Lydia’s Birthday

Happy 15th (wait, that can’t be right! yep, 15 years already) to our beautiful daughter Lydia!



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First Day of School Pics

I actually got pictures taken this year!

Elaina – Toddler

Thomas – Preschool

Gabe – Kindergarten

Ben – 3rd grade

Caleb – 6th grade

Kara – 8th grade

Lydia – 8th grade

Matthew – 10th grade

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Looking out my window… I do enjoy the looong twilight here in Alaska; definitely something I missed while we were Outside. Got to bed a little late the other night and actually had to use the flashlight on my phone to navigate through the house after turning out lights.  It’s been a few months since I’ve had to do that.

I am thankful… for God’s provision through generous friends. Scott and I have decided it’s time to get serious about paying off our credit card debt. This mostly means trimming the grocery budget as much as possible (think rice and beans). This week we are losing one of our KCAM couples L and they have been very generous with us as they cleaned out their freezer/pantry. Their generosity has filled our freezer and will definitely help in keeping grocery costs down.

One of my favorite things… watching my kids grow in knowledge and independence.

Matthew receiving a lesson in backing up with a trailer.

I am hearing… 9pm – the washing machine running (waiting to switch the laundry before heading to bed – need more clean underwear for Thomas, potty training is slow, but steady), the dishwasher running, Scott moving a bookcase downstairs, Elaina seems to have finally quieted down (she loves to sing herself to sleep).

In the schoolroom… I wasn’t intending for my school year prep to include room rearranging, but I’m excited about this impromptu change.  We acquired a desk this week and while it was originally intended to be used for Scott, he decided it would be better used by me. I am enjoying having a bigger desk area and file drawers to better manage all the homeschooling paperwork.  The rearrangement has also opened the room up more which is very nice; no more squeezing around the end of the dining table to get to the other side. We also had our first science project arrive – a butterfly garden.  The kids are quite fascinated watching and learning about the caterpillars as they grow.

In the kitchen… I made my own yogurt for the first time this last week.  I need to get a cheesecloth to strain it so it is thicker, but otherwise I think it turned out well. The boys sure gobbled down the strawberry yogurt I made by stirring jam into it.

In the garden… I see a head growing on one of the broccoli plants! And the beans are starting to produce too.

A moment from my life… we took an impromptu hike to the Tolsona Mud Volcano after the church campout.

Showing how deep the bubbling pools are.

Poking sticks in pools is such fun.

Me and Lydia

Waiting for Mommy to catch up.



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Looking out my window… it feels good to have these cooler temps and to see the mountains and blue skies without the haze of smoke anymore. Even though it is still quite warm (70s), yesterday’s wind had that fall is coming smell to it.

I am thankful… that Thomas is doing well with potty training. He’s got the idea for the most part and seems to have gotten past the ‘that was fun, but I’m done playing this game’ stage and is getting used to the new normal.

One of my favorite things… I love being able to have the windows open and the fresh air flowing in.

I am creating… lesson plans. This last year has been a kind of transition year for us in more ways than one and I’m going to be doing things a bit differently this coming year.  For most of our homeschooling years I’ve done the typical everyone doing the same thing for most subjectsIt’s a bit more work on the front-end with planning, but I’m hoping that it will better fit our changing family dynamics.

I am hearing… 12:15 – the canner rattling, kids working on KP, the scanner running, little ones playing outside; 2:45 – Lydia doing her typing lesson, Ben cleaning all the weeds out of the front flower bed; a plane flying overhead.

In the schoolroom… the kids survived our first public speaking class today. Using the Key Word Outlines method from IEW and having only their siblings as an audience seemed to make it less painful than they thought it would be. I’m planning a few more ‘speeches’ to finish out our language arts curriculum for this school year.

In the kitchen… a canner load of pinto beans is cooking away on the stove, with more beans awaiting canning in the roaster oven. Besides the convenience of having them already cooked, we’re trying to trim the budget to put more toward getting debt paid off. I’ve found a few more bean recipes that I think the kids may like well enough to add to our regular lineup. If you have any suggestions for super cheap recipes I’m open to suggestions.

My first attempt at freezing basil from the garden (in tsp size portions).

In the garden… the squash loved the hot temps we had this summer and I’m excited to be harvesting zucchini.

A moment of our time…


Happy up so high!


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Kara’s Birthday

She wanted a cake that looked like a Minecraft cake.

Enjoying her present of headphones to use with her computer (while playing minecraft of course).

Laughing at the funny card Daddy got her.

Books from Grandpa Hill

Mail call – passing out the letters from Grandma & Grandpa Eaton (the most looked forward to time of each birthday).

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Looking out my window… our rainy spring has turned into a HOT summer.  These 90 degree temps are a bit too much for Alaska. The kids are enjoying running through the sprinkler though.

I am thankful… for this chance for our kids to get to know their cousins better.  We are watching my sister Karen’s 3 kids and 2 dogs for the week while she and her husband are at a conference.

One of my favorite things… fresh strawberries straight from the garden.

I am creating… finally finished the cross-stitch part of this piece and am moving on to all the blackwork sections.

I am reading… working my way through Warriors Don’t Cry. It boggles my mind that people thought and acted that way. Matthew had a hard time with this book too; he has such a strong sense of right and wrong.

I am hearing… 6:15pm – kids playing outside, what sounds like someone spraying a hose, the microwave beep reminding me it’s finished, the construction sounds have finished for the day (they’ve been working on some underground pipes behind the school).

In the schoolroom…  I’ve finished all the researching and now it’s time to order all the curriculum.  I’m going to try a couple different things this year. Here’s hoping they prove to be a good fit with the changing dynamics of our family.

In the kitchen… thankful for the slightly cooler day since I needed to bake bread.

In the garden… had the first harvests of spinach and I think the leaf lettuce is ready too.  Three strawberries have turned red so far which Scott and I enjoyed immensely. Here’s hoping the dogs don’t dig anymore of it up before they leave.

A moment from my week…


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Looking out my window… beautiful sunshine! All the rain this last week has been much loved by my garden and lawn, but isn’t as conducive for getting everyone outside.

We’ve been working on cleaning up the yard these last couple weeks.

Bubbles are so fun!

I am thankful… for God’s provision of a second fridge. It’s much cheaper to buy milk when we’re in Town, but we can only fit a couple gallons at a time in the kitchen fridge. We’d been just keeping the rest in a cooler in the garage, but now that the weather is warmer that isn’t working well. I look forward to the extra fridge space when harvest season comes.

One of my favorite things… time spent talking with a friend.

I am creating… a plan for the next school year. I want to have more breaks this next year and not feel like we have to keep pushing forward no matter what.  That means only taking a short break between years.  So, Lord willing, I am trying to have things planned out and curriculum ordered before the end of this school year.

I am reading… almost finished with The Friendly Persuasion; another of the literature books for Matthew’s school work.

I am watching… Scott and I are beginning another pass through the Farscape series.

I am hearing… 12pm – kids chattering about playing Starbound (computer game) and the clinking of silverware.

I am hoping… to get a few naps in this week.  A trip to town and a busy weekend has left me feeling drained.

In the schoolroom… this week marked the end of our 3rd quarter in this school year. (Our moving schedule last fall meant that we were just starting our school year when everyone else was finishing their first quarter.) We took a much needed break and went to Town for shopping while Matthew took his first Horsemanship classes at Victory Bible Camp.

Field trip to the Wrangell-St. Elias Visitor Center as part of our Alaska Studies.

In the kitchen… I bought some Tupperware popsicle holders off Ebay just like the ones we used when I was growing up.  So far we’ve made the standard koolaid ones and are experimenting with some koolaid sherbet ones.

In the garden… I was beginning to despair of ever finishing prepping the garden beds for use, but I finally finished separating the dirt from the matted weed roots. It made me think of the pioneers on the prairies busting sod. Thankfully only two of the beds were that bad and I was able to get most of the garden planted before this lovely rain came. Plus! My carrots sprouted. I’m so excited that the seed was still viable.  The initial weeding is done and now to thin them.

A moment from my month…


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Looking out my window… the wind is back again; though I don’t mind so much as it will help to dry things out a bit after the rain of the last couple days.  Grateful for that rain; I can see the lawn beginning to turn green now.

I am thankful… to have the boot/shoe organizer finished. Scott did a great job and I love not having a huge pile of shoes next to the front door.

I am hearing… 8:45am-little ones crying over some perceived injustice, another child ‘playing’ piano, older ones making up another imaginative story world; 5:45pm-Ben playing checkers with Uncle James, Gabe and Lydia playing with the dog, Scott driving up to the house.

In the schoolroom… Caleb won 2nd place at the first ever Upstream Learning science fair. Lydia has started her sped therapy class, so we have a list of PT, OT, and speech exercises to work on each day.

In the kitchen… made my first all-sourdough/no yeast loaves here in Alaska this past week.  I’d been doing a sourdough/yeast combination recipe to use up old yeast and give the sourdough time to get fully established.

In the garden… I am working to recover some overgrown, weed bound garden beds to make them usable again. I wish I had gotten them done and had the carrots planted before all the wonderful rain came.

I am looking forward to enjoying… my brother visiting for a couple days.

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Thomas Turns 3!

Caleb is 11!


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Looking out my window… cloudy skies, wind, and rain. Spring seems to be coming early this year; today’s high is supposed to be near 50.

I am thankful… that we were able to get the middle boys out on the ice to practice their skating a couple times last week. Caleb especially made great improvements in his skating and it was fun to see it ‘click’ with him. With this warm weather everything is really starting to melt and I doubt we will get any more ice time this year.

I am hearing… 8:45am – Elaina making noises as she finishes her breakfast, Scott and the older kids discussing yesterday’s sermon for their Bible lesson, the washing machine running; 4:45pm – dinner simmering on the stove, kids yelling as they race around the house, the firing of a nerf gun, the hum of the refrigerator.

In the schoolroom… we have finally reached the report writing lesson in IEW. I’m excited about this because it will carry over into a lot of our other subjects. Matthew is already putting what he’s learned into practice with a report for his health class.

In the kitchen… this weekend I made several packages of tortillas to put in the freezer. I was reading about freezing them raw so that they will be ‘fresh baked’ when you use them.  So, I’m trying that method and hoping for the best.

I kept seeing posts about people growing celery or onions from the ends of bunches and decided I needed to try it for myself.

I am looking forward to… being able to let the little ones play outside without all the effort at putting them into their winter gear.

Around the house… I finally got a chore schedule for this house/year worked out and we have begun implementing it.  So far it is working well and I’m glad to know that certain areas of the house are getting cleaned on a regular basis.

Still working on the shoe/boot rack, but Scott got the coat rack/hooks up this last week.

A peek at my week…

Lydia helped me shred old egg carton flats for composting.

Thomas has started to show an interest in coloring.

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