Good Night 2014, Good Morning 2015!

I am so sorry it has been so long since I have posted anything.  I don’t think there has ever been such a large gap.  I hope this year is full of much writing.  I always have the best intentions and as some of you know all to well I can lack the follow through.  There is part of me that just wanted to jump right into 2015.  To tell you all about my hopes and dreams of this year.  After all we are already over a week in, but…  I really felt I did such a terrible job of  capturing 2014 here that I at least needed to say Good night to it.

Here is this years Christmas letter;Merry Christmas

It is late December and once again I find myself sitting here reflecting on our year. 2014 has been a full year, filled with busyness and blessings. It is hard to know where to start.

Perhaps I will begin with the very end of 2013 and a bad toothache. I happened to squeeze in the last appointment before our dentist closed for Christmas and right before we left for our annual trip to Niagara. The news was what I had feared the tooth was abscessed, they did a quick repair job and the tooth would need a full repair in the New Year complete with a hefty price tag.

Fast forward to the New Year with me in a dentist chair, dreading the appointment, however when my dentist came in we had a conversation that I would never have expected. She asked how Joel was doing? I gave a brief update on him, and then she asked me if I was familiar with Rachel’s Kids the children’s charity she heads up. She explained that this year they wanted to do something new, and they wanted to give kids a special moment of joy and grant a wish, they wanted Joel to be one of the 1st kids to receive one.

Having been dreading the impending dental work I was quite taken aback and mentioned that Joel had already received a wish from Make A Wish. She reassured me that this was something they wanted to do for Joel. She told me to go home and ask Joel if there was anything he had always wanted. So I did. In true Joel style he nodded his head soberly and in all seriousness announced he had always wanted an indoor pool. We told him to think a wee bit smaller. Making a rather long story short, we were blessed with a 27-foot, salt water above ground pool complete with deck, lifejackets, dingy and a plethora of pool toys.Joel pool pic

This was not to be our only huge surprise this year while all the details were being worked on for the pool there was another group of amazing folks busy at work. Ever so quietly without Dave or I knowing our church community had decided they wanted to do something incredible for us. They knew that we were a one… umm large van family, and could really use a second vehicle.

As we sat in church one Sunday our Pastor was finishing his sermon on Acts 2 when he then said he had had the privilege of belonging to a church once where there was this family, a large family, they had 4, no 5, could be 6 kids. One of their children had health issues. Mom was home with the kids doing her best and Dad was working hard. They had a big vehicle to fit all those kids but it wasn’t the greatest for the Dad driving back and forth to work. At this point Dave leans over and says, “You know, he’s not talking about us.” I was thinking are yah sure, it sounds like us. Our pastor went on to say that the church got together and bought them a little Toyota, and not only that they got such a good deal on the vehicle that they were able to give the family $500 in gas cards and another $2000 to cover licensing and any future car expenses.

It was at this point that our pastor picked up the keys to a car and an envelope and handed them to Dave and I. It has been several months now that we have been driving that little car around, what a fantastic vehicle. Words cannot adequately describe how loved and cared for we feel.

On our wee homestead things have been busy again this year! Now the guys will not be impressed with me because I honestly do not remember the numbers, but we had more chicks hatch out this year. We also ordered some specialty breeds to round out our laying hens. For the first time ever we did meat chickens and we were able to put 50 birds in the freezer. Butchering days were not for everyone in the family but Joshua, Joel, and Hannah were all very interested and learned how to pluck a chicken and how to cut off the feet. I would not have guessed that would be so interesting to them.

In late Autumn Dave hosted his 1st (perhaps annual) Chicken Cull Extravaganza. He opened it up to anyone who wanted to come and learn how to butcher a chicken, surprisingly folks came.

It was a cooler summer and some things did not do as well in the garden as we would have liked but we were able to expand the garden and grew a few new things. Our strawberries were phenomenal we had a bumper crop, can’t wait for the other berries to catch up.

Our children all continue to grow, this year saw Elijah turn 16, Taliah 14, Joshua 11, Joel 9, Hannah 7 and Samuel 3.Christmas Card pic 2014

Elijah continues to enjoy the Air Cadets, this summer he left for 3 weeks for Survival Camp and had a great time. His interests continue to broaden and I look forward to seeing where his interests will lead.Air Cadet

Taliah continues to amaze us with her artistic abilities she is very creative. She too left us for a week this summer and had a fabulous time away. I love watching her exploring the world more and more. Taliah continues to grow in her knitting and crocheting skills. Taliah has been growing in her faith and decided to move forward in making it her own and was baptized.my tal

Joshua is at that age where he teeters between boy and man. He is a real thinker and we see him already planning his future. He felt it was important to learn how to butcher a chicken so he would know how to when he is grown. He held on to his birthday money for sometime finally deciding on an axe and enjoys chopping wood. Joshua has also learned to knit this year.josh2

Joel is growing, literally, 10cm since beginning growth hormone injections. He needs to do the injections 6 days a week and he handles it like a pro. He still struggles scholastically and with his speech but he continues to make small gains. He lost a sweet buddy this year, Odee, the therapeutic horse he rode past away. Joel took this news hard. I truly believe that horse played a huge role in Joel’s healing we miss him greatly. Joel has also learned to swim without his lifejacket this year.Joel Fast pic2

Hannah continues to be our charming ball of energy. She too has learned to swim without a lifejacket. She is interested in all kinds of animals she is becoming quite the artist too. She has also learned to knit. Her new favourite thing to do though is dance. She loves to go and has said she just might dance for the rest of her life. She is taking Step Dance and Highland Dance.Hannah 7

Last, but he would definitely make it known that he is not least, Samuel. Oh my, he is funny. He keeps us on our toes. He is an incredible storyteller. Some of the tales he weaves are pretty tall though. He loves to help and he will gladly follow Dave around in the garden. He has been found munching on peas, strawberries, raspberries, or carrots. He has a wonderful imagination and will amuse himself by setting up little worlds with his toys, he is a delight to watch.Samuel in the garden

As for Dave and I we just try and keep up with it all. We started a group in our home just over a year ago, we meet every other Saturday and share a potluck meal together while enjoying some great fellowship, we started out as 3 families and have grown to a group of over 50 people if everyone shows up, so far our max has only been 39 though.

We are also enjoying the warmth of a new woodstove we had installed this year makes me feel like a real Homesteader. Well I guess those are the highlights of 2014. We wish you and yours the very best in 2015 and a Blessed Christmas too!

God Bless you all!

Rosh Hashanah and looking to Yom Kippur…

Perhaps not the title you would expect to find on an ‘On the Old Path’ post, but stay with me.

This school year may be categorized as the year we find ourselves.  I have not written a ton about Homeschooling for many reasons.  Frankly, there are some parts of our lives I seem to leave out entirely.  As a Homeschooler I have been at it for several years, I have looked at unschooling, classical, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf etc.  I have tried very structured curriculums, and the fly by the seat of your pants and figure it out as you go approach.  At times I can be a people pleaser to a fault, if I am going to embrace a teaching method I have felt on occasion that I need to go 100% or not at all.

The thing is many Charlotte Mason homeschoolers are diehards, Waldorf homeschoolers perhaps even more so than Mason.  What I am finding is there are bits and pieces of each that we love and other parts that just are not who we are.  I have several kids with dyslexia, and one with severe learning disabilities, which has sent us on a very different journey than I ever expected I would take.

I can still remember going to my first homeschool meeting before Elijah was even ready for Kindergarten.  I thought he would ever so easily pick up reading and we would have this picturesque adventure in learning together.  It has been anything but easy at times, I wouldn’t trade it for the world though.

Once it became clear that Joel was not going to learn like the ‘average’ child we began searching for something that might help him.  I am still looking, but we have a few things that seem to fit his style of learning.  This year Joel is learning about the Jewish culture,  we are looking at many Old Testament stories as well as the different festivals and customs of the Jewish people.  So as a family, in our own little way, we celebrated Rosh Hashanah.Apples and honey

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish new year.  I love new beginnings, new years, new school years, a fresh journal, a fresh canvas.  As we welcomed the Jewish New Year we looked forward to what the next 12 months might just hold for us.  We thanked God for the past 12 months, and the multitude of blessings He has already gifted us.

A common practice is to wish folks a sweet new year, and apples and honey are often used as an outward visible sign of this wish.  We enjoyed some very sweet Honey-crisp-apples (that I thought were sweet enough all on their own) with Honey!  The kids loved the honey part.

We also made Challah bread.  I tried doing a roundish loaf I saw on Pinterest, mine however did not turn out quite the same, but was tasty just the same.  We enjoyed this with some pomegranates.  We read that one might wish another as many blessings as there are seeds in a pomegranate. (That is a lot of blessings).Challah

Yom Kippur begins this Friday evening.  I still have not decided how closely our family will follow the tradition of fasting that accompanies this reflective time.  Yom Kippur is, The Day of Atonement. Obviously, as a Christian family this day will look different for us.  However, I think it is still a good practice to spend some time looking at our lives, praying, and considering what areas God might just be calling on us to change.

I am hoping to share more of our ‘Homeschooling Journey’ as we come into our own.  We are setting our own traditions. I am finally shedding the books and ideas that just don’t work for us.  I am leaving guilt and judgement behind, and finally spreading our wings and letting us all learn in ways that work for us even if it does not fit with the norm.

Back in the Swing of Things

first day

Ah September, oh how I love you and the new beginnings you bring.  I am rather shocked that I have blogged so few times this year.  It also makes it hard to know where to begin again.  There are so many things I want to share here.  The kids are all growing and changing.  The garden […]

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Joel

chicken wrangler

To those of you who have been waiting on a Joel update it is finally here and there is much to rejoice over. I am still torn up inside over whether or not we made the right choice to put Joel on growth hormone.  Over a year ago Joel failed his test to see if […]

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Happy Canada Day!!

Observing Nature

I know I have been neglecting this poor old blog terribly.  If I have said it once I know I have said it many times, “I do want to write more regularly!”  I love to write and it acts as a lovely journal for us to look back on as a family.  Sadly the past year […]

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The Church Being the Church…

Our fam and new car

I often think if you look for it you can see God’s fingerprints everywhere, today was a day where it was almost hard to pick them out, not for a lack of them, but because there were just so many of them, layer upon layer. It is hard to know where to begin… Dave and […]

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Glimpse of the Past in the Present

Hannah old fashion

I just recently realized that I did not post this.  While there is snow in the first picture it really wasn’t that long ago that we were still bundling up to head outside.   Do you ever wish you were born in another time? As a girl I wished I was going off to school […]

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Embracing Joy…

Embracing Joy

I have had some thoughts milling around in my mind.  I wanted to share it here.  Some folks might find it odd that I would put it out there to the world but quite frankly as I have so neglected this poor blog I am not sure that there are that many people who will […]

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Marking Time…

Joel 9

We mark time in all sorts of ways, weeks, months, seasons, years, birthday and anniversaries.  Most are enjoyable, but not all of these are pleasant, yet we still mark time by them.  It has been 4 years since… Today as I woke up, I was tired, I have been fighting off some form of a […]

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Hand & Homemade Mondays: Practise Makes Perfect

Knitting

Welcome to Hand & Homemade Mondays, a weekly link up of all the creative things we have been up to.  Feel free to share anything Hand or Homemade.  It can be something you have sewn, knit, crocheted.  A painting, a piece of furniture you have re-finished, woodworking, you name it.  It can even be a new […]

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