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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween


Now that my children's (and my own) teeth are coated in sugar, tummies are bloated from Twizzlers and blood sugar levels are out of control it's time to say Good Bye to another year of Halloween and Trick or Treating. This year we hit 7 homes and the pumpkins were full. When I was a kid we got a roll of Smarties or a Dum Dum at each stop. Now they get a juice box, baggie of candy bars and granola bar at each stop. Ray's pumpkin was so heavy he could hardly carry it. I was lucky enough to come away with a pile of Almond Joys, one of my favorites; lucky for me no one else likes them.

UW-Madison is known for their huge Halloween party. This year local officials tamed it slightly. Still there were 230 arrests, a police officer broke his wrist and a total of 30,000 party animals in attendance. The title of the news article included the word calm. How can that be? It's everything but calm in my livingroom after a good night of trick or treating and that's with only 4 kids and 2 adults. There were no arrests, no broken wrists, but still not calm. Our local newspaper reported on this Madison party as well and the last line was a quote by a police officer saying this year was a success. Is this how our society defines success? A party that gets so out of hand that police officers and the mayor have to barracade State St. and charge an admission to 30,000 (down from 100,000 last year) mostly drunk costumed college students? A police officer breaks his wrist in a chase and that's called a success? 230 people were arrested and that's called success? How can 230 people be arrested if it was a calm night of partying? Don't arrests happen when things get out of control? I'm baffled by all of this! Read more here and here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

God's Amazing Grace


I blogged about this little girl before and now she's famous. Her mother Dawn Johnson has written a book about her life (all 20 months of it) and you won't believe her story. Grace's scripture is from Ps. 118:17 - I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. Here is a bit from the dust jacket of the newly published book.
  • Baby Grace as a brand-new infant was abandoned naked in this field in southern Ethiopia. Hidden under the bush, by this tree, she was found with a noose tied tight around her neck. Baby Grace was left to die in desolation, surrounded by hyenas, wild dogs, and vultures, not to mention the scorching sun.....laid over her fragile, weak body in hopes of her not being found. But God.....she was found gasping for breath, barely alive........

The biggest news ever is that she is a perfectly healthy walking, talking testimony of God's love for each and every human being. Looks like she's getting a brother within the next 6 months, too. This family is incredibly obedient to our Lord and is always working to do His will.

Silly Science

Today the funniest thing was said during science. We were talking about states of matter: solid, liquid, gas. Lee jumped in with examples of each: "Solids are rocks, liquids are drinks and gases are farts." Why was this so funny? He was so serious when he said it. Grace chuckled, Lee roared with laughter and I couldn't help, but join in.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Setting up the Sprayers

Elevating the Cranberries into the Dump Truck

Cranberries Crossing the Cleaning Belt

Harvest is Almost Over

We will be done harvesting cranberries by Tuesday morning and although it is such a relief to see that last truckload leave, it's also sad in a way. This is the culmination of a year's work. DH preps the beds for winter, waits for a below zero weather forecast, floods the marsh, makes ice, rolls the snow, sands the beds, drains the water, waits for spring melting weather to come, lays the irrigation pipe in the beds, protects the new buds against frost, fertilizes, combats worms, does some hand weeding, kills weeds with Round-up, brings in pallets of honeybees to aid in pollination, waters during drought conditions and extreme heat, makes a crop estimate, protects against frost again, preps all the harvest equipment, removes the irrigation pipes, floods the beds, beats the cranberries, booms the cranberries and loads them into dump trucks. Then the cycle repeats itself year after year. In between all this hard work is so much beauty. The after harvest frost on the beds is icy white, the spring greening of the vines, the Fourth of July bloom, the August fruit set, the coloring and sizing of the berries; it's all so beautiful and now we have to wait again. Then the questions come: Did I fertilize at the right times? Should I do it differently next year? Do I need more bees? Should I place the bees in a different spot? What about sanding? Maybe I should've sanded bed #3. Is my soil nutrition proper? What about the tissue nutrition? A new plan is made and then this year's questions will be answered next year at harvest time.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Cranberry Apple Spice Bars

These are awesome as a coffee cake for breakfast.

1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup cranberries, whole or chopped
1 cup diced, peeled apple
1 cup chopped walnuts

Combine ingredients in order listed. Place in greased 9x13 or 10x15 pan. Top with a mixture of 2 T. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes depending on which is used. They are done when the top looks set and dry.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

How to Learn

Can the Cabela's Master Catalog teach a 7 year old boy anything? My answer is a resounding yes!! Take the knife section, Lee has learned how to measure out to the nearest 1/16" by using a ruler to check the lengths, widths and thicknesses of each and every knife blade in the catalog. He is learning that each line on the ruler stands for either 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 or 1 whole inch. He is comparing lengths and thinking about the use for each different knife. In the binocular section he is learning that the higher the number the higher the magnification. He now knows how magnification is written (9 x 21 for ex.). He's learned the difference between bi and mono, as in binoculars and monoculars. ("Dad, did you know they came out with monoculars, so you only have to use one eye to look?") A young boy can also learn the different types of terrain, landscapes, leaf patterns and seasons by studying the huge variety of camo patterns. ("Mom, now that only the oak leaves are left on the trees, do you think I would need Mossy Oak or Realtree camo?") And don't forget the all important math concept of rounding money to the nearest dollar. ("I'd need about $15.00 for this $14.95 face mask.")

Here's another way we learn at our house. Marbles are named according to the states that were introduced during map skills. Then Grace teaches Lou how to say each name and where that marble should "play" according to where it's located in relation to Wisconsin. This sounds like a confusing game, but for some unknown reason they like to play this.

And another. If you fall in the ditch during cranberry harvest and your hip waders get wet, you'll learn quickly, when you put your boots on the PEET boot dryer, that heat rises.

I would not call us unschoolers, however, I do have unschooling tendencies and the idea is so tempting to me. Children learn so much by living and enjoying life. I learn so much by patiently watching my children live and enjoy life.

A Little Bit of Comedy

Proudly, Lou announced tonight, "Mom, I put on clean underwear.....first time in three days."
  • Now that's something to be proud of.

Lou wants Faith to come over to play; I had to explain that Faith doesn't like to come over unless her mother comes along, but we'll be going to her house in November so the moms can quilt and all the kids can play. Her response, "moms, moms, moms....all they do is stuff for themself".

  • At that I just bit my lip and continued clearing the table, making bedtime reminders, loading the dishwasher, washing the overflow dishes by hand and switching over the laundry.

How a cranberry grower's wife knows it's harvest time

  • she opens up the travel coffee mug to find cranberry leaves mixed in with the remains of the cold coffee

The Marsh in the Morning

Cleaning the Cranberries

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Getting Setup to Load Cranberries

Our Cranberry Harvest

Day 10
Everyone is tired. Ice covered the beds until 11 am. A hydraulic pump blew a gasket. They are working until dark. The kids miss having daddy at our regular meal times. The kids miss having regular meal times. Only 8(?) more days of this. DH said it's time for me to start planning an after harvest vacation. YES!!!! Oh, and the sun shone all day. Praise the Lord.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Ultimate Compliment

Before harvest started, I made a trip to Wal-Mart to stock up on a few things. I bought Lee some thin, stretchy gloves for under his rubber gauntlets. I handed them over to him and his response was a classic Lee response, "Thanks mom, I'll use these. These'll come in handy......real handy." It was a nice compliment, to know I had picked, out of the millions of items sold at Wal-Mart, just the right thing for this seven year old working boy. Later reflecting on this moment, I wondered why that comment stroked my ego so well. I realized this was the ultimate compliment because I am a very practical person. A few Christmas' ago, DH gave me jewelry and a Nesco roaster. I wear the earrings often; each time I place them in my ears I think about how beautiful they are and how nice they will go with my outfit. But, each time I use the the Nesco, I think, this is great, it sure comes in handy. For me, "coming in handy" is far more important than being "beautiful". Just look at my house, my wardrobe, my garden, my quilts, my attitude (some days) and even my faith. Sometimes these things just aren't beautiful, but they sure are handy. I think about the ripped US map on the closet door, the mismatched long underwear pajamas, the row of mildewy bean plants, the not so perfect stitch in the ditches, the persevering attitude that comes out as pushy and forceful and Confession, NFP and works of charity. All of these are handy, but not always beautiful to the untrained eye. This makes me think of the PBS show, The Red Green Show. His motto is: "If they can't call you handsome, at least they can call you handy." Come to think of it I should make a roast chicken for supper, in the Nesco, of course.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Difference Between Girls and Boys

On our way back from dropping some letters in the mailbox, I was reminded that there is a real difference between girls and boys. I'll set the scene: Lou was riding her bike (she's been a two wheel rider for about 1 month), I was pushing Ray in the stroller and Lee was zipping around on the 50cc Honda dirt bike. Now for the difference in gender: Lee approached fast from behind; Lou heard the engine rev and not knowing how to brake confidently, just veered way off to the side and ditched the bike; she fearfully watched Lee pass by. On the other hand, Ray heard the engine rev and excitedly waited for Lee to approach. As he rode by, Ray put is arms in the air, opened his eyes wide and said, with a smile on his face, "whoa, ho". Who said there's no difference? I know the truth.

World Mission Sunday

Words from our guest mission priest: Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. Go and serve your people, your family.

We have a parish mission this week, Sunday through Tuesday. The topic is healing our relationships with others by healing our relationship with God. I truly yearn to attend. Mass will be at 7:00pm, which will definitely not work for us for many reasons. We tend to eat dinner around 6 pm, we are in the middle of cranberry harvest and our schedule is very unpredictable, I refuse to take 4 children to a mass that interferes with their bedtime routine. I guess I won't be going. DH reminds me that charity begins at home. He doesn't mean we should be self serving, but should take care of the basic needs of those at home, first. Once those needs are met, there will be plenty of opportunities to help and give freely, without feeling guilty about letting down those closest to us. I tend to bite off more than I can chew and then everyone at home pays for it as I scurry around trying to take care of home and the obligation, neither being done well. Soon enough, too soon, I'll be able to attend all the missions I want, as my sweet children will grow up and move on. For now, my most important mission: supporting my hardworking husband and caring for my children.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Loaves and Fishes


DH sent in a crop estimate earlier in the summer. The crop looked good and the estimate reflected that; late summer fertilizing came and the crop estimate was looking a little over zealous. He flooded each bed and watched as the dark red berries disappeared into the dark acidic water. He was disappointed, the crop that was thought to be there, just wasn't. As he started beating, one by one the cranberries just floated to the top. The beds were 2/3 covered (and in some cases, even more) with beautiful crimson colored fruit. All he could do is think of the loaves and fishes story. He commented that he knew how those 5000 people must of felt when the food never stopped coming. He witnessed the miracle for himself, right in central Wisconsin during cranberry harvest.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Maureen at Thrifty Homeschooler has just posted a recipe for canned vanilla pears. She notes to buy real vanilla extract, not the imitation stuff. Real vanilla is quite expensive, in my opinion. So, I use this recipe, which I got from a member of our Parish Council of Catholic Women.

1 bottle of good Vodka
2-3 whole vanilla beans

Place the vanilla beans in the Vodka and let steep. Ready to use when the Vodka smells like strong vanilla.

Science and Scripture

Just yesterday we started the CHC science book, Behold and See. One of the first things to read is scripture from Wisdom. Then a little bit of intro and then more scripture from Romans. Having a Bachelor's degree in Biology with an emphasis is education, I don't remember one time that a teacher ever introduced science using scripture, nor have I ever used scripture to teach science.....until yesterday. Who knew it could be done? The premise in the book is that if you can see the beauty and understand the workings of science, then you will understand God as the creator of all. My husband, an avid outdoorsman (hunter, trapper, fisherman) could of told you that years ago. He has always said that a good evening in the tree stand doesn't always end with a deer to register; part of the fun is being in nature, being quiet, being observant of your surroundings. It's hard not to be spiritual when surrounded by all the beauty of the woods or water. So after just a couple of pages, we delved head first into the Scientific Method. Our questions was: Do cranberries float? Even though we already knew the answer it was an easy way to follow the steps of the Scientific Method without actually having to do any experiments. Though, they did ask when we were going to do more experiments from 101 Cool Science Experiments by Glen Singleton. My response, "Let's just get through harvest, first."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Baked Chicken with Cranberry Sauce

3 lb. chicken, cut into pieces (or enough chicken to feed your family)
1 can cranberry sauce
1 envelope onion soup mix
2/3 cup French dressing

Put chicken, single layer, in baking dish. Heat remaining 3 ingredients and stir until blended; pour over chicken. Cover with foil; bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours. Then uncover and bake 15 minutes longer. Serve with rice.

Cranberry Harvest Day 3
What was once a bounce in their step has now become more of a dragging of the feet. Everyone's muscles are sore and they are wet and cold to the bone. Tomorrow's weather is predicted to be sunny and the crew will have the day off; DH has to beat a couple more beds before trucking can resume. Tonight we might actually get some snow/sleet mix, but it won't be the first time in October that we've had snow. Usually cranberry harvest brings: hot sun, driving winds, pouring rain, unnecessary snow and bone chilling cold all in a two week time span. They say if you don't like the weather in Wisconsin, stick around a few minutes, it'll change.

Kids say the cutest things

This morning Lou caught Ray playing with her princess wand and said, "Stop using my wand, you're going to turn yourself into a frog."

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Harvest: Day One

Day one went great, even with the rain; 6 seasonal employees showed up and only one said they wouldn't be back the next day. The work is hard and she thought she was slowing up the other workers. Her regular job is as a hair stylist, so I asked her to cut my hair Thursday. What a great deal for me, she's coming right to my house to cut my hair. It'll be a good morning to set the kids up with a Little House episode. The crop is looking exceptional, but it's probably too early to get excited. Grace and Lee put in 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 hours of work, respectively. It's amazing how fast they get to their seat work in the morning, having harvest work to look forward.

Cranberry Bread
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. oil
grated zest from 1 orange
juice from 1 orange plus water to make 3/4 cup total
1 beaten egg
1 cup cranberries (whole or chopped)
1 cup nuts (I like walnuts)

Sift or fork together first 5 ingredients, set aside. Beat egg and add oil, zest and juice. Stir in dry ingredients. fold in cranberries and nuts. Pour into greased 9x5x3 loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Use toothpick to test for doneness.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Another Conversation

Walking into the house Lou said, "Mom, Ray gets crabby when he's tired, right?" "Yeah", I said. She replied, "Are you tired?"

I think that was a very sweet way of saying that I was a bit crabby last night. Kids who normally have no tact sometimes surprise me with their thoughtful truths.

Looking Dumb

Lee has been carrying around the Cabela's master catalog for quite some time searching for the perfect knife to purchase. Yesterday he was on the couch, with ruler in hand, paging through the knife section carefully running his finger along the ruler until he arrived at the said length of blade. Every once in a while an "oh, that's a big one" and "too little" was mumbled. After finding the perfect one for that day he came over to me and said, "I think this one with the serrated knife, you know what serrated means?" I said, "yes I know". "I think this one will work well for cutting brush". I hope I'm not as dumb as I look to a 7 year old.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Broccoli Cranberry Salad

This is a favorite of mine to take to funeral luncheons, picnics and potlucks and I always serve at our annual cranberry harvest party.

5 cups broccoli florets, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon pieces
1 cup sunflower kernels (salted or unsalted)
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Combine in a large mixing bowl and mix well.

Dressing:
1 cup salad dressing (Miracle Whip Light is my favorite)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Combine dressing ingredients in a small mixing bowl and mix until thoroughly combined using a fork or wire whisk. Add dressing to salad mixture and mix well. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Heard This Today in the Van

DH: Pointing out the van window, "There's a Chihuahua."

Lee: "I didn't think that (Chihuahua) was a dog, I thought it was one of those animals...."

Mom: Interrupting Lee, "You're thinking of a Chincilla."

Lee: ".....that climbed and hugged trees."

DH: "A Koala"

Lee: "Yeah, that's it."

Lou: "I thought that was a food."

DH: "That's a chimichanga."

We all got a good laugh out of this and I just had to preserve this memory by blogging it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Heard on Relevant Radio

Driving home at midnight, after Grace's violin recital, a trip to Culver's and taking Grandma home, I was listening to Relevant Radio. They were replaying Chuck Neff's program and talking to Father David Ciminetti (spelling?). Father David was absolutely riveting to listen to. He was sharing with a listener that God only provides light for you to see a few feet, because you are not ready for everything that's in store for you. God does this to help you grow in faith and trust in him. How beautiful a comment to someone who is wondering why.....my husband is divorcing me?.....my child is terminally ill?.......my parents need my help when I'm already in over my head with my own family?.......I was laid off?......why I can't get pregnant?......my children are struggling with school? I've found myself talking with friends in crisis and reminding them that God has plan. They don't like to hear that because they can't see farther than a few feet. I now have some truth to share with them and maybe it will help. The key is this, God is always encouraging us to grow in faith and trust. Sometimes these times of growth come because of crisis, other times because of abundance. I can only think that God is protecting us by only revealing small amounts of his plan for us at a time.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Robinson Crusoe Reader


For the 2nd year in a row I get to listen to this book read aloud by one of my children. Robinson Crusoe (unabridged) is a great story. This version, which is just right for a skilled beginning reader, is a lovely story with simple sketches that have intrigued both of my readers so far. The text is very repetitive, but never boring. The words used are basic words that all children use in their everyday conversations and writing. It helps them to identify these words quickly and gives them a chance to learn to spell these words. After only 4 days of Lee reading this he can already spell the word "water" correctly; I believe because he's seen and read it so many times in the story so far. The so called chapters are only a few paragraphs which, for a young boy who has so many more important things to do, is just right.

Today's Recipe

If I had to pick something other than pumpkin pie, pumpkin bars, pumpkin bread......as a favorite baked good the following recipe would be it. These cranberry bars are so good that sometimes we don't even get the frosting on them before the pan is half gone.

Cranberry Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups cranberries, whole or sliced
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream together the sugar and butter; add beaten eggs and stir well. Add vanilla and dry ingredients. Mix in nuts and cranberries. If using frozen cranberries and butter the batter will be very stiff and hard to spread in the pan, but will work out great. I always use that combo. Bake in a greased 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until top is lightly golden and looks set. Let cool completely (in hiding).

Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz. soft cream cheese
1/4 cup soft butter
1 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cheese and butter, add vanilla and milk. Gradually mix in sugar. Spread over cooled cranberry bars.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I Love Cranberries


Although this photo isn't from our cranberry harvest, it's from our neck of the woods and was featured in our local newspaper last week. This is what I see for two weeks every October. It's a beautiful sight. Cranberry marsh tours are available in Wisconsin, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, Oregon and maybe Michigan. Check it out. It's a great idea for a homeschool tour. Any fruit or vegetable harvest can be interesting.

Cranberry Cake with Hot Butter Sauce

1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
2 cups cranberries, sliced or whole

Beat well first 3 ingredients, add milk and stir. Sift together dry ingr. and add to liquid mixture. Stir in cranberries. Place into greased 9 inch pan and bake at 375 degrees, 35 - 45 minutes. Check for doneness using the toothpick method.

Cook slowly in double boiler or microwave until sugar dissolves, 1/2 cup butter, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup cream. This sauce does not thicken. Serve warm over cranberry cake.

This recipe came from my mother-in-law. She was a great cook and this is one of my husband's favorites. He likes to taste the tartness of the cranberry so I leave the berries whole and we do not serve with butter sauce unless having company.

Christmas in October

October, and it's snowing, lightly, but still snowing. Grace pulled out her Christmas tunes and played for us on the violin while Lou jingled the bells "all the way". The music ceased and Lee and Lou talked about Christmas. Lou commented that Santa is like God because he's "magical". Lee agreed that they both "bring good things", but that God is bigger. Lou said "yah, God is bigger than the boogie man." Sounds like those Veggie Tales silly songs really do pay off.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Cranberry Recipes

Cranberry harvest is upon us and so I will again be freezing 100 pounds of cranberries. I use these cranberries in all sorts of recipes during the year. If you are in an area where fresh cranberries are in abundance, by all means buy some and throw them in the freezer. Remember to wash them before cooking with them. The prepackaged 12 oz. bags in the produce dept. can be tossed in the freezer as is. Make sure they aren't wet or they'll freeze into an ice ball. Over the next few weeks I will be posting cranberry recipes that are sure to be winners with you. I have my favorites and maybe some will be your favorites, too.

Cranberry Sauce
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
4 cups cranberries

Bring water and sugar to a boil. Boil hard 5 minutes. Add cranberries; boil gently for 15 minutes, stirring ocassionally. For whole berry sauce, pour directly into a mold or glass bowl. Cover loosely and refrigerate until jelled (at least 4 hours). Whole berry sauce may also be served warm. For strained sauce (no skins and few seeds), press through a mesh strainer with the back of a wooden spoon. Or my favorite way to do this is to triple the recipe and then strain using my Back to Basics food mill with the berry screen. I pour the cranberries into the hopper and turn the handle until all the sauce has come through. Stir and pour into hot sterilized jars pint jars and seal. Invert for 5 minutes. Turn upright and listen for lids to seal.

For tips on find canning jars or other canning info check out Thrifty Homeschooler.

Pasties

The pasties turned out great and the house still smells delicious. They were extremly filling and went over pretty good with the kids. However, they did have more fun making them than eating them. We went easy on the rutabaga and good thing because they do have a strong flavor when cooked. The italian pork sausage worked well and then I heavily peppered the filling. We talked about miners during lunch and DH answered lots of questions like: How did they blow holes in the earth with dynamite? Did miners die if holes collapsed on them?

We took in two deer to be processed. We'll be getting back italian sausage links, hot italian sausage links, bratwurst patties, garlic summer sausage and breakfast links. What a blessing it was for DH to get two deer in one night. The meat is always welcome when the freezer gets low. We'll cut the gun deer into steaks, stew meat, roasts and hamburger, that's assuming we get deer during the gun deer hunt.

No Time to Blog

I haven't been here since Sept. 11 and boy do I miss it. At the end of each month I like to reread that months posts just to be reminded of all that happened. September 30 came and there wasn't much to read. It almost felt as if the month never happened, but I know better.

The Civil War was the topic for our "Today's Lesson". What I thought would take 3 weeks ended up taking about 6 weeks. We read about the events leading to the war, President Abe Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant and a number of historical fiction picture books. The kids colored pictures of soldiers, drummer boys and nurses; labeled a map of the United States and identified the free and slave states. We watched two great animated videos, one on Abe Lincoln, the other about Harriet Tubman. We made hardtack and gingerbread. Grace made a paper mache project and Lee made a parachute; both of these ideas came from a Civil War activity book. Later today they are going to draw and color flags while I finish reading one last book to them. I've had a great time learning about the Civil War, it seems like I'm learning most of it for the first time, even though I'm a college graduate. That's not too surprising, though.

Today we made pasties for lunch. They are cooling now and making the whole house smell yummy. The basic recipe is: 2 cups rutabaga, 2 cups potato, 1 cup onion, 1 lb. ground meat and lots of pie crust. We used seasoned pork sausage and homemade pie crust (enough for 2 double crust pies). Each one of us made our own and suited it to our taste and hunger. Now for the test; time to ring the dinner bell.