God’s Wonderful and Beautiful Creations At Low Family Ranch

God’s creatures are all around us here at our humble but gorgeous Low Family Ranch. I remember when my children were younger, one of the things they loved about living in Western PA was the abundance of wildlife that is always presenting itself for their enjoyment. Since moving here, we really enjoyed the beauty of His creation in many ways. Check out this video of a robin’s nest:

A few examples worth noting:

  • We watched baby rabbits grow in their ground nest in our backyard.
  • We stopped our car while driving down the road so that a very large turtle could cross the street.
  • We watched a family of four deer cross the road during an evening snowstorm.
  • Groundhogs seem to be all over the place lately.
  • Last year the girls chased butterflies all throughout our backyard.
  • Summer fireflies were also a big hit last year.

Later on, they were stunned by the discovery of a robin’s nest in a low tree at Grandma’s house! So the past few weeks whenever we’ve visited my in-laws, the girls have eagerly rushed over to the tree with the nest to see if the baby birds have hatched.

Back To School Time

It’s been a full summer of relaxation and fun for our family here at Low Family Ranch.  Still, my daughter is crazy excited about going back to school.  Next week, she will step onto the school bus and embark on her first day of 1st grade.  It helps that she was assigned to the teacher she was hoping to get and she has a good idea of what a full school day entails, as she experienced full-day kindergarten last year.

It’s my prayer that she will have a love for school throughout her entire education.  As her mother, I feel my role is to help nurture her educational needs and passions.  This, of course, begins with quality preparation and also includes some moments of celebration.
Last year I learned a few things about getting my tired child out of bed in the morning, battles over clothing, dealing with the morning rush, and avoiding the after school meltdown.  Planning ahead makes a big difference in how smoothly the school year will start and progress.
Here are some important ways to prepare for Back To School:

Let The Family Summer Fun Begin

Tomorrow marks the last day of the school year for my soon-to-be first grader, and so the summer fun will finally begin. This is a very exciting thing for me for a few reasons.
I have really missed spending time during the day with both of my girls together.
I love summer and all the fun that warmer temperatures bring.
I’m looking forward to throwing our daily routines out the window for a few months.
So the past few days I’ve been putting together a mental plan for how we’ll spend our summer. In doing so, I’ve had to keep a few important factors in mind:

There’s No Place Like Home here at Low Family Ranch. One thing is for sure. Money is tight. Sadly, there will be no family vacation away from home this year. We’ll need to come up with our own local, reasonably low-cost fun. Luckily, there are lots of things we can do in the area where we live that don’t require draining the bank account. And to be honest, when the family needs a break from the hustle and bustle of life, there really is no place like home.

The Things I’m Grateful For

Yesterday, a child whom I had agreed to babysit for a few minutes before school, wandered through our home here at Low Family Ranch, quietly checking things out.  Having never been in our house and not knowing very much about us, she took notice of the full toy box in our family room, asked where the bathroom was, and seemed to hover around wherever I was. Take also a look at this video for children about “being grateful”.

In the kitchen, she said “you have such a pretty house.  I love your kitchen.”  My response was an embarrassed chuckle followed by, “thank you, but I don’t really like the wallpaper…or the flooring…or this house.”  Then in the hallway, she said “I really like your house.  It’s so big.  And you have a huge TV!”  To which I thought to myself that she should have seen the house I used to live in, which was gorgeous and enormous in comparison to this one.

Teaching Our Children To Understand And Love God

Maybe it was wrong for me to “make a deal” with God. But the outcome was right in every way possible! For two years, Mark and I tried and tried to get pregnant with Faith. It was frustrating and emotional. Every day I prayed, begging God to bless us with a child. I even “made a deal” with him in my prayers one night. “God, if you bless me with a child, I PROMISE to raise that child to know you and love you!”

Of course, I ended up pregnant, but probably not as a result of that deal. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that I made a promise to God and as it turns out, following through on that promise has been life-changing for our family in the most wonderful way.
In fact, I feel SO strongly about my promise to God, I’ve made teaching my children about Him a primary focus in my personal parenting style. Thankfully, my husband also has a solid focus on raising our children to be equipped with the full armor of God because inevitably, life will not always be a fairytale full of princesses, sparkle dust, and magic wands.

Family Activities For A Rainy Day 2

Springtime is a time of transition for children in areas where four seasons truly exist. The weather changes frequently. One day its winter cold, the next day it’s sunny and near 80 degrees. We pull our patio furniture and backyard toys out of storage here at Low Family Ranch, only to have it start pouring down rain the next day.

Younger children have a harder time adjusting to the rapidly changing weather patterns as Spring pushes its way into our region. So here are some additional fun playtime ideas my family enjoys during this rough transition. Feel free to steal an idea or two for your own fun!
There are tons of fun crafts you can do with your children that are easy and cute too. Check with a local craft store for pre-packaged craft supplies or use your imagination to help your child create their own masterpiece with a little bit of construction paper, glue, and fun beads or buttons. The sky’s the limit when it comes to crafts.

Earth Day Eighteen Years Later

Today, April 22, is Earth Day 2018. This year’s theme is Plastic Pollution all across the globe. Back in 2000, I was a young girl, dreaming about having a home with some wonderful small children. But that was the. Harrow-smiths latest issue was all about garbage and ways that households like mine could strive not to have any garbage. One of the articles suggested a book called the Canadian Green Consumer Guide for further reading.

The book introduced me to the concept of reduce reuse recycle. Reducing is the easiest and the best way to save resources because it doesn’t cost anything. Reusing something for another purpose, ie that glass jar you bought full of pickles can now be used to store rice, is second best because you will use a bit of energy, hot water, and soap to clean the glass jar. Recycling should be our last resort because it takes the most energy to make that empty plastic coke bottle into a polecat sweater.

April Rainy Day Family Activities

April showers bring May flowers. In our Low Family Ranch, we were so excited for Spring to arrive so the temperatures would be warmer and we could pull the flip-flops and sundresses out. But, here in Western PA, Spring means rain. Lots and lots of rain.

On the bright side, that’s why everything is so full of life here and so GREEN. My children, however, are at the age where they fail to see the bright side when it’s not to their advantage. So Springtime for them means many rainy, boring days stuck inside.
With a little bit of creativity though, Springtime can be FUN! Here are some fun rainy day activities I’ve come up with for my children to enjoy. Feel free to steal an idea or two for your own family fun!

Baking

Kids love to bake fun things. It’s rainy outside, mom! Go ahead…be SuperMom in their eyes and let them make a batch of cupcakes…even if you know they’ll only lick the frosting off the top and then throw the cupcake in the trash, while reaching for another one from the pan. The frosting is quite tasty, and there’s something rebellious about only eating the frosting and then throwing out the cupcake. Try it!

Little Steps To Life Balance

Life balance.  When you hear that phrase, what comes to mind?  Maybe it’s a vision of yourself sitting on the beach watching the sunset as the wind blows through your hair.  Nothing else demands your attention at that very moment. Or is it confidently knowing you have the perfect schedule for your life… Here at Low Family Ranch, there’s so much to take care about that looking for that perfect work-life balance seems like a never-ending struggle.

Maybe you’re like me and don’t even know where that happy sweet spot is. I mean, think about it.  We chase after life balance like it’s vital to our very survival, yet I doubt many of us really know what it looks like or feels like.  So how do we achieve something we struggle to fully understand?
Most people live a very full and extremely busy life like we do.  Each day there’s a never-ending list of priorities to tend to.  Any of this sound familiar?

Make Spring Sugar Cookies – Great Family Fun

Here’s something about me and our life at Low Family Ranch you may not know. I love to bake! And I’m always on the lookout for great recipes to try. The problem with baking – CALORIES! Because we try to eat reasonably healthy, I end up NOT baking as much as I’d like.

Sure I can freeze the goodies for another time. And of course, I can always alter the recipe for healthier low-calorie ingredients. But why? Why not just enjoy splurging on the good stuff every once in a while. Especially when it means creating wonderful family memories of Springtime traditions with my girls!
My daughters REALLY love baking too. It’s the measuring, the pouring, the mixing, the licking of the utensils. They love it all. So there are certain times of the year when I make a command level mommy decision and allow guilt-free baking to take place.