Cherry blossom craft

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All of my children are artistic and they love crafts. It’s sad for them, really. Because I do not. At all. But sometimes I push myself out of my comfort zone for their sakes. I remind myself that even though I am like my mother in my dislike of all things messy, I went to public school where I was allowed (forced) to do messy crafts at least once a month if not more often.

Last week was the National Cherry Blossom Festival. I may not have noticed except that my best friend lives in a place which celebrates the Cherry Blossom Festival big time. I got to visit her once during cherry blossom time and it was incredibly beautiful. So beautiful that now I’m always sad not to be able to visit her this time of year!

This year I ran across a cherry blossom craft by chance about a week before the festival at a design blog I’ve been frequenting lately called Small Notebook for a Simple Home. I fell in love with it and knew Novella would love to do it.

I actually purchased all the supplies I would need at Michaels and then I let them sit around for a while and procrastinated. Then I thought about the Eat That Frog book that I read recently and decided to just get it done. Last Saturday morning while the big boys were all gone to a martial arts class, the girls and John Elijah (who loves crafts and artsy stuff more than I can say plus also loves flowers) got it done. I pretty much let everyone do it themselves. I showed them the website with the directions and they knocked it out in about half an hour. I squeezed out the paint and helped Sophia a little with the blossom placement. For the most part it was fairly painless on my part. πŸ™‚ The only slightly annoying things were the fact that Jesse was running around desperately trying to smack his chubby little hands in some paint and Novella decided to paint flowers all over a lampshade before I could clean up. We finally contained Jesse in his highchair with a snack and I told myself to relax about the lampshade. It turned out really cute!

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The first thing I let them do was practice on a piece of paper to get a feel for the brushes and the thick acrylic paint.

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One brush stood out as the best to use for the tree trunk (I bought a variety pack for $5) so they took turns painting.

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I had only saved one 2 liter bottle so they also had to take turns painting the blossoms. I was a little worried about the thickness of the acrylic paint but it worked just fine.

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Buster Brown was quite happy once he had a leftover pancake to munch on while he watched the goings on. πŸ™‚

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And Novella, who can never get enough of the craft thing, went on to paint that plain pink lampshade I picked up for her room.
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The boys arrived home before we finished which was a little crazy as Novella was worried they were going to bump into her. But they didn’t. Everything was fine and crafting day was a success.

Now I wonder how long it will take me to get these on the wall? Better read that frog book again…



Time out with Mommy

One of the most looked forward to times in our house is “time out with Mommy.” That sounds a little conceded, doesn’t it? But in a household with 6 kids it’s tough to get mommy to yourself. We rotate kids and about once every 2 weeks to a month I take one of the kids out with me. Usually there are a couple of errands to run but we also take the time to sit down somewhere over a hot chocolate or a brownie and just get caught up. I love to hear all of the things on their minds, their hopes and dreams, their frustrations. It is a very special time. Today it was Izzy’s turn. Her first turn actually. She has just joined the rotation. πŸ™‚

She was so excited as we pulled out of the driveway.

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We tootled around in Target for a while and then stopped by the grocery store. Since we only needed a couple of things and since I only had ONE kid with me, I let her use the “shopper in training” cart. It was a little stressful but she loved it!

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When we got home she showed off her new clothes we found on the clearance racks at Target and the orange flower she bought from the dollar bin. πŸ™‚

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That Izzy. She is my Little Miss Sunshine!



Thanksgiving 2011

We spent the week before Thanksgiving making very elaborate Thanksgiving lapbooks for school. Did I take any pictures of them? Apparently not! Oh well. We had a blast and learned a lot!

The best part about Thanksgiving this year was that I relaxed and let the kids help a lot. They loved it. And they helped with every aspect. I let them each choose one or two recipes with which to help. They chose their favorites. For Abe, it’s all about the rolls —

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Wesley’s my cornbread dressing man —

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John and Sophia tagteamed on the Cranberry Nut bread. The three of us spent the week before Thanksgiving reading and studying the book Cranberry Thanksgiving so they were anxious to help with this recipe. It has been a tradition in the Bailey household since big brother Abe was a first grader. πŸ™‚

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John even helped with the dishes. Yea!

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For Novella Thanksgiving dinner is just a preamble. She waits all year to chow down on her favorite dessert — Pumpkin Pie. One year she even asked for pumpkin pie for her birthday! Somehow we forgot to take a picture while we were making the pumpkin pie but I snapped a shot of her helping me with the mashed potatoes when things got hairy towards the end of the cooking. That girl was a life saver! She did the potatoes pretty much all by herself. They were yummy. πŸ™‚

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And what was little Jesse monster’s job? He was the official taste tester, of course!

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FINALLY, it was time for the feast!!

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Cooking with the kids is great fun — even on Thanksgiving!!

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Keeping our daughters’ hearts

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Last year I was blessed to be able to go to the Georgia homeschool convention in Atlanta. I went with a girlfriend and spent two days and one night away from home. What fun we had! And it was so good for both of us to have an adventure away as we were both expecting a baby (#4 for her and #6 for me) within a few months.

One of the seminar talks I attended to was by author and speaker Shelley Noonan. She is a homeschool veteran of 13 years and spoke of the importance of mentoring your daughters. Her approach is to have a mother/daughter tea time set aside each week. I thought this was a great idea and came home eager to add this to my schedule. Remember, though, that I was 6 months pregnant at the time. πŸ™‚ Life happened and the mother/daughter tea time remained a dream. I knew Novella would love such a concept (she is such a girly girl!) but I just couldn’t seem to make it happen.

At the beginning of this year Kenny and I made resolutions like we never have before. One of mine was to add the mother/daughter tea time to the schedule on Saturday afternoons. Kenny resolved to help me make it happen by allowing us to seclude ourselves in the office while he kept up with the other kids. We decided to do it during Sophia’s naptime as we were sure she wouldn’t be too fond of mom and sister closing themselves up in the office without her. πŸ™‚ Eventually she will join us, of course. But for now I wanted Novella and I to have that time without the 2 year old’s antics.

It took until about a month ago until we made it a reality and it has been such a blessing! We go into the office and read one chapter from How To Be a Lady by Harvey Newcomb and discuss it. Then we look at the next chapter of her home education book to see which home skill she’ll be trying out for the week. Since we started she has made french toast for the family and salad to add to the dinner menu. This week she’ll be using the stove and making beef stew. We also discuss how we can increase her palate as she has been a picky eater for a long time and is finally coming to realize that she doesn’t really want to be a picky eater. During and after this we are sipping our tea (or milk) and eating a light snack such as mini muffins or cookies. Finally I just let her talk about whatever is on her mind. Sometimes I’ll even rub her head or her back while we talk.

We only spend about 45 minutes on our tea time but it has done so much to bring us closer together. I feel so much more in tune with her thoughts and desires. One would think that I would automatically be close to each of the children since I am with them nearly 24/7 but that one on one time is still vital to tying strings. They crave that special attention from mom — especially in a busy household.

So I encourage each of you to carve a little time in your schedule for your daughters. Make it special. Bring out the good china. Add a few mini muffins to the freezer the next time your make muffins to have them ready for your special time. And then just relax and enjoy your daughter’s company. She is a treasure and a gift. Thank God for her every day and pray that he will bless your time together.


Conversation with Abe

Abe: “Mom, Himalayan cats are very sweet.”

Me: “Himalayan cats are long haired cats. If I were ever to consider having a cat again, which I’m not, it would not be a long haired cat.”

Abe: “Why are you so anti-cat, Mom?”

Me: “Because I’m old. I’m old enough to know the worst a cat can do and I don’t like it.”

Abe: “You’re not old, Mom. You look like a teenager.”

Me: eye roll


Mom’s Little Helper

(This was the post that came before the vanilla extract post. I’m really just curious to see if my picture links still work. Originally published 7 Mar 2008)

Last Saturday was N.’s day to help make dessert. We had a great time
together!

Disclaimer: Don’t panic about the 5th of Vodka on the counter. It is
actually homemade vanilla extract.

Nov by the Kitchen Aid Mar 2008

Cute mother/daughter shot. πŸ™‚

Nov & Mom Mar 2008

Just for fun here is a belly shot from that day. I was 18 weeks. Next
Thursday is the big day to find out if there is a blue hat or a pink hat
in there. πŸ™‚

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[update: well, it’s going to take some work to re-create what was lost! The photo links are not transferring. I have to go back to my files and upload the old pictures to photobucket and then insert the code directly into the new blog posts. Oh well. I’m not in a hurry. I may try to figure out how to change the date I’m posting things so I can put them in the right place! We’ll see…]


Out of the mouths of 4 year olds…

J.E. has said a couple of things lately that just cracked me up. The first was Sunday morning. I pulled a pair of hand me down shoes out of the shed for J.E. at the last minute and one of them didn’t have a lace. I ran to the bedroom and found the perfect lace in the first drawer I looked in. As I was lacing the shoe I was telling J.E. how cool God is that he allowed me to find just what I needed just when I needed it. He replied,

“Yeah. God’s my favorite spirit.”

Tonight at dinner:

“Chicken is like gum. You have to chew it.”

πŸ™‚

I love that boy!

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My kind of Saturday

Today we skipped all of our Saturday obligations and enjoyed a lazy Saturday. It was WONDERFUL. I wish we could do it every Saturday!! I even stayed in my pjs until 10 AM!! πŸ™‚ We didn’t bother with breakfast until about 10:30 when we had homemade waffles with butter and syrup:

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After dad returned from his overnight trip we headed to a local grainery to replenish my supply of SAF Yeast. One package of this stuff lasts me well over a year and is absolutely the BEST for making breads and pizza crusts. The grainery owner informed us that we were just in time for feeding the goats!

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The great thing about not having any obligations all day is that you have time to stop and smell the roses — or, in our case, the cotton:

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Hope your Saturday was as fun and relaxing as ours!