Thursday, September 30, 2010

Camera on a Balloon

Would you think to send a video camera to space attached to a weather balloon? No? Me neither.

But someone has done it! Watch the video here at The Homeschool Freebie of the Day website.

Rural Beauty: September

My husband learned to be a mechanic by tinkering around with the family automobiles. The two cars shown here are just two of the classics that Paul grew up working on and driving. The one in front is a Pontiac Star Chief. The car in the background is some kind of Mercury (I think...). I will force my husband to leave a comment, through my complete ignorance on the topic. (Mwahahahaha) Paul will have to tell you the years as well. Sorry. And, do you see the 1960-something grain truck in the background?

Paul's second love  - tractors. We use these antiques for actual work! Last night we used the hay baler one last time! The hay is finished for the year!!!

Below is a picture of the corn being harvested in Amish country. Paul and I are complete romantics when we think about doing things "the old way." We just look at these shocks and sigh. Beautiful!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Candor: Parenting

One of the reasons that I am so sincere on the blog is that I want to help younger ladies coming along after me - my daughters included. (Rebecca is my number one fan, she reads every post over and over again!) When Paul and I first married we thought we were the only newlyweds who had arguments and wanted to pull our hair out. And, when I first had Rebecca, I thought I was the only mommy in the world who wanted to run away just about daily. (I might be exaggerating  a little... my brain was so foggy back then from all her crying spells and lack of sleep).

There is a need among Christians for authenticity and sharing of struggles. Maybe the blog is not the best place for it, but it seems to be my best outlet at present. I am not saying that we should all get together and whine about our problems - far from it. But, how can older moms encourage me if they do not know my true struggles? And, how can I encourage younger moms, unless I am willing to admit some of my weakness and assume that they are facing some similar thoughts/feelings?

My candor today is on the topic of parenting many little wee ones. (I will be using a lot of sarcasm and tongue in cheek honesty.) I thought having two children under age two was hard. I thought having three children age three and under was very difficult. I thought having four children five and under was a nightmare. And, when we got to the point that we had five children under the age of seven - well, let's just say I thought I needed my head examined. Now, my oldest is 8, and the baby is 9 months old.

I had no trouble keeping Rebecca alive and well. She was under constant adult supervision. And, adding Nelson to the family was not too much trouble. Rebecca was a good little helper. She did not try to kill her brother. BUT, add Lydia to the mix and you have trouble! I am still not sure how we kept her alive with Nelson always trying to "help" feed her and care for her. I would have to hold my pee till Nelson's nap time just to keep poor Lydia alive. I think Nelson meant well. He was more likely to snuggle her to death than anything else.Then, we had Joshua. By this point the older two were old enough to be playing with crayons, but not always putting them away. I often reflect on what a miracle it is that Joshua did not choke on some broken crayon! Now, we have Baby Josiah. And, I mean to tell you that it is HARD work being a momma to a tribe of little people.

I have five little people making messes: spilling cups at EVERY meal, tearing up paper and crayons every time I leave the room, trying to help cook, leaving out sewing scraps, etc. Five mess makers... and only one competent mess cleaner. Nelson walks by messes and it does not phase him a bit. He can walk over a whole box of crayons dumped out, with Josiah putting one in his mouth and it does not occur to him that this is a problem. Rebecca and Lydia are a little more motherly. At least they take that one crayon out of baby's mouth... even if they do leave him sitting in a pile of 23 other broken crayons...

I just keep thinking that this mothering thing is based on a curve. Having one baby was easy enough to keep alive and well (in retrospect). And, surely when the oldest get a little older it will be easier to keep the littlest ones alive - I hope! But, right now, I am exhausted. I don't wish the time away. I don't want to fast forward. Don't scold me about how fast the time goes. All I really want is a little more sleep! Gone are the days that you can nap two hours when the one or two babies napped.

What I really want is a baby sitter, so that I can nap a pat on the back that my children have all survived infancy with older siblings always trying to kill them.

In all honesty, without the sarcasm - I know that each of my children is a blessing, a gift. I am not complaining about having so many children. I love them and I want them. But, I will admit that I have some hard days... and some hard nights! I never have enough hours in the day. I never have enough patience. I never have enough sleep. But, by the Grace of God, we will all look back and remember the joys of these years rather than the crayons on the floor!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sunday - Family Visit

My parents and my aunt and uncle came to visit this past Sunday! My parents come monthly from IL. But, my uncle and aunt live in FL, and I had not seen them for four years!

This tall gentleman is my uncle! He is at least 6'5". 
One of the few people I know that makes me feel short. 
Did you notice those apples in the background? 
Yeah... I still haven't finished those...
This is my aunt. 
I have always thought of her as being really glamorous.
This is my mother and Baby Josiah (9 months old).
Below is four of the children saying goodbye. 
It was such a short visit, but they had to head back home to Florida.
Grandpa Bill is resting with Joshua and Lydia.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Painting is Finished

We finished the school room today. 
We ended up using paint on it after all, because the Sharpie showed through several layers of primer... and the first layer of paint.
I let the children help apply the primer. As I told them, "Any mother would have to be crazy to let a 6 year old and 8 year old help paint." Then I handed the roller over to them :0)
The idea is that they will learn that actions have consequences. Someone writes on the walls with permanent markers, someone has to paint the walls.

I am really pleased with how this turned out. The color is very cool and calming. I have a new favorite, Wal-Mart's Color Place "White Springs." It might even make the carpet look a little less ugly... maybe.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two Brief Homesteading Book Reviews

If you want a book that lives up to it's name, this is it - The Practical Homestead: The backyard handbook for growing food, raising animals, & nurturing your land, by Paul Heiney. The title says it all!

I am amazed at how each of the homesteading books I am reading is different from the rest. This book, as you might expect, has some very practical considerations.
- "homefarm" size (in acres)
- uses and difficulties of various animals
- uses and difficulties of tractors (or draft animals)
- how to make a useful hedge row
- diagrams, illustrations, and glossy photos
- much, much, much more!!!

Another terrific book is The Self-Reliant Homestead, by Charles A. Sanders.
This book was also very practical. Both of these books covered a variety of topics. And, while some topics overlapped, the material mentioned did not. This book has a lot of technical information that I did not understand so well, but my husband would be fascinated by. This book contains ideas for every aspect of homesteading: from choosing and buying land, to planting a garden, to raising livestock, to how to can your veggies, and how to make your own bread.
This is a VERY brief review of a very thorough and helpful book.

I recommend that you get both of these books from the library, as they will help you in whatever season of life you are in... from an apartment (daydreaming of the future) to seasoned homesteader. Something for everyone!

Only one disclaimer. Both books use the word "hell" one time (that I caught). And, the book by Sanders speaks about drinking alcohol and jests one time about divorce. Other than these troubles, the books were very good.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Rebecca Writes: Washinghton Park

(Mommy wrote: Some of Becca's misspellings are too cute! I will "translate" for the rest of you.)

We went to the Washinghton Park, It is in ilenoy (Illinois).   
mom took the picture of the folawer (flower). I took the picture of the ocean of grass and bell tower through the trees. I think that picture 3 is funny.       

Me and Nelson are budys (buddies)

Look What I'm Doing Today

Look what project I took on today! My spackling skills are improving!
I am priming to cover over some pen marks (and such) that not even Magic Eraser can clean up.

As Christians, we believe that we should leave a rental unit in as good a condition as we found it or better. We try anyway. In the case of this house, we will be leaving it better than when we came.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Children - Sept 2010

When a Global Missionary Comes Home

My blog friends Ryan and Sandra are leaving their mission in Ecuador to come back home. They need help getting grounded here in the States. Please go read this post, and consider giving to their need. And, whether you give or not, please pray for them! I imagine that they feel a bit like they are caught in a tornado.

Thank you for the call to missions that you gave Ryan and Sandra. Thank you that you enabled them to get this far in their journey and that they were able to learn Spanish so fluently! We know that you will use these acquired skills in their future ministry. Please provide the funding they need to get back "home" and start over in the States. Thank you, in advance, for providing all of their needs according to Your Riches in Glory! And, I ask that during these coming tumultuous months that You would grant The Peace that passes understanding to their hearts and that you will guard their minds from despair and doubt. Thank you for all you are, and for all you have done for Ryan and Sandra already.
I ask this all in the name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Family Photo - Sept 2010

Fun with Photos

One of these pictures was taken in summer of 2008. One was taken in summer of 2010. One baby is Joshua. One baby is Josiah. Which one is which? (My cousins who were at each event cannot vote, that would be cheating!)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Saving Money on Meats

You probably already know this, but I am going to remind you... in case you forgot.

If you purchase meat at the grocery store after the weekend is over (usually Monday, though it might be Tuesday this coming week because of Labor Day), you can get it at a discounted rate.

Last week I got Rump Roast and Chuck Roast at about $2.50 pound! I felt like I was stealing, buying up all the packages that were left. Not only is it a great Crock Pot meal on these warm days, but it is an excellent alternative to lunch meat in Paul's lunch! (As you might recall, we have cut almost all lunchmeat out of our diet in the past month). AND, at these prices it is much cheaper than lunchmeat, which is at least $5/pound around here.

Just thought that I would pass this money-saving tip on to you!

(P.S - I froze my meat using a Food Saver. We have been packaging all sorts of meats in Food Saver bags for about 6 years now! I highly recommend vacuum sealing your meats!)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

After One Week of Homeschool Day Book

Wednesday marks one week of using the Homeschool Day Book. I am pretty happy with the program. It takes me about five minutes to write down the day's work. The program is very simple to use! I looked into the Homeschool Tracker Basic Edition, which is FREE, but it is very complex. I am reading through their user manual... and I am still confused. Sure, homeschool tracker has more options, but it is so complex. I don't have time to learn all that right now.

Free is good, and Homeschool Tracker is free.
But, Homeschool Day Book is more of what I was looking for. It suits me better because it does not have as many bells as whistles, and because my state (and my personality?) requires less organization/planning.