Monthly Archives: September 2008

Just had to mention that Owlhaven is having a drawing for those really cool Sesame Street Building Sets.  If you are not interested, you should check her out anyways.. I love reading her site! 


I know I am way overdue for an update.. and I don’t have time right now..but wanted to share..


Kathy, over at is having a Birthday Week Giveaway.  Go check it out!

Happy Birthday Kathy!

Been busy around here.. as usual.. School is just taking over our life!  yikes!

I forgot to mention that we had also tried the

molasses candy in the snow..


Let’s just say.. I flopped.. lol.  I have never been good with candy.. and this was  no different.  At first it looked great!  We got the snow (shaved ice) all ready and dripped different shapes.. kids tried and didn’t like the flavor.. but you had to eat it right away.. or the candy just literally melted away.. literally.. just like water.. weird.

Cracklings, Lard and Cornbread


In previous pics you can see us cooking pork fat, which is what Ma did to make lard.  Above is our jar of lard and a jar of crackling (which is the pork fat left over).  Ma let Laura and Mary have a taste.. but only one because it was too rich for little girls.  So Ma put the rest of the crackling away for her johnny cakes.


We decided to do what Almanzo’s family did and made cornbread instead.. with the cracklings.


Anna was hard at work.



Here is the outcome.. does it look good?  Well it wasn’t!  I don’t know if I messed up or if we are just not used to the taste..

A funny was when angel decided that I was crazy and he poured himself some milk, cut a slice of cornbread and sat down to enjoy.. after I had warned him.. Very soon after I heard.. “That was the worse cornbread I have ever tasted!”  LOL

Pa Harvested Oats! (Little House in the Big Woods)


and we made oatmeal cookies.. at least everyone enjoyed that…


Ma’s soft soap


which was really easy.. just soap shavings (we used leftovers from our carving) and a bit of boiling water in a jar.  Ma had to save every bit of soap.. must not waste even a sliver.


Homemade Cheese

Ma made cheese, using the stomach from a very young calf as rennet.  We didn’t use rennet and made a basic cheese.


Anna is stirring the milk..


beating eggs (I think this was for color)


Pouring the eggs..


pouring the buttermilk, our homemade buttermilk from making butter (which I think was a mistake).. it would not curdle after a long time.. so I had to add some vinegar.


That is better..


draining curds


whey left behind


sqeeze it good!


still squeezing..


now trying to figure out how to press it..


upside down plate


and a huge container of water..


wait a few hours..


funny looking  didn’t taste bad.. and because of how I pressed it. it was more crumbly.. I saw a guy on You Tube put it in yogurt containers for pressing.. He had put holes into the container first to allow the curds to drain.. I think that would be a better idea for anyone attempting this.  Also without rennet it would not melt.

Warning!  Following Post not for the sensitive! 

Hog’s Bladder -From Chapter one, Laura and Mary played with a hog’s bladder that Pa blew up for them.


My friend found a butcher who sold her 2 hog’s bladder.


Poor Steph had to be the one to blow it up.. (I got to take pictures..lucky me).. she attempted about 3 times (maybe more) it kept deflating as she was blowing.  We finally realized that we could not put alot of air into it.


Tying it up..


struggling not to lose the air..





the second one was cut open to see what it looked like and how it felt inside.  Very thick.




The kids had a blast tossing it around outside.. We had to send them out after they were tossing it in my kitchen and anna got hit in the face with it.  I casually looked at Bri and said.. “Remember, Bri, you are playing with a bladder…. (I wanted to say, not a ball.. I don’t want the bladder hitting my floor and appliances.)  but I never got to finish cause Steph thought what I said was hilarious.. it is something you never expect to hear out of someone’s mouth.. lol



The game ended when it got stuck in a tree the second time!  This time it did not want to come down.. I did hear if you keep it longer it will start to get more leathery (it did sound like a kickball when they were playing with it) but we decided the bladder was ready for the trash.. Who knew the kids would have a blast!







OK.. I am tired.. but will post pics of our week and explain a bit..

Wednesday we made hasty pudding like Laura’s grandma did..


Anna is sprinking in the cornmeal while I am stirring..


The end result.. it was really good with maple syrup.. I had it for breakfast the next day.  Anna wasn’t too sure.. said it was alright but didn’t have more than a taste..

Then we made cracklings and lard


We diced up the fat


and put in 1/2 cup of water and let it simmer for about 40 min..


after the water was gone we turned it up a bit and it started to cook more.  I didn’t take after pics.. I will do that tomorrow.

Ethan spent a few days with us.. and he does not like to leave my


So Anna got my hotdog for me..


Just the way I like it.. with mayo!


She is such a great helper!

Anna started ballet and tap again this week.. so the weekend we spent running around.  Sunday after church and a bit of shopping, while I was packing up all the meat for the freezer,

Angel made dinner..



Now this is not an easy feat.. he has to cut everything up in strips, cook the rice, heat up the stone pot.. prep the sauce and put it all together..


This is what it looks like after we mix it all up with the sauce.. it was sooo good.

In case you want to know.. it had rice, spinach, carrots, cukes, onions, sprouts, sliced beef, and an egg.

After dinner Angel did all the dishes.. I was spoiled!


Memory Verse:  Psalms 55:22 – Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee; He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.

IntroPlop, plop, Fizz, fizz; Oh, What a Relief It Is! (Marketing Credit: Alka Seltzer)

Assignment: This would be a good week to tell about your worst struggles with a lifestyle of homeschooling.  Tell about something you’ve struggled with and how God’s mercies gave us the strength to get past it.  Also, share any curriculum/homeschool methods that have been a relief to you, i.e., a particular Teacher’s Manual or Homeschooling method that’s been easier for your family.  Talk about how you felt when the burden was lifted and Oh, What a Relief it is!

Teaching David how to read.. oh my.. that was soo difficult.  We were using ABEKA at the time and he just could not blend the sounds.  It was awful, he hated it and I dreaded teaching.  I finally spoke to a teacher at the academy who was also a good friend.  She suggested I stop for a year.  So we went back to simple worksheets which he did not mind at all.  The following year when I pulled out the Phonics material.. it was awesome.  He just caught on so fast.. soon those books were ‘too easy and boring’ for him.. so we headed to the library for books to spark his interest.  He just flew that year and it was an amazing thing to watch.

Math-U-See.  Annaleah just loves this material.  She totally ‘gets’ it .. she watches the video and just does it.. barely any help from me.  So far she has 100 on all of her tests (since 1st grade).  Math was something David struggled with and I did not know much about materials to try different things.  I am so thankful we have found this to work for Anna so early on in her schooling.

Picture ideas: That never ending, hard to keep clean closet (shelves), the children doing school work you didn’t know if they would ever get a grasp on, your schedule or organizer with plans for the day

For me that would be the fireplace.. piles of school materials and resources. I can never get a handle on this area.



Yesterday was hard.  It  was a slow, slow day.  We are behind from school because we took 2 days off last week.  I  know we will catch up but not if anna continues being a snail.. geez.  She wasn’t feeling well so that didn’t help.  Reading went like this

Jan (cough, cough, move rock)

pet (cough)

the (cough cough, fiddle with paper)

cat. (cough, move rock)

imagine doing this for about 9 pages…

The fun part was learning about Maple Sryup.  We finished reading the chapter Sugar Snow.  Skimmed through a book called “sugaring time”.  Then did a tour on youtube of a maple syrup farm (gotta love youtube). 

Then we did a taste test.. Maple Syrup vs Syrup flavored with maple.  Well after that test she decided that she definately loves maple syrup better!  We have been trying to tell her how good it was for months but she refused to even try it..

Well, we got through school (thankfully!) at roughly 4:45pm we were finally done..

Angel and I watched two episodes of House (season 1).. I hate all the blood and yucky stuff.. but I love his humor.. he is so funny. 

Hopefully school goes much smoother today..

Ok.. it has been awhile since I have updated.. like a week..I can’t remember everything so I will just share pics and post as I remember..

a while back, this little monkey came over for the day..


he loves my new little webkinz beagle.



gave him lots of hugs and kisses..


my diaper bag is too heavy!


playing cars with Auntie


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He loves playing with the gates.. always says bye bye before he shuts you out.


Playing on the deck… he lost interest in the puppies


as part of the primer .. anna is learning how to knit.


I am very impressed with how fast she caught on..


here she is learning how to finger knit




In Little House in the Big Woods.. Pa made mom a shelf.. he whittled out pretty flowers and vines.. so for our craft day we got together with friends and whittled (or carved) soap.


Bri made a pretty flower on hers



Liam’s creation


Steph made a boat


here is anna’s boat


I had to be different ..


we made frost for our windows.. isn’t that pretty..


Annaleah wanted to share her paper dolls..



she took these pics..


she was thrilled to see the doll on the fireplace and the gun allow with it’s gunpowder and such on the wall.  things that were read in the book.



To Angel’s delight I have been practicing making kimchi pancakes..


Angel took the week off work last week.  So on Thursday we took a trip to see Mimi and Papa.  We brought along David and Ethan.


Ethan loved playing in the curtains..


I love this picture.  We had a hard time because Ethan does not let anyone but David and I pick him up.  He doesn’t see Mimi that often.. but he will play and talk to you.. just don’t pick him up.  My mom really wanted a pic with him so we had to have david hold him while mom snuck in behind.  Look at his face.. precious!

We also took Ethan to see Jade, Kate and Aunt Angie.. but I forgot to bring my camera in with me 😦  Ethan was so good!  He even gave Jade and Aunt Angie a kiss and volunteered another for Aunt Angie..

On Friday, we ran some errands, went the mall and Bj’s .. then headed over to check out a Greek Festival we had never gone to.  We were kinda disappointed as it wasn’t what we expected.. we were hoping to try some dishes we had never tasted.. however, it was cafeteria style.. everything covered and served.. we had no clue what things were as we couldn’t see them.. and to taste something for 11.00 just seemed really steep.. so we went on our way home.. but first we grabbed a bento box at a japanese place for takeout.. angel has been wanting to try one for a while.. I thought it was pretty good.

Saturday, we wanted to do the Ledyard Fair but we were getting hit with the storm.  We also wanted to go to the taste of italy but decided to stay close to home.  We hit the library for the book sale and headed back.

Sunday Daddy and Anna went to the fair alone.  Anna seemed to have a blast and I got some much needed alone time.  I also surprised her by installing sailor moon sims into her game.  She was thrilled.


A little about me.. if you know me.. you know I don’t like change very much.  I hate moving .. I hate leaving friends and family behind.. I tend to like things the way they are.  I still love 80’s music.. 80’s shows and more.  I also had a hard time clinging on the the casssette tapes  I still have a ton of cassette tapes in my basement.  About 15 years ago.. my brother, Mike, decided it was time for me to move on to the world of cd’s.  So he bought me this guy for Christmas that year.


I loved it.  I ended up with a ton of cd’s over the years.  This guy sits in my basement next to my exercise bike and I listen to loud praise music while I ride, with headphones, at like 6am.  I have not been riding in a while.. so Saturday I went to the basement to clean up this area to get started again this week.. I was horrified to discover the door doesn’t stay closed anymore!  yikes!  and it won’t read any of my cd’s .. just say ‘no disc’  what?  what do you mean.. what happened?  I brought it upstairs to attempt to clean it .. I was gonna get it working.. well it never did work.. and my hubby said.. how old is it?  Mike bought it about 15 years ago.. um, Linda, it is time for a new one.. but no.. why?  lol.  So angel insisted we go right now..

We don’t have much money.. so even though I had my pick and liked the 70 – 100.00 ones.. I chose a simple one for 25.00.  It only does a cd and radio.. no cassette tapes (sniff).  but it is going to do exactly what I need it for..

A friend of mine is going to laugh when she finds out.. she has been trying to get me to move on to the world of ipods.. but um.. I am not ready for that one yet.. Maybe next year?


Karen Hellier

Freelance Writer, Coupon Lady, eBay Entrepreneur: Helping You Save Money and Work From Home

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