Category Archives: Nature

A Full Season of Fall Decor

Do you remember how I went kicking and screaming into Autumn in the past? Well, this year I decided I’d decorate early (on the first day of fall) in order to try to embrace the change. (Not to mention we had a really hard summer and I was itching for the relief I hoped fall winds would bring.)

I did a little. Of course, they look prettier in the evening, but I just didn’t get around to taking those shots. Just imagine.

I have to admit it did feel odd having out pine cones and pumpkins while it was still in the 90’s. And next year I will probably wait until the leaves outside start to change and the temperatures drop. But I’m proud of myself for stepping out and changing things up a bit. I know it’s small and silly, but it shows I’m not entirely set in my ways.

Learning IS Fun!

We use workbooks for language arts, writing, reading, spelling, and math. I’m not a workbook kind of girl, but they cover clearly and concisely what my children need to learn in these subjects. And let’s face it, how exciting is it really to teach prepositional phrases? But every once in a while get stuck in a workbook rut.

We were stuck in one of these said ruts so we packed up and headed to the zoo. Each child chose an animal to observe and study in anticipation of learning more about it in the coming week.

Brooke chose the zebra.

(Love those slippers!)

Brad chose the leopard.

(Love his use of color in his acrylic.)

Brian chose the elephant.

(I guess you could call that a self portrait.)

Breanna chose the chimpanzee.

Cute as those chimps can be, they don’t come close to the cuteness of this little one who changed into her dance recital costume to make her presentation sparkle.

I don’t mind ruts if this is what they inspire.

Today we studied the big yellow ball in the sky. Then we watched Louie Giglio’s “Indescribable” account of the heavens.

We were inspired to create this masterpiece!

God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.” –Genesis 1:16-19


We live near a beautiful waterfall.

Today we braved the heat and hiked down to it with some good friends.

It was a pretty awesome day!

God’s Gift Farm

Maybe you’ve seen their miniature horses at the Harford Farm Fair. Sweet little baby things you just want to pick up and hold.

Our friend invited us to come squeeze them at her farm. She let us squeeze on a few other softies as well.

Seems some of our clan might like to defect.

Yeah, I’d say she’s pretty squeezable.

After lunc, the call to adventure came from this mysterious place.

Of course, I, the level-headed, no-nonsense mommy, was more drawn to this inviting space.

Thank you, Winnie and family, for such a magical day.

New Approach to Household Chores: Hats

To tell you the truth, I was getting a little bored with the way we were taking care of the house. Not so much the getting clean part, but the “You have to do it because you live here,” line. So I decided to add a little spunk for the summer. Now we have four roles, represented by four different hats, for the children.

The Chef

This child (I still need to find a cheap kids’ chef hat…maybe Ikea?) gets to help choose the week’s meals, shop with me, and prepare dinners (which coincidentally relieves them of setting or clearing the table because if you cook you get out of those). She keeps the kitchen clean (and the nearby living and dining rooms since they’re all together). If she does a particularly excellent job, she gets to go out for a treat with mom or dad.

The Caretaker

I didn’t want to give such power by calling this the Third Parent, but this child does things similar to what only Mom and Dad can do (thus he dons an Ironbirds ballcap). He feeds and waters the dog, cleans the bathroom, and sorts the laundry. Sounds like a terrible role, right? Only this one gets to help walk the dog and stay up late one night during the week. Doesn’t matter how scummy the toilets are, they’re worth staying up late.

The Social Planner

Oh yeah, get out the plastic fruit covered hat! This child keeps the family room (where we take guests) and play room (where we keep the boxed fun) neat and tidy. She also plans family night, organizes dinner games, chooses our playdate for the week, and sets the dinner table. For a job well-done, she is invited to play a game ALONE (you know what a treat that is if you have four children) with mom or dad. This is, inevitably, the coveted position. Sometimes the kids have to beg for their hat back from me.

The Steward

This child, after donning the official gardening hat (okay, I don’t make the boys wear it), gets to help with all the “green” chores. He empties the compost bin, puts the recycling in plastic bags, takes out the trash, and water the gardens. (He also sets the dinner table–how that fits in, I’m not sure, but we needed someone to do it.) In celebration for a job well done, he gets a walk with mom or dad (which leaves zero carbon footprint).

Here are some photos of our first Steward. (She’s not too fond of the hat.)

Strawberry Picking

Last year we missed it. This year we weren’t chancing it, even if it meant letting new little friends pick out of our buckets.

They called for rain, but we got a wonderfully cool overcast day.

The perfect day for sneaking in a few red ones.

Don’t be jealous, blueberries. We’re coming for you next week.

Our Garden

My favorite part of gardening is my journal.

Well, and the fresh veggies. But that’s so obvious.

I started a journal last year, and it’s been such a joy to record our progress in it. Something about putting things down in black ink makes it worthy of sharing. I think this year I’ll print out photos and tuck them in randomly. Like this one of my precious six year old watering our cucumbers and squash.

I seriously would love to continue this gardening journal for the rest of my life. Call me weird. But God has taken me from despising dirt to longing to dig my fingers into its warmth and grittiness.

In fact, I like mygardening journal so much, I’m up after midnight taking photos of it and telling you about it.

Sorry I can’t make you a salad with my veggies instead. This is the best I can do long-distance. Bon Appetit.