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Words.  They are whispered out on winds of sweetness.  They are laughed out with joyful bliss.  They flow out with loving adoration.  They are shared with everyone we come in contact with on a daily basis. Especially those nearest and dearest to us.

Words.  They are yelled out with frustrated sighs.  They are spat out with bitter sarcasm.  They are screamed out with fury’s venom.  Especially at those nearest and dearest to us.

I lay in bed reflecting on hurtful words.  Words, that though I know were not meant, caused my mind to wonder for a moment if perhaps they were ever truly felt at times, and my heart hurts.  The pain tightens my chest and tears pool in my eyes.

I reflect on what I just started working towards myself the dawn of the very same day.  A desire to have self-control.  Starting with…my words.

It’s a goal I’ve made many times throughout my life.  One that I’ve obviously failed at, or I wouldn’t still be trying to conquer the unconquerable.  And it feels just like that unconquerable…perhaps that’s because James 3:7-8 tells me so…

This is scary; you can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue-it’s never been done.  The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. (The Message)

Indeed that makes it seem pretty hopeless.

Many times words of fury, hurt, bitterness or anger travel from my mouth before I’ve even had time to think of them.  In my anger and pain I don’t take time to think of the other person and how the dagger I’m about to deliver with my words will hurt them.  My tongue runs wild…a wanton killer.  And all too often it runs wild on those I love most.

The man who stole my heart as a teenage girl, who looks to me as his helpmate and encourager will be quickly discouraged as I toss hates “eternal” words like “you always” or “you never” at him.

The precious jewels that make up this proud mama’s crown are so beautiful  and wonderful.  I tell them how much I love them as I hug and kiss on them, thanking God for their sweet, tender hearts.  But if in the next hour they pose too much a challenge to me, I forget their young tender hearts and nag, and yell until we’re all in tears.

These occasions, I’ll call them natural disasters (for they are just that to a family), should not happen.  I never wanted to admit to anyone that we have a home that suffers from natural disasters.  I never wanted anyone to know that sweet, little, has it all together me come undone on her family.

But I also don’t want to be like this.  I don’t want my children to remember me as a ranting, raving, mother, who has bipolar tendencies.  I knew I wasn’t the only derailed mother out there and I yearned to connect with other mom’s like this.

I began to subtly share some of my difficulty with friends, being careful not to reveal too much.  I didn’t want anyone judging my imperfection after all.  Yet I was desperate.  Desperate to be real with someone and have them be real with me.  Desperate to truly know I wasn’t alone.

Luckily God blessed me with friends who are imperfect too and together we found Lysa Terkeurst book Unglued.  I could relate to her unglued  stories and laughed when I read this in her 5 Day Unglued Challenge (link here)…

This is exactly what I’m afraid of!  This is what I fear my husband and children think of me, yet it’s the exact opposite of how I want to be known and thought of.

I want to have the quiet and gentle spirit that Peter speaks of in 1 Peter 3:4-5.  I want to be the Proverbs 31 woman whose husband rises up with words of praise and tells her “Many women have done well but you excel them all!”.  I want my children to call me blessed and be proud that I’m their mom.

So here I stand at the starting line of the very same race I’ve failed at a thousand times, with determination that I will do my best to prevent natural disasters from this point on.

I know that even though James 3:7-8 makes it seem impossible I serve a God who makes all things possible.

Philippians 4:13 

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

Yes, I will have moments of weakness and words will be hastily spoken in anger or out of hurt, but maybe I can prevent the light drizzle from turning into a hurricane.

Wish me luck and maybe say a little prayer for me too.

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Sometimes life isn’t so exquisite.  Sometimes it down right stinks!

Today my son experienced one of those less than exquisite moments in life.  We went to check on his pet salamander, Dot and discovered Dot was no longer living.

He tried to hold back the tears but couldn’t keep his lip from quivering as he said, “It’s okay” and tried to be positive.  I knew he was trying to put on a brave front, but also knew he wanted to cry and just needed to be held.  I asked him if he was okay and put my arms around him and tears filled my eyes as the sobs that shook his body also shook mine.

This was not an exquisite moment for him.  This is probably the worst moment of his young life.  I know how sad I am each time I lose a pet…I can’t imagine what his little six-year-old brain is thinking, and what his little heart is feeling.

My Dear Sweet Boy,

I am so sorry for you loss.  Dot was the best blue spotted salamander that ever lived!  I know that you loved him.  You loved to hold him and watch his slimy little body wiggle about.

I remember the awe and excitement when you brought Dot home from Grandpa and Grandma’s in a peanut butter jar!

“Can I keep him, Mom?  Can I?” was too hard to turn down when your eyes were filled with such unabashed joy.

With love you built a home for Dot and took joy as he ate worms from your hand.  With love you scavenged for new rocks to put in Dot’s atrium.  With love you found the perfect leaves and sticks for foliage so Dot would feel like he was in the real outdoors.  With love you worked hard to keep your buddy, Dot, happy and comfortable.

I am sorry that Dot will no longer eat worms from your hand and that you’ll no longer be able to watch him wiggle and squirm around.  I’m going to miss the sweet little conversations I overheard you having with him.

As you cried in my arms, your body shaking with each sob and the tears streaming down your face and soaking my shirt, I was, and am, sorry that I can’t do anything to make the pain in your sweet little heart go away.  I’m sorry I can’t bring Dot back.

But what I can do is be here to hold you, to cry with you, to share in your pain.

When you asked me to sing to you as you cried on my chest the only song that came to mind is “It Is Well.”

And so as you cried I sang…

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, though has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

I know, sweet boy, that it is not well with your soul, your sweet little heart, right now.  I know that you are hurting, confused, and probably mad right now.

But I also know that God is already working on healing that aching spot that currently swells with pain in your precious heart.  I know that your heart will heal and I pray that you will remember the wonderful times you had with Dot and hold them close and dear to you.

Keep looking for the perfect rocks for Dot, sweet son, for it will help you to remember the fun times you had with him.  Keep searching for the perfect rounded bark, and the perfect size climbing stick.  Even if Dot can’t use them here on earth, I’m sure he’ll be smiling down from heaven, enjoying how much you still think of him.

Dot’s in good hands, Buddy, and Christ will love on him until you can be together again.

Soon peace like a river will attendeth your way and it will be well with your soul again!

I love you my sweet son!

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Okay, okay I know I’ve been horrible about posting but seriously it’s been crazy busy.  I know, I know there are a lot of other bloggers out there who are crazy busy too, but I guess I’m just a slacker, haha:-)

A lot has happened since last I posted, A LOT, and it’s left me wondering about Life Exquisite and its future and where its going to go.  Not to mention, my own future and that of my families…but before I get to far ahead of myself lets start from here…

Summer has ended and the kids started back up with school on September 3rd…

Gabrielle and Miranda are still in public school…

…but as I mentioned at the end of the school year last year Pierce has decided to homeschool and Elizabeth is starting preschool from home!

Even though homeschooling keeps me busier and my house a bit more messy then I’d like I’m loving having my boy at home with me.  I wish the girls were here every day too, though I think I may go crazy teaching them all, haha.  But, maybe someday, they do seem to be a bit jealous of all the fun things we do:-)

Even though I haven’t been posting I have managed to get pictures of some of my outfits.  And since you saw what my kids wore on their first day of school I’ll show you what I wore too…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I start with my hair down each day but by mid day when I’m doing craft/art time with my kids or running around outside for our “recess” I end up tossing my hair up in a messy bun.  Luckily my hubby is commuting now and doesn’t have to see me in my messy bun on a daily basis.

Say what?  My husbands commuting?!

Yep, that’s the change in the wind I mentioned in the title.  My husband has taken a new job in Minnesota and it wont be too much longer before the kids and I, still wearing our cheeseheads of course, head to The Land Of A Thousand Lakes to join him.  Our goal is the beginning of November before Mother Nature sends her beautiful blanket of snow to make driving and moving conditions less than enjoyable.

So it is not just homeschooling and keeping house that has kept me from posting but also I’ve begun to clear out stuff we don’t want to bring with us and pack things away we don’t need for now.  It’s all kept me very busy thus keeping me away.  It’s also left me wondering just what I’ll do with Life Exquisite in the future.  My hopes are to keep it going but it has gotten very busy, moving/packing aside, and I keep thinking with all this newness my family may need as much of me as possible and distractions, even a small one like a blog, may be too much for now.

I have thought of turning it into more of a personal blog for my family and friends to keep up with the goings on of our new life in MN but they can easily do that through FB also.

I’m really not sue yet, so stay tuned.  Who knows what will happen.  For now I’m excited to share with you our fun things we did for homeschool today on this beautiful fall day which also happens to be…

Johnny Appleseed Day!!!

We kicked off our school morning with an apple hunt!  I don’t have any apple trees so I hid some apples in and around our willow tree for my youngers to find!

Then we headed inside to make apple butter from out harvest!  They helped with the whole process from cutting the apples (with butter knives), to adding the sugars and spices and then stirring it all together in the crockpot!  It was my sons idea to wear pots on their heads like Johnny Appleseed did:-)

All this morning our curriculum was Johnny Appleseed themed with ideas I got from Pinterest like

this and this.  I also got a couple apple themed curriculums from teacherspayteachers.com like this and this.

Here’s how our Johnny Appleseed Craft turned out (We combined this with this, because I liked them having their names on the pot.)…

I even made them an apple themed lunch!  I was planning to just serve them apple slices and apple juice with sandwiches but when my daughter requested pancakes for lunch I couldn’t resist making these!

And before nap and rest time we concluded our Johnny Appleseed unit watching a movie my teachers showed me every year in elementary school and I loved watching it every year!

(Click image to bring you to youtube video.)

So much is happening, the kids miss their dad, I miss my hubby, but luckily we get to see him on the weekends still!  All in it’s been busy but fun.  And today, Johnny Appleseed Day, was super fun!!!

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In December as we were saying prayers with our baby girl,  my husband and I decided that our daughter, who was nearing two, was quickly growing too big for her toddler bed and would need to get a big girl bed soon.  We decided that when the weather turned nice we would repaint and remodel her room for her, like we did her sisters and brother when they grew out of the toddler bed.

When I asked my daughter what she would like us to make her new bedroom like.  She was quick to answer and very specific. I think she may have already been planning it:-)  She wanted the walls in her favorite color, orange, and she wanted a quilt with oranges and pinks and an owl.

 I searched the internet for a quilt with orange, pinks and owls but came up empty so my daughter and I headed to a local quilting shop, Thimbles Quilt Shop, and I let her pick out her very own fabrics.  I’ve never done this with my other kids but decided it is something I will need to do for each of them now because it was so much fun!  They each have a baby quilt I made them but I picked out the fabrics myself when pregnant with them.  This she did all on her own and she felt pretty special!

As you are aware I spent months working on this owl quilt for her, here’s a few pictures of the progress…

School was out and we shipped her and her sisters and brother off to Grandma’s for the weekend while we turned her bedroom from this…

to this…

Now to take you picture by picture!

Before and after looking from her doorway…

From opposite corner and by dresser…

Looking at dresser…

From plain ceiling fan…

to girly pink ceiling fan…

I love the cute little beaded lamp shades and the pretty detail on the fan blades!

That’s all the pictures I have for comparable before and after shots but here’s some more afters…

First a full view of Elizabeth’s owl quilt!  This twin sized quilt is the biggest I have ever made.  I’ve stuck to table runners, baby quilts and throws up until this and I’ve never quilted detail into a quilt like I’ve done on this one.  It was a lot of work but worth it!

*(This and this were the inspiration behind her owl quilt.)

Full view of her bed and most of her bedroom from standing in her closet doorway.  My husband built the bed frame/boxes and fence and did a magnificent job!!!

I love having her little table in the center of her room!  I’ve always seen little kid tables in the center of a child’s bedroom in photos of kids rooms in magazines or online and was so happy that it worked in her room with the way we newly decorated!  Plus it means she can use all four chairs instead of one being up against a wall:-)

A close up of her bed…

At the head of her bed, inside her headboard box, are some books, her starlight turtle and her flashlight.  Resting on top are her E-L-I-Z-A-B-E-T-H blocks her Grandma Sherry made her for her first birthday, her brand new lamp and battery operated multi color flower candle!  And a little owl friend stands atop a fence post to the left of her window!

At the foot of her bed is a matching box that holds her cd player and some favorite stuffed animals.  On top is her little people house set and an adorable little owl pillow that she saw at Thimbles Quilt Shop (link to shop above) that she wanted for her new owl room so I just had to get the kit and surprise her with it when she saw her new room when coming back home!

Also I had planned to paint a cute little tree and owl on her wall but when my husband and I went to Menards for supplies for her room we saw this wall decal that matched her quilt perfectly!  I was so thankful to see it because I knew it would save me hours of work!  (I also know you can buy it on Amazon if you are interested.) We didn’t, however, use all of the decal here, we used some of it on the window art above her dresser which I’ll show you soon:-)

A close up of the owl pillow, so adorably named, Owlivia!

The boxes at the head and foot of her bed are not actually attached to her bed at all.  They are secured to the wall and they each have room under them for bins full of toys…

Across the room resting in the same place as before is her dresser, however it’s dressed up differently.  Sitting atop it are two battery operated multicolored flower candles, like the one on her headboard box, a vase of multi colored tulips (I’d like to find multi colored gerber daisies, until then these will do.) and a personalized picture frame that my husband made Elizabeth when she was about 5 months old!  Hanging above the dresser is an antique window that my husband put some more of the owl wall decals on and I painted the words “Owl Always Love You” on it.  Beside her dresser hangs her dedication dress!

A close up of the dresser top and window…

So her room was newly painted, newly decorated and her new owl quilt was carefully placed upon her bed with excitement for when she came home.  So what did she think of her new orange owl room?

She was pretty pleased!!!

And LOVED every bit of it!

She went right for her Owlivia!

And has loved her since!

Owlivia has joined her favorite snugglies at every nap and bedtime since!

I think it’s safe to say Owlivia and all of Elizabeth’s new orange owl room are a big hit!!!

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My son has been planning his 6th birthday party since August when preseason football started and the Greenbay Packers hit the field.  I’m pretty sure you can guess he planned a…

A GREENBAY PACKERS BIRTHDAY PARTY!!!

My son wanted his Packer party to be a Packer vs. Viking party because his daddy is a Viking fan and he wanted the Packers to beat the Vikings.  Something I had no problem with:-)

I set to work transforming one of our dinning room walls into Lambeau Field’s scoreboard.

I hung 2 yellow table cloths from the ceiling and strung green and yellow balloons across the top.  My scoreboard is 2 pieces of black tagboard taped together and enhanced with pictures from Packer/Vikings games and the score reflected here is the score from the last game the Packers and Vikings played together (Wild card Packers vs. Vikings 2013).  I also made sure that the scoreboard proudley announced “Lambeau Field Home Of The Greenbay Packers” and their 13 World Championship Titles!!!

The table is set with a field goal post made from PVC and some of my Packer’s memorabilia, except the Packer helmet and that nifty Vikings’ hat with the Packer emblem, those are the birthday boys!

Featured on the left side of the cake table is an official NFL football, that awesome Vikings’ hat that just needed a Packer’s emblem, a copy of my Packers Stock Certificate, a sign I got while at my first Packer game at Lambeau Field and some cute little cupcakes with cake balls on top in the shape of footballs!

Better image of the cupcakes…

On the right side of the table is my Packer flag from when they won Superbowl XLV, my son’s Packer helmet, some Packer Yearbooks, Sports Illustrated, etc.  Also the passes from the tours my husband and I took of Lambeau Stadium and the invite for my son’s party lean against the soda bottle!

A close up of the invitation to the big event!  I made his invitations look like a ticket to a football game!

And the cake…

I should have taken a picture of all of the food but I didn’t and for that I apologize, but we celebrated football style and served up all sorts of football/appetizer type of foods.  Some of them I’ve blogged about in the past like jalapeno popper dip & layered taco dip.  In addition to these we had plain (for the kids) and BBQ cocktail weenies, fruit salad, chicen nuggets and lots of chips.  We also had green punch for the Greenbay Packers!

We were supposed to go outdoors and play a game of football but the day was cold and rainy so we didn’t get to and I had no back up plans as far as games go for this party but we had a lot of fun without games just hanging out with each other!

A few more fun pictures from his friend and family party, where he hit everyone up for money in hopes of getting a Kindle Fire…

His actual birthday when he got a big boy bike without training wheels, a bat for t-ball and some other small gifts, some play time at the park and then Dairy Queen!

And, yes, he got his Kindle Fire!!!

Happy Birthday, Pierce!  We love you so much!!!

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Easter is my favorite holiday, next to Christmas!  It’ s celebrating our savior’s sacrifice to give new life to all of us!  What a blessing.  How appropriate that we celebrate his resurrection and gift of life to us in spring since spring is all about new life and new beginnings.

I don’t have a lot of time to post because I want to get out and enjoy the beautiful spring weather with my kiddos on this wonderful Good Friday but I just wanted to pop by and wish you all a Happy Good Friday & Happy Easter and show you a couple of cute crafts my kiddos have made for Easter.  Maybe your kiddos will enjoy them too!

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The adorable little egg bunting that my youngest daughter made was her very first sewing project which she had a lot of fun doing…

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It hangs in our big dinning room window as shown above, but we also used it in a little mini Easter photo session…

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Besides the Easter egg bunting, my girls made these cute little toilet paper roll bunnies with my mom last weekend and it sounds like they really had fun doing this.

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Not sure where my mom got the idea probably Pinterest since I was able to find it on there.  The image I found didn’t link to a  tutorial but there is an image here, if you’d like to check it out.

Yesterday the girls and I (my son still wasn’t feeling up to par) made these super easy and cute scrapbook paper eggs…

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They are so sweet and you adorable and super easy!  You will find the tutorial here at Craft And Creativity one of my new favorite blogs for finding crafts to do with my kids!  Be sure to check it out, they have lots of brightly colored Easter crafts!

Okay, time to get outdoors with my kids.  Wishing you all a very Happy Good Friday, A Blessed Easter and lots of sweet treats!

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Our week free from electronic/gaming devices (PlayStations, Television, Computers, etc.) was in a word…EXQUISITE!

It truly was.  It went far better than my husband and I anticipated.  There was not one fight or argument in our household all week long.   Our kids rediscovered the joy of playing games that aren’t on an electronic device.  They played together outside, far more than they would have if electronics were allowed, they used their imaginations, they read far more than usual.

I was even amazed at how much better our mornings went.  No joke, mornings were amazing!  All of my kids were up each morning before their alarms went off, I never had to get on them about getting dressed quickly or to brush their hair better.  They were ready so fast and did most everything on their own, that I had time to make waffles, eggs, etc. every morning.  I was able to be the mom I always dreamt I would be, haha.

Midway through the week I wanted to encourage their fantastic behavior so gave them all stickers and told them if they kept it up we would make some snacks to eat while we played some games together.  They succeeded and we enjoyed some delicious treats!

The image below is from Friday night while playing a game and enjoying our snacks of puppy chow and caramel corn after their week of awesome school mornings!

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Tuesday nights in our home is game night, and when my children are asked what they want to play they will usually choose something on the PlaySation.  The only time we play a card or board game is when I insist upon it.  One of the new rules my husband and I have decided to instate is that we are only allowing a PlayStation game night one Tuesday night a month, the other Tuesday’s are card or board games.  This isn’t to say we will only play our PS3 only once a month, we’ll have weekends also (though there are the usual time limits for that also) we just think they’re little brains are a bit more challenged when it comes to a board or card game.

Besides a lot of game playing we spent a few evenings after school outdoors.  This Saturday we went ice fishing (My first time since high school!) with my husband’s workplace…

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When we weren’t spending time together as a family in its entirety my kids were off playing together outside, coloring or crafting together, playing in their rooms together…without fighting!  I love to sneak up on my kids and take pictures of them when they don’t know I’m photographing them.  If they know I’m there then they are trying to show off for the camera or, in some cases, trying to hide from the camera, haha.  It’s hard to sneak up on them in our creaky old farmhouse but occasionally I’m able to capture them like this…

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We’ve always had limits to the amount of television/movies that is allowed to be watched in our home, but like most mom’s sometimes the television has been my babysitter when I need to get things done.  I didn’t have that option this week so my youngest daughter spent a lot more time helping me with things than usual, which was really fun, although albeit a bit slow.  When she didn’t want to help me with chores she was busy coloring, playing, and beading with her new fray free string/plastic type stuff that stays tied super well!

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She also learned how to separate her Twizzlers on her own last week while we played Bingo!

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I reached the end of my love for winter!  Well, not really, I still love winter…I’m just ready for some 50-60• temps instead of 20-30•.  I want color in my wardrobe and my home.  With Easter on its way I took down our Valentine’s decorations and put some Easter/Spring decor up.  I’m only giving you a little peak because I’m not completely done and plan to show you it all next week.  For now here’s a look at a banner my youngest daughter and I made together last week…

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Speaking for myself of this week, it was a week of revelations to me. For sometime, a couple of years actually, God has been showing me things about his love and grace. This week he showed me scripture that, though I’ve read several times before, has kindled something new in me.  I believe he’s about to bring me down a new path in my life.  A lot of this I’m going to keep to myself for the time being but hope to maybe share with you someday.

Last week I also began waking up EARLY in the morning with my husband again.  I use to do this for the first couple of years in our marriage but stopped when I was up sleepless nights with my babies.  I don’t really have this excuse very often anymore and I knew it meant a lot to my husband to have me up with him in the mornings spending time with him so, as difficult as it is, I’m up with the rooster now, actually before the rooster and enjoying some wonderful mornings with my husband.   Thank God for my cappuccino machine because cinnamon roll cappuccino and cinnamon swirl bread, makes waking up at 5 am a little easier!  (I’ll share the recipe with you later this week!)

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We ended our media/electronic free week with a trip across the lake in our snowshoes with my mama, yesterday after church!

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They went directly inside to play Call Of Duty with Grandma, haha!

All in all we truly enjoyed good, fun, quality family time.  There was so much joy and laughter in our home last week that I was kind of walking around in a state of euphoria.  My oldest daughter really enjoyed it also, which surprised me since I thought she’d struggle with it the most, but she really enjoyed the time off.  My husband and I were tempted to see if we could drag the week out a bit longer…maybe a month or so, or at least another week…it was so enjoyable.  Since our kids had been so good, and my middle daughter was keeping track of the calendar, we couldn’t do that and are now back to electronics   This time with much more limitations than we originally had set.

 I see many more electronic free weeks in our future.  We’ve discovered that we can survive for a little while without them, and in fact, enjoy it!

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