Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas 2011 and Year End Wrap Up

I would like to start by appologising for the poor quality of the photos in this post. My photo uploader/editor is not working right.

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. It was so nice to have more family here. There were still a few people that I missed, Darrell & Donna and my favorite sister Rebecca.

We started off our celebration with a church service on Sunday the 17th. The kids did a skit telling the story of the first Christmas using a nativity set. There was wonderful music by Damaris, Bea, Heidi, and Pastor Earl. Then a wonderful sermon by Pastor Earl and an AMAZING potlock feast. All the food was great but I have to say the top score from me goes to Lynn Malpass' chocolate pecan pie. All I can say is OOOOOOOOH SOOOOO GOOD!!!!

At home Christmas was a simple celebration. Early morning the kids got to open some gifts. Then my mom, dad, September and Ian came down and opened gifts. Then the guys went and worked/played outside while we ladies made dinner. We had a nice simple ham dinner. Then we watched a good Christmas movie called "Silent Night".

I have always loved Christmas. The singing, baby Jesus, lights, trees, exchanging gifts, hot cocoa, snow men the whole works. However in the past few years as my faith has started to mature a little I started questioning this oh so jolly holiday. I know alot of Christians that don't celebrate at all. Others that celebrate the birth of Christ but not with trees, lights and gifts. Still others that have no problem with the whole ball of snow man shaped wax. Then there is all the political correctness of Happy Holidays VS Merry Christmas and the lets keep Christ in Christmas movement. It can all get pretty confusing and I'll be the fist to admit that I'm having a hard time choosing what is right for our family. Then I listened to an audio by Michael Pearl and for me it shed a little light on to the reasons for the season. Now I'm not saying that this made up my mind for me. On the contrary it gave me more to consider. So if Christmas of 2012 looks alot different from how we celebrated this year you will know why and maybe by then I will be ready to explain how we decided to celebrate and why.

Wyatt Shooting New BB Gun

Oak Shooting New BB Gun

Lisa Shooting New BB Gun

Ice Crystals on Log
Now we look back over the year that is passing and at the same time forward to the new year. So much happened in our lives last year. It truelly is amazing all the good and the bad. As traumatic as the bad has been I do beleive that it has brought us closer to God in relying fully on him. And if nothing else all that we have gone through has been worth it in my mind for the 3 major posatives that we have experianced this year. #1 Ken accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior on father's day. #2 We gained new family Darrell and Donna Scott who have been an amazing blessing to us through their love and teaching I am so thankful to have them in our lives. #3 For my Mom, Dad, Niece/Sister and Nephew/Brother making the big move to Alaska. I feel so much better having them close so that we can help them as they need it and I'm thankful for all of their emotional support. It has been nice to have my mom close this winter especially.

We are looking forward with anticipation to the new year and hoping that it will be joyus and productive. We are hoping that we can be as much of a blessing to our friends and family as they have been to us. Some things that we are hoping for in the new year are steady employment for Ken, and completion of the second half of our little cabin here at the Scott's, and working on the garden with Donna. We are even thinking of getting a couple piglets to raise this spring. Maybe even to have some time to fish and hunt. I am more excited every day as the sunlight starts returning faster.

Homeschool Scoop

The kids are still doing well with their homeschool studies. We are making some adjustments to our schedule to allow for a longer time for science so that they can do their lesson and their project in one block. We're still playing catch up since we were behind when we started. Ian has qualified for Special Education in Math so that has also brought on some added benefit as I am now approved to teach him the curriculum that I was already teaching him. I was also given some advice on some other techniques to use as well.

Mars Biosphere Project

Volcano Project

In the next year we hope to do many more projects and watch as Mom, Dad, September and Ian experiance the seasons of Alaska for the first time.

I want to thank all of you who read my ramblings and wish each and every one of you a Happy, Productive and Blessed New Year.

Keep and eye on this post for more pictures!

1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal.  KJV

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Alaska Fun at -40

I feel compeled to start with an Od to the outhouse at -40.

Most people who dont use an outhouse probably cringe at the idea. Then you add in the factor of -40 temps and most would say "NO WAY!". I will include some pictures to give you an idea of what it is like, but I want to explain that when it comes to outhouses they come in all shapes and sizes. They range from a large insulated "bathhouse" with stalls and a tub with campshower maybe even a small camp/tent stove. On the other end of the spectrum is your basic one seater "shack". This usually consists of some kind of stick frame with some patchwork sidding a wood or tin roof and often an open pit to the back or sides that you might fall into if you dont watch your step. Our outhouse is somewere in the middle I would say maybe a "luxery shack". We have 2 seats covered with insulating foam with lids. It's stick framed with plywood and siding walls. A rusty tin roof with no insulation. We do have a little piece of glass "window" to let in light and some upgrades like magazine holders and shelves for TP. Also the signature tissue bucket in the corner that you find in most outhouses. (side note it's not good to put your TP in the hole it makes it stink worse)

Hand Sanetizer is also a nice thing to have in the outhouse.
Notice the little blue foam frame on the right. That is our insert for the little kids so they dont feel like their going to fall in.

The lids get a nice layer of frost as does the inner rim of the foam. The lid frost can be uncomfortable if you lean back. The rim frost can be uncomfortable for men and those with little bottoms.
Beleive it or not Ken still likes to read in the outhouse at -40*F. He just brings out a hurricane lantern and settles in. I really haven't had a problem using it even at -40*F as long as I am bundled up and I can pull down my coat and pull up my pants so that I dont have bare legs.

Here is a list of things that we keep in our outhouse (no particular order):

Toilet Paper (lots of extra don't want to run out, out there)
5 Gallon Bucket for used tissue
Hand Sanitizer
Famanine Items
Reading Material
A T-Light Candle for Light
A Bear Whistle
A Sling Shot (just for fun)
Step Stool (For the little guys)
Foam Insert (for little bottoms)

For my readers who have outhouses I would love to hear what you keep in your outhouse? Please leave a comment. If for some reason it won't let you comment send it to me in an e-mail and I will add it to the post.

O the outhouse so slim and tall
a single door and four small walls
who knew how much I would love you so
Enough to visit at 40 below

By Sarah Smith

Now on to a subject thats not as deep and full of POO!

Homeschooling At Sweethomestead Alaska

I have a total of 5 students that we are homeschooling through the Yukon-Koyukuk School District program called Raven Correspondence School. My Niece September (12), My Nephew Ian (11), Lisa (4), and Wyatt & Oak (2). So we are doing preschool - Jr High.

I've had some people asking what curriculum we are using so here is a list of this years subjects and curriculum.

Also to use with all the math even the twins: Saxon Math Manipulatives

I like all of these math programs especially the Teaching Textbooks.

Shurley English 7 (September)

I do NOT like the Shurley English and I would not recomend it. It is borring for me and the kids. So far I like the Sing, Spell, Read & Write though we have not really gotten into the reading yet and Lisa is getting a little upset and wants to jump ahead. She is ready to read and wants to start on the reading books.

With the Notebooking Journal (September & Ian)
The Jr. Notebooking Journal (Lisa)
Lab Kit (All)

Making Modal Solar System

Finished Solar System

Even the boys often listen in on these lessons. We are really enjoying this program.

We like this one.

These are good.

Houghton Mifflin

Posters About Community (September's, Lisa's, Ian's) Lisa doesn't do this subject but wanted to make a poster so hers is Repunzel her daughters and their horses.

This one is OK not great but not bad either.

Sweet Homestead Alaska Physical Education

Ian on Poop Patrole

September Stacking Firewood
The Cabin

My mom and dad have moved into the Scott's old cabin that we remodeled for them. I was going to do an update on this post about it, but I want to get some good pictures of it first. I'll try to get some pictures today. Then I'm going to set up another tab on this blog titled "Moore Space". This will be to introduce you to the Moore family and their new home here at Sweet Homestead Alaska. 
I want to give aother HUGE THANK YOU!!!!!!!! To Darrell and Donna Scott for allowing all of us to set up camp at their place.  I hope that we can help them as much as they have helped us.

To: D&D we love and miss you, can't wait until your home again!

Psalm 18:2
The lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.