Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Recapping This Past Week

I’m sitting down with my ice coffee and special Milano cookies (Mama’s Treat!), the younger ones are playing out front (I think they’ve discovered a caterpillar), C is baking a cake (she’s marketing a new, Fall Harvest cake), and L is out moving hay bales. I love this Autumn weather – it really does rejuvenate me!

I had trouble posting here last week, so I’ll give you a run down of some of our recent activities:

School –
Everyone is doing great in their schooling. C and L have been doing a literature study with another family – everyone is reading The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis and then going through a study guide geared to high school students. It’s been a great study for the students and their Moms!

E and G are flying through their math books – we’ve been working through some measuring, shapes, measuring, volumes, temperatures, fractions etc. It’s a lot of fun – moving on to some tougher things next week. They are both improving in their reading skills and really love to sit down with a good book. E especially enjoys copywork and G is a whiz with numbers.

N is amazing me – he’s actually teaching himself to read! I rented a phonics dvd from an online service (some friends recommended them) -- the little guys watched the first one once a day for a week, I sent it back and the next week rented the next one. They watched it once a day for a week. A few days later, he sat down with a pad of paper and pencil while I was doing reading lesson with the others and pretty soon he comes running up “Look Mom! Read this!” bat, bad, cat, dad, God were written on his paper. I asked him if he knew what they said – ‘yup’ He read them to me. I asked if he had written them -- ‘yup’ The grin stretched across his face told me he was telling the truth. This boy has not been interested in anything academic to this point. WooHoo!

I spent my one afternoon a week volunteering at a nearby Pregnancy Crisis Center. I’m still in training, but it is rewarding, challenging, eye opening, satisfying work.

On Thursday, the R____ family joined us for school work. We are trying a co-op sort of idea this year. Twice a month we get together and ‘do school’, each working on their usual assignments. Mrs R will do a little board work with the younger ones, the older ones work mostly on their own subjects. Then we have our literature discussion over our ‘brown bag’ lunches. It’s been fun, and motivational!

Field Trip –

We spent one day last week with another family visiting some of the museums at the University. Great Day! We had a fantastic tour of the Entomology Museum – yes, bugs! And more bugs! Tons of bugs! Ewwwww (the moms were not overly enthusiastic, but the children were enthralled – very cool). We also saw plenty of reptiles (that’s right – snakes) and a display of skeletons from frogs, crocodiles, lizards, turtles and the like.

Then on to the Library (you can see me below giving the 'be quiet, use inside voices, no running' talk in the picture). We made a quick viewing of an exhibit featuring political cartoons – very interesting, a great history lesson. We happened upon this while looking for the Rare Book Room
– the flyer said they had an exhibit showing the history of printing and the art of printing, featuring some antique books and papers, including pages from a Gutenburg Bible.

Apparently not many visit this particular exhibit, because we had many (including security and dept heads) leading us to all different wings of the library! Well, when we finally arrived, the supervisor of the Rare Books Collection had to pick her jaw up off the floor, her eyes nearly popping out of her head as she looked down the hall to see our 2 families, which included 4 adults and 14 children!

Now we find out there is no exhibit, really. They do have these things, but most are stored away. Apparently few people just show up and ask to have a look-see.

They very graciously welcomed us in, cleared the table and brought out some really neat stuff for us. We saw actual Babylonian Tablets, that mention King Nebuchadnezzar, sticks of papyrus and an explanation on how they made and used papyrus, a family bible from early 1800’s, and a book with gilded edges – which was spectacular, because when you opened the cover and shifted the edges of the pages, a beautiful handpainted scene appeared right before your eyes. A great day was had by all!

There’ll be a wedding here on the farm soon – Uncle M is marrying J in less than 2 weeks and so everyone is bustling about making the farm look its best. We’ve been doing some cleaning up and fixing up and general beautification around our place. Dad finished his rock wall – it looks very nice. I’ll post some pics in my next entry.

The big seasonal switch over – I have the little girls clothes changed over to winter, finishing up the little boys. My they do grow fast! I must admit, it is nice that I don’t have to do it for the older ones anymore.

We also canned 10 quarts of pears and 6 quarts of apple sauce.

Now, if you’ve read this far ---- Congratulations! And Thank You! for sticking with me! I know this post has been long, but I really wanted to catch up a bit.

Have a wonderful week, and enjoy this season the Lord has given us!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Decluttering Update

Well, there are still a few things to finish up, but they are going to have to wait. We accomplished a good deal the last 24 hours! Here are the promised "After" pictures. Sorry about the quality. I wanted to get them posted tonight, so I snapped them rather quickly, but it'll give you the idea.

I'm hoping to do a little decorating soon - adding some things to the wall, making the window coverings, etc. We also will be sorting and purging the bookshelves. My goal is for this 'catch-all' room to be renamed the Library. Sounds rather sophisticated, don't ya think? The little guys and I 'do school' at the dining room table, now -- but I think we'll move in here to the Library for schooltime!

I'm beat - off to bed for a good night's sleep so I can enjoy the Lord's Day with my family tomorrow!


Ok, here we go again! Here’s my confession - I am organizationally challenged. I am a sentimental packrat. I’m thrifty and creative so I can think of a use for almost everything! I am not a great housekeeper. As long as I can remember, it’s been a chore for me to pick up after myself and my family – it’s HARD WORK! And I don’t enjoy it. But I am not going to give up (though I’ve considered it many times!)

This fall we are trying to go through as much of the house as we can and weed out, clean up and get rid of stuff. We’ve been in this house 9 years now – I’ve never lived in one place that long my entire life! And stuff does seem to accumulate.

Here’s my criteria -- It must reflect the standard presented in Philippians 4:8

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy -- meditate on these things.”

We are trying to ask questions like these: Is it useful? Does it meet a need? Does it add to our quality of living? Can someone else benefit from this more than our family? Is there another item that functions just as well?

So, we started this morning on the Family Room, which is actually just a ‘catch-all’ room since we finished off the basement. Here are my embarrassing pictures of our work in progress. L and a couple of the younger ones sorted out the shoe racks and coat rack. C helped me move the bookshelves around. Now we are sorting through ‘stuff’ as quickly as possible. It is hard, but necessary, I think. If you give me time to think about it, I’ll be able to justify keeping it!

I’ll post ‘after’ pictures this weekend. You might keep us all in your prayers while we wade our way through the piles!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Family Traditions

One of our family traditions is the Family Birthday Weiner Roast. To celebrate a family member’s birthday, Grandma stokes up a bonfire in one of the nearby pastures and everyone gathers to roast hotdogs and fill up on Aunt L’s famous baked beans and other traditional cookout goodies (like S’mores!) Sometimes we are near a pond and some will go fishing, always there’s a little cow pie dodging going on (he, he, he). And we wind up the evening at Grandma and Grandpa’s place for cake and ice cream.

With the children growing up and beginning to leave home, we haven’t been able to gather as often as we used to. But with Uncle M getting married next month, J is joining the family and so last week we started up the fire in honor of her birthday. A good time was had by all – weather was perfect (though the ground was a little soggy). G’ma made the ice cream, but C made the birthday cake.

It was really nice to enjoy our family tradition again. I wonder if the young people will carry on when us old ones aren’t able to. Which of our traditions will they keep up? What new traditions will they begin on their own?

So, anyone wanna come visit? We may just throw a Weiner Roast in your honor!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

As a Mom, I know I’m successful when…..

. . . I have to check with my 17 year old daughter to find out how much flour to add and what temperature to set the oven when making chocolate chip cookies! I’ve trained my girls so well, I have hardly baked in the last 5 years! I wanted to have a treat ready for some people that have helped me out lately (like my supervisor at the pregnancy crisis center where I’m volunteering and our Amish Milk Man and his family) so I thought, hey! This will be fun! R (now 2 years old) and I filled the counter with all the ingredients and dove in to make some delicious cookies (using C’s famous recipe). We all chuckled a bit over the fact that Mom had to check in with the Expert Cookie Baker for hints and tips.

Fantastic results, by the way! Warm cookies straight from the oven, a cold glass of milk (or coffee for Mom) YUM!!!!

You Might Also Enjoy:

these related posts