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Friday, September 26, 2008

Observing Wildlife

Please make sure to check back here periodically for more pictures and information. If you click on the pictures, you will be able to see a much larger and defined picture for identification.

The Praying Mantis
This gentleman was found just outside our back door. We quickly got a jar to figure out whether "it" was a girl or boy. From reading online we think it is a boy because it did not have a large abdomen. Can you see in the picture how he was looking at the camera?

I took this picture at the neighbors house. My daughter wasn't sure whether or not it was a butterfly or a moth. Here's a link that will help you determine what this little creature is.

Here is an update from one of our fellow homeschoolers, Madeline age 11 1/2
"It is a, "Painted Lady" from the large subfamily of butterflies known as brushfoots (Nymphalinae). A Painted Lady has a white crescent at the front edge of the forewing as compared to other ladies that have orange crescents on them. We highly recommend, "The Butterfly Book" by Donald and Lillian Stokes, 1991, ISBN 0-316-81780-5"

Mr. Squirrel - we found him/her while we were taking our own family pictures. I knew he/she wanted it's picture taken. Thankfully he/she stayed still long enough for me to take the shot. Can you figure out whether this is a girl or boy squirrel?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An invitation!

I just got the cutest online invitation to my nieces first birthday. I just had to share it so you can see how creative my brother and his wife are. I can't wait to see my little niece and give her a great big hug and kiss. Can it really be that she is already almost 1? Oh how the time flies.

Keira, I know you can't read this yet, but know that your aunt Mandi is praying for you. For your future relationship with the Lord and your future spouse. Also for your parents as they raise you in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I love you my little sweetie!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Our new living room and dining room!



Matthew and I were able to get our living room and dining room painted yesturday! I'm so excited about it. We moved into a foreclosed home and the walls were so hideous. Not from the color, but from the damage and stains that were on it. My son decided to add to it's awfulness by coloring on it. lol. I think we've finally got him to the point where he won't color on it anymore - thankfully. Well, this time instead of the butter yellow that's on the walls, we went with a mossy green. The company we chose to go with is FreshAire which means the paint has no VOC's. A lot of other paint companies tout that and they are right about the paint base, however, the tint they use does contain VOC's. This paint doesn't have it in either. Less fumes for you and your family is always a good thing. Anyway, they called this color 'terrarium'. Let me know how you like it:)

We plan to finish up by also painting the kitchen this color. All of the halls in our home as well as the entryway is going to be painted a very lovely cream color. The picture above the fireplace is also going to be replaced by a bit bigger and richer picture.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Peter's Online Typing Course - Free!

I found this on a lovely free site today called Freely Educate. I was hoping to find something online and free my daughter could use when she's ready to learn basic typing skills. Thankfully, the work was done for me and I was led to Peter's Online Typing Course. While low tech, I think this site is absolutely lovely. It seems to cover all the basic typing skills. Thanks so much Peter!

Free Drawing Lessons by Jan Brett

Jan Brett has a lovely selection of coloring pages and other activities for children online. In fact there are to date over 4,000 of them. Today I'm currently speaking of the drawing video tutorials she has up online. These can be found here. This is such a lovely resource for any family. Especially for those with children who love to draw.

Garden of Praise

I mentioned in the previous post about a site called Freely Educate. Within that I found this lovely site, Garden of Praise. Here is an excerpt from the site.

"Garden of Praise is an educational website created in 1999 by a veteran classroom teacher with 35 years experience. Our purpose is to provide free online and printable teaching materials. You are free to print material for your own use at home and in the classroom, but you may not reproduce it for profit."

It is very obvious that so much time and effort has been put into this lovely site. You can find old family recipes, all kinds of lesson plans for your children, biblical encouragement and so much more. It is with pleasure that I pass along this link to you. May you be as blessed with it as I am.

Paint on the couch and carpet

Just last night, prince Jon found a very lovely and rare bottle of barn red craft paint. With wonder, excitement and maybe a little fear of the unknown, he opened up the bottle oh so carefully.

'What is that funny stuff inside?' thought the little prince.

He started to slowly pour it over the lovely school desk his mother had just months previously repainted for him and his sister. It puddled very neatly onto the desk from the little bit he poured out.

'I'll try some more' he thought, and so he proceeded to dump the entire lovely bottle of red paint on the desk. To his joy and excitement it not only stayed put on the desk, it decided to creap it's way down onto the cream colored, already spotted (from stains) carpet. He was overjoyed - until.....his mother turned around. The Queen was not happy about the little prince's discovery. She quickly picked up the paint covered little prince and quickly proceeded to wash him off. While the prince was being tended to, the queen let him know that what he had done was very wrong and should not do it again. The queen at the time was very tired and starting to feel sick from a nasty cold sweeping through the kingdom. Unfortunately, because the queen was feeling ill, she did not punish her son. He got off with a pardon which you will soon see was a very bad idea.

It was in the afternoon and the queen mother was watching a lovely video on youtube of the Phantom of the Opera - one of her favorite movies. You see, the queen mother had this dvd, then lent it out to the royal babysitters. They have had it for so long, and the queen mother so longed to see this movie. Because of this she was not aware of what her son, the prince was doing in the next room.

All of the sudden, like someone had whispered in her ear her son was doing something very wrong, the queen mother leaped from her chair and made her way to the eerie, silent living room. To his unbelief and dismay, the queen mother started to literally cry at the scene in front of her. The prince had once again somehow found a lovely bottle of green craft paint. Again enamored with how the paint pooled and puddled here and there, he decided this time he should try out this lovely paint on the queen mother's couch. Just like it had on the desk, some of the dark green paint had dripped from the couch to the floor of the royal living room. Picking up the little boy with tears in her eyes the queen mother told her little prince how what he had done was wrong. This time she made no mistake and disciplined the little boy so that he would be good and sure that the paint no longer belongs on the castle furniture or floor. Oh my goodness, it was the saddest display of tears the little prince had ever produced. The queen mother scooped him up into her arms and told him how much she loved him. She then sent him to his room where he could do no damage until the queen mother had cleaned up the little princes mess.

In case you're wondering, yes this is a true story. This happened right in the Kaake Kingdom.

I saw online the key to acrylic (waterbased) paint removal is to keep the area wet till you get the stain cleaned off. We got a spray bottle of water and got the spots on the floor. Most of it has come up. Now I just need to use some soap. I'm also wondering if vinegar will work.

As I scrubbed and scrubbed our couch cushions I realized I prob. wouldn't get it all off for the mere fact that it soaked into the foam. I took the cover off, rinsed it in the sink and it's now in the washer rinsing and spinning several times. We'll see how that works. More updates later:)

Here's some links that might be helpful for anyone else that might someday have the same problem:)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our First Homeschool Picnic!

We had our very first Back To School Picnic for the Olive Branch Homeschool Group. We had such a wonderful turn out and I know the kids really enjoyed themselves. Not that us parents did - we just got to sit around and chat. lol. I'm am so thrilled with God growing our little homeschool group. It is all for His glory!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My New Stove!

It should be here tomorrow.

Here's her specs.
Maytag® 5.3 cu. ft.-capacity ranges give you the performance you need for even cooking results you can depend on. This range features Maytag's Precision Cooking™ System with Precise Preheat: set the cooking temperature you want; the oven will alert you based on actual temperature, not a preset time, for accuracy and better results. Precision Touch electronic oven controls make operation easy. The self-cleaning oven lets you match the cleaning level to the amount of food buildup: light, medium or heavy. Cook & Hold, Keep Warm™ and Delay settings let you cook according to your schedule. Other helpful features include a super-size window, auto shutoff, control lockout, Sabbath Mode, electronic clock with timer and an oven light. Two heavy-duty oven racks and an easy-roll storage drawer are also included. The easy-to-clean smoothtop cooktop has four elements: one 12", one 9" and two 6". And for peace of mind, every Maytag® range is protected by the Maytag® Dependable Performance Warranty.

* 5.3 cu. ft. capacity - the largest usable capacity available
* Control Lockout option - for added safety and cleaning convenience
* Removable knobs for easy cleaning
* Two 9200-BTU burners
* Electronic ignition eliminates pilot lights for fast, reliable burner operation
* Sealed surface burners with FlameGuard chambers for even heating, easy cleanup and extended grate life
* DuraClean™ lift-off burner caps for easy cleaning
* DuraClean™ heavy-duty cast iron burner grates smooth gloss finish wipes clean easily
* Precision Cooking™ system with PreciseBake - the most even baking oven
* EvenAir™ convection cooking uses an electric fan for faster, more even roasting and baking
* The recessed cooktop has four burners one 5,000/600BTU Flex-Choice™ Simmer Burner, two 9,200 BTU Burners and one 16,000 Power Boost™ Burner.
* Self-cleaning oven with adjustable levels - select the proper cleaning level for the job: light, medium, heavy, or any preferred point in-between
* Precision Touch 800 oven controls - touch pad electronic controls are precise and easy to use
* Super-bright digital display - easy to read, even in direct sunlight
* Simultaneous time and temperature display - see time/cook time remaining and oven temperature at the same time
* Clock and timer - electronic convenience with timer adjustability
* MFG Brand Name : Maytag
* MFG Model # : MGRH865QDB
* MFG Part # : MGRH865QDB

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Boxcar Children

I found this lovely set of books at my local Goodwill store. I'm very excited about digging in. We're hoping to have a time nightly where our family reads to one another. This way we not only spend some good family time together, but we also get to read some great classics. Right now we're going through The Princess and the Goblin. Next is Mary Poppins.

Anyway, back to the Boxcar Children. I found these lovely sites online full of lesson plans that go with the books. How fun!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

So nice having Matt back...

I can't remember if I posted this yet or not but I just love having Matthew back home with us. He was working so much that when he got home he'd eat dinner then go to bed. It was really like he wasn't here at all. We so love having him back. We just picked up a really cool checkers game today at Cracker Barrel after we had lunch. We can't wait to get back into playing family games again. I also can't wait till we have a family schedule up again. That really helps us stay on track and make more use of our time. Otherwise we'd both be seen on the computer constantly - I know pathetic.

That's pretty much all I have for now. In just a couple days I'll have before and after pictures from my kitchen. One of my appliances is leaving (bit the dust) and another is replacing it. I'm super excited. I can't say I haven't wanted a new one - but never had a reason till now.

Oh and if you happen to be reading this and can fill compression cracks in a basement - please look us up;)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Is Your Hut Burning

I got this from a friend on an online group. Thanks Jamie!!

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions. One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?' Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! 'How did you know I was here?' asked the weary man of his rescuers. 'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied.

The Moral of This Story:

It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Science Experiments by Robert Krampf

I had been introduced to this site quite awhile ago. However, I'm ashamed to admit we had never v it, even with the links coming in my inbox. Today we went on the website and learned about the center of gravity. I know this is definately going to be one of those sites that we visit very frequently. I am not the greatest at science, but this was something very easy to understand and learn. Yeah for Robert Krampf and all his hard work.

You can visit his site here.

Crisp Fall Weather

Ok so fall doesn't officially start for several more days but I just can't help myself. Fall is by far my favorite season of the year. What goes better with fall than apples? The kids were just loving up the apples we recently purchased. Now I'm getting the fever to go to an apple orchard. I don't think our homeschool group can plan this field trip fast enough for me. lol.

My charge to you today is make sure to get those kiddo's outside. Charlotte Mason always said, whatever the weather, get the children outside every day. You would not believe how much more smoothly your day will be if they simply have some time to frolic and explore God's creation - on their own.

Enjoying the cooler weather

The weather today is absolutely perfect! Fall is just around the corner but I feel it already. I'm so excited! We can't wait to get to an apple orchard. Can you tell?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lyshie got her futon mattress!

We were gone for the weekend at my sil's wedding. When we were about 2 miles away from home we were trying to decide if we would have had to sign for the futon mattress that we had ordered for our daughters new bed. We were laughing and joking around about it being on the front porch. As we got closer to our home I noticed something large and rolled up, with two black ties on it. It had indeed arrived - no signature needed. We had ordered the bed at least a month ago but had to wait till we had the funds to purchase the futon mattress. It has now arrived and I hope to be able to make a cover for it today. I found some really easy instructions online that uses two sheets and some velcro (hook and loop tape). That's what we're going to try to do:)

Lyshie is absolutely thrilled to be able to sit on her little couch now. She told me this morning she was sitting on it trying to figure out what to wear. I have a feeling quite a few books are going to be red on that little futon couch.

If interested in making your own futon mattress cover click on the link Make Your Own Futon Mattress Cover. I will post pictures as soon as it has been made - the good, bad or ugly. lol!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Fluffy Mail!

I just got these gorgeous roving balls today in the mail. I am totally in love with the dye job and workmanship of this seller. Here is her link on etsy. I will definately be doing business with this seller again!!!

Bear Creek Designs

First you will see a pix of my bil, Ted before he cut high fructose corn syrup out of his diet. He's the one on the far left. Next is a picture of him after cutting it out of his diet. He's the one on the right. Notice a change? I'll post more on this later.

Here's a couple movies for you to watch:)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jon's Outdoor Cube

Thanks to a lovely woman online we were able to get this on freecycle - for FREE!!! Our son is so excited. He got to the point where he didn't want to go outside. My husband said it was because he's bored. Well - no longer. He's extremely excited and no longer wants to stay inside.

Please forgive the mess - I had mowed the night before. When we cleaned it up the water made the grass stick. Looks like we need to hose it down. Thank you so much Heather for this wonderful outdoor toy!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Feebies on your birthday!

So since today is my birthday I thought I'd share all the freebies you can get with it. Here are some locations where signing up can get you some yummy goodies.

Cold Stone - get a free ice cream creation.
Tropical Smoothie - free smoothie of choice.
Zhenders Restarant - free chicken dinner and free ornament at Bronners.
Logans - free nut butter fludge slide.
Prime Outlest in Birch Run - started a promotion this month with a $20 gift card!
Moes - 1 free burrito
Macaroni Grill - free piece of chocolate cake

I'm sure there are many other places that do things like this. If you are aware of any, leave me a comment and I'll add it to the list. TO get these items you must sign up for the newsletter on their online site. Enjoy!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Two Cleaning Items You Should Always Have On Hand - Vinegar and Baking Soda

These items are not only safe but cheap! Gotta love that. They also work incredibly well. These two items are baking soda and white distilled vinegar.

1. Plugged Drains - Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down drain followed by 1/2 cup vinegar. If the clog is very bad, skim off floaties that come to the surface and repeat. After it won't bubble anymore, give it one or two good plunges and it should be free.

2. Mix 1/4 cup baking soda in a sink full of water to wash fruits and veggies.

3. Put out a grease fire with baking soda.

4. Deodorize fridge and freezer by putting a box of baking soda in each one.

5. Add to presoaked beans to make them more digestible.

6. Dissolve 2T. baking soda in a bit of water placed in a microwave safe bowl. Put in microwave and heat till boiling. You should easily be able to clean out stuck on food on the microwave.

7. Place 1 cup vinegar on the bottom shelf of your dishwasher. Wash on the hottest, longest cycle. This will help clean your dishwasher. It's best to do this with nothing else in there.

8. You can clean most kitchen floors with a mixture of 1 part water and 1 part white distilled vinegar.

9. Wash windows with 1 part vinegar and 1 part water.

10. Clean your coffee pot - Once a month fill with white vinegar and run through brew cycle. Rinse with 2 cycles of cold water.

11. Clean your garbage disposal - Mix 1 cup vinegar in enough water to fill ice cube tray. Freeze, then grind in disposal.

12. Deoderize lunch box - Soak a napkin in vingar and place in lunch box overnight. In the morning, discard.

13. Buttermilk replacement - add a bit of vinegar to milk and let sit for about 3-5 minutes.

1. Clean sinks, and tub with baking soda and a scrubbie pad.

2. Clean toilets with 1 part vinegar and one part water.

3. Wash windows with 1 part vinegar and 1 part water.

Health and Beauty:
1. Chicken Pox, Poison Ivy, etc... - Put 1/2 cup baking soda in water and it will help relieve itching.

2. Cleaning Teeth: Dip your brush in baking soda and scrub. I will warn you - it tastes very salty.

3. Clean combs and brushes with a mixture of baking soda and water.

4. Dandruff Relief: Pour a few tablespoons vinegar on scalp, work in and let sit a few minute's. Rinse and repeat till dandruff is gone:)

5. Try the No Shampoo Challenge!! This uses baking soda and apple cider vinegar.

Living Room:
1. Sprinkle baking soda on floors and upholstery and let sit for 1/2 hour, then vacuum. This should help remove odors.

2. Pet Urine - Use 1 part white vinegar and 1 part water. Spray on area and clean.

1. Fill a sock with baking soda and tie closed. Sit in a shoe that needs deodorized.

1. Presoak cloth diapers in 1/2 cup baking soda. Put 1/2 cup vinegar in the rinse cycle. These will keep your diapers clean and free of the urine smell.

Outside and in the Garage:
1. Baking soda and water paste makes a great chrome cleaner.

2. Put out fires in your garage with baking soda.

3. Wash garbage cans with baking soda.

4. Take a potato peel and dip it in some baking soda. Rub vigorously on rust and watch it disappear.