Wednesday, February 22, 2017

In Memory of My Mom

I though of you today Mom.  I've actually been thinking about you all week.  I remembered all the fun times.  Tea time, zoo trips, and hosting guests in our home.  Hosting guests was always so fun for us kids.  There would often be a fire in the fireplace if it was cold enough.  It was generally the only time we were allowed to consume soda and other fun treats.  Tea time after school with egg salad sandwiches was always enjoyable.  Miss the tea time.  Miss you.

So grateful I took the time to tell you how much I loved you.  Sad I didn't get to talk to you one last time.  We didn't know did we?  None of us.  You were here, and then you were gone.  We were blessed to call you mom.  Blessed you were able to stay home and raise us. I know you are gone in body but I believe your spirit lives on.  You are ever present in our hearts and memories. 

Thank you mom, for who you were and everything you did and sacrificed for us.  Hug your loved ones today.  Cherish every moment with them.  Don't let the distractions of life keep you from creating memories with those you love.

My mom passed away unexpectedly last fall.  She will be forever remembered in our hearts. ❤

You are not promised tomorrow.  I pray you have a relationship with the one who died for you.  Who took all your sins on the cross.  Who is your comforter and your advocate.  Jesus.  If not, I pray you take the time today to seek Him.  Pick up a bible.  Read it.  Let it speak to you and answer your questions.  God's word says that if you seek Him you WILL find Him.  It is appointed for every man to die.  I pray you give your life to Jesus to be Lord of your life.  He promises you eternal life with Him if you just ask, believe, confess your sins and repent (turn away from them).  Find a good Bible believing church and just give it all to Him.  You will not be disappointed or dismayed.  May you be blessed beyond measure in the coming year.

Middle Ages World History Study REVIEW

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

I was so excited to get the opportunity to review HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Middle Ages by Home School in the Woods.  I had looked at this curriculum in the past and thought it would be interesting to work through. We received a downloadable copy of the program and it was very easy to download and use. Once unzipped the program loads all the necessary files you need that are accessed via your web browser.

This series of studies currently has four time periods (Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, The Middle Ages, and Renaissance and Reformation) with a fifth one on the way.  Ancient Greeece is the newest study with Ancient Rome scheduled to be available in 2018. The study is available as a downloadable file or on a CD.

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

The series is recommended for grades 3 - 8 and could be completed in as little at 5 weeks but that would be a pretty intense schedule.  The publisher recommends an 8 - 12 week time schedule.  The Middle Ages study consists of 25 "stops" that would each be considered a lesson.  You could complete a lesson or "stop" per day but as I mentioned, that would be pretty intense.  The stops are not all the same length and some are longer than others.  The first two stops are pretty intense as far as time goes since you are basically "setting up" your curriculum.  I had planned on completing 3 lessons per week but have found that 2 works better for us.  My son is not a strong writer and dislikes it very much. I had hoped that with all the hands on activities he might be more engaged but it has proven a slight challenge.
The variety and depth of material is wonderful!  There are lots of hands on activities that include:
  • cutting and pasting or taping
  • coloring
  • assembling a timeline and post card rack (paper project)
  • building with sugar cubes
  • creating a newspaper
  • cooking
  • and many more
Binder created to store lesson plans
Scrapbook of Sights binder

Each stop has a 2-3 page Guide Book Text that gives you the lesson story for the day.  There is also a Travel Itinerary which provides the instruction for what needs to be done for the day's lesson that includes projects. As stated before, this is all very hands on and does a great job at engaging the student through assembly of projects, coloring, and even cooking. The activities included in each lesson vary and you do not have to complete every activity in a lesson.  It allows for variation and customization for your particular circumstance.  
Assembled Luggage Folder

The flexibility and ability to use this with multiple ages at the same time make this a perfect fit for multiple age households. I liked it because even though my son detests writing, we can still learn a lot from this curriculum.

Assembling the passport
As I stated before, stops 1 and 2 take a little longer because you are basically setting up the framework for the study.  You will do quite a bit of printing to  create:
  • Scrapbook of Sights
  • Moment in History Timeline
  • Passport
  • Luggage Folder
  • Medieval Times Newspaper
  • Post Card holder and postcards
Finished passport

Everything you need is in the program with links to print all the pages.  The Travel Itinerary gives you instructions on what type of paper to print on and what needs to be done for each project. It is user friendly and the instructions are clear. You will need some extra items like notebook binders, glue stick, colored pencils or markers, laminating pages, colored card stock paper, colored paper, and hole puncher.  I think that if you are on a tight budget you can certainly improvise in many areas.

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study

We like this curriculum because of its flexibility and ability to learn through short lessons and hands on activities. I really like the timeline that we chose to create in an accordion style so it lays out flat in one long page.  There are also instructions to just hole punch the pages and put them in a binder. The art and craft type projects really engage the student and help to create variety in each lesson.  I would recommend this study especially if you like unit type studies and hands on craft projects. I think the children learn better and retain more when they are more involved and are able to be fully engaged in the projects that are present in this study.

You can connect with Home School in the Woods at the following links:
Check out some of the other reveiws on the different studies available

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study Reviews
Crew Disclaimer

Monday, February 13, 2017

Foster/Adoption Update

So.  We wait.  And wait.  And wait.  I have said it before and I will say it again.  Fostering is NOT for the faint of heart. We have had our little one since she was 8 months old and she is now over 4 years old and still, we wait for the paperwork for adoption.  Rights were terminated last April.  Yet here we sit, and wait. No reason to really complain, but it does get so tiring waiting for the finalization.  I think there will just be a sense of calm when it is finally finalized.  There are a lot of reasons for that feeling that I will cover at another time.  Just suffice it to say for now that we are anxious to get this completed.  Hmmm.  Lot's of life lessons here, huh?   God says to have patience.

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience (Rom 5:3)
But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it (Rom 8:25)

He says NOT to be anxious.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Phil 4:6)

Ok Lord, so we will wait with patience and pray to not be anxious.  I know He will be faithful to perform that good work in us.  My heart is at peace when I call upon His name.  Jesus.  He is truly our all in all.  He is the reason for our being, and certainly the reason for our faith.  I will trust in you Lord and that the timing of even this event in our life is in your hands.

Blessings to you as you go through your week.  May you find peace in your journey that you are on in your life.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Fat of the Land

Pheasant hunting

So, the boys recently went pheasant hunting again.  They had an opportunity last year to go with one of my husband's good friends from work and they had a blast.  I had never cooked pheasant before and was not even sure I had eaten it before.  I looked up a recipe on All Recipes and found an awesome crockpot one that we tried and absolutley LOVED IT!  They were able to go two weekends in a row this year so we have some nice pheasant put away in the freezer for some future yummy meals.  We actually just finished up some yummy pheasant noodle soup :)

I love that the boys love to hunt together.  I love that my son gets the opportunity to do things like this with his dad.  I love that they got to spend some time with some other men.  These are good experiences for my son.  There was a very kind man there that was hunting and spent some time mentoring and showing my son some tricks of the trade.  I especially love having fresh meat in the freezer that was put there by my boys who pesonally worked to get it there.  It is a blessing and a privilege to still be able to hunt for your food.

I had hoped to use our chickens for meat on the table also, but that hasn't quite happened yet.  We did process a few of the roosters when we first started but haven't done any since.  My hope is that we might buy some meat birds this spring (it's all but here!) and process those.  Our local farm store had Red Rangers last year and I am hoping they get them again.  They are supposed to make good meat birds without all the problems that come from the Cornish crosses.

The challenge with our main crew of chickens is that so many have become pets.  We currently have 24 laying hens and 2 roosters.  I had to recently rehome two of the roosters.  It was sad because one was the son and the other was the grandson of my current top dog rooster.  You can read more about that in my previous post about having one boss. Of our 24 hens two are from our very first batch (Misty Dawn and Gertrude -Gertie) and they will stay until they pass. Several others in the flock have become very dear to us so they will probably get to stay and 10 of them are new layers from last spring.  I have been contemplating who might need to go this spring.  I have not come to any final decisions.

At any rate, being able to put food on the table from something you caught (we have fish in the freezer too), hunted or raised is certainly a great privilege. We can definitely enjoy the fruits of our labor from this.  It will be garden time soon and I hope once again to attempt to have success in this area.  It has been many years since we have had a truly productive garden.  We have battled bugs and weeds horribly each year and one year pretty much lost the whole tomato crop to blight.  Ughh!  It remains a challenge.

How about you?  Do you have big garden plans?  Do you or someone in your family hunt? We are certainly ready for spring around here.  Until we meet again!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Spring Is on Its Way!

So, we are still in winter time, but spring is coming!  Daylight hours are getting longer and the chickens have started to increase their laying. Yay!  I couldn't believe that even though we now have 24 laying hens, I was not really getting any more eggs than when I had 10 and 12 layers.  It is amazing how different breeds make all the difference.

When we first got hens I made sure to get heavy layers that included several hybrids such as Amber links, ISA browns (so the label said), and Australorp.  Later we would add Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red and Easter Egger.  That crew could lay!  Last spring we added 10 more purchased pullets and 4 of our 6 hatched chicks were pullets (hens).  I figured once they matured last fall we would be rolling in eggs.  NOPE.  Even with all those layers we still averaged about 8-10 eggs on good days.  When daylight hours shortened I was lucky to get 3-4 and most days 3 would come from my Leghorn and California Whites (Leghorn cross).  Actually had one day a week or so ago with 0, yes ZERO, eggs!  Freeloaders! Our older hens are now 3 years old so that attributes to the lower laying rate also.

One thing I have noticed while raising chickens the past 3 years, you really get in tune with the seasons.  They get up when they do and they go to bed when they do and taking care of them requires knowing when sunrise and sunset are at all times.  I do not have an electric coop door and I definitely am not johnny on the spot in hitting their awake and sleep times, but I get it pretty close.  And let me tell you, they let me know in the mornings when I am running late.  Some are quite vocal about it!  They are quite the sassy crew.

I had intended on keeping a better log of my chicken keeping and since I am so behind on regular postings I might take the next few weeks to "catch up" on a lot of "farm" happenings in our coop.  We have had additions and losses.  One loss to death and several to rehomings.  I am currently wishing one of my hens would go broody again so we can hatch some more babies, but alas, I am not sure they intend to comply.

Until we meet again, stay warm if it's cold where you are! (If you live in nice warm weather we may not talk to you right now, just kidding!!).

Thursday, January 12, 2017 Review

I had the awesome opportunity to review the newly upgraded and boy we were not disappointed.  We reviewed their Yearly Membership which gives access to ALL grade levels no matter how many students you have in  your home for a full year.  This program is definitely cost effective and will not disappoint you in the content and quality available to your family.

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {} is an online curriculum site that allows you access to a plethora of material that includes videos, streaming media, access to World Book eBook Library with included links to lessons, and downloadable and printable pdf files and lessons.  You can browse courses by subject or by grade.  Courses by subject include Art, Bible, Computer/Technology, Drama/Speech, Electives, Foreign Languages (including Spanish, Latin, ASL, French, Hebrew and Latvium), Geography, History, Language Arts, Math, Music, Science, and Social Studies.  There is even a Unit Study option.

High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {}

Various resources include:
  • Full Pre-K curriculum
  • Curriculum for all grades Pre-K to 12th grade listed by subject OR grade level
  • Family courses (bible, foreign languages, language arts, music and more)
  • Seasonal classes (holidays and seasons)
  • Free planners
  • Lesson Plans
  • Scope and Sequence
  • Special Needs
  • Certificate library
  • Printable Calendars
  • Recordkeeping
  • Many more!
I was encouraged by the ease of use of the site and the video tutorials that help you with certain areas. If you still can't find what you need you have access to online help via chat or phone.  Their customer service is excellent and they are more than willing to help you in any way they can to explain things or show you what to do and where to go to plan the curriculum you need for your family.

The best part of the curriculum is that is it so flexible.  They have so much to offer you will be hard pressed to not find what you need.  No matter what type of learner you have, they have an option available. We have especially enjoyed some of the Charlotte Mason geared resources.  I am currently using the Charolotte Mason based spelling curriculum with my son and it is going so much better than other methods we have tried.  It keeps him engaged and he is moving forward without getting stalled on a redundant method.

My daughter has enjoyed many of the pre-K activities and she likes the Bedbug Bible Gang videos that cover stories of the bible in a fun and entertaining way.  It's a series of 25 videos that are each approximately 23 minutes long and cover 75 different adventures. I have chosen the Preschool Playground option for her that includes a full pre-K curriculum.  Charlie Church Mouse and Donkey Ollie are a couple of the other video series available.  Subjects include Bible, Language Arts, Numbers, Patterns, Cognitive Skills, Manners and Healthy Habits, Arts, Crafts, Music, Science, Motor Skills, and Social Studies.  They even have a Sensory Learning for Toddlers section.  There is more than enough to choose from for you to customize your child's learning experience to fit their own personal learning style.

I can definitely say that this curriculum is for us.  It is very user friendly, flexible, the kids like it and there are endless possibilites.  I LOVE how it really is a one size fits all type deal.  For one price you can cover the whole family.  If something isn't working well, there are other options without actually having to reinvest in an entirely new curriculum. We give it a thumbs up!

Schoolhouse Teachers Half Price Discount

The BEST part?!  They are running a sale until January 15.  An annual membership is currently $139 but you will only pay $90 if you use the code CHRISTMASYEAR by January 15, 2017.  If you choose the monthly option use the code CHRISTMAS to get it for $9.95 per month.  The price on annual and monthly memberships is going up soon so this will be even more of a savings.  Don't miss out.  Get your membership started today before the deal is gone.

Crew Disclaimer
High-quality, Self-paced, Online Homeschool Resources {}

Thursday, January 5, 2017

There Can Be Only One Boss

If there is one thing we learn in life is that in general, only one person can be the boss.  When you have more than one boss, often chaos and confusion occur.  The same is true in the chicken world.  Recently I had to once again say a sad goodbye to some roosters that I raised and of course became attached to.

Cedric is my top dog rooster.  He is now about 3 years old and has ruled the roost most of that time.  He is such a good rooster.  He has always been mostly respectful to the ladies (not too crazy at breeding time) and has definitely done his job in watching over them.  He is so kind and funny when he finds them tidbits of food and calls them over.  He always alerts them to any danger in the area even though they are pretty well protected in a fenced and covered run area (we have LOTS of predators including neighborhood dogs that would be more than happy to snack on them).

Cedric has fathered several wonderful sons.  Georgie was our first last year and all went very well.  Georgie just recently turned 1 year old this past fall and him and his dad did just fine over the flock that has increased in size from the original 10 to 31 at one time.  We are currently at 26 that include 2 roosters and 24 laying hens.  This past spring we hatched out 6 more eggs (another broody hen) and ended up with 4 hens and 2 roosters.  I was ecstatic to finally hatch some hens.  One of the roosters, Scooter, is my special needs rooster as he is kinda slow and blind. He is definitley Cedrics son as he is a full blooded barred rock like his dad (I had two other barred rock hens at the time).  The second rooster I am pretty sure was Georgie's son (based on coloring), which would make him Cedric's grandson.  Enter Sweet Pea.  I loved that rooster.  Raised him and handled him a LOT.  He was very sweet and fun to be around.  

Needless to say I was nervous with so many roosters.  I knew it was a waiting game to see how things would pan out.  In hind sight, I wish I would have just kept the peace and found a home for my precious Sweet Pea and probably just processed Scooter since he is blind.  It would be cruel to send Scooter anywhere as he is already bullied to some degree in our flock and to put him in strange surroundings would be certain death.  Evidently I waited too long.  Things were going SO well!  Everyone was getting along and doing just great.  The problem is that since we are not able to truly free range (allow the chickens to just run freely on the property), the confines of a fenced in pen area will eventually become a territorial haven.  Roosters mature.  Hormones rage.  They can get pretty feisty and decide to not get along so well when each one wants to be top dog and be in charge of all the hens all by themselves.  Everyone seemed to respect Cedric and all was well.

Until the day that I believe Sweet Pea decided to exercise some authority.  It began with Georgie getting beat up pretty bad and having some pretty horrid head and comb injuries.  He began to recover and then poof!  Cedric was attacked and left a bloody mess.  I personally witnessed his grandson run after him after he was already down and beaten and hiding and try to finish him off.  I was devastated to say the least. I was so glad I was there when it happened to save Cedric.  I broke up the fight and reprimanded Sweet Pea.  Doctored Cedric up and put him in the nursery to heal.

After that incident I knew Sweet Pea must go.  I cried.  I was sad.  I love that rooster!!  But Cedric is what was best for the flock.  If they free ranged and I needed a rooster to keep my hens alive, Sweet Pea would be the way to go, but that is not what my flock needs in our current situation.  We were not willing to lose Cedric.  Hoping things would settle down, I released Cedric to take the flock back over only to find out that Georgie now realized he could fight too.  He nearly took his father out since he was already injured so badly.  It was a sad sight. To see my top rooster bow down in fear to anything that moved.  Not a safe bet for the flock, but again, they are not free ranged.  I found very good homes with friends of mine for both Sweet Pea and Georgie.  I last heard that Sweet Pea had taken over his new barnyard and actually risen above the top rooster there.  The last word was that all was well and he was very happy and everyone was living peaceably (they free range).

Fast forward to now.  Cedric has almost fully recovered and is slowly gaining his confidence again.  How sweet it was to hear him crow again.  It was so sad when he wouldn't crow at all for almost an entire week!  He was very defeated and would even hide from us when we would enter the run.  I hope he rises up and raises some more handsome boys.  I will know to not go above two roosters for our particular situation and as long as Cedric is around.  The sad truth is that Scooter will be processed in the spring since he has begun to harrass the hens too much as he is reaching maturity. Most of our chickens are our pets, but decisions have to be made.  We have processed roosters before and I'm sure there will be more in the future.  I am trying really hard to compile a list of which hens need to go this spring too.  Farming is not for the weak but it is an interesting journey.  I have learned a lot and have so much more to learn.

Point of the story?  It's best to serve just one master. Order can be restored and chaos can be defeated.

Matt 6:24 (Luke 16:13)
"No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.  NKJV

Many blessings to all of you in the new year.

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