Art Update for Adele’s Gallery Wall

I really liked how my recent paint experiments turned out — my first time playing around with acrylics (i.e. cheap craft paint). I liked them so much I decided to “frame” them (i.e. tape them up with washi tape) on Adele’s rotating gallery wall. Wanna see?


This one (above) used to have a blue background, but Adele’s room doesn’t really have any blue, so I painted it over with pink. And added a bit of background flair!


And when I got up to Adele’s room, I realized that the yellow I used for the background of this one was the same paint I used for this frame. I like it! I don’t love the greens that I used (it was all I had on hand), so I’ll probably redo the green portions in a few days when my next Amazon order of Martha Stewart craft paint arrives. Oh happy day!



Our Books


Here is the finished “built-in” bookshelf in the schooling room. I think it really looks built-in. The crown molding is an exact match and with a coat of paint it looks like it’s been there forever. We added the beadboard wallpaper on the outside edge and fluted vertical trim as well as an egg and dart horizontal trim at the top (to hide a gap between the shelf and the crown molding).

I have the books for preschool through year eight in here (three tall bookshelves and two small) and the high school books are in our living room along with our regular family books (four large bookshelves).

For the younger level books, I have them organized by year (mostly literature, biographies, poetry, and free reading to be read in a particular year according to the ambleside online list) – one year per shelf with the required books to the left and the free reading books to the right (all the other subjects are just mixed in together). Then we also have separate shelves for certain subjects that overlap years: nature study, field guides, experiments/science, Shakespeare, composer study (Opal Wheeler bios), picture study (large-format books with one artist’s work) mixed in with artist bios written for children, globe and large-format atlases, geography (I put some fiction here if is helps to understand what it’s like in a particular country or region), my shelf (Charlotte Mason books, teaching helps, and my CM notebooks – Book of Centuries, commonplace books, portfolio for prints from picture study), and a shelf for large picture books (on the bottom shelf so my daughter can reach them easily). Then I have two smallish built-in shelves that hold our history and biography books (arranged chronologically). I used to have biographies separate, but then I thought it made more sense to put them in with their time period — of course one book spans their whole lifetime, so the arrangement isn’t precise. I also have pulled artist and composer bios out – they now have their own shelves. I also pulled out the history and biography books for upper-level readers and put those in the living room (arranged chronologically on just two shelves).

Below are the two bookcases that came with the house. This one is on the left and it houses history and biographies up to 1800. On the bottom shelf I have a few history series shelved together.



This one is history and biographies 1800 – present


Now we go to the living room. These bookshelves are taller than the ones in the schooling room because there is no crown molding in here. The ceilings are really high – I think nine feet tall!!

I have a few shelves dedicated to a collection of works by an individual author (CS Lewis, Elisabeth Elliot, Sir Walter Scott, GA Henty, etc.) or a particular topic (homesteading and permaculture, cookbooks, family/wife/role encouragement, child training, theology (arranged alphabetically by author). Then, I have all the high school “school” books (which we are a loooong way from using) on the upper shelves (I need a step-stool to reach them).

P1050827 P1050829  P1050830 This bookshelf (below) is the last one still waiting to be finished. I still have to do a bit of caulk and painting and then it will be finito! Our goal is to be completely done with all our “house projects” by July 4th (we moved in on March 15th and had a baby April 27th). Hopefully we won’t have any more bright green ladders in our living room or “tool piles” on the sideboard after this weekend!!


Since the books are in the living areas of our home, I have tried to make the shelves themselves look nice (they are just cheapo Ikea Billy bookshelves with some trim, crown moulding, caulk, and paint to make them look “built-in”), and I’ve tried to arrange the books with some breathing room and a few knick-knacks for visual interest. I want it to look like we love books and beautiful things, but not like we live in a library — even if we really do =).

Everett is THREE!

My sweet boy is three. As promised, here’s a photo of him in the birthday crown.


Everett is the sweetest boy that I know and I wouldn’t wish for any other. It’s hard to explain it but I pray for him to be healed (and pursue healing with lots of therapy) and at the same time I am really ok with him just as he is even if he never gets any better. He is such a lovey boy – he’s always giving kisses and telling me that he loves me (he says “lll” for “I love you”), both in response to me telling him that I love him and he also initiates. He knows to bow his head when we pray as a family. His speech is really exploding – new sounds and “words” every day. He is getting to be a real pro at getting into sitting (and getting back down again) with great posture. He chews his fingers when he’s scared, overwhelmed, or tired. He speaks French (he says “vwah” when he hears “au revoir”) AND Spanish (he says “la” or “la la” when he hears “hola”) in addition to English. He smiles and laughs all day long and he always has a good attitude. I love you, my little Everito!

Nature Study lately

I had a few birdfeeders (that we moved from the old house) that just couldn’t find homes – because I wanted to hang them from a tree in front of a window we would see throughout the house. Unfortunately, there weren’t any branches that fit the bill. Even if there had been one in front of a window, it would have been too high off the ground to easily keep it filled with birdseed. So, I bought these acrylic window birdfeeders. I haven’t had any hummingbird takers yet, but the organic black sunflower seeds are extremely popular! We see mostly finches and cardinals, and it is a joy to see them throughout the day.


This is an approximation of the red finches we’ve seen a lot of lately.


Adele wants you to know that the house she is drawing is NOT finished.


We have ID’d all but two mystery trees in our front yard.

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Getting Creative


In this family, we like to make things at home, from scratch. And Derm Dad is into fancy.

Last Saturday was Everett’s third birthday. We were invited to a potluck on the same day so we decided to make that Everett’s birthday celebration too. We picked up a pre-made birthday cake (actually it was from a fancy cake place), rationalizing that we’d just had a baby, Everett’s a middle child now, and he wouldn’t notice or care. Well, we just couldn’t live with ourselves. Derm Dad decided to make a Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake (Cinnamon Cake with Chili Chocolate Buttercream Frosting) for Everett’s birthday celebration (albeit a week late) — we knew it was a winner since Derm Dad previously made it for my epic 30th Birthday Party. We (Derm Dad and Adele) made the cake on Thursday and I crumb-coated it that night. Tonight, I frosted it. Yumsky! We’ll serve it tomorrow night with our friends the P family. And we’ll put Everett in the traditional birthday crown (which he’ll hate) and maybe even put out the birthday tablecloth for a photo (stay tuned).

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And, Adele was painting today with her lovely new paint set that Mammaw sent. Eleanor was asleep, Everett was playing happily with his toys, so I decided to do a little painting myself. Behold.


Fun, right?

In the past, I’ve painted for nature study, which is just as much science as it is art — and actually, it’s mostly just about really seeing and loving God. For nature study, I use dry brush watercolor, but I think I’d like to experiment a bit with acrylics – just for fun. I had to use acrylic on the bottom red section because I needed to move it up, but I couldn’t cover the blue with just watercolor. It’s a lot better now.

Derm Dad Guest Post – Head to Head to Head Redhead Competition

Adele won the first and only Handfield family Head-to-Head Redhead competition shortly after Everett was born.  As reigning champion, she’s pretty confident about her chances this year. But Everett has been training hard.  He certainly is talented in the area of growing lots of red hair.  Being a boy, however, he has to get it cut short (despite his protests) which puts him at a disadvantage.  We’ll see what the judges have to say.  Speaking of short, this competition includes newcomer Eleanor.  What she lacks in thickness of hair, she makes up for in thickness of girth.  As the youngest challenger, she is a long shot to win this competition.   She believes she has nothing to lose and is viewing this match as a way to gain experience for future redhead competitions.


Feel free to cast your votes in the comments. Keep in mind, we’re not just looking for redness of the hair.   Presentation and attitude count as well.

*Mom here – I think Adele should be disqualified since she gave herself a haircut shortly after Eleanor’s arrival. You can see evidence of her bangs in the photo above (most of them are twisted into her hair-do, but they are surprisingly straight for the work of a five-year-old). She also gave herself chunks of layers on either side of her face, but they aren’t noticeable in the photo.


OK, by popular demand, since the first competition was pre-blog, here are some photos from the original one in 2011!

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Around here lately

Well, life with Eleanor has been great so far! My Mom came for a week and then Kent’s parents came for a visit on their way to Arizona (to visit Kent’s sister and celebrate Trent’s high school graduation). I’ve been SO BLESSED to have Carmel helping me for a few hours most days. She feeds Everett breakfast and lunch, gives him a bath in the kitchen sink, does his therapy, and takes both older kids to the park. And, she watches all three kids if I need to take a shower or nap. Today was her last day, so things are probably going to get a lot crazier, but somehow I think we can manage (showers will certainly be less regular!).

I think it had been at least two years since my last haircut. I donated to Locks of Love again.


When Kent’s parents visit, we always have enchiladas and margaritas. We were out of margarita mix, so Grandy used strawberries and cherries instead of lemon and lime. DELICIOUS!

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Derm Dad bought me a cherry tree as a present for having the baby! He planted it in the front yard with help from Adele and her friend K.


P1050662  P1050667Even though we have a newborn, our kitchen is still as busy as ever! Here we are making homemade pizza when Eleanor was just five days old. I use the term “we” loosely – I contributed nothing other than feeding Eleanor).P1050651  P1050652

Carmel fed Everett dinner and joined us for “Pizza and Piper.”



Adele has mastered the monkey bars! I’ve encouraged her to practice them since I read about how great brachiation is for brain development.

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I’ve been painting again! I painted the FABRIC of these two (formerly green) chairs. Here is a pic with just one painted to give you a before-and-after.


Lots of guitar-playing (a.k.a. family worship)

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And, the grand finale, Everett is SITTING! Technically, he isn’t getting into the seated position by himself, but he’s so close, we’re going with it.