Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had a nice Thanksgiving.  The first time we had 'dinner' at the lunch hour.  My mother-in-law needed to leave before dark, so we actually ate early for the first time (since I've been making Thanksgiving dinner that is).  We spent the few days before Thanksgiving doing a bunch of our "spring cleaning".  We got a LOT done.  I am very thankful for that.  We still have the outer rooms to do, with a few things left in a couple of rooms.  BUT, I am very thankful that my house is now worthy of those 'after' pictures I was speaking of :-)

With all that cleaning, I kept Thanksgiving simple.  Really simple.  As in instant potatoes, instant stuffing, crock pot ham, no other casseroles, a no bake pumpkin pie, and had help with our apple pies.  I also had all the pots/dishes out that we needed before hand.  All those things really added up to my easiest Thanksgiving dinner making yet!!!  I made sure to wash all dishes as I went along.  I did take a small break after dessert before I tackled those dessert dishes, but we've never, EVER had a more easier, and cleaner Thanksgiving.

The only down side to our day was that after dinner my illness went up a notch.  Aubrey came down with a fever later in the day, followed by Jed in the middle of the night.  Aubrey is quite sick.  If it weren't for Jed having a fever as well I may have taken him to the doctors (so far with this illness no one else has had a fever).  But for now I am waiting and watching (it has now only been 24 hours of fever, so we are still in 'safe mode').  I am keeping him hydrated, and making sure to rub some essential oils on him, and giving him Motrin/Tylenol when he gets really miserable.  Hoping he'll be better in the next day or two.  With that, Moira, Jonah and Saoirse all woke with various startings of this illness.  Oh, joy.

I don't think you all want to hear how sick we all are any more, so here are just a couple of pictures I snapped yesterday:

 We put an extra leaf in our table to make it more manageable with the food and extra chair.  Don't know why we finally did this just this year!!!  Made a big difference in the space we all had to eat :-)

 Jonah showing off his place setting.  Flannery made the turkeys, and Saoirse made stand up name cards.

 This was my turkey, which has a baby turkey in the tummy :-)

 Moira waving hi.  My mother-in-law commented on how Moira smiles so much more now, and more naturally than she used to (due to having had braces).  We are grateful we were able to do that for her, as it has made a wonderful difference.

Aubrey wanted to show off his turkey as well.  He is finally doing much better, with his weekend incident (which I still haven't blogged about!).

Moira with her turkey.  You can see the paint brush, with some 'blobs' of paint that Flannery decorated her turkey with.  She drew a horse helmet on Isabella's.  Very cute.

Well that is all I have for now.  I need to get the boys outside, lest I loose my mind with their running around the house!  Then on to cleaning before Jeremiah gets back from grocery shopping.  That will mean lots to put away, and dinner to throw on.  And THEN after that we will put our Christmas tree up.  The boys have NOT stopped asking about that ALL. DAY. LONG!!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Time to be *REAL*

This post is to encourage all of the other struggling moms out there!  Blogging can make anyone's life look "perfect".  Blogging only the good can make us appear as if we have it all together.  The truth is, life, in general, is messy.  Granted there are those out there that do have their acts *certain* areas, but let's face it...we are all sinners, making messes of our lives as we go.  I am no exception!  This being a journal of sorts, I try to keep things real, but I obviously want to remember the *good* times, more than the bad.  So posting more of the good makes it on here more often :-)

Yesterday things really just got out of hand.  We have been off schedule now for a while.  We have been mostly back on over the past few weeks, but if something hits home, well all bets are off.  BUT, this is a reminder (mostly to my children) why we have a schedule!  Even without our schedule we have been doing most of our schooling, and having at least one, if not two, chore times a day.  BUT, come the weekend, which follows after a busy week....Well, let's just say my house is a wreck.  Make that with a capitol "W"!  Scratch that, make it ALL caps....WRECK!

Knowing that we have to get our house in shape for the holidays AND for the coming baby, and a wee bit of 'nesting' sweeping over me....I kind of lost it the other day.  So with some "before" pictures, a plan, and a sit down pow wow, I am hoping we will be in tip top shape by the end of the week.

I am going to show you my 'before' pictures.  I put that in quotes because no matter how I post the pictures, it is embarrassing.  So I 'posterized' most of the photos so that you can get the feel of what I see, without all the little details.  Hey, I am human :-)  On top of the messes you see I am about to rip up my carpet.  I can. not. stand. it. one. day. longer!  But, apparently I can, as it's been a few days as it is, but our carpet is soooo totaled, and having just the sub floors would be an improvement.  However, I am waiting until a better solution comes up before going a little floor stripping happy :-)

Without further ado, our messy lives (Don't say I didn't warn you, and don't say I never get real ;-))

Lovely walls.  We have a few patchy areas around the house in various states of repair.  This one was a *huge* hole.  Jeremiah was trying to bring something down from the attic, and fell into the wall.  Yikes.  Other holes were made from door knobs.  Some of those little 'door stopper' thingies have fallen off, and when they do, and we don't catch it....we get lovely holes.  Thankfully there are only two of those, but still, they 'add' to the landscape.

Shoe rack anyone?  We have been in serious need of a shoe rack, since we moved here, but seems to be last on the priority list.  I have someone organize the shoes, almost weekly, but this is what happens when life gets busy.  (The broken castle toy just adds to the ambiance, don't you think?)

 A collective picture of my kitchen....which is 'totaled'.  We have already made huge headway in there, so don't worry, it didn't stay like this for long!

 A view into the laundry know the one, where NO laundry is supposed to be left there?  Yeah, that's the one.

 Are my children the only ones who put books away in such an orderly fashion?  NOTE, this is only one shelf, and actually all the other shelves *are* orderly.  Again, I'm just showing the reality of our life (at times), and I am thankful that only one shelf is not in order...the exception to that is:

 Our school shelf, mid school year, always needs sprucing up!

 This is the boys' toy shelf.  It is *supposed* to have baskets all filled with their toys, each basket being a certain type of toy.  Notice there are no baskets here.  Want to guess where all those baskets and toys are?

 I think I may be going with the unfolded, by type, baskets for laundry for little boys.  I can't imagine it can be worse than this!

 The girls are supposed to pick up their bedrooms daily.  Doesn't look like that has happened in a while!

 Their wall only adds to that 'chaotic' feeling.  I suppose it really works, if you were going for that look!  I'm all for hanging up your drawings, but we need to find a better solution!

 Maybe the girls need the 'no-fold laundry baskets' as well?

 We do lot's of arts and crafts around here, but when the messes get left out?  Oy!

 For that really chaotic mess, one must have cheap, broken down furniture to throw in the mix.  I know many, many people can make their house look lovely with thrifted items...but it takes some work.  And, if I may say so, a woman's touch?  Both (the work, and the woman's touch) have been absent.  I try to tell myself life it too short to fuss about lousy furnishings.  Most of the time it works :-)  And don't get me wrong, we have many *NICE* things around here as well!!!  I'm just picking on the 'yucky' parts of my house right now!

 And, lest you think I am picking on my children with their messy rooms....this is MY room.  My dresser top isn't any prettier than theirs!  Aubrey spilled out a file folder (hence the papers), and I have two 50# bags of food ready to be put into buckets, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

 Now, before anyone wants to call DSS, or intervene :-)  Let me say a few things:  1. This is NOT our regular looking house.  Granted, even when we are all tidied up you will know first thing upon entering my house that I am NOT Martha Stewart.  But, that being said, our schedule allows us to have our fun, AND have a clean house.  I am showing you what happens after we have been sick, off schedule, having two very busy weeks in a row, AND the stress of this weekend (details coming soon).  This is not our "normal looking" house.  2. Please note that I am only showing you the worst areas of the house.  The floors of my living room, family room, kitchen and bathroom do NOT look like what you see in the above pictures (they are clear and picked up!).  And, you can be sure there are clean areas in the above rooms, I just snapped pictures of the bad parts. 3. The above picture are the lists for each room of the house (the bedrooms got one sheet for all of them), and what needs to be done for our "spring" cleaning.  So there is a plan to get back in the game.  4. We started this weekend with the lists and are making progress, and I will have AFTER pictures to be sure :-)  When I was taking pictures of the messes, Saoirse was following me around, wondering what I was doing.  She finally asked me.  I told her I was taking pictures of our messes.  And she asked, "Will you take after pictures?"  I said, "I very well HOPE SO!!!"  Ha! ha!  But I assure you there will be after ones coming, probably after Thanksgiving.  Everyone has really been helping, even the boys!  They LOVE taking things out of the cabinets for us to clean up and reorganize.  And, in the past, it has always been 'just me' doing the spring cleaning.  Let me tell goes much faster with many hands!!

And, just so we have a little bit of beauty in this messy post, here is a paper flower creation made by Saoirse.  Granted I am sure she probably left her mess somewhere...BUT we did get these lovely flowers to enjoy :-)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

When animals get in the way....

I really wish I had photos to share what happened yesterday.  It was rather hilarious.  It was to be in the 70's yesterday, so I made sure to get the boys out for a long time!  Today it is going to feel cold since it is going to be 25 degrees colder...and windy!  Brrr.  Anyways, out we went.  I brought along a notebook as I needed to write down a to-do list for the day.  The boys got busy playing (chasing animals, jumping on the trampoline, making 'houses' and such), and I plunked myself down in a chair.  I pulled out my notebook to get busy with the work I needed to do :-)

But working proved difficult.  It seemed that all the animals wanted my attention.  Namely 3 goats, and two cats, along with a few chickens that made their way over to see what I was up to (they must see if you have any food with you!).  The cats kept jumping into my lap to snuggle and be pet.  The goats came over for some petting as well, and if I stopped they would keep nudging my arm!  That makes writing quite difficult.  But stopping to pet them meant not petting the lap cat, who decided to get in my face.  Ha!  Or he would rub his head along the coils of the notebook.  If I stopped petting the goats to pet the cat the goats would either nudge my arm, or try to eat my notebook and pen. It was a no win situation.  I was stuck petting animals for a while :-)

Eventually, not minutes before we headed in, they decided to pursue other interests.  I took my unfinished work finish.  We went out again later in the day and the same thing happened!  Next time I will bring a camera!  It is a funny site to see, being surrounded by "barn" animals, all impatiently waiting for some loving. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

a day in pictures

It's been a while since I did a day in pictures.  Today being a Saturday, means lots of non-normal activities for the day.  I didn't take a ton of pictures since lugging my camera around with a huge, non-working lens....well it got pretty tiring.  But, here is a glimpse into what I did today:

 After dropping off Isabella and Moira to horses (Moira was along for companionship as Isa would have been left alone for a while), I gobbled up some breakfast (oatmeal) and started on my "list".  First up was to get our chickens cooked, all six of them.  I am putting Isabella and Moira on the GAPS intro.  Way, way, way too many health issues with them, so it is a must.  But too expensive for all of us to be on it, so it's just them.  I will be joining in with full GAPS for the remainder of the pregnancy.

 Finally getting to putting in dividers in some of our binders.  This will make things much easier on school days.  This is my master binder which holds all of the schedules for each child, any maps and resources, plus some blank templates.

 I did this the other day, but I got to labeling my binders as well.  Nothing like having to pull out 5 binders until I find the right one.

I got our hymns and folk songs printed out and put into binders as well.

Today is my day to feed the animals in the morning.  It is also the day I clean out their water and feed bowls. Today though, I also had to make a run to the feed store.  I made that run before picking up the older girls.

 Yummy goat food :-P

I also had a small project in mind as it was getting too much to fend off chickens!  The baby goats will allow the chickens to just take over their feed bucket, which resulted in them not gaining the needed weight to be bred this year.  On top of it they are slow eaters!  I, nor the girls, do not have 20 minutes fending off chickens each and every day.  With the cold days coming, the idea was even less tempting.  Here Jonah is messing with the chickens, which he isn't supposed to be doing as this made them come towards me, where the goats were!  Oy.

 Jonah showing off his new boots.  He very much needed new shoes.  As the biggest boy there are no hand me downs to be had.  He had been complaining about his sandals not fitting for the past few weeks, but no longer.  He is thrilled with his new boots.  Smitten with them :-)

 Now the only issue is going to teach him to tie his shoes.  He doesn't possess that skill at this moment, which got a bit tiresome after tying his shoes for him for the 10th time today.  We have a rule, no shoes allowed while jumping on the trampoline.  But there is also the rule that if you are outside, and not on the trampoline, you must wear shoes :-)  Hence, tying shoes 10 times today!

 Our goats finally got some much needed hay!  As ruminants, they need the roughage, but it's not been on the grocery list for the past few months!!! And, yes, I have the animals feed on our regular grocery list :-)  Not only were the goats very pleased, but the kids were as well!  They rolled the huge hay bale up to the trampoline.  I am sure I don't need to tell you why!

 Why, yes, this is a picture of our dirt :-)  This stuff is a lovely dark shade, and makes the ground very soft to walk on.  This is one past spot where we have had hay bales in the past, and the left over stuff that falls to the ground turns into compost. This is the stuff I keep telling the kids to rake up and put in a pile before it gets worked into the ground.

 Uh, oh, here comes the chickens!  This is our one and only rooster.  The only rooster we've kept for so long.  He is amazing at watching over his girls, and has never been aggressive towards any one!  All of our other roosters have all had to go "bye-bye" since they would start getting aggressive.  And an aggressive rooster can do some major, major damage to a small child!!  He is the rooster we 'rescued'.  He had been attacked by some animal and with some tlc, he is king once more :-)

 See, hay bale.  Enough said.

 The chickens are starting to spread out, won't be long before they all head my way.

 Here is my handy stick....and a cat.  The cats all come for some loving...or milk.  But we are not milking anymore for the season, so the cats are bummed.

 This is what happens if I walk away from the goat feed bowl!  The chickens invade.  This was fine for the moment as the baby goats were done eating, there were just the little specks left over.

 Jed was on a mission to make a "cake".  We had to leave to pick up the girls, so he had to finish his mission later in the day.

 Back from picking up the girls, and I still had to scrub the buckets.

 I had the older girls unload the animal feed from the van.  Here it is, safe behind the fencing, ready to go into the feed room.

 Some crimped oats waiting to be used.  I mix up some feed for the goats to be used throughout the week.  We used to just dump each bag of feed into it's own pail, and mix as we went along, but a lot got wasted that way.  Now I do the mixing, and the girls just have to measure out the required amount of feed for each goat.  For the next few months we will see our feed prices go down, as non-milking goats require less feed each day.  The down side is we have to then start paying for milk at the it might just even out after all!

 Here is an entire garbage can filled with mixed feed.  I put one scoop corn, one scoop mixed animal feed pellets, 1/2 scoop oats and 1/4 scoop sunflower seeds.  I just keep layering the feed in that order until the garbage pail is full.  The feed will get mixed as we scoop.

 Here are the three feed buckets hung little project for the day.  You can see one of the baby goats checking things out.  This is a temporary solution as eventually there will be walls on some of those studs.  But I don't see that happening anytime in the very near future.  I wanted a place that they could eat under shelter, especially with winter coming.  I am sure some tweaking will be needed, but for now I think it will serve it's purpose....the chickens will not be able to get at their food!  I tried it out and sure enough, though the chickens came running, and were scrambling after any little morsel that dropped, none of them got in the buckets!  Yay!

 Jedidiah back to his mission, to make a cake.  He was not pleased to have help.  Especially when that help knocked the whole lot over just minutes after taking this picture.

 Aubrey testing the ingredients.

 Flannery and Saoirse were busy making these covered shelters with the dropped hay.  Although this seems like a waste, goats are funny in that they do NOT eat anything and everything, especially dropped hay.  Silly creatures!  So the girls got to work making these shelters.

 Flannery on the hay bale.  And, yes, my mommy's heart sometimes can not stand to watch them on the trampoline :-)

It was finally time to come in.  By now it was almost 4 o'clock.  I needed to glue some magnetic pieces to the backs of our letter tiles for spelling.  Long ago I purchased some needed magnetic sheets, but they were not the ones with the sticky backs!  They were for printing on.  So I have to glue them on to what I need.

After this I tended to some other 'office' related stuff, managed dinner, boys baths, deboning all of those chickens, making stock, cooking up some ground beef for future meals, dishes....oh,  you know the usual :-)  Although it is only 8 PM, Jonah is asking to go to bed!  So off I go to tuck in a few little boys.  I am hoping with all of the outside time today they will be in dream land quickly.
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