Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Outside my window...cooler and gray - not cold yet but beginning to feel like fall. We've experienced temps in the 80's for over a week. Leaves litter the yard and the ones still clinging to the trees are shades of yellow and brown.

I am thinking...that I need to check on the steer. He has a couple of wounds that we've been cleaning and doctoring. I so hope he heals.

I am thankful...for my mom. I'm thankful of the legacy she is leaving. When life was hard, she still managed to work full time and be everything to my sister and I. I don't know how she did it. Today she has my Baby, spending time with her, celebrating the 2nd birthday. I love how she loves my kids.

From the learning rooms...with Baby gone for the day, I think we will be playing some games. Made for Trade (History), Monopoly (Math) and Apples to Apples (Language Arts) are all games that require too much time to play with Baby underfoot. I think we'll start a new read-a-loud and watch a movie too.

In the kitchen...need to redeem myself for last nights dinner. We were learning about Massachusetts and the Pilgrims so we cooked clam chowder and a pumpkin/cranberry dessert. Husband is more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy. He ate it with little complaint, but soup does NOT impress him. Tonight...hamburgers and fries. He'll be a happy man.

I am wearing...black pants and a pink t-shirt. Boring!

I am creating...a huge mess. It's that time of year...switching out closets....sorting clothes. Hopefully by days end I can create a clean, organized home.

I am going...to stay off the computer today and enjoy uninterrupted time with my big kids.

I am wondering...if Leeny will be able to play Apples to Apples?

I am reading...re-reading Homeschool Supermom....Not! I LOVE that book!

I am hoping...to exhibit more love and patience toward my hubby. I have been so crabby lately and he's been the recipient of it. Not good. I have apologized but I know that I hurt his feelings.

I am looking forward to...a slower-paced week at home. We've been on the go so much lately. I miss weeks with nothing on the calendar.

I am hearing...the radio and kids making their own breakfast. Lots of stirring going on - hot chocolate maybe?

Around the house...piles of clothes ready for Leeny's closet (LOVE hand-me-downs!), bags of clothes ready to be passed on to my niece K, and just the general signs of people living here.

I am pondering...what all I am going to make with the 3 bushels of pears we picked on Sunday. Maybe I should spend some time canning this afternoon.

One of my favorite things...a visit with a friend while lingering over a good cup of coffee.

A few plans for the rest of the week...home. Other than a movie tomorrow afternoon with mom and the kids, we are home until Saturday.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing..

Can't believe this tiny baby just celebrated her 2nd birthday. Where has the time gone? This time it went by so much faster than the others.

Have a great week! For more Simple Women, go here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Family Fun

I love when our family spends time together -with the husband. He is often so busy providing for our family that it ends up just being the kids and I. When he's along for the day, it's pretty much perfect!
He surprised us and took the day to play. We went to a local fall festival. The weather was perfect, the kids were great and we had a ball!

Bug, Baby, Bubby and I took a ride on this lopsided creation. That was quite a ride! I was very thankful for the chains that held us on. My ribs, however, were not. Next time, I'll skip that one.

They offered "Learn to Drive a Tractor" stations. My kids drive them alone all the time at home, but Leeny and Bubby had to drive them over and over again.

An old steam tractor. Bubby's favorite. He just HAD to have his picture taken on it.

My little scrawny kid tractor pulling in her flip-flops. The man next to me said that he felt sorry for the girls in the flip-flops. Little did he know that when they were done pulling, he'd be eating his words. Don't give my kids a video game and expect much but pedal pulls, no problem!

This is my little ox. She has more strength in that body (especially her thighs) than any kid I know. Not only did she win 1st place, beating all the boys, she was also the ONLY kid to get a full pull. The 2nd place winner was more than 15 feet behind her. And she was in her flip-flops too.

Best vantage point there. The kids love when daddy goes with us. He's lots of fun!

Proud little ladies.

Proof that I was there. Train ride. So often I'm the one snapping pictures, that there are none of me. I hate having my picture taken, but don't mind a few so the kids will know I really was there.

My pride and joys. I love these kids! They bring me so much joy, teach me so much about love, and show me how to enjoy life.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


This conversation was on the way to soccer practice last week. I'm so glad that I was driving so they couldn't see my face.

Bug: What's a grenade?
Bubby: It's like a little bomb.
Bug: (quiet for a minute) Are you sure?
Bubby: Yes. They're made out of metal and you pull off part and throw it and it blows up.
Bug: Well then what are those things that fall off the tree by the playground? I thought those were grenades?
Bubby: (Laughing but trying not to) Those are walnuts. (more laughing) I just pretend like they are grenades when I throw them at you.

We will be doing a tree study soon. I'm almost scared to ask what she thinks the other trees grow. :/

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Sowing Seeds

I blew it yesterday. No patience, unkind words. Not much in the way of mercy.

I'm so thankful that God's God and I'm not. Because I sure wouldn't want to follow someone like me.

Why do I start out the day well and then as the pressures of all that needs to be done build, I crumple like a stepped on soda can? You know, the day is getting away too fast and still much remains to be done, the Baby needs some attention, Bubby is moving at his pace, etc. And the selfish me wants to be done with schoolwork, so I can move on to what I want to do. So what do I do? I choose the flesh. I get grouchy.

And you know what's the worst? At the end of the day, everything had gotten done...all of it...it always does. But at what price. Instead of sowing seeds of patience, gentleness, goodness, love, etc., which I could have (and should have) chosen to sow, I sowed seeds of anger, bitterness, impatience, etc. Seeds grow. And I know the principle - you reap what you sow. Now I'll have lots of weeding to do. ARRGHH! Why did I choose to sow weeds?

Sometimes I feel like that lump of clay on the Potter's wheel. He starts to get me shaped into what He wants me to be and then SMASH! - back into a lump.

So I'm sorry. I'm sorry that after all that God has done and the price He's paid for me that I still choose my flesh. And I'm thankful. I'm thankful for God's forgiveness. So, so thankful that it's there for the taking. All I have to do is ask.

I'm thankful for kids who are so forgiving - that seem to forget (or choose not to focus) when mom is so far from where she should be. Kids that continue to love me even when I fall.

Wow! Often times they paint a better picture of God's love than I do!

Maybe that's part of God's plan. Maybe that's part of why God called us to homeschool? Maybe God has me homeschooling more for what my kids can teach me? That's a humbling thought. But they do seem to have a better grasp than me on the important stuff.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Reliving History

We've been learning about early American History. We've been reading Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims as well as The Story of the Thirteen Colonies. The kids have been mesmerized learning about the fragile relationship between the settlers and the Indians. They've also enjoyed hearing about the faith of the settlers and how easy it was to get kicked out of a colony.

Imagine my delight when I had this conversation with Bubby today.
I had just asked him to help me set up the extra table for a family dinner tonight.

Bubby: Can I please go back out to play? We're having soooo much fun!
Me: What are you guys doing out there?
Bubby: Well I'm an English settler and the girls are part of an Indian Tribe and I got kicked out of my settlement and well, I'm not sure what's going to happen to me now. But I gotta get out there and see.

I was a proud mama. They are listening. They are learning. How awesome that they wanted to relive history!
I wonder what happened to Bubby. I'll have to remember to ask.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


My kids are growing up so fast. It seems like just yesterday, I had to do everything for them. Not anymore.

Tonight while I was cooking supper, Bubby, Bug and Leeny started a campfire and roasted hotdogs. ALL. BY. THEMSELVES!

Where did the time go?!? And why did I bother cooking supper?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

For Today....

Outside my window...the colors outside are so deep. The trees and grass look so dark against the gray sky. It's a stay in your jammies and read a book kind of day. (We're not though)

I am thinking...that I should be doing about 10 different things and sitting here is NOT one of them.

I am thankful...for an amazing hubby that spent the day with us on Sunday. We had so much fun enjoying our kiddos together.

From the learning rooms...the kids and I took a CPR training last week. It was very informative and surprisingly fun! I'm finding that Leeny loves Science. She is like a sponge, absorbing facts and experiments. Bubby and Bug are enjoying their schoolwork so much more this year. I've been incorporating much more hands on (which Bug needs) and lots more History and Geography (which Bubby devours).

In the kitchen...it's Hubby's birthday. His request...steak, mac & cheese, sweet potato fries and apple pie. He never requests anything so I'm excited to cook tonight.

I am wearing...jeans and a flannel shirt. The same flannel shirt that I wore in my senior pictures. I'm not sure if I like it because it actually fits 15 years later (& after 4 kids) or the fact that it's well made and really comfortable.

I am creating...a list of ideas for the kids and I to make for Christmas gifts.

I am going...to be super productive today. Besides schoolwork, laundry and normal housework, I'm going to try to can pears, freeze a box of bananas, cook and change out Leeny's closet from summer clothes to winter. I wonder how much will actually get accomplished?

I am wondering...see above.

I am reading...The Notorious Benedict Arnold. It's actually a book that Bubby grabbed at the library. I read the first two pages out loud to him and well, I stole the book. Now he keeps looking for it but it's so good, I want to finish it. I love History!

I am hoping...to fit in all the fun events the next two weekends. I'm such a homebody and there is much to be done around the farm but there are so many interesting things going on. We're wanting to attend a Civil War Re-Enactment, a candle light tour of New Salem, several wiener roasts, a youth event and a couple of fall festivals. And of course, they all fall in the same 2 weekends.

I am looking forward to...the first wiener roast/hayride of the season.

I am hearing...Elmo talking about using the Potty. Apparently I'm the only one listening. All the kids have disappeared. I bet if I turn it off though, Baby will come screaming. I hear cabinets closing and something going "clunk." It's probably time to go investigate.

Around the house...it's surprisingly clean. We had a family dinner Saturday night and we haven't been home much, so the house has stayed picked up.

I am pondering...which project to start first.

One of my favorite things...spending time with my Grammy and Grandad.

A few plans for the rest of the week...taking Morgan to the dentist, me to the doctor, picking up apples from the orchard, schoolwork, 2 dinners at my house (Husbands birthday and Memaw M's birthday), chiropractor, canning, soccer practice....

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...

Bug and Leeny participated in a pedal tractor pull and both won trophies. Actually, Bug out pulled any other kid and got the only Full Pull. Bubby rode the train while the girls were pulling. The girls ran to him and I snapped this picture of them telling him all about the pull.

Have a great week! For more Simple Women, go here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Yummy, Yummy!

We love oatmeal...cooked, baked, or cookies. So I was VERY excited when I stumbled upon Lynn's Kitchen Adventures. She has the most awesomely delicious baked oatmeal recipes that I have ever tried. And the fun part is that you get to decide what kind you would like - blueberry, pumpkin, banana, peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter chocolate chip, etc. You just follow the directions for the add-ins, mix it all together, put in 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.

Here's the basic recipe:

3 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

Click on the link to the flavor you want to try and it will take you right to her website for the whole recipe. The leftovers are great too - just microwave and enjoy. We're hooked.
Oh, I'm NOT telling how many flavors we've tried in the past week. ;)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Leeny: Mom, do you have plans for supper tonight?
Me: Sort of. Why?
Leeny: Oh. I think we should eat Dorothy! (Dorothy is our almost year old calf)
Me: What?!? Why?!?
Leeny: She's in the garden ruining EVERYTHING!
Me: There's really not much left in there, just weeds, tomatoes and sweet potatoes. It's not that big of a deal.
Leeny: MOM!!!! SHE IS IN YOUR GARDEN!!! Let's eat her for supper.

*We didn't and aren't planning to eat Dorothy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Did You Know...

...math is all about patterns? Fractions are easy? Percents, no problem.

How about how did Wall Street in New York get it's name? Wall Street is actually named that because it's where the there had been a wall many years ago, when Manhattan Island was owned by the Dutch. Did you know that?

What causes currents in the Ocean? Where does all that salt come from?

I'm constantly amazed at all I learn while teaching my kids. Was I not taught this stuff? I feel like I'm really learning, like I have "lightbulb" moments so often my kids even wonder what I did learn in school.

Now the history and science information may just be that I don't remember or maybe we didn't cover that particular thing. But the math?

I can't help but wonder if my teachers ever knew about all the patterns? Or although I was a straight A student, maybe I needed more time to fully grasp some of the concepts? I could regurgitate the information for a test and work formulas for math really well. But long term knowledge and understanding?

I'm not sure the reason but I'm incredibly thankful to be able to learn this along with my kiddos. I (and my kids) are blessed that we can take the time for information and new concepts to sink in - to fully get something before moving on. I LOVE learning at home!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

For Today...

Outside my window.....birds are chirping, one of the roosters is crowing and I hear the hum of insects. Otherwise, it's strangely silent. Our farm has been so noisy lately with a calf that's being weaned and a wild guinea that just showed up.

I am thinking...that the baby is off to a bad start today. She woke at 6 and came to our bed and now that she's awake again, she is fussy. School work might be fun today.

I am thankful...for the fun day I enjoyed with my kiddos yesterday. Husband needed some wire from Springfield and I hated to waste the fuel for just that. So we turned it into a field trip day. We visited Lincoln's Home, walked around part of downtown Springfield, ate a delicious lunch at a local restaurant and ended the day playing in the fountains at a local park. I think I am so blessed to get to enjoy my kiddos company!

From the Learning Room...today it's back to the books. We are mapping Europe, reading about the 13 original colonies and learning about whales and other marine animals. Bubby and Bug are writing different styles of paragraphs. Leeny is almost finished with her Reading book - only 8 more lessons. And all are doing splendidly in math.

From the Kitchen...grilled hamburgers, homemade buns, maple grilled squash, salad and melon

I am wearing...boring jeans and a blue t-shirt

I am creating...ocean boxes with the kiddos in their marine biology class

I am going...to get all the laundry done today, folded and put away, even if it kills me. And hopefully, get tomato sauce made.

I am wondering...why I keep getting headaches. Maybe it's because the weather is changing? Hormonal?

I am reading... A Prayer for Owen Meany and so far I'm really enjoying it. I think as I get a bit further in the book, I won't be able to put it down. Another book I've read but continue to re-read a few pages a day is Homeschool Supermom...Not! When Grace Meets Homeschooling. Next to the Bible, this book has had more influence in my life that any other homeschool book I've read. I can't recommend this book enough!

I am looking forward to... I'm really enjoying life right now so each day is something I look forward to.

I am hoping...to have a heart-to-heart conversation with a parent.

I am hearing...Bubby's dirtbike fading into the distance. He's heading to check fences. (I'm praying they are all in good shape and no cattle are out). Big Bird, Telly monster and Cookie Monster are arguing on Sesame Street, and the radio is playing some favorite songs.

Around the house...Mount Washmore that will be conquered today and a few odds and ends that need put away.

One of my favorite things...Fall! The weather changing (minus the headaches).

A few plans for the rest of the week...soccer practices for Leeny and Bug, a chiropractor appointment, a stop at the orchard, garden work, music lessons for Bubby and hopefully some time to sit outside and read.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...

This is what I'll probably be doing this weekend. I LOVE canning!

Have a great day! For more Simple Women, go here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Half Century of Progress 2011

Every other year, there is a Half Century of Progress Show. We've been to all but one. It's a farm show that features equipment from days gone by. The Husband looks forward to this for 2 years. So we all go and end up having a great time.
In 2009 it was cold (think 50's in Aug.) and wet and this year it was 90's and bone dry.

The show is held at an old air force base in Illinois. The grounds and runways are huge! The show takes up almost all of it and there are thousands of people. The picture above gives you a glimpse of how far away everything is.

Because of the distances, the Husband built this beauty. You really can't walk the whole place. Most people bring golf carts, but not us. He says it's a tractor show, so we'll be driving tractors. It really affords us a lot more room than a golf cart would. We get lots of comments from people about our "playpen".

The kids and I love riding around on it. We have room for all of us, the cooler and all the other junk we pack around. And the old bus seats are pretty comfortable. The shade was MUCH appreciated this year! The Husband loves to raise us up as high as it will go and then drop us. The kids laugh like hyenas and I just glare at him.

Because of the Baby, he added sides to our contraption, thus making it look like a playpen. I can't even begin to tell you how much nicer that was! I didn't have to worry about anybody falling (or jumping) off. I could keep her contained and she still had room to play with toys or stand up and move around.

Some friends joined us this year and I'm sure will be attending with us in 2013. They don't have kids yet, so we were kind and shared. ;)

This was the feature this year. I don't really understand what was so great about it. But everybody went nuts over it. The guy pictured is who made it. There is a different feature every show. I thought the years past were better. Perhaps it's because I could see what was great about them. For example, in 2005 they featured a 60-bottom plow being pulled by 3 steam engines, in 2007 they had 134 horses pulling a plow and in 2009, the feature was Big Bud. Those were just more impressive to me, but the Husband was very excited to see the Kinze.

I know this will sound strange. I could sit and watch tractors plow for hours. Really!! I love the sound and other than clothes that have dried on the line, fresh turned dirt is my favorite smell. Farming is in my blood.

I can't help but look at this old equipment and wonder about it's past. What's its story? Who were the people who owned this equipment? What was their life like - did they struggle to make it? Were there kids eager to drive it and help on the farm? Was it taken care of? Did it get passed from one generation to another like a treasured heirloom, sold or found rusting in some one's fence row?

My mind just races thinking about times gone by and what the farmers would think of farming today. The equipment is HUGE now! The farms are HUGE too. Was life better then than now? I know it was harder physically. But maybe it was better.

Anyway, the show is over. The tractors and implements have all been taken home. I know the Husband is already looking forward to the Half Century of Progress Show in 2013.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Developing Talent

I think we may have discovered something for Bug to pursue. Photography. She snapped these pics of Leeny and niece K. I was impressed.

Our neighbor was even more impressed. She is a photographer and was discussing some of the shots Bug took. Bug was commenting about how she didn't like the lighting in one picture and didn't like the background in another. She has an eye for it.

We are thrilled. Bubby has such a gift with music and we make a point to help him develop that. Bug wants something of her own. She tried the piano (briefly) but it didn't really excite her. Photography excites her.

It looks like a new camera purchase will be coming up.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Leeny!

Leeny turned 7 on May 25th. Better late than never. Right?

In our family you get to have a friend party on your 7th and 10th birthdays. It was her turn. She was SO excited.

Leeny chose to have a swimming party. She invited her closest friends and their families. Home school families tend to have many children. I think we had around 30 kids plus adults.

Spaghetti is her favorite so we filled a 16-quart roaster full, had some veggies and dip and that was supper. The adults ate while the kids swam. It was great!

I couln't catch many shots of the kids in the pool. But here is one of Leeny in the hot-tub. They were like fish!

She loved opening her gifts and was delighted with each. This was made for her by one of her best buds. She sat it in a place of honor on her shelf at home.

She received so many nice presents and had so much fun. We found it very funny at the number of guns she got - water, Nerf, etc. Leeny is most definitely a tom-boy.

She said later how special she felt that all those people came to her party.

Happy Birthday Leeny! You are a delight! You fill our home with wonder, excitement and laughter. We are so thankful for you!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The World Through Her Lens

Bug received a camera a couple of years ago. She has taken lots of pictures. Since I was downloading pictures from my camera, I decided to see what she had. Whoa! She had about 500! I pulled a handful or two of my favorites and thought I'd share. It's fun to see the world through her eyes.

Leeny and her baby, Kaelyn.

Taking pictures of each other. Bubby with a loose tooth.

New baby chicks. See the black one under the leaf.

Bug snapped me taking a picture of Bubby.

Bath time.

A focus of many of her pics - The Baby.

Love, love, love that face!

Sisters and friends

Poor Dot-Polk. Her favorite chicken. Our Tom turkey tried to do the "chicken dance" on Dot-Polk's back. She never recovered and Bug lost a favorite. Poor girl. Bug still hates Tom turkey.

Bug put the Baby to sleep while outside. You should have seen the sand in that kids' hair when she woke.

My beautiful butterfly.

This is the Bug's tractor. I think they were getting it ready for the parade. Yes, I know it's purple. That is how we told his dad that Bug was to be a girl - we needed a pink or purple tractor. The husband has this ready before she turned 1.

Flooding early this summer

After weeks of no rain, I would love to have just a bit of this. My gardens are withering in this heat and dryness.

Memaw J, Leeny, K and the Baby

Good pics, Bug!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


You can't help but wonder what motivates people to be so destructive. What went wrong in their up-bringing to create such a disrespect for property?

This is the head to a statue of a soldier who died while serving his country during World War I. This statue is located in a cemetery near my home.
The cemetery has always been a place for kids to congregate. There was no power, it's far from any town and it's a great place to spook friends. You see, the statue has lots of legend. Apparently, it turns at night or it's eyes glow. Most everyone in surrounding towns are familiar with this place.

Some people weren't just content with trespassing. No one is to be in the cemetery after dark. Some people couldn't just scare their friends, drink beer or leave change in the soldier's hand. No, they had to vandalize the final resting place for this soldier and many others.

It ends up that there were 2 different sets of vandals. The first group broke windows in the old church, damaged some of the original wood pews as well as spray painted the statue. The second group toppled several gravestones and broke the statue into pieces. They even stole an unmarked gravestone. (It was recovered).

The stolen gravestone was from the grave of a 2 year-old. She died while her parents, traveling in a covered wagon, passed through the area on their way to Oklahoma. They had no money for a gravestone, but promised to send some once they were settled. They did and the stone was purchased.

The cemetery is rich in history as it's nearly 200 years old. So many settlers, so many women and children. Civil War soldiers, Indian War soldiers, World War I & II soldiers....cholera victims. Stories passed along from one generation to another. Trees brought from Germany to plant here. Rich history. Such a shame to vandalize!

As with most clouds, there are "silver linings." Many people have shown support for the cemetery in the way of monetary donations. Everything that was damaged will be repaired and there may even be enough left over to replace other things that need to be fixed. A local monument company is repairing the statue at no cost and the power company donated the materials and manpower to run electricity into the cemetery.

It won't be long and our statue will again stand where he is supposed to be. Hopefully this time, undisturbed.

*This happened in May. I'm just now getting the pictures off of my camera.