Saturday, April 30, 2011


The storms that have torn through the south over this last week have destroyed homes and many lives. More lives were lost in these storms than almost any other tornado(s) in history. I have cried reading the stories, I prayed during the storms because my family and my best friend live in some of the states that were hit. My best friend lives in Ga, and almost my entire family live in Tn. My brother's work place was badly damaged, but none of my family was injured or even suffered loss.

My prayers continue to be with these families, especially those who lost members of their family. Entire families were lost, as were wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters.

Because we have a basement, we didnt lose our lives in a tornado. Because Ks has basements, the town of Chapman, Ks. had only one death and few injuries. I consider us lucky, and am grateful for our lives. I know that many of the people who died in these storms didnt have a safe place to be. I pray that they can get their lives back together and that this country will make us all proud and step up to the task at hand just as it has in the past.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Baby Girl

This is one of our best friends, the baby. Tad loves her very much, she is the 6th in a family that we are friends with. They are the friends that are moving, and we are so sad...
I love pictures of boys or men, big strong people with callused hands holding a baby. My son is rough, he likes to wrestle and fight, shoot and jump about, run and yell indian war cries-but adores babies especially those of the girl persuasion. These pictures make me have tears...not just because I love these children and they are leaving, but because I have a son who is so tender-hearted.
I tried to capture this sunrise, but it wasnt very effective. I get up at 6:30 most mornings, some not until 7 and recently Tad woke me after 8-I know, the poor hungry baby goats. I normally get to see the sun rise, its already light when I awake but the sky is lovely with color.

I tried to post several blogs this week but either something is wrong with blogger or me (the more likely scenario being the 2nd option) and I couldnt get certain aspects of my post to work, and it was hard to read because of the problems. Will work on it more this wk.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lotsa kids

Everyone knows I had wanted a large family. I wanted a minimum of 6 children. It turns out that I haven't yet, but I still love to be around lots of children at once. My own 2 wish that we had more, and thoroughly enjoy large groups of well behaved children. I have babysat some who didn't fit with us, but mostly we just like kids. Today I was thinking about why I love all the children. I have kept a friends 6 children quite a few times the last few weeks. Mama is getting all shots and doctor appts out of the way, in case they end up moving. It looks like they will, they are in the military. I encouraged her to leave those with me who didn't have the appointment, some days I have all 6. That gives me a total of 8 children, and it makes me so happy! Today I stood in the door way wondering why. In the yard were jackets, shoes, socks, a few toys, some baskets and flower pots. The children had all moved to the Lego bin in the bedroom and abandoned their items. Some people wouldn't like the mess. I will indeed have them police up their items, but these particular 8 children (okay baby is 6 mo old) are particularly good at following the rules and cleaning up after themselves. I loved seeing all the jackets, tossed off in different spots, different sizes, some sleeves inside out. I love to hear their peals of laughter as they all run and jump and play. The dishes from lunch, the crumbs under the table, the crayons left out, the books scattered all over the floor, all of these things make me smile. It gives me a day spent in the midst of many. I can look anywhere and see their traces, my own children and I miss them when they are gone and we see these leftover statements of their presence. They clean up before they leave, they leave a house as well as they found it, but there are always foot prints of them left. And then you have the baby laughter, the 3 year old is so easy to amuse. He likes to be with me, and regularly comes to find me. The house is huge, and he will go from spot to spot calling for me in his baby voice. When he finds me, he has some fact to tell me. Today I came downstairs and he followed, the computer downstairs was left playing music. I turned around to him and begin to dance very silly, and he laughed. He laughed until he drooled! It wasn't impressive, my dancing, but he knew I was making him laugh, it was for his benefit. He laughed until he could barely breathe and then slid down the steps to "hold me" so that he could dance also. The nearly 5 year old is one of Tad's best friends. Today she fell and hurt herself and blinded by her crying stumbled to his arms as he ran to catch her up. He held her and kissed the multiple wounds on her head, arm and shoulder. In a moment she was laughing and telling him she loved him and he was chasing her, allowing her to win. He will be sad to lose his girl, he truly loves her. If these children move, I will be sad. I will shed tears. Their mama is one of the best friends I have ever had. I will never lose touch with her, but I will have to watch her punks grow up from afar. I do love them so...they have been a part of my life for nearly 3 years, I have watched the smallest grow from baby to toddler and bigger, and watched the bigger ones grow from kindergarten/preschool to 2nd and 3rd graders. Her youngest 4 wont remember life without me, and I wont ever forget life with all of them.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Our Home School

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I have had four people ask me about what we use for homeschool in the last week. Either friends or readers, so I am going to give you the list. I always said, no computer school for us except what cannot be taught without one (IE typing program). Then they got older, more advanced, and life got much busier. So now we use some! We have an armoir and 2 shelves that house homeschool items, they are neat and organized. We have free use of art supplies and coloring books (we buy dover-educational and lovely detailed pictures.) We have extra notebooks, neat piles of paper, extra pencil sharpeners etc. One shelf is entirely dedicated to French, workbooks, story books, CDs, DVDs, and flashcards.

Now for our schedule, we do these things every day:

Reading-Mcguffey readers. Nathalie is in 2nd reader, Tad is almost done with 3rd but has read ahead in much of 4th and 5th. These are not necessarily grade level as it only goes through # 6 and I know some highschool students that wouldnt comprehend one page in the 6th reader, it is a great and proven series. They read their lesson to themselves, then aloud to me and spell the words.

Spelling-spell quizzer on the computer, I enter their words from sequential spelling about 2 x a month. It tells me how they are doing as do they.

Math-singapore. Both kids in 4th grade in singapore. Singapore runs a bit ahead of most other homeschool curriculums and we like it very much. Nathalie is ahead (8 yrs old) and Tad is where he belongs grade wise in these books. I present math on the board, they do the work with help if needed, I grade it imediately to have them fix problems before they are out of math-mode.

History-Story of the World on disc. They listen to a chapter a day, answer the questions in the student book and we do projects and timeline that correspond from a friends curriculum that she wrote. I cant keep up with all of it, and dont enjoy unit studies but STO is a good program. It costs about $15 to buy the reading text, and I paid $33 to have it read to the CDs already-it was worth it time wise.

Typing-Mavis Beacon on the computer. The original no frills typing program, very few games or annoying, distracting, sound effects. In a very short time, Tad was able to type 30 wpm with a 2% error.

-free geography download for maps. They do whatever map they are on 3 x or until they get 100 % and then move on to the next.

French-Rosetta Stone on the computer, they do this unassisted and I already speak through level 3 of 5 on Rosetta Stone. I only have through level 2 (I used to have all before tornado) and I need to buy 3-5 for me. They also use Professor Toto and Muzzy, while these are for younger children my kids do well with it and remember it. They have a lot of other French learning items.

Geography and History with mama- I have this stuff in my head because my mama taught me. I teach them from my brain, from google and from tons of library books. We do unit studies and projects that I make up. I answer questions that a lot of people wouldnt IE the Holocaust. I tread lightly here, they dont get gore or depth but they still know.

Science-this is pretty much Tad's department. He has several DVD sets that Frank purchased such as Planet Blue. That covers a lot of biology, plant life, temperate zones, mountains, oceans etc. Tad has all 6 discs memorized. My mama bought the Planet Earth DVD game for him, we all play it, he knows it all. He checks out books on experiments, biology and chemistry. He likes electricity and he can fix cords that I cut, and understands wiring better than most adults. I let him lead our science program because he is a sponge. No curriculum would keep up and keep him interested, so we let him dictate. Nathalie and I learn from his research and projects, Nathalie does projects with them. They have children's books on anatomy, plant and animal life and many other science aids.

Handwriting-cursive, I have lined books and I write out their words nightly.

Music and art- purchased books to learn drawing, we work on these a few times a week. Music is guitar and piano right now. Nathalie was doing violin also but wasnt enjoying it so just piano for her now. Tad goes to guitar lessons weekly and he is performing very well. Nathalie takes lesson from me and I can teach her for a couple of years. We also learn music theory, music history and some latin.

I present math, hear reading and some spelling and see computer grades. Some computer school isnt boring, typing and map skills are quick, timed things that hold their interest. They love spelling so the computer program is fun, and anything French is fun for both. School takes us about 3 hours more or less. Nathalie struggles with reading speed though not level, so we are working on that this year. Other than that we have no problems to deal with. The kids will be tested this year, they will take IOWA tests. We have done only practice/prep and placement tests (purchased) in years past, nothing official. They test well above grade average, and we make sure we learn all state requirements. I check over our curriculum thoroughly to make sure we will meet and exceed these standards, it isnt hard to exceed them but I also dont want to miss some requirement for this grade level. So thats it! Today we did school downstairs, we have a similar set up both up and downstairs (computer, TV for CD/DVDs) though we usually work upstairs due to the need for a desk. I want them to have good posture. We will do the same curriculum next yr, just the next level in all areas.

Custom Order

Photobucket As its mostly women who read my blog, okay my husband is my number one reader but he wont mind...I am posting my custom order that I completed today. I made these while the children did school. Photobucket There are 30 total, these would be considered liners or minis for a grown woman but perfect size for a teenage girl. Photobucket Some of these are made from prints (back) that I have had for years! This is a very special custom order for a little girl that has been in my life for her whole life. Photobucket A cute little bag for her things. When you purchase products from a store, they come in a bag or a box. This is just a cloth bag that can be washed, but its purpose is to hold clean things. Photobucket Everything fits with enough space for about 20 more. Will get that done in a few wks, because a total of 50 means as many changes as a girl wants and plenty of laundry time. Photobucket The little personal wetbag! This is good for traveling, or just bathroom use for ease. The order was fun because I know and love who it goes to!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My quote

Just to follow up...on the not my quote. I have been reading a lot about debts, spending, economy and the future of our finances lately. Well, I guess its been about 7 months. I will be honest, we havent always made the best budget decisions. We are changing all of that now.

We are in the unique position of being able to pay off some things. I spoke to a financial adviser at USAA-our bank. This is a free service to military members. She helped with a budget, not that we couldnt have done this alone but why not use the free advice? I knew which interest rates were higher, but should I pay off this one or this one because of this and that. We have 2 debts that we want gone before Frank's return home. We are unique because he is deployed, yes there are many soldiers that are deployed, but we can use the additional hazard pay to get these debts payed down and apparently many people cannot afford this.

We have very little debt, our ratio is low especially compared to the average American. But we want none at all. We dont owe on our cars, granted they are not new or fancy and sometimes they break. But then we fix them ourselves. I want our children to grow up seeing good financial decisions being made, I include them in bill paying and discussing future finances IE savings accounts, having no credit card bills, avoiding even student loans if possible and planning ahead.

We will be buying an RV-travel trailer- and using it to go to school with Frank and for traveling otherwise. Vactation, family reunion, attending state fair etc. The children and I saw some lovely new ones yesterday, that we can roll into our house payment! I politely declined and came home. Oh they were nice! The one I loved the most had 2 bathrooms! I cant find that same one or a similar one used online. But can we make it with one bathroom and spend 25 THOUSAND dollars less? You bet we can! I am not even disappointed. Things are not as "shiny" now as they were 10 years ago. Several paid off debts later, and a lot of learning.

Now you know our plan. Get out of debt, stay out of debt. Keep raising animals and a garden for food savings (no we wont have animals if we travel to school with him but will again later) and find more ways to save and be sufficient. No more creating debts unless absolutely necessary.

I think individuals should look at their own spending habits as closely as they do those of the governemnt. Our economy is troubled right now, and there are a lot of reasons. Many of them I do not even know, I dont pay attention to politics. I think we should address the smaller close to home issues, even as we vote for and sometimes worry over the larger financial issues in our world.

I have two very good friends who have very good spending habits. I have watched them make excellant choices, and when they have extra they spend it wisely. When they dont have extra, they are paid up. They set a good example to their family and to their freinds. We are following suit! I think in this economy, its a good habit to learn and then stick with it even when things look up.

Not my quote

I didn't write this quote, I hope it isnt stealing to share it with any readers here. The person who published this quote put it on a yahoo page, I cant give credit because there was no name. This was discussing the spending of the government:

"Yesterday, I spent 1000.00 on some really gorgeous earrings, but showed my husband my plan to save 300.00 on our food bill this week by not eating.

Somehow, he still can't get past that 700.00."

Wow. That really sums it up doesn't it?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's Monday

Actually I think its Tuesday but I didnt think that when I typed the title of this post. It took several minutes for me to think of the title and it wont hurt any of you if I leave it as Monday. Look at these boots. That hurts me, this picture. Putting my babies boots on by accident and doing chores in them, and coming back and finding him boot-less wondering who stole his boots. They left the TV mama but they took my boots. Why are his feet so big? He wears a 6.5 in womens. In kids, he can only get a 4, or a 5 and a 4.5 in youth is a 6.5 in womens. We had to just buy gender neutral womens boots. The boot on the left is his last yr boot, 1.5 sizes smaller. The one on the right is mine, and its a size 8 though I wear a 7 in shoes. I just like the heel slip, so I really wear a shoe thats technically 1/2 size bigger than his. Thats so sad. He can eat half of a chicken in one sitting, and wears big boots. And makes funny big jokes. He is big. I made these jeans for him. I am not sure if I like them, he found them in the pattern magazine and asked for them. He is 139 cm tall, which in European patterns means he will wear a 134, 140 or a 146 depending on his width. He is muscular enough we cut it on a 152 but this skater jeans pattern is too baggy. He needs 146 in this but he loves them. He says they have "breathing space." Our poor little daughter... She misses daddy terribly and sits with her video camera (he sent this to her with videos on it) and watches him. He put quite a few videos on there from Iraq and mailed it to her. They hook it up to the TV and watch it, its clear enough sound wise that when I walk in from the barn and hear him I always feel startled. Its too real and close. She spent about an hour playing them over and over. He reads everything. He is deep into the 4th Harry Potter book right now. I read 1, 2 and 3 to them but Nathalie doesnt love them a lot and I told him he is on his own for the rest. He started it yesterday and is about 45 pages into it, he only gets to read it when school and chores are done. Thats all for now. The children and I just came home from looking at RVs. We looked at new ones (pull behinds, 5th wheel) but we will not buy new. I just wanted an idea, and people, it is a traveling house. I dont mean you can live in it tolerably, I mean it a single wide trailer just prettier. I liked them a lot. We are now studying craigslist looking for a good deal on a used one.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sandy Sunny

Photobucket Raise your hands if you like sand in your pants! This was a fun pile, and still is, of sand but I didnt enjoy the clean up. Nathalie dumped herself, into the dining room floor. Took half of a vacuum bag to eliminate the mess. Tad said there was serious chaffing from the event. Photobucket It was sunny enough that he thought it would a shirtless day, so he offed it and said it was "quite warm and cozy mama" and was a little too warm when the sunburn hit two hours later. Photobucket We had the sand dumped the the garden. The company assured me that they could spread it, no problem. I said, well the ground is tilled so its sort of soft. No problem. So someone shows up, in a two wheel drive truck. Oh my. Okay. So Mister, you wont be able to back up onto the garden. Oh yeah yeah I can no problem. He drives to edge. Gets out, looks at it, "Ma'am, I ain't gonna be able to drive over this and spread it for ya." Oh really? Oh well, thats too bad. Okay well just dump it here please." Photobucket So here he dumped it. Then he got out, shut off his truck to write a bill and then... "My truck wont start." Oh dear. Now he was probably shamed, so I quietly got the truck and tried to jump it. The battery cables were not tight enough for it to even try starting, I dont know how it started in the first place. We tightened. Then it started and he drove away, leaving this small pile (6 tons) of sand for me to move. Photobucket I do have a tractor and can do the work, I had just wanted to not. There is a man who tills for me when Frank is gone, and he would likely spread it as well. For now my children are playing in it, making sure to only let it fall off the heap towards the garden, not the grassy side. Tad is burried here, truly. Nathalie lost her favorite tiny doll in this, after I counciled her on the fact that it would go badly to take kewpie out there, but it was her doll. Photobucket Much tears were and will be shed over the doll. Photobucket Nathalie burried Tad and then he couldnt bury her because he was indisposed. Photobucket All in all, a fun day was had in the sand. Twice. Today it is raining and while I dont want it to be a gray day, I will be glad that there will be no sand on the floor, and no sandy handprints in the shower. Photobucket Some of the goats tasted the sand and decided that the green grass was better. They come in this field side until I plant a garden, then they will not be allowed. Photobucket I think Tad is putting sand in his ears here. Or getting it out, I dont know which. Photobucket And lastly, can someone tell me what these flowers are that I have been trying to kill for the sake of an herb garden? I dont want to look them up. Thanks.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Goats and dresses

Photobucket Anna's baby. She kidded yesterday and had two bucks, quickly. We were on the way to music lessons, we were driving down driveway and Nathalie said she thought Anna had a baby with her. We looked out, stopped, climbed fence and she was cleaning the tiniest goat we had ever ever seen! He was a tiny baby buckling. She was cleaning him and pushing out a second at that moment. I had seen her fifteen minutes before we started down the drive-some goats take three days and Anna takes ten minutes. She spent a few minutes cleaning up the two bucks before dropping this doeling. They are all three very different colored, and I havent had an alpine of this color before. We havent named her yet. Photobucket Lots of goats, only one dress but give me time. I am starting summer clothes! I enjoy this sewing season even if I dont love the heat. We had sun today for the first time in more days than I can count. I lost count in despair at some point, and maybe I just have a poor memory but I dont remember this many gray days in a row in Ks over the past three years. Photobucket Photobucket Some of the older girls, the poor little new girl feels a bit small with some of these that are already three weeks old! This is the weaning yard where they live, its a nice little yard with a comfortable barn. Photobucket These babies are on bottles, and are super annoying. Bottle babies try to bite at you constantly and are always looking for a bottle. Well, not true. If they are full they are not annoying. The kids feed all but one feed daily, I do morning alone usually. If Tad is up he goes down with me. We do the last feeding (usually in the dark) together and then close them up in the barn. Photobucket New dress! Amanda, friend in Hutchinson, Ks. made a dress for her this winter. It was a christmas present, and Nathalie wore it this winter with a jacket but its a lovely spring/summer dress. This is the same style but not as fancy. I made the pattern this morning. I used to make little dresses for her with buttons/snaps up the back but never up the front. I made jumpers with front buttons. Then I learned to work with cotton knit (stretchy) and have used it almost exclusivly. Nathalie was terrible about stains until the last couple of summers, and I have had this fabric for years holding out for when she was a bit older. Its a woven with a % of spandex and its wonderful! She likes the snaps, and it was easier to apply than sewing on buttons and doing button holes. Photobucket She wants three more mama she says. Maybe. We will see. I think her brothers clothes from last summer will do fine right? Mama! No! I dont want to wear his old nasty clothes! Okay punk. Will make more dresses. Photobucket Oh thanks mama! I am glad. I hate his old sandales and boots. I know it baby. But they fit. So hush up. Photobucket We have mostly goat and Nathalie pictures from today because mostly Tad and I had the camera. The shirt he is wearing, while speaking of sewing, was made by my mama 16 years ago. My big (being relative) brother wore it when he was 10. Which makes him 26, and yes I am nearly 32 but he is my big brother both in size and maturity. He and I are both happy with this arrangement. I cannot imagine that Grayson was ever truly small. Photobucket A view to prove its green! Oh how I love winter, the snow, the ice, the splendor of it all but spring is equally amazing as is fall. As each season, except summer, rolls in I remember that it is one of my favorites. Yes I know my trailer tire is flat. So is the back right jetta tire, and the left front truck tire. And yes, I air them up. And yes I even mended them but something goes wrong and I dont know what it is. So for now I air them, and keep them aired most of the time until Frank can get home because that is only a few weeks away, and then they will be frightened into holding air and wont stop again this side of December. Photobucket Anna and small guy, he is so tiny! Such a pretty color also. Anna is such an attentive mama, she cares for both of them so sweetly. Photobucket Here is his "big" though born second brother checking on him. He or Anna are constantly checking on him. He seems healthy enough just teeny! Photobucket Oh now he gets a few moments to nap with no one nuzzling him, loving him, sniffing him, licking him, smooshing him... Photobucket Oh wow! Nathalie... Honey you might stick that way and never look normal again. Phoenix doesnt want to be milked but if I dont milk her, one side is huge and engorged. Her buck doesnt drink enough from both sides. Photobucket The bad part? She was WAY out in back field on the north-east part of our property. I had to walk her butt all the way up to the milk shed with her fighting so... It was insanity in a can. Yet, I got nearly a gallon of milk, got her hooves trimmed and trimmed up the back end of her. The hair (plug your ears here if you have an ick factor) gets all nasty when she kids and its stuck and just gross. The only way to get rid of it is to clip it, or to prevent it by shaving her before hand which I clearly didnt do. Photobucket Nona's bucks. Nona is my pet, everyone knows that. But, for some reason Nona isnt well. She wasnt well last pregnancy, though it was mild. This time she was fine during pregnancy, but possibly having four was a bit excessive for her body. She became hypocalcemic (I think, though all symptoms didnt fit at first) and I am giving her meds for that. She isnt responding as well as expected. She is also being treated for ketosis, worms have been treated for though I dont think she had any worm problems. She is getting LA200 again, she had it after kidding for some mild diarhea and now she is getting it again for a possible infection. She is on probios, vitamens, minerals, extra alfalfa, herbal supplements and grapefruit seed extract. Trying to cover all bases and make sure she doesnt suffer any dammage from medication. She simply isnt well and I dont think that she should kid anymore. She has dried up completely for some reason, and cannot feed her bucks. One of her bucks died a few nights ago, we are not sure why but we were with him and I did try to save him. These two live with her, hang out with her, but get bottles four times a day with the little girls. We are selling them as bottle bucks now. Photobucket Tad was taking pictures while I milked, Anna is nervous of us being around her bucks. I tried to get a picture of her head-butting the chickens but I failed. That was funny, the chickens take flight for just a second. Photobucket And Anna again. She doesnt like being separate from them for even a moment. We put them in a kidding stall for the first couple of nights with a heat lamp and plenty of clean straw, water and alfalfa for Anna. I do this to allow mama some time alone with her babies and plenty of water/food without her having to go far for it. It gives her some much needed rest and healing without having to watch out for her babies. None of the other goats will be rough but she would be constantly looking for them so this helps her have a safe break. Photobucket Our first baby of this season, Tall Boy. I think he is spoken for. Most of our bucks will be wethered (castrated) and be eaten or sold for meat. TB is a sable and thus we would like to sell him registered, he comes from good stock and sables are hard to find. I wouldnt register him if his parents were of poor quality but they are not, so we will sell him reg if we can find a buyer. Photobucket What kind of blogger/farmer would I be if I left out the chickens? The local dogs dont leave them out. We have new "neighbors" several blocks away (we have no imediate neighbors and our driveway is the road leading to our house so no one "passes") and they have dogs. Dogs that are not at all contained. A dog that was referred to as Kujo (sp) by the next neighbor over, and I was told not to go near him. Well, since they moved in we lost over 20 chickens, during the day somehow between the many times we go out. I was stymied but this until I discovered the dogs on my property. We were not pleased and we called the police. So thats it in a nutshell. Its 10:30 at night and I am heading downstairs to make t-shirts for my poor son who is desperate for clothes.