We got our yearly apple order in October and then followed our tradition of making applesauce!

I set aside a day just for this project, hoping to get it all done with only one mess. Due to various issues we didn’t actually get started until about 10:00am so I mentally prepped myself to still be washing dishes after the kids went to bed. Little did I know what kind of team I had.


Eden and Iris loaded apples into the washing sink.


Lance and Ivy chopped. I think Lance alone chopped well over a bushel by himself.


All the kids took a turn with the hand crank, though the oldest 3 did most of this as well.


Skye tasted.

Eden helped me by washing jars, while I ran things back and forth between the stoves.  Once we got the process started we operated like a well oiled machine! At one point, my brother stopped by and things looked so fun he had to lend a hand. Wish I had a picture of that Tom Sawyer moment.


We did stop for a little fun along the way – I told them about bobbing for apples and the idea was so intriguing they all had to try.

All my helpers were so focused and skillful that we finished the four bushels by 4:00!


60 quarts of applesauce.


7 1/2 gallons of cider. (note: the pink comes from the red apples – so pretty and tasty too!)

Brian got home early and my sister volunteered to watch the kids so we got an unexpected date night to finish off the day! What a reward!


Later that week Brian and the kids sliced and bagged apples for the freezer while I read aloud – reminded me of times from my childhood, putting up food while my mom read.

These apples sure do bring about fun times and we look forward to eating the applesauce all year.

Family Fun Night

The kids and I prepared a baseball themed evening to share with Dad!

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We started with ball park food – nachos and hot dogs..and corn (because that’s our most recent garden harvest and we needed to eat it). And yes, all of my kids eat a plain dog with no bun.


Next up was a watermelon seed spitting contest! When I announced it, all the girls said “ewww” but Lance flashed his famous grin. Daddy was the hands down winner though (they are sitting on the bridge of our new play set).

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Skye won the ‘most juice’ contest. This baby loves watermelon!

And now time for the game – water baseball!


Team Blue

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Team Pink!

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Mighty Casey up to bat!

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First base was a foot in each bucket of water.

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Second base you had to sit on a water balloon.


To be safe on third you must be sitting in the pool of water.

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And then a slip ‘n slide into home!



After trying to coach them through one inning we just lined them up and let them bat and run. We would chase them with the ball and attempt to tag an out just to put a little thrill in the game.


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Pinch hitter



We finished the evening with home made ice cream sandwiches! Flora told me she has a lot of pictures in her mind from tonight – this is how they describe memories. I think they had a good time.

Happy Birthday!

Skye Kristine is 1 year old today!


Skye is a happy, content little baby – a joy to have around!

Even though it seems she might be lost in the hubbub, being part of a big family is a bonus for this little one. The older kids love her and dote on her, gathering  around as I bring her out from a nap and competing for a smile. I love the look on her face as she basks in their attention.

Skye also knows how to speak up for herself and gain attention.

Due to the current rhythm of our family, I was able to spend time with just her in the early mornings before the others awoke. She developed like a classic baby, and I  got to watch and delight in each new skill in a way I haven’t done since my first born.


She loves to be outside and clearly doesn’t mind the dirt. She takes two good naps, refused the pacifier until 11 mo. and now wants it to go to sleep.  Like Flora, Skye has a very slight build which makes her easy to pick up and take along on all our adventures.


She loves to watch and is pretty quick to catch on and try out a new skill. She has 3 teeth, feeds herself quite well, likes fruit, beans and certain veggies. She knows a few signs and uses them along with sounds that are close to the word so I’m thinking she’ll talk soon.

A few quirks that make her unique:

She learned to crawl normally then somewhere along the way it morphed into the funny sit and scoot.


Unlike the other children, she dislikes eggs and bath time.


We just penned a goat outside her bedroom and every time she wakes up she points to the window and chuckles when I let her look out and say hi.

She also used a push toy to walk more than most of the others and got quite good at maneuvering around. She now walks on her own but still loves to push the baby doll stroller.


We all love this little one but she is growing up fast and is not a baby anymore!

Happy Birthday Skye; may the Lord bless you with a joyful heart that reaches out and touches others with His goodness and life.


Three couples made a rendezvous in the mysterious swamps of Caddo lake. Converging on a rustic hideaway house, they made plans to explore the remote regions of the swamp in search of wildlife, secret pathways and adventure!


Leader of the expedition (and the most good looking I might add).


Early the next morning the group set out by canoe (for added stealth and to test stamina), drifting through the mossy trees.


The journey was perilous – leaning too far, hitting a tree and one crew almost became alligator food! Quick thinking from the bowman and progress was restored.


Encountered brilliant wildlife on a dreary island of mud and discovered an ancient ritual of eating lunch while standing.


Nothing daunted, this crew was eager for more!



And more is what they got! Their destination lay just on the other side of a deceptively benign looking lake weed. Green tentacles pulled at the hulls, releasing their grip for a few moments as the paddlers hacked away, only to grab on again. But our explorers fought bravely and  inches of progress were won.


A hideout was discovered! Seemingly abandoned….probably due to the lake weed.






A quick exploration revealed that it was still being used by a hideous villain!


Back on open water, more duck blinds were discovered and explored – most, reassuringly deserted.



This fearless team pulled up inside one and took a respite from the sun…and from paddling. Don’t worry – 5 hours down, only four more to go before we reach home!

After a long day of pulling oars (or paddles) our heroes ate a hearty meal and turned in early.



The next morning found them back out on the water.


While weaving through dense trees in shallow water, a retirement plan was hatched by the senior crew member – making creches out of cypress knees. These seemed representative of another crew members family – Dad, Mom and all their children! Think it will sell?



Halfway around Horse island (though no horses were spotted) it began to rain. Over an hour from home port and out in the middle of nowhere, things seemed rather grim. Suddenly out of the grey appeared a covered boat dock, just large enough for two canoes and their passengers! An early lunch was enjoyed as they waited out the weather.


As the rain let up the crew packed up and made for home! Around Horse Island and through a densely treed inlet, navigating by a track phone GPS….which is fortunate, because instinct would have had them lost forever.




Land was found, a short portage across a strip of land separating the wilds from civilization and this cold, tired crew was home. Hot showers, warm drinks and dinner await!


A happy boy

Lance got an excitingly big box in the mail yesterday – a birthday present from his Nana!


Some assembly was required but easily done with many assistants.

I described how this could be used to sort his collections….


Didn’t know an 8 year old boy could be so excited about a set of drawers!


The oldest three got to stay up past bedtime to begin sorting through treasure.


This is something that needed to be done very badly. We called a halt after an hour but I expect Lance to be happily occupied through the next few days of rainy weather. Thanks Nana!

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