Thursday, January 23, 2014


I bought myself a spinning wheel as an early Christmas present last year. It's a Louet S17. I bought it used and have had fun learning how to use it. Spinning is relaxing and monotonous and quiet enough that I can do it while the kids are sleeping or in front of the tv.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

French Angoras

You've heard the saying "they breed like rabbits", right? This must not apply to French Angoras. I have two beautiful rabbits; a self chocolate and a broken blue, but they stink at mating. 

My doe kindled, or gave birth, to a litter of six in November. She did not build a nest and tossed five of the babies out of the cage. She ate baby #6. I made her a nest, put the babies in it and it looked like she was feeding them for a day or so. Then she trampled all of them and pooped on the nest. I think she ate a couple more also. Yum-o.

I've been trying to get her pregnant since I bought her in May. It is not working. My buck is enthusiastic and seems to be doing his job, but maybe not? It would seem somewhat tragic for French Angoras if all of their fur prevented successful mating.

My doe is slightly underweight and I was thinking that there might be something wrong with her and maybe that's why she's not getting pregnant. Nope. I figured out that she started losing weight when I switched to a j style feeder in her cage. I think she's too stupid to take out enough food. I've been putting pellets in a bowl in her cage and she's back to eating a decent amount. French Angoras are apparently not highly intelligent animals.

I do love French Angoras and like plucking their fur. I like spinning their fur too so I'm hopeful I can get the breeding thing figured out soon. I'm going to be buying two more rabbits soonish so that ought to increase my chances of them having successful litters.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Natural Care

I've been learning about essential oils, herbs, and other plants for the past year and am becoming comfortable creating salves. Maybe if I'm ever done having children, I'll become a Master Herbalist.

Here's what I keep in the pantry:

-dried platain or plantain infused olive oil
-dried calendula or calendula infused olive oil
-lemon balm
-raw honey
-essential oils. My favorites are lemon, eucalyptus, tea tree, rosemary, and lavender.
-epsom salt
-activated charcoal
-sea salt
-yarrow (I will be planting this in my garden this spring)
-apple cider vinegar
-colloidal silver
-grapefruit seed extract
-elderberry (I made a syrup this year and made the mistake of keeping it in the fridge. It spoiled. I will be freezing it in ice cubes trays this year.)
-Coconut oil
-dried dandelions

Friday, January 17, 2014

Four Kids and Counting

People often ask me if I'm done having kids and the answer I always give is "yes". I said I was done after Finnegan, after Oren, and after Tillie. Am I done? Yep!

I have a pros and cons list going in my head as to why we should or should not have another child. It's a big decision and one that I don't take lightly. One the one hand, I have devoted the last nine years of my life to babies. Nursing babies, changing babies, bathing babies. I don't know if I have it in me to do it again. It would be so freeing to not have a nursling. I could be gone for extended periods of time, someone else could put all of my children to bed, and I could get my body back in shape. Heck, maybe I would even buy a normal bra for the first time in nine years. It would be amazing. I wouldn't have to schedule my days around sleep or tired times and all of my children could dress themselves and wipe their own butt. My days could be spent gardening without worrying about a baby eating dirt or dog poop, sewing without constant interruptions, cooking new, more time consuming recipes, and maybe I could even start up a little business for salves, yarn, fiber, and honey.

On the other hand, I've always wanted four children, but now that we have four, I feel like there are others that we still need to meet to complete our family. We have been blessed with four beautiful, strong willed children. I love feeling the first little kicks from inside my womb. I love wondering who my baby is going to be and then seeing them for the first time. I love how empowered I feel after child birth (NOTE: I do NOT love child birth). I love breastfeeding and baby wearing. I love everything about having a baby. It is an absolute miracle that my body can create, grow, and sustain human life. I think mothering is the most important job in the world and children grow in the blink of an eye.

Sigh. See my dilemma?

P.S. I love my children beyond their newborn days. I love watching them discover their environment. I love those first steps, the first words, and every other first. I love seeing my child grow and learn and think.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Schoolish Things

This school year is productive!

Maeve finally understands math. In fact, she understands math so well that she's almost completed Singapore 2A. Yipppeee. This is huge for her and I'm proud. Finn finished 2A a couple of weeks ago so I ordered 2B, or at least I thought I ordered 2B. It took two weeks for the book to get here and only then did I discover that I had inadvertently ordered the workbook instead of the textbook. I immediately ordered the textbook from a company that is closer to home and received an email today telling me that it's back ordered. Annoying, but no big deal.

Maeve has taken off with reading this year. She enjoys reading to her siblings and anyone who will listen. She sat on the couch one day and read an entire Frog and Toad book. I keep encouraging her to pick up a chapter book. I moved all of the kid chapter books next to the living room couch and am hoping that will entice her to read more. Finn can also read and continues to improve. Both he and Maeve read from McGuffey's Readers and Finn reads things on his various video games.

I like The Story of Our World. The kids like it too and I think we've finally found a history book that works. The text is informative, not overwhelming, and the activity book gives some good ideas. I am hoping we can complete the book by the end of the summer and start book two next school year.

I am following the science topics from Ambleside Online this year and it's working. We are currently studying planets and are doing one planet per week. I will have them make a big solar system when we are finished. Then we will learn about amphibians. Since we've been learning about amphibians since the beginning of time, I'm probably going to skip frogs and pick something else. Or maybe I'll have them do research project and presentation about frogs. That could be fun.

The kids love Handwriting Without Tears. They have both completed their books from the beginning of the school year and have started the next book. Maeve's handwriting has improved significantly and Finn's fine motor control is better as well.

We are moving like snails through Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind. The kids tolerate it and listen. I'm going to try to pick up the pace just a bit so we can finish the book and move on to book two.

I am going to add a Bible study to our stuff since we are regularly attending church (Yay! I should have agreed to go to my husband's family's church a long time ago), but are not able to get there early enough for classes. A friend recommended God's Great Covenant and after looking at it, I decided to order it. It looks like something my kids will enjoy and I think this will be meatier than the readings from Ambleside Online.

Oren likes school time and his attention lasts anywhere from one minute to 30 minutes at the table. He can recognize many numbers and can do one plus one, two plus two, and two plus one. He stinks at letter recognition and recall, but he is slowly working his way through Handwriting Without Tears. He loves that book.

Tillie likes to taste glue, bite the tips off of markers, and eat crayons. Her biggest strength is being cute.

Overall, I am pleased with the progress that the kids have made this year so far. It seems like we've finally figured out this homeschooling thing.


My word for this year is surrender.

I am a perfectionist and have trouble delegating and get upset when reality does not match the plan in my head. As one might imagine, this leads to frustration and stress. Lots and lots of stress. I'm giving all of that up.

Monday, January 13, 2014


The last bits of 2013 in pictures.
Our first Americana egg

Corriedale yarn that was spun by me

Our Thanksgiving table

My favorite bread

Corriedale and angora

A scarf that I knitted for Maeve

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Goals for 2014

My goals for 2014, in no particular order:

1. Figure out how to get my rabbit to kindle. My doe had one litter and killed all of them and it's been extremely difficult to get her pregnant again. French Angoras are finicky and slightly annoying, but I love brushing them and spinning their fiber.

2. Keep learning about spinning. I love spinning. I taught myself how to knit around Christmas and love spinning much, much more than knitting.

3. Make soap. Like the real stuff with lye.

4. Sell something from my little city homestead.

5. Put up more fruit. We did a good job last year, but I want more variety. I have no intention of canning any of it because freezing is easier.

6. Have a rock star garden. Yes, I did say rock star.

7. Go somewhere! We haven't been anywhere since Maeve was nine months old. I think it's time if we can find the money.

8. Get bees. I need to read more about them and maybe talk to a couple more people who keep bees, but I don't think it's all that difficult. Intimidating, but not hard.

9. Paint all of the trim upstairs. This is a boring goal, but needs to be done and will more than likely take me all year to complete.

10. Go on a date with my husband. Maybe we can even do one date a month.


I moved everything over to Wordpress and then stopped blogging. I like this format better so here I am.

I never had to deal with death as a child. I was not allowed to attend my great grandparents' funerals and death was never discussed. My husband's grandmother recently passed away and while it wasn't sudden, it has reminded me of my own mortality.

I am aging. My forehead is wrinkly. I have laugh lines. I turn 35 this  year. I don't feel old and my body still moves like I need it to move. I am healthy, but I will die someday and I need to come to terms with this. I am hopeful that I will live to be in my 90s, but what if I don't?

What will I do when my parents die? When my in laws die? How does someone handle the death of a loved one?

Thinking about all of this makes me sad and gives me anxiety, but it seems silly to mourn people who aren't dead. Life is a celebration and should be full of love and joy.

Our family verse for the year is 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I'm not sure where I'm going with all of this because it's late and I'm tired, but what I do know is that I'm going to do my best to find joy in everyday and show my love to others to the best of my ability. I want to live the rest of my life with no regrets.