Saturday, March 17, 2018

We Bought a Farm: A Great Day

Today was a great day on the farm. Okay, so I am sick. Not feeling well at all. In fact we had to cancel going to Bible Study and an Easter party with our homeschool co-op group. In addition, JB was sleeping from working last night.

But despite that, a surprisingly beautiful day (it was supposed to rain a lot of the day), a visit from our friend Anni, and Grampa and Grama here on the farm with us meant TONS of time for us all to be outside (even me who wasn't feeling great). 

Here's some videos that Annie (and Sidge) took of some planting they did in the front yard while I was resting inside. While I am not feeling good at all, it comes in waves and I was able to get outside quite a bit as well.

I love days like this. The kids were outside so much. While Isaac and I played a game inside, the three youngest took a hike to our tallest hill, returned Hannah to the house, and then Sidge and Abigail went out for some "adventure" time with their binoculars and book of animals tracks and water and snacks.

We finished the evening watching a lighting storm in the foothills of which we live.

There are moments when I wonder what we are doing here. Is this really what we wanted? It feels so hard sometimes. But then days like today I am absolutely convinced that this is where my children are meant to grow up. This is where we are meant to be. While you can't remove yourself from society, I do think that submerging yourself in nature and stepping a foot outside of the hustle and bustle is a good thing. I think this is absolutely a fantastic adventure that we will never regret taking.

P.S. (No idea why Hannah is wearing black ear warmers. That's just Hannah for you.)

Our Science for the week!

A few days back, Aunt Sherrie (John's youngest brother, Rob's wife) texted us to tell us she was glued to a live video of some bald eagles in California and their three eggs that were starting to hatch. We logged on, and have been logging on everyday! It is so fun to watch these little guys growing up. I encourage you to jump on with your kids too. Here's the link. If you have to choose which camera to watch, check out the SAUCES BALD EAGLES -- Channel Islands. 

Friday, March 16, 2018

How a city girl, gone country grieves (and raises cows): Meno-Me

 How a city girl, gone country grieves 
(and raises cows)

I met Kimberly through farming. She, like me, has been dropped into this life and is learning to love it just like me. She is a Christian, however, our pasts are nothing alike. I've asked her to share her story on my Blog over the next weeks or months or however long it takes. It is filled with much grief and loss but will hopefully make you laugh and smile and grow and grieve along with her.

I have a frenemy, a second personality if you will. She started emerging about four years ago (coincidentally, shortly after the beef farm fell in my yard.) I don't like her most days. Some days I'm on her side. Some days, when I wake up and she's there, I just want to curl up and pray she goes away.

She's my Meno-Me.

If you're not yet in the meno-club, some of this won't make any sense. If you have survived the Meno-club and you're not in prison, I applaud you!!! If you're in the midst of all the fun we're having in Meno-club, then, well, you'll get it. Chill the wine, toss the coffee, and let's get miserable.

Before I go further, I do realize that controlling my diet plan, exercising, and natural remedies do help with many of the symptoms and most of the time I'm a good girl and obey.
But Meno-Me? She doesn't care.

In fact, she can be so mean and hateful and hurtful at times I'm cringing the whole time. Some of the ugliness is triggered by the dumbest things. She still doesn't care.

She's feisty and most times just plain miserable. For no reason at all. She's always too hot, while I am freezing, and oftentimes she's eating junk food well after dinner. Oh yeah, she knows I'm not fond of her. And she doesn't care.

Some days I wake up and feel all me. Encouraging, loving, serving. Typically that means she's on her "vacation", and I can go whole weeks without her around. But like her cousin, the Aunt that always visits at the most inopportune times, she'll show up out of nowhere and take over. It's like a volcanic eruption, with no warning signs. And she doesn't care.

I'm a firm believer God put me in the meat farm business at this time in my life so I wouldn't end up in prison. Meno-me gets some relief I think from the processing of meat products; killing something (with a good purpose) and no jail time involved. And still, she doesn't care.

I'm also a firm believer God gave me boys later in life on purpose. My daughters were rather challenging during their teen years. There's no doubt in my mind Meno-me would land me in jail if my girls were living with me during this time. And STILL she doesn't care.

I take heart. It's been a full year since that nagging Aunt hasn't visited, so for that there is some reprieve. I was able to take off some weight during the beginning stages of the Meno-club, which really helped with my sleep and general feeling of well-being. While Meno-Me still intrudes on my eating choices more frequently here of late, I just roll with it a few days until she goes on "vacation" then I get my balance back. My poor scale needs a new battery about every month.

The hot flashes, water retention, sleeplessness and general life pains are moderate and with the (finally) warming temps a lot of that is easing since I can be outside without 10 layers of clothes (which Meno-me will start shedding at any given moment). There are a few more years (YEARS!?!?!?!) left of the Meno-club, so I've been advised, and I like to think I have a handle on the basics. My husband is still coming home every day (for now). My boys have emo-sensors and know when the powder-keg is lit and have learned DO NOT ENGAGE. My poor mother, who lives with us, is thankfully too deaf to hear the Meno-Me rantings (God is merciful!) most of the time and my daughters live out of state. Lucky for them.

For you incoming "club" members, it's really not that bad (I'm lying). For you graduates of the "club" I'm not sure how you did it and left survivors. And for those holding the "Premium Membership" card, I'm with ya. Sweat, tears, meanness and all. 

Did I mention the facial hair.....?

Until next week!


Review: The Heart Between Us

When I read other reviews of The Heart Between Us, they are very positive, so I just have to assume that something in me wasn't in the right place when reading this. It just didn't work for me. I finished it, and I semi-enjoyed it, but I found myself skimming to get to the height of the action.

The story centers around Megan Jacobs who had a heart transplant in her early adulthood. Her twin sister, Crystal, on the other hand, was able to live her life while Megan had to watch from the side. Intertwined in that is a plot of Crystal being a workaholic and almost losing her marriage, and Megan's relationship with a fellow heart recipient, Caleb.

The sisters take a trip to fulfill a bucket list for the girl who gave Megan her heart, and their damaged relationship takes on a whole new direction. 

I actually wonder if the reason I didn't enjoy it very much is because I've done a lot of traveling, and I found a lot of the traveling adventures to be a little overboard and not very reasonable. They faced so many hiccups on their trip that just didn't seem believable. I never did find myself attached to any of the characters.

I do think that Lindsay Harrel is a good writer, and I would give another of her books a chance. As someone who wants to be a writer, I can't imagine receiving a less-than-stellar review, but I felt I really needed to be honest. provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Reading Eggs REVISITED

Reading Eggs

Following a review of the amazing Reading Eggs program about six months ago, I contacted the company to see if there was any chance we could use the program a bit longer. We simply LOVE it. I said it before, and I'll say it again now that we have used the program for an additional six months (and are STILL using it with ALL FOUR of my kiddos):
Wow! WOW! WOW! I am just not sure I can adequately write this review. I have never felt completely overwhelmed with a review for GOOD reasons. There is so much on this program, and it is fun for the kids that I just don't even know where to start. My kiddos absolutely LOVED LOVED LOVED the fun online learning opportunities in the Reading Eggs program. Honestly, I have NO idea how to write this review and actually make it not be thousands of words long.

There are FOUR main sections:
  • Reading Eggs Junior (Ages 2-4): This is where my four-year-old daughter placed
  • Reading Eggs (Ages 3-7): This is where my six-year-old daughter placed
  • Reading Eggspress (Ages 7-13): This is where my two boys placed
  • Mathseeds (Ages 3-9)
Reading Eggs was developed for kids ages 2-13. It starts at the very, very beginning so kids need NO previous experience to get started. This program is great for homeschool parents but it is also designed to supplement what children are getting at school.

Reading Eggs was so fantastic that my boys have BEGGED me to buy them a spot. Here's the reason why. As part of my "review agreement", I received TWO free six-month subscriptions. I used them for my daughters (ages 4 and 6). My boys each did a free two-week trial. When it was up, they were absolutely begging me to get them subscriptions. They were absolutely fanatical about the program and just begged to do it every day.

Reading Eggs allows you to know exactly how your children are doing by providing an email delivered to you at the end of each "map." As a child finishes the "map", they take a quiz, and the parent receives an email sharing how they did. In addition, on each of my kids' dashboard, you can instantly see an overview of the reading skills they have learned and the number of books they have read.

One of the reasons they loved the program so much is that the program was set up with rewards. As the child completes lessons, they earn acorns (math program) and eggs (reading program). These can then be turned in for games and fun things to do. The inventors of this program really nailed it on the end combining the things kids LOVE to do (games, songs, variety, and rewards) in such a nice package that they truly can't resist wanting to log-in again.

Here is a video of my nine-year-old, Isaac, working through a lesson in the "Reading Eggspress" portion of the program:

And here is a video of my six-year-old daughter doing the "Reading Eggs" portion: 

There are also some fantastic BONUS materials on the site, totally your's for the using!
  • Activity Sheets -- there is actually a worksheet for EVERY lesson that they do. It is seriously never-ending. These printables give you something hands-on that you can use for each lesson that your child does.
  • Homeschool -- Of special interest to me was the curriculum breakdown, week by week, for my K-2nd graders. 
  • The Eggsperts -- This is a video series which follows Sam, Jazz and Tom which takes young kids on a quest to find clues, hatch eggs, and meet friends in every episode (which is just under 8 minutes.) (You can also download the Eggsperts Appisodes). 
  • If you log in, there is a chat available at any time to help you with any problems you have.
Reading Eggs
Here's the greatest news! You can get a free 4 Week Trial 4 Week Trial of the program for your child or children. But be forewarned. If you do this trial, your kids will want you to purchase them spots. I promise! It is just too fun of a program not to want to be a part for longer.

To get a Reading Eggs account, visit here. And follow these links if you want a free 4 Week Trial of Reading Eggs 

Check out reading eggs on: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube.

Please feel free to contact me directly to ask any additional questions about this fantastic program which you can use on your computer OR your iPAD.

We Bought a Farm: Matthew 12:11

"He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” 

Matthew 12:11-12 NIV

On Sunday morning, a good friend on a neighboring farm rang our house shortly before we were to leave for church. This particular farm had a sheep, and the farmer was having trouble getting a lamb out. Our former wwoofer, Jacob, was in town visiting us for the weekend, so he and JB drove over to the farm and tried, unsuccessfully to try to get the lamb out. Unfortunately, it was just too large, and despite the vet coming over and trying to do a c-section, they lost both the mom and the baby.
However (and you can't make this stuff up if you tried) I couldn't help but be dumb-founded when I went to church on my own with the kiddos and heard our pastor ask us to open our Bibles to Matthew 12:11. Of all the scriptures he could have shared that morning! In fact, had JB chosen not to go over and try to help, can you imagine the guilt he would have felt sitting in the service!
Either way, moments like these make me so thankful for my new life. It's a different life and a fairly unpredictable one, but it's a blessed life. Spring is an amazing time. Our geese are sitting on a nest of at least 15 eggs! Our sheep mamas are getting big and look VERY pregnant, and we know our dogs have mated and are hoping that the end of April bring some little Aussie puppies our way. (If you are interested in a pup, let me know!) It's a time of new life and new growth, and pretty crazy coincidences!

Monday, March 12, 2018

We Bought a Farm: Tricky Weather

March is always a tricky month. I've always known it, but when you farm, you become SO much more aware of the weather. So much of what we do here is dependent on the weather. Too much cold. Too much hot. Too much rain. Not enough rain. It all affects what you are doing day in and day out. 

Throughout February and the beginning of March, we've had a lot of Spring-like days, and even some Summer-like days. We get outside and do warm-weather stuff. We start believing that winter is over, and we start looking through the closets for our shorts. 

And then a few days later, it's freezing again. 

(It's also been really, really rainy here which doesn't help either.)

(It's funny that thing called RAIN. You need it quite badly on a farm. But you don't really like too much of it either. We farmers are so picky.)

Take a look at these beautiful and not-so-cold day photos:

Photo courtesy of friend Anni

And then today we had a beautiful and big snowfall. It didn't stick, but just comes to show you that the saying about the month of March is correct: "In like a lion and out like a lamb!"

Great boys' book

I'm always looking for books my kids love to read. My friend Alison suggested the HANK THE COWDOG series. Isaac hasn't tried them but Sidge just LOVES it. They are just fun books, and there are around SEVENTY of them which he just thinks is fantastic. They are told from the dog's perspective, and the humor really resonates with Sidge.

Teaching ballet in Lowes

While JB and I were meeting with the cabinet lady at Lowe's we glanced over to see Abigail giving Hannah ballet lessons. :)