"The willingness to be and to have just what God wants us to be and to have, nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else, would set our hearts at rest, and we would discover that the simpler the life the greater the peace." - Elisabeth Elliot in The Shaping of a Christian Family

Friday, December 23, 2016

Second Goal...Not Going to Happen

Between Christmas busyness, homeschool burnout, and now packing to move to who-knows-where, there has been no time for sewing. So, the goal of making the quiet book before Christmas isn't happening. Maybe I'll have time to play with it a little during Christmas break.

In the meantime, we're enjoying our fake Christmas tree. That's a first for us.

We're enjoying the warmth of home, the taste of Christmas cookies, the hope of life eternal because Jesus came to give His life to give us life.

May your Christmas be joyful as you contemplate His many gifts to you.

Monday, December 12, 2016

One Goal Met

I finished one of my goals! This is the center block for the quilt that my daughter, Ruth, and I designed several years ago. We had originally planned to put a Log Cabin block in there, but since I've been enjoying embroidery so much lately and Ruth has been drawing such cute bunnies, I asked her to draw some kind of bunny picture for the center block. She came up with this:

The rest of the quilt is an arrangement of Friendship Stars, Ohio Stars, and Nine Patches.

I'm not sure when I'll be able to get it quilted since we are in the process of moving. 

Yes, progress has been made in that realm, too.
We have had an offer on the house and today we submitted our counter-offer. Now we need to figure out exactly where we're going from here.

Never a dull moment!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Building a Telegraph

For history we've been reading about Samuel Finley Breese Morse who made a workable telegraph and invented the Morse code. So, of course, we had to give it a try. I remember doing the same thing when I was homeschooled as a missionary kid.

We got our instructions from here.

And, yes, it worked! Until we moved it upstairs to communicate from room to room.

Oh, well. Back to the drawing board.

It was a lot of fun and good activity.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

"Quiet Book" for UFO Challenge

Here's a peek at what the Quiet Book looks like so far:

This page should help my almost-three-year-old grandson match colors as well as practice how to do buttons as he puts the flowers on the buttons. The stems are sewn into the pot and onto the flowers so he shouldn't lose the flowers.

That's it so far. I hope to do at least six pages by Christmas as well as a cover.

If you'd like to join this challenge, hop over to Joy's blog and let her know you're in.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Joy's UFO Challenge

Thanks to Joy and her challenge to finish two UFOs (Unfinished Objects, or Obsessions, in my case) before Christmas, and the fact that my daughter's quilt is in shreds, I pulled out a project she and I had planned out a few years ago.
She had helped to design the twin sized quilt and had picked out the fabrics. We started the cutting, but somehow didn't get any further.

Over the last two weeks I'd been playing around with it, but with Joy's challenge, I decided to get serious about finishing it. I was tickled that Roo was willing to participate a little, but she didn't last long as she said the "stress was mounting." Oh, well. Different strokes for different folks.

So that's one of the projects I hope to finish. The other is more of a challenge for me - a "Quiet Book" for my grandson whose birthday is just a couple weeks after Christmas. I'm actually not sure how many pages I'm going to put in the book, but I hope to make it in such a way with rings for binding so that I can add more pages as I have time to sew.

I hope to show how that's going next time I get to decent internet. (We live in the boonies of Michigan.)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Construction 101

With preparing our house to sell, homeschooling bookwork has had to be set aside and my junior high school, high school, and college age girls have been getting more life experience training. Latest was learning how to construct a proper drainfield.

 Thanks to our nephew we had use of some big equipment to speed up the job.

So, now that that is done and I'm no longer working at the assisted living home, we can be more consistent with our bookwork studies and maybe I'll even be able to do some sewing!

Now, all I need to do is find some dependable internet so I can be a more consistent blogger. :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Where On Earth Have I Been?

Well, part of my absence is due to very poor internet service out here in the boonies. (I love that saying because it originated in the country in which I spent my childhood - the Philippines - with their word "boondoc." Now you know.)

But mostly I've been too terrifically busy for any blogging.

"At what?"you ask.

How about at homeschooling the girls (this one is actually done, but likes to study, so on she goes) while living in an up-north cabin on a lake loaned to us by my husband's generous brother. My husband has taken a job 2.5 hours north of where we live now, so when we can get up to live with him for awhile, it's delightful. (One of the perks of homeschooling is that you can pack up and go.)

With that new job comes the need to move, so we've all been busy getting this house ready to sell and house-hunting up north.

Part of the house-fixing included reroofing the house, which, thanks to my husband and girls and brother and friends from our church who have construction equipment, we finished in two days of very hard work. Then we had to paint all the eaves and fix a little siding and there was lots of painting to do in the house as well as painting the wooden garage doors.

Of course, packing has been happening, including the little "quiltery" so I haven't done any sewing. But while up at the cabin, I went through scraps and turned them into 2.5"squares or 2.5"x4.5" bricks. I also cut novelty fabrics into more usable pieces. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like I much of a dent in the scrapboxes. I guess that's a good problem because it means that I have lots of good scraps, right?!

I'm no longer regularly employed as a cook at an assisted living home, but have been working some days there as they are short-handed. Next week I get the joy of training my replacement - a 17 year old friend from a family we've known for 12 years now. It should be fun.

So, that's what's been up. I'll try to be a little more faithful amidst the chaos.

After all, if Joy at Days Filled With Joy can post daily about her completion of UFOs while preparing to move overseas, I should at least be able to do a little better. HA. (If I get some decent internet now and then.)

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Right Praying

It seems that often prayers are little more than worrying out loud, especially when we have to tell God all the gory details or setbacks of the situation, ie. "Aunt Bertha has the gout, Lord, and is in terrible pain (as if He didn't know). Please heal her because she can't make it out to church and she has to have her kids take her to Bingo on Tuesdays and I don't know if she will make it to Sammy's open house or to the progressive dinner and she must get so lonely..."

If our prayers are our way of worrying it's no wonder that we keep taking our concerns back into our own hands and keep worrying about them.

Worriers seem to like worrying.

Right Thinking

I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. Psalm 101:2b-3a

The obvious thought that comes to mind when I read this part of Psalm 101 is about being careful about what TV or movies or computer stuff or books I allow to enter my mind and/or worthlessly use my time. But I want to suggest that we look a little deeper at these thoughts.

Integrity of heart = truthfulness, dependability, consistency of who you are on the inside with who you are on the outside. Besides not letting wrong stuff into my thinking and heart, I must not conjure up nor dwell on ungodly thoughts and attitudes which come from my very own sinful self. How about attitudes or criticism or disrespect or even disgust toward people while knowing that God calls us to love the unlovely? How about impatience with kids who've been told things literally hundreds of times while I expect them to be patient with each other and I expect God to be patient with me? 

And I notice the the psalmist says "integrity of heart within my house." We have an everpresent battle to fight against being more godly toward others than we are toward our own family in our home. Hypocrisy is strong when it comes to the tones of voice, the table manners, the sharing the preferred seating or toy, the polite words used for "just" family versus guests and friends.

Very convicting stuff. Are we true to God and to ourselves when we're putting on a front to please others, but being rude and pushy and lazy when it's "just" family? Is that integrity of the heart?

How about the concept of "worthless things?

Here are some ideas of what those things could be:

  • Flat-out sinful stuff - ie. pornography, anti-God stuff, things that expressly disobey God's commands, things that don't follow Philippians 4:8-9.
  • Stuff that disobeys God's commands and retards our growth and our fellowship with fellow believers - ie. gossip, slander, nursing our frustrations or hurts.
  • Useless time wasters - ie. things that waste time better spent on other things, like too much time at hobbies, computer games, TV or movies. These things may all be fine for some relaxation and merriment, but too much becomes foolishness.
  • Silly or disagreeable or discourteous stuff - ie. the belching and farting stuff that has become commonplace; crass, if not offensive, language; constant silly talk and actions; flirtatiousness.
I'll leave it to each of us to come up with examples of these things that might be found in our own lives and may God help us to be discerning and disciplined.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Planning the Homeschooling...Finally

I finally had time to sit at my desk today and work out a general plan for our school year. Yeah, I know, everybody else had that done months ago. Well, I could spend a bunch of time and space to explain why I haven't, but instead I'll share a little of what inspiration hit today.

We lean toward an unschooling Charlotte Mason style of eclectic homeschooling (figure that out if you can) and have done lots of studies in the summer, too, so I figured it was time to embrace our year-round scheduling fully. I read one blog wherein they scheduled their "Sabbath schooling" on a mostly seven-week schedule with one of those weeks being a week off. They named each "term" based on the Christian church calendar. I thought that was pretty cool, but wanted something a little different, so I came up with a schedule and term names that fit our family nerdiness just fine.

Yes, I named the terms after our some of our favorite authors. And each term is going to focus on a topic that goes well with that author.

The colored weeks are the weeks we'll not do our normal studies (yes, of course we'll continue with our read-alouds, don't be silly), so we'll have a week off every 6-7 weeks with three off at Christmas time. Since we are who we are and since life is entirely unpredictable with the process of moving going on, I'm sure we'll be taking other times off. After we get moved and maybe into a co-op, we may cut down to a four-day week also. Or maybe it will work out best to just have a four-day week anyhow so we can clean house, or grocery shop, or do art or music. Who knows?

This year-at-a-glance page is going into the cover pocket of my planner notebook.

To divide up the planner into term sections, I made these divider pages:

The other terms with their emphases are:

Jane Austen Term 
Manners & Social Graces through Hospitality and Traditions & practicing how to write letters and cards (including "thank you" cards)

C.S. Lewis Term
Theology/Philosophy/Worldview through doing the Starting Points study (includes reading 3 of the Chronicles of Narnia books and Mere Christianity)

J.R.R. Tolkein Term
Language through Spanish 1 from BJU Press

Francis Hodgson Burnett Term
Gardening & Health/Nutrition through gardening, possibly reading The French Don't Diet or Naturally Healthy Woman by Shonda Parker

Beatrix Potter Term
Herbs & Nature Study through various herb books & websites, gardening, and Handbook of Nature Study book & website

Within each notebook section I will put our weekly lesson plans and daily schedule which is just a kinda plain thing I made in Excel.

How do you plan out your year?

Sunday, August 14, 2016


We've been having fun swimming, fishing, reading, eating, visiting family, and being together at my brother-in-law's lake cabin in the woods. Just what we needed.

And, yes, I brought my kombucha brewing happily in the car and then on the cabin counter.

A patient uncle to teach how to filet fish.

Kindle and Kombucha

The rope swing is tons of fun.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

More Kombucha

Kombucha can taste a little vinegary, which bothers some, but not others. It can also look scary, which bothers some, but not others.

Enter secondary fermentation.

After my gallons of "booch" have matured, like on Day 6, I like to add some more sugar in the form of juice to better flavor it and add carbonation so it almost seems like flavored pop. My kids are much happier with the results.

Having tried cranberry and discovering that was too tart, this batch I tried frozen Apple Cherry concentrate and it was a hit!

I took the SCOBYs out and put them in another clean jar and then put about half the container of concentrate into each gallon jar. I did not add any more sugar, though you could. After stirring it up and watching the fizz, I bottled it up in Starbucks and others jars, leaving some head-space for some carbonation, but not too much for fear of explosion.

Instead of labeling each jar, because since five of us are drinking this we'd go through them so quickly it wouldn't be worth it, I labeled the clementine box in which I'll keep them till I refrigerate them after four days.

Each day they sit out at room temperature they will carbonate a little more and become a little more tart, so you might want to refrigerate them to stop all this at whatever day suits your taste best.

Day 1 was enjoyed by everyone this morning, probably because it's still got a lot of the sweetness. We'll see how we do tomorrow.

Happy secondary fermenting!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Why I'm Blogging

  • I love to write.
  • I want to make friends and have conversations about a variety of things.
  • I like to share ideas and projects.
  • I want to get in on some of the online quilting community projects.
  • I want to encourage and connect with other homeschooling moms.
  • I want a public place to praise the triune God who does all things well though we don't always understand what He's doing.
  • I want to recommend great books I've read and share the blessings.
  • I want to have a gateway to the Etsy store I hope to start.
  • I want a place to post my photography, which admittedly needs to improve, but is fun for me.
  • I want a place to help me rebuild after the many losses of late. Maybe others will benefit, too.
So I hope you'll join me on this renewed adventure.

Kombucha Kim

In the midst of all the painting and preparing to sell our house, one thing that is staying on the counter is the "weird growth," "alien," glop stuff called kombucha.

Yeah, it's strange looking stuff. But so good for you.

It replenishes the good bacteria in your gut, which affects ALL of your body (the gut is sometimes called your second brain).
Some of the benefits of a kombucha-induced healthy gut include:
  • Lessening of arthritis/rheumatism/joint pain
  • Help with asthma
  • Possible protection against cancer
  • Lessening of arteriosclerosis
  • Lowered levels of blood glucose/diabetes
  • Healing of gastrointestinal issues/acid reflux/ulcers
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Healthier kidneys and liver
  • Helps with weight management
  • Kills candida overgrowth
So, we're fermenting black tea with its "mother" and making new "daughters" for new batches of this miracle drink. And we're drinking a little every day. You're supposed to start slow and work up to more so that you don't shock your body with all that goodness. Or create too much gassiness.

We're experimenting with different flavors in our secondary ferment process and discovered that cranberry only adds to the tartness, so we'll try others instead. While all organic ingredients would be best, of course, we're not to that point yet, so I've been using frozen juice concentrate for the sugar and flavoring of the secondary ferment.

So, how do we go about making this elixir of life? 

This book is a huge help:

Until you get your copy, here's the basics for starting:

You'll need a SCOBY - Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast. It's the "mother" of yeast bubbliness that makes the stuff ferment. I got mine from a friend. You can buy them online, but you need to be careful about who you trust. I'd suggest https://www.kombuchakamp.com. The book also tells how to start you own SCOBY from commercial kombucha.

To make a gallon, leaving some head-space for brewing,
bring to a boil:  3/4 gallon filtered water

Add: 3-5 black tea bags (organic is preferable) or 1-2 Tbsp. loose leaf tea
        3/4 cup sugar

Let cool to room temperature.

Pour into a glass gallon jar and add a large SCOBY, about the same circumference as your jar. 

Add: 1 cup of already made kombucha

Cover with a fabric that will let the brew breathe, but keep fruit-flies out. I used leftover muslin from quilt backing and just set a canning jar ring into the jar's mouth to hold it in place. When I get a chance to sit down to sew I hope to make some pretty fabric and elastic covers.  

This loveliness needs to sit out at room temperature unjostled for 7-14 days. We're discovering that it can get pretty tart and even vinegary if you leave it for too long. Even just seven days could possibly be too long. So, play around and experiment with it by taking dipperfuls after day 5 or so.

You can bottle it up in smaller bottles (I've used canning jars, but plan to transform my cute Starbucks bottles into vessels of healthfulness in an effort to redeem them), then refrigerate them to radically slow down the fermentation.

For better taste and some carbonation, try experimenting with the secondary fermentation which I'll talk about next time.

Happy fermenting!

New Beginnings

Over the last year my family's life has changed in many ways. New and different thoughts are being thought, so I wanted to start a new blog - one in which I hope to share some of those thoughts as well as continue to share some of what we do in hopes that I can help others who might want to try some of the things we're doing. These things include homeschooling,discovering how to help a dyslexic learn to read, doing a variety of crafts, helping my girls with a rabbit business, continuing our gardening and preserving, enjoying and growing through a lot of reading, going through hard times as a family and as individuals, always seeking to honor our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I also hope that this blog enables me to make some new online friends and join in some online quilting groups.