Saturday, December 5, 2015

Learning to Let Go

Recently I took my oldest 2 blessings to their annual Dr. appointments. I hoped to use it as a learning and growing experience for them. I did not realize it would be one for me as well.

When I left, "the nest", I was not prepared for the independent responsibilities I would face. Things I'd not thought of, such as scheduling my own appointments, filling out papers, etc. I.E. taking care of myself, like a grown up. One desire I have for my children is that they will be ready for that, because they will have had plenty of practice while I'm still such a big participant in their lives.

When we stop for gas, I make one of my girls get out and go through the process of filling the tank. When they go to the doctor, I have them fill out their health forms and let them ask me if they are unsure of something, letting them keep their papers private I try to remind them that they are always welcome to ask the receptionist, assistant, or doctor as well.

Yesterday, I took an even bigger step towards letting them be independent of me. This time, I let them have some one on one time with the doctor. They are old enough to do that now and I want them to learn to be comfortable with building their own healthcare relationships.

I know this was good for both of them. What I didn't expect was how it would actually hurt a little. A hard pill to swallow, but part of the process of allowing my daughters to grow apart from me. I'm used to knowing certain things, but learning to accept that I won't know everything about my children and even less, possibly, the older they get and that is OK. It is ok for them to be individual people separate from me, with their own opinions, thoughts, ideas, choices, etc... I've tried to hold onto that knowledge all along and try to let them know it is ok if we don't agree on things, we aren't always going to. 

I didn't expect to be sad over them talking privately with the doctor, like what they were saying was none of my business. After all, I'm their mom, it is my business isn't it?

Yes and no.

Yes, I'm their mom and some things are my business. At the same time, no, what they need to discuss with the doctor isn't necessarily my business, even if I want it to be. They are growing up and though they are still children, they need to have safe people to talk to, other than me.

Letting go hurts and it isn't always easy. Especially, when it happens in an area we hadn't expected. Yet, with every area I'm willing to gracefully step down from leadership in and give my daughters the freedom to take over, I know they will benefit in the end. They will be ready for life outside of my wing. They will not just survive, but they will thrive, and it will be easier for them, because they are already preparing.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Happy November

It has been a busy November at our house.

Last month I attempted to make a T.A.R.D.I.S. cake. This month, it was Bag End. It is not beautiful, but was loved, for the attempt, by the birthday blessing.
One thing I learned from this experiment is, no matter what recipe I use, I am not a frosting maker. It always turns out runny, even when I follow directions as accurately as possible.

There was also the awesome snow day the kids had. Thankfully not on a school day, though I do hear that this year we're looking at a warmer than normal winter.

There was the more terrible two than normal day, as well. When my youngest blessing decided our math blocks belonged in the oven and I didn't realize it until I smelled them melting. Thank God for grill brushes!

Of course, there was also Thanksgiving. This year was probably the best Thanksgiving we've had, possibly, ever. We pre-prepped some of our dishes, thanks to watching "The Pioneer Woman" on Food Network, doing her pre-prepping. By the way, her cranberry sauce recipe is the best I've eaten! (Admittedly, I substituted grape juice for cranberry juice, because it is cheaper and I no one drinks the left over cranberry juice at my house.)

We got crafty, had family time with some footballs outside, watched a little tv together, played games. It felt like a "real" Thanksgiving gathering, in spite of the lack of extra guests. It was wonderful! The best part was listening to my family go around the table sharing what they were thankful for.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Wibbly Wobbly

I admit it, many in this house enjoy Doctor Who. So, for a recent birthday, I thought it would be fun to try and make a TARDIS cake surrounded by Daleks.

I am definitely not the greatest baker, or decorator in the world. My frosting always ends up runny, even when I follow directions, EXACTLY. And my stuff looks fairly pitiful. However, after seeing stuff on pinterest that I have pinned, I decided to add to my been there done that folder, with attempts to achieve something remotely like the ideas I'd collected.

I used a bread pan, in hopes of making a little TARDIS and cupcakes for the Daleks. Tip... Turn the cupcakes upside down so the bigger part is on the bottom. I used Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for their heads and pearl candy sprinkles for their bumpy spots. I propped the TARDIS up with 3 Daleks, otherwise, it wouldn't have been standing!

Here is a visual of what I ended up with. (That's right, I actually have a picture today!)

 It certainly looked better with the lighted candles. :) And truthfully, it was still good eats. Just not very good looking eats!

Thankfully, it was appreciated by the birthday blessing, who thought it was neat for me to even try to make it.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Friends of all Ages

In school we are trained to stick with people our own ages, for the most part. That is another thing I love about homeschooling, though. My kids have been trained that age is a number and friendships can be had in different ways with different kids.

But that is not what this post is about. This post is about how much *I* love having friends of varying ages. Friends who look to me for advice, friends I seek for advice, and friends who are going through the same struggles at the same time.

Last night, as I shared my heart, concerning parenting my daughters better, with a group of friends, God answered some of my prayers. Through these women, of different ages, perspectives, and ideas, I was able to receive advice, comfort, and encouragement. From one, I found who had been there, done that, I found hope and knew that the sun will rise again. I also gained insight from younger women, who still had a fresh enough, from my girls' perspective, viewpoint. Being able to share with me what they struggled with and why and who and what they needed then.

It's amazing the people God puts in our lives and the ways they can help us to grow into the people we are meant to be, if we will just take the time to be vulnerable and listen.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

So Far All is Well

Since I moved the girls into the same room last week, things have seemed pretty good. They are treating each other with more kindness and less fighting. I can hear them laughing, and sharing, often. It is a wonderful thing. I know in my heart this was a God move, because I never would've done it on my own, and it certainly wouldn't have turned out so well. I am pleased with the choice that I made and thankful for the courage I had to make it.

Things haven't changed in the way they treat their dad and I, but that is a separate issue and will take time, determination, effort, etc... on our part, as their parents. In spite of that, I am thankful to have at least some extra peace and harmony in this home and am praying it is only the beginning.

Saturday, October 24, 2015


I have written recently about my issues with my daughters being disrespectful. I've had people tell me to take away privileges and to assert my authority. I have prayed for wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and guidance on how to parent with love and without spoiling my kids.

For a few weeks now, at least a couple, the idea has made it's rounds through my thoughts. Each time, I've wondered if it was a bit extreme. Was I even able to do that? I've also worried about my husband's disagreement with it, but also the judgement of others, who feel the need to tell me how to parent and why my choices aren't good enough. Prayerfully, I finally made a decision and a move.

Yesterday, while my girls were at school, I moved them into the same bedroom. I used the $5 bed frame I've been refinishing, for Blessing #1, as a good opportunity to do this, since it meant changing her room anyway. Every time I questioned whether I was doing the right thing or not, a peace fell over me.

Tears and rejection met me, as I faced my daughters to explain my decision to them. I understood them being angry, and yet, I was at peace. It is my daughters' call, to honor, respect, and obey me. *Gasp* Yes, I said obey. Really, it is not a bad word. We obey the law don't we? Why? Because it is good for us and for others when we do. At the same time, it is my call to train them up with love, to be the women they are called to be.

I have tolerated their growing disrespect and horrid behavior, or lashed out, in my opinion, incorrectly, for far too long. If I desire change, I must be willing to do things differently. To see things differently.

I know many who would disapprove of my moving my girls back into the same room, when they've had their own for so long, and with them being the ages they are. Honestly, I don't care anymore. The attitude that children MUST HAVE their own space, their own rooms, to grow into their individuality, and their own person, I just don't buy it anymore.

They were angry with me yesterday, but I stood my ground. When evening came, so did a small reward, for my faithfulness to what had been laid on my heart, as I listened to my girls laughing and sharing in a way they haven't in a long time.

Today, they still aren't completely happy, and yet, they've been kinder to one another. They've worked together more than they have in a long time and even their interactions with me have been somewhat better.

I know it will not always be this pleasant. There will be times they will fight, and complain, etc... Yet, at they same time, they are being required to learn to live with other people, learn from them, grow with them, and think of someone besides themselves, more than they were when they could just go to their own room, lock the door, and ignore the people around them.

I know it won't be an easy road, but the right things, usually aren't. I do, however, believe that it will take us in a good direction and that it will pave the way for the manifestation of wonderful things, both in this family, and in the lives my daughters will someday touch, because of what they will learn and how they will grow.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I Love Homeschooling

This week has been an off week for me. I, may have, pulled our lesson plan out on Monday, and haven't looked at it since.

This week I was reminded, this is ok. As I let the boys lead, this week, I realized how little credit I've given to the things they learn, without a plan.

I'm not saying having a plan is a bad idea. I like it, and it certainly has helped us this year. However, flexibility is truly a gift that homeschooling offers us.

This week, we didn't get around to our math paperwork, or our writing paperwork. We only read some of our science and history. We didn't really do anything else that was on the schedule. Instead, we played. A LOT.

Through their play, I saw them practicing so much. As they built towers and cities out of plastic cups, I saw the implementation of math, science, physics, engineering. They may not be able to explain what they were doing or why they did it, in technical terms, but what they did surprised me.

I also saw them budding as artists and learning about the color wheel, mediums, lines, etc... all just by doing those things and by watching me do those things.

They built character, story telling skills, etc... as they implemented working together to make games and story lines, in those games, function. 

They strengthened their minds, their bodies, their knowledge of the world around them and the impact they can have on it and others, as they played outside and helped their dad with outdoor projects.

We did math as we talked about how many pennies a box of cereal and other items cost.

Spelling came naturally as we discussed how to spell different things. My oldest son, has been learning to write Batman and Star Wars, to search for them, by reading video game boxes or books that have the names on them. Spelling and reading, on his own.

 All day long, each day this week, I've seen my sons grow, when I've stopped to just, truly, observe them and what they are doing. And I see that, it isn't about pushing them to meet the expectations of others, but to know them as individuals and encourage them when they are ready and interested. To know they may not be learning what *I* think they should be learning, but they are often learning what they should be learning, for them. After all, we all have different callings, gifts, talents, and natural abilities.

Too often, I've missed these cues, being so busy about trying to prove that *I* can teach my kids. I've forgotten that my job is not to make them, but to facilitate for them. Just like with potty training and learning to walk. Watching for cues that say "I'm ready and I want this info."

When I wait, it comes quickly and flows more naturally, than when I try to force it. There isn't a battle, or a fight. When I wait, I see their confidence grow as they see that they CAN do this or that and it isn't that hard.

I love that, through homeschooling, I can take the time to get to know my children and to trust them and teach them to trust themselves. To trust their ability to learn and to grow. To trust that, they are who they are meant to be and that isn't going to be exactly like everyone else, doing everything at the same time in the same way as everyone else.

My boys may be "behind" in one subject, on par with another, and ahead with a third. The nice thing is, there is no deadline for them to know this or that. There is no looking at someone else who this comes easier to, and thinking they must not be very good at it themselves. They will grow in all those areas and they will do well. They will be successful in life, not by the standards of others, but by the standards they have for what it means to be successful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Today has been a less turbulent day.

On a whim, I decided to put away my lesson plan for the boys and have a morning of art instead. They didn't join me the way I thought they would, yet other things happened, as I gave into flexibility. They got to do something they both enjoy, together, strengthening their bond. At the same time, I was able to do something I love. I painted.

First I pulled out a piece I had started, over a week ago. A fall scene, with radiant orange skies, tufted with pinkish clouds. Green hills, rolling along the bottom. To which I added 4 trees, leaves drifting to the ground and piling up around them.

When that was finished, I decided to make a pumpkin picture. Four pumpkins of various sizes, vines still attached, resting in some grass, on a beautiful evening.

I'm not a greatly skilled artist. If I ever forget that, all I have to do is ask my husband what he thinks of my art. However, completing those paintings and hanging them on my wall felt good.

It felt good to share a part of myself others rarely see. To look at something I actually completed.

It was after this that my boys decided they, too, wanted to make things to hang on the wall.

Seeing them follow the example I set, so quickly, reminded me of how important our examples are. I can easily be weighed down by that truth. Instead, I feel lighter, knowing that the little things I do, that I may think I'm really not good at, simply because I like doing them, is teaching my kids to do things they love, not because of the great skills they have, but because doing those things makes them smile.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sometimes Mommy Needs a Time Out

I left my daughters in charge of the youngest two, while I took Blessing #3 to his practice today. Then, courageously, I took time to hit the store, since we were low on a couple of essentials. I was in a good mood.

Then it happened. I got a call from my oldest blessing. Blessing #2 had stayed in her room, except to eat, while I was gone. While Blessings #1 and 4 ate, Blessing #1 thought Blessing #5 was with Blessing #2. While she finished her dinner, Blessing #4 went to join Blessing #5.

Next thing I hear is, Blessing #5 pooped on the floor and he and Blessing #4 had smeared it around. In my head I'm thinking of the horror stories my parents and others have told me of incidents where a diaperless baby or toddler did just that and how it was E V E R Y where.

I arrived home, moments after the call, to find that not only was there a mess that I made Blessing #2 clean, since she hadn't been helping, but that almost every room downstairs was a disaster. I was discourage and disappointed and that made me angry.

I yelled, shouted, and eventually made my boys go to their room, (the girls had already gone to theirs), so that I could clean. I knew that sending them to their room was no punishment. They'd just play in there, especially since they were playing so well together before I sent them.

No, I sent them there because I needed a time out and it was too late to send them outside. I needed to put myself in check, get grounded, and calm down.

It worked. With them upstairs, I could turn on some calming music and begin tackling the insanity before me. Tackle it, I did. It is amazing what all can be done in a short time, when no one else is around to undo everything.

When they did come down again, I was able to receive them with a heart full of love, instead of resentment. In time, the messes they made won't matter, but our relationship, my interactions with them... those will.

It All Adds Up

The dishwasher is broken. The lock on the trunk of the van won't unlock when I push the button. I keep forgetting to get laundry detergent, and am almost out. My house is a disaster and even when I get it to a point of sanity it gets trashed again. I have a to do list 50 miles long and only enough time in a day to reach a mile. I'm frustrated over things I can't control. All these things add up, to an overwhelming weight. A weight that reminds me that I am not superwoman.

The truth is, none of us are. It is easy to become crushed by everything on our plates, and think to ourselves of others, whom, we believe, have it all together. "Ginny has a perfectly clean house, well behaved kids, and does it on her own, a lot, because her husband works in another state." "Clara can educate her kids, make all their food from scratch, raise animals, and always looks so nice." These are thoughts I have had. Which turn to, "But look at me. There are many days I'm lucky to get a shower let alone have a clean house. I take my kids in public and people would think they are feral children. (This is true less often than I feel). I can't juggle everything." and I beat myself up for it, on bad days.

The thing is, I know so many (probably every mom) has these same thoughts. We aren't alone. Why are these thoughts so prevalent? Why do we feel this need to compare so much so often? Where is all this pressure and expectation coming from? This idea that we can not have weaknesses, but must be be as good or better than others? Is it coming from us, or from outside of us?

In my case, I'd say both, which is probably true all around. However, I do feel more of it comes from outside of me than inside of me. I don't usually think I have to be just like Sarah or Jane. I understand that they may seem like things are good, but be hurting, broken, and tired. I've seen it in my own friends, and in myself. They also may have resources that I don't, or at least haven't utilized. For example, Ginny may not have her husband nearby all the time, but she may have family to lean on when he isn't able to help her. I don't have that and find it rather difficult to lean on my friends for that.

I can do a hundred things and if something else doesn't get done, meet the expectations of others, I've noticed, at times, it is like those other 100 things don't matter, they don't count. The thing is, ladies, they do. They may not count to others, but they still count. Just because one thing (or a 100 others) didn't get done, doesn't mean that each thing you did was not an accomplishment.

I am more accomplished than I feel, I just need to remember that. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


 Fall. It is probably my favorite season. The crisp, cool air that says the summer heat is over, but winter isn't here yet. The feasting and togetherness. The vibrant colors of warmth and snuggliness. Walks in nature, with so much to see and explore.

 I love that we can take it all in, in our own "backyard". We've been taking nature hikes around the property the past month. Found lots of mushrooms. It has really made me interested in learning more about them.
We've also seen butterflies, grasshoppers, sandhill cranes, and deer. The pictures below show Blessing #3 with a Monarch. It'd been wet down by the rain, and we were trying to take it to a milkweed plant. Also, Blessing #4 checking out some deer tracks, along the trail.

With fall, also comes harvest time!

This is what we've harvested so far, and not used, yet, from our randomly growing squash plants. Blessing #2 drew the cute face. She was naming our squash.
These were views I had this morning. I love days like this. So calm, quiet, peaceful. Vibrant colors amongst a refreshing fog. Seemingly separated from the worries and chaos of the world, as though we were tucked away in our own private one.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fully Eclipsed Blood Moon

It was around 9:40 last night. He rushed through the door, ran up the stairs and reminded me of the amazing event happening outside. I had been so busy getting kids to bed and working on a crocheting project, that I had forgotten about it.

"Ooh!, let's go sit outside, watch it, and share a romantic moment!" I replied, as I jumped out of our bed and made my way downstairs.

After taking care of a few other things, he pulled out some chairs and we sat, gazing up at the heavens. At one point, as a cloud passed across our view, it appeared as though it were a black fog or smoke seeping out of the moon. Another moment, the un-eclipsed portion looked as if it were glowing almost golden.

As the evening went on, the clouds dispersed, revealing more and more of the infinite space beyond. I basked in the glory and wonder of it all.

And then, as romantic as we are, our talking turned to hockey and the hair that comes with it. From awe and wonder, to laughter. It may not sound like a romantic moment, and yet, we shared. We shared two common interests. We laughed together and smiled together. We talked. It wasn't anything as deep as what I felt looking up into the awesomeness above us, but it was still us connecting and I loved it. So caught up in these two fabulous events, I failed to capture them with a camera, but I certainly captured them with my heart.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Kitchen is Open

 Fall is my baking season, as I'm sure it is for many people. Though, I know it isn't technically fall yet, it is certainly in the air. It is in the way the sun sets and rises. In the fog that creeps across our farm, the turkeys returning to the barn for security from the cooler nights and the beginnings of harvesting our animals and garden.

Over the course of the last week or so, I have been in a "homey" mood, I suppose you could say. Meal planning and a daily routine have certainly helped with that. I've been sewing, crocheting, baking, etc...

Though I don't have pictures of my crafting projects, here are some of my delicious treats.

First up, though it looks rather awful, is my attempt at homemade granola bars. I used this recipe:
Granted, I didn't exactly follow the recipe. I used coconut oil instead of butter and maple syrup instead of sugar. My measurements weren't exact either.
In spite of that, this, chocolaty blob, was pretty yummy.

Next up, was pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. We had two little pumpkins that fell off the vine last week. They were ripe enough, so I decided to make some cookies. I followed this recipe:
I did use honey instead of sugar in this recipe, and a little more than 6 heaping table spoons of fresh pumpkin puree. These were also delicious. They barely lasted 24 hours.

                    Of course, working with fresh pumpkins means  you get a bonus... pumpkin seeds! Now, I've never been able to toast the seeds just right before. Then, I found this recipe: and followed it exactly! (Yes, I actually do know how to follow directions... sometimes. :D ) They turned out perfectly! They made a wonderful substitute for chips this week. I can't wait til we have more.

The last thing I got the itch to make was bread. We were out, and I've been meaning to make some for a while, since I prefer homemade over store bought. I used our copy of "The Bread Bible" and made two loaves of Jewish rye bread. Whether buttered, or drizzled with honey, best if both, this bread was delicious. The two loaves didn't even last a week.      

My second set of loaves were, partially, in honor of National Honey Month, as well as Rosh Hashanah. I used this recipe, and the video link he has, for braiding,
It didn't turn out quite how I expected, and I, obviously, need some work on my braiding skills,  but it was a hit at our homeschool bee day. Again, great with butter and/or honey.

Friday, September 11, 2015

So Far, So Good

         We started back to school this week and so far things are going well. I get up with the girls and walk them out to wait for the bus. Most days, I've done a devotion and prayed with them. Then, while the boys are still sleeping, I get other stuff accomplished. (This has truly made my days much more pleasant.) 

        Blessing #1 is mostly loving school, from the sounds of it. She doesn't understand why the girls and boys don't play together, though. It frustrates her when she wants to do something and her friends don't want to, but also make her feel like she can't go play with the ones who are playing what she wants to, because they are boys. Ick! hahaha I told her to play what she wants, with whoever is willing to play it.

        Blessing #2, however, isn't so sure how she feels. School is going well and she likes it ok, but she is considering that, maybe, she'll just do this semester. My plan is, to have her make a pros and cons list about school, over the course of the semester. Near Christmas break we can go over it and see what she is liking and what she isn't, as well as why. That way, whether she chooses to come home or stay there, she'll be doing it for the right reasons. It may be that her cons are all pretty small, even if there are more of them.

       As for the boys, lessons are going great! They have been amazing about sitting down and doing our core stuff together. We don't always get to everything, every day, but we always get the main stuff done and they are doing a good job with all of it, as well. In fact some stuff we are already ahead in! We've been able to go to a lake and the zoo this week, as well as starting sports, so it has been very busy. Had plans for today, but the rain came, so we're trying to catch up on activities.

      Actually, in all honesty, right now they are trying to see who is the better fighter. I could step in, as I usually do, however, I'm not. I am, on the other hand, seriously considering doing as my grandmother would do and throwing them outside and locking the door until they get it all out of their system.

      And now they are done... One, with tears streaming down his cheeks, curled in my lap. The other, storming out of the room angry and prideful. So much to learn that doesn't fall under core concepts. For now, I shall love on the one, who appears to have lost the battle.

    As I said, so far so good, but that doesn't mean perfect!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

One Project Leads to Another

The kids were busy playing outside. I was feeling like superwoman, ready to conquer a small task. Opening my closet door, my intention was to let go of whatever I wasn't currently wearing. Somehow that plan turned into a project. A BIG project, that left me feeling unaccomplished at the end of the day, because I hadn't actually achieved the task that I had intended to complete.

I started by removing my own clothes from the closet. For some reason I couldn't stop there. I emptied off my shelves. Even then I kept on going, until all my husband's clothes were piled on our bed, along with the stuff form his shelves. I stood, staring, at the back wall of my closet. The artist was very good, but the art work was not my style. I've wanted to paint over it since the day we moved in almost 4 years ago.

As I looked at it, I originally turned away, planning to, once again, save it for a different day. Then my motivation struck me. Why continue waiting. The closet was empty. I had all the supplies I needed. I just had to want to get the job done.

So I did. I painted over the picture with white paint. Having no concern for perfection, since I could fix it when I eventually got around to really painting the closet. I just wanted to not open my closet and see it anymore. Two coats later, I put all the clothes back into my closet, went through our memories and organized them, and managed to remake my bed after my youngest blessing spilt water on it.

Not one item of clothing was removed and I couldn't help but think of all the other things I'd wanted to get done yesterday, except I'd gotten side tracked. It didn't matter to me that this was a finished project, because it wasn't the project I'd meant to take on. A project that ended up "eating up" my whole afternoon.

That's the thing, though. So many easy to get done projects get set on the back burner, because I always have other things I want to get done. These projects often seem too time consuming to deal with, right now, so I'll get to them later. Then later doesn't come. I get so caught up in the struggle to have a clean, tidy, home, (which I never really achieve either), that I don't make time for the projects that could help lead me closer to that.

For instance, making bookcases. I talk about wanting/needing them. They seem expensive to buy and usually not well made, but I never get around to making them.

Imagine if we made the time to take care of these simple tasks, instead of putting them off. We'd actually get stuff done and maybe they'd lead to an easier time with our "ultimate" goals. 

Monday, August 24, 2015


Two hens, each on their own nest, get broody at the same time. We let them sit, to see what happens.

Three weeks later...
          We've failed again. Time to clean up the most disgusting stuff I think I've ever smelled, through a face mask, and give the hens a fresh nest. All while trying not to imitate my dad's fake gagging. Although, mine wouldn't be fake!

          I walk into the chicken coop area and hear cheeping. When I look down, I find a baby chicken all dried and fluffed up, waiting outside one of the nests. Hallelujah! Only one of the nests has soured! The other has babies hatching! So far, between 4 and 6, with I'm not sure how many left to go.

         This is a big deal to me, as this is our first year having any chicken hens hatch their own batches. Now we've had 2 or 3 successes! Hopefully both our turkey hatches, that were doing well, have remained successful. I've seen one hen with the orphan and her 9 poults. I haven't seen the orphan's mom and her second batch, lately. That could mean nothing, as we let the turkeys truly free range and have had hens go off with their poults before, only to come back later. So we shall see.

I know the hatching doesn't sound like a lot, but it's the best year we've had so far and I am excited!

          I pray it continues to be a year of growth. It seems, every year, our farm has grown more and more abundant. I'm thankful to be so blessed!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Garlic and Animals

Well, we decided to harvest our garlic the other day. This is our first attempt at growing garlic. Some of it looked fairly small, but we were glad to see how much we ended up with. Now we have it curing in a closet. Well, except for the ones that lost their stems when we were trying to dig them up. We're planning to try a fall planting and see what happens with it in the spring.

  We recently had a turkey hen hatch her 2nd batch of poults this year. It was really weird, because she had around 10 hatch around the same time and she left her nest. A day or two after she left, my husband found a newly hatched turkey baby up in the loft with her but she rejected it and it died. The next day, she was no where near the nest, but there were 2 more newly hatched poults. We brought them in the house with food and water. One obviously suffered something neurological and died 2 days later. The other, we returned to the barn yesterday. When I checked on it lastnight it was huddled under the wing of a 2 month old chicken hen. I assume it was a hen, because of how maternal it seemed. Today, it was doing quite well, but our turkey moms have not returned to the barn. We were hoping this one could rejoin it's own mom, or the mom who adopted it's older sibling when it's mom left it behind to hatch the 2nd group.

We also moved our lambs around today. Turns out, I'm pretty bad at sexing newborn lambs. This shouldn't be that complicated, but I need to pay better attention. We actually have 4 ram lambs and 6 ewe lambs, not the other way around. We moved the ram lambs in with the ram dads and the pony today. The ewe lambs, rejoined the ewe moms.

Oh, and a quick update on my bite/sting thing. Still there. Scabbed over, circle. Sometimes the new skin itches, but it does seem to be healing. Wish I knew what did it, but it is what it is.

Monday, August 10, 2015


      Sometimes I wonder if we should just throw seeds out in our garden, randomly, and let our chickens loose in there. I never really see them in there, though our turkeys go in there and so do pheasants. Although, maybe I should just buy the vegetables and fruits I hope to grow and then throw them around my garden where ever I want them to be.

       I say this because we have found a lot of random squash plants growing, that we didn't "plant". Some are growing around our front walkway and others in the un-worked parts of our garden. Earlier this year, we took our unused, squash and threw them outside for the chickens to eat. Some we threw right by the walk way for the chickens who hang around the house and some we threw out in the garden for the chickens who live in the barn.

       The truth is, these unplanned gardens are doing better than our planned ones! At least, so far.We will see what happens with the pumpkin patch we put out back. It seems to be doing well.

         This last one is a pumpkin plant I actually started inside and transplanted. Admittedly, I did plant it a bit earlier than I probably should've. But a lot of the plants in our front garden look like it.
      We've ordered a soil test kit and will see how the soil is.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Maybe I was Wrong

When trying to find the difference between wasp stings and horsefly bites I found a few things. One, apparently vinegar can be used to help with healing. Two, one picture of a welted wasp sting looked A LOT like the welted spot on my arm did the other day. Not to mention my arm has been getting better each day and I read horsefly bites take longer to heal.

Yesterday, my arm had a small white head and a giant itchy red area.The white spot disappeared by the end of the day, though, I don't know exactly when.
Last night, I did tended it with some lavender oil. When I woke up, it wasn't as itchy. Though, it was as annoying as having a bunch of mosquito bites. I can still see little swollen spots, but it isn't as bad as yesterday. The redness has definitely gone down.

       Another thing going on here is a pre-school year purge and clean. I decided to start in our office/ boys' room. It has taken me 3 days, but I'm finally as done with it as I can be for now and it feels really good. It is clean, de-cluttered, and organized in such a way that everything has a place and it should be super easy to keep clean. Now to get the rest of my house like that, room by room, baby step, by baby step. Hopefully before the school year starts.

        I have also been working on lesson planning. I have September and October planned out, just need to print and gather things together. My goal is to have everything I need ready ahead of time so all I have to do is pull it out and get it done. Before school starts, I intend to have November and December planned out and prepped as well. Then over the course of September I can prep Jan and Feb, followed by March and April in October, and May in November. We'll see, though.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Maybe a Horsefly

I was sitting on the steps, by the door of our house, waiting for Blessing #1, so we could go to the store. All of a sudden I feel this burning piercing sensation, which, of course, my immediate response is to try to remove whatever is causing it. I am guessing at horsefly, from my daughter's descriptions of her own experience with their bites. My other guess was wasp sting. All I truly know is, it can fly, whatever it is.

It was horrible, like the feeling of being burnt and throwing vinegar on the wound. Or at least, I imagine that's how it would feel, if I threw vinegar on a burn. It was in the middle of my forearm and radiated to my wrist and lower hand all the way up to my elbow, dulling down as it traveled up my arm to my shoulder. The entry wound welted almost as soon as I could run to the sink to wash it up. I threw some baking soda down and got it wet, to make a paste. Left that for a few minutes, while I continued to wait. On the way to the car, I picked a leaf from a dock plant and crushed it in my other hand, hoping it would work like plantain. I read it does. A red streak now ran across my forearm, from wrist to elbow. I left a chunk of dock on the welt, at least half way to the store. (Probably about 5 minutes. The swelling of the welt did go down and by the time we headed home, about a half hour later, there was no longer a welt. The red streak shortened, and focused on forming a big red ring around the wound.

Currently, my arm, from wrist to elbow, feels like the muscles are all knotted up. It does still hurt some, though no where near as much as it did. After all, I was shouting at my husband, right after it happened, nearly in tears, that something had bit or stung me and that it hurt horribly.

I should consider myself blessed, though. If it was a horsefly, well that is only the second time I've been bit by one. The other time was when I was 5, and my understanding was, I personally reacted the same way, with shouting and tears. If it was a wasp, which I don't think it was, again, it would only be my second sting. Well, technically fourth, but the first 4 were from the same was as it rolled across my shoulder, finally landing on my thumb. I really only count the thumb sting, because it was the only one I really noticed.

It does look a lot better now than it did.
Might be hard to see in the photo. I'm not very photogenic ;) I can still see the red dot, where it got me, but it is much smaller, surrounded by a red patch of skin. We'll see what it looks like tomorrow, probably a lot better.

I did read tea tree oil, lavender oil, and cinnamon oil all deter them. I used to spray around my house with these, I think I should try it again... 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fall Harvest? Hopefully!

Started the evening with an enjoyable time planting in the garden plot my, hard working, husband prepped, earlier today. We planted some carrots, celery, peas, beans, radishes, lettuces, spinach, collards, arugula, and even decided to go for the onions in the hope that it will work, though we are doubtful. All the boys came out and helped, while our oldest daughter worked on making homemade fries and our other daughter worked on cleaning up.

I don't know how our late garden will do, but this years trials and errors have given us plenty of ideas, plans, and hopes for next years garden. Even more, it has created some good memories for us as a family.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

A Wee Update

Today, I harvested some garlic, green beans, and cucumbers. The cucumbers are shaped oddly, but I'm just making pickles, so hopefully they are good for that. The garlic looks like it could've grown for a bit longer, and there weren't many green beans. However, I actually have a picture!

Another good thing happening here is bees! Both colonies from last year failed to thrive. This year we got a new colony, from a different source. This colony came with the honey they will need this winter, meaning anymore they make, we can have. The good news is, for us, that we might actually get honey this year. They've already filled one box and my husband and blessings 3&4 worked together the other day to put together a new box. The bee hive is surrounded by Red Clover and Queen Anne's Lace, with Bee Balm and Purple Loosestrife nearby, along with other flowers I haven't identified yet. Plenty of sources for them to gather from!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Gearing Up for Another School Year

With another school year approaching, I have lesson planning and prepping to do and I must say it is tedious! haha I've never been all that great at being organized, but this year, I've decided I desperately need to be and my boys need me to be. With just the 3 of them to focus on it should be easier. Actually, rephrase, it HAS been easier. Most of the lessons are joint, so that saves some time, energy, and money.

I do still have a few things I'd like to purchase and pray I'm not wasting my time as I have in the past. I've tried creating "lesson plans" before only to butt heads with resistance and have my plans blown to smithereens. It's always been my daughters on the other side of that battle, though.

Over the summer I have had weeks where I've created a plan for the week and though we don't always complete every task, my boys have been much more cooperative. It has me looking forward to officially starting next month.

This year, I am doing something different. I've bought what I call a teacher box, this one to be exact, and have started putting files and folders together for every month and week. My hope and goal is to have every week planned and prepped to the point that all I have to do is pull out whatever it is I need each day and do it. Coloring pages printed, craft kits put together, science experiments supplies all gathered.

In my head, of course, everything would work out perfectly where I get up each day, get the girls off to school, get the rest of us breakfast, clean up with the boys, care for the animals with the boys, then get to our lessons, clean up our school stuff, have lunch, clean up lunch, and go have fun. This has always been how I'd like our days to go, even with the girls, but it has almost never worked out that way. I'm praying this year, it finally will.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

I don't like cell phones...

... and I'm pretty sure, if they had feelings, they wouldn't like me much either. Last week, I picked up my cell phone, only to have it fall to the ground, in just the right way, that the screen cracked. Today, the same thing happened in pretty much the same spot of my house. Now, the screen won't work at all. I know it is on, because I hear it go off when I get a message. Thankfully, I was able to download my photos and videos. I'm horrible about taking them to begin with, and not much better at loading them to the computer when I should. I've lost many photos and videos because of this. Though, it isn't always because I broke whatever they were stored on. In fact, many times it's because of an issue with the storage unit, itself. Either way, it is what it is. I have my media, and now I have no cell phone.

Another thing I'm thankful for, is the fact that we still own a land line. Personally, aside from the ability to easily text my husband when he can't take my call, I really could care less about having a cell phone. It is nice sometimes and I see the value in the case of an emergency, or when we are running errands, but I can live without one. I know, because I have and was just fine. It can seem inconvenient at times, yet it is also so freeing. Just like when I deleted my facebook account a few months ago. I haven't re-signed up for a new account and, mostly, I don't miss it. It was nice to have to stay in touch and see photos, but it was also distracting, time sucking, and unneeded. Truth is, other people want me to have these "conveniences" more than I want them for myself. I find humor in this.

Since walking away from facebook, and during the times I have no cell phone, I find that I am way more productive. Today, for example, (though this was before the final straw my cell phone took) I spent the morning taking care of our animals and working in our garden to prepare for the trellises my husband is putting up for the tomatoes. I even gathered rocks, that I was hoeing up, to use for the walkway in the back. If I can keep at it, I probably won't have to buy rocks at all, there are so many free ones hiding in my gardens!

Life is too much of an adventure, to purposefully add so many distractions, taking away from the ability and freedom of getting away and just enjoying. Just breathing. Just living. I like it when people can't always reach me right here, right now. How can they miss me, if they can always contact me? And why would they appreciate or value my time, if it is based around their convenience, instead of what's best for me and for my family?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Spring 2015

With the warm sunny days and nice breezes, I'd like to believe I will not be waking up to frost again for a very long time. Fresh air, sunshine, our new (to us) patio furniture, and the convenience of our laptop, will hopefully open the flood gates of creativity for me and my writing will begin flowing more frequently.

In the mean time we have transplants sprouting. Lambs have been born. Even chicks are hatching. We have at least one chicken and one turkey hen brooding and are looking forward to seeing the results. We've had success in the past with our turkeys. With only one rooster, in previous years, our chickens haven't been as abundant.

A new fence stands between our property and our neighbor's field, making for a possibly less tense relationship and more freedom for our flocks to roam our side of it. Just one of many projects we hope to complete this year.

 Soon we'll be putting together a couple of fall breeding groups. We've never tried for fall lambs before, so we will see how it goes. Someday I will even try my hand at milking our sheep. For now, I'll let the lambs have it all.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

My First Lambing Assisst

It was a drizzly Wednesday morning, when I went out to tend the sheep. As the rest gathered up for some grain, one ewe huddled in a corner of the barn, her ears and head drooping towards the ground. As I cautiously walked towards her I noticed snot streaming down her nose. A closer look over, and I could see she wasn't looking quite right in the rear either. So, we did what any good shepherd would. We consulted our books and the vet.

The diagnosis was discouraging. It seemed she likely had pneumonia, along with toxemia. Due to the weakness from battling these, she'd also developed a mild prolapse. The prescription, polypropylene glycol, antibiotic, and a prolapse strap.

That was 3 days ago. Today, she went into labor. This is a day that is leaving me more a shepherdess than I was when it started. Today, I assisted the delivery of her lambs. She wasn't due to deliver for about 2 1/2 weeks. Her lambs did not survive. The first, coming out breech, left me hopeful, as I saw it open an eye. But by the time the second was delivered, which had been head bent down and one leg back, neither were viable. My heart sank and all I could do was tell her how sorry I was as she tenderly cared for them. She is one of the best mothers we have and to have to take her lambs from her broke my heart.

Now, I'm left praying she has no complications, as well as thanking God for guiding my heart and my hands as I assisted her as best as I could.

As I put the 2nd one away, to be buried when the land is no longer frozen, she seemed so much stronger than she had before the delivery. She could walk without wobbling. She even seemed more sociable with the other ewes. However, her nickering for her lambs, left my heart out for her.

It isn't the first time we've lost lambs to complications. This time was just much more personal as I was so intimately involved in the process.

I don't know if I'll ever become a midwife, though I've considered it many times, but today, I learned more about how it might feel to be one. My respect and love for them only grows, for all they do for us.

On top of that, my realization of how much I truly care for my sheep, amazes me.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Can it be?!

Rumor has it, we've, possibly, hit our last subzero day! God, PLEASE let this be true!

With March in full swing, I'm ready for the Earth to awaken again, where I live, and for sunny warm days! Cabin fever, has definitely gripped us, as we count down the days until spring, with the hopes of many activities to follow. Trips to the zoo, parks, and swimming to name a few.

Not only that, but it is the time to start getting our garden and farm in order, for abundance and increase. I haven't started my indoor seedlings yet, but plan to take care of that this week. Prepping the barn for lambing season, and spring cleaning the chicken coop are also on the to-do list.

I admit, I'm getting excited to see what lambs are thrown our way this year. Last year we had two that looked like little dairy cows. So beautiful!

We'll also be putting together two new breeding groups, to try our hand at a fall lambing season.

As for our bees, hopefully, they will have a more abundant year as well, being established. And soon enough we'll have another colony or two setting up their base.

Here is to life, abundance, faith, family, growth, and God! May spring get here quickly!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Almost 3 Weeks In

My 2nd Blessing has been attending public school for basically 3 weeks now, and it has certainly been a growing period for me. I've come to accept that she is excelling there. Granted, it's only been 3 weeks, but she has repeatedly told me about how the teachers wouldn't count stuff, if she didn't do well on it, only for her to get perfect, or near perfect scores, not because they pitied her, but because she could do the work. Work she refused to do at home, yet is more than willing to do for others. Truth is, she CAN be a great learner. For some reason, she doesn't want to work with me. Neither does my oldest.

My 1st Blessing, has declared that she doesn't believe she has learned much of anything in a long time and also wants to attend public school in the fall, since it is unlikely that they'd work around her current co-op schedule. Last night, we attended a meeting for 8th graders about a local middle college program and she was ecstatic about the idea of skipping 8th and doing that program. It is the best compromise between homeschool and general public school, for our family. Problem is, she really is only a 7th grader and she hasn't shown the maturity or responsibility to go for the program.

There is a side of me that says, "Let her try and apply and see what happens. They only take 50 students and she might surprise you, just like Blessing #2" The other part of me says, "But what if she gets in and can't handle the responsibility?"

My husband's vote is to wait a year. My heart and hers keep flip flopping on what to do. Personally, I think the program is a very good fit for her long term goals. I just don't know, like I said, if she is mature enough to pursue them, yet. So, we could use prayers on that decision.

The truth is, having my girls, who don't appreciate the value of my time, effort, etc... in their educational endeavors, in a situation where they do appreciate it, is so much more appealing than trying to fight the battle that isn't being won. And I can feel a weight lifting off my shoulders, along with a sense of freedom. Not in a bad, selfish, way, but in a way that I'm allowing my daughters to make choices and allowing myself to let go and not feel responsible for things they should be responsible for.

Have I turned anti-homeschooling? Absolutely not, but I've never been an all or nothing kind of person. I believe that different kids do things differently and at different times and ways. It may be that, until they go to middle college, my boys will be homeschooled. As of right now, my husband supports that choice. The difference is, my boys actually do the work I assign them, even if they complain, moan, and stretch out how long it takes for them to get it done. To be honest it's only the oldest boy who does that, probably because he sees his sisters doing that.

He would be considered a 1st grader this year. He doesn't read much, yet, but we are working on that. However, he is pretty much done with 1st grade math and is about to move up to 2nd grade math. My 4 year old, preschooler, is actually reading better, but we're still working on counting to 10. Different learning styles and interests, but they both are willing to work with me, to strengthen their weaknesses. Something their sisters haven't been.

I actually am starting to look forward to being able to really focus and give my attention to the younger 3 in a way that I haven't been able to, with the fighting and what not, that goes on with the older 2.

I am thankful that we've been able to be together as much as we have over the years and that my children have been able to make such strong bonds. At the same time, it inspires me to see my child doing so well, outside of me, and I am proud. Truth is, homeschooling is awesome, BUT it is NOT for every child as much as we might want to believe it is.

My children are all different, with different learning styles and personalities. Different goals and desires. Regardless of the ideals I have, I have to do what is truly best for my family.

 God doesn't tell us to hide away, but to reach out. I can only pray and believe that He is moving in the lives of my daughters, in the choices that they make, just as He moves in me, through the ones I make.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

My Husband

I am not one who does well with the stench of sickness. There are many things I can handle, but that odor is not one of them. I've thanked God many times in my mothering adventures, that my children are not often sick in such ways and that, when they are, my husband is usually around and handling it, with or without me.

 There are many things I admire about my husband, whether I've conveyed them well, or not, and this is definitely one of them. He has always been good about doing what has to be done, at least most of the time, even when he doesn't want to, doesn't feel like he can (if that ever really happens), or whatever.

This week one of our blessings has been getting sick, often. It has been my husband who has handled the majority of the disasters, leaving me only the responsibility of making sure our blessing is clean and comforted, if even that. In a way, I could easily feel like a bad mom, with how quickly he jumps up to deal with it, whether it happens when we are headed to bed, or it's 3 am. Being the way I am, a part of me does kind of feel like a less adequate parent, but, mostly, I'm thankful. Thankful for his love and care for our children and his willingness to get elbow deep in the muck, when I don't think I can handle it. I also feel proud of him. Proud that he chooses to be an involved dad, where many dads might not. My own dad only changed my diaper, maybe once or twice and I don't know that he ever helped my mom when I was sick. He doesn't handle that stuff any better than I do.

I often forget how involved, loving, and caring my husband actually is, because of his shortcomings. Considering this, makes me realize how expectant I, myself, can be of him. Usually, I only notice how expectant I think he is of me.

It may seem odd, or even kind of gross, but it is in this situation that I am reminded that, as opposite as we are, we compliment each other. Where I am weak, he is strong, and vice versa. Often we forget what a gift this is, when we clash or feel frustrated over each others weaknesses. I'm thankful for the opportunity to see the blessing it really is. Today, I am thankful that I can be grateful for my husband.

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Calm After the Storm

Today is beautifully bright, with clear blue skies and the magnificent sun shining down upon our homestead. Lessons have been post-poned, so the kids can enjoy the snow, which gets as deep as my knees are high, in some places.

My husband has spent the day plowing. He had to abandon his car at the end of our driveway last night, because the snow was too deep for it to get to the house.

As for me, I've ventured out to take photos,
 Hopefully these guys don't try to venture off into the neighbor's field, again...
 This is the water trough for our pony and un-bred ewes. It is at least as deep as the length to the middle of my calf.

I've also attempted to sew a slipper, without the instructions handy, stared at the chapter I am working on for my current manuscript, checked facebook repeatedly, and tended to the youngest. Not the most productive day, on my part, but it isn't over yet and it is still a good day.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

A Real Snow Day

It is a wonderfully, wintery day, today. The weather report was that we could get anywhere between 8-18 inches by tomorrow morning. I haven't bothered to check how high it has gotten so far, but my husband's 2 and half hours old tire tracks have almost disappeared.

Normally, Sunday mornings are spent at church. This morning, we stayed home and enjoyed a homemade breakfast. Thankfully, my church records the services, so I can watch online. Never have to miss a sermon!

Seeing the snow building up outside, my youngest Blessing, decided he wanted to go outside. He put on his muck boots and winter coat and asked me to let him out. I realized this was a great opportunity to play around with my camera. Here are some of the results!

The birds are American Tree Sparrows and Dark-eyed Juncos.