This is nothing special, well to you anyway. I'm not a scrapbook type, or a baby book writer, or even a picture printer. I'm terrible at recording memories. This blog is my attempt at holding on to some of my life as a Christian, a wife, and a homeschooling Mom of 5. I am a country girl that lived in a big city for 14 years, and moved to the Deep South for quiet, quaint, small town living.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas '09

For those of you who know, this is in the "Sacred" formal living room! We ARE the favorites!
George was so proud to read his name on his presents!

Yes, this headband is permanently on Livia's head. She even sleeps in it. Well, you never know when you need to look your best!

The Kid's First Snowman!

At Nana and Pop Pop's on Christmas Eve, Frosty was born.

The Love Sacrifice Of Leonard and Ray Ethelyn Stouffer

After 72 years of marriage, Leonard and Ray Ethelyn Stouffer simply refused to be apart. At 7:10 P.M., December 29 my grandmother passed away, followed shortly thereafter by my grandfather at 9:35 P.M.

Early last week, my grandmother was placed under hospice care and a hospital bed was moved into the living room of their apartment. I saw them both on the morning of Christmas Eve and they were happy and talkative. On Christmas night my grandfather had a heart attack and was rushed to the hospital where a catheterization was performed and revealed that three arteries were completely blocked and a fourth had minimal blood flow. The cardiologist believed that he had less than a week to live. He was moved back to their apartment to be near the love of his life.

They were both awake enough last evening to realize that they were together again. When the nursing staff pushed their beds side by side, my grandfather reached out and took his bride’s hand and held it. He tried to talk to her but she was not awake enough to respond, so he tried to get into her bed with her to hold her. He eventually settled down and rested.

As his wife’s breathing became more labored, his breathing remained steady. At just after 7 we noticed that her breathing had changed. My father took her hand and she took her last breath. At just after 9 the funeral director left the room with my grandmother, and my sister, Lisa, noticed that there were tears in the corners of my grandfather’s eyes. We also noticed that now his breathing had changed from steady to labored. My father took his hand told him that he loved him and that his wife was waiting for him. A few minutes later he opened his eyes and looked at my father and took his last breath.

This has been a long hard week of emotions. It is painful to lose any loved ones, but it is also painful to watch loved ones suffer. It has been particularly difficult to watch my father suffer the loss of both of his parents in such a very short time. The grief will subside, but I want to remember the love that they shared and his strength and love for his wife. By all accounts, he probably should have gone first. His heart should have given out first. I believe that he held on and stayed conscious enough to know when she had passed away. He refused to leave his wife behind. Their love was their bond and he would have found a way to survive as long as his bride lived.

As I left the retirement home this evening, I was struck by the love and the love sacrifice that my grandparents displayed the last few days and their entire married lives. I also realized that they were just following the example of the love sacrifice of Jesus Christ. At Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus. The day that God sent his Son to earth to become a love sacrifice for all of us. He endured our rightful punishment so that we would have the opportunity to accept His sacrifice and receive eternal life in Heaven.
Ray Ethelyn and Leonard Stouffer are together in Heaven. They have met their Savior face to face. My prayer tonight is to follow their example of love in my own marriage, but more importantly to follow my Savior’s example of love. Is He your Savior tonight?

Monday, December 21, 2009

C is for CHEESE!

Well, the focus is really about Cows, but that leads us to talk about milk, and what milk makes. So we made butter again, but today we went a step further. We made cheese! I used this recipe for the first time and I am excited about how it turned out!
This is after the cooking, curdling, and initial straining. I just hung it on my cabinet knob for the 3 hours.
It is a very plain tasting cheese with a texture in between spreadable chevre and mozzarella. It is firmer than chevre but holds its shape more like mozzarella, with a little crumbling when cut. We sprinkled some kosher salt and dill for a little extra flavor and it was good! Good enough to share with a friend tomorrow when we visit! (the half in the container is for my friend)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Just like her Momma

Just say No to Snow!

Snow day

So, after 15 mins of bundling them up, L&G managed to stay outside in the snow for about 45 mins (a record for them!). Virginia is more like me. 1. Doesn't seem to like the snow, and 2. She is a baby- ha ha! 45 minutes is enough for a good childhood memory, right?

It has become a tradition, like it or not!

For the last 3 years I have made vanilla for Christmas gifts. I don't really know if people like or appreciate it (with a couple exceptions) but I make it anyway.

There are instructions all over the web, if you are interested. I start in Jan/Feb and split a lot of vanilla beans and let them soak in vodka for the year. You really only need 3 months, but the flavor and smell is waaaaay better the longer it sits. I order boston round bottles with screw top lids and make sure they are clean.

Then I use cheesecloth and strain the beans and pods (this year I had to do it twice because Safeway had flimsy cheesecloth- hear that Safeway! Flimsy!)
When it is bean free, I fill the bottles, wipe them all down, and put on labels that say "Vanilla, homemade by the Stouffers."
If you are nice enough to get a bottle, please don't tell me you don't know what to do with it, or can you drink it? It is pure vanilla, as in what you bake with!!! One neighbor likes to pour hers in coffee and confessed she used the bottle up in a week! At least it is used, I guess.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Baking

I was very content with the Christmas cookies we have left. This has been after 2 weeks of eating and eating! Not pictured is the fudge stored in the fridge that the girls drool over.

sugar cookies, pinwheels and black and white squares, 2 kind of chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate crinkles
Well, after some bad influence from some friends (you know who you are!) I decided to make the infamous Christmas Crack. I have had this plenty of times, but I have never been able to make this successfully. Pretty sad since it is supposed to be fool proof.

With a little help from a certain midget, I made the best version I have done yet. It still isn't right (the cracker part didn't soak up all the toffee part, and the toffee part is a little chewy) but it is edible! I'm sure I didn't read something right- because this is a time tested recipe with a lot of ladies I know.

If you want to give it a try, here is the recipe.

40 Saltines
1 c Butter; don't use margarine
1 c LIGHT brown sugar; not dark
12 oz Chocolate chips
1 c Nuts; chopped, YOUR choice

Line up the saltines on a jelly roll pan that has been LINED with FOIL that makes a bigger rim then the pan. There should be 5 rows of 8.

Melt butter and add LIGHT brown sugar. Stir often and bring to a full rolling boil for EXACTLY 3 minutes.

Pour over the saltines and bake in a 400 oven for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and wait until they are almost melted; spread over all the saltines. Drop the nuts over top as evenly as possible. Refrigerate for two hours and then break up into pieces. Can be stored in a pretty tin with tissue paper or clear Christmas bags with ribbon tied around.

little over achiever...

As of today, Livia finished her Kindergarten reading program! I have been slowing her down some, but when I see her sneaking pages farther ahead, and hear her reading library books out loud, I just decided to let her fly. She really enjoys being able to read on her own, and it is quite freeing for both of us!

We are just going to start 1st grade reading after Christmas. This is supplemental to our main curriculum, so it does not have to match. Soon, I'll have her update the blog. hee hee

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Our first year with a Pretend tree

I'm trying to remember why Troy and I went with a fake tree this year. Neither one of us had ever had a fake tree growing up, or as a couple. I think we talked about the mess and price and decided if a good deal comes along........ Well, Lowes had a great sale on Black Friday weekend, so we have a pretend tree as Livia likes to call it. (Get it, not real, but pretend, ha ha)

It was nice, they all were excited and helpful.

It was George's turn to place the Angel on the tree.

We had to put our tree in the Porch (in-closed, but not insulated!) to keep it safe from a certain someone.....

Because she is THAT fast!

We VALUE Math skills.... ha ha, get it?

To reenforce couting by 2's, 5's, and 10's we started learning about money. Recognizing what coins are what, their worth, and counting different money amounts. This is still at a very early age, but it helped us work on grouping and counting.

Play doh dinos

Learning about dinosaurs was a fun week. There were LOTS of books in the library for us to check out, and of course we had to make our own dinosaurs. They could be any color because who here can really tell us what colors the dinosaurs where?

Rat Tail Removal

My kids have hair growth issues until they are well over 2 yrs old. None of them got the traditional "first haircut on your first birthday" for lack of hair. Ginnie is 15 months here and all that is growing was a rat tail! No one really noticed it since it curled right up, but if you pulled it down, or in the bath it went down her neck! It was either chop it off, or get her a cutoff flannel shirt and some holey jeans and call her Joe Dirt.



Always a project to do

Troy was finishing up some house project (Yay!!!), so of course the kids wanted to help.

So he gave each kid a piece of scrap wood with a nail half driven in. They were banging away for quite a while!

a little excited

Can you tell what they are all excited about?

Pizza Delivery! ha ha


Do you remember those little plastic discs? The kids love them! We have been using them to see addition/subtraction concepts and in learning to count in 2's, 5's, and 10's. Well, George mostly makes little towers and shapes with his handful, but it keeps him busy while I teach Liv.

Just a little funny

This is what happens if we don't put the produce away ASAP. Each kid has tried to eat green peppers, carrots, apples, cucumbers and other foods through the bag. Liv and George have outgrown their taste for plastic, but Virginia is a slow learner, I guess. Or just really, really hungry.

Nest Unit (and other animal homes)

Liv looked for stuff birds would use to make their home. She realized that the big sticks would be too heavy for them to carry to the trees, so maybe pine shats would be best. For glue we made some mud, and we mixed and molded. It is harder than it looks!
We think the birds do it better, but we tried. :)

School doesn't stop for Snack Time!

While manipulating some pretzel dough, we learned about the difference between print and cursive. Well, we just talked about how cursive was continuous lines and the letters were connected. After this lesson we started practicing individual cursive letters. She still writes in print, but she is learning to read words in cursive as she recognizes the "new" letters.

Then we just ate them. Yum!


Continuing on with out Ingals Wilder studies, we made butter!

Some of our Fall projects

From our readings in the Little House on the Prairie series, we decided to learn about what makes a town (yay for finding something to do for Social Studies!). We discussed what Laura and her family saw as the town of De Smet was being build before their eyes, and what usually makes up a town today (firehouse, police station, homes, stores, library, ect.....). From an older High Five mag we cut out building templates to make our own town.
Liv and George thought the little people added a nice touch. I do too.

A little art project learning about stamping, positive and negative space, and colors we see in Autumn.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The reason I've been gone.....

The reason I've been gone.....

1. I have a big mouth and can't keep a secret
2. I've been feeling oh so sick
3. We wanted to wait to see/hear the heartbeat!

Baby #4 is on his/her way and should arrive around June 11th! We are totally excited (when I'm not feeling run over by a truck and want to puke!!) ((I was never sick with the others, I'm such a baby!))

I will catch you up on our happenings as of late, even though a lot of it is just scraping by so I can take a nap with the little kids. :/

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Moon Unit Cont'

We talked about astronauts on the moon. We talked about how they got there and looked at the pics on of the shuttles. I asked her if she could take a spaceship to the moon. She said, "Yes, maybe if I was older and could stay by myself. And I need to learn to drive a car first." True.

I asked her to make a spaceship that she would take to the moon (after getting her license of course). She drew one in under a minute! I looked at the drawing and said it was too flat, we need to make something bigger. I brought up some boxes from the basement, duct tape, scissors and paper and we got to work. I cut and folded and she taped. Liv then painted the shuttle to make it "pretty." (Some days I love how feminine she is!)
Here is her finished spaceship!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Homeschool Moon Unit

This week we are studying the Moon! (Last week was the Sun) To explain the Sun reflecting light off the Moon to Earth we did a little experiment with a colored and cut out paper Moon, a mirror, and a flashlight. (From MFW curriculum)

Flashlight = Sun, Mirror = Moon, Earth = Earth (ha ha)

We found that the Moon doesn't shine on it's own. It needs the Sun's light to reflect to the Earth
(As we are also God's reflection to the world)

Did I say how much I love homeschool? :)