Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Our Buddy

 photo chipmunkbuddy3_zpshssgkegh.jpg

Amanda and I left a few sunflower seeds out for a bird that was visiting our balcony in Wintergreen. The bird didn't get to eat many of them before this chipmunk appeared and took them over.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Homeschool for Free Online

July is when most homeschooling mothers finalize their curriculum and plan out their schedule. It is when I get the most "How to homeschool" or "What do you use for homeschool" questions. 

I am using this website to teach Emily and Hannah from preK to 3rd. It is so easy to use. Even a new homeschooling mother can do this program with no problem. 

Easy Peasy All in One Homeschool worked better for us than ReadingEggs and another paid program I tried. Neither of those programs were very effective, and we lost months trying them. Easy Peasy is fun for the girls! I wish it had been around with my oldest two because I would have likely used it with all seven. 

I believe in teaching phonics for the many advantages it gives students, and I taught phonics with my oldest five children. This program teaches sight words first and then phonics, and I like this approach better. This method lets children start to read from a book much sooner and boosts confidence levels. That translates into fun and interest for the student which makes teaching easier and more fulfilling.

I recommend you read through all of this mom's opening pages, but here are some of the main points. She is also the mother of a large family, so busy moms, she GETS what we need...short, simple, effective, inexpensive. 


"This site holds preschool (getting ready 1), kindergarten (getting ready 2), and first through eighth. (We have a separate high school site.) Grade levels include all of the English, math, computer and logic. The other subjects are combined into “program years” so that all of your children can study the same topic at the same time. Year 1’s theme is ancient history and biology. Year 2 has early American history and zoology for the theme. Year 3 is earth science and geography and cultures as  the theme. Year 4’s theme is modern history, physics and chemistry.

Your child just goes to Day 1 on his or her level (found in the sidebar) and starts clicking through the assignments! That’s all!
And yes, it’s all free. You’ll need paper, pencil, etc. and some minor supplies if you choose to do the experiments and art projects, but all of the reading materials, etc. are all free and online."
"Your children will need access to a computer and the internet and to you! The children are often instructed to tell a parent or older sibling about what they just read. Be available or assign an older child to be available. Occasionally they may come to you and say they earned a high five or a hug. Please oblige! About once a week the kids also get a little something extra, just for fun, tucked into their school day.
This school is intended to be college preparatory. They will read challenging books and will always be reading something. Most of the books are chosen from the Robinson and Ambleside curricula. You can read the book lists and specific course descriptions on the individual course pages.
I have sought to make this curriculum comprehensive, but not intensive. The lessons are short, intended to keep the school day short. At one point I had three children doing school on one computer and they were able to take turns and finish before dinner without a problem. Also, children in the same age bracket (first through fourth -L- and fifth through eighth -M-) can work at the same time on half of their school day. My children spend their extra time reading, writing, exploring, experimenting, programming, drawing, creating, working, doing chores, helping others, and PLAYING!
This is a Christian curriculum. Not everything is overtly Christian, but I do point to the Bible from time to time in literature, science, history, etc. and seek to promote a biblical worldview. I also believe in a literal six day creation. I do choose to use materials that talk about millions of years because it is what’s available, and it’s useful for our children to know what’s taught out there so they can be intelligent in a response to it. I do address it to varying degrees when it comes up.
The school year lasts 180 days because that is my state’s requirement. Beyond that I believe children should continue schooling the rest of the year with reading, experimenting, exploring their interests and passions and the world."

Sunday, July 05, 2015

When You've Just Turned 8...

 photo thisishowyoueatbirthdaycake_zpsaafy6lyi.jpg


is how you eat your cake!

Friday, July 03, 2015

Article: 21 Ways to Raise a Daughter to Rebel and Despise You

21 Ways to Raise a Daughter to Rebel and Despise You

19. Let her keep her music, friends, phone, computer, game console, TV, etc. because those are rights, not privileges.

20. Let her hear you tell other people that you can’t wait till she is on her own and out of the house, because then she will no longer be your responsibility, and you can finally do what you want to do.

21. Just give up, because there is simply nothing you can do.

Harper's Ferry National Historical Park: Jefferson's Rock

 photo JR1_zpsccdxsx0l.jpg

 photo JR2_zpsu4sybtyp.jpg

 photo JR3_zpshnxikfyt.jpg

 photo JR4_zpsnqewlys4.jpg

While no one is allowed to get on Jefferson's rock today, I imagine the view is quite spectacular from that vantage point. This shot was taken much further back.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Big Fella!

 photo snake_zpszl9tdtjz.jpg

This black snake was eating rabbits for months.
I don't like killing wildlife, but this one kept causing big losses over a few months.
Amanda measured it three times...6'3".
Clint can tell gender on snakes and said this one was a male.
We found him eating a bunny. Clint had to tug the five week old kit out of the snake's grip. The bunny appeared lifeless but still had pink tissues under its lips. So, we resucitated it with quick CPR puffs and ten minutes of vigorous rubbing to stimulate breathing and circulation. It survived but has a limp.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Home Again & God's Protection

I was kidnapped by my eldest daughter and best girlfriend, Amanda, on Sunday night at 8 p.m. There was no concrete plan other than pack fast as possible and go! We arrived in Harrisonburg, VA around midnight. The next day we did some shopping and ate out. Then we found a deal at Wintergreen. It was buy three nights, get a night free. So, Amanda split the time with Clint. There was a goof at check in, so they bumped our room up to the next level. We had a gorgeous valley view. When Clint arrived, he took Amanda driving and sightseeing. She wanted to drive some of the more challenging mountain roads, but I preferred to take a nap. 

Clint kidnapped me in the sense that he did not let me go home as scheduled and extended our time together by a few days. He planned to keep me longer, but I had to go home to see my children! I was gone from home for eight days and seven nights. Other than camping with the family for ten days, I have never been gone from home that long. I had a wonderful time and hope one or both of them kidnaps me again.

On the way to join us, Clint was in a four car accident involving a semi-truck on the interstate. No one was hurt. The woman who was distracted and failed to do a head check cut Clint off at 70 mph causing the accident. She had the worst damage...and did not care because "It's a rental." The suburban she missed seeing before she quickly changed lanes ripped the bumper off her little car. Clint said that was something else to see! She received a ticket. The woman behind Clint was paying attention and stopped her car in time but barely. The semi behind her was also paying attention but could not stop in time. He hit her but the damage was not too bad. He really had to have been paying attention to stop when he did. He received a ticket for following too closely. I am very thankful the Lord protected my husband and the other drivers. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Interrupters or VIPs?

Most of my days are very full and fast paced. When someone interrupts me, I try to make sure I make eye contact while they are speaking to me and when I am speaking to them. This is a nonverbal way of relaying importance and value to your loved ones. If I am doing computer work, I close my computer. If I am building a livestock shelter, I put down my tools. 

If I am doing something I can't stop right away, I say something like, "Yiddee, I want to hear your story, but I can't stop or have my attention divided, or I might not have enough sunlight to finish. Please tell me again when we are back in the house. I will be able to give you my full attention then." Then I often set a timer in my phone to make sure I ask. Remembering details goes a long way with others because it shows you genuinely care.

When your children want to share something with you, it is important...every time. You don't have to understand all of the jibber jabber or care about what pony lives in what Duplo castle. The moment is bigger than that. It's about connecting with your child and communicating that what is important to them is important to you. This groundwork needs to be laid consistently for the teen and adult years. Just as you would want someone to give undivided attention to you, you should give the same courtesy to your child.

Sunday, June 21, 2015


"Psalm 37:1-8 gives positive actions we can take as an antidote to pessimism and discouragement. Consider these mood boosters: Trust in the Lord, do good, dwell in the land, feed on His faithfulness (v.3); delight in the Lord (v.4); commit your way to the Lord, trust in Him (v.5); rest in the Lord, wait patiently for Him, do not fret (v.7); cease from anger, forsake wrath (v.8).
Because they are connected to the phrase “in the Lord,” those directives are more than wishful thinking or unrealistic suggestions. It’s because of Jesus, and in His strength, that they become possible." David C. McCasland

Saturday, June 20, 2015

What Does Fear the Lord Mean?

"Luther distinguished between that and what he called filial fear, drawing from the Latin concept from which we get the idea of family. It refers to the fear that a child has for his father. In this regard, Luther is thinking of a child who has tremendous respect and love for his father or mother and who dearly wants to please them. He has a fear or an anxiety of offending the one he loves, not because he’s afraid of torture or even of punishment, but rather because he’s afraid of displeasing the one who is, in that child’s world, the source of security and love."

Read more at: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-it-mean-fear-god/

Friday, June 19, 2015

No Father?

The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. Psalm 103:13

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Harper's Ferry National Park: St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church

 photo church1_zpsh5dkgbws.jpg

 photo church2_zpsq84sq3rs.jpg

 photo church3_zpsbx7oqrtb.jpg

 photo church5_zps9c1u86ee.jpg

 photo church6_zpsnwzufgt7.jpg

 photo church7_zps4ry1ophe.jpg

 photo church8_zps5teb6k6g.jpg

I apologize for not taking time to straighten the pictures, but time is limited at the moment. This is a beautiful, old church set on the top of a mountain overlooking the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Peace Comes from the Lord

Joe has recovered enough from his back surgery to lead the funeral. Monica and Joe asked Clint if he was OK with it and let him decide. Clint feels it is fitting since Joe led Sanford to the Lord. We think the Lord used Clint to simply help the family not to worry about that detail while so much was happening. Clint is content with having been used by the Lord to give them peace to focus on Sanford and each other. Please lift the family up as they say goodbye today: Sanford's Obit

Note: I fixed the link. I apologize for my goof.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mr. Worsham

is now with the Lord. He passed yesterday right after 12 a.m. The rest of the family had left to get some rest. Monica was by his side and holding his hand when he departed gently. He was able to communicate with her right up to the end. Funeral arrangements were made today. His family continues to need prayers, especially Freda, his wife. Thank you to all who prayed for this family during this hard journey. May the Lord bless you for your compassion towards them.

Another High Schooler in the House!

Caleb turned 14 and has been enrolled in an online high school course to obtain a regionally and state accredited diploma which will carry the same weight as our state's public school diplomas. We've had much to celebrate already this month!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Livestock Auction

Photos are from a livestock auction we attended in Harrisonburg, VA.

 photo 4_zpsc0xja5k0.jpg

 photo 5_zpsxsrfemmb.jpg
Some animals were painted on their backs for easy i.d. purposes.
Some were weighed as they were separated into lots.
I noted all of the men there, except one foul tempered man, were reasonably gentle with the animals. I asked God to teach the cruel man a lesson that would have him showing more compassion to the animals.

 photo 6_zpsahywp3dm.jpg
The auction house was very large with many chutes and pens.
I only saw one obviously sick animal.
You could walk around the mezzanine and look at the animals.
When we went there were mostly cattle and goats...

 photo 2_zpsuzkridtp.jpg
..and old cowboys.
...and a pretty yak I liked.
I made an instant friend with a young, excited Spanish cowboy wannabe who asked me a lot of questions about managing a herd of goats.

 photo 3_zps6nygcaca.jpg
auction ring

 photo 7_zpslmlzhltj.jpg
I enjoyed watching these two.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Learner's Permit #3! (Only 4 more to go!)

 photo 3_zpsxrpsycgc.jpg
Joshua sat for the written test yesterday..and passed!
He is upset that he missed ONE question!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Prayers Please

Joshua has a very sharp mind and a photographic memory. However, he is so worked up about the test for his learner's permit today (3-4:30 p.m.) that I am starting wonder how this will go. He has studied nonstop for a week and a half, but he is visibly battling fear. Even through the fires and floods we've experienced, I have never seen him work himself up like this. My words of confidence in him have not helped. If you will, please say a prayer for the Lord to calm my boy as he sits for his test later today. Thank you! Please let me know how I can pray for you. Email addy in header and sidebar.

Denial is a River in Egypt

Them: No one from our house goes to your blog. 

Clint and I use some advanced tools to keep an eye on the blog. Our children are featured on the blog, so it is wise to record visitors and their patterns.

We can see visitors, where they are located, their IP, and what operating system they run, what and how many pages they click, how long they stay on those pages, if they open our email link, how frequently they visit, if their cookies are enabled or not, what links they click, etc. We can even obtain the street address in some instances. 

If they access Contentment Acres from another location with their computer, we can pick up on that too. Their habits can also tell us who they are even when they are using a different device or location. We can also pull an IP from an email to verify visitors. We can tell if our url is stored on a computer or if they searched the internet for it. We can tell if it is a person who has an interest in our family vs someone looking for information we've shared. We can tell when the modem has been reset and a new IP address has been assigned at a location we've been tracking. There's more we can glean from our tools, but you get the picture. 

Clint and I have several years worth of frequent visitors' visits saved in case we ever have to contact law enforcement. There's no need for someone to lie about checking in on our family ...unless they have something to hide. If they are a decent person with honorable intentions, we see their visit to the blog as a good thing. 

Lying about it makes us question their intentions. I mean, WHY would someone deny it? Think about what that communicates to us when we KNOW otherwise...especially when we have several years' worth of visits and proof it is them. Now, what if we had a bad history with that person? And that person says they want to be a part of our lives..but we catch them lying over something this small?

Here's the deal for the one who told us no one in their house ever visits our blog: 

This is written with love in an effort to head off mistrust... We know and have over 1,000 logged hits from your street and other locations you have used over the last several years. Yes, it's that many. Clint and I highly value honesty ad being upfront (telling truth at first opportunity instead of only when necessary). If you will lie about something this small, we know we can't trust you very far. Open doors can become narrow based on your words and actions.  

Gently said..when you lie, you represent the father of lies. There is nothing to be ashamed of in checking in on us, but lying about it is shameful. Being honest will draw you closer to the Lord which will bring you blessings. Let's put God and His way of doing things first as we go forward, so we don't end up back at the same place.

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Ephesians 4:25

Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. Proverbs 13:13 

But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Kyssi and Chris

Sweet little Kyssi left this earth at 1:57 a.m. 6/7. Please keep her loved ones in prayer.

Chris didn't follow the medical community's expectations about dying in 24 hours. He stayed a bit longer. He passed this a.m. at 12:12. Please keep Clint's and my good friend, Mary Anne, in prayer along with his children and loved ones.

There is an update on Sanford in the sidebar. 

Thank you to those who have lifted prayers. During times of crisis, the Body of Christ shines the brightest!

Sunday, June 07, 2015

When God Allows a Wound

Sometimes God allows us to experience deep wounds that bring a lot of anguish to our hearts. Through His grace and mercy, we are wounded right where we need to be in order to grow closer to Him. Refinement hurts. God says we are made strong when we are weak. 

2 Corinthians 12:10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Friday, June 05, 2015

Busy Season

 photo 5_zpsleisoa57.jpg

I know the blog is skipping some days now. We are OK. It's a very busy season with little time for anything else. Clint took off a week from work to install the vinyl but that only brought us to the half way point. The house has lots of corners and additions making it a little harder than the average job. We had roofers here for two days which meant we had to stop. We also had visitors and a couple of birthdays. 

In the picture, Caleb is in the white shirt nailing on vinyl siding. He has grown so much! Amanda is holding the ladder for Clint while he installs J-molding. Joshua is scratching his leg while he heads to cut another piece of siding which was my job until he took over. Brandon is at the door letting me know he put on supper and got up the trash. While watching for a customer to arrive, I picked up dropped molding scraps, moved my plants out of the way, acted as DJ with the stereo, and kept the unnecessary traffic off the deck.

Harper's Ferry National Historical Park: Shenandoah Street

 photo HF1_zpsbpdfikbo.jpg

 photo HP2_zpsmsfb3uao.jpg

 photo HP3_zpsjr7ridji.jpg

Many of the restored buildings in the town double as museums and learning centers. It could take all day just to walk the town and visit the buildings. If you really want to absorb all this town has to offer, you will need at least two full days. If you only have one day, start out as early as possible and pack a lunch, drinks, and snacks. There is a public restroom inside one of the buildings and places you can rest along the way.

 photo HP4_zpspmqoc3lc.jpg

 photo HP5_zpsmfdtkge9.jpg

"Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is located at the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers in the states of West Virginia, Virginia, and Maryland. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, John Brown, "Stonewall" Jackson, and Frederick Douglass are just a few of the prominent individuals who left their mark on this place.
The story of Harpers Ferry is more than one event, one date, or one individual. It involves a diverse number of people and events that influenced the course of our nation's history. Harpers Ferry witnessed the first successful application of interchangeable manufacture, the arrival of the first successful American railroad, John Brown's attack on slavery, the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War, and the education of former slaves in one of the earliest integrated schools in the United States." see more

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Article: When Christian Parenting Isn't Christian

Having others try to put heavy chains (do this/don't do that) around my neck that should not have been there is why I learned to steer clear of groups and cliques and look to the Lord for parenting wisdom. He will guide you day by day in the way YOU should go as a parent. People have too many ever changing rules that enslave and worry us. Jesus gives steady footing, freedom, and peace.

When Christian Parenting Isn't Christian

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Are You Part of the Remnant?

"Biblical worldview is the lowest it has ever been among America's youth. Statistically, we are on the verge of absolute collapse morally and spiritually. Is there hope for our nation?
The good news: There is a remnant who is willing to do the radical and disciple and train their own children and not bet on someone else doing it for them. Are you among them?" --Israel Wayne

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Electric Shock Drowning is Preventable

This is a repeat of a post I made late last summer. I am running it again in an effort to educate before boating and swimming season starts.

In mid-August, a friend of a friend lost a child to Electric Shock Drowning. I had never heard of it. It frightened me that I had never heard of it because swimming near a dock in fresh water is something I would allow my children to do. While I live and vacation on salt water rivers, I have many friends who vacation on fresh water lakes. It makes me sick to think of something happening to them or their childen.

Please read this article. Then, however you can, share this story. You can link to the article I shared directly, find a new resource, or link to this blog entry. This is an easy thing to correct and prevent, but we have to get the word out there. I want to be a part of making that change happen so no more parents lose a child this way.

""As Lucas approached the ladder to get out of the water, he let out a loud gasp, immediately rolling onto his back in his life jacket, apparently unconscious. Sheryl (Lucas' mother) yelled to the other kids to help him and jumped into the water herself. As the kids approached Lucas, they felt a slight tingly sensation in the water and immediately backed off. Upon hitting the water downstream from Lucas, Sheryl's extremities went numb, and she experienced extreme difficulty moving her limbs, which, at the time, she attributed to fear," wrote Ritz in a detailed account of Lucas' preventable tragedy in Seaworthy magazine last year.
Although his mother managed to pull Lucas to the dock where others helped get him onto the dock, they couldn't revive him and CPR was unsuccessful. Lucas Ritz was 8-years-old, and his death could have been prevented:
  • If an Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupter (ELCI) had been installed on the power boat that leaked voltage into the water where Lucas was swimming. It would have interrupted the circuit kept any electricity from leaking into the water; or
  • If the marina ahead of the boat's shore power had been equipped with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) breaker. Even 10 mA of current would have tripped the GFCI and stopped any electricity from entering the water."
FOXNEWS, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, other news agencies and networks, please do stories on this. I know from my husband, who has worked with electricity his entire life, that this is inexpensive and easy to fix, but it often takes some NOISE from people to bring awareness before change happens.

Thank you to my friend, Shonda, who brought this to my attention. My sincerest condolences to anyone who has lost a loved one to EDS.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Abram's Delight

 photo a_zpspliiikla.jpg

 photo b_zpswzmu1sll.jpg

"Abram's Delight", the site of five generations of the prominent Hollingsworth family covering 200 years, has a story of its own. When Abraham Hollingsworth came to the Valley circa 1728, he was exploring, with the intention of finding a spot to build a home for his family and to establish a mill to supplement his income as a farmer. On this spot, he found the answer to his requirements - fertile land and an ample water supply."

 photo AD3_zpsj157q0pc.jpg

The oldest dwelling in Winchester, Abram's Delight experienced the passage of the Union and Confederate armies in the war. Although the property stood in the path of the First Battle of Winchester of May 25,1862, it survived and now illustrates the civilian side of the conflict. Mary Hollingsworth and her siblings, Jonah and Annie, occupied the house during the war. Standing more than six feet tall, Mary Hollingsworth may have impersonated a man to spy for the Confederates, according to local tradition. She also gave meals and shelter to Union Soldiers on several occasions. Early in the war, a soldier wrote, "My best wishes to all at your house, and to all those who were there during my stay with you." William Darnel of the 3rd West Virginia Calvary, thanked her for her hospitality in the spring of 1865. "I embrace this mode of bidding adieu and also to express my thanks for the kindness manifested during the sojourn at your place." In the spring of 1864, Union General Franz Sigel and several of his staff members occupied Abram's Delight.  Sigel paid Hollingsworth $5 for her troubles. After the war, she filed a claim with the Southern Claims Commission for damage done to her property. The commission denied her request however, stating that the damage occurred as a result of the "fortunes of war."

 photo AD4_zpsfsuqzoa4.jpg

 photo AD5_zpsrfz855vw.jpg

Rouss Spring was the site of the federal camp.
Those were mill stones used in the mill also on the property (not pictured).

Read the history of this home here.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wedding Dress? Donate It to This Beautiful Cause

Angel Gowns

Wedding dress donations become the first and last dresses stillborn babies wear. 

"The Texas-based nonprofit gives one-of-a-kind gowns, handmade from wedding dresses, for infants who die in hospitals. The organization relies on volunteers and wedding dress donations around the country to provide infant gowns for burial and final photographs. Jensen is among the volunteers for whom the work is personal.
A photo of two tiny hands holding each other over satin lace sat not far from the gowns she sewed. Her twin granddaughters died three years ago during her daughter-in-law’s pregnancy."

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Riding for a Cause

Clint's brother, Richard, is riding for a cause. If you donate, please let him know you are friends of ours or came through Contentment Acres. Thank you!

A Few Turkey Parts

 photo 1a_zpsz1r3kcg1.jpg

 photo beard_zps4ybcyoxf.jpg
We have five adult turkeys on our place at the moment. 
He is our tamest and will sit in your lap. He is very striking with his black and white coloring. He is also the most expensive because he ate a very large bed filled with an abundance of strawberries!! None of us are too happy with him, but he is still our favorite turkey.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Do You Love Me?

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Bonus I Didn't Expect

 photo hannah_zpsmbhlaikk.jpg

She took time from playing after lunch to pick flowers for me.
If I did not homeschool, I would not get these sweet expressions of love in the middle of the day.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Wild Roses

 photo wildroses_zps8rxyhznv.jpg

After our friend Mack did some bush hogging out back, we found these lovely flowers. Upon checking with some friends, I learned they are wild roses. Although they are an invasive species, I am going to put them to work to help camouflage our turkey pen. The thorns should give the turkeys some added protection from predators, and I will enjoy the fragrant flowers every year. I might train some as an espalier in the peafowl pen too.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Patsy Cline House

 photo PC1_zpsbmuspg28.jpg

 photo PC2_zpsp2ghszi4.jpg

 photo PC3_zpsfvdcfzjc.jpg

Patsy Cline's father left the family which left them in need of money and also made her relationship with her mother very close. "The house in Winchester serves as a proud testament to Patsy's love of family. Her devoted and influential relationship with her mother and their drive and determination launched Patsy's career. ... Much of the Winchester house, its landscaping and the surrounding neighborhood appear approximately the same as when Patsy lived there." read more here