Family Funny!

I love my kids so much! They are joy of my life! I can’t imagine my life without them. But sometimes, there are moments, when I am shocked, worried and fearful of the things they do or things that come out of their mouth. Like the “please don’t tell people you are homeschooled” stuff!

I was telling my mom the weekly update on the kids. Moments of insanity, joy and craziness. And she said you need to blog this stuff. And my reply was “Mom, I don’t think anyone will believe me! I truly think they will think I am making it up. I will get hate mail on how I claim to be Non-fiction, but my stories are fake.”

So I am going to give it a try!

First up is Lil Man. As you all know, we lost 2 of our chickens. Well after the first one passed, there was a lot of dinner time discussion over what happened to be chicken dinner night. (the irony, right) My hubby being him said our chicken, nutmeg tasted good, to freak the kids out. Then the discussion turned to zombies (of course) and then about the zombie cat who was buried and then dug her way out of her grave.

Well the next morning, Big Bertha passed. We moved her out to the shed to let her pass out of kids view. Well about noon the kids and I went out to bury her because at 7 she was on her way out she must be dead by now. And hubby left for a job so I was on my own with this. We went out to get her and the cage to take to the back of the property. As we pulled the cage out of the shed, her eyes flew opened! And Dakota started running around in circles yelling “Zombie Chicken, Zombie Chicken!” And then asked if we should just hit her over the head like in The Walking Dead. SHEESH!!!!

Next is Bri. My youngest daughter who is special needs. We had an appointment about a month ago with a new psychiatrist. And until the last year, we really haven’t gotten any true diagnosis on what she is labeled as and what to expect. Well this doctor said something as far as job training centers and assisted living. Okay, so after Bri and I went to the grocery store and it was just her and me so I took the opportunity to discuss how this may affect her in the long run. I don’t want her to be okay with oh, I can’t because I’m different, but I also don’t want the future to be a shock to her. Plus her mind works at a much lower maturity level and she has language expression delays so I knew she didn’t understand the doctor. Well it takes about 24 hours for things to click for Bri and all of a sudden I found her in her room crying. I asked what’s wrong and she said I am not going to live very long. I was shocked and confused. Then she said you said that when we were going into the grocery store. At this point, I am trying not to laugh. I explained everything again. And then asked her how long she was in here crying about it and she said awhile. Then I really did LOL! And told her that if I had that kind of news to give her it wouldn’t be at a grocery store.

“Bri, we need to go to the store.”

“What do we need Mom?”

“We need milk, bread and by the way, aisle 3 sells caskets now and your going to need one soon.”

Luckily, humor is the diffuser for my SN child. And by this point, she realized how silly it was and was hysterically laughing. We both were!

I swear these are true stories!

If you want to see more blog post like this, leave a comment or click the like button! Believe me there is more where that came from, so many that I may have to start writing them down. SMH!

2 weeks of craziness

Sorry for being MIA but life kinda took over again. Ya know 4 kids can keep a girl busy. Plus losing 2 of our chickens was awful and rough. But life came full circle when 3 days later our first batch of chicken eggs started hatching. This was a small batch.

DSC_0641

As you can see we started with the 6 in the front, 1 wasn’t developing. So 5 went into lockdown. The 3 white eggs in the back are our duck eggs. They ended up not being developing either. Out of the 5 that went into lockdown, I got 4 to hatch! Not too shabby for a first timer. Of course, I had been watching the first cracked egg for hours and nothing major was happening. So I went out to run my errands with the kids and my Grandma called and said you have a baby and it is chirping extremely loud. My poor cocker spaniel was going nuts trying to find the babies. By the next morning, I had 3 waiting in the incubator and the last one hatched while I was cooking breakfast. Those little boogers can move fast when they are ready to break free!

About 48 hours old here

Here they are after their first night in the brooder. Everyone is doing great and seems very healthy. When they were waiting in the incubator to dry, they were extremely loud and responded whenever I talked to them. Now they recognize “the hand” and enjoy pecking food out it.

DSC_0663

 

Here they are 4 days old and already starting to get their big chick feathers. They are growing so fast!

In other news, Lil man has lost his first tooth! This momma is mad because she missed it. I was out to dinner and literally pulled into the drive way about 5 minutes after he yanked it out. But he was very excited because his tooth fairy didn’t bring a dollar, instead he got a new Skylanders Trap Team Trap. Yup, that kid is spoiled rotten by everyone, including the Tooth Fairy. But how can you not love him!?! Look at this smile.

DSC_0651

We also went to local Renaissance Festival with my Dad and Aunt. We had never been and it is something my Dad really enjoys. It was an experience to say the least. LOL But the kids got to try a lot of new things and had a lot of fun. I will post more when I can figure out how to get the photos off my stupid phone.

The kids are on Spring Break this week. So we are just relaxing and putting up a new fence. More on that later.

Plus it’s U-pick’em season here Plant City. And I found a wonderful Organic U-pick’em. Be prepared for lots of Strawberry recipes!

Plus more babies! Our next batch goes into lockdown on Monday and we have a new set of duck eggs in the incubator. Those should be hatching the Saturday before Easter.

Deschooling

Deschooling is an important step when transitioning from regular school to homeschool. You need that time to relax and get out of the mind frame that homeschooling doesn’t have to be like a classroom. You don’t have to cover all of the subjects everyday and you don’t have to learn in the form of worksheets and test. You don’t have to leave a paper trail to show progress or accomplishments. Learning should be free and hands on. You should encourage your children’s interest and follow their questions to guide you along their learning path. Not some paper or book or professional that says at this age they should know how to do this, that and this and that.

Let me let you in on a little secret. I didn’t do anything that I just ranted and raved about! I have homeschooled for 8 years now. I took my kids out of school and went straight into workbooks and worksheets. We didn’t deschool. Our lessons took precedence over the fun of schooling. Experiments got pushed to the back burner along with field trips and fun. And I mostly think this is why my oldest rebelled. And why ultimately she went back to school.

So why haven’t I posted anything about schooling for the last 3 months or so. Well…..because I finally realized that we needed to deschool. We needed to relax and take a step back. And find our path that we are meant to be on. And that we did.

We watched movies. We read books. We played. We went to Disney. We cooked and had lots of holiday fun. We played video games. And we relaxed! Plus we also took many opportunities to ask questions and look up the answers. In fact, they ask so many questions at moments when we weren’t near a computer that my daughter started carrying pen and paper to write them all down.

But we were still learning. We also talked about where we wanted our homeschool path to head.

But more importantly we lived by the motto of Live, Laugh, Love.

DSC_0163DSC_0535DSC_0492

DSC_0110DSC_0262DSC_0493DSC_0494

DSC_0168DSC_0207DSC_0608

 

 

 

Don’t rush! Building a homestead takes time.

It’s been about a year that I have become interested in homesteading. I mean I have always said I wanted a farm or ranch, but 2014 was the year that I really got involved and learning about the hows and whys.

This time last year, I thought, I’m going to get some chickens and throw some seeds in the ground and there will be my farm.

UM…..NO! Doesn’t work like that.

My chickens have had illnesses and injuries. I have also had to do things to heal them that I never thought I would ever do. (Hello, bumblefoot surgery!) I also ran out and bought 12 chicks without having a plan for a coop.

And guess what my seeds didn’t grow very well. In fact nothing did! All of my plants would start off strong and then stop. My dirt is mostly sand and not enough nutrients.

I started off thinking that for 2015 I would expand. I would get some pigs, ducks and anything else I could convince my hubby to let me have. I would double the garden and eventually have enough to feed us and sell.

But in the last few days of looking at my garden, I realized I needed to take a step back. None of those dreams are going to be possible without a little research and preparations.

So I readjusting my goals for the year.

  1. Add a few more chicks (layers) and add some ducks.
  2. Tear up the majority of my garden and start working the dirt. I am getting some worms and adding compost and other nutrients.
  3. Start composting! Build a compost bin.
  4. Research caring for pigs, find a butcher and locate local organic feed.
  5. Try to go back to basics on as much as possible (food, cleaners, and hygiene) and continue to remove all GMO products from our house.

Don’t try to do everything at one time. Take the time to research and know what your doing and why your doing it. In the long run, you want to become self sufficient and time is your friend. Because the more you rush, the more screw ups you’ll have and the more money you would’ve wasted. Eventually not seeing progress and seeing money fly down the toilet will make you want to give up and quit.

Hello 2015!!

New year 2015

 

I know I am a little late, but honestly I don’t start my new year resolutions until after my birthday on the 5th. Why deprive myself of cake and celebration!?! I made it another year and, dang it, I earned that slice of cake!

So my new year starts when winter break is over and normal life resumes. Well as close to normal as this bunch can get.

I have thought about my new year’s resolution for sometime now. Months actually! I feel like 2014 was my year to find myself. I found out that I have a passion for homesteading that I never knew was there. And not only homesteading, but natural living, without all the chemicals and medications. I like being able to keep my family healthy without the use of antibiotics or over the counter drugs. I like cooking from scratch and knowing what is going into my food and that the items are of the best quality that I can find.

But there were many areas that I floundered at. I don’t want to say fail because that is so negative. I feel like I never failed. I may not have put my best effort in to them, but I never failed, so floundered is the perfect description.

So here they are my resolutions:

  1. Learn more and love life~ Enjoy it, every minute! I noticed my anxiety has flared up a little bit and I want to get a handle on it better so I can accomplish this task. Just get healthier in general. I see too many family members fighting different diseases and I don’t want that. I wanna be around for a long, long time.
  2. Expand our homesteading. I would love to get where we can raise our own meat and add some more egg layers to our little flock. Ducks are coming only because they are so cute!
  3. Separate myself from the negativity. Too many times I let other people’s life choices stress me out and worry me. Yes, they are my family and I love them, but they are not my immediate (in my household) family and those are the ones that need my guidance and attention. So I am going to learn to Let it go! (cue Frozen song here)
  4. Blog more and interact with more bloggers. Expand this and possibly make a business that will thrive and I can be extremely proud of.
  5. Spend more time with my kids. This year my oldest is turning 18!!! How did that happen I have no idea?!? But I feel like I blinked and her childhood was gone. So I am using that as an eye opener and cherishing every moment I have left with them all.

To help me with these, I will probably set little mini goals each month. I seem to do well with a to do list type thing. Sometimes I get so busy with just the everyday stuff that I look up and a whole month has gone by. I would like to try to slow down a bit and that is my overall theme of the year.

Slow down and enjoy being me!

My Favorite Childhood Holiday Cookie: Pecan Balls

DSC_0476

 

Growing up my mom wasn’t around a lot, so my memories of traditions are very few. But one thing I do remember is these amazing little bite size cookies. I couldn’t get enough of them. Well one year my mom decided that I was too old and stopped making all the cookies and holiday feast. It all fell on me. I searched every cookbook looking for a pecan ball recipe. What I didn’t know until I got this beautiful thing called internet is that they are actually called Mexican Wedding Cakes.

Then it took quite a few years to perfect the recipe to how I remember them tasting. Now it has become a tradition with my kids and they know it is not Christmas without this cookie! I even got my picky lil man to try them this year and it was instant love.

I really hope you enjoy this cookie as much as my family does.

Mexican Wedding Cakes

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 8 tbs confectioner sugar, plus more for rolling in
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients except pecans with a mixer until well blended. Add pecans and mix.

DSC_0471

I used my smaller cookie scooper on these because I like them to be 1-2 bite size. Scoop and roll dough into round small balls. Place on lightly greased baking sheet.

Pecan Balls

As you can see I put a lot on one sheet because these cookies don’t spread, they hold their form. I managed to get on batch on one sheet. They do puff up a little so you may have a few that are touching but nothing you can easily pull apart.

Bake for 11-12 minutes.

Pecan Balls

As you can see they look almost the same after baked. So you have to do a touch test. You want them a little firm and a very light coloring.

Cool completely then roll in additional confectioner’s sugar. Now if you are like me who absolutely does not wait until they are cool completely; then you will have to roll them again in a day or so. If they last that long!

Pecan Balls

Enjoy!

 

December Preschool

DSC_0436

The holidays are here along with the hustle and bustle. This time of year always throws off our homeschooling schedule. I just have way too much cooking and shopping to do. Along with all the fun holiday activities! There is visiting Santa, Christmas crafts and baking, visiting fun holiday places and watching all those movies. So why not make that a part of homeschooling. I know I learn something new every year, so I am sure your kids will too. Plus your kids are only young once and you want to enjoy these little memories before their too big and too cool to hang with you. Believe me! I know!

Activities planned for the month:

  • Elf on the shelf
  • Putting up our tree
  • Visiting Santa
  • Mailing a letter to Santa
  • Baking Cookies
  • Pinecone Painting
  • G is for Gingerbread~ Gingerbread paint, making gingerbread men or house
  • Learn about reindeers
  • Poinsettias
  • National Cocoa Day~ measuring and mixing (that’s math people!)
  • Grinch day~ Learn about kindness. Pin the heart on the Grinch and grinch juice as a snack. Plus watching old and new version of the movie.
  • Candy Canes~ Cane Hunt, Playdough, Paint and erupting Candy canes
  • Polar Express PJ Party
  • 1st day of Winter
  • Snowball Fight and Homemade Snow Fun
  • Advent Calendar
  • Walt Disney’s B-day December 5
  • New Year’s Eve

 

Field Trips planned:

  • Disney World~ At Hollywood Studios, they have an amazing light display called the Osbourne Family Lights. It is the best display I have ever seen. And, of course, the lighting of the castle at Magic Kingdom. This year Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and Olaf are lighting the tree. Very exciting!
  • Park
  • Florida Aquarium
  • Lowry Park Zoo
  • Lowes for the monthly building activity
  • Looking at Christmas lights

Because it’s a busy month, I haven’t planned out everyday. I just made a list and when I need an idea I search through and grab the ones that appeal to me that day.

For more ideas visit my pinterest boards. Christmas Activities for school and December preschool lessons

I also have a Christmas board that has a lot of Elf on the Shelf ideas and Advent Calendar activities.

 

 

Cooking with kids~ Chicken Cordon Bleu

DSC_0042

 

A long time ago, as in a few months ago, I would just buy those frozen Barber Chicken Cordon Bleu. Times has changed, money is tight and since I would have to buy 4 packs for one meal, it had to go. So I was at the store with my kids, wondering what to fix for dinner. I wanted Chicken Cordon Bleu and knew I had already thawed out chicken at home, decided to fight the urge to buy it premade and made my own with the help of Brianna.

My lovely assistant

My lovely assistant

 

This recipe is very easy for kids to make because it’s pretty hard to screw up and really doesn’t involve any measuring. So I knew it would be perfect for my special child to make. Plus there was no recipe to read just listening to Mom.

Ingredients:

chicken breast~ I use thin sliced, but if you prefer the thicker ones just adjust your cooking time.

Dijon mustard or honey mustard

seasoned bread crumbs

oil or cooking spray

deli sliced ham and swiss cheese

This is what I used, but honestly the ingredients can be switched out to fit your families taste. I would have prefered honey mustard, but didn’t have any.

DSC_0034

Coat both sides of the chicken with a thin layer of Dijon Mustard.

DSC_0036

Then coat with breadcrumbs.

DSC_0031

Saute in a pan until lightly brown on both sides. You can use butter, coconut oil or grape seed oil. This will take about 5-7 minutes depending on the temp of your pan.

DSC_0037

Remove from pan and stick on a cookie sheet. Add ham; as much or as little as you like.

DSC_0038

Another thin layer of mustard.

DSC_0040

Then top with the cheese. Then I pop these in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. I want to make sure the chicken is done and the cheese is melted. Now if you are worried about the cheese getting burned, you could always put the chicken in the oven before you add the mustard and cheese. Bake for 5-10 minutes and then add continue with recipe, baking another 5-10 minutes.

DSC_0042

And then VOILA! The finish project! It was delicious! I usually add a cheesy rice as a side (almost like a risotto) and some corn or broccoli.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

3 year Blogiversary

 

DSC_0110

Growing a large family 3 year blogiversary

 

It was 3 years ago today that I decided to start a blog. A place where I can vent and connect with the world. I also did many searches for large family blogs and couldn’t find any. So I decided that that was the direction I wanted to go. Over the years it has morphed into an eclectic collection of moments in our lives from homeschooling to homesteading. I try to keep it real, but classy and positive at the same time. I hope I have provided some humor along with some ideas and tips to help with your lives. All I ask is that you spread the word.

 

DSCN0302

 

 

DSCN1527

Now let’s take a look back at my top post over the last 3 years.

First Day of School 2013

Homemade Pizza Dough

Building our Coop de Ville

 

DSC_0087

My Favorite Post:

I’m Southern and I can’t bake biscuits

This is my favorite post because I always ask myself why can’t I make biscuits. I grew up watching Grandma make them. I have tackled some pretty difficult recipes and have honestly impressed the heck out of myself sometimes. But biscuits are my Achilles heel! UPDATE: I still haven’t found and made a good biscuit yet!

Selfie! OH wait am I too close!

Selfie! OH wait am I too close!

 

Theses are the post that sum me up as a person. These post show who I am perfectly.

Our Frugal Disney Vacation

City Girl living a Country life

Check in with my flock

Family Dinners

DSCN1878

 

Let me know your favorite post and what you would like to see more of.

 

 

Beginning a new school year

DSCN1577

This is from a few years ago, but totally captured how I felt beginning this new school year.

This school year has had so many ups and downs that I am scared to see what the next 8 months bring. I just couldn’t get everything going. I had no motivation. Plus I was lost trying to homeschool 3 kids at 3 different levels. This was a first for me. Even when my girls were all home, they were close to each other that I could teach them all and then give different activities. But this year was different.

I have a High schooler,Cailin, as if that isn’t stressful enough. All the questions of am I doing the right thing? Am I screwing her up for life? Am I giving her enough classes or too much? What about college?!?

Then I have my special needs daughter, Brianna. She learns something but still struggles with 1st to 2nd grade math. We haven’t moved past basic division because she get so frustrated. She loves Science and Nature but hates writing and history. She gets frustrated if I try to help and then in the same breath frustrated that I didn’t help. *SIGH*

Last is my darling son, Dakota, who is extremely smart and retains things very quickly, but HATES SCHOOL!!!!! He would rather play with video games and toys or watch Disney Jr than pick up a crayon. He can write his name and recognize most letters. He just learned to count to 25 but would rather learn adding and telling time. Like I said extremely smart, but also my “I can’t” kid, which I have never had to deal with before.

Needless to say in the last month and half that we have been suppose to be doing school, there were a lot of struggles, tears and me saying I was done. I sat down with the kids a few times and tried to brainstorm what would help all of us. What I heard was

  • I hate being in my room reading from 10 different textbooks (Cailin)
  • I want more science ( Brianna and Cailin)
  • I want more projects or hands on stuff (both again)
  • I want more art (both again)
  • I like stickers, painting, storytime, circle time, fun games and toys, BUT NO COLORING! (demanding  darling son)
  • Cooking (all 3)

For me, it was research time!

DSCN1818

Maybe we were unschooling all along! Snow ball fight in Florida!

 

Unschooling
Unschooling was one of the first methods I checked out. I knew I was tired of worksheets and blah reading. And I also knew I was burned out. And I knew I just didn’t have it in me to be stressed out and worrying about curriculum deadlines. But I was worried about Cailin not having enough credits or requirements to get into culinary school. I knew she would read and learn on a daily basis, but what about Brianna. During the weekends all she does is sleep, walk around the yard or sleep and watch TV. She has no goals, interest, hobbies or independence. She needs me to lead and direct. Then there is Dakota, who as I stated earlier would play video games all day long.
I didn’t like the couple of days we tried it and neither did the kids, except Lil Man. At the same time, there were some readings about how unschooling is letting go of everything. No chores, no rules, eating whatever they want, basically letting them make their choices. Again this is not going to work in my house.
  1. I am a control freak and so is my hubby.
  2. My kids will eat junk food instead of making healthy choices.
  3. I am trying to go organic and that stuff is expensive. If I let my skinny mini special needs child go on free will by the end of the day my groceries will be gone. She doesn’t eat because she is hungry. She eats because it is 8 o’clock, 12 o’clock, 5 o’clock or because she is bored.
  4. I have a VERY hard time getting the kids to do their chores as is, if I let them choose then nothing will be done, other than me listening to Hubby complain.
  5. I have a large family and I am only 1 person!

So some of the ideas didn’t sit well with me.

DSCN1594

Doing a fun project just because we can!

 

Project based learning
Project based learning was next. I liked how it was very hands on and I knew my kids would love that. But it was once again child led. We tried this for a few days. My oldest began a project, did very well, but hasn’t touched it since. My youngest just wants to read the Mo Willems Pigeon books, but no activities to go with them. And Brianna refused to read the book, picked out a cat, started to make a cat but then got frustrated. Once again I helped too much and then not enough.
Meeting time
We sat down again and went over everything we liked and didn’t like about the last few weeks. The things we took away from this meeting were pretty simple. My kids liked when I was teaching them and planning the activities. They didn’t want to have all that responsibility, but they do like a say in what we learn. Which is fine because I love Pinterest and planning all those activities.
My kids hate writing! So I will include that in with other subjects.  Brianna loved Little House in the Big woods and Cailin wants to read Shakespeare. UMMM OK!!! Everyone wants more science. Heck, if all day, everyday was just science they would be happy. Cailin was doing Biology and she liked what they were teaching just not how and Brianna is very interested in animals, insects and plants. Take away textbooks, add some hands on activities, videos, interactive notebooking and field trips~ you got yourself and very fun science curriculum.
I struggled with History and Art. That is not my thing. American history, YES! World History, NO! So I have my mom helping me to put that together and make it more hands on. They liked our curriculum, Story of the World, but wanted art tied into it and more videos and hands on. I have to admit in my we have to finish this now, I would skip a lot of hands on activities. Yup bad mom of the year here. But it’s okay, because I am reformed now! And again, thank God for Pinterest and lovely homeschool blogging moms who have the answer to my struggles.
This helped with my older kids, but what about Dakota. Well for one, he likes to say he is smarter than his sisters. So I being the mom I am told him if he doesn’t do school and they do school eventually he won’t be smarter. Don’t judge! He is my stubborn one and if it works it works. But seriously, I also noticed that if it is something that catches his attention, he will participate. The other day, the girls were observing and drawing in their nature journal outside, which was his idea (a miracle). He had to have a nature journal too. And so he sat, drawing and from time to time running to catch butterflies. That in my book is a success!
In the end
We can’t and won’t be labeled. We are Unschoolers. Everyday is learning if you really pay attention and think. We think we are just living, but living and learning goes hand and hand. So me explaining why the dumbass who just cut me off in the car is a dumbass is learning. Or why we need to go get this for the chickens or why we don’t buy this brand or version of the food. It is valuable information that they are soaking up and storing away.
We are Project Based because we love using our hands and really being able to observe and process it. We love a good project but also know when to move on. It doesn’t consume our lives.
We are Teacher led because my kids want to spend time with me and listen to my knowledge. And let’s be honest, I don’t know how many more years I have with them and I am going to enjoy them. They are getting older you know.
We are Curriculum Based meaning we follow a curriculum but it was set up based on suggestions from the kids. Which must mean we are Child Led also.
Look I don’t know about you, but recently the reality has hit that my kids aren’t staying little. I have a year and a half until my oldest public school daughter graduates and goes off to college and 4 years with Cailin. Those years are going to fly and I just want to enjoy. I want to make memories and laugh. I want to have fun and live. I want to enjoy this season of my life before the next comes around. So I am not looking to check off a box of another school subject done. The only boxes I want to check off is moments lived!
DSC_0269

Picnic time