Tuesday, September 16, 2014

We canned 120 Quarts of Applesauce!

It's one of our favorite traditions. Canning applesauce with our friends from church.  Every year Mrs T and Mrs. D help us. Mrs. T provides us with the apples and plans the date. Mrs. D gathers willing helpers.
Last year all the kids mentors helped us. This year it was Mrs. T and D and two more friends from church in addition to our neighbor.

We had 8 kids 10 and under here, we gated off the kitchen and all little people were forbidden in the hot food area. 

So thankful for people who sacrifice their time and efforts! 


We canned 120 quarts of applesauce!! So unbelievably blessed by this! It is something we eat at almost every meal! 

God is good..

Sunday, September 14, 2014

God is Good.

Life has been crazy busy..
School is a challenge...
Babysitting a balancing act...
Health challenges a constant drain...
Foster care an emotional journey...
toilets overflow..
kids are defiant..
kids constantly need fed...
kids constantly make messes...

But we are fighting to thrive in this:
We have friends who inspire and encourage
We have Godgiven breaks on the tough days
The knowledge this is only for a season
The strength that comes from God.
The peace that surpasses understanding.

The blogging will be on the back burner for awhile as I work to find our place in this chaos.

Monday, September 8, 2014


  We were invited to our friend's 16 birthday! Miss C is our "Mother's Helper". She often goes with us on day trips and appointments to help me keep everyone corralled etc..she is an excellent helper, quiet, sees the need and steps in when needed, helps with big kids and little kids. Oh, I can only hope to teach my girls to be helpers like this!  
Fayth was delighted with her $2 Goodwill dress and received many compliments!

Lee wanted to go with a wolf look... this was about as dressed up as he will get. $5 Goodwill outfit

David wanted a white suit with a white tie. This was his compromise. Ignore the fact that he is wearing flipflops. We forgot to get him dress shoes. his was another $5 goodwill outfit. 

Elizabeth had originally bought a purple dress and a beautiful shear lace sweater.  $4 outfit...
But then I found this blue dress for $2. She chose to wear that with leggings we already had. 

The birthday party was at a local golf course. We left the littles with a friend so that the big kids and I could have a fun night out! I can not rememeber the last time I got dressed up to go out for anything other then church or court hearings ! 

We loved the message in a bottle idea...

The beautiful fancy table. We had to have a long talk about appropriate manners etc.. I loved that my kids had this amazing opportunity to practice good manners and eating out. 

Lee was proud of his table manners and mom was happy that all those times of teaching did really reach his brain! 

Just so you know we didn't make perfection.. even tho it was close. :) 

The birthday girl and her friends! 

They played a game called musical balls. My boys won the prize! 

The Birthday girl herself!! 


My kids were thoroughly disappointed that we had to leave early to pick up the littles, They didn't know all the dances but learned quickly! I had told them before we left, when in doubt, watch what  others do. :) 

It was a fun night out for us. We so rarely dress up and go out, this was a very special treat.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


First official week of homeschooling full schedule. We have been playing around with the schedule and starting school for several weeks.
 I have 4 laminated sheets of schedules on my fridge.

List #1 has daily jobs that get done at each meal time, counters and tables cleared, dishes washed and dried and  floor swept! It helps us keep our living space under control.

 List #2 has daily school schedule. It lists what needs to be done each day in order to complete our school year in a timely fashion. This way the kids know what to expect and I am not forced to do much planning each day.

 List #3 has our daily home maintenance listed. This is a new one for us. I am working on maintaining our house without hiring help or getting stressed out. I list things that bug me if they are messy and each day each of the kids does a cleaning task, except for Wednesday and Friday which are our running days. I do major things like cleaning kitchen and bathrooms, one room each day. I also switched up our laundry so that I am doing the majority of the laundry and only doing it twice a week. 

List #4 has the public school schedules listed for Nesiah and Anna, our babysitting kiddoe. We need to do bus stop morning and evening for one, kindy pick up for the other! It takes careful scheduling to make sure we don't miss anything!

It is taking a good amount of juggling to balance everything but so far so good. We have even added in weekly trips to the library. However, we have had to switch libraries because Lee read all the acceptable books at our old library. Oh, the thrill of a new library full of books we have not read!!

Several exciting things we are doing with school right now..

Postcard exchange! We signed up with this facebook group to exchange postcards with other families in the US. We should be receiving 5 postcards from 5 different states each month for 10 months! We also send out 5 postcards to 5 different states each month. There are so many things to be learned through this!! We got our first postcard today, from Hawaii!! The kids were delighted!

We are also doing co - op which is new for us. We decided to skip choir and running club this fall and try co op. Co-op will give the kids socialization with kids that live in our area. It will also be an opportunity for them to learn things in areas that I struggle to teach. 

We are also incorporating some of the easy peasy online homeschool curriculum for music and art. The kids are liking this. Somehow they end up spending lots of time digging around on the websites linked to EPOHS. I love when they love learning.

I am hoping this year will be a year of learning new things on a new level. As my kids get older their interest expand and it takes more effort to meet their levels of curiosity.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Big Brothers and Polly Pockets

We are predominantly boy/tomboy family. Fayth is our only "princessy" pink lover. The majority of our toys are boys/sports toys.

So Fayth was absolutely delighted that we will be babysitting a little girl who has no brothers! We dug out all the dolls, the dollhouse toys, the pink legos, the dress up clothes... But they are all rather scattered and bits missing, because Fayth doesn't treasure her toys. 

I had seen this Polly Pocket Wall Set for sale on Amazon last year. I had hoped to buy it for a Fayth, but she was going through a challenging time and had lost the privilege of this specific new toy.

But, alas the child has learned to enjoy school work and the value of a job well done. So I felt it was a good time to reward her, in addition to providing a new GIRL toy!

The much anticipated packagae arrived and putting it together was a family affair. Now big brothers asked that I make it CLEAR, they were ONLY assisting in putting it together. They did not want anything to think they totally enjoyed playing with this very awesome set.
(I was thankful for big brothers who can assemble toys)

The set includes a whole wall party. It has a camping area, a pet party area, an amusement park area, a hot air balloon and several other areas each is connected to the other by a zipline. 

There are 6 Polly dolls. 

They all have suction cups. 

This would be the Polly Pocket Gymastics Show that was done on my kitchen table.
 Photos compliments of Fayth, who took atleast 50 photos... 

The final bow, after the show! 

These kiddoes played for hours and hours and hours and hours with this set. The first day was almost 4 hours straight of playtime with these 4 kiddoes. Worth every penny of that $11 I spend on this set! Yes, I had sales an coupons stacked up and bought the set off amazon for $11!!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Prepping for Fall

The last month of "summer" has been a busy one for us. I like to get all my major organizing/cleaning projects done. (I can relax and enjoy homeschooling so much more when I don't have messy corners).The majority of my food canning and freezing is done. All the kiddoes medical appointments are uptodate. It took a lot of careful scheduling and hard work to get all of this done before the first day of "public" school!

We peeled and peeled and peeled some more...

Several hundred jars were washed...

Sweet peppers in a pickling juice, free from local produce stand.

Pears canned for pie filling, free from a friend!

The rest of those free pears in a sugar syrup and the last 2 quarts of peaches.

My outdoor tomato set up. Tomatoes are a messy, dirty not fun job!

We canned 20 quarts of tomato soup, 45 quarts of pizza sauce,  50 quarts of tomato juice and approx 25 pints of salsa. That was a big, messy, extremely tiring job!

We also canned and froze peaches, 7 quarts of frozen peaches. I am still working on canning peaches. I am doing one bushel every couple days. So far we have approx 30 quarts. I may have to quit... Depends on my energy level.

We are doing 100 quarts of applesauce on Friday, with the assistance of several church ladies. That will be a huge project.

But I feel blessed to have shelves of food prepped, food that is healthy and has very little "crap" in it. The kids LOVE opening jars of food they helped prepare. There is an incredible sense of satisfaction that comes with the hard work of canning.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pray For Us

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.
2 Let Israel say:
    “His love endures forever.”
3 Let the house of Aaron say:
    “His love endures forever.”
4 Let those who fear the Lord say:
    “His love endures forever.”
5 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
    he brought me into a spacious place.
6 The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
    What can mere mortals do to me?
7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
    I look in triumph on my enemies.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in humans.
9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
    than to trust in princes.
10 All the nations surrounded me,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
11 They surrounded me on every side,
    but in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
12 They swarmed around me like bees,
    but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
    in the name of the Lord I cut them down.
13 I was pushed back and about to fall,
    but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and my defense[a];
    he has become my salvation.
15 Shouts of joy and victory
    resound in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
16     The Lord’s right hand is lifted high;
    the Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!”
17 I will not die but live,
    and will proclaim what the Lord has done.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
    but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of the righteous;
    I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord
    through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
    you have become my salvation.
22 The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
23 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 The Lord has done it this very day;
    let us rejoice today and be glad.
25 Lord, save us!
    Lord, grant us success!
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
    From the house of the Lord we bless you.[b]
27 The Lord is God,
    and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
    up[c] to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise you;
    you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
    his love endures forever.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


So often going into grocery stores with a big family can be a challenge. I also don't like getting a sitter just to grocery shopping. I shop at little amish stores as much as possible. But I do occasionally need to venture into the bigger stores with the whole crew. Today was one of those days.

It didn't start off very well. I finally had breakfast done, the house cleaned up and the kids all dressed and ready to go. Someone was supposed to put the wheelchair lift down, but listening promptly wasn't a huge priority this morning.

So we were all out by the van trying to lower the wheelchair lift. But we had no power.. so we  called a neighbor for jumper cables. Apparently someone had left the lift turned on for a week, a week of not driving the van and the battery had died. sigh.

Finally on the road, but still concerned about the battery, especially since we need to operate the wheelchair lift for every in and out and we had a whole list of errands to run.

We stopped at the first store, GWood. The boys,  both 10, were nominated to stay in the van, which we locked but left running. There were only a few cars there so I was sure they would be safe.

In the store, with a loudly singing, arm swinging, Nesiah in a wheelchair, another child who is 8, but was acting 2, one who was tired and grabbing EVERYTHING, and one was helpfully pushing the shopping cart, I tried to rush through my shopping list. I have someone making a bunch of freezer meals and HAD to get the ingredients today.

At one point we passed this older mennonite lady and one of my darlings attempted to grab something in her cart.. she looked a little disgruntled, I apologized and kept moving. The next aisle we accidently blocked the entire aisle with my entourage.

At the check out I realized I had forgotten garlic powder, which I needed for the one recipe.  I was trying to maneuver the wheelchair, the grabby kiddoes, the grouchy kiddoes and the shopping cart through the one open check out line when I saw a shelf with some seasonings. I asked Elizabeth to fetch me a jar of garlic powder. It was within eye sight, but there were two carts between us and the rack. She was not impressed and after 3 tries came up empty. I was to far in line to go back myself for it and I KNEW I had seen it, but she was "unable" to find it.
I turned to empty my cart for check out. Frustrated because I need the garlic but not wanting to take my whole entourage out of line. I turned to find the lady, the same lady we had cut off etc.. earlier holding out a container of garlic powder for me.
Not only did she help me out. But something in her compassionate look told me she understood my frustration.

She was an older woman, shopping alone. She could have yelled at us. She could have complained. She could have rolled her eyes at the chaos we had. Instead she chose to reach out in compassion. It was such a small thing, yet so big to this momma.