Friday, August 29, 2014

A Marriage Prayer

Dear heavenly Father,

I bring my marriage before You and humbly 
place it at the foot of Your throne. I know, Lord, that
You are able to do immeasurably more than I could
ever do on my own.

Please prepare my heart, teaching me to walk in
compassion and grace and to be patient and kind when
the going gets tough. Teach me to walk in humility,
giving up my right to be right.

Help me to look for the best and to hope for the
best in my husband, that I might appreciate him for
who he truly is.

Grant me the strength to step back while I allow
him to lead. And may this covenant we share be a tes-
timony to others that brings nothing less than glory
and honor to You.

Lord, I know that there will be days when we
fight; days when we are angry, frustrated, and hurt.
I ask that You teach us to handle our conflict wisely.

Please show us how to communicate with loving
respect and to read each other’s heart. Teach me to be
gentle and patient with him.

Equip me to be the wife my husband needs me
to be. A woman who is ready to stand beside him
in battle and pick him up if he should fall. 

May You guide my steps and lead me according to Your will,
that I might live according to Your purpose.

Father, I ask that You guide us as we seek to
express our affection in ways that are pleasing to You.
That we won’t take each other for granted or lose sight
of our joy.

Gently remind us to seize the day and capture
the joy of each moment, giving thanks for the big and
the small.

Teach me how to be a good friend, and help each
of us build a strong friendship.

And finally, may I learn to be content with this
life that I’m given as I walk in virtue according to

In Jesus’ precious name I pray and will continue
to pray for my marriage.


~Darlene Schacht, Messy Beautiful Love

I'm reading Darlene's new book right now, and I can hardly put it down! A few months ago, I realized I was longing for some encouragement as a wife. My husband and I have been married for over 16 years, and I really do love my husband more today than I did on our wedding day (and as a newlywed, I didn't think that was possible!). We've been through so much together, and although so much of it has been hard, it has also brought us closer together, and for that I'm grateful.

But it's so easy to let our focus get shifted from our husband to other things. There's so much to keep us busy and preoccupied. 

Just as I was looking for some new books to encourage me as a wife and keep the fire burning in our marriage, I came across Messy Beautiful Love. (You can pre-order the book now and get some pretty amazing freebies!) I'll be sharing more about this book soon, but for now I'm just enjoying Darlene's story and the amazing hope she offers for marriages built on Christ.

If possible, spend some time loving on your husband this weekend! ♥

I received a complimentary PDF copy of this book for review purposes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Busy Week

The costumes I made for the girls.

We were so busy last week, and this week has already been busy as well. At least I did finish these costumes I was working on! I bought the fabric for the princess dresses over two years ago. They were supposed to be Christmas gifts for my two younger girls. So, yeah, I'm a bit behind. But better late than never, right? 

The fabric was $23 total (for both dresses), which is a lot less than I could buy one princess dress for. So, I did save money by making them myself. But the process was agonizing, and I don't plan to sew anything else with slippery fabric if I can help it!

For my youngest daughter's dress, I used the Little Lizard King Princess Dress pattern. The only change I made was to lengthen the skirt, and I also added the overskirt of pink sparkly organdy (up close, the fabric has little glittery flecks in it). 

I was originally planning to use the same pattern for my older daughter's dress, but then she outgrew it, so I had to find a different one. I dug through my pattern stash and found the Favorite Things Prairie Girl Dress pattern. This is a pattern I bought several years ago and then never made it. After making this one for my daughter, I fell in love with the design. I'm actually thinking of making her a cotton dress out of this same pattern. The only thing I would do differently next time is use a smaller size for the bodice. I was in a hurry and cut out a size 10, but a size 8 really would have fit her better. Again, I lengthened the skirt and also added width to the back skirt (and then I just gathered the extra width). I also added the organdy overskirt from my own imagination.

For my oldest daughter's costume, I used some free fabric that my mother-in-law gave me several years ago for the skirt. I just cut out two long rectangles and I used the full width of the fabric. This skirt didn't require a pattern. Then I used a scrap of fabric (from a regency maternity dress I made for myself about 10 years ago!) for the apron (again, no pattern). She wore the chemise that she had from last years' costume, and she borrowed a bonnet from her sister. 

From my goals last week, I also finished making our new school schedule, and I got the rest of our school books ordered (and they arrived yesterday!). So, everything happened but our date night. :(

Here's what I'm wearing lately:

Yes, this is a photo of my timer-on-a-rope, which I'm thinking will be my new favorite accessory! I tend to lose track of time, so this little gadget really helps me remember if I've got something in the oven or if I only planned to spend a certain amount of time online. I really like it. I had one years ago and it got broken. After remembering how great it was, my husband agreed to get me a replacement.

My goals for this week are pretty simple again. I need to finish some school-planning tasks before next week. We also seem to have a cold going around, so that's slowing me down a bit. 

If you haven't entered my Lilla Rose headband giveaway yet, you can find it here. There are a few more days until that ends!

Also, I just found out that the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is coming back soon! With all new books! I learned so much from the books in the last bundle, and I'm looking forward to this new one. Find out how you can get one for free!

Linking to: Children Are a Blessing, A Wise Woman, Raising Homemakers, A Little R & R, WYWW

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lilla Rose Hair Band Giveaway + Sale + Now Accepting International Orders!

It's been awhile since we had a Lilla Rose giveaway, so I decided we should have one! I think I've mentioned before that the hair bands are one of my favorite Lilla Rose products, and I wear them often. I used to hate wearing headbands as most of them are too uncomfortable for me to wear for very long. 

But that's not the case with Lilla Rose headbands--they are so comfortable that I forget I'm even wearing them! They have an adjustable comfort band in the back, which allows you to adjust it to fit different-sized heads. My daughters and I are able to share them, and I've even seen them on toddlers! 

I have a daughter who doesn't like hair things very much, since she feels like they're uncomfortable. I got her a hairband from Lilla Rose for her birthday this year, and she says she can hardly even tell she's wearing it! That's how I feel about them, too. They're a great hair accessory for the comfort-minded.  Plus, I really like the way they look!

Today I'm giving away one Lilla Rose Rays of Sunshine Hair Band!

This headband will look great through the rest of the summer months and on into fall, with its golden-toned beads. The headband will adjust to fit any head size, from toddler on up to adult.

Rays of Sunshine Hair Band

I also wanted to mention that Lilla Rose is having a great sale this weekend! Some items are being retired, and new ones have been added. You can find the sale here.

Also, new customers (who have never purchased from Lilla Rose before and who don't have a consultant already), are eligible for my Buy 3 Get 1 Free sale! You can find details about this on my website here.

And one last thing that I wanted to mention: Lilla Rose now accepts PayPal, and they are also shipping internationally! For those of you (quite a few!) who have asked me about international orders, this is wonderful news! You can now order directly from Lilla Rose.

Enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter form below (giveaway open to U.S. residents only): a Rafflecopter giveaway

Linking To: A Little R & R

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Home Education Plans for 2014-2015

This year I decided to take the summer off from any formal school work. The older girls wanted to continue their Teaching Textbooks math, and they also did some reading, but the rest of us just enjoyed the freedom of summer. Freedom to swim, play outside, ride bikes, and make happy memories. I loved having some extra time to work on deep cleaning and sewing. It was very refreshing.

And now I think we're all ready to get back to a learning routine. I love this time of year. I love stocking up on glue sticks, notebooks, markers, and crayons. And I love glitter. We have a well-stocked art supply cupboard, thanks in large measure to the grandmas! 

"Education at home works so well because parent educators naturally dedicate their hearts and souls to touching the hearts and souls of their children." ~Elizabeth Foss

When I think about a new school year, I think about good books. I think also about art projects, poetry, nature walks, and meaningful learning experiences. I think of historical costumes and meals that make the time period we're studying come alive.

"Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire." ~William Butler Yeats 

We'll be using many of the same resources we used last year. As we did last year, each day begins with Bible/Scripture Memory/Character Goals. I pulled a book from our shelves that's been collecting dust for years, called Character Building for Families. I don't know why we never used it before, but it seems to be just what I was looking for at this time, so I'm going to try it. It will be used for Bible, Character, and Scripture Memory. I'll also incorporate some ideas from Laying Down the Rails for Children. In addition to this, we have family worship in the evenings, which includes a catechism Q&A (our youngest especially loves this time!).

For History, we'll be continuing on with the general idea we used last year, and I plan to add a few of my own ideas as well. The older children will have their own reading lists to work through, in addition to the books I hope we can all share together as read-alouds. 

We'll also add to our Book of Centuries and nature journals. For Art Study, we'll use Simply Charlotte Mason's Picture Study Portfolios again. And for art projects, I'll turn primarily to one of my favorite art websites, Deep Space Sparkle (and Pinterest). And I'll probably throw in a few chalk pastel lessons, too!

Here are the other resources we'll be using, divided up by child/grade level:

E (10th Grade):

Math: Teaching Textbooks Algebra 1
Science: Apologia Physical Science
History & Geography: Simply Charlotte Mason book list
Grammar: Easy Grammar Ultimate Grade 10
Foreign Language: Rosetta Stone Spanish
Literature: Reading list compiled from various sources, including here and here.
Music: Guitar & Piano

A (7th Grade):

Math: Teaching Textbooks 7
Science: Apologia General Science
History & Geography: Simply Charlotte Mason book list
Grammar: Easy Grammar Plus
Spelling: Spelling Wisdom
Foreign Language: Rosetta Stone Spanish
Literature: Reading list from various sources.
Music: Mandolin 

I (5th Grade):

Math: Teaching Textbooks
Science: Apologia Astronomy
History & Geography: Simply Charlotte Mason book list 
Grammar: Language Lessons
Handwriting: A Reason for Handwriting

F (3rd Grade):

Math: Teaching Textbooks, Flip Over Math
Science: Various Read-Alouds/Nature Study/My Body book 
Grammar: Language Lessons
History & Geography: Simply Charlotte Mason book list

E (Kindergarten):

Math: Inchimals, Pattern Blocks, Cuisenaire Rods Alphabet Book, Mathematical Reasoning A
Science: My Body book
Lots of storybooks! We have just loved all the books we encountered in Before Five in a Row last year, and now we're enjoying them again, along with plenty of new ones. 

In addition to the usual academic subjects listed above, I also hope to incorporate Logic, Hymn Study, Music/Composer Study, and Poetry into our days. 

To organize everything, this year I decided to try the Well Planned Day Family Homeschool Planner. I'm hoping it works for me, but I won't know until I've had a chance to really try it out--so far I've just begun the process of filling it in.

The past couple of years we've started our new school year in September. I'm planning to do the same this year, especially since we don't even have all of our books yet!

Do you take the summer off, or do you do year round school?

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Monday, August 18, 2014

4 Simple Goals + What I Wore

A finished princess dress for my youngest princess.

Wow, last week was crazy! And I hate to admit, I didn't do very well with my goals. I had a lot of unexpected things happen in my life, and I just had to let some of it go.

  • Date with husband. I'm thankful that we were actually able to go out on a real date together this time!
  • Spend 30 minutes of one-on-one time with each child. This wasn't as successful as I'd hoped. I enjoyed some wonderful time with my oldest child and my youngest. But then I didn't have as much uninterrupted time with my three middle children as I wanted (other children kept trying to be part of it, so it ended up not being as "one-on-one" as I was hoping for). This is something I strive for each week, so I'll keep working on it.
  • Start an immune support tincture for the coming cold/flu season. I decided to put this on hold since I was so busy.
  • Make costumes for girls (they asked me to make costumes for an upcoming event we're attending). I got two costumes completely finished (the princess dress above is one of them), but I still have one left. And I must have it finished in the next couple of days! I hope to share photos of them later.
  • Finish school planning. Yay! I'm so glad I finished this, as it had been weighing heavily on my mind for months.
  • Read 5 chapters of my current book. I read a lot more than this!
  • Exercise 3 days this week. Didn't get this done. I did exercise some, but not as much as I'd hoped.
  • Be in bed by 10:30. Didn't make it to bed this early even once! And I'm not even going to try this week, as we have a big weekend event coming up and I'm sure I'll be up frantically preparing for it and then some evenings we'll be out late. So, for now I'm giving up on this goal. Although I'm still going to aim to be in bed earlier rather than later, if possible. :)
My goals for this week are pretty basic and simple. If I try to do too much, it will only stress me out, since we've got so much going on this week!

  • Date with husband.
  • Order some of the books we are still needing.
  • Finish Abby's costume.
  • Make a new school schedule.
Here's what I wore yesterday (headless picture, sorry!):

Skirt:  Made by Me.
Cardi:  Walmart
Tank Top:  Thrift Store (years ago)
Shoes:  Zulily (free with credits)
Natural Makeup:  Cowgirl Dirt

I hope to be back tomorrow to share our plans for the coming school year! 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Our Little Garden

We are blessed to have one acre. We always wanted a lot more (or even a few more!), but we're so thankful for at least one. Our whole married life (sixteen years) we've done some sort of gardening. From herbs in pots and tomatoes in containers on our townhouse patio, to huge gardens with lots of rows and ten acres around us...there has always been a garden.

My husband usually takes care of the vegetables, and the herbs are my domain. I love everything about herbs. They just make me happy! We always have chives (delicious on baked potatoes).

I love the flowers that accompany the sage (above) in the spring. And I always have to have mint. I have spearmint and peppermint that my mom gave me. It's so easy to divide up and then start in another location. Mom dug up some of her abundance of plants and shared them with me.

I also have Echinacea, Bee Balm, and some lavender. And we have some elderberry bushes. My huge three-foot-tall rosemary bush that had been thriving for several years died this past winter. And I lost a few lavender plants.

In addition to the herbs, we also have a few fruit trees that we planted when we first moved here. We have a couple of cherry trees, a couple of peach trees, and I think a couple of apple. But so far we haven't had any fruit from any of them. I think we would have had some this year, but we had a late frost that ruined the fruit. 

We also love to forage for free food. The children found that we have a couple of gooseberry bushes (below) on our property, which were probably planted by the birds. We also enjoy the wild blackberry bushes that grow at the edge of our yard.

My husband built three raised beds shortly after we moved here, and then this year we added a fourth, which was built with some scrap lumber.

This spring I started some heirloom vegetables from seed. I planted Granny Cantrell, Amish Paste, Cour Di Bue, and Fox Cherry Tomatoes. And they actually lived! My little plants were getting too big to be inside, and my husband was anxious to begin the planting. He didn't even harden them off first, he just stuck them in the ground. I was sure they wouldn't survive, but they did, and now we're enjoying lots of tomatoes from them!

I also planted a couple of different types of peppers, and they also survived. Unfortunately, the zinnias and herbs I planted didn't make it. It was nice to know that I could start vegetables from seed, but I don't know if I'll do it again next spring. It took quite a bit of time. I think it would be a nice project for a teenage daughter to take over!

This year our garden was on the smaller side, but it has still blessed us with some good things, so I've been thankful for it!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Continue On

Several months ago, I was feeling a bit discouraged, wondering if anything I do here at home is worthwhile. I was tired, the days were feeling long and monotonous, and I just felt like I wasn't making a huge impact on the world.

And then I came across an old Elisabeth Elliot newsletter that reminded me of the vision I started out with, and encouraged me that what I'm doing here at home does matter, so very much!

"A woman once fretted over the usefulness of her life. She feared she was wasting her potential being a devoted wife and mother. She wondered if the time and energy she invested in her husband and children would make a difference. At times she got discouraged because so much of what she did seemed to go unnoticed and unappreciated. 'Is it worth it?' she often wondered. 'Is there something better that I could be doing with my time?' 

It was during one of these moments of questioning that she heard the still small voice of her heavenly Father speak to her heart. 'You are a wife and mother because that is what I have called you to be. Much of what you do is hidden from the public eye. But I notice. Most of what you give is done without remuneration. But I am your reward. Your husband cannot be the man I have called him to be without your support. Your influence upon him is greater than you think and more powerful than you will ever know. I bless him through your service and honor him through your love. Your children are precious to Me. Even more precious than they are to you. I have entrusted them to your care to raise for Me. Continue on. Remember you are My servant. Do all to please Me.'"
~Roy Lessin, quoted in The Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter

Continue on, wives, mothers, and homemakers! Your job is of extreme importance and has eternal worth!

Linking to: A Wise Woman, WholeHearted Wednesday