2016 Homeschool update and goals

Our new school year begins. I have a 1st grader, 8th grader and a 10th grader now.

This is also the first year that I am not doing all the lessons in all subjects with all of my kids. I realized it wasn’t realistic of me or fair to them. My 10th grader is doing most of the schooling on her own. And only joining us for US History & Geography and Creative Culinary. The rest is through online resources.

My 1st grader is between grades. He is too old for Kindergarten work and not quite ready for 1st grade completely. So we are making it up as we go with him. But I am glad I waited to start formal schooling because now he is so excited to begin. That’s what I want. No one is happy if he is resisting and I am tearing my hair trying to get him to focus.

My 8th grader is the tricky one. She is physically of high school age, technically in 8th grade, but mentally between a 3rd-5th grade level, some days. Towards the end of last year, I notice she wasn’t getting what her sister was doing and was losing interest. She was starting to join more of my son’s activities. Even storytime, she would find some spot to sit so she could hear the story. As frustrating and disappointing as this is, I have resigned myself to it. I want her to grow, learn and be able to function on her own. And it may or may not happen. But for now, this is our reality. Our daughter is stuck as a 9-10 year old. So why would I stress myself and her out to learn things she obviously can’t comprehend.

So my goals for this year…

Have my 10th grader continue to earn credits towards her high school diploma and get a part-time job.

Have my middle daughter continue therapy and continue to work on basic concepts while incorporating them into real life situations. Give her plenty of social situations with children her own age. We have also considered an autism school, but have yet to really make a decision on that.

Have my youngest learn some life skills like tying his shoes and learning his phone number and physical address. Begin reading and build on the skills he has already learned.

Another goal is to simplify our homeschool schedule. From August until November, I had such a full calendar. There was field trips, art & park days, homeschool meeting days and book clubs. I am an introvert so this kind of schedule was too much for me. I know the kids had fun, but it was hard to get in the homeschooling with all the activities. So I am limiting them to a certain amount every month.

Plus all the activities were starting to cost more than I would like to spend every month. With our new budget, we won’t have the funds like we did before.

I am going to pick the activities that go with what we are learning at the time.

I think all of this will help us stay on track and have a great homeschool year.

Simple

It’s 4 days into the new year and I am still thinking about what I want to accomplish in 2016.

The one word that keeps coming to mind is simple. I want to simplify my life. I want to slow down and just enjoy the moment.

Live in the moment.

About a week ago, my hubby had a healthy scare. At least it was a scare for me, he was chilled and cracking jokes like the class clown he is. But it scared me enough to know I want to enjoy every moment. No one knows what tomorrow will bring.

Tomorrow is not guaranteed. And I want to go to bed at night knowing I gave it my all.

In the end, I just want a simple life. I don’t need the latest and greatest technology. And I don’t need designer clothes.

I want simple friendships, not ones that take so much work to hold together.

I want simple relationships, not ones where I am doing everything and getting nothing in return.

I want a drama free zone.

I want my house to be clutter free and organized.

I want my food to be as healthy as I can make it.

I would love to go back to the little house on the prairie days.

And just live simply.

 

 

Sugar Cookies

On Sunday, I got a rare and special treat. It was just me and Dakota. This never happens. My two youngest girls were at a sleepover and my oldest daughter went to work with Daddy that day. So it was just me and my boy. We went to breakfast at Dunkin Donuts and then came home to bake some cookies. All Dakota wanted was Christmas Tree Cookies with green sprinkles like on Blues Clue. And being that kind of Momma that’s exactly what he got.

Now I can’t take credit for this recipe as being my own. But it is the best recipe I have found for sugar cookies. I found this recipe on Pinterest. Check it out here.

Here is some pictures of how our cookies turned out.

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Not only are they pretty but they were very tasty too.

Also check out my post from last year about my favorite childhood Christmas Cookie Here.

 

I am thankful….

I am thankful that my Hubby puts up with me as much as he does. I do love him even if I did say I wanted to buy a donkey and name it Babe (my pet name for him).

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I am thankful for my kids. Parenting is stressful, tiresome and some days down right awful. But without them I don’t what I would be doing or who I would be. I was meant to be a mom.

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I am thankful for my family. Sometimes they are stupid, crazy or weird. And some of them are all of the above all at once, but how would I know how to be normal if I didn’t have something to learn from. (To all the family members that read this, that wasn’t meant for you. Nope would never say that about you.)

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I am thankful for being able to homeschool and being able to have a homestead. I guess that falls under being thankful for my Hubby since he works very hard so that I don’t have too.

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I am thankful for my Autistic daughter. I am thankful it is only that and not anything worse. I have friends who are dealing with the possibility of death as an end result for their children’s condition. And I am very thankful that my daughter can walk, talk and function at a higher ability than some with this diagnosis. I know it could always be worse.

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I am thankful for my grandparents. Without them, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today. They stepped up and made sure I had a stable home and a place to call home. For that I am forever thankful. Even though 2 are gone, they are never far from my heart or my thoughts. I am an introvert like my Grandma. I only keep a few close friends. I am a farm girl like my Grandpa. And also got his love of Country Fried Steak and dumplins.

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I am an animal lover like my Grandmom and also got her need to feed and take care of people. My Grandmom was a picture of grace until you got on her bad side. Then the gloves were off. I feel like I am like that. I will always be polite, even to someone I don’t care for, but if you insult me or my family, you better watch out.

 

 

 

 

I have my Grandaddy’s sense of humor. In fact, I was just telling my hubby and kids that my Great-Grandmother (his Mother in law) never liked Grandaddy because of his sense of humor and the way he would eat his food. Like fried chicken, she always used a fork and knife, where Grandaddy would pick it up with his fingers. I notice my hubby using a fork sometimes where I am like it’s finger foods, I’m using my fingers! So in the end, I am convinced that my great-grandmother wouldn’t like me either. And especially not now that I named 2 different chickens after her. See there’s that sense of humor I was talking about. He also taught me about love and devotion. Seeing him still committed to my grandmother after she has been gone almost 22 years is inspiring. You don’t see love like that nowadays and I hope my marriage is just like theirs, Strong and withstanding time.

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So what are you thankful for?

 

This post is partying over at Simple Blog Hop

 

 

 

Holidays upon us..week 7

Well it is here. The holiday craziness is officially upon us. I know I am a little behind because of illnesses and remodeling. Yes, we decided to remodel in the middle of the holidays. We did the same thing 4 years ago too. We are just crazy like that. But thankfully it is done and now I just have to reorganize my house. I am also writing this while dealing with a very sick little girl and a million things on the to do list. But I always pull it off. Sometimes by the skin of my teeth. But hey that’s life.

So what should you be doing….

Hopefully you already shopped, are ready to shop, going shopping for everything!

Grocery shop for Thanksgiving no later than this Friday. It will save you from dealing with the massive crowds.

Make a plan for your Black Friday shopping. I am not participating because it seems the stores open earlier every year. I like to enjoy my Thanksgiving with my family and friends and shop on the actual Black Friday but I will just be shopping from this very computer I am writing you from.

Christmas shopping should already be happening. We have had boxes coming in at least 2-3 times a week here. I am almost completely done with my family outside of my household and just need to concentrate on my kids now. Hubby already bought his present so that’s one less person for me to worry about.

Hopefully you found my Holiday series helpful. I enjoyed writing it.

Happy Holidays ya’ll!

Christmas Planning…week 6

Last week, I came across this fantastic post by Christy Jordan. For those of you who don’t know, she runs a blog called Southern Plate and also has published 2 cookbooks. She is my blog idol.

Anyways.

She posted about how she makes a Christmas Notebook. It was so easy and simple. And I thought what better way to get organize than to have one place for everything.

I always have half used notebooks lying around so I put one to use and turned it into the Ford Family Christmas Notebook. Her is very fancy, where I just took a sharpie to the cover.

I did everything she did, but I also added in a page for Thanksgiving menu and grocery list.

And I will be adding pages for Christmas Cookies to bake, Elf on the Shelf Tricks and our 25 days of Christmas activities.

I hope ya’ll will find her blog and post as enjoyable as I did.

OH I forgot… Target and Walmart black friday ads is up on the site.

 

Chickens with Bumblefoot

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*Graphic Pics in this post. Warning for the faint of heart*

Never in a million years did I think I would be a chicken keeper! Never in a million years did I think I would love birds! Never in a million years did I think I would have the knowledge to perform a surgery on a chicken! But all of those things I can and do.

Having chickens are really not for the faint of heart. Yes they are very easy to take care of…until there is a problem.

One of the first major problems I had to encounter was bumblefoot. And I have had to deal with it on several occasions with the same 2 bozos.

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Thing 1 and Thing 2. These 2 seem to get it like they get bugs in the leaves. It’s crazy.

Basically bumblefoot is an infection. If they land on something and cut their foot, it could lead to bumblefoot because of all the dirt that they walk around in. Almost like a staph infection. Signs of bumblefoot are swelling, redness, a black or brown scab on the bottom and sometimes limping or holding the leg up. If left untreated it could be fatal.

On this particular day, I had, not 1, not 2, but 3 cases of bumblefoot. Thing 1 had one of her feet and, always trying to one up her sister, Thing 2 got a double case!

So I gathered my team of homeschooling homesteaders, my supplies and got to work.

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This is your basic supplies for bumblefoot: Epsom Salt, Honey, scalpel, vetricyn wound spray, gauze and vet wrap. As you can see some of this you will have at home. The rest I picked up at Tractor Supply. You will need a bucket or bowl so you can soak the chickens foot.

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Sorry for the foggy picture. I used this activity as a photography lesson for Cailin.

First, you need to get warm water in your container and add some epsom salt. I don’t measure the salt. I just pour a little and let it dissolve. This is just to soften the area around where the surgery will take place. Hold them there for a minute or two.

Now comes the fun part. Keeping them still on your lap so you can perform the surgery without hurting them.

What I do is put a towel down on my lap, then I take them out of the water and lay them on their back on my lap. I have one of my daughters immediately cover their head with a towel. Chickens can’t really see in the dark. So the towel simulates this and keeps them calm. Once in a while they will kick their leg. But usually I have my youngest daughter holding on to them so my hands are free.

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This was a very mild case of bumblefoot. I probably wouldn’t have known she had it, had her sister not been limping and I decided to check both of them. But for this post I am going to show you the most severe case I have had.

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As you can see Thing 2’s right foot is extremely swollen.

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That black spot is what we need to cut out. That is the infection. Again this is the worse case I have ever had on our homestead.

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You take your scalpel and cut around the edge of the black scab. You shouldn’t see blood or any fluids coming out. It is literally just a scab that is holding in an infection. You will see the scab start to come loose from foot.

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Once you cut away the scab, you need to scoop and squeeze to make sure there is no pus still in there. I very rarely get extra pus out. But at this point you have an open wound.

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Spray with wound care, put a little honey on the gauze and place over the incision area.

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Wrap with vet wrap. You will want to change the wrap at least once a day. If you see it has fallen off, then soak in warm water to kill any germs and repeat with meds. You may even need to use some medical tape to keep it on. Within 3-5 days it should be better and can remove the bandage.

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This post is partying over at the Simple Homestead Blog Hop

 

 

Holidays Upon us..week 6

We have 2 more weeks of Holidays upon us post and then it is here. All the craziness of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.

Thanksgiving: Get your final menu figured out! Hand out assignments of who is to bring what. Figure out your portion of the meal and make a grocery list. Also remember plates, cups and silverware. If you are fancy and use non-paper items, make sure you have enough. I use paper goods, but I like all of my food served in regular dishes. So I will be getting them out this week and washing them up and seeing what I still need.

Black Friday: The ads are slowly starting to roll out. I am still waiting for the 2 bigger ones: Target and Walmart. But there are a lot that have already been posted. Check them out here.

If you haven’t started yet, then start that shopping!!!

You only have 45 days to go!

I know I didn’t say anything about Christmas in this post. That’s because I have a special Christmas post coming on Wednesday.

Peak into our homeschool life

Like I had said in an earlier post, we didn’t start a new school year in August. We are still finishing up Kindergarten, 7th and 9th grade. Our new school year begins in January, after our holiday break.

But I wanted to give you a peak into some of the things we have been doing.

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Scavenger Hunt at the park

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Beginning spelling and yes he is shirtless 99% of the time

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This is after he beat me at Go Fish for the millionth time

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Pumpkin fun

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More Park Fun

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She free-handed her pumpkin drawing then carved it.

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My lil farmer boy

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Homeschool Day at the Florida Aquarium

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Turtle Learning at the Florida Aquarium

We have had a lot of park days lately. We also have had quite a few field trips.

This post is partying over at:

Simple Homestead Blog Hop

Eat at Home Challenge

For the last 2 months, we have really struggled with fast food. Our lives have been so busy with at least 3-4 activities on the calendar every week that it was easier to just grab something while we were out. But then there was also moments of how about we go here and there for dinner. Or do you want to get this or that for breakfast. It got out of control.

My proudest moment was when I had to take my daughter for a last-minute, late in the day doctor appointment. After the appointment, I had to make the, normally 30 minute, drive back to our hometown during rush hour traffic and stop at the pharmacy. It would have been easy to get sucked into the let’s just pick something up game. But I refused! I knew I had meat thawed in the fridge that needed to be used up. I knew we had already ate out at lunch time because of a homeschool meeting. I knew we were going over to my mom’s for pizza the next day. And I wasn’t going to do it! I got home and with the help of my middle daughter. I made dinner at home. It was completely from scratch. But it was the best I could do under the circumstances and much better than fast food. We had pork chops, mac and cheese (organic from a box) and broccoli. And I was darn proud. So proud, I turned around and did it again on Saturday. And then again on Monday.  3 busy days that could have been easier to just throw the towel in and hit the drive through. But I didn’t!

So to take it a step further, I am challenging myself to a 2 week eat at home challenge. I am going to start as of this Sunday. That means I am already 2 days into it. I actually signed up for this challenge through Eat at Home Cooks. I really love this blog because it gives some simple tips and makes it easy for all of us to eat at home. Not to mention the recipes are yummy.

And let’s be honest we all need to eat at home to make room in the fridge, freezer and our waistline for all those holiday foods that are coming up.