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Jack lecturing about fire safety.

Every time we have family night, someone is in charge of choosing an activity that we all participate. This week, Jack convinced Claire–this week’s chooser of the activity–that it’d be fun to learn how to build and start fires. Despite the chilly winter day, we bundled up and went out for a fire building lesson.


It might seem ridiculous to teach kids how to start a fire but by taking away the mystery of it, it squelches their curiosity, teaches them a healthy respect for it, and teaches them a vital survival skill that who knows when they may need to use, if ever. Still, it sure can’t hurt to know…just in case.


Jack talked to them about tinder and kindling, how to stack their wood just right, how to tell if their wood is dry enough. Then, he sent them on a scavenger hunt to find what they needed.

Raven, Peter, and me watching everyone work.

It didn’t take long for the kids to start complaining about the cold, how hard it was to find what they were looking for, and when they finally got their piles of firewood all set up, they discovered pretty quickly just how difficult it is to get wood to light on fire.


With a lot of encouragement and patient teaching from Jack, a bit of help from me, and the promise of roasting marshmallows when we had fire, they persisted until everyone got their own little campfire burning. Talk about a sense of accomplishment!


They ate their marshmallows with pride and after they put out their fires, walked back inside with smoke on their clothes and soot on their faces, they held their heads a little higher, knowing what they were capable of if they put their mind to it.


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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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