Family Pictures

We thought we’d share our family pictures. It was a cold, windy day. Did I say a cold, windy day! The children still did great and we still got a few good shots thank to Ginger (1-405-314-9532), our photographer. Give her a call, she did great. Here’s a quick preview for the Grandparents of their Christmas gifts. :)

IMG_8807 IMG_8816 IMG_8819 IMG_8822 IMG_8826 IMG_8829 IMG_8832 IMG_8836 IMG_8845IMG_8854See sweet Mary Kate, 4th from the left between the boys. She’s so little and sweet!IMG_8858IMG_8863I love this man. :)IMG_8867IMG_8873IMG_8877The following three are buddy teams.IMG_8887Dylan, Timothy, and HannahIMG_8894

Alyssa, Abigail, and Mary KateIMG_8895

Daniel and Emily. (This one is missing our Sean, he’s in Washington.)

Blessings to everyone!

Fleshmanflock

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We Love Homeschooling!!!

We just finished Wisdom Book 47.

Prayer Requires Effort

Mat 7:7-11 KJV

(7) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

(8) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

(9) Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

(10) Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

(11) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Our character quality was Resourcefulness – Wise use of that which others would normally overlook or discard.

The LORD gave us the perfect life classroom. You see, while doing chores one morning a snake slithered up in the goat yard. Daddy killed it, and then the children dissected the snake, complete with labeled worksheets.  100_3284[1] 100_3300[1] 100_3302[1] The younger ones enjoyed reading about snakes from all over the world, and then they had a great time making paper snakes.100_3314[1] 100_3316[1]The above pictures are of us studying waves.

Alyssa wrote a paper on how seeking the LORD is affected by our heart attitudes.  I thought I would post it as an encouragement to other young ladies.

Seeking the LORD by Alyssa Fleshman

What does it mean to seek the LORD?

Psalm 27:8 says, “When Thou saidst, Seek ye My face; my heart said unto Thee, Thy face, O LORD, will I seek.” In Hebrew, the word seek means “to search out…to strive after: ask, beg, beseech, desire, enquire,,…(make) request, require, seek (for).” In Webster’s New World Dictionary seek means “to try to find; search for, look for…explore…”

 

How do we seek the LORD?

“I love them that love Me; and those that seek Me early shall find me.” (Proverb 8:17) We must seek the Lord early in the morning. He must be first in our lives.

“Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually.” (1 Chronicles 16:11) This is not a one-time deal. We must keep seeking Him.

“But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29) We must seek Him with all our heart, which in this verse means “inner man, mind, will, heart, soul, understanding.” This verse also mentions that we must seek Him with all our soul, which means, soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living, being, desire, emotion, passion.”

 

Why should we seek the LORD?

  • David sought the LORD when he said “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that I will seek after; that I may dwell on the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
  • David sought the LORD because of fear. “I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4)
  • David sought the LORD when he desired to see God’s power and glory. “O God, Thou art my God; early will I seek Thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is; To see Thy power and Thy glory,…” (Psalm 63:1,2)
  • David said to seek the LORD for strength 1 Chronicles 16:11. “Seek the LORD and His strength, seek His face continually.”

 

How does each negative heart condition affect how we seek the LORD?

 

  • If we have a foolish heart, we will not glorify God as we should, and we will not be thankful. (romans 1:21) If we have a wise heart, we will have a proper fear of the LORD (Prov. 9:10), thus giving glory and praise to our Heavenly Father. This will directly affect how we seek God.
  • When we have a deceitful heart (Jer. 17:11), we will not be stable. We will go our own way instead of God’s. When we have a sound heart (Prov. 14.30), we will be firmly rooted in God’s truth, and no one will be able to overthrow us. When a person with a deceitful heart seeks God, he develops a sound heart.
  • If we have a fearful heart, we will become faithless and will be drawn away from the LORD because of a lack of faith. (II Tim. 1:7, Isa.35:3, 4). A understanding heart will consider a situation from God’s point of view, thus avoiding fear.
  • Someone with a proud heart might seek the LORD, but they value their own opinion just as highly as they do God’s. A proud person thinks too much of himself, whereas a contrite heart is humble. A contrite heart realizes how little we are in the sight of our Heavenly Father. God will resist the proud, but give grace to those who are humble. (I Peter 5:5)
  • “A backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways…” (Prov. 14:14) He is obviously not filled with the LORD’s commands, he has fallen away from them, and likely will not even seek the LORD. However, a perfect heart is mature. One with a perfect heart (II Chron. 16:9) is totally open with God, hiding nothing from Him.
  • A person with a double heart is “unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8) He has many conflicting opinions and agendas. He is therefore not firm in his belief in God’s Word. In the Book of James there is clear instruction for those who are of a double heart. “….Cleanse your hands ye sinners and purify your hearts ye double minded.” (James 4:8) A pure heart has no other motives. It had been tried, and only those with a pure heart can stand in the presence of a Holy God.
  • They that are of a forward heart are an abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright their way are His delight.” A forward heart is stubborn, and will not listen to God’s instruction. However, an upright heart in trustworthy, it is reliable, and has been approved by God. (Eccl. 7:29”
  • A perverse heart is crooked, it turns from that which is good and cannot stand for the truth. A clean heart is morally pure, it is free from iniquity and impurity. It is both needed to seek the LORD and comes from seeking the LORD. (Prov. 12:8; Ps. 51:10)
  • A hard heart is stubborn, cruel, and stiff-necked. A broken heart is repentant of its sin. A broken heart is…well, broken. God often has to use extreme things to break our hard hearts. How can we expect God to hear us if we are not repentant for disobeying and grieving Him? “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.”(Psalm 51:17)

A lot of information about the different heart conditions are taken from Wisdom Booklet 47.

 

What rewards come from seeking the LORD?

 

He will not forsake us if we seek Him. “And they shall know Thy name that put their trust in Thee: for Thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek Thee.” –Psalm 9:10

We will praise the LORD. For me, this is very encouraging to think that if I seek Him, I will be able to praise Him better. “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek Him:…” –Psalm 22:26

If we seek Him, He will provide. We will not lack any good. “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.” –Psalm 34:10

We will joyful in Him. Similar to praising, we will magnify the LORD “Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee: let such as love Thy salvation say continually, the LORD be magnified.” –Psalm 40:16

After looking up Hebrew definitions, I found that when we seek the LORD, our heart, (mind, inner person) will live (be kept alive, will be restored or nourished) “The humble shall see this, and be glad: and your heart shall live that seek God.” –Psalm 69:32

If we seek the LORD with our whole heart, we will be happy and blessed .“Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart.” –Psalm 119:2

May the LORD bless you as you teach your children the ways of the LORD.

All for Him, Gil and Cynthia (for the Flock)

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Happy Birthday Sarah

100_1015 100_1021 100_1023Sarah Lyn Fleshman

October 1, 2006 – November 3, 2006

Sarah’s story is a long one that I do not have the emotional strength to type right now but I didn’t want to let her birthday pass without sharing what a blessing her life was, ever so short as it was. (You can read some about this season of our life on our testimony page.)We are more grateful for the children we have and each other because of her sweet little life. Thank you for those of you who remembered her and us today. I count it a privilege to be a mother, an honor to shape and share this life with my children.  I am ever grateful to my husband for being content with less, living on one income so I can stay home and care for our family. The LORD’s ways are amazing. The more I honor and respect my husband, the more he loves and cherishes me. The more we invest in our children, the more blessed we are to see who they are becoming. Life is good. God’s gifts are precious. Take time right now to stop and kiss your little ones, your husband too for that matter. Being grateful and thankful for the time we have with them, making every moment count. May the LORD richly bless all of your families as you strive to follow Him.

All for Him, Cynthia (for the Flock)

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Friends and Birthdays

For birthdays at our home, we try to let the birthday person know how much they mean to us. We give gifts, but our favorite thing to do is write letters. When D asked Alyssa what she wanted for her birthday this year. She said, “another long letter.” Some times the letters are funny but they are usually encouraging the birthday person to follow harder after the LORD the coming year.

000_0023Daddy brought Alyssa flowers for her birthday.

100_2987Alyssa reading Daniel’s letter.

100_3002D playing with Mary Katie.

(I promised not to post any tearful pictures but I promise there are lots of tender moments filled with tears on birthdays at our home.)

 Many times I have thought about posting the letters because they are so encouraging but also very personal. Recently D wrote a birthday letter to one of his good friends, so I asked permission to post it.

20140413_150114D and Elijah

Greetings Elijah,

Here is a little encouragement for you on your birthday. You have been a great blessing to me and your walk with the Lord is an encouragement to me. The Lord has grown you mightily in the last couple of years and He will continue to grow you. I look forward to what the Lord has in store for our friendship. Short of Dillon, you and your brother are the closest friends that I have. I thank you for being a true friend to me. You have not been afraid to tell me when I am wrong and to correct me in the Lord and for that I am grateful. That is a true friend. You are like a brother to me. I am grateful to the Lord for bringing our families together, (even though I may not have been on the first day that we met!) The Lord has been so good to me. I want to encourage you to fight the good fight. It is a tough world out there and it is not getting any better. This world needs young men like you and me to grow in the Lord and in the power of His might. To walk in the ways of the Lord and to shine His light to this dark and dying world. The Lord has put us on this Earth for a reason and the chief end of that is to glorify Him, it is how He wants us to glorify Him that we must figure out and then do. Christ tells us that if we love Him, then we will keep His commandments. He commands us to go and spread the Gospel to all nations and make disciples. We must take this role seriously and do what we can to fulfill the Great Commission. I would be the first to say that I have a long way to go on improving in this area. My charge to you is to stand strong for Christ. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh unto God and He will draw nigh unto you.

My next thing is in the area of our spheres of influence. I want to encourage you to live Godly in Christ Jesus and set the example for the next generation. Not only do we need to set the example for the next generation of what a Godly man is, we need to propel them further. We must not be content with how far our parents have gone in the Christian walk, we must endeavor, by the grace of God, to go farther. There are many people out there who are looking to you as the example of what a Godly young man looks like and they are not defined by age. Older and younger alike look at you and the example that you set. Many people see you and your walk with Christ and they want it. Right, wrong, or indifferent, we do not have a choice about how others look at us. Our ultimate focus must be on Christ, but we all look at other people and think that they have it all together. It is part of our sin nature. The key is to realize that people do that about us. We must do what we can to set the example for the next generation. Also, not only do other young men look at you as the example of what a Godly young man looks like, but many young ladies do as well. I know that you probably don’t want to think about this, but it is true. We must take this fact into consideration when living the life that the Lord has given to us. This fact hit me very hard when one of our elders told me. I had never thought about it before. We are showing them what a Godly young man looks like in our day and age. Are we truly representing Christ? Do we treat our sisters in Christ with the honor and respect that they deserve? Are we endeavoring to keep them pure and not cause them to stumble by our actions, words, or attitudes even if this means that we do or don’t do certain things? These and others are questions that we should always be asking ourselves. The biggest thing to remember is that we should not live life for ourselves. First, we must live our lives for the Lord and accomplish the will of God, whatever that may be. Second, we must live life for the next generation and truly realize that life is not about us. Here is what I mean by that, we cannot live life right now and think that the decisions that we make right now will only affect us. The decisions that we make today, can and will affect the next generation and many generations thereafter. They will also affect the people that we are around today. We must bear this in mind as we live our lives in the service of our King.

The Lord has given us many people that we can minister to and speak into their lives for His glory, including our siblings and others within the Church. We must take these opportunities and use them to advance the Kingdom of Christ. Maturity does not come with age. We must draw closer to Christ, and He promises that He will draw near to us. The Lord does not say that we need to be a certain age before He can use us. He can and will use at whatever time and age He wants to. The older you get the more wisdom you will have, but the Lord can use young people as well. We must remember this as it is easy for some to fall into the trap of saying that the Lord can’t use them because they have not learned this or that or because they are too young and the older men know best. I think that as young men we need to mature up and grow in Christ and become men of God. If we see an area that we are lacking in, we need to do what we can to fix it by the grace of God. We must not sit by in idleness. Christ has called us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. Our works are a byproduct of our faith but they are a necessary part of it. I am not saying in any way that a young man knows everything or that he should in anyway disrespect those who are older in some way because he knows better. Older men are wiser and deserve our respect and honor whether or not they are right, but especially if they are right.

I feel that the Lord has laid on my heart to try to encourage other young men to stand up for Christ and quit cowering under the influence of the world. I see so many young men out there who are throwing away their lives for mere pleasure here on earth. There is so much more to life than our pleasure. We must take pleasure in Christ and then the things that bring Him pleasure, will bring us pleasure and the things that He hates, we will hate. I see so many young men who are so downcast all the time and have not the joy of the Lord in their lives and yet they are growing up in Christian homes. We must do what we can to change this. I am seeing so many people in my generation fall away from Christ and destroy their lives and if I want my children to live a life with the same liberties that I have, I must do something about it. Where are the young men who are willing to stand up for Christ? He has called us as young men to stand up and stand strong for Him. That is an order, not a suggestion and yet so many people treat it as a suggestion. We are called to lead our families in a God honoring way. We are called to raise our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The Lord has given me a passion to try to help the next generation and by “next generation”, I mean young men and women around your age and my age. We will endure persecution for standing up for Christ, but what better thing to be persecuted for? Christ is our all in all. He is all that I need. He will protect us. I was just reading in Proverbs where Christ says that no evil thing shall happen to the righteous. Everything that happens the Lord either allows or causes to happen. It is all for His glory and for our good. It does not matter what happens to me, He has got me in His hand and none can take me out, that is enough for me. That is all that I want to be assured of. We must look at everything as a character building opportunity. Christ is conforming us to His image and what a wonderful thing that is. He is preparing us to be His spotless bride. We are spotted right now and must become spotless and there is only one way to change, and that is to be purged of our sin. We must remember to be humble in all of this. We are doing what we are doing for the glory of God and not ourselves. He is our ultimate goal.

Well, I have said enough. I hope that some of this is a blessing for you. There is so much that I could talk to you about and try to encourage you with, but this is what the Lord has laid on my heart. I pray that the Lord blesses you and gives you the courage to continue to stand up for Him. He has great plans for us all, but we must be willing to be used and prepare our hearts for His work. He will do a mighty work in and through each and every one of us if we will let Him. I am thankful to the Lord for the friends that He has given me. You are a big blessing in my life and I praise the Lord for you.

Blessings to you and Happy Birthday!

Looking to Christ,

Dylan Fleshman

That got me to thinking about the children’s friends as I know that is a common concern of homeschooling. Our goal is for the children to be each others best friend first, but of course they have lots of friends. I think of Grandma Duggar who says, “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” So we encourage our children to choose their friends wisely, knowing that they are either influencing someone or being influenced.

Here’s a few pictures I came across from this year. A tribute to friends……

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 I was going through the year posting pictures and my computer locked up. Too many pictures! We are so grateful for all our sweet friends!

All for Him, Cynthia (for the Flock)

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Free Conference!!!!

ATI will be having a one day Family Connections conference on Saturday, September 6! Please refer to their website for more information!

www.ati.iblp.com

All for Him, Cynthia (for the Flock)

We’ve always been blessed beyond measure by every ATI event we’ve ever attended!!!!!

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Saying Goodbye, no, See You Later! To the Sweet Determan Family

100_3197For those of you who do not know them, this is the John and Beth Determan Family. We had a fellowship last weekend to send them off to Tennessee. They have a wonderful testimony of how the LORD guided and provided for them to make this move. You can learn more about them on their blog at www.determanfamily.blogspot.com.

100_3200The Eric and Stephanie Calderon Family

100_3202Donny and Shannon Lester Family

Some pictures from the day!

100_3135Daddy’s Fellowshipping (and D holding Mary Kate)

100_3154Sweet Mommies and Dear Friends!

100_3186100_3142Lots of games!

100_3174The trampoline’s a good place for a board game.

100_3133Swinging

100_3172More swinging…..

100_3160More Swinging…..100_3165Zip lining…..

Gil ended the night with a hymn sing and prayer for the Determans.

Such good times…….

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100_3210100_3204100_3207100_3208So sweet, Big sisters holding baby sisters while singing and fellowshipping.

100_3242Cute shot of D holding Hannah, all tuckered out.

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All for Him, Fleshmanflock

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Garden Update

Our garden is doing much better; still slow but better. At this point, we believe our biggest mistake was using new woodchips verses composted woodchips. This was due to our own ignorance because they did say composted woodchips in the Back to Eden Film. We have been watching the film again and studying more to see what else we can do now, and what our best options are for the future. We do not ever want to appear to be casting blame on anyone. We desire to share our mistakes so others can learn from, and with us.

100_2876[1]The squash on the left side of your screen is mulched with straw. The squash on the right side of your screen is mulched in woodchips. :) Big difference!

So, we are gently raking off the top layers of woodchips, trying not to disturb the top layer of soil. We are then adding more compost, and re-mulching heavily with straw. The woodchips really did work great to build our soil in may other ways. It is actually beginning to look like really garden soil instead of the sandy dirt we are used to seeing. We have much more organic material in the soil and the earthworms are everywhere now.  Our pest bug problems seem to be better so far this year as well. Not sure if it’s the chips/mulch or just the cooler Spring. I will be continuing to spend time watching the garden predator populations to see if the chips have helped in this way. I think they probably have. The main problem we learned in placing new woodchips on the soil was that as they break down, they “rob”, or use, much of the available nitrogen in the top layers of the soil. This layer is where the plant’s main root base is located and they need it in plentiful amounts for their initial growth stages. As you can see in the picture above, the squashes on the left in the straw had plentiful amounts of available nitrogen and the plants on the right did not. It really does make all the difference in the world. The good news is that the nitrogen is not actually gone, it’s just tied up right now as the chips decompose. So, as they complete their breakdown, the nitrogen will be released back into the soil in an available state. With all our advances in science, we still know so little about the earth itself. Truly good healthy garden soil is literally live with microbial and insect life. What an amazing design that God uses to grow everything we need for life. The better we can make our soil, the better will be our food, and then the better our health and our life!

In the meantime, we are thoroughly enjoying our spring (almost summer).

100_2872[1]100_2871[1]100_2873[1]100_2874[1]Yesterday, we enjoyed awesome oatmeal pancakes with fresh maple syrup (made by our adopted older brother Dillon Dornink!) and then had a great time in the Word on our front porch. We love to read the proverb corresponding with the day of the month so yesterday we read Chapter 18 because it was June 18th. We read 2 verses at a time rotating around in age order. So everyone gets to read and then we talk about what we read. God is good and we are thankful for all he is teaching us in this season.

All for Him, Gil and Cynthia (for the Flock)

 

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Questions on our garden

As we are trying to learn from each other, I thought I would post some questions we have received, along with the answers. Please keep suggestions coming as we want to learn together. Thank you all for your calls, emails, and prayers.

Did you all till the wood chips in?
No, We did not till the garden. We did dig up Bermuda grass in a few rows but we are experiencing the same results on the entire garden. Most of the garden does not have new wood chips, only a thin layer of old ones from last year.
Did you plant in the wood chips?
No, we did not plant in the wood chips. We raked the existing wood chips back and planted directly in the soil. We did not re-mulch, push wood chips back up to plants, or add new wood chips.
Did it start growing good and then just stop?
No it didn’t start growing good, most plants are basically the same size as when we planted them or they have grown very little even after weeks. The seeds that did germinate basically stopped at about an inch or so tall.
Have you tried any fertilizers?  Like kelp, alfalfa meal, blood meal, fish meal, or compost tea?
This year we have used fish emulsion, organic miracle grow, and cottonseed meal. We think this is why the plants are alive at all.
Did you plant your seedlings yet? Yes, we’ve planted everything except fall squash.
 I wasn’t sure of your last frost date? April 15th is our average last frost but this year we had a frost in the beginning of May.
All for Him, Cynthia (for the Flock)

 

 

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Garden Lost for 2014 Season

We are cancelling our CSA Program and our markets for the 2014 growing season. We regret to inform all of our customers that we tried the wood chip mulch in our garden and it did not work for us. Our garden is stunted and basically won’t grow. We do not want to cast any blame on the Back to Eden program. However, we have been informed that the wood chip method does not work in Oklahoma due to our climate and soil biology. So we would encourage any one desiring to try this method to test it on a small part of their garden before applying wood chips to their entire garden. If you are a CSA Member you will be receiving a refund in the mail this week. We are unsure how this will affect us in the future. We do not know if God is closing the door of our farm for business or not. We seek to serve Him wherever He plants us. We covet your prayers as we try to reclaim the garden and seek direction for our future. For those interested or those suffering the same plight, our plan at this time is to rake off all wood chips into the paths and cover the rows with as much organic material as we can get our hands on. We would love to hear from any one who has any wisdom in this area. Thank you all for your support of our farm and our family.

All for Him, Fleshmanflock :)

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Farm Happenings

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Most of the below happened in one day. Yes, life is busy but it’s a good busy. We’re doing what we feel God has called us to do, we love it (most of the time :) ) and we’re doing it together. We worked on installing our new irrigation system. Above – Daddy and Danny’s holding a spool of drip tape. Below – Abby runs to the other end of the row holding the drip tape.

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The woodchip mountains make a great place for a rest.

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Above – It’s Timmy’s turn to hold the drip tape.

Below – We started our sweet potato slips. We put toothpicks in the sweet potatoes and then placed them in a canning jar of water. In about 4 weeks, we’ll pull off the sweet potato slips and put them in water to root before planting them in the garden.

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Doing these projects together remind us of why this whole thing started. The vision to work together so we could spend more time together, walking by the way with our children and loving each other.

Right after we finished the sweet potato slip project, the phone rang. Some good friends blest us with these two baby goats.

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It was family night so we made one of our favorites.

Chocolate Caramel Popcorn

First, you pop 20 cups of popcorn. Place in a large roasting pan and preheat oven to 300. We pop extra for snacking and taste testers.

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Emily and Hannah volunteered to be taste testers.

Then, you whisk together 1 c. sucanat or sugar (white or brown), 1/4 c. honey, and 1 stick butter. Stir for 5 minutes.

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Whisk in 1/2 t. vanilla, 1/4 t. baking soda, and 1/4 c. cocoa powder.

Quickly stir into popcorn and bake for 8 minutes at 300. Watch closely as it can burn easily. We’ve even skipped the baking part. :)

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Another day, the boys do school around the sweet potato slips.

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While Alyssa helps catch up on some sewing.

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Last night we hurried and covered everything we could with row covers. So far, everything I’ve checked was spared. Thank God. After losing everything last year to a late freeze, we try to get everything covered. Live and learn. :)

Blessings from the Flock!

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