Jesus giving up His life on the cross to save us from our sins, the greatest example of love ever shown.

Working on these character traits with my Littles has been humbling as I realize just how much I need to work on my own shortcomings in these areas.  I still fail.  But with God's mercy and grace, tomorrow I will have a chance to try again.

Blessings to you, dear readers!

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

HELP! I need a new crock pot... and QUICK!

I discovered a crack in the stoneware part of my crockpot when half the liquid in my beans slowly leaked onto the counter overnight.  So now I need a new one, and fast, because we do so many meals in that thing!

My main question is this:  The one shown above is what we bought about 3 years ago and it was on sale for $15 from Target.  I actually liked the simplicity of it.  The only issue I had was that the enamel seemed to be wearing off much sooner than it should, and now the current crack.  My concern with the enamel is... is that in our food now?  And is that ok?

So I would love to have some crock pot reviews - what have you, personally used?  How has the enamel held up?  How heavily do you use it?


PS - Preacher Man said "The only appliance that sees more use in our house is the toilet."

:P  Such a sense of humor, that man.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How's that routine going?

So it has been a while since I blogged about Large Family Logistics.  I thought I'd revisit the subject since I am settling into a slightly different daily and weekly routine.

I don't blog about things that I haven't tried and done successfully.  You know those cute, fun ideas you see on Pinterest that just flop?  Or perhaps you are wise enough to discern that sometimes a cute, fun idea is not at all practical for you.  Well, I don't blog about that stuff.  If I post something here, it is because it works for me and it works well.  I try to keep quality standards high.  Now just because it works for me doesn't mean it will work just as well for you - people are different after all.  But I can tell you that Large Family Logistics works for me, it works really well, and it has been working really well for me for more than 9 months with two different houses and different routines.  *nods*

I posted my original daily routines here.  Things have changed a bit as I am doing more structured work with my pre-school child, and we've worked Bible Time into our morning.  See, when I first started, I was doing well just to get meal time and nap/bedtime routines down.  Adding more structured time was just too overwhelming, but now that I've been doing it for a few months, I can add in structured blocks much more easily.

I think it is worth noting that this structured time I have added in is VERY short!  Bible Time in the morning and School Time in the afternoon are 15 minutes long, TOPS!  There is still plenty of unstructured play time for my Littles, and that is the way I like it!

So here is my new routine... Plan A if you will.

Daily Routines

Morning Routine -
1) Morning Prayer and Coffee Time
2) Fix Breakfast - water pitcher for the table
3) Eat with a Psalm
4) Vitamins
5) Wash face/brush teeth
6) Clean the table - check lunch/dinner plans
7) Everyone gets dressed
8) Make beds

Bible Time      (Monday - CQ, Tuesday/Thursday - CQ Bible story, Wednesday/Friday - review Sunday lesson)

Obedience Drills

Play Time/Chore Time - hang up a load of laundry + chores for the day

Lunch Routine - cook, eat, clean up

Book Time - Big Littles reads to me, I read to aloud to everyone

Toy Pick Up

Quiet Time - Consider, do my boys feel cherished today?

School Time - handwriting, math games  

Play Time

Dinner Time - cook, eat, clean up

Children’s Hour - play, wrestle, music, walk, baths

Bedtime Routine -
1) Toy pick up
2) Brush teeth, potty, put on pajamas
3) Read Books
4) Prayers, Bed for the boys

*** Double check tomorrow’s lunch/dinner plans, soak laundry if needed

I plan to post on my weekly routine and changes to my Homekeeping Notebook next Wednesday.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Building Character: Getting Started

If you are interested in following along with our Character Quality studies, we'd love to have you join us!  In this post, I'm going to explain the system I have come up with that is working for us at this moment in time, but please feel free to adapt any of this for your own preferences or needs.  We have a pre-school child and a toddler, so I teach to their level, but any of this can be easily adapted.  As I said, I think I'm learning more than anyone, so this study doesn't have to be just for your kids!

We are adding a new character quality each week and I am adapting character qualities from this list.  I'm simplifying some of the language for my Littles and I also added the Fruits of the Spirit.  There are 52 qualities in all, so by the end, I hope to have an entire year's worth of studies.

We have been having a daily "Bible Time" after breakfast cleanup is finished.  I keep it between 10-15 minutes.  We pull out a blanket for the floor and clear the area of distracting books and toys for this time.  The Littles have the choice of sitting on the blanket or on the bottom stair just behind the blanket.  I don't insist that they sit perfectly still, but I do train them to stay in one place or the other.  (This is good practice for sitting in Bible classes and assemblies with other Christians both in our home and in our meeting place.)  Other than the blanket, I keep a Bible handy for each of us, and that is all we need as far as materials go.

Right now, the daily Bible Time routine goes something like this:
  • Recite Deuteronomy 6:5-6 with hand motions
  • Sing "We Are Part of the Family" from a collection of wonderful Bible songs called, Each Little Dewdrop
    (The CD is for sale here - we especially like it because it features children singing)
  •  The body of the lesson happens here***
  • I ask, "How did God create you?"  answer - "In His image" (Genesis 1:27)
  • "Why did God create you and all things?" answer - "For His own Glory!" (Isaiah 43:7)  Then we sing the song I wrote to illustrate this:  For His Own Glory
  • And lastly ask, "How will you bring Him glory today?"
  • Then we all sing "Jesus Loves Me" - one verse or many
*** For the body of the lesson, I do different things on different days:
Monday - Introduce the character quality for the week and we talk about the definition, and the corresponding Bible verse
Tuesday - we do a Bible story and I try to tie in something with our weekly character quality
Wednesday - Review our Bible class lesson from Sunday
Thursday - Review the Bible story from Tuesday and our weekly character quality
Friday - Review our Bible class lesson from Sunday

 I am printing out an extra large index card for each character quality that looks like this:

As you see, the character quality is in large, bold letters on the left, while the opposite quality is in small letters on the right.  (The opposite qualities are every bit as valuable, I am finding!)  Next comes the definition, and finally, a corresponding Bible verse.  I plan to laminate these when I am finished, as we would like to continue this yearly cycle.  I like hand writing them out, but you can certainly make use of your printer.  I would suggest printing on card stock for the sake of durability.

At one end of our dining table, we put up a white board/bulletin board combo.  On the white board, we intend to keep a prayer list... still working on that one.  I tack up the character quality card of the week on the cork section.  Big Littles asked to keep "love" up there, so we did, at least for now.  This makes it handy to review our character quality, definitions, and Bible verses at meal times. 

 So that's basically what we do.  It's simple, really.  The hardest part is building the habit into our days... but the Littles are very helpful with that one!  They are quick to remind us when we forget!  :)

Do you have any special routines for some kind of Bible Time at your house?  I'm always open for new ideas!

Character Quality Studies posted so far:

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Building Character

Do you want to know how to have a great marriage?  How to do a great job raising your kids?  How to run your household well?  How to effectively reach others with the gospel? 

The answer to all of these is the same:  Have the right character. 

I have come to realize more and more that so many of life's problems would not be problems if I only had the proper character... the character of Jesus.  I can't change other people.  I can't force people to do what is right, no, not even my children.  I can only control one person and that is me.  So while I started out planning a study with my Littles on building character traits, I am the one who will benefit the most.  I'm sure of that.  Because after a challenging morning with a sad and distressing phone call, I sat down with my Littles for our Bible time and I brought out the character quality of the week:
Joyfulness - "Pouring out a happy spirit when my soul is in fellowship with the Lord"
God works in amazing ways.

So if you would like to follow along with our character studies, we'd love to have you join us.  I plan to post on our character quality of the week every Tuesday.  I am adapting character qualities from this list.  I'm simplifying some of the language for my Littles and I also added the Fruits of the Spirit.  Some were included already, but not all, and since Big Littles has had them memorized since he was two, I wanted to start with them.  Adding the rest of the Fruits of the Spirit brings the total up to 52, which just seems almost too perfect making it a complete year of studies. 

Come build with us!  :)

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers of Faith

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

From  Prayer for a Child by Rachel Field

2 Timothy 1:5 -
"When I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also."

One of the greatest ways my mother blessed me was by teaching me about God from infancy.  In her songs, in her stories, in her prayers, she opened my heart up to the Lord and I am forever grateful.  My mother-in-law did the same for her son, and he became a man after God's own heart.  What a blessing and a gift to have such a husband and spiritual leader for our family.  

And now my Littles are blessed by the faith of their grandmothers as well.  As I was taught by my mother, so I teach them, and this genuine faith is something they can see and hear from both of the precious women they call "Nanna".   What a heritage!  What a blessing!  Thank you, Lord, for mothers of faith.

"I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me.  They have clung to me all my life."  ~Abraham Lincoln

Linking up with the Modest Mom -

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

If Walls Could Talk...

I wanted to share some more ideas for frugal decorating.  On Tuesday, I shared the monogram with buttons that I made, and today I'm sharing an inexpensive, personalized, yet beautiful way I create wall art with a very important message for our family.

It all started when I wanted to put some Bible verses up on our walls, and I looked into custom vinyl wall clings, but was rather daunted by the price and was disappointed by the limited selection.  I started collecting old frames at garage sales to create my own scripture art and I have enjoyed making these for our home and for gifts.  Each of these finished pieces costs me about $1.25 - $1 for the frame is the going garage sale price around here and about $.25 for the scrapbook paper.  I watch for when the paper goes on sale for about $.25 per sheet, and I almost never use an entire sheet.  The extra paper is useful for making homemade cards or for other framing projects.    

Now I am picky, but I am not a perfectionist.  But part of the beauty is having these verses on the walls in Mama's handwriting.  I practiced my handwriting for fun as a child, so I can write with a pretty steady hand, but if you don't like your handwriting, you can use your computer and printer.  I still think scrawled handwriting is much more charming than the computer though, so don't worry if it doesn't look just perfect.

1.  Gather your supplies:

  • scrapbook papers 
  • white or cream printer or stationary paper
  • lined notebook paper
  • sharpies
  • pencil
  • frame
  • ruler
  • pink pearl eraser (not shown)
  • rubber cement (not shown)

 2.  Using the glass of the frame or another insert for a guide, trace the size you will need for your frame on the scrapbook paper.

3.  (I eyeball everything, but measure if this drives you crazy!)  Cut out a piece of white or cream thin paper for your quote.  While you are at it, you may as well cut out two because chances are good you will mess up at least once.

4.  Eyeballing it again... sometimes I like to have an extra layer to make the borders "pop".  I used my cream colored paper to measure... I decided how much border I wanted and then doubled it before tracing the lines.  This made it so when I re-centered the cream paper, I would have the original amount of border I wanted.

5.  Lay everything out so you can see if it looks the way you like it.  Don't glue anything yet!!

6.  Now cut out several sheets of lined notebook paper the same size as your cream colored paper.  Make sure the lines are nice and straight because these will be your guide. 

7.  Use the lined paper to sketch out some ideas.  You can see that it took me a while to settle on what I liked.  I even had to do some extra practice on my W.

8.  When you settle on one that you like, copy over the words with a sharpie and this time try to get everything lined up just the way you like it.  *Using a ruler* (it's very important), draw a line through where the bottom of the letters will hit.

9.  Put your cream paper over top and using your pencil and a ruler, lightly draw those lines.

10.  Now you can finally write out the final product.  When you are satisfied, and you are sure the ink is dry, use your pink pearl eraser to erase those pencil lines.  (Don't use an inferior eraser!!  It will ruin your work with eraser streaks!  If you don't have a pink pearl, test your eraser on scrap paper before you use it!)

11.  Now you can glue the layers on.  Rubber cement is my favorite!

There you go!
Joshua 24:15 - "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord"

A few more examples I've done:

Proverbs 15:15 - "A merry heart has a continual FEAST!"

 This is our family mission statement (of a sort) adapted by my dear DHM from The Common Room from the sixth part of her series, "Benedict's Rules of Order for Housewives".

Nehemiah 8:10 - "The joy of the Lord is my strength"

I have also done the hymn, "Be Present At Our Table, Lord" for a friend's dining room.  I would like to do one for ours some day.

Another excellent resource is the free Bible Verse Printables made by April at The Flourishing Abode.  She has a wonderful modern style for her typography and I admire what she does.

What are the most important verses you have (or would like to have) on the wall?

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

B is for Button

Did you notice the "B" on our mantel during the House Tour?  Here it is again:

I'm just really tickled over my B.   It was inspired by a pin on pinterest with a monogrammed E.  The link was a dud, so I had to just wing it.  I have since found a wonderful tutorial for a similar project here, you would just want to substitute the letter of your choice.  I considered taking pictures and doing a tutorial myself, but I was doing this project at night while the Littles slept and the lighting was terrible.  Plus, the first one I made really looked awful, so I was just figuring it out as I went along.  I'll try to give you some tips so if you want to make one it will be a much smoother process.

  • I chose the font I liked best for the letter B and enlarged it to 700 pt.  I printed it, cut it out, and traced it on the fabric with a white fabric pencil.  Worked just fine.  
  • Instead of gluing the fabric to the glass, I used the glass as a pattern to cut out the oval shape from heavy cardboard, and I hot glued the fabric to the cardboard... just around the edges.  The glass really wouldn't work with the layers of buttons, so now there is an extra piece of oval shaped glass on my husband's workbench.  I wonder if it will ever find a use?  
  •  I dug around in my scrap fabric stash and found a lovely light blue cotton with a feathery print to use and soon discovered that the white buttons just didn't show up on the pretty print at all.  So I dug around some more and found this heavy whaled corduroy in deep navy.  It almost looks like velvet.  It is PERFECT!  So, bottom line, use dark fabric with white or light buttons, and light fabric with dark buttons for the best results.
  • On the original pin, the buttons were all lying flat and even, but I found that I much preferred the look of layering the buttons to create an interesting texture and a look that was more filled in.   

  • My buttons were all collected over the years.  Many of them were ripped off of my husband's old dress shirts.  I also had a number of mother-of-pearl buttons that I bought in a package for a dress that I made.  These have a gorgeous iridescent sheen, and greatly add to the look.  You definitely want buttons of all shapes and sizes, and having a number of tiny buttons is very useful to enhance the level of detail.
  • My frame was half price at Hobby Lobby, and was the only purchase I made for this project.  It cost me $12.  I had my heart set on an oval frame for this spot in the living room, and after scouring thrift stores and garage sales for a while, I decided to just go buy what I really wanted, and this was it.  I could have made this project for $1 if I'd broken down and used a yard sale frame.  Well, such is life.  I don't think I'd be as enraptured with my B if I had used a rectangular frame.  
Up close...
When Big Littles saw this on the wall he said, "Oh look... B for button!"  Well... ehmmmm... not exactly!  If you know me, you know what the B is for.  ;)

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Put On Christ

Romans 13:14 "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts."

A couple of months ago, Preacher Man had been discussing his upcoming sermons with me and I knew that since warm weather was coming, he had a sermon on modesty in the works.   On Sunday, the song leader led us in singing, "O To Be Like Thee" and my mind seized line after line thinking, "THIS IS IT!"** 

Just like the words we speak and the reactions we have, the clothing and adornment we chose for our bodies is an outpouring of what is in our heart. 

Surely you have heard this verse so many times your eyes glaze over when you read it again, but try to let the words sink in:

1 Timothy 2:9-10 - "in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works."

Whether you realize it or not, whether you like it or not, your choice of clothing speaks volumes.  But what are your clothes saying?  Are they saying, "I want to attract you to Christ" or "I want to attract you to ME"?  

Lest you think I'm being self-righteous here, let me assure you that these thoughts step on my toes too.  

In light of the song...
O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer;
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I'll forfeit all of earth's treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear. 
When you sing these words, do you really mean them?  Will you REALLY forfeit all of your treasures?  What about your cute wardrobe?  Do you wear Jesus' perfect likeness? 
O to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wand'ring sinners to find.
What about your brothers in Christ that are struggling in their battle against lust?   Will you have compassion on them?  Will you be loving, forgiving, tender, and kind to them?  Is your clothing compassionate and kind for them?  Are you showing them brotherly love by giving them preference
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer, others to save.
Have I put down my selfishness and pride, enduring the reproach of looking different than the rest of the world?  Am I meek and harmless in my dress?  Am I willing to suffer by limiting my choice of clothing in order to save another?  (Thinking in those terms makes my clothing preferences seem very petty indeed!)
O to be like Thee! Lord, I am coming,
Now to receive th'anointing divine;
All that I am and have I am bringing;
Lord, from this moment all shall be Thine.
"Lord, clothe me as You see fit.  My body is a gift from You, made in Your image and it belongs to You.  Anoint me in your divine power and love.  My heart, my body, and my clothing are all Thine.  Teach me to adorn myself in a way that reflects You.  Jesus, clothe me with Your perfect likeness."
O to be like Thee! While I am pleading
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love.
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit for a life which Thou wouldst approve.
O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image, deep on my heart.
 **I fully recognize the value of this song taken as is, and without this focus on modesty.  It seems that the closer I get to becoming like Christ, the more cognizant I become of how very far I have to go.  And so, "this is my constant longing and prayer" and I have faith that as I work to be more like Him, His Spirit will work more and more on me.

Romans 12:2
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Linking up today with The Modest Mom.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Oh To Be Like Thee

  1. O to be like Thee! blessed Redeemer;
    This is my constant longing and prayer;
    Gladly I'll forfeit all of earth's treasures,
    Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
    • O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee!
    • Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
    • Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
    • Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
  2. O to be like Thee! full of compassion,
    Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
    Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
    Seeking the wand'ring sinners to find.
  3. O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
    Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
    Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
    Willing to suffer, others to save.
  4. O to be like Thee! Lord, I am coming,
    Now to receive th'anointing divine;
    All that I am and have I am bringing;
    Lord, from this moment all shall be Thine.
  5. O to be like Thee! While I am pleading
    Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love.
    Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
    Fit for a life which Thou wouldst approve.

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Dandelion Pre-School

Yesterday, I followed a Facebook link put up by a friend to a post describing The Wonderment Curriculum by Raising Arrows.  I clicked on the link out of curiosity, but was highly skeptical that I would find much merit in a pre-school curriculum.  Her post moved me to tears.  Joyful tears. 

This is it!  This is what we do!  And she described it so well.

To illustrate how this plays out in real life, I'll show you what a part of our day last week looked like.

It was sunny and mild, and we try to spend the better part of every such day outdoors.  I hung up the laundry while the Littles became fascinated by the dandelions growing in the yard and kept bringing "flowers for mama".  Who can resist flowers so sweetly given?  I set my gifts in a tray used to sprout seeds so they wouldn't blow away.

And then came the idea... why not fill each section of the tray?  (I realized the added benefit that picking the dandelions before they went to seed would mean less to spread through the yard, so I encouraged as much dandelion picking as they were interested in doing.)  So Big Littles went about filling the tray with Little Littles adding to it occasionally.  Big Littles and I did some comparing/contrasting of the sizes of the blooms, counted them, noted patterns in the tray, later we talked about why they wilt after they are picked... who knew there was so much learning that could happen by casually picking dandelions?  Big Littles became so engrossed that he filled a second tray!

 Meanwhile, on his own, Little Littles got out his wheelbarrow and got to work.  He trotted around the yard and picked at least a HUNDRED dandelions!  He was such a focused little worker and he was so proud of his accomplishment! 

These are precious moments of wonder, and this is the way we do pre-school.

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

House Tour Part 2

We've been in our new home for about a month and while we still have unpacked boxes, more and more I am getting the feeling that this is home and that everything has a place.

The first Sunday morning we were all here was utter insanity.  The house ended up needing WAY more cleaning than we anticipated, so we were further behind than I expected to be after being in the house for a week.  We had been living out of suitcases for two weeks and I had worn the same dress to church for the 3 previous weeks.  I was ready to wear a different dress.  The only problem was that it was unexpectedly cold and my clothes were in three different boxes in three different rooms in the house.  Pulling together an outfit almost made me lose my mind.  And then my hose had a run in the toe, so I had to dig out another pair.  And I had to wear hose because my legs looked like Sherwood forest.  (nudging my old room mate - remember that one M?)  Yes, personal grooming had not been very high on the priority list.  And then I had to find matching shoes.  And the correct slip was nowhere to be found.  And then I had a raging static problem and my hair just was NOT cooperating.  Every time I tried to find something, I had to look in four places before I found it.  Some people live like this all the time.  I cannot do it.  So it was imperative for me to get some order because my mental stability was pretty weak for a while there.  :)  So here are some more pictures...

Our two biggest jobs - floor cleaning and wall washing... still not done with the walls.
The carpets did, in fact, change color after being cleaned!

The Littles helped out too.
Full view of the kitchen
The dining area, aka - 70's room
The very PINK bathroom... funny in a house full of boys!
                                The pink is actually kind of growing on me... and I LOVE the tile on the floor!
Going up the stairs... the W.C.

It's impossible to get good lighting for a photo here, but even in real life, it's just a little... odd.  BUT, I'm loving having the second toilet between the bedrooms.  It will be especially nice when we have company.  And when I'm pregnant.  Oh, so very nice.  (I'm not, by the way.)

The Littles' Bedroom
The other side... see those walls?  That is AFTER two cleanings.
No pictures of our bedroom yet... it's getting pulled together, but it is pretty low priority.  There are also two empty bedrooms downstairs that will eventually be a guest room/play room/homeschool/storage room/sewing room... yeah, all of that.  We've also got a massive basement and the Littles love to play down there.  It's nothing picture-worthy though.

Oh and wait until I show you Preacher Man's Office!!!!  It is REALLY something! 

In case you missed it, here is the House Tour Part 1

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Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to

You can never have too many mashed potatoes, so I say.

Or baked or roasted ones because they make some delicious leftovers!

I usually make mashed and baked potatoes in large batches - about a 5 lb. bag at a time.

For Mashed Potatoes:
My recipe is very inexact, but I can tell you that I boil the diced potatoes, sometimes with skins, sometimes not.  When they are soft, I strain out the water and mash them by hand with a stick of butter (per 5 lbs. of potatoes), a splash of milk (or rice milk), a palm full of salt and a good grinding of pepper.  Taste for seasoning and enjoy!

For Baked Potatoes:
I fill a 13x9 pan with potatoes scrubbed clean with holes poked in them all over. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with some salt, and bake at about 300* until they are done.  It takes about an hour and a half.

Here's what I do with the leftovers:
For mashed potatoes:
Salmon Patties 
Shepherd's Pie - a friend made this recipe for us and it was deeeee-licious!  It froze beautifully too.

For baked potatoes:
Scalloped Potatoes
Twice-baked potatoes are so yummy too.  I don't have a recipe to share, but I'm sure you could find one online.
You can also cut them up and fry them for breakfast as hash browns/home fries.  No specific recipe on this one either, but I have found that if you use plenty of butter, moderately high heat, and don't stir them around much at all, they'll cook up nicely. 

This past week, I also found that using leftover roasted potatoes made for even easier hash browns!  I just warmed them up on one side of the cast iron skillet while I fried some eggs.  They were delicious that way.

How do you like to use leftover potatoes?

Related Posts:
Using It Up
The Precious Possession of Diligence

And be sure to visit The Four Moms today - they are having a link-up on leftovers.  I've already gotten a few great ideas.

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