Thursday, November 29, 2018

Winter Garden

Winter garden

It has been a trying year.  This fall/winter has been a trying time.  Financially things have not been the best.  This year alone our a/c went out, our septic went out, our deep freeze died and just recently our fridge died.  I also found out at the beginning of the year that I would be in for thousands of dollars of necessary dental work (mostly repairing/replacing crowns).  But God.  Through all the trials, my Lord has been with us.  Provision has come, one way or another.  It has still been rough, but we have not gone hungry or wanting for anything.  Bills have gotten behind and restored. We persevere.

Our winter garden above looks desolate, lost, barren.  But in the spring it will be an empty canvas for a productive future.  We failed again to prepare it before the winter weather hit, but if all fails we will get it done in the spring, like we did this year, before planting.  Each year it gets a little better and things come together more.  We upgraded with composite boards this year and should be able to have all the beds finished by next spring/summer with composite.  We were able to get them on deep discounts.  We also combined a lot of beds which made for more planting space and less wasted aisle space that just gets filled with grass and weeds.

The weeds and bugs around here will always be a hideous challenge every year, but with perseverance, we will prevail.  I went with Sevin dust this year and had good results. I think I might try neem oil again next year and see if we can still have good results.  It is a much better organic alternative but it didn't work so well several years ago.  The squash bugs are just so bad here and they seem to take out everything.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: ecc 3:1
Seasons.  There are seasons in nature and seasons in our life.  Each day begins anew and His mercies are renewed every morning.  I thank God for His provision in our lives and I thank Him for being with us always.  Our homesteading journey, however slow it may be in this season, is so worth it and rewarding.  Each year there are at least small improvements. It will come, I believe, with time and patience.  Don't lose hope and don't lose your dream.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

He Got One!

After much anticipation and waiting, he got one! This was Sam's third year hunting.  No luck the first year, got one but lost it in tracking last year, got one this year!  Nice sized 7 point buck. Meat in the freezer, thank you Jesus!  He was so happy and proud to be able to contribute to the family in providing some wonderful meat.  We are so grateful for God's provision.  Looking forward to some yummy meals ahead.  Do you have any hunters in your family?  May you also be blessed if you do.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Guitar 360 Method REVIEW

Guitar 360 Method

We've had two guitars in our home for many years now and still, no one plays.  I can read music and I play piano, but I have just not mastered being able to play the guitar.  I was excited when we had the chance to review and learn to play guitar using the Guitar 360 Method.  I received free access to this online guitar lessons course. The course includes guitar videos on how to play the guitar.  The lessons can be accessed on your desktop computer, laptop, or even a tablet or mobile device for learning on the go.  This is NOT a subscription so when you purchase the lessons you have access to them for as long as you want and need them.  The lessons are taught by Krisz Simonfalvi, a world-renowned instructor. I received the Semester 1 Bundle that includes both 3 weeks (23 lessons) of Absolute Beginner bonus content and 13 weeks (100 lessons) of Semester 1. It also included 2 bonus mini song lessons.

Bonus beginner course and bonus songs

It is important to know that Krisz stresses that this is not a music theory course, all though he does cover some. It consists instead of immersive lessons that saturate you with technique and creativity.  He really does walk you through the steps for you to gain confidence in your ability to produce music from within you.  Krisz says it's perfect for "those who want to play in a band/worship team or write their own music."  He recommends it for ages 15 and above, but younger students who really want to learn can certainly benefit from this course.

Working on a lesson from the laptop

Because we are so new to playing the guitar my son and I focused on the bonus beginner course.  I love how the lessons are so short and allow you to really master the topic.  Most videos are only about 5 minutes long (in week 1 a few are only about 2 minutes).  Krisz says this is so you can go back to a specific topic to review instead of trying to find what you want within an hour long or so teaching segment.  Once you are in the course navigating through the lessons is very easy and user-friendly.  As you progress through the lessons you can mark them as complete, but you can always go back and review as necessary.

Bonus Beginner lessons week 1

The Bonus Beginner Lessons include the following:
  • Week 1
    • Welcome
    • Parts of the Guitar
    • Left Hand Basics
    • Right Hand Basics
    • How to Tune
    • 4-Finger Warm-up Exercises
    • Practice
      • Exercise level1
      • Exercise level 2
      • Exercise level 3
  • Week 2
    • Your First Chord
    • Basic Strumming
    • Let's Add Another Chord
    • Practice
      • Strumming Level 1
      • Strumming Level 2
      • Strumming Level 3
  • Week 3
    • Our Next Chord(s)
    • Pickups & Multiplying Chords
    • Parts of a Song
    • Practice
      • Song Level 1
      • Song Level 2
      • Song Level 3
    • Song performed with singer
    • Closing

Semester 1 Welcome section

Practicing hard

We are not ready to begin the Semester 1 Bundle course yet, but I can't wait till we get to that point.  I am finding that for some reason I just struggle with holding the guitar and placing my fingers properly, but I know I'll get there!  My son is doing pretty well and really enjoys reviewing his lessons.  There are 100 lessons in the 12-week Semester 1 Bundle.  Some topics include:
  • Chords
  • Strumming
  • Sharps and Flats
  • Shortcuts to finding notes
  • Finding all notes
  • Scales (minor and major)
  • Articulation (expressing yourself)
  • Power chords
  • Fingerstyle patterns
  • String bending
  • Barre Technique
  • Dorian and Phrygian scales
  • and so, so much more!
Currently, weeks 12 and 13 are listed as being available in 55 days.  You are able to interact with Krisz via the comments section in each lesson.  Each lesson also allows you to download the chords introduced into pdf format.

Chord downloads available at the bottom of the lessons

Screenshot of Week 1 lesson from Semester 1

If you are wanting to learn to play the guitar or just wanting to improve your techniques and/or your methods, then I think Guitar 360 Method may just be what you are looking for.  Krisz is a wonderful teacher who teaches you in simple, bite-sized lessons and his demeanor is so personable and he gives you so much encouragement as you progress through the lessons.  Both my son and I are enjoying the lessons and will definitely continue and hopefully have a wonderful outcome and maybe two more guitar players in the family!

Guitar 360 Method

You can connect with Krisz and the Guitar 360 Method on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or INSTAGRAM.

I saved the best for last.  Currently, you can receive 20% off your purchase of the Semester 1 Bundle.  Just use the code HOMESCHOOL20. Now is the perfect time to take advantage of this wonderful resource.  Over 10 hours of one on one video instruction.

Please also take the time to check out what others on the Crew have to say about the Guitar 360 Method.

Guitar Lessons with Krisz Simonfalvi {Guitar 360 Method Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, November 2, 2018

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines REVIEW

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines
While I am not currently working on an at home business, it is something I would like to pursue in the near future.  When given the chance to review Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing I was intrigued.  I do write these reviews for the Homeschool Review Crew and I do have to keep up with my deadlines so I was hoping I could find some help and direction in that area.  I received an email with digital access to her course.  Once I registered I was able to bookmark the access page and enter the course through my bookmark link. This is a digital online program.

Dashboard opening page

While I do not have any more babies in diapers, I do have a very busy and feisty 6 year old and challenging 14 year old.  This course is NOT just for moms with babies.  If you have schedules and deadlines to meet or if you just want more order to your homeschool day, this course can help you get there.  The units covered include:

  • Welcome
  • Building Your Foundation with the Basics
  • Minimize Your Decisions
  • Minimize Your Decisions: The Annual Meal Plan
  • Sustainable Growth (sleep, free time, setting boundaries, etc)
  • Growing a Business with Your Kids Around
  • Boost Your Productivity (work at home mom productivity tips)
  • Closing Thoughts
You can see from the above list that several of the topics can apply to any stay at home mom.  Each unit has several lessons to complete.  I have been slowly working through the course and I still have a way to go, but I have enjoyed working through the lessons and applying what I have learned and what has helped our home run a little more smoothly.  In the welcome section Lisa reminds us that it takes baby steps to "slowly find balance in your life."  She is a mom of 8 juggling farm chores, homeschool, and an at home business.

She begins in Building Your Foundation with getting your family onboard with your business.  In my case it was getting them to see why I take the time to do the Crew Reviews.  If you do have an at home business this step is so key for peace in the home.  She goes on to discuss flexible routines and making a plan of the day.  We all know that there has to be flexibility in homeschooling and that without a vision the people will perish.  Without a plan, the day is almost destined to failure.

Life is busy and things happen.  If we can't be flexible in our schedules and plans we will most surely become so frustrated we won't be of much use at anything or anywhere.  It is such an important, yet often difficult, skill to teach to our children.  Of course the best learning happens when you model what you expect yourself.  Flexibility can be a hard one, yet so necessary to keep the peace in your days.  Lisa's Action Steps at the end of the lessons have been helpful and challenging at times.

Sample Action Step

She advocates teaching the kids multiple skills so that no one gets burned out doing the same chores over and over.  You can then rotate the jobs they are expected to carry out.  Because I only have two and because of their ages, this didn't work so much for me, but completing the action step of designating what chores needed done and who would/could complete them was helpful.  And speaking of completion I like that after you finish each lesson you can mark that off as being complete!  You then click on the NEXT button to proceed to the next lesson.  You can of course go back to a PREVIOUS lesson and all lessons can be repeated as necessary if needed.

Another foundation was planning your day each day and involving the kids in it so they know what to expect for the day.  She has her planning meeting each day at breakfast when everyone is there.  She mentions that the kids are better behaved when they know what to expect and I have to agree with her.  When my kids know what to expect next and/or what is coming up, they do tend to comply better with the days tasks.  Kids like routine and this sets that up for them.  The skill of flexibility sometimes plays out in this area when despite your best plans, things sometimes have to change off the orginal plan.  Flexibility would be key here to keeping things in order.  The kids also just like being part of the planning process since the schedule involves them.

I also like that she has you checking in with her for an action step.  She really wants to connect with you and help you in any way she can to make this work for you.  The Minimizing Decisions section was much needed by me. I find myself overwhelmed with tasks so often.  And the 6 year old does NOTHING but ask questions constantly ALL DAY!  Once I made my list and had the answers to the questions I thought came up most each day, I felt more prepared for the challenges of the day knowing I already had the answers to most of the questions, LOL.

Meal Planning

I think my favorite was the 15 Minute Quick Clean.  It's not what you think and you'll just have to get the course to see what neat ideas Lisa has.  You're most likely to think that most of this stuff is just common sense, and it pretty much is.  It's just that Lisa has a little different perspective on how to tackle most of the challenges. The bite size tasks help to make the journey very doable and you can see results of your actions pretty quickly.  Follow her easy steps and watch your productivity increase.

Lisa provides plenty of lists and examples in her course.  She even provides PDF worksheets you can use for some of the assignments. The step by step, bite size action steps really help with time management for busy moms.  I have quite a bit more still to work through, but my progress so far has been helpful.  Lisa's willingness to connect with you through email is awesome.  She even ends the course with yet another check in with her so that she can continue to help you if you need it.  I personally did not "check in" with her but didn't feel I needed the extra help right now.

Lisa Tanner Writing
I am enjoying the course and would recommend that you check out Balancing Diapers and Deadlines from Lisa Tanner Writing (even if you don't have any littles in diapers).  You can connect with Lisa on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, TWITTER, and PINTEREST.

Please also be sure to check out the other reviews from my fellow Crew members through the link below.  Thank you!

Balancing Diapers and Deadlines {Lisa Tanner Writing Reviews}
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Breed Highlight: Olive Eggers

Dudley and Dee Dee hatched from my white olive egger roo and black copper marans hens

Meet two of my newest olive eggers, Dee Dee and Dudley.  They were hatched from my white Olive Egger roo and a Black Copper Marans hen.  I am so curious at what color egg Dee Dee will lay.  She is just now nearing time she would start laying eggs but since we are into our winter season, she will most likely not lay until this upcoming spring.  My current Olive Egger hen, Snow White, lays a lighter greenish olive egg.  Pretty much the same color as my Easter Eggers but with a slightly more brown tint.  I am hoping that due to the Marans gene that Dee Dee will lay a darker olive colored egg.  The challenge for me is that two of my three Black Copper Marans hens do not lay breed standard dark eggs and the third barely makes the cut.  Marans are supposed to lay that dark chocolate colored egg but mine do not.

Dudley, my olive egg roo hatched from my white olive egg roo and a black copper marans hen

Olive eggers are a cross between and brown egg laying chicken and a blue egg laying chicken.  My roo is an Olive Egger and with the hen being a Marans I would hope I could get a darker olive colored egg.  Time will tell.  I do like their temperaments.  They are very shy but seem to have a sweet demeanor.  Olive Eggers are not a breed per se but more of just a mutt chicken that lays pretty shades of olive eggs.

I hope to remember to give you a future update on what color I end up getting.  What fun colors do you have in your egg basket?

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