25 12 2013

The wheel of the year turns toward winter. The days are getting darker and the animals and earth seem to slumber. I realize it has been a while since last posting. I also have found the need to rest and bring my attention inward and to my own home.

Autumn brought our family a roller coaster of loss, heartache, recovery and adventure. My great grandmother, probably the most wonderful and caring human being I ever knew, passed away late September. It was a big loss for my family. Then on the night she died, my father-in-law suffered a heart attack and passed away two days later. My husband and I never felt exhaustion quite like it before… It was soul deep. We wanted to tuck away and hibernate and I think mentally we did. We dropped the ball on many of our projects, stayed home, and cuddled close together with our children.

During that time, I was reminded of all the wonderful people we have around us. We had an anonymous friend deliver a fridge full of groceries, friends offering to watch the kids, meals ready made and delivered to the house for two weeks, and people just making the effort to be there for us. I was filled with love and gratitude.

In October, we went away to our little bungalow time share on Cape Cod. We snuggled close to the little gas fireplace, went for walks around bright red cranberry bogs and empty beaches. The Ocean is so calming and healing with it’s rhythmic flow of waves, and salty sea breeze. It was nice to step out of our normal routine and just be a family having fun. All of our smiles returned.

In November, Earl and I were given an extraordinary gift and for the first time we went away. The kids stayed with my mom and we took a cruise in the Caribbean with a large group of my family. It was an absolute blast! We toured the Atlantis hotel in the Bahamas, kayaked through a mangrove lagoon and snorkeled over the coral reef, in St. Thomas , and relaxed on Waikiki beach, swimming in the most aqua blue waters I have ever seen, in St. Maartin. On the ship, the Oasis of the sea, we ate delicious meals, drank to our hearts content, and shared laugh after laugh with our family. We were treated like royalty all week long. The quiet moments we shared on our balcony over looking the moonlit ocean made us pause, breathe, and remember that despite this incredibly difficult year, we are incredibly blessed!

Now we are in the Christmas season. It feels different this year but in a good way. We are making merry with what we’ve got. I have been decorating the house so much even Martha Stewart might be jealous of my creative awesomeness! ; ) We are hosting Christmas for Earl’s family, and I am both excited and nervous. With all turmoil and loss of the year, I just don’t know what to expect, but I am trying my hardest to prepare and make my home a welcome haven for them. The season just feels warm to me, and I hope to exude that feeling of warmth and love into the atmosphere.

So, even though the winter brings darkness, it also brings a time of rest and stillness. A time to reflect on this roller coaster year. Though I am thankful 2013 is coming to a close, I can’t help but see the incredible amount of personal growth that happened during all the ups and down and how lucky we are to have the friends and family we do.

May peace and plenty be the first to lift
The latch on your door
And happiness be guided to your home
By the light of Christmas
Irish Blessing

Gearing up for another year!

29 08 2013

I got my approval letter from the school, yesterday. It is official! I have embarked on yet another year of homeschooling. This time with a second grader and a kindergartener! How the time does fly!

I feel like I am ready. My son’s kindergarten year is, mostly, already planned. I’m going to try the same things I did with my daughter and see if that works for him, too. (Wouldn’t that be nice?) I have a Mailboxes “Seasonal Science” book, with fun activities and experiments from fall to summer, poems and lapbooks, “Rightstart Math”… Though I feel like I get a pass on math this year since he can already count to one hundred and add, we will probably just nourish that knowledge with everyday activities. I feel good about his reading skills, too. I will most likely use dolce sight word activities and writing practice. Once a week he will be attending a homeschoolers Montessori kindergarten group which should be a lot of fun. He will also be doing some of the unit study activities that his sister will be doing. (I’ll get to those in a minute).

My daughter’s year is actually based on my own second grade education! I had a fantastic teacher, Mrs. Price, who just had a way about her that could engage every single student in the room. She split the year into two unit studies; Whales and Dinosaurs. With dinosaurs, we learned about extinction, environment, fossils and also geography, continents, and climate. “Whales” taught us about ecosystems, the oceans, pollution. I absorbed so much and still remember the lessons, God knows how many years later!

I wanted to share that memory with my daughter so I am using a lot of ideas from why back when. I have had to change a few things already. For example, one of the songs I remember being taught about the earths four oceans doesn’t really work now since we now have five! I am not ashamed to admit that, even though it would be nice to know everything and have all this brilliant knowledge ready to impart to my children, I do NOT know it all and often learn (and relearn) things right along side my children… even at this young age. I am excited to learn with them!

We will still use “Moving Beyond the Page” loosely, but there is so much more available to us then text books! I am walking into this year with so much more confidence then I have ever had… like, I actually know what I am doing now! Huh! Who would have known?! ; )

Farmette Friday 8-23-13

23 08 2013

I’ll let the pictures speak for me today. The only thing I will say is that we aren’t sure what to do with the corn at this point. When we pick it small it’s good, but it’s clear it had more growing to do. When we leave it to grow it keels over and rots. Hmmm. Other than that, the bounty is plenty.

Oh… And mystery egger is still a mystery! Like a ninja!

Happy Friday!




Mystery Egger! Farmette Friday 8-16-13

16 08 2013

We have had an egg from Penny every morning since she started laying last week. My sweet girl! She has even taken a liking to using the egg box, now that she has the fancy curtains.

Well, she thinks it’s fancy… Scrap fabric stapled to the top of the egg box, but it gives nice privacy from nosy sisters 😉

Went to collect the daily egg, the other day, and found an extra one on the ground. A mystery egger!
She is sneaky, this one. I waited all morning trying to listen and figure out who it was. Then I checked the egg box. Bah!! She did it again, sneaky bird! Her eggs are white! Which is really interesting coming from the same breed.


I’ll catch her next time and let you know who it is 🙂

Expect the Unexpected! Farmette Friday 8/9/13

9 08 2013

Jingle bells, Batman smells, Penny laid an egg…. Wait, no really she DID!!

It is so tiny and cute! Wednesday, our (secret favorite) hen, Penny was going crazy! She was squawking and kicking the other girl’s out of the hen house. She tried several times to hang out in the egg box only to be bothered by one of her nosy sisters. I wasn’t really sure if she was actually going to do it, she is after all only, nearly 5 months old!! Sure enough, I went to check on her and there she was laying an egg… Under the coop! Oops! We will have to work on that!
It was so small each family member only got a tiny bite of that first egg, but it was the creamiest most delicious bite, ever! We couldn’t wait for more… We didn’t have to though she has laid a tiny egg everyday since! Momma is so proud! She’s been getting loads of treats… Probably too many! 🙂

20130809-161746.jpg (don’t mind my un-leveled stove top making my egg run everywhere o.O )

I guess my whole yard feels like being more productive. I was walking into my front door and gave a quick disapproving look toward my big empty flower barrel (because I haven’t planted flowers in it yet)… but then…is that a…holy crap it is! It’s an accidental pumpkin!

20130809-162545.jpg At least I’m pretty sure it’s a pumpkin, it is definitely from the squash family. Last October, I had three pumpkins in this spot. They looked great.. until some renegade squirrel started eating them! (Squirrels and I have a long history!) Seeds were everywhere! This seed must have survived…cool!

Today was very stormy so I didn’t get a chance to spend time out in the garden. It was a good day to take care of my (quickly getting out of control) surplus of cucumbers 🙂


Garden Reflections…Farmette Friday (Aug 2nd)

2 08 2013

20130802-084909.jpg Awww yeah! The first piece of corn!

I can not believe it is August! The last month of the summer and the beginning of the harvest season. Last night we made a delicious GF braided honey bread and made our fresh picked blueberries into jam. It was almost unbearably delicious.


As we head into to harvest season I can’t help but reflect on what is being harvested… And I do mean more than just vegetables. As I sit and enjoy our little farmette that we created I see an abundance of green beans and tomatoes, there is corn, though smaller than I imagined. The peppers were scarce but there were a few. The snap peas were disappointing… but I learned that they don’t do as well growing among the corn as they do on trellises. There is squash just starting to blossom, it will need a little nurturing before it’s ready to harvest and the chickens need time to mature to get some eggs.

In life, you sow the seeds of new beginnings…some become things that bring you an abundance of joy and sometimes they bring disappointment. There are lessons in those times. There are also tough choices to make… I could get my peas by tearing down the corn but I’d lose the corn. I could get eggs sooner if I gave my birds hormones but that could cause health issues and shorten their life. What sacrifice could I make in life that might bring another dream to fruition and would it be worth sacrificing? Would patience be the better option? What can I “weed” out in my life in order to nurture the things I want to harvest?

What are you harvesting? 🙂

Farmette Friday 7/26

26 07 2013

No motivation today… It’s rainy and chilly. This was last night’s garden fresh side dish. I just cooked the green beans and added feta, pepper, oil and apple cider vinegar. I thought with the crazy amount of tomatoes we planted we would have a bumper crop… But we eat them just as fast as they grow. The kids eat veggies straight off the vine like candy. My son told his pediatrician that his favorite veggie was green beans off the vine, to which she exclaimed “Raw?!, (turning to me) that’s fantastic!”

Mom, for the win 🙂

Summer Homeschooling

25 07 2013

20130725-165111.jpgI’ve found that for homeschooling, summer is just another season bringing new opportunities for learning. When I told my daughter that we were “done schooling” for the year she looked at me with a double eyebrow raise I recognized as my own. “So,” she says with a slight sarcastic tone (also my own), “we are going to just stop learning for the summer?.”

The idea is preposterous to her. She has been freely learning her whole life, to just stop seems odd. To me, having been a child who went to school, not having summer brake seems odd. However, going and doing different things throughout the summer naturally provides chances to learn. Summer, gives me the chance (without panicking in my trained american educator brain) to experience what the un-schoolers knew all along… children want to learn.

This summer Karli has been doing her own lap booking projects. She is responsible for figuring out what she wants to learn and finding the lap book printables free or on teachers pay teachers. This works for me because it gives me my summer break, which I need to rejuvenate and think about my plan for next year.

We also are continuing with their ecology class organized by one of our homeschool group moms, where our town conservation agent brings the kids out to all sorts of places to learn about our local forests, plants and wild life. Last class they went on a butterfly, dragonfly, and damslefly hunt. Did you know the proper way to hold a dragonfly is to gently hold the wings between your fingers (like scissors)? Karli got it right away!

This is a Halloween Pennant Dragonfly.
Bryson caught a Monarch Butterfly (actually I think his homeschool buddy caught it and put it in Bryson’s bug carrier, but he was very excited to see it up close )


Today, we met up with a large group of our friends and spent the morning picking blueberries at a blueberry farm. On the way there we talked about why supporting local farms was important and how it helped the community. We also went to another local farm for ice cream and local honey…YUM!


On the ride home, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of how amazing and wonderful my life is. Really! How lucky am I to get to have these opportunities so often with my kids? To spend as much time as I do with them… 18 years is a short time in the grand scheme of life. They grow up so quickly. I need to remember that on the days I am not feeling so lucky, like when everyone’s fighting and getting on each others nerves…lol. I mean, any day has to be pretty wonderful if it ends like this…

20130725-171440.jpgMmm! Gluten Free Blueberry Cake! 😉

Farmette Friday 7/19/13

19 07 2013

We have the first “fruits” of our labor!

Take a good look at that pea pod… Because that may be the only one. The pea plants look pretty sad after our heat wave this week. Today is supposed to be the worst. It is so humid it’s difficult to breathe, heat index well over 100… Not the typical New England weather.

The girls are staying close to the shady henhouse, today. They have lots of water and they are enjoying their little wading pool, yes they actually stand in it. Stay cool!


I Heart Bowling… Sewing Project

13 07 2013

My kids have a birthday party to go to today. The youngest daughter of my husbands cousin’s three girls…she is two. I have been racking my brain all week trying to figure out what to get this kid. Lets face it, with two older sisters the girl probably doesn’t need clothes, and chances are anything I buy she most likely has… or her sisters have. Gift cards and money are nice, but for a two year old…boring. I decided to make something.

I came across this pattern …. yesterday. I know, I really need to stop doing these things last minute… BUT off to the fabric store to score 6 fat quarters. Karli helped me decide on color scheme. She picked purple of course… hope the two year old shares in her affinity.


The pattern was fairly simple to follow. I really am a “beginner” when it comes to sewing. I get these ideas that I can sew like it’s going to pass down through bloodlines! Lol. It seems to work out anyway. Thank goodness for YouTube!

With extra kids I was babysitting, dinner, and laundry… I slowly got the main sewing done. I left the hand sewing for the morning.

20130713-123233.jpg I would say the hardest part for me was adding the round bottom piece to the pins. I also need to work on my invisible finishing stitch, but I think all in all, it came out very sweet. I hope she likes it.