Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Homestead Happenings - Jan 2016

After the busyness of the holidays, it's been nice having the time to let the kids take turns cooking once a week. Hailey chose to make homemade whole wheat noodles for turkey noodle soup one night. She won a special prize for her noodles a few years ago at fair. So we call her our "Resident Expert Noodle Maker". She loves it :) 

 Another night she made gourmet burgers with homemade french fries. Amazing!
Not to be outdone, Josiah tried his hand at making linguini with clam sauce. He did a great job. It is nice to that both kids wanting to make more complicated dishes. They are more into presentation than I am, which is a nice treat. Apple juice served as our "wine" with our yummy Italian dinner.

 Backing up a little... We started the New Years off right at my mom's house with my sister and all her kids. We had a great time! Played lots of games, did fireworks and ate till we about popped.
 Rina learning to read the "Capital Press" with dad. She is really starting to bond with him. I'm getting a few breaks now and then because of it.
It isn't often that Rina falls asleep on anyone except Mom, so Hailey wanted me to take a picture when it finally happened to her.

 Love snuggle times with my kids! 

 Josiah enjoys giving Rina piggy back rides. She holds on to his hair. It hurts, but he always lets her cause he knows she likes her rides so much. She loves her big brother! he is so good with her.
Our attention has turned to long put-off projects such as upcycling our old chandelier

 We also took on the huge project of remodeling our homeschool room. So worth it in the end though! Michael primed the dark wood paneling while trying to keep Rina out of the primer. He is so patient and never gets annoyed with the kids. He has always included them in his projects from very young ages.
 Hailey and Josiah were a big help, too with primer/painting the main walls.
 I love this picture of the old nasty carpet with the new formica flooring behind Rina. Rina is helping to roll out the new pad to go under the new flooring. So happy to see that hated carpet gone!!!
We did one half of the room, then shifted everything to the other side and did the other part of the room. Worked pretty well as we didn't have to move very much into the shed that way.

After we painted and put new flooring in, Michael put these heavy duty shelves up for my new laundry system, scrapbook albums and supplies, craft, homeschooling items, games and puzzles as well as a place to store dry goods.

The laundry system is the same as my sister (who has a large family) uses. Thanks to the big shelves I now have a place for a lot of laundry baskets. I have "Lights", "Darks" and "Jeans" written on three of them where all the dirty laundry is sorted. The kids take turns bringing out dirty laundry from the hampers located in bedrooms and bathrooms, then the other child sorts the dirty laundry into one of these three hampers. When one of these baskets is full enough to make a load, one of us will throw it in the washing machine. When it comes out of the dryer or off the line, it is directly sorted (unfolded) into baskets for each of us with our names written on them where only clean clothes go. Then when those gets full, I hand the child their own laundry basket and they fold it and put it in their dressers. I have two smaller baskets for towels and socks. When they get full, one of us will fold those, too and put them away. I'm doing a load a day now and I never have laundry piled up on the floor or the couch anymore. Love it!!!
The completed room.
Curtains hiding the shelves and my laundry system. Keeps the room from looking cluttered and adds a little bit of modern style and color.
Other side of the room. It is nice to have a functional space that we can use for many different projects. We actually want to be in this room, now!
Michael sewed some adjustable neoprene gaiters for the Boy Scouts. No pattern of course! He's one of those lucky guys that gets an idea in his mind and figures it out as he goes. Josiah and his friends will be much drier for their next winter camp out! Unfortunately he broke his upholstery machine while sewing on the neoprene, so now we are on the hunt of something a little more durable that will hold up to all the things Michael sews.

January flew by, but I felt like it was a very productive month. Feb has been, too, now that Rina is getting older and doesn't have to be held so much. Life certainly has changed, but what a blessed change it has been and will continue to be. I've started a bible study in my home which has been amazing. It is so good to be in the Word regularly again. Life changes fast, doesn't it? I'm learning to roll with it and let God do His thing without fighting Him. His ways are truly good - always.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Silver Lake - Prairie Primer 2016

We read "On the Shores of Silver Lake" in December, so we chose to celebrate Christmas "Little House" style this year. My children were super pleased to be able to have a tree filled with all handmade ornaments and garland this year. Instead of a star we topped the tree with my parasol. The kids made cranberry and popcorn garland, paper twists and button strings to dangle from branches.

We also included three official "Little House" ornaments. it all started with this one. It was given to us by the Shoemaker family (one of five families whom we had gone through the Prairie Primer with three years ago). 

After asking each child what their favorite book was, I secretly ordered them each an ornament. Eventually, I'd like to get them all. Hailey's favorite book was "The Long Winter".
No surprise that Josiah's favorite book is "Farmer Boy". The snowman ornament in the background was made by my Aunt Linda and handpainted on wood. She gave it to me when I was five years old. I treasure all the ornaments she gave me through my growing up years.
My camera accidentally got broken, so the rest of these pics are from a camera phone. The good news is that for Christmas I got an even better camera! Here are the kids standing in front of the tree with their apples that they decorated with cloves just like Ma's sister gave to her back when they were living in Wisconsin.  

We took some time out of our co-op schedule and joined our local homeschool group in carolling at a nursing home. What a precious time and how blessed we were to see the joy on the residents' faces. 
They went gah gah over Rina! This lady was over 100 year old and fell in love with little Rina. 

We had an old fashioned Christmas party! We sang carols and made jingle bells to jingle along with the songs. I even brought the fiddle out for the occasion!
Then we exchanged gifts our kids made for each other. Our family had taken an unused valance and cut it up to make simple aprons. I got three aprons out of one valance! We put a ribbon through where the rod would go to tie it in the back and then I had the kids hem the cut sides of the apron by hand. They were a hit! And we didn't have to buy a thing since we used what we had.
The Clarks hand decorated bags and made a Christmas decoration for everyone.
The Sauers made everyone a handy sewing kit in a canning jar and topped it with a hand-made pin cushion. We use these all the time!

I gave the Ma Jeni and Ma Amanda each a used book of letters written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and a Reminisce magazine. What fun to see the delight on both their faces.

We still had time for a presentations. Hailey did hers on the Homestead Act of 1862.
Josiah taught us about different jobs the railroad workers had on the steam engines of old. It was super interesting!
We had oyster soup with oyster crackers (a particular treat and Christmas tradition for the Ingalls family), mashed sweet potatoes and homemade bread from a local bakery as well as boiled eggs for our dinner. Everything was delicious as usual.

Love that we get to do this unit study again and that the other families are enjoying it just as much as we are. We feel privileged to be able to do this kind thing. Learning so much while having fun. Doesn't get better than that when it comes to getting an education!

God Bless,


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