Tuesday, December 9, 2008

This and That

'Twas a quiet day at home, for which I am truly grateful. We had rain most of the day- it's still raining now- so it was very nice to not have to go out.

We've been working on the coat & clothing closet at church this week. It is slow going. I had some great help on Sunday evening, and more on Monday. If it is not too crazy tomorrow, it would be lovely to have some of the young ladies from the youth group help with folding and organizing.
And now for photos...

Scott and two of the children gathered around to watch Peter and The Wolf on the computer

The $12 Menorah we found at an antique store. I've been searching for months!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Englishman's Hat

Last night, my husband surprised me with a hat. "What a lovely hat," I thought, as I replaced my scarf with it. Just as I rounded the corner out of my bedroom, I was met by my 8 year old son who couldn't control his amused giggles.
"Mom, was that hat made in England? Because you look like an Englishman. If you had a mustache, even a fake one from the Dollar Tree, you would look just like an Englishman."
Hee hee, ha ha ha. He was serious, too. No worries about him wooing any ladies!

My fuzzy self-portrait with the Englishman's hat

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What to say?

Things have been quiet here on the ole blog.

Most things going on have been too private to write about. Lots of people have lots of problems. I suppose there is nothing new in that. I must be a good listener.

I haven't taken many pictures lately. Perhaps I just need to keep my camera close by so I can take more pictures. Photos are inspiring- a jumping off place for a story of some sort.

I really had to dig to find a photo to post today. This is what Gloria and I do when one of her older brothers is using our very noisy grain mill.

Tomorrow, I'll do better. It is Wednesday, though, so there is no telling what will happen.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Life of our Lord

I mentioned to Scott that I would like to find a copy of Charles Dickens' The Life of Our Lord, and sure enough, he found it at a thrift store. A first edition, cloth-bound, still-in-pretty-good- shape copy. And for only $3.99. That man can find anything!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Chickens, Chickens, and More Chickens

Don't leave your windows down when you come to my house!

I still don't understand why the chickens like to be carried around. They don't protest, and Noah loves nothing better than to have a chicken under each arm.

And while we're on the subject of creatures with brains the size of peas, I voted a few days ago. I actually considered not voting this year, for the first time since I turned 18. There was no one, save one candidate for state representative, that I felt good supporting. I must confess that the main reason I did vote was out of frustration with our current elected officials. Not one of the senators or representatives here voted against the Wall Street bailout. NOT ONE. So I voted against every incumbent up for re-election. I voted for members of a party that I always said I would never vote for. And I feel good about it- though only marginally, because I know that the ones I voted for are probably no better than the ones I voted against. At least I am not supporting the same liars time after time. Spread the love, ya know.
As for the presidential election, I'm thoroughly discontent with both candidates. There was temptatation to vote third party, but all that does in a two party system is split the vote. If the "liberals" have 3 candidates, the liberal vote is split three ways and the "conservative" wins. If the "conservatives" have 3 candidates, then the conservative vote is split three ways, and the "liberal" candidate wins. Look at what Ross Perot did to the election of 1992. For all the good that voting 3rd party would do, you're just as well off to not vote. I understand voting 3rd party to make a statement, but in reality your vote doesn't matter. You can accomplish the same thing by not voting at all.

Why the kids can't walk through their room...

How many children do I have, anyway? There must be some hiding around here somewhere.
I pared the kids down to four pairs each: dress shoes, boots, tennis shoes, and sandals. The only one who didn't want to give away some of her shoes was the girl.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nic's Pics

Cave formation, Cumberland Caverns, McMinnville, Tn

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bringing Down the Cool Factor

When the kinfolk offer to keep the kids all night on a Friday night, what is a happening young couple to do? A little browsing the aisles of GFS? Perusing the clearance aisles at Marshall's? Hit their most favorite toy store (with no children in tow) to look for marked down educational toys?

Do we know how to paint the town red, or what?

The night was topped off by dinner at Carrabba's Italian Grill with an equally happening young couple, followed by a search for the perfect thermos, and pleasant conversation in the parking lot of Dick's Sporting Goods after we closed the joint down. There was, naturally, a group of teens with thumping music and scooters on the other side of the parking lot, but we way outlasted them.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hen Update

She's still with us. We believe that she ate the egg because it was cracked. As far as we know, there have been no more eggs consumed by chickens.

I know, you hardened chicken people are laughing at us.

We do have two hens in solitary confinement because they won't stay out of the neighbor's yard. We instituted a "Two Strikes- You're Out" policy. The first time, their wings were marked with spray paint. The second time, they were placed in a cage. Now they are awaiting a new home with either Grandma or a friend.

Nic's Pics

Sandy Lake Amusement Park, Carrolton, Texas

Changing the language

S NE1 stil hre? yl Iv bn awy frm blogging, Iv bn wurkn on my txtN abilities. cn u read dis? ROFL IK mosta u cnt read dis @ ll. f u cn, u spnd fr 2much tym txtN. Or uv teens. Or u wrk ina yth ministry. txtme sumtym, yo! mwah

Will it someday become necessary to translate the Bible into this?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Rehabilitating a Rotten Hen??

What should we do with a hen who eats eggs?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What we did this evening...

He was only 10 weeks old, and free-ranged to boot, so he was kinda small. We didn't age the meat in the fridge, but rather cooked it right away. He was quite tasty, though a little tough.

We also processed 4 pints of strawberry jam.

Nephews on the farm

This one loved the chickens. He was also especially fond of Nicholas. Nicholas put him down for his nap each day, and put him in bed at night.

This one loved the corn. He also loved chewing on bits of paper. He loved just about everything except diaper changes. Oh, how he squirmed during those!

They're laying!

The first egg. The eggs we collected today.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Nic's Chicks or Factory Chicks

This video doesn't do the actual experience justice. We were driving through Shelbyville Tennessee today, when we had the good fortune to find ourselves behind a huge Tyson chicken truck. I can tell you that the smell was indescribable. Our 55 chickens smell, but it is a completely different smell from these. The smell was rancid, for lack of a better word. As bad as the smell was, the sight was worse. These chickens were crammed into the dirty and rusty cages so that they could not fully stand up. Chicken cages were stacked on top of chicken cages so that excrement from the top would cascade down to the levels below. The chickens we saw did not have feathers on their bellies or on their bottoms. We assumed that this was because their bellies probably dragged the bottom of the cages. We're not sure. All of the chickens were thirsty. Their beaks were slightly open and they panted.

It was quite enlightening for us to see these birds treatment and physical appearance, when compared to our own chicken experiment. Our birds' poop smells, but it was a "normal" poop smell and not rancid smelling. Our birds have nice full feathered bodies. They free-range and are in excellent physical condition.

We are by no means "animal rights" people, but there is just no comparison between a small farm raised bird and these factory fowl.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dallas Again

So it looks like we will be visiting the Dallas area in early September.

We have been unable to find good, reliable information about the relative safety of the area surrounding the Arlington hotel we are planning to stay in. Can anyone advise me about which areas to avoid? I know we wandered into some pretty scary places last year. Our hotel was not scary (in the traditional sense, anyway). It was, however, downtown and very pricey - something we are not looking to repeat.

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Food Preservation

I have now canned a total of 9 quarts of tomatoes. So far it has been quite enjoyable and educational. All of my jars have sealed- other than that, I don't know what to look for as far as quality. I'm just pleased that they are sealing.
Can anyone tell me why the jars seem to have less liquid in them now than when I first removed them from the canner? Does that mean we shouldn't eat the tomatoes?

Nic's Pics

It's time once again for a look in Nicholas' picture folder to see what gems he's captured lately.
Smiling kids...
Landscape scenes flying by the car at 70 mph...
And, OH MY!

Uncle Frank's souvenir boar's head from his hunting trip this past winter.
That is just plain creepy.

The Trip Homeward

Gloria and Elijah with Uncle Jake

We visited my hometown last week. We didn't get to see all the family, but we did get to have an extended visit with my younger brother and his family. The first night we had dinner together, and then they came to our hotel room for a couple of hours. Jake will get down on the floor and crawl around with the kids, which they LOVE. See that maniacal grin on Gloria's face? She was having a great time. The next day, while Scott worked (the reason for our trip there), the kids and I stayed with my sister-in-law and her two adorable sons. It was a lot of fun, and hopefully it won't be long til we see them again.

We also visited with my parents for the first time in over 2 years. Gloria didn't remember them at all, so she was a little shy. It was good to see the grandparents again.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Big Day

Nicholas took part in his very first 4H poultry show on Saturday. Here's a video of Gloria and Nicholas spending a few last minutes with the hens before they are auctioned off to a new family. So sad- he's been known to ride around the yard on his bike with a chicken under his arm. And, oh, how they love the golf cart!

Wait a minute.... who gave Dad the checkbook? For a $42 donation to our local 4H club, the 6 hens came back home with us. Alas, there will be no extra space in the chicken tractor, but there were 4 happy children in our vehicle on the way home.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Garden Bounty

We've been harvesting veggies for a couple of weeks now. It may not look like much, but we're thankful for it. When we were planting the garden, I was doubtful that anything edible would come out of it. Glory to God for the food He has provided.
Below is my first ever attempt at shelf-stabilization of food. We now have two quarts of pickled peppers. Both jars sealed, so now we are anxiously awaiting the day we can open one up and taste the peppers.

I also made a ground cherry pie, but it wasn't here long enough to get a photo.

Wild Edible Day

These milkweed pods were too large to eat whole, so Scott boiled them and we ate the white part from inside. They were delicious and had a great texture. I would have eaten more, but Scott wouldn't let me- we only got a taste to make sure we're not allergic.
*See comments for more information.

The Granny-Mobile

Mom said it was too hot to go outside, but Noni stepped up. Who couldn't love a grandma like that?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Five days and four nights later...

Each night during our service we had teens want to sing, do puppet shows, and act out skits. This night, these four young ladies sang "Give Me Jesus" with Scott.

The transition from youth camp to normal life is much more difficult than I imagined it would be. I can't adequately describe camp to you. It was awesome to be used of God, and to be used in so many ways that I did not expect to be....

I would love to share some of the things that happened. Right now I don't feel like I can do justice to the things I witnessed and was a part of. Perhaps I will share those things later as God gives me the words to do so.

For today, I just want to say that we're back. God is faithful. He hears the prayers of His people. He unites people for the cause of Christ. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu...

For a while, anyway.

The laundry is not all done and put away, the bathrooms are not clean, the living room still needs straightened.

The dog and hens are boarded at Noni's house, and the children will join them tomorrow. The car is over-packed with a PA system, projector, musical equipment, & enough snacks and bottles of water for an army. We still have to fit the suitcases, guitar, computer, and 4 children in there somewhere.

My phone has been ringing off the hook today. Lots of last minute questions about what clothing is acceptable and what time we meet. One girl had her mother call to find out if a shirt that says "Be Smart. Don't Start." and a drawing of a cigarette with a slash through it violates the "no advertising youth-inappropriate products" rule.

Tomorrow Scott works part of the day, then we leave to have the annual youth camp with 24 of our closest teenage friends, and 6 other adult chaperones. We will be studying Biblical conversions and the adults will be sharing their testimonies.

The hardest part of youth camp is leaving my own children behind. Originally we had planned to bring them with us, but have now decided against it. The teens we bring along come from a variety of backgrounds. There's a fine line between protecting my kids from harm and allowing them to see the world for what it is. This time we've opted for leaving them with Grandma. I also feel like I would be short-changing either my kids or the teens if I were responsible for both this week. Fortunately camp ends Tuesday, so Scott still has the rest of the week off work to spend with our kids.

Our teens have many problems. If you think of us this week, please pray that they will surrender to the Lord. Pray that His power will change their lives and that they will live for God even when their friends and family are living for themselves.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Pearl then...

And now... well, sometime last year, anyway.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

After the Rain

We went on an evening hike to have dinner in the cabin.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Fast-Paced Life

There are days that I wonder how we had time to do anything when we owned a tv. Thinking back, we really didn't do anything. The old me was sometimes depressed because I felt alone. Homeschooling and not working outside the house, it was difficult to not sometimes pine after my old, carefree life before children. As God brought me closer to Him, I became more patient and content with life as it was, even if it did seem a bit humdrum. I've been walking with the Lord for a few years now, and He has filled my empty, lonely, PPM* time with good work to do. Whenever I am tempted to complain of the work that needs to be done, I recall how much I wanted something productive to do. Many times I don't get a chance to update our blog because we're just too busy. I thought tonight would be a good time to update you on some things I haven't blogged about for a while- or maybe not at all.

Our new Buff Orpington chicks arrived on May 30th. We ordered 25 hens and 5 roosters, but we received 26 hens and 5 roosters. I love freebies!

These new little birds needed a place to call home, as I was quickly tiring of the fragrance of chicks in the utility room. Scott put a lot of effort into planning for the next chicken coop. The first one was a prototype. He will now build 3 more so we can split the chickens up and give them enough room to roam. Our goal is that they will be able to free range during the day and then be closed into their coop at night. We will have about 8 chicks per coop.

The plan is really well thought out. The end opens into a staircase for the hens to climb. Chicken wire covers the front, and plywood the back. The bottom is a 4x8 plastic hydroponic bed. It has some holes so that we can hose it out and catch all the good stuff that comes out in a bucket and add it easily to our compost pile. The nesting boxes are part of a plastic barrel that Scott picked up for a few dollars. He quartered it lengthwise, then attached it open side up to a hinged piece of wood in the back, so we can open it up and get eggs out.

I've primed it already, and the chicks are spending their third night outside tonight. I still need to paint it, but for now it is usable, and that is all that matters to me. I'll get some more pictures of the special features up another day.

The cabin project has taken backseat for a while. With youth camp to plan, chickens to house, and a garden to plant, it has fallen off the plate. We did finish the roof, finish the siding, and add a couple of shelves inside. We also added this to it.

We're just big kids, really. The slide is a little steep- it zings the kids off pretty fast. It is more like a controlled fall. I have banned them from sliding until the bottom is properly lifted off the ground. Someone suggested putting an air mattress at the bottom, but I am envisioning the kids hitting it and being instantly bounced into the pond. No, I don't think we'll use the air mattress.

The garden is coming along. Here's a shot of it. It's not the best, but we've been working with what we have.
We've planted tomatoes, peppers, onions, okra, ground cherries (the big leafy things), yellow squash, cucumbers, green beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, winter squash, corn, carrots, swiss chard, and brussel sprouts. My photo quality is poor here... please excuse my sub-par picture. I'll get a better one soon.

*PPM= Poor Pitiful Me

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Free Range Chickens

Happy little ladies, they are.

Nick's Pics

My oldest son has taken to referring to himself as Nick. I don't call him that, but sometimes his brothers and sister do. He has a folder on the computer called "Nic's Pics". Every now and again I look through it to see what he's taken pictures of. I found this photo of our somewhat frightened-looking little hen. It was a posed shot; Nicholas put her in the tree.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

1 Year With Miqueias

We've been sponsoring Miqueias through Compassion International for a year now. I know this because his birthday is rapidly approaching. When we received his sponsorship packet in the mail, the first thing we noticed was that his birthday was coming up soon. We put $ for a gift in the mail right away.

In honor of his birthday, I want to answer one of the questions that I have been asked by brothers and sisters in Christ about child sponsorship. If you want to know the mechanics of how it all works, you can visit www.compassion.com to learn more.

The question comes from folks whose desire to follow the Lord I do not question. I was, however, somewhat taken aback by it.
"What if the local church that Compassion is partnering with is not teaching real Biblical doctrine?"

My short answer is: Will we be paralyzed by the thought that perhaps the local church partner won't share our Biblical views on everything? Will we let a child starve and believe that he is unworthy of love because there is a possibility that the local church, which is working to feed, clothe, and teach these children might disagree with us? Compassion, in partnership with the church, does not only teach the children about Jesus, they teach them how to read and how to brush their teeth, and how to care for themselves. Most of all, they are given hope. You can be a real, living, breathing, almost touchable Christ on earth to a child. You write letters of encouragement. You send photos. You tell them that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, that you serve them because you serve the Most High God.

Working with the teens at church, we get a glimpse of the hopelessness they have when Mom and Dad don't know God and act accordingly. Now add third world style poverty on top of that, and maybe, just maybe you can have some vague idea of how hopeless their lives are without Compassion. You can be a beacon of hope to a child who believes he is no better than the filth that lines the streets. Or will fear of accidentally sponsoring the Devil's work keep you closed up in a hole-shut off and unaccessible to the "least of these" who are suffering right now? Is it God's will that no one help these children, and in turn, their families? Where do you come in? How do you get involved?

God calls us all to minister in some way. How do you minister? I'd love to hear about what you do for God.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Visitor

This little fawn was cute today- especially when its mother emerged from the wood and they stood nuzzling each other. Ask me how cute it is once my garden has been invaded.

There seem to be a lot of deer this season. Over the last few days we've seen them more and more. Last night when we came in at nearly 11, there were two deer dancing about the side of the road in front of our house. I should check in on Joe and see how he's doing.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Marcus, Part 2

Things down in the youth room were not as we expected. My husband often knows exactly what someone’s primary struggle is, because God lets him know. It’s not something that is contrived, but he will feel compelled to share a word or past experience with someone and it cuts right to the heart of what the problem. So I was feeling pretty confident that Marcus had opened up to him and he was providing wise counsel to Marcus.

As soon as they came back into the kitchen, I could tell something was not right. Scott and his co-laborer had spent over two hours with Marcus, and when they walked in there was a noticeable distance between them. Scott asked for another plate of food for Marcus, which we immediately provided. They sat down to talk some more. I heard enough that I knew things were not good, but I didn’t want to just stand around listening, so I left the kitchen. After Marcus left (close to the time we were dismissing kids- we were diligent in making sure that they stayed inside while waiting for rides) we were filled in on all that had transpired. Here’s some of the conversation that took place.

Scott: “So are you going to North Carolina or South Carolina?”

Marcus: “It depends. Are you talking about the Devil’s upper lip or lower lip?”

Scott: “I don’t understand.”

Marcus: “The eastern coast of the States is the Devil’s face. So are you talking about his upper lip or his lower lip?”

Scott: “Which one does your dad live in?”

Marcus: “David just made you do that thing with your arm.”

Scott: “No, he didn’t.”

Marcus: “David and Charles are the ones controlling you.”

Scott: “No, they’re not. It is true that I am a puppet. I am a puppet of the Most High God. David and Charles cannot control me.”

Marcus: “David just made you put water in that cup.”

Scott: “No, the Lord told me to put water in this cup. This cup was empty. Now it is filled with water. It can’t be filled with milk, because it is already filled with water. Just like me. I’m filled with Christ. No one else can fill me, because I am filled already.”

Scott: “Take this Bible with you.”

Marcus: “I can’t. There’s no room.”

Scott: “Here, take this,” Scott said, tearing out Matthew 5,6, and 7.

Marcus: “No. It is a sin to take anything away from or add anything to the Bible.”

Scott: “Okay, well, let that be my sin. Take this and read it.”

Marcus: “No.”

Co-Laborer: “If we could find a very small Bible that had both the Old and New Testaments, would you take that?”

Scott pulled his personal very small Bible filled with color-coded highlighting out of his back pocket. “Take this,” he said. “It’s the whole thing. You can have it.”

Still Marcus refused. He reads Harry Potter, and says that it is a lot like the Bible.

Marcus also shared that he is controlled by 4 different “people.” They pull him, make him move, tell him what to do. He believes that “God” and “Jesus” are all part of a grand charade, based on the alphabet being used in creative ways. Scott shared Yeshua with him, and he didn’t know how to make that fit into the charade the demons have told him to believe in. He believes that people’s names tell what their souls are like. All names have meanings, but some of us, according to Marcus, don’t do what our names say we should do. His father’s last name means (to Marcus, anyway) “Making My Life Hell.” This was not said in jest. He talked about Mother Africa, a large black lady, who tells him what certain things mean. Marcus lives in Illinois and goes to the Carolinas to visit his family. Always on foot. The trip takes him 1 year to make. He’s made it twice in the past. According to Marcus, his family is not expecting him and won’t be happy to see him.

The encounter with Marcus was a little un-nerving. It touched off a whole weekend of dealing with demons. God is making us more aware of the very real supernatural forces around us. Marcus is just a man. Marcus needs to be saved from his demons. We should go out of our way to bring Marcus and people like Marcus to the Lord. Marcus has heard all about Jesus. He’s rejected him thus far. He’s not under his own power right now, but we still need to reach out to him and cover him in prayer and real, practical help. The Lord deserves Marcus because he has paid a price for him. Marcus rightfully belongs to the Lord.


My husband insists that sometimes he is used of God because he is too stupid to know when he is in over his head. I don't really think that is the case, but the kids at church like to hear him say it.

I told you all that Scott had asked me to put together a list of scriptures for our scavenger hunt. Well, while I was doing that, I kept coming back to Luke 14:12 ("Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.") This verse caught my attention several times as I was preparing a dinner for many people. I couldn't see how I could incorporate this into the scavenger hunt, so I left it off of the list, but was well aware that this dinner should be a place to invite "the least."
On the drive out to our church building from town, we saw a man walking with a duffel bag on his back. Neither of us said anything, but we both noticed him. Scott later told me that he was thinking, "That's the kind of person that we should be helping, but he's too scary-looking for anyone to pick up."
Two hours later, after feeding the teens, I began putting away the leftover food. As I turned around from the refrigerator, I saw the man from the side of the street standing in the church kitchen. He just made sense to Scott and me. It was as if God had been telling us to expect him. Another lady and I hastily made him a plate of food, and Scott & another man from our church took him to the youth room to have some time to talk with him and help him get cleaned up and pick out some new clothes (we keep a "coat & clothes closet" for this purpose). The lady who was helping with the food left to find socks, deodorant, and a razor for the vagrant, whose name was Marcus. She was so flustered when she left that she went the wrong direction and had to turn around and go back. She shared with me that all she could think of was, "Jesus is here and I get to go buy him socks"- in keeping with "whatever you do to the least of these, you do it unto me."
So the women-folk were just about giddy with excitement and anticipation of what was happening in the next building. We went ahead with the evening's movie plan for the kids and would every now and then peek out at the other building. We were excitedly waiting for good news. What exactly that good news would be, we were not sure. Things were not as cheery as we were thinking they would be. As a matter of fact, we were dead wrong. Sometimes serving God brings us face-to-face with demons.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

In Shambles

Our poor little blog is, anyway. She's been sadly neglected. I can barely see you guys (the few of you who are left) over all the thistles and weeds. Nobody wants to be the neighbor who knocks on the door and says, "Wow! You guys have really let this place go." Well, nobody, that is, except Ginny. Thanks for your brutal honesty. :)

Excuse #1 for aforementioned neglect: We've been struggling to get our garden put in, without our trusty tiller. The Trusty Tiller proved to be unworthy of its title. It's back now, and maybe next week I can get the other 2/3s of the garden planted. Ahem... and stop your snickering, you hardened and learned gardeners who thumb your noses at modern conveniences like tillers.

Excuse #2 for aforementioned neglect: Standardized testing. We're finally finished. I will be sending the tests in next week for scoring. Glad it's over.

Excuse #3 for aforementioned neglect: Youth VBS is tonight and all day tomorrow. Our grandparents are out of town, so alternative arrangements had to be made for the part of the day tomorrow that my own children won't be attending. Plus there are extra meals to cook- tonight I'm feeding them risotto, homemade rolls, and dessert. Tonight's portion of VBS is easy- dinner and a movie (Facing the Giants). Tomorrow begins with breakfast, Sunday School, they will go to church w/ hubby while I shuttle my children to an aunt's house 20 minutes away and arrive back at the church in time to feed them lunch at the end of the service. Then we hit the road for a Scripture Photo Scavenger Hunt, for which I am still compiling a list. We end up back at church before evening service begins and dismiss afterward. Then my kids come back home. It's kind of a busy weekend. Did I mention that Scott is working today, too? He'll be going nonstop this weekend. Prayer support is always appreciated, more for the work than for us, though we need it, too.

Excuse #4 for aforementioned neglect: The arrival of a storage shed has caused lots of rifling through things in closets and under beds to determine what needs to go outside.

Excuse #5 for aforementioned neglect: The temps have finally changed enough to justify the seasonal wardrobe changes to be made. We have been dividing clothes into : "someone can fit into this next year" and "too small for any of us to ever wear again". And might I add, the temperatures went from slightly cool but totally comfortable to raging hot. From highs in the 70s to highs in the mid 90s for several days now.

Excuse #6 for aforementioned neglect: For three days I tried to upload a video of my happy chickens in the yard, but Blogger refuses to allow it to happen.

I could go on, but I have a lot to do. So pardon me while I power up the weed whacker and try to restore order to our little piece of the blogosphere.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Was I Duped?

Growing up, I fancied myself to be a cool older sister. I only had one younger sibling, and I believed that it was up to me to make sure that he was loved, nurtured, and taught. I liked to think of him as my responsibility, my charge, and to some degree, my child. I think all little girls must be like that. They like to be little mothers. At our house, I'm "Big Mama" and Gloria is "Little Mama".

When my little brother was old enough to have homework, I loved to sit with him and help. I realized, though, that some nights he would sit and talk and talk and talk and talk.... and make precious little progress on his homework. I determined that I would find a reason to leave and say something like, "I'll be back in a minute, Jake, and when I get back, I'll help you with number six if you make it that far. But I doubt that you will." Without fail, I would come back and he would be way past number six, just to prove that he could do it.

That experience served me well. I babysat a 10 year old a couple of times in college, and the same thing worked for him. Proving that he could work alone and work fast was a great motivator for him. And once I married my husband, I got to help his 10 year old sister with her homework in the evenings. One of the great perks of being married to him was that I gained 4 younger siblings. Megan, my 10 year old sister-in-law, could yack it up with the best of them. We talked about what she dreamed the night before, about the baby growing in my belly, about which boys pulled her hair at school. It was great... except that she wasn't actually doing her homework. So I pulled out the great motivator: "I'll be back in a few minutes. I doubt you'll be to number 6 by then, but if you are, I'll help you with it." Every time she exceeded my expectations.

Today, I needed a motivator for Noah. So, experienced as I am, I pulled out the same old trick. "I'll be back in a few minutes. Maybe you'll be to number 4, where you'll need my help. I'll help you with it, if you're there, but I doubt it. There's a lot of hard work between here and there." With that, I left. I went into my bedroom and closed the door. After a few minutes, there was a knock at the door, and a paper slipped under. My pride swelled up in me- it had worked and worked much better than I had anticipated. He was finished, and so quickly. I pictured my smiling 7 year old brother all those years ago, and in my mind, he looked just like Noah. I was a great teacher, and a great motivator. I sighed contentedly.

And then I looked down and saw this:

My son had simply written down random numbers to fill in the blank spots on his paper. He had not even attempted the problems. Now that I am the teacher, I noticed this. I don't think I ever even checked Jake and Megan's work. Did they do this too, knowing that I would never check the answers? The little sneaks... I feel duped.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

My view, straight up.
Looking out...
Scott's working on the roof.
She was mildly amused by something I said.
Eventually she fell asleep and I got around to helping out.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

To Test or Not to Test?

I am considering giving my children the CAT (California Achievement Test) this year. I don't know of anyone who has used this test, but most of the homeschool testing websites use this one. Does anyone have personal experience with it or any other achievement test? We don't follow the state curriculum. We may be learning about the Roman Empire while the state schools are teaching American history. My interest is in finding out how my children perform on the basic skills portion of the test.


Friday, May 2, 2008

More Cabin Work...

There's a hokey little Muppets song that the kids like to sing when we're trekking to the back to work on the cabin. "In a cabin in the woods a monster by the window stood..." It just gets better and better, but you'll have to take my word for it. Here are some shots of what we've gotten done lately.
Nicholas caught my interpretive dance routine on film for all to see. ;) Really, I'm not sure what I was doing.
Daddy taking a break. The siding is up, except for the part that will be under the wall of windows.
We had to clear some trees to make way for the scaffolding. Here's a shot of some of the resulting carnage.

Elijah's first time in the cabin. Note the hillbilly scaffolding. Only 2 windows left to go.
Scott paid $10 for these 8 windows and several other sizes of windows at a yard sale. We're still not sure what we'll do with the others.

Our Sanford & Son Chicken Tractor

We only used those blankets for the first day... :) There is now a well-fitted and tied down tarp providing shade to the not-so-little chicks. That's Elijah inside- dumping out a bucket of worms he collected for the chickens. Isn't that sweet?