Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Day


We had a very nice Thanksgiving Day visiting with Jeff's folks and Lauren's family.  I did learn two things:  I really need to make sure my oven is clean before I start doing tons of baking and I really need a larger roasting pan for our turkey.  Let's just say there was lots of smoke and we were very thankful for the warm temps that permitted us to open doors and windows and were thankful that my friend down the road was not using her oven at the time that I needed to finish up the casseroles and dinner rolls.  Thanks, Lori!!

Jeff gathered us all in the den for a time of singing, scripture and testimony.

Caedmon and Jackson are ready to eat!

Not sure what Aaron is doing!

Getting things ready!

Checking in with the little guys!

Many hands in the kitchen make light work, but there's not much elbow room in my walk-thru galley.

Look at the leftovers!

Too many helpers in here!

Chase decides to do some outdoor work.

Elisha's wants to help.

What did I miss?

The stories he could tell....if he could only talk.

Uncle Jack gives directions...and yes, he picked out his Thanksgiving wardrobe.

A sweet picture of Chase.

What have you got, Eli?

Another shot of Chase....but where are Caedmon and Ashtyn Claire and the adults at the table.  My photographer must have spent more time eating than taking pictures this year.

And The Winner of the Navigating History Membership Is....

Homeschool Dawn!!  Dawn email me at so I can put you in contact with the Navigating History folks.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giveaway!! Navigating History Begins Monday!

Working with The Homeschool Channel has allowed my husband, Jeff, to meet some of the greatest people who lead, share and encourage others to be the men and women that God has created them to be. Jeff has been able to spend time with the entire Botkin family during this last year doing webcasts from the studio here in Tupelo, having Mr. Botkin and his daughters speak at our local homeschool support group's annual father/daughter banquet or brainstorming together in their home.  Last week Jeff visited the Botkin home and came home telling us about Isaac Botkin's upcoming adventure.  It sounds very intriguing and you all have a chance to join in on the fun.  Here are the details:

"On December 1st, a team of young Christian filmmakers will be traveling to Egypt as part of the Navigating History Project, just announced by Western Conservatory"Navigating History: Egypt" is a 6-episode adventure travel series designed to teach history, geography, current affairs, and worldview analysis from a Biblical perspective. The series will focus on the events and influences that shape nations, illustrating that ideas have consequences and that culture is never neutral. 

Egypt, the oldest continuous culture in the world, has been influenced at various times in its history by the four dominant ideologies of the globe--ancient paganism, Greco-Roman humanism, the Christian Church, and the rule of Islam--making it an ideal place to show that culture is religion externalized. Along the way, the team will be providing book recommendations and pointers for further study. Unlike television shows where hosts are shot and edited by invisible camera teams, every aspect of production and travel will be visible to those watching from home, as every member of the team serves both on-camera and as production staff. 

Episodes and live Q&A sessions with the team will be aired at 8:00pm CST every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, starting November 29 and continuing through December 17. Subscribers who join the three-week journey will have access to web site resources and updates. The tight deadlines for each of the episodes will add another element of drama for the viewers anticipating the next installment of the adventure. With live timers and GPS tracking, subscribers can monitor the team as they move between destinations and race against deadlines. "

“Each lesson which students learn about Egypt will help them face the challenges of the questions facing young Americans today — in America. We want students to be sharp analysts of America’s political issues, church issues, and family culture issues. Egyptian culture illustrates the consequences of modern challenges with alarming clarity.” -- Isaac Botkin, team leader

“What we want to do is show students how to use unchanging theological truth to assess every aspect of culture and history . . . past, present, and future.” -- David Noor, team member

To win your own subscription leave me a comment telling me at least ONE of the 10 plagues that God put on Egypt.  Drawing will be held be noon on Monday so that you will have enough time to set up for the first session.    The sessions will be archived and subscribers will have access.  A DVD will also be made after the completion of the trip.  I am looking forward to learning more about Egypt with my family over the next few weeks with this group of young filmmakers.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What's in Your Hand?

For years I have  tried to use what I already have to teach my children, feed and clothe my family and to decorate my home.  Re-decorating usually means taking something from one room and using it in another or just simply re-arranging or re-purposing.  Clothing my crew usually starts with a shopping trip in the attic first and then the clearance racks second.  That doesn't mean that I never buy books or curriculum (that happens twice a year) or that I don't buy groceries regularly or that my children always dress in hand-me-downs or that we never buy anything for our home.  But I really try to limit how much I bring into our home, things that create more clutter,  because God has already provided an abundance for us.

The other day Jeff brought home a catalog of high priced modest clothing and gifts that someone had left with him thinking I would be interested in the clothing.  Well, even the sale prices were way too high for my frugal tastes, but I did get some ideas from the gift section.  One high priced item was a cluster of braided herbs and my creative juices started flowing.  I thought, "Oh, we could do this next year if we plant more herbs and have more variety."  Last week we gathered the remaining herbs and bundled them to dry.  Remember this picture?  So, I attempted to use what I had to make something beautiful!

Sage and thyme from the garden.

Well, now they look like this!

Pineapple sage with red blossoms and thyme.

Sage and thyme with my beloved dogwood berries.
I will leave these wreaths up throughout the holidays and they should dry just fine like this.  I think next year we will try to make several to sell at the local craft shows using a greater variety of herbs such as the sage and thyme, but also rosemary, garlic, chives and red cayenne peppers.   I bought the forms at Hobby Lobby and Kaelan helped me bundle the herbs with rubberbands.  We then attached them to the forms with floral wire layering each bundle to cover the base of the one before it.  I think they look just right on my bare wood walls (which by this time next year should be painted a beautiful off-white!...I am so ready to lighten up my dining room!)  They are hanging to the right and left of the chest they were picture on earlier.  What do you do with what is in your hands?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Resources

I wanted to share with you all a few of our family's favorite Thanksgiving resources.  I am not an Amazon affiliate (don't think I want to be) and don't have time today to link up to, but some of these books are available from and if you decide to purchase I would appreciate it if you went through the little button on the right.

--I found the ThanksLiving Treasures box years ago on a clearance table in a Christian bookstore.  It has been the best investment.  The box contains:

 a 56-page booklet containing six biblically-based lessons on thankfulness form the Pilgrims'        exciting adventures along with creative ideas on family celebrations for Thanksgiving

A tablet of My Treasures pages to record and preserve your family's expressions of thankfulness from year to year

Five historically symbolic objects including a miniature Bible, replicas of the Mayflower and Mayflower Compact, a stone cross and a cluster of Indian corn

Five full-color 5 x 7 reprints of historic paintings depicting scenes from the Pilgrims' journey to the New World

A keepsake treasure box to store these contents and other cherished family photos or mementos

We have enjoyed this so much over the years and the children look forward to our time remembering the Pilgrims and how God led them.

--Another resource, again from Family Life, written by Barbara Rainey is Thanksgiving;  A Time to Remember.      This book is beautifully illustrated, has pages for  your own Thanksgiving journal entries and comes with a CD of beautiful Thanksgiving hymns and praises.

--A sweet book that was discarded from our local library:  Autumn Harvest by Alvin Tresselt.  With the exception of one page about Halloween this book is a treasure from another time, describing fall and harvest time in a country setting.

-Another library discard;  The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh.  This is a classic Thanksgiving story retelling.  It is simply written and simply illustrated.  A perfect book for an introduction about Thanksgiving to younger children.

-One of my precious Thanksgiving memories is reading Louisa May Alcott's An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving to my children as we were driving to my mother's home for Thanksgiving one year.  What a precious story of children being resourceful and working together to bless their parents.  A couple of years ago I found a picture book version illustrated by James Bernardin that is just beautiful and includes Miss Alcott's recipe for apple slump!

-Still another library discard:  Who's That Stepping on Plymouth Rock? by Jean Fritz.  Like her other books this one has illustrations that tend to be a bit comical, but not disrespectfully so.  This book tells what happened to the actual Plymouth Rock in the centuries after the landing of the Pilgrims.

-Eating the Plates:  A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners is a great book for studying the customs and eating habits of the Pilgrims and early settlers.  It also includes a Pilgrim menu and recipes which include fresh corn soup, red pickled eggs, Hot Indian Pudding, Succotash Stew, Spicy Cucumber Catsup, Bannock Cakes, Whole Baked Pumpkin Stuffed with Apples, Bearberry Jelly (cranberry), Swizzle and Hot Nuts.  This is a very interesting book!

-Cranberry Thanksgiving by Wende and Harry Devlin is a book from my childhood.  This is a story about befriending those who may look different and takes place in New England.  A fun story for kids of all ages.

-The Pilgrims' First Thanksgiving by Ann McGovern is a beautifully illustrated tale of the first Thanksgiving which "introduces children to the struggles of the Pilgrims during their first year at Plymouth Colony and the events leading to the historic occasion we celebrate today--THANKSGIVING."

-The Thanksgiving Primer is a "complete guide to re-creating the first harvest festival for your family, friends or church."  Includes primary sources, pictures from Plimoth Plantation, an order of service, music, a menu and recipes.  There are even drawings to use to design your own Pilgrim costumes.

-Of Plimouth Plantation by William Bradford is a bit heavy for the younger crowd, but a must-read for the older least portions of it!  We can only know what actually happened by reading first-hand accounts and you can't get more first-hand than this book written by the long-time governor of the Pilgrims.

-Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxes is another beautifully illustrated book that tells of how God prepared Squanto to be just a tremendous help to the First Comers.  A must read for the younger children, your older ones will enjoy it as well.

 -For years Jeff has read from Margaret Pumphrey's Pilgrim Stories (sometimes entitled Story of the Pilgrims) to the children each night during the month of November.  This is a highlight for the children and due to several church meetings this month it has been put off until this week.  Jeff was going to drop it for this year, but the children wouldn't let him.  It is so special to see big and little children gathered to hear daddy read!

While I know that it is too late for you to purchase these books for this year, perhaps you can find them for next year's Thanksgiving season.  Your time spent teaching your children about the true reason we celebrate Thanksgiving will be richly blessed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Fall Day

On our little homestead.

Today has been a very productive day!  Devin started the day making bath salts and sugar scrubs and finished up with buttermilk pies and cornbread yeast rolls.  I made two wreaths from the herbs that I harvested the other day.  Jordan finished a paper for school and took this wonderful pictures for me.  Aaron practiced piano a good bit and worked on his science lab with the young man from down the road.  Kaelan assisted Devin in the kitchen and they both spent some time with their violins.  Jackson and Caedmon just had a fun day playing out in the unusually warm weather.

Finding pretty leaves.

                This is Jackson's somber Pilgrim face.  He woke up this morning and promptly put on his "Pilgrim" costume.

Black rubber boots are a necessity around our little homestead.

Playing on the slide.

He just melts my heart!  Jackson has his first loose tooth and I am a little sad about that!

More beautiful leaves.

Apparently the middle kids took the leaf blower out in the front yard and created a winding path.  

Tomorrow I hope to post pictures of some of the items that we created today.  Hope you are all having a wonderful time preparing for the holidays!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Week Menu

I am trying to plan an easy menu for the first part of the week in order to have more time for our holiday cooking.   Tonight it is take-out from our favorite local Chinese restaurant.  Naps, sitting in the deer blind, and organizing for the week were how we spent the afternoon today.  No one was in the mood for the leftovers in the fridge, so we caved in to the children's request!  Here is how the rest of the week looks.

Monday-pinto beans cooked with chunks of ham, cornbread and salad

Tuesday--baked spaghetti, salad and garlic bread sticks

Wednesday--bean burritos, chicken quesadillas, Mexican rice, salad, chips and salsa

Thursday-our Thanksgiving feast


Saturday--We are planning soups and finger foods as we will be busily decorating for Christmas.
                French onion soup, Chicken Tortilla soup, spinach artichoke dip with pita chips and cocktail

Berries on the dogwood tree!  So very beautiful!
Happy Eating!!

P.S.  I don't know why my links aren't showing up, but click on the word FEAST from Thursday to see what we are eating and click on the CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP from Saturday's plans for Devin's special recipe.

Christian Book Distributors--FREE shipping on orders over $35!!

Are  you like me and tired of all the frenzy that goes on with shopping in this season?  Stay at home and do your shopping in comfort and in your own time!  Christian Book Distributors has just issued a free shipping pass on orders over $35 from now until December 9.  Click on my affiliate link on the right hand of my blog or do a search for any product just under the link.  To get your free shipping use promotion code 338509 when you checkout.

I had already filled my shopping cart last night and then had this email from CBD this morning.  This will save me several dollars so I am so glad to share it with you as well.   My list includes biographies of missionaries who served in Asia for part of our geography studies next semester, a puzzle map of Asia, * books to read to the little guys, a specially requested DVD and book for Aaron, some curriculum and some Vision Forum products.  I would really appreciate you going through my link if you are going to make a purchase.  Every little bit will help me buy more books and curriculum for my homeschooling family.  There are also great gifts, games, toys, books,  CDs, DVDs and so much more.  You should also check out their Vision Forum prices!

Enjoy your shopping!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Happy Saturday Before Thanksgiving!

Today we gathered all the sage and thyme that remained in our garden.  I have about 12 bundles of thyme and there will be several bundles of sage to add the four that have already dried.

Some of the colors of fall from our neck of the woods.

A dogwood from the side of our house.  I had never realized that dogwoods had little berries in the fall.  
Busy cleaning, organizing freezers in preparation for a quarter of beef we should be getting in the next couple of weeks, harvesting the last of the herbs, cooking for our Thanksgiving feast and enjoying time working together.  Now, Jeff and I are off to enjoy an evening out...eating dinner and a little shopping.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bathroom Reveal

Our boys' bathroom has been almost finished!  I can't call it finished as there is STILL some paint touch-ups that need to be done, a back splash installed and a print to hang.   Building a bathroom from scratch was a learning experience for us all.

Jeff had our friendly plumber/builder build the shower for us from scratch.  They also moved the plumbing for the toilet which involved tearing up the concrete with a jack hammer.  Jackson loved that and he loved watching the "worker men" each day....for three weeks!!

Our "worker men" know now all of our children's names and they know a good bit about homeschooling as well.  This is Kaelan's handprint in the base of the shower.  They asked her to put it there.  It is, of course, now covered with tile.

Jeff and the boys hung the sheetrock.  Part of our house is walled in tongue and groove boards.  It is raw and very primitive.  For YEARS I have wanted to paint it.  Jeff has wanted to sheetrock over it.  Until now!  This is the second bathroom remodel he has done that included sheetrock and he has decided the wood in the other parts of the house can now be painted!  Yippee!  Devin has decreed though, that the girls' bathroom must be sheetrocked (pretty please, Daddy dear!) and Jeff has agreed to one more sheetrock job, but then it's time to paint.  I'm so excited about that.  He only agreed after the trouble with the sheetrock and after seeing several issues of Southern Living with homes with painted tongue and groove wood.  

They were so excited to have a picture taken, but really, I had to document for all time!

The shower is almost finished and the floor is tiled.  All the walls are now sheetrocked.

The walls are now painted, cabinets are hung,  and the toilet is going in!

Shower door installed!

And we're finished....almost!

I have a print to hang on this diagonal wall on the right.

I have decided to go with orange accents.   We have deep orange candles on the cabinet above the toilet and a orange, red, brown glass candle holder on the vanity.  A orange, red and brown bath mat and orange hand towels complete the bathroom.

One more bathroom to go and then we can tackle the painting of the dining room, hallway, boys' room, girls' room, laundry room, and kitchen.  We are going to paint the cabinets in the kitchen as well.  Can't wait till after the holidays to get started on some of these remodels.
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