Saturday, August 30

Now there's a visual!

Lynae let me know this morning that, as homeschool families go, we are not particularly musical. Because, she said, "We don't go scampering across the countryside, singing and playing our cellos."

Monday, August 25

The Merc saves the day

Today I decided I should get some licenses before I actually need them. So I went to the DNR office to get my licenses. Did you know that they don't even sell licenses at the DNR office? It seems like the DNR office would be the natural place to get a license, but apparently not. So I thought about where I could definitely get a license or two. A little voice inside me whispered, "They've got everything at The Merc." Of course. I couldn't lose. So I went to The Merc, where I got my Jr. Trapping License and my Youth Firearms Deer License and tag. When I got them, I noticed that they already had all my personal information on them. Wow. That's kind of scary.

I can play "Never Going Back to OK" on my guitar. It's a fun song by The Afters. I like to fingerpick it, because it's fun to take a rock song and sing it like a rock song but play it like a folk song. Heh heh.

Sunday, August 24


I had a wonderful time at camp. I went to Laurentian Environmental Center up by Virginia, MN. It was the first all girls session that they had ever had, and I expected only about 5 girls to come. Boy, was I surprised! There were 16 girls total. I quickly made friends with three of them and we decided to be together as much as possible. (That was really easy because we were often divided into groups of 4.) We called ourselves the klutzes because we were all rather clumsy and all forgot to bring something.
My friends blowing on the fire that we started.

I forgot to bring my camera to range day, but while we practiced target shooting, my friends were able to get some pictures of me. Here, Miss Stacy is helping me get good aim.
We also got to shoot some arrows at 3D targets. I was shooting at this coyote.
I also got to climb the 32 ft. climbing wall.
We only got a little bit of lounge time, so we usually rested.

Here are some amazing mounts.More camp friends.

Saturday, August 23

Summer is winding down

I can feel it in the air today. I think it's been in the 60's all day, and I'm loving it! My new banner photo was taken early in the week. We've since had more wood delivered and gotten more stacked. I sure hope we can get the wood furnace going this winter without a hitch. We've made more progress on the coop since this was taken, also. I like the paint color with the daylilies and tansy. We will not discuss the crookedness of things, ok? It was finally time to finish cleaning up the garlic that's been curing for the past couple weeks. I'll be interested to see how long this actually lasts us. I've already ordered some to plant this fall. My to-do list for the next several weeks is daunting, but full of variety and the promise of tangible results. I plan to enjoy it as much as I can.

I've already made two batches of holiday soaps, too. I'm thinking of setting up an Etsy shop, but am not up to the marketing. Anyone want to help?

Friday, August 22

I'm back!

Hey everyone, I just got back from camp today. I had an awesome time and will post more tomorrow. I will also add pictures. Goodnight!

Monday, August 18

Only two things that money can't buy

That's true love and homegrown tomatoes.
It won't be long before we're overrun with tomatoes. And that's fine with me.

Another birthday!

This year, Jon's birthday celebration was a great success. And that right there is proof of God's goodness.
Hard to imagine, but the young man is 10!It was time to try the two-wheeler again. Last time, he just wasn't ready. This time, just a bit of help getting started, and he was off! There's no stopping him now. (gulp)

Thursday, August 14

Toby got a rabbit

Her name is Sapphira. That is spelled differently than Saphira, the dragon in Eragon. I did some research and found that Sapphira is a feminine form of "Safir" which means "Beautiful." This is a picture of Sapphira and me (I'm the one with the blue shirt). She's a Flemish Giant, which means that she may get up to 25 pounds. She also likes to nip me, which means that she needs to quit that pretty soon or she's gonna end up in a crock pot.
This is Michael and I enjoying Jon's birthday last night. I am wearing a blue shirt in this picture too, but so is Michael. If you can't tell who's who, I'm on the left.
The other night I was listening to the Weekend 22 countdown, which is played across the country, and heard someone on the radio who I knew... me! That was so unexpected that I just listened, and when it was over I sat back and laughed. Because my comment was played across the country, I'm supposed to get a free copy of Matthew West's CD Something to Say. You might remember me talking about this back on May 21. I still don't quite believe it.

Something Beautiful - for my mom

Something beautiful, something good;
All my confusion He understood.
All I had to offer Him
Was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.

If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble,
They were my dreams at the start;
And the hopes for life's best
Were the hopes that I harbored,
Down deep in my heart.
But my dreams turned to ashes,
My castles all crumbled,
My fortune turned to loss;
So I wrapped it all in the rags of my life,
And laid it at the cross.

Something beautiful, something good;
All my confusion He understood.
All I had to offer Him
Was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.

Tuesday, August 12


In a sense, every homeschooling student has an IEP - Individualized Education Plan. After several years of less-than-stellar progress with Jon, I've decided he needs something more. And yet, I don't believe it's time to turn him back over to a government school. In many ways, it seems that would create more problems than it would solve. So I prayed for God to show me what Jon really needs and how to reach him.

I cannot claim, except by faith, that the answer I received will work perfectly. But I do trust that we will see significant improvement if we can do our part. Because the answer I received was something we haven't yet tried, and it makes perfect sense to do so.

Jon has "mom issues". He also has significant learning challenges. Sometimes it's hard to tell if a lack of information recall is the result of the former or the latter. I have some of the tools for dealing with Jon's learning challenges, but I can't not be Mom. Meanwhile, my school planning is often filled with self-doubt, because even if I have four children who make visible progress each year, I have one who seems to get further and further behind. And I wonder how much of it is him and how much of it is my failure, or sometimes my unwillingness to keep trying.

I shared this with Loren, and just blurted out, "Maybe YOU should teach him." We both sat in stunned silence for a moment, and both realized that might actually work.

Loren would like to be more involved in the kids' education, but we've rarely had a workable plan for him to do so. He is able to reach all the kids in ways I cannot, but Jon most of all. Why not use that to our advantage?

This would allow me to come up with a plan I think will work for Jon, without the fact that I'm Mom getting in the way of his progress. And at the same time, I can focus on teaching the children who are eager to learn from me. As far as Jon will see, I will be more of a hands-off team member. He can complete his work under my supervision, but the teaching and feedback will come from someone he's willing to hear.

I was amazed at how easily I was able to put a specific IEP on paper. It was great to be able to pinpoint specific issues without feeling overwhelmed by the hopelessness of having to overcome them myself. And detailing methods and goals that seem reasonable and reachable with my husband's help was downright exciting.

As we plan to start the new school year a bit differently, I'd appreciate your prayers. It seems that this could be the answer we've been looking for!

Homemade powdered laundry soap redux

This is edited from an April 2008 post.

I use homemade laundry soap for a family of seven, averaging at least 16 loads per week. We have a HE front loader, and find that this recipe works for low suds.

I also use Dawn for my husband's work shirts (think restaurant kitchen) and Oxiclean for tough stains.

Powdered laundry soap uses the same ingredients as the liquid, but is so easy to make, it's almost unfair. Here, I've tripled the recipe from the April post because this is a more practical amount for our family.


  • 1 bar fels naptha, finely grated
  • 1 ½ cups washing soda
  • 1 ½ cups borax (again, I use more for our hard water)
Mix in a small container. Use 1 Tbsp. per wash load.

Now wasn't that easy?? The hardest part is grating the soap, which is the perfect job for a young man or young lady who needs a chance to bless the family.

Monday, August 11

Eggs are still hatching

Thursday morning, there was another chick under the hen. By the weekend, however, she grew impatient and didn't want to sit on the eggs anymore. We took the eggs out of the crate to dispose of them, and Toby discovered some hatching going on. He helped a little more than he should've, but by the end of the day there were two more chicks. Unfortunately, the mama hen wasn't interested in caring for these chicks. So we put together a little brooder for our front room and set it up with the heat lamp. By the end of the night, one of the two chicks died. The other perked up and is quite a character!

Sunday afternoon, I thought once again to dispose of the remaining eggs. Because really, I was not prepared to incubate them properly. They might get too hot or too cold or not be turned enough. I decided that this situation is far less than ideal. Anyway, as of Sunday night there's more hatching going on. Oh, the drama!

Meanwhile, Lynae and I made 23 jars of blueberry jam this weekend. When we were finished, Loren took the kids to Taco Bell for supper. Then he took them back to the berry farm, where they picked 12 more pints of berries! While they were gone, I harvested the rest of the rhubarb. In just a while, that will be stewed and canned. Then I'll probably make syrup with most of the blueberries and freeze the rest. This week will be a great time to check the gooseberry harvest, too. What a wonderfully busy time of year!

Saturday, August 9


We're a nation of consumers
This commercial sounds an alarm in me each time I see it. Although the commentary might differ slightly, I encourage my children to analyze it as well. It's very enlightening.

Here's something many folks aren't prepared to consider: The concept of consumer responsibility
I would quote this, but you'd do so much better to go read the whole excerpt.

Unfortunately, this country seems to be headed more in the direction of rewarding financially irresponsible choices

It's time for a balanced look at our own lives -- Christians pursuing prosperity

Wednesday, August 6

Eggs are hatching

Today I went out to the chicken coop to care for the chickens, and our broody hen was really angry when I went near her. I looked in and saw a little gray and white chick, still wet, with his (or hopefully her) egg tooth still on. Pictures are doubtless coming very soon, but the girls won't be back till tonight, and they both have their digicams. So we'll have to show you pictures of the chicks coming up, since the rest of the eggs will hatch in a few days.

Today I got my shiny copper trap tags in the mail. 100 trap tags with my name and MN DNR number on them.

Monday, August 4

For the Love of Summer

This morning we enjoyed smoothies made with plain yogurt and a jar of rhubarb I processed a few days ago. It was amazingly wonderful. After our weekly home blessing, I encouraged Loren to take the kids swimming. After they left, I wandered around outside. The tansy smells like honey today, and the bees are loving it. The meat chicks are growing like meat chicks, unaware of the fate that awaits them next month. The broody hen is sitting on about a dozen eggs which should be ready to hatch in a few days, if I remember correctly. Another of the laying hens and I discussed the importance of eggs. We were in complete agreement on the subject. I sampled the raspberries on my way to the garden. Yum! We may have enough ripe ones for picking by the end of the week. I offered additional guidance and encouragement to the tomato plants, which are preparing to take over the north end of the garden. The two measly peppers growing from my six measly pepper plants won't put up much of a fight, I'm afraid. The nasturtiums, on the other hand, are prepared to join the takeover. It seems the cauliflower is just being silly. I'm almost ready to show it who's boss and replant that entire plot in a fall crop of I-don't-care-what. The spaghetti squash is quietly working its magic in with the sweet corn. The cucumbers are trying to do the same, but I snatched up the entire harvest and gobbled it up -- two delightful little cukes.

Sunday, August 3

I am back

Had a great time in Fergus Falls. It basically went like this.

Thursday: We left around noon, I drove to St. Cloud and from there Dad drove to Fergus Falls. Set up camp and looked around.

Friday: Got up around 6 and went to take a shower. "There's only one knob 'cus there's only one temperature: cold." I went to a lot of demos and took a lot of notes. In my free time I bought trapping supplies and sold my weasel pelts. That evening I went to the auction. I got there, and right away I bought six #1 3/4 traps for the low price of $27.50. Brand new, the same traps would cost over $63.

Saturday: Woke up at 6 again did not take a shower due to temperature of water and air, (cold mornings + cold shower = grumpy guy), went to more demos, got chosen for Junior Trapper of the Year, went in the Sadie Hawkins Trapper Race. I didn't win the race. Mr. Gary said that I should have won because everybody else bent the rules, but that wasn't till after the awards had been passed out already.

Friday, August 1


We planted garlic last fall, and today was harvest day. If it's as yummy as it ought to be, we'll definitely grow more next time. It's very easy to grow, and we love garlic.Lynae got a picture of me all sweaty and messy when I came back inside. I'm only posting it so you can see my new glasses. I'm thrilled with the Transitions lenses! They lighten up much faster than my previous pair.