Monday, August 31, 2009

The First Day of School

Today the Mango Academy began their 13th + year. Over the years the method has evolved from regular book work type school work to more of a Charlotte Mason approach. (To see how this is done on a practical level see .) Our morning starts off with everyone praying, a devotional, a hymn, poetry, different books Mom reads, common knowledge quiz, and several other things. Then Mom works with Elizabeth while the middle four read a literature book for half an hour. After that is History and writing (I'm sitting in on this one. Mom is doing writing rather than English this year, because this is the weaker subject of the two for us.) Next, the middle four read for another half hour. This time it's a History book-right now they all have books on Creation. (They're doing Ancient History this year.) Mom has several other extracurricular subjects, that happen on different days, but that is the basic structure of our school schedule.

Last night as Mom and I put last minute things together I came across a story that T-Bob wrote last year. It was hilarious, at least I thought so.

There once was a spider called William Wallace. He liked to bite other spiders when he was young so the spiders got rid of him as soon as they could. He was a funnel web. Everything he bit died. One day when he was older he married a beautiful black widow. Since he was naughty he had another wife which was a brown recluse. They all bred together, and they came out with the deadliest spider alive. He was called William the Conqueror. He had a tribe of the deadliest spiders and conquered everything. Hence the name William the Conqueror. When his whole tribe died they didn't have any of those spiders alive. There was only three mentioned in my story. The end

It is strange to no longer be a part of school, though I do plan to sit in and work on handwork etc. (when I'm not working) for the school before the 1/2 hour of literature reading. I have a long list of books to read though as well as other subjects I've chosen, that I've never really had time for before.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Green Mob strikes Again

We stopped at a rest area along the Pennsylvania turnpike coming home from our vacation. This sign greeted us at the Stop. These reserved spots are right next to the handicapped spots. We did find a spot right next to them. We had no idea that Pennsylvania was so PC. We did appreciate a few of the other features at this rest area though. They had a farmer's market (with real farmers) right there under a tent. They also had a Mommy and Me stall in the bathroom. I laughed when I saw it and I would have taken a picture, but I thought that was a little weird. There was a bigger sized stall with two toilets in it. One a full sized toilet and then a small one. Probably only 12 " high with a special seat as well. I had never heard of this before. Has this been around and I missed it? Are they other places? It was very handy.

I think one of the reasons the car thing bugged us is that we think we are more efficient in our big van with eight of us traveling in it than the person driving alone in a LEFEV. If you divide the MPG or energy required per mile per person I think we would be more efficient. Oh well, since when did common sense count for anything.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dallas Adventures

Dallas has discovered the neighbor's dogs. He loves going over there and running with them. They are big dogs and no longer puppies. They are good for him as they won't let him be the boss. They make him submit. This does carry over to his training at home. This morning when I looked out the window, he had digged a hole under the fence and was playing with his doggy buddies. When we called him to come home he tried and tried to come, but the board that so easily allowed him out didn't move the same amount to let him come back. Finally, the neighbor kindly came out and lifted him over the fence.

Dallas is very good about sitting and has recently learned to fetch more consistently. He will go get the ball and bring it directly back to you. He used to try and run off. He has pretty much stopped the puppy nipping thing. He has grown a lot. He weighs almost 20 pounds now. He is now about 14 weeks old. He is a very bright pup.

Dallas has learned to walk on a leash. He is still needing some work in this department, but it's coming. He was very glad to see us come home after being away for a week.

He is thriving on his BARF diet. His coat absolutely shines. His eyes are bright and his ears are clear. We are noticing that his coat, especially on his head is turning brownish. No- it is not the cocoa powder residue. I think that it must be his hound roots showing through.


EBC Reunion

While at Greenwood Hills Camp, we had a mini-EBC reunion. Dear Hubby and I met there in the fall of 1981. We have now been married for 21 years. EBC has an alumni website and many people keep in touch and meet there. Martain and Kim actually met on line there. They didn't attend school at the same time. They were married a year ago and are expecting a little one in about 5 weeks. They live on the grounds at Greenwood Hills. They invited all the alumni and their families over for root beer floats and good conversation. We had a blessed time.

Some of the ladies and one guy who keep on the website made blocks for this quilt. Dottie V. and her mom pieced it together and brought it to Martain and Kimmie as a wedding present. It really came out lovely. I didn't get a close up, but it was beautiful.

Dottie and her husband Alan were there with their two children Caleb and Rachel. Dottie was at EBC after 1983.

This is Carol T., also known as Mrs. Potato Head. She and her family were kind (crazy) enough to host us for a week last year when we went to Washington DC. It was really nice to see her again and her twins Joel and Lily.

Thanks Martain and Kim for a grand time.

Gettysburg Battle Field Tour

We took a driving tour of the Gettysburg Battlefield area. This is the Gettysburg Cemetery where Lincoln gave his famous address. We borrowed a friends' (Thanks Carol, Lily, and Joel) Audio description of the driving tour. We had about 2 hours and made it through 2/3 of the 23 miles. We didn't have time to get out and look at things as this was definitely a 'drive-by shooting'. The only place we got out was on Little Round Top. There are some really neat rocks to climb on and the view is tremendous from there.

This is the eternal flame located in the 'Oaks'. It is a large memorial and the flame is on top of the tall pillar. On a bright day like this one, it is almost impossible to see the flame. You can get a feel for the size if you note the people in the picture.

This is the statue of Robert E. Lee. I would really recommend using either an audio tour or getting a guide as you go through the battle field. Otherwise, you will miss out on too much.

I could picture in my minds eye the troops coming together in the fields with their guns blazing and cannons booming. I think much of the countryside looks the same as it did back then (minus the cars in the distance, and the planes in the sky).

It was a 90+ day and Michelle needs the shade. She found it in the shade of a monument on Little Round Top.

Even Dear Hubby got out of the van and left the air conditioning for a few minutes to look around. Little Round Top is where one of the defining and last skirmishes at Gettysburg was fought. If the South had been able to take this position the whole outcome of the war might have changed.

The view from Little Round Top is stunning. Here you see in the distance, the Pennsylvania monument.

Mr. Boots allowed me to take his picture posing on one of the many rocks on the 'Top. I liked the clear blue sky as a background.

Michelle finally moved out of the shade and climbed on some rocks. She didn't move too far or too fast.

JoAn found the top of the rock. The children had a lot of fun climbing on these large boulders for a few minutes before we had to rush off to the next stop. We would like to come back here someday soon.

After we left the 'Top we continued driving through battlefields. We came by the Pennsylvania monument. It is the largest monument in the whole Gettysburg National Park. On such a hot day we thanked God for an air conditioned van. We felt for all the soldiers at the battle who wore wool uniforms as they fought on those long hot July days.


Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center

We had a splendid time at the Gettysburg Visitor Center. There was lots to see and do. We spent about 2.5 hours in the museum and it was not enough. They have a nice movie there that gives an over view of the war and the Battle of Gettysburg specifically. It really tied in well with our history study from last year.
The boys enjoyed looking at all the photos and articles from the war.

It was a really HOT day and we enjoyed the air conditioning. We had a little trouble finding the center, but we finally asked a local lady and she sent us straight here. There are 23 miles of road that wind through the different sites of the battle. It is pretty amazing. It is so much different to see it in person, than to read about it in a book. I guess you'll knew that already.

The girls and I wore our matching outfits. It does help us to keep track of each other. The Center was not crowded at all. I am not sure why. We were actually able to park very close, which was a blessing.

We also really enjoyed the diorama. It is a 360 degree painting of the whole Gettysburg area. They narrate the battle and light up the areas where the fighting occurred. There is lots of sound effects of cannons booming and rifles cracking. The painting is approx. 40 foot high and a couple hundred feet long. It is in a circle around you. The painting was done in the late 1800's and was just recently reconditioned. They have filled in the foreground with rocks and grass and battle litter, so your eye can barely determine where the painting begins. They say that the Civil War veterans who saw it started weeping as it brought back so many memories and was so close to the real thing.

The boys enjoyed studying all the weapons, especially the rifles, from the war.

These are some actual cannon balls from the Civil War.

Elizabeth is playing with the chains that they used to keep the slaves confined with. I do thank God for our freedom.

This was a book of family photos of the Lincolns and the Jefferson Davis family. The museum is organized by phrases of the Gettysburg address. It was neat as that was something that we had memorized as a family last year. They had an actor reciting it in the movie that they showed in the beginning.

They also had some high tech stuff for the children. Here the children are trying to figure out what they need to put in their backpack as they are breaking camp and heading out on a march to battle. They are limited as everything was weighed out and they can only carry a certain weight. It was a challenge. There was also a game where they had to try and read Semaphore (Army flag code) and another to pick the proper bugle call.
This is a good place to visit with children that are 7 and up. It is mostly a look and read facility. A younger child might get bored quickly. It is also not inexpensive. For our family of 2 parents and 6 children it would have cost $57. We opted for the year long family membership. It was only $60. Dad and Mr. Boots are hoping to be back in the area this fall and might get to stop in again. The movie and the Diorama are included in that price. This center is an excellent prelude to the drive through the battlefield (free) as it gives you a good review of what happened where.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Greenwood Hills Family Camp

This past week we had a wonderful family vacation at Greenwood Hills Family Camp. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and Bible teaching. Mike Attwood and Bill Yuille were the teachers. Mike taught on I John and Bill taught us lessons that can be learned from the life of David in I Samuel. Both did an excellent job. The above picture is a photo of our cabin. (Cabin#1) It was the furthest from the dining hall and chapel. We got lots of exercise!
Elizabeth took a nap the first day, but after that she decided that she would rather be swimming. The beds were your typical camp bunks, but after the first night we all slept better. There was 12 bunks in each cabin, as well as toilets and showers. It accommodated our family nicely.

Michelle and Mr. Boots enjoyed the food at the dining hall. The staff was very efficient and friendly. They kept everything spic and span.

The weather was around 90 degrees every day, so the pool was a necessity, not just a nice option. We swam every day, except for the afternoon we went to Gettysburg.

They had a nice playground for the children. Elizabeth enjoyed time with her daddy playing there. It was so nice to have him around all the time, without the distractions of work.

We all played shuffle board this week. I had never played on a nice court before. It was a lot of fun, although I wasn't very good at it. JoAn and Mr. Boots beat the boss and I both times we played. The first game we never got out of negative numbers.

The young men played soccer one afternoon. It was too hot for me to even watch. I hung out at the pool. All three boys participated though. You can see Mr. Boots just entering the picture. Our children are not very skilled soccer players. They lack experience. They did make great strides in their volleyball skills, especially Mr. Boots. We plan on working on fine tuning our volleyball skills this fall.

This is the front porch of the dining room. The porch had big ceiling fans and rocking chairs. It was a comfortable place to hang out, talk, and fellowship with friends. The women in the picture are Dottie V.and her mom Dee H.. Dottie went to college with us and her mom goes to church with us. We had a lovely time getting re-acquainted with old friends and making new ones.

Yes, Mr. Boots, There is such a thing as a 'Booky'

When Elizabeth was younger, she was the typical toddler. She would add a "-y" to the end of many of the words she used. She had her "blanky", "dolly", and "jacky" (that's a jacket, for all you who are unused to baby talk). This drove Mr. Boots absolutely crazy. He hates baby talk. He would correct her time after time and she persisted in using it simply because she knew it bothered him. She loves to tease her big brother. She would sweetly ask him to get her some "milky". He would tell her that he would happily get her some milk, but that there was no such thing as "milky". Did she want some milk? She would reply, "Yes Mr. Boots, please give me some (short pause) milky." They would go back and forth like this for a long time. She would also sweetly ask him to read her a "booky". He would of course reply that there was no such thing as a 'booky', although he would be happy to read her a book. You can guess the rest. Anyways, at a recent book sale, I found a booky. There is such a thing. Sorry, Mr. Boots, Elizabeth was right all along.
There are also Froggys and Mouseys.

And Duckys and Birdys.
One of my favorite moments was in the middle of one of their 'arguments', Elizabeth put her hands on her hips and looked him in the eye and told him, "Don't argue with a three year old!" Of course Mr Boots retorted, also with his hands on his hips, "Don't argue with a fifteen year old!" It is all in good fun and neither one ever gets upset, they are just playing.
Elizabeth did come out on top one time. I am not sure where or how she came up with this... Mr. Boots HATES bodily secretions! He is very careful about washing hands, using clean silverware, etc. One night I came in to tell him good night. He sleeps on the top bunk and Elizabeth came with me and climbed up the ladder so she could also tell him good night. She then told him in a little girl whispery teasing voice as he snuggled under his covers, "Mr. Boots, I licked your pillow". He quickly flipped it over. She then quietly told him, "Both sides!" At which point we all burst out laughing. He laughingly told her just how gross that really was as he often drooled in his sleep.
I am not sure if she really did lick his pillow or not, but just the fact that she came up with it made me chuckle. Little sisters are really good for big brothers. I miss her baby talk already.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Mr. Boots Pulled over by State Trooper

Today we were driving down the highway and a guy in the car next to us starts staring at Mr. Boots. He pulled ahead and then dropped back beside us and continued staring at Mr. Boots as he drove. I knew what he was thinking, "Is that kid old enough to drive?" He hurried on ahead and there was a state trooper running radar, we saw him pull in and talk to the trooper.
I told Mr. Boots, "I bet they are going to pull you over, watch and see if that trooper doesn't start following us." It was only a couple minutes later and sure enough the state trooper was sitting right beside us staring at Mr. Boots. I saw him reach for the computer and I knew we were heading for the side of the road. The trooper then proceeded to drop behind us and on came the lights. Mr. Boots sighed a big sigh and shook his head. He turned on the turn signal and pulled off to the side of the road.
The trooper came over and asked him, "How old are you son?"
Mr. Boots replied "Sixteen."
"Let me see your license."
He handed it over. The trooper asked for my license and compared them.
The trooper said, "Sorry, I thought you were only 10 or 12. Your son was driving very well ma'am. He is a good driver. Have a good day."
We did.
So our boy was very disheartened to be thought only 10 or 12. He did have a good attitude and it does make a good story. Our son was pulled over and told that he was a good driver. How many people can say that?!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


"Can anyone hide himself in secret places,
So I shall not see him?” says the LORD;" Jeremiah 23:24

Elizabeth and Mom have a special bedtime routine. Last night Elizabeth and I lay in bed waiting for Mom to be ready. Finally, Elizabeth impatiently went to wait in Mom's bed. As she climbed onto the bed she decided to help herself to Mom's water bottle. However, she had forgotten to close the door so I could see her plainly. I called out, "Are you stealing Mom's water?" She quickly put the bottle back on the window sill and then ran to shut the door. I began to laugh, but soon I was reminded of how God can see anything and how I should remember that whenever I am tempted. We cannot go anywhere to escape God's searching gaze.

"So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God." Romans 14:12


Lambert Family Reunion

The Lambert Family reunion has been held in the same pavilion for over 60 years! There were 67 people there. The food was excellent, and the desserts looked great. I tried to stay away from them, but I must admit that a small piece of Virginia's blackberry cobbler found its way onto my plate. It was delicious. The children had a great time playing games together. Todd and Miriam did an excellent job organizing all the games.

Dad (Uncle Karl) was all time pitcher. Everyone who wanted to could play. They postponed the game until the field was in the shade. The temperature was about 95 and humid. You could see a haze over all the area. Fortunately, there was a light breeze, or we might have really suffered.

Miriam made sure everyone got involved in the games. She is used to taking charge after many years of Awana. We all had a good time.

This is my bro Nathan and his little girl Reagan. Yes, she was named after his favorite president.

Michelle had a good time playing ball. The players ranged in age from 5-70+. It truly was a family affair. There weren't any fights and it was a lot of fun to watch.

This is my Mom, here older sister Donna, and my Aunt Sue who is visiting here from Saskatchewan. She is the Grandma to all the girls staying at our house.

Elizabeth had a good time playing on the playground equipment. Here she is with her cousin Maralee.
It was so nice to have a good time visiting family. Like all families we have certain struggles, but we are blessed to have a godly heritage. Many of my extended family are believers, and most of my more immediate family loves the Lord. A lot of my grandparents and great grandparents were saved as adults, but they still managed to pass on their faith. I do thank God for that. I am blessed.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Cousin's Theatrical Production

The cousins are having a blast working on a major film presentation. Backyard Productions is making a film that features Indiana Jones taking on a ninja and some assassins. There is also a mysterious tapestry. That's all I can say without giving the plot away. T-Bob is Indiana Jones. I am not exactly sure who Emily is. Note the fancy backdrop. As you note their costumes, reallize that the temp has been around 90 degrees the last couple days. Yes, T-Bob is wearing a winter coat.
Elizabeth and Brenna are the assassins. They tried to get Dallas to join in, but he kept wanting to chew on the wrong thing. You don't want to mess with these girls.

Thomas is the Ninja. He wears the down jacket and the winter face mask with the towel over it. Not quite sure how he stands the high heat in that outfit. Maybe it keeps the heat out. Silly Boy!!

The bad guys stop a moment to pose for a picture before they attack.

WAIT!! An assassin has to have their face darkened so they are not easily visible. What would this enterprising film crew come up with to use?!! Let's see if cocoa powder from the kitchen will do the trick. Elizabeth, you go first.

NAhhh! It just doesn't stick well enough. We might get in trouble if this stuff stains too. Don't want to upset the laundry lady.

Dallas used to be a black lab, but after the make-up crew got through, he was a chocolate lab. He made the mistake of standing beside Elizabeth as Michelle did her work.

Here's the crew getting ready to start filming. If they get it finished well enough I might post the final production- as long as it is not too lengthy.