Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Tom Sawyer Trick Still Works

This dream
needed some serious Tom Sawyer attention.
One  sunny Saturday,
one trip to Home Depot with hubby,

and one eager little painter.
Yea, as soon as we mentioned painting,
she was all over it.
She wanted to paint.
We hemmed and hawed and made a big deal about
wanting the paint job to be nice.
It worked.
It increased her desire.
Teenagers don’t want to paint.
So, we’ve learned to let ’em paint while they still think it’s exciting.
You just can’t be that picky about their effort.
Count on the help getting paint all over.
As I’ve learned from previous painting experiences,
you have to grit your teeth through the process,
and cheer on the outcome.
Seriously, close your eyes and grit your teeth.
It won’t be pretty,
but it will be done.
Never criticize the help, never.
They might not help again.
See?  Not pretty.
One messy painter who wasn’t criticized.
Laughed at, but not criticized.

One eager neighbor was added to the equation.
As soon as he saw Rebekah having all the fun,
he had to join in.
One cool Home Depot hat was all it took
to get him to stir the paint.
One painter’s trick I learned from my  brothers, Joel and Allan.
You pound holes into that little ledge so the paint drips back into the can.
You already knew that?
I learned it late in life.
One window installer…

who also fell for the Tom Sawyer ploy and painted the window trim.
One door installed while the painter retires her brush for
her Laura Ingalls’ bonnet and pretending with neighbor, Norah.
One more stage of the
Playhouse Project
It’s finished enough to enjoy through the rainy season
and we’ll work on the porch and the interior as time and inspiration allows.
One more skill taught,
One more family memory,
One very happy little girl.

How To NOT Nag A Husband

You’re never too young to learn how to be a good wife.
At only 8 years old, Rebekah learned a valuable lesson in
You know that drippy faucet thing wives like to do?
Sometimes daughters do it, too.
No, she didn’t learn it from me….I don’t think…
or maybe I just won’t admit it…
awhile ago,
like a few years ago,
a certain Daddy promised a certain little girl a
He was sincere,
he was excited,
he just didn’t act as soon as he spoke.
The minute you mention something to kids they want it to happen.
Do any of you NOT tell your kids about something
exciting that is going to happen in the future,
just because you don’t want to hear about it
all the time?
Dear Daddy forgot that little trick.
Little Rebekah decided her biological clock was ticking
and she needed that
built before she outgrew it.
She started asking,
“Daddy, when are you going to build my playhouse?”
Almost every night when he came home from work,
“Daddy, are you going to start on my playhouse tonight?”
On the weekends she was relentless
because she knew Daddy had more free time.
I realized she was very quickly approaching that fine line wives
dance on and around  to get the perfect balance –
reminding enough to get a project done
but not
So, Beka and I had a little talk.
I explained men don’t like to be nagged.
Sure, they might need gentle reminders, but they can’t be nagged.
The more you nag, the less they’ll listen.
It’s that simple.
She listened and responded.
She quick asking.
The next morning, this was on our dresser.

This was on the lamp on Daddy’s side of the bed.

This was on his computer.

This was on the sink “so he’d see it when he brushes his teeth,” she said.
There was even one in the hallway,
where Daddy would see it on his way to and from work.
I was amazed.
The thing all parents long for and dream about happened.
She took my advice!
Even better than that,
she came up with a plan of action I hadn’t imagined.
When she and I came back from California
this was hanging around the backyard.
 Rebekah’s  heros are her Daddy (left) and Uncle Joel.
Uncle Joel is the professional carpenter,
hubby is the weekend warrior with sore thumb to prove it…
that stinkin’ hammer did it again.
Beka and I love the
We’ve spent hours together playing, decorating, sewing, painting,
sleeping, snuggling and dreaming.
More than just a little girl’s dream come true,
it symbolizes a mommy’s dream come true.
A child took my advice and it worked.
I’m wondering what future blessings await her if she continues to practice
reminding enough to get a project done

but not

I’m also wondering what futurue blessings await if I keep taking my own advice.
You’re never too old to learn to be a good wife.

That’s IT! I’m Going EMO!

The lack of sunshine during the PNW’s fall and winter
 can be a little,
to be honest,

Especially, when you face the fact that it can rain
an average of 37 inches per year.
That’s a lot of puddles to splash in with gorgeous rainboots.

Especially, when you add the Wikipedia fact that
there are 100 shades of gray.
The PNW wears them all –
 all winter long.

Especially, when you add the fact that we 
see the sun on an average of 226 days in the year.

Especially, when school starts and I need to be inside much of the time.


Every year, it affects me a lot.  My Vitamin D drops.
A good Norwegian, I long for the sun.
The weather can get to me.
So, I made a decision.

I’m goin’
No, I’m not talkin’ about coloring my hair and wearing it over my eyes,
 slashing my jeans,
wearing only black (Oh, that’s right, I do that now),
tattooing and piercing my body,
wearing black eyeliner and band t-shirts,
and listening to funky music.

I’m talking about the annual  hunt and seek mission

where I  try to spend

Sometimes, I read outside.
It might be under a blanket, and with a heater, but I’m outside.
Sometimes, we work outside.
My hubby bought this tabletop propane heater last year. 
It gives us a few more months we can be outside when it isn’t raining.

When the sun is out, we eat  outside on the deck.

If it’s a bit nippy, a toasty fire can chase away the doldrums.
On this day, I moved the outdoor wicker couch next to the fire,
and sat there all afternoon.
It was delicious.
We finished school, I read a book and when my husband
came home I hadn’t even thought about dinner. 
Ya’ know what he said?
He’s amazing.
This is why I’m keeping this guy.
He said, “Good.  You needed to relax.”
If I’m talking on the phone, I might do that outside,
and pull a few weeds while I’m out there.
We play outside.

Some of you long time readers may recognize Kelly-Across-the-Street’s kids,

Norah and Avery.  We share many adventures with then.
For people that don’t daily see the sun in the winter,
we need to take advantage of every sunbreak.

Literally translated,

when you see the sun,
you break into a run to get outside,
and like a cat,
bask in those glorious spots of light from the sun.
And since the rainy season is just starting to announce herself to the PNW,
I have to go EMO.

Rhyme Time is a Fine Time

Sometimes, the reasons I love to homeschool are simple.
It’s not  great philosophical or academic reasons
I could spew off a soap box.
I love being with my kids.
 I also love being there for those amazing moments
of growth and enthusiasm when they conquer a new skill.
Imagine if I never saw the worksheet below,
and never had that
moment because this worksheet was completed then shoved
to the bottom of a desk or lost on the bus.
Click to enlarge.
I know ya’ really want to read this.
Yes, my daughter discovered the word
rhymes with the word
It’s truly moments like these make me
my decision to homeschool.
Teaching is my delight.
I teach with all my might.
My children are outta’ sight,
Even when they bite.
I really like to write
But my poetry is  a fright.
Speaking of rhyming,
Write Express offers a free online rhyming dictionary.
There’s another one from Ken Nesbitt’s
If you’re one of those cool, younger moms who
use their thumbs to rule the world,
there’s even a free app to download.
Kids love rhyming when it’s fun,
and shoving a worksheet in front of them first,
isn’t fun.
I like to entice them with a reading from
Jack Prelutsky first.
I blogged that I like to turn their
knee-jerk negative reaction into a knee-slap.
When they learn that poetry and rhyming
can be ridiculously fun,
then you bring on those boring worksheets.
Oh, did I call them boring?
Imagine my excitement when a local writer,
Marty Nystrom, wrote two poetry books,
one for the Old Testament and one for the New Testament.
A versatile writer, you know him best as author of
As the Deer” and many other contemporary worship songs.
Once while reading this aloud to Rebekah,
she giggled and said, “Mom, he has boys, right?”
Yea, he writes as a Christian, a poet, and a Dad.
Reading silly poetry
and giggling with my little girl,
is just one more reason why
I love homeschooling.

God Delivers, But Not Pizza

Maybe it was the pizza delivery boy that spoiled life for me
and corrupted my ability to wait. 
In college Dominos had an amazing policy.
If your hot pizza wasn’t delivered to  your doorstep in 30 minutes,
your pizza was free. 
Then, drive-thru’s were added to my life. 
You ponder, pay, pick-up then pork-out. 
It’s almost that fast.
Now, we have Amazon. 
I can choose almost anything I want and have it on my doorstep in days.
We no longer have to wait very long for anything. 
Service and goods appear at our demand.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that prayer doesn’t work the same way. 
 is promised,
but God is NOT a delivery boy. 
 He doesn’t answer our prayers on demand like the Dominos driver,
He answers in His perfect timing.
 isn’t always immediate.
Our Heavenly Father makes us wait,
according to His good and perfect will.
Waiting isn’t bad.
  An uncooked cake is a puddle of raw ingredients.
A house with one side painted is an eyesore.
They’re both unfinished works.
For those who’ve trusted Christ as our Savior,
we’re also unfinished works.
Philippians 1:6
“Being confident of this very thing,
that He who has begun a good work in you
will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
The Lord will complete the good work,
He will bring
in His timing and His way.
Lately, my heart has been crying out for
Several trials in our lives have been on-going
and some have no end in sight.
I remember very few times in 30 years of being a Christian,
when I have felt so burdened.
Many of you have followed and prayed me through
the case of the Innocent Man.
His trial date is set for October 11th and we desperately need prayers.
A believer falsely accused of a crime, he could spend the rest of his life in jail.
I have to be honest and let you dear friends know,
I’m having a hard time trusting the Lord for the outcome of the trial.
I’m longing for
and I really wanted it Dominos style, not perfect work style.
The Lord brought this song to my heart and mind
and it made me cry with tears of relief and joy.
will come.
If you care to read some of the story behind the Innocent Man,
I’d love to have you follow these links back to when the heartache began.

I’m Still an Ol’ Bag

When a new school year starts,
we’re all thinking the same thing –
if only
I were more organized and efficient,
I would remember more and accomplish more.
We long for that
perfect container,
perfect shelving system,
perfect organizational feature,
that will magically transform our chaos into control.
In 2010, I blogged through an organizational kick
with some new ideas and some tried-and-true practices of mine.
My favorite system really did impact my life
in a powerful, helpful way.
Not everything I try works, so I felt it worth revisiting this tip.
OK…all this build-up……
….it involves this….

….and this.

As I began this new year not emotionally ready,
I realized my systems were in place and I was physically ready
using this simple sytem using my favorite tote bags.
Follow me back in time when I first admitted
It will turn chaos into control,
I promise…