Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Great New Year Message on "Worship" to listen to, take 20 min.

Great after Christmas Sale idea for Valentine's Day but you better hurry...

I saw a link posted on Econobusters that was really neat for Valentines Day! It can save you quite a bit of money but you'll have to hurry, the chocolate sale is going fast. We were in Target yesterday and they had candy for 50% off and the really nice Lindt Truffles and Ferreo Ranchero kind were dwindling and they'd be perfect for this project.  Here's the link:
Make your own Valentine Gift Bags and add the chocolate for under $2 and you'll have a beautiful gift for someone.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Blessings to You and Yours! 2009 Edition

[first: a few words of instruction: keep checking back as each of our family will have their own sections - each to be posted in the following days. this post will remain at the top, and the rest will follow below. so keep checking back and looking for more updates !!]

Wishing you all a Blessed Christmas Season 2009!
Installment 1 (our family/Kara)

Let's start at the beginning, a very good place to start!

This has to go back a bit further than January of 2009, more like into November of 2008, when Kara applied for an internship with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. She got accepted and started planning at the end of 2008 for her big move to Florida, where she knew she'd be living for a minimum of 5 months, possibly longer if things went well and she chose to sign on for another session. Her wonderful Grandpa and Meme volunteered to take their annual February/March trip to Florida and move it up to January so that they could travel with her. Kara wanted to be sure and have her own car so she could get to the grocery store and get around on her own without having to wait for the Disney bus system.

She got down there right after New Years and settled in with her 5 room mates. Because she was there early she got to choose a bedroom that had it's own bathroom and would be shared with one other girl, who became a good friend. Kara wasn't sure where she'd be working till she arrived and was thrilled when she was assigned to work on Main Street in Magic Kingdom at the Emporium, the largest, busiest retail store on the property. Little did we know she'd have such long, crazy hours, often working till 2, 3, 4, or even 5 a.m.! This location stays open past park hours and then employees remain to re-stock for up to two hours after they close their doors. Extra Magic Hours are offered to Disney Resort guests and so certain nights the park would be open well past midnight. This meant a lot of wakeful moments for me! I so often awoke right at the time she was getting off work (it was so strange) and I would just lay there awake praying for Kara to get to her car safely, then drive home safely, awake! (it was about a 15 minute drive back to her apartment) then I'd often go to the computer and look for her to get on-line to know she had arrived home.

Well, we had planned a vacation to go and see Kara for April, so the beginning months of the year passed slowly! We made the trek down in our 12 passenger van, barely stopping as everyone was not complaining and happy, so we just kept going and got within 4 hours of seeing Kara on that first day of the journey. The next day, we met up with her for lunch as she was just getting off work (a 4:30am - 1pm shift)! Then we checked into the gorgeous rental home we had booked and she stayed with us each of the nights we were there. She'd come in late and get up early to go to the parks with us, only having 2 days off while we were there for 10 days. It worked out great and we so enjoyed being all together again as a family! What memories were made! At this point we knew that Kara was going to be extending her stay till August. She had managed to secure a position as a photographer (her hearts desire!) and would begin working at the waterparks: Blizzard Beach & Typhoon Lagoon shortly after. This meant the hours changed from being out late at night to a new concern of being out in 90-100+ degree heat, standing for 8-12 hours a day! Drinking liquids and eating protein were a must, she learned, as she nearly passed out one day.

By the end of July, she knew she was finished and content with what she had accomplished, and was ready to come home. We were filled with anticipation for the summer to end so we could have her back with us, although she did manage to squeeze in a few flights home in May and June to visit.

More on Kara later ...

It definately took some adjusting last year not having Kara home those 8 months. That meant she was not at Deep Creek with us, which seemed so odd! She wasn't here for the first time to share in all birthdays that took place and other events, but thankfully with cell phones and emails we were able to stay connected.

The rest of us made our annual trip out to Harrisburg for the homeschool fair in May and started going to the lake on weekends. We got involved in a family integrated church and quickly became friends with the Pastors there. We so miss their fellowship these winter months but are looking forward to a visit with them on the 20th if the weather permits. Everyone felt at home at this church and we attended quite a few picnics and even managed to get to one night of their Family Vacation Bible School Nights. This is something that is so dear to our hearts, worshiping with our family, taking part in ministry together and the Lord knew just where we needed to be.

Finally August arrived and we were all anticipating Kara's arrival home. This time it wouldn't be her Grandparents traveling with her though - it would be Derrick Abbey.

She had met Derrick in May of 2008 when she was in her best friend Naomi's wedding as the maid of honor, Derrick was the best man. They corresponded and visited from June of 2008 untilJanuary 2009 when Kara left. He made one trip down to visit her in March and Kara flew home several times during her 8 months to see him.

In June, Derrick asked Steve for permission to marry Kara. This was sooooo hard for me to know and not want to blurt out!!! Derrick flew into Orlando on Kara's last day, they went to Sea World in the morning and went to Magic Kingdom for one last fun day to enjoy. They then traveled about an hour north to his cousins' home to spend the following day and night visiting with them and other family Derrick had, then they started the non-stop drive home.

Derrick proposed with a beautiful diamond and down on one knee on August 15, 2009, at a state park he used to frequent when his parent's lived in Florida. Of course, Kara said yes!!

They arrived before midnight the next day and we were all waiting with bells and whistles! They shared their engagement news with the family who just went crazy with excitement! And so the planning began. Here we are at only a little over 4 months to the wedding! Things are pretty much booked and ready to go. I guess God knew I'd need a little adjustment to the idea of Kara being married and living in another town so He gave me the opportunity to adjust via Disney World. I do much better with slow and steady changes!

Kara and Derrick will be married here in our hometown on April 24 (one day prior to her Dad & I's 23rd wedding anniversary) Everyone is still crazy with excitement!! Ellen, Amy, Emma, Stephen & Ruby all love Derrick to death and already consider him their older brother. Once they get married, they'll move to Milan, PA (near the NY border, 4 1/2 hours away) where they'll make their home. Derrick's father is a pastor of a church there and Derrick is involved with that ministry there, teaches music lessons, and is currently working in a chiropractor's office. While it's not here, at least it's not like we all need to hop on a plane to visit, we can do it over a weekend, so I'm very thankful for that.

For the time being, Kara is working at the shop and still loves taking pictures. Her photography has taken a giant leap in the last few months from being a hobby into more of a business. She photographed a wedding a few weeks ago, has a job shooting a birthday party coming up this weekend, and already has another wedding booked for next summer! You can follow her on her blog: .

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moving right along Ellen's updates....

This October 14th was a celebration of thanksgiving to God for the one year of being hydrocephalus free!! No headaches, no pains etc. What a blessing this was, after years of pain and suffering for our dear Ellen.

She is now 16 years old and studying for her driver's license, she'll take that test before the end of the year.

This fall she began taking an online college class in writing and finished with an A. It was a good experience for her; she'll begin a class from the same professor in January called Technical Communications. Her plan right now is to begin college full time in the fall of 2010 and major in radiology.

But let's back up a bit further and go to December of 2008! Debbie, the young woman who works for our family business, went into premature labor (she wasn't due till March) and delivered her baby before Christmas last year. Ellen immediately jumped into the secretarial position that month and continued working afternoons through August when Kara returned home from Disney and took that position so Ellen could commence with her senior year of study. Dad says he loves it when he comes home and hears his daughters talking about Mr. so and so's furnace or a part that was delivered!!!

Ellen will graduate in May from high school, finishing out her senior year with studies in Accounting I, Human Biology, American History, and her classes in Government and a few fun classes like Bread Baking and Drawing. Ellen also took over a preschool class for a mom who was having a baby and thus taught art to a small group of children, Ruby included. She is pushing through the Awana program, completing 2 books of study and 2 electives so that she'll graduate from that program as well earn her Citation Award.

Piano lessons have continued and she has progressed into a very fine pianist. These days she enjoys playing a lot of contemporary selections from her favorite artists like Casting Crowns and Michael W. Smith, and Ellen's personal favorite : The Muppets!!

The driving lessons have been interesting, I think by the time we get to Ruby we'll just hire an instructor!

One of the highlights from Ellen's summer of 2009 was attending a week of World View Academy at Grove City College. She and 4 other friends went to this camp and were so excited by what they learned there that they all signed up to return in 2010. They had class time, recreation, and also a trip to Pitt College Campus to share their faith in some street evangelism. It was promised to be the best week of your life or your money back and she said it truly was.

Ellen also has her own blog which she updates quite frequently, it's .


Dear Amy is turning 14 in January and continues to grow taller and taller, passing her big sister Kara by, and threatening to be taller than Ellen.She likes coffee and apparently it has not stunted her growth! I can hardly believe she will be going into 9th grade next year! She is very excited about being in Kara's wedding and all the fun that's going to go with that day. She enjoys going to Awana's on Wednesday nights and hanging out with her friends. For Amy W.E.C. has been more about getting what she needs than what she wants. She had 2 science classes, a class on the U.S. Constitution, and serves on the Yearbook staff.

Playing football and hockey isn't just limited to the boys on this acreage, Amy is often right there with them playing along and that would be the same with fishing at the lake. But she does have a softer side where she sits and knits for hours on end. She has only done scarves so far, so it's time to learn some new stitches. She even taught Stephen how to knit, he said he wanted something to do while we were reading and thus he made a dishcloth! She tried to teach Emma, but it's Emma that doesn't have the stick-to-it-ness to keep it going, that isn't one of her favorite artsy activities apparently.

Amy will be working in the kitchen at the Men's Prayer Advance this January, something both Kara and Ellen have done and enjoyed immensely in the past. She's a bit nervous about this as Ellen has decided not to go as she wants to concentrate on her college work and so Amy will be going alone, but I know she'll have an awesome time. She did attend the Student Prayer Advance last year and is looking forward to going again this year.

On to Emma

Our dear Emma is now nearly 11 years old (as of February) her interests haven't changed much this year, she still loves art and was able to take two oil painting classes this summer which she thoroughly enjoyed! She also tried her hand at an acrylic paint project. Drawing would come second on her list of favorite things to do after painting. She took an 8 week class on Van Gogh at the local art studio and will take another 8 weeks beginning this January called "Drawing with the Masters," thanks to a Christmas gift from her Meme & Grandpa.

In the school realm she enjoys any subjects that we can incorporate art into! Science & History for instance can be made more interesting like when she took a class about Lewis and Clark this year she was encouraged to study about and draw different plants and wildlife, that made both of those subjects more appealing. She's also really looking forward to taking a baton class at Westmoreland Enrichment Classes, this will be something totally different to try.

Emma's favorite things on our trip to Florida this year were: Going to Downtown Disney (shopping) and riding Dueling Dragons at Universal Studios (2 side by side coasters).

She will be in Kara's wedding with cousin Lydia as a Junior Bridesmaid and is very much looking forward to that event. The other thing she is hoping will come quickly is a trip we are planning on to Tennessee with our friends the Balegas. We are renting a cabin in the Smoky Mountains together and will go to a conference for 3 days, and then spend a day at "Dollywood", and the rest of the week will be spent hiking, touring, and various other adventures.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Stephen Jr.

I need to put the Jr. after his name now as that's been a big joke lately. Certain mail order catalogs have been coming in to the house that he's been claiming must be his because they came to Stephen Eichelberger - ones like "The Sportsman's Guide" and "Smoky Mt. Knifeworks"! He's often looked them over and then commented to his Dad that they make a 2 person tree stand for hunting or there is a really neat pen knife that would be very handy to have for protection! My fear is the protection would be from his sisters! He did get to go spend a day hunting with Dad before the cold weather hit, unfortunately they didn't see a single deer that day, but the bonding experience between a father and son can't be overrated.

This year hockey and football seem to remain the favorite sports to play with the cousins next door. Stephen loves to come in and relate how Mal (a.k.a. Heath Miller) and Nate (a.k.a. Nate Washington) and Hines Ward (a.k.a. Stephen) run the ball that Zeb (a.k.a. Big Ben) throws. The muddy yard after Thanksgiving was very inviting and even when the ground is half froze, they still ask to go out and play. When he's not outside Stephen enjoys playing with legos or on the computer.

Stephen will be the ring bearer in the wedding and went last week to get fitted for his tuxedo, he's so handsome Kara says over and over. He wanted to know if he could change out of his tux for dinner and then put it back on after so he doesn't spill anything on it. Haha.

One of his favorite classes at W.E.C. this year was Draw Write Now : Kara says that maybe Emma won't be the only one with an art streak in their blood. He also began to participate in some classes for older kids this year at our Tapestry of Grace Co-op (we meet year round about every 2 weeks). He started to join the jeopardy class which is played just like the t.v. show with all history, geography, and vocabulary related questions. They are taken from what we are studying at home and then put up on the big screen and you must buzz in to answer the questions. Although it can be challenging at times competing with older kids, it's so rewarding when you buzz in and answer a question correctly.

Sufficiency of Scripture Conference Audio Cd's Available

Conference Page:

This was a conference we were hoping to attend in Ohio, but it didn't work out and that's ok, as we are now able to attend the family conference "Defending the Faith" in TN in July, which we are very excited about! For those that can't make either audio cd's are available and I'm sure would be a wonderful edition to your audio library!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Ruby Ann

Ruby is 4 years old and as sweet as ever, she just loves to learn and recently started asking daily to be taught to read. So we got out our favorite reading book and started on the lessons. Everyone was surprised to see just how much she already knows in her Pre-K classes at W.E.C. She has been known to tell the other children she'll write their names on their papers for them! She loves writing letters, although we still haven't perfected writing them all in the correct direction yet.

This fall we found out that she would be the only one in the youngest Awana class and they asked if we wanted to try her in with Stephen's "Sparks" group which normally starts at Kindergarten, so we said we'd give it a try. I had my doubts about being able to memorize some of those long verses, but I've been pleasantly surprised at how easy the verses are coming to her, tonight she repeated her verse, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh to the father but by me." She of course enjoys being with the older kids anyhow. Last year she kept trying to sneak out of her Pre-K classes at W.E.C. and go to where Stephen was with the 1st graders - she just wanted to be with him. So, now she gets to be with him at Awanas.

Ruby loves anything princess and had an absolutely awesome time when we were at Disney World. She dressed up in both her Cinderella and Snow White costumes to go to the park and had her picture taken with all the princesses we could find. Although going to Universal and Islands of Adventure weren't the most exciting for her, she was quite the trooper being "baby swapped" while we rode all those thrill rides. She is a very content, easy going child, a true precious gem.

Monday, December 7, 2009

If You Give a Homeschooling Mom a Cookie

If You Give A Homeschooling Mom a Cookie

If you give a Homeschooling Mom a cookie, she'll want the recipe.
She will plan a complete unit study on the History of Cookies.
The family will take fieldtrip to a farm and see where we get eggs, milk and
At home they will make butter out of milk.
The children will want to start grinding their own grain.
Mom will purchase a Bosch Universal Kitchen System.
She will remember she will need a new list of cookbooks.
So she will order “An Introduction To Whole Grain Baking w/ CD”,
“Desserts”, “The Cooking With Children CD”, and “Lunches & Snacks
Cookbook” by Sue Gregg also “Whole Foods for Kids to Cook”.
Mom orders a 100 lb bag of wheat berries.
Now she will grind her own wheat grain into flour.
The children remember the farm field trip and knowing they can’t possibly
get a cow, so they beg for a few chickens.
So to a trip to the library to research how to build a chicken coop and to how
to care for chickens.
On the way out the door Mom see the book, “Chicken Tractor” by Andy Lee
& Pat Foreman.
They stop by the Feed and Seed to pick up materials and ask where to purchase
the chicks.
There the clerk tells them about egg that can be incubated.
He sells them a book on hatching eggs, eggs, and incubator.
At home Mom and the younger children set up the incubator while Dad and
the older children build the chicken tractor.
Back to the library to pick up gardening books and more books on chickens.
The oldest daughter now starts a business grinding flour for the her friend’s
While her younger sisters are selling homemade cookies to their neighbors.
The boys have started building a new chicken tractor because they want more
eggs for breakfast.
That cookie that started this all… the homeschooling mom’s three year old
ate it.
by Sher Birmingham
based on "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

Join the on line Homeschool Christmas Party today!

Follow the link above and get free ideas and recipes to make your December Christ Centered and Special!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Studying Charles Dickens

We've been reading "A Christmas Carol" as I had mentioned below and so we've been learning about Charles Dickens. Knowing that his favorite work was "David Copperfield" and having not seen this (seen Oliver) I requested the BBC version from Netflix. I was watching carefully with remote nearby just in case, but was pleasantly surprised to not need it. I do recall 1 profanity in the film, but the 2 part Masterpiece Theatre production was very good. Amy & Emma almost immediately noticed that Davey appeared to look a lot like Harry Potter from all the advertisements and book covers out there and I was surprised to find out they were correct. He was 10 yrs. old when he performed in this film and now is 20 yrs. old! As with all Masterpiece Theatre's there are comments at the beginning and end of the films and they were also very enjoyable. I know have some new favorite characters, many reminding me of others from various favorite stories. Mr. Dick for ex. reminds me of Tootles from Hook and Ellen believes it has to be the same actor. Peggity reminds me of the cartoon character in Tale of Desperaux whom I cannot remember the name, umm it begins with an m, oh yes, I think it's Miggory Sow. (probably spelling all these strange names wrong!). Mrs. Trotwood is like Shirley McClain (Weiser) in Steel Magnolias, now there's one I wouldn't let your children watch so you probably shouldn't either, that's one from days before children! but oh she plays a part in that movie.

So now maybe on to Pip and "Great Expectations"? They say Dickens wrote "David Copperfield when he was 37 and G.E. in his 40's and it gives a different perspective of the main character unlike Davey who remains innocent and pure. Maybe we'll just watch "Newsies" again, that's another favorite around here, think we'll get that one again.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bridesmaid gowns are in

Well I was at a dr. appt. in Monroeville on Wed. so I thought I'd stop and pick up the bridesmaid gowns while I was out there. Kara was going to do that on Fri. when she went out with her other maids, but since I was already there I did it. I went in and gave the name and when they brought them out I immediately noticed they were all the same color. We had ordered in a blue for the older girls and a yellow for the junior bridesmaids. oops! guess this is another reason why you order so early, just in case. So they immediately re-ordered in the correct color.

Kara, Naomi, Tiffany, and Grace all went out tonight to pick out their dresses and Kara was going to have her appointment for alterations. She was very excited to say the least. So hopefully all the gowns will come in at the same time now.

Ellen may not need any alterations, Amy will need some, and I know Emma will, the gown was very long for her. So come February we'll get that all taken care of, that's just around the corner!! The days are flying by, I can't believe how close we are to Christmas.

All curled up and ready for church.

Thanksgiving Dinner

The Table is all set and ready to go.

Stephen is making the place tags.

25 Years, where did they go?

Thanksgiving weekend was Steve's 25th High School Reunion at Lakeview in Greensburg, we decided to attend this time around. We had gone to the 10 year one thus far and that was it. With close to 700 students in his class, only about 125 signed up to attend. The meal itself wasn't the best, but the company was enjoyable. We did get to see many familiar faces, but many we didn't recognize as well (I graduated a year behind so know many of the people as well). No one was too shy about introducing themselves as putting faces and names together was a bit blurry at times.

It was kind of funny to see how much older some folks looked, made us feel not as old as we were feeling before we went! LOL even with all the aches and pains I feel these days.

Here's a picture of us all dressed up and ready to go.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Service

Last night we went to Calvary Assembly for the annual Community Thanksgiving Service, we hadn't been to one of these in years and years. It seems "Once Upon a Time" ago we used to attend these. Steve got a call from Pastor Todd last week asking if he'd like to participate in the service under the title "community leader" as he's the Chairman of the Board for the Norwin Chamber of Commerce,of course he said ' yes'. Pastor Todd then asked if he knew of any other men who would like to maybe take part as well and he immediately recommended his friend and mentor, Dave Painter. It was very interesting how the Lord worked in this matter.

Steve was given a verse from Corinthians to read and Psalm 100, but Dave was told to speak what was on his heart. Now keep in mind Pastor Todd does not know Dave, nor had he ever even met him. Those that know Dave, know he would have no problem filling his time with something very valuable to hear, not just something light and fluffy like "Be thankful for everything". Dave chose his own text and talked about how we need to give thanks to God for His sovereign work in our lives by drawing us to Himself. He stressed how the Holy Spirit causes us to become alive in Christ. It was interesting how a speaker or two after that reiterated that when they spoke. The emphasis then was taken off being thankful for material blessings and we were reminded to thank God for spiritual ones, ones that will never perish. Others spoke about remembering that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, reminding us to be good stewards of our blessings and be sure and give them away, not just keep them to ourselves. We were reminded that just the very breath we have and the promise of a new day that we so often take for granted is a blessing! sounds so trite when you read it but I know I was reminded that just waking up in the morning is something I take for granted, each new day is a mercy I see.

It was a good night and Pastor Todd was very pleased at how the service went. He commented that you never know when you give a group of men, from different backgrounds, free reign to speak their hearts. It was evident that God was superseding the service and leading through His Spirit based on the prayers of this Pastor and others as the emphasis for the night was on our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanks-Living week

Well this being Thanksgiving week, (which probably should be called Thanksliving reminding us how blessed we are to live in this great land and have the freedom to worship our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we are taking a break from normal school work and reading up on the Pilgrims and their lives. We also watched "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving", heh heh for fun. Stephen and Emma are working on completing a lapbook, I'll have to get some pics. posted when they get it finished. Ruby is working on her very own lapbook around the song "Five Little Pumpkins", which she really is enjoying.

We pretty much have our meal planned, I've got the turkey thawing in the fridge (hopefully it'll be thawed by Thurs. morning). I remember a year or two when the bird was not thawed totally and going into near panic at the thought of not having it cooked on time. The plan was to take it out on Sun. night to begin the thawing process, but I remembered this about 1a.m. and couldn't convince myself to make the trek across the cold garage floor to the spare fridge that's out there to take it! I told myself I'd ask Steve in the a.m. when he kissed me good-bye to do this and I did, only to discover about 10 a.m. it was still in the freezer! so glad I checked.

Our meal will be shared with Steve's family, my mom is heading out to my nieces house this year. So it'll be a meal for only about 16 without Kara here and little Isaiah not ready for turkey in this form yet.

Kara is at Derrick's house, but we've enjoyed talking and seeing her on skype (webcam)! This is so great! Our new computer has a webcam built in and Kara just got her new Mac which also has one. So now I don't feel so detached ! We even got to meet Derrick's dog, Sparky this morning when his Dad brought him in to say hello! lol Of course we lifted Buster up to repeat the gesture!

Steve is speaking on Tuesday night at the local community Thanksgiving service over at Calvary Assembly. Not sure if he's just reading something or actually commenting. Those that know Steve probably would say that there's got to be some commenting involved there somewhere even if it's just a reading assignment! lol So we'll head there tomorrow evening, then to our own church for Wed. service. He's still got such a bad head cold, I'm praying it improves some by tomorrow as his voice is a bit raspy. Even more than that I'm praying he improves before heading out into the woods for hunting season. I always worry he'll come back with pneumonia after going out sick into the woods, the weather usually is damp. But this is nothing new, seems this happens every year at this time.

Praying you all have a blessed celebration on Thursday. We certainly have could never count our blessings, but that should never stop us from trying! Praise God who loads us down daily with more blessings then we can ever begin to list of course the most important being eternal life!
I decided to start a family newsletter and post here throughout the year. I'll do our Annual Christmas Newsletter here and post pictures. So if you desire you can stay up to date with our family.

The children will write various posts throughout the year, so check back occasionally!

If you have a blog, be sure and send us the link.