Articles on this page...
Great-Grandmaís Kitchen Hutch - By Trevor L., age 14
An Answer To Prayer - By Aimee E., age 14
Why I Like Baseball - By Joey S., age 11
Studying Geography Is Fun! - By Aimee E., age 12
In-House Mailboxes - by Benjamin R., age 6
The World of Seashells - by Gideon R., age 8
Lights Out - by Mrs. Kathy R.
The Day the Peacocks Came - by Elijah K., age 5
What About a Turkey? - by Isaac K., age 8
Homeschooling Angels - by Mrs. Eileen L.
A Surprise in My Backyard - by Gideon R., age 7
My Trip to the Redwoods - by Joey S., age 8
Benjamin's Fun Day at the Fair - by Benjamin R., age 3 1/2

Great-Grandmaís Kitchen Hutch
By Trevor L., age 14

We recently inherited an old kitchen hutch from my great grandmotherís estate. This old hutch has a table with two cutting boards, two drawers, and a couple flour bins hanging from the bottom. The top cupboard has two doors with glass windows in them. Inside it has a shelf for china. The cutting boards were rotten and the whole hutch was covered with old, cracked, white paint.

The first thing I did was to remove the rotten vinyl that someone had nailed to the top of the table using roofing nails! There were many different kinds and sizes of nails. There was everything from tacks and 16 penny nails to finishing nails!

The next thing we did was start stripping the paint. My Mom got sprayable paint remover and sprayed the top of the table. While I was scraping I found some bright yellow gunk that was in between the boards. I think it was very old egg yolk that was trapped between the boards for a very long time. As we scraped we had a good time thinking about who had used the table in the past and how all the gunk had gotten in the cracks.

My Dad took off the top for us, so we could strip the paint easier. Soon we started using an orange scented stripping gel that worked much better. When the whole table was stripped, we found there was a coat of stain underneath. So then it was my job to sand it off, but everyone ended up helping a little. We had a hard time getting the stain off the spooled legs.

One of the drawer fronts needed replacing, so my Dad decided to change all four of them, which made the table look even prettier. He used four pieces of half log siding, so it had a nice rounded front. Then my Dad took the top pieces of the table and doweled and glued them together. He did such a good job that it is hard to tell where one board ends and another starts! Dad and I sanded the top smooth and put it back on. We took all the drawers apart and I sanded them. My Dad even replaced the tin on the bottom of the flour bins. We found old crusty flour in the cracks between the tin and the wood. Since the table is very old we wondered how old the flour was!

This kitchen hutch was given to my great grandmother by great grandpaís family, the Andersons, when she was married in 1932. We do not know if it belonged to one of the family before this, or if it was just something they purchased for the newlyweds, but it was old when my great grandma got it. My great grandma used it for about 30 years. All the while my grandma was growing up, this was in their home. For the next 30 or so years this hutch sat in great grandmaís old house, unused, collecting dust and bugs. Now, 66 years after great grandma inherited it, we are making it look like a new hutch! Well, kind of like new. It still has dings, dents, and worn spots, but my Mom says thatís what adds character and shows the true age of the piece.

My Mom plans on using it just like they did for the next 30 years! Now my sisters and I can knead dough on it as my grandmother and great aunt did when they were growing up. One thing that I thought was nice was how the whole family pulled together to work on this project. My six year old brother helped a little on scraping the paint. Even though it was only a couple minutes, every little bit helps. My two sisters mostly helped by watching my baby brother while my Mom worked, but they helped us scrape also.

One thing Iíve learned is to never judge a book by itís cover. Most people, (including me) thought it should go to the dump. But after it was stripped we found beautiful pine! Now I believe that it will be very pretty when it is done.

It makes my Mom think about how God must look underneath our sins (old paint) to see the real people inside. Also how Jesusí blood is like the paint stripper, washing away our sins. It is really comforting to think that we are beautiful inside.

An Answer To Prayer
By Aimee E., age 14

It was a hot day, perfect for rafting. The river was flowing peacefully along and we made a big happy group, laughing and splashing each other as we started out. My friend, Rachelle, and I talked happily as we floated along, paddling back and forth across the river, hoping to find bigger waves.

Almost everybody had an innertube to float on, but Rachelle and I were each using an air mattress and riding lower in the water.

Soon the river began flowing more rapidly, and about that time I realized that my floating device was losing air. I was sorry I had ever wished for bigger waves, and was greatly relieved when I came upon my parents and a few others who had pulled to the side to wait for those who were behind.

I managed to grab hold of an overhanging bush and pull myself out of the main current. As I waited I prayed that we might all get back safely.

Soon I saw some rafts float rapidly past, and letting go of the branch, I tried to get out toward the middle of the river. But each time I pushed off, I would be swept back into another patch of bushes.

Suddenly I felt as though I were being sucked under water. My air mattress was no longer holding me up! I clutched at a nearby branch but it broke and my head went under. I came up spluttering and choking, and it was then that I saw an innertube coming towards me. It was my bother Andrew! A moment later he was at my side and I clung thankfully to his innertube, shaking with cold.

Once we made it to the shore we set out to find the car on foot. After some walking we found the highway, and after that it wasnít long before we were found. I was so thankful that God was watching over me that day and answered my prayer.

Why I Like Baseball
By Joey S., age 11

There are many people who think that sports like baseball are a waste of time. Some think there are better things to occupy their valuable time with. But I would have to disagree. I say that baseball is not just a waste of time to goof off with your friends. I think itís a valuable learning experience for the body and the mind, as well as a lot of fun!

You might be wondering why I say this. Well, itís simple. Baseball is a wonderful way to prepare you for your life later on. It develops hand-eye coordination, because as star batter and Hall-of-Famer, Ted Williams says, "One of the hardest skills on earth is to hit a small, round ball squarely with a round bat." It also strengthens your arm, improves your agility, and makes you a faster runner. Being on a team helps your listening and focusing skills, too. For instance, if youíre on base, youíve got to be watching every signal from your coach, and when youíre in the field, you have to anticipate where you are going to go if the ballís hit to you. You also have to be humble when you do something special like hit a home run, make a spectacular catch, get congratulated by your whole team, or when you win. On the other hand, failures can teach lessons as well. When you strike out, miss a ball, or lose a game, you can learn to put it behind you and try again. Finally, one of my favorite parts of the game is making lots of friends. You have to cooperate and play together as a team. Those are just some of the many rewards for being on a team.

But, I think the most important advantage of playing baseball is learning responsibility. On a team, you have lots of responsibilities. The team depends on you to do your best in everything you do on the field. You have to be responsible for your equipment, too. When you learn this skill when youíre young, then you will be more responsible when you grow up and get a job and raise a family. You are more likely to go to work on time, work hard, and take care of your kids well. If there are all these reasons to play, then Iíd say itís a worthwhile pastime. And whatís why I like to play baseball.

Studying Geography Is Fun!
by Aimee E. age 12

For part of our schooling we do unit studies. This last unit study we did was about geography. It was fun and I learned a lot from it. Here are some of the things we did and learned.
Each of us chose five states and did a report on each in matchbook style booklets. We also learned the states and their capitals. We each chose a place to go, and using a road atlas, told about what roads we went on, how much money we spent, how many miles we went, and things like that. From this we learned about reading maps, and we also learned about the state or place we went.
I went to Michigan. I took a ferry across Lake Michigan and camped along the shore. Then I went on a toll bridge between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. I camped by Lake Superior, (one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the world) for a couple of nights. On my way back I stopped and saw Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs in Montana.
We each drew a map of Washington, putting in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Puget Sound, the border states, the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, the Columbia River, the capital city, and some other large cities, and approximately where our home is. My mom read us a book called, It Happened In Washington. From this I learned that Robert Gray, a Boston merchant, told George Vancouver about an inlet. Later, Vancouver, who was an explorer, explored it and named it Puget Sound, after Peter Puget, one of his crew. At our local library we got a video called, Over Washington. It showed most of Washington by aerial view. Perhaps your local library has a video about your state that you can have fun learning with.

In-House Mailboxes
By Benjamin R., age 6, as told to his mom.

We have "in-house" mailboxes. We all made our own mailboxes, except my dad. We made them out of oatmeal containers, baby wipe containers, and one was from a cardboard cracker box. Now we can go around and give my mom or my brothers mail. We can send messages and letters to each other. Itís a nice surprise when you look in your mailbox.

You have to put an opening in your box for the mail. I drew pictures on mine and also put stickers on it, and we put our names on them.

The World of Seashells
Story & drawing by Gideon R., age 8, dictated

I like seashells. They are pretty and interesting. Seashells come in many shapes and sizes. Some like the Giant Clam may be four feet, six inches, and weigh 579 pounds. The largest pearl found was in a Giant Clam and it weighed fourteen pounds. The outer shell was used for tables, bowls, and bird feeders.

Indians used seashells to trade for other items that they wanted. Wampum was the Indian name for money. These were pretty strings of shells that they made. There were two types of wampum. One was made from Black Helmet shells, and another was worth three times as much made from Whelk shells which were white.

The Murex shell is my favorite and can be any color of the rainbow. If you find a pure white or black Murex shell you will be finding one that is very rare and worth a lot.

The Cowrie was worth a lot in ancient Egypt. They are shiny and come in tortoise-shell color or light purple and brown. To tell you what, Iíve got one myself. Mine is mainly purple with dark brown spots on white.

Cone shells are found in many different seas from the Atlantic to the Pacific. There are over 400 types of cones. One that I have is light brown with dark brown stripes around it, and is approximately four inches long.

Scallop shells are a symbol you might recognize. They are also called ďthe Lionís Paw,Ē the ďAsian MoonĒ, and ďears.Ē

There were certain shells that when crushed were used as a dye. They were tiny purpura or nucella shells. Their color was purple and they were very expensive during ancient Roman times. The dye was used for clothes of kings and queens, and churchmen.

Our family went on a trip to Florida. We went to the beach there. I found lots of oyster shells but I didnít find any nice seashells. They smelled terrible when I got home, because there was parts of the oyster that was still on it. When you get pretty seashells you should put them in a pot and boil them to kill the creatures in them. After you boil them, you can take an old toothbrush and clean the old mucky stuff off of them, and take a long skinny utensil to take the creature out of them. You can use baby oil, coconut oil or mineral oil to make them shiny.Then you will have a pretty collection of seashells.

I hope to have more chances of finding seashells, and I hope you have fun collecting seashells too.

Lights Out
by Mrs. Kathy R.

"Over 200,000 families are without power in the state of Washington. Did you hear?," Mom was saying to me over the phone. "No, you're kidding!," was my response. She lives in Florida, yet she knows more than I do, and I live here! Poor people, I thought. Thank you God, that we are not among those numbers.

Our Turn...
A week later, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, it was our turn. We awoke to sputtering faucets, uncooperative light switches, and a non-functional toilet. How we take such things for granted! As the minutes turned to hours, we got the horrid news: Be prepared, it could take up to three weeks!! Three weeks! How would I wash clothes and dishes, soak my sore feet in the tub, rinse dirty diapers, much less work on the Gazette and bake our Thanksgiving rolls & pumpkin pie? What if it took a month, or two months, or gasp, a year? We survived the first two days, then disaster set in. We got up early to go to town. As my husband slid through the icy streets, I felt sea-sick. (I don't drive when there's the least inkling of snow on the road.) Besides the last 20 gallons of distilled water to be had, we bought the last camping cook stove and last six bottles of propane at Wal-Mart. We also bought a ton of paper plates, a big supply of baby wipes, a propane lantern, several large buckets to haul water, and paper diapers.

Laundry First...
The first thing we did though was do four loads of laundry at the laundromat. My four young boys were glued to the TV, set high up on the wall. A comedy was on. We had missed breakfast, wanting to get there before the mad rush of "power outage" moms began to pour in, which they did, only minutes later. Benjamin, who's favorite words are "I'm hungry," kept asking when Daddy was going to buy breakfast, and I kept putting him off. An elderly man with bulging, kind eyes, and wearing an orange hunter's jacket, kept giving us the eye. He walked to the snack dispenser and promptly bought a bag of animal cookies, tossing them in the middle of the boys. "Oh, thank you, sir. Isn't that nice? Say thank you, boys!" I was a little embarrassed, as I thought , "Why should this man have to buy my boys cookies? Certainly, I have 55Ę to spend on cookies." Perhaps he didn't want to hear Benjamin beg for breakfast one more time. The last time we were at the laundromat the two oldest boys got measles. As we left there, I wondered what else we'd be bringing home along with our neatly folded long-johns.

Frozen Bottoms...
Fortunately, the farm house we'd just rented came equipped with an outhouse. You city folks, probably have never seen one. You don't want to smell one either. Though to get to it, you had to follow a long maze dug through three feet of snow. I did not look forward to a frozen bottom at any time of day, especially at two in the morning!

Candle-light Games...
It gets dark here at 4 o'clock and it was kind of fun to have the family gather around the candle-light together. I need lots of light to read or it hurts my eyes. I figured Abe Lincoln must have had good eyes. It reminded me of the times when I was a young girl during a hurricane at home in Miami, Florida. We six children would pull our mattresses into the center of the living room, huddle together, tell ghost stories, and play word games in the candle-light, while the wind howled through the cracks under our doors. Here we were, playing those same games. Those were the times I remembered most about my childhood. At 7:30 PM we were exhausted and everyone hit the sack. I thanked God for these eventful days, how it brought our family together, and the things we did have, but prayed He'd see fit to intervene tomorrow.

Lessons Learned...
We learned many lessons during this "ordeal". Lessons included how the pioneers used to live, working together as a family and as a community, God's hand in disasters, and "washing" dishes with paper towels. It even brought a special treat, as we actually saw a helicopter lifting trees off the power lines, that had caused all the problems in the first place. We contemplated who's fault it was... the electric company could have cut the trees back... we could have stayed in Tennessee... I could have married that doctor instead of the plumber...

Sweet Sounds...
After the fourth day, we awoke to lights at 11 PM. Oh, sweet lights! I popped up out of bed and ran about turning on all the faucets. What a sweet sound - running water. Then the electric company called. Was our electric back on? Oh yes!! "OK, it should stay on," they said, "until the next tree falls." "The next tree?," I wondered. A little voice said to me "Be prepared." Sunday, we were back to normal. I delighted in making breakfast on my modern stove, and washing dishes in hot sudsy water. Then we celebrated that afternoon with our "Thanksgiving" pumpkin pie.

Author's note: I like humor - stories that make you smile. It is fun to liven up your stories with a little bit of it, and always a good idea to see the humorous side of things, even in difficult circumstances.

The Day the Peacocks Came
by Elijah K., age 5

My sister Autumnrose was going out to our barn to milk the goats. It was raining very hard. She came back in the house and told us there were wild turkeys in the barn. We all ran to see. My brother Isaac thought they were quails but I guessed they were pheasants. My dad and my big brother chased them up to the barn from the woods. When they got close they could tell they were peacocks. They got near the feeder but didn't want to go in the barn and flew up into the trees.

We didn't know where they had come from, since we have no neighbors. We fed them for a week because we wanted them to stay. They make lots of funny noises.

If anyone would like three pretty peacocks please come and get them because they are eating our garden.

What About a Turkey?
by Isaac K., age 8

We got our turkeys as chicks. Only one of them died. They grew really well. We had them in a little pasture below our house. They stayed together and went into their pen at night. One morning a turkey was gone. We walked all around and found the missing turkey and it was missing it's head. An owl snipped his head right off. Turkeys make a vibrating noise in their chest. When they are upset they drag their wings on the ground. Turkeys are pretty interesting to watch but I like eating them best.

Homeschooling Angels
by Mrs. Eileen L.,

What is it like juggling the responsibilities of teacher, mother and wife? Wow, what a jungle! Teaching three children, looking after the mischief where abouts of a two year old, keeping a four bedroom home clean, laundry done for six people, keeping regular and healthy meals cooked, doing things my husband asks and keeping family and friends happy with regular outings to see them. How do I do it?

Wow, I must be Super Woman. No, I have three wonderful little helpers. They make many messes too, but they help pick them up and also help with the ones they don't make. This is the whole idea behind a homeschool. Not only do we learn together, we work together too. This is when children learn the most important lessons of all. How to work and how to do each job thoroughly and correctly. And to complete what they start. Book learning is only part of education. We also learn how to get along with each other.

Few people full understand the concept of homeschooling. We are schooling all day long, every day. Because homeschoolers are taught to look for a lesson in everything and to learn it well and remember it.

I am not super mom. I am a mother and a teacher who is thankful for three great homeschooling helpers.

A Surprise in My Backyard
by Gideon R., age 7

I was walking along one day with a friend and we both saw a bird that had some dried grass in his beak standing on a fence post. I thought perhaps it was making a nest.

About a month later, my brother and I were walking down in our backyard, and we wondered what was under a log. Something that was about the size of a big rat came racing out. Then it flew off, and we noticed it was a bird.

I looked around, and I saw a bunch of grass hanging down from the fence, and I saw a little hole dug into a circle shape that was put into the ground. I looked in it and there were four little black and pink speckled eggs in a nest. I thought that was really neat! I believe that nest was from the bird that my friend and I had seen before.

I looked in a bird book to see what kind of bird it was, but I couldn't find the right one. She was brown with a dark brown tail, and was 5-6 inches long. I hope we get to see some baby birds in a few weeks!

(A week later the eggs hatched and we saw four very cute, pink little birds.)

My Trip to the Redwoods
by Joey S. age 8

I took a trip to California, and on the way home we drove through the Redwoods on the Avenue of the Giants

Many of these tall trees are over 2,000 years old, so it wouldn't surprise me if they are the tallest trees on earth. They are so tall, that they reach into other climates depending on the size! People carve things out of them and they've even made a drive through tree! When a Redwood falls, it starts to break down into fertilizer.

Then plants grow on it. This is called a nurse tree because there are plants growing right out of the decomposing tree! If you ever go through the Redwoods like I did, don't forget to watch the Redwoods. They're right up against the road!

Benjamin's Fun Day at the Fair
byBenjamin R. at age 3Ĺ, as told to his mother

One sunny afternoon, I went to the Fair with my Mom and three brothers. The first thing I saw was a BIG THING! It looked like a big ride that went up and down, and around and around. I was scared of it, because people were yelling. I put my hands over my ears. I didn't want to go near it!

I saw a bunch of animals at the Fair. I saw pigs and lambs and I saw a chicken, and a goose, and some cows. The pigs had some babies. There were seven baby pigs. Some were trying to get away from their mommy.

Jeremiah was scared from the dogs, because he thought they were going to bite him. One dog had a trophy. Two looked like Lassie.

I wore a hat at the Fair. It was Gideon's cowboy hat. I like wearing it. It is blue and black.

We drank orange pop, and we had some blue and purple cotton candy. I'd never had it before. It tasted like it melted in my mouth.

Some children had ballons, and we saw a bunch of them going up in the air.We saw a boy clown up on the stage and he was throwing some balls and he opened up his pants, and balls fell in his pants. I thought he was funny.

On my birthday, I want to go there again.

A wiseman's heart guides his mouth, and his lips promote instruction.
Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:23-24

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