PACE co-op

Hi there! Been a while since posting – I had trouble with photo uploads, but that has now been fixed, thanks to my brother-in-law. Hopefully that means I can blog a little more often.

Anyhow, new things are happening here, as always, and one of those things is a homeschool co-op. I’ve hosted a co-op in my home in the past, but the last few years I farmed our family efforts out to other locations. With that experience under my belt, and at the hopeful request of a few friends, I once again find myself spear-heading a group of learners!

PACE stands for our core values of:

Peers – because it takes a village, right?

Accountability – so often we moms have good intentions, but the day slips away and those intentions didn’t happen.

Commitment – If you’re in, you’re in.

Engage – This is not a lecture and take notes class, we get our hands dirty and delight in the process.

A unique aspect of this co-op is the non-traditional schedule. I’m of the opinion that the school year was designed for the northern states – where summer might actually be the best time to enjoy the weather. But this is Texas – it’s hot y’all. No one wants to go outside except to swim. So we’re putting those inside days to good use with the intention of taking our breaks when we actually want to go outside. With that thoughts, we are already in full swing for our summer session. We have a cooking class and a math games class, preschool and history.

My part is teaching history and we’re doing Ancient civilizations, starting with Egypt.


Mummy wrapping and sarcophagus


More mummy wrapping!


Canopic jars


Making papyrus


Guest visit from an Egyptian woman who told us about her country and wrote our names in Arabic


Reed boats


Learning hieroglyphics

Our pre-school enjoyed Egyptian themed projects as well:

Dress like an Egyptian

Making Papyrus

Learning about the Nile

When classes are over we have free time. Currently that mostly centers around water play while the moms supervise and visit

So there you have it – the beginning of our adventures in learning!!



Winter wonder (part 2)

Several weeks after “the big snow,” we were enjoying balmy spring weather by taking our school outside – campfire cooking in several styles used by the Native Americans. (but that’s another post for another time)

My sister mentions that snow is forecast for the next week. I figure it’s just wishful thinking by the weatherman, no way this could happen twice! But as predictions of extreme cold and snow persist, Brian and I start covering plants, pipes and animal pens!

Well, snow came! Along with record low temps (went down to 6 degrees!) and power outages! The loss of power was somewhat expected – surely ice would knock a pole down somewhere, but we heat with a fireplace so we weren’t too concerned on that front. As the power stayed out however, other aspects of life had to change a bit.

Our heat option for the cat and kittens didn’t work so they enjoyed a number of days inside (doesn’t she look happy?) The dog spent three nights inside in her crate but then let it be known she would prefer to stay outside. Brian did a lot of hauling water out to the barn for the cow and chickens. The milk machine also needs power so we were hand milking for several days. Also had to gather eggs several times a day so they wouldn’t freeze.

I got a new, walk in freezer! So strange to just walk out on the porch and rummage through coolers (fridge replacement) and a laundry basket of frozen items.

Cooking also presented a new challenge. Since I cook largely from scratch I didn’t have things like cereal stocked in our pantry. Our stove is electric, so we had to get creative. We put coals from the fire place in a cast iron skillet and then put another skillet on top of that to fry eggs (which were coming in from the barn in dozens). I boiled water in the fireplace and poured it over oats to make a decent oatmeal.

I did have a gas grill so it was burgers one night and sausage and hot dogs another! My menu plan for the week had included several soups – but the power was too intermittent to have enough time to cook them. Eventually we were able to expect an hour of power whenever it turned on, so we’d jump up and do various chores  and I was even able to make some brownies!

Let me tell you – we just thought we’d cozy up inside, read books and watch movies! Not a chance – we worked out tails off!

In between chores we did take time to have some fun though! Here our dog leads the human sled team!

Exploring on the first morning, I was awed by a sight I never thought I would live to see – the neighbors pond frozen solid!! It wasn’t thick enough to walk on, but you could throw snowballs all over.

Beautiful ice crystals.

The creek under our road was a different story. Much shallower than the pond, this froze thick enough to hold the weight of 13 kids and a few adults!

We grabbed a few reeds from the side of the creek and attempted a game of ice hockey!

Garrison begged to go sledding again so he and Uncle Dan got to try out the slopes!

Labradors are built for the cold I guess, because this pup grabbed a piece of ice and took off. Later she lay in the snow and crunched the ice like a popsicle. Crazy mutt.

After a few days of clear cold, we had sleet that weighed down the trees.

My sister (lives next door) and her kids joined us for several days to enjoy the heat. Cousins played a lot of games (and enjoyed the kittens).

Brian’s brother had also come for a weekend visit….that turned into a week long visit. He was great at entertaining kids and holding little Ace.

With that much inside time, the kids still needed an outlet for energy so I had several wrestling matches with the little ones.

Also, spontaneous pillow fight broke out one morning.

Overall, it was a grand adventure, but I’m sure glad this happens at my house only once in a lifetime!

(In case you’re wondering if we had damage, Brian did such a good job of weather protecting our house and farm that only one thing froze and it was a sprinkler valve he had recently installed. Even the plants in the garden made it!)



Winter wonder (part 1)

I used to tell my friends, and then my children, snow just doesn’t happen where we live. Well, this winter changes that! Apparently every 80 years or so, our area does get cold and this winter happened to be that time!IMG_2089

The first snow happened in January, which I wanted to blog about but just didn’t get around to doing.


I was a beautiful, wet snow, perfect for making snowmen.

The neighbor had a fantastic sledding hill which we put to good use!

The whole episode was amazing! Beautiful! Our barn has never looked so nice! :-)

Kids and dog had a great time. Everything was enjoyed and gone in three days. Life went back to normal! That’s how it is in Texas, right?

Stayed tuned for part 2…


Ivy’s birthday was coming up and we planned to take a family trip to play in a river. However, the latest COVID crackdown closed the areas we had planned to enjoy. This left us without a plan just a few days before her birthday. Perfect for a surprise! Since she didn’t expect a replacement plan that fast, we were able to catch her totally off guard!

We sent her over to visit the cousins next door and then siblings, grandma and Aunt pitched in to put up decorations and get everything ready. At the appointed time we were ready and hiding:



I had planned an art themed party. My mom had made white cupcakes which were like a blank canvas, ready to decorate with a “paint palette” of icing and sprinkles.


Ivy, the brand new 11 year old.

Ryder enjoys the occasion.


After cake and presents the little ones went down for naps or off to play while the older girls watched an instructional video to produce a painting. They enjoyed the fellowship so much it was hard to get them back to each stage of the video. :-)


The finished project!

What fun to celebrate a daughter on her special day!

Introducing Ace Joseph Cahill

Ace Joseph Cahill

The first initials of our children form an acronym. We started with the intent to spell “Life is good” but changed that when our first “O” became an “R” with our 8th child Ryder. With a “GR” to go on, we finished out the acronym out with Ace’s name to make “Life is Grace.”

Ace: Ace means Unity. In card games, the ace is sometimes the highest and other times the lowest. Jesus came from Heaven to earth to bring unity between God (the highest) and man (the lowest). We pray that Ace’s life will be used of God to bring unity between God and mankind.

Joseph: He is named in honor of his Uncle Joseph. We are grateful for the investment Joseph and Stacie have made in our lives and hope he grows up to be a man of God like both his uncle and Joseph in the Bible.

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11-14


Born: April 26th at 4:45 PM

Weight: 6 lb 9 oz

Length: 18 1/4 in

Delivered by Brian’s dad, “Papa Doc”


Hymn: Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear,
And Grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis Grace hath brought me safe thus far
And Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His Word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

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