Joy Dare :: Unframed Art

Unframed art is really prolific around here. There are stacks and stacks of the stuff everywhere you look. Messy art projects are not something I am naturally thankful for, but I’m trying to not let the chaos bother me,

But recently, all the children have been branching out extensively in their artistic endeavors.


Sophie is the queen of all art forms. She’s not afraid to try her hand at anything, and is generally quite pleased with the results.



Kinsley seems to show some aptitude in the sculpting department.


Our charming penguin family was a gift from my creative mom. The kids love getting these guys out each Christmas season. They like to imagine all sorts of “clever” conversations taking place between the three gourds.

And the art behind them is by my awesome brother. I asked for an Ansel Adams style crayon art piece, and that is what he made me.



Puzzles, another art form we are certainly thankful for.  Especially these two.

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Joy Dare :: 3 Gifts Shining

The kids and I are loosely following along with the Joy Dare that Ann Voskamp does. I say loosely, because I never finish anything.

But we’ve got the December dares on the fridge and we’re keeping our eyes open for things that we are grateful for this month.

Three Gifts Shining.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset(please excuse the cell phone picture – I was too lazy to get the real camera out…)

Truxton and Kinsley both thought of the Christmas tree. Having a Christmas tree in the living room is pretty much the single most exciting thing these guys can imagine. Does it really get any more cozy than that?


Gillian thought of our candles.

Those are supposed to be advent candles there in the middle, but, uh, someone forgot that there were supposed to be five when she bought them. Also, the afore mentioned someone had intended to come up with some clever way of denoting the first three as lavender and the fourth as pink, and has yet to do so.


And Sophie, never one to be hindered by what she can actually see at the moment, thought of the stars.

“Gratitude exclaims, very properly, ‘How good of God to give me this.'”
CS Lewis


Wrapping up November


Reflecting back on November, there is really so very much to be thankful for.
Mainly coffee.


I kid.

Kinsley has done very well on her prednisolone course, and amazingly, we’ve stayed essentially healthy.


We have seen the tender hand of our God relentlessly working on a situation which we have prayed about for ten years.


And as always (but even more obviously to us this last month) He has provided in extravagant and surprising ways.


Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; 
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:21-23


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In a year.

It’s been more than a year since I’ve blogged. Life has been full of really crazy up and downs and I’ve needed the downtime. But I’ve missed blogging! I have no idea if I’ll keep up with the ol’ blog or not, but for today, here goes.

IMG_2124The kids are still wild and woolly.

IMG_1182Seriously, there’s never a dull or quiet moment around here.

IMG_1134 copyAnd guess what? We’re adding to the chaos come March. We couldn’t possibly be more excited about this little expansion project.  I’m currently the main one doing the expanding.

IMG_1184 copyIn a year, Truxton has completely mastered reading, and more importantly in his book, collected hundreds of frogs. 

IMG_0593This summer we’ve discovered that Kinsley has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, and we are learning to cope with that development. In other news, she finished The Lord of The Rings since last summer. Now, if we could only master some basic addition, I’d be thrilled.

IMG_1302 copySophie has polished up her reading skills, and blossomed into the general ring leader of all miscellaneous children. Her younger two siblings constantly look to her for inspiration and guidance. It’s scary I tell ya.

Gillian is still basically her sweet, easy going self. Except when she’s not. Then boy, can she be rotten. I swear that we skip the terrible twos, but pay for it at age three. She’s begging to learn to read, because being the only non-reader in a family is just way too hard on a person’s psyche. And she’s getting it, actually. So by next year all the kids should be readers.

Wait, no. I forgot about Baby X. Who, by the way, purports to be a girl.

IMG_2260Yeah. You can pray for us.

Continue reading “In a year.”

Chalkboard Table

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For more than two years now, I have intended to do something with this coffee table, but never got around to it, until yesterday. It is a laminate surface, so I wasn’t sure if it would work to paint it, until I discovered chalk paint about a year ago. Boy, is that stuff wonderful!

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I used a DIY chalk/chalkboard paint recipe with sanded grout, and made it on the thick side, hoping to create a better writing surface.

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In between coats (I did two) I sanded it down to a satiny finish with 600 grit sandpaper. Normally I would wax my chalk paint, but as it turns out, if you don’t wax your surface, you magically end up with a chalkBOARD!

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The chalk goes on like butter (whatever that means) and it erases beautifully, and up to the point where I was uploading these pictures, I thought the whole thing was just pure genius. But as the kids continued to (very exuberantly) use the chalkboard table, I began to notice slight scratches in the paint. So apparently it isn’t working so well with the laminated surface. If I had to guess, I am thinking I shouldn’t have put it on so thick.

I have a (non laminated) train table to paint in the next few weeks, so I will see how the chalkboard surface works on that. Meanwhile, I just need to come up with a magic cure for the peeling paint on this baby.

Chelsie’s Fitness Challenge

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The kick in the pants I have been needing this week came from my sweet sister-in-law Amber, of the English Travelers, via her sister, Chelsie.

I’m still thinking about a specific reward, but the satisfaction of being this focused is a huge motivating factor right now. I will be shooting for 150 points, thinking that will take me up to my birthday, if I work hard.

Want to join in? Check out Amber’s post for more details!

a VERY long post about tooth decay

About a month ago, Dan and I decided to modify our family’s diet. It hasn’t been a huge deal at home, but when we go out and about, I hear my children chatting with folks about our “diet” and what is or isn’t on said diet, and it sounds weird to me. I have known people who have cumbersome diets, and whose children are so restricted that they become obsessed with food in general. Really, their parents too. I don’t want us to be one of those families, but on the other hand we really feel that the changes we have made have been for a specific purpose and have already been beneficial to that end. Oh, the quandary!

Why did we decide to do what we are doing? Well, Dan has horrible, awful, no good teeth, and he has had since he was a very small child. My teeth on the other hand, have always been good, and at nearly thirty I have still never had to have a filling. We hoped that the kids would just somehow get my good teeth, but we still took precautions. We have always brushed the kids teeth ourselves, to make sure that it is done well. We used fluoride rinses (’cause hey, that’s what you are supposed to do!) and have always limited the sugar intake. The kids NEVER have soda, and only rarely have candy (like when Grandma visits). Kinsley, at age six, had to have a pulpotomy on a back molar. Truxton (who we had allowed to develop a juice addiction) began to show signs of rotting on the inside part of his two front teeth, though to this day he has never complained about that. Then, the final blow came when we discovered a cavity on Sophie’s six year (permanent) molar and a small cavity on one of her front teeth.

At the end of February, we called to make an appointment with the pediatric dentist (who we came to love through his handling of Kinsley’s tooth issue) and the date was set for the end of April. That day I kept thinking about mercury in fillings, (I know that there’s a lot of debate out there about mercury) but I just kept thinking that there had to be a better way. I learned from chatting with our family dentist that the newer plastic and composite fillings contain BPA, and we really didn’t want to go that route, either.

Really, I just did not want the kids to have to have fillings at this early age. What to do?? So I went to pinterest (the ladies’ Google, right?) and found all sorts of interesting stuff, including this mama’s testimony, along with this mama’s testimony, which together led me to Ramiel Nagel’s book, Cure Tooth Decay. Being a cheapskate, I didn’t want to buy the book, so I tried to google my way around it, adding lots of diet related stuff to my month’s bucket style to do list on pinterest, but the more I searched, the more I wanted to read his book.

That night when Dan came home he said that he had been thinking all day at work that there just had to be a better way to handle our tooth problems. So I showed Dan the book, and articles and videos of all the testimonies I had been browsing, and he agreed that we should just get the book so that we could see what, if any, science is behind all these claims. We bought it that night, and skimmed as much as we could take in. Dan is ever skeptical of any of these faddish type diet claims, being a biology minded guy (is that really a thing?) and I knew that if we were really going to make real changes, they would have to be across the board for our whole family, therefore Dan would have to believe they were worth the effort. Basically, in the end, Dan thought Mr. Nagel’s interpretations of various studies, including the work of Weston A Price, made a lot of sense.

What exactly do we do?
I will say that while I wish we could carry out the protocol exactly as described in the book, we are living in the real world, and we aren’t made of money.

We try to keep in mind these three main things:

  • Do the children consume enough minerals?
  • Do they consume enough fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K) in their daily diet?
  • Are they able to absorb the good vitamins that they do consume through diet? The main way these good fat soluble vitamins get bound and rendered useless is through the consumption of too much Phytic Acid in the diet.

We are still learning what’s what in this process, and what we actually do or don’t consume seems to vary as our understanding grows and changes.

Right now we are avoiding sugar, oats, legumes, and most grains. The protocol for curing tooth decay is very similar to a primal or paleo style diet, which is how I personally prefer to eat.

We consume lots of whole dairy, especially raw dairy when we can get it. We eat meat, and lots of fresh veggies. I try to use home made bone broths in cooking. We increased our consumption of organ meats (lamb that we had raised and calf liver especially). Eggs are our friends. We sprout lots of sprouts, make kombucha, eat homemade sourdough bread, and fermented veggies. We try to eat shrimp at least once or twice a month. Basically, if it is a processed, quick and easy style meal, it’s a safe bet that we want to avoid it for some reason or other.

We decided that we can’t afford the really good cod liver oil that is recommended in the book, but we buy the best cod liver oil that fits reasonably into our budget. We think coconut oil is GOOD stuff. Dan and I even use coconut oil for oil pulling, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. We changed to a home made toothpaste, but the jury is still out on what our favorite recipe is.

Basically, we shop at our normal stores (Aldi and Kroger mainly) and buy what we can afford to buy. We feel that cutting out the bad stuff has to be doing us some good, even if we aren’t able to replace it with the best of the best organic meats and veggies.

Within the first week, we were pretty sure that we saw visible improvement with Sophie’s teeth, and now (three or four weeks in) we are certain that Truxton and Sophie’s teeth are better, though they still are not completely healed. Neither of them complain at all about toothaches. We canceled Sophie’s appointment with the pediatric dentist.

It’s encouraging to remember that Dr. Weston Price reversed tooth decay in a group of children he studied with just one good meal (bone broth, raw milk, cod liver oil, and butter oil) a day. They continued to eat their poor diet consisting of refined fried junky foods and sweets like donuts and cereals for the rest of their meals.

In the end, we do the best we can, don’t sweat it too much, and trust that God will bless our efforts to be good stewards of what he has given us, dentally and financially!

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Is it going to be like it is here?

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It was bedtime, and we were wrapping up our evening with family devotions.

On this night, Truxton was ready with a barrage of questions.

When we see God when we go to live with Him, will he be wearing clothes?

When we live with God, will there be toys there?

What if a monster already got me and you and Mama and Gillian and we are already with God?

Does it take a long time to get to God when we die?

But if someone shoostes us, or kills us with a sword or a speared, then how are we going to get the blood off of us when we are with God?

With God, is it going to be like it is here, and will we still be all together?

Oh, sweet little boy.

In a way I am glad that he can’t imagine a life sweeter than his own, but we also want to instill a surety that it will be so much better than we can imagine.

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May God give us wisdom as we tend these little souls for Him.