Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hello

Hello!
How have you been? Things have been busy here, as I'm sure they have been at your house, too. The days seem to fly by. Did winter seem to last forever where you live? It did here, and I have loved every bit of spring: the greenness of everything, the blooming trees and bushes, and the daffodils. We have daffodils that grow in clumps out in the woods behind our house, and we had a constant supply of bouquets for our table. Yellow is a happy color!

I've been doing so much sewing, which has been wonderful. I had so much fun making Maggie Rabbit (pictured above). I just finished knitting her little shawl, which is absolutely adorable.
I especially love sewing for my girls.
I made matching skirts for my three daughters and myself (the youngest got a dress instead of a skirt). I used coordinating rosey fabric, a different color for each of us. My oldest daughter got aqua, the next got green, the youngest daughter had pink, and my skirt had an ivory background:
I finished my youngest daughter's quilt (and even embroidered her name on it). I had planned to actually quilt it, but when the time came, I just decided to tie it--I just wanted it finished! Thankfully, she loves it, even though it's not perfect.
I've been working on some summer tops for myself. It's going slowly, since my time for sewing has been running out. Hopefully I'll have them finished by fall!
I started plants from seed:
So far they're doing well. I hope I can keep them alive until it's time to plant them in the garden. :)
We're almost finished with our school year. I'm actually very thankful to be finishing, as this has been a grueling year, for various reasons.
We enjoyed learning a new art medium together (using this great art curriculum--we used the Spring Chalk Pastel ebook):
And I finally reached a breakthrough with my 8-year-old struggling reader. After effortlessly teaching my three older children to read using 100 Easy Lessons, it just wasn't working for my fourth child. Children learn differently, and I realized it was time for a different approach. I decided to invest in All About Reading, and it has made a huge difference already! We're also planning to use All About Spelling for my beginning speller and one of our other children who is a struggling speller (I'll teach them both together).
I loved All About Reading so much for my 8-year-old that I decided to get started off right with my 4-year-old, and we're using the All About Reading Pre-reading program. It's so fun, and he's learning a lot. He begs to do his lessons! (We're using this in addition to Before Five in a Row.)
I love the books in the program:
But the best part is Ziggy, the Zebra puppet. I pretty much balked at the price of the program, and I was tempted to just buy the least expensive option (which didn't include Ziggy). That would have been a huge mistake! Ezra absolutely loves Ziggy and doesn't want to put him away when we're done! He even likes to have him play card games with us (and he loves it when Ziggy wins!):
One of my goals for this summer is to teach my older girls how to make bread completely independently. We've had a few baking sessions together, and I'm hoping by the end of summer that they'll be able to do it successfully by themselves, from start (grinding the grain) to finish (a completed and beautiful loaf of bread).
I'm sure you might be wondering what I'm doing here. I'm not going to start blogging again right now. There's still so much to do and so little time. My husband is currently dealing with a painful health condition, and there are just a million reasons why I don't have time to blog (even though I miss it so!). 

The main reason I'm here today is just because I missed you all, and also I wanted to let you know that my lovely daughter Elyse has started a new blog! Here's a picture of her from last Sunday:
Her goal is to inspire and encourage other Christian young ladies with book reviews, modest clothing posts, hairstyle ideas, favorite recipes, and more. It's kind of a joint effort between us, and we've had fun working on it together. 

And, to celebrate her new blog, we're having a Lilla Rose giveaway! You can go here to enter the giveaway. I would love it if you would leave her a comment and just send some encouragement her way! 
My daughter wearing Lilla Rose Hair Sticks

Also, Lilla Rose just released the new Flexi of the Month for May, with a Mother's Day theme (the "mom" charm can be removed and the dangling pearl remains on the clip). And they're having a really great sale (today and tomorrow). You can go here to see it. Also, if you're a new customer, you can still take advantage of my Buy 3 Get 1 Free sale (you can see the details of this sale on my website).

And, Deborah & Co. is having a sale!

I'm so excited about this:
And now, I must reluctantly say goodbye again. I hope to return someday in the future, but that time is not yet. Meanwhile, I'm going back to prayerfully striving to serve my family and attempting to walk in love (even though I fail daily), and attempting to be faithful in what I've been called to do here in my home (again, easier to write about than to succeed in! I'm thankful for grace).
I hope you've been having a beautiful spring so far, and I hope your days are blessed! Until next time...
♥Joy

This post contains my affiliate links. Thank you so much for your support!

34 comments:

  1. Lovely to hear from you and I just love all the wonderful photos! :) The fabric makes me drool!
    We are sooo ready for our homeschool year to finish as well. We have less than two weeks left!

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    1. Dear Katy, it's wonderful to hear from you, too! That's great that you have less than two weeks of school left! I think we've got about three, but I'm so looking forward to the break!

      Thank you so much for visiting Elyse's blog, too. Your sweet comments meant a lot to her! ♥

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  2. It's so good to hear from you! You are a BLESSING in so many ways. I think I struggle with many of the same things, and I so appreciate your Biblical attitude and encouragement.
    You words are always timely.
    Warmly,
    Carol

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    1. Carol, your sweet comment almost made me cry! It's nice to know that someone cares, and so often your comments have been just what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for being willing to be an encouragement. You have blessed me today! ♥

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  3. Anonymous5/01/2014

    Joy -

    HOORAY!!! I was absolutely giddy when I saw a blog post from you in my inbox!!! =) We haven't met (although I've commented before)...but it was like a warm hug anyway. =)

    So glad you love All About Reading/Spelling so much. That is in the homeschool budget for this year as it has been highly recommended by a few key people. You've been added to that list. =)

    Missing you while you're away - but also so thankful that you're listening to the Lord and being such a great example of putting first things first.

    Until the next unexpected post,
    Joy

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    1. Oh, Joy, your comment was like a warm hug to me! :) Thank you so much for brightening my day!

      I know what you mean about All About Reading/Spelling. I had been hearing so many good things about it, but I waited for over a year before buying it since it was so expensive. But I now feel like the expense was well worth it!

      I'll be missing hearing from you while I'm away; you've been a blessing to me! ♥

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  4. Dear Joy,
    This was so sweet to see...I love to see the way mamas and wives work at home. I know, I know...you still will be on break... ;o)
    But is there any chance you could share the patterns for the quilt, skirts, or tops for yourself? And typically, where do you get all of those darling florals?

    Maggie...love her. And I do know where she came from.

    Your daughter is beautiful. And I love when girls who age speak out, inspire, and encourage. There is such a need for that in her age group.

    I'm so glad you all are doing so well. Praising the Lord for all things provided in a happy home.
    xo

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    1. Hi Kristin!

      I'd love to share about the patterns...

      The quilt is a log cabin quilt from an Eleanor Burns "Log Cabin Quilt in a Day" book. I got the quilt top made at church during a sewing day taught by a lady who is an amazing quilter. So, the quilt top was cut out and sewn up all in one day. But it took me forever to get around to finishing it (not sure why!). You can see the start of the project here:

      http://www.artfulhomemaking.com/2011/07/log-cabin-quilt-in-day.html

      For the girls' skirts I used the Favorite Things Flip Skirts pattern, and I lined them with eyelet. My skirt is the Florinda Maternity Skirt, which I altered years ago for non-maternity wear. You can see a post about that skirt here:

      http://www.artfulhomemaking.com/2012/03/6-skirts-from-1-pattern.html

      The top is the Ruby Top from Made by Rae. And the fabrics came from all over! Some of them have been in my stash for years (some came from Walmart or Joann), sometimes people give me fabric since they know I like to sew, and I really like Fabric.com. They sometimes have good sales, and you can get free shipping if you order $35. I got the matching skirt fabrics from there.

      Thank you so much for your kind words about my daughter. I'm hoping she'll be encouraged in her Christian walk as she seeks to encourage and bless others. :)

      It was so nice to hear from you, Kristin! ♥

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    2. Thank you, Joy! Loved seeing this post. :-)

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    3. You're welcome, Kristin! :)

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    4. Anonymous5/03/2014

      For the rest of us where did Maggie come from? My little girl saw hr and fell in love. :0)
      I agree with all the other comments on this post!!!

      I hope and pray your husband is getting better, no fun going through physical trials, but I have always seen the Lord bless even in those times in my life, espially those times.

      May you see all the blessings the Lord has for you and your family.

      Heather

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    5. You can find Maggie Rabbit here (she sells both complete kits and also just the pattern). :)

      Thanks so much for mentioning my husband. He's in a lot of pain, and it's so hard to see him suffering (and not much I can do to bring relief).

      Thanks for stopping by, and also for your comment, Heather!

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  5. Hi Joy! So nice to hear from you here again! Your sewing projects are so wonderful! I can't wait to get my sewing machine out again and work on projects! How fun to have school break soon, I'm sure the break will be very welcome and I know you will have a wonderful time with your children! I'm so glad spring has finally come for you all there! Have a blessed day! <3

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    1. Hi Tabitha! It's so nice to hear from you, too! I really have been having fun sewing. I find it so encouraging to make things! I hope you're able to get our your sewing machine soon!

      Yes, I'm soooo ready for the school break! Can't wait! :)

      Many blessings to you today! ♥

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  6. Anonymous5/02/2014

    It was so wonderful to read a post from you again. Your blog is one of my absolute favorites! Thank you for being so encouraging and sharing so many wonderful things with your readers!

    I have been making plans for next years school so your posting about All About Reading was so timely. Their pre-reading program looks wonderful and I love how they incorporate a puppet into it. So cute!

    I love seeing your projects as well...sigh, if only sewing didn't break me out in hives, ha! I guess, I just need to keep practicing!

    God Bless,
    Angela

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement, Angela! :)

      I have actually been so surprised by how much we have loved All About Reading. I had seen many reviews about it, and sometimes when that happens it's all a bunch of hype and not that great of a product. But in this case, the product really is great! And the Ziggy puppet is so cute! It's one of the best curriculum purchases I've ever made (in addition to Teaching Textbooks!).

      Thanks again so much for your sweet comment, and I hope your day is blessed! ♥

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  7. There you go dashing my hopes that you have returned to blogging!!! Oh well, I am sure I will survive. My daughter wants to learn to sew and I need to freshen up my sad skills and was hoping that maybe you would do a few sewing posts. Anyway, it was wonderful to see this post. I wish every blessing for your family.

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    1. Aww, that's sweet of you, Christy! :) Many blessings to you, too!

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  8. Sorry to be pesty but I am going to buy a skirt pattern and since I really what you did with the maternity one, that is one I am considering but then I looked up the Flip one that you made your daughter's skirts from and now I can't decide. Can you recommend which one is easier for someone with just basic sewing skills?

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    1. No problem, Christy! The maternity one is my favorite. The flip skirt pattern looked cute on my girls, but it wasn't very flattering on me. :) And I would say the Florinda maternity skirt is one of the easiest skirts I've ever made--maybe it's just because I've made so many of them, but I can just whip one of these up very quickly! They're both simple, but the Florinda one is easier, I think. The construction of the Flip Skirt was a bit confusing--not difficult, just harder for me to visualize. Hope that's helpful!

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    2. Thank you so much. I will give that one a try. Happy Mother's Day to you.

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    3. You're welcome, Christy, and I hope you had a happy Mother's Day, too!

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  9. Hi Joy, I stop by your blog from time to time in hopes you've popped in for a "hello" or maybe to say you're baaaaccckkk! ;) It was great to see an update from you. We will continue to keep you and your family in our prayers. As mom of only one little bundle (1 yr old boy), I can understand why you need to limit some activities so you can catch all the moments with your children.
    Blessings to you, sweet sister.
    Sarah from VA

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    1. Hi Sarah, it was so nice to see a comment from you!!! Thank you so much for your prayers--I really appreciate that so much, and I'm so in need of them. :)

      Many blessings to you as you nurture and enjoy your precious little boy! ♥

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  10. So Happy to see a post from you! You always get me motivated and cause me to look at things from a different perspective. Enjoyed the pictures so much! We too had a long, lingering winter and I was happy to find bright pink petunias which have livened up the front porch.
    We are nearing our break for school; just finishing up some loose ends. The garden beckons so I am looking forward to getting my hands dirty. :)

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    1. Thank you, Ellen! I'm glad to hear from you, too. Your bright pink petunias sound beautiful! I still have some things to finish before we're officially done with school, but we've been taking a break since we've had a lot going on lately. I hope you have a great day!

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  11. Ahh... peaceful and winsomely beautiful! I love your blog, and you do such a lovely job, but I also know that you are needed, Mama! I pray the LORD gives you that grace to enjoy the little things you have and the privilege of raising your chickadees right now while they are there...no regrets! Not perfection, but no regrets! I love the little picture of Ezra and Ziggy!
    God richly bless you, dear Joy. BTW, you are gifted and your little Maggie rabbit is priceless!
    Keep up the good work with your beautiful family. I am praying now for your husband, too.
    Love,
    Jacqueline

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    1. What a sweet comment, Jacque! I so much appreciate you and your encouragement. You're a blessing to me, and thank you so much for praying!

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  12. Just wanted to let you know that I did make a skirt from that pattern. I will confess that assembling the pattern from a computer download was difficult. Thank goodness my daughter helped but after all that I do like the pattern. Thank you again for the recommendation.

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    1. Great! I'm so glad it worked out for you! I wore one of my skirts made from that pattern to church today. :)

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  13. Hello Joy!
    Greetings from Maine! I just stumbled across your blog...and so enjoyed what little I've read so far. I was sad to see that you had decided to stop blogging for awhile...but I completely understand. "To everything there is a season..." I will stop by again...and journey over to your daughter's new blog for a little visit.
    Sweet blessings,
    Laura

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    1. Hello Laura, so nice to meet you! I keep thinking I'll be able to return to blogging soon, but I've just been so busy! Thanks again for visiting, and many blessings to you!

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  14. Your sewing is absolutely beautiful!!! :)

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    1. Oh, thank you, Katy!!! ♥Joy

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