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

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. 

before



PROGRESS!

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:

Outdoors~

* 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.

Indoors~

* 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.

I was given free access to this site for my review and I only have a little bit more "free" time left but I plan to use it fully and completely to my advantage!  So many more fun experiments to try, so many more exceptional scientific topics to explore! 

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. 

Click to read Crew Reviews
 
Crew Disclaimer

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Yarn Along: One Done

 
 

I am continuing to listen to Mornings On Horseback by David McCullough on audiobook whenever I have the chance.  In book form, I have set aside anything more substantial for a walk in a garden.  I just borrowed An Amish Garden from the library.  It is essentially an Amish woman's diary of her garden through the year with plenty of eye-candy photos to boot.  It is lovely to look through. 

And someday, I intend to publish a book just like this.  Minus the Amish part.  ;-)


The knitted cable purse is done!  I originally planned to buy handles to make it more purse-like but couldn't find anything that suited me.  I opted to, instead, save my money and make my own strap and turn it more into a messenger bag.


I lined the purse with fabric that I already had on hand but it went so well, I thought a ruffle at the top would give a nice textural distinction and show off the fabric a bit.

I made pillowcases for my mother-in-law from this fabric for Christmas a few years ago so now I guess this purse matches her bed!  ;-) 


I haven't decided yet whether I ought to keep this for myself or give it away.  It is an awfully sunshine-y purse and I know lots of people who could use some sunshine in their lives. 

Now that the purse is done, Corynn's crocheted Easter dress can be given full priority.  Only a few more weeks, after all.


Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Living

 
 
 

 









 
 












Frozen bits of blue remind me of the blue mouths and fingers and quiet buzzing around my head of blue-berry picking last summer.

Boys will be boys. 

Laundry.  Too much laundry.

Jenga barns and castles.

Clementines.  Oh, clementines.  How I love thee.

Streams babbling in excitement, just like me.

Blue skies.  Outside, calling for me.

Trampoline jumping, chicken chasing, scooter racing, husband snuggling, yummy coleslaw that looks like summer.

Winter was long and with its' bitter cold days and even more freezing nights, we never got sick once, not a single one of us.  I guess the germs were hibernating (or frozen solid).   So that is one winter thing I am thankful for.  And the fact that we had a house when others did/do not.  And the fact that we some how scrounged enough wood to get through the looooong winter when we ran out of wood in January.  And that Matt was safe on the roads, even driving through ice storms and snow squalls.  I am thankful for plenty of winter things.

But I have to say~
I am so happy, so happy, to be over the hump of winter. 

Welcome, blue skies!! 

Never leave me again.