Lake Egypt and Family

Over Memorial Day weekend Jeremy's aunts were kind enough to host a mini family reunion at their home on Lake Egypt.  All three of Jeremy's sisters were able to come. Which was a blessing; it had been a couple years since we'd all been together. 

I feel fortunate to have in-laws who also value family, and who cover my kiddos with affection and love. As a result, my kiddos eat up any chance they get to spend with them. Times like these are one of the highlights of their year. There was lots of laughter, and we left feeling relaxed and refreshed.

One of Jeremy's sisters has kids close to our kids' age and it's so sweet to see them together. There is something special and magical about cousin love. Our daughters are less than a year apart and it looks like they aren't ever going to get any sisters; so it's nice they can kind of fill that role for each other. 

The house has everything you could possibly need for having a good time at a lake. Jeremy's Aunts' definitely have the gift of generosity and hospitality.  I tried waterboarding for the first time. I was nervous that I would totally biff and fall, but it's not as hard as it looks. It's actually quite relaxing. On our last day Jer and I tried to do some yoga on them...let's just say that didn't turn out too well.  

The kids especially loved fishing and going out on the jet ski. Big Buddy tried hard to convince us to let him ride the jet ski all-by-himself, but for at least the next eleven years he's going to have to be content with just solo driving a kayak.

↓ This picture makes me chuckle. BabyZ has a bit of a shoe obsession; if there is a shoe lying around he will try it on. He's even thrown a couple tantrums because people won't take off their shoes for him. 

↑ The way she looks at much adoration.

↑ BabyZ looks so solemn but I swear he had a good time.

 ↑ Leap-frog!

↓ Big Buddy is not a huge fan of physical affection at the moment. He makes an exception for me though - my heart explodes with happiness every time!

Books about Flowers

One of our recent family read alouds was The Secret Garden; we got so entranced in the story that we were drawn to other books about flowers. Here are some of our favorites.

1 - The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett, this book is a classic for a reason; despite the main characters being quite unlikable you get caught up in the joy and change that nature brings. There are many abridged versions out there but I urge to read the unabridged. The length and vocabulary is not too complex for elementary age children, and if you read the abridged you will miss out on the literary prose this classic has to offer. My favorite version is the one illustrated by Graham Rust; his drawings capture the mystery and life of the story. 

2 - The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies by Cecily Mary Barker, this is a collection of Barker's eight books of poems and illustration on flower fairies. These poems are perfect for sharing with children: they are short, lyrical, and enchanting. Each poem is accompanied by a whimsical painting of the flower and its fairy.

My favorite flower fairy.

3 - Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert, this board book was a perfect way to include BabyZ in our flower journey. While it's a simple book, it also has something to offer older children. The flowers are grouped by color and it is a great tool for helping children learn to identify flowers. 

4 - The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller is a rhyming non-fiction book. It gives lots of information about the parts of a flower and the role they have in nature. 

5 - Butterfly Park by Elly Mackay, the intricate paper collages and sweet story makes this book a winner. A girl moves away from her house in the country to the city and misses the butterflies terribly. Next door to her is a  place called Butterfly Park but there are no butterflies. Eventually, she discovers she needs flowers to attract the butterflies.

6 - The Gardener by Sarah Stewart, we enjoyed this book so much that we checked out all of Sarah Stewart's books from the library - they are all delightful! During the depression a girl, Lydia, moves from the country to live in the city with her grumpy uncle. She brings with her a suitcase full of seeds. Lydia not only brightens her Uncle's bakery but his face as well. 

7 - Wildflower ABC by Diana Pomeroy, the flowers in this book are beautiful and full of details - I was totally shocked that she created the illustrations using potato prints! Most of the pages are simply the letter, the name of the flower, and the illustration. However, for kids wanting more there are pages in the back of the book that contain facts about each flower. 

8 - Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney, this book is simple delightful! Alice Rumphius has led a full life but is still searching for her way, "to leave the world a bit more beautiful." 

9 - The Secret Garden by Jennifer Adams, this book was another one I picked up for BabyZ. I'm not a fan of abridged books, but I make an exception for A BabyLit. They really aren't trying to take the place of the actually story. They usually have a quote from the original book and simple bright colored illustrations on each page spread.

10 - Jack's Garden by Henry Cole, this book didn't make it into the picture, but I had to include it because the kids really enjoyed it. The book is a spin off of the familiar rhyme, "This Is the House That Jack Built." Jack plants a flower garden and the poem walks through all the things the flowers need, as well as all the animals that live in the garden.

Do have any favorite flower themed books? If so please share; we are always looking for new great reads.

Embracing the Chaos

One of the things that trips me up the most about motherhood is the chaos that comes with it. The inability to plan things or to have things go as planned. I like to organize and frequently visualize how I want days or experiences to go. My kiddos all seem to have their own ideas though...seriously, it's like they thing they are people or something 😉 They have their own agenda, or crises, or even moments of delight that interfere with all my well-thought-out plans. I've learned that sometimes our expectations do nothing but kill our joy. I'm striving to grow in my ability to roll with the punches. To engage in and find delight in whatever the day brings. To not fight the chaos but to embrace it

Yesterday, I woke-up to find a huge branch in our yard. I also had a head full tasks I was planning on accomplishing: school work, spring cleaning, laundry, etc. As soon as I saw the branch, though, I knew it would draw my kiddos in and bring them delight. I could fight that delight and try to check off all the school tasks I had on my list, or I could embrace it and join them in their fun. I chose to just roll with, and we had the best morning.


Since the older kids had already had the chance to explore and climb all over the branch; it was easy to convince them to do our daily reading within it's center while Baby Z laid down for his morning nap.

The city came to collect the branch right after lunch. I didn't get as much as I had expected to get done, but we did knock out some of the schoolwork, I scrubbed the kitchen, and Jeremy helped with the laundry that evening.

 I still struggle with clinging to my own expectations and fighting any distractions that comes my way. Someday, the Lord will root this selfishness out of me but it it hasn't happened yet. It is so silly because every-time I let my expectations go and just embrace the day and whatever chaos it brings - we have a splendid time! The "have-tos" always seem to find a way of getting done and the "want-tos" are silly compared to the joy that flexibility can bring.

Flower Prints

Every other week or so I always pick up a bouquet of flowers with our groceries at Aldi. They are simple bouquets, but for less that $4 they do a lot to brighten up our home. Little Lady has been asking for awhile to paint with flowers; so when a batch started to wilt I let her and Mini Man go to town.

Supplies - flowers, heavy paper, and washable tempera paint. 

Directions - lightly dip flowers in paint and then gently press them onto the paper.

While they were painting BabyZ woke up from his nap and insisted on joining the fun. Luckily for him, Mini Man is a softy.

Their  creations...

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