Sunday, May 31, 2009


John Paul was looking at the video of Anna reading and said my "loud" voice was "protruding into the video..." Until he's willing to do the blogging, he needs to keep his thoughts to himself!

House Finch Update

They've hatched!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Anna Dances

We are having so much fun with Anna. Here is a video Emily took:

Anna Reads

Here is Anna "reading!"

F.U.N. !!!

Here are a few pictures- I know, I'm way behind on my blogging... But I think I'm back now!!!Yeah!! Oliver took the picture of Tommy's shoes. I thought that was pretty cute.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Our Growing Garden

What we have growing so far: onions, lettuce, potatoes, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, pumpkins, sunflowers, basil, dill, oregano, rosemary, red and green peppers, jalapenos, rasberry plants(pictured), and corn. Also included is a picture of our beehive.


Here is a video of our new dairy cow, Penny. Some dear friends of ours pitched in and got her for us!! We had a rough week, but she is really getting to like and know us now!! We have to get up early to milk her. It has been an adjustment for the whole family. The milk is so wonderful-it makes it all worth it.


Here are the eggs!!! They have been in the nest about a week. Isn't it amazing?!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where have we gone?

We have a new dairy cow and have been very Busy!!!! She is beautiful and we are very excited, but she is having a little trouble getting used to her new home! I am hoping to get some pictures on our blog tomorrow(Friday). Then you will know why we haven't been blogging up to speed.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Travis and the children were so sweet today. They showered me with beautiful flowers and thoughtfulness. We are getting ready to get our dairy cow tomorrow, so much of today was very busy-but still a great day. Travis had all the children say what they appreciate about me the most. Here are some of their responses:

  1. "I like the way Mom fixes me food on the spot."
  2. "I like going on picnics with Mom."
  3. "I like that Mom reads to us." (got three votes-yeah!!)
  4. "I liked when Mom took me to Goshen with Tommy."
  5. "Mom makes really good cheeseburgers."
  6. "I like Mom's kisses and hugs." (Tommy said this.)
  7. "The food."
  8. "I like the way Mom teaches me new things."
  9. "Going places with Mom."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

House Finch Update

Those of you who read my blog willremember that the housefinches just started their nest in the hanging basket. (see the post: "If we come, they will build it"). Well here is what the nest looked like on Friday morning-one day after construction began. I just uploaded the image and realixe how blurry it is. I'll try to get a better picture tomorrow. I have to be quick and snap the picture before the birds get back to the nest, and I don't have the best camera for close-ups.

Friday, May 8, 2009

What Is It About The Flag On The Moon?

Mary Margaret said to me emphatically, "Mommy I love you as much as I love the American flag on the moon!"

"Through The Looking Glass"

Oliver took this picture of the view from one of our school room windows. As you can imagine, the room smells lovely when the windows are open!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

If We Come, They Will Build It

As you can probably guess, the title of this post is a take off the movie, "Field Of Dreams," where the main character(played by Kevin Costner) is told in his dreams, "If you build it, they will come."

We had an experience a little like that in reverse today. For the last four years, we have had a pair of House finches on our front porch. Every year they have nested in a hanging basket in the exact same spot.

This year the finches came very early-about two or three weeks ago. We didn't have any hanging baskets up yet, but the pair of birds kept flitting back and forth on the porch, from corner to corner, expectantly searching for the site of their new nest. This has gone on for weeks.

I thought the birds might build a nest in the Yew bush right next to the porch-or maybe on the porch ledge. But they didn't.

Finally I thought to myself- these poor birds are counting on that hanging basket to build a nest. We better get one-and soon!!
I called Travis right away(he was in town) and said, "I know hanging baskets are a luxury right now, but we need one on the front porch! The finches are depending on us!!"

Travis brought home a beautiful, cascading Petunia which immediately went on the front porch. Within five minutes(no exaggeration), the birds were beginning the construction of their new nest in the hanging basket!!!

I think God gives us these little glimpses of providence in the natural world to show us what our faith should be like. We need to expect miracles. Not that we should have the kind of expectancy that lacks appreciation; rather we should be so sure of his providence that we don't even question it. If we can provide for the birds, how much more can our Heavenly Father provide for us?
Oliver took this picture of the Petunia, and hopefully we will have updates on the finch family over the next couple weeks!!!

Sisters Make The Best Friends

Mary Margaret and Anna have such fun together.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Home Grown, Home Made

Happiness is....a pot of spaghetti sauce made with homegrown tomatoes, homegrown peppers (all from last year's garden), and rosemary picked from the "kitchen" garden I am working on. Travis came in from trying to get another beehive(a swarm in someone's yard in town), and said, "MMmmm. That looks like good spaghetti!" Then he paid me the highest from of a compliment and took a picture of it! Funny thing is, I was so pleased, I had already taken a picture. Great minds think alike, right?

Please, Play With Your Food!

The kids made peanut butter playdough today.First they played with it, then ate it for lunch! In case anyone's interested, to make peanut butter playdough just mix equal parts of honey, powdered milk, and peanut butter! You can add more dry milk if it's too sticky.

Most Wanted

Has anyone seen these villains?

Sometimes You Just Gotta' Laugh

Some of the kids went to the beach with my parents this week. They were so busy the week before they left, they packed in a flurry, leaving messy rooms behind. I just had to laugh when I saw this candid shot on the floor of the boys' bedroom. I wonder if Mama bear's lesson is sinking in....

Morning Mud Capers

Before I could even wipe the sleep from my eyes this morning, Tommy and Mary Margaret were outside collecting worms. We have had rain for days, and worms are everywhere! The kids were so excited, they came bursting through the door, muddy boots and all- through the kitchen, the dining room, and in to the school room, leaving a trail of mud chunks and water everywhere. I scooped them both up and carried them outside before they knew what was happening. Oliver was so dear. I asked him, "Could you please help me clean up this mess Tommy and Mary Margaret made?" He said, "Oh, I was already cleaning it. I wanted to get it cleaned up because sometimes when mornings start with a big mess, it spoils the whole day." Just hearing that made the mess worth it!

Fat, Happy, and Nappy

Sam(7) announced at breakfast today: "My favorite things to do-I know it's called laziness- are to eat and sleep. sleep and eat."

Reach For The Moon

I get asked all kinds of questions by the kids, but this was by far one of the most interesting ones. We were just finishing lunch when Oliver asked me(totally serious):

"Mom, do you think you would have to spend at least twenty years in jail if you took the American flag off the moon?"

"What?" I answered, not really thinking I heard him right.

"Well, Sam says when he grows up, he's going to take the American flag off the moon because it's not respectful to leave it there."

Don't ask me where they hatch these ideas. It sure would be interesting to know!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

"Do You Want Fries With That?"

I think the best kind of learning happens when kids don't know they're "learning." And I love to find out about this incidental learning when it comes out in conversations with the kids. Today Oliver and I were discussing advertising tactics over burgers at McDonald's. He really wanted to get one of the new iced coffee drinks they're advertising in the restaurant(with a huge poster-looks totally refreshing). I told him I didn't think today was a good day to get one because we had all the little children with us.

"Oh well" Oliver said resignedly. "It's probably all just margarine at the top of the picture, anyway."

"What do you mean?" I asked him.

"Well, McDonald's just wants their food to sell, so when they're taking the pictures they don't really use the real food. They use margarine for ice cream so it looks fluffier and not all melted. They glue sesame seeds on to puffed up hamburger buns so that every seed is in perfect place."

I looked at my smashed hamburger bun. It definitely didn't resemble the fluffy bun on the picture on the menu. But I didn't know how Oliver was suddenly such an expert on fast food marketing ploys.

"So how do you know all of this? It sounds a little crazy."

"I read it in that Do Not Open book" (really cool book by John Farndon -available at Amazon)

Oliver had read the book (we had checked it out of the library a couple months ago). He found it to be very interesting. The conversation turned into Oliver's disbelief that people (marketers) get paid to think up advertising for big corporations.

"That sounds like a fun job !" Oliver said, as he crammed his mouth full of fries. Life doesn't get any better, in my opinion.

A New Look At Mistletoe

One of the great things about homeschooling is getting to learn alongside my children! Today Mary Margaret asked how Dandelion flowers grow everywhere if we don't plant them. We read a neat book, called How Seeds Travel, by Cynthia Overbeck. The book is great at explaining the mechanisms by which seeds travel from place to place. I found out a lot of information about seeds that I didn't know before. Here is an excerpt from page 38 on Mistletoe:

One fruit, that of the Mistletoe, is distributed by birds in a very unusual way. Mistletoe plants grow on the trunks ans branches of trees such as the Oak and the Hack berry. Mistletoe is a parasite;that is, it gets all its nourishment from the tree on which it grows. Its roots grow right into he tree's trunk or branches and draw out the food the Mistletoe needs. A Mistletoe seed can take root only if it lands on a tree. If it lands on the ground, it will die.

Birds help to make sure that the Mistletoe seed land in the right place. Some birds like to eat the little round fruits of the Mistletoe. But the seeds inside the fruits are covered with a substance that makes them stick to the birds' beaks as they eat the fruit. To get the seeds off, the birds have to wipe their beaks against the bark. Often the seeds stay there and take root.

Sometimes a Mistletoe seed is swallowed by the bird along with the fruit. But the seed can go through the digestive tract and not lose its stickiness. Then it may come out in the bird's droppings and stick to the tree branches as it falls. (emphasis mine-what I find so fascinating!)

Gives a whole new meaning to "kissing under the Mistletoe," doesn't it?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Do You Know These?

Make sure while you are visiting you check out the "Do You Know These?" Box at the bottom of the blog page. There are some really interesting facts there. For example, I just found out that Romans used to place their hands by their testicles when they were swearing. That's where the word "testimony" comes from!

Tommy Needs Sunflower Seeds

Tommy came up to me and said: "I need sunflower seeds. kiss. kiss." I started laughing and asked him what he meant. He said, " I'm doin' this for the girls." Then he let me get him on video. I thought it was hilarious.

Fun In The Rain

Even the rain doesn't stop Tommy from going outside!!!