My Favorite Things: August

This month I want to try to begin a series of posts about my favorite “things,” that help me in my family life, and thus homeschool life (because homeschool is our lifestyle, right?).

  1. The http://quietinthechaos.com/feminist-dating-advice/– I have heard Sarah discuss it on her podcast for ages. I’ve been a loyal listener for a few years, and never really thought the Membership applied to me. Our whole family life revolves around books, after all. Boy was I wrong! After a very hard summer (emotionally physically, mentally) for our family, I needed to simplify, set new goals for our homeschool, and get started FRESH. And I needed to do this without the drudgery of “too many things” on our to do’s. Just because it is good, beautiful, and wonderful doesn’t mean we have to cram it in right now. We have SO many days, so many weeks, so many month, and years to add in the many wonderful homeschool resources. They don’t all have to fit RIGHT NOW. (remind me of this in 3 months haha)
  2. The http://quietinthechaos.com/no-money-involved-dating-sites/– Nope, I am not being paid to tell you how much I love RAR. I just really do. And her book bag is no exception; beautiful, perfect for library trips, easy to load, strong, wide straps, lined with a zippered pocket … I could go on but I won’t. These make great gifts (I think each child will get one for Christmas because I love mine) and you get a discounted rate when you are a RAR Premium Members!
  3. popular black dating apps– I love books. I love cheap books. I love cheap books that come in the mail.
  4. Little Jewel Books– I wasn’t so sure what to expect with these, but I ordered 2 I thought we would like for our family. These are beautiful little books … really they aren’t so little. I have found them to be perfect for my almost 4 year old 3rd born who needs a little “help” remembering right from wrong. The covers are enticing, and the pages are really lovely. I can’t wait to order many more!
Rain = happy ducks

ducks swimming in the flooded chicken run

  1. Rain- We have been in a pretty serious drought in our neck of the county since the winter. This month, however, mother nature has decided to bless us with something like 20 days of rain. I am *so thankful* for the rain! The pond my finally fill up this year, the grass and trees feel better, and the ducks are sure enjoying it!
  2. Playing games- In our efforts to take a step back in everything, we have found our afternoons and evening usually empty, meaning we have time to play games as a family, crochet, and water color. Mostly, I play UNO with my son and oldest girl while the other do crafts, art, etc. It has been so pleasant!
  3. Reading Aloud-We have finally found our groove for reading aloud again, and *it is perfect.* Even the 2 year old is getting better about being quiet so we can listen. Whew whooo!
  4. More Free Time- did I mention we all have more free time now? Everyone is picking up books more often, playing outside more often, loving on the goats, playing pretend, climbing new trees MORE. It makes my heart happy, and I can already see a big difference in the kids’ emotionally without the stress of everything we had on our plates before.

What have you enjoyed most this month?

 

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18-20 Month Baby Schedule & Summary {baby #4}

{yes, I am 4 months late on the 18month baby summary … I’m just now realizing it is the year 2018, and spring is here}

Wow. just wow!
My how 18 months has flown! I can’t even keep up with her baby summary posts. My how we love our sweet little baby #4.

Development 18 months vs 20 Months

It has taken her longer than the first 3 children, but Squish has started walking and talking non stop (18 months). She is just totting around everywhere; her vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few months. She is saying everything from her siblings names, to pointing and naming objects she wants/needs.

She tends to drag her right foot, which is worrisome, but hopefully that will resolve itself. If it doesn’t we will talk to our doc in July. Her disposition is still pretty tough most days (18 months), she goes through phases where she is extremely happy for a week or 2, and then is incredibly difficult for a few weeks. I’m guessing it is wonder weeks and development related? I haven’t been tracking WW much anymore, but I probably should!

At 20 months, she is now talking EVEN more, is almost always happy, and has really come into her own. She really, really enjoys playing independently, she is a very smart girl, love counting and talking about everything. I often sneak into her room during independent play, before I get her out, and watch as she reads books, dances, and does finger plays to the songs on Pandora (like itsy bitsy spider). She is so full of herself when alone!

Her favorite words are: Lexie, Maxie, Ila, baby, Huck, and every animal sound she can make. We brought Yona (our Anatolian Shepherd) inside for a week or so while she was getting over some tummy troubles (due to her puppy food!) and Coralie REALLY found an outlet for bossing others. haha I think being the 4th, with her 3 older siblings always talking, bossing, and being active around her, she rarely had a chance to be heard. But when Yona came inside, she had someone that had to listen to HER (our dogs are raised to submit to all family members, be calm and quiet around their animal charges and people), so I guess the cure to some of her frustrations was power… that’s a scary thought!

She still signs for some things, especially if we remind her to do so, but she will also attempt to say the words for most everything around her-cups, water, eat, more, two (which means more …), up, down, snuggles, night night, baby, please, thank you, stinky, poopy, t.t., potty, nasty, num num, blanket, outside, downstairs, seat (which means put me there or she is demanding someone else sit there). So, lots of vocabulary.

She definitely loves animals, talking, dancing, counting, and toting around her baby dolls. We put a newborn diaper on one of her dolls, and it was game. on. She is now mama to her babies, gives them bottles, swaddles them, puts them to bed. She recently took to a baby blanket that was Lexie’s and requests it all day long, taking it with her wherever she goes; Squish will tot to her crib and pull the blanket from between the rails and just looove on it. She is counting like crazy, knows all her body parts, sings songs with us, and loves organizing toys “just so.” This video was taken just last week, and is a perfect example of her personality!

SNUGLLES! Yall, oh my gosh, the snuggles. This girl has never been much of a snuggler, but more of a “give me want when I want it or I dont want it at all” kinda girl. It has honestly been hard to “love” on her, simply because she so often didn’t want that connection. But now?!  Oooh, now she is a lovey girl, wanting squeeze hugs, wrapping her arms around our necks, and saying “Nuggle! Nuggle!” It is so fun!

I really can’t say how thankful I am that her personality has blossomed so much; it has been hard for all of us to enjoy her… Not because she didn’t meet our expectations, or our views of having a baby, but because we didn’t know HOW to love her- she didn’t accept the ways we showed her love, if that makes sense? We tried everything, she liked food-check, she liked attention 1:1 with me in the mornings- check, She liked telling everyone else no-check … but nothing really screamed “connection” with her. Oooh how I am thankful for grace and what now feels like peace.

We’ve decided she is exactly like her oldest sibling; if Lady had been the 4th in the family, I suspect her very Type A, independent, determined, sweet self would have been exactly like Squish. They also look pretty identical, and really just have the same personality traits. I predict Coralie will be an early reader, a fast learner, and a determined girl like Lady, but we shall see!

18 months to 21 months has been night and day for her; all of our relationships have flourished with her, even the kids. Her ability to talk more, and finding interest in specific things has truly helped her disposition. I feel like even though we have always known her, we are finally getting a peak at what’s been inside those beautiful blue eyes for the last 20 months, or maybe we are just starting to listen? Either way, it is a blessing!

It is funny to watch how she interacts with each of her siblings: Lady she considers her care taker. She helps with Squish’s bath, getting her dressed, taking her downstairs to play, totting outside, sliding, and reaching things. Mister she sees as her playmate; they are silly together, romp, play silly games, get LOUD, shoot guns, and snuggle. The Miss … well, we are working on that dynamic, because the last several months have been all competition! Miss is learning to help care for Squish, and take some responsibility like the older 2, which I think is helping with how she sees Coralie. They both consider themselves the baby, and it is hard on them to share space, attention, and favorite items, but I feel like things are getting easier.

Overall, I am excited for this new phase with Squish!

just one of the gang, watching duckling splish splash

Schedule

So far Baby #4 is still on a one nap schedule- usually she goes down for nap abut 12-12:15, and gets up at 3:00.

So her days look like this:

  • 7am wake, snuggles, breakfast
  • playtime/workout with mama time
  • read school books with us in mama’s room
  • independent play while we do table work, sometimes a snack first
  • 11:15/11:30 lunch
  • 12:00/12:15 nap
  • 3:00 up from nap, snack
  • 5:30/6pm dinner
  • 6:40 bedtime

She is drinking out of a straw sippy, and Thermos brand sippy cups. She enjoys eating some things with a spoon, and I often let her do the last bite of messier foods with a spoon, everything else she eats with her fingers. Her favorite foods are … pretty much everything! We discovered this winter that she has a cashew allergy, and thus probably has a pistachio allergy. She reacts to the oils and the actual cashew nut; it also appears when she has too much peanut butter she reacts? So we are playing that one safe and avoid peanut butter for her most of the time.

She has recently graduated from her Zipadee Zip to a regular sleep sack. I thought this might lead to thumb sucking, since she sucked on the sleeve of all her zipadees and swaddles, but so far I think we are thumb-sucking free!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Mama and Mud {FMF}

tears, strength, joy

smile lines, and sparkles

stretch marks, sun spots

love, snuggles, and books.

memories made

Mama, thank you

Clearly I am not a poet. =)

I asked my kids what are a few words they think of when they hear the word mama.

These were a few of their words, plus a few I added of my own (stretch marks clearly wasn’t thought of by my children).  When Lexie said thank you, I could’ve cried.

Being a mama is so multifaceted.  It is emotional, and fun, and life changing.  But the best part is raising people that become adults whom one day you can look at and say, “I like this person!” I hope we get to those adult years.  For now, I like them a lot most of the time. 😉

I hope they grow up to be respectful, honest, God loving adults with a real relationship with Jesus. Until then I will continue loving, and teaching them … and fussing about the muddy clothes piled up in the garage. (which I am very, very thankful for)

As my husband tells me

We are so blessed to have happy, mischievous kids … Those muddy footprints are memories made.”

mama and mud- the mischievous 2 year old

 

 

Mama and mud- rainy day fun

rainy evening fun

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Baby Boo, I Love You

In our home, being a mama is pretty important … and I don’t mean me being a mama.  I mean, my girls playing pretend with their dolls.

We have been reading a precious book, Baby Boo, I Love You, by Sheryl Half, illustrated by Jane Massey.  My girls love playing with dolls.  Ila, our 2.5 year old especially loves playing with baby dolls-from changing their diapers, putting them down for naps, to nursing and giving them bottles, she is obsessed with babies.  Baby Boo, I Love You is a perfect book for our family to read together.

This is a sweet book about a little girl that enjoys playing pretend with her doll- she takes care of, loves on, protects, and bathes her baby doll, all while going on adventures together.  She shows love and nurturing to her doll, as she has seen her loved ones do with real babies.

The book is based on the author, Sheryl Half’s, own three daughters playing with their dolls in the parks growing up in New York City.  The book is a beautiful hardback, with 32 sweetly illustrated pages.

Every time we pull Baby Boo, I Love You off the shelf, my 4.5 year old son says, “aw, I like this book.  It is so sweet.”  Then he proceeds to get his 2 year old little sister her doll to go with the story.

This book is perfect for the “little mama” in your life, or as a baby gift for a new mom! It goes on sale today, May 2, 2017, so you can get your copy now!

But the author has even more to share with us-


Sheryl has also created an ADORABLE paper doll set!  Oh my goodness, when my daughters (6 and 2) see this they are going to be SO excited! Click the link below to get your copy of the paper dolls:

Baby-Boo, I Love You Paper-Doll Play Set

This is truly a sweet addition to your book shelf, your children are sure to enjoy it!  I know mine have. =)

… and happy Mother’s Day!

Baby Boo, I Love You

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you.  Thank you!

Friday on The Farm {Babies, Babies, Babies!}

Ok y’all, I know it isn’t Friday.  =)  But I didn’t have time this past Friday to write anything, so here I am on a Monday evening writing about a wonderful day I had with my kiddos.

Spring has been around the farm for a while, but it is finally LOOKING a LOT like spring, and the babies GALORE prove it.

Oh the beauty!  The grass is green, there is a nice breeze, the garden is GROWING, the chickens are happy, the dogs are laying, the sun is shining, and the kids picked up their wagons and toys so the yard is semi-clutter-free.  =)

50 meat chickens

the meat chickens in tractor coop, just before we moved them to a new area with fresh grass

These are our new baby chicks!  we have 3, but left one in the brooder with a fellow left over chick … there is a story here.

We ordered 60 meat chickens, they sent about 65 or so + one lone little “exotic” (they’re usually roosters).  So we have 55 or so meat chickens left, living out in the tractor coop so they can pasture.  But we had this one little chick who is much smaller than the Big old waddling meat chickens, and s/he needed another chick with it, (because they don’t do well alone).  Initially husband said no; after a trip to the farm store this weekend with the kids they came home with 3 silver laced wyandotte pullets.

So here are two of them.

Image may contain: grass, bird, plant, outdoor and natureWhat else …

The garden is coming along so great!  I really need to look up how to harvest lettuce.  I am most excited about what we planted this year.  We are doing a lot of plants we either haven’t done in years or have never done, including broccoli, okra, watermelon, cantaloupe, sugar snap peas, banana peppers, lettuces, and cabbage!  We also planted some daikon radishes from seed (hoping they come up), so I have everything for my fermented kraut except carrots (which aren’t worth the time they take to grow haha).

the compost bin (which we will soon be updating, somehow) and the Arkansas rose bush that we have literally moved all over this country)

I think these are the cabbages …

peas that will hopefully grow up the trellis

 

my little lettuces! I’m so excited about them

 

We’ve been enjoying lots of asparagus and eggs.

Oh!  EGGS!  Ya’ll! My mammy duck is broody!  One of the really dark campbell ducks (possibly a cayuga cross), spent a month laying eggs and getting her nest all … nest-ed.  About 8-10 days ago she started sitting!  I’ve only caught her off one time and it was too bright out to candle the eggs, so I still don’t know if they are any good.  Drake Campbells only have a 30% fertility rate, so unless some of those 18+ eggs are crossed with our pekin drakes, there probably aren’t many fertile eggs.

Mammy {the broody campbell duck}

Anyway, I am excited!  Hopefully we will have ducklings in a few more weeks (or 3…).

And, speaking of baby things-this little one here is Heidi.  She is our 12 week old Great Pyrenees. (I think I mentioned in a previous post that Anne had a lot of genetic issues with her mouth and jaws so she was returned.  She should have never been sold to begin with … anyway).

Heidi is pretty dang cute, and feisty … and nothing like Huck!  haha  She has a lot to learn.  Like, a lot. But she will get there, just slower than Huck I think, mostly because she is truly puppy.  Huck has always been an old man.  He does a good job of keeping her in line and teaching her about pack manners and such.

Sometimes he literally just lays on her lead so she can’t keep pouncing off.  haha (see the 2nd picture below)

Heidi {great pyrenees LGD 12 wo}

 

I can ask Huck, “Where’s your puppy?!” and he will almost always go right to her and just lay on her. =)  So far she is learning to do okay around the chickens.  She doesn’t chase or play when around them, but when in the pen part of the chicken run she will try to chase through the pen.  So that behavior has to stop.  I am working on it, and will let you know how that goes.

 

He most definitely interacts with Heidi differently than he did Anne, which is interesting to me.  He knows she is different in character and treats her as such.  They’re such awesome dogs.

Huck and Heidi

 

Each of my babies and me today:

Friday on The Farm

 

 

We spent the afternoon doing chores, loving on dogs, chicks, and cats, then rolled the ball back and forth.  Dinner was in the oven and everything was perfect … then the cows got out.  That was frustrating and exciting and exhausting.  But they’re back in now.  Stubborn hamburgers.  I love them dearly, and I will miss them after freezer camp, but am looking forward to a freezer full of grassfed, hormone free beef for my family.

 

SIlver Laced Wyandotte QuietInTheChaos.com

www.Quietinthechaos.com

he started acting all wild and barn-catty right after this … cause he’s a barn cat

www.Quietinthechaos.com

www.Quietinthechaos.com

dirty babies and chicks!

 

Homeschool and Childhood: Am I Doing It Right?

Homeschool- Am I doing it Right

Several years back I described our homeschool as a Charlotte Mason/Classical approach.

We probably lean more in both of those directions, but I am finding more and more we are very eclectic. We use *everything* to school, focusing on living books for most things, but preferring a math curriculum, and a bit more structure than unschooling.

But, I am not here to talk about how we school.

I am here to encourage you in however YOU school.

I don’t prescribe to a “schedule” for our lessons; we have a general rhythm, a routine, that works. The baby’s naps and feeding times are schedule, as are all other naps and meals. Everything works around that.

Routine = peace here.

But recently (maybe since baby was born? or no… since Christmas?) I have stopped requiring so much of my son, 4.5yo and toddler, 2.5yo. I *thought* I was doing more justice to their childhood by not doing school so much with them and letting them play freely all morning.

*INSERT EYE ROLL HERE*

Yall- people mean well, friends, fellow homeschoolers, ME, we all mean well.

But just because someone says that it works for them, and they believe it is best, doesn’t mean that it is best for your family.

——–

I have high expectations of my kids, as I am sure most people do. I believe kids meet the expectations that we lay in front of them. Expectations should be challenging but not frustrating; not easy, but still something they need to put effort into. They should also include lots of play. It’s so important to make sure children have a good work/play balance. When homeschooling, it can be more difficult to do this, but there are always ways to separate schoolwork from playtime. When it is time for the kids to relax, try doing something they want to do, such as going on the games console and playing super smash bros brawl iso, for example. That is a good way for children to enjoy their time at home, without it feeling like a place where they have to be constantly focused on their schoolwork.

Somehow in the past few months I managed to forget that play CAN look like school, and that school can look like play without it being chaotic free play.

One of the main points taught in my teaching program, which was largely spent logging hours and observations in the preschool room in our University’s child center, is that play can be semi-structured. Play can be guided by an adult with rules and boundaries, but enjoyed freely by a child.

And explorative play can be controlled chaos. (thank you for that term, college professor who had years of classroom experience)

And when you I have 4 kids, each 2 years a part, by golly, we need some dang boundaries, structure within the routine.
I can’t expect a 4 and 2yo to stay inside those boundaries completely on their own every day while I school the oldest. (I know- DUH, right?) But somehow I stopped doing what I know, and began doing what others said was good?!

My point is, please, please, please do not let anyone, even well meaning friends or acquaintances, make you feel like you are doing something wrong because they are justifying or suggesting how they do things.

When You Doubt … or Forget

Re evaluate your own goals and beliefs about education- they probably don’t line up exactly with many other people, and that is okay! That’s why we homeschool, right?

When I looked around our home (and reflected on recent days) I realized we ALL felt chaotic and out of control, there was unnecessary stress and behaviors that didn’t make sense, and it all pointed back to structure for us.

Instead of heeding advice from people who don’t need the same structure we do I should have just kept on with what we were doing, because THAT works for us.

We are happy in our structured, eclectic homeschooling home; my kids excel there, my only boy who is not so independent all of the time feels included and it keeps him from getting bored (aka, in trouble), they all get more time with mama at the table which equals happiness. It’s where we learn, where we find rabbit holes and I feel comfortable enough to follow them because I have a structure to come back to.

Our home is structured, but our days are relaxed and peaceful when my kids know what to expect (oh my gosh, how many times have I written that on this blog?! Maybe 25 … maybe more).

So why did I stray from what I knew the last few months?

I can’t say with certainty. But I do know, that sometimes you have to block out the noise and seeds of doubt no matter where they come from. Stay the course and do what works, as long as it true and good.

Maybe I am just writing this as a reminder to myself, because it will surely happen again.

We really don’t need others validations, we really should do what works for us, and the more we know our children the better we can educate them, regardless of what that looks like from the outside.

So here we are mamas, almost to the end of the school year for many (we keep going through June). Be encouraged, be excited, enjoy your time with your children.

Know you are doing it right.

 

 

Disclaimer: Some links on this blog are affiliate links; when you use those links you help support my family, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

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