Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Tree House for the Kids

Papaw has been busy with his sawmill. The siding on our house is nearing completion. It looks great, and I will share some pictures when all is done. It has been put on hold for a short period though, to get some other projects completed. One of these is a tree house for the kids.

Oh, did you think I meant something for the children? No, this is for the goat kids. Well, and the adult goats, and the sheep, oh and now there are pigs too.

The goats, by the way do have names now: Patty, Twist, Billy Bob, Bernice, Desert, and Sally. I loved the suggestions in the comments of the last post about the goats, to name them in ABC order, but the kids (I mean the human ones.) had already named them. The pigs names are Charcoal and Flame. They are Ashley and Miles' pets.

Were you also wondering about why this is a "tree house?" Papaw designed it around a tree, and has decided it is a tree house. The fun never ends here in the 100 Acre Wood.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Hiccup Cure

What do you do when you have the hiccups? Hold your breath? Eat honey? There are lots of things out there, but I never learned the real cure until I got married. Apparently, my husband's family has been holding on to this secret, and I am now sharing it with the world.

It is really very simple and works almost every time. You will need two people; one who has the hiccups and one who does not. The person without hiccups says a line from the following verse. The person with hiccups repeats.

Hiccups, hiccups, I have got.
To my lover I will send them.
If he loves me, he will keep them.
If he doesn't he'll return them.

Then the nonhiccuper instructs the hiccuper to hold their breath for 30 seconds. Magically the hiccups will disappear.

Works for Me Wednesday

Trick Shot

Kellen (soon to be 9) is wrapping up his 4-H photography project. Today's lesson; trick shots. He and his cousins had a ball with this. I was pretty impressed.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

But I'm Not Tired

Have I mentioned that Nolan (3) is quite the character? What only a couple hundred times? This latest installment came at dinner time, after a day of hard outside play. (You may notice how dirty he is.)

The video is a bit long. You'll get the idea from the beginning. We kept thinking we'd catch him actually fall asleep, but no not our stubborn boy. In fact, immediately after dinner, we got him cleaned up and ready for bed. He was adamant that he was not tired. He didn't go to sleep for almost an hour and a half. Now, that is one stubborn boy!

Links for Tuesday

Here are the links for this week: Make it From Scratch, Carnival of the Recipes - Hip to Be Square Edition (next week outdoor cooking), Carnival of Debt Reduction, Festival of Frugality, My Favorite Things, Carnival of Homeschooling, and Carnival of Family Life.

Happy Tuesday to you!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Homeschooling Tips

Kelly has put out a call for tips and advice about homeschooling. My first thought was to talk about how homeschooling can be done on a budget, but Alexandra did a wonderful job covering that. So, I decided to offer some more general tips.

1. Instilling a love of learning.
This is this most important thing you can teach a child. Children are born curious with a love of learning. They naturally want to learn. To keep them loving learning let them have some say in what they learn about. Let there be flexibility in the lessons. Let them lead sometimes. There are basics they must know, but if they know how to read and write well, and they can complete basic math computations, they have the base for everything else.

The education process (public or at home) can squelch that love. If that has happened to your child, you may just need to take some time off, back away from the curriculum, play games, read books about things they are interested in, and take lots of field trips. You can ease back into "book work" when you feel the child is ready.

2. Give the child responsibility for their education
Along with letting them choose, as mentioned above, let them self teach as much as possible. Kellen (8) pretty much does all his assignments on his own. He will ask for help if he gets stuck, and I will check over his work when he is finished. Lydia (5) needs a little more one on one until she learns to read well. Her math though she does pretty much on her own. When she gets stuck Kellen is as likely to help her as I am.

3. You don't have to do it all.
As a former public school teacher, our first years of homeschooling looked a lot like a public school classroom, at home. All the different subjects with a book and workbook to go with them. Now, for Kellen, we have one book, one workbook, and a three ring binder.

We tend to think that if there is not a book or a curriculum for a subject, the child will miss something. I used to feel that way. The longer I homeschool, the more I lean to unschooling, a term that made me shudder when I first read about it. I don't think I'll ever completely unschool, but there is value in this approach. My combined approach is working. I have proof. Kellen recently took the Terra Nova standardized test. His best scores were in Science (93 percentile), and Social Studies (99 percentile.) These are the subjects I haven't had a curriculum for in two years! He also did well in reading, language, and math.

4. It doesn't have to cost a fortune.
I know I said I'd let Alexandra cover this, but I just need to add a few things. Timberdoodle is my favorite homeschooling store. It is run by a homeschooling family. The prices are good, and the information about the products are personal. Request a catalog.

I've spent about $50 for next years "books." I still need to buy a couple things, but doubt they will add up to over $50. We use Miquon and the Key To series for math. Both are inexpensive. We are using Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons for Lydia and Kellen will be doing a unit study on the Little House Books. We bought this used at a homeschooler meeting. Unit studies work very well for us, and they are very affordable. He just finished one based on the Chronicles of Narnia.

5. Enjoy the process
Have fun together. This is one I need to constantly remember. This job can be stressful and tough, but if I keep my focus on the big things; the Lord, watching the kids grow, life lessons learned, and our family time, the little things; the dishes not getting done, the school work we didn't get to, and my ever to long list of things to do, don't seem to matter so much.

For more tips and advice can be found at Pass the Torch.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I'm Dependent TT#5

When our internet service went down unexpectedly, and we were told it would be up to five business days to fix, I thought, “Well I don’t really need the internet anyway, do I?” I imagined being annoyed by not getting my daily fix of blog writing and reading. What I didn’t realize is how dependent I really am on “having the world at my fingertips.” Here is a list of things I found I’m dependent on the computer for.

1. Recipes
I wanted to make Delilah’s Strawberry pie. Oh, that recipe is on her blog. I was looking for something different to do with basil. It is hard to check without the internet.

2. Weather
We don’t get the paper. I don’t watch the news. When I want to check if is safe to hang the laundry out, or how scorching it is to be, I check Without the internet, I had to take my chances!

3. Information Storage
I needed directions to one place, and a mailing address to another. Both were saved in my hotmail account.

4. Personal Finance
I keep tabs on things, pay bill, and make transfers when needed. Almost everything is done online!

5. Communication
Email is my preferred means of communication. It is quick and efficient. It can be done even when kids are screaming!

6. Information
What do I do about the green worms on my cabbage? How much feed should the goats be getting? How many presidents came from Ohio? When does the summer library program start? All questions I would have liked to used the internet to find.

7. Entertainment
Blogs and more blogs. Games for the kids.

8. A Break
Sneaking a few minutes to read a favorite blog, check email or look something up. Two minutes without hearing (or pretending not to hear) “Mommy,”

9. Adult Interaction During the Day
I’m not much for chatting on the phone. Chatting with my online and real world friends via blogs, email, or IM is my chance to talk on an adult level.

10. Expression
I have been surprised at what an outlet blogging has become for me. In person I’m rather reserved. I’ll say anything (almost) in my blog! I missed that outlet. I tried typing into Word, but it just wasn’t the same with out the comment interaction!

11. Money Making
Hard to earn money online when you can’t get online.

12. Homeschool
We depend heavily the internet as a source for our school assignments. We had to improvise.

13. Shopping
I wanted to shop for homeschool supplies, books, and to order prints from our digital photos. All things I normally do online.


I am dependent on the internet. Funny how you don’t realize how much you use a technology until you have to do with out it! I am so happy that we have internet service again!

Thursday Thirteen

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Those Predators are Smart

I'm so frustrated! As I've reported before, we have had troubles with predators getting to our young chickens. We lost all the pullets we purchased at the Flea Market! When Chatterbox hatched her chicks we did a lot of checking of the coop and thought it was secure. It took less than a week, and the ******* got two of the chicks. It had dug under. We spent most of Sunday afternoon fixing that problem, and making what we thought was a secure fortress for the chickens. We set out two live traps. The villain did not get to the chicks, but did get the bait in the traps without getting itself trapped, two nights in a row. We would have liked to have trapped him, but were happy that the chicks were safe, or so we thought.

He found another way in last night; two more chicks gone! It took me awhile to see anyplace he could have gotten in. He didn't dig, everything looked secure. Then I saw one tiny place where two layers of chicken wire overlap that could be pulled slightly to make a gap a couple inches wide. I am assuming that was the point of entry. We will fix that and check the whole thing over again very closely. It is so frustrating to think you have a problem fixed, only to have it return in a different way. I am almost to the point of bringing the chicks in the house at night. The only thing that stops me is the hassle of trying to catch them every night, and the thought of the pecking that Chatterbox and Alpha would impose on us during the process. We've thought of tying the dog next to the chicken house at night. Add to this frustration, that we should have ducklings to try to protect within a week. I feel like a lousy farmer.

Mother Hen

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

An Unusual Occurrence

This week I find myself with out a single thing on the calendar! No play dates. No doctor's appointments. No commitments made. Unusual isn't it? And this morning, kids are playing outside with their cousins. And all the laundry, except for some sheets and towels got finished yesterday. What to do with my time?

A glance in the refrigerator showed it to be almost empty (grocery day is tomorrow,) and pretty dirty. I decided it was the perfect time to wipe it out. As I was wiping shelves and pulling out drawers, I noticed that the microwave was looking a bit crusty, and look at all the finger prints on the water cooler, and the dust on the dry sink, and the drips on the cupboards. And since the baby was taking an incredibly long nap, before I knew it the whole kitchen had been wiped down. I won't kid you and say that it is now spotless, but it is decidedly cleaner than when I got up this morning.

It is amazing what you can get done when the calendar is empty, and today is only Tuesday! Hmm. . . what else should I tackle this week?

Tackle It Tuesday

Links and a Question *updated*

I missed last week's links because of our computer issues. So, some of these are last week's carnivals, and what not. But before you go off browsing, a question. What are your favorite carnivals? I don't always include all the same ones, and I'm wondering if there are some you'd like me to be sure to include all the time. Of course my favorite is Make It From Scratch. It will always be here! *wink*

Carnival of the Recipes - Wild Card Edition, Gotta Get Grillin' Edition
next week - Hip to Be Square - favorite bar/square recipe

Speaking of Recipes. . . Piggy Bank Raid is sponsoring a Frugal Recipe Contest. There is a $20 cash prize. Entries are due by June 30th.

Learning in the Great Outdoors

Vegetarian Carnival

Outdoor Odyssey

Healthy and Fit Family

And a spotlight post about me on Motherload.

** Oh I almost forgot, Kelly at Pass the Torch is hosting Share Your Best Homeschooling Tips this Friday. Your participation is requested.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Now where was I. . .

before being rudely interrupted by faulty satellite equipment? Oh yes, I was going to tell you about our busy weekend. Last weekend that is. The kids and I traveled about four hours to attend a family reunion on my dad's side. Yes, that would be an Amish reunion. Tim was unable to go because of a commitment on Saturday, but I decided to go anyway. I think it is important for the kids to stay connected to their heritage.

We had a nice time at the reunion. There were about 175 people there. I couldn't even begin to name them all. The food was great, and it was nice to catch up with some family I haven't seen for a very long time. For more about the day see Delilah's, or Jake's posts. Two things of interest I'll high light here though. You never know who is reading your blog. Delilah mentioned this, but we found out one of my cousins and my aunt, whom I haven't seen for years, regularly read our blogs. (They aren't Amish by the way.) So, "hi" to both of you!

And a moment I wish I would have had my video camera for. I was pushing Vivian on the swing set, and this little Amish boy, maybe 4 years old, had a play cell phone. He was holding it up to his ear and just jabbering away, in Dutch. Hmmm. . . I wonder where he learned that from?

Since we were in the area, we decided to take some time to visit other family and friends. We made a surprise visit to Tim's parents, and then headed to Akron, where we used to live. We spent the night with Jake & Delilah and went to our old church and to a friend's house the next day. It was nice to see so many people we haven't seen for awhile. Here are some pictures:

We had a great time, and came home exhausted. Lucky for me I have a great husband who kept the house clean and worked on a lot of projects while we were gone. He even started the laundry! Maybe I should go away more often!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Help My Blog has been Hijacked!

After we lost internet service, I asked Tim to do a quick post, just to let you know I wouldn't be around for a few days. I come back to my blogs to find five posts! Three here and two at Stop the Ride! I think he was enjoying himself. He only posted twice at his own blog! What is up with that?

There has been a lot going on, and I don't have time for a long post now, but just wanted to let you know that I'm back. For now, I will leave you with a picture of our newest animals.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Stephanie is having withdrawl symptoms...bad

I think I am enjoying having all the control of Steph's blogs. I think it may be going to my head. Either way I am having way too much fun. Stephanie is have major withdrawals this morning. While I was up at 6:00AM helping Paul cut logs, She was busy trying to check her email and get on the web from my Treo. When I had to go to work and I took it from her, she was disappointed. She saw that I posted about the chicks, then exclaimed" You told them about the chicks?!?! I was going to do that!" I told her she could post the pictures. I think it is funny how dependent she is on the Internet, but I think we all are to some degree. Even my mom who doesn't even own a computer wants to read our blogs now and then. Well I think I need to get back to work.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

We have chicks!

We have chicks! Our chicken has been sitting for the last 20 days or so, and out came 8 chicks! We managed to catch them and put the coop where they belong, but have never really stayed there. I patched the holes where I think the weasel or some predator got in and leather strapped the door shut. They survived Last night, but Then Stephanie wakes me up at 6:30am to tell me she can't find the one duck. Then 15 seconds later I hear this quacking, she is just fine, I think she laying at a different spot in the woods. We will see when the other hen has hatched her eggs what we will do with them can we put them all in the same coop? The family who gave us these ducks hatched out 2 last spring and they both died. They didn't have as big a yard to play in, we will see. We have pictures of the chicks, but alas, they are on the computer at home.

Technical Difficulties

Welcome to the first post from Stephanie's husband. I am posting today because our Internet service is out because of a terminal outage from our satellite Internet. It is going to cost us $250 to replace it because of the warranty was up in February. So Steph has no email, no posting abilities, and no Internet access from the house. She could come to my office to do her thing, or the library but as you know dragging all the kids to the library to just do computer stuff would be a train wreck. So, you may email her and I can print it out for her. She will be posting from my office at least once, I'm sure.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I Never Saw This Coming

Nolan (3) is quite the character. I never know exactly what to expect from him, but this I never saw coming. A bit of background, our house is getting new siding. As part of the process, all of the outside windows had to be taken off. Meaning we have the inside windows, but no screens.

The other day he was playing quietly, alone in his room. An unusual, but very much welcomed event. After playing awhile, he comes out to the kitchen. He is beaming, like he had done a very good thing. I said hello to him, and he turns to me with his most winning grin, and exclaims, "Mom, I peed out the window!"

I was pretty much speechless, but somehow managed to convey to him that it really wasn't a good idea. Oh, Nolan, he sure does give me lots of things to blog about.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The End of "Mom, I'm Bored."

Shannon has declared this weeks' Works for Me Wednesday, The Mom I'm Bored Edition. Honestly, I rarely hear that around my house. No, I really don't.

Part of the reason is we do school year around. We may not do quite as much book work in the summer, there are a lot more field trips and outside education, but the underlying routine still is there. Yes, that is great if you homeschool like we do, but doesn't help anyone else.

Though sticking to the routine helps some, I don't think that is the main reason my kids don't complain, "Mom, I'm bored." The main reason they don't utter those word is because they don't like my answer.

I don't think my job description as a mother is to entertain. They have toys, games, a huge "yard," and very vivid imaginations. That is not to say I never do anything with them. We play and work together all the time, but they need to learn to entertain themselves.

On a rare occasion a child may complain of boredom. I'm quick to relieve their boredom, "Hmmm.... How does your room look? How about under the bed and in the closet?" or "The van sure could use a good cleaning," or other some such suggestion. Sometimes, they actually do take my suggestion. Other times, they come up with something else, much more creative and fun to do. Funny how quickly their boredom goes away.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Two Goats

There is a bit of disagreement about their names, so for now they have none. Aren't they cute though?

Tuesday Links

Make It From Scratch

Carnival of Family Life

Carnival of the Recipes- Food for Body and Soul
next week grilling recipes.

Festival of Frugality will be at My Two Dollars.

And if you didn't catch my subtle announcement here, or my husbands not so subtle one here, I am doing a bit of freelance writing. I'm writing for a web site and its blog. You can see the articles here and here.

Enjoy your Tuesday reading!

More Animals, More Frustrations

Saturday we went to a giant swap meet. This swap meet is held three times a year, and it is huge. I couldn't guess the number of vendors there. I can tell you it took us all day to walk through the whole thing. There was everything there from horses to junk lawn mower decks. We were looking for animals; particularly goats, a pig, hens, and perhaps a ram.

Struck out on the ram. There were hardly any sheep there, and none were Suffolk. No luck on pigs either. Papaw was looking for a sow for Miles. Remember he asked for a pig for his birthday. There were some pigs there, but they either didn't look very good, or were overpriced, sometimes both.

Didn't have much luck with the hens either. We were looking for Rhode Island Reds. There were lots of chickens there, but not many Reds. We missed them. Instead we decided to buy a dozen half grown hens. We brought them home in a pet carrier.

Here is the frustration. The first night we left them in the carrier. The second into the coop. With new poultry we leave them penned a few days before letting them free range. The idea is to make sure they know where home is. That was the plan anyway.

Yesterday morning I went out and they were all gone. There was a gap in the fencing we didn't see. We couldn't find any of the chicks. I was pretty mad. Mad that we missed the gap, and mad that we spent money for nothing.

Later in the day, one showed up near the house. She hung out there all day. Kellen caught her in the afternoon, and put her back in the pen. (and plugged the gap) A few hours later another came back to the pen. I caught her, and put her in.

Kellen and I searched in the woods. We found three dead. So, five are accounted for and seven MIA. I'm glad two were found, but losing 10! UGH! Chatter box has been nesting about three weeks now. Hopefully she hatches out a nice group of chicks.

Now goats, there were lots of Boer goats. We got two nans. Mamaw and Papaw got another three nans and a billy. Two of the nans are full grown the rest are weaned kids. We bought the nans, all five, from the same vendor. It was quite the comedy trying to get all of them back to the stock trailer.

Imagine the scene. There are already nine people; Mamaw, Papaw, Eric, Tim and I, and our four kids. Add into the mix a double stroller, and five goats with make do twine halters and leashes. We had to "walk" these goats clear across the swap meet. The adults were fairly cooperative. The kids (goat ones that is) were not so much. Once we got moving they would pretty much follow the adults, except this one who kept being stubborn. There is always one isn't there? Needless to say, we stopped traffic walking through the grounds.

The goats are doing what we wanted them to do; clearing out the thickets. They are chomping down on the Greenbriar. Maggie wasn't too sure of them at first, but seems to have adjusted and be happy to have some company.

It was hot and dry at the swap meet. We were all coated in dirt from all the dust that got stirred up. We did have fun though. It was a long day. When we got there the place was packed, but by the time we left:

In other animal happening, the other two does never kindled. We've bred them all again. There is still hope for Kellen to have market rabbits for the fair. The 4-H advisor recommended feeding the doe and kits grow feed to try to get them up to weight in time. They have to be three pounds for the fair. We should have another litter in about a week and a half. We'll see what happens.

He also said that others are having the same problems we are. That made me feel better. Not that other people are having a hard time, but just knowing that it isn't just us.

I mentioned Chatter Box nesting. Now one of the ducks is nesting too. She just started a couple of days ago. The hens put their eggs in the same nest, but it looks like just the one is sitting on them.

I think that is it for animal updates. Not much happening with the cows and horses. We should have another calf soon though.