Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Autumn Inspired Art

I did this project with Will's K/1st grade homeschool coop art class earlier this week. The class has been learning about the elements of art; this week was texture. This watercolor/crayon resist leaf from Art Projects for Kids was fun and had beautiful results. The kids were thrilled!

Will's painting...

We didn't use corrugated cardboard. I just cut up a cardboard box to place under the paper for the crayon rubbing. I imagine a roll of corrugated cardboard would have produced a more pronounced texture. This project gave me an opportunity to talk more about about color - warm, cool, and complementary.

Hannah wanted to do it later in the week...

We made little yarn pumpkins (from Make and Takes) in Pre-K coop class. They are very cute.

A few more of our fall favorites...

E is for Egg

Continuing our letters...

E is for Egg(shell)

I washed the egg shells with soap and water, let dry, and put them in a plastic bag. Peter then was able to let break them to bits (a perfect activity for him). The whole activity was a big hit... from a breakfast of eggs to the final product.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


It is a happy talent to know how to play.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, October 26, 2009

Full : 1000 Gifts

...the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.

Ephesians 1:23

Overwhelmed by His grace and provision, I add to the list...

Celebrating my husband's birthday. A table full of food and friends.

Shouts of love, "Daddy's home!" filling the house. The race to the door.

Our church family. Body life. Unity and diversity for our mutual benefit.

Opening hymnals. Singing together.

Will running across the church sanctuary right after the benediction to hug an older woman in our congregation... a grandmother to little ones far away... and Will's good friend. Relationships that my children would not have outside of the Church.

My young daughter watching, admiring the godly character of one a few years ahead of her.

A not-so-little three year old curled up in my lap.

The swirling of leaves on the road.

The blessing of sleep. Extra blankets to throw on beds as nights grow longer, colder.

A warm mug held with both hands. Coffee and early morning prayer.

Bright oranges, reds, yellows. Leaves at peak color.

"The dying can be beautiful. He sends October to remind."
-Ann Voskamp

holy experience

Friday, October 23, 2009

Seneca Schoolhouse : October 23, 1880

My kids went to school today... today, about 130 years ago. A good friend and homeschooler from our church plays the role of Miss Darby at Seneca Schoolhouse in Poolesville, Maryland. So when the local ABC station called to ask if they could do a story, Miss Darby asked us to come for a day at school. Miss Darby didn't break from her role for a moment. The kids loved it and sat for a good 2 hours at desks, listening attentively. Maybe it was her explaining the dunce cap and the switches that kept them so well-behaved. : )

Peter keeping his eye on her switch.
I think his favorite part was getting to put wood in the stove.
We learned students would bring potatoes to school as hand warmers and then place them on the stove to keep warm for lunch...
...or to play hot potato.
We were asked to come in period dress. I had nothing for the boys, but Hannah wore my childhood Little Red Riding Hood costume.
Thanks, Mom. It continues to get a lot of use.

Relays and other schoolyard games...
Each child was given a name and a story. They were asked to introduce themselves.
Thankfully, the TV camera wasn't there long.
They read aloud from McGuffey's Readers,
stood for a Spelling Bee (Peter spelled 'I'),
sang old songs, did math drills, read scripture, had a nature study, wrote on their slate boards, all wrapped up in a big history lesson. It was a full day of school.
My kids want to go back tomorrow.

Montgomery Co. Students Go Back in Time | NewsChannel 8

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Finding Joy : 1000 Gifts

Come the end of last week, I was weary and discouraged. Piles of school papers, books, bills, toys, laundry were everywhere. Weakly, I shuffled through them trying to find something to encourage, something to soothe me. But in the piles I found more to do, more to burden. Phone calls and emails came in with sad news of death and illness and brokenness. Oh, Lord, it's all just too much.

The weekend was a blur of activity. All fun things on my calendar, but still discouragement and soul-weariness soured me.

Monday comes. And I find again that when I am still, seeking, remembering His gifts, He brings joy. And gentle reminders of His grace.

the continuing gift list...

The encouragement of friends.

"In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express." -Romans 8:26

A missionary's testimony.

Freedom to worship.

A talented friend inviting me to come along, learn, attempt to assist as he beautifully photographs a wedding. The opportunity to witness a marriage celebration through a camera lens.

A generous gift of Redskins tickets. And even with a miserable game outcome... an afternoon of free babysitting, time with my husband, and friends.
The sun after the rain.

Being reminded of some of the reasons we do what we do. (Heidi says it so well.)

Homeschooling in the hammock.

After an I'm sorry, I shouldn't have gotten so upset... Will wraps his arms around me, "That's ok, Mom, I forgive you. Adults sin just like kids do."

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." -2 Corinthians 12:9

"If anyone would tell you the shortest, surest way to all happiness
and all perfection, he must tell you to
make a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything
that happens to you.

It is certain that whatever seeming calamity happens to you,
if you thank and praise God for it,
you turn it into a blessing.

If you could work miracles,
therefore, you could not do more for yourself
than by this thankful spirit.

It heals and turns all that it touches into happiness."

holy experience

Monday, October 19, 2009

Autumn Suncatcher

I did this craft with our coop's pre-k class. It creates such a nice display. The kids were thriled with the result! I got this idea from a school project my daughter's class did a few years ago.

What you'll need...

A plastic lid from a salad/food bar. I just grabbed a few while grocery shopping last week.

Mod podge (or white glue thinned with a little water). Spread all over the top of the plastic lid with a sponge brush or paint brush.

Tissue paper - fall colors (keep some dark green in there for contrast/shadows). Tear or cut into small pieces (I did this ahead of time for 4 year-olds).

Brown construction paper. Cut into tree trunk shape with a few branches (again, I pre-cut). Another idea is to trace the child hand (branches) and arm (trunk). I just didn't have that much time. Glue it on last.

A hole punch and ribbon/yarn/string.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A is for Alligator

Peter has been working on his letters for his Alphabet Book. Unlike my older two, he doesn't like to color. So, I have been trying to come up with crayon-free letter crafts.

A is for Alligator
I found this great 'A' idea at No Time for Flash Cards. We used 'dot paint' instead of markers.

B is for Black Bean.
I wrote the B with glue and gave him a bowl of dried beans.

C is for Corn

and C is for Cloud.
and Cotton ball.

D is for Dot

He loves the dot paint.
I had considered D is for Dirt, but lost my nerve.

I just noticed Peter has on the same shirt in all these photos. Promise we didn't do them all in one day. : )

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bright and Beautiful : 1000 Gifts

Full of joy and wonder,
the gift list continues...

Little handfuls of nature brought inside.

Finding a really good stick.

Afternoons spent sitting on front steps, surrounded with bright orange pumpkins, watching the neighborhood play.

Boxing up shorts and swimsuits. Pulling out wool and fleece. Marveling at how much they have grown.

Will grabbing my hand to hold as we walk together.

Nightfall coming earlier. Warm glow of dinner candles.

A late phone call from the man next door inviting us to look into the night sky through his telescope. Jupiter and its moons bright and clear.

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Psalm 19:1

holy experience

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Peter's Prayer

Dear God,

Thank you for the birds.

And the people who sing.

For the trees.

And leaves that fall.

And the trucks.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fall's Favorite Flavor

A few of our favorite pumpkin recipes...

Pumpkin Waffles

This recipe makes enough for our family of five with a few leftover. Serve with warmed maple syrup - the real stuff.

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup oil
1/8 teaspoon vanilla

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (eggs through vanilla). Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour onto hot, lightly greased waffle iron.


And if you opened a can of pumpkin for the waffles, you will have enough puree leftover for this yummy recipe: Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip Squares. I made these last weekend for company. Perfect with a cup of good coffee.


Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from a recipe I found on the back of a can of Whole Foods store brand pumpkin puree several years ago.

We have been making these for years. My kids love them! They are not sweet like pumpkin bread. Great for breakfast.

1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 beaten egg
3/4 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 375. Grease 12 muffin cups.

Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl combine egg, millk, and butter; stir in pumpkin. Add all at once to flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. Batter will be lumpy.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm, with butter. Makes 12 muffins.


And last but not least, here is our favorite pumpkin bread recipe, too.


Monday, October 5, 2009

Beautiful October : 1000 Gifts

"Even if something is left undone,
everyone must take time to sit still
and watch the leaves turn."

-Elizabeth Lawrence

Enjoying the bountiful gifts of God surrounded by October's beauty. Our list continues...

Crisp apples eaten in the orchard.

The juice dripping down his chin.

Big pots of soup.

October's deep blue sky.

Autumn's warm palette.

His first goal. And the quick, elated glace to the sideline.

Nature center classes.

A "Seed Hunt" in the meadow.

The crunch of leaves on the driveway.

Mid-week church suppers.

The pumpkin patch.

Outdoor loving children.

For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
Psalm 92:4

holy experience


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