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.



As we were driving past a yard with a freshly removed tree down the road from our house, the discussion began on the reasons for cutting down a tree that had appeared perfectly healthy. Explaining things are not always as they seem, and the health of the tree was likely not good, Ruby had a funny scenario.

“If the tree fell down and landed on that house, the people inside would be EXACTLY dead.”

When I agreed that she’d named a likely possibility, she she, in all seriousness, returned, “Unless the people were out visiting friends. Then they might not be exactly dead. They would be glad about that.”

Oh yes, the musings of a four year old.

Three of my girls and I went to a graduate piano recital last night. Graduating with a master’s degree and having spent two and a half years practicing for his one hour and forty five minute recital, the music was spectacular. Ruby fell asleep about an hour in. She woke up in time for the reception – a beautiful piano cake, salmon tar-tar, and more foods that are fancier than anything she’d experienced in her short little life. She had a blast. When we got home, she came bursting in the door, ran to Blaine and exclaimed, “They had FOOD!” The music? So beautiful. BUT THE FOOD! Quite the night for Miss Ruby.

This afternoon, when she piped up in frustration, “You guys aren’t listen to me explain the problem!” what she really meant was, “You guys are ignoring me! Pay attention! I’m WHINING here!”


This week in Review

It's been a long week. Tuesday morning Pierce kicked my coffee (unfinished from the day before... I hadn't even gotten that far yet) and the coffee spilled all over the desk. A few drops hit the laptop keyboard, but I wiped them off quickly and didn't think too much of it. And then. Twenty minutes later, after creating 18 soap labels to sell soap, the g and h wouldn't work. Then the backspace quit working. Then the whole screen went black. It was like watching a bad movie play out in front of me.

The laptop is quarantined with little hope of revival, the old dinosaur has been dusted off and is proving itself fairly reliable despite it's age and the little "full hard drive" messages it gave me at first. I've never been so glad that we never got rid of it as now.

Tuesday morning, moments after the laptop met coffee (but before I knew the extent of the problem) I tried to wash the dishes with the pizza cutter instead of the sponge.

Yesterday, the nurse at the doctor's office asked me if I was babysitting. The look of horror on her young face when I said each and every one of these young children belonged to me made me wonder if I should laugh or cry.

Charlotte didn't cry for her shot. She still is talking about how it hurt her leg but she was tough.

Pierce thought the finger prick was the coolest thing he'd seen all day. The shots he disagreed with, however.

Sterling doesn't know who Big Bird, Cookie Monster, or Elmo is. He says Sesame Street doesn't exist. He does, however, know Bert and Ernie. They're in a book. Barney is another unknown. I'm not sure if our level of social norm education is quite adequate. But the tv is eerily, blessedly silent in my house when children are awake.

Pierce can stand up, pick up the push toy, turn it the other way, and continue along his chosen path. But he won't walk alone willingly.

After grumbling at my children at the number of minutes it was taking them to exit the van so we could enter the fabric store, I told them that the sooner we got inside, the sooner we could find what we needed and be done. My exact words are sketchy, but it was something along the lines of "You guys are what is making this take so long! It doesn't have to be so stinking hard!" or something like that. Sterling, however, had a different reason after watching me stare at the fabric choices for more than 1.6 seconds before making my decisions. "Mom, you're the reason the stores take so long. You keep stopping to look at stuff!" I didn't have the wherewithal to correct his attitude. I was too busy laughing.

Clean-release tape is on my hit list. I'm spending my available moments repainting everywhere it took all the paint, primer, and top layer of sheetrock off in my laundry room.

My van has been squeaking for months. At first, I was concerned it was mechanical - until I realized it squeaks whether it's running or not. Still, it's been driving me nuts. I made the kids jump, trying to get it to do it again and locate it's origin. (That resulted in two girls knocking their heads on the roof of the van. I'll admit it. I laughed.) I've walked around the outside, making them jump, trying to find out where it was coming from. No use. I couldn't find it. Some trips it wouldn't do it at all. Some days it wouldn't stop. Finally, months of hugely annoying squeaking later, I saw Sterling move his seat belt shoulder strap and it squeaked. After making him do it again several times, each time resulting in another screeching noise, I located the problem. The seat belt on the third row, driver's side. Blaine promptly went and bought silicone spray and fixed the problem. My hero.I almost lost my sanity over that one.



It’s beginning to look a little like Christmas…

I’ll be the first to admit I’m horrible at decorating. It’s just not my thing. I’m not sure if I just don’t care enough or if I just don’t have the space (and hands-free children) to be able to do very much, but I’ve never pursued it very hard.

When we bought this house, though, I declared the fireplace mantle was my space. The kids can reach it, it’s pretty much unfunctional as far as storage, so I planned to decorate it. I’ve succeeded fairly well and had fun in the process.

Jen’s Wreaths sent me a Christmas wreath, and while I hung it on the door for a week, I mourned not being able to see it very often. Today, I had a brainstorm. The fireplace!

According to Charlie, the Christmas beads look like I put my necklace up there. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out though. The wreath is front and center – and I can see it now!


Thanks to Jen at Jen’s wreaths. It’s beautiful!

Once in a while, I’m amazed that things can go so well.

I’ve always shopped ahead. My kitchen typically busts at the seams with food, and skipping shopping for a week or two means the only thing we really run out of the gets desperate is milk and fruit. It’s worked well for me, and I don’t meal plan but cook out of the cabinets. I’ve tried meal planning, and think if I was consistent it would be fabulous but the fact that it took time each week/month to do means it fell by the wayside.

Yesterday, though, when I had 18 hours notice that Thanksgiving was just us at our house because our friends we’d planned to spend the day with were all sick, I’d never been so glad for my overstocked kitchen.

We had turkey, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes & gravy, cauliflower, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and cherry pie without a trip to the grocery store. In all fairness, I was planning to supply the turkey anyway, but it had come out of the freezer from a previous purchase too.

Next time I grumble at the amount of food on my food shelf, and how buying ahead creates bursting cupboards, I’m going to remember this. It was a pretty cool moment. Once in a blue moon I feel all organized and prepared.

Now, back to my regularly chaotic life. You know, that one that has us cancelling all school lessons planned for the day except math so that we can clean the house that contains more dirt from my garden-tunneling child than I care to admit.


The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Review


I was asked me to review the November issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It’s available free at and also through their free app if you’d like to access it that way. is a blog from The Old Schoolhouse with reviews to many homeschooling products and resources.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is uplifting and encouraging for homeschooling families. I particularly enjoyed their article in November’s issue on the Amish titled “Do Amish homeschool?”. They are fascinating people and it was fun to read another writers perspective on them. The article “Gifts of Gratitude” had a lot of fun ideas to try to encourage thankfulness in our homes. Writer Kendra Fletcher’s subtitle, “Complaining, it seems, is organic. Gratitude is not.” caught my eye and made me laugh. It sounds like her house and my house have a lot in common!

Misty West wrote “Crunching Through the Cracker Crumbs” about chore lists and maintaining a household simply. I plan to try her chore list for myself, to see how my days could be more organized. (And my house, perhaps?!)

I have much to learn, and for a little bit I felt like I was “sitting at the feet” of another. It is a great way to hear from the homeschooling community and learn of the new and different curriculum options I hadn't heard of before. The Old Schoolhouse has a Christian perspective and mission statement – something I appreciated. The magazine has a wide range of articles to speak to the issues homeschoolers face. It had articles on learning disabilities, parental frustrations, and the inside look on one homeschooling family, just to name a few. It comes as water to a thirsty soul, refreshing the weary and giving encouragement to the burdened.

I really appreciated the many articles with ideas for study. Many topics were introduced and ideas for further study were often suggested. As a second generation homeschooler, I tend to do things by the book. I’m learning to pick a topic and just go with it, knowing my children will learn far more in those moments than any of the day today day book requirements I had them. Encouragement to take those rabbit trails, to follow those paths of interest and learn more about what interests my children is needed and appreciated.

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine has many contributors, mostly homeschooling mothers with knowledge (through experience, it would seem) to share to those of us also on this journey. With a wide range of articles, anyone contemplating homeschooling or already walking this path is sure to find ideas, help, encouragement, and the reassurance that we’re doing this for a reason – and that others have done this, succeeded at their goals, and we can too.

Disclaimer: The Schoolhouse Review Crew requested my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.


Ponderous thoughts, stranger approved.

I took Pierce with me grocery shopping tonight. Any time I take just one child with me, they think it’s the best thing ever. They get chatty, giggly, and just love our “date” in the produce aisle. Pierce isn’t any different.

He’d holler “Dada! Dada!” and I’d say “No! Momma!” and he’d laugh and laugh and laugh. Repeat that about fifty times and you have a pretty good idea of what our shopping trip looked like.

After we’d just finished the exchange, yet again, a woman came around the corner and joined me in the toilet paper aisle. Taking in Pierce’s belly laugh, she commented how happy he was and said I must be a wonderful momma to have such a happy baby. “I bet he never cries,” she said. I couldn’t help myself. I snorted.

But as we walked away, I couldn’t help but think on her words. (A trip with one child to the grocery store allows for this. Thinking. What a concept.) Is happy children really what we’re after as mothers? As long as baby doesn’t fuss, I must be properly parenting him? Really, is that all I’m after?

Definitely not. Happy isn’t what life is all about. Being content, on the other hand, holds a a pretty good status. Being thankful, that’s a good one. Understanding our place, our God, our need for Him, that’s what I’m after when I teach my children. Ponderous thoughts.

But when Pierce tired of my outrage at his calls for his daddy a few aisles later, I took him out of the cart and hushed him. It made him happy. It made me wonder. How much parenting do I do just for appearances, and how much is in pursuit of a grander, better thing?

Then, I came home, put the baby to bed and the groceries away, and lost the quiet to be able to finish a thought without interruption. It was lovely while it lasted. Maybe, hopefully, I will parent more purposefully tomorrow, in pursuit of godliness, not stranger approval.


Math brain.

Amount of time it takes for Pierce to shatter the glass plate at the restaurant on the floor after the waiter, who most obviously does not have a one year old, places it in front of him: 1.3 seconds.

Best part about going out to eat on your birthday: not having to clean up the floor under the table.

Number of heads of hair trims I gave on this Sunday morning: 3.

Number of hair ponies and bobby pins used for hair does this morning: 14.

Number of minutes Pierce lasted this morning before going back to bed after staying up later than he should have last night: 38.

Times I’ve had to wash sheets for wet sleepers this week: 1. Progress!

Times I’ve had to scold for mud all over the bathroom: 4. Some dear child is digging a tunnel in the garden. The same dear child can sit in it and disappear up to said child’s chin. Impressive. Dirty, but impressive.

Number of buckling and unbuckling seat belts during out two hour shopping trip on
Monday: 63.

Yesterday I hit my tipping point. The collective number of years I’ve mothered have officially reached the same number of years I’ve been alive. It only goes up exponentially from here.


Happy birthday to me.

Today is my 29th birthday. It’s a weird age. I feel like I have one more year to cling to my twenties.

Ruby made it all better, though. She informed me I was almost thirty, and then turned to Sterling and asked him what comes after 30. When he told her 31 comes next, she gasped, spun around in genuine concern, and exclaimed, “Oh no! You’re almost dead!”

Sterling gave me jewelry. I’m now sporting a matching ring and bracelet set. He made them out of twist ties from the bread bags. The ring… let me just warn you the folly of wearing such a beautiful ring during a certain personal hygiene moment after using certain facilities. It’s a little… scratchy.


Hello, frailty.

For a long time, I’d been immune to poison ivy. I could pull it with my bare hands without issue – and I did. Then last summer, I got it into my head to pull all of the poison ivy around our lilacs. I pulled a lot of poison ivy that day.

Immunity over. Apparently, overdosing such things leads to irritation, one way or the other. Since then, I’ve refrained from touching the stuff. Those two weeks of misery, compounded by a nearly-due Pierce and summer heat making a pregnancy insufferable as it was cured me of any temptation.

Time makes you dumb. You forget.

So last weekend, when the brush that once was likely beautiful but now was an overgrown mess, complete with now-dead but not-dormant poison ivy beckoned me to do something about it, I put on a pair of gloves and dug in.

Memory jogged.

It’s a strange realization to find out that a plant can do such damage that I’m itching and scarred and feeling like a padded room is my best option. How weak and frail am I? I just got knocked on my tush by a three leafed plant that isn’t even visible for it’s winter dormancy.


Shopping fail.

I tried a new idea for shopping trip chaos organization.

It was the worst trip we’ve had in a long, long time.

Does that mean it was a major fail or do we try this again next time and hope it was just adjusting to a new routine?!

Some lady, under her breath, muttered at me, as we were blocking traffic from both directions and no one was moving any which way despite my attempts to spur someone, anyone, to move out of the way, “Oh good grief. Honey, you need HELP.” I did the best I could. I grinned at her in my most “I so totally have this under control. Whatever for?” expression and marched off to find the bananas.

I haven’t decided if we’ll try that again. It was good in theory, though.

Say what?!

Her sentence began, “Momma, if it’s vegetarian’s day…”

I cringed. “Honey, it’s not vegetarians day.”

Her older, wiser sister piped up, “It’s veterinarian's day.”

I shook my head, trying not to laugh, and most definitely not going to end this conversation with the truth until I heard all of their scenarios.


“No! It’s veteranians!”

Still, no.

Finally, one dear daughter eliminated the unnecessary syllables and solved the dilemma.

Happy Veteran’s day, folks. At least the girls knew what it was all about, even if the name eluded them.


“What color slipcover do you think would be best?”

“I don’t care.”

I bet he does…

“They have a lime green one.”

“Okay. I care. NOT lime green.”

See, I knew he cared.

I made a Pomegranate Jell-O recipe the other day. We all ended up picking out the pomegranate arils and eating the Jell-O. Sterling was unimpressed with the sorting required. “Next time, can you just make it without the pomegranates?” Sure, honey. They call that Jell-O with a can of pineapple. I can do that.

Sold my Jumperoo this morning. Made $13 off the price I paid for it, and I used it for two kids. It made me think I should hit more rummage sales, buying things to sell. Then I remembered the price of gas. Or not.


I made my second batch of soap today. Blaine came home to the smell of Cherry Almond Oatmeal soap cooling. (And a pear pie in the oven, but the Cherry Almond was definitely overpowering it.) He thought he’d come home to Butter Letter. He was disappointed.

What kind of spoiled is he that I’ve made a pie and lye bar soap in one afternoon and the man is disappointed?!

Gonna have to get some almond paste. I love that man.



Edited to add: Alycia Cartwright Morell, Sharilyn, and Heather have won coupons for free Purex plus Oxi! I need addresses and I'll get them out asap. :) Email me or find me on my blog's facebook over on the right.

Purex sent me a new laundry detergent to try. Purex plus Oxi… working against 101 different stains with it’s three stain-fighting enzymes.
Plus, it smells sooooo good. My laundry smells sooooo good. I washed a pair of jeans with newly grass-stained knees (while my daughter watched and cringed, hoping her favorite jeans weren’t stained for life) and, miracle of all miracles, the stains came out on the first try. Amazing.
Did I mention how good it smells? As much as I’d love to keep the three coupons they sent me that entitle the bearer to a free bottle for themselves, I won’t. Like this post above or below on Facebook and tell me you did in a comment for two entries, or just comment away for one, but hurry. I’m running behind. Drawing is Monday. Three winners each get one coupon.


A little bell rings and…

Sunday services had Pierce quite excited – when we reached the end of the congregational prayer.


Pierce starts waving his arms, so excited.

Pavlovian response, anyone? Pierce thinks ‘Amen’ means food.

Having fun, without the costumes…

We went to a harvest festival of sorts last night. At the balloon table, Liberty picked a turtle, Eden a parrot, Sterling a sword, Charlotte an alligator – and then it was Ruby’s turn. She asked for a balloon. When asked what kind, she requested round circle with a thing hanging down.

I’m slow. It took me several minutes to figure out what she wanted. Poor girl just wanted a plain balloon, but there was none to be found. She loved the butterfly she was given instead.

Charlotte couldn’t get over how people just kept handing her candy.

Sterling picked out his face painting: the green polka dots in the “step one” box for how to draw the frog. He didn’t want the frog – just the spots.

Pierce’s highlight of the night was when he saw the van at the end of the night. The noise was not quite pleasing to that boy. He started laughing and waving his arms, excited, when he saw the van afterward.

They are, at the moment, high on one piece of candy and frantically cleaning the house. They were given twelve minutes to straighten the house. The reward? More candy, of course.

That sugar crash is going to be fun, I’m afraid.