New Pajamas

Big kids are telling me they need summer pajamas. (Not Anna-Kate, for she has all of their hand me down pajamas. She wears homemade pajamas to bed almost every night!) Took a break from mask making and made Audra a really comfortable breezy nightgown with a stretchy top.  She has hardly taken if off. (It so happens that she made the summer pj pants she's wearing too). Adrian found a pair of too short pajamas with a hole in the knee.  I helped him turn them into PJ pants.
He enjoyed doing it and says he wants to make more. I whipped up this outdoorsman pair (he just loves this fabric). I also put the pattern on a thicker piece of paper so he can make his own without having to fool with a multisize pattern. Stay tuned. He has been picking fabric for his next pair.


There are so many more to educate around these parts. We take literacy seriously. 
(And I made her wool dress.)


Ask them if they are sick of being at home. Emphatically NO.  Ask them if they mind rainy days.  Not a bit. Ask them if they have run out of ideas.  Definitely NOT.  Ask mama if she could use a breather. YES.


Peep peep peep

My husband has never been into my farming ideas, but once a year. He just love baby chicks.

 This year he set up a photo shoot too! He set it up, I took the pics.


 Outside a minimum of 3 hours a day is our goal, regardless of weather. It's one of the best things in our regular routine.

Anna-Kate is THREE!

Two and a HALF

Anna-Katherine, you are now THREE! You've been counting down to your birthday all week!  You plan on getting presents. You hope your favorite people call you to sing Happy Birthday. You changed your birthday menu from pizza to hot dogs at your sibling's urging.  (But you will also have cucumbers and shark fruit snacks...that you had at the fair last August and still remember and request). You say when you turn 3, we are to call you Anna-Katherine instead of Anna-Kate.  We'll see how long that lasts. 

You, my girl, are a delight!  You are extremely articulate and talk ALL THE TIME. You talk like you are years ahead of yourself.  You love nursery rhymes (the repertoire you can recite boggles my mind) and you also love books.  You love talking on the phone. You insist you get a turn. You are a great advocate for yourself! 

You are a perfect balance of wanting to interact with others and playing on your own. You are mostly helpful around the house. Your favorite toys are baby chickies, anything tiny with parts and the dollhouse. You like to do arts and crafts. Paint. Cut with scissors.  You keep up with the big kids and tolerate their nonsense better than I do.

You eat most anything, except bread that's not homemade!  Our dog gets an immediate treat of bread if it's not homemade, as you chuck it to her. If it's homemade, you don't waste it.  You still love anything colorful.  Salads. All fruits. Any colorful candy. You love eggs. Popsicles. You also try to sneak drinks of coffee.  

One thing that's good about this pandemic is you don't go to stores with me any longer. You are not good in stores.  You screech to see how loud you can get (for fun).  Chuck stuff out of the car. Put stuff in the cart.  Take bites out of things.   Bringing you to the store is NO fun!

You have the longest prayers ever. And you say the same thing, on repeat. "Jesus, please love us and help us and love us and help us YOU AREN'T CLOSING YOUR EYES. CLOSE YOUR EYES!  Jesus, please love us and help us and love us and help us ..."  You certainly don't keep your prayers (or anything) silent.

You love people.You remember them, talk about them and talk to them. You love your friends too.  You have a very special bond with daddy and miss mama immensely if we are parted for 15 minutes. Daddy says you're the perfect grand finale for our family.  I, however, would love to have a whole gaggle of Anna-Kates!  I treasure the time we have together, sweet girl.  Happy Birthday! 

Love, Mama

Her interview:
Nicknames: Anna-Kate

How old are you? 3

What is your favorite color? Blue

What is your favorite animal? A zebra is favorite animal to me. Horses are a little bit.

What is your favorite book? Winnie the Pooh

What is your favorite song? Ding Dong Bell Pussy in the well.

What is your favorite snack? Fruit snacks

What is your favorite outfit?  Dresses

What is your favorite game?  The card one (uno)

What is your favorite toy?  Chickies. (Anything tiny)

Who is your best friend?  Ellie the toad

What is your favorite thing to do? Hold chickies

What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play in the snow

What is your favorite holiday?  Easter

What do you like to take to bed with you at night?  Strawberry (her doll)

Where is your favorite place to go? Outside

What is your favorite restaurant?  McDonalds has french fries.

Where do you want to go on vacation? To celebrate and get donuts. (Congdons!)

What do you want to be when you grow up? Bigger

What are you going to do on your birthday? Hot dogs, french fries, cucumbers, fruit snacks, cake with chocolate frosting, mint chip ice cream

Peep peep!

 Only 7 hatched this round.  7 feels like plenty to me this year.
 The one who loves them most is Anna-Kate.  She is such a good 'mama' to all her little 'chickies'.


My husband's aunt cut out the scarecrow.  Adrian painted it.  Every farmer needs a quality scarecrow.


It's another Monday at home. It just might be another bread day. I have folks asking when I'm going to be selling bread again. I just might start back up. I asked my husband if he is missing anything about the outside world during this pandemic. (Although he is leaving the house to work. I'm working a bit from home through teletherapy, but not going into the office.)  He said, "Not really.  I look forward to the meals my wife makes and it's nice to have this time with family at home." Thankful we continue to count our blessings that we are home, healthy and safe.

Wrapping paper

I'm a fan of her patterned wrapping paper. I gave her empty toilet paper rolls and an empty butter box.  Plus paper plates with paint for dipping. Told her to make patterns. I think she's a natural. (Bonus, I made her nightgown.)


These trucks that my dad made all those years ago are still in use, with precious cargo.


If you've been around these parts long enough, you know I am a homeschooling mom and book lover, raising my kids mostly media free.  If you've visited here before, it's easy to see that I am an advocate of raising kids surrounded with books. (And I take many pictures of my kids caught reading, this time my baby with her daddy. Melt my heart!)

I'm a big fan of the advocacy to read to the littles.  In Maine, we have a program called Raising Readers that gives parents an entire bag of books to keep in the hospital and a quality hardcover at well visits. I absolutely love our library, library programs and story hours. I have been to most of the libraries in the county. I'm a fan of Dolly Parton's goals with her imagination library. I love little free libraries. Book sales. Used book stores.  Online shopping for books.  Books. Books. Books. I love them.

At least where I live, reading to the littles is encouraged greatly, which I'm thrilled about.  The next trend, however, I'm not entirely loving.  We read to kids regularly until they get enough skills to read on their own.  Then we encourage/recommend/require them to begin reading to themselves for "at least twenty minutes a day".  I hear often from friends how their kids 'hate' their 20 minute reading and how sad it is that they have a kid who hates to read. Now, I'm all for teaching kids to read on their own and encouraging them to read independently, but I recommend this independent reading to be in addition to shared reading with an adult, not instead of it.

The benefits of reading to/reading with your older kids are many. When kids start to learn to read, their skills aren't fluent enough to read to match their ability to understand.  It can be discouraging and less interesting to be stuck in those early readers. When reading is an assignment, the joy sometimes can lessen.  On the flip side, reading to your kids, even when they are independent readers, is great bonding time as you experience the joy of the adventure the story brings together.  Sometimes as kids get older, they may be less interested in sharing a story or chapter book with their parent, but are there other things you can read together?  Poetry?  Riddles? Jokes? Books about a shared hobby?  Cookbooks?  Current events? Or perhaps you can read the same text on your own and discuss together at designated times, like a book club or a Bible study.

We all get busy, distracted and time flies before we even know it. I believe the power of a good shared book helps my family slow down and enjoy our time together.

If you find yourself schooling your littles at home right now, I highly recommend finding time to dig into a good book together daily. Doesn't need to be a long period of time, just a tiny bit of time daily. A few pages. A chapter.  If you need recommendations on what to pick, I can help out. This time at home together is a good time to start new family traditions. I guarantee you won't regret the habit of reading together.

If you a parent, what have you been reading with your family lately? Or what did you enjoy reading to your littles back in the day?  We've been really enjoying the Dimwood Forest series by Avi lately. 2nd time through it, just as joyful as the first.

How are we here?

As of late, I sort of feel a little like "Baby Dear" in this picture.  You see baby dear in mid flight above?  I feel like my brain is soaring in an undisclosed location far from Earth. 
I don't know if I'm coming or going lately, but clearly I'm not coming or going because I've been home, home, home. Am I here, there and everywhere? No. I'm home.  I'm so confused, my brain is in a haze and do I really know the last time I showered or brushed my hair?  (The answer is no.) I watch the news, read the updates then my shoulders get tense.  I have a long list of things that I always said that I would do if I had time at home. I finally have time at home, but in any spare moment I get, I'm here:
 My sewing machine has been buzzing for weeks making masks. I don't really mind doing them to help out friends and relations and whoever else needs one, but how are we here?  It wasn't that long ago that life was normal. And how is it my two year old comes up to me and says "You making more masks for the virus, mama?" My 2 year old talks about the virus as if it's a common thing to talk about it. How is it that we are here? And when are we going to get out of here?
 If I could get all this jabber out of my head and get out of my own way, there's much beauty about this stay at home thing.  Our washer broke and the local handyman came to help us out.  The picture of his 1948 Ford hanging in our driveway is just perfection.
 Things are growing here.

Our family has expanded by four legs (but no warts yet).
 They insist it's a girl and her name is 'Ellie". She chooses to hang out around the 'home' they made for her, to their delight. All three of my kids just happened to be wearing mama mades in this pic.
Zippy is learning to read.  Anna-Kate has been showing him the words.
 And we are home, healthy and safe.  And do you see this below?  Baby Dear was caught by her mama. Nothing to worry about at all. May I be that sort of mama. May I be the mama who catches my littles no matter what, even when the catch seems unlikely. May I be that type of mama who doesn't worry in the middle of this chaos we are living in. Even if the world crashes down, may I be their strong and steady, helping them steer through this fog, with confidence we will be on the other side soon. May I think less about the big picture, but more about my snapshots of our time at home sweet home. For there is much joy in our everyday.


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