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"look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else..." | C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, then I first begin to have a real personality of my own…There are no real personalities anywhere else. Until you have given yourself to Him you will not have a real self…But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away ‘blindly’ so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality… The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His)…It will come when you are looking for Him. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes, every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the de…

October 2017 | Family life

It's October already!

How did that happen? It is been such a nice, beautiful, colorful season already and I am glad to say that I am trying my best to soak it up… It is hard not to dread the impending winter which brings  Cold, dark, long, hard days and weeks and months… But I still enjoy winter so much! It is funny how much as an adult I begin to dread winter already when it is only fall and fall is my favorite season! However it's just reality with four small children that winter gets hard in northern Minnesota.

Well, amidst all the crunching of leaves and tromping in the woods, we are  sopping up puddles. I have also been teaching the kids at home, potty training The two-year-old, nursing the baby, And finding a slew of other activities to keep the routine spicy! There is never a dull moment here in the kastenhouse and we tend to find ways to make it harder than necessary… The kids throw fits,I throw fits, the kids play games and make messes and we all have to work together…

Our Day and Week at a glance | Homeschooling

Yearly Homeschool Schedule With a First Grader, Pre-K, Toddler, and Newborn... This is what our days look like with our three boys and a girl at home.

We are shooting for a July/Aug to March/April school year. Now, this is because I've watched our family the last few years, and ALLLL we want to do when the snow is melting in the early spring is get outside. Explore. So, we still can "do school" from Sept through to May or June like "normal" schedules, but I want to TRY to just be done before then. Plus, it's so hot and exhausting by the time July heat and humidity rolls around that we're done weeding, working in the yard, and ready to stay in the cool house for a few hours every day anyway, so this year, it made sense to get started.

This year, 2017-2018, we started school August 1.  Most school calendars account for 32 to 36 weeks of school. I don't have a state requirement yet that makes us do a certain number of school days per year, or even num…

Online Movies and Shows | For Fun and Entertainment

I was writing up a list of the educational shows I like to let the kids watch, and got to writing all of them that we watch, sooooo.... I decided I would just post them all over here in a separate list. Easier to reference that way! 


Shows I like and that I like to let the kids watch:

Netflix
-Mouk
-Scout & Friends/Leapfrog (alphabet and numbers)
-Magic School Bus
-Stella and Sam
-SuperWhy!
-My Side of the Mountain
-The Jungle Book
-The Boxcar Children
-DinoTrux, (I don't care for this, but it's decent and the kids love it)
-Chuggington, The Adventures of Chuck & Friends, Mickey Mouse, Winnie-the-Pooh movies, Kung Fu Panda, Tinkerbell movies, Moanaand Finding Dory (decent and funny, entertainment)

Amazon
-Lisa Loeb Nursery Rhyme Parade
-We're Going on a Bear Hunt
-Snowy Day
-If you give a mouse a cookie
-If you give a mouse a christmas cookie
-Wild Kratts
-Mr. Roger's Neighborhood
-Daniel Tiger
-Shaun the Sheep
-Thomas the Train


Homeschool Plans 2017-2018, First Grade and Pre-K Boys | Homeschooling with Truth, Beauty, Goodness

I would like to share with you our plans for our homeschool this year. Codeman is in First grade, while Jesse is an official Pre-K dude. Anna is a wannabee brother and underfoot helper and Titus. He's three months old. Whooofta. I'd just like to repeat that again. Whooooooooofta.

I have read many books, blogs, and journals on the topic of education. Home education, and to be even more specific, sources regarding Classical Education and Charlotte Mason. I truly enjoy these topics and the sources. I am intrigued, and so I continue reading and have now found myself following and chatting with several homeschool moms online in addition to my local and Colorado friends who homeschool. Tim and I were both homeschooled, although my window of homeschooling was only 4 years, I glean much from my mom and Tim's mom. As some podcasts I've listened to refer to us, we are second-generation homeschoolers :) Haha! Well, it helps give me perspective on quality literature and publisher…

First Day of School, 2017-2018 | Homeschooling

First Day of School! Cody in first grade and Jesse in preschool.

Today we begin the first day of First Grade! This is special because it's our first year of more intensive study. I have higher expectations, as I should, for each year we move up through. But, in the same breath as exciting, this is also a new challenge. I have to be on my game a little more this year, having to actually plan out farther if I'm going to function the way I want for me and the kids in our homeschool and the littler tagallngs. There has to be thought out into what I give the little ones to play with while I work with Cody. There needs to be enough to keep him going a minute while I address trouble. There needs to be enough direction for Jesse and attention to him to learn the basics of ABCs and 123s. I need to plan out what is realistic and what is impractical. Because I tend to be very practical in most areas, I HOPE I am that way with school lessons and curriculum too! Also- hey! I'm tackling…

Things I didn't think I would have to say to my children | Motherhood

This is a small list of recent quotes I want to remember. Well, I wish I didn't have to, but I want to now that they've been said.




"No, you can't sleep with the rolling pin."


"You don't have to pull your pants down to your ankles to pee. And, turn towards the woods instead of the road."


"Stop! You're not supposed to hang in your window. The screen won't hold you."


"Please don't pee where we walk."


"You can use the dental floss for a Lego zipline, but you can't swing on it! You're too heavy."


"Please! Do NOT pee off the deck through the rails. It's getting on the dog."


"When it starts to rain, don't crawl over your sister to shelter her. It's weird."


"Just pee into the toilet. Not to the wall (not in the trash, not on the seat, not on the floor, not at the bath...)"






So many of them are about peeing. Hmm.... Is this just my boys? I guess that makes me officially a…

Happy 80th Birthday Grandma Shirley! | Family

Alopecia | Be a light in the Dark, 2 Corinthians 4

The other day in reading during my quiet time, I was revisiting 2 Corinthians. I was thinking, Tim and I have spent many an hour thinking a lot, about a lot. There are so many ugly and awful things going on across the globe, and across our front door. Our mission field is in Northern MN with Native Americans. In this ministry, we have stumbled through some thick, difficult situations. I am certain you can all attest to difficult times being just that: difficult. The Lord doesn't bring us into circumstances just to drag us along, seeing us become battered and bruised, but it IS His priority to bring glory to His name. We are His chosen ones, and our privilege is to sing Hallelujah to His name!

Anyway, I was thinking that we have faced difficulties. One thing that I wanted to share with you today is about my health.

In 2014, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder called Alopecia. This was saddening and drove me and Tim crazy for three years. One day, I found a bald spot on my …

My Jesus, I Love Thee | William R. Featherston Hymn

My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.I love Thee because Thou hast first loved me,And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight,I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow,If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.



This is such a beautiful hymn. I hope you take a gander at the beautiful words and soak them in. Sing this tune with praise tovHim who loves us immensely!

It's a boy! | Kastenbaby #4 joins the crew on Mother's Day 2017

Welcome to the world, little man! We are delighted in this precious gift from God and count it a blessing and treasure to parent him. What a treat to have 3 boys and a girl. Thankful and Glad do little to describe how we feel about him.

Titus was born swiftly at the hospital after about 4.5 hours of labor. He weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and was 19 3/4inches long.



Christ's power over death! | Easter

"Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell's worst that I might attain heaven's best,
stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light."stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed, athirst that I might drink,tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory,entered darkness that I might have eternal light."

from the Valley of Vision (pg 76)

Spring has sprung! | The great outdoors

This is what I love about being alive! Enjoying the sunshine, making mud pies, glorying in God's great land, watching these three little ones grow up. 


Our Codeman is halfway up the tree in a yellow shirt

 Splish splash Anna Ev
 Muddddddd
Three Little Kastenbees
Mudballs!
Brothers so sweet
 Anna made mud cake.
Baby is 32 weeks along already, and I'm enjoying it!
Baby Bump silhouette
Getting comfy by her mud baking oven
Found several of these tracks in the driveway, about 3 feet apart each, walking in a line down the middle of the drive. Not sure what they are yet- haven't looked them up. There was a pileated Woodpecker here yesterday, and there have been several cranes nearby... 

Having fun when you're not having fun.

What it feels like to parent on a daily basis, completely exhausted.  Yet, still determined to get through the day. 

Hope you get a kick out of this as much as I did. :) Laughing out loud over here.

Thankful for Outside

We have been blessed by an abundance of snow, sun, and superior playing weather. Usually, the winter drags long and cold. We would be suffering from seasonal depression, wondering when the days will grow longer, when the temperatures will grow higher. But this year, it feels different. Somehow, it is already February. We have been enjoying the sledding hill much! We have been exploring the woods a little. We have ventured a bit more than the usual to-the-mailbox-and-back jaunt. It's been nice.

Simply nice.

It has snowed and snowed and snowed, so many times! Beautiful, fluffy days. Cold and Blistering Windy days. Blizzarding days. Icy pelting snow days. Below below below zero days. But it's been beautiful, nonetheless.

One January afternoon, it was in the thirties and dripping snowmelt all around. The kids had been out playing in knee-deep drifts and tall plowed-mountains until they were soaked. The sleds were strewn about the front yard, and we had a hot lunch on the porch. IN…