Primarily written by Adrienne, a homeschooling mother of seven, ages 10 and under. She chronicles life, laughs, struggles, and lessons learned as she raises a larger-than-most sized family and tries to figure out what she's doing day by day.

With occasional posts, Alexandra, Adrienne's older sister, writes of her ranch life in Nevada and raising four sons, ages 5 and under. Life is never dull and her boys have given her some pretty awesome stories to tell.

Stick around awhile, and you're sure to laugh, nod, smile, be encouraged, and see what life is like with a big (little) family.


Blaine’s home. And back at work. It’s so good to have him home finally. I haven’t loaded the woodstove once since he arrived. And he cleaned the chimney – again. One week after I’d cleaned it. Turns out, the wood we’d had delivered and didn’t start burning until that really cold spell was likely still pretty green, in spite of looking dry. Thus, the dirty chimney and cold house. Sounds about right, I suppose.

I got all the cold symptoms my children had while Blaine was away the night he got back. Feeling pretty blessed that I didn’t get it until I had help. God is good.

My quilt is not finished. I’m almost finished cutting it out. I’m very, very tired of cutting it out.

Blaine worked 54 hours of overtime last week. Remember that chimney I had to clean? Yep, no complaints there. It suddenly sounds pretty easy.

Sterling has figured out how to spell his name perfectly. He can spell Ruby too. Ruby thinks her name is spelled SYT. She gets mad when anyone corrects her. I’m tempted to teach her to spell her name TROUBLE. FRUITCAKE would work too. I would thoroughly enjoy that. Until, I suppose, she is a completely confused kindergartener and my sole responsibility to straighten out. Yeah, maybe not.


Meet our friend, Tad.

baby tad

Dear Leap Frog,

Twenty dollars seems like an extraordinary amount of money to pay for a stuffed talking frog. But I have to give it to you. It was a brilliant idea. Baby Tad is much loved around here. We have two. I’m trying to convince my son he doesn’t need his so we don’t have to buy another for his baby sister. Seriously, $60 invested in stuffed frogs is a little much for me. I didn’t pay full price for the first; I did for the second. I would again for a third if I don’t convince Sterling to give his to Charlotte. It’s currently on loan to her, and she loves Baby Tad too. The lights, the music… the quiet, almost-asleep baby – I love it too.

Thank you, Leap Frog. If I have any more children, I might have to buy stock in your company.



P.s. The first model is far better than the one that came out two years ago. You should have left well enough alone.


I hereby resolve…

We don’t wear skirts all the time. Part of the time, sure. But not all of the time. Especially the boys… Winking smile

The girls have a friend from our homeschool co-op who does. After spending the day with their family, Liberty, my ultimate blue-jean and shorts-wearing daughter, decided she was only wearing skirts and dresses. She promptly asked me to buy her nightgowns. I told her she could get by with what she has, at least until I’m convinced she’ll follow through with this. So for one day, she wore a nightgown to bed, wore a skirt all day, and stood by her resolve. Then, she took a bath, put her pj’s on, and came out last night… in pants.


“What? I have pants on.”

“I know.”

Slow look of dawning realization. “Ah! I forgot!”

Eden decides to interject, “You’d better go change.”

Liberty: “Do I have to, Mom?”

“Good grief. Of course not. This was your idea in the first place. But I’m certain pants to bed are acceptable, since no one else will see you.”

She’s decided that chicken chores, at least in the cold weather, are also blue-jeans acceptable. I’m just sitting back and watching this one. Of all of my girls, Liberty is the last one who would want to wear skirts all the time. Oh, peer pressure. Gotta love it.

I’m right. Even when I’m wrong.

There’s an ad on the radio right now for a furniture company that “will do anything to save you money”. They go on about having turned the heat off to save money and the customers won’t even have to take their coats off. At the end of the ad the furniture guy gives a gift to his incredulous co-worker: overalls, the wrapping paper crackling in the background. And there the fun began.

Eden: “He gave her what?”

Liberty: “Overalls.”

“Eden: “What’s that?

Liberty: “Overalls. It’s paper that covers your whole body.”

Eden: “Why would she want paper?”

Liberty, oh so matter-of-factly: “She just does. It was a present.”

I finally felt the need to step in. “Overalls, honey. Coveralls. Kind of like snowpants.”

Girls: “Oh!”

And no one, even those who were quite admittedly wrong in their explanation of overalls, looked the slightest bit sheepish. Oh, to be the oldest and need to be right. Funniness.


That’s a lot of trucks!


We seem to have recovered from the “we only have girly toys” syndrome.

Snow Ice Cream

Snow Ice Cream

1 gallon freshly fallen snow

1 cup white sugar

1 Tbsp. vanilla

2 cups milk

Send five year old to collect snow. Pick out the straw she missed when gathering “only clean, fresh snow”. Mix everything together, serve immediately.

Mmm. One of the better things about a new batch of snow. Next up: sledding on feed sacks. Gotta get the sugared-up kids outside.


Does it smell like smoke in here?

Don’t answer that. It does. Bad. Without going into the gory details, our chimney got a good scrubbing today by yours truly. Have I mentioned that I’m missing my husband? 4.5 hours later, I’m certain of only two things. 1. I did that right. Painfully so. 2. My talents lie elsewhere.

To the dear neighbors, don’t fret over the flaming bucket in the driveway. I meant to do that. Sort of.

It’s been a long day. We’re getting snow today. This morning’s venture into chimney cleaning resulted in a late afternoon trip to the grocery store. It’s snowing. Do people really let themselves get so low on groceries that they all need to swarm Aldi before a snowstorm just as I’m finally arriving, trying to get a week’s worth of groceries with five children? I’d planned to go in the morning, but my plans were thwarted. It went as well as herding cats can be expected, I suppose. If you were trying to herd cats in and around a cattle stampede.

For the record, I bought neither milk nor bread.


Old McDonald, stanza 2.3, repeat, repeat, repeat.

Only when you are two can you be screaming like someone was trying to kill you and singing “E-I-E-I-E-I-E-I… (continue for at least five minutes)” in the same 20 second time frame. Being female helps with that scenario too.

Blaine had better get home soon. My dark chocolate candy bowl is rapidly depleting. Stress has a way of doing that around here. We have a lot of girls.

Liberty asked me if I could put cinnamon rolls in her hair. I asked if she wanted me to get the cinnamon, and oh, the giggles. She stood by her original description though, and scoffed at my suggestion that it be called a bun.

Three and a half month old Charlie graduated to 6-9 month clothes. And she rolled over three times. While I wasn’t looking. Can’t get her to do it again while I watch. So good to know she’s modest of her achievements like that. Never had such to chubby baby – or an early mover. She’s a good 2 months ahead of schedule if she were to fit in with the rest of this clan.

Brady has had a bell hanging from the door. I thought, for the last 6 months, that it was the best idea I’d heard of as far as dogs and training goes. Then Brady learned she could ring it. All. The. Time. Want to go bite the cat? Ring the bell, return to door, bark to be let inside. Birds in the yard? Ring the bell. Oops, cold outside, let me back in! She abused the bell. I took it down, set it on the ground, and told Brady she’d have to whine like the rest of the lesser civilized canine population. She’s gone to bumping the bell on the ground against the cupboard. Dumb Smart dog.

*During the course of my 10 minute venture into the writing of this blog, dear Ruby has ventured from singing to crying to singing again. Oh, to be two again. I quake at the thought of that emotional train wreck about 12 years from now.


It’s rather like herding cats.

Blaine has said on more than one occasion that trying to go shopping with our children and keeping them heading in the same direction is like herding cats. I always have protested. It’s not that bad. But today I took them to the mall, skipped the stroller because I decided they’d been cooped up so much this week they would enjoy walking. Really. Mistake. That herding cats concept? Yep, that’s what it was like. Charlotte was in the sling, Sterling was trailing far behind, Ruby was running ahead and circling around every center kiosk the mall has, and Liberty and Eden were “shopping”. The one finger rule was thrown out, Sterling stopped to check out and pick up every button-down shirt they had hanging at his level and I debated taking the sling off, carrying Charlotte, and tightening the sling down around Sterling’s waist to make him keep up. My moment of reason? My sling is pink. Sterling can’t wear a pink sling. And we get enough looks without entering into the leash world. I’d never hear the end of it. Next time I decide to go to the mall without a stroller, smack me. Throw something at me. Just please, talk some sense into me.


Things I’ve learned this week:

Things I’ve learned this week:

Ruby doesn’t know she’s whining. She just does it. It’s like she needs noise. Next time, I’m turning on the radio and waiting to see if she stops.

Charlotte is like no other baby I’ve had. Between 7 and 8 pm, she starts whining, then escalates to a cry if you do not respond properly. The only thing that makes her happy: being put in her bed. With a snuggle blanket in her arm. Really, what baby does that???

I’m not as smart as Blaine. Really, this is no new revelation. The man is ridiculous.

I get really crabby at my children when my husband is not around.

Sterling misses his daddy. They all do, but Sterling seems to be noticing that he’s the only male in the house. Imagine that. He was so proud to help me mix chicken feed and check the coop today. He needed to do a “job”.

A queen size bedspread requires 780 rectangles. I’ve cut almost half so far. I hate cutting rectangles.

Fabric scraps and a school glue stick can make a mean doll blanket. Or placemat. So easy, an almost-6 year old can do it.

A firstborn will make a perfect scrap blanket. A second born thinks the ripples add character.

I’m a second born. I understand that mentality far better.

Eden thought the monkey chased the easel. Because weasels don’t have legs. And easels do. Hmm. No. Yes. But…

Sterling cannot remember what a cattle guard or a hardhat are called. But he’ll remember what they do. Every time.

Ruby likes sour cream by the giant spoonful. Brady will clean up the mess she makes on the floor. It’s a team effort.

A handful of change, access to the canned food cupboard and a pretend cash register makes for hours and hours of fun. And dented cans. And pennies everywhere.

Polka dots on a bedroom wall belonging to a small boy who has witnessed firsthand a massive huge very large tarantula on the same wall: not a good idea. In the dark, polka dots do not necessarily look like polka dots.

If I spend enough time on Facebook and on my blog, I can avoid cutting rectangles. But no one will cut them for me. Eden offered, but she’s a second born and I’m told crooked rectangles make for a crooked quilt.


When Daddy is away the girls will… find something, anything, to keep busy.

I would have said that the kids were who keeps things busy around here. But it turns out, Blaine and his projects are major contributing factors. This morning, breakfast was over and we were sitting looking at each other wondering what was next. Ugh. So, off we went. Ingredients for homemade pizza for supper and ribbons and clips to try our hand at making hair bows later (and a quick stop for diaper cream for Charlie’s behind) we went to work.


It was fun! And someday, perhaps in the distant future, I might have to delve into this further. You never know, my glue gun and I could be a formidable enemy in the world of tangled tresses. It could happen.


Some were better than others. These two were my favorites.


Up next: my very first quilt. Sewed a lot of clothes, never a quilt. I take that back. I made a patchwork something-or-other in high school that now resides inside a duvet with it’s seams zigzagged where they split. Apparently slightly larger seam allowances is important in the scheme of things.

Anyhow, I’m using these fabrics to make a queen size bedspread for Blaine and I. I’d like to finish before he gets back. As you can see, I’ve gotten so very far. I’ve picked out fabrics.


I love them. Blaine approved. Now to cut out 525 3.5” x 6.5” rectangles, sew them all together and then… well, I’ll read the instructions and find out what happens after that. Yep. That’ll keep me busy.


* Just for the record, I didn’t forget Sterling. He was busy taking a four hour nap during the making of the hair bows. I woke him up in time for pizza.

Just what you don’t want to hear.

“Mom, I rocked Charlie so hard in her car seat that it fell off the table. It’s a good thing she was buckled in!”

I’d gone out to get ribbon out of the tote in the shed. That’s the next blog. Eden had been left with Charlie sleeping in her car seat. She’d been instructed to leave her in it, just rock her if she cried and holler if that didn’t help. I guess, theoretically, she obeyed. Next time, the car seat will be on the floor to begin with. Charlie, startled as she was, is ok. I’m not sure I am. At this rate, we might not survive the month.


Let them eat cake? Or celery?

Blaine left this morning for his three-week trip to CA for the spring/summer catalog photo shoot. My first thought, other than loneliness, is to diet a bit and see if I can lose a few pounds while he’s gone and cooking duties are pretty much whatever I feel like. My next thought is to make a chocolate cake. Hmm.

Sterling is learning to spell his name. Sometimes he gets it right. Often he’s Steringy. Or Stling. Or Stering. We’ll get this though. Sadly, his name, 8 letters long, isn’t the longest name among them. Poor Charlotte – and then Serenity too. Really, the poor girl will be ten before she can spell the whole thing. Ruby, on the other hand, can spell ‘Ruby’ accurately almost every time. We haven’t ventured into her middle name though… there’s another doozy. Something to consider next time. You know, if there is a next time. At the rate we’re going today, I may not survive the month. Three kids were crying about bedtime. Half an hour later, we’re down to just one – one whom sounds very much like a mourning dove when she cry/whines. And with that, I’m making myself a cup of tea for lack of wine (not to be confused with whine, which we have plenty of), locking myself in the bathroom with a book, and taking a bath.

Nevermind. There’s Charlie. She’s harder to ignore.


Fun email, pasted here and commentated on by yours truly.

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die. Facebook, Facebook, gmail, Facebook… incriminating only in where my time disappeared.
2. Nothing is worse than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font. Is this different than the I’M YELLING AT YOU font?
5. How are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet? This I have figured out. I wash a lot of crib sheets. Corners into corners, then in half, all corners into one. Then… do your best to make it all nice and flat together. It’s pretty… sort of.
6. Was learning cursive really necessary? I use more cursive than manuscript. It’s faster and prettier!
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood. Yep, this one I’m in complete agreement with.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories. Or blogs.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again. Blu Ray? We’re past CD’s???
13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to. Or hitting the print 75 copies button after walking away from the week’s church bulletin, praying I’ve caught all the asdf’s Ruby inputted between the letters of this week’s sermon title. 75 bulletins later is not a good time to find that mistake. Although the people in the congregation might get a good laugh out of it.
14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.                          15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.  My fridge freezer definitely needs one. But we just bought our first ever chest freezer, and it has one! Someone was thinking.
16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Bud than Kay. I’m laughing – but I’m leaving this one alone.
17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.
18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger. That line says “Chocolate” in really, really small print.                                                         19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters! This I have yet to see.
21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever. Until they can stand on their own. Sometime before that happens, consider adding them to the laundry pile.
22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is. So true.
23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away,
in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time. Charlie doesn’t have a snooze button. Good thing.
24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

I didn’t write this, remember. Just laughed. Because well, Ruby’s whining today isn’t funny. And I did not get near enough sleep in the last 3 days to come up with anything nearly so funny on my own.

At church yesterday, Eden sounded like she was going to cough up one or both of her lungs. She did not sound like that at home. She does not sound like that today. So why, when we’re surrounded by people who prefer not to get sick (imagine that!) did that happen? I felt like a good nominee for worst mother of the year right about then. And some of the looks I got said I may have won a few votes too.