Monday, September 30, 2013

Harvest Season

Though we don't have anything to harvest this season, from our garden, it is a wonderful time of year. From our peach tree, my husband has made many jars of peach jam and some canned peaches. Thanks to friends, I've been able to make apple sauce and can it. I tried goat recently as well. It was good. Soon enough, we will be processing turkeys and lambs, to enjoy over the winter season. I'd like to try my hand at hunting deer as well, but might have to hold off until next season, due to preparation that still needs to be done.

There is something about the fall season, I've always loved. The colors, crisp air, the  way the sun shines as the rays filter through the vibrantly changing leaves. There is a peace in the air and a heart filled with celebratory ideas.

It is often during this season that I feel most creative. I participate in NaNoWriMo. My oldest 2 blessings have joined me in this adventure the past few years. Crafting seems more of a delight, although right now my sewing machine needs to get into the shop.  I also get a desire for a fall cleaning. It's like spring cleaning. The desire to declutter all the unnecessary things from my heart, mind, and home. To re-evaluate and make changes, in preparation for the more reclusive days of the winter.

This year, I feel cluttered with materials. There are things all over my house, but what of it do we actually need? Why do we keep some of the things we keep? Why do we even buy some of the things we buy? Sometimes I envy, though I know we shouldn't, those who start out more simply. Accepting that they don't have to have this, that, or the next thing. How much easier would life be, if we didn't clutter it with unnecessary junk?

I've decided that this year, the kids should be able to pick out ONE thing they want the most, (that we can actually give them), for their birthdays. That way they might, hopefully, appreciate their gift and realize a few things.

My hope for today, is to clear out my house. It can be difficult to achieve, when there are so many people, yet they are all focused on different achievements. But it can be done, if that one chooses not to be lazy.

I suppose that is a problem I have. I can be lazy, but worse than that, I have a hard time picking ONE goal and making it happen and not losing focus over all the billions of other things that should/could also be done. Giving myself permission to decided, "THIS" is what is happening and I'm going to see it through to the end, BEFORE I do something else. I think I'd get a lot more done if I'd work like that. One room, one step, one thought, one dream, one goal at a time. I don't have to always try to multitask and then end up overwhelmed and feeling like a failure.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

One Reason We Homeschool

Such a wonderful day today. Waking to my jolly, playful baby. Though, I would not have woken up on my own, it was pleasant to snuggle with him. He was able to peacefully return to sleep after a bit, but I was up for the day. Downstairs to get things tidied up before the tornado, I call my children, arrived.

Blessing #4 was the first to join me. Since it was quiet, and I felt sure the others would be asleep for a while longer, we went out to tend the farm. Fresh water for the chickens and the turkeys. No egg collection, since the hens were still sitting. Then off to the garden to clear around our beans and check on our other plants. Hoping to actually get other things. We have a lot of sunflowers growing. Most of them must've been planted by the birds. I'm hoping to make a lot of sunbutter with them.

Overjoyed by my return, Blessing #2 handed Blessing #5 over to me. "He's been crying for an hour!" She claimed. "I was only outside for about a half an hour."

"Time to make waffles!" She said excitedly. We are trying a new thing, where the girls plan the meals for 2 days of the week and it is their pleasure to try to make the meals themselves, with mom and dad standing by ready to assist. We made enough waffles to sticks some in the freezer for another time.

When breakfast was had, this clever little lady, decided it was time to start prepping for pizza rolls. She had decided to make homemade pizza rolls, which we later decided to just make mini pizzas. I pulled up a recipe for her and realized, she was right. The dough would need some time to rest! Away she went, to get it all put together. And away I went, to get Blessing #1 going on school work. By the time we were all done getting the little pizzas ready we had enough leftover to freeze some of them as well!

That's pretty much how our morning went. Cooking with Blessing #2, while #3,4, and 5 all played, and #1 did school work. Blessing #1 has been so good about getting her school work done this week, though, and didn't seem to mind.

Once lunch was over, we left the mess, even from breakfast, and continued on with lessons for both girls. I did manage to get out to the bank and to pick up antibiotics for Blessing #1. I'm not a fan of antibiotics, having taken WAY too many in my youth. I even considered not bothering, but decided, this once, I would go ahead.

Today, the girls got to do art lessons. I even sat down with Blessing #1 and did the lesson right a long with her. It was pretty fun.

 Blessing #1's
 Blessing #2's (Hers is a cave drawing, but it is really hard to see what she drew!

Blessing #1 got  to make dinner tonight. She did pretty good prepping her veggies for her chicken lo mein. Her dad stepped in to help her with the rest of her meal making. It was pretty good stuff.

More school work for all 3 of the older kids, after dinner, along with some kitchen clean up. My husband decided that it was a good night to make some peach jelly, also. So we paused the clean up and got it made! Pretty excited.

The one thing that was "rough" about today, is that Blessing #5 must've figured out that a lot happens after he goes to bed, because he doesn't want to anymore. At least not at his normal bed time. In fact, he just woke up again!

(Look, I used lots of pictures this time! ;D )

Thursday, September 5, 2013

First Week is Almost Done.

The first week of our "official" school year, is already almost done.

Yesterday and today, I managed to get through all the boys' lessons, before the girls woke up. Then got Blessing #1 through her lessons. Blessing #2 didn't get all her lessons done yesterday, so had to finished yesterday's and today's.

 Yesterday afternoon, I left Blessing #2 in charge of Blessing #5, as she seems to enjoy it more. Then I rounded up Blessings #1 and #3, to gather up and take out the garbage. With his black cape and batman shirt on, Blessing #3 gladly pulled the trash cans to the front of the truck bed for me and back to the tail gate when it was time to unload them. Then it was off to the barn to care for the turkeys and sheep. Blessing #4 joined us. With the barn animals cared for, it was time to water the trees at the front of the driveway. We filled buckets and old juice bottles and milk jugs. Once the trees were watered, we parked the truck once more. Blessing #4 headed back to the house, with mail in hand, while the rest of us made our way to the chicken coop. We forgot to look for eggs, in the new spot the hens have been nesting in, but we got them lots of fresh water and food. By the time we were all done with that, it was time to get ready for church. We finished out the evening with a couple chapters from "The Witches" by Roald Dahl. It may seem strange to some to go to church, then come home and read a book like that. It seems weird to type it, honestly. However, it is a good opportunity to talk to my children about such topics and to give them facts vs. fantasy

Today, by the time lessons we completed, it was time for Blessings #1 and #2 to visit the dentist. Amazingly #2, who doesn't brush every day and sometimes I wonder if she pretends to brush more often than she actually does, was given the dentist's approval. Blessing #1, on the other hand, was in tears by the time we pulled out of the parking lot. The concern wasn't so much cavities as she only had one minor one and then a tooth that lost a filling. (It's the 3rd filling that has come out!) No, it couldn't be something as simple as a cavity, instead she has at least 5 teeth that the dentist highly recommended getting extracted. All baby teeth, that for some reason, have not let go of her poor mouth, to make room for her grown up teeth, which are so desperately trying to come forth. The hope is, that by extracting the infantile teeth, the adult teeth will be able to make the journey into their proper places. The idea of having her teeth pulled terrifies the poor child. Not so much the idea of what she might look like with all those missing teeth, but the anticipation that it will hurt beyond anything pain she's felt before.

We had a little time before taking Blessing #1 to practice, so we did what any normal family might do. We gathered together in our den and watched the Duggars. :)

When practice was underway, the rest of the crew and I, headed to the park The older 3 ran around playing their own games, once they were done with their mulch fight. Blessing #5 spent a little time sitting and laying in the grass and enjoying the textures.

We picked up Blessing #1 and then set out for the grocery store. My hope was, that it would be pretty empty, since it was later. I was right. What I didn't expect, but praise God for, is how amazingly well behaved and helpful my children were. They are usually fairly helpful and pretty behaved, but they certainly out did themselves tonight. The oldest 2 even bagged our groceries, loaded them into the van, and then unloaded them and put them away when we got home. I would've helped them, but Blessing #5 was ready for bed, or so I thought. Turned out, he did NOT want to sleep, just eat and snuggled.  With a few more chapters from our book, it was time for bed. And so, that is what I shall do also.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

First Day of School

Yesterday was our first "official" day of school for the kids. And for the most part it was a very good day.

 I got up before everyone else and managed to complete a unit of my online hunting course. Two more units left. Right as I was finishing the test for the last unit, the boys woke up. I finished my test and took them downstairs for some breakfast.

After breakfast, it was still just the boys and I, so I sat them down and went through their lessons. It really doesn't seem to take us very long to get through their core subjects. Which is great, because I don't know that they'd give me their enthusiastic attention, as much, if the lessons were longer. They seem to be just the right length.

When the boys' lessons were finished, Blessing #1 joined us. I got her some breakfast and went through her lessons with her. By the time she was finished, Blessing #2 woke up. I sat down and did her lessons with her while the boys played and Blessing #1 fold towels.

As we finished up lessons for the day, we sat down for lunch. I got a shower, (yes, after lunch.) and the girls were supposed to get the boys ready for our first homeschool group trip of the year. The boys were not ready when I was. Then I needed to nurse Blessing #5 and told the girls, I wanted everyone else ready and in the van by the time I finished. They were all in the van, but the boys still weren't ready.

A Half hour after I wanted to leave, I texted my friend and let her know we WERE on our way. I almost didn't go, but I wanted to have a memorable first day of school. We made it to the zoo about 40 minutes after the agreed upon time. Then, a miscommunication meant, the kids and I spent the first 45 minutes or so looking at animals without our friends. Our friends caught up with us in the aviary. We were able to spend the next hour or so with them, checking out animals together. The kids had fun, although I did have to remind them not to whine and to behave. Next time I need to make sure we have water and snacks!

We had to leave and take Blessing #1 to practice. On the way out, we stopped at the fountain and took some pictures. Blessing #2 does not like her picture taken, and my timing was off, so there aren't any good pictures of her.

Blessing #1 did make it soccer on time, to my relief. I hate being late and had already been late once, yesterday!

While I was dropping her off, Blessings #3 and 4 were home, shucking corn, for daddy.

Last night my husband and I started making stuff with the fruit we've harvested so far. He seems pretty proud of the mulberry jelly. Although, it hasn't stiffened a lot. Not sure what that will mean. Maybe a syrup for pancakes and ice cream instead.