Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Lucky, beloved dog June 29, 2010

Boys come together, to prepare a place for you...

Lucky, "Fisher Dog," you loved life...

You will always be with us.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Even a little child can scatter flowers, to scent the throne room with their fragrance; even a little child can sing, in its shrill treble, the great canticle of Love. That shall be my life: to scatter flowers- to miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word, always doing the tiniest things right, and doing it for love.
~ St Therese of Liseux

Remember that whatever God gives you to do, from moment to moment, that is the very best thing you could possibly be doing. And he who is not in the Lord's service in everything, is at His service in nothing.
~John Tauer

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.
~William Shakespeare

My children like to use natural objects as "toys": pine cones, shells, pebbles, etc...
I like to keep these items in small baskets on shelves or in our "nature" areas for them to play with. Large shells make great "dishes and pots."
The possibilities are endless! We have had to do this in an off and on fashion, however, for at times (like having a young toddler) it is hard to keep the items organized. At those times, I put the baskets up a little higher where they cannot be reached by little hands!
This week we found some neat little clam shells and some round, smooth rocks when we went to Goshen pass.

Tommy and Anna played in the rock pools for hours. I brought some soap and shampoo samples along, and we had a "river" spa. That is always Mary Margaret's favorite part!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Finding Knuffle Bunny

Knuffle Bunny, one of our favorite books, tells the tale of Trixie, the little girl who leaves her beloved "knuffle Bunny" at the laundromat.
Our washing machine died last week, hence we ventured to the laundromat this morning to do some washing.

The children have never been to a laundromat, and Tommy was very excited to see that it was just like the laundromat in Knuffle Bunny!
In an effort to really fan the flames of Tommy's excitement, Ben said: "Tommy, I think this is the exact laundromat where Knuffle Bunny stayed. Maybe we can find him!"

I can't remember the last time I've been to a laundromat, and there was a very helpful gentleman(Fred, I found out) telling me how to run the new washers. He didn't work there, but he said he frequented the laundromat often.

I was off to load the laundry, and I heard Tommy come up to Fred and say, "Where is Knuffle Bunny?"


"Where is Knuffle Bunny?"

Somehow, Fred caught on. "Oh. I'll tell you what happened to Knuffle Bunny. I think somebody left that door open and Knuffle Bunny walked out to find some of the juicy little leaves and carrots growing in the middle of the parking lot."

Tommy looked at Fred with definite understanding and headed out the door. Two minutes later he was back.
"Excuse me. I didn't find him out there. Do you know where he went?"

"Actually," Fred patiently replied, "I think the bunny moved across the street into the Pet store. I'll bet you could go visit him there!"

All the laundry loaded, we headed across the street to Pets n' Pals. Wow! What a great little field trip. So many animals they had: fish, dogs, ferrets, snakes, love birds, giant frogs and turtles, and even a sailor-mouthed parrot ...but best of all bunnies! We found Knuffle Bunny nestled in a cozy home in the back of the store. Tommy and Anna were amazed!

Later on I heard Tommy telling Oliver that: "Knuffle Bunny lives at the pet store now. We saw him today!"

I just love when the day unfolds and we go off onto unplanned "rabbit" trails (couldn't resist). Somehow the learning always seems richer and more exciting when it hasn't been all planned out!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Here and There

Look carefully...Do you see anything Hiding?

Do you remember our little friend from a few weeks back? I had brought him into the house, and he formed a chrysalis on the wall. Today he hatched and was released into the breezes of a mellow summer morning!

The lovely lady in the straw hat is my beautiful mother! She is a true lady; we all went to the lake for the day and Mom packed a tea party complete with scones and cucumber sandwiches. Yum!

And now, a little about the Children. Will was reading The Large and Growly Bear with his dinner tonight. He said "It might as well be me on this page because I know just how that bear feels!" I have a hard time believing that, considering Will never seems at a loss for something to do! Today he and a friend fixed one of our cars and changed the oil in it! Yesterday he was looking at the washing machine for me! Last night he drove by our house on the way to take a friend home. I happened to be outside and heard him honk the car horn as he passed by. I was touched. He was thinking of us! I can't believe he turned seventeen this month. Where has the time gone?

And here he is helping to load the hay on the wagon....

Here is John Paul showing off the delicious chicken he grilled on "Archie" (our new grill- we have a tradition, started by my brother-in-law, of naming our grills! )
John Paul is truly enjoying summer vacation. One of the boys' favorite pastimes is playing backyard baseball. They also swim at the river or the neighbor's pool almost every day! Here is John Paul, getting ready to make a home run!

Ben caught some big fish down at the river. Now he just has to learn how to clean and gut them...

Ben is almost done the baseball season!

Emily had the opportunity to see what it would have been like to have had to haul the water every day. She decided indoor plumbing is definitely a good thing! (and that folding laundry isn't so bad)...

Here is Emily with her cousin, Ella...

Mom and Dad came over this week and played poker with the kids. Oliver is definitely a poker player! Here is the gang playing...

Sam plays with Anna onthe slide. Sam is always ready to help with the little ones...
He and I have been reading a great book together, called Adrift. It is the true and harrowing account of a man stuck out at sea in a life raft for seventy-six days!

Mary Margaret gets lots of practice being a loving Momma!

She has been having a lot of fun this summer at the library programs.

Tommy had a great time at the Pioneer Village. Here he is on the ladder to the loft in the cabin.

Anna hiked all the way up the mountain!

And like a true mountain girl, she prefers bare feet!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Little Reminders

Yesterday I was feeling like I don't spend enough time praying...when I literally stumbled on this picture in a little book we have. I guess one of the children had left it on the floor, but it was right where it needed to be!

Then I was getting ready to take the children to the neighbor's pool and was feeling like I should really stay home and get some housework done. I happened to look up and see this darling picture in a book propped open. I went to the pool with the children!
I am so thankful for the little reminders the Lord plants in our days

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dressed For The Weather &Gardenin' Feet

Tommy was dressed for a rainstorm today. Never mind the fact that it was near 100 degrees all day without a cloud in sight....It never hurts to be ready! Well, he did make it to the sidewalk in the yard before he shed down to his tank top and swimsuit, much more appropriate attire. And to think we had a near melt down because he couldn't get the coat zipped up the right way... oh well. At least we got a funny picture out of the deal. Tommy proudly displays the book he earned at the library's Summer reading program. Tommy looks a little Frog and Toadish in this picture, don't you think?

Now, about gardenin' feet. I made a little observation tonight when I was working in the garden with the three oldest boys. It occurred to me that you could tell a lot about all four of us by our foot attire in the garden.

First, Ben. Ben was wearing my "outdoor crocs." In my attempt at simplicity and comfort, I have a summer "shoe" system. In the house I wear slippers, always. In the yard and garden, I wear my outdoor crocs, and in town I wear my nice crocs with the leather tops. So I was a little annoyed that Ben had snuck out into the garden with my outdoor crocs.This is a major faux pas in our house. Ben can get away with it, though, because he's one of the sweetest kids on the face of the earth. I thought, "That's just like Ben, comfortable in my shoes. He pretty much always listens to me and does what I ask of him. And he can get away with something annoying because he's just Ben."

Then I looked at John Paul, and he had his new "Muck" boots on that Grandma gave him for his birthday. I thought, "And that's so John Paul...always the fashion man, always wearing and doing what is right and cool and stylish. I'll come to his house one day and all his ducks will be in a row."

And then there's Will. Of course, he's hoeing his OWN garden, because he wants complete ownership over the whole deal. But it's O.K. At least he's gardening and outside with us, discussing plant DNA and why weeds grow faster than crops. He has a way of turning every situation into a science lesson. I like that. And Will's attire...well, he's barefoot. Ever free, doesn't want anyone to rein him in. He likes the feel of dirt between his toes and earth under foot. I once had a friend tell me that Will reminds her of the "Barefoot boy" in Whittier's famous poem. I can't say I disagree!

Then there's me. I'm standing in the dirt, which is quickly becoming mud as I am watering the plants...and I am wearing.. my town crocs. I'm feeling a resignation creep over me; the constant struggle to preserve what is "mine" in an ever-growing, large family can be overwhelming at times. For a second I feel slightly mad at myself for tromping into the garden in my "good" shoes (I mean, it's not like I had Gucci heels on, for Pete's sake). But to me, wearing my "town" crocs in the garden was a frustration, albeit a small one. As I look around, however, and take in the beauty of a cool summer evening, working in the garden with my boys, The frustration is replaced with something much greater: the realization that I have been entrusted with these precious children for a short time. What are shoes in eternity? It doesn't matter how are feet are garbed, as long as we complete the journey!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

by Sara Teasdale

Life has loveliness to sell,

All beautiful and splendid things,

Blue waves whitened on a cliff,

Soaring fire that sways and sings,

And children's faces looking up

Holding wonder like a cup.

Life has loveliness to sell,

Music like a curve of gold,

Scent of pine trees in the rain,

Eyes that love you, arms that hold,

And for your spirit's still delight

Holy thoughts that star the night.

Spend all you have for loveliness,

Buy it and never count the cost;

For one white singing hour of peace

Count many a year of strife well lost,

And for a breath of ecstasy
Give all you have been and could be.

Bits n' Pieces

Photoshop is a fun way to edit pictures. Here is the altered image (on the right)

And here is the before image (above). I like them both, but it's neat to see how you can change your pictures. Best of all, it's free!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Welcome To The Mud Creek Cafe

Every Cafe must have some cheerful flowers!

The shelves were lined with jars and baskets to collect "ingredients" for the pies...

Tommy digs in and definitely does not mind getting dirty!

Tommy's first creation

Emily and Mary Margaret played for hours in their cafe....notice Emily's gloves. Are we raising a country city slicker?

Tommy with another of his creations

Mary Margaret's of many!

Sometimes we take hours to set something up, and the children play for 20 minutes. Today we spent an hour setting up our little cafe, and the children played all day.
Mary Margaret even set up a clothes line, and finally came in at 9:00 tonight. She wanted to make sure she had her baby's clothes dry in the morning!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour; The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower." ~ William Cowper

Thrifty Mamas, Check This Out....

Living On A Dime .....And Crafty Mamas will love this: Magic Onions and this....
Rhythm Of The Home..and finally, this: Small Things

Let's Go Fishing!

Last Friday we had a wonderful time at Sherando Lake with the family. What trip to the lake is complete without fishing? The only problem was that we didn't pack any fishing gear! In true scrounge mentality the children hunted high and low for discarded fishing hooks. They managed to find a few, and they even found some old fishing wire! They then rigged up poles with some sticks. Sam caught a couple of Sunfish (pictured above) and Oliver caught a snapping turtle. Then the little critters were put back in the water and off they swam!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mary Margaret's Library Card And A Creative Closet

Mary Margaret got her first library card tonight, and you would have thought it was Christmas! She went around the library with her own little bag and filled it to the seam-ripping point! Once she was home she stacked her books beside her bed for some cozy reading time.It is amazing to me what an incredible resource the library is. We also went to a terrific concert at the Library featuring Kim and Jimbo Cary.

Our "older" house does not have much in the way of closet space. I was tickled to find this "closet" Emily made in her room yesterday: