Sunday, August 31, 2014

The week in pictures

One of our first projects this week was to pick and can the grapes. We just put grapes and water in the jar and canned it hot water bath style. Cooked them for 20 minutes. I like the color with the mixed blue and white grapes. 

On Wednesday afternoon we babysat Gene & Dorcas Ropp's two children. Christopher does real well with children. After looking at books and playing in the house a bit they went to the deck to play church. Christopher is the preacher and Carson the song leader.

While they were being entertained, Matthew and Melvin were making tomato juice and getting it into cans. I had cut up the tomatoes earlier and had them in the freezer.

I took this photo to show you how I keep juice from squirting all over the place. Take a piece of foil long enough to go over the spout and around the back down to the bucket.

On Friday we had a long day picking beans, tomatoes and corn at my sister's house and then bringing it home to get it canned (beans) and in the freezer (corn & tomatoes). We actually finished the beans and tomatoes on Saturday. 

Sometime this week we got some pickle relish made. The boys ground the cukes and onions for me. See the laptop in the background? Audio books keep them at their work.

We did do some academics too! Actually every morning Mon- Thurs we did lessons. Here's just one snapshot. Matthew's handwriting practice.

Have yourself a blessed week!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


School has resumed. We are now in our third week and how can that be?! Time goes so swiftly when school begins. I am always amazed. We have kept a light schedule for August because we are still doing canning and outdoor work. Bible, Math, and History are the main subjects at present. We are also finishing up a study of Latin root words we began last year. And, as even during the summer, we keep up with tutoring Melvin with the Barton Reading and Spelling system.
Matthew with some of his etchings

Bible and History are also a continuation from last year, because we didn't finish the books we were in. Come September we begin the new studies in My Father's World "Exploration to 1850". We are finishing up "Rome to the Reformation". We use a lot of "living books" for history and I never knew history was so interesting.

For math we are using Kahn Academy. A free online educational site that has a good math program. I was considering CTC Math which I really like but the boys are doing okay with this now so it will save us some money. I will likely continue with Life of Fred math occasionally also.

Stephen and Austin are still helping Thomas on the job but plan to resume their studies in September. Austin uses Tablet Class math and Stephen thinks he wants to do Saxon.

Christopher (& Miss Pepper)
We had planned to take "class photos" somewhere outside but since it was raining we found places inside. Matthew has been etching lots of car logos and tacking them to the wall and ceiling around his loft bed so he choose that spot. Melvin sits by his corner of treasures. Christopher sits with the dog and his birthday tractor. The dog is so black she's hard to see and her one eye shines blue from the flash.

The church school started last week and we joined them for the first day of school breakfast. Laurel Keller left us after teaching two years and Melanie Stoltzfus took her place.

4 boxes like this
One day recently I was needing to go shopping. (We go to Winchester for our "big" shopping.) Somehow there were many things piled up that had to be done NOW. Thomas and I left mid-afternoon to go to town and left the boys with over two bushels of Baby Gold peaches to can. Stephen had a youth activity and the milking needed to be done. So it was up to Austin (15), Matthew (12), Melvin (10) and Christopher (9) to do the peaches. I tried calling home around 8:30 and no one answered. If they weren't finished I wanted to tell them they may just quit. When we finally got home around 9:30 they were finishing up and had just finished eating some burgers they had mixed up and fried. I was so proud of them!

The work of four young boys
The reason they didn't answer the phone is because they had the music turned so high they couldn't hear the phone ringing. I guess they needed something to energize them. One thing I've learned to be very helpful when preserving things is audio books. How does that help? Well, the boys will keep trimming and snapping beans, peeling peaches or whatever is at hand, very steadily and quietly if they have something interesting to listen to.
I took a picture of these jars because when the boys ran out of rings they took them off these first ones they canned to reuse them. They were still warm. Something I wouldn't have done but they didn't know.

It has been very helpful to have another driver around here. Stephen got his driver's license on the first try. He was pretty happy about that because everyone he knew would fail the first time and we thought they just automatically fail the young ones to keep them humble. Austin got his permit after two tries at the test. So he is diligently honing his skills.

I would like to keep a daily record of school activities for my own benefit. Just delete me if you get tired of it.