A Snowman, Cowboy, Ladybug and a Cop

Kind of sounds like a movie. Not quite.
Wooden Peg People

I got some more wooden people to paint to sell, and I bought a few extra special pieces for the kid’s set. I made these last night.

Wooden Peg People

Wooden Peg People

These guys were too much fun! Then this morning I let the kids do some painting, I’ll share theirs soon when they are finished but here are my cute little ladybugs I painted while they were working. Challenging to do while Jack is vertical.

Wooden Peg People

And while I was distracted this is what Jack was doing. What you don’t eat your peanut butter out of the container with a gun?

Peanut Butter Jack

Peanut Butter Jack

Writers Block


At the beginning of last year I had decided I was going to blog more. We’ve had this blog for 13+ years and over the years I’ve done a pretty good job keeping up a chronicle of the days of this family. But Last year I posted 4 times. In 365 I only found the time to write 4 posts. Granted I have a few excuses but it really does bother me.

But do you see the picture up there? That’s my computer. Jack helped me out with that many moons ago and kind of stripped my desire for blogging away, along with the keys that remain un-fixable. The clamp on the side of the computer, it’s not really there for looks. If we don’t put the clamp there then the computer will not charge, which means no computer. So there you have it, my big excuses. It’s hard to type with the letters missing, but even harder when you have to maneuver around a clamp. Plus I have been taking pictures with my tablet. In order to get them in the post I have to email them to myself, then save, download, extract, edit, resize, export, locate and then upload to my blog. It’s an annoying process, to say the least.


Here’s my new and improved setup. I have a keyboard with all the keys, and a nice little mouse. And I don’t have to type around a clamp. I got my good camera back (the charger had been missing since October, then we bought a new one and I left the camera down south at my auntie Terri’s house over the holidays). So yesterday we got the camera back, AND “Murphy’s Law”, found the old charger. So no more excuses. I’ve got a nice set up in the Red Room, got my camera back, and tons of stuff to write about this year. It’s a new day. I can feel it. I’m going to get back into the swing of writing. I’ve been in a funk since we moved here in 2009 and it’s time to get back in the saddle. :) Hopefully a few of my faithful readers will join me here again.

Really looking forward to this new season in our lives. And hoping that you all are well and looking forward to this new year with it’s new challenges and adventures.

I think that a new laptop may possibly be in my near future. Which would be totally awesome :)

Whittling Away the final Minutes of 2014


My last little endeavor of the year, making some furniture for the little painted dolls I made the kids for Christmas. They love them but lets be honest, I think I like them better than they do. ;)


Here’s this family again, looking amazing as always. And to top it off, this woman not only painted all of her children’s clothing, but she carved their dining table by hand! Some people.


And these people, all enjoying some chatting around the fire pit while the babies get into mischief. Even I know that you don’t put four babies together unattended! Well, I’ve been having a little too much fun this year. Hoping to have even more fun next year! Can’t believe 2014 is nearly over, I really am excited about what 2015 has in store.

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!!

A Year in Retrospect-2014

I’m not going to lie, as years go, this was one of the more challenging ones since we got married. Without going into all the details lets just say I’m glad it’s over and we can move forward to 2015. But in the midst of the challenges we had so many wonderful memories and truly have found great blessing, rich friendship, support and renewed health. (I got to say goodbye to a body part that had been bothering me for a couple years, and suddenly I want to cook again! So thankful to NOT have my gallbladder anymore ;)

I think one of the hardest parts about this past year is that it just didn’t look at all like we envisioned it when it got started last January. But that’s life right? We have to learn to roll with the punches and come out on top and I think that we did. I’m so glad for this year, because without it we couldn’t move into next year :) I’m not going to make big predictions about next year, but I think it’s going to be fabulous!

This past year I’ve been all about simplifying and that theme is just going to stretch into this year. I still have a lot of stuff to get rid of. We turned the room Jack had been sleeping in, into a craft and now music room. For Christmas we got instruments and music books so we can all start learning an instrument together! I’m really excited about that :)


Sometimes I wish my family looked as neat as this little family looks ;) The amazing thing is no matter what they do, they always look nice! I feel like I know families like this. We are certainly NOT this family, and that’s OK.


I think this is going to be a year where I’m going to get some good female bonding, with friends and our girls. Maybe not THIS many girls but you never know, some of my friends are very prolific in the girl department, some of them, not so much. ;)


And while the girls are out doing our girl things, hopefully the guys can sit around a round block of wood and “chew the fat” or whatever guys do when they get together without the women species around.  These guys are doing a really good job of keeping their hands to themselves, which means nothing will be broken when the women come home (they will also probably not be doing a whole lot of cleaning, but you can’t have everything right?)

Here’s to out with the old and in with the new! I’m ready for this new year and all of it’s unexpected turns. With a heart of renewed faith, a potty trained toddler, a garden just itching to be planted, wooden dolls wanting color, and seven beautiful children anxiously soaking up all they can learn. I have a full heart, and with anticipation I watch this canvas God has set before me, the strokes of the story of our lives together making a beautiful piece of art. My heart is full of gratitude, I have been given so much!

I hope and pray for all of you my friends that you will find renewed faith and hope in the coming year as well!


Just wait until they’re 15, your teen will be horrible!

What is it with people?

The other day a guy came over to pick up something free I offered on freecycle. He was commenting on all the bikes in the yard and we were laughing about how they grow from trikes into big bikes. Then he was noticing the how many we had, we do have a lot of bikes. We are standing on the porch chatting and the kids of course starved for outside human contact start piling onto the porch, then two of the children’s windows open with kids pouring out of the windows. It was like a scene from a movie, I think I played the part of the woman who lived in a shoe.

I’m pretty sure he was starting to feel a little claustrophobic, and asked if they were all mine. When I said yes he replies with a boisterous, “Oh just wait until they are 15, 16 years old!!” I said, “I can’t wait until they are 15 years old! I’ve been training them all these years, they are going to be awesome teenagers!” That wasn’t quiet the response he was looking for and he totally changed the subject. I looked at Aidan who is always listening and he had a smirk on his face. :)

I’ve never really been very good at quietly sitting back and not saying anything. Sometimes I really wish I could just graciously and sweetly ignore what people say. But I guess I’ve seen too many teens actually turn out as horribly as the adults in their lives keep telling them they are going to be. How about a different approach? How about we start a conversation with someone and instead of snarky remarks about their teenagers-to-be we actually speak hope, encouraging words, and courage for the parents who are embarking on this new adventure?

Anyway, the look on Aidan’s face was priceless. I’m not saying my kids are going to be perfect teenagers. They ARE in fact humans. But I DO look forward to their teen years. So excuse me if I don’t join in on your degrading comments about my pre-teens in your presence. I think they need to know that I believe they can be AWESOME teens, not rebellious little misfits.

There’s my rant. Love my kids, all of them. And I can’t wait to have teenagers, free babysitting!!! ;)

Winter…Spring…Summer…oops I forgot to blog

Life. It just doesn’t stop going 100 mph! I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since IMG_4654 last December. I would like to stop time for a few weeks. Freeze my children and my animals and take a couple of weeks to clear my mind of all the memories and photos that are floating around in my brain. But that’s just not going to happen (I think it’s illegal to freeze your children, and I’m pretty sure that I wouldn’t be happy with the productiveness of my thawed out animals.) I think I just need to say a few words about my lost memories and move on, forward, let it go so I can start blogging again. Deep breath, it’s going to be okay.

IMG_4656This summer has been fun, busy, full of life and flowers and laughter and fruit and veggies. The kids have had a lot of fun with their little gardens this summer, we did the same kind of thing we did last year, each of the kids got their own 2′ x 10′ garden bed, they got to plant whatever they wanted (from the seeds we had) and had a lot of fun watching everything grow. It’s been great seeing the kid’s love for gardening growing. I’ve noticed each of them gaining an appreciation of this life we are trying to create for them, even a love for the outdoor chores. On several occasions Cait has told me she loves working on our farm, Connor is so sweet and will often say that he likes that we are farmers. Victoria is my little garden shadow, whenever I’m out there she is too and loves helping with planting seeds or transplanting things we started indoors. I love working outdoors on our farm but honestly my favorite times on our little farm are when the kids are engaged with me in the beauty God is creating here in our little world.

IMG_4786This summer I’ve spent a lot of time learning more about gardening, what it takes to be more productive and coming up with a plan for next year, I’m hoping next year I will have extra veggies to sell. I’ll be sharing more thoughts on that at another time. We have really been doing a lot of dreaming, brainstorming, even dreaming with our children about our future together and what they want to do with their lives. It’s been a stretching, challenging season as well. But at the end of the day we look at these beautiful people God has put in our lives, and all we can say is God is so good.

IMG_4745I feel like I’ve really gotten into my groove with goat milking and cheese making this year. I’ve got quite a few wheels of cheese in my cheese cave, and we are just really enjoying the goats this year, they are all healthy and sweet personalities. Next year we will be milking 4 goats and we are already looking forward to the spring when we get to welcome new baby goats into the family :) Up until now the goat milking has been my thing, partly because I just really like to do it and partly because I’m a bit of a control freak. So last week I had a pre-op appointment to have my gallbladder removed. I have to check in for my surgery at 6am, which means I wont be milking that morning, it also means that Chris wont be milking that morning. I couldn’t see many other options, I needed to finally teach the kids how to do my morning chores, as well as my nighttime chores. I am so glad this happened. Now I go out with the kids in the morning, the last couple mornings I’ve brought my fried eggs and coffee out there and watched them do “my chores.”

IMG_4767It’s kind of weird that I didn’t take the time to teach them before, but I’m so thrilled and so are they, to see them doing the chores and doing them so well. Aidan was milking Penny the other morning and said with satisfaction, “I feel like she’s my goat.” :) Guenna milks Dandelion and Gracie and Aidan milks Penny and does the rest of the feeding, grain and hay and water. It’s fun watching them work so hard and take their jobs so seriously. Cait and Eamon have been doing my evening chores, graining and hay and water, as well as feeding ducks and chickens, and Victoria makes sure Brutus (our adorable bunny boy) gets his food. And Connor hmmm, I need to find a really important chore for him to do. Noted.

IMG_4758Here we go. Summer is almost over. We are just getting going with school again, and winding down with cheesemaking. Getting ready to breed the goats again hopefully next month. Getting the farm cleaned up and ready for the fall. Working on the leaks on the barn roof and working on getting better ventilation so we have less condensation on the barn roof so we don’t get mold in our hay. All the while dreaming of next spring and summer, thinking ahead but trying to live fully in the moment. These days aren’t always easy, our kids are sweet but they certainly aren’t perfect, we do our best to train them up but we are all sinners.

10629857_10152747677792069_6498585567835164652_nBut in all of our challenges and struggles my thoughts continually rest in this truth, God is good. He is sovereign over all, He in his goodness cares about the clothing the lilies of the field and he cares about feeding the sparrow, and He cares about all the things that concern you and I. He is good, and trustworthy, and I will put my trust in Him. Instead of worrying and wondering what He has planned I choose to enjoy these days, I choose to lift my eyes to the giver of life and know that He has good things in store for all those who put their trust in Him.

And with that, isn’t that a cute little watermelon holder? The watermelon wasn’t quite done but the kids eating it were all really cute and excited we grew our very own yummy watermelon, they will do better next year! Allright, I better go make some dinner now :)

You’re ON babe!

So apparently my husband (some of you may remember him?) he actually started this blog before we got married 12 years ago, and um well, I think he hasn’t posted on this blog for nearly ages. But that’s okay, I still love him (pretty amazing of me right?) Apparently he’s going to start making regular posts on this here blog in the very near future.

Here’s the deal. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but we have an issue with going to bed on time, and a few other daily disciplines that you should already have “down” when you reach adulthood. So Chris turned 40 this year (I’m still a mere 35) and we still don’t know how to go to bed before 11 or 12pm, which doesn’t really work for a guy who has to wake up at 4:00am!

We’ve tried lots of challenges to get us motivated to stay on track, we’ve tried writing out goals every night (lasted a few weeks), tried shared To-Do lists, and several ways of staying disciplined. Turns out that money is pretty much the only thing that actually motivates us (what does that say about our character?) I’m not even talking about a lot of money, a $10 reward for the person who accumulates the most points in a two week period. We each have 8 points we can earn each day, his goals are slightly different than mine. They include things like waking with alarm, no media before breakfast, eating a green smoothie, blogging, Bible reading, exercise, to bed on time, and so on. Things like eating off plan actually take points you’ve earned away (which caused me to spit out the bite of bread I took from an extra piece of toast, into the pig bucket).

It’s only been a week. But I have a good feeling that this is going to be a system that works for us. Both of us have put back on a few pounds we had lost, and we both have more to lose, so here is to meeting goals in 2014, getting fit, getting more sleep, staying on track with our budget, and getting more out of life. I’m really excited for the coming year, really excited!

Oh, and I’m really excited about hearing what Mr. Burns has to say on this blog and on his personal blog as well! I think I’m going to win this week though babe, but keep trying. ;)

What kind of mommy are you?

Last night I was working with Guenna helping her learn how to use her new mini sewing machine she got for Christmas from someone special :) She had almost finished her mini pillow she made for her baby doll “Jack” and she said warmly, “I’m glad you’re this kind of mommy.” Awww, what a sweet girl. I’m glad you like me! I said, “Thank you Guenna! There are all kinds of mommies. We all have different talents.”

But the more that I thought about that conversation I was thinking about all the mommies who might take a bit of offense or feel a tinge of pain when they read that, thinking, “I can’t sew, don’t do crafts, and Betty Crocker doesn’t live anywhere near this house!” God made all of us different. We can’t all have everybody’s talents. As much as I would love to be a photographer, a painter, a pianist, a
mountain climber, a refined city girl, a coupon shopper, the list goes on and on. I can’t be all those things, there are a few things I’m getting good at, and I’m doing my best to share those few things with my children, both boys and girls.

But I think it’s more than that, what she likes is my time, my attention, the investment into her that says, “I want you to grow and mature and get good at something, you’re not just a kid but you are a capable member of society who has something to offer.” We need to spend more time with our children, teaching them, teaching them anything! Reading to them instead of getting on facebook and putting a movie on for them (I’m preaching to myself as well here!) Create memories, learn WITH them, play games with them, build with them, color, draw, find out what they are interested and help them learn how to do that thing. That can be challenging at times! I think all of us moms were made just perfectly for our beautiful little flocks. It’s easy to look at what all the other moms are pinning on Pinterest and think, “I wish I was like her.” She probably wishes she was like the person she got the pins from! ;)

Maybe your child(ren) have never told you this, but they are glad You are THAT kind of mommy! As a mom it is so easy to be jealous of how clean Suzy’s house always seems to be and I get to feeling a bit down about that at times. But I know that God wants me to love being the daughter and mother HE has created just me to be instead of looking at all the other moms and wishing I was like somebody else.

Be her, be you! Your children love you just the way you are! I’d love to hear from you, what are some ways you’ve connected with your children, practical and inexpensive ways? It’s always great to hear ideas from other moms, we are all in this together. Bless you today moms, you are all amazing!

Dishes? What dishes?!

Fun Fall harvest

The last two nights the girls have been doing the dishes. It’s another one of those chores that I’ve just felt it was easier to do myself, (what was I thinking?) Or to let my mom do, she’s pretty good at loading the dishwasher after dinner, even if she does fall on her butt sometimes while doing them.

I was making dinner last night and the girls were in the kitchen eyeballing the large pile of dishes in the sink, they exclaimed, “Wow, that’s sure a lot of dishes! We can help you wash them!” I said, “well, you can unload the dishwasher.” I knew they could do this task, so I was okay with letting them do it. I’m still making dinner, they said with excited glee, “WE can do THAT together!!!!” Silly giddy girls. One less thing to do tonight. They tore through that task with shining stars. Then wanted MORE. Long story short, I had them load the dishwasher. Then they wanted to clean the sink, and now can we wash these other dishes by hand? And can we dry and put these ones away? Can we wipe this counter and clean up that spot over here? They are cleaning machines! And I am LOVING it! They are constantly wanting to help in the kitchen and I’m always trying to find some way they can help.

As you can see, they can do a bit of the prep work for cooking and they LOVE that. Guenna said tonight while she was washing dishes, “I can’t wait until I’m a REAL mom.” Because you know, right now she’s just a “mommy-wannabe” and that makes me feel so proud. I had two boys first and was honestly a little freaked out about having a daughter, I got boys but I had reserves about raising daughters. But when I saw Guenna for the first time all those fears melted away I had this feeling so strongly, “she’s like ME” I get to raise her to be kind of like me. It was such a profound moment and I had another one of those moments tonight while I was cooking, Guenna was loading the dishwasher, Victoria was handing her dirty dishes and Cait was cleaning the sink. Here we all were in “our” element, working together, sisters. It was like a little portal into the future. I know I have a lot of teaching to do to get this machine really cranking out, but this little moment in time was one of those that I want to treasure forever. I love my girls, and feel so very blessed to have three beautiful daughters, and look forward one day to having SEVEN, and my girls also look forward to meeting their four new sisters one day when their brothers marry!

I leave you with this. Tonight the girls wanted to help with the dishes again. They looked like they were getting ready to scrub them and I instructed that they could just start loading the dishes now that the dishwasher was empty. Guenna has a way of speaking truth, she doesn’t mean to sound rude but… she says with surprise, “Is that ALL you do?!!” Oh Guenna, you do have a way with words. I love all my dear daughters!

Laundry, maybe I don’t loathe you quite so much?

Laundry Selfie

Tonight I am thankful for my big boys, they are getting to be pretty capable young men (Aidan told Chris and I at the table tonight that he wants to get a job cleaning houses-isn’t he precious, he only needs six dollars he said!:) I’ve been working on getting caught up on laundry this week, and we’ve been staying on top of it. But I started to get that feeling today that I’ve got too much on my plate and I felt that too familiar feeling of defeat coming on, like I was kidding myself, we can’t do this. I need to sort and fold and put away these two baskets, usually that is my part of the laundry job, sorting, and they stay in the basket until I sort them onto the couch and then the kids help me put them away.

Short story longer, the boys help me with random chores from 8-8:30 and then they get to play on the iPad from 8:30-9, it’s a pretty good deal for all of us. Tonight they sorted all the laundry, put everybody’s clothes, underwear, socks away, folded blankets and sheets and got us all caught up again. You know what this means? This means that the kids are capable of doing every stage of laundry with very little assistance from me. The older kids get the clothes from the rooms to the laundry room, Connor does the washing/drying part and gets the washed baskets of clothes into the Red Room and the older kids do the rest. I’ve put a lot of hours into training these guys to get to this point, there is hope! :)

I have a lot on my plate, with the farm and homeschooling and cleaning house and cooking for a family of 9 or 10 (when mom comes for dinner). Aidan told me the other day, “I think a lot about the fact that you don’t get very many breaks mom and that you work all day.” It’s sweet to know that he notices that I work hard. I want our children to grow to have empathy for others and to learn to lend a hand when they see a need (my kids aren’t quite there yet, but they are getting there). But my feeling is I’m young and in a season of building, investing, laying a foundation. I work hard to lay a foundation with our children.

The other day I had a chat with the kids about how difficult it can be to take them to the store, and how I know that they like to come with me but I have to deal with arguing and bickering in the car, and silly boys being rambunctious in the back seat, waking the sleeping baby, and not paying attention to where mom is at and staying in line behind me while we shop. After this chat with them you would not believe how many compliments we got in the store that day, several people stopped us and commented on how well behaved they were :) I was laughing to myself, and didn’t tell any of the commenters about the threats I made to the children before we left. One lady in particular was so sweet, we were sitting and eating in the food court at Fred Meyer’s, she got up to leave and put her hand on my shoulder and said, “you have LOVELY children, I think these are the most well-behaved children I’ve ever seen!” They were being especially sweet that lunch time and it was nice to hear such words about these kids that God has placed in my care.

Wait, wasn’t I talking about laundry? Well I guess I was just overwhelmed with a warm feeling of admiration for my growing boys. I went outside to milk and do my evening outdoor chores (and bring baby bunnies in the house more because they are cute and I like to hold them at night than because they really need to come in), and they were inside doing a chore that usually gets put off and overwhelms me. I’m excited about these days ahead, I’m really excited about their teen years. I know everybody says, “wait til they are teens!” and I say, bring it on! I know we’ve invested in these kids, and in those teen years we will reap a harvest of blessing as they grow into men. I can’t wait! I’ve heard every word of caution so I’m sure some of you will feel the need to warn me how wrong I might be, but I choose to believe in faith that seeds of love, faithfulness, work ethic, obedience to God, discipline, etc., these seeds are just beginning to grow in them. When they are teens they will be little sproutlings (as the kids like to call them) and with God’s grace and help will just continue to grow and flourish in their lives. Thank you once again, dear Lord for blessing us with these beautiful amazing, and often very challenging little people, I love them all with all my heart!

Going Deeper

Fun Fall harvest

Aidan has always been a deep well. A thinking child, kind of an “old soul” as some say. He has deep convictions, and fears, he feels great empathy as well as hurt when he is wronged, he has a deep sense of injustice and wants so truly for everyone to be in line, with God and for things to be just the way God intended them to be. Not just everyone else, but for himself too.

Tonight we had another one of those talks. Started by a conversation that he was having with daddy, I don’t even remember about what (he would remember, he could probably recall all the details of our whole conversation, and the last one, and the one before that). He has a remarkable memory, one that I think haunts him at times. He remembers the looks people made at him, or the way he felt when someone said something unkind, four years ago.

We talked about these things tonight, and he told me some things he’d been wanting to share with me, like about how sometimes I don’t discipline Victoria when she is being unkind and how that makes him feel. So we got to talk about it. I shared with him how in life there are going to be so many people fail you, fail him. But in those times we have to fix our eyes on the only thing that is constant, Our Christ, the Great Redeemer, the Steadfast One. He will never change, He is always faithful. And one day He will make all things right in the world.

We talked for quite some time and when I told him I needed to go wash the girls hair he said, “thanks mom, I love it when we talk like this.” I could see the peace coming over him and it warmed my heart. I told him that I look forward to many many more talks like this as he grows into a man.” He said with a smile, “Me too.”

I love this young man. I don’t always know how to be the best and most constant mom for him. I sadly fall short, daily. But I am so thankful that I can lean on the everlasting arms of my Heavenly Father who gives me strength each day to do this job. I put my children in His hands, He is faithful.

Daddy is such a party pooper!

I can’t understand why daddy doesn’t want to keep markers in the house, I actually really like them!


He just doesn’t understand how fun they are…


Not to mention how yummy they taste!


Plus I think I look pretty cool with all this marker on my face and hands, don’t you think?


Really daddy? It’s not that big of a deal!


And I just happen to have my mommy wrapped around my (marker stained) finger. Shhhh! Don’t tell her ;)


It’s okay Jack, she already knows. She thought cutting off your curls would help, but no such luck. You’re just too adorable!

A little bookshelf I built for the girls today

The girls like to keep books in their room, they seem to have accumulated quite a few books that have been scattered all over their room. Today while I was helping them clean I decided to take some of the wood that was left over free wood from our barn (we got some really nice scrap wood given to us). I like how it turned out, I think they girls are going to paint it to match their room.

Girls New Book Shelf

Girls New Book Shelf

Girls New Book Shelf

Girls New Book Shelf

Girls New Book Shelf

This is the bottom
Girls New Book Shelf

I built the bottom first, then added a couple pieces on the sides (the ends) then the back tacked on, then finished adding the side pieces, then I put the top on. It was really easy :)
Fun :) The girls love it and it’s nice for Victoria to have a “table” that is just her size!

At least now we know he’s not allergic to peanuts?!

The other morning I was distracted in the living room, enjoying a little peace and quiet before the rest of the kids woke up, I was proud of myself for getting up before all the kids and getting the milking done even before Jack woke up. When I got back to the house I heard him cheerful jabbering in his bedroom. I leisurely got him up, had a few snuggles with him and he was off to play while I peacefully checked my email. I had this feeling that he was doing something naughty because he was awfully contentedly playing by himself (which is usually a clue that he’s into something).

I finally pulled myself away from the computer to go check on him, and as I neared the kitchen my nose started to alarm, what is that I smell? Peanut butter? Why would I be smelling peanut butter so strongly?…Oh.

Jack likes to paint!

His masterpiece was just too good to not take a picture.
Jack likes to paint!

He loves putting lids on things, but a container full of peanut butter, that is just so much better!
Jack likes to paint!

So proud!
Jack likes to paint!

It’s hard work but somebody’s got to do it.
Jack likes to paint!

Hmmm, I wonder if that handle needs just a little more paint?
Jack likes to paint!

Hey mom, yeah I’m just working here.
Jack likes to paint!

No problem mom, I painted the tea pot for you! You’re welcome :)
Jack likes to paint!