Friday, December 28, 2007

Whose Egg is Whose?

The new chickens are being so good! They go back in their house just like they should. The rooster is much quieter than our other one, and it is so nice to not have to worry about him chasing the kids! Even our other hens are starting to get it, and go into the house.

We will be leaving for the weekend, but before I go I thought I'd leave you with a little guessing game. In the bowl below there are three eggs, one from a free range chicken, a chicken egg from the store, and one from a duck. Can you guess whose egg is whose?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lydia's Got Hillbilly Smile

Mere weeks before her sixth birthday Lydia has lost her first tooth.

Do you think she is proud?

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We had our family Christmas over the weekend. It was a good time with some typical 100 Acre Wood stories from when the Miller's are together. Delilah will probably tell them as most of the funny stuff involved her family! Tim and I are looking forward to a quiet Christmas Eve and morning. We will be heading to Ohio on Friday. Just wanted to take a minute to wish you all a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Chickens

We have had a lot of ups and downs with chickens. There have been issues with predators, getting the chickens to roost where they should, and never being able to find the eggs because the hen keeps moving them. We have a temporary chicken house that our chickens won't use, and a more permanent one in process. Just when I swore we would not get any more chickens until the chicken house was done, an acquaintance offers us free chickens.

Well it is hard to pass up free livestock, especially when they are only one season old. They are beauties. Most of them are Buff Orpingtons.

There are two Light Brahma hens, and a mixed black hen, and a New Hampshire Red rooster.

We got these chickens Saturday, and today found their first eggs! We also found eggs from our little hen that hatched this spring!

For now the new chickens are only in the temporary house. We do want to free range them though. Since there are more Orpingtons than we have Rhode Islands, and because the Orpington rooster is very gentle, and our red (Alpha) is not, we've decided to get out the stew pot for a few roosters, and incorporate our other two hens with the rest. The stew pot is waiting for Alpha, his male offspring that got away the last time we butchered, and the new red rooster.

After the extra roosters are gone we will let the others free range. We have a light on a timer in the chicken house, and are hoping that will draw them in to roost where we want, and that our other hens will follow. Think it will work?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Contest for Homeschoolers

Homeschoolers are always looking for free stuff! There is a contest going on that could earn you $50 gift certificate for homeschool estore. Head over to Just Some Stuff for the rules and details.

  1. How many children do you have / homeschool? - Four, but only two are school age.
  2. How long have you been homeschooling? This is the fourth year.
  3. Have they always been homeschooled, or did they ever go to public/private school? Always been at home.
  4. Do you plan on homeschooling until graduation? Not sure. It seems that way now, but I am open to other possibilities.
  5. Do you belong to a co-op? Yes, we really enjoy it.
  6. Do you school all year long, or use some other schedule? I'd like to say year round, but I did find last summer with the homesteading projects we did very little book work, but there was lots of real life learning going on.
  7. Do you use textbooks only, or do you like to supplement with other materials? We use very few text books. Unit studies are working well for us now.
  8. Are field trips included in your school plans, or are they just family time? Both.
  9. Do you and your kids do crafty stuff together for school time? Sometimes. I am not that crafty, but sometimes I try.
  10. Would you consider everyday household life stuff ‘home ec’? Sure, I guess.
  11. Do you have any advice for new homeschoolers? Relax. Concentrate on the basics, and let the rest come. Lower your standards for the rest of your household duties. (cleaning?)
  12. Do you have advice for homeschoolers with little ones under foot? Encourage older children to be self learners. Once they are reading well, there really is a lot they can do with out you. Give them partial responsibility for their education.

There is my contest entry. Head over and enter too!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seven Random Things

Crystal tagged me for the Seven Random Things Meme. I have also been tagged for this at my other blog, so look for one over there soon about money type things. This list will be more personal.

1. In grade school a friend and I would dissect chickens for fun. A neighbor would give us their sick or recently dead chickens to use.

2. Unless you are family, or I've known you so long you feel like family, I am pretty quiet and reserved in person. I often wonder if people who know me, but aren't in that family category, and read my blog think I have a split personality.

3. My degree is in Economics. I later went back to get my teaching certificate.

4. I found my first gray hair when I was sixteen. I colored for awhile, but have long given up on that.

5. I recently was asked if I was Vivian's grandmother. The worst part about it was I with Nolan and Kellen too. Did this person think I was a grandmother to a nine year old too? I'm 36! Maybe I should start dying my hair again!

6. I never ever thought I would be a stay at home mom, let alone a homeschooling one, but now I wouldn't have it any other way.

7. Tim and I jokingly call our kids Amish Hillbillies. My family heritage is completely Amish, and his is straight from the hills. Where and how we live seems a good fit for Amish Hillbillies.

Per the rules of this game I am supposed to tag seven people, but I'm cheating. If you want to play let me know, and I will put your link up!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm Blaming My Disorder

MADD strikes again!

This weekend I started wrapping Christmas presents, and making candy. I had to gather photos from the year for two projects. It was fun going through all of last year's photos, seeing how all the kids have changed, and remembering all the things we did. I needed to order some prints for a gift I am working on, and for our Christmas letter.

I went to pick up the prints yesterday. In the car I sat down to look through them again. Even though I had just looked at all of them on the computer, it was very enjoyable to see them in print. Enjoyable at least until I got to the end of the sizable stack where the prints ordered for the Christmas letter were.

For our Christmas picture this year we took a picture of the four kids in front of our Christmas tree, before we cut it. This is the one we chose to use:

This is the one I have 50 prints of:

This is a nice picture of the wreath Kellen made, but it isn't exactly what I had in mind to send with the Christmas letter. Yes, I checked it was not a store error. That is what I ordered. Hey, it isn't my fault. Don't you know I have that mommy disorder?.

Anyone have any ideas of what to do with 50 prints of a wreath?

While you are thinking here are some laughs for you straight from the funniest person in the family, Nolan.

We were getting ready for a 4-H banquet, and I actually put makeup on, including lip gloss. When Nolan saw me he got all giggly, gave be a big smile, and said, "Mommy I like your lips. "

That same evening I was getting Vivian dressed. She was wearing heavy tights. Nolan was watching me and wondered why I was putting "sock underwear" on Vivian.

When we put the tree up, we talked to the kids about Christmas and why we celebrate. When Nolan was asked about why we have Christmas he replied, "So we can eat cake." When asked what Jesus had to do with Christmas, his answer, "Jesus likes cake too. He eats cake on Christmas."

Together we read a children's version of the Christmas story. We talked about the star that led the shepherds to baby Jesus, and explained that is why we put a star on our tree. We talked about the gifts that were brought, and the gift that Jesus brought for us. It was a nice family time.

When it was all done though, Nolan was still not convinced. When asked about the meaning of Christmas, the answer was still about eating cake! I'm not even sure where the eating cake came from, but that is what Nolan thinks. Just try to convince him otherwise!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

It is Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Last weekend we went to get our tree. Our family tradition is to go get a real, cut your own tree. There are not a lot of Christmas tree farms in West Virgina, and it is a good haul to our nearest one. Luckily we really like the people there, the trees are well cared for and very reasonable. That all makes the drive worth while.

This year we are putting our tree in a different spot. The spot requires a tall, but not too wide tree. After scouring the tree farm for at least and hour, we finally found the perfect tree.

The three oldest kids took a turn at trying to saw the tree. Then Tim finally brought it down, and we carried it back to pay for it and tie it to the van for the trip home.

The kids did the majority of the tree decorating, I showed you an example in my Wordless Wednesday. Pretty much the tree is jammed packed with ornaments right at the eye level of the three oldest. The rest of the tree is pretty bare. The bottom is especially bare where Vivian continually removes anything that is places there. The middle of the tree is also constantly rearranged by Nolan.

The kids have also put out most of the other Christmas decorations, so just imagine my whole house jammed with decorations in some corners, and completely bare in others. Kellen created our wreath. I've been unable to convince Vivian that all the plush decorations that Tim's grandma has made over the years are really decorations, and not her babies to play with. The kids set out the nativity with the clock as the central point. (I have not idea why.) I'm finding ornaments all over the house. Christmas here is not Martha worthy, but it is interesting to say the least.

We got our first real snow today. We were supposed to go on a field trip today, but the roads coming off the ridge are not good, and I just didn't feel up to the battle. I thought we'd stay home and I could get a lot done. It hasn't happened yet. The kids have played in the snow. We've made hot chocolate and enjoyed the fireplace. Tim did some work under the house this morning (he can tell you that story) , and he and Kellen caught three rabbits that had gotten out. I guess for the morning anyway we are on a snow delay.

When the Kids Decorate the Tree

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Mommy Disorder

The other day I was cleaning up the kitchen when the washer finished its cycle. It was a nice fall day, and I was hanging the laundry on the line. I put down the dishes I was working on, and unloaded the washer. I took the basket of clothes outside, and was very surprised to see another basket by the clothes line, half full of wet laundry. Now how did that happen?

Hmmm.... Think back....Oh now I remember.

I was hanging up laundry when I heard a strange sound in the front yard. I ran to the front yard, clothes pins in hand, to see what the noise was. I discovered Kellen blowing leaves with the leaf blower. He wasn't exactly blowing them out of the yard, more like in circles around the yard, but he took the initiative to help with the leaves, and that is alright by me.

I gave him a quick tutorial on blowing the leaves out of the yard and into the compost, flower beds, and garden. He wasn't doing a perfect job, but for nine, he was doing a pretty good job, and he was blowing more leaves out of the yard than I was going to get done that day. I left him to blow leaves, and went into the house, clothes pins still in hand.

Walking by the computer, I decided to check my email quickly. I read a couple emails, and responded to some. Then I went to the next room; the kitchen.

Lunch dishes were still on the counter, and the dishwasher needed emptied. I went to work on the kitchen, and was almost done when the washer finished its cycle. Wanting to keep laundry going, I stopped cleaning the kitchen, and went to unload the washer.

Taking the load outside to hang up, I discovered that I had never finished the load I was working on when the leaf blower distracted me from my work. I hung up the two loads, and took down a dry load. I returned to the house with the dry load, walked through my kitchen that still was not completely cleaned up, and past the computer desk where I noticed there were clothes pins lying on the desk. Now how did those get there?!

What has happened to my brain? I normally am a very organized, methodical, efficient type person. I have plans to get things done. I start projects, and finish them before starting new ones. Over the past few years though I've been increasingly distracted.

I've self diagnosed myself with a new disorder; discovered by me. I'm calling it Maternal Attention Deficit Disorder: MADD. Too bad that acronym is already taken! Is anyone else afflicted with this? Do you find projects half completed? Do you forget what it was you entered a room for or what you were doing before the baby started crying? Maybe you have MADD too.

My self prescribed solution to the problem: enjoy it while you can. Someday our lives will return to their neat, orderly methodical ways, and we will miss having little ones pulling us away from the task at hand. At least that is what moms with grown children keep telling me. I'm taking their word for it. Now what was I doing before I started typing this post?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Post Thanksgiving Recovery

We had a great weekend catching up with family we do not see very often. Wednesday evening my aunt and uncle came from NY. Thursday my aunt and uncle from TN came. My Great Aunt Hazel and Terry were here also. We were fourteen for lunch. There was tons of food. We were all so full from turkey and fixings that we didn't even touch the dessert until dinner time, and dessert was all we had for dinner.

Terry and Tim went hunting. Tim had no luck, and later figured out he wasn't sighting the gun right. He is using an antique gun that was my grandfather's. Now that he knows how to sight it right, there should be some more venison coming. A nearby hunter did give Tim a button buck. He felt bad because he thought he took a buck Tim was going to get. Tim tried to tell him that he didn't have a shot on the buck, but the guy insisted.

Terry though, got a 10 point buck. The biggest to come off the property since we've lived here. He was a big one! The roasts are just huge!

There was a lot of sitting around and chatting, eating, hiking, and deer processing over the weekend. The aunts and uncles stayed until Saturday. Tim's parents came Saturday. They had gone to TN for Thanksgiving and stopped for one night here on their way back. Again lots of food. We played lots of games, and had a good time.

After they left Sunday afternoon, I basically collapsed on the couch. Yesterday I had big plans to get things done. School, laundry, Make It From Scratch, a lesson for co-op, and band were all on my list. The kids were tired. I was tired. The day started very rough. Just when we were all starting to get on track again, the power went out! UGH!

We got done what we could and headed to band. Thankfully we when we returned the power was back. I was up late trying to get my stuff done. Laundry didn't even get touched. It won't today either. We have co-op, and then roller skating. I guess we won't be doing laundry until Wednesday. Hope everyone has enough underwear! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Cranberry Sauce

It is going to be sooooo good with turkey on Thursday!
Find the recipe here.
Wordless Wednesday
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Went Hunting

I keep teasing Tim that I'm going to start hunting. It is hard for him to get out during the week because it is usually dark by the time he gets home. On the weekends there are always other projects demanding his attention, and he enjoys sleeping in a bit on the weekends too.

Honestly I wouldn't mind going out to hunt. I mean, c'mon, a few hours in the woods alone that might yield me some Filet Mignon? I could go for that, and I usually get up early anyway. A couple of problems, the first being a weapon. I can't pull Tim's bow, and his gun knocks him back. It would probably put me on my butt. A different gun is on the wish list, but the finances aren't there right now.

The other problem is Tim claims that if I shoot it, I am responsible to field dress (gut) and bring the thing back home. I will shoot the thing, but sure would prefer that he do all the cutting up. I think he is just kidding about that. Aren't you honey?

So the past few weeks I've been seeing a deer or two in Mamaw and Papaw's yard. They only come when there aren't many people around. The other day Vivian and I were the only ones here. I was folding laundry, and I saw a deer in the yard. I started wondering if I could sneak up on that deer, and shoot it. I looked a little closer, and realized it was a pretty small one, and figured it wasn't worth the try.

Then I looked out the kitchen window. I could see the same small deer, but behind it was a nice big doe. Mmmmm. . . My adrenaline was pumping, and I wondered if the adrenaline flow would help me pull that bow. I went and got the bow. First try I almost got. Second try almost there, but then the skin of my hands hurt. I grabbed a nearby shirt to protect my hands, and on the third try I heard the "click" that means the string is pulled into place.

I set the safety, loaded the arrow, and check the position of my quarry. I quickly devised a plan to sneak out the side door, and head around the storage trailer where I thought I could hide behind the bank to take my shot.

Uh, miscalculated that one. I'm way to short. So I crept around the side of the trailer, hoping to be able to lean out just far enough to take a shot. As I reached the corner, I heard the "snort" and realized I was on the wrong side of the wind. I step out to see that my dinner was no longer there.

I thought perhaps they just went to the other side of the house, that maybe they really hadn't caught my scent, but no such luck. They were gone. Retreated to the safety of the woods.

I haven't tried to pull the bow again. I haven't gone out to hunt in the woods, but now at least I do know that in a pinch, I can pull that bow.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Excuse Me While I Panic

In a week that I should be prebaking pies, freezing dough for rolls, and scrubbing my house top to bottom, I find that it is Thursday and I am still finishing the laundry started from Monday, there are toys everywhere, and my desk is buried. I can't even keep up with the everyday tasks, let alone get anything extra accomplished.

We are hosting the family Thanksgiving next week. Some of the family that will be coming have never been here, and do not have little kids. Can you understand my desire to have the house clean? It has sent me into a mini panic.

Now, this situation is completely self created, I admit. First I set unrealistic goals. This week there were several commitments that were already made. There was little chance of getting any extra work done. Secondly, I added even more to the schedule with some things I just couldn't say no to. Well, maybe I should have.

So why am I sitting here writing this all now, surrounded by unopened mail, while Vivian is pulling all the Kleenex out of the box? I just felt the need to stop running around crazy from task to task and blow off some steam. Whew! I do feel better. Now maybe I can figure out how I am going to check off all the things on my list in one week, or maybe just figure which ones to take off the list because they really aren't that important.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The Race is On!

Our Sunday night habit has returned! The Amazing Race is back on! We are all so excited! We were kind of late comers to this reality show. This is only the third season we have watched.

We don't watch a whole lot of TV, but Amazing Race is something we all enjoy. It is nice to have something laid back to do together on a Sunday evening. I wouldn't call it the perfect family show, there are certainly elements that we would prefer weren't there. We try to use those as "teachable moments" and talk to the kids about them. I also was a bit disappointed after watching the first episode of the show this season at the amount of swearing that is allowed through the editing. Maybe I'm a prude, but is that really necessary?

So Sunday night we all sat down with a huge bowl of popcorn for our Sunday night tradition; popcorn for dinner and the Amazing Race. Last year we also had apple crisp, but the apple trees didn't produce this year, so much for that tradition. The first episode seemed a bit intense compared to other first episodes, but I think there are some pretty intense personalities this season. It is a bit early to pick favorites, but I have to say I kind of like Kynt and Vyxsin, the goth couple. Surprise you? Though Tim claims the attraction is a throw back to my college days, and Depeche Mode, I'm not sure that is it. I don't think it has anything to do with the way they look or that they are goth (I never was into goth btw), I just like the way they played the game. They just did their own thing, and had fun. We'll see if it lasts.

I can say I was not the least disappointed that Ari and Staella were eliminated. Man, they were annoying. Well mostly he was annoying, but they were my first choice to go. So BYE BYE!

Anyhow, if you are looking for us on Sunday nights, you'll find us glued to the T.V.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Sending Kellen to Public School

Thursday Mamaw and Papaw had an appointment with a lawyer, (his advice - wait and see what happens) and Ashley had a band concert. Since the cousins were coming for the weekend on Friday, Mamaw and Papaw decided to spend the night to save themselves a lot of driving. Papaw thought it might be fun to take Kellen and Lydia with them. And why not let them accompany their cousins to school on Friday? It sounded reasonable to Tim and I.

Lydia was thrilled, and couldn't wait to go with Ashley to school. Kellen was happy to go with Mamaw and Papaw, but was down right nervous about spending the day in a public school, even if it was with Miles. Turns out Ashley's school does not allow visitors due to some past problems. Lydia was only able to eat lunch there. Miles' school was more than happy to have Kellen visit. Reluctantly, Kellen decided going to school with Miles would be more fun than staying home, or shopping with Mamaw, Papaw, and Lydia.

They all went to the concert, which reportedly was quite impressive for junior high band. Then they went around to meet some of Ashley's teachers. It was during this time that Kellen engaged in conversation with one of the teachers, and proceeded to tell her all the reasons that homeschool was better than public school. The teacher did not appreciate the lecture from a nine year old boy. Though I am glad he is proud to be homeschooled, I obviously would like him to express him self with a little more tact.

Mamaw and Papaw had a long discussion with him about being a polite guest in the school, and that sometimes it is better to keep your opinions to yourself. In other words. . . Kellen, Shut Up, and off he went to school with Miles the next day.

About the middle of the day I began to wonder, what if this all backfires? See Kellen really was afraid of public school. Last year when I was thinking of having him test with the public schools he was basically refusing to do it because he didn't want to go to school. It was that fear of the unknown thing. I thought going to school for a day would help him to see that it is not some big evil thing, to see how it runs, and appreciate the differences. But what if he went, loved it and decided he wanted to go to public school? I'm not anti public school, but we do have our reasons for homeschooling, especially for Kellen. I didn't want a battle on my hands.

When he got home that night, we asked him about the day. He gave us a basic run down of how the day went, what subjects they were studying, what he thought was hard, and what he thought was easy. Tentatively I asked, "Did you have fun today?" He responded, "Yes, but I wouldn't want to do that everyday." YES!

When I asked him why, the answer was less than inspiring, "Mom, I'm done with the books by lunch at home. Why would I want to drag it out any longer?" Apparently expounding on the virtues of his individualized curriculum, the real life applications of lessons, or the lack of unhealthy socialization was something more appropriate to tell a teacher he had never met before, but I'll take what I can get. We sent him to public school for one day, and that was enough for us all.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Mommy Song

Dora sent me this clip in an email. . .

I thought you might appreciate it.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pumpkin House 2007

Last year I told you about our visit to the Pumpkin House. Well, I think it is going to become our new family tradition. We went again yesterday (Saturday) night. They do not have nearly the pumpkins completed this year. I didn't ask, but am assuming the the unseasonably hot weather followed by a week of rain put the production behind. There were still plenty of pumpkins to see though.

They had the orchestra wall again this year. That wall is over 400 pumpkins carved with instruments, and arranged as an orchestra would be. This year there were four song selections that the orchestra played. When the song plays, the title lights up as does the appropriate instrument sections of the orchestra. It is quite an amazing site. (You can click on the pictures for a larger image.)

That section was Tim and Kellen's favorite. Nolan liked a pumpkin that was carved with a train. Lydia of course, liked the many butterfly pumpkins we found. Vivian just liked running and playing with those waiting to be put on display. I tried to get a half way decent picture of the kids. The oldest and the youngest were not exactly thrilled with the prospect.

We all had a good time, and it was nice to get out together as a family to do something fun and free, especially after the busy and stressful few weeks we've just had. We may go again later in the week to see the completed work, but it not there is always next year!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Stuck between a rock head and a hard head

The family drama continues. . .

My brother continues to make idiotic decisions, and fails to see how he is hurting his children, or why anyone is concerned. His kids are upset. My kids are upset, and my parents are very stressed over the situation.

Perhaps from an outsiders view it appears that we are meddling in my brother's business more than we should. We are involved more than in your typical family. Both my brother, and his ex wife have disabilities which prevent them from being capable to properly parent without a strong support system. This is not just our opinion, but the opinion of the court appointed guardian ad litem for the children.

Though legally they have shared parenting, because the distance between them, in a practical sense she is the residential parent, and he gets visitation. Since their separation about seven years ago, my brother has either lived with my parents, or us the majority of the time. His ex wife has constantly tried to whittle away his visitation days, and we have fought her every step. My family has a lot invested emotionally, my parents also financially, and we all are very close to my niece and nephew.

My brother's latest choices have caused his ex-wife to deny him his visitation. And for once we are in agreement with her. We feel that his situation is not a safe environment for the kids. My dad has spoken with her and her husband frequently regarding the situation, and they seemed to be open to allowing the kids to come here instead.

It didn't take her long though to see that she could use the situation to her advantage. All week we had been planning for the kids to be here this weekend. Then yesterday she calls to change the plans; not to just switch weekends, but change the schedule so the kids miss their visit here this weekend and do not make it up. The same kind of crap she has been trying to pull for years, but now we are at her mercy. She does not have to allow the kids to visit us at all. There is no court ordered visitation schedule with us, only with my brother, and he has chosen to compromise and partially forfeit that right. The situation is so unfair, so frustrating. My niece and nephew, my children, and family are stuck between a rock head and a hard head.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Quick to Judge?

Near Tim's office it is normal to see someone with a sign asking for food and money. There is a busy intersection and several restaurants there. Two men work the area, both are probably in their 40's. One is obviously homeless, and pushes his possessions around in a shopping cart. The other man looks rough around the edges. He holds a sign saying that he is homeless and hungry.

It is a sad sight. I don't know their story. I've never given them anything (perhaps I should), but seeing them makes me feel for them. It makes me wonder how they could have gotten to this point in their lives.

Today I was shopping in a nearby town, and saw two different people, standing together, holding a sign asking for food and money. The sight of them did not evoke feelings of sadness. If anything the sight of them brought disbelief and anger to the surface.

They were two young women in their twenties. They had nice clothes. They were clean, and had they not been standing there with their sign, I would have thought they were shopping. Though I could not read their entire sign, what I did see read, "Just passing thru. Broke and hungry."

What?! You're just passin' thru, and you want me to finance it? I think what really topped it off is that they were sitting there smoking. Apparently not so hungry that you would go with out your smokes huh girls?

Again, I don't know their story. I did not give them anything. From their appearance and sign, I can only assume that they are traveling out of choice, they have a place to stay, and expect to finance their travels by begging for money.

It is outrageous to me, and I have to wonder is it really working for them? Do people really see two nicely dressed, well kept young ladies puffing away, and feel moved to give them money? Of course the cynical side of me has a few ideas who might be willing to give them some money, but I'll leave that idea alone.

Four people claiming to be hungry, and begging for help. I know nothing about any of them, except what I've seen at a glance, from a distance. Yet, they bring about completely different feelings, perhaps justified, perhaps not.

My assumptions may be entirely accurate, but if someone is claiming to be hungry, is it my place to judge why they are hungry and if they deserve my help? Or should I just buy them a cheeseburger? How quick I am to judge based on appearances alone.

The cousins visit

Not exactly portrait quality. Don't look too closely, they've been playing hard, and it shows! They sure had fun though!
Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Potty Talk

Stories only mothers of little boys can really understand:

Boys and their pee make for so many interesting stories. Nolan (3) has certainly given us many. When he first potty trained he would only pee outside. Then he started using the toilet, and I wished he'd go back outside so I wouldn't have to clean so much pee off the floor. Though he enjoyed our toilet, he refused to go anywhere but home, unless of course you let him pee outside.

When we first started potty training and he had to go #1 and #2 he would stand to pee, and then sit down to take care of the rest. A few months ago, he decided he wanted to sit down for all his business. Problem with that is the way he sat. The pee shot right through the crack between the toilet bowl and the seat. Yes, more pee on the floor. Ugh! He is helping to clean it up now!

I've been trying to teach him to direct his business part down. He isn't too thrilled about the idea. The other day I went in to help him wipe. (Ah yes cleaning up the poop and pee never seems to end.) He informed me that he did not pee on the floor this time. I congratulated him and asked if he had held his penis down so that he didn't pee on the floor. He responded, "No, Mommy. It is just all grown up."

I'm relating this story to Tim, and he tells me that he can top it. The other day when I wasn't home, Nolan was in the bathroom, doing his business. He called Tim in to help him wipe. When Tim went in the bathroom Nolan's hair was wet. Tim asked how his hair had gotten wet. Nolan showed him.

While sitting on the toilet, Nolan bent over, head between his knees, to watch himself pee. Well, I guess you can figure out what happened next. You're right honey, your story is better than mine!

Nolan gives us so much material; for laughs now and blackmail in the future!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Not as Planned

Moms everywhere are crying out for time alone, begging for a few minutes for themselves. When you are a stay at home mom, especially one who homeschools that need seems huge. You are surrounded by children needing your attention twenty four seven. Your days are a constant juggle of teaching one child to read, another to write a well structured paragraph, and keep the younger children busy so the older ones can work. Oh, and don't forget about cooking, keeping the house half way decent, and trying to find ways to stretch the family budget. It is enough to make a mom scream, "If only I had a few quiet hours alone, I could catch up on all the tasks that need done!"

And then it happens, those glorious few hours alone, and you don't know what to do with yourself. Please tell me I'm not the only one!

Today three of the four kids went to pick up their cousins about 2:30. (For those of you who read about that family situation, things are still really not settled, but for this weekend the cousins are coming here.) While they were gone the little one took a nap.

I thought I would get so much accomplished. I have writing to do (writing that is not on this blog,) cleaning that has been neglected, things to list on eBay, fall clean up outside, and long list of other things that could use my attention. I've tried to do a few things that require brain power. You'd think that this would be the perfect time to accomplish those tasks, wouldn't you? It is like my brain won't work without the constant activity and noise that is the norm for this house. I just stared blankly at the screen with no ideas.

Three hours later. . . Vivian has been up for quite some time, not much has gotten marked off the list, and here I sit doing something that I don't really need to. It feels nice. Maybe what we mom's really need is a few hours of peace and quiet to throw out the to do list and recharge the brain cells so that we can function in the chaos of our everyday. I'm using that as my excuse anyway!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Reflection of My Housekeeping?

What do you think it could mean that whenever I ask the kids to clean up their room, or other areas of the house, their first question is, "Who is coming to visit?" Um. . . don't answer that question.

Perhaps we need to institute a more consistent routine?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Big Helper

This picture was actually taken in February. Both the kids seem to have grown so much since then.

My Lack of Faith

There has been drama around here lately. Oh how I despise family drama, but sometimes it is unavoidable. An adult in the family is making poor choices, again. It is so frustrating.

I am usually the first to say, "Reap and sow." If an adult chooses to repeat mistakes, do things that make no sense or that everyone else can see are harmful, what can you do? You can pray, advise them and love them, but in the end they are adults and the choice is theirs. The consequences will be theirs also.

I do feel that way in this situation for the adult involved, but it is complicated because the decisions affect children. It is further complicated because the decisions affect my children. The relationship my children have with some close family members may be hurt, and there have already been tears shed. This just makes me angry. Being angry makes me want to do something to fix the situation.

So for almost a week I was worrying and fretting. Trying to think of a way to talk some sense into the adult, or if they were going to continue to be unreasonable, figure out a way to still make it ok for all the kids involved. Oh did I have plans and schemes. None of which really would work, but I was trying.

Then one night I was thinking about it (read scheming and planning.) I was getting worked up and angry trying to make my plans. Then came the voice. Not an audible voice, but the one that speaks straight to your heart. The one that brings a calmness and peace that you know is not of yourself. In a gentle way the Lord told me that I was trying to make things happen in my own strength, the way I thought they should be. That I was worrying about things I need not to. With those words spoken to my heart I felt that peace that is ours in Christ.

I wish I could say that the peace had lasted through the through the next days. New developments in the situation made me angry. Talking about the situation still makes me angry, but I know it is not my problem to fix, and that it does not need to be fixed in the way I think is best.

If you would have asked me before all this if I believed that the Lord works all things together for the good, I would have of course told you that I did. This incident has shown me that though I believe that with my head, it is not real to my heart. I do not seen it. I do not have faith for it.

It is truth. He does work all things together for the good. I saw a glimpse of it, and the peace that knowing that truth brings. I wish that I could see that at all times, but I don't. I can't make myself see it either. I can just ask for Him to show me more of it, and stop trying to fix things that I need not worry about.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Good Tow

Remember when Nolan wanted me to throw away his toys? Those toys have been sitting in a bag in my room since that incident. He never asked for any of them, never seemed to miss them, until this week.

This week I pulled them out to sort for the Little Lambs Sale. A few things I discretely put back into the toy bin because they were parts of sets, but the rest were sorted for Goodwill and the toy sale. It was a pain full experience. I tried to sort the toys while he was playing outside, but he came in. With every toy the question came, "Are you going to sell that?"

Every yes answer brought a pout and a few tears. Then he saw the toy he calls Good Tow. The yes answer brought flowing tears and sobs. Apparently Good Tow was his favorite toy. Never mind that he hadn't mentioned it in over two months. I reminded him why Good Tow was in that bag, and that he needed to take care of his things if he wanted to keep them.

Everyday Nolan would ask me about Good Tow, sometimes with tears. Everyday I would remind him again about how Good Tow ended up in the sell pile. I was glad when it was time to take the toys to the sale.

Today I promised I would take the kids to the sale if they got their work done. They all had some money in their piggy banks. Nolan quickly came up with the idea that he could buy Good Tow back. I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to handle that one. We got our work done and headed to the sale.

Good Tow was nowhere to be seen. He must have already been purchased. Not that Nolan would have cared anyway. He was enthralled by the mass of toys at the sale. As he was playing with his new toy cordless drill he did mention that he didn't see Good Tow, and I haven't heard anything about him since.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Wigwam

On our field trip last week, the actors camped out as people would in the late 1800's. The Native Americans had a Wigwam and a Tipi. It was very interesting!

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Carnivals and More

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This is a new carnival. Some good ideas here!

Festival of Frugality
My post made it into the editor's choice posts!

Carnival of Debt Reduction

Make It From Scratch
Silvia, next week's host, is requesting party food ideas for her son's eighth birthday party!

Carnival of Homeschooling

Carnival of the Recipes
Next week's edition is all about pumpkin! YUM!

Carnival of Family Life

Scribbit's Winter Bazaar
Tomorrow is the first edition of this. Can't wait to see it!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Sweet Sensitive Nolan

Not a title you see very often is it? Though I do tend to tell stories about Nolan(3) that show his stubborn or ornery side, he really does have a tender side. He can be very sweet and loving. He is the biggest cuddler, and is the only one of our kids to get attached to a security item. He has a red fleece throw that he sleeps with. In a pinch, he can be consoled with a substitute, but that is not always an easy task. Anyhow....

Today I saw the sensitive side of Nolan. We were on a field trip. Part of the day included a living history drama set in the late 1700's. The audience played the part of perspective settlers and various characters came along to give us bits of information. Early in the drama we met an Indian. He was a friendly and was giving the news to our guide. I asked Nolan if he saw the Indian. He looked at me slightly bewildered and said, "No. What Indian?" I explained to him who the Indian was, and went back to watching the drama and keeping Vivian occupied.

A few minutes later, I feel Nolan cuddle up to me. When I looked at him, his eyes were wide and brimming with tears. He looked up me and holding back the tears asked, "He isn't going to shoot us is he?"

The poor thing was so scared. He didn't understand that we were only watching them pretend. He was much better after I explained to him that it was pretend, but he still stayed close for a few more minutes. It melted my heart. My sweet sensitive boy.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Looking on the Bright Side - TT # 7

Tim has been working a lot of hours. There are many days when he is gone before the kids get up and not home until after they are in bed. It is normal for this time of year, and I could complain. . .for pages and pages. Instead, I am trying to think of thirteen things that are good about it:

1. The kids think peanut butter and jelly for dinner is a treat.

2. Hours of uninterupted blog surfing. . .once the kids are in bed.

3. Feel like a chick flick? No problem.

4. Thirty eight hours of overtime in a two week period makes for a nice paycheck.

5. It is temporary.

6. No Monday night football.

7. The bills are paid. The savings are growing.

8. Make your own raise. Every night of work is a boost in his commission check for the whole year.

9. I don't really need anything on the honey do list completed.

10. Leftovers don't seem like leftovers to Tim.

11. When he is home, the kids only want daddy! (read I get a break!)

12. Put the kids and bed the whole tub of ice cream is mine!

13. And the best thing. . . It is almost over! One more week!

There! I came up with thirteen good things. That was hard work!

Thursday Thirteen

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Living in Shawshank?

The other day I was putting clothing away in the boys' closet and found this. When I found it the hole was covered up with the piece of wall taped to keep it on. The hole is about two inches deep.

When questioned Kellen claimed he wasn't trying to dig his way out. Good thing because he was digging his way to the girls' room, not out of the house. He was trying to make a hiding space for his pocket knife; the one he no longer has after this episode.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Links . . . On the right day.

Make It From Scratch!
Next week the theme is "Where in the world are you from?" Hope to see lots of countries and states represented.

Festival of Frugality
Lots of money saving ideas!

Carnival of Money Stories
Personal experiences with money.

Carnival of Family Life
Always a wide variety of interesting articles.

Carnival of Debt Reduction
Ideas and tips to help you get out of debt.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Glad We Aren't Little House on the Prairie

Tim and I have often commented that it would have been great to live in the 1800's. Great to be self sufficient pioneers living off the land. I think our view is a bit romanticized.

For school this year Kellen is doing an unit study using the The Little House Collection (9 Volumes). There really are a lot of similarities between our way of living and theirs. They raise meat and vegetables. They forage and hunt for food. We do too, but there are a couple of major differences. For one thing we have a lot of tools that make the jobs easier. I don't think I'd want to build a log home in the manner that they did. The second thing is we are not really and never will be completely dependent on the land for our survival, and I am glad for it.

I look at our pantry stockpile for the winter, and am glad I have a nearby grocery store to fall back on. Yes, there are a lot of jars of food, mostly green beans, but after an unusually hot and extremely dry summer, and troubles with insects, there are many things planned for that are missing.

There are no jars of fruit. The blackberries produced minimally. There were no pears or persimmons. The apples barely produced, and were consumed by the animals before I got to them. In the freezer are a couple pints of blackberry jam and a few quarts of strawberries picked at a pick your own farm.

There are lots a green beans in the pantry, and a smaller than planned for amount of tomato products. There are a few jars of pumpkin and hot peppers, and about 15 pounds of potatoes. There is no corn, thank you very much cutworms, no beets or turnips. Certainly not enough of anything, but beans, for the winter.

The meat department is a little better. There isn't much in the freezer now, but there are rabbits and chickens that soon will be. Hopefully we will have a few deer soon to put in there too.

Though disappointed with some things that didn't go as planned, I really can't complain. I am very thankful, though, that we really aren't dependent on our land to feed our family. If we were, or if a trip to town took me a whole day, or if my only money to buy things came from what we got from our land, we would be in for a long lean winter.

We do enjoy the gardening, the labor, and the reward from it. That part of the life of the Ingals family I am happy to share, but I am so thankful that our survival doesn't really depend on it. Thankful that we live in a time where there are many tools to make the job easier and grocery stores to keep us fed all winter long!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

We have a yard!

Can you see it? Look closely. There is grass, real grass in that there yard! After two years of living here, grass is a pretty exciting addition! The siding on the house is nearly complete, only a few pieces on the ends of the house left to do. It has been delayed again by yet another project; a storage building/chicken house. I've requested that the builder, aka Papaw, put the priority on the storage building.

I want to get those chickens trained to sleep where they belong, and maybe get a few more too. I also would like to get rid of our "temporary" storage area. Siding on the house is pretty, but I am opting for the practical. The truth of it is what gets worked on depends on which logs are next in line for the sawmill. The red oak goes on the house. The pine and other woods are for the storage building.

The siding on the front of the house is done, and that is enough to get the lawn in. I never realized how much work it is to put in the lawn. Thanks to Papaw who did most of the work while Tim is in his busy season for work, putting in about 60 hours a week. Here is what was done.

1) Till up the yard.

2) Rake it to smooth out the tracks and even up the ground.

3) Fertilizer was put on. Lime was later added too because there was some left after covering the pasture. Nolan (3) woke up the morning after the lime was spread, and said, "Look! Kellen it snowed last night! "

4) Grass seed was spread.

5) Rake again to cover the seed.

6) Water. We had enough rain water in the tank for the first watering. It is important to keep a new lawn well watered until established.

7) Keep kids and animals off it until established. Uh. . .I'm trying, really I am!

The grass has sprouted and hopefully we will have a nice lawn yet this fall, and a lot less mud to deal with!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Little Appletones

The Little Appletones got together for another practice. This time I got it on video. For your listening. . .uh. . . . pleasure.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I'll never forget September 11th. I was teaching in the public schools; eighth grade history. I was pregnant with Lydia. I didn't know what had happened until another teacher pulled me into the library at lunch time. There we sat for our forty minute lunch staring at the television and not sure what to think. After lunch we had to go back and try to pretend it was a normal day. The prevailing sentiment was that the news would be best given to the students by their parents.

How the world has changed. . .

Tomorrow I plan to spend part of our school day remembering and teaching my children about September 11, 2001. Here are some links that I am finding that we may use. Feel free to add any you know of too.

Patriot Day and Remembering September 11.
These sites list several others for your consideration. Some of the sites include lesson plans.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Crappy! We had a rough day, and it is no wonder when

A. All four kids woke up at various times throughout the night. Three of them slept in our room for part or most of the night. Two were in our bed (though not at the same time.) No one got a good nights sleep.


B. It is the first time all week we've had a normal schedule. Can I still call it a normal schedule when it doesn't happen until Thursday? The kids, apparently, did not remember how our normal day goes.

A crappy day was practically unavoidable. Tim is working late tonight. (again!) We are having dinner and maybe watching a movie and going to bed EARLY! Tomorrow will be a better day!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The First Day of School & Tuesday Links

Actually, we've been doing school, but today was the first day of co-op. The way my kids were acting this morning you would have thought it was the first day of school. They were so excited for co-op and to see their friends. It was cute.

I also felt like it was my first day of school. I actually taught a class today. Last year I hid in the nursery all year. I did have a good excuse the first half, as Vivian was nursing a lot still. The second half of the year she really didn't need me so much, but I stayed and played with the babies anyway. This year I am going to help more with the older kids.

We are studying the Civil War this semester, and I taught a geography/history lesson about which states were Union and Confederate. I felt like I was teaching school again; planning a lesson, running a classroom, it was kind of fun, but I am glad I don't have to do it everyday anymore.

The kids had a great time. Vivian wouldn't stay in the nursery though. GRRR! She went with the preschoolers. She does this at church too because she is the only one in the nursery. She didn't know any of the adults in the nursery, but knew the preschool teacher. Nolan was there also. The kids are already looking forward to the next session in two weeks. Kellen is giving me suggestions for what I should teach the whole semester too. He wants me to do the food. He said the food is his favorite part and my cooking is the best. Aw isn't he sweet!


Make it From Scratch

Festival of Frugality

Carnival of Money Stories

Top 100 Personal Finance Blogs

Carnival of Recipes - Late summer favorites. Next week recipes that make you remember childhood.

Carnival of Natural Family Living

Carnival of Homeschooling

Carnival of Family Life

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Growing By Leaps and Bounds

Have you ever noticed that instead of growing and developing in baby steps kids seems to grow by leaps and bounds? Just this week I've noticed that all the kids are suddenly so big.

Kellen(9) has become a big helper, and with a good attitude most days. Yesterday, he was working with the men, helping to paint the neighbor's barn roof.

Lydia (5) always the the little momma, has suddenly become a real helper. She makes lemonade and snacks for everyone, and tries to do her sister's hair. Not to mention she has grown out of two sizes of clothes and shoes this summer.

Nolan (3) is getting himself dressed and undressed. His vocabulary has increased greatly and he talks like a little man. Well, a little man with improper grammar. He makes his past tense by putting ed on everything. "We goed to the store." It is cute, but we do correct him.

Vivian (18 months) also is growing like a little weed. I bought her a pair of shoes about two months ago. She wore them a few times and then we could not find one of them for the longest time. When I finally found it, it didn't fit! She is learning new words like crazy. She has opinions, and is learning to express them!

When did my kids get so big? Do they really grow by leaps and bounds or was the summer just so busy I didn't notice how quickly they were growing until things slowed down?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Enjoy it While You Can

Shhh. . . Do you hear that "music?" That would be The Little Appletones; the sibling band. It isn't exactly in tune. Well, who knows what tune they are trying to play anyhow? The rhythm? Well, let's just say they are each playing to their own drummer. Yet, it is music to my ears.

Kellen is joining the homeschool band this year. Tim is the director, and he started Kellen on the trombone a little over a week ago. About a week ago, you would have found Kellen in tears, whining about how hard the trombone was, how he'd never learn to play it, and he certainly would never learn to read music.

Then the light clicked on the other day and he played "Mary Had a Little Lamb." He was so proud. Since then there has been no whining and no crying. He wants to practice and even gets frustrated when he can't because a sibling is sleeping.

This morning the three oldest were holed up in the boys' room while Vivian and I were in the kitchen. First I heard the trombone. Then a trumpet joined in. Kellen was trying to teach Lydia. Soon there was a bugle. That was Nolan's instrument of choice. (When your husband is a musician, you have a lot of instruments around the house.) They were attempting to play together.

It was the first time all morning that the sounds coming from them were not yelling and bickering. It was sweet music. Yes, we should be doing our lessons or our chores, but when the kids are playing nicely together, sometimes it is best to just enjoy it while you can.

Works for Me Wednesday

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Blue Skies

Festival and Carnivals

Festival of Frugality
Article topics include saving money on beauty supplies, food budgets, travel and how green and frugal go hand in hand.

Carnival of the Recipes- Let's Do Lunch. Next week - Late Summer Favorites
Lots of great ideas here for packed lunches, at home quick lunches and of course delicious not so quick ones too.

Make it From Scratch
Yummy recipes, do it yourself projects, crafts, activities to do with kids, they are all found at Make it From Scratch.

Carnival of Family Life
Funny stories, helpful tips, dilemmas and advice all relating to the family all found in one place.

Carnival of the Green
You'll find articles about green living, shopping, alternative power, and much more.

Vegetarian Carnival
Lots of yummy recipes.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Full Weekend

It was another busy weekend around the farm. Tim was off Friday. He helped Papaw saw boards in the morning for the siding on the house, and for another project that will be started soon. In the afternoon we ran errands together; without kids! Mamaw watched the kids while we dropped an instrument off at one of Tim's customers, did our first mystery shop, had lunch, went to the feed store, and made a quick grocery store stop. It wasn't exactly a date, but it was nice to be alone. It has been awhile.

The mystery shop was fun. We shopped a discount department store. There is a lot to remember on these mystery shops, and of course you can't take notes while you are there. I am not sure I would be able to do one alone if I had the kids with me. We didn't make any money on the mystery shop. Yes, I'm getting paid for it, but we spent more on lunch than that. We treated ourselves to a nice lunch. We also found some good deals on things we needed, and ended up spending more at the store. We still had a nice time together, and bought things we needed so I guess it was worthwhile.

Tim worked Saturday. The kids I were supposed to go on a field trip with our co-op group, but Vivian hadn't been feeling well all week, so we opted to stay home. The kids did school. Yes, on Saturday. They were off Friday after all. I'm a taskmaster aren't I?

We got a surprise in the evening; a husband for Maggie. Yes, we have another animal; a ram. He has no name yet. We have purchased several animals from the same guy. Last time he was here delivering a bull, Papaw mentioned that we were looking for a Suffolk ram, and how much he wanted to pay for it. Saturday night the guy pulls in with a ram in the back of his pickup. He is a big boy, and looks pretty nice. Maggie ran away when she saw him. I think she thinks she is a goat. She isn't ready to breed yet, and that is fine. We will be separating them. We want to wait so we will have spring lambs and not one born in January.

Yesterday, after church and lunch, it was straight to the farm work. Tim butchered a rabbit. I think he will tell that story later. We had her for dinner last night. Looks and tastes like chicken, but the texture is a little different. Then we sexed and separated our oldest litter. They are 8 weeks now and weighing a little over three pounds each. We weighed our young litter. There are only three of them, and at three weeks are already weighing over a pound a piece. They are little porkers; about double the other kits at the same age.

Next we tended to a goat with hoof rot. Poor thing was hobbling around and miserable. Two of her hooves were tender. We cleaned them out well, gave her a shot of antibiotics and squirted some on her hooves too. She was reasonably cooperative for the whole procedure, probably because we let her eat grain the whole time.

Then it was up to the garden to dig a few potatoes and check for tomatoes. We also checked on the wild apple trees up there. They aren't ripe yet, and there aren't many. Only one tree set any fruit. Very disappointing. I am assuming it is because of the dry summer we've had.

In the evening we laid out plans for a new storage and animal building; another new project. When they are sawing logs, they are running into many that aren't good enough for the house siding, but would be just fine for a storage building. In fact, they are finding more wood for the building than the house. So, it looks like the building will be started soon. I'm good with that. I would rather have the building than the siding on the house finished. I'm hoping to get rid of the eyesore of a storage area we are currently using. This building will also be for the chickens, and after it is up I can train them to roost and lay where they are supposed to. I'd also like to get more hens then.

The work and fun never stop around here. It's Monday and that means laundry. Yippee! (Said with extreme sarcasm!)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

About those eggs. . .

Lots of you had good guesses about those eggs. Some of you even had the right answer. The egg with the darker yolk is from our chicken. She is free ranged, and the egg was within a few days old. Mary, it may have been laid in the rabbit pellets, but I can't be sure of that. The other egg is from the store. Just your run of the mill, extra large, store bought egg; not from free ranged, or organic hens. There is a difference. One you can see and taste.

The ducks aren't laying right now, but adding a duck egg to that picture would be interesting too. The duck eggs are even richer with darker yolks.

Great guesses all and way to go to those of you who knew why my eggs looked so different.

Running Errands with Kids

Running errands with kids is simply a reality around here. Rarely am I able to go when my husband is home, and when you homeschool the kids are always with you. I try to keep all the errands to one day. It can make that one day a busy one, but it seems to work better than dragging the kids out on multiple days.

How do I run all my errands with four kids and keep my sanity? Well the reality is that it doesn't always go smoothly, but most of the time it does. Here are a few things we do that help.

Make a plan.
Try to plan your stops by geography so you spend less time running back and forth. Another thing to consider though is priority. If there are stops that must be done today, try to do them first. That way if the three year old is having a continual melt down (not that mine ever would mind you) you can abandon ship and save the less important errands for another day.

Let the kids in on the plan.
After they are strapped into the car, when you have their full attention, let them know what you are doing today. Remind them of the expected behavior, and when possible hold out a little reward. (I'm not above bribery for my sanity.) Our reward is often as simple as a $0.25 can of pop from the vending machine when we are done shopping. It could be to read a story, play a game, or watch a movie when the errands are done. Use whatever works for your kids. Remind them of the plan, expectations and reward as needed.

Food and drink.
Nothing is worse than shopping with hungry kids. Pack lots of snacks and drinks; a lunch if needed.

Let them help.
Give them small tasks to do while you are shopping. My kids love to pick items up and put them into the cart. They really love it when I let them choose which item we are going to buy. The older ones love to push the cart, and can sometimes be talked into playing games with the baby.

Make it educational.
Talk to the kids about why you are choosing items. Show them how to price compare. With younger ones you can practice colors, and counting.

Running errands with kids is an adventure. Make the best of it. Hopefully some of these tips that work for me will help you too. Please leave your ideas too!

Works for Me Wednesday

The Difference in Eggs

Do you know why these two eggs look different?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On a Tuesday

Today it started out feeling like summer, hot and humid. We went to a play date with our homeschool coop. It started raining and the temperature must have dropped 15 degrees. It now feels like a fall day.

It is hard to believe fall is just around the corner. We gave our school cupboard a good cleaning out yesterday, and reserved a bunch a books. I think we will start tomorrow. We traditionally do school year around, but this year it looked different. About mid July when the garden started producing and the busyness started, we gave up on any book work. We've had lots of hands on learning and field trips since then.

The garden has slowed. The cousins went back to their mom's. The apples aren't quite ready yet, but it feels like fall. Must be time to get out those books. I am looking forward to it. I think we could use a little more routine and normalcy to our days.

And todays links:
Carnival of the Recipes - Anywhere but here. Next week- Let's Do Lunch
Carnival of Family Life
Make it From Scratch
Carnival of Homeschooling
Festival of Frugality

Friday, August 17, 2007

Best of Show

This was Kellen's first year in 4-H. His projects were market rabbits and photography. We were all disappointed that our rabbits did not make it for fair time, but Kellen worked hard on his photography. Most of the time he had fun with the project too. He learned a lot about taking good pictures. I learned a lot too for that matter.

The week before and during the fair were crazy busy. We got the project put together, and dropped it off. We had intentions of going to the fair, but we never made it. We were out of town the night projects were supposed to be picked up, so our 4-H leader got it for us. With everything else going on, I'd kind of forgotten about it. That was the end of July.

This week she calls us, and guess what? Kellen's project took Best of Show! He got a nice blue ribbon and a small cash prize. We were so excited! He was playing it cool, but you could tell he was thrilled too, especially about the cash!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Great Egg Hunt

I've mentioned Chatterbox, our crazy hen, a few times. She has always been different. She used to be very nervous, putting up a big ruckus for the slightest thing. She doesn't roost where she is supposed to. She doesn't lay where she is supposed to.

This spring when she started laying, it would take us days to figure out where she had made her nest. We did want to hatch out some chicks, but at the time we didn't have a rooster. When we got the rooster, she made a nice nest under some shelves in a storage area. She hatched out her chicks about two months ago.

A little over a week ago, I could tell she was getting ready to lay again. She started chasing the young ones off, clucking and exploring the storage area again. At this point in the summer, we really don't want her to hatch out another nest. We want the eggs.

She went back to the nest under the shelves. I collected eggs there for about four days, then apparently she got tired of me taking her eggs. The next day I found an egg near the ducks nest. The next day Chatterbox was making a new nest in some old screen on a shelf in the storage area. She let me collect a couple eggs there.

Then the kids went out to feed the animals and found this:

Actually what they found was Chatterbox inside the feed bag, but by the time I got there with the camera, all that was left was the egg. I haven't been able to find an egg since. I guess I am going to have to let her hatch out a nest again, or keep her in the coop if I want the eggs. What a crazy chicken!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Roller Coasters, Water, Guests & Shooting Stars

Wow where has the time gone? Finally, it looks like we have a week that we will not be running crazy. In fact, there is not a single thing on the calendar for this week. So that means I will be busy catching up on the garden, the house, and anything else that didn't get accomplished in the last few weeks.

The three oldest had a great time with Grandma and Grandpa at Geauga Lake. Kellen was thrilled because he is finally tall enough to ride all the rides, and because Uncle Kent went to take him on those rides that Grandma and Grandpa aren't so thrilled with. Kellen wasn't brave enough to try some of the bigger coasters, and that is ok. He did promise Uncle Kent they would go on them next year. Lydia and Nolan were perfectly happy with the water park and the kiddie rides, and Nolan did fine with his stitches.

After coming home Tuesday afternoon, Kellen and Lydia spent the rest of the week with Ashely and Miles at a VBS day camp, put on by a friend's church. The camp was from 10-4 with lots of singing, fun lessons and swimming. They had a great time.

Saturday was busy too. The guys went to get hay. I went to a consignment sale. Saturday night Tim and I sat out on our deck to watch the meteor shower. It was so relaxing we grabbed a couple of blankets and pillows and slept out there. It went pretty well until the dog discovered us, at 4:00 AM and thought it was play time.

Sunday, we thought we would finally have a quiet, relaxing day. Wrong. Mamaw and Papaw got a call at 7:00 AM. Two of Papaw's sisters, a brother-in-law, and a niece were nearby and wanted to stop in. We all decided to skip church for the visit, and that we should all, as in 16 people all, eat lunch together. Why so many people? There are 6 in my family; Eric, his two kids, and his girlfriend who is staying for awhile; Mamaw and Papaw; Hazel and Terry who were staying in their camper this week; and the four guests. Tim and I spent most of the morning getting lunch
together. The afternoon was relaxing though. We sat around and chatted with the relatives.

I didn't actually hear this, but Tim said that my aunt, who is Amish, made a comment about wishing she were able to live the simple life like we do down here. After I got over the irony of that coming from someone who is Amish, I wondered if anyone who knew what the summer has been like around here would actually call this a simple life.

We slept on the deck again, this time with five kids; Vivian slept in her crib and we invited Eric's kids. We were all so tired, I'm not sure any of us made it past 10:30, let alone to 2:00 AM, the predicted peak of the meteor shower.

We are all exhausted. You know the fun I've had with Nolan and his naps. He hasn't fought his nap for days. Kellen and Lydia were both dragging today. I think Vivian may be the only one who is herself. And this is the simple life?