Friday, September 27, 2013

Welcome to Your Forever Family, Champ!

It was soooo fun to surprise our children with a dog this last week! I got their precious reactions on video as my sister brought Champ up with her when she visited us. After a three hour drive, all the poor dog wanted to do was pee! He didn't get much of a chance as my kids greeted him ;o) 
Champ belonged to my late Grandpa Fay and his wife, Regina. They were looking for another home for him when Grandpa got sick. We thought he would probably be a good fit in our family and were waiting until we moved. But Regina needed us to take him earlier and I'm so happy we did. After four years of being dogless after our wiener dog, Oscar, died, I was finally ready.

We decided a bigger dog (not a puppy - Champ is 2 years old) would probably be best for the kids- he absolutely loves kids. He's a mutt (has border collie and I'm not sure what else in him). Much to Josiah's delight, he is sleeping in his room. After reading Summer of the Monkeys, Josiah has wanted a dog so badly. He is already teaching him tricks and working on his manners. We are going to invest in some dog obedience lessons for Josiah and Champ. Then Josiah can teach the rest of us how to work with Champ. We think this will be a fabulous life lesson for Josiah. Praising the Lord for the blessing of this wonderful, dog! Watch out, Champ, you're going to be in doggy heaven in this family :)

God Bless,

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Hailey's 6th Birthday Swimming Party at Ritter Hot Springs

Trying to catch up on some summer posts. I couldn't miss Hailey's 6th birthday party at Ritter Hot Springs. She wanted a swimming birthday party so we invited my mom who also has an August birthday and some friends of ours whose daughter's birthday is near the same time. We got Hailey a "puddle jumper" and she had a ball being able to swim all over the pool by herself.
Her friends, Reese and Briella, also had them. In fact, their mom, Jodi, told me about them and I'm glad I went ahead and purchased one for her birthday.
She really loved the flipper and snorkel set from Grandma Kricket and Larry Pop.

Mom doing what she loves. A broken collarbone from a dirt bike accident in the desert didn't slow her down!
Josiah had a ball, too, of course.

Here is a picture of Ritter Hot Springs pool and the rustic hotel we stayed in. The water is the perfect temperature!
For only $30, we stayed in this very spartan, rustic hotel room at the Hot Springs. It was worth it not to have to pack all of our camping stuff for just one night.
The old Ritter General Store.
We had a birthday feast with friends. 
Hailey and Grandma Kricket.

All three of the birthday girls.
We decided to get Hailey a swimming pool cupcake cake. It didn't quite make the trip, but the birthday girls didn't seem to mind.
Hailey got a doll, handmade in Russia from our friends, the Isaaks. She just loves it and is very careful with it.

The best part of Ritter Hot Springs in the awesome diving board. The kids had so much fun on it! Even Hailey was going off it in her puddle jumper.
Can you tell Daddy had a say in Hailey's birthday gifts this year? She was thrilled to get a pink BB gun and three pink practice arrows. Also, our friends, the Carrolls, got her a case for the pink bow they got her for Christmas. She's going to be hunting with Daddy before she knows it. Glad she isn't squeamish like me. Michael would love for me to go hunting, but I just can't do it. I think I'd have to be starving. Just bring me the animal already gutted and skinned and I'll take care of it. I'm glad he's raising some hunting buddies to take my place.

"Happy birthday my dear daughter. Your little independent spirit is amazing to watch. Sometimes it gets you into trouble, but overall, I know it is a good thing. I love to watch you explore your world and to see the love of learning developing in you. You are a joy to homeschool. I'm privileged to call you my daughter. Your funny, sweet little voice and the amusing things you say keep our family entertained with never a dull moment. We love that you still want to snuggle with us. But the best thing we love about you, Hailey, is the amazing spiritual insights you seem to have at such a young age. The way you know how to feel clean again when you sin. You know that Jesus has washed your sins away with His blood and you are white as snow. You understand the power of the Holy Spirit already. Oh, had I understood that at your age! You are precious to us and we can't imagine life without our Hailey Baby. God bless you, sweet one!"

Your Blessd and Grateful Mom,

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Old Man Fall is Peeking Around the Corner - A Catch Up Post

As usual, summer flew by faster than I could keep up with. Can't believe it is already time to start school! Last Monday, we started some new homeschool traditions my kids are loving! We start on our knees in prayer time (each having a chance to pray), then do The Lord's Prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and sing The Star Spangled Banner. This little routine has been very beneficial in helping the kids transition from breakfast/morning chores to school time. They get to take turns ringing the bell when it it is time to start school. I've been using a jingle bell, but I'm waiting for the antique school bell that Michael bought for me off the internet to come. My kids are ALL about traditions, so I'm trying to use those things to help school be more enjoyable. 

I decided to get more organized this year and stick to a strict schedule that includes recesses. Both kids seem to be thriving on it so far, so I think that is what they needed. I'm protecting our school time jealously, and wow are we getting a lot done. It helps so much to have a reader and it is is nice to see Josiah moving towards more independent learning so I can focus on getting Hailey reading. Josiah is in 4th grade this year and Hailey is in 1st. We have our bumps in the road and impatient times, but overall it is going well.

Before we started school, my sis helped me pare down my curriculum pile for Josiah from this to...

...this. The stack on the left is what I'm using this year, the one on the right, I either got rid of completely or I'm saving for another year. Hailey's stack is much smaller. I decided to do a science-based unit study this year called, "Considering God's Creation". It is much less intense than the Prairie Primer study we did last year as I'm only doing it once a week instead of every day, but we really miss the PP and hope to do it again in a couple of years when Hailey is able to read the books by herself.
If the kids get all their work done by early afternoon, we get to do something fun like bake, arts and crafts or simply have a tea party or play a game. I've instated the rule of no electronics during the day unless it is needed for homeschooling, so lots of playing and reading happening around here.
We've had several bucks come to visit our neighbor's huge tomato patch.
My nephew, Jacob, was able to come stay with us for a week while Josiah was at the desert having fun with his Grandma and cousins, Jessica and Andrew. We had a blast with him. We played laser tag and miniature golf  and got to go to the park. He is a hard worker and he and Hailey helped weed my huge garden and shucked lots of corn. 
 Jacob and Hailey also helped us can 22 jars of  German Dill Pickles. We've canned a total of 38 jars this year total. We canned regular heirloom pickling cukes (on the left), but most of them are from Armenian cucumbers (right) that we cut down into spears. They are lighter in color and a very crisp cuke, so I'm hoping they will make good pickles. We shall see in a few weeks. 
We also canned Dilly Beans for the first time. I'm curious to see how they turned out as I made my own recipe. If they are good, I'll be sure to post it.
I found some time to try out the soap molds I found at a yard sale. I used the easy blender milk soap recipe. This one batch took about 15 minutes to make. They sit for a month as the lye deactivates and then I've got soap to use for gifts or for face, hands and body. Love this stuff! I used to call it my ugly soap, but I can't do that now with these molds. The kids thought they were the coolest soap bars ever.
Michael has been using the upholstery sewing machine I got him for Father's Day a lot lately. The biggest project he's taken on is sewing a huge canvas awning for our wall tent. We used it at the Celtic Festival, but like all men who refuse to sew with a pattern, you soon find your mistakes and what you could improve on. So with a little more work to be done on it, I'm happy to say that this awning will be very useful when deer hunting season comes around. 

Speaking of Michael's projects, his T-Bucket is at the shop getting some final touches done on the body and then it will be painted. Michael can hardly wait to get it back and keep working on getting going. He's hoping to have it all done by next summer and ready to take to some car shows.
We had one last swim this summer at Arlington when we did a cousin exchange. We love this park! Lots of sand to play in and the water is warm.
Grandma Kricket, Hailey in her new puddle jumper she got for her birthday, and cousin Jess.

The boys mostly hung out on the beach building "Middle Earth". They could have been there for another two hours, they were having so much fun.

Hope everyone is doing well. I haven't had much time to blog lately, too busy livin' life! Now that school is starting things are slowing down a bit, so hopefully I'll have more time if my garden lets me ;o)

God Bless,

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

2013 Celtic Festival

We had such a great time with our family and friends at the 2013 Celtic Festival. It just keeps getting better every year. Despite some afternoon weather challenges, (both days), everyone made do and worked together with a wonderful Celtic spirit to keep the festival going.  The Celtic Society has taken our family in and made us feel so welcome and needed. I've enjoyed learning how to update and improve their website. Check it out at: I've added a lot of great music and pictures.
Saturday morning we started out with the Boise Highlanders piping outside the clan tents in preparation for the Clan parade.
My friend and Celtic cousin, Cora, and her family joined us for the parade and all the festivities. Her family is from Clan MacGregor, who had neighboring lands with my husband's clan, Clan Lamont. There is a wonderful story about the Lamonts and MacGregors. It is a tale of honor and hospitality. Look it up online if you have time.
The MacGregors and Lamonts marching in the clan parade. The MacKinnons are right behind us.
Our family friend, Billy, proudly represented his Irish clan.  
Michael was honored as the Chieftain of the Day. He saluted all the clans as they went past. We are all so proud of him.
I asked for a caption for this photo on Facebook and my favorite was from my friend, Jaime: "WOMAN...IF I told you once...I told you twice...get in there and make me some more Haggis...try NOT to BURN it this time....and then...while you are at it...I need my royal kilt pressed and ready for this evenings events...and then...fetch me my coffee....I'm in a hurry...snap snap..."
Billy sold wine racks and swords in his clan tent. He sold out of every single sword! Check out his new Celtic Store Northwest website for amazing prices on swords and sporrans.
Me with my lovely friend, Becky of Clan Johnston.

The Irish Dancers of Idaho
Hannah and Hailey, BFFs
My niece, Lily, and nephew, Jacob, standing in front of our Clan Lamont display.
The Gothard Sisters were amazing as usual!

Hailey, Cora Mae and Hannah were flower girls in a Celtic wedding that took place at the festival over the weekend.
The happy couple going through the arch made by the 15th Scottish Division. Love the joy in their faces and their matching tartan.
Shortly after the wedding we had a massive thunderstorm that ripped our awning loose. So we used human tent poles until we could get it fixed. 
My niece, Jessica, Josiah and nephew, Andrew, all showing off their weapons they purchased.
I can't imagine throwing this telephone pole, they call a caber!
Takin' a breather as the haggis, corned beef and cabbage are cooking.
We ended up feeding eight families Saturday night. It was so fun having our friends and family join us for a traditional Celtic meal.
Michael and I stole a moment together.
Mom and Larry helped out as volunteers at the gate and the CSEO tent. Thanks guys!!!!
Daddy's girl! Hailey had fun hanging out at the WWI 15th Scottish Division's reenactment site.

Kid's Kilted Kilometer.

Hailey throwing the hammer at the Children's Highland Games.
Hailey picked up all 4 jugs in the "Farmer's Walk "and stumbled and dropped them the whole time, but she didn't give up. She kept going until she got to the finish line. She is one determined girl!
Hailey could barely pick this thing up.
But she did!
Josiah's turn.
Hailey crossed the line when it wasn't her turn and Josiah accidentally hit her with his caber. She bled a little but was OK.
"The Queen" gave her a post card that thanked her for her determination. She explained that the woman on the post card, Heather MacDonald, is a Highland Games champion even though she isn't the biggest or the strongest, but because she had so much determination just like Hailey. When "The Queen" told Heather about Hailey, Heather said she is going to send Hailey an autographed picture. I thought that was so sweet!
Homeschool friend, Riley, doing the Caber toss.
Josiah and his friends and cousins are waiting for Billy's sword demonstration to start.
Wouldn't want to mess with Billy either. He was terrific at his sword demonstrations.
Michael got to try his hand at it, too. He showed them what a "lefty" can do!
"Good English brains!"

Our camp/Clan tent set up. We slept in the wall tent at night and hung out under the awning by day. A good time was had by all. This has been such a wonderful way to teach our kids history, art and culture in a family friendly environment. This festival is a homeschooler's dream. Thanks to all who helped make this Festival possible! We can't wait for next year!!!

Here is a wonderful video that our local newspaper put together for this event. The reporter who did this captured the essence of our festival perfectly. The kids and so many of our friends are in it, too. Please enjoy this short video:

Sixth Annual La Grande Celtic Festival and Highland Games


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