Saturday, January 30, 2010

Multitude Monday: One Thousand Gifts

81.  Sewing with the Cherubs.
82.  Stacks of homemade cloth napkins.
83.  Homemade chicken broth brewing.
84.  Homemade chicken soup after an afternoon of sledding.
85.  Flakes covering all in a blanket of white.
86.  Wooly socks inside warm boots.
87.  Ski gloves, warm and dry.  Coats and snowpants too.
88.  Overhearing Cherubs THANK YOUs to DadToCherubs (new sleds).
89.  Popcorn and hot cocoa.

90.  Mugs of hot herbal tea.  Cozy flannel pajamas.  A restful evening together.
91.  Snow clouds.
92.  Fresh eggs from our chickens, gathered by small hands.
93.  Pine trees glistening with an icy sleet coating.
94.  Cherubs thankful for “The Perfect Sled Hill”, behind the barn.
95.  Study power lines, despite ice and snow.
96.  Healthy diet changes, and the endurance to stick with them (Praise God !)
97.  Muddy, rainy day - Dove soap – warm water – clean Cherubs.
98.  Snowmen standing, decorated.  Masterpieces.
99.  The started seeds, standing tall, with first leaves pressing against lids.
100.  Good night kisses.

101.  Candles glowing while power’s out.
102.  Gas fireplaces at the ready, should they be needed for back-up heat.
103.  Safe passage on less than safe (snowy, icy) roadways.

*  If you would like to join, please visit A Holy Experience:  Multitude Monday:  One Thousand Gifts and sign up.
** Thank you again Ann, for this precious experience.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow ....

When I went out to check on our horses,
Estrella was curious about the camera.
An aspiring shutterbug, perhaps ?
She and Sunny posed for this lovely snow shot.
The girls built this snowman.
We have between 2-3" on the ground,
but are supposed to get a total of
4-6-8" after it continues to snow overnight.
Hoping and praying the trees hold up
under the snow's weight ...
and that the power stays on.
*In the mean while,

Praying and Pondering ....

Sow for yourselves righteousness, 
reap the fruit of unfailing love,        
and break up your unplowed ground; 
for it is time to seek the Lord
until he comes 
and showers righteousness on you.
(Hosea 10:12 ESV)

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” (John 7:37)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Projects For Summer

Knock Off Wood

WOW -- what a great resource.
Knock Off Wood
This should keep the boys and I busy this summer.

One problem though ... what to make first ?!?!


Horse'n Around

Horseback Riding Lesson #5 at M.V.F.
Catching and haltering.

Checking feet.  Light grooming.
Preparing to saddle.

To The Arena ....
Cherub 2 leading Cheyenne.
Cherub 5 leading Bandit.
Horsetrainer Extraordinairre, R.G. in the red jacket,
and her lovely daughter and faithful helper S.G. in the black jacket.

And S.G.'s beautiful flock in the middle, clucking away happily.

Cherub 2 riding Cheyenne.

The photos of Cherub 5 riding were really blurry,
so I decided to show this close-up of
Cherub 5 and Bandit -- 
highlighting what they have in common.
See ?  They both have long blond hair hanging in their eyes, 
and they both prefer it that way.
I hear Bandit's is "Rock Star Hair". 
Cherub 5's is not brushed often enough to be Rock Star hair.
And she prefers it that way.

(Oh I wish that one was clearer !  It's just too cute !!)
Bandit seems to walk to the beat of his own drummer ... 
with a little spunk added in for good measure. 
Cherub 2 walks to the beat of HER own drummer too ...
only with A LOT of spunk added in ...
sometimes for good measure ...
sometimes not so good.
HA !

Coming back from the Arena.
Cheyenne, the magic horse follows along with Cherub 2.
She does exactly what she is supposed to do,
reliably and faithfully.
Much like Cherub 2.
Calm, cool, collected, soft and tender.


Bandit tosses his head a bit here and there, 
and stops for a snack several times.
He's often quite determined to do his own thing.
It seems he and Cherub 5 have a lot more
in common than just hair.
Ha !

Lest Their Eyes Fall Out

   4 "B" boys
+ 2 "E" boys
+ 3 TVs
+ 3 video game systems

While the girls were away, our boys had some friends sleep over ... and they "gamed".
I was concerned that their eyes would fall out, knowing full well that I could not take them
home to their mother without eyes.

All I can be sure of is that both "E" boys HAD eyes when I dropped them off.
Whatever happened after that ... well, I cannot be responsible for.
Right ?

Needless to say, this Game Party was a very special occasion.  Video games are used pretty sparingly here at Beck's Bounty and also in the "E" household as well.  So the boys really enjoyed themselves !

2010 Great Backyard Bird Count

"The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event that engages bird watchers of all ages in counting birds to create a real-time snapshot of where the birds are across the continent and in Hawaii. Anyone can participate, from beginning bird watchers to experts. It takes as little as 15 minutes on one day, or you can count for as long as you like each day of the event. It’s free, fun, and easy—and it helps the birds."

Our family has participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count for at least the last 5 years, but we think it's been more years than that.  The GBBC is something we look forward to doing every year as a family. 

Bird books and binoculars in hand, we set out, using whatever time we might have available that weekend to watch the birds around our yard -- each person in his or her own pre-chosen spot.  And then together we check over our lists, and then submit our data.  

It's fun for the whole family ... it's free ... it's Science for the whole family ... it's Orinthology for the whole family ... and it's a fantastic Nature Study too.  Our Cherubs have been known to take their Nature Journals along ... there have been more than a few sketches and notes of "new" (to us) birds spotted.

Why Count is a great article that explains why this annual Bird Count needs to be done.

For additional information about the FREE Great Backyard Bird Count, read How To Participate.

And to get a free list of birds for your area, please click here to print a Data Form for each "counter" in your household.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Daily Effort Of Education

A daily effort of education.
School days.
Right ?
School days mean books.
Lots of books.
Books of math, phonics, and grammar.
History books and science books.
Penmanship books.
Art books.  Music books.
Geography books.
Notebooks, paper, pencils.
Sketchbooks and colored pencils.
Nature Identification Guides (books).
Hymn books.  Poetry books.
Volumes of Shakespeare's plays.
Dictionaries, reference books.
Spanish instructional books.
Atlases.  Road maps bound together.
And the most important "books" of all...
His Book ... His Holy Word ... the Bible.
But what else is the "daily effort of education" ?

"To 'endeavour ourselves' to the daily effort of education, to live and act, think and speak before the children, so that they shall be hourly the better for all that we are, is harder, no doubt, than to make one enormous sacrifice" (Vol. 5, p. 156).

What exactly entails Miss Mason's
"daily effort of education" ?
Obviously she is speaking of something
in addition to books ...
we know she insisted on books.
Lots of books.
But what is that something-else ?
And what does she mean by ......
"so that they shall be hourly the better for all that we are ..."?
they shall be hourly ...
better for all that we are ...

I believe one of those details of
education is ... Living.
Daily education means teaching the children how to live.
Life skills are a vital part of our education ...
keeping house, repairs, laundry, cooking, financial concerns.
Gardening.  Caring for animals, whether farm animals or pets.
Even the wealthy and well-educated have to live in a home
of some kind, with a balanced checkbook,
requiring them to have at least
basic "life" skills, right ?
To our children,
I have said this a million times,
or so it seems ...
Our boys need to learn to
cook just as much as our girls.
For even the most brilliant genius
needs good food and sustenance, right ?
And our girls need to be
proficient in basic home
maintenance just
as much as our boys.
The washer can break in her
home just as easily as in his.

Sharing what we know as parents with the children.
Reading aloud good quality books, no matter how old the child.
Teaching them, with hands on too whenever possible,
but mostly with kind words and patient listening.
Giving and receiving narrations --
spontaneously, and without preparation.
Communication skills.
Giving instructions.  Receiving instructions.
Demonstrating orderly thinking and processes.
Thoughtful words with thoughtful actions. 
And also sharing with them how to speak to others ...
although I must say their tongues can be sharp at times.
This too can be corrected ... with time, speaking, and diligence.
Speaking .... we definitely do this daily .... and then some ....

Problem solving.
Figuring out "how" to accomplish new things.
Learning new skills and facing bravely new challenges.
Facing new unknowns with confidence and a well-formed plan.
Learning where and how to find answers.
(when Mom and Dad are not available - ha !)
A child will use his or her brain just as much
as the parent uses theirs.  Or so it seems to me.
So when they see us, they have an example to follow.
No pressure there on dear ole' Mom and Dad, huh ?
For a child to become an avid reader, he or she generally
needs to see an example in the parents.
There are a few exceptions, but they are rather uncommon.
The children need to witness parents not only reading, but
challenging themselves to continue learning, reading
good quality books with "literary language".
Searching for and finding the answers.
Learning new skills and facing bravely new challenges.
Forming good plans and "thinking".
Books are friends, afterall.
Miss Mason called some books twaddle.
Do my children see me reading twaddle,
or do they see that "literary quality" in my books too ?
Do they see me learning, growing, stretching ?
Or do they see me as complacent, stagnant ?

A Funny Story:
Long before Cherub 1 could read, he would bring
story books to my bed in the late evening.
I would read the story, and then he would "read"
(pretend) the same book over and over again,
repeating many of the words I read,
sitting beside me as I was reading my own book.
Today, we have to be careful to plan library trips
at times when Cherub 1 is free to "disappear" ---
new books mean we won't be seeing him for a while, or
at least until he finishes the book.
He's been known to hide in the bathroom
with a flashlight and a book, late at night, too.
Oh - to read !!!!

He LOVES to read.
When he was younger he was a challenge ...
and of all the things we could have grounded him from,
books was never one of them.
But it was tempting.  HA !

He jokes today that he would DIE without reading.

Nourishment for the body means good healthy food
including lean meats, delicious fruit, fresh colorful vegetables,
healthy grains ... and of course, plenty of clean clear water.
Every day.
Several times each day.
Nourishment for the mind means good literature,
solid information, the ability and motivation to continue learning,
and the ability to "live".
E-v-e-r-y   d-a-y.
Every day.

This post was submitted to the CM Blog Carnival .

Monday, January 25, 2010

Multitude Monday: One Thousand Gifts

56.  Windy rainy days.
57.  Beef barley soup for chilly days.
58.  Wooly socks.
59.  Knees peeking through worn denim; adventures and good times had.
60.  Rainproof jackets on cold rainy mornings.

61.  Protection of our humble home during high winds.
62.  Sharp pruning sheers and heavy work gloves.
63.  Buds forming on forsythia bushes – it won’t be long ‘til spring.
64.  New sprouts emerging (seeds started indoors for the garden).
65.  Our organizer program – and being “on schedule” with school this year.
66.  Our family doctor, and his dedication and care for DadToCherubs’ health.
67.  Love (loving) makes us real (Velveteen Rabbit).
68.  Hot chocolate and Rummikub.
69.  Drizzly, rainy days.

70.  Balls of yarn, and busy hooks.
71.  Stashes of fabrics, sewing machine buzz-ing.
72.  Muddy footprints.
73.  Sloppy wet ground, but no flood damage.
74.  Water table filling with all the rain; plenty of water in our well.
75.  Warm toast, melted butter, homemade jam.
76.  Orchard grass hay and it’s wonderful scent.
77.  Rain dripping down the window glass.
78.  Warm and dry, inside.
79.  A beautiful sunny morning.
80.  A calm breeze, instead of High Winds.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

From Common Sense .....

"" A long habit of not thinking
a thing wrong
gives it a superficial appearance
of being right."
(from Common Sense by Thomas Paine)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I am praying this morning ... for peace ... for provision
... in Haiti. 

May those who are complicated get out of the way ...
may they stand aside and let Him in ... the water flow ...
the food nourish ...

May they step away with their agendas and photo ops,
so that Haiti may simply grieve with dignity ...
and then begin anew, in His Hands.

May those with red-tape-tied hands just MOVE OVER ...
and those laden with His provisions step forward boldly
as humble servants to the Most High God,
in loving kindness to Haiti ...

I pray that I never forget these eyes -- a small child,
rescued from the rubble by the strong arms that hold him,
upon seeing his precious mother's smiling face again.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Birthday To Our Little Dolly !

(Photo above:  2006)

Cherub 2, our "big girl", is 14yo today ....
A lovely lady, who loves God and her family ...
and who is making us fatter with all of her baking (ha !).
We love her dearly --- our Little Dolly.

All smiles (above) in 2008 -- while getting stitches in her knee.
You see, she's a dare devil on a bicycle.
And overall, see the doctor and the ER more than
anyone else in our family.
And (below) she's a little c-r-a-z-y sometimes
when armed with a camera.
HA !

Cherub 2 (standing) and Cherub 5 (in playpen) in 2000.

Cherub 1 and Cherub 2
on their first day of school at FCA,
pictured here with Father David.
Look at those dimples (she still has them !).
We began homeschooling 3 years later.

Photo taken at National Guard Armory
Christmas Party
in December 2000.
(In walker is Cherub 5, 
Cherub 4 is on her left with curls,
Cherub 3 is directly behind Cherub 5, 
Cherub 2 is behind Cherub 3
and was not pleased as she hated crowds, 
and Cherub 1 is smiling next to her -- 
he had just given her his candy cane 
that she might not be scared anymore.  
And DadToCherubs is in the back.)

Christmas Photo taken December 2008.
Cherub 2 is weather the black hat, on right.
A little lady.

January 2009 - Turning 13yo.

May 2009
Cherub 2 in the pink shirt; the chief garden helper.
She loves to garden ... and dig ... and plant ...
and this year will have her own
vegetable garden in addition
to her very own flower garden.
She's starting the seeds for all of her plants this afternoon.
Quite an accomplished gardener, indeed !

Christmas 2009 -- hugging her new video camera.
A gift from DadToCherubs.
She loves taking pictures and filming ...
well, almost as much as she loves baking.

Cherub 2 (orange shirt) with R.G. during her
first Horseback Riding Lesson in early January 2010.
Cherub 2 LOVES horses,
even more than she loves baking, I suspect.  HA !