Monday, September 19, 2011


I LOVE giveaways! I found a couple of  AWESOME websites that are having some great giveaways right now. A Mom's Balancing Act is giving away a Mamas and Papas Trip Umbrella Stroller. I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have one of these! With our upcoming trip to Boston, it would be nice to have this stroller for our little man. If you would like a chance to win one, hop on over to A Mom's Balancing Act and check it out! Good Luck!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Imagine Childhood Back-to-School Giveaway

I LOVE chances to win educational stuff! I love school supplies, games, puzzles, manipulatives, educational toys and fun school gadgets. Over at Imagine Childhood they have given you a chance to win a $75 gift card in the imagine childhood back-to-school giveaway. They have some really cool stuff!! It's worth a few minutes to post a comment and "like" their facebook page. Good luck! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Struggling Writers

As most people know, every kids is different. My first and second are two opposites. Number one is very intelligent but absolutely HATES to write. We have fought and argued and fought some more over this but so far, I have yet to get him to do it right and joyfully. I think I may have found the solution though.

I have a fellow homeschool friend, who lives in another state, has a boy about the age of mine. I heard he was collecting state quarters but just lacked one. My son, who was also collecting quarters, had an extra one of that state. Upon mentioning this to my son he wanted to send his extra quarter to this boy. What a brilliant idea!;)

I actually got my son (who HATES to write) to make a prewriting web about himself, a rough draft and a final copy that WAS LEGIBLE (did I say that my son HATES to write?)!

By finding something of interest to him (I know, this was a no brainer) he was willing and maybe even eager to write. Now we are anxiously awaiting the first letter from my son's new pen pal!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lessons in Leverage

Don't you just love when an opportunity to learn is naturally presented and your children actually WANT to learn? This happened at our house. Yes, it does happen.

We have had to hire a bulldozer to come in and do some dirt work around the farm to slow down erosion problems. Costly, yes. Worth it? I hope in the long run that it will. But, the kids our lessons learned were highly valuable.

The bulldozer operator, Red, and our kids really hit it off. He was always making them feel a part of the process by asking for their help. Each of the kids rode along with him for a while. During Anderson's turn, they were pushing some trees to build up an area. They then proceeded to drive up on them. Anderson asked, "why are your doing that?".  Bingo! This started a lesson on leverage. They talked extensively about this concept (from what I was told) and Anderson really enjoyed it. Seeing his interest in learning, Anderson was invited about everyday to learn something more. The last day the dozer guy was here he was teaching Anderson about surveying. Kind of deep for a 9 year old but he understood the process a little more than before.

Next phase of the process is getting ready to start. This weekend we will be seeding and fertilizing the areas that were worked. I am sure that there will be another opportunity to learn.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Erosion and History

One of the funnest things to do on our farm for our kids is to play in the creek that runs along the back of our property. It is like their own private beach because of the nice sand bank. There is also usually water that they can play in that is not very deep.
Here is the little man playing on the "beach".
As you can see from this picture, we have some erosion problems here. We have tried many valiant efforts to prevent this but it seems to just keep cutting away. We pray that by the time it gets back to the forrest of trees we planted, they will be big enough and have established a strong enough root system to eventually help.

Anyway, there have been so many lessons down here about erosion but also about current, animal habitat and behavior. We have found dead animals, skulls with the brain still in tact from a deer. I know....YUCK! Anderson thought it was very cool though. We have also watched a snake eat a fish whole. They often float boats and  build dams with sticks, branches, and rocks.

One of our recent discoreries was in the dirt...

Layers of dirt, rocks, clay and other sediments. Not something you see everyday. So many times we study things that it is hard to get a real life sample of. This was definitely one of them. It contains so much more than science though. There is also history here. Proof of our roots all the way to the beginning of time. Stay with me here...

Creationists, like myself, believe that God created everything. Furthermore, I believe everything in the Bible to be truth. This includes the Great Flood. We just started a new history curriculum, The Mystery of History, which I am very excited about. It is taking us from the beginning of time and we will finish this year to the time of Christ. It is unique in that it will fully incorporate the Bible with history as man knows it. Most people think of the Bible as seperate making it hard to understand how it fits in the grand plan of history.

We just got done talking about the Ice Age. I could go on and on about how much I learned but this is one of those topics that has always puzzled me. I have never really been encouraged to study it much and haven't had much interest until now. Better late than never right??:) It does explain a lot of things though.

If you read Genesis 7 you will find the cause of the Ice Age. As we studied the map of where the ice was found, we realized that our land where we live would have been covered in ice about 4,000 years ago. Which would explain some of our findings. In Linda Lacour Hobar's book, she says, "...if an Ice Age did occur after Noah's flood, then the world would be full of fossils--which are the remains of animals quickly buried and usually replaced with minerals found in water. Are there fossils like this all over the world? Yes, and 95 percent of them are marine animals, as would be expected from the flood."
Here is that proof! Straight from the Ice Age!

Monday, August 8, 2011

No amount of reading, teaching, worksheets or even craft projects can be as valuable as hands on (or in this case, eyes on) experiences. Since it is summertime, thus garden time at our house, we have shifted our science towards botany. Last week in particular we studied about pollination. We read lots of interesting ways pollination happens and vital it is to not only the production but the survival of a plant.

There are so many neat, fun and memorable projects you can do with pollination but the Lord helped me out with this one. My kids, on their own initiative, went outside for free time. I was close behind them with the little man but I went out to find them in the garden. They hollered, "Hey, Mom! We are watching the bees pollinate! We can even see the pollen on their bodies!" They were so excited and needless to say, so was I. Not only that they were learning, but that they were excited enough to spend their free time doing this project without being asked. But, most of all, I am so thankful that the Lord has given us so much to learn from. It truly is by intelligent design!


In life we are surrounded with lessons containing spiritual applications everyday. A few days ago I had one that was too good not to share.

We finally got a MUCH NEEDED rain last week. Since the ground had otherwise been too hard and dry to pull any root veggies, I took the opportunity to do just that. I was pulling the best onions I have ever grown when I came accross one that was completely surrounded by weeds. Upon pulling it I found the runt of the bunch. I kept pulling and the Lord was showing me how sin is the same way in our lives. When we let it surround us and do nothing to root it out while it is still small, it will inevitably affect our spiritual growth.

That small onion had the same potential as the rest of the nice sized onions. It had the same soil, the same amount of water and nutrients. But all because of the weeds that robbed it's life flow it never stood a chance.

As I kept going, I found the largest onion of all. Guess what, it was standing all by itself. No weeds, no other onions close by.

It's okay to stand alone if it means that we will mature more and please the Master Gardener.

Back on the Farm

This past year we worked really hard at getting school done by the end of April. As the weather gets nicer and everyone gets spring fever, we are done with school and heading back to the farm. Since Mike's mom passed away and we acquired the farm we have been spending part of spring, summer and part of fall at the farm.

We may be officially "done" with school, but the learning continues as we move class out into God's classroom--the great outdoors. We have a lot of fun but we also work hard. Some of the things we have done this summer has been going fishing in our ponds, playing at the creek that runs along our property, swimming, playing in the sand pile, lots of outdoor play, and going to the fairs to show the 4 pigs the kids are raising. Some of our activities are considered more work than play but prove to be chocked full of lessons on responsibility and work ethic. We (as a family), as I mentioned above, raised pigs, planted crops, planted a HUGE garden, have a HUGE yard to mow and have had general maintenance and upkeep on the farm.

There are times we are exhausted. There are times we want to give up. There are times, I must admit, that I wished that we had a REAL "vacation home". But then the Lord puts it all in perspective.

A couple of weeks ago Mike had a meeting in Kansas City so I went along so that I could pick up Parker's birthday gift while he was in his meeting. After sitting at a dead stop on I-70 for about 30 minutes, coming across an accident which funneled traffic to a one lane road on the interstate and drove through rush hour, well, that is enough to drive anyone out of the city. But as I watched people bustling around like ants crawling all over each other, living on top of one another; I realized how blessed we are to have the privilege and legacy of Mike's ancestors. Having this land to run, play, learn and breath the fresh air (or not so fresh if you are close to the pig pen). :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Great Opportunities

Once in a while we get an opportunity to travel as a family. Most of the time we get to go to Florida or some other nice "warm" vacation spot in the winter. This past February we had the opportunity to go to an island that was part of the Dutch Antilles until its recent status upgrade to "the world's newest country". Curacao is located about 30 miles north of the Venezuela border and is part of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao). What sold me was not the three flights with three kids but the promise of 80-85 degree weather everyday (remember this is February). So, we were smart (or stupid depending on how you look at it) and said, yes, we will go.

As February rolled around the weather in Missouri was far from its best and I was getting very excited. As we made our first two flights we got there but had no luggage. Fortunately our last flight wasn't to go out until the next morning and so it caught up with us. When we finally arrived in Curacao we were greeted with warm, sunny skies and very friendly locals. Once we arrived on the island, we had a 45 minute bus ride to the resort. The teacher in me had given the kids an asignment for this bus ride. I told them that I wanted them to pay attention to the differences between here and home. I wanted them to notice the way people lived, the nature and culture. Curacao is not considered a third world country but it is also not as developed and as "rich" as what we find in most American cities or towns. What we were seeing were small, decent homes for the most part but not "nice" according to our standards. Not long into our ride, Kate said, "Mom, will our hotel be like these houses?" Now I knew she was paying attention and doing her "assignment".  This led into a conversion about economics as well as culture because we were also seeing families, friends and neighbors sitting in each others yards visiting on this Sunday afternoon. Many people were walking at a leisurely pace. Another thing we noticed was that nothing was opened for business. I quickly thought, "this is what it must have been like years ago at home" before we somehow took a wrong turn in the name of "advancement" and became a socity that was willing to sacrifice relationships, peace and solidarity and bacame a "dog eat dog" society.

We had all learned a lot in that 45 minutes through observation and conversation. Once we finally arrived at the resort, Kate's questions were answered with a resounding "no". The resort was Americanized. We continued to experience the "island life" but something I think was perfected by the locals was genuine joy, acceptance and hospitality. They were all so friendly and happy even though they didn't seem to have a lot.

1 Timothy 6:6-7
"But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Did they know Jesus?

My daughter can be very mature for her age (when she wants to be). Some would say she has "an old soul". Often times these insights surprise me as well as inspire me.

A couple of months ago there was a tragady in our community that brought lots of questions from our children. There was a house fire that claimed the life of a couple of children. Of course we had the normal questions about what happened and why and you don't have all the answers but try to answer the best you can. This even gave us an opportunity to review our emergency plans in case of a fire or other natural disasters.

Each of the older two of our children process things differently. Our oldest son often keeps really quiet and thinks about it. Our daughter on the other hand wants to talk about it and talk about it and talk about it which is fine with us because we know that is how God made her. If it is something such as the house fire, she ask questions, goes deep into thought and then asks more questions. After a long afternoon of deep thought she came to the kitchen and asked me, "Mom, did those people who died in the fire know Jesus? Did they go to heaven?"

 Wow! It hit me really hard when she asked me this. Even though I didn't know the family it is always a very sobering and thought provoking event. I admit, just the thought of someone going through this made me very emotional. Besides that, it always brings to mind, "what if that happened to us?" But the reason it hit me so hard is because of the fact that I had to admit to her that I truly did not know if these children would be in heaven. For that matter, I am not sure if I know whether or not my neighbors or other aquantences will be in heaven.

My job is to teach my children. Everyday we start with studying God's word and how He wants us to live, act and think. We often talk about pleasing Him and pray that we will be His witnesses but I have been convicted that I need to try harder at "practicing what I preach". If I am teaching my children that we are to tell others about Jesus then I need to be doing it too.

What about you? Do you know Jesus? I don't mean do you know who He is. I mean, do you KNOW Him by having a personal relationship with Him. Have you fallen on your knees and asked His forgiveness for your sins? If you were to die in a house fire, a car wreck or just natural causes this very day would you be in heaven? What would you say to Jesus Christ if he were to ask you why he should let you into his heaven? Please don't wait. There may not be a tomorrow for you.

John 3:16
"For God so loved the world, that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life."

Romans 3:23
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God."

Romans 6:23
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Ephesians 2:8,9
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

Pass It On

(After my son dropped my computer I have not had a computer for about a month so now I am trying to finish what I started with this post.)

Last Friday night I had a whole list of things to catch up on. I really thought I could accomplish most of them on Saturday after a good nights sleep. The Lord had different plans.

I woke up Saturday morning at 5 as usual and felt that we should go spend time with Mike's Grandma Kathy. Don't get me wrong, she is a wonderful, godly and talented lady at the age of 90. She really is one of my closest friends and a joy to spend time with. You know how it goes though....the list of things that needs to be done keeps running through you head.

After changing our plans, we bundled up and loaded up and were on our way to Grandma's house. And, yes, we literally go "over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go". Ok, couldn't resist!

Needless to say, she was thrilled for the company. As cold and snowy as it has been, she has not been out for several days. We were able to clear her a path so that she could get out when it cleared off and got warmer. I know we were  a blessing to her but we were blessed so much more.

During our visit Anderson "interviewed" Grandma for a school writing assignment. This sparked a lot of memories for her about life in the past but it also gave us an insight to the past. We have been studying World War I and the Great Depression which fit right into Grandma's younger years.

Are you ready to hop in the time capsule? Grandma Kathy grew up on an indian reservation in North Dakota during the Great Depression. Her father took a job from the government to be a teacher to the indian children when his job in sales went too low to support his family. Because of this opportunity they didn't feel many of the affects that millions of others did. The government provided some of the food for the indian children such as 100lb. bags of flour, lard, dried fruit, etc. They were not only responsible for their education but they played more of the care-taker role. Her father taught them, her mother and her sisters cooked for them and even cleaned the children and did laundry. Grandma's family bought most of their own food which wasn't as hard because of the steady income. She remembered her father buying a whole hog off a farmer for four cents a pound. Even for the time this was dirt cheap. We read in one of our school books that pork typically ran around 15 cents a pound for the time. The farmer just couldn't sell them and had to get some money out of them.

She also told of the trip from Noth Dakota to Harris, MO during the summer of 1933. Before they had ventured too far into South Dakota they came upon a dust storm which caused them to stop for a day. The dust was so black and thick they couldn't see their hands in front of them. They had to use their hankercheifs to filter the air they breathed. Cows were literally dropping dead because they couldn't get enough oxygen.

She also shared a few old photos and the stories behind them. One of which was her and her sisters and cousins by an old 1929 Model T when they were in Oklahoma for their great-grandfather's 80th birthday celebration. They were sitting on the ground with a bunch of very large watermelons that their great-grandfather had raised. He filled a stock tank with ice water and the watermelons for everyone's enjoyment. Grandma Kathy said they ate so much watermelon she was sick. To this day she does not care much for watermelon.

We always enjoy spending time with Grandma Kathy. We especially enjoy days like this one where we get a glimpse of the past.

So, I would encourage you to put aside that long "to do" list once in a while and take time out to share with your loved ones, especially those whom may not be around for much longer. You will be glad you did. Besides, your stuff will still be there.....I promise.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Man of Many Words

Today was a big milestone for the Little Man. He started putting two words together into a mini sentence. Some things he says are really clear but other words not so much. But being with him day in day out I know what he is saying.

When the older two were messing with my exercise ball I was reminding them they are not to have it. Little Man said, "Mama ball".

After supper he brought Brother a book and said, "Bro. read".

Tonight as I was rocking him to get him calmed down for bed he was being rather squirmy so I reminded him that I was going to put him in his bed if he didn't calm down. He replied, "No rock". I am not sure if that was supposed to be "no (more) rocking" or "no, I want to rock".

It is so exciting to see how they pick up on things (most of the time).

Yesterday I was playing the little "where is your (body part)" game with him. I had thrown a couple of new ones in. One of the new ones was "knees". After going through several he puts his hands on his body and said, "ME"!

I can't imagine life without this little person or any of my kiddos! I am SO blessed and SO thankful!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hurry up...Slow down

Do you ever find yourself "wishing you life away"? I am assuming a lot of you do this. Why do we though? What is so distasteful about our life today?

I am excited about two things in particular today. First, the garden seed has arrived and I can't wait for spring to get here! Of course with spring comes longer days, warmer weather and lots of outside time for everyone! Who can argue with that?!

The other thing I am excited about is all the new school books and supplies that came in the mail this week for next school year. I know, it is a little early but part of that stems from my uncontainable passion for "a clean start". New school books and supplies are my "new box of crayons". But it is also the best time for me to start planning the next school year. You see once spring is here there is the garden, crops, flowers to be planted, little piggies to take care of (no, I not talking about my children;) library programs, swimming....well, you get the picture.:)

But, even though I can't wait for garden time and a new school year, once both of these are in full swing they will start to become the norm and it will get old and tiresome. I will be wishing for the next "big thing" once again.

So, although these things in and of themselves are not bad; just like anything, if I am not content with my life today it doesn't please the Lord. I guess I had better tuck the school books away for today and go get Little Man who is crying.

"But godliness with contentment is great gain."   2 Timothy 6:6

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Beginnings

Well, here we go. I am finally going to try blogging. This is one of my new year "goals". I don't like the word "resolution". It sounds so definite and I personally don't like feeling like a failure if I don't keep my "resolution". I like "goals" much better.

Speaking of failing....I have been very frustrated since the new year has started. Does anyone else struggle with getting back into a "normal" routine again or is it just me? Well, my kids have struggled as well. We have butted heads with school, household responsibilities, respect and kindness towards each other, etc. I have tried very hard to teach and direct them onto the right path but that is hard to do when they act more like mules than sheep. I find myself falling into a bad habit of yelling and getting angry and complaining. Hmmm....sounds familiar.

When I step back and evaluate the situation and actually take time to listen to God, I wonder how many times he feels this way with me? Ouch! I am called to love, teach and train my children the way the Lord does with me. Why is it so hard to extend grace to others when I am just as strong-willed and bull-headed? Thankfully we have a very loving and forgiving God!

After a week and a half of civil war with my children, the Lord finally stopped getting the busy signal from me (that is a whole other lesson). He brought me to a book I have been devouring called Grace Based Parenting: Set Your Family Free. It is helping me parent more like OUR Father (gotta love that!). What hit me yesterday morning was the fact that sometimes I have to ask my children to forgive ME. Double OUCH! 

I don't always act on my convictions but chose to do it God's way this morning and write both my children a note asking their forgiveness for my part in our no good, horrible, very bad week. In case you are wondering, no, there was no poof of purple smoke and all the sudden I have perfect angels or rather, sheep. In fact, something better happened. Both of my children (at different times) came up to me to confess and ask forgiveness with promises to try harder at pleasing God. WOW! What more could I ask for?!

Although our day was still far from "perfect" by most people's standards, it was "perfect" to me in that ALL of our hearts have come closer to becoming more like the docile sheep the Shepard leads instead of obstinate mules.

 Colossians 3:13
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.