a previously despised task……..


I posted the last blog a few days ago, gathered up my things and went downstairs to the laundry room, prepared to spend at least an hour folding clothes, when my phone rang.  Honestly, I hadn’t even folded ONE ITEM before it rang.  It was the school nurse calling to inform me that Sarah was in the office not feeling well. She was running a low-grade fever and had a sore throat, it came on rather suddenly because she was fine that morning when she got ready for school and left on the bus.

I was quite busy with her and the boys that afternoon….along with catching up with the laundry, I also picked David up early after midterms, then picked up Caleb after newspaper club, took David back to the school for practice, took Sarah to the doctors where her strep test was negative, and got home just in time to take Seth and Caleb to practice.

Yesterday she was feeling much better but spent the day at home with me, in her cozy jammies.  We picked up David again after midterms and I ran into the grocery store to get things for lasagna dinner that evening and a chicken for tonight.

This morning the three youngest ones are all at school but David didn’t have any tests today so he is home and he’s still asleep.

I’m 41 years old, I’ve been married since I was 19, I had my first baby at 20, and life is still busy (as it should be–no complaints) but as I sat this morning on the couch, I was struck by the thought of what I was doing…….MENDING A LONG TEAR IN A TWIN SHEET……

I’ve mended through the years once or twice, when absolutely necessary, but there were many many other times when something ripped and I simply threw it away.  It sounds so awful, downright wasteful, but those years of having little ones at home filled me right up to the brim with other more important work, more important than mending a small hole in a pair of pants that was barely noticeable.  He can wear them anyway.  If a sheet tore, I would groan loudly, fold it up, and stick in the back of the closet.  I can’t mend!  I have to change diapers, get a child out of mischief, clean up strange messes that a house without children wouldn’t see (eggs all over the floor and counters?)….I often wondered why I was tired to tears by the end of the day.  I truly thought something was wrong with me.

Now I see, as I’ve come out on the “other side”, and I see that OF COURSE a newly pregnant mom, nursing an almost one year old, with multiple other children is going to be crying at the end of the day!!!  When you love and care for your children with your whole being, your whole being becomes exhausted!

……Beautifully exhausted, although back then I didn’t see much beauty in it whatsoever.   I was impatient with myself……. but at least I had the sense NOT to do the mending.

Until now.  In the year of our Lord 2018, I am mending.  I am downright marveling at this turn of events.  Yesterday I sat and sewed up tiny holes in “baby” Sarah’s size 8 pants from J Crew.  And then I sewed shut a small hole in Seth’s nice thick athletic pants.  I repaired a pair of gloves that Sarah’s thumb had popped through.  And this morning, I mended a 15 inch long tear in one of our very precious twin sized sheets (there are 6 twin beds in this house that need these sheets).  The mending is imperfectly lovely but as I folded the sheet and put it away, I felt a connection to this thing, this fitted sheet that my child tore (how?) and I repaired.  I took care of something and restored it to usefulness again.  I chose to put this skill aside in those very busy childbearing years, but now have the interest and desire necessary to put my hands to work and “waste not”………

Isn’t it a marvel that life’s path changes?  That a woman can change?  I loved the early baby-years, but I’m loving the “school-aged-children” years, too.

What’s next while I await the next small hole?  The house is tidy, I organized a closet, cleaned out a fish tank, and later on David and I are going to repair a lamp.

Unless of course, the school nurse calls.

I just cried a little


Brother Dave sent me this text last night:   _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ !!!

We texted back and forth, playing “wheel of fortune” style but with only one letter guesses like every hour or so and none from 9pm-7am.  He was very strict.  If I tried to sneak in extra guesses I got a big huge red “X” back.

After all those hours, I finally ended up with this:  happy _a_ _ !!! and then while I was down taking care of the chickens waiting for the time I could guess again, the answer popped right into my head.

So then the mail came and there was a package.  I ran to the house, opened it up and saw a wrapped present, which revealed neatly folded yards of fabric:  one of cherries and one of cats.  Two things I ADORE.

This is from my brother.  He’s turning 40 in a month.   What 40 year old motorcycle riding manly man with a big beard and tattoos does this???  My brother that’s who.

He had driven our mom to the fabric store over the weekend and as she browsed, he selected and bought the fabric for me, took it back home with him, wrapped it in pretty paper, and mailed it.

I’m crying over the thoughtfulness and text him a big thank you.

He writes me back, “It’s the little things that mean the most.”


let the stormy breezes blow

The house is quiet.  I awoke at 6am to learn that school was closed.  In our neck of the woods, the winds are whipping tree limbs into power lines and causing power outages and there is icy snow thinly covering the ground.  Yesterday our electricity was out from noon to seven in the evening.  Darkness and quiet can mean so many things.  What we see as “dark” can be darker still, what we hear as “quiet” can be even quieter……….

We lit candles and carried flashlights.

For now, the house is warm again, and maybe not as quiet as I think.  It will surely get louder as the children wake up, good healthy children with lots of energy, curiosity, play, mess, and need for constant work to do.

Someone can clean the kitchen.  Someone can fold clothes.  Someone can sit beside me and let me read to them.  Someone can play a game.  Someone can make us lunch.

If you can slip and slide your way to our place, all are welcome for a party day.  We a friendly dog, three cats, and children from the age 6 all the way up to 20.  Friends.

Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend.  ~ Bill Watterson 


I drove my Hannah friend to the airport yesterday morning.

As my husband texted me, “The parting of good friends is sad but oh so worth it.”


These are the pajama pants she made Caleb, using another pair belonging to him as a pattern.  Caleb is our football fan and he loves the Patriots.  These pants were a labor of pure love.  (Hannah is a Seahawks fan)


She made me a pair of nice thick leggings in a wonderful olive green.


a little clip from singing with Hannah on Sunday

the last verse:

Let the stormy breezes blow, their cry cannot alarm me;
I am safely sheltered here, protected by God’s hand;
Here the sun is always shining, here there’s naught can harm me;
I am safe forever in Beulah Land.

“For what is joy if it goes unrecorded, and what is love if it is not shared?”


Good morning!  Hannah made Seth some joggers yesterday.

She is showing me things that I never dreamed my sewing machine could do.


She used a pattern on one of her favorite online sources:  Patterns for Pirates.

This pattern is called Baby Bear Joggers and she sewed it using a nice thick knit for the fabric.


Seth was so full of energy all afternoon wearing his new pants that it made Hannah laugh and say, “Well, at least we know he has a full range of motion in them!”

He wore them to bed and then wore them to school this morning.


Yesterday was also homemade noodles day.

We went for two walks.


We received a box full of good things as a surprise from Hannah’s mom; homemade jewelry, cookies, candy, and some gingerbread tea which we enjoyed before bed last night.




so far, these cookies are my favorite


THE ULTIMATE COMFORT FOOD; homemade chicken and broth with noodles, served over homemade mashed potatoes.


Hannah began making a dress for Grace, a beautiful red and cream lace dress; in which Grace will be sure to look like a Valentine in February.

When Hannah was done sewing for the day, she neatly covered everything up with a tablecloth so the cats wouldn’t eat thread or shred the patterns.


Deep down inside, Sherlock really believes she has thoughtfully made him a bed.


This morning is quiet; the children have gone to school and Hannah is getting dressed while I blog, drink tea, and look out the window with my cat.


“For what is joy if it goes unrecorded, and what is love if it is not shared?”  Jennifer Worth
~quote from an episode of Call the Midwife which we watched last night with our gingerbread tea.

a vole and a mermaid tail


My friend Hannah from Alaska arrived on Friday night and she is quite a talented seamstress so……we went to Jo-Ann Fabrics today and got everything we needed to make clothes.  I say “we” but all I am doing so far is observing and once I held down a pattern so she could cut it without pinning.  I’m keeping her company.  It’s cozy.

As I type, she is at the other end of the table cutting out joggers for Seth and telling me that the sound of the scissors cutting through fabric is a sound of her childhood and that her mom reads my blog (hi Mom!) and she might make me pig earrings someday.

Isn’t amazing that you can print a pattern right off the computer?  The first one (a mermaid tail) was 6 pages printed, and then taped together and cut out.

While she was busy with it, David came inside the house with a bucket.


And this was inside.  We think it is a vole.  Gentleman Gray (the cat) caught it over by the woodpile and David rescued it and put it in a bucket so he could show me.


It was mighty cute and David was very very very gentle with it and put it back on the woodpile after I took its photo.


This is the finished mermaid tail for Bitty Baby and for Sarah, using thick warm fleece.


Hannah is almost done cutting out the pants for Seth and then we have to wait for Jacob to get home with special sewing machine needles before she can start sewing.  We forgot to get them earlier and asked Jacob to stop at JoAnn’s after work.

More tomorrow!

seven hours

In the morning the sea is so calm!  The sea of my life, that is.  After I get the children off to school, I have peace and quiet for seven.whole.hours.  The following six hours will be nonstop action and busy, but seven.whole.hours.  It’s quite strange, actually.  I do all my morning chores with no interruptions!  (Jacob is usually home until about 10 but he doesn’t do anything but sleep, take a shower, have a short conversation with me, and then leave.)

The laundry gets done!  The rooms get clean enough!  I can do anything!

But it’s not as fun without the children around, not as lively!  That’s the part that is strange.  I’ve almost forgotten how to live quietly.  Not that I’m complaining, mind you.  There is a time and season for every purpose under heaven.  I thank God for this new stage of life, I thank God that Sarah is healthy again, Jacob is settling into college and work, and the rest of the children are all doing well.  I love having the extra time to get things done for my family and even having time alone to do things for myself.  It’s a privilege that I am very, very grateful for.

Amongst other things, I’ve been taking pictures of my cats.




“You folded the laundry but you didn’t put it away.  I thank you.”


Sleeping as though dead.


“I’m so pretty.”




“You made the bed.  I thank you.”


“I thought I heard something.”


“Drinking water on the counter from a turquoise fiesta bowl.  I thank you.”

(Sherlock is a very appreciative cat.)


“They say I have the prettiest whiskers”


“Waiting for the bus.”


I realized my nail polish matched my cat.


Today I sewed a couple of potholders.



“Learn to be alone and to like it.  There is nothing more freeing and empowering than to learning to like your own company.”

I feel pretty!


First a couple of photos of my babies…not really babies at all…they are five and six now.

But they are the closest thing to babies I have.   Well, besides my kitty.


We were waiting for the bus at 7:40 am this morning.


I feel pretty!  (do you know the song from West Side Story?  Grace and I sing the phrase “I feel pretty” whenever we feel especially pretty.  And I’m singing it today because of my tunic.


My friend Hannah made it for me.  She lives in Alaska and we have been pen pals for a long time now, and she came to visit me for a week a few years ago.  I think I owe her a visit, don’t you?  I’ve never been to Alaska before.  I love learning about her life and her days.

I met her when we were both blogging on xanga.  The first thing I read on her site that made me think she was possibly a kindred spirit was that she was currently reading through the James Herriot books.  Eventually we learned that we had a lot more than that in common.  We were homeschooling moms, the same age, loved the same books, and each had a bunch of children that were all about the same ages.  We both got married in the same year, too.   She and her husband have 6 children, four girls and two boys.

Our temperaments are a lot alike, as well.  For example, we both have suffered from depression and have been able to help each other through dark days.

We both love Jesus.


Hannah is a very talented seamstress, she made Seth and Sarah each a baby blanket when they were born.  She’s been sewing her own clothes and asked if she could have my measurements and if she could sew me a shirt.


Jacob and I went out to run errands all morning and as soon as we got home I ran to the mailbox and it had arrived!!


For you ladies who sew, here are some of the details:  The pattern is the Schoolhouse Tunic from Sew Liberated.  She ordered the fabric, which is voile, from fabric.com.  The fabric is by Art Gallery Fabric and designed by Katy Jones.  Maybe Hannah could answer questions in the comments if you have any.


She also made a tank to go underneath.  It’s a soft, thick stretchy fabric with a nice wide band around the hem.  She did a quality job and I’m thankful and humbled by her generosity.


She also sent these little goodies.  I especially like the mushroom earrings.  Her mom made the scrubbies and the earrings so you can see that amazing talents have been passed along from mother to daughter.


Today has been so unusual.  Not only did Hannah’s package come, I also got a letter from Gina, and Wilma!  The cardinal is a postcard that Dawn sent me a few weeks ago and I never did tell her I received it which is really sad…so hopefully she’ll see this post…and I’ll be writing to you four ladies ASAP, I can’t wait, and I bought some Halloween stickers today to decorate the envelopes.

Last but not least, here is a picture of Ethan (my senior 17 year old son) right after he got off the bus this afternoon.  He dressed up for school because he has an away game tonight for soccer.


Happy Friday!


handmade (day 3)

Good morning!  The sun is shining, my house is relatively clean (miracle), I have two delightful children by my side (one is getting over the flu) and there are strong, talented construction men in the bathroom making much needed updates and repairs.  All is well.  God is so good to us, filling our lives, which can be so very very dreary, with many blessings and encouragements.  I am so thankful to belong to Him, thank you Jesus for your care and guidance and love.

TODAY, on “handmade”, day NUMBER THREE, I share with you a photo of a very little something I made for my dear mama recently.  It is a small wall hanging made of scrappy pieces, and embellished with lots of sewing, some beads and buttons (NOT plastic, just because mom and I love heavy glass beads and old buttons)….snips of ribbon, and my very first humble attempts at crazy quilt embroidery.



I actually forgot to take pictures of it before I gave it to her.  This is a phone pic that I had sent to Joanna and Dawn asking for their opinions on it.  Dawn suggested buttons and I did sew some on (after I took the photo).  I placed vintage white ones down the flowery red ribbon.

I sewed a metal ring to the top, just below the edge so it was hidden, for her to use in which to hang it.

I’m anticipating making another!  It was a perfect little project for my busy life, because it’s small, unfussy, there is no pattern…… it’s almost instant gratification.

Here are a few pictures of the photos which inspired me on pinterest:

THEY are handmade by MANDY PATULLO, and she calls them textile collage strippies





I LOVE them, they are so pretty and creative.  I’m thankful for the inspiration on pinterest and the blogging world!  In the spirit of such, how about (pretty please) sharing your favorite pinterest or blog links, featuring handmade crafty sorts of things,  in the comments?

Happy Wednesday, friends!

how to make homade slime (his own spelling)


What a great morning this has been, sun shining and so much accomplished like laundry, cleaning bedrooms, dishwashers, and matching tons and tons of socks.  I started a new photo album on FB of my church family, which I’ve wanted to do for a while.  And Sarah Joy had a bath.  She is feeling much better today for which we are thankful.  Everyone has had the stomach bug except Ethan and Rich, time will tell!

Aunt Colleen made an apron out of old blue jeans yesterday!  We were messaging on FB and she inspired me to make Sarah a purse out of the jeans I ripped when I fell on my knee.  Here are pictures:

The apron:


and the little purse made out of the back pockets sewn together back to back:



When Sarah woke up I gave her the purse and she said a soft “thank you, mama.”

Sewing is great but what about something else to make?  Like a science project?  I’m constantly growing mold in the fridge and the shower, but lately I’ve been in the mood to do something more challenging and this is the area in which Davy-do has become my inspiration.  Perhaps you too would like to do a simple science project.  How about homemade slime?

Here is Davy’s original recipe, with original spelling.  He was so kind to write it all up for the blog.

What you will need

1.   1 1/2 T. of elmers glue
2.  laundry detergent
3.  food coloring (optional but your choise of color.)
4.  water
5.  flour
6.  1 bowl

Steps!  Put your 1 1/2 tablespoons of glue in the bowl then pour 1/4 of a cup of water in it, then put 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent in it.  Next let it sit for 2 minutes, then pour it all out on a flat surface that you don’t want wet, quickly scoop up your slime and put in a small container, nows the time to put 2 drops of food coloring in it and store if you want it thicker add flour, the more you put in the thicker it will be.

I have so many questions!

And a few opinions.  One of which, as a mom, I do not suggest allowing the food coloring to be used.  It’s just really stressful.  Also, the laundry detergent is not a good idea.  My little scientist used so much that my hands felt funny after one touch of the slime….also, doing laundry now gives me flash backs to the slime situation, because of the aroma.  Other than that, you’re good to go with this one.

He moved on to recipes from outside sources, all of which used GEL & CLEAR ELMER’S GLUE(s) and borax.  I have gotten him about 7 containers of glue so far and he has had the most wonderful time making slime.  We have it in baggies and bowls all over the place but he still doesn’t let the little kids play with it. (he is very possessive of his slime!)   The recipe is here.



And/Or you can make a rubber egg.  This was sooooo weird.  He let the egg soak in vinegar all day long and the shell turned rubbery.  He loved his rubber egg so much but I accidentally dropped it on the floor after playing with it.  It broke, the dog ate it, and he will never let me hear the end of it.

IMG_6667 IMG_6666 IMG_6665 IMG_6664 IMG_6663


more information here.

Last but not least he has been making “instant ice” with FIGI bottled water.  He requested FIGI water one day and I forgot to get it at the store so after I dropped off Ethan at school I had to go to the store AGAIN because I was afraid of disappointing my little scientist.  Thankfully the local grocery store had it in stock.

Here is the fun explanatory video on “instant ice”: click here

Dave loves to watch youtube videos to inspire him to try different experiments.  I can’t wait to see what he tries next!