Friday, September 25, 2009

nina's fairy garden

the dock has a bark cart full of acorns and poke berries, the gnome's house sits waterside to watch over the floating fairy garden that he tends(note his little boat floating next to the floating garden)...the garden itself features a water pond, moss with asters, a gravel walkway that leads to a stone bench, a baby cedar tree and a birdbath made from shells and stones...

nina decided to create a floating fairy garden for the magic onion's fairy garden contest. unfortunately, she was 2 days late getting it done but still had fun making it...

jaden's fairy garden

the perfect place for a garden snack

awww, terrence is giving tinkerbell flowers

overview of the entire garden

Thursday, September 24, 2009

preventing the flu...

...may not be a sure thing but i'm writing over at not dabbling in normal today about what can be done to try to prevent it or at least lessen the severity and duration of it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

creative feeding

due to a serious deficit in our checking account, i'm playing the game 'how low can you go' with our pantry and challenging myself to see how long i can stay away from the grocery stores.

we have a endless supply of chicken at our disposal, i just need to butcher as needed. so, we'll be having a lot of chicken dishes.

in the garden, we have lots of tasteless tomatoes (thanks to a cool, wet summer) that i'm hoping will improve with cooking. we also have a lot of bell peppers that i'm waiting to ripen, right now they are all green. the newly planted kale and chard are ready for small pickings. we've harvested a large amount of potatoes, butternut squash and onions and soon jerusalem artichokes will be ready for winter digging.

greg planted turnips in with the clover/alfalfa seed mix for the new pasture. the goats aren't crazy about them so i'll be harvesting them as needed to add to the mix.

add lots of milk and a few eggs to the mix and that's our basis for meals. in the pantry, i have limited amounts of olive oil, flour, rolled oats, brown rice, garbanzos, lentils, red, black and pinto beans, cornmeal and sugar. plus, about 3 gallons of honey from our hives.

in the freezer, we have about 4 chuck roasts, 3# ground beef, 3 packs of bacon, 3 packs of shrimp, 1 pack each of tuna and salmon, 2# butter, 1 1/2 gallons of blueberries and 1 gallon cherries.

the challenge is going to be getting creative with the chicken and disguising it in other things so that we won't get tired of it. we could eat steak daily around here and never tire of it but chicken gets boring really quickly.

here's my short list of meals:
chicken fajitas
chicken burritos
chicken and dumplings
chicken caccitore
chicken noodles
chicken pot pie
chicken lasagna
barbecue chicken
stewed chicken
chicken with pesto and noodles
baked chicken (this might not be so good, the hens are old and have to be stewed off the bones first before using)

i'm figuring for every 3 chicken meals, we can have 1 non chicken meal. going like this, we should be able to stay out of the grocery stores for 1-2 months. hopefully by then, something will come along financially to let us breathe a little but personally, i'm looking forward to the challenge. this summer has been a huge slump for me and i'm looking forward to something new and different.

i will most likely have to go once or twice to stock back up on butter and half and half (for greg's coffee) but those trips will be few and far between and the kids will not go with me to negatively influence me in the purchase of unnecessary junk (ice cream, chocolate, candy, gum...). getting all the kids broken of the nightly ice cream habit will be nice because that alone costs us a fortune (a quart a day at $4.29/quart adds up pretty quickly). now i'm trying to come up with alternative nighttime snack options. so far, winners are:
homemade pretzels (the large kind)
cookies or brownies (frozen and doled out a few a day)

this is definitely going to put me back on the slow life track! i'm looking forward to the lessons to be learned from it.

what's the longest you've ever gone w/o going to the grocery store?

Monday, September 14, 2009

exciting things are happening

first of all, i just want to say that my desire to start blogging again is coming back so hopefully, when i find the time (haha) there will be lots of new pictures and ramblings by yours truly.

secondly, i am excited to announce that herbal roots zine and herb mentor are teaming up!! go to herbal roots zine's blog to check it out.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

our daily rhythm

a friend recently asked that i write about my homeschooling schedule. i had to laugh because 'schedule' doesn't really fit into our vocabulary around here. however, i think that was the answer she was looking for. even though our day to day activities vary greatly, we do go through each day with a general rhythm.

in the morning, we go out to milk the goats, tethering them when we are finished and feeding/watering any of the animals that haven't been cared for yet. this varies greatly as my older kids are responsible for the animals when they are home but when they are at their dad's, it's mostly up to me to get the job done.

after that, we feed the goldfish in the water pond. my! they have grown. our 27 cent fish are now 2.49 cent fish! and, all 7 have lived so far.

next, we have breakfast. french toast, pancakes, oatmeal, bacon and eggs are most frequently seen on our menu.

after breakfast, i try hard to get schooling out of the way.
~we do a more 'formal' math program (math-u-see) about 3-4 times a week.
~we are working through story of the world volume 1. while it's geared for 1st graders, we are having a great time with it in our kindergarten curriculum! we are doing a chapter a week, next year, we'll slow down and review it more thoroughly but for now, it's a great start to having her see what the world was like once upon a time. each chapter has 2 stories so usually, i spend monday and tuesday reading those. the rest of the week, we do corresponding activities (some provided in the workbook, some i create) and read library books on the same subject.
~she is beginning to read. i'm not pushing it but she likes to read the bob books so we explore those every day.
~we also do art (mostly watercolor, clay play, coloring) and handwork (finger knitting, creating felt board pieces).
~we use bananagram or scrabble letters to spell out words and i have her write on a slate board to practice writing numbers and letters.
~i just recently bought the eric carle abc game which sage will be able to participate in as well.
~i also expose them to a lot of french and spanish. we have several different collected cd's and dvd's: muzzy, magical spanish/french, teach me french, teach me more french and teach me even more french, let's learn spanish name a few.
~i read books and stories to them as well.

i'd like to get more into waldorf learning to add to the curriculum and am currently reading donna simmons' kindergarten curriculum. in addition to all that, we do science stuff as well, including learning about herbs.

after schooling, we have lunch, check on the animals and gather eggs. sage still naps, thank goodness! so right about now is nap time. while he naps, jaden usually gets to watch a dvd and i try to get some writing for herbal roots zine done.

late afternoon, we straighten up the downstairs, feed/water animals again, gather eggs, do some gardening and start dinner. jaden loves to help me with dinner so i involve her as much as possible. sage is now showing interest so i try to get him involved too.

after dinner, i put the goats up, lock up the chickens, do the dishes, clean up the kitchen, wash and candle the eggs and take down any clothes off the line (i try to wash 2-3 loads a day to keep up).

another thing i really need to incorporate is a walk to the woods every afternoon or late morning. even though the kids play outside a lot, i want them to be more aware of nature. i've been working on assembling field bags so we can go and sketch what we see and keep a nature journal. i just haven't been organized to actually get this going. plus, sage is a bit too young still.

also, every day is very different. usually, mondays we stay at home much to my kids' dismay (they are such socialites!) tuesdays, we have to leave in the afternoon to pick up the older kids so we do all our errands that day...groceries, library, bank, post office, etc. wednesday mornings, i volunteer at a local conservation center for my master naturalist hours. they have a great time playing in the creek while i pull invasives and plant. thursday is playday so we have to rush through school work before 10am so we can enjoy the day with our friends. fridays are a let down too since we stay at home again. :)

other things that get thrown into the mix are: bread making, yogurt making, cheese making, clothing repair, soap making, medicine making, preserving, canning, drying, harvesting, etc. again, i try to include the kids as much as possible on doing all this. sage has even tried milking the goats a few times. he's doing pretty good for a 3 year old!

i find if i don't do our sit down school work in the am, it usually doesn't get done, especially on days when the older kids come home from school (as opposed to going to their dad's).

so, that's my day...what's your day like? what stays the same and varies each day? post your daily rhythm on your blog and leave a comment here so we can compare. i'm always looking for inspiration!
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