Saturday, April 30, 2011

Don't forget!!!

Today is the last day of April!!!  That means the last day to use your 25% off code (APRIL25) on  AND tomorrow we start the 31 Days to Clean!!!  I'm so excited!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Little Keepers at Home

I'm finally getting to the more sketchy part of our daily schedule.  Breakfast to lunch flows very smoothly.  Not always at the assigned times, but in the assigned order.

6:00~ Mommy wakes up, makes bed, exercises, showers, time with the Lord, gets dressed, does hair and make-up.

7:00~ Breakfast helper wakes up to get a head start on their morning routine and then helps make and set the table for breakfast.
7:15~ All girls wake up, make beds, get dressed, get hair done.
7:30~ Breakfast
8:00~ Brush teeth, morning chores
8:30~ Bible
9:00~ School
11:00~ Weekly chores
12:00~ Lunch

After lunch can look very differently on most given days.  Some days we go places.  Some days Mommy is so tired we all take naps ALL afternoon!  But some days we actually stick to our afternoon schedule.  Those days are the best of all!

12:30 is our afternoon "pick up" which is basically 5-10 minutes just to pick up the main floors that may have gotten messed up between morning chores and then.

1:00 is reading time.  Ella is down for her nap by now, so we four girls snuggle up on the couch with blankets and enjoy a few peaceful chapters.  Right now we are reading "On the Banks of Plum Creek".  The girls LOVE Little House on the Prairie and are known as Mary, Laura and Baby Carrie most of the time.

1:45~ The girls head for naps, or at least lay down with a couple of books.

3:00 is Little Keepers at Home time!!!

The Keeper at Home books are put out by Keepers of the Faith.  I finally bought the book this last fall and loved many of the ideas it presented.  It focuses on four areas to teach your young daughters in:  Godly Girlhood, which includes scripture memorization, Bible reading, ministering to neighbors etc., Basic Skills, which covers everything from ABCs to card making to embroidery to pressed flowers, Homemaking, which teaches them the beginnings in areas like baking, money sense and table setting, and Nature, where they learn about birds, butterflies, flowers etc..  And I've just touched on the different sections!

Since these books were made to be filled in and used for individual children, and since I already have four daughters I decided to take the lessons and tweak them to better suit our needs.  First I went through and dropped just a couple of sections that I didn't see as very practical for us, then I added a few ideas I had (like herbs!  Go figure!).  Then I switched it all to a three-ring binder.

Each section has certain requirements that get checked off as they are completed.  When all of the requirements are completed, the page is signed by Mommy and Daddy and it is officially passed.

Bethany working on her upper and lower case alphabet.

Lydia working on her embroidery

As I've said many times before, it amazes me what our children are capable of learning when we devote some patient and careful time and instruction!  This is one of my favorite parts of the day, when I can watch my girls learn and grow into to capable young women. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Finally "Free"

The other day my sister was over ( a wonderful common occurrence around here!) and she was helping Havilah change her shirt.  It was one of those ones with a tight neck where it takes a bit of work to get the head out.  When it finally came off Rachel exclaimed, " Havi! You're free!!!".  Havilah quickly replied, " I'm not free! I'm two!".

Well, last week the day finally came.  Hard as it is to believe, our sweet Havilah turned three!
Our sweet birthday girl!
When asked if she wanted marshmallows or whipping cream in her birthday cocoa she answered, "How about both?".  What were you thinking Mom?

Havilah plays such a irreplaceable roll in our family.  When this new baby comes Havi will be smack dab in the middle of the pack.  She's not really one of the big girls, but definitely not one of the little girls.  She is far from being "just one of the others". With her ever "dominant" personality she is either bringing the fiercest storm or the greatest sunshine to our home.  She talks ALL the time and  says things that blow us away, but at the same time they are said in such a sweet baby voice that it's hard to believe she is growing up so fast. Great-Boppa calls her his girl with the double dose of cute.   

Watching my little girl grow up is truly a moment of bittersweet.  I don't want these precious times to pass by.  I don't want to miss a single moment.  But at the same time, the future seems unbelievably bright and exciting!  Who knows what amazing plans the Lord has in store for our dear Havi girl who is just bursting with life!  I'm so blessed to have such a front row view!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Since it's just around the corner....

Can you believe that May is almost here???  And although May is certainly looking more like "showers" than "flowers" I am always excited to see this month roll around!

This May is especially exciting to me this year as it marks the last month that we will be a family of six.  New Little Baby is coming soon (I keep telling myself!) and when I saw this on  I was so excited not only at the thought of this challenge, but at the timing as well!  I'm sure that many of you have already caught wind of this, but if not, here I am to tell you abut it!

A beautiful stay at home mother has written this fabulous e-book called "31 Days to Clean".  It is a wonderful resource not only for helping you chip away at getting your house in order, but to focus your heart in the right place at the same time.  Each day gives you a "Mary Challenge" in which you are encouraged to focus your heart on the Lord and your motives for the way you keep your home, and a "Martha Challenge" which is a specific task to get your home one step closer to clean! 

The e-book is only $4.99 and you can easily download it here.

Join me this May in getting some Spring cleaning done, not only in our homes, but in our hearts as well.  I'm so excited!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So close. So far. You know what I mean!

Baby is coming!  Baby is coming!  Some days it feels like it's just around the corner.  Most days it feels like it is still ages away.  I know you mommys know what I'm talking about.  I'm "officially" somewhere between 30-33 weeks.  My best guess, probably close to 32 weeks.  Confusing?  I know.

My pregnancy with Ella Joy was like a breeze.  A walk in the park.  This time........ not so much.  I really don't have anything to complain about.  I always have it pretty easy.  This time there is just the usual aches and pains and uncomfortable time sleeping.  These past weeks have been a lot better, possibly because I'm remembering some of the good things I was faithful in last time.  I've been drinking my pregnancy tea again (Red Raspberry Leaf, Alfalfa, Nettle and Peppermint) and finally walking!  Walking helped me feel so good last time!  On top of that, a friend recommended these prenatal pilates workouts on youtube.  It's really felt good to be moving again!

(Instructor is in a spaghetti strap top so use discretion on your viewing audience!)

As the days are ticking away I find myself more and more excited to meet this little one.  It's always incredible to try and imagine how God can repeat the miracle of fashioning someone so unique and yet such a perfect fit for our family.  Somehow He ALWAYS does though!

Of course, with baby on the brain I've been drooling over cool baby finds. 

Number 1 on my wish list this time is this pretty Moby.

What can I say?  I love chocolate!  I'm a total neutral nut but anything lighter than a good solid "brown" on me makes me look like I'm about to vomit. 

Then, because (much to my husband's amusement) I am an avid Pioneer Woman fan, I was introduced to these sweet swaddling blankets .  Ella was my first baby to swaddle and I LOVED it!  It sure can be hard to find blankets that work though!

Okay, so I probably wont be spending $34 dollars on a set of three, but right now I'm in that dreamy state of imagining how perfect all of life will be with this new baby in my arms.  I know these last few weeks will fly by, but right now, it doesn't really feel like it.  If you don't mind, I'll just sit here and dream a little!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Passion Week

Today is a bit full and crazy (Tip~  DO NOT try to add two other day's responsibilities plus a shopping trip to your daily schedule unless absolutely necessary!), but I wanted to drop by quickly to give you this brief reminder in case you are forgetful like me!

EASTER IS ON SUNDAY!!!  Every year I think, "I need to do more to prepare my children for the significance of this event before the actual day!" and yet every year Easter Sunday sneaks up and it feels like a cram session trying to help my children see the importance that Christ's resurrection has on our entire lives.  Not this year!

This year we are focusing this entire week on the days leading up to Jesus' death and resurrection (sometimes known as Passion Week).  Today we are reading Mark 11:1-11 about the triumphant entry (with some possible paper mache involved.  I know.  Call me crazy.).  Tomorrow we will focus on the withering fig tree and the clearing of the temple. 

I'll do my best to keep you updated on our activities.  I'm sure that most of your ideas would blow mine out of the water.  Whatever you choose to do, don't forget to make Christ the absolute focus of this special holiday.  Don't let this opportunity pass by to focus your children's attention on the greatest event ever!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Winner and a Coupon Code!!!

Thank you all for entering our Spring Giveaway!  We've been so blessed by your comments and replies and hope to get to know some of you better.

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for.........

The winner is...........    JUDI !!!!!

Congratulations Judi on winning our Sampler Set!  Please contact us at  or at with your address so we can get your gift out as soon as possible!

Now for the rest of you wonderful participants, here is your 25% off coupon code for any items the entire month of April......


We hope that you will enjoy trying out some new or favorite products with this great deal.  Have fun shopping! 

Have a beautiful and blessed day!!!

( We will be doing our very best to remove items that have been sold as quickly as possible.  If however two buyers attempt to buy the same item, it will go to the first one to order.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Chore Plan

When getting started with scheduling, one of the most helpful things for me was to sit and break down ALL of the household chores into "Daily", "Weekly" and "Monthly" categories.  I literally had three big lists, went room by room and added each imaginable task to the appropriate list. 

For example, the bathroom (Notice I didn't say "my bathroom" as I was tempted to!  My amazing husband ,as of yesterday, finished our master bathroom!  Now for the first time in our married lives we have our own bathroom!  Just a little excited here!!)  is broken down like this~

Daily~  Wipe off counter and sink.  Swish toilet with brush.  Pick up and sweep floor.

Weekly~  Clean mirror.  Clean toilet.  Take out garbage.

Monthly~  Deep clean sink (pull out that tooth brush!).  Clean shower.  Wash shower curtain and bath mat.  Clean tub toys.  Organize drawers and cupboards.  Mop floor.

After the chores are in their proper category,  it takes a little monkeying around to figure out how to best fit them into each week.  Sunday is a non-work day for us and I've found that Saturdays are too unpredictable to schedule regular chores into.  They were always getting skipped!  Now Saturdays are catch up days.

So that leaves us five days.  Our "Daily" chores fit perfectly into our "Morning Routine" (covered here).  They are minor enough that the girls have a group of three to four per morning (it switches monthly) and mine are covered in my morning routine as well (make bed, pick up bedroom, start laundry etc.). 

Our "Weekly Chores" fit nicely into this slot right after school. 

6:00~ Mommy wakes up, makes bed, exercises, showers, time with the Lord, gets dressed, does hair and make-up.
7:00~ Breakfast helper wakes up to get a head start on their morning routine and then helps make and set the table for breakfast.
7:15~ All girls wake up, make beds, get dressed, get hair done.
7:30~ Breakfast
8:00~ Brush teeth, morning chores
8:30~ Bible
9:00~ School
11:00~ Weekly chores

It only takes us about 15-30 minutes to finish up our designated room for the day.  Mondays~ Living room.  Tuesdays~  Dining room.  Thursdays~ Bathroom.  And that's it!  Everything else falls either into daily or monthly chores OR our "focus work" which I'll get into later.
What continues to amaze me is how easy all of these chores remain when accomplished on a regular basis!  Even when a day gets skipped, there is always Saturday!  Even when Saturday gets skipped, there is always next week.  We are far from a well oiled machine here, but the progress that we've seen so far has been so encouraging!

(Please let me know if this does not make sense to you.  It's another sleepless night here for the rapidly rounding blogger and I would be happy to clarify anything!)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gracenotes Spring Giveaway!!!

Ooooh, I've got a fun one for you today!!!  Since we truly believe Spring is here (even if the continuous rain here in Oregon tries to tell us otherwise!) we decided to give you a fun, easy giveaway where EVERYONE wins!!!  Think I'm joking?  I'm not!

Every single person who enters this giveaway will be given a 25% off code for your entire order!  But of course, we had to have a grand prize winner, so we thought we would give away a fun sampling of some of our favorite products. 

The grand prize winner will receive~   (2) note cards of your choice
                                                          (1) sample size Arnica salve
                                                          (1) lip balm of your choice
                                                          (1) sample size tea of your choice
                                                          (1) Organic reusable tea bag

Who wouldn't want to receive this fun little package? 

Entering is super easy!  Just go to our site and check out our newest addition, our hand created note cards, and leave a comment letting us know which one is your favorite.  You will be entered into our grand prize drawing and also ensure 25% off your next order.

The winner will be drawn on Saturday, April 16.  The discount code will also be given out on that day.  Don''t miss this fun opportunity to add an extra blessing to your Spring!

(P.S.  All of our little girl's clothing is $2 off for the month of April.  $2 off plus 25% off sounds great to me!)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

School Days

Back to our schedule!  Next up after Bible time we go straight into school.  (For a brief answer on why we choose to home school, here's my best attempt.)

I've been itching to home school ever since Lydia was born.  The day seemed like it would never come.  And while I am 100% convinced that a good majority of a child's "education" comes through real life, there was something so tantalizing about starting those first workbooks!

Confession time here~  I did not start very well.  Our school days often consisted of a discouraged little girl and an  impatient mom.  I knew it was wrong, but somehow it felt like if I just pushed hard enough I could force this knowledge in.  Wrong.  Very, very wrong.  Having Daddy home for an extended period helped to reveal some very not so pleasant sides of the teacher.  Let me tell you now, God is so faithful. 

When I resolved to surrender my entire attitude to the Lord and took the necessary steps to avoid frustration, He took over and has made our school days truly blessed!

These days, I truly sit back in amazement as my girls seem to learn and understand right before my eyes.  I've told David at least a hundred times " I know it will get harder, and I know they wont all be this easy to teach.  But this is CRAZY FUN!!!".  It truly astounds me.  Lydia seems to have fully grasped concepts that we used to s t r u g g l e over.  And then there's Bethany.

Bethany never struck me as one who would be easy to teach.  Why?  I'm not sure.  But I anticipated a struggle.  The reality is, I've never met a child easier to teach.  She grasps concepts before I think I would understand if I was explaining it to myself! 

Of course there is always Havilah, who's desperation to do "school" is not matched by any desire to accomplish anything specific.  She's good for me!

These days we've been focusing on the three "R's".  "Reading", "Riting" and "Rithmetic" (with a little language thrown in!).  We started out with more subjects, but lately it has been good to just focus on the basics and enjoy life a little more.

As far as "what" we are doing, I would say I'm a bit of an eclectic home schooler.  Having been home schooled myself, I have the luxury of remembering first hand what worked, what didn't, and what I actually enjoyed.  I have to pinch myself as I watch my girls reading stories that I remember reading for the first time!  (If you really want a book list,  I'll let you know!)

Honestly, school right now is a delight.  Not because I'm a great teacher or because I have perfect students, but because the Lord has truly worked on me to see my children's learning as a treasure, not a right.  I know life will change.  Give it five years and I will have five children ten and under doing school at the same time.  I know you more experienced ones out there are rolling your eyes and saying "Just wait!", but I have to say, "I can't wait!".