Friday, July 27, 2012


Ahhh, the last of the July birthdays has come to pass.  Phew.  After running out to get an ingredient to make my birthday cake....I ended up not liking the cake!  Boo hoo.  It was just too rich.  I took a very small piece and I could hardly finish it.  Even the kids thought it was too much.  Oh well, better luck next year.

I have a picture of the cake but I am too tired to download it.  Instead I'll post Jonah's birthday pictures :-)  I have yet to take a picture of Jed, Moira and Jonah with their birthday signs.  I really have to get to that as I really like to look back on them.  It's a neat little tradition, one we started when Saoirse turned two.  So that's six years!  Wow. 

I'm ready to bang my head against the wall.  I've been trying to put together a video about homeopathy.  I have tried at least a half dozen times to do so.  Every. Single. Time. it doesn't work out.  The camera keeps messing it up!  Ugh!  I am going to give it a try with the family camera as we just recently got a new memory card.  If it doesn't work be prepared to hear some screaming. 

I am reading Joel Salatin's book, "Folks This Ain't Normal".  I had put it on hold at the library.  I was like number 400-something in line!!!  I totally forgot about the book.  I got a notice that I had a book on hold.  It's been months since I reserved the book.  Ha!  I have to say I am really enjoying the book so far.  I knew I would as I love his writing style.  I also really like what he has to say.  This first chapter alone was wonderful.  I actually started to read the book out loud to the girls.  One of the principles in the Charlotte Mason method is to read good literature written by someone passionate about the subject.  I'm not exactly sure if Salatin's book counts as good literature (I mean, the word 'ain't' is in the title), but boy is he passionate! 

  Time to hit the hay.  Aubrey has been waking up early as of late.  As in like 5:30.  Ugh.  He had better change that before the time change in the fall happens!  Yikes.

 Jonah requested a Captain America cake for his birthday.  Hmmmm.  We're pretty good about making cakes, but that seemed a bit out of our league.  So for his birthday we decided to go with a store bought cake.  Oh, man, just looking at all that food coloring was making my tummy turn!  This was one VERY brightly colored cake!!  I mean, it really was scary!

 But scary or not, Jonah was LOVING it!  He was just so happy.  I love seeing these pictures.  He really was truly elated with it being his birthday and all of us singing to him.  Very, very cute.  (You can also see that Aubrey was trying out the frosting!)

 The store didn't have a Captain America cake so Jeremiah got him an Iron Man cake instead.  The Iron Man figure that came with the cake, lacking.  Jeremiah decided to pick up a separate action figure to go on the cake along with the one that came from the store.

 After we sing and it is time to blow out the candle we don't say, "Make a wish."  Instead we tell them to, "Say a Prayer."  Here is Jonah saying his prayer.

The grand finale, blowing out the candle!  Four years!  Wow, hard to believe. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

A day in the life post

Early in the morning I decided to grab the camera and take pictures as I went about my day.  My picture post ends in the early evening due to a bad storm we had and our house, or somewhere *very* near by got zapped by lightening!  Poor Isabella got shocked through the computer.  On top of that our router got fried.  It was all very unsettling and I forgot to take pictures the rest of the day.  Here is a peek into one of our days.  We do not run on a schedule around here, so things look different each day :-)

The first thing I tackled that morning was to copy over the girls math DVD's.  Having them use the originals is dangerous, and potentially expensive, should they loose them.

Oops, sorry for the wrong rotation, it didn't show up that way on my computer!  Here are most of the ingredients that were going into our breakfast...granola.  Yum!

While the granola was baking I sanitized the milking pail.  I think it was Moira's turn to milk the goats.

This is our 3rd milking year, and each year I am learning more and more.  The first year I did things pretty much exactly as my friend taught me how.  As time has gone on and seeing what was or was not working I've tried a few things along the way.  This year I am trying this cleaning tote to carry our milking supplies.  I rather like it!  Here I am cleaning it and adding more supplies.

All ready to be brought out.  From the bottom left, going clockwise, I have....Dixie cups (for dipping their teats after milking), an electrolyte mix to put in their water, homeopathic cell salts (the combo of all 12), an herbal dewormer that they take weekly, baby wipes to wash their teats before milking, hand sanitizer for sanitizing their teats before milking and for our hands before we milk, and the last item is the teat dip.  I wanted to try all natural options this year, but I was a bit overwhelmed in getting it all together.  Hopefully next year.

Start the laundry.

My to-do list for the day.  I got it all done!  Yahoo!  I can't say that happens often, but when it does, it's nice :-)

While getting the laundry started Little Mr. Aubrey got into a mess.  So I had to give unexpected baths early in the day.  But before I can give a bath I had to clean the tub.  Trust me, during warm weather when the girls are getting muddy I don't let anyone take a bath without washing down the tub!  Shudder.

Bath time is always a fun time for the boys.  Thankfully it turned out to be not as watery!  Somehow they manage to flood half the bathroom during bath time most times.

Finally, it's breakfast time! I check my email as I eat.

Because we ate breakfast late it was Aubrey's nap time when breakfast was over!

Milk, glorious milk!  We get around a half gallon each milking.  So we total 1 gallon a day.  We would get a bit more, but one of our milker's milk tastes awful!

Time to check our school schedule to see which books to pull out.

We do our "all together" stuff first.  This includes our scripture reading and prayer time.

During school time the boys play.  Here Jonah is excited to be playing with one of his new birthday toys.

Next we do our poetry reading.

Next up was our American Sign Language quiz.  We usually have one other thing to do together, except on Fridays, which was the day I was taking these pictures.

Today I had decided the older two girls and I would do our aerobics exercise before we broke off to do their independent school work.  The two younger girls play with the boys during this time.  After working out I put our granola into a jar.

It was time for more laundry.

Aubrey was awake by this time and decided to follow me into the laundry room.

I decided I wanted to try to make up a batch of natural deodorant.  I've read a lot about it online and thought I would give it a try. Only three ingredients, all of which I had on hand.

I remembered that I had beans in the freezer that needed to come out.  I had recently read that beans have more 'bug issues' than grains when being stored.  I don't like bugs, and I certainly don't like bugs in my food!  So into the freezer they went as that would kill the eggs.  I know, what a yucky thought, but unfortunately it's true, your beans and grains may have bug eggs in them, and you wouldn't know until they hatched.  By then...well, you've been eating bug eggs!  Of course freezing doesn't eliminate the eggs, but at least I know they won't hatch.  More shuddering.

Lunch time.  Today it was left over chili.  I love left overs :-)

While lunch was heating up I had to make some chicken broth with the bones from our chicken dinner we had the night before.  There was a bit of meat left on one of the chickens, but I had help to take care of that :-)

My help.  What's that you say?  You see chicken on my face?  I can't help it if lunch is taking too long to heat up.

We indulged in some left over ice cream (from Jonah's birthday) after lunch.  I would much rather have my children 'high' on sugar in the afternoon than the evening :-)  A perk to homeschooling.  You can do your school and eat ice cream at the same time!

Jedidiah did lots of things during the day, but here he is coloring. 

While Jed was coloring Aubrey was playing with the toy barn.

Jonah on the other hand was watching Saoirse do her typing.  Typing isn't one of Saoirse's 'classes', but she thinks it's fun and hates to see her sisters having all the fun.

After Saoirse was done she, Flannery and I went to the living room to do their reading assignments.

I use as much of the free things as I can so some of our reading is done from actual books, and some from books online.

Time for Saroirse's math.  She still needs help reading the instructions.

At some point during the day I needed to do some price comparisons.  I just don't remember when I did that :-) 

So there you have it.  A few snapshots of our day.  There are lots of little things and other things like the older girls doing their math, or showers, or the like that didn't make it into this.  I know it's fun for me to look back on these types of posts to see how our days ran.  I need to do them more often!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Making muffins with Jed

First, I have to say I've been totally slacking on our birthday posts!!!  My goodness what kind of mother am I?  A busy one?  Ha, ha!  We've had two birthdays already this month, with the third coming tomorrow!  Hopefully I can get those up soon.  Better late than never, right?

This morning I decided we would have pumpkin muffins for breakfast.  Jed has been wanting to help out around the house a lot more.  He has been helping to clean and cook.  It is pretty neat to see.  He has never really been very involved in the things I do.  Jonah, on the other hand, and Aubrey, and most of the girls for that matter, usually want to help me with what I am doing.  Even if I invite him over, or ask him if he wants to join in....nope.  He would usually do his own thing.  The past month has been different.  He's been pulling up a chair to help me with what I am doing.  So this morning he decided that *he* was going to make the muffins :-)  He wanted to count everything we put in.  For the most part that wasn't a problem.  Four teaspoons of this, two of that.  It got a bit more daunting when he wanted to scoop out the pumpkin, on his own, one little scoop at a time...and count each scoop!  It only took him 21 scoops :-)  The funny thing is that he thinks that last number in any of our counting needs to be zero.  After he says zero, he will say, "Blast off!"  Too funny.

I decided to grab the camera as he was filling up the muffin tins.  All by himself, mind you.

Jed is very serious about his work.  No kidding!  I am just so happy that he is wanting to be involved.  And I am surprised that he is very capable of doing so.  I know he's six already, but like I said, he just never really helps with these types of things, but he did a great job.

He still has some of his sensory issues, so he kind of got upset when some of the batter fell on his leg!  He really, really needed a towel, ASAP.  I thought that maybe he would give it up after that (which is something he would do in the past), but he kept on working!

Jed, you need to turn that fork around and use the rounded side.   All that flour you see on the table is compliments of Aubrey. 

 Messes are inevitable with little hands.

Muffins are very forgiving :-)  I had to do a wee bit of adjusting in the end, but Jed did a great job!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Getting Outside

It has finally cooled off over here.  The heat wave came during the time of month that we have lots of errands to run.  So although were "out" in the heat, we weren't outside actually playing.  We had a cold front move in yesterday and that made it possible to get out and play!

The boys always have a blast on the trampoline.  Aubrey has reached the age of being able to move around on it all by himself (being completely supervised of course).  I have to say there are always those items you buy that don't live up to your expectations, and then there are those items that go way above and beyond your expectations and more than pay for themselves.   Our trampoline has more than paid for itself ten times over with all the use it has gotten!

The cutie pie in action.  Excuse the messy face.  Between dirt and markers....

I convinced all the men in my life to sit still for 30 seconds for a group shot :-) 

Our front garden!  We had all of our tomatoes take off.  Lots and lots of tomatoes.  I had read somewhere that tomatoes do better if they are planted close enough to touch each other.  In our case that is working out to be true.

Little tomatoes.

Nothing like seeing something actually growing in your garden :-)

I planted lots of roma tomatoes as they are supposed to be good for making sauces and paste.  We use a LOT of tomato sauce and tomato paste around here!

We have not learned the art of making a secure tomato cage.  We found some hefty branches to keep the cages from toppling over.

Cucumbers...on the ground.  They should be up on a trellis, but we waited too long.  I am hoping that the cucumbers will be ok laying on top of the mulch.  That is...if we can keep the chickens from eating them!!!!

This is a bad chicken, one of many :-)  In the above picture she is eating a green tomato.  I am sure they have eaten their share of bugs from the garden, so maybe we count this as payment for services?  So far they have only eaten the tomatoes that have been on the ground (some of the tomato plants have branches on the ground).

Flannery made this cute little sign for the herb garden.  We've been very fortunate that none of the VERY pervasive weeds have come through all the mulch.

Behind the chickens you can see the herb garden.  The one with basically nothing growing in it.  Although the weeds haven't come back in, we also haven't had any luck growing herbs.  Our sunflowers still sit at 6 inches tall....with no flowers.  The green onions never came up.  The cats got the catnip.  And our oregano and basil are dying.  Sigh.

A totally random picture thrown in.  The girls (I think mostly Flannery) have been making a bunch of bow and arrows.  I find them lying around the yard.

In other news we got around to getting our male goats tied out in our side yard.  Lots, and lots of greens for them!  We were hoping it was going to help with the nasty taste of our goat milk.  Nope.  I had the idea of milking each goat into a separate container.  Bingo!  Only one of the three has the problem.  Unfortunately at the moment we don't know why her milk tastes so yucky.  They all eat the same food.  A friend of mine says it could be stress.  This particular goat is lowest on the totem pole.  I have to find a way to separate her (with a companion) from the others to see if that helps things.  In the mean time this goat's milk goes to the dogs, or cats, or both :-)  They love it!!! 
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