Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A New Room

It's been ages since I've blogged, hasn't it?  I've composed a few blogs in my head, but I guess that doesn't count.

For most people, December is a busy month.  We don't celebrate Christmas which means in some ways it is very peaceful around here. It also means while everyone else is busy running around shopping (we avoid the stores at this time of year because that spirit of love is really hard to find at the stores right now!!) and partying, we get stuff done around the house.

This year we had a project to work on.  We moved into a house where we didn't have to paint or re-do anything and it was such a welcome break.  We still have houses to fix and finish in Coleman, so there's always plenty to do, but we could rest at home.  The trouble is, after a little more than a year here, it was time to start fixing some of the little problems we saw. 
  1. Our living room is too small.  We've looked at it from every angle and there was no good solution to make this room bigger.  We miss having a room we can all be together in comfortably.
  2. The girls were way over on the other side of the house.  It bothered me that if my little Gloria woke with a nightmare, I couldn't hear her.  She'd have to cry until a big sister took care of her.  They are wonderful sisters, but they aren't Mom.
  3. When we tuck kids in at night we have to go up one flight of stairs to tuck in the boys, then up a separate flight of stairs to tuck in the girls.  I'm sure the exercise is good for us, but at the end of the day it's not nice.  And if someone forgot their car they sleep with or drink or whatever, it could mean extra trips.  Not fun.
  4. The girls were in the Game Room above the garage.  It made for a nice big room for them, but there was no bathroom.  It couldn't have been nice to have to go downstairs and across the house in the middle of the night.
None of these things are so awful that we ever really complained.  We love our house.  It's a great house.  But one morning I woke up feeling panicked that we needed to move the girls closer.  I don't know why.  I just couldn't let go of it that day.  So I prayed.  I wanted God to take away the anxiety or show me how to fix it.  I got this little vision of Gwen sleeping in the crib in the corner of the study.  Uh, yeah, right.  Like that would ever work.  How could she sleep without being able to shut her door?  The other kids would wake her up all the time.  And where would we put all our books?  I'm asking these questions of my Great and Wonderful Heavenly Father as if He'd just given me the stupidest idea ever.  Not very nice of me, but I'm just telling you the real story here.  So being the really smart God that He is, He knew I'd never get it on my own.  So He told me to share the idea with Roger.  I did.

Roger's response was to say Yes and then expand with how we just add a wall and make it a bedroom.  He then went on and knew exactly how to change it all around and make it work.  So we did.

Tonight the kids are all sleeping in bedrooms above mine.  I can hear them all coughing and snoring right now.  It's wonderful to hear them.  If the girls wake up and need to go to the bathroom, no problem, it's right there.  To tuck them in we went up one flight of stairs and managed to get them all tucked in.  I'll still have to make multiple trips (especially if I get a tractor instead of a car for Ezra to sleep with or perhaps a car instead of a tractor--depends on the night) but still, only one staircase.  Not one for him and another to get to Joy and Gloria while Ezra gets out of control because I'm now so far away . . . And when I am sleeping, if anyone wakes with nightmares, I should be able to hear it.  If I ever get to bed that is.  It's approaching midnight as I type.

So the only thing left on the list is the too small living room.  We hope to have that fixed by the end of the week.  With the girls out of the game room, we now have a Family Room.  We've already moved all the books, computers, and desks up there.  We plan to move the tv, some seating, and even our popcorn popper up there.  As Samuel put it, "Mom, now I'll have a place to go where I can do anything I want."  Now, while that SOUNDS like he thinks there are no rules, I am choosing to believe that's not what he means.  We can do school, read, watch a movie, and play on the computer all in that room and the important thing is, WE ALL FIT.

So now the house is done, right?  Nope.  There was one other thing.  It's dark.  We like a bright house.  We had two choices.  We could paint the house a brighter color OR we could re-wire everything and add more lights.  Yes, we were tempted. But we chose to go the easy route and paint. 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Parenting Magazines

I got a free subscription to a well-known parenting magazine.  I enjoy reading magazines so I read it and laugh.  No, it's not supposed to be comical, but it is if you've been parenting babies as long as I have.

Twenty-one years ago when I was pregnant with my first baby I was totally completely clueless as to what I needed to do to take care of a baby.  So once he was born I began to read these magazines to learn what to do.  I picked up on all the new stresses very quickly as I learned what was right and what was wrong.  Parents that came before me did it all wrong, but the experts had it figured out and my generation couldn't fail.  We had all the answers now.

Fast forward a few years.  I'd already gone through infancy with a couple of kids when they came out with the new "back to sleep" campaign.  If you paid enough attention you knew that if you ever were to lay a baby to sleep on their tummy, they would die.  Ahem.  I'd just done that with two kids and they survived.  My mother confessed that yes, all five of her children made it through infancy sleeping on their tummies.  So I continued.  Later they came out with the idea of babies sleeping on their sides.  I'm not sure when, but I think it was my 5th baby when I was asked if I had a sleep positioner.  A what?  No, I lay them on their tummies.  I got looks like I was totally clueless.  Yep.  That's me.  Mom of five and completely ignorant as to how to put a baby to sleep.  So I laughed pretty hard when I read that sleep positioners are dangerous and should never be used.  Then I realized it isn't funny at all that babies died because the "experts" were guessing at things.

Flip through a few more pages and find an article about how to feed your child nuts.  What?  That's another area where people have told me I am nuts because I feed them to my children.  Well, they used to be considered healthy.  We all ate them.  Peanut butter was a staple in nearly every home.  But so many kids are allergic these days.  Oh, um, well, the "experts" are currently guessing that maybe by not exposing children to nuts early enough, they are more likely to develop an allergy to them.  (I won't even discuss that some believe there could be a connection to vaccinations, too.  That would open up a whole new topic of what the "experts" say.)

 Then there was the whole smart baby craze.  I guess that really never ends, but just changes its face every few years.  Remember the videos that were supposed to make all our babies become as smart as Einstein?  I recently read that exposure to TV, even educational TV, causes a baby to develop slower. 

It's just comical really.  The "experts" can never make up their minds what is good and what is bad.  It changes with every few years.  So new parents, I have a bit of advice.  In spite of what all the "experts" say, don't worry too much about all the little things.  Trust your instinct, your "mother's intuition" (I'm sure dad's have it too).  That's one thing that doesn't fail me as long as I listen to it.  Those Mom hunches I get where I just know this is what we should or shouldn't do are usually right.  Sometimes I kick myself because I ignored it.  Other times I am grateful I paid attention.  Try not to stress out about things, but just enjoy your child.  Do the best you can. 

The nurses in the hospital when I had my first child told me they could tell I was going to be a good mom.  I asked how in the world they could see that already.  They said, "because it's clear you love him and that is all that matters.  The rest will follow."  Notice, they didn't tell me to be his best friend and be sure he's always happy.  Love your baby and the rest will follow.

And laugh at the magazines.  Laughter is the best medicine.

(This post is dedicated to Stephen and Chonie.  I'm fairly certain y'all are going to be excellent parents.)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Guard Dogs

Faith was driving to a baby-sitting gig last Tuesday when a deer ran across the road. She swerved to miss it (she was successful) and ended up stuck in a ditch beside the road (the truck was fine, thanks). When Melissa and I arrived she was standing beside the truck looking upset. There was a man in a one-ton truck parked beside her on the road. My first impression of the scene was that my daughter had a guard dog taking care of her. He had chains and helped pull her truck out of the ditch and drove away. Small towns in rural America remain a blessing to those who live in them. There are things we don't have because we don't have the population to justify the business investment, but we do have each other and that seems to be more than enough.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Homemade Yogurt

I believe I've posted directions to make yogurt before, but I wanted to update how we do it.  It used to take us a long time because first we heated the yogurt to 180, then cooled it to 110.  I was always taught to never heat milk at higher than medium heat.  So it took a couple hours from start to putting it in containers to begin setting.  This caused me to give it up after a while.  Life is too busy, right?

But I love yogurt and there are a LOT of us.  To go to the store and buy us each a little container of yogurt gets really expensive.  And I want to eat it EVERY DAY.  Plus there are all these extra ingredients that we don't want when we buy our yogurt. 

So we have streamlined our approach to making yogurt.  It now takes me about 15 minutes of "work" followed by a few hours where it sits and I forget about it.  Yesterday I did this with my almost 8 year old daughter.  Soon it will be her job because it is that easy.  I taught her while we waited for something to come out of the oven.

If you make less than 2 gallons, you'll probably be done even faster.

Home Made Yogurt

2 gallons milk (we're using store bought because our cow is dry.  This is really something anyone can do.)
6 oz plain yogurt with live cultures (just check on the package to be sure it contains live cultures.  Next time you make it you can use your own starter from your homemade batch.  Freeze it if it will be a while.  It works great as a starter after thawing.  We didn't have plain though so we used vanilla.  It still works.  But we flavor ours vanilla before we eat it.  If you wanted plain, you probably want to start with plain so there's no subtle vanilla taste in whatever else you use your yogurt for.)
Thermometer (optional)

Pour milk into a pot and heat on high (stirring frequently) until it reaches about 100-120 degrees.  The high heat is not a problem--at least it hasn't been for us and I've probably made it this way 20 times now.  Maybe if I were heating it to a higher temperature, but I don't know.  If you don't have a thermometer, stick a clean finger in there (clean is important!).  If it feels cold, it's not hot enough.  You want it as hot as hot water coming from the faucet, but not so hot that it burns you.  Too hot will kill the cultures.  If you accidentally overheat it, wait until it cools a bit before adding your starter.

When it has reached the desired temperature, add your culture (the yogurt) and stir it really well.

Pour it into whatever containers you want to use.  You can use individual size containers as I've done before or just pour it into larger containers as we do now.  It is faster and we just serve it from there.  Drawback is you can't take it somewhere as a snack or fast food.  I use 3 large bowls with lids.  Lids are important if you want to stack your containers in the next step!

Once it's poured and lidded, put your yogurt/milk mixture somewhere to sit undisturbed for a while.  We have used the oven in the past, but it seemed I was always wanting to bake bread that day or the girls would want to make cookies or whatever.  I finally tried a cooler as had been suggested to me multiple times.  It just happened to be in the kitchen while I was making yogurt.  It worked great!  I now keep a cooler in the garage just for this purpose.  I move my containers out to the cooler, shut the lid, and check back in about 4 hours.  Last time it was done and tart (it starts getting more tart the longer it sits after it's ready) already, but it was a hot day so that might have helped.  This time it wasn't ready yet at 3 hours, then I forgot about it.  I remembered in the middle of the night (12 hours after we started it) and got up and moved it to the fridge.  It was fine although slightly tart.

You can then flavor it with whatever you like.  We add 1/2 c sugar to each third of our 2 gallon total and a blob of vanilla.  We used to flavor it before letting it sit, but I needed 4 cups total.  I guess the culture eats all sugar, not just milk sugar so a lot of it got used up.  Sugar is not the best choice health wise, but that's what we do.  I have a couple of children who won't eat it if I use honey and they aren't otherwise picky eaters so I just deal with it and make one thing everyone will eat.

This morning we ate it with strawberries and homemade granola.  I think this must be my absolute favorite breakfast.  I think strawberries will be eternally in season in heaven. . .

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Samuel's Eyes

Samuel has been wearing glasses for the past two years because he has lazy eye.  (I'm sticking with the non-technical terms here.)  The doctor had been very optimistic that he would not need surgery at first.  But then 6 mos ago he changed his prescription and made it stronger.  He didn't say anything, but there was a look of concern on his face and he firmly told Samuel to be sure he wore his glasses all the time.  He wanted to see him again in 3 mos. 

We went back for another visit on Friday, June 18, and I could tell there was trouble.  When they did the vision screening at the beginning, he had to work to get the 20/40 line with his glasses on.  He didn't see any of the 3D images pop out at him.  The doctor looked at his eyes and was visibly upset.  He said Samuel is going to need surgery.  He wanted to see him again in 3 mos.

 That Sunday, Roger took him up to the front of our church and had him prayed over.  Samuel was told to thank Jesus every day for healing his eyes.  I had some doubts.  He was still crossing his eyes.  How could we call that healed?  But I prayed and asked for help with my faith.  I then asked God if Samuel should still be wearing glasses.  I was leaning toward keeping him in glasses until I could see he was better, but told God that if Sam should not be wearing glasses to please make that clear to me.  A couple hours later his glasses broke.  Just broke.  I was holding them about to straighten out a spot that was slightly off when they just came apart in my hands.  I took that as an answer and he hasn't worn glasses since--except once when he ran across a pair and wore them for about an hour "just because."  He's 6.  That's really all the reason we need.

Today it was time for his check up.  I was so nervous.  This doctor really cares about the kids and I was sure I was going to get a good long lecture about making him wear his glasses all the time.  I kept praying and asking God to lead me in my words and actions so that He could get whatever glory He wanted from this situation.

First came the vision screening.  He had no glasses on at all.  They asked me and I said they broke.  I didn't say they broke 2 days after the last appointment and were under warranty so I could have had them fixed, but didn't think God wanted him to wear them.  I just said they broke.  A note was made in his chart.  They did the screening without them.  He flew through the exam and had 20/20 vision and saw the 3D stuff popping off the page at him.  I was getting excited.

Then we went in to see the doctor.  He looked at his chart and had a confused look on his face.  Then he looked at Samuel's eyes.  Back to the chart, the computer, his eyes, he seemed a bit flustered.  Finally he said, "There is actually some positive change here."  He looked some more, gave the assistant a new prescription because the glasses broke, then looked some more.  Commented again about the improvement in his eyes and that he could wait a year for another checkup, then I couldn't hold back anymore and blurted, "We had his eyes prayed over."  Just as my daughter Faith predicted would happen, suddenly he changed his attitude and commented that he still crosses his eyes up close, we just don't see it.  He looked at Samuel and told him to wear those glasses every day, and the appointment was over. 

We go back in a year.  I think I'm going to keep following God's advice.  He seems to be doing a great job!  We will continue to pray over his eyes anytime we see crossing (although it's been over a month since I've seen it), thank Jesus for healing Samuel, and get his eyes checked as needed.

God is good all the time and sometimes it's more evident to my narrow view of things than others.  This one is pretty obvious and I'm so thankful to SEE it. :)

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Fast Food

It's been about 5 years since we left the Metroplex now.  We no longer live on the farm, but we still live in a small town and have kept many of the changes that began when we moved to the farm.

One of the biggest changes was in how we eat.  For financial reasons we completely gave up cold cereal for breakfast.  Recently I tried going back to cold cereal for convenience.  It's not very convenient when you have to fix food twice in the morning instead of just once because everyone is hungry again.  A person feels more satisfied after eating if they have eaten foods that are full of nutrients.  I remember as a kid reading on the box that my cereal was part of a complete breakfast when eaten with toast, juice and milk.  So the only food group missing was meat (this was back in the days of the Basic Four food groups).  That always left me wondering why I needed the cereal because it was NOT meat.  But anyway, we tried it and I've sat over my cereal each morning looking forward to the day when I don't have so many kids at home so I can find the time to have a decent breakfast again.  Yesterday I asked myself what that would be.  I LOVE yogurt so my answer was yogurt, granola and fruit.  Hmm.  Why can't I do that now?  So yesterday afternoon Claire and I made 2 gallons of yogurt and a huge batch of granola.  We put the yogurt into little 8 oz size containers with lids and put them in the fridge.  We did this to try to ration it out otherwise it's all gone fast because we eat as much as we want.  It was still warm this morning, but we'll begin eating it tomorrow.  This should last 4 days and cost a total of $6.50 for the yogurt and I don't know for the granola, but I know it's all working out to be much less than feeding all of us cold cereal.  It was all stuff already in our cabinet--oats, nuts, honey and butter for this particular recipe.  I expect the granola to last a bit longer, but we'll see.  So I just have to spend some time making breakfast ahead of time twice a week.  It didn't take very long, maybe an hour, and we would have spent that much time making breakfast each day if we weren't having cereal.  But I have to share this picture.  This is a four day supply of yogurt for my family.  It's times like this when I realize I have a lot of kids.

The kids share my love of yogurt so I will share another "fast food" thing we do.  And this one really is fast.  No cooking involved and it's for when we are on the road.  Five years ago if we were out running errands and it was time to eat, we'd go to a fast food place and grab a burger, fries, and a soda--not healthy and cost about $30 and up for all of us.  But when we moved out to the country, the nearest fast food place was too far away to consider it fast.  If we were in town running errands, we still didn't want to get fast food because it just wasn't in the budget. 

We found cheaper solutions.  Frequently we would buy a loaf of bread, package of sliced cheese, package of lunch meat and bottled water if we hadn't planned ahead and brought our own water from home.  This was much cheaper, but also much less tasty really.  We've now found something even better!  We buy each person a container of yogurt.  We bought a package of plastic spoons and napkins the first time and these stay in the van now.  Then we also buy fruit.  Our current favorite is grapes.  It's best if you can wash them.  We've used a water fountain at a park or a rest area's bathroom sink. For drinks we buy a gallon of drinking water and pour this into our individual water bottles.  You could also pour this water over your fruit to wash it.  Once we bought juice and paper cups and amazingly no one spilled.

Yogurt and fruit is surprisingly satisfying.  It's yummy and filling.  We have spent less than $15 and bought plenty of grapes and enough yogurt for 2 each.  That was for myself and 8 children ranging in age from 2-16.  So one night recently when I planned a dinner that turned out to still not be ready at 7pm, Roger offered to go get something.  I suggested yogurt and fruit.  He looked at me like I was crazy and said, "I'm really hungry."  I told him it was surprisingly satisfying and he said okay.  I guess he's learning to trust me after all these years. ;-)  So he went and bought a lot of grapes and enough yogurt for everyone to have 2.  He agreed.  It's much more filling than it sounds. 

And there's no Fast Food Guilt to go with it!

Monday, June 07, 2010

A Really Big Surprise

The kids and I went to Colorado Springs this weekend to see our oldest son, his new house, and his fiancee.  We had a fun weekend, then drove all  night to get home.  I thought this might be easier since the kids would sleep and we wouldn't need to stop as often.  That didn't work out well, but we did get home safely. 

While we were gone, Roger planned a surprise for us.  This is the new view out my kitchen window.  I love it!!

While we were in Colorado Springs, I had all 11 children together for the first time ever.  I took pics, but I have to say, they aren't that great.  No one was especially happy at the time.  I had all these people who are used to flat west Texas up in the mountains and they were feeling a bit nervous on the trail (especially me and we know how children pick up Mom's mood!).  Then in the midst of this nervousness, I have them pose for a picture on a bridge--which just added to the nervousness of course.  Oh well.  They are beautiful enough people to make up for it.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Best Time To Shop

I haven't been blogging much.  I've just been too busy.  And then I figure, who really is interested in reading about our lives?  We just get through each day with nothing special going on.  But I love to write, just like I love to talk.  And as Roger will tell you, it doesn't matter if what I have to say is interesting, I'll talk anyway.  So I decided to just write anyway, too.

Ever since I became a mom (just over 20 years ago) I've been trying to figure out when the best time of day is to take my little kids shopping.  I have learned that I can take the big kids just about anytime, but since I still have little kids, I have to work at WHEN to go.  Before homeschooling, it was pretty easy.  I would go around 10 so I could get done before they got hungry.  After lunch was naps.  And if I wasn't busy making dinner after naps, I still didn't want to go shopping because that's when the After School Rush begins.  Just after that is the After Work Rush.  And then after that we'd be busy eating dinner, giving baths, and getting kids to bed.

It got more complicated when I added in homeschooling.  We can't go in the morning or the kids won't do school.  We've tried school in the afternoons during naps and occasionally that works.  But frankly, I'm too tired to stay on them or help them if they have questions, so often nothing gets done.  For years I just went shopping after the kids went to bed because Roger could be home with them.  That worked just fine. 

Then we moved to the country where everything either closed early or was far away.  I started doing more shopping online, but some things you just have to actually go to the store.

Mornings are a nice time to go shopping.  It seems most of the other shoppers are older women who love to see my little ones, or other moms of young children who understand occasional tantrums.

Lunchtime is awful.  My kids are hungry and cry too much and I can't do any shopping.  Just a quick grab and run--no browsing allowed. 

Naptime is awful.  The little ones are crying or sleeping in the cart.  I do have kids old enough to babysit now and so occasionally I will go by myself.  But I've found that the more often I go by myself, the worse my children behave in public when they do go with me.  I guess they need the practice and training of shopping with Mom.  Besides, I like to be home at naptime for the same reason I don't like to do school at naptime.  I get tired.  I'm up throughout the night.  I need at least some downtime, if not a short snooze when I can sneak it in.

So that leaves us with the After School Rush or the After Work Rush.  Yesterday found us shopping for clothes during the After School Rush.  That wasn't so bad because that rush doesn't really affect the clothes stores.  But that put us at Walmart during the After Work Rush.  Let me describe what that can be like for a large family.

First of all, it is always crowded when I go shopping.  I have all these little people around me who tend to stand right in front of whatever I'm trying to look at.  They can't help it because they can't read my mind.  So I try to be a little extra patient.  I did well with that yesterday.  Then there are all these impatient people who want to get their shopping done so they can get home.  Most of these are people who either no longer have small children at home, or have chosen to put career first and avoid children.  Or maybe just have the obligatory 1 or 2.  Now, I'm not saying everyone with no children or just 1 or 2 is rude.  Not at all.  But it seems that the After Work Rush is usually full of people who just don't like kids.  We get the most stares, rude comments, rude looks, etc at this time of day.  I think some people think we don't notice them, or maybe their mothers never taught them the well known rules "Don't stare" or "If you can't say something nice don't say anything at all."  But we notice and we hear. 

A couple of my kids have stared back before.  They said it doesn't affect the Starers.  I can deal with the stares and the people who are visibly counting.  The ones that I feel sorry for are the ones who look at us with disgust or say rude things either to us or within our earshot.  They just seem so loveless.

So we endured the comments, stares, and rude people who seem to think we have no right to shop, then on to the checkouts.  This is usually a 20 minute wait and is a nightmare.  I dread it.  I'm pretty sure Walmart has it down to a science--if the wait is too long people may not shop there, if it is too short, they are paying too many checkers--and keep it just the right wait that we will all still shop there.  We chose our line and turned all the Cosmos backward--and a few other offensive magazines, too, this time--swimsuit season.  Then I look up and the woman in front of us was just finishing loading up her purchases.  She looks at the kids, looks at me and asks, "Are they all yours?" I inwardly groan, but outwardly smile and say, "Yes they are."  I LOVED her reaction.  She gave me a big smile and two thumbs up!!  Woohoo!  I got to spend the next few minutes chatting with a fellow child lover.  It was so pleasant the wait didn't seem nearly as long.

If only all Walmart shoppers could be friendly.  Life would be so much easier.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Grain Price List

I've had a request for a price list for wheat which made me realize I haven't posted a final one here yet.  It takes me some time to get my head back together after I have a baby.  But she's definitely worth it.

Here's what we've got.
45 lb pails Bronze Chief Wheat  $33
45 lb pails Prairie Gold Wheat  $35
45 lb pail Long Grain brown rice  $65
50 lb bag Prairie Gold Wheat  $28
50 lb bag Rolled Oats  $42
2 lb jar Honey  $10
5 lb bag Prairie Gold Flour  $4

We are willing to sell wheat that has been ground by us into flour.  We will grind it fresh the day you buy it for $4 per 5 lbs.  Just please let us know in advance so we have time to get it ground for you.  We will do 5 lbs at a time.  Right now I have a limited number of bags of flour that are already ground.

We can also sell you some fresh roasted, salted peanuts for $2 per pound.  We started buying these in bulk and LOVE them.  We'd been buying a name brand, but these are so much tastier!  Anyway, we figured we could pass them on if anyone wants to get some while you're here.  We use our juicer and grind them into peanut butter.  It makes the BEST all natural peanut butter you'll ever taste.  And no need to stir it either!

Call before coming to be sure we're here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wheat is here along with a new utility pole!

Here comes the truck!  But wait.  Why are the wheels spinning?  What's that strange creaking sound?  What was that loud crack?  It seems a guide wire went too low across our driveway and got caught on the truck.  It pulled tight and cracked the utility pole.  This all happened in seconds and thankfully no one got hurt.
It all was quite exciting.  We had two police cars, a highway patrol car, an eighteen wheeler and utility trucks here.  And now we have our grain too.  Come and get it!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Writing Books--Year K

Here is Year K which would be used for 10th grade.

£ÏÑøïÌѺãÈ †È wöëæàæìæàøçªÜ¸ bé‰éœäÈ

The link to the scribd webpage. I don't know why the title changed. I tried deleting and uploading again and it did the same thing. Weird.

Writing Books--Year M

For their senior year I have the kids write a research paper. I got this off the internet, but here it is in our book format.

Year M Writing Book

And the link to the Scribd page

Writing Books--Year L

We use this in 11th grade. It is a Literature course and really could be done at any time during high school. Two of our kids have done it concurrently with another level. They seem to be in a hurry to graduate and get out of the house around here. Too noisy perhaps?

Level L Literature

And click here to go directly to the Scribd link.

Writing Books

I stopped uploading the books before I was done because the ones with cursive all look blotchy. I couldn't figure out how to fix this. But I heard from someone who downloaded them and printed them. She said that they looked blotchy until she prints them and then they are fine.

Maybe someone out there has a suggestion how I can get them to not look blotchy? But otherwise, if you want to just see how it looks, you can print a page or two and see if it works out.

I'll try to get the last two books uploaded now if I can still remember how I did it.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Writing Books--Year J

9th grade

Level J Writing Book

link to level J

Writing Books--Year I

8th grade

Level I Writing Book

Link to Year I

Writing Books--Year H

7th grade

Level H Writing Book

Link to year H

Writing Books--Year G

6th grade

Level G Writing Book

Link to year G

Writing Books--Year F

5th grade

Level F Writing Book

Here's the link

Writing Books--Year E

4th grade

Level E Writing Book

The link.

Writing Books--Year D

Here is Year D (3rd grade)

Year D

And the link.

Writing Books--Year C

Here is Year C aka 2nd grade. There is a brief description of how this works on the Year B post.

Year C

And here's a link to view it elsewhere if it won't load fast enough.

Writing Books--Year B

Here is the Year B book. I would consider this 1st grade. If I remember right the font ended up smaller than I intended, but none of my kids have really minded that yet.

They do copywork every day. Also we set a timer and they spend 5 minutes working on their assignment. That's it. At the end of the week they choose one assignment and try to edit it to the best of their ability. Then they bring it to me and we edit it together. This is how they learn spelling, punctuation, etc. Once their writing is edited, they re-copy it and we save that copy. The idea is that at the end of the year we bind all those into a book and save it. But you could also just save them in a notebook.

Year B

If it takes too long to load this, you might prefer to go here to view it.

Writing Books--Year A

I've put together copywork and writing assignments for my kids so I don't have to do this every year. Each year I just print out their books. These have some typos, but for the most part they are very usable. Occasionally I will share them with friends. I have never heard back from anyone if they like them or use them, but they have worked great for our family. I am attempting to share them here for anyone interested in trying them out. Each book will have it's own post. I've got K-12, but they are labeled as Years A through M so that they can be used whenever I feel it is necessary without having a "grade level" assigned to them. Sometimes kids need a little more time to learn to write before you move them on to reports and such. I don't believe in pushing them too soon. And so far so good. I had one student who absolutely hated writing and cried whenever he had to. I used this method to teach him to write--copywork plus 5 minutes a day of writing on different topics. Then we chose one piece of writing per week to edit and re-copy. He ended up writing several novels just for the fun of it.

So here is Year A. I use this for Kindergarteners or Pre-K--I start them in it when we do the Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons book. The first 100 lessons go with that book.

Year A

Here's a link
to view this elsewhere in case it's too slow loading here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's a Girl!

Gwen at 5 days

Roger with Gwen

Gwen 1 day

Gwen just after delivery with Grace

Well, we're late announcing here. We announced on Facebook right away, but neglected the blog.

Gwen Victoria was born at 8:51am, Tuesday, February 16th. She weighed 7 lbs 12 oz. Big sister Grace has wanted to be a midwife since she was 5 or 6. She'll be 14 next month and got to help with this delivery. And she STILL wants to be a midwife!

Everybody adores their beautiful new sister. I've been asked a couple of times if Ezra suddenly got bigger. Gloria overheard me answering, "No, but Gloria's grown a foot." She quickly checked out her feet to see!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Our Latest Adventure--Panivino Grain

You probably already know that we eat a lot of all-natural kinds of things. One of the things we do is to buy wheat berries, grind them, and make our own bread. To do this, I have to drive 2-3 hours to get our wheat berries. That's a long drive. One way to handle this is to buy a LOT all at once and not have to drive as often. But that means I am gone all day and so the kids go with me. When the kids go with me, we have less space for cargo in the van because we are filling it with children. So I have to go more often because I can't fit as much wheat at once.

So we've decided it would just be easier if we became wheat distributors. There is no one else within a 2-3 hour drive from here. Yeah, I'm probably crazy taking this on right as I am awaiting the birth of our 11th child (I'm 38 weeks today and really getting excited about meeting the new baby soon!!). But our oldest gave me some good advice: wait until the baby is born and then place the order for the first truckload of wheat. It's supposed to take 6-8 weeks to arrive so that gives me some recovery time before we unload the truck and load up our shed.

So if you live anywhere near Clyde, which is 15 miles east of Abilene, you may want to take a look at the price list and see if you are interested. Otherwise, the rest of this post will completely bore you because it's just more details about the wheat and stuff.

The first order will be placed mid-February and should arrive early to mid-April. If you would like to special order or make a request, please contact Melissa Nelson at panivinograin@gmail.com

Prices subject to change
Products that will be stocked:
45# pail Prairie Gold® Wheat Berries $35
2# Pure Montana Honey $10
45# pail Long Grain Brown Rice $65
Also, freshly ground flour will be available if you order it at least 24 hours in advance and get small quantities at a time--like 5-10 lbs. We will grind it for you that day. Price will be $4 per 5 lb bag and will be packaged in a plastic bag closed with a twist tie. You can freeze this to keep it fresh and it will be fresher than anything you can buy in the store.

Products that are under consideration (please email if you would like to purchase these products. I need to know if there's enough interest to stock them.):
45# pail Bronze Chief Wheat Berries $33
50# bag Prairie Gold Wheat Berries $28
25# bag Prairie Gold Wheat Berries $18
50# bag Regular Rolled Oats $42
45# pail Oat Groats $53
45# pail Pinto Beans $63
25# bag Golden Flax Seed $47
45# pail Soft White Wheat $35
25# bag Long Grain Brown Rice $36

Products available through special order if you order by mid-February:
50# bag Bronze Chief Wheat Berries $27
50# bag Red Chief Organic Wheat $29
25# bag Bronze Chief Wheat Berries $16
50# bag Hard Red Winter Wheat $27
45# pail Hard Red Winter Wheat $30
50# bag Bronze Chief Premium flour $28
50# bag Prairie Gold Premium flour $30
50# bag Natural White Premium flour $29
50# bag Oat Groats $48
50# bag Wheat Bran $30
25# bag/45# pail Whole 7-Grain mix $34/$60
50# bag 7-Grain Rolled/Flaked $42
50# bag Cracked 9-grain mix $65
25# bag Pinto Beans $34
25# bag/45# pail 11-bean/pea mix $45/$85
12# pail Pure Montana Honey $50
4/10# case Natural White Flour 40# case $26
4/10# case Prairie Gold Flour 40# case $26
4/10# case Bronze Chief Flour 40# case $26
8/5# case Natural White Flour 40# case $29
8/5# case Prairie Gold Flour 40# case $29
8/5# case Bronze Chief Flour 40# case $29
8/3# case 7-Grain cereal 24# case $28
8/3# case Rolled Oat cereal 24# case $28
50# bag Kamut $59
50# bag Soft White Wheat $30
50# bag Whole Wheat pastry flour $35
50# bag Spelt Flour $47
50# bag Spelt Berries $45
45# pail Spelt Berries $46
8/5# case Bronze Chief Berries 40# case $29
8/5# case Prairie Gold Berries 40# case $29

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Pets vs Farm Animals

Through the years that we lived in Coleman I was able to keep the number of pets we had down. We had lots of animals and my philosophy was that the animals should have a purpose. That was then, this is now.

We have our cow out in the back yard, but that's not enough. The chickens are still in Coleman with a new family. We have a dog, but apparently that's still not enough. We have a cat. We even are "dogsitting" Stephen's dog these days. Still not enough?

Clark, 9 yrs old, has been trying to talk us into all kinds of pets. Chameleon, Peregrine Falcon, snakes of various sorts, anything but the ordinary. We decided he needed something easier to care for as a first pet. So we are getting a pair of guinea pigs. We should be able to get them Saturday. So today Grace and I put together the cage. It wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, but it wasn't that horrible either. I just wouldn't recommend it to someone who is 35 weeks pregnant. It gets a bit hard to lean over and reach some of the parts you're working on.

Here's a pic of the cage. We got our instructions off the internet at this link.
We still need to add the bedding and stuff, but the little critters aren't gonna be here for a couple more days. And no, we won't be building any fires in our fireplace for a while.