Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Unit Study ideas

Back when my big kids were little we took full advantage of unit studies.  I don't believe in doing an organized history program until third grade but up until then its fun to come up with exciting things to study: cowboys, Thanksgiving, Egyptians, and Indians are just some of the topics that we studied.  For Science we studied astronomy, oceans and animals, animal unit studies, and insect studies.  All very fun and interesting.

I realized with a second grader and kindergartener this year, that I need to switch back to those unit studies.  This week I'm going to work on setting up unit studies for my girls on the following topics: Indians, Thanksgiving, oceans and animals, space, and a few animal studies.  

We will be supplementing science with Elemental Science's Intro to Science curriculum.  I used part of it last year and we really loved the interesting science experiments and the girls loved to work on their science notebooking pages.  They felt like they were keeping up with their siblings by having their own work to do.  It was a blast.  I highly recommend this program!!!

The big girls will be using Elemental Science's Living Book series on the Sassafrass Twins studying zoology and then botany this year.  Last year we used their classic series and totally loved it but I wanted to change things up this year.  Princess will be in high school science next year and I wanted to make science fun and interesting this year.  You'll notice that it states the curriculum is for K-5th grade.  We will obviously be beefing up our studies plus both girls need to earn a science frontier requirement for American Heritage Girls so they will be able to work on these requirements and earn their badges.  I plan on using these studies next year with the littles.

I'm off to work on my homework and lesson plans.  I am very behind in both.  I can't believe we start to homeschool in a month.  I just ordered the books for the kids!!  And I'm on week 5 of two classes for my masters.  Only 11 weeks left with two big papers to write

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


If you're like me, right now you're in the midst of homeschool planning.  Books are piled up everywhere.  Little notes are spread all over your desk.  Its an organized chaos.  Selena over at Look We're Learning just wrote a fantastic post about lesson planning with little ones.

I'm juggling right now trying to keep up with the outside chores and the garden.  I have several projects that desperately need my attention outside.  We have several areas that are really just weeds that need to be dug out and redesigned.  I've been putting it off because when I go near them the giant mosquito infestation swarms out to attack me.  I really need to get moving on that though.

My brother comes tomorrow and we need to deep clean.  The cats are all outside right now but he does have an allergy so I want to make sure that the cat hair is gone so he can enjoy his stay.

College started this week.  The one class has articles and a book that's about 120 pages to read,  plus books and articles for my paper.  Not too bad.  The other has 2000 pages in just the texts which does not include the articles or the research for the paper.  ugh

So needless to say, I'm running around from one thing to another.  I'm sitting down today and writing out a list of things to do which will hopefully allow me to stay on task.

And this week starts our birthday week.  Bug-a-Bug's is today.  She is such a sweet and gently soul.  I am so blessed that God blessed me with this wonderful child.

Have a wonderful and blessed week!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

AHG Peace camp

Dad would be proud of Little Miss sporting his Vikings hat

Waiting for craft instructions

Lunch was a four foot and 3.5 foot pizzas.  Cooked outdoors in a giant oven that this couple tow behind their truck.  There was enough room in the oven to make six pizzas.

Little Miss and her bestie at the end of camp.  Tired but very happy!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Coming up for air

It has been a crazy busy month here.  TL and I were desperately working outside to build more garden beds and get the garden in.  The weed eating took a hit.....its currently about two feet high.  We were trying to get it done and caught up and then we got about a foot of rain in one week.  The garden is growing really well....but so are the weeds.

I was also desperately trying to write two papers for two classes that ended last week.  Thankfully I received two As but now I am really behind in house and yard work.

TL's off to summer camp this week.  I can't wait to hear how the white water rafting, paddle boarding, and kayaking were.  I'm sure he had a blast.  

Little Miss went to American Heritage Girls Peace Camp (for Tenderheart girls grades 1-3) with her best friend.  They had a blast.  I went for the entire first day but had to head home to be with the other girls and then went back for the morning and we headed home at lunch time.  We were sweaty and sticky from sunscreen and mosquito spray.  There were tons of mosquitoes.

I will upload pics later....the girls are watching Netflix and the internet is too slow.

So between all this and swimming in the pond, its been really busy here.  And this week and next our church is selling fireworks at the TNT stand to raise money for our children and teen ministries.  Busy busy.

The kids were less than excited that some of their school stuff has arrived.  I received all the science and the history books.  I'll hopefully be starting up designing the history program later this weekend.  We're supposed to have big storms rolling through again.

I'm also trying to get caught up on some quilting and hope to work on some scrapbooking this summer.  The poor three little kids don't even have an album!  ugh!  bad momma!

So, I'm off for now.  Take care all!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Living next to the Hatfields and McCoys

That's what it feels like.  A few weeks after the chicken incident and my neighbor's dog, I started seeing it around again and knew it was a matter of time before it came back for a snack.  Thankfully I was here.

I couldn't get it to leave and it kept trying to circle me to get to the chickens.  We finally got it to go home and I followed it.  I was mad and probably yelling.  The neighbor's daughter started yelling at me telling me that they work all day and he got loose.  She had gone into the house to get his harness that was all closed up (snaps) and not in pieces.  Kinda hard for him to get loose if he's not wearing it isn't it?

Anyway, her father kept telling me to shoot the which I responded that he needed to just keep the dog tied up and then there wouldn't be any problem.  If I found the dog attacking my chickens again, I would shoot it is my legal right.  I'll discuss that in a minute.  Then he told me to bring down my gun and shoot it in front of him.   ???

Then he said that friends were welcome at his house, neighbors welcome, and then waved  his had to dismiss me.  He also then told me that all the neighbors now about me and my $500 bill for $13 dollars worth of chickens.  (the feed for the last year, replacement cost, and loss of egg money for four months until the new chicks start to lay was over $500, but we had verbally agreed to about half of it....they've given me $50).  He stated that if I ever got stuck in the ditch that I'd better have my checkbook because none of the neighbors would help me out.   Wow....I've moved to crazy town.

I've resolved that I'm never getting anything else from them.  I'm nervous to even go down to their house as their craziness may have me arrested for something weird.  I've decided if the dog returns I will video tape it, call the sheriff and press criminal charges.

After the last incident, the sheriff told me I could give the bill to him but if I did I would have to press criminal charges.  In light of how they are acting now and the neighbors' statements that this isn't the first time there's been a problem with this dog and a previous dog that they had, I wish I had gone the legal route.  

So, that's the drama from the dog.  I haven't seen it since last Friday.  I'm sure it will be back and soon.

On the school note, we have two weeks left and testing.  The kids are doing well getting done....except the teen who is lagging behind a little.  They will hopefully be all done on time.

The garden is finally getting planted now.  We had temps into the 30s at night even this week but it looks all uphill from here.  I planted peppers last night and hope to get the onions, green beans, carrots, and beets done today.  I hope to get the tomatoes and cucumbers done this weekend and next week....pumpkins, watermelons, and cantalope.  I also planted 25 strawberry plants and three peach trees this year.  My raspberries are just growing....I only lost one this past winter with the cold.  I thought I'd lost the blueberries too but they are looking pretty good.  The cherry tree and plum trees are doing marvelously!  I'm working on pruning the apple and crabapple trees that were on the property.  They have never been pruned so its pretty bad.  The big issue is that they are so big, I can't get that high to prune.  I'm hoping to do a little pruning all year and then a big one in the fall.  I don't want to shock the poor things.

My college is going well.  I have a big paper (rough draft) due the first week of June.  I'm hoping to have that done and finish up the other class' assignment the following week and be done a week early.

That's about all that's going on here.  Its been crazy but busy!

Friday, April 25, 2014

So very sad

I came home from church on Sunday to find my white rooster missing and about fifty white feathers all over.  It was obvious what ever got him was big.  The neighbor's dog had been here that morning and she had questioned me once if he had ever gone near the chickens but without proof I couldn't be sure it was him so I kept my mouth shut.  Biggest mistake of my life.

I got home from volunteering at our church's after school program on Wednesday to find him standing in my driveway with one of my chickens in his mouth.  I went crazy.  I gunned it up the driveway, slammed the truck in park and went after him.  Four carcasses.  I was livid and the stupid dog wouldn't leave.  

I had TL go out and stay with him while I drove up to the neighbors.  I told him (calmly) that the dog was at my house and killed a bunch of my chickens but wouldn't leave.  As he was putting his shoes on, he told me that the dog was acting strangely and had attacked another neighbor's dog this past weekend.  What?  You've got a potentially dangerous dog and its not locked up?

So he drives over to pick up the dog and never once apologizes.  He doesn't ask any questions just picks up the dog and leaves.

TL and I then go to assess the damage.  I'm positive the rest of the chickens are safe in the coop.  I open the door and it is empty.  They would have gone in there to hide.  The dog must have gone in there through their door.  I count four dead birds.  We search the property and find one rooster and one hen.  The rest are gone.  Twenty hens and two roosters are what I had.  I was so upset.

We went in to eat.  I wanted to call Kevin and tell him what was going on and we figured out that one of the birds was still alive so I sent TL out to shoot it.  A few minutes later I hear the gun go off again closer to the house.  He comes in madder than a hornet because the dog was back at our house!

I flew down the street and this is where my NY attitude kicked in.  I told him that if I found that dog hurting my chickens, dog, or kids I was shooting it.  Thankfully the dog was on his way home when I left.  

Per conversation with Kevin, I called the sheriff.  The sheriff told me I was within my rights to shoot it.  Now, I'm mad, but I really don't want to shoot a dog in front of my kids.  He took pics of the chickens and then went down to the neighbors.  He wouldn't open the door, apparently he'd gone to bed although it was only 7:30.  The sheriff left a message to call him.

His wife came home at nine to the sheriff's message and her husband's note.  She came down to apologize asking how much they owed.  At this point, three more birds had come back.  I told her that I didn't know because I didn't know how many were gone.  We spoke and she told me that the dog wasn't secured because they had nothing to tie him with and that he gets out of the barn.  Then put him in your house.  She wanted to get a chain to tie him up the next night and then work on a shock collar with him during the summer so that when he leaves the yard someone will push the button.  Well, that only works as long as someone is there pushing the button.  

I've had two roosters and ten hens return.  Ten more are missing or dead.  I worked up feed and cost of eggs and replacement....its over $400.  I'm not sure if they will pay it or not.  We'll see I guess.  They haven't bothered to come over and see how many chickens came back.  I was going to take the bill to them but Kevin said not to.  I will give it to the sheriff on Wednesday when he returns from time off.  

My roosters are now like Rambo on speed.  I cannot get near the hens or they go crazy.  I'm trying to talk slowly and move slowly to ease their fear.  I know that they are trying to protect their hens.  We'll see what happens with time.  I also have a hen that is literally shell shocked and just stands there.  We may have to put her out of her misery too.  I'll give it some time to see and hopefully she will improve.

I'm off for now.  Please pray that this situation gets resolved and quickly.  I live in fear that this dog will return and attack my dog or my kids.  They have done nothing to reassure me that the situation's been taken care of.  I'm not impressed with how they are handling this at  all.  I don't know, maybe I'm just overreacting?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reading lists for the coming year

I have been working on a preliminary list for next year's literature work.  I may end up tweaking it more, but this is what it looks like so far:

TL-11th grade

To Kill a Mockingbird
Last of the Mohicans
Animal Farm
Lord of the Flies
Fahrenheit 451
Prince and the Pauper
Cricket on the Hearth
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
All Quiet on the Western Front
Study and Watch three Shakespeare plays: Hamlet, Richard, Taming of the Shrew
Poetry study

Princess-7th Grade

Phantom Tollbooth
The Long Winter
Bridge to Terabithia
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMPH
The Magician's Nephew
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Cricket in Times Square
Poetry study

Bug-a-bug-6th grade

By the Shores of Silver Lake
Nim's Island
Best Christmas Pagaent Ever
From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E.  Frankweiler
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Twenty-one Balloons

Monday, April 21, 2014

The crazy life

I have many pics from Easter that I need to post sometime this week.  My inlaws and the kids' cousins came up from IA to spend the day with us.  It was fantastic.  We had a blast.

We're finally getting warmer and staying warmer.  Its a struggle with all the rain to try to get any work done outside but we're trying.  Its supposed to get a little cool again this week but the temps are moving up and that's what we like to see!

The kids and I have very busy schedules the next few weeks.  I just need to make it through May and the planting of the garden.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.....

My college is going well.  This week I'm working on completing two assignments that aren't due for several weeks.  I'm hoping that this will free up some of my time for the larger two papers due in eight weeks.  I can't believe I'm halfway through already.  Wow.  This has been a learning experience trying to juggle the house, school, and homeschooling but its going.  I hope to get more on top of the homeschooling this summer so I will be ready to go for the year before fall hits.  I'm not sure how we're going to do scheduling this year.  My mother comes the last week of August to visit and hubby will be home for two weeks sometime in Sept.  I'm not sure if I'm happy about starting school in October or late Sept.  We'll have to see what happens.  Maybe we can start early August and just do four days a week with only math and English or something like that.

Take care everyone!!   Enjoy your spring weather!