Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Organization Challenge

Hi all :)  Well we are STILL waiting our orders to move to our dream home.  In the meantime, however, I am taking advantage of this time to organize and declutter.... aka purge!  How in the world do we accumulate so much STUFF?  There are some things I am OCD about keeping organized, such as my herb shelf.  Other things, not so much!

Anyways, a Farmgirl Sister from MaryJanesFarm has a four week declutter a room challenge.  I'm just now jumping aboard, and thought some of you might want to do the same.  You can read more about Marsha's challenge over at Markets of Sunshine.  She actually is on week three now, but it is never too late to join in the fun... like I said, I am only just beginning myself!

There are three areas I should probably seriously look to downsize that are "mine" (as opposed to toys or things of that nature)... fabric (GASP, shudder at the thought), books (I think my oldest would shed for real tears!), and kitchen gadgets.  Honestly, I think the latter would be the easiest, and ironically the kitchen is where I spend most of my time... well other than teaching the children ;)

Part of my fabric... Anyone want any Disney fabrics???

Here is part of our books....

Yup... time to Declutter.... So what will we do with all the stuff we are getting rid of?  Most of you know us well enough to know we will donate it!  There is a great ReStore here locally, as well as Goodwill.  There are also many needy families in the area, especially younger military families!  Anyone else want to join the challenge?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Santee Indian Mound & Fort Watson - Field Trip

One gorgeous day, our family headed to Santee National Wildlife Refuge.

A few years ago, the children and I had made the trip out there, but Brad had been unable to join us.  Wanting him to have the opportunity to experience the history and beauty of the area, we were thrilled he had this chance to go with us this time!  We started in the Visitor Center.  Here they have lots of information, as well as exhibits that are realistic of what may be seen in the area.

We then drove down to the Indian Mound.  The Indian Mound served as a ceremonial site and burial ground for the Santee Indians.  It is believed to be at least a thousand years old.  In the late 1700s, during the Revolutionary War, however, the mound was used as a British outpost they called Fort Watson.  This was an ideal spot as it looked down the Santee River as well as the road to Charleston.  General Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion and his troops, along with others, forced the surrender of Fort Watson in 1781.  It was the first British fort to fall!

After looking over the mound, we headed back to the car for a quick lunch and then off for our hike.  At the visitor center, we checked out a backpack with a pair of binoculars and scavenger hunt sheets.  The children were quite excited to see tracks as we walked, to watch the squirrels, the ducks, and the insects, while checking things off their list.  One thing I will miss from this area are the cypress knees!  I just find them to be such an amazing testimony to God's love and attention for His creation!

For those in the area, this really is a peaceful, low pressure field trip that our children absolutely love!!!  It is a great combination of both history and science, a win-win in our book!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Seeing Mary with new eyes

The Biblical story of Martha and Mary is well known.  For those unfamiliar, these are the verses: Luke 10: 38-42. "Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. "But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her." NKJV

Over the years, I have heard these verses preached many times.  I have read Bible studies and devotionals centered on these verses.  I have taught these verses to my children.  Yet today, while doing school with B5, I got a new perspective...

Most of the time, when I hear these verses, I pacify myself... I tell myself that most of us are Martha's... that some of us are ingrained that way.  That being a "Mary" is a goal to set and work towards.  That it basically means I need to not overload myself with works, but rather take time for Bible reading and personal devotions.  That this period in my life is busy, so I need to just do what I can.  Basically, I lied to myself!

For B5's school, the story was written on a child's level.  It talked about Martha trying to make the house spotless, knowing Jesus was coming to visit.   She also tried to make sure food was ready and beverages.  She was worried, running around like a crazy-lady, in a total frenzy.  And yet, Mary was calm, peaceful, and JOYful, listening at the feet of the Lord.


How many times have I rushed through a devotional or Bible study... or totally skipped it... knowing I had a list of other things I needed to tackle?  How many times have I pushed my morning Bible time to the side for extra sleep, since one of my littles were up during the night?  How many times have I panicked and stressed over getting the house clean and straightened, yet not worried nearly as much about cleaning up the inside of me?  How many times have I stressed over making sure my children, hubby, and guests are fed nourishing delicious meals, but not nearly have I stressed over the much needed spiritual food of my soul!?!?  How many moments of the day do I spend in a worried, running around like a crazy-lady, frenzy, rather than a calm, peaceful, joyful Child of God, sitting at my Savior's feet?!?!?

I tell my children that excuses are like noses... everyone has one and some smell better than others.... Time to see the Great Physician!  

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Going Down Memory Lane

Our family is in a time of transition, getting ready to move to our forever home :)  As such, we are going through many of our items and purging.  In doing so, we are coming across items that we have saved (and will continue to do so!) over the years.  Some of these items are clothing...  I thought I would share a few pictures with you :)

Part of my mom's side of the family is Amish... yes as in horse and buggy, no electric, old order Amish.  When I was pregnant with my oldest, my cousin made my daughter a beautiful Amish dress.  I absolutely treasure this dress.  Here is E in it:

These next two outfits are ones I wore as an infant.  I'm pretty sure the purple one matched my mom's bridesmaid's dress.... I think, hahaha.  The other, I want to say was my going home dress, but it seems pretty big for that, so I'm not positive.  In any case, my mom had saved both dresses for me, and I love thinking about that, seeing E in them.

This last outfit is actually one that I made for W9 and L10 back in 2009. I had made them when we went to Disney with my best friend and her family.  I'm pretty sure they wore their outfits for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.  Anyways, here is B5 in the Prince Charming outfit :)

And that is all for Memory Lane for today ;)  Anyone else this sentimental or is it just me???

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon - Field Trip

The other week, our family took the afternoon to go to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon.  L10 has been reading and completing a unit study on "Treasure Island" and we are studying the Revolutionary War in history, so it seemed quite fitting!!!

Due to the time of our arrival, we started down in the Dungeon for the tour.  It began with the start of Charleston... being built between the Cooper River and Ashley River in order for trade to occur.

The tour guide then went on to discuss Blackbeard and Stede Bonnett... two pirates that joined forces against Charleston.  Bennett was later captured along with a number of his men, kept in the dungeon, and later executed, as were his men.  Their bodies were left in the open for a time, so that any other pirates might be deterred from raiding Charleston, and it worked!  Blackbeard was later caught and executed up in North Carolina.

The Dungeon was later used at the beginning of the Revolutionary War... much like Boston, the Charlestonians refused to buy the English Tea.  Unlike the Bostonians, however, they did not dump the tea, but rather the tax collector, or collector of customs, suggested putting it in the dungeon and waiting to see if it sold.  The Charlestonians banned drinking it for two years!  Then, it was sold for funds for the patriot's cause, which infuriated Britain!

At one point during the Revolutionary War, knowing the British were coming, the Charlestonians moved all the gunpowder to the Dungeon and built a wall around it.  Even while the British occupied the premises, they did not realize the gunpowder was there due to the wall being built by the same bricklayers that had built the original building... it was 100% concealed and the Brits stayed clueless!

Perhaps the most famous prisoner kept in the dungeon, however, was Isaac Hayne.  This widowed father of 7 was a prisoner due to "treason" and was executed a mere couple months before the end of the Revolutionary War!  It is said he was not allowed a fair trial or hearing, but rather was used as an example :(  Women were also prisoners... especially ones that were considered helpful to the Patriots.

Once the tour was done, we finished looking at the items down in the dungeon, which focused on the pirates.

Next we headed to the first floor.  There you will find an old post office set up, which was housed in the Old Exchange.  The children were fascinated with the old type of post office boxes and stamps.

We then went into the "NSDAR Room" which houses a lot of old artifacts from that time period.

Hopefully you are able to read the above plaque... it tells of true Southern Hospitality... a trait that I have come to love about the south, but is dying much like the founding beliefs of that time period! Rebecca Motte was forced to leave her home in the "city" due to possession by the British.  She and her daughters went to their plantation home.  They were then again forced to leave, due to the British possessing that home as well.  The Patriots met with Rebecca and devised a plan to burn Rebecca's plantation in order to force the Brits into surrendering.  She agreed!  The plan worked, the Brits surrendered and then they ALL worked together to save the house.  Rebecca, being the Southern Lady that she was, then served BOTH sides' officers (American and British) dinner!

We then headed to the second floor.  We started in the far room - in the Isaac Hayne room.  The man himself spent his final hours prior to execution in this room.  

We then went into the main room, though there wasn't much in there as far as artifacts.  There was, however, a lady in there that showed the children some older toys and let them give them a try.  There was a Jacob's Ladder, Cup and Ball, and yo-yo.

Overall, the field trip was a great learning experience.  I think the children were a little tired of reading everything, but they thoroughly enjoyed the tour in the dungeon and trying out the games :)