Friday, March 22, 2013

If God Gives You Snow . . .


The calendar on my wall and my internal clock both tell me it's time for spring. Someone failed to get the memo to Old Man Winter - we have snow in the forcast again this weekend! And so this post I prepared last month but failed to publish is still timely, I suppose. 

We won't get enough snow this weekend to make ice cream (I hope!) but we did last month. 2 storms totaling nearly 2 feet of snow meant snow ice cream!

 What you'll need:
1 gallon or so of fresh, beautiful snow
1 cup sugar (a little more or less will do, to suit your taste)
1 tsp vanilla extract (or your favorite flavoring (mint, cherry, maple)
1 cup cream or milk (or chocolate milk or strawberry milk, half 'n half works too)

Step 1:  Mix snow, sugar and flavoring together.

 Step 2: Add cream (or milk) and mix well.

Step 3: Serve it up with your favorite toppings

Step 4: Have your handy-dandy taste testers standing by making sure you've followed your recipe accurately.

You can't go wrong with Classic Vanilla Ice Cream, but you can easily adapt this to your family's favorite flavors.  This recipe is very forgiving - if it isn't sweet enough, add more sugar, if it is too dry, add more cream. Need more flavor? Add more! Enjoy!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Spring Tradition

No matter that it still seems like winter outside my window, Spring officially began yesterday morning. And so this homeschooling mama could not let the opportunity for an impromptu science lesson pass us by.

will it stand on its own? or roll off the counter?
For years now, we've taken the Egg Challenge as close to the time of the Spring Equinox as possible, or as soon as we remember that we are supposed to take the Egg Challenge at the moment of the Spring Equinox.

What? You've never heard of the Egg Challenge? And what, pray tell, is an Equinox? Well, let me enlighten you! According to Old Farmer's Almanac:
"The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning “equal night.” Days and nights are approximately equal everywhere and the Sun rises and sets due east and west." and "At the equinoxes, the tilt of Earth relative to the Sun is zero, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the Sun."

 The Egg Challenge states that you should be able to stand a raw egg on end at the time of the Equinox. We've had successful years, and not-so-successful years. This year? After taking estimates at how many tries it will take to accomplish our assignment, SUCCESS! Not once, not twice, but three times successful! Two of our eggs stayed upright all day yesterday, the third was upset by a rather rambunctious young scientist who wishes to remain nameless.

So, there you have it - science/astronomy/physics/math, all rolled up into one. Now you give it a try, and don't believe it when someone tells you school is boring!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

From 2 to 12 in the Blink of an Eye


While I had my back turned, this little cutie. . . 

. . . went and grew up into this oh-so-grown up lovely young lady - can you believe it?!

We celebrated our Esther's 12th birthday last week with her favorite meal (chicken parmesan - how grown up is that?!) and a cake decorated with her favorite color (just a coincidence it's so close to St. Patty's Day) and fun times with family and friends.  

Her birthday wish list included:
     a floor lamp to put beside her bed (she's practical like that)
     a journal (a girl has ideas to jot down, y'know)
     pierced ears (just like her older sisters now!)
     and a kitten (she gets to pick from Sophie's litter, as soon as they are born)
Seems like yesterday this Little Queen arrived and we all spent our days sitting around oohing and aahing over her, walking the floors with her trying to convince her that sleep really is a very good thing, disguising vegetables so she wouldn't know what she was eating and would grow strong and healthy. 

It's an exciting time, watching what God will do in her life, helping her find the path she's to follow, what interests and talents will emerge as she continues to grow and mature. Our Esther is a joy and a delight, a sweet blessing. We love you dear daughter!

Green Ombre Buttercream Cake

Note: inspiration for Esther's birthday cake came from the Wilton Blog

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Slow But Sure - Organization Update

I told you recently I was taking the 31 Day Organizational Challenge over at


Now is the time for me to report on my progress. S - L - O - W. That's how it's going. I took on a big huge humongous project, amidst other on-going projects. Maybe I'm crazy, but in the long run, all the chaos will be worth it. I'm bound and determined to get the storage room cleaned out, straightened up, and used to store only what it should be storing.
 At the beginning of the month I printed out Laura's Organizing PROCESS and jotted down a few notes and goals.  How does this space need to be used? What do I really want to keep and what can I let go? Setting categories of items needing to be stored will help me in the organizing step later. 

 OK! Are you ready? Do you have the courage? Sure you can handle this? I'm going to let you see behind that closed door!

 Once you've cleared the cobwebs away, venture forth! But remember:

 Past the furnace, down the long dark aisle, you'll find a treasure trove of stuff, collections, memories. . . and. . . plenty of junk.

view from the opposite end of that aisle, looking back at the door we just walked through
 Now, after you've recovered from the shock of the nightmare-behind-the-door, I'll give you the update on my planning and progress.

Here is the 'BEFORE' look at the first section of shelving you see when you walk in. It holds our collection of jigsaw puzzles and not-so-popular games, extra book storage (including a few of hubby's college/engineering/reference books) as well as past homeschool records/papers.

The kids helped me clear it ALL out - and now look at them!

Beautiful, Glorious Space!!!

Where did everything go? We hauled it all out to the floor in the middle of the  TV room and sorted through it. I was on a mission and so did not get photos of every pile and every item, but if it was broken or missing parts, out it went. If no one uses it, to the donate piles it went.

You can see in the pic above some of what is leaving this house --  (1) Passing on jigsaw puzzles to other family members to enjoy. (2) Trash! 2 large bags full and a box-turned-racecar filled. WootWoot! (3) games puzzles and dress up items heading to the thrift store.

This is just the beginning folks! We are continuing the Remove and Purge phase of this big project. We've been filling this space for a dozen years now. That adds up to a lot of stuff. And when you haven't taken time to maintain and set to order what you've been collecting and storing, well, it is important to take time and do the job right. I'll be posting at the end of the week with another update, sharing more about the hows and whats and whys of it all.

In the meantime, you can see how others are doing with this 31 Day Challenge at the 2nd Progress Link Up.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Changing Things Up Around Here

You all know our third child was married recently (yes, I need to say this often, just to get used to the idea). It was a joyful occasion, a bitter-sweet occasion. We are happy for her, happy our family is growing, but we miss her. She was my right-hand-woman for quite some time and now I feel a little 'off', a little handi-capped. Her siblings miss her. We have an odd number of people in this household now, weird!

And so, as a distraction, and to set things up for the younger ones to get more focused attention from their Mama, we are diving into the Great Bedroom Switch-er-oo!

The two youngest boys are moving from here . . .

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 . . . to here:

after we change these Pepto-Pink Pony walls  . . .
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 . . . to these Rough-and-Tough Old West Cowboy walls.
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The two youngest girls have moved from their Pretty and Pink room to their big sister's Old-but-Still-Cool-and-Hip room.
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But before we finish The Big Switcheroo, two things have to happen. One - Big Sis has to come get the rest of her stuff! And two - Mom has to clean out the storage room.

You know, that room, behind that closed door, way downstairs, in that dark back corner of the basement?

Yeah, that one. Where everything that has no home is shoved, where everything that belongs to those who've moved on is piled, where everything that everyone has outgrown is saved - for who/what/when no one really knows!!!
March is the month for the OrgJunkie's Annual Organizational Challenge and I'm committing my storage room (before it commits me!).  Every Friday this month you can stop in here, or over at to peek at my progress and the progress of others taking the challenge. And then on March 31, we'll have The Big Reveal, so stay tuned!

this post is linked up the the 31 Day Organizational Challenge introduction

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Is it Spring yet?

Mr. Groundhog said "Early Spring"


The calendar says it is only a couple of weeks away.

Scenes like these, just outside my window, seem to tell me a different story.

Even with the world outside still clothed in all its Winter Glory, the kids and I have decided to live by faith and 'think spring' and get our seeds started. 

Planning out our summer garden gives us a sense of hope and new life. I love the way God has given us four distinct seasons, ordered our days in such a predictable way that after the dead of winter everything around us comes to life again.

Our seeds are watered and warming in the sun and under the grow lamp. We are watching with anticipation for those tender shoots to come pushing up through the black soil.

Have you started seeds? Planned your summer garden? What will you be planting this year?

linking this post up to Tuesday Garden Party

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Many who visit here know that our Dear and Precious Daughter was married 2 weeks ago. I've been asked by many to hear their story and see photos of the big event. Below is "Their Story" as written by the sister of the groom and the mother of the bride. The photos from their wedding day are provided by Salt and Light Photography.

On a lovely June day, in a small town in New Hampshire in the year 1991, a beautiful Princess was born to Mr. and Mrs. S. They named their third child Caitlin. The sweet New England babe brought great joy to their lives. Toward the end of her first year, the Sears family moved to the midwest.

In December of the year Princess Caitlin and her family arrived in Illinois, Prince Stephen was born to Mr. and Mrs. C in a large town near Chicago.  There was great celebration as their 5th blessing joined their family. But, alas, though living in the same land the Prince and Princess were not yet to meet.

Princess Caitlin’s family stayed in the Land of Illinois only a short time and then traveled far and wide for several years. At last they settled in Missouri when she was 7 years of age.

Only a year later Prince Stephen’s family followed, making their home in a nearby village. Still, for all of their closeness in distance they had yet to meet.

At long last, in the start of the New Year of 2005 Prince Stephen’s and Princess Caitlin’s families meet. Attending the same church in a nearby city, a family friendship begins that was to lead to greater things in years to come.

The years go by, the little Prince and Princess grow and play and learn under the watchful eye of their loving parents, each in their own family, the paths of their lives crossing from time to time. In the fall of 2011, each of them became involved in a group of Christian young people, learning and enjoying English Country dancing. A Grand Ball was held at Christmas time that year. Prince Stephen began to notice this beautiful princess among the people. He started to pray about his growing attraction to the lovely lady.

Meanwhile, Princess Caitlin was quite annoyed by the young man. You see, Prince Stephen has long been a good friend to her brother Luke. And now, it seemed, he was often intruding on precious time she spent with her dear brother. But with time, she found that maybe this young man was not quite so bad . . . just maybe it was rather nice having him around.

On the 17th of March, 2012, Brother Luke, as yet unaware of the growing attraction between Princess Caitlin and Prince Stephen, invited many friends to the Family Castle for a day of Paintball Fun. Many Princes and Princesses from nearby Hamlets arrived and spent the day frolicking and game-playing. At the close of day, as dusk approached, the young people returned to the Castle, piled in the back of Father's little green pick-up truck. From across the way, there was a little sparkle in the eye of Prince Stephen, and was that a reflection of the setting sun in Princess Caitlin’s eye, or something more? 

On April 16, 2012, following other Providential events and the counsel of his parents, Prince Stephen approached the Princess's Father and asked for the opportunity to court his daughter, with the intent to marry if they found it to be God’s Will. Princess Caitlin, when asked by her father if she would welcome this type of attention from this Prince, said she would. The following day, the 17th of April, Princess Caitlin gave her acceptance to Prince Stephen and the journey to engagement began!

Throughout the coming summer the Prince and Princess ate together, prayed together, played together. On September 2, Prince Stephen asked Princess Caitlin’s Father for her hand in marriage.  This Prince wasted no time, and on September 3rd, in the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve, Prince Stephen proposed to Princess Caitlin and she . . .

. . . ACCEPTED!!!  

All were delighted and immediately celebrated and began to plan the wedding of a lifetime. 



And on February 17, 2013, 11 months to the day since they had enjoyed their first sunset “together”, our Beloved Prince and Princess said their vows and shared their first kiss before God, family and friends and were married. . .

. . . To live happily ever after . . .

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