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Since most of my updating is done via Instagram these days I thought I'd add a section that links to my feed. Click on any of the pictures to get an enlarged version. I hope you enjoy the pics:

Friday, September 30, 2011

End of the First Quarter

Where has the time gone!?!

The first 9 weeks of our 2011/2012 school year is done!

Report cards have been printed and parent/teacher conference held!

Overall, everyone is doing well.  Abigail is making mostly As and Bs in her school work and we're pleased with her attitude and willingness to do school.  Though Art is her favorite subject, she struggles a bit with wanting me to do things for her.  So, we'll have to work on that.

Nathan is struggling a bit more making Cs and Ds but we are seeing alot of progress with him which is encouraging.  After discussing things with Marion, I think we'll slow the pace down a bit and do more reviewing.  In retrospect, I think alot of our attitude and struggles have been an overloading of information.  Boys just don't sit like girls do and so I'm thinking smaller sessions will be much more beneficial with lots of repetition.  We'll make a few changes this next quarter and see how things progress.

Jonny is a hoot.  He loves making his playdough colors and begs to do school like the big kids.  Even on days when I have several things for him to do, he asks for more.  If only that attitude would stay.  I often hear him singing his version of the ABCs and though I correct his errors, he still proudly belts it out!

Being so involved with my children's education and seeing how they learn and develop has been such a blessing.  A blessing I need to remember on those days when Nathan and I clash or Abi is being stubborn.  God has truly blessed us.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

My Tire

Yep, that was my tire just moments after we left Kids4Truth!  The jury is still out on whether my tire was flat before I left K4T or if it blew once I was gone.  All I know is that I was driving down the road just fine and then WHOOSH my tail was swerving all over the road and I tried to stop as quickly as possible without locking my brakes - since the anti-lock brakes aren't working right.

After I calmed down, calmed the kids down, and checked the tire.  I turned off the car, called Marion, and got out the manual to figure out how to get the spare tire out from under the van.  I was about 1/2 done when Marion showed up with the pickup and air compressor.  (we weren't sure if the spare would have enough air in it)

After Marion finished changing the tire, we started home at about 20-25 miles per hour, making sure not to stress the compressed spare we have.  We finally made it home at around 9:15 pm. (K4T gets out at 7:20)

I was a bit shaken and very dirty but PRAISE GOD WE DIDN'T HAVE A BAD ACCIDENT!  Praise God we were all safe and all turned out well.  I cannot tell you how thankful I am for that very Hand of Protection that I know was with us!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's a busy time...

Today, Marion took a sample cutting of the corn on the Kennedy place.  The first few cuts around a field of corn are always the most intense as he gets the settings right on the combine and cuts against the rows.  But after that, he follows the rows back and forth and it isn't as intense.  Cutting corn is a totally different experience from wheat - it is much more important to cut with the rows of corn.

When we took the sampling to the elevator, the moisture was 14, so Marion decided to cut the field.  Since Dad is busy drilling wheat, it will be a much slower process as Marion combines until the truck is full and then drives the truck into town to dump it.

As I mentioned above, Dad is busy drilling wheat.  We got a new drill this past year which allows them to cover more ground than previous years.  Here is a picture of our new tractor and our new drill hard at work:

In previous years, Marion would field cultivate just ahead of dad as he drilled.  This year, they did things a bit different and Marion cultivated all the fields and then dad is now drilling them.  There was one field that needed reworked as some volunteer was creeping up, so I got a picture of Marion doing that.

Marion tried to move to the next field of corn to harvest, but the moisture level was at 19 so he'll have to wait a few more days to continue harvesting.  But there are lots of other things around the farm to keep him busy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gratitude is Transforming

So, I was just laying in bed trying to sleep and this thought hit me.  It was so rattling to me that I got up and decided to blog about it.  What was that thought you might be asking?

I'm so thankful I can hear my washing machine running!


"What?" you might be asking.  Well, let me explain:

Nigh 8 years now I've been griping and complaining that my washing machine is in my kitchen.  The very kitchen that everyone uses to enter my house.  The very kitchen that is the most used room in our house.  The very kitchen that gets cluttered and dirty faster than any other room.  It has been the bane of my existence to find ways to keep the first impression room from looking like a pig sty and I don't succeed very often.  For almost 2 years now I have been begging, screaming, crying, manipulating, and any other "ing" I could come up with to get an addition that consisted of a new laundry room.  And what has happened?


That's right.  Nothing.

And then all of a sudden, I'm laying in bed and I realize, I'm thankful!  I'm thankful that I can hear when my laundry is done.  I'm thankful my laundry is close enough that I can switch it easily.  I'm thankful that my laundry is located in such a place that I don't have to stop my life to do laundry but incorporate my laundry into my life.  I'm thankful that my laundry is so closely located to the door so that I don't have to haul it throughout the house to use my clothesline!

WOW...I'm actually thankful that my washer and dryer ARE in my kitchen!

Now, if that isn't a God thing...I don't know what is.  Through my choice to be grateful, God has transformed my heart in areas I didn't even expect.  I chose to start being grateful for one thing...then three things...then five things...then everything!  The freedom that has come from turning my eyes away from the discontent and focusing on what there is to be thankful for has been truly life changing!

So here is my challenge to YOU!  Comment on 5 things you are thankful for.  FIVE things God has given you.  FIVE things that give you hope.  FIVE things that you couldn't live without because you've been so blessed.  If you can't find 5, then list 3...list something, because we each have at least one!  If you are still at a loss...ask God to reveal something to you...He won't let you down!

And there is one person in particular who I issue this challenge to most of all..I give this challenge especially to you!  I know you are reading this, and I know you NEED this!  If you can tear your eyes off of all the things that have let you down, disappointed you, and failed you...and turn your eyes to the One that never will, healing will begin.  Stop wishing for changes to take place in others, and seek God for the changes that need to happen in you FIRST!

I love you Christ...have peace and gratitude!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to My 40 year old Man!

Edited due to TMI - I love my man and am not ashamed of that - but do not desire to embarrass him either. For those that were exposed to the TMI...I apologize.  :0)

Anyway, my Man turned forty today!  (we have it on good authority that his official time of birth was around 3:00 p.m. but hey we celebrated all day anyway)

Abigail was very sweet and got up early to make him a card and sing him "Happy Birthday"! She did this all on her own without any prompting from me.  Then we all started getting ready for church and headed that way.  

After church we had cake in honor of his birthday and thanks to Marla we have some beautiful cakes!

We had Chocolate, White, and a Strawberry with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting!

 Ten years ago, on Marion's 30th birthday, I made him a small Black Cherry Forest Cake and he loved it!  I don't think I've made him one since then.  If I did, I don't remember it.  Well, since my Man has been so into reminicing, he asked for one on this birthday.  So, I asked Marla to make him one (since I was busy making a bunch of food for the luncheon afterward).  She did an amazing job!

For those of you who don't know...I was forbidden to give Marion a party!  So when the guys (Don and Bob Koops) asked if I was going to 'say' anything, I told them I couldn't but they sure could if they wanted to!  Here Don is giving Marion some good attention:

You can see how red he started to turn in this next one as everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to him and then the traditional 'Hip, Hip, Hooray!'

Turning 40 must have gotten to him cuz he went and got his eyes checked after FIFTEEN YEARS!  He got some handsome new glasses and now my Man is even more handsome than ever!

See that arched eyebrow...whooohoooo!
 Thanks for sharing in the fun of Marion's 40th birthday (and for putting up with my

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Old Settler's Day 2011

It's that time of year again...Smith Center's Old Settler's Day Celebration and Parade!

This year we were blessed to sit next to our friends the Hall family.  The kids had a great time sharing the parade with them.  

first arriving and getting settled.

waiting with the Hall kids for the parade to start

all lined up and ready for CANDY

Ethan waving 'after the fact'

Grandpa Schlatter driving by on the tractor!

all the kids covering their ears from the loud blasting horns.
It was great fun to see the kids interacting with their friends and enjoying the parade.  Afterward, we all got in line together for the free barbecue meal at the bank.  We then met up with the Haresnapes and got to visit with them some too.

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Fall Bonfire and Hayrack Ride

Marion's brother Mark and his family have started coming up to the farm each fall for a farm bonfire and hayrack ride.  This year they came on the weekend of Old Settler's Day.  So after a day of fun with the Halls and the parade, we headed to Grandma's and had more fun.

hay rack set up and ready to go

Cousin C

Eating Supper
Cousin E, Jonny, Abi, Cousin B, Nathan

E got put outside next to Mommy...
it was a bit cooler out there.

Marion's Aunt Jean and Cousin Paula were visiting.

filling up our plates

the bonfire all stacked up and the kids playing around

playing with the marshmallow guns

all aboard the hay rack ride

It's a little blurry but you can see everyone who went on this years ride.

a beautiful sunset

sitting around the bonfire

Aunt Sharlyn stopped by for a bit.

roasting marshmallows for smores
We have such a great time and look forward to many more years of Harvest Bonfires and Hayrack Rides.

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Land of Travane History

Travane is a small country in the middle of the Continent.  The basis for Travane's survival is hidden in the mountainous regions contained within its borders - a unique ore that when ground and added to bricks, ceramics, and pottery strengthens them and can also color them based on various additives.  The trade of Kyran to the Continent and special decorative wares produced solely in Travane keeps the land stable and wealthy.

Travane is governed by a tri-union monarchy.  The RioArd Resorvan and two elected Resorvan jointly lead the Counsel of Government (CoG).  The CoG consists of the nine most prominent nobles of the land.  The CoG meets with the three Resorvan in counsel, but the RioArd Resorvan has final and absolute control.  The largest city and capital of Travane is Sarvoné, with the elected Resorvan reigning in Carvené and Darvine - the other two largest cities.  The RioArd Resorvan's title is passed down from generation to generation as a monarchy should be within the royal family.  However, the other two Resorvan in the CoG are elected by the people - though often times it is the wealthiest of men who achieve election.

The current RioArd Resorvan is Perdon of Sarvoné.  He married according to his father's wishes Herseré Arlona of Darvine.  RioArd Resorvan Perdon and RioArd Resorvané Arlona have three children, CherRio Sage (24), CherRené Elona (21), and CherRené Rayna (18).  As according to tradition, when CherRio Sage came of age at 21 he married Herseré Tamia (now 21) of Darvine.  CherRené Elona also married when she came of age at 18 to Herser Kamar (now 24) of Carvené.  Having no other eligible suitors among the CoG, RioArd Resorvan Perdon has been forced to consider suitors outside of Travane for CherRené Rayna who has just come of age.

The Family de Carvené is Resorvan Feldrik and Resorvané Genevé.  They have three children including twin sons Herser Makré (24) and CherRio Kamar and a daughter Herseré Onevé (18) - best friend of CherRené Rayna.  Not wanting to compete with his brother, the new CherRio, Herser Makré left the land to go east to Morat.

The Family de Darvine is Resorvan Vence and Resorvané Demilia.  Herseré Inya (23) and CherRené Tamia are their children.  Herseré Inya married outside of the royal family and CoG and lives elsewhere in the land.

In the royal house, only the RioArd Resorvan's children carry the titles of CherRio and CherRené.  The wife of a Resorvan receives the joining title of Resorvané upon appointment but their children are Herser and Herseré as are all other nobles in the land.  When a noble person marries into the RioArd Resorvan's family, their title is changed to represent their new station in line for the royal throne.

Copyright ©2011 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter


Kittens Fall 2011

I haven't done the best job of taking pictures of this year's litter but we have been taming down 5 kittens for the past week.  The kids are superb at it and we have high hopes for these kittens to remain tame.  Of the last litter, Nancy and Margelo are so tame they follow you around and try to go for walks with us.  

Marion said he thought there were maybe a couple more kittens from a different litter in the barn, but they were still far to little to take away from their we'll see what we do with them. However, here are is a shot of three of the kittens after we put them back in the barn.  We had three white kittens, a brown/orange kitten, and a black kitten with a mask.  (My favorite is the black one...we haven't had a black kitten for a long time if ever.) Since we can't tell the white ones apart, the kids called them snowball, cottonball, and fluffy - they actually can tell which one is fluffy when they are all together though.

Three of the kittens:  Fluffy, Masquerade, and Tiger

This is the kids outside doing chores...just threw that one in cuz I thought it was cute.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Glossary of Travane

**The following Glossary will grow and change as the story progresses, please check back frequently as new terms appear.**

Arlona (ahr-LOHN-uh) -wife of Pedro, current RioArd Resorvané
BerRa (bair-RAH) -settlement in the northern provence
Brytan (brahy-TAN) -best friend of Wyat
capto (cap-TOH) -leader of a settlement
Carvené (kair-VEN-ay) -third largest city of Travane, center of the southern provence, home of Resorvan Feldrik's family
CherRené (shair-ren-ay) -heir to the throne by blood, daughter of the RioArd Resorvan
CherRio (shair-REE-oh) -heir to the throne by blood, son of the RioArd Resorvan
Commandant (kom-uhn-DAHNT) -appointed by the RioArd, in charge of military, currently Zan
Consuler (KON-suhl-air) -appointed by the RioArd, in charge of social relations, currently Vogah
Corté (KOHR-tay) -members of the nobility and Counsel of Government
Counsel of Government -nine nobles of the land, three appointed by the RioArd, six elected (three from the north, three from the south)
Curator (kyoo-REY-ter) -appointed by the RioArd, in charge of treasury, currently Lenar
Darvine (dahr-VAHYN) -second largest city of Travane, center of the northern provence, home of Resorvan Vence's family
Demilia (de-MIL-yuh) -wife of Vence, Resorvané of Darvine
Elona (e-LOHN-uh) -daughter of Pedro and Arlona, CherRené
Feldrik -elected Resorvan of Carvené
femédam (fem-ay-DAHM) -noblewoman's maid
Genevé (jen-uh-VAY) -wife of Feldrik, Resorvané of Carvené
Hallay (ha-LEE) -daughter of Serveté and Raygan
Herser (hair-SAIR) -male noble
Herseré (hair-SAIR-ay) -female noble
Inya (EEN-yuh) -daughter of Vence and Demilia, married outside of nobility
Jeroha (JER-oh-uh) -high vescavo stationed in the castle of Sarvoné
Kamar (kuh-MAHR) -twin son of Feldrik and Genevé, married CherRené Elona
Kyran (kahy-RAN) -ore found in the mountains of Travane
LaHar (luh-HAR) -mountainous settlement in the northern provence
Maukré (maw-KRAY) -twin son of Feldrik and Genevé, friends with Nikalon
Menové (men-OH-vay) -settlement in the southern provence
Morat (MOHR-at) -neighboring coastal country east of Travane, vital for exporting via the coast
Nikalon (nik-uh-LAWN) -son of the Resorvan of Morat, heir to the Morat throne
Onevé (oh-NEE-vay) -daughter of Feldrik and Genevé, best friend of CherRené Rayna
padrone (pad-ROHN) -nobleman's aide
Paraté (pair-ah-TAY) -settlement in the southern provence
payson (PAY-suhn)   -commoner
Pedro (PED-roh) -RioArd Resorvan, sovereign of Travane, son of LaSar (luh-SAHR)
Raygan (RAY-gan) -wife of Serveté
Rayna (Ray-nuh) -daughter of Pedro and Arlona, CherRené
Resorvan (rez-or-VAHN) -male sovereign
Resorvané (rez-or-VAHN-ay) -female sovereign
RioArd (ree-oh-ARD) -highest
Sage (sayj) -son of Pedro and Arlona, CherRio
Sarvoné (sahr-vohn-ay) -capital city of Travane, home of the RioArd Resorvan family
Severté (sev-AIR-tay) -Capto of LaHar
Tamia (tuh-MEE-yuh) -daughter of Vence and Demilia, married CherRio Sage
Vence (vens) -elected Resorvan of Darvine
Vescavo (ves-CAH-voh) -servants of the Divine
Wyat (wahy-AT) -son of Serveté and Raygan
Yyvan (EE-vahn -femédam to CherRené Rayna

Copyright © 2011 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Monday, September 19, 2011

A cute quote from Abi...

Abi:  "Mom, how old are you?"

Me:  "What honey?"

Abi:  "Aren't you like 23 or something?"

Me:  "No honey, I'm 34.  I'm ancient now."

Abi:  "So then that would make Daddy like 90 right?"

To Brag on My MAN...

The clothes line pole BEFORE!

The Clothes Line AFTER!
My Man is so on the ball I can hardly keep up with him :0)  Shurrre soon as I got the clothes off the line, there was scraping going on and then in came the paint!

My Man got some paint on my I had to 'wash it' in gasoline...
so I'm airing it out before I bring into the house to wash.

Look how absolutely shiny and beautiful my poles look now!
Thanks Hubby!  You are my MAN!

Just for the Beauty of it...

Here you can see all 5 lines in use!
I know the time for hanging clothes outside is drawing near an end for another year and just couldn't refuse sharing the beautiful sight of clothes blowing in the breeze.  (Please excuse the unpainted clothes line poles...I guess I'll have to add that to Marion's honey do list :0)

hahaha...Marion just saw this and told me he was headed to paint them when he noticed the clothes on the line and decided against think I'll go take them down so he can paint!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our Boating Adventure

We attended the Beloit Heart Choices Walk, Run, Bike for Life Event.  As part of the event they had various drawings and door prizes.  One of the prized our family got was a battery operated motor boat. After playing in the bathtub with it for hours, Daddy finally came up with the suggestion of taking it to the pond south of our house.  This is what occurred:

Trying to find a good launching location.

First launching.

And launching again.

Chasing down the boat.

Trying to retrieve it without falling in.

And a longer trip in circles.
After awhile the children broke the tiller and thought the boat was ruined so they brought it back to us.  I wanted to see if it would still work and launched it out into the deep.  The little boat went in circles and more circles, and more circles but wouldn't come back to shore and the kids were panicked we'd never get it back.  We watched as it crossed the entire pond in circles until the battery died out and then the waves carried it over to the far shore.  It was quite the lesson in patient persistence!

Walk, Run, Bike for Life

For years, we have heard about the Walk Run Bike for Life that is sponsored by Heart Choices in Beloit.  This year, Marion decided that our family would participate in the walk/run.  

As the kids and I joined the walk, we stopped at the courthouse to offer up some prayers and thoughts of meditation about life.  I was asked to read one of the prayers.  We were glad to have the Tanis family there to walk with and visit during the whole event.

Abi was sitting by Holly and you can see the three boys back by the tree with Matt.

Jan Tanis reading her portion.

gathered around waiting for the kids runners to finish...
Jeff and Marla Koops (and family) came too.

a picture of our family sitting on the hill
(don't ask me WHAT Abi was doing...)

the kids had a great time pushing Ethan around in the wagon.

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter