December 31, 2007

Come on, 2008!!

Happy New Year to each of you...


December 18, 2007

Jackie Update

Hello All!

I haven't written much but that doesn't mean that things are not busy here for me! Senior year is going alright so far and it's becoming more difficult to believe that it's almost half entire high school career is coming to a close. Wow. Along with academics, I still continue to work at my dad's office doing various clerical work. We recently had a move and I now have my OWN desk, computer and phone! Woohoo!! I have definitely moved up in the world. :o) The work is sometimes tedious and um, boring, but I get paid for it so can't complain much there.

This year I also began dancing again, which has been wonderful. Back to the studios and the world of tights, leotards, and all that stuff as I've taken ballet, modern and lyrical jazz classes. Exhilarating! I really enjoy this particular studio because everyone is grouped by ability and not solely by age like other places. Also, they have a dance company that I can audition for this summer; so it all doesn't end senior year as other studios do. All in all, it is a great place to be! And since Janelle and Jordyn take classes as well, we all have something to do together. I enjoy holding mini-classes for them in the basement....well, most of the time.

Here is a pic of me last week at my grandparents. Janelle & I wanted to show off the jackets from Nana & Grandad. Anyway, my last note is about my car. Ahhh, my car. Ooooh, my car. Well, it's not exactly my car yet, but I am buying it from my Mom & Dad. It's a 2005 Silver Honda Civic that I hand-picked this year at a used car lot owned by friends of my parents. I'm saving like crazy and already have put a chunk down, so just a little more to go! Fortunately, my parents have put some into the pot also. (whew!) All in all, life is going smoothly.

Well, that's a quick update...gotta run!


Ready for Carnegie Hall?

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Photo Printing - Photo Books


December 17, 2007

Feed the Birds

This is the most we've posted in one day!

But, it seemed important to include a project started and completed in one setting. Sometimes Mom's ideas take a little longer than that. Inspired by this tutorial on Bella Dia's blog, today we made some wild bird treats to hang outside on the tree. We used dental floss instead of upholstery thread and it worked well. Jordyn is slightly upset that no feathered friends have come to feast though the snacks have been hanging for a total of two hours. Be patient, sweetheart.


Today we are Reading...

Because the girls really enjoyed watching a Wind in the Willows DVD this summer, we decided to check this book out of the library for a cuddle-up-on-the-couch-with-Mom read aloud.

The illustrations are beautiful and we have paused to study each one just a wee bit more than usual--they're so detailed. The adventures of Rat and Mole and the return to making Mole End a home again will keep us cuddled up today for quite a while. It's a wonderful story of friendship and the celebration of the Christmas season.

Home Again

What a wonderful whirlwind trip to CT we all had! The children were of course very excited to meet their new cousin and visit with grandparents. the falling of snow! Almost twelve inches of 'cold, cold' as Josiah calls it, but the next day was fine for travel.

We celebrated Christmas and Jordyn and Josiah came home with these rocking chair treats as a present from Grandad and Nana. Grandad couldn't resist he says. :o) Getting them into the van was a challenge, but worth the 'trouble'.

Mom set up the chairs, a table full of books and felt nativity pieces in the family room. The new 'book nook' has been very appreciated and used constantly. Thank you Nana and Grandad!


December 11, 2007

Slowing Down

Tis the season to slow down our school work and focus more on spending some extra time on the celebrations of the month. Right now, we are keeping up with our language and math studies through next week but the other subjects will pick back up in January. Fortunately, we've wrapped up certain the frog dissection. :o)

Along with academics, Janelle has been busy practicing monologues and songs for 2008 auditions at local theatres. The soccer champ turned drama queen hopes to get a spot in either 'Charlotte's Web', 'Schoolhouse Rock' or many of the other children's musicals in the area. But, this is all about to pause for a few weeks as well. Jordyn is beginning to read 3-letter words! We're working in a relaxed way on some basic phonics, and she is doing well. Her attention span has grown this year, so that's a big contributor to her success.

Being indoors more has got all of the children in antsy and funky moods. We don't mind the cold, it's the rain and muddy ground that has us using the basement as a playground as well as learning area. Oh well, par for the course....

As part of our celebration, each evening (or thereabouts) we pause for an Advent focus. This year we've decided to use the Proclamation Ornaments instead of doing a nightly story reading. Usually we try to add some singing since it adds to the activity and keeps Josiah interested! So far, so good. We'll see how it goes until Christmas morning.

Over the mountain & through the woods

Yeah! The perfect Christmas tree has finally been found!! This year we all chose quickly (maybe because of the cold?). The kids enjoyed the adventure overall; it definitely makes a difference that there are more opinions this year!

I think they enjoyed the free hot chocolate even more?
After a day of drying and hanging, the decorating began in full swing. Mom mostly took pictures, Dad gave overall supervision and the girls did the bulk of the work. Josiah roamed from room to room disappearing with certain items and reappearing again.

The final result...


December 3, 2007

Remembering December 2, 2005...

It was a beautiful day when we welcomed you into the world baby boy. All nine pounds, nine ounces of you was a precious gift we all waited eagerly for. Happy 2nd Birthday!


We're Back...

Yes, we're still here dear faithful blog readers! The end of November was full with our school projects and also just family activities and the like. One thing we enjoyed was what Mom labeled The Great Pumpkin Project! Lots of math as we predicted, estimated and counted the actual number of seeds, did mental calculations, skip counted, etc. Jordyn's predicted 7, Janelle 50, and Mom 150. After cutting the pumpkin open and looking inside, we estimated based off what we could see. Jordyn changed hers to 100 ("no more than that!"), Janelle 150 and Mom to a possible 300. Well, the actual count was FIVE HUNDRED NINETY-NINE! No, we didn't count from 1...599, but rather placed the seeds in groups of ten and went from there. The pumpkin then got baked and the insides are to be used for a pie at some point. Jordyn also explored how a pumpkin grows as we read about the seasons of a patch and she learned that other seeds can be eaten besides pumpkin--she was excited about that! All in all, it was a fun project! Now, on to Christmas...:o)


December 1, 2007

About Me

I'm Daniele.

A woman on a journey towards intentional living :: pursuing a biblically-centered marriage, grace-based parenting, a peace-filled home. All this while facing the broken nature of my own humanity, that I'm guaranteed to stumble and fall at times.

I'm wife to one amazing man, my best friend & confidant.
Mama to five kiddos ages 19 to a baby.

We live in central Pennsylvania and find the rhythm and pace of life in our surroundings to be just right. For us, this is home.

Domestic Serenity began as a creative adventure, a way to jot down the ramblings in my mind and to try and make sense of it all--homeschooling, spirituality, cooking, crafting, and whatever else. To understand my style of writing and the purpose a little more, please read here.

All of this continues, and as of 2010 a new focus and energy arises for this space--

--a means of expression to share around a life passion :: the needs of children, my own and the multitudes around the globe. To be a champion to the ones in my care and a defender of the many who need an advocate. Long before becoming a mother, this was my heartbeat. These little ones are my life's work and I choose to be a voice for the children of the nations.

So if you don't mind a hodgepodge of topics--a bit of this & that and primarily to me, meeting the needs of children (wherever they may be)--then welcome.

Welcome to Domestic Serenity.


November 15, 2007

We're moving along....

It's day number 46! Janelle has a few more days logged than that since she began over the summer, but Jordyn is excited that her number line is growing l-o-n-g-e-r!


My Gacko

I LOVE my Gacko (aka 'my jacket')! Everyday I ask Mommy to get it for me so that I can go outside. Sometimes I cannot go out, but that doesn't matter, I wear my gacko anyway! It's especially handy if I need to stuff extra bits of breakfast or lunch into the pockets. Gackos are wonderful--you can wipe your nose on it, stuff animals in it, unzip it and ask Mommy to rezip it several times a day, and a bunch of other things. Though I have several gackos around, this one is my favorite because it's soft on the inside. If Mommy would let me wear it to nap, I would! But that's not happening she says. Oh, well...when I wake up the gacko goes back on anyway. Do you have a favorite gacko too?

November 13, 2007

Simple Advent Fun for the Family

The season of Advent is a joyous occassion for the family! Advent is a time of anticipation, of longing and of waiting for the birth of the Messiah, Christ who came to earth for us.  Celebrated the weeks leading up to Christmas Day, Advent this year officially begins on Sunday, November 28th.

An Advent calendar is a special way to mark this passing of time and can be a practical tool to teach little ones (and big ones!) about the Christmas story and the true 'reason for the season'.  This calendar usually counts down the 24 days before December 25th, but can be adjusted by a day to begin December 1st if wanted.

Last year I chose a simple method to celebrate our family traditions, and to prioritize the many ideas of how to influence our children with the meaning of Christmas ~ a calendar of envelopes!  Each morning from December 1st, at our devotional time we opened one envelope that first focused on giving or sharing, and then sometimes on an activity or craft to be completed that day.  I opted for mostly quick & easy ideas and other days had more time or effort required.  Practical and fun, this idea is easy to duplicate!

First, the supplies needed ::

24 or 25 envelopes of any color or size

same number of index cards or cardstock pieces to fit envelopes

clothespins (mini ones can be found inexpesively at crafting stores)

any type of sturdy string, rope or way to hang envelopes

number stickers if desired, or simply write in pen or marker

Because we used our calendar as a teaching tool, our ideas included the focus on giving generously of ourselves just as Christ did.  We wanted our children (then ages 4, 7 and 11) to know that giving didn't always require purchasing an item, but could be something we already had.  Along the way, we also incorporated various family traditions such as reading the Christmas story or making gingerbread cookies as activities for fun.  One each index card, you can include both a giving focus and an activity or craft, or simply one or the other; whatever is best and easiest for you.

 Some ideas that worked for us ::

~ prayed for those who may feel alone this season, may Jesus be near to them

~given the gift of a smile

~given the gift of a hug

~written notes of appreciation (or draw a picture) for someone in our family or church

~shared a special something with a family member

~shared the gift of a Christmas carol with someone—over the phone, at home or somewhere else

~made a treat for those in our community who serve us; example~the lady who delivers our mail, our librarians, those who service our cars

~chosen items for families around the world through the gift catalogs of World Vision & Gospel for Asia

~ snuggled up in PJs and read Christmas books together

~ given the gift of laughter by telling jokes

~ painted wooden ornaments to give to family, friends or teachers

 ~ gone out to eat as a family (a treat for us!) and given an extra tip to our waitress or waiter

~ given the gift of our time by making a ‘coupon’ to serve another

~ given a gift to the birds outdoors by making pinecone birdfeeders for the winter ahead

~ surprised a neighbor with flowers on their doorstep

~ made lots of gingerbread cookies for ourselves and to share

~ read and acted out the Christmas story from Luke 2

The list can go on, be creative!  The key is to keep it practical, especially if there are little ones involved, and to included ideas that perhaps your family is already doing and a few you would like to try.

Advent is a time of celebration, not stress.  A time to remember the gift of Christ's coming and to share of ourselves.  Keep it simple and enjoy...

November 8, 2007

He Speaks!

Josiah said his first 3 word sentence recently. At almost two years old, he has an abundance of words and while he's been stringing two of them together for a bit, he's decided to expand his skills.

What was this flash of brilliance worthy of blogging?


Need I say more?

November 5, 2007

Stories of our Faith

Wanting to focus some on the history of Christianity, last week we took time to read a story of courageous action in the life of Martin Luther. After listening to Mom read an excerpt from the book Trial and Triumph, the girls chose to act out the story of the posting of his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517. Jordyn was a poor woman buying indulgences and Janelle represented the church council. Dear Mom was Martin Luther ("because you know the story best Mommy"). Scenes switched as we rehearsed the ripple effect of one man's questioning and searching. We became the printers who spread copies of the theses throughout Germany and Europe; then we were the ones who threatened Martin not to speak out. Finally, we acted out the common German people who were happy to receive the Bible in their own language after Luther had translated it for them.

After the hulabaloo of costume changes and such, we took time to remember examples from the life of Jesus....another courageous man who defied the empty religious practices of his day to bring hope to others. We prayed for courage and strength for ourselves, that we too would not simply point others towards outward practices, but toward relationship with a real God.

Our time ended with a rousing rendition of one of Luther's hymns, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God". Janelle led by playing the melody line on the piano, Jordyn pranced & danced around, and Josiah tried to be heard above the music as he yelled for someone to get him his sippy cup.

It was a beautiful time. :o)

The Girl, The Grasshopper and The Owl

No, this not the title of an Aesop fable. It's the pictoral adventure of one young girl who loves science! We didn't catch the specimens ourselves :o), but ordered a dissection kit from Home Science Tools which included a frog, an earthworm and a grasshopper. Thinking it would be a good idea to do a 'dry' dissection, we worked on the owl pellet kit as well. Very interesting! And owl swallows its prey whole and regurgitates a pellet containing all of the bones.

Here are a few pics of the dissections Janelle has worked on so far:

taking a look at the owl pellet...

separating out the bones...

and the grasshopper...

(Jordyn suggested that we not show close up pictures because 'it might make people sick').


October 29, 2007

Have you missed us?

Sorry that we have not been updating as much, we've been busy! Enjoying the outdoors mainly and taking time to play in the fresh air before the weather gets too cold for long stretches of time outside.

Quick notes about what's happening in school~
Our new curriculum came in for Bible and History! Mom and Janelle are beginning this week to dig into The Mystery Of History Volume II. We'll be enlightened about events, people and places from early church history through the Middle Ages. Look for us to comment about this in the future.

As part of some music appreciation, today we listened to a recording of the Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven and the girls had various responses. Jordyn asked why it was so sad and declared that we should listen to happier music. Janelle said "this song grips me". She went on to describe that the song seemed happy and sad all at the same time. That the happiness tried to rise above the sadness, but got swallowed back in. Excellent work Janelle! The sonata was written after Beethoven had witnessed the passing of a friend and it definitely has an overall somber tone.

Jordyn has almost completed memorizing Psalm 100 and is quite proud of herself. Janelle began working on John chapter 1 today. We'll try and record soon and pass this along! First, Mom has to learn how to do it. :o)

later everyone!

October 25, 2007


October 24, 2007


October 23, 2007


October 22, 2007

Just some pics


October 11, 2007

Simply Science

Okay, Janelle reporting here. I am here to tell you that I LOVE Science!! Mostly life science and anything having to do with the human body. Well, after almost a year of begging.....(drum roll please)....I have finally convinced my mother to let me dissect a frog! YES! I am so very, very excited you would think it was my birthday all over again. We ordered it this week, so it will be several more days for me to painfully wait. Mom says I should work on my skill of observation before then, so here is a simple project I completed.

If you take 3 apple pieces and place one in water, one in hydrogen peroxide, and one in white vinegar, what changes will occur after 1 minute? After 5 minutes? After 10 minutes?
Mom made me a chart to record my data. First, I made observations about the liquids. For example, they are all colorless. Can you think of others?

Then, I wrote a hypothesis for each of the three. You do remember what a hypothesis is, correct?

Then, with timer in hand and some help from Mom, the apples got dropped in as I kept a vigilent watch for any particular changes. One minute.....5 minutes....(nothing much happening, except the peroxide making sizzling sounds and bubbles around the apple).

Ten minutes....well, still no significant change for the water or vinegar solutions. Peroxide still bubbling. I guess some experiments are like that. Anyway, lastly I recorded all my observation on the chart and called it a day. I wonder if the apples changed in smell? Hmmm....

While I worked, Jordyn used an apple to paint.....

....and Josiah surveyed his kingdom.


October 3, 2007

Mama D's Musings

I thought it would be good to add my comments, musings or thoughts at random points throughout this blog. I have been so pleased with the start of our school year and am still basking in the 'glory' of fresh new days. This is partly due to our new basement and s-p-a-c-e to spread out, but today I realized it may have to do with the fact that I am more in tune as to why we homeschool.
On the first day, I processed this with the girls: 'why do we homeschool?' Their responses were funny and even impressive! But, I finally explained in words they understood. We have them home with us during this season of their lives because we want them to be instructed in our family's mission. They can receive an adequate or even superior academic foundation elsewhere, though we are committed to this as well. However, no institution can take ample time to teach our children some of the values we hold dear--or even if they did, it may not be with the same emphasis or passion.
So, what is this mission you may ask? In 2003, we adopted as a family (at least those who were speaking members then!) what we call our 'mission statement'--or purpose statement if you will. Five simple statements that we have felt sum up why the six of us are under the same roof---a LOT. I'll introduce them one at a time here and there along the way.

Number One: "We enjoy relationship with God and with one another. We love to laugh, talk & share, play, worship, work and have fun together."

Life is primarily about relationships. Period.

Yes, I guess it's important to know about Socrates, the dates of the American Revolution or how to calculate the area of a shape....but we strongly believe that our children also need time to build solid relationships. First, with their Creator God and alongside of this we emphasize that He divinely placed them in the context of a family to learn about relationships here on earth. Yes, we do branch out and encourage them to build friendships and associations outside of our family--but it all starts here. And home is at times the hardest place to put into practice the very aspects needed for great relationships: trust, loyalty, kindness, service...and the list could go on. We want to take not just small snippets of time, but huge chunks and large blocks of time to instruct them that real, rich and robust relationships with a holy God and with those in their family are BIG. It's the glue that kind of pulls the other pieces of life together I think. We don't always get it right, but we know enough to make it a priority.

So, there you have it. This, my friends, is the first reason as to why we base our children's education from home.

October 2, 2007

Homeschooling Resources
{page continually updated}

Inspiring Reading for Parents:

Developing Good Habits & Attitudes

  • Laying Down the Rails :: every parent should have one of these; it's FULL of wisdom on character training & habit training for both parents and children.

Educational Philosophy :: I would describe our children as being 'classically educated in a Charlotte Mason style' if the need arose to explain our homeschooling. To make sense of this statement, here are a few links:


September 27, 2007

An Apple a Jordyn and Josiah


September 22, 2007


September 21, 2007

It's Friday!

This is Jordyn reporting: It's the end of another week of school. Yes, I know, I know. We haven't had that many. We've all been very busy this week as Janelle began adding more subjects to her schedule and I picked up my routine as well. Mom did say we were going to get more organized. Anyway, the way I see it, Janelle can give you her own here's mine:

First, let me tell you more about my daily activities. Each morning we come together (we being Mom, Janelle, Josiah and me) to review our scripture of the week, some songs, and to pray. I usually offer to pray. I think it's cool to pray about random things that may not have to do with school at all and Mom once had to cut me a little short. Oh, well. Then Janelle goes off to her independent activities, Josiah goes to play and I work with Mom. We do the calendar, our number line and read, read, read. I really like our number line because we are counting up to the 100th day of school. Today was day 13. And, I love Mom reading to me! I also work on writing my first and last name and reviewing my letter sounds. Eventually I hear they are supposed to combine and make words! Yeah! I cannot wait.

Hmmm...what else? This week we did a science unit on apples, airplanes and archeology. Yes, a-r-c-h-e-o-l-o-g-y. Mom strongly believes in deviating from solely the apples, bears and cat mode of ABCs. Something about children being able to learn so much more if we only offer it to them. She turned out to be right because I enjoyed everything we did. We wrap it up next week, so I'll post pictures then.

Well, I should go to bed. Tonight we went out as a family to play mini golf and I'm pooped. Have a great weekend everyone!


September 18, 2007

There's a Voice in the Monkey in the Jacuzzi.....

There is a new game that Mom and Janelle are enjoying. It's called In A Pickle and we're having loads of fun thinking up silly and quite funny connections between words. This had us laughing today and we can't wait to introduce it to Jackie and Dad. It's sure to be a family favorite!

September 17, 2007

Taking Time to Play

Ah, warm air and beautiful sunshine make for a perfect day to hang out in the sandbox. Yes, even kings take time to play and enjoy their surroundings!

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