Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Serving Jesus...

Once a month we traipse into the local town and serve lunch at the Homeless Shelter. 

The view driving up to the shelter.. 

This street is mostly apartments where people who have a need for stable housing while they transition from homelessness can stay. 

This month we took food once a week but did not serve every time, since I can not take the littles along and it is hard to find regular sitters. 

the view from the parking lot

It always amazes me that less then 20 minutes from my house, there are people who live in such hopeless poverty. 

We see many mentally ill people, old people, young people, families, women, and men from all walks of life. Most people are incredibly grateful and thank us repeatedly.  My kids are most impacted by the tearfilled thanks and comments like "that is just like my mom or grandma used to make" when we make things like homemade mac and cheese or warm cookies.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Fresh Air Fun

This summer our family decided to try a new adventure. We are working on serving Jesus in our home. We want to make a difference in the world. We can not travel over seas, we can not adopt more children, we choose not to do childcare in this season... but I wanted to do some sort of short term outreach this summer. I want my kids to learn to be uncomfortable in the gospel. To reach beyond their little bubbles, to help even when it means sacrifice. I also want them to learn how to share Jesus. 

So we opened up our home for 10 days to a little Lady from the Bronx N.Y. 

It was with much prayer and discussion and a little bit of apprehension that we signed up for Fresh Air Fun.

Miss M came to us on a Friday night. She was quiet and respectful. Totally in awe of this new world. She had never been out of the city. 

She thought it was the grandest thing when we built a little fire and roasted marshmallows. 

We had incredibly high temps so we had to stay home and make our own fun the first couple days.

Once it cooled off the end of the week, we did some jobs like cleaning out our garage and making homemade sourdough pizza.

We invited our friends and had a fun day at the local lake. 

We introduced her to all our animals. She was a brave little soul until one day Daddy Rabbit accidently splashed some stinky stuff on her when she was petting him. 

My lil country girl had so much fun teaching Miss M how to milk goats. 

We tried to make as many fun, simple, free memories as posssible. 

There were some tough moments in the week. Some of my children struggled to share their home with a stranger, who became like a sister. Some struggled to sleep and some got up to early. There was a need for a high level of supervision and that took a lot of my energy.
But in the end we got to talk to her about Jesus, we got to share our every day boring live with her. It was quite interesting to my kids that a child who has TWO smart phones would want to spend 10 days at their house for her summer vacation!!

We miss her and hope to see her again next year. It was def an experience worth repeating. 

School Prep update

We completed our first full week of school!!
This year promises to be a good year. I am in my 7th year of homeschooling. 

This year Lee is in 7th grade. He is doing bible, history, science, geography, language arts and civics online with Alpha Omegas Monarch. He is doing his 6th year of Teaching Textbooks Math. He is also going to be doing some "woodshop" classes as I teach him to build goat milking stands and hay feeders. This will be his little business, so he will be learning accounting and business management too.

David is going into 6th grade.  He is going to be doing KONOS this year. I am excited to try this for him. This will cover language arts, science, history and geography. We struggle fiercely with math for him. So as usual I am tossing around several things. He will be doing some "Keys To:" workbooks along with CLE. He has a strong foundation in the basics but just struggles with math.  He is also running his own little calf business so he is learning to be responsible, how to manage his money etc.. He will be helping teach bubbie too. He helps me out with babysitting and is my excellent helper. 

Elizabeth is also in 6th grade and is  doing Alpha Omega's Monarch. She is doing history, science, geography, bible, language arts and Career Exploration. She is in her 6th year of Teaching Textbooks. Yes, I have 2 6th graders working two completely different curricullium. Matia also has her own goat and hopes to start her own goat herd. The girl is ambitious and dreams big! She will be helping teach Bubbie and Nesiah. She does 1/3 of Nesiah's program for me.

Fayth is in 5th grade. She is doing KONOS with David. We are hoping with the hands on learning she will be able to catch up. She is doing CLE math, finishing up from last year. We don't break up her math into school years. We work steadily (with some major battles) year round because she is so far behind. Fayth loves to help with Nesiah. She is not an animal person and does not enjoy going to the barn, so she has been enlisted to help with Nesiah. She hopes to grow up and be a missionary who works with special needs kids. 

We attempted circle time.. lol

Nesiah is in 3rd grade. She is doing NACD this year. Yes, I am homeschooling her. My goal is to try some alternatives and see how they work for her. So far she loves being home and we love having her home. She has made some great strides and we are happy with her progress. She does NACD which covers all her therapies, plus she does equine therapy. We also include her in when we do preschool circle time with Bubbie. She does her PT outside and is learning to enjoy being out and about in the community with us. 

Signing Time videos while standing... 

(notice the shoes? He wore them until they were falling off his feet and then he still insisted on wearing them until I hid them!!)

Bubbie, my baby.. He is doing preschool this year. We had fun making a homemade curricilum for him. He is learning a new letter, sound, shape, color and bible verse every week. We are very informal and make it fun for him. He loves having school like the big kids. The big kids take turns doing circle time with the little ones and we all work to point out things as we go through daily life. 

Nesiah loves her horseback riding! She gets all excited when we pull into the farm! Penny is her favorite horse!

I am looking forward to this school year. The kids are on the brink of middle and high school. They are moving into the teen stage. I want to savor these moments. Enjoy the schooling, the parenting and the relationships with my kids in this stage. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


The beginning of summer this is what my can shelves looked like..
I prayed that God would fill them...
Now We all know that God is a God of miracles but he expects us to do our share in the work. So we have been working HARD!!
 But he provided lots and lots of cheap and low cost produce for us!! 

So far, the 2 different neighbors provided us with free corn because..
1. her husband planted too much corn and she did not want it. We were quite blessed by her extra.
Second neighbor, her friend went on vacation and told her to pick the corn. We got another 100 ears.
Then ANOTHER friend offered us some extra of her corn..
We found cheap organic tomatoes from a local farmer, which we made in tomato soup, tomato paste, tomato juice and salsa. Neighbors also brought us some of their extra which I turned into tomato paste.
On Friday we will go pick MORE FREE tomatoes at another friends and turn those into ketchup and barbecue sauce.
We found some expensive peaches, some seconds peaches and have been canning and freezing as we can. I hope to find more seconds at the end of the season.
My garden has over produced cucumbers, so we have lots of pickles and some pickle relish.
Neighbors gave us free green beans and we bought a basket of green beans.
We canned red beets that we bought from an amish farmer.
We had neighbors bring us watermelon and corn on several occassions for fresh eating.

my shelves are slowly filling and overflowing. My freezers are filling.
God is faithful.

Fun Run

Life is busy.. Summer has been grand... We have played hard and worked hard. 

The kids ran in their first Color Run. 

They ran for an organization called  We help Children at

They had a total blast!! 

It was HOT and STICKY!! 

I could not imagine any fun in being covered by this messy, colorful mess! 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

1 st Race

My kids decided they want to run a 5 mile race. They worked hard at building up their strength. For the past year they have been running laps around the property to earn screentime. So when they decided they want to run a 5 mile race we just expanded their running area. They had exactly 2 weeks to train for their 5 mile race. They would wake me at 6 am and beg to go running. I am not a morning person. at.all.

Honestly, I did not think that they could run a 5 mile race, especially in this heat. But they like to prove me wrong. Jeremiah and Journi are natural born runners. They run with joy. 

The day of the race, I had the girls running together and David was given freedom to run at his own pace. I was rather concerned with giving my preteens the freedom to run 5 miles without an adult. I know the organizer of the race and they reassured me that there were ambulances and police officers everywhere. So I prayed and trusted. (I am learning this is my current stage of parenting. Praying and letting them test their wings)
I had them do a practice run on the route so they could become familiar with the route along with easing my concerns. I generally follow them in the van when they are running outside of our immediate neighborhood. Eventually I hope to join in running but for now I support  them by supporting them.

David was running alone, the girls were running together. I prayed frevently that David would be safe and that if he faltered that God would provide someone to run with him. (we discussed safe adults vs unsafe and how to ask for help etc..) 
He ran strong, finished the 5 miles in 45 minutes. He came in and soon this wonderful lady came up to me. She shared how she had encountered him at the 3 mile mark. He was running out of steam. She ran with him and talked to him the last 2 miles. She was quite flustered when I informed her that she was a direct answer to my prayers! I was so thankfulf that God provided this wonderful person to run alongside David. This random stranger that saw a young boy and sought to encourage him.

The girls came in 15 minutes after Jeremiah. They ran strong. They had  a total blast. It was like 90 degrees out but they totally enjoyed it. The girls came in back to back, 3-4th place for 18 and under girls. Fayth won the 3rd place medal. 

The happy crew after their run. Lee, Bubbie and Nesiah were the support crew. They cheered and  waited patiently in the hot sun. Lee has been a huge help with the little ones as I help the runners etc..

The benefit of running, aside from the obvious self esteem booster and health benefits. Is that one of my kids has been borderline depressed. This child snapped at everyone, everyone complained about the grumpy attitudes from this one. But since this child runs regularly this child is happy, fun to be around and I have not heard anyone complain about their attitude!