Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Recitals

It's Christmastime, so we've been busy with Christmas recitals. Here are some photos from Dance and from Orchestra. After today, I don't have any Christmas activities except with our family. I'm looking forward to celebrating Christmas in a more laid back way.






Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sleeping Boy

My little boy fell asleep on the couch. This is an unusual event for my kids. None of them are the kind of kids that can fall asleep anywhere. He probably slept for a good ten minutes and I managed to get some cute shots. I know I'll appreciate these when he's older.






Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Time Is Flying By

Time has been flying by in our very busy household. There is always a lot to be thankful for, and especially for my family. God gave me them and they are a very special gift. Here are a few photos of them recently.


Birthday Twins (their birthday is on the same day)


With cousins at Thanksgiving


A Boy And A Train


My Darling Husband


My Middle Joyful Girl


My Big Serious Girl


And, here is a recent picture of a property near to ours. We rent it out to graze our cattle on and my husband cleared this property and planted it in pasture. All the cleared area was in brush trees and blackberry bushes previously.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ah Cleaning

Sometimes I feel like I never stop cleaning, pretty much literally! With a 2 year old boy, a 4 year old girl, an 9 year old girl, and 11 year old girl, and a 13 year old step-daughter, there is much laundry to do, many dishes to do, many spills to clean up, and nothing stays in its place for long. I've been working very hard to try and stay on top of it. I finally made it out to the garage today to sort clothes. My husband has a rule for me that I must catalog all the items I am going to give away to charity, even if they were given to me, so that we can take the tax deduction. How I long to just load up stuff in the back of the car and drop it off without the cataloging, but my husband does a lot for me, so I suppose I can honor his effort to try and save us a little money in taxes.

My girls really help with the cleaning. In particular, I appreciate my 11 year old. She really takes more than her share. She does the dishes, she takes care of the small outside animals, and she cleans and vacuums the main room floors.

My motto is slowly becoming more "less is more". And I've become a toy nazzi. That is I really limit the toys they have out. Most toys have their own box (cars in one box, potato head in one box, trains in one box, legos in one box). And they can't get out another set of toys till they put that one away. Somehow, onesies and twosies of different sets always seem to get left out somewhere; so that is a challenge.

The hardest thing I find about cleaning is finishing a given area. It's really like I have a block. It's just the hardest thing to do. The thing I do with myself (which I teach my kids to do for themselves) when it comes to cleaning, is "just do the next thing". That works for me. Or the 10 minute dash. Pick up this room really quick without worrying about perfection. Then, move onto something new.

Dad and son

My little son has asthma. Each time he gets a cold (well almost every time) he get asthma symptoms and has to be nebulized extra (he gets some preventative medication every day whether he has a cold or not). Being a two year old, he doesn't like sitting still to be nebulized for long. Luckily Daddy spells me and takes care of it a lot.

It's been a rough two weeks. I think the combination of my son being two and him beginning to be able to talk about what he wants and doesn't want, made for a very grumpy boy. Here is a sweet shot though...just regular every day life. I love my family (even on the hard days).


Monday, October 15, 2012


We started our new writing curriculum today. My kids didn't get "which" clauses and how the clause needs to be connected with the first part of the sentence. They also didn't get how their sentences are supposed to make sense, or how to change the sentences to make sense, and I didn't get how to teach them without getting frustrated. I hope it gets better. My middle daughter usually has trouble writing things that make sense (she's great orally), which is one reason why we're doing Writing In Excellence. But, they are supposed to write from an outline and at least today, this actually made it harder for them, and I found myself completely exasperated as to how to explain to them what to do without telling them what to write. Writing is definitely the hardest subject for me to teach.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Four Year Old Ism

Four Year Old - "Mom, my tummy hurts."
Me - "maybe you should lie down if your tummy hurts."
Four Year Old - "No, I think I should go outside and play.
Maybe my tummy hurts because I have tight fitting garden shoes on one toe."
Me - "that makes your tummy hurt?"
Four Year Old - "Yeah, sometimes."

Monday, September 24, 2012

Indian Summer

Indian Summer

It continues to be a beautiful and warm September here in the Pacific Northwest. Almost all of our plants have continued to ripen, which is good because our Spring here in the Northwest was rainy and cold. This year I've come to the realization in life I have to just get done what I can get done and rejoice in the progress I've made even if my life doesn't look all together. My husband has been dedicated to doing some work on our house this summer and as such all his time has gone to projects this summer. He has had very little time to join me in the garden. The garden is full of weeds. But, our plants are still peeking up above them and we have some harvest. We've had crookneck squash, strawberries, raspberries, celery, a little broccoli, green beans, some lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions. Also, last year I planted some heirloom roses. I've been tending them all summer, even if unperfectly. Again, my flower beds have weeds. Yet, to give me credit, we have a huge yard, huge flower beds, and I don't like to use spray or bark. I'm trying to fill in the bare dirt with flowers. And, I get behind. That's OK. It's a good lesson to learn to be OK with that.

We put the big girls to work yesterday painting. Here they are:

My husband has been busy fixing our roof. The installer of our house didn't put flashing all the way down on the roof joints and so water pools at the end of the barrier that is down and leaks badly into the house. It's been an issue for years. My husband has taken on learning to properly roof this year and has gone and replaced the section where the roof comes together.

My oldest born daughter (if you read my blog you know I have an older step-daughter), the eleven year old, had no problem climbing up onto the roof and walking around on it. I myself would have a problem with that, but she is a dare devil when it comes to heights, and is very sure footed.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Ahhhh. We've been busy. My girls are enrolled in a new homeschooling program this year and as such I have to keep very good track of their schooling. It's been a transition, but, so far, I don't think it is one I regret. Obviously, if I were impinged upon to teach school in a certain way, then that would be different. But, it's my desire to teach my children a well rounded education anyhow complete with other viewpoints, although a fair amount of sheltering is a good thing in my boat.

Here is a poem/story my oldest girl wrote today. I liked it, so I had to share:

One Morning When I Awoke

One morning when I awoke, I lay upon my bed. I heard the birds twitter and the laughing brook. Then I turned and saw the window: the trees were swaying in the wind, the sky was turning blue. The beautiful sunshine filled my room, the birdsongs getting softer...and then I turned and saw my clock, it said t'was four till noon.


Friday, August 24, 2012


As usual, our family went camping on our vacation. I always find that when I get back from camping, I'm grateful for the conveniences of everyday life and inspired by the sights we had the opportunity to see. Camping helps to put a soul in the right perspective.

Staring At Sleeping Young Ones Makes For Great Memories

Mt. Rainier is always gorgeous from any angle. If you make it there I recommend going up to Sunrise. The glaciers are big and the crowds aren't quite as big as the Paradise side of the mountain.

Photographs can't ever quite capture what you see.

Even the littles are inspired.

What's not to be inspired by?

And there were a few moment of trepidation for this nervous hiker.

And discoveries were made.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Summer is rolling right along here. It's been a coolish Summer and a coolish Spring preceeding it. The pastures are green, green, green.

I'm making a lot of progress with my gardening this year. I almost want to say that I'm pushing so hard at getting things planted, weeded, and tended, that I'm not enjoying it quite as I could be. But, I have a goal of at least getting my roses growing and filling my main flower bed with flowers. The soil here on our property is mostly clay and rock. So, I put on steer compost, but I can only do so much and the soil still remains a challenge.

I recently planted two more rose bushes. My sister in law gave me four or five roses and I planted one of them where I had a blank spot and one where another rose died. I have to find spots for another two or three. I'll either have to plant them in an extra challenging flower bed and/or dig up something in my garden block flower bed. I'll have to share pictures soon, but I don't have any handy. Quite frankly I want to get things better in bloom before taking pictures.

I feel like summer is slipping away from me. We raise cattle for extra income. Because of that my husband is extra busy with pasture and hay season. I also have my step-daughter with me for a month and a half of the summer season, bring the child count up to five. She's a good girl, but being a step-mom isn't easy.

I think step-mom's have a bad rap. One always feels badly for the child that is being tossed from home to home. But, I don't know how being a step-mom could be easy. A step-mother might say, "I want you to do your chores like this...", the step-child naturally, even if respectful, says, "we don't do it that way at my other house". A step-mother might say, "Please do XYZ." A step-child is more likely to ignore her. A step-daughter might complain that she doesn't get the same privileges she gets at her other house, yet the same child wants to be involved in all the other types of fun activities you do here.

My step-daughter and I usually have a major collision about halfway through her one month time period with us (and also once during the extended time we get during Christmas and Spring Break). And I find I have a difficult time relaxing for much of the summer. Somehow, I am usually broadsided by the conflicts, as they don't happen during the short visits with us. I always hope to be more prepared emotionally and therefore have a more relaxing summer.

Also, like most any person out there right now, we are struggling a bit financially (no one is unemployed but our business continues to go down). We can pay our bills (just barely), but we don't have a lot of leeway. To some, I'm sure, this might not seem like a big deal, but we are facing maybe not going to our county fair this year, or not going to the beach due to hotel costs, and not eating out to eat at restaurants. Our cuts are just that type. But, it is stressful. It is stressful not knowing what the future brings. Really, I think these cuts are good for the kids, so they can appreciate what they have more.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Farm Animals

We keep adding to our collection of farm animals. Our latest addition are goats, Clary and Eleri (the baby is Eleri).




Our turkeys are growing too. This is the third year we've done turkeys. They are a bunch of fun. They always want to play follow the leader.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

On The News Front

On the news front. We have some goats coming soon. The white one will be mine. The spotted one my oldest daughter's goat (in celebration of her 11th birthday).


And, my oldest girl broke her arm. Or, at least they think she broke it. The x-ray didn't show the break for sure. So, she may be dancing at her ballet recital with a cast on, or she may be missing it, or maybe, just maybe she might get her cast off, after only a week. But, she's off chore duty and limited dance and off violin. She's really missing violin. She asked if we could hold up her violin so she could play open strings (notes that don't need the fingers).


And, we got my little one a cello. Well, we're renting it right now. I'm hoping my oldest daugther's violin teacher doesn't mind teaching my little one cello a little (he teaches both), since my oldest daughter can't make it to her lesson. I talked to him about the possibility of starting my little one coming up soon, but made no definite plans. I figure, I will figure out some teacher who will take her if that doesn't work. So, we have three playing strings. My little girl couldn't be happier. She looks like a cellist doesn't she?


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our Memorial Day Weekend

True learning doesn't stop. I'm always impressed by what my children are learning. I'm impressed that they rise to the occasion to read challenging writing, to write in a mature and fun way, to solve math problems on their own, to learn about animals around them, to want to help with breakfast and dinner.

Just the other night, my second girl, made herself gluten free biscuits. She had trouble listening halfway through and added a little extra milk, but that's a learning opportunity, and I helped her finish them, rolling the sticky dough in more powdery gluten free flour. My wheat free girl has a hard time sticking with her wheat free diet. She is jealous of the things the rest of us eat. She is the only one allergic to wheat in our family. But, making her own goods, gives her a feeling of self-control, and she learns math to boot.

Our weekend this week went something like this. We got ready for friends Saturday morning (and get a deep house clean done to boot). Had friends over Saturday evening. My step-daughter (older than my first girl) was here this weekend. She became ill halfway through the evening. Bummer. Yet, we had fun with our friends.

Friday evening and Saturday evening there were big thunder storms. On Saturday, there wasn't so much lightning, but both days the sky really opened up and dropped its contents. My main flower garden was buried with six inches of water. Usually, even in periods of great rain common here in the Northwest, it is moist, but rarely under water at all. Friday, my daughters and I tried to take a video of all the lightning, but the video just looked like flashes of light, you couldn't see the lightning in it.

Sunday, my step-daughter was still sick. In fact, she slept most of the day. We stayed home from church and we ate German Pancakes (our traditional weekend meal). Jon worked on the fence to our new small animal field. This is the field where we keep our hens, pullets (not yet laying hens), meat chickens, and turkeys. We might also keep a goat or several sheep there in future years. I was going to weed, but my hip was bothering me, and even kneeling to weed was bothering it, so I ended up getting a beach towel and going out in the field to sit by Jon (my husband). He liked that better anyhow. He usually likes me near him. Isn't that sweet? That was most of our day.

By Sunday evening my step-daughter was feeling mostly better. By Monday (Memorial Day), she was all the way better. We ended up going to Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge (which is mainly a bird sanctuary). They have a drive through touring section of the refuge and that is what we did that day. Jon mainly goes along because he knows I like it and he finds it relaxing (to sleep in the car while we look at all the birds). Isn't that sweet? The kids all loved it, even though the birds were not as plentiful as they are some times of the year. My step-daughter, in particular, commented how much she liked it. That's always momentous to me because I want her to have fun with us and also develop a love for learning. I'm not able to homeschool her, so any progress in that direction is huge to me.

Well, here is a picture of one of the birds we saw. This was a bird I'd never seen before, but had read about, the Yellow-headed Blackbird.


And, here is a video of a rabbit we saw, who was totally unafraid of people.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Getting Back To Things

I so want to get back to blogging about our homeschooling. We are nearing the end of the "year". My plan is to continue school through the end of June and then just do some minimum schooling. Maybe we'll do math (and of course they'll do free reading) when we don't have plans.

We've got a lot going on at the end of year here. One performance this week and one the next. After next week our schedule clears up a bit.

Here is a video of my oldest girl singing a solo with her choir class. I'm so proud of her. She's usually a fairly reserved young lady and she really stirred up her courage to do this.


Monday, May 21, 2012


Heeheehee. That was the sound she made too.
I love my children.

Jack of All Trades

He really is a Jack of All Trades. Luckily, he is NOT a master of none. weld_one weld_four weld_three weld_two

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spring Has Come & The Super Moon

Spring has come and now is almost over. Spring always seems really busy for us. As homeschoolers, there is always a lot of wrap up and pushing through towards our goals happening this time of year. At the same time, the weather is turning nice and we want to be outside.

Here recently, we got to experience a scientific event, really neat for the girls to experience. I know most of you got to experience it too. It was the super moon. I'm sure many of you got even neater views of the moon than I did. The moon here at our place came up over a hill. So, if we had a view of a flatter horizon, the moon would have appeared even bigger. But, it was pretty neat and pretty big, as big as I've ever seen. I do hope I get to see a moon like that sometime again in my lifetime. Here are my moon pictures, however. They were shot with my Canon 30D and my 70-200mm L 4.0 lens @ 200mm. I can only imagine having a really long lens for a shot like that.
moon_1 moon_2 moon_3 moon_4 moon_7 moon_8 moon_10 moon_11