Looking out my window…  a windy fall day with partly sunny skies.  I wish we got more fall colors here, but it seems the leaves just turn brown as they fall off the trees.  I do see one tree with dark red leaves across the field but it almost blends into the roof of the building it is next to.


I am thankful… For a good weekend celebrating Scott’s birthday.  For his birthday gift the kids gave him things to put in a hobbit gift of an Operation Christmas Child shoebox.

occ-boys occ-girls

One of my favorite things… pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting.  Yum!

I am creating… a newsletter.  It’s all done except for a paragraph or two for Scott to write.  So, hopefully it will be done and completed sometime this next month.

I am wearing… blue jeans and an old red shirt with apple embroidered on it that I got back when we were newlyweds.

I am hearing… pages flipping, dryer buzzing, faucet dripping, Kara humming, Lydia coughing.

I am reading… The Prince and the Pauper to the kids.  Most of the Old English dialogue is of course going right over their heads, but since they’ve just spent the last hour dressing up and playing kings and queens I think it’s having the desired effect.

From the kitchen… almost done processing this year’s harvest from the garden.  The 8th and final canner load of veggies is done.  Now I need to freeze the Hubbard and Butternut squashes.  I’m going to need Scott to chop open the Hubbards since they have very hard skin.  I put a smaller one in the microwave the other day to soften the skin so I could cut it up for making Squash and Black Bean Enchiladas (need to tweak the recipe a little) but I realized afterwards that I can’t save the seeds that way.


From the schoolroom… for now I’ve given up on the idea of having all the ‘work with Mommy’ stuff done before quiet time.  Lord willing, next school year after Thomas is weaned I’ll be able to fit it all into the morning again and have my afternoon time back for exercising and working on projects.


Kara did so well illustrating the story of Gideon; I just had to share.

From the board room… the girls decided to fill their Operation Christmas Child shoebox for an older girl this year, but the next time we do one for a younger girl I’m thinking this would be a great idea.


from my Pinterest board

I am looking forward to… going to bed.  I am SO tired.

A moment from my week:



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Looking out my window…  a clear, cool morning.  The official temperature says we haven’t had a frost yet, but my squash plants strongly disagree.  When the days are still warm enough to need the air conditioner it’s hard to think about it getting so cold at night.

I am thankful… for a husband who is willing and able to lead our family in worship when we are home sick from church, that Thomas didn’t get this cold, and that we were feeling well enough again this week to attend (although my voice sure doesn’t sound like it).


5 months old

In the schoolroom… We finished our first 6 weeks of school!  So, now it’s time for a two week break.  Instead of the 3 weeks on/ 1 week off schedule we’ve been doing the last few years, this year I am trying a 6 week on/ 2 week off schedule.

I am thinking… about what I want to get done during our school break.  For starters I am using this 2-week break from school to start potty training Gabe.  Lord willing, he will grasp the concept quickly.  I don’t expect him to be completely trained in that time, but one can hope right?

I am looking forward to… having my voice back.  It does OK in the mornings, but by the end of the day it takes so much effort to talk and my throat feels a little raw.  I never realize how much talking and giving of directions I do with my kids until times like these.

I am reading… through Exodus in preparation for starting an online Bible study by Jen Wilkin.  This is my first time trying an online study.  Jen’s introduction to the study really hit home with a lot of the things Scott and I have talked about lately and got me excited to try this Bible study.

From the kitchen… cooking up some more chicken to debone and put in the freezer for quick meal prep.

I am creating… a bullet journal.  I’d been ignoring the articles about it that I had come across, but a friend’s post about her decision to give it a try intrigued me enough to try it myself.  It’s been two weeks and so far I’m liking it.  It’s pretty basic so far; I haven’t even used different colors of pens yet, though I’d like to do so eventually.  I’ve learned that I don’t remember things if I have to flip a page to see it.  So, no habit tracker or weekly journal on a separate page.  I found a blog that described how to do a rolling week along the side of a daily journal page and I’m really liking that idea.  Now to figure out what will work for habit tracking on the daily journal pages.


I am wearing… jeans and a coral t-shirt (the brown shirt I first put on this morning got baby spit-up on it).  I’m a bit frustrated that I’m still wearing what I call my postpartum jeans.  Usually by this time I’ve dropped a size.  Maybe it’s because I’ve actually been exercising this time.  LOL.

In the garden… harvested potatoes – not going to plant them again next year.  I’ve tried them a few years now and have only gotten a small amount each year.  They just take up too much space and effort for such a small yield to justify planting again.  Think I will replace them with more carrots and onions since they grow so well here and are also root crops (for rotation).


All I got from about 20-25 plants.

I am hearing… 10:30am – Gabe playing with toys, Kara muttering as she writes a story, Lydia talking to Thomas; 4:30pm – kids doing afternoon chores; 7:00pm – boys doing KP while girls get ready for bed.


Launching rockets on Labor Day


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FOR the week of August 27, 2016

Looking out my window…  fluffy white clouds floating in a bright blue sky.  The temps have been getting cool enough at night to make me want to turn on the heaters in the morning, but our days are still nice and warm.

I am thankful… HURRAY!  Thanks to the generosity of my parents and siblings we have enough dressers/drawers for all the kids.  While Scott was in Albuquerque this last week for a business meeting he was able to find a couple of 5-drawer dressers on sale for the amount we had to spend.  The boys are enjoying having enough room for their clothes (10 drawers instead of 3).  Matthew and Caleb each get 3 drawers while Ben and Gabe each get two drawers.


new-dressers4 new-dressers3


new-dressers6 new-dressers5

Having room for Gabe’s clothes in the boys’ room meant we were finally able to get out the toddler bed and move him out of the girls’ room.  He is quite excited to have his new big boy bed and have his clothes in drawers where he can reach them.


The part I’m really excited about is being able to move the old dresser to the girls’ room and once again use it for a changing table (it’s just the right size).  Yeah! For a place to put Thomas’ clothes and being able to have the card table once again available for use other than as a changing table/dresser.  And of course the crib is now available for Thomas when he outgrows the bassinet.





Playing in the old boxes for Gabe’s clothes:


I am thinking… despite the inauspicious start a couple weeks ago with the laundry fiasco, it actually turned out to be a fairly productive week.  I made bread, canned pinto beans, organized and inventoried the freezer, froze green beans from the garden, patched jeans, switched out Thomas’ clothes for a bigger size, and got most of the books needing repairs fixed.  Seems only fitting then that I would struggle with getting anything other than the basics done this last week.  It all evens out in the end.

From the kitchen… peaches were on sale and I think I finally have my peach cobbler recipe tweaked right.  Yum!

I am creating… piles of usable jean fabric scraps.  In other words, I am going through the two overflowing boxes of old jeans and cutting them up.  It started with me cutting off the back pockets to make bean bags for our PE lessons.  I’ve been meaning to do this for some time.  Maybe having the fabric ready and usable will help towards getting other projects using those scraps done.  I also found a few pairs that just needed the knees patched; a good thing since jeans don’t last long with all these boys.

I am wearing… Another benefit to my jean project – I found, buried in the old jeans, an old long-sleeve shirt of mine that was fine except for holes in the sleeves.  An easy fix and now I have another short-sleeve shirt, which is greatly appreciated since I’ve had to retire several others this summer.

In the schoolroom… I decided to try a different schedule with our history and science this year and so far it is working much better.  Instead of doing some history each day and never managing to get any science done, we are doing a block schedule of history 3 days a week and science 2 days a week.  Right now we are working on finishing our Magic School Bus science which at this rate should take us until Christmas.  Then I’ll need to figure out what to do next.


Building a ziggurat


Pretending to write in cuneiform


Watching raisins ‘dance’


learning about vortexes while studying weather

In the garden… the bean and summer squash harvests continue.  The pumpkin plant finally decided to start producing; wonder if they’ll have enough time to turn orange.  I keep thinking it feels like we’re going to end up with an early frost this year.

I am hearing… 3pm – Caleb cutting cardboard and duct tape to make his latest project (no idea what it is yet), the backhoe running at the other end of the ball field as they work to figure out what is causing the sewer to back up.

Around the house… no sewer means no doing laundry today and the dishes are piling up in the sink. Really hope they get it fixed today.  Glad we have a maintenance guy now so Scott’s not having to be out there working on it.

Plans for the week… Thursday will be our first library day of this school year,  looking forward to seeing friends from Colorado on Thursday night, and immunization appointments on Friday morning.


My little thumb-sucker.



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FOR the week of August 15, 2016

Looking out my window…  it is dark now after a nice (except for the mosquitoes) sunny day.

I am thankful… to be able to come inside out of the bugs.

I am thinking… the public health clinic closed here in Gallup so now I have to find a new place to get my kids immunizations.  Think I have it figured out, but we’ll see.

From the kitchen… Back at the beginning of the year my KitchenAid stand mixer quit.  Now the motor on my hand mixer has burnt out (the kids used it for cookie dough).

I am wearing… jean capris and a light green shirt that is going in the rag bin after today.  For some reason my shirts have a habit of getting little holes poked in them on the lower right front and I have not been able to figure out where they come from. I also noticed several stains on this shirt today.

In the schoolroom… I have got to come up with a better way of organizing all the teacher’s manuals that I use each day.  They just end up in rotating piles next to my desk.

In the garden… the beans have started producing and we’ve enjoyed adding them to several meals so far.

I am hearing… 9pm – Caleb saying prayers with Daddy, my noisy computer, the A/C running.

Around the house… 2nd time in 6 months that all of the boys’ Sunday clothes have been ruined by a crayon in the dryer.  I’m all for having the kids do chores and learn housekeeping, but right now I’m VERY frustrated.  Last time we had replacements; this time we don’t.  Matthew says the inside of the dryer looks like birch bark.  Scott tried several things to clean the dryer, but it’s not coming off.  Thankfully that means it is also not coming off onto the next load of clothes.


4 months


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FOR the week of August 1, 2016

Looking out my window…  when I woke up this morning the skies were overcast, the ground was damp, and there were raindrops on my bedroom window.  Now most of the clouds are gone and the sun has dried things up again.  We’ve entered our rainy season and the forecast calls for rain off and on all the rest of the week.

I am thankful… soooo thankful to have Scott home again.  Enjoyed the smell of his soap and deodorant that lingered in the bathroom after his shower this morning.  Thankful though that he was able to have this time to do work that he really enjoys – radio engineering.

From the kitchen… Caleb is cleaning out under the sink for me today; a very icky job by the sound of it.  It is one of the jobs he can do to redeem toys or in this case his scissors that he left out (we were having trouble with Gabe getting a hold of scissors that had not been put away after being used).

In the schoolroom… just one week until we start our new school year.  Hoping I can have all my planning ducks in their rows and be ready.  I think I have most of it done, but there always seems to be more to do.  The kids are super excited as always to explore their new school books.

I am wearing… jean capris and my ‘new this baby’ green nursing shirt from Milk Nursingwear which I love not only for it’s easy nursing access but because it fits great and looks good.

In the garden… Thankful Matthew stepped up to do a man’s job while Scott was gone in protecting the garden from critters.  He got rid of 5 squirrels and a vole that had been chowing down on the lettuce, spinach, and peas.

I am hearing… noon – the little boys watching/helping Caleb clean under the sink, the girls playing in their room, thunder from the dark clouds over the hill, Thomas sucking on his thumb while in his swing; 9:30pm – Scott spending some time with Matthew playing StarTrek Online, the loud fan on my computer, and the A/C.

One of my favorite things… being able to eat fresh produce from the garden.  Tonight’s supper used summer squash and basil.

Around the house… still waiting on a couple of packages (school books) that had to be resent due to the issues we’ve been having with our mail delivery.  Hoping and praying that those issues have truly been resolved and there won’t be any more problems.

Plans for the week – get everything ready for school next week including lesson plans, meal plans, etc.

A few pics from July:

july1 july2 july3 july4

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FOR the week of July 11, 2016

Looking out my window…  clear, sunny skies with a light wind and lots of hummingbirds drinking from both the front and back feeders.

I am thankful… my kids had such a good week at camp.  This was Caleb’s first year and although he missed being able to hug Mommy, he had a great time and wished he could stay longer.  Lydia accomplished her goal of riding a horse by herself this year; a great boost to her self-confidence. And Kara made a new friend.

babr-lydia babr-kara babr-caleb

From the kitchen… Love the fresh produce sales at this time of year.  Pear pie yesterday, cauliflower soup (recipe courtesy of the Pioneer Woman) and peach cobbler today.  Yum!

In the schoolroom… just Matthew finishing up his writing and math this week and then we’re done until next year which I am planning for the beginning of August.  Starting to order curriculum and thanking God for companies that offer missionary discounts.


The kids enjoyed the music camp put on by one of our summer missions groups.

In the garden… The squash plants are starting to produce.  Lord willing, no critters will be nibbling on them.  (So far this year we’ve caught 5 squirrels and a vole.)  Also, the yearly battle against the potato beetles has begun.

I am hearing… 8:45pm – music (Owl City) playing, the A/C rattling the windows, girls saying goodnight to me, dishes being washed, the dishwasher running, and Scott putting the little ones to bed.

Around the house… got the top of our dresser cleaned off.  Doesn’t happened often enough, always feels a little odd to be able to actually see the top of the dresser.

Plans for the week – Kara turns 10! Our third child to hit double digits.  Where has the time gone?

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My Boys

I just came across this series of pictures apparently taken by one of the girls and couldn’t help but laugh. The two boys in front posing and hamming it up for the camera while the two in back never loose their focus on the electronic game being played. LOL!







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FOR the week of June 13, 2016

Looking out my window…  a HOT, sunny day.  Welcome to summer! At 10 this morning it was already 89 degrees.  The forecast called for triple digits today and upper 90s the rest of the week. I took this pic at 4pm and half an hour later the kids said it was reading 108 degrees. The record high for today was only 94 with the average being 82.


I am thankful… for 16 years of marriage to a really awesome guy! It hasn’t all been easy, but it’s been good.  And full; full of laughter, tears, travel, changes, and of course kids.

I am thinking… shoe sizes are really mixed up.  The size numbers progress seamlessly from kid sizes to adult sizes.  So why is a girls’ size 6 the same as an adult size 8?

From the kitchen… as a stay at home mom I have a love/hate relationship with crockpots.  Yes, they take some of the pressure off in getting supper on, but I have to smell it cooking all day which makes me feel snacky.  Also, I’m excited about the great deal Safeway had on meat yesterday – chuck steaks were buy 1 get 3 free!

In the schoolroom… starting to make decisions about next year’s curriculum.  I’m looking at making a few changes this year.  While good, some of the curriculum I’ve been using is a bit too teacher intensive for our family size.  Plus, some things I’m realizing are just busy work and there are other things more important.

In the garden… this last week I used the first lettuce from this year’s garden to make one of our favorite meals – chef salad and found the first squash blossom.

I am hearing… 11am – Ben and Gabe ‘playing’ checkers while Thomas ‘talks’ and gives me his first real smiles; 6pm – butter sizzling in the skillets in preparation for making scrambled egg sandwiches for supper and the baby swing rocking (Thomas has discovered the mobile hanging over the swing).

Around the house… we need a new roof.  Every time the swamp cooler has an issue we end up with water dripping through the dining room ceiling.

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FOR the week of June 13, 2016

Looking out my window…  the sun keeps peeking in and out of the clouds while the wind does it’s best to blow things around.

I am thankful… for the longer stretches Thomas is doing at night.  My body is thinking it likes this sleep stuff and wants more while at the same time thinking it’s getting enough sleep at night to make getting a nap difficult.

I am thinking… I wish I’d had the presence of mind to get a picture of Matthew grilling the kabobs yesterday.  I’m not sure how Scott feels about sharing ‘his’ grill but Matthew is loving being trusted with this grown-up chore.

From the kitchen… supper tonight: pork chops with mushroom gravy over rice with green beans.

In the schoolroom… the introduction of new math concepts means long, mentally exhausting days for me (and the kids learning them) as I deal with high emotions and trying to figure out how to word my helping just right to get the concept across without giving them the answers.

In the garden… peas, beans, and spinach are sprouting. I love seeing the garden come to life.

I am hearing… 10am – Kara and Caleb teaching Ben how to really play Go Fish; 11:15 – Lydia, Kara, and Caleb working on math while Ben & Gabe play with playdoh and Thomas makes little noises while wiggling on my lap; 12pm – the DVD menu for What’s In the Bible? #3 (love these shows) while the kids get their lunches to eat while watching; 6:30 – Ben and Caleb playing instead of putting away their clean clothes, Lydia fussing about a dead bug while picking up toys, and Matthew trying to tell them all what to do while we wait for Scott to get back (why do people always call needing his help right as we’re ready to eat dinner?).



Around the house… trying to find space for some new bookshelves so we can finish unpacking/going through boxes from when we moved here 5 ½ years ago.

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FOR the week of June 6, 2016

Looking out my window…  a hot, sunny day. The temps have been up into the 90s the last few days; warm enough to get out the wading pool for the kids to have some fun.


I am thankful… for Scott’s hard work getting the air conditioners working.

From the kitchen… the smell of chicken and dumplings simmering on the stove. On Saturday we made pizza for supper (used some of the tomato sauce my mom canned when she was here) and I tried my hand at making extra to put in the freezer (unbaked) for a quick meal later.

In the schoolroom… thanks to a JM Cremp’s post on Facebook Matthew is enjoying learning about D-day by watching video clips on

I am wearing… continuing to have fun seeing Thomas in all the cute new outfits we got at the baby shower.


In the garden… most of the potatoes and the summer squash have sprouted. Thankful for hard working kids who are helping me keep the weeds at bay.


I am hearing… 6:15pm – Gabe playing with his cars, Lydia playing with Legos, Thomas fussing in the baby swing (it’s almost time to feed him again), and Caleb telling me what he’s learned watching movies about D-day with Matthew.

Around the house… I got the kids registered for camp today; 4 of them going this year and 1 to teen camp!

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