Welcome to Anybody Home!

Here you will find scattered pictures from my point and shoot camera, random thoughts from my little world, treasured memories of days gone by, hopeful dreams of the days yet to come, and a bunch of ideas - because I've always got ideas!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Mittens For Sale

Earlier in the week I was looking intently at my laptop while four year old Hertsje was jumping around next to me. She was happily entertaining herself with a few little dolls and a book.
Suddenly she got very quiet.
She looked over at me while pointing to a small snowman figure holding a string of mittens. A sign next to the snowman caught her eye.  In a quiet surprised voice she said to me:
"I know what this sign says.
It says 'Mittens for Sale'.
(slight pause)
Oh my goodness, I can read!"
These are the moments in life that bring me the most joy.
I knew it was coming, as Hertsje has been interested in sounds, letters, words, and books since the day she discovered them.
Still, it's always a delightful wonder to watch a child surprise herself when it all clicks.
A little later that day we were watching an episode of "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" (my choice, not hers).
Daniel and his friends all had different ideas about how to do something so they were discussing the need to have a "plan".
After it was over we were playing together with the puppets I have here.
Both of us kept getting ideas as we went along.
She looked at me and said:
"I think we need a plan."
I agreed, pulled open a draw and grabbed a pen and a notebook.
She asked me what that was for.
My response was that we needed to write down our plans.
With a look of shock and horror she blurted out:
"I don't know how to WRITE yet! I just learned how to READ today!"

Monday, January 16, 2017

It's Monday!

So, of course, we made things!

Hertsje and I again perused Pinterest were we found a drawing of a cute little girl that she wanted to try.
She still doesn't have much interest in drawing them herself, but she does enjoy coloring the ones that I attempt.
I enjoy all of it, so that isn't a problem for me!
Over the weekend I moved things around in the guest room, so we now have an art table in there that looks out the window.
Which might be lovely on a day when it isn't raining.

Hertsje is good at giving me ideas to make my pictures better, and she is nearly always spot on.
She also tells me when it is time to just erase ALL of it.
My goal for myself is to be able to do drawings or sketches QUICKLY.
I have no idea why that is. I'm not going anywhere.
It just seems weird to spend a lot of time on something that will remain in a pile somewhere until it eventually gets thrown out.
Anyway.., a good time was had by both of us!
After our time of making things Hertsje wanted to play in the doll room in the basement.
Rainy days and Mondays don't ALWAYS get me down, but rainy days and Mondays in JANUARY spent in a gloomy basement? Well, that might do it. So, I said no.
Hertsje didn't miss a beat in saying:
If you don't play in the basement with me, I will never do crafts with you again.
She knows what buttons to push, that girl.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Snow Day

Today was a snow day here in West Michigan.
On a normal Thursday I would have one happy Hertsje for the afternoon.
But she did not have school, nor did her mommy who works at her school.
Instead, I had four elementary school aged children who really had no desire to be here.
But as always, we all found ways to keep ourselves occupied.
I've learned from experience that this can only happen if I DO NOT require them to participate.
The only thing I asked them to do today was read.
You would have thought I asked them to stick needles into their eyes. I am not kidding.
But, read they did, and enjoy it a bit they did also!

On my regular Thursday with Hertsje we peruse Pinterest looking for things we can make. That was our plan for today, and I was looking forward to it. So, I just sat down to do it on my own and did eventually find out that everyone was willing to join in, as long as I wasn't making them do it.
The first thing they all drew was a city scape.
I went to my "how to draw" board on Pinterest to find some sketches I was interested in trying.
Those caught on.
I hate to admit it here, but they caught on because there was a picture of a toilet, which they thought was hysterical.
So, yes, they sketched toilets. I, for the record, did not.

Although I have to say it was a bit of a change not to have the drawings dominated by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Some of us colored in our drawings after we had finished.
The ideas we used came from a Japanese artist's book. I LOVE how they look. I could not do it justice, as I totally lack the ability to draw anything that remains in scale or isn't leaning sadly to one side.
Somewhere in the back of my mind is an idea to carve individual stamps of things like these.
But, the ideas in the back of my mind tend to fall off and get trapped behind all the things in the front of my mind, so we shall have to wait and see if it ever happens.
Jonge found the cute sketch of a cat that was close to a flock of birds that I wanted to try.
He stuck with his. The one pictured is his first attempt. He drew quite a few, until he got it just how he wanted it to be. Of course, me being me, I did not get a picture of that one.

The artist would most likely be horrified to see my rendition of these lovely birds, but I certainly had fun doing it!

Famke found a Red Riding Hood type girl with a step by step drawing guide. She was pleased with her drawing, as well she should be!
.Our neighbor from down the street came to join us later in the day (she is homeschooled, so no snow day for her!).
She just turned eight and is one of those children with a natural ability to draw.
She drew this tiger for Famke without having to look at ANYTHING.  We were all impressed!

This snow day did not involve much snow at all. School was cancelled due to all the area roads being covered in ice. The upside to that is by afternoon it was a rather balmy 32 decrees so it was nice enough for the troops to play outside if they so desired. A few of them so desired so I was able to drink a cup of coffee in relative quiet. The only distraction was the Nerf bullets whizzing by my head on their way to targets unseen by me.

And thus ended the first "snow day" of 2017.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Best Thrift Store Find of the Year!

It's a new year, and time for me to hold back on my extravagant thrift store spending.
But when I find a bargain like this, I just cannot resist.
Nope. Cannot.
Broeder was really hoping for a new pirate ship for Christmas this year, as his current pirate ship used to belong to one of his uncles, and had received a lot of wear over the years.
So, I looked around a bit in stores (okay. only meijer!) and on line only to find ONE that I liked. It was a Jake and the Neverland Pirates, but it only came with a midsize ship and one figure, Captain Hook.  So that is what we ended up getting.

So, today I am wandering sloooowly around the thrift store, noticing all the new stuff they had out yet only finding a few things that interested me. One of those things was a very old Hall Stoneware Mug for 50 cents. But nothing else really caught my eye, at least that eye that could justify buying anything.
Now lately I have been avoiding the toy section. But they did have quite a bit more than when I was there on New Year's Eve, so I reluctantly looked anyway, knowing that I have no more space to put any more toys.
Then I saw it. A Jake and the Neverland Pirate ship! It DID come with a Captain Hook, but also TWO Jakes and a whole lot of other things too! And it all works!
So of course I brought it home. It will now belong to Broeder, who will be able to imagine all sorts of wonderful things to do with it!
And now I feel so much better about his Christmas gift!
(it is almost embarrassing how happy this makes me!)

Friday, January 06, 2017

Christmas Reading

These are a few of my yearly favorite Christmas books.

But this year I have enjoyed reading Journey into Christmas by Bess Streeter Aldrich.

It's an anthology of the author's Christmas stories.

It was just what I needed.

I didn't live in the time period these stories are written about or in the part of the Midwest where they take place, but in each short story the characters are developed so well that you can just about reach right into the book and touch them.

That is no easy feat.

Bess Streeter Aldrich knew her stuff.

This book will be on my Christmas reading list for the rest of my life.

If you like good writing and a delightful turn of phrase, try to find yourself a copy of this book.

Thursday, January 05, 2017


For most of this week it has been TOO cold for outdoor recess at school.

When they arrive here they want to play outside for a bit.

It's hard to deny them. They are healthy Michigan children who don't let a little thing like freezing cold wind and snow stop them from having fun outside.

I still cannot understand why they are so delighted to travel down the street to pick up chunks of ice from other people's driveways and bring them to ours.

This one was offered to me like a gift. How do you say no to an adorable face like that?

I opened the door to hear an excited voice exclaim "LOOK! It's ICE!"
I do not like ice. Not even in my Diet Coke. But I didn't tell him that though, as he was thrilled like only a seven year old can be.

While I was trying desperately to appear to be admiring the chunk of ice, I noticed the younger iceman looked a bit stressed.

I asked if anything was wrong.

He told me that he had to go potty but he didn't want to stay inside after he took all of his snow stuff off.

I assured him that he didn't have to. We would figure out a way to go potty without removing all his gear.

It's nice to have a bathroom near the back door.  And a kitchen/bathroom floor that I just don't care what happens to.

Little blessings, right?

The Christmas Holidays Are Over

Time to get back to "normal".
Making sure all of our babies are tucked in.
Really. I DID get rid of a lot of my dolls.
Even the AG Doll came up from her lovely basement apartment.
After all the babies were tucked in tightly, and Mary's Little Lamb put to bed, I got to tuck in the sweetest one of all:

Friday, December 30, 2016

Later On Christmas Day

Kado and Broeder had a WONDERFUL time making up stories with their new toys.
They were really entertaining to watch!

THGGM kept an eye on the sweets!

Which, of course, were balanced by healthy choices.
Seriously though, was I EVER thankful that I had already baked everything I needed for Christmas day.
This year we planned ahead to make sure there were quiet places to go to.
We even had an entire room set aside for coloring! This was DiL1's brilliant idea. Wish I had pictures of the more introverted of us enjoying ourselves away from the flurry of activity.
As always, Pake was around to cuddle with. I do believe that is his favorite Christmas activity!

So many teeny tiny Lego pieces!
Oldest Son was in Lego heaven.
Zeke had a wonderful day too.
Here he is, waiting for someone to drop something tasty.
Mostly, Famke and Hertsje played with their new gifts in the doll's room in the basement.  Occasionally they would reappear for games or treats!
I am SOOO glad to have my good camera back.
I certainly did miss the sketch effects option.
For some,  playing games and building with Lego was all they needed.
By this time in the day, I was just sooo relieved that my new toaster/convection oven had worked and Christmas Brunch 2016 was in the books.
It also cooked the Cheesy Potatoes we had for dinner in half the time. See? A blessing in disguise.
If you had told me that earlier in the week, I would have thought about punching you.
But then, there is NO hitting at Beppe's house.
More cuddling!
Christmas through the eyes of a three year old was delightful to behold.
These babies I used to have are growing up.
But I've learned from experience with my first baby that that doesn't mean that they lose the wonder of Christmas.
Or the love of playing games.
It brought a smile to my face one day earlier in the month when the UPS man brought me a package. I opened it to find a Lego set I did not order for the grand kids. I was afraid that a mistake had been made. When I brought it to THGGM's attention he told me it was one of his gifts to Oldest Son, from his Amazon wish list.
I've also never lost my love of all things Christmas, and I hope that YOU never do either!