Saturday, August 29, 2009

Feeling the need for some contemplation time...

I covet time alone...I love to have some quiet and just breathe. Don't feel like I've had much of that this week.... That stubborn dining room table has kept me busy. I was sanding on it again today and put another coat of stain on it... Had a Homeschool meeting...Typed up the homeschool group newsletter...Ran my errands...Worked on housecleaning..and all that other jazz....
Anyway, every now and then I get this huge urge to go....somewhere wide open. I don't want to be surrounded by things or talk...I want to get away. It's like deep calling out to deep...only it's not necessarily a person, it's more of a ...feeling? It's rare that I run short on words *smile* but tonight my mind is elsewhere...
Feels like one of those nights to jump in the car, roll the windows down, and let your arm and hair and face feel the wind rushing of those nights to sit by the river and listen to the crickets and cicadas sing their night time of those nights that just make you wistful for ...something...can't put my finger on it. Well, since I'm rambling tonight, I suppose I will cut it short and since all the kiddos are in bed and Darren is gone and I can't go for a late night ride or sit by the river and even begin to untangle my wistfulness, I'll just go work on the dadblasted table.

Don't You Just Hate It....

When you find yourself doing exactly what you told the kids not to do? After I bake chocolate chip cookies, I always find myself telling them, "Don't go picking through all the cookies, just get the one on top".....and two seconds ago, I'm picking through the cookies to find the one with the most chocolate chips. Oh well, at least they didn't find it first *grin*

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Currently not very happy....

Okay, thing is we bought an unfinished dining room table, 6 chairs, and 4 counter stools. It was a steal. Unfinished?? No problem, I thought, I can handle hard can it be to stain and paint??
After much angst, I have successfully painted and distressed 5 of the chairs. They look good to me. The other chair I painted a color that I didn't like so it has yet to be stripped. I tried the chemical strip and it didn't get me very far. I tried a little electric sander...not sure I was doing it certainly vibrated my arm off but I didn't see much difference in the chair..maybe it needed a more coarse sandpaper. Anyway, I started attempting the table stain today. I am isn't going as planned. The color is uneven....certain places look blotchy...I have looked it up...apparently softwood doesn't stain as well as hardwood. No kidding.... Anyway, ugh! I hate feeling incapable. It reeks... And after I realized my fingers were poking through my latex gloves, I gathered that the gloves were I have nicely stained nails....not that I'm a high-maintenance manicured girl by any stretch of the imagination...(have you ever gardened and milked with fake nails...I think not....) I am, as Anne of Green Gables so eloquently stated, "In the depths of despair"...oh the agony of do-it-yourself when you don't have enough background knowledge to do a job correctly. Maybe I'll end up painting it brown and distressing it. I like the French Country farmhouse, airy, natural...splashes of blue, red, and Van Gogh's sunflower painting. Anyway, I suppose aside from just venting, I am also trying to avoid the next step...thing is, I'm not sure what the next step is.....

Natural Romance

The morning glory embracing the fence...the sunlight caressing the vine...dewdrops lightly kissing the leaves...whispers of an early morning breeze playfully teasing both...ahhh...such romance in nature :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another photo that I love...

I captured these irises beside a tin building. I took it long before I possessed a digital camera so it's scanned...hence, the grainy appearance. But I still love it :)

The most crazy little spider I have ever seen...

I tried for days to get a picture of this unique little was midair on a web up my driveway. My camera wouldn't bring it into focus - I guess because of all the trees behind it. Finally, one day I caught him/her on a leaf and broke the leaf off so I could take some photos. It has to be the most unusual spider I have ever seen!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ain't no squirrels in this here patch :)

I give free grammar lessons to those interested ..haha!
Anyway, if you've read prior posts, you know that we have a long running feud with the squirrels in these parts. They get in the corn patch and tear the ears off the stalk, they pull the stalks over, they climb up the pines, shuck the corn, and nibble's enough to make a saint stammer over finding a pleasant word to say :) Well, needless to say, we have never had a proper corn harvest...we plant, weed, and tend and watch the hoodlums get fat off our labor (wait, are we talking about squirrels here or the government run welfare system??) sorry, I tend to chase rabbits....
Back to the squirrels - they nearly demolished the first planting of corn.. Well, we were one step ahead this time...we planted a subsequent crop....oh yeah baby, we're smoking this year :) any rate, the corn crop is awesome now!!! Where have those squirrels been? Maybe it's the new aroma of CAT around the place??? Haven't seen hide nor hair of them. Isaac and I went out the other day to pluck some ears and my oh my....they were full of plump kernels and ready for the consuming :) We have picked twice now...nearly 12 ears each's CRAZY! After years of corn planting, we are finally eating home grown corn. I can't believe I haven't taken pictures of the corn to post on here...I most certainly will next time we pick a few.

In love with this pic....

I am so in love with this picture I took of Sarah's sunflower! I took it two days ago while out jogging. The flower was perfect, the sky was beautiful ~ I love it!! :)

My morning walk/jog

I have been trying to get outside to milk/feed early enough
in the morning to ensure time for a small walk/jog up and down my driveway. This is my view coming down the driveway...isn't it gorgeous?? You can feel the beauty all the way down to your tiptoes :) I love to get right in this spot, take a deep breath, close my eyes, and thank God for such a scene to start my day.

Sugar Cane

Someone Darren works with gave him some dried sugar cane .... I rubbed the seeds off and Darren and Jacob planted them to see if they would grow. Did they ever! They are at least 7 feet high! We are thinking of hooking up with someone who presses their cane into molasses so ours can be pressed too!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Say What???

Funny child conversation of the day:

Jacob: I washed my mouth out just to be sure.
Me: What???
Jacob: I washed my mouth out just to be sure.
Me: To be sure of what?
Jacob: I licked a light bulb.
Me: You did what??
Jacob: I licked a light bulb.
Me: Why did you do that?
Jacob: I don't know.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Newest Additions to the Farm...

The farm now boasts three little kittens...I am hoping they grow up big and strong and become champion squirrel chasers :) For now, they are furry little balls of energy one minute and lazy nappers the next. The kids have named them Grace, Ruth, and Rascal.

Bread Making

Yum...there's nothing like the smell of fresh bread...

I've been making it off and on for a couple of years but have never quite got the feel for how it is supposed to look at different stages. I've never actually seen anyone make when I was learning to knead, I wasn't sure at what point it I should stop.
Recently, I decided to view some videos on YouTube regarding bread making. They have sure come in handy. I learned to knead till the bread is elastic feeling; learned to not let the bread rise so long that it becomes spongy; and also learned a very handy trick about spraying the bread with water every 10 mins. while baking to ensure a crispy, blistered top like bakery loaves! Yeah! The two loaves of sourdough I made yesterday turned out better than any I've ever made. The outside was crisp and the inside was just the right consistency. I was soooo excited! I bought some rye and wheat flour to try my hand at that next. It is so true that store bought bread has really no comparison with homemade fresh bread.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My Calling

You know, in the past, I have struggled with feelings of unimportance....of being less than what I thought I should be through the eyes of the world. I've felt the lack of acknowledgment and the lack of worldly success. I've cringed when people have said things like "You are such a Suzy Homemaker" or "I could never stay home all day like that"....but it has occurred to me that this is my calling. This is my purpose for this moment in raise my children that God has entrusted to my care. To try and live a life that shines the love and faithfulness of God so brightly that they are enticed by that light and want to reach out and grasp it for themselves.
I so admire missionaries who spend their lives, and sometimes suffer physical harm, sharing Christ with others. I admire those who write hymns that seem to speak directly to the heart of those who hear them and to bring the glory of heaven right to your soul...I'm impressed by those who write books that speak truths and lead you to understand things you never contemplated. I feel such regard for those who paved the way for others to worship freely...for the hard work, sweat, and toil they suffered for generations after them. But God has not called me to do any of those things ...He has called me to raise my children up in such a way that would bring Him glory. And you know what?? I can roll with that :) I can be content in knowing that I am doing what He has called me to do....I can have joy in knowing that these children may rise up and lead others to Him...that they may impact society for good....that they may be trailblazers for Him. I'm good with being this calling...for "such a time as this". (Reference to Esther 3:14 - which just happens to be one of my favorite verses)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Funny Bunny...

Well, I thought I would add this because it is too funny...we made this bunny head a couple of years ago...painted it on a big piece of paper, and stuffed it with newspaper, etc. Then we hung it from the ceiling and everybody got to stand behind it and pretend to have a bunny head!! still makes me smile...

It's a zoo in here

Letting the kids cut out animal pictures for their own "zoos" turned into something much more than I imagined.....

They cut pictures for several days of every animal imaginable and then proceeded to tape huge pieces of paper on the living room walls....these were papers measuring 8' x 3' and one per child looked like I had some really strange wallpaper for awhile. It proved to be a really good exercise tho....they tried to follow the classification system ...separated the mammals into groups...tried to put animals from the same habitat together in some areas...
it was cute. For lack of space, they decided against putting zoo things (sidewalks, benches, food shops, etc) on the paper. I loved that they learned so much and enjoyed the project, but I gotta tell ya, I was a wee bit happy to have my plain walls back :)

Altered Tin

This is an example of the altered tins I have made and sold at local festivals. I enjoy making them on the rare occasion that I have time to do anything in the creative realm....maybe that's why I love unit studies can be creative and further their education at the same time!! :)

Library Books....

I was saying earlier that we take our free, educational entertainment seriously??? Well, here's an example. The top two selves are all library books....the airplanes crammed in are results of the How to Make Paper Airplanes book that Malachi checked out. This is only a small bookshelf...we have many more...and the kids all have their own bookshelves. I love, love, love a good book or twenty :) I want to pass that along to them. My grandmother (actually my great-aunt but she is soooo my grandma :) has faithfully supplied them with books of all kinds over the years...lots and lots of reference books to feed all those questions regarding "Wonder what kind of bug this is?" and "Where does this mammal live?" ...they are wonderful books chock full of information.
Needless to say, we most often use the library that does not charge overdues on children's books :) One day late on a stack this size and somebody's gotta work part-time at the library to pay off our debt :)


Well, it is time to "start" planning for this coming school year. I shouldn't really say "start" since all I ever think about when it comes to schooling is "hmmmm....what can we do next?" And believe me, there is NEVER a shortage of ideas. We do unit studies and I like them to be child driven, so I start the summer telling them to contemplate ideas for the next school year. I start writing them down and thinking on ways to combine their ideas, or projects we could do, or books we could use. They have given me quite a list includes:

Police/Detectives/Bounty Hunters - Jacob
Human Body - Sarah
Cowboys - Jacob
Hurricanes/Tornadoes - Jacob
Princesses - Sarah
Knights - Jacob
Underwater Creatures - Sarah
Ninja/Samurai/Gladiators - Jacob

Malachi hasn't yet given me any ideas yet, but he is interested in the topics I've chosen to study which include: Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece (this will incorporate Jacob's gladiator interests), Rocks, Mammals (we started the Classification System last year and covered all Vertebrates except for Mammals), Insects (starting on Invertebrates), and cover more American History. We have already studied weather so I'm thinking the tornadoes and hurricanes will be a will the Police/Detective/Bounty Hunter idea. Maybe we'll do a 4-H trip to the Police Station
and Sheriff's Department to go along with that. :) We covered the Human Body a couple of years turned out really well. We traced their bodies on white paper and made life-sized organs to go on them. We taped the ribs on the sides only so you could pull them back and see the lungs, etc. Anyway, so I'll probably just pull that info out and go over it again with Sarah. Princesses and knights will be a good joint study ...we covered that when Malachi and Jacob were four and two so a little review won't hurt. I made a book with Malachi and Jacob covering the sea creatures when they were younger which is why I'm thinking Sarah wants to cover them again. I found hardback journals at The Dollar Tree and we altered it to make our own little books. They turned out so cute.

I like to try and have all my notebook/lapbook things printed out - or at least what I am positive we will well as, have a list of all the key words and topics that I want to include. I put several hands-on activities books on request at my local library and they ordered them!! Yeah!! I'm so excited that when we cover Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and Geology, the activity books will be available and I will not have to purchase them :)