Saturday, September 26, 2009

I was having a conversation with my mom today. I was driving to pick up a new animal... more later on that.

"Mom I was driving down a dirt road on my way to Navarre, and there were ruts down the center. Just the center, so that if someone is coming from the other way you both have to go to the right."

"Well yeah." She responds, mom lives in Tn-enough said.

"So I wondered, I had to drive down the big middle of the road. And do they have the big middle of the road to everyone or do some people call it the middle?"

"Everyone calls it the big middle."

"You are sure? Even people up north and north west?"

"Well no they dont but I mean everyone and they dont count."

"Oh so just people like us count. Because we are cornbread and chicken and front porch sittin?"


Glad to have that cleared up.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Can and Can't

Our living room is often full of comfortable blankets and good books, there are art books, pattern books (ottobre), of course the atlas. We all need to know where we are, where we have been and where we are going.

The dining room has 4 pieces of furniture, 3 sewing tables/counters and a 1 large school desk. This sewing table can be stowed but the others cannot.

School table, Tad is working on art in a special sketch book. He is done with math, thus the Math-U-See blocks out.

When mommmy sleeps, Nathalie will tattoo her head with an orange antelope! This is a wear off in 2 wks tattoo... Lovely.


Sleeping room.
So can, and can't. I can have an immaculate house and run a homestead well and make the children's clothes. I can have an immaculate house and homeschool well and make the children's clothes. I cannot homeschool and homestead make clothes and keep an immaculate house. So which one goes to the dogs you ask? None of them. Homeschooling, gets first priority. Then the house, clothes and homestead follow. All the livestock are clean, fed, and watered. We pay attention to them and muck out the barn. The weeds ran away with the garden and we have to find a "weed solution" next year. The barn yards, well they could use some weed eating around the barns and some of the buildings are pretty cluttered.
Some days the house is so super clean. Now, the bathrooms (not pictured) are clean, the kitchen as you see is neat. The beds are not always made, there are always Lego's out in the playroom. Today the playroom is a scary mess!!!
I make the clothes because I have an aversion to buying them. I mean I just hate seeing them in store bought clothes when I can make them so well on my own. My mom and sister send neat t shirts sometimes, with different states and attractions or funny sayings. These are fine. But other than that, I prefer to sew. It makes me happy to see them in what I created.
There you have it, I cannot do everything completely with nothing failing. Who can though? I mean unless I had a lot less to do, less irons in the fire. I don't want less to do, I want for us all to have the opportunity to enjoy all of this.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


My last recipe is missing the egg!!! Must add one egg, egg substitute and water or cornstarch (1 tablespooon cornstarch 2 water) in order for these to not fall apart. Sorry about that to whomever has made them!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Granola recipe

Meant to post this by request. This is our granola recipe, well one of them.

1/2 cup butter (can use margarine)
1/2 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup brown sugar or organic turbinado
1 1/2 cup wheat flour
1/3 cup wheat germ
2 cups oatmeal-not quick
1/2 cup coconut optional, replace 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup rice krispies
1 cup uncle sams wheat cereal or other wheat cereal
1/3 cup flax seeds
1 cup dried fruit
1/2 cup chocolate chips or butterscotch chips

Mix thoroughly, spread on oiled baking pan or stone, bake at 350 for 20 min. Take out, let sit 10 min and then cut into bars before it sets up too long. It will get hard to get them off of the pan.

Enjoy! My kids would eat these all day if I let them, if you are going to let them eat more than 1-3 a day leave out the flax seeds.


These are the children's chickens. We bought 24, but I didnt watch the girl closely as she loaded the box. She wrote my order on box top, loaded in little chickens then charged me. Well so I ended up with 20. 4 chickens short.... Of the 20, 6 were guineas but one has died. They are eating from 2 old cat feeder bottoms and one small box.

The kids care for them almost completely, I taught them how to load them up into the small cage you see at far right of photo, close it up, and then carry the coop out into driveway, sweep/clean floor in garage and put new old boxes, paper sacks or newspaper in bottom of the coop for warmth. Then they put them back in.

We were feeding them in this proper hanging chicken feeder, but they get stuck in it! They can get in, and cant seem to get back out! So they poop all in their food! This other way works better for cleanliness and each baby can get enough eating space.

The chicken coop is a temporary PVC and chicken wire coop, its roving so you are supposed to move it about. Its upside down right now, so the ceiling, chicken wire, is their floor. This isnt comfortable but the boxes make it fine to walk on and its easier to go into the coop this way, step over. When they can fly up a bit and are a bit bigger, they will go to a roving outside yard/house. Right now they need the heat lamp and the warm garage at night.

They literally drink a gallon of water a day, the kids check on it 3 x daily on avg, sometimes only 2 if busy or gone. But they keep them in water! They drink so much Tad found a 2nd waterer in the garden shed today and it is in there too just in case they drink so much they run out. The cat litter box was their idea for a "warm cozy snuggling home." The chickens agree and love it! They burrow in the thick wood chips in there and snuggle up in one heap and sleep. They wont use it if you put it directly under the heat lamp though.

The wood chips are amazing for absorbing, both odor and wetness. Sometimes they spill water and of course they pee/poop and its ick! Yes there is zuccini in there, or was. They ate it all! It was an overlarge one from the garden, they LOVE veggies. And fruit, the goats do also so any scraps are eaten. They dont eat the skins, but every other day the whole coop is cleaned out so the veggie skins dont get smelly or gross.
This is Tad and Nathalie's own project. They have to raise and care for these, they care for the 10 out in the big yard also. They teach them, they can pat their arm and the chickens will jump up. Tad is teaching his 2 roosters to sit on his shoulder when he pats it. They feed and clean them, and when the guinea died Tad disposed of it. I would have, but he said he would so I allowed him to. They do help care for the goats, a lot, but the chickens are their gig. When their chickens have chickens, they will raise them to sell and they have to cover their own feed and rent space from us and then they can sell their chickens.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Bulk Cooking

Her little cheesy toothless grin is cute though she will look at pictures of herself and walk away sad! I am not sure why. She says Tad is better looking than her, but he says the same of her so they are both just low on ego...
Today we did a lot. Yesteday we mowed the whole lawn (which is huge), cleaned up the yard, went to the dump (we have 4 trashcans every 4 mo bc we recycle SO Much so we dont pay for trash pickup at 40 $ a mo! ), and did school work. Oh and some sewing. So today didnt want to fall behind in that trend.

I cleaned out the fridge and made a lot of foods that needed to be made up

This included a gallon of smoothie, photo exhibit 1. We drink this daily when its made.

Made breakfast energy bars on my new pizza stone and man they come out nice! Much yummier, puffy and chewy. Way better than a cookie sheet!!! These are a healthy well balanced breakfast. It has dried fruit, peanut butter, oatmeal, flax seed, whole wheat cereal, honey and a spinach torn up super fine. My kids like spinach, but this is a fabulous way to get in extra. Yes its in the smoothie too. This is one of the best foods a person can eat, fresh spinach.

My kids eat about 2 of these a day bc I stop them at 2, they make a great snack with applesauce or other fruit but the flax seed.... well lets just say dont over eat them!

We did school today as well as a makeup for (I think) thursday. Could have been wednesday. The kids are doing great with their curriculum, the singapore math and sequential spelling are a hit. They are enjoying the unit study written by friend Diana and I am enjoying the ease of it being done for me!

We have brome grass up in our feild! YAY!!! I planted this, well we planted this, in an almost 2 acre area by hand. The goats were not eating the weeds in there, so we planted new after paying a small fee to have it tilled. It is coming up and its beautiful! I will have free food for aprox 8 mo out of the year this way. The goats eat the brome well into winter, bc until snow covers it, its just dry hay that wasnt cut.

Okay so off to finish my bean, rice and spinach/red pepper wraps! These are great to make ahead and freeze. We take out several for quick lunches and once again, getting veggies, protien and grain from one yummy meal.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I made soap

My bars of soap cut up! I know they are not perfect, I spread it too thin. I used a glass pyrex dish as my mold. Frank made some very nice soap molds, but they are large. They are for full batch soaps. This is a tiny batch, I wanted to try my hand at this. It was spread too thin though because I should have used a smaller glass dish.

This was my first batch, it is having trouble setting up. I didnt blend it long enough, this was my favorite smell that no one else likes. It smells as licorice and has oatmeal in it!

This is my 2nd soap, it is anise sage soap. I used blue food coloring to make my kids smile, and what actually happened is it turned purple. Now I should have used wax paper in here. I thought that it would come out fine with just oil but it broke up, the first bar broke but after that worked well.

Pretty pretty.... My kids are in love! I am in love with my lovely cutco knives which I used for this.
I can share my recipe if anyone is interested!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Odd things

"Mama are we odd?"
"Probably why?"
"Just because I think we are. I just wanted to check on that. Do you mind if we are odd?"
"I guess if I minded we wouldnt be."
"Well you could mind blond hair but that wouldnt make it brown. You could dye it but you would still have blond hair. How could we not be odd?"
"Well maybe odd is a matter of opinion."
"Then maybe everyone is odd. And just not everyone is okay with it."
"Maybe Nathalie, you could be right."

On that note, we do some very odd things. We avoid crowds and cities, we dont make best friends outside of our family, we like to do vacation at home, my kids love working more than anything in the world, we almost always put our chairs up after we eat, we wear boots with shorts. Oh the list goes on... We are happy this way!

The chairs are not an amazing picture, but it is odd. It makes sweeping easier!

Achmed and Darling

This is the puppet show "Achmed and Darling." Now before anyone jumps to conclusions, yes I am very picky about what my kids watch/see. We have no cable, and they dont use the internet without my supervision. However, my mom deemed the first 4 min of an Achmed (comedy) routine appropriate for them. I watched it and agreed, it is truly funny. So my kids use Achmed as their evil bad guy, and Darling (think Fox and the Hound) is the good guy.
Darling is the paper bag puppet made by Nathalie, Achmed is the paper cup and water bottle duck made by Tad. They set up pillows on the coffee table because I was mean and refused to budge up the huge double recliner couch for them to squat behind.
The show was funny and impromptu, they fought each other as well as invisible evil squirrels. Anyone who knows my husband knows that he is of the strong belief that squirrels are inherently evil. As such, my kids believe this too. If someone isnt good, or if an animal acts badly, "He/she is in league with the squirrels." I have yet to ascertain if my husband truly thinks squirrels are evil but I am sorry to say I believe that he does.

Monday, September 7, 2009


Autumn came up on the back deck but she was stuck. I am sure if ignored she would have made it down but we took our poor sweet baby through the house to let her back out front. Tad loves her, well we all do. She is a very sweet quiet baby.

Pepsi was the only one who hadnt broken out so Nathalie helped her break out and was closing the gate back up, Pepsi was crying because everyone else was in the yard hanging out.

Tad is trying to encourage Autumn to walk down. She had some coffee with me and was happy to hang up there but then wanted her other little friends.

Some of her little/big friends!

She did give it a valid effort! poor thing. Its different to go down, up was easier.

Kids hanging out with Autumn, Scout was at the bottom fussing and fearing Autumn is now the favorite.

She is pleased, we think, with her feat. She has wanted to come up for a long time. Everyone else wants to also but only she was so brave.

School time, Tad is wearing my house shoes. We discovered that he can do math well with manipulatives, these are cuisenaire rods though I ordered Math-U-See blocks as they are segmented. This is our school desk and the white boards are behind them. I hung them 2 wks ago in preparation for school and the kids have loved drawing on them.

School again.... Same day but we have been going strong 1 whole wk this fall! The kids like the new curriculum, we are doing a history/science/literature unit study written by a fellow homeschool mama in Sc. We are also doing singapore math, this is IMO the best math to keep your children ahead of the game. Its a very tough math program but can be made very fun. We are also using sequential spelling, once again fun but top of the line for turning out great spellers! We are using a 1912 primer for language arts, italics handwriting, Nathalie is doing a bible reader and Tad doesnt need to do reading anymore. He reads a book a week aproximately and does oral or written reports when I ask for them.

So that was our day, this is our week on our little happy farm.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Recycled Clothes

Each season I do a blog, or some blogs, on the new clothes that I have made for my childrens wardrobe. Well anyone who follows my blog knows I have been pretty busy this year! Last years clothes had some advantages, some pairs of pants were a bit long or had long hems that I let down and a couple pr pants were made later in season due to need. Our lifestyle necessitates hard work on the part of all so knees go pretty quick!

I try to use matching patches, the right knee of these pants was already patched with a camo patch but I am out. So I have this scrap of heavyweight denim to make use of. I use the quilting spray glue, serge all 4 sides of my patch to make it not fray, spray it, put it inside the leg and position. Apply pressure, then sew around the square well with matching thread.
Not to bad eh? I mean it does show, and I could have found better matching. But I am only using these as their winter work pants. They will each have nice new pants, but there is no reason to not patch and reuse pants that fit. These were too long last year and due to the color blocking, they would have looked wrong to hem up so we turned under until they fit better.

The tan pants are Nathlies. Last winter was her 2nd winter in them. The first winter they were made in January bc we were in Md for half of each month just about for the winter. So they have gone 1.5 winters so far! They had deep 4" hems which were let out well last mid winter and now are done letting out. They will fit nicely for at least half the winter and the 2nd half, well wear knee socks! These are a heavy weight twill made from some old pants of Franks.
So there you have it! Recycled clothing. My husband is not a big fan of his children looking like rag bags and I do understand this. But I think we might as well reuse neatly patched pants as farm work pants. Then they need only 2-3 pr of nice pants which cuts down on my work time.
The denim on the end pants didnt need knees, they needed hem, pocket and waistband mending. Yes, my kids are hard on their clothes. So are we, both of us. We work a lot, its what we all love and are good at.
The pink on the end is actually a pink and white striped knit made of recycle pop bottles! This is a friendly fabric I bought on sale last summer and Nathalie wants a long sleeve winter t shirt dress out of it.

Belated post

Nathalie Age 6

This picture was taken in May of this yr when Frank was visiting. I have NO pictures whatsover that are worth posting! I havent taken any of late, been very busy as usual but also end up working far out in the field and have no camera with me.

I like this picture, she was so engrossed in the movie she didnt see me. She is in little gym clothes and knee socks which for her, is pretty benign as an outfit!

This was our family cat, Evil Beast, for 5 years. She has had problems for over a year now, the moving, tornado, staying in a kennel, moving to moms, my sisters then back to us, her daughter little evil running away and then lastly her pet leaving was all to much for her. Frank is her pet, she loved him and Little best. She started doing odd things largely defacating and urinating in the house, porch, outside windowsills, the garage, etc. She had some medical symptoms and some mental ones, and I did try to fix her for about 9 mo. We finally gave up and put her down, but we have 5 wonderful years of memories with our funny Evil cat!

So we have been busy, and will still be. We had our first official day back to school, there were a few kinks that I afterwards worked out with Nikki. Nikki is my best friend in Ga and she has been homeschooling as long as I have. She however, has older kids. Her oldest 2 are 9 and almost 11 (this mo) and so she has some more experience with above first grade level. We did relaxed school last yr bc the stress of tornado, moving and deployment was pretty great. We enjoyed it, but it takes a lot for me to teach each needed concept for all subject areas with games, puzzles, books and homemade activities.

So back to regular school! With the help of friends (Diana Wicker WROTE our unit study!!!), my local friend who homeschools was a school teacher in school before homeschooling and my best friend in Ga. Oh and a supportive husband and mom.... Thanks for the help guys!