We were very thankful, a few weeks ago, when Mr. Diligence requested baptism. He had committed his life to the Lord over two years ago, and we have been watching him grow in his walk with God since then. We set the date for the baptism for the 4th of August. We were thankful to have a number of friends present for the occasion. One of these friends shared the photos she took so I could share them here—thank you!




Here is a video of the baptism.

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It’s not every day you can actually see your laundry drying before your eyes. I ran outside to grab something, though, and when I glanced at the clothesline I could see a cloud of steam rising. Five minutes later, that effect was gone. In this picture, the haze is steam! It’s a brilliant, sunny day here, now that the morning fog has dissipated. I happen to be home alone for a few hours; Gayle took the boys to Greymouth to watch a friend try out his longline in the ocean at high tide (they’re hoping he catches lots of fish!), and Esther went along to do some shopping. Maybe later today I’ll have time to put together a post about Mr. Diligence’s baptism; for now I’m making granola and soap and working on a batch of beef broth—as well as doing laundry!


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June 2018 Pictures

Oops! Here we are in August, and I just realized I haven’t shared the last few miscellaneous photos from June!

When we were in Cheviot in May, a lady we visited gave Little Miss a packet of heart-shaped beads she had bought and saved to give to some little girl. I helped her get them strung one day, and she’s been wearing her bead string around her neck a lot.


I asked Mr. Sweetie one day to get a picture of our cow. The house directly across the road, on the right of the picture, is ours.


For two months I have been taking Esther and Simon to town to practice driving. Esther successfully got her driver license about a month ago, and Simon this week, so we don’t have to do that anymore! One of those days, we drove out on the north breakwater at the mouth of the Grey River. The mountains were so clear that day—it was gorgeous! I zoomed in with my camera, hoping to capture the scene, but this comes nowhere close to showing the real beauty of it. The car in the picture is on the south breakwall.


We see a lot of rainbows here! This was out the bay window in our living room one morning.


I love seeing my boys working with their daddy! This is Simon helping Gayle cut firewood to length.


Mr. Sweetie and Little Miss visiting the cow. Unfortunately, we discovered about the time this picture was taken that she had slipped her calf, and as a result we had to give her up. We don’t have feed for a pet this size. One of those hard things in life….


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Product Review—Timeline of the American Revolution

I have used timeline figures printed by Home School in the Woods for many years. Back in Michigan, I put a butcher-paper timeline all around our living room, up at the ceiling. I wanted to show 6,000 years of world history, with 1 foot per 100 years, so it was 60 feet long. Yes, we had a large living room! As we read books for history, we would put up the stickers we got with pictures on them of the people and events we were studying. I threw that timeline away when we moved, though, because it was getting old and brittle and wasn’t worth transporting overseas. I made a new one out of cloth, and hung it around the top of the hallway in a house we lived in for four years. We added many more timeline figures to that one—but now it’s been packed away for four years because we moved to a very small house and haven’t had room for it since. I do like the idea of timelines, though, so when I got to choose an item to review from Home School in the Woods, I chose the Timeline of the American Revolution from their À La Carte Timelines collection. In our study of American history this year, we haven’t quite made it to the Revolution, so we put the timeline together and we will be referring to it as we work our way through those years. Home School in the Woods

I really like this timeline. It not only has the dates, 1-IMG_4781it also has all the events they drew pictures of printed on the timeline in light gray, so it is very easy to glue the pieces on. I printed it on ordinary paper, trimmed one side of each sheet, and glued the pages together. Then, I accordion-folded it to make it compact. It’s about the length of our kitchen table when it’s spread out. Over the past several weeks, I’ve been having my three youngest boys coloring the four pages of very nice pictures when they have time, and this week, I had them cut out all the pictures. We glued 2-IMG_4789them in place and talked about some of the events as we went. Mr. Sweetie finished the last few pictures this morning, and located some of the people I read about in the story I was reading at the moment, about a Quaker woman in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. I really like this timeline, and the ease of using it. I’m looking forward to trying out more timelines from them in the future.


Home School in the Woods has many other product lines, as well. They specialize in hands-on history projects in various formats, many of which look quite fascinating to me. They have just released a new product which sounds fun, Project Passport: Ancient Rome, which completes their Project Passport World History Study. I have a feeling my boys wouldn’t enjoy a project like this, but maybe someday Little Miss will and I’ll get the chance to try it out myself! The lapbooks look like a good way to organize what children are learning from history, as well. If you need something to make learning history more fun, definitely check out this company. They have some great products! Hands-on-History, Project Passport, À La Carte Timelines and Time Travelers {Home School in the Woods Reviews} Crew Disclaimer

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Pancake Rocks

We can’t take visitors to Gore Bay now—but we have Pancake Rocks only an hour’s drive away! When some friends came to visit us a couple of weeks ago, we took them to the famous place with its amazing layers of rocks stacked up like pancakes.

Do you see who is driving? Gayle and I rarely drive anymore!


We were standing on this bridge, telling our friend the story of how one time Simon lured people to stand here long enough to get them wet when the blowhole beside it erupted. She said, “If only we could see it blow just once—” and it did! We had thought there wouldn’t be any action that day, since the sea was so calm. There were several eruptions in a row, and then it was quiet again—what a gift, though!






We ate lunch at the visitor’s centre, where there were hardly any people. We enjoyed the peace and quiet, and the beautiful sunshine! Mr. Imagination and his friend reconnected quickly and were inseparable for the whole weekend—so cute! Here, they are playing in a tiny grove of palm trees.


I’m afraid you might see more pictures of Pancake Rocks—just like you used to see a lot of Gore Bay! If you come to visit, we’ll take you there and you can see it in person.

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Product Review—Northwest Treasures

Many members of our family are quite interested in geology, especially in the context of Creation and the Flood. When I had the opportunity to sign up to review a course offered by Northwest Treasures, several of us thought it would be useful. There are six video classes in Geology and Apologetics, the course we chose, and each class lasts from 10 to 20 minutes. Each of them is a lecture by Patrick Nurre, illustrated with a slideshow of photographs and quotes. Only four of us ended up watching the entire series—Gayle and I, Esther, and Mr. Intellectual. Simon watched for awhile, and Mr. Imagination was in and out through several of them (a delay tactic to avoid bedtime!), but the other boys were not interested and we didn’t require them to watch. Geology and Apologetics Course

Lesson One, Knowing the Scriptures in the Secular Geological Age, gives an introduction to what apologetics is. The Greek word Apologia, from which the word Apologetics comes, is defined, and Mr. Nurre talks about why we need apologetics. The foundation we must lay is to know the Scriptures thoroughly. We appreciated this encouragement, and took the time to read the list of Scripture references he gave in the middle of the talk, but we also believe, as a result of personal experience, that knowledge of the Bible alone is not enough in this particular area. We also need to have real facts from the physical world around us in order to be convinced of the authenticity and truthfulness of the Bible.

Lesson Two, Clarifying the Conflict Between Science and the Bible, explores and defines philosophy, history, and science, and their relationship. We have found these definitions useful already as we discuss various topics.

Lesson Three is titled The Genealogies and Chronologies of Genesis, Are They Accurate and Reliable? Genesis 5 gives a record of the names and lifespans of the 11 patriarchs from Adam to Noah’s sons. It begins with talking about the book, the record of Adam’s family. Mr. Nurre points out that because there is no place in the genealogy for a gap, we can trust the age of the earth as shown in Genesis rather than modern scientists’ statement that the earth is 4.6 billion years old.

Lesson Four talks about Evolutionary Gaps in the Fossil Record, How Serious Are They? Mr. Nurre asks, “Is uniformitarianism science?” One little gem that stood out to us is that rocks are dated based on dates assigned in the 1800s, nearly 100 years before radiometric dating was developed. He also points out the “abundant lack” of transitional forms of fossil animals.

Lesson Five is titled Dinosaur-to-Bird Evolution, the Story that Never Seems to Die. Mr. Nurre discusses Archeopteryx quite a lot. He shows two chronologies purporting to show the evolution of birds—and inserts the dates assigned to these fossils by geologists. The result is fascinating, and shows that these chronologies are a pure fabrication! This was by far our favorite lesson, and as we discussed it, we came to the conclusion that the reason we liked it so well was that he told us where the chronologies he showed came from. The lack of citations or a bibliography in the other lessons made them a lot less meaningful to us.

Lesson Six, Time and Chronology in the Secular Geological Age, shows how the geologic column was developed. I found it fascinating that the rock layers we all know about were named for the geographical locations in which they were found. They were not found stacked up, as the charts show; rather, because of the “need” for proving evolution, and as a result of the development of the evolutionary theory the layers were stacked up based on the fossils found in them.

Each of these lessons ends with four questions for discussion. We didn’t find the questions particularly helpful, because we were already discussing the lessons in some depth. They could be good springboards, however.

Taking the Mystery Out of Geology is a 20-minute bonus video that was included with our review. This is a very informative introduction to geology, and includes definitions of 13 terms used in geology, starting with Science and History. This video points out that geology is the foundation of what we believe about origins and about the earth. It is also done in slideshow format, with Patrick Nurre talking throughout. Take the Mystery out of Geology Online Course

We were disappointed by these lessons, and didn’t feel like they were what we expected. The trailer promised that this course would help us to resolve conflicts and defend our faith. As long as someone already believes that the Bible is true, the information in this series will encourage them and help to shore up their faith, but if we are trying to convince unbelievers or skeptics of the truth of the Bible, the information given here will not be of much help. We have had a number of encounters with unbelievers recently who consider the Bible to be merely a mythical story. Gayle, himself, has been confused in the past about which is true—modern science or the Bible. Because of his experience, and the people he has talked to recently, he feels that we really need evidence from the physical world, not merely from the Bible, to help prove our faith. There is a lot of evidence that has surfaced in recent years that backs up the Bible, which will go a long way toward convincing unbelievers. Some of this was presented in the course, but not enough to be very helpful to us.

I appreciated that the Bible is upheld as the standard of truth. However, as Esther pointed out, no hard proof of the Bible’s trustworthiness was presented; she felt like we were being told to blindly believe it. Also, as I mentioned above, the lack of citations detracted from the information that was presented. If we can’t confirm the facts given, how can we be sure they are true? So, as much as I want to love this course, I can’t truthfully say I do. It could potentially be very good, but we didn’t find it either very interesting or helpful. That may be our problem, since we have spent a lot of time already studying geology and palaeontology; I’m sure some people would get a lot out of this course. On the other hand, some of the other courses offered by Northwest Treasures look helpful. Rock Identification Made Easy looks especially useful; my little ones often ask me what type of rock they have, but I don’t know enough about rocks to answer!

Online Geology Classes{Northwest Treasures Reviews} Crew Disclaimer

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Book Review: Love, Honor and Virtue

Warning: This post may make some people as uncomfortable to read as I was when writing it. I have read a number of blog posts over the past few years on Raising Real Men. They have always been encouraging and convicting. With so many boys in our house, I need help to teach them in the way they should go. Because of all these boys, and some struggles we have faced with them already, I was eager to review Love, Honor, and Virtue: Gaining or Regaining a Biblical Attitude Toward Sexuality, from Great Waters Press. I was not disappointed in this book. It is very helpful to me as a mother, and I hope it will be a helpful tool in discipling our boys. I have started to read it aloud to the older three boys after the younger ones are in bed on Sunday nights, and they seemed to appreciate what they have heard so far, although I still haven’t decided if I’m going to read them the chapter that tells the details about human reproduction!

I hardly know where to start. This is a great book! Hal and Melanie don’t pull any punches—they tell it like it is. They begin by establishing the fact that God created sex and He also created gender. He made you a boy or a girl from conception (you don’t decide at some point what you are), and He created marriage. One point I really liked in the introduction was that in the Bible there are two stages of life—childhood and adulthood. Young men are just that—men—even though they are young. They face men’s temptations. Love Honor and Virtue by Hal and Melanie Young

In chapter two, the authors describe the physical changes that occur in both boys and girls as they go through puberty, and, briefly but in enough detail to satisfy children’s curiosity, how sex works—but then they go on to describe how a baby develops, is born, and how the mother’s body works to nourish the new life, before and after birth. These details are included to impress on young men how the sexual act is not just about a moment of pleasure; rather, there are far-reaching consequences when it is indulged in outside of marriage.

There is a fairly thorough discussion about how God calls us to purity, leaving no room for allowing even lustful thoughts in our minds. Lust is defined, and so is pornography. The authors point out many reasons, both from the Christian and the secular perspective, why pornography is very damaging. Sexting and masturbation are also covered in some depth.

Now, what is a young man to do with all these things he has to face, and battle against? There is an entire chapter devoted to fighting temptation! Yes, this is a hard battle to win, and the authors acknowledge that, but victory is possible, and they give many tips to help a young man who is struggling. Actually, the points they give would help anyone in any battle. And what if when you fall? There is a chapter which deals with that, too! When you begin fighting against sin in your life, there will be times that you give in to temptation and fall into sin again. Don’t give up! Turn to God in repentance, and start over again. This chapter is very encouraging.

The last chapter gives many pointers about how to find the mate God has for you. The authors’ story of how they met and married is also included—what a great story! I definitely want my daughters, as well as my sons, to read this chapter.

I really appreciate this book. Anyone who has sons approaching their teen years should read it. I am thankful that this book has come into our family at this time, although I’ll admit the subject is very uncomfortable to read and talk about. However, I also know that we need to discuss these issues, for the sake of our sons and their futures. When problems are brought out into the open, they can be dealt with, and Love, Honor and Virtue is a great tool to help us, as parents who feel like we’re floundering, to help our young men. Another book from the same authors, which I would also love to read, is No Longer Little: Parenting Tweens With Grace and Hope. This looks very helpful, as well; sometimes I think I don’t know how to parent my older children, and most of the time I’m sure I am totally clueless!

Love, Honor, and Virtue  AND No Longer Little {Great Waters Press Reviews} Crew Disclaimer

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Beef and Noodle Soup

A few days ago when Simon came home from work, he noticed a big pot of beef broth simmering on the stove. That reminded him of the bread soup we used to have at special church meetings, so he put a slice of bread in a bowl and ladled some broth over it. A second slice followed, and a third…. Then he remembered beef and noodles. That sounded so good to him that he dug the noodle maker out of storage and made a batch of noodles that very evening! So, tonight’s menu was beef and noodle soup. After we ate, Esther requested that I post the recipe on here so she can find it. I would never have thought about writing up such a simple recipe, but maybe someone else will be interested, as well.


To make the noodles, mix flour and egg. Simon said he used 3 cups of white flour and 5 eggs. They are small eggs, so it would be a good idea to start with fewer. Just add eggs and flour as needed until you have a stiff, but uniform dough. Then, roll it out. It’s easiest if you have a noodle maker to roll it thin and cut it into noodles, but a rolling pin and knife will work. Sorry, I don’t have any pictures—I didn’t think about writing about making them! After the noodles are cut, hang them on a clothes horse to dry, or lay them in a single layer on baking sheets or a clean cloth laid over a spare bed. Let them dry for a day or so, and then put in an airtight container. Or, you can skip all that and buy egg noodles! The homemade ones taste better, though.

I put about a kilogram (two pounds) of stew beef into the crockpot this morning and covered it with a couple of quarts of water, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and turned it on high. This afternoon, I poured all that into my soup pot and broke up the meat, then added another 2 1/2 quarts of beef broth and brought it to a boil.  When it was boiling, I added the noodles and another couple of teaspoons of salt, and simmered about 10 minutes until the noodles were cooked. Then, we enjoyed the delicious meal! Most of the children added extra salt and pepper.

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Little Pink Gumboots

Why are we living on the West Coast of New Zealand, instead of still in Canterbury? Well, strange as it may sound, the answer to this question can be traced back to a little pair of pink gumboots. Hold on, this tale is a bit convoluted, especially since I don’t want to use the names of our friends, to protect their privacy.


This story begins over two years ago. Our Little Miss had discovered the delights of wearing shoes at a young age, and when she discovered a pair of pink gumboots just about her size, which she could put on by herself and clump around the house in, she was delighted. Esther took a cute picture of her and posted it on the Facebook page of a friend who lived in the far south of this island, because this friend likes gumboots and she likes Little Miss.

Our friend in the south happens to have relatives in Texas who, a few years ago, joined a conservative Mennonite church. These relatives had a trip planned to New Zealand two years ago to visit relatives, and in preparation for the trip the lady was looking at the Facebook pages of some relatives she found that she had never met. One was our friend. The lady from Texas, in scrolling through that page, found the picture of Little Miss, and noticed Esther’s profile picture, in which she was wearing a covering. This caught the eye of Mrs. Texas, and she contacted our friend’s mother, her third cousin, asking about getting in contact with us. Our email address was passed along, and, two years ago last week, we got to meet some new friends, with whom we connected immediately (and incidentally, they made our long trip to America last year much more pleasant by meeting us at the Houston airport and taking us to a park for a picnic!).

Our new Texan friends, after spending a night with us, went on to Nelson, where they went to church with some of their other relatives. At church, they met a man who had recently come out of a Christian community over here on the West Coast. They knew we were interested in meeting people who came out of that community, so they got the man’s email address and passed it on to us. We emailed him, mentioning that we were planning to visit the community for a concert in a couple of days and asking if he had any contacts for us while we were in the area. He contacted friends of his and they emailed us.

We had actually heard of these people who emailed us, from mutual friends a bit farther south of here, and they had heard of us from the same friends. We were invited to spend the night with them after the concert, so we did. We fell in love with this wonderful family, and approximately a year later, Simon moved over here to work for them and do his apprenticeship.

So, in case you were wondering what took us to the West Coast, you can blame it on a little pair of pink gumboots! You never know what will happen when you post a sweet picture on Facebook. God can use anything.


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Our big project for the past month and a half or so has been clearing the land across the road, as I described last week. A few other things have happened in that time, though.

Mr. Intellectual decided he wanted to build a canoe. He took these two sheets of roofing iron and hammered them flat, then riveted them together. He’s been working, when he has a free moment, on crimping down the edges so they won’t be sharp. I’m not sure how he’s planning to waterproof the seam and the ends.


Mr. Diligence needed a way to organize and protect his drill bits, so he built this box.


One evening, a few months after one of the burners on this hob quit working, I was standing beside it finishing cooking the meal. Suddenly I saw a flash of light out of the corner of my eye, and simultaneously felt pain in my eye. With no idea what had happened, I quickly got some cold water from the sink in case I had been burned, and was very relieved to find out I could still see from both eyes. After some investigation, I discovered that the light that turned on to show that a burner was turned on had blown and the cover hit my eyelid (thank God for quick reflexes that close your eye when something is coming toward it!). We had bought a gas hob from a friend after the electric one started going out, and I had been wondering how long it would be till it was installed—it happened the evening the stove blew up on me! I am thoroughly enjoying having a gas hob for the first time since we moved to New Zealand (it’s what I always had in Michigan). It is supplied by a 9 kg (20 lb) cylinder, so we can replace it ourselves. The first cylinder lasted about 3 weeks.


Mr. Diligence found this box one evening, and made “hair” on top of it. It took several tries, but I finally got a picture of him facing me in it.


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