Thursday, January 31, 2008

Happy Animals

Or so it would seem...

They must be happy because if they weren't, they could leave. We have so much snow that all of the animals could just step over their fences and be on their way. Not sure where they would go or how far they would get. Glad they have chosen to stay.

The chickens love to get out and flap their wings.

See the drifting that took place in front of the goat house. They have a little tunnel in to their shelter. (Patsy)

Chief and Pistol Pete have to bend down to their feeder and we only have 2 more bars left on the corral fencing. The rest are buried.

Oakley in front of the mountain of snow.

Pete buried in the snow. In some places, it is up to his belly. He is a pony so that is not real high but it is funny to see him hike through it. He is a real trooper!

We are not buried in yet.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Got snow?

It just keeps coming!!

This is Big Canyon Lane
The (long) road to our house ~ it seems to be getting longer and longer.

The Cabin

Our driveway

Some drifting

The Big Canyon Truck and Plow

Praise the Lord for this vehicle!!

If you come to visit us, bring a shovel...we might put you to work!

Lots of Bull

Bull Elk ~ 3 of them

All of the snow has brought the wildlife to our backyard ~ literally.
Our horses are in the trees to the right of the pic and there are 3 bull elk just past the pasture on the hillside. They hung out there most of the day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Little Betty Crocker

Our Breadmaker
Abbi enjoys making our bread and does a great job. She is finally to the point where she can do it all on her own. I did help her with the temp. of the water. Did not want to kill the yeast but yet have it warm enough to activate.

Shaping the bread.

Spanking the bread

Putting it to bed


5 Loaves of Freshly Ground Whole Wheat Bread

(you only see 4 loaves because we had to taste-test one of them ~ YUM!)

Monday, January 28, 2008


Samuel James
My cute little nephew. Born in October.

Blizzard '08

Crazy Wind and Snow!
This picture was taken from our window. Pure snow with TONS of wind. You can barely see Abbi's horse, Chief. There were times we could see absolutely nothing out of our windows.

Hudson and Caleb ventured out to the shed. Barely made their way back. It was a white out with very strong winds.

The wind has died down but we are still getting snow. WOW! We were thankful for our warm home and full propane tanks today!

The Queen

Queen Elizabeth

She loves to "dress up" and this was today's choice of attire.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Snow Tunnel

I am in love with our snow removal guys!
"The Guys" are my husband and Caleb. They have been at it since we got home from church this afternoon (about 6 hours). We have had so much wind and that makes for deep drifts on our road. Not to mention the snow piles on the side. It was as high as 43 degrees today so that makes for "cement" snow. Anyhow, Brian has been lifting snow up and over the drifts with the backhoe and Caleb cleans it up with the truck and plow. I can see their headlights down there ~ working away. They are doing a great job. We have a warm dinner waiting for them. If you come our way, be sure to notice the magnificent plowed road.
Photo: This is not Brian and this is not our backhoe. But if I could get down there with my camera, I am sure this is what he would look like. I pulled this pic from the web.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sled Day

Homeschool Sled Party
at Big Canyon Ranch

On Thursday, the day before the party, Caleb, Hudson, Abbi and 2 of their friends designed and prepared the sledding hills. They had a "Green" hill for little ones and beginners. They had a "Blue" hill for the experienced and a "Black Diamond" for the expertise. Each hill had its designated sign. They also made signs for parking and where the hot chocolate was located. Very well organized.
Green - short and not steep hill
Blue - steep, a jump and a tunnel (too scary for me. I had to put my brakes on and go slow to enter the tunnel)
Black - long, steep, much speed and a massive jump at the end ~ no thanks.

Hudson cruising down

Here comes Weston!

Abbi having a great time!

Outta the way, Caleb's coming.

Tess was a great cheerleader.

All ages attended and fun was had by all

Kim and Baby Savannah

Mr. Willis getting some speed!

The Hot Chocolate Wagon.

Time for a hot drink and some cookies.

Maggie and Weston

Maggie, Abbi and Patsy.

Patsy joined us and had a blast. She hiked up the hill with the sledders and ran down the hill kickin' up her heels.

And she helped us clean up.

Thanks Park City Homeschoolers!

We had a blast!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Little Mommy

The Multi-Tasker
Dani Rae (3) loves to "wand" the tile. She asked to do it this morning so I set it up for her and continued on to my other tasks. When I came back in, there she was with the wand in one hand and her baby in the other. She will be a great mommy with a clean house!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

So Delightful!

Ahh the warmth...

The weather outside is frightful but the fire inside is so delightful. Our propane tanks are full and we are toasty warm again.

My Sister

Deborah Dale
Happy Birthday!
When I was 6 yo I wanted a sister so bad. I had 2 fun brothers but they are boys and I was in need of a friend, a sister. I prayed every night that God would make my mom pregnant. A day did not go by without God hearing me beg. Finally, the big news, my mom is pregnant. Now, God gets to hear more begging from me but this time it is that the baby will be a girl. Lo and behold, on January 23rd, (in 1975), God provided me life long friend, Debbie! I loved having a baby in our home and even more that she was a girl. We are seven years apart in age so we did not always have the same interests at the same time but regardless, we were still close friends. There was one point in life where she wanted to be just like me and had to have everything I had. It bugged me! but deep down, I was glad she liked me so much that she wanted to be like me. Now she is all "growed up" with a great husband and 6 beautiful children.

Who’s the one who knows my thoughts,
Before I can even say?
Who writes encouraging notes
When I’m having a rotten day?
Who knows my likes and dislikes?

Whose attitude is always of care
And when she thinks I need it,
her thoughts she will share?
Who calls me on the phone

To share some exciting news?
And who always understands
When I am feeling the "blues"?!
Who’s always there through good times,

And also through the bad?
Who laughs when I’m happy,
And cries when I’m sad?
When someone in need is hurting,

Her shoulder she does lend.
The precious one I speak of... Is my very best friend!

Happy Birthday!


Oops! We ran out of propane which means we have no heat. We woke up to a balmy -3.2 outside and 53 degrees in the house. All 9 of us are in the school room doing school with the space heaters on and the doors closed. We are cozy now! Just tight (and a little crazy). Propane should be here soon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Art by Tess

Little Artist

Tessa's latest thing is to climb up on the school chairs and sit at the table like all of her siblings. She eventually makes her way up on to the table and that is when all of her artistic talent begins. She eats paper, sucks on crayons, chews on a book etc. Everything seems to go straight to her mouth ~ she is teething Big Time! Lots of drool and still lots of cuteness!!

Go Bandit!

Bandit watches this squirrel run across the yard and climb trees on a daily basis. This day the squirrel was brave enough to come up on the porch. Bandit chased him up the pole and the squirrel sat on the drain pipe chattering away. Bandit tried jumping to get him. He whined and cried. He wanted that squirrel so bad. I thought these pictures were hilarious so just wanted to share them with you.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Under Construction

For the next year Caleb will be sporting some beautiful hardware on his teeth. He got them on today!

Potty Training

Potty Train in a Day...
(well kinda)

I have had 3 friends, in the last 2 weeks, ask me what we do for potty training so - - this is for them and, of course, for anyone else who cares.

First of all, you must know there is not one set answer to this. I will share with you what we do, but know, it may look different for each family.

We don't try to attempt any training until the child is capable of pulling down and up their pants on their own. Usually by two. We do weeks of verbal prepping by telling the child they can be a big "girl/boy" by going on the potty.

I look at my schedule and pick 3 days straight when I can stay at home - focus on training and no distractions.
We use a Portable potty (pictured) so that we can have the child in a room where there is tile and where we can spend the day, comfortably. ie: kitchen
I am well supplied with salty treats (ie: saltine crackers, pretzels) lots of juice, small treats (ie: m&m's, skittles) books and puzzles.

~The Big Day~
I feed the child breakfast and off goes the diaper. Our day of training begins! The child sits on the potty while eating lots of salty things because this makes them thirsty and then they drink. Patience Patience Patience!! We read books, do puzzles all while they are on the potty and before you know it - - Pee! Everyone claps and cheers on the child. The child carries the cup to the potty; dumps it; then flushes; washes hands. And then... they get 3 m&m's. Start all over. We do this all morning. Eat lunch (usually not very hungry b/c of snacking). Take afternoon nap with diaper on. Then for the evening, we put a pull-up on. I set the timer for 20 minutes as a reminder to me to take the child potty. Our evenings are full of activity so it is hard for us to stay focused on the child full time.
I do this for at least one more day, maybe 2 or 3.
There will be accidents! Be prepared with your attitude. Do not get angry - be patient. Also be prepared with extra clothing etc when away from home.
Pooping did not happen right away for my children. Just keep encouraging it. It will happen.
p.s. My older children have potty trained the last 3. Sweet!!!

When we are done with the training, we set the toilet in the bathroom and the child uses it in there for awhile. It makes it easier for the child and the rest of us using the big potty.

Hope this is helpful. If you have any questions, email me or post a comment.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

post by Abbi

A&M Ranch

Playmobil has been our favorite toy.
My favorite part is setting the playmobil up.
We do all kinds of "set ups" like farms, castles, zoos, and hotels.
This set up is a zoo/farm.
Maggie found the things we needed, and I then put things where they belong.
It was team work!

This is the whole set up.

There are pigs, horses,deer,lions,cows,cats,birds,foxs,ducks,and a elk

You try to find the rest!

Here is a mother with her tot in the garden gathering vegetebles.
With her husband gathering vegtebles in the other garden close by.

They also have a umbrella to keep them cool on a hot summer day!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

17 Years!

You Know You are (a little bit) Redneck When...
Your husband gets you a goat for your 17th wedding anniversary and you LOVE it!!
Traditionally, furniture, is the gift for 17 years of marriage ~ I will take a goat over furniture any day!
This is Patsy. She was born spring of 07 and will be ready to breed this fall. She is a cutie and very sweet. Happy to have her on our little ranch. (Thanks Honey!!)

A Husband of 17 Years!!
I have great joy in knowing that God gave me a husband to serve. A husband to serve means I have a man to love. It is a reminder to me that he is not my creation, or what I think he ought to be, but is God's creation and is becoming what He intends him to be. Having this man to serve and to honor, and yes, to submit to, means I am not alone. I am protected, I have a fearless leader and I am loved ~ that is a comfort. Oh, how I feel God's love, when I love and honor my man. How I feel protected by God, when I submit to "my love". Nothing feels better than being in God's will. I often fall short of this but knowing that God is full of mercy and grace, I can continue on.

I have learned to love in a way that I would have never learned, had God not given me Brian. I have learned, what it means to live a life that is not all about me. I am thankful for all that Brian is and does. May God be glorified through our marriage and love!


Friday, January 18
Hudson recieves 4 stitches!
Instead of a trip to Costco to get groceries, we went to the ER to get Hudson stitches. Horseplay with a sibling caused him to slip on the tile and hit his head. Fortunately, no concussion - just stitches. He showed great self-control through it all and took a long nap afterwards.

Hudson - 4th set of stitches (could have had a few more)
Caleb - 1 set
Everyone else - 0
1st pic - Brian's attempt to close it
2nd pic - 4 stitches

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Little Fish

Winter Swimming is in full swing for the Zwahlen crew. Caleb, Hudson and Abbi are on the Park City Swim Team (PCAT) and swim 2-3 times a week for 1 1/2 hours. Great workout for them during these winter months. Maggie and Weston are taking swim lessons 2 evenings a week while the other 3 do their swimming. Why swimming? Well, it

started out as swim lessons with the boys and the teacher and coach liked what they saw in Caleb and Hudson. So, they tried out for the team and have loved it ever since. The "fever" has passed on to the younger ones. Abbi has joined them and Maggie is getting close. For Brian and I, it was more of a safety issue for them to know how to swim because of the lakes and ponds around us. BUT... they have fallen in love with swimming. So, we just keep doing it.