Well, well, well.  It’s Friday, you guys.  I think I forgot to write this post last week.  I was enjoying myself too much with Sara and didn’t want to spend that time writing down words.  Besides, we were too busy saying all the words.





When we took our family’s annual trip to Grove Park Inn to see all of the gingerbread house competitors we dressed in fancy clothes (I use that term fancy loosely, very loosely) and we ate lunch at the elegant Grove Park Inn overlooking the incredible mountains.


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Lunch is a buffet and the kids adore the excessive nature of all of the tables laden with food, so much food, of which you are allowed to take plate after plate.  The dessert options are decadent and a-plenty with cheesecake and trifles and apple pie and and mini mousse and I don’t even know what else – more dessert than one person needs, of course.

The point is, the options were nearly endless.

And yet.

These are the plates my children came back from the line with —


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Also, as Mosely tried one of the random candies she had chosen, she made a face and commented, “This tastes just like how Old Navy smells.”




It’s not just clothing that is fashionable these days, you guys.  Everything has a chance to be designer I think.  Even notebooks.

And I sort of laugh at that trend, but uh – I like pretty paper and handsome notebooks almost as much as I like Frye boots and tall socks.

This website – Cognitive Surplus – sells ridiculously lovely notebooks.  Perfect for nature journals or our daily writing activities in school.  One page is a blank drawing page and the opposite page is lined.  Or – you have options.  You can do all lined, or all blank – or even this cool grid option.

The covers are so unique and save-space-on-the-shelf-worthy.  Instead of those terribly annoying spiral bound notebooks that never look inviting when completed, these notebooks look like you want to add them to your collection.


Photo from Cognitive Surplus.com

Photo from Cognitive Surplus.com


I am still convinced, and can attest to the truth of the statement as I have seen its veracity proved over and over through many homeschooling years, when you provide a student with beautiful notebooks and quality supplies, their desire to work well is immediately improved.

If it is worth saving in such a charming way, it is worth doing your best work.


Photo from Cognitive Surplus.com

Photo from Cognitive Surplus.com




I am trying to get a little more adventurous with my friend Instant Pot.  (Whom London officially named this evening actually.  He will now by known by his name – Barry Allen.)

At any rate, I’ve been mostly playing it safe and making what I know.

Last week though I tried several meals and a handful of made up things, just to experiment and learn to know Barry better.  There was a pretty good mac & cheese (and a lesson learned so the next batch will be much improved) and a super fast and easy and fresh broccoli and cheese soup for lunch, but the success was really this Beef Stew.



I pretty much stink at cooking meat.  I’m not attentive enough to it.  I am a distracted cook, almost always, and especially at dinner time.  Which is what I actually love most about the Instant Pot.  I mean, honestly, it’s not always that much faster (although in certain situations it is) but it is almost always easier.  Hands off cooking where you put in your ingredients and you legitimately leave the kitchen.  (And read books or type articles or fold laundry or stare into space.)

I basically followed this Beef Stew recipe.  I didn’t add zucchini or tomato paste.  I used whatever carrots and potatoes and spices I had, but followed the basic guidelines here.

It was SO easy and really, hands down, the best beef stew I have ever cooked.




On one of my sleepless, worry induced evenings Jo sent me an album by Ellie Holcomb.  I think she meant to send a song, but I received an entire album and I have been so grateful.

Her music is so lovely, so full of encouragement and hope.

I’ve listened again and again to this entire album.

But I especially love Night Song.



Morning feels so far away, questions keeping me awake
Will you sing, sing your night song?
All these lies that are owning me, all this fear makes it hard to breathe
Will you be, be my night song?

The truth that sings into my darkness
The melody of love that leads me on
The voice that comforts all my sadness
Oh, even when the suffering is long, be my night song.

—- Ellie Holcomb



Some days are harder than others.  Some struggles with some kids are more painful and take longer to work through.  That is just the way parenting (relationships) work.  The entire world knows this.  Every mother and father can testify to the truth of this statement.

Which is why when one of my sweet girls pulled off a genuine act of love and planning and forethought (albeit with the help of several kind and generous and loving grown up friends) I was full up with all the good feelings for that kid.


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I’ve decided that I’m not going to write all the details – not to be mysterious or anything like that at all, just mostly because they are somehow extra special to me and I want to hold them closely to my heart for a little longer.

But it was an evening where I was reminded, in ways too tender for words tonight, that I am loved.  I am not alone.  My life matters and my children matter and they are not damaged goods and there is hope for all the pain wadded up in their hearts to be released, to trade the ashes for beauty.

And that hope is enough.  For tonight.