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'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 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 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'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 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 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 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 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.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


More old pictures from cleaning off my camera.

The Baby calls this her "giddy-up"

Bug decorating some Valentine's Day cookies.

Leeny too.

Big Brother. Notice the gate. We weren't done with our construction project and Baby wouldn't stay out of it. She HATED that gate!

Tea Party?

Look at these cowgirls. Bug, Leeny and niece K had fun dancing for us.

Learning to color.

Bubby teaching Grandma L how to play Mancala.

I'm hoping Leeny develops some fashion sense!

Great -Papa K, Papa T, adopted Papa R and The Husband relaxing.

Nothing much spectacular but lots of fun just hanging out together and celebrating family.