A Trip to the General Store

It’s hard to fathom not shopping at Target once a week. 

OK, maybe sometimes we end up going once a day,  but only when I’m trying to plan something and am really scatterbrained. Like when I go to the grocery store to get milk,
come home with a Jeep load of groceries, but end up going BACK for milk.

It is unfathomable to think in Little House in the Big Woods Laura and Mary had never seen a town before.  In Little House on the Prairie, Pa goes into town once.

Once.

The family stays home. I can’t imagine going a whole year without going to a store. I can’t imagine not replenishing your pantry when you need to.

But, my imagination could make a store for the Ingalls family. Just in case Pa forgot something and Ma needed to go, we put it next to their house.The pretend world I’m creating for her is much easier than her real world.

We started this project last year while playing and learning through “The Olden Days”
but couldn’t finish. 
Since we’re using The Prairie Primer this year, fun projects are easier to fit into school.

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Although I didn’t have the Gramma and Grandpa growing up,  they were a fun, inexpensive find on Etsy from the Chicken Coop Stamper. I spent less money to bring age and wisdom to my pretend world  than I would to buy a new Barbie at Target.

They will have dual roles in the Ingalls lives, portraying the grandparents left behind in Wisconsin, and the store owners for whatever town the Ingalls currently live in.

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Sara Jane Benson is trading eggs for yard goods today. She is another doll from the Sunshine Family mold that actually came dressed in prairie attire. She was found in the Etsy shop Days Gone By Treasures.

 The store is actually an old wooden crate I had with a hinged lid that used to hold embalming fluid.  EW gross, I know!  Beka hasn’t noticed the lettering on the side, so I didn’t bring it to her attention.

We had a blast scouring the house for things that would work. I love miniatures, so had some from my childhood and some from a printer’s shelf display. 

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At the thrift store the other day, we found four more dolls from the Sunshine Family, so bought them for extras.  We’ll have an adult Laura and Almonzo. I have NEVER found them at the thrift store, so to finding  many in one day, was better than that dream where you’re picking up money off the street. Oh, you heard me squealing in excitement?  I’ll try to keep it down next time.

We just needed an older gentleman sitting by the fire playing checkers. The game board was copied off from Jim’s Printable Minis, Mod Podged onto cardboard and set on a baby food jar.

Jim offers vintage maps, Christmas cards, important looking documents (we printed one up for Pa for homesteading since he had trouble with the government, we needed to make his next move official), labels for canned food, Confederate and American money, newspapers, and periodicals.  I love that Jim offers a variety of sizes/scales depending on which dolls you’re playing and learning with.

My public library allows me 25 free colored copies a week, so I printed many things on my last trip to the library. It saves money and the quality is better.

We have a pile of little projects to work on now in those free moments when the rains are starting to look dreary.

The shop counter was a wooden box that candy came in years ago, of course I squirreled it away for the right day, and just added a shelf with balsa wood.

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See the little peg shelf?  Beka made it. When she  found these candles in some stash I had, she immediately knew they needed to hang up in the store.

We decided with so many projects to create, we couldn’t wait on the menfolk in the house to come home and drill and cut for us.  My Honey-Do list for the house is long enough without adding a bunch of craft work to it.  I wouldn’t want my husband to come home at the end of the day and hand me a list of things I have to do for him, so I try to keep his list as short as possible. We took out the tools and started experimenting.

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She cut a strip of balsa wood and cut four pegs from a skewer. She was NOT interested in measuring, so I let her eyeball it. I don’t have to cram a math lesson in everywhere, although my logic was saying, “This would be a perfect place to use a ruler and division!”
My heart knew too much “school” would take the fun out of it.

She found the correct size drill bit by trial and error on a scrap piece of wood. After drilling four holes, she put a dab of glue and  a peg in each hole.

At this point she was a little bored, so asked me to stain it while she went to play. We hung it up with poster putty.

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Thin strips of balsa wood were cut with an exacto knife and a metal ruler. I scratched the snot out of my cutting board. Not sure what real crafters do, but I think I need to buy a new one for the kitchen. My favorite vintage color is Minwax gunstock.
Beka cut little strips of calico to wrap around the boards.

When Beka decided we needed to tie up packages with brown paper and string, we found a cap to a hair spray bottle, added a pretty blue button with two holes for the lid, wound some fine string around a piece of dowel to completely cover it, popped in it, and we had string on the counter.

We’re working on a wooden structure to hold a roll of brown paper.

As we add to our General Store, my goal is to teach Rebekah to be creative and use what we have.  If she dreams of something she wants in the store, I want to see if we can make it first.  Some day, we’ll make a trip to Hobby Lobby, but I want to start with homemade.  I want her to have the thrill of learning to use the tools and materials on hand to create something she imagined in her mind.

Even though the world we’re making isn’t big enough to live in, someday she’ll have her own home. I want her to be like the previous generations of American women, including her own ancestors,  who had the needed skills and pioneer spirit  to make wherever she’s living a HOME.

 

 

My Sweetie Pie Made a Pumpkin Pie

Little House in the Big Woods 001

Chapter 12

*****

 

We’d been having an unseasonably warm fall
and were spending
Every Moment Outside.

 

When my daughter invited Beka and I to a pumpkin patch
we dropped our books and headed out the door.

 

Sometimes you just gotta’ follow the sun,
especially since ya’ know once the rains come,
they don’t leave for a long, long, time.

 

Pumpkin Patch
We loved seeing fields full of pumpkins.

Although we call special outings for school
“field trips”
we rarely end up in a field.

This was a field field trip.

 

Rebekah at Pumpkin Patch

The kids loved running to and fro,
with every pumpkin they could lift  a possibility to take home.

 

 

Jana and Kids at Pumpkin Patch
My oldest daughter, Jana,
with her three Munchkins,
Brookelyn, Maddelyn and Brayden.

I found a handmade sign at a garage sale that says,
“Grandchildren are a reward for not killing your children”
but since it isn’t PC and some people don’t get
it’s a joke
I don’t display it.

But grandchildren are a reward.
After raising six kids with lotsa rules and nutrition and bedtimes,
I love having little people who depend on me for only
candy and toys.
That’s it.
My definition of Gwamma.

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The pumpkin adventure wasn’t over.

The assignment only said “make Pumpkin Pie or stewed pumpkin.”
EEWWWWW.
Stewed pumpkin?
I think not.

To make sure we finished the project
and that Beka had success her first time making pie,
I opted for store bought piecrust and canned pumpkin.

Don’t tell my brothers.
Joel and Allan make amazing pie.
One Thanksgiving, Allan even brought his own rolling pin to Mom’s house
because he was in charge of making the pies.
Of course, my brothers make their own crusts,
use fresh pumpkin,
and yes, they are both single, as a matter of fact.

I don’t know why.

I am the black-sheep, pie-crust buying member of the family.
But not for long.

Pioneering Today: Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way

Last week I read this beautiful book 
and it  inspired me to get back to my pioneer roots.
She has a simple pie-crust recipe Beka and I will be using
when we make our second pie.

It also is going to make my Christmas shopping a lot easier!
Wouldn’t this book look adorable in a basket
with a few vintage cookie cutters and a cookie mix in a canning jar?

 

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We held prayer meeting in our home that evening,
so Beka got to shine serving her delicious pies as the snack.

I love to give my kids moments like these!

 

 

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It tasted even better than it looks.
We had it for breakfast the next morning, too.

There was a little filling left, so we filled little graham cracker pie crusts.

They were also delicious.

 

 

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See that sweet little pie pumpkin in the middle of my fall display?

 

Hopefully, that will be in Beka’s second pie, too.
It just needs to hang around and look harvesty for awhile.

 

See that squash on the right? 
I bought it to try this recipe
from Melissa’s blog Pioneering Today,
but I bought the wrong kind. 
So, it will also sit as a decoration until I decide how I will cook it.

 

For those of you ambitious kitchen people here are some
pumpkin recipes from a blog called “Laura’s Sweet Memories.”

Farmer Boy Pumpkin Treat Squares

Farmer Boy Pumpkin Scones

Farmer Boy Pumpkin Bread

 

Anything is better than stewed pumpkins!


 

Osmosis, Schmosmosis

Little House in the Big Woods 001

Chapter 5

*****

 

I was geared up for a Science experiment to show osmosis.

The word and  definition were vaguely familiar from
my High School Biology class.
I didn’t always pay attention in class, did you?
Good thing my Dad doesn’t read my blog all the time,
because he was my high school Biology teacher.

Remember how I didn’t pay attention to his gold panning lessons?
I must have not been listening too well in Biology, either.

 

We refreshed our minds about osmosis.

 

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That’s alotta’ big words in Dictionary.com’s explanation.

 

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We liked this definition from ASK better.

 

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We cut the potato in half,
sliced off the round ends,
then scooped out the inside.

Good thing I’ve owned a melon baller for about two decades.
It finally earned its keep.

 

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Each potato slice was set in a bowl,
water was added to about 1/2 inch depth,
and the hollows were filled with colored water.

 

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We added 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to one hollow,
and labeled it because I knew I would forget.

Then I labeled the stuff so my family wouldn’t forget.

If you read the corn cob blog,
we have trouble with projects around here.

 

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Since I don’t want to give them impression that things are always perfect around here,
you needed to see the mess that sat here for a few hours.

 

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There ya’ go.

That’s what it looked like the next day.

 

“Trees use a method called osmosis to force water upwards. Osmosis works because there is a difference between the sap, or juice, inside the root and the water in the ground outside. Sap contains large amounts of sugary substances. Ground water contains only tiny amounts of dissolved nutrients.  Sap is more concentrated than ground water.  Osmosis forces water from the soil through minute holes in the root skin to inside the root. p. 37-38 The Prairie Primer

 

 

Here’s another osmosis potato experiment
from someone who probably listened better in Biology class.

 

I was just feeling good that we started and finished a project.
I think some Science stuff musta’ osmosised into our brains,
doncha’ think?

Diet Coke in the Fruit Drawer?

Little House in the Big Woods 001

Chapter 9

 

It was a simple question
in the Prairie Primer curriculum.

Laura had seen a town for the first time.
Her pa drove the whole family in the wagon
seven miles to Pepin, WI, on the shores of Lake Pepin.
Laura was surprised women were hanging laundry out
and
it
wasn’t
Monday.

 

“From your experience visiting other families,
name some different ways other
families do common household things.”

 

I was thinking Beka would talk about her friends and their chores.
I thought she might even complain a little about the jobs she has.
It was a perfect opportunity, after all , it was a school assignment.


 

“I can only think of one thing mom. 
You know how we have one drawer in our fridge for fruit
and one for vegetables?
Your friend Janet doesn’t do that.”

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Janet and I were best buddies in high school in North Dakota.
She married a farmer and stayed,
I married a farm hand who went into the computer industry
and moved the family to the West Coast.
Our lives are slightly different.

 

 

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“Well, Janet keeps Diet Coke in her fruit drawer,

 

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and Coke in her vegetable drawer.”

 

Well, yes, yes, she does.

Yes, that is a little different than the way thing are done around here.

 

And because Janet drinks Coke, she doesn’t drink coffee.
I drink coffee.
I need coffee.
I don’t think she realized how badly I needed coffee,
until I spent the night with her
and wasn’t very happy in the morning.
I tried to be nice, really I did.
I was ready to drive 13 miles into Langdon to buy a cup of coffee.
Janet gave me a different solution.

 

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She drove me to the grain elevator in Nekoma, ND,
where the local farmers gather around the coffee pot
and talk about crops, trucks and the weather.

I paid $1 for Folgers that had been in
the aluminum pot since sun-up,
but, hey, it was coffee.
Coffee snobs can’t afford to be a snob
when they have a head-ache.

The farmers stared to see the city-slicker driving into “town”
to buy a cup of coffee,
but I’m pretty sure I gave them something new to talk about
for the next few days,
maybe even the next few weeks.

Next time I visited the farm,
Janet had a coffee pot
and coffee.

Just for guests like me.
I guess it was cheaper than driving to the elevator each day.

 

That same first coffee-less visit, Rebekah was a toddler.
She loved wandering around under the horses, into the dog house,
and anywhere her chubby legs could carry her.

 

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As we make the trek back every year or two,
she only falls more and more in love with the farm life.
She’s actually pretty determined to marry a farmer.

 

 

Beka will just run her farm a little differently.
Not sure if she’ll do laundry on Monday,
but she won’t be hanging it from bushes to dry.

There will be fruit in her fruit drawer,
vegetables in her veggie drawer,
and the coffee pot will always be on.

 

As for the Coke and Diet Coke?
They’ll always be on hand just in case
her mom’s friend,
who’s become her friend,
stops by.

 

 

 

 

Thar’s Still Gold in Them There Hills!

Little House in the Big Woods 001

Chapter 13

*****

 

It seems that even though we’re past a formal lesson,
learning continues.

The library books about the gold rush were returned
and we were onto our next learning adventure.

The lesson continued  in an unexpected way.
We were invited to a corn maze/pumpkin patch expedition.

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There was the hayride on bales pulled by a John Deere.
I got to impress them by reciting their slogan,
”Nothing runs like a Deere!”

Yea, in the Midwest when you say you’re going green,
they’re not thinking about recycling, reusing and reducing.
They’re thinking
John Deere green.
It is a color in the palette, not to be confused with hunter green or pine.

When we first moved from the ND to WA, we were surprised to discover
John Deere apparel was the rage.

Even movie stars were wearing John Deere hats and t-shirts.
When I asked a few west coast teenagers if they knew
that John Deere was an implement dealer,
they were stunned.

They thought it was a fashion line.

I love to be the voice of reason and information on the west coast.

Back to the corn maze on the west coast.

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Aw, don’t moms love to sneak learning in in everything?
This corn maze is the dream of a former teacher,
who also obviously loves to sneak in learning.

 

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The kids are given a map and dropped off on a eastern border city of their choice,
and have to navigate their way back using highways and byways.

 

And when the girls had safely navigated us back to the west coast,
and found a latte stand for the moms,
they followed the allure of riches.


 

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Like many before them through the generations,
the feeling of a gold pan in their hands
gave rise to dreams in their heads.

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Several times they were convinced they saw flecks of gold,
but knew they were being fooled.

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A placer mine was set up with a sluice box.

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I was raised in Montana with a Dad who carried a gold pan with
him when we went camping and fishing.
There is still gold nearly everywhere in Montana,
sometimes little flecks, sometimes nuggets.

As I was explaining to the girls how to swish and swirl
and rinse the light stuff out to get the heavy stuff to stay in the pan,
ya’ know, like gold,
I was wishing I had listened more closely to my Dad.
Never actually thought I’d need to know how to pan for gold.

Like my kids, I musta’ done the “smile and nod but not really listen” thing,
because I couldn’t exactly remember the real way to pan for gold.

Secretly, I think Youtube is just a repository of information
for people who are too embarrassed to call their parents up
and ask, “How did you do that again?”

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They sloshed and shook and dipped and swirled.

When the reality of mud instead of gold nuggets invaded their dreams,
they dropped their pans and headed for the hay slide.

They hadn’t lost their life savings,
they hadn’t left family for the dream of instant wealth,
they didn’t lose their life in a foolish pursuit.

But just for a moment,
while their hands were clutching that pan,
their wrists were swirling and whirling,
their eyes eagerly seeking flecks of gold,
they understood the men who did.

 

****

To further your learning adventure:

 

 

California Gold Rush at the Oakland Museum

Last Chance Gulch discovery in Helena, Montana

Alaskan Gold Rush in Anchorage Museum

Discovery Channel Gold Rush

 

 

Orphans Wanted!

Often when I read about the Pony Express,
I wonder about the teens of today.
Would there be enough teenage boys to staff the venture?

Then, I remind myself that young men
have always craved adventure.
Today, there isn’t a west to tame,
but young men find things to jump out of,
jump onto, jump under and jump with.

They attach wheels, sails, skis or faster motors
to anything and everything so they can
jump and twist and reinvent the sport.

We live in a day and age of
EXTREME SPORTS
so all the thrill jockeys
can still find something new to conquer.

Maybe young men today aren’t so different, after all.

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It’s an amazing time period and it was a thrilling adventure
for young men and our young country.

Pony Express founders

This is to show you the amazing work of  Cheryl Harness,
who makes history come alive with the power of story
and delightful illustrations.

I didn’t realize she was such a prolific author until I looked online.
We definitely will be using her books again!

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A book that has been on our shelf for years and years.

Only 80 pages, so a good adventure read for a younger
boy who hasn’t quite fallen in love with reading yet.

This might entice him.

Landmark Pony Express 001

My mom and dad raised six kids with a wall full of books,
including the Landmark series.

As soon as I started having kids,
yes, before they could even read,
I started buying all the Landmark books I
found at garage sales and thrift stores.
I was thrilled that Mom and Dad donated their collection
to my bookshelf a few years into homeschooling.

pony-express-riders-wanted

The thrill of imminent death must have drawn some riders.

Probably the $25 drew others.

Like teenagers today,
I  imagine some just wanted to get away from home.

As a mom, the call for orphans always tugged at my heart.
Pretty sure I wouldn’t let my sons do this,
but  the thought of young men dying
with no mom to cry for them,
is just as hard to imagine.

I will never complain about the price of postage again.

Never.

I promise.

Poke a stick in my eye and everything.

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If you still haven’t had enough adventure, check out the The Pony Express National Museum’s website.

Since the majority of us won’t be able to visit the museum in person,
feel free to take a video tour.

The drama and the history are exciting and for someone who already loves history,
anything Pony Express thrills me.

But, here’s the best part of the story.

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Each of the Pony Express riders were given a Bible.
Even though they traveled light, and often were required to kill their own food,
the founders considered the Bible important enough to be carried.

I have always been encouraged by the desire of these men
to honor the Lord with their business.
I like to wonder if any of those daring, rough young men
ever sat by their campfire at night,
gnawing at whatever animal they killed,
and read a few verses.

Did they look up at the night sky and ponder the Creator?

And if you’re wondering about anything else on this subject,
here’s a wonderful online list of all topics concerning the Pony Express.

Cheryl Harness gripped my heart with her conclusion,

“The brave young riders and their ponies helped to make a nation happen…
it’s the ponies and the daring young men who ride in our imagination.
When the wind is in the West,
listen for distant hoofbeats.

It’s the Pony Express.”

Can ya’ hear it?

Hark! Who Goes There?

You wouldn’t have to ask that question if you could identify tracks.

But, lemme’ take you the long way around to that lesson.

Over Labor Day, hubby and I took Rebekah on a hike in the mountains.

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OK, in reality, we spent a lot of time in the car oohing and aahing over the mountains

 

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and eating snacks from a roadside gas station
that cost way too much.

 

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But, we did get out and hike for a little while.

Nice groomed trails.
Does this really count as hiking?

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Yea, it does.

We also had an unexpected Science lesson.
I love unintentional learning!

Pops and Rebekah wanted to hike around the lake.
I wanted to sit. I was tired.  Seriously.
I also wanted to take pics while sitting.

They enjoyed some Father-Daughter time.

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When they came back, Rebekah was able to identify the split hoof tracks from an elk.

 

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I could easily identify the track from the Great American North-Faced Hiker.

 

Pa and Laura had a similar experience as they drove their sled through the Big Woods to Grandpa’s.

“Pa showed Laura the tracks of the wild creatures in the snow
at the sides of the road.
The small, leaping tracks of cottontail rabbits, the tiny tracks of field mice,
and the feather-stitching tracks of snowbirds.
There were larger tracks, like dogs’ tracks, where foxes had run, and there were the tracks of a deer that had bounded away into the woods.”

(Little House in the Big Woods, p. 132-133) 

Pioneer families needed to identify animal tracks for their survival.
Remember Aunt Eliza’s tale of her dog Prince not letting her out of the cabin?
Uncle Peter found huge panther tracks around their homestead.

 

Creation Science

I pulled out my favorite Science Curriculum, Considering God’s Creation,
and used several animal tracks activities.

It is more fun for me to cut and paste than to just read and answer questions,
so I am a huge fan of this curriculum.  I’ve used it for all my kids.

It easily can be used as your primary Science book
or to supplement others.
Most kids think it is so fun, they don’t know it’s school.

SSHHHH! Don’t tell them!


Some activities, like on Creation, would be wonderful for
Sunday school, VBS or Kids Bible Clubs.

 

*****

Here is a tracking guide you can print out and take with you
if you want to investigate your neighborhood,
that is, in case you have any wildlife other than
the Great American North-Faced Hiker.

 

This is a more detailed chart of animal tracks chart you can buy.

 

This blog has a fun activity to play with a peanut butter mixture
to leave your own tracks, then eat them.

*****

Now, go test your skills
and see if you can identify more species than Momma Mindy.

 

Maple Syrup Taste Test

I grew up in a family that loved ice cream.

We ate a LOT of ice cream.
My mom wondered why the ice cream went so quickly,
until she caught my Dad in action.

Apparently, he left a spoon in the ice-cream bucket.
When he went down to stoke the fire,
we survived North Dakota winters heating with
a wood-burning stove,
he would have a few bites.
(I think he deserved them, don’t you?)

Anyway, we grew up on those huge buckets
of ice cream that were about $2.
We usually bought vanilla, so we could add toppings,
but on rare occasion had Neapolitan.

As an adult, I was offered Breyer’s vanilla ice cream
for the first time, and I didn’t like it.

It didn’t taste like ice cream to me.

We had the same experience with Rebekah and  maple syrup.

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The Ingalls family had the thrill of making real maple syrup,
tapping the trees and everything.

Not a possibility in my neighborhood,
so I drove to Trader Joe’s and bought real Maple Syrup and waffles.
Traffic was bad, it took me over 10 minutes to go 2.3 miles.

Life as a city pioneer can be grueling.

We didn’t see a bear, but almost saw an accident.

Back to the syrup.
She cut the waffle in half,
and tried each kind of syrup.

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She ate the Mrs. Butterworth’s first.

I grew up with the Maple flavored kind we made from scratch.
Store bought, like Mrs. Butterworth’s,  was a luxury.

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Rebekah has grown up with store-bought imitation syrup,
so real maple syrup should be a luxury.

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Does she like it?????

Pondering, while letting the natural goodness swirl around her tongue.

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The verdict is in.

If I ever find a Maple tree flowing with syrup,
I officially know I won’t have to stop and make syrup for my family.

However, if I find a sale on imitation syrup,
I better stock up.

A Corn Cob Doll Isn’t One of Our Favorite Things

My girls have always loved dolls, probably because I love dolls.

I love dishes and tea sets and fake food of all sizes and kinds.
Sometimes I buy toys just for me.

 

It was slightly disappointed when my kids grew up
and didn’t want toys for Christmas.
They wanted boring stuff like clothes and technology.

Sometimes, we bought our teenagers toys, anyway.
We want them to always have a spirit of youthfulness
and to be able to laugh and have fun.

Just because you’re 18 doesn’t mean you’re too old for a
crazy, laughing Elmo doll.
Yes, my husband did buy that for Bethany when she turned 18,
and yes she did love it.
She loved her other presents better, probably,
but will always have that amazing memory of getting
the coveted and popular Elmo doll,
for her 18th birthday.

We began our Corn Cob Doll lesson by discussing
Our Favorite Things.

The girls narrowed it down to one doll for a picture.

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The good thing about kids growing up and not wanting toys anymore
is they have kids who want toys.

This is a pic of the lovely Brookelyn with her favorite dolly.
(Her mommy is my oldest daughter.)
She is such a good mommy to her dolly.

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This is the baby of the family, Rebekah, but don’t call her that,
with her favorite baby.

It was a gift from a dear friend, Romance,  because she loves toys, too,
and thought all the little girls in her life needed a dolly
that ate real food, pooped and peed.

Yes, Baby Alive poops and pees.
Brilliant marketing strategy.
The little packets of food and little packages of diapers
are outrageously expensive, but outrageously fun.

Beka has to use cloth diapers some of the time.
We eventually will learn to make our own baby food.
After all, she grew up on homemade baby food,
it’s good enough for her dolly, too.

 

I can’t fathom Laura playing with a Corn Cob Doll.
I can’t fathom Ma not making her a rag doll sooner.

Sometimes I have a hard time walking a mile in their lace-up shoes.

We weren’t sure if we were supposed to dry the cob
with the corn on or off.

We opted for eating the corn off.

 

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The first time I bought corn, I forgot it in the fridge.
When we remembered to cook it, we forgot to save the cobs.
I bought more.
I was determined to finish the project.
We shucked the corn.
I boiled it.

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We ate it.

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Grandbaby Maddelyn loved the corn and gnawed and gnawed and gnawed.

She reminded me of my Aunt Hedi,
the family record holder for eating 12 cobs of corn at a family reunion.

Aunty might have some serious competition soon.

Since the corn cobs weren’t dry, we decided to make a different kinda’ doll.

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We used large beads, dowels and chenille stems,
although I have called them pipe cleaners my entire life.

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We added the corn husks and just tied it on.

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We thought corn silk would make adorable hair.

They were pretty cute,
until they shriveled up and looked ridiculous.
It might work better to dry the husks flat in books,
then try gluing them on the dowels.

STRIKE ONE.

(If you want to make authentic corn husk dolls,
check out
Native American Life Living Art.)

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I scraped the rest of the corn off the cob, hoping it would dry sooner.

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I left these on the counter,
clearly marked, of course.

They didn’t dry well, so I tried something else.

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I twisted wire around them and hung them outside to dry.

I forgot about squirrels.

I brought the only cob in the house, put it on the counter,
and forgot about the children.

Thinking they were “helping me” they threw it out.
(Now you know why I labeled the cobs the first time.)

After digging through the garbage bags,
yes, we did that,
I’m a mighty determined woman,
we found the lone Survivor.

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There ya’ go.  The cob that survived the Squirrel Attack
and the Kitchen Cleaning Frenzy.

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Beka is clearly excited about the long-awaited day.

Really.

I’m going to play with a corncob.

I can hardly wait.

 

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Trying to make it a little more enticing, she picked out a favorite vintage handkerchief.

We WERE going to finish this project.

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It wasn’t fun.
We couldn’t even pretend it was fun.

The instructions were to play with this doll only for one day.

After school we were running an errand and Beka wanted to bring a doll.
I reminded her of her assignment, and asked if she would bring the Corn Cob Doll.

The look on her face let me know it would be a humiliation beyond comprehension,
ya’ know the kinda’ family tale of woe the kids repeat behind your back
for generations to come.

“You think that’s bad, how about the time Mom made me bring
a Corn Cob Doll everywhere I went?  I am scarred for life.”

We left the Corn Cob Doll and grabbed Baby Alive.
The cob ended up back in the garbage can.
I should have given it back to the squirrel, he would have appreciated it.

Weeks of planning, preparation and it was
STRIKE TWO
for Corn Cob Dolls.

Even though the dolls were failure,
the lesson wasn’t.

How can you NOT be thankful for the bountiful blessings we have
when staring into the face of one pathetic corn cob
that is compost/garbage to us,  but a toy to a previous generation?

How can you not admire little Laura who tried really hard to
play with her pathetic doll and be thankful and not jealous of Mary?

If the essence of thankfulness
burns into Rebekah’s heart and mind,
the project won’t have a
STRIKE THREE.

Bladder Up!

It never fails.

We’ll be sitting at a baseball game,
like an All American family,
and my hubby will embarrass me.

He never yells,
”Batter up!”

He has to yell,
”Bladder up!”

After 26 years of marriage,
I am still madly in love with this guy,
but still don’t think this is funny.
Nor is the fact that he only has about three jokes,
and none of them make me laugh.

Good thing he’s so stinkin’ cute.

The Ingalls girls were so hard up for toys,
they were thrilled to play with a blown up pig’s bladder
after helping their Ma and Pa butcher.

 

SERIOUSLY DUDE?
THAT IS TOTALLY GROSS!
That’s what this generation would say.

 

EEWW!
Was anybody else totally disgusted by this?
My daughter, Beka, and I tried to talk through this.
We discussed how they had almost NO toys.
They had almost no friends.
Work was a daily part of their life.
Surely, if we were in their shoes,
we’d be thrilled with a bladder balloon, too?
Right?!?!?!?!?!?!?

I dunno.
Maybe Laura didn’t understand anatomy at her age,
and that her toy used to have urine in it.

No matter how much I love Little House,
I wasn’t going to buy a pig’s bladder.

Instead of visiting the butcher, we went to a party store.

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I pondered for awhile,
then asked Beka what color looked the most like a pig’s bladder,
silk white, silk ivory or milky white.

With slight pre-teen annoyance she answered,
”I don’t know, Mom, I’ve never seen a pig’s bladder before.”

Yea, DUH, I knew that.

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We opted for Silk Ivory.

 

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My adorable granddaughter, Brookelyn, joined us for this educational activity.

 

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So did her our neighbor, Norah,  the daughter of Kelly-Across-the-Street
featured occasionally in my
Momma Mindy’s Moments blog.

 

It makes it extra fun to come to Gwamma’s house AND
have a best friend across the street.

 

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Plus, it adds life to our Gifted and Talented Class with only one student.

 

 

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We popped a few and lost a few over the fence.

 

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Volleyball didn’t quite work out and neither did catch.

It  wasn’t a long-lasting thrill.

Maybe our kids have too many toys to be thrilled by a balloon.

Maybe a balloon isn’t that fun.

Maybe Laura made it seem so fun so butchers for the next 100 years
would be selling bladders.

Maybe if you’d never owned a ball in your life,
it would have been a blast.

It’s really, really hard to walk a mile in Laura’s shoes,
and be thankful for the bladder entertainment,
so it makes her writings even more special.

But maybe our activity wasn’t that special because we didn’t have Dad yelling,

 

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“Bladder up!”