Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cottage or Castle?

Back and forth I go in my thoughts. The other day I received in the mail an issue of Natural Home magazine. In it is an article about a lady who built a 280 square foot house that she currently lives in. After reading the article, I felt like we could quite easily maintain living in our 880 square foot cottage. Just a little tweaking here and there to accommodate our growing family and we'd be fine. I do love our little cottage and I don't mind (too much) the confining spaces. I love how it is easy to clean (though very easy to mess up, too) and forces me to not accumulate too much stuff. I also love how it is easy to keep an eye on my wee ones. I'm rarely ever just a few steps away from them. A small house also forces us out doors and we enjoy the elbow room of the spacious farm fields, woods and our own backyard.

From time to time, though, it is apparent that a little more square footage would be greatly appreciated. Bumping into furniture gets old quickly. Lack of privacy and a quiet study space is challenging. The children's room is getting small FAST. There's no way they'll fit once they grow out of crib mattresses and need twin-sized beds.

So, the question pops up, should we add on or move out? As far as our neighborhood is concerned I want to stay. I LOVE our neighborhood. I LOVE where we live. And I do like our little house. I don't really mind the idea of sticking with this little cottage and adding a second floor. Despite doubling the square footage, the house will still seem small, I think, which doesn't bother me, especially since we'll probably stay until our deaths (should the Lord tarry) and who wants a giant house to care for in their elderly years?

I think with a little ingenuity and a lot of prayer for wisdom, I can feather this little nest in such a way as to expand the little spaces that we have. I am in prayer for an addition, though (and the vacant woods next door).

My God shall supply all our needs.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sun, Seeds, Soil Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is supposed to start a stretch of sunny, warm weather and, thankfully, it coincides with when I normally start my seedlings! I'm excited! So is my son who wants his own little garden patch especially since Grandma bought him and his sister new watering cans. Today, I plan on finally ordering plants. I kept putting it off but no longer. Today's the day! Final decisions must be made.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Searching for a Triple Stroller

I am on a quest to find a good triple stroller. I want one suitable for an infant who cannot sit up yet (carrier adaptable), a toddler and a preschooler. I want one that collapses fairly small, has canopies and isn't side-by-side. Side-by-sides are too wide for maneuvering around stores and fairs. It also has to maneuver well and be sturdy enough for near-daily use.

Any ideas?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Welcome Early Spring!

The first crocuses of the year! My son wanted to pick them for Daddy so I had to explain to him that they need to stay in the ground. I assured him that soon enough there will be dandelions for him to pick.

You probably can't see it very well because of the strange orange haze I didn't realize appeared on the camera, but this corner of our property is going to be our shade garden. Since we don't have acreage, I like to make the most of my plantings and plant things that are edible as well as pretty. So, what's edible that grows in the shade? I'm thinking fiddleheads! There's also plenty of room for bleeding hearts, trillium, periwinkle and other dainty shade lovers.

The matting of tree debris my son and I raked up in the future shade garden was at least 6" thick! He gave up helping me after his little rake broke and tried his hand at the tricycle for the first time this year.

Both kiddos were so happy the snow finally melted off the sand pile, but daughter was the one who really got into it! I'm so glad it occupies her that I don't mind the sandy mess she becomes.

While the kiddos enjoyed the sand pile, I could keep an eye on them while I mucked out a winter's worth of doggy poo out of the dog kennel. It was one of those winters where the weather never cooperated enough for the kennel to be cleaned regularly. What a nice surprise to rack back some old weeds at the edge of the kennel and find strawberries growing! After 3 wheelbarrow loads of bedding, poo and weeds were removed from the kennel, I put down a fresh layer of straw bedding throughout and swept off the concrete pad our dog just LOVES to sun herself on. Now that the weather is warmer and sunny, she's actually spending time outdoors rather than moping about indoors.

Daughter thinks she can drive the 4-wheeler now! Brother's riding shotgun.

Here's that shelf my son and I were painting. I hung it up for him and he had so much fun putting his stuff on it. Yeah, it looks a little crooked in the picture, but it's actually level. I had to take this far-away shot because I'm so proud of this toddler bunk bed my brother made for the kiddos!
Here he is organizing his "John Deere" shelf. Love it!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Worth Watching

This was one of those after school specials that aired in the 80's. What makes it worth watching is that it is based on the true story of May, Joe and Leslie Lemke. Leslie was born severely brain damaged and handicapped and his eyes had to be surgically removed. Expected to die, May and her husband Joe and May's firm belief in Christ Jesus took the frail infant in and through prayer and devoted care they kept him alive. Years of seemingly no improvement, though May would tell you otherwise if she were still alive today, May and Joe didn't give up. What resulted was a miracle of God that medical and scientific communities, though labeling it "savant" still scratch their heads about.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Investing In Your Children Project #1

Here's lookin' at you, kid!

Playdoh!!! It's actually much more enjoyable now for my kiddos to play with Playdoh because my daughter has greatly decreased her Playdoh consumption. Yes, she's a Playdoh eater.

What fun they had when I pulled down the picnic basket and let them have at it. They had a picnic in the living room, the kitchen and at the dining room table. My son decided to go shirtless for the remainder of the evening after he spilled milk down the front of his shirt.

I LOVE Target's $1.00 section. My kiddos were so excited to get a pair of sunglasses each.

My little fashionista couldn't stop modeling hers.

Here she is today in one of the cutest poses ever! Despite being a very cloudy day, both kiddos insisted on wearing their sunglasses to grandpa's house.
Ok, nothing to do with my kids, unless you count the one in my tummy. I've been having such a craving for a non-alcoholic mixed drink. So I made a raspberry lemonade iced tea. In my juicer (that a dear friend lent to me for the duration of my pregnancy) I blended frozen raspberries, sweetened green tea, freshly squeezed lemon juice and water. It really hit the spot!

Back to my kiddos now....It's amazing how a bit of masking tape can inspire a child's imagination!

Now for a bit of big boy hands-on work. He helped me replace the brush and belt in the vacuum.

Then, we worked on painting the wood pieces to make a shelf for his room.

Afterwards was some homeschooling. We're on the letter N, so his art project was to glue a nest.

I never did get a picture of my daughter helping me make oatmeal cookies. She was my official dry ingredient pourer, mixer and taste tester!

Inspirations and Recommendations

Quick little post today and later I'll post some pics as part of my Invest in Your Children project.

3 things have recently inspired, convicted and educated me and I recommend them to you:

1. When Two Become One by Christopher and Rachel McCluskey This book is meant for Christian married couples (or those who are about to become married and want to start of their wedding night on a Godly footing) and it is a really REALLY good book for understanding God's reason, design and purpose to sex and intimacy. Even if you have what you'd call a great sex life with your husband, I think this book would still open you and your spouse's eyes to the beauty that is in the gift God gave married couples.

2. Above Rubies (the latest issue). There were some articles in this one that really spoke to me. I don't always agree with everything in AR but I love how it is family-focused and mother-focused. I'm a grown woman and I can read a magazine without agreeing with everything, but I'm not about to throw the baby out with the bathwater just because of a few points I find go too far. This latest issue had a great article about hospitality when as mothers we can't really extend ourselves too far because we have a family that needs us. The other article I loved was entitled Face to Face about breastfeeding and it really spoke to me not just on the breastfeeding level but on childcare as a whole.

3. Victoria Botkin's Q&A at I wanted to listen to her program but I couldn't justify the funds at this time. I have birthday parties, Easter, a bridal shower, a wedding, etc coming up that the money could be put to use for. I did try for 3 giveaways but didn't win them. Here's hoping Mrs. Botkin puts them on CD's or DVD's or whatever. Anyhow, I did listen to the free Q&A and I enjoyed it. As the mother of a growing family of young children, I needed the encouragement and the reminding that my beloved husband honestly doesn't mind if the housework isn't completed. He'd rather have happy children and a restful, happy wife. Though, I will say that he does expect dinner on the table. Not because he's some demanding alpha male, but because he adores my cooking and the time we spend together at the family meal table. I love to cook anyway so this is always a special thing for us.

So, enjoy!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Investing In Your Children Project

Eden String Quartet: A Bountiful Blessing arrived in my mailbox yesterday. I popped it into the DVD player as soon as I could and really enjoyed it. I'm a sucker for string quartets anyway. However, as the individual daughters and their parents took turns before the camera, one of the daughters said something that really struck a chord in me. She talked about how her parents "really invested" in them.

Of course I don't ignore my children, but I admit that often times it is just easier to plop them in front of the "electronic babysitter" and get the chores done. I really do want to invest in my children. I want to invest my love, my time, my talents and the knowledge and wisdom God gave me in my children. I want to invest in their unique characters, traits, personalities, talents and interests. I want to cultivate more than just mess making playtime and the latest Thomas the Tank Engine DVD.

This is a challenge for me because I've always been the leave-me-alone type. I like quiet, peaceful moments alone. I like getting a chore done in one fell swoop rather than being interrupted and doing them in spurts. The noise and activity of childhood can over stimulate me and I just get frustrated and need a moment's peace.

However, I love my children more than my own little preferences and I can still invest in them and take those moments for myself. In fact, I hypothesize that in investing more in them, taking those me-moments will be easier, more peaceful and better deserved. :b

So, I'm starting the "Investing In Your Children Project." Starting tomorrow, I will take 1 day a week where I spend the day in total investment of my children and I'll post what I've done on this blog. I'm not sure when my first day will be. Probably mid-week.

I'm looking forward to this!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Sewing and Craft Projects

My best pair of maternity jeans succumbed to the pressures of my being on my knees a lot. As a mother of a preschooler and toddler, I am constantly down on my knees playing with them or tending to their needs. I really didn't want to just discard the pants. Nor was I keen on patching up the knee. So, I decided to have a go at turning them into a denim skirt. I figured if it was a bust, I'd just toss them out. It turned out pretty well. I trimmed the bottom with the cute ribbon I used in a project I'll share next.

Here's the skirt, and a belly shot! I cut the legs right at the hole and used the cut off parts to form the inserts. I made the inserts as wide as possible so I didn't end up with a pencil skirt. Though you can't really see it in the picture, the back is slightly longer and scoops into a sweet little train. Not only is it a neat addition, but it allows for a little more modesty when I bend over to tend to a child.
And here is my craft project! My daughter was given these hats and they quickly ended up crushed and all over the house. They needed to be contained.
Son's hats were on pegs with his winter gear, but they kept falling off and ending up crushed all over the house.
So, I bought some ribbon and decorative buttons (tractors and ladybugs) and painted some clothes pins that I had, gluing them onto just over 3 feet of ribbon. Then, as you saw in the pictures above, I tacked the ribbon onto the wall and clipped on the hats. Voila!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Time Flies Though Winter Creeps

Is this print gorgeous!? Do you know how hard it is to find a lovely, feminine and modest picture of a pregnant woman? This one is called "Pregnant Woman By a Lake" by Daniel Eskridge.

I cannot believe I am 5 months pregnant already! Time is flying with this pregnancy, which I am glad for. I am getting more and more eager to hold my little baby boy. I'm also desiring to be done with such an uncomfortable pregnancy. Yeah, I'm whining a bit. :) I can't sleep on my back anymore. I did two nights ago and ended up nearly passing out from low blood pressure in the morning. I have to sleep on my side, which despite efforts with pillows all around is terribly uncomfortable for me. I'd much rather sleep on my back.

It'll be over before I know it. Soon I'll be carefully washing and folding tiny baby frocks, packing a bag for the hospital, and before I know it I'll be bringing home a tiny newborn.

As usual, winter always seems to take forever to end. I think it's the gloom. February and March are known for their gloom. The heavy, low clouds block out much of the sunshine and despite warmer temperatures, we feel tired and even irritable. Get a sunny day in March and the whole world seems to smile!

At least the snow finally stopped falling. It had been snowing here for nearly a whole week straight!

I am glad it is March. Reluctantly bringing us Spring is the month of March, but it is also Sugaring Off! Soon, very soon, real maple syrup will be poured into glass jars and bottles, sweet and divine.