Thursday, May 21, 2015

Summer Reading for Pre-K through 2nd Grade

I got this freebie link in my email this morning and was thrilled with it.  It is through 3 Dinosaurs.  It is a summer reading program for the younger kids, easily adaptable for any child.  She has sets for tots, up through 2nd grade, though not all are free.  I just downloaded a ton of second grade material.  Some of the concepts are beyond Isaac right now (like the double digit math problems and adding up coins) but they will come in handy later.  The first grade material wasn't free, but still looks like a good bargain.  Here is a link for the 3 Dinosaurs Summer Program.

Here is where the home schooling mom in me comes out, even though we aren't technically home schooling right now.  I would look ahead to each of the themes and get out read aloud books, and level books for Isaac to read to me.  I would also find theme related crafts and coloring sheets for him to do, as well as games and activities for outside in the fresh air.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Treasure Hunting Finds!

When the older kids were little, what is normally called "yard saling" I always referred to as "treasure hunting".  It's true when you think about it with well known axiom in mind: "One man's trash is another man's treasure."

Or mama, trying to find some good bargains for her 4 children, aged four and under.

Isaac is now a couple of years older than the oldest of the originating group of the family saying, but I still use the terminology, as does Dale.  The older ones still tag along from time to time, but finding treasures for them is a little harder.  For one thing, their sizes aren't as easy to come by.  Also, they are no longer excited by the Little Tykes pedal car that could be brought home for a couple of bucks.  Still, we do find bargains, but it takes a little more persistence these days, but I don't mind.  For me, the thrill is in the actual hunt, not the find.

I know, you are probably thinking, "didn't she just post the other day that they are moving again?".  Well, yes, but Isaac has outgrown almost everything in the last 6 months, and the poor child looks like he is perpetually prepared for flood waters.  Even his school uniforms are needing to be replaced, but that will have to wait a couple of months.

So, when we set out we went with the thought firmly planted in our brains what we would stick with our very specific list of needs.  And we did!  Sometimes it is easy to get a little carried away with all the good finds, or rather it is easy to carry away a lot of the found treasure, but at this juncture, we are trying very hard to be discerning and exact in our purchases.  Not just in yard sales, but also in groceries.  We've ditched our usually 4 week shopping plan to a mere 2 weeks, and have been diligently trying to use up what we have in freezers and in the pantry.  We are making very good progress.  The only exception to the rule was when Dale and I stopped at tiny bulk food shop and found loaves of Pepperidge Farm bread on sale for .50 a loaf!  We bought a case of the 9 grain bread and got some strawberry swirl stuff just for a treat.  We only have about 4 or 5 loaves of that left, but I knew when we bought it all, it would last until we moved.

So, here are some of the "treasures" we got at yard sales last weekend:

Look at these carefully!  See that red long sleeved shirt on the right? That is a Ralph Lauren!

  I don't know how much these shirts sell for normally, but I paid a whopping .25 for it.  Yup, that is a whole quarter for a spendy shirt!

Isaac has had a love for Micky for a while.  This fleece sweat shirt is from the Disney Store.  Again, not sure what it would sell for retail, but I know it would be a pretty penny.  I got it for 50 cents!

This polo was for Caleb.  It looked like it was never worn.

Jerusha was in terrible need of some p.j. bottoms.  We usually just get some t-shirts at yard sales or the thrift store on the 49 cent days, and voila!.... cheap pajamas.

Dale has a couple of dress shirts that are very well worn (a.k.a... ratty and time to put them out of their misery) and was reluctant to toss them yet.  Well, he got these new shirts, with tags, for just a couple bucks.  Old, overused shirts say hello to the incinerator!

Here are a few more items for Isaac.  I thought the oxford shirt with the black casual pants were adorable.  Isaac was more impressed with the Toy Story pajamas.

We've had bigger and more impressive hauls, but this was very good considering our very narrow-minded list.


Sunday, May 17, 2015


It has been over a year since my last post.  Life has been a little rough, but things are looking better now.  A lot has happened in our lives.  We went to Regionals and Talents for Christ, both competitions in fine arts and academics.  The kids did great, and qualified for Internationals, which we are not participating in this year for a couple of reasons.  Right after all that competition I ended up having emergency surgery to have my gall bladder out, which was a mess.  I am still recovering from that, and can't do anything fun like horse back riding, volleyball, or jogging.  And I've been ordered by the doctor to not lift anything heavy until the end of June.  He jokingly said, "No moving furniture around," which made me look at him funny.  You see, one of the reasons why the kids aren't going to Internationals, is because we are moving again.  We will be in the throes of crunch time soon, and will need everyone doing their part.  We aren't going far from here, only about a half an hour to a little farming community in a place called Andrew's Settlement.  Dale will be pastoring there.  The parsonage is a farmhouse, which is a little smaller than we have gotten used to, so we are going to have a few challenges getting organized and getting rid of what doesn't fit.

I am still teaching at the small Christian school.  This is my second year, and the children continue to excel in their studies and activities.

We are almost done with what I call "birthday season" around here.  The twins turned 17, Benjamin turned 19, and Caleb is about to turn 13.  After next Saturday I will have 5... that's FIVE teenagers in the house!  Another milestone we reached last Friday night was Isaac graduating from Kindergarten.  He is officially a big first grader now!

Happy Birthday Esther and Elizabeth!  (The cake is two horse shoes over lapped on a base of 9 by 13.  One says "Squeak" the other says "Liz", and there is a 17 at the bottom where the horse shoes overlap.)

Happy Birthday Benjamin!  This was my first attempt at using fondant on a cake.  Not too bad!

Congratulation to Isaac!  The class and I made these cupcakes for after the graduation ceremony last Friday night.  They were good helpers!

Every year the school has a pie sale to help with some of the expenses at school.  Isaac helped me to make a blueberry and an apple.  Of course, I had to then make one for Dale, who was looking over my shoulder and laying some not so subtle hints about having one with dinner.

A couple of weeks ago all the students went on a field trip to Miracle Mountain.  It was a lot of fun. Isaac loved riding the horse, Tinker.  I think we have yet another child bit by the horseback riding bug!  He even trotted (with some help from the friendly counselor behind the horse in the picture.)

This is Creamsicle.  He isn't ours, but was visiting during Ben's birthday dinner party.  He is about 5 weeks old.  Such a cutie!  He is asleep here with Josiah.

I hope this post finds everyone well, and I hope to be able to post on a more regular basis now.  

Saturday, February 8, 2014

I Have Learned Whatever State I'm In to Be Content

... And last week that was the state of Massachusetts.  :)  The day before a big snow storm it was bright, sunny, and simply gorgeous.  I took tons of pic while Liz and I were on a walk with the cell phone camera, which means they leave much to be desired.  Nevertheless... here is a smattering from our outing.  I know they are a bit on the small size but when I tried to enlarge them they became grainy.  Trust me, they look better this way.

The next day we had a wicked snow/sleet storm, but the day after that it was more of the same beauty, but deeper snow.  Yeah, I LOVED it!  Liz thought I was crazy.  

Whoa... is that a POST?????

Don't faint... yes, I'm actually posting.  It has been a LONG time!  So much has been happening, that I can't keep up with it.  It probably goes without saying, but this post will be picture heavy as I try to encapsulate over 4 months of our lives into one post.  Even though things have been out-of-control busy, we have still taken a few moments to enjoy some of God's beauty around, like this sunset.  The pic really doesn't do it justice.

For those who don't know, last Fall my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, and has been undergoing some very intense Chemo treatments.  I have been making trips out to the Boston area to help her after the treatments, as they rough her up pretty good.  Then I come back home, and jump back into the circus of our crazy schedule. I'm happy to say that according to the last CAT scan the treatments seem to be doing good things, and hopefully after two more treatments she can go to radiation therapy.  

Meanwhile back at the ranch, life is going on with its' usual busyness.  Last November, the kids participated in the school play, which was a take off from Patch the Pirate Goes West.  Here they are in costume.  Ben was chief Halawasa, Josiah was a hilarious Cactus Patch, Jerusha was a prairie dog, Esther was one of the 4 lost girls from school, and the others were all Indians.  They did a great job!  

Esther's Solo  :)  She has such a pretty voice!

Benjamin had a solo too!  Nice deep voice for his part.  

Also, last November, our family did a concert for a church in New York for their Harvest Banquet.  We did 50 minutes of music...whew!  The kids did great, but I think it tuckered them out a little.

Sometimes Mr. Greene preaches for chapel and you can almost always expect the unexpected from him.  Believe it or not, the following pics were part of a devotional he gave last November.  

Ramp, obstacles, behind paper

Crazy teenager willing to participate (Nice outfit, eh?)

Here we go!

 He made it!

Thankfully the battery in my camera died there, so I can spare the rest of the story which had to do with rope and more boxes.  :)

Also in November, Benjamin, Esther, and Elizabeth, along with another girl from the school, Heather Greene, auditioned and were accepted into this year's Pennsylvania State Choir.  They practiced for many hours, then spent two days in Harrisburg and practiced with the rest of the 125 participants, under the talented Dr. Ledgerwood from Maranatha Baptist University in Watertown, WI.  Dale travelled down with them, and I went down for the concert on Saturday, taking the rest of the kids, on a 4 hour trip just to hear a one hour concert.  IT WAS WORTH IT!!!!!  They performed in the rotunda of the Capitol building in Harrisburg.  It was beautiful!

Bad shot of the choir... a couple dozen people missing on each side of the pic.

From left to right, starting in the back row:  Benjamin, Elizabeth, Heather Greene, Esther, Dr.Ledgerwood, and Dale.

Of course, if you are a grandparent, you already received the CD of their wonderful performance and Dale's letter with some background about the music and experience.  Hope you enjoy it!  We are wearing ours out.  Can you say, "Proud Parents"????

As has been my tradition, I had, in the midst of all the November madness, taken it upon myself to participate in NaNoWriMo.  I'm happy to say that I met the goal of 50K words!  Wasn't sure if I would make it or not, but just plugged away at it and "got'er done" as Dale likes to say.  

We have had a pretty cold winter here thus far, but that doesn't stop us from having a good time in the snow.  Benjamin and I are also in the ski club at school, but do you think I have taken any pics?  Something about a new skier (Benjamin) and a camera is irresistible, but I haven't brought it with us yet.  I missed two sessions last time I was out in Boston, so Josiah went in my stead, and seemed to like it!  

The twins are on the Girls' basketball team, and Jerusha is a cheerleader!  In fact, the only official cheerleader for the team.  Worked out that she was the only eligible girl in the right age group and had her grades up enough to cheerlead.  She is SO adorable!

I have a ton of blurry pics from actual games.  :/  None of them worth repeating here.  I really need to invest in a camera with a high speed feature!

Here is our Christmas Cactus in bloom.  We have tried our best to kill the poor thing, but it has proven to be quiet hardy.  Esther loves the blossoms!

I have been knitting and doing some quilting as well, but have taken no pics whatsoever of my projects. I'll see if I can change that soon!  

Congratulate yourselves if you made it through this "catch up" post!  Lord willing, I'll be able to keep a bit better.

Have a wonderful day!  Enjoy the winter while it lasts.  :D

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Wonderful Goodness!

Finally!  After all those years in Willseyville, trying to get some corn to grow AND be edible, and never being able to, we have corn!  And you can eat it too!  We planted some Silver Queen as an experiment in our little garden plot. The seeds were given to us, and after treating the soil with lime and some fertilizer, and with a hope and a prayer, we planted corn.  We watched through the summer as the stalks came up, and hoped.  So far so good.  When the girls and I came home from volleyball practice this evening Dale had corn husked and cooking to go with supper.  YUM!  Our very own corn!  It was delicious.

Another wonderful gem we have added is farm fresh milk.  Just so happens that when I drive to school, I go right past this farm, and they sell their milk.  For just $2 a gallon, we get the rich, creamy, real stuff.  

We had black bean sloppy joes tonight, but the real stars of the meal were the corn and the milk.  We really gorged ourselves on those!  

The last few days have been hot, and so very muggy!  Today has been rainy, thundering, and more rain.  It is supposed to be ushering in a nice cold front.  The high just a day ago was 90, and the dew point was around 70.  Tomorrow the high is supposed to be in the 50's!  Needless to say, I am breathing a HUGE sigh of relief.  

Many blessings!