November 26, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Week

We've had a nice calm week this week! We took a break from a full fledged unit just to read a lot of Thanksgiving themed books and relax! Here's some of what we've done this week:

This is a Family Fun craft that I saw last year and didn't want to forget. The kids really enjoyed it! It was good for Mattie too because we've started learning her letters. Plus she's all about doing "hands on" things! We used helicopters (from maple trees), pine needles, sticks, pinto beans, and lima beans. (I was hoping to use some leaves, but all of ours were too crunchy.) Jacob keeps wanting to eat in the dining room so he can enjoy his "beautiful banner!"

We had some little Indians over for a Thanksgiving party too!

A good round of pin the hat on the turkey...

And this morning we made pumpkin pie play-doh with which Jacob made this for me.
This was another favorite for Mattie. Play-doh is one of her activities I pull out while Jacob is doing school and she'll do it for hours!

And Jacob did some creative writing too! I had some stickers from the dollar bin at Target and asked him to write a couple of sentences using the word stickers. He actually surprised me by connecting them all. He loved it and didn't complain once about the fact that he was having to write!! :)
Here's his story:
The Piligrims picked APPLES. And they did FALL HARVEST. The Pilgrims saw some GOLDEN LEAVES. They made apple CIDER. The kids had many FRIENDS. Some of them had a FAMILY. They started the first Thanksgiving. It was fun. They made PUMPKIN PIE. Hope you had fun PILGRIMs.

I love to see what he comes up with when he does something creative. :)

November 24, 2008

Our Winter PE

I wondered last year if I could make it through the winter without a trampoline, and we managed to survive. But after the past two weeks of colder weather, I have been going crazy! Jacob has been bouncing off the walls, can't keep his hands off Mattie, and can hardly sit still to save his life. Mattie has started getting into stuff all over again and is being sooooooo mean to Jacob! We have a lot of wind up where we are, so I can't just send them out and make them play in the sandbox or ride bikes when it's cold.

Robert had some free reward points so he decided to cash them in and treat the kids to an early Christmas present! So Friday afternoon we decided to go to Sam's without telling the kids what we were doing. We walked in the store and Jacob said, "Wow! Look at that huge trampoline! We could never have one that big!!" :) At least we knew he liked it! They were both pretty excited when we told them that's what we were there for!

Here is their good daddy putting it together in 20 degrees after dark.

We've had cold wind and rain for the most part, but they've still bundled up to get some use out of it. Robert and I have been out there too!

November 21, 2008


I got tagged in this one, so you guys can find out all sorts of useless information about me today!

Four places that I go to over and over:
  1. Church
  2. WalMart
  3. Church
  4. Church

Four people who e-mail me (regularly):

  1. Candace
  2. Kjirstin
  3. Peggy
  4. Jeni

Four of my favorite places to eat

  1. Olive Garden
  2. O'Charley's
  3. Crabby Bill's
  4. Pizza Hut

Four places you would rather be:

  1. Anywhere with my growing up family (including you, Marcy!) and all of our honeys and kids all together :)
  2. Shopping and having coffee with my mom, aunt and sisters.
  3. Sitting in a chair on the beach at 70 degrees.
  4. Hiking or camping with Robert and the kids.

Four TV shows I watch:

  1. Without a Trace
  2. Survivor
  3. 24
  4. Lost

Personal Experiences Meme

I read this on Jen's blog and thought I'd post it here. I've had a fun life! Some of these were things I'd forgotten about. Let me know if you put it on your blog so I can read what you've done!

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain (not a very big one)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (is quilting an art?)
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked (No, but I have ridden in a truck with a trucker who picked me up. :) )
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping (Would not tell you!)
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (aren't my parents my ancestors?)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (didn't have time that day)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie (not a movie but a Joni and friends episode!)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching (in Alaska)
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square (once on New Year's Eve!)
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (love riding with my uncle!!)
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (totaled it 2 months later)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible (definitely did not comprehend it all though)
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous (will get to meet Travis Cottrell in less than 2 weeks!!)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit (We took a parent to court while I was teaching.)
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

November 17, 2008


These guys are off the beaten path in our smlal town, so I think they go nnoticed often. But their prices are almost always 5 cents or more off the others'. They also offer premium at the midgrade price on Fridays, so we go fill up here each week! (We have to have midgrade in both of our cars, so for us, this is a deal.)

I just want to know when our groceries are going to reflect the gas prices. They sure didn't hesitate to increase the prices for the cost of gas!

Our Feathered Friends

When I keep up with the bird food, we have some serious birds! (For a couple of months this summer I spent more on bird food than I did on our 70 pound dog!) One of the things I'd like for Christmas is a bird feeder that holds more seed. With the feeders I have now, I have to refill them every 3 days or so and it's just hard to keep up with. I'm sure our birds think I'm a terrible mother! I really miss them when I slack and they're not around. The kids really enjoy seeing them as well. And our gift on rainy days is that the birds come like crazy! So we often just sit in the kitchen window and watch them come and go.

That thistle sock is an ugly feeder, but the American Goldfinches love it! I'm going to have to find something else that is the same concept but not such an eyesore.

This red bellied woodpecker was around often this summer!
I know this one's out of focus, but it was through the kitchen window.
I like that he's looking right at me.

We have a ton of house finches. These are one of the birds we see the most.

A sweet cardinal couple on a lunch date.

We threw some black oil sunflower seed out this year to attract some blue jays so we could see them up close. They did not disappoint us! We ended up moving them to another tree as they were antagonizing some of the smaller birds and the kids were missing them.

We had the pleasure of feeding many Downy Woodpeckers as well. We rarely saw the females, but there were several males that would come to visit.

We have more tufted titmouses (mice?) than any other bird, I think.

The other birds that frequent our feeders are black-capped chickadees, nuthatches, brown headed cowbirds and dark eyed juncos. Every now and then we get a gift of an indigo bunting. Jacob knows I look forward to them as they are my favorite color, so he always comes to find me when there's one to see.

Observing birds is one of the simplest, but most fun ways we get to love God's creation.

November 15, 2008

Robert's Photography

Since we got our new camera last Christmas, Robert picks it up a lot and seems to enjoy getting good shots now. (He almost never used our other one!) Here are some of my recent favorites he's taken.

This was a dreary day, but the fog in the valley was kind of cool.

This is my absolute favorite!

More than just "Hang in There"

So here is my post from a couple of weeks ago on being a living sacrifice. You know how every now and then you just have big revelations that end up being life altering? That was one of them. I keep going back to Romans to read more and this is a bit of what I've been learning...

So as I step out in faith to love if I'm not loved, serve if I'm not served, trust if I'm not trusted, accept if I'm not accepted, allow safety if I'm not safe, understand if I'm misunderstood, and forgive if I'm not forgiven, there will be hurt. There is hurt.

Romans 12: 14
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. NASV

Matthew 5:44
"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," NASV

Luke 6:28
"Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." NASV

1 Corinthians 4: 12
"...when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure." NKJV

Hmmmm... So based on these scriptures this is what is required of me:

Bless: to speak well of, to invoke a benediction upon, to pray for

Love: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
"Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;" NASV

Endure: hold up against, bear with, forbear

So I'm not only required to hang in there and get through it, I'm required to love. To actively seek good for, to speak well of, not be provoked (even in the interest of self protection or defense). Wow.

I have to say I have been hurt by sin as this world is full of it, and this is just where God has me right now as He moves me to a new place of loving people without regard to self interest or self protection. But I also sin just as much as anyone else in this world, and a lot more than many.

It's a pretty scary, unsettling, unnerving, challenging, risky place to go. But God did it, and He's got my back.

November 12, 2008

Our Natural Remedies for Flu Season

Ever have your bed taken over by sick kids??

I've had several people ask me lately what natural things I use when we get sick, so I thought I'd just put it all here for reference. Generally, I try to avoid antibiotics at all costs! For Jacob, we have to find a dairy and corn free antibiotic which proves to be a challenge, and Mattie has to have a dairy free one with no food colorings, which proves to be a different challenge! Not to mention that she ends up with rashes almost every time... you get the idea!

I will say, when my kids have strep, I go for the antibiotics. Because they can't always articulate how they are feeling and the contagiousness (is that a word?) of strep, I know I need to nip that in the bud right away. Sometimes, antibiotics are best and I do realize that. I just wait as long as I can before using them for the kids. And I'll have to be on my deathbed, I think, before I use them for me.

So, here are the things I keep in our cabinet...

Oregano oil is a natural antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal. I'm always sure to get an enteric coated product. It can give you heartburn if not. Also, all oregano oil is not the same potency, so look for a high percentage of carvacrol if you order a different brand. It is also sold as a liquid product. I WILL NEVER TRY TO TAKE THIS AGAIN! One drop... ONE drop was so potent it burned my mouth mixed into a 16 oz smoothie! No exaggeration. Not sure why anyone in their right mind would use the liquid form!

Garlic is a natural antibiotic and antiviral. This product has parsley which makes it odor free. Jacob, Mattie and I have all taken this, and none of us has smelled like garlic yet! (I've seen this sold for anywhere fomr $3 to $10, so check your prices before ordering!)

Colloidal Silver
I don't use nearly as much as the guy who turned blue, but we do use it around here. I have a silver generator and mine is about 20 ppm. (The blue guy's was something like 700 ppm! It was also a different kind of silver.) We use it on skin, take it orally and gargle it. I have a lot of trouble with my throat when my allergies are bothering me, and I'm prone to strep. At the first sign of my throat starting to hurt I gargle with silver three or four times a day. No kidding, within 10 minutes of the first time, my throat feels better. I do it for several days just to be sure. I also did this recently when both of my kids had strep and I didn't get it!

Silver is a bit harder to get in the kids because they can't gargle, and it has a slight metallic taste. Both kids will drink in halved with juice if I make them. Robert and I just drink it straight. (I think it's way more tolerable than Pepto Bismol!) We inhale it using a nebulizer, rub it on the skin (for non skin issues as well), and use it as a nasal spray in addition to the gargle and swallowing. If possible, I get it as close to the problem site as I can. (i.e, eardrops for an ear infection, nasal spray for sinuses, etc.)

There is quite a controversy about the safety of silver. Use it at your own risk and do your own research! I read and read and read and feel good about what we're using. But after all I read, I'd be afraid to buy anything. It is VERY overpriced and not necessarily always what it says on the label.

Vitamin C
It speaks for itself.

As soon as the weather gets cooler and we start running our heat at night, I get a vaporizer going, especially in the kids' room. It keeps our sinuses moist and avoids the chronic winter snottiness that we all wake up with otherwise! It also helps us wake up without sore, dry throats.

So to prevent illness (if we've been exposed or we've been at a playland or Dollywood!), I do one garlic and oregano each day. If I forget to start it and we end up sick, I do one garlic and oregano with each meal for day one, then breakfast and dinner days 2 and 3 and maybe 4, then just one a day for several more days. I do 7-10 days like I would for an antibiotic. (I also use the silver, but the pills are easier for the kids so sometimes I forget about it.) My plan is to do a maintenance dose (especially for the kids who don't complain until it's too late) through the entire flu season this year and see how we do. We've already been caught off guard early this season, so I need to stay ahead of it from here on out.

I do know the echinacea is also very helpful, but I'm allergic to ragweed so it makes me sneeze. I have never tried it with the kids.

Using these products above, we've treated urinary tract infections, strep, bronchitis, pinkeye, and an ear infection. And those are the things that were diagnosed by a physician. We have encountered other things that we've managed to head off at the pass before they were full blown. My goal this year is to remember the maintenance doses so we can kill it all before it manifests itself!!

If you google the products (not necessarily the specific brand I like), there is a wealth of information about them on reliable websites. Prescription for Nutritional Healing is a sort of Bible for me as well.

These are also a couple of good online places to order. If a product is sold by these guys, I trust it to be a quality product, though I almost always check other places to be sure I can't find it cheaper. (not necessarily the best prices)

And if your kids don't swallow pills yet, there are some ways to sneak them in. I taught Jacob with a "big gulp" of applesauce without telling him there was a (small) pill. Only after he had swallowed it did I tell him it was there. Mattie's just so darned independent, she just had to do it because everyone else did. We moved up from there and they are both champs, applesauce or water! (I know some people do it in chocolate syrup too.)


There are a few random things I have noticed when treating our illnesses with natural remedies that I wanted to pass on too!

Rest really does matter! There is a reason they laid in bed for a week with the sniffles in the old days. Our body needs it.

The sicknesses seem to run the same course, just much more quickly.

I have the most success when I catch something very early and treat it with a few different things.

These natural remedies seem to be a bit more effective on bacterial infections. Viruses sometimes seem to have to just run their course, though I think this makes them a bit lighter.

Best Wishes for a Healthy Flu Season for your family!

November 10, 2008

Fall Studies - Leaves and Squirrels

For our fall studies this year we did a couple of weeks learning about leaves and squirrels. (Jacob had asked for the squirrels a few weeks ago.) We just read a few of our favorite fall books and did some of this unit from HomeSchoolShare.

We started off the week doing a nature walk around our property. Of course we picked the two hours where a cold front blew in and the temperature dropped twenty degrees!

Mattie got totally in to collecting everything but leaves!

Our beautiful treasures!

We came in and sorted all of our leaves after we checked out all that we found.

And it was so cold, it was a perfect time for some hot apple cider in our special mugs that Uncle Peter made!

Then Jacob made his leaf picture using some of what he found.

We had to have some maple candy to go with the week! (This is a major treat for Jacob as it's one of the few kinds of candy he can have. I was very excited to run across it this week!)

And we made some yummy cookies from pie crust and filled with chocolate chips.

Another day we went to a local park and searched for leaves and acorns.

And these are the enormous acorns that fall from our chestnut oak next to our house. They are 1 1/2" long! You can see the difference between those and the oak tree at the park!

And a walk in the trees isn't a walk in the trees without a little shooting mommy with a gun shaped branch.

A little leaf partying!

We also went back took Robert up to Natural Tunnel for another walk up there. (I have pics of that day for another post.)

Mattie begs to do school like Jacob. So this week I printed out for her a sheet that has leaves to match from one side of the page to the other. Not surprisingly considering her powers of observation, she did a great job!

And these leaf rubbings are one of my favorite things to do. Last year we picked up leaves from our street. This year we stuck with leaves just from our property and these are some of what we found. It was fun to know just what we had on our land. That's something we've never really looked at before. We discovered have Sassafras trees galore around our house!

Happy Fall to You!!

The Little Ballerina

Mattie is absolutely LOVING her ballet class each week! Almost every day she asks if it is Tuesday! A couple of weeks ago we had a few minutes before it was time to leave so I caught a few pictures of her.

Putting her own slippers on. Heaven forbid I HELP her!

She's obviously learning something about what to do with her hands when she spins, and you can see it in this one and the second to last one.

Her tongue must help her do something right!

The Happy Ballerina!

November 06, 2008

Skip Counting Success!

Jacob has had math problems involving skip counting for several months now, but I've been giving him a skip counting chart to refer to instead of requiring he memorize them. He memorizes a lot of things just by repeated exposure, so I haven't put much energy into working on it with him.

But last week I decided to give it a shot and just get down to business. He has multiplication coming up in a few weeks, and I knew having these memorized would help. So I downloaded this album and we have done one song each time that set came up in his math assignment. I can't believe the results! In less than two weeks he has memorized his 3s, 4s, 6s, and 9s in addition to the 2s, 5s and 10s he already had. He has done a great job!

When we encounter a new skip counting assignment, we sit down at the computer and listen to that song a few times while looking at the skip counting pattern on a piece of paper. (He is very visual like I am.) He sings along with the help of the paper. Then we take the paper away and he sings along. After that he sits down to do his math and sings the song while he's completing the section.

I just can't believe the results in such a short amount of time. He is walking around the house singing the songs too! Actually, so is Mattie. :)

If you click above, it takes you to the site with the Bible Heroes songs, but the same company also has a secular album. And you can listen to clips of all the songs online to see if you think they're too weird or not. I have it on our computer, and I made a CD for the car as well.

Just wanted to pass on a recommendation!