Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Romantic Courtship

Brian and I are pleased to announce...  
 no no no, that does not communicate thoroughly enough.

Brian and I are extremely happy,
 very excited,
 profoundly blessed,
 radiating with joy
 to announce the engagement of our daughter, Anna,
to our beloved family friend, Scott.

They are a match made in heaven. 
 What a treasure it has been to see their friendship and courtship blossom into devoted love! 
  You shall be able to read their love story soon on her blog.
Scott and Anna will be married this fall.
Glory to God!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Spring Harvest

The changes of the seasons is always invigorating to me. 
 I love each of the four seasons. 

One of the things I love about Spring are the thunderstorms.  
We were out and about one day, when a thunderstorm rolled up and pelted us briefly with a hard rain.  When it pulled up, one of the most brilliant rainbows I have ever witnessed graced the skies. 

  Spring has many charms to me. 
 Keeping an eye open for all of them has been fun for all of us.  
What are the sights of Spring?
How about the smells of Spring? 
Or my favorite, the tastes of Spring?

Strawberries are a glory of Spring.  
We thank God for strawberries! 

This last week, we spent some time harvesting from spring's abundant crops.  
First we made strawberry jam.  
The first jar,
 for sampling you know, 
disappeared before it was cooled from the canning! 
 But the other batches made it safely into the cellar awaiting freshly made biscuits or shortbread. 

Next came a crate of asparagus
 We ate baked asparagus several days in a row and then, pickled the rest.  
This is the first time we have pickled asparagus,
 yet we are all a little giddy to wait the two weeks to try them.  
Rolled up in a thin slice of ham...oooooooh yummy.

Last year, Anna planted a rhubarb in her garden. 
 This year we harvest not only her plant, but several others that we discovered in our area. 
 This is most wonderful, since a favorite person of ours loves rhubarb pie. 
 I sliced up three big arm fulls of rhubarb for the freezer.
  Even if rhubarb pie doesn't tempt you, 
this 5 fruit pie that we found a recipe for in Taste of Home surely will. 
 It was amazing-
 destined to become a standard pie here at providence lodge.

5 fruit pie
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp  quick cooking tapioca
 1 cup peeled chopped tart apples
 1 cup fresh or frozen chopped rhubarb
1 cup each fresh or frozen strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries

In a large bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, tapioca and fruit, let stand for 15 minutes.
Spoon mixture into your favorite pie crust, cover with top crust,
Bake at 375 for 45-55 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.

We tried it warm, which was wonderful, but liked it better cooled and served with whipped cream.

More things we like about spring:
weather so changeable, every day is interesting and unlike any other.
planting garden seeds and watching for them to pop up out of the soil into the light

watching birds nesting with gusto and fervor
the drying out of mud and the emergence of green
longer daylight every day
the bursting forth of new life; baby goats, baby rabbits, baby kittens, and deer
knowing that summer is near

Wishing you some inspiration for enjoying all the sights,
of Spring!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Discovering Spring

 Around here, April does not really count as spring, 
since it normally snows throughout the month,
 so real spring
- to us-
 begins in May with May showers, jumping in mud puddles,
 and discovering critters of all kinds in our yard and the woods around.

 While flowers may be few at his time of year, 
amphibians are not.
  The children have found new slimy friends nearly everyday, much to their excitement. 
 Gabe, however, dislikes them greatly,
protesting and screaming at each new find. 
By this, even when I am in the house,
 I always know when some one will come racing to me to show me 
their wonderful surprise.

Observing these animals,
as well as birds at the bird feeder,
 listening for their individual calls, 
finding spring flowers in the woods, (such as every one's favorite- Trillium)
 and talking about Spring weather
 has constituted our Nature Journal for May.
 This is the most delightful time of year for Nature Journals. 
 Our 6 months of winter have furnished in us a passionate desire for
 warm sunshine
and green grass, 
so much so that we endeavor each day to find some way of doing our learning

In our fast paced, entertainment driven society,
sitting quietly and listening for bird calls
 is a discipline that we need to teach our children,
one we need to foster in ourselves.
To escape all the technology,
 all that  screams for our attention,
and enter the solitude of the forest
 letting God's wondrous creations
 and bring us to our knees in awe of
 to do this,
 is my idea of perfect education. 

Having ventured out for a beautiful hike overlooking the lake a few days ago,
 today we open the journals and books to write down our observations and finds,
 what we learned,  putting the entire event into a report or a story,
 or even a poem. 
With a passel of students, we can make one event translate into preschool, kindergarten,
 2nd, 5th, and 8th grade learning.
For example, we saw several Yew trees, which are used to make traditional bows.
I might have Joe research how this is done, and what other things Yew trees are useful for.
This is a great time to try using new vocabulary words, and build our writing skills. 
Jim is interested in flowers,
 so he will be looking up the different varieties we saw.
 It is always interesting to see each student's perspective, the same event from their individual eyes. 
 This can reveal a great deal of how they think and perceive.

 Preschoolers simply draw a picture, 
usually quite triumphantly,
 of our excursion. 
 Gabe and Bethany love to have their own nature journals
 to chronicle their learning just like the big kids.
I always write captions below their art work so that we know what it is.
I also help them write the date and the weather, so they feel like it is real school.

Fairly often, we can spend a whole week writing after a nature walk.
  One day of drawing, 
one or two days for a report complete with any research that is needed,
 one day for story telling of how the walk unfolded, 
or a letter to Grammy describing the occasion.

If children are reluctant to wander outdoors,
 reading a book such as (our current bedtime story), 
The Girl of the Limberlost, by Gene Stratton-Porter
 is a great jump start to encourage them to explore and learn.
Our children have a new found interest in moths and butterflies since we began reading this book.
 They are much more careful to look at their surroundings 
in hopes of discovering a Caterpillar or cocoon.

In the past few months, I have learned just how important it is
 to do things that are energizing to me,
 and figure out new ways to handle the things that are most draining.
For a home schooling mama who would rather be outdoors, 
 nature walks, a hike, or just sitting and observing right outside the door
 makes for an invigorating way to spend my day.

" A shivering movement went over the moth. 
 The wings drooped and spread wider. 
 Mrs. Comstock sank into soft awed tones. 
 "There never was a moment in my life," she said,
"when I felt so in the Presence, as I do now.  
I fell as if the Almighty were so real, and so near,
 that I could reach out and touch Him, as I could this wonderful work of His, if I dared. 
 I feel like saying to Him:  
To the extent of my brain power I realize Your presence,
 and all it is in me to comprehend of Your power. 
 Help me to learn, even this late, the lessons of Your wonderful creations. 
 Help me to unshackle and expand my soul to the fullest realization of Your wonders.  
Almighty God, make me bigger, make me broader!"
The Girl of the Limberlost  - pp 283.

"This is my Father's world, 
and to my listening ear, 
all nature sings and round me rings, 
the music of the spheres."

O the glory of discovering Spring!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Christian heritage Home Builders Conference 2012

This year's conference was the biggest and best yet. 
 We have attended this conference in Kirkland, Washington for four years.
  Each year we are refreshed,
and strengthened by attending.
We also look forward to seeing people whom we only see at this conference,
 and meeting new faces as well.  
We met some great folks this year whom we hope to see again next year.

Last year, we took along our crockpot for conference meals, and ate tailgate style in the parking lot.  
We added to that plan this year, purchasing a folding table and parking near the middle of the parking lot.
We set up a buffet along the side walk, where it was safe for the children, 
and much more atmospheric, (very important in my life.)  
This done, we invited our friends who were also attending the conference to take their meals with us.
  One lunch found 26 of us there together, partaking in hot Venison sandwiches and fellowship. 
 This was so much fun!  Definitely a highlight of the conference.
  One dear friend brought along some seriously good cookies to add to our potluck lunch,
 so good in fact, that I must share her original recipe 
so that you too can appreciate Sherry's divine baking. 
 Recipe below.

  Another dear friend spent his lunch hour reading to the children.  
This loving act so endeared him to their hearts they asked for lunchtime again after about an hour.

The music, both special music for family night and the home school choir were nothing short of amazing.  Selected individuals or small groups performed each evening. 
 One young man played the William Tell Overture on the piano.  
It was incredible.  I have never before heard it on piano.
  The conference is worth just going for these selections.
  Neil Craig leads the choir in outstanding performances year after year. 
 Singing in the choir is a great highlight for Rose and Anna.

We have come home focused on our true priorities,
 motivated to not be weary in well doing
and make the most of every day discipling our family.  
We are ever thankful for the good teaching of Voddie Bauchum,
 who was the main speaker, and blessed us each time he spoke. 
 Bethany liked him well too; 
one session when she was with me, and Brian was listening to Voddie,
 she asked if she too could go listen to "the big brown man preach."

Doug Philips will be the main speaker next year.  We are looking forward to it. 
 It would be great to see you there!

Everything Oatmeal Cookies

1 1/2 cup butter, room temp
2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
 6 cup rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups chopped walnuts or pecans

in large bowl, cream butter sugar and eggs.    Add vanilla.  In another bowl, add flour, soda, salt, and cinnamon, mix well. Blend in Oats.  Stir into butter mixture, incorporating thoroughly.  Add nuts, seeds, chocolate chips, and cranberries.  Shape into balls and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes.  This makes a BIG batch of scrumptious cookies.  Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

"He that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit 
reap life everlasting.
  And let us not be weary in well doing; 
for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."  Galatians 6:8b-9

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tulips in Washington

While on vacation in Washington,
 we visited the Roozengaurd Tulip Festival, 
as well as attended the Christian Heritage Home Builders Conference in Kirkland.  
Both events were amazing. 
 First, the Tulips:

The millions of tulips were so beautiful. 
 The diversity of shapes of tulips, the variance of colors and color combinations was magnificent.

This one is my favorite, it is called Apricot Beauty.

Although this looks like it could be a rose, this is a gorgeous tulip, whose beauty is enchanted by rain drops.

The awe-inspiring fields full of tulips made a great backdrop for family photos.

O glorious day!

Living Counter Cultural: Femininity

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