Hospitality, Friendship, Encouragement

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Runaway

Last evening when Emily went to close up the chicken coop, our sweet Lottie was no where to be found.  

We let her free range during the day and she is often in the flower beds, scratching happily finding yummy stuff for chickens to eat!  In the early afternoon she was in the front yard, and later as it was getting dark she was in the back along the creek as the kids were playing ultimate frisbee.  

A bit later when Emily went out, Lottie was no where to be seen.  This is not good.  The kids looked everywhere, no Lottie.  We thought it strange that a wild animal would have gotten her, as there were people around while it was getting dark and she always goes into the coop at dark.  There was no sign of a wild animal having gotten into the coop, there were no feathers around, nothing.  We went to bed sad, thinking our poor chicken had become dinner for a fox family or something, but we left the coop open just in case she came home.

This morning I looked out my windows, hoping to see her under the coop or nearby, but no chicken.  About an hour later, Rachel says "Hey, Lottie's back!"  Sure enough there she was heading from the coop toward the barn!

I bet she could tell us quite a tale, of wanderings and trials trying to get back to her cozy coop!  I hope she doesn't make a habit of this and become like Bilbo Baggins off having adventures...I don't want to hear a chicken version of "the road goes ever on and on..." coming from my backyard....and since we are planning to get more chickens, I hope she doesn't become a bad influence on them!

For now we are happy to know she is well, and will be leaving us an egg every day or so....

Welcome Home, Lottie!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Learning Fair Photos

 Emily's Cappuccino muffins go into the oven

 An old Battenburg lace tablecloth - with some discolored spots, I decided to tea stain it!

 Homemade bread, Lindsay made this batch.

 Rachel made the oatmeal cookies

 Brownies bites - courtesy of Emily...

 Muffins on display

 Sarah and Kyle made chocolate chip cookies - they were really good!

 Our pretty table display...

 Lemon bars - Emily makes the best!

The rest of my photos of the other families tables did not turn out well.  Lindsay took some good ones, but is not home to share them with me.  She and Rachel are spending the weekend at a horse expo with Grandpa.  This is a much anticipated event every year for all three of them!

Hope you enjoyed the photos...we do love to cook and bake around here, I take delight in my girls become very proficient in this area!  What blessing it will be to them in the years to come!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Learning Fair

Tonight we are having a Learning Fair at our co-op.  These are fun. I love to see what everyone has been working on throughout the year, or what their favorite books are or favorite country.  We often do themes.  The best year was a Countries theme and we made passports for all the folk who came and as they went through to every table (or country) they would get a sticker or get a stamp in their passport!  It was very cool!

Tonight's Learning Fair does not have a theme.  I signed us up to participate before the 3 weeks of sickness, and thought I would  have to back out.  I just couldn't muster the enthusiasm to do a display (again) of horse related stuff, and then inspiration (Thanks Lord!) - we would do our table display on one thing that we do everyday or at least several times a week.  Baked goods!  

The kids love to cook and bake and so we are offering up Sarah and Kyle's chocolate chip cookies, Rachel's oatmeal cookies, Emily's brownies and lemon bars and Lindsay is making bread!


They will all have their cute aprons on, and will be offering samples and recipes, perhaps.  We are going to decorate with a cute table display and have already purchased a beautiful bouquet of flowers that Rachel and Sarah wanted for our display!  

I will take lots of photos tonight or have Lindsay do it!  We'll post them tomorrow.

We love our co-op and the families that participate in it.  It is our last year in co-op though.  I have decided to step down as leader, don't know if I have mentioned that before here.  There are many reasons, but the main one is that the Lord let me know that it is time.  I find it bittersweet though.  My great joy is to encourage home educating moms.  I hope that the Lord will still give me an outlet for this.

One thing I didn't expect though was to feel replaced before the year was over.  In a way it is understandable - this time of year is all about planning next year's classes.  God is so good though and I know without a doubt this is the way He would have us walk.

On a bright note, I am looking forward to weekly field trips with my kids, without worrying that I have forgotten to call someone or email something.  I am looking forward to a relaxed home school year with just three students next year!

Have a great day!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

An Out And About Kind Of Day

Today we paid a visit to King's Herb Nook in Honeybrook, PA.
When the girls and I took our medicinal herb class this past summer, our instructor was Rosanna King.  Her family owns this great little store.  It is packed with wonderful herbs, seeds, essential oils, teas, soaps, and much more.  It smelled so good in there!

Then we drove to Clay to the Clay Bookstore.  This is a neat bookstore that not only has new books, stickers, teacher items, stationary etc, but used curriculum and used books!  I scored a Grace Livingston Hill book I have been looking for, for $1.  

Then we went to our doctor's office for a follow up.  The nurse practitioner that we have seen several times in the last few weeks, could not believe that the doctor did not give the girls a steroid yesterday.  Emily and Sarah are on it - he didn't think Rachel needed it.  The girls are already looking and feeling better.  

We got home and made dinner, the girls headed out for skating, Tim got up and we played Uno Attack with Kyle and Sarah, then put them to bed.

I like a day out now and then, but too many of these kinds of days and our schedules go crazy.  I am thankful to have finished a good day of school, as well, especially after the girls being sick for the past two weeks.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Home Keeping

The work for each day is going pretty well, considering today I was gone almost all day, with taking the kids to the doctor for their poison (which the doctor who is not one of our regular docs, didn't feel confident that it is poison ivy and even though he was certain they would need a steroid, he didn't feel confident in giving it to them yet. We ended up with tears for girls who are quite miserable being made to stay miserable for at least one more day).

Yesterday I managed to clean out the fridge.  It didn't take long and it looks very nice.  Tonight I decided to reorganize the counter.  

I already have a baking center with everything I need to bake in the cupboard under my Kitchen Aide, and so I decided to move the jars for rice, oatmeal and pasta to the counter area by the stove.  This way the things that are cooked are by the stove.  

This also has cleared a counter off, and visually removed clutter!  Good stuff all the way around. 

Tomorrow I am fairly certain that we will be back at the doctor's the work for the day will be modified.

Lindsay and I also cut out a dress pattern today.  It is a medieval style - Eowyn inspired dress.

The fabric is a cream color linen blend.  It is a pretty heavy fabric. The inspiration for this dress can be seen here.  Though she does not want the whole sleeve.

 We are hoping to start it tomorrow.  

Thanks Lindsay for all the photos!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Do you know the old saying "If it's not one thing, it's another?" That is how it has been with the girls lately.  Rachel had strep, Sarah a sinus infection, Emily and Sarah some kind of virus.

We had a wonderful time on Sunday.  Good church service, good fellowship meal, good men's meeting...are you sensing a theme?

After all that fun we headed home with a family from our church who live an hour away.  The older kids went outside to have a bonfire, a few younger siblings joined them as well.  Apparently something that was tossed on the fire must have had poison (ivy, oak? or something else) on it because Rachel started itching Sunday night.  Yesterday Emily woke up itchy too, then Lindsay mentioned she had a bit on her hands.  Later in the day Sarah started.  All but Lindsay have it on their faces.

We tend to be sensitive to it and end up with a steroid.  I made appointments to see the doctor this morning.  The mom of our visitors emailed me this morning.  She mentioned one of her boys had it and was pretty swollen.

I think we will stick with wood from our woodpile from now on.

I need to get going. Sarah has a dentist appointment then I need to run them to the doctorDid I mentioned we had 6 inches of snow last night?  The roads are passable so off we go.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Question - UPDATE

My friend Laura I think has the answer to my question.  My phone and dsl provider is Frontier and they are headquartered in Rochester, NY!  Genius girl!
Whenever I am visiting a blog that uses a visitor tracker like Feedjit, it shows that I am in Rochester, NY, which I am not!

I have started to get ads popping up from Rochester too.  

Does anyone know why this could be happening and how to fix it?

Work For Each Day

In the "Little House on the Prairie" books Ma had work that was specific to each day.

“Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday.”
Another version goes:
Monday: Wash Day
Tuesday: Ironing Day
Wednesday: Sewing Day
Thursday: Market Day
Friday: Cleaning Day
Saturday: Baking Day
Sunday: Day of Rest

We generate a lot of laundry here at the cottage.  Serious laundry.  We basically do laundry every day. 

I've been reading the book "Large Family Logistics" by Kim Brenneman, that I mentioned here.
  She mentioned the same idea as Ma Ingalls had.  Different work for different days.

Seeing as how today is Monday and we always have a lot of laundry from the weekend, today is a good day to start.  I am hoping that if we can get all the laundry done today, that maybe we can only do laundry a few days a week, instead of every day.

I really do want to get organized and have a workable plan for keeping up with the vacuuming, dusting, cleaning out the fridge etc...instead of just trying to remember to get to it. 

We have a lot of helping hands around here and it won't take long to get our daily work done, and that way the cottage is always tidy.  Makes perfect sense doesn't it?

Now to actually implement it and make it work.  

Gotta run.

We've got LAUNDRY to do today!

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Got My Hair Cut!

 I usually wear my hair longer, but it was in need of shaping and well, it is feeling like Spring and I wanted a change!

 I never go crazy with it - it is baby fine, but really curly.  I also have a widow's peak, and a cow lick on each side of that.  Crazy hair I say.  It has it's problems.  It has a mind of it's own.  So I usually wear it very much the same, just longer or shorter.  It is layered for fullness and it makes it easier to care for.

 I like it. 

 This is after I dried it and used a curling iron on it.

What do you usually do with your hair?

What Are You Reading?

I love to read about what others are reading, it is a neat way to find out about books and authors that I have not read.  

I am one who usually has several books going at a time.  I am currently reading "Miss Read Village School"
and I am reading "Large Family Logistics

which a friend loaned me. I am enjoying both books and they both are very different reads.  One is simply for pleasure and the other is a helpful book.  I am learning a lot about organizing my day etc.  I highly recommend this book!  Thanks Brigette for loaning it to me! I am also reading in 2 Corinthians, and Galatians. And I do a lot of blog reading!

So let's talk!  What are you reading?  Why did you choose it?  What authors do you love to read? 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just Taking A Moment

I am taking a moment to relax.   We have been dealing with sickness since last week - Emily is doing fine, but Sarah still seems wiped out and off and on runs a fever.  Now Rachel has strep.  

I was very pleased with how well we were doing health wise this winter, and I really can't complain.  We have been very healthy.  I had Rachel at our doctor's office this evening and the Nurse Practitioner that we saw, said he and his family have had a terrible winter sickness wise!

We will continue with rest, lots of fluids, jello, and good movies to break up the monotony for them.  Right now we are watching "Battle of Britain" an old movie 
but one that fits in with our history studies this year.  It is a creative way to continue to learn while dealing with sick days!

On top of all the care giving and snuggling and movie watching, we have co-op classes tomorrow (for the non sickies) and then a graduation meeting tomorrow night. 

Well, I must end now and go to sleep.  I have two girlies in with me tonight.  Pray for good sleep for both of them will you?  I need a solid nights sleep too!

Sweet dreams, everyone.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kyle Is A Reader!

My little guy, Kyle is learning to read.  He is my earliest reader.  He just has a mind to absorb knowledge. 

For many years I have been reading about a phonics program called "Alpha Phonics" by Samuel L. Blumenfeld, and decided to use it with my son who is five and as a help for my Sarah.

  It has been fun to watch him learn and to see his eyes light up when he recognizes words.  The other day he asked me to help him read a book.  He did most of the reading, I helped him with a few words but he really did it!

We have a few books that he practically has memorized, but even with those he 'reads' them - just knowing what the words say and looking at them while reciting is reinforcing it in his mind!

I have found that Alpha Phonics has been a great help to my 8 year old struggling reader as well.  It has given her confidence in her reading that she didn't have before.

Teaching them to read is truly one of the most satisfying things about educating my kids at home.  I have loved sharing my delight in reading with them.  

If a person can read well, with understanding, they can teach themselves anything!

Welcome to the world of knowledge, ideas, and the gaining of wisdom, son.

Spring Is In The Air...

 We are having warmer weather, and with the snow melting we are all getting eager for Spring.  Today Becky and I took our kids to our favorite garden. Longwood Gardens is having an Orchid Festival.  It is amazing how many variety of Orchids there are.

 They come in different colors, sizes and shapes.

 They have never really interested me, except for the fact that they are well, interesting.  Just look at them!

 I think of them as high maintenance flowers, and at Longwood, the Orchid room is humid.  I am not a fan of humid.

 Aren't they unusual?  

 Stunning, really.


I am always in awe of God's creativity, giving us the ability to propagate new varieties of plants.

Spring is on the way, my friends, I'm excited.  Are you?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

                                                          - The Kiss

Today is the 24th anniversary of our first kiss....

After all these years he is my dearest friend and love.

I thank the Lord for you every day! 

I am so happy to be your wife. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This and That

Lindsay and I have been watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I haven't seen the movies in years, but am enjoying getting to know the characters again.

I like this speech of Sam's from The Two Towers

Sam: It's like in the great stories Mr. Frodo, the ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn't want to know the end because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end it's only a passing thing this shadow, even darkness must pass. A new day will come, and when the sun shines it'll shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you, that meant something even if you were too small to understand why. But I think Mr. Frodo, I do understand, I know now folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there's some good in the world, Mr. Frodo, and it's worth fighting for.

Samwise Gamgee is one of my favorite characters in the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy.  He is loyal to Frodo, and having been his gardener in the Shire, he is determined to serve him and to help him on his quest to take the ring to Mordor and to destroy it.  When we read it or watch it we recognize that Frodo cannot do it with out Sam.  Frodo knows it, too.  The only one who doesn't seem to realize it is Sam himself.

I would like to be the kind of encourager and helper that Sam is.

Those who have been sick in our home I believe are on the mend.  Sarah is feeling much better today and Emily is now bored - a sure sign she is feeling better!  She has just taken Kyle and Kamryn on a walk.

Tim and Rachel are running errands, Lindsay is running our friends' store, I have bread rising, and I need to do some cleaning in the kitchen.

Kyle has decided on blue for his wall color - it is his current favorite color, so now I just need to find the right blue for his small room.  Lindsay and Emily need to find a color for their room too.  It seems as if many of our rooms need a paint refresher, including mine.  I am thinking that these few weeks left before Spring arrives is the perfect time to paint.  Once spring comes we will be much busier with outside work.
Have a wonderful day.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I didn't know what to title this post...should I say "another busy day?" or "prayer  requests, again?"  A few years ago I realized that my busy life, was not a blimp in my normal routine - it was my normal routine!  There are a lot of us living here and that makes for a busy life.

Sarah and Emily have been sick for a few days.  Nothing terrible but a low grade fever and cough.  The fever makes them feel bad, but we are managing it.  It means an adjustment for Lindsay as she will need to run our friends' store today by herself.  He said it has been busy this week leading up to Valentine's Day so at least she will not be bored!

Nate is having surgery this morning to remove some screws from his upper leg, near the knee.  He broke his leg badly 2 years ago and they had to put a rod and screws in.  The upper ones are causing him pain, so they are coming out this morning.  It is outpatient surgery, and should only take 30 minutes.  He had a job interview at Olive Garden, please pray that he will get this job.

Today is my big shopping day - lots of food to buy, dog food, etc...a bonus is that Tim wants me to meet him for lunch today!  He is working third shift right now so he is already worked for today.  He is going to take a nap and then meet me for lunch.  Then he will head to the farm where we get our hay, pick up a load, and then do something with the non sick kids.  Probably just games, but they love that.

Well, I do need to run.  I pray that your day will be wonderful, that you will remember to count your blessings!  We have so much to be thankful for, even in difficulties.... 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Nature Study - A Great Foundation For Science

Charlotte Mason was a British Educator who believed that education was about more than training for a job, passing an exam, or getting into the right college. She said education was an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life; it was about finding out who we were and how we fit into the world of human beings and into the universe God created.

When I was a young home educating mom I learned about Charlotte Mason online and I bought Karen Andreola's book "A Charlotte Mason Companion." It was so helpful to me and helped me to implement an attitude of learning in our home, rather than "read a section from a text and answer questions." 

All these years later, I am still using Charlotte's ideas for nature study.  Over the years we have observed a preying mantis, a garden spider's orb web and counted the rings, we have caught turtles and frogs, hiked and observed lichen and mosses, looked at the bark of trees to find what kind of tree it was...the list goes on.  

When you catch the interest of your child in the things of nature, an interesting thing happens.  They learn.  In a relaxed way they begin to classify insects, and animals and plants and trees.

These two books by Edith Holden are treasures for seeing beautiful nature notebooks.  I read about Edith Holden many years ago, and one day while in a used book store I came across both books for $2.00 each.  These books were read and re read by Lindsay and sat upon her shelf for many years.  I recently reclaimed "The Country Diary" and have now placed it on the bookcase in our hallway.  It sits with open pages in a book holder so we can all see the beauty of nature all year.  Right now this is the page that the book is open to.

 Edith lived in England and I live in Pennsylvania so some of the things she observed are different that what we would find here but it doesn't matter.  It is capturing the interest of my children, and causing them to want to learn about what they see.  We put a bird feeder in the maple tree that is in view outside of our living room window.  Daily we see the birds lining up for their turn at the feeder.  We have observed many kinds of birds.  

We have gotten away from keeping Nature Notebooks, but I am going to restart them with my children.  I miss it.  

I believe that to be really educated you must have a working knowledge of nature.  How many of us who grew up in cities believed that plants that weren't planted by us in our flower beds, were just 'old weeds' and needed to be destroyed?  Am I the only one?! 

I have learned so much over the last several years about these 'weeds' that we see along the roadside now that I live in the country.  I see jewel weed - great for poison ivy, plantain - amazing for drawing out venom from bee stings etc...and drawing out impurities in the skin.  I see chicory - the roots of which can be used as a coffee substitute.  They did this in the South during the Civil War and I believe that in New Orleans you can get chicory in your coffee along with your beignets.  

Can you tell that this home educator has received an education herself?  The joy and delight of home education!

An online resource for these photos can be found here. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Bit Of Home Life...

 For several months now I have been baking our bread.  There are two blogs that I read that the gals have been sharing bread recipes and/or tips for better baking.  
The first blog I want to share with you is Rosie's Ramblings.  Rosie writes about her life at home with her dear mama Jewels, and the rest of the family.  She shared a recipe for the "best bread ever", here is a link.  This bread of mine was made from that recipe.  It is the BEST BREAD EVER!  We devoured a whole loaf this evening!  I will definitely make this recipe again and again.

Joy at Home Joys has been doing a great series on baking and if you click on the link it will take you to her newest post on bread baking - freezing dough.
I talked Kayleigh through making an English Apple PieShe did great and made it while I was sewing pillowcases this afternoon.

We got to visit with our friend Denny tonight.  It was fun. We ate bread with jam and pie and drank coffee and tea.  He goes this week to be with his family to celebrate his sister's life at a memorial service. 

Well, I should head to bed soon.  I stay up too late most of the time, and am usually the first one up in the morning.  Partly it is due to finally getting a chance to have a bit of time to myself, and partly it is because I am either reading or on my computer reading blogs!  The book I am reading right now is "Miss Read - Village School."  I am enjoying it very much.   

Okay, good night friends.  I pray you have a lovely day tomorrow.  We have had sunshine for two days in a row now - it's almost enough to make a person giddy!  

Sweet Dreams....


  I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. We spent Saturday, doing things around the house, and then we swam. Kyle and Sarah left after that...