Wednesday, March 25, 2009

First things first

We recently were discussing parental things, just Daddy and Mommy, and Dave recalled a couple of important principles that have shaped our family to some degree over the last several years.

1. What is taught to the children first thing each day shows what is most important.
2. What Dad spends his time on teaching the children shows what is most important.

This had led us to starting our days in the Bible as a family.

To believe and say these things is not a credential that we as a family have it altogether. We don't. But really, the Lord has blessed us so much in helping us to keep and guard some simple priorities.

We are gearing up for some pretty busy months ahead, and experience has taught us the importance of keeping first things first...sometimes the hard way!

In addition to some work-related deadlines for Dave, which have us all very excited, we are looking forward to attending the Christian Home Educators Fellowship of Missouri conference in June. We have applied to have a table in their exhibit hall, and hope to meet lots of new (to us) families.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Snow place like home

We enjoyed a typical Wisconsin winter storm yesterday, within the same seven day period during which we got our first sunburns of the year.

Beginning with rain, we moved into freezing rain, then sleet, then dense snow...as mentioned previously, cream cheese would best describe its density (at least, to the shovelers -- it stuck on the shovels).

Our mail carrier was very thankful when we installed this new box last spring, as she doesn't have to leave her car to deliver most packages. It was a very low skill project (all the digging), except for the welding part.

Such a beautiful morning.

Our house is hiding behind these heavily laden trees. They normally provide a pleasant, shady canopy for eating breakfast or lunch overlooking our garden, which is very sunny.

We got ice.

In Mexico, we don't buy much in the way of souvenirs, unless you count these these great clothespins! Perfect for little hands, and they have these cute alligators on them. Just haven't found anything in the States like these.

Below: We bought the washer on the left at a garage sale for $15 during a 4 week period in which our wonderful, computer driven, $$$, front loader was waiting for parts. (Our front loader is wonderful, but they don't make them like these anymore.)

This wringer washer works wonderfully and was in mint-condition. They obviously used rain water for washing. A neighbor up the road saw how much we enjoyed using it, and offered us a second one for free. Our neighbor works at the landfill, and often finds gems like this. It's nice having friends in high places.

So far, this is the only branch down that we've discovered. If the wind picks up before all this starts melting, we will probably lose a lot more, but its very still this morning.

Below: you'd normally be looking at the gate to our garden, which you see under these branches.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Today is Noah's 8th birthday! According to the "golden birthday" principle, it is his golden birthday, because his birthday is on the 8th of the month, and this year he turns 8. So, he requested golden food: honeycomb cereal for breakfast, macaroni and cheese, corn, and apple juice for lunch ...you get the idea.

Sarah makes everyone a birthday poster such as above. We got this idea from our friends, the Dappens.

We enjoyed staying inside for most of the day, as we had a big winter ice/snow storm most of the day. It's still snowing outside, and the branches are really drooping on the trees. The snow is the consistency of cream cheese! I think about 6 inches. Wow!

Anyway, after our special breakfast and morning Bible time, we let him open his gifts. This includes the typical box of homemade presents and family artifacts, which are wrapped and re-wrapped for everyone's birthday. Then a few Noah-specific gifts, including a tool set.

Ben helped pick out the set, and Solomon introduced the tools to Noah.

This is not a toy set. Following Dave's theory of saturation, coupled with my theory of divesting myself of items of frequent use, we often give the kids real useful items.

First, by increasing the quantity of useful items (saturation), we have more chances to find them. Top items currently are: nail clippers, tape measures (hence, Noah's gift), Chapstick, combs, can openers, tape and shoelaces. Theoretically, at some point we will have purchased enough nailclippers so that we will be finding them evenly distributed around our house, not unlike Creation magazines.

Second, divesting myself of items of frequent use works like an invisible "This purse carries no nail clippers" sign, while teaching personal responsibility.

ANYWAY, the boys surrounded the red, plastic, impact-resistant tool box with deep respect, and listened with minimal patience as Solomon showed them what was what.

After we cleaned up a bit, we began construction of Cardboard-Landia...a town of model houses built of materials from our burn barrel box. Since we are coming out of a flu, we had lots of saltine cracker boxes, as well as lemon lime soda boxes.

Solomon selected a specially preserved box to use for his house. He was the only one to employ trusses in his construction.

Joanna helped the little boys, built her house, and then made the Welcome sign (pictured at top).

Hannah put a lot of detail into her house, including a dormer (her house is pictured at top).

Zak joined in the fun, but his project was a scale model of our front porch, which may be our next house project.

Noah's plans grew as he began building. Fortunately, we had lots of building materials!

Sarah's house included construction paper siding, which never needs painting.

Bekah went for a model of our current house.

After clearing the table, we had Noah's golden lunch, followed by his lemon yellow cake.

Here is your online tour of Cardboard-Landia!

Left to right: Susanna, Bekah and Sarah (front porch with railing).

The house that Solomon built.

Bekah's summer home, and Noah's (with attached garage and architectural shingles).