A respite

mias 384I was sick the other day. And in this house, peace and quiet is not on the menu. I was even feeling too sick to ask for peace and quiet. But, guess what? I got it. And my nap was long, sweet and deep.mias 416 All the kids took their lunch down into the woods and set up camp. It looks like a lot of fun, and it was a huge blessing to me. Thank you kids! And I’m pretty sure real food was involved.mias 408

Grass roots

parade 005We have this tenacious weed here in Tn. It is called Bermuda grass. It will grow out of 8 feet of concrete it seems like. It creeps along the ground and invades all areas. Local politics is like that. It begins at the bottom. It creeps along, sometimes slowly, but always tenaciously. People may try to eradicate it, but it keeps popping up, stubbornly spreading the word among it’s sphere of influence.

The fact is, the “grassroots” is not like anything else in politics. By its very nature, it’s fiercely resistant to central control — yet it can be incomparably loyal and self-sacrificing. Properly understood and respected (and hence properly utilized), it has the potential to alter an entire culture.  RenewAmerica

So that is why we feel so strongly about being involved and informed. Our children’s futures are at stake. We are not ones to stand around wringing our hands wondering what happened? We know what’s happening and it’s scary! Freedoms given to us by our Lord Jesus are disappearing daily. People shrug and just don’t care. Our minds are being turned to mush in front of a screen. Our judgment is being clouded by  media. We need to wake up and take a stand! What will this land look like in 5 years, or 10? Judging by the past, it will not be somewhere I want to live! Let’s change that. And remember, it starts at the local level. Let’s worry about our “sphere of influence” and put our “sphere of concern” into the Mighty One’s hands. Let’s effect change where we will feel it most. In our communities, in our counties. Our kids are veteran campaign volunteers and it was our pleasure to offer our support to a (not-so) local  homeschool dad running for County Clerk in Calloway County. Go Steve!parade 001

Weekly Garden Update 10-12-14

garden 006So, the garden is so exciting this time of year. Weeks go by and I neglect it. I keep meaning to get out there, but life gets in the way.garden 005 When I finally make it out there, what a surprise! Hardly any weeds! And healthy looking greens! garden 012The worms have gotten a lot of the kale, but the cows won’t mind a bit. This beautiful red lettuce is loving the cooler temps.garden 011 I have one tomato plant still going strong, but the rest I’ve pulled out. garden 013Fall peas! Is there anything better? Like a taste of summer, right before we hunker down for the long haul.garden 010 The carrots are growing like mad. I have turnips just sprouting up. I hope the pigs like them all winter long. What’s growing in your fall garden?garden 003


The other day I was in the liquor store buying 2 large bottles of vodka. What must they have thought of me and my 9 kids! I can only imagine :D But it makes me chuckle! No, I was not having a bad day. I was not trying to drown my sorrows. I was concocting something fabulous though! Black Walnut Hull tincture. A natural de-wormer for animals and it is also useful for humans as it is anti-fungal, anthelmintic (anti-parasitic), anti-yeast and a great source of iodine. It also has been said to re-enamalize the teeth. But is stains something fierce. So, you may have stronger teeth, but they will be brown. It’s ok to have brown teeth, I told my kids. We live in Tennessee after all. Black walnut hull tincture can be used to treat warts, snake bites, cold sores, ulcers, the list goes on and on. Good stuff to have on hand. And it is so easy to DIY. I went to a friends to collect the black walnut hulls that are green, lol! Then just cover them with 100 proof grain alcohol and let sit for 2-6 weeks. After you drain out the hulls, keep the brownish liquid in a dark bottle with a dropper for easy use. You can also make hair dye out of these hulls, which I may be inspired to try before too long!kombucha and tincture 015We’ve also been conconting a brew called kombucha. Kombu-what??? It is a fermented tea drink rich in probiotics and healthy bacteria. Awesome for gut health. I used to make it years ago and I just fell out of the habit. So now, back on the bandwagon and here we go!kombucha and tincture 001Brew green or black tea, very strong. Add white sugar. The caffeine in the tea and the sugar are what feeds your “scoby”..kombucha and tincture 004Your scoby is the colony of yeast which will eat the sugar and caffeine and impart all sorts of live, beneficial bacterias and yeasts to your drink. So, let this ferment on the counter in a glass jar or large crock kombucha and tincture 002for 7-10 days. Strain it and bottle it up for a delicious, fizzy, healthy drink. kombucha and tincture 005 kombucha and tincture 019Overheard…”beware the beverages at the Schultz’s house!”

Southern Illinois Family Day

soilfamilyday 006“Come south, it will be warm.” That’s what was promised to the northerners who ventured down south for family day at Rend Lake. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way. I spotted people wearing mittens, hats and scarves last Saturday. Not my kids, though. They were barefoot. We all had a great time, despite the weather, fellowshipping and playing at the beautiful lake. A hundred voices raised in song proclaiming “how great Thou art” is enough to warm anybody. We met many new friends and re-connected with ones we only see every so often. Come on out next year and let Benja beat you at tug of war!soilfamilyday 003

My shadow

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me.. (Robert Louis Stevenson)

and here she is..katie2014 933She doesn’t like if I have to set her down to attend to some cooking in the kitchen. I will feel her pull herself up on my leg and just hang out there til I can pick her up again. As long as I have a helper that can hand me stuff from the fridge, leaving me free to stay standing in one spot, it’s all good. Now, when I have to walk away a few steps and little Roo plops down on her bottom, well, that’s trouble. And she has been known to pull my skirt right down around my ankles! I have to watch out! But I love having a little companion wherever I go. All too soon, she will be toddling off on her own adventures.

Guilty as charged

The problem is that kids hardly learn at all the way schools insist on teaching.

Children desperately need the lessons volunteer service, apprenticeships, and work/study teach, but instead they are kept in holding pens with others of their own age..

They are valued according to their ability to adjust to this unhealthy regimen, to remain passive, to take orders, to maintain a cheerful demeanor while their time is wasted.soilfamilyday 008

So, I have finished the book. It was eye-opening to say the least. And I found myself cringing as I recognized myself in his descriptions of someone who stifles the learning of children. I have children who have a deep desire to find our “why?” And that question takes time to answer. All my children have a natural curiosity. And sometimes that’s messy and inconvenient. Some of my children are inventors. That takes up space. Sometimes when my kids are asked by others, “what are you learning in history?” and they say, “we don’t do history”, I cringe.

Today we are studying monkeys, apparently.

Today we are studying monkeys, apparently.

Even though I consider myself a relaxed homeschooler, all too often I find myself wishing all my kids could sit at a table quietly for once. Just for five minutes. Doesn’t happen very often. Learning about worms takes so much more time than filling in the blanks of a workbook. Learning construction isn’t a “subject” to be finished in a 45 minute time segment. Learning baking skills requires actual time in a kitchen, not with a nose in a home economics textbook. So this book reminded me to embrace the joy of learning. To remember that the best kind of learning is messy and sometimes loud. When it involved debates between certain members of my family it is very loud. 11 people, all learning and discovering, and inventing, and questioning. It’s not what my mind pictures as “school time”. But that’s because it is not school time. It is learning time.

No, we are not studying the vikings. Today we are just being silly.

No, we are not studying the vikings. Today we are just being silly.

Sweet 16

miabday 004Mia wonders where did this term originate? What a milestone for our firstborn!  We have made so many mistakes with this child it is only because of God’s grace that she is a delight to us. Are all first borns guinea pigs when it comes to parenting, eating habits, chores and more? miabday 024Mia has always been one to keep calm, speak gently, pick up the slack and get ‘er done. She has matured so much in this last year. Able to care for the home. Able to extend herself in hospitality. Able to step outside of herself in the name of love. She refuses to cater to herself and be self-absorbed. She will instead focus on others, and concentrate on making them feel comfortable, welcomed and loved. I see the love of God in her actions both outside the house and within. It is so much easier for us all to be polite and generous to others outside the home, more difficult to extend that to family members whose daily irritations tend to get on our nerves. Mia teaches us all how to be gracious and patient to those we love best.katie2014 848 She is an easy target, though. And the kids love to tease her, scare her, and harass her to no end! I have to admit, she is a fun one to scare ;) Often times she is “tattling” on the offending sibling and can’t keep a straight face long enough for me to take her seriously. She can’t keep back the laughter. We pray that she will continue to grow in her faith. Trusting her Lord, who has planned all her days, to reveal His plan for her life in due time. That her walk with God will enable her to obey His word!katie2014 907

Form follows function

This is an architectural principle meaning that the purpose of something must be of more importance than the way it looks. Taking that to heart, and acknowledging my need for jar storage space, Jeremie built these shelves as our “back bathroom decoration statement”. Don’t you think this trend will catch on and take off? Maybe they will feature my bathroom on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens? Or Country Living! I’m holding my breath. shelves 001