About Me

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This blog chronicles the adventures I share with my husband, daughter and son. It is also a place to share what I am learning as a homemaker, gardener, book lover and homeschooling mother. Welcome.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

~ january & february 2018 in pictures ~

female cardinal

new granola recipe ~ it had us at the taste of orange rind

african violet bloom

lake jacomo

the last of the green beans

 my basketball all-star

someone organized a nerf war for the youth group
and had just as much fun as the students

hiking with friends

family hike

testing the waters of a drawing class

I am a bit ambivalent about continuing the blog, but am motivating myself in that it is a visual record of our schooling days, and since those are not ending for a number of years, I'm telling myself that posting, even infrequently, by compiling homemaking, homeschooling and adventuring into one post is doable. 

dallas for ella's 14th: perot museum of nature and science

dallas for ella's 14th: perot museum of nature and science

dallas for ella's 14th: perot museum of nature and science

dallas for ella's 14th: dallas world aquarium

dallas for ella's 14th: dallas world aquarium

dallas for ella's 14th george w. bush presidential library

dallas for ella's 14th: george w. bush presidential library

dallas for ella's 14th: reunion tower

dallas for ella's 14th: reunion tower

dallas for ella's 14th: dallas zoo

dallas for ella's 14th: dallas zoo

dallas for ella's 14th: dallas art museum

Sunday, December 31, 2017


Although the holiday break for Christmas is wonderful, special, I'm most thankful that Christmas for the one who believes in the actual birth of Jesus Christ can be celebrated every day.

Immanuel - God with Us

The gift of the presence of God's Spirit living within a human? Each day living the grace of Heaven on Earth residing inside of me? I will take Christmas every day. I need to celebrate that life, light, joy, forgiveness each day. The love of the Lord Jesus Christ needs to be the lense through which I see my life.

Some of my favorite verses from God's Word come from the book of John, written by his disciple of the same name.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. the same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:1-5

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent. John 17:3

I'm so thankful for the life, the light, the knowledge of the only true God and his Son, Jesus Christ, and to have him as the focus of my every day.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

25 of 40: loess bluff national wildlife refuge

our final 2017 hike
18 degrees ~ christmas eve ~ approx. 4 inches of snow
although we didn't reach 40 hikes for my 40th year - 25 hikes is quite a number
and the point is that we enjoyed ourselves and had this time together as a family

after the first loop the kids are still smiling - a good sign! - this was just after a snowball fight

We were able to take a hike on Christmas Eve at the Loess Bluff National Wildlife Refuge in Forest City, MO an 1 1/2 hour drive north of KC.  We received about an inch at home that morning and  assumed the accumulation to be greater to the north and it was at about 3-4 inches. These conditions coupled with frigid temperatures (18 degrees!) made for slow going; I was consoled by the memory of our first hike of 2017 in the snow at 13 degrees and the pictures show us smiling so we must have enjoyed ourselves. I was so cold when we began! But I didn't stay cold because all that movement warmed me up and the sun was shining which helped once we were on top of the bluffs out of the woods.

All three trails behind the visitor center are connected and we hiked them by creating two loops and Jesse recorded about 2 1/2 miles. The trails are rated strenuous because of the steep inclines up to the bluffs. Once at the top you have quite the view (seeing as far as Nebraska and Kansas) and get an glimpse of the 10-mile Wild Goose Auto Tour loop (which we drove after hiking) located across from the refuge.

I've mentioned before that hiking in the winter is one of my favorites and adding snow makes it extra special. Roone especially loved purposely falling and sliding on the snow, and Ella contributed to the fun with throwing snowballs. We saw deer as well as many birds and even had a bald eagle circling overhead when climbing the bluffs. It probably goes without mentioning that there wasn't a crowd to content with. We were the only ones on the trail, the only car in the parking lot. Yes, it was quite peaceful.

bald eagles


 immature eagle - photo credit: jesse via binoculars

immature eagle - photo credit: jesse via binoculars

After hiking we warmed ourselves in the car with hot tea and lunch then drove through the Wild Goose Auto Tour loop. We probably saw five other cars on the loop and since it's nice to go at a slow pace and stop frequently to view the birds it was great not to be rushed by crowds.

We drove the loop a number of years ago when the refuge hosted an eagle days event. My memories are of having young children, Roone getting ill, and the loop being quite congested and not seeing many birds. Our experience this year was the exact opposite, thankfully.

Our pictures don't do our experience justice, but we saw hundreds, maybe thousands of birds. We saw many bald eagles, geese, swans, hawks. This experience was great for Jesse because he is the most keen bird watcher of all of us. It's really mostly his thing, but he has taught the me and kids well and we also know how to identify quite a few feathered friends. Driving slowly we covered only 4 miles in the first hour because there were so many birds to view. We sped up for the last 6 miles because it seemed the largest crowds of birds were near the loop's beginning, however near the exit Jesse did see an owl, the only one of the day.

I'm so glad we made the effort to have this adventure. Knowing of the snow and low temperatures I was second guessing our idea the morning of the hike, but then thought that it would be silly not to go when we had the time on our hands, and it became a stunning, peaceful way to enjoy our last opportunity to hike this year.