Category Archives: Field Trips

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–June 4, 2023

I made a mega-batch of spaghetti sauce this past week. I used some to make lasagna for the young adult group and us, and some for spaghetti. I was able to utilize my canned tomato products to make it.

I was making meals for someone and they got a container, as well. For those meals, the food was frozen, for access later on when it was needed by the person.

I made a triple berry crisp from our frozen berry stash. We also made pork chops, brown rice, a chicken-pineapple sauce for the rice, chicken legs, snickerdoodle cookies, and lots and lots of salads.

I needed to clean out the camper freezer and fridge as we were getting some brake work done on the camper. I use that fridge as my spare one. Those items were put in a cooler until the camper returned a few hours later–mostly extra eggs, cheese, etc. The freezer was emptied and I’ve been using the items, as some had been in there a long time. The rest are in the chest freezer to be used soon and I will start fresh loading it with items for our next camping trip. There was a large bag of frozen shrimp in there and I’ve been eating a little each day. It’s almost gone, but it was sure tasty! Little Malcolm loves it, too, and eats his share.

This is only a small portion of the lettuce that is ready now. We are eating it frequently and I am giving it away to anyone who wants any. I even sent some over to the neighbor in a bucket and started laughing when I saw my bucket clipped to the fence, emptied out afterwards!

We visited a preschool party at the library with Malcolm. He had a blast and we learned about possible preschools for next fall. He received 2 free books, made crafts (crown), got that ring pop sucker he’s eating, and played some games. He’s been asking me if we can go back to that party! We checked out some books while we were there.

He saw Clifford, the big red dog.

While the camper was away getting it’s brakes fixed, Rob and Malcolm pressure-washed the concrete where it sits. It was awful. Rob did most of it, with Mac yelling at him for a turn, then Malcolm finally got his turn at the end. It was a terrible mess of moss and dirt. I swept it while the boys were fetching the trailer. It was a lot of work, but we are so happy to have that done.

Rob took senior pictures for a close family friend’s daughter. They came out amazing! I went as well, along with Michaela, Jake, Malcolm and the girl’s younger sister. We went to a park nearby where they have a wonderful garden with roses and other lovely plants. We took a picnic and some frisbees and had a nice time with all the kids after pictures were taken.

Rob has talked twice at church about his trip to Bangladesh. On Thursday evening, it was a group of adults who came out to hear the team speak and see pictures. I needed to take cookies, so Jake, Mac and I made snickerdoodles. The second occasion was for the children’s church and he talked to them today. They had gathered money and school supplies and Rob told them all about the trip and how the supplies were given out and how much they were appreciated by the kids. 15 suitcases of supplies were taken–craft projects, school supplies, crayons, coloring books, aprons and pot holders for the women staff, prayer journel notebooks and pens for the men staff, etc. It was a blessing all 15 made it, along with the clothing ones, too!

Through this and more, we have tried to take time to stop and smell the roses, and other flowers, too. Almost every day, Malcolm grabs my hand and says, “Gama, come see the fowers.” He then takes me around and shows me every one he likes. It’s precious. I’m also treated to the newly sprouted squash he and I planted, a green tomato that has shown up, and whatever else he can find. Even the 3 flowers that are dying–“they look sad.” I hope he never loses his enthusiasm for gardening.

Thriving In My thrifty Week–September 27, 2020

Another eventful week! Can you see the sea lions in the background? One day, Michaela needed to get out of the house, so we kidnapped her and drove down to Newport to see the sea lions. We were looking for what she calls a “country drive” and some sight she could look at that were outside. This fit the bill. These sea lions are a fixture along the waterfront of downtown Newport and they kept the girls, and everybody else, entertained as they barked like sea lions do, pushed each other off the docks, and swam playfully in the water. Of course the girls wore masks, they just took them off for the picture……the seal lions did not seem to have any:).

The weather was cloudy, but not cold, and we enjoyed looking at the bridge in the distance.

After a stop at a candy store, we stopped at Depoe Bay and were fortunate enough to be there at the right time–high tide–to see the spouting horn spouting water up into the air. Then, to make it better, in the distance, we could see whales spouting! What an amazing day!

Rob and I spent a day canning chicken products. I have been waiting for months to see split breasts come on sale for 99c/lb. I was starting to think I was not going to see that price again, until Rob finally spotted it in an ad. I de-boned the breasts, and made broth and soup from the bones and the bits of meat left on them. I filled 1/2 pint jars with the chicken and a little broth and made a huge batch of soup while Rob babysat the canner(s) (all 3) until the processing was done. Thankfully, we can do 2 at one time, and thankfully, we were able to triple stack the tiny jars (separated by racks) in the biggest pressure canner we own. That all helped speed up the process.

A different day, I canned 7 more quarts of diced tomatoes. I had 1/2 bowl from my garden and asked my sister if she had any to fill a canner of pints. Boy, did she, and more…and I did quarts instead. Most of our tomatoes are done, though, so I think this will be the last batch of those. I have to say that’s kind of a good thing, although I do love food preservation. My freezers are full, and my canning shelves are so full that I sincerely cannot fit many more jars in there. A friend gave me some jar lids that she was not using, which I thought was very nice. I’ve used them.

When my sister brought the tomatoes down, she brought a box of apples as well. Rob’s been drying them. This is the first year we’ve used our dryer for a while, and we’ve done several kinds of fruit, some chives and some parsley, so far.

I used mixed cherry tomatoes to make tacos one night. It just felt so gourmet….

We’ve also had potato soup and potato salad…can you tell I had a bag going bad? When I went to Winco for a few items, though, I found 2 bags for 99c/each so now I’m stocked back up on potatoes.

I used up a few items on my pantry shelves that had been there for a long, long time. I re-filled several spice jars in the kitchen from my bulk supply that I keep in the garage pantry. I also filled cocoa powder, 1-1 flour, sugar, and more containers from my bulk supply. I made some buns and bread from the mix I made, and some applesauce muffins. After so much time spent in the garden, and on food preservation, my kitchen needs some cleaning and organizing and my supply of frozen ready-to-eat food needs replacing. There’s lots left to do, but I got a little done this week.

We were able to see Anthony and Allison at a park near where they live. It was Allison’s birthday this week. I made some cupcakes and frosting, decorated them with some sprinkles we had on hand, and packed a picnic for us all to enjoy during our visit. It was simple and we all had to keep our social distance, but she enjoyed her gift, and her picnic, I could tell. It’s going to get way more difficult to do these outside visits as the weather changes, so we were grateful that it worked out this time. For those of you who are new to my blog, Anthony is one of our sons. Allison is the love of his life. They both live in a group home for special needs adults in a town about 30 minutes from where we live. So, it takes a little bit of organizing to get to see them, but it’s worth it! They are both so sweet.

We are very grateful and praising God that we got another soaking rain. The wildfires are still burning, but they are being contained. The rain soaked the forest and it will not burn as easily. There are still many, many people who are affected, and we will continue to pray for them.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–February 17, 2020

We have been enjoying some spring-like weather. It’s really cold in the mornings, often a little frozen, but it has been a little warmer during the day. One day, Patsy and I chopped bushes in the yard and filled the yard debris bin to the brim. There is so much more to do, but they will haul it away in the morning, and I can fill it again this week. We also mowed the lawn for the first time this season. We each did half.

I made a big chocolate birthday cake for my son, who is turning 30. Yikes! How did that happen? I had Rob grab whatever candy was on the clearance rack from Valentine’s Day so I could pile it on top. It ended up being these little candy bars and the kids ate the rest of the bag after we scattered it on the table. He wanted chocolate cake and hamburgers. Easy enough:)

Jake decided to be silly and put 45 candles on the cake. It was quite a bright sight when it was lit!

He had a good time. We invited his siblings, and different ones dropped in during the afternoon, as they had time, so that was really nice for everyone. I think he enjoyed seeing them.

We attended a school matinee at the Northwest Children’s Theater in Portland. The tickets are greatly reduced for the school performances, and it made a great Valentine’s Day outing. We had a total of 14 people. There were some gift cards for McDonald’s gifted to our group for lunch afterwards. We had some coupons, plus we had apps on our phones. We were able to stay within a very low (for eating out) budget and the kids had a great time on the play equipment. We had planned to pack a lunch to take, and that would have been fine, too, but this did make my life much easier that day!

The play was “The Jungle Book” and it was done with an emphasis on India, using Indian costumes, Indian dances, Indian music, etc. to tell the story. It was beautifully done, as always, and very different from the movie versions, so hopefully exposed all the children to a different culture. For several of the children we took, it was their first experience with live theater. I love exposing them to it! We took Michaela and Jake as well, and Michaela absolutely loved the whole thing.

We made small gift bags for all the kids, using Dollar Store red bags, and a little candy and a Kinder egg I got on the Whoo-Hoo rack for each of them. We added one of the Valentines you buy in a box–nothing fancy, but they all loved their little treat.

Patsy finished her zippered pouch. It was the project for last Saturday’s zipper workshop she attended.

My Mom helped her hem these pants. Rob got them at the Union Gospel Mission Thrift Store, for $1. They were very long, so she and Grandma fixed them, saving at least $20, and maybe more.

I was able to use up several odds and ends from the pantry–some random gluten-free flour items, a box of gf pizza mix, and some other items. I am always happy to rotate the stock in the pantry. We used lots of jars of home-canned items, and quite a few freezer items, as well.

Our little pepper and onion and pansy plants are up well in the greenhouse, and Rob planted the tomatoes. We transplanted the little cabbages. It’s too wet to plant things out in the garden, but I will plant some snow peas in a raised bed before long. I do have just a few snow pea plants in a corner of the garden that have over-wintered, and they should start growing again soon.

Rob planted several pots of primroses, using flowers he got on sale and some re-purposed pots from another year. They are very cheerful. He gave some away, and I have one here on the porch.

Thriving In My thrifty week–End Of the Oregon Trail Museum–Nov. 11, 2019

Today, we visited the End of the Oregon Trail Museum/Interpretive Center in Oregon City, Oregon. As the name suggests, it is where the Oregon Trail ended approximately 175 years ago. My sister set up a field trip there for both a group of homeschooled kids and kids who attend public school. There were 13 of them, including Michaela. It was planned for Veteran’s Day, since it is a school holiday for the public schools.

The kids we took had a blast!

They started having fun in the parking lot, and it continued. It was a gorgeous day.

We had a nice presentation by our guide, Bethany. We had pre-chosen the “Choose Your Own Adventure” presentation, so she let the kids decide what they would do under certain circumstances they might encounter if they were actually traveling the trail way back in the 1800’s. They loved her little voting devices that allowed them to push the button of their choice and then electronically transferred the information to the screen. After the informative presentation, they were allowed to explore that area for a while.

They moved on to a “Pack your wagon” activity.

The 3 big girls, with help from Alissa, really tried hard to figure out the best use of their 2000 pound wagon-loading limit. The littler boys just decided they didn’t need such things as clothes, just lots and lots of guns:).

The guide moved us on to butter making, where all the kids got to shake the cream until it turned into the desired butter, then they got to taste it.

Candle dipping was a real hit, as well.

Thankfully, there were plenty of grown-up hands to help the little ones. (Hard to believe Alissa counts as a grown-up now, but she DOES!).

The last activity was one in which they laid out ropes to “survey” their land on the big lawn outside. After each team “claimed” their property, often with lots of yells for others to “get off my land!” we were done with the official field trip. Rob had helped me pack a huge lunch for all 18 of us, and we relaxed in the picnic area while we all ate it. He didn’t go this time, which was a good choice since there was a lot of walking.

The kids ran and played on the big lawn after lunch. It was a great day for everyone. They had a blast while learning so much. One of the little boys confided in me how much he loved days where he didn’t have to have school–like this one!

We did do some money-saving activities during the week.

I cooked our meals, using the sale items from the grocery ads, coupled with items from my freezers/cupboards, etc. I did nothing earth-shattering, just made good, plain food. I sent Rob to some stores, and I went to others, and bought the best deals from each place. I hadn’t shopped much for a few weeks, and it caught up with me this week. I’m stocked up now for a while.

I wanted to make a small project and found everything I needed in my stash of fabric. We were also able to find everything my daughter needed for her project, except the stuffing, which my husband bought at the thrift store.

We used our membership at the Croc Center. Since the YMCA closed down for a re-build, we were transferred over there. We haven’t used it much, as it is a bit out of our way, but we are trying to use it more. Rob takes Michaela there at least once a week to swim and we join her when we can. I’ve taken a couple of exercise classes there, as they are all included in our membership. We are still on scholarship from the Y, which I thought was very nice of them all. We do pay each month, but it’s a reduced amount.

Thriving In My Thrifty Week–September 22, 2019

Miss Patsy has been cooking again. This time, she made gluten-free calzones.

They were really good. She used a pizza crust mix from Bob’s Red Mill that had been given to us a while back. She made the crust as the package directed, added cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms and olives, folded them over and baked them. She made a dipping sauce with some tomato sauce thickened with a partial can of tomato paste she had opened last week, and some Italian seasoning. It was great, and I know Grandma enjoyed it along with us when she came to lunch this week. I’m pretty sure I won’t get such a nice lunch this week, as Grandma has other plans on Wednesday, but she’ll come back very soon:)

We spent a lot of time with Jake and Michaela this week. Their daddy and sister returned from Israel today. Rob picked them up at the airport. He says they are extremely tired, as would be expected, but it will be so nice to have them back.

My sister invited Patsy and I to accompany her, the kids, and some friends to Bauman Farms. It’s a farm that has many fall activities and a pumpkin patch. There are also animals, a garden store, and lots and lots of food booths. We ate many yummy, bad-for-us treats, the kids did lots of activities, and we all went home tired. It was a good homeschool field trip–we saw cider being pressed, along with the other activities.

They all went “mining” for rocks and gold with a bag of “pay dirt” my sister bought. They had a blast. Jake was convinced he had gotten enough “gold” to buy a lot of Legos. Once Rob convinced him what he had were pretty, but not expensive rocks, he reconciled himself to having the nice rocks.

Michaela loved shooting the apple cannon and she tried her best to shoot and knock down a pumpkin target, but….not this year!

She also loved the big swings.

My sister got all the kids wristbands for unlimited fun, and they all played laser tag, slid huge slides, rode trikes, jumped on bounce houses, swung on swings, and ran and ran and ran. They were all tired that night!

Patsy got a long turn holding baby Allie on Friday. It was her lucky day, because baby was good as gold, and slept for a long time in her arms:)(Baby’s daddy is doing some work over at my sister’s house, so we are getting to see more of her than usual—my sister lives on the river and there was extensive flooding this past spring–he’s tilling and re-seeding the area that got ruined. In time, it should get established and handle the seasonal floods better, at least my sister hopes so–the neighbor’s place does pretty well. We were able to loan them our biggest Troy-built tiller and it’s doing the job, but it’s a garden tiller and it takes some time.)

I picked a few veggies from the garden. There’s not much left out there, but I got a few tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, peppers and green beans. The rain has returned and things are cracking and getting rotten, but that’s what it does this time of year. I’m having trouble keeping up with all there is to do anyway, and am ready for the seasonal changes. I’d sure like a few more nice days to work outside, cleaning things up, but we will see what comes along.

We still have a flowers all over the place. Patsy took this picture of this rose somewhere. It’s lovely.

We have only been shopping for the groceries we absolutely need, so there’s not much to report from the grocery deals. We just don’t seem to need the things they put on super sale the past couple of weeks, so settled for 99c/1/2 gallon milk, celery, lettuce, and a couple of other things Rob bought.

He made some enchilada casserole, cooked a pork roast, made lots of salads, and generally kept things going at home this past week as I homeschooled, worked many, many hours over at my sister’s house with the kids, and had Jake over here quite a bit as he caught a cold and couldn’t go to school part of the week. My sister has not been well this week and needed extra help since her husband was away. She still had to work, of course. I was glad the family was there for her–we all pitched in–my sister, my mom, my aunt, my niece, and us. Now, I prefer not to catch the family cold they are passing around, but we will see how that goes. So far, so good!!

Our Bags Are Packed…Are We Ready To Go? April, 2018


I just hope I haven’t forgotten anything important!  My sister, Aunt, and I are taking my daughter and 2 nieces to Washington D.C. in the morning (April 7), early.  The big girls will get 1/2 credit for their government class, to go with the book we frantically finished up this week, which is the other 1/2 credit.  So, much of what we will tour will have educational value, along with just fun!  We have many, many sights to see and things to experience, and it all starts at the crack of dawn tomorrow morning.

As my sister says…if you have your meds, passports, $ or credit card or both, the rest can be replaced if you did forget it!  I still hope I haven’t forgotten anything:)

The past few days have been a blur or work, packing, cooking for those staying behind, and shopping. We have worked hard on school because, despite the trip, the school year will be over soon and things have to be done.  There is a pile of quick to grab items on the end of the table for Rob to cook in a hurry and some paper plates to save him time doing dishes.  We don’t have a dishwasher.  He is also stocked up on things like fish sticks to just heat up.  He is a good cook, and often cooks wonderful meals from scratch, but he will be strapped for time and energy, playing the role of both Mom and Dad and working for the time we are gone. We agreed some drastic measures were appropriate!

There are new tops, without a spot or stain in the suitcase.  Walking shoes have been packed.  There are backpacks stuffed with snacks.  My sister has an entire suitcase filled with food items, mainly the high-cost gluten-free ones!  I think we are set.   Honestly, it’s time to stop packing and just go!


I am not sure if I will be posting or not for the next few days.   I’m really not very good at posting with my phone, so I’ll see how it goes.  If I can make it work, I may put up some pictures of some of the sights we get to see.  In any case, I’ll take lots of pictures and share when we get back.

Homeschool Field Trip–State Capitol


This year, the girls are studying government.  Yesterday, we took a trip to the Oregon State Capitol.  My husband got involved, talked to Rep. Bill Post, followed his instructions,  and contacted his office and made an appointment.  So, at 11 o’clock, the girls and I met with him! This was the best time for him, as he had a little time to spare.  He explained that there is a law requiring them all to be there for 3 days in November, but much official business is not actually being done during these 3 days, so he could carve out the time.  It sure seemed busy around there, to me!  I can only imagine the hubbub during a busy time!  He did tell the girls he had just been in a 3-hour meeting listening to a report on how some group spent their money—very long, he explained, and somewhat tedious, but a regular part of his job.


He give the girls a tour of his office, and then showed them the House of Representatives chamber.  We were on a balcony looking down, and he had a friend down below point out his desk.  He explained how he votes for things, and some of the process involved with making a bill a law.  We had been studying this, so it was perfect timing.  He also showed the girls historic pictures of major towns in his district, and a list of all the bills he had introduced, and which ones had passed and failed.  He also told them a little about campaigning, his term of office, and so on.

The girls had prepared a few questions, and they asked them, along with any others that came up.  We found out something very interesting I did not know before!  My niece lives in his district–he is her representative.  BUT, we don’t.  We are on the other side of a line, and we have another representative.  We’ve only lived here a year, and had figured that both of us had the same representative!   You learn something new every day!


He was very kind and patient with the girls.  We really appreciated that he would spend the time with us, and I know the girls now have a firm, positive memory associated with the state capitol.  At the end of the time he had available, he left us at the governor’s ceremonial office and went on about his business.  We continued to look around.


The secretary was very nice to the girls.  She let them in behind the rope to the governor’s office.  They took turns sitting behind the desk.


They had a good time!  It was very nice of her, and we felt very special.


We peeked into the Senate chamber.  We went up stairs and down, looked in the gift shop, admired the old fashioned phone booths, and all the marble and wood fixtures that abounded in the building.


Of course, we viewed the Great Seal of Oregon, imbedded in the floor, and admired the murals painted on the walls.  All in all, it was a perfect field trip!  We have more planned in the future, but I’m sure this one will stick out in their minds for quite a while.

Camlann Medieval Village–Homeschool Field Trip


This weekend, we took the kids to Camlann Medieval Village.  It is a living history village about an hour from Seattle, Washington.  Both our family and Alissa’s family went together, and we took all of the kids, not just the homeschooled ones.  We had a blast!


The blacksmith entertained Michaela by putting arrowheads he had forged on her fingers and then they roared like wild animals.  He was so patient with her, and explained the whole blacksmithing process to all of us who were watching, but took extra time with an enamored Michaela.


One of the cottages had a fiber display.  It was very interactive, and the guide spent a great deal of time with the girls I was with, and let them weave on this loom.



Jake and Patsy had a great time feeding the sheep.


My sister, Gail, the field trip queen, chose this weekend to go because there was a May Day festival going on.  There are other festivals at other times of the year, and some weekends are “village” weekends.  It was explained to us that on festival weekends they hire entertainment such as the magician who did a show, musicians, and a few others.  Those people are not there and one lady told me there were even more displays explaining village life and how they made things on the non-festival weekends.  At 3:30, because it was a May Day festival, there was a Maypole dance for those who wanted to participate.  Michaela, Patsy and Alissa wanted to dance it and we all enjoyed watching them.


It was a lovely day, and we all enjoyed ourselves.


This little guy had a stick and was WAY too cute, joining in with the musicians as they played for the Maypole.  Earlier, his mother had been a guide for the cottage where we learned about daily medieval life.  She was SO in character, and SO convincing, that Michaela exclaimed afterwards, “I had NO idea that the people really lived here, in these houses!”  She was very sincere, but was fine with it when her mama explained that these people were actors and actresses who were playing a part and were told to say those things, like in a movie.


This little cutie was the daughter of the lady who made the flower wreaths that Alissa and Patsy wore.  She happily played with my sister, Gail, for a while as her mother was busy braiding flowers.  She had a designated babysitter, but was very friendly to Gail, too.


There was an archery demonstration, and later on, those who wanted too could take a turn shooting.


Jake sure wanted to!


Alissa and her dad, Ron, both decided to goof around and sit on Rob’s lap when their legs got tired:)

There was a restaurant, where Ron and Gail got a little bite to eat, as they had not had their lunch, yet.  There were things like “fungus” (mushrooms), and stew of some sort with a medieval name.  They said it was delicious.  Later in the evening, there was going to be a medieval feast, but we chose not to participate.  It is reservation only, something you need to know if you ever go and do want to participate.  I’m sure it would have been a great experience since it included both food and entertainment, but many of our kids are not good eaters, and the expensive feast would have been wasted.  Instead, we went to a pizza parlor in the nearby town of Carnation, and everyone pigged out on their preferred foods.  They even made Michaela a peanut butter pizza, which was basically bread with peanut butter on it, placed in triangles on a pizza board.  She was so happy, as her food choices are very limited.  Then Ron and Rob took the big kids to the movies, and Gail and I stayed back with Jake and Michaela, and just rested.  Ahhhhh….

This morning, Rob and I drove Lovana, Alissa, and Ja’Ana back in time for Driver’s Ed class, which started at 2.  Ron and Gail took Jake, Michaela and Patsy to the Space Needle, then brought them home a little later.  We had a fun, action packed weekend, and hopefully, everyone learned a little bit more about medieval times.  The village was small, there were no huge crowds, and the guides were very patient, kind and knowledgable.


Homeschool Field Trip to the Tulip Fields


We went to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Fields for a field trip (literally in a field) today:)

Alissa’s mom, Gail, has been wanting to take the girls there for a while now, and today turned out to be unexpectedly sunny, in spite of dire predictions of torrential rain.  So, the girls and I were working hard at school books when she texted me, and we decided on the spur of the moment to go today.  The girls did not protest at all when I asked them to close their science books and get in the car.


We picked our way through the mud to the field where we enjoyed a breathtakingly beautiful field of tulips.


It was quite a view from the observation platform (as seen in the top picture).  There was another huge field of tulips in the distance, a gift shop and restaurant, and many little booths of various items to buy.  There were also things like a hay ride, a huge slide and some other fun-looking attractions.   Many were closed since this was a Tuesday, but there were still quite a few people there.  On the weekends, sometimes the traffic is so heavy that it impacts I-5 where cars are trying to exit to go to the fields.  We were delighted to be there when it wasn’t so crowded.  We had plenty of space to thoroughly enjoy the flowers.  We wandered around for a while, Ja’Ana enjoyed an elephant ear while the rest of us had some food, too, admired the tulips some more, and headed back home so Alissa could do her guitar lesson and they could do math.


It was a great day!

Another International Homeschool Day


Today, my sister Rosalie, and I took the girls to see Rosalie’s friend Harnet and her 2 year-old daughter.  You may remember that we have gone to see her before and I wrote about it in this post.  We also went for a day out around Christmas time.

Today, Danait remembered the girls fondly, looked forward to them and myself coming over, and played really well and interacted with all of us.  It was quite a change from first time when we went over there and she was very shy because she did not know us.  Rosalie always brings a balloon from the Dollar Store, and today was no exception.  We also took a bag of assorted coloring books and activities, such as stickers, that were sorted out from Alissa’s house.


She loved them.  (The reason you will see lots of Alissa and no Ja’Ana is because she is catching that awful cold that we are passing around  and didn’t want her picture taken today–mostly she was very quiet and sat down a lot–poor girl!)


Harnet made us a bunch of food.  Yum!  She carefully taught us how to make this red lentil dish.  Here’s how you do it:

Saute a lot of onions in oil.  (I didn’t see exactly how many, but it was between 2 and 3 cups)

Chop up 4-5 tomatoes and throw them in. (She said a can would work)

Add some oil.  (It was a lot–like 1/2 cup or even more–I’m going to try a bit less)

Cook all of this for a while until tender, stirring occasionally–about 1/2 hour or more.

Put in 1 heaping Tablespoon of Beri-Beri spice or 2 heaping Tablespoons of Beri-Beri paste

Add red lentils 1 or 1/2 cups. (She washed them well first)

Chop 8-10 garlic cloves and put them in.

1 jalepeno pepper, sliced into sticks.  (She said this can go in any time.  She did it toward the end)

Salt and pepper to taste.

She then added some water until there was about 1 inch of liquid above the solids.  She stirred ever so often and let it cook until soft–about another hour.  It may have been done sooner, but that’s when we wanted to eat.  We had it over rice and some of them ate it with injeera bread.

She also made some chicken and some beef, which were also delicious.  It was important to her to cook for us, and for us to eat a LOT!  She is so hospitable.  We did our best, which was easy, because it is delicious food, although very different than what we are used to.  It’s a little bit spicy, so sour cream or yogurt is offered  to cool it down.  I like it the way it is, but the girls take the sour cream.


Rosalie and the big girls took Danuit for a walk and then played with her while Harnet and I worked on her homework for her classes in college.  We worked on English.  It was hard, and English is my first (and only) language.  We worked for about an hour and did not even get done.  After we left, Rosalie helped her finish.  She was so grateful because it is hard to get it done with Danuit “helping” and also she said it is just nice to be able to KNOW that she has the right answers instead of HOPING she is right.  She was telling us that she is studying for citizenship now, and hopes to take that test before too much longer.  I already respected her for her bravery and courage in coming to a new land.  I respect her even more as I get to know her and see how hard she is working to succeed here.

Then Harnet made us coffee.  She roasted the beans, ground them, heated milk, added tons of sugar, and served it to us.  I’m not a coffee drinker, but just can’t say no to that.  It has enough sugar in it that I can drink it and enjoy it.  There is a flavor to it that I can’t describe, but it’s a good flavor–very strong and sweet.

I brought embroidery supplies and started teaching her how to embroider a towel, because she wanted to learn.  We simply ran out of time before I had to head back home (over an hour away) to get to work.  So, Ja’Ana showed her how to find the DMC website with stitch instructions and pictures, and hopefully she will be able to get guidance from there.


After we left, Rosalie took them shopping to an Ethiopian grocery store.  On the way home, Danuit fell asleep and stayed asleep on the couch while they finished the homework.  Yea!  The girls were awesome!  They wore her out!  They had so much fun, despite J’s cold.

I am so happy with how this whole experience is unfolding for the girls and myself.  When we go, we do not do any conventional schoolwork that day, but I feel they are learning so much.  They are making a connection with someone they would not normally cross paths with.  They are learning that they can make a difference in someone’s world, by the simple act of playing with a small child and some simple toys.  They are learning to respect someone with different ways of doing things, a different language, and a different culture. They are seeing that the world is so much bigger than their small arena.  I like to think they are very accepting of others, and I want that to grow in them.  I’m happy they are generous and take small presents, and can also see, and be grateful,  that Harnet and Danuit have much to offer them as well–things like a welcoming spirit, hospitality, kindness, and more–and that they have something to offer, too.   I love it that they are surrounded by strong women, such as their aunties, and I think they will probably not understand how much courage it took for Harnet to leave her homeland and come to America for a better life until they are much older, but I love that they will have that information to process when they are ready.  They are going to need courage and compassion and many other traits to be good women.  Today is one of the days that I love about homeschool because we have time for these kinds of lessons along with the more traditional ones we do most of the time.