For a Quick Reference

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Ladies Night Out Details for December

Ready for a night of creativity?

Come join the Ladies Night Out classes, where everyone creates a masterpiece ready for framing. I provide all the materials, you just provide the enthusiasm. No experience is necessary!

To add more fun to the evening, you can receive a $5 refund by bringing appetizers to share with the class. 

Arrive 15 minutes early to get snacks, smocked & in your seat! Classes begin promptly at 7:00pm. 

If you’re coming with others, but making reservations separately, please give me your group’s name or point person in the Special Request line. I'll seat you together!

Where I am located: 4 miles west of Liberty Hill. I will send you the studio address in a confirmation email when I receive your registration paperwork. The registration form is included at the end of this post. 

To reserve your spot in class, please make your payment in one of the following ways:

1- Send a payment online with Paypal. Please copy your registration information into the comment box. Here is the address to which you may send payment:

2- Mail a personal check to me with a copy of the registration paperwork. Please email me to receive my home address. You may contact me at:

You will receive a confirmation email when I receive your payment.

Kindly give 24 hour notice of cancellation so that I may offer your spot to another customer. A refund will be issued for cancellations received more than 48 hours before the class. A tuition credit will be given for cancellations less than 48 hours before the class. No shows will not receive a refund or tuition credit. Classes with insufficient enrollment may be cancelled. Customers will be notified in advance and refunds will be issued if the class is cancelled.

Please let me know if you have any questions!

Here are the upcoming projects and dates for the Ladies Night Out classes.

Friday, December 6 from 7-9:30pm. Cost: $30
Title: "Moonlight Walk"
Original photo here.

Friday, December 13 from 7-9:30pm. Cost: $30
Title: "Fall Foliage"

Original Photo from here. 

Saturday, December 14 from 7-9:00pm. Cost: $30
Title: "Rainy Skies"

or this one:

Original Photo from here.

Note- The silhouette in this project can be anything, not just the girl or couple shown here. My art class students have painted children, elephants, and dancing penguins under the umbrella, and they all looked fantastic. The animals made great decor for a child's room or play room. Use your imagination here!

Friday, December 20 from 7-9:30pm. Cost: $30
Title: "Daisies"

Original Photo from here.

Are you ready to register? Fill out the information below and include it with your payment. 

Phone number:___________________________________
Email Address:___________________________________
Which night are you registering for?
"Moonlight Walk", Friday, Dec 6_______
"Fall Foliage", Friday, Dec 13_____
"Rainy Skies", Saturday, Dec 14_____
"Daisies", Friday, Dec 20______
Do you want to upgrade to a larger canvas for an additional $10? _______

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The first fire in years

Today we were visited by a chimney sweep. We have looked forward to his visit for days! When we moved into this house, we couldn't get our fireplace to work- the smoke would always billow into the room instead of exiting up the chimney. For one reason or another, we never had the problem fixed, so for two years we have skipped the cozy fires of winter.

I adore a crackling fire, and sorely missed that element in our home. So. The chimney sweep was our favorite person of the season. The boys were so intrigued with the process, so our visitor had a rapt audience the entire time he worked. As an added 'wow' factor, he was also a fire the boys thought this person was perfectly amazing.

After the work was finished and he gave us the 'all clear', we eagerly built a fire and congregated in the music room with cozy blankets and books.

It was such a delightful evening! Everyone cuddled and listened to our favorite entertaining stories for almost an hour.

Sarah and I took turns reading, accompanied by the sizzle and pop of our welcome fire. We laughed together in delight over the silly antics in A. A. Milne's classic book. It's one of our very favorite collections of stories, and we love hearing it read aloud regularly.

While we read, Diego crawled under blankets and played with the dog on the rug. The older children brought out pillows and made beds on the ground so they could lie down quietly and listen to the stories (it was past bedtime, but I couldn't bear to send everyone away from the cheerful fire even on a school night) 

Everyone was together and everyone was happy. 

The end. 

PS- This is my motto lately. I like having a one-word theme to ponder and keep in sight. A few months ago I was feeling overwhelmed with all my responsibilities and commitments. I felt weighed down with the daily grind of housecleaning, home school, animal care, toddler care, etc. I needed to focus my energy on the things that mattered most. And once again, I read this talk about choosing our best priorities. To help me keep this focus, I embroidered this sign:  

This is my daily reminder to choose the better path.

Choose my family over other commitments, since I only have these children for a short while. 

Choose my God over the petty distractions that tug on my time each day. 

Choose to feed my soul instead of surf the internet. 

Choose to serve others and not myself. 

Choose the best things and shed the rest, no matter how enticing they may be. 

I'm also keeping this quote in mind from Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

“Never give up what you want most for what you want today.”

I'm still working on this. I'm constantly resolving to do better. I'm weak and foolish and so often fall into old habits of spending an hour reading the news. But I have improved a little bit each week, so I"m hopeful I can continue to improve and choose the best things in life. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Renaissance Revelry

Last week Nathan took a day off work to run away with us for a home school field trip.

We had been given a scholarship for free tickets and free meals at the Texas Renaissance Fair and boy-howdy did we jump at the chance to cancel our responsibilities and frolic in the past for a day.

The clouds created a steady drizzle during the morning, so we were given the authentic experience of trudging through mud anyplace where cobblestone walkways were lacking, but that didn't dampen our enthusiasm to explore.

Check out the wonderful ambiance created by the architecture at this place. It's an entire village sprawling on over 88 acres and filled with literally hundreds of shops and vendors.

We started off the day with a jousting tournament. The heroes entered the arena midst loud cheers from the audience. Our kids had a great time cheering for their hero and booing for the opponent. Luckily our hero won the day, but not until there was much jousting and sword-fighting. It was exciting and fun, no matter if it was staged.

We had a wonderful time perusing shops and admiring their wares. This place was SO fun to explore, filled with winding streets lined with appealing storefronts beckoning to us.

The girls loved the jewelry shops the most, wishfully looking at pendants and amulets of every shape and color. One of our favorite stops was a musical instrument store, full of carved wooden animals that were cleverly designed to make music. The shopkeepers encouraged the children to try every instrument, and they were eager to oblige.

Daniel loved an armaments store the most, where he tried his hand at several handmade crossbows and begged for one as a Christmas gift. Matthew's favorite shop was home to a breathtaking chess set selling for $5000. The pieces were cast in 18k gold and pewter and took 6 months for the craftsman to make.

The creator was playing chess with any willing boys, and Matthew REALLY wanted a turn on this board. Unfortunately the line of boys was far to long to allow us the luxury of lingering long enough for a game.

My favorite shop was one of the many clothing shops, filled with the most lovely attire to tempt my pocketbook. I decided to upgrade my fairy costume for my entertainment business and chose a lovely skirt and top to replace my homemade ones. I wore them this weekend at a fairy party and really loved the new look.

We were enthralled with several performances throughout the day. Nathan's favorite show was 'Birds of Prey', and showcased several different falcons, hawks, owls, and vultures. The children loved watching the birds swoop just over their heads. It was so fascinating to learn about these creatures and watch their agility on display.

My favorite was a Fire Whip show performed with a lot of comedy and sprinkled with explanations of the laws of physics. It was so fascinating to watch his skill with a whip, and the kids were fascinated with the flames. His tricks were flawlessly executed, sprinkled with lots of humor.

Our children unanimously agreed their favorite show was a Middle-Ages-style circus, complete with juggling jesters, sword-swallowers, flame blowers, and lots of slapstick comedy.

The food was so memorable as well. With meal vouchers in hand, the children could shop at any food vendor they pleased. Right off the bat they all chose the traditional turkey legs.....and after 5 bites they were all full. Of course.

They happily worked on finishing those heavy drumsticks all day. Nathan and I opted for healthier baked potatoes, loaded with toppings. We were blessed with free desserts and drinks as well. I think dessert was Diego's favorite part of the day.

We really enjoyed watching craftsman demos ranging from blacksmithing to candle carving. Daniel was most fascinated by the broom maker.

Here are other random glimpses of the day:

Daniel begged and begged to get a picture with the Barbarian. We've been studying the Fall of Rome this semester, and he's been intrigued by all the barbarian tribes. So. He thought this was the coolest thing ever.

This field trip was very memorable for sure. We enjoyed our day together, even with the long 3-hour drive to get there. I'm so thankful we had the opportunity to share this experience with each other! 

Bows and Arrows

Oh my goodness- I think I just earned the Worst Person of the Year Award. 

One of my student's parents came over today to pick up her child's art supplies. 

And I was away picking up a son from public school. And we have a strict rule about not opening doors for strangers. 

So when she knocked and peeked through the window, my kids ran and hid under their beds, arming themselves with their bows and arrows. The parent tried yelling through the door that she was just here to pick up her daughter's artwork. 

My kids thought it was a clever ploy by a clever burglar. 

What did they do? 

They creep out the back door (still armed with bows and several arrows each) and sneak around the perimeter of the property so they could put the bag of supplies on her car while she stood on the doorstep, calling me on the phone and peering through windows. 

Then the kids started to back away, keeping their distance and keeping the 'stranger' in sight.

I arrived just in time to see the kids make their Drop Off at the car. And just in time to see the mother turn around and discover two young archers that appeared to be stalking her. 

(To be clear, my kids were careful to keep the arrows pointed at the ground until a threat was obviously manifested.)

But still.

I'm mortified. And I can't stop laughing. The entire scene was absolutely hilarious. 

Terrible, just terrible.

(Editor's note- if you know me on Facebook, you've already seen t his post. I copied it here since my blog is 'supposed' to be a way I keep a family journal. I didn't want to forget this story! I apologize for the repeat if you've already seen this.)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Art Classes

My students have been creating such beautiful work in the art classes I teach. It has been such a pleasure watching them grow in confidence and skill as the semester progresses.

Last week we finished our masterpiece work, a rendition of "Starry Night" by Van Gogh.  Their paintings vary from the original regarding the village in the lower right corner. I encouraged the students to take whatever artistic liberties they wanted so they could have fun and personalize their art. 

 I didn't manage to take pictures of every painting before they were taken home by some students. (And I've been kicking myself mentally ever since.)  But at least I photographed half of the canvases. 

In no particular order, here are some glimpses of their completed art. (And sometimes I stole a picture of the artist WITH their work. Most of the pictures are without their maker, just because I totally forgot to take photos before everyone left. I snagged the rest of the photos later in the afternoon after the paintings had finished drying. It's so delightful to see all my counter tops covered with drying canvases each week.)

Alright, moving on.

Here is a lovely student with her lovely work! This student is 11 years old, and look what a great piece she created!

This student is 8 years old. She is always so eager for art to begin and is so careful with her work. 

The boy in this picture is my youngest student, age 6. He's known for mixing the most unique colors in class. 

This artist is age 10. Isn't it beautiful! She has an innate ability that is so fun to watch!

This artist is age 8. I love her blue accents on the church.

And so is this one. I love the fruit orchard and gardener she added!

This artist is age 9. I love the care he took with the church building. Look at that detail!

This one is age 9:

This student is 8: 

Age 7:

Age 9:

Age 29 
(This student is a mother taking the class with her daughters. I think it's safe to assume all adult women are 29, right?) I adore the swirls of color in her sky! 

This last one is from my high school student. She's age 15, and already has received an offer for this painting from an interested buyer. What a compliment to her talent! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Little Things

This is what I found yesterday afternoon.

Diego had stolen my wizard hat from one of my magic trunks (I use the hat as a silly prop in my show) and carried it around with him all day. Here he was, savoring candied fennel and feeding some to his little toy which he affectionately calls "Beebee Goat". He wore this hat on the swing outside, and to the barn when we fed the goats. He hugged it and carried it around with him everywhere. So stinkin' cute.

Other things I want to remember-

This week Daniel accompanied me to the feed store one afternoon to pick up chicken scratch grains. The front porch of the store is filled with rustic rockers and porch swings. We always buy an ice cream cone and sit together on a rocker for a bit. It's such a simple thing, but we love quiet moments together like this.

Last night Diego would not go to sleep, no matter how many times we put him back in his crib. Nathan eventually scooped Diego up in his arms, cuddled him on the couch, and read out loud from the Louis L'Amour book he had been enjoying. Diego was so happy with this arrangement and quietly listened to tales of cowboys until he fell asleep in Nathan's arms. Oh, how I loved this!

Matthew regularly takes Diego for walks outside in our meadow. They go hunting for the prettiest wildflowers, then Matthew helps Diego pick a bouquet. He is always so pleased to run back home to me and give me his gift. I have a beensy vase on my kitchen windowsill just for these tiny bouquets. I'm so thankful Matthew is such a fun big brother.

Last week Matthew saved all his "Bee Privileges" to spend them in one night for his siblings. He earned the privilege of a sibling slumber party in the game room, late night popcorn and games, plus a movie. He also made little goodie bags for everyone, filled with candy he purchased with his own allowance. He was so happy to create this memorable evening. Sarah and Daniel were delighted with the party and they all agreed that Matthew is super cool to have as a brother.

Sarah and Matthew have been busy all week constructing a club house. They built a table for all their cool stuff, hung signs on the walls, and furnished the interior with a heavy metal table and chairs that they dragged across the yard into their space. They are so pleased with the result and their friends love to come over and play in this space.

Recently I started doing something new during home school. Any time we have a group lesson (which for us, includes the subjects of World History, Scriptures, and a reading of "The Omnivore's Dilemma", by Michael Pollan) I give the children foot massages while we read or discuss things. It makes the discussion so pleasant and relaxed. This week Sarah started giving Diego foot rubs when he gets cranky. He laughs and exclaims, "It gickles!" (It tickles)

Daniel has been so thoughtful lately. He surprises me by approaching me with his hands behind his back, a small smile on his face. He'll take my hand and lead me to a comfortable chair, then he reveals that he was hiding a hairbrush behind his back. He knows I love having my hair brushed, so he'll sit and brush my hair while I relax. It's so sweet of him!

This week I found this note on my bathroom counter:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Babies are here!

What a fun treat it is to have baby goats to love! We found the mother, Rosemary, just after she delivered the last kid early in the morning. We helped her clean two of the kids and promptly warmed them with towels and a heat lamp, while Nathan made a stop at our local feed store for milk replacement and bottles. 

Our little mother had triplets, which is quite a demand on her milk supply. Now we have the adventurous task of bottle feeding them to supplement their diets. The kids (the human ones) just LOVE this task, and get in all the cuddles they can with these gorgeous babies. 

They are named Nutmeg, Star Anise, and Kabob. Two girls, one boy. We are delighted. 

They already have distinct personalities emerging. Are you familiar with the characters from My Little Pony? 

Nutmeg is like the pony Rainbow Dash- daring, adventurous, smart and confident. She likes to explore the pasture and isn't afraid of anything.  

Star Anise is like the pony Pinky Pie- social, silly, a bit hyper, and super friendly. Everyone adores her, and she loves to seek out affection. She's genetically special for three reasons- blue eyes are rare, she's naturally hornless, and we adore the white star on her head. 

Kabob is like Fluttershy- timid, quiet, and still. He's also the runt and struggles to latch onto teats or bottle nipples. We had the sad job of force-feeding him just to keep him alive the first few days. Luckily today he started latching on to his mother's teats much better, so we are hopeful that he will survive long enough to introduce solid food. From there he has a much better chance of survival. 

Look how beensy he is! Not even as tall as my boot!

We get to feed him every 4 hours, which is a sticky mess for both of us. At least he's growing and healthy by all appearances, even if he is much smaller than the other two. 

Our children just LOVE playing with the babies each day or watching them frolic around the pasture, skipping and dancing through the fallen leaves. It's so comical to watch, and we all spend happy hours just hanging out in the barn and playing with the goats. 

Our animal count is as follows:

1 dog
2 cats
4 rabbits
3 grown goats
3 baby goats
30+ hens
40 incubating eggs, due to hatch any day now

Sarah and Matthew pointed out that our place is becoming more and more like a petting zoo. The past few days have been busy with friends visiting to play with baby goats, and this weekend we are hosting a simple picnic lunch for several of Nathan's coworkers who are bringing their children over for an afternoon of fun in the country. 

I should say NATHAN is hosting a picnic this weekend, not I.

I am booked from 9 am- 7pm entertaining at birthday parties and then face painting for my favorite client. She throws the biggest party I have ever seen. It's just like a private State Fair in her backyard.

Seriously. This party is legendary in the Austin area.

It's one of my favorite gigs of the year, and she always books me a year in advance for her Halloween Bash. I'm really looking forward to it!

The next few days are packed for us, with a Halloween Spooktacular at Nathan's work place, our church Trunk-or-Treat and Chili Cook-off, and our annual neighborhood hayride. I'm so thankful we have the chance to create such fun memories with our family!