Friday, September 28, 2012


We learned about germs yesterday and some of the ways they can get into our bodies. Oren sat next to me and listened and asked a lot of questions. We talked about boogers and how they do a great job trapping the germs in our noses and how it is disgusting to eat them because you are eating germs. Oren thought about this for awhile, shrugged, smiled sweetly, and said, "But I like to eat them and my body is STRONG."

Ah, boys.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


I am lost.

I grew up Roman Catholic and attended church every Sunday until my husband and I moved to our current city almost ten years ago. I like mass. Of all of the changes throughout my life (divorce, switching schools a lot, moving, etc), going to church was a constant. Mass doesn't change. I can say the prayers in my sleep. I love that about Catholicism.

I joined the Catholic church by our house and hate it. I have received numerous death stares whenever my kids act up and have seen few friendly faces. No one has made an effort to greet an unfamiliar face and even the people in our baptism class were unfriendly. I've gone several times in the hope that it gets better and it doesn't. I've also noticed from reading all of the online bulletins that this Catholic church is very focused on money. They are putting on a huge harvest party, but it costs $10/person, plus food the cost of food, and game tickets for the kids. I am all for supporting the church and charities, but it's like this with everything that church puts on and seems over the top. Also? I'm poor so spending $65+ to go to a church harvest party is ridiculous. That might seem petty, but when all of the church's events cost money, it rules out my growing family.

We live across the street from a Methodist church. It is the complete opposite from the Catholic church. The people are welcoming and friendly. I received sympathetic and kind smiles when the kids started getting bored. They have free Sunday school for the kids and put on several church activities at no cost. We went trick or treating at the Methodist church last year and it was great. Everyone was happy and wanted to be there and the teenagers had fun with the kids. It was free and my kids loved it. The downside? I am uncomfortable during the service. There's no order to the service, the songs aren't familiar, and there's not nearly enough standing, sitting, and kneeling.

I want my kids to receive their first communion. I want to have all of them baptized (Maeve is the only one so far). I want them to know the peace I've found in attending mass. Church meant a lot to me as a teenager and I want my kids to have something similar when they are older.

So what do I do? The big city closest to us has quite a few Catholic churches. We've tried a few of them and didn't fit in. Do I keep trying them on until one fits? Do I start attending the Methodist church since it's so family friendly and in my community? How much does religion matter when we are all serving the same god? I've been wrestling with this for awhile and have no answers. I would like church in my life again, but am stuck.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I love our girls. We have seven chickens right now and get six eggs per day. One of our girls was an afterthought and is not yet laying. Her name is Yellowy and she's the spunky little sister who roosts on the water feeder and is the one to steal all of the best pieces of food.

The Fun School, Week 9

My kids were too busy fighting this week to accomplish anything else.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Vanilla Extract

I decided to make my own vanilla extract. I cut open two vanilla beans, put them in a quart jar, and covered the beans with a bottle of vodka. I'll strain it in 4-6 months when it is darker in color.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


This is a third of our plum harvest for the year. The trees bloomed early and the last spring frost took just about everything. This lovely plum is about as tall as my thumb. I can't remember what kind of plum this is, but it's great for turning into a prune. Our other plum tree should produce delicious fruit for jellies.

Monday, September 17, 2012


I made elderberry syrup last year and thought I'd save myself some time and make a tincture this year. This is about a half of a gallon of elderberries and vodka. It sits in a dark corner in my kitchen and will stay there until we need it this winter. Elderberry is great for colds and flu.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Fun School, Week 8

The kids did a lot of math this week.

Maeve worked on mental math and adding big numbers (84 + 27 for example). She did great! Drilling  her on problems has helped a ton. She had very few backwards numbers this week. Overall, lots of improvement in math.

I worked with Finn on division, but he's not getting it. I know he can figure it out so we'll use manipulatives next time he's ready work.

We learned about lungs this week and continued to learn more about amphibians.

Finn finished his Explode the Code book and is ready for ETC 1.

We did some Halloween crafting and it was well received. I bought a bunch of q-tips and had the kids use them to put dots leaves on trees. Finn went crazy and painted for hours. He painted quite a few happy walnuts too, which I think is sweet and funny.

We also made a banner that says "boo". It's cute and hanging it meant that the other Halloween stuff needed to come out. So it did and Maeve was very proud of her decorating skills.

Maeve found two frog books at a garage sale and read them on the way home. She reads a lot these days. I'm going to introduce her to chapter books soon and see if she's interested. I've been trying to read Little House in the Big Woods at bedtime, but the boys have been nutso. I'm hoping to pick that back up next week.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Happy Spray

I get this out when the kids are fighting in the house or in the van. I have no idea if it does anything to calm them down, but they do rally together in protest of the happy spray and stop fighting. I guess that means it works, right?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Essential Oils

My collection of essential oils is slowly growing as I continue to learn how to use them.

I keep reading about Young Living thieves oil and when I found this recipe, I had to make it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


A friend of the family has a large vineyard in his back yard, but doesn't do anything with the grapes. He told us to pick as much as we wanted so we brought a friend with us and cleared his vines.

We each picked an insane amount of grapes. I have finally finished canning and ended up with 37 quarts of juice. My husband and children will be enjoying grape jelly in the near future.

Canning grapes juice requires a hot water canner. You wash the grapes, juice them, leave 1/4 inch of head space, and process for ten minutes.

The Fun School, Week 7

We've been doing much of the same.

The dollar spot at Target was 50% off so I bought several addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division work books. Maeve and Finn have been diligently working. Maeve has told me that she loves math and it's what she wants to start with everyday. I'm happy. She finished the addition workbook.

Finn is funny about math. He can very easily count by 1s, 2s, 3s, 4s, 5s, 6s, etc., but multiplication is hard for him. I can say "count by 6s five times and he'll get 30, but if I ask him what 6 x 5 is he doesn't always know how to answer.  He'll get it eventually.

I decided mid week to scrap Sonlight science because no one seems to be interested. I think we are going to learn about all kinds of amphibians and maybe end the year with a presentation of sorts and a big display board. Finn wants to learn about bowling so I think we'll turn our hallway into a bowling ally. We'll learn about candle pin, duck pin, nine pin, and ten pin bowling and how to score them all. We started reading about the history of ten pin bowling, but Finn wasn't entirely interested.

Hm. Honestly, I don't want to completely scrap Sonlight science. I think we'll keep working through it once or twice a week and see if the kids get interested. It might just be that they don't care about body stuff yet, but another topic will pique their curiosity.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Fun School, week 6

We had a very productive week!

The kids used their imaginations in a crazy, good way and have been construction workers for most of the week. Today, they are construction workers who are following a pirate map to buy sports equipment. I'm not really sure how that is all connected other than they found golf clubs in the garage and my hidden stash of hammers on the front porch.

I found Little House in the Big Woods at the thrift store this week and we've been reading it together at meals and bedtime. It's prompted a lot of questions and talk about food preservation and why we do the things we do.

I thought Finn would have a good time helping me build a pendulum, but he thought it was lame. Oren helped me instead and Maeve thought it was neat.

Maeve continues to work through Singapore 1A and is a little over half way through the book. Numbers are so much easier for her this year! We worked on Language Lessons, read parts of a Titanic book, and did Handwriting Without Tears. She loves her handwriting book. 

This week Maeve decided to start a frog business called Fun Frogs. Like any good entrepreneur, I had her create a business plan. I gave her a binder so that she could figure out her start up costs and profit margins, create brochures, and come up with an advertising campaign.

First, we went to Petsmart to check out check out prices of frogs and crickets. 

Then, Maeve wrote the diet and habitat of each frog she wants to sell. She helped me put all of the information into a pamphlet, which she plans to pass out with her business cards and with the purchase of a frog or tadpole.
She also made a list of how she can market her business.