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Happy New Year 2018! | Family Life, Health, and Commitments.

New Year, New Energy
The sun stays up a few moments more every day now. The cold, hard and dark of late Autumn and into winter is always a challenge for me. It's like they're calling out to me: "you're tired," "you're weary" and they howl threats to take away my joy. As I see the days growing longer again, I get a rejuvenation as I get to see the turn of the calendar, too. The howls seem farther behind now. They're not creeping around my doors anymore. Winter is in a frosty, forward thrust here in Minnesota, and as I watch the sun rise up over the trees, witness the special still and clear mornings of a hoar frost, or see a bright halo around the sun... these each show me it is still cold. But, my spirits are brighter.

Ordering my priorities. Saying No, gives me more Yes time.   When we finished our ministry serving as Missionaries with Oak Hills Center for Indian Ministries after August, our commitments were able to level out to a seasonable p…
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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:

-Scout & Friends/Leapfrog (alphabet and numbers)
-Magic School Bus
-Stella and Sam
-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)

-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…