Archive for January, 2015


Last fall, one of our original guinea pigs, Snickers, died after a long life with the Prairie Family.  We still had two piggies left, but seeing that empty cage just made us feel sad.  In early November, I saw a post on Facebook advertising a female guinea pig, so we decided to bring her home.

Ginger is a sweetie–and what a pretty girl too!  We noticed in the weeks following her arrival, though, that her belly was growing….and growing…and GROWING!  It was pretty obvious that our sweet new girl had a belly full of babies.  We had no idea when they would arrive or how many there would be.  I guessed that there would probably be four.

On December 28, we were in for a wonderful surprise!  Ginger had SEVEN—-yes, SEVEN—-babies!  We didn’t even know that guinea pigs could have that many!  I didn’t know if all of them would survive.  After all, how could one mama take care of all of those babies?!  Ginger is a wonderful mommie, though, and all seven not only lived, they all thrived!  Here is a picture of the Magnificent Seven”



Piggie Collage

So, there are three brown babies with clowlicks, and one straight-haired brown.  There are 2 multi-colored babies with cowlicks, and one multi-colored with straight hair.  Three of these (#2, #4, and #7) have already gone to their new homes, and #6 is going to her new family once they get everything ready.  That leaves us with the three browns that are kind of hard to tell apart.  We have determined that two of the browns (#3 and #5) are males, so we have separated them out from the momma pig and the female brown, so we don’t have this happen again!  LOL!

We are hoping to sell the two male browns as “twins.”  Hopefully someone will buy them together–they really are very cute together and are used to being with each other.  They really are sweeties too.  Yesterday we put them into a bigger cage with a barn, and they love that!  We will probably keep female brown.  We’ll see how all of that works out.  All I can say is that having 3 adult piggies and 7 babies was WAY too many.  Having 3 adult piggies and 4 babies is still too many.

Here are a couple of videos taken when we still had all of the babies–be ready for a cute overload!  🙂

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Christmas 2014


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Playing at the library and helping with the Heartland Christian School Christmas program were not our only musical opportunities in December.  Last year we started a Prairie Family tradition of playing at some local nursing homes the week of Christmas, and we kept the tradition for year #2 in 2014!  In fact, this year we added another performance at an assisted living center, so we were full of holiday cheer!

Seriously, these are fun musical activities–some of our favorite!  It’s kind of a low-pressure, relaxed way to share our music, and we always leave with the goal to come back soon for another jam session with these great people.  I am really hoping to do something like this again in the early summer with some of the fiddle music that we are currently working on.

It’s not hard to put together a program like this.  By the time we played some quartet music, a few trio songs, a duet here and there, a little bit of piano, and some fun group singing, the time was more than filled.  We had fun, and I hope the residents did as well.

I also had a couple of Christmas Eve services to play for.  At our home church, we had the Sunday School kids dress up in Nativity costumes and sing a song from the program that we did at the Christian school.  That was really neat, and I think the kids were pretty cute, don’t you?!



The other Christmas Eve service was at a church here in town that is currently short a piano player. They wanted to have a carol-sing as part of their midnight service, and I was asked to fill in for that. I have some very dear friends that go there, so I was happy to do that–and it made for a special memory for 2014.

Yes, music has become a major part of our family’s Christmas holiday celebrations, and I wouldn’t change a thing (except maybe to add some more???!!!)

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Stocking   Collage

Because of our crazy schedule this year, I was a little bit later than normal getting our Christmas Stocking Buttons finished.  I did get it accomplished by Christmas Day, though, so I guess that’s okay!

I began this tradition the year that Dan and I were married.  Each year, the Prairie Family members select a special memory from that year to symbolize on a button to place on the Christmas stockings.  Each year when we get these out, it is kind of neat looking back on all of these great memories!

This is what was selected this year:

  • Dan:  playing Lazer Wolf in Fiddler on the Roof
  • Lois:  directing David’s Dynasty at Heartland Christian School
  • John:  taking voice and piano lessons at the college
  • Brock:  focusing on playing the fiddle
  • Cosette:  going to summer camp and the fall retreat at Bethel Bible Camp
  • Luke:  learning to play Mario songs on the piano
  • Kara:  getting our new guinea pig, Ginger (who was pregnant with SEVEN babies!)


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Boxes  Collage

The first couple of weeks of December were ridiculously busy at the Prairie Family house!  In addition to the program at the library and the Heartland Christian School Christmas program, the annual Genesis Christmas Basket project landed at exactly the same time!  So, we were pretty much running our heads off–but we had lots of fun!

I will always remember the 2014 Genesis Christmas basket project as the year of abundance–overflowing abundance in more than one way!  It was my job to make sure that we had enough volunteers to complete each phase of distributing these food packages to the needy families in our community.  Even one week out from the beginning of the project, I just wasn’t sure how it was going to come together.  I did know one thing:  it would be all right.  God definitely takes care of Genesis year-around, and I knew He’d continue to do so.  Despite this, however, I just didn’t have the groups responding to help like they had in years past.  That all changed the Monday before the boxes were filled on Friday!  That day I had sports teams, businesses, churches, etc. all call saying they were coming to help–and come they did!  We had so much help moving the food to our filling location that we were finished in record time!  We had so many volunteers assembling and distributing boxes that we actually had to invent things for them all to do!  So, when God brought the needed help, He brought even more than we needed!

The other way that God provided overflowing abundance had to do with meat.  Several weeks before the filling of the boxes, Genesis received unbelievable donations of meat.  So much meat, in fact, that all of the food bank’s freezers were over-flowing!  We had so much meat that several board members had to store extras until space could be found to move it all.  It was really quite a strange problem to have!  As the baskets approached, we decided that distributing the extra meat to the families getting the baskets would be a good way to thin down our supply.  So that’s what we did!  We started handing out meat, and handing out meat, and handing out meat!  I got on the phone and had the meat that was stored around town brought in, and we just kept handing it out!  At one point, one of my kids asked, “Where is all of this meat coming from?”  I asked them if they remembered the Bible story of the lad with the loaves and fish that Jesus used to feed the multitude, and then I said, “Just watch!  I bet that we will have just enough to take care of all of these people–not too much, not too little.”  And that’s what happened!  As the last person left with their portion of meat, there was just enough meat left in the freezers at the food bank to open for the next regular distribution day.  Wow, isn’t God good?!  He had been preparing that supply through those donations well in advance to take care of the needs in our community.  It was truly amazing to be part of that process!

Yes, 2014 Christmas baskets will always be remembered as a time of seeing God’s powerful hand supplying abundantly.  I love being part of Genesis because I get the privilege of seeing His awesome power and gracious care meeting needs every day, all year around.  Blessed–truly blessed!



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My friend, Christine Quist, took videos of the Heartland Christian School 2014 Christmas program and graciously uploaded them to Youtube so I can post them on this blog.  She also has edited DVD’s available for purchase.  Please contact me if you are interested, and I will get you in touch with her.

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Hcs with text Collage

2014 had a special surprise for me that ended up being a wonderful blessing!  This past summer, the administrator of our town’s Christian school contacted me about helping out at the school with music.  I met with her, and told her that it is definitely my desire to do that in the future.  With my current homeschooling responsibilities, though, I wasn’t sure how well it would fit in with all of the other things I already have going.  We discussed several options, and settled on that I would help direct the school’s Christmas program.  I thought it would give me a chance to get to know the school and its students more, and it would just be a new adventure to try.

So, the first step was  choosing the programs.  For the preschool and kindergarten, we decided to work on a short, simple program written just for that age called My Best-est Friend by Bette Dale Moore.  (We changed the name to “My Best Friend.”)  For grades 1-6 we chose David’s Dynasty produced by Brentwood Kids Music.  I did a lot of editing/adapting on both of these shows before beginning to meet with the kids in October.  I just decided that it was good to fit the scripts specifically to this school, and it was worth all of the pre-work in the end.  I also worked on recording rehearsal cd’s since I figured it would be easier to run a cd player while I taught rather than try to play the piano and lead the class.

October arrived, and with it the real fun began!  I met all of the wonderful kids and had lots of fun getting acquainted with them and helping them get acquainted with the shows.  Figuring out casting and solos was quite a challenge because I wanted everyone who wanted a part to have a part.  We learned songs, ran lines, and, as we had time, we worked on some general music education type activities that the kids enjoyed.

Eventually, of course, there was staging, costuming, lights, sound, etc. to figure out–and I must admit, we kind of learned as we went.  I told the kids all along, though, that “we do the best we can, and that’s all we can do.  God takes care of the rest,” and that really proved to be true.  They did their best, I did my best, and God was faithful in pulling the people and details together to make the show a success.  There were ups and downs,  good moments and not-so-good, but through it all it was just amazing to see how God worked.  I kept saying that I wasn’t worried because God had started this thing and I knew He would see it through to the end– and that certainly was the case.

The week of the show had a big obstacle to overcome:  illness.  The kids in the school started passing around a nasty respiratory flu type bug, and there were days that many, many kids missed school.  I also got the illness, but I had no choice but to press on!  🙂  Even the day of the show, I had kids call in sick, but I really wasn’t worried.  I knew God would take care of it.  Yes, we were missing key people in the performance.  Yes, Kara sang a solo and said lines that she had never done before for the actual performance.  But it all went very well, thanks to the blessing and support of our Lord.

For me personally, doing this program was a growing experience in many, many ways.  I think the thing that I will always remember about it is the wonderful kids.  I can honestly say that not once–not once–did they give me any trouble.  They were always enthusiastically doing their best.  Their happy faces brought me many joyful memories, and I love them all.  The faculty at the school was great as well.  It’s not easy to keep going with limited time and resources, but they were always right there to help out as they could.  Those are things that did not end when we finished the show.  I will forever hold Heartland Christian School close to my heart.

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Cosette Birthday Collage

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