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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How we deal with a sick day

I woke up to Kayla’s pitiful voice last night telling me she was cold.  When I got to her, she was shivering and could barely hold herself up to walk, so I took her to the bathroom just incase.  It seemed to take forever to get her warmed up, even with her body pressed against mine under several blankets in my bed.  Eventually we moved to her twin bed, and slept on and off until morning.  Farm chores are taken down to "necessity only", so I let the chickens out, checked their food and water, milked and fed the goats, and filtered the milk for the fridge.  Feed the dog, the cats, and done.  I'm praying I do not get sick, because just these few things will be way more difficult when I am sick.

When the girls are sick, I let them stay in bed with books, Sparkle Stories, and an occasional movie.  (I wish I could do this when I am sick!)  Chelsey started feeling bad after breakfast, so she joined Kayla in their room for the Martin and Sylvia Sparkle Story, “The Crud”.  Appropriate, right?  Martin was sick in this story, and couldn’t do something special he had planned.  So thankful for our 15 day trial, we will be continuing it for at least a month after we finish the trial. 

After being up most of the night with Kayla, I didn’t have a lot of energy for detailed homeschool lessons, so Julia and I snuggled up on the couch in front of the Christmas tree with tea and blankets to finish our book, The Wishing Spell from the Land of Stories series.  It was a very good book, and once we finish some school related books we are going to move on to book 2 in the series.  We also started Meet Felicity from the American Girl history book series.  I love using these books in addition to our history curriculum.  Julia is currently learning about the end of the Revolutionary War and this ties in nicely.  She enjoys hearing stories that are written as if the person lived through it.  It is a much better way than the dry facts I learned (and promptly forgot) back in school. 



At lunch time, I went in to ask the girls if they were hungry.  Kayla was sound asleep, and I think Chelsey was as well, but heard me walk in.  Poor babies.




I guess if we are going to be sick, we picked a pretty good time.  The rain was relentless today, even the cats and dog didn’t want to go outside to play.  Lennon is our dog, whom we rescued from a shelter about 6 years ago.  He is a good, lazy dog.  Before my cat Daisy died, she tormented him constantly.  I’ve never seen a dog scared of a cat, but even without front claws, she had him terrified.  When Daisy walked in a room, Lennon would turn his head away and “hide” from her.  If Daisy came over to drink from his water bowl while he was eating, Lennon would stop and go to another room.  Up to the day she died, he was afraid of her and all cats.   When Miss Kitty came, she was such a different cat than Daisy.  She always wanted to rub against Lennon and he would yipe or run.  Today I saw this:



Is that not the most adorable thing ever?  It took over a year of Miss Kitty living with us for him to come around and not be afraid of her.  She will rub on him, and now even lay with him.  I had to snap a picture.  

Come dinnertime, I was so grateful that Kevin got me the Instant Pot for an early Christmas present.  There is nothing better than homemade chicken noodle soup when you’re sick, or in this case, turkey noodle soup I made with leftover frozen turkey from Thanksgiving.  I’ve only used the IP three times now, but I am impressed and looking forward to finding more recipes.  It took 20-25 minutes from starting cutting to finish for the soup.  Amazing.  Several of my friends have sung it’s praises for months, but I wouldn’t buy into it.  When Amazon had it on sale for $69 after Thanksgiving, we decided to take the plunge. 


The younger girls got to watch Rudolph while eating dinner, poor Julia was stuck with us adults talking at the table.  She wanted to watch Harry Potter, but it was already too late in the evening for that.  

It's been a long, tiring day.  I'm glad for it to finally be bedtime, and I'm crossing my fingers that everyone sleeps through the night tonight!  



I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  This means that if you purchase something from that site after clicking over from Journey Through Love, I receive a [tiny] percentage of the sale.  Clicking through these links do not cost you anymore than you'd already be spending, and I greatly appreciate your support!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Advent 2016 planner

One of the traditions my girls love most about this time of year is Advent. For us, Advent starts on December 1st, and ends December 25th. What we do each year varies depending on how ambitious I am.  This year, I have decided to try and plan a different craft, activity, game, movie, etc for each day of December.  Thank you, Pinterest, for making this slightly easier on me!

To help me plan out our Advent activities, I created a little planning page to motivate me.


Would you like to use this simple page to help you plan your advent?  If you click below, the link will take you to google drive where you can download and print it for your own personal use.  I used graphics by HarperFinch designs, and I just love them!

Download Advent 2016

How do you celebrate Advent?  I'd love to hear in the comments below.  Feel free to share by linking to this blog post so your friends can get their own copy of the 2016 Advent planner!


Thursday, November 24, 2016

More goat breeding! Fingers crossed this is the last time...

A month ago, a friend came over to artificially inseminate our mama goat, Aurora.  Wednesday of last week was her expected cycle date, so we were hopeful that the AI had taken, and she was pregnant.  Monday, however, she was in heat worse than we had ever seen her so far.  She was yelling loudly, her tail was messy with mucus, and her tail was wagging (also called "flagging") constantly.

We could have had her artificially inseminated again, but I recently met a woman who is very near my house that just got a lamancha buck.  I connected with her, and she allowed us to bring Aurora over to her farm and see how things went.  With Aurora in standing heat, she was very eager and willing to accommodate her new boyfriend.  He was quite a handsome guy!  Unfortunately this is the best photo I got of the two of them, but he had such beautiful color.


After they accomplished their task a few times, I led Aurora out of the pen.  She was not happy to leave her new friend!  We began walking away to find the kids and next thing we knew the buck was right next to us.  He had jumped the fence and ran over to find Aurora!  I really hated pulling them away from each other, they were so cute.  My husband had the van that day, so I had to hoist her up into our Pilot, which is considerably higher.  I could have sworn I was going to put out my back, but I did not, and we were able to get home without incident (read; she did not pee or poop in the back of the car).  After the breeding, Aurora did continue to yell and search the fence line for a friend, but has now calmed down.  Fingers crossed this is the last time this year I have to transport a goat anywhere!  

Aren't they adorable?  I can't wait to see what the babies look like!!


Monday, November 21, 2016

What we are reading, our book of the week for November 21, 2016

Kevin and I switch off at night, one of us reading to the younger girls while the other is either reading to Jujubee or listening to her read to us.  This week, Kevin has been reading from Oak Meadow's Fables book to the younger girls, and I have been reading to Jujubee.  Normally, I post a picture book that is good for the whole family as our "Book of the Week", but we have been enjoying this so much that we wanted to share.

Our book is from the series The Land of Stories.  This is book one, The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer.



This is definitely a book for older children.  Jujubee is 11, and there are some parts I am unsure of as I read, and some small parts I skip that I just don't feel are appropriate.  The kids in the story are also 10 or 11, and their father has passed away in a car accident.  Before the accident, he and their grandmother often read many fairytales to them and they all loved that time they shared.  Now that the father is gone, it is just the two of them (they are twins) and their mom, who is struggling to make ends meet and works a lot as a nurse.   

The boy, Conner, struggles in school, often falling asleep in class, even though he could easily do the work.  The girl, Alex, is an overachiever, and their teachers often ask why he is taking it harder than his sister.  Their mom ends up having to work on their birthday, so she asks their grandmother to come visit them as a surprise.  She gives the kids her cherished book of Fairy Tales, and that is where the adventure really begins.  



Jujubee and I are halfway through the book, and she looks forward to our reading every night.  The chapters are quite long, so sometimes I have to split them into two nights.  I am also enjoying the stories, however, like I had mentioned, there are mildly inappropriate sections.  For example, in one chapter, Conner makes a comment about a photo of Red Riding Hood scantily clothed and it being "memorable".  Nothing too risqué, but I felt it could have been left out altogether.  I'm hoping the incidents do not increase as we get farther into the book, but we are looking forward to seeing how it turns out!

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  This means that if you purchase something from that site after clicking over from Journey Through Love, I receive a [tiny] percentage of the sale.  Clicking through these links do not cost you anymore than you'd already be spending, and I greatly appreciate your support!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Homeschool real-life lesson: Experiencing goat kids being born

Birth on a farm is amazing, whether it is a baby chick hatching under its mama, or a goat kid being born in the barn.  On Tuesday, my friend Melody over at Solstice Sun Farm invited the girls and I over to watch her goat have babies, and we were happy to have the opportunity.  

Amber, the mama goat, had been contracting all night the night before, but thankfully held off until about 10:00 a.m. before really progressing.  At 10:14 Melody sent me a message to head out, so we grabbed our things and hopped into the car.  Once we arrived, I could hear Amber vocalizing and knew she had to be close.  I got to the stall just as Melody was giving a little tug on the babies feet.  He had been in the birth canal for nearly 30 minutes at that point, so she felt like the mama could use a little assistance.  The baby slid out and was dried off.  I watched Melody take a little of the afterbirth and feed it to Amber.  She explained that if you do this, you can sometimes get the mama to “adopt” you, which makes her more willing to share her milk with you.  Amber did begin licking Melody, which is a good sign.


A few minutes later, the next baby came.  It happened much quicker this time, and slid out with no assistance.  The baby did need some vigorous rubbing to get her moving around, and some help removing the caul.  One boy and one girl!  Amber was only slightly interested in the babies, but more interested in eating the afterbirth.  Once the babies were cleaned up, we both took a baby and headed to the house to warm them up.  



On Melody’s farm, she likes to bottle feed the babies.  It is said to make friendlier goats, and also helps with stand manners once they have their own babies.  (I can attest to her goats being very people friendly and sweet!)  In order to do this, the babies are removed from the mom so that they form an attachment to the person taking care of them.  Instead of nursing, the caretaker milks the mama goat and feeds it back to the babies via a bottle nipple.  It takes a lot of commitment from the caretaker.  In the beginning, you need to feed the baby every few hours, even at night.  The frequency of feedings decreases, but you still need to bottle feed them for 12 weeks.




We were so excited to be able to witness the birth!  It was the first time any of my girls have gotten to see a mammal give birth (they have only seen baby chicks hatch), so it was extra cool for them to be there.  The whole thing made me even more excited for our own goats to have babies.  Aurora and Millie have both been bred, but we are not sure if either are pregnant yet.  If so, they should be having babies in early and late April.  


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Poetry Tea Time, November 15, 2016

It has been a busy morning for us, which is unusual for a Tuesday.  After finishing chores, having breakfast and getting everyone dressed, we rushed over to a friends farm to watch her goat give birth.  That was truly amazing, and will be another post.  We got home just in time for lunch and nap, and though we didn’t have much time before we needed to rush off to book club, we needed the peace and calm of poetry tea time more than ever.  


Today, we read from Poetry for Young People, by Robert Frost.  For each season there is a selection of poems - I love books like that, ones that you can use year round.  






A favorite poem of mine is The Road Not Taken, which I was happy to find in this book and share with the girls.  Going for Water was also a nice poem, and one I hadn’t read before.  This is a library book, but I have made myself a note in my planner to check it out in future seasons for poetry tea time.  We all enjoyed the poems, but most of all the peace in the middle of a busy day.  I am so grateful that we decided to bring Poetry Tea Time into our homeschool.



I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  This means that if you purchase something from that site after clicking over from Journey Through Love, I receive a [tiny] percentage of the sale.  Clicking through these links does not cost you any more than you'd already be spending, and I greatly appreciate your support!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Book of the week, November 13, 2016

We have been learning about trees for a few months now. We started off with a field trip to our state park for a tree identification meetup. Then we checked out several tree books, like the Audubon tree guide, of course. But I also like to have several living books that are child friendly on whatever topic we are learning about. 


This week we borrowed Crinkleroot's Guide to Knowing the Trees by Jim Arnosky. I adore Crinkleroot books, and so do the girls. 


They have such cute illustrations and bring the information in a gentle, fun way. After we read this book, the girls promptly ran outside to check out what kind of trees we have, and to collect fallen pinecones. 

We are fortunate enough to have this book at our library, but if we didn't, it would definitely be on our buy list.


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.  This means that if you purchase something from that site after clicking over from Journey Through Love, I receive a [tiny] percentage of the sale.  Clicking through these links does not cost you any more than you'd already be spending, and I greatly appreciate your support!