Our storage room?

Monday, January 31, 2011

We live in a house with 3 bedrooms and 5 children - and since I am quite determined not to get rid of any of these delightful creatures, that only leaves 1 option - some of our stuff must go! Our bedroom has become a catch-all for everything that no longer has a place in our home. And I can stand it no longer. Today is the day. I will clean up that room. I will sell, or give away, or throw away everything that I can to once and for all reclaim my space!

We have not had a bed frame for a very long time and I have been on the hunt for years. I am also not willing to spend a ton of money. 
I found this picture here. I think it is the one, and I am so excited to get started building it. (now, when I say me I of course mean Darren) He will be so happy!

January Babies

Friday, January 28, 2011

I loved expecting a baby in January. After Christmas I still had something so very exciting to look forward to. Such a wonderful way to start a new year! I would like to wish both my January babies a very happy birthday.

To Noelle - You made me a mother. I walked into motherhood with rose colored glasses on and thought I knew everything. You came so sweet and small. We could not have loved you more. You have grown into a beautiful young lady. Your dad and I will often look at each other and then back to you and wonder what happened. Where did the past 11 years go? How could you have grown so quickly? Will the next 11 years go by as fast? To you I would say, take your time. Be little as long as you would like. You will have plenty of years to be grown up. And when I look at you and foolishly say, "You are acting like a child" (I actually said that once), and you so gently respond with a giggle, "I am a child" - Remember that, even at times when I may forget. As I ask to you to grow up and stay small all at the same time, do not think I'm crazy, just know that I am walking through wilderness that I have never been in before. You brought a world of firsts with you - for you and for me. You are a wonderful daughter. You are entering the years where one discovers that their parents don't know absolutely everything, and we may even seem a little strange at times. But we are yours and you are ours, and we love you, and we will always be there for you, no matter what. Remember that. You are my dearest friend.

To Tate - You, I thought, were the end to my perfect family. You came along not so small but every bit as sweet. You have the most beautiful brown eyes and the chubbiest cheeks I ever did see. God gave these especially to you. He knew that at times you would need the extra cuteness factor to work in your favor. And he knew that those 2 things would do me in every time. You grew and with you your will also. You ripped those rose colored glasses off my face and showed me what real parenting is like. I now  realize just how little I knew and how little I still know. You, my little Tater-tot, play for keeps. You do nothing half-way. You love hard. You play hard. You laugh hard. You get mad hard. And thankfully you also sleep hard.  You live with your whole self, and you take my hand and teach me to live in the moment with you. I thank you for that and for your love that you so generously give each day in every way.
Happy Birthday my babies!

Project 365 - Day 10

Saturday, January 22, 2011

(Noelle making dinner for the kids - 
Darren and I are going to order take-out after the kids are in bed
 for an at-home date night)

A word of caution

It can be all to easy to lose perspective - In this big wide world, that is endlessly vying for our time, attention and money - some of it worthy, other times not. Even more so when it comes to the blogging world, which I love, but with which a very carefully executed perception of things can, and is most often presented as a rule or standard, by which the rest of us can dangerously measure ourselves. No one of us is perfect. No one of us is better or less valuable than another. We must remember this and keep perspective. I love decorating, building things, and working on projects. I also love to blog, but I do it for me. Every once in a while I will have to step back, even right out of this virtual world to clear my vision for this life and the direction I am headed. When I catch myself thinking things like, "I need to blog about something new today" or "I need to update for others", it is then that a red flag of warning should and does go up. When my blog becomes a means by which to compete, or to gain a following or an audience, it also becomes hollow. There will always be someone who has more than we have, there will always be someone who seems more successful than we are. Someone will always have more children, a  more exotic career, or a bigger and better home. I want my blog to have heart. We need to find the balance between ambition and contentedness - gratitude and desire - simple beauty and impossible perfection. Some of you may be more naturally able to resist the usually feminine weakness of comparison - but to you find it more difficult and mostly to myself I would say, Please don't compare, please don't waste time on things that are of no eternal value. You are worth more than that. These things do not define who you are. I am ever honored and humbled when some kind person comments about my blog. I never assume to have any authority when it comes to decorating, or ever to have any great wisdom to impart. This blog is about the small and simple things we do for fun around our home. It is a journal of types for me. I do it for the love of the thing. If we as a nation spent as much time working on ourselves as we do our homes, we would be a most beautiful people. So have fun using your talents and ideas to create, these gifts were given to us from God to use, and to experience joy with. God delights in beauty and order. We as women have been given the ability to spread this wherever we go - each one of us in our own unique way, and therefore maybe even a responsibility to beautify our small piece of the world over which we have been given stewardship. To be hardworking and industrious is a wonderful thing. So I will continue to paint and re-paint, to clean and adjust, to sew and build and rearrange. I will do the things I love to do and I will blog about it - but I will do it for me and I will remember who I am. Home is not just a place of dwelling, it is a state of being. Although I love my house, my home lies within the hearts of my family - wherever I am, as long as I am with them, I am simply home.

Project 365 - Day 9

Friday, January 21, 2011

Project 365 - Day 8

Thursday, January 20, 2011

{taken by Noelle - lover of all things girly}

Teachers Assistant

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I would love to be able to sit and read every book and  help with every puzzle whenever I am asked, and although I can a lot of the time, sometimes I cannot. This comes with the territory of having a large family and other children who need my time and attention as well. Instead of worrying or feeling guilty - how will I ever home school them all and give them the time and attention they need? - I have to remember that I have older children that can and are willing to help out. Like today, when I was asked by Tate to read him a story. I told him that I would in a minute as soon as I finished what I was doing. Emma, having heard the conversation asked if he would like her to read to him. He was delighted. Tate did not care if it was read by Emma or myself. He just wanted to hear a story. I believe that they gain so much from being able to serve and help each other. So in my absence and limitations, something else is gained - a bond between siblings that necessity helps create. 

Project 365 - Day 7

Kid Quotes

During family home evening:
Me: Tate, Will you please sit still!
Tate: In one place!?


I have always wanted to learn how to fence. So last week I finally decided that if I am ever going to do it, I better look into it now. After all I am not getting any younger. I was hoping that I would be able to find something in town instead of having to travel to Victoria or Nanaimo. It just so happens that there is a lady who lives right here in town and she offers classes at the community center.
 My first class was last night. I was the first one there. Then the teenagers started to arrive - my biggest fear - that I would be the oldest one. At this point I started to panic and I wanted to run from the room as I realized that I probably looked like I was 100 years old to them. I had asked the instructor before hand if there were any other students over 30, and she told me there was, but I could not see any. I gathered every ounce of courage I had and I stayed. 
The instructor (who is over 30) happened to be waiting at the bottom of the stairs for me since she knew it was my first time and she wanted to show me the way. She finally came up along with another man (over 30 as well), at which point I felt a little better. Georgia is her name, and she has been fencing for over 30 years. She was born, and raised, and learned to fence in England. It may seem silly, but somehow that makes it all the more authentic for me. 
After Georgia helped me suit up (you really have to wear a jacket, and gloves, and a mask) the class began. Georgia took me aside and worked with me for half the class and then said, "I think you're ready".  Ready? Ready to what? To have a bout? I don't think so! That is what I thought, but what came out of my mouth was, "o.k!?" So I fenced my very first opponent. He, of course, went all to easy on me.
 When we had finished I went back and watched as Georgia coached someone else. A few minutes later a teenage boy came up to me and asked me if I wanted to watch or if I would have a match with him. All at once I was transported back almost 20 years. I felt like I was 14 again and I was asked to dance for the very first time. I told him that I didn't know what I was doing, but that if he wanted to I would. He stared out really easy and me and then after I told him not to hold back, because I actually wanted to learn, he went for it. If we had been fencing for real in the olden days I would have died several times over. He was so sweet though and very chivalrous. He, and another guy who watched us, would critique me as I went. It was very fun. I loved it. I am glad I stayed. I look forward to next Tuesday so I can do it again.

Project 365 - Day 6

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


What do you do when all your daughter wants is to curl up on the couch with a book and a pillow and read, and read, and read - only to ask, when she is done, if you will take her to the library?
You leave her alone and watch as her little mind absorbs the story and she becomes immersed in that world, and then you silently give thanks for these precious moments when it is witnessed to your heart that what you are doing is right and is working. That you're children are not only learning to read, but learning to love it. And then you take her to the library!

3 for 3

How could I forget? How could I forget that when Noelle was 2  she would empty her drawers and change 7 times a day? How could I forget refolding everything and putting it away again, hoping it would stay that way? How could I forget that it never did? How could I forget that Emma did that exact thing everyday, at that same age - only then to remember when Noelle went through that phase? How then, did I forget all over again, until I was reminded by my 3rd daughter, who now follows in her sisters footsteps? How dare I feel frustrated instead of cherishing this time? For all too soon it will be over and what was once a source of frustration will through the grace of time become one of my most cherished memories, when I am old and gray, and Darren and I sit at the breakfast table and say, "remember when......."

Project 365 - Day 5

Monday, January 17, 2011

Project 365 - Day 4

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Project 365 - Day 3

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The icing on the cake

Friday, January 14, 2011

We finished the cake tonight! This was my first experience using marshmallow fondant. It sounds way more intimidating than it really is. If I can do this, anyone can do this (for those of you who know me well, you know that my talents don't usually lie within the kitchen). It took a little time and patience, but when Tate saw his cake and I watched his eyes grow big and I heard him say, "Oh, Thank you so much mom - it looks AWESOME!! - that made it worth all the effort!

Insider Surfboards

With only 40% of our children in tow, Darren and I went out to lunch. The other 60% went on a play date to the Bragg's (thank you Katie!). After lunch we stopped by the Bill and Ted's Board Shop, where they are selling Darren's surfboards. This was my first time in the shop. I felt so proud to see his boards up there with all the other ones. They look really great. I am so grateful, first of all, for Darren who always inspires me with his courage - to be able to take a dream and turn it into reality - and to Kevin, who has been Darren's #1 man. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

Project 365 - Day 2

The makings of a quiet afternoon

Thursday, January 13, 2011

People ask how I do it all the time. The real answer is I don't know. Somehow we just do. But 1 thing I love about homeschooling is that we decide what we want to do and what we want to learn about each day. Today as I was baking a cake for Tate's 5th birthday, the kids got to eat popcorn and listen to an audio novel. This is 1 way that I get a break while they are still (quietly) learning!

Toy Story Style

Tate is turning 5 in a few days and in celebration of that, we are having a little party for him and 3 of his friends - this will be his first one! Lucky for us his 3 dearest friends happen to belong to the same family, and they just happen to be some of our favorite people! After searching through dozens and dozens of  pictures of cakes from Cars, to Bob the Builder, to tractors, Tate finally decided on a theme for his party. So toady we had some fun picking a cake and making some invitations! Well we only made 2 - 1 to give to the Ellis family, and 1 to put in his jar for the year. But they sure were fun to do!

Project 365

I got this e-mail from my sister-in-law Shannon the other day. 

Hi there,

Shannon Wight is using 365 Project and thought you might be interested in joining too.

To find out more about 365 Project, visit the link below:

-The 365 Project Team

About 365 Project:
365 Projects are simple, you take one photo every day for a year. 
It can be anything, something you've done, a self portrait, your shoes! Anything!

So fun. I will absolutely do it! But I thought I would do it here. Along with my regular blogging (or not so regular blogging, lately) I am going to attempt to take 1 random picture of something to represent each day for one whole year and post it on our blog.

Here is my picture for today

Memory Jars

Monday, January 10, 2011

We made our memory jars today with a simple jar and a picture of each of the kids - they are now ready to be filled with memorabilia. The kids are super excited by the idea and eager to start. I have no doubt they with be filled with all sorts of "treasures". My hope is that they will be able to look back at each years jar and see what they looked like and remember some of the fun times we shared together.

Noelle was able to put her first thing in her jar. Darren and I surprised Noelle on Saturday night by taking her out to see "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" in 3D at the movie theater in Victoria.
It has been a family tradition of ours to read a book together and then to see the movie. It began with Noelle and I reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory together when she was 4. A tradition that has grown to include many books and all the other children. Although this is a book that we all enjoyed I didn't think that this movie would be appropriate for the younger ones yet.
It is kind of exciting and scary all at the same time to have a child that is growing up into a lovely young lady. I often think of her as a little girl. She is not anymore. I need to start treating her as the young lady she is becoming. I need to let her grow up and quit holding her back. She needs to be allowed experiences that are age appropriate for her and not be limited to what the youngest of her brothers and sisters are ready for. And yet I feel the need to hold back the younger ones a bit and not let them grow up to fast just because they have older siblings. This is a delicate balance and I have at times had to change course in the middle of a book or movie that wasn't what I felt my little ones needed yet. Their time will come, all too soon. As for Noelle - her time is here, and she is ready to start spreading her wings and be given the room to grow, while still safe within arms reach. There is a time to shelter and then there comes the day when guidance is the more appropriate term. My job with Noelle is changing. I need to stop lumping them together and allow room and experiences for each child in each stage. I fear my little ones growing up and leaving home. A part of me wants them to stay small for longer than they will. I am realizing that I cannot change the time I have been given with them. I cannot, no matter how I would try, extend the years. It would be selfish to do so. I have the time I have, and I need to learn to cherish each new stage. I need to losen my grip. I need to give them wings and teach them to fly. If I fail to do so, I will crush the person they are meant to be. So although I may be able to preserve their pictures and some tokens in a glass jar, I cannot do the same with them. This is the pattern that all children follow. Children grow and mothers mourn. In children we can watch this change take place. Besides a few grey hairs and a few more wrinkles the change in mothers is much less obvious - for it happens on the inside. Through trials we become stronger. Through pain we become softer. Through the years we become wiser. This is the way it was meant to be. These are the things I saw through 3D glasses.

Preserving Memories

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I came across this blog written by a lady named Kelli Crowe - fellow home schooler and crafter. She has this super cute idea for a time capsule, in which you fill up through out the year.
I thought that each of the kids could make one for school and fill it up with museum passes, ticket stubs, special rocks or sticks or shells found on field trips, and whatever else they could find to remind them of all the things we did through out the year. Of course it would have made better sense to start it in September, but since I didn't know then, we will start now and start again in September 2011, and each subsequent September.

$13 and a willing husband

Ever since we moved into this house I have wanted to put better molding around the front door and windows. The way they did them originally just looked so unfinished and didn't match the rest of the house. So (in the middle of December) I asked my husband if he would go outside and shave down the existing molding with a planer and put up new molding. He said yes! He is so good. It looks so great. It is the kind of thing that no one else would really ever notice, but it quietly makes all the difference in giving the front door a finished look. Thank you Darren. Next... the windows! (I think we will wait until the spring for that though)



I just came across these little birds and I though I would share. 
I have, for reasons unknown, a strange love of birds. 
I thought that it would make a perfect home schooling sewing project for the girls. 
They would be so cute in a nursery, or in a girls bedroom, on a Christmas tree, or wherever. 
Just thought I would share.
Follow link below for instructions at Living Life Creatively.

after Christmas clean-up

I love decorating for Christmas. I love how it cozies everything up and makes you feel like wrapping yourself in a big soft blanket, and reading a book, and drinking some hot chocolate. By the middle of November I am just counting down the days until I think it is close enough to December to decorate and not seem too crazy. But (and maybe even more) I love packing everything away when Christmas is over. By the 27th I am done with all the clutter. My family on the other hand wants to tree to stay up until the new year. Who am I to argue with such cuteness? So January 1st the tree comes down. I love the fresh clean feeling it brings. Christmas is fun, but messy: baking, sewing, glueing, wrapping, crafts, and decorations everywhere. This is also a time to move some things around. I moved the pictures of the kids I had above the fireplace so that I could put up my Christmas decorations. They found a new home in a big empty space in the stairwell. I ended up really liking them there - so for now they will stay. That means I had to shop around the house and move other things around to fill up my mantle. Fast, fresh and free. If you find yourself needing a change - move some things around! Have fun with your house.

Daily Schedules

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Baby Bling

Nya got this necklace and bracelet from Santa in her stocking - she wears them every single day!
At nap time we take them off, and when she wakes up 
the first thing she does is to put them back on again. 
Girls will be girls!