Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Snaps that scream:

BIG FAMILY on a farm: 

Hannah with our two doggies who take care of our home. Arabelle is the "outside" protection and Ritter is the "inside" protection.
I used to try and get my kids to wear shoes on the farm. But honestly, I've given up. They love to run outside without shoes on, and I honestly don't care (as long as they don't whine when they get a stubbed toe.) I can't tell you how many times I find shoes seemingly laying where they were "run out of." 
When you feed 9 kids during homeschooling lunch, it usually takes FIVE boxes!

Are you serious?

 Not on my kid 

There was a huge sale on clothes over at The Children's Place the other day. I was amazed at how many t-shirts had messages that piggy-back on the post I wrote about the other day: The scary truth about what's hurting our kids. Would we really let our kiddos wear shirts that discuss technology being their main focus. I'm not sure if it is funny or if it sad.

Monday, November 12, 2018

We Bought a Farm: Trees

"A Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."
Greek Proverb

My husband, John (aka "JB") has been dreaming of this farm for at least two decades. 

(It took him nearly that long to talk me into moving to the country and giving up the suburban mom life I thought I wanted.)

In medical school, when he'd have to assist on a grueling twelve-hour surgery doing nothing more than holding an instrument, I would ask him what in the world he thought about for half a day.

"My farm," he'd say. "I design my farm."

What he would plant. How he would plant it. Where he would plant it. Why he would plant it.

And the biggest part of his picture?


Lots and lots of Trees.

So every single one of those white little sticks in the picture at the top of this page? 

It's aTree.

Well, not a tree exactly. But a plastic shield protecting a tree. There are all kinds of trees out in the area that will one day be our "forrest garden." (Please don't ask me what kind they are. I planted the, but I don't know. I really have no idea.)

We had a slew of trees come in the mail right before JB left for work one day. He asked me if I could plant them for him. I told him I had never planted a tree. I had no idea how to plant a tree.

I do now. 

When we had a moment just the two of us (which doesn't happen that often) I asked JB how happy the trees made him. He is rarely speechless, but he struggled to find words. The trees are the crux of his dream. They are the piece that will turn this into the land he dreams of it being. The trees are the future to him. He would spend his money on trees before anything else.

I don't brag on my husband that often. But I must tell ya'll how much I love him. 

And I love getting to see how happy these white little sticks (and the trees that are planted next to them) make him.

Here are some pictures of us planting trees: 

Hannah in a hole ready for a tree.
Check out the plastic shield around the tree on the left. 
She loved the holes.

Anni and Isaac working on a tree.
You never know with Hannah what is going on in that little brain of her's. 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

We Bought a Farm: Garlic

Did you know there are types of garlic that go by the name: Music, Early Italian, Late Italian, Elephant, Silver Rose, Susanville? 
It's true! Really. And in fact, when we are talking about names of things. There are shallots that go by the name of French, Dutch Yello, Gray, and Conservator.

How do we know? Well, on Wednesday, we planted them with our Two-Family Homeschool group. Here are some pictures:

I continue to not know much about planting. I actually planted my first tree the other day! But I'm learning it .... slowly. While I may not understand everything, I sure do love seeing things we can use and eat coming out of the garden months later. It's so fun!

The scary truth about what’s hurting our kids

 Proof in actual research: Technology is destroying our children

I have been saying this for sometime: I truly believe the increase in mental illness and suicide among our children is a direct result of the amount of time that they (and their parents!) on their devices. I actually would argue this goes even farther into the violence and shootings we have seen. Kids are getting sicker. And I think the reasons why directly correlate with the amount of technology they are exposed to.

Folks, we have to stop this. And now. Kids have to get off of their smartphones. I would actually argue that they need to NOT have a phone at all. 

But don't just hear this from me. Check out the graphs in this post and then read the article for yourself: The scary truth about what's hurting our kids.

I encourage you to read this article for yourself, but even more than that, I'd like to challenge you to consider implementing the following types of changes in your own home: 
  1. Don't let kids have smart phones. If they drive and you feel they need a phone, great, but YOU can limit how much they are using them. 
  2. Swap chores for screen time. (Make them EARN it!)
  3. Have completely technology-free areas of the house. Specifically, do not allow kids on their phones in their bedrooms. Kids should have NO electronics in their room.
  4. Set up technology-free hours in your home. 
  5. Get off your own device and spend time with your kids.
  6. Spend dinnertime talking.
  7. Drop everything that you are doing when your kids get home and TALK to them.
  8. Make dinner without any devices available. 
  9. Don't allow electronics in the car.
  10. Be sure your child is getting enough sleep.
  11. Focus on your children eating well.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Flu shots

 What could make four kids look so pitiful all at the same time?
I snapped this picture in Publix as our four kiddos waited for their flu shots. (I got one too! Daddy is required to get one at work.) We waited to tell them until just a few minutes ahead of time to minimize the sadness and glum faces. Only Hannah cried, and of course it wasn't as bad as they thought. But oh the sadness and glum faces is just pitiful, isn't it?

Friday, November 09, 2018

Review: The Cow Said Neigh!

I've reviewed previous books by Rory Feek and have truly fallen in love with him and his family and  his approach to the world. He is a Christian who operates with LOVE. He has a beautiful outlook on our world and is raising his family very similarly to how JB and I desire to raise our kids. Anything by Rory Feek is a winner in my book and this delightful children's book is no exception. 

This funny and humorous tale follows farm animals who wish they were other animals ... leading to a farm full of chaos. 

The duck heard the horse, and he saw the sheep
With a big winter coat, two inches deep
"If I were a sheep, that would be good." 
And the duck said "Baa!" as loud as he could.

Very fun rhymes and delightful illustrations lead to a light-hearted and simple reminder that the country life is enough for me! 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange of my honest review.

Unicorn Blood

Check this out! And believe it or not,
there is no color manipulation!
This was really the color.
What do you do on a cold, wet, overcast day? Make ice cream of course! 

Our friend Kymberly allowed us to take some of her Prickly Pear Fruit from her yard last week.

(A quick note: Even if you tell children "Don't touch this fruit it has tiny thorns even though you can't see them," they may not listen. Two kids had to ride home with their hands up in the air waiting for Dad to remove all the thorns.)

Then, today, they moved onward with the fruit and made what Isaac named "Unicorn Blood" ice cream! Here was the recipe:

The pears before they were turned into Ice Cream!
1. Prickly Pear fruit juice (aka cactus fruit or opuntia) for all of you who wanted to know. 
2. Freshly-squeezed Orange Juice
3. Lemon Juice
4. A Handful of Raspberries
5. Sugar
6. Whipping Cream

In the end, all nine kids here today for homeschool liked it EXCEPT Sidge. All adults liked it EXCEPT Wendi (aka "me!") Sidge and I seem to share a pallet for sure. 

Are you parenting with the big picture in mind?

Chances are if you’re the parent of a school-aged child, that child is involved in something: Soccer. Basketball. Academic teams. Boy Scouts. Playing an instrument. Ballet.
The list of possibilities is endless, and the time commitments are usually significant. How does one mother get four children to two activities each over the course of one week? How does she put food on the table and clean her house and handle dentist and doctor appointments?
I have no idea. I don’t have much advice either, but I will tell you “Good luck” and pat you on the back. We can both hope for the best as I leave it to the parenting experts to give you tips on how to do the humanly impossible.
After an extensive athletic career both in playing and coaching, however, I dofeel that I have enough expertise to discuss another aspect of raising a child who participates in activities.
Let me ask you a few tough questions:
  • What is your reason for allowing your child to participate?
  • Are you keeping the big picture in mind as you drive them from place to place?
  • Are you focused on what this activity is teaching your child about life?
  • What do you spend the most time thinking about: their playing time or how they’re growing as a person?
I am so honored to have had the opportunity to write this piece for The Glorious Table. To read the rest of this article, please jump to The Glorious Table here.