random notes and chit chat from the insanity of our life

Peek into our life and see how crazy it can get with 6 kids, homeschooling, sewing, and now farming. We're in our first year on the land, and entertaining the world with what we don't know. By the grace of God, we're learning, day by day, so pull up a chair and laugh with us!

Sunday, August 12, 2012


So, I was just reading this blog post...
Warning, it's heartbreaking, and may be shocking to you.  It was to me.
Anyhow, I was thinking about it.  And I agree, that we need a revolution.  But maybe not the type she meant, or maybe not JUST the type she meant.  Maybe, we need a revolution of love.
One of the common objections I hear to outlawing abortion is "What will we do with all those unwanted babies?  Will YOU take them?"  Yes.  Yes, I will.  Hand me your unwanted baby.  I want him or her.  Boy or girl.  Black, white, brown, yellow, purple with pink polkadots, I want her.  Healthy or not, I want him.  Whether you are a stranger, a friend, a relative, an adult, a teen...If you don't want that baby, I do.  And so do thousands upon thousands of others.  Some of them are childless.  Some of them already have large families.  But we want that baby, and would consider ourselves blessed to get him or her.
Maybe we need to SHOW it.  Does anyone remember the signs people used to put in their windows, to show kids that it was a safe house to go to, if anyone was bothering them?  If you saw the sign, you knew you could go there if anyone was following you, bullying you, harassing you, on your way home, etc.
Maybe that's what we need.  A sign we can put in our window, on our car, on our purse, wear on our shirts...  Something to show that there ARE people who want those "unwanted babies", lots of them.  I'd wear it.  Would you?
Maybe we need the government to make it easier for those "unwanted babies" to be adopted by the families who want them, instead of easier to get an abortion.  Maybe we need to get rid of rules limiting how many kids a family can have and still adopt.  Maybe, we need to stand up and say "I want your unwanted baby". 
And maybe, we need to help those girls who really want their baby, but don't see a way.  Help them afford it, help them learn to mother, help them see that they CAN.  Show them that getting pregnant on accident doesn't make the baby a mistake, and that you can't erase a baby like you can a misspelt word in a letter. 
Maybe we need to get loud about the fact that life is valuable, and WE VALUE IT! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Crazy summer days

So, I haven't been posting much lately again.  Been busy with life, the kids, sewing (made myself 3 new skirts, among other things!).  And I'm not really sure my life is interesting enough to post about, you know?  But, here I am anywho, just waiting for the canner to boil.  Have a batch of what we are calling "wildberry" jam (because they grow wild, and we don't know if they are blackberries or boysenberries, lol) to seal.  Yum.  Kids went out picking.  Going to have to send them more often, till the season ends.  I would like to have a bunch of jam in the pantry.
Other than that, not much going on today.  With the big 4 out picking, I was elected to stay home with the little 2, so I made a quadruple batch of granola, and baked a cinnamon roll cake.  Just a nice day of cooking.  Made both in the Nesco, since it's too warm to use the oven.  Looking forward to cool weather coming, except that I'll miss the fruit.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Welcome to a crazy day out

Well, I suppose I should start by saying that this really isn't THAT out of the ordinary for us.  I mean...you can't be crazy only AT the farm, right?  And taking 10 kids to the movies and such...something has to go "wrong", right, lol?  So, that said...
It started out as a normal Wednesday.  Tired, but normal.  It's been awful stinkin' hot, and no one slept well last night, and it seemed several people ended up in MY room...in my bed, to be precise, then on the floor when I got tired of snuggling, lol.  So, I was tired.  But it was Wednesday, and this week, Wednesday was movie and park day!
So we had breakfast, did chores, rush rush rush.  Packed a lunch of random stuff tossed in the cooler, because I had forgotten to plan anything for today again.  Lots of water bottles, all reusable and filled from our tap, a big ice dohickey...you know, normal stuff.  Got out just in time, as always. 
Arrive at the theater, and start unloading, and lo and behold, Tony has NO SHOES!  He had them ON when he walked out the door.  Megan checked.  But nothing now.  "Tony, where ARE your shoes?"  "I took them off at home."  Groan.  Will they let us in with him shoeless?  Almost left, thinking, surely they won't, but decided to risk it.  Megan carried Tony, Mariahs friend B carried Jack, and we got in line.  "Tickets for 10 to Kung Fu Panda 2, please".  And in we went.  No problem!  WOOHOO!
Movie was great.  I'm really glad we were informed that Rango had bad language in it, as that was our original plan, and I'd have been terribly upset by that.  So KFP2 was a great choice, and all enjoyed it.  Then, off to a special stop.  Today, you see, was 7/11.  Yes, it's a tradition in our house.  We LOVE free Slurpee day.  Love Love LOVE!  So we stopped at a 7/11 on our way to the park.  Free slurpees for all the kids, and a slightly larger and slightly less free one for me.  Yum.  Cold and refreshing and delicious. 
Met with Bs mom at the park, to visit and play and trade back.  Lucky to snag one of the precious shade spots at this park.  Sadly, a lot of the newer parks don't have much shade, so I had a large golfing umbrella with us, in case.  I don't like baby Jack in the sun yet.  But we got shade, and we enjoyed our random lunch of cheese, crackers, tortilla chips, hard boiled eggs and water, lol.  Yum.  And our visit with our good friends.  Always nice to have time to chit chat.
Then the REAL fun began, lol.  We were off to the library (hoping to pass another 7-11 on our way, but no such luck).  Following the GPS directions, we headed out....down this road, turn on this one, up and onto the freeway...tra la la....  Now onto this other freeway...up and over the flyway onto the 2nd freeway and BAM, the traffic stops.  No big deal, except that the weather is well over 100, and as we are inching along, the van begins to warm up....the gauge begins to climb higher...and higher...and I begin to worry.  And pray.  And worry some more.
Luckily, we made it to the offramp, and then got to take a scenic tour through downtown Sacramento.  See, the GPS wanted me to get back on the freeway, and was kind of...obsessive about it, lol.  "In 200 feet, take onramp"  NO.  "Turn left (to the onramp)".  NO.  Finally figured out how to get where we were going without her help, and had a nice leisurely drive to the library, lol.  Got to drive past Sutters Fort (really need to go there).  Got to drive over the beautiful, cool looking river.  And in the end, got where we were going. 
Library books (30 or so), and then home.  Didn't have time to start a "real" dinner, so we had eggs, toast, hash browns and watermelon.  And chores, baths and bed.
So, that's a crazy day OFF the farm, but not too out of the ordinary for us.  Lots of blessings, and lots of fun, and we survived to do it again next week.  YAY!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Feelin' hot, hot, hot!!!

Well, lately here on the Crazy Farm, it's been hot.  VERY hot, since we don't have air conditioner.  Yes, I know, we're probably the only people in the free world without it.  Yes, I have heard all about it.  Anyhow...we haven't any air conditioning.  Well, correction, we have a window one in the master bedroom, but we almost never use it, so.that doesn't count.
So, in the interest of self preservation and not boiling in my own sweat, I'm playing a game called "summer cooking".  I played it last year, but not as well.  It involves cooking as much as possible either on the grill, in the slow cooker, in the nesco, or in the morning so it's cool by the time things start to heat up.
Yesterday, Monday, was the beginning of this session of the game (the weather was nice and cool before that, in the low 90s, lol).  So yesterday, I pulled out the slow cooker and the nesco.  Made granola in the nesco, and then baked cupcakes from scratch in it  Turned out very good, didn't even frost them!  Spaghetti sauce in the crockpot, then all I had to do at dinner time was boil some pasta (not too bad, since I just bring the water to a boil, stick the pasta in, stir, and turn off the heat).
Todays round went just as well.  Baked ziti in the crockpot, made early in the day, stuck in the fridge, then plugged in about an hour before dinner time.  (I have 2 crockpots, btw).  Also made 2 batches of chocolate pudding.  One with Lactaid for Megan and I, the other regular milk.  The regular milk one, I froze in popsicle molds for the kids for snack, which went over well, of course.  And a batch of chocolate syrup to round things off, since we were all out.  Oh, and a batch of krispie treats in the afternoon, in the microwave.
Tomorrow is movie day, so I'm hoping I get my wits about me quickly in the morning.  If so, I'll put a batch of King Ranch Casserole in the crockpot to sit in the fridge till late afternoon.  Otherwise...not sure.  Maybe some chicken and potatoes?  I guess we'll see, lol. 
Btw,for anyone interested, the granola, pudding and chocolate syrup recipes all come from the Hillbilly Housewife website.  I'm a HUGE fan!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bye bye, Bobs.

so, yesterday was a big day here on the Crazy Farm.  Butchering day.  17 Cornish cross chickens to get butchered (the kids called them the Bobs, don't know why).  Last year, I did 6, and did them 2 a day over 3 days.  This time...I was doing them all at once. 
Started out slowly, because I didn't realize how long it would take to get the water hot.  Had borrowed a propane burner from a friend.  Next time, I'll start the water before breakfast, and be ready to go much earlier.  But yesterday, we didn't get started butchering till after almost noon.  The above pic is the chickens in their "tractor" (mobile chicken coop), awaiting their fate. 
I won't show pics of the butchering process (didn't take any, even), but if you want to see how it's done, there are plenty of blogs online.  I like the one Howling Duck Ranch has, with step by step instructions.  Helpful.  http://howlingduckranch.wordpress.com/2009/07/15/butchering-chickens/
And some of my help wasn't.  DH was having a bad day, wasn't able to help.  DD1(16) was to watch the little kids, because she can't handle butchering, and DD2(12) to be my big helper, with DD3(8) and DS1(6) assisting.  Turned out that DS1 got bored after 2 chickens, and DD2 was moody and cranky, so DD1 volunteered to try to help and switched with DD2.  I'm INCREDIBLY proud of DD1, because I know how hard that was for her, but she wanted it done in one day, so she could attend youth group today (and she is there now, mind you).  It's a real sign of maturity, IMO, to be able to do things you really don't WANT to do, or don't LIKE to do, just because it needs to be done.
So, 7 hours later, we had this.......
5 whole chickens (wrapped in unscented garbage bags, yes, because they didn't FIT in the ziplocs!), 12 cut into parts.  They'll age till tonight or tomorrow, then into the freezer with them.  And a bucket with some giblets to give to a friend who wanted them.  7 hours from first kill to cleaned up and showered.  Not too bad, IMO!  DD3 was our "clean person", for getting drinks, holding the bags and putting them in the gridge, weighing and writing... 
And weights, while I'm thinking of it. 
Largest whole chicken was 112oz, or 7lbs, cleaned and bagged (all weights are cleaned and bagged).  Smallest was 70oz.
Largest bag of parts (bone in breasts and leg quarters) was 77oz.  Smallest bag of parts (boneless breasts and bone in leg quarters) was 36oz.  Not too shabby. 
I think it's time to order more.  But I think I'll schedule a day to go to the processor, lol, since I plan to order 50 next.  I'm tired just THINKING about that!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

So, I'm not the most eloquent person, nor am I the most learned, especially about Bible stuff (working on it, ok?)   But this morning, I woke with this on my heart, and felt the need to try.  Hopefully, God will do some of the typing on this.
I was thinking last night about a misconception I see online, a lot.  People often say "If you praise God for the good things in your life, you have to blame Him for the bad."  The thing is, they are missing a few important things in their perception.
First, God is good.  God is love.  God is holy.  He is just, and amazing, and perfect.  He is things we, as humans, can't even conceive of.  He loves us like we love our kids....but to the nth power.  And when your kids misbehave, sometimes you have to let them suffer the consequences of their actions, so they learn how to do right.  Well, so does God.  Some of the bad things that happen in life are our own fault, and if He doesn't allow us to learn from them...we'll never become better, and more like Him.
Second is that we live in a broken sinful world.  When Adam and Eve listened to the serpent and ate the fruit, they broke things.  They let sin, death, pain, suffering, all sorts of evil and sad things, into what was a perfect creation, and now we all have to live with that.  So when bad things happen, sometimes it's just the end result of that sin, suffering, death, pain, evil and sadness.  Sometimes, it's because someone ELSE made a bad choice, and it affects others.  Sometimes, it's just....life in a broken world.
You see, it's not like He is sitting in heaven, watching us and going "Oh, that girl there, she gets the 'found a $20' card today"...."That guy there, he's getting the 'flat tire' card...oh, and how about a 'step in a mud puddle on the way to work' card, too!"  No, He is standing next to you, saying "reach out and take my hand, and I'll help you through this.  If you need support, you can lean on my shoulder, and if you can't walk, I will carry you.  All you have to do is turn to me."

Saturday, March 3, 2012

No perfect parents here

So, on another website I go to, I know this gal.  I bet you know one like her.  We all know one...the Perfect Parent.  You know the type.  Her child never had an accident (potty or otherwise).  He never backtalks.  He always chews with his mouth closed.  He slept through the night at 3 days old, napped on schedule from birth (a schedule that fit AROUND her schedule) without being rocked or nursed, weaned on his first birthday without a fuss.  Mom never used the tv as a babysitter, heck, they probably don't HAVE tv, and if they do, they only use it for educational programming, and NEVER before age 2.  He read at 3 years old, potty trained at 2, has impeccable manners, gets straight A's and his clothes always match.  On the rare occasion that he misbehaves, they have a family talk, and it never happens again, because "we used reason with him, and now he understands".
I hate those types.
I know, I shouldn't hate.  Ok.  I dislike them immensely.  Better?  But it's ok, because I WAS one.  Most perfect parents have one...maybe 2 kids.  I rarely meet any with more.  And I think I know why.  You see, as I said...I WAS a perfect parent.  With my first baby, I did everything right.  And hence, she was perfect...right?
Funny thing is, I now have 6 kids, and I know I am NOT a perfect parent, and PTL for that!  You see, when I was "perfect", I thought that I was in control.  If I parented perfectly, she would turn out perfectly.  I never considered HER personality in that.  I now have 6 kids, all different, and I know that it's not me.  It's really NOT about me.  Each has their own personality.  Their own good and bad points.  Their quirks, their flaws, their gifts.  Strengths and weaknesses.  They are all, gasp, human.  And I love them that way.  Each is individual, the way God made them, and while my parenting affects them, it doesn't MAKE them.
And let me tell you, it takes a lot of the pressure off when you understand all this.  Because I'm NOT perfect, and if I have to be, then we are ALL in trouble.  But knowing that it's not all about me makes me a much better parent, because I can enjoy them in all their imperfections, without having to figure out what I did wrong and how to fix it. 
And if God can love ME, as flawed as I am...well then, they are safe, because they are certainly better than I am, already.  And if that is the only thing I teach them, that we don't have to be perfect to be loved, by Him and by humans, then I think maybe, I've done it right after all.
My kids have accidents.  They backtalk.  They sleep in our bed till they are 2-4 years old, and nurse about as long.  They misbehave, much more frequently than I'd like.  They watch too much tv, have no real schedule, and sometimes, the outfits they choose to wear make me cringe.  And they are wonderful loving children, full of life and joy and the love of Christ.  We snuggle, we read, we laugh, we make a mess, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, January 20, 2012

popping in for a minute

Well, as usual, I'm neglecting the blog.  Poor blog.  But I've been getting so much done around here that by evening, my brain is done.  SO, if this sounds like the ramblings of an idiot...it probably is.
I came up with a new assignment/tracking sheet type thing for the kids.  Megan has one, for a week at a time.  The other kids have one for all 3 of them, for a day at a time.  It's got a chart, and lists everything I *want* to do in a day, and I fill in as we get to them.  We're actually getting a lot done every day, but not everything ever, lol.
Some highlights of our week...
*we studied biomes in science.  We are using Exploring Creation through Zoology:Flying Creatures of the 5th day.  And for the first time in the 6 years since I bought it, we're actually USING it.  We usually start, then get distracted.  Tomorrow, hopefully, I can get more pages set up in their notebooks for both this and "little house in the big woods" (more on that later).  Anyhow, so we studied biomes...which reminded me that I have 11 episodes recorded of "Planet Earth".  So, we watched one last night.  The Great Plains.  LOVED it.  even Lee managed to sit and watch it all, and that's pretty impressive for him by evening.  tonight, we watched the Ice Worlds episode,  since Lee LOVES penguins.  Another hit.  Looking forward to an ocean one next, I think.  Or maybe caves...  But it seemed to tie into the biomes/habitats stuff quite we..
*for language arts, besides all the other stuff (both girls have spelling workbooks, grammar workbooks, required reading), we are making a big parts of speech poster.  The girls know them, so it's review for them.  Lee is just learning them.  They are all enjoying that, too.  Next week, we'll start with sentences.  Will move the girls up to paragraphs pretty quickly, but the review never hurts.  And we'll add in more parts of speech.  Need a new poster, as we filled our first up.  Did nouns (including a section on pronouns and one on proper nouns), verbs (including a list of all the helping verbs), adjectives and adverbs.  Next poster will have conjunctions, prepositions....what else....  And, as usual, Sasha aced her spelling test, so got to skip the weekly assignments. 
*math...Mariah struggles here some.  She's still working on multiplication, but it's finally clicked.  she really clicked this week on multiplication with carrying (they call it regrouping now).  We've been moving slowly here, because she NEEDS to get this block to add on the block called division, kwim?  Sasha is about ready to start multiplication.  And Lee jumped from Primer to Alpha (we use Math U See) and I'm testing him to see where to start.  So far, he blew away test 1 and 2...
*history, we are using a few things.  We are reading Story of the World vol 3 a few times a week.  Enjoying that.  Then we are also reading Little House in the Big Woods, and using the project pack from HandsofaChild.com for that.  Instead of using file folders, I'm using a bare book (from treetoppublishing.com, I think).  LOVE those!  Worth every penny.  I also have the Prairie Primer, so will add in stuff from there.  And I have the little House cookbook, so will probably do some of that. 
*Bible.  Our #1 priority.  we are using Step Into the Bible by Ruth Graham first.  We read the step of the day, and work on the memory verse.  Even Tony recites it, though he hasn't memorized it yet.  He's trying.  And he answers questions about the reading, which is adorable.  Then, we are using a catechism, and memorizing that.  Something new for me, but I love it.  And again, it's so cute to see the kids, especially the boys, reciting their answers.  I really love hearing "God" in Tonys little voice, when he's asked "Who is the first and the best of beings?"  They also work on copywork with their memory verses, with another bare book.  We use a LOT of bare books.
*family read aloud currently is Peter and the Starcatchers.  interesting book.  First time reading it for me, too.
i know there's more, but I'm wandering off mentally, so that'll do.  Just a little peek into our week.  Enjoy your week, and I'll be back soon, I hope!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pretzel bark

so, today I decided to make a batch of pretzel bark, at Megans request.  Not that I didn't want it too, lol, just hadn't thought of it.  Yum, it's good stuff.  Thought I'd take some pics and post the instructions in case anyone wants to try it.  It's awfully easy, but you do need a candy thermometer and some basic candy know how.
First, you set up a cookie sheet with a single layer of pretzels.  Mine were unsalted (ick!) so I sprinkled some kosher salt around.  Could use sea salt, but all I have is Kosher, lol.

then melt 1 cup of butter in a pot.  Add one cup brown sugar, packed well.  Stir till it gets to light crack (290 thereabouts, better a couple degrees high than low).

pour it over the pretzels, moving the pot around so as to get it all over, as much as you can.  it will start to cool and set up quickly.  Fast, sprinkle on 1 cup chocolate chips, trying to get it pretty well spread around on there. 

The heat from the toffee will melt the chocolate.  Then spread it around with a rubber spatula, and sprinkle on some salt.  Stick it in the fridge to cool and harden and munch away.  Better a day or two later, though.  Yum!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

sewing WIN!

Got out to the sewing studio yesterday!  spent an hour or so cleaning it up, putting fabric away and such, then moved on to sewing.  Megan had designed a shirt she wanted, so I made it, and it turned out exactly as she had wanted.
I took an old tee of hers, and cut it up as a pattern.  Turned the short sleeves into long sleeves, lengthened the body, and presto!  Exactly what she had seen in her head, it seems.
am going to try something new here and try to add pics.  Wish me luck!