Monday, January 31, 2011

Spring?

Who said Spring cleaning needs to wait for Spring?  This morning I was trying to tidy up my bedroom.  I was just planning on changing sheets and picking clothes off the floor and such.  I've been pestering Knut to put up curtain rods in there and I figured the room might as well look clean when they got up.

It kinda all snowballed from there because I haven't put all of my maternity clothes away yet, but I have brought out some of my "regular" clothes and both sets of clothes do not fit in the dresser and closet, so I gutted the dresser, reorganized, and put away regular clothes, and then put away all of the maternity clothes that I have been washing and stashing in a corner of the room until I got to it.  But when I put away all of the maternity clothes from the corner and dresser, I realized there were some maternity things hanging in the closet too, and I might as well put everything away at the same time.

Well, then I realized the closet was a mess.  It's long and narrow and you know what happens to odd storage spaces after a few months.  So I gutted that too, and discovered there was actually a floor and shelves in there.  Not only that but I found a few bags of clothes for me that a family at church gave to me that their teenage daughter didn't want.  I was about 6 months pregnant with Solveig at the time they gave the bags to me so I couldn't try them on.  I had just stashed the bags in my closet to go through later.

So I figured there was no time like the present, so I went through the bags and tried a bunch on.  I got a beautiful wool Norwegian sweater in there, some cute dresses that fit like a glove, some shirts, some super soft and cute sweatshirts.  All in all, it was a good shopping trip in my closet.  There is no shame in hand-me-downs...even as an adult.  In fact, it's one of the coolest ways to get clothes that I'm aware of.  Well, I had to make room for all these fun "new" clothes so then I started going through my regular clothes and pulling things I haven't worn in years to send to Goodwill.

So now that the closet is clean, the dresser is clean, I should actually clean the rest of the room like I was supposed to this morning.  However, Solveig just woke up from her morning nap, and the older kids need some direction for their lessons, so it may not actually get done this morning as I had hoped.  As off track as it got me for the day, I love the feeling of "Spring" cleaning!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Yes and Yes

 Richard?  No, my middle name is "Trouble."
Adorable?  Yes.  Trouble?  Yes.

 In fact, I think adorable trouble is the most dangerous kind of trouble.
He finds it his mission to keep Mommy on her toes.  You know...someone has to do it.

Homeschool Friday

lI don't know if the struggle I want to address today is related to homeschooling, or just parenting in general.  I'm sure all mothers, homeschooling ones or not, could relate.  With both Silje and David, I find myself constantly questioning, and constantly wondering how hard I should push them to do things.

For instance Silje has been working on memorizing a poem for a spring recital.  She was so excited at first, but now it's becoming a chore.  She's getting the lines confused and she skips big chunks.  Now when I tell her it's time to work on her poem, she comes to me 30 seconds later, saying she's done.  And she's totally not done.

So I've started to set the timer for 15 minutes where she has to work on memorizing the thing.  It has become torture some days for her.  Part of me wonders if it's worth the battle.  Part of me is sure it is.  Another part of me wonders if I am killing her love for poetry 15 minutes at a time.

You see, in our culture, we want our kids to want to learn.  We want them to enjoy every minute of it.  We think, and I'm sure there are studies to back it up, that when you enjoy something, you learn it better.  So the purpose is to make it fun.

We get the Wall Street Journal at our house, and recently I read an article that apparently has caused quite a debate among mothers.  It's titled: "Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior."  To me, the article is one part inspiring, and one part downright disturbing.  The idea that the author is trying to convey is that learning doesn't have to be fun.  In fact, the fun part often doesn't come until the work has been done.  For instance, the piano.  Playing the piano really gets fun when you get good at it.  You don't get good at it without practicing, and practicing isn't always fun.  She says that Western mothers worry about their child's psyche.  Chinese mothers don't.  Chinese mothers expect their child to be great, and think that Western mothers are content with failure, if that's what their child wants.  They think Western mothers don't believe in their children enough.  I suppose one could ask what is considered success and what is considered failure.  That is often in the eyes of the beholder.

Even with Solveig, I find myself doubting how much to push.  Should I let her fuss a few minutes longer before picking her up, or will that make her feel scared and unloved?  Should I lay her down more often so that I can get a few more things done, or should I hold her because she won't stay little for much longer and it's good for "bonding."  Apparently, Chinese mothers don't worry about damaging their child, which might be both a blessing and a curse.

I struggle with knowing when I should push through the tears and the pleas and push them onto the greatness I know they are capable of, and when to shrug and say "they'll get it in their own time."  Seriously, I think this is a daily--no at least hourly battle within myself.  Each circumstance, each child, each age/stage is so different.  It's so difficult to know when to dig my heels in, and when to stand back and watch their learning unfold. 

The verse: "Train up a child the way he should go..." is not as easy as I would wish.  One thing I do fear, is raising my kids to be quitters when things get tough.  To turn and run, and do something that's easier.  Yes, I want them to love learning, and not hate their lessons.  However, I find that I have to assess the goal of teaching them.  Is the goal of teaching them at home to make it more fun?  While fun is a good thing, not evil, I don't think it should be elevated as the goal.  Maybe it's just a bonus.

I keep hoping, that when Silje gets up in front of people to recite this poem, she'll do it without hiccup, and with much drama and enthusiasm.  I don't think that can come until she puts in the sweat of memorizing each word.  I'm finding that the facts they are learning aren't as important to me as learning how to learn.  Learning to study, and have a disciplined life.  That's the way a child should go.  Or is that teaching them not to rely on the grace God has bestowed on us?  When is the time for law, and when is the time for gospel, and how do they mingle in a godly household?

I don't think it's a matter of homeschooling, but a matter of motherhood that you doubt nearly every choice you make for your children.  I wonder if motherhood was always like this, or did it just become that way when psychologists started writing parenting books and the number of choices that a mother has to make multiplied exponentially. 

If you get a chance to read the article by following the above link, I'd love to hear my reader's thoughts on this controversial article too!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Smiles

Our little girl is getting so big.
I wasn't expecting her to wear this dress for another month or so.
  
She's already a Daddy's girl.  She doesn't get undivided attention with him much until the older kids are in bed.  When Daddy is with her, though, the smiles and coos come in abundance.
  What a sweetie.

Rolling In

The new furniture for the living room is rolling in.  We ordered a new sofa and a new chair.  They're not in a set, so don't expect the sofa to look like this when we get it.
 Apparently, it's Knut's chair.  He said no one is to touch it, look at it, or sit in it besides him.  I teased him I was going to sit in it every day after he left for work, at which point he said there would be a secret camera fixed on it.  

It's a fancy chair indeed.
He doesn't need to worry about the kids, though.  They've barely noticed the new chair.

You see, it came in a box.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Twinkle, Twinkle

Our girl has some new bling.  She wanted it done so bad, well without it being done.  She was a bit scared to get her ears pierced, but she finally decided to go ahead.  She did cry, but within just a few minutes she was talking about how much she loved them.  While I didn't care whether or not she had it done, I am proud that she overcame her fear and pushed through to do something she's wanted done. Shockingly, Knut has been all for her getting her ears pierced for awhile, but I wanted her to wait until I knew that she was responsible enough to keep them clean and take care of them like she should.  I know she's only 6, but she's proven herself to be up for the task.

I also took my camera into a repair shop today.  I found out my camera had no damage at all, just the lens.  Then I found out it would cost $75 for them to send it out to get looked at to see if it could be repaired, and $60 to buy a used replacement.  Guess which choice I picked.  I had to take about 100 photos when we got home just to catch up.  I have to admit, I just love the sound of the shutter.  

O, and I got a chance to look at other lenses while I was there.  Uff da, this is an expensive hobby.  But it's so cool!

Yarn Along

 It's Wednesday, and that means another Yarn Along with Ginny.

OK, so I broke my resolution and started another knitting project (2 two) while the purple sweater is still unfinished.  I tell you I have knitting ADD.  Just like this last fall when I was working so hard on these, and took breaks in between to work on this.  All of them got done, but maybe the secret to knitting so much is giving yourself breaks when a project becomes boring.  You know, keep it fun.  At least, that's my excuse.

I did finish the body of my sweater, and it just waits for sleeves and a some button bands.  So at least I picked a good stopping point!  It's technically not on needles!  I think I need a break from this one for a week or two.

One thing that I got done this week was a super quick project.  Gotta love the chunky yarn!  I finished it in just a day and a half.  It's just a simple garter stitch cowl, but in that uber-soft Misti baby alpaca/Merino.  

I also started working on a baby dress/jumper of my own design that's in the top picture.  I just love the raspberry color I get to work with in this project.  This one I'm actually pretty happy with, and I hope to have the pattern tested and ready for my store in March.  I think I have a great idea for a matching bonnet, too.  I love matching.  I love bonnets too! My goal for the year is to design 4 patterns.  The dress and bonnet will count for 2.

As for my reading, I thought I'd put in my devotional book of late. I've gone through this book a few times since college, and this classic is about my favorite devotional.  It helps you through times when you feel discouraged, or dare I say, depressed.  When your spiritual life seems dry, or there are tough times.  This book is so good at helping me see the joy in pain and to embrace difficult callings God sometimes gives us.  I love this book.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Memory Lane

When I was a little girl, I had a sweater that I loved.  It was pink with a little bear on it, and it was so soft.  Eventually I outgrew it and I remember crying when my mom was pulling things together to give away.  For some reason, she let me keep it.  She said I could save it so that if one day I had a little girl, she could wear it.

So it went into storage and when I left home for college, my mom was cleaning out and made me take much of my storage with me.  I had to decide what I really wanted to keep as memorabilia of my childhood, and what wasn't that important, because there wasn't much storage space available.  The pink sweater, however, made the cut.

Last week I finally got Knut to pull my boxes out of storage in the garage, and the kids and I have been having fun as I show them all of the things I had when I was a little girl.
Silje has been looking through my post card collection, my coins from around the world, and of course, my old dolls.

 It's still a bit big for her, but I think this sweater will get some love this winter.  For some reason, this gives me so much joy.

 Here's one of the oddest collections I bet you'll ever see.  It's my McDonald's cheeseburger wrapper collection.  In every country I've ever been to, I've had a cheeseburger at McDonald's (except Mexico...I've never been to a McDonalds when I've been down there).  Yes, I know I'm weird. Shown here are wrappers from Canada, New Zealand, Philippines, and Hong Kong.  New Zealand is my favorite because it has a little kiwi bird under the big M.  Canada has a maple leaf under the M, and the Philippines and Hong Kong were just plain.  Knut was surprised that English is printed on all of them.
 And this is my sweatshirt I made with Candy.  When our family moved to Phoenix when I was in 5th grade, I remember having a tough time making friends for awhile.  Our church had a pal/gal program, where girls were paired with women to get together in a mentoring relationship.  My pal was Candy, and Candy was a seamstress, and crafter extraordinaire.  I had an interest in those things, so she just took that and ran with it.  Whenever we got together, we just did crafts.  I made my dress with Candy for my Aunt's wedding. 

One afternoon that we were together, Candy gave me a lesson in fabric painting.  She did the bunny on this sweatshirt, and I did all the hearts and stamps.  It's a horrid looking ugly sweatshirt, but I can't seem to let myself give it up.  I used to think it was pretty cool.  Candy didn't talk to me about Christ, and we didn't do a Bible study or anything "spiritual."  Still, she poured time into me at a time when I really needed that, and kindled my love for sewing.

As we keep digging, we've found the sheepskin from New Zealand, my huge shell from the Philippines, yearbooks, pictures, pictures, more pictures...I love walking down memory lane.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Do You Ever Feel...

Do you ever feel that as a mom, you'll never have nice things?  Your clothes will never be clean while you wear them, and your house will just never look nice.  From having stains on the carpet, to marker on your wall.  Some days I feel like I'm chasing this dream that will never come to reality.

For instance, we've been working off and on with renovating our living room.  Knut installed a fireplace last year.  This year he hopes to finish the front of it, and frame out the wood box.  Then one day, Elias decides to play near the wood box.  He's the child that plays so quietly and nicely all by himself all the time, that we often forget that he can get into trouble.  When he does, it's usually very quietly and innocently.  So while he was so nice and quiet in the other room, he was pulling apart the wall.
Nice, right?  Let me tell you, Knut is just so excited to fix that.  Not only that, you may notice...
He got a hold of some Crayola markers as well.  Sigh.  It will come off, but there are things I'd rather be doing.  Those two aren't the worst of it.
Yesterday, I was taking pictures of the kids, and set my camera down for a moment on a high shelf in the dining room.  Apparently, he likes to push chairs to high shelves and climb up these days because guess what he found?  That's right, the new Canon 30d that I've been saving and saving for and just so barely got went crashing to the ground.  The camera seems to be working fine, but the best lens it came with is not.  Something is wrong with the zoom lens that has all the fun automatic features, and so I had to take it off and put on the 50mm non-zooming, nothing automatic lens it came with. I actually have know what I'm doing to take a picture now.  Sometime next week when traveling isn't so dangerous with subzero temperatures, I'll get it looked at by a camera repair guy and see what kind of damage we're talking about.  Right now it won't focus, and the cover is jammed on.  

I nearly lost my cool when it happened.  Yes, it was probably my fault that it didn't go back in the case, it was set on a shelf out of the way.  I like to have the camera out and available.  Still, it set me off on a tangent of "why can't I have nice stuff!"  Most days I try really really hard, and succeed in seeing the joy in being a mother of four.  There is so much joy and laughter in my job.  

Some days, though, it's all I can do to not pull out all my hair and scream at the top of my lungs.  Like when someone goes into my sewing room (an off limits room for the kids) and pulls my work off of knitting needles and unravels hours of work.  That hasn't happened in the last month or so, but it has happened.

Part of me wants to throw up my hands and stop trying.  I should stop trying to have a life, have a hobby, or even attempt to have a nice looking home.  Why do laundry if it will never be done no matter how I try.  Why do dishes when my kitchen will look just about as messy when I'm done.  Why knit when it will just be unraveled.  Why paint a wall when it's just going to be colored.  Why put on clean clothes when I'll just get spit up on, or a human booger magnet within 5 minutes anyway?  

Why save up for a new camera when it's inevitable that something will happen to it...although I wasn't thinking that would happen so soon.  It makes me nervous as we wait for the new couch to arrive.  I'm bracing myself for days if not weeks of constant policing that room.  Part of me asks, why bother?

That is a very good question.  I'm not sure if I know the answer.  I suppose because I need hope.  I need to hope that there's the possibility that maybe we'll have something nice.  I need to think that doing the dishes matters.  I need to believe that 5 minutes of clean clothes on my body is worth the effort.  Most of all, I can't let my kids grow up in a home where no one tries, and everything is disorderly.  I need my kids to experience what to do around nice things.  If I let them grow up thinking that everything is going to waste anyway, so go ahead and destroy it, how will their life look?  As much as I hate the policing that will come with the couch, my kids will learn how to treat furniture in someone else's home.  Or at least, I hope they will.

So yeah, I guess hope is the reason I still try.  It's why I still knit and sew and do laundry and buy new couches and cameras.  Because I need that hope.  What I have trouble dealing with, sometimes, is reality.

Homeschool Friday

Before I forget, we voted as a family, and Monique won the giveaway hands down with her comment about the skiing photo: "Dad?  I said I like your goatee.  Not I'd like to go out to ski!"  We laughed our socks off.  Since she is a good friend who I have met in real life before we were both obsessive crafters, moved away from, and then ironically met again on the internet via diaper sewing, and most of all, because she's an AMAZING designer, I'd like to give a shout out to her site: www.sewmeagarden.com.  Not only does she design sewing patterns, she designs fabric.  Fabric!  How cool is that!The rainbow dress on her site is made from fabric that she designed herself.  Sorry to be all dorky and name drop, but I know her!

Now to get back on task...

This week, school-wise, went pretty well.  I feel like we're completely back on track, in routine, on schedule again.  We weren't behind, of course.  Silje?  Behind?  That doesn't apply to her type A personality.  Still, I felt like we were back in the groove.  The hardest part was getting the kids weaned off of the television which they got so used to during break.  When the household goes into "survival mode" the television somehow gets left on.

I found it interesting that Silje has no problem with prepositional phrases, identifying a subject/noun, adverb, adjective, object of a preposition, or verb in a sentence, but she has had trouble telling the difference between a common and proper noun.  That was the new grammar skill this week.  She did get the hang of it enough to know that proper ones are capitalized, but I don't know if she knows why.

We can't seem to find her journal, so she started a new one and spent her journal time this week completing her Christmas wish list for next year.

I'm sure the journal is somewhere in the homeschool "stuff" pile on top of the drawers in the living room.  The disorganized mountain is teetering to the point where no one wants to touch it for fear that it will crumble into a paper mass on the floor.  Now that most of the house is getting back in order, that's the next on the to do list.

Instead of giving her the next reader this week, I gave her the poetry book that we read earlier this year during read aloud time.  She's eating it up cover to cover and is already memorizing some of them voluntarily.  Who knew she loved poetry so much?

I'm finding that the more my kids have structured lessons, the more they play during the day.  The more t.v. they watch, the more they whine that they're bored.  The love watching t.v. but the lessons and activities, I've noticed even more this week, have been merely a spark to their play.  When they watch a movie, and I turn it off, they whine and say everything is boring.  Silje's already started asking about summer break, and how she can't wait for it, but I don't buy it.  When she is in the last hour of school, she's dying to finish so that she can play.  Then she and David make the most involved play scenes.  Yesterday it was this restaurant in the basement where Silje wrote out directions on how to get to the basement for Knut and I.  Then there was the sign at the entrance to the basement, saying that all kids eat free, get dessert, and a free toy.  Knut and I were each shone a menu, and I have to say, the service was excellent.

We didn't study restaurants or anything, but her brain had to work all morning, instead of been fed chewed up educational programing, there is sooooo much imaginative play when school is done.  I've been amazed at the difference.  It reminded me of a facebook status I read a few weeks ago: "You know you're a homeschooling family when you overhear your kids playing hide and seek with each other in Latin."

The hard part has been keeping track of  Elias during school time lately, but I think I'll vent on that on a different post.  It deserves its own.

We're studying the 12 Olympian Greek gods and I'm happy with how the Sonlight curriculum presents this so far.  It compares mythology more to fairy tales than our religious beliefs.  We've both had a tough time keeping them all straight so I went to the internet and found Greek mythology coloring pages that help organize the different gods with their own symbols, animal associates, and lineage. Who knew you actually can find everything on the internet.  Although she is a fan of the Greek mythology, she appears not to be as much of a fan with the Greek history, which I need to work on.  The Greek history books so far haven't grabbed her attention, so we'll see if we can't spice it up a bit next week.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Let Me Explain

If you made it here, congratulations for finding me during this transition.  Let me explain why I've moved from my old site of www.hesowsshesews.com to www.hesowsandshesews.com.

Well, let me go way back to when I first started this blog.  I told Knut I wanted to start a family blog, and I didn't have a google account at the time.  He said I should register for one using his email.  I told him it would be easy for me to sign up myself, but he insisted that he wanted us to share this blog.  (I laugh at this insistence, because I can't get him to post anything for here unless I give birth to someone.)

So I signed up using his email.  Later, it got tedious, and I got my own google account, and added myself as an admisitratrator. By that time, I had already purchased the domain for the blog, and set it up to automatically renew every year.

Well, what happened was this year, when it was supposed to renew, it was using an old credit card that I had not updated, and it shot out an message to Knut's email that renewing the domain name failed and we had a few days to renew it or it would go on the open market.

That email arrived in Knut's inbox right about the time we were in and out of the hospital before Solveig was born, and he was doing his job, as well as all of my jobs.  He didn't have much computer time.

So as you can see, we let it lapse, and my domain went on the open market, and someone in Russia snatched it up.  No kidding.  I tried to buy it back from the new owner, but it was kind of like dealing with "Peggy" from the Capitol One commercials.  Then a lot of hiccups started in the blog, and I decided that I would fix the problem by getting a new domain, as confusing as it is.

So I'm sorry for the confusion.  If you're one of the nice people who link to my blog, be sure to change the link.  Those who follow the blog should be able to find it quickly, as google just forwards them onto the new domain.  Many links are currently broken, and it's supposed to be "funny" for 3 days or so.  At that point I'll see what's left to be fixed, and try to work it out. 

Thanks for being patient with our oversight, and hopefully this won't happen again!

Baby It's Cold Outside!

I think it's pretty safe to say that when the temp drops far below zero,

this is the most we'll see of the outside for a few days,

from the comfort of inside our home.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Weather Outside is Frightful

But the fire is so delightful.

Yarn Along

I'm still loving the Yarn Along posts every Wednesday to share what is on my needles.  If you'd like to join the party, head on over to Ginny's blog: Small Things.

So my work in progress this Wednesday is still the little sweater for me.  I finished the bottom part, the right side and will cast off the left side today.  Then I just need to finish the back to the shoulders, knit the arms (which the pattern has me knitting back and forth and then seaming and I'm so going to be a rebel and knit it in the round), and add the button bands.  This sweater needs to get done.  I usually set in my mind when I sit down to knit how much I want to get done that day, and so far I've missed the mark so many times with this one.  I was planning on being at the sleeves 3 days ago, and yet I'm still finishing up the body.

Nothing is wrong with the sweater.  There's just this baby who would rather be occupying my hands, and I cannot resist her charms.

What makes my desire to have this project done even worse, is that I went into the yarn shop yesterday while Silje was at choir practice, and picked up some new yarn.  I promised myself I wasn't going to buy anymore for awhile, but these are for gifts.  I can so easily rationalize a yarn purchase, it's not even funny.  Really.

I'm so so so excited to cast on with both of the yarns.  The gorgeous coppery-colored one is the same Misty Alpaca that I made squishilious coming home from the hospital outfit.  So far it's my all time favorite yarn, and this has that same hand-dyed color variegation, and I just need it on my needles.  Now.

The other deep, deep purple is the same yarn, but in super chunky for another project.  Same variegation, same content, same super duper softness.

O my goodness, this sweater needs to get done.  2010 Gretchen would have just set the sweater aside and cast on another project or two.  2011 Gretchen is going to finish her knitting projects.  This sweater has been put into the UFO pile (UnFinished Object) far too many times.  It will get done.  Unless it carries into February, and I don't think New Year's Resolutions carry much weight in that month.

I'm cheating and using another book that I've been reading with Silje for school.  The girl is obsessed with poems, and as it's part of our curriculum, she gets to read from it nearly every day.  I've talked her into picking a poem out of it to memorize.  Then I played up this idea for a "Silje's Spring Recital" where we could send out invitations for people to come over and we'll serve tea and cake and she can play the piano, and recite her Bible memory verses and a selected poem.

Well, you know Silje.  Just set her loose party planning and she'll go to town.  She's picked "The Three Little Kittens" to memorize.  I can see activities surrounding this project filling all of her winter days until this spring.

Speaking of parties, Sharon, if you're reading this, Knut wants to plan a good old fashioned Hymn-sing party this winter and we need your hands.  If you're local (you'd know if you are) let me know if you're interested in coming.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Babies

Somehow, our kids have gotten grouped when we talk about them.  We have "the kids" and "the babies."

Here are our babies:


 I think Elias was a bit more fond of getting his picture taken than Solveig was.

Purpose

I've been thinking lately about the purpose of me blogging.  In the beginning, it started so my family who lived far away could see my kids.  Then I saw the advantage of a kind of journal, or family history documentation.  Then I found 2 more benefits that it was a good discipline to write everyday.  After college I wanted to use my degree to be a writer, but as kids came and life got busy, I didn't have the time to devote to freelance writing as I hoped.  I was afraid that if I ever wanted to started writing for pay again, as a job when the kids were older, I would have lost the skill that I tried to develop in college.  Writing is like exercise, and the more you do the better you get.

Then there was the platform aspect.  You see, I'm a bit secluded out here on the farm.  Not that I don't get out.  Even when I first became a stay at home mom in the city, I found it quite isolating.  I do love being a stay at home mom, and pray I'll be able to be at home always and take care of my family.  Every job has its challenges, though.

The blog soon became an avenue to meet people with similar interests.  It became an avenue where I felt I had a voice and could talk about things that might be above preschool chatter like this post, or this one.  I couldn't be a missionary in the rain forest, or even be able to volunteer at a local crisis pregnancy center anymore because my kids needed me.  However, I can talk about God and hopefully let him shine through my life on here.  I can proclaim him to the world through this avenue. 

As the blog grew, I added some safety features, so I could see who was coming around.  As I'm trying to develop this more as my craft and do it well, some people, my family most of all, mused out loud that it would be great if I could get paid for writing on here like I used to get paid to write articles.  Wouldn't it be nice if I kept doing what I'm doing, but letting it benefit my family in even more ways.  However, I didn't want money to sacrifice any of the other purposes.  I wanted it to be the low one on the totem pole.

I've debated back and forth.  A few times I put ads on, but it only lasted hours, as I hated the ads that showed up.  If there was only a way to control whose ads were shown, without devoting time to sell ad space.  I'm not against making money, although I know there are those who feel that making money is bad, at least when it involves kids.  I don't think putting ads on here ranks me with reality t.v. moms or pageant moms, or something of that sort.  In my mind, I'm "selling" my writing, not my children.  I'd like to think I'm just writing about my world like James Harriot or Garrison Keillor.

So first I thought I'd put up a Nerdy Gerdy ad.  That's relevant!  I put up a few google ads, and they've actually gotten better.  Then there's the amazon search button.  If someone from here uses that to buy things off of amazon.com, I'll get a commission on that.  I've added one, and hope to add one more ads for 2 different homeschool curriculums we use, which are also commission based ads.  One of them is Hooked on Phonics, since that is what we've used to teach both Silje and David how to read.  The other is a Sonlight ad, since that's the main program we use and I can most definitely refer it to anyone.  I think I'll talk about that more when I do a homeschool post in the future.  Springtime is the time where many homeschool families, including us, start making decisions about what adjustments should happen in the following year.  So I'll probably talk about what changes we will be making as our family gets older and has different needs.

I just mean to say that I've been hesitant to add ads to this blog because I wanted them to be relevant, but not the purpose of the blog, and I've finally had the time to find some that would fit that criteria.  Giveaways I plan to stay just things from me, and at this point I plan on keeping it that way.  I don't plan on going sponsored in that route.  This last giveaway I was in no way paid to promote either of those products, and I like it that way. It doesn't feel like a gift if I'm being paid to give it, you know?

Which reminds me, that giveaway ends tonight, so get those captions in.  Knut and I have had some good laughs at the ones there so far.  It's been fun.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Name that Photo Giveaway

(You can click on the photo to enlarge it.)
Can you give a caption to this photo?  I know I'm not even close to a professional, and it's not the best photo, but Elias looking up at his daddy like that just melts me.
The prize for the person with the best caption will be something I hope everyone could use. 

I would like to start out by saying this isn't a sponsored giveaway.  I'm giving this away myself, because I like these things, and think you might too.

"Mighty Mind" is a puzzle set that we use when homeschooling David.  It has a bunch of different geometric shapes, and then cards that have a picture they need to try to create using the given shapes.  There are several levels, so it works for a preschooler, as well as an older child (ok...maybe adults have been known to do them from time to time as well.)
MightyMind Regular Edition 
You may not  have little kids at home, but at the very least I figure most readers at least have kids visit your home from time to time. I figured anyone could use a small game that will keep a preschooler (and older) occupied for hours, but can easily be tucked away in a drawer and requires no batteries.  It's quiet, it's good thinking, and it's lots of fun.  Just ask David.  This isn't David's set...don't worry.  He wouldn't have that.  This is a brand spankin' new one just for the winner.

We all know, homeschoolers or not, that you can develop the brain as much as you want, but it means nothing if God doesn't have their heart.  This Steve Green cd is a great way for kids to learn Scripture, and will be sent along with the Mighty Mind puzzles.
  Hide 'Em in Your Heart Vol. 1
That way, you can bless on the children in your life by ministering to both their heart and mind.
Only one comment per person please!  I'll keep the comments open all the way through Tuesday night (I'll probably close them close to midnight...or whenever Solveig goes to sleep).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ski Day Part 2

 Today was a special day for Elias,  He finally beat his brother in something.  While David started skiing at age 3, Elias is starting at age 2.
 Did you know they made skis for 2 year olds?
 So how do these work?  Do you just stand here and they go?

Well, maybe a few tips from big brother would be helpful.
 If Diego can do it, so can I.
 Ready for take off.
 The big brother,
 and big sister with their youth ski league hats cheered on.
 Don't worry.  Daddy will help.
 Just do it this way.
 I think he likes it.
 Again!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ski Day Part I

Yesterday was Solveig's first time to the ski gaard.  The big "first" wasn't hers, though.

  
 We were hosting a field trip for our homeschool group.  

 
It was a bit snowy, but we didn't mind.


 Silje sure made a friend.  It seemed all the kids had a blast.  Some had never been on skis before.
One in particular...


 More on that tomorrow.


 
You may notice there are not any indoor pictures of David on my camera.  He went straight from the van to snow.