Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Uncle Jeff gave Lydia an early birthday present:
17 volumes of the Animal Life Encyclopedia!  Each book is crazy big, and Lydia has already started researching numbats.  She was thrilled to see one on the cover of volume 12.  She was thoroughly disgusted when she couldn't find much information about numbats at our library, and information on the internet has been pretty sparse, as well.  Fortunately, Nathaniel just bought another book shelf, so it will be anchored to Lydia's wall for her growing book collection.

And Gyunay wanted his picture taken, too.  Ignore the laundry.

I had a nice time planting in the newest garden area, where the treehouse used to be.  I planted 4 blueberry plants and 2 rhubarb crowns here.  I plan to put a fruit or nut tree in the middle, and the area to the right (currently covered in cardboard) will have some other plants, too.  I'm debating about how to protect the area from deer, since it is outside the fence.  

Monday, March 25, 2019

Book Review - When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams: Hope for Today from 12 Women of the Bible by Jill Eileen Smith

When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams: Hope for Today from 12 Women of the Bible Jill Eileen Smith's latest book, When Life Doesn't Match Your Dreams, was a solid read.  I have read some of Smith's fiction before (and it is very, very good), so I was intrigued about reading this nonfiction.  It isn't what I expected, though, as each chapter begins with a creative fictional "what-if" piece.  These are really well written, but at the same time, they take a bit away from the nonfiction, in my opinion.  There is a lot of creative license here, and I found myself at times more interested in reading more of the fictional story than the nonfictional reflections. Smith did raise some viewpoints to ponder that I hadn't considered before, and this is great for reflection.  Also, the questions at the end of each chapter would lend well to a book group, as well as just for personal reflection.  I think this book is best read slowly, with time to ponder the message.  Overall, this was a good read.
I received this book from the publisher, Revell, for the purpose of writing an honest review, but all opinions are my own.  

Sunday, March 24, 2019


This young man just had his first soccer game!

He was very excited, and what's more, he actually went after and kicked the ball.  

He was especially proud because after he blocked a ball, the official said, "Good block!"  He has repeated that story several times already.  Gyunay is very competitive, but he realized that the other team won and didn't get angry, so that was good.  He can't wait for his next game.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Field Trip

We were excited to join a homeschool field trip to the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts today.  We got a tour and presentation from the staff, then the kids got to make their own coil pottery.
Gyunay wanted to make a basket, so I helped him with that.  He really didn't like getting the clay all over his hand, and I had to reassure him several times that we would wash it when he was done.  But he stuck with it!

Lydia worked entirely independently at another table next to a couple of her friends.  They then glazed the pots, and we will get them back in about a month.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Big Storm and our favorite Basketball Guy

The other night, we had a raging (very shallow) river in our driveway, as an incredible storm passed through.

We also had marble-sized hail.  Fortunately, the waters receded quickly, and the hail was also brief.  We were out of power for only about 4 hours, which was much shorter than we were expecting.  I had lit pork fat candles, and they worked very well.

In other, more exciting news, we all got to see my cousin play on ESPN plus last night!  Gyunay kept saying, "Payten is my favorite basketball guy."  It was so cute.  We were all pumped and up late watching Payten lead ACU to victory.  Tonight they play for the Southland Tournament title, and the chance to go to the NCAA Division 1 tourney for the first time!  We're all very excited.  Last year, Elijah, Malachi, and I got to see him play in person in Nashville, but this was the first time all six of us could watch a full game together.  They've all seen highlight reels and newsclips, but a full game was a real treat.  Go Wildcats!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Book Review - Almost Home by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Almost Home: A Novel by [Luesse, Valerie Fraser] I really enjoyed this book.  Set in Alabama during WWII, Almost Home by Valerie Fraser Luesse has themes of forgiveness and strong characters.  I especially enjoyed Anna, Daisy, and Reed, which were well-drawn characters with plenty of depth and growth throughout the novel.  The mystery added some fun to the plot, but mostly, this is a story of true friendship.  I enjoyed the humor throughout the book, and the variety in the cast of characters.  I felt that the varied character stories wove together beautifully.  I highly recommend this book.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher, Revell, in exchange for writing an honest review, but all opinions are my own.


The bigger, improved hugelkultur is ready for spring!  (I realize it doesn't look like much in this photo.)
This is the entrance of the U.  The cardboard is a walkway.  I have planted some peas along the side on the right and straight ahead, for a couple of reasons.  For one thing, I like peas, and I hope I get to harvest some, but even if the deer devour them, they will be fixing nitrogen in the soil and helping to retain the soil.  And if the deer do feast on the peas, I'll know that I need to adjust the plant protection.  I don't think I'll have much rabbit pressure on the gardens this year.  We did for the last couple of years, but a hawk has moved into the neighborhood, and I haven't seen any for quite some time.  I plan on planting some other plants to the left soon.
Where I've planted the peas is where I'll be planting sweet potatoes in June.  The peas will be wilting from the heat by then, and the sweet potatoes love the sun and warmer soil, so I always plant them quite late.  

Monday, March 11, 2019

Is It Really Spring?

It sure is beautiful today.  I told Lydia and Gyunay that they had to play outside this afternoon.  They chose to shovel dirt first!
Nathaniel and I just bought them these little shovels, and they love them.  They helped move a little dirt before Lydia decided to climb on the roof and Gyunay played out back.

Lydia has been diligently burying and making crosses for animal burials.  This one was a very large frog that the cats killed this weekend (and brought into the garage for us).  She made a larger one for the hen that was killed by a hawk last week.  
The cats are great mousers, and Lydia is thrilled that they kill mice all the time.  She doesn't bury those; we just sweep them out into the yard away from the house.  However, she does bury any frogs they kill and has unsuccessfully tried to explain to the cats that they are not allowed to kill her friends the frogs.  I'm looking into ways of raising chicks this year that will keep them safe from our cats.  Usually, we start chicks in the garage for a few weeks, but that would pretty well make them easy prey for our adorable killers,who now live in the garage and let themselves in and outside via the cat door Nathaniel installed.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Maple Syrup Festival

After Mass on Sunday, we headed to the Maple Syrup Festival.  We didn't make it there last year, and the kids all love it, so even though the weather was not looking favorable, we went anyway.  It turned out to be a great decision, as it was beautiful in the snow, and there were no crowds!

Lydia is serious about candlemaking.

Malachi made a very unique candle.  He, Lydia, and Gyunay all made candles in the kids' barn.

Wow!  You can tell how big Elijah and Malachi have gotten in these pictures!

Nathaniel took additional pictures of the scenery.  You can see the blue tubing running along the creek.  It carries sap.

Then, last night, Nathaniel and I played volleyball.  When I got home, Gyunay had three surprises for me.  I opened the papers and found this:

His siblings didn't even know he had written it, and I had no idea that he could spell "Mom" on his own.  It was a delightful surprise ending to the day!

Friday, March 1, 2019

February Harvest Totals

February was a better month for harvests around here than January was, but not by much.  I've been busily planting seeds for our spring and summer gardens, which always makes me happy.  

Carrots - 28 baby Dragon carrots (super sweet and delicious!)
Eggs - 159
Maple Syrup - 3 quarts
Microgreens - 1/2 cup

Book Review - Character Carved in Stone by Pat Williams

Normally, I don't read anything military-related.  I even questioned why I had decided to read this book in the first place, and then I started actually reading it.  It is well-written and so fascinating.  Williams did a great job of compiling inspiring stories of West Point grads throughout history who have personified the 12 virtues of West Point.  This is an excellent treatment for a nation that needs reminding of the value of virtue!  Each chapter focuses on a specific virtue and includes vignettes of soldiers - both past and present - who have lived up to that particular virtue.  Williams also includes practical advice on cultivating virtue in our own lives.  This book is inspiring and informative.  I highly recommend this book. 
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Revell, for the purpose of writing a review, but all opinions are my own.