Monday, February 25, 2013

Black and White Beauty

I dug this dress out of the back of my closet the other day. My sister always teases me about how sentimental I am. My Grandma made this dress for my mom to wear for her 1969 high school graduation. It is so well made. The style was very short back then, so I would never wear it, but it makes the perfect play bridal gown for Hailey. I couldn't resist doing an impromptu photo shoot with her in it.

Too soon, this little girl is going to be wearing the real thing. They grow up so fast! Somebody, stop the clock, please!

Doesn't she just look like she's groovin' to some 60's music, here?

Hope you are all having a wonderful Monday! 

God Bless,

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feb Prairie Primer - "Little Town on the Prairie" School Exhibition

Normally, we do two co-op meetings each month, but we decided to do a School Exhibition and needed to give the kids plenty of time for memory work. We forewent a craft and instead concentrated on memorizing a longer bible passage (Romans 12:14-21), a pre-1880s poem or story, a Presidential historical review, and a long word list for an old-fashioned spelling bee. Of course we topped off our time together with a potluck based around the foods mentioned in Little Town on the Prairie.  
We started out with a prayer and then sang the song, "My Country Tis of Thee". I can play this song in my sleep perfectly, but as soon as I play in front of anyone other than my family, I get so nervous. I'm all over the place.  I just keep going even if I'm hitting the wrong notes. I get pretty frustrated with myself, but I also know it is good for the kids to see an adult who isn't perfect and is learning right along with them. 

After the song, we did some Little Town on the Prairie trivia questions where horehound and lemon drop candy were given to those who could answer correctly.

Each child chose a Presidential historical review to recite. Hailey chose George Washington. Here is a short video of her recitation.

Short video of Josiah reciting Abraham Lincoln's presidential review.

I love the felted wool hat my friend knitted for her son. I'm astounded at her talents!

Another pioneer girl reciting her Andrew Jackson Presidential review.

Next, we had the pre-1880s poem/story recitations. Hailey did very good job reciting "The Dog and The Shadow" by Aesop. The way she recited it was sooo cute and funny. I will always treasure this short video and the next of Josiah, too.

Josiah chose to recite the last part of "Address to the Haggis" by Robert Burns, Scotland's most famous poet. Of course he had to use some props. I love this kid's imagination. He insisted we bring a cooked haggis for everyone to try at the potluck. Here is my haggis recipe, which is Scottish cuisine based on a dare. Ma was Scottish, so we thought it would fit it in even though it is doubtful she carried on the haggis tradition as it is never mentioned in the books.

This little cowboy recited a poem. All the kids from pre-school and up recited something. They did such a great job. I was very impressed. I think we underestimate both ours and our children's ability to memorize things. 

I think the spelling bee was everybody's favorite part of the School Exhibition.  We had it broken up by abilities. The front row is pre-school, kindergarten and 1st grade. Second row was 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades. Back row was 5th and 6th. Each row studied from the same word list and we just started at the beginning of the list and the kids took turns spelling words. 
 When they misspelled a word, they had to sit down. First place for each division got a trophy and prize (from the $ Store), and second place got a prize, as well. 

Spelling is NOT Josiah's favorite subject. We worked long and hard on his word lists but we only got through about half of what he was supposed to know. It isn't because he isn't capable, it is because he simply isn't interested. Nothing like a little competition to get him motivated though and he lasted a lot longer than I thought he would even though he was the first to have to sit down in his division.

It was neat to see all the kids encouraging each other and clapping when they got a word right. I really want to do this again!

 Potluck time! The mystery meat on the cutting board is the haggis. I had mercy on everyone and didn't cook it in a sheep's stomach, but instead I wrapped it in cheese cloth and steamed it in a Dutch oven. I also made soured cream cheese dip with green onions. Here is my recipe for that. I was supposed make cheese balls out of it, but I didn't get quite enough whey out so it ended up being a spread. It was still delicious. In the background, we have old fashioned vinegar pie, a staple at any 1800s potluck. It sounds disgusting, but it was actually very delicious and tasted like a lemon custard pie. What a treat. The fried mashed potatoes were good, too.
Oh my, I think this was the first time I've seen anything green at our potlucks! The corn and peas were a welcome change indeed. I'm sure the Ingalls felt the same way when they had anything green. We also had blackbird pie (substituted with chicken). All these recipes are out of the Little House Cookbook.

The moms serving up the dinner. 

I was able to wear the apron my neighbor helped me make from a bedspread I found at a yard sale. It worked perfectly over my dress and hoop skirt. I went for the "Clara Barton" hairdo this time since we just read her very interesting biography. She was an amazing woman and founder of the American Red Cross. Such a hard worker!

I insisted everyone dress up this time since it was the School Exhibition. I was thrilled to see each mom in all her pioneer glory!

Prairie Primer homeschool marms. It is hard to do a stoic pose when you're having so much fun! My camera lens was dirty so there are some spots, but I guess it just makes the photo appear more rustic. 

So now we are onto the wonderful courtship of Laura and Almanzo in my favorite book, These Happy Golden Years. I look forward to the next co-op meeting in April!

God Bless,

Friday, February 15, 2013

St. Valentine's Day - More Than Flowers and Candy

 Despite my cold, we managed to have a nice Valentine's Day. Josiah made this Valentine tree for us to hang up and put our Valentine's presents under. I've never heard of a Valentine tree, but I guess we started a new tradition this year

. I always use these minor holidays as excuses to give my kids the books, audio CDs and DVDs that they love and that I know will help build their faith. You may wonder why there is a menorah on the table for Valentine's Day. My sweet husband fixed it for me in preparation for Passover. Even though we aren't Jewish, we love celebrating this holiday, too, since everything about it points to the Lamb who was slain (Jesus Christ).
The kids each got a book. The book Josiah is holding is from Voice of the Martyrs and called The Story of Saint Valentine.  We learned some new stuff about St. Valentine. He was actually martyred for going against the Roman Emporer's (Claudius) law forbidding couples to marry. He married couples in secret, adhering to God's law, and he was killed for it, but not before bringing his prison guard to Christ! St. Valentine's Day replaced two Roman feasts honoring pagan gods that were traditionally celebrated on Feb 14th, which was the day St Valentine was martyred for marrying couples secretly. Click here for the link. They also have a wonderful book about Saint Patrick if you are interested. I gave that to my kids on St. Patrick's Day last year.

Josiah wrapped up a dollar and a piece of candy he had bought with his own money for his sister and taped it to the valentine tree. She was thrilled!
 I almost blew it and forgot the cookie grams this year. Luckily, Josiah told me he was on to me about the cookie grams the day BEFORE Valentine's Day. I scrambled and called the church that sells these for a fundraiser and was blessed to get their last two. Whew! I narrowly missed getting the "bad-mom-of-the-year" award, LOL. Nah, my kids would have been disappointed by forgiving ;o) I love seeing their faces as they are being delivered!
Plus, the cookies are so stinkin' good! It is a real treat for us since I don't cook with white flour or sugar. 

Since I still wasn't feeling great, Michael was sweet enough to take the afternoon off work so the kids could go to our local homeschool support group's valentine's party. They had a lot of fun. I was bummed to have missed it. Michael said he was the only male who had gone through puberty there, but he was a good sport about it. 

After the party he took the kids shopping for me and they brought back some gourmet tea, horehound candy and three beautiful roses. Then I sat on the couch and read while they made me a delicious steak dinner. It was the first time Michael made me a steak that didn't taste like shoe leather. He's learnin'! Josiah and Hailey did a great job with the potatoes and salad. It was my favorite part of the day, sitting their reading while they were serving me, especially since I wasn't feeling that great. I could get used to that! I was able to finish the 4th book in the Chronicles of the Kings series by Lynn Austin. Those books are such a great read! This is my second time through and I'm enjoying it even more than the first time.

Hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day and now that you know the reason we celebrate Valentine's Day, I hope it becomes a very meaningful holiday for you, too, beside's getting flowers and chocolate. 

God Bless, Jackie

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Winner of the "Little House" Giveway is...Drum roll, please...

We had 30 entries in our "Little House" giveaway! It was nice to hear from so many of you. We had fun reading about which were your favorite Little House books and why.  

Josiah thought it would be appropriate to draw a name from his coonskin hat since it was a "Little House" giveaway and all.

And the winner of the gently used Laura Ingalls Wilder biography goes to Sara, at "Embracing Destiny"! Congratulations, Sara! Sara is also doing the Prairie Primer homeschool unit study and I'm sure she will enjoy this book as much as I did. Sara, please personal message me on FB with your full name and address so I can get that in the mail to you. 

 And how appropriate that this giveaway happened to be on Almanzo's birthday! He was born 158 years ago today. Thank you, Oona, for posting about that on the Prairie Primer Facebook support group this morning :o)
Just had to throw in this pic of Josiah's Lego telegraph he made after studying about them in The Long Winter. He was attempting to send "Morse Code" messages on it. He liked the sound as it clicked against the wooden table. 

Again, congratulations to our winner, Sara, and a big thanks to everyone for entering! It was fun to have an excuse to visit some new blogs :o)

God Bless,

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Creation Science Class - Volcanoes, Dinosaurs and Ice Age Activities

The kids had a wonderful time Creation Science class a couple weeks ago. My friend, Billy, did a bang up job of teaching the Creationist theory about dinosaurs and how they likely became extinct during the Ice Age immediately following Noah's Flood when the climate would have changed dramatically. To illustrate this point, we had the kids use a rock to break out a small toy dinosaur that Billy had put in water in a cup and froze. The kids had a lot of fun with this activity.

Gotta have a dinosaur fight!

We talked a lot about fossils and showed them scientific proof of how fossils can form much quicker than previously thought. Then each kid got a pan of previously moist sand with some chicken bones in them, now mostly dry, and they practiced carefully brushing the dirt away to expose the bone, as you would with a fossil. 

While a little messy, this activity is always a hit with the kids.

Hailey found some bones!

Ahh, and for the finale, we have Billy's famous volcano!

Don't you just love the look of wonder on all of their faces? Such cute kids!

If you are interested in reading about why the topic of Creation is so important to me, please click on my Creation testimony.

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

God Bless,

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Little House Give Away!

It has been a long time since I've done a give away on my blog and I say it's about time to do it again!

I recently read this Laura Ingalls Wilder biography and I loved it. I thought I would pass it on to anyone else who would be interested. It was a fascinating read and had a lot more information than what is in the books, especially regarding the hard times the Ingalls family went through between On the Banks of Plum Creek and On the Shores of Silver Lake. It also talks a great deal about their lives after the last book in the Little House series, The First Four Years.

All you need to do to win this terrific book is leave a comment either on my blog or on Facebook to be entered. Also, just for fun, tell me which of the Little House books is your favorite and why. My favorite has always been "These Happy Golden Years" because I'm a romantic at heart and love reading about the courtship between Laura and Almanzo. I must have read that book 15 times while growing up! I will put all your names in a hat and the winner will be drawn next Wednesday.

God Bless,

Monday, February 4, 2013

Healthy Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

It's that time of year again! This recipe is worth re-posting. Just made these this morning. 
Since Valentine's Day is coming up, I thought I do another post on chocolate. I decided to make chocolate peanut butter cups for my hubby for his birthday (yesterday). This is one of his favorites. You have to eat these right out of the freezer as I haven't found a healthy way to make them solid at room temperature. These were super simple to make. My son and I had a great time making them together.

First you'll want to click on this link for the basic chocolate recipe. Only instead of making candy bars, we're going to double that chocolate recipe to make chocolate peanut butter cups. Don't forget to double the recipe and don't mix the peanut butter in with the chocolate! Line muffin pan with muffin papers (use unbleached if you've got them, I only had colored ones from way back, as soon as they are used up, I'll buy unbleached). Spoon enough chocolate to cover the bottom of each muffin paper.Put a spoonful of peanut butter into each cup (a lot or a little depending on taste).
Cover peanut butter with rest of chocolate.
Top with peanuts if desired.
Put them in the freezer (level). As soon as they are hard, they're ready to eat. I peeled the paper back on this one so you could see the what they look like. You could also use a mini muffin pan if you want smaller chocolates.

These are a hit. I love using my basic chocolate recipe because I can use sucanat instead of refined sugar. The other advantage is that if someone has a milk allergy, you can use oat milk or coconut milk and it still tastes great. Also you can use almond or sunflower butter instead of peanuts.

Hope you all have a SWEET day! God Bless, Jackie


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