Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our First Foal, A Filly!

We had no idea six months ago when we purchased Lightning that there was a baby inside!!!

A few months ago she began to grow… was she overeating?

Could she be expecting? No. Probably hopeful thinking...

Yesterday she began showing some interesting signs… Labor?

It was about to storm last night so I got up and checked on the animals one last time at one in the morning.  What did I find?

A miracle! We are so excited to announce that Lightning gave birth to STORM… It rained and thundered all night but the little girl (filly) is fine and nursing… And you can imagine the excitement that our daughter has (the one who saved up for three years for this horse)! She originally wanted to purchase a baby to bring up and be hers from the beginning but we told her to start off with a trained horse first... She ended up being blessed with both!

The pictures are taken in the middle of the night which is why they are somewhat dark ~ I just had to share about our latest addition!

"Hast thou given the horse strength?
hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?"
~ Job 39:19

If you have a horse loving daughter then I recommend these items:

Excellent Reference Book

Wholesome DVD

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

Surprise Cookies by Martha Stewart (Photo from same source)

If you haven't figured out that I love chocolate yet, then here is your chance… I wanted to share one of my favorite cookie recipes. This lovely indulgence is actually a Martha Stewart find. I must admit that this is a rare thing since I can't entertain the thought of most of her recipes. You usually have to climb up the Andes mountains, pick the purple looking herb in its late stage (only available in winter), smash it with a mortar and pestle (must be made of marble), dry it out for 24 hours (when the humidity is less than 20%) and then simmer it for 15 minutes in a double boiler that is nonreactive... in order to obtain her "type of ingredients". Am I the only one who doesn't have half of her listed foods in the pantry? I require basic items because when I get the urge to bake it is usually spontaneous and what I have on hand is what usually gets prepared. (Hey, if you lived in the middle of nowhere you would think like this too!) With that being said, this is one of our family favorites. May I present *Surprise Cookies*. I didn't bother with another tutorial, who could compete with Martha?

Give it a try and tell me what you think…

Now it's your turn.
What is your favorite chocolate inspired recipe?

Friday, December 16, 2011

D is for Dinosaur ~ A Unit Study

This study is for the purposes of explaining that science and the Scriptures are in harmony while at the same time teaching your children about dinosaurs. When our darlings realize the Bible can be trusted in all areas, the foundation of their faith is that much stronger… Shall we "dig in"?

Read Aloud Book Suggestion for Older children (8 and up)Dinosaurs for Kids by Ken Ham, Dinosaurs by Design by Duane T. Gish (Both of these books promote science in harmony with the Scriptures as well as the choices for little ones below.)

Read Aloud Book Suggestions for Younger children (4 - 8 years)What Really Happened to the Dinosaurs? by John Morris/Ken Ham, D is for Dinosaur: A Rhyme Book and More by Ken and Mally Ham (This is a sillier book but with a serious message that is a great introduction for younger children to science and the Scriptures. The second half of the book has pages for coloring and devotionals and exercises for the family.)

For FunDinosaur Floor Puzzle with Songs CD (These songs are fun that teach about dinosaurs and we really love this series in our homeschool.) We like to time the children doing the puzzles and see if they can break their record the next day. 

I would suggest reading together from the above books for 1/2 hour a day. (The books are just suggestions and you may use whatever you have available to you providing they are creation based.) Then, have the children do some of the listed activities below each day according to their abilities.  Include all work separately in a notebook/binder or composition book for each child. Don't forget to let them decorate their own covers with pictures of dinosaurs, stickers or clip art! Encourage them to be creative. By the end of a few weeks you will have a nice collection of "dinosaur scrapbooks" to cherish as an educational keepsake. For more information on the concept of Unit Studies, visit What is a Unit Study?

Dinosaur Inspired Learning Activities~

Spelling/Vocabulary Words
  1. dinosaur
  2. creation
  3. evolution
  4. reptile
  5. lizard
  6. paleontologist
  7. fossil
  8. bone
  9. extinct
  10. skeletons
Bible/Science: If dinosaurs in the Bible are a new concept to you, visit this site which will give you answers to the questions about how dinosaurs "fit" into the Scriptures. You may want to read this article aloud and have a family discussion.

Bible/Penmanship: Read to the children, Job 40:15-24 (see below) and see what they think he is describing. It can certainly be a dinosaur but wouldn't be called a dinosaur since that name was created by Sir Henry Owen in 1841 when he found the first fossils. Explain this to the children. Have your students copy one verse a day from Job 40:15-24 in their best writing while paying careful attention to punctuation.

Bible/Art: Read aloud from Job 41 to your children. See what animal they think he is describing (How about a plesiosaur?). Have them draw a picture of one. Older children can copy some of the verses from Job 41 onto their artwork.

Science Research: Choose five different dinosaurs and research the meaning of each name. For example, Tyrannosaurus Rex means "tyrant lizard" in Greek. 

Science Research/Report: Choose a favorite dinosaur to do a report on and be sure to include an illustration. Obviously, the younger the child, the shorter the report.

Language Arts: Using the verses below from Job 40:15-24, see if the children can point out the verbs to you. How about the nouns. Can they identify the adjectives?

Language Arts: Discuss similes. Explain to your children that a simile is defined as a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind. Using Job 40:15-24, see what sentences the children can point out that are similes. For example, "He moved his tail like a cedar."

Language Arts: Have the children make up a poem about dinosaurs.

Language Arts: Set the timer for five minutes and see how many words the children can make using the word, "dinosaur".

Thinking Skills: Have older children alphabetize the dinosaurs you have learned about in this study.

Math: Younger children can learn place value in a fun game called, Dino Math Tracks Place Value Game by Learning Resources. We had fun playing this dinosaur game while learning simple math concepts. There are three levels of play.

Geography: Print out a blank map of the world and label the areas where the dinosaurs fossils were found each time you read about it in your books.

Arts and Crafts Science Project: Create a dinosaur poster. Using the free, printable vintage dinosaur coloring pages at this  link, have children color, cut and paste pictures onto a white poster board. Label each dinosaur according to it's name. Hang up in the school area and at the end of the study, see if they can identify each dinosaur by memory.

Art: Have the children draw and color some dinosaurs. Remind them that there is no real way to color a dinosaur since fossils don't tell us what color the skins were. That is left up to the imagination.

Art/Picture Study: Study some paintings of dinosaurs by Charles R. Knight (1874-1953) with the children. See if they can guess which dinosaurs are depicted in the pictures. Choose one to do a picture study on. Have the children observe the painting daily and see what new details they notice about the picture. At the end of the week, print off the picture and paste onto paper and have children write an "art review" on the painting. Note that all the paintings on this post are his artwork. It is also interesting to mention to the children that he was legally blind when he painted these pictures with the aid of specially designed glasses.

Photo by Taste of Home with Recipe Here
Home Economics/Math: Make some dinosaur cookies with the children by using Dinosaur Cookie Cutters. Have children double the recipe to sharpen math skills.

Field Trip: Visit a museum that features fossils, or any other place geared towards dinosaurs. If you live near Kentucky, you can visit the Creation Museum. If you live in California, you can visit the Cabazon Dinosaurs which is creation based as well. If you live near any other place relating to dinosaurs, leave it in the comment box to give others some ideas.

Movie Suggestions:
Dinosaurs, Genesis & the Gospel, DVD (4 -7 years of age)
Project Dinosaur DVD (7 & up, but younger children would enjoy too.)
The Bible Explains Dinosaurs DVD (Great for adults who need answers, Ages 12 - adult since this is in lecture form and probably won't hold the attention of younger children but it will hold yours!)
Dinosaurs & Dragon Legends--DVD (This is a "Short Video" of only 14 minutes but we really enjoyed the cinematography so I wanted to include this in the list in case your family gets really interested in this topic).

"Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; 
he eateth grass as an ox.
Lo now, his strength is in his loins, 
and his force is in the navel of his belly.
He moveth his tail like a cedar: 
the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
His bones are as strong pieces of brass; 
his bones are like bars of iron.
He is the chief of the ways of God: 
he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.
Surely the mountains bring him forth food, 
where all the beasts of the field play.
He lieth under the shady trees, 
in the covert of the reed, and fens.
The shady trees cover him with their shadow; 
the willows of the brook compass him about.
Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: 
he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.
He taketh it with his eyes: 
his nose pierceth through snares."

~ Job 40:15-24

If you have any questions or concerns about
Science and the Scriptures,
I highly recommend Answers in Genesis 
as a Bible based tool for your family.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Prairie Farm Tour ~ Our Little House on the Prairie

You are invited to part one of our Homestead Home Tour. I will be showing the great outdoors today.

Below are the other landscapes of life on our farm during the last eight months…

It is amazing how many creatures you can accumulate in less than a year! 

Out of the 25 acres, the above area is our favorite!

It is the refuge for hubby and I for our Friday cup of coffee that I discussed in Coffee Break

This is the view from our front porch… and yes, these are free-range cows! 

This is our grape arbor "patio"…

Would you care to join me for a game of Scrabble here?

This climbing rose is my attempt at bringing a cottage garden onto the farm.

Our "kitchen garden" in the spring. I wrote about this area when I planted a small Autumn Garden last fall. This is where all the "quick picks" take place for the dinner table. The main garden is shown below and is farther back on our property.

This is the famous outhouse. Yes, I did try to doll it up with some abandoned bricks. I planted a hydrangea plant next to it (which the chickens have pecked apart) and hope that it will fill out and take away the scary thoughts one has of using an outhouse… It may even convince me one day! At this point it is the "little boys'" room.

Hardworking farm animals…

Well you may as well know, I  have a passion for pugs…
More on those wonderful creatures later!

And for the record, pugs are not farm dogs…
One night at three in the morning I was woken by a loud noise outside.
It was the neighbors dog eating all the kibble.
What does pug think about this intrusion?
Why nothing! For she is two feet away and snoring loudly…
To have her worries!

Playing follow the leader...

One of our two swings which was showcased in Soaring Swings.

I love the worn out grass below it for it shows use.

Horses grazing and lazing around…

The "black sheep" in the family is in a hurry to do his mischief...

The first brick building is the "laying" chicken coop where these hens make their home. Notice the white one in the picture? The reason that chicken is strutting like a happy hen is because she was saved from the "freezer" by the intercession of our daughter. For some reason, this certain chicken was special to her (although they all looked the same to me!)… A father's heart can show love in different ways and this little feathered gal is proof. The second brick building is the turkey coop which is followed by the lamb and goat pen… Like to take a peek?

Truly not the handsomest of creation. Sorry…

They look more appealing all roasted up on a platter. (Is that mean to say?)

Mama and the two trouble-makers… Does goat milk scare you?

It used to freak me out too… would you like to read about my goat milk experience?

And here is the main garden which is surrounded by chicken wire to protect it from all the creatures who are just dying to get in there. Of course, birds take the liberty and break our hearts daily with their indulgences. No corn this year…

A neighbor coming to call…

Thank you for joining me on the tour of our little house on the prairie.

You are always welcome here!

Recommended Homesteading Books
from our home:

The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery is probably our hands down favorite since it is written in a way that an average city slicker with basic knowledge will understand. Humorous and down to earth, the author Carla Emery is known simply as "Carla" in our household and many a table conversation starts out with "Carla says…"… We love Carla!

Storey's Basic Country Skills is fun for its variety, tips and pictures along with simple instructions. I think women will appreciate the format on this one since it is more magazine style with some decorating themes.

This one (John Seymour's: The Self Sufficient Life) is for the more technical mind and professional type of farmer in my opinion. Great ideas but a bit advanced for our simple systems. We do refer to it on occasion and like to look at the pictures and dream of what we could do when we "grow up" into "real" homesteaders.

This is probably the book that started it all with our family (Reader's Digest: Back to the Basics). We found it at a library sale and it has been a gem ever since. Toothpaste recipes, windmill plans, you name it!


Some helpful DVD's are:

This post may be shared with some or all of the following link-ups: The Art of Home-Making MondaysModest Mom Monday'sMonday's MusingsMake Your Home Sing MondayGood Morning Mondays,  The ScoopTitus 2sdaysTitus 2 TuesdaysTuesdays with a TwistRaising HomemakersWise Woman Link UpHomestead Blog Hop Wow Us Wednesdays,  Coffee and ConversationHomemaking ThursdaysHome Sweet HomeOur Simple HomesteadFrom the Farm Blog HopFront Porch Friday Blog HopAwesome Life Friday Link UpFive Star Frou Frou FridaySimply Natural Saturdays and Clever Chicks Blog Hop. Thank you lovely ladies for hosting these.