Back to School 2017

We survived… that’s about the best I can give you!  By bedtime, the kids said they had a “fun” day… so that is what I hope they hold onto.  But, the day was not without tears and complaints; and it was only day one!

One child, in particular, was too excited to sleep.  I called it.  Last night I told my husband she would be overly tired and have a rough day, despite her excitement.  It happened.  Thankfully, she recognized it and apologized; (a couple hours into her fussing!)  Aaaah, the joys…

This starts our 8th year of homeschooling.  What a journey it’s been!  Despite the challenges… despite the messes and difficulties, I would honestly have it no other way.  There’s much good to be had, too.  We loved our morning time, both at breakfast and then around the dining room table.  We read from the Bible, had a discussion, read our new book, and talked about the upcoming year.  Then it was off for pictures!

We even squeezed in a game…

It is so tempting to dread school starting.  I was dreading it.  But, now that we have our first day under our belts, (and we are VERY slowly easing our way back in), I am starting to feel the joy and excitement.  I am also trying to be thankful for all the parts I love such as hearing music throughout the house, good reading and discussions with the kids, looking forward to the change of seasons, and truly getting more done… because if you give me a summer of freedom, I tend to relax more and accomplish nothing.  But, give me a full schedule, and my priorities get changed and I may actually get something done!  Crazy how that works…

Thank you, Jesus, for another year to pour into my children.  May they grow ever closer to You!


Here it is the night before school starts, and I’m blogging about our vacation!  Priorities.  Well, technically the kids are still awake, so I can’t exactly make their first day of school treats yet.  And, we’re waiting for the sun to go down for our final summer treat — s’more’s.  (The first of the summer, I believe — how did that happen?)

With no further ado, here was our trip to Silverwood Theme Park in Idaho.

Theme parks in Idaho are simply not the same as in California.  The sun is not as intense.  The foliage is much more lush.  The crowds are not as bad.  The price is not as high.  In general, it is actually a very pleasant experience!  We were thankful to have a kid in a stroller again to hold all our water bottles and such.

We had to laugh, as our X-man screamed bloody murder on the carousel.  Thankfully, he warmed up to the rides throughout the day; a little!

I think our favorite was this rafting ride.  We ended up riding it twice, despite getting soaked!

Natalie is my “big coaster” girl.  This ride was so fun, though I definitely feel my age these days.

On the ride home, we enjoyed a wildfire-inspired sunset.  I couldn’t believe the color of the sun.  I snapped this picture out the window.  We arrived back at the hotel exhausted, but went back the next day to enjoy the other side of the park[ the water park.  We decided not to bring along the camera, (because, water!) but it was a spectacular park and another fun day.  We decided we will be back to Silverwood before long.

Berry Lemon Galette

When your daughter wants a baking date with you…

But, you’re busy and don’t have many ingredients on hand…

Say “Yes,” anyway.  Trust me!  This didn’t take us much time, but it was so delicious!  And the kitchen smelled amazing.  Plus, it brought such joy to my daughter’s face.  She honestly did most of it herself.  It got me all excited about the upcoming fall baking season.  Let’s hope we still have time for baking when school starts, (which is in just a few days now!)

Preaching to myself here… always say yes, always say yes!

The boys aren’t the only ones enjoying their new rooms… the girls are loving theirs, too.

I don’t love this picture… I want to scream, “Pick up your room, girls!!  And, get off your i pads!”   But, that has been the reality this week.  Since school starts in a few days and we are busy trying to finish getting organized, we have let the kids do a little more screen time than usual.  Enjoy it while it lasts, kiddos!  School is coming, soon!

(Did I mention the cats are loving the girls’ new room, too?)

“Farm Life”

Today was a rare gift.  Overcast with a high of 79 Degrees in the middle of August.  (Yes, I had a second cup of coffee!)  It was glorious.  We left the windows and doors open all day.

In other news, check this out:  See our little Midnight to the far left of the picture?  Know what she is looking at?


We finally caught one of our tomato/ pepper/ strawberry eating culprits.  Honestly, it is always a little sad: especially, when they are still alive and squealing.  Thankfully, my husband was home to take care of business.  All I had to do this time around was take pictures for this blog.  🙂

Life on our “farm.”

New Floors = New Inspiration

We are finally finished with our biggest summer project.  (Well, almost finished… we do have one last set of bookshelves to build.)  This summer we had all our carpet torn out, our old stair railing torn down, a room under our stairs built, as well as some faux brick mounted, a little new paint, and some room re-arranging.  Whew… seems like a lot when I type it all out!

The 2 boys now share a room, and have all their toys organized.  In their words, “It feels so much bigger and cleaner!”  I’d agree!  Clean-up seems so easy now that there is a place for everything.  The best part, though!  They spend hours playing in their rooms.  Happily.  It’s amazing!  I know it won’t last forever, but it sure has made for a peaceful end to the summer.  Check out this cool bridge Malachi made:

This rom was originally princess pink when we moved in.  We left it for the 2 oldest girls.  Then Sierra moved in, and we made it a surfer room for all the girls.  Now it has a new life as a woodland room for the boys.  I’d have to say, this is my favorite!

Hooray for new floors and new arrangements making old toys and old books seem new again!

626 and Bucket Lists

For the 4th year in a row, we made it to the 626 Night Market for our annual Asian yumminess.  Last year, my friend and I went solo.  (It is definitely a bit easier without kids.)  This year, we brought our entire families!

First things first, it was HOT!!  Finding yummy drinks is definitely a first stop.  (p.s.  When did my 7 year old start looking like a teenager?)

My friend said she had it on their summer bucket list to try boba.  I love the idea of a summer bucket list, but I’ve never been good at following through.  With all the responsibilities of homeschooling throughout the year, I tend to leave the summer open for absolutely no planning or preparing… even for something as simple and fun as a bucket list!

Two of our favorite treats:  pineapple slush in a lighted light bulb, and rainbow grilled cheese.

Next year, we will be bringing extra ice water and folding chairs in a wagon.  And, as fun as it is for the kiddos, I think they will have just as much fun at home with a sitter.  All we’ll have to do is remind them how hot it was, and they won’t want to come back.  Ha!


Back home… back to gardening… back to school planning… back to meal planning… back to rhythm and routine.

I remember a few summers ago we had no plans for vacation, and my heart was aching for a getaway.  Our one trip that summer was suppose to be to a family camp, and that got cancelled due to a freak August flood.  It seemed “everyone” was going on vacation but us…

Now I’m on the other end of the spectrum… I feel like I was hardly home and able to accomplish any sort of school planning or anything for the school year, which starts next week!  I woke up this morning feeling anxious about school and overwhelmed.  How will I find time to fit it all in?  I now have a jr. high student, as well as a 2 year old and 3 more in between!  I walked out back to dispose of a chicken who had died during the night, and was once again overwhelmed by our garden jungle!  Aah!

But, God… He is so good and faithful!  I decided to fill my morning outside working a bit on the garden.  Every single time I work in the garden, God speaks to my heart!

While clearing all the diseased flowers and leaves and pruning galore, I couldn’t help but think of God’s Word, and how He calls us to cut-off any branch that does not bear fruit in our lives.  I really don’t need more time.  I need to cut out anything that is not bearing fruit in my life, which will in turn give me time for things that do produce fruit

It’s a simple truth.  It gave me joy and spoke to my heart.  But, most of all just being in God’s glorious creation and feeling thankful for my bounty changed my heart to the core.  The rest of my day, the worry was gone.

(Side note:  I loved my vacations and hope to blog about them soon!)  For now, I am grateful to be back and can say in all honesty that God turned my anxiety into excitement for what’s to come as we start a new school year.  Don’t be afraid to ask God for His peace!  He will gladly give it to you as you learn to trust Him and let go of worry.  Tomorrow is a new day, and if I feel the anxiety return, I will simply ask Him again and again to take it away!

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And, the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 4:6-7