Our Blessed Chaos

My hubby + a 1st grader + twins in kindergarten + 4 critters..... Yeah it is chaos, but we are blessed!

Today's Verse

Yesterday I took some time to work on the next quilt. While doing this, Ben, our little explorer, discovered my scrap bag, which is where I put pieces of fabric that are too small for other projects and too big to throw away. Well, he started pulling fabric scraps out to play with and Carlee soon joined him. They played with these scraps, 'building stuff' for over an hour! Here is a short video them that totally cracks me up!!



Oh and by the way - I did not dress Carlee. She is in a phase where I cannot help her in any way! Just so you know ;-)

I am finally organized enough to let you know what I have been up to. I have been setting up my new quilt shop on Etsy! Have you heard of Etsy yet? It is a really cool place to shop because it is all handmade stuff!

Anyway, I got this crazy idea that I should open my own shop! I know, like I didn't already have enough to do. But the interesting thing is that the kids are helping me. They are picking out colors, naming shapes, counting pieces, and Carlee stood beside me for nearly an hour the other day being my pin helper, she was in charge of the pin cushion!

I love quilting and I have decided that it is a great motivator to do something for myself. An excuse to actually make the time to sit down and quilt. I finished my first quilt for the shop and have already listed it, just click on it over on the right sidebar and you will be taken to my Etsy shop.

I have lots of quilts planned and even some other cross-stitch, knitting, and crocheting projects planned too. To keep things all nice and organized I started a new blog just for my Etsy shop stuff. The link for that is also over on the right sidebar. So now I am all over the place! Make sure you leave a comment to let me know when you visit any of my blogs and also let me know what you think!

Remember this from nearly a year ago?

Well the success of that round of potty training was this...

Sam was potty trained! Ben & Carlee were not quite ready, but during the last month they have both been working on being potty trained too. Here are the results...

Trying
Success!!


Trying
Leave it to Ben to have to double check,
Success!!

Hallelujah!!!

We have officially said goodbye to all diapers and are only in Pullups at night.
After approximately 20,000 diapers and pullups I am so thrilled to be done with them! In fact I think that this weekend calls for some target practice. Hubby has been bugging me to learn how to shoot and I think that the diaper pail will make a lovely target don't you?


Visit Wordful Wednesday and Wordless Wednesdays for more great photos!

Gratituesday is hosted by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers

The other day I was going to mop the kitchen floor and to do so I move the kitchen chairs out of the room. The kids always think this is great fun, and this time I threw some blankets over them to make a fort. Well this was so much fun for them that they played in there for hours that day. Throughout the day it was a fort, a truck, a car with windows (I had to adjust the blankets so they could see out), a rocket ship, a house, and a camp.

At lunchtime I made simple PB&J sandwiches and told them that they could have a picnic in their fort. They were so excited! As they were heading into the fort I reminded them to pray before they eat. Usually when we pray they echo what we say. But this time I sent them in to pray on their own, this is what they prayed...

Sam Dear God-Lord,
Ben & Carlee Dear God-Lord,

Sam Thank you for our beautiful world,
Ben & Carlee Thank you for our beautiful world,

Then after a long pause Sam said Amen, followed by Ben & Carlee's Amen

It was so cute. It is obvious we have been learning about creation and thanking God for our beautiful world. I also thought it was interesting that Sam took the leadership role and Ben & Carlee echoed his prayer. I was impressed that Sam knows he is praying to God even though I always start my prayers with Dear Lord. It was cute because he paused for a long time, probably wondering what else to pray for, but then simply ended with Amen.

I am grateful that our kids are learning to pray, and I am grateful to have been shown a lesson on this day. We need to do better in teaching them what to pray for.


Plain Promise by Beth Wiseman
A Daughters of the Promise Novel

The story is based on the intriguing connection between two people from two completely different worlds; one rich and famous and the other from an Amish community. The attraction between the two is unexpected and magnetic but because of the different lifestyles a life together or even a friendship seems to be impossible.

The author has a style of writing that is very captivating and the story is beautifully designed - a true page turner. The insight into the Amish community and faith was inspiring and convicting. There is a lot we could learn from the Amish, from their simple lifestyle to their strong faith in God.

It is hard not to love a good romance story, but this book is so much more than that. Throughout the book I was reminded how we can be so quick to judge others, how we can be so distracted by worldly things, and what a blessing family is. It is not often that a fiction story can have such powerful life lessons.

I loved this book and this author, I will be reading her previous books and will look for her new ones as soon as they come out.


I review for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers
This book review has been prepared for Thomas Nelson: Book Review Bloggers

I have not been blogging much lately. One of the reasons is that the computer chair is often occupied...

As I often, and lovingly say - Stupid Cats! Of course I couldn't bear to move them, they look so snuggly and comfy. Most days it is just one cat in the chair so I simply move him to the back of the chair so I can perch on the edge. Like I said... stupid cats!

Anyway, other things I have been up to...

Home preschool nearly every day. We have missed a few days as colds and the flu have passed through our house, but other than that we have been having school. Now that I am organized it doesn't take long to do each days lesson plan - just takes a little diligence on my part! It is going fairly well, although I have to often be quite creative (which should also read 'be quite silly') in order to keep their attention and keep on task. Of course there are many frustrating moments, but in the end they are all learning and it is so fun to watch them as they learn and are excited because they know they are learning. One of the things we are working on is to recognize their names, so one day we were going to paint on a paper that I had printed their names on. It quickly turned from nicely painting with brushes to this...

Outings have been very limited because hubby's truck is in the shop and he has been driving the van to work. But we did manage to get to our first MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting last week. It was refreshing to be with other moms of very young children, and the kids were able to be in their own class. They had a blast playing with the other kids.

This week we will start our weekly class called Tumble Bunnies. The kids really have no idea what to expect, all they know is that bunnies don't tumble they hop. They are getting quite annoyed with me and keep trying to show me how bunnies hop! Very cute!!

A new way to read! I recently stumbled upon a fun way to get in some reading time. The book publisher Thomas Nelson has a book review program for bloggers. It was easy to sign up and I have already finished my first book. I will post that review soon. The best part about this whole book review process is that I now have a perfectly legitimate excuse to read and blog about it!

Other than school and keeping up with the never ending cooking, laundry and housework I have been busy planning. I have a new crafting adventure! It had been eating up lots of my time and thought. Curious aren't you! But I am still working on it, so I will leave you all in suspense for a little while longer....Soon though, very soon!

The other day I walked into the kitchen and saw this...
Luckily the camera was sitting right there on the counter and the way that the cat was lying there so casually I assumed that the frog was dead. But it wasn't, just waiting for its chance to escape. I have learned that well-fed cats do not catch things to eat them, they catch them to torture them - I mean to play with. Well, on this day, Tigger-kitty had caught a frog and brought it in the house to play with it in comfort!

The kids soon discovered what I was doing and came to investigate. Their excitement got the attention of the dogs and Ellie got in there to investigate. This was all too much for the frog who took a couple hops but his escape was blocked by the cabinet. I managed to get this shot before I put the camera down to rescue the poor frog. The words on this photo would be:

Cat: Oh I can still see you, but I just finished my breakfast so I am gonna play with you for awhile longer.

Dog: Are you gonna eat him or am I?

Frog: OH CRAP


By the way, I checked the frog and he did not seem harmed in any way. I quickly let him go, ignoring my kids begging to hold him.

I have also decided that Tigger-kitty must be bored. Yesterday, the outside doormat was covered with feathers. Thankfully the door was closed this time!


For more great photos visit Wordless Wednesday or Wordful Wednesday


Gratituesday is hosted by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers

Yesterday was my first trip to Sam's Club. I used to be a Costco shopper, but since we moved Sam's Club is much closer and more convenient. Anyway, I was taking my time - firstly to get used to the store and secondly because I was by myself (hehe). I went down the vacuum row and saw something I have been contemplating for some time... But let me backtrack for a minute...

When our kids were all babies my hubby bought me a Roomba for Valentines Day! How romantic! Really it was, because I turned the little robot on and away he went, vacuuming all the carpets and entertaining babies! I loved it. But Roomba did best on carpets and when we moved and replaced all our carpets with laminate, Roomba was replaced by the very technoligically advanced broom. Eventually Roomba died, but all he really needs a new and quite expensive battery. Then we moved again, this time to a house with only hardwood floors and even though I love having no carpets at all, I feel like I have been sweeping my life away.

We have been working on introducing daily chores to the kids and I have been thinking about having them start to sweep small areas. Then I thought about one of those quickie sweepers, not quite a vaccuum, but more than a broom. It would help them pick up more than just using a broom. So when I saw one at Sam's Club, I made a total impluse buy and bought it. Last night I plugged it in to charge and today we tried it out.

It is so simple to use that even the two year olds were cleaning the floors! Today I am grateful for household tools that allow the kids to do chores and learn responsibilty at a young age. They thought it was fun and I saw the potential for saving me alot of time! Oh and I love that it is called the Shark!



My Husband rocks is hosted by KatyLin



This week we started school, that is home-preschool. I love that my hubby shares in my passion to teach our kids. I love that he is ready to jump in and do whatever we are doing. I have even incorporated Homework. This is time that the kids work on worksheets or crafts individually with Daddy. It is fun to watch him teach them and even more fun to see them learn.

One of the things that my hubby is very passionate about is guns. He has been since he was very young and grew up in a family that are all equally passionate about their guns. Now this is not only a passion to shoot or to collect, oh no! It is a passion that enables him to remember everything about all kinds of guns. I suppose it is much like a man who is passionate about sports and is a walking encyclopedia about stats.

The best way I can explain hubby's passion is to relate it from my point of view. In the first couple years of our marriage, before we had so many babies, we watched alot of movies. Anytime there was a movie or even a TV program that had a scene with guns or really anything related to guns he would have a remark about it. Many times it was about how he has that gun or when he shot one just like it. Other times it was him making observations about nit-picky little things like how such and such would never be used that way, or something was not quite right. I was always amazed that he could pick things out from scene shots that were only a few seconds.

Then we started watching the 'Band of Brother' series. You have no idea how many comments were flying around the room. Almost to the point where it was becoming annoying. Finally I said something like "Oh look honey, there's a tent" to which he replied, "That is actually called a blahblahblah" ARRRGGG he even knows the proper military term for a tent!

So when it comes to guns, yes it is his passion. But it is also his job and he has trained guys at the range. When I was pregnant he was spending alot of time at the range. I envisioned him as a drill sargent during my labor, you know like the ones you see screaming in the movies. Thankfully I had a c-section so I never got to see that side of him!

Now that our kids are not babies anymore and we have the space to shoot from our yard he has been itching to do alot more shooting. The kids absolutely love it and I love that he is passing his passion on to our kids. These are some of the pictures that I took the other day, but what I didn't capture was the looks of excitement on their faces when they came running back to me to tell me what they did with Daddy!

As always, Carlee is Daddy's girl and here she is helping him with the bullets.









I just noticed that it looks like they are not all wearing ear protection. They do have ear plugs. Part of hubby's passion is not only knowledge of the weapon and ammunition you are shooting, but the most important thing is always gun safety.

Have a blessed day!!!

I was using the Sunflower template designed by Template-Mama. As much as I love sunflowers, the template was just too yellow for my liking.

After spending way too much time looking for another template, and picking up yet another trojan virus, I finally have decided on this one, also designed by Template-Mama.

At first I didn't even consider it because I wasn't crazy about it being so pink and also the plaid strips on each side were a bit much. But then I discovered, kinda by accident, that if I added the HTML for a background from a place like Hot Bliggity Blog, then I could change the stips on each side! And so began my quest to find the right template with the right background. Turns out that this particular template has a much deeper color, almost a shade of red rather than the pink in the preview.

I am still not completely satistfied though, but until I can learn how to make my own templates this will have to do!!!

Let me know what you think of this one!



This is a shot of the cornfield that is surrounding our house, except for the driveway we are completely enclosed by this super tall corn!!! Just yesterday we saw a deer in our front yard, they are sure enjoying the corn feast.

For more great photos visit Wordless Wednesday or Wordful Wednesday!

Here in Maryland kids start kindergarten only if they are 5 before Sept 1 or something like that. Sam's birthday is in Nov and Ben & Carlee's is in Oct. That means that it will be two more years until Sam starts kindergarten and three more years for Ben & Carlee. So technically if we were to send them to preschool, we wouldn't send Sam until next year. However, we are not convinced of the benefits vs the costs of preschool yet. But because they are all ready for something more structured we decided that we would do home-preschool.

I spent alot of time online looking at preschool curriculum's and found two that I really liked, both are biblically based which was an absolute requirement for me. Hubbard's Cupboard is a free curriculum and is nicely laid out. The other is Horizons Preschool.

As much as I liked the Hubbard's Cupboard, I decided on the Horizons curriculum because it seemed more indepth biblically and it was easier to adapt it to a group setting. Afterall, I have my very own built in preschool class!

The entire Horizons preschool curriculum is quite expensive and I didn't think that I would use all of the media set. So I decided that I would not get the multi-media. However, I did buy the Character Builder DVD set on TCM.com . I am glad that I spent the money on it because it ties some of the lessons together really well. To save even more money, I found the teacher guides, resource pack and one of the workbooks on ebay. I have also just ordered two more workbooks from christianbook.com so that they each have their own workbook rather than me photocopying them everyday.

Once we got back from our trip to Canada I started to organize and prepare lesson plans. I was slightly overwhelmed and began to look for ways to better organize our preschool day. That is when I stumbled across the Workbox System created by Sue Patrick. I did not buy her book, but I did alot of searching in other blogs for how others have adapted the system. The benefits of this system are huge as it is designed to encourage the students to do much of their work independently.

However, we are only at the preschool level and are all doing the same work. At this point there is not much that they can do independently. So I adapted the system to one set of 12 drawers (I bought 4 Sterilite 3 drawers from Walmart). I fill each drawer with the resources or worksheets that we need for each topic or subject.



So far I am thrilled with the curriculum and now that I am organized with the subject drawers I am finding that the day is going very well. Other than trying to keep the level of chaos to a level that we can actually learn something!

One of the projects from the first day of preschool yesterday was to draw a picture of yourself and your Daddy. They didn't know how to draw people (obviously we have not spent alot of time drawing) so I drew a couple simple stick people to show them what they could do. Here are their interpretations...

Carlee thought it was hilarious that she drew hair on Daddy because Daddy doesn't have any hair! She was so excited to show him all her work this was the very first thing she pointed out.


Sam drew a picture of him and Daddy and then he turned the paper over to draw monsters. Love his interpretation of happy and bad!


And then there is Ben!


Gratituesday is hosted by Laura at Heavenly Homemakers

Recently Carlee's last molar came in and now they all have all of their teeth. At that moment I came to the realization that I can no longer say we have toddlers. Oh no, they are growing up! We now have three preschoolers! We decided that this year we would do preschool at home.

We have completed two days of school and it has gone as well as I expected. I intentionally left out some of the topics so that I could spend more time on others. As we get into a better routine I will add more. They are generally excited to have school but we are having some behavior issues. Mostly due to not listening and not doing what they are told - same old issue, no different because it is school! nyway, we are working on that and I think that if I can keep it fun and entertaining and get the ground rules established right from the start then we should do just fine.

Sam is picking things up right away, he is really ready for this. Carlee is loving school and has been learning almost as quickly as Sam. She has been the best listener, even with her stubborn streak -still not sure where she got that from ;-). And then there is Ben, I knew he would be the challenge. I have to find a way to get him to follow the rules, if I can do that he will do just fine because he is understanding everything we are covering.

Here is our first day of school photo. This is what I see in this photo...
Sam - truly excited to be starting school
Carlee - excited but not sure what to expect
Ben - is focused on the jelly bean he just got for using the potty. Typical that he is doing something other than what he should be



So today what am I most grateful for? I am grateful to be able to stay home with our kids and I am grateful for all the wonderful homeschooling resources on the internet. I am grateful that we decided to have home-preschool this year and I am the most grateful to be able to see the excited looks of their faces when they "get it". Those looks are worth everything!