Friday, September 25, 2009

My morning...

To Isaac (my almost 2 yr old): No, you may not have ice cream for breakfast. No, you may not stand on the edge of the bathtub, turn on the sink, and brush your teeth with my makeup brush. No, you may not drink water from the sink out of my contact case. No, you may not decorate your legs, shirt, and carpet with the black dry erase marker. No, you may not swing the kitten around by her tail. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

New Writing Book

I just started reading a new book entitled "Any Child Can Write" by Harvey S. Wiener.  It is such a good resource for teaching your children writing skills.  It isn't a textbook...he gives games and ideas to reinforce and strengthen writing in elementary aged children.  I am loving it!  I can't wait to implement some of his ideas with my children!!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers

I picked two bushels of beans today and a bushel of assorted peppers!  Guess ya'll know what I'm going to be busy with tonight!  The kids are stringing and breaking for me - that helps out alot!  :)
Found some recipes for sweet pickled peppers and hot pickled peppers...I am beginning to feel like Peter Piper...h@!  
Oh well, I suppose I should be off to preserve our fresh veggies!  

Have I shared a most lovely quote with you??  "Procrastinators:  Leaders of Tomorrow" funny is that???  I tend to procrastinate quite frequently...I cannot remember now but it was someone well-known who said "Why put off till tomorrow what you can put off till day after tomorrow?"  H@!  Only problem just can't put off fresh veggies...they don't stay that way....

Adios ....

Grace and Mercy

We had such sweet services at church was those kind that convict you, fill you, awe you....

I was reminded of the grace and mercy of God....reminded that not only did He, in one act of dying on the cross, forgive us and offer salvation...but He forgives us daily.  It amazes me that the God who created the universe, and the God who offered His only Son to die for my sins, and the Son who did die for me....that He could continue to love me.  I've had issues with that over the years...I have felt like when I've sinned that it was like stealing a cookie from the cookie jar...well, if you do that, I've reasoned, you have no right to ask anything of God ....I have felt that in order to feel free to talk to Him, I must be perfect.  I've experienced much angst in one on earth has the capacity for will drive you nuts to try to attain it.  You end up feeling defeated and decide to try to wing it on your own....which never, never works.  I was reminded yesterday that God loves is unconditional.  If and when I mess up, He doesn't look at me and say "You're not perfect...I don't love you anymore."  He forgives me and loves me...that amazes me.  I have been reminded to not judge others not pick at their sins and think I'm above it.  No one is truly above any sin...just given the right opportunity and a moment of weakness and you're as game as the next person.  We're all human...all made of the same flesh...all striving daily to live in a world so saturated with sin it seems to drip on us ...  but we also serve a God who is able, capable, willing, wanting to rescue us...He does want us to see our sin and run from it.  He wants to forgive us when we veer too far...He wants us to be in communication with Him.  Allow me to remind you as I remind myself that His mercy and grace are far-reaching...He isn't waiting to slap you with the cuffs and condemn you to solitary confinement....He is waiting with out-stretched arms, to forgive you, comfort you, love matter what you've done...His mercy is everlasting.....

Looking Back...

Well, I feel a wee bit guilty for unloading the other day...I was slightly irritated.  :D

Don't get me wrong, it's a lot of work sometimes...but there is depth and goodness to it.  It is good to be able to feed your kids wholesome farm-raised's nice to see an 18 month old go outside and get excited picking off snap peas and grape tomatoes and pop them in his mouth.  It's great to go out and gather fresh eggs ...hormone free.  It makes you feel good knowing the milk your family is drinking is "fresh squeezed" (hehe) and is free from any additives, antibiotics, etc.  It is nice to eat fresh and cook with veggies that you know have not seen a chemical.  It is truly a good thing.  

Some days get to me...I'll admit.  Some days I want a break...I want things that make it easier.  I want stuff....I want to bust outta my box and jump on the fast train.  But that saying about the "grass being greener on the other side"....well, it still has to be mowed, as the saying goes.  There'd be things on that side of the fence I'd be aggravated at too.  You make sacrifices in life no matter which you choose.....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Lapbook Info

I was just sitting here working on our Ancient Greece unit study and lapbook and thought I'd share some great resources (free!!) with you...

....just a few excellent sites for the beginner or the experienced....
Enjoy!! :)

The "Simple" Life

Okay, darn's time for some transparent (am I ever anything else?) venting...

You know I am attracted to the "simple" life...let's clarify "simple" first...that by no means has anything at all to do with simple as in worries, no work, laid back, take a break, shoot the breeze means simple as in nothing fancy, okay?  Now that we have that cleared up....

My summer has consisted of work.  The garden, the chores, the animals, the furniture finishing, the yearbook, the household chores, child rearing, etc. ....  There has been no break.  We have not taken a vacation.  We haven't even taken a weekend off.  And I'm telling get lots of "wow, I really admire what ya'll are doing"...especially from the older generation.  They seem to think it's wonderful that you know how to garden, can, milk a goat, stay out of debt...etc.  And that feels good...only it occurs to you as you go back to your chores that these same older people have newer vehicles, technology, and debt than you do.  What's wrong with that picture?  Now I know you could make the argument that they've worked their whole lives to get to where they are but if the simple life is all that great, why aren't they still living it?  And I read things all the time about people who are loving the simple life and living in "simple" grandeur.  Now either they've figured out something I haven't or they just aren't being transparent.  This life is work, darn it.  And at the moment, I'm tired of it.  And that's all I have for ya at the moment....

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oldie (from about 16 years ago....)

Some of my poetry was not quite so....light....

Confused, tormented, hurting,
I close my eyes
and drift into a state of mere oblivion
a state of nothingness, total darkness.

I begin to feel the sense 
of a deep settled peace
sweeping over me, compassing me, and enclosing me
 in the arms of a man, a man called Death.

I feel the tightening grip
clutching me,
taking me down
into the whirlpool of darkness

Swirling winds, cold rains, and frightening thunder
surround me, engulf me
until suddenly it passes
gone as quickly as it came.

And I am left standing
alone and unaided.

Darkness surrounds me
I am forgotten
left trembling in the terror
and fright of the night

Its screaming winds pound in my ears
I run....only to fall
to be consumed
by its cruelty...

Michelle Fox

*****See....not any stretch of the imagination...

Another Poem....

A little background...I use to LOVE to go sit on a pier at the river alone and write poetry...there were trees all around...the sound of the water lapping against the wood...the sky above...perfect backdrop for a girl who enjoyed(s) thinking and writing...don't get around to doing that much nowadays with a family but I do remember those times with the upmost fondness....

the water ripples softly
almost seductively
as the gentle breeze blows
   like kisses on my neck....
the guarding arm of the oak
hovers above me
   promising safety in its strength
as i lie in this perfect nature
    my soul knows peace
it is here, in heaven's waiting room
that i look up and see the azure sky
blending into a brilliant swirl 
    of white and crimson
the beauty that surrounds me
offers a haven
  sheltering me
from the hands of man....

Michelle Fox

My Poem...

Okay, with some prompting from my mom, I have decided to post a poem that I has no title...

As dusk secretly slips in,
catching the last of the sun's glory
the day slowly turns away
and sulks off into twilight.

Darkness itself saunters forward
blanketing all earth in a unique
quilt of shining, sparkling stars
only then - the world softly hushes.

Man's toys and industries 
are gradually put at ease
as Mother Nature
introduces a tale she calls her own.

From the silence arises
the first subtle hint of life
as the wind whispers secrets 
known only by the moon.

Increasing audibly in sheer harmony
comes the gentle singing of the brook
as over pebbles worn
tells of fairytale serenity.

The sensual melody of lovers
is heard by one and all
as the fair maiden of beauty
awaits her honored prince.

Their eager kisses fall like dew
as tiny cymbals on the grass
they embrace so readily 
all nature feels their passion.  

Young, tender petals shyly look upon
and giggle at the scene
as crickets softly murmur
in knowledge of this love.

Moonbeams lightly dance upon
and caress the dreaming lovers
so caught up in each other
all the world is but a cover.

The melancholy swaying of the trees
adds but a low and distant rythm
as the beat of tender drops 
fall in patterns from the sky.

The prince eventually arises
as dawn is creeping in
but the maiden worries never
for twilight always comes....

Michelle Fox

Monday, September 14, 2009

Favorite Poem of all Time....

by William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle in the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of the bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company;
I gazed-and gazed- and little thought
What wealth to me the show had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pretty Little Donkey

Cool Black Bovine

Such a beautiful day ;)

Love this old barn and flowers

The circa 1910 Grinder..has a gear installed on top so it can be powered by a tractor instead of a horse..

Feeding the cane through

Scooping off the foam...

Starting to boil

The amber colored molasses...finally... ;)

Licking the Box Clean...MMMM!

Learning to Make Molasses

Last night, we stripped the leaves off the sugar cane we grew so it would be ready to cut down.  This morning, Darren and the boys cut the cane and loaded it up.  Off we went to learn the process of turning sugar cane into molasses.  I love a good educational process  ;)
When we got there, they already had the sugar cane fed through the grinder and were just finishing up filtering it through a sack into the "trough".  The grinder was an ancient machine made back around 1910 but had an old gear attached on top so that it could be used with a tractor motor instead of horses.  They were just building the fire under the bricks that held up the wood and stainless steel box holding the liquid.  It had to be stirred occasionally to keep it from getting gummed up on the bottom as it started to boil. During this time, I asked if it would be too much trouble to crank up the tractor and grinder and show the kids (and me *smile*)  how it works.  He was generous enough to start the whole thing all over again so that we could watch the was actually quite simple...feed the cane through, the green juice comes out, runs down a half pipe, and into a bucket.  We stayed for quite a while and then decided to go home and come back later.  We got a call that the molasses would be ready about 3 pm so we lit out again.  When we returned, the liquid looked much different.  It was a lot thicker, had foam on top, and was an amber color.  When the molasses had reached just the right consistency, the box was picked up ..very carefully...and moved to a couple of sawhorses where it could be cooled before scooping it up and straining it into a stainless steel container.  The molasses were ready to be put into jars at that point and distributed to the workers that made it all happen.  The matriarch educated me on cooking with the foam and using molasses in all sorts of recipes.  It was a wonderful education - the kids were able to experience the process from start to finish...planting, harvesting, grinding, boiling, and cool.  Hands on learning just can't be beat! 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Smiling Sin

Have you ever been reminded how human you are?
It's utterly humbling.  You go along...assuming you can handle whatever comes your way...and mistakenly think not only can you handle it, but you can handle it alone...without God.  Then it happens, some little something that creeps in and sits down - it doesn't attract any attention at's a quiet and unassuming little sin.  It smiles pleasantly.   You glance at it from time to time and come to enjoy it's little happy face and you get used to its presence.  It starts unpacking...gets out a soft pillow to make itself more comfy...pulls out a blanket.  You feel some concern as you notice that it is becoming a fixture...but the little sin is still smiling pleasantly so you push the thought from your mind and know that if you need to at any point, you can take that little sin by the arm and lead it to the door.  A very short time later, you are going about your daily life and you see a flash out of the corner of your eye....  Oh my...your little sin is's no longer a cute little thing cuddling a blanket and a pillow...those moments are gone.  What now faces you is a sin not quite as has grown ...possibly past your ability to control it.  How does that happen?  How does a little cute happy sin turn into a monstrous ugly thing?  But that's how sin works, isn't it?  You are quite comfortable with it in the much so that you don't even doubt your ability to handle it.  By the time you become concerned, the sin is no longer sitting quietly.  You have to actively purge it from your life. 
And it is then that you are reminded of your human weakness.  You are reminded that there are things in this life that you cannot handle..and most certainly not without God and a strong Christian friend or two.  Only Jesus Himself was able to live in this flesh and remain untainted by sin....and it is only through Him that we are able to triumph and have victory over these bodies of clay. 

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Emotionally Drained

Darren's uncle passed away last Saturday.  His funeral was Tuesday.  A very dear friend at our church died early Friday morning.  His funeral was today...making it two funerals we've attended in less than a week for people that held a special place in our hearts.  I am seriously in need of an emotional refill.....I feel as tho we have been put through the wringer this week...add in the children being sick and my two day hiatus due to illness and I just feel like I have nothing left to give.
But this too shall pass and the blogs will hopefully resume a more sunny nature ;)

Saturday, September 5, 2009


I got sick Wednesday night...ran a fever for two days while trying to milk the goat and feed/water the animals...and take care of my sweet little children.  (As a kudos to my children, they were soooo helpful and really got along well and kept Isaac entertained).  I felt horrible...finally went to the doctor yesterday to find out that I have a rather nasty upper respiratory infection and was prescribed some antibiotics.  I was hoping to get up this morning feeling back to my normal self as I have much to do since being out of commission.  Imagine my dismay to find that for some reason my head would not cooperate with my wishes....I was so dizzy and disoriented...not cool...and definitely not good for catching up on stuff and getting groceries (Isaac was down to two diapers).  I had an ugly headache that would not let go...however, the doctor had advised long, hot baths or, per the doctors orders of course ;)  I sat in a very hot bath for awhile and I gotta tell ya...the doctor knew what he was talking about...I was a much better woman when I got out.  :)  Not to say I'm 100% but I can at least get my head to think out the process of getting from here to there.  Nice to be feeling alive.... :)


I was sitting at a busy intersection tonight (Saturday) just watching and listening...
There were all these cars passing by that had -whatever those things are- on them that make them sound really loud and there were big "rev 'em up" trucks and bright lights and decorated people and.... I just started thinking how loudly everything in this world screams for our attention...  It doesn't merely shout out at us or beckon to SCREAMS  -  "Look at me!"  "Over here!"  "This way!"  "This is it!"  "Right here, right now!"  "Hey!"'s nearly overwhelming sometimes.  As a Christian, and a wife, and a mother I need to guard myself....I can't tell you the times I've lost focus...I've been distracted by things and people.  I get caught up in the moment and before I know it, I look down and I've veered off the path.  Sometimes it is easy to hop back over and resume walking and sometimes it seems to take a bit more concentration to ignore the screaming and the glare and get back where I need to be.  Regardless, it is so important for me to take the time to focus and make sure I am on the path that I need to be on.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Ever heard of a mental vacation? Me neither....but it sounds good :)

VA Hospital ..aka Government Run Healthcare

My dad is a Vietnam Veteran ...he has been going to the VA Hospital since May for a hernia. He could possibly have Prostate of yet, the VA Hospital has not performed hernia surgery nor taken a biopsy to check for cancer. Really ticks me fact, I have written a letter and sent it to my Congresswoman, Virginia Foxx and three newspapers....the letter is as follows:

I know a man who was a soldier. Four years of his life was given to his country as he served in the US Navy. He was active in the Vietnam War. On board a submarine, he cracked Morse codes sent by the adversary. He was an asset to our country. He was efficient, intelligent, and competent.

I know a man who is a soldier. His adversary is his current health. He has had a hernia since May of 2009. "Why in the world", you ask, "doesn't he just have surgery?" It's a common procedure. The answer lies with those providing his healthcare....the VA Hospital, a government run healthcare. Not only has he awakened every day for three months with this painful annoyance, but the idea has been given him that he may have prostate cancer. Granted this is a slow-growing cancer, but to have this question toying with you daily and to have nothing done about it is unthinkable. The hospital has repeatedly put him off and strung him along. It is simply unacceptable.

The soldier who was and is happens to be my dad. I cannot sit by and abide the negligence. It is inexcusable. In my sharing of this story, a lady confided that her grandfather was "treated" by the VA. He had cancer. The VA let it progress to such a state without treatment, that two weeks after telling him, he passed away. It is shameful that a man would give years of his life in service to his country and then be sent to an early grave through neglect of that same country. And this is not an isolated event. The stories are numerous. To lose a loved one is a burden unlike an other; to lose someone with the knowledge that it could have been prevented is atrocious.

Before our current president endeavors to push a nation wide government run health care, perhaps he should take a closer look at the one currently in place. From all I have seen, government run health care = no competition = no strive for excellence = patient neglect. My dad is a soldier. He will not whine or demand out of self-respect. However, I remain indignant about my dad's care and would very much like to see a change. God forbid he has a cancer that becomes serious because of the lack of respect from the country he so willingly served. Let us heed the words of Calvin Coolidge, "A nation that forgets its heroes is a nation destined to be forgotten".

New Homeschool Books

I just bought a couple of the Evan-Moor History Pockets books to go along with our studies. I got Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Myths of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, and Fairytales (for Sarah). They look so cool....can't wait to use's one thing I won't have to generate myself when we do our unit studies :)

The Never-Ending Project

I would be speaking of my unfinished furniture that I was so excited about....when I bought it...*before* I started working on it :)
I have stained and sanded the table trying to get it to look even too many times to count. I finally stained and sanded it today and decided to go ahead and put a coat of varnish on or I can see myself possibly doing the staining/sanding routine every day for the rest of my life. I figured either it would be acceptable or it'd look so bad Darren would be forced to get me an already finished table. ;)
I also put varnish on the five dining room chairs that I have painted and sanded. All I have left to do is another coat of varnish on the chairs and table...AND paint, sand, and varnish the four counter stools, paint the prep center and another piece of furniture we bought! What was I thinking????
To add insult to injury, I now have whatever illness the kids have been passing around for the past two weeks....and did I mention that because of my full-time furniture job, I haven't prepared my lessons for school to start???
I'll just be attempting to dig myself out from under this avalanche over here..... ; )

A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush

I was out doing my daily farm girl chores this morning and had a very unique experience!
We have a mobile chicken pen that is maybe three feet high with a removable top. It holds our banty chickens. One of those banty chickens happens to be my arch nemesis...a little attacking rooster who gave me much grief till I gave him a sound whack with a stick. (I'll share the story of that calculating little whip later...)...anyway, I had removed the top so I could fill the water container. When I did a female cardinal got caught inside the pen and couldn't get out. Guess who jumped in after her? A vicious little bird hunting terror..aka, our kitten. The kitten pounced, the bird shrieked in terror and with no thought for being cooped up in a three foot pen with my arch nemesis, I jumped in and rescued the little bird from the clutches of death. How cool .... I was holding a songbird in my hand...much better than two in a bush :) I got Jacob to take a couple of pictures before she wiggled and flew away with an awesome story to tell her friends. She left me with quite a story too.