My Best Goat Helper

… is an almost 4 year old girl that loves deeply. She is endlessly full of snuggles, dances, hugs, smiles, and spunk.

She reminds me so much of how I played and saw life as a child-  She would rather love on a cat, a dog that weighs 120 pounds, or goat than be surrounded by things that don’t interest her.

Miss cares so deeply for those that walk into her world; the strangers at the store, children at the ball park, friends and family.

While she lives life in her “la-dee-da” world, and much of  her character K also saw in my Granny- she doesn’t superficially care- if this girl welcomes you into her world, if she says she loves you, SHE LOVES YOU.

It is hard to believe Miss will soon be 4; she lit up our world the day she was born with her endless smiles and happy disposition, and she hasn’t stopped yet!

God has big things in store for this little package of wonder. (Lord, I just pray I can survive her! haha)


My Best Goat Helper


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Homeschool Spelling That Sticks! {with Memoria Press, a review}


Memoria Press has been a favorite curriculum in our home; we have enjoyed their Latin program. These last several weeks we’ve been using their Traditional Spelling II with great success and enjoyment! Memoria Press is a Classical Christian Education company that offers beautiful classical curricula and resources- they’re very well known in most homeschool circles.

All of my kids write notes and stories, or make books and cards what seems like all. day. long. Lady has been ready for more spelling focus in language arts, but because of a few struggles we needed something that included word study, application, and more intention on MY part. She is a vivacious reader, words and vocabulary are her jam, but at 7.5 years old, spelling … not so much! Piecing together ideas for practicing to go with other spelling programs just hasn’t cut it for us. That’s where Traditional Spelling II comes in!

Traditional Spelling II

This is a phonics based spelling program; it’s different than other spelling programs I’ve looked at or used. For us, Traditional Spelling II has taken exactly what we needed (phonics, routine/schedule, & activities) and applied it to spelling. Lessons include definitions, riddles, dictation, application, and color coding parts of words to create understanding of what one sees and hears to build the skill of spelling. It is to be used after a child has foundations in phonics/reading, and is for the grade 1, 2, 3 student. If you have used Memoria Press’s reading program, you probably alreday have some of the 4 required resources.

Included in our review are all required resources for Traditional Spelling II:

Just copying spelling words isn’t usually enough for most students; just as reading is so important for spelling ability, so is using and manipulating words, breaking them down and building them back like a puzzle, seeing the patterns, and practicing the vowel/consonant teams. This process which is used by Memoria Press is a multi-method approach to learning that is appropriate for young students-by using colors, dictation, riddles, and the other many word study activities, children learn using many methods of encoding!


How We Use It & What We Think

First- I cannot tell you how much we both look forward to our spelling lessons now, versus before. My daughter didn’t dread spelling before, it just didn’t stick, so she was disappointed when when couldn’t spell a words she knew she’d had in spelling. Knowing that each day we have activities laid out, ready and waiting on us, and helping my daughter encode at her level, has been a blessing for me. She enjoys the daily activities (some of which change weekly, keeping things consistent but fun), and it hits all areas of learning, allowing her to soak it all up.

Each Monday I begin by writing the words in sentences on the board, then we read them together and I go over their definitions (they will be used independently in sentences lasted in the week and thus students need to know the definitions). I pull out the phonics cards we need (card numbers are provided in the teacher’s manual for each lesson under “Teaching Overview“) and we talk about the sight words & spelling sounds, reading the words on the back of the cards that correlate with the sounds.

Memoria Press Lesson 7 Phonics Cards

The Classical Phonics book is a great phonetic resource; Lady likes flipping through this on her own for more “studying.” I’ve also been using it with my 3.5 year old for learning letter sounds; she loves it and asks for it almost daily! But the suggested use is for reading the words found within the book which follow that week’s spelling rules to increase fluency. I can give Lady the page numbers and she is able to look them up herself and read to me, creating independence and building confidence!

Next we begin the daily activities. The teacher’s manual lays out everything I need to do or say, gives card numbers for the Phonics cards, and page numbers for the Classical Phonics book. The Guided Student Work activities from the teacher’s manual are often different each day; these are done on days 1 & 2 and include riddles, filling in blanks of words, and other word practices offered each day. I either write them on my board or say them aloud and Lady writes the answer on her dry erase board.

The Teacher’s Manual is NOT overwhelming; what the teacher says is not paragraph after paragraph of mundane script. It is simple, to the point, consistent, fun, and EASY. The TM is only about as thick as the Student Book, so there is no extra “stuff” or script weighing down my part. I love this because scripted lessons can often feel boring and dry, but these definitely aren’t!

Each day after guided practice with me, she begins her student book activities which include: word sort under phonics focus (day 1), a fun/new word activity, plus the Colorful Letters activity (day 2), reading a paragraph and completing sentences (day 3), dictation word and sentence practice (day 4), and day 5 is the final “test.” Some weeks have different activities for Day 2, separate from the Colorful Letters activity- unscrambling, alphabetical order, sorting by syllables, circling word parts, etc. The various ways she uses the words keeps her interest and increases her ability to write them correctly. The other days’ activities are consistently the same, allowing more practice for important skills in encoding.

Workbook Pages Lesson 7, MP

We have been using the practice sheets as part of our handwriting/copywork. Lady is OBSESSED with cursive writing, so her student book having the cursive form of the words is a huge PLUS. She really likes to write the words in alphabetical order on her practice sheets, then write them in cursive- great meaningful practice (and all her idea).

MP Trad Spelling II

This isn’t a “write the words, take a test on Friday, and forget it next week” program. The lessons are fairly short, holding Lady’s attention, while also being intentional about how we spend our time.

I don’t want to fill our days with meaningless busywork- we need time for read alouds, tea parties, and playing in the dirt; raising chickens, and playing with baby farm animals. Short, focused lessons mean that we have more time to do all the other things we need to, and especially the things we want. I never considered spelling particularly fun in school, it was just something we did. But with Traditional Spelling II I feel like we have a purpose for spelling each week. The word study and a colorful letters portions really help us see the parts of words without too much “stuff,” required.

There are several other programs The Crew has been reviewing, you can see them on Memoria’s website here:

UnBoxing Traditional Spelling II MPress

Read more reviews by the Crew for many Memoria Press products by click the banner below:

Connect with Memoria Press:

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!

Put on a Happy Face {Baby #3}

My third born is most definitely her own littler person. All children are their own born persons, just as God intended, but this one … this one at barely 3 years old, while twirling on the top of a picnic table in nothing but a tu-tu and muddeclared herself a fairy princess.

We had never even discussed, read about, or watched anything to do with fairies. Or Princesses for that matter. *insert eye roll here*

So from that point on, I realized our Little Miss will forever be her own burst of light , arcing over everyone as they dance in her glow.

Then I bought her a fairy…

And a fairy book.


But I’ve concluded in the realization of who she is- kind hearted, the life of the party, sincere, excited, bright, eager to learn, and independent- she is just that scary thing I feared about raising girls.

She is *all girl,* with a little mud thrown in.

My first born girl is so predictably me-a serious tomboy, genuine and fun loving but introverted, living in a world of books and over analyzation. Mister lives in a world of all-things-Daddy, outdoors, sports, and engineering; he finds value in learning, quality time, and problem solving.

She is vivacious, finds fun in anything-alone or in a crowd- loves spontaneity; she flirts with risk, and dances everywhere she goes, with a perfect ballet twirl thrown in (yea, that part she didn’t get from me).

She will forever do her own thing. I only pray that she is certain that thing is always aligned with loving Jesus, and that I give her the grace she needs to be who she is, in Him. He is going to do wonderful things with her life, with the personality He gave her. I know that.

Baby #3 is the epitome of the word rainbow; a prism through which light shines lighting up the world around her. She is boundless energy, eager to share with anyone willing to sit a spell dance along.

I am thankful for the chance to dance along with her.

happy face

So proud of her happy face man, with “thick hair”

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Baby Summary {21 Months Old}- Baby #3

Dress Up Snuggles {Baby Summary 21 months}

Poor #3 … not nearly as many updates as the first two babies.  =)

This month (June 2016) Ila turned 21 months old.  Next month, she will become a big sister!  hard to believe; we have definitely had the “she’s the baby” mentality with her.

Developmentally Ila has grown by leaps and bounds the last few months.  Here is what she is doing/saying this month:

  • says:
    • “Mi Mi” for Mister (the I says i like icky when she says it)
    • “bar” for granola bar
    • “MMMnum MMMnum” for cup (don’t ask, we don’t know why?!)
    • grape
    • apple
    • bucha (she is obssessed with Kombucha right now!)
    • “back” for having her back scratched, & brings the back scratcher to us
    • cough
    • shoes
    • bowl
    • and she just jabbers.  Lexie spoke in complete sentences at like 12 months, Mister did a lot too.  Ila has her favorite words and the rest is just jabbering. haha
  • She’s been more clingy since about 19 months old; it is a phase I am sure because despite being my little sidekick, she’s a very independent toddler that likes her space.
  • Finally enjoys me reading to HER; she has always wanted to be the one reading to ME, so night time books ended in a fit. I finally just stopped trying and though she still reads to herself all day, she will let me read to her now!
  • She loves playing dress up with big sister; she also enjoys hanging out with the older two and playing in their world
  • Plays pretend- My first two did not play a lot of pretend on their own at this age.  Ila DEFINITELY has a big imagination- she makes the knights and horses talk and play, she plays with her baby doll, dressing and undressing her, and plays with the bath toys in their own world.
  • Enjoys doing the Melissa and Doug puzzles we have, and is learning her shapes this way
  • She brings me ABC bean bags (best purchase ever!) and says some letters or letter sounds, they’re not usually right- but hey, she knows they are letters.  😉
  • She can count to 10- these things (counting, letters, etc) she just picks up from us doing homeschool and living around her.
  • Pats everyone on the back when they are coughing or sneezing (it’s allergy season ..) and is very affectionate.  When Mister or Lexie is hurt or crying she gets their lovey and brings it to them, then pats them.  =)
  • Uses her fork and spoon really well!- Mister at 7 months refused to let anyone feed him and O M GEE he was the messiest eater EVER.  Still is!  So I refused to let Ila feed herself with a spoon or fork until about 3-4 weeks ago.  And she does SO well!  She is a really neat eater and if she can’t do in neatly or easily she asks for help.  Mama’s girl 😉
  • Ila is obsessed with sitting on the potty; she doesn’t do anything on it … and she takes her diaper off all the time!  So is she ready to potty train?  Yea … she probably is.  And if I had a few days to just focus on that, she would probably be trained and done. So, I may try here soon.  It is really just a lack of me being motivated and focused than anything.
  • She gives the biggest hugs and kisses!
  • Learned to roll her tongue and does it anytime she sees her daddy (go figure)
  • She is requires a hair bow to leave her bed.  She loves them.
  • Got her first real haircut at the salon recently; I have trimmed her hair several times since she was about 3-4 months old? But decided it was time for a real haircut!
  • Loves bath time; hates having her hair washed or brushed in any way, shape, or form.  UGH it’s a nightmare trying to brush her hair most of the time.
  • Her little bow-legs are straighter.  We were supposed to go in for her well child not too long ago, and we all ended up w the stomach flu.  So we haven’t been, but since then her legs have straightened up significantly!  At her 2 yr well visit I will have the dr make sure they are looking straight/okay.  I don’t want her to have feet that turn in/knees that knock if we can fix it.  She is already destined to have terrible feet thanks to her mama and daddy, both.
  • At this point she knows all of her body parts and can name most of them
  • Still loves the dogs, chickens, calves, and cats; knows most of her animal sounds
  • Asks for me to swing her when outside
  • Dancing is one of her very favorite things- she dances in the car, in her high chair, pretty much anytime there is music on she dances.  We went to OK with J.Tom’s family and spent most of our time at the pool; Ila really enjoyed dancing to the music there.

{playing Pandora Radio on the TV}

That’s all the new on my list & that I can think of right now …

At the end of May we moved Ila out of her nursery in our room (which is just a second, biggish-closet), to big sister Lexie’s room.  And it has gone SO well!  Oh my goodness, the Lord knew we needed it to work, and it has perfectly.  Ila is in her crib, Lexie downsized to a twin bed (which she loves), and I shifted some furniture around.  It is still plenty spacious and the girls do great.  They don’t wake each other up, we have staggered bedtimes (see Ila’s schedule below), and Lexie is really good at being quiet when she needs to get up for the bathroom or anything.

Since Ila was about 13-14 months old? this has been her schedule and so far it is still working:

  • 7am wake, eat
  • 9:30-10:30 independent play in crib with KLove on and a few music toys.  She loves it!
  • 11:15 lunch
  • 12:00 down for nap, usually asleep within 20 minutes but most of the time much sooner
  • 3:00 up from nap (wakes between 2:20-3 most days but stays in bed until 3)
  • 3:30ish after snuggles with everyone, snack
  • 5:30 supper, bath, playtime
  • 6:45pm bed

We don’t watch a lot of TV in our home, but when I do turn something on for the kids, it is usually Curious George on Netflix.  Ila *loves* George and says, “ooo ooo aaaah aaaah” for monkeys.  She enjoys our animal book the most and pointing out bugs all over the place.

For naps and night time, Ila insists that she has socks on and her sleep sack (on backwards or else she unzips it). I always turn on the humidifier for white noise and the ceiling fan (she insists on that as well).

Overall, Ila has been just as happy and sweet as she was the first few months of her life. She never cried much and though she has become fussy and clingy during certain phases, in general that is not her disposition.  She is definitely the easiest-going out of all the kids so far.


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!

Accomplish ALL The Things {Simple Woman’s Daybook 23}

Outside my Window …
It is gray, cloudy, and the sun isn’t up. We have had rain for 3 days now! YAY

I am thinking…
About all the things I need to start fitting into my day: more floor time with Ila, more violin practice with Lexie, more ironing of J.Tom’s clothes (one day I will be able to afford the cleaners!), more walking, more pregnancy exercises … oh. And more menu planning (really not doing good menu planning), and more blog planning.

How’s that for thinking 😉

I am thankful…
That my husband woke up before me to make coffee and feed the baby cows. =) We have started weaning them from their milk (a little late), and boy are they pushy! We don’t let them boss us, but the taller brown one sure tries.

In the kitchen…
There is bone broth that needs to be jarred up and put in the freezer.

And coffee!

I am wearing…
A maternity dress- it is one of the really old ones from my pregnancy with Lexie. It doesn’t really fit well, but they make great house dresses now, and are comfy to sleep in. Old Navy, $10 6 years ago.

I am creating…
probably a mess of everything. I have so much to do; today is cleaning day, but I also have to work in the basement (ugh) and get ironing done. I have dresses to finish sewing before baby comes, I want to put together a small unit study for the kids on Little house in the Big Woods, because we are about to finish that, and then we are going to grow crystals. That’s creating stuff, right? =/

I am going…
I need to go to Costco this afternoon; if the Mister takes a good nap we will go get groceries and then meet the daddy for dinner out.

Did I mention I have done a really bad job about menu planning lately?

I am wondering…
If it will continue to rain and fill the pond up. We thought we had a leak … thankfully the hubby had access to a few tons of kitty litter so we spread that out where we thought the leak may be. However, it may in fact just be that we didn’t have a wet winter and our runoff is blocked a bit, and there is a huge pond next door that has to fill before ours will.

Hoping the hard heavy rain we got last night started the process. We have had slow, steady rain for 2-3 days now. It has been wonderful!
I am reading…
Oh gosh! Okay, so I have a few books on my shelf, but have only really started one. The first two are homemaking books from the library, though I think I would like to own both. and the rest are books about raising boys. Cause … my little Mister is the only Mister and I am a girl. Therefore I really know very little about raising boys.

I am hoping…
really more like praying God helps me find me the patience and energy today to accomplish all the things!

I am looking forward to…
Not having a mile long to do list! It seems to come in phases, sometimes I feel like I have it all done and everything is great (obviously, it probably really isn’t). And then sometimes I am SO. Far. Behind. Like now. =)

I am learning…
That my Mister needs freedoms, and boundaries, and more reinforcement of consequences when he breaks those boundaries.

Also, that I have let a LOT of time get by me before this baby gets here! I am 27.5 weeks already, and we have a TON of rather big things to do.

Around the house…
dusting. vacuuming. switching season clothes, packing kids clothes that are too small to save for baby, and I am always decluttering. Which right now I think we are in a pretty good place with that. Minus all these girl clothes I have to hold on to! I know I should throw them away, but I just can’t do it. We’re throwing enough away though, leaving us with a lot of space now. If anyone else needs to declutter their home, it might be worth contacting a company like 1300 Rubbish to make sure they can take the rubbish away from your home. That always makes the job easier.

A favorite quote for today…

Accomplish All the Things

One of my favorite things…
that Ila has FINALLY this week, started saying more words: red car, Lexie, mister, bear, more animal sounds, hair bow, and she pretends to read the words in books by speaking her own little baby Japanese. It is really cute.

I also LOVE that Lexie begs to take Ila outside while I am prepping meals, switching out laundry, etc. I do let her take her on the porch or to the back concrete and Lexie just loves it. So does mister- he drives Ila around in the back of his little pick up truck. She is so loved.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
I think ALL the lists above should cover this one. =)

A peek into my day…
This was the other day

Out My Widow ... Life on a Farm

Simple Woman {Daybook}

Pre K and Preschool Weekly Wrap Up {April 1, 2016}

This is a Weekly Wrap up from April 1-this past week. I am a bit behind  =)

It has been a very long time since I wrote a Weekly Wrap Up Post.  Wow.

Well, I can say towards the end of winter we finally found our homeschool groove, as I came out of the first trimester nausea and exhaustion.  Now we have a simple, and effective routine just like we had before, which means we are back to much smoother days!  *thank goodness*

You may remember me posting about struggling with a rut, which I don’t think was school related, but certainly affected our school time.  We (I) came out of that and whew, life is better!

Weekly Wrap UP {April 2016} What a Typical School Morning Looks Like {}

What a School Day Looks like

As we finish the school year (we will be schooling until about July 1st I think, maybe not that long if I can really bust out some chapter books!), we are finishing strong.  We have recently stopped driving 35 minutes every Tuesday for gymnastics, so that has freed up an entire morning, and makes our lives less hectic.  We will continue extra curricular activities with swim lessons, but they will be closer to us!

All that to say, we don’t have specific days we are doing school right now, with this new change.  But I think we are mostly back to Wednesdays being cleaning/no school day, and schooling 3-4 days a week.

On days we school it looks something like this:

  • 7am wake/breakfast/morning basket- morning basket includes: prayer, Bible, pledge, calendar, songs and finger plays (my son loves them), memory work verses and poems, possibly reading part of a read aloud depending on time
  • 8 Begin morning chores- Lexie empties dishwasher, Mister helps with laundry, I load dishwasher
  • 8:30-9:30 Depending on the weather the kids usually go outside for fresh air here, and then we begin school after that.  Sometimes it we go straight into school and they play outside afterward.  School begins with our Sonlight read alouds and history.
  • 9:30-10:30 Toddler joins us for as long as she can be relatively quiet, but usually goes to IP during this time so Lexie can read aloud and focus on harder material
  • 11:15 lunch
  • 12:00 toddler down for nap
  • 12:00-12:30 Lexie, Max and I wind down for nap with books
  • 12:30-3:00 everyone is resting/napping (this actually is more like 1-3 by the time everyone has had their nap time books read)
  • 3:00 up for the afternoon/nature walks/play in the woods/cook dinner/run errands
    • This is also when we go on nature walks specifically to support our science topic, read science books, cook and bake together, and

That’s a typical school day.

What we “do” During School Right Now (3.5, 5.5)

Right now school has been such a pleasure!  Lexie suddenly just started wanting to read everything.  EV * ER * Y * THING!  She picks up books and reads them-doesn’t matter the level; she asks for help when she needs it.  She reads words off the Netflix screen, she reads words off magazine covers, she asks Mister and Ila several times a day if they would like her to read them a book, and of course they do, so she does.

Our daily activities for school include:

  • Morning Basket for everyone (see above)

Lexie (5.5 yo)

  • Lexie’s All About Reading Level 1- either a lesson, reading from her readers, or reviewing fluency pages
  • Lexie’s Copywork/HWOT/Journaling-
    • To make her copy work, I simply write it out on a lined dry erase board like this one while I am sitting at the table.  Copywork usually comes from one of the books she is reading and includes lots of quotes, commas, etc.  In the future, (read: after baby comes) I am planning a bit different set up for her to do more work independently, so I will probably have copywork printed out for her to copy from.
    • Handwriting Without Tears is really just her doing the pages on her own.  I tell her what page, she completes it and I make sure it is nice and neat.  Again, my plan for fall is that this will turn into her independently working on the next page from an assignment sheet without my help.
    • Journaling is me simply giving her a topic, which she writes on freely in her own style.  I try to remind her of capitalization, punctuation, and spacing, but otherwise it is her own thoughts, spelling, etc.
    • She loves doing ALL of these things
  • Lexie’s Math- Saxon 1.  We pretty much just stopped doing the K book because it was too easy and although she still enjoyed it, I was bored (ha).  She really likes the Level 1, there are lots more sheets for her to do (which she LOVES) and she reads the directions to herself.  I check them and have her fix any mistakes or fill in any places she skipped on accident.  I feel like it is a great way for her to work independently, feel successful, and also learn about double checking work, etc.  We like it!

Max (3.5yo)

  • Max is doing All About Reading Pre Reading, mostly because he always asks to do school and he wants to have activities like Lexie.  This is a PERFECT fit for us because it isn’t time consuming, and he really enjoys the games, they’re developmentally appropriate for him (mostly rhyming and logic right now), and did I mention he enjoys it?  We only do this like 1-2 times a week, depending on what he is in the mood for.
  • More phonics- Mister knows his letter sounds, so sometimes we work on beginning letter sounds.  Yesterday, after we did a hands on activity and while Lexie worked on a few math sheets, Max sat in my lap and I drew pictures.  Beneath each picture I wrote letters- I asked him: what each picture was, what each letter was and its sound.  Then I asked what letter he heard at the beginning of the picture word (ex: what sound do you hear at the beginning of “flower?”)  He then gave me his answer and circled the letter.  He got every single one correct without any prompting from me!

Literacy Activity & Weekly Wrap Up {}


  • Math- Mister is tagging along with Lexie’s Math and so far he is doing great! He loves it, they take turns answering questions, and he loves the hands on activities.  This week he helped create a vehicle graph and answered questions about it.  While he is doing really well with his letter sounds and literacy development, math is really his thing right now!
  • Other Activities- While I am working with Lexie on a reading lesson or giving instruction for her work, Mister really enjoys doing the Kumon workbooks and a Big Preschool activity book.  He has a book of all mazes and will literally sit there the entire time we do school and just do mazes.  Some days he just goes and plays trucks or looks at books, or plays independently with something else, and I am totally fine with that.
  • Writing- some days I will write letters on a piece of paper and he traces them; other times he just doodles and tells me about his pictures.

They both love art, listening to read alouds, talking about history, and learning about the Bible.  This spring homeschool has become such a blessing again!  Somehow, we just found our groove for now … Yes, it is surely to change, but there is a season for everything. =)

What is best is that it’s all relaxed.  My word for the year began as joy And it definitely continues to be my word of the year.  😉  However, my mantra has become relax.  I can’t find the joy, or rather feel and see it in front of me, if I can’t relax.  And that’s just what we have done.

I don’t dread any part of our school time; I don’t wish that we were doing something different.  There is a peace about it, a joy in it, and we all love it!  Even Mister tells me, “Mama, I love learning time!”  And that’s just how it should be.  I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the friend that encouraged me to step back from everything, that introduced me to podcasts (I will do a WHOLE ‘nother post on those!), for my husband encouraging me to wake early in the mornings to start my day with coffee and Jesus … it has all just played into a perfect part of our day, of which the morning is school.

So.  until July when we are done with school and a newborn is in the house, I think this is going to continue working.

What does your homeschool with your littles look like?

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!

My Week in Review Link UP

Fridays on the Farm are Beautiful {Simple Woman’s Daybook 20}

Walking in the Woods

Walking through the woods; jumping in the dry part of the creek

Outside my Window …
The sun is just coming up over the trees in the front of the house.  The calves have full bellies and are resting in the barn, Thora is laying on the front porch being protector of all things, and it is SO beautiful and nice we will be reading on the front porch today.  We don’t usually do much school on Fridays, just because we don’t have to, but I always try to read lots of books and maybe throw in science or art- both which can be done outdoors!

I am thinking…
Oh, I hope we don’t lose the other two calves.  Yesterday we lost one; the biggest one, and healthiest LOOKING when we got them last Saturday.  However, he was the most sickly acting the last 5 days.  For two days he had some light scours we were treating as directed, and before running to the vet yesterday I went out to check him one more time, and he was gone.  =(

I am thankful…
That the kids weren’t devastated.  They were very supportive of their sad mama.  Lexie wanted to know if we could just turn it into beef.  =)  I cried; not so much because the calf was dead, but because I felt defeated, helpless, despite all our efforts and hard work.  Part of it, I know.  But I don’t like defeat….

In the kitchen…
Oh gosh!  It is a mess.  There are dishes from J.Tom breakfast, a pot that needs to be washed, and a skillet on the stove for me to cook our eggs this mornings.

I am wearing…
Pajama pants and a maternity shirt; I am running out of clothes that fit well.

I am creating…
Nothing.  I was crocheting, but with it being so warm I got out of the mood.  And I have started the girls some dresses, I should really finish those  😉

I am going…
To never take advantage of my computer again.  My hard drive died last week; and I was one saddened girl.  I can’t think on a teeny tiny screen (my phone) to pay bills, write blogs, and look up recipes.  I always go to my computer …

I am wondering…
What else I need to add to my list for the store today.

I am reading…
A new book, but can’t think of the title … I will come back and add it later. *edit- The Liars’ Club: A Memoir*

I am hoping…
These calves survive!

I am looking forward to…
The weekend- in the 70’s and sunny.  I am starting on my tan!

I am learning…
Although my life is pretty nice, life is hard.  Losing calves is hard.  Losing baby chicks is hard (not as hard as losing a calf…), getting up at 5:30 am is not as hard as getting up at 6:30am …

Around the house…
I need to vacuum.  Just ew!  (since the weather has been like spring, we have been tracking in LOTS of dirt.)

A favorite quote for today…

When Life Gets Hard ...

Something my Dad would say.  =)

One of my favorite things…
baby cow noses, watching the kids play in the dirt while the chickens free range, Ila’s BIG, ginormis, baby hugs, the sound of her saying, “Yes ma’am,” our new friendships with a beautiful family that lives very close by, watching the sun come up on the front porch.

pjs and chickens
A few plans for the rest of the week:
It’s Friday Y’all!

A peek into my day…
This past week: plying in the dirt and loving on the chickens

Chickens and Dirt

Simple Woman {Daybook}

Homesteading on The 40 Acre Wood: So It Begins

So It Begins: the beginning of our little homestead

watching the hummingbirds

Since I was little, maybe four or five years old, I knew I wanted to live on a farm. I dreamed of rolling hills, trees, and white fences, and of course a barn full of animals that would keep me busy. 

Though my mom, dad, brother and I lived in the suburbs, all our family lived in the country; both sets of grandparents gardened, canned, sat on porch swings, shot BB guns with us, fished from their ponds, and cooked from scratch. It was truly living the dream for my brother and me, every summer, all summer long.

 I’ve always wanted to live on a farm and that is a goal of mine till this day.

I never stopped dreaming of the farm I wanted, but I never saw it in my future. It seemed unattainable.

*Enter my husband*

My husband is a dreamer. But he isn’t a dreamer by definition- he is a dreamer that sees a dream, sets a goal, and gets ‘er done. So, maybe he is in fact a “do-er.”

About 6 years ago he told me one day we could have a little homestead.

I couldn’t see past our current situation, and told him with 100% certainty, he was crazy.

But here we are; in 2015 moving into our dream home, on land.  

By dream home, I don’t mean what most people would define as a dream home. It isn’t brand new, fancy, or big. It doesn’t have 5 bathrooms, or a bedroom for every person in the family.

(It does have my dream front porch, a lovely kitchen with a window that overlooks the back yard where my babies will play and the chickens and guineas will run around, a big gas stove perfect for canning, and a big fireplace that heats the whole house. That is my *DREAM*)

The kids love it; there is tons of room for them to run, play in the dirt, ride their bikes. They like picking tomatoes in the garden and playing with our inherited barn cats.

So It Begins: the beginning of our little homestead

What is most important to my husband and me though, is that it our kids can mostly free range on our property, safely. We can raise our family on our own land to: hunt, fish, ride 4wheelers, garden, raise our own food, and learn how to appreciate God’s hard work.

We can live slowly and simply without the busy rush, rush, rush of the rat race life so many consider their dream.

It is going to be a lot of work, but man is it all going to be worth it. I can’t wait to share updates with you all, as well as things I learn on “the farm.” We will spend the winter getting part of the barn in order for our chickens and guineas, expanding the garden, prepping firewood, and maybe working with fencing.

What to name a farm?!

We started calling it “the farm” after we started working on in the garden and yard this summer. I am trying to give it a real name, so far all I have really loved is The Forty Acre Wood- but that seems kinds silly. So we will see. =)

Horizons Preschool Homeschool Curriculum Set {a review}

For the past several weeks our family has been reviewing Alpha Omega Publication’s Horizons Preschool Set. I have been using it with my son who is almost three years old (just a few more weeks!).

The curriculum set is $125 and includes:

  • 2 student books- colorful, consumable worksheets
  • 2 teacher manuals- includes 180 lesson plans
  • music cd
  • resource packet: memory verse, ABC puzzle, & all flashcards

About Horizon’s Preschool Set

This is a Christian based program curriculum; there are 180 lessons included within 2 student books, 2 teacher guides that align with the student books, a fun music cd, and a resource packet that includes all your extras (flashcards, and black line masters for making copies).  It all arrived in a nice, colorful box that makes it so easy to keep everything together.

Horizons Preschool Set {a review}

There are 5 days of lessons per week (which is very easy to tweak if you prefer fewer days).

Each of the lessons begins with a scripture and Bible story lesson (which my son seemed to completely absorb), and then flows seamlessly into other subject lessons like social studies, phonics, math, PE, science and more!  You can see the Scope and Sequence here, (also included in the teacher’s manual,) which will tell you everything that is covered in this level.  That is what I used to decide which level Max needed to start with.

The student workbook is beautiful and clean; the pages are colorful with nice images, but are not so busy they are distracting or confusing for young learners.  The teacher’s manual has all the instructions for lessons and your coordinating pages to the student’s workbook pages.  It is easy to follow and literally walks you through everything you need to do/say for your student’s lessons (of course you can go off script, like we did for some lessons).

The music CD contains 17 children’s songs, as well as the instrumental singalong versions.  (thankfully) the lyrics are included which makes leading the songs much easier if you’re like me and don’t know them!  The kids also enjoyed listening to the CD in their room during independent play.

What We Thought About Horizon’s Preschool Set

We simply loved this!  I used the program with my (almost) 3 year old 3, sometimes 4 days a week.  It is written in a school or homeschool setting format.  If you are homeschooling, either you already know how to or soon will learn, to modify what you need for your family/students.  It is very easy to change what is written in the Preschool Set to fit your young child/ren learning at home!  New material is introduced on days 1, 3, and 5, using days 2 and 4 for review, so you can easily adjust for how many days a week your family does preschool.

I really liked that the set included SO much, because that meant I could go in-depth with what I felt really needed to be covered, skim over anything he just needed to review, OR review things that Max either really enjoyed, or didn’t quite grasp the first time.  I liked that they included all the resources I needed in the resource packet, which keeps me from needing to buy a bunch of accessories for teaching my children.  They are loose leaf, so you can either store them in the set box, or organize in folders like I did.

Preschool learning should be fun, SIMPLE, but meaningful, and that is exactly what I think Horizon’s has brought to the table.

I like that I didn’t need to try to find anything to add to this!  Like many homeschoolers I would rather have too much (meaning I don’t need it all) than not enough.

Because he enjoyed having his own preschool “work” like big sister, Mister really focused during the lessons and had fun with them.  He learned to use his fingers to count using 1:1 correspondence (which he is really obsessed with right now), and listened to the stories that were especially for him. =)  Max enjoyed the hands on activities so much, and this really showed me how much of a hands on learner he is (vs older sister who doesn’t need hands-on activities but also enjoys them).  

We have loved this program and will continue using it!

Horizons Preschool {a review}

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