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Follower of Christ. Wife to Adam. Mama to Joshua (10), Abigail (9), Esther (8), Hannah (7), Noah (6), Joseph (4), Peter (3), James (1), and Mary Grace (4 months). Soli Deo Gloria!
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Adam and Laura

Adam and Laura

Joshua Addison

Joshua Addison

Abigail Lauren

Abigail Lauren

Esther Rebecca

Esther Rebecca

Hannah Ralene

Hannah Ralene

Noah Evans

Noah Evans

Joseph Patrick

Joseph Patrick

Peter Edwin

Peter Edwin

James Emil Robert

James Emil Robert

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Friday, October 26, 2012

3 in 30

We did alright with our goals this week.  A few of them haven't been accomplished yet, but I have specific plans for them to get done and I'll be surprised if they don't.  Here are my goals.

1. Exercise.  I exercised 4 out of the 5 weekdays.  Well, actually, I only exercised 3 days, but I walked twice in one day, so I just bumped that second walk over to another day.  Is that allowed?

2. Clean up the storage room.  I only got a little bit done on this goal, but I have mentally set aside time tomorrow to get more done.  I'd like to completely knock it out so that I can check it off of my list altogether.  

3. Start on spring/Easter dresses for the girls.  My pattern finally came!  I got Abigail's size traced onto interfacing so that I don't cut her size out and have to buy two more patterns for the other girls.  This is not the kind of pattern that you can get for $.99 at Hobby Lobby!  Otherwise I would just buy three of them.  I'd like to get her insert pleated this weekend, but I think that is probably wishful thinking.  

Joshua (8)
Write one letter a week.  Joshua's letter is finished and needs a stamp.  Hopefully it won't take me until Tuesday to get that on the envelope...especially since they're sitting right on the kitchen counter!

Abigail (7)
Learn how to make 4 different meals independently.  We are going to a Reformation party this weekend and I am planning to have Abigail make a cake to take with us.  We are taking two other sides, and I may have her make one of those as well.  A cake isn't exactly a meal, but having the ability to bake one is a very important skill to have. :) 

Esther (6)
Read Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.  Esther is a little more than halfway through her book.  She's doing a great job and she is enjoying the story!

My 3 in 30 post next week will only be for the purpose of posting our November goals.  Since half of the week is October and half is November, I'm going to take the opportunity to not get anything done take a break.  We are having company next week too, and who wants to work when friends are here?  We're looking forward to their visit and we have some fun things planned.

This post is linked up here.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Two of our children bite their fingernails.  Just looking at them makes me cringe because they are so short.  Strangely enough, I'm constantly having to tell the same two children to get their fingers out of their mouths (a pet peeve of mine), although they're usually not biting their fingernails when I see them.  They are just, well, putting their fingers in their mouths.  These two are also our finger suckers (only at night), and (sorry if this is TMI) they are our nose pickers.  I have a feeling that these things are all related.

I'm wondering if anyone out there has had experience with this.  If so, what did you do?  How do you go about breaking the bad habit of nail biting?  I don't mind finger sucking when they are babies, but at 5 and 6 years old I think it needs to stop.  I'm open to suggestions.  Let 'em fly!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Productive Day on the Homestead

We had a nice, quiet day at home last Saturday, which allowed us to get a lot accomplished.  We ended up having to butcher one of our rabbits.  Cottontail had injured himself and we weren't about to pay a vet bill, so Adam put him out if his misery.  We bought our rabbit hutch off of Craigslist and it had a few wires that had been cut and were protruding.  We knew that it needed to be repaired, but didn't think that it was incredibly urgent.  It had, after all, been inhabited by rabbits before we got it.  To make a long story short, Cottontail (one of the male rabbits) tried to squeeze through a little hole into the females' side of the hutch and ended up really hurting himself on one of the wires.  I won't disgust you out with anymore details.  I'll just say that I hope the other male rabbit learned his lesson!  Adam has since cut off the sharp wires and closed up the hole in between the two sides.  I made rabbit stew and we ate it for Sunday dinner!  It was pretty good, but I think that I will try another recipe next time just to see what else is out there.

I hope this picture doesn't gross anyone out!

At dusk on Saturday, Adam loaded the oldest 5 children into the truck for a drive around the field.  They wanted to see if they could spot any deer, and Adam took his gun along just in case.  A few minutes later I heard a shot.  Right as they rounded the corner to drive into the back field they spotted a big, 7-point buck!  Adam got him with one shot.  Thankfully we found a processor that was willing to take the deer at 9pm. The folks there commented on how big it was and asked where he got it!  We should get the meat back by the beginning of next week, and I think that Adam is going to have the head mounted.  We have a mounted deer head already...I bought it at a yard sale for $3. :)  I was pretty excited with my find, but it would be much neater (and would make a much better story to tell the grandchildren) to have a deer that Adam killed himself.  I'm pretty sure Adam's deer will be bigger and more impressive than my yard sale deer anyway. :)

Friday, October 19, 2012

3 in 30

We all did fairly well on our goals this week.  It was a pretty quiet week at home, so we had no excuse not to!

1. Exercise.  I exercised 4 out of the 5 weekdays.  I walked three days and hoed one day.  I stayed up too late watching the presidential debate (blah, blah, blah...why do I stay up?), so I did not get up to walk the next morning.

2. Clean up the storage room.  I did get a good bit done in the storage room.  I sorted through 5 or 6 boxes that were on the floor and put them into appropriate piles.  It doesn't look much better than it did at the beginning of the week because of all the piles on the floor, but it is more organized.  Hopefully I'll get the piles put away next week.

3. Start on spring/Easter dresses for the girls.  I ironed the fabric this week.  I'm itching to start making Abigail's dress, but my pattern still has not come.  I was getting impatient and I like to have something to work on, so I started crocheting a shawl for myself.  That will probably get put on the shelf when the pattern arrives, but I can pull it out later.

Joshua (8)
Write one letter a week.  Like last week, Joshua got his rough draft done, but we still need to do the final draft and get it in the mail.  I'm hoping to get that finished tomorrow.  

Abigail (7)
Learn how to make 4 different meals independently.  She has not done this yet, but I plan to have her make the French toast tonight.  I think she can handle using the griddle.  

Esther (6)
ead Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.  Esther is about 1/3 of the way through the book.  She read out loud to Hannah and Noah today.  She is enjoying it, but I'm glad we made this an October/November goal because I don't think she'll be done by the end of October.  She'll probably prove me wrong though. :)

This post is linked up here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

For Grandma and Grandpa in Kansas :)

By the way, his shirt says "Little Brother", not "Little Bother". :)  Just had to clarify that since you can't see the first "r".

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

9 Months

Peter turned 9 months at the beginning of October.  I took him to the doctor last week and he gained well!  He is up to 16lb 3oz.  That still doesn't put him on the weight chart, but his curve is going up and I'm happy with his progress.  The doctor said that he must have just been "taking a break" when his weight gain and his curve dropped at around 6-7 months.  Peter is still drinking four to five 8oz bottles every day and he has started to eat more solids again.  He is not interested in baby food or anything pureed, so he just eats whatever the rest of the family is having.

Peter still doesn't do the traditional crawl, and I'm wondering if he will.  He can get where he wants to go very quickly, so he may just skip that.  He has been pulling up for several weeks and is quite proud of himself. :)  He is such a sweet, smiley baby!

Monday, October 15, 2012

15 Weeks

It is high time that I put a pregnancy update on here!  I am 15 weeks and feeling pretty well.  The complications that I had early on have resolved themselves now and I am back to my exercise routine, which is nice.  I guess the exercise has gotten my blood flowing because my varicose veins have really started to bother me.  I suppose I need to break out those wonderful compression hose. :)  I finally have a baby belly to show off!  I like looking pregnant. :)  Actually, I really like being hugely pregnant.  I think I'm still in the stage of looking like I've eaten too many donuts or something.

Thankfully my nausea is gone for the most part.  If I overeat even just a little it makes me feel sick, but I don't just feel sick in general.  The past few months have been a bit stressful for me, and that combined with the first trimester sickness has put me down a few pounds.  I expect that I will still gain between 30 and 40 pounds like normal, but for now I'm in the negative.  I keep expecting my appetite to pick up and it hasn't yet.  I'm sure I'll be eating like a horse soon though, and I'll more than make up for the weight loss in my third trimester!  I did finally start liking ice cream again this past week.  I think I had eaten it only twice in the few months leading up to that.  For now, Blue Bell coffee ice cream is the only kind I want!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

3 in 30

The children did great with their goals this week.  I did okay, but I certainly could have done better.  And I'm a day late getting this post up.  Maybe one of my November goals should be to actually post these updates on Friday every week!  

1. Exercise.  I exercised three out of the five weekday mornings this week.  I didn't sleep well one night and we stayed up late watching the debate another night, so I skipped my walking those next two mornings.  I did, however, hoe the garden one afternoon.  Maybe it's just because I'm pregnant, but that is hard work and it wore me out!  So I'm counting it and telling myself that I did four days worth of exercise instead of just three. :)

2. Clean up the storage room.  I did a little bit of work on this, but I also added a few things to the room that need to be organized.  I think I actually took a few steps back on this goal.  But there is still today!  I'm going to try to get in there this afternoon and get something accomplished.  

3.  Start on spring/Easter dresses for the girls.  I decided on the pattern and bought and washed the fabric.  I also found a smocking plate that I really liked and I ordered it.  It came yesterday, so that's all ready to go.  Unfortunately, after I bought it I realized that I need to order a new pattern.  I have two copies of it (one was my mother's), but I didn't realize that they are both the smaller size (up to size 4), and all of my girls need the bigger size pattern now.  I found one for a good price online, so as soon as it comes I can get moving with the dresses.  

Joshua (8)
Write one letter a week.  Joshua got his rough draft done, but he still needs to correct a few things and write the final draft.  He should be able to get that done this afternoon.  

Abigail (7)
Learn how to make 4 different meals independently.  Abigail made last night's dinner almost completely on her own!  We made Taco Soup (I'll try to post the recipe later...it's really good and it's easy!).  She needed help opening a few of the cans, and I browned the grown beef and cut the onion, but she did everything else on her own.  I'm not quite ready for her to use my sharp knives or deal with hot grease on the stove.  We doubled the recipe, so there was a little math thrown in as well.  She did a great job!

Esther (6)
Read Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.  I frequently see Esther reading, so I know that she is making progress on her goal, but I forgot to ask her what chapter she is on now.  She is outside playing, so I'll ask her later.  

This post is linked here.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012


I posted a few pictures of our chickens a couple weeks ago.  Unfortunately, the neighbor's dog killed our rooster last week.  Adam and the four big children were out there with them, but Buck is fast and tends to come out of nowhere.  It was a bit traumatic for the children.  They seem to be over it now though.  We got a new rooster on Monday!  He is older than Sunshine was and a bit bigger.  The hen named "Henry" is going to get renamed.  The new rooster is Henry, which is what Noah wanted to name the first one. :)  The hens are a bit difficult to keep track of anyway (as far as names go) because they all look so similar.

Cleaning the coop

We got Henry from a little farm store down the road that also sells goats and rabbits.  The owner offered to give us a rooster/rabbit deal, and we just couldn't resist. :)  Here are Spot, Dot, and Cottontail.  They're so soft and sweet!  They are a bit scared of us still, and they don't particularly care to be picked up, but they do like to be held close and petted.  I guess I need to adjust our schedule to include caring for and playing with the animals now!  Abigail and Adam (and sometimes Esther) go out in the mornings before Adam goes to work to feed and water them, and then we refill their dishes in the late afternoon again.   

Esther is our animal lover.  She will pick up almost anything!  I think she gets it from her Papa.  She got a snail out of the garden a few weeks ago and was letting it leave a trail of slime on her arm.  Yuck!  The other children like to take care of the animals, but they are not to big on handling them.  They get it from their Mama. :)

Friday, October 05, 2012

3 in 30

I never did get around to doing my 3 in 30 post last week.  We went left town for the weekend on Friday afternoon.  I was sick, and it was all I could do to get our things packed and ready to go.  Blogging didn't even enter my mind.  Oh well.  We did wrap up our September goals.  Mine were to:

1. Crochet 4 dishcloths.  I did another green one like this.  I'm happy with the number of dishcloths I have in my stash now!

2. Exercise.  I put this on hold because of a few pregnancy issues.

3. List some things on Amazon or eBay.  I purposefully did not list anything else last week.  I have enough on there right now and I want to wait until some of it sells before I add anything else.

So, basically, I didn't get that much done last week.  Oh well. :)

Here are my childrens' goals:

Read The Robbers' Cave.  Joshua didn't quite finish this by the last day of September, and he ended up misplacing the book, but it is done now.  He really enjoyed it!  He kept giggling and reading me excerpts that he thought were funny. :)

Learn to crochet a dishcloth using a pattern.  Done!  Abigail did a great job, although she is a bit tired of crocheting and is ready to move on to a new goal.  She'll probably ask to start a new one in a few weeks. :) 

Write and mail letters to 4 different people.  Esther wrote a thank-you note to someone that sent her a gift recently.  She really enjoyed her goal this month and she was especially excited that two of her four letter recipients wrote back to her!  She loves getting mail and carries her cards around for months on end.  I even found one in her pillowcase the other day. :)  

Now it's October, which means new goals!  Here are mine. 

1. Exercise.  I had intended to start this past Monday, but I have been sick with a sinus/bronchial thing and have struggled to just get the basics done this week.  I am starting to feel a lot better, so I plan to get up bright and early Monday morning and walk.  My goal is to walk every weekday morning and take the weekends off.  

2. Clean up the storage room.  There is a climate-controlled storage room upstairs that houses all of my sewing things and a whole host of other items.  The majority of what is in there belonged to my mother and I have brought it here gradually and pretty much just deposited the boxes on the floor.  It desperately needs to be organized.  If I do a little bit every week I should be able to knock it out in a month.  I got in there this week and started separating things into piles.  I may get some more done tomorrow.  

3.  Start on spring/Easter dresses for the girls.  It's never too early. :)  I think that I have decided on using this pattern, although to be perfectly honest I haven't totally convinced myself that I don't want to stick with the bishop (I already own both of the patterns).  I need to decide as soon as possible though, because I am hoping to go buy fabric this weekend.  I'm a bit undecided on that too.  I'm thinking a light blue or an ecru.  And then I need to choose what smocking pattern to use.  I have said that I don't ever want to do another picture smocking project, but I think that Easter lilies would be really pretty.  I'm not even sure if a smocking plate like that exists though.  So many decisions! :)

And here are the goals that my children settled on for October.  

Joshua (8)
Write one letter a week.  Everyone was a bit jealous of the mail that Esther received last month. :)  Joshua decided to write letters this month and he has already settled on his four recipients.  He completed his rough draft for this week, but we need to work on finishing it up and getting it in the mail tomorrow.  

Abigail (7)
Learn how to make 4 different meals independently.  It is high time that Abigail learned to make some things on her own.  She can do basics like sandwiches and such, but it would be very helpful to me if she could be in charge of making the Baked Oatmeal every week and if she has a few stand-by dinners that she can prepare on her own.  She is very capable and is incredibly excited about her goal for the month!  I plan to have her make Baked Oatmeal tomorrow so that we can have it for breakfast on Sunday.  

Esther (6)
Read Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.  Esther is bound a determined to do this, which probably means that she will.  I am making this her goal for October and November because I don't want to set her up for failure.  I didn't tell her that I don't think she can do it, but I did mention that she's never read a book quite this long before (193 pages).  She can polish off a Boxcar Children book in a few days, but those are fairly easy to read.  I told her that if she gets it done in October then she'll be free to pick a new goal  for November, but if not then that's perfectly fine and we'll just keep working on it next month.  She read the first three chapters yesterday.  

This post is linked here.  

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Ideas for Homeschooling Preschoolers

I have read several blog posts over the years about different ways to keep little ones constructively occupied while schooling the older children.  I've picked up some tips from friends here and there and a few ideas from Pinterest and other sites online.  I'm not going to attempt to link to where I found everything that I use because, honestly, I don't remember. :)  If the idea came from you, feel free to give yourself credit in the comments section!

The plan that we currently have in place is working better than any other plan that I've had for the little ones.  I think that the rigid structure of our schedule has a lot to do with that, but I also have a lot of activities written down and ready to just grab off of the shelf anytime I need them.  I mentioned before that our time is divided into 30-minute time segments.  Noah and Joseph get 30 minutes (15 minutes each) of one-on-one preschool time with me every morning.  We work on dot-to-dots, mazes, counting, writing letters, etc.  They love this time and are quite possessive of it.  The rest of their morning is divided up as follows:

1. Play alone time - they really enjoy this.  They go to their room alone (they each have a different time slot so that they are not doing it together) and play quietly with cars, duplo blocks, or whatever they choose.  I let them know when they have 5 minutes to clean up, and then we switch to the next activity.

2. Playtime with a sibling - this is something else that they are very possessive of...especially Joseph.  If I tell him that it's time to play with Abigail, he will run and grab her hand and drag her down the hall saying, "Come on, Agibail!  Let's go play!"  Yes, that is what he calls her and I think it's cute. :)  Noah and Joseph share a playtime with Joshua and, without fail, they want to play with Joshua's legos.  They are not allowed to play with them any other time, so it's a big treat for them.

3.  Planned Activity - I have a list posted on the wall of things to choose from.  I designate a place for them to be, which is usually close to my desk.  I need to be able to keep an eye on them and I want them to hear what the other children are learning.  They will often parrot my dictation of spelling words to the older children, which tells me that they are really listening.  I generally choose three activities and let them do any or all of them.  The rules are that they have to do them quietly and that they may not get up from their designated spot.  There have only been a few times when they protested to not being allowed to run around and make noise, but when I explain the other option to them (sitting still on a chair with no activity), they quickly decide that they would rather do what I've given them to do!

Having this plan in place has been beneficial in a lot of ways.  They are almost always within ear/eye shot of me, which allows me to be able to deal with relational and character issues when they arise. It also has drastically cut down on the amount of cleanup that needs to be done when school is over since they are not allowed to just wander and make messes all over.  Another benefit that I mentioned before is that they are constantly hearing what the older children are learning.  They soak up so much!  We have actually found that a formal kindergarten program is unnecessary (and is not required in Georgia anyway) and that they are ready to start 1st grade around age 5.  Of course this will vary by child and motor skills have a ton to do with their readiness, so it may not work that way for everyone, and that is just fine.  On top of all of those reasons, I just like having them close by!

Here is my current list of activities for my little ones.  I already had nearly all of these things on hand, and what I didn't have I probably spent a total of $20 on.

- Balance with colored tiles
- Counting bears and cups
- Puzzles (Noah LOVES these and will do the same one over and over!)
Tumblin' Monkeys (that I found at a yard sale.  I would never actually pay $30 for something like this.)
- Coloring
- United States wooden puzzle
- Beans and jars
- Tweezers and pompoms in a mason jar
- Egg carton and plastic eggs filled with little trinkets
- Tin full of buttons
- Scissors, paper and stickers
Draw Write Now books and blank paper
- Farm magnets (thanks to Grandma in Kansas! They are like this except for we have the farm ones. I don't see them on Amazon right now.)
- Lacing cards
- Toy hammer, golf tees and styrofoam (a big favorite...it's such a fun boy thing!)
- Stacking blocks like these
- A container of coins and an old piggy bank that was Adam's when he was little

What kinds of things do you have your preschoolers do?  I'm all ears!  I would love to expand my list as much as possible so that I have many options and so that I can rotate things out.  If you don't have preschoolers or even if you don't have children at all, of course I'd love to hear your ideas too!  Please share. :)