Friday, August 26, 2016

Getting Ready to Go


 We are getting ready to go on a backpacking trip to Glacier National Park and so we have been busy with getting all the equipment rounded up and packing up.

 When we went on our last trip both Aaron and Megan had some issues with their bags as they didn't have frames. So we tried to fix that this time.

For Aaron we were able to attached his nice bag (and use the shoulder straps and waist belt that were on his bag) to a frame that came from my dad. It was a super simple fix.

  For Megan it wasn't looking quite so easy. We didn't have a frame that fit her body. I went looking around town a little with no success. I decided my next option was making one but before I got that done we were out driving early this week and we happened upon a bunch of stuff (leftover from a garage sale) by the side of the street with free signs next to it. The rocking chair (that ended up being broken) was what caught my attention and though we decided not to get that we did find a nice little riding toy for my nephew, some dishes that I shared with some others, some dishes Megan took for play, a light fixture for a friend that just got a new house that they are fixing up and some freezer baskets and then we were about ready to go and Aaron looked through a box that had bags in it. What do you know... a small (well regular sized not back packing size) backpack WITH A FRAME!
I was so excited! God is pretty amazing the way He works things out. I just needed to attach a waist belt to it and it was ready to go.

 Aaron and Megan took a walk with their bags partly loaded the other day to test them out. They walked over to my sister Keren's who now lives (she and her family moved their last month) only 1/2 mile away. They did their walk pretty quickly and the bags worked fine. Hooray!

  I also sewed a couple of pairs of hiking pants for Megan (that are lightweight but warm enough and will dry fast and have pockets). One pair is a little wild but the other is a normal looking brown. I used stuff that I had on hand. I couldn't find my patterns (a messy craft closet!) so I made one up from a pair of her jeans. I will try to post pictures after our trip.


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Harvest Time

 There is nothing quite so yummy as fresh food that you harvested. We have been enjoying that so very much lately! Here are a few pictures of the deliciousness (both to the tongue and the eye) that we have been enjoying lately...
 New Potatoes! We planted quite a few this year and though we haven't been formally digging them I go up and reach down by the roots a bit and pull up these jewels for us to enjoy. They taste so good!
I love taking the basket up to the garden and filling it with good things.
 A simple and yummy lunch: Boiled Eggs from our chickens and ducks, freshly made goat milk cheese (thanks to my parents goats!), and Kale, Green Beans, Cucumbers and Tomatoes from our garden.

Our parents apple trees are doing well again this year. We are so blessed and we are very thankful! I find the apples so beautiful.
 So far we have put up apple pie filling and applesauce and we have enjoyed cooked apples, raw apples, apple cake and more. Thank you God for apples!

Have you been doing any harvesting lately? What is growing at your place?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Happy Birthday Jonathan!

Jonathan turned 15 today.

 All of our kids are such a blessing to us and Jonathan is no exception. He can be a bit gruff, bossy and grumpy at times but mostly he is a hardworking sweetheart who is developing into a real leader. I can see so much potential in him as he develops his leadership skills and is learning so many practical skills such as carpentry, mechanics, running a sound booth, business experience, music and more.

 Right now I am simply very excited to see him feeling quite a bit better as this summer has been a rough one for him healthwise. He has experienced much fatigue, aches and pains, stiffness, trouble eating and so forth. At the emergency room last month they tested for Spinal meningitis and much more and came up with nothing finally this month they tested for Lymes and Anaplasmosis (another tickborne illness) and both of them came back positive. He is now on an antibiotic and is improving. We are so thankful! 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Daily Bible Reading Challenge

Have you been reading and studying God's word? I have, but unfortunately I have struggled to find time to blog about it but I am happily finding a little time this evening. (A side note... we have had a busy summer but I realize that some of the reason I have had less time has to do with Mara working and Jonathan dealing with poor health this summer which means the younger 2 and I have to do much of their chores as well - Thank-fully Jonathan is improving and Mara will start working less with the school year so life may get back to normal a bit more.)

But here are some scriptures that blessed me....

What caused me to worship God more?

"That men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that there is no one besides Me. I am the Lord and there is no other, The One forming light and creating darkness, causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these." Isaiah 45:6 & 7

We have an amazing God! There in no other that is at all like Him.

What scripture touched me?

"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." Colossians 3:23-24

We do not work in vain. There is no better master that we could serve. I am so blessed!

What scripture prompted me to action?

"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:17

This verse has been on my heart for the last couple of weeks. I have just been thinking about how I should be doing everything in Jesus name - and that is what I want to do. I want to do what is right and give Him the glory. However there are still times that I struggle with impatience, anger, etc. It has been a good reminder to think about how I am supposed to do things in Jesus name but if I am doing something (like being impatient and irritable) that isn't right then it is hard to say I am doing it in Jesus name. This scripture has been a good reminder to me to watch me words and actions more.

What interesting fact did I read?

"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is not authority except from God,  and those which exist are established by God. Romans 13:1

As we have been thinking a lot about the election this year this verse has been something I think about often. It does give me peace realizing that God does have this in control.

What verses have been helpful to you this week? I love to hear!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Sweet Stuff

 It has been time for some sweet stuff around here.;
Last week I made Chokecherry syrup, Rhubarb and Pineapple Jam and Peach Preserves (that didn't set so they will be yummy in smoothies or on waffles). We never made it to pick strawberries (except for a few wild ones) and didn't really pick enough raspberries or blueberries for making jam either so it was fun to try some other options.
 Today I extracted some honey. The season isn't over yet but my busy bees had filled up all of their boxes (I had 2 deeps and 5 shallow boxes for each hive so they were nice and tall) and so I needed to empty some out so they would have room to make more honey.

I did pay for my honey stealing with 3 stings on the neck (that rather hurt!) but a little lavender oil is helping them to feel better and next time I will smoke the bees and use a better veil.
This granola looking mess is the cappings that I cut off. I had fun snacking on more of the comb then I needed. It tastes very yummy!

Do you have any sweet stuff at your place? :-)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

My Trip to the Republican National Convention

My friend Lyndi at the opening night party.
  As many of you know I have been pretty involved in politics over the years. I believe in this country of ours that since things are set up for the people to have a voice that I as a Christian need to take advantage of this opportunity and do what I can to help our country be a good one.

Ken and I have never been to the national convention before though Ken did try once (a lot of people want to be elected delegate so the competition can be pretty good). This year had looked to be an interesting year as there seemed to be a chance that there would be a contested convention and the stakes were high as we had candidates that were for limited government and following the constitution and another candidate that could care less about those issues and was not a person of character either. However Ken decided that it really wasn't the year for him to go and I didn't truly feel like running for delegate either. My friend Lyndi though with whom we had many good visits about politics and why people should be involved decided not only to go to county convention but then to also run for district and state convention and then decided to try for national delegate too. It was through much prayer that she came to this decision and believed that God wanted her to try to go and then she was elected to National Delegate Alternate. After Ted Cruz dropped out it was a time of mourning for all of us and she wondered for a bit whether she should still go but decided that if God had made the way in the first place that there must be a reason for it.

   So Lyndi prepared to go and then asked if I would come along as her guest. So without sharing all the details of making the decision, I went.

  We drove down to the cities on July 16th and stayed the night at my sister Anna's and she took us to the airport early the next morning (I had to miss church that day which I very much dislike but we didn't know how else to make the schedule work).

   There were so many feelings and reactions that this trip caused. I felt very.... safe (policemen everywhere!), excited, disappointed, sad, happy, excited, frustrated, tired, educated and more. If I go into detail about every part of this trip this will get super long so I think I will share some pictures and explain a few highlights (both bad and good).

Sunday night when we arrived there was a big welcome party on the shore of Lake Erie which included the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Great Lakes Science Center.
Some interesting dancers at the party.
There were food booths all over offering many different types of things to eat. Most of them only had one thing like the BBQ booth that we went to first that just gave us a little plate of barbecued meat (Yummy!). The photo is a guy giving me some icecream. They did have a selection and I had thought that I would pick the salted caramel but as I listened to the line ahead of me that is what everyone was ordering and I thought the the icecream guys needed some variety in what they served. I had wondered about the cornbread and honey icecream anyway so that is what I got. It was good. The cornbread made a unique texture but it wasn't bad. All of the food and drink at the booths was free to us. Some of the interesting things that we got were: Fried tacos, eggplant fries with a pesto dip, shrimp cavechi (or something like that), street corn on the cob, cold pressed watermelon and mint juice and homemade icecream cookie sandwiches.
Out in the bay there were 5 or so boats like this patrolling to keep us all safe at the opening night party.
This is a picture of me in the science center.
In the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (which mostly was really not my style - I do not care for rock and roll nor the lifestyle that many of the artists lived) there was a recording studio that Lyndi and I found rather fun.
At the end of the party they put on a fantastic display of fireworks. I did not get any pictures to do it justice.
Squinting in the sun as I get ready to go through security to get into the convention on Monday afternoon.

Each morning at our hotel the MN delegation (with sometimes the Hawaii delegation joining us) had a breakfast with speakers. Then it wasn't until later in the day that we would be bused down to the convention. They checked our credentials as we boarded the bus and then the bus would drive into a secure area to drop us off and then we would walk a little ways and have to go through security (like airport TSA) to get into the actual convention area.

 The first day of the convention was pretty disappointing in many ways. Those in leadership steam rolled through the electing of Mitch McConnell as temporary chair even though the majority voted "No". It wasn't really a big deal as Mitch McConnell hardly did anything anyway but still it was a horrid way to start off a convention by saying to all the people there "We don't care what you think you are just here to make us look good not to voice an opinion". There was more shady politics done over the passing of the rules. And then the platform was passed without anyone (at least of those that had just arrived - those on the platform committee had discussed it the week before) seeing it or discussing it in any way. Just that quick (though there was a long period of a break while Trump Whips did some major arm twisting to get people to back down over the rules debate - they threatened that their state wouldn't receive any money from the RNC) the majority of the business was done for the convention with still 3 days to go. So now we could focus the majority of the rest of the time to Trump "worship" including in many of the prayers.
Me in the mini oval office that was at the convention.
The first night when we got back to the hotel at nearly midnight we were hungry. My pregnant friend decided she needed cereal. There was a really sweet waitress at our hotel the gave her some free of charge.
On Tuesday we met up with Kelly a lovely lady from New Mexico who had been our seatmate in the second airplane on the way out. She had decorated a special hat for the convention.

On Wednesday afternoon we went to a party put on by Ted Cruz. It was refreshing to be there with people who did seem to still care about character, the constitution and the values in our platform. He said the event was the thank his supporters and so after his speech he came down into the crowd to say hi, take pictures, etc. Lyndi and I were right up front so we were some of the first to meet him. That is he and Lyndi above - we had trouble getting a good picture of me with him.
Lyndi and Ted's dad Rafael.
That evening some delegates let us use their floor passes (that is perfectly allowable I guess) to go down on the floor for a bit and get some pictures.

 Ted Cruz gave a great and controversial speech that night. I was so happy that he simply asked people to vote their conscience and choose candidates that follow the constitution. Mike Pence also spoke. I guess I wasn't as impressed with him this time as I had been when I heard him at a Tea Party Event - the March on Washington that we went to in DC some years ago. I was really impressed with him then and excited to get to meet him.
Thursday morning they took pictures of the MN delegation. There were a bunch of us there with the MN delegation that were homeschoolers so we thought it would be fun to get a picture of the homeschoolers. Some are done homeschooling as their children have grown and some of us are still in the midst of it.
We had just a little bit of extra time that afternoon so we drove (we had rented a car for the week) to historic Kirkland and Mormon village. It was a free museum/village to see.
I love the wooden shovels.
We three homeschool moms had fun seeing the sawmill and the other stuff and I wished me kids could have been with me.
That afternoon A,T & T hosted a party for the Minnesotans. We were bused over to another hotel to go to it. It was a rather fancy event. The food was interesting but pretty good.
On the bus coming back to go to the convention for some reason they couldn't come into the secure area with the bus, so they were going to drop us off in the green zone. There were some protesters in the street so they didn't get to go as close as they hoped so we had to walk a few blocks. We were kind of excited about it as we had been in such a protective bubble we hadn't gotten to see any of the excitement of protesters. We found it humorous as we were told that for safety's sake in this area we should not have our credentials out where they could be seen so we carefully put them away and then had a good laugh as we realized that 30 some people all dressed in business dress walking together with our clear plastic bags (given to us to care stuff into the convention in) were quite obviously a part of the convention not just normal folks from Cleveland out for a stroll.

  We walked through the building above which is I believe one of the oldest malls in our nation.
There were many interesting people on the streets.
This is the busy street that we had to walk through. There were some protesters (but none that seemed dangerous or mean) but there were far more policemen. Notice all the ones behind me in tan.
Lyndi, Marge and I got to pose with one group of policemen. They were all super friendly and nice. They had come from 15 states to take care of us.
A reporter from a Danish newspaper stopped and asked us some questions. Getting interviewed was pretty common at the convention. Marge (a delegate) got interviewed a bunch, Lyndi was quoted extensively in the Star Tribune and even I, a guest,  participated in several interviews.
Speaking of reporters we found out that there was a media row up in the parking garage that we could go visit. There were a hundred or so booths for various media outlets. It was a crazy but rather fun place. Above Alex Jones was doing an interview. Marge was interviewed while we were up there and so Lyndi and I sat down to wait on some comfortable chairs and ended up have a fun conversation with a political annalist and a Conservative pod caster (I think).
There was a 3-D video thing that you could try out at the convention.
Thursday night was of course the climax of the convention. A very sad day for the Republican party.
Trump's speech went on forever (okay - just 90 minutes!) and we didn't end up getting back to the hotel until I think after 1 am. Exhausted!
The next day we had free to do whatever as we weren't flying out until Saturday. We went to explore the James A Garfield House. It was great fun. Above is his Bible.
This is his house above.
The living room.
Around the fireplace in the living room are tiles that were painted by the members of the family. They were so pretty and I think that is such a cool idea.
The China was also painted by Lucretia Garfield. She said she wasn't an artist but she obviously was.
Another building on the grounds.
President Garfield sounded like an extremely interesting man who was basically thrust into the presidency without a desire to be there (He was at a contested convention not as a candidate but I believe he was chairing the convention - but the people wanted him).

 On Friday after going to the Garfield house we took a drive south east to West Virginia. We went on back roads through Amish Country.
This was at one of the oldest general stores (I think actually THE oldest) in Ohio. Much of it was in Amish style and there were many Amish working and shopping there too.
Buckets of candy.
Another view of the store.
The hitching post for the store.
"My" horse and buggy.
Then we drove further on to the oldest continuously running soda fountain. They also had thousands of used books which gave the place an interesting smell. :-)
We had a coupon to get 50 cent icecream cones there.
In West Virginia.

While Lyndi and I were out driving she got a call from Marge who we had shared a room with during the convention. She had gotten bumped from her flight (Friday was crazy at the airport with all the people leaving the convention) and could she join us. We were switching to a cheaper hotel closer to the airport and so we told her how to check in a that we wouldn't be back for a while but that we would love to have her hang out with us the next day. So when we got back to the hotel there was Marge ready to join us for our next adventures.
Our first stop Saturday morning was to go to the Garfield Memorial in the Lakeview Cemetery.
It was a pretty neat looking place and it was fun because there were people working there that told us a bunch more history about him.
The top of the memorial - a great view of the city of Cleveland (It is basically the highest point).
Some rifle balls from the 1800's.
We visited Little Italy, a section of Cleveland. It was cute and I imagine it had some yummy restaurants (we didn't come at the right time to eat) but unless you want to eat I wouldn't bother taking the time to go there.
We went to the Art Museum. When we visited with locals about what we should see they all thought the Art Museum was the place to go. I admit - even though I love the Charlotte Mason style of teaching I still have yet to get excited about going to an art museum. But it was free, it was highly recommended and so we went. When we got there the parking cost $10 but if you were there less than 1/2 hour it was free. We didn't have much time anyway as we had other places we wanted to go so we decided to just set a timer and be sure to be out within the 1/2 hour. It was a very nice looking place and we enjoyed our time there. I could have easily spend quite a bit more time but we did want to do other things too.

   The armor above for both the knight and horse were made in the 15 hundreds. Isn't that cool!
We went to the early american section (we asked for advice on where to go as we didn't care for modern art). The painting above is of Yosemite.
This one depicts the love of music that all people have.

  Next stop was the Great Lakes Science Center (which we could get in free to with our credentials) and I also went to see the Steamship the William G. Mather which cost $9.
This boat was made in the 1920's and used until the 1980's.
This was the captain's dining room.
Next stop was to actually go to the beach of Lake Erie and dip our toes in. :-)
Then to drop off our rental car and fly back home. We took the scenic route and went to Maryland too. This sunset was from the Baltimore airport.

 My sister Anna picked us up from the airport at around 11 pm. She had just picked up Mara 1/2 hour before us when she flew in from Honduras (I may have her write a post about her trip there later). It was nice to be back. We went to church with my sister the next day and then drove home.



  

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