Sunday, September 24, 2017

Sudoku DIY

Is that a thing? Well, if you don't know how to play Sudoku (soo-doh'-koo), I'm happy to explain. I am an addict. A few times I've put the app on my phone but I always remove it because I just get sucked in.

Here goes.
 This is the weekly puzzle from the newspaper. They rate this one as "Challenging". I think it's pretty easy.
 I mostly play by the elimination process. There is supposed to be a 5 in every row, every column and every 9-box square as you can see if you can read the directions on the paper. I usually start with 1 and see if I can find a place where I KNOW a 1 will go. If I am not 100 percent positive, I won't put it in. So I've gone through 1, 2, 3, and 4, and now 5 is the first number that I've found four spots for.
 By looking across the puzzle you can see that certain rows and columns have 6's in them so you know you can't put another 6 in that row or column. Take, for example, the second 9-square box down on the left. Look in the 9-square boxes above and below and you will see a 6 in each. In the second row and the third row. So that leaves only two squares on the left in this 9-square where 6 can be a possibility. Look to the right and the 9-square beside this one has a 6 in it, in the second row down. That leaves the top left square as the only possible place for a 6 to be.
 Now I found a space for one 8. There are only two other 8's in the whole puzzle right now and this is the only spot that is absolutely the right space for another 8. At this point I can find no other sure spaces for the number 8.
 So I started over with 1, found no places I could be sure of, but found a few spots now where 2's belong.
 And one 3.
 Now I'm pointing out that I've found a row that has only two spots left to fill. We know that 3 and 4 have to go in this row yet.You can see in the space my pen is on that there is a 3 in that column. That lets us know that 3 belongs in the last space of this row and 4 will be in the square my pen rests in. 

You see the 5 and 6 I've penned on the bottom of the sheet. I'm just making a note to self that these numbers are completed.
 Here is another place, a 9-square, where there are only two spots left to fill. 1 and 9 go in these places but because I can't be sure which squares they go in, I'll leave it and go somewhere else. I like to see if there are places where only a few numbers are needed to complete a row, column or square. Sometimes it is easily completed and other times, like this, it must wait. 
 Oh, but this 9-square is simple to complete. It needs a 1 and a 4. As you can see there is a 4 in the column to the left of the one my pen rests in so the spot I'm touching will hold the 4.
 9 and 3 are needed to complete this 9-square. (You count from 1-9 a lot as you play this game.) Since there is a 3 already in the row above my pen I will put a 3 where my pen rests and that automatically means 9 goes in the space that's left. 

But then if I would have been more observant I could have saved myself some headache. There is only one space left in that row right above my pen. Simple.
 Now here's an interesting one. The spot my pen rests in will be a spot for 1. How do I know? In the 9-square below this one I've determined that one will not be in the first column to the left because that column holds a 1. As I look to the right I see that 1 cannot be in the middle square as it is already in that row. That means 1 will need to be in one of the two spots in the column on the right in that bottom 9-square. Since it will be in that column it cannot be in the square to the right of my pen. That leaves only the spot where my pen is for 1. That is a little more 3 dimensional thinking maybe.
 What number will go at this spot? 9. How do I know? Look across this row. Only three spots left to fill and if you look at the other two columns they have 9's in them already.
Completed puzzle
Was that as clear as muddy water?

Could you explain it better?

Have you gotten hooked?

Saturday, September 23, 2017


The floor feels clean under my feet.  A lot of things are back in place. And some things have a new place. My sons were inspired with cleaning today. The two oldest are away on a camping trip so we are a smaller band. 

Melvin began with washing dishes today (by my instruction), Matthew cleaned the entrance end of the breezeway. Melvin helped him when he finished the dishes. Christopher and I cleaned the main family room and kitchen area (we call it the crazy room). 

Then Matthew's grand idea was to clean the patio, including the end that collects clutter, after he finished the breezeway. He took everything off, used the blower to "sweep" it, power washed it and put everything back in place. He is finished now at 9:15 PM. 

Christopher had one inspiration after another for organizing as we cleaned. Then he didn't have quite the steam he needed to keep going to the end. I had to keep pulling him back and we actually finished sweeping and mopping the floor -which is what we started out to do. We had to first find it, under everything.

The laundry is still in heaps, the fridges and bathrooms still stink but we've done all we can do for one day so we'll call that SUCCESS.😃

I had fun preparing a box of groceries for the newly weds.
A couple answers to questions from yesterday since no one else has been bold enough to answer (heehee)....

Hurricanes start by Africa because the of the hot winds coming off the Sahara Desert. They meet with thunderstorms and work together to create hurricanes.

Hurricanes need warm water to be able to gain strength. So if they hit land or cooler water that will help them to fizzle out.

What success have you had today? 

(Come on now, I know someone reads this. Please give me a comment.) 😏

Friday, September 22, 2017

Daybook Friday

Outside my window...
It is dark and warm. Cooling off though. Hey! It's the first day of Autumn. It's Fall, the boys say. 
I am thinking…
About self government. Nicholeen Peck spoke about this at the Not Back to School Summit. Draw a circle. Write self in it. Draw a bigger circle around it. Write family in this one. Make an even bigger circle around this. Friends is the label this time. Label two more circles, church and government. Where do you go first to solve your problems? Do you have it within you (with God's help, of course)? Do you need to ask your family for help? Do you have strong family bonds that allow you to do this? Or do you skip this resource? Would you rather work behind their backs? Do you have friends to turn to? Church family? Or do you go straight to the government? This is how many people operate in our society. It's a sad situation. I'm thinking how family bonds need to be strengthened....starting right here with me. 
I am thankful for…
Food on the canning shelves and in the freezer. 
From the learning rooms…
We have been watching the hurricanes move across the Atlantic via Internet. So much power lashing the helpless islands out there. Why do they always start over by Africa? What makes them build up in power or phase out? 
From the kitchen…
What to cook? That's my daily dilemma. Not from lack of ingredients but from lack of inspiration. 
I am wearing…
A dark gray dress I made awhile ago to practice with a new pattern. 
I am creating…
Cheeses. Yogurt. Pies. Zucchini bread. Meals. 
I am going…
Well, I went shopping on Wed. Went to a friend's house today to deliver milk and get tomatoes. Got postcard stamps at the post office. 
I am reading…
Love the Home You Have by Melissa Michaels
I am hoping…
To get some cleaning done tomorrow. 
I am hearing…
The boys making and eating supper -it's breakfast for supper this eve. Stephen and Austin went on a camping trip with the youth group. Thomas is out spraying a deck down to let it soak overnight. 
Around the house…
The books are still being organized by Austin. The messes increase faster than I can keep up with them. (And there aren't even little children here.) Laundry is piled up. The bathrooms smell bad. The floors are dirty. The fridges need to be cleaned out and cleaned. And here I sit, writing. 
One of my favorite things…
A few plans for the rest of the week…
Only one day left and my plan is to get the house cleaner. 
Here is picture thought I am sharing….
The postcards came!
Aren't they beautiful?

You sure you don't want one?

Have a splendid Autumn!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Home Education Council of America

(Website review)

HECOA has just completed another wonderful Not Back to School Summit. If you are not a homeschooler, don't be deterred by the title. Parents, Grandparents, Educators of all sorts, Pastors, Children's Ministry workers, anyone who works with and relates to children should listen to these wonderful presentations. 

Unfortunately the weeks of free listening are over. But for a relatively small price you can become a member who has access to the recorded presentations from this year as well as hundreds more in the archives. It's like attending a conference (or two or three or more), only from the comfort of your sofa.

No children, food and drinks to carry with you. Restroom is handy. Hit the pause button when you need to leave and the speaker is waiting for you when you come back. Your spouse can hear the same thing you heard as he/she sits by your side or they can replay it later on their own time.

There is so much good teaching in these webinars. How to inspire your children to become lifelong learners. How to stop the self bullying that goes on between your ears. How to teach math the fun way with games. What is the best way to prepare academically for the coming economy? What is my or my child's/student's learning style? And so much more.

This is the third or fourth year I've "attended" these webinars. As a basic member I can listen for free during the live presentation and/or catch the 24 hr replay. This year they also streamed live on Facebook for the first time.

As a basic (free) member you also have access to HECOA's Toolbox which is full of teaching on how to teach subjects by mastery rather than being tied to a curriculum. People think I've gone off the deep end when I say I don't use a curriculum. Which statement is probably not totally accurate because anything you do becomes your curriculum. But mine isn't out of a box, or by a certain company. 

Why would anyone else know what my sons and I want to study? If we have to finish X amount of subjects daily in X amount of books we may never get to the things we are truly passionate about. This is what many homeschoolers discover as they first try to recreate the classroom at home and then realize what a nightmare that becomes.

KISS- Keep It Simple Silly. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

Jen, one of the team at HECOA, says not being able to afford a curriculum for your homeschool is one of the best things that can happen to you. Dianne McLean, founder of HECOA, says you can look around you and pick up any object and create lessons from it. Math, History, Science, etc.

These are the things you learn when you step outside the box. 

Ready to become a member of HECOA and learn how to find freedom in YOUR home/school? There will be the Homeschool Bootcamp in the spring and the Not Back to School Summit again next fall, Lord Willing.

And....What is your passion?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Peace Child

(Book Review)
If you have ever listened to, or read, The Pineapple Story by Otto Koning, you will want to read Peace Child. Don Richardson was among the first white people to settle in among the cannibalistic people of the untamed territories of  New Guinea. (The area marked by an arrow in the photo below.)
He and his wife felt a deep sense of longing for the people of that region to know Jesus. They both felt the call to go before they were married. They went in faith and lived among these heathen people while raising a family.

Don's wife Carol is a woman to be admired. She stood by her husband in very primitive conditions, never whining for an easier life. She gave birth to four sons while on the mission field. 

The culture was so strange and different that Don was hard pressed to find a way to present Jesus to the people. After learning their language he told them the story of Jesus coming to His people the Jews. They listened very disinterestedly until he came to the part where Judas betrayed Christ to His enemies. 

Now they listened intently. This was something they liked! The very core of their existence was about deceit, treachery and betrayal. Those who practiced great skill in deceit were admired. Don was horrified. He concluded that this people group was totally unreachable. 

There was no way to have peace between people who could never trust one another. He told the people he would need to leave. The white man was a great prize to them because he brought them goods from the outside world. They didn't want him to leave.

After a long meeting they told him that their tribes would make peace the next morning. It seemed like it was a heavy thing they were about to do. Don stood on his porch to watch what would take place. He observed parents trying to give a child to the other tribe. The parents could hardly make themselves do it. Finally a young man with only one son was able to run away with him before the wife and mother knew what was happening.

He presented the child to the other tribe as a "peace child". The other tribe returned the favor and so each tribe had a peace child living among them. This ensured that no one from either tribe could kill each other as long as the peace child lived.

Don finally found a way to present Jesus as the "Peace Child" from the Heavenly Father. Read the book to find the many parallels he could make between their practices and the truth of the gospel. God has a way of preparing people to receive His gift of love. We must take the time to search out what that way is.

How do you present Jesus to those you meet?

Do you believe that Jesus is the answer to all the world's problems?

The thing that impressed me the most in this book was the way that Jesus was right there to come in and give peace to the hardest of hearts as soon as he would believe the truth.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Facebook led me to a postcard exchange group. It is a bunch of fun to receive postcards from every state in the USA and one from Poland. Then I get to send postcards to the same people who send them to me. 

I finally ordered my postcards yesterday. The exchange goes from September through December. Now, what to write in a small space?

Last year I got this book from The Thinking Tree, thinking one of the boys would take an interest in it. No one has; so while racking my brain to think of a place to keep all the postcards, this book came to mind. Yes! The perfect place to put them. 

There are six pages to fill out for every state. Another "exchanger" said she tapes the card to a page in a way that it can be flipped up. Wonderful idea. So far I've just stuck them between the pages.

The folks from Illinois had an interesting quiz on the card they sent. I'll ask you one of the questions. Why is there an elephant's grave in their hometown of Oquawka and what was her name?

Do you want a postcard from me?

What would you like to know about WV?

Have you done a postcard exchange?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Fall Bounty & Beauty

Our friends in Delray recently blessed us with apples, tomatoes and peppers. We picked them with their help.
 The tomatoes were turned into canned chunks, salsa, juice and soup with the help of my mother. 
 The tomatoes and peppers are so large and beautiful. Planted in wood chips as Back to Eden suggests.
 Watermelon crop from our garden. Obviously there are potatoes in the pail. The boys keep bringing me a bucket at a time as needed. About once a week. So nice to have food from the garden!
 The peppers (from our garden) were useful in making salsa. We also put halves in the freezer for four or five meals of stuffed peppers.
The onion crop has been a blessing. It is fast disappearing.
 A day's labor- tomato juice and applesauce. A friend taught me to cook tomatoes and then use the blender to make juice. I think she runs the final product through a sieve but I just put it in the jars, seeds and all, for a thicker juice. I make soup the same way.
 The Crepe Myrtle was filled with blooms this year.
 And this bush that I haven't yet figured out. A type of hydrangea possibly?

Have you had a bounteous summer/fall?

Do you expect a hard winter? 

It is sometimes difficult to just enjoy all these good things when people in other parts of the world are suffering from hurricanes, wars, earthquakes and fire.