One Word… Diligence

How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!

How skilfully she builds her cell!
How neat she spreads the wax!
And labors hard to store it well
With the sweet food she makes.

In works of labor or of skill,
I would be busy too;
For Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.

In books, or work, or healthful play,
Let my first years be passed,
That I may give for every day
Some good account at last.

~Isaac Watts~


I wasn’t planning on choosing a word for 2018.

Mostly because my “follow through” has been a bit “iffy” the last few years and I felt a little discouraged with myself. My goal over the past few years has been to simplify, to make do, to peel away a lot of the extra things that have kept me so, so busy, and because of that, I’ve let some balls drop. A few have rolled completely away and I can’t even find them. Last year I tried to pick some things back up, and still dropped a few of them due to unexpected circumstances. So, I was planning on just “being” this year, without thinking too hard about what this year would hold.



My word for 2018 accidentally came to fruition with the purchase of a new journal. I usually buy a new one in January, but was going to make do and keep using my old one until it ran out of pages. However, my daughter Kate was buying herself a new journal and asked if I wanted to order at the same time to save on shipping.

And there was one with bees embossed on the cover.

Who could resist?

I mean, bees.

I love bees.

Version 2

When I began drawing in my calendars for this year, I kept quoting to myself
the opening lines from Watt’s poem “Against Idleness and Mischief”
and thinking about being “busy as a bee.”

Now this may seem like a complete contrast to my paring back years. But I stopped and thought about bees for a bit. They are busy. Industrious. Faithfully and continuously working.


A bee stays busy at what she’s supposed to be doing. What she were designed to do. She wouldn’t think of getting distracted and heading off for some new scheme. Nope. It’s honey-making and comb-building every day for her! She’s diligent about her work.

And I need to be too.

About building and sweetening my home, my family, my friends, my church, and my little home business. A little at a time, I’m picking back up the important things, the things I was designed to do, and diligently working on them.


Prints on Sale!

I started cleaning out my art studio today.

Nest 8 x 10 Prints

Actually I went in, stared at everything for a while,
grabbed a stack of prints, and shut the door behind me as I left.

That room is going to be the death of me.

But, I did find unearth those prints, and they need to find a home!


There are just one or two of each color and design… they were $18 each a couple of years ago, but now they’re only $12! (If you want multiples, I can make them $10 each!) They’re printed on white Bristol board and packaged in protective cellophane sleeves.

Click here to see them!

September Art Journaling Page!

Happy Back-to-School!

I know a whole bunch of you started school earlier… or school year-round… but there’s something special about the day after Labor Day that makes me want to fill a backpack up with new school supplies!

And slightly earlier than the last few months…
…Here’s September’s Art Journaling page!

Click below for a printable PDF!


It makes a difference for this one…

A little over three years ago, Hubby and I took adoption classes.


We were already open as a foster home, but hadn’t had any placements yet, and we were still unsure of which way would would go… foster care or straight up adoption… but we wanted to know all we could about both options, and be ready for whatever direction the Lord led us. And He led us to both fostering AND adoption!


In those classes, we learned so much. We had the opportunity to talk with other families stepping tentatively toward the same goal… to hear their stories, their concerns, their fears, and their deep convictions about caring for children, whether it was for a few days or for forever. We learned that there are so many kids that need a place to call home and people to call family. The need is so big and so great that it sometimes seems impossible to make a difference, just being one little family with an extra bedroom. But then we were told this story…

“While wandering a deserted beach at dawn, stagnant in my work, I saw a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked the endless stretch toward me. As he came near, I could see that he was throwing starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea. When he was close enough I asked him why he was working so hard at this strange task. He said that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die. I said to him that I thought he was foolish. There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach. One man alone could never make a difference. He smiled as he picked up the next starfish. Hurling it far into the sea he said, “It makes a difference for this one.” I abandoned my writing and spent the morning throwing starfish.”
― Loren Eiseley


And now, three years later, we’re looking at the possibility of taking adoption classes a second time. Thinking about those starfish on the beach, and the handful of little people that have touched our lives in the past three years, inspired me to get out my scissors and start snipping.


And gluing.


And “resin-ing.”


Make a Difference Pendants are now available in our shop!

Summer by the Shore… and a New Venture!

Our August preschool theme has been the Seashore.


And that’s a good place to start our school year, considering that we only live about four miles from the Atlantic Ocean! We have lots of shoreline environments to explore… the ocean and the bay, Indian River and its inlet, creeks and “landings” and salt marshes…

We’re really only beginning to explore our local environment with our theme. It’s definitely going to be a lifelong nature study topic for our family.

We’ve had a lot of fun activities planned for this month, but first
take a look at some of the great resource books we’ve enjoyed!

I just became an Usborne Books & More consultant (the “New Venture” mentioned in this post’s title!) because I absolutely fell in love with their brightly colored and full-of-information books for kids! My shopping link is on the sidebar, but you can also click on the titles below to go directly to the specific books if you’d like to find out more about them! (Or to purchase them!)

Two of our favorite reference books so far are the First Encyclopedia of Seas and Oceans and the Usborne Young Beginners Seashore book. The encyclopedia is geared for ages 8 and up, but I have a 3 year-old that calls it “MY book” and thumbs through its pages on a regular basis.


However, the content of the Seashore book is a
little more on the preschool level, and
is “just my size” for little hands to carry!


I love the way Usborne books give a “storybook” feel
to informational picture books…
On the Seashore is a sweetly illustrated book that
creates curiosity in young ocean visitors!


Another favorite is Secrets of the Seashore… a Shine-A-Light book by Kane Miller. These are some of our favorite interactive books that Usborne Books & More sells! If you shine a flashlight through the back of each page, you can see a secret “inside story!”


Anyway, that’s a first peek into our August preschool learning, as well as an intro into how we’re using Usborne books in our homeschooling! I’m hoping to use this new venture to help fund our homeschool adventures, as well as another Super Special Adventure our family is about to embark on! More on that very soon!

Red Light, Green Light

Our July theme was “Red Light, Green Light”… We needed to work a little on listening and following directions, so we went with a traffic rules theme. Since TJ is totally obsessed with anything involving wheels, this was a hit! We only got to see Z-Man and Sweet T a few times due to sickness, so TJ did a lot of the activities by himself. And, quite a few of the things we did were simply put out for him to play with whenever he was in the mood, so they were more than a “one time lesson.”


We started out with construction play with homemade play-doh. We made this stuff back in the winter when we did a Gingerbread Man unit, and it’s still hanging in there! There were quite a few germs floating around back then too, so we added some of Young Living’s Thieves oil to ward them off, as well as to make it smell yummy!


Counting to 3 (and recognizing the numbers) was one of our main goals for this month. TJ’s Melissa & Doug garage that he got for his birthday was perfect for practicing!


Our sensory bin was filled with black beans to look like asphalt. It made a fun plinking sound in this old agate casserole pan!


More counting practice with cars and foam shapes.IMG_6904

Hang onto those Melissa & Doug storage trays! They can be used for so many things!

Painting with trucks!


Drying our finished paintings.


And cleaning up is always fun if a hose is involved!


It’s even more fun with friends.


This here is serious work.


We found a fun stop light activity on Pinterest…


… Great for small motor skill coordination!

I’m playing with the idea of lap booking our themes so the little folks have something to look back on and remember…


… and maybe practice some of the things they learned!

We’ll probably add a bit more to our lapbook before we put it on the shelf, but this is what the inside looks like right now. “Red Light, Green Light” was a fun gross motor skills game we played that involved listening carefully and running about like crazy people. Our Bible verse for July was a shortened version of Ephesians 6:1, and we sang the Donut Man’s  O-B-E-Y quite a bit. It was a favorite of our girls. (Or maybe of Mom and Dad’s?)


 Below are some favorite books that we read this month…RedLight

Anastasia Sumi’s Red Light, Green Light is a cute rhyming picture book that showcases a little boy who used all sorts of “around the house” materials to build his roads. Discussing the pictures was fun!


Yumi Heo’s Red Light, Green Light was a sweet Lift-the-Flap book about road signs.


Toot Toot, Beep Beep by Emma Garcia has been a favorite since TJ was a little tyke… There are several books in this series and we love them all!


P.D. Eastman’s Go, Dog, Go! is an old favorite!


And the “sleeper” favorite was by far Red Light, Green Light by Margaret Wise Brown. (She’s the author of Goodnight Moon!) I wasn’t sure if the quietly quirky story line and vintage illustrations would catch TJ’s attention, but he asked to read this one over and over again… sometimes right after we finished reading it!

Tot School so far…

I’ve been meaning to post about our Tot School Adventures this year, but sometimes with little people, you just have time to prepare the fun, snap the pictures, clean up the crumbs, and prepare the next fun… And I forget to organize it all in a photo album or blog post! So here’s a quick pictorial overview of our school days so far this year!

IMG_5593The Students…

IMG_5606Our son, TJ

IMG_5603Our Grandboy, Z-Man

IMG_5602Ou Grandgirl, Sweet T

IMG_5675A is for Ark…

IMG_5744Going on a Bear Hunt…


Caterpillars and Creation…

IMG_5806 IMG_5805



D is for Dirt…


Green Eggs & Ham…IMG_6206Green Eggs & Ham…


One Fish, Two Fish…

IMG_6323 IMG_6322 IMG_6579G is for Giant… 

…and Magic Beans, of course.


So far, we’ve done a crazy mix of Before Five in a Row, The Peaceful Preschool, The Homegrown Preschooler, and Pinterest activities, with an underlying theme of a “Letter a Week.” I’m not so sure they’re understanding the overall Alphabet theme at this point, so we took a slight detour this summer, mixing activities suggested by The Homegrown Preschooler. Our current plan is to go full steam ahead with A Year of Playing Skillfully (incredibly fun curriculum based on The Homegrown Preschooler) and mixing in Before Five in a Row books where they fit in. We’re going to hold off on The Peaceful Preschool until next year, when everyone is ready for more in-depth letter learning. (Although Z-Man is going to get some Alphabet practice on his own this year!)

What’s on the books for this upcoming year is monthly themes, lots of good books, oodles of sensory activities and motor skill development, messy art experiences and silly songs, Bible stories, and good times playing with “cousins” and friends! My next post will be about our July theme, transitioning us toward saying “Yes!” to playing skillfully!