Tag Archive | tweens

Holidays upon us week 5….

Week 5 and 1 holiday down! How was your Halloween? Let me start by saying my plan of action didn’t happen like I thought it would because I didn’t actually go around and find out trunk or treat times. So we ended up in the one neighborhood in our entire city and now I know where everyone tricks or treats on Halloween.

Only 2 of my kids went trick or treating, my oldest was sleeping over at a friend’s house and my middle daughter had a homeschool glow party to attend. So it was just the littles with us.

Halloween 2015 Growing a large family

I was so proud of my zombie make up skills. I started to use the cheap Halloween make up and he immediately turned red. So I used my eyeshadow and lipstick. He loved it.

In character

In character

Our witch had a great time too. Until the next morning, when she realized she lost her hat at the last stop of the night.  Story of our life.. always losing something. But I did learn 2 valuable lessons for next year…

  1. take my own advice and actually plan by finding out the exact times
  2. Buy a wagon for little man to ride in. With his feet problems, he had a hard time walking a long distance.

So we are now in the first week of November. This is the perfect time for a nice deep cleaning. Get a jump on it instead of trying to pile in cleaning and cooking the week before. Halloween is over so I plan on getting rid of all the cobwebs in my house this week. Put away Halloween decorations and pull out anything for Thanksgiving. Reorganize kitchen and give it a good scrubbing. I am also hoping to steam clean the main carpet areas.

Friday before Halloween, I officially started Christmas Shopping! Definitely sit down, look at your list and get started!

Also you want to get an official response on who is coming for Thanksgiving or maybe where you are going. Get the menu set in stone this week and let everyone know who is to bring what.

Do you have family members that can’t stand to be in the same room? Me too! Usually this is never a problem because it just worked out that they weren’t in town at the same time. But this year, I am running into this exact scenario. I am going to tell you how I am handling it. I called one (the one I knew would be upset the most) and explained SO & SO is going to be here on Thanksgiving. You are more than welcome to come but I understand if you don’t want too. The response I got was “we will play it by ear.”

So what do you do with a response and situation like this? You don’t want to rely on someone for cranberry sauce and then they don’t show out of pettiness. Give them the small stuff. Say well if you do come, we would love if you would bring a dessert or a drink. Don’t give them any part of the main meal. Give them an item that someone else is also bringing so if they show and you have extra YAY. If not, then you are still covered.

In my family, I take over and do 99% of the cooking. My hubby likes my particular way of cooking things and I enjoy cooking and feeding people. It’s the southern in me.

Happy Holidays, Ya’ll!

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Holidays upon us…Week 1

Well it’s the first full week of October. And that means the holiday frenzy begins. But first, can I just say Man, this year flew by! So I thought I would blog about what I am doing to prepare for the holidays. Every Monday, there will be a post about what I have done to get ahead of the craziness. In October, we have homecoming, Alissa’s 18th Birthday and Halloween. But I am also thinking ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas because with a family this size and a schedule as busy as ours is, I don’t have time to be running out the door the day before to prepare.

First thing, get your kids talking about Halloween. Especially if they want the most popular costume on the shelves, you have got to find it now. Believe me, I ran into this problem last year with my son’s costume.

Last years Olaf costume

Last years Olaf costume

Everybody wanted to be a character from Frozen. And trying to find the costume in his size at a reasonable price was a nightmare. As you can see, I got it but it was a close one and cost more than I like to admit! So get them talking now. I have a feeling if you try to go out even the week of Halloween you will have a hard time. At our Walmart, the school supplies were gone and it was the day of school starting. Everyone is trying to get ahead so you need to be even more ahead of them. And if your going to be making your child’s costume get started NOW!

Luckily for me, my kids have been talking about it for the last 2 weeks. I actually had to put a rule that no one could talk about Halloween until October 1st it was becoming an all day, every day conversation.

Now is also a good time for figure out your plans. Usually we go to my mom’s house in the next city over because my little country city doesn’t do much as far as house to house. But this year, we will have 1 kid doing their own thing, 1 kid going to a party and 2 with us trick or treating. So we have to stay close by to be able to pick up one or both kids. We will be going to the trunk or treats around Plant City.

Next, Thanksgiving! If you plan on ordering a farm fresh turkey, now is the time to do it and put your deposit down. Some areas it may even be too late. If that’s the case start looking for a backup plan. I can say with total confidence that if you can’t do farm fresh and you have a Fresh Market near you, get it from there. That is where last years turkey came from and it was the best one we ever had. I know in my area most of the farm fresh have all been reserved. So I will probably get a Fresh Market turkey.

Growing a large family

 

Now, Christmas!  Definitely start looking at sales ads, emails or just cyber window shopping. Start getting an idea of the new holiday items coming out so you can be making a list of things to possibly buy. I haven’t actually bought any presents yet because I have 2 birthdays to get through first. But I usually start shopping the end of the month. But I have been keeping my eye out on the new video games coming out, toys and latest electronics.

This month is actually a pretty easy month. Mostly just mental stuff. So what I also like to do is declutter and start organizing. I have actually been doing this for a few weeks already, but I still have a tons more to go. I just have this need to purge before the holidays hit and the all the gift giving happens. What I am doing is selling what I think someone else would appreciate and donating the rest.

And of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t at least mention homesteading preparations. I use the deep litter method during the winter. And even though I still have about 3 months before a significant cold front moves through, I like to be prepared and not caught off guard. Now is the time to do a deep cleaning of your coop and fix anything that needs to be fix. I have a fence that has been calling my name for a couple of months now. I also took everything out of the coop, scrubbed it good and put bed shavings in. This is the start of deep litter method. Every day I fluff and turn the bed shavings and add more in once a week.  I keep adding more bed shavings for a good month or two, depending on the weather, before I start adding the straw layer which will hold the heat. I will also be ordering my ingredients to make my own chicken scratch.

Look for week 2 next Monday. Happy Holidays Ya’ll!

 

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!

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.

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#DisneySide @Home Celebration

 

As everyone that has ever met me knows, I love Disney. I have been going to Walt Disney World as long as I can remember and have had an annual pass for about 20 years now. It is my first choice for a vacation spot. I have passed this love on to my children. Hubby is not so much on board with it. But the kids and I will go every chance we get.

Sadly, our passes expired in January and renewal is not in the budget for us right now. So you can imagine how excited I was when I got picked to host a #DisneySide @Home Celebration! Because I have mostly teenagers, I got the teen theme which was villians. This was perfect because we just got done watching Maleficient a million times and absolutely loved it!!

When our box full of goodies arrived, it was like Christmas all over again! There was so much fun stuffed into one box!

Goodies in our box #DisneySide @Home Celebration

Goodies in our box #DisneySide @Home Celebration

So we invited some of our closes friends and started partying!

My cake decorating daughters made and iced some cupcakes. We used the Duff Tye Dye cake mix that came in the box. But my daughters chose to use only the purple and green to represent Maleficient. Then we let everyone go to town decorating with the colorful sprinkles they provided.

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Cupcake Decorating #DisneySide @Home Celebration

 

Then the kids were off to play various games. The Maleficient nail polish was a big hit with the teenage girls. But not so much the bracelet maker. The pictures were to kiddie for them. And not all of us had an I-phone or I-pad to download the app. So the girls had fun making bracelets for the little ones.

Some of the games were a little too kiddie for tweens and teens. Bingo was basically just a game of who can yell Bingo the fastest because everyone got Bingo at the same time. Wordsearch and Matching the quote to the ride was a big hit also.

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My youngest loved pin the smile on Mickey. #DisneySide @home Celebrations

 

 

I worried about the pin the smile on Mickey. Because come on they are teens! But it was perfect for the younger siblings in attendance and surprising some of the older ones wanted in on the action too. We also added in a Beat the parents game~ Disney edition, which ended up being older kids vs younger kids, and some Disney Infinity 2.0 fun.

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And older kids too! #DisneySide @Home Celebration

 

Overall, it was a lot of fun! We got to see some friends we haven’t seen in forever and had some great activities to keep the kids busy.

 

Disclosure: I have received free products in order to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration. The opinions expressed here are my own.

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!