The crisis nobody is talking about (as deadly as the worst pandemic)

We are blessed with beautiful parks in Illinois. Every town here has them, and in general they are well-kept and inviting. We went up to one for Memorial Day. We wondered if we would find an open grill, but we needn’t have worried. These peaceful Illinois parks are sometimes a little too peaceful. Where are all the people? In particular, where are all the children?

This playground has tall metal slides, the kind I whizzed down when I was a child. It has a giant wooden “hamster wheel”… it goes around and around when you run inside it. The park has swings, basketball courts, a batting cage, lovely pavilion, knobby and knotty trees, a merry-go-round, monkey bars, softball field… you name it. It even has a pond where Sammy caught 27 fish. No joke! (No worries, he threw them all back.)

All of this, and almost no children running around.

All afternoon, it bothered me. This nice park in the middle of this quaint American town…. but no people? We saw about four people all afternoon (on Memorial Day, no less), until late in the afternoon a couple came with their little boy to fish, and sat beside the pond. Of course, they would do this at the exact time that I was making a fool out of myself trying to rescue Toby’s football out of the middle of the pond by creating waves with a giant plastic jug (but I did get the football out). ๐Ÿ˜„

Continue reading “The crisis nobody is talking about (as deadly as the worst pandemic)”

Where children flourish

Anything created by God will flourish best wherever it is placed by God. Remove that created thing from where God placed it, and it will die (at worst) or not reach it’s full potential (at best).

“…the wise tried to see where God placed individuals in the natural order of things, the assumption being that since God is good, the environments that He puts things in naturally help them to flourish.” – C.R. Wiley

As we seek to raise a child so that he will thrive, not just survive, in this harsh world, we should remember where God placed the child to start with. The child is placed within the mother’s body first, and then in her arms, and then by her side– and all within a home and in a family. This placement has everything to do with allowing the child to flourish.

Continue reading “Where children flourish”

There is no future in that

The lines of separation between good and evil in our society are now drawn more clearly than ever. Evil is definitely raising it’s ugly head and gleefully having a heyday. As we observe the chaos of our times, one phrase keeps coming to my mind: “There is no future in that.”

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading and re-reading Psalm 37, which speaks to the same theme– those who have a future, and those who do not.

God has made His world to work by certain unchangeable principles. He tells us who will have the future. Although we find ourselves living in a time that is not for the faint of heart, take courage and take comfort from this Psalm, which presents a clear contrast between the good and the evil.

Repeatedly mentioned in this Psalm is the phrase “inherit the land.” This phrase strongly implies a future.

Memories of a summer past…
Continue reading “There is no future in that”

Photo Post: Tie Dye

Although I’m not much of a crafty mom, I do love tie dye. Olivia received a tie dye craft kit at a Christmas gift exchange and so we took our opportunity for a little mid-winter crafty fun! This kit was for dying a bandana and three scrunchies.

I love these enamel pans. They are so homey and come in handy for various and sundry purposes.
After soaking in the soda ash water, items are ready for die to be applied.
Continue reading “Photo Post: Tie Dye”

How to find those matching gloves and mittens (never dig through a bin again)

We’ve probably all been there. Excited kids on every hand, freshly fallen snow outside, and suddenly you find yourself lost in a bin full of mittens, gloves, scarves, hats– all sizes, shapes and colors, and no matches in sight. Arghh! Just get these kids outside to play already!

I decided this would finally be the winter to conquer the winter gear problem, once and for all (if such a thing were possible). (Spoiler– looks like it might be possible!)

Continue reading “How to find those matching gloves and mittens (never dig through a bin again)”

How do you homeschool when it’s CRAZY? (Homeschooling with babies and toddlers)

Are you homeschooling with little ones in the mix— underfoot, climbing on the table, needing snack every 4 minutes, causing general havoc?

I have lived this life for quite a few years. Somehow we all survived and now my two oldest are homeschool grads and in college, so apparently they must have learned something along the way, in spite of shrieking toddlers and their mom being on her last nerve much of the time.

Starting around 2011 when Toby (our fifth) was born, things got crazier and more difficult every school year. Just this year, I am starting to come down the other side of this particular rugged mountain experience. The peak of the mountain was probably in 2017, when I had five in school, 1st grade to 12th grade, and three too young for school, ages four, two and nine months. 

Amanda recently sent me the question below. I have heard at least three other moms voice a similar question in the past few weeks. Amanda has Annie who is 10 years old and in 5th grade. She also has James and Leah, twins (adorable pics throughout!) who will be two in October. This conversation is shared with Amanda’s permission.

(I also added a few more ideas at the end, that didn’t necessarily apply to Amanda’s situation, but might be helpful for others.)

Amanda: Hi! With the “virtual” school year approaching…I have a question for you!

Just how in the world do you homeschool on the HARD days? The days where the little ones are throwing fits every 3rd minute? The days where no one is listening? The days where it’s just plain hard?! We amazingly are getting to keep Annie home from school this year (one good thing I can blame on covid!) ..still enrolled in public school but it’s not going to be enough instruction, so I’ll be doing additional math and reading/language arts with her and Bible!

Even with reviewing math all spring/summer with her it’s been hard at times, but given the situation we were able to be super flexible. But with her being home full time now, I want to establish such a schedule that it’s still “school” to her..not a whole bunch of free time, etc? How do I do it?! ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜†

Annie and the twins

Me: Great question, and believe me I get it!! Homeschooling with little ones in the mix is just plain hard! Here are my thoughts and suggestions, for whatever they are worth: ๐Ÿ˜…

Continue reading “How do you homeschool when it’s CRAZY? (Homeschooling with babies and toddlers)”

I don’t mean to disagree with my husband

Steve said these are arrows, not dominoes.

At Joshua’s high school graduation, as I envisioned each child reaching this same milestone in quick succession, I remarked that the “dominoes were beginning to fall.” Steve replied, “Not dominoes. Arrows. Today the arrows are beginning to fly!”

edit4I know he’s right, of course. They ARE arrows and it’s super exciting to watch them fly.

But I have to be honest, it sure does seem like dominoes at times. All of a sudden, I find myself looking around and thinking, “Where is everyone? Is this everyone I’m supposed to have?” Continue reading “I don’t mean to disagree with my husband”

What we all can do about ‘What is going on in Virginia’

You may have heard President Trump’s remarks at the recent March for Life in Washington, D.C.

At one point during that historic speech, in reference to some radical pro-death statements made by Governor Northam, President Trump asked the question in a somber tone, “What is going on in Virginia? What is going on?”

The Virginia legislature is currently having a heyday with pro-death policies.

I never cease to be amazed at how the pro-life cause is labeled by the media as “anti-abortion” and the pro-death cause is labeled as “pro-choice.” Let’s be clear: this IS about life vs. death. It is not complicated. Let’s get our terminology straight.

Anne1
Precious beyond words… my niece Anne.

We lived in the beautiful Commonwealth for nineteen years. Although we don’t live there anymore, Virginia will always hold a very dear place in our hearts. The reports I’m seeing are making me so sad. Of course we know it’s a battle all across the nation, not just in one state.

Some thoughts on what we can do (no matter where we live): Continue reading “What we all can do about ‘What is going on in Virginia’”

Gift Ideas! Toys our children have loved over the years.

Here are five classic toys that have been well loved and well played with at our house. Maybe this will give you some gift ideas for your younger kiddos, during this portion of the holiday season also known as mom-wracking-her-brain-for-gift-ideas.

1) We’ve had Color & Shape Bingo for a long time. It’s requested over and over by my little ones. An adult can manage about four young children participating in this game. (As you probably know, this cannot be said of many games.) Great learning reinforcement of colors and shapes, and good for short attention spans.Bingo4 Continue reading “Gift Ideas! Toys our children have loved over the years.”

Singing in the mountains of North Carolina (our second family song video!)

Attempting to film a family song video while we were on a family hike in the mountains of North Carolina ended up being a fairly big and fairly hilarious undertaking. But we’re glad we did. In a large family, things usually can’t get much more chaotic than they already are… so sometimes you end up trying things that seem a little crazy and you just figure, “Why not?” Continue reading “Singing in the mountains of North Carolina (our second family song video!)”