Congratulations to our Graduates!

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Well, it’s taken me a little while, but I’m finally getting around to posting about our graduates! We are so proud of these two sons as they have achieved two important milestones in their lives – graduating this spring from college and high school!  Ryan completed his Bachelor of Science in Ministry Leadership from Moody Bible College and Tommy has earned his High School Diploma from our home school.  They have both worked so hard and a special dinner celebration was in order.  We took them out for a nice steak and Mexican dinner and were joined by our family, which made for a lovely evening.

I decorated the long main dining table at the restaurant, as well as a side table with framed pictures of the graduates, and another which held dessert and gifts. On the main table, I used a burlap runner, sprinkled with Hershey’s kisses, and then added candles, green plants, and an assortment of wisdom/advice quotes.

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Jeff gave a nice speech with teary eyes and Ryan spoke for a little bit too. We presented Tommy with his high school diploma and took some pictures (all photo credits to our daughter Sarah!). It was a very wonderful and special evening!

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We’re so excited to see where the Lord takes these two in the coming years. They are quite a blessing to our family!

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Blessings,
Nancy

Say Hello to the Little Ladies!

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Well, we finally did it! After dreaming about it for 8 years since moving to the country, we finally have our own chickens! We purchased these sweet baby girls at a local feed store last Friday. We have 8 chicks – 2 each of 4 different breeds – Ameraucanas, Barred Rock, Rhode Island Reds, and Wyandottes.

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Right now the chicks are living in our master bathroom in a large plastic tub (the only place we can keep them safe from our 3 curious cats). They have to stay warm, so we have a heat lamp on them constantly at one end of the box. Their food and water is at the other end. They spend all of their time eating, drinking, sleeping a little, and making a mess.

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Some of them have a new form of entertainment – trying to fly out of the box! Last night we added a piece of mesh screening to the top of the box and so their fun has been thwarted a little bit. Soon we will be transitioning the girls to our old rabbit hutch, outside in the chicken pen. I am so looking forward to the days when I can sit on the front porch and watch the little ladies pecking around the yard – not to mention the lovely fresh eggs we will enjoy each day!

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P.S. I’m sorry for the tiny pictures! I’m experimenting with posting from my iPad, and still figuring out how everything works! I think I know what to do now with the pics, so they should be back to normal in the next post.

Have a wonderful evening!

Blessings,
Nancy

A Day With the Dinosaurs

A week or so ago we spent the afternoon at the nearby nature museum. They were hosting an exhibit of animatronic dinosaurs, which were placed around the park on one of the nature trails. It was a beautiful afternoon to be outside and we enjoyed the outing. Besides moving, the dinosaurs also made noises and were fun to look at. Here are a few of the pictures that I took ~

This cabin is one of my favorite things on the trail. We used to be able to go inside, but it is in bad need of repair now, so the park had it nailed shut. I hope its renovation is on their spring to-do list!

Thankfully there were some dinosaurs that were specially made to be climbed on by the kids, since they could really only just look at the robotic ones ~

The T-Rex was huge as was to be expected. There was water dripping from his mouth for some unknown reason, which made him all the creepier!

A fairly new and growing part of the museum is their collection of live animals. Some of the ones we saw outside were this raccoon and deer ~

The indoor portion of the museum has many hands on activities for the kids, as well as exhibits about nature items of local interest. Something new this time was live animals, some of them on temporary vacation from the outdoor area for the winter. We enjoyed watching the lemurs ~

There was an entire room devoted to snakes – UGH! But it was a good lesson for all of us on what the poisonous snakes in the area look like, so we can avoid them, like this rattlesnake for instance ~

This guy was fun to look at, although I never saw him move at all!

No matter how many times we’ve been to visit the nature museum, it is always interesting each time. We’ll be going back this Spring, when everything starts to come back to life and enjoy the flowers and plant life that was mostly dormant on this trip.

Have a nice day!

Blessings,
Nancy

A Visit from NASA!

Last week we had a fun surprise – NASA came to town with a test model of the new Orion spaceship. I was working on dinner when Jeff called. He had stopped for gas at a nearby truck stop on his way home from work, and he said that there was a flatbed truck carrying a space capsule parked there. I put dinner on hold and we all jumped in the van to go see. When we got there we joined a number of other onlookers who had stopped by to check it out like we did. Everyone had their phones and cameras out taking pictures and I was no exception! Here are a few of the shots that I took –

At first we thought it might be a part of an old Apollo space capsule, but later at home I went to the website written at the bottom of the trailer and found out that it was a test capsule for the new Orion space program. The inside of the capsule was empty – it was really just the framework that was there, as it was used in testing I suppose. The testing had been going on in New Mexico, but the capsule is now on it’s way to Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is making stops along the way in Oklahoma, Texas, and Alabama to give people a chance to see it. We happened to be at one of it’s overnight stops before heading into the Dallas area. You can read more about this at this NASA website.

It was a really neat surprise and an impromptu lesson for the kids on both the Apollo space missions, as well as the new Orion plans. One of the things I love about homeschooling is seeing how many lessons the Lord brings our way when we least expect it!

Have a great day!

Blessings,
Nancy

Anna’s Snickerdoodles

Anna is working on the cookie baking badge for her Keepers of the Faith club. She needs to bake 6 different types of cookies to earn the badge. She has already made Chocolate Chip Bar Cookies for us and now has added Snickerdoodles to her list. We got the recipe from this book ~

This is a wonderful cookbook that I found at Half Price Books a few years back, and which Jeff bought me for a Christmas present. Many great recipes from everyday cooks around the country! This recipe is credited to Michelle Goddard of Memorial Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Anna almost didn’t get to make these the other night when I realized that I had no cream of tartar, called for in the recipe. I decided to just go ahead and let her try them without it and see how they turned out. I am happy to report that they were just fine, delicious in fact! And Anna was quite proud of herself as she served them to the family. Here is the recipe ~

Snickerdoodles

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Additional sugar and cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cream the shortening, sugar, and eggs until light and fluffy. Combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Add to the creamed mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract. shape into balls the size of walnuts. Roll each ball in cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes; watch carefully so they don’t burn. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

This was a good learning recipe for Anna, and she had a great time with it!

Blessings,
Nancy

Of Hives and Honey

Yesterday we visited a beekeeper’s honey extracting facility. A young man from our church has his own honey business, and he explained the entire process to us. He has been beekeeping for a number of years and transports his bees all over Texas to extend the “honey” season. He explained a little bit about how the hive operates and showed us some live bees in the process of making honey and tending the hive .

There were stacks of trays like these filled with honeycomb and honey waiting to be extracted –

The trays were placed in a machine which opened up the comb so that the honey was exposed. Then the trays were moved to large cylinder which spun them around releasing the honey to drain into a pipe which took it to another machine where the comb was separated from the honey. The pure honey was then moved to another vat from which it was poured into a bottle ready to be sold. We were all allowed to dip our fingers into the raw honeycomb and taste the delicious natural honey –

It was a fascinating field trip, and I’m sure I will be remembering it for awhile – every time I mix some honey into my bread dough and every morning when I squeeze some of that sweet honey onto my toast.

And yes, dear sister, you will be receiving a bottle – complete with comb – the next time I see you 🙂

Have a nice day!

Blessings,
Nancy

An Apple a Day

Last week our study in My Father’s World with Anna and Michael (and David, of course) was on apples. We read some good books, and made some simple, fun crafts. Here is a sampling of the things that we did ~

We read this book about apple trees and how they grow apples ~

We discussed the fruit that God can produce in us when we follow Him and abide in Him. We made construction paper apples with our Bible lesson on it ~

We read a story out of this book about a grasshopper who takes a bite out of an apple that turns out to be the home of a worm ~

We then drew new apple homes for the worm, complete with stairs and furniture ~

We made apple trees by tracing the children’s hands on brown paper to make the trunk and branches. We then cut out a green top for the leaves and painted red apples on the trees with fingers dipped in tempera paint. David couldn’t stop with just a few apples and ended up painting his entire tree red! ~

Finally, we read this book ~

We really enjoyed this story, and it will be one that we read over and over again. It follows Arnold and his apple tree through all of the seasons of the year. We drew pictures of the tree in each season ~

We are all looking forward to our own apple trees getting big enough to produce apples! ~

Blessings,
Nancy