Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lessons from the Chicken Coop!

So it has been a crazy few months.....where blogging didn't happen.  But that's ok.   This morning I learned a lesson while taking care of my "critters" and I thought I would share.

We have a small flock of chickens (7 hens and a rooster plus 3 guineas), 2 goats and a pig.  We also have a cow who lives across the road with my uncle's donkey and a shared miniature horse.  One of the reasons we have a little farm is so that we can grow/raise the food that we eat.  So most of the critters are expected to "earn their keep."  The pig and the cow live full, well fed lives and will be butchered for their meat.  The goats are both expecting and will provide milk for us once they freshen and the babies are weaned (I am SO excited about goat babies).  The donkey is not mine although he does provide much entertainment and the miniature pony was given to us and the kids love him (so they kinda get by on their looks-HA!)

And then we come to the chickens....their "job" is to provide eggs.  And they've been slacking.  Hens need daylight to lay so a decrease in egg production isn't unexpected but its like they've mutinied.  Recently, I've been lucky to get an egg a day... not cool ladies.  I've increased their feed (they free range but this time of year there is less to find) and offered them homemade suet.  I'm considering starting a meal worm farm to give them as protein filled treats.  They are happy about these developments.  But I've not seen any increase in egg production.

And then this morning while I was outside I decided to move the goats hay feeder.  It was a little close the door to the barn and with all the rain the last few days it was getting damp (not cool!).  And there mixed in with all that hay was a STASH of eggs.  I've collected them all and I'll check the for freshness with the "float test," and then mark them so I know to crack the in a separate bowl to make sure they are good before using them.  So the hens have paid their debts!

As I was finishing up the chores and enjoying the morning quiet, I was thinking (sometimes dangerous I'll admit).  How often do we wonder why God is not giving us a desire of our heart?  How often do we think "Why won't __________ happen for me?"  Why can't I find a better job?  Why does that other person get all the luck?  Why can't I have a new house or better car?  When the entire time its not that it isn't happening....its that we are looking for the answer in the WRONG place.  My chickens were not slacking....I was looking in the wrong place.

And my God is WAY better than my chickens.  He provides an abundance of what we need if we look in the right place.  A new job, a bigger house, and better car,  better "luck" can all be found if we look for it in Him!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Kitchen is DONE!!!

Ok, so as I was taking these pictures I noticed we missed a piece of trim and an outlet cover...but is DONE!  (those things won't take much time and there is no construction mess to cook/work around).  the rest is just pictures!
Im standing at the end of the CLEAN bar.  I LOVE the counters we got!  LOVE!

Standing at the front door. there used to be a wall where the bar is.  So crazy how open it is now. 

The "beam" above the bar is the center of our modular.  We had to have it for support...I got to decorate for fun!  I wish the picture was better. :(  A photographer I am not!)

This was the living room and rarely used (we also had a family room)  Now its a well used dining room  Since we homeschool our school station is in this room.  I love the 4 clipboards on either side of my small white board.  The kids paint each week to illustrate a classic poem and now I have a place to swap out their artwork and display it.  :)

These are 2 pieces of blown glass that the boys made on a vacation a couple years ago.  They get a prime spot over the bar. (and my mom learned the hard way that you can't say things like "Oh, this will be a perfect spot to hang the boys' balls!" and not have a household of boys collapse in hysterical laughter)

I finally got the mug rack to work the way I wanted.  And my kit kat clock gets a prime spot.  

No upper cabinets.  It is awesome!  I do not miss them at all!

There is no actual door on my pantry.  Because it is L shaped the stuff is mostly hidden.  And we decided it was likely the door would never be closed anyway.  So my apron collection takes a spot on the short wall to add color and "art" and make the need for a door less.  I LOVE this pantry!

Instead of upper cabinets we have shelves.  The brackets are a pinterest find and made with pipe fittings.  

Long shot.  (that light in the foreground will HAVE to go but I don't have a replacement for it yet)

overview of the whole thing

So my picture wall had to move.  I need to paint the frames but I'm glad the pictures have a new home.

Another picture wall.  All formal pictures or art. 

I wish my photography skills were better.  I am THRILLED with how the whole thing came together.  THRILLED!  There is just nothing I would change.  I love the openness and how usable all the spaces are now.  I also love that all of the decor that I kept tells a story.  Very little of it is random.  That is just perfect to me.  

I just had a tupperware party and will be "pimping out my pantry" with nice new tupperware for all my bulk storage.  That is why everything is so clean - company was coming over.  Its been 2 days and nothing looks like it does in the pictures already :/  I am looking forward to reworking the containers in the pantry and making the most of that already awesome space!   

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Celebrate the great! :)

Working on his EEME board.  building electrical circuits!

Playing quietly and wearing all her bags at once.

Spelling.  L wants to do all the same school the big boys do some days.

Working hard at copywork.  He hates this so much.  Wondering if he'll like it better after a trip to the eye doctor next week.

I have a cut on my hand that is healing slowly so I'm off dish duty till it heals (wonder how long I can milk that?)  So A did ALL the dishes.  With a cheerful heart.  Yay! 
Some days I feel like I am fighting a losing battle....then other days we just have a great time learning together.  It is easy to complain about the bad....but way more important to celebrate the great!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Consider this a warning! ;)

So I've started pulling out school supplies and books and things to prep for the school year.  Since I bought complete curriculums for each child this year it is going to be much easier.  Can I get an hallelujah!?!?!

I got 3 levels from Heart of Dakota this year. A and M will be working through Creation to Christ.  G will be doing Beyond LIttle Hearts for His Glory.  And L will be doing LIttle Hands to Heaven.   I am very excited about the lesson plans and such that come with buying a complete curriculum.  I hope that the kids all do well with this style of learning....cause I'm very excited about it and comfortable with the idea of using it till we are finished.  :)  Not only will they be doing the complete curriculum but we add in creative writing, foreign language, and keyboarding.  G does reading and phonics practice and we do family read alouds as well.

I still need to get all of it organized and put away but I have to figure out where/how to do that since my bookshelves all changed in the midst of the kitchen remodel that we are not finished with yet.  :/

In the meantime, I've been thinking about our fall schedule....and trying not to cry (not really-I don't cry that easily)....but seriously...
Monday- taekwondo in the evening
Tuesday- G violin lessons in the afternoon
Wednesday- I was hoping to sign them up for art classes that a studio nearby has just for homeschoolers- I REALLY want them to have this opportunity.  And Awana in the evening.
Thursday- A and M music lessons were switched to Thursday afternoon because of a conflict that arose with their teacher's schedule
Friday- hangout and library afternoon. (that we would love to attend but rarely make it to)

So what is gonna give?  When am I going to clean the house or cook or eat or sleep?  How are we going to complete school work?  We are going to have to figure something out....

In the meantime (this is the warning part)....if anyone questions if I'm worried about my kids "socialization", I have martial arts training and I am not afraid to use it.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Young Living and essential oils!

So I've been using essential oils for a while now....but I've never been dedicated to a particular company.  I've had mixed results with all that I've tried.  While we were on vacation, I used some of a friend's oils.  Two experiences stick out in my mind...

I helped in the children's program each morning and we had a child who was a "runner."  He made for the door (which opened onto a street) both mornings he was present.  I was the "tackle" (this is not a title I was hoping for).  The first time I was calm about the whole thing.  The second time left my hands shaking and me fighting tears.  That doesn't often happen but I don't like grabbing kids.  And the boy was very distraught and I was unsure if his parents would be upset  (they weren't).  But in that moment I was struggling to pull myself together.  That's when my friend offered me some Stress Away.  I said roll it on wherever you think it'll work fastest. She rolled it behind my neck and on both wrists.  Within 2 literal minutes, my hands had stopped shaking and I was calm.  No more threatening tears or anything.  I've never had an oil work that well or that quickly before.  I was ready to go work with the kids again.

At another point, I asked for some peppermint for A to use.  He has rubbed a drop on the roof of his mouth of both brands I've used in the past with much success and without any trouble.  My friend hesitated and said "its a 'hot' oil" and I told her he would be fine....he's done it before.  This time his eyes watered and he huffed a bit.  But he was fine-HA!  Her oil was definitely "hotter."  And it worked exactly as we hoped it would.

When we got home my friend shared that Young Living is running a sale on their starter I just ordered one.  I am totally excited to get the shipment tomorrow in the mail (incidentally Smart Post is NOT a good shipment choice)

**If you are interested in essential oils and would like to chat about them...I would love to share why we use them.  Like homeschooling, martial arts, and eating (mostly) clean....I think I could talk all day.  Just shoot me a message and I'll see how I can help you**

Monday, July 27, 2015

Myrtle Beach! - Afternoon with fishingA

We took a family vacation to Myrtle Beach a couple weeks ago.  The ministry the King works for had a big superconference at a resort there.  It was such a great trip.  I mean really really great!

We rented a couple fishing poles and did some fishing off the pier.  It was fun!  Although the King and A lasted much longer than the rest of us (who all went swimming).

A guy down the pier from us caught a baby shark  L wouldn't get in the picture.  :/

This was the view from our balcony in our room.  I loved sitting out there and reading my Bible in the morning....

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Yes I am yelling!  You would be too!

We lived without the sink and plywood as countertop for about 3 weeks and that was plenty long.   Thankfully, one was on vacation so that helped.  :)  We used a ton of paper products and just as much convenience food.  And my waist line shows it.  :(  But we are back in business.

Thankfully the sink hole wasn't cut at the factory as I'd hoped.  There was this much space around the entire template.  

Pappy did a test hole right in the middle.  The biggest risk here is that we'll have big chips.  He marked on the wrong side and then duct taped each line on the good side to try to prevent that.

Here we go.  I was SOOOOOO anxious. 

slowly but surely.  Ack!

Whew!  Hole is cut....there are no chips and it appears to match up with the cabinet as it should....

And the sink FITS!  YAY!!!

Its all plumbed in and I've even used it a few times by now.  Its so deep and I just love it!  Also peek at the window back there....then look back at the last picture.  We ripped out that ugly orange "wood look" junk that was ugly (its worth saying twice) and had water damage.  And put in new white pieces there.  Such a BIG difference.

Sneak peek at our tile choice for backsplash.  Its gonna be really pretty....but we've gotta get the tool and figure out how to cut it.  :/

Monday, June 29, 2015

Kitchen reno - Cabinets and shelves and messes-oh my

Thankfully there is a point in a project where you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  And I think we can see it.  

When I got back from the girls trip to PA, the cabinets were in the living room and half were set into place.  It was so exciting to see the vision of my bar actually in place....completely ready for counters.  The rest of the cabinets needed some prep work to get into place.  Namely yanking the sink out.  That is also now done.

Electrical ran in the bar and the cabinets in place.  I can finally see the bar that I've been seeing in my brain!!!!  And it is as great as I'd expected!  :)
These 3 little pipes held us up for a couple days.   But with parts from a local business (who I ordered the cabinets thru),  and help from my dad and a friend who is a plumber- I finally got it done.  We will have to buy a new trap and drain....and some pipe to plumb in the sink but it shouldn't be much. 

Now that the plumbing is done, we could get the sink cabinet and the rest of this wall of cabinets into place.
Just inside the pantry I was able to hang my aprons!  Its the perfect place for them.  :)
The king installed some of the shelves in the pantry.  They are sturdy enough he can sit on them.  :)
My pantry is filling up.  Still needs a few more shelves up high.
See all that space left up high.  That space makes me HAPPY!

This mess makes me SAD!  It was kinda organized but then we'd need something and dig and it got a mess.  And then we started taking shelves off the wall (because they became the pantry shelves-they are SO solid and perfect)...but that stuff got piled on top.  This picture makes me want to cry a little bit

Oh the mess....I'm going to try to work on it today.  But the cabinets a lot of it goes into all have pull out shelves that were I'm waiting for those.  Thankfully we aren't trying to use the woodstove.  hehe

The boys had taken all the boxes and put them in their room to build things with.  I wasn't sure how I was going to get them out of there without a huge fight.  Then they decided to build a fort on the porch in the rain.  Win/Win!  Yay

The nice ladies at Steve Jones came out and measured for my counters this morning (YAY!) and I'm slowing getting the cabinets lined and filled.  I feel like I am REALLY learning the adage that "it gets worse before it gets better."  :)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Took the Girls to Lancaster County PA!!!

My grandparents live just outside Amish Country in Pennsylvania.  They have never met L or my neices (D & d).  I haven't seen them in several years and haven't been to PA since I was little.  All of this equalled a girls trip out.  And boy was it FUN!

Nanny, H (my sister) and I took the three girls (ages 4, 3 and 1) on an about 12 hour drive to Lancaster.  We split it into 2 days both directions.  The girls did SO great!

Meeting great grandpa!

He chatted and they stared.  

Grandma and Grandpa were tricky.  They brought books and presents....

And M&Ms.

They are pretty cool people with books and M&Ms.  :)

D spent a lot of time holding her hose.  A. LOT. of time!   

H & d chillin before our buggy ride

D (still holding her nose), L and Nan waiting on the buggy ride

Me and L ready for the ride

L got to drive the horses....She is concentrating hard!

Duchess and Traveler took us on a nice drive around the country.  :)

Heading for some shopping

We got purses with crayons on a bus tour.  :)

And we loved feeding the ducks/fish at the pond at our hotel!

Seriously, we had the nicest trip.  Hotels in Wheeling and West Chester (there and back) were SO nice!  And West Chester was right next to IKEA!  (which we probably did on purpose-HAHA!)  And the "Amish resort" we stayed at in Bird in Hand was ideal for a trip with kids.  Such a fun time!