Monday, December 12, 2011

My new blog - Our Little Wooden House

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A NEW blog? Another one? Really?

For a few reasons I've decided to start a new blog. This one will be mostly stuff for family - pictures of my adorable kiddos, things like that. But for everything else that family isn't that interested in like organizing, weight loss, homemaking, cooking, gardening, homesteading, etc. I will be moving all of that to Clay and I's new blog:



Feel free to add it to your bookmarks as it will be where my new year of posting will be. Santa brought me a new camera to replace my old one early so I will be posting pictures of the kids here often in 2012 as well so if you are someone who cares about my kids and our family life, stick around as there will be lots to see!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

2011-2012 Curriculum Choices

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Haven't posted here in a long while :) We officially started back to school this week so my brain is 100% in school mode. I have our school choices nailed down (for now, things always change a bit throughout the year). I'm feeling good about almost everything except maybe Frankie's Latin but time will tell with that. So here's this year's plan.... I'm going to link to everything if I can. I'm going to come back throughout the next week and explain all the choices and curriculum in more details.

Frankie - 6th Grade
Math: Saxon 7/6 with Dive CD supplemented by Life of Fred Fractions and Decimals
Bible: Explorer's Bible Study –
Quest: Promises
R&S Reading (Bible) 4 (he loves it an is insisting he finishes it so whatever lol)
• Daily family reading and Memorization
• LONG memorization passage (Romans 12 is first though now Clay says he wants him to do Romans 8)
Science: Life Science task cards
History: Geography and Culture Cards
Literature: Potters School Online course literature selections, some readings from the cards and choices from mom
Writing:
Potters School Online Writing Course - writers workshop
• Geography & Science writings
English: finishing Rod and Staff 5 & and doing Rod and Staff 6
Language: First Form Latin and Rosetta Stone Spanish
Logic: Finish Logic Liftoff, Orbiting with Logic and move towards Fallacy Detective and Thinking Toolbox
Cursive – New American Cursive II
Typing: BBC Typing
Art: Picture and Artist study
Music:
• Classical music "survey"
• Recorder
• piano
Scouts, etc.

Cassie - 4th grade
Math: Finishing Math U See Gamma and doing MathUSee Delta
Bible: Explorer's Bible Study – Discovery Promises Fulfilled
R&S Reading (Bible) 3
• Daily family reading and Memorization
Science: Life Science task cards
History: Geography and Culture Cards
Literature: some readings from the cards and choices from mom (she devours books)
Writing:
• Daily journal entries
Writing With Ease daily (narration, dictation, etc.)
• Geography & Science writings
English: finished Christian Light Education Language Arts 3 and doing CLE 4
Language: Prima Latina and Rosetta Stone Spanish
Logic: Logic Countdown and Logic Liftoff
Cursive – New American Cursive II
Typing: BBC Typing
Art: Picture and Artist study
Music:
• Classical music "survey"
• Recorder
• piano
American Heritage Girls, etc.

Adric - 2nd grade
Language arts - First Language Lessons, narrations, copywork, etc.
Math - MUS Beta
Penmanship - printing copywork and New American Cursive I
Science: Life Science task cards
History: Geography and Culture Cards
Reading lots of books
Language - Prima Latina
Logic - Mind Benders Warm-ups
Bible - Rod and Staff Reading 1 & family reading and memorization
Typing: BBC Typing
Art: Picture and Artist study
Music:
• Classical music "survey"
• Recorder
• piano
Scouts, etc.

Garrison - Pre-K
Lots of fun file folder games, 100 easy lessons, etc.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Culturing, Fermenting and Baking Oh My!

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As part of the Homestead Barn Hop I'm sharing an amazing resource that has been already Linkproving to be invaluable to me on our journey towards being more self-sufficient.


Not too long ago I read a post over at Healthy Homesteading that inspired me to start making a list of the things I want, no need, to start learning and becoming proficient at as part of our journey to be more self-sufficient. One of the first things that came up was learning to create a self-sustaining kitchen of cultures and fermented foods. The idea of becoming more self-reliant is based around cutting as many ties, cutting the string of necessity, from the world as you can. The main one of course on everyone's list if FOOD. Way up on that list for me was not buying yeast, yogurt and buttermilk cultures, as well as learning to naturally store foods through fermentation. It really kills a few birds with one stone. Culturing and fermenting not only make food healthier, they make types of foods that we buy at the store ourselves (sour cream, pickles, sauerkraut, etc. etc.) AND they are a natural way of storing food to avoid spoilage (cold storage fermented veggies last a LONG time!)

Now I've been doing sourdough and kefir on and off for years, but have never 100% integrated it into my life. I still buy tortillas instead of make them, things like that. So I bit the bullet and I purchased a single month access to the Gnowfglins ecourses.

I tend to not spend money on things I feel like I can find myself on the internet but MAN these classes are worth it! She has a number of different plans you can choose from. They each give you access to all the classes she's done so far just for different periods of time. I decided to go with the one-month plan. It was only $11! The classes all have print pdfs you can download and videos to watch. Every single recipe, everything has an accompanying video. I mean the sourdough class has 25 lessons!

Anyways I started just a few days ago and am SO re-motivated. I have learned SO many new recipes already. Okay so I admit I've been a tad obsessive about wanting to watch all the videos and read all the print as fast as possible. But still... within a few days I made amazing long-soaked sourdough tortillas, have some clabbered cheese straining, homemade buttermilk done and in the fridge, raw sour cream culturing on the top of the fridge, the water kefir rebooted (boy was it happy I did it!), and have a friend who's going to send me a new kombucha mother. Tonight I'll be setting up some dough to make sourdough english muffins, rebooting kefir, and upping my milk order at the farm to be able to make cultured butter and feta. Every single one of those things (except maybe the kombucha) has a video and pdf explaining every tiny step.

The fruits of my labor? Well some of them.
And NO I'm not affiliated with Gnowfglins in any way. I just am amazed at what a great resource it is for a very affordable price. And I hope others will find it helpful as I am.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

31 Days to Clean

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I am so excited to read this little book. 31 Days to Clean.

I love the idea of a month long spring cleaning devotional. Some "Mary" Challenges and some "Martha" Challenges to tackle not only my external house but my internal one. 31 Days to Clean is about the "why" and the vision and the heart for taking care of your domain. Each day you will be encouraged with some thoughts and ideas on the heart of cleaning, and then you will put those ideas to action.

After each days reading, you will be given two challenges:

The Mary Challenge -Something you do that encourages/engages your heart
The Martha Challenge - Specific cleaning tasks

And honestly with ebooks ranging upwards of $25 these days I'm SO glad to see an affordable ebook. $4.99!

I have really been in need lately of a little boost in not only the "get off my rump" department but the "keeping my house as a service for the Lord" department. I think this little book is going to be just the ticket.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to get started with chickens

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Here is a quick little primer for getting started with chicks. Honestly getting started with chicks is quite easy. The first handful of weeks they can even live in a big box! Really, easy. It's only when they get bigger that you have more to consider. I'll start with the beginning basics now and as Frankie and I work on the run for the coop I'll show more about coops and tractors and just general chicken housing.

If considering getting chicks the first thing I would do is sign up at backyard chickens. It's really the most comprehensive place for chicken information. You can find anything you've ever wanted to know about raising chicks at BYC. But if you're more of a book type person and just like to hold information in your hand here are a few recommendations for books:

There are a few ways to get your chicks. Around here most common is feed stores, Tractor supply or farmer co-ops. We live in a rural area so when it's chick season you pretty much can find them being sold all over the place. We also have very reputable local hatchers that sell on craigslist. But if those aren't an option for you you can order them online. There are many hatcheries out there. Here's a few of the top hatcheries:
McMurray Hatchery - this is where we always order from when we order for ourselves. The have an insane catalog. If nothing else, order a catalog. You'll learn SO much about chicken breeds!
Ideal Poultry

Cackle Hatchery - This is where our friend who owns a feed store orders from and he likes their service a lot.

Meyer Hatchery

Onto basic supplies. You really don't need a whole lot to get started with chicks. You'll need a waterer. Something like this:


You'll also need a feeder. Once again a couple different basic designs. I like the long red ones with the holes. It's what we've always used.

A heat lamp. As chicks are most often sent off as day-olds. In the wild they'd be spending most of their time under the warmth of their Mama Hen and as such NEED a heat lamp. Heat lamps are pretty cheap actually. About $10 or so. Plus a heat bulb - a couple more bucks.

A note on heat. If you notice your chicks always huddling 100% of the time under the lamp it may be a tad too cold. On the other hand, if they are always huddling away from the light, move the light back a bit. Over time you should be able to slowly back off on their heat until they don't really need heat anymore. Hopefully it's warm outside and it will be time to move them out!

What you house them in is up to you. Some use big rubbermaid tubs. Some use big boxes. We've done both in the past. This year we happen to have ours in the house part of a chicken tractor that Frankie and I fixed up. There are actual brooders you can build or buy.
Ours in years past looked something like this:
or this:
Now we haven't used a galvanized tub but I've seen it done a lot. Really anything will work!


And they even sell cardboard brooder "kits". The kits come with heat lamp, that cardboard, the feeders and waterers.


Chicks need heat, food, water and dry housing. Aside from maybe a little love (that they really would do fine without as horrible as that sounds) they will do just fine with that.

And last but not least, here's a little shot of our current set-up. I should say that the ventilation hole up top is covered in chicken wire for safety.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Back to Chickens again

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THEY'RE BAAACK!

So this last year Clay decided he officially hates chickens. We've had chickens for years but this last year, well their free-ranging got on his very last nerve. Our first flock didn't really get on the porch for some reason. They were great. The only one of the porch were these rogue roosters that someone dropped off. Now THEY lived on the porch. And drove Clay crazy lol. There was one large rooster that hated Clay. Every time Clay would walk out the door he would crow and crow and crow. I loved that big ole rooster though and it was because of that that Clay didn't kill that giant rooster.

But this last batch of girls, well they just wanted to live on the porches. And if you don't know, chickens that live on porches, well they poop on porches. If they want to roost on top of your standing freezer they poop all over there. And that is a giant mess to clean up. It's unsanitary and gross and Clay was done. So this last year we went from a HUGE flock of chickens down to 3. And he was ready for us to get rid of those last girls.

But chickens are a part of every budding homestead. And after a year of really getting little to no eggs and really missing having home flocks of chickens and ducks, I miss it. And Frankie does too. He's my go-to poultry guy. He feeds, waters, catches rogue poultry and helps me deal with injuries. He goes out late at night if we're not sure we shut the coop doors.

So Frankie and I made Clay a deal. If he would buy the materials we would do all the work and build a large run outside our coop for the chickens to live in. He reluctantly agreed, but agreed.

So what did we run and do as soon as we got the okay? BUY CHICKS OF COURSE! I'll return tomorrow with some pictures of our set-up to show how to start with chicks but here's a few sneak peeks of the little cuties.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Horseback Riding Badge

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So Cassie is an American Heritage Girl :) Today we went to a horse ranch with her group so they could work on their horsemanship badge. 3 hours of loads of girls, siblings and horses. Oh and gorgeous weather. Gorgeous. Love spring. So nice to just get out with the littles and enjoy the weather. A few pics from our fun day!

Cassie on the horse. In the car she thought she'd be a tad scared because horses are SO much bigger than goats but once she was in the ring with him she wasn't scared at all! In fact she put her foot in the stirrup and sprung up so fast the lady kept saying over and over that she acted like she had been on horses her whole life.


Cassie watching with her new friends.

Frankie with the BIG boy Breeze. He was so so tall. He was sweet at first. But there were these little girls who kept jumping and tapping his nose and bugging him that he was ornery by the end of the day and tried to nip fingers.

Who knew that Adric of all of them would love on the horses the most? That little pony just took to him. He didn't care too much for all the other kids but just kept sticking his head all the way out and loving on him the whole time Adric sat there.



Even Hartley hopped up and watched his big sister ride the horse around. Now of course he called them dogs :) "Dooog" So then I worked with him and he would say "hhh hhh hhhorrr". Right Hartley horse! Proud mom - of course until he turned and actually looked at the horse and said..... "doooog".

Always something for everyone to do at a farm. Pinecones? Definitely a great score.

And a couple cute baby doll pics.

So a family outing to the horse farm today and then off to Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and AHG meeting tomorrow.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

My first 2011 Before and After and organizational rambles

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Okay so the reality here is that I need to get this house in order. NEED. I've realized a lot about our life in our messy house lately and I have to do something about this. A messy, disorganized house causes more problems than I care to think about. But I need to keep reminding myself of them to stay motivated. In fact I'm pretty sure I will be working lots of these out for the first time right now.
Problems a messy, disorganized house causes:
  • Husband stress. Husbands go work all day and when they come home, they expect their home to be a place of rest. Now our attitude as wives and how well (or not well eek!) we have trained our children contributes, but there is nothing relaxing about a messy house. There is nothing relaxing to your husband if he has to sort through a mountain of laundry on the couch for clean socks at 4:30 in the morning. Or not being able to find a clean spoon when he wants ice cream before bed. And don't forget the fact that he has to FOCUS to not be upset that he worked almost every minute of the day while the wife can't bring herself to find 15 minutes to fold laundry. Laziness in a wife is not restful to the soul of the husband who wants to respect his wife.
  • Wife stress. I've said this many times here. I cannot feel at peace in my home. Why you ask? Well there is not a single place (okay actually when I show you my before and after there is now a tiny space) but for the most part there is not a single space where my eye can look and see anything other than WORK that needs to be done. Nowhere where I can look where I don't see what I didn't get done while I was on the internet or watching tv. Nothing where I don't see failure. Wife stress. Then there is the stress that comes from realizing you don't have clean pants for any of the boys for church. Or that 5:30 scramble to make quesadillas because menus aren't planned ahead of time. And for me one of the biggest... the stress that comes from feeling like my husband can't be as proud of me because of my laziness and lack of respecting him enough to take care of the house as he'd like (and my husband does not have high standards on this because he loves me so)
  • It costs money! Things on the floor get ruined and need to be replaced. As do having all the cups dirty on the counter so babies get on chairs and knock them down and they all break. Clothes on the bathroom floor get stained beyond what can be fixed when walked on by mud-covered boots. Kids' shoes that aren't kept nicely on the shoe shelf get lots and a new pair need to be bought. Food left in a chaotic refrigerator goes bad and ends up in the trash. What a waste! How many things get bought only to 4 months later get found under someone's bed?
  • It does not teach children good character. Self-control, diligence, hard work ethic, respect for things, respect for people, scheduling, all of these and way more are taught through the well-kept house.
  • It does not glorify God when we are doing the opposite. Being lazy, messy, careless, reckless, slothful, destructive, all these and more are shown when a house is messy and chaotic. A house full of stress instead of peace does not show the wonders a family of God can and should be.
I'm sure there are 100 more points and if you have some I'd love to hear them. All those things plague me day in day out. And it causes pain and sadness. And the Lord is not content to let me stay on this path.

So my plan. While I am praying about how to best handle different issues like scheduling, etc. for the basics of the house, the Lord has showed me one of my major issues. There are two that I feel need to be tackled first.

First, that there isn't anywhere to PUT anything. That whole "a place for everything, and everything in it's place" blows up if you don't have a place for everything. Things get thrown here and there, things get piled up on side tables because no one knows easily and readily how and where to put things. SO I need to make a place for everything. Containers, baskets, decluttering, it's all part of this first part. My non-official plan to tackle this first part is to slowly work on getting areas of the house 100%. That means absolutely DONE. Containers, labels, paint if need be, all done. Nothing without a home in that area. Nothing not how I want it in that area. It will be slow going as I can't afford containers, etc. for all the spaces. I just can't. But a $3 basket here and there and it will get done.

Secondly, I have lost the sense of beauty in my home. I don't love the spaces like I should. I don't think everyone's house needs to look like a magazine but you should love your space. Peter Walsh, the rockin' organizer said once "Your home is the outward expression of what you value, what you enjoy, and what is important to you". For ME anyways, it most certainly holds true. So saving money for paint, doing some crafty things for the walls, etc. is on my list.

SO FINALLY... the reveal of the first TINY place that has been redone. The "blue desk" as it's called here.
Before: *note* this is SUPER clean compared to how it normally is. We had just cleaned it. But even then, when it was considered pretty clean it has t-tapp videos, maple syrup, a phone, a bowl, a notebook, lots of junk, and lots of papers.

Drumroll please................... the after
The colors in the pictures don't really tell but I painted the wall a pale icy blue instead of a dusty mocha. The middle basket holds my camera. The smaller basket holds Clay's stuff from when he walks in the door. I tried to get him to just not need a basket and put stuff away but my camera basket became his stuff basket so I needed to add one. Our little desk needs a new coat of dark blue paint. I also painted the inside of our front door a pretty dark navy (which is the leftover paint I will be painting the little desk here).

So there it is. With the addition of the calendar and white board I'm done with this space and pleased! One small victory for Kim, one large victory for our family.

Friday, January 7, 2011

This is definitely NOT a New Year's Resolution LOL

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So let's just say that the house is NOT a wreck a lot of the time. Let's be reminded that I am NOT doing New Year's Resolutions this year. And let's just say that I don't have any plans to get this house in order (for the last time). Let's not say that there is not an area of the house that is clean and clutter-free. Let's not say that my husband puts up with WAY more than he should with this house. And let's not say that the laundry has finally formally revolted and has decided that the bathroom is not big enough and it needs to live in the storage room, upstairs, by the doorway and on my bedroom floor. We won't say that I have grand plans to organize this house and my life. Let's not say that I have plans to blog about it. Wouldn't want to say that lest I don't do it and fail us all.

We won't say any of that!

And then I will proceed to not give you a few great links :)
  • FIRST here's the link to my t-tapp blog where there are some free downloads of exercise and food logs to get your BODY organized (though we definitely won't say you need any of that! Oops forgot the link originally. Edited to add it (Um and it's obviously the most important link LOL) http://pursuitoftappiness.blogspot.com/2010/12/free-foodexercise-log.html
  • http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/ - I have spent WAY too much time lately reading this blog!
  • Part 1 of a two sectioned series: http://www.beneathmyheart.net/2011/01/organizing-your-heart-and-home-2011/
  • Part 2: http://cyndispivey.com/?p=1200 - Follow both blogs to play along
  • http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/chicago/organizing/before-after-mikis-diy-super-sized-wall-calendar-133831 - a very cool wall white board calendar (though I couldn't have the spaces between the blocks because there's no way for my kids to not write on the spaces. But still a great idea!
  • http://womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com/2011/01/unveiling-of-james-book-club.html - Courtney is leading a book of James Bible Study. I've been struggling a bit lately and was reminded what a great book this is. I've read James SO many times! I will be reading it again tonight in fact and starting to memorize some of it.
  • Fab before and after Organizing pictures :) http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/sf/roundup/before-after-organizational-projects-the-best-of-2010-135490

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year

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First things first.... Happy New Year!!!

But as I head into the New Year I am SO grateful that the Lord has been working with me the last couple weeks and preparing my heart for this New Year. By working through my issues with food and exercise and generally stripping away any pretenses leaving nothing but truth, this year I have a different perspective on the New Year than any other year to date. Like everyone else I am So temped to want to say I'm starting a new diet, making this change or that.
WHAT? No new diet for you? No PLAN? I mean everyone HAS to have a plan going into the New Year right?! I do but it's not the plan you think. Late last night the Lord stripped away any plan I thought I was going to have. He stripped it down to one single solitary plan. He did this by showing me this verse. I didn't go to bed until 1 AM and yet still I opened my Bible. I was SO tired but the Lord wouldn't let it go. He had greater work to do than letting me sleep. This is what he showed me. And when He did I couldn't believe it. I got tears. He is perfect. And his plans to prosper me are perfect. And His Word is perfect.

[20] If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— [21] “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” [22] (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? [23] These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
[3:1] If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. [3] For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
(Colossians 2:20-3:3 ESV)


Any rule I could come up with, any diet, any resolution, would be of NO value in stopping the indulgence of my flesh! The ONLY answer is to set my mind on the Lord, on the things above, NOT on the things on the earth. In one fail swoop the Lord destroyed my towers of Babel that thought that I could be like God, doing it on my own.

There is only one resolution to be made this year, and every year from this point on. To set my eyes on the Lord. And all the things that I would love to make resolutions about will fall in place. With the Lord ALL things are possible.

ONE RESOLUTION to rule them all.

On a side note, I have a side blog that chronicles my weight loss, and journey to better health here if you're interested:
http://pursuitoftappiness.blogspot.com/