07 July 2015

Beautifying the home

Which is exactly what my girls love to do!  I'm not much into creating beautiful spaces but I enjoy them nonetheless.  My girls are great at spicing up our home.  That's a good thing because their Tomboy mom isn't very good at it.  Here are some random pics I found in my photos that made me really appreciate the girls and their efforts to "make pretty" our home by using ordinary measures!

Homemade ginger ale

Homemade ginger ale is easy and delicious.  Once you get the ginger bug made then it's smooth sailing from there.  The first photo is the ginger bug and the second the completed batch of ale.  If you want to give it a shot click HERE for the full recipe and wonderful and simple directions!

Kitchen Creations

June here in Wisconsin brought some amazing strawberries.  We were very blessed to be able to go pick twice at a berry farm nearby.  The girls and I packed away 35 pints of jam and 12 gallon size bags of frozen strawberries.  There is just something amazing about strawberry jam.  And spread with homemade cream cheese on a warm, toasted homemade roll is the best.

Freezer strawberry jam

Picking strawberries

Homemade cream cheese is truly delicious.  Once you try it you will never go back to store bought.  And the crazy thing is is that it is super easy to make.  HERE is a very simple recipe.  If you already have your yogurt made just skip to the cream cheese section.  All you need is a quart of plain homemade or store bought yogurt, a cotton tea towel or cheese, and a bowl to catch the whey.  I find myself starting a new batch around 3-4 times a week because it disappears so quickly.

Once it has drained overnight this is what you get!  Not to mention a couple cups of whey to use in recipes or to drink.  Which my husband grabs up and drinks before I can get a chance to use it!

My bread recipe turned rolls!!  I usually make a batch every other day.  I tend to make the dough into rolls since they are so much easier to slice and toast than a loaf.  But then it's most likely me since I cannot shape a loaf to save a life!!  Recipe is HERE

Chocolate chip cookies are a must in every home!

Homemade soaked oatmeal granola.  LOVE this.  Recipe is HERE.

16 January 2015

Staying in touch

I think I have mentioned in the past that technology is a wonderful thing.  In particular, technology helps me to be able to keep up with my 4 married children and their little ones on a regular basis and see how they are all growing both physically and spiritually.  I love checking in on Facebook and seeing new posts they submit to their blogs.  As we all know blogging comes on a regular basis at times and sometimes it takes a back seat.  Either way, the updated posts they each make are a joy to see when you live 100's of miles away.  So as you may have guessed, this post is about thanking technology and on sharing the blogs of my kiddos.  JULI is a photographer and I love seeing the latest posts and updates of her darling kids.  HEATHER (daughter in law) is also a photographer and I love seeing her precious kiddos as well and keeping current with their lives.  Christie hasn't come around to the world of blogging yet but at least I get to see her and her little on Facebook!!  ROBYN is the newest of our family to enter the blogging world and she does well updating too.  (unlike her mother)  She loves to write and share all about her life with husband Luke and beautiful new baby daughter Charlotte.  

As I have said, this is a post about sharing and loving technology.  That said, (again) I invite you to share in the musings, sighs, events, photos, ups, downs, and all the simple and complicated things that motherhood can bring to us all, including now, the lives of my girls.   Click the names below the pics to check out their latest blog post!!!

Oh, and speaking of technology AGAIN......
We got these little gems on Amazon (did I ever say how much I love amazon?) for Christmas.  We use them all the time.  Who would have thought?  Trips to the Y, when the girls take the dog on a walk, when running around the park, or wherever or whenever we need to stay somewhat connected. They are way cheaper to run than cell phones and have up to a 30 mile radius.  They were so worth buying.  We've decided that we need to at least purchase on more pair and by putting them all on the same frequency keeping up with the locations of our kids will be even easier.  Like next week we plan to spend a week at Wisconsin Dells and I am sure these will come in handy more than ever!!

Click the pic to read more about these awesome little "toys"

A note about E-readers

E-readers are not new as we all know.  They are simple to use and relatively cheap.  But the rewards are incredible.  The opportunity to be able to store hundreds of books in a place that takes up the space of a book.  We currently own 3 nooks and trust me, they are used often.  I would like to share our favorite sites for ebooks.  I only have a few, but I'm sure there are many, many places in which one can find a great book in electronic form.

Yesterday's Classics is most likely my favorite.  THIS package of books is a great deal and the book titles are amazing.  And HERE is their main page with lots of free titles you can read online.
Good ole Project Gutenberg.  This site is massive.  And did I say free?
Of course Amazon.  My favorite.  
Others include Christian books Distributers and Barnes and Noble.  Okay, that's pretty much all I know.  If you have a favorite ebook site please contact me and share!!

What's been happening....

 Here is a small, (I think) synopsis of what's been happening in our lives as of lately.  As always life is full, crazy busy, exciting, relaxing, and joyful.

The 6 girls are keeping me hopping and happy.  It has been great having big sister Kim around.  The 6 of them enjoy together working out, watching movies, shopping, eating, chatting, and sleep overs.  The younger girls LOVE the constant flow of surprises she always has for them like new clothes, jewelry, cologne, and all things girly.  My boys are out for a few months.  Aaron is on the tail end of a mission with only a few months left until he comes home.  And Gregg just last week flew out to Christie's house in Idaho to help tend her new little baby Jordan a couple hours a day until she finishes up her last semester of school.  It will be GREAT having both boys home soon!!!

Janai is our latest 12 year old and turning 12 is an exciting age.  She is officially a "young'' woman.  Here she is displaying her "purity ring" daddy gave her.  The inscription reads "True Love Waits" and of course along with her ring she was given a full explanation on the importance of being a pure, virtuous young lady.  (they grow too fast)  For school she is working hard on her Saxon math, latin, french, scripture & poems copy book, learning journal, drawings, artist and composer study, and lots and lots of reading wonderful books.  She is taking a ballet class at the Y and doing very well.  She is finishing up her 5th year of piano and is doing a great job.

The twins just had a birthday this month. Two 17 year olds living in the same house!  Yes, that's a good thing.  Academically they are coming along beautifully.  Both are doing Sonlight in addition to math, latin, and Apologia science.  They are staying extra busy lately taking a ballet class, zumba 3x a week, and piano.  I should mention here that they both are wonderful cooks as well.  Emma is top in making wonderful breads, and Kaydee is always dazzling us with special treats for dessert.  

They love each other
And who doesn't love the potato heads.  Even mom has fun dressing them up.

Our first snow of the season and Mary decided to practice some "snowga"

Let's not forget about our many birthdays from December to January.  Including, grandma Gilbert, Mary, Robyn, Aubryn, Heather, G'emma/twins on the same day and Ambreigh.  Nine birthday joys!!

Oh my silly girls.  Did I mention we found these awesome full on full bunks last year on Amazon?  Along with them we also have a matching twin set of bunk beds.  Amazon has the best!  If amazon doesn't have it then I don't need it!

Christmas Eve (much excitement)

Makenzie took a year off Sonlight to travel on a slightly different curriculum road.  She is keeping academically busy with, Famous Men of Rome, poetry, math, latin, french, and study of animals.  Her literature as of late has been Black Ships Before Troy, Pilgrims Progress, Foxe's Book of Martyrs, and The Wondering of Odyssus.

She can be so serious sometimes!

I found a fun book at the library called Will It Waffle.  Our first recipe we tried were cheesy chicken tortillas.  We spread each tortilla with coconut oil.  Place one tortilla on the iron and add ingredients, then place the second tortilla over it and close the lid for 2-3 minutes.  Perfect.

The girls got this fun tent for Christmas and love sleeping in it every night and during the day they can be found hiding out with their favorite books!

Here is a snippet from Mary's penmanship book.  I love copy books from Memoria Press and have been using them for years.  

This is what our table looks like once lunch time rolls around.  A few piles of stacked up books shoved aside to make room.  Seems math was the subject of the moment of most of them according to the photo.

For Mary's academics at this time she is doing A LOT of reading.  Added to that she is doing math, latin, copy work, keeping a learning journal, Charlotte Mason grammar, (as are all the girls) poetry, composer and artist study and drawing.  She LOVES taking baton classes at the Y each week along with swimming and racquetball with her sisters.

01 January 2015

Thoughts on Christmas and Gifts-Our Terrific Twelve

Many words come to mind when I think of Christmas.  Gifts are one of them.  While not the first thing I think about, it is, as we all know part of the package of Christmas.  And for me, I would just like to say that when I think of gifts I think of the 12 best gifts I have ever received.  I have listed them below in the form of pictures.  To be sure, these gifts can NEVER, EVER be replaced and they qualify for the worlds BEST ever presents one can receive.  I love you all for now and for always.  You are constantly in my thoughts each and every day.  Thank you so much for being my children.
I'm not at all known as being a poet.  But no matter, this little made up poem at least gets my point across!  The title ~ OUR TERRIFIC TWELVE

Juli my first born

I thank you for the good times
For all the joy you bring
Being the first in line
You've taught us many things
From the second you were born
Instantly my love came about
I knew that I would love you
Without a shadow of a doubt
Now that you have grown
With a family of your own
You never cease to amaze me
With the beautiful seeds you've sown!


You have grown into a man
And with each passing day
You never fail to show
Your loving caring ways
When at first I saw your face
Instantly I knew
That each and everyday
I'd thank Heaven for you 
I'm sure your wife and children will agree
After all, they can clearly see that
You are strong, and brave, and true
And not a moment can go by
That I don't think of you!


By the time that you arrived
I had a clue or two
On how much mom's can love
And it stayed true with you.
You are my little angel
For me you left your wings
And now each day with you
Love and Happiness brings
Wonderful thoughts, and not just a few
You are so good and kind
And each and everyday I find
That I love each day I get to see
Your beautiful smiling face
As with 1 and 2
I love you and you and you!

Robyn dear is four

And while most would say what - MORE?
I had to say that yes
Because more is more than less
And four or more is best.
The moment that you came into my world
I knew totally for sure, that you would be my world
Now you a mama are
With your precious little star
I thank you for your self
And all the gifts you gave
Some are hidden in a box
And some, inside my heart are saved.


Seventeen months later
Another gift bestowed
And trusted to our family
Our thanks to Heaven owed.
You've blessed me so I have to say
I'd never have it any other way
God showed me that he loved me
Through His abundant grace
I knew that very well, when I looked upon your face
To her as well, a gift
Straight from Heaven fell
 Into her loving arms
Which bade HER heart to swell.

Aaron and Gregg

 With joyful hearts
And very full hands
Our precious boys, Aaron and Gregg
Stole a chunk of both our hearts
And tired out both our legs

Aaron is my rumble and tumble
Boy of 6 feet tall
Let's not forget he's humble
And a blessing to us all.
You are oh so strong and bold
My love for you be told
Each day I have you near
To you my love will always be here.
He's faithful good and true.
No matter what, I'll always love you!

When you both came into my heart
I knew right then, we never could part.

Our boy Gregg, a comedian he is
Keeps those smiles coming
On our faces and on HIS
His heart is huge as ever
And despite his funny jokes
I love him for forever
Because he is such good folk!
You have a lovely freckled nose
A smile that will dazzle
And dash away my woes.
From my head down to my toes
My love for you never will frazzle!


As if life wasn't crazy enough for you know who

In bounced twin one and twin two
Emma so bold with her thick dark hair
Kaydee - much lighter and much more fair

Emma my funny, lovely little star
I love you tons, just the way you are
Do you know what you mean to me?
I'll show each day, so you can see
You're growing up right under my heart
My love for you, never will part.

Kaydee my love that came from above
My heart for you is full of love
I thank you for who you are
So bright and kind is the way you are
You brighten up my days
With your sweet and loving ways.

Truly you are such a special little pair
Two sweet girls left in my care
God had decided that me He would ask
To undertake such a ginormous task
Two precious babies in love did I fall
With the most beautiful babies I ever had saw!  (eeks, I ever "had saw!")


Heaven decided that two at a time
While awesome and great 
This time there's going to be one
A sure sign from heaven that we were not done
Makenize is funny, loving, and bright
We all will admit, number 10 was just right
By now this momma has to admit
That having these babies is a perfect fit!
You brighten up my day
From morning until night
You have a special way
Of bringing in the light.


On the morn of her birth was one of great joy
All the children were present, boy oh boy!
With her cry she did wake all of the house
Brothers and sisters did come to take in the joy,
Of the baby sister, NOT quiet as a mouse.
Quiet or not, no matter at all
She is very much loved by everyone that she saw!
To mom she was perfect
Perfect as can be
The love in my heart is as large as the sea.
You are a joy, lovely, full of grace
It's wonderful to know, that I'm in the right place.

And Miss Mary makes 12

Whew! Look at that.
Just when we thought we were done.
Heaven sends yet another
To add to our fun.
Wait, did I say fun?
Yes, that and much more.
Mary Nowelle - 
Our pre-Christmas gift
Born in December I will tell
She gave my heart a wonderful lift.
From her first cry my joy had begun
And once again, all was just
Here under the sun!

I heard more than once -
You've got your hands full.
So much on your plate!

Oh yes I would say. Full? Yes they are.
But nothing, oh nothing, could be better by far.  


Seeing Aaron off on his mission

Seeing Aaron off on his mission
We all love and miss you Aaron. We pray you will have a great and accomplished mission. You have chosen well.