Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sister Visit

I was so blessed to be able to have my twin sister, Stacie, from afirefighterswife.blogspot.com, visit me along with my nieces and nephews last weekend. We always have a great time together. Hailey and Lily are the best of friends. They both love to play "mother" games. Lily was in this oh so cute outfit and we had to take a few shots as she was playing with her baby. This stroller has gotten a lot of use!


On Friday we went to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City. It is free to homeschoolers, so we thought we would get one last trip in before we moved even further away from it. Unfortunately the speaker system wasn't working correctly, but if you leaned in, you could hear the "Wailing Woman". My sister has a hysterical story about the "Wailing Woman" on her blog. Click here for that one.

We walked around some of the trails and found a sluice box for mining gold. Only found some pyrite and fake gold, but it was fun for the kids to look  for treasure.

Also found an old mine. Love this pic of my kids with my niece, Lily. She and Hailey are just the best of friends. They are so cute together. 

We found a stage which was fun for our little princesses to perform a dancing number for our entertainment. What a gorgeous view of the Elkhorn Mountains in the background.

Hiking along the Oregon Trail. It always gives me goosebumps to think about all the people who traveled over that trail to a new life. The heartache and pain, yet hope they must have felt as they trudged through in the dust and sagebrush to a better life. 

My sister helping Lily who liked to walk over the sagebrush, not around it. 

We did a little geocaching at the Chinese cemetery. Didn't find the cache, but found where the cache had been. That was pretty much our story with all the caches we found that weekend. Kind of frustrating to tell the truth. They kids aren't into it because we've only actually found a cache once! Either they've been taken or we couldn't even find the location. I'm hoping we can get better at this! 

The kids were so tired that night. I snapped a quick pic of Hailey as I found her. Apparently my sister and I must have been too loud at bedtime because she got into the closet and found Michael's ear protection for shooting. She was sound asleep with these on when we went to bed that night. Too cute! Hey, whatever works, LOL. 

On Saturday, my sister and I were able to go to a wonderful ladies tea put on by a local church. The food was delicious and the testimonies even better. I even got to wear one of my vintage hats!

After church on Sunday, the weather was beautiful. The kids played outside while Stacie and I brought the Scrabble game out on the deck. We must have played 8 or 9 games that day. It was a Scrabble marathon!

I was so glad nobody came to look at the house while my sister was in town. It is super hard to keep the house clean with that many people and suitcases and bedding tucked into every corner. We had a realtor walk-through today, so we hoping we get some bites on the house this weekend. Thank you for all your prayers regarding God's timing!

Blessings, 
Jackie

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

House For Sale - Huge Life Changes Ahead

We did it! We put our house on the market and just as soon as it sells, we will be moving 50 miles closer to my husband's job. My husband's job is an hour and half away now and it is just too far to commute. We needed to reduce the commute by an hour. We are moving to the other side of the mountain range. 

My feelings are so bitter sweet, but I know God will bless us. We've lived in this community for nearly 17 years (our entire married life!). We are hoping to fulfill our homesteading dream! We will be looking for a few acres just on the outskirts of the new town. 

This was a very sudden decision, but we know it is the right one without a doubt. Seeing Michael in the evenings is more important than a house or even a beloved community. I know God will bless us with many friends in the new town we are going to. I know he will provide a good homeschool support network, plus we are close enough to sometimes join in with our current homeschool group's activities. So we will have the best of both worlds!
At first Josiah was really sad. It took about 3 days for it to really process, but when we told him we would try to find a place where we could have animals, he started getting excited about it. Another plus is that my mom and step-dad live in that town. It will be so nice to have family around, especially with if my husband gets deployed again. We are closer to most of our family now, which is exciting! 

Please pray our house sells exactly when it is supposed to. Please pray the right house/acreage will come available at the same time we sell our house and that it will be in our price range. We are blessed to be able to live with my parents after our house sells if we need a place to go before we get into another house. The military is moving us, so that is another thing to be thankful for. 

The other really hard decision we had to make was quitting my in-home job entering doing soil data entry. Today was my last day. It is difficult to say good-by to a 15 year career, but it has served me well and enabled me to be a stay-at-home homeschooling mom when times were tough financially. I will be homeschooling Hailey next year in addition to Josiah and will need the whole day to do so. I know that having a degree in Soil Science will continue to benefit me as I homeschool my children, so I refuse to look at it as "giving up on my career". I'm just going to use it for my next career as a homeschool mom! Who knows how God will continue to use it even after my children are grown and gone. I'm giving it to Him. He knows the plan!

So just after we made the decision to move and sell our house, I asked the Lord to confirm our decision. He led me to Psalm 107:6-9:

"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way until they reached a city to dwell in. Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things."

The verse I underlined is now on my scripture board and whenever I start getting overwhelmed or scared, I look to that verse and know that He will give us good things if we obey. It is hard to leave the home we just remodeled and harder still to leave such beloved friends who truly have become family. However, we know that God asks us to get out of our comfort zones now and again for our own good, but more importantly for His Glory! 

God Bless,
Jackie

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Resurrection Day 2012

I always give the kids little gifts instead of candy (although I do get them each a Lindt chocolate bunny) at Easter time in honor of the greatest gift of all -  OUR SALVATION THROUGH JESUS THE RISEN MESSIAH!  Here are my kidlets, just having woken up. Next year, like Christmas, we'll read the resurrection story first, before opening the gifts. My hubby's idea. I'm so proud of that man as I watch him taking the spiritual reins from my hands as he grows stronger and stronger in the Lord. The movie, "Courageous" really hit home for him and I see him stepping up as a father and husband. What an answer to prayer and a test of patience on my part through the years. He is who God says his is, and he CAN do what God says he can do!

Hailey was super excited to get her sock flashes to go with her kilt.

Josiah got a small Lego Star Wars set and another Jonathan Park volume. Both he and Hailey absolutely love them. I also gave them another Torchlighter series about William Tyndale. 

Before church pictures. We are trying very hard to teach Josiah how to protect and love his sister and how to treat her appropriately at all times. We are teaching them to guard their modesty as well as each others. They love each other so much even though they can fight like cats and dogs sometimes.



We found this suit for a good price and Josiah loves wearing it. I think it is great!

Hailey got to pick out her dress, too. It is the only time I ever buy new clothes for my kids. We almost always do hand-me-downs, yard sales and thrift shops. But it is nice to be able to buy one nice dress/suit a year for my kids.


After church, we were invited to my sweet friends' house. Thank you again, Katie and Jerry!! The kids got to participate in an egg hunt and we all ate until we hit critical mass. It was wonderful to not have to do a full meal, since we had celebrated the Passover meal the day before. Josiah was still enjoying his skull cap, but I made him take it off when he was eating the ham despite us being Gentiles, out of respect for the Jewish culture. 

I love this picture of Hailey as she thinks about where she's going to look for eggs next. The bent wrist is so her :) 

Hope you all had a wonderful Resurrection Day!

God Bless,
Jackie

Monday, April 9, 2012

Passover/Seder Meal 2012

This is the second year we've put on our own Seder meal. This time we got brave and asked some good friends of ours over. Not everybody was able to make it, but we had fun anyway. I bought skull caps for the guys and all the girls wore lace head coverings. We got out all the fine china and crystal and roasted the last of our lamb that we've been saving for the Passover Meal.

We used the "30 minute Seder" Haggadah and that moved things along for the children. Both Josiah and his friend, Jake, looked sharp in their suits and skull caps. They both love to dress up!

My friend, Cora, with Hailey and Hannah, all looked beautiful in their nice clothes and head coverings. The kids were very good through out the ceremony. I think dressing up helps.

Ceremonial washing of the hands.

Michael breaks the matzah.

Broken matzah, the symbol of affliction and poverty of the the Hebrew people.

When Josiah received his skull cap it came with a tiny book of scriptures from the Torah, written in Hebrew. He figured out how to hang it from his hat. It is tradition to for a male child to bind the scriptures to his forehead. I was proud of him for figuring out a way to have it on his forehead. Now he wants to learn Hebrew so he can read it.

Instead of wine, we used grape juice. Due to several errors that we made while reading the Haggadah, we all ended up with several glasses of grape juice too many. The kids kept having to leave the ceremony to go to the bathroom. That is how much grape juice they drank! It kept them busy though, LOL.

After the ceremony was finished and we had eaten all that was on the Seder plate, we moved on to the Passover Feast. I made a delicious matzo ball soup from the "Passover Cookbook" I recently purchased. The lamb was awesome as usual. I used my garlic and thyme roasted lamb recipe. Josiah made a cabbage, carrot, cucumber salad with a ginger dressing. 

This interesting looking dessert was supposed to be a meringue island with strawberry sauce. Twice now, I've tried to make a meringue with sucanat and it just doesn't work. We poached this in boiling water. It looked good at first, but then it sunk down and looked, as Josiah quaintly put it, " like a brown turd". I just smothered it with this delicious strawberry sauce and almost everyone ate it without any problems. Just goes to show it is all about the sauce!

We'll try some different recipes each year, some will be keepers, some will not. All the kids loved it and thanked us for doing it. I think having them help with the meal and the table setting really helped them feel invested in the Seder ceremony and feast. It is a wonderful way to instill God's word in them and give them an appreciation for Jewish culture. Of course as Christians, we easily can find elements of Jesus throughout the ceremony. Can't wait for next year!

God Bless,
Jackie

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