Thursday, April 30, 2009


I got a Little Tikes easel for the kids off of freecycle.  I figured today was a beautiful day to bring it out.  We have most of the hard work done on the garden and we haven't done much traditional schooling lately.  We'll get back into that next week.  So today, they are working on art.

Working on the House

Since the garden beds are finished, we have one last big house remodeling project.  Jim is working hard on the laundry room.  Right now, this is how it looks.  

He will be working on it this weekend.  I am so excited to see it done.  Before,  it had room for was a washer and dryer - that's all.  Now we will have my laundry storage, washer, dryer, large stainless utility sink and some counter space.  And probably some shelves on the wall, too.  This is of course, the laundry room, but it also holds baby clothes, my scrapbooking supplies and homeschool supplies in the cupboards at the end of the room.

If you'd like to see other before and after pictures of our house, go to Rebekah's blog post.  She did a great job a while back posting pictures.

When we first saw this place, we knew it had potential but would take a lot of work. Cosmetically, it was YUCK!  By the time we moved in, I couldn't believe this house was ours.  I love what we have done with it.  Of course, it will always be a work in progress, but the majority is done and we are enjoying our blessings.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Garden Info

So, we've finished the garden beds.  Here is a picture of Hannah scooping the last of the compost into the wagon.  It took us nine days to transfer 4 yards of dirt from our driveway to the back yard.

Here's the little guys doing a cheesy post in the melon patch.

Here they are putting the final touches on the melon patch.  The boys are mulching with the lawn clippings that Jessikah set aside when she mowed the lawn today.  Hannah is watering the newly planted watermelon seeds.

And here are our five garden beds.  The farthest one we're having a problem with.  Scooter likes to walk through it.  Hmmm ... what to do.  The two green beds have several plants in them already and are mulched with today's grass clippings.  The two closest beds are ready for planting.  Tomorrow we'll plant some seeds.

Then we'll see how our garden grows :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Making Progress on the Garden

So, we're finally making some good progress on the garden.  Jim got rid of the pile of junk that has been sitting in the remainder of our garden space.  I can't believe he cleared all that stuff out -relocated it, smashed it, cut it, whatever it took to get it into 20 garbage bags scheduled for a "bulky item pick-up" by our trash company.  

Then, on Monday, we had topsoil and compost delivered.  Two yards of each.  Took up a nice large spot in our driveway.  Wouldn't you know we would have it delivered on a record breaking 100 degree day.  I had no desire to haul dirt from the driveway to the back yard.  But the younger kids and I got to work in the evening when it cooled down some.

The kids are such good helpers.  Jim was brilliant enough to buy a dump wagon.  It's pretty cool.  We fill it up and pull it to the backyard like a wagon.  (No accidentally spilling a wheel barrow.)  We push it right up to the bed and lift and it pours all the dirt right into the raised bed.  Perfect!  And, he bought a kid-sized shovel.  So, they all want to take turns using it and filling the wagon.  

Today, after Bible study, I came home and finished one bed completely.  Yay!  I'm excited.  Now I have to start up some more seedlings.  My first batch didn't do very well.  I only have 3 or 4 plants that might make it.  I didn't want to start again til I knew I had someplace to plant them.  So, I'll have to do that in the next few days.  And we'll finish up more of the beds.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Unleavened Bread

Well, the Days of Unleavened Bread have come to a close.  God gives us such a great object lesson at this time.  Really, make leaven represent sin and then try to stay away from it.  It seems simple enough, but it is quite difficult.  

This year I did a better job than usual of removing leaven from our home and cars.  I tried to remember the places I had missed leaven in previous years - lunch boxes, diaper bags, etc.  Right before the first evening I found a box of crackers in the pantry and promptly put them down the garbage disposal.  And honestly, I only found one small chunk of leavened food under our couch during the Days and one small chunk afterwards that was obviously there throughout.  
So, at home we didn't slip up and eat leavening.  But when we went out in the world, it was a little harder.  At park day someone brought a pinata for their daughter's birthday.  That seemed harmless enough.  But, there was a leavened treat in there.  I almost didn't even recognize it.  It had long biscuits to dip in frosting.  I was going to have my daughter share one with the baby and I said to just give her the stick, "It's like a cracker."  Wait!  What?!  It's like a cracker!  Don't eat that.  And while I was dealing with this, one of my son's was eating a birthday cupcake.  It's always something.

And then there is the spiritual value.  A friend made some good points on yearning for leaven (sin) during these Days.  We had our leavened meal all planned out for the moment these days were over.  It was in the car right at sunset.  So, obviously that represented yearning for sin, just as we do at times in life.  God is so good to give us a chance to really focus on the prevalence of sin in our lives and this world.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Laundry Room Remodel

Jim started a new project today.  He and the kids used their demolition skills on the closet in the laundry room.  They loved trying their hand at breaking down the walls

This closet used to hold the furnace and the water heater.  We relocated both of those to the rafters before we moved in.  Now we are removing the closet to make the laundry room bigger.  It's amazing how much bigger it looks already.  I'm excited to see how it will look when it is finished.

Here's a before and after shot.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Finally!  The day we have been looking forward to. It's Passover!  (Well, it was on Thursday, anyway.) We prepared all morning - cleaning and cooking.  We didn't get pictures of most of the preparations because we were all too busy.  Jessikah made the bread that we use for the Passover service.  We make bread without the yeast instead of using store bought matzah.  She made a challah recipe without yeast.  She even braided some of the little loaves.  They were so cute.

Arianah had a new dress on, so we had to take a picture of her.

This is the table set up for the service.  We usally have the menorah and shofars on that table.  We added the bread (under the blue cover), wine and the lamb ready to be sacrificed.

Jim is telling the story of how they chose the lamb and prepared it for the Passover sacrifice.  The kids ar every interested, as usual.

Jim has some incredible special effects as he sacrifices the lamb.  

Arianah is ready to have her feet washed during the footwashing portion of the service.

The problem is, after she had her feet washed, she wanted to put her feet in everyone else's footwashing bin.  But, we managed, nonetheless.

Lucas and Elijah are very proud that their water is actually dirty after they washed each other's feet.

Then we start the dancing and rejoicing.  Thankful to Yeshua for His sacrifice for us.

The little guys set their own dinner table.

And the big kids set the big people's table with our most special dishes and flatware.  Special dishes for a special occasion.

After the food came out the pictures stopped.  We were all busy enjoying food and fellowship.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Plague 9 - Darkness

Darkness is a fun plague.  We used to just turn off the lights and sit around in the dark for a while, but that's actually kind of boring.  So, now we blindfold the kids and have them do something; for instance, go take a hat and put it away in the closet and bring back a pair of Dad's socks from the bin.  The little guys could go on all night, but since we got a late start, we only did one turn per kid.

Lucas getting a pen, pencil and pair of scissors off the school table to bring back to Daddy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Plague 8 - Locusts

Have you ever tried looking for plastic locusts?  I'll even settle for just grasshoppers.  I can find some big, ugly plastic grasshoppers.  Only problem is, I can only find them one or two at a time.  If I'm going to make a plague of locusts, there has to be lots of them.  

I have tried several things to represent this plague over the years.  I have tried cutting out brown construction paper ovals to represent locusts.  I have used plastic cockroaches (yes, I actually found those in large batches.  Yuck!).  Last year I used some plastic buggy creatures that looked nothing like locusts.  Of course, they looked nothing like any other bug, either, so they were an alright stand in.  

This year I found some plastic buggy creatures that look a little more like locusts.  Of course, the other half of the bag looked like brightly colored cockroaches, but I used them all nonetheless.  I have spread them all over the great room.  Maybe I'll go put out a couple of lettuce leaves just for the effect of eating the greenery :)  Than again, maybe I won't.  I must be getting tired because I didn't even put them in the drawers or the food.  I just threw them all over the floors and the table.  That's 8 plagues down and two more to go.

And tonight I threw away all the leavening I didn't figure we would eat before Thursday.  The trash truck comes tomorrow so I figure I might as well get rid of it now if we're not going to eat it.  We're down to 1 1/2 loaves of bread (easily disposed of in grilled cheese sandwiches tomorrow night) and various cookies.  Yes, Passover is quickly approaching.  HalleluYah!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Plague 7 - Hail

We used to do the plague of hail with ice.  I would just have a bunch of ice on the back patio when the kids woke up in the morning.  But that wasn't very interesting or exciting.  So, we changed tactics.  Last year I had a bunch of bouncy balls and I bounced them outside and told the kids to try to avoid them ... but that was too easy.  So, this year, we stayed inside and I took a bowl full of balls (the white plastic ones that are full of holes) and threw the balls against the ceiling over the kids' heads.  Then they were all trying to get hit.  As you can see by the pictures, they had lots of fun with this technique.

I misjudged on this one and ended up getting myself with the hail.

Another action shot.

This one is right before the hail hits them.

And having fun after.

We still haven't figured out how to add in the fire with the hail (Exodus 9:13-35).  Maybe next year :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Plague 6 - Boils

The plague of boils affected all of Egypt as the handfuls of ashes that Moses scattered in Pharaoh's sight became fine dust and caused boils on man and beast.  (Exodus 9:8-12) In our house, the boils, otherwise known as brightly colored happy face stickers, only affect those that are sleeping. 

In the little kids' room, it also affects those that are wearing summer pajamas more severely than ...

those that are wearing warm footy pajamas.

And in the girls' room it affects preteens ...

and kids just about the same.

Worms, Our Newest Project

We got ourselves a worm composting kit.  We're setting up the garden.  Jim made a custom composting barrel.  But when I saw the worm composting kit, my homeschool antennae went up and I just couldn't resist.  So we set it up a couple of days ago.

We started with 1000 red worms.  I'm not sure how they know there are 1000.  Maybe they make them count off.  Maybe they make them sign in before they crawl into the jar.  Maybe they just take a guess.

First we lined the bin with newspaper.

Then we added the peat moss mixture.

And the wet, shredded paper on top of that.

And then we added the worms.

Then Jim and Lucas decided to have a snack :)

When we had it all set up, Jim was asking the kids what we should name the worms.  Elijah said, “We call the mommy worms Mrs. Worm and we call the daddy worms … Grandpa.”

Friday, April 3, 2009

Plague 5 - Dead Livestock

The next plague is dead livestock (Ex 9:1-7).  So, we just take all the stuffed animals and lay them around the house, so they pretend they are the dead livestock.  OK, so I know that Lightning McQueen and Sully don't count as livestock, and I didn't even show a picture of Larry the Cucumber.  But Eeyore is a donkey, so he counts.  And there is a sheep and a cow in the other hallway.  We just make do with what we have :)