Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Raising Olives is Moving

Ok, take a deep breath and get ready for some action. Raising Olives is moving. Come visit the new Raising Olives and then change your links, favorites, bookmarks, feeds, or whatever you use to read Raising Olives, you don't want to miss out on all the action.

I will be leaving this site up, but all new posts will be over there. Come on, what are you waiting for http://raisingolives.com/, move it!

I'm Famous Thanks to "Trenches of Motherhood"

Mandy over at From the Trenches Of Motherhood featured our blog in her post today. She included more information about our family and why we decided to blog, so if your interested, head on over and read it here and while your there tell her thanks and look over the rest of her blog!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Vision Forum Spring Sale

Did you hear? Vision Forum is having their spring sale! Now is the time to stock up for birthdays and Christmas gifts, oh and some things from your wish list also.

Some of our favorites are:

Ten P's in a Pod - This book has inspired us to be more faithful at Bible reading and memorization. It also is an amazing story of a families ultimate trust in God for all of their daily needs.

Jonathan Park - Did you love your free download? Collect the rest of the series. Mark is listening to these and working through the study guides with the older children in the evening. It is a great science and creation resource. The complete set is discounted 32% and individual titles are 30% off.

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary - Need I say anything more? If you don't already own this, grab it while it's on sale.

We have too many favorites to even list. Our girls were listening to the Cd "Victory for Daughters" this afternoon and our children older children have listened to "What to Expect From a Twelve-Year Old" over and over again.

So head over to Vision Forum and take a look, but hurry the Spring Sale ends March 18.

Homeschooling - Memorization System Tutorial

These supplies are all you need for making an amazing memorization system.

  • 4x6 Index cards

  • 4x6 Dividers

  • An index card box
It is frustrating for our children to memorize something and then forget it. This system solves that forgetting problem. Even if they memorized something three years ago ,when they were only 2, they will still remember it if you are faithful with this system.

Are you ready?

This post has moved to our new homepage, read the rest of the Memorization System Tutorial or visit the new Raising Olives homepage.

Not Me! Monday - Ice Cream

Thursday, I did not fall asleep on the couch at 7:30pm surrounded by 9 rambunctious children and so neglect to give the children their special surprise treat of ice cream to celebrate that Suzanne has spring break and will be gone for a whole week is finished with mid-terms.

This post has moved to our new site. Read Not Me! Monday - Ice Cream or visit our homepage and choose the Not Me Monday category to read more Not Me Monday posts.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Reasons We Have a Large Family

In no particular order:

1. When God said, "Behold, children are a gift of the Lord...Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them (Psalm 127)", we believe He meant it.

2. World domination.

3. We know what causes it.

This post has moved to our new website. Read the rest of this post or visit our new homepage.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dutch Puff Recipe

This breakfast recipe is one of our favorites and has stayed on our menu plan through several revisions. It is fast, easy and filling. It is also fun to serve for company as it dresses up nicely when you add some pretty, fresh fruit topping.

This post has moved to our new site. Visit the Dutch Puff Recipe or our new homepage.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cross Country

The excitement level is high in our house, cross country has started back up. Our oldest five are able to run this season and are in high spirits. They will be competing in their first 5K, so are excited about doing a little longer distance in a race.

Cross country is a great activity for our family. Everyone can participate, even those who are too young to actually compete. We all love heading to the park in the afternoon and walking or running for a couple of miles. Nicholas gets put in the Ergo, Colby walks some then rides in the stroller and I bribe the younger ones with time on the playground in order to get them to run a mile and a half or two so that I can get some exercise. Then we chill on the slide and swing while the bigger kids finish their distance. We also enjoy running in the evenings or around the neighborhood with daddy.

I'm so happy that spring is here coming and we are running again.

Laundry Help - The Family Closet

The family closet is a laundry/storage system that has always interested me. You must click on the link, it's just pictures, go on. If you aren't intrigued after looking at the pictures then you don't have to read anymore, I promise.

Still here? The premise is simple, store all of the clothes or at least all of the children's clothes in one room, preferably the laundry room.

This post has moved to our new site. Read Laundry Help - The Family Closet or visit our homepage and choose the laundry category to read all of my posts about laundry.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Serious.Life Magazine- March Issue

Serious.Life Magazine

The March issue of Serious.Life magazine just came out. It is available online for free. Check it out for some inspiring articles about faith and family.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - The Wipes

Check out other's "Wordless Wednesday" posts over at 5 Minutes for Mom or enjoy some of my other Wordless Wednesday's.
See my posts on homeschooling or home management.

Laundry Help - Make Your Own Laundry Soap

A few years ago I Googled directions for making laundry detergent, made up a batch and HATED it. We didn't like how it cleaned ( or rather didn't clean) our clothes and so I scrapped the idea.

Several months ago, the economic climate being what it is and the fact that I had run out of our mega bucket of Charlie's Laundry Powder, I decided to rethink the whole homemade laundry soap idea.

The directions for making your own laundry soap have moved to our new blog. Visit the laundry soap post or our new homepage.

Fight Abortion - Spread the Word About CHASK

CHASK (Christian Homes and Special Kids) is a program that is:

"Helping families with an adverse prenatal diagnosis. Today, 80% of
unborn babies with medical concerns are aborted.
We want parents to
hear about life choices. CHASK provides family to family support helping
families raise their child with special needs. Loving homes are waiting to
these children if the birth moms and dads are not able to parent.
This post has moved to our new blog. Read Spread the Word about CHASK or visit our new homepage.

Laundry Help - Shrinking Mt. Washmore - Part 1

Our family produces a lot of laundry. We have the normal amount of clothes, towels, and bedding that any group of 12 people would produce and in addition we use cloth napkins, cloth diapers, cloth wipes, and cloth cleaning rags. This saves money and resources, but produces more laundry.

So how do we keep up with it all? Well, sometimes we don't, but I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to make it easier and I've tried several different systems. I plan to share some ideas and plans that have helped us.

This post has moved to the new Raising Olives. Finish reading Shrinking Mt. Washmore or visit our new homepage and click on Home Management- Laundry/Clothes.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Not Me! Monday

When I was getting our two youngest boys ready for bed, I did not discover that my task was made lighter by half because one of them was still in his pj's. What kind of mother would let one of her children stay in his pajamas all day?

I have not been staying up late AND getting up early. If I did that I would be grumpy and difficult to get along with and I have not been grumpy or difficult to get along with.

I did not go to the library book sale three times last week. We already have loads of books and I am running out of shelf space.

If I had gone to the book sale multiple times and purchased more books than we have room for, one of those books would not have been a book about de-cluttering. Wouldn't that have been counterproductive?

Go visit MckMamma's blog to see what others have not been doing this week, or check out my other "Not Me!" Monday posts!

Wonder how a family of 12 functions? Checkout my home management or homeschooling posts.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Homemade Buttermilk and Yogurt

Here are three quick and easy ways to save money on your dairy expenses without cutting your usage.

Make your own buttermilk, make your own yogurt, and how to use powdered milk in your cooking.

These recipes have moved to our new blog. Visit Homemade Buttermilk and Yogurt or go to our homepage for more recipes, money saving tips and information on raising a large family.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Night Time Antics

Colby's (2) favorite person to take him to the bathroom is Matthew. A few hours after putting the children to bed we heard a commotion upstairs. When we entered the boys bedroom, Colby had exited his bed, climbed to the top of the ladder and was clinging to the top bunk and shouting, "Mafew, Mafew, I have to go pooootyyy." By the time we arrived he was quite upset that Matthew was still soundly sleeping and the decibel level was nearly deafening. "MAAAAAAFEW, I HAVE TO GO POOOOOOTYYY!" Happily he was satisfied with some help from Dad.

Another evening, after I had been in bed for a few hours I heard a voice calling, "Mommy." Unwilling to get out of bed, I called, "What honey?" A moment later there was a knock at our door. Still hoping to remain in bed I replied, "Come in." Nothing. I knew the gig was up. I got out of bed and opened the door. Without so much as a sidelong glance at me, Colby, blanket in tow, marched across the room and over to my side of the bed. Then he turned and requested, "Sleep in Mommy Daddy's bed?" "Don't you want to sleep on this nice soft rug?", I suggested. "No, Mommy Daddy's bed." I think that he enjoyed his sick privileges a little too much.

Want to read some more about my amazingly active, adventurous, and insane 2 year old? Try his response to getting sick, his midnight travels, or how he ambushed me.

Our Hot House

When plants are young and fragile you put them in a hot house where you can control the climate they are in and the conditions to which they are subjected. In the hot house they are able to grow strong and well. They are cared for and nourished in a special way.

Our family was blessed to begin our journey in a hot house. Our home church was a place where loving God and loving your family was expected, where desiring God's blessing of children was taught, understood and practiced. A place where fathers were the leaders of their homes and where parents took their responsibility to educate and train their children seriously. It was a place where the word of God was faithfully proclaimed and was the standard by which we attempted to measure everything.

It was our hot house. Our place to learn and mature and grow strong, a place unlike any other that we have known. It was not a perfect place, you know that. It was a place full of sinners saved by grace, but it was a place where we were taught and we learned so very much from our brothers and sisters in Christ. Of course, our journey is not over, we have not arrived, but now, now we are planted in a different place.

Why am I telling you this? Because this place, this hot house, made us what we are today. Our family was not remarkable back in the hot house. There were many other families doing what we are doing. This blog is simply a conglomeration of what we have learned from others. It is not only our wisdom that we share, it is also the wisdom of the other families who were learning and growing with us in the supportive and nurturing environment.

Three and a half years ago God moved us to a place where we were outside of our comfort zone. A place where we had reach out to look for others who were traveling our path. Through that experience, we learned that there are many travelers who believe they are alone and do not know that there are others who have the same aspirations and goals.

Knowing that you are not alone on this path of following God and attempting to submit to His word in every area of your life brings comfort, encouragement, and peace. We want to share a little of this here. A little of that hot house of encouragement and love, a place to learn and grow and know that you are not alone. There are others who are on the path learning and struggling and growing also. There are families farther along the path from whom we can gather so much wisdom and there are those who have just started who could use a helping hand.

We want to thank our home church friends and family for teaching us, being examples for us and praying for us. Thank you for being willing to invest in us. Please keep it up, we have a lot to learn.

Read more about our background here.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mexican Lasagna

Suzanne made this for dinner the other evening and it was delicious. I have been craving it ever since.

Mexican Lasagna


  • 2 T. olive oil (optional)

  • 2 lbs. ground beef

  • 2 T. chili powder

  • 2t. ground cumin

  • 1/2 onion, chopped

  • 1 14 oz. stewed tomatoes

  • 1 C. taco sauce

  • 1 can black beans, drained

  • 1 C. frozen corn

  • salt

  • 8-8in. flour tortillas

  • 2 1/2 C. cheddar cheese, grated

  • 2 green onions, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°. Preheat large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef and onion,brown and drain. Season with chili power, cumin, then add tomatoes, taco sauce, black beans, and corn. Heat mixture through 2-3 minutes, then season with salt to taste. Grease Baking dish. Layer meat, tortillas, cheese and repeat as needed. Bake 12-15 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly. (May top with green onions) Serves 6-8.

Plan ahead and cook the beans from dry, make your own tortillas and taco sauce and this meal ends up being an inexpensive dinner.

Home Management - The Menu Plan

One of the things that has made it easier for me to feed 11-12 people, 3 meals a day, 7 days a week is working out a menu plan for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks (and bulk, freezer cooking for dinners, but that is a different post.) There is freedom in not having to make food related decisions in the midst of teaching school or cleaning house, in not needing to make up a new grocery list every couple of weeks, and in not feeling guilty because the children are eating the same thing day after day.

This post has moved to our new blog. Visit Home Management - The Menu Plan or our new homepage and search menu plan.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Sibling Rivalry


You can see other WW posts here .

Vision Forum Sale and Coupon Code

Did you know that when a bee finds nectar it goes back to the hive and give "directions" to the other bees by doing a little bee dance? Did you know that there is a spider that scuba dives with it's own little air bubble so that it can breath while working underwater?

These are some of the things that you will learn and see in the Moody Science DVDs. They are amazing, educational and fun, and now through March 10 the whole set of 19 DVDs is on sale at Vision Forum.

Vision Forum also has a new coupon good for 70% off the Cd Victories Large and Small with the purchase of Doug Phillip's heart-warming book The Little Boy Down the Road. You may view two full chapters of the book here and here.

To get this discount use coupon code "0309cd" without the quotes at check out.

You may enter Vision Forum at any time through the links in my sidebar. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

WFMW- Family Fun Night

Every Friday at our house is Family Fun Night. The children know what to expect and look forward to it all week long.

The fun usually begins after dinner when everyone runs to get ready for bed, grabs their pillows and blankets and heads downstairs. We play games, read books, listen to a story on Cd, or just watch a movie. We snuggle and play and enjoy spending some fun, relaxing time together.

The fun is not over when the movie ends, it is just beginning. The best part of Family Fun Night is that we all sleep together. The children take turns sleeping next to mom and dad. Sometimes the children make little tents, but we always snuggle up and sleep together on Friday nights.

Making amazing memories by spending time with my family that Works For Me!

WARNING: Sleeping on the floor with no additional padding is not recommended for children over 25!

Check out everyone else's Works For Me Wednesday posts here or view my other WFMW posts.


For his birthday Carter (7) got a set of motion sensing devices that he can set so that they sound an alarm, light up and even fire darts if activated. To mention that our house has been a danger zone ever since would be unnecessary. There are alarms blaring, lights flashing and darts whizzing constantly.

Since I am cunning and constantly aware of my surroundings, cough, cough I had avoided being the victim, until today. I was undone by my sweet and charming yet deadly 2 year old.

It was nap time and I had put Colby in his bed, prayed with him and left to get his Cd. When I returned and knelt to put the Cd in the player I was hit, nearly in the face with two darts. Like any self respecting mom, I screamed. I was totally not expecting a dart in the face. Colby just laid in the bed laughing and saying, "Shoot Mommy, ha ha ha shoot mommy." I'm glad that someone is happy.

Homeschooling-Nature Journals

We just bought Savannah her nature journal and yesterday was her first entry. So I thought I would share with you how we use nature journals in our homeschool.

We began using nature journals for science about 7 years ago. Don't be fooled however, nature journaling teaches them much more than science. They also learn observation, art and basic research, not to mention they understand that they are able to learn on their own. They realize that they can go out, see something they don't understand, and then find the answers. They learn to be their own teacher.

When our children are old enough to begin a nature journal, between 4 and 6 depending on the child, we allow them access to some good quality art supplies. We use Prismacolor pencils. They allow our children to add detail and color and are easy for the little ones to manipulate. We have given our children more options as their art skills have progressed. These Caran D'ache water color crayons are my new favorites. I will suggest that if you expect quality results give them some quality tools. (Trust me on this one, I don't recommend spending money very often but nice art supplies are worth the investment IMO.)

The first assignment that we give each child is for them to go out into the yard and look around very carefully. They are looking for something that they have not noticed before. It can be the veins in a leaf, the spots on a fuzzy caterpillar, a blue rock or the fact that our dog has her tongue hanging out the side of her mouth. When they notice something that is new to them, they get to draw it. They must look at it while they draw and we encourage them to try to notice even more details while they are working. If our child notices a bird or something else which would not stay put long enough to draw, they may look it up and draw from a picture in a book or online.

If your children are like mine, their first drawings will not be impressive. It is okay if the drawing is immature and even unrecognizable. Their art skills will improve over time. At this point just encourage them to notice details and to try to include them in the drawing. So if your child noticed the veins in a leaf, and has drawn an uneven circle with lines going who-knows-where, that is wonderful. They have learned to look more closely at nature and to communicate what they discovered through art.

Next we have the children write something about their drawing. For the example of the drawing of veins in a leaf, we would ask what she just drew. If she says, "I drew lines in the leaf," then we would direct her to a source where she could discover what those lines are called. If she already knows that they are called veins then we would ask her to find out why a leaf has veins. The idea is to require them to find out something new and write that beside their picture. As soon as she understands how and where to find information, she no longer needs help with what to write unless she is having difficulties.

We require one nature entry a week. When I look at their assignment for the week they are usually full of information that they want to share with me. After we have discussed their page, I will usually tell them what I want them to do for the next week. Often the assignment will be exactly the same as the one I outlined above. However, if I notice that a particular child is struggling to do meaningful research or is stuck in a rut, I will give them a more specific assignment to help them progress in their ability. For example, if they are failing to convey new and meaningful information on their nature page, I would give them a specific question to answer or a process to explain for their next assignment.

If you don't have time to do anything more than this, your children will still benefit greatly by taking some time out each week to observe, wonder, draw, and study God's creation. However, I highly recommend the Handbook of Nature Study. We use this to give us more focus and to help us go deeper into a topic. You can work your way through a section doing a page on all the plants (or whatever) that are native to your area. It is an amazing resource; the only nature text that you will ever need.

Allow your children to enjoy journaling. As something interests your child, let them explore it further. We have studied rocks, leaves, squirrel habits, butterfly life cycles, live bearing fish, and the reproductive process of our pet guinea pigs. Hmm, I should probably get my children to produce some nature pages about ants.

If your children tend to focus on different aspects of nature, set aside time for them to show each other their books and talk about what each one is learning. This expands everyone's horizons.

They don't have to learn it all in a week. They don't have to produce a work of art every time. It is the process that teaches. Relax and enjoy.

Here are other posts on homeschooling, including why we homeschool and our most important assignment.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Not Me Monday

I did not allow the ant farm on the table during dinner, nope not me. Who wants to eat while watching a bunch of ants scurrying and digging, well, except for my husband and 9 children?

When I discovered that the children were digging their hole to China at the base of our slide, I was not less-than-thrilled. I mean who wouldn't want to slide all the way to China? I am not going to make them fill in their giant hole and start all over again, back in the woods, not me.

I did not dress my 10 month old in a Christmas outfit in March. I always dress my children in season appropriate clothing and their outfits always match.

I do not encourage allow our 2 year old to run around in his underwear just because I think he looks way too cute in his boxer briefs.

When I brought the rug in from the deck rail, I did not discover bird poop on it. I am a devoted mother, so did not balk at the idea of cleaning up after a BIRD.

When packing for our trip I did not forget to pack my hose and shoes for church. After all I only had one outfit to pack.

When I took my camera outside to play a game with the children, one of the children did not ask if we were doing it for the blog.

If you are curious about homeschooling or how we manage our large family, you can click any of the category words in the sidebar to see more. Some of our most popular posts are The Schedule and Daily Chores.

For more "Not Me! Monday" fun, visit MckMama on her blog.