This week has been
a busy one from
geometry to learning how to count,
and lettering Christmas cards to learning to write your name,
from chapter books to board books,
and board games to Hungry, Hungry Hippo.
Having five kiddos in the house now is a game changer!
And it's not always pretty...
someone threw her cup this morning when she didn't get her way
while someone else tried to feed oatmeal to the cat
and someone was busy undecorating the tree and it fell, breaking a half a dozen of the ornaments (yikes!).
I've also said things this last week that I'd never thought I'd have to say, like
"No thank you. I don't like play-doh in my ear."
"Kitties are not for riding."
"I found the American Girl's body, but not her head."
"I'll be right there after I clean the spaghetti out of my Bible."
But it's all worth it-
to see these three kiddos growing and changing in the short time we've had them.
They are responding to love, kindness, consistency, structure, and attention
Our prayer is that as they grow and change,
they will realize their value in Christ.
I pray that they will one day understand and embrace Psalm 139:14
and believe that they are "fearfully and wonderfully made."
The older girls got to go to a few college volleyball games with friends and meet the players after the game:)
The weather went from 65 degrees and sunny (perfect trampoline weather) on Monday to cold and snowy by Thursday. We are making the most of our snow days here at home. We've attempted Christmas cookies (one of the littles poured the whole entire bottle of vanilla in the cookie dough) We've read Christmas books and introduced the story of Jesus. We've played games (or attempted to anyway;), checked on the neighbor's horses, done flips off the couch, danced to Kid's Dance Party on the wii, painted pictures, and played in the snow:) Thankfully, our friends live just a mile away and we were still able to visit and play with them even in all the snow!
First look at the snow we had during the night...so precious! My favorite photo this week!
The older girls have been trying to sneak in a little arts and crafts early in the day or while the little are napping. I love the coffee filter art (washable markers plus a spray bottle for the tie dye effect). They made giant boom boxes and wrote the words to their favorite songs around the edges. Love it!
And that, in a nutshell, has been our week...
busy, crazy, messy, joyful,
and never boring!
Linking up here. Join me:)
November is over but my heart is still full of thanks.
I am grateful for our crazy cuckoo household right now...
Adding a toddler and two preschoolers to our family,
is quite a change to say the least.
This November, we went from a family of four
to a family of seven.
That will change your daily routine, for sure!
Not to mention,
I haven't carried a diaper bag in ten years;)
Though we are horribly out of practice with this age,
we are so happy,
Even though my house is sooo messy right now
and I am sooo tired at the end of each day,
I cannot think of a better way to celebrate this season of thanks
than to share our hearts, our home, our lives,
with these precious little ones.
They have given our days more purpose, intention, and meaning
as we try to create a
healing, Christlike home for them.
I can think of no better way to enjoy this season!
My favorite photo this week!
Our new routine leaves little room for down time,
or a clean house,
but we don't mind.
We have started overnight visits with our sibling group of three
and they've been spending more time at our house
as we prepare to transition them here full time.
I tell you-
adding three preschoolers to your daily routine
shakes things up a bit!
There is never a dull moment!
A. and M. managed to get a few "schoolish" things done this week-
A. did science while M. read biographies.
Both girls did math lessons one morning, and
we played word games and reviewed parts of speech this week.
They worked on art, practiced piano or guitar, went to volleyball practice,
and studied the presidents.
That's about it though...
most of this week was play doh, lacing cards, painting fingernails, Dora, baby dolls, dress-up, and cooking with preschoolers.
And you know what?!
Right now these littles need our time and attention
Later, we'll find our new groove
and figure out how to still keep the relaxed homeschool feel to our days.
For now, I just want to capture the joy in each day!
1. Lacing cards and fingernail painting with the four year old.
3. Checking in on the neighbor's horses.
4. Designing their own house plans on graph paper.
5. Last volleyball practice of the season. Nice hit, A. :)
6. M.'s trying a new instrument.
7.-8. Readying the rooms with help from sweet friends!
9.-13. A few favorites from our fall photo scavenger hunt. The quilt and picnic basket were brought to us from our neighbors:)
14.-15. Little people+markers+paint+q-tips=fun fall trees
16. We made gluten free chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Yum!
17.-18. Cooking with the two and three year olds:) We made funny face pancakes...oops, this one is sideways!
**Not pictured- the poorly timed pre-nap trip to Target in which we resembled the Herdman's from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. No kidding...I laughed hysterically once we made it to the car and had everyone in car seats (just finding joy in the moment, remember?!) There's definitely a learning curve in going from family of four to family of seven! Seriously- we're still trying to figure it all out;)
Linking up here today. Join me!
Autumn sunlight- Photo by A.
Life is a storm, my young friend.
You will bask in the sunlight one moment,
be shattered on the rocks the next.
What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.
Alexandre Dumas- The Count of Monte Cristo
I think that quote sums up the foster/adoptive process pretty much.
It's heartache and blessing....sunlight and storm... from one moment to the next.
The blessing this week has been meeting our sibling group for the first time
(they are precious!)
The heartache has been hearing their story.
They will be placed with us in the next few weeks after we've had more visits together,
though we don't know at this time if the placement will be temporary or permanent...
Sunlight and storm-
All we can do is enjoy each moment with these children,
nurture and love them,
pray for God's continued provision and care for them,
and trust Him in the storm.
Things are almost
normal here, As normal as possible when you are expecting a few new people to be added to your family at any moment... little people that you've never met, but
somehow have grown quite fond of already! I'm just a little excited- which is an understatement, more like somewhere between hyper and manic;) Poor Hutch has to keep reminding me to "dial it down" So, we've kept busy with our daily routine as well as arranging and rearranging living spaces (it's like a game of musical bedrooms here right now, but I think we finally have it worked out;) Oh, and busy buying a few preschool things here and there, because I decluttered and got rid of all of it:/ Back when I thought I was done with preschool days... haha- little did I know! My girls have been such a huge blessing. They've helped me a lot around the house. And they both seem to be more on the calm side...like their Daddy which is exactly what I need right now;) Anyone else an ENFP? Can you relate to my state right now?! Recognizing that we needed a break, the girls and I took off this weekend and went to a Women's Retreat with our church. It was a much needed time of rest, relaxation, encouragement, and laughter (lots and lots of that).
It was truly the perfect time to just get away with the girls and a reminder to find the joy in each moment! The theme of the retreat was gifts. That really convicted me. How many everyday gifts do I overlook when things get busy or crazy? So, looking back on our week
- I want to remember the joyful moments!
The girls and I babysat for a friend one day this week. A. practiced her photography skills on this cutie and her sisters:)
1. Preschool toys and picture books...it's been a long time! Looking forward to enjoying those days again:) 2. Our cat spends his days like this...napping wherever we are working! 3. Cute book from our friend Lori and teacher's guide with activities from the library:) 4. A new place for our everyday art supplies
5. Our neighbors were out of town, so the girls were their chicken and horse sitters 6.-11. Fall retreat with the ladies from our church:) 12.-15. Our annual hayride and campfire with our church family 16. Newly rearranged rooms...ready and waiting! 17. Game night with friends:)
A. and a friend from her team were chosen to participate in a blindfold challenge during "half-time" at a college volleyball match:)
Our gifts from our week of interest led learning and spending time together as family-
Inkspell, great read aloud:)
Half Upon a Time
Lettering and drawing
The Mystery of Biltmore House- book and unit study...ought to be our next field trip too, if I can just figure out how to make that happen;)
Math- lots of practical math this week...multiplication, division, percentages, decimals. We had a "restaurant" one day (I was the waitress;) and the girls had to calculate their own bills plus add tax and gratuity.
Spanish (A. is taking a high school Spanish class)
Theater class (both girls)
Art- shadow silhouettes from Deep Space Sparkle. These turned out great:)
Felicity- the AG movie
Creative Writing and editing
Games- WhizKidz, Apples to Apples, Blink, Faux Cabulary (love this game....too funny!)
Anne of Green Gables (the movie) because cold, dreary days were made for cuddling on the couch and watching Anne!
Blessings this coming week! Hope you take the time to appreciate your everyday gifts:)
Ugh...the stress of the foster/adoption process
is a little emotional and overwhelming at times:/
But I don't want out.
Not when over 400,000 children are in foster care right now
and over 100,000 of them need a forever home today.
No, I'm pretty sure that I am in this for the long haul.
I need to let it all out.
So, I vent.
I read my Bible.
I clean and declutter.
I look up inspirational quotes.
I read foster and adoption blogs and books.
I find ridiculous tasks to do around the house like sharpening all of our colored pencils and organizing the silverware.
Today, it was rearranging bedrooms, drinking more coffee than I needed,
and eating chocolate.
Chocolate helps a lot.
These no-bake peanut butter chocolate bars helped a whole lot.
Thank you, M. for seeing that your mama really, really needed these this week!
The original recipe came from here M. made a couple of minor changes... It
was sooo easy and called for just a few ingredients:
- 1/2 cup sweet cream butter, melted
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs. You can use gluten free graham crackers:)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (separated)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Line a 8x8 or 9x9 square baking pan with aluminum foil. Set aside.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix the melted butter, graham cracker crumbs, and powdered sugar together until combined. Stir in 3/4 cup of peanut butter. Spread into prepared baking pan.
- In a small saucepan, melt 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter with the chocolate chips until melted. Stir until smooth. Spread over peanut butter layer.
- Chill until completely firm. Enjoy!
Linking up with my friend Lisa today:)
1. We declared Monday a “game day”…we played games all day long:)
2.-3. We used the picture cards from Bubble Talk (one of our favorite games) to write silly fairy tales. Too funny...I’m keeping the stories to read to them again one day:) The girls came up with the idea since we are reading Half Upon a Time right now, which is a mixed up fairy tale of its own.
4. M. and friend had a lemonade stand and bake sale to raise money for the animal shelter. They did all of the work- organizing, planning, baking, and selling. They made a mean cup of coffee (I had three cups!) and even had gluten free brownies:)
5. We had some lazy mornings, perfect for catching up on read alouds.
6. We got to see my littlest niece one weekend! She’s growing so fast!
7-9. Our neighbors have horses. The girls love horses. Need I say more? The girls are thrilled, and I see a huge hands-on learning opportunity just next door:)
10. I attended a three day foster/adoptive trainer training, so I can train future foster or adoptive parents using our state’s required curriculum.
11. I knew it was fall when M. made spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Yum!
12. We volunteered at our local history museum to present a tour for fifty second graders! The girls and I learned about local history and presented a hands-on lesson about Indian tribes in our area using actual artifacts. Then they learned a little about the lives of early European settlers in the area. How’s that for a little history, science, and public speaking ?
1.-3. So game day ended up becoming game week! We played Square Off, Snapshots of America, and Blink...and a dozen other games:)
4. We made fresh salsa with tomatoes from the garden.
5.-9. We had a short visit with all the cousins, but the kids sure know how to pack the fun into every moment! We played board games and outside, had a photo shoot with the baby, played dress-up, had a scavenger hunt and games of hide and seek. Lots of fun!
Our days our full...
I see that as I look back on our family's last two weeks together
and all that the girls have learned and experienced
in this interest led life we pursue.
I see how full our days are-
full of meaning, intention, and joy
they seem so empty.
That may sound crazy but it's true.
Someone is missing, and we know that.
The crazy thing is that we don't even know who that someone is.
We just know that there is a sibling group in foster care right now
waiting to be adopted by their forever family,
and we are that family.
And in the Lord's timing, we will all be together (soon, I hope)
And then that emptiness in our days will be filled...
and my house will never be clean or quiet again:)
I know that the transition will not be easy-
that it will take a lot of time, patience, and grace (more than we can manage alone),
but I am totally okay with that.
I am waiting expectantly for it!
Psalm 68:6- God sets the lonely in families!
We love the movie The Sound of Music:)
I think the girls have watched it no less than a half dozen times
in the last two weeks...
which might be why I can't get the song
My Favorite Things out of my head:/
So, rather than fight it-
here are a few of my favorite things
from this week;)
Eating M.'s homemade brownies (she used my Memaw's recipe)
Watching the girls play hide-and-seek with friends (for hours!)
Interest led learning and the freedom to find joy in every "school" day
Watching A. play volleyball
Lots of laughter
Inspiration notebooks- where we file all the great
Friends who make GF banana bread just for us:)
Our neighbor's horses
A nature walk, fall planting, and rain
Art...lots of fall art this week:)
Date night;) and sweet friends who offered to keep the girls while we went out
Fairy tales- we've been reading Half Upon A Time, which has led to us researching the history of fairy tales, creative writing, tales from other cultures, fairy tale spoofs, and movies like Enchanted and Ella Enchanted. I love chasing rabbit trails and letting one thing lead to another while we learn!
Blueberry banana oat muffins- we experimented with a new recipe (GF of course), and we were not disappointed!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine the following five things in a large bowl:
2 mashed ripe bananas
3/4 c. vanilla yogurt
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. melted, unsalted sweet cream butter
Add 1 1/2 c. old fashioned rolled oats (we used Bob's Red Mill- gluten free) to the above
and allow to stand for at least five minutes.
In another smaller bowl, combine:
1 1/2 c. flour (we used Bob's Red Mill gluten free baking flour)
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined.
Fold in 1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries.
Our batter was just a little too dry, in my opinion
so we added approximately 1/4 c. milk.
Fill each cup of a muffin tin 3/4 of the way full. Makes about 18 regular size muffins.
Bake until tops are firm and just begin to brown.
Gluten free blueberry banana oat muffins
She loves volleyball!
1.-4. We repainted the stairway and hung a new light so that we could display the girls' artwork and photography. I think it turned out nicely and breaks up the fact that our old farmhouse has such a steep, narrow staircase.
5. The girls wrote their names in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese one morning...just for fun:)
6. Pumpkins at night...idea from Deep Space Sparkle (my fave)
7.-8. The girls spruced up my $2 flower pots with a new paint job and decorated the front porch for fall:) Can you see the giant pine cone that's bigger than the pumpkin? Our neighbors brought it to us all the way from California.
9. Rainy afternoons are perfect for drawing!
The girls made cards for a friend whose kitten injured her leg.
The creek that runs behind the house is one of our favorite places:) This is M. with my friend's precious little girl!
Our week in photos-
We try to keep learning at our house
relaxed, fun, and hands-on...
kitchen science experiments,
fall art (I love scarecrows)
volunteering at the children's shelter,
parking cars for a ball game (mini economics lesson;),
cooking (did you try our one dish chocolate cake
game playing (board games, hand clapping games, outside games),
exploring the creek,
loving on the neighbor's horses,
more science experiments,
a little repurposing (the girls were in charge of creating underbed storage
from old dresser drawers)
visiting a history museum for a tour, lesson on local American Indians, and period dancing,
plus a "neighborhood" picnic- We shared dinner with our closest neighbors, which are actually just down the road:) Everyone brought a dish and we visited. Of course, it wouldn't be a country picnic without horses or a ball game!
more games (word games are our fave- have you played Bubble Talk?! Hilarious!),
readying the beds for fall planting,
lots of reading, plus A. worked on pre-Algebra and M. made a lapbook
The girls also performed at a local town festival with friends...reciting local history and demonstrating historical clothing, games, and dancing.
That's our week!
How was yours?
Linking up with friends:)
One dish chocolate cake-
It only dirties one dish,
so clean up is easy.
What's not to love?!
This is an old recipe from my grandmother's cookbooks...
fall weather makes me want to break out all of her recipes and start baking.
We've tweaked this recipe just a bit,
so it works for those of us that can't have dairy or gluten.
It doesn't have any frosting either,
but you won't miss it.
You'll want to eat it warm...
1 1/4 c. gluten free flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. oil
1 TBSP cider vinegar
2 tsps. vanilla
1 c. cold coffee
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Stir together flour sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt directly into your ungreased 8x8 baking dish. Make three wells in the dry mixture and pour oil in one, cider vinegar in one, and vanilla in one. Pour coffee over the top and stir with a fork until mixed well. Spread out evenly in a single layer. Sprinkle half of the topping over the top and save the rest for later. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes until set. Sprinkle remaining topping over the hot cake.
Cool about ten to fifteen minutes, but eat it warm!
You'll be glad you did.
Linking up with Lisa today. Come join me:)