Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Swine Flu Is Beautiful?

How can something so awful be so beautiful?

Tommy's Quote Of The Day

" Mommy, if you read me this book I'll let you clean the kitchen..."

Oh, Tommy- if you only knew...I wish I could sit down and read to you all day!

"Plunge boldly into the thick of life."~ Goethe

Clip Art Bonanza

This website is too cool not to mention: It has links to every kind of image or clipart imaginable and all the images are of the public domain. Get Clippin'!

Love Your Library

We visited the library to day, and as usual we came home with a big basket of books. I love the libary. What could be better?- free books that don't clutter up precious shelf space, an outing for the children , games and movies that can be borrowed..... In my opinion it doesn't get any better.
Here are a few of the goodies we borrowed today: "The FamilyBook: Amazing Things To Do Together," "Sugar Snow: A first Little House Book," "The Wheel On The School,"  "Vegetable  Soups,"...The list goes on and on. Despite how happy all of our "finds" make me, I feel a sadness in my heart. The particular library I went to today places the due dates on the back of the books. Many of the books we borrowed had not been checked out in two to five years. Just thik- all these beautiful books sitting on the shelves, waiting to be read to a 'hungry' little boy or girl, and they are just sitting...and sitting. About a month or so ago, Philadelphia announced the closing of many  of its libraries. The irony was almost too much to handle; Old Ben mst be turning in his grave. Everyone is alarmed that a public library would close (including me). However, when I see these beautiful books not being used, I can see the dilemma: why pay for a service tht people don't use? I urge everyone to support your local library as much as possible. Most of all this means visiting frequetly and checking out books regularly. The temptation in this media-flooded world is to not want to have to "borrow" books. We want to own them. I am so guilty of this my self. There are definitely some special books that we want on our own shelves, but borrowing should be the rule. Hope you have fun at your library!~ Happy Reading~

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Not The Perfect Child, But Oh How Happy He Makes Me

    The danger in blogging, as many people are aware, is thinking that the person blogging has "perfect " kids or the "pefect" life, etc... My dear friend explained this best on her blog, so here is a link to an incredible window into the blogging world. I hope you will take a moment to read it. It is worth it :

That being said, I must share a little story about Ben. He is not perfect, but he is dear. Today he asked a friend what he wanted for his birthday. His friend told him, and Ben was so excited to go out and buy it(with his money). I told him that maybe he didn't want to spend so much, as he doesn't have much money, but he said, "It's OK, Mom. I asked him what he wanted!"  Later he said out of the blue, "I don't know why, but I just love buying presents for other people. It makes me so happy."
     It's little things like this that soften my response towards the children when they are not being quite as 'angelic.' I think when I make mistakes the Lord must do the same thing. He sees the big picture, so his heart is fillled with compassion. He wants us to always do right, but He loves us so much that even when we make mistakes,He sees the good. I want to be like that!

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Little Vangogh Before Bed

"Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together."

"As we advance in life, it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties, the inmost strength of the heart is developed."
                             ~Vincent Vangogh

check out all the great sayings at :

Monday, September 28~2009

Today started out quite cloudy and ended up beautiful! As I write, the moon is shining brightly, and the clouds are being blown across the sky. It is so invigorating. Here are todays highlights : 

              * Making beet soup ~ I'm so glad Travis likes soup!
              * Working on Math U See with Emily~ we have such fun doing this program together. We like 
                 it better than Saxon!
              * Making an Autumn decoration for the side porch~Pumpkins and corn from the garden
              * Reading to Tommy and Mary Margaret
              * Watching Emily at her first gymnastics class. She is so good at gymnastics!!!
              * Finding just what we needed for the choir performance at Goodwill
              * Feeling the wind blow and watching all the dry leaves swirling in the air
              * Looking at the Praying Mantis Oliver found
              * Looking at a mutant Sunflower Oliver found- the byproduct of cross-pollination gone awry
              * Finding a nice gingham tablecloth at Walmart that I got with a gift card. What a nice present!
              * Ben found wonderful shoes for his birthday ( a present from Sister Alice, my aunt)
              * Seeing Ben read late into the night. He is now reading The Giver by Lois Lowry
              * Saying prayers and reading with Emily, Oliver, and Mary Margaret
              * Oliver and Sam harvested the Sunflowers

Happy Things~ "The World is so full of a number of things, I am sure we should all be happy as kings"....

Another fun "thinking" activity to try:  Think of Ten things that made you happy today.
Here are mine:
1. Ben asking me if I would like to go to the Frontier Culture Museum (we was great- such a beautiful day)
2. Oliver bringing me a glass of ice water with a lemon in it.
3. Beets that were given to us by the kind lady at the FCM(see #1)
4. My clean bedroom
5. Milking by moonlight
6. wishing Mom and Dad goodnight on the phone
7. seeing Will take the kitten up to sleep with him in his treehouse
8. getting an e-mail from a dear friend I haven't heard from in a while
9. a small octopus makes a lovely addition to our "museum"
10. St Francis~ The Saint, The church

Saturday, September 26, 2009

September 25, 2009~Friday

I have a little night owl (Anna)keeping me company, so as she colors at the table, I am going to blog!! Maybe I should make myself a cup of I will refrain!
Today was a bit rainy and gloomy when we awoke but refreshing after such a hot day yesterday. I started the laundry ad tidied the kitchen, then went to help Travis milk the cow. Meanwhile Emily watched the little ones and Ben unloaded the dishwasher.
We had a lot of laundry to fold, so Emily and I did that while Ben started on his math work(he is reading The Life Of Fred and thoroughly enjoying it). The Life Of Fred is a "math" book unlike any you have ever seen!
I confess to popping some Pillsbury caramel rolls into the oven. They were a .99 special at Sharp Shopper, and they were quite tasty!
Ben, Oliver, and Sam cleaned out the chicken barn and put fresh straw in all the nesting boxes. Oliver discovered 22 eggs in the hay barn! We are getting ready for some more chickens that a friend is giving us.
I helped Emily start a blog of her own, and she was busy with that for a while. When the boys came in we had lunch and got ready to go in town. We left for town at @ 3:00. Ben, Emily, Oliver, and Sam had choir practice. They are learning to sing Gregorian chant with a wonderful young man who has volunteered his time to teach the youth of the church!
After choir practice we went to some dear friends' home for delicious Butternut squash soup and homemade bread. We then went back to church for the St. Francis Novena which began tonight. After the Novena, we returned to the Adams' where the children performed a play for us. It was hilarious!
John Paul was attending a football game, and Will was at a friend's house, so we were in different directions tonight. I brought the little children home, and Travis went to pick up John Paul. He had a great time. Busy, Busy, Busy. I do love this quiet time at night.

Andrew Wyeth

Andrew Wyeth is one of my favorite artists. Expect to see a lot more art work on my blog......

Friday, September 25, 2009

New And Improved

The blog has a new look! I do love comments!

National Gallery Of Art

Having fun touring the National Gallery Of Art, right from home!!! :

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Kindred Blog

I am starting another blog!!!! Announcing:
The new blog is devoted specifically to homemaking. We'll see how it goes!

Five Senses Survey

  • I thought this would be fun to try. I posted the idea on face book, but did not publish my answers. I reserved that for the blog. So here are the results of my "Five Senses" survey today:

Five Things I have smelled today (you are supposed to say what comes into your mind first):
1. Fresh Apple Crisp baking in the oven
2. Let's just say my deodorant gave out (Ahem!)
3. Anna needed a diaper change
4. A delicious chicken sandwich
5. Anna's sweet little tummy

Five Things I have heard today:

1. The children's sweet voices
2. Crickets, crickets, crickets
3. Mary Margaret screaming
4. The hum of the fan
5. Travis working away in the garage

Five Things I have seen Today:

1. The eggs on the back of a Maple Leaf
2. Anna's happy face when I walked in the door
3. A letter for me in the mailbox from my mother
4. A picture of my dear friend's smiling face on the computer (she lives in CA)
5. Emily's beautiful smile

Five Things I have tasted today:

1. Warm apple crisp
2. A cold, icy coke
3. A delicious chicken sandwich
4. A glass of wine
5. Cold, icy water

Five Things I have touched today:

1. Computer Keys
2. Leaves
3. Anna's soft Tummy
4.Tommy's silky head
5. a steering wheel

A Mother's Treasure

Yesterday I had to pick John Paul up from school to take him to an appt. Will had mentioned that he might like to come with us, so I had him called to the office, too. When the boys came to meet me I told them the plans for the afternoon(which involved sitting in an office, going on a grocery trip, and exchanging something at Walmart....). John Paul headed out to the car, and Will decided to take the bus home. I was feeling rushed, as I said "bye" hastily to Will. I was about to turn around and walk out of the school when Will said "Wait. Give me a hug!" That's a mother's gold :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Funny Girls

September 22, 2009~Tuesday

What a lovely day with a crazy end to it. We got off to a peaceful, slow start this morning. By the time I came down stairs the oldest two boys had headed off to school. Anna was up until 1:30 AM (coloring,of all things) thanks to a three hour nap. Travis had a pot of coffee going, and I indulged in a cup. The other children did their chores, and Travis and I had a date in the milking barn. Actually, it is very enjoyable to have that time together.
I came up to the house and had morning prayer time with the children. Ben and Emily began their independent school work, and I did "school" with the other children. We read several stories and made Halloween pop-out cards. They did a great job! Meanwhile Travis was collecting the final baskets of produce in our garden- mostly peppers and tomatoes- and a few ears of corn.
After our morning lessons we did a quick tidying of the house, as we were having special company today! Grandma and PaPa arrived around lunch time with a car-full of goodies: Martin's potato chips, pumpkin delight cookies, apple cider, fresh bread, and best of all....Mom's homemade Lasagna!!! We decided to eat it for a late lunch so that everyone could enjoy it (Travis had to take Ben to football practice this evening). The lasagna was delicious.
After lunch, PaPa played his new game he made up ("The Downs"- a horse race/card game) with Oliver and Ben. Emily snuck off to read "The Mysterious Benedict Society," and Grandma and I peeled apples for applesauce.
We then made a fire outside (a campfire). Anna and Mary Margaret had a super time playing in the leaves- burying Lucky, who is the best sport ever with the kids. He was completely buried and loving it. Oliver was a complete pyromaniac and put put the first fire with heaps of leaves. We built it up again and made hot chocolate with Penny's good milk. Then, sadly, Mom and Dad had to leave. It was a wonderful day.
Now for the crazy part. It was getting late, and Travis still hadn't come back with the three oldest boys. I decided I better go ahead and start milking. It was dark,and it appeared that the light wasn't working in the barn. I came to the house to get a candle to bring with me. I set everything up-candle and all. The milking was going great until the great "freak out." A rooster must have landed on the candle(which was positioned on the post behind me). He totally went nuts- tipped the candle over, landed on my back and started scratching and pecking furiously at me in the dark. I had no idea what was going on. All of the sudden it was pitch black, my head was down by the cow(who was extremely patient), and I had a rooster who was flapping wildly and wouldn't get off me. I screamed and I screamed....and I screamed some more. The rooster still wouldn't get off, it was still pitch black, and finally I managed to get up and get the x!&*(&(*&@! bird off of me. I finished milking the cow and came home with a hoarse voice. Somehow, though, the milk managed to stay in the pail, which is all that counts in the end!
On another note, I discovered a great new educational website:
I can't wait to explore it further. Goodnight!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 20, 2009~ Sunday

We went to Mass at 11:30. Before Mass, the children had their first CCD classes. I had planned to drop them off, but Mary Margaret was feeling hesitant(to say the least). I ended up staying the whole time in class with her. Every time the teacher called on her, MM cried and buried her face in my skirt. Fortunately, towards the end of the class she began to enjoy being there. I think if I sit with her until she feels comfortable she will really end up enjoying the class.She already said she can't wait to go back!
After church we had two games: Ben's football game and John Paul's soccer game. Ben's team played his friend John Henry's team so Maggie (John Henry's mother and a dear friend of mine) and I had a chance to talk. Unfortunately, the kids were all fussy and worn out from our morning at church. The game was an exciting one, and we ended up losing by one touchdown.
After Ben's game I went home with Anna, and Travis stayed with the other children to watch John Paul's game. I used some of the time to organize a little "school" for 'Oliver and under.'
I took a big plastic box and filled it with school supplies, books, and crafty things. My plan is to spend an hour or two wit the little ones each day, reading and doing little projects together. As I write this in retrospect, the first morning went very well! We read some fun stories and then made decorated 'leaves.' The children were happy, and I was satisfied. In years past I have wanted to something like this for the little ones, but I just thought I could squeeze it in somewhere. I now realize that I have to plan the activities or they don't happen!
Back to yesterday! Travis came home and was disappointed that I didn't have dinner going yet. Whoops! So we had a good-in-a-pinch dinner: french toast and eggs. When dinner was over, Travis went to pick up ill from work, John Paul and I milked the cow, and Ben cleaned the kitchen. I read to the children(from a Little House Book) And ended up falling asleep in their room.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ben's pictures

Ben took these neat pictures when we went to the Frontier Culture Museum the other day:

To Autumn~

My mother sent me this lovely poem in an e-mail:

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;

To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

September 19, 2009~Saturday

Beautiful day!!!! Will said this morning, " I love the way the mountains look on a warm sunny day. They are such a deep slate color." I enjoy having children that notice their surroundings. It is so important! I think we would become a much more 'mindful' nation if we all took more time to notice our surroundings, nature in particular.
Travis took John Paul and Ben to their football(Ben's team won!!!) and baseball games. Between games they went over to the Elkins' to finish up the bookcases. Travis showed me a picture of them-they look great!
I was at home with the other children all day. Will and I milked the cow, then I took the little ones to the Deerfield library to get our books on hold. I am starting to feel snowed under with books. We have a lot of catch-up reading to do!
We came home and had lunch, then it was back in the car to take Will to work. His last weekend working-yeah!!! He hasn't had much time for anything but school and work lately, and the last couple weeks he has been talking about possibly homeschooling again next semester......
I got back from dropping off Will, and Emily, Mary Margaret, and Sam wanted to carve pumpkins. I thought it was a little early, but I told them they could- after all, they planted and picked 'em! The Jackolanterns are so cute!
We did some more mundane chores- straightening, vacuming, etc... Needed to do laundry ,too, but we didn't get around to it!
We cooked hot dogs and fried potatoes for dinner and enjoyed sweet canteloupe from our garden. The children watched "Veggie Tales" and Emily made a neat cartoon strip. Oliver made an interesting lego contraption- an airplane with eight wheels and about twenty lights. He also tried to patch up the little green and red ball I made for Sam a couple years back. Funny- they love that little ball.
And Anna- well Anna still nurses a lot and plays with the "kitties" all day. She loves her baby dolls and is so motherly towards them.
I began listening to "Don't Know Much About The Civil War" audio book by Kenneth Davis. I think it promises to be good. I also snuck in a lengthy phone chat with a dear friend of mine- I always enjoy talking to her!!! Tommy is asleep on the chair in the school room- his standard way of falling asleep now. Then I move him up to his bed.
I think I will do a few more things on line and then enjoy some time with Travis. I have missed him lately!!! Sweet dreams~

September 18, 2009 Friday

How is that for a captivating title? I'm afraid there might be more of that if I continue to chronicle our daily happenings. So if you would like to read a miniature Smithdeal family form Christmas letter every day, your wish has been granted.(nightmare?) Seriously, I can see how this could really bore folks, so if you see an ingeniously titled post with the date on it, you can skip over it to something more interesting ( I know you felt like you needed my permission to do that....) I am doing this for the benefit of our family and to aid my ever-growing -more -feeble-memory.
Here is what we did today:

Travis was finishing up the shelves for the Elkins. He came home @ 10 AM to pick up Ben (so that Ben could help) and to pick up some tools.
Emily and Oliver were at the Willsons' at a horse show. Will and john Paul were in school.
Sam, MM, Tommy, Anna and I cleaned up the yard and put away the books we got at the Staunton library book sale.
Collin came over with feed for Penny.
After school, Will went to work, and John Paul went to a football game.
I made a fire outside for the little children and we cooked beans, corn , potatoes, and sausage. Delicious. After the kids went in I had fun (like old times) making sparks on sticks and doing a "light show." I smell like a hotdog.

A New Year

As far as I'm concerned, the "new year" begins in September- new books, sharpened pencils, crisp apples, football games, warm sun on golden hay, a happy chill in the air-not a frigid chill, but a delightful chill, expectant of the bountiful season at hand.
I am beginning more formal lessons with the children, as we delve into new books, have "planned" nature studies, go on "field" trips. It truly is a happy time of year for us. It has been super busy, though. If I'm not careful, I could easily let our home life fall apart. There is such a delicate balance- studies, activities, relaxation, laundry, all needs to be squeezed in somewhere!
I had the most freeing realization about five minutes ago: This blog is MINE!!! I kan spell wordz wrong if I wunt to. i dont hav to use any punctuation if i dont care to i can write run on sentences and use dashes in the wrong place and ramble-I'm not doing this for any one else. This is a cathartic place- no teachers to grade e or say not to use a certain word........ isn't that what self-expression is all about?
There. I got it off my chest. AHHHHHH.
As I was saying..... September is upon us, and I so much want to keep up with this blog so that I can have a record of all the wonderful things we have done. I am very gradually and most certainly being won over by the internet charm. I can't believe I just said that- but there is a venue of self-expression and creativity on this blog (I just made a typo and wrote "craptivity"-no joke) Hey, I like that..... craptivity- what can happen on the internet all to often: captivated by cr--.
I am being way too silly for my own good- and I am banking on the fact that very few people will read this. So Hello again, blog. I am happy to be back. I am looking thoroughly foward to a "happy" new year!