Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter Decorations

My Dad got me the little egg with a duck in it.  Dad is a giver and loves to give to others.  As a child, he was always getting little gifts for us.  One Easter, he gave my sister, my Mom and I each an egg.  A lady from his work made them.  It's a real egg with the insides blown out and beaded work on the outside and a momma duck and her babies inside.  Such fun memories as we take out the spring/Easter decorations. 

Getting Ready for Easter

This year we're staying home together.  Every other year we go to CT and spend the weekend with my Aunt Rosie, Uncle Rich,  and my family who also go there.  This Easter seems to have come much quicker than other years.  Not sure why.  We always get a special outfit and try and match.  The boys all get to pick out a new tie.  This year, I think we're going to try and find a spring green color.  Last year we did light blue and pinks, the year before we did purple.  This is always a fun time to be together and remember our Lord's conquering death and giving us His power.  Spring also is a time of excitement and remembering new life.  What wonderful new life our Savior gives us!  

Today I finished my skirt and a bag to go with it.  If you are real observant, you've seen the fabric before.  It's the same fabric I used to decorate for Ruthie's shower.  I saw a great pattern that would work using both pieces!  The skirt has green in it so we'll try and match that shade.

I just love making bags!  I find them so fun to make!  I put pockets in this one as I've done this bag before and little things get lost in the bag.  So much fun!!!

Monday, March 29, 2010


Tim has been counting down to this day!  His peeps are here!  Silas, Hunter and Luke each have their own chickens and Tim wanted to get his own.  Mark buys the grain for them and they take care of the chickens.  They can sell any eggs they get as long as there are a dozen in the house each day for me to have.  This is a way they can make money and I don't have to tend to the chickens :)   I absolutely love having chickens so even after the boys leave our home, I want to still have them,, maybe just move the coop closer to the house as the hill in winter can be a little scary on the ice!
Tim woke up so excited, got alittle school done and then off we went to town to get his peeps.  He got 6 Buff Orpingtons,  6 Rhode Island Reds and 6 Red Comets.  Titus and Addan wanted one of their own so they got to pick a black one (I think they were Laced Wyandotes???, something like that) each.   They're real excited about it although it'll be a miracle if Titus' lives past the inside time as he loves to hold it and isn't the most gentle holder!
Thus begins the journey of chickens for Tim.  We're so excited for him to start the responsibility of his own chickens.  It's been a great teacher of responsibility for each of them!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Boys and the Toys

The long days of winter and wet, muddy days of spring make for some creative play times.  We've never been a family that is for lots of toys.  Our house is too small and I get so tired of the mess.  So they have few toys which keeps my sanity.  I also prefer playing games and constructive toys.  The boys have become very creative in their toys.  Here's some of them :)  Titus and Addan brought in the videos to build towers around the train tracks.  It then became a challenge to see how high  it could reach before falling!  Jordan is so good about sharing his room with his little brothers. 

Titus and Addan got rubber bands and shot at targets placed on the stairs.  They did this for hours.  They play so well together!  So thankful for the friendships they are forming.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Small Steps

My Pastor's wife gave me this book to read.  Her husband just went away to a pastor's conference and brought it home to her and she read it and passed it on to me to read.  (A plug here for Pastor's wives-- Thank the Lord daily and pray daily for your Pastor's wife.  She has the burden of home and church and her husband's ministry.  Alot of times, she's the one behind the scenes doing SO much!  I think it's one of the busiest positions there is!  I absolutely LOVE our Pastor's wife!  She's got a heart to help, loves our boys like her own, would do anything for people and is a tough bird-- she's a hard worker and not afraid to get a "little dirty".  I see our Pastor's wife talking and loving the unlovely and the ones I know have hurt her in the past-- or sometimes harder, the one's who have hurt her husband and children!)  She is always giving books out to read to try and encourage people in their walks with the Lord.  This book is called How to Speak Husband.  It's been real interesting so far.  This morning I read about how men think and their God given roles.  Men have been given the desire to have dominion over things.  The author said how teen boys begin to feel that as they get older.  Ugh, today I started to experience that!  Jordan went for his driver's permit.(He passed and even drove a bit of the way home!!!!)   It won't be long before he's off driving himself to work each day, developing his own domain over the area the Lord gives him.  It's hard to see them growing up but oh so,  exciting too!  Jordan is becoming a strong man and I pray daily, a man  that will be a leader and live TOTALLY for the Lord!  What a joy to be a Mom!
I highly recommend this book,, it's been a fun read so far!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Healthy Living

My head is spinning with all the talk of health care.  It's a bit out of control!  What happened to people taking care of themselves and paying for it themselves?!?!
A couple weeks ago, I saw on a news show, a lady who had to divorce her husband because he had gotten dementia and could no longer take care of him herself.  Their insurance would no longer cover the bills but if she divorced him, the state would pick up the bill.  (our tax money at work!)  This seemed so extreme to Mark and me as we sat and talked about it.  How sad!  We agreed that we want to take good care of ourselves to prevent those types of situations. (We, of course, don't know the outcome of our lives but if we know or hear of things that will prevent that, we'll strive to do that!)    I've heard so often people say, "I take that, and I feel fine" or "I've gotten that shot and I didn't see any side-effects" yet they don't know the long term of what it does to their or their children's bodies (after all their children do come from them or out of them!).
What happened to the day when you were sick, you tried to get yourself healthy?  Now it's, I got a sniffle or slight temp so I run to the doctor to get some junk to make it go away.  Of course, it's no sweat because the insurance or government gets the bill.  When we get sick, Mark's hard earned money pays for the bill.  So to prevent sickness, we try to eat healthy and live healthy.   Of course, there are times that we have to see a doctor but when we do, we pay for it!  We pay for our dentist visits so I try to make the boys brush well and eat right to prevent it.  I know so many people that run to the doctor so often, it's sad!  They don't care because they don't pay for it!  I know someone who's child was throwing their eggs on the shed wall because they don't like to eat eggs but got them free from WIC so the child used them as toys!  How sad!
God has a very strong opinion on what we put into our bodies!  "Whether therefore, we eat or drink, do ALL to the glory of God."  Our eating needs to bring glory to Him,, what a challenge! 
I realize this is all my opinion and we can be viewed as quite radical, but I do think our world's system is so out of control and people's eating is the same, and yet we don't put two and two together!  How strange!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mr. Visionary :)

Mark is always planning and thinking of ways to expand his business.  When we moved to PA in 2003, Mark was hired as a Christian school teacher.  The income wasn't enough to support our growing family.  Mark launched his own business washing windows. He does windows after school each day (his last class ends at about 1pm). The Lord has greatly blessed Busy Brothers Window Washing!  They clean  over 100 houses and businesses each year! (Most businesses are done either biweekly or monthly). This year Jordan will be getting his driver's license and he and Brendan will be able to do alot of those jobs, freeing up Mark to grow the business.  He's been asked by people if he does power washing.  This has always been in the back of his spinning mind :) , so last Saturday while I was in the quilt shop, Mark went to Lowes and got a power washer.  The boys have been so excited to see it being used!  Today is a beautiful spring day, so it was a perfect chance to fire the power washer up!  Here are the excited boys/man seeing it used for the first time!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring is in the Air

I love it!  They are staying outside more and more each day!  Our land is so perfect for the boys and we're SO thankful for it!  Addan playing in the sand.  Tim catching salamanders in the pond, he absolutely loves doing this hour after hour!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I've always been leery about putting deodorant on my body when I know it has harmful things in it.  Then when the boys started to need it, that made me more worried.  We tried a "healthy"  brand sold in stores and that didn't seem to work and cost so much money.  Then my blog friend Trina posted on her blog that she just made some, I was so excited to read all her info.  She sent me to another blog and that one showed a clip of the lady actually making it!  So this past weekend, after finding the ingredients at the health food store, I made it.  My husband would be the perfect tester!  He was playing basketball with the men from the school where he works.  Not to be mean, but he usually stinks after he plays ball!  So the ball game was the first big test.  The next test was Sunday.  Mark teaches Sunday School teens and that makes his body work out too.  After church, Mark commented that he didn't smell like he usually does.   Last night, Mark commented that he is "sold" on the deodorant and said it works better than any other kind he has used before! Yippee!
This is yet another way to take care of our bodies and not put harmful chemicals into them! 
The recipe is this: 
6-8 Tbs coconut oil (solid state)
1/4 C  baking soda
1/4 C arrowroot powder (found in health food stores)
few drops of tea tree oil
few drops of essential oil for scent, if desired (I used peppermint)
Mix together with a spoon.  Great arm work out! 
You can put the good deodorant into a bad deodorant's old container.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Schooling choices

I'm so thankful for the freedom to still choose in our country how we educate our children.  I pray these freedoms still remain for our boys!  
The home school catalogues are beginning to come in the mail, getting me thinking and praying about next year's school year.  Next year Jordan will be a senior, making this our 13th year of schooling!  Wow, has time flown.  I remember when we were first married and knew a little child would be joining our family, we began discussing how we were going to educate him.  Mark was really opposed to the idea of home schooling especially since he'd be teaching in a school.  After a short time of teaching, he was all for us home schooling.  Not that the school he was teaching in had anything "wrong" but he saw the flaws with class room settings.  (One child gets the lesson and has to wait for the others to "get it" and many other reasons).  So this began the long process of picking out the curriculum that we thought "best" for us.  
I guess the reasons for home schooling and philosophy of learning will influence your choice.  I've never been a quick learner and growing up, had the types of text books with the word I had to learn in bold print.  So I began cramming those words into my brain and tried to pass the tests that way.  I knew I didn't want that type of education for the boys!  I call that BORING text book learning :)    I just got cheap-o letter and number books for Jordan (and whatever my Mom passed on from schooling my sister Ruthie).  Then once Jordan learned to read, I began using Rod and Staff for his reading and math.  I tried another reading when Hunter came time to school.  For the rest after Hunter, we went back to Rod and Staff (I asked Jordan and Brendan what curriculum  they liked best and they said they learned the MOST Bible from their Rod and Staff readers so I figured that is what I needed to go back to, they both read well and are so knowledgeable in their Bible). I switched Hunter back to Rod and Staff too :)   
We now use Rod and Staff for beginning reading, spelling and phonics.  Horizons math for the elementary grades, Keys to Math for the older boys, Bob Jones  English, Alpha and Omega science and history, Explode the Code for added reading and other books supplemented in for the older grades.  This is what has worked for our family.  I have  never been a huge fan of sitting the boys in front of a video of a classroom and calling it homeschooling.  I guess that goes back to your philosophy of schooling,, example: are you home schooling because there is no Christian school available?   Mark had to monitor a video class and it drove him nuts watching the kids in his room watching the video and the ones who were getting it, sitting there wasting time while the others tried to get  it.  There's NO personal interaction either.  I love knowing that the boys reading is from ME teaching them, not a Mrs So-in-so from some video!   Now for older education, a few videos may be ok but I just haven't had a need for it yet (thank the Lord).    This, of course, is all my opinion and each family has to decide before the Lord what is best for them with their philosophy of education.  We've always tried to praise character over achievement.  Some things are just plain learning that has to be done (times tables, neat penmanship,  nouns, pronouns, etc) but with home schooling, we can work their schooling around their bend in life's interests.  I'm so thankful for this freedom we enjoy right now in our country! Christians, keep praying that it stays that way!

Monday, March 15, 2010


"I don't think our kids know what an apron is.
The principal use of Grandma's apron was to protect the dress underneath, because she only had a few, it was easier to wash aprons than dresses and they used less material, but along with that, it served as a potholder for removing hot pans from the oven.
It was wonderful for drying children's tears, and on occasion was even used for cleaning out dirty noses.
From the chicken coop, the apron was used for carrying eggs, fussy chicks, and sometimes half-hatched eggs to be finished in the warming oven.
When company came, those aprons were ideal hiding places for shy kids. 
And when the weather was cold, Grandma wrapped it around her arms.
Those big old aprons wiped many a perspiring brow, bent over the hot wood stove.
Chips and kindling wood were brought into the kitchen in that apron.
From the garden, it carried all sorts of vegetables.   After the peas had been shelled, it carried out the hulls.
In the fall, the apron was used to bring in apples that had fallen from the trees. 
When unexpected company drove up the road, it was surprising how much furniture that old apron could dust in a matter of seconds.
When dinner was ready, Grandma walked out onto the porch, waved her apron, and the menfolks knew it was time to come in from the fields to dinner.
It will be a long time before someone invents something that will replace that 'old-time apron' that served so many purposes.
Remember: Grandma used to set her hot baked apple pies on the window sill to cool.  Her granddaughters set theirs on the window sill to cool.    They would go crazy now trying to figure out how many germs were on that apron."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday's Simple Pleasures

Every day this week I've had to run out of the house; dentist office, groceries, piano, taking the truck to the shop, field trip, etc.  Today is the first week we're staying home all day (except Mark, of course).  It feels so good to just be home!  So I've just totally enjoyed many simple pleasures of just being home.

Breakfast with Mark
Rain on the tin roofed porch
Rubber boots in the mud
Excited "Look Mom, I put my gloves on all by myself!"
100% on a spelling test
Chickens in the yard pecking at the snow
Piano being practiced on
Wrestling in the kitchen
Sewing machine going
Funny messages on FB from Mark
Crocheting a rug
Crackling of a woodfire
Browsing through the seed catalog and ordering the seeds, envisioning the garden full of veges
Fun chat on the phone with my sister
Making cuttings of the ivy and putting it in the window
Just feeling so content to be home in the place the Lord has placed us and the role He has given me!

Proverbs 15:13  "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance."
Proverbs 15:15 "But he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

the Woodpile

When Mark was a Pastor in Maine, he was often asked by homeschool  mothers what to do with boys.  They were concerned that they would be too "wimpy" or "feminine" being around a woman all day (especially if they had sisters).  I remember hearing Mark give his answer and it has come to mind quite often.  His answer was,"get a woodpile,,, if you don't burn wood, find someone who does and have your son help them often."

We have burned wood for at least the last 10 years. I can remember Luke when he was 2, carrying the split pieces over to the pile and handing them to an older brother to add to the pile.  He was named the little fork lifter.  We praised them and praised them for helping with the family!   Not only does it physically help them but helps them see their value as a family member.  All of us working together to save us money, keep us warm and clear land.  
We start our wood gathering  in early summer and hope to have it all in by the end of June.  What pride comes from the boys and Mark as they stand and stare at the full wood shed!   In the winter months, they take turns bringing in wheel barrel fulls to the house and then stacking it on the porch and then bringing it into the house.  How much more team work than that?    They take turns emptying the ashes and loading the woodstove up.   It warms our wet hats and mittens and cold bodies after a bath.  Oh the memories around the woodstove and it's process!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Laundry Money

I read somewhere, "My husband works hard for his money so I work hard at saving it at home."  One way I've tried to always help, is by line drying our clothes.  A clothes line was one of the first things we put up when we moved.  We have even moved our clothes lines with us (my Dad made us a nice one while we lived in MD so I loaded it up to take with us to ME when we lived there).  While living in ME, we also put up a huge wheel and pulley type clothes line that we got in Amish country.  Many people would stop in our driveway and take pictures.  That always seemed so funny to me!   I was tempted to ask them to come and help fold it all :)

The Tightwad Gazette author says she saves her family $20 a month by line drying 50 loads of laundry a month.  (this was written in 1992 so I'm sure it's alot more now!)  After I just read this, I tried to figure out how much laundry I do a month.  I think I do 15-20 loads a week.  So, we almost double what she does.   How rewarding to know I can save our family $120 a year  just by hanging our laundry out 6 months of the year. (I tried the drying racks in the house and just couldn't handle the clutter so must use the dryers in the winter).   This is one "chore" I don't mind doing at all.  I love going outside, hearing the birds and chickens,  and hanging it out and then looking out the window and seeing the clothes flapping in the breeze.  Now the folding, that's another story :),  but the clothes smell so super fresh from off the line and there's nothing like getting into crisp, fresh smelling sheets! Super COZY!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The wonders of Garlic

While I was at my parent's this past week, a neat-o thing happened.  On the morning of Ruthie's shower (the reason I was there), my sister Tonya called and said she had a problem.  Levi (who had been fighting a terrible cold) had a terrible ear ache.  She said he's fussing and screaming about his ear.  If she just touched his face, he'd yell in pain.  Oh no, I wasn't prepared to do her part of the shower!  I asked if she had tried garlic yet.  She hadn't (she was going to take him to the doctor at 2:15 in the afternoon and this was early morning). So I walked her through preparing it and we got off the phone as she gave him to dose.  I called back a few minutes later and asked if she got it into him and she had.  I called back about 1/2 an hour later and I asked how Levi was.  Levi was laughing and playing with Violet.  She couldn't believe it!  Can it work that fast!?!?!  She did two "doses" before the shower and he was a new little boy.  
Later we were sitting around chatting about how the garlic had worked for Levi and Silas said, "Oh, that happened to me, my ear killed and Mom gave me the garlic and it went right away!"  My Mother was so impressed to hear it from an older child too!  Garlic is truly an amazing thing GOD has blessed us with!