Sunday, August 31, 2008


we love Apologia science books... this year we're going to try to accomplish both astronomy and botany. we did some projects in the evening, with daddy, this week... more fun that way! isaac is quite the little student, and his siblings are great teachers. using balloons to create the solar system...

...i love that i married a man who will willingly hang volleyballs-turned-"the sun" from our dining room ceiling...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

my man made me a killer breakfast in bed and my "littles" delivered me custom cards... all my family spoiled me with cards and gifts... my sackett in-laws spoiled me in-person with a girls-only afternoon out (manicures and pedicures, panera!) and dad's killer chocolate madness cake! and i love facebook - never had so many birthday wishes!! thank you everyone!


i often watch them together and think how blessed they are to have each other - i hope they realize it as they grow! it wasn't till we "got all grown up" that my sister and i regained, and surpassed, the friendship only sisters can have... Lord, let it be maintained in my little ones!

Theology lesson...

as he chomps on his pb&j, E asks me... (at 5) "mom, the people that love Jesus, when they have babies in their tummies, are their babies belonging to Jesus, too? i mean, when they come out of their moms' tummies, are they Christians?" then he follows with, "mom, if there is anyplace i can live, i wanna live in Heaven, so Jesus can teach me all the time and stuff." thus follows a discussion on age of accountability, longing for eternity... and some think we're "just teaching little kids."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Do The Next Thing

"At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, 'Do the next thing.'

Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Do the next thing."

-oft quoted by Elisabeth Elliot

My Spa Is Evolving

A few months back we discovered an old (cancelled, my Dave Ramsey friends...) credit card that had "points" on it. Redeeming those for Home Depot gift cards allowed us to purchase this GORGEOUS slate. Little by little, my STUD is building us a spa retreat. This weekend, he discovered that by using remnants, he can create a custom floor for NOTHING - well, nothing but a "little" serious tile cutting. As you can see, he's got great help.
Actuually, our oldest two boys have been fabulous at cleaning the tiles so Daddy can install them.
Next step, we've decided to open up our pocket-door to create a bed-and-breakfast style open layout. Mmmm... steamy mommy-alone-time awaits.

The Riches of My Father's House

...therefore i say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. are you not much better than they?... matthew 6:25-26
all this for $21.45. yes, my Abba has spiritual riches beyond my dreams. but look at how He pours out His blessings on our physical needs.

Monday, August 18, 2008


we tried a beach day with some good friends last week... thought we'd have to cancel with thunder and sprinkles... but we stuck it out, and it was worth the wait. cool breezes, just enough gray cloud cover that we skipped the sunscreen this once. isaac enjoyed eating great handfuls of sand, and we got a whole two hours of glorious kid-play-and-mom-chat time. which was GREAT, since we're gearing up for a hurricane! our home happens to be level one evacuation, so it'll be interesting to see if we're "outta here" for a few days!

sweet friends.

our dear pastor's daughter and her tru love will marry this december. what a fun day they gave me yesterday!! see more at the photography site...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Digital Homeschool Helps

Remember I promised I'd be reviewing some products for The Old Schoolhouse? Well, I finally got my digital version of the magazine. I say finally, because now that I have it, I realize I've been waiting for something good. This is the same educational, inspirational The Old Schoolhouse, but it's in a fully interactive, full-color format for your computer. You can turn the pages, zoom in, search topics and archives, and even email articles to a select group of friends. And you can go back and view articles; best of all (yes, honey, I'm really trying this year, despite the current state of the counters and couches!!) it doesn't end up in a pile on your kitchen counter or (am I really admitting this online?) in the basket in the bathroom you think you might inhabit ALONE at some point in your near future!

Some features I'm excited about in this issue?
Seven Reasons to Get Up and Out
(I needed this in the hot Florida summer), an encouraging article with tips on spending time with your kids in nature, is a great article. I am challenged to be more Christlike in my mothering by
Never Alone
, a powerful article from a single mom homeschooling three. My kids have been asking lots of questions about our rights and God's protection during a time of increased pressure on homeschool families by state governments.
The Homeschool Watch
features timely info that will be helpful to me both in teaching them, and in encouraging other moms in the journey.
So, my "review" of this product? It's great, and I can't wait for my next issue!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Super-Cool Digital Planner

I have been looking for "the perfect planner pages," and I may just have found them! As a homeschooler, one has specific needs in a planner; our job covers the home, the education (read: books, curriculum, schedule, evaluations, possibly grading, and on and on...), the nurturing of a husband/wife and children... around the clock. The Old Schoolhouse's new digital planner, TheHomeschoolPlanner, is a printable download that is rich with both essential and "wish-list" planning elements, as well as fun "extras" for your school.
The planner holds a variety of different themes with helps to create a virtually complete unit study, or accent your planned course of study. For example, if you focus on US History, TheSchoolhousePlanner includes a complete text of several major original US documents, a list of states and capitols, the presidents, and more! There are helpful articles by well-known homeschool speakers and writers on everything from enriching your science education to chore training tips. You can even print a measurement equivalent or kitchen conversions chart - oh yeah, my chefs are all over this one.
Some of the record-keeping resources include nature journal, book list log, unschool record keeping, a 12-year planner, and a daily grade log. Household gems include featured recipes each month, a household appliances record, gift budget, really, YOU NAME IT, it's in here.
In addition, the planner pages are bright with clean and simple, but whimsical graphics (perfect for those of us who need visual stimulation to make our pages "fun" and entice us to actually look at them), but you can print them in black and white if you prefer. Best of all, it's digital, so you only print what you need, and you can go back to it as often as you like.
I was looking for planner pages that would be my "all-in-one" notebook this year. It will stay open on our school table and we'll be able to find all kinds of goodies, along with our essential records. This planner will, in essence, become my household notebook and my "Mom's Homeschool Portfolio" in one. My studly man will appreciate it greatly if, as I hope, this helps reduce the "piles" I've got scattered around our little universe.
I've gotta say, I planned to just give you a little blurb of this product I received, and I've written you an ad... I can't help it. TheSchoolhousePlanner has it all. In case I've enticed you, here's your link:
Happy planning!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

love and marriage...

tonight i had the opportunity to photograph this super-cute couple. it was a lot of fun just sharing in the obvious love they have for each other. it occurred to me on my long drive home (ALONE!!!) that the reason i have fallen so "in love" with photography is that it gives one the opportunity to share intimacy, at times, with complete strangers. much of life is spent brushing shoulders with people whose hearts we sadly don't connect to, and whose eyes we probably never notice. tonight i was thankful for a little taste of the kind of unencumbered fellowship i think our Father meant us to share with one another here in the shadowlands, and for the trust shared to capture, on camera, the building commitment of a man to a woman.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


this morning my husband worked from home and had a meeting with some neighbors regarding neighborhood improvements. long about math time, he called to say there were MANATEES in the canal behind our home. needless to say, we yanked poor isaac from his nap and went running! you can't see much from these photos, but we had to share our excitement, anyway. they're really massive animals, and very docile. i tried to get my foot in the shot so you could see just how close they were. there were at least six - it looked to be at least one momma/baby pair, and they swam and played right up to and under the dock we sat on. our Papa is such a show-off, and a WAAAAYY better science teacher than i am!

first things FIRST.

we started school "again" last week. (if you know me, i'm always starting again - i've decided that's just part of schooling year-round. which is nice. because new beginnings are awesome.) anyway, after a summer of crazy running around and having lots of friends and family to visit, we're finally settling in, and we like it, a lot.
funny, i hear lots of kids moaning and dreading "school starting" in a week or two, and while i've certainly been there (read my previous post!), i've discovered that being "in school" for this homeschooling family brings a beautiful rhythm to our daily life.
it's amazing how rhythm and routine go hand-in-hand. "routine" sounds so mundane, and kind of scares me with its unspoken expectations, but "rhythm" sounds so beautiful and artistic; much more to my liking. yet you really can't have the rhythm without the routine. as we puttered and rushed and wandered and flew through this summer, i noticed the days were missing some of their beauty and sweetness. but as we begin to build back into "now it's history read-aloud time," and "it's time for quiet time," i'm noticing even my children began to relax and settle into the day, and enjoy its beauty. for instance, my j, who always sends me running to the Throne (oh, goodness, i mean the Heavenly one, not the porcelain one!), seems to have a calm about him this week. he really looks forward to snuggling on the couch to read together, or camping on his favorite air mattress hideout for an hour of lord of the rings all to himself. matter of fact (and this is nothing new) they all often ask me, "is it quiet time yet? can i go read/play/listen to the (florida late-afternoon) thunder?" and can you believe, they're checking the cabinet list to see what to make for breakfast today, and starting their math assignments on their own?! well, a couple days, at least. but there's something MUCH sweeter i've noticed.
as i mentioned a few days back, it's been a bit "dry" around here, spiritually speaking. my Papa reminded me that even though history and grammar and logic and math and science and stuff are all very important, they pale in comparison to the importance of HIM - and of daily meeting with Him and bringing my children with me. so we've come back where we belong, starting every morning on the couches and rug in the living room, with our Bibles, reading aloud to each other and discussing what God's saying. i determined that baby-nursing-season and keeping my wee-small-hours computer time wasn't conducive to early rising, so each afternoon i'm attempting to meet Abba on the couch and read from Him. noting also that #4 is getting into some trouble at quiet time when he really needs to nap a few days, i brought him in to camp on the other couch. well, somewhere about day three, i got everyone else settled and came into the living room to find my pillow, a throw blanket, and my Bible neatly stacked on one end of "my" couch, while E snuggled on the other, "playing possum," as if he'd had no part in setting up my little Chapel.
oh, God, how awesome are you? please, let this legacy be the one You leave through my broken, inconsistent mommy-ing. teach me, call me, draw me to put
first things first.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Starting school make you feel crazy???

I'm super excited about getting back to "school..." the kids are even more so. But the organizing side of me (STOP LAUGHING, sweet husband!) is a bit in a panic. The "stuff" needs help getting planned so that we get to all the cool stuff we want to experience this year!
Well, I've been "trying out" to join a focus group to review products for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Recently, I've been invited to participate in a review of two super cool products they're offering for purchase. The first is the online addition of their magazine. For those not familiar with it, The Old Schoolhouse is a fantastic magazine filled with ideas and encouragement for homeschool families. They always offer neat curriculum reviews, and tons of articles that are just the balm a teaching momma's heart needs at the end (or the beginning!) of a long, hard day at work. (And for my teaching dad friends, there's a ton of cool stuff for you, too.)
The second is The Schoolhouse Planner; I'm dying to get my hands on this one. It seems a jam-packed digital storehouse of forms and tips you can reproduce as needed for your own school.
I'll be receiving both these items soon - check back here for my review... just in time to kick off the new school year!