On a Wednesday


not supposed to be asleep

after his little nap

after his little nap


division on the abacus

treasure box


lace cap

for baby A

(Baby Vertebrae)

on a chair

We have a tile floor in our kitchen that always gets compliments.  I should just say “Thank you” and be grateful for it.  But usually I launch into a monologue about the grout and how difficult it is to clean (several hours on hands and knees scrubbing) and how I wish we could hack up the tile with a hammer.  We’ve tried many techniques for cleaning it over the past decade, but today I decided to fill a bucket with a bit of Dr. Bronner’s soap and water and handed scrub brushes to all six kids.  As I watched my kids sliding around laughing with sheer glee, I remembered doing the same when I was about nine years old.  We had a little galley kitchen in our Nashville apartment and I would clean the floor by pouring soap and water on it and then sliding through the sudsy water with a towel under my knees. (disclaimer:  While this will be the new way that I keep our kitchen grout clean, there are dangers in letting a pack of small children, one of them still a baby, slide around on tile floors in soapy water.  I wasn’t able to help because I had to hold Silas’ hands most of the time to keep him from falling down.)

At the dinner table tonight Beatrix in all seriousness asked, “What’s chicken made of? …pig?”

Somehow this led to the launch of a discussion on naming the rooster.  I suggested “Dumpling.”

Keats came up with “Doodle” which led to hilarious laughter and phrases such as, “Watch out! That rooster’s going to doodle on your porch!”

I think we’re going with “Doodle,”  but possibly “Doodle Dumpling” which I realize is ridiculous.  Generally speaking, naming roosters is not one of our special talents.  We’ve had Harriet, King, Gimp, and Tail Down.  Speaking of tails, Doodle is getting some lovely green tail feathers.

lilies in my boot
p.s.  You know it’s been a good day when at it’s near close you find your boot stuffed with daylilies.  Thanks Larkspur!



  1. At 3 my son asked if beef came from panda bears. He was un-phased. I guess he’s not going to be a vegetarian. He’s also asked, immediately after Bambi’s mom gets killed, if the hunters are eating her now (and we don’t hunt!)

    I love the picture of your clan scrubbing the floor!

  2. Too cute. Glad it was a great day! 🙂

  3. What a sweet find….daylillys in your boots! That makes me smile! My favorite photo is the one of all the children cleaning the floor….you got them all in one frame (impressive), it is so real life, simple and sweet. They are all great but that one tugs at my heartstrings.

  4. Melissa L says:

    Great post Ginny, thanks for sharing this! I just love the baby cardigan you knit; I may have to get that pattern- it looks like a good ‘go-to’ for baby shower gifts. Your hydrangeas are about to burst into bloom and I love their color contrast against the wood of your home 🙂

  5. When I first saw the scrubbing picture, I thought they were dancing! Love Mr. Doodle Dumpling, too. (Made me think “Yankee Doodle Dumpling”, which might be appropriate for 4th of July?)

  6. Sandy Keith says:

    We had a banty rooster named Henry, so I don’t think Doodle is a strange name at all. I mean, most people don’t name their poultry.

  7. Is Silas cleaning with a toilet brush?!?! LOVE it!!!!
    His little sweet face is quite something. Your children are all so darling.

    • It’s a bottle scrubber actually, but if I would let him he would LOVE to play with toilet brushes. I have to keep the bathroom door closed at all times.

  8. I LOVE the shot of all the kids scrubbing the floor. It made me think of the words “industrious chaos”!

  9. Jessica says:

    Lovely photos. I have the same flooring and I complain about it every chance I get. I just love the family fun cleaning idea. They look like they had a blast.
    Did you get a good deal on the Catholic Children’s Treasure Box? It’s been on my list for over a year.

    • I bought them years ago and just checked all the online Catholic booksellers that I knew of and went with the cheapest. It may have been Seton at that time?

  10. Oh, thank God for children. Mine have managed to make me smile and even laugh while recovering from the rather sudden–though not surprising–death of my father on Saturday. I love Bea’s question, so much like Dominic’s, “Are we made of cheese?” awhile back.

    The roosters that we have kept have all had names; we don’t bother to name the agressive ones and just go and sell them to the Mennonites. Our bantams–named by the kids and done in by an opossum years ago–were Sugarboy and Prince of Colors. Then we had Fowler (from Chicken Run–have you seen that? Very funny!), Daryl (he was given to use with that name) and now we have Bertram Chanticleer. He’s the most comic element on our farm.

    Your photos and posts are always so wonderful.

  11. 🙂 so sweet
    We use Stain Solver – it is like a super oxy clean. It really works. You have to let it sit for 10-15 min to get really dirty dirt out, but our grout went from dark gray to the light gray it was supposed to be:)
    Could try if your current didn’t help.

  12. I laughed out loud here. I love this post 🙂 And you are a genius with your pack of grout cleaners.

  13. Ginny, as always I love looking at your pictures. You actually gave me the idea of putting my boys to clean my kitchen grouts as well! Let’s see what happens. Anyways, I just saw this online and immediately thought of your girls. http://probablyactually.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/pasta-party/

  14. Are the blueberries from your garden? We’ve been eating blueberries from our garden for about a week now and the raspberries are ready for picking today. My kids love to berry pick as long as they can pick and eat. When I hand them the colander or bowl for berry picking…then it becomes a “chore”.

    What type of abacus is that? Which math curriculum do you use?

  15. Loving your post! I like Doodle Dumpling.

  16. I just love your updates and photos! The ones of the kids cleaning the floor–priceless!

    My husband and I were just discussing the children we know yesterday, and he commented that most of them have such high and unrealistic expectations of life and of their parents (they all seem to have the “gimme gimmes” and expect EVERYTHING (electronics, brand name clothes, etc) handed to them on a silver platter.

    I really appreciate your simple and beautiful way of living, and how your children take joy in the simple things. It’s refreshing to see.

  17. hmmmm. good cleaning idea! i think i will this a try! 🙂
    personally, i LOVE that rooster name!

  18. I think Doodle Dumpling could not be more perfect!

  19. Wounderful pictures, wounderful kids, keep on enjoying them!

  20. My youngest called all meat “chicken” for a while too. He would say “What kind of chicken is this…pig?” exactly like your daughter. Thanks for the reminder…I will have to write it down.

  21. Our day lilies are recently all a-bloom. Thank Larkspur for giving me the idea to put bouquets in our neighbors porch boots!

  22. I love your creative idea for getting the floor cleaned by making it a fun activity for the kids. 🙂

    P.S. My vote is for Doodle Dumpling. I love it.

  23. Dumpling could be his unofficial second name – then it wouldn’t seem so silly. Our cat Dolly was always called Dolly Dimples by my mother. My brother still calls her that sometimes, and as a result he was tempted to a second name for Henry, so he calls him Henry Hinkles. Very silly!!

    Larkspur is a dear.

  24. “I am okay with living dangerously in the name of clean grout.”

    Absolutely!! And I just love (sarcasm) when those little guys figure out fun things like standing on chairs (or kitchen tables and running in circles)…you have one busy house, but who am I to say?! They are the best kind. Have a wonderful weekend!


  25. So clever! You’ve reminded me that I really do need to involve the girls more in cleaning jobs I dislike. 😉

    I have to ask, also, where did you pick up the abacus that’s pictured with your son? It’s absolutely brilliant with the unit markings!

  26. Doodle Dumpling is a great name!! Love all of your pictures.

  27. Looks like a fabulous day and the flowers in your boot, love!

  28. Doodle Dumpling is awesome, especially if he ends up with dumplings on top! But you can’t eat him after you name him, can you?

  29. As I scrolled through your photos I thought children at rest and children at play…I didn’t even realize they were cleaning grout. What a great way to live sliding around on a soapy floor and a Rooster named Doodle.

    With All That I Am
    Carrie “The Handmade Homemaker”

  30. What a wonderful picture of your kids cleaning the kitchen floor!! and what a great idea, I’m definitely going to try this one out with my two.
    Our roosters in the past have been called Rocco, Zion and Big Bird. I like Doodle Dumpling.

  31. My kiddos love cleaning this way too. Such fun!

  32. I love your “technique” for cleaning your grout! I could almost hear the giggles and banter as I looked at the photos. And what a unique surprise from your daughter, that is wonderful.
    p.s I like the name Doodle Dumpling, lol I do!

  33. there must be a reason , people want children……..
    we know why: lots of helping hands and nothing left for the parents!
    This little one on the chair – just georgious!
    Best wishes to you and your family

  34. Considering how you feel about roosters, I think Walter is the perfect name! Because of it’s use in On Golden Pond (for the fish that couldn’t be caught), it has been a favorite of mine for years!

  35. Very sweet post post, thanks. Love the flowers in the boot.

  36. what a lovely and cheerful post! Love the pic of all 6 children working away happily! looks so homely x

  37. Penelope says:

    I love these pictures! Proof of a day well-lived.

  38. ‘Walter’ is my favorite rooster name! Nugget is a close second. I’m glad you’re getting lots of helping hands with the kitchen floor. : )

  39. what a lovely day! I’m impressed with that grout cleaning!

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