Entry No. 25

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Scarlet Emperor Runner Beans
Beans.  Mine are growing very good this year.  I wrote here about the bean tunnel we’re trying… this is how it’s looking so far. Since the seedlings are up, my oldest likes to sit in the dirt. Plants herself right in the center under the tunnel.  She digs there, sings there, hunts treasure there, flicks ants and cuddles earthworms there.  If I’m not mistaken, I overheard her sail the ocean the other day.  It’s her special place.  I showed her some photos of how the tunnel may look when it’s all bushy and grown.  Man, were here eyes wide, ‘Mommy?  Can I play there? Can I get all dirty there!?’

Gardens are fascinating to children if they get a chance to enjoy them.  It can be hard you know, ‘don’t step there, there’s seedlings in that spot!  Don’t pull that, it’s not a weed! Don’t bury the seeds so deep – they’re not dead yet…image[2]It takes a lot of effort in the patience department – a lot of love in the delivery of garden rules.  For the times last Spring and this one, where I’ve had to take a breath; pause, and remember fun in my Grandmother’s garden – it’s been worth it.  Anyway, I really had to just stop one day and recall more of what actually made those times so special.  Sure, I got in trouble sometimes {smile} but there was way more, ‘you can’ than ‘you can’t’ in my Grandmother’s garden.  So, I’ve tried to make it the same for my girls… and for me.

Watching things grow teaches us and our children to wait for God’s best – be patient just a little bit longer.  My girl can have fun before the tunnel is all lush and green. It’s because she sees what it can be in her heart – through the eyes of hope – hope sprung from the joy in her soul.  I showed her, I promised her.  She’s already planning to eat the beans with lots of butter, has a basket to collect them in, and knows she will.  She believes.  Trust, faith, willingness to wait, eagerness to plant again when a seed or two didn’t sprout. This is where the ‘can’s’ make room for her to learn so much more about God’s ways in our garden.  They say every garden tells a story… So far, so good.

Entry No. 12

IMG_0496This is our schoolroom.  When we moved into our home, nearly two years ago, the attic had been newly finished.  Before that, it had a near one hundred-year-old coal stove at its center.  It went out through the roof.  The belly of the stove was four floors down in the basement and the entire house was heated from there.  Our home as a whole is just shy of 100 years old.  It’s been refinished on the inside, though the original floors and front windows remain.  At any rate, we decided the attic would be perfect for a schoolroom. So, when people ask my oldest daughter why she’s not in school, if we’re out one day during school hours, she tells them, ‘oh, I go to attic school.’  Always a conversation starter, believe me.  It’s become our thing, calling it attic school.  Catchy, right?

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Anyway, here’s how our room is set up.  I did my best with snapping a panoramic photo but am still no pro. The first photo was taken from the window {where I change out seasonal decor}.  The second was taken from the reading tree area {just click to enlarge}.   I visited the teachers stores locally, all of them, and collected things from Gordman’s, Khole’s, Dollar Tree,  Hobby Lobby, Target, Amazon and Walmart as well.  I should mention, I collected for about two years.  The shelves were from Walmart, the cubby and chairs from a garage sale, the table was free.  We used the complete Horizons program for our Preschool curriculum along with the Alphatales book set from Scholastic.  When we were starting the room, I couldn’t really find many photos of homeschool rooms, how they were set up, for an entire room.  Most were nooks and cozy spaces all throughout a home.  I plan to do that as my girls get bigger, but at the time, needed a complete room set-up.  I haven’t been to a preschool in thirty-five years so, I really just winged it.

IMG_0546 I wanted to share these photos for others starting out who feel a little lost in this area as, getting started really is the hardest part. {Yes, I did cover the a/c vents and wall light before the first day!} I’d tell anyone to get a fully planned curriculum the first time too – unless you’ve had experience building your own.  Our preschool year was wonderful and the attic is closed now for the summer.  We literally ‘went to school’ each day, it was nice making it a separate experience from our day-to-day.   I will gladly answer any resource questions about things in the photos and have close-ups of different areas available for posting as well.  Just check back in the comments.  I usually reply there.

Entry No. 11

A cake a week.  It’s what I promised her.

ultimate cake mix

We were sitting in the sunshine, making shadows on the hardwood floor – chatting about her new Veggie-Tale band-aid.  A little while later she was covered in lipstick.  Shortly after, we were sudsing her face with baby shampoo at the sink.  Next we were having chicken nuggets by candlelight and finally a slice of left-over cake from Mother’s Day.  ‘Mommy, can we have cake every night after dinner? Why don’t we?’  I mentioned we don’t, just because other nights have brownies, cookies and pudding in them.  She licked her fingers, ‘Mommy? I just looooove cake.’ She looked up at me, her innocence and wide-eyed desire to learn and eat hanging out all over the place. That’s right about when I heard myself saying, ‘lets bake a new cake every week, it’ll help you learn to bake…and I have this perfect book and…’ Then, I realized what I’d said.

Rainbows burst across my kitchen and exploded with light, hundreds of balloons dropped to the floor around us and confetti fell from heaven – all in my five-year-old’s mind as I uttered those words.  No going back now.  We wandered to the basement library after her little sister was sleeping and plucked this book from the top shelf.  Under fluffy blankets we turned every page and finally decided to simply bake from the first cake to the last – one-a-week.  My daughter picked cakes for her 7th, 6th, 8th, 10th and 21st birthdays {in that order} and I noted them.  Afterward, we went with Alice to Bibleland and my girl was soon fast asleep.  I’m on the Ultimate Cake Mix journey, till we finish the book or she tires of it – whichever comes first.