Category Archives: Home Life

Christmastime {2016}

Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

Christmas crept up on me this year, caught me a little off guard.  Traveling over the week of Thanksgiving and being occupied with wrapping up school projects before the holidays, kept me moving and distracted.  It felt so nice to close the books on school and just be together.  The older the kids get; the more I appreciate having them around me.  There were moments I was sorely tempted to panic (I don’t have enough time!!) or get frustrated with the kids (What on earth were you thinking??), but I worked really hard to put the breaks on those feelings this time around.  I said to myself time and time again, “April, the best Christmas gift you can give them is to be a happy mom, to be excited and exuberant right alongside them.”   This wasn’t executed super smoothly at times, but it was my goal.Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

It wouldn’t be Christmas at our house if we didn’t make snowflakes for the windows, and destroy the kitchen making iced Christmas cookies.Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

This is one of those cases when the saying “Many hands make light work.” doesn’t really ring true.  Many hands make chaos…and fun.Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

We got a beautiful tree this year.  It stayed so green and it was the perfect size (the littlest member of the family was much kinder to the tree this time as well).  This was the first year on record that I wasn’t gunning for the tree the day after Christmas.Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

I got a new Christmas puzzle!! I’m slowly pulling the children into my Christmas puzzle obsession; they all took turns bending over the pieces and pawing through the puzzle box.Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

Christmas Eve is always spent at Grandpa and Grandma W’s house.  I love the way my Father-in-law and Mother-in-law have created tradition in my children’s lives,.  The comfort and excitement of knowing that Christmas Eve means happy cousins buzzing around the house, Christmas puzzle on the card-table, candle lit dinner around the long table, red-hot cinnamon jello, sparkling cider, Luke Chapter 2 being read by Grandpa, then present opening, birthday cake for baby Jesus, and matching pajamas.   My kids have no idea how blessed they are…

Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

This was the picture I snapped Christmas Eve night  right after the children had gone to bed.  I love this moment.  They are asleep, breakfast is prepped and ready for the morning, everything is quiet, and I lay my head on my pillow thinking about the looks on their faces as they wake up and wander down the hall at the crack of dawn.Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

The boys were up first waiting for their sleepy-headed sisters to wake up.Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

Eliza’s doll Rebecca, got a fancy new dress from Grandma this Christmas and Eliza made sure Rebecca joined in on the Christmas festivities.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPearl and her crazy bedhead!  She was still so sleepy and fighting so hard to shake it off for present opening.Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

Several days before Christmas I made a batch of Orange Sweet Rolls and Cinnamon rolls and froze them so I could bake them fresh on Christmas morning.  I set them out to defrost and raise Christmas Eve night, and baked them up after we opened presents.  Unfortunately the Orange rolls didn’t deforst and bake up well but the cinnamon rolls were perfect!I
Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchardChristmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

I also made a breakfast casserole but I didn’t give it enough time to defrost so it wasn’t quiet ready in time for breakfast.  Lesson learned; big breakfast casseroles need more time to defrost!  It tasted really good though!Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

I think of all the gifts they got for Christmas their reading lights ended up being a favorite :)  Lots of nights staying up late reading books they had gotten for Christmas.Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

Christmas 2016 | InAnOrchard

And that’s the big Christmas wrap-up.  My second born son celebrated his 10th birthday the day after Christmas but that deserves a post of it’s own.  Hopefully I’ll be back soon with a little post about my G and the ten years God has blessed us with our blue-eyed boy.

Hope you all had a beautiful Christmas with the people you love   ~April

Pumpkins, Road Trips, Weddings, & The North Wind

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I had fully intended to do a “Week that Was” post. But soon one week turned into two and then suddenly 2 weeks became a month and so on… and so on…

So here we are again, faced with a backlog of photos and another rambling post where I attempt to hold onto and freeze the days that are sliding by so swiftly.    InAnOrchard

I know Christmas is upon us but I’m still sorting through pictures of pumpkins and autumn rain clouds.  This Halloween we spent a quiet night in carving pumpkins, eating heaping bowls of pesto pasta, and watching old Disney movies.
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At first the girls were a little crestfallen when they discovered we wouldn’t be dressing up and going door to door, but a little face painting lifted their spirits, and they were absolutely delighted with the happy, glowing pumpkin faces looking so cheerful on the front porch.
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In the days following we did “pumpkin seed math” and roasted a big batch of pumpkin seeds.
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The sky has been magical these days.  This westward view never gets old.

This picture next makes me smile and needs some explanation.  On a day to day basis the kids are responsible for keeping their rooms picked up.  Most days they do a perfectly adequate job keeping the floor picked up, clothes in the hamper, and shoes in the closet.  But once or twice a month I go in and to a “mom cleaning”.  That means clean bedding, shelves get organized and dusted, books tidied and put in order, all the corners cleaned and vacuumed, and the beds perfectly made and smoothed out.  The kids love when I do a “mom cleaning”.  Their room is suddenly a haven again, everything “just so” and ready for play.  They usually spend the remainder of the day in blissful, quiet play or tucked into their clean beds with a long lost book.

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School days continue to dominate our daily routine. I’ve decided that homeschooling the kiddos may be physically, and at times emotionally draining, but man is it keeping my brain sharp!  The things I learn right along side them never ceases to amaze me and long after they leave the table I find myself googling things like, “The Black Hole of Calcutta” or, “American Whaling Industry” and “Whaleship Essex”. InAnOrchard

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I also enjoyed a wonderful evening out with my sister-in-law Jessica.  We took a flower arranging class out at Kelley Flower Farms.  We made fall pumpkin arrangements from a sea of stunning flowers picked fresh from their own field, we enjoyed snacks and beverages, and grownup conversations.InAnOrchard

For the week of Thanksgiving we loaded the whole gang into a rented mini van and headed up north to spend Thanksgiving with my parents and Aunt and Uncle. After Thanksgiving we continued to drive all the way to Washington to attend a family wedding.InAnOrchard

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I was born in the Pacific North West and going back always feels extra special.  There is something so stunning about the land up North, I could have stopped a hundred times to take pictures but contented myself with an occasional phone shot from the passenger side window.

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It was so good to see my parents!  It had been a full year since we had been up to see them.  They live in the most charming little town, in a small 100-year-old house surrounded by huge old trees. They were so happy to see the kids!  This was the only photo I managed to get of us all together.  It’s far from perfect, but it’s the reality of letting other people take photos with your phone camera and dealing with multiple squirmy children.

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Miss P spent most of the time, ” nuggling wif Papa” and was reluctant to leave him (to say the least)InAnOrchard

But the day after Thanksgiving we continued our journey to Washington.  We played the part of the tourist in a small town by stopping for pictures next to the local landmark.

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My husband’s cousin got married that following Saturday.  It was a sweet wedding and a treat to watch a young couple so clearly in love.  We felt right at home as we met new faces that quickly felt like old friends.  We also had the pleasure of having lunch with old high school friends!

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The wedding reception was held in a beautiful “barn”.  They called it a barn but it look too lovely and pristine to be a working barn.

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I didn’t get a lot of photos of the wedding but I managed to snap this picture of the happy couple leaving the reception in the rumble seat of a vintage car!  Such a beautiful evening and I’m so glad we were able to go!

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The whole time we drove we listened to George MacDonald’s book, At the Back of the North Wind.  His stories are some of the most whimsical and fanciful books I have ever read or listened to in my life, and they stir my imagination in ways I didn’t know was possible.  But what most captures my heart is the simple, yet powerful wisdom MacDonald weaves through every page in his books.  I feel like I want to read them to my children over and over, and pray that a portion of that wisdom seeps into their very core.

At the Back of the North Wind is the story of a little boy named Diamond who befriends the North Wind. To Diamond the North Wind is simply his friend who he loves and trusts, but the adult listener perceives that she is in fact death and suffering, sent to do the bidding of God throughout the earth.  I know that might sound terribly morbid and not at all a children’s tale, but trust me when I say it is anything but morbid; it is a beautiful story filled with hope and love.

I think I could fill a book with all the quotes I loved from this story but here is just a small sample:

“Never be discouraged because good things get on so slowly here; and never fail daily to do that good which lies next to your hand.”

And now we come to the end of the post, and if you made it this far you get a gold star!  One of these days I’ll get around to writing short and sweet posts in real time… but it’s not real likely ;)

 

The Evolution of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has changed a lot over time.  From the early years of black dresses, perfume, high heels, red roses, table-for-two… to something quite different…just as sweet but very different.  It’s become a week-long celebration with the kids, home-made valentines, pink and red M&M’s all over the house, class parties, and a not-so-quiet meal with all of us squeezed around our kitchen table eating home-made pizza and chocolate cake.  The evolution of a love story; our love story.

The week began with some valentine crafting.  The kids each planned and created valentines to share with their classmates.  Miss E has a very small class she chose to give her friends strawberry sodas with fancy straws.

Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

J wanted to make his valentines completely from scratch.  He hand-drew Minecraft cards to staple onto small bags of candy.Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

G is crazy about bubble gum, so he gave each of his friends a long tube of gumballs, with fuzzy Valentine critters stuck to the ends.Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

Every year I get tulips for the kiddos’ teachers, I think tulips are the perfect spring flower and they’re usually so reasonably priced, especially compared to roses.Valentines Week | In An Orchard

I made Miss E a special skirt to wear to her class partyValentine's Week | In An Orchard

Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

On the morning of Valentine’s day Justin woke the girls up and took them to get doughnuts at Mr. T’s. Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

He came home with a beautiful bunch of flowers for me, his mom, my mom, and a single pink rose for each of the girls.  He’s amazing…Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

I dirtied every pan and bowl in my kitchen to make a double-layer chocolate cake.Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

Later that night after we got all the kids in bed, Justin and I cooked a delicious dinner of steak, creamed spinach and chocolate mousse, which we enjoyed by candle-light.  The romance isn’t dead it’s just delayed :)

With Valentine’s day came Spring.  A streak of 70 degree days and suddenly the world around us was full of blossoms, flower sprouts, open windows,…Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

…and long walks down the canal with blossoms arcing over our heads.Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

The kiddos have been eating their lunch picnic-style on the back lawn.Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

We did some spring cleaning too.  J volunteered to scrub all my kitchen cabinets.  Big kids are awesome!Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

We even spent the day at the beach with cousins, swimming until the sunset.
Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

In completely unrelated and un-valentine’s day news; Miss P is potty training.  Her older siblings are her biggest cheerleaders. Miss E keeps her company while she sits, and her big brothers are always ready with high-fives, fist-bumps, and a hearty “Way to go Pearl!”.    Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

Speaking of Miss P; last week she woke up from nap just in time for a fresh loaf of bread to come out of the oven.  I sliced a thick slice, smeared it with butter, and handed it to her.  The girl loves her bread and butter…the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

While I was snapping her picture she suddenly took an interest my camera lens. Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

She got up real close so she could see her reflection in the surface of the glass. Man I love this kid.

Valentine's Week | In An Orchard

Summer seeds arrived in the mail last week and I am daydreaming about a summertime garden and flowers all over the house.  I agreed to give up a small portion of the garden to Miss E who really wants carrots, tomatoes, and squash in our garden this year (the sacrifices we make for those we love ).

I hope your Valentine’s day was just as sweet, and thanks for stopping in  ~April

The Week that Was

The Week that Was | In An Orchard

I think this jar of tulips perfectly reflects my state of mind this past week.  Monday came and the tulips stood beautifully tall and cheerful…The Week that Was | In An Orchard…and by Friday they looked like this, ready to throw in the towel.  Okay, that’s a tad dramatic :)  My week wasn’t horrible, but Justin was out of the country for work, and the children and I were on our own.  Truthfully, the kids were a huge help to me, working hard, obeying cheerfully, going the extra mile because they knew I needed it.  But still, being a single parent is not for the faint of heart, and our big bed is a lonely place at night.

We managed to keep ourselves busy which helped the week go quickly.

The Week that Was | In An Orchard

The girls did a simple art project with coffee filters that I cut into heart shapes.  They colored the hearts with washable markers and then sprayed them with water.  The effect was the hearts took on a pretty watercolor look, and the girls love watching as the colors spread and bleed into each other.The Week that Was | In An OrchardOnce the hearts had completely dried I took them and stitched them into a garland for their room.

The Week that Was | In An Orchard

The kitchen is the happiest and busiest room in our house.  It’s were I spend the biggest part of my day.  From schooling with each morning, cooking meals, baking cookies, even folding laundry… it’s were I spend my days and I think of all the rooms in the house, it reflects my personality the most.
The Week that Was | In An Orchard

I’ve been experimenting with sourdough these last few weeks.  Feeding my starter each day; getting it nice and bubbly and tangy.The Week that Was | In An OrchardI’ve tried several new recipes all of which I found on King Arthur’s Flour website.  Some recipes were delicious and some ended up in the garbage can (too brick-like to be consumed by humans). I should note the failed recipes were a result of human error, not a badly written recipe.

The Week that Was | In An Orchard

The kiddos played outside in the evenings, right until the sun dipped behind the horizon.The Week that Was | In An Orchard

Winter sunsets are so striking.The Week that Was | In An Orchard

On Friday morning we went with our Homeschool Co-op to see the Gizmo Guys preform at the Gallo Preforming Arts center.The Week that Was | In An Orchard

It was such a fun show!  The Gizmo Guys are a team of jugglers who preform fantastic juggling fetes and then explain the science behind the trick.  The kids were so impressed with their talents!  As we walked out of the show and all three of them were excitedly talking over each other, wanting to relive their favorite parts of the show; I interrupted and said, “You know your dad can do almost every juggling trick the Gizmo Guys did, plus a few others.  He can even juggle knives and torches.” Their eyes grew wide with excitement; “Do you think he’d do those tricks for us?!!  Would he teach us how to juggle?!”The Week that Was | In An Orchard

 

By Friday night I was ready for an easy evening.  We were on the home stretch; Justin would be arriving home that night around midnight.  I let the kids eat popcorn, cheese, and fruit for dinner, and we rented a movie to watch.  Justin surprised us by coming in the backdoor at 9:30 instead of midnight.  He came baring gifts from France; a small box of French pastries, and lavender sachets for the girls.

The next morning as soon as Justin had finished his breakfast and coffee the children were begging to see him juggle!  He found his bag of juggling things in the shed and put on a good show for them.
The Week that Was | In An Orchard

This led to juggling lessons and things being wildly tossed in the air for the rest of the day :) The Week that Was | In An Orchard

The Week that Was | In An Orchard

 

I  got my Sweet Pea seeds soaked and planted in my small greenhouse boxes.  If all goes well, I’ll have 144 Sweet Peas to plant in the ground in about 6 to 8 weeks.The Week that Was | In An Orchard

 

On Saturday night Justin and I got an unexpected date night thanks to my brother and sister-in-law; who played with, and fed, and loved on our kids; while we had a delicious hot meal and uninterrupted conversation.  I even got dressed up much to the amazement of the children.
The Week that Was | In An Orchard

Sunday morning Justin got up before the children were awake, and made us homemade sausage McMuffins.The Week that Was | In An Orchard

I enjoyed my coffee and watched him create magic.  I like a man who knows his way around a kitchen.  He even cleaned up when he was done.The Week that Was | In An Orchard

The Week that Was | In An Orchard

The McMuffins were a huge hit with the whole family, and were so much better than anything I’ve ever bought at McDonald’s :)  They’re never going to want to eat toast and cereal again.The Week that Was | In An Orchard

Here’s a few things I’m enjoying right now:

We started listening to Anne Of Green Gables last week.  I suggested it mostly for mine and Eliza’s enjoyment, and was surprised to look over and see Justin chuckling, and equally surprised when the boys begged to hear more each time a chapter would finish. (We listen to lots of free audio books on LibriVox

This blog is one of my current favorites.  I’m not a knitter, but I never get tired of seeing yarn on needles being made into something beautiful and cozy.  Ginny’s dreamy photography, and gentle way of writing is so appealing to me.  For those of you who do love to knit, she also has a small online shop were she sells her hand-dyed yarn, and I don’t think I have ever seen such gorgeous colors in my life.

Floret Farms has been a longtime favorite blog as well (I also love their Instagram account). But they just recently launched their own online seed and bulb shop, and I am smitten with everything they sell. Their Sweet Pea seed selection is probably one of the best in the country.

And that’s all from our home this week.  We turned another page of the calendar and the children are dreaming up ideas for Valentine’s day, I’m already thinking about summer flowers, and hoping to get our chicken coop fixed up for a new batch of spring chicks.

 

Homeschooling : Art Friday

 

Our family has been very blessed to be apart of a Homeschooling co-op ever since my oldest son started kindergarten.  It’s been an idyllic situation for our children.  Several days a week the kiddos are in a classroom of 8-10 students being taught math, reading, language arts, choir, and PE by their teachers, and part of the week they are taught at home by me.  I also do reading, as well as science, and Social Studies.

This school year things have been a little different.  My second born son G and I, started homeschooling full time.  His co-op class got so small that we weren’t able to keep it going.  I decided to homeschool G while the other two children continued to be apart of the co-op.  I’ll be honest, I went into this year with a good amount of nervousness, but G and I have had such a fun year together!  Not that there haven’t been moments, or even days, that didn’t go smoothly, but mostly it’s been a joy to be his teacher.

My best friend Stephanie also has a daughter in the same grade as G.  When we both realized that we would be homeschooling them for their Second Grade year, we decided to do some tag-team teaching.  We chose our curriculum together, planned out our school year together, and every Friday we take turns teaching both children.  It’s been a great arrangement.  I love that both the children get to spend time together, and it’s nice to have every other Friday off.  I think it’s been good for G to be taught by someone else on a regular basis,  I feel like Stephanie gives me good feedback on G’s progress.  On the days that G goes to Steph’s house, I send all his schoolwork for the day, and Stephanie plans a special science project with the kiddos in the afternoon.  On the days that I have the kids, I do an Art History project with them.  I have LOVED this time with G and C.  So far we’ve studied Kandinsky, Van Gogh, and Jackson Pollock.  We’ve also studied perspective, blending colors, hues, saturation, background, middle-ground, and foreground.

This past week we did a study on Claude Monte.  Our project was to replicate one of his water lily paintings.  This has been my favorite art lesson so far.  We worked on it throughout the school day, doing one step at a time.  This project needed to be done in layers; giving time for each step to dry before we could move onto the next.
Art Friday | Inanorchard

First thing Friday morning, I took a stack of coffee filters and dyed them pink and green.  I did this by sticking the coffee filters in a bowl of water and food coloring.  Then I set the stack of filters on a cookie sheet, and stuck them in the oven set to the very lowest heat setting.  The coffee filters were soaked and I needed them to be dry for the project.
Art Friday | Inanorchard

Once they had dried out in the oven, I stacked them up and set them aside.

Art Friday | Inanorchard

At the start of the school day, I gave each of the kiddos a square canvas.  I wanted the water background to have an interesting texture, so I had the children dip strips of tissue paper in glue and press the paper onto the canvas.

Art Friday | Inanorchard

The glue was mixed with water, otherwise it would have been too thick for the delicate tissue paper. As they were adding the tissue paper I told them to think about what water looked like.  The way it flowed in one direction, or the way little waves looked on the surface of the water.  After they added the tissue paper there was a lot of excess glue on the canvas, so I took a dry paper towel and blotted the extra glue away from the canvas.

Art Friday | Inanorchard

Once the tissue paper had completely dried (which took several hours) I filled a paint pallet with 4 or 5 different shades of blue paint and a little bit of white paint.  This is not children’s washable paint.  I used inexpensive artist-grade acrylic paint for this project.  The color selection and texture of the paint is better than the washable, craft-grade tempura paint.  I had them wear old t-shirts to protect their clothing.

Art Friday | Inanorchard

I tried not to interfere too much with this part of the process.  The only instructions I gave them was to cover the entire canvas in blue paint. They painted directly over the canvas and the dried tissue paper.  I let them look at photos of Monte’s water lily paintings and encouraged them to think about water and what it looks like.

Art Friday | Inanorchard

I love the way the water turned out!  The texture the tissue paper created, and all the different shades of blue with white high-lights, looked amazing.  I liked the blue canvas so much that I was tempted to leave just them blue.

Art History | Inanorchard

Art Friday | Inanorchard

This is the brand of paints I used for the project.  It’s the cheapest line at Michael’s.  They were $3.99 per tube but I got them 30% off.  There was plenty of paint left over to use on other projects.

Art Friday | Inanorchard

I cut the coffee filters into several sizes of lily pad shapes.  We made the flowers by pinching the bottom of the pink and white filters together.

Art Friday | Inanorchard

We used plain ole Elmer’s glue to add the lilies to the canvas.

This is G’s Water Lily painting

Art Friday | Inanorchard

And this is C’s painting

Art Friday | InanorchardI’m so pleased with the way they turned out!  The kiddos were very diligent and patient with the whole process, and I think they were pretty proud of the end result.

I start each lesson by introducing the artist to the children.  We learn about the artist’s work, art genre and medium, and we do a brief biography of the artist’s life.  For our Monet study I found three great videos on Youtube.  If I manage to coordinate a library trip before hand (which rarely happens) I’ll have biography books on hand for them to flip through as well.

The first clip is biography video about the life of Claude Monet, narrated by a young girl.

The second video is a tour of Monet’s garden at Giverny, France.  This was my personal favorite.  It made me realize how blessed we are to live in this day and age, with the kind of information we have at our fingertips.  We sat in our living room and took a virtual tour of Claude Monte’s gardens!  An amazingly beautiful and popular tourist attraction. It also made me realize how much I would love to see Monte’s gardens with my own eyes.

And the last is just a clip showing a variety of the paintings he painted over the course of his life.

This this just a small glimpse into my homeschooling lesson.  Not everyday is this creative, but it’s projects like this that make learning enjoyable for both G and I.

Thanks so much for visiting!  ~April

 

 

Tea Parties, Mud Puddles, and Spring

Tea Parties, Puddles, and Spring

These little ladies went to their first real tea party at a tea house.  It was the only thing Miss E talked about the week leading up to the tea party.  ”Is today the day we go to have tea Momma?”  Tea Parties, Mud Puddles, and Spring

Finally the day did arrive.  Miss E wore her new dress and tights proudly.  It was raining that day which might have put a damper on the whole trip, but really it only made it more special and memorable.  We were seated in the sun-room at the tea house and the rain pattered on the roof and windows.  We were cozy inside with our warm tea and delicious food.Inanorchard

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The tiny stirring spoons were a big hit with the little girls!  Being able to add your own sugar and cream to a real cup of tea was a rare treat.

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Did I mention that the food was amazing?  It was.  There wasn’t a thing set before us that wasn’t absolutely delicious.  The name of the tea house is Columbia Kate’s and if you are ever in the foothills near Sonora/Columbia CA, you must stop in and have tea!  Do not leave without trying the macaroons.  That’s an order!

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After tea we set out to explore the town and the shops

Even little girls who go to tea and wear fancy dresses can’t resist a good mud puddle…

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We wandered through Historic Columbia (a small mining town in the foothills that has been preserved), we bought candy at Nelson’s Candy store, visited the antique stores, and ended the day with a good cup of coffee and a scone for the road.

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Back at home, the fresh rain made for the perfect opportunity to give the cutting garden a good cleaning.

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I turned over the beds, weeded, and admired the daffodils and sweet peas that were coming up.  I also finalized and ordered all my seeds for the summer (but more on that later)

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Does your bed look like this on Mondays?  Mine always does.

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The house became Valentine’s Day central this past week as the kids worked hard making cards and gifts for their classmates and teachers

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These were the Valentines the boys and Miss E made to give out at their class parties.  I should mention that the children all have very small class sizes, otherwise we would have picked much simpler projects!

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I know that right now much of the country is covered in snow and ice, but here in our little corner of the world, it’s spring… and it is breath-taking.

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We spent a Sunday afternoon walking around in the almond blossoms.  I wanted to get a sweet picture of the kids in the orchard.  In my head I imagined a scene with smiling children huddled together under a bower of blossoms…

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It never turns out that way.  Besides funny is way more memorable right?!

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Thank you for stopping by and visiting this space, for saying hello, your presence here brings a smile to my face!   Gratefully yours, April

 

The Girls’ Room

The Girls' Room | InanorchardI thought I’d take a moment and resume the house tour I started a few months back.  Up next: the girls’ room!  This first picture is the view from their bedroom door.  You’ll know it’s their room by the half dozen drawings hanging haphazardly on the door, held up by no less than an entire roll of scotch tape.

The Girls' Room | InanorchardThis is the very same trundle bed I slept in when I was a girl.  And just like me, my daughter sleeps under a quilt made by my mama.

This is the little shelf we use to store the girls’ toys.  Justin picked it up from Home Depot a few years ago.  I love it but I’m afraid they’re going to be growing out of it soon.

The Girls' Room | Inanorchard

Their room is a bit crowded right now.  Miss P’s crib takes up a lot of space.

The Girls' Room | Inanorchard

This is Miss P’s crib.  She sleeps in the same crib that all my babies have slept in.  She also sleeps under a quilt made by my mom.  And that beautiful crocheted blanket at the foot of her crib, is a labor of love, that was made by my best friend Stephanie for Miss P when she was a newborn.  She loves burrowing under her crocheted blanket every night.  You’d think that a baby who has a mama who loves to sew would have handmade crib bumpers and pillows but alas… it’s rather bare.

The Girls' Room | Inanorchard

I have next to nothing hanging on the walls in the girls’ room.  The closet if full of darling pictures, embroidery samplers, name buntings, and vintage paintings that I’ve been collecting, but I can’t bring myself to hang them yet.  I know that I’m going to completely rearrange their room when Miss P moves out of her crib, and I hate the thought of having to move and rearrange a bunch of wall hangings.

The Girls' Room | Inanorchard

I think that almost every piece of furniture in their room was bought second-hand, or was a hand-me-down from other family members.The Girls' Room | Inanorchard

The Girls' Room | Inanorchard

These are the curtains I hung in the window.  I bought the cheapest sheer curtains from Target and made a garland out of tissue paper flowers.  That sounds a lot more impressive than it is :)  The flowers came from a Martha Stewart kit I bought a few years ago at Micheal’s.

The Girls' Room | Inanorchard

This is the little hand-me-down desk Miss E got from her big brother.  The girl loves to draw!  If there was anything I’d like to change about her room it would be her desk.  I’d love to have a proper art station set up for her but that will have to wait… maybe after the crib is gone.

The Girls' Room | Inanorchard

The Girls' Room | Inanorchard

I love coming in and seeing the remnants of their play.  It never fails to bring a smile to my face.

The Girls' Room | InanorchardI don’t put a lot of thought into what I put in their room.  It’s pretty mix-matched.  I like it to be full of things that fuel their imaginations.  I like it to be soft, feminine, and comfortable.

The Girls' Room | Inanorchard

The Girls' Room | InanorchardNext cleaning day I’ll try to snap a few pictures of the boys room and keep the house tour rolling.

Thanks for stopping by!  ~April

 

Lately

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It takes a while for Fall to catch up to our corner of the world.  But November brought our first real rain of the season, colder nights, and even a little snow in the mountains.

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Life is humming along with all of its comforting routines.

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I spend my mornings looking at this face…this precious face.  We settle in at the kitchen table, with a stack of colorful text books, a pencil box, and a second cup of coffee.

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Speaking of books, we just finished this gem by Farley Mowat, “Owls in the Family”.  The boys begged each evening “for just one more chapter!??  Please Mom?!”.

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Hello my loves

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We went for a hike in the foothills one gorgeous Sunday.  We thought we’d hike for about an hour and eat an early lunch.

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On the map, the looped trail we chose didn’t seem that long, but somehow it wound on and on and on…

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Miss P looks a little skeptical of her father’s map reading skills

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Towards the end, Justin and I had to work to keep the kiddos moral up.  I’ll admit towards the end I was working to keep my moral up :)  My hiking boots had sat unused for too long and were rubbing holes in the back of my heals.  At one point I fond myself humming the theme song for “Gilligan’s Island” in my head.

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It was a gorgeous hike though!

InanorchardJust as we came over the last crest Miss E took a spill, so Daddy scooped her up and carried both his girls down the hillside.

And our reward for hiking over 4 miles?  A delicious picnic lunch that tasted extra satisfying.

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It’s the middle of November.  How did that happen?

PS thanks for sticking with this seriously disjointed post :)  What can I say, it’s a pretty good reflection of my seriously disjointed mind.

 

The Week that Was

Our week in pictures, and a few words to go with them.

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Monday started off a little rough

And then it got a little rougher.  Fevers, sore throats, sleepless nights…

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One by one they all went down, and we spent the better part of our week sprawled out in the living room.

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On a happier note, I got a new pair of jeans.  I’m a sucker for a cuff

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The sewing room was a happy place this week

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The bobbins are no longer strewn about the sewing room.  Hello pretty bobbins

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Morningtime sleepy eyes and rumpled hair

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Behold the magic of the cardboard box

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The stuff that childhood is built on

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My thought for the week:  We should tell each other more stories.  Our own stories. The funny ones with a strand of wisdom stretching through it.  The colorful tales where facts may take a backseat to a good narrative.  The tender stories that honor a lost loved one.  To watch the look of anticipation on your childrens’ faces as you lean forward and say, “When I was little…”

 

Our home

 

Because I am a curious nosy person, I love getting glimpses into peoples’ homes.  I like the way a person’s home reflects their personality and interests.  It dawned on me the other day, that I’ve never done a post about my home.  I know you all catch glimpses each time I write, but I thought it would be fun to give a quick tour of our little place.

We live in a double-wide trailer with three bedrooms, and two bathrooms. I love my house.  It’s cozy, warm, colorful, very lived-in, and a little worn around the edges.  In the span of a month my house will be everything from beautifully clean to embarrassingly filthy.  In other words: a completely normal household :)  These pictures were taken the day after “cleaning day” so you are enjoying the benefit of a tidy house.

This is our front door and table where we set our keys, sunglasses, and mail.

Our Home | Inanorchard

This little table was a wedding gift from my brother and it is my favorite piece of furniture!  It has lived in every one of our apartments and houses.

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The pictures are burlap coffee bean bags that I trimmed and framed.  The door just to the right of the table leads into the master bedroom.

Our Home | Inanorchard

From the front door you can see the double doors that lead out to the back porch, and our desk area.  That carpet is most often covered with children and toys.  The kiddos love playing there.

Our Home | Inanorchard

This is our Ikea desk/office center.  Justin works from one desk, and the other desk is for the children to use.  I keep all of our art supplies in the drawers.  The kids have access to the art supplies at all times and are allowed to get them out anytime they like.

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This is my Ikea photo holder and it’s the one item of the house that people stop and admire more than any other.  I like taking pictures but I’m not good about hanging and framing them.  These wires and clips make it easy to keep current photos on display. I swap them out 3 or 4 times a year.Our Home | Inanorchard

I like having funky pieces of art hanging in funky places on the walls.Our Home | Inanorchard

This is our kitchen table where we do… well… everything!  Homework, fold laundry, decorate cookies, cut patterns, craft projects, eat… it all happens here.Our Home | Inanorchard

My mother-in-law bought me this darling tray and I use it to keep our spoons, napkins, sweetener and such.  Basically anything we use at meals on a regular basis is in that tray.Our Home | Inanorchard

 

This is were the kids and I bake.  On top of the cabinets is my collection of cake plates.  It’s a mix-matched assortment of new and antique cake plates.Our Home | Inanorchard

The other side of the kitchen where I do dishes and watch the children run around the backyard.Our Home | Inanorchard

And this is my life right here.  This picture captures our home so well!
Our Home | Inanorchard

This is our bedroom which is located just off the living room.  Actually it doesn’t look like this anymore.   Justin and I spent a weekend and freshened it up.  Our bedroom somehow ended up being brown and beige all over.  It was a little dark, and drab, and needed some help.

Our Home | Inanorchard

Nothing that a new bedspread and a coat of fresh paint wouldn’t fix!  I have lots of little projects to finish in our bedroom but I love the way it’s shaping up.

Our Home | Inanorchard

Those are our closets and you can get a little peek at our living room from this angle.

Our Home | Inanorchard

I use the top of our dresser for Miss P’s changing table.  The girls’ room is pretty tight just with beds, toys, and a dresser so there really wasn’t room for a changing table.

Our Home | Inanorchard

 

Our Home | Inanorchard

Our bathroom needs a little updating.  It’s a fine bathroom but storage is a problem.  No drawers!  Can your believe it?  Not one.  Which is why the counter is often cluttered with stuff.

Our Home | Inanorchard

So we make do with what we have, and get creative with storage solutions.

Our home | Inanorchard

Just off our bedroom is a small room that was probably intended to be an office space, but I have a wonderful, generous husband who turned it into a sewing room for me!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is where all the creative magic happens.  This is my happy place.

Our Home | Inanorchard

This big cabinet houses all my fabric!  I have a darling set of vintage lockers that I’m planning on refinishing to replace this cabinet.  My list of things that need to be refinished is a long list :)

Our Home | Inanorchard

Our Home | Inanorchard

And this is where the house tour abruptly ends because I have run out of pictures!  Maybe next cleaning day I’ll snap some pictures of the kiddos rooms and the guest bathroom.  Or maybe I’ll post some pictures of what they look like on a regular day and you can all have a good laugh!

Once again, thanks for stopping by  ~April