School Days

After a three week break, we started school again last week.  In preparation, I cleaned out the big kitchen cabinet where I store art supplies and activities so I’d be ready to keep Job and Silas occupied (almost the hardest part of homeschooling is keeping the younger ones productively occupied, isn’t it?)  Job seems to love little practical life activities, mainly different types of transferring.  He says to me, “Spoon!  Spoon!” and that means he wants a little tray, spoon, two little cups and maybe some beans to transfer.  If he spills his beans, he quickly picks them up (filling my heart with great hopes that he will grow up to be a tidy child, ha ha) He learned to sort last week:  sea glass, shells, coral, and other things from our fossil hunting trips.  Silas still mainly wants to “do art” as he calls it.  I am gifted with numerous little drawings each day, and he looks up at me with big eyes, waiting to hear me tell him how much I love his art.

I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned that Jonny bought a sawmill last year.  He had been wanting one for years, and he loves it so much.  I joked with a friend recently that the sawmill is coming between us!  The three older boys are all learning to mill lumber.  I think that counts as school.

School days feel so full and busy, kind of hectic, and we never seem to get everything done.  Both girls started playing an instrument in December last year, so now I have to remember to make sure they practice!  Beatrix is plucking her little violin, and Larkspur started flute lessons.  Lark has been asking to learn the flute for years, and I finally had my middle school flute cleaned up and repaired for her.  It’s neat seeing her learn on my old flute!  I didn’t play beyond middle school, and in my first year of college, my grandfather, who had a collection of musical instruments, bought my flute from me, giving me the cash I needed to buy furniture for my apartment.  Years later he returned it to me, a gift.  He met Larkspur when she was a baby, and I remember carrying her back to his bedroom, as he was staying in bed most of the time.  He held her there on his bed, and I remember feeling so grateful that we had been able to make the trip to Alabama, and also grateful that she didn’t cry.  I know I have photos of that day somewhere.  He died shortly after that visit.  I think he would be pleased to know that his great granddaughter is now learning to play that flute.

Larkspur’s tenth birthday is coming up in March.  She has a specific list of wants.  Jonny helped her make a seed list for this year’s garden.  Then she wants gardening gloves (that actually fit her, she specified) and a big straw hat.  She would also like overalls and a red plaid shirt.  Where will I find those?  Anybody know where to find basic denim overalls that aren’t all weird and skinny?  The plaid shirt may prove to be a challenge too.
Thanks for all the tips!  Overalls are ordered (these), and it sounds like plaid is in right now, and I won’t have trouble finding a shirt at a local store.


  1. Love the look of little Job’s shoes. Where did you get them?!

  2. Oh and meant to add, the Hubs started working at a friend’s sawmill a couple months ago part-time…he enjoys it a lot….

  3. I love that she has such a specific list…yes plaid is in…I’m a fan of plaid shirts myself….if you have Old Navy down there, they have a ton (and it’ll be on sale or clearance soon to bring in the spring clothes), although red plaid isn’t quite as easy to find..I bought the Hubs a plaid shirt online at Duluth Trading that has extra space in the underarms for chopping wood, etc…..

  4. So envious of Jonny’s sawmill. You should have him do a blog post all about it with more pictures and lots of info!

    Hang in there with the schooling.

  5. We just started school this week as well and I always feel like the days are so full and busy. What a wonderful idea for your husband to have a sawmill and so interesting for your kids. My boys would love it too!

  6. that’s great… love plaid shirts myself…. can’t wait to hear all about her garden come spring…. little Job is adorable…. will the girls put on a concert for the family? I bet your house is loud at times… Mine too. I have 2 girls and 5 boys at home. I showed my son your cat. It looks just like my Nala. We chuckled being over the gerbils… mine sleeps by the fish tank like cat TV. as always your pics are a blessing.

  7. Ginny, just thoroughly loved the post per usual. Reminds me of when we lived in the country and homeschooled our first three. Those were the days.

  8. We are re starting schooling here too, I feel loke I’m always behind. I love her requests, all the things for her garden.

  9. Love Larkspur’s style–can’t wait to see her outfit all together!

  10. Kathleen L. says:

    Your eggs look super yummy!!!
    Where did you find the Sacred Heart stitch marker? It looks beautiful!

  11. That picture of kitty laying on the mouse cage though. Awesome!!! Wait…those are mice, right? 🙂

  12. I adore the last photo: the light, composition, looks on their faces. It’s gorgeous!

  13. Thank you for sharing the story about your grandfather. I loved looking at your photographs so thank you also for sharing these.

  14. where is your winter? these pictures look like spring!

  15. I’m typing through tears after that flute story. So beautiful! I am in the same boat with keeping a little one occupied during school time. Thank you for reminding me of the value of a muffin tin for sorting. We’ll have fun with that. And a belated congratulations on your baby girl! I have to admit I’m a bit jealous 😊

  16. Loved the blog today. Good Luck to Larkspur and Beatrix with their musical instruments.
    Thank You for your very interesting blogs.
    Marion and Family

  17. You accomplish so much and keep so many plates spinning at once! When I’m pregnant I am so USELESS and sick the first four months, and barely able to keep my head above water the last few months. I would love for you to share at some point what “a day in the life” or a “week in the life” of you/your family looks like! I am planning on beginning to homeschool my firstborn this fall and trying to figure out how to fit that in with two toddlers and also to have time for things like knitting, reading, blogging, photography, and the regular care of the house–Ahh! I truly wonder how it’s going to happen!

    • It looks like a big mess. On so many levels. I never fit everything in. I drop many of those spinning plates every single day. And my house is pretty much never clean anymore. 🙂 I am really blessed in that my energy levels have been good this pregnancy thus far. I’ve been sick, but having energy makes a HUGE difference! Give yourself a lot of grace.

  18. Oh! these photos and your blog sure warmed my heart on the VERY cold sub-zero day in MN. Is that Job’s “timeout” cubby hole? TOO cut! And yes, your cat on top of the gerbils is just too delightful!!
    Thanks for starting the week out with so much fun.

    • This Floridian would LOVE to know how cold it will be the end of Feb in MN? I’ve already told husband we should probably fly for the long weekend of medical appointments with a team of specialists at the Mayo clinic. ( instead of us trying to brave the elements to make the 2 day drive?! ) I’m assuming we might need to try and borrow clothing as none of our stores will have anything to even purchase for your temps. I’m sure I can google it but asking one of Ginny’s trustworthy friends would be more fun!!

  19. I have been making my seed list too and it looks like Larkspur and I have the same magazine!

  20. Ginny I love your blog and photographs and your writing. I don’t know what it is about it. Other blogs come and go, but I have stayed with yours since the first one I read!

    I was wondering about Job’s shoes? I really like them, and have grandkids that should have them, I feel. 🙂

  21. Any chain farm store is a great resource for those kinds of things. We have about a million pairs (slight exaggeration) of rain boots from one — we keep them for when friends come and they want to go creeking.

    Love, love the photo of the kitty lying on top of the gerbil cage. Haha!

  22. As usual, I love all your snips of day to day life. Job in the box is so funny……so normal for little kiddos. The cat on the gerbil home is hilarious though. What a nice form of entertainment for him & you!! Your life is full & blessed!

  23. Great photos and lots of fun times! I’m cracking up over the photo of the cat lying on the gerbils’ home too. When I had a cat, it would sit and stare at my gerbils.


  24. Where do you order your seeds from? Locally or online?

  25. 1. My dd asked for almost exactly the same things. She is busily plotting out her garden spaces … That is math… And reading seed books from the library and catalogs… That’s reading. She keeps a notebook with her drawings and pencils in results based on our soil. Culpeper has a lot of clay and limestone.
    Overalls… Tractor supply! They were huge but a nip and pin and she will wear them for years. Boy’s section.
    2. Saw milling is definitely school, and we never get everything done. This is a shared hang-up among homeschooler’s… But I imagine there is no end to learning… Another knot, another book, and the side tracks keep t going longer. We take a lot of side tracks.
    3. If you want to get some cheap Montessori materials… Alisonmontessori and montessorioutlet… I got a huge authentic farm… With all the Schelein animals, language sets, etc. $200. Solid wood base. I need to sell it, but it would break my heart. The kids still pull it out.

    • Thank you for the helpful ideas. Our daughter has Down syndrome and is legally blind and we are just taking a leisurely approach to learning and loving the Montessori methods. I’m going to go take a peek!!

  26. The Sears near me had red flannel shirts just this past weekend. They are the Lands End Brand and are on sale for $13. I love the quality of the clothes and we have had many last through my two boys and a cousin. If you don’t find one please let me know and I can certainly look and ship to you.

  27. How sweet that your daughter could learn to play flute on the same one you did! I still have mine from school but it is in need of new pads. One day I will get around to repairing it.

  28. I love the story about your grandfather and the flute. Now that Larkspur is playing it too, it makes the circle complete. What a wonderful memory. I’m sure his buying it from you was a way of showing his love to you. I always enjoy looking through your photos. Your knitting shows up in a lot of them and seeing how it blesses your family is lovely.
    Blessings, Betsy

  29. The campers would make such great playhouses or get aways for the older kids! Maybe one for the older kids and one for the younger kids. The photo of the Iris is just stunning.

  30. Just curious what you do with gifts of art and drawings from your children? My daughter gifts me with many many drawings a week, and I LOVE them and treasure them and have an awfully hard time letting them go (not to mention that she would be so sad to know if I ever got rid of any), but seriously…it gets to be quite a lot! I have been choosing favorites to keep in a box and recycling others when I can do so secretly, but…just curious how others manage this.

    • I have one large rubbermaid bin of each child’s “best” work (as deemed by me). I kept them in my closet when they were young. Now they are in storage for “some day.”

    • I have used larger drawings and paintings as wrapping paper during birthday party season.

    • Melissa N says:

      I have a 3 ring binder with plastic sleeves in it for each child. I choose the best drawings, date them in the corner, and slip them in a sleeve. The rest go to the recycle bin (secretly) This has worked well for us for over 10 years, and really makes a nice book that they enjoy looking back through. It also helps if they use standard size paper for most of their drawings so that they fit without trimming.

    • To be perfectly honest, I recycle most of them. They don’t notice. 🙂

  31. What a great story about your flute! I wish I had kept my trombone from school playing…if only so I could pick it up again! I still have dreams sometimes that I’m playing it and when I wake up my mouth actually hurts. Such a sweet act on the part of your grandfather.

  32. You have a vintage camper?! 😊

    • The word “vintage” makes it sounds quaint, which it isn’t! We actually have two that Jonny picked up free on Craigslist to dismantle and take parts from to outfit a school bus turned RV. But then we couldn’t afford to buy the bus and now we just have these two hideous campers sitting there. I’ve requested that they leave, but I don’t think hauling them away is high on Jonny’s priority list!

      • Maybe you can convert them into tiny houses for the older kids in a few years. We have one that I keep threatening to use as my menopause hut.

        • What a wonderful idea! Ours has AC and heat and everything. I could have him set it up to be an art studio!! Ha ha! He lived in it almost two years while working at a new job 12 hr away. The housing market fell apart and he ended up getting a job back here. So the camper is sadly neglected. I even think of mention taking an adventure and his ears shut off!!

  33. What a cool girl Larkspur is! I love her birthday list. She knows exactly what she wants, and isn’t just following in her brothers’ footsteps. My older sister was smack in the middle of the 5 of us kids, and very similar to Lark. She taught me to be brave and adventurous.

  34. loved this post, thank you for sharing stories from your family’s life, they are a delight to read…

  35. I would try a farm store for the overalls. They may only be labeled as boys’ clothes, but they’ll work fine in the right size for her. The red plaid shirt…maybe the farm store, but maybe try Old Navy? They’ve had a lot of flannel, mostly plaid, this past year.

  36. Jada Sharp says:

    Check out Thread up. It is an online consignment shop.

  37. OSH KOSH overalls! The only ones that I think of! Look online! All my kids wore them!

  38. Our local farm supply store has these (boys) that work well. They are Dickies brand (so a bit less expensive than Carhart, but they seem pretty solid). Here they are on amazon:

    And flannel/plaid shirts are everywhere. On clearance at the end of the winter! 🙂

  39. Adrienne C says:

    Milling lumber definitely counts as school! I used to make goats milk soap as my chemistry and cooking as my math. And totally agree about youngers and school, my biggest challenge is keeping the toddler occupied while also trying to get the sit down part of school accomplished while the baby is napping. But, I was homeschooled, so I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Old Navy has a ton of plaid shirts, also saw some at Crazy 8’s if you have that near you.

    Congratulations by the way!

  40. Try Tractor Supply for overalls. They have a decent selection of real work clothes. Also, eBay. I’ve purchased many pairs of new Carhartt overalls very inexpensively there.

  41. I’ve seen Carhartt overalls for kids in our local Tractor Supply store…although I haven’t been in there recently to see if they still carry them.

    My daughter is sixteen, she bought a few long sleeved button down plaid shirts at our local JCrew store.

    Wow, that’s a lot of eggs. Our hens always slow way down/stop laying while the days are shorter then pick back up again when the days get longer.

  42. I would check target .

  43. Gap had normal overalls once. I saw a red plaid shirt in Target in the boys section before Christmas. Congratulations on the baby. I think it’s great she knows what she wants.

  44. My kids (who are grown now) all had overalls, as we live on a farm. Haven’t had to buy any to fit kids lately, but I would look in the Boy’s department rather than the girls — that way you avoid the spandex and “skinny” look. We used to get them from Sears or the local Feed and Seed store. Good luck!

  45. Jillian J says:

    Plaid shirts are in again! So that should be easy! For the overalls maybe look at carhardt or something like that, they are meant to be used and abused, so as long as you don’t get a “girly” color she should be able to pass them on.

    I love the cat on top of the gerbils pictures! Makes me think of old cartoons!

    Happy schooling!

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