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Homestead Wannabes

Most of all one discovers that the soil does not stay the same, but like anything alive, is always changing and telling its own story. - C. Williams

Updated: 2018-02-16T10:38:52.441-08:00


"God Smiles"


"The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of the our God will stand forever." Isaiah 40:8. When I came back the next day after our house fire to survey the damage and see if there was anything we could save, someone had already pulled out my two favorite study bibles and they were on the deck rail. This verse came to mind as I looked at them. I've never felt so close to God or been the recipient of such love and care as I did during the day of our house fire and the weeks/months that followed. I started to call these little miracles that constantly popped up my "God Smiles".  God really does care about us. Yes, we lost 99% of what we owned, but some of the few things that survived were really miraculous. Those are the things I'm choosing to focus on in this post. This metal plated old trunk my friend, Amanda, gave me years ago was in my living room serving as an end table. I had forgotten I had put all my kids' Antiquity photos and a picture of Hailey in my wedding dress (the dress burned of course). These are a few precious photos of the kids that I didn't have digital copies of. These survived without water or smoke damage. Amazing!!!  I'm thankful I got my first digital camera just before Josiah was born, which means I have digital copies of most of the kids' pictures since the hard drive on our computer miraculously survived the fire as well. The is where the computer was, down at the bottom of this well-built, solid oak Winners, roll-top desk. Can't believe we were able to save the hard drive with all our pictures and documents.One of the first things Michael pulled from the house was my antique school bell I always use to call the kids in when it's time to eat or start homeschooling. My friend, Danielle, polished this up and looking prettier than it did before the fire.Even though our social security cards didn't make it, my passport did! My sister and I had a trip to Greece planned in May and because the passport survived, she told me it was a sign that  I still had to go with her. Another God smile. My favorite cast iron pan was in the oven, and came out in great shape. Eventually, we were able to save all our cast irons pans and Dutch ovens.  We found the "God Made Me Special" plate I made for the kids when I was in MOPS in La Grande. If anyone had a birthday or had done something extraordinary they got to use the plate. Unfortunately it was made of plastic but when I saw it burned with the words still visible, it felt like a "God Smile" and I knew He had something very special in store for us indeed. Hailey found this bracelet in our burned-out trailer. The bracelet was a fundraiser for a homeschool family we knew whose young daughter was fighting brain cancer at the time. She has since passed, but this bracelet symbolized the hope we have in Christ and the things that are eternal- all the things that Julianna and her parents put their hope in as they bravely fought the cancer. This picture is a very precious "God Smile".When I saw the seeds I had just purchased for spring planting scattered on the dining room floor, this verse came to mind. "For you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring Word of God." 1 Peter 1:2So many of Josiah and Hailey's friends, especially from the homeschool community throughout Eastern Oregon gave the kids some of their most special toys and lots of Legos.I had a shamrock flexi in my closet and was waiting until St. Patrick's Day to give it to Hailey. Sadly it burned, but my cousin Laura, a Flexi consultant, sent this flexi to Hailey in the mail. Another "God Smile". Several of my friends, knowing how much I love to wear flexis in my hair, gave me theirs.The same day, Crystal, a friend from MOPS, gave Hailey a brand new American Girl doll (who happened to have red hair). She had bought it for her own daughter and was saving it for her, but was prompted by the Lord to give it to Hailey instead. To say Hailey was thrilled, would be the understatement of[...]

Homestead Happenings - March 2017


March started out so normal for us on the homestead. Michael was trimming sheep hooves. We were excited to try raising another batch of chicks (the year before they were all eaten by a fox) Our "Pink of Perfection" was growing like a weed and bringing us so much joy. We had our first lambs born -twins. Their mother, Pixie, was such a good mom to her lambs.We where baking up a storm, as usual. Then the fire happened on March 14th when the heat lamp got knocked over and caught the chicks bedding on fire. It was such surreal moment watching it burn. See "Sifted But Not Forsaken" post for that story. What was once our living room/dining room. We spent the night with my mom, but then friends lent us their travel trailer to camp in, understanding that we needed to be living on our property to take care of our animals since we were right in the middle of lambing season. Also, Arne's brought in a port-a-potty for us to use, free of charge. I didn't have to clean a toilet for months! So many friends rallied around us during those first few days in particular. Here are two of my besties, Cora and Dorene, who brought us some "essentials" like towels and my favorite tea. They made me laugh, which was truly the best medicine.We had these little guys to watch and cheer us up. Buff and Tuff were adorable black lambs.  A few days after that, Michael's niece, Crystal, came to visit with her three sons. They loved the lambs! It was raining really hard when Crystal and the boys were visiting. We didn't have the shop set up yet as a living space, but we quickly figured out how to at least eat in there as a family. Crystal rescued us that night by inviting us to to swim at their hotel. Gave us all something fun to do and kept everyone busy and out of the mud. They visited us in the trailer one more time before they left the next day. Love these guys. Wish they didn't live so far away. The next weekend, a bunch of friends came over and worked at cleaning, salvaging and getting the shop insulated and things moved around so we could start living in there during the day.What a blessing to have such good friends!And family! Michael's folks came up to help as well.Our pastor and his wife took a little spin around the shop floor during the work party. They are so cute!Fluff, another black lamb, was born that weekend in the middle of a rainstorm. While everyone was working hard on the homestead, I slipped away for a much needed break (and shopping trip to the big city for some much needed and hard to find items. Stacie and I met up with one of her dearest friends who flew down from Alaska for the weekend. Rachel, Stacie, Rina and I had a wonderful weekend of talking, eating, shopping, and did I mention talking? Such a needed mental break from the constant stress of decision making for me. It was also a time when they let me really grieve, something I hadn't had time to really do. It was a huge blessing! Josiah was able to go to a paint ball camp with his cousin and one of his friends at Camp Morrow. It was a much needed break for him as well. I'm so glad he was able to go. He had a blast! It was fun for us to come back home to see the new lamb, Fluff! What a cutie pie. We had many visitors during spring break including the Lenardson family and my sister and her kids. Everyone brought things that we needed and offered their support. Two weeks after the fire, we had a dry kitchen set up in the shop. my running water was an igloo container. But we had a borrowed stove and fridge and we kept the food mostly in tubs as we fought the mice for 8 months while we lived in the shop. Don't mind the grease stains on the floor, it is a shop after all, ha ha.Stacie helped me get a good deal on this large carpet remnant that really helped cozy up the place. Not everyone gets a Harley D. and a T-Bucket in their living quarters ;) Almost everything you see was donated to us by family and friends and we are using all of it in our new house n[...]

Narnia Unit Study 2016-17: Prince Caspian


For Prince Caspian we dressed in Spanish-style medieval outfits. I loved seeing what everyone came up with!WEEK 1Each family came up with a design for their own coat of arms that they felt best represented their family.  Naomi showed us a sundial she made and explained how it worked. Alli taught us about hedgehogs. What a cute drawing! Hailey's presentation was on dwarfism. She explained the different types of dwarfism and how genetic factors can cause it. We had permission from family friends to use their family portrait as an example. Michael's high school friend and his family were on the TV reality show called Big People, Little World. It was so exciting to see them on the show!Gracia's presentation was on eagles. Josiah instructed us on "Heraldry". What the different parts of a coat of arms meant, and again history and purpose thereof.  Here is an example of a coat-of-arms,whose parts are labeled and he explained what each was for.We ended our time together with fried fish, a mixture of baked root veggies, boiled eggs, oatcakes, apple pie and salad-on-a-stick. It was all very scrumptious!Of course we had to throw in one picture of our little mascot, Rina. WEEK 2 Josiah made his own armor out of some leftover roofing tin Michael had lying around. He laced up the sides. He discovered how hard it is to move in them and why they have so many pieces. He could barely move in his!Naomi started us out with a presentation on squirrels.Gracia taught us all about last names, how they came into being, the purpose and much more. This was quite a fascinating subject.  Alli taught us about tide pools. She showed us pictures of tide pools they saw on their Hawaiian vacation. So beautiful! Hailey's presentation was about a minor god in Roman mythology mentioned in Prince Caspian, whose name was Pomona. Josiah took us outside for a blacksmithing presentation and demonstration. He was working on a blade. He was totally in his element. Told us about the history of blacksmithing and its many uses. We really need to get an anvil for this kid!Sadly, we forgot to take a picture of our meal, but it consisted of scrambled eggs, pigeon pie (chicken pie), and porridge with blueberries. We had such a good time and learned some really interesting things that month. The book is one of our favorites! On to Voyage of the Dawn Treader next.[...]

2017 Family Christmas Letter/Family Photos


Dixie, Josiah, Rina, Michael, Hailey, Feathers and Jackie 2017 Family Christmas Letter What started off as a normal year on the homestead turned into an extraordinary year full of tears, joy, laughter and a lot of hard work! On March 14th, our 1975 double-wide caught on fire due to a heat lamp accidentally getting knocked over. Thankfully I was home at the time and was able to get the kids out. We were barefoot, but we were not hurt. Eventually we were able save perhaps 1% of our belongings, each a miracle story of its own. People from all over the country helped us in many different ways as we got back on our feet. We decided to camp on our property using the shop to live in during the day and a travel trailer to sleep and take (short) showers in until our new house was built. It was quite an adventure to be sure. We had an amazing contractor, Daniel Jacobson, who broke ground for our house the end of June and finished the basic house structure by the end of August. Over and over, contractors moved us to the front of the line and friends and family stepped up to help us so we could live in the house before the snow flew. We moved in the end of October with a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy and continue to work on the floors and finish work as we live in the house. We are so pleased with our new home and look forward to using our home as a place to bless others as we have been blessed. God has truly brought about beauty from ashes!Michael continues to work as a Federal Technician for the Oregon National Guard out of the La Grande shop. He will soon be promoted to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2. He is in year 21 of being in the National Guard and he still enjoys it. He was able to enter his T-Bucket into his first car show in April. He has kept very busy working on the house whenever possible. He is constantly learning new skills and saving us a lot of money. He is also an Assistant Scout Master in Josiah's Boy Scout troop.I continue to homeschool the children and was able to give quite a few Pendleton Underground Tours this summer and fall. I learned how to rough it on the homestead while camping on the property for 8 months. Now I appreciate indoor plumbing and a furnace more than I could ever imagine. I learned to do laundry while reaching over our favorite ewe, Dixie. Dixie also tried to get into the outhouse, shop and even the travel trailer! One of the big highlights of the year is when I got to go to Greece with my sister, Stacie and Stacie's in-laws. It was a life changing experience. I loved eating like a Greek and walking in the steps of the Apostle Paul!.Josiah is 14 now and almost as tall as me. He likes being homeschooled and is thriving in Boy Scouts. He has been a big helper this year as he learned many new skills while working on the new house. He is 2nd Class rank in Boy Scouts and hopes to earn his 1st Class rank soon. He was excited to get to hunt for the first time this year. He filled every tag that he drew or was given to him through special farm control hunts. He got two cows (elk), his first buck and a really big doe. It means a lot to him to be able to provide meat for our family. Really proud of him!Hailey is 10 and is a full on tween! She also likes being homeschooled, although we enrolled her in a special skills reading class for one hour a day at the local elementary school. She is a hard worker and loves to learn. She still enjoys gymnastics and will be starting sewing lessons with a friend after the first of the year. She is also teaching herself to sing and draw and is particularly fascinated with mermaids and Greek and Roman mythology at the moment.Rina is full on toddler at 2 ½. She is the cherry on top of our family sundae. She's a delight to us and we all love watching her grow and learn. She's smart as a whip and has a sweet, tender heart, and yes – she's spoiled! She enjoys singing and dancing and playing with her animals on the homestead. She always wants to help and is in the middle of [...]

Homestead Happenings - Feb 2017


Because of the fire, blogging has taken on a different significance to me. Since I learned about blog books, I'm determined to keep blogging instead of scrapbooking and then print my blog in sections instead. I lost over 35 scrapbooks in the house fire. Now it feels like now such a waste of time and money. I will probably scrapbook my kid's baby books again, but that is about it. Losing those scrapbooks was probably the most painful loss of all, but I'm super thankful the hard drive on our desktop was able to be saved. A miracle, if you saw the burned out room it came of. I got my first digital camera shortly before Josiah was born, but anything before that time was lost. That said, I'm going to start where I left off. It's honestly a bit surreal looking back over these photos. Life was so normal in Feb 2017! We had snow storms and the kids were able to have more than their share of snowball fights. It was a bitterly cold winter. It was all we could do to keep the pipes and the pressure tanks from freezing. Our little stove wasn't enough to keep the whole house warm, so we did everything around it.Michael got caught up on things and was determined to make an oak barrel mug. He cut all the wood himself and then welded the bands and handle together out of scrap metal. He made several of these, and they actually didn't burn up in the fire, but they were so smoked damaged that we couldn't use them again. Oh well, he had fun making them. I told him he would make a good "cooper". We used these big crocks in the living room as a place to put Rina's toys. She enjoyed playing in them, too. We'll have to get Rina a little cleaning set like this again. She loved it. A toy with a purpose, I love it!Hailey is starting to have fun dressing Rina up. I love watching them play together. This used to be Hailey's dress.Rina loves to help in anyway she can. I've used these Pampered Chef safety knives with all my kids.Josiah received his Second Class BSA rank. We're so proud of him. He's learning a lot in Scouts and gaining confidence and skills.Troop 700, small but mighty!Valentines Day came around, and I always love to get the kids books they've been longing for. They got their traditional chocolate heart from the grandparents.Josiah went to the Klondike with Troop 700. They did their best but the weather was not cooperating with them. A cold, extremely wet snow forced everyone to have to leave early. Still they did well in the few events they got to participate in.That's okay, because the troop got to go ice skating at our local rink instead. Much warmer and drier! My sis and some of her kids came for a visit. We love to go to Rooster's for dinner when they come up. Haley got a new book called The Story Thieves. These cousins are such good friends.We walked along the levee with Mom, Stacie and the kids. My niece, Jessica, enjoyed pushing Rina in her stroller.Our newest board game tradition we play when Stacie is up is The Oregon Trail Game. We have so much fun playing this together! It is based off the old computer game.Hailey is starting to cook meals now. Top Roman with homemade deviled eggs. Interesting combo, but hey, I didn't have to cook and those eggs were delish!We went with our local homeschool group on a field trip to the local radio station. It was really quite interesting. The kids learned a lot.Right after that, the flu bug hit. I was the only one who didn't get it and was able to play nurse to the rest of the family.Rina loves to help do chores in the morning and Cuddles likes having someone else around to pet him.Rina was able to make friends with Angel, one of our ewes. She came to us, scared to death of little kids, but Rina won her over.Rina with Grandpa Ernie at Michael's Uncle Frank's funeral. Such a neat tribute to the life of a wonderful man who ALWAYS put family first. Uncle Frank taught his son, Joey well. He feels exactly the same way about family and just has a way with little one[...]

Sifted But Not Forsaken!


As I was looking back through pictures of the last 8 months, I realized what a truly crazy season it has been for our family. March 14, 2017 started out a normal homeschool day that turned into a nightmare when the heat lamp we had over our baby chicks got knocked over. By the time I realized what was going on, it was too late. Smoke was too thick to try to put out the fire and I had to run out with the kids. We were barefoot with just the clothes on our backs. I managed to grab my purse on the way out the door. Just so thankful I was able to get everyone out in time. I hope to have time to blog my journal that I wrote about this day. God is good. He was with us during these dark hours. Friends and family worked hard to get us set up in one bay of Michael's shop and we borrowed a friend's travel trailer. We had an outhouse for months. So many people donated essentials to us. God showed us His provision by the generosity of many family, friends, acquaintances and even strangers.Rina's play area in the shop. We homeschooled, cooked, ate and hung out in the shop. Let's just say the shop was cold when it was cold and hot when it was hot. So blessed to have been able to camp on our property and be able to take care of our animals. It was quite an adventure! The kids got to take a few baths in the canner kettle before we had a way to heat water in the trailer. In the meantime we worked hard at the painful, depressing task of inventorying all of our stuff that was lost in the fire. Some rooms were completely destroyed and we had to do it all by memory. God was good. He gave us some miracle saves on a few important items, or what I call "God Smiles" that I will share in other post.We needed to give back our friends' trailer. Our insurance paid for us to buy a trailer. Again, friends stepped in and helped us find a trailer that fit our needs for a fantastic price. It is a toy hauler and we'll be able to use it for years to come. It is such a blessing and I can't wait to actually camp, camp in it next year.  We were able to take longer showers and have hot water to do the dishes. I mostly did them using the outdoor shower during the summer. Such a blessing! I learned how to live with sheep, since we were camping in their pasture. Dixie became part of our family. I'd have to reach over her to do the laundry in my outdoor washing machine. She'd even insist I share my coffee with her in the quiet of the mornings when I would sit on my bench swing and pray and do bible study before the kids got up.We always had to keep the doors shut to the trailer, shop and outhouse as the sheep would always be wanting to come in. I'll do an "Adventures of Dixie" post another time. She gave me a lot of material to work with this summer! And then we started building our new house. We were blessed with an amazing contractor, Daniel Jacobson. He worked so hard for us. Got the main build of the house done in about a month and a half. We decided to do much of the finish work ourselves to save money. God is so good. He moved us to the front of the line, over and over with contractors, inspectors, ect... God allowed this house to be finished enough for us to move in before Nov 1st. Four and a half months from breaking ground to living in it. Crazy, huh? But God knew our needs and provided an army of people to help us along the way. This was the house we had expected to build after most of the kids were out of the house. God decide that wasn't a good plan. I know He sped up our timeline to match His. We are going to make so many memories in this house before our children are grown and gone. Oh my, are these days fleeting! The adventure will continue. We are determined to use this beautiful home God has given for His glory. We can't wait to use it to bless others through hospitality. I look forward to new memories that will be made in this house. It is a balm to our hear[...]

He Brings Beauty From Ashes


It was one month ago yesterday that our house burned up along with 99% of our belongings.  Praise God we all escaped barefoot and with the clothes on our back. Those old trailers burn fast! Here is the article with all the details that was in our local newspaper. I will post more on this new journey we are on when I can. God is good and He is taking care of us through the kindness of many. Praise Him!

Narnia Unit Study 2016-1017: The Horse and His Boy


WEEK 1 AND 2Due to sickness, we had to double up on our weeks in order to get through The Horse and His Boy and stay on track for the year. I forgot how much I loved this book! There were so many good vocabulary words that ended up generating wonderful discussions. Here is a picture of all the kids with their watercolor seascapes they painted after we looked at several famous artists' works depicting seascapes.Gracia told us all about the art of story telling. She has a gift for story telling herself, so this presentation was right up her alley. Naomi showed us the basic parts of a horse and its riding gear using several helpful diagrams.I had to take a picture of Alli's Narnia notebook. She drew each of the kids in the co-op, even Cuddles and Champ. It is super cute!Alli showed us famous artist seascapes. Some of them were indescribably beautiful.I learned a lot while helping Hailey with her Seven Wonders of the Ancient World presentation. I didn't realize that only one - the Pyramid of Giza, was still in existence today.Josiah told us the history of the war horse and gave us some examples of famous war horses such as "Traveler" who belonged to Robert E. Lee during the American Civil War.Josiah did a science experiment involving fire. He was showing us the differences between cool flames and hot flames. We had a traveling Calormen feast that included meat pasties, fresh veggies, cheese and crackers. We topped it all off with some sherbert which is actually a punch in England, rather than having an ice cream consistency like we have in America. Gracia's seascape close upHailey's seascapeWEEK 3 and 4 Josiah taught us about knights and their armor. He showed us the battle ax he made from scrapmetal in the shop and he even made his own suit of armor out of leftover tin roofing we had laying around.Naomi showed us all the basic parts of a typical medieval castle using a wonderful model.Gracia showed us different examples of pyramids found around the world. Super interesting!Here is the inside of an Egyptian pyramid.Hailey showed us five fascinating tombs from around the world. I didn't know about most of these. Quite an interesting topic for sure. The weirdest and most macabre was that of a Catholic church found in the Czech Republic. It was decorated with the skeletal remains of many, many of the people who had been buried there over the centuries. Eventually an artist was found who actually turned the bones into art, even creating a coat of arms for the family who sponsored the venture. It was made out of at least one of every human bone in the body.Alli showed us some examples of Mediterranean wedding practices. We all dressed in clothing that we imaged the Calormen people would wear.Then we had a delicious Mediterranean feast involving dried figs, dates and apricots with feta cheese and nuts, a refreshing Mediterranean salad, chicken with Mediterranean spices and melon. After the feast I got the shimmy belts out, turned Pandora to Middle Eastern folk music and taught some basic belly dancing moves. The girls, and Amanda, were great sports and I had a wonderful time dancing with them. I think the girls must have danced for 2 hours!Even Rina got in on the dancing!Alli looked gorgeous in her Egyptian costume. She is definitely a gifted dancer and picked it up quickly. We sure had a lot of fun with this book. Looking forward to reading Prince Caspian next![...]

Homestead Happenings - Jan 2017


January forced us to slow down as the weather turned bitterly cold and we had snow most of the month. My step-mom, Diana, made me an apron matching the girls'. I'm one happy apron-wearing mama!My new deck served as a snow collection point and a good place to measure how much snow we received. Front deck just after one of our snow storms. Good thing we could still see the outline of the sled we use to hall wood in!Lots of time for playing dress up during January. Rina is wearing Hailey's sun hat in this pic. Now she's in one of Hailey's winter hats. Play veil One of Hailey's medieval Narnian dresses. My poncho from Mexico that my Grandma and Grandpa Puffball brought me when I was a kid. Can't believe I still have it!Dad and Diana got her this adorable dress. Can't wait to see her in it this spring. In the meantime she couldn't wait to wear it, and just put it over her winter clothes. Back to the homestead. Who says sheep are dumb? It was super cold out and Angel's hooves were cold, but she didn't want to go into the shed because the sun was finally shining. She decided to stand in her feeder to keep her hooves warm!Speaking of Angel, do I detect a lamb bump?Dixie, our "let me MAKE you love me" ewe, keeps knocking down the sheep shed walls. She's a stinker but we love her!Another snowstorm means more snowball fights. These kids are serious!We use these crocks for toy bins in the living room. Sometimes, Rina likes to take all her toys out and sit in them. She absolutely loves her cleaning set and helps us "clean" the house regularly.Some friends gave Rina her first Radio Flyer tricycle. Her feet don't touch yet, but that's what having older siblings is for. It's cute to see them sitting behind her and pedaling her all over the house. Rina decided she wanted to start going potty in the toilet like the rest of her family. At 20 months this has been a challenge as she isn't able to get her pants on and off yet by herself. She is determined though and so we are taking turns getting her to the toilet every time she yells "pee!", which feels like about every 5 minutes cause the girl drinks juice and milk like it's going out of style. Michael got bored this winter and challenged himself to making wooden mugs by hand. He did all the welding on this himself. He wants to make 12 of them. It's pretty impressive how this thing fits together so tightly! The guy never ceases to amaze me. Well that's about it for January. Just tried to stay warm with our too tiny stove. But we did it, despite subzero temps. Only lost one hen in Dec, but all the other animals did great through the cold snaps. Managed to keep our pipes from freezing and thaw out our pump before something broke. It was nice to slow down since so many events and activities were cancelled. I'm learning to look at it as a gift instead of an inconvenience. God kept Michael safe as he traveled over the mountain pass twice a day for work and provided a place for him to stay with friends when it was too dangerous to make the trek. So very thankful for His provision and protection. Blessings, Jackie[...]

Narnia Unit Study 2016-17: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe


WEEK ONE: All of us waiting for High Tea to be served in place of luncheon. Do we know how to have fun homeschooling or what? What a privilege to have an excuse to have high tea with friends.Hailey taught us all about the history of taking tea and proper tea etiquette of both low and high tea.  Josiah taught us about the controversial race to the North Pole and how Arctic explorer, Peary, got the credit of being first to arrive. Very interesting story. Naomi taught us how we get different seasons. Gracia explained what happened in the London Blitz. What a scary time for the British people!Alli's presentation was on the evacuation of women and children from London during WWII.  Since Lucy was invited to tea at Mr. Tumnus's house, we decided to do a high tea for our lunch.We had finger sandwiches, egg and cheese quiche bites, deviled eggs, scones with homemade lemon curd and Devonshire cream with two different teas to choose from. Delicious!Of course proper tea etiquette was encouraged. Amanda and Rina enjoying high tea together.WEEK TWO:The White Which rode in a sledge. Josiah taught us the differences between cutters, sleighs, sleds, sledges, etc. Gracia taught us about Beavers. Josiah happened to have a beaver pelt that he and his father had recently naturally tanned, so she was able to use it as part of her presentation. Naomi taught us about the fascinating art of ice fishing. Alli's presentation was on bird migration. Hailey's presentation was on bird watching, in particular the history and hobby thereof. As an activity, we all went outside with binoculars and bird identification books and tried watching for birds on our property. We chose the worst part of the day to do this, so we didn't have a lot of luck. We had a lunch similar to what the children had at Mr and Mrs Beaver's den. Fried fish, bread, mashed potatoes and a sausage pumpkin dish I had left over. For desert - marmalade roll! Delicious. This was a first for all of us, but is was a hit. We ended the meal with a nice cup of tea. Then the kids when out and played a WWII era children's game, called the "Statue Game". WEEK THREE:Gracia taught us about Chinese characters. Hailey's presentation was on Norse mythology. She was able to use one of her favorite Usborne books as a visual aide. Alli did her presentation on hieroglyphics. Josiah taught us about animal tracking.Naomi explained to us the science of fog and then gave us a great demonstration. Mrs. Beaver even joined us for a Christmas dinner. What a fun spread as usual. This time our theme was a traditional English Christmas dinner. We had salmon pate' with toasted bread rounds, boiled potatoes, pigs in a blanket and plum pudding, made the traditional way. I steamed it for hours. Everyone liked it though. What a feast! Fun to have an excuse to try cooking different things.  WEEK FOUR: With families being out of town, we all decided to finish up the last week of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe on our own. But we did get together one last time for a Christmas/sledding party. We bought each of the kids a pre-assembled gingerbread house kit and to let them each decorate. They had a ball doing it! Here they all are with their completed works of gingerbread art. Sometimes ya' just gotta party!After another traditional English dinner that involved turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce and roasted parsnips and potatoes plus pumpkin muffins, the kids all went outside and took advantage of the little bit of snow we had left and had a sledding party. We all really enjoyed this book and look forward to the next book in the series. See you when we're done with The Horse and His Boy![...]

Christmas on the Homestead - Dec 2016


Last family picture of 2016 - Christmas DayA few days before Christmas, my other set of parents, Dad and Diana, bombed up for the morning to exchange gifts and took us to lunch. Nana happily received some Rina snuggles.  We gave them a blog book with all of our Heppner and Nehalem Bay family campouts that I've blogged about. They loved it! Such good memories. Nana made Hailey and Rina matching camo aprons. They are adorable! They wear them all the time. I want one!Nana also brought Rina a beautiful cross-stitched dress from her summer vacation in Italy. So special! They also gave her the dress that is under the apron. She loves it all.  My niece, Jess, and nephew Andrew came up with them, so that was a special treat.We had a very pleasant Christmas Eve. The kids got to open their presents from Michael's folks. Craft pillow and warm socks - Hailey was in heaven! Josiah got a camping utensil tool and alpaca socks, too. Rina received a sweet new outfit from them.Michael helped Rina open her stocking first thing in the morning as soon as the big kids got up. Since Christmas was on a Sunday, we opened our stockings in the morning and then made the kids wait until after church to open gifts. Mom and Larry joined us.Snapped this cute picture of Rina in her Christmas dress. This was the first time she let us put a hairband in. She loved her dress. Hailey in her Christmas dress.  Josiah - looking every bit the teenager. Sibling picture. Hard to get them all in one place! Grandma Kricket knew just what color of scarf Hailey would like!It didn't take long for Rina to figure out how to unwrap presents. She was very meticulous and made sure it was ALL off the present and into the garbage before playing with the gift.Michael can now reload Josiah's bullets for his hunting rifle! This was Rina's big gift from us. She uses it all the time. It is a working cleaning set. Now I can clean and she isn't trying to grab my broom or mop, she has her own. Love practical gifts like that!I got a waffle maker that I use all the time and gift certificate from Michael to get my hair done. I'm so excited!Josiah's big gift from us was this Ninja snorkeling mask. He was thrilled and tried it out in the bathtub to make sure it works. He can't wait for this summer to start river/creek walking again, using this thing. We got a screaming good deal on this drone for Hailey. She wanted one desperately, ever since Josiah had bought his with his own money. She was very surprised to get it. We gave Mom and Larry a blogbook, too, filled with all our adventures of dirt-biking and four wheeling in the Alvord Desert since I started blogging. They loved it. So glad we were able to find a gift that was meaningful for the parents this year. Opening gifts is exhausting for a 19 month old!As usual, God blessed us more that we could ever hope for during this season. But honestly when it is all said and done, the only gift that matters is the gift of Jesus. What a privilege to be able to share in celebration that most extraordinary gift with our family!God Bless,Jackie [...]

Homestead Happenings - Dec 2016


As usual, December was jammed packed with all kinds of activities. We started the month off with a week of selling Christmas trees for Josiah's Boy Scout Troop 700. The boys were very committed and sold every single tree! This is their one big fundraiser they do all year to help pay for troop charter fees and also gain "Scout Bucks" to help offset the cost of summer camp. Michael has officially become an Assistant Boy Scout Leader. It's a big commitment, but Michael likes that it gives he and Josiah something they can do together. Josiah has been busy making knives out of broken saw blades and then sewing sheaths for them out of sheep hides that he and his dad naturally tanned a few years ago. He is also learning to weld and cast aluminum. Michal repurposed our old metal railings from the back porch we tore off the house and is making them into trellises where we can plant more grapes in the spring. Rina loves to eat grapes right off the vine. Hailey and I joined Grandma Kricket and Larry Pop to watch our local Nutcracker production. Our friend, Alli, did a great job dancing her parts!Nothing makes Hailey's day more than a snuggle and a hug from Rina!I let the kids decorate the tree this year for the first time. They did a great job! As the month went on, the ornaments on the bottom moved to the top, but we knew that was going to happen. Good thing we used plastic ornaments as Rina couldn't stop touching them. Our first snow turned into a month of snow. Rina isn't a fan, but she will play in it for a few minutes. When she gets in the sled, she automatically lays down. It is so funny! The kids pulled her around while doing the chores. The sheep thought she looked pretty funny, too. First round of snowmen. You can't tell, but these were taller than the kids. We got more snow a few days later and Josiah had some friends over for a snowball fight, complete with snow berms to hide behind. It was really cold that day, I was surprised they lasted as long as they did.  I took some time to be "Fun Mom" and froze my face off while hauling the kids around the pasture on a sled. They had a great time! The sheep love to chase them which makes it all that much more fun of course.Rina likes to dip her cheese sticks in cake batter. Apparently it is delicious, who knew?Had some friends from church over for dinner one night. This big guy was born three days before Rina. They are adorable together and get a long great. Even share binkies now and then - blech. My sister came up for a few days right after Christmas. Lily loved reading to Rina. The cousins all got to skate together several times during their visit at our local outdoor rink. Thank you Grandma Kricket for taking them!  Oops! Clash of the redheads! A busy, but enjoyable month seeing family and friends we don't get to see super often. Thankful the weather cooperated for traveling because as soon as January hit, traveling became extremely dangerous around here. It's the worst winter in 10 years so far!Good-by 2016, hello 2017!See you in the New Year. God Bless, Jackie[...]

Homestead Happenings - Nov 2016


Off to a Boy Scout flag raising ceremony at a local assisted living center on Veterans Day. God bless the amazing veterans of this country!Visiting the elderly with our Boy Scout family. We loved hearing the stories of how these people and/or their family members served their country. They even fed the Boy Scouts and their families after the flag ceremony. Was very nice! They loved seeing the boys in uniform and of course Rina and Hailey charmed them, tooHow does a homeschool Mom get a foot rub from her children? Get them hooked on a good book and tell them you'll read the next chapter IF they rub your feet. It worked for me! The Boy Scouts helped pack Operation Christmas Child boxes this year.Our little cookie-making helper.Hailey made the perfect Anne Shirley when she went to the Anne of Green Gables tea party at the local library with friends. Fun times! Josiah wanted to dye her hair green but she wasn't going for it.One of Josiah's friends and a couple of the cousins came over for a visit. They all had a great time working on Josiah's fort and even made a really safe fire pit in the side of the bank. Good "clean" fun! Seriously worth the dirt coming inside the house to see the kids playing, creating and being productive outside. I kept thinking of that Paul Overstreet song, "They Were Sowin' Love", as I watched Michael teach Rina how to toss the grass seed in our pasture. Such precious moments indeed!Thanksgiving was a simple this year. We ate turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, rolls, salad, pumpkin roll and sweet potato souffle made with sucanat instead of brown sugar. Delicious!  We even ate off paper plates. I'm in survival mode right now. Michael's folks joined us for the holiday. It was great to have them visit.Our friends, Jeni and George and their kids, Gracia and Naomi also joined us for the feast and brought a wonderful cauliflower dish and the homemade cranberry sauce. They are foodies, too, so we always get excited about trying new recipes on each other.Kids played monopoly while we played Mexican Train dominoes. Gotta play games on holidays. It's tradition!So proud of my nephews, Josh and Marcus, and all their hard work with helping the Dufur Rangers get to the A1 state championship. They won!!!! Probably one of the most intense football games I've ever watched. Won it by a last minute touchdown and conversion that put them 4 points ahead. A huge round of applause to Crane who played extremely well and made Dufur work for it! Excellent game.Snapped this picture of Rina riding the horse in the nursery. She is getting better about going into the nursery. We usually keep her in during the worship time and then if she gets restless during the sermon, we take her into the nursery. It's getting easier!Hailey taught Rina how to pray. Here is a cute little video of it: allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />We started bringing out the Christmas decorations right after Thanksgiving. It's been awhile since I've had a kid old enough to ride the reindeer. She promptly got bucked off right after I snapped this picture. Little ones bring such joy and help us to switch things up as we were unable to put half our Christmas decorations out because we just don't have very many high places to put things. Made it much easier to clean up though![...]

Family Christmas Letter - 2016


I finally let the kids decorate the tree all by themselves this year. I thought they did a pretty good job and unlike me, they feel less is more. I was really proud of them. All the bulbs are plastic and Rina-friendly. Family Christmas Letter – 2016We are in a very busy and full season of life as we now have children ranging in age from 13 to 19 months. It has forced us to slow down in some aspects, but with older children and their activities you can't slow down too much just because you have a baby. A lot of tag teaming goes on in order to accomplish our goals as a family, but it is certainly helping us develop an atmosphere of teamwork. Michael was able to travel to the Balkans again in the spring for a special mission with the Oregon National Guard. He was able to visit Lithuania and Romania this time. He really loved seeing Dracula's castle and eating local foods. He discovered that boiled pig's ear was not his favorite! He was home for a few months and then off again to Warrant Officer's school at Fort Lee, VA for two months. I was blessed to have family and friends watch all the kids and the homestead so I could go back and visit him for a week. We saw a lot of Civil War history and got to play in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time. We had such a good time together! He is now traveling back to the La Grande shop to work as his promotion caused a rank inversion at the shop where he was working in Umatilla. In order to keep his job, they had to move him. Going over the Blue Mountains in the winter is not fun, so prayers for his safety are appreciated. Josiah turned 13 in September and has discovered his niche in Boy Scouts. He just achieved his 2nd Class rank and is already working on the next rank. He is making good friends and enjoying time with his dad as Michael has become an Assistant Scout Leader for the troop. He is doing well in homeschooling and enjoys doing chores and creating all kinds of things out of scraps he finds in Michael's shop. He has made knives and is working on building a big fort behind the shop. His Boy Scout friends and cousins love to come over and help him with it. Hailey turned 9 in August and is still enjoying gymnastics. She is discovering the joy of a good book and we continue to work on her reading which has been a struggle for her. She likes to work with our farm animals (sheep and chickens) and plays with her sister outside so I can get a few things done. I've always said Hailey would make an outstanding big sister and I was right. She adores Rina.Rina is a 19 month old towhead and proving that she has every bit the energy and spunk her older siblings possess. She is into everything and quite vocal. She adores her family and all the pets we have around here. She is entertained for hours by the sheep and chickens. I'm busy homeschooling and running the day to day operations of our homestead and household. We are doing a Narnia unit study with our homeschool co-op that meets every Friday. We also keep busy with homeschool sports, field trips and other activities. This summer I was asked to start doing on-call tours for the Pendleton Underground. I had done them 20+ years ago when I was a poor college student. I forgot how much I loved doing it! It gets me out of the house for a couple hours at a time and I'm using all the money to fund dream trips. It is how I was able to go to Virginia and then on a sister trip to Vancouver, BC this last summer. Now I'm saving to go to Greece in May with my sister and her in-laws. To say I'm excited is an understatement! As 2016 closes, my prayer is that God will draw you near to Himself. That despite what is going on in the world and even in our country, our hope would be in Jesus, th[...]

Narnia Unit Study 2016-17: Magician's Nephew


We started another homeschool unit study this year called "Further Up and Further In" - A Chronicles of Narnia unit study. We're doing it with the same group of families that we did the Prairie Primer with last year. We're dressing up (sometimes) in 1940s theme this year. I've decided to blog about each book in one blog post.MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW:WEEK 1 Gracia taught us all about Atlantis and even painted this wonderful watercolor picture to help us imagine what the mythical city might have looked like.Hailey taught us about British rule in India and how the Indians gained their independence from Britain. She also showed pictures of the two children from India whom we help support through "Gospel for Asia" - Manav and Swati.Naomi taught us about the solar system and showed us a wonderful model. We took a little break from presentations and did some pantomime skits. Rina looked on with rapt attention.Alli did her pantomime skit on petting a kitty and she did a great job. Everyone knew exactly what she was doing.Then Alli taught us about the groundbreaking female scientist, Marie Curie. Josiah told us all about old time photography. We learned all about why everyone didn't smile because they had to hold still for so long.We even learned about creepy chairs that were really parents covered up to look like a chair that were really holding their children still for the picture.We watched a funny scene in "The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again" that depicts the ex-outlaws going into an old-time photo session that turns into a disaster. Here is a good picture of the braces photographers used to help keep their subjects still.When presentations, vocab trivia and scripture recitations were over, Josiah did a fun science experiment involving different sounds.We did a feast of Indian foods for lunch. It was the first time the kids and I have ever had naan bread. Delicious! We also had chicken curry soup and vegetarian curry with a salad. MAGICIAN'S NEPHEWWEEK 2Had to throw in this adorable picture of Josiah with Rina.Naomi explained how time and seasons happen. Her mom, Jeni, was holding the sun (flashlight) to aid her presentation.Gracia told us all about Buckingham Palace, complete with a video depicting the changing of the guard.Alli did her presentation on the sun and stars.Amanda found a simplified "Twelfth Night" adapted Shakespeare play for the kids to do. They had a ball. All of them are a bit dramatic and had no problem getting into character. Can anyone say, "drama queen"???Hailey did her presentation on the crown jewels of Britain and the many different uses of the Tower of London throughout the years. We learned that it currently is used to house the crown jewels.Josiah taught us about some basic British currency and showed us pictures. We decided to do a Greek themed lunch complete with Baklava. So yummy!MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW:WEEK 3We are having fun with the various hats and clothing we mined from the local thrift stores. Naomi shared a wind experiment with us.Gracia did a wind velocity experiment. The kids really thought this one was exciting!We had each of the kids look up a flower mentioned in the Magician's Nephew and draw or paint it. It was fun seeing what they each came up with.Then we got all my bird identification books out and had each child pick out a bird to draw. These are vintage books from my Grandma Ellen and very special to me. Alli drew a red-winged blackbird. Gracia drew a barn owl.Josiah loves the call of a black-capped chickadee.Hailey drew an owl, too. Mexican-themed lunch - tostadas!MAGICIAN'S NEPHEWWEEK 4For presentations we had each child teach the group about a world leader durin[...]

Homeschool Daddy/Daughter Dance 2016


 Thanks to the Union County Christian Home Educators, Hailey was able to go to her first Daddy/Daughter dance - homeschool style! She and Michael had a great time as they danced the night away and able to bond on a "date". I was able to take a few pictures before they headed over the mountain to the dance. She is looking so grown up! Waiting for her daddy to get home so they could go! Hailey's friend, Naomi, wasn't really interested in dancing, but we dolled her up anyway so she could go to a nice dinner with her dad. They took pictures of the daddies with their daughters at the dance. Clearly, Hailey had already been dancing as her carefully arranged hair is now in disarray. That's a good sign that fun was being had! A big thank you to Kelli for taking these photos at the dance!Love this picture of some of the daddies with their daughters dancing the night away. Precious indeed! These girls are being taught how a man should treat them on a date and on the dance floor. Thankful Michael and Hailey were able to participate. It was nice for them to see their old friends from our previous homeschool group again. It was hard for me not to be jealous! I hope there is a mother/son date scheduled soon.Blessings, Jackie[...]

Homestead Happenings: October 2016


A fine cow/sheep dog Champ is! The sheep are chasing him! They weren't scared at all of the go-cart or ATVs, either. allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />Early frost again this year gave us several green pumpkins. I tried making a green pumpkin cobbler that tasted just like apple cobbler. I got the idea from Ma Ingalls in The Long Winter.Rina is trying to figure out where all the grapes are that she's been eating all summer. Her hair is REALLY coming in more blonde.  Helping Daddy as he trims the shrubs back. She loves being his "swamper". We let her ride around in the t-bucket around the homestead with daddy. She screams when it's time to get out. I entered this picture into a couple of magazines. We'll see what happens. I just thought it was so cute. Rina loves to feed all the animals on the homestead. Brother's little helper!We took the time out of our homeschool schedule to go to the open house at the National Weather station here in town. There are only 3 in Oregon. It was very interesting. Josiah's Scout Master was there with a demonstration on practical ways to keep our water sources clean. allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />Never too early to start homeschooling! I think Hailey will make an excellent teacher.You might be a redneck if you bring home a 🐑 ram in the back of a Subaru! We have a young ram visiting our ewes for the next couple months. Better late than never. Thanks for the visit and your  help Cousin Joey and family!            Mama's little helper is 18 months! Had to get her her own Dyson so she'd let me vacuum with mine. Josiah got the idea to make some boots out of one of the sheep hides he and his dad naturally tanned. I also entered this picture into a couple of magazines for consideration. It cracked me up when I found Cuddles in my outdoor basket that goes on my deck table. He looked very comfortable.I got to see both my nephews play 8 man football with the Dufur Rangers. My niece, Lily enjoyed teacher Rina some cheers! The Rangers cleaned house that tonight 🏈 We decided the old front porch was enough of a safety hazard that we had to replace it this fall. Michael and I and Rina all worked together to get this deck together as quickly as possible before the really bad weather hit. Rina took her job of handing us screws very seriously. It turned out better than I expected. It is on the shady side of the house and we can now sit on the deck and watch the chickens, sheep and garden grow. It was expensive, but I don't think we'll regret that we made it into a deck, not just a porch. My makeshift "bistro" set - two camping chairs and an old oak captain's chair that had all it's spindles broken off long ago that now serves as my table. Looking forward to doing my bible studies out here for years to come. Mom and Larry gave Rina a little "Candy Corn Kitty" for Halloween. She really likes it. She liked the card that went with it, too. This girl loves shoes! Got her these shoes for the future, but she spotted them and wanted to wear them despite them being too big. She's j[...]

Camp Rilea Family Vacation - Beach/Civil War Reenactment (Labor Day Weekend 2016)


Rina was awestruck when she saw the beach for the first time. I've love that moment when each of my kids first sees the ocean and squiggles their toes in the sand. That childlike wonder of God's creation is a precious thing to behold. May we be like children and appreciate the beauty all around us and find delight in His world. Michael loved going out there with her and watching her delight in the sand and waves.We were able to stay at Camp Rilea with my sister's crew and our mom and stepdad. The weather was fantastic and the kids were able to actually get into the ocean.Mom leading Rina down the path through the dune to the ocean. On Saturday we spent the day at the Civil War reenactment at Camp Rilea. It happens every Labor Day weekend and we enjoy going every few years. My two eldest nephews, Josh and Marcus, were recruited in the morning and got to participate in the afternoon battle. They did really good keeping up with the other soldiers. Rina enjoyed trying to find her cousins in the binoculars. I was really proud of them for allowing themselves to experience a little of what the Civil War soldier had to go through. Reenactments really help history come alive! Josiah and his younger cousins can't wait to try it as soon as they are old enough.Josh Marching with his regiment.Marcus is the middle soldier in the darker uniform. Josh is in the middle, in the back, looking towards the camera. After the battle, they were hot and sweaty to be sure, but full of interesting stories of their experiences.This man and his wife did a wonderful job of portraying President Lincoln and First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.On our way back from the beach that night, we ran into a bunch of elk. It was breathtaking to watch them close up.Settling in for the night back at the "barracks". We camped out in a "duplex" at Camp Rilea for only $75 a night. Had 12 people in here with two toilets and two showers and even a refrigerator. We did all our cooking outside on the campstove. The kids got to bike all over the place. They love it!We visited Seaside the next day and the kids rode the carousel and then we all went out for sushi. Rina loves seaweed! We had a great time playing the bumper cars over and over at Seaside. I guess I'm too old for this now as I had a really sore neck the next day. Boohoo! Stinks getting older :( Oh well, I know it was worth it because I loved seeing the smiles on my kids' and my nieces' and nephews' faces.I was able to pay for our portion of the trip with my Underground Tour money that I've been getting for guiding. It's wonderful that we're able to do some fun things without having to stress about where the money is going to come from. What a blessing! My sister and I are planning a trip to Greece in May with her in-laws. I'm going to save all my Underground money to be able to go with her. I'm so excited for this once in a lifetime opportunity!Have a Blessed Day,Jackie[...]

Experiencing Peace During the Holiday Season


The holidays can be such a tough time. I've learned of so much tragedy this past week. Our sweet neighbor when we were living in La Grande passed away of a heart attack while hunting. Our dentist suddenly passed away last weekend. A 15 year old football player in Crane died in an auto accident leaving behind a grieving family and community. We have homeschool friends who never dreamed they'd be in a children's cancer ward this Thanksgiving. Friends and family who are falling off the wagon to their addictions and others who are experiencing multiple miscarriages. I've had such a burden of love for all these friends and family who are going through horrible circumstances.

After doing my bible study this morning on the Armor of God, I was reminded once again of how God's peace through His Son's sacrifice can supernaturally get us through these horrifying circumstances. We have to have peace WITH God (not blaming God for the circumstances) which leads us to the peace OF God which transcends beyond the circumstances. So I'm thankful this Thanksgiving for God's precious Word that points me to His Truths that get me through this world where an enemy (Satan) is constantly on the prowl seeking to destroy or render God's people ineffective due to the pain they are experiencing.

So as I'm praying for all these loved ones, I'm determined to also press into His Word to help me experience the SUPERNATURAL PEACE that comes from the GOSPEL OF PEACE. I'm praying that anyone else with a heavy heart this Thanksgiving will do the same. God is a gentleman, He's waiting for you to seek Him. IF YOU SEEK HIM, YOU WILL FIND HIM. It's a promise! With that, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

God Bless,

Jackie and Family

Homestead Happenings - September 2016


 We've fallen in love with our three ewe lambs. They each have such different personalities. I never thought I'd like sheep, but I have to say, I'm getting attached pretty fast to these sweethearts. The kids love having barnyard pets for the first time.Homeschooling started so I decided to take some school pictures this year since I didn't get around to it last year. Josiah wanted to wear the shirt he received from his Nana who actually went to Rome this summer. He wore it to his first Latin class of the school year. He is now in his third year of Latin and not loving it, but doing okay. He likes the friends he's made in the class and his teacher but not so much the language. He is now a 7th grader!Hailey is now 9 years old and in 3rd grade. She is really looking more grown up all the time.Hailey and Rina love to hang out in the garden and eat grapes whenever they get a chance.Cutest angel food cake ever!Rina's first time at the ocean. She was enraptured of course. I'll do a separate post soon about our fun family trip to the beach.Hailey helped me harvest the grapes when they were finally ripe enough. We got about 5 gallons of clusters. By far the most we've ever gotten thanks to my nephew, Marcus's expert pruning efforts.Made it into juice with my steamer/juicer.Pendleton Round Up week. Let 'er Buck! We started out with the kick-off parade and then the next morning we went to Cowboy Church in the park. What a privilege to worship with hundreds of other Christians from our community is unity and love.Rina likes to supervise her dad when he's working on the T-Bucket.Not only did we go on a field trip with our local homeschool group to the Round Up and Happy Canyon grounds, we also went to Tamastslikt Cultural Center to see famous Nez Perce cowboy, Jackson Sundown's personal effects. It was the 100th anniversary of Sundown's historic bronc ride on "Angel" at the Pendleton Round Up in 1916 at age 53, making him the World Champion. Saw his riding gauntlets that were made and beaded for him by his wife. Also saw his teepee and cook stove that he and his family used during the Pendleton Round Up all those years ago. Neat to see the kids appreciating local history.Spending time with the sheep. Love watching these girls. They are so funny and cute.Took the kids to the 100th year anniversary Happy Canyon night show. We all loved it! A lot has changed since I was a kid. Moved along much faster in the first half. Much larger cast, too. Costumes and horses were so beautiful! Perfect homeschool field trip.Michael found a blower for a forge at a yard sale for a great price. Now all we need to find is a forge. Josiah and Michael love blacksmithing.Westward Ho parade! All non-mechanized. Lots and lots of horses! Rina enjoyed herself sitting on Grandma Kricket's lap. Her sunglasses pressing her ears down crack me up.Found this cute little western/prairie shirt for Rina at a thrift store. She was Round Up ready!Josiah turned 13! Hailey made him his cake and for the first time ever, we didn't have a party. We let him have a sleepover with one of his Boy Scout friends. Then we went to his favorite place for dinner and had - sushi!The next week we started our Chronicles of Narnia unit study. I will "chronicle" those in separate posts. So far we're loving it!Hailey amazed us with her flexibility. She must be double jointed or something. I wouldn't have a smile on my face if I attempted this! Wow!Josiah turned his room into an army bunker, complete with trap door (Hailey is demonstrating). The creativity of these kids always ast[...]

Sister Trip - Vancouver, B.C.


Because I was able to work on-call as an Underground Tour guide this summer, I was able to go on a much needed sister trip! Our sweet blogging friend, Camille, from Flowers in His Garden had invited us to stay with her for a few days. She also invited a mutual blogging friend, Jen, from Wanting What I Have, who flew in to spend time with us, too. It was so fun to meet these ladies in person after reading about their amazing lives for over 7 years! What a blessing and dream come true. The first night, Camille drove us down to the pier to watch the sunset in the bay and have our first taste of gelato. Wow, the flavor was wonderfully intense! What a treat. It seems we all couldn't talk fast enough as we tried to catch up. All of us have slowed down on our blogging as we've moved into extremely busy seasons of our lives. Love this picture and this verse!Had to take one more as the sun was setting. What a beautiful, calm night!The next day, Camille braved the Vancouver traffic and we went across Lion's Gate Bridge see the high mountains on the other side.Unfortunately they were all socked in so we decided not to spend the money to go up to the top on a gondola since we didn't know if the clouds would burn off or not. We made the right decision. However, Camille's very athletic children ran up this mountain on the trail. To say I was impressed is an understatement!We went back over the bridge and walked along the beautiful boardwalk around the heart of downtown Vancouver. There is a restaurant under all that grass in the background of this picture!This was built as a tribute to Vancouver's hosting the Winter Olympics a few years ago. We watched seaplanes taking off and land and huge ocean liners in the distance. So many people from all over the world speaking different languages. It was fascinating to people watch. Loved this lighthouse, but I love this lady even more! Jen is beautiful inside and out. What a special blessing to have her visit at the same time. Camille was so gracious to have us all at once!My sweet sis and Jen standing by the lighthouse. The next day we traveled to Fort Langley and went to High Tea at the Little White House. A pioneer doctor owned the house and his carriage house was turned into a tea room. It was adorable!There is nothing better than having tea with my twin sis and good friends. What a lovely time of fellowship we had together.Yummy food and tea!Not the best picture ever taken on my phone, but precious to me anyway. Camille was the hostess with the mostest! I was so thankful to have met her and her family in person. They have been through a lot these past few years with losing their eldest teenage son. It has been extremely hard for their family but the love and life in the Lord shine through this family. They are grieving very well and are such a good example to others who have lost loved ones. Their children were just a delight to be around. Camille and her wonderful husband, Howie, have done a fine job of bringing their children up to not only be wonderful people, but to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds and souls. They are true servants of the Most High! The next day, after stopping by Austin's grave and praying once last time with Camille, Stacie and I said our good-byes and headed back to the states and stopped off at Leavenworth, WA for some fabulous antipasto. Then we did a little shopping to take home more treats to our families. We stayed the night in Wenatchee, WA and then drove home the next morning. I thi[...]

Homestead Happenings: Aug 2016


This little girl is now officially at "tween" at 9 years of age. She wanted a Luau-themed birthday party at the local aquatic center. She was blessed to have many friends attend, many from out of town. She and Josiah each made a cake. Josiah's was a island theme as was Hailey's. However she drew a big Tiki mask in the middle of her ocean. I made lemon cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for the adults. So spoiled!Best sister trip ever! Five whole days visiting Canada and Leavenworth, WA. Stayed with a blogging friend of ours, Camille and got to meet another blogging friend, Jen, who flew up from Georgia to meet in person! I will write about our trip in a separate post.Got some huge pumpkins growing this year! The pumpkins were about the only thing that grew in my garden this year. Hailey and Rina gave me a pedicure one day.My stepmom came back from European vacation and Hailey brought back cute t-shirts for the kids. Hailey loved her Paris -shirt with bling. Michael and the kids were hard at work building the sheep shed in anticipation of a couple of ewe lambs joining our homesteading venture. We decided to add a lean-to to store a ton of hay for the winter. Glad we did!Meet Dixie and Pixie our first ewe lambs! Josiah and Hailey saved up their money and bought these gals as an investment. They are a welcome addition to Mission RD Homestead.And then there were three ewe lambs. Our friends daughter couldn't stand the thought of her sweet "Angel " being slaughtered so they brought her to our house where she will continue to be loved and adored. The new pasture mates all seem to get along just fine.Earning their keep by keeping the weeds down! So glad we aren't going to have to try and mow these pastures anymore. Whew! So hard on the riding lawnmower. 15 months old. This girl eats dirt like I eat chocolate!Picked up this circa 1800s spinning wheel at a friend's yard sale. Michael has really wanted one for a long time but I think Hailey is going to be our resident spinner. On the hunt for some good carding paddles now. Glad we just got sheep! allowFullScreen='true' webkitallowfullscreen='true' mozallowfullscreen='true' width='320' height='266' src='' class='b-hbp-video b-uploaded' FRAMEBORDER='0' />Josiah and Michael went on a day hike with the Boy Scouts. Hot day for it, but he made it. Boy Scouts is sure toughening him up!We celebrated my mom's 65th birthday. Josiah put 6 candles together and it ended up looking like a torch! Hailey made the layered cake for her. Rina is sitting in the cute rocking chair Josiah's great uncle made him. Rina has used it more than any of the kids. Hailey's first pedicure. She's officially spoiled! We went with Mom and my niece, Jess. It was super fun to do this together.  When we got home, we took a picture and Rina put her little foot in the photo at the last moment. Cutest photobomb ever!Rina loves to swing by herself. I love the look of joy on her face. What a sweetie. Josiah went up to the "Tenderfoot" rank in Boy Scouts. He managed to get the polar bear badge despite getting hypothermia at camp. He also earned his fishing, chess, wood carving, wilderness survival and swimming merit badges. So glad he has found his niche!So proud of this young man!Canned 30 jars of spicy German dill pickles this year. Much rejoicing in the house. I don't like pickle[...]

Virginia Vacation Part 7: Petersburg Cemetery and Blandford Church


The last day we were in Virginia, we rushed over to see the enormous Petersburg Cemetery before we had to head out of town to take me to the Richmond Airport. So different from what you see in the West. The statuary was amazing!The oldest grave in the cemetery dated back to 1702. The most incredible thing is that the man who did was 87 years of age. Most people didn't live that long back then. The stone has deteriorated badly, so this man's relatives made another in front of it.  There were also graves dating back to 1702 the War of 1812 soldiers buried in this cemetery, too. The monuments and wrought iron were beautiful and so interesting. This monument was erected in honor of the Cockade's a volunteer company out of Petersburg who fought in the War of 1812.There were Confederate flags on all the soldiers who fought for the Confederacy. Had no idea the South did this still. This is the entrance into the mass grave sites where 30,000 Confederate soldiers (of which only 2,800 where identified) were dug up in shallow graves all around Petersburg and then reburied in mass graves sorted by Confederate state.  So many young men killed in action. You could read this gravestone very well.This monument overlooked the Confederate mass graves. I can't remember who the soldier was, but he was quoted as saying he would never turn his back on the North and so he faces that way today.   Walking the trails between the mass graves sorted by Southern states. Seeing a modern day soldier in this historical place gives me chills. So proud of my husband! I pray he will not have to make the ultimate sacrifice for our country, but I know he is willing to do so.The words on this side of the large monument spanning the road say, "Awaiting the Revelry" Last thing we did in Virginia was visit the Blandford Church in the Petersburg Cemetery. It was used as a field hospital during the siege of Petersburg. Afterwards it was turned into a confederate war memorial. It is one of 9 buildings in existence that has all its windows entirely made of original Tiffany stained glass. Walking through this building made me really appreciate the art of stained glass on a whole new level. Sadly we weren't able to take pictures inside the building. St Peter's sword literally glowed! I really enjoyed learning about this place through the eyes of our tour guide who was an expert on the meaning and construction of each window. Really interesting. Well it was back to Richmond and then I flew home in the morning and Michael (after his flight got cancelled) was able to join us the next day. We enjoyed our time in Virginia, but were so happy to be back in Oregon as whole family unit once again. I'll never forget this trip and I hope to be able to take the kids back there someday, too. God Bless,Jackie [...]

Virginia Trip Part 6: Civil War Living History Museum in Pamplin, Virginia


Michael got out of class early on day, so we headed to a privately owned Civil War living history museum located on the far western edge of the Petersburg Union-held siege works, at Pamplin, Virginia.   There were some beautiful memorial bronzes right out front of the museum. Examples of siegeworks around Pamplin, VA. There was a Confederate winter camp located here. They had a couple of examples of what the Confederate soldiers would lived in during the winter. This little cabin had a sign that said "Hotel D'Louse'" I think that pretty much said it all. I can't image the conditions these soldiers were living in. Way more soldiers died of disease than in battle. This reenactor did a great job of showing us how to fire a Civil War era rifle as well as explaining winter camp conditions of the Civil War soldier. This is where the "Breakthrough" battle took place and the Union was finally able to shatter the Confederate siege works and effectively cut off the Confederate supply lines to Petersburg and Richmond. 2,800 Confederates ,mostly older men and teenage boys lost their lives in the Breakthrough Battle.  This put Lee on the run west to Appomattox Court House where he finally surrendered to Grant a few days later. Original earthworks. There was a modest plantation on these grounds and the house was still there. It was turned into a Confederate officers quarters during the siege. They replicated the slaves quarters. This was an example of a field slaves' quarters. Very dark and dingy inside.  There was a chicken yard in the back where slaves were sometimes allowed to keep chickens to supplement their diets and sell eggs. This was completely dependent on what their master would allow. The white cabin in the background is an example of small house where the household slaves with live.  There was an amazing interactive museum on the grounds as well where you walked into a "battle" with noise, rumbling floor and blasts of air hitting you as you walked towards the enemy firing at you through a video screen. It made an impression for sure. Very sobering.Here is a piece of a tree with a cannonball stuck in it. I thought this was amazing! It was a super hot day, so we didn't stay as long as we would have liked to walk the trails. However, what we did see, was very worth the price of admission. Plus they gave a military discount. I would highly recommend visiting Pamplin, Va, if you are in the area. God Bless,Jackie[...]

Virginia Trip Part 5: Petersburg Siegeworks and "Battle of the Crater":


After we got back from our weekend of visiting the Atlantic Ocean, we explored another portion of Petersburg Battlefield as soon as Michael got off work on Monday . It is huge! There were ultimately 37 miles of siegeworks around Petersburg. Saw where Confederate forces broke through the lines at Fort Stedman but were repelled by Union troops near the end of the war.Here is a bigger picture view of where Fort Stedman was.  Then we walked the woods where the infamous charge of the Maine First Heavy Artillery failed, resulting in 75% loss, the most of any Union regiment in the entire Civil War. Seeing all those names on that monument just gives you chills.Other side of the same monument. Such a waste of lives.Then we walked past "The Crater" where a Pennsylvania regiment dug a 500+ft tunnel under a Confederate battery, effectively blowing it up and killing 250 confederate soldiers. Entrance to the tunnel.They had to create ventilation shafts and it is amazing that they managed to hide these from the Confederates. After the big explosion, confused Union forces were soon pushed back into the crater and unable to escape its steep sides. It was like a "turkey shoot" for the Confederates.Gen. Grant called it a "Stupendous Failure". It was a good idea, but lack of communication lost the day. Confederates killed 4000+ Union troops that day, and the trench warfare continued for 8 more months of hell. This was the most sobering thing I saw back there. Couldn't get it out of my mind. The crater would have been much larger at the time. 150 years of erosion has diminished its size considerably.There were layers of wounded and dead soldiers piled on top of each other. The Confederates suspected the Union forces were digging a mine, but didn't know where it was. Thus, they began digging countermines. They almost ran into the Union tunnel, but didn't quite reach it.Right after the explosion, African American Union troops headed to the other side of the crater, but reinforcements didn't show up in time and they were soon pushed back into the Crater (because it was the only available cover) by angry Confederate troops who gave no quarter to the African Americans. In fact, a sign on the battlefield said that white Union troops trying to surrender were shooting their African American comrades- in-arms in hopes that the Confederates would allow them to surrender. This story sickened me. I'd never heard it before. Ultimately the whole battle was such a waste of men, especially since they went right back to a stalemate for 8 more months until the end of the war. Walking these battlegrounds and seeing these places with my own eyes - things I've only read about or seen in movies, has made a lasting impression on me. I'll never forget what I saw back there.Blessings, Jackie[...]