Better Full Than Empty

Monday, March 23, 2009

Chicken Whisperer

Little O has actually lulled this chick to sleep in her chubby hands. This is one of our Plymouth White Rock pullets, only 1.5 weeks old.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

School Cabinets

Back in the beginning of homeschooling I had a proper schoolroom. Complete with desks and flags and maps and a teachers desk. As our family grew and my homeschooling practices became more practical, the schoolroom was done away with. We switched to "doing school" at our long kitchen table. The school books are now stored in two tall cabinets which are conveniently located right next to the dining table. The kids get their "boxes" out in the morning and put them away when they are done. Only the items in their boxes are what they are using for that day, usually for a season of a few months.

The shorter cabinet holds the children's boxes and their Keepers of the Faith books and binders.

This taller cabinet holds my teaching items, upcoming books, paper and Keepers of the Faith badges and sashes. I also have a preschool curriculum, in the white boxes for the twins. It is called Carol's Affordable Curriculum.

You can see the close proximity to the table that the cabinets have, makes them very convenient.

For extra school storage I use a hall closet. The bottom of the closet has 6 boxes labeled with the children's names. All of their completed work gets thrown in their box, not in order or anything. When the box gets full it gets moved to the attic and a new box is purchased. I bought these boxes at Aldi, they were 2 for $5.

The shelves in the closet hold teacher's books, our Readers, paper and books that I consider quality reading.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Large Families and Libraries

The library in our small town charges 20 cents a day for overdue books. That adds up very quickly! So we choose to travel a half hour to our favorite library where the fines are just a nickel a day. Much better! We try to get to the library every 10 days.

I am implementing these two new library techniques that I learned from asking around. My sister gave me the idea to bring a laundry basket to the library and just fill it. Once she gets home, the books stay in the basket for the little ones and the biggers kids have to always put theirs back when they are finished.

My friend with 4 boys has a huge basket at her house filled with library books next to her couch. Her practice is to check out 30 books at each library visit. Then she always knows to bring 30 books back.

Lastly, my older kids have to pay their own fines and that works wonders for them being more responsible with handling their borrowed books. Once a child feels responsible enough to

have their own library card I inform them that anything they check out on their card that incurs a fine will be their bill, not mine. It's easier to keep track of the books that are on my card instead of having 4 or more library cards to check up on.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Tasha Tudor Books

My MIL gave me a great Chistmas gift this year, three books about Tasha Tudor. Tasha was a famous children's author and illustrator. What I like best about her is that she is such a neat example of someone clinging to the old ways. Even in her old age she kept her farm animals and did all the chores herself. She had a love of animals and owned many parrots, and bred her favorite dog, the corgi.
Tasha dressed in romantic clothes she sewed herself and wouldn't be caught dead in a pair of men's pants. She felt it necessary to know how to make everything she used.
There are far too many neat things to say about her that you should just think about borrowing the books from the library.

Private World of Tasha Tudor This is my favorite book, it is filled with great photos and neat glimpses into Tasha's world and ways.
The Tasha Tudor Cookbook I love cookbooks that seem old fashioned and this is one of them, with adorable illustrations too.

Tasha Tudor's Garden Tasha is famed for her elaborate, yet simple gardens. If you like to garden you'll love this book.

There is a Tasha Tudor website and a set of three movies about her life. I like to check them out from the library each year during the holiday season.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hierarchy of Values

I happened upon a book at my tiny library in town called Better by the Dozen, plus Two. It is about a Catholic family with 14 living children. So far, it's pretty good, with the exception that there is a lot of Catholocism mixed in, and I am not Catholic.
The Chapter called Hierarchy of Values made me stop to think about my priorities. Most everyone knows in what order they should be; God, spouse, children, work, service.
The author states that each time at the end of a day we go to sleep it is like a small death and each awakening in the morning is like a new birth, a fresh start. His wording humbled me and gave me hope to try again to order my day properly instead of letting my work and chores or pleasure come first. He encouraged me that small moments and quick minutes mattered and counted.
This morning I awoke and made my coffee and sat quietly with my Bible and prayer journal. I felt it was okay if I only spent 1 minute with the Lord, as long as I spent something. Often I get overwhelmed wanting everything I do to be perfect or I won't do it. So prayer is a challenge because I feel quilty if I do not spend enough time.
My next goal was to spend a few moments with each of my children, so I sat with the first to wake up, little Elijah. I made him some peach tea and looked at his picture Bible with him.
Later I slipped into a chair next to my daughter who was embroidering, and taked with her about an embroidery project she is working on.
I still have 4 children to spend a moment with today and also a handsome spouse to honor, but I feel good about the start. I want to work on doing this each day and relaxing about the housework that is forever present.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Wonder Woman Hand Me Downs

You remember how your first child got much more of your time and attention? Well, one year when my first daughter was around 5 I decided to sew her a wonder woman costume. I had a lot of fun planning and sewing it. I made a gold belt with glue on rhinestones and a loop for her golden lasso, which was a length of gold cording. I felt I had to add a modest little skirt for my wonder girl. The golden wristlets that blocked bullets and the golden headband were not forgotten either. My dd loved the gift and had fun wearing it for several years. It has held up well and was passed to her little sister and is now in the hands of our youngest twin. Here she is with bright eyes, believing she is a superhero, or at least a flashy sight. I think some pieces are missing now, but that's alright. I'm glad it has gotten so much use!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Iced Tea Smoothie

My aunt gave me this great idea, for a stevia smoothie.

In a blender mix:
iced tea
froxen strawberries
flavored stevia
Half and Half creamer (opt.)

It is a sweet, very low calorie treat for those days that you need to eat light. I made one for my lunch today and had a small chunk of Tillamook sharp cheddar cheese to go with it.

Here is a cute little jar that my mother gave me to hold my powdered stevia.

The pretty pink smoothie...

In case you don't know stevia is an all natural herbal sweetener. It comes in powdered form or liquid flavors. I just love it as you can see by my collection. There is a whole shelf in my fridge devoted to the flavorful variety. My favorite flavor is grape. Each jar costs around 10 bucks, but they last forever. You can use them in place of sugar, but I most frequently use them to flavor my water, tea, or iced coffee. I also put it in my plain yogurt with some nuts and fruit.