Archive for May, 2013



Well, our summer is about to get going, and it is going to be full, busy, and fast.  I look at my calendar and just shake my head–how’s it all going to get done???  Yes, I know:  one day and one event at a time!  Now I must say that this is how the summer is PLANNED; all of this is according to the Lord’s will and is subject to change.  🙂

So, what all is going on?  June gets started with my niece’s wedding and then is full of camps, library activities, and summer youth program classes.  John is planning on volunteering with the summer reading program at the library again.  One thing that’s different about the library this year:  John and Brock have been writing the script for the Reader’s Theater program!  I think they have done a really good job.  It’s a spin-off of Alice in Wonderland, and is kind of a mystery/comedy type thing.  Kara and Luke are signed up for a variety of youth activity classes including painting and craft lessons.  Cosette will be a helper at those classes again this summer.

Speaking of lessons, Kara is planning to start trumpet lessons this summer!  🙂

John should be getting his restricted driver’s license, and Brock hopes to begin driving with his Learner’s Permit.  Scarey….

Another new activity for John, Brock, and Cosette in June will be held at our local museum.  They are having a week-long camp where kids research historical figures, prepare monologues in costume, and do a performance as their character during an evening of museum tours.  They are all excited about that–especially because some of their friends from the musical will also be participating!

Cosette has another week of “Kid’s College” the week after the museum camp.  This really sounds interesting and includes science, art, criminal investigation and music classes.  She is especially looking forward to the singing sessions that are planned with the director from Paint Your Wagon.

At church, there is a group of us who are starting a “mini-orchestra” that will play for morning services–hopefully once each month.  This will be a group that plays as part of the congregational singing.  I have been working with John, Brock, and Cosette on some of these arrangements, and I think it’s going to be a nice addition to our worship services.  We are aiming for the 3rd Sunday of each month beginning in June.

The library activities continue in July, but our main focus at that point of the summer will be our church’s new Patch the Pirate drama/singing club.  We are going to be meeting for six weeks and will be focusing on Biblical character development along with the drama, singing, crafts, games, etc.  It will be for ages 4-12, and I really pray that we have a good turn-out.  The Prairie Family kids will be doing puppets–and these puppets will be much more involved than what we have done in the past.  We will be basically be doing a musical with those crazy puppets over the course of the six weeks of club meetings.  That will take some practice…..

We are really hoping to start school very, very early in August.  We’ve always started earlier than the other schools in the area, but this year I want to move it up even more.  It is just  nice to get a good head start on things in case we need catch-up days later to finish papers and projects.  Plus, we hope to be involved in the college musical again next spring, so having an early start to the school year will help with flexibility for that as well.

So, the summer is going to fly by.  I don’t know if I will get any major painting projects done or not, but hopefully I’ll just be able to keep up with the day-by-day business!

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A Blast From the Past

This week I discovered a random memory card and had no idea where it came from.  So, I plugged it into my computer and had a nice walk down memory lane!  This card must have come out of John’s camera, and the pictures were from 2007-2008, so the kids are all pretty little on it.  It sure was fun looking at them and realizing how much things have changed….and stayed the same.

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egg Collage

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Piggie Collage

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Cosette, Kara, and I just finished our third year as American Heritage Girls Trailblazers.  What a great experience it has been!  Each of the girls will soon be receiving their respective level awards and moving on to the next levels.  Kara will be receiving her Sacagawea Award, and Cosette will be receiving her Lewis and Clark Award.  As part of the end of the levels, we have gone back and reviewed some of the things that we have done during the past three years, and it really is amazing when we start looking at it!

Both of the girls have earned several service stars.  Most have been from helping at the Genesis Food Bank, but they have also helped serve at several fund raisers for local groups, and have done volunteer work for church.

There have been many “special events” that we have enjoyed.  Some of have been with their brothers’ scout troops including a day trip to some museums, and marching in Veteran’s Day parades.  An annual special event that we have all come to anticipate is the Outdoor Skills Day put on by the Division of Wildlife and Parks.  There have also been concerts and special programs.

Cosette and Kara have each completed 9 merit badges:  7 C’s of History, Stick Shifts and Safety Belts, Music Performance, Fishing, Bible Basics, Sign Language, Computer Fun, Internet Adventure, World Heritage.  We are currently finishing a Photography badge and a Theater Badge–those will carry over into their new levels.

As we’ve been finishing up the World Heritage Badge, the girls have been studying the country of Brazil.  That has been quite an adventure!  It really is an interesting place, and we have all learned a lot.  We especially enjoyed cooking some Brazilian food, and Kara has really taken to making fabric yo-yo’s.

So, we are looking forward to continuing our time with American Heritage Girls.  We sure do appreciate their firm stand on moral issues.  We are currently in a state of transition with the boys’ involvement with Boy Scouts of America.  Hopefully there will be a group similar to AHG formed for boys where they can be taught to be responsible, morally strong young men.  I will post more about this as time goes on, I’m sure….

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Genesis Collage

The past few weeks have been very busy at the food bank that we help with.  Goodness gracious, there has been food drives, lots of donations, lots of sorting, etc., etc., etc.!  This organization has really reached a turning point in its history.  It seems like this pantry gets bigger and bigger–we have such a generous community and the needs are always there.  So, we never run out of things to do!

This summer this food bank is going to again provide Summer Food for Kids bags.  These bags provide families with children extra child-friendly items during the summer months when school lunch programs are not being offered.  This week we will fill the first round of bags, and there will probably be at least one more time of filling before the summer is over.

I am so happy that my kids enjoy helping with the food bank.  I really like it too–I have developed several very special friendships through this organization, and it is just a satisfying way to help others in the community.

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A few weeks ago, the Prairie Family took a day-trip to Colorado Springs to attend a community performance of Fiddler on the Roof.  I am so glad that John discovered this opportunity!  The tickets were very reasonably priced, and the show was top notch–can’t beat a deal like that!

The setting of the performance was rather unique.  This theater uses a church to perform their shows, and instead of having a stage, they just empty out the auditorium of the church, put up some risers with chairs for the audience, and the actors perform the play in the middle of the room!  It was really up close and personal, and this set-up made the audience feel like they were actually a part of the show rather than just watching a stage production.  This was true especially during the wedding scene–we all felt like we were guests in the wedding!  🙂

It was neat to see how they pulled off the technical aspects of the show, and we especially appreciated the efficiency of the stage crew.  They had a great set that was multi-layered with large foam panels that just had to be turned or removed to change the scenes.  Very clever!  We also noticed that some of their larger pieces were on wheels–now why didn’t we think of that?!  The kids noticed how the stage crew ran on and off of the “stage” getting things done so quickly, and I think that will be a model to imitate when we do another musical ourselves.

Another interesting observation about the musical:  there were many kids/teens acting in the show, and most of them were homeschooled. I thought that was pretty neat.

After the musical was finished, we took a short trip to the Garden of the Gods and admired the Lord’s handiwork in those large rock formations.  It was a beautiful day, and a great way to end a fun weekend.

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Lessons Learned Collage

Yes, there were many lessons learned during our time at the college musical.  Some of them were technical lessons; others were personal lessons.  The personal lessons are the ones to really remember–and apply in everyday life.  This entry’s picture shows a gentleman talking with Luke.  This wonderful man is an inspiration.  He spent time encouraging and building up the rest of the cast.  He took the opportunity to bless my kids with words of wisdom and life stories.  Many of our personal lessons came from him.

  1. Being in a production like “Paint Your Wagon” is a privilege.  There have been famous actors and musicians who have performed these shows; movies have been made; scores have been studied, etc.  These opportunities should not be taken lightly.
  2. Performing with whatever cast you join is an honor.  These are great people.  There are people sharing the stage with you who have unbelievable experience and can teach you many things.
  3. The power of kindness and smiling can never be used too much.
  4. Laughing is worth it.  The world is a serious, sometimes troubling place.  If you can make someone laugh for an evening at a play, you have accomplished something worthwhile.
  5. Everyone is “In-Between.”  There is a wonderful song in Paint Your Wagon about that, and it is so true.  Usually we’re not the best at any one thing, but we’re not the worst either.  And that’s true of everyone.
  6. Be a cheerleader to those around you.  Everyone needs to hear words of encouragement.
  7. Do things together.  The payoffs for doing that are incredible!

The other part of the picture for this entry shows a framed copy of the program from “Paint Your Wagon” that was signed by many of the cast members–a priceless treasure!  I glued a gold-painted rock in the corner of the frame.  That is not just any rock, you see.  Those rocks were given to each member of the cast by the man in the picture with Luke.  He told us to keep it in our pockets during the performances.  (I put mine on my music stand where I could see it!).  He said he wanted it to be a reminder that we are “professionals” and that after the show was finished, he hoped it would be a very precious memory.  Indeed it is…..


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