Summer Lessons

Summer is in full swing as we have been off school since the beginning of June. That’s cause we homeschool and I can entice the children to buckle down and finish so that they can be gloriously free for 3 months.

Burn the workbooks!

Turns out they don’t love freedom as much as I thought they would, and really struggled with the lack of structure to their day. I honestly have thought on more than on occasion that teaching them school is less work then sorting out their summer squabbles. But like learning to homeschool, I’m just learning how to run this summer ship and am not as experienced at it as I thought.

I really thought the kids would just play outside happily for endless hours and I have to drag their little butts in just to feed them and put them to bed. Like school day afternoons were, only now they get ALL DAY. Only turns out they are like this for only half a day and the rest of it they are sick of each other and of each others games.

Going out for half the day really helps. And summer chores. What are your favorite boredom busters for kids age 4-10? Active ones…. I have to force my kids to STOP reading and go play ūüėā

On a side note, these are some of the lessons and things I’ve been learning this summer:

  • 4 years is probably a bit long to leave cleaning the dangling kitchen lights.
  • Vacuuming is more entertaining with Ranger Si popping out from behind the couch with binoculars.


  • Veggies on the grill or baked in the oven are sweet and irresistible.
  • My neighbor friend who lets the kids ALL come play for hours is irreplaceable and is sweet mercy from heaven above- God bless that woman.
  • Turns out I’m not as bad at drawing as I thought I was, I just need to take sometime.
  • Pork Tenderloins on the BBQ are mouthwatering.
  • Jonas and Sammy are running around these days with knives slung on their belt loops, multi purpose jack knives in their pockets and lighters… but they also carry their own safety kits… and I’m good with it.
  • The bat population has been threatened by White Nose Syndrome (white fungus) so….. there is a possibility we will all die by mosquitoes.
  • Elise and Jonas are now better at making pancakes and salads than me.
  • My rooster, Captain Tom, could eat me for breakfast.
  • My husbands incredible patience teaching the kids to fish tugs at my heart in so many places.


  • Go camping with your mom, and you will hardly need to pack a thing.
  • Babies eventually turn four, but they still give cuddles and hugs.
  • I can still pull myself up onto a floating object from out of the water, and am somewhat tricky to remove from said object… keep trying kids.
  • Red is a fabulous toenail colour and this summer is no different then the rest in knowing Red is the best.
  • If I ran uphill to the outhouse every time I or Si had to go to the washroom EVERYDAY I would have a lean bod. (Theory was tested for a few short days at the cabin) ((I say bod instead of body because it sounds so cool- and my kids probably think it’s a word now….))
  • An empty fridge stresses me… but so does a really full fridge.
  • Jesus loves me a whole crazy lot- but I gotta choose to believe it and live like I do.
  • Si just turned four and plays his drums everyday. So I roughly have 5,110 days of listening to it left…. unless he’s still at home at 18.
  • Mushrooms can grow bigger than your head.

Well thanks for listening to my rambles, hope your having a fantastic summer, and don’t forget to leave me with your boredom busters… or summer dinners, could totally use those too ūüėú

Just off the Beaten Path

Wednesday of this week I dropped my daughter off at gymnastics and had time to spend with just the boys. After an errand, I told them we were going to go for a little walk on the river walk, just to the Medal Caterpillar and then back. It wasn’t far- so they were game. We parked where our town has a large medal steam shovel and the boys groaned and physically itched at the sign telling them not to play or climb on it. I’d ignore the sign, but that particular sign (on that side) was literally put there for us. A year ago my kids were all over the twelve foot structure, dangling from every limb when we drew the attention of a stressed city employee. I told the truth when I explained that I hadn’t see the sign on the other side of the structure…. and… well now there are two signs. One on each side. And I’m very aware of both.

It’s a deep loss for my kids and they grieve it upon every visit.

So after passing said grieving site, we came on the next medal structure- A pump and broiler. “It has no NO PLAY signs!” Sammy squealed. “Right?” He can’t read all the words but the one sign looked way friendlier and the sign was clearly up high. The “No play” signs tend to be down low. “Can we mom?!”

So while the boys climbed on the broiler, I gazed out at the river beyond the path I was on. I saw people down by the water in the distance. I called to the boys and we stepped off the path. We wandered down across a lawn and through some bushes to the rivers shore. We made our way along the rocks talking about all sorts of boy things and just enjoying the incredible fresh views.

We worked our way from the Frazer river shore over to the aqua waters of the Quesnel river where we noticed the river rock size changed.

We even made it in time to watch the train rumble it’s way over the tracks.

And all I could think of as we explored and were smitten with the beauty around us- is how many times I’ve walked that path and never done this.

Then today as we wound our way home along a path we often take through the woods, we took a deer path we’d tried, but oh so long ago, and found a old dump site. We’d looked down the wreckage of cars and dumped pails in that pit before- but today we followed Jonas and Sammy down into it. To explore.

Treasures are all in the eyes of the beholder. My kids excitedly brought each one they found to me for approval of its value. When they started pleading to bring their rusty treasures home, I directed their enthusiasm to building a drum kit that we could come play. Right here. In the woods. We could even bring our friends to show. And oddly enough I, the adult, was the only one who came out of there with a rusted treasure I wanted to bring home… an old lantern.

And then like a mix between Sound of Music and the Trashing the camp song from Tarzan- my babies were playing me beats. With good old fashioned imaginations and a pit of treasures.

To think if we hadn’t veered of the path yet again we would have missed it all. I struggle with just doing things thinking “because they worked good once, let’s just do it again.” Also with finding safety in what I know. But there is something in me keen for adventure, and every now and then it convinces the safe predictable side of me to step off the beaten path. To go somewhere on a whim, pull over on the side of the road and go see, try something tricky, or new, or listen to a crazy kid suggestion.

Adventure doesn’t always have to be something you have to save money for. Sometimes it’s just stepping out of normal.

Like who rides a sled down a sand hill?

Um we do.

The very top picture of this blog is a sign I managed to create for our kitchen this week. It’s a reminder to me to look for life’s adventures and say “yes” to them. And to trust that God’s got so much more for those willing to step off the beaten path and trust Him with all the unknowns.

Parenting… why so… Important?

So a young friend of mine messages me asking for help with answering a question for her project. “Why is parenting the most important job in the world?”

For you parents, you can see how this is such a huge question. You know its so important! But why? I mean, someone will raise your children if you don’t, but why is it important that you do?
I thought about what our Pastor said on Sunday about our children not needing our money. That parents get caught in the trap of working more to pay for things to make their kids happier. But that kids need us. Their parents.
They need our love.
Gosh, it’s such a small amount of their lives they are impressionable enough to understand our deep love for them. (Like look at teenagers- need I say more?)
So here’s what I came up with in answer to her question;

Love is the greatest influence.
Loving enough to care for a child,
teach a child,
discipline and show right to.
Loving them enough to ask forgiveness when you show them wrong.
Loving them enough to take the time, your time,
to raise them.
To pray for them.
To play with them.
Being there enough to be an example.
Feed them God’s word,
and try to instruct them in ways that will develop good character.
And hoping by showing them love,
and caring for their needs,
they will one day go on to do the same.

Oh man, if you could have seen my parenting day today!! I need this encouragement BAD. Some days, today being one of them, I feel so frustrated with the children… and know lots of hard work and changes need to be made in order to fix the problem circuit that just keeps running wrong. Daily. I want to complain (OK i actually want to rant about my children’s bad behavior) and give up (after all I’m only one little me, how much fighting, crying and whining can one person take?). But writing and thinking about this parenting question makes me consider the incredible importance of my job.
Discipline, Order, here we come. (Please take the time to wait for us.)
And God, can you please take BOTH my hands? (I wish you offered piggy backs…)

So to all you parents out there. Don’t give up. Don’t pull away.
You’ve got the most important job in the world.
And you weren’t asked to do it alone.
The guy who birthed the stars, parted the waters from the dry ground, pulled life from dust, and cares for even the fallen sparrows-
can handle tantrums.
Be of hope.

Seemingly Backwards

It’s this crazy seemingly backwards thing that I’m learning. My nature resists the proofs of this thing and resorts to what it knows best- selfishness, comfort. And yet something in my mind is slowly coming around and can’t help but see this ‘seemingly backwards’ jem as truth.

I’d had a tough week. With my husband starting out his new business, he was home less. Especially in the evenings. I’d grown accustom to his adult presence in my day of children. 12 hrs of me being mother, school ¬†teacher, discipliner, referee, cook, cleaner, driver, listener… was wearing on me. In fact I was feeling pretty sorry for myself right around Friday night. (Earlier in the day I’d attempted to do some “quick” errands with them all in town… walking…) I mentally felt even more sorry for myself that I didn’t have family in town to help my load. And I prayed/ pleaded/ blamed God.

I’d been trying all week to seek “me time”. I need it for my sanity... or so I thought. I’d seek it out whenever I could, thinking my happiness was in some self- fufilling quality me time.

If I’m honest I got lots of short breaks, that I filled with Facebook and other useless pleasures. But I still felt sorry for myself. I didn’t feel happy. Surly this is a problem needing attention.

Sam was able to make it home for a late dinner Friday night but then told me he had to head back out for a bit. I’d dreamed of leaving him with the children and going hot tubbing and sitting in the sauna at the pool that evening. After a sigh, for the sake of sanity, I quickly asked if I could just go for a short walk first.

Which I did.

As I walked I saw kids outside on a  neighboring street and thought of my own children full of energy and wildness tearing about the place at home. I decided the dark and cold were not reasons to stop them from going out to burn off some of that energy before bed.

I’m not sure how it happened, I think it was maybe that my two year old wanted to go outside as well. But instead of locking the door on them and indulging in that precious time all to my glorious self… I found myself whizzing down the hill with them on a sled.

We made trains (which the leader tricked me and took my poor adult butt over a jump), we did bumper cars, pulling and pushing and jumping on others sleds. And my toddler walked up the little hill himself like 10 times and never even mentioned his mitts (can all the moms give me a hallelujah?) and he road contently down with me cuddled in my lap. And the very oddest thing happened-


Yes, I felt so alive and full of such simple joy playing with my children! Those 4 little beings I was trying to avoid… we’re fixing my unhappiness as I spent time goofing around with them.

I eventually took Si (my toddler) in to get ready for bed and then washed up the dinner dishes to the sound of the kids laughing in the yard.

That’s so weird. I thought. Why did that make me feel better than I have all week?

Here it is. That crazy seemingly backwards thing I was talking about. I took time to PLAY with my children, not just care for all their many needs… but enjoy them. And I was filled up. I became satisfied.

I think it’s easy, nature, to think happiness is hidden in doing things for ourselves. But it isn’t. The proof is all around us if we think about it. It’s seemingly backwards, but joy is found in enjoying others. Caring for their interests, not just our own.

When we give of ourselves, we take joy in the other persons pleasure at receiving our gift.

Alone time is good, and healthy, don’t get me wrong. But it shouldn’t be my daily goal. “I” should not be my daily goal. Because, however seemingly backwards it seems

loving others is loving ourselfs.

But after all, we were made in the image of someone who defined love. Said love was that he sent his only son to die… for us… while we were still ungrateful little sinners. The most selfless act in all of history. To be a God that can whisper a word and save yourself from all the pain, all heart wrenching pain, and yet CHOOSE to remain and take all our sin on his back. To be made nothing… or worse, treated like a criminal and a lair. For what?


And when my King rose again, 3 days later, after making the way for us all to be free from our death demanding sin… paying the only price that would ever need to be paid… let me tell you-

he was happy. Oh so happy.

Yes sometimes my kids throw toys at each others heads or argue over who once said that doll was heavy but “I never said that!!” and you wonder how they can fight over seriously, nothing. But they also draw me pictures, say thank you when I help them, snuggle me with stories on the couch, laugh and say the darnedest of things. And as I care for them and give of myself in so many ways for them… they grow, stay alive, become intelligent, kind, and loving of those around them. And oh! They do bring me so much happiness.

It’s easy to get sucked into the woes of ME. But that ME needs to remember- the cure to that is





Philippians 2:4
 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
1 John 4:9-12
 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Messes and Roots


I go to grab milk out of the fridge and slip on an empty container on the floor my toddler pulled out. I then go to use the bathroom (that I just cleaned) and grimace as i look at the hand print smears on the mirror and dirt splatters all over the sink.
In the coat room jackets and splash pants drip puddles onto the entrance floor. Gum boots, snow boots, dress boots, runners, hikers, shoes, booties and slippers¬†are piled in mounds, their patterned trails dotting the floor to the door. Mitts crowd for space on the¬†house heating vents. And the laundry room greedily accepts puddle drenched clothing ignoring it’s Max capacity.
All the while my toddler continues with his interior design methods throughout the house.

And I…

Contemplate taking the children, and dumping all their dresser drawers in the mud puddle out front- to just skip right to the outcome. Muddy Mess. Throwing all the jackets, footwear, mitts and house mats on top.
No wait… maybe the kids on top.
Then I’d just go ahead and clean the house and

smell it.

Gaze upon its cleanliness.

Bask in its clutter-less peace.

Lets be honest… I’d go berserk with boredom.

Besides, I’d probably have to go out and get those children off the mud pile. I can’t go long without missing all those¬†squishy love hugs that remedy my day.

But here’s my analogy.
Some days I feel like the house.
That I can’t keep myself together, or in order. That I can’t keep up with shrugging off the burdens tossed on me, the pressures and circumstances scattered across my floor. That my glass keeps getting smudgy and I’m having a hard time focusing on Truths.

And in it all I’m learning deep things. Slowly. Painfully. But it’s also freeing.

Where are the roots of my tree planted? My roots. Are they in shallow dry ground? Will I be easily uprooted in a storm? Do circumstances, people, and my feelings hold me and sustain me? Or is it God- with his cool deep running water that I have to reach my little roots down for? He tells me He has a plan for my life, and that He can give me everything I need for that plan. That He’s enough. He’s always there and is unchanging. If my roots are in Him and His truths then every storm that comes my way will only make me stronger.
Did you know trees need wind to grow strong? That there was a study done where they grew trees in a very large greenhouse (Biosphere 2) without wind. Although the trees shot up fast and tall, they then fell from their own weight. They were weak.

So I’m working on my roots. Yanking on the shallow ones and trying to retrain them. So that my peace and joy in life isn’t dependent on my kids, my husband, my friends, my home, healthy dinners, our money, homeschool successes, or¬†less messes. But instead they’re wrapped tight around the unchanging Jesus¬†and His promises.

I’m by no means there; deep rooted and standing tall. But i’m determined to not be a measly tumble weed that just tucks and rolls at life’s blows.


Words are like small candies.


“Don’t just fob it off on me!”
My friend used this word the other day at the Homeschool moms table.
Ya, a bunch of us cool moms steal all the chairs at the recenter and sit around a table socializing while our children take swimming lessons.
People always worry about children getting enough socializing.
Peeps! What about their Mamma’s?
Seriously, hanging around the same small children everyday- think of all the nerdy things we could pick up…
Anyways, fob.
I’d never heard of it before. It was wonderfully new.
I love new words.
They are like small candies on your tongue. First¬†the taste surprises you. Then you keep sucking on it, intrigued by the flavor. You try it with a different one and get a satisfying result. And then…. you can’t get enough of it. Till accidentally, you over eat of the same flavor and it becomes dull… and familiar.
And so

you need a new word.

So what’s an interesting word you like to use? Or just recently learned?
Tell me.

Fob is tasty, and if you haven’t tried it- go for it friend.
But I’m in need of a new one.

Day O’

The First Year¬†I homeschooled all my books for the curriculum I was to teach my grade one student I received in- September. Ya no summer planning, as I didn’t realize how long it would take for the books to come in. I remember sitting at the table late at night weeping over the stack of un-cracked books slamming my forehead onto the stack pleading with God to let it all telepathically go into my brain. That I would just somehow know HOW to homeschool.20160220-151014.jpg

Everyone that homeschools says you just find your own way, and that the beauty is that you can make your own plans for how you want to go about it. But this felt like being thrown in a dance show told ‘whatever type of dance you choose will be perfect’, but you’ve never danced in your life.

Then a kind Mom in Summerland (where we were living),with four kids, invited us out to her orchard and hobby farm where she homeschooled.
Out of everything she said, telling me that she did Math and English everyday, with socials and science at least once a week- was the biggest help.

So that’s still what we do.

This might not interest you, but man I would have loved a small glimpse into someone else’s homeschooled life when I started out.
So here you have it.
If you didn’t read already, our Morning is in this last post-¬†A Day. Meet Morning.

After Bible in the morning
we do
Read, write, do spelling, webs, flash cards, poems…. you get the idea. Most of this happens when my 7 month old has his morning nap. The kids tend to do their work at the kitchen counter. Which works awesome for me as I can then unload, and re load the dishwasher, make food, wash things, and escape to do laundry and vacuuming returning for any questions. It’s a lot easier this year too as Jonas, who’s in grade two, loves reading and can read all his own work as well as his sisters when she forgets what she is suppose to be doing.
Then its OUTSIDE! Yep we may have more winter months here in Quesnel, but they are snow filled fun winter months and there is lots for the kids to do on our little acre. This is where they burn off all their energy. Other wise you might as well just tie a whistle around your neck and referee silliness, fighting, and over all distracted(-ness??) and get little school work done.
They play till lunch. Me and the babe usually join them at some point and we often go for a walk.
Lunch. I fear I have a repertoire of four lunch meals. I will never be remembered as “the lady who made great lunches”.
Then as soon as they clear their dishes away
Math happens right before nap/ quiet time. So if the kids want to watch their 20 min show (they rotate turns picking off Netflix) they have to have all their math work done, and (depending on the day) the living-room, playroom, or kitchen tidied.
And lets be honest here.
I nap.
After my recharge I do all the one-on-one teaching while the baby is still sleeping. Or we do projects.
By the way, baking with your children and getting them to do all the labor so you can enjoy cookies- is an Applied Skill.
We also do science and socials here. The kids have different science curriculums, so that takes time. Socials we have this awesome curriculum about Ancient times were doing right now that is written like one big story with projects and questions. Both the kids love it (so do I) and I just simplify questions for Elise who is in Kindergarten, and don’t make her take the tests.
Art is in everything we do. Really. My kids are like me. If there is a project or an art page attached to the end of this lesson- were good.
My floors always have stray beads, feathers, glitter, string, paper clippings, and dry noodles scattered about. When the weather gets nice my vacuum breaths a sigh of relief as we spend a lot more of our time out at the picnic table in the yard.
When school ends I kick the kids outside again, or we go somewhere in the van.

There you have it.
Everyday is so different, but there is the outline.
I love having my children home. It’s worth all the extra work. They are my buds, my best friends. I love learning with them, and sharing in the excitement of knowledge.
Things arnt perfect, teacher sick days suck, and I have loads to learn. But isn’t that part of the adventure of life?



Till next time.

A Day. Meet Morning.

Morning starts with the creak of Sammy’s bedroom door. “Morn’n time Momma?!”

“Yes Sammy. You can get up.”

And the pounding of his feet as he makes a mad dash to the bathroom.

Next I hear squealing coming from across the hall. It’s Baby Silas. Little chubs wakin up happy. I peel back the covers and throw myself into morning. I open the door and cross the hall, a streaker passes by me- Sammy- on the way back from the bathroom off to go get dressed. Sammy, three, is always first dressed.

I go in to see Silas, His legs THUMP THUMP against his crib mat in excitement at the sight of me. More squeals emanate from his mouth.
“Morning Squeeky!” I raise him up to my lips and satisfy their need to kiss. We head for the change table in the room as the Princess stirs in her bed. My five-year-old pushes her self up in her bed with a halo of wispy blond hairs sticking up all over her head.

“Oh… I just fell asleep! I was awake ALL night…” she always says.

Funny how I retrieved the screaming baby 3 times in the night from her room and her body stayed cocooned in blankets and sleep. Hand dangling from the edge of the bed in a deep slumber.

“Morning Elise.”

She shrugs off her ‘sleepless night’ and pipes up “I can babysit Silas for you while you get dressed!”

Finishing with the baby I deposit him into the depths of the pink and purple sister bed. Where he is fawned over in high pitched squeaky tones and thoroughly entertained. I love having older helpers. Certain things ARE easier with more kids.

I cross back through the hall into my own room, as all the bedrooms are nestled close upstairs.

I don’t have to worry about waking Jonas. Sammy does a thorough job of that each morning as the two share a room. You can hear them chatting to eachother and joking around between the slamming of their dresser drawers.

We tend to all meet at the neck of the stairs and funnel our way down to the kitchen where breakfast commences.

Breakfast is a tad chaotic.

In the center of the storm my six month old sits in his Bumbo on the island pleased with all the busyness, occasionally opening for the spoon of banana that comes his way, but always seeking after everyone else’s food.

I go though spurts of trying to remedy the breakfast crazies. But for the most part it stays unorganized and filled with too many food options.

After breakfast, however, Jonas goes and gets our bible study, and we read the word of the Lord. It brings things back to order, and encourages us for the day. For without Jesus at the center, I fall short. By a long shot. Sometimes I get carried away in the morning with the baby, laundry, messes, breaking up arguments, or diving into projects that need to get done.
And things unravel.
I need the memory verses we learn from the bible to get me through the day, just as much as the kids.

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

Sometimes my FAIL at what were learning IS the lesson of the day.
Me-“I’m sorry, that wasn’t very kind or compassionate what I said… was it? I should have told you how to do that better without saying those hurtful things. Will you forgive me?”

And they always do.

God never called me to homeschool because I got my crap together. If anything it was to show me that I would drowned in my own strength.

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2

Jesus is that rock. I have to daily cling to Him and pray that he uses me, unaccomplished and a bit of a basket case at times, to impart wisdom.
And that’s the crazy cool part.
The kids learn really amazing things. And it’s not from all the mad skills their teacher has. It’s cause Jesus uses that weak teacher to show his glory.

Yep it’s a pretty sweet deal.

****Stay tuned for how our average school day unfolds****


Keeping Afloat

This morning Silas screamed, and the kids fought, trying to shout their complaints to me OVER the screaming baby. Sammy took it all to his advantage and destroyed all the creations of the other children.
I wanted to do Social Studies with the kids and yet all I could do was try to settle my baby.
Then with time, I was able to read half the lesson jiggling Silas, and the other half once he was asleep.
Now the Nomads are in the tree house “cave” eating their forged lunches to the sound of pattering rain. Laughing that the cheese could actually be animal fat or orange fish that they caught.
And like always- I had thought how can I possibly teach school when they are already this bad?… but then as soon as they are learning and working away at something they become SO much better.
And it’s… easier??
I’m still finding my groove with Homeschool. Cause it once again got changed by my daughter entering kindergarten and my youngest being born.

I’m very thankful that God is a “Kid and Baby Person” .
By this I mean He wont flee when everybody’s screaming.
He has so much love for us, no matter our moods.
And He is full of insight in all things, dropping wisdom my way to my everyday puzzles.
Like reminding me yesterday that my baby might just be over tired due to no longer being able to sleep through noise. .. and to try napping him in his own room.
Or that my Oldest would be motivated by a competitive game to teach him to get his food in his mouth without mess. And I wont have to spend meals nagging.
Truly, in the kayos of life, with its weird sleeping patterns, I know that these small but wise clear thoughts are from the Lord.
And OH how I need him.
Mothering is not for the quitter or weak.
Homeschooling isn’t either..
So since on my own power Im both- it’s sure good He’s with me and in me.

Christ in me, the hope of Glory.
Colossians 1:27


What Counts


This Sunday in church my pastor said something that stuck with me.

“God’s more interested in your Character than your comfort.”

That sums up homeschooling for me right now.

IMG_0090 Homeschooling with a Toddler

Thought I’d get out the paper clips to help with Math this morning.
Sure glad I bought the box with 200.