Everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25

Monday, October 26, 2015

Autumn Touches

As promised, today I have pictures of my fall decorating for y’all.

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My goal this year was to keep things simple.  I’m starting to realize that I really appreciate clean, simple, uncluttered décor (although you’d probably never guess it by looking around my house), so a bunch of Halloween doodads are not for me.  Just give me a few dried leaves, some acorns, and a white pumpkin or two and I’m happy.

I’ve been inspired lately by a blog I recently discovered called Farmhouse 5540.  I love everything about this lady’s style.  Everything!  I wish I could bring her home with me and let her work her magic in my house.  There’s something about her simple, farmhouse style that makes me happy.  So as I was adding autumn touches to my house this year, I was trying to keep her rustic style mind.

It is going to take some practice before I’m able to replicate this style, and I find myself changing and rearranging things every day.  So what you see in these photos today may not be the way things look in my home tomorrow.

First I’ll show you our breakfast room.  I guess a more accurate name for this area would be school room, since we always do school here and never eat breakfast here.  But that’s another story.

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I’m a big fan of the nontraditional pumpkins, particularly the white ones.  Like I mentioned the other day, orange is not my favorite color, and orange pumpkins just scream Halloween to me (which is not the look I was going for).

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I love to decorate with pieces that can easily be used year round – like this lantern. I can pop it open and fill it with whatever seasonal item I want.  Right now it’s filled with green raffia and a ceramic pumpkin that I bought at the dollar store.  I also added a brown, silk ribbon to warm it up a bit.  In a few, short weeks I’m sure I will be stuffing this lantern with some shiny glass ornaments.

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I’ve had this metal watering can for more than a decade.  It’s lived in various places over the years, mostly on my back porch, but I decided to move it to the breakfast room for now and fill it with dried cornhusks and artificial wheat stems.

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Ah, mantel!  I always have such a hard time deciding what to do with you.  Since the mantel is the focal point of the living room, and quite possibly of the whole house, I always feel a lot of pressure to get it right.  Honestly, I was not entirely satisfied with the way the mantel looked in this picture.  This area always feels too dark to me.  To help brighten up the space, I recently commissioned Lucy to find a few sticks in our yard and paint them white.  Then I laid the sticks, somewhat haphazardly, across the top of the mantel, and they do help brighten up the dark wood.

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This wooden sign was a clearance item from Hobby Lobby.  Originally it was reddish, pink and said something about “lake living.” Not my style, per se, but at less than $5, I couldn’t pass it up.  I painted the sign white as soon as I got it home, but I never could decide what to write on it.  It’s been stuck in a drawer for about 5 years (no exaggeration) until last week, when I finally pulled it out and added the word, “Gather.”

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These white pumpkins and Indian corn are certainly my favorite part of the mantel scape.

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Behind the living room couch, I replaced a vase of flowers with these preserved leaves.  Oh, how I wish I had some lovely, natural fall foliage in my backyard that I could cut and bring inside, but alas!  What few leaves in my yard aren’t brown and crunchy with drought are still bright green.   (By the way, maybe the 8” of rain we got yesterday will solve the drought problem!)

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The bright fall colors are lovely, but I do find them a little too intense for my taste.

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The last stop for the day is our console table.  Here lies a beautiful, two-toned pumpkin, and even though it’s not white, I absolutely love it!

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At the other end of the console I stuffed a metal crown with a few pinecones, and I also added another natural element with the tree slice.

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And here’s my only official Halloween decoration.  It’s a jack-o-lantern I made probably 10 years ago from an old paperback book.  I know I said I wasn’t into using Halloween decorations this year, but this one is so subtle I’m ok with it.  (If you’re observant, you may have noticed that I actually have one more of these book pumpkins on my mantel.)

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That’s all the photos I have today.  I’m going to try get a picture of our backdoor all dressed for fall and maybe a few of our dining room table.  Hope y’all enjoyed the little tour!

Fall Blessings,


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Terrific to be Two

Two weeks ago our little pumpkin, Tacy Mae, turned two years old.  My, how the time flies!

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Due to conflicting schedules, I came pretty close to not throwing a birthday party this time around.  After all, Tacy did get an all-expense-paid trip to Canton’s First Monday Trade Days and Great Wolf Lodge on her birthday.  What more could a girl ask for, right?  But due to the whining and nagging from Tacy’s grandmothers, I threw together a very impromptu dinner to appease my mother and mother-in-law celebrate Tacy’s second birthday.

The great thing about October birthdays, is that pumpkins and other autumnal decor can easily double as party decorations.  Just paint a glittery “2’' on a pumpkin and you’re good to go.

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I also added touches of tulle and a little gold ribbon here and there for some extra special, celebratory sparkle.

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I was pleased with the outcome of this tulle-wrapped pumpkin because the sheer covering helped tone down the intensity of the orange.  I realize orange is a fall staple, but I’m not fan of the color.  I would love to fill this bowl with tiny white pumpkins, but I haven’t been able to locate any yet.

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Since my children don’t really care for traditional cake I decided to bake Tacy a cookie cake instead.

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Tacy was a little unsure of what to do with her birthday candles.  It was only her second birthday, you know.  Mostly Tacy just wanted to touch the flames.  Luckily, the Tool Man was standing close by to grab her hand before she got too close to the fire.

While Dad was trying to coach Tacy on blowing out candles, Lucy “accidentally” puffed them out for her.  When all of the party guests instinctively gasped, Lucy ran out of the room red-faced and crying.  It was no biggie, really.  We just relit the candles and Tacy gave it another go.  But Lucy was totally embarrassed by the whole ordeal, and it took some coaxing to get her to rejoin the festivities.

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So much for making a birthday cake my kids would actually eat.  As you can see Tacy was content to feed her piece to the Tool Man, who was more than willing to gobble it up.

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A few gifts Tacy received were two, snazzy, fall outfits, her very first Barbie, some princess shoes and accessories, a tiny tricycle, a small slide with a jumbo bag of balls for diving into, some shape matching manipulatives (y’all know I have to give at least one educational toy), and this puppy pal.

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I guess that does it for birthday parties around here for the next eight months.  Now it’s time to get serious about holiday decorating.  I’ve just about got my autumn touches in place, but I’m still on the look out for those mini, white pumpkins.  It’s hard to believe than in six weeks I will be putting up a Christmas tree.

I.  Can’t.  Wait.

I’ve already decided we are going back to a real tree this year.  You just can’t beat the look, feel, and smell of fresh cut tree.  But enough about Christmas.  I think now I will go take a few pictures of my autumn décor to share with y’all. 


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

History Snapshots

Since the monkeys and I started school nine weeks ago, I have done a poor job documenting our year in pictures.  And by “poor” I mean I think I’ve pulled out my camera only 3 days this year.  So when it comes to choosing pictures to share on the blog, it’s slim pickin’s.  However, I did manage to find a handful of shots that I took of some recent history lessons.

Our first 20 or so history lessons this year have not been fun reads.  You see, volume II of the Mystery of History begins with the ascension of Jesus and the 300 years of horrific Christian persecution that follows.   Throw a catastrophic volcanic eruption into the mix and you have a very somber few weeks of history lessons.

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The monkeys have had some difficult questions about why God would allow such horrible persecution to happen to His children.  I certainly don’t have a definitive answer for them, but I do try to stress to them that God was, is, and always will be in control of world leaders and events, and that He can even utilize evil for His glory.  We also have discussed that our purpose on this earth is not that we live a life of ease and comfort but that we offer up ourselves to be used for His glory and trust our lives to Him.  And throughout our studies of the persecution of the early church we were encouraged to see that all the tortures and murders didn’t stifle the Gospel one bit.  Quite the contrary!  The Christian community grew from just a handful believers to nearly half of the population of the Roman empire!  Now if that doesn’t bring God glory, I don’t know what does.

Every now and then I try to include some hands-on activities to supplement our history lectures.  I really think it helps the monkeys retain the information we’ve covered when we have some sort of physical activity to tie our lessons to.  For instance, the monkeys may not remember when I ask them who invented the first written language, but when I ask them what we were learning about when they wrote with sticks in clay tablets, the monkeys quickly tell me all about the Sumerians and cuneiform.

So during our lesson on the Dead Sea Scrolls, I let the monkeys make salt crystals much like the ones that litter the landscape around the Dead Sea.

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Basically all we had to do was mix up some Epsom salt and water, pour it over black paper, and set it in the sun to dry.  After a couple of days, the monkeys were thrilled to find jagged, glittering crystals covering the paper.

It just so happened (thank you, Jesus) that this Dead Sea history lesson coincided with our science lessons on density and buoyancy.  It was the perfect opportunity for us to experiment with various objects sinking and floating in fresh vs. salt water.

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As I alluded to earlier, the monkeys have also studied the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the devastation of Pompeii.  We were intrigued to learn how modern-day archaeologists were able to cast molds of humans and animals whose lifeless forms had been trapped for centuries, under piles of ash of rock.

To help her understand a little more about the excavation process, I had Lucy experiment with making molds using Play-Doh. 

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Any excuse to use Play-Doh is a winner with Lucy. Tacy observed big sister’s studies from nearby, while nibbling on a slice pizza.

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That’s really the only school pictures I have taken this year.  I guess I’ve just really been more focused on sticking to our schedule than on snapping pictures, which is good for our studies, but bad for the blog, I know.

It’s not always school, school, school around here.  In between teaching and housework, I’ve been busy adding autumn touches to our home, both inside and out.  I’ve spent a lot of my free time lately scouring Pinterest, filling my mind with fall décor inspiration.  I hope to post a few pictures of my autumn decorating soon, so keep your eyes peeled.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Fun with Chickens

Hello, y’all.  After a four-day weekend at a flea market and a water park (it’s a weird combination, I know) we are home again and getting back to our routine.  School continues to run smoothly for us this year, and we are right on schedule in our 9th week.  Wow! Has it really been nine weeks already?  I feel like the year is flying by.

But no boring talk about schoolwork today.  Nope, today I have nothing but the cutest pictures of Tacy Mae to share with y’all.  Last week, Tacy turned the big “2,” so I decided to get out my camera and take a few pictures of the birthday girl. 

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With the cool, fall temperatures we’ve been having lately (if you can call 85 degrees “cool”) the monkeys have been spending lots of time outdoors, riding scooters, wandering in the woods, and playing with the dogs.  Tacy’s favorite thing to do outside is to follow our chickens around and feed them their favorite treat of dried worms.

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This is the first year we’ve had any white chickens – Leghorns, to be exact.  Honestly, they are not my favorite.  They look a little too “commercial” for my taste.  Not to mention they are pretty flighty and they lay boring, white eggs.  But at least they lay, right?

I know this next picture is not the greatest, but I love the way Tacy’s hair is flying about.  It sort of looks like a chicken comb in this picture.  Tacy has the softest, most wispy hair.  I’m trying my hardest to let her bangs grow out, but it’s killing me!  I can’t stand to see her hair down in her eyes, and she refuses to leave a barrette in for any length of time.  I keep threatening to pull out my scissors and start whacking.

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When she’s not chasing chickens, Tacy loves to swing.  And for goodness sakes, don’t put her in a baby swing!  Big girl swings only, please!

Recently, Tacy has begun posing for the camera.  Check out her cheesy grin.

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Sometimes the best pictures are the ones they aren’t aware you’re taking.

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To keep Tacy from dumping out an entire bag of chicken treats (those things are expensive, by the way) I gave Tacy a bucket with just a few worms.

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Tacy is getting to be quite the little boss.  You can see below how she’s got that finger pointed, trying to tell the chickens what to do.  I’ve heard that Tacy rules the roost in the church nursery too (pun intended).

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Happy birthday, you little mischievous monkey!  Mama loves you.

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