December 31, 2009

As the New Year approaches.......

Our cat Milo reminds us that we are called to be different.

Yes, that is a bone. Milo has taken every opportunity to steal our dog Bailey's Christmas gift for himself. I guess we can forget the catnip next year.

A snowy end to 2009

We have only been stuck in our driveway a couple of times ;O)

Allan turns 40!

Comments like, "WOW! It looks like the whole cake is on fire." and "Yuck! Look at all the wax on the cake." did not make him feel any younger.

December 23, 2009


Today I am celebrating 14 years of being married to the amazing man that God chose for me.

December 19, 2009

Ashlyn turns 4!

Yummy chocolate BIRTHDAY brownies courtesy of Allie.

December 18, 2009

December 17, 2009

It has been too long!

I will be posting more in the future. Here are a few Christmas card picture out-takes. Those of you on the Christmas card list will see the "good" ones any day now.

Sometimes preschoolers don't cooperate. "Where is Ashlyn?"

"Well, at least she's in the picture."

September 19, 2009


So far while in Branson we have been.....


To the Butterfly Palace

And a quick jaunt through Silver Dollar City, but it poured most of the time :O(

September 14, 2009

A New Handicraft for Allie

Allie went to Grandma and Grandpa's house over the weekend and she came home with a brand new skill. She had an intensive "Beginning Sewing" workshop with Grandma and created a lovely nightgown for Ashlyn. I am very impressed with her work and thrilled to have been able to pass those first few lessons off to someone else.

September 03, 2009

So cute!

Allan's sister and her husband came for a visit and they brought along our precious nephew. He sure livened up our house in a hurry. He had so much fun playing with the kids. Here he is peeking out of the clothesline fort.

August 31, 2009

Spelling Bliss

I am a phonics geek and I'm not afraid to admit it. I firmly believe that learning to read and spell well involves good old fashioned phonics. I recently
learned about All About Spelling and am using it with my 3rd grade son. I LOVE IT!!! Wish I had found it sooner. Download some sample lessons at the website.

August 27, 2009


We used Tapestry of Grace at the beginning of our homeschooling journey and felt quite overwhelmed, but I have just recently been rethinking. I received a link to the new Tapestry of Grace DE (digital edition) and I felt a renewed excitement.
The first time around, I tried to read and do EVERYTHING. I was so worried the kids would "miss something" if I skipped a reading. Now that I am more relaxed and confident in my teaching abilities, I think it may be a good fit for us.

Things I like about TOG are:
- Very organized lessons and readings - I don't have to plan this :O)
- Assignments that correlate perfectly if you choose to use them
- Covers all aspects of the Humanities
- GREAT thinking and accountability questions for older students
- Amazing teacher notes and student discussion guide

We are going to be trying out Y3U2 beginning September 21st.

I still plan on using many CM methods with the material, especially narrations, but I want a little more "rigor" for my oldest and I feel this will fit the bill.

August 24, 2009

Joining the 21st Century

Today I am finally among the technologically savvy. I got a cell phone and a laptop over the weekend and signed up for high speed internet (which comes through the cell phone). We are actually going to drop our land line and be all wireless. I had survived with dial-up, but it was getting really hard. Uploading pictures was a BEAR and I couldn't even take advantage of great sites like Librivox from home. This is going to change everything!
I am loving the speed. No more folding laundry between uploads for me :O)

August 17, 2009

Writing her name

Ashlyn has been working so hard on writing her name "perfectly". I thought it would be fun to practice a bit with sidewalk chalk. While I was embellishing my version (just a bit), she seemed inspired.

our "work"

August 15, 2009

A Saturday on the farm

Just after breakfast, our cow Posie had her calf. She was a few days overdue and we were beginning to wonder if we had imagined the whole pregnancy. But clearly she knew what she was doing, as the weather was much more pleasant today than it has been. We were able to be a part of the whole experience. Here are a few pictures from the birth.

the bag of water emerging

two hooves

meeting mom

Posie's healthy baby boy. His name is Willie.

After lunch, Caleb had a tractor driving lesson with Dad. It looks like he is doing a fine job of raking the hay.

August 14, 2009

Our very own Charlotte

The last few nights we have watched an amazing spider spin her web just outside of our laundry room door. Eager hands would turn on the porch light and view the wonders of web making only inches from our eyes. It has been a true testament to the awesome creativity of our God to watch the spider meticulously create a web, catch unsuspecting insects through the night, and then take her whole glorious creation down at sunrise, only to repeat it all again. This display went on for several days.

Last night however, something was different. Our spider was not making a beautiful web. She seemed slow and uncoordinated. Her web never appeared and this morning she was not resting in her usual spot above the door. In her place was an egg sack. Her life had come full circle. Goodbye Charlotte.

August 06, 2009

One Week Old

It is hard to believe that our baby calf Jonah is already one week old. He has grown so much in just seven short days. We are expecting another calf any day now from our other cow Posey.

The Purple Ribbon Brownies

I am embarrassed to admit it, but I have never liked homemade chocolate brownies. They always seemed too dry and cake like; not fudgy and gooey like my trusty Duncan Hines box mix.

Well everything has changed! Allie made a brownie recipe from Paula Deen's Savannah Country Cookbook for the County Fair and LOOK OUT! These brownies are called "Lady Brownies" and they will knock your socks off.
Here is the recipe:

2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
6 Tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (we used pecans)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Blend together sugar, oil, eggs, cocoa, and vanilla. Add flour; mix. Add nuts; spread into a greased 13x9 inch baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Recipe says it yields 15 to 20 brownies, but I'm thinking more like 12 :O) (if your lucky). They are THAT good!

Fair Results

Drumroll please.......

Visual Arts - Tissue Paper Flowers - Blue Ribbon
Cooking - Blonde Brownie - Blue Ribbon
Cooking - Chocolate Brownie - Purple Ribbon (Eligable for The State Fair)
Photography - Apple Blossom - Purple Ribbon (Eligable for The State Fair)
Photography - Flowers on Piano - Purple Ribbon (Eligable for The State Fair)

Visual Arts - Torn Paper Ocean Scene - Grand Champion Purple Ribbon
Cooking - Snickerdoodle Cookies - Blue Ribbon

August 03, 2009

The County Fair & Missing Dad

This week is our local County Fair and today is the big day to drop off 4-H projects for judging. Allie and Caleb both made projects for the Visual Arts display. We all think they turned out well....definitely purple ribbon quality in my book :O)

Caleb's torn paper and tissue paper ocean scene.

Allie's tissue paper flower bouquet.

They both will also take baked goods and Allie will enter her photo of the apple blossoms she took in April.

On another note, Allan left this morning for a week long business trip in Louisiana. We miss him already. We will be doing all of the farm chores this week, so pray for the critters. Friday cannot come quickly enough for us.

Last minute fair entry:
Allie liked my "tissue paper flowers on the piano" picture, so she created her own version and had it printed in black and white. Very Elegant.

July 31, 2009

Another Blessing!

The weather here has been amazing. It was in the 70's yesterday and felt like fall. To make things even better, our sweet cow Rosie had her baby last night. A beautiful, healthy, sweet, baby boy. I think we'll call him Jonah. He's so little!

July 20, 2009

Weekend Fun!

The kids had a camp out this past weekend and the weather was PERFECT!!! We had high temperatures of 78 and lows in the upper 50's - in Kansas - in July - it was unbelievable!
We made a campfire for the usual fair of hot dogs and smores, and well, we learned a little something about cooking out. Who knew you had to let a fire "burn down" before you could use it? Probably everyone EXCEPT us :O) The fire proved to be a bit hot when the girls went to roast their dogs, but Dad came to the rescue. If you have a steel fencepost, your cooking stick, the ever-useful duct tape, and a couple of hay bales lying around, you can outwit the fire!

"Cookout Forts"

July 13, 2009

We are LOVING this!

We got our Happy Phonics set in the mail from the nice folks over at Love to Learn and what a hit! My Ashlyn (3 1/2) couldn't wait to get started. I wasn't even halfway done cutting out the first game (muffin match) before she was begging to play. I can see why this program works. I feel like I must mention that it is worth every penny of the $49.99 price tag - the games are printed on very high quality cardstock and the instructions are clear as a bell. If you have a young one at your house that is ready to learn to read, give Happy Phonics a look.

July 08, 2009

What do you use for...

Today I'll be adding our curriculum specifics to the blog in the left hand column.

July 02, 2009

flexability and answered prayer

Well, we started school on Monday and Tuesday the kid's grandparents called and asked if they could pick them up Thursday and keep them a couple days. My first thought was, "Oh no! I have this whole week planned out, and now I am going to be two days behind." Then I thought, "Wait a minute, this is not a race. We can be flexible -I'm the teacher- and maybe this is a little blessing from the Lord."

I am always wishing to be able to spend a little time alone with my husband, and now He is giving me two and a half days. (Did I mention we have not had a single day without kids in 3 1/2 years?) If I had chosen to get all stressed out about the reading we weren't going to get done, I might have missed the joy and answered prayer that was right in front of me. Besides, what is more fun to a child than spending a few precious days with Grandma and Grandpa?

Now, what to do for 2 1/2 days.....:O)

June 29, 2009

Back to the Books!

We started our new school year today and it was AWESOME! Everyone is so excited to be learning new things again.

I can tell that our history period is going to be a huge hit. We are covering American History, beginning at about 1800. Today we started a book about Daniel Boone together and Caleb is reading on his own about Davy Crockett. Tonight we will begin Little House in the Big Woods as our read-aloud.

Caleb is doing Apologia Science Zoology 1 and already "made me" read more than I had scheduled. He is a HUGE lover of science.

Allie will be reading several books this term, but she really loved the first couple of chapters in Ruth Beechick's Adam and His Kin . She is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her Spanish program. We chose The Easy Spanish. It looks like great fun and is CM friendly!

We were finished with our studies by noon and now the day is ours to enjoy as we wish (okay, the kids will *enjoy* and I will do laundry).


June 26, 2009

Blog Makeover

I am feeling very computer savvy this evening. I learned how to make my blog 3 columns. *YIPPEE* I have wanted to do this for a while now, but was always afraid I would mess everything up. I won't tell you how long it took me, or how many tweaks were required, just know it was a LONG TIME! I was rewarded for my efforts when I surfed over to Candace's blog, His Mercy is New. While there, I discovered a great source for fabulous backgrounds. Thanks Aqua Poppy for making these available! Now, go get one of these beauties for yourself!

June 23, 2009

Handy Software

I found a software program that I am very excited to share. Maybe you've heard of it. It's called Startwrite. This program allows you to create your own handwriting practice sheets, copywork, etc. in your choice of popular handwriting fonts. I chose this program because it has the italic font that I am teaching my kids. I like that you can adjust the font size, and even make the letters a traceable light gray for the younger ones. With my youngest just learning to write, I feel that the $39.95 price tag is a real value. You can download a free trial at the website.

June 11, 2009

So sweet

I feel like a new mom. I can't stop taking pictures of this little guy. He is so peaceful when he is sleeping....awake is another story....hide your toes!

Milo sleeping


I am not a fan of snakes, but I like this one more than most. Poor unfortunate fella had a run in with the hay mower.

Caleb and the bull snake

June 07, 2009

Sad Goodbye

Our beloved cat, Molly, passed away this evening after having a stroke earlier in the week. She was my faithful furry companion for 15 years. We will miss her.

June 05, 2009

A week of FAITH and FUN!

Vacation Bible School has come to an end for another year. We had a super week! Here's a peek.

My friend Annette and me in the raft at "Friendship Falls".

Ashlyn and her friend in the raft.

Allie and her friend taking the little one for a ride in the "train".

Caleb and friends on the "Slip and Slide".

Ashlyn and friends having snack at the cross.