Thursday, December 12, 2013

Start Managing Your Time Wisely in the New Year

I am guest posting today at  R16:16.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Smile and Show Gratitude Game


Since it is so close to Christmas, I thought I would share the “Smile and Show Gratitude” game.

Sometimes it is really hard for kids to be able to smile and show gratitude when they receive presents that they do not want or like.  When I taught preschool, we would play a fun game to teach kids to smile and say, “thank you.”  The game helped  children get in the habit of saying “thank you” when they received a gift, even if it was something like underwear. 

Here is an example.   I would ask, “What would you do if you got a tuna sandwich for Christmas?”  Of course they would laugh, but then they were to say, “I would say thank you.” I would always try to think of really crazy gift ideas.  But no matter how crazy the gift idea was, the children were always to say, “I would say thank you.” 

Being silly helped them want to play the game.  They learned to say thank you no matter what the gift was. It was also helpful teaching  them in a safe and comfortable environment. 

I now homeschool my two boys and I have changed how we play the game.

It now involves the boys going to find the strangest item that they can find and wrapping it or putting it in a gift bag.   Then they exchange the presents with each other.

The fun of the game is finding a funny and unusual “gift” and seeing if they can throw off the other brother.

The challenge of this new twist is to practice saying thank you without having a shocked look on your face.  It also helps kids learn to tell why they are grateful for that item. It is so fun that my kids play over and over again.

I love watching them play it because it is always interesting to see what ideas they can come up with for the usefulness of the item. My older son was once presented an old torn sock during the game. He said, “Wow, thank you! I really needed this so I can make a sock puppet.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Blessing Of Being Without A Dryer.

In the spirit of our family motto, “Don’t look at what you are missing. Look at what you are seeing.” I want to reflect on the few weeks we were without a dryer and what a blessing that was to me. 

It was the week we were gearing up to learn how the pioneers washed and dried their clothes.

I had already bought the clothes line that we would hang our clothes on as they dried. 

I had already picked out two tall trees that were the perfect distance apart so that we could get a big load of clothes on it.

I had also just bought two new packages of clothes pins. 

And then it happened…

I was right in the middle of drying a load of clothes when the dryer died.

Nothing could be done to fix it. At least it had good timing.

That was the day that started a really neat blessing. 

Our days actually slowed down. Instead of being able to do 4 to 5 loads of laundry a day, I could only do one. We could not rush around gathering the clothes and folding them as fast as we could between school lessons. We were taking our time, putting the wet clothes in the basket , walking to the line, and hanging the clothes. We laughed and talked as we carefully placed the clothes on the line. 
The boys commented on the fresh smell of the clothes. I told them that it was because I put peppermint essential oil in my clothes detergent to give me a peppy attitude as I clean. They just laughed.  And we continued being silly and hanging our clothes.  Hanging the clothes on the line became a relaxing and fun job.

After the clothes were hung, we stayed outside and played. We did not sit and listen for the dryer to buzz as usual, but instead we enjoyed our peaceful reading of “Little House in the Big Woods”.

At night when the clothes finished drying, the boys and I would go out and gather the clothes off the line. We enjoyed smelling how fresh they smelled after being in a nice breeze all day. We enjoyed listening to the owls and watching the sun go down while we put the clothes in the basket.

I loved the peacefulness of it all. I enjoyed reflecting on our day as I smelled the clothes. I was really able to take everything in. 

Another great thing that happened was that I got back into ironing, since we did not have the convenience of throwing the clothes in the dryer to get the wrinkles out. I realized I love the slowness of ironing. It was nice to be able to do something slowly and really think about what I was doing. I could focus on the fact that I was able to do this and it was helping to take care of my family. I also had the opportunity to teach the boys how to iron their clothes. 

Was I glad when the dryer arrived? Sort of. But I loved that it felt like I had more time and that I could be more intentional with my day.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Welcome To Our Farm

Welcome To Our Farm

Welcome to our cozy farmhouse and farm. Grab a nice, warm cup of coffee or tea and make yourself at home on our lovely front porch. 

(Shhh… I realize that we live in a 1970’s ranch style home with only a tiny worm farm; but, if you don’t tell anyone, I bet they won’t notice. ) 

My boys and I recently visited a farm. It was the farm I have always dreamed of having. It had chickens running free, a pumpkin patch, and cute goats. When I walked into the home, I melted into a pile of coziness. The home had all the rustic charm of a great old farmhouse. 

Then I came home to our 1978 ranch style house.

In the spirit of “Look at what you are seeing, not at what you are missing,” I am excited to say that I can see that our home and land would make an awesome farm and farm home. I have always wanted to live on a farm, so instead of being upset and thinking I was missing out on something, I decided to SEE what I was really looking at.

Once I started reading about farmhouses, I realized that my home, even though it is a 1970’s ranch style, has a lot of elements of an old farmhouse. And there are plenty of things that we can have in our yard that will make it seem more like a farm.

 I also read the following quote from a blogger. “Farmgirls love anything to do with homesteading, keeping chicken’s (sic), embroidering, sewing, knitting, spinning, quilting, natural home remedies for health care and cleaning, horses, goats, cows, organic gardening and cooking, caring for their loved ones and friends and are community minded. Re-purposing and UP-cycling are high on their list of ‘fun things to do too’!”  

I thought, “WOW!  That describes me and I don’t have to live on an actual big working farm!!!”

So if you feel the same way as I do, I encourage you to stay tuned as I post things about my life as a farmgirl living in our farmhouse on the farm!

Saturday, October 19, 2013


I am guest posting today at R16:16.
Click the link and check it out. 


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Building a log cabin.

Building a Log Cabin

The boys have decided that they want to build a Little House scene that can stay up all year. They started with Legos and made most of the characters into mini figures. They even made a wagon with their Legos. It looks great, but they do not want me to take pictures until it is finished.
They also really wanted to build a log cabin. 

They made up a plan for the cabin.

 They gathered the amount of wood that they would need to build the cabin. 

They started sawing the "logs" the exact size that they needed. 

After several hours they decided that it was a lot of hard work; but,we were able discuss how difficult it would have been for Pa to build a house. It was a great discussion! I am always amazed at what we can learn together when the boys decide to get creative.
 And they are always teaching me that just because our original plans do not come together like we had hoped, something great can come from what we had not originally planned.

They are now working on building a house out of Popsicle sticks.  Pictures will soon follow. They are also working on doing some Little House stop motion episodes. I will post those as soon as they are available.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Making Butter

Making Butter

This week we are still without a washer and dryer. I am learning some very interesting things. I will be writing a separate post just about our laundry adventures very soon.

The boys are loving everything about hanging the clothes on the line and taking them off the line. Do I really want that new washer and dryer?

We bought some cream at the store to see if we could make butter. I halved the cream between two glass canning jars and let the boys shake the jars like crazy. 

One of the boys decided to stop shaking once his hit a nice whipped cream stage. He said he wanted to use it later for hot chocolate. The other boy decided to shake until he started to hear a thumping noise in his jar.

He was really excited to find a lump of butter. 

We put the butter lump on a flour sack and squeezed out the excess liquid. 

That night we used our butter on roasted corn and piping hot biscuits. It was very good. It is always so exciting to be able to make things yourself!!!

Monday, October 7, 2013

On Our Prairie

On Our Prairie

Have you been curious about what is going on with our prairie schooling lately? I am going to try to catch up in the next several posts.  We have been having a lot of fun, but an interesting thing happened. In our second week of The Prairie Primer, when I was about to let the boys have fun learning about hanging our clothes out to dry, our dryer actually went out. So we are now hanging our clothes on the line for necessity instead of  for whimsy.

The boys have really enjoyed everything about hanging the clothes on the line.


We have a neat place in our area that makes homemade cracklings.  We went by the store one day and bought some to try. The only one of us who liked them was my husband. I let him finish the bag .

Everyone acted like I was crazy for wanting to get an actual hog's bladder to blow up for the boys to play.  (Yes, they actually did that on slaughter day, according to Little House in the Big Woods.) I decided to just use a normal balloon and pretend it was a hog's bladder. :)  The boys played with it for a long time until it burst.  

That was our excitement this week. Follow along and see how we adapt without a dryer.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Day of Prairie School


For our first day of school we decided to go check out an old settlement from the 1800’s. Since we are using the Prairie Primer  ( ,  we thought this would be a great opportunity to be immersed in that time period. 

 We visited a church/school,

a log cabin,

a creek where we threw rocks, 

and an old mill.

At the mill we looked at different grains that they would grind. We were also able to feel the texture. It is a very different texture from how our grains are ground today.

We also saw a wagon.

And we even had a black bear run out in front of us!!!!

We made some great memories. Memories that I hope the boys will recall as we read all the Little House on the Prairie books this year.