Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2012 School Pictures

Hailey's Kindergarten Picture (5 years old)

I decided do the children's school pictures again this year. I did some editing of the two that I want to send wallets out to all the relatives. It is the first time I've ever really done any editing on my pictures and I had a lot of fun playing with the two free programs I was using. 

Josiah's 3rd Grade picture (9 years old). 

I did some editing on this one, too. The rest I left alone because even though I liked them, they weren't my favorites.
My little southern belle. My step-mom found this gorgeous dress at a yard sale. It works perfect for a hoop skirt underneath. It is Hailey's favorite dress.

Hailey loves having her hair in "sausage curls".

Little lady

 Best friends.

They were giving each other butterfly kisses.

Josiah is learning to be quite the gentleman. 

My husband took this pic of the kids and I. 

It is a miracle indeed to get a pic of Michael smiling. I was very fortunate get this shot.

Hoping to have time to take some fall pictures of the kids soon. 

Have a wonderful day.

God Bless,

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Beautiful Fall Craft - Roses Out Of Maple Leaves

These maple leaf roses make beautiful fall decorations. I'm not a crafty person, but even I can make these. These are super simple and cheap to assemble. All this takes is maple leaves and a little floral wire. The kids and I enjoy going around the neighborhood picking up leaves. Older kids would have no problem making these and younger kids love gathering the leaves. Just make sure they aren't brittle. I attached this "bouquet" to my door last year. You can go to this website for step by step instructions.
I know I posted this last year, but because I have so many new followers, I thought I could get away with posting it again. Just click on the link above for visual/written instructions. These make fun gifts, too! I saved all the roses I made from last year and have them strategically placed all around my house. If you do end up making these, please leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

God Bless,

Friday, October 26, 2012

October Prairie Primer - "Little House on the Prairie"

We are having so much fun homeschooling, no wonder some people think it should be illegal, LOL. In all seriousness, I'm grateful to be able to think outside the box and really learn so many different topics through the Prairie Primer unit study. AND our family is experiencing some extra socialization this year due to our involvement with a Prairie Primer co-op. It is allowing us to be even more creative in how we learn and learn from others as well.

The month of October found us studying the book "Little House On the Prairie". We do 4 daily assignments on our own each week and then get together twice a month with 4 other families to do joint activities and listen to each family's presentation. It was my month to be organize our co-op time and I had a blast. As a group we memorized "Psalm 8" and learned two songs together (The Blue Juniata and Old Dan Tucker). We leaned heavily on the Native American theme. I found the most incredible craft book called, "More Than Moccasins". It was perfect a craft-challenged person such as myself. Each craft was easy AND best of all, very educational about Native American life. 
The first week we got together, the kids made tepees out of card stock, toothpicks and tape. This was so easy! Hailey made her outfit out at home using a brown paper bag, tape and water colors. 

Each family made tepees and then we arranged them by "Clan", with the opening of the tepees to the east so that the sun would greet the families as the dawn broke. The large one in the center is the council tepee. Loved the designs everyone came up with. We even had a few tiny ones for the dogs to live in. Apparently, the dogs would drag their own tepees behind them when they moved from place to place. That was new to me!

Josiah wearing the headdress he made at home and showing off his tepees. He made a coyote at the opening of one of them.

The other craft was decorated darts we made out of card stock. They taped paper "feathers" to them and everything. The kids and I made hoops out of red osier dogwood sticks and then hung them at various lengths from a doorway at the church we use for our co-op meetings. The kids tried to throw their darts through the hoops. This was good practice for hunting (Indians would use spears). The Indian children would also see how far they could slide these darts across the ice in the winter. Whoever got the furthest won. Kind of like how we do paper airplane contests today.

I asked each child and mom to pick out an Indian name and sign it using the Plains Indian Sign Language Dictionary. It was more fun than charades! Josiah was "Red Eagle". He made his breech cloth out of some old capris I had laying around.
Hailey was "Dancing Daughter".

Two weeks later we all met again. Since then, my husband and Josiah killed and butchered a rabbit and naturally tanned the rabbit skin Josiah is wearing over his breech cloth. It was the first time they ever attempted to tan anything and I have to admit they did a really good job. Michael is going to try a deerskin tonight and sheep skins later this fall. Each family did a presentation. We did ours on the Minnesota Massacre. I had no idea this had taken place. We researched how and why the Indians went on the warpath in 1862 and what the results were. It was tragic on all accounts (around 800 white settlers and soldiers killed or wounded), leading to the largest mass execution in history (38 Indians were executed).
Another family did a presentation about forts and stockades - what their functions were and how they were constructed. We still have many in Oregon as I'm sure other states do.

Many times Indians would use edible items to make necklaces like corn and seeds. We used tri-colored penne pasta. We used hemp cord., keeping with the all natural theme. Hint:: If you tape one end of the hemp cord to the table, it is way less frustrating for children, because otherwise they just slide off the other end if they forget and accidentally knock it off the table.

 It worked great and was really easy. Each child could create whatever pattern they wanted. Josiah's newly tanned rabbit skin is spread out on the table.
Our other craft for the second meeting in Oct was paper weaving. This was so fun, easy and great for the little ones as it taught them about how opposites work. The older kids loved it, too. We squared our mats up and taped along the edges. Another craft idea from the "More Than Moccasins" book.

We always have a potluck during our second meeting of the month. We try to use recipes from the book we are studying that month and using the "Little House Cookbook". I think this has been my favorite part of the co-op.
 Clockwise: Bean porridge with bacon, mock salt-rising bread, fried sweet potatoes, rabbit stew and dumplings (yep that is the same rabbit that Josiah was wearing) and mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar (I used sucanat) and home-churned butter. It was all so delicious!
Got a picture of the kids showing off their Indian necklaces and paper woven mats. I love that most of the kids dress up, and even some of the moms (who me, naaahh ;). It makes it really fun.

So we've already started "On the Banks of Plum Creek" and continue to have a great time. I'm really enjoying all the bible and character lessons in this book. It is generating some really good discussions around here. 

God Bless,

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jackie's Simple Garden Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe

I always make this recipe during the garden season. I make a ton and it freezes well, although it is better fresh out of the pan. This feeds a crowd and is a great way to use up excess garden veggies. You can vary this recipe to whatever veggies, meat or pasta, you happen to have on hand. 

Jackie's Simple Garden Whole Wheat Pasta Recipe

1 lb penne pasta (any kind will do)
1 lb smoked sausage, cut into bite sized pieces (can omit to make this vegetarian, or put in any other kind of meat)
Two cups fresh green beans
½ lb mushrooms, sliced
Any other veggie you have on hand (peas, zucchini, yellow squash, spinach, chard, kale, broccoli, peppers)
¼ cup butter
3 garlic cloves, pressed
¼ tsp dried thyme or 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 ripe chopped tomato 
Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese

Boil water and cook pasta
While pasta is cooking, saute sausage, remove, then add butter and saute veggies (except tomatoes). When pasta is done, drain, then toss, pasta, veggies, seasoning and sausage together. Toss in chopped tomato. Sprinkle individual servings with Parmesan cheese. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Monday Meanderings

 I haven't done a catch up post in awhile. Things have been so crazy around here. I feel like I'm finally starting to get into a homeschooling groove, although it still isn't as structured as I'd like it to be. But hey, that is beauty of homeschooling, and I'm trying to take that pressure off. The kids are learning tons both in character and academics, and that is what counts.
A couple weekends ago, I got away to a women's retreat at Cannon Beach. My sis invited me and I was able to meet her new friends from her church. It was a lot fun and I came away exhausted and refreshed at the same time. We always love getting a good twin fix!
Remember when we decided to put our house on the market last spring? Well, it is a good thing it didn't sell because the Oregon National Guard still hasn't built the shop my husband will be working out of. It is supposed to be finished by spring/summer of 2013.  Therefore, we took our house off the market for this winter and will try again in the spring. I'm so relieved to be able to settle in for the winter without having the niggling feeling in the back of my mind that the house could sell any moment. This gives a chance to build our moving fund back up. My husband continues to work nearby, so it is a blessing he doesn't have to commute right now.

Our neighbor across the street is giving Josiah FREE sewing lessons once a week. These quilted place mats were his first project and I'm very proud of him. He picked all these colors himself and arranged them. Each is different, but in the same color scheme. Love them! Looking at these inspired me to start quilting with our neighbor once a month. I quit quilting when Josiah was born, 9 years ago. So I'm excited to start back up again, even if it is just a couple hours a month. 

My garden this year was pathetic. I made many mistakes and the weather didn't help, but the one thing that grew in abundance was volunteer pumpkins. I told the kids they could sell them, so they made a sign and sold them to all the neighbors as they came home from work. Josiah suggested I take this pic and post it to Facebook. We sold all the rest of them to friends on FB. They are using part of the money to buy items for Operation Christmas Child. They had a blast and we will definitely be doing this again.

We've been very busy with our unit study, the Prairie Primer, but having a lot of fun and leaning so much. Homeschooling is actually fun now! Our once a month creation science class starts this Friday. I've been busily getting experiments together.  Good thing I tested out the carbon dioxide experiment for class AHEAD of time. I added a little too much baking soda to the jar of vinegar and then I found out the hard way that the hole in the cork had sealed over. The cork burst off (found it in the other room) and vinegar and baking soda were dripping from the ceiling, me and the kids. We just stood there, a little stunned, but then we all started laughing hysterically. I can guarantee my kids will remember THAT experiment. I seriously cannot be left unattended while doing these experiments! Maahaha (mad scientist laugh)
We bought some CDs of a bunch of songs found in the Little House on the Prairie Books. I got inspired and started practicing my fiddle again. I quit playing when I started homeschooling Josiah 4 years ago. It is so fun to be playing again. Hailey is really interested and has a natural bow hold. I'm teaching her a few basics on her 1/4 sized fiddle. Sorry for the old picture, but I don't have a recent one of me playing. Josiah was less than 2 years old in this photo. We tried, but fiddling wasn't his thing. He really wants to play the bagpipes. I know, pray for me! We bought Josiah a bagpipe chanter and now I'm trying to add some music practice into our day. 
Josiah took this pic of Hailey and I.

Josiah took my new profile pic. Since this was taken, I've cut my hair shoulder length and I'm loving it.
Hailey finally gets to do dance class. She's is having a blast and learning tap, ballet and tumbling, which is taught all in the same class. Another blessing about not having to move this winter.

Hope you are all having a lovely fall. It is finally getting cold around here. We broke out the homemade hot chocolate and marshmallows this week, a sure sign that we are settling in for the winter. 

Happy Fall Ya'll!

God Bless, Jackie

Friday, October 19, 2012

Last Chance Fishing

We thought we'd head up to our local lake in our rowboat one last time while the weather was still good. So glad we did because we caught 10 fish in less than two hours. The kids were ecstatic! Josiah likess to eat trout and he loves the thrill of being able to catch enough for our dinner. 
Hailey looked so cute in my fishing hat. I think I'll let her keep it.

We caught some really good sized trout and had to throw back about 5 smaller ones. The best part is that BOTH kids were catching them, so there wasn't any whining about so and so catching all the fish.

"He Who Fishes". We always enjoy watching the Osprey who live near the lake. It is so cool when they snag a fish right out of the water.

The diamonds on the water always draw my eye.

Hailey with the first fish she caught. I'm glad we had a successful day. It is nice to go fishing with her now that she isn't throwing things out of the boat like she did when she was little. There are jars of lead sinkers and fish bait down at the bottom of this lake somewhere, thanks to Hailey Baby. We always tease her about it and tell her that we are just glad our cellphones and my purse didn't end up there, too.

Hope you are all enjoying some last minute recreation before winter settles in. 

God Bless,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

60 and Still Livin' The Dream!

My Dad had a birthday not too long ago. I teased him that he is now half way to 120! We had a lovely time celebrating this old cowboy's birthday at the park. 

We had a lot of family show up, including my grandpa. Can you tell where I got the "talking with my hands gene"?

 Hailey was happy to get some attention from Papa.
I love this pic.

My niece, Jessica, and Josiah walking across the field towards the party after playing hard in the field. They are only four months apart and are good buddies. 

My step-mom, Diana, wrapped these mini chocolate bars with pictures of my Dad on his roping horse and his current favorite saying, "Livin' the Dream". They were a big hit! Very clever.

My SIL, Sonya, and brother, Jerry, outdid themselves with this full sheet German chocolate cake (Dad's favorite flavor). In addition to being a ranch manager, full-time cowboy and horse farrier, he also farms hay and loves his classic cars. This is his favorite car on this cake, a '69 SS Chevelle. Love the burn-out marks behind the wheels. My dad has been known to smoke his tires a time or two ;).

Me with my newest nephew, Elijah. What a cutie pie.

You never know what is going to happen when a bunch of buckaroos show up at birthday party. We had lots of good cowboy poetry flowin'. Now those are some boots!

More cowboy poetry. This one was about ropin' a bear.

Duane did a cowboy poem about a horse trader how gets what was coming to him. It wasn't coincidental that he was aiming his gaze at my 91 year old grandpa who happens to be a slick horse trader from way back, LOL. 

We topped off the fun afternoon with some dummy roping. I got try my hand at it again. It brought back a lot of memories of me and dad spending hours roping the calf and steer dummy. I didn't do too bad, either. Glad to know I hadn't lost my roping capabilities completely. Someday, this homestead wannabe is hoping to have occasion to use that skill again...

So happy 60th birthday to the best dad anyone could ever have! 



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