Friday, February 29, 2008

Downsizing the Toys

When we were expecting Bo, what kind and how many, toys never crossed my mind. But almost 4 years and two more children later toys are a big consideration.

I have been cleaning out toys and trying to organize the ones we are going to keep. My very handy husband has built the boys a play table. We have this in the living room. Bo's castle and knights are on it right now. Underneath the table we have a Noah's ark, 3 board games and a puzzle, as well as a box of plastic animals.

I have also made a reading/relaxing corner in the living room as well. Complete with a large chalkboard, quilt, two large floor pillows and a basket of book.

In the Bo's room we have a train table complete with many, many Thomas trains, a workbench and tools and a bookshelf.

In Boo's room we have a blocks basket, car basket, and a toy box with a lot of random toys.

Now I have really cleaned out many toys, but I have many more to go.

When cleaning out toys, I first look to see where it it made and what it is made out of. If it is plastic and Made in China, it will probably be gone. (Note: a few favorite toys have been kept even if they are a less desirable material aka: plastic) I have to think about this because Shater puts everything into her mouth!

I am working on searching out toys that I feel are appropriate for developing imagination in my children and making wishlists so when a holiday is coming up I can ask family to purchase gits from the wishlists.

I hope to share future wishlists so that others can benefit as well.

So remember, less is more when it comes to toys and cardboard boxes, sheets and rocks will entertain little boys for hours.


I had rather my boys play outside and enjoy nature than sit in the house with a bedroom full of toys!

Still Learning...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mother Culture

This weeks Charlotte Mason blog carnival is on "Mother Culture". Here is a post that is definitely worth the time to read it. Visit living, learning and loving... and be refreshed!

Still learning...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Too Cute

"What a minute mom, my body is arguing." said by Bo yesterday when I asked him what he wanted for lunch; chili or peanut butter and banana. He finally chose chili. :-)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sink/Float Lesson

We went out on a cold morning last week and the boys and I walked on the over grown lot across the road. We found some hickory nuts and also the outer shells of the nuts. The boys picked one up and I told them it looked like a little boat. I suggested we go in the house and float the little boats in some water.

As we were going in, I told the boys to pick up a gravel and a stick. I decided to let them put all of the objects in the water too observe what would happen.


Bo observed that the boat(hickory nut shell) stays on top and the gravel goes down.

We also placed a screw, leaf, magnet, pecans, oragne peels and the sticks in the water.

The boys really enjoyed this and the warm water warmed our cold hands.

Soon the boys were off to the deck with the pot of water to make some soup:-)

Sunday, February 17, 2008


71. Homemade sweet cream butter, slathered on homemade honey wheat bread.
72. Rain, Rain and more Rain
73. Pudgy thighs
74. A tiny mouth sucking on toes.
75. An entire Saturday spent with Chris, working around the house.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Miss Mason on Habits

As I seek to work on habit training with my children, I have been reading along with the Ambleside YR0 group as they read through the habit training section in Home Education by Miss Mason. This section is full of so many ideas I hardly know where to begin. I think I'll give some consideration to Miss Mason's idea that some habits are learned just by living in the home, not through any direct teaching.

Here are her thoughts:

...the child's most fixed and dominat habits are those which the mother takes no pains about, but which the child picks up for himself through his close observation of all that is said and done, felt and thought, in his home.

We have already considered a group of half-physical habits-order, regularity, neatness which the child imbibes, so to speak, in this way. But this is not all: habits of gentleness, courtesy, kindness, candour, respect for other people, or-habits quite other than these, are inspired by the child as the very atmosphere of his home, the air he lives in and must grow by.
Home Education, pg. 136-137

As I read this I was once again reminded that actions speak louder than words.

The habits that will be most ingrained in the hearts and minds of my children will not be the habits that I try to teach them, but the ones that they observe in my life, and their father's life. Surely, no one has ever believed that do as I say, not as I do could ever work?

So as I begin to work on habit training my children the very first thing I must do is look into myself. Does the atmosphere I create in our home allow my children to develop habits that will benefit them?

It's quite easy for me to maintain a sense of order and regularity to our days. I am a person who thirves on routine and schedules (former Kindergarten teacher here). My children do quite well with a routine. I feel like it gives them a sense of security.

The habits of gentleness, courtesy, kindness, candour, respect for others are the ones that I really need to continually work on in myself so that I can see progress in the lives of my children.

I am reminded of Colossians 3:12,
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindess, humility,gentleness and patience.

and Galations 5:22,

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such there is no law.

So for me, the key is spending some time in bible study and prayer each morning before I am faced with a day full of having to show gentleness when we are in a hurry to leave; kindness when the drink is spilled on my freshly mopped floor; courtesy when someone pulls out in front of me while driving; candour when someone makes a different decision than I would have;respect when I am discipling a two and three year old.

As always, when I set out to help someone else, the first thing that needs to be changed is myself.

Still learning...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Another Reason to Breastfeed

Here's a very interesting article. Stem cells have been isolated in breastmilk. Just another reason I am so glad I have chosen to breastfeed my babies. Breastmilk truly is a miracle food!

If you want more information on breastfeeding here are some good places to start:


Thursday, February 7, 2008

February Habit-Obedience

A new month brings a new habit to focus on. This month I would like to work on the habit of obedience. I feel like the boys do a good job of obeying me, but there are a few things we need to work on.

I feel like with Bo the habit of attention and obedience is all wrapped up into one. Many times I ask him to do something and he's off to comply. A few minutes later I find him distracted by something else. He still has intentions of obeying, but it's slow in coming. He seems to need more direct eye contact and a hand on the shoulder to facilitate a quick obedience. This is something that I hope to get better with day by day. I am going to have to train myself to only give a command that I expect to be carried out immediatlely. Charlotte Mason speaks about that here:

In conclusion, let me say that the education of habit is successful in so far as it
enables the mother to let her children alone, not teasing them with perpetual
commands and directions-a running fire of Do and Don't; but letting them
go thier own way and grow, having first secured that they will
go the right way, and grow to fruitful purpose
Vol.1 Pg 134

This quote reminds me of the verse in Ephesians 6:2:
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

I have noticed that Bo and Boo have been waiting until the 2nd time I ask them to do something before they comply. This is completely my fault! I have been allowing a command to be given twice before I expected obedience. We will be working on this throughout the month.

So this month we are working on obedience the first time mommy or daddy speaks. Mommy and Daddy are working on only making commands that we intend to see carried out.

Update on Habit Training

The month of January has come to a close and I have been working on the habit of being a helper in our home.

Bo and Boo both have really enjoyed helping me cook and wash dishes. It has been difficult to stick to the original schedule because when I let one of them help me the other wants to help as well. Also, on some days when its time for them to help they are playing so well together that I am hesitant to interrupt, so I let them continue playing.

As I have been thinking about instilling in my sons a desire to serve God through helping others, I have become convicted. Since I believe that children pick up on habits through family atmosphere and observation, I need to rethink the way I instruct them to pick up their toys. Many times I stand over them making them pick up the toys and it is seems to be a point of controversy most days. I guess if I expect my children to develop a servants heart, I may need to offer my help.

Instead of "Pick up the toys." "Help me, mommy!" "No, sweetie, mommy did not dump the toys out." Maybe, "I'll be happy to help you pick up your toys."

Of course their will be times when they will be required to clean things up without help and without question, but I need to be more helpful when they ask, so I am modeling how they can be of help to others.

Still learning...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bread, Bread and More Bread

My good friend let me borrow her bread machine for several weeks and I have really enjoyed using it to bake our bread and mix up our pizza dough. I loved it so much that I ordered a bread machine for myself along with a grain mill. I am looking forward to grinding my own grain for a fresher loaf of bread.

I would love to be able to bake bread from scratch without a machine one day, but with three little ones, the convenience of a bread machine can't be beat. I want to learn how to bake sourdough bread using a wild starter as discussed here. There is also an 18 hour bread that I have tried. But Chris wants bread for an occasional sandwhich and this did not work for us. It was very good. It came out looking like a beautiful artisian loaf, but hard to eat peanut butter and banana on that!

I have been making 1 to 2 loaves per week of honey wheat bread. I have also made a couple of whole wheat pizza crusts that have turned out really good.

Still Learning...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Free Gifts to All...

61. He died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 1Thess. 5:10

Praise the Lord, O my soul
and forget not all his benefits-
62. who forgives all your sins
63. and heals all your diseases
64. who redeems your life from the pit
65. and crowns you with love and compassion.
66. who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.
Psalms 103:2-5

67. The heavens declare the glory of

the skies proclaim the work of
his hands.
Day after day they pour forth
night after night they display
knowledge. Psalms 19:2-3

Watching Jeb and Caleb play the guitar and xylophone as they praise the Lord for the sunrise.
69. Jeb telling God he was sorry.
70. Homemade strawberry birthday cake