Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am thankful for....

two turkey dinners to eat today - our life is filled with family,

tired legs from running - football after lunch was worth it,

recipes passed down from grandma and folks who still fix them,

sunshine, blue skies - perfect weather,

ears that hear the laughter, eyes that see the joy,

voices that can sing, and hands that play instruments,

birthdays and holidays all in one day,

families coming together to celebrate all of life's glorious bounty.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Children

The morning was crazy busy. A million thoughts were racing through my mind wondering how I would get it all done. All through the morning I was racing from one thing to the next quietly crying out to the Lord for help, for peace, for the strength and wisdom to get it all done. Still so many things were weighing me down.

I tried to shake it off and move on....gymnastics, a french lesson, science co-op....still the many things to be done hanging on me like weights.

Just as we were heading out the door for gymnastics, my youngest, Kelsey, looked at me and said, "Do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard. Luke 1:13"

She learned this verse in the form of a song at CBS. The timing was perfect.

For the rest of the day as the weights tried to creep back on me, I would hear her sweet voice saying,
"Do not be afraid, your prayer has been heard. Luke 1:13"

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Let My Teaching Fall Like Rain

The sky is gray. The air is cold. The rain is falling.

Through the open windows this morning I hear the steady rhythm of the rain. There is no sunlight peaking through the blinds to beckon me to greet the day. I make my way to the kitchen to start the coffee and ponder how to approach this less than ideal beginning to my day. As I sit in the stillness of the early morning, I consider the advantages of rain.

Rain is cleansing, washing away the dirt and grime.

Rain is nourishing, feeding all things green.

Rain is rhythmic, pleasing to the ear.

I remember that I love the verse in Deuteronomy 32 where Moses is giving the entire law to the children of Israel just before his death and he begin with these words, "Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants."

Looking for inspiration for this school day, I look out the window and pray that my words can fall like rain today.

The sky is silver. The air is snappy. The rain is cascading.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dragonflies and Life Lessons

Recently, I read a book to Kelsey called Eliza and the Dragonfly by Susie Caldwell Rinehart. It's a sweet story about a young girl watching a dragonfly nymph grow into a beautiful dragonfly. When Eliza first discovers the dragonfly nymph, she remarks that it is an awful green creature. Upon closer examination, she becomes fascinated with the dragonfly nymph, affectionately names it, and watches it closely at the pond everyday.

Shortly after the discovery of the dragonfly nymph, the aunt (an entomologist) says, "A dragonfly nymph doesn't worry about when it will become a dragonfly. It doesn't wish it could fly or be more beautiful than it already is. It just mucks around the pond, being itself. Then it wakes up with wings." This description really caught my attention and I have found myself thinking about it from time to time.

So I thought, maybe walking by faith isn't so hard.

Maybe it is as simple as not looking at others and wishing for things I don't have.

Maybe it means not worrying about when I will get my wings and fly.

Maybe it means just mucking around in my own pond, looking after the things right in front of me.

Maybe it means just being me, not trying to be like someone else.

Maybe it means taking care of the things God has placed right in front of me, being myself with my own gifts, not comparing my life to others, and one day I will wake up with wings.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

South America and the Rainforest

Last week we were learning about South America, so we gathered with friends at Pauline's house to share our knowledge.

It is safe to say that a fun time was had by all. Here are a few of the highlights.

Our host

Our model of a rain forest

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bathing Suit in November?

Apparently my youngest child did not get the bulletin that summer has come to an end. This afternoon she was appropriately dressed and playing on the swing set. A few minutes later, this is what she looked like.

Yes, it is the third day of November. Yes, the temperature is only 64 degrees and my child puts on her bathing suit, turns on the water and has a big time. So I did what any good momma would do, I took a picture (well, several pictures), wrapped her in a towel, took her inside to explain that summer is over. We both had a good cry that the days of bathing suits, splashing in the water, soaking up the sun, and wearing flip flops are over for now.

But these few minutes of playing in the water on a cool fall day are worth remembering forever.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sunday Breakfast

Fall isn't my favorite time of year mostly because the arrival of fall means winter is coming and I am a spring/summer kind of chick. However, I do love the sights and smells of fall. I love the color of the leaves, mums and pumpkins, and the smell of apples baking and pumpkin desserts.

When I awoke this morning, the day was gray, the rain was falling and I thought about apple pie. Yes, apple pie. It is probably my favorite dessert. I remembered that I ran across a recipe for Mini Apple Pies on Marybeth's blog a couple of weeks ago, so I grabbed my laptop and headed off to the kitchen.

In just a bit, the house smelled like apple pie and Sunday breakfast was served!

Here's the recipe:

Mini Apple Pies

3/4 cup AP flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 can 8 refrigerated biscuits (I used Harris Teeter buttermilk)
1 can apple pie filling (again, I used Harris Teeter brand)

Mix flour, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together with pastry blender until crumbly and set aside.

Slice biscuits in half and press down into ungreased muffin pans.

Add a heaping tablespoon of apple pie filling on top of each biscuit. *I chopped the apples in the filling a bit before filling the biscuits. Add a heaping tablespoon of sugar cinnamon mixture on each mini pie.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 and enjoy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

C is for Clown

The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola is one of my favorite stories. This story of an old juggler who offers the only gift he has to the Christ child makes my eyes water every time. The illustrations are beautiful and the kids always want to paint heir faces like clowns and try to juggle.

So last week as I was trying to help Kelsey learn the letter C, I pulled out my favorite story and some face paint.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

More Cool Webs

We ran across this garden spider at a friend's house recently.

Here's her web.

THE coolest web ever! The boys made this web with yarn, following the directions in Exploring Creation with Zoology 3.

The boys even put spiders made of marshmallows and Chinese noodles in their web.

Many thanks to Melanie for organizing a great lesson on spiders.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cool Web

Look at the cool web we found on the patio yesterday.

So this web was hanging out over the patio. We had Alex (because he is tall) stand on a chair and hold a piece of cardboard behind the web. Then I had to stand in a chair to take the picture. We were amazed by the raindrops hanging on to the web.

Here it is in Black and white:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Rainy Days and Mondays

Yesterday was rainy and Monday, but we survived. Books about spiders, balloons to play with, and cartoons to draw helped make for a delightful day despite the dreary mood.

Thanks to ClickSchooling, we found this great website with free online videos that demonstrate how to draw cartoon type characters.

Jonathan's drawing

And yes, I even made an attempt.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lions and Tigers, Oh My!

Lindsay, our resident artist, needed a practice run before painting tiger faces for our co-op. Now I have never seen a pink and purple tiger, but these are Kelsey's favorite colors.

Painted faces

Cougar eats the deer experiment

Cake - decorated by Lindsay

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jonathan's Pitching Debut

Jonathan pitched in his first real game a couple of weeks ago.

And, yes, we won.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The New Guitar

The other weekend while the little kids and I were at Goose Creek learning about da bears, the teenagers and Ken were in Raleigh spending Alex's birthday money on this:

You can see more at the photo blog of our resident photographer.

Friday, September 25, 2009


"The sun never goes down without a fight, that's why it streaks the sky with red and purple, and when the Darkness smothers it at last, it leaves a glimmer of Hope, hidden in the stars. To remind us that the sun rises again with the morning." - Lindsay Cortright

I think that about says it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A First for Lindsay

Today my firstborn began her first real job. It is official - she has entered the world of background checks and IRS forms. In fact, she entered her social security number on forms so many times yesterday that she now has it memorized.

And since she is not yet driving, it was I who rose early to drive her to her first real job. And yes, it was also I who picked her up when I received a text message alerting me that it was time. Hmmmm, I wonder if I can charge her for travel?

Don't get me wrong, I am truly glad that she has a part-time job.

I am thankful for the experience filling out forms that ask the same questions over and over.

I am thankful she will be earning enough money to pay for her car insurance.

I am thankful that she is in a good environment working with children.

And I am especially thankful she is learning the value of work, even if it's just part-time.

Guess the next step will be opening a checking account.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A is for Acorn

So what do you do with all those acorn the three year old collected from the yard this weekend?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Eggs, Grits, and Ketchup

When I was a kid, I remember my momma cooking fried eggs (a little runny) and grits. We would eat them together with ketchup. I know it sounds horrible, but when you mix the eggs, grits and ketchup together and add some black pepper, it's actually very yummy.

Now my husband and kids will not eat this no matter how I try to convince them that it really tastes better than it looks, so I don't make it just for myself very often. Yesterday Kelsey asked for grits for lunch, so guess what I had? I tried to get her to have fried eggs too, but that wasn't happening.

As I sat down to eat my lunch, my mind was flooded with memories of home - my momma cooking eggs and grits, and my daddy eating them with ketchup and black pepper.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Good Day

Baseball and geometry kept us up late last night so this morning was for sleeping in, at least for the little kids, giving the rest of us time for coffee and quiet before the day began.

It began with a movie, believe it or not, The Alamo, meant to supplement some high school history reading. So yes, this morning we were watching a movie. The kids were drawn in and so was I. Billy Bob Thorton made a great Davey Crockett and Dennis Quaid, a wonderful Sam Houston. We were so into the events that we kept pausing the movie to check the history book for facts and Lindsay was ready with her iPod to 'Wiki' the things we didn't find in the book. We even discovered that this movie was the most historically accurate. We talked about the west, Texas, the definition of a courier, how General Santa Anna's army didn't fight fair, and how Opie (Ron Howard) went on to produce and direct some great films. It was a good morning.

The day continued with math and science, reading and foreign language, but we found our rhythm, at least for this day. For this day, we didn't feel the rush of a schedule, or the pressure of the world's standard.

On this day, we read about animals until we tired of it.

On this day, we worked through the math until we understood it.

On this day, we read poetry for the joy of it.

On this day, we laughed and played with friends.

On this day, we played music because we love it.

Yep, it was a good day.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Jumpin' Break

Yes, we took a break in the middle of our morning for some jumpin' time with the cousins. The forecast called for rain that day and we have to have some way to get all those wiggles out.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Da Bears

This past weekend, Goose Creek State Park had a program on bears and we just happened to be studying bears this week in science, so what a great opportunity for a field trip.

Our friends, Helen and Burton, joined Kelsey, Jonathan, and me for this outing. As we were driving into the park, Burton spotted this deer (there were actually three) out the window. Of course we all acted as if we had never before seen wildlife. We stopped in the middle of the road, fetched the camera from the trunk, switched lenses, and took pictures. We were so distracted by and excited about this deer that we drove right past the visitors center (directly across from where we saw the deer) and ended up touring the entire park before we found our way back.

Park Ranger Chris did a great job talking to us about bears in North Carolina and he was entertaining as well. He even led us on a short hike.

Hiking a trail, looking for a bear.

The park ranger had set this up for us to find.

We may have a comedian here.

It was a great way to spend a Saturday. The teenagers did not come with us as they were in Raleigh with their dad looking for a new guitar (more about that later).