Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

September Field Trip

I planned a homeschool field trip out to Hidden Valley Wonders in Clayton, NC. 4 families participated - and this is a group shot of most of the children!

Closeup of Martin with Aaron peeking out from behind him

This is Dottie giving us lots of information on how to care for horses.

Jonathan and Martin taking turns grooming one of the horses.

Martin rides a horse for the first time!

Aaron's first time on a horse!

Jonathan's turn on the horse!

Playing with the goats
Jonathan feeds the goats

Martin and Aaron fishing in a fully stocked pond

Aaron was extremely patient, but didn't catch anything
We had a picnic lunch and did a little fishing to close out our day. They kept us very busy at Hidden Valley Wonders - and all the children had a wonderful time. All 4 of my children were exhausted by the time we piled into the car for the trip home. It wasn't long before I glanced back and saw this:

Rosalie sleeping

Jonathan sleeping

Aaron sleeping

Martin sleeping

Thursday, September 24, 2009

They really are best friends!

Martin and Aaron have gotten along like the best of friends since before Aaron could walk or talk. They are still the best of friends! They love each other, play well together, and enjoy being together. For those of you who have children who fight like cats and dogs. . . you know what a blessing it is to have two that get along beautifully!
I have both ends of the spectrum in this house, so I really do know how wonderful it is to have two who love each other so much!

I am praying that Aaron and Jonathan will learn to love and respect each other in much the same way as they grow and mature. . . I'll have to keep you posted on that!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Martin's first job

Martin with his schedule/to do list

We gave Martin his first paying job this past Saturday. Rich had to work on his classes (at home). I had to take Aaron to soccer. I didn't want to take all 4 of them with me to the soccer field and play referee to my 3 kiddos while my 4th one was playing soccer. Understandable, right?
So, I left Martin and Jonathan home with daddy, took Rosalie and Aaron with me, and gave Martin a paying job.
I put a detailed schedule on an index card for him that said:
10:30 - 11:30 - Play upstairs with Jonathan
11:30 - 12:15 - Make lunch for yourself and Jonathan, sit down with Jonathan and eat
12:15 - Take Jonathan upstairs and put him down for a nap. (turn off light, turn on fan)

I had to leave at 10:30 and was home by 12:30. My goal was for Martin to keep Jonathan occupied and well behaved, so that daddy could do his work without being disturbed. We told Martin that we would pay him $5 for a job done well.

When I got home from soccer, I heard a glowing report from Rich that Martin had indeed done a fantastic job keeping Jonathan occupied and well behaved. Martin made lunch right on time. (Rich did have to intervene once when Jonathan was refusing to eat his lunch - but other than that Rich never had to leave his computer!) When Jonathan had to go to the bathroom, Martin helped Jonathan get dressed again. When lunch had been successfully eaten, Martin took Jonathan upstairs, and put him down for a nap. YAY MARTIN!! Job well done! I am so thankful to have a 7 year old that is developing a good work ethic and is so genuinely helpful. (even when money is not involved!)
Rich mentioned that when Martin came downstairs from putting Jonathan down for a nap, Martin sighed and said, "Now I can rest!"
Welcome to my world, son!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Jonathan's Flower

Jonathan is loving going to Puggles every Wednesday night! He talks about it all week long. He would wear his Puggles shirt every single day, if I'd let him. In Puggles, he is learning that God created everything. This past week he learned that God created flowers. He got to bring a flower of his very own home that night!! We have a wall at home on which we put all of his Puggles art work.
You can see from the pictures on the wall that he has learned that God made light, God made the sky, God made the plants and trees, and God made the flowers:

I am so thankful that Jonathan is loving going to Puggles. He talks to his brothers throughout the week about what God created and goes through his list that he's learned in Puggles. I find it hilarious that when Martin or Aaron suggest that God made animals, or Adam and Eve, that Jonathan disputes all that they say . . . unless it's something he's learned in Puggles. He was insistent last week that God did NOT make flowers. When he came home from Puggles Wednesday night, he was very happy to agree that God created the flowers!

Monday, September 21, 2009

My yearly grain arrived. . .FINALLY!

I was out of every variety of grain except for Spelt. So, for about a month, we had spelt bread, spelt pancakes, and spelt waffles! Can't go wrong with spelt, though!!!

I ordered:
100 pounds of Prairie Gold
50 pounds of Kamut
50 pounds of Oat Groats
50 pounds of Soft White

I use Prairie Gold, kamut, spelt, and oat groats for my bread.
I use Spelt and Kamut for pancakes, waffles, and muffins.
I use soft white for hamburger buns and pizza crust.

I would eventually like to get a roller, so that I can roll out my own oats for granola and oatmeal.

So, we are back in business with all the different varieties of grain!!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Add Kombucha to the list of health foods that we have added to our repertoire!! Kombucha is a colony of yeast and bacteria that is somewhat mushroom looking. We got a Kombucha starter from a friend here in town.
Rich is the one who is mainly drinking the Kombucha. (although, once we get into a good routine, have more than one kombucha starter, and can keep enough on hand, I do want to drink it regularly as well.) Rich has been doing all the work to make it.

The process:
Brew 3/4 gallon of black tea:

Let it cool completely.
Add the Kombucha starter:

Cover it tightly in a large glass container.
Let it sit in a dark area for 10-14 days to ferment.
Pull out the mushroom looking colony of yeast and bacteria.
Strain the liquid.
Store in a glass container in the refrigerator.
Drink 4 ounces daily:
Kombucha tea is rich in antioxidants and probiotics. Some Kombucha benefits include: arthritis pains, intestinal problems, digestive disorders, kidney stones, high cholesterol, chronic fatigue, asthma, bronchitis, migraine, eczema, headaches, constipation, diabetes, rheumatism, anxiety, dizziness and insomnia. Problems associated with advancing years, such as high blood pressure, poor eye sight, arteriosclerosis and gout may also be helped by consuming Kombucha.

So. . . here we go. . . embarking on a new adventure. We'll have to let you know how it goes!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My little thinker. . .

Aaron drew a picture yesterday. It's a pretty common thing for him to do these days. The pictures he draws are pretty much the same each time. The picture almost always includes me and him holding hands or fishing or whatever he happens to think of at that particular moment.

When he's done drawing the picture, he always brings it to me - oh so proudly - and presents it to me like a most treasured gift. This time, he started writing something on the picture, so I had to bend down closely to see exactly what he was doing. Writing is fairly new to Aaron, and when he writes letters that we havn't practiced. . . I have to look really closely to figure out what he's written.

He wrote:

"win i loz kintrol i fol dawn nd git a blade ne"


When I lose control, I fall down and get a bloody knee.

It's interesting to see the differences between Aaron and Martin. At 4 1/2, Martin was an excellent reader (for that age), however, he never sat down and tried to spell anything. Aaron is such a thinker. He's always trying to write something down, whether he thinks he can spell it or not. He just sounds it out and writes it down the way he hears it!

When I was done reading what he wrote, I glanced at the top of the paper, and saw that he had written in big letters:




As he was working on his picture, he asked me what day it was, what month it was, etc. I didn't realize he was trying to write it down! Not too shabby on the spelling of September!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Grandparents Day to Nanny and Pupup and Mamaw and Papaw!!

Your grandchildren love and adore you and we thank God for you each and every day!!!
(I'm finding it difficult these days to get them all in one shot! LOL )

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Which brother do I look like the most?

Who do you think I look like?



or Jonathan?
We want to know what you think!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Water. . . the beverage of choice in the Holland home. Each of our boys get a choice of milk or juice when they wake in the morning, but it's water ONLY the rest of the day. Martin prefers apple juice, Aaron prefers milk, and Jonathan prefers orange juice for his morning beverage.
Rich and I have been trying to figure out what to do about our water situation since we moved to our new place. We couldn't decide whether we should buy a steam distiller, buy already distilled water, or install a water filter of some sort.

Rich finally decided to buy this:

Rich takes over and makes this entry:
This is the "Zerowater" unit we bought from our local Target store. It comes with the pitcher, one filter, and the handy TDS ("total dissolved solids") meter to test the water. The manufacturer advertises that the filter removes all the dissolved solids... so that all you have left is ... water!
First, I tested our tap water. I came up with 186ppm TDS. Lots of yucky stuff. (sorry, no picture proof of that reading)

I then installed the filter in the pitcher, filled it up, and let it go to work. There is an 0-ring that seals the filter into its chamber to prevent unfiltered water from seeping down and mixing with the filtered water. I noticed that there was water dripping past this seal. I knew the filter was not working correctly, but I decided to test the water anyway. I got 27 ppm TDS:

I took the filter out, straightened up the o-ring, and tried the process again. This time, no leaks, and here is what we got: And the water coming out tastes noticably better than the water out of tap!

Just for comparison, I decided to test the water using my MSR miniworks water filter. This is a small hand-held unit designed for outdoor adventures to eliminate the need for packing water:

The filter has a ceramic filter, and is operated by a hand pump. The first time through, I came up with an un-impressive 115ppm TDS.

I figured that some of this might be due to crud build-up in the filter mechanism itself, so decided to keep going. Eventually, I got it down to 96ppm:

So, our new Zerowater filter works as advertised ... and the MSR miniworks (while not as good) dramatically improves water quality.