"By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge it's rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." Proverbs 24:3-4

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Happy At Home

Hello again, friends!

I am always happy to begin a new post because it makes me feel like I'm getting to visit with an old, dear friend!

Have you been enjoying fall?

Have you been enjoying your home?

Our homes should be our most favorite place to be!

Whenever we're pulling into our driveway after being away for a while, I always say to the kids, "Hey, look! It's the most wonderful place in the whole world... Home!!!"



The bible teaches that we should be, "... loving to our husbands and children, self-controlled, pure, and busy at home..." Titus 2:4-5

Sometimes we must leave our homes, of course, but I think we should try to limit it to only when necessary.

This thought was in the forefront of my mind when I drew up our back-to-school schedule. 

My vision was to have a schedule that allowed us plenty of time to enjoy being home, with a few trips into town during the week for classes that would enrich our lives in meaningful ways; NOT keep us unnecessarily busy!

So today's post is our out-of-the-home school day schedule.

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With the exception of the baby, I wanted each child to partake in one class a week at our local community center.

It's been going really well!

Roman chose an art class:



Nola chose Ballet:



And Soren learned to swim:



Not wanting to be unnecessarily busy, but being purposeful in our class choices means thinking about what cannot be provided at home. For example, we don't have a pool or a ballet barre at home.

It also means thinking about long-term life skills, like swimming for example. This is a non-negotiable in my mind. All children should learn how to be strong swimmers!

(I should also note, since we're talking about life skills, that my children take piano lessons during the week from a skilled friend. But I don't have pictures of that. We consider it their "music class".)

I also think about how I can combine trips into town, to cut down on gas and time waste. One of the reasons why Nola and Roman's classes were chosen was because the class times overlap. So, sort of like killing two birds with one stone, we get two classes out of one afternoon trip to our community center per week. 

These things should all be considered to make the best use of our time.

WE are the managers of our homes and families. God expects us to prioritize and schedule wisely!

"She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." Proverbs 31:27

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Young children don't need to be yanked all over the place, from one event to another. A loving home is the best environment for babies and young children to thrive.

Getting all of their extra activities and classes in during the school day is one of the many reasons why we homeschool. That way our nights and weekends are free to simply enjoy our home and family together.

I'm sure when my children are older our out-of-the-house schedule will be much busier. But for now we are happy at home.

Take care sweet friends,

xo,

~ Courtney ~ 

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Air At Home

I really enjoy learning new things from old books.

I tend to think that old-fashioned ways of doing things are still the best ways.

Our mothers and grandmothers knew what they were doing, and we would be wise to take to heart their methods in homemaking.

I was reminded of this last night when I was making homemade soup for dinner.

The children were playing together nicely, and the soup had about fifteen minutes left of simmering, so I grabbed this old book and sat down...



I almost never watch T.V. or movies during my free-time. I'd much rather read a book or listen to music while doing a relaxing activity.

The content of most modern T.V shows and movies is designed to give people an escape. Most of it isn't meant to inspire or to build your mind in useful ways. But I have discovered that a lot of old books are!

I almost always come away from reading an old book feeling inspired! 

I only had a few minutes to read while the soup was simmering, and what I read made me think that I should share it with you!

It came from this book titled, Yourself And Your House Wonderful, from the year 1925.


It's a lovely book, as you can see. With soft pictures and beautiful content.

This is an example of what the pictures are like:



Lovely, right?

I can easily get drawn into looking at something like this for a long time.

I notice the clock and the candle in the background... I notice what everybody is wearing... I think to myself, What a sweet little baby in a soft white blanket... The big sister sure appears to adore her baby sibling... She reminds me of my Nola... And other such thoughts.

But as I was flipping through the pages, my eyes quickly saw something interesting. It was a chapter titled, How Bad Air Kills.

I want to share it with you.
(Yourself And Your House Wonderful, By H. A. Guerber. Chapter VI.) 

This is a portion of the chapter:

You would rightly think it horrid if anyone tried to drink dirty water or to eat swill, but it is just as nasty to breathe bad air, even though you cannot see how bad it looks.

Now there are many people in this world who are very clean and particular about everything, except about the air they breathe. Some of these people are afraid to open the windows and change the air because they say they catch cold so easily. But if they opened the windows often enough, and breathed nothing but fresh air, they would soon grow so much stronger that they would cease to catch cold so easily. They get sick simply because the little blood-boats cannot get enough air to carry to all the different parts of the body so as to keep them in first-class order.

People who breathe the same air over and over again are besides running the risk of catching some dreadful disease. For with the air, the lungs blow out tiny seeds or germs of sickness. These are far too small to be seen, and if there were plenty of fresh air in the room, they would be caught up by the wind, and carried high up in the air, where the hot sun would soon kill them.

If these germs cannot get out of the room, they are apt to be drawn into the lungs of any person who is not very well. There they are sure to grow, and to make that person very ill.

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I found all of this to be quite fascinating!

As homemakers, our job is to keep those who are in our care as happy and healthy as we can!

One way we can do that is by making sure the air in our homes isn't stagnant, but that it is instead being changed over daily.

As I continued to peruse through the Air chapter, I was also encouraged as I read about the importance of sleeping with fresh air. I have long slept with my bedroom window open, even in cold weather months, because I've had a hunch through the years that it was healthier.



I always put my children to bed with their bedroom windows open, too. Since they go to bed a few hours before I do, I make sure to remember to close the windows when I go to bed. That way the room will be healthier from the change of air, but not chilly through the night. 




"If the room in which the children sleep is always well aired, they will be rosy and happy and much easier to manage."

Taking the time to read this chapter helped confirm for me what I have long believed.

I am passing it on to you because this blog is meant to encourage homemakers. I hope you get the sense that I do not write from the standpoint of being an expert in homemaking, but that I just write about the things that interest me and help me in my homemaking. And I hope that it is of some help to you!

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Let's also remember to give our children plenty of fresh air and sunshine by taking them outside. 

I have written about this in the past, but it's good to be reminded from time to time.

My housework tempts me to stay indoors, so it is a deliberate choice for me to take a break and head outside with the children.


I am always glad when I do!

"Very few children, even among the rich, get air enough, and still air is free to everybody, and does not cost a cent. The poorest person who ever lived can have all the air there is, if only willing to take the trouble to get it."



By the time my kitchen timer was reminding me to get up and stir my soup, I had absorbed enough in my reading to be inspired and informed, with a feeling that my short free-time was spent wisely.

I found a paper heart, made by my daughter, and slipped it between the pages to hold my place for next time...



And you, dear reader, are in my heart till next time, too...

xo,

~ Courtney ~


Friday, October 14, 2016

Glimpses Of Fall

We have settled nicely into Fall...



"When Autumn comes, it doesn't ask. It just blows in where it left you last..." ~ John Mayer

The woods behind our farmhouse is dressed for the season...


And we've been enjoying the sights and the fresh, crisp air...


Our pink sunsets have returned once more...


"Every change of scene becomes a delight!" ~ Seneca

And our little orchard has given us some apples this year...


When we purchased our property, there wasn't a single fruit tree in the entire 20-acres that were ours. 

We dreamed of having a little orchard close to the house, for our kids.

We wanted them to have a childhood of picking and snacking on home-grown fruit until their little hearts were content.

So Micah plants a couple of fruit trees every Spring, in the same little area.

Our very own little orchard!!!

The majority of our orchard right now is still in its infancy, but the few trees that he planted when we first moved here, bear us a little fruit!

It's extremely exciting! 

I have heartstrings attached to even the trees where I live! I love seeing the kids snacking on a piece of fruit that they hand picked from a tree their daddy planted.

"For all of us, today's experiences are tomorrow's memories." ~ Barbara Johnson

Fall is a wonderful time to make memories...

It's a time to fire the kitchen back up...


and do some baking.



It's a time to rake up some leaf piles...


They look so proud, don't they? :)



It's a time to sip hot tea while playing games at the kitchen table...


It's a time to make things cozy...


and read from our beautiful antique books...

I've really enjoyed reading this Autumn poem aloud to my kids...


Isn't that neat?! 

I just love that!!!

It's a time to tuck pumpkins and pine sprigs into quaint places...
(Elsa spotted a butterfly!)



It's a time when the sunbeams throughout my house change...

The late afternoon sunlight splashes across my cabinets, illuminating and warming up my kitchen...


Fall is also the time to pack away the summer CDs, and pull out the cold-weather music.

This is my new Fall CD. I just ordered it on Amazon and I love it! It's perfect for creating a Fall atmosphere in my home...


I know I've said this on my blog before, but it's worth repeating. The beautifully talented author, Susan Branch, wrote how she considers the five senses when homemaking. She asks herself, does home look good, smell good, feel good, taste good, and sound good?

Isn't that fantastic?!

That's why I only play uplifting music in my home. Making home delightful blesses our family!

"Be mindful to be a blessing." ~ Galatians 6:10

It's a time to place mums into planters...


and do a little Fall decorating.

This is the view from my front door...


When it comes to decorating for Fall, I like to use things that are real and natural.

I enjoy using things like turkey feathers and dried hydrangeas...


Fresh cranberry sprigs from the yard...




Pinecones...


Candles...


White pumpkins...


Fresh fruit in fall colors...


And deer antlers...


(I keep it simple because I do not want a huge upheaval in a month when it's time to decorate for Christmas.)

Lastly, Fall is the time for Harvest.

Ever since we've moved out to the country, I've enjoyed watching the farmers across the street and next door to us. They are such hard workers!

(This is the cornfield across the street. I've watched it grow all summer, and recently I watched them take it down.)


They get into their big, green tractors and...

Harvest Home, Harvest Home!

We've plowed, we've sowed,

We've reaped, we've mowed

And brought safe home, every load.

~ Old Harvest Song 

Girlfriends, we are like farmers in our homes! We are planting seeds in everything that we do! And we will reap whatever it is that we sow! 

I want to plant happy moments so that I will reap a lifetime of happy memories!

"A man reaps what he sows." ~ Galatians 6:7b

Let's have a Happy Harvest, friends!

xo,

~ Courtney ~








Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Teaching Etiquette (Hospital Visits)

Hello Friends!

Today I want to talk about teaching our children etiquette.

One argument against homeschooling that I often hear is, How will a homeschooled child learn how to survive in society? 

I get it. 

I do.

But still, I find myself thinking, Well... I don't want my children to learn how to survive... Is that the goal? To only survive?... I want them to know how to thrive and do well!

Mama's, That is up to Us!

Schools don't teach social etiquette anyway, so whether a child is homeschooled or not, this is our job! 

I've written on teaching etiquette before, but there are so many facets to this, I think I may have to give it its own category in "Labels", and write about more topics.

Today's topic is:

Lessons that children should be taught while visiting someone in the hospital. 

This is fresh on my mind for two reasons. 1. It's been exactly one year now since my seven-year old, Roman, was in the hospital. And 2. We just visited a friend of ours in the hospital only a couple of weeks ago. I brought all of the children with me to experience it and learn the lessons.

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Last year this time my Roman had an asthma attack so severe, that it landed him in the ICU for three days. 

(He gave me permission to share these photos:)


It was a scary and sleepless experience!

(The view from our tenth floor room was tranquil, however.)


When we visited our friend recently, she was in a room just across the hall from where Roman stayed. 

It brought back many memories.

I believe in looking for the every day, teachable moments in raising children. It's a far better teacher than merely reading about something in a text book. 

So when I brought my children with me to visit our friend, I made a point to talk to them about four key lessons when making a hospital visit:



1. Be quiet and respectful.

Adults are typically very understanding when it comes to rowdy and noisy children. However, children must be taught that there is a time and a place for all behaviors. It is good and reasonable to expect that children be quiet and respectful when in a hospital. 

This includes whispering, and quiet feet while walking. 

A hospital visit is not the time to have the attitude of, Well... kids will be kids. No. There are plenty of other times where jumping, running, and shouting are acceptable. We will be greatly benefitting our children's lives if we teach them how and when to "shut all noise down" and expect them to do it.  

I'm learning from experience that children will meet whatever standard that is expected of them. So if the standard is low, that's what they'll do. For the child who has been faithfully taught obedience, they will have no problem meeting a higher standard.

2. Don't stay long.

This is very important because hospital stays can be trying and stressful...


It is a joy to receive a visit from a friend, but that joy can quickly turn burdensome if the visitor overstays.

I talked to my children about this ahead of time. I told them that we were only going to stay for a few minutes and I explained why. That way they were prepared and knew what to expect in the moment, but I was also training them in etiquette for the future. 


3. Bring a small gift.

Roman told me how he remembered it meaning a lot to him when someone brought a card or balloon for him while they visited.


My children made cards for our friend and we also brought her a small stuffed animal.  

Children enjoy receiving these types of things. Some other ideas are coloring pages, stickers, crayons, gum or suckers.

If visiting an adult you could bring a journal with a nice pen, a book or magazine, or a soft, warm pair of socks. 

When I was in the hospital having my babies, I would receive flowers and plants. I enjoyed lining them up on my hospital room's windowsill. It really brightened up my room and my spirit!

Lastly,

4. Don't talk about yourself or your problems.

I remember years ago, a family friend came to visit us during the final days of my brothers life. She spent a significant portion of her visit telling us all about her, her family, and her current problems.

My mother was gracious and polite with her. I sat quietly in the corner, but inside I was screaming,

My brother is dying!!! We don't care to hear about your problems!

This was the final lesson I spoke to my children about when visiting our friend. I explained to them that it is impolite for us to talk about ourselves. I told them that in the short, few minutes of our visit, we should be saying things like,

- You were on my mind first thing this morning.

- We've been praying for you.

- How did the surgery go?

- It's good to see you up and about.

- Can we bring you anything?


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These are all important lessons that our children can carry with them into adulthood. And they'll be very grateful they were taught these things!

Remember, it is our job to raise up the next generation in righteousness. Striving to raise them as the mother in Proverbs 31:26 did, "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."


Well friends, that's all for today. If you can think of anything else to add to this list of etiquette during a hospital visit,  please share in the comments below!

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

I'll be back soon with some glimpses of Fall around our farmhouse...



It's a glorious season in the countryside!

Until then,

xo,

~ Courtney ~