Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy 85th Birthday Mildred

Today we spent most of the day in St Joseph with family celebrating JD's aunt Mildred's 85th birthday. We all met at Cracker Barrel for lunch, then headed to her apartment after. There were 16 of us total. It was good to see family and visit. I did learn something very interesting during our visit, it seems JD's uncle (by marriage) is related to some of my ancestors, a couple of generations back. So, that has given me the genealogy bug again, to do some more research on my Shinabarger line.

On the way home, we stopped at CVS where I scored pretty good. For $5, I got 3 laundry detergents, 1 Finish for the dishwasher, and 2 Degrees antiperspirants. And, I earned another $1 bonus buck for the next trip. To get my savings, I used a combination of cashing in CVS Bucks, store sales and manufacture coupons.

We tried to go by the teacher supply store, but it was already closed.

When we got home, I found the mail had delivered my new Nelson Scanner. My last one quit working and I had to return it. Nelson is a fun way to earn prizes. Each time I shop, I scan the bar code, then once a week I dial it in. Each survey and each shopping trip earn points. Then, I can cash in the points for prizes. Prizes include Sony readers, DVD players, knife sets, purses...and more.

The news says we have another huge winter storm heading this way, with 6 to 10 inches of snow. Just what we wanted! (I think God must have a sense of humor when it snows and he looks down on us!) Hopefully it will hold off until after Monday, as I'd like to try and get my suburban into the shop and get it retagged. We have been trying to go along for the last month with only one 4X4, and it isn't working. My car just won't go in the snow. At least, a good part of our last snow has melted off.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Hay Day

Today we went to our other farm and brought back a partial load of hay. We intended to get more, but as the temp warmed up it started melting the snow and mud into a slick mess, and for safety's sake we went ahead and only put the first load on the trailer.

We had fun-the neighbors over there have added some buffalo to their farm. Neighbors closer to us have alpacas, and a neighboring 4H family has sheep. Makes for an interesting drive.

Since the science fair has been postponed, Rebecca is remaking her solar system with paper-mache now. Originally it was in play-dough and clay. Elizabeth is still working on hers. She was making batteries out of pennies, but now that she has more time, she is making some additional batteries out of other items as well.

Finally the driveway is melted enough that I can once again get in and out with my little car. It was up in the 50's today, and I kept the window down most of the drive home from the other farm. However, it sounds like we have another storm headed our way, so I guess I better enjoy it while I can.

I'm getting tired of this cold and snow. I am ready for spring. I planted some garlic this morning, inside. I'll see how it goes, since it is a little early yet. Hopefully I can move it outside in March, if not, I'll keep it inside a kitchen window. Years ago, before I lived here on the farm I had nice herb garden and this year I am going to get it going again.

This years garden is mainly going to be a raised garden. I have some friends who have a very nice one that I have gotten several ideas from, and also one of my 4H kids has one that would put a professional gardener to shame. I did some raised last year, but learned from the mistakes I made. For one thing, I had my plots too close together, and could not get the mower between them. So, this time they will be further apart, and I am going to put old carpet between some of the rows for better weed control.

My potatoes will again be planted in a square built out of plastic pallets. That worked well last year, so I will repeat that for this year. I still need to get some large containers that I can bury, to put garlic and horse radish in, so that they don't take over the garden. Mineral buckets work well for this.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cookies and Cheese Rangoons

Like many homeschoolers, we tend to hit the home economics and vo-tech type of classes rather hard. I've heard of many kids who went off to college or got married and could not cook, but mine won't have that excuse. They can cook and change a tire!

Rebecca is probably the one who enjoys cooking the most-especially baking. She loves to make cookies, breads, cakes, and pies. I encourage it, because, well I like to eat what she makes, and due to our family size, it gives her experience in doubling or tripling the recipes.

My husband has been teaching the girls how to make one of his special dishes--cheese and crab rangoons. They use wanton wrappers, cut to size and fill them with a mixture of cream cheese and crab meat. Usually we have them with stir fry.

The girls have been working very hard this week getting ready for a science fair that was to be this Friday night. It is held every year, in a church basement, but last night we received word it will be postponed for a week or two, due to the church being needed for a funeral. Our coop is also canceled this Friday for the same reason so, we have an unexpected day off!

Today it is supposed to get up into the 40's. My car has been stuck in the snow since Sunday in the driveway. I am hoping it melts enough that I can get out. People have told me to shovel it out, but I don't think they realize just how long our driveway is! We do have a blade, but this time of the year we have to feed large bales of hay, and we can't have the front loader and the blade both on the tractor at the same time. It is not an easy task to change them out either. Also, the way our driveway runs, you can blade it and as soon as the wind blows it drifts shut again.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Camp review

We made it to and from winter retreat (at Mission Lake Christian Camp in KS) at warm and safe. I was blessed by the adventure, and I think the kids where as well. The blizzard we were supposed to get while we were there dwindled down to only a couple of inches (on top of what we already had). Some had feared we would get snowed in, but we didn't. The dean, however, had provisions in case we had to stay another day.

Saturday night we had a brief camp fire outside. It was rather peaceful and pretty, seeing the sparks from the fire go up, while the snowflakes were coming down.

On Saturday night we had devotions in our dorm room and asked the girls to rate their camp experience that weekend on a scale from 1-10. All the girls gave it a 10, except for one of the younger girls who gave it a "4.5" When asked why a 4.5, she replied she didn't like the other girls in the room and the dorm moms (which I was one) always telling her to pick up her clothes. She said it would be a 10 if we didn't tell her! Oh well, I know she had fun though and later she told me that her mom tells her the same thing!

All in all, everyone had a fun time, stayed warm and got their "spiritual batteries" recharged. For camp aged kids, going from summer to summer is a long time. The winter retreat is a good way to get them back on track and visit with their camp friends.

Sunday afternoon, we headed home. The closer we got to home, the more ice and snow we found. Finally we headed down the driveway and at the last leg of our journey got stuck. Not fun. We have a very long drive and I had it completely blocked at the end. Since the front of our farm is all in fence, and we only have one gate in and out from the front, this was not good. Then, when the hubby came to pull me out we realized my little car can only be pulled from the backside. So, we (he) had to dig it out, push it onto the road, then I had to turn it around and he pulled me in. Three days later it still sits where he unhooked the chain and parked it. I thought about trying to get out this morning, but the Fed Ex man came and got his big truck stuck and left even bigger ruts and it is snowing again, so we are probably snowed in until the husband gets home with the 4 wheel drive.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Coop and Camp, .....Take 2

Today is our second week of our coop for the semester. Since the weather has some people snowed in, and some ill, I get to teach all 3 hours this time, instead of my usual class. So in addition to fire and personal safety, I also will have Speech and American Government. I help in those 2 classes, so it won't be too difficult.

As soon as coop is over, the girls and I are headed, along with 16 others to Horton KS for Junior High Winter Retreat at Mission Lake Christian Camp. Emily went last weekend for Senior High week as a camper, this week she will be one of the helpers. I will be the "camp medic". The church van is full (I took the kids last weekend in it), so I am taking a carload and following the van. It should be interesting--4 sleeping bags, 4 backpacks/suitcases. 4 an little Chevy Aveo. (Ever open a can of sardines??? We will be packed in like them!!). I know we will have fun, but please pray for a safe trip there and back. We are expecting another snow fall before we return on Sunday afternoon and the camp is in the country, but last weekend they had the roads cleared well. We are praying they will be clear this weekend as well.

Part of their camp time I will be counting for homeschooling. For sure we will get some PE credit (last year we went to the bowling alley), and lots of Bible time, some music time and possibly more. One year they had a missionary so they learned a lot about their country so they got social studies time as well.

On the way to camp I will stop by CVS. I have a CVS few bucks to roll over into something else, and some to spend on snacks to take.

I shall return with plenty of snowy pictures to share, I am sure.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Do you have a 911 address sign?

Our 4H club is selling blue address signs as in the picture. (We opted for blue, as it doesn't blend in with the grass). These signs can be on a mailbox by the road, or if you live in town, they can be mounted on your house.

They are life savers. If you had to call 911 at night, could they find you? These signs are reflective and have large numbers.

Pricing is simple:

You can have the standard panel (vertical, with holes pre-drilled to hang on your mailbox and the numbers are on both sides) for $20.

The deluxe panel is one sided, and is designed to mount on your house or flush against a flat surface. It is $21.

The signs do need to be pre paid.

If you are local, we can notify you when your sign is in, and we will install it for you at no additional charge (a community service project for the 4H kids, assisted by the fire department).

If you are not local, we can ship these anywhere in the US for an additional $7 postage. Just reply if you want one!

These also make great gifts for someone you care about!

Vote for Union Pacific's Great Excursion Route TODAY

This contest ends today, so vote today.

Union Pacific will send its old steam train along the route the public picks by vote.

To vote, go to today and cast your vote. The voting ends today. I just heard about it and got my vote in.

This would make an excellent field trip, or be fun to stay home and follow the route on paper as you do a train or transportation unit.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


So cozy right now. JD has a fire going in the fireplace. He and Elizabeth have been watching a football game. Rebecca is baking chocolate chip cookies (had her double the recipe--good practice for those fractions!) The cookies are good, which means she followed the recipe correctly! She will get one hour of home ec and about 15 minutes of math credit.

state studies

As part of our schooling, we have studied all 50 states. We go back through them about every 18 months or 2 years. Most of our state curriculum I have obtained for free, by filling out the states online form from their visitors bureau. The offices then send you by snail mail, a state map, and all sorts of photos and brochures explaining the various attractions, historical landmarks and any state or national parks.

We also supplement that by free state videos from the public library and various books we check out. I also have a stack of worksheets that the girls fill in as we study the states. They have to research to find the answers. Questions to fill out are population, capital location, famous landmarks, famous people from that state, any presidents from that state, state and national parks, largest cities, state symbol, song, bird...., industry, weather patterns, drawing a map of the state showing mountains, rivers and such....By the time they are finished, they have about 25 pages about that state that we make into a book.

Lately we have been working on Alaska, and have been watching Sarah Palin's show as part of our lessons. On the show we have seen her fish, camp, climb mountains, hunt wild game, cross glaciers, visit sled dogs, observe bears and more.

Yesterday, I was looking for some more info on line, and came across a new blog that I thought was so cool, I wanted to share. is very educational and interesting! The mom who writes the blog lives in the Alaska bush with her 2 sons and husband. They are also a homeschooling family. In her blog she shares her adventures, recipes and more. Check it out, its a good one!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Coop, Dogs and Camp

Well, Friday we started a our new coop. The girls were happy to see some friends from our old coop (temporarily it is homeless until we find a new building), and to meet some new friends. Classes they are taking are American Government, Speech, Creative Writing, Boat Building, Scrap booking, Sewing, Fire and Personal Safety and Civil War. We meet weekly until April when we will have our open house.

Friday night, JD and Taylor (one of the older twins) surprised the younger 3 girls with not one, but two new pets. We now have 2 black labs, a 3 year old named Duke, and a 12 week old named Draggo. Yes, they are John Wayne themed--my husband is behind that one. This is the first time we have had a dog in the house. They came from KY, and didn't have a winter coat, as they were indoor dogs there. It has been below freezing here, so at least for this winter, they will be inside until it is warmer. They could stay in the barn where it is fairly warm, but until they get to know us and know they need to stick around they are inside. That suits Duke well, as he just prefers to sleep in front of the fireplace. So far he hasn't gotten too excited about anything, and on his trips outside leaves the ducks, chickens and cat alone. As for Draggo, well, he is a puppy, so he is basically all over the place chewing, pouncing and playing. Last night he howled all night long. So, tonight we plan to play with him till he is worn out and sleeps well!

This afternoon I took the church van with a group of teens to KS for a winter retreat, including Emily. This weekend was Senior High weekend. Next weekend will be for Junior High. I pray they will have fun, make new friends, learn more about the Lord and keep warm!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I passed!

Well, I let it slip on here awhile back that I was taking one semester of full time school,(EMT-B school) and as a result, it was rather hectic here. Well, in December I took my class final, and passed. I was the oldest in the class. Several dropped out, saying it was "too tough". Well, I figured if me, at my age, with 3 kids at home, homeschooling, playing momma's taxi, getting kids to and from volleyball games and youth events, plus taking care of 2 toddlers could do it, those 19-21 year olds in the class should have been able to do it....(Actually I think their problem was it was cutting into their party time.)

Last week I went and took my state testing, and just got a phone call a bit ago from my instructor that I passed. Next, I take my national test, but that will probably be next month at least. The state will take 10 days at least, to get me into the system and get my number assigned to me, and that has to be done first. Then, I have to wait for the next test offering at a location near me.

I am also working on getting my certifications back to teach CPR and first aid. I did that years ago, but let it all expire when I changed careers. Now, I am wanting to start teaching that again.

I hope from my going to school to take this the girls have learned that you are never too old to learn.

Friday, January 7, 2011

New Coop

Well, our previous homeschool coop is taking a break, while they hunt for a new building, so we have joined a new one, that has been started by some of the old coop members. We do have to travel a bit further, but it is good to be back in a coop again. Today was registration, meet and great day, and formal classes begin next Friday. The girls are excited to see some of their friends again. Our old group was much larger (close to 400 kids) and offered kids 4 class periods, with a break in the middle. This one offers only 3 classes, but they still had a variety to chose from. It meats in the Sugar Creek Missouri area. Also, there is a new coop in Cameron as well.

I will be teaching again, and I have to admit I have missed it! This semesters class will be on safety. We will do some fire safety, smoke alarms, escape routes, electrical safety, calling 911, have a fire dept and ambulance visit, storm spotting and taking cover during a storm, some basic first aid, making survival kits and a little bit more