I needed my walk

Yesterday everyone seemed a little bit off.  My strategy for the day turned to “just say yes.”  So when Keats asked if he could make the shrimp and hot root soup from The Redwall Cookbook for lunch, I said yes.  I think it’s good to turn kids loose in the kitchen with cookbooks if they are interested.  It’s messy though.  Later, hoping that it would allow me the time I needed to finish a math lesson with one of the boys, I said yes to Larkspur and Beatrix when they asked if they could paint.  I made a point of insisting that they both maintain eye contact with me as I instructed them, “Do. not. paint. your. bodies.  Do you understand?”  They promised they wouldn’t.  My math student became ill shortly after I introduced multiplication for the first time.  It was just a coincidence; he really is coming down with a cold.  I sent him to bed and then joined the girls.  While they weren’t technically painting their bodies, they were tracing their hands on paper using paint.  They are good at finding loopholes.  The painting situation deteriorated rapidly and I resigned myself to that.  Then the mess grew as Beatrix decided to carry a tray of paint into the living room while I was looking the other way.  I don’t know what she was thinking.  I do know that she intentionally starting rubbing her toes in the spilled paint while saying, “Oops!”  Grabbing my camera is my version of counting to ten.  I’ve been using that calming technique for many years and I have plenty of photos including one of a three year old Keats sitting naked on the toilet covered in ivory concealer to prove it.  Back to paint covered Beatrix:  She needed to be plopped in a bath.  Silas was asleep in my bedroom where our only bathtub is (until Jonny finishes tiling the downstairs tub surround.)  We made do with the tiny downstairs bathroom sink.  Jonny finished his work day around this time and we took an afternoon walk after all the paint was cleaned up.  I needed that walk.  It was still chilly outside but I could feel the approaching warm front on the breeze and it was amazing.  To feel that shift in the air as the weather begins to change is one of my favorite things.

Today we’re going on a picnic.  I baked Squirrelmum’s blackberry and apple cake, also from The Redwall Cookbook, to bring along.  We’ve never taken a cake with us on a picnic before, so this makes it feel extra special.


  1. number one….LOVE THAT KITCHEN!
    number two…..LOVE the post!
    thank you. thank you.

  2. I had to laugh and run into the kitchen to tell my three youngest about your soup and cake. They are busily preparing Deeper ‘n Ever Turnip n’ Tater n’ Beetroot Pie, for the second time this week! They love that Redwall Cookbook! My oldest daughter remembers how much they enjoyed the shrimp soup, but “It would be better without the shrimp!”

  3. I don’t pull out the paints very often, mostly it’s washable markers, but either way my two year old prefers to colour himself, I tell myself that at least if he’s drawing on himself it’s not on the walls or all over the house 🙂

  4. Your taking pictures of the spilled paint instead of counting to 10 story reminded me of one of the funniest pictures of my younger brother. We were all outside playing and my mom wanted us to start packing the toys away and told my youngest brother to go inside and get ready for a bath, the tub was already filled for him. He was about 4 or 5 at the time. He kept playing and finally my mom lost her patience and yelled “Craig get in the tub NOW!!!” and it was rare for her to yell loudly so he took off running. She went in the house to give him his bath and found him sitting in the tub (which was full of hot soapy water)- fully clothed all the way from socks and shoes to a baseball hat on top. She just laughed and told him to stay put while she went for the camera.
    Sometimes it’s best to just laugh and grab a camera than get frustrated 🙂

  5. The camera idea (vs. counting to ten) is such a good one! Maybe it will double as a way to help me take better photographs, too.

  6. Oh and I LOVE the name Beatrix! 😀

  7. Oh and I can’t wait to check out that cookbook and if we move to our “new” old farm house, I am so doing my cabinets GREEN. I just love ’em! 🙂

  8. Thanks for the little glimpse of your day…my day was one of those where you get stuff done but you don’t know what mean?…I got 1/2 of the cleaning done I wanted to do, 1/3 of putting away of stuff, and that was it on that front…I did however snuggle & read with my 3 yo,me, my 3 yo & 5 yo watched Little Paris Kitchen together on Youtube (we all love that show for some reason), we listened to a bit of Pride & Prejudice on Librivox, made smoothies together in the afternoon, and played a lot of games…popcorn included. So, all in all, it was a good day. 😉

  9. By the way- yesterday i sent you an email asking a technical blog question…never mind it. it’s figured out now. thanks. 🙂

  10. Yes, the walks. Needed. Your pictures told me a familiar story, and reminded me how things change when you just go outside. That warm front is still here in western Virginia, to be replaced by a cold one this evening. I’m looking forward to the shift as well. 🙂

  11. This is fantastic!!!

  12. How funny–I just pulled out my multiplication bead board with my oldest daughter (6.5) this week. We’re sort of unschooly with Montessori stuff homeschoolers, and so I never know how those kinds of materials will “hit”, but she seemed to enjoy it. I enjoyed it too–so helpful in picturing these things for a visual person like me.

    Everyone was off around here too when our weather changed. The warm temperatures today, though, have been amazing! 🙂

    Thanks as always for your encouraging blog and lovely photos.

  13. I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks, and really enjoying it. Thank you for your work.
    My comment is: Your photographs captured so well the story you were going to tell, and a story that moms everywhere will know. I breathed a sigh of relief as you stepped out on your walk (in pictures). God restores us when we seek Him! That’s what it made me remember.

  14. We all have days like that. I often have to give myself a time out. It seems to happen a lot more when we are stuck inside.

  15. Ah…I love your pictures and perspective. Both are beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Do you happen to know what that multiplication board would be called if I were to search for one? I think it would be perfect for my 2nd grader.

    • I would just go to a big Montessori site (alison’s maybe?) and look through all the math stuff….it should be there. I’m sorry that I don’t remember details!

  16. Everyone was a little “off” here yesterday, too. If only I could have handled it as well as you did. Beautiful photos, they really do tell your story. 🙂

  17. Yeah, I’ve used the “grab the camera” technique to stop myself from freaking about a mess before. It works better with the little kids. With the bigger kids, my technique is to remove myself from the situation until I can speak coherently and without the veins standing out on my neck and temples…

  18. I’ve made that mistake too. I told my daughter not to cut her own her, or her brothers. I thought I had covered all bases until I found her cutting the dogs hair….

  19. Your girls are the perfect co-conspirators, aren’t they?

    Your pictures told the whole story.

  20. Today it is in the high 60’s… every time I see the sun I think of you Ginny…it has been a long winter for you.

    Know that there are people praying for you…smile..


  21. Oh my goodness…yes, “Do. not. paint. your. bodies.” A common instruction, here, that is also most often ignored.

    Your calm in the face of chaos never ceases to amaze me. You earned that walk yesterday! xo

  22. Love it all! We had quite the day yesterday too 🙂

  23. I love that you grab the camera instead of counting- I need to try this. My daughter was painting a few days ago and turned her easel so it blocked my view of her. She stepped out with paint smeared all over the hair on the back of her head. I’m pretty certain I spent more time cleaning her up than she spent painting, but I have to keep telling myself how much she enjoys it and that makes it all worth it (some days that is much harder said than done).

  24. what a great idea… using the camera as a way to count to ten. 🙂 of course my camera is usually out of batterty because the kids are always using it. LOL

  25. First of all, we love that Redwall cookbook. Some kind of root vegetable pie we made was really good (and really easy).

    Second, is Beatrix six? I just read an article on the six year old and the key words were “destructive, out of bounds, hard to reign in”. I have a six year old. I think we need a support group.

    And lastly, thank you so much for linking to our online fundraiser to bring our little girl home! We have met and I hope continue to meet many new friends.

    Much love,

  26. Brings back lots of happy memories from our home school days! Keep up the good work!

  27. Brings back lots of happy memories of our home school days! Keep up the good work!

  28. I always smile when I see paint and Beatrix mixed together. One day it will be an event of the past and you will find it hilarious and sweet. I think that is the best part of motherhood, our memories dim and we remember the funny stuff. Have fun with your picnic, it is dreary and drippy here.

  29. You had quite a day! We need one of those multiplication things! Where can we get one?

  30. I wish I was better with messes, and I am trying to work on that. I think that is why God has given me four little boys 🙂 I am trying to get back into going for a walk in the afternoon; it makes such a difference in my outlook.

  31. You are a much better women than I Ginny. We no longer have paint in the house, at all. We use to finger pain, but that got to messy so I banished them to the outside. One day I walked out there (what was I thinking leaving them unsupervised) & found that they had painted themselves, younger siblings, & the house. Needless to say, paint is no longer in our home!!! It’s been that way for over 6 years now & no one seems to miss it!!! I just can’t handle the mess as well as you do, to much mess for my OCD!!!

  32. Oh, Ginny. “Grabbing the camera is my version of counting to 10.” Love it. And that plucky Beatrix. Man, the world needs her. And man oh man, I’ll bet she who is responsible for getting her out into the world needs the odd walk, the breath of fresh air. I just adore the both of you.

    Randomly: the new Nigel Slater book has the most wonderful quote that made me think of you. Something about glass, and small things. Will send your way.


  33. A Redwall Cookbook! I didn’t know! I’ll have to check this out, we love the Redwall books.

  34. Grabbing the camera is a SUPERB idea for a metaphorical count to ten! I am useless at remembering to do that, but I reckon I can remember to grab a quick photo. We have occasional days like that and I have just the two small people to worry about. I am in awe of you!

  35. You are a very patient mother. If that happened when my children painted… they would never be allowed to paint again. Your tolerance amazes me. This sounds like an admonition but I assure you it is not. I am thinking you are superwoman or something. 🙂

  36. Ah yes, we had one of those days the other day where I needed to remind myself to breathe before my head exploded. We have been cooped up far too much lately due to some awful weather, but today is supposed to be almost 60degrees here so we are getting outside no matter what before it snows again! It looks like you had a lovely walk, makes me wish for an early Spring.

  37. P.S. Where did you get the math manipulatives? I’m looking for things to use with my non math inclined preschooler…

  38. We had seven kids in the house and a mama yesterday because everyone came to our house instead of going to other day care on a snow day. It looked a lot like your place at times. It was too cold and wet to walk, but I did veg out with my ipad later in the evening… hugs mama… you’re doing a great job!

  39. 1) you don’t want to hear the word I said when I looked at the first few photos.
    2)I like your technique of grabbing your camera. I WAS wondering how you managed to take pictures of THAT (sorry about the capitals, it gets very loud in my head when I encounter this kind of mess…) I will try to copy this technique, if I manage to not shake whilst taking the pictures.
    3) On Sunday afternoon, everybody looked lazy and busy and was taking no heed of my repeated ‘let’s go for a walk’. I was feeling tired just thinking of gathering and dragging them all. So I ignored the voice in my head that said ‘we must take them out, they need some fresh air, and my husband and I just took off, on our own and had the most wonderful, long and invigorating walk ever.
    4) My fresh air did them all good… 😉
    I needed that walk too.

  40. Ah…loop holes. Although my children are very proficient at finding them , they did not know there was an official name for them until the other day when my husband explained the term “loop hole.” And as for painted bodies…right after I had our 4th baby, my grandparents came down for a visit. While I was resting and they were admiring the new baby (the first boy), my husband let the girls finger paint in the kitchen, without the admonishment to keep the paint on the paper. We were called to the kitchen by two little girls singing “This feels so good,” as they painted themselves from the literal top of their head to the soles of their feet. And your method of counting to ten…makes for some great moments to laugh about years later–we have a photo of that day that we laugh over now with those two little girls, now 14 and 12.

  41. Oh, there are many days when the camera comes out as a way of not blowing up and murdelizing the children! We have a great one of my two youngest standing next to the refrigerator covered in black, blue, and green sharpie (of all things!) and it looks like mug shots for both of them. Guilty as sin and waiting for Mom to lose it. I didn’t, but we had permanent marker camouflage on for about 3 days.

  42. Sometimes it’s all I need too, and the temperature being in the -15°C (and it reached -30°C last week!!) We’re indoor way too much that I like us to be!!

    Fortunatly we have an outing planed out as well today, not a picnic but some snow sliding in the park. Does Johnny still takes the boy out to ski?

    • We didn’t sign up for the homeschoolers’ snowboarding deal this year. It’s a lot of driving, and last year we didn’t really get our money’s worth because it was such a mild winter. The boys are missing it though!

  43. Dear Ginny, I read almost all of your posts and I must say I admire you! The way you are trying to raise your children or better the way you guide them into life impresses me. I have three almost grown up children and I remember times when it was messy and untidy and I was jut ready to burst into tears beeing so tired of it all and I only had three little ones and as they started school I only had them in the afternoons…
    I never even dared to homeschool, I thought to be repected I had to work as soon as possible and give my kids away to professionals to be cared for, well that stopped when we had to move to Austria from Sweden and I had worked up enough courage to say, no, I want to stay home and care for them… so I did for eight wonderful years until I went back to school, changed my career and became a kindergartenteacher and a Montessori- teacher. If I had known what I learned in the kindergartenschool and in my Montessoritraining about children, and if I have had the guts… I would never ever have given my kids away to “professionals” I would have kept them at home just as you do! It’s not an easy equation and I could go on for ever about this but as a matter of fact what I want to say is that you’re doing a wonderful thing and you should keep up with it just as you do! ps. with lots of love, time and support my kids have turned out wonderful people – anyway….;)

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