Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Not So Lazy Days of Summer

It is so cliche' to say, "Where has the time gone?"  But, it's so true. The Summer has flown by.  We have had such fun, busy days, and I can't believe they are coming to an end.  

One of the highlights of the year for our family is our local Balloon Fest.  We anticipate this weekend all year.  We have never really been a "grab a lawn chair and watch the world go by" kinda couple.  The sitting would drive my husband batty.  He's a get in there and do kinda guy.  Which is really great because our family gets into all kind of fun situations!

We are balloon chasers, well, not officially.  We watch where the balloons are launching from and follow along in our car.  The views we get of the balloons floating through the countryside are so pretty.  When they start to land, we park and run to see if they need any help.  Which they often do!

One year the balloon we happened to watch land didn't really have a full crew.  They adopted my husband and oldest sons as their 'weekend crew'.  We were able to go back with them to the Fest as official members.  We had an amazing seat for the Glow that night.  

Here are a few pictures from this year's 'Balloon Chase.'  These pictures were from a Sunday Morning before church.  We don't usually chase balloons in suits!

We were able to spend a day on the boat with Grandma and Grandpa.  This is really one of my favorite things to do... spending time near the water is so peaceful.

We discovered the 'Swinging Bridge" thanks to a tip from a friend.  This time of the year it is a bit buggy, sticky and weedy.  But, so worth it!

Of course you can't have a great Summer picture round-up without a few trips to the park! 

School is right around the corner for us.  The Littles have started doing a little here and a little there.  Our 'official' school day is September 8.  We have one more family trip coming up...we can't wait!

How about you? Have you started school yet? 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Getting The Most Out Of Our Summer

July continues to race along, and so does the adventure!  This is a picture of Autumn with her 'glasses' she won in Sunday School...very sophisticated.  I headed back to my hometown for the day and visited my mom and grandma.  We had a great time eating the local fare, and hanging out at the park... a great place for a crazy little crew like ours.

On the way home we stopped by Lake St. Mary's.   There were two sailboats on the entire lake, and the kids were trying desperately to get their attention, but no luck.  

While the Littles and I were spending time with family, Daddy, Andrew and Parker were in West Virginia doing a little White Water Rafting.  It is so beautiful down there.

Everyone had a great week, and we were all thankful to be back together.  What will this week bring? 

Are you getting ready for school?  Silly question, I know.  If we aren't planning it, we're buying school supplies, or clothes.  Leave me a comment!

I am closing up my Etsy shop for the time being.  With so many things going on, it is just one more thing to think about in a day.  I will get a burst of inspiration to work at it, but it really is a ton of work.  Not the actual making of the product, but the marketing and photos....they take up a lot of time.  I'm sure I will be back at it sometime, but not now :) 

Have a great week!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Stepping Our Way Through July

I always find myself saying, "We'll do _____ when things slow down."  I'm not sure how things are around your parts, but that just doesn't seem to happen around here.  Instead of trying to do an in-depth post, which I just can't find time for right now, I thought I would share our photos from far.

A little mid-Summer flower buying.  I fell in love with the zinnias! They are so cheery and full of color!

A wonderful day at one of the Metro Parks in Toledo.

Autumn and Liberty do everything together.  For a DIY to make the Daisy Crown click here.

Annie loves learning and reading about Annie Oakley.  For our visit back to my hometown for the 4th of July, we stopped by her Memorial.

A whirlwind trip to Cleveland.

A stop by Lake Erie.  I love spending time around water.  Maybe I was a mermaid in a former life :)

Everybody should be quiet near a little stream and listen.
author unknown

I finally added some new felt cookies to my Etsy shop.  I really love sewing with felt, but I really don't like the promoting side of it.  I never really know how to describe the items in "wonderfully descriptive language that lets the shopper know the color, feel, texture..."  You get the idea :) Let's just say, that my felt cookies are wonderfully soft, lovely to look at and hold; and even better to play with.  My friend Angel opened a shop recently, and you can visit it here: Blessed2Sew.   It was the inspiration I needed to get them in the shop.

Life is never dull.  But, that's what makes it so great...the next adventure.  What have you been up to lately?  Any family vacations or visits?  Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Changing the World

"When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits,
I dreamed of changing the world. 
 As I grew older and wiser I discovered
the world would not change.
So I shortened my sights somewhat
and decided to change only my country,
but it seemed immovable. 
As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt,
I settled for changing my family, those closest to me.
But alas, they would have none of it.
And now I realize as I lie on my deathbed,
if I had only changed myself first,
then by example I might have changed my family.
From their inspiration and encouragement
I would have been able to better my country.
And who knows,
I might have even changed the world."

Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abbey.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Taking A Second Look At The Roles of Boys and Girls

Woman and children first...What do you think about this? Is there any validity in todays world, or is that an antiquated view of men and women? With the recent 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and the mother of 4 boys and 3 girls, it got me to thinking...

Norman Rockwell

What will we teach our boys about chivalry?   Is it important?  Does the way we allow the interactions between brothers and sisters in our home matter?  We are training future husbands, fathers, employees, business partners, pastors, etc. The world we live in is so topsy-turvy. What once was a sign of being a gentleman is now considered overbearing. How can we teach them to live in the modern world yet hold onto the values, morals, and Godly standards the Bible talks about?

source unknown

What will we teach our girls about virtue?  Is it important?  At a time when the world is telling them to forsake all for the "hoots and whistles" of their peers, how do we show them that being folded in the loving arms of her family is all the "hoots" she needs until the "One" God has for her shows himself? How can we convince her that the things she will learn while living with us, like running a home, cooking a fine meal, showing love to her family, are not things to run from and be embarrased about? But are given to her by God so that when it is her turn to step into the role as wife and mother she will be more than prepared?  If God has something else for her outside the home, it will still be a blessing to her and her family to have these skills.

What are you teaching your children?  What things do you think are important as we train our children to become adults?  I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Are Children A Blessing Or A Nuisance

My husband and I were enjoying dinner at a restaurant one evening while our six-week-old daughter slept in her carrier. I noticed two elderly ladies seated at the table next to ours were admiring her. One spoke up. “Enjoy every stage of her childhood,” she began, and I waited for the usual “because they grow up so fast,” like so many others had said to me since her birth. Instead, the woman went on, “because each stage is worse than the one before it.”
I wasn’t sure how to respond. What a negative thing to say to new parents!
I wish I could say that was the first and last time someone has been so disagreeable when advising me about parenthood, but it wasn’t. In fact, from the moment I announced to coworkers that I was pregnant, I’ve heard one disparaging thing about children and motherhood after another. Almost everywhere I go, I notice that children are seen as a nuisance. We live in a society that sees having more than two children as a financial and emotional drain. Abortion on demand is viewed as a necessity. Even our president has said that he wouldn’t want his daughters “punished with a baby” if they became pregnant before they were ready. Our culture’s mentality that children are a burden is evident.
As moms, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. When you take your kids to the grocery store, how often do you hear, “Wow, you have your hands full!” or, “Just wait until they’re teenagers!”?
I’m ashamed to say that I used to laugh and go along with this kind of talk. I’d agree with a chuckle. But lately, I’ve been reconsidering this approach.
After all, don’t the Scriptures speak of children as a blessing and a treasure? You’re probably familiar with Psalm 127:3: “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”
And didn’t Jesus welcome the children? “Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 18:15-16).
God created us in His image, and He has designed childhood as part of His perfect plan for humanity. When He came to die for us, He came as a child. Clearly, He prizes children. And if God values them so much, shouldn’t we?
Now, I’m not saying that it’s never okay to admit that we’re having a rough day, or that we’re struggling with our role as moms. We should not try to portray our children as perfect, because they aren’t. However, we can choose to be honest while also valuing our children with our speech.
Living as Christian moms means being radically different than the culture around us, and the way we speak about our children should be no exception. As mothers who want to honor Christ, we should talk about our children the way God’s Word talks about them: as precious gifts who bear His image.
I have heard similar comments so often, too often.  Things like, "I can't stand the ones I have, I don't see how you do it with so many!"  It is so easy, at least for me, to take a defensive stand against others and their words,  but I like how Aubrie takes the offensive approach...looking at it through God's eyes makes all the difference.

Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward.  Psalm 127:3

You are in the very center of His will as you embrace His little ones to your heart and raise them to be mighty arrows for God's kingdom.   Be encouraged. And may you be filled with the joy of the Lord as you fulfill this mighty task in your home today.
Nancy Campbell

Women sigh for fame. They would be sculptors, and chisel out of the cold stone forms for beauty to fill the world with admiration of thier skill. Or they would be poets, to write songs to thrill a nation and to be sung around the world. But is any work in marble so great as her who has an immortal life laid in her hands to shape for its destiny?
J.R. Miller

A true mother is one of the holiest secrets of home happiness. God sends many beautiful things to this world, many noble gifts, but no blessing is richer than that which He bestows in a mother who has learned love's lessons well, and has realized something of the meaning of her sacred calling.
J.R. Miller

I hope these thoughts and quotes give you some encouragement for you day.  I have no doubt that if you are a mom, you have heard discouraging comments, how do you respond to the naysayers?  Please leave me a comment and tell me your story.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Local Parks and "The Handbook of Nature Study"

Where exactly did June go?  Going into the month I thought it was going to be a slow one.  Ha!  But, between raindrops we were able to get outside a bit, visiting our local parks.  My children and I are always drawn to the ones that are a little outside the city limits.  Walking trails and space to roam is much to our liking.  If it also happens to have a great playground, well, then it gets bonus points.

"Nature study is, despite all discussions and pervasions, a study of nature; it consists of simple, truthful observations that may, like beads on a string, finally be threaded together as a logical and harmonious whole.

Nature study cultivates the child's imagination, since there are as many wonderful and true stories that he may read with his own eyes, which affect his imagination as much as does fairy lore; at the same time nature study cultivates in him a perception and regard for what is true, and the power to express it.  

All things seem possible in nature; yet this seeeming is always guarded by the eager quest of what is true.  Perhaps half the falsehood in the world is due to lack of power to detect the truth and to express it.  Nature study aids both in discernment and in expression of things as they are."

Anna Botsford Comstock

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This book was written in 1911 and it's about 2 1/2 inches thick.  The book is not colorful and glitzy, but it holds loads of great information.  The book is divided into 4 parts: The Teaching of Nature Study, Animals, Plants, Earth and Sky.  You can use it as a nature curriculum all on it's own; she has lessons already laid out in the book.  Poems, life cycles, and photos are also included.  I don't know that I would recommend it as a field guide, it's heavy.  But, keep it close at hand for an instant nature study topic or idea.

When I used to mention that we were going on a nature walk I would usually hear some moans and groans.  Now when I tell them we are headed to the park, everyone scatters to grab something for the walk.  Annie grabs her journal and a pen, Sam takes the magnifying glass, Liberty grabs random books about anything to do with the outside world, and Autumn her bird book.  She absolutely is fascinated with owls.  Here is a picture of her showing me the bird she thinks she is hearing.  No matter what the bird's song, she is sure it is a type of owl.  So cute.

The pictures in this collage are from Litzenberg Memorial Woods.  It is a wonderful park with walking trails, but it is also home to the McKinnis House.  Below is a bit of information about it.  To learn more click here.

'McKinnis History: The park area was originally settled by early Hancock County pioneers Charles and Mary McKinnis arriving in 1822 from Chillicothe, Ohio. A log cabin was built first somewhere nearby upon arriving and later replaced by the current McKinnis House. Built circa 1847, the vernacular Greek Revival style home is furnished in a style common to rural farmhouses during the 1800’s.  Charles and Mary raised six children and are buried with other early settlers and family members at the little cemetery known as Indian Green located just east of the park area on U.S. Route 224.' 

There is always something out there to be explored.  Where have you adventured lately?  I don't think you have to go far, sometimes just your backyard, or a walk around around the block.  It doesn't have to be fancy or complicated.  Enjoy your weekend.