Friday, August 19, 2016

Week Favorites


“Thunderstorms are as much our friends as the sunshine.” 
― Criss JamiKillosophy


He has made everything beautiful in it's time
- Ecclesiastes 3:11a



The little birds have found a new feeder - it's apple pie for all.
Aren't they sweet?
Today the kids and I enjoyed watching The Flight of the Butterflies on Netflix - if you haven't seen it ... you're missing out! In all seriousness, it was the best 45 minutes of my week. 



Also this week we tried overnight salt crystals ... somehow it actually worked.
Aren't they so "snowflake" like? 
We used thisTUTORIAL
All you need is Epsom salts, some liquid watercolor (food dye might work) and a jar ...


We also experimented with homemade play dough - we weren't too successful. Next time I think we will go the kool aid route but I didn't have any artificial colored diabetic drink packets in my cupboards - I guess a trip to the store will be needed!


We also finished our Maya Angelou chapter book - her life was such an inspiration and we enjoyed reading a bit of her poetry and also looking up videos on youtube of her singing - I had no idea that Maya was a singer and a dancer as well a civil rights activist and amazing author. We completed our unit study on Brazil (I chose Brazil without even realizing that the Olympics were going to be there...it was amazing watching the opening ceremony and actually understanding some of the local history.) So... there are new lesson plans to be made and projects to conjure and a field trip in the near future (Pike's Peak anyone?) and I'm pretty excited. Our homeschool journey this year has already needed some flexibility - a totaled vehicle and fevers and bad weather oh my. All in all though, it's gone rather smoothly and I think the kids are enjoying learning and have had some pretty joy filled experiences. I hope that you all have a good weekend.
 You are loved beyond measure,
Beautifully and wonderfully made.

~Alyssa

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The School Year


Our school year officially began yesterday. 
I'm excited.

The last two school years we had a lot of hiccups....winding roads...mountains to climb...
chaos...if you will. 
This year I feel like I have a plan, I have the space, and my heart is in it. 

I will try and put up a blog post at least once a week to share what we are up to in the world of homeschool. Without further ado :


SLIME. 
We made it, it was a hit.
Making a gooey concoction like this is a great hands on science experiment....
the conversation can be about formulas, polymers, how to follow a recipe...the list goes on. 
 We used this recipe! Give it a whirl...it only calls for water, glue, and a little borax.


We are going to learn more about Mr. Edgar Degas for our artist unit study this week.
I found a nice book at the library and also some youtube videos. 
Have you heard of the Who Was series of children's books?
My kids LOVE them. This week we are reading aloud Who Was Maya Angelou, 
my two older kids have a chapter book that they read from every night before bed.

We are going to focus most of our attention on South America in geography this year. We usually choose a country (this week is Brazil) and we find a book about the culture, history, economics, that kind of stuff. Then we may do a craft like create a flag for their notebooks, maybe cut out foods from a magazine or pictures of plants and create a collage for the country. I LOVE the Expedia Travel Guides on youtube - they are anywhere from 2 minutes long to 7 minutes and they are colorful and bright and interesting. Yesterday we watched about Rio along with reading about Brazil. It's fun traveling the world right in your living room. 



One of the biggest blessings of homeschool is being able to create a beautiful environment for the kids while they work on workbooks - classical music in the background, a cup of tea...maybe some cinnamon honey toast. I found some black masking tape at the store that I'm going to use to hang their art projects on our library door - I think that will serve MUCH better then our kitchen refrigerator. What are some of your plans for this school year? 


"What we learn with pleasure we never forget."
- Alfred Mercier

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Storm

The thing about life is - it's balanced.


There's a flow, a rhythm. There is gain, there is loss.
There is light and darkness.




Without the loss, we couldn't appreciate the good, the gain...the blessings.
Without the flow, we couldn't sink into the stillness.



Without the darkness, we would never look for the sunrise, or glow in the sunset.


We need it all.
I need it all - to be who I am. 
The cold, to appreciate the warmth. The scorching heat to enjoy the cool down. 
The bland so I can savor the rich,
the bad memories so we can make new ones ...or choose differently.





The storm came - and it tore my new little haven apart.
Golf ball size hail - I found one block of ice the size of a roma tomato.
It took.
In the end, it may be a mixed blessing because now our insurance might help with a new roof and gutters and siding...all things we could use.
Then today, as I was sitting on my deck...the wind wrapping itself around me and my trees still standing - my heart knew - and I wrote :


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Journal Entry : July 31st, 2016

Sitting on the deck, strong wind tangling tree branches, my soft pant fabric ballooning and tickling my ankles - I know YOU are here. You are in the wind. You are the wind. You are the rhythm of life, the flow.
You're stirring my hair, whipping my flesh, grabbing my heart - holding my head and saying "I love you so you can love more."
 That's the answer to my longing, to my often lonely spirit - to my always searching mind. Love More. Love well. 
 I don't have to be a priority to people because I'm You're very heart.I don't have to be wealthy - I'm rich in good character and in blessings that will last.
 You watch me. You hear me. You're love reaches so far - it goes beyond the hazy blue mountains of the Springs - it's higher then the Rockies, it climbs over the sky and fills dark space. Your light touches everything, everyone - it beats down on me. I know, that no matter the pain or pleasure that life brings, You are here with me. Because of that, I can endure with joy. I can love more. I can try again.

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I hope that you all have a blessed Sunday and have beautiful moments with those you love
(also...good weather. :) )

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Creative Mind

There once was a pile of scrap wood, laying in a dark garage. 
It was cold on the cement.
Sometimes a little spider would creep around, running across the back of the pine, tickling his knots.
The wood didn't really like it.
He wanted to be something.


There once was a little girl that had a love for all things miniature.
Little rugs, little thimbles, little tables.
Little flowers.
Little people. 
All things little - she loved them.


There once was a storm.
There was heavy wind and hail.
Several branches were stripped of their dignity and knocked to the ground,
their fate was "mulch."


There was a creative mind...or two.
There were hammers and nails and saws and glue.
There was a whole lot of love for the stacks of pine,
the branches...but mostly...
for that sweet little girl.


It took a little time, a whole lot of patience,
some sanding and some reworking.
In the end, 
the sleepy stack of wood 
the fallen down branch
became something new.
something lovely.

The little girl's heart swelled,
the creative minds were satisfied.


“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.” 
― Francis of Assisi


Also...a little tree painting for your Saturday. 
Some day I may learn to paint something besides birch trees...
It's just that I haven't found anything I love quite the same 
as these tall , stately, romantic creatures. 

Happy weekend!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Summering

 “Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 




 "Where are you going?" I asked.
She looked up at me, pad of paper under her left arm, a pack on her back, hauling a chair behind her
"out to draw lettuce" she smiled. 
Of course. 
Only in the summer can one sit in the sunshine, 
enjoying the air and the bugs and the pine...
and attempt to capture the beauty of  lettuce. 


The days have been full of hosting family and friends,
 late dinners, warm air, and lately...a bit of crafting.


Trinity and I have started painting peg people, starting with a family of fairies. 
Zac and I are building a little fairy house ... it's been quite a process. Not hard really...just a bit of waiting for wood glue to dry. I can't wait to show it to you.


I've been baking again too ... warm herb breadsticks and vegan enchiladas...this past week blueberry pancakes. I'm not ready for summer to be over, but I'm excited for cinnamon and spice and everything nice about fall. I've been gathering ideas...


The garden seems to be growing "okay." My cucumbers are flowering but the leaves have been turning a bit brown  - I've been researching about Ph this and Ph that and calcium and magnesium and all of the things that our soil needs. Words like "compost tea" and "nitrogen" have become part of my everyday vocabulary. My thumb isn't quite green yet...but it's slowly changing color. I had no idea there was so much science involved in gardening.
There is hope for me yet. 


One other amazingly good thing that has come my way in the last couple of weeks...
I've found a friend.
A sweet, kindred spirit friend that crafts and loves things like acorns and burlap and thrifting.
She made me this lovely "C" for my front door.
I felt like she handed me the moon.
I do love a handmade gift.  


As for me...I've been making a bit of Christmas in July - my love
of "all things felt" has return and I'm on a hoop making mission.
I also discovered Joanne Fabrics.
For some reason, all these years, I thought Joannes only sold material.
 Imagine my surprise when the glass doors parted and my eyes were met with 
colorful yarns and paints and birch rounds.
Twas love at first sight.
I found some lovely navy linen that I have plans for.
It's nice having plans.


There is a cool breeze calling me and a piece of avacado toast just waiting to be enjoyed, 
I leave you now friends.
I hope that your weekend will be full of joy and blessings,
that you will find ways to love others and feel loved by them in return
Happy July weekend.
May the Light find you right where you are.



Friday, July 15, 2016

Happy Friday


“A weed is but an unloved flower.” 
― Ella Wheeler Wilcox



“God is the most beautiful, and beauty is the expression of God. If you can't appreciate beauty in the world how can you understand God?” 
― Amit Ray


“The beauty of that June day was almost staggering. After the wet spring, everything that could turn green had outdone itself in greenness and everything that could even dream of blooming or blossoming was in bloom and blossom. The sunlight was a benediction. The breezes were so caressingly soft and intimate on the skin as to be embarrassing.” 
― Dan SimmonsDrood




"Do not blame the thistle that you see no beauty."
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie


“Butterflies are self propelled flowers.” 
― Robert A. Heinlein


"The next time you're faced with something that's unexpected, unwanted and uncertain,
consider that it just might be a gift."
- Stacey Kramer


“Beauty doesn't have to be about anything. What's a vase about? What's a sunset or a flower about? What, for that matter, is Mozart's Twenty-third Piano Concerto about?” 
― Douglas AdamsThe Salmon of Doubt


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness
faithfulness, gentleness and self - control.
- Galatians 5:22

“Though we cannot see the heart, we can see the life.” 
― David Paul KirkpatrickThe Address Of Happiness


Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you...
1 Peter 5:7


We took a lovely family walk a few days ago and I was blessed to find thistles and butterflies and caterpillars, bumble bees and scads of warm western sun. 
The last couple of days have been quiet here at home with my littles... crafting (can't wait to show you!) and preparing for the upcoming homeschool year. Have a lovely weekend friends, may you be filled with Light and Love.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Cultivating Peace...


"Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive." 

Last night I forced myself to go to bed early. I love to sleep...I just don't know how. Lately I've been staying up until 2 or even 3 am when Zac isn't here. It's not a good habit, but like I told him, sometimes I just can't stop being alone. If I go to sleep, then I wake up and I'm not by myself again until the night.
 It's not good though, the body requires a little bit of care to function, thus the "forcing" of myself. I dripped some lavender oil into my diffuser, got out my Bible and journal and started reading the beatitudes.  
The one that caused me to stop, to write, to study and to apply was 
"Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God." 
That's the one I needed, because lately...even though I know He is all around - I don't see Him. 

Pure of Heart. 

I looked it up. 
Following His ways. 

You can see Him now. 

It's not talking about later...someday...when you're in the ground. It's now - the Light is available now when you cultivate love and kindness and forgiveness, contentment, gratefulness. 

Which brings me to this post about cultivating peace. There is no peace apart from the Light. You're  either in the Light or in the darkness or in a very grey area that can be very confusing. I go back and forth from Light into the grey - I'm never in the darkness because He is in me. Even at my low points I can look down at my arms and see a sparkle here and a sparkle there and know that I'm still covered, the batteries are still in there - the bulb isn't blown. 
The grey though...that darn grey. My walls are painted Sherwin Williams Agreeable Grey. This space that I'm referring too is not an Agreeable Grey, or even a Revere Pewter or a Classic. It's just dull and kind of lifeless. It's that color on a plant that creeps up the stem when it's close to losing it's life. 

So I journaled to figure out why it is that I have to stay up and by busy until 2 am. What am I avoiding?
And, the lesson learned is that I had some organizing and some cleaning out of thoughts. I think I was avoiding my thoughts...
I've been in a stage of "I do nothing except clean."
I've been in a stage of (no help from modern society) that I need to find "the thing" that I am and I need to do something for society. 

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Then I came across this little quote on Pintrest...that I'm sure I've read before. It said :

"Of all the things I'll ever do in my lifetime, Mothering my children will be my greatest accomplishment." 
 In the middle of diapers and sippy cups and tantrums older women will look at you, shake there head and say "enjoy it, it goes by so fast." Then, even though you know time is ticking by, you want to get to that next stage faster. Women who have made the choice not to have children will tell you that what you want is just around the corner, go ahead and pursue it now, you need to do what makes you happy too. Problem is, not being available 24/7 to nurture my kids isn't an option for my heart. It's just not.
Women who want children, but can't have them...would give anything for such a gift. They know it's the "thing." 

That little pin stuck me in the heart . An "aha" moment once again in the life of Alyssa. 

This is why my heart hasn't been pure. This is why I've been in the grey. 
I'm where I'm suppose to be, at exactly the right time, doing exactly what I NEED to be doing - nurturing four little souls, and I don't think it's enough. 
That's a shame. 
Shame on society for making me feel like that.
Shame on people telling me to go ahead and go back to school - since, you know, education and money are the most important things in life. Listen here, I like both. Books and learning - love. Dinero, the perverbial "bread", and little cha ching and my waching (not sure what that is) ... I'm up for it. I could always use a little more dough. 

Shame on me for believing a lie and wallowing around in "but I should be more."
How can you be more than love? 
Molding secure, loved, hard working , creative individuals is the BIGGEST impact you can have on society. It's one of the best things for the soul if you do your job well. I knew this - I just forgot.
* Rabbit Trail..if you have Netflix watching the documentary The Beginning of Life...it's phenomenal.*
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So I'm on my normal quest once again to be the person I need to be for myself and for my littles - a joyful present mama. 

Here are a few snapshots of the ways I'm cultivating peace in my life, and if you care to share the things that brings you happiness and contentment, please do! 


~ laughing with those I love
~ having empathy for the people that are in my life
~ forgiving over and over again
~ digging judgments out of my soul and replacing them with a prayer
~ voicing what I love about everything and everyone I love


~ crafting again
~ making a ribbon windchime (I told my kids that when they touch the ribbons and say a prayer or express gratitude the breeze will take it up to heaven)
~ watching the breeze dance with the leaves


~ appreciating things that are "weathered"
~ flowers, flowers, flowers and more flowers 


~ stopping even when there are things to do, to enjoy a cup of tea and the outdoors
~ tea ... it really is good for the soul.



~ watching storms roll in
~ sharing the clouds with my kids


~ learning to love the way I look...supposedly I'm a masterpiece made my an awesome creative Creator. I'm embracing my new grey hair friends and lines around my eyes. 
~ holding and kissing my babies whenever I can
~ trying to use the words "I love you" a lot more


~ giving the kids my camera and watching them create
Tristan said "here Finn, hug the tree and close your eyes and smile"


~ stopping to make eye contact and smile in their sweet faces
~ laughing at them. Kids LOVE for you to notice them. They know when they are bringing you joy.


~ noticing the unexpected ... gold elephant? I love the dents on this copper kettle. It's been upside down on  my deck for a week, and I just can't bring myself to move it. 


~ creating with the littles (wax paper and crayon rain drops)
~ filling my home with beautiful things, yet keeping it empty enough to not create head chaos


~ stopping to watch the sunset...all of it's stages...


... almost there...


... not quite...


There. Then, taking a deep breath and raising my arms up high and waving them and saying "You're fabulous God. Truly fabulous." 


~ music, always soft music
Lately I've been listening to Ballet Radio on Pandora - it's so cheerful


~ taking the time to make afternoon tea for the littles, a tradition I try to keep up


...and cookies. All kids, at some point, need to have home baked cookies. I'm as healthy as the next person but one thing I just can't do is deny my kids a chocolate chip cookie or a snickerdoodle from time to time.


~ remembering the things I use to love, and doing them again
~ old movies...they bring me oodles of happiness
~ colors...lets not forget how good color is for peace. If you don't want to live in a grey world, you have to learn to mix colors. 


~ doing things for others that make them feel loved
~ serving others without expectations
~ dancing in the kitchen 
Trinity said "mom, how come you do crazy dances right before you are going to eat?" 
I guess it's because I'm so excited to feed myself? 

And some quotes for your enjoyment

 "The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself."
- Maya Angelou

"When little people are overwhelmed with big emotions, it's are place to share our calm, not to join their chaos."
- L.R. Knost

"She has the soul of a gypsy, the heart of a hippie, the spirit of a fairy."
- unknown

"The older I get, the more I realize the value of privacy, of cultivating your circle and only letting certain people in. You can be open, honest, and real while still understanding not everyone deserves a seat at the table of your life."
- unknown

Have a lovely weekend friends