Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

Halloween ranks right up there as possibly our favorite holiday. All we do all day is party, party, party. We started out the day with a homeschool party. The party includes lunch, crafts, games, playing, a parade at the nursing home complete with haunted house and a time to share jokes, songs, stories, poems, dances, or anything the kids have been working on. Next we were on to dinner and trick or treating at friends house in town. The kids forgot their jackets and crafts at the party so after trick or treating we went back to their house and had a nice visit and the kids got to play with friends again. And to top off all of that, the kids got cards from Grandma and Grandpas. Any day the kids get mail makes it a good day for them.

Making crafts

Sharing time - the boy told this joke. He thought this was just the funniest thing!

A man is walking home alone late one foggy Halloween night, when behind him he hears:BUMP...BUMP...BUMP...Walking faster, he look back and through the fog he makes out the image of an upright casket banging its way down the middle of the street toward him. BUMP...BUMP...BUMP...Terrified, the man begins to run toward his home, the casket bouncing quickly behind him.FASTER...FASTER...BUMP...BUMP...BUMP....He runs up to his door, fumbles with his keys, opens the door, rushes in, slams and locks the door behind him. However, the casket crashes through his door, with the lid of the casket clapping.clappity-BUMP...clappity-BUMP...clappity-BUMP...on his heels, as the terrified man runs.Rushing upstairs to the bathroom, he locks himself in. His heart is pounding; his head is reeling; his breath is coming in sobbing gasps.With a loud CRASH the casket breaks down the door.Bumping and clapping toward him.The man screams and reaches for something, anything, but all he can find is a bottle of cough syrup! Desperate, he throws the cough syrup at the casket...and,(hopefully you're ready for this!!!) The coffin stops.

Checking out the loot

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Friends and fun

Temps were in the low 70's today so we took some time to play. We met up with some homeschool friends. When they called I just about said "no, we have things we should get done" and then thought "What am I saying?!!" This time of year we never know when it will be our last day to get out with out coats on. Everyone brought their scooters or roller blades to go around the half mile loop that encirlces a pond. This park has a great place for moms to sit and chat too!

Notice the big gap in the teeth? The boy lost a tooth today!

We came home to enjoy a big pot of chicken soup with dumplings. Dancer made our favorite dumplings, here is the recipe.


3 Tbsp. shortening

1 1/2 Cups flour

2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

3/4 C. milk

Cut shortening into flour, baking powder and salt with a fork until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in milk. Drop dough by spoonfuls into soup. Cook uncovered 10 minutes. Cook 10 more minutes covered.

To make these really tasty we add a handful of shredded cheese or some dried herbs before adding the milk.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mycenaean warrior

For history we do a study called "Story of the World". Today, we studied about the Greek Dark Ages. It is called the Greek Dark Ages because the barbarians were too busy taking over lands. They didn't write anything down because they didn't know how to read or write. Here we are making a Mycenaean war helmet. The Myceaeans were the people the Barbarians attacked. The real helmets were made out of bronze with fleece on the inside. Our helmet is made out an ice cream pail. I have the pail on my head and we drew the outline for where to cut the eye holes in the pail. After we cut out the eye holes, we cut up a paper bag to put around the bucket to make it look like bronze. Then we covered the outside of the bucket with glue and smeared it around with our fingers to get a nice even layer. We wrapped the paper bag around the sides and folded in the top part that was sticking up from the sides and taped it down.
The next step was to cut slits along the paper where the eye holes are.
We folded it in so it was snug and layed flat. We used tape to adhere it to the inside.
We dressed my brother up in a toga. To make the toga we took a full sized bed sheet and folded a bit of the top down. We put it around him under his arms so that equal amount of fabric was in the front and back. We pinned the tops together above his shoulders and used my scarf as a belt. Mycenaean warriors probably didn't wear purple with fuzzy blue belts but it works for us.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Feeling naked

Almost all of the leaves are off the trees, there are only a few stragglers here and there, and now they are cutting the corn around our house. We live in the corner of a corn field, during the summer we have a seven or eight foot high (at least that high) corn fence around half of our property. After they cut it down we feel so naked and exposed. Then when all the leaves fall off the trees we can see the neighbors. Our nearest neighbors are about a quarter mile away so it's not like they are looking in our windows. Now in the spring when all the leaves come out and the corn starts to grow, we feel closed in again until getting use to it.

There is a neighbor back there in that tree line.

They left the combine behind a row of our fir trees (okay so we aren't that exposed we have a row of trees back there). When we went back to snap some pictures of the field, our cat Kacheekers was up climbing around on the combine. Hope the keys aren't in it!

And now for something completely different.

This was sent to me as an email. I like to get jokes, etc. forwarded to me but I am not usually one to forward them on. However, this one I thought was important enough to put on here.

Top 10 Predictions No Matter Who Wins the Election

1. The Bible will still have all the answers.

2. Prayer will still work.

3. The Holy Spirit will still move.

4. God will still inhabit the praises of His people.

5. There will still be God-anointed preaching.

6. There will still be singing of praise to God.

7. God will still pour out blessings upon His people.

8. There will still be room at the Cross.

9.Jesus will still love you.

10. Jesus will still save the lost when they come to Him.


Sunday, October 26, 2008


We were very fortunate to have been given two grocery bags full of marvelous apples. When someone gives you apples, you make applesauce!

Dancer cutting up the apples.

Just starting to cook. It took an hour for this pot to cook.
They are all cooked down and soft. Mmmmm - can you smell them? It made our house seem cozy inside when outside the wind was blowing snow and it was in the low 30's.

Putting the cooked apples through the food mill. Both the kids always want to do this part.
It's warm and yummy.

Final step is to give the scraps to the chickens. We don't have any compost because between the goats, rabbits, chickens, and ducks we don't have anything left. And what they don't eat, i.e. table scraps, the cats or the dog are more than happy to eat.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Happy birthday my wonderful boy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Can you hear me now?

We were studying the ear today, phyical parts and hearing. To experience what it would be like to have trouble hearing the kids watched t.v. with ear plugs in. Both of them were a bit surprised what it was like to have hearing that was so muffled. The girl, who wants to be called Dancer from now on here, didn't even realize she was listening in Spanish. We got great printouts of the ear from

This is a great web site for all kinds of educational topics and if you join you get even more access to the information they have. The cost wasn't very much and we more than get our membership fee worth out of it.

Grandma and Grandpa surprised us with a visit today. We are always so happy to see them. Seems we never have enough time to go to their house so they come to us every few weeks. Grandpa Bob finally wore the sweatshirt we gave him for Christmas last year. He always thinks he is tough and gruff but he so isn't. We thought this shirt was perfect for him and he hasn't worn it. The kids are always asking if he has and today he had it on just for them. Will he ever wear it again? Who knows, so we had a to get a picture of him in it. We think he looks pretty good!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Peel the pretty papaya please

Say that title fast a few times!
This is the beautiful papaya we bought at the store.

We cut the papaya apart and it looked like tiny rabbit poops inside. The seeds were very soft but if they were broken open they had mini pinecones inside.

Way one to get the seeds out: knock the side of the papaya so the seeds will come out but if there is still some seeds use way two.

Way two: Use a spoon

Now you scrape out all the papaya insides to get the fruit part. Use a sharp spoon, I used a measuring spoon.

Or if you don't want to dig out the insides you can use a potato peeler to scrap off the outside. Then you can slice it.

This is the boy's papaya ship. It will sail the seven seas some day. It's captain is a young elephant named Jeffery. On the front is a cannon.

This is the girl's ship. As you can see the captain is sea sick, his face is white. My cannon can shoot 100 pound balls 500 yards.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

It's good to be back home again....

Well, I think so anyway. We left temps in the mid 70's and returned to temps in the low, low 30's (that's during the heat of the day) and get this...snow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Trip highlights

Other highlights of our trip included:

Spending lots of time with Grandma - we saw her 10 days in a row! She stayed with us a few days before we went to her house.

Driving to the very edge of Oklahoma and snapping a picture at the border just to say we were there.

Shooting acorns off the deck with a sling shot we got at a craft sale.

Blowing leaves off the patio

Walking sticks and snails. We didn't get a good picture of the snail but the kids found the biggest snail we had ever seen. Snails don't get near that large here in the north.

Visiting this beautiful glass church in Bella Vista. This church was built as a memorial for Mildred Cooper. The building and the grounds are so beautiful and wonderfully maintained.

Going to the lake.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pea Ridge, Beaver Dam, Eureka Springs

Our first stop of the day was a Farmers' Market in Bentonville. We wanted to see another market to check out the vendors, prices, and to get some new ideas for our own stand. One surprise was that eggs sell for $4.00 a dozen, ours only sell for $2.75 although we do always sell out. Otherwise, 700 miles doesn't seem to make too much difference in the prices. There a few veggies that we are unable to grow well because of our zone so they were fun to see. There were great ornamental grasses around the market so we had to take a picture of the kids by them because the Boy is always on the lookout for new grasses. He has a spot for grasses in our yard but so far only has zebra grass planted in it. He bought a new gourd that he doesn't have in the garden. Last year he got a gourd, let it dry over the winter and planted the seeds this spring. It was very successful for him so for next year he has dreams of a huge gourd patch with new varities in it.

Next stop was Pea Ridge. It is a place were a Civil war battle occurred. There is a nice visitor center with displays of guns, uniforms, photos, and equipment used in the battle. We watched a great movie about the battle. Sometimes, unfortunately not when we were there, there are reenactments of the battle. There is a self guided car tour which goes around to all the different spots where highlights of the battles took place. One of the really big battles took place in front of the Elk Horn Tavern. It was eerie to be standing there on vacation knowing that in the same spot others were fighting and dying. We didn't feel the presence for ghosts but perhaps if we had walked through the woods we would have. The Tavern was then used as a hospital for both the Federal and Confederate wounded. This is a remake of the original tavern because a few years after the war it was burned down by Confederate Guerrillas. You can see by the horns on top of the Girl why it was called the Elk Horn Tavern. It wasn't open when we were there but we did get to peek in the windows.

Beaver Dam and Beaver Lake was another field trip we made. The dam was built in the early 1960's to control flooding and to generate electricity. It was amazing to drive over the dam and See a huge lake on one side of the road and a 230 foot drop to a small river on the other side. It is also hard to believe the huge amount of materials that it took to build such a large structure, both the concrete portion and the much larger earthen dam next to it. The dam is operated by remote control from the dam at Table Rock Lake in Missouri so there aren't any personnel or tours there.

There are big homes, cabins, resorts and pretty views around the lake. They say the lake bottom has lots of old homesteads, farms and villages so it is a popular scuba sight. We continued to Eureka Spring after Beaver Dam. It is always an adventure seeing any sights in the Ozarks as all the roads are nearly continuous dangerous curves, impossibly steep hills and shoulderless roads with sheer cliffs on each side.

Eureka Springs is town that gained fame as a tourist and healing center towards the end of the 19th century, it is a tourist town still today. The town was home to many mountain springs reputed to have great healing powers. There hotels built on the sites of some of these springs. The hotels, and other building were built a century ago and are in good repair. The hills are so steep here that you can enter a building on on street and exit 5 or 6 stories higher or lower on the next street. Parking is terrible and there is LOTS of walking and stair climbing. The town is very picturesque and fun to visit, though it seems much more commercial every time we visit. Everywhere you look there someone has planted a little plant or left a ceramic or cenment embellishment. The whole town looks like a big yard salad. It doesn't look junky and we thought that their longer growing season and milder winters helps keep things looking nice. The only thing we bought here was a bit of chocolate that we enjoyed in a plaza where steep cliffs and historic buildings provided the scenery.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Are we there yet?

We left for Grandma's house on Friday. It was a long drive, 702 miles. The Boy was excited that we were in four states in one day, two more than he has ever been in his life. Here we are having lunch at a way side rest. It was so cold we were bouncing up and down to keep warm. A weather computer in the welcome center confirmed the coldness, 38 degrees with the wind chill. Good thing we are hardy!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Playing in the leaves

The Boy's new past time has been raking and playing in the leaves. He can spend hours out there. Here he is relaxing in a pile and then throwing them up in the air. He sounded so joyful when he was doing this that I wish I had been able to capture that as well. We have taken video of the kids but their voices just don't sound the same.

    1. One