To Moms Everywhere

Good Morning and Happy Monday!

I can’t believe I am typing this – we are still not feeling well.  When will this ever end?  Here are our symptoms:  runny eyes and especially nose.  And I mean runny, as in where does it all come from?  At first it was clear, like water, and now it is like paste.  As of this morning, I feel like my nose can’t decide on which version it will run.  Everyday we are waking up with crusty noses and eyes.  We have to use warm wash cloths just so we can see and get a breath of morning air.  Fevers come and go, no apparent pattern here.  So odd.  There is one certainty … though we still have sore throats, they are not on fire anymore.  We can swallow.  I also have a voice again, you can barely hear the strain in it.  Now it’s the coughing; our chests are so unbelievably tight.  The simple act of breathing feels like needle pricks all day long in the chest area; and if you’re unlucky enough to sneeze – let’s just say if you feel a sneeze coming on you immediately brace yourself for the sharpest stabbing pains you’ve ever felt in your chest and you also grab tissues to prepare for gunk to go everywhere.  *sigh*  Coughing, it is at times productive, but mostly just tight, hurts, and a fit seems like it can last for minutes.  I noticed over the weekend how wheezy I sound while breathing, that is when I can breath.  BirderB and Giddyup-G sound the same.  I have paid close attention to B as she is slightly asthmatic.  Though I will say I do believe I am getting better, and that is just a feeling, this is getting old and frustrating.  This ‘bug’ that I am sure is the flu is interrupting my life plans! Then I read about the mystery respiratory virus last evening on The Drudge Report.  It is hitting the Midwest, and Ohio is one of the 10 states mentioned.  Hmm, what could this be I wonder as I open the link.  Oh gracious, sounds a lot like what we have.  Further more, this virus is sending many kids to the ER, especially ones who have asthma.  So far it’s being labeled Human Entrovirus 68.  Alrighty  then.  I am not saying this is what we have, but I am saying we have all the symptoms and it’s been two weeks of this yuck.  FarmerM was not happy with me recently as I changed the sheets on beds, had out the disinfectants wiping down door handles – faucet handles – anything that we have all touched, and I tried to keep stray tissues picked up that don’t always make it into the waste basket.  I’d do all of this in between hours-long stretches of sleep.  FarmerM felt I should have been resting continually – period.  I have been diligent about hand washing too, not just for myself but with the girls as well.  I desperately want us to feel better more than anything and I’d like for life to be back to normal.  If you would like to read more about this virus on ABC, you can do so here.

Though I have cleaned some as I mentioned above, we really haven’t done much around here.  We’re starting to slip a little in our studies, we have been eating cold cereal or oatmeal, and Raman Noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  FarmerM has been playing the roles of businessman breadwinner, nurse, mama, and farmer.  Thank you, Lord, that his back is starting to get better.  We don’t watch television here, but we occasionally watch movies, and that is the highlight of our weekend.

 

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On Friday we watched God’s Not Dead.  This is a movie that came out this past spring and we have been wanting to see it for a long while.  We’d heard excellent reviews of this movie and were excited to finally enjoy it.  I highly encourage families to sit down and watch this together if you haven’t already done so.  I loved the challenge I got from this movie … How Far Would You Go to Defend Your Faith in God?  I feel I go pretty far already, but this movie helped me see where I could do more.  This movie also affirmed my stance that you MUST be in your Bible daily.  God promises us if we seek Him, He will meet us.  If you aren’t seeking Him daily, I would like to ask you why not?  Do you have any friends?  If you never reached out to them with a phone call, face to face meeting, etc., wouldn’t that friendship fall by the wayside?  It wouldn’t be a friendship then.  There isn’t an opportunity to get to know the person, know their heart’s desires.  Not being in your Bible has the same effect with your Creator.  Not being in prayer also has the same effect with Him.  If you feel life is too busy to personally seek Him, or if you put that responsibility on your Pastor alone every Sunday and do nothing Monday through Saturday except maybe meeting with a group to discuss a set-upon Bible topic, then I hope to gently point out to you this is sin, the kind that is keeping you from having a true, personal relationship with Him.  Please don’t let my words fall upon stubborn deaf ears, please take that step toward Him.  He is waiting to have precious time with you daily.  He craves that.  And whether you know this or not, you are designed by Him to crave and need that as well.  None of this is a topic per se in the movie, but this is a conviction I constantly have upon my heart and on my lips to share with others.  A side benefit to being in your Bible also helps you to always be prepared with an answer (as we are instructed to do in the Bible) and it also helps you to know when false scripture is being taught.  In this day and age, I can not encourage one enough to protect themselves in this manner.  There is so much twisting of God’s Holy Word happening, and this is how the enemy is getting to Christians.  Be on guard, be a watcher, be in His word.  Please.  So, God’s Not Dead (amen!!) – make it a point to have a special dinner this weekend and have this movie ready to view with your spouse and/or family.  It’s one worth watching multiple times!!  When I dropped this movie off I was talking about it to the ladies behind the counter and to my surprise a young black man standing behind me spoke up saying how amazing this movie is.  Why was I surprised?  Because this young man looked a lot like a major street thug and not at all like someone who would have seen this movie, let alone enjoy it and would recommend it.  Shame on me for judging a book by it’s cover!  He and I discussed a few scenes and he was really touched by the movie.  So was I.  And I hope you watch to find you are too.

Well, I had to be the one to drop off the movie as we were already over-due and FarmerM had to get our third cutting of hay in, and the hayfield was becoming over-due as well!  The movie was a one night rental, but we just weren’t up to watching one on Friday night.  Us girls were all moaning, coughing, and sleeping a lot still.  So we watched it Saturday and paid the $3 charge.  Since I was the one doing this deed, and praying I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew as I looked like death warmed over, I had a plan to quickly get that movie into the drop-box and run through the video store.  I had an idea to look for another movie that I had been hearing and reading a lot about lately.  I badly wanted to watch a clean, funny, family friendly movie and Mom’s Night Out was on my mind.  Guess what?  It was there!!

 

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I found this movie to be refreshing in that it is absolutely hilarious for everyone, on a scale that competes and exceeds huge Hollywood budget films!  Our whole family was laughing, that deep belly laugh, most of the time!  There is not one single bad word in this movie.  Not one single embarrassing scene to watch with your younger, preteen, or teenage child(ren).  This movie is wholesome and proves that there isn’t one thing wrong with that.  This movies does it!  It exceeds funny and quirky, has amazingly believable characters, and has an engaging storyline.  That storyline is mommy-hood.  I so identified with the theme of this movie.  And afterwards I felt a bit more thankful and appreciative for the role God has put me in.  I also saw FarmerM in the husband’s movie character and am just so grateful for FarmerM’s understanding when I have my own mommy -moments and am ‘stress paralyzed.’  If you have seen this movie, then you understand that last statement; and if you have seen the movie and watched it through the credits (it’s that good folks!  Plus, you’ll miss things if you don’t watch through them), you’ll also know where the title for this post came from!  I have asked to have this movie bought and given to me as a Mother’s Day gift next May!!  Needless to say, I highly recommend this movie too!  Why not make it a double-header next weekend?  Plan something special to eat and invite family and friends to gather round!  I hope that you do!

So, that is what we did this weekend.  We had to pause that second movie a few times because us girls were laughing so hard that we’d go into a coughing fit and not be able to breathe!  LOL!!  I hope you enjoyed my movie reviews and recommendations!

There is one other thing I did over the weekend.  In quiet moments I caught up on blogs.  I have a ‘friend’ that I made in the blogging world.  If we never meet on earth, I know we will in Heaven.  I love Monica’s heart.  I love reading about her life, family, farming, and all.  I have noticed that our minds run along the same lines at times (not sure if this is a good thing for Monica … hahaha!!) and so I wasn’t too surprised to find out that we both read a fellow blogger.  I think she is a follower on this blog and I’m a stalker (sounds about right!!).  Anyway, I say all of this because I don’t remember where I first found the blog I want to tell you about … it could have been Monica’s at My Cup Runneth Over, or perhaps through hers I found The Way Grandma Does It, or was it Strangers and Pilgrims On Earth (this is the blog I stalk; the way g’ma does it is a new blog I’m also now stalking!  I have issues apparently) … either way, I ended up at Always Learning.  Wow!!  Lori’s blog is power-packed with plain truth!  I LOVE, LOVE this blog.  I must have been reading for a half hour or more straight, one post right after another.  I commented on a few.  I have so wanted to have a mentor in my life.  This may not be exactly what I had in mind, but I think God put me in front of Lori’s words for a purpose.  The discussions FarmerM and I have had alone, as well as with the girls since has been heartening and in the right direction.  I see where I have gotten off track.  I have lost joy and sight of His path for my life.  I admit that I find Christians down right scary.  They can be the meanest bunch of hypocrites, to the point that the actual world seems safer.  Through Lori’s blog, as well as the movie God’s Not Dead, I strongly believe God has pointed out to me how I have allowed the enemy to trick me into sincerely believing the path I have been living is Godly and safe.  This path is actually a trap, and one that is NOT God’s plan.  This trap is filled with hurt received from Christians and bitterness that I have allowed to grow for a few years now.  This trap has become my own form of hypocrisy.   I have been mad.  And suspicious.  Not mad at God, not by any means.  I have been mad at and suspicious of Christians.  Um, okay.  Apparently, I don’t read my own advice.  Guess what?  That makes me a hypocrite!  Just like the ones I am mad at and suspicious of.  Then, moving to our farm has been no picnic.  There has been a lot of hard work, financial mistakes, and physical accidents.  There have been health issues.  I feel like I can’t get ahead of anything.  Life is out of control.   No wonder I haven’t liked myself and have been so unhappy for such a long time.  I want to truly find my way back to God and love people again.  As our family discussed over the weekend, we all have the option of choosing to be content as well.  We have a lot to learn about this from Paul in the Bible.  Will you please join me in prayer?  I will do my part.  I will continue to seek Him, I will be in prayer, and I will ask for help.  In the immediate future, I need to apologize to my family.   As well, I sincerely apologize to my readers here and ask for forgiveness, especially if you had this figured out way before I did and you stayed with me.  I am sorry.  I am repenting and I want to change for His honor.

Proclaiming this feels amazing!

I hope to see you on Lori’s blog.  If you want to be challenged, if you desire to live ‘iron sharpens iron’ and not simply have your ears tickled, please meet me over there.  And I do hope you take my advice on the movies, they both are really good!  Also, check out the other blogs I mentioned – they’re worthy of your time.  Most importantly though, or first and foremost I should have written, be in His Word!  🙂

In Him (truly) ~

Homesteader Sandi

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ps – wow.  I am having a hard time constructing a thought and simple sentence.  I have had to edit this post three times already.  I need to go back to bed.  😦

Don’t let the pics fool ya …

Do any of you ever wonder why some bloggers seem to have the perfect spouse, children, job, home, and well, life just in general?  I do not.  I used to, but I do not anymore.  I know how some make their own life experiences appear picture perfect on their blogs, when in reality they are some of the most unhappy folks.

I pray that my blog shows truth – in how we live, struggles and all.  We have ups and downs, make mistakes, now and then make awesome decisions, are at times healthy and other times really sick.  Our family strives to honor and glorify Him.  A lot of the time we do this.  A lot of the time we fail miserably.  I dearly love my children, but I don’t always like them or the decisions they mistakenly carry out.  I seem to forget that I was once pre-teen and trying to find myself.  I am a terrific mother, yet at times I am the worst and this fact breaks my heart.  FarmerM and I don’t always have the best marriage as we struggle over some of the same issues other married couples struggle with.

I want to be sure that it is clear to any reader here that we have faults – better known as sin in the Bible, maybe differing from yours, but we have them and are trying to change our lives from the-inside-out through Him

I would like for the really honest bloggers to know how much I appreciate their truthfulness in how they share their family and work related struggles, as well as their joys in this life.  I appreciate lessons learned, reminders passed on, prayers to lift up, and the knowledge that I am not in this alone.  Thank you!

On this note, I have pics to share from our Labor Day weekend.  It looks as if our family is well and we’re having a blast.  At times we were having fun, in spite of still feeling week and tired.  We needed this weekend.  But the fun took a toll too.  I shared with a German Baptist friend how we have been feeling for the last week, and before I could even utter what I thought it was we had, she beat me to it by proclaiming, “Oh!  You all have had the flu that’s going around Miami County.”  Really?  I honestly felt as if we had the flu, but I hadn’t heard of it starting up yet, and I was hesitant to even mention this nasty, three lettered word this early in the season.  She drives a bus for a local government school district and apparently the flu is already making its rounds.  *sigh*

To date, Giddy-upG is still feeling terrible.  She is literally green, so stuffy, and still feverish now and then.  All she wants is a mama.  BirderB is feeling better, more herself.  Same for me.  And anymore the two of us feeling healthy also means less compassion (I guess) for the other, and the  teen-years fighting.  I do not know if she and I will survive this.  I miss my daughter, I miss my younger B.  It’s not that I do not want her to grow up, I do and strongly believe a parent’s job is to train their child to be prepared for the world and ready to let them go.  Lately though, I have wondered about God’s sense of humor … when I was blissfully pregnant it was the most beautiful experience.  I loved growing our daughters and feeling them move inside me.  I loved thinking about meeting them for the first time.  What would it be like?  I loved daydreaming about what their/our lives would be like, and the perfect mama I would be (hahahahaa).  I just really loved it all, including the attention too.  And then around nine months, I equally loved the thought of birth as I couldn’t wait to get that ten-pound bowling ball out of me.  I was no longer afraid of labor and delivery, I couldn’t wait for it to happen so that I could have some relief.

Ironically, I now find myself feeling somewhat similar to that last thought above as we start down the road of the teen years.  Do any of my conservative Christian readers have a good ‘raising your teen’ book to recommend?  Please!  If not, I’d still appreciate prayers.  Thank you!

I imagine we have helped to spread the flu locally here this year.  I do apologize.  Enjoy the pics of our time at Pine Lake Waterpark in Berne, IN, and our outing to Ft. Rowdy in Covington, OH.

Happy belated Labor Day, Readers!

In Him ~

Homesteader Sandi

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Now they’re trying the 10′ diving board!  Here goes Giddy-upG …

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… BirderB is thinking about it …

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… and she jumps!

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Here they are checking out the 20′ dive with g’paJ.  Do they do it?

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g’pa J goes for it!!  This is one cooooool g’pa!  I can’t think of anything this man won’t do!  🙂

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hahahaa!  LOOK at the expression on G’s face!

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No, the 20′ dive is too scary.  I guess that means the 30′ is out too.  Instead, they all head for the zip-line.  I will admit that it took me a long while to build up my courage to do the zip line – that first step off is challenging, yet once I did – man, it was F.U.N!!!!

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Mama going down!

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We took some rests, had lunch tailgating in the parking lot, and then BirderB and I explored together – we rode all the waterslides, she dunked me good on the teeter-totter, and then we enjoyed some more zip lining.  All this while, Giddy-upG was sneaking off building up her courage to do this –

20′ Dive!  There she goes!  She jumped 4 times!

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In the pic above, you can also see the 30′ dive.  I will admit that I went up to the 10′ and 20′ and there is absolutely no way I could do either.  Peering over that edge on the 20′ made my tummy roll and hands feel clammy.  It just isn’t natural to jump from such a height.  Have I ever disclosed my fear of heights?!

Here are random pics to preserver memories and share the park with you, the reader!

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It was a quiet ride home needless to say!  Fun in itself can be exhausting, but when you’re not feeling 100% the exhaustion is taken to a whole new level.  The girls slept until noon the next day.  Yes, we missed church again.   Let’s hope this isn’t becoming a theme/habit.

FarmerM’s back was still bothering him, actually after sitting in the car to and from the lake it had gotten worse.  Sadly, he didn’t participate in anything at the lake and this was an adventure right up his alley.  Next year, daddy-o!  As he woke up in more pain, he stayed home on Sunday as us girls ventured off to find out what Ft. Rowdy is all about.  It is a period-gathering that is historically accurate in dress and camp (a mountainman encampment) depicting a bustling, small trading village set in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s in this community.  The smell of the open fires was wonderful!  There is homemade food, arts, and crafts, as well as games for young and old alike, and live entrainment.  I enjoyed hearing the blue-grass and some gospel music while walking around.

One of the first things the girls did was a rock-wall climb.  They’ve been wanting to do this all summer but the price is outrageous.  Well, it was $5 here and they got two chances to show what they could do.  Both times they reached the very top, rang the bell, and propelled down!  Next we tried our hand at tin punching – this was so much fun!  Finally, we checked out the trading post, crossed the river into the encampment and just meandered around looking at wares and talking with the folks in period dress.  BirderB expressed an interest in getting involved in something like this –  we’ll see.  I was really tired and noticed later that I didn’t get any great shots of the people dressed up, but I hope you enjoy the few that I post here.

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This one made me laugh!!  It’d be easy to make!  B feels this sign basically means ‘no boys’ – keep thinking that, B!!  🙂

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Something Whimsical

This has been a tough week, no doubt.

Our homeschool (officially) started this week and just has not gotten off on a positive note, mainly because of illness.  And the illness continues as the girls are still slightly feverish.  To make matters worse, FarmerM’s back went out a few days ago and he is experiencing excruciating pain.  We are not getting enough sleep in our home lately.  When you wonder what else …

… colic.

THAT one word, five little consonants, can send deep fear down an equine owner’s spine.  Giddy-UpG’s horse, FiFi started to colic early Tuesday evening.  We had to get the vet out here quickly.  Fi had every colic symptom and if you’d like a quick overview, you can read about colic here.  I love our vet, and Dr. H stayed with us way past dark after examining, diagnosing, tubing & flushing Fi.  I am leaving out some things, and trust me you do not want to know it all, but it was hard to watch.  Fi is doing much better and if G feels like it tomorrow, I’m going to allow her to ride.

There have been bright notes in our week … I am especially reminded that if I lean on Him and keep a good humor about myself, I can carry my load and so much more.  Not everything will be finished, nor completed at my level of standards; yet for all intents and purposes, life is running smoothly believe it or not!  And truthfully, our homeschool is still happening, the girls are completing their lessons on their own accord without me asking them to.  Honestly, I’d feel too badly to ask them to try to learn while dealing with a fever, but they get bored and I will catch them doing work!

Then today I see something dredged up that has been happening in the homeschool community for well over a year.  HSLDA is now involved and though I fully support HSLDA and am a proud member, I really believe they did a disservice for homeschoolers.  I read and hear more and more how the anti-Christ mentality is winning, it is just a sad fact.  I recently posted these words on my blog, ‘our world is becoming darker and darker.’  Thankfully I know the end outcome and that Christ IS VICTORIOUS.  If something stark ever happens to me it will be because I believe in and will stand up for the absolute truths in the Bible.  That does not make me an extremist.  That does not make me a legalist.  It DOES make me a Bible believing and professing Christian wife, mother, homeschooler, friend, neighbor.  I will not conform.

To lighten the mood, us girls searched for something online today.  Here is what we found.  It is cute, catchy, and whimsical.  Yes, we do listen to other types of music beside Christian … we love classical music.  We enjoy some contemporary Christian.  Now and then I’ll hear something from the 80s when scanning the radio station and the lyrics and beat (gasp) will take me back to my waaaay younger days and guess what?  I will find myself so thankful for where I am today in my walk with Him.  Don’t repeat this, but I also like bluegrass!!  The girls and I even like some country … the good country.  And that is where we ended up today.  This song has prompted one daughter to get up and draw … she drew a picture of herself singing this song while also riding her horse in the same pic – now that is talent!  So please, enjoy Raelynn’s ‘God Made Girls’  here (I apologize for the Mike’s Harder ad … terrible).  Also, here is a warning:  there is a lot of skin in this video and some will be offended.  I am posting for the lyrics … we like them!  This song actually prompted a conversation about us girls being the boys helpmeet and how that is not sexist, it is Biblical.  Our oldest was concerned with the line about flirting and I agree with her, but also pointed out that one day she will blow a boy’s mind and it probably will start with some innocent flirting.  Then they may court and he’d better hold that door for her!!

To continue in the moment, we talked about what we’re doing this holiday weekend.  This Labor Day will be the first that we have ever taken since we started homeschooling and here is how we are celebrating:

Saturday we have been invited by g’pa J and grammy to go here!  After church on Sunday, we are going to try to meet up with granddad and granny here!  Both of these adventures will be a first for our family.  I have talked with a  lovely lady who helps out at the Gathering, and next year both of our girls are entering an art contest, B will enter into the cookie contest, and G the pie contest.  This year we are just going to check it out and enjoy it.  Besides, I already had lessons planned for Friday and the outing on Saturday, so we aren’t prepared to enter a baking contest this late in the game!

Thanks for stopping by – I hope you enjoyed our visit!  And I sincerely pray that your week has been much better than ours!

In Him ~

Homesteader Sandi

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Discoveries …

Here are a few life discoveries I’ve recently experienced:

When the kids are sick, it does not matter what the date on the calendar says, school isn’t going to run smoothly if I push it.  There are a certain number of teaching/learning hours we are to do in order to be compliant with Ohio law.  In the last 5 years I have noticed we typically go over this amount on average by 30%!  Have I learned anything for this over-achievement?  Do I slow down?  Exactly whom am I teaching for … God and His will for our children or the liberal-bureaucrats?  Yes, like it or not this is a political issue … read here to begin educating yourself, and please become versed in what is happening with the education system of this country.

According to my actions of the last two days, I am apparently bowing down to the liberal agenda, as if they have any iota of an idea as to what is beneficial for my children!  Monday did not go so well.  My first clue should have been when Giddy-upG was being so negative about everything.  This is a go-get-’em-with-all-ya-have kind of child.  The second missed clue was when I was still doing arithmetic with her at 2:00.  This child is gifted and math is an easy subject for her.  But I missed it.  Aaaaannnd, I still didn’t get it when we were at it again (math) at 4:30, her embarrassed and me frustrated.  This scenario is so unusual for her.  It wasn’t until later when I realized her sniffles were now accompanied with a fever and pale complexion.  Unfortunately, I played the role of teacher before being a graceful mama.  I am so sorry, Lou.   It wasn’t an ideal first day.

Today has gone better, but not by much.  I have been gentler and more upbeat.  Giddy-upG did really well today, in spite of sneezing her head off and taking breaks here and there and then resting in her room for 3 hours.  BirderB however, well we had a huge blow-up.  Ugh.  The pre-teen emotions, with my guilt and focus … let’s just say that if today could have been packaged, it would have been under the ACME Co. label (hahahaha … remember Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote?!).  Everything is better now and relationships have been mended.  BirderB has since taken some ibuprofen as she has a headache and sore throat.  *sigh*  I should have known.  I feel like a terrible mom.  On a positive note, they chose to get up early and were finished with school by lunch!!  This year they are moving on, not waiting for one another in each subject as they have done in years past.  They each are able to meet with me separately and are delighted with their new schedule.  Maybe tomorrow I will be more with it and be the mama and teacher my wonderful daughters deserve!  🙂

Have you discovered that you like to eat your way through difficulties in life?  If so, is your first choice chocolate?  My answers are yes, and YES!!  I especially LOVE fudge.

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Do any of you remember a post I made about two years or so ago regarding a neighbor who popped in bringing fudge her husband had made?  Oh, it was so delicious!  It was perfect!  I am so desperate to have this fudge, that I am not above calling this family to ask if Mr. B would possibly make more for us.  The problem is though both of our families moved out of the historic neighborhood we lived in at the time.  As you know we moved to a farm in another community, and they moved to St. Lois, MO!  Since then I have tried my hand at making this delicious candy.  I like the old fashioned, grainy, almost dry fudge.  I can not stand the creamy stuff.  Yuck.  And here is where I admit to a second discovery as of late … I STINK at making fudge.  I mean, I really stink at it!  I’m not a terrible cook, or baker.  I’m not afraid to try new recipes or even make up my own.  Yet for some reason I can not get the hang of making this desirable candy.  And this year at fair I didn’t dare purchase Becky’s Fudge as we couldn’t afford it.  I am so tempted by this candy, that I didn’t even walk past the vendor selling it at fair.  I am that bad.  Well, yesterday and today have had their trials understandably.  And once again I (stubbornly) decided to try to make fudge.  What made me think I could do it this time?  A simple recipe I discovered in a Childcraft book dated from the 1930s.  Ha!  That did it!  All the recipe called for is water, suger, condensed milk, and unsweetened chocolate squares.  Sounds like it could be grainy as I love.  Out came the candy thermometer and buttered pans.  I had high hopes.  I just knew I would bless my family with fudge this evening!  Nope.  Not even sure what I did wrong this time … am wondering if I didn’t allow it to cook long enough.  I did proof it, I think.  Anyway, it is ‘setting’ up right now in the fridge.  I already know the consistency is all wrong, so if after dinner we do not have fudge, we do have a most delicious-tasting chocolate something-or-other that can be melted down and drizzled over ice-cream!  Hey, it is so HOT and HUMID here, this drizzled fudge-concoction over ice-cream just might be what is needed after all!!  A new discovery again!!

In my pursuit of mastering this, I have since googled old-fashioned fudge recipes.  I have my eye on this one from the Hillbilly Housewife.  What do you think?  I am not sure, but BirderB did laugh and call me a stubborn-ol’ mule when I told her I was going to try again!  Also, though I have not perused the website fully yet, I think I have discovered another blogger to follow!  Another new discovery!!

Life should be all about discoveries … some are delightful, and some are not.  Hopefully we are learning and growing from the not-so-delightful ones in order to still give Him all the glory.  Even if you completely fail and stink at making fudge!  🙂

In Him~

Homesteader Sandi

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Lazy Sunday Update!

I have done some ‘house cleaning’ on some pages of my blog – and it feels good!  Also, for friends interested in our homeschooling, I have listed some of the resources we will be using this year (starting tomorrow)!  I don’t have everything listed (think info. regarding sex ed., music, art, poetry, etc), but I did touch upon the main subjects.  You can find this info. under ‘Resources I Enjoy’ to the right, on the side-bar of my blog. 

One of the things we accomplished while homeschooling year round this year was getting Giddy-upG closer to catching up with her sister in arithmetic (she does everything else with her sister).  As she desires to graduate two years early, she will continue arithmetic year round until they both are together in the 8th grade unit. 

Another approach we are utilizing this year is to have the girls finish up all of the Young Explorers series in Apologia Science.  Our family loves this science curriculum and we really wanted to finish it even if the girls were to go into 7th grade General Science.  We were late coming to Apologia’s program in our homeschool.  Something important to note about Apologia Science is it is based on Creation and young-earth – both of which we believe to be biblically factual.  It is also advanced and chalk-full of information and hands-on experiments.  There are options to do more in the books, notebook journals (we use these) as well as more in-depth info. on-line.  To be able to finish the series, science and health will be handled a bit differently this year.  We are studying Chemistry and Physics in the beginning of the year for science, finishing the book the day before Thanksgiving.  Our health this year will be studying the Anatomy book (this is like a health curriculum on steroids).  Then, to keep the girls on course to have AP science-class options later in high-school, we will start the 7th grade General Science book in December and use it through summer next year so that in 8th grade they may continue on to the next level.  Any way, this is a lengthy explanation of why you will see several science books in the side-bar! 

I am really looking forward to history this year using a new curriculum recommended to us by several friends, the ‘K family’ and ‘Ms. O’ from the library.  The publishers are Notgrass and they have a lot of resources to offer on their website.  I very much enjoy reading Charlene’s blog, already read one of her family resources book, ‘Daily Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms’, and can’t wait to dig into the history books, maps and timeline books, as well as the literature readers packet.

I am probably most excited this year about Latin though!!  Seriously!  I cannot say enough about Visual Latin, through Compass Classroom.  After a few peeks at some lessons on VL, the girls were already reading the first chapter of an all Latin book (no English anywhere), Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, Pars I: Familia Romana.  Visual Latin is a two year course and worth 2 high school credits.  Not only will they get these credits early in jr. hgh, but in high school they have both expressed a desire to continue on into other languages – Hebrew and French have been mentioned several times.  Only in homeschooling can we have the flexibility to do all of this and not hold them back.

As usual, I did not pull our studies together and plan the curricula myself. What you see in our side-bar is the product of me going to the Lord in prayer and asking for direction.  I had other plans for some of the subjects and as has been the case since we have started piecing our own curricula together, God has directed me elsewhere at times.  I have discovered His way is always best and we excel only because we faithfully follow Him.  I believe the 2014-15 school year will be challenging, yet fun and fulfilling.  I am looking forward to it!  If you want to know more about the subjects I listed above, for your convenience I attached a link that will take you to more info. simply by clicking on the name (the pics in my side-bar do not). 

Our entire family is ‘under the weather’ today.  Lots of sneezing, tiredness, sore throats, aches and icks going on – this is day 2 of this misery.  Could be weather, allergies, exhaustion from fair … who knows.  What I do know is I fell in the barn last evening because of water left on the floor (my doing) and I was wearing crocs (I KNOW better and should have been in my boots), and on top of how we’re all feeling, along with me now having a lightly swollen left wrist and hand, bruised and very sore left hip and shoulder, I felt we needed a ‘down’ pajama day.  The thought of shaking hands (I’m a lefty) and hugging folks at church didn’t sound great today, instead it sounded painful (for me) and scary (what if we infected a little ol’ lady or someone further infected us).  Needless to say we are home today.  We are in our pjs, except for FarmerM.  We are being lazy.  Very lazy.  And I am enjoying the benefits of it all along with ibuprofen!

I hope you are enjoying His day and are seeking Him in preparations for your week ahead.

As usual, thank you for stopping by to visit me here!

In Him~

Homesteader Sandi

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We Survived 2014 …

… Miami County Fair!  And –

It was a lot of F.U.N. !!!

It was B.U.S.Y.  The girls participated in EVERYTHING this year.  And I mean everything!  Open contesting; Western Showmanship, Horsemanship, Pleasure; All Single Run Events (project contesting); English Showmanship, Hunt Seat Equitation, English Pleasure, Hunt Seat over Fences – both Equitation and Low Working Hunter.  Our girls are too young yet to participate in the Versatility, however we could on the fence and that is what B and I did with Lexie.  We were Team Lexie!  FarmerM was running back and forth between the office, fair, and home – we still had livestock and home that had to be taken care of.  Whew.

It was educational (we learned to never, ever, ever use an English horse in contesting events the day before English projects).  I also learned how to do a braided band for English.  It only took me 3 1/2 hours to complete FiFi’s mane.  Yes it did.  Thankfully I started and finished the night before.  I will be better prepared next year!

It was true teamwork between us as a family and with our horses, as well as with other 4Hers.

It was gratifying.  Both BirderB & Giddy-upG came home with ribbons, G with almost 20.  B and Cowgirl progressed and are continuing to be a work-in-progress (something is up with Cowgirl and she was a stinker at times.  B had her work cut out for her)- still, they won a handful of ribbons.  G and Fi hit their stride and placed in every single class, always in the top 3 out of 10, except for twice then it was 5th and a 7th.  Both girls tasted and enjoyed the fruits of their labor.  Working with and showing horses is not simply going out for a type of trail-ride.  At least it is not for our family.  There is quite a bit of training and commitment involved for both the rider and horse.  Horses are first and foremost animals too; this means they can be stubborn and sometimes dangerous.  And with all that said, B and (stubborn) Cowgirl walked away with a Reserved Champion placement in Western Horsemaship!  We are still not sure how this happened, but later the judged talked with me and shared her thoughts.  She liked how B handled her horse, even when Cowgirl was not wanting to do what she needed to do.  B never lost her temper, she was patient and kind with and had Cowgirl finish the pattern.  This Judge complimented B on her willingness to stick with it and not have a melt-down as she has seen others do (her words, not mine).  The judge finished with liking how Cowgirl looked and how she and B worked together.  She encouraged us to stay with it and to keep trying.  I wonder if she had any idea how much her words were like salve to a wound?!  G walked away with the 2014 Pole Bending Championship in her age division.  For this accomplishment, G also received a sweet trophy as well as a HUGE, flashy, and quite heavy belt buckle!  The ironic thing is these two were just goofing around.  Contesting is a fun, not serious, event for them.  It is the English awards G is after, more specifically Hunter Jumper.  English is held at the end of our fair and G was the only child under 17 (we think there may have been one other girl at 16, but are not sure) – G was 10 years old in June.  She was competing against the best jumpers in our county.  And she placed 2nd!!  This made her fair experience indescribable!

It was almost round-the-clock socializing!  We made a lot of new friends from various clubs this year, as well as catching up and visiting with older friends that we seem to talk with throughout the year (and see during horse shows), but only sit down and actually visit and spend time with during the fair.  These are families as busy as ours, so we all understand and are not thin skinned.  We shared a lot of wonderful memories with friends, and needless to say we were exhausted at the end of the week!  Our county’s fair theme is ‘Where Memories Are Made’ and our family can attest to the truth of this.  Thank you, Miami County Fair-Board!

Recovery has happened!  In the week that we have been home, we have unpacked and gotten our home into shape.  We have taken care of the ol’ homestead outdoors.  FarmerM and I wonder about questionable people watching properties during fair.  Ours sure looked abandoned, overgrown, and pretty much shouted out ‘break in here!  No one is around this week.’  *sigh*   I have finally caught up on laundry too.  I have also worked out most lesson-plans through December and am ready to start school on Monday!  And we have taken the time to simply rest.  I have found myself feeling badly for and wondering how government-school kids come off the craziness of fair and then start school a few days later.  We have been thankful for the much needed time between fair and homeschool officially starting.

It has rained.  Finally.  As I sit here typing, it is raining outside.  It is raining hard with thunder and quite a bit of lightening.  This is day two of rainy weather and   I am so grateful for it.  We badly needed this.  During fair we had some spurts here and there, but other than one good down-pour, nothing that truly watered our area.  Everything was dried to the point of being crisp.  Many things have died.  Deciduous trees are turning not because of coldness, but from dryness.  And it is not over yet – I have been told by this weekend and beginning of next week we are to see some record-breaking high temps.  Again, I am so thankful for the rain God has sent.

There are pics!  I will end this post with pics from fair – lots of pics from fair!  However, I also want to add that whether you know it or believe it, we serve a living, wonderful, all-powerful and loving God.  Our family had a wonderful experience this year, and many times I found myself thanking Him for all the fun and activities, but I was mindful to also thank Him for the safety of not only my own children and horses, but for all the other 4Hers.  Our Lord and Saviour is the only true and awesome Holy God.  His Presence was felt during trials of  a wee bit of drama this year and a stubborn horse.  I actually had a chance to pray with a younger 4H member and witness/stand up for my relationship in Him with an adult.  It was amazing!  Thank you, Lord.  To You be all the glory!

Thank you for taking the time in your day to stop by and read my simple blog – I hope you’ve enjoyed it and will be back.

In Him~

Homesteader Sandi

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Super Stars!

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Open Contesting!  This went on until 1:00a.m.  For the first time in 4 years we stayed up all through the night and into the morning for this event!  Hey, so did Grammy and her friend, Princess!!  It was a blast!  🙂

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Western Classes! Toughest day of fair for sure.  Starts early … I was up at 5:15a.m.

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Second Place!  Will now compete for the Championship!

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Wow!  Showing in a downpour!  Not fun, especially when your horse does NOT enjoy rain.

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Reserve Champion!

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Contesting project ~ the 2014 Pole Bending Champion is … Giddy-upG and Artfully Hot N Jazzy (FiFi)!  Check out that buckle!

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It is all English riding today …

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Huh?  What does Miss K’s t-shirt say …

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LOL!!  Leave it to Miss K!  She is a true Western rider!

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Accepting 2nd Place!

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BirderB and Mama (aka Homesteader Sandi – it’s me!)~  We were participating in the versatility class with our Miss Lexie before she goes off to college.

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And this is how English day is finished … with a dance at the end of the day held for all 4Hers.  We have a wonderful group of kids in Miami County!

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Last day of fair and it is fun day!  This is the day when kids can switch horses and compete in activities on horse-back!  So may the adults – advisers and parents alike.  Here is me riding a random horse (Cricket) in the ride-a-buck competition.  This horse is so way above my skill level … though I had fun, I rode terribly!  But did I say I had FUN?!!

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LOL!  Do I get any points for having the courage to leave this pic in?!  :0

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Balloon toss … time to get wet!  It sure was hot enough.  This activity was a welcome relief!

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G’s partner across from her is sitting on Fi’s Uncle!  How funny is that?!!!  They’re the tallest horses out there!

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Golf ball instead of egg … someone used their smarts!

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Sa-weeeet balance, B and Cowgirl!

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Time for the ribbon-race!  The young lady paired up with G has been a delight to get to know over the last few years at fair.  We look forward to seeing her every year.  And her horse, Fred (I call him Fabio!  This horse’s mane is in better condition and feels softer than my own hair!  LOL!) is so wonderful and a Saddle Seat Champion.

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Looky here … it’s a cowgirl on a Cowgirl!  Hahahaha … funny joke!

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A cowgirl taking a stubborn Cowgirl through pole-bending.  Smoothest pattern all fair for them.

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I first met this young lady over 6 years ago.  At the time she was younger than my youngest.  It has been fun getting to know her and her family over the years in and out of 4H.  Today this gal is now 15 years and over 6 ft. tall!  She has one of the biggest and funniest hearts I have ever met!  She gets along with everyone across club lines and like her mama, never gossips!  I love this family.  Liz just happened to be with us last evening as we picked her up from practice after school.  The rest of her family was dropping off her older sister, our Miss Lexie, at college!  sniffle, sniffle …

Looking good Liz and B!

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And speaking of Miss Lexie, she has an amazing barrel horse that she races, and wins with (a lot).  She is pretty protective of her horse and doesn’t let anyone ride him.  Well, shortly after B’s pole run above, we noticed Cowgirl was lame.  She had to be taken to the barn to be iced and untacked.  This left B without a horse to ride.  Guess what Lexie did?  Below is B on Trooper!  I think Miss Lexie was ok with this as she knew B wouldn’t open him up and take off!  Thank you, Lexie!!  We hope you’re enjoying your first full day as a college student.  We love and miss you (though we’ll see you soon!!)!

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woohooooo!  Go B and Trooper, GO!!

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Rescue race (a timed event) … this young lady and her horse, Biscuit, ROCK!  They are one of the fastest teams out there!  It was fun watching J and G participate – 1stt place!  Not surprised as these two are emerging as the biggest daredevils!

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Another rescue!  This young lady is new to 4H and she and her Palomino, Buttercup, are tearing it up already!  Go K and B!!  I think they were 2nd behind J and G above.

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And finally the sisters … they placed 3rd as B had a hard time getting up that high onto FiFi!  LOL!!

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This is just hysterical to me!

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And they’re off!!

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One last run with Trooper.  Did I mention he goes off to college with Lexie?!  Again, thank you, Lexie!

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And that was a peek into our 2014 fair.  Thank you for sharing it with us!!

The Countdown …

… to fair!  We’re not there yet, but will be in a few days.

We have been busy getting all things organized for fair!  Obviously this would include laundry, even if our washing machine has quit on us.  Yep!  Sometimes it feels like if we didn’t have bad luck, we’d have no luck!  For the first time in about 20 years I will be visiting a laundry-mat tomorrow!  Non-perishable food is bought and organized, and I’ll start precooking some meals over the next few days.  We, or I, have been busy in the barn getting all the horse tack, grooming supplies, and bedding taken care of.  This evening I am going to have the girls fill ziplock baggies with the individual horse’s required supplements and feed for 8 days, twice a day.

This year I created a calendar spread-sheet for all fair happenings that pertain to us or we have an interest in.  I remember last year running around barely making it to events on time, and letting down grandparents who wanted to know details – I have even emailed my spread sheet to them!  This spread sheet actually starts with Aug.1 and helps me keep track of what exactly we have to do and when.  For example, we had the ferrier out Friday morning, we had our club’s work-ride Friday evening (FarmerM took them so that I could grocery shop), Giddy-upG had her first big Hunter Jumper show all day Saturday while BirderB took off to Kentucky with Gpa and Gma E, we had a camper to pick up Sat. evening, today we are skipping church and finishing up and starting to load, Monday Cowgirl & Fi have to see a chiropractor (Cowgirl is so badly out of alignment, we found this out at another club’s work-rides we attend on Tuesdays.  Just a few weeks ago Cowgirl reared while BirderB was on her and she fell over backwards onto BirderB.  This could have been serious!  The other club’s advisor started working with our horse and discovered how much pain she is in and we believe this is why she has been acting out – this is not how our Cowgirl behaves.  We feel terrible that we didn’t even realize she was hurting and trying to tell us.  Tuesday we drop the camper off at the fairgrounds and are participating in the other club’s work-ride (I’m so hoping the girls will want to switch clubs next year), Wednesday evening we go in to decorate the stalls for fair, and early Thursday FarmerM is dropping us and the horses off for fair.  We have to have horses in by 10:00pm for vet check, and we’ll be there before 10:00 am!  FarmerM has a really big presentation for a private company that is 4 hours north, so he’s getting us settled and then taking off for this meeting for two days.  I also have all of the girls’ classes/projects and fun events typed out for fair.  I LOVE being this organized and I know it will help this year run more smoothly!  🙂

Speaking of stall decorating, we finished the stall boards.  These boards will be on the front of the horse’s stall while at fair (we’ll also use them for the homeschool art show).  We helped a little, but this year they really did a lot of the cutting, writing, and placements.  They turned out really nice!  Here are two pics:

This one is BirderB’s – Disney theme Pocahontas~

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This one is Giddy-upG’s – Disney theme Frozen~

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I have mentioned a camper above.  Thanks to some German-Baptist friends, we get to stay at fair in this and use their truck to pull it:

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It is kind of fun to look out and see this parked in our driveway!  This family has said FarmerM is like an adopted son to them, and we recently found out that when the dad of this family is asked how many children they have, he replies by saying four.  Three sons and one daughter.  Those who know him have raised an eyebrow and he says he has an adopted son!  LOL!  We knew they joked about this with us, but not for real and in public.  So, they have a lovely family picture of them, their children, and all the grandchildren hanging in the camper.  I have asked the wife if I may play a joke of my own.  After fair, the very next day this camper goes to one of their sons and daughter-in-law, and then four days later onto another campground where the parents, other family and German-Baptist friends are meeting up.  I plan to take a picture of FarmerM this week, cut it out and using folded over scotch tape, simply stick the cut-out of FarmerM ‘into’ the family pic!!  Mrs. W was cracking up … she can’t wait to see how long it takes R & A, as well as Mr. W to notice!  That’s my joke!  🙂

 

In addition to the crazy build-up of fair, I have also been busy in our homeschool classroom.  It is organized!  We are ready to officially start school August 25th.  I say officially as both girls are already almost half way through the 2014-2015 arithmetic curriculum, and has a great start on health too.  I have even planned out some subjects through the first week of December!  This feels nice, and the stress I at times feel in my shoulders and neck is not there.  Another stress that was taken care of was our assessment.  It went really well!  I am so thankful to Mrs. K for introducing us to Miss J!  It sure feels nice when a teacher says that she wants to come see us and go through curriculum when she and her husband begin to homeschool their young daughter!  She was impressed with the curriculum and the girls progression, and made a point of saying how well rounded our homeschool life is!

We have been to a lot of horse-shows lately.  Here are some recent pics from the last two.

Miami County Horse Advisor’s Show.  Here are quite a few (sorry) – notice the girls are now competing against each other.  This is difficult for all of us.  And during this show BirderB finally placed higher than her sister.  We had many comments (ahem, compliments) on how Giddy-upG handled it all with grace and maturity.  Giddy-upG is used to getting a lot of blue and red ribbons and on this day she and Fi were just off their mark.  We all have days like that!  Also, Giddy-upG shows in both English (her preference!  Only English for next year) and Western (check out her cute pic at the end!):

G and Fi on left, B and Cowgirl on right- one of several classes they competed in and against

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Giddy-upG’s pattern

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Dayton Local Show Circuit – Trails End Equestrian.  Finally, here are pics from Giddy-upG’s first ever Hunter Jumper show.  This is her passion – jumping.  This is level-C/schooling show, not a big deal in the jumper world, but it is to us and the next step up from 4H.  This show was the first for her to reach her goal of jumping in the big-time show world!  Her horse’s grandsire is a National English Equitation Champion.  I think over the winter I need to find out if there are scholarships or donors, or something as later on we simply will not be able to afford to help her.  Next year she will join this circuit and compete and then we’re hoping to continue moving up the following years where the prizes can be cash and she’ll have to help us financially in this endeavor.  Yesterday was mostly blue and red (1st and 2nd), two whites (4th) and finally a BIG SURPRISE at the end!!

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The riders start out low on ground poles and work their way up.  Though Fi has been jumped pretty high at home, their technique isn’t quite down and so we didn’t allow them to jump their highest at this show.  I want to point out, Fi had never jumped until we bought her (she was only Western).  Giddy-upG has taught her herself, and now we have an instructor that G helps pay for with money she has earned mowing lawns over the spring and summer.

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I love this pic, FarmerM – aka ShowDad, with Giddy-upG!

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While BirderB was in KY attending a family reunion and enjoying meeting family I haven’t seen in 30+ years and exploring the Natural Bridge, she was also missing her sister win this.  In this circuit if you show in blocks (3 classes consecutive that concentrate on same technique) and place, you are in the running for Reserve or Grand-champion.  Well, Giddyup-G won …

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GRAND CHAMPION!!!!!

Today, Sunday, she is still on cloud-9 and as amazed as we are.  A big thank you and shout out to our ‘Miss Loren’ and her husband/asst. Travis – aka ShowDad #2!  LOL!  Travis was more nervous, focused, teacher, cheerleader, etc. than any of us!  He is Giddy-upG’s buddy!  Travis and Loren have their own precious daughter, Rosalie, and on Friday she was on a horse for her first time with her daddy … Rosalie is 8mos old!  Can you imagine what her daddy will be like when she is older and showing!  It will be great and I can’t wait to see it and hopefully help them at shows!

Thank you for reading all of this!

I’ll be back after fair – mid August!

In Him~

Homesteader Sandi

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