FarmLife Tuesday Dec. 2

I have tried to come up with a better title for my Tuesday post about our farm life.  I use the hashtag #FarmLife quite often and believe FarmLife Tuesday is a good fit.  Now that it is getting colder, grabbing pictures on the farm may become a bit more challenging… We tend to work a bit faster.  However, I can still share what we are up too.  Maybe, since hubby is out on the farm more, I can get him to grab more pictures?

FarmLife Tuesday will give you a look into our lives on the farm.  From homeschooling, to homemaking, and beyond.

As I have blogged about before, our lives are centered around our farm.  Therefore FarmLife Tuesday will really give you a look into the numerous things we work around to do the typical homeschool, house wife and childhood tasks.

We have all heard of wheat harvest, corn harvest and such. But, have you heard of cutting alfalfa for seed? We have spent the last two weeks bringing in alfalfa seed to be planted for new hay crops. Alfalfa is normally “harvested” or better said, swathed (mowing) into windrows and then baled into bales of hay. However, this type of harvesting does not allow for new seed to be planted, so sometimes when conditions are right farmers (who have the proper equipment) will take in their alfalfa for seed, rather than hay.

DSCN7005

 My husband is threshing Alfalfa seed.  This is rather rare in our area.  We are one of only two farmers in our community who are set up to thresh this tiny seed.  Alfalfa seed is about the size of a mustard seed.

DSCN6995

 Our youngest daughter enjoying a rare 68 degree day in late November.  She is sitting in a field of alfalfa that has already been through the machine.

 

Threshing Alfalfa Seed

 

Here you can see my husband in the combine.  That header doesn’t look to be the normal header you think of when you think of a combine, does it?  It is called a pick up head.  It is used for crops that have been swathed and left to dry before being run through the combine.  It has to pick the plants off the ground to thresh the seed out.

Due to some high winds the windrow that the swather had cut and laid blew all over the field.  This made it impossible for the combine to pick it up and thresh the alfalfa seed.  Our children used pitch forks and picked the hay back up and put it into the windrows, saving us hundreds of dollars in lost seed.

Due to some high winds the windrow that the swather had cut and laid blew all over the field. This made it impossible for the combine to pick it up and thresh the alfalfa seed. Our children used pitch forks and picked the hay back up and put it into the windrows, saving us hundreds of dollars in lost seed.  This hard work has earned them a special day of fun… a Spring (or sooner if we have a very warm day) trip to the zoo.

Lightened Embarrasing kids

One Sunday Afternoon we decided to try to get a quick family picture.  Well, trying to get 9 people smiling and looking at the camera at the same time proved challenging.  So, I resorted to fun…  This is just taken with a 10 second delay.  ;)

What would you like to see on FarmLife Tuesday?  What picture above is your favorite?

Priorities of a Mom’s Heart

As I sit, silently begging baby to take a nice long nap, I wonder what the rush is? Why? 
Why do mom’s want to rush? Rush to the next nap time, bedtime, time away from these gifts God has given us? How do we manage to lose the true Priorities of a Mom’s Heart? Why is I sitting here frustrated that baby isn’t taking a much-needed nap?  What is it that is so important that I can’t just cuddle this blessing that God has given us?  

Priorities of a Mom's Heart  God Husband Children.

Distractions from Priorities

Yes, farm life has kept me super busy, leaving our home in chaos much of the time, but…

Do I seriously not have time to hold and snuggle my baby?

Now, thinking… I don’t just do this with my baby.  I get frustrated when my children want me for other things… to watch their endless cartwheels, or to help them make stickers over and over and over…

Is the extra 15 to 20 minutes baby is taking to go to sleep really all that valuable? In 12 months, is it going to make a difference? 



Our world is in a crisis..

  • ISIS
  • Ebola
  • Cancer
  • Abuse
  • and so much more

Families are falling apart. Kids are dying, kids are sick. Kids are losing parents.

My Priorities

An extra 15 minutes to hold my babies each day won’t make a difference in 20 years, except…

My children will know they were in the top 3 of my list…

  1. God
  2. Husband
  3. Kiddos

I have missed blogging deadlines, bills, meetings and more… but I refuse to miss my husband and kiddos.

My house is in chaos more than cleaned up most any time. We have projects and messes lying around. Books are everywhere. Twenty years from now, will it matter?

Yes, because my kiddos were learning and they knew that they came first… that is what will matter. 

The bills got paid, the blog is there, not going anywhere. In twenty years, actually likely less, I will be doing it all over again with grandkids. 

So, today, I take the time to hold baby those extra minutes he needs. Who am I to say it is a want? Does he need it because he isn’t feeling well? Is our rough night last night a sign he is sick?  Is the change of our daily routine with Fall Harvest affecting him? 

Priorities through the Holidays

Now with the Thanksgiving and Christmas season upon us, this will only get worse, unless, we consciously work to remember our priorities.

We will make some Thanksgiving goodies.  We will plan some Christmas activities.  We will set the to do list aside for a few hours each day and focus on what is here, the important things, family, and each other. We will remember why we are thankful.  We will remember why we celebrate Christmas. We will enjoy the Christmasy decorations and talk about the symbolization of them.

Priorities Today

Today is where we are, tomorrow may never happen. Take the time to meet needs today, and worry over tomorrow later. The to do list you made, did you ask God about it? What if He hands you an entirely different list? What if His list is holding baby extra long? What if it is taking your children to wish an elderly cousin a happy birthday? What if His list has you staying still all day, etching your children’s play, conversations, , and more into your memory, because tomorrow never comes?

One of our priorities each day needs to be prayer.  We need to be teaching our children to pray.   Check out this wonderful prayer calendar for December.

Need some reading to help you discover a few more of those important priorities?  Check out these ten books for mom.

Priorities in a Mom’s Heart will make a difference for many future generations.  Are we too focused on things to remember this? Focused on what?

Wheat Harvest 2014 Blessings

Wheat harvest 2014 is beginning to wind down here.  It seems to me like it has taken forever, but really, it is just running later in the year.

Wheat Harvest 2014

Here in our area of Kansas, wheat harvest 2014 has not been a bumper crop.  With the drought, and cold temperatures a bit too late in the season the crop has been rather slim.

Wheat Harvest 2014

It has been a roller coaster for our family.  Well, with a new baby in the family, a new to us combine and well, rain every few days, it has been one of those will it ever end type of wheat harvests’.  We have had just a little going on.  You know, wheat harvest, putting up hay, Vacation Bible School and having a baby all in about five weeks time.

With all that has gone on, we recruited our children to help out.  Very typical for farm families.  This is why our farm is a FAMILY farm.  Our oldest, nearly fifteen is now swathing hay.  He is starting on our second cutting now.  With alfalfa hay, you normally four to five cuttings a year.  He has also started working ground, tilling it to get it ready to plant next year’s crops.  Having children old enough and mature enough to help has taken a huge load off our work load.

We got all our wheat harvested early on.  However, we have helped friends and family since. Since our wheat crop was a bit lacking, cutting for others will help bring in a little extra money.

As a Farm Wife I am Needed

Simon was born just days before wheat harvest started.  But, he was born, long enough before that we weren’t stressed terribly bad while in the hospital.  However, having a baby during the harvest season is a bit or a lot stressful.  I worried whether I would be up to driving to help move equipment from field to field or take meals to those who didn’t stop to eat.  I worried about parts runs and all the fun that goes with being a farm wife.  We are needed a lot, and I was down…

God Knew What He was Doing

However, God knew what He was doing, like there was any doubt…

  • Baby came a bit early.
  • Friends helped us out.
  • It rained lessening the effects of our current drought. (we are still in a drought)
  • We are all healthy and mostly recovered.

Blessings

I have been able to help out with things around the farm.  Mainly, taking kiddos to the field, taking meals to the field and helping move equipment.  I may be driving a tract the end of this week.   I am feeling pretty well now, though a bit tired.  Simon sleeps better than some of our other newborns.  Our children love to help with him, so I can get things done when needed.

Baby Simon Harvest Blessing

How is God blessing your summer?  How has God shown Himself in your life during  a time that could be/or was stressful?

 

Where I Went, What Happened and a Little Summer Fun

Well, summer was quite the ride around here.  Not just all farm happenings either.  There were blessings and some big challenges.

God was with us, guiding us and holding our hands all along the way through it all.  Seriously, I rarely had time to sit down and blog. I didn’t have time to sit down and eat a lot of the time.  I ate in the van, while holding a bottle for a bucket calf, while directing chores, and while holding gates.  I sure am glad for protein smoothies!!  I learned to make them a fairly well rounded meal.  Mainly out of necessity.

Summer Fun

One of my favorite smoothies:

  • 1 scoop Jay Robb Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1.25 cups raw milk or coconut milk~Prefer the raw milk
  • Fresh Cilantro to taste
  • Pure Cacao to taste
  • handful or two of fresh greens—I normally use spinach

Toss in my Ninja single serve cup, blend until smooth and drink it down!  It works great for breakfast lunch and dinner.  However, I don’t recommend trying to solely survive on it.  (BTW, I LOVE this blender, been using it 2-3 times a day for six months and no issues)

I found this smoothie idea from the book Trim Healthy Mama.  I don’t use everything from this book, nor do I follow a diet plan from it, but I have taken some recipes, and ideas and am using them.  It is definitely worth the read to understand the science behind how our bodies work.  This has worked for me to make sure I am not eating junk food when on the run.

Now, why I have I been on the run?

We have had doctor appointments:

  • Our five year old has had strep or another throat infection six times since April 1.  Finally in August we were able to be seen by the ENT, and he had his tonsils out on Sept. 6.  His recovery has been a challenge and he ended up back in the ER on Sunday with a medication reaction, throat swelling and dehydration.
  • Heidi, our child with the vision challenges, finally qualified for vision therapy.  She goes to a town forty five minutes away twice a week for that.
  • Hannah has been getting chiropractic and physical therapy treatments for her tight heel cords and femoral ante torsion (hope I spelled that right).  She has graduated out of her night foot brace and is able to just wear toe braces when I can get her to, and continue with the other treatments on a weekly basis nearly two hours from home.
  • So, that adds up to three planned appointments away from home a week, plus several sick visits during all this.
  • For some odd reason my husbands farm equipment has had an unusual amount of break downs over the last month.  I have been running for parts an hour away from home on some mornings and then therapy appointments in the afternoons.
  • I try to coincide our grocery runs with our therapy appointments, but that means each trip we add a grocery run to takes an extra hour or two.

So, at least three days away from home, plus Sundays, means when I have been home, I have been quite busy.  In August we took over the care of our neighbor’s garden, as they are on a mission trip.  So, add canning to my list of things that have kept me busy.

We have tried not to lose family time during all this, so that has added a bit of crazy too.

I also went to North Carolina to visit my grandparents in August for their 87th Surprise Birthday Party.  I took Hannah with me.  We enjoyed our time there and are hoping to drive out for a long field trip later next spring.

What were some of your summer highlights?

Staying Encouraged as a Homeschool Mom

Satan has a way to make sure those who are called by God to homeschool will be discouraged.  We have to know that it is him causing it.  Staying encouraged as a homeschool mom is a big challenge.  We are so busy taking care of so many, that we often fail to take care of our selves.  We let Satan in, then he takes control of our thought life.

Staying Encouraged as a Homeschool Mom

Why is staying encouraged as a homeschool mom such a challenge?

  • Satan wants us to fail.
  • We tend to compare ourselves with other homeschool moms
  • We see what non homeschool moms get to do with their free time (Satan again)
  • We compare our children to other homeschool children
  • Others tell us we are failing our children
  • Our children can sometimes make us feel as if we are failing when they have bad days, or aren’t’ getting a concept we are trying to teach.

What to do to be sure that you are Staying encouraged as a homeschool mom?

  • Post encouraging Bible Verses around your home
  • Spend time with those who are encouraging to be around
  • Have a list of 911 friends to call on when you are discouraged.
  • Stay in His word
  • Pray to be encouraged.
  • Pray for your homeschool
  • Listen for His direction for your homeschool

Verses to post around your home and memorize to help you stay encouraged as a homeschool mom:

  • Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4:6-7
  • Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations ~Deuteronomy 7:9
  • Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. ~John 14:27
  • It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. ~Deuteronomy 31:8
  • Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.  ~Psalm 55:22

Free Printable for Staying Encouraged as a Homeschool Mom

Here is a short eBook of Verses you may print and hang around your home to help keep you encouraged.

Verses of Encouragement for the Homeschool mom

Verses of Encouragement for the Homeschool Mom

 

Gather with those of encouragement

For me, I find it really matters about who I surround myself with, both online and in real life. I tend to try and please everyone.  I struggle with saying no.  There are people out there who seem to find joy in tearing us apart.  We have to understand that trying to make them like us, is not worth the stress on ourselves or our families.  It just doesn’t bring enough good to be worth it.  I have tried. to be what these people want me to be, and really, it only ends up hurting me in the end and pulling my focus away from God.  We should be finding our encouragement in Him and those who truly know and believe in Him.

Where He desires you to be

Staying encouraged as a homeschool mom is going to require you to know, where He desires you to be.  I encourage you to talk to your husband and 911 friends during those discouraging times.  Also, take a break from “school” and do something that is both fun and educational.  Finding ways to enjoy your family always helps us be better encouraged.

This post is part of a link up with Teach Them Diligently.  To find more homeschool mom encouragement, be sure to check out the other posts linked over there.

Farm Life Chronicles on the Prairie

It seems my readers enjoy our stories from the farm.  So, I would like to try to share a few farm life highlights each week.

Farm Life Chronicles on the Prairie

Spring Forward Slows the Farm

Spring Forward has been a long time great thing for farmers as far as crops and livestock go.  However, me, I like that earlier hour of darkness of an evening.  Farmers for the most part come home at dark.  This seems to make a long day for the mom who is home all day with her dear children and she can quickly start missing that extra hour of adult communication.  This week, most days I didn’t see The Hot Guy home to stay until near or after 9 pm.  Not horrible, but it does make for a long day when you don’t see or talk to another adult, except for my lovely group of ladies I chat with online each week, in a blogging group.  Y’all know who you are, and you don’t know how much of my sanity you save by being the only other adult voice in my home.

I was actually asked this week if I was an introvert…umm, well, we shall just let that one rest.  I think y’all know the answer to that.

As I mentioned earlier in the week, we moved one of our horses, for two reasons.  One they quit getting along and two…she is expected to foal in about six weeks. Monday when we woke, we noticed she had not drank well, even though we attempted to teach her how to use her automatic waterer.  So, every hour to hour and a half, we went out to “hold the ball” down for her to get a drink. Being pregnant, we don’t think this is a good time to test the fact that if she gets thirsty enough she will figure it out.  Talk about a fun way to disrupt the day. Whoever was sent out to hold the ball, would get distracted on the way back to the house and end up being out there for at least thirty minutes.  Lesson?  Farm life is full of unplanned interruptions…go with it!

Automatic Waterers only Work if the Animal Knows How to Use them

Tuesday morning, I woke better, as in not so late. Two of our chickens were out, and the dog was quite upset they were not where they belong.  We have lots of coyotes in the pasture behind our house and well, penning them is the only way to keep them alive.  Stormy was still not getting this whole automatic waterer thing, but doing a little better.  We fed our beef cow herd, and watched a few deer nibble on the alfalfa that is showing signs of spring growth, thanks to the wonderfully blessed snows we received a couple of weeks ago.  We managed to get through all our chore and homeschool assignments, and watched some Leave it to Beaver before bed.

Working on her Creating a Masterpiece Colored Pencil Drawing

Working on her Creating a Masterpiece Colored Pencil Drawing

New Toilet Cleaner from Your Kitchen

Wednesday morning was much like earlier in the week, except I woke to a plumbing problem with the one and only toilet in our home for eight people.  Yes, ONE toilet for EIGHT people…  Uh Oh…  And that led to this new discovery of how to clean and break up toilet clogs in one single step.  Again, the chickens were out…not sure why they keep getting out, but I guess the old saying “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence” seems to be true for chickens too.  We were missing one for about four hours, and finally let the dog back outside to see if she would point us to it…and she did, up in a tree, with a kitten chasing the poor hen higher and higher…  We managed to get most of our homeschool done and some of the chores.  Something about spring and animals throwing us a few extra miles in our days seems to slow us down on the bookwork part of our homeschool days.  Y’all know that climbing trees to rescue chickens is lots more fun and somehow has to be some education in there, than sitting at the dining room table writing about James Garfield for your history.

New Baby on the Farm brings extra Joy to Farm Life

Thursday morning, thankfully the chickens had stayed in, but The Hot Guy received a phone call from the other guy who rents the pasture here and has cattle here.  He had a three day old calf, whose momma wasn’t taking care of her.  Well, The Hot Guy went out to the pasture and brought her in.  She is so tiny…less than 40 lbs, and a normal beef calf is 75-100 lbs. Her first night in the barn was bad, and honestly, I didn’t think she would make it, but…she is still going and getting stronger every day!  We have named her Scooter.  Book work didn’t happen today, as we figured out how to work four calf feedings into our chores and other parts of the day.  Today was also our Fifteenth Anniversary!! Farm Life interrupted our plans for a supper out, but a new baby calf is always fun to have on the farm.

Hannah feeding Schooter the Bucket Calf

Hannah feeding Scooter

Farm Life Date

Friday, The Hot Guy and I took off to a larger town forty-five miles away…we went on a DATE.  However, fairly certain a few of you would balk at what we did:

  • First top, a Steel Warehouse—as in iron
  • Next, Tractor Supply Company—Needed some goodies for little Scooter
  • Starbucks–yeah, that was for me.
  • Out to look at some tools at a place where an auction is scheduled for next weekend
  • Lunch—wonderful bar-b-que place
  • Bulk food store
  • Grocery Store

 

Steel Warehouse

Inside the steel warehouse

Ladies, I am telling you, a date is something you do with your husband, without children and whenever, no matter what you are doing, you can just be the two of you together.  The whole idea that it has to be romantic is not realistic in my life.  Romance here is giving The Hot Guy a hug when he isn’t covered in grease, oil or cow poo…

Saturday, I woke to a sick four year old and walked around on eggshells trying to decide if she would need to go in.  With antibiotic drops for her ears, she is better, and now I am sick…  Love the things they share.  Hence, why what seems to be a review of last week’s Chronicles from the Farm is posting today.  Most of my farm life, was spent inside.

Farm life is full of blessings and challenges.  God is by our sides every day, keeping us safe, offering us comfort and giving us blessings and humor all around.

Farm Life Funny :

The Hot Guy is sitting down to lunch and keeps asking who smells like calf poo.  We are all looking around, checking our shoes, when he wipes his nose and notices the smell is worse…the inside of his shirt sleeve is umm covered in, yeah, you guessed it.  So, now the calf is producing laundry with the kids.  I sat there trying to remember if he had given me a hug recently… Sometimes, farm life literally stinks.

Fifteen Years Ago…I Do

Fifteen years ago, I said I do to the man that has been a second rock during the ups and downs of the last fifteen years.

Brad and I met when I needed hay for my horses, and my supplier was out.  I honestly couldn’t stand him that first day, and he says the feeling was mutual.  Obviously a few things changed quite quickly.

A few weeks later, found my regular supplies still out of hay, and found Brad with plenty, so again, we planned to meet in a hay field to load up my truck.  However, after not getting off work until late, and him having been in the hay field missing a meal or two, he called me and said to meet him in town.  I was starving and so we ordered and sat down to eat before going out to the field.  We actually visited and chatted for quite awhile.  He said he needed to get some equipment moved before dark, and I had the afternoon free, and knew from being a farmer’s daughter that it was a need.  So, we left his pick up at the joint and took off in mine, which fifteen years ago, was a really nice ride… Winking smile  Yeah, I tossed him the keys and off we went, practically inseparable sense…

Over the next several months after work, I would drive up and find him in a hay field and we would get things done.  Over the winter we helped an older man with his cattle, and worked together…

Then…

I went to New York City for Christmas for two weeks.  Those were the longest two weeks of my life.  Within a week of being home we were engaged.

It was a whirlwind, as with me working and him farming, we knew we wanted to get married before summer…or at least one of us knew it would be better to get married before summer.  So, we picked a date and kept on keeping on.  I finished a couple of classes, cut my work schedule and worked more on the farm…mainly riding around hauling hay in his old truck…I mean OLD.  Then we were married, while on our honeymoon, I got a job locally, and began working close to home.  Still we are nearly inseparable, only homeschool events tend to take me off on little journeys every so often leaving him on the farm.

Over fifteen years we have thrived through trials and blessings.  We have grown closer and closer and overcome challenges that would split many couples.  Through it all, we see God’s hand in our lives, building us, molding us and pushing us to be His.

The picture below was taken a couple of years ago, by my sister Elaine.  Fairly certain it is time to have her here for a visit, so we can get lots of pictures taken of our entire family.

Homeschool Mother’s Journal March 4-8

I haven’t done a journal in a long time.  So, here is one from this week!

In my life this week…

Monday we spent time with family and friends after the funeral of Brad’s cousin.  It was a nice time to get to know some of the family, I had not met. 

Tuesday We enjoyed a day at home getting our school and chores done.  I also went to our local chiropractor, who looked at the x-rays from last week, and would like to help me out. 

Wednesday was more of the same, school and chores.

Thursday, we completed the week’s school and also had one of those talks with our children about their lack of diligence and the constant arguing.  So far, this morning things seem to be much better.

Friday, we took a day off of our book school, and went to the chiropractor.  We also came home and whipped the house into shape for the weekend.

In our homeschool this week…

We are working through a Black Beauty Unit, Studying Kansas Geography, mapping a few trails that came through, and learning about some of the famous people from our state.  In history, we have continued our study of several presidents.  Math has been fractions for two, addition and place value for the others. 

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…  Minimalize.  If you are studying Dwight D. Eisenhower, study Kansas, etc. too.  Then you can cover, history, geography together.  Have your students write and notebook about it, and you have done language arts.  Math is all that is really left, and a little science.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We saw extended family and friends at a cousin’s burial.  We also went to our Pediatric/Maternal Chiropractor.  The girls and I enjoyed a day of shopping.  Did you know that a mom and three girls turned loose in Hobby Lobby is umm… DANGEROUS?  Good thing we rocked the store specials, 40% off coupon and Teacher Discount, as all supplies were purchased for homeschool projects. Winking smile 

My favorite thing this week was…

Spending a day shopping and enjoying my girls company on our day out.  It is a wonderful thing when your children get old enough to be fun, rather then a little more work.  If you are a parent of children old enough and mature enough, you know what I am saying her. Winking smile 

My kiddos favorite thing this week was…

Philip trying to catch a brave frog and falling in Peace Creek, yes the creek this blog is named after. Winking smile 

Doing lots of art projects from Creating a Masterpiece.  I am loving this, art program, and will be reviewing this soon.

Things I’m working on…

I am speaking at two conventions this year, Teach Them Diligently Omaha, and Midwest Parent Educators in Kansas City.  I am working on some of the details for my workshops.

Working on setting up Scholaric for our family.  Seems to be one of the easier online homeschool planning programs on the market!  Be sure to check them out too.

I’m cooking…

I created a new recipe, that is a huge hit for our family. I call it Pot Simmered Mocajente Chimichangas. Fijita meat simmered in a pot with marinade, and then placed in a tortillas with cheese. Then roll up, and brown in a lightly oiled fry pan. I don’t have any oil setting on the pain, just enough to keep things from sticking. Winking smile Serve with Spanish rice, chips, salsa, sour cream and a salad. Winking smile

I’m grateful for…

My husband aka The Hot Guy, hard working, fun and my rock!!

I’m praying for…

Friends dealing with adoption journeys.

I rewarded my kids this week by…

Letting them all go have fun Saturday with Daddy.  With the house cleaned up, I was happy to let them go run off some energy and it will allow me to get some work done. Winking smile 

Something I am ogling or have my eye on…

An Apple iPad for school use, as I see more and more apps that could really help us in school.  Also, I am creating my wish lists for curriculum.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share (silly, serious or both!)…

collage

And The Winner IS….Homeschool Moms’ Summit Registration Winner!!

Congratulations Kristi K, you should have an email in your inbox!!

Well gals, it is not long until we shall meet up, just two weeks away!!

I honestly am so excited!! This is the time of year I become a bit weary with the whole homeschool thing.  Why?

Well, because we are stuck inside more, and more isolated!!  There are days, weeks and sometimes even months, that I see only the check out lady at the grocery store and my chiropractor.

However, a retreat such as the Summit, just what I need. Winking smile

So, who is ready to come to the Summit?  Who is registered?  Who am I going to get to meet?

Homeschooling Through The Foggy Headedness

What a title ehh?  So, how many of you are wondering what’s new, if I am just now mentioning that my head is foggy?  Well, here of late, I have been foggier than normal.  It all started with an ear infection, and well, it seems there is still some congestion fog stuck in my head.  I couldn’t sleep very well during the infection and my body seems to be stuck in that routine…I wake by 4-5 am each day and am not falling asleep until midnight or so, though I do lay there, for hours waiting or wishing   praying to go to sleep…  Yeah, that is losing a bit of sleep… I know that with the holidays and getting back into routine and a few of the stressful things on the farm, haven’t helped.  I am not really sick, but still seem off…However, life goes on…

Homeschooling Through the Foggy Headedness

Anyway, since obviously, a lack of sleep makes my head a bit foggy, and well, I still need to do school with my children, keep the house up, laundry and meals, I need to figure it out right?

Well, I have and one way is to make sure we are all up by 7:30, and all animal chores are done by 8:15.  School starts by 9, and we all have a quiet/rest time in the after noon.  Not much variance from our routine, but the quiet rest time is more enforced.  I am not reading much…I do my devotion/quiet time, and that is about it.  For some reason, reading much at all makes my head swim.  I don’t think it has much to do with my eyes, so much as the sinus pressure.  It doesn’t help that my head gets heavier with each cold/snow/rain front that comes through.  We have had several and another coming tonight.

So, really, what is a mom to do?  Well, for one, she gets things done when she feels good.  She delegates other things.  For the younger child crowd, she hands them puzzles and rests on the couch.  We also cuddle while watching a LeapFrog movie.  We delegate an older child to work on flash cards etc. Older children can look through a younger child’s phonics work to help out.  It is actually good for them.  I have found that their spelling is getting better.  Who’da Thunk?

There are going to be seasons where homeschooling isn’t going as you planned.  That’s ok, that is how we build our children to be usefulThey see that in real life there are real struggles. It doesn’t hit them upside the head 3 hours after leaving home. They learn to serve.  They learn to help and to see where help is needed without being told. Their spouses will thank you.

So, what about getting rid of that foggy headedness?

  • Exercise.  A brisk walk outside, helps a ton.
  • Get in the word, or listen to the Bible, even a speaker on the radio talking about the Word.
  • Eat healthy
  • Chew or suck on something with strong peppmint
  • Make sure you are getting plenty of protein
  • Rest when needed
  • Spend some time doing something fun
  • Go to the chiropractor

So, you do ever get in a fog?  How do you keep things going while you are stuck in the fog?

Another post for Project Cleanse…Because part of getting more productive is figuring out how to be productive when your body is off.  ;)

Project Cleanse

Chore Time Encouragement through a Scavenger Hunt

We all know how chores can become drudgery, but is there a way we can encourage our children to work as they go, without saying a word, without nagging?

Chore Time Encouragement Scavenger Hunt

Now there is… Our family has struggled with chores off and on, maybe it is the size of the family and the number of chores with farming and animals. Maybe it is the fact that we don’t really have the greatest attitude while doing them, or the fact that sometimes there are smaller, younger members of our family making a few more messes as we clean up others and it seems to be a never ending job.

Whatever the reason, we now have a way to make some of the bigger chores days a little less daunting. My children won’t know that I place these little snips of paper with some encouraging quotes and words, and fun little things to do along the way of cleaning up our home.  However, as they find them, they end up looking forward to the next chore, in hopes of finding a quick, little, fun activity to do between their chores.  It has become a chore time scavenger hunt!!

Encouragement for Chore Time

Click here to print this off for your family’s use!! 

I plan to start slipping a few of these snips of encouragement into some of our school books too.  Anytime, we as moms, can help make chores and school a little more fun, is worth it.  This post is part of my series on Project Cleanse/Project Productiveness. Click the link below to find more Project Cleanse posts.

 

Project Cleanse

Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit and GIVEAWAY

Are you ready for some encouragement?

How about some refreshment?

 Would you like to gather with a whole room full of moms that are on the same journey as you?

Well, have I got some news for you!!

January 25-26, I will be gathering with moms from all over the central part of the U.S.  Many or maybe even most of us are homeschool moms.

Where and Why?

At Norman Oklahoma, for the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Summit.  A retreat for Christian moms to come hear and gain encouragement, refreshment and gain some new friends.

Who are the speakers?  I am telling ya, you don’t want to miss this!!

Amy Groeschel
“Success in Progress: The Great Balancing Act”

Cheryl Lange
“The Most Important Job You Have as a Parent: Your Marriage”

“If You Don’t, Who Will? Practically Teaching Your
Children the Word of God”

Connie Hughes
“Extreme Faith: Having the Courage to Allow God to Do
Amazing Things in Your Life”

“The Power of People Skills: Teaching All Personality Types the
Importance of Being the Light of the World”

Peggy Hoshall
“Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones,
But Words Could Always Hurt Me”

Roxanne Parks
“Reflections of a Homeschool Mom”

Sheri Yates
“Warning! In the Event of Life, Your Emotions May
Control You: Gaining Victory Day to Day”

Shirley Quine
“Knowing Him and Being Known”

Susan Chrisman
“Preparation for the Empty Nest:
When and How to Think About the Next Season”

“Hold Fast: How to Walk by Faith
Day by Day (No Matter What)”

What to wear?  Well, I will be wearing my khakis or jeans and a shirt with a sweater.  I have found from experience, that layers at retreats/conventions work best!!   For shoes?  My Danskos of course, because well, they are the most comfortable shoes ever!!

Homeschool Moms' Winter summit

And, as a special bonus, the winner of this giveaway will get to stay in my hotel room with my two friends who are traveling with me!!  So, you won’t have hotel expenses to add!!  How cool is that?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MORE Summit giveaways!

  • The Marathon Mom

I would like to thank Teach Them Diligently Convention for helping provide for my travel expenses to the Homeschool Moms’ Winter Retreat. I encourage all of you to check out what Teach Them Diligently has to offer in your area. They will have Christian conventions in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Nebraska!!  Last year’s convention was AWESOME!!  I will be attending the Omaha convention in May.

Turning to God When You Would Rather Have a Mommy Meltdown

So, this morning, has been CHAOTIC!!  Crazy, and I let Satan have it for a bit, he succeeded in pulling out nearly all the Christmas Joy for just a tiny bit.  But, then I stopped in my tracks…or  rant, and realized what was going on.  Satan was working hard, we had let him in, and gave him free range of our home all in about 20 minutes time…Scary how that can happen isn’t it?

Turning to God When You Would Rather Have a Mommy Meltdown

Isaiah 24:10

The city of chaos is broken down; Every house is shut up so that none may enter.

See, I made a list, and was so proud that I knew what needed done and had it all figured out…However, I had one child not get all their stuff from the last few days done, and a website crash that had some of my to do lists on it.  How was I going to get all this stuff done?  It has my grocery list, my to do list, my baking list…How can that crash today?  How?  I was having one of those toddler type meltdowns, only well, I am a grown adult…trying to set an example for six children?

 

Proverbs 14:17
A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of evil devices is hated.

1 Timothy 3:11

Women must likewise be dignified, not malicious gossips, but temperate, faithful in all things.

Well, see God knew there really was no way everything on that list was going to get done…while keeping the joy in Christmas for our entire family.  Really, I mean, there are only twenty-four hours in a day, not forty-eight.  He knows what we can and can not get done, and when we try to get more done, well, it can seem like the world is crashing down on us.  This crash started by nine am.  Not a great way to start our Christmas Vacation…

Well, God must have seen me about to have a Pre-Christmas got too much to do, Mommy Melt Down as suddenly all the little things leading up to a big thing, have started falling into place.

See that is how it tends to work. He sees us getting too involved in the busy-ness of our day to day lives, and slipping away from His plans for us. What does He do? He drops us to our knees, has us right where he wants us, so we will turn and see His hand in everything and then we realize He has all those details worked out for us. Why did we need to throw a fit or get worked up and worry ourselves? We don’t, if we will just turn to Him when we are lost, whether we are lost in how to get the house ready for Christmas, or lost as to how are we going to feed our family with only $10 left until the end of the month. God has it all worked out, before we ever even knew there was going to be a problem…

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Have you been on the verge of a mommy meltdown?  What verses are you turning to?

Planning for the From Scratch Holiday Meal

Are you hosting a Holiday Meal in your home?  Do you want to make it healthier?

 

I have been hosting most all of our holiday meals in our home for several years.  Every year, I get a little more healthier and from scratch.  However, to make the entire meal from scratch, it takes a little planning to have some of the ingredients ready for the big cooking day.

Menu Planning

For our family gathering, I will fix the Turkey, bread, stuffing, gravy and pies. I ask the rest of the family to round out the meal. Winking smile So, we will discuss fixing the things I am working on right now!

Grab a sheet of paper, and write down what you will be fixing, next to each item, write the cookbook and page number.  Next get your grocery list started.  You will want to shop a week or more before the meal to avoid the crowds.  Believe me, the day before is NOT fun, you are literally putting your life at risk…people are crazy that day.

Extra Ingredients Prep

Let’s face it bread cubes for stuffing aren’t instant..neither is chicken broth for that stuffing…And the Turkey, well, thawing it can take several days, clean out the fridge and shove it in there to thaw.

Ok, so now you have done step one…start thawing the turkey.  If you are a little late, take the wrapping off and submerge in cool water, and change the water several times a day until thawed. Winking smile   Be sure to get to  Thawing your Turkey five to six days before the meal to be sure it is ready to be cooked!

Thawing Turkey

Please note, to be sure to put the turkey on a platter or other container to catch escaping juices, so you don’t have to reclean your fridge. Winking smile  Heading to do that NOW!!

 

Stuffing:

If you are making this from scratch, you will need chicken broth and bread cubes.  I planned a meal last week to use chicken and saved my broth.  I made bread and cut 1.5 loaves of my bread into cubes.  I then put them in a single layer on a large cookie sheet in the oven at 250-300 for periods of 10 minutes (about 30-40 minutes total) until thoroughly dry.  After every 10 minutes, I stirred them a bit to help rotate them.

Bread Cubes for Stuffing

I will make the pies and cranberry orange bread on Wednesday before Thanksgiving or the day before whatever holiday we are hosting.  I prep the Turkey in an oven bag the night before too…

Funny story

If you buy a large, heavy turkey, please note, the seam at the bottom of the bag will not old the turkey when your husband plops it in the bag…it WILL hit the floor,  just before your bottom jaw does. Winking smile

So, plop that turkey in the bag over the table with the bottom of that bag on the table.  Winking smile

The stuffing will be made in the crockpot using one of the handy dandy new plastic crockpot liners. Winking smile  Hey, who wants to be left in the kitchen scrubbing a crockpot free of near cement type of no longer smells good stuffing because you are now so stuffed yourself? Winking smile

If I were making the veggies and salads, I would have them either put together the day before, or ready to be put together in less than five minutes the day of.

Now, that you have planned, prepped and you had better have done your shopping, the  holiday time with friends and family can be relaxing and enjoyable.  Oh, and don’t forget the paper plates, as well, it is more important to me to spend time with your company than it is to get out those fancy dishes and be stuck in the kitchen any longer than ya have to.  Winking smile

Silver Lining Thankfulness

As we approach Thanksgiving, I am remembering the reasons to be Thankful this year.

  • Recent: 

Over the last month all of my children have been sick at one time or another.  The thing is, that well, I get to stay up with the sickies. I find it a privilege to be the one that God has chosen to tend to these little ones as they are sick.  Taking care of them is at times exhausting and at times refreshing.

How can I find it refreshing?  Because many times their tender little hearts come out.  They show such appreciation that I am taking care of them, that I love enough to be there. 

Other times I see the compassion come from their siblings that want to help take some of the burden off of me when they see that I am reaching the end of my energy stores. 

Here my children are reading a book together for our history lessons on the Tablet, while I snooze. 

My children have cooked, taken care of younger siblings, done extra chores and helped can the end of our garden harvest. Though, most of our homeschooling has been pushed aside, I see the work they have done during this rough season and know that they learned something much bigger than any textbook could have taught them.  Some days they ran the majority of the household on their own.  Other days they took care of major projects that needed to be dealt with, with some help from me…Switching out the season’s clothes for all eight of us in ONE day being one of those projects.

Thankful for?  Compassionate Children

  • Summer:
  • The summer started with the same drought we suffered last summer.  It was hot, dry and well nasty.  Our 2012-05-28_19-46-35_157wheat harvest was ok considering the conditions and the hay was tolerable.  However, as July burned into August, we finally got a bit of rain, and…

    We had a lot more hay.  The wonderful thing?  The hay price has shot up, A LOT because of nationwide hay shortages and well, the hay has grown and grown and produced a lot since August.  We are just now baling our last acres of hay for 2012.

    The rain also came in time to help our garden produce fairly well.  My tomatoes weren’t great, but I got a lot of green ones and made a lot of Salsa Verde which my husband loves.

    Thankful for?  God’s Provision

    • Spring:

    This spring was a fun and eventful time for myself…I had the opportunity to fly out to North and South Carolina to the Teach Them Diligently Convention, and to see family I rarely get to see. It was hard to leave my family here at home, but it was wonderful to get to fellowship with friends and family across the country, 2012-03-17_12-37-42_27nearly uninterrupted…I had kind of forgotten what an uninterrupted conversation was like. Winking smile 

    I also traveled to a Homeschool Convention in Kansas City in April with another friend Dawn and two of her daughters.  Today, my children still talk about their new friends (her daughters), and the beautiful drive. 

    These conventions are a time of refreshment and rejuvenation for the homeschool mom.  We are surrounded by likeminded moms who understand our daily struggles for an entire weekend.

    Thankful for?  God’s Refreshment and

    Friends and Family

    Winter:

    Our daughter Hannah struggled with some digestive issues all winter.  We spent several afternoons at our Daisypediatrician and were really no closer to a solution…

    Then, our raw milk supplier started producing again and…that solved all issues.  Other than her digestive issues and a bought of pneumonia at Christmas with her and her four year old brother, we had a very healthy winter. 

    For my birthday, we got a new Dairy Cow, Daisy.  What is special?  She has a heart on her forehead.  She has become quite the sweet cow, and should calve just in time for our winter milk supply to be drying up. 

    Thankful for? Health

There is a whole series of these 31 Day of Thanks posts.  To check them all out, and watch for more, click the graphic below.  While you are busy clicking, don’t forget to enter the giveaway too.  What are you Thankful for this year?

31 Days of Thanks

Check out all the great items being given away in this weeks 31 Days of Thanks Giveaway!  Click the picture to enter!

31 Days of Thanks - Week 2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The 2012 Great Clothing Switch Out Begins! Large Family Style

This is the time of year, that nearly EVERY large family mom despises.  Most of us have bags or stashes of clothes for 0-3 mo. for each gender on up to a few sizes above our oldest.  In large families, that is a LOT of clothes. If you are on a farm, there seems to be even more clothes, because each child has their work or play clothes and their good clothes and church clothes.

Right now there are bags of clothes all over the upstairs.  There are piles of clothes all over the upstairs.  I am making a HUGE donation to Goodwill because there are just too many clothes.  My children really don’t need many good clothes.  About 4 each long and short sleeved nice shirts, 3 nice jeans, 4 nice shorts, 8 each play/work shirt and longed sleeved, 6 play jeans, 6 play shorts, plus 4 winter church clothes (someday), and 5 summer church clothes each. They have many more than this, and one problem I am noticing is that nothing matches…GRR. 

Here is the kicker for our family though.  My kiddoes are not built alike.  I have an average girl, a skinny girl and a chunky tall girl.  I have a tall skinny boy, a chunky average boy and a skinny short boy.  Guess what, I end up saving everything in hopes that it will someday fit a sibling, and then saving and saving, and buying to patch up where someone doesn’t have something and so forth.  I loan out and borrow with friends, and we get hand me downs from friends.

So, if you don’t see me for awhile, I was eaten during the switch out and my Hot Guy is now maybe looking for a homeschool mom. Winking smile 

2012-03-29_11-58-39_651

Piles to go through

2012-03-29_11-58-46_758

Piles ready to be put in drawers

2012-03-29_11-59-00_86

Pile of already sorted

2012-03-29_11-58-52_845

Part of the pile one child got into that was in 4 piles ready to go in bags and already sorted, no longer sorted. Sad smile

My goal is to have this done by Monday…and maybe send the 3, 4 and 5 year olds with The Hot Guy for a few hours…

I hope to post after pictures.  Because my house doesn’t normally look THAT bad. lol

Have you started the Great Clothing Switch Out?  Am I the only one who ends up with a mess like this?  What is your system?

A Few Changes for the Next Several Weeks~Family Updates and such…

I once heard how summer is supposed to be a slow relaxing and carefree time…Ummm, For Who?

Summers in our home are actually the busiest time of the year…

  • Farm~baling hay
  • Wheat Harvest
  • Animals
  • Garden~over an acre…
  • Preserving Produce~potatoes, onions, green beans, peppers, salsa, peaches, apples, and more
  • Homeschool Convention
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Company coming~3 different weeks that I know of.
  • Family Visits
  • Summer Bible Camp
  • A Little School Here and There
  • Friend’s Graduation
  • TOS Homeschool Crew starting back up at the end of June-Mid July.

So, as you can see, my time is going to be more limited then normal.  My goal is for my children not to dread summer because it is so busy for our family.  I want to still include a trip to the pool, wildlife refuge and time to play.  Therefore, I am going to be slowing my blog WAY down…2-3 posts a week.

Another thought here…Nature Study Tuesday has not had any participants recently, I am going to stop it…I hate to, but I have to.  If at sometime I find God leading me back, I will.  However, I need participants…Same goes with Homeschool Snips & Tips.

I will leave my buttons and info pages up for now…as I pray this is a temporary thing.  I need to make time in other areas of my life for a bit.

I have a few reviews for this summer.  So, they won’t completely stop…a few of them, I have asked to review and are very special needs oriented.

As we enter the warmer months for our area, I find that spending time outside away from the computer to be a priority…Why?

  • I can enjoy my family more outside of the four walls that echo the noise.
  • I can enjoy God’s creation and reflect on him more.
  • I can get lots of vitamin D
  • I can get exercise and help build a healthier me.

This past winter was quite harsh here and getting out did not happen much.  I want take advantage of nicer temperatures and enjoy God’s creation more.

Life Precious Life…Our God is an Awesome God!

The last ten days have been a bit of a whirlwind…I attended a Christian Women’s Retreat on Friday and Saturday (April 8-9), I came home early afternoon on April 9th and then early Sunday morning received a phone call from my best friend’s daughter Sarah, and would change the next few weeks of our lives.

Her grandmother has been living with them for several months and has been deteriorating for the entire time.  Saturday she became unresponsive, taken to the ER, CT done revealing a large mass, transferred to a large hospital and that is where we became involved.

My friend and I have been friends for several years.  When her daughter called, there was no one at the hospital with her mom, and things looked VERY grim.  As in there was nothing that could be done.  However, we all know the power of prayer and that when we storm heaven’s gates, that miracles can happen. 

After I received the call, I called the church they had attended to get the prayer warriors on the case.  I also asked if they could get someone to the hospital to be with her.  Within three hours they had someone there!!  The hospital is about two hours from here, four and a half from their home.

As the day went along Sunday I talked to both mother and daughter several times trying to help in whatever way I could. 

I made arrangements for all but ,my youngest child to stay with friends and family so I could be at the hospital on Monday, however God was bigger…

Late Sunday…around 10 pm we found out that the tumor was operable, and we pulled back on my plans for Monday.  I would be needed the day of surgery.  When you have six children, it can be hard to be away for too long. Winking smile

So, we on Monday we got a definite answer that the surgery would be Tuesday afternoon.  This allowed enough time for family to get there.

Sarah, left her hometown early Tuesday morning, I dropped off children here there and nearly everywhere, met Sarah at our house and we headed into town to see Grandma, and be there for the surgery.  Our plan was to come home that evening…however, our plans are not always doable. Winking smile

They took Grandma Ruth back for her surgery around 3:30.  They said the surgery should take two to three hours.  However, seven then eight and nine pm rolled around.  At about 10 pm the surgeon came out to say that she made it through the surgery fine, and that he was able to get what he believes all the tumor.  However, the tumor was more like a watermelon as for texture—hard on the outside.  It was a little bigger then an orange from my understanding.

It would be another hour and a half before she was moved back to her room.  So, Sarah and I didn’t go home.  In fact we had an adventure.  Since our plan was to go home, we were rather unprepared…won’t be letting that happen again. Winking smile

We took off for a Wal-Mart to gather tooth brushes, a few snacks, and such.  We didn’t have any trouble getting there, but we were in a not so pleasant area of town…please not we are hicks and proud of it.

So, we decided to take a little different route back to the hospital.  At some point the street we were on change names and took us the wrong way.  (the city we are in is over 350,000 people, I live in a city that is 1200 county the cats and dogs, Sarah lives in a little larger town, neither of us are what I would call familiar with the city…we can get there, but we have fun turning around).

As we are driving I look for the river we are supposed to be by, it is supposed to be out my passenger window, but it is out the drivers window and flowing the wrong way.  So, I take the first street I can to go around the block..but umm that was a bit scary…as in obviously a very BAD part of town.  We have now learned I CAN flip a u turn on a dime in the middle of the street driving a 15 passenger van.  Winking smile 

We headed straight for the Hotel and convention center that our annual homeschool convention is held.  We were going to get directions and get ourselves back to where we were supposed to be. lol

So, I get the directions and we head off where we are headed to find that the street we are told to take is one way the wrong way…no, we are not making much progress.  We did finally make it and made it safely

We were able to stay in the girls room at the motel the family had been staying at.  We woke bright and early Wednesday to find that Ruth had had a GREAT night.  When we went up to the room, she was responding to us a little.  I think the highlight of our visit was getting to see my two year old Hannah.  I had her in the Mei Tie, and Ruth watched and watched her with a bit of a smile on her face.

During our stay, my husband Brad used Sarah’s pickup to transport our children as it seats more then the two his does.  He found out that the radiator was not working and was able to fix it for her. 

We came home Wednesday late afternoon which was also our Heidi’s sixth birthday.  We quickly whipped up a cake, and wrapped presents in time for a birthday party that evening. 

Sarah left yesterday morning to go home, and guess what…

 

 

 

RUTH is going back to their home town tomorrow morning to a rehabilitation facility.

How Great is our GOD?  Yes, He is that GREAT, and even better!! 

Orneriness~A Picture is worth a thousand words..

Funny Hannah

There is orneriness, and then there is ORNERINESS!  You decide.  She has three older brothers, two older sisters, and gave mom and dad a scare they still aren’t over when she was born. Hannah is the light at the end of the day, and the sun in the morning in our home.  Grumpiness seems to get lost in her smiles.

This post is linked to Wordless Wednesday at Five Minutes for Mom.

Happy Birthday Sweet Hannah!!

Hannah had a rough entrance into this world.  First a c-section due to her transverse presentation and after birth having  neonatal pneumonia.  Through it all she has been a blessing in our lives.  We have gained more faith in Jesus our Savior along the way.

As Hannah has grown, we have enjoyed seeing her personality blossom.  She is a sweet natured little girl with an ornery streak that keeps us in stitches.  If you see Hannah, Isaiah is surely to be close by.  Hannah enjoys playing with any of her siblings, climbing, coloring and riding horses and don’t ever forget her baby dolls, or her baby quilt mommy made her.

The last two years have been filled with  joyful laughs and belly giggles, and lots of snuggles.

%d bloggers like this: