Saturday, September 29, 2007


Too often I would hear men boast
of the miles covered that day,
rarely of what they had seen.
~Louis L'Amour, novelist (1908-1988)

Yes, we're home. Exhausted and happy.
Our first family adventure was a success.
(Russ and I stopped calling it a vacation
by the end of the first day.)
Almost 1,000 pictures.
You'll be seeing a 'few' more
before the next week is over.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Oh, Levi

I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get ready for vacation. No more posts for a while, so I'll leave you with some 'Levitical Sayings.' (Which is what my grandfather named the crazy words or statements Levi says...)

I'm trying not to spoil the effect.

I hope the horses are at their normal feeding grounds.



I just snitched some of your Dr. Pepper. Are you aghast?

That car is seriously dirty. Let's take some cleaning supplies to their house.

(As Luke was crying when I was peeling off his band aid.) Don't complain Lukey. Face your fears!

I'm uploading jumps. (He was pressing buttons on a machine (they make a delightful beeping noise) then running down the hallway and jumping over the arm of the couch.)

(I told him that a noun is the name of a person, place, thing, or idea, and that we'd talk about persons first.) Can we just get to the ideas?

(He had listened to the radio theater production of At the Back of the North Wind and wanted to read the book. I foolishly told him that it was too big of a book for him.) Can't you let me try to read it one word at a time?

Bewitched. (What he said instead of 'watched' while reading his book. Then he asks...) What does bewitched mean?

(He was naming his stuffed animals and asked me what I thought he should name his dog. I suggested the name Langston.) Nah. That's too elegant.

(While reading The Family Pilgrim's Progress, we came across the character Apollyon. We looked up Revelation 9:11 where it says that Apollyon is a Greek name. Levi practically hit the ceiling and exclaimed...) I can read Greek?! (He gives me a huge hug.) Mom, now we know a word in Greek!!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Waving at Paris!

Hey, Mom and Shan! Can you see me waving? I hope you are having a marvelous time in Paris!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Nice Matters

Jennefer over at Smooth Stones Academy has been so sweet to pass on the 'Nice Matters Award' to me. My first award! I'm feeling special today. Grin. Jennefer is a fellow homeschooling mom of three boys. There must be a special place in heaven for us. I'm sure of it. Her oldest son is starting first grade, so I have enjoyed reading their experiences, knowing that I'll appreciate her advice and lessons learned as Levi progresses through school.

"This award is for those bloggers who are nice people; good blog friends and those who inspire good feelings and inspiration. Also for those who are a positive influence on our blogging world. Once you've been awarded please pass it on to others who you feel are deserving of this award."

I'd like to pass on the award to Heather at Becoming. She is one of the kindest people I have the pleasure of knowing in real life. Her blog is one that I read every day, knowing that she will have something uplifting to share. She is passionate about her family and following God.

I would also like to pass on the award to Carole at Thoughts of Home. I appreciate her friendship and enjoy sharing (or very occasionally--commiserating) the similar details of our lives with three little boys of the same ages. Carole is encouraging and thoughtful.

How beautiful a day can be
When kindness touches it!
~George Elliston

The Moffats

The author has succeeded in conveying the large significance of small events in children's children experience them. ~Library Journal

I couldn't have said it better myself. (And believe me, I tried.) The Moffats is another gem added to the shared landscape of our imaginations. Eleanor Estes is brilliant when it comes to thinking like a child. From the sense of awe inspired by the chief of police, to the dread felt every time Jane saw the For Sale sign on their little yellow house, so many of the experiences related in this tale really resonated with me. I wish I had read it in my childhood but am so glad to have shared it with Levi.

The story seems to revolve mostly around Jane who is nine years old, although the other siblings certainly play often into the plot. Joey is twelve and Sylvie, fifteen. Rufus, 'the baby', has turned five and starts school for the first time.

Published in 1941, The Moffats contains a refreshing vocabulary and many outdated references which always add to our discussions. Hitching posts, coal stoves, and scarlet fever are things which seem foreign to us in this day and time. I love the independence, ingenuity, resourcefulness, and respect shown so often by children in older stories. Families also had to make do or do without much of the time.

Why is it, I think I've asked before, that a large percentage of children's books appear to have a parent missing? The Railway Children, The Saturdays, The Penderwicks.... Mama is the lone parent in this book, Papa having died when Rufus was just a tiny baby.

Our favorite words found on the pages of The Moffats:

utmost dejection
diminishing fervor

A humorous byproduct of the older literature we have been reading (even his reading time with Dad--The Hardy Boys), Levi has taken to calling me 'Mother' in a charming voice rather than Mom.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Pioneer Sampler

A Pioneer Sampler: The Daily Life of a Pioneer Family in 1840 by Barbara Greenwood is a fascinating look at pioneer life. The book introduces the Robertson family and chronicles a year of their life on a backwoods farm. Each story chapter is followed by factual tidbits, projects, games, diagrams, and more. Covering topics such as finding a honey tree, immigration, peddlers, storing food for the winter, and building a second home, this book is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in American pioneers. I am amazed at the amount of information the author managed to pack within the pages of this sampler.

A Pioneer Sampler enhanced our reading of Little House in the Big Woods this spring, as Levi was introduced to Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her life was made more real to us because we could better picture events and situations depicted in the story.

We have chewed 'wheat gum,' tried different methods of pioneer measuring, experimented with the antifreeze properties of sugar after reading about tapping maple trees, made a paper pioneer water carrier, and tasted honey butter. We are looking forward to making a balance scale, sealing a letter with candle wax, and experimenting with rollers, levers, runners, and ramps.

During the holidays, we will be making our way through A Pioneer Thanksgiving and A Pioneer Christmas.

Making beeswax candles:

If you can find flat sheets of beeswax (I ordered online), there are very few things easier or more rewarding than making beeswax candles. They are a wonderful, no-mess project for young kids--great for giving as gifts!

Making butter: (Put cream in jar and shake. That's about it. Grin.)

Making cheese: (About as easy as making butter. Just takes longer. And you have to have cheese cloth.)

Making tin-punched picture and lanterns: