Thursday, November 17, 2016

Free Nature Drawing and Journal Download

We have used the "How Great Thou Art" series in our homeschool in the past.  I love the layout of the books, and how Barry Stebbing breaks down the drawing techniques for children.  Here, available until the end of November, is a Nature Drawing and Journal download for free.

If your homeschool experience is lacking in the area of Art, I highly suggest any of Barry Stebbings products.  He has books available for all age levels.

Click here for the free Nature Drawing and Journal download.


Legacy of King Arthur Freebie... Ends Today!

Here is a nice 10 Lesson character building freebie.  Character building is so important!  As I said in yesterday's post, there is so much more to homeschooling than just text books.  Even if this resource wasn't free today, it looks like something I would probably buy anyway.

Again, I just got this notification in my email last night, and was going get it out quickly, but was having yet more technical problems, which have now been resolved.

Go to The Pumpkin Seed Press for your freebie.  Available for free today!  Let's face it, even if you download it, then find its not for you, nothing is lost, right?  I downloaded mine last night and gave it the once over and can't wait to get started on it.  I plan on building a little mini unit study around it for Isaac.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's Not All Textbooks



It has been a while since I posted much about our homeschooling activities.  This year I only have four children at home, which has been interesting.  People keep asking if things have slowed down since 3 area away at college.  Actually, no.  If anything, we are just as busy as always.  I finally figured out it was because the ones who aren't here, are the ones that have the most activities, all dependent upon Mom, of course.  For example, we have two sets of art lessons and music lessons.  Josiah is enrolled in two dual enrollment classes as well.  That requires me ferrying everyone.   I'm not complaining, just pointing out the reality of our life right now.  All that coming and going could very easily be my excuse to stay home the rest of the time because quite frankly, it can be exhausting!  However, I have always been in the camp that believes that there is more to learning than what textbooks have to offer.  To become a well-rounded person, you have to get out there, experience life, broaden those horizons!  Carpe Diem!

So, here are a few of our "Carpe Diem" moments so far this fall.

Since Benjamin is up a Miracle Mountain, we have been a couple times.  The first time for the annual Mud Run.  Benjamin and Josiah both ran in that and we watched while sipping hot chocolate.  The second time was for the Harvest Party. That was so much fun!  LOTS of games and activities, pony rides, trail rides, crafts, and even dressing up for a photo op.  What a fun-filled family day it was. It taught many things: socialization, family fun appreciation, creativity, and balance.

Here Dale is playing Monopoly with the kids in the Cabin at Miracle Mountain.  Josiah is bunking with his big brother in the dorm.  Surely everyone is familiar with the benefits of playing Monopoly, such as strategy and math.

Of course, fall without a leave pile just wouldn't be right!  Here Jerusha is doing a random quality control check on the raking job the boys were doing. This teaches to pay attention to detail.  Like, when its time to pick all those leaves out of your very long and thick hair!

Every year our church has a hay ride for the community.  We also have a bonfire after with roasting marshmallows, making smore's, and eating donuts and drinking cider.  This teaches socialization and how to use your brain and think ahead for crying out loud and wear a coat because it is cold at night here!  (Okay, that may have been a little bit of a mommy rant, sorry!)

I love it when the kids get creative on their own.  Caleb was experimenting with food art last week, and made this creation.  He called it "Jungle Fort".   This teaching them to think outside the box, and to come up with creative solutions to building and design. 

Speaking of art, here is a sample of some recent finishes by Jerusha (red frame) and Isaac (green frame).  Okay, yeah, they may have had a little help from the teacher, but they are still very nice.  This teaches them to take pride in their work, and to do their best since they know I will be putting their work on display.  :)

Ummm.... Tubby checking out my cleaning/organizing job?

I am doing a mini sewing class every other week with a friend.  Here you can see Jerusha and her friend and her mom cleaning their machines. This teaching maintenance and sewing skills. 

Ummm... Tubby again... checking out a caterpillar we found in the office. She didn't know what to make of it, and sniffed at it, then pawed at it.  It rolled around some because it went into a ball in self-defense. 

On days when the weather is cooler and we don't have to run anywhere in the afternoon, we like to have a proper tea.  Jerusha and Caleb set this up for me one day.  This teaches them hospitality and food preparations and presentation. 

Josiah wanted cupcakes for his birthday.  Yes, those are eyeballs made out of gumballs.  This taught generosity, creativity, food preparation, math (we had to double the recipe), and hospitality.

And of course.... applesauce making!  We did 100 quarts in 3 days.  The kids were wonderful and helped the whole time.  Dale did too, stepping in when I had to take Josiah to his dual enrollment classes.  Isn't it pretty?  We got the apples free for the picking from an older couple in our church.

Most parents recognize that there are many different ways for children to learn.  I have found that by experiencing new things, their brains just get a refreshing.   It's like shaking the proverbial cobwebs from your head when you get a little fogged over.  Sometimes it is created from being in a rut, and getting out into the fresh air and doing something OUT of the house is the way to shake things up.  


Monday, November 14, 2016

Some Recent Bargains!

Who doesn't like a good deal?  Especially on a shnazzy looking outfit to wear on "Date Day".  This morning Dale was kind enough to snap these pics before we went out the door so I could share on my blog.  

I know some people don't care for thrift stores, but I love to poke around in them.  True, some things are a undesirable, but I love it when I find something unexpected and it is on sale.  

Excuse the strange expression on my face, and the red eyes.  I think I was saying "Let me know when you are ready to take the pic" and , well, apparently he was!  

The white turtleneck I've had for so long that I didn't count in the cost of the outfit.  The cute argyle sweater was a whopping .49 cent (I just now realized that I don't have a cents sign on my laptop!) at the thrift store.  The skirt was around $2.49, if I remember correctly.

Now just to prove you don't have to only shop of thrift stores and yard sales to get a good deal, these boots I bought brand-spankin'-new at a Payless a couple of weeks ago.  I had to get winter boots for Jerusha and work shoes for Dale.  They were having a sale, and a had a cupon I received in the mail.  The money I saved from the sale and coupon paid for my boots.    Awesome!   It didn't, however pay for the water protection treatment I got to put on the boots, but that wasn't much.

BUT.... the best deal award goes to my husband.  Our big 15 passenger van didn't pass inspection because one of the tread on one of the tires was too low.  After nosing around and making about two dozen phone calls, my husband managed to find a brand new, heavy duty tire for our van.  Usually these tires cost around $200, give or take.  He got it for... drum roll please.... $25!  

Love those bargains!


Thursday, November 10, 2016

I. Need. Tea.

For the past two days I've been wrangling with some technical issues on my blog.  Long story short, I'm trying to do some changing up around here, and I seem to be such a techno-dork that I can't figure the simplest little computer trick.  After two days of these, calls to tech geeks, and questions on different geek squad boards, I'm still nowhere with my issue. I feel like this:

So, after venting to my best friend, and praying with her over my laptop issues, and several others that are weighing on me (car problems, for example), I decided it was time to just drop my technical acrobatics and just get on with my life.  

Enter the tea... nice, calming chamomile tea.  I even have "Anxiety Ease" in the diffuser.  I think from here I will work on some quilting, which brings me to the purpose of this entry.  Time to do a little crafting-catch-up.

I started a sampler class on Craftsy a while ago, and have moved twice since then.  Obviously, that means that the project has gotten put aside.  I finally decided to get it out and try to finish it up this year, at least to the point where I can call it a flimsy.  

Cleopatra's Puzzle Block

Friendship Circle Block

Drunkard's Path Block

Below is a snuggle quilt I just finished up... mark one off the UFO list!

 This is a custom FMG attempt on a WIP just for fun!

Fun Fact:  November 8th here was so warm I hung laundry out.  In North-Western PA.!

Okay, finishing up my tea and treating myself to some more quilting time.


Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Homeschooling on a Shoestring

Sometimes families have to get a little... "creative" ... when raising children. Large family, medium family, or small, we all have our financial limitations. I think I can speak for a lot of home schooling families that even though we try and do as much as we can electronically, we still have a lot of copying to do. Recently, we had to replace the toner cartridge for our laser printer. My husband, who is our chief researcher on such things and got the following product online. Replacing the ink and toner can get very expensive. He has tried several strategies for the ink, each working to varying degrees. I'll post more about that another time. However, our best find recently was for the toner..

Feel free to click on the above affiliate link for easy access to the toner.   So far it is working very well!

Disclaimer:  Amazon's prices do change without notice.  When we bought the above product it was $17.50.  I just checked, and it is now $42!  Always check the price of your product before purchasing.

Whew! Lots of Hard Work

Yup, made it even though that Lit Theory class was a doozy!

Time for some chocoloate!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Out of the Mouth of Babes

I don't usually get into all the political stuff.  I don't debate, because I fail to see any edifying properties as a result.  I do make up my own mind, and I do vote.  I encourage you to do the same.  I also encourage my children... all ages... to do likewise.  Even if they aren't voting age yet, it is good for them to be aware of our country's politics.  Granted, some of my children won't be able to grasp the finer points of it all, since they are younger.  But, apparently enough is seeping through.

During breakfast this morning we were talking about Election Day tomorrow.  And Isaac, out of the blue came out with his opinion.  I videoed it, after asking him if he minded being on record for his opinion.  My 7 year old says.... (and the question prompts are mine, yes, but he had already stated his opinion a few minutes before without any prompting):

I'm not trying to offend anyone here, but the point of this is that you are never too young, or too old, to get involved and vote.  So,....



Saturday, October 8, 2016


Finally!  I'm trying to get back into posting here, especially since my grandmother commented that she "hadn't seen anything new in a long time.  Ahem."

Okay, so I got the hint!  And since my grandmother was the one that got me interested in quilting, this post will be about a quilt.  :)

I made this quilt a while ago.  It was sitting in a stack with some UFO's, longing for a home.  The perfect opportunity came through a young lady we are acquainted with from a State Park near us.  She and her husband were expecting their first child.  The colors are neutral, because the gender of the baby was left for a surprises.  I also thought the color of the outdoors would be nice, since she and her husband are both the outdoorsy types.  She loved it!  And had an adorable baby girl last spring.

Just to quickly update on all our doings, since graduation, the family has been in a whirl of college prep for the twins, who are currently at Maranatha Baptist University in WI, and Benjamin is attending Miracle Mountain Ranch for their discipleship program in Spring Creek, PA.  Yes, that's right, we are down to 4 kids!  People keep asking me if the house seems empty, or if life has slowed down.  The answer:
No.... and

If anything we are just as busy, if not busier.  You see, the kids that are still home are younger, and need more attention.  We are flying around for art lessons, music lessons, and Josiah is in dual enrollment classes 3 nights a week.  Dale is still working two jobs, and I am still in college.  I'm officially a Junior now, but the difficulty of the work has ramped up.  Also, I just started writing for the Odyssey, and online publication.  Feel free to check it out.  My first story won't be out for another week, but there is some nice contributions to peruse in the mean time.

There... grandmother... are you happy now?  :)


Tuesday, June 28, 2016


I hang my head in shame here for such a long interval between my blog posts!  At least I would, but honestly, life has been very busy since the last post in February, that there is no shame, just a large family's busy life.

We finished out the school year with flying colors!  Esther and Elizabeth graduated from High School.  In one weekend at the beginning of May, they had their evaluations, SAT's, 18th birthdays, then the following Monday flew to Florida for a month long trip to visit their Grandparents before Graduation on June 4th.

Aren't the girls' just beaming in the above picture?  Oh, I have to explain about the surprise diploma we handed out.  Dale had finished up his Master's course,  the diploma came about a week and half before graduation.  So, of course I hid it and worked his presentation into the program.  And of course, I didn't mention it him!  Long story short, he was indeed surprised.  That is no small feat, let me tell you!

Oiy Vey.

While they were gone we went to Williamsburg.  It was WONDERFUL!  I don't know why we haven't made the effort to go before?  There'll be a whole different post on that trip later.  Also, during the twins' trip, I had three quilts to finish up for graduation presents.  One for each of the twins, and one for their friend who was graduating with them.  With all the busyness of the day I never even got pictures of them!  I think the other mom did, so I will email her and see if she can send them to me.  *Head slap*.  I guess the important thing is that I got them all done on time, which was a huge relief.

Those of you who have been on the blog before, or are familiar with the family, know that we have four birthdays we celebrate in May.  I also did a cake for Senior's night during the volleyball season.  Here are some samples of my playing around with confectionery:

This is the cake for Senior's Night at Volleyball.  The numbers on the jerseys are the numbers of the four seniors on the team.

This was for the twins' birthday dinner.  Their candles are their initials. The base was two 9 by 13's with horse heads carved out of two square pans of cake. 

This one is self-explanatory.  :)

This cake was lots of fun.  It was made for Boys' week at camp this year.  It is showing the go-carts spinning out and running into each other. The base is white cake, vanilla frosting dyed green.  The carts and wheels are made out of rice krispie treats covered with fondant, cones,  and the lettering is out of fondant.  Caleb helped me with the sculpting. 

This cake was made back in March for a Leadership retreat at camp.  Ephesians 5:15 was theme verse.  Don't worry, that is edible ink on the fondant. 

After graduation Dale and I went away to The Quiet Place in Naples, NY, to celebrate our 25th anniversary.  It was just what we needed after such a busy couple months of preparation! I was also still in college classes right up until the day before we left for our trip.  Thankfully we both survived. 

I hope to get back to more regular blogging.  I know, you have read that before.  Bear with me!  I'm a college student still, and the work isn't getting any easier!  But, blogging is fun, and I know certain family members like to see what we are up to (Hi Grandmother!).


Saturday, February 20, 2016

No Brag, Just Fact

This is in no way a brag, but more of an encouragement.  It wasn't easy for me to go back to school while raising a family, but I did.  The first year I was still working at the school, but this year we returned to home schooling.  One might assume that gives me more time to work on my school work, but it doesn't.  It is said that when you really want to do something, you make the time to do it.  Perhaps, but even in great desire to get more writing done, more editing finished, more devotionals written, I have found that "life" can get in the way.  There are meals to make, laundry to wash, kids get sick, students need help with their school work, corrections need to be done, ministry tasks need to be tended to... the list goes on and on.

How do I "get it all done"?  Here are some tips that have helped me over the past couple of years:

1.  Realize that you will in no way "get it all done"!  That is an unrealistic assumption.

2.  Prioritize.  What REALLY has to get done?  That huge stinky pile of laundry may not be able to wait, but maybe cleaning the fridge can.  Yes, it would be wonderful to spend all day curled up reading that book, but you have to spend some time working on a Sunday School lesson instead.  And while you are prioritizing, realize that what is high priority one day may not be the next.  The priority list could very well change daily!

3."Plan the work and work the plan."  My dad used to say this to me.  This is a great strategy for when you feel unmotivated.  Having a plan helps you to know what the next thing is you have to do.

4.Don't overplan!  I think we all desire to do more than what we are able, or have time to do.  So many wonderful ideas and good intentions but limits of time and resources to accomplish them.  Let me be clear:  Put the cape, high-heeled boots and leotard away.  No one can do it all, and do it all well.  My husband uses this analogy: Jelly spread too thin looses its flavor.

5.Delegate.  Don't be ashamed to slough off some of your tasks on your spouse or kids.  They want to help, but may not know how.  My husband is wonderful at filling in for me when I'm not available. He can cook, take care of children, help with schoolwork, clean, whatever needs doing.  The kids each get assigned chores whether I'm home or not.

6.  Create a basic schedule to work with.  This goes along with number 3, I realize, but it is a strategy in its own right.  I told my children that I am all theirs pretty much until supper time.  However, any outstanding assignments, corrections, testing after that has to wait for MY convenience after that time frame.  After supper is when I write and do my school work.  That is a very simplistic view of the schedule, but it works.  Of course there is flexibility in that as well.  Days we have a field trip, Co-Op, art lessons, volleyball, dentist or eye appointments, for example, the schedule becomes more flexible.

7. Give yourself some grace!  Are you pregnant?  Just had a baby?  Is the family getting over the flu?  Are you getting over a surgery?  Are you packing to move?  Did you just move?  There are many unpredictable circumstances that arise in real life.  Give yourself some grace if you have to go into "survival mode" for a while.  It happens, and guess what?  It's okay!

It is good to raise a family.  It is good to have dreams and goals.  It is also good to keep it sane.  Make sure when you say "yes" to something you aren't adding the straw that will break the camel's back.  If you aren't consistently getting enough rest, eating properly, find yourself (or your family) short-tempered and irritable, then it is time to take a step back and look at your plan again.  Cut something out.  Lower your expectations (does the house really need to be "company ready" every day?).  Readjust your goals and priorities (Okay, the kids do need to eat, but they may not need to run out to every available activity they are invited to!).  Once you achieve a balance, you'll know it.  Make a mental note of how the balanced days play out for future reference.

I hope this has been an encouragement to you!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Yarn Along

I finished Isaac's vest and both books from last time I posted... yay!  Here is a UFO I'm working on with a couple of books I'm into right now.  What is pictured is a partial sleeve to a sweater for me.  I work on it off and on when I'm not pressured to finish something for someone else.  Those who are knitters know that means that I hardly ever work on it!  I'm reading Edgar Sawtelle for fun, and the Movie History for a college class I'm in this term.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

School Days!

I can't help it.  I am LOVING being back to homeschooling our children.  True, I don't like paperwork, which I am hitting a lot of right now because of having the twins graduate, but that is okay.  We'll get through that.  Then is the plans for the Graduation ceremony and party to hammer out, but it will get done.  It is an exciting time for the girls!  I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for them.

In the meantime, I have been trying to allow myself to "stop and smell the roses" in our daily lives.  So many precious moments and memories!

Elizabeth is making this quilt for competition in April.  This is an "old" picture.  She has since added borders, and has it sandwiched and basted.  She is hand quilting it beautifully.

Here's a pic with the borders, sample backing fabric, and our newest quilt inspector. 

I think my favorite thing about schooling, or even non-schooling times, is the read alouds.  You can see here what we are currently working on. 

Snippets from a DITY: Bible, faith journal, Isaac's clock craft, some print-ups for Jerusha's research paper on China and some note cards for her report.   

Isaac finishing up his 1st grade language book from Abeka!  It will be time to start him in the 2nd grade level after his testing is finished.

Jerusha getting some math help from her big brother, Josiah. No, they aren't counting fingers and toes. Hehehehehehe!

Have a blessed day,

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Yarn Along

I hate to say it but my knitting and reading update is that I am really almost done with both the project and book from last week.  I had planned to get more reading done since last week but between finishing up some college assignments, homeschooling, editing, going to a SU game with Dale, and visiting family and a very dear friend... well, you get the picture.  I am off from college this week, so I hope to finish up both book and vest for Isaac, and have something more interesting to post for the Yarn Along next Wednesday.


Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I didn't organize today for this sort of thing.  I was just going about my business, and realized that today was a lot of "do it yourself" type tasks.  So, I thought it would make a good post.

First off, I made my own laundry detergent.  When I first started making detergent years ago, Dale (my numbers guy) figured out how much per batch.  Well, prices and times change, so I can't give you an exact amount per bottle, but I can tell you we are paying pennies per load of laundry.  And when you do 14-20 loads of laundry a week, that is a wonderful thing!

As always, bread making is part of our schedule 3 to 4 times a week!

This morning I cut and colored my own hair (I know the savings on this one... it is to the tune of almost $80!)

There is great satisfaction in "doing it yourself" when you can.  I've also started making my own reusable dryer sheets, but haven't perfected it yet.  Anyone have any tips on keeping the vinegar smell out?  I need to find a balance between enough vinegar to soften and help with static, and not too much to where I smell a little like a pickle.  Feel free to put your tips in the comments!


Yarn Along

It has been a LONG LONG LONG time since I participated in this!  Here we go:

I am making a vest for Isaac, and am almost done with "The Still of the Night" and am looking forward to getting into "A Paris Apartment".  I am reading the latter after reading a brief review on "The Modern Mrs. Darcy" blog.