Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry CHRISTmas to my friends and family!

An elder at church a couple weeks ago said these words and they've stuck with me.  I thought I'd post them here for everyone.  Remember, Jesus is the reason for the season!

The Son of God
became the Son of man
so sons of men
could become sons of God.

Have a blessed CHRISTmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

DD10 is entering another art contest

Thanks to Kristina on the Home School Share yahoo list, dd10 is entering another national art contest.  Kristina heard about the contest and let me know after hearing about dd10 winning the other contest.  

The new contest is in celebration of salmon and is sponsored by SOS, Save Our Wild Salmon.

Four winners will be chosen, one from each age category.  The first place winners will have their artwork framed and displayed in Washington DC and be featured in the 2009 Celebrate Wild Salmon calendar.  They will be invited to the exhibit in DC (which will run Feb. 15 through the summer).  Second place winners will receive a $100 gift certificate to Patagonia.

I always thought salmon were interesting, and have wanted to do a unit on them.  I guess I better put one together now and do it!

Anyway, dd10 choose to make her drawing from another book cover.  This time the book was Salmon Stream by Carol Reed-Jones and illustrated by Michael S. Maydak.   (Click on the book title to see the cover of the book at Amazon.)

Here is dd10's drawing, showing them as they should always be:  wild, free, and doing what God instilled in them.

Salmon drawing

Shhh...it's a secret

DD10 is getting special present this year.....a letter.  A letter doesn't sound so special does it?  Well, that depends on who it's from!  This letter, well really it's an email, is from Terri Farley!!  Terri Farley is the author of the Phantom Stallion series that dd10 *loves* to read!  She must have found my blog entry about dd10 winning the headstall for her drawing of the Phantom and emailed us!!!!  Here is what it said:


What a lovely portrait of the Phantom!

Congratulations to the artist and her family -- we all owe a portion of our skills to those who support us!

What a lovely gift on a chilly Nevada night!

Best to you all,

Terri Farley


Phantom Stallion.com

Terri Farley.com

I've printed it off and am going to put a bow on it and dd10will open it Christmas morning.   Of all the gifts under the tree, I can't think of one that dd10 will like better than this!  Thanks, Ms. Farley for taking the time to write!

Need a last minute gift idea???

Do you like to bake cookies?  How about a coupon booklet  that gives the bearer a dozen cookies each month? 

 Do you (or the kids) draw?  How about a coupon booklet that gives the bearer a drawing each month?

My dear friend Ami, from HomeSchoolShare.com, has such a knack for putting together cool lapbook and notebook components has come up with a couple of great gift ideas to get those hard to buy for folks on your list.   All you need to do is print them off and collate them and wrap 'em up.  What a fun idea!!!

You will Adobe Reader to access the PDF files, but you can download it for free on the Adobe site.

Click here to download the Cookie of the Month coupon booklet.

Click here to download the Artwork of the Month coupon booklet.

Enjoy!   And if you like or have thought about doing unit studies, be sure to check out Home School Share!  There are over 200 literature-based unit studies, many of them with lapbooks or notebooking pages, and the best part is that they are all free!  There are also many FIAR (Five in a Row) resources and lapbook templates available (also free!). 

Recently, Ami started a new section on the website....Animal Studies.  In this section, Ami has created lapbooks for a particular animal.  They can be used alone to learn about a new animal, or be added to any existing science program you are using.  Again, they are free.

If you've been thinking about doing unit studies or lapbooking, what are you waiting for?  Give HSS a try!  You have nothing to lose and you just might find a whole new way of doing school that's fun for everyone!  

And if you've never heard of Five a Row, you gotta try it!  It's inexpensive and you get a whole lot of curriculum, fun, and priceless moments with your kids!

Friday, December 7, 2007

She won! She won! A national art contest!


Yesterday's mail brought word that DD10 was one of three winners in the age 5 to 12 range for Weaver Leather's Young Rider drawing contest!  Three winners from each age category would win a Purple Diamond Browband Headstall accented with Swarovski crystals.

She loves to read Young Rider (or anything horsey!).  This past summer, she saw and advertisement in the magazine that announced a drawing contest sponsored by Weaver Leather.  She decided she would draw a picture of the Phantom Stallion, a horse in the series of the same name by Terri Farley.

Here is what she drew:

Phantom Stallion

And here is what she won:

The retail value of this leather headstall is $178!

Prior to this, dd10 has only won local contests.  The Weaver Leather contest was the first she entered beyond the local level.  

We're doin' the happy dance here!

ETA---just got off the phone with them!  We found out that the pictures will be featured in an upcoming issue of Young Rider!!!  Woo hooo!!!!


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Noel Calendar for Advent

Two years ago, we started doing Advent to help focus our thoughts more on CHRIST instead of the busyness of Christmas.

We purchased DesiringGod.com's Noel Calendar. It's rather plain looking as you can see below, but we absolutely love it!

Noel Calendar
It was designed by Noel Piper.
It come with a laminated sheet that tells you what to read each day.  It is the Christmas story broken down into 25 sections.  Each day you repeat the text from the days before adding today's part of the story, until the whole story is told Christmas morning. Each day the children put a different person/animal from the story up until the last day when Baby Jesus is finally placed in the manger.

My girls love it and love shouting out whatever word of the story that I leave out as I tell it.

I recommend it to everyone!  Unfortunately, it is no longer available!  But the good news is is that it will be back next year, revised and improved!  So set aside some money and get one next year from www.DesiringGod.org.


Mom's latest painting: Holiday Bells

Holiday Bells

DD10's latest drawing: Dashing Through the Snow

Dashing Through the Snow

Monday, December 3, 2007

Blog Awards: Artistic......Breezy Tulip!

Breezy Tulip's blog

I don't get into the blog awards and tag games (I know, I'm a party pooper!), but I just have to mention Breezy Tulip's blog, A Bowl of Moss and Pebbles.  What a beautiful young lady and an amazing talent!   I could (and have!) spent hours looking through her entries, hoping each one will be a peek at her illustrations.  I just know one day, we'll see her illustrations in a book......I, for one, can't wait for that day!

She's up for the Best Artistic Blog Content and I urge you to visit her site......I think you'll fall in love with her drawings too.  Don't forget to vote for her!  

Click here to visit Breezy Tulip's blog.

Then come back and click here to vote her as the Best Artistic Blog!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lipizzaners! (lots of pictures!)

We recently had the opportunity to see Lipizzaner stallions perform.  It was my third time seeing them, dd10's second time, and my dd7's and a friend we took along's first time.   They are so beautiful!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nothing can separate us from the love of God! (dial-up beware: lots of pictures!)

Romans, Chapter 8:
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
36 As it is written:
   "For your sake we face death all day long;
      we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The video below has been making its way around the homeschooling world (and probably the world in general!).  Very powerful!  Yet, as I watched it, I couldn't help feel that it made Jesus to appear powerless.

Sunday night, members of a deaf choir  performed this skit--with a slight variation--at our church.  It was even more powerful because the slight change.  Watch the video first, if you've not already seen it or if it's been awhile, then I will write about the changes they made and post the pictures below.

The skit last night made a slight change. I'm not sure they intended it, but it made me feel a little different watching it.   Although Jesus still looked somewhat powerless, it seemed more like the girl was sorta letting the other things interfere with getting back to Jesus. She did keep trying to get back and Jesus did keep reaching out to her, but it wasn't until she got down on her knees that Jesus started pushing back the others and when lifted her hands in prayer/surrender that He started protecting her from them.  

It was almost as if they were portraying that she was relying on her own strength to overcome these evils, and when she gave up trying to do it herself, she finally "let go and let God."  Maybe it was just the way I took it that night, whatever, it was very, very powerful!

Here are some pictures I took of last night's performance at our church.  (Forgive the redness, the bluriness, and the stand/microphone.  Our church's decor is red--awful for a camera--and I choose not to use my flash.)

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Still baking--Sweet Potato Pie and Casserole

Tonight, as are many of you, I'm preparing for Thanksgiving.  I've set the bread out to rise overnight.   I just took out a sweet potato pie and I've started preparing the sweet potato casserole that I'll bake tomorrow.   Tomorrow I'll make the scalloped corn and bake the bread and the casserole.

The Sweet Potato Pie recipe came from Esther Glenn of the Five in a Row boards almost 2 years ago.  I've been wanting to make it ever since and just never did.  It's very easy to make and I certainly don't think I'll be waiting long to make another!  Here's the recipe:

Esther Glenn's Sweet Potato Pie

2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. milk
2 T. butter
1 1/2 c. mashed sweet potato (about half of a 40 oz. can)
1 unbaked pie shell

Beat the eggs slightly and add sugar, salt, cinnamon, and milk.  Add butter to mashed potatoes and blend with milk and egg mixture.  Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake for 10 minutes in a 450* oven.  Then reduce heat to 350* and bake 30-40 minutes or until the filling is firm.

This make a thick pie.  I double the recipe and make three pies that are a little thinner.

Note from Celia:  I used one deep dish pie pan and the recipe was just a smidgen more than I need to fill it.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving everyone!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Can ya smell 'em?

I like to make these when we have church/homeschool dinners/activities.  Here's the recipe:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

In a large bowl, combine:
  5 c. flour
2¼ c. sugar
 1 bag chocolate chips
 3 t. cinnamon
  ¾ t. salt
  3 t. baking soda

In a medium bowl, combine and whisk until smooth:
    6 eggs
    1 can (30 oz) pumpkin mix
    1½ c. melted butter
    ¾ c. milk
    2 t. vanilla

Fold this mix into the flour mixture, using a rubber spatula, until just blended.  Spoon into muffin pan.  (I like to use cupcake liners sprayed with Pam.)  Bake 15 minutes at 400º.  Makes about 4 dozen full-size muffins when filled 2/3 to 3/4 full.

Monday, November 12, 2007

You know you're a homeschooler when.....

I'm sure you've seen such lists.  Well, I've decided I can add three of my own.....

You know you're a homeschooler when..... (caution:  If you have a sensitive tummy, don't read any further!)

....Your kids find the 'gift' the cat so loving left in the middle of your walkway and they ooh and ahh over the the guts hanging out, promptly wanting to dissect it and see what else they can find.   After finding small sticks, they sit down next to said gift and poke around looking for the heart.

....Your kids see one very squished opossum lying in the road and want to dissect it.

....Your father-in-law removes the heads from his latest hunt and gives them to your kids, wherein they play with the said heads (of pheasants) as if they were puppets.  Said heads are now in my refrigerator, awaiting "show and tell" in science co-op this week.

....Your oldest daughter simply cannot wait to dissect the fetal pig she will be doing when she finishes her Veterinarian Science (which hopefully will be next April or May).

And now, you've caught a glimpse of a very 'normal' week at our house! 

Got anything at your house my girls can come dissect?


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Equestrian Sports!

I just had to post these pictures that I took at our county fair this summer. 

After the horse shows were over, the kids from the various horse 4H clubs got together and played some games.  In one game, one person rode bareback down to a barrel where another person was waiting.  That person got on the back and then they rode double back to the starting line.  The fastest team won.

Here's one of those teams, nearing the finish line.

Are you tough enough!?!

Equestrian Sports2

  Luckily, no one was hurt.  The one on the ground had a bit of a goose egg, but nothing more.   \o/

I think these would make great posters, don't you!?


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Changing Weather

Yesterday, it looked like this out:

Storm Clouds
And we got a thunderstorm.

Today it's snowing!  Our first snow!  It's only spitting, but the girls are acting like they're going to be able to make snowmen and go sled riding today! 

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Mom's new swan painting

Isn't it peaceful?

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What is it about fall that makes me bake?

I probably bake more in October, November, and December more than any other time of the year.  I suppose part of it is because of the holidays.  Maybe more of it has to do with the crisp cool air outside.  I hate baking when it's sweltering outside.

Anyway, a friend (Hi Cindy!) gave me a starter of her sourdough, so I've been carefully feeding it and having fun experimenting.  The first thing we made was just a loaf of sourdough bread......yummy!    Then we made pizza stromboli, which was a huge hit with the girls!  Then it was apple cinnamon stromboli.  I made 5 of them and gave some  away.....one to the neighbor boys since one was done right when they got off the school bus.   Another to my husband's parents and another to my daughter's art instructor.

Here's a picture of one of them:

Apple Stromboli

I'd share the recipe, but it uses a sourdough starter for the bread, and the filling I just kinda made up as I went!

Right now, I've got one part of the sourdough in the breadmaker baking a loaf of bread (it smells soooo good!), and another part on a pizza pan to make a regular pizza, and then I'm making  a small pizza stromboli for the girls since they asked for it.

Sorry it's been so long

It's been kinda busy around here.  Doing what, I'm not too sure.  Mostly playing with pictures I guess.  I've been taking pictures for our co-op's year book.  I also took some more pictures of my dh's cousin as well as senior pictures for one of our co-op kids.  It takes a lot of time to review the pictures, try to "correct" the pictures, adding fancy borders and text, etc.   But it's a lot of fun and I really enjoy it.  Maybe someday when we're all done schooling, I'll look into get a job where I can still play with my camera.

What is this critter?

One of the ladies on the HSS Yahoo group, asked us to identify this rodent.  She lives in Northern Colorado.   From the end of its tail to its nose the creature is an easy 12 inches in length.  The tail itself is about 6-8 inches and is furry but not bushy.   The body is  white underneath  and it has long black whiskers.   It has been suggested that it's a roof rat of some sort.....what do you think?

It's been living in the hood of her van and they've been trying to capture for about 2 weeks now.  Nothing has worked.  Any ideas on how to capture it?

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Hey, I think it's a PACK RAT!!!  No kidding!  It's really known as a bushy-tailed woodrat, but it where we got the term "pack rat" from. 

Check these pictures out:

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center


National Parks

11/5 ETA:

Or maybe it's an Eastern Woodrat
Look here

Or perhaps it's a White-throated Woodrat?
Click here to see one

Lisa adds this information:

I think they might have hitched a ride from KANSAS (where our home was made)  I really really  hope not; but it is kind of making sense.  We have our share of field mice; but the scurrying in the walls and roof is more than usual! Something was getting either in the walls or between the outside of the house and vinyl siding!  Talk about creeps! 


I never thought of making sure of nests in the ceiling before they put the home on the foundation!  The ceiling is not blown the fiberglass ; but rather fluffy loose blown in insulation...making more of a chance they would nest.