What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, April 23, 2014







The day before Easter I had the realization that though the crocheted dresses for the girls were done, slips would be necessary for underneath.  I went to town, hunting through stores and stores only to find that the days of slip wearing girls have long since past and I never got the memo.  Everyone I asked raised eyebrows and wondered at the craziness of the curious lady wondering about a (what was it?) slip.  Some even laughed.  Out loud.  So that night I was forced to figure SOMETHING out which led to me converting a tanktop to Adele's slip and a slip of my own into one for Corynn while every now and again glancing up to watch Man of Steel into the wee small hours of the evening/morning.

Easter was a mad dash to get potatoes sliced for scalloping, egg yolks plucked for devilling, French bread rolled for baking, dust bunnies swept and furniture polished for being inviting, chairs brought in for sitting and plastic eggs scattered for finding.  We rushed out of church to get home before our guests arrived and to get the oven warmed up in time.  Though rushed on the outside, my insides were calm and peaceful.  The Lord reigns.  Oh death, where is thou sting?  He lives.

Needless to say, I got very few pictures of our Easter- only four...of my mom and my brother and my husband-love and the blueberry pie that wasn't quite sweet enough.  All other pictures were taken today by a very patient group of children who were told to put on their Easter things so I could take pictures.  "And for goodness' sake, don't act cold!" 

Even though, of course, it was cold.  Very cold, indeed.

This was the pattern I used for the dresses, though a word of warning- opt for a bigger size than you think you'll need and keep adding on rows at the bottom until you get to the length you prefer because the pattern (in my experience anyway) produced much more of a tunic than a dress and was certainly on the small size.  I worried that Adele's might not even fit her after it was done!)  The bow ties were easy peasy too...I didn't follow a pattern but here is quite a selection of patterns to choose from.

I am not sure what project to get started/finished next and will wait until inspiration strikes.  In the meantime, I am busy reading An Everlasting Meal: Coking with Economy and Grace.  Hope you had a wonderful Easter.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Finances on Fridays

It has been a busy week and there doesn't appear to be any chance of things slowing down until at least Monday evening. 

The children are blowing out eggs downstairs and I have a handful of rooms to deep clean before making pizzas tonight... and Easter duds to finish up...and decorations to make...and Easter food to figure out.

Needless to say, Gonna make things short and sweet this week.
Here's what I did this week~

* spent hours outside clearing flower gardens of winter debris.  It felt so good to be outdoors working again!

* Added a bunch of mulch to keep weeds down.  I got the mulch for free when I asked a road crew if they would pile some chips up on the side of the road for me last fall. (Matt could have killed me but it is just a few feet from my flower circle making it very handy indeed.)  Actually, I will be set for free mulch for years probably, since there are huge mounds of it in the woods too.

* Planted:  peas and onions outside

* Pruned: roses, hydrangeas, filberts and apple trees.  (I was so nervous cutting my hydrangea because I wanted it shaped like a tree- which meant cutting  everything except the sturdiest, straightest branch.  It was HARD to cut the potential for all those blooms but hopefully it will result in something even more beautiful, with a canopy too!  Unless it dies.  And then it will be all my fault. )

* I DIDN'T buy the adorable lace over canvas ballet flats in the most perfect shade of coral to coordinate with Corynn's Easter dress but got a pair of white sandals instead since they will match everything and work for all her summer clothes.  That was hard, people.  Hard, hard, hard.

* started a bunch of seedlings.  It's late...a friend assures me not TOO late- but later than I have ever started seeds and so I admit, I am very nervous.  I am sure that I will be buying a few plants as well...to be sure I get some mature crops.  But I could not in good conscience buy all the plants I need without at least TRYING to start some myself.  Not when I plant 100+ tomato plants alone.

* baked a bunch of bread

* I did some fruit tree price shopping.  I am going to go the nursery route instead of by mail.  I want to SEE what I am purchasing.  I found the place and plan to head there on Monday with cash in hand to finally start the Hopestead Orchard. 

* washed/dried/aired a bunch of laundry and bedding outside on the clothesline

* our brake system started smoking and smelling when heading to church last Sunday.  Matt was able to fix the problem by himself later that evening.

* the chicken coop door split in half (have I mentioned it is windy up here?).  Matt fixed it.

(Anyone getting the vibe that Matt is handy?  Yup. He is.  All mine too.  Lucky me!)

* helped Matt cut/bring in more wood for the woodstove.  Yes, we are still burning it.  (grumble, grumble, hiss)

* finished the last of the maple-syrupping with the last batch being used for making maple candy! Around 2.5 gallons of syrup in total.  Plus candy.  ;-)

* cut all the boys' hair

* worked on crocheting Corynn's Easter dress and bowties for boys.  Hope to finish it all up tonight.

* Sorted through our stairway library.  (This job has been sorely needed for so long!)  I usually sort our books by topic, books by the same author grouped together.  All series together.  But after reading for a while, they inevitably come undone.  It is all nice and tidy and orderly (and dusted!).  I got rid of four large stacks of books to be sold online, at yard sales and/or given away.  So happy to have this done!

Your turn!!

Have a wonderful Easter weekend! 
He is Risen!

Monday, April 14, 2014

First Things


This weekend was filled with many firsts for the year~

~ first wheelbarrow rides
~ first pollywog catches
~ first open windows at night to hear the peeper song
~ first tick that needed to be picked off one of my boys (totally not fair that I have to deal with ticks before the flowers have even begun to bloom!)
~ first crocus blossoms
~ first flower bouquets gifted by little hands
~ first barefeet walking and mud squishing through toes (glorious, glorious feeling)
~ first plantings
~ first sunburn
~ first foods grilled outside
~ first picnic dinner in the flower circle
~ first night camping for Corynn and Andrew (they made it until 2:30 and then came in because they were cold. hehehe)


I spent every moment I could possibly spend outside this weekend.  I started clearing the flower circle of all its' dead overgrowth.  Bringing wheelbarrow of dead things out and bringing wheelbarrow (after wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow) of mulch back in to try and get a head start on those pesky weeds. 



It was so exciting to tear out the old and dead and then spot underneath the poking out heads of curious new vegetation, looking around to see if it is their time to grow yet.  Yes little plants, it's time!

My gardening muscles ache and moan right about now.  They must have forgotten this winter that I need them.  Lazy muscles.  You'd better get used to working.

Things to do this week:


* spread hay on pumpkin patch and asparagus bed
* plant early crops of peas, lettuce, spinach and onions
* continue to mulch the flower circle until it is done
* fix trampoline net
* get bench from barn for flower circle
* help Matt cut up some more slab wood to burn for the cold days this week and next, put it in basement.


* finish Corynn's Easter dress
* crochet bow-ties for boys
* take yard sale boxes to Granary
* Sort through books in staircase
* clean and dust house for Easter (nothing so motivating to spring clean than hosting Easter! hehehe)
* clean at least TWO windows
* figure out Easter menu
* gather and clean canning jars for a wedding at church
* plant more wheat grass
* drop off donation clothes
* change sheets on all the beds
* get a few warmer weather clothes out for everyone

Friday, April 11, 2014

Finances on Friday

Every Friday, here at Renaissance,  I post about my frugal endeavors and financial inspiration to keep my head in the game.   As a single income family, I am constantly trying to stretch, save and strategically spend our pennies to make this household not only work, but thrive.  But sometimes you just want to give up.  So I started Finances on Friday, a way to re-inspire myself and push myself to keep on keeping on.  Join me?

Some financial endeavors for the week:

* Our stove was leaking gas, among other things, but Matt was able to fix the problem(s) by himself with just a few replacement parts ordered online.

* Made homemade laundry detergent

* Making more maple syrup- (hit the 2 gallon mark this week!) 

* paid bills, including our real estate taxes.  Paid that bill in full before the first date, paying off  the smallest balance without any additional fees/interest.

* went to a free knitting class at the library

* baked all our bread needs

* Matt worked on cutting down some trees to make fence posts for our spring project of FENCING OFF PASTURE!  Yay!

* Picked up my cornmeal and wheat berries from the bulk food store.  Also bought several bulk spices.

* picked up a scooter in a FREE pile along the side of the road.

* Needed a handle for my knitted cable purse but didn't like anything I saw at the craft store.  I didn't want to pay from $5.99- $12.99 for a handle I didn't even like so I decided to make my own strap.

* While there, I noticed many buttons were on sale 70-75% off so I picked several very nice ones that I could use to make gifts with and stocked up.

* Also, used fabric from my stash to line the purse instead of buying new (and more lovely) fabric.

* ordered hoof trimmers so Matt can do Skeeters' hoof trimming himself (if all goes well.)

* Many moons ago, I was given several half used YANKEE candles which looked like they were used on burners because they didn't have any wicks.  I kept them for those many moons because I thought I could still do something with them.  This week I was clearing out the cupboard and kicked myself for having kept them around for so long, doing nothing with them.  I tossed 'em in the garbage.  Then, I took them out again because I NEVER buy Yankee candles.  :-) I melted them down and added a wick to some small, vintage ball jars to make some new, useable candles.

* Set several boxes of stuff aside for a yard sale.

What about you?  Any financial wisdom or woes you'd like to share?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Soaking it up


It doesn't matter if rocks must be used to keep books from taking flight or that it is harder to write on a wind-whipped paper than at a table... when it is 64 blissful degrees outside there really is only ONE thing to be done.

Find a spot of sun and school outside.  

Review: Supercharged Science

A new day...a new review! 
Supercharged eScience Review

Do you love science but have a hard time teaching it?  Do you wish you had more TIME to do the fun stuff~ like experiments?   If so, this review is for you!  I want to tell you about Supercharged Science and their e-Science Learning Program

This video-based program is a complete science program, useful for all grades (K-12) and covers hundreds of topics and subtopics...anything you can possibly imagine that can be learned, can be learned here.  This is not an animated,  sing-songy type of science reinforcement of knowledge (like some of the other science programs online) which try to make science fun through cartoons, games and songs.  Rather, this science program is made fun and exciting by the realities of scientific truth, through experimentation and through the simple, yet enthusiastic teaching and explanations of Aurora Lipper, the lady behind the e-Science program.   She doesn't talk down to her students but draws them up.  She doesn't need cartoons to make science fun and exciting.  It just IS.

You have to check out the list of units she covers and the topics within each unit.  It is astounding how much information is within this program.

Each topic is covered by a series of videos... video lessons on scientific reasoning, theories and truths with many accompanying video experiments and projects.  Aurora realizes that there are four different types of learners~ those who learn through seeing, hearing, reading and DOING and she has done a brilliant job of incorporating all these learning styles in each of her lessons and topics.

We have been learning about flying creatures in science this year, so the very first experiment we were excited to try was dissecting an owl pellet...which happened to be an experiment within Unit 18: Biology 1.  Naturally, the children loved that.  I bought owl pellets not realizing when I bought them that they were synthetic owl pellets.  They've been scouring our woods and barn for REAL owl pellets ever since! 

Then, in History, we began studying Isaac Newton and his contributions to society and lo, and behold... there were plenty of experiments within Unit 0: Overview about Newton's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Laws of Motion.  (Along with many other laws.)  Isn't it fun when Science, History, English all connect together without any extra effort on our parts?  I love that.

Though I already have a science program and thus, used this program to supplement the program we already use, this program can stand on its' own two feet and very easily be used as a sole science curriculum. 

The Supercharged Science e-Science Learning program  K-8 level plan is $37.00 per month and the K-12 level plan is $57.00 per month.  I realize that this is a nice chunk of change, so I am happy to let you know that Aurora has given you the opportunity to try out the K-8 level program for an entire month for just $1.00.  

And if you hesitate to do that but still wish to check it out further, here is a link to a few TOTALLY free sample experiments. 

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