Friday, March 30, 2012


Somehow I thought we could do spelling tests and drawing narrations of our history readings while sitting outside so I could water the garden and plant a few more tomatoes...

I don't know what I was thinking.... :)  I have children that want to plant, want to help and are constantly finding something amazing and new around the yard to investigate....good, I know- but not always helping to keep us on task.  Oh well.   The boys spotted our large rose bush is blooming!  AND we've got swarms of these guys at the base of it-

Great for my kids that love caterpillars...not so great for my rosebush leaves.  Now everyone is outside re-locating the piles and piles of tent worms while mom looks up natural remedies for keeping them away.  I'm sure the nature notebooks and colored pencils will be coming out shortly.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Family Daybook

Our Family Daybook

Around the Homestead...
taking a chance and putting a lot of my plants in the garden...the weather has been beautiful and there haven't been any signs of frost in our future so I'm hoping I'm making a good bet.  We can always get a huge plastic sheet to cover over the garden bed, if need be.  We've got cucumber, squash, a watermelon, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, carrots and strawberries in the ground.

I'm waiting just a bit longer to put the corn and beans in the ground.

We're doing some brooder planning for the chicks.  It wouldn't be a big deal if we were only getting a couple of chicks...but we've got 25 coming and that takes a bit more space! 

Our adoption process...
Is going nowhere right now.  Its kind of a long story...we have a homestudy agency, we have an assigned case worker and we've gathered up some paperwork we need for the homestudy.  Dan started a new job two weeks ago and our case worker thought it might a be a good idea to let him settle in a bit at his job before we do our visit.  He doesn't have quite the same flexible schedule that he used to have.   We're kind of in a pause right now as Dan settles in and we plan to meet our social worker.   We're still wanting and planning to adopt if God wills it.

Learning at home...
Picking up speed...trying to cover all of the wonderful Middle Ages books we'd hoped to read this year.  Gardening, planning for chicks, doing our Khan Academy for Math, learning to write....

We took most of yesterday to go on a hike to Crowders was wonderful.  I will post more on that later.  Lets just say we got in over our heads and ended up taking a way longer hike than the littles were prepared for.  What I thought was just going to be a short hike with the kids turned out to be an amazing opportunity for us to pull together as a family and for me to really see my older boys shine in their roles as growing men and protectors of their younger was amazing and God really blessed me with that time with them.  We ALL learned a lot and it didn't involve a single textbook. 

What we've been reading...
"If All The Swords In England" which is a book at St. Thomas Becket, "Among the Pond People" as our nature reading and "The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals"

What we've been thinking about...
Encouraging more prayer in our days...I've been trying to be more conscious of taking more time with the kids to pray throughout our day.  I've also been thinking a lot about having not done a lot of liturgical stuff this Lent (putting out visuals, lots of kid friendly activities etc. to "make it Lent"...) and how its really O.K...for everything there is a season.  We are in a very busy season of transition in our house, starting our homestead, Dan has a new job, the adoption world, growing demands of growing children with more to learn for school...I'm just figuring out that this Lent just might be about surrendering to this time in life and learning to love better.  Love God with our whole hearts and love each other. 

  We've also been thinking about what our boys might want to do when they're  adults...lots of enjoyable conversations with them.  And of course our adoption hopes are always in the back of my mind.

I'm thankful for...
My home, our amazing yard with so much space and potential...being in the country with room to breathe and grow.  For a husband that can work hard all day and then work on plans to build me a brooder for 25 chicks at the end of a long day!

For a God that never gives up on me...even when I've gotten a bit off track and need to draw closer to Him.  

I'm praying for...
A holy and focused Holy Week...more time in prayer and at church.  For peace in our home and for clarity with our adoption.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Some trip photos...

Well, its been a little while since our Fort Sumter and SC Aquarium Trip but I had some photos to post so I figured better late than never.  After I post these, I've got a lot of school to cover (if anyone can even DO a lot of school when the weather is in the 80's and everyone wants to play...) and then I've got a few strawberry plants, a couple of pepper plants and one icebox watermelon to plant.

Here are our photos....
The aquarium was awesome...we loved the outside exhibit with all the birds so incredibly up close.
The last picture also shows the dolphins that raced with our boat and played in the waves...we were all pretty excited to see that!


                                                   Matthias holding a whole conversation
                                                                with a stingray


                                                    The dolphins!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Standing up against evil

If all goes well with our morning, we will be joining with others from across the Carolinas to stand in protest against Obama's HHS Mandate.  Our country is on a very fast-paced slope downward and now is the time to draw a line in the sand and say NO MORE.  We hope to be able to put our faith into action today and help show our children that its going to take our time, effort and action to win this battle.

Go find a rally near you....or gather your family this Friday during Lent and offer your prayers for an end to this mandate that is in total opposition to our conscience and our faith.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Around here...

It has been in the 80's around here!  So, we went against our common sense and opened the pool in March...seriously, yes we did.  Its hard to explain to the kids who are running around outside all afternoon why we have a pool but aren't opening it because its not the right time and its hot! We'll be seeing today whether anyone actually has the gusto to get in the pool...the water is still pretty cold!

We are in week 27 for school and I can't believe it.  Only 9 more weeks...technically.  This year has been pretty crazy with our move, gearing up our homestead and starting the adoption process.  I've got lots of living history books that I want us to cover so we're kicking it into over-drive with our reading and backing off the grammar and spelling for now.  You know you're reading great books for school when your sad that you've finished them.  I don't ever remember being sad to finish a textbook, do you? We've also been working on our writing quite a bit. 


 I'm trying to figure out how I can attend the Child Light Conference this year...this is an amazing Charlotte Mason Educational Conference that takes place every June.  I really need to go and get a good dose of inspiration and focus before I think about what to do for next year.


Things are blooming all over the place! This is a new house to us, so its fun to see what different trees and plants are going to do during different seasons of the year.  Things are popping up all over the place and I didn't have to plant them :)


Still adding compost to the garden...I really focused in on school this week so I never finished adding compost to the garden.  Hopefully that will get done.  


On the Homestead- plucking all the blooms and berries off the new plants so they'll get stronger and produce more in the long run.  Also learning about and waiting on our chicks.  One of my sons asked me to make him a calendar so he can count down the days till the baby chicks you think my kids are excited? 


Happy Thursday!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Help bring Alyssa and Piper home!

Quick post...since its Monday and I need to get to our homeschooling  this morning...

  My dear friend, Michelle, is trying desperately to adopt and bring home two beautiful little girls from Eastern Europe.  They have opened their home to adoption many times already and are called again to adopt these two little ones:

They could really use some help with the next phase of their adoption...there are still a lot of costs left to pay before they finish this race to get their girls.  Michelle...bless her heart....has tried to auction off a vacation rental without any success.  They are also trying to coordinate fundraising with some other adopting families as well as organize a pancake breakfast at Applebees and she hasn't had too much luck with selling tickets for that, either.  MaryKay....she's offering that, too.  They are doing all they can to raise the funds and they could use some help.

They've come so far!  Dossier submitted....hopefully traveling sometime in May to meet the girls!

I'm sorry the above picure is not a link...

Here is their blog...please go visit them and give them some fundraising love, would ya?

Also, here is their page on Reece's Rainbow...

Your donations to the Reece's Rainbow grant page are tax deductable.

When I was full of adoption questions and just really needed a real person to bounce questions off of, Michelle was the one who came over and met me, a perfect stranger, to try to help ease our concerns and help us feel confident to press on into the world of adoption.  She is a great person.  And these girls are going to be blessed to join her family.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Nature Study...

Found these bones under a bush in our yard....and the bird skull in another area of the yard.
The skull is definitely a bird skull but we are still working on figuring out what the other bones are from. 

Our turkey vultures...

Very disgusting but interesting creatures :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sprouts and blooms

Busy today...but thought I'd post a few photos...

Bradford Pear trees on the outskirts of our property are blooming...

 Our vegetable seeds are sprouting indoors and waiting to go in the garden bed. 
 Some more seed trays outside in the sun...I've got tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, summer squash, broccoli, and basil growing.  I still need to find a non-hybrid, heirloom green pepper seed.   I've also got seeds for corn and beans waiting to be planted directly into the ground after the last frost date.  oh...and I picked up a few strawberry plants to stick on the outer edge of the garden just for fun for the kids.  We're excited about planting this year because we bought all heirloom quality seeds that are non-hybrid so we will hopefully learn how to collect seeds for re-planting next year.  We've never done this before but we're glad that we using quality seed.
 The garden bed...this is the before picture.   This was after I tilled it all up.   I have since separated it all out into sections and rows and mounds.  I've also added some compost to the rows to help improve the soil for planting.

Hoping that we can get some productivity out of this garden bed this spring/summer :)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Our Family Daybook

Our Family Daybook

Around the Homestead...
Still working on the garden bed.  Adding good organic matter to the soil.  My seeds are sprouting!

Our adoption process...
Honestly, I hit a bit of a breaking point last Friday.  I am an introvert.  I am also a relatively sensitive person.  I am passionate and feels things pretty deeply.  It has been exactly one year since I found Reece's Rainbow and knew God had placed it before us TO DO SOMETHING.  We were not in the place to do it then.  We have moved now and it was a green light to start the process.  But I had gotten so entrenched in other adoption blogs, stories, experiences that it was getting hard for me to function...the need is SO GREAT.  14 yr. olds that weigh 14 pounds and are the size of 3 month olds because caretakers in Eastern Europe thought their Down Syndrome made them not worth feeding or caring for...older kids watching parents adopt a child from their orphanage and begging for families and wanting parents of their own.  Kids waiting for years.   Its been a lot.  I took a break.  Didn't read a single thing, Dan and I stopped talking about it for a bit.  We prayed.  We waited.  I think I might be in a better place to move forward now.  We're talking about it again and looking to God to lead us.

Learning at home...
This was supposed to be a very light week because of the season and the need to garden and prepare for the chicks coming.  The boys did a bit of Math, read lots of library books and helped make compostable planting cups from newspaper as well as help me in the garden a bit.
Elijah was awesome and planted tulips for me :)  We will definitely read some history today. We'll get back to the books more next week.

What we've been reading...
"The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals" and "Backyard Livestock"  Both of these books are from the library.  We really like Guide to raising farm animals one.  We are reading about the proper care of chicks from 1 day to 6 weeks right now the the boys so they will know how to properly care for them. 

I will also be reading a organic gardening book from the library.

What we've been thinking about...
"We have lost the theology of risk. There is an inner confidence that we've lost. We've lost zeal. We've lost guts. Unless you are willing to do the ridiculous, God will not do the miraculous." (Mother Angelica)

Thanks to for the quote!

I'm thankful for...
My husband.  Its St. Joseph's Day today and I am truly thankful for the hard worker that my husband is.  He is a great supporter of his family.  And he never gives up trying to do his best to balance all that life throws at him.  I love you, Hon.

I'm praying for...
The Archer Family and their soon-to-be adopted children, For the children at Pleven, for Michelle to raise the funds to bring Alyssa and Anya home where they belong and for peace and holiness in our home.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Something I'm pondering during Lent...

"I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater development and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have no time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world."

-Mother Teresa

"In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world." 
This last line has stuck with me these past days...everything our Blessed Mother Teresa has ever said resonates with me but this line really struck me during this Lenten Season.  

So very grateful for the reminder...


Monday, March 12, 2012

Out of doors

People who live in the country know the value of fresh air very well,
and their children live out of doors,
with intervals within for sleeping and eating.
~Charlotte Mason, Home Education, Vol 1, p.42

My kids spend a lot of time outside...playing, pretending and creating.  We really need to work on the garden and do some spring cleaning this week, too, so we're cutting our school time down a bit and taking advantage of some spring fever to clean and garden.

(Thanks to for the great quote from Miss Mason.)


Friday, March 9, 2012

Current Tree Fort Progress

So like Kim mentioned, I'm working on the tree fort and it's going to be great when it's done...  I did a bit of research and found the best way to attach stuff to trees with minimal damage to them.  The main thing is to minimize the number of connections to the tree and Garnier Limbs help in that.  These massive bolts mimic how a tree branch connects to a tree to create a strong mounting point in which to connect stuff to.

Given how this tree is shaped I couldn't really wrap around the trunk; though I didn't like the idea of having a hole in the roof for the trunk anyway.  So I decided to build the fort off to one side and have a deck off the other.

I bought two GL's, as they're called, to hold up the two 4x6 beams you can see horizontal in the picture on the left.  I then used two 4x4 posts to create diagonal braces to hold up the fort side of structure.  It was a challenge to connect the diagonal beams but I thing I arrived a reasonable solution with some advice from a friend.

The next step is to finish laying out the jousts and putting the decking and floor down so that I can start having the boys help in the construction.  I'll post more progress as I find time.


Gardens & Tree Forts

Quick post... Finally got this back from the repair shop-

So we started tilling up the garden bed this evening before dinner!  Tilling a large garden bed is hard work!   Hoping to spend a lot of time tomorrrow getting it all tilled up.  It will be the biggest garden we've ever managed so we're pretty exited!  So much space!  I'm trying not to get too over-zealous and till up the entire side of our yard!
I got some heirloom seeds from a local nursery and we've planted some seeds indoors while we wait to get a little closer to the last frost date.  I'm really anxious to start planting :)

Dan's weekend will probably look more like this-

He's got the boys' tree fort that he really wants to make more progress on.   Once he gets the floor down then the boys can be up on the fort helping put up the rest of it.   Pretty soon he'll need to switch over to the chicken tractors.

I've got some adoption posts in the works and I hope to get some adoption related things up and running on this blog in the near future.  We finally got a "Chip-In" button and we will be explaining that as well as all the steps in the adoption process soon.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Our Family Daybook

I'm going to try posting "Our Family Daybook" posts to give an overview of some of the big things covered on our blog- our homesteading, our adoption process and our homeschooling.  Hopefully this will be a clearer way for me to cover all these things :)  It is definitely is a lot to squeeze into one blog, but I really don't want to start a separate blog for each...I think I might go crazy if I had to keep up with all that! a nutshelll....

Our Family Daybook

Around the Homestead...
Ordered our chickens.  Working on plans to build our chicken tractors. Planting lettuce, broccoli and carrots, hopefully today.  Getting our tiller fixed so we can till up the soil in the garden bed and get it ready for planting!

Our adoption process...
  putting in our application to our chosen international agency & facilitator. Working on homestudy paperwork.

Learning at home...
kind of all over the place!  The weather is beautiful and we're all itching to get our chickens and start planting....but we're always reading and always learning so its all good!  Found some animal bones that we're researching as well as learning about our turkey vultures....oh my, I've learned much more about them than I ever wanted to know!  Interesting but gross! Thinking we might need to be buying a Rosetta Stone language program for our whole family.

What we've been reading...
Gabriel and the Hour book (Middle Ages History) loving this book! Among the Pond People (Nature Reading) also quite enjoyable. What did we ever do before our kindle?

What we've been thinking about...
Eastern Europe.  Countries, Regions, facilitators... How food is produced, "Fresh" the documentary...

I'm thankful for...
that Tyler has a family committed to him!  Oh my, I haven't felt that happy in a
long time!  I was smitten with him after reading some very long posts about him
from a family adopting a little girl from his orphanage.   This boy is amazing.  I wish we were adopting him.  But I am so thankful he will have a family.

I'm praying for..
Laurel who has very little time left to find a family.  I am praying for  Cooper, the children of Pleven as well as the child that God is preparing for us to adopt.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Our chicken order is in!

Putting in our very first order of 25 of these beauties....

We will be getting our 1 or 2 day old chicks around Mid-April...we are planning to split them into two groups....half for egg laying and the other half for meat birds.  The kids are doing a 4-H project attached to these chickens where they will need to return a couple birds for auction as well as keep a record book and "show" a chicken at a chicken show.

So now Dan has some more building to do with the boys.  This is most likely what our two chicken tractors will look like:

We are very new to all we're doing our best to read up as much as we can and I guess we'll be learning a lot by trial and error! 

We are very excited to be making our homestead more official by adding some farm animals to the mix.  So far we have 8 fruit trees, 3 blueberry bushes and recently we put in 8 little raspberry bushes as well.  Adding the chickens is definitely a big step towards our own family farm :)

Now that the chickens are ordered, I need to start figuring out the garden.