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Soldiers, Frogs, Comments Working, and Lost!

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Last week was one of those crazy weeks. I actually passed my husband on the road and, as we sped off in opposite directions, we stuck our arms out of our cars and waved at each other. Sigh.

So, what kept us busy?

The usual: gardening, housework, eating, cleaning, hanging out with people, thinking about schoolwork, listening to music, making music, appointments, soccer, doing math, working crazy hours, emptying the dehumidifier, planning for university, enjoying nature.

And the unusual: checking out green curtains at IKEA, going on dessert walks around our orchard and garden, eating French raspberry pie (with cream cheese filling), whizzing through books at a small school’s library, and having adventures.

Or perhaps having adventures is no longer so unusual for us. One afternoon our adventure magnet, Miss 12, was wandering peacefully in the corn field with the dogs, listening to music, when she realized she was lost. In her panic she lost her sister’s MP3 player, crawled through long aisles of corn to find it, and then raced down more corn rows to find her way out. The leaves made tiny cuts all over her face and arms, and when she finally saw freedom, she was horrified to also see huge numbers of coyote tracks all around. Needless to say, she ran the long distance home as fast as her tired legs could carry her. Ironically, just the day before my husband and Miss 15, while walking past corn fields, had decided that it would be impossible to really get lost near our place.

A more peaceful adventure, but about more warlike days, was our family trip to Fort Henry in Kingston. Now Kingston is a military town, and the McDonald’s we stopped at was right beside the base and soon overflowed with soldiers, filling some girlish eyes with sparkles. Although I was instantly reminded of Pride and Prejudice, it wasn’t the young men in the uniforms but the uniforms themselves and the dream of wearing one eventually…. The Fort itself was amazing (you can see some pictures here) and the drive through hills and dales of goldenrod was magical. To top it all off, my husband bought steak on the way home and supper was grilled steak, fresh salad with the first baby carrots, cauliflower, and leftover red rice.

Outside it was a week of storms, fat raindrops, and dramatic clouds. There were the meteor showers, and I saw a shooting star from my bed even without my glasses. It must have been huge! One evening a heron flew lazily over our house and then croak-quacked angrily near the river. We sat under our butternut trees overlooking the meadow, listening to frogs croaking to each other in their different frog voices. Sometimes they were a chorus, but other times they would get their timing mixed up.

Schoolwork: Although we’re still on holidays, we have started some casual schoolwork using Drawing Textbook by Bruce McIntyre and Gena Mayo’s new 21 Lessons for 20th Century Music Appreciation. In preparation for university, Miss 17 is reviewing her high calculus and other math using Singapore’s New Additional Math.

Blogging: My comment form (and much of the back end of my blog) is finally fixed! I thought it would never happen! The next blog project is to get the statistics counter to display again.

Personal reading: Disciplines of a Godly Woman, Minds More Awake, Drawing Textbook, Hold On To Your Kids, Overcoming Adrenal Fatigue, and 1 Kings.

Reading with the family: Journey through the Night, Proverbs, and John. And in terms of kid reading, I noticed Scout lying around….

How is your summer going?  Is it almost over or are you still looking forward to a few weeks?  My comment form is fixed (!!) so you can comment here again.

Comment Form Working Again!

Several months ago, my blog’s insides went slightly crazy and no one was able to comment anymore.  I have missed your comments so much, although I’m grateful that it was occasionally possible to discuss things on Google+.

But now my comments work! It will be wonderful to interact with you here again!

Thanks to the readers and authors who alerted me to this problem and who offered help. Truly, such kindness in the midst of life’s other difficulties was like a ray of sunshine. Thank you again!

Technical info: Not only did my comments stop working but a lot of the behind the scenes things that run other aspects of my blog did as well. For those of you who know about such things, it was a PHP problem, whatever that means, but thanks to the kind and competent folks at Web Hosting Hub, almost everything now works.

All that’s left now is to get the statistics counter to display again; the SiteMeter people were having their own troubles while I was having mine.

Field Trip: Fort Henry

We are not travelling across the country to visit relatives this year, but we do want to fill our summer with fun and good memories.  So recently we packed up the troops and headed out to explore Fort Henry, a monument to Canada’s past relations with the US.

Welcome to Fort Henry

Welcome to Fort Henry

Fort Henry in Kingston was built as a defense against the United States.  Yes, dear American friends, you used to be a significant threat to us, and we had these cannons to defend ourselves.

Prepared for an attack from the US

Large 50 pound cannon balls.
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A different kind of cannon projectile.  Good thing we did not need to use them!

Fort Henry cannon

Of course, soldiers need to eat and sleep…and do they ever keep their quarters neat!  We saw living quarters of officers as well, but they were tastefully decorated with personal possessions and real furniture.

Fort Henry soldiers' quarters

However, the best of all was watching the parade, a half hour display of music and marching.  Such stirring music, such talented drummers, such intricate and flawless marching patterns!

Fort Henry parade

Unfortunately, staying for the world famous Sunset Ceremonies would have been foolish, so we bought the DVD and plan to watch it soon.

Besides being a happy family adventure, this trip helped bring to life our multi-year, literature-based Canadian history course.

If you are ever near Kingston, Ontario, Fort Henry is well worth a visit.  Although admission is expensive, it includes a free ticket to Upper Canada Village (link to our field trip report of a few years ago), which makes for an affordable two-day adventure. For more information and to see a brief video, visit the Fort Henry website.

Review: Heartbreak Trail by Susan K. Marlow


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Andrea Carter is almost 15, a very special birthday in 19th century California. However, instead of a having a huge party to celebrate, Andi wants to go along with her brothers on a cattle drive.

It takes a lot of convincing, but with her brothers’ help she finally gets permission from her mother to go…as Cook’s helper, mind you, not as a ranch hand, but that is better than nothing.  Before long Andi realizes that a cattle drive is not all she thought it would be, and mosquitoes, endless dishes, and fatigue wear her out.  However, the handsome Toledo and his magnificent horse Sultan are a novel attraction and all goes well until the thousand cattle need to ford a flooding river.

Suddenly she is needed to do much more than help Cook, and the rest of the cattle drive tests every ounce of her determination, skill, and courage.  She learns to endure when she faces difficulties, but she also realizes that it is perfectly alright to change her dreams after she has met her responsibilities.

Once again Susan K. Marlow has written an absorbing novel with believable characters, strong family ties, horses, and lots of ranch-style danger.  Andi and her family are friends to us from previous Andrea Carter Books, but Heartbreak Trail can be read on its own, too.

I recommend this Christian novel for young teens who love horses and history.  It will keep them reading and maybe even rereading, filling their heads with hopeful dreams as well as a good dose of reality.

This is yet another book in the in the 2015 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge and is also linked to Saturday Reviews, Booknificent Thursdays, Literacy Musings Monday, and The Book Nook.

For more encouragement, visit Raising Homemakers, Titus 2 Tuesday, R&R Wednesdays.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Kregel for the purpose of this review.  All my opinions are my own, and I am not compensated for sharing them.

My Husband, Spring Cleaning, Movies, and Books

Watching sailboats on the river at sunset with Miss 22.

Watching sailboats on the river at sunset with Miss 22.

This has been a week of cooler weather and rain, so we spent some time ‘spring cleaning’ our house.

We went through all the kitchen cupboards and they look beautiful.  I’ve been opening the doors over and over just to admire them. Does anyone else do that?  We also reorganized parts of our basement, our linen cupboard, and the school supplies. Then we started on the games but ended up playing them instead, which is exactly what should be happening.

So I’ve been wandering through the house, peering into doors and rooms and corners just to admire what we’ve done, but the best part has been seeing Miss 15 and Miss 12 playing Stock Ticker, and a group of children on the couch in our neat rec room watching Donald Duck, a gift from Mr. 20.

As my husband uncomplainingly dealt with two water supply emergencies this week, I thought of all he has done this summer: he has reroofed the barn, built a new fence, protected us from wild parsnip, taken down dead trees and diseased bushes, maintained the vehicles, and taught the kids new skills. Because our lawnmowers are no long entirely safe, he has not allowed us to mow the lawn, doing most of that himself, too. All these things he has done on top of his busy work schedule and his other family commitments.  I am very grateful for the husband God has given me!

Other things this week: We have given away a lot of plums, raspberries, cherry plums, and summer apples and have eaten a lot too. We spent time with friends and family, relaxed under our butternut trees (although it really was too cold), went to medical appointments, took one dog for a rabies shot, weeded for the neighbors, thought about the last school year, started planning next school year, went to soccer, played games, dejunked a bit, walked, and maintained the gardens.

For the third time I watched The Drop Box (this time for a print review), and it was as moving as ever. Although The Drop Box is not suitable for children, Focus on the Family has a new Adventures in Odyssey audio drama, also called The Drop Box (definitely worthwhile), with an accompanying story about adoption that neither Miss 12 nor I wanted to listen to after the first few minutes.

My husband and I watched a funny movie with beautiful scenery and a lethal message: the handsome hero, a ‘harmless’ and well-meaning guy who also happens to be a thieving compulsive liar, proclaims disarmingly that love and marriage cannot go together. After giving hubby a second chance the heroine shows up at the hero’s doorstep after all. No wonder so many people believe the myths Shaunti Feldhahn debunks in The Good News About Marriage!

Personal reading this week: Side by Side by Ed Welch (very good, review coming up), Disciplines of a Godly Woman, and 1 Kings. Reading with the family: Journey through the Night, Favorite Poems Old and New (our favorite poetry book, although my husband does prefer Kipling), Proverbs, and John. My review of Mysteries of Time and Creation is up on The Curriculum Choice, and Bonding with Your Child Through Boundaries is up as well; I will be reviewing its companion Bonding with Your Teen Through Boundaries sometime this fall.

How is your summer going?  Is it almost over or are you still looking forward to a few weeks? 

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