Tuesday, June 28, 2011

From the hen (or should I say duck) house...

We are proud grandparents of many little ducklings that are so cute you just want to squeeze them, except that you can't come any where close to them because the momma is not even playing!!

She laid 13 eggs and 10 hatched!!  A miracle right in my flower beds!

Today, we are down to 7 baby ducklings, but mom seems to be able to handle this many much easier than she could 10.  We are doing everything we can to keep them safe from predators and help them beat the odds of 1 in 12 actually making it to adulthood!!  They are one week old today and are very rowdy and not the greatest listeners I have ever seen, but boy are they cute!!!

And the big white guy is the best "step dad" you have ever seen!!!  He is right there with them all the time and perfectly completes this little family!!!  He just melts my heart!! {do you see his beak in the pic below...precious I tell ya!!}

Here they are out for a swim!  It is so amazing how differently ducks behave when they are raised with their mom in the wild and when they are raised by humans in the garage...this is just so natural and breathtaking!  A miracle right in my front yard!!!

Hope your summer is full of great things!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Green Acres is the place for me....

Green acres is the place for me.
Farm livin' is the life for me.
Land spreadin' out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside. 
{can you hear it?}

When I first started blogging, I defined myself as being countrified {a city girl who has gone country and never looked back} and I am becoming more and more that person every day.  Life here on our little bitty 3 acre mini-farm is really beginning to take shape and I am enjoying seeing it come together!!

All of our chicks are a year old now and they each give us an egg every day rain or shine!!!  The girls have even started to sell the eggs to Big Daddy's co-workers for a very reasonable $2 per dozen.  They even made receipts that say "Thank you for choosing our eggs because our nest is the best."  I love it!!!

In our garden, we are just over run with gorgeous, yummy veggies!!  We pick tomatoes, squash, zucchini, bell peppers, and lima beans til our fingers fall off.

What happens when you spend all of your time outside????

Well, you spend very little time inside...unplugged!!!

So, this has caused a huge shift in my life.  my perspective.  my goals.  my interests.

I am sure that you have all noticed that my blog posts are few and far between.  I  am still here, but the blog is just taking a new direction.  In addition to posting about my first love God, my second love my family, and my third love homeschooling, I will be posting more regularly about clean eating and sustainable living.  

Please don't "unfollow me" just yet!!!

I had no idea that sustainable living could be so easy, and if you aren't so sure that you even care, you should at least watch this movie before you decide to clip me...go ahead, I will wait while you at least watch the trailer...its below, just click and watch!!

So, as you can imagine, this movie completely changed my life about 6 months ago.  Since then, I have been concentrating harder on finding ways to eat what is right in my backyard, I am a farmer's market junkie, and my refrigerator and pantry are hardly recognizable!  While I have loved our local farmer's market since the day it opened, now I go with a different focus....its where I get my grass fed beef, my pastured chicken, and cheeses.  

My meals for the week!  

And if you can believe this, my grocery bills have drastically reduced.  I have been waiting since Christmas to tell you all about this, but I wanted to make sure it wasn't something that I just barely knew anything about before I shared my heart.  Now that we have been doing this for a while and I have sort of mastered the Whole Foods coupon plan, I feel like I am ready to talk!!  And I hope that you are too!!  I am actively looking for recipes and ideas that will be up to my South Louisiana taste standards!!  And I will be gladly sharing!!!

So go watch Food, Inc NOW!!!

Curriculum Choices 2011-2012

I think I have our curriculum choices narrowed down for the 2011-2012 school year.  It is definitely no secret that this year has been a huge learning experience for me.  From learning that one daughter is very right brained and visual to figuring out the hard way that my other was bored to tears and needed a challenge so badly, I can say without question that I have done my research on what will {hopefully} work best for our family next year!  Some things I'm listing, we are already using since the big curriculum switch we made in March and we will finish those this coming year.  Other things are brand new to us and I cannot wait to get started!  So, here is our coursework plan for next year...Kamryn in 5th grade and Karsyn in 3rd!!!

Together we will study...

Bible - We will continue reading together from the Arthur Maxwell Bible Story Books I have from my childhood!!   They are phenomenal!  Both girls will also read a good bit on their own from Old Testament with history.

Latin - We began Latin for Children this year and LOVED it!!  It was beginning to get pretty complicated however, so I didn't want all of what they had learned to be forgotten over the summer, so we just stopped where we were {before it became in depth} and we will pick it back up in the fall with a few weeks of review and on to finish the book!  Everyone really likes the program and we enjoy doing it together!

Memory Work - Strangely enough memory work has become one of our favorite parts of the day.  Each day after we read our Bible story, we work on memory work.  Next year the girls will also have some independent time to work on individual pieces as well.  I am going to use things from our history and science curriculums for memory work assignments!  And some fun poems too, of course!!  We memorized Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout this year and it was a huge hit!

History - History is so tough for me because I want the girls to really enjoy learning about God's plan for the world and how it has played out so far because history is just HIS STORY!!  It is also difficult for me to commit to one particular curriculum.  I really want to do My Father's World, Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, and Story of the World, but I want to do them all.  This year we did world geography for the simple reason that I just couldn't decide on one.  For next year, I had to make up my mind.  The other crossroads for me was whether I would start the chronological 4 year cycle, or if I would do American History {I could do colonial America til the cows come home}.  It was a tough decision for me, but after much prayer and research we will be doing Ancient History and sort of beginning the four year cycle.  Im not crazy about this time period, but I know that the girls will get so much more out of it to learn it in context!!  After all, I didnt know that the world truly existed PRE-1492 until I got to college!!

So, we will be using two curriculums and I am just going to piece things together and make things work for us.  We will be using Living Books Curriculum (teachers guide) and TruthQuest History guides.  I like them both and just couldn't decide, so why not use them both??  The Living Books Curriculum is a full curriculum, but we will only be using it for Science and History mainly.  It is an amazing program in that it teaches World and American History simultaneously!  I am very excited about that because neither of my girls have had any real history as of yet, so I think it will be good for playing catch up.  It is a little too rigid for me, but I love they way that they are total Charlotte Mason.  I am also so in love with their language arts additions like story-telling and Shakespeare!  BUT, TruthQuest has an extensive booklist so I won't have to search the library constantly like I did this year.  I love that TruthQuest has books listed by grade level so it is a no brainer and it will be great for beefing up lessons,  but its a little too unstructured for me.  So, I think that it will balance well with what I will be pulling from Living Books Curriculum!!!  In the LBC guide we will be working quickly through 1st grade.  I know that you are probably thinking I am nuts, but when you switch curriculums it is always so hard to place them.  Neither of my girls have had any American History, so I want to start them from the beginning.  That is where the TruthQuest booklist will come in handy because I will be using their recommendations where needed, especially for my 5th grader.  I am hoping to get through the Living Books 2nd grade year by Christmas and then move onto 3rd for the remainder of the year which I think will be more on their level.  We will study Ancient Egypt and American Westward Expansion the first half of the year, and I can't wait.  Im very anxious to get this in my hand and get busy picking it apart and planning because whether it looks like it or not, Ive got a plan (oh my)!!!

Science - Living Books Curriculum also includes a science plan of earth, physical, living, and health that I am very excited about.  We did a full year of flying creatures last year and it was a little monotonous.  I want to go back to Apologia in the future, but I think that we need a more true science next year to give the girls a good foundation for what is to come for them as they get older.  Because everything is living books, many books are recommended and once I see what is involved I may add in some things of my own.  Nonetheless, we will for sure be doing earth, physical, living, and health sciences and for that I could do a jig!

IEW - Need I say more....really???  We will be doing Level A and I am starting out with the girls watching the DVD and hoping to move to me teaching after the first couple of units.  I really want to combine this with our history and science readings, so I want to work without the DVD eventually, we will see!!!

Independently Kamryn will work through...

Megawords Spelling
Fix It Grammar
A Reason for Handwriting
Science Detective
History and Science to some degree
lots of on her own vocabulary cards, writing assignments, researching, and reading!

My plan is to have Kamryn working independently for around an hour and a half each day.  She will be in the fifth grade, so I know that she needs more, but she came from being very spoon fed, so we are working slowly!!!

Together Kamryn and I will work through...

Right Start Math Level E

I have love feelings for this math program and excitingly enough, the next level after E is independent.  WOW!!!  I think we are all learning more about math than we ever knew!!!  Kamryn has been a little bit reluctant to begin thinking in a math way, but she is coming around!!  She sees the fruits of it and can't help but get on board, but it does take her a few lessons to finally give in and stop saying, "Mom, why does it matter, I just know that 7x9 is 63.  I don't care why!!!"  The program also comes with so many games, and we love to have a Math Game Day, every now and then!!!

Independently Karsyn will work through...

A Reason for Handwriting
History and Science to some degree

I want her to begin working independently, but I also don't want to wish away her childhood.  I want to enjoy our time together learning while still giving her a little bit of time on her own.  She will work independently for about 45 minutes this year I think!

and with me she will work through...

All About Spelling Level 3
First Language Lessons 3
Right Start Math Level C

I cannot say enough about all 3 of these programs.  It seems that Karsyn has learned more since March than she has learned her whole life.  The light bulbs are just going off everywhere and it is so great to see!!!

We have ourselves a busy year, but I have copied Carrie's planning system and have made my own planner and all.  She is so talented and organized...I love her!!!

I am very much ahead of where I was this time last year, so I am excited!!  Ive got lots of work to do, but I will post lots of pics!!!  Especially since I realized that this post HAS NONE!!!!  Let me make that better...here is next year's schedule!!  The reason it has 2 history slots is because one is World and one is American!!!  Im so excited!!!

Hope your plans for next school year, whatever they may be are bringing you lots of joy this summer,


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