Saturday, April 24, 2010


Slowly, but surely we are getting things done. We have been updating our house for the past seven years and have finally started to do more work outside. Two large maple trees came down in the front yard last week because they had been planted too close to the house. We are going to plant our fruit trees (two apples, two pears, a plum and a cherry) in the front and I think they'll look nice.

The rabbits are doing well. We plan to get a male Flemish Giant and possibly a male for the female harlequin, Rainbow. At some point, I want to move the rabbits outside, but that requires building hutches and my husband having the time to do it.

Chickens are not allowed in our city because they are considered livestock. I am going to attend the city council meeting next month and see if they'll grant us permission to have up to six birds. I would love fresh eggs and will probably get chickens even if we don't get the okay from the city. We have an area that is perfect for chickens and no one would notice. I will bribe our neighbors with eggs.

All of the spring plants are in the garden. We have to clear out our tomato, squash and watermelon plots and then we'll be good to go. I can't wait for fresh food.

The kids asked for a puppy yesterday and I am seriously considering it. We tried having two dogs a couple of years ago and it didn't work out. Our house was chaotic and the timing was bad. He was a sweet dog, but our kids made him nervous and I didn't know enough about training at the time to fix the problem. I am a sucker for animals and need to figure out how many is too many. Is there such a thing? The rabbits and chickens will serve a purpose, but another dog?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hands On Learning

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about homeschooling. There are so many different methods that it can be overwhelming. If you factor in some second guessing, it can leave you paralyzed. Fortunately, I am fairly self-confident and have a network of terrific homeschooling families.

We are do-ers or unschoolers, although I dislike that term because it sounds like we don't do anything. My kids love hands-on learning and exploring. I sometimes supplement with worksheets because Maeve enjoys filling things out (just like me) and I like to give Finn the chance to practice writing and holding a pencil. I follow my kids' lead. We have books everywhere, I show them interesting things and we do organized learning when the kids seem to need more structure.

We could have spent Earth Day just talking about the planet, recycling, etc., but instead went outside and collected trash. The kids had fun wearing rubber gloves and finding trash. We talked about the importance of keeping our neighborhood clean and putting trash where it belongs. We already have a compost bin and recycle as much as we can.

We learn about plants by planting a garden. The kids are part of the process from the very beginning when we order seeds and figure out what we want to plant. They help start the seedlings, water the plants, pull the weeds and plant the garden. We talk about cool weather plants and plants that enjoy the warmth of summer. We found a toad in the garden while planting, looked stuff up about toads and then decided to make a toad village in an attempt to attract more toads to our garden.

My kids can solve simple story problems and often quiz each other. Maeve decided two nights ago that she wanted to learn how to use the oven, stove and microwave so today she made muffins. I explained how to turn on the oven and what buttons to push on the microwave. We talked about the importance of adding the right amount of flour and why lard is better than vegetable oil. Finn added some ingredients and we all got to taste the final product.

Learning happens everywhere. It's our way of life. If I don't know the answer to something, I look it up and we figure it out together. Yesterday Finn asked if Secret Bear (one of the Care Bears) is a girl or a boy. I said I thought a boy and Finn said "Let me go check the computer." Maeve also consulted her "computer" to find the answer. I love it. I love that they don't take my word for it and figure it out themselves.

I am excited to be on this journey.

I love learning with the kids and experiencing the excitement of life with them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


A couple of ducks have taken up residence at our house. We are always delighted to see them when we go outside, but I have a suspicion that the feeling is not mutual.

We found an egg in the middle of our yard and my daughter was determined to hatch it. The egg was carefully tucked into a basket and covered with a wash cloth. Unfortunately, the egg met an untimely demise and my poor daughter was devastated.

We are hopeful that the mama duck will lay more eggs so that we can watch them hatch.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Rainbow had her first litter of kits and unfortunately, none of them survived. She made her nest a day late and ended up giving birth to her babies in her litter pan. We did our best to keep the kits warm, but Rainbow never fed them and even tossed one out of the cage. It was a learning process for all involved and I think she'll probably be a great mother with the next litter.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Revolutionizing Way to do Laundry

Laundry is not my friend. However, it is a necessary evil and we must learn to co-exist. A friend and relative recently shared with me how she does laundry. It's so simple and yet life changing.

She does a load of laundry in the morning and a load at night. Each person has their own shelf for clothes. When the shelves are full, everyone takes their piles to their rooms. All things that are on hangers are hung coming out of the dryer. That's it!

I've been needing to clean out and organize the laundry room for awhile now and finally did so a couple of days ago. I was able to clear off two shelves that are about five feet long. The top shelf belongs to hubby and me, while the bottom shelf belongs to the kids. The bottom shelf is high enough off of the floor so that I can hang all of the kids' shirts on it and they can still reach everything. I have a card table set up next to the stacked laundry machines. I'm going to keep a basket for socks on the table and use the table for folding clothes. Above the table is wooden pole/bar where I can hang stuff. The kids are super excited about having their own space for clothes and Maeve has even colored coded her hangers. I always end up taking kid clothes out of the laundry room anyway and now they will actually be organized.

Today was day seven of my new laundry system and it works beautifully. I'm not stressed about doing two loads a day because it is completely manageable and doesn't take much time. I don't have heaping piles of clothes everywhere and I can finally access everything in the laundry room. I don't like laundry, but I might be able to keep up with it now that I have a plan.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Like Father, Like Son

It's a good thing I love his father because that face tells me he's going to be just like him.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Good Bye Exersaucer

The exersaucer is supposed to be a happy place for babies. A place where they can explore and play with 360 degrees of FUN! toys. A place where I can put a baby when I need to shower. Or pee by myself.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Name That Kid

These were all taken at around six months old. Can you tell they're siblings?