Monday, December 28, 2015

For Now We See Through a Glass, Darkly

Recently, my husband and I traveled to Latrobe, Pennsylvania, where I worked at St. Vincent’s College for four days. On the way there, we had two unique experiencesread more

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Millerstown Holiday Craft Show 2015

To be honest, I’m addicted. I love the Millerstown, PA, craft shows. This one did not disappoint me. I got to meet some new people, catch up with some old friends, and enjoy the wonderful crafts displayed. One thing I noticed this year...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Pennsylvania State Parks: Presque Isle

Five years ago, our family rented a house with a view of Lake Erie. This large body of water bordering Pennsylvania is amazing. Huge ships travel its expanse. Nearby our rented house...

Monday, October 26, 2015

Pennsylvania State Parks: Reeds Gap

Reeds Gap is one of those homey, local parks that people use to have family gatherings. On the way to the park read more

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Pennsylvania State Parks: Bald Eagle

Water, water, water. The lake at Bald Eagle State Park dominates everything, 1,730 acres of it. The park itself has 5,900 acres of land. The day we visited read more

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Pennsylvania State Parks

Fall is a perfect time to visit a Pennsylvania state park. Click on the names under the pictures and view my past blogs about these parks. read more

Colonel Denning 

Cook Forest 
Cowans Gap 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Thursday, September 10, 2015

From the Archives: Who are the Tennis Family?

"E. A. Tennis's home in 1891," I read as I looked at a picture from a file on Thompsontown, Pennsylvania during a visit to the Juniata County Historical Society. My mother-in-law, now gone, once told me  read more

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Pennsylvania State Parks: Shikellamy

Looking Down on Northumberland from
 Shikellamy State Park 
Shikellamy State Park consists of two different areas divided by Route 11 and the Susquehanna river. To visit one we traveled north from Shamokin Dam, took Route 15 at the traffic circle, and soon turned right at a park sign. The entrance road winds to the top of the mountain where the 78-acre park is located at the edge of a 360-foot cliff overlooking the river, Northumberland, and Sunbury.

Looking down read more

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Three Generations of Pennsylvania Quilters

Zola Junk's Flower Garden Quilt
My grandmother, Zola Junk (1891-1980), made tons of quilts in many different patterns. From the time I can remember, her sewing machine occupied a spot in her dining room. In the early years, she saved every piece of cotton fabric left from the clothing. At some point, our neighbor near the farm I grew up on  read more

Saturday, July 25, 2015

From the Archives: Juniata Hosiery Mill

The Nestler family opened the Juniata Hosiery Mill in 1913. Located in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania between North First and North Fourth Street along the Westminster Presbyterian Cemetery, the mill made women’s silk hosiery. Nine years later read more

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Community that Loves Kids!

The wisp of a girl fell down in front of me, fussed a little, but got up and ran on. Her mother commented, “Don’t you just love this surface?” Yes, I did like the soft rubber floor; in fact, I enjoyed everything about the read more

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Little Boy by Del Hart

I’m always interested in books about Pennsylvania so naturally I felt drawn to Del Hart's A Little Boy  about his childhood experiences growing up on a farm in Central Pennsylvania. I found not only a wonderful time capsule of a past era, but became read more

Monday, July 6, 2015

PA State Parks: Cowans Gap

The number of people at the beach on a Friday at Cowans Gap State Park in Fulton County, Pennsylvania surprised us. We had driven for an hour and a half to nearby Harrisonville, Pennsylvania, to look at read more

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Juniata Valley Quilters Guild Show

Quilting has been a part of our family as long as I can remember. As a child, I played under the quilt frame with my cousin while our mothers worked together on a quilt. As a teenager, I enjoyed watching my grandmother who lived with us make crazy quilts. In her old age by then and needing my mother to thread her needles for her work, she had already made read more

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

PA State Parks: Little Buffalo

One of many hats is substitute teaching. On one of the last days of school this past year, the fifth grade class had finished its planned activities so I taught a little Pennsylvania history.

“How many state parks can you name?”

Hands raised all over the room.

I pointed to a student. “How about you tell us one.”

“Hershey Park.”

“Well, that’s a fun place to go, but that's an amusement park not a state park.”

I received a few more wrong answers, but someone finally mentioned read more

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mexico, Pennsylvania: Then and Now

We have a popular ice cream store in our area. Everyone knows about Mexico Mart, where they sell huge delicious ice cream cones for comparative little money. Mexico Mart operates in a small town called Mexico halfway between Harrisburg and State College in Central Pennsylvania. I wonder how many people know the history behind Mexico, Pennsylvania.  I didn’t until my mother began to pull books out of her bookshelf while looking for a church directory I had asked for. read more

Monday, June 15, 2015

Children’s Book Fun-Grades 5-6

Bly, Stephen. Nathan T. Riggins Western Adventure series. Youth can immerse themselves in the culture of the old west in these cowboy novels. Descriptions of each of these books are at

Bly, Stephen. Lewis and Clark Squad series. This series set in modern day times features a basketball team who works together on the court and off of the court. Mr. Bly is our family’s favorite author, and this was our absolute favorite read-aloud. Read the titles of each book at more

Friday, June 12, 2015

Children’s Book Fun-Grades 1-4

During the time when we were homeschooling, our family read many books together. Here are a few of our favorites. For more fun, I’ve included some links. read more

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Story of God’s Grace: Peggy Ann Bradnick

Peggy Ann Bradnick Jackson
photo by Sandy Sieber
For anyone, the thought of being kidnapped is terrifying. For one 17-year-old girl back in 1966, this actually happened. In fact, this particular kidnapping of an ordinary girl named Peggy Ann Bradnick became a historic event because finding her involved read more

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Homeschool Support Groups: Part Two

Tom & Joanna Wert Family

(by Joanna Wert originally posted on her blog, Fifty Something, as the Letter C of the ABC’s of Homeschooling)

Over 25 years ago, I began my homeschooling venture. At first, I did not know a single other homeschool family. Shortly thereafter, though, I met my first read more

Monday, May 4, 2015

Homeschool Support Groups: Part One

(by Joanna Wert originally posted on her blog, Fifty Something, as the Letter C of the ABC’s of Homeschooling)

Joanna and Tom Wert
Today's topic for the ABCs of homeschooling concerns community. Community equals support, ideas, mentoring, a sense of belonging, and pooled resources.

During your first few years of homeschooling, read more

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Red Rabbit

Our family has developed a habit. Once a month, we climb in our car, travel Route 322 East, toward the Clark’s Ferry Bridge. Right before crossing the Susquehanna, we turn in at a little restaurant called the Red Rabbit.

My father-in-law used to talk about the beginnings read more

Thursday, April 16, 2015


My husband, Rusty Sieber, owner,
operater, and mechanic for Shelco
with a roll of fabric ready to be biased

When my husband worked as a cutter in a garment factory, he continually heard, “Where is that bias? Didn’t it come yet?” Those statements gave him an idea. What if read more

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Central Pennsylvania Garment Factories

My experience with garment factories started in 1976 when my husband and I started a business to cut trims for the many factories in our area. We made bias binding, cross-cut ribbing, straight cut trim, bows for nightgowns, and spaghetti strap cording. Eventually, we worked for factories in other states as well.

David Peet, Inc. in East Salem became our first big
read more

Friday, March 27, 2015

Stitch in Time Antique and Gift Mall

Entering the large brick building now labeled Stitch in Time Antique and Gift Mall in Millerstown, Pennsylvania, I imagined this space as it must have looked years ago. I saw a large open room with rows of sewing machines. A woman sat at each one, her head bent over her work. One section of the room would have had read more

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Millerstown Spring Fling Craft Show

This past week at school, I noticed a caricature of the teacher I was substituting for. Hmm, I’d like to do that, I thought to myself. On Saturday, I got my chance. Millerstown Community Success, Inc. again had a craft show. This one they called a Spring Fling Craft Show.

Being a little more eager this time, I arrived right after the starting time of 8 o’clock. On the porch of the school I found read more

Friday, March 13, 2015

Teaching Pennsylvania History: Part 5: Major Events

Temper this section of Pennsylvania history with Bible study time about our security in Christ, God’s provision for his people, and disaster readiness (staying close to God, his word, and his people).

Activities Students Can Do About Each Event: read more

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Teaching Pennsylvania History: Part 4: State Symbols

Bingo Board

Another way I teach about Pennsylvania is through the symbols for the state. Do your children know that these had to go through legislative channels to be chosen? One class had an especially good lesson on the process as they were instrumental in having a state insect chosen! read more

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Teaching Pennsylvania History: Part 3: Native Americans

Different things students can do:

  • Look up pictures of Native Americans by these artists: Robert Griffing, John Buxton, Jack Paluk, and Andrew Knez Jr.
  • Read one of the novels about captivity among the Indians. (Captives: Mary Jemison, Catharine Carey, Regina Hartman)
  • Read accounts by early travelers, settlers, or missionaries who wrote about the Indians: Jesuit missionaries, Moravians, David Zeisburger, Conrad Weiser, John Heckewelder, and David Brainerd.
  • Make a timeline about the historical events
  • Visit local landmarks. Add local dates to timeline.
  • Make a list of names from your area that came from Indian names.
  • Visit the Harrisburg State Museum Indian exhibit. read more

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Teaching Pennsylvania History: Part 2: The History of Transportation

Different things students can do:
  • Look for the words in the below outline on the Internet.
  • Visit transportation exhibits at local museums. (Harrisburg State Museum has a great exhibit.)
  • Make a scrapbook of pictures from Internet.
  • Art and writing projects involving Pennsylvania transportation.

1.   Draw different forms of historic transportation
2. Make up a story in which you must travel via a certain historical form of transportation.
3. Write a report comparing two historic forms of transportation. read more

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Revelations about Writing

Education has been my life, first as an elementary, high school, and college student, then as a teacher of kindergarten, VBS, Sunday School, homeschool, and now as public school substitute. I love the process of learning especially the moment Read More

Monday, February 16, 2015

Teaching Pennsylvania History-Part 1

I've been teaching Pennsylvania history for a long time now, first to our four children, and then to other children at homeschool co-ops. One thing I've discovered is that the mass of information to be taught needs organized.

State history study can be arranged chronologically or topically. I always pick the topic way because it is easier to gear the lessons to students’ interests. To give the study a sense of order, I have them fill out a timeline. I use label paper to print stickers with date, subject, and a small picture while using small timelines in group classes. What I really like read more

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Thomas Buchanan Read

(United States Public Domain)

Native Pennsylvanian, Thomas Buchanan Read, born in 1822, had many talents. He painted, sculpted, and wrote in various genres. Although he had a huge following while he lived, most people now only know read more

Saturday, January 31, 2015

JCCH Co-op

In my area, the time has quickly rolled around for homeschool co-op classes again. I thought that telling about what we do might help other support groups to try the venture or give some new ideas for groups already offering classes.

Our support group began with four families getting together to share a day of activities. We took turns coming up with what to do. That was 20 years ago. Now the co-op read more

Friday, January 23, 2015

Excerpt from William Penn and Other Famous Pennsylvanians

The founder of Pennsylvania started life in 1644 as the son of a prominent couple, Admiral William Penn and his wife Margaret who lived in London, England. Young William grew up in a rich home with lots of food, clothing, and fun things to do. His family dressed well and liked the current entertainments of singing, dancing, playing cards, and competing in sports. His father, an admiral in the English Navy, supported military actions. The family attended the established church of the time, the Church of England.

When William was a little boy, read more

Friday, January 16, 2015

Interview with Heidi Strawser: Homeschool Mother

I first met Heidi online as someone who worked for The Old Schoolhouse magazine and then met her in person at a homeschool convention even though she only lives a few miles from me. Our contact is still online through Facebook. Now, when I think of Heidi, I think read more