Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Greetings and Farewell?

It has been brought to my attention that I have not updated this blog for many months. Not that I didn't know that already, but the reminder was my call to action. So do I delete, or begin posting again?

This is the question I will be pondering for the next couple of days. Decision-making is not my forte.

Ginny, please check the comments on the last post! :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Few More School Photos


Our "Homeschool in the Woods" timeline... blank for now, but ready to go.



The Science Box- We spent a little bit of time putting together ziploc bags of supplies for each of the activities/experiments we need to do for science. I compiled a list of missing supplies at the same time... no more skipped science activities because we couldn't find the right stuff!


A small, easy to use arts and crafts box

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summertime and the livin' is easy

When I proposed a two week long summer break, followed by "fun" summer school sessions, I was practically boo-ed out of town. So the kids are having their lazy summer vacation. The books have been put away. The school-morning routines will have to be re-learned, for sure. But clearing the cobwebs from their little minds in the fall just may not be necessary.

We've all been working on our Spanish. Nicholas is using typing software to learn how to type instead of peck, totally of his own accord. Noah is learning to play the melody to Greensleeves on his mandolin, even though his teacher is AWOL. Elijah is gaining proficiency in counting money through playing a Reader Rabbit computer game.

Nicholas spent several hours one day measuring and drawing to scale the layout of our home, including immovable furniture (the piano and woodstove). All other furniture was measured and added to the layout with tagboard pieces. His motivation? It looked like fun, and the next time I want to rearrange the furniture, it will save him from making unnecessary moves- since he's usually the muscle behind my madness. You can see a miniature version of his floorplan in this photo. We also realized that we can use magnets on our metal doors to hold up posters instead of using pushpins and making holes in all the walls. We've lived here for over 2 years, and I just now thought of that. Sometimes I am slow.

In preparation for learning American history next school year, we have purchased the Liberty's Kids videos. My children have been absorbed in the story of the American Revolution since, and their play reflects it. During the episode about Thomas Paine's Common Sense, Noah looked at me and asked, "Mom, is that the same Thomas Paine who was a deist?" Me: "Ummm... (consult Google)... Yes! How did you know that?" It's amazing the things they learn from The Sugar Creek Gang (the everynight bedtime story). The children also tried writing their own invisible messages after watching Liberty's kids. I found the results the next day... There was also a sticky spot on the floor where someone spilled the lemon juice and neglected to clean it up. They are still kids, of course.
I've kept myself busy making teaching aids. We've laminated fish for alphabet fishing, and made these lighthouse cards to use with math. Our first Konos lesson deals with lighthouses, so these shapes (purchased at the Dollar Tree!!!) will make for a fun way to tie math into that. I've also gotten a jump on making some necessary posters for science.

Painting is always a fun activity. I watch for discounted painting supplies when I'm out and about. These canvases were half-price at Hobby Lobby, and made for a good 1 1/2 hour project today with the outside temperatures in the 90s.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Freeze Advisory



Glad to have a few extra pots, #10 cans, styrofoam cups, and empty pretzel containers on hand. *sigh*

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our First Big Fight

or "A Tale of Two Roosters"

I don't remember why we thought we needed more than one rooster. I can assure you, however, that we don't need more than one.

We're not sure who is hurt worse... but we do have our favorite. The rooster above is very sweet and loving toward one particular hen. They stay together all the time, she picks his feet clean, and if someone approaches her, she squats down and scoots herself underneath him. Love.

Breaking Radio Silence

Nothing has been posted here for a while. Sometimes my mind is jumbled up and so full of stuff that I can't think clearly enough to put together a cohesive sentence. And yet,today, while I have in my home a 2 year old, 3 year old, 4 year old, 5 year old, 8 year old and 12 year old... I'm feeling froggy.

The nephews came over to spend the night last night. The boys arrived late and were a little wound up, so I gave my 12-year-old his first paying baby-sitting job. His instructions were to put on a movie and come get me if I was needed. I woke up to the sound of loud snores- from the 12 year old. One of the little ones was asleep, and the other one was still watching the movie. I think we all got to bed by 1:30am. A fun time was had by all.

I've pondered discontinuing the ole blog. When we started this, it was to share the things God was teaching us. Lately, it seems that the things we've been learning would be inappropriate to share. To share them would either seem boastful, or gossipy, or complaining.

When we answered God's call to minister to youth, a lot of things came with that- things we weren't necessarily prepared for. Becoming involved in a child's life is complicated. Their family situations are complicated. Sometimes looking into their eyes is like looking at the face of death. It makes me want to cry, to scream, and sometimes to beat some sense into them. The only way to break the generational patterns of self-destruction and self-loathing is Jesus. This Jesus whom we preach, this Jesus whom we love... is the same Jesus at whom they scoff, the same Jesus whose death they mock. I believe some of these children only come to youth meetings be certain that Satan is duly represented.

That being said, I think for a while this blog is just going to focus on family and "pseudo-farming" things. Fun stuff. Good stuff. We'll be thinking on good things.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Psyching Myself Up for Youth Camp

*Recalling things about our kids at church that make me smile*

Shortly after accepting our assignment from God at the small church where we now serve, I noticed things are a little different here. Homier, maybe. Despite all the problems that these teenagers have (and they would rival the problems of inner city kids), they retain some of the mannerisms of hill country upbringing.

One evening, I offered a bowl of chili to a 13 year old boy who had been sitting on the table, legs dangling over the side in constant swing motion, and chatting with me while I cooked. (If I remember correctly, he was telling me how to clean fish and gut deer.) His response? “No, thank y’ma’am. I’ve not been feelin’ all t’myself today.” I wanted to pinch his cheeks and tell him how cute that was, but 13 year old boys don’t take too kindly to such things.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Updates & Repairs

Sometimes projects around here take a long time. For instance, my "Mother's Day gift" last year....I asked Scott to remove the old tub & surround in the kids' bathroom and replace it with a new one. He wasted no time in purchasing the new tub and tearing out the old. However, it soon became apparent that we were in over our heads. This week, we hired a friend to complete the project. This is what it looked like for months.

And this is it today.

It still needs some trim around it, but it is now functional.

Another "before and after":

Monday, March 2, 2009

If You Give A Kid A Camera...

He'll take a photo of his face.

Seeing his face will make him realize how funny his self-portrait can be, so he'll take another one.

And his favorite candle.

And Mom coming to take the camera away.

Planning Ahead

As we sat admiring the fire last night, my oldest son began chattering about a variety of things. The stuff most 11 year old boys think about, in my world, anyway. Things like: how to make ink, good building sites on the property, how many 8"-16" diameter trees he would need to cut down to build a "standard-sized one room cabin", etc. This morning, I found the notes he was making as he chattered.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Our First Casualty

It's been nearly a year since our boys were all given BB guns. This was bound to happen eventually.


We had just returned home from a fun day of field trips when Noah decided to show Gloria how to shoot a BB gun. I was barely paying attention- I heard him explaining how to aim, then-CRACK! At least he remembered to aim it in a safe direction- the only casualty was our geology lesson/cookie jar (I love homeschooling!)

Noah was stunned that the gun fired. He operates under the "Never leave a gun loaded" rule. That works well for him, but it was his brother's gun. And Brother's rule is, "Always leave the gun loaded in case there's trouble. Leave the safety on so that it can't be accidentally fired."

I think we all learned a valuable lesson. And, ahem, Sonja, please disregard the conversation we had earlier this week about children and gun safety.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Saturday with the Winslows


A friend from church let us borrow his tractor this weekend. Nothing says "I love you" like a plowed garden plot.


Or 100 seeds planted in styrofoam cups.




The garden helpers still in their jammies, with added layers for warmth!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Investment Advice?

I think it is funny how many people laugh at Peter Schiff in this video. You can see who laughs last.



Here is another funny video....they didn't even read the bill:

Friday, February 13, 2009

An Interesting Morning


While on my way to prepare breakfast for the man of the house, I passed a window. Much to my surprise, I saw this little gal.






I went outside to have a better look, and found that she was quite a docile creature. So docile that I wondered if she were sick. She didn't want to walk with me, so I picked the little thing up and carried her around to the back, where the hubby joined me. We decided to tie her up and try to find who she belonged to. Then we heard the honking of horns, and found this lovely group of visitors running down the middle of the road and heading up our driveway.



The goat only stayed for a little while... her owner picked her up by 8:30. The guineas stayed on a little longer, but they are always welcome here. I love what they do!


What fun to live in the boonies!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Breakdown of my traffic violation

Excitement is not my middle name. I don't like a fast-paced life. I'm much more likely to choose a quiet day at home over a day out on the town. So, as contrary as it is to my nature, I get speeding tickets. I've had 3 of them in my 12 years of marriage, with two of those in the last 1 1/2 years.
Scott is a "go-go-go" personality. He has people to see, places to go, and things to do. A favorite question of his is, "What are we doing tonight?" Ask me how many times he has been pulled over for speeding. More than I can remember, and I have a pretty good memory. How many tickets? Two. But only one counted, because the other time the state trooper was escorting the President through a disaster area on his court date. Seriously, he has talked himself out of trouble soooo many times. Me? I say, "Yes, sir," "Thank you. Have a nice day." Every time I've been pulled over, I've been ticketed. I was always told that women could get a warning, but not me.
But my purpose here is not to bemoan my unfortunate encounters with the traffic cops. I was looking over my most recent speeding ticket receipt, and I noticed there is a breakdown of the cost of the ticket. I found it most interesting. Take a look:
Moving violation $1.00
State litigation $13.75
City Court Cost $40.00
Traumatic Brain Injury Fund $5.00
Misc. Traffic Cost $20.00
Data Processing Fee $2.00
Officer Fee $25.00
City Litigation $13.75
City Fines $22.00

Traumatic Brain Injury Fund? Really?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cold chickens

Every egg our hens have laid in the past 2 days has looked just like this. I don't think they like the cold very much. We have to thaw the eggs before we feed them to the dog.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Homeschool Dress Code


Gloria can change clothes three times a day and accessorize. This is what happens when Elijah dresses himself.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

From KnoxNews.com:
December 21
An early morning fire in South Knoxville has left a family of four homeless and a father crediting an angel for their safety. The blaze at 206 Stone Road just off Chapman Highway was reported about 3:30 a.m. The father said he woke up and went to his kitchen but was pushed back by smoke, according to Knoxville Fire Department Capt. D.J. Corcoran. He woke up his wife, and they gathered their sons, 1 and 2 years old, and fled the house. “I asked him if he knew what happened,” Corcoran said, and “he said he didn’t know.” He had laid down Sunday night to put his 2-year-old son to sleep and fell asleep himself, Corcoran said. He said the man told him that what he remembered was having a dream. “He said a woman came to him in the dream ... she looked like an angel and knew she wasn’t going to hurt him,” Corcoran said the man told him. “He said she told him to wake up that he had lost a child in a fire, and he had to get up and get out of the house,” Corcoran said. That’s when the man got up and went to the kitchen and was hit with the smoke, Corcoran said, and fled. The man’s cell phone was not getting reception so the family drove to the Pilot, where he called E-911 on his cell. He left his family in the warmth of the station and drove back to his house. By that time, KFD’s Engine 13 and Squad 19 had arrived to find the brick-veneer house fully involved, Corcoran said. The bitter cold froze water in the street, but firefighers got the blaze knocked down fairly quickly, Corcoran said. No one was injured. The man’s father picked up the family, and the Red Cross has been contacted.
“They lost everything,” Corcoran said. Their names were not immediately available. More details as they develop online and in Tuesday’s News Sentinel.


This is the baby's room, where my little brother was sleeping with my 1 year old nephew. What is left of the mattress is leaned up against the wall. The ceiling collapsed in that room just after they got out. The firefighters told them that if they had been in the house another 45 seconds, they would have all been dead. The smoke detectors? They didn't sound the alarm until the family was running out the door. The televisions, in every room, were unrecognizable- vaporized or nearly so. On the same entertainment center as one of the televisions, a Bible was untouched by fire. There is soot on the edges of the pages, but otherwise it is fine.
I praise God that they made it out alive, and pray that this draws them nearer to the Lord.

Mountain Get-Away

Scott and I on a 6 mile hike through the mountains

I crack myself up.

There was no 6 mile hike. We took this photo on one of the "quiet walkways" along our drive through the Smoky Mountains National Park.

After years of trying... or maybe not... Scott managed to totally surprise me this year at Christmas. Apparently the whole family was in on it- which makes me look at them a little more suspiciously, I must confess. I was given a series of gifts that presented me with a new outfit, hat & gloves, socks & underwear- a tad embarrassing in front of the entire family- and ultimately a cleverly disguised itinerary. I say cleverly disguised because the box contained a bottle of tylenol and some batteries. The man knows I like to shake gifts, so he made sure it would make noise. Scott had arranged for our children to spend 2 nights with his sisters and parents and we took off to a cabin in the mountains.



December 12, 2008




The snow started falling after dark... my children were outside dancing in the snow that night. We're some regular party animals, I tell ya.