Saturday, July 26, 2008

And We're Off!!

We have two car toppers, can't see out the back window, and nobody can move until we get there, but we did it!! We fit all the camping gear and food for 7 people for 9 days into our minivan! My hubby is an expert packer. Check back in a week for lots of wonderful vacation photos!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Preparing for School

Here are a couple things that have kept me busy recently. Actually, ever since school got out in June I have been busy printing state pages of all 50 states in order to comb bind them and make state notebooks for the older 4 children. Completing these notebooks will be an ongoing project for the next two years as we study history chronologically using Tapestry of Grace. But I knew it would ultimately be so much easier to print all the pages and comb bind them ONE time rather than having to add pages throughout the next two years.

I purchased this set of state notebooking pages, downloaded them, and began the slow process of printing 4 copies of 6 pages for each of the 50 states. If you're doing the math, that adds up to 1200 pages!! And if you have an inkjet printer, you know how s-l-o-w they are! After several weeks, one and a half black ink printer cartridges, and 2.5 reams of paper, I am DONE!!!! I literally did a happy dance when I printed off my last Hawaii page! Here is the stack of pages, a full 3 inches high.

A new fun thing for this coming year is that daughter G and I will be participating in a virtual co-op online, for history discussions once a week. Four times out of the year I will be the designated teacher for the week, leading the discussion, and the other weeks another mom will be the teacher. There are 12 middle school aged children all across the country involved in this history discussion, and G is very excited about it! She will need to complete her weekly reading and write out answers to thinking and accountability questions in preparation for this discussion, and I think it will be good practice for her to be accountable to someone else. We each had to buy a headset with microphone and that was it. Here I am, participating in my first "mom's discussion" online. It was neat to hear all the different ladies' voices and feel like we were just chatting in someone's living room! We learned how to use the whiteboard feature and some other pretty cool things too.

I have also read through our Latin and *think* that I am ready to begin. G is very excited to learn Latin as well, which makes me happy! So the school prep is happening slowly and surely. In about 36 hours we will be leaving for a week of vacation, during which time I plan to read, sleep, swim, cook for my family, play with my kids, enjoy my hubby, read my Bible, pray, reflect, journal, and come home refreshed. Think it'll happen??!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Me, as I was passing out chocolate chips as a surprise treat: "You may have 3 chocolate chips because you're 3".

Little Man: "Actually, in my mind I'm 5."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Today's the Day!!!

My blog is one year old today! Happy Birthday blog!!

My good friend is celebrating the one year anniversary of bringing her precious daughters home from Russia. Happy Family Day!!

My sister and brother in law are celebrating 24 years of marriage today! Happy Anniversary!!! (and hubby and I are celebrating 24 years since meeting! Oh happy happy day that we met!)

New Skill for Little Man!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Tribute to my Dad

Dad, I was a slug (or at least didn't plan ahead) and did not send you a card this past Father's Day, so this will have to serve as your card. :-)

My dad ranks right up there as my number two hero (right behind my hubby). I wish all my blog readers could know my dad! He was a very hard worker, working hard to provide for his family, and though he is retired now he still has a great work ethic and loves to help others. He is very good with his hands, can fix just about anything, has such a generous spirit, and is kind and gentle. Whenever he and my mom would come and visit after we'd had a baby, he would hold and burp the new little person with such tenderness, and even change diapers!

However tired and sometimes overworked my dad was while I was young (which now I can totally relate to of course!!) I always knew that he adored his family, and he still does. Family has always been really important to my dad, and that is one of the many things I love about him. I looked for a man that shared that same value, and I found it in my hubby. My dad spent time with his girls, teaching me how to throw a football, and teaching us all how to fish. He made family vacations a high priority, and though we never had what might be considered fancy shmancy trips, we had some pretty awesome camping vacations and driving trips to visit relatives which still rank among my most special memories.

Which of us girls will ever forget the vacation where we camped in the redwoods with our cousins, holding back each other's pigtails while we brushed our teeth at a water spigot outside, and watching cousin Jim tend the fire all day long? Or the many times we camped at our beloved Fort Casey, listening to the waves crash against the shore and log walking all the way down the beach? Or the goodnight song we sang each night in the dark right before falling asleep? I have a funny memory of myself during my "summer of the belt", where I wore a beaded Indian belt and saluted in every picture. I don't remember why, but I sure did love that belt!

My mom was the glue for our family, but my dad was the foundation. They worked very well together, each with their unique roles, to build a family where each member loved the others and all loved God. How grateful I am for that legacy! I do recall a few of the more memorable squabbles I had with my sisters, and one time when I went to my room and swore at my mom in private when I was mad at her (sorry mom!), and I am sure there were the usual marital disagreements that I was not privy to at the time. But mostly I remember the fun we had together, the ways they discipled us, the times we served together, and the times we were there for each other. I am so thankful for all the times they discussed parenting issues together, and prayed together for us, their family. It is a wonderful model for me and my hubby to follow now with our own family.

I have not asked my dad for permission, but I know he wouldn't mind if I shared one of my favorite memories of him. It's one of my favorite memories because it illustrates a man not too proud to say I'm sorry. I don't remember exactly how old I was, but I was less than 10. My dad stayed home from church one Sunday to watch an important football game, while mom and us 3 girls went to the worship service as was our usual custom. I don't remember my mom being livid, although she may have been. I'm not even sure I would remember that my dad stayed home one time, except that when we got home he was a broken man. The tv was off, he had obviously been crying, and sat us down right away and apologized for setting such a poor example of a spiritual leader, and begged for our forgiveness.

WOW! That stands out brightly in my memory. Probably more than anything else God used that one incident to show me, through my dad, the importance of worshipping God as part of the church body, and the value God places on His children coming together to worship Him. It also showed me that parents were not above wronging their children, and that far from minimizing his authority in our eyes, asking forgiveness only served to re-establish that authority, and to elevate the level of respect we had for our dad. Something that has been good to remember when I have had to ask forgiveness of my children!

Dad, thank you for being the man that you are. Thank you for your years of sacrifice and hard work for your family. Thank you for loving us in tangible ways, for helping to create such wonderful memories for us all, and for loving and living for God in front of us. I love that you are a man of your word, and that you are a man of God's Word. I love you dearly.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Summer Woes and Summer Joys

Our summer got off to a rather blah start. Granted, we ended our school year a full two weeks before the public schools around here, which meant that the neighbor children didn't begin knocking on our door until around 4:00 pm. That was nice for me. I have not shared a lot here about our neighborhood situation (this *is* the internet, after all!) but have shared quite a bit with people in real life. Suffice it to say that a constantly ringing doorbell, peering faces at our front window and back doorwall, little people waiting on our driveway when we get home, children opening the screen door and walking right into our house when the front door was open, things taken out of our garage when the garage door was up, vehicles being played in whenever the windows were down, water hoses being turned on without asking, and more broken Little Tikes toys than I can count have all been part of our recent past.

Since the public schools got out, I have been feeling very emotionally worn. This has been a huge summer woe for me.

It dawned on me a few days ago that I had not established healthy boundaries with the neighbor children. I thought I had, because I had worked so hard at teaching them to respect our property and the rules of our yard. But I had not taught them to respect our TIME. I have never been sure where to draw the line between compassion for them, and family time for us. It was easier to say "no" in the evening, when hubby was home from work, but much harder during the daytime when my children were all outside playing anyway.

Well, the Holy Spirit showed this to me very clearly last week, and I am so thankful! It's like I needed "permission" to say no sometimes, and the freedom that has brought makes me feel like a new woman! On the day we set up our pool, I told the neighbor children that we were going to play in our yard alone. "Today is going to be a family day all day long, but you may come over tomorrow." I had to repeat this a few times when they snuck back into our yard (remember, no fence), but eventually they realized that it was a hard and fast boundary and they stayed away. The next day one little boy asked if they could come and swim in our pool whenever they wanted. In response, I smiled at him gently and said, "do we come over and swim in YOUR pool whenever we want to?" A sheepish grin spread over his face. I then spelled it out so there would be no room for doubt.

I do want to include these precious children in our family life when appropriate, and I want to show God's love to them. I also want some time that is just for our own family to enjoy our yard, when I am not in charge of supervising anyone else's children but my own 5. And I realize now that those two things are not mutually exclusive. Thank you Lord! This is a huge summer joy!

The other thing I realized recently was that I was being way too laid back about the children's chores this summer, and about our overall daily routine. We were kindof free floating. So I tightened up our daily routine a little bit, expecting more from them and instituting an afternoon quiet time. This is also a big summer joy! I *know* that my kids thrive on structure, so why was I not providing it? Summer can still be fun and full of play within the framework of a little structure. This is a good thing. :-)

Last summer we were able to have a helper come and play with the children for about 3 hours one day each week while I did school prep for the upcoming year. This summer that was not in our budget, so I have been torn between the need for uninterrupted time to concentrate on school things, and the need for me to be outside supervising the neighborhood. :-) A summer woe. No wonder I was stressed!

I have now set aside daily time for me to just PLAY, and whole days during the week where I do NOTHING school related, and about an hour each day that I can spend on school prep during the children's afternoon quiet time. All that truly needs to get done will get done slowly and surely. I am a happier, less stressed mommy, and this is spilling over to my family. A big summer joy!

And I put white construction paper half way up on the pretty little skinny windows beside my front door. No more little faces peering at me while I sit at the computer! A little privacy is a great summer joy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pool Time!

After months of debate and me dragging my feet, we decided to put up our pool even though we did not put a fence around our yard. I have been very nervous about the neighbor children perhaps using our pool when we were not at home (a very likely scenario) but we found a "debris" cover we can put on it whenever we aren't swimming. It's not a hard cover, but it will completely cover the pool and tie underneath the rim, and will serve as a visual boundary. So, I will be outside or in the pool myself whenever the children are swimming, and the cover will go on as soon as we get out.

The children were, of course, very excited for the filling to begin!! When there are only a couple inches of water in the pool it functions as a wonderful slip and slide. And when there are a few more inches and everyone runs in the same direction, it makes a wonderful whirlpool! (note to my mom and dad: G is not really that much shorter than L, he is not standing up completely straight. But it's true that L has caught up with daughter G!)

New sand toy.

Splashing Fun!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Middle School Growing Pains

Our oldest is heading into sixth grade, which means several changes for her here in our homeschool, and also at church. At home it means being graded on every assignment in every subject, beginning Latin, an introduction to literary analysis, and more reading (for information in content areas, not just for pleasure). At church it means moving into the middle school youth group. Our daughter knows all our expectations for her regarding schoolwork, and has "accepted" some and is excited about others. She is definitely excited about going to the middle school youth group, not so much because she knows what it's like and is excited to participate, but because it's such an obvious sign of growing up.

In this post, I shared how we were visiting the youth group and praying about which programs/events to allow G to participate in. Here it is 5 months later and I still have mixed feelings. Some of my blog readers attend my church, and some of you have children in this same youth group. PLEASE don't be offended by my own hesitations. My mixed feelings are not a judgement on *your* children attending, but I am realizing more and more that they stem from a philosophical difference of opinion in what a youth group should be like and what it should be for. There are many wonderful things about our middle school youth group (and high school too for that matter) and there is definitely spiritual growth happening, and opportunities to serve and love others. So what is my problem you might ask?

That growth appears to be limited to a small number of kids. In talking with the youth pastor, seeing what his overall vision is and the steps he takes to achieve that vision, and in talking with lots of other parents, it appears that there is a disconnect between the huge, high energy, "bring your friends" meeting on Wed night, and the small group opportunity where kids can really dig into the Word of God and be held accountable. In other words, lots of kids come on Wed night and to special events, while the small groups are pretty small and have remained relatively stable in size over the course of several years. I'm not suggesting that this is "wrong" necessarily, but I'm wondering what it means. Could it mean that we are attracting lots of youth to the fun and games but not attracting them to the truth of God's Word? Why is that? How could we do better? Is this "normal"? The way it has to be? Why? Why does it have to be this way? Why can't it be different? If the number of kids who are really committed to the Lord and are learning to serve Him in a variety of ways remains constant over the years, are we really growing?

I don't know the answers to these questions. I do know that being a youth pastor or a youth worker is hard work (I saw it up close and personal for many years) and I pray for ours. It is often a thankless job, and one which can receive lots of criticism. I don't want my questions to be interpreted as criticism because I truly do not have a critical spirit when I ask. I would love an open dialogue on what youth are truly seeking and what are the best ways to help them find it. I could be way off base, or the Lord could be placing this check in my spirit for the level of involvement only our children will have, or it could be that many others are asking these same questions and there is a better way to "do" youth groups. Maybe there is a whole different paradigm we need to find. I don't know.

Meanwhile, September is fast approaching and we have to make a decision on whether or not to allow our daughter to attend on Wed nights. I honestly don't know where she'd go instead, since I have a ministry commitment on those evenings and my hubby has work related meetings two Wed nights a month. It would be so much easier to just let her go. And that may be what we do. But I am not convinced yet that is the best thing for her. Our children have picked up so much undesirable behavior from the neighbor kids, so my point of reference right now is perhaps skewed a little toward the "isolationist" side. Please pray with us for wisdom and peace as we wrestle with this decision.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Stuffed Animal Day

All of our children's stuffed animals got loved on today. They got to go for bike rides,
and lovely walks around the neighborhood.

They were fed, napped with, lined up, and tucked lovingly into bed at night. If you were a stuffed animal, it was a very good day!

Summer Happiness

Friday, July 11, 2008

New Friends

On Thursday the kids and I drove to a beach to meet up with two families from the Tapestry of Grace yahoo group I am part of! It is so much fun to meet internet friends face to face after interacting online for a long period of time. Wendy and Penny and I felt like we had known each other for years! We had a wonderful time talking and playing in the water and sand.
Wendy's 4 year old son, and Penny's 10 year old daughter.

From l to r: My son G, Wendy's 7 year old son, my C and L, and Wendy's 9 year old son. These boys were in dig heaven!!

A sandy sandwich!

Daughter G with her finished sand castle.

Me, Wendy, and Penny.

If you are a regular blog reader and you read my "Fear" post a few days ago, you may wonder at our choice of meeting at a beach. Well, it's where Wendy was camping, and she had already driven across several states to get there. I did have some nightmares and trouble sleeping a few nights before, but I quoted scripture to myself liberally, told my hubby that I was not going to let fear rule my life, and had him pray with me the night before. God, as always, was gracious in answering. The slope was very gradual so there was shallow water for a long way out, and the waves were not too high. We all, even me, had a lot of fun, and I am so thankful for this opportunity to meet old friends for the first time!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


The handsome princes and the beautiful princesses...

(when there's only one princess in the family, you have to make modifications)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This 'n That

Daughter G and I went to a wedding last Saturday. It was a beautiful wedding of two young people who deeply love the Lord and each other. New love is so beautiful to watch, isn't it? G watched everything with wide eyes, noticing every detail. I often wondered what she was thinking. While the bride was walking down the aisle and everyone's eyes were on her, G leaned over and whispered to me, "mommy, why is the groom crying?". Congratulations to this beautiful couple!!

Whenever I go to a wedding it reminds me of our own special day. On that day I couldn't imagine loving my hubby any more. After going through the rough stage of disillusionment (it was year 7 for me), I began to pray frequently that God would give me HIS love for my husband, because I had realized that love conjured up from within myself would eventually fail. God has answered that prayer so marvelously and continues to answer that prayer. I love my hubby so much!!
I have had a UTI for about a week that I finally got antibiotics for yesterday. Since it began just before a long holiday weekend, I had hoped to be able to knock it out of my system naturally, but I guess it was just too powerful a bacteria. I am feeling much better now, and thankful for modern medicine.

Our son G may have a small fracture in one of the growth plates of his foot. He landed wrong while jumping off a staircase at church last Sunday, and we had it xrayed yesterday. Our pediatrician wasn't sure, so we are waiting for the radiologist to read the xray and let us know for certain. Meanwhile, he is staying off his foot (it is quite swollen) and putting ice packs on it.

My TOG Year 3, unit 1 arrived on our front porch this morning, fresh from the printer!! I can't wait to take off the shrink wrap and dig in. :-) For the next two years, we will be on the same schedule as their redesign production. The authors of TOG are in the process of issuing a "redesign" version of each of the 4 year plans. This became necessary due to the amount of books that had gone out of print. Years 1 and 2 are completely finished, and now they are working on year 3 and will release it unit by unit throughout this year. So I get to have "Christmas" 3 more times during this school year!

I am nearing the end of my reading of John Adams. 650 pages total! I am purposely reading only a few pages a day in order to draw it out as long as possible. It has been the best biography I have ever read. In recent years I have really enjoyed historical fiction and fiction for my pleasure reading, but I have to say that this was extremely fascinating and it has impacted my thinking on several different issues. I'll write more about it when I am finished.
I am missing one ingredient for the aztec chicken I had meant to make for dinner. What will I make instead??

Monday, July 7, 2008


This is a case of the older teaching the younger, and since the "older" in this case was 9, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of correct theology he imparted to his younger brother!

3 year old Little Man: God hates bad guys.

9 year old G: No, God doesn't hate bad guys. He loves bad guys.

Little Man: No, he *hates* bad guys! They go to hell.

9 year old G: Well, they do go to hell if they don't love Jesus, but the Bible says that God loves the world, that means everyone.

Little Man, getting quite insistent and upset: NO! He hates bad guys!!

9 year old G: He hates what they do, but he doesn't hate them. He gives them a chance to say they're sorry and to be forgiven. Then if they love Jesus they get to go to heaven.

(clearly, Little Man cannot wrap his 3 year old brain around this concept) Crying and talking very loudly: Bad guys go to hell!

9 year old G (borrowing a tactic from mom and choosing not to argue with a 3 year old): You're right, a lot of bad guys go to hell.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


For years, when my nervous reactions prompted questions, I would quietly tell people, "I have a thing with water". The truth is, I am afraid of water. Very, very afraid. Specifically, dark murky water where you can't see the bottom, and the possibility that one of my children will go under and get lost down there and drown and never be seen again.

There. I said it.

When I was 8 and my sister was 9, we had a near drowning experience that has stayed with me vividly all these years. It was in dark, murky water, and though I was rescued fairly quickly by a stranger (whom I have silently thanked many times over the years) my sister was "lost" for several moments before my dad saw her dark hair floating on the top of the water and was able to drag her to shore by her hair. Ever since then I have had a love/hate relationship with water. I did learn to swim after this experience, but I have never been a strong swimmer, and I'm in such poor shape right now that I doubt I could swim one pool length without getting extremely out of breath (unless maybe your pool was only 20 feet across!). I love boat rides, and looking at beautiful scenery involving water. I love wading in shallow water or walking on sandy beaches that have a veeeeeeeery long, gradual slope. But I don't love swimming, and I especially dislike swimming in lakes and rivers. And the ocean???? With big pounding waves and undercurrents? Don't get me started........

Of course, because God has such a wonderful sense of humor, both my sister and myself married men who love the water, are strong swimmers, and love boating and skiing. So it's a part of my life and I have had to learn to live with it. I thought that I had dealt with this fear and, as an adult, put it to rest forever.

But then I became a mom.

A mom of 5 children in 7 years.

Whenever we are around water now, I am constantly doing head counts and listening to adult conversation with only one ear and about half my attention. It's not quite so bad at pools because I can clearly see if someone is under, but at the cottage where the water is murky, I am hyper vigilant. Because most people don't even know about this fear (until now!) or understand it, I trust very few people to watch my children around water except for my hubby. And I have to say that I am so, so, so, so grateful for him, because he has always been extremely patient with me and this fear of mine. He takes it seriously and has never said or done anything to put me down or that makes me doubt my trust in him.

Well, our son L went missing for about half an hour on the 4th of July. No-one knew where he was, several people said, "I just saw him _____", but he wasn't in any of those places, and I began to worry "what if?" The last place we had seen him was in the water, and then suddenly he just wasn't there. I searched the cottage. Every room. I searched the next door cottage belonging to some relatives. I searched the backyard, the sideyard, the path to the candy store. Nothing. Someone said he was with cousin Garrett, but then I found Garrett and L wasn't with him. Then someone said he was with second cousin Zachary. I found Zachary and L wasn't with him. By now I was just about in full blown panic mode. My mind went immediately to the river. Because that is one of my biggest fears, my mind just couldn't go anywhere else. And where else was there to look?

Several others began looking, and my hubby came over to the houses and began calling his name in that special "dad" voice. I went to the dock and looked down the river, sure that he was drowned and carried away by the current. I kept saying "Jesus please help us, Jesus please help us" over and over and over. It was absolutely horrifying, and I'm crying now as I type this.

My hubby found him behind the houses. On the railroad tracks looking for snakes with a third cousin he had never met before that day (and we all know how much safer railroad tracks are than water!!). I sobbed with relief. I felt so drained after that. I was completely emotionally exhausted. I wanted to hold him and never let him go, but there were lots of other children present so I restrained myself.

Last year we had all our children wear life jackets whenever they were swimming at the cottage, just for my peace of mind. It made a huge difference. But this year, our daughter has a brand new suit that she doesn't want to cover up with a life jacket (and she is the best swimmer anyway), and the next two don't want to wear life jackets when others who are younger than they are, are not. They don't want to look like "babies." Understandably. So I am having to release some more control (as if I ever really had it to begin with) and give them a little more freedom in this area. Thankfully, our 6 year old loves to wear his lifejacket. He thinks it is practically part of his suit! And our 3 year old doesn't have a choice. But of the older 3 who no longer wear one, L is by far the weakest swimmer.

Close friends who know my story have told me that it's "understandable" to be afraid given my near drowning experience as a child, and I agree that it's understandable. But it is also true that God has not given me the spirit of fear. So I ask myself, as long as there is this huge area of fear in my life, how can I be completely filled with the Lord's spirit? I am doing a Bible study on the word "fear", and am trying to speak God's truth to my mind at every opportunity. If the Lord brings me to mind, would you please pray for me in this area? I think it is not only about fear, but also about control of my children's safety. This is an illusion, of course, but it's an illusion I am really attached to. I am consciously, and repeatedly, offering my children back to the Lord, putting my trust in Him for their safety and their future, while praying to trust Him more.

We are going to the cottage for a whole week as our family vacation this year. In some ways that will be easier since it will be just us (kids get lost more easily in a crowd), but in some ways it will be hard because it will be a whole week of being at the river virtually all day long. I really want to strike the balance between being careful and vigilant but not paranoid and irrational. I'm still looking for that line. And meanwhile, thanking the Lord for His protection over my children. And His tender, longsuffering with me. And looking forward to swim lessons for all the children!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday America!

Annual Family Reunion at the Cottage

Happy Birthday America!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


Over father's day weekend we were able to see some wonderful long distance friends! One of them, a missionary in Alaska, was "home" for a brief visit, and the other family who moved out of state a few years ago came "home" to see us all for the weekend. One night we hosted an open house so that lots of people could come and see them all at the same time. It was so much fun! Good friends are like gold, aren't they?
Our missionary friend is on the far right, and our out of state friend is on the far left.

This was so funny! A "mute" argument between two toddlers who didn't talk much but made their displeasure very much known.

All the women at the party.

There is a small group of us ladies who have been friends for a long time. We all had our babies together, went through potty training together, rejoiced with new births and adoptions together, grieved over losses together, and bonded through mothering. Eight years ago, at our missionary friends going away party, we took this picture:

And now, for the first time in eight years, here we are again all together:

And last but certainly NOT least.....the men at the party!!

It was a rich time of fellowship, and all too short. We love you, our dear friends!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

More on binding your own books (part 10)

MarshaAnne asked about my comb binding machine, and I decided to answer in a whole new post since my answer is rather long winded. Ha!

I purchased my machine online from The Binding Machine. It was a discontinued model that was regularly priced well over $100 and selling for $25. I don't see it on their website anymore, since it's discontinued, but it is most similar to this one.

Shortly after purchasing, my friend Angi made me aware of the ProClick binding machine, which allows for pages to be added at the point of insertion rather than having to be added to the front or taking all the pages out to add them to the back. If I were buying now, this is the machine I would get.

Since I already have a regular comb binding machine, I am going to invest in some of these spines, which open and close to allow for insertion of forgotton pages, but work with a regular binding machine rather than a ProClick. This concept of creating my own comb bound books is a relatively new one to me, but I am excited about the possibilities!

And I must take this opportunity to put in a plug for my friend Angi's blog. If you are a homeschooler, you will find lots of helpful info and tips here! Angi does have an amazon page where you can purchase ProClick supplies. Believe me, you'll want some after seeing what she and her daughter have done with them! There is a link on her blog.