Monday, February 21, 2011

Summer Woodworking Projects

At this time of the year, I always tend to get a little antsy for the warmer I weather I KNOW is just around the corner. We have already celebrated Ari's and RJ's birthdays and Pepe's birthday is in the middle of March, just about 3 weeks away. The day after Pepe was born, it was so nice outside, we went for a walk with him tucked inside my jacket. It was the beginning of spring and every year is the same. Right around his birthday the sun shines, the snow melts and my excitement grows. Usually I cannot wait to get into the garden but this year I cannot wait to kick the vehicles out of the garage and get started on some projects. Next year at this time, we should be in the process of building our house. That is the plan anyway. And there are some things that I can make this summer as I won't have time next summer. The major projects this year are beds. 3 to be exact. Ari doesn't own a bed and will need something when we move and the boys bunkbeds are in rough shape. I want to make them each a new bed. So, the plan is to have Ari and Ali share a room and use the bunkbeds the girls currently use. RJ will get a new bed for her own room and this is the bed I will make for her. Check it out - it is just beautiful! It is called the Fancy Arched Bed and I know she will love it. So feminine! I will have to modify it slightly as the pattern is for a queen bed but I only need a twin.

The boys will each get their own room and I will make them the same bed. It is called the Fancy Farmhouse Bed and I really love the simple yet slightly fancy look of it. I am not sure yet if I will make a matching footboard or leave it with just a headboard. I will have to ponder that a little. Once again, I will change it from a queen bed to a twin.

Next summer will see me creating lockers for the mudroom, shelving and cabinets for the laundry room, office and school room. It will be busy! What I can do ahead of time, I certain will. And these beds will be just the thing to satisfy my building itch! Do you have any plans to build something this summer? Please, do share!!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Happy Birthday Little Lady!

5 years ago today I remember asking Jay if the child I had just birthed was a boy or a girl. He said he thought it was a girl but he wanted to double check just to make sure - he didn't want to get my hopes up! Well, all girl she is and I am blessed beyond measure to have RJ in our lives! She is this beautiful bundle of energy, wrapped up in more confidence and determination than I know what to do with at times! She is the oldest daughter and as such displays oldest child characteristics in spite of being third in line. She is complex - sensitive but bold, "tomboyish" yet girly-girl!

She will accomplish things before her years as she blazes her own trail, never completely content to follow. She thrives on being with her friends or her siblings, feeling kind of lost on her own. I am so blessed to have her in my life as she brings so much beauty into my days. I look forward to all the great things the Lord will do in and through her as she continues to learn about Him, love Him and follow Him. RJ, I love you, my sweet 5 year-old girl and I am so humbled to be your mom! I look forward to many years of watching you grow and change, becoming the woman of God I know you will be. Happy 5th Birthday, sweetheart!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In House Valentine's Date

Sometimes going on a date is just too expensive! With 5 kids, we pay our babysitter $7/hour which is more than the norm. But they deserve it - watching 5 kids is not an easy job. So, we do a lot of dates at home. Yesterday was one of those days especially since our main babysitter is on vacation! I thought I would share with you what we did so maybe it will help you to be creative with your in-house dates. First off, we made sure the kids were in bed for 7:30 - earlier than usual. The boys stayed awake until 9 but only came out a couple of times. The girls stayed in bed. After the kids are in bed, Jay always has to go check on the chickens (thousands of them) so that is a half-hour event. While he was gone, I quickly got a few things ready. When he came home, he was not allowed to enter the house until he radioed me on the walkie-talkies to make sure I was ready. He was to go straight downstairs to a candle-lit bath waiting for him, along with chocolate-dipped strawberries and a pretty drink. He had to stay in the bath for at least 30 minutes so I could cook the food for our candle-lit supper. While he was bathing, I cooked up some great Thai food to go along with the theme date I discovered on this website while incorporating my own ideas as well. Once he found me in the candlelit bedroom, we ate some great food, drank some 'bubbly', talked, played some cribbage (a game he loves!) and fell in love with each other all over again! After all, isn't that the point of a date, whether it be Valentine's Day or not? We cannot always go out but if we use our creativity, maybe do a little on-line research for some ideas, and try our best to make each other feel special, in-house dates can be just as fun! I hope you had a great Valentine's Day, whether you were able to get out or not!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

Today, my baby girl turned two years old! WOW!! It is so hard to think that just 2 years ago I saw this little bundle of joy and energy for the very first time!

She was by far my busiest baby in the womb and she has shown no different out of the womb! No one has given us more smiles than she has, talks more than she has, given more hugs than she has! She is my little sunshine because she lights up a room when she comes in. She has such a special relationship with her older brother AJ and I love how the two of them interact. She loves to be among the crowd and quickly feels lonely without her siblings around. She is helpful, adventurous, loving, spunky, smiley and an absolute delight to have in our family.

I have mixed emotions about this day. Jay and I are talking about having more children once we are in the new house but I have no guarantees that we actually will. So, I look upon her with a bittersweet happiness - my littlest baby is growing up and as of right now there are no more babies around. In the past, when we celebrated a 2 year birthday, there has always been a 6 month old baby in my arms.

In spite that bitter sweetness, I am overwhelmed with joy at this beautiful little child, with delight at watching her grow and learn, with curiosity to see all that the Lord has in store for her in the future but mostly with humility that God has entrusted her to us for now. Happy Birthday, sweet little Ari! My life is better because of you!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lapbook on Egypt

At the end of last week, we completed our third of six lapbooks in our Geography course, A Child's Geography - Explore the Holy Land. The boys really enjoyed studying Egpyt: learning about ancient Egypt, about modern-day Egypt and how so many important Old Testament stories actually happened in this fascinating country! I am continuing to learn so many new things myself and I love to create new little mini-books each week. I absolutely love how the author of our text (see below) weaves in stories of the country we are studying, truths from Scripture, and explanations of how the geography of the region shapes our lives and when we mess with that geography as God created it, consequences happen. Now we will take a one week break before heading into our next country of study - Iraq! Once again, if you need a lapbook to accompany the Egypt chapters of Ann Voskamp's A Child's Geography - Explore the Holy Land, send me an email and I will gladly send you the file. (A couple of readers asked for the Israel lapbook and I was delighted to send it their way!) So, this is what the boys' lapbook of Egypt looks like!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sinks for Project 2012

As we continue to figure out the house plans, I am constantly looking for deals on the supplies we need/want for our new house. I spend a couple of times a week checking out the local Kijiji ads (same as Craigslist) to see what new or used products I can find. I scored this weekend on a couple of vessel sinks, a particular item I was searching for! The ad stated there were 3 sinks but only pictured one - I was hoping there were at least two the same so I could use them in our master bath. That was not the case but we did find two we liked (actually, all three were great!).
This is my favorite of the three he had and it will be going into the main floor powder room. I want that room to have a lot of drama and I know this sink will hold up its part in the deal. Now I need to keep my eyes open for the perfect faucet. Oh, and this sink, brand new, only cost me $50!

This semi-flush vessel that Jay picked is kinda different. It has the stepped design which is not that uncommon. However, this sink can be mounted on the counter as a vessel or it can be bolted to the wall and hung as a floating sink. We are not sure which way we would go but that is fine since we are keeping this sink for the basement and we have no idea what we are doing down there anyway! Once again, this one only cost us $50!

Finally, I thought I would show you the sinks I found last year on clearance in two separate stores in two separate cities. They only cost me $34.93 each but are so beautiful! They are not vessel sinks but I love the details on them and I love that the faucet will be mounted to the counter instead of on the sink. These will be going in the kids' bathroom upstairs. Now I just need to find some great matching faucets to go with the sinks. I might have to take a trip to my local liquidators, check out a place called El Dorado Trading Company here in Winnipeg (it was a tip given to me by the guy who sold us the vessel sinks - he uses that company and highly recommends it for great but cheap faucets, sinks, etc) or look online at I love the quest and finding deals on the way!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Learning to Read

RJ has shown incredible amounts of determination when it comes to schooling. She loves to be right in the thick of it. She loves to work on her books, complains the least (note that she does complain at times), and is absorbing rapidly all she is learning. This week we passed a milestone I suspected we would pass before she turned 5 - she read her first book! Granted it is a book filled with short single-vowel words and is only 58 words long but hey, she read a book! I caught it on video tape and I could not be more proud of her! Today she brought me another book and she read it as well. She does need a bit of help every now and then but she is doing so fantastic for only being 4! It just confirms my decision that homeschooling her at this early age was a good decision. According to school standards, she should only be starting kindergarten in September. I think she would be utterly bored by that point if she keeps excelling at the rate she is going. So, I say, way to go RJ! I am so proud of you! Learning to read is a huge milestone and it will take you many places in life!
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