Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Not So Brilliant

Some people have the very mistaken notion that I have it all put together! They often refer to me as superwoman and think I can do no wrong! Well, let me just put that myth to rest right now.

First of all, I made a fantastic chicken dish for supper and some super wonderful twisted breadsticks but do you think I made any potatoes or rice or noodles to go with that saucy chicken? Nope. None. So, we had chicken and biscuits (in case you think that vegetables were lacking, green peppers and pineapple were part of the chicken dish).

Then, after sports were over for the night, I drove the 1/2 hour to the grocery store to do grocery shopping. We are seriously low on milk and dishwasher soap (2 ESSENTIALS in a household with 5 children) plus other necessary items. I first stopped at a friend's place to bring her an orchid as she recently lost her grandmother. Between her house and the grocery store it suddenly hit me that I may not have my wallet with me. So, I pulled over and sure enough. No wallet. I had taken it out of my purse to place an order online and not only forgot to put it back, I forgot to check to see if it was actually there before leaving the house. 2 dumb moves. So, I came right back home without any groceries. In the pouring rain. It reflected exactly how I felt. I was sure glad I discovered this before loading up a cart with food! Maybe later this week will be better for me!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Family Fun Night

Since Jay was noticeably absent last week, he figured we needed to do something a little more special for our weekly Sunday afternoon/evening family night. Off to the zoo it was! Spring at the zoo is a wonderful time! The temperature was seasonably cool and cloudy which made it perfect for animal viewing! Zoo babies abound! This little guy was so very adorable!

Peacocks were busy showing off for all the peahens!

My very favorite part of the zoo is the wild cats!

(someday Jay will take me on an African safari- someday!)

After the zoo, it was supper time so we picked up some subs and headed to the adjacent park for a picnic supper. There happened to be a football in the van so we all participated in a little catch.

I had to tackle Pepe to the ground - he beaned me in the head with the football - I think it was on purpose! Everyone was trying to save Pepe from me - gotta love it!

Finally, we went to very-newly-opened Children's Nature Playground.

They had large beds filled with tulips! It was so beautiful!

Earlier in the day Jay promised Slurpees to everyone so at 8:45 at night, on the way home, Jay stopped to buy MONSTROUSLY huge Slurpees for the kids. The boys shared one, the girls shared one and Jay and I shared one. Needless to say, the volume and energy level in van was at an all-time high as the sugar and caffeine kicked in! We had such a wonderful time with our family! I know I really would like to have more children but it was so very wonderful to take them on this adventure with every child being so very independent. It was a new and wonderful experience for us!

Do you take time each week to focus on your family? What are some of the fun things you like to do?

Friday, May 27, 2011

All By Myself

Well, not really by myself, just by myself with 5 kids! No, Jay has not flown away to some great destination, he is not "out with the boys", he is just working. A LOT! By the time the end of Saturday rolls around, he will have put in close to 80 hours this week! That's 2 weeks worth of work, people, in 6 days! Needless to say, I hardly see him and the kids don't see him at all. He leaves around 6 or 6:30 in the morning and comes home around 10 or 11 at night. We talk until about midnight and then fall asleep just to start all over the next day. I know, this is normal for some people. For you ladies out there that have truckers for husbands, I tip my hat to you. This "single parenting" stuff is tiring! And for single moms out there, wow! That is all I have to say! You really do this all day, every day! Day in and day out! So, what is Jay busy with? Working at the hog barn in the mornings (that's after doing the chicken chores very first thing in the morning), some field work if the soil is dry, then catching chickens (it is REALLY good money and with house building coming up, a nice monetary boost) in the afternoons/evenings/nights. While he is gone, I still teach school, take the kids to their sports, built a bat house, planted some garden (potatoes & corn), make food, do laundry, paperwork, all those fun things. I miss my hubby! So, each day I pray for grace and kindness and loving words for my children and strength and energy for my hubby. This past week, I realize how overwhelmed I am with love for my children. I am totally head-over-heels in love with my family. I love the sparkle in their eyes. I love the way they look. The way they move. I am greatly and exceedingly blessed to call them mine! Thank you, Jesus, for surpassing all expectations and bestowing greater blessings on me than I ever deserved. Now, please bring hubby home safely. I sure look forward to Sunday when we can all be together. And, if the weather changes drastically and doesn't rain for the next 4 days like it says it will, we will go to the zoo together on Sunday and just be together. As a family. For family day. Yeah, I cannot wait!

♥♥♥ My encouragement for the day! ♥♥♥

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lapbook of Jordan

This is the final lapbook we made for our geography course this year. The boys enjoyed this one especially because Jay was able to tour some of the locations we talked about when he went to Jordan a number of years ago. Jay brought back a keffiyeh and a Jordanian newspaper so both were quite amusing for the kids.

I discovered the boys really enjoy learning about the countries of our world, the peoples that live there, the land that fashions it, the languages spoken - all those fun things. Because of that, next year we will study more of the world using the curriculum called Galloping the Globe. I ordered it this week along with some of the additional resources needed. We will be doing a lapbook/notebook approach this time, using a binder and dividing it into the continents. We will study a few countries on each of the continents and will try to include those countries where we personally know missionaries live. What a great way to study this wonderful world God created! And this time, RJ gets to join us on our geography journey. Yes, I know she is only 5 but she already begged to join the boys this year as they studied geography. Why hold her back when she is so eager?

To find all the lapbooks on this geography course, click the country names below:

As always, just email me if you want the file for any of the lapbooks I have made - I will gladly share with you!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lapbook of Saudi Arabia

Here is the lapbook of Saudi Arabia the boys made:

Find additional lapbooks of the Holy Land here:

Friday, May 20, 2011

Kindness from a Brother to a Sister

Sometimes I wonder about the heart of my children. What are they really like? What are they really thinking? In particular, do they really care about each other? So many children today are downright mean to their brothers and sisters. Or if they are not mean, they just don't care about each other. Many times the way they treat each other causes me to wonder and other times I have no doubts. Today as I was working in the country, AJ (6), Ali (3) and Ari (2) were playing together. Ali was pulling Ari in the wagon and AJ was pushing from behind. I am not entirely sure what happened but somehow Ali ended up falling down and hurting herself. I was close enough to see the entire thing transpire but I was in no hurry to run over and comfort her. I wanted to see how AJ would react. Did he cause the injury? Would he comfort her? Would he apologize? What I saw was proof that that little mischievous boy has a great heart inside (which I always suspected but liked the confirmation!). He knelt down in front of her, looked her in the eyes and asked if she was okay. She said no, that she hurt her hands. She held them palm up for him to see. He gently grabbed one, looked at it and kissed her palm. Then he gently grabbed the other one, kissed it and told her it was all better. She smiled, got up and went on playing! My mother's heart just swelled with pride! What a kind child he is! What a great affirmation for me! I have always told people that he is a mischievous boy who likes to make people laugh but a very sweet child. He proved that today! As he meandered over to where I was, I knelt in front of him and told him that I saw what he did. I told him that not only was he so kind to his sister but that I was so proud of him. He smiled his super cute missing-two-front-teeth smile and said, "Oh, I didn't know you were proud of me!" You better believe it, little man! I am very proud of you!

Lapbook of Iraq

We are finished our geography course for this year and it has been a blast! The boys have really enjoyed studying the Holy Land as presented in A Child's Geography - Explore the Holy Land by Ann Voskamp. We finished the study of Iraq last month already but I never got around to posting pictures of the lapbooks. Here is Iraq:

As I mentioned earlier, if you are wanting the file for this lapbook, just send me an email. I will gladly share it with you! Tomorrow, I will show you our lapbook of Saudi Arabia.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Not Bad For Two Hours of Work


Since school was completed rapidly today and the weather was nice and my hubs got the chainsaw ready for me, it was off to the country for just a couple of hours this afternoon. (I would have stayed longer but the 3 older kids all have baseball tonight! Yeah!!) And, I must say, I feel I got a whole lot accomplished! Can you tell the difference? I am so glad to see all those caragana gone and I will be thrilled when all the rest that still remain also disappear! It looks so much tidier!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Hold Me

The alarm clock showed 2 something in the morning when I heard her cries. She was making her way upstairs and into our room, dragging her blanket behind her. The small mattress we keep under our bed for just moments like this was already beside our bed from a late night visitor the night before. I gently laid her on the mattress and wrapped her in her blanket, hoping just the closeness to mom would be enough to ease her to sleep. She remained restless, crying out occasionally. I gently picked her and her blanket up and snuggled her in close beside me in our bed. I wrapped my arms around her and almost instantly a huge sigh escaped her little lips. She fiddled with her blanket, finding just the right spot to hold and seemed to settle. We snuggled for a little while but I suspected she would not fall asleep in my arms. When I asked her if she was ready to go back to her bed, she said "Nya." (yes). I picked her up and cradled her like the baby she no longer is and she allowed me to carry her back to bed. As I was passing through the living room the bright light of the full moon shone on her face and I saw her twinkling brown eyes. She was enjoying this moment with mom. When I brought her to her room and laid her on her bed, she quickly buried herself under her blanket, ensuring nothing was sticking out and fell fast asleep. I couldn't help but think that sometimes I am just like that little 2 year old lady. Sometimes, life gets too complicated. Things aren't going well and I cry out. Nothing is making me happy. Everything in me is full of turmoil. I need Jesus to hold me and wrap his arms around me, just like I held her. Sometimes, being close isn't good enough. I need to be held in those arms of love until the peace returns and I am able to go on. And I am so glad that Jesus is always ALWAYS there whenever I need him and he knows just how to hold me.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Roadside Treasure

We were actually ready on time for church this morning (a small miracle!) that we biked. Oh, and the weather was sunny and warm which was another bonus. On the way home from church, I insisted on driving home the other way around the crescent since I needed to stop in at a friend's place. As I continued home (the others had gone on without me), I passed a driveway with a bunch of garbage at the end. As I was driving by, I realized that "garbage" was a french provincial desk!! It is in need of some love and repair (the one drawer front is separated from the drawer itself, it needs repainting and general tightening) but how can you leave a french provincial desk on the side of the road? Especially when it is free? So, I went to the house and knocked on the door, ready to ask if it really was garbage and if it would be okay if I took it. No one was home so I biked home and returned with Jay's truck. The neighbour helped me load the desk and now I have this great new project. Will I keep it? I have no idea! But I can certainly test my furniture-refinishing skills now! Oh, the possibilities! I must admit, this is my first "plucked from the garbage" roadside treasure but it just may have fueled a desire for more! Jay, in all his wisdom, reacted well when I told him of my new find: rather than question the need for more furniture to redo, he simple hugged me and jumped up and down squealing, imitating my reaction! What a great man!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Latest Kijiji Purchase

Remember that nice dark brown french provincial dresser & nightstand set I bought? Well, the lady selling it is clearing out her mom's estate and recently posted another gotta-have set on Kijiji! As soon as I saw it, I knew I needed to make it mine! It is an antique empire revival claw foot settee and the matching chair!

The details are just amazing!

The settee has been stripped right down to the frame and requires some regluing of the frame. It is not in perfect condition but is beautiful as it is. The chair still contains some of the upholstery but is in the process of being stripped. The frame itself is in better shape than the settee. An antiques appraiser told the seller that they are from Europe and over 100 years old. From my research online, they are made out of mahogany wood. The price for these two lovelies-in-waiting? $50 for the set! I know, a steal, I think! The boys have already been suggesting various different fabrics and all are some sort of animal print! They know their mom too well! This will certainly be a labor of love as I will have to figure out how to reupholster it without knowing how it was done originally. I also have to figure out how to redo the seat with webbing and springs. I love the challenge that it presents and I am thrilled to have them in my hands. I think I will wait until I find the perfect fabric but, like the boys said, I will probably lean more towards the fun and modern as opposed to the traditional. A long while ago I bought MANY packages of silver nail heads for really, REALLY cheap with no known project in mind. I think this just might be that project!

So, help me out, if you can. Any suggestions on how to reweb the seat cushion area? Suggestions on how to reglue the frame? Suggestions on fabric? If you had these frames, what would you do with them? I would love to hear from you!

Monday, May 9, 2011

French Provincial Furniture Makeovers

It seems that I have finally figured out my own style when it comes to dressing (romantic, dramatic style - my shoe collection sums it up!)

but I am just starting to learn my decorating style. And, it leans towards the traditional, romantic, dramatic style, just like my clothes - go figure! I really, really love the lines of French Provincial(FP)furniture! The curved legs get me every time, the hardware makes a romantic statement with its flourishes and all the curves are divine! My hubby was so so gracious to make two trips into Winnipeg on the same day to pick up two different sets of FP furniture. One is a 6 drawer dresser with mirror and nightstand (circa 1965 - $85)

and one was a 9 drawer dresser with a 3-way mirror and nightstand (circa 1995, solid wood, dove-tailed drawers - $75).

Right now they are taking up a small chunk of space in our garage but I have visions of the beauties they will become (really, they are gorgeous already) once they are painted and sitting in the girls room. I am pretty sure both sets will end up in the girls' new rooms but Pepe is gunning for a set of his own! I have seen some great FP makeovers in blogland so I thought I would share them here with you! The possibilities are endless as to the paint colors you can use, as shown below!

How about this fabulous black dresser with silver pulls? Head on over to Chrissy's Collections to see the surprisingly feminine interior! LOVE the idea of painting the inside a different color than the exterior!

What about a pair of deliciously pink side tables? I am loving the curved drawer fronts and the crisp white hardware. Natalie, of Natty by Design, did a great job transforming these into something memorable!

Feeling like blue is more your color? Kari at Beautiful Inspiration Designs did a fantastic job with a dresser she has had for many years.

What about a heavily distressed turquoise tallboy? Kim from a Brush of Whimsy really showed what you can do to transform a beautiful but bland dresser into one that stands out and is sure to be remembered!

Kim must really like the French Provincial look because she also transformed these end tables! It really is amazing what you can do with a little paint and some elbow grease! She also lined the drawers with some fun paper so be sure to head on over to check it all out!

So, what is your favorite furniture style? Any furniture makeovers in your future? I would love to hear about it!

(PS: Just for your info, I started this post one month ago - it really just takes me that long to get it all finished up! :)

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