First Day of School


We survived!!! The first day of school with all of it’s anxiety and stress is past and we’ve even done the second day. Short honeymoon as today I heard much more “school is boring” kind of whining than I wanted to… oh well.

We started school ON Labor Day because that way Daddy could be home and participate as well. Or just be around to troubleshoot the electronics or take over if I had a mental breakdown. 😉


We had a pancake breakfast which was the extent of my “celebration” preparations. I know people who make a huge big deal out of it with special gifts and decorations and all. And while I would like to be that mom, just getting the books on the shelf and the room partially cleared was as far as I could make it this year. Maybe by the time they’re in high school I’ll have it down a bit better. 😉

After breakfast we went outside to take our first day of school pictures. I forwent the cool printables that are somewhere in the depths of my computer hard drive and just opted for a sharpie on paper. The kids didn’t mind the “homemade” signs. Claire, who’s been running a fever for a couple days was inside screaming at the top of her lungs while we were outside, and continued to scream while I tried to get the videos started for the kids. Oy!!


Ella is watching the Bible lesson with one of the boys alternating between the two on different days. She did this last year and really seemed to enjoy it. This year she is doing her best to follow all of the teacher’s directions for when to sit and stand and so on! It’s cute!

I finally realized that no one was going to learn a blessed thing with the twins standing at the baby gated door hollering to be part of the action so I moved them to their room for “room time.” Amazingly it went well!! They stopped wailing right away and enjoyed being in a “new” space. Eventually it got super quiet and I peeked in the door to see this…

Oh well… it may have seemed like we lived a week and a half in 3/4’s of a day, but we made it!

Today the lads are taking issues with the schedule. Especially the part where they don’t get the iPad time till late afternoon (after homework time) but I’m going to be a stickler with that one! They’ll adjust. 😉

School Starts


Which is still too soon for me. 🙂

I’m dragging my feet on it this year. Qade is going into second grade and as such his subjects are ramping up. I didn’t get as much “remedial” stuff done this summer as I had wanted to so that means that I know I have to be tough and stick to the schedule and make sure things are not falling through the cracks. Yes, we use a video teacher, but it still means a lot of work for me. So I’m kind of dreading it. Qade is not always the easiest to teach. However, I’ve split things up a bit more this year with a “homework” time in the late afternoon for us to finish up seatwork. Hopefully having things spread out more will help him focus when he doesn’t have so many things to do all at once. And hopefully having a written schedule will help him know what needs to be done when. But still *sigh* I ordered a maze book for Myles that will be here later in the week and he will work on “tricky mazes” as he likes to call them while Qade is doing his homework. I think that’ll help both of them be diligent. I also scheduled iPad time for AFTER homework for very strategic purposes. 😉

Myles is thrilled to be starting school again, and in fact can’t wait! I’m so happy that he loves to learn! He told me, with a big grin, today, “I can’t wait for school to start tomorrow!! I want it to start today!!” I appreciate his infections enthusiasm because it helps me to keep my chin up a bit and ignore the sinking feeling in my tummy.

I should be over this by now, it’s not our first rodeo, but each year I dread school. Maybe it’s something I’ll always have to fight to overcome. Because deep deep down I’m so thankful that I can teach my kids!! I’m thankful that Stuart is a provider for our family so that I can stay home and be the main influence in their lives. I’ll never get over that. And deep deep down I’m happy to have more structure to our days and help our kiddos learn new things.

We have a designated “school room” this year though there still isn’t an actual wall between it and the boys bedroom, but I think it’s going to help with organization and focus. And it’ll be barred from the twins so they won’t be in there competing for attention.

Ella is going to be doing some preschool with me this year. I told her she would learn to write her name, and she informed me that, “I don’t know how to make letters.” So I assured her that’s why we were going to be doing school so that she could learn to make letters. She seemed amazed and excited about that idea. 😉 The Answers in Genesis preschool program that I used for the boys is no longer available, so I found some of the 3 year old Abeka books on and got those for her. I don’t like to make preschool to intense, but I want her to be doing a little something each day. I’m fine with the books we got her, and I think she’ll enjoy it. She likes to watch one of the boy’s Bible lessons each day and I think that’s great too.

Along with school this year, one of my goals is to teach the kids to:
Load the dishwasher (at least their plastic dishes)
Sweep the dining room (they can mostly do this already)
Fold and put away laundry (the boys do this already)
Wash the table
Set the table

That’s totally doable and since it’s already built into our schedule it’ll be good. 🙂 We’re continuing on with the “stay up night” tradition. I sometimes get weary of it, but it has become very important to the kiddos and I’m happy to have an excuse to focus exclusively on each of them as they get to stay up for a little longer one night a week.

I tend to stress myself out too much over it all. I know we’ll fall into a routine quickly and things will work out and we’ll adjust on the parts that don’t. I just have this running commentary in my head of all the things I “need” to do like work on training Thor so he doesn’t eat my birds, get a chicken coop, prepare the yard for gardening, pull weeds, feed animals, scoop poop, feed little people, try to get the overflowing cabinets and closets organized and cleaned up, get projects done, take twins photos…. it’s never ending. I know everyone else has one of those impossible to turn off reels playing in their minds too, so I shouldn’t complain. Instead I’m going to get a grip on things and try to start out the school year strong! 🙂

Hi, by the way, it’s been awhile since I’ve written. In case you didn’t notice.


So um.. I think I was supposed to write about the twins and all their recent accomplishments/antics. I’m too tired to do so right now though, so you’ll have to wait. Cause I want to put some pictures on it too, and yeah, to tired. 😉

Anyway, this morning I got a call from our Post Office and hurried down to pick up our little box of chicks!! It felt so funny to walk into the PO and say, “I’m here to pick up chicks!” Ha! Anyway, the little day old fuzz-balls made the trip safe and sound and all of them are happily installed in our little “brooder” in the garage! Hopefully they’ll all fair well and in about 5 months we’ll have a rainbow of colorful eggs.

We are also getting a puppy in a few weeks that we hope to raise to be a guardian to our flock and herd. I’m reading as much as I can about it right now in attempts to be ready to raise him right without bad habits. He is already being raised around sheep with his parents as the guardian dogs, so that’s a good start for the lil guy! With any luck he’ll help cut down on the losses to our chickens which have been rather alarming this year. *sigh*

We are only very slightly behind in school at this point. Which is really good! I’ve decided that Fridays from now till the end of school will only be “half days” and that we will be done with school at lunch whether we’re done or not. 😉 Executive decision.

The wind is blowing in it’s favorite Springtime fashion. I’d like to remind it that it’s not actually Spring yet. I keep thinking I’ll open the door and see munchkin land! No fun! I’d like to go see how the goats are dealing with it, but I don’t want to venture out in it myself. I’m sure they are fine.

Enjoy the rest of your Wednesday. I’m going to seek out a cave and just listen to the quiet… or not.


New Motto

Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.

This is going to be my motto for the year. Maybe even for life! 🙂 Stuart and I have had many discussions about how there’s just too much “stuff” in life. We are blessed with a lot of stuff! We are also blessed with people in our life who love us and love our kids and enjoy showering us with stuff. Some of the stuff is useful stuff, some of it is fun stuff, some of our stuff is just stuff stuff, and some is actually problem stuff! 🙂 You know problem stuff right? It’s stuff that was maybe useful or fun at some point, but no longer is for various reasons, yet it won’t just leave!

We try to stay on top of purging things that have become problem stuff. Yard sale it, donate it, recycle if possible or just plain throw it away. Still, with 2 adults who love gadgets and 3 young children who also love gadgets and toys and games and puzzles and coloring and painting etc. ad infinitum, and 2 babies with all the gear and toys and paraphernalia that goes along with that age, it’s really easy to get buried.

It’s nice to have things. It’s not so nice when things have you. And I’ve found that when we surround ourselves with all this stuff, the mentality that we get into is to fix every problem with more stuff. Something breaks? Oh, just jump on Amazon and grab another… in fact let’s get a BETTER one while we’re at it. 😉

This is where the new motto comes in. I feel that for our family we need to be much more aware of what we do have, and use it up the way it’s intended. We still need to purge out quite a bit of the things that don’t really add value to our lives, but create mental stress by having them around. Storage is an issue, finding a place for everything is a problem when you’ve got more “things” than places.

So I guess more than anything the motto is just a changed mindset. I want us to make do with what we have and be happy with it rather than needing to put money into something else. Sometimes things have to be replaced, obviously, but if you have a more frugal mindset that you’re going to make it work with what you have, I think we’ll find ourselves needing to replace things much less often! 🙂

Where I be?

Have you missed me? I suddenly am inundated with blogs to keep up with and I haven’t quite been able to separate it all in my brain. The ranchy stuff I’m now posting on Wandering Springs <--click to see!) so that part of my life is segmented off there. And Stu and I are also working on a parenting blog. So that's another segment that's separate. Though I often feel that I have more parenting fails than successes these days. I've pretty much given up on the homeschool blog for now simply because I can't keep up with so many pieces of the pie. 🙂 All of that to say that I've yet to figure out exactly what I'm supposed to do with THIS blog now! But I was thinking about it last night and figured that this blog for the past 6 or so years has been my online journal and I can keep it that way! It's where I talk about what's happening in our life and family, and even though my "ranch specific" posts will go to Wandering Springs and my "parenting specific" posts will go to the other blog, I can still talk about what's going on here. 🙂 So there we go! The twins are 8 months old today! Can you believe that?! I can't!! I was thinking this morning while I trudged up the slippery slope to the LRB to do the milking that this time last year I had a LOT of difficulty going up that hill and it wasn't because of snow. 🙂 I'll do a "twin update" post later in the week. It's been far too long for one of those! And yes, I've been milking our goat Polka in case you haven't been following the ranching blog. I started that the day after she had babies, and we're starting to get into a routine. The milk I'm getting now is being frozen to make soap later because it's apparently not yummy to drink for the first couple weeks. Plus I've had to toughen up my wimpy hands to do the milking. 😉 Tomorrow or the next day I'll start separating the babies from the mama at night so that in the morning I can milk her out full, then they will hang out with her all day and drink as much as they please. I've got all kinds of plans for the milk we get but realistically to begin with on milking once a day we'll be lucky to get a quart a day. And since one of the first things I want to do is get the twins off formula, they will likely be getting most if not all of the milk to begin with. I tallied up the amount of formula they drink on a daily basis and between the two of them it was like a quart and a half. Whew! So in effort to get them off of quite so much liquid, I'm starting to up their actual food feedings. They had been getting food only at lunch time. Yes, I'm a lazy mom. 😉 But seriously I spend probably 5/8ths of my life feeding everyone/everything! So I've been relying a little too much on the convenience of the liquid diet that the twins can so easily feed themselves. 🙂 Anyway, hopefully it'll work out, and then if things go as planned, Polly will have her babies in March and we'll be able to get more milk. So my grand plan is to have the whole family on raw goat milk by April. 🙂 There ya go! I've been stressing out about the whole greenhouse/garden concept for this year. As I read more about planting and growing things I find it amazing that our few bean plants even survived last year! Ha ha ha!! So much to learn! Growing plants from seeds is a very difficult task, and for whatever reason I had it in my head that we needed to grow absolutely as much as humanly possible to eat all year. And while its our hope to eventually grow nearly all that we eat, the reality is that it's unlikely to happen on our first try. And I'm thankful that we don't really have to stress about it happening on our first try either. So I took a deep breath after spending several hours yesterday kinda wigged out and overwhelmed and I whittled down the list of things that I want to grow for the garden this year, and I looked into methods of winter sowing, which I'm going to give a try with since we really don't have the set up for growing sprouts inside. And we'll see what works, and we'll make note of that and try different things the next growing season. Meanwhile I can still find watermelon at the grocery store so all is well. 😉 Anyway, that's a bit of a peek at what's been going on. I'm going to try not to neglect this blog quite so much now that I've got a better idea of what it's purpose is. 🙂 TTFN

Finding Delight

The word delight is defined as a verb, to please someone greatly or a noun to take great pleasure in.

Doesn’t seem like it would be something that would take work, right? I mean, how often to you go to Disney and think about how much work it will be to have fun? Right? 🙂 Well, I’m here to tell you that delight is something I have to seriously work at. At least in a particular context. And that context is delighting in my children.

Plenty of verses in Proverbs talk about how children bring delight to parents. As I have read those verses countless times it never occurred to me till recently that I needed to have a more active role in the delight part. Till then I’d been placing all of the responsibility of creating delight on the part of the children. I’m not trying to make something “new” out of the Bible or say that this is the way it has to be for every home, but for me personally some things need to change.

See, mommyhood is difficult. VERY difficult! Maybe it comes easier for some people and maybe some people just try to project the “easy” attitude. I’m pretty sure that for just about every parent everywhere though it is sometimes if not always, difficult. Unless of course a parent doesn’t care at all about the character and behavior of their kids, then I suppose it might be easier… but I don’t know any parents like that, thankfully!

So as I slog through the difficult days with my kids too often I am not finding any delight in it at all. I don’t delight in them, I don’t delight in what they are doing, and I don’t delight in being a mom. It’s true. Too many days my greatest accomplishments have been to make sure everyone has had food, and that bottoms have been cleaned and I just go into survival mode till I can finally deposit them all into bed and be “free” of them for a few hours.

It sounds completely horrible to actually say it, but I know I’m not the only one who has days like that. It’s okay to be honest. Yes, I love my kids more than life, but that doesn’t mean they don’t take a toll.

However, I notice that if I take the time to stop being a harried mom and actually find things to delight with in my children that they respond in amazing ways! Kids need to feel like they are important and that they belong. It’s one of the vital needs of kids actually. When they don’t get that need met then behaviors start to rapidly deteriorate as they desperately seek for the attention/affirmation that they need.

I know, because I have a child who has been quite a challenge (read conflict from sunup to past bed time) recently. Now the children are still responsible for their actions and have to have consequences for their own bad choices. But I realize that most of the time when it’s a constant battle with a particular child, rather than just random events, that a lot of the problem is me.

I haven’t been delighting in them, showing them just how important they are to me and to our family unit. They haven’t been receiving the kind of attention that they need so they are working in ways that aren’t good to get any kind of attention, even negative. And it turns into a cycle that just keeps getting worse and worse. I’ve been in tears over the frustration of a child who seemingly will not make good choices and in fact is defiant of every instruction. This isn’t acceptable and cannot continue.

But how do you turn it around? How do you delight in a child who is making life miserable for everyone? I’m not sure I know entirely, but I’ll tell you, it’s work! And it’s our job as the parent to do the work. I too often find myself holding on to those irritate/angry/resentful feelings that bad behavior brings. And that’s not okay. How can I delight in my child in the afternoon, when I’m still holding a grudge about the 17 bad things they did before breakfast? And what if God acted toward me that way? I expect forgiveness and grace from Him, yet fail too often to show the same to my kids.

Yep, it’s work to delight in the child who is misbehaving, but most likely they are the ones who need it the most.

So for right now I’m working hard on finding things to honestly delight in. And it does need to be honest delight because kids can spy falseness and insincerity in adults faster than anything! I praise the kind of behavior that we want to see to the skies when it shows up, I find something to be glad over on the school papers that moments ago were causing tantrums, I try SO hard to “catch” them doing right rather than spying on them to see if they are going to make more bad choices. It’s a lot of work, but I can feel my own attitude start to change when I’m working on delighting in my kids, and the delight actually starts to come easier as I do it.

The Ranch

Well, we’ve started the blog for our ranch. 🙂 I’ll be moving all of my “homesteading” posts over there. So if you’re interested in the “Views from the farm” and updates on chicken and goats and so forth, you can join us there. 🙂 Eventually I hope to post tutorials on real food eating, cheese making, milking and anything else I can “learn” to do. Even if you don’t plan on doing those things yourself, you might get a kick out of the process that we go through. 😉 Ha!

Anyway, you can visit us at

Then this blog will go back to being mostly just about our family stuff! 🙂 See ya here or there!

This n That

It’s the time of year for split fingers! Ouch!! I try to be consistent about wearing gloves when doing dishes and such, but I still end up washing my hands a lot (hello, diapers!). So I’ve been slathering on some Cetiphyl that I found in the cellar hoping that it would help. I think I need to get started on some Fermented Cod Liver Oil, but it’s pricy and I’m pretty sure I’ll need the capsules not the liquid if I’m going to get the stuff down.

No baby goats yet. I’m giving up! 😉 Kidding! <-- get it! Tomorrow I'm kicking my rear back in line and starting up my exercising. I've been using every excuse I could think of to put off that particular "resolution." Ya know, my goat might have babies today so I'd better wait. 😉 And the truth is, I don't really like to work out. I like the results for sure! Oh yeah! And sometimes I enjoy the "me time" and doing something for myself. But over all I'm not a workoutaholic by any means. So... blah. But tomorrow is a new day and I'm gonna get my workout on! 😉 The floors were vacuumed today! In celebration, I'm sitting on the floor! Also, the only other seat available is covered in clothes that need folding and I'd rather sit on the floor than fold clothes right now. Yep, I loathe folding laundry... I may need an intervention. I have found a source for heirloom wheat and flour! Yay!! I'm excited to get some of that in a month or so. It's the kind our great-great-grandpeople would have been eating. Not the hybrid kind that cause so many issues for people today. I'm interested to see if it makes any perceptible difference for us. I've got to start organizing my house in stages. Once I get going I kinda feel like I have to do it all and then get overwhelmed and stop. This week I'm going to tackle the cabinets that house the kids school stuff and art supplies and such. Much of it will be going in the trash I already know, so I'll have to be strategic about it or there will be massive meltdowns by the crew who never use and or know the stuff is in there, but will be mourned over as if it were the most prized possession known to mankind if they see it being "tossed." Yes, that's the world's longest run-on sentence. Next week will be the boy's bedroom closet... pray for me! 😉 Making crock-pot teriyaki chicken for dinner. It already smells nummy and is making me starved! I'll never make it to dinner! I'm really sad about our reduced chicken population. 🙁 But I'm making plans for getting some new birds in a month-ish and excited about the possibility of blue and green eggs sometime this summer! 🙂 We are making good progress on the goat barn and nearly ready to put up the finishing touches like painting, moving stuff around and making space for the milk stand! One day... hopefully, we will have goat milk! If only those silly babies would show up!

The Name Game


As I mentioned the other day, Stu and I compiled a list of possible names for our lil operation here. Turns out he is not a big fan of the word “homestead” and I can see the point. But I was a little hesitant to use the word “farm” either since in my mind a farm is ya know… growing stuff, like acres of stuff. So anyway “Ranch” seemed to fit the bill a bit better.

We tossed around a lot of different “endings” for the place like Hollow, Acres, Meadows, Mesa and such. Once the creative juices got flowing we actually had a pretty good list of some cool names! Then came the rubber meets the road part where we had to see if those names were “available” and by available we mean if the .com was taken. 😉 Because of course our lil ranch needed a website. 😉

Eventually we tried our 3-4 favorite names and the one that worked the best was…

Drum roll…

Wandering Springs Ranch

Why the hoopla over a “name” for our place? you may ask. Well, it was prompted by the need for a ‘herd’ name for our goats that we will have registered. We figured if we have to have a name for them, why not just name the whole thing and use it for everything. Right? Right! 🙂

So we’ll be starting a blog soon which is TBA, and hopefully we’ll be able to post about the kids being born… one of these days.

We also have a Facebook page for our Ranch too so you’re welcome to “like” it. (Hint the word “Facebook” is a link) And you can keep up with our ramblings or uh… wanderings there. As you know this whole thing is a new adventure for us and as we learn we’ll get better and better. The learning curve can be kinda steep though, but every day is an adventure! 🙂 You’re welcome to live a country life vicariously through our adventures and misadventures. 🙂