The Lord is Our Refuge

I won’t be here this week. There has been a death in the family. Four wonderful people were killed this week and one was my nephew and another a very dear friend to our family. Please keep us in your prayers.

Furniture Rescue

Three roll-off dumpsters filled with junk were sent to the dump. I was okay with that, after all my son was cleaning up his new rental home. The owner had passed away and he must have had very eclectic interests for there were stamp collections, coin collections, books, silverware, all kinds of things.  He had it all. Things were going to the dump, wood was being unloaded in our scrap pile and then there were the collections that were being brought home so that research could be done to see if there was any resell value. But then just 2 days ago I was going by the scrap pile and I saw… I saw things I shouldn’t have seen for now it makes me wonder…

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Simple Recipe for Making Liquid Soap

This is one of those projects that you plan to do… plan to do… plan to do and then forget about it. What’s up with that anyways? Why do we procrastinate? That’s a thought that might be a little heavy for me this morning considering I have many of those types of projects around here so let’s just focus on this bright thought… I did the project! I didn’t have to order any supplies since I’ve been planning to do this for years quite some time (cough, cough) and had ordered them eons some time ago. Sigh… The supplies you will need to complete this project are: 22 ounces coconut oil 4 ounces castor oil 1 ounce jojoba oil 16 ounces water 6.25 ounces potassium…

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Youth Camp 2014

We are home after a 3,000 mile odyssey across the United States to Indiana where we attended a church youth camp. And lest you think it was us that were the campers, it was our children. We went as workers. It was a wonderful time. And since some of you might enjoy seeing pictures of our trip, I’m going to share just a few of the over 200 photos I took. We didn’t drive the church van this year but took along 3 extra passengers in our Suburban which has almost 300,000 miles on it! We drove 24 hours and landed in St. Louis for an overnight stay. Then we took a tour of… do you know what? The St. Louis Arch St. Louis –…

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A Message for You Concerning Your Treasure

Don’t underestimate what you as a mother does every day for your child. When our culture’s message makes us feel that we are not living up to our true potential, don’t believe it.   We take for granted what we offer our children – love, security, and the caring not only for their physical needs but their emotional needs. These are not things they can live without. It is vital to their lives.   I just finished reading a gripping book by Laura Schroff called The Invisible Thread where she tells of the friendship she developed with an 11-year old black boy who was a panhandler on the streets begging for money so he could eat. Ms. Schroff made a difference in Maurice’s life, not because…

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Limitations in Our Homeschool Day

Only so many years to have our children home Only so many days Only so many hours   Sometimes we put too many things on the schedule and then struggle to keep to it. We cannot possibly do it all but we valiantly struggle on determined to succeed or burn out trying. But we have limitations. Just like the poet who writes a haiku.   I have been reading the book The Power of Less by Leo Babuata and in it he writes about the haiku form of poetry. The poet must write his poem in 17 syllables which he can quickly write so he can be finished or he can carefully choose the most powerful words that will convey his thoughts. The moments we…

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Kids Need Exercise!

When I was a kid and in school, recess was the time to run around and be active. Then we would have P.E. where we learned new sports, ran and exerted ourselves. But I’ve noticed that homeschoolers tend to ignore this part of a child’s day. Even myself. And it disturbs me. It disturbs me for a few reasons. 1. your body’s bone mass has reached it’s peak by the time you finish your teen years 2. your heart is a muscle and you know what happens when your muscles don’t get used (shhh, they get flabby!) 3. it’s good for their mental health Giving our children a good education is wonderful, gives the mind nourishment and is necessary for them to get along in…

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Bubbles & Bows

The Castle Keepers and Defenders met yesterday for their final meeting for the 2013/2014 year. The girls made hair bow holders (painting picture frames)and hair bows. There were some very beautiful ones! Here’s one of them up close. The girls wearing our club colors and t-shirts we designed.   While the girls were busy making hair bows, the Castle Defenders and I were outside doing a few things ourselves. First on the agenda was to make sun tea. Then we blew some bubbles. …and then we did a few experiments from http://www.hometrainingtools.com/a/super-soap-bubble-solution/.  After blowing a bubble on the lid, the kids would insert different objects into the bubble like this plant… …and these scissors. It was pretty interesting. Then we attempted to make giant bubbles…

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Choosing What Really Matters

Twenty-four hours in a day. What will we do with them? We cannot possibly do everything, therefore we must choose the essentials. We must set limits.  I was given this thought by Leo Babauta who wrote the book, The Power of Less. In the first few pages of the book he speaks of the haiku style of poetry. The haiku poem usually is nature related, has limits of 17 syllables and is written in only 3 lines with the first line having 5 syllables, the second line 7 syllables and the third line 5 syllables. These limitations causes the poet to consider carefully what words they will use to express their thought. I was challenged in my thinking in just a few paragraphs. Oh, to…

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Eliminating the Boredom Issue in Children

Have you ever heard the words, “I’m bored,” or “There’s nothing to do.” from a child or teenager? Why is that? Being bored is a good indicator that a child has been entertained too much and most usually from the following: videos, television, video games or activities away from home. When you’re constantly being entertained in the passive way that videos, t.v. and video games do, your creative side suffers. You are unable or hampered in thinking of activities that appeal beyond more of the same. We like being entertained and don’t want the work of doing it ourselves. Activities away from home can also be detrimental to our children’s creative thinking if they aren’t the right kinds of activities and besides kids need downtime….

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When I was somewhere between 15-18 years old, my parents bought me my hope chest. Mom is a big fan of putting things away for that very special day in every girls life – their wedding, and she always helped each of us girls with our collection of things for our future homes. So when I married I had many sets of tea towels and bath towel sets. Being the 3rd born, I did get way less than my older sister (I had to tell the truth, sis. ). My big sister had so much but the sad thing is most of it stayed in storage and the mice enjoyed all the things made of fabric (like towels) before she got to. Edited: My sister…

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Needing Some Pointers

I want to ask all of you a question today.  How do you organize your teen’s chores? Do you have a system or do you verbally tell them what needs to be done?  How do you give them an overall experience of cleaning all aspects of a home? Right now we do not have anything in place. Serenity, who is 16, usually helps with supper, wipes down counters after meals and on Friday’s helps with the weekly blessing. If you have an idea or opinion, I would love it if you commented.

The Pie Auction!

We planned, we worked and now it’s over.  Our first end-of-the-year party for Castle Keepers. There were elements of it that were a little stressful and there are things I would change but in the end we had so much fun. The highlight of the evening to me was our pie auction. The girls were asked to make 2 pies. One to be judged by our secret judges and then served for dessert to our guests and the other one to be auctioned off with all proceeds going to Castle Keepers. We did not know if all the pies would sell. Would we have enough bidders? Would they even be willing to pay $20 for a pie? Not only did we have enough bidders, they…

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Good Times with Some Wonderful Young People

Since I have 3 older boys, I have had plenty of young men stay with us.  This week though we get to host 4 lovely young ladies that belong to our Castle Keeper club from afar – 2 from Wisconsin & 2 from Oklahoma). Their visit started off with a lot of activity – youth meetings at our church and gatherings here at the ranch. We had about 22 girls stay at our house over the weekend. Sleeping bags, hair, blankets, bobby pins, suitcases and sundry other items were all over the place. I’m sure you know how girls can be! Near the house we have a ravine between 2 mountains where there are beautiful trees and a creek that runs when there is water…

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The Garage is Done… 342 Days Later!

Do you all remember the day I said I was ready to declutter my garage and get things in order? The Before Picture It Was a Long Process If you can’t I don’t blame you since that was almost 1 year ago. Precisely 342 days.  We were so close to being done but then I had those 7 boxes of boys clothing that I had to get rid of. I wanted to give it to others who might need them and so I waited and waited forgot over and over again until the day it finally worked out I finally remembered.  Those beloved clothes of my sons found a good home and now other little delightful boys are getting the use of them. I didn’t…

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Activating My Kombucha Scoby

My master bedroom progress will be on hold for the next several weeks as other areas of life take over. Many big events will be happening in the next month here at the ranch and I’ve got to be organized and ready for it which means grocery lists, to-do lists, cleaning, shopping and cooking. I started my first ever batch of kombucha this past week. I purchased a scoby or “mushroom” from Cultures for Health and after I make my kombucha, I’m going to attempt to drink it since that is the point of the whole thing. Maybe you haven’t heard of it so let me tell you a little about it.  It’s basically a fermented tea drink that is supposed to be good for…

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Needing to Make a Decision

When you are unsure of yourself you can become the most indecisive, can’t-make-a-decision-for-the-life-of-you person around. And that’s where I’m at right now. I’m really considering making my own tufted headboard.  Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick makes it look so doable. Or my other option is to paint my current headboard using chalk paint. It would be painted a white with areas rubbed off to show the wood underneath which would give it more character in my opinion. A friend of mine did this to her kitchen table and it looks fabulous. I’m just scared I’ll mess the whole thing up. Do you ever feel intimidated by projects you have planned? I am brimming with ideas but they all require branching out of my comfort zone…

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I am so excited! I think I almost literally jumped up and down last night when I stepped into my bedroom. You see it’s been a long time. I’ve been wanting to do a master bedroom redo for a few years now and it’s finally happening. First I was waiting on my painter who never came or even returned my calls, then I had to wait a few weeks while my room was torn apart (furniture moved) waiting for my carpet to come in (it’s a long story). We moved into our home in December 1995 and at that time I did not know what color I wanted to paint my room so the painters just put a flat white on the walls, it might…

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Fettucine Alfredo with Fresh Garlic

Our family is big time garlic lovers and with 10 cloves in this recipe, it delivers. Fettucine Alfredo with Garlic Prep time 5 mins Cook time 15 mins Total time 20 mins   If you’re a garlic lover, this dish is for you. Fantastic flavor but not friendly to the dieter. Author: Elisabeth Recipe type: Main Cuisine: Italian Serves: 8 Ingredients 1¼ pounds fettuccine pasta 1 cup butter 10 cloves garlic, chopped ¼ teaspoon onion powder 2 cups heavy cream 1 cup milk 2 egg yolks ½ teaspoon salt 4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese ¼ cup dried parsley Instructions Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add fettucine pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente. Drain. In…

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Our Last Monthly Challenge for the 2013/2014 Year

Well our first year, 2013/2014, for our girls club is almost over all except for our end-of-the-year party.  Our last monthly challenge is finishing up next week but since Serenity and Audrey have already completed it, I decided to share it with you. The challenge was to make another young mother a gift for her baby girl that was still to be born. (She has since had a healthy little one.) For those over 13, it had to be made by hand. If they were under 13, they could either make something or purchase store items but they were to present it creatively. Audrey chose to make these adorable onesie cupcakes. And with the new mother…   Serenity made a taggie blanket. Inside the blanket…

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