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Monday, December 26, 2016

The watercolor/spiral planner has been updated for Jan-Dec 2017

I know, I'm cutting it close!  The watercolor/spiral homeschool planner has been updated to reflect months January through December 2017.  *Just* in time for the new year!  Check it out, and let me know if you have any questions!

Happy Planning!!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Millie, the milk stealing goat

I have mentioned previously that our youngest goat (Millie) is still nursing her mama (Aurora) at 9 months old, and I am trying to stop it.  We were separating them at night, but it is so cold that they need the warmth of cuddling, so we are trying taping to wean her.  When you tape the udders, it is simply a piece of low stick tape you place over the teat, going down one side, covering the hole, and coming back up the other side.  This was working well, except that it made Aurora kick like a maniac every morning when I went to take it off, and again when I tried to put new on after milking.  

Saturday, my parents came up to stay the night.  I wanted to make pancakes for breakfast, and just needed 1 and 3/4 cups of milk to add to the whey I was using.  We have been getting 3-4 cups or more of milk a day, so I saw no problem and premixed everything except the milk in before I went outside to do my chores.  As soon as I walked into the goat shelter I could see her udder was empty.  The teat tape was completely gone!  Millie had somehow managed to get the tape off and drank all the milk.  She was quite pleased with herself and was happily munching on hay while I put Aurora in the milk stand.  After getting every drop I could, I still had less than 3/4 of a cup.  Before I headed back inside, I made sure to not only go up and down the teat, but also around that tape with another piece to secure it.  She was not getting my milk again!  Poor Aurora though, she hates that tape.  

Fortunately, I had more whey, and a tiny bit of milk in the fridge so I combined those and made the pancakes.  They ended up very flat, but tasted good. The good news is, I did end up running to the farm store and got a heated bucket, so at least I wasn’t breaking ice!  Best $25 ever spent.  

With goats, it is always something.  


Thursday, December 15, 2016

No time for cozy, there are chores to be done!

Today is one of those days where you question your life choices.  At 7 a.m. while most people are warm and cozy in their home or office, I am suiting up and heading outside.  The sun isn’t fully up, and as I make that first step outside, milking supplies in my arms, I immediately feel my nostrils freeze and my lungs seize.  First, I go to open the chicken coop door, even though I know they will not come out.  Their water is frozen solid, even with the heated cinder block, so I put it outside run and check for eggs.  There are none, so I head over to the goat shelter.  

I forgot to put teat tape on Aurora yesterday after milking, so all it takes is one look at her udder to see that Millie - the 9 month old “baby” who is larger than her mother - has emptied it.  I get 1/4 of a cup, and resign to just give it to the cats.  I do remember to put the tape on today, and make sure to let Aurora eat all the grain before I let Millie the pig out of her side of the shelter.  Their water is frozen rock solid as well, and weighs a ton, so I haul it out of the pasture also.  

Gloves aren’t really an option when you use your hands as much as I do, so my fingers are frozen, my cheeks are burning and my eyes are watering as I walk back into the garage hauling the milking supplies and frozen water. As I fill a new bucket with warm water in my kitchen, I reminisce on the days of summer, when my morning chores took 15 minutes and I did it in a t-shirt and jeans.   (Have I mentioned that winter has not even begun yet?  It’s only December 15th…)  I head back out with the water for the goats and chickens, place them in their appropriate spots and watch as Aurora gulps the water.  Poor girl.  I look around the shelter and am glad that I decided to pile straw in their bed last night, but notice Millie is eating the hay we stuffed in the cracks to block the wind.  Goats.  

I trudge back through the snow and cold (I’m so dramatic, there is only 3 inches of snow, but it is well below freezing!), take off my boots and layers, and head inside.  I’m grumpy and I know it.  It’s nearly 9:00, I haven’t had my breakfast or tea, and I am frozen.  I realize I am writing the “for sale” ad in my head for the goats and stop myself.  No, I can’t give up.  I want to see their babies, and I’m looking forward to attempting to get more milk than last year so I can make yummy things.  I set my tea, clean the milking supplies, and make breakfast while I ask myself whose idea all this was, anyway.  Oh, right.  Mine.  


For now, I will enjoy my warm home and hot tea.  In a few hours I’ll be back out replacing the waters with unfrozen ones again, and I just may run to the farm store for that heated bucket later.  Maybe we should move the goats and chickens closer to the house, after all.  I’m thinking directly out the garage door.  Who needs grass?  

Monday, December 12, 2016

Our books of the week have a late 1700's focus

Julia is still learning about the late 1700's in Social Studies, so we borrowed these books from the library. They are from the American Girl history series. Felicity is a young girl living in 1774, and the books tell her story of life in that time.


We only borrowed the first three in the series (I believe there are 6) and the "Welcome to Felicity's World" book that gives lots of facts and photos about that time period, because we only get a small window of time to borrow the books, but we do plan on borrowing the last books in the series because we love them!  

The American Girl history series books are great for adding more life to your lessons, and we highly recommend them!



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, 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!!