Saturday, November 29

knit one two three four five six

While the menfolk headed out for a couple more days of hunting, the womenfolk took on a new task.....


We were up quite late last night as three learned the skills of beginning knitting. And the other three experienced knitters worked on a their own projects.

This morning I took some pictures as they all picked up their knitting as soon as they wandered out into the kitchen. Sorry I couldn't get pictures of all six as one was baby tending and I found it difficult to photograph my own hands....hee hee!

So instead of holding a quilting bee in my garden, we are holding a knitting bee :-)

Enjoy the day in your garden whatever bees may be passing through!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, November 28

the morning after

Ahhhh, the morning after Thanksgiving!

This year the older girls came up with a plan to divide the family into Indians, pilgrims, and turkeys. The names were drawn and then each person had to creatively come up with their headwear. There was a table full of construction paper, pipe cleaners, feathers, glue guns, scissors, ribbon, glitter, googly eyes, and markers as each person got busy. And boy did we laugh when everyone was done! Thankfully, even our invited guests played along :-)

Now it's time to get going on a big family breakfast which will include pumpkin pie. And as you can see, it looks like some one has been nibbling on the pecan pie piece ends. Probably Mr. Nobody...

Enjoy your morning after Thanksgiving Day whether you are home or shopping!

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, November 27

Thanksgiving thankfulness

A full day is ahead filled with family, food, and fellowship! A thankful heart is mine as I consider the blessings of having my whole family around on this day. It is not something I take for granted as I've learned through the years how swiftly life can change and challenge us. Yet even during times of difficulty, God has shown Himself faithful and loving. And for that my heart is even more thankful!

Enjoy this day in your garden as you count your blessings numbering them one by one!

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, November 26

some fun work for you

Since I have pies to bake and cleaning to finish up before everyone arrives today, I'll give the rest of you who may have extra time some fun work to do. It's optional, nothing too difficult, but definitely time killer material.

FIRST - It has taken me by complete surprise, especially since it's for such an odd thing, but my blog has held a first place position in an online Google search, although I see I'm second place now. I get many hits to my blog due to this phrase. I'm not going to post the phrase, but I'll give you the clues for the three words in the order which pulls up my page.

First word - It's the word that describes the special treat that the blue monster on Sesame Street can never ever get enough of to eat. In fact, he goes slightly crazy when spotting a plate of these!

Second word - It's the name of the holiday we celebrate on December 25th

Third word - It's the word that describe those big tall things that grow outside our homes. Many of these things will make a forest or a woods.

Type these three words and you'll get a simple page with a picture on it. No recipe. No how to's. Really nothing. Have fun :-)

SECOND - One of my favorite catalogs to order from
through the years has been Timberdoodle. They are a committed homeschooling family with a wonderful business. I have loved all the products we have received from them and they have excellent service. Their games are fantastic and challenging and for anyone and everyone. You do not have to be a homeschooling family to love what they sell! Right now they have a special sale going on through November 29th. Check them out right HERE

THIRD - Angela is giving away a special children's (and adults) book about cats called Purry Logic :-) If you love and enjoy the cats in your life, go and enter her giveaway right HERE. She'll be drawing a winner on Friday, November 28th, so hurry over!

FOURTH - After confirming all the votes, the Homeschool Blog Awards winners for 2008 have been announced! Congratulations to the winners and a heartfelt thanks to all of you who supported me with your vote :-) Go and check out the list of winners!

Enjoy this day in your garden doing whatever the Lord puts on your path!

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, November 25

is it really simple?

The number of times I see a movie in a theater are sparse and I seldom catch a movie out on new release at the movie store. My typical movie time is when the boys are out of the house which means I can watch *girl* movies. The problem is finding movies to watch when I am able to watch them as I often cannot remember all the chitter chatter about movies when they are just released in the theaters or on DVD.

Last night I watched Juno which I know had a lot of talk when it came out, but of course I don't recall if it was good or bad talk! However, my timing to watch it was perfect having gone through the training last week to volunteer in the pregnancy resource center. Since the number of unexpected pregnancies in the 13 - 15 year old range is increasing, the movie captivated my attention as I watched her reactions, the boy's reactions, her parents' reaction, and the adoption process.

How timely, too, were the verses for my morning devotions:

"Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, 'But we knew nothing about this,' does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?" ~ Proverbs 24:11-12

As I've shared, my prayers are focused upon God's leading in my involvement of a ministry reaching out with God's love to women who find themselves in unexpected pregnancies. To support them in an unjudgmental manner. To share with them - with their permission - the intricacies of God's creation. To care for them by offering helpful resources. In the end it is their decision to make. And if they choose abortion, the ministry also offers help for those who go through the pain of post-abortion stress. It all goes back to loving them and pointing them to a loving and forgiving Heavenly Father.

Now I realize not everyone will be moved to such a role and that's okay. There are other ways to support God's gift of life such as a simple vote in a presidential election. Many Christians made the choice of electing a man who said that his first thing to do as president will be to sign the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA). This simple signature will eliminate every restriction on abortion. Abortions can be performed at any stage of a woman's pregnancy (including the partial birth abortion), all state laws such as parental consent will be overturned, abortions will be taxpayer funded, and faith based hospital facilities will be forced to perform abortions.

A simple vote, a simple signature.

My heart grieves.

God bless America?

Stepping back down off my rare soapbox and on to cleaning the house....

Tammy ~@~

Monday, November 24

the simple woman's daybook for November 24th

For today November 24th

Outside my window......the skies are gray and the ground is white. I'm afraid you'll be hearing this same report for several months ahead :::sigh:::

I am thinking.....about all I have to do the next couple of days and trying not to get overwhelmed about all those things I'll probably forget to do!

I am thankful for......the fact that my family will ALL be home for Thanksgiving! I can hardly wait!

From the learning rooms.....
there is no official formal learning going on this week. We always take Thanksgiving week off since it's huntin' season for my menfolk.

From the kitchen.....I'm thawing out a big ol' turkey in my frig, scrubbing down the countertops, and setting out ingredients that I'll need to bake pies.

I am wearing.....umm, at the moment, I'm still in my jammies with my flannel robe thrown over to stay warm.

I am creating.....
a list of all the last minute things I'll need to pick up at the grocery store.

I am UPS a package this afternoon, pick up the mail, and pick up something for supper at the grocery store. I anticipate that my only "going" this week will be running back and forth to the grocery store for last minute items.

I am reading.....The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield which I started last week, but haven't had time to get too far into it yet.

I am hoping.....
that the forecast stays as good as it looks right now for all my Wednesday travelers.

I am hearing.....
the crackle of the fire in the woodburner.

Around the house.....
we are going to be working on cleaning the playroom and laundry area today. I'd also like to get some of grandma's special amber glassware out and washed up to use for our Thanksgiving meal.

One of my favorite my very friendly purring cat who in the morning happily bribes us to let him outside for a sniff of fresh air :-)

A few plans for the rest of the week.....
are cleaning today and tomorrow, baking pies on Wednesday, THANKSGIVING DINNER on Thursday - woo hoo!, and enjoying having my whole family around the house talking and laughing over the weekend.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you.....

While the boys are off hunting, I'm blessed to have my girls around to hang out with and go through a few days of no schedule or routine. We love to watch chick flicks together - you know, the kind that make mom cry - and enjoy eating whatever we want. The evening meal tends to include low lights, candles, special China, and using great grandma's special glasses with sparkling juice to the brim. Heaven help me, but I've taught my girls to be romantics! LOL!

If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go HERE

Have a great day in your garden!

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, November 22

a partial solution

Remember my ironing dilemma a while back? (And for those of you who didn't know what an iron was I've posted a picture :::::running and ducking:::::)

Well, I still have the ever growing pile of ironing to do - and trust me, it does multiply by the tenfold when you've been gone a lot during the week - but I have found a partial solution.

My middler girls have been asking to learn how to iron - perhaps because they are ALWAYS waiting on me to iron their things - so since the boys have gone a'huntin' it seemed like the perfect time to teach them. Well, not just because of that but because they've asked AGAIN how to learn and it did seem to be the perfect timing.

So, this morning we went down to the laundry area and they have been taught the basic ironing moves. YAY!

Now we'll see how quickly my ironing mountain improves.....

Back to cleaning!

Tammy ~@~

seeing clearly

It has been a long week.

I've been traveling back and forth to intensive training sessions in order to participate in a Christian pregnancy resource center's volunteer advocate program. There is so much information to sort through, process, and learn. Often the topics have been emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually challenging. In the days ahead I need to go through my big three-ring binder to review all the knowledge that has been presented.

At this moment, however, it's hard to see clearly through it all. There is an overwhelmingness to it all. And I've been asking myself, is this ministry for me?

Truly, is this ministry for me?

Are the gifts and talents God has given me actually suited for the type of work I would be doing? And while evaluating that I also need to evaluate all the ministry areas I'm involved in. Am I being effective in where I am serving now? Or are there ministries I should step down from and allow others to step into serving? Where does God want me? Where can I be used most effectively for Him? Or am I searching out ministry when He really wants me to focus on my main ministry which is my home and family?

As you can see, I am full of questions and cannot see clearly.

This reminds me....

This past week we have gotten some snow flurries which meant driving on salted roads in the mornings as I head out and occasionally salted roads in the later afternoons as I head home. The effect of that has been a car covered with a white dust as the wet snow dries to a white powder as it mixes with the salt. All week long I've thought about cleaning the windows on the car as they were streaked white and cloudy-looking, but never got around to it and instead grumbled to myself since I had to put up with the messy windows that were never clean. The windshield wipers just weren't doing a good job :::sigh:::

And on the last day as I was returning home and pondering my messy windows as well as thinking about all those questions above while I was driving, my car traveled right into a snow squall. Everything turned white as the heavy snow and the wind swirled around me. It was a frightening moment as there was light, but no clarity. I was within fifteen minutes of home when this happened, but for the moment it was impossible to know exactly where I was because I couldn't see. I was praying like crazy and the snow let up for about five minutes as I drove closer to home when another snow squall came on my path. It was the same scary feeling, but cleared again a couple blocks from home.

My windshield was now full of plain ol' wet snow and as I turned my windshield wipers on the coolest thing happened. For the first time all week my windshield was clear and clean. So clear and clean that I actually put my hand up to it because it looked like there wasn't even a windshield there and my hand would go right through it. It just gave me :::Godbumps::: all over the place.

And a spiritual lesson came forth.

As questions swirl all around me and I feel like I can't see where I am going, I am doing this within the light of God's Word on my path. It is a time of being more in His Word and more in prayer than I have been in a long time. It's not that it exactly feels scary or frightening, but there is that sense of breath catching as I seek where He is taking me. The anticipation of an adventure. And I know, I KNOW, and I trust, I TRUST that there will come a moment of complete clarity in which I'll raise my hand to praise Him.

Yup, a little glimpse into my garden this morning. Now on to "do the next thing" as Elisabeth Elliot would say as my garden path also has plenty of dirty dishes, piles of laundry, and rooms filled with messes!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, November 21

who are you?

A few weeks ago I was introducing a friend of mine - who is a doctor - to a different friend of mine and in the introduction I mentioned that the first friend was a doctor. She immediately stopped and corrected me by stating that she was a person first and preferred others left out the doctor part in introductions.


I didn't really understand her reasoning. I mean, I'm a mom. That's my profession, right? And I enjoy the work - and play....hee hee - that I do on a daily basis. And I don't mind that people mention my profession when introducing me.


Well, it was right when I thought about it then. Of course, the Lord had a lesson about empathy for me.

This past week was spent with a group of women that I didn't know. We did introductions on the first day and I stated that I was a stay-at-home mom. Then someone had to go and ask me how many children I had :::::gulp:::::: and as I quietly replied, "nine", out came all the "ohhhh's and ahhhh's and how do you do that?" which tend to make me feel uncomfortable primarily because nine seems normal to me in a weird sort of way. Add to that a conversation a day or two later about the public schools and a question posed to me about that topic in which I replied, "Actually, we homeschool" and out came those "ohhhh's and ahhhh's and how do you do that?" once again. More discomfort and awkwardness.

And suddenly I understood my doctor friend. She wants to be known as the real person she is who is pretty amazing just like that. No title necessary. And I want to be known as the real person that I am. No title necessary and definitely drop the SUPER anything. Simply me.

Because you know what? God doesn't look at my title or profession. All He cares about is the real me found inside. It's my heart attitude that is important. And that's what I want people drawn to as they meet me. A heart attitude that shines for Jesus!

So, who are you?


Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, November 19

winding down

YES, you may vote even if you are NOT a homeschooler and are just a regular reader who stops by here! So, go and vote NOW as there's only a couple of days left as voting ends on Friday, November 21 at midnight! Here's the LINK

My blog - Garden Glimpses - has been nominated for:

*Best Encourager
*Best "Live What You Believe" Homeschool Blog

AND Heart of the Matter Online has been nominated for:

*Best Blog Design
*Best Family or Group Blog
*Best Variety Blog

Thanks! And enjoy your day whether sunny or snowy!

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, November 18

a last look

"The year's last, loveliest smile."
~William Bryant

As many are in agreement around here, it looks like our winterish weather may be here until spring, you know, for about the next five months or so. We've been getting regular light dustings of snow and apparently just north they received the bounty of several inches of snow yesterday. My skiing snowboarding children are loving that kind of news.

So since we have so many months ahead of WHITE and BROWN, I thought I'd put up one last picture of color which was taken on the last day of our yard raking. Ahhhhh! It does make me smile :-)

Enjoy your day in your garden whatever the color!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, November 17

the simple woman's daybook for November 17th

For today, November 17th

Outside my window......the skies are crisp and clear with snow covering the ground.

I am thinking.....about the quiet time I'll have this week while driving.

I am thankful for......a flexible schedule as a homeschooling family.

From the learning rooms.....the littlest has no official schooling since we worked ahead a week and all the olders will be working independently....hopefully!

From the'll be convenience foods all week :::sigh:::

I am wearing.....brown pants and a long-sleeved one top with a button up warm yellow sweater

I am creating.....lists in my mind.

I am going.....traveling back and forth all week to a destination over an hour away.

I am reading
.....The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield.

I am hoping
.....for clear skies and dry roads all week.

I am hearing.....the dog snoring over by the bed.

Around the house
.....there will be the hustle and bustle of the boys getting ready for hunting season.

One of my favorite things planning the upcoming Thanksgiving meal which is my most favorite meal of the entire year!

A few plans for the rest of the week
.....include intensive training to become a volunteer advocate at a Christian pregnancy resource center. This will be an extension of my love for birth doula work as well as being able to use my faith to minister to pregnant moms of all ages during an unexpected and difficult time.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

After traveling a few hundred miles away yesterday, I have an older son who is being sworn into the army this morning. He will be around here for awhile yet helping with the family business until late next spring/early summer. I think my heart will need each moment in the months ahead to prepare for his career in the army. No doubt there will be a blog post or two during that time. In the meantime, I'm proud of his love for our country and the excitement and desire he has to serve as his goal is to become an Army Airborne Ranger.

If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go here!

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, November 15

back a whole bunch of years ago....

It was a flashback moment.

The girls had stumbled upon some long lost foamy rollers stuck into bag within a bathroom drawer. Hardly need to write more, do I?

Tonight while our family watched a movie, I rolled up the hair of two brave girls who wanted more curls. They giggled when they were tucked into bed since those rollers felt so funny while lying on their pillows.

And I remembered Saturday evenings many many years ago. After my Saturday night bath I'd sit on the floor by the couch in the living room while my mom rolled my hair into pin curls as we watched TV. And I still remember the funny feeling of sleeping on my pillow with those pins stuck all over.

History repeats itself. And sometimes that is very very good :-)

Tammy ~@~

fully love

Fully. All. Deny Self. 24/7. Follow hard after God.

After leaving everyone with that thought yesterday, I knew I had to come back today with the rest of the story.


Because even though we want to do all those things found above, sometimes as soon as we walk out of the room we fail. Often miserably. As Paul would lament in Romans 7:19, "I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway."

It is a struggle, isn't it? Sin is always lurking around the corner. And it can be powerful.

But God hasn't left us alone. Instead of attempting to overcome sin on our own, we have access to the tremendous power of Christ through the Holy Spirit.

When we fail, He doesn't love us less. When we succeed, He doesn't love us more. He plain and simply loves us unconditionally all the time with a love our human minds cannot fully comprehend. A love so clearly stated in Ephesians 3:17b-20: "And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

So, yes, commit your heart to God in this manner.....
Fully. All. Deny Self. 24/7. And as you follow hard after God know that He is right there with you when you stumble. There is no sin that His forgiveness does not cover no matter how big it may be. He is merciful and full of grace. His unchanging and amazing love will pick you up and get you back on the path to follow Him.

And while you're on that path, be sure to share a little of His love with others!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, November 14


Since I typically write my blog before schooling, I often forget about different things that come up during the day, especially during those devotional readings that begin our school day.

It's been especially interesting because we've been able to draw some parallels between our Old Testament reading and our New Testament reading lately. Like yesterday.

We were reading from I Kings chapter 8 which includes King Solomon's prayer of dedication for the awesome temple he built for God's dwelling place. It is a rather cool prayer that is worthy of reading. When he finished it, he spoke a blessing upon Israel and the last line of it read:

"But your hearts must be fully committed to the LORD our God, to live by his decrees and obey his commands, as at this time." (I Kings 8:61)

After finishing the chapter, we went to our next reading which was Mark chapter 8 with Jesus teaching and miracles. The chapter closes out with Jesus predicting his coming death and He speaks a familiar verse in these last verses:

"Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: 'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'" (Mark 8:34)

Both statements were made to those who were followers of God. There can be no question of the level of commitment expected. They weren't encouraging a Sunday morning only kind of responsibility or a when it feels good kind of thing. Nope. Both King Solomon and Jesus were quite clear of the commitment required.

Fully. All. Deny Self. 24/7. Follow hard after God.

And as my friend who leads our women's Bible study always likes to say...."Soooo, how are you doing with that?" as she speaks accountability into our lives.

Oh, yes indeed, God's Word does sharpen, doesn't it?

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, November 13

thankful towels

A peek into my random thinking these days....

Last night on the grocery list that hangs on the frig I noticed a new item written down. Toilet paper. It seems like that is ALWAYS on the list, but perhaps it is because it is ALWAYS getting used by multiple people in our household. It is a VERY consumable product. In trying to be more frugal, this is one area I can't quite find the answer, you know? Although with all the catalogs packing our mailbox right now, perhaps we need to go back to the Sears & Roebuck days. I'd love to see the look on my kids' faces when I told them that!

As I was pondering the toilet paper issue this morning in bed - okay, I was thinking about my grocery list and when I'd need to run into town, so I wasn't totally thinking only about toilet paper first thing in the morning - bathroom towels came to mind.

Yes, bathroom towels. You know, I have some towels still in operation in my bathrooms from our early years of marriage. That's a LONG time. Twenty-eight years of toweling and still going. Even when towels start getting fringey raveled raggy, they can be cut into kitchen scrub rags, car washing rags, garage grease wiping rags and they just keep going! The investment of good towels at the beginning has paid off in their multi-use and longevity.

Now my kitchen towels don't last as long as they get heavy use on a daily basis, but even those get retired to other duty such as being used while I'm canning. They work great on my kitchen countertop to set the hot jars upon as they come out of my canner. Or to set under cutting boards for stability and to catch water as the kids are cutting vegetables on the kitchen table.

So, yes, today I'm thankful for ever lasting TOWELS! And, okay, I'm thankful for the invention of toilet paper, too! LOL!

What are YOU thankful for on this day? If you need to be encouraged on this day by other thankful hearts, go read what others are saying right HERE

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, November 12

that stubborn apple

You know what they always say...the apple doesn't fall far from the tree :::sigh:::

Stubbornness is that apple today.

No, my kids aren't being particularly stubborn about anything right now.

I have been.

I have been kicking and screaming and belligerent about the change of seasons. And no, it isn't every season I do this with...only this particular one. Perhaps it's because I KNOW that winters are extremely long and cold and cabin feverish that I just don't want to admit to myself it is REALLY here. *IF* I could just pretend it's still fall and wear my favorite sunny yellow fleece every time I need to leave the house and open my windows for fresh air and and and....

And finally I gave in. The truth of the matter was that I was miserable pretending it was fall. No, perhaps that isn't accurate. I was freezing cold all the time and the older I get, the less I like feeling COLD. Finally I conquered my stubbornness and got out my boots, mittens, and winter coat. I packed away my capris and washed up my favorite sunny yellow fleece. Flannel sheets on the bed and slipper socks on my feet. I even turned the furnace on for a short while yesterday to warm up the entire house as the far reaches tend not to get very warm from our woodburner.

I am warm and I am happy.

So much better than being stubborn and wanting my own way. So very much better.

And sometimes I play that stubborn game with God. He knows there's something better ahead for me. He even shows me in His word while confirming it in other ways, but I will need to make some adjustments in my life. Simply put, *I* don't want to because I like things the way they are. Period. So, I kick and I scream and I act a tad bit belligerent. Well, maybe more than a tad bit.

Finally I give in because I am miserable. I KNOW my way isn't the best way. I KNOW He's addressing sin in my life. I KNOW I need to change. And I KNOW He will help me with each step.

And suddenly I am warm. And I am happy. And life is so much better because I'm walking in His Will and not demanding my own stubborn way.

Now to help those little apples in my life with this lesson....

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, November 11

a vow

I vow to thee, my country--all earthly things above--
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love,
The love that asks no question: the love that stands the test,
The lays upon the altar the dearest and the best:
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
~Sir Cecil Spring Rice

Remembering with appreciation those who have paid the price for our freedom. Those men and women who made a vow to our country and were willing to pay it with their blood. Those who served in the past as our fathers did. Those who served in the present as our son-in-law has. And those who will serve in the future - as our son will.

Two simple words from my heart. Thank you!

Tammy ~@~

do you know this person?

You know, sometimes life gets busy and you aren't paying real close attention to everything around you.

An example was yesterday.

It was a busy day of the usual schooling stuff. Plus baking some cookies for my AWANA Chums that evening. Plus getting out all the treasured hats that we inherited from my mother-in-law to pick a few to wear to Crazy Cap night. Plus starting the apple doll project.

Too many pluses. I sound like one of my kids doing math, don't I! LOL! Pluses really aren't a bad thing if you are totaling how much money you saved on coupons OR how many more cookies you get when you make them smaller and don't each as much cookie dough OR how many inches of rain you get when it's been so dry. It's all those pluses that distract you from paying attention that tend to be too many.

Soooo, on one of my last trips back upstairs after taking an apple doll head down to dry into a shrivel by the woodburner, I could hear the voices from the kitchen calling me, "Mom! Moooooooom! Look what she's done!"

Expecting the worst of my littlest, I instead broke out in a laugh!

Do YOU know this person?

Yes, while we were busy finishing up our project, Lovey ate her apple scraps then went back to the table to her writing...and apparently enjoyed making a face on the mannequin head from one of grandma's hats. Yes, we stopped her before she did the full blown face - eye lashes, a nose, some teeth, and rosy cheeks - and her sisters were certain she'd get a scolding, but instead this mother laughed out loud! I did need to talk to her about not having something under all the papers she had been writing her letters upon. Apparently every time she flipped the paper with wet marker, marks were also left behind on mom's cloth table covering. But not to worry as further down that tablecloth are the stained reminders of fingernails being polished.

Someday those little girls will grow up and run across grandma's hats out in storage. May they, too, laugh out loud when they see that face reminding them of a memory!

May your day add up and include the plus of a laugh here and there!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, November 10

let the voting begin!

Now that the presidential election is over, it's time to get enthusiastic about voting for those who have been nominated in various homeschool blog categories! Woo hoo!

These awards come at the perfect time of the year. Our weather is getting cold, the evenings are dark, and my body is coaxing me into hibernation. There is no better time than after the kitchen is cleaned up following supper to wander to my computer and visit many homeschool blogs, several that are new to me. I love the variety and talent found all over the homeschool blog community and have made new friends in the process.

Adding to this pleasant task is the honor to have been nominated in two categories this year:

*Best Encourager Blog

*Best "Live What You Believe" Blog

Last year I was nominated in the encourager category - and was in the company of many wonderful homeschool encouragers! - however, the
second nomination this year has taken me by surprise. It is a humbling reminder that we never know how we may be ministering to people through our words. Of course, now the challenge will be NOT to second guess everything I write over the next two weeks knowing that a bunch of people I've never met will be stopping by, BUT to keep writing just the way I always do....plain simple ol' me! :-)

Voting begins today, November 10th and will run through November 21st. Be sure to take a moment to stop over at the Homeschool Blog Awards site and VOTE!

Tammy ~@~

the simple woman's daybook for November 10th

For today, November 10th

Outside my window......everything is covered with about an inch of white snow.

I am thinking.....about some snail mail notes I need to write.

From the learning rooms
.....we'll be starting a new phonics book, figuring out when to use apostrophes, learning the metric system, reading up on aerodynamics stuff, and reciting Bible verses in Spanish.

I am thankful for.....a husband who works very hard even in this cold weather while I get to stay in a nice warm home.

From the kitchen.....I'm trying to figure out what to do with some slighty frozen vegetables given to us by a generous neighbor.

I am wearing.....a long sleeved burgundy shirt earned by walking a 5K race and warm black exercise pants as I just got home from Curves.

I am reading.....a book called The Grace and Truth Paradox by Randy Alcorn.

I am hoping.....for some sunshine!

I am creating dolls with my girls.

I am hearing.....the dog paw at the door because she wants to come back inside.

Around the house
.....are little messes from my kids who were very busy multi-tasking *wink* on a long Sunday indoors.

One of my favorite things chatting with a friend who understands this perimenopausal season of life :::sigh:::

A few plans for the rest of the week
.....include Crazy Cap night at AWANA, an evening congregational meeting, and working a bit ahead in our schooling.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

One of my favorite things to do this time of the year is to go down to the woodburner early in the morning and get the fire going. Once it's burning well, I love to sit by it and do my devotional time before the kids get up. This is a picture without any lights on in the room - just a nice warm fire bringing coziness and daydreaming time :-)

If you'd like to do your own daybook or read about others on this day, please go here!

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, November 8

something new from HOTM

It's been almost a year since I met the "Amies" who are the creative innovative gals behind Heart of the Matter Online. Not only have they done an incredible job using their computer talents to organize a monthly homeschooling magazine with a team of writers, but they also took on the challenge of putting together an online live homeschool conference this past summer complete with speakers and vendors, an event which was well received by everyone who attended. They are currently working on print publication of Heart of the Matter due out in the new year, but in the meantime have been working on another adventure which will launch on Tuesday, November 11th, at 3:00 PM CST!

Announcing Heart of the Matter Heartbeat Live!

This is a free weekly event that will bless you with speakers, writers, curriculum authors...all online! that you may be encouraged on your homeschool journey from the comfort of your home. Yup, you can listen in your jammies if you want and it will be interactive so you'll even be able to talk directly to the speaker.

The first speaker will be one of the "Amies" from Heart of the Matter - Amy Grant Bayliss - and everyone who attends her session will be entered to win a $25 gift certificate to!

But FIRST you need to register right
here It's a simple process and within 48 hours you'll receive log-in instructions which will allow you to access all the weekly events!


Tammy ~@~

the quarter fund

Last evening when I came into my room I found this on my desk. It was a homemade heart note folded in half around a Hershey's milk chocolate with almonds bar....

Inside the heart note were these words:

"As you know, I am the president of the girls room, and I made this fund so we can give something to someone every month. You were the first person we thought of. I know this isn't much but this is to show our appreciation of U. We all *heart* U very much and I hope U enjoy this. With much love, the girls"

On the back of the card was this: Copyright by the Gem Girls (I assume those round things on the front of the card are gems.)

The fund she mentioned is something they started this week. They each put a quarter into a jar and she told me they'd do that once a month, but I had no idea what their quarters were being saved for in this special fund.

So, I'm pretty blessed to be the very first recipient of a treat - which will taste even sweeter! - as well as a keepsake card from the Gem Girls :-)

Enjoy your weekend!

Tammy ~@~

Friday, November 7

ironing it out

Houston....we have a problem!

My ironing.

For those who may not know, I LOVE TO IRON! Really, I do :-)

But I'm WAY behind and the baskets keep piling up (and NO, you do not get a picture this time! LOL!)

Years ago I devised the perfect solution to keep up with my ironing. Since I had a problem falling asleep on the couch while children sat next to me reading their schooling (and yes, the tales abound!), I decided I needed to be upright and busy in order to stay awake. Not that what they were reading was boring, but the reality was that I had a young family and was often pregnant or nursing which quite often led to one thing......being drop dead tired. So I came up with a practical solution. With my student close by so I could help them if need be, they'd read and I'd iron.

And life was good :-)

And then they started growing up. Suddenly, I tell you!

This year I only have two taking spelling tests on Fridays which is one of my ironing days. Last week one had a review, so I only gave one spelling test. One quick spelling test. I hardly got a shirt ironed in that amount of time, for crying out loud! And those who typically read their other subjects aloud while I iron no longer do that any more. We're down to one reading book that I'm still having her do that way. So there's another 20 minutes of ironing.

The problem is that although they may not need me to listen to their schooling, they do still live here and have laundry. So, I still have plenty of laundry. The older ones take care of their own and they are teenage boys which means they don't notice wrinkles *wink*, so it's mainly my husband and girls. Yes, girls :::sigh::: There lies the biggest problem. Girls and changing clothes. Especially the littlest one. Oh my.

New solutions have been pondered. The one thing I've lacked through the years is actually catching the dryer when it is done and getting the clothes taken care of right away to reduce my ironing. I just never remember it, so perhaps I need to set a timer. And my oldest daughter at home is old enough to iron, so I need to teach her. She's actually been asking which is the prime time to teach. Even her next sister down may be able to do it perfectly fine. And I can talk to Lovey about changing clothes so often, but I don't see a good success rate there...hee hee! That leaves the option of actually setting a time in my week to work on such a task.

Too bad our country's economics aren't as easy to figure out as my ironing dilemma, eh?

Off to my two spelling tests of the day and a time of joyful ironing! :-)

Tammy ~@~

Thursday, November 6

thanks of the family kind

A little over eight years ago, a young woman came for a visit. As an only child, I'm certain that our household with nine children and the noise and activity that accompanied them stunned her a bit, well, perhaps more than a bit! Fortunately, that visit didn't scare her to the far ends of the earth and she kept visiting now and then.

A few years later we welcomed her into our family as she became my son's wife. And our journey as in-laws began. A new journey for both of us as we learned the ropes of our relationship. It has been a patient steady walk as I've been learning what my role is as a mother-in-law. We've all heard the BAD mother-in-law stories which make us cringe and perhaps it's good that I do have plenty of children at home to keep me busy and not interfering as God has been gently training me in this role step by step.

After we sang "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" to her this week in our robust way over the phone (minus the howling dog who was still at work), I was prompted to offer a heart full of thankfulness to my Heavenly Father for giving me a treasured friend in this young woman. She has blended right into our family and can be found in the center of the noise and activity when we are all together. Yup, just like one of my other kids with the same sass of personality! (and you'd have to know our family, but that is a compliment!)

My heart is even more thankful as I recognize that the rare bond we share isn't the normal mother-in-law/daughter-in-law kind. Instead, over the years, it is grown to one of affection and love to the degree that I think my heart often drops the in-law part.

So here we are in the only picture I have on my computer of the two of us which was taken on a winter "snow" family trip almost two years ago as we enjoyed some time together on an awesome Apple computer. That was, of course, before we discovered Facebook Scrabble! LOL!

May you, too, have special people in your life to warm your heart with thankfulness!

To join others on this Thankful Thursday, please go here!

Tammy ~@~

those sparks!

Once we began homeschooling, I realized how much I DID NOT remember from my own educational years. YIKES! Oh, I knew all the generalities, but the specifics were long gone from my mind. Probably too busy writing and passing notes to girlfriends during those years or something.....

So over the years of homeschooling my children and helping them learn, it's been an unexpected discovery to find out how much I'm enjoying learning right along with them. They probably get tired of hearing me say, "oh, isn't that cool!" when we read science or "wow, look at God's plan!" when we read history. Hopefully those little sparks of mom's joy in learning will encourage them, too.

We had one of those sparks recently and it all began with:

"By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea Water,
Stood the wigwam of Nokomis......."
(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

If you want to hear about my little spark of joy, please head over to Heart of the Matter Online where I've written the rest of the story!

Tammy ~@~

Wednesday, November 5

a living well announcement

Alas, a simple announcement. There will be no more Living Well Wednesdays. Darlene is a busy writer and has to discontinue this weekly commitment. But you can still be blessed by her monthly writings about Living Well at Christian Women Online.

It's been a good source of accountability for me to write on this topic weekly and hopefully an encouragement to others. I'm a big proponent of preventative healthy living, so I'm sure you'll continue to hear about living well on my'll just come at random times instead of on Wednesdays!

Live well, my friends!

Tammy ~@~

Tuesday, November 4

rake moving

What beautiful weather we were blessed with for Election Day! Rather than being stuck in the house and pacing due to normal November weather, we were able to be outside working on some more raking. The kids were in their shorts and either barefoot or flip flopped. Here's three of the workers :-)

Lovey - who is missing from this picture - was busy picking up caterpillars that became uncovered as we raked. She had a whole jar full of them! The caterpillars would curl up in a ball as she took them out to look at a bit closer, so she'd then try to uncurl them wanting them to walk for her. Let's just say that procedure didn't work very well as the words "squishy" and "guts" were frequently used! Yikes!

We couldn't work much past 4:30 PM due to darkness, so our evening will be spent indoors going back and forth from watching election coverage to doing other busy work. It could be a long night OR maybe it'll be a short night as I'll go to bed early and rise with the birds to get the final numbers......

May your election evening be, um, relaxing!

Tammy ~@~

a never landing bird

Ohhh, I had a good devotional the other morning based on Proverbs 26:2...

"Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim."

"When an insult or comment is directed to us, we need to weight it carefully. If it is valid, we should act on it, but if it is unfair, we need not to be troubled by it. God asks that we try to be the best we can be. If we are true to our abilities, He will be pleased with us. To the person who does all he is able, an insult is like a bird that never lands, the never hits its target." ~ From Daily Wisdom From the Bible

Having talked to friends who are out in the workplace, I consider myself blessed to be at home. They certainly deal with a lot more criticism from other employees they work with than I do with my children! And I really can't say that I've had to handle a lot of criticism from people I do know whether family or friends.

Hmmm, or maybe I am receiving many comments but they aren't landing anymore?

Perhaps it is a part of maturing to learn not to take everything personally which I did do many years ago, although comments from my children still can be challenging. I've learned to look at what is being said about myself through a few filters.

***Is the comment addressing actual sin in my life? I do need to look deeper at myself and weigh that possibility.
Knowing that my sin can have consequences which reach into the lives of others, I do want to address it. If it is an sinful area, I do need to take it up with the Lord and ask Him for His help through confession and repentance and desiring to change. It's not a life of impossible perfection I am working toward, my rather a life which is pleasing to Him and covered by His grace.

***Is the comment addressing an area of my life which I am being slothful and perhaps not doing my best? Typically I know immediately whether that is true or not. Often times it may be that life is busy and I can't keep up with everything well. Wait, that is more than often times, that is frequently! But that can't be used as an excuse, especially when I am the manager of my time and can choose whether to take care of my responsibilities or do something else with those available moments, you know, like vegging on the computer.

***Is the comment regarding a personal standard which they have but which may not be mine? Then perhaps we need to come to a compromise which will work for both of us. I think of this especially with the neatniks in my family who share bedrooms...'nuff said. There may be nothing wrong with the standard they have set for themselves, but we are a bunch of unique individuals living here who need to work together to maintain unity and peace.

***Is the comment regarding a personal preference which is theirs but not mine? Ha! This one comes up many times at the supper table when children comment about the food. Certainly we could serve cookies and ice cream for every meal which would be their preference, but sometimes you have to mix some meat, vegetables (even those icky ones), rice, and some fresh bread into the meal. I am trying to be respectful and not @@@@@ my eyes when those meal comments come up, but rather let them bounce off me with a smile.

Are you a bouncer or a lander when comments comes your way? I do hope some of these tips will encourage you :-)

And on another topic....DO GO AND VOTE! Every presidential election brings me sorrow for those voting in the western states with a different time zone because it would be hard to avoid all the predictions coming out and not feel discouraged if your candidate isn't in the lead. Remember....every vote counts!

Enjoy your day! It is suppose to be another beauty of an autumn day and I'm looking forward to getting back outside to finish up raking....if I can get up from my desk! Yikes, am I sore! LOL!

Tammy ~@~

Monday, November 3

the simple woman's daybook for November 3rd

Outside my window......through the foggy morning light I see the brown oak leaves are still hanging on as a sad contrast to the brilliant colors seen a month ago.

I am thinking
.....about friends and family who need my persevering prayers.

From the learning rooms.....come sounds of letters, history of our thirteen original colonies, book reports, paper airplane building, and geometry proofs.

I am thankful for......our woodburner which gives us a cozy warmth this time of the year.

From the'll smell chocolate chip cookies baking this afternoon for my AWANA chums.

I am wearing
.....exercise pants and a deep pink t-shirt as I'm headed out the door in a moment to go to Curves.

I am reading.....a book called The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde which is a humorous action adventure covering classical English literature. It's been a quirky fun read with a tiny wisp of displeasing language.

I am hoping.....for a few more warm sunny days to finish our raking.

I am creating.....a wreath made from vines along my garden fence. Of course, the creating is still in my head!

I am hearing.....a dog barking from our back porch.

Around the house
.....are visions of getting my laundry area straightened up AGAIN as well as those baskets full of wrinkled clothing finally getting ironed!

One of my favorite things kissing my kindergardener's cheeks while we do schooling.

A few plans for the rest of the week
.....taking a moment to vote in the presidential election, continue sorting and cleaning in my bedroom, finding the cross stitch patterns for Christmas stockings I'm looking forward to sewing for my grandbabies.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you

Here is a pin cushion given to me recently by a dear friend. She knows my favorite colors as well as my love for flowers. I will think of her every time I use it!

To read daybooks for today by others, please go HERE

Tammy ~@~

Sunday, November 2

breaking my rules....

Sometimes life happens and you have to break the rules. Like my current personal blog rule of "no blog writing on Sunday". But sometimes, yes, sometimes an event of such great proportion happens and I need to write about it.

And what may that be, you ask?

Well, after church today, we did our usual stop at the grocery store. And lo and behold, what did we see?!

Start the fire burning in the fireplace!

Put on the familiar holiday music!

EGGNOG is in town! Woo hoo!

Yes, sad but true, my family is known to be eggnog-a-holics. My family drinks the stuff by the gallonfuls as long as it is seasonably available. In fact, the two varieties I bought today disappeared at lunchtime. Thank goodness it's on sale right now so we can stock up the frig. And although I do love this stuff, too, I am easily satisfied with one sip every once in awhile as eggnog is not kind to my intestinal track...'nuff said about that topic! LOL!

So tis the season, fa la la la laaa, and cheers as we lift our glasses of eggnog to family and friends!

Tammy ~@~

Saturday, November 1

good night, garden

We've been blessed with a spell of warmer weather right now. It's allowing us to spend some time outside doing our fall raking and other yard clean-up. I emptied my last flower pots that had been covered with snow, poor things :::sniff sniff::: and my husband took apart the trampoline and put it away in the garage for the winter.

My husband mentioned possibly tilling the garden today which would be great since all that is left in there are a few kohlrabis. Then I remembered the picture I had taken a couple of weeks ago when I was pulling the last things left in the garden:

This is the BIGGEST kohlrabi we have ever grown in our garden! In fact, the general crop of kohlrabi was larger this season. I typically plant them in the cooler part of the garden, but this year they ended up on the warmer end and boy did they love it! I always leave kohlrabi in the garden until my husband is ready to till since we think they get crisper and sweeter with frost :-)

Yes, it's time to put the garden to bed for the long winter ahead. It's been a good growing season this year and I say good-night with fondness in my heart!

Tammy ~@~

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