Friday, January 28


I am not a crafty person. I know many very lovely crafty people. I read loads of crafty how-to articles, and watch no small amount of crafty tutorials online. I don't come up with my own stuff, but I am very skilled at borrowing ideas.

Today, I was feeling listless, so I went through my blog roll to check up on family and friends. One talented lady had graceously posted a bunch of crafty links for what she is up to in her home. I was in the mood to waste time, so I poked around.

What I found was a wealth of simple, hands-on Valentines crafts for children. Perfect. This evening, it was just me and the girls + their gal pal. Time stretched out, the initial joy of Friday evening wore off, and boredom set in. So, with all that craftiness still fresh in my mind, I ordered the dining table cleared, and announced that the crafting was about to begin.

We had all the supplies on hand (hooray!). We drew, we traced, we cut, we stitched, we chatted, we listened to music. We were no longer bored.

At the end of the evening, we had paper heart garlands hanging all over the dining room, each the unique creation of a pleased little girl. It looks quite festive in here, if I do say so myself.

If you want to see what we did, follow this link. If you want to see some of the other ideas I was looking at, check out this Valentine pom pom window garland, these unique yarn hearts, a fun stained-glass shaved crayon idea, a very pretty hanging glitter heart decoration (that I will never make in my own home because I despise glitter residue), and an enticing dimensional heart garland.

I am thankful for a long evening turned pleasant by an enjoyable activity. I am thankful for crafts that don't blow my budget or trash my house, that my children can do with me, and that can be cleaned up before bedtime. I am thankful for people who are truly creative and innovative, who publish their ideas online for one and all to view, enjoy, and shamelessly copy. I am thankful for crafty.

What are you blessed with today?

Thursday, January 27

Team Effort

The room we refer to as the "play room" has been in a disreputable state since New Years. I deep-cleaned it for our family movie marathon, and it was exactly the way it should be. The ensuing descent into abject chaos was slow at first, but always inevitable.

Today, nearly a full month later, I decided the situation was desperate enough, it needed to take precedence over whatever else was an option for the afternoon.

To their credit, my children came when I called them, and got started when I handed out assignments. We all worked together, with School House Rock as our soundtrack (to keep the two-year-old from completely sabotaging our efforts). Even so, it took a full hour.

My husband walked in the door when we were twenty minutes in, and he got on his hands and knees and started in, as well. The baby lay on the couch, burbling away. We chatted casually, the conversation peppered with things like, "Who's is this?" and "Where does this go?" There was a minimum of nagging, and a total absence of nasty tempers.
It really only took half an hour to get it to "substantial completion." Then he went down to start dinner. The two oldest stayed with me, finishing off some minor details. Someone started vacuuming the stairs. We organized the movies and took out the trash. We dusted (a little, anyway), and vacuumed.  And when my husband called us all to dinner, the play room was perfect. One perfectly clean room in the house.  .

I love working together as a team. There aren't a lot of things we do as a family that we can all participate in as equals. It is so pleasant when it does happen.  I am thankful for team effort.

What are you blessed with today?

Wednesday, January 26

Small Moments

Today, I had several small moments.

First, my husband let me sleep in. It felt so good, in a guilty sort of way. I am embarrassed to admit what time it was when I finally rolled out of bed.

Second, I got to read stories with my toddler and my four-year-old SEPARATELY. This is noteworthy because they both want stories all the time (the toddler actually hauls a stack of books around with him!), and whenever one gets stories, the other worms in on the event. It was some sweet one-on-one time.

Third, I gave my baby a bath. But not just the usual infant bath. I ran a real, deep, warm tub, and she and I got to splash around together at our leisure. I even locked the bathroom door so the toddler wouldn't invade, and no one would interrupt.  She loved every minute, and I am thinking I should treat us (or just me) to a bath more often.

Fourth, I worked with my six-year-old on her reading. She has such a keen mind. It amazes me how quickly she grasps things, and what she can work out on her own with minimal guidance and instruction from me. I often wonder how I will ever do her capacity justice. It is fun for me to watch her learn.

There were others. There always are. I am grateful for the small moments that make up my days, that impact me gently and absolutely.

What are you blessed with today?

Tuesday, January 25

Organized People

Today is the beginning of the homeschool enrichment classes for my three oldest children.  We will attend once a week for the next twelve weeks.  My kids love it.  They love learning new things (knitting! bridge-building! cooking class!), they love meeting other homeschool students, the love the change in the routine.

I love that someone else is organized enough to bring it all together, and make it work.  There are more than 30 families participating, and a full-fledged committee that keeps it running.  I am in awe of these women.  I have never been that together for such a sustained length of time.  Sometimes I am afraid I never will be.

I am really, truly grateful for organized people, and how they bless my life.  Perhaps someday I will join their ranks.  Perhaps.

What are you blessed with today?

Monday, January 24

Neighborly Assistance

We got eight inches of snow! Plus some tremendous drifts. First thing after the snow stopped, my husband and my oldest son "suited up" and started digging out our driveway. They were hard at it when our neighbor from across the street pulled up on his four-wheeler, with a snow plow attached to the front, and helped them finish it off. Even so, it took an hour to completely clear the driveway. Then, cold as it was, he went on to plow out several other homes on our street. Just because he is that sort of man.

I love our neighbors. They are so thoughtful and kind. The family across the street isn't the only one; the couple across the alley has a four-wheeler, and they have plowed our driveway after many a snowfall. We have never asked them to do it, they are just like that.

I remember being totally surprised the first time it happened, I almost cried. My gratitude toward them usually takes the form of a plateful of cookies, or a batch of homemade muffins. It seems insignificant by comparison. But it is truly sincere.

Today I am thankful for neighborly assistance. We are so very blessed with the kindest of neighbors, all around us!

What are you blessed with today?

Sunday, January 23

Tiny Smiles

My baby has found her smile.  And she loves people.  Nothing makes her happier than seeing the faces of people around her.  Today at Church, she grinned and grinned at everyone behind us as I held her on my shoulder.  She light up every time someone made eye contact.  Each person that asked to hold her was rewarded with one of her winning grins.

This evening, as my husband and I were doing our weekly calendering, I had her propped up on a pillow facing us, and she smiled and smiled and smiled through the whole affair.  Baby smiles are like precious gems: very small, but priceless, and completely worth whatever it takes to get them.

I am thankful for the joy I get from my baby's smiles.

What are you blessed with today?