Homeschool Resources

As I know that people still read this from time to time, I figured I would put this here instead of my new blog, as this felt out of place there right now.

I’ve purchased lots of things now from the Homeschool Buyers Co-op and the deals are fantastic! Most recently, I renewed a subscription of Explode the Code online for Elias and bought Jenny a set of art DVDs (shhh..she doesn’t know yet :D). Check it out if you are homeschooling or just want some neat educational things for your kids!


The Homeschool Buyer Co-op is a free homeschooling organization for both new and veteran homeschoolers. Co-op membership is free and confidential, and entitles homeschooling families to GroupBuy discounts on high-quality curriculum. On the site you’ll find lots of free information, such as databases of free curriculum, field trips, and educational contests and scholarships. Highly recommended. Click here for more information.

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New blog

I’m writing again, just not here.

Here I am:

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I have a two week old.

And his name is Samuel. Sam, Sammy, sweetie. He’s just lovely.

I also have a scar across my belly now (I won’t post a photo of that, though). I have peace about it. There was nothing we could have done. When my doctor broke my water, he was breech. There is a LOT more to the story. I’ll post that later on my Birth Stories page.

All that matters right now is that things are good. Mike is home on six weeks of leave – he’ll go back June 11th – because I can’t lift more than ten pounds until then. Sam is so beautiful, sleeps well, nurses wonderfully and is the family favourite around here at the moment. The kids fight over who gets to hold him next. I’m healing well from what I can tell and tomorrow my doctor will tell me whether I’m right about that. I’ve lost an astonishing amount of weight, which feels really great.

That’s all for now. I have written my story somewhere else so as soon as I can copy and paste it, it will be here, too. It’s a good story, even if things really didn’t go as I had hoped (I was induced after all and then there was the c-section). I had peace about the whole thing, had a wonderful, basically painless labour (made painless by knowledge and breathing rather than drugs), and in the end, had a perfect little boy who weighed 8 lb. 9 oz and was 21.5 inches long. He’s terrific. ūüôā

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Filed under Kiddos, Nine Months

Still alive and everything is fine. I promise.

I’m still here. And everything is just fine. I promise.

But something happened in the fall. Mike and I went away to Georgia to a ministry called Be In Health and their course called For My Life. It changed our lives. I got my freedom. I may not be able to explain it all here, but something unusual happened in connection with that newfound freedom.

I didn’t have an overwhelming desire to create anymore.

It didn’t feel like a loss. It felt like what it was – freedom from what had been at times, an obsession. Whether it was writing or cooking or crafting, there seemed to be a need in me to create. That need faded quickly without my really noticing.

So, five months have gone by since I wrote here. Only a handful of times have I even considered updating my blog. It just didn’t feel important anymore.

But now, with three and a half weeks (maybe more, maybe less) to go before my fifth child is expected – yes, time flies – I thought I owed the occasional reader an update.

Things are good. My husband is a changed man in so many ways that I cannot even describe. We all seem healthier. I generally have more patience. My Braxton Hicks don’t hurt like they have in the past. I have freedom from fear and anxiety. It’s good.

And now, we are waiting for this baby to show up. I feel so in love with this child and so overwhelmed with curiousity as to who he or she is. And whether this baby is a he or a she. Jenny, of course, is rooting hard for a sister. Erik generally says he’d like a puppy when we ask him if he thinks the baby is a boy or a girl. Elias lately has just been saying, “Boy or girl.” Well, it is one of those. We know it’s not a puppy, anyway. Ben probably doesn’t really understand what’s going on, although when¬† he sees my bare belly, he inevitably says, “Baby!” and gives it a hug. Or he blows raspberries on it. Depends on his mood.

Homeschooling is going well, although we have been unschooling since Christmas. Pregnancy hasn’t made it too hard, but I found that too much structure was just stressing us out. So my kids are learning more from life than from me (directly) at the moment. We are happy with it. Next year may look different, but I’m satisfied with how things are going at the moment. Jenny wants to write cards and draw pictures and make up stories all day, Elias has recently started sounding words out phonetically when he says them (as in, “B-e-n is f-u-nn-y.”). We have work to do, but things are fine. Erik continues to do best on his own. He has been far healthier than years past and has not had any issues with his lungs since before he turned three. We are praising God for this. He doesn’t get along well with his brothers a good deal of the time, but goes off and does his own thing. It works for us. Ben has been amazing us with his speech since he was not even eighteen months old. He can count to thirteen, parrots everything anybody says, and if you ask him to repeat a phrase and he does it wrong the first time, he goes back and corrects himself. No kidding. At twenty-two months. We love it. He’s a pretty happy kid these days, he just doesn’t like waking up from naps.

They’re all beautiful and happy and healthy. Daddy is working hard at work, Mama is working hard at home when she has the energy. ūüôā I find I am probably working harder at having patience these days, but the last thing I want to do is to go back into fear regarding the arrival of this baby. It will come when the time is right. I know that. It occurred to me the other day that when I was pregnant with Ben, I was terrified of being overdue and when I was overdue, I was terrified of being induced. I got both. In Job, there is a verse that says, “For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” (Job 3:25, KJV) I have learned that when we spend our lives in fear, it is often those things that come upon us. Our bodies react to this fear and all sorts of things start to malfunction. This isn’t just theory – it’s proven fact (research the fight or flight hormone cortisol and its affect on the body). So I gave that up yesterday. I said, “You know what, I am certain that this is going to be different. I am not going to fear being late – even if I may be – and I am not going to fear induction.” I have every intent of putting my doctor off as long as I can before I am induced, and I will not cave to it this time unless they can prove to me that my baby is in danger. I am convinced that Ben’s birth was traumatic for both of us and I have no desire to repeat that. I have called this baby my “peace and freedom baby” and I want my labour and delivery to reflect that. I trust that we won’t even get to the point of fighting the doctor regarding an induction.

Anyway, that’s that. While this is not the end of my blog, it will be coming soon. I can feel it. And I may start another. One not so focused on the fact that I hate housekeeping (no, I haven’t become a fan of it yet). One focused on my faith, my home, my children, in a positive light as often as possible. Or I may decide to lay all of this to rest and wait for a time when I cannot stop the words from coming, a time when I feel God is directly leading me to write. It generally turns out better when I wait for times like that anyway.

Take care, readers. If any of you are still around. I’ll at least post an update when this little one arrives. Or sometime in the first six months of his or her life. I promise.


Filed under Kiddos, Life, in general, Nine Months

Life and Death and Baking

I had a satisfying, incredibly productive day yesterday.
Back home, I had friends who attended three different funerals. A twenty-two year old, Cameron, whose funeral was held in a performing arts center and had 1,300 people attend – standing room only. A forty-something year old woman, Robin,¬†leaving behind¬†a husband and two young daughters. Someone I vaguely remember whose death did not touch me in quite the same way, but affected many of my friends and family members. And a grandmother, Pixie, someone who I knew years ago, whose kids we hung out with when I wasn’t yet a teenager.
All three taken quite suddenly from this Earth, leaving behind family and friends to grieve and ask why.
I was reflecting on how different my day would have been yesterday had I been back home, and as much as I wish I could have been there, particularly for Cameron’s funeral, I am glad I was here, in my home. I spent time with my kids, baked scones and cookies and bread, made a big pot of hearty lentil soup to greet Mike when he came home from a twelve-hour day.
There have been many weeks like this last one in my life – death seems to come in threes and I’ve seen it happen time and again. This week on Facebook has been full of photos and memories of all three people, some memories I am able to share and others that I can only imagine. My family and friends have been deeply¬†affected by the sudden deaths of three people, the youngest of these perhaps leaving the loudest legacy and most vibrant memories.
We all question the death¬†of young people from time to time. At times their deaths are brought on quite obviously by their chosen lifestyles – drugs, alcohol, etc. In the case of Cameron, he was driving. His seatbelt was on, he hadn’t been drinking. He was a good kid, a senior in university looking at the possibility of pro-baseball in his future. The captain of his university baseball team. He was kind – a report from a local news source said that he was a Big Brother to a young boy with a brain tumour, that he gave of himself so easily.
These are the deaths we question. But in the end, there is usually nothing we could have done to prevent them.
And the truth is that life goes on. Children are born who never knew those who went before them. I think back to my Aunt Fran – my Grandpa Orcutt’s¬†sister – who died nearly ten years ago and never met my husband or my kids. To my Grandma Orcutt, who never got to meet Ben and never will meet the baby I’m carrying, at least not on this Earth. To¬†Mike’s grandpa, who I never even got to meet.¬†I think about my dad’s dad, who is dying of cancer and not expected to live much longer. But life goes on, whether we want it to or not.
And so I’ll go on baking and living and having my babies. Trying to keep the house clean, planning for the future, budgeting and grocery shopping. And others will go as well. That is perhaps the scariest part about going on living – never knowing when someone you love just won’t be there anymore. But all we can do is live our lives to the fullest, and hopefully share God’s love with those around us. Tell people we love them while we have a chance to. Teach our kids about those who went before them and what they did for their loved ones.
Those who go will not be forgotten, at least not in our lifetimes, but eventually we will all be part of history, and all we can do is attempt to leave the right things behind us Рlove and hope and faith.

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Filed under Life, in general, Loss

April 19th, 2012

Estimated arrival date of baby number five. ūüôā


Filed under All things mommy and daddy related, Happiness, Kiddos, Nine Months

My House

Today, for the first time in a long time, I feel like writing. I always know it’s time when I start doing it in my head.

When Mike and I bought this house six years ago, we looked around at the laminate flooring, the big kitchen with lots of cupboards, the open space, bare walls and thought, “This is going to be wonderful.” It was so much bigger than our apartment (actually, it may possibly be smaller than the apartment, as the apartment building we were in only has two bedrooms in the 800 sq ft range and up) and we imagined having¬†a kid or two more here and being very comfortable.

Well, here we are, three kids later, six of us in this house. And I still love it. I’m just ready to move on. I have various cupboards, rolling plastic drawers, file cabinets, shelves, etc. holding up all our stuff. This house would be perfect for a single person, an older couple without any kids at home, or a couple who have not had children yet. It was perfect for us with just Jenny, and if we had only ever had her, it may have been enough for us for a long time. But three little boys thrown into the mix and it’s getting to be time to move.

Trouble is, there’s just so much left to be done. There is work on the outside of the house, work on the inside of the house, painting, cleaning, organizing, and eventually packing – which I particularly dread. But I know it has to be done, all of it. We bought this house for next to nothing, really, and if we fix a few simple things, we should make around $100,000 on it. That’s a good chunk of change to put into a new house. But if we don’t fix things up, we’ll be looking at a good deal less. Putting less than $5,000 into the house to make around $20,000 (that’s just¬†my estimate) seems worth it to me.

Anyway, in the middle of all the work that needs to be done, there are still dishes and laundry and sweeping up to do. And four little kids to take care of. And in another month, two of those kids to homeschool. So, right now, I’m praying for motivation, strength and patience. Motivation to keep up on my everyday chores, strength to make it through the next few months, which I’m sure will be tough, and patience with my kids, who will be caught in the middle of all this busyness and quite possibly will not like it one bit.

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Has it been too long?

What can I say? It’s summer time. Mind you, we’ve spent half our summer so far dealing with record rainfall, but still. There have been many trips to the park, a visit from my dad, Canada Day celebrations and lots of days playing in the backyard on the trampoline.

And now I’m going to get busier for the next two weeks with VBS. We are doing a pioneer theme and I’m running the memory verse room for the younger kids (4-6 years old or so). I get to set it up like a pioneer schoolroom, something I first saw as very challenging but now am having a good deal of fun with.

Anyway, I’m not making any promises regarding new material in the next few weeks. Maybe when things slow down at the end of the month.

I hope you’re all having a fantastic summer!

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Filed under Blogging, Holidays

For the record

Chocolate chip cookies made with part butter, part peanut butter are, in a word, fantastic.

Like, really, really good.

Mike said he doesn’t like them that much more than regular chocolate chip cookies, but I’m a big peanut butter fan, so for me, they were awesome. I will make them again. And again.

Here’s my recipe, in case you’re hunting for a good one. The best trick I know is to NOT overbake these. Pull them out when they are just barely brown on the bottom. They will actually be just undercooked inside, but not to the point of being doughy.

Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies (or, if you like, Perfect Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies)

3/4 cup softened butter (or for the peanut butter variety, use 1/2 cup butter and 1/4 cup peanut butter)

1/4 cup white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar

Blend butter and sugars with hand mixer until fluffy.

Add 1 egg and 2 tsp vanilla extract. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups flour (I use unbleached all purpose), 2 tsp cornstarch, 1 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt (if you used salted butter or peanut butter, use 1/4 tsp salt). Mix dry ingredients into wet.

Fold in¬†chocolate chips. I never measure them, but just make sure there is a decent amount mixed through the dough. I’ve also used peanut butter chips and they turn out double-yummy. Did I mention that I like peanut butter?

Round on spoon and drop onto cookie sheets. Bake for eight minutes (that’s how long they take in my oven, hey may take longer in yours). Allow cookies to sit on pan for one minute¬†before removing to wire rack to cool.

I have adapted this recipe from one a dear friend gave me years ago. Thanks, Marcy!


Filed under Food Blogs, Home Sweet Home

Birthday Season

Would someone please tell my womb that May/June is off limits next time? Thanks.

May 21st was Ben’s first birthday (apparently I wrote my post on his birthday so late in the day that it registered as the 22nd. Oops). June 1st was Jenny’s sixth birthday and today is Erik’s third birthday. After this one we get a three month break until Elias’s fifth birthday. Phew. Busy, busy.

Erik got up this morning looking pretty sleepy. I wished him a happy birthday and he said, “Where my cake?” Because to a three year old, the birthday is apparently all about the cake. I think Jenny’s question on her birthday was, “Where are my presents?” Erik will get there.

Anyway, it’s busy, so posts are few and far between. It’s not just because of birthdays, but also because of of the Stanley Cup Finals (Mike is a HUGE Canucks fan) and this last weekend, our church family camp. Family camp was a blast. I wore myself out going out on a canoe twice, a kayak twice, and back and forth all over camp because I kept forgetting things in my cabin. Thanks, brain, for helping me get all that exercise!

At least hockey will be over after tonight. The big question is whether this game will leave my husband, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, father-in-law and countless other fans, elated for the rest of the summer or depressed. I’m going to watch the game but I’m a bit nervous….the mood is not going to be great if they don’t pull this one off.

Enough of that.

I made The Pioneer Woman’s iced coffee overnight and had some this morning. Cold brewing really does make a smoother cup of coffee. Who knew? Today I’m thinking about tweaking my standard (and wonderful) chocolate chip cookie recipe to include a portion of peanut butter in place of the butter. Here’s hoping it works!

And that, ladies and gentleman, is all she wrote.


Filed under Holidays