Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wondering where I have been?

I have been writing over at my Shaffer Sisters Blog.  My sisters and I are trying to get a company off the ground, and we have been trying like crazy to develop some blog loyalty over there.  So, if you love what I write, please go over to http://shaffer-sisters.blogspot.com/ and follow me there. 
You can get to know a little more about my family, and all of our little quirks. 
This is still my family journal, but until we can get that blog back up, I probably won't be writing much over here.  Thanks Friends!
with love

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Merry Monday!


Christmas 2010
#2 said, "Momma- I think Jesus is fake and Santa Clause is real."
Oh boy, I thought to myself, we have some work to do. Then I asked him why he thought that. He said, "Well Jesus died, but Santa Clause lives forever."
Things to teach #2-
-The definition of Fake
- Reiterate the Resurrection
This little boy never stops thinking!
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There is a super cute/cheap/ easy craft for this picture at this link http://theturquoisepiano.blogspot.com/2011/12/6th-day-of-christmas-framed-santa-with.html

Friday, November 9, 2012

Oh, what do you do in the winter time?

When the snow flies in the country, what do you do with your precious time?
We are in love with the snow.  We love the quiet and cold that begs to see footprints.  We love the constantly falling snow that nourishes next summers garden.  We love the red runny noses.  We love the snow puddles left next to drying boots.  We love the bright white of Winter!  As winter has set in, I have found myself drinking more cups of cider and making many hardy stews.  Today I am borrowing this recipe http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/cinammon_rolls_/  from Pioneer woman.  I am anticipating that delicious smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven.  I love the PW's instructions that tell me to do one step and then wait an hour before I continue on.  It seems familiar.  Basically the way I do everything around here.    The boys have already built a snow cave, played with the neighbors dog, shoveled the walk twice, done their school work, minus about 5 pages of reading that I imagine will be done at bed time, finished their house chores, made tracks in the fresh snow, eaten breakfast, snack, snack, lunch, and a snack.  Now I have them in their bedrooms doing some cleaning.  I am listening to the conference talks, sipping some cider, and waiting for the timer to ring, so I can add the next ingredient to the rolls.  Happy Wintering to you all!
this picture reminds me of my boys it comes from this site http://frontierfreedom.blogspot.com/2011/01/snow-caves-and-slickin.html
with love,
jo

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I am so glad it is over!

I am grateful for the right that I have to vote.  I am grateful that I live in this country, where the only discomfort I feel when voting is to stand in a 4 hour line- which is a pretty inspiring site!  I am grateful that I have the privilege and right to pray to my Heavenly Father, publicly and privately.  We are part of a great nation. Now as the elections have been decided, I am grateful to be able to move forward.  We are praying for you President Obama and your family.
As we proceed after the election, I am grateful that we have missionaries working marvelously    They are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They are teaching about the miracle of the atonement.  They are teaching the commandments, self reliance, the importance of marriage, life, morality, fathers and mothers.  They are teaching about saving for a rainy day.  They are teaching about our living day prophet.  They are teaching people to obey the laws of the land.   I also pray for them and their families.
The proceeding two paragraphs correlate for me.  I believe that whatever flaws a man has, the Savior and his teachings can make up the difference.  He is the way, the light, the truth.  If we follow him, it will be down a path of everlasting happiness.
We live in a great time where we can share our thoughts feelings and beliefs through many forms of media.  My thoughts are those of love and peace.  My feelings are of hope in Jesus Christs enduring love.  My belief is that he wants me to share his message of hope and love with each of you.
I encourage you all to pray for our country.  I encourage you to seek out the same hope and love for yourselves.  If you are looking for a place to find the hope for the future that I have, I encourage you to go to mormon.org/chat.   There are missionaries on the site ready to answer your questions, pray for you, and share their testimonies of Christ, his love, and his atoning sacrifice.
Or if you would prefer, you can ask me.  Just leave a comment and your email address in my box.
With love,
jo

Friday, October 19, 2012


{this moment}

. . . . . . . . . . 
{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
. . . . . . . . . . 


Monday, October 15, 2012

I hope they call me on a mission: Day 1

Well I am a homeschooling momma.  I figured when I moved to MT, I would just put the kids back in school.  However, I guess that was not the right path- as much as I hoped the spirit would say-YES these schools are exactly where your kids need to be.  It didn't happen that way.

I am not sure if you all know or not, but I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter day saints.  That title is a mouth full, though when broken down, it means a lot.  It means Christ restored church on the earth, in these last days before the time when the Savior comes again.  We are also commonly referred to as Mormons.  

I am telling you this today, because it is a precursor to some very exciting news that the prophet of our church told us during a worldwide meeting we had last weekend.   http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-lowers-age-requirement-for-missionary-service  Male missionaries will leave from home to serve full time missions at the age of 18 now.  That is a huge deal!  My boys (I have 4) have always planned on leaving for their missions at age 19.  But, now they get to go a whole year sooner.  Females (I have 1) will also get to serve full time missions at the age of 19, instead of 21.

This got my mind thinking about how I can train my little missionaries while I home school. I decided to study a manual that our church publishes titled "Teaching, no greater call" http://www.lds.org/manual/teaching-no-greater-call-a-resource-guide-for-gospel-teaching?lang=eng

Today we had our first lesson.  We used the scripture about hiding your light under a bushel.  It can be found in Matthew Chapter 5 and in 3 Nephi chapter 12.  I asked the kids what they thought it meant to let our lights shine.  They came up with all sorts of answers that let me know that they weren't really sure.  So we sang some songs and  then I lit a candle.  I showed them how bright it was, and let them feel the warmth.  Then I covered it.  The light of course went out.  That really got their juices flowing.  They understood that when we share our light, we can "light someone else's candle" and when we cover it or don't use it, it goes out.  Then they understood that our light comes from our testimony of the savior.

 This turned in to a mini-sub science lesson, about what a fire needs to burn.  (fuel, oxygen, heat, and a chemical reaction)  This mini lesson got the kids looking for what those things might represent in the spiritual sense.
 fuel is scripture study
Oxygen is sharing your testimony
heat is the light of Christ
chemical reaction is the change of heart

               
After the lesson the kids decided to practice being missionaries.  They knocked on my door.  When I invited them in, they bore their testimonies of the Savior, his atonement, and the happiness that the gospel brings.  
Day one success!  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Choose that good part


This is one of my favorite pictures, scripture stories, and thoughts to ponder.

There was dinner to get on the table.  A primary lesson to prepare, kids to care for, visiting teaching reports to do, and the missionaries to feed- to top it off the Missionaries had sent word with little John, that they were bringing The Savior and his apostles.  Martha turned to the cupboard, wondering what to feed a crowd of 20.  Wouldn't you know, they had eaten the last of the pita and hummus for lunch and so she would also need to run to the market.  Then she looked over her home, normally orderly, but not today.    She didn't finish the dishes that morning because Anna, one of the temple workers wasn't feeling well and she was called last minute to sub for her.  They had sent around that helpful papyrus last week in relief society about how to maintain a home, and she had been doing so well, but of course- today of all days, the world would see her failure.  Here comes the crowd now, she could hear the streets buzzing with excitement.  The healer, the prophesied Messiah was headed toward her home.  

Mary ran to the door, then out across the garden to the rock wall surrounding their property.  Martha shook her head, "Will that girl ever learn to be lady like?"  Mary had lived with her sister for several years now, helping with the children and house work, but some times Martha wondered if she was raising her right.  
What had mother done to teach her?  Love, Hard work and Discipline, yep that was the answer.  Martha nodded to herself.  She would have to be more strict with the girl.  She owed it to her mother.  
"Mary, come in here.  I need help with the preparations."
"I will be right in, but oh Martha, isn't it exciting, the Savior of the world is coming to our home, Martha, Martha, I could squeal I am so happy!"  
"Yes, yes, Mary it is wonderful. "
"Could you bring some water in from the well on your way in to the house, please."  
Martha didn't wait for a reply, she had already turned toward the house, again thinking of the things that needed to be done.  On the way in, she noticed the dirty hand prints on the wall next to the garden, and the weeding that hadn't been finished.  With Lazarus's illness, the home maintenance had fallen to her and Mary.  There were creaky doors, broken shingles, untrimmed trees, and chipped paint.  There wasn't time to get to all of that, before he came.  She just hoped he wouldn't notice. She glanced up again to check on the burgeoning crowd. 
Lazarus was leading the throng.  Ever since Jesus had raised him from the dead, he had become somewhat of a local celebrity.  As she stopped to think of the miracle of that day, tears came to her eyes.  She had witnessed the Savior crying for her pain, for her families loss, for her brothers death.  He had then gone to the tomb to raise him from the dead and with that example taught a powerful sermon of his own death and Resurrection.  She brushed the tears from her cheeks.
What was wrong with her.  The great miracle worker was coming to her home, and she was standing around crying.  "Back to work, Martha, back to work." she thought to herself as she hurried up the path.  She would have to send one of the older children to the market for the needed supplies.  There just wasn't time to go her self.  As she was giving the final instructions to Ruth her 10 year old daughter, she thought of the blind man, that she had noticed earlier that day.  "Please bring Jacob, the blind begger at the end of the street.  He can sup with us tonight."
Ruth ran off,  her purse jingling and her pig tails bouncing behind her.  Martha cherished Ruth.  She was such a sweet child.  She knew that when the Savior taught of the children, he was surely speaking of her own dear Ruth.  Ruth with pure faith and perfect obedience.
But, no time to think of that, it is time to get back to work.  she thought.  She quickly did up the dishes in the pan and dried them.  Her thoughts turned to one of the recent parables that had been taught.  How could she  as a shepherd bring the one sheep back to the fold?  This sister had been lost for so long.  She had grown up with such a hard life.  Loosing her family and becoming an orphan.  Then turning to selling herself just to eat.  She had become a mother so young.  And now with another baby on the way, how would she make it.  If only they could get her to come back to church, If she could teach her of virtue.  If she could help her understand the atonement.  Martha knew that she would be blessed by her testimony and faith.  Then Martha prayed that she could be that kind of sheperd.
As she set the table, she started to wonder where Mary had gone off to.  She peeked in to the living room, where Lazarus, Jesus, and his apostles had settled themselves.  Little John was right there, next to Jesus.  She could see the love that he had for Jesus.  Often she had heard Jesus refer to him as beloved.  As her eyes swept across the room she could see each story replayed in her minds eye, of how the savior had changed their lives.  From Lazarus, being raised from the dead to Peter being called to be a fisher of men.   They each had a story.  They each had a change of heart.  As she looked again, she caught sight of Mary.  With all of this work to do, there was Mary, sitting at Jesus's feet, hanging on his every word.  As an 18 year old, she was practically a woman.  "How could she leave me like this?" Martha thought 
Martha kept trying to get Mary's attention from across the room. 
Mary was always shirking her duties.  She should have been the one to run to the market or finish up the dishes.  As Martha tried to discreetly coax her sister away, the Savior asked Martha what was the matter.  Martha tried to explain about all that must be done, before they could eat.  "Please get her to help me."  Martha begged with a final plea of desperation.  She was sure that he would be on her side.  She knew that after the long walk, he would be hungry and tired.  He must have been anxious to eat and go to bed.  It was just six days until the Passover, and there was still so much to be done before the great celebration.  
But, she was shocked when she heard his reply.  "Martha, you are so busy.  You worry about so many things.  But there is only one thing you should be thinking about right now."
Then pointing at Mary, he said, "Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
Tears burned in Marthas eyes.  She knew he was right.  The spirit had been telling her this all day.   The only begotten son of God was in her home, and she had been worrying about fingerprints and dishes.  She kneeled at his feet looked in his eyes and knew he had forgiven her, and that he was pleased with her change of heart.
Some times in our busy lives the dishes or tidying can get away from us, but Jesus doesn't mind, as long as we choose "that good part".  I love that he says it will not be taken away from us.  


I challenge you to "Choose that good part".
With love

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pinewood Derby
This family, with a pregnant momma

and this family with a pregnant momma
and another family from church, consisting of one Momma and her 2 adopted girls from china saved my bacon last week.
They watched my babies while I went to Duluth to be with 900 12-18 year old "Mormon" women.  

My job was to play Momma to 9 girls age 14-17.  I was so grateful to the women who helped me while I was gone.  #1 got a new pair of shoes and to play with his best friend, #2 made a new best friend, #3 and  #4 loved the legos, spiders, and corndogs. and #5 was happy to see Momma when I got home.  My offer to clean houses and weed gardens and babysit for a night out still stand, ladies.  Thank you so much for all that you did.  Thank you for being the mommas while I was gone!

Our weekend at the Headwaters

Part 1 :This weekend we were so excited to go to Lake Itaska State Park.  We went to see the Headwaters of the Mississippi.  My #2 is the analogy man.  When we saw this little stream that we could wade in, and it was the "start of the Mississippi river", he decided that a river starts out like a baby.  Later it grows and learns along the way, until finally the river becomes a Grandpa; wise, strong, and big.

  head waters of the mississippi

Mississippi river in St. Paul
Mississippi river at the end in Louisianna

Part 2 :  was the amazing and wonderful family friendly Lake Itaska Family Music Festival.  It was a fun filled weekend of bluegrass, barber shop and classical music, and $10 tent camping!


Hundreds of families with roots based in Christianity came together to enjoy good wholesome music.  The musicians were mostly families.  
This family has 13 children.  The Wissmans http://www.wissmanns.blogspot.com/  I actually took these pictures from their site.  Hubbin and I really enjoyed the love of family and children that this festival offered.  There were several "big" families- I don't think I met a family with less than 4 children.  We, with 5 children were relatively small.  There were so many things for the children to do.    Most of the families I met, home-schooled their children.  At one point I went to find #1, and he was deep in conversation with an older boy.  I asked them what they had been talking about, and he said, "He was telling me how to get viruses off of a computer."
There was a Childrens story book theater.
Put on by the Wissmans
There was a miniature train
lr_100_0247.jpg
There was a play ground, it was right next to the main stage, which let the boys play and run off energy, while Hubbin and I, and whoever happened to be napping next to us at the time, could relax and enjoy the music.  
Another family that we really loved was the Bontrager Family
http://bontragersingers.blogspot.com/  They have 10 children, though their doctor told them they may not be able to have any.  
I hope to talk more later about this weekend.  I feel so blessed by my family, my faith, and the sacrifice of so many to share in a spirit of love and thanksgiving in Northern Minnesota.  



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I thought...

I thought....I would come home from camp and write a huge post.  I am not going to do that. I was waiting for the words to flow.  The spirit usually writes these posts for me, I just happen to be the typing hands.
Here is what I will write about camp.
I know God lives.
I know he loves us.
I know Christ is my Savior, and the redeemer of the world.
When Jesus says it is his work and glory to bring to pass the immortality and Eternal life of man(and woman), He does not take that responsibility lightly.
I will stand for truth.  I will read my scriptures daily.  I will pray morning and night.  I will be modest in my clothing and demeanor.


There is a song from Camp that says it all.
I hope this link works like I want it to.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Happy Birthday #5

I can't believe you are one already.  At this stage in your life, you have decided not to crawl any more.  You fall on about every fifth step.  You look up.  You smile, and you stand your self up again to toddle along.

You have a few words in your vocabulary now.  Mamamama works for any time you are looking for a change.  Dadadada works for anytime that handsome man in a beard walks by.  NighNigh is sure to get you to bed.  Hi with a bashful smile and wave melts the hearts of all of those that see.  WaWu with a big slobbery kiss is the sweetest endearment.  You also say Seh Ga Ha an Na, whenever your brothers are near.  You clearly say Dog, Bird, and cat.  You say Eye, Noes, and toes.  And today you said HaBa Baba while clapping your hands, which we can all assume is happy birthday.


Every time I do the dishes, you are right there to help me.  I have started opening the cookie cutter drawer to keep you occupied.  I sweep, fold laundry, vacuum, mow the lawn, and weed the garden all with you right by my side.  I feel like I have a kindred spirit.  I feel blessed to have you.
You, beautiful number five.  You fit so perfectly in our family.  The other day we were all laying in a circle on a blanket.  You crawled right in the middle of the circle, so you could have a perfect view of the action.  When we kneel to pray, you toddle over so that I can help you kneel.  You fold your arms so sweetly for the prayer.  You even choose your little clothes with such care and decisiveness.  I love you.  I understand you.  I am so grateful that Heavenly Father sent you to our family.  Happy Birthday my dear one.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Talent Show

Today we were flying from Hawaii to Minnesota.  It was a really long flight.  We were all exhausted, having left our hotel at 6 pm and arriving home at 7 am Hawaii time 12 Minnesota time.  I fell asleep while reading to my 4th, during the second leg of the trip.  When I woke up, it was to the sound of my oldest #1 reading to #4.  I driffted off to sleep again.  My oldest has a real talent for helping with my youngest two.  I am so grateful for his help.  I am often inspired by his patience with them, as he teaches them.  I cherish his example.  I am excited to see what kind of father he will be.  I know he has been blessed in his life, to have younger siblings.
#1 reading to #4
Being in Hawaii really helped me see what a good swimmer #2 is.  He is such a fish.  Every morning at 6, he would wake up, get his suit on and hurry me out the door.  We went straight to the ocean.  Our favorite place to be.  I would swim with him on my back, out to the edge of the cove, and let him swim in on his own.  He puts most of his body in the water.  He just keeps his eyes nose and mouth out.  He is so happy and natural in the water, and especially the ocean.  I loved how quiet and calm he became with the slow rhythmic waves.  I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up on a coast some day.   He can also crack a coconut with his bare hands and climb a tree like a Samoan.  Both good talents, if he was looking for a career at the Polynesian Cultural Center!
Here is #2 at 5 am

#3 showing off his tree climbing skills
#3 is a camera man.  He takes the video camera whenever he can.  He takes videos of our family, others families, people on airplanes, in restaurants, and lately he has been exploring the inside of things with the camera-(toilet paper rolls, mouths, milk jugs.  With all of this trial and error, no doubt he is developing a real talent for cinematography.  We saw a great how to make your film look natural, from the cinematographer(Devin Graham) of our favorite Hip-Hop Vilonist, Lindsey Stirling.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o8Y8kWf4dmQ&feature=player_embedded  here is the link.  #3 watched it several times.  On Saturday he went up to a lady in Hawaii who looked Asian.  He had the camera and said konnichiwa - I didn't even know that he knew that word!  She of course answered back.  With a strew of words, that he caught on Camera.  Thank you Devin Graham, and thank you to whomever taught my son that useful and relevant "good afternoon".

This is a video from #3

Here is one of #3's pictures

#4 is diligently working on his fine motor-skills of coloring.  He uses a pen, and he makes a tiny line or squiggle and he tells me what it is.  I have never had any of my boys do this, and it makes me wonder what creations of writing, art, or tie flying will morph out of these tiny precious minute motions.
#4 , sporting some new shorts Momma made him for vacation, pockets are essential!


This isn't from vacation, but isn't it adorable?!
I have decided that #5 has a real talent to make people smile.  She looks at others, smiles her big million dollar smile and then glances away shyly or engages them with a giggle.
Look at those cute little dimples and smiling eyes
My Husband has a real talent for keeping us all together and helping us to run smoothly.  He also never seems to loose his cool in public, which I love.  He keeps his game face on and works everything out, but keeps his personal feeling for private times, so that no one would ever know there was a problem.  He is my confidant and friend, and after 6 days of busy vacation, I love him even more.  
Hubbin and #5 in paradise
Watching the boys run into the water at 6 am
My mom went with us too.  We were so lucky to have her along.  She was a much appreciated extra set of hands.  #4 begged us to fly to Grandmas house instead of ours, and #5 cried when Grandma left us to head back to Idaho.  #2 said that his favorite time with Grandma was when he snuggled with her in her bed.  The talent I want to showcase for my mom, is that she treats everyone like they are part of her family.  Whenever she speaks to anyone, the are instantly endeared to her.  When we got off the bus and the hotel member gave us our lays, they were excited that we were the family they had heard so much about from my mom.  They were so happy for her.  It is like that with everyone she meets.  They are happy to help her because they can't help but love her too.
 
 The only proof that I went to Hawaii with 5 kids.  This is us- the whole family.  I love that my family is getting so big.
Yes my family is full of talents, and I am proud to showcase them.

Monday, May 7, 2012

My post card life



I do not live a better homes and gardens postcard life.  I live a postcard covered in peanut butter that is being used as a dust pan, because the real dust pan is out in the dirt pile being used as a shovel, and the only reason I need a dust pan in the first place is because a glass is broken on the floor and my baby needs a place to crawl, so that I can put her down, so that I can seperate two of my kids to keep them from killing eachother because one of them is wearing the other ones clothes, post card kind of life.

Last night I was laying in bed.  I had this totally indulgent thought.  What if I just stayed here.  What if I moved a tv and vcr and all of my books in to my bedroom.  What if I only eat chocolate, and never ever again, ever take care of anyone or anything.  What if I didn't believe in consequences, rules, moral values, or a judgement day.  What if I just quit and never felt anything ever again?  I let myself indulge in the delightful thought for a while and fell soundly asleep.  I tried not to think of any of the negative side effects of living a secluded hermit lifestyle.  Of course there are many.

This morning when I got up to take Hubbin to work, I saw our neighbor taking her two pre-teens girls to school.    I asked Hubbin, wouldn't it be easy to only have two?  Of course, he was a little nervous by this thought.  Thinking that maybe I regretted our decision to have 5 or that I was thinking of not having anymore.  None of this, of course, is true.  It is just some times fun to indulge in thoughts of ease.

I don't think raising a family is meant to be easy.

I just showed this picture to #1 and he said, "Hey that looks like our house."  

Some times people think that because I have 5 kids I may have a lot of good advice for them.  My house looks like this picture more often than not.  See the cheese grater up there on top of the cabinets?  It is up there because even if the kids could climb that high, She probably would be there in time to stop them, before they got it.  See the fruit on the counter?  She bought that in hopes that her kids would make healthy food choices.  See the apple jacks and the cake and the jello- those were all bought during a mercy plea "I will buy these if you promise to stay with me in the store for the rest of the trip."  Now the dog eating the spaghetti, that is just good home management(not waisting scraps and saving on dog food expenses).  The children feeding themselves are all signs of ingenuity, self management, and independence.  And, in case you didn't notice,  Momma is also getting a hot cocoa break.

One of my friends was having a problem keeping her children from teasing.  What advice did I give her?  It is going to be OK,  Compliment them when they do well, help them understand the importance of serving,  and read them Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.  And don't worry that they are not getting enough attention- It sounds like they are giving each other plenty of attention!

Another one of my friends was worried that she might not have her baby (10month old) weaned by the magic age of 18 months.  What did I tell her?  Enjoy your baby, he will be grown up before you know it.  a 10 month old is very different from an 18 month old.  And, there is no way your baby will be taking a bottle to work when he is 22.

My advice comes from practical experience.  The kind that some would call the school of hard knocks.  Here I am writting my advice to you, while my lawn is full of dandilions gone to seed, and my baby is sucking on a crayon by my feet.  And, I should be packing my family for our trip, and cleaning my house.   Those of us that may seem like we can manage it all, or those of us that seem like we have our hands full, probably can and do.  And so can you.
Keep up the good work. It is good work!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lifes Education

Wow, I tried to write the title 5 times.  It just didn't say what I wanted it to.  Life has so much education in it.  You don't have to go to a school for 8 hours a day to learn.
I found #1 in the guest bed one night, shortly after we had started homeschool.  This was when we had just discovered the magic tree house books.  I was so excited that he was finally reading chapter books independently, that I just let him read as late as he wanted to.  

#1 has easily finished 100 chapter books since we started homeschooling.  (pre-homeschooling he hadn't finished any) He has written a handful of  thank you cards, letters to friends, and love notes to grandparents.  He has written 3 "books", though I think one of them-his book of spells is a work in progress. (All of this is self directed-meaning I say it is writing time and he chooses what to write)   He also keeps an on-going Math book, Science book, and handwriting folder.
 #5 with her big brother, #1 learning to fly

This is not to mention the daily conversations about our nation, politics, the gospel in action, gardening, house cleaning, parenting, laundry, daily chores, family rules, nutrition, bicycle maitenance, etc.  As well as learning some basic cooking skills that have fed the family.   Of course, there is also our trips to the public library bi-weekly.  One of the Librarians is his favorite.  And she works on Tuesday-so we have got to go on Tuesdays.


This is a basket of books and books on cd ready to be returned to the library on one of our bi-weekly trips.  
We also have the boys in a childrens choir.  Their first concert is next week!  
The second Tuesday of every month finds us at a ballet.  This is one of the Ballerinos.  He was amazing.  #1 loves dancing and he was so excited to meet a real dancer.  

Life looks a little different for #2.  He does all of the appropriate school requirements-but for him that is not what he is learning-it is just what Momma makes him do before he can go learn.



 This is a science project using baking soda and vinegar to blow up balloons.  We had finished science for the day.  I had cleaned everything up, and went in to the bathroom to give #5 a bath, when I found this.  I guess the instruction stuck.  
Here #1 and #2 are discovering how hard different rocks are.  Following this experient was a lot of research and discussion on drill bits, diamonds, and learning about many different types of rocks and their uses.  It was student led education.  

 This is one of the reasons why I love my little #2.  This is an intricate game that he has played consistently for over 3 years.  He plays it with his brothers, and he is the creative master mind.  I often find detailed game sets like this all over my house.  My kids are so awesome!

This is #2 my little water bug.  I swear this boy has gills.  He never loses his smile, the entire time he is in the water.  I am sure by the end of every lesson he has recycled most of the pool.  
Isn't #2 handsome?






#3 is like a little recorder.  He may be my only auditor learner.  He walks around the house spouting off interesting facts or math problems.  The other day he said, "Mom do you know how many Presidents were born in Virginia?- No how many- 8"  OK so for those of you who are Judy Moody fans, you will recognize where this came from, but still I thought it was impressive that a 5 year old would remember Virginia.  This boy L_O_V_E_S anything that has to do with Natural Science.  So, if I want to make him really happy I take him to the Non-fiction section at the library and let him choose 5 books.  This week we learned about rocks, deep-sea prehistoric monsters, why boogers are green, and fun things to do with vinegar and baking soda.
He is such an eager learner, and my easiest one to get through the required homework of the day.
Those dimples are so cute!  
video
Flight of the bumblebee- Blair Witch projects- you've got nothing 
This is a recorded shot of #3 finding and stealing the camera.  
#3's favorite thing to do is take my camera and make documentary films.  I have several hours of recorded video from this creative mastermind.  
#4 is a Space Cadet!  He loves anything about space.  I am reminded of my big brother, when ever I listen to this 3 year old teaching me about the satelites.  I have really enjoyed looking at the pictures in the books I check out for him.  Nebullas, formations of new stars, aurora borealis seen from space, and even the history of a telescope have all been fascinating to me.

#4 in Dads hat and #1's glasses- When I see him looking this big I dread 15 years from now when he is ready to move out!


Of course life learning at our house isn't all smooth sailing.  A few days ago #1 made a clean cut right through a fifty dollar extension chord, with the hedge trimmer. #2 has learned that you shouldn't climb the tree unless momma is watching.   #3 and #4 stold candy from the store and had to learn all about repentance.   # 5 has finally learned not to crawl up the stairs.  This momma bought several bars of chocolate and exhausted all of her trusted confidants, to self medicate.

#4 was #3's froggy side kick 

After all of this, my kids received a package from my brother.  Wow, I am not sure that I have ever blogged about him before.  He is 17 months older than me.  He intuitively understands me better than most people.  We went through a lot of the same hard things growing up.  My #2 is the same age as his little guy.  He is one of those people that I can go months with out talking to and then pick up the phone and chat with him for 2 hours without missing a beat.  He is a real soul friend!    Any way, this soul friend of mine sent my boys a package the other day.    With a note attached-  "It could be worse".  However, there was no return address.  Imidiately when I opened the package I started to laught and figured I had a pretty good idea who it was from.  I called my brother and he just giggled.  He has the cutest giggle!  :) Thanks Bubba.  I needed the laugh and the boys needed to blow off a little steam :)
"It could be worse"
Forgive the spelling and gramar on this.  I am not even sure what is misspelled-because I am writing this on my husbands computer and its set language is portugese :)  So everything I write is underlined in red.

Monday, April 2, 2012

#5



I love this baby! She is such a sweet girl. Whenever her brothers or Dad walk in to the room, she lights up. They can't help but be drawn to her. It is so fun for me to see the unity and love that she has brought to our home.

I can never be grateful enough to my Heavenly Father for sending me this little girl.
She is a little food eater. She has two teeth on bottom and one tooth on top. Today, I gave her a baked potato-pealed. She ate the whole thing and licked her fingers when she was done.

She has a cute little quirk. When she was just little # 2 would try to scare her with his Halloween mask. It is a skull. She got to the point where she would just laugh at him. The other day I was reading a science book to the kids about a human skeleton. I realized she was laughing, so I looked to see what she was laughing at, and it was the picture of the skull on the page. Every time she sees the book she laughs. It tickles me, to think about how adorable she is! I am hoping that this little video will work, if not I will have to figure it out tomorrow.

video

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Spring AKA The ants go marching

Spring has sprung at our house. The sunshine called our names. We all ran outside in 3 fewer layers than we have worn all year. Lovely spring. Wonderful mud. Freedom in flip-flops. Bonfires. Garden plans. Yard work. and Bugs! Yep it is that season again.
There is nothing like an ant marching through your living room at 10:00 at night to inspire you to a spring clean! Last night battling all odds, with the little ones tucked in bed, we cleaned the entire main floor of the house, hopefully staving off those foragers until the bug man can get over here and spray.
We have another motivation for spring cleaning around here. Every time it rains the basement floods. And, the other day we got our first spring rain. So, we mopped the basement. I am starting to wonder if spring cleaning didn't first come about because of these seasonal changes.
So, the house is all clean for spring, and in order to keep it that way, I intend to spend as much time as possible out side.
We have big plans for our yard this year. Several raised garden boxes are in the works. A solar powered water feature is on the dream board. The boys have even cooked up something major, our very own neighborhood park with a mansion in the tree.
Yes spring is here, so bring on the farmer tan, because vitamin D here I come!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I Love Me!

I am a...
running
homeschooling
vegan
blogging
hiking
joint teaching
picture taking
cross country with my family driving
reading
creating
learning
gardening
walking
remodeling
plumbing
painting
creating
dish washing
meal cooking
metamorphing
pioneering
natural birthing
elimination communication'in
nursing
skirt, flip-flop, long sleeve t-shirt wearing
grain eatin'
blog reading
documentary watching
baby having
temple going
tire changing
workshop attending
hair cutting
fingernail painting
guitar playing
singing
babysitting
music listening
phone talking
regrouping
girls night goin'
cookie making
online shopping
library card holding
whole food eating
scripture reading
painting
drawing
piano playing
Minnesota Public Radio listening
voting
church going
tithe paying
bill paying
envelope spending
Loved
Me.



Saturday, January 21, 2012

http://mormon.org/me/2Y7X/Erika/#
Click the link to see my "I am a mormon" profile

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A wise friend

So,
I have this friend. She is a wonderful wise friend. If I ever have a problem I can't sort out, I call her. I spend 95% of the time talking. Then my sweet friend will say something profound and wise. I will listen, and think of that thing she said for weeks. Every time I end up pondering and then applying her treasures of wisdom.
Recently I started home-schooling my kids again. I called my friend and said, "What am I thinking?" "Why am I doing this?" "Am I crazy?"
My friend quietly let me talk through my fears, and when I was done, the last thing I said was, "I am crazy, I can't do this."
Then my friend asked in her quiet, wise voice, "Can you do it today?"
Well dang! I had never thought about life like that! Shoot! I CAN do it today. If all I have to do is be happy for 8 more hours- I can do it. If all I have to do is cook 3 meals, I can do it. If all I have to do is be patient for 20 more math problems, I can do it.
For the last 2 weeks I have been living day by day. This makes me so happy. I am not sure how this will effect my life long term, but it works for TODAY.
(This is a picture of her! She built up stamina for this crazy hiking trip, by hiking up and down her stairs in her 2 floor apartment.) (I love her!)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Silly, Spaceship, Scarves, Santa, Sister, Snickers, Soft, Simple

Dad and #5 enjoying Christmas Brunch
#5 opening a gift From Great Grandma and Great Grandpa
Giving is better than receiving for #2
#2 excited to open his gift
#4 gave Dad bakugans for Christmas!
#3 gave #4 some new skates
#5 helping mom with the Laundry- This is what happens when you go down to get the laundry with a baby in your arms, and realize you cant carry the baby and the laundry back up.
A sister in our ward brought this yummy candy train to us for Christmas! Such fun!
Isn't it cute!
There is something so sweet about Daddy and his little girl.
Don't you think?
This is her new Christmas Dress. She loves to suck on it!
Everyone thinks she looks fancy.
#5 so interested in this big man with the white beard and the red hat.
#4 is trying to think of something really good, to ask Santa for.
#3 is telling Santa he tried to be good.
#2 is asking Santa if he is really real.
#4 is finally brave enough to hold this little time bomb full of spit up :)
He even invited her to fly in his space ship- to go find Yoda.
and here I am being silly- ribbit.
All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas full of giving and love. We read all of our favorite Christmas books. We cried and laughed. We loved. We celebrated Christs birth in our own way. Now, my goal is to continue to celebrate his birth, life, and Resurrection this year. I hope you each had a wonderful year.
video
Finally here is a little video of the final Christmas present- Santa's cookies.
With Love