Sunday, November 16, 2014

When God Answers Prayers and Hunting Cabins...

We live in a neighborhood where most of our neighbors are pretty conservative. We are not the only trans-racial, adoptive or single parent family. However, the majority of the kids in our neighborhood have good daddies. Daddies that are involved in their kids lives.

My boys have really struggled with watching the neighbor boys go hunting with their dads. (the majority go hunting in the woods surrounding us) They have begged and begged me to take them hunting...

I am a tomboy. There are a lot of things I will do. But hunting is not something I am willing to do.

My late husband was an obsessive hunter. From Oct to Dec, nothing was more important then hunting. We had a hunting cabin. He shot 4-5 deer every year. He hunted locally and at the mountains.

My boys have pictures of him with his deer in their room. They wished over and over that God would have healed him from cancer so that he would take them hunting. (he died before I adopted them) My heart ached for them. But sometimes a momma can only pray...

Several weeks ago, one of our friend/neighbor/landlords called to see if my boys could go to the hunting cabin with them.  (they did not know that my boys were begging me to go hunting, altho they did know that my boys are little wannabe hunters)

These friends have 2 boys, one who is a good friend of my sons....My boys were over the moon with delight and excitement!They almost couldn't bear to wait 2 weeks!! They were going to "hunting"!! They got together with their friend and made lists of all the "supplies" they needed.

From a single mom viewpoint: my boys  need good male role models. They need to see what real men do. For a variety of reasons, some role models we had in the past were no longer present. This opportunity to go away for the weekend with 2 families (very involved fathers) was such a gift from God.  The gift that these men gave my boys will make a lifetime of difference. 

My camera broke so I have very few photos...
But they packed up their clothes, sleeping bags, bb guns, hatchets and camo clothing! They were THRILLED to be able to ride up in a big truck with the men. They had a fun weekend full of all kinds of fun adventures and came home last night, exhausted, cold, filthy and absolutely full of joy! 

Meanwhile us girls stayed home and attempted a girl's weekend.. which involved taking 4 kids to the 3rd specialist appointment for the week, a stop at the grocery store for junk food (So mom doesn't need to cook), lots of princess movies and Saturday night church.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


I am a firm believer in animals are a great teaching tool for kids. Feeding, walking, grooming and loving a dog are all excellent ways to teach responsibility for another living creature.

My boys have lots of animals outside and they do GREAT at taking care of them. They are responsible beyond their years. 

Elizabeth has in the past had cats and she bottle fed Ben, our steer. She is very responsible and loves animals.

But Fayth.. this is a first for her. She is finally at the place where she is ready to care for a living creature. She is doing very well so far, cuddling her, grooming, making sure Lady is fed. The girls take turns having her sleep with them. They love to take her with us in the car. She even has her own carseat.

My girls walk this dog in the cold and the rain. They go to great lengths to make sure she doesn't have accidents in the house... They are learning to sacrifice their own comforts for someone/something else's.
They do this all without complaining. Mostly because their brothers would be more then happy to take over the care of lady.  

My goal is to teach my kids to love and treasure life. To be responsible for something/one other then themselves.

 They were hiding from the dog catchers aka big brothers. 

The dog story.. now we know all things we own have a story. I had been searching for a specific dog for quite some time. I wanted a dog that was fully trained, gentle, kid friendly and easy to care for. Something clean and tiny. I needed for the dog to be hypo allergenic and really good with all kinds of kids and choas.
I also have a very limited budget.

So for the last 6 months or more I have been reading online, researching what would work with our needs AND wants. We decided on a bichon frise. They are hypoallergenic if groomed and cared for properly. They are GREAT with kids and need lots of love.

We searched the local puppy advertisements but finding a full grown dog, fully trained for an affordable price is nearly impossible.

A couple months ago we noticed "lilly" on the local website. I just wasn't sure. She was not that cute and I assumed she had been a puppymill momma.

Finally several weeks ago, I realized that Fayth had made great progress in her school work and her willingness to be a helpful, respectful member of our family. IT was time for a big reward.

The kids and I sat down AGAIN and scoured the puppy websites. We decided to call about "lilly" late on a Saturday evening. She was owned by an amish guy that lived 2 hours away. Her price tag was higher then what I wanted.
We prayed as we waited to hear back from the owner. We called the landlord for permission to have a house dog. We scoured amazon for the perfect collar and leash.

Monday afternoon I spoke to Mr. L who owned "lilly". He was selling her because she was a family pet, but due to family circumstances he needed to sell her. Yes, she was great with kids, even toddlers. She was sweet, well trained and quiet. Plus he was willing to drop his price by almost 40%!! This was so perfect. The only glitch, I was not looking forward to that far of a drive just to buy a dog.

But when we discussed, he mentioned that they were traveling later that week and would be in my area. PERFECT!

When we finally met "Lilly" at the amish farm, we were delighted. She had an awful, hacked up haircut, but she was still adorable, so ladylike and sweet. Plus the "grandma" who was babysitting the kids and dog that day, almost cried when she had to let go of this dog. She had been in the family for 7 years. The kids promised to write her letters with an update on "Lilly" once she was settled in.

We brought "Lilly" home and the kids were over the moon with happiness. They all love her dearly already and she them. She thinks she needs to go with us, whenever we go anywhere.

I have been pleased to see the girls take responsibility. They take turns, each having certain responsibilities each day.  I do very little other then checking in to make sure she is fed and cared for properly.

Yes, God even cares about dogs, especially for his little girls..

Sunday, November 2, 2014

David's Race and Other Random Moments.

My David has a natural God given talent when it comes to running. I have never seen another person run so effortlessly. 
This particular race is challenging for him. He was one of the top 5 at the Elementary Run so he got to compete in the Regionals.

Burst of determination at the end. Sadly this kiddoe learned a hard lesson. If we do not practice we will not be able to do our absolute best. 

Miss A was home for a visit. We love hanging out with her. 

Life has been busy lately.. sick kids, adjusting to babysitting and other life things. Posting here has been on the bottom of my to do list.. Sorry.. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Homeschooling Fosters Creativity

Several weeks ago the kids watched a movie about sled dogs.
The next thing I knew they had these big ideas about building their own. It just happened that we were babysitting that Saturday. So their friend added his imagination to the mix.

These pictures are in random order. They were taken by my little photographer. 

This is a special homemade "paint" made by the boys. they gathered poke berries and smashed them into a jar. The results were pretty cool. 

This garage is the boy's haven. It is a place of creativity and much mess. I try to stay out of it.

Mr. J brings them lots of old wood, which they use to build things. But you know as I am writing this, I realized that this plyboard (stored in the garage) was actually from their bunkbeds! AGH!

This is the smaller dog sled that David and his friend built.

We were less successful at putting together a dog harness. Hopefully by the time it snows we will be able to figure that one out.

My boys spend hours and hours working on this dog sled. They had no directions, no google, nothing! This was entirely from watching one movie. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Science and Field Trips

We are finally in a groove with school. The kids are doing well with their routines and working independently. The curriculum we are using has turned out to be perfect, now that we are in routine.
We add in extras as we can. I love that my kids love to learn and we can turn so many things into learning experiences.

Watching the solar eclipse online while eating breakfast.. They got up at 6 am without complaint.

We also visited a local orchard. We were very disappointed that we did not get to see all the processing of cider. 

The kids loved eating the apple scraps. 

They have these automatic apple peelers, that peel and core apples. 

We also got a science lesson in the apple orchard. I learned a lot!
There was tossing of apples and eating of apples.

This school year has not turned out quite like I thought it would. But we have been able to do a lot of #bestyes moments. We made the difficult decision to cut out co op and cut back on some other things and as a result we have been able to do some fun things that make wonderful memories. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

It Was The Kids First Time At The Fair

It is fair season. My kids have never been to the fair. Mostly because I dislike crowds. This year I decided to attempt a trip to the fair for dinner and to watch the parade. 

My kids are NOT impressed with my attempts at pictures.. Keeping it real. :)

I posted on FB asking for tips on where to park. Handicapped parking can be a royal pain. So I asked for tips on where to park a 15 passenger van that takes up 2 parking spots, that wasn't to far from the parade.

Nesiah LOVED the fair! She was so excited and happy!

My friend Miss D offered us a parking spot at her house, a couple houses away from the parade route and only a couple blocks from the Fair! I was so thankful! It was the perfect place to park!!

Lee takes his books everywhere he goes...

We parked at Miss. D's house and walked up to the fair for dinner. The kids were so excited, altho we all hate crowds! They chose pizza and ice cream from the ice cream truck! We got fried oreos as a bonus! Oh the sugar!!!!

We walked back to Miss D's house and sat on the corner waiting for the parade, which the kids LOVED!

Seriously, who comes up with costumes like this!

Even Uncle Sam was there!

My favorite float was the one that looked like the Beverly Hillbillies! The parade lasted for 2 hours! Oh My! My kids had so much fun. They totally enjoyed themselves! Plus they had an amazing stash of candy when they got home! 

They decided the Fair was one of their favorite places to go to! Plus the very next day our favorite babysitter took them to Cherry Crest Farms for the day. They had entire to much fun this week! Next week looks almost as good. We already have two field trips planned!

One final picture, because I love it!

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Life has been busy... some pretty heavy unbloggable stuff bogging us down, draining our extra energy.

We did lots of field trips last week, because sometimes it's easier to do fieldtrips rather than seatwork when we have lots of things going on.

We are buckling down with school this week. The kids are working hard.

They did double school today so they could goof off tomorrow.

My kids are really amazing. truly.

I started cleaning out my guest bedroom and found evidence of mice.After recovering from my freak out,  I went to Walmart and spend $50 on traps, bait and sensors. I.hate.mice. It's taking twice as long to clean that room. Sigh. Thankfully stress drove me to cleaning it out.

I stress clean. Now if I could just stop stress eating.

I had both vehicles in the garage this week, new exhaust, new brakes and new rotors. ugh.

I accidentally left a sock  balled in my daughter's shoe and she cried for 45 minutes at school. I win the bad mom award on a bad, awful, no good day.

We have a friend who is going through an awful cancer journey. My heart aches for her. My heart aches for her pain, but also because she doesn't know my Jesus.

I am taking a child to the hospital next door to the hospital where my husband was treated for cancer. Bone marrow transplant. Ugly treatment. worst time of our life.

I have been listening to a lot of Francis Chan. I want to be like him.

I am thankful for God's grace, for answered prayers, for strength and grace.

May this song minister to you like it did to me.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Not Your Typical Once a Month Meals: The Recipes

Due to the unbelievable response to this post, I put together a website for easy meals for big families! Check it out! Check us out!!

These are some of our favorite recipes for freezer meals!  Disclaimer: This is not a cooking blog. I am simply sharing basic recipes we use. I also tend to "just dump it all together" so this may drive detailed cooks crazy. I apologize in advance.

Part 1 and Part 2  Of Not Your Typical Once A Month Freezer meals! 

 Shepherd's Pie
 makes 3, 9x17 pans
5 lbs hamburger browned, salt and pepper added
add enough flour to thicken and add milk to make a thick gravy.
add mixed vegetables cook together until veggies are soft
dish into 3 pans and top with mashed potatoes.

Chicken Lasagna  (We make it with either gluten free lasagna or sliced potatoes instead of pasta)
2 cans of cream of mushroom
1 cup of sour cream
2 cups of shredded cheese
1 cup of parmesan cheese
2 cups of chicken
1/2 tsp of garlic
1 tsp chick bouillon
4-5 cooked potatoes sliced

blend the soup, sour cream, parm cheese, chicken and seasonings together. spread a layer of this mixture on the bottom of the pan add a cup of cheese and a layer of sliced potatoes then top with mixture. I usually put a good thick layer of potatoes between the chicken mixture then add more cheese on top.

 Taco Potato Casserole  (This is another huge favorite in our house)
 6 large potatoes, cooked and shredded
2 lbs of hamburger
2 cans of pork and beans
 1 pkg taco seasoning ranch dressing

place potatoes in bottom of pan. Top with ranch dressing. Add hamburger and beans which have been mixed with the seasoning.  

Potato Casserole (this one can be made with or without ham)
4 large potatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
6 oz sour cream
1/4 c butter
1 c shredded cheese
 2 c crushed cornflakes
 salt and pepper to taste

 Cook potatos until soft. Slice grate or shred. Place in a 9x13 casserole. Mix soup, sour cream, melted butter and cheese, pour over potatoes.  If adding ham, cube ham and stir into the soup/sour cream mixture.  

Pizza Casserole
1.5 lbs burger
1 package of gluten free pasta
1 jar of pizza sauce (home canned)
1 cup of shredded cheese
1 cup of pepperoni
Brown burger, cook pasta until soft, mix all together.  

These recipes are great for feeding a large crew and filling bellies. If the casserole has veggies in it, I serve a jar of homemade applesauce as a side. If the casserole does not have a veggie I cook green beans, peas or corn that we freeze.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Psalms 91

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a]
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare
    and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.

You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways

they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent

Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
    I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him;

I will be with him in trouble,
    I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation