Friday, July 30, 2010

Rosalie's first curl

FINALLY - the girl has a whisp of hair in the back and around her ears (and it seems to curl up) - it's only taken a year and a half!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh, how he loves to "cook"

Jonathan. This boy is full of life, energy, tantrums, sweet hugs, and grumpy stomps. He is strong willed and determined. This has been his down fall and has also served him well. In the past year, he has gone from full blown tantrums to learning his boundaries and how to control himself. He has also had to learn how to entertain himself. Homeschoooling tends to force that on a child. Last year, when we started school, he really struggled with it. He wanted to be in the middle of everything we were doing and was very disruptive. Throughout the year, he learned that he had no choice but to find something to do quietly until we were done.
By the end of the school year it was as if he were a different child. He is my child who really plays with his toys. He doesn't just fiddle around with them and throw them down in boredom like my other two often do. He really plays with toys. All of the toys. (He will also sit and play with my kitchen toys as pictured above!) He has some favorites, but really plays with everything. I love to watch him play. He is very imaginative. I am also thrilled that in the last couple of months Aaron and Jonathan have finally started playing nicely together. What a joy it is for me to see that! Aaron and Martin were best friends from the very beginning. Aaron has always been so advanced in his expressive and cognitive abilites ... that in many ways ... Aaron seemed to always be on or about the same level as Martin. So, there was no real gap there that caused difficulties in them relating with one another.
Even though Jonathan and Aaron are much closer in age - the developmental gap between them has always seemed huge. Aaron (who is not at all patient) was just not able to cope with that gap. He was not the kind and patient helper of a brother - he would just get frustrated and tell Jonathan that he wanted to play by himself.
So, I guess - Jonathan must be catching up to an acceptable cognitive level, because Aaron is playing nicely with him now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Seriously??? Can we just stick with toys??

She's having the time of her life...

... And she gets caught.

Okay, so what is the obsession with pulling things out of boxes, I ask you??? Why can't we play with the sweet little baby doll and tea set that we got you, sweet girl? Oh, the trouble that she finds when Momma turns her back. One thing is true ... she's very quick and efficient at her trouble making.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I love it when Rich cooks ...

One of the meals that we had with those fresh vegetables ...
Rich and I worked together to prepare it - but he was the master mind - and he did the actual cooking.
We used the fresh tomatoes and zucchini that we got from the local farm. We threw in some spices and thinly sliced chicken and whole grain penne pasta. And we got a delicious, fresh, and healthy meal!
I warn you, though ... I don't have a recipe for this. All I can tell you is that it was a little bit of this ... and a little bit of that. Rich has taught me to imagine the finished product, and work backward from there. So, that's what I have learned to do.

Local Organic Corn and Farm Fresh Vegetables

We are all about finding local sources for our food. We buy all of our beef products from here .
We are thankful to have found Jeffrey and Lisa Bender. (thanks Tara for sending me their info!) There produce is high quality! We are enjoying it so much!
If you are in the local area and want to order from the Bender's - email them:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Completing your husband Challenge

I've been following a this blog lately. (thanks to my friend, Marsha) Courtney, at Women Living well has been posting a challenge about completing your husband. I particularly enjoyed this post today and wanted to share it with you, my readers.

I haven't always found it easy to get behind my husband's vision. So, this particular post today was something to which I could really relate.

7 1/2 years ago, Rich resigned from our church in Virginia where he was pastor. At that point, he said, it's time for me to pursue the PhD. Let's sell our house, half of everything we own, find a home for our dog, and move away from family so that I can do that. (this is when the floor fell out from beneath me) I went ... of course you all know that ... but it was with a little bit of kicking and screaming. (I must admit) Outwardly, I supported him because I knew it was the right thing to do. And ... I am a pretty easy going and adaptable kind of a person. Inwardly, however ... I was struggling. If I could get a do-over, I would handle it alot differently. Thankfully, it wasn't too long before I realized that I wasn't with him in his vision for our family ... and decided to join him. Now, we are united in our vision and that is a great place to be.

I encourage you (my women friends and followers) to join your husband in his vision. Following your own vision is a lonely place to be. Give your husband his rightful place as the leader of your family, pray for your husband and his vision, and have the strength to follow your husband's leadership ... even if the journey scares you a little. I'd really love to hear from you on this topic, so that I can pray for you in the journey of your family. If you are a reader that doesn't normally comment ... please comment today!

Aaron can read

It's been brought to my attention that I have not blogged about the fact that Aaron can read. We started K last year and worked our way through some phonics books, but I never really felt as though I was teaching him anything. In fact, he was already reading short one vowel words before we even started last fall. Aaron seems to just be like that in most areas of life. I have no explanation for why he can do the things he can do. He just can. So, around February ... I slowed Aaron down quite a bit with school, and even considered not finishing K and not moving on to 1st grade. He seemed very frustrated with the school work. I didn't want to make the mistake of moving him ahead if he wasn't ready. So, I just really let up on what we were doing. We started doing only 2 days a week instead of 5, and went really light on the work load.
We got about 2/3 of the way through the K year. Around May of this year, I sat him down to work on a phonics worksheet and didn't have the chance to explain to him what to do. I was working on something in the kitchen when I overheard him read the direction to himself, and then say out loud, "oh, I know how to do that". . . then he proceeded to do it. I was stunned. The directions were not only complex ... they contained words that he should have NOT been able to read. (words like "special sounds" and "correct") I knew that he was an advanced reader - I was not surprised about that. I was truly amazed that he could read complex directions with difficult words and then apply it all without difficulty.
So, at that point ... I realized that Aaron's frustration was boredom. So, the rest of May was spent finishing up his K year, so that I could go ahead and move him on to 1st grade.
He not only can read. He can read well. He can sit down and read most anything ... AND he can tell me by paraphrasing what he read. He is already an independent reader.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

There's nothing like a box!

You just don't have to tell a child that boxes are fun. They know it instinctively!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Earning Minutes

We have a new system in place in the Holland home. Video games have been quickly becoming things over which to be obsessed. Martin's attitude was less than desirable and my even keeled child was quickly becoming a bad attitude with legs. My friend Shannon gave me a great idea - and I quickly put this idea into place. My children are now required to earn minutes to play video games.
Read for 30 minutes (or more), you get 30 minutes to play games

Chores around the house ... gets them more minutes. Each chore has a certain amount of time earned. (I made a chart in my notebook with the chore and the number of minutes they can earn next to it) My bathroom sink has never been cleaner!! In fact, I had to tell him that he could clean the sink as many times each day as he would like, but I'd only give him the minutes for it once per day.

Once the minutes are earned, we set the timer. When the timer goes off, the video games do too.
The attitude problem is mostly fixed now, since they lose minutes for a bad attitude, being unkind to their brothers/sister, general bad behavior. They also realize that the ball is in their court. If they don't play - it's not just because I don't want them to - it's because they haven't done anything to earn the minutes.
Harmony has mostly returned to our home.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Granola Bars - homemade - delicious

I have been trying to come up with a "healthy" granola bar for at least 3 years. I've made lots of different varieties and used lots of different recipes, and was never happy with the results. I finally discovered a recipe that I thought I could tweak to make it both healthy and delicious!
Here is the recipe:

Larissa's Granola Bars

1 cup brown sugar (I mix up my own using evaporated cane juice and molasses)
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp. honey
1/2 cup. *natural peanut butter (or natural almond butter - it's great both ways) *natural does not contain sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1 1/3 cup flour (I use either spelt, soft white, or kamut)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup rice crispies (I use brown crispy rice cereal - which contains no high fructose corn syrup)
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds
1 cup chocolate chips (I use 60% cacao, dark)
1 cup coconut (unsweetened)

Mix 1st 6 ingd. together. Mix dry ingd. together, minus chocolate, coconut. Add to wet mixture, fold in remaining ingredients, press them down firmly into the pan into an 11x15 greased pan and bake @ 350 for 20 minutes or so. You should cut them while they are warm.
You can use pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead of almonds for variety. You could also add a cup of raisins or dried fruit if you like that sort of thing. You could use raisins for an oatmeal raisin type of granola bar. Add about a teaspoon or so of cinnamon if you do that! Every person in my family loves these bars, in fact, Rosalie starts squealing with delight when I pull them out!
And I happen to know that they really are great - because they got the seal of approval from Rich.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I want to play too!

Rosalie definitely has a bunch of brothers! And she wants to do the same things she sees them doing!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I feel like a teenager!

Today is our 13th anniversary! Earlier this month we were able to celebrate our anniversary with a night away from the children. We went out to eat, walked around an outdoor mall, listened to some outdoor live music, and spent the night at a hotel. It was a great way to spend our anniversary.
I'm so thankful for my husband in so many ways. I am thankful to be on this journey by his side. I can't believe that it's already been 13 years!
May we continue to serve the Lord together and bring honor and Glory to Him in this journey of marriage and raising our children.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A quote from Charlotte Mason

"Their Bible lessons should help them to realise in early days that the knowledge of God is the principal knowledge, and, therefore, that their Bible lessons are their chief lessons."

This is one of the many reasons I use the Charlotte Mason method to educate our children. God is at the center. The knowledge of God is the principal knowledge. We are getting close to starting the school year, and I love reading the philosophy behind the Charlotte Mason method. She wrote 6 volumes of her philosophy of education. I have so much to learn! I am taking it one day at a time.
The Holland philosophy lines right up with the CM philosophy. The very heart of education is God. He is at the very center of all that we learn. He is the reason that we have anything to learn. Leaving Him out of the equation of learning and education is not a possibility nor an option.
Next month we will be starting Pre-K, 1st grade, and 3rd grade. The books are slowly showing up on our doorstep. I am way more excited to start than the children. (although Jonathan is a very close second!)

Friday, July 16, 2010

TOTALLY fun playdate!

The very gracious host, Ms. Amy (my children adore this special woman!)

The children waiting for the yummy lunch!

What a fun group of children eating their lunch!!
Thanks, Amy for inviting us to your home! We had a blast!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Trouble and more trouble!

I stop paying attention to her for 1 minute . . . I turn around and see this!!!

I clean up the mess, go back to what I was doing before . . . and turn around to see her sitting on the table. TROUBLE!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The 4th of July

The cousins/grandchildren

The two special girls (Rosalie ADORED Nicole!!!)

Jonathan enjoying the pool


Rosalie's first time in a bathing suit.

completely exhausted and couldn't stay awake any longer!

We just returned home from our trip to Pennsylvania. It was a wonderful time spent with our family. We were there for the 4th of July and had a great time celebrating! We swam in the pool, ate yummy food, and even got to do sparklers and watch fireworks. And I cannot forget to mention the Dilly bars - no Holland 4th of July is complete without the dilly bars! SUPER FUN!

Monday, July 12, 2010


At about 16 months old Rosalie finally chose her attachment items. The three items she chose are: A flannel blanket made by my friend, Janet, a stuffed Minnie Mouse given to her by my mom and dad, and a stuffed pony the boys, Rich and I picked out for her a couple weeks before she was born.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Pupup, Nanny, their children, daughter in-law, and grandchildren

Pupup, Nanny and their 6 grandchildren

Nanny and the grandkids

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Building a Fort

Martin and Aaron built a fort one afternoon while Jonathan was napping. It was complete with the flag on top and all! And of course Rosalie had to get involved too!