Swimfest, Scrapbooks and Something New


     This is the first year in…..in…….well in a very long time, that I have not decorated my home, inside and out, for the Fourth of July.  I just had that realization last night.  Things have just been busy and any extra time I’ve had for such things has been directed toward other projects.  If it were Christmas you’d have to call my Mr. Scrooge, I guess.  Not sure what you’d call me for failing to decorate for the 4th.  Of course, my home has quite a few permanent statements of our family’s patriotism on display.  Even though we haven’t decorated for the holiday, we’re still planning a glorious, fun celebration of our nation’s independence!

     Since he is in law enforcement, my husband works a lot of holidays.  He gets most of the Monday holidays off because Monday is his regular day off.  He will work tomorrow, as usual, and then join us for the evening.  The rest of us are headed to a large park in a near by city that hosts a lovely, family-friendly 4th of July celebration.  There are bands on stage and booths to visit.  The only fee is a $10 parking fee.  We will, as we have in years past, pack our rolling ice chest with plenty of drinks and our picnic supper, and pack our wagon with folding chairs, blankets and a few things to keep us busy during our times of just sitting and relaxing.  Well after dark there will be a huge, aerial fireworks display set to music. 



     Corin and the kids were here for our Thursday Library Day at Grandma’s house and Swimfest.  We all look forward to their arrival!  Will, though, is always the most excited for them to get here, and always the saddest on the Thursdays that we can’t get together.  We have several little things we do each week to get ready for their arrival.  First, the boys’ homeschool day is shortened so that they are done by noon.  We try to eat lunch quickly and I try to get the kitchen cleaned up before they come.  I never manage to get that done!!  Either Dani or I, and usually Dani, prepare a treat for us to enjoy together. 

     Someone, usually me, selects four picture books from our Heritage Library for our read aloud time.  Today I chose the following:

     The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash, by Trinka Hakes Noble, and illustrated by Steven Kellogg.  We are all Steven Kellogg fans here, and this is a book I remember Dani enjoying as a little girl.  I found a well-loved hard cover copy a couple of weeks ago on the shelf of a thrift store in their three books for a dollar section.  I was thrilled!  The story here is a fun conversation between a mother and her little girl who has just returned from the class field trip to the farm.  The illustrations are whimsical and a non-reader who has heard this story a couple of times, could retell it by just looking at the illustrations.  Be sure not to miss the final page – there is no text, but the illustration gives this story a fun finish.

     Ballet of the Elephants, by Leda Schubert, illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker.  While searching for books for our current homeschool study of Russia, I found this treasure.  It is the true story of the Ballet of the Elephants, a 1942 collaboration between John Ringling North (of circus fame), composer Igor Stravinsky and ballet master George Balanchine.  The illustrations are lovely and quite colorful.  Though they are a just a bit abstract in style, I thought they were quite pretty.  The book includes very brief biographical sketches of each of the three men involved, but each is just a paragraph or two, so the younger set doesn’t lose interest.  I had never heard of this great event, so I read today with as much interest as the children had.  Towards the end of the book, when the ballet is finally revealed, one of the pages folds out to give a wonderful view of the enormous proportions of fifty elephants and fifty young ballerinas dancing together.  When I folded the page out today, my six year old grandson said, “Wowwwwww!”.  I have a couple of doubters in my bunch, when it comes to “true” stories.  I love that this book ends with a few black and white photographs of the real life Ballet of the Elephants.  My skeptical Will was immediately amazed when he knew for sure that this story was real and wants to reread the book again himself! 

      The Seven Silly Eaters, by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Marla Frazee.  This book will appeal to any mom who has a picky eater and especially to the moms who have more than one picky eater.  This tale of the Peters family who enjoy the births of each of their children one by one (and finally a set of twins), find that while indulging that first picky eater might be a pleasure, and then indulging the second picky eater is still fun, having seven picky eaters is no picnic at all.  Marla Frazee’s illustrations are colorful and engaging, and I especially liked these today.  Personally, I took pleasure in watching Mr. and Mrs. Peters’ expressions through the years as each new child’s own food likes or dislikes came into focus.  The story is told in rhyming text, which is especially appealing to younger children.  All is well that ends well.  Though these parents never deal with the children’s picky eating habits, the family does come to a delicious compromise.

     Yankee Doodle – A Revolutionary Tail, written and illustrated by Gary Chalk.   This book has been a favorite in my home for many years.  With Independence Day only a day away, I was sure to pick at least one book to read that would tell us something about the holiday.  I love books that have various reading abilities/choices in one cover.  For example, today I read aloud only the sweet, rhyming text from each page that gave us just a brief history of our nation’s discontent with its British rules, and saw us through the Revolutionary War, ending with the words from the chorus of the song Yankee Doodle.  The book’s subtitle is appropriately spelled as a revolutionary “tail” because the main characters in our nation’s history (George Washington, Molly Pitcher, Von Steuben, among others) are all depicted as mice!  The characters ride hobbyhorses and shoot popguns, too.  For older children, or independent readers there is accompanying text on each page, beyond the rhyming text, giving further information about each step of America’s road toward independence.  As a bonus, all SIXTEEN verses and the music for Yankee Doodle are included at the beginning of the book.  What fun!

     By clicking the links above for each of these books, you will be able to take a peak inside each of them (except for the Gary Chalk book).  These books (and many others) can be found on my ever changing list of Recently Recommended Picture Books for Reading Aloud or Sharing With Your Child.


     It is summertime, though, and temperatures today were in the mid-90’s, which means that everyone spent the rest of the day in the pool!  I love my roll at poolside! 




      I can cheer for newly acquired swimming skills……









…….run a little one in to the bathroom, or take the baby in for dry clothes and a nap.  I can wrap little ones in towels for a break from the pool and cuddle them up in my lap to warm them up enough to get back in the water. 








      I took lots of pictures and today I even took my laptop out to begin writing this post!








    Laugh with me, won’t you?  Corin bought swimming goggles for her kids.  I think they were too big.  Or too small.  Or too something.  They just cracked me up with these things on!





Little Miss Fiesty




      She has quite a look going here, don’t you think?  You can’t blame the girl, though, she can’t see a thing with those goggles on!










    Dani brought the cookies out to the backyard on a vintage pink depression glass tray.  You are remembering to give your family your best, aren’t you?   We enjoyed our cookies and lemonade outside by the pool and the grandkids helped Uncle William collect today’s eggs before they had to load up and head for home.  Thank you, Lord, for Thursdays!




     A relatively new feature here at Xanga is the ability I now have to reply to specific comments.  The girls and I have played around with this feature a bit on our photo blog.  I’m now confident enough that this feature will stick around, that I’ve begun using it here.  Be sure to check the comments of current and previous posts from here on out.  Fun discussions may ensue and reader’s questions will be answered there as often as possible.



     My scrapbook journal is something that I enjoy keeping.  It gives me a platform for listing the days tasks, thoughts and ideas, Scripture verses, bits of poetry and anything else that might cross my mind or tickle my fancy.  At different times I’ve listed my household schedule for the day, Bible passages I’ve read for the day and/or homeschool highlights for the day.  I may write down people or things I’m praying for.  I may make some notes about the pictures I’ve used, especially if there is an idea there that I’d like to implement in my home, or a craft idea that is inspired. 


      No two days are the same for me, but you may want a more structured format.  That’s great!  It’s your journal.  Record what is important to you.  This idea of scrapbook journaling is not original to me, but I don’t remember when or where I first heard about it.  Long before the days of blogs, though!  Here’s an outline of what I do, and I will give you a few links of others (who will also have links, I’m sure to still others) so you can get some more ideas.




     I have, for years, loved to pull pages from magazines that offered possible decorating ideas for my own home.  However, there were quite often pages that I found beautiful but that weren’t, for one reason or another, anything that I’d ever be able to do.  Or want to do (like this one, that I loved, but would never, ever do in my own home).  My scrapbook journal gives me the opportunity to use any and all pictures from magazines that appeal to me.  I might have pictures of beautiful gardens, tranquil rooms, or a solitary bouquet in a vase.  There might be pictures with rooms featuring decor ranging from traditional to ornate Victorian.  If it appeals to me, I use it! 

      Some gals I know, pull pages from magazines and file them away to use in their scrapbook journals at a later date.  That didn’t work well for me.  Some gals find a quiet afternoon or evening and work up dozens of pages in their journals ahead of time.  That didn’t work well for me, either.  Here’s what’s working for me now.


     I begin by sitting down with a single magazine issue and I then pull out any pages that have pictures that appeal to me.  I might also choose random pieces of text as well.  When I’m done pulling the pages out, the rest of the magazine goes into the recycling bin and I’m done with it.  Next, I cut out smaller pictures that I’d like to use, or carefully trim the full page pictures.  Sometimes I simply cut straight lines around the pictures I want to use.  Other times, I make scalloped or spiked cuts to the edges of the large pictures, or use fancy scissors to cut the edges of smaller pictures. 

     As I cut  these pictures, I try to start grouping pictures together that I want to use together.  I may have four or even five smaller IMG_6057 pictures of gardens that I want to use for the same day.  I may have a full magazine page that I want to use, with just a couple of smaller ones to use on the facing page.  I should tell you that I use two facing pages for each day that I journal.  You know how I write here………..lots of words.  It’s the same in my journal!  (There’s not much written on this page…it’s today’s and the picture was taken before I’d done much journaling.)




     Once I have all the pictures I want from the magazine cut out and organized, I begin gluing them into my journal.  Most often, I will have enough for eight to ten days’ pages.  Once in awhile there will be less, and once in awhile there will be quite a few more.  I can usually complete this process in an hour or so on a Sunday afternoon.  If I run out of time and still have some unused pictures, I have a file folder that I can slip them into until I can get to them again. 




     My journal is about a  9 x 13 inch sketch book that I bought with a 40% off coupon at Jo-Ann.  As I paste pictures onto the pages, the covers do begin to lift and not close due to the added bulk.  I may, from time to time, use an Exacto knife to carefully remove a page here and there from my journal to decrease the bulk as needed.  I use a plain old glue stick (fresh from our homeschool art supplies buckets) to glue the pictures into my journal, and I use a regular ball point pen to write in my journal throughout the day.  At the end of the day, I revisit the homeschool art supplies and choose colored pencils that correspond with the magazine pictures I’ve used for that day.


     I’m no artist, but like most folks I enjoy doodling.  I highlight some of my words by going over the black ink with a colored pencil.  I use color to underline words or highlight other words.  I add little doodles here and there……..scrolls, lines, hearts, sometimes a flower or two or three.  Like I said, I’m no artist, but I do enjoy the creative outlet just the same.  Some of my pages are VERY colorful and ornate and others are more peaceful and almost austere.  Sometimes that is a result of the tone set by the pictures on the pages for that day, and other times it is a result of my mood for the day.    

     From time to time, I look back through my journal and review my entries.  I might see an idea that was never brought to fruition.  I might see an idea that was unsuccessfully tried that might be successful if tried again now.  I might be reminded of something I prayed for and either be reminded to pray again for that need or to praise Him for His answer.  I may be reinspired to try a new recipe, redo a small space in my home, or try something new at the sewing machine.  Reading back through the entries can cause me to smile with remembered joys, rejoice over former achievements, or weep again at recalled sorrows.  Pouring back over past journal entries is an important part of journaling!

     I would encourage each of you to pick up a sketchbook, pull out your old magazines and give scrapbook journaling a try.  You don’t have to make an entry each and every day.  I don’t.  I wish that I kept my journal on a daily basis, but my entries are averaging about 4 or 5 a week.  Don’t’ get discouraged if you fall behind, just pick it back up and start again.  I’ve done that many times.  This is not another task to be done.  This is something you are doing for your own pleasure, as a way to express yourself creatively and as a means to keep a record of what you want recorded.  If you won’t, or don’t, enjoy it, then don’t do it.  Have fun!  Let me know if you decide to start your own Scrapbook Journal, too.

     Check out more scrapbook journaling at:  Coffee Tea Books & Me and Holy Experience




      I am praising the Lord tonight for the continued good news about Mighty Joe.  Please do remember he and his sweet family in prayer.  Though the news has been good, he still has a long way to go.  As you pray, remember to lift up his parents, grandparents, four brothers and three sisters as well.



     Have a glorious Independence Day!  Don’t forget to thank God for the freedoms you enjoy.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27

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15 comments to Swimfest, Scrapbooks and Something New

  • I am so excited to start scrapbook journaling. I had already picked up a sketch pad and have copied a few pics from my graphics and pictures file. I plan to pull out my magazines and spend some time tomorrow cutting. I have always been a journal keeper, but adding the scrapbook element will make it more fun. Thank you for sharing the “how to”‘s.

    The SWIMFEST looked FUN:fun:  I love how you give your family your “best”, even in offering cookies. I forget to do that sometimes. The list of books sound wonderful. I plan to put a couple of them on our fall school book list.

    Hope your 4th of July celebration is fun and smoke free!!!!

  • Hi Cheryl,

    I love your journal. I have been keeping mine for over a year. They are fun. I write everything in there. It sure helps later. Brandy needed some information when she was here on a phone call I made for her last month. I was able to pull out my June Journal and give it to her.

    I enjoy hearing about Grandma’s Day. The grandchild sure are growing.



  • What a lovely holiday you have planned! I absolutely LOVE your scrapbook idea. Would you mind horribly if I copied you? Your girls are so blessed to have you as their mother/mentor. What a legacy you’ve passed on to them. Have a wonderful day!

  • What a lovely holiday you have planned! I absolutely LOVE your scrapbook idea. Would you mind horribly if I copied you? Your girls are so blessed to have you as their mother/mentor. What a legacy you’ve passed on to them. Have a wonderful day!

  • Have relaxing 4th xoxo Clarice-who also did not get around to decorating

  •      Thanks for all the kind words about my scrapbook journal. 

    @tjsNana –  Adding the scrapbook element to an existing journal will be so much fun!! 

     Learning to use the best stuff (dishes, or whatever) with your family has become more natural to me lately.  Earlier this week, when we had some left over muffins, instead of putting them in a plastic bag (which we are trying to avoid anyway), I pulled out a small, covered glass dish that had belonged to my mother-in-love instead.  That did a whole bunch of stuff in one fell swoop.  First, it kept the muffins fresh, but it also kept them out on the counter where they wouldn’t be forgotten.  Second, it allowed me to enjoy that beautiful covered dish for a few days by having it on the counter rather than hidden in the hutch.  Third, my family knows that family heirlooms are to be enjoyed and that they (my family) are precious enough to me to have them out for their use.  Finally, it made it easier to see that the last two muffins had begun to get fuzzy (euw) and I was able to dispose of them before they got too gross.  Keepin’ it real!  

    @elizabethq – How wonderful that you were able to find that information for your daughter in your journal!  You must keep very detailed records there!

    @flipperiferous – Of course you may copy me.  This idea certainly isn’t an original of my own, but even if it had been, I’d want others to know about it and enjoy it!  😆 I certainly am not a perfect mother, and my girls would be the first to tell you so!  Rather, I think I’m the one who is blessed to have such wonderful, forgiving, patient grown daughters!

    @claricewa – Ah, but Clarice!  I have seen pictures of your lovely home. Decorated for the 4th or not, it’s a lovely, warm place. 

  • Hi Cheryl,

    I posted today about my journal. I do keep very detailed information in mine. My old brain can’t remember things any more. LOL



  • i loved seeing your journal! i used to keep one but alas i have stopped.  maybe you will inspire me!

  • i loved seeing your journal! i used to keep one but alas i have stopped.  maybe you will inspire me!

  • I was so inspired by your scrapbook that I started mine immediately.  I am always ripping out pictures and articles, but never knew what to do with them until now.  Thankyou for your daily inspiration and encouragement. 


  • @Jeanette – Good for you!  Isn’t it fun to have a good way to use all those magazine pictures? 

  • Your journal is beautiful! I started one awhile back, thank you for the reminder to get it out again. I enjoyed seeing the pool pictures and all the big smiles!

  • You’ve convinced me!!! I am going to start a scrapbook journal!!

    Thanks for the lovely idea! :wave:

  • @joyfulprayz – Good for you!!  Enjoy and let me know how it goes.