5 Intentional Home Projects for Lent

If you know me, you know that I love a good excuse to declutter.  I have been thinking over the past few days about whether I would gear up for the now-traditional 40 bags in 40 days, a major Lenten decluttering project.  As I looked around my closet this morning, I realized that I need to take this in a slightly different direction.  After 4 years of valiant decluttering (and a fun basement flood to help us along), I think that we have moved past the point of needing to pitch the things that we … [Read more...]

Thoughts for Thursday – Mountain Edition

What am I cooking?Cheeseburgers are on the menu for Thursday.  I let the children make the menu plan, so it is not our healthiest week, but they are all thrilled to be indulged, and I was sort of out of ideas.What are my weekend plans?I am working this weekend.  On Saturday mornings I usually teach an 11 year old boy who is on the autism spectrum, but I haven't seen him in a few weeks, so I am excited to find out how he is progressing.On Saturday night we are having dinner with a … [Read more...]

Large Batch of Simple Maple Granola

1 32 oz. package of slow cooked oats (we use Quaker or a generic)1.5 cups vegetable oil1.5 cups maple syrup (or honey)1 TBS cinnamon1 TBS vanilla extract1 TSP salt(optional, 1 cup nuts) Mix all ingredients, then bake at 350 in batches in a thin layer on cookie sheets.  We bake for 10 minutes and then stir, then bake in 5 minute intervals.  I try to take it out before it browns and let it cool, to make sure it is crisp enough.  We store it in a large jar on th … [Read more...]

A Few Ways to Improve February

I have to admit to being the builder who wrote the email with a subject line: I'm not whining, but...As you can imagine, that email contained some whining, but I don't want to spend too much of my time just whining and surviving, so I am trying to think of things that have made some winter days better than others.1.  Grapefruit.  This wonderful citrus is in season right now, and it feels and tastes like a burst of sunshine every morning.  I cannot tell you what a difference it has made to … [Read more...]

Sabbatical Lesson #2: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

This post is part of a series of reflections on the time I am spending away from my regular life, read more about it here:Ski SabbaticalSabbatical Lesson #1: Joy This year, with encouragement from my dad, I decided to bust outside of my comfort zone as a ski instructor and take a training course that has challenged my skiing in new ways.  I have learned to tether a bi-ski, which is a sit down skiing apparatus for skiers with limited mobility and strength.  I took the training, got kn … [Read more...]

Lesson One: Prioritize the Joy in Big and Small Ways

My son is a living joy

Last year was the first year since I was 7 years old that I didn't ski at all.  The timing of my pregnancy was such that I was out for the entire season.  I feel as though the Lord is being very kind to me right now, because that baby is so easy that we can work skiing around him.  My daughter can push his stoller around the lodge while I teach his big brother, a sitter can happily keep him at home while I get in some runs of my own.  It is a miraculous gift to have an easy baby.  Today he even s … [Read more...]

Ski Sabbatical


At the school where I was educated, teachers were given a sabbatical every 7 years.  For a semester, with some financial support from the school, they could do something personally or professionally enriching away from the school community.  The idea was that they returned to school as better educators because of the time spent away.  Sometimes, they say, a change is as good as a rest.  I think that teaching, and homeschooling, are prone to burn out because the demands are relentless.  This year … [Read more...]

I’m saying no to guns

Until recently, I have had a pretty laid back policy with regard to toy guns.  I didn't actively seek out any military style play for my children, but when they wanted a wooden musket from Colonial Williamsburg or a police costume with handcuffs and a gun, I didn't object.  My mother bought marshmallow shooters one Christmas (a big pain, in the end, because they shoot marshmallows everywhere!).  Nerf guns are popular in our circle of boys, and we've had several in our house, though they usually j … [Read more...]

Everybody Freeze!

My kids and their dad making Christmas cookies

When a Christmas ornament breaks around here, I call out "freeze" and that means do not move until I have it cleaned up.  This is an important policy because we are often barefooted and I don't like the idea of shards of glass in little feet.  All of the children have learned the drill, and usually whoever drops the ornament is the first to say "freeze."  I love to see my kids stop moving.  Right now, I want to shout "freeze" several times each day, just to see them hold still for a minute.  Our … [Read more...]

Clearing out and Making Room


Today during quiet time I cleared off the shelf that held our "Wednesday pile" all the way from last Christmas.  There were a few random things which  never got opened, and those will go along to goodwill (we use www.pickupplease.org). The truth about the Wednesday pile is that we lose interest by the time the weather gets nice in April, so anything still around by then is usually forgotten.The full shelf above is our games and puzzle shelf, and I did some purging there, too, removing any g … [Read more...]