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May 20, 2011

Shut the Door!!!

If I could have a penny for the times I have said "Shut the door" in my days of being a mom....I would have lots of pennies :)

One particular child that has really been giving me grief in this area is Mikaya. It seems every time she would follow her brothers and/or sister outside and would be the last one, she would leave the door wide open!!!! Again and again this happened....and no matter how many times she would have to come back and close the door, it didn't seem to sink in!

And then yesterday it all became clear to me when she once again didn't close the door and I called after her, "Mikaya, why do you leave the door open?" to which she sweetly replied, "Cause I didn't open it!" Now I get it.  It makes perfect sense....NOT!!!!! Nice try Mikaya :)

May 19, 2011

A Peeping Day

A few weeks ago we picked up an incubator and instead of buying chicks to raise we decided to hatch our own. The boys and I did a lot of research and learned all what to do and not to do. Our first hatch was a success with 28 out of 42 eggs hatching. We now are on our second batch of chicks. This morning they started to hatch....so far 6 have escaped their crowded quarters and are enjoying being free!!!

Here are some of the things we have learned about hatching chicks.

1. When choosing your eggs to hatch, it is best to choose ones that are clean. If they are a little dirty it is important not to wash the eggs because eggs are porous you bacteria could be transferred into the egg and cause illness or defects.  Also don't choose eggs with cracks, unusually shaped eggs, or  too big or too small eggs.

2. You can store fertilized eggs for up to 7 days before placing in incubator. Any longer than that reduces likelihood of eggs hatching.

3.  You need to keep the temperature between 99.5 - 100.5 F A little fluctuation is OK, but nothing too drastic.

4. At around (and after)  5 or 6 days you can candle an egg to see if embryo is growing.

5. It takes 21 days for a chick to hatch, no less, no more (if temps have been kept right).

6. A chick has an egg tooth to help it peck holes in the egg. A few days after it hatched the egg tooth falls off. 

7. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours after the chick's first 'hole' in the egg before it is completely hatched. 

8. It takes them quite a few hours to dry off completely and look like a soft, fluff chicken!!!

9. Watching chicks hatch never gets old!

Megan put together this little video of a couple of the chicks hatching this morning (this is for you Young family :) She sped up a few parts so the video would't be too long!

Homeschooling Series Response to Question

I think I have run out of ideas to post about in this series. So, unless you have other topics you would like me to cover, this will be the last post in this series.

In this post I will attempt to answer Lori Mayo's question.

I would like encouragement and insight to over look all the comments on...
"Where is lil-Jonny with math- etc"? You know when a family has un-saved family and all and are wondering if... "our children" are up-to date with the rest ie grades and all? Do you know what I mean? This type of added pressure!

First off, thanks for the question Lori. I think we have all come face to face with those who are very skeptical of homeschoolers in general. And I agree, there is a lot of pressure out there from friends, strangers and even family members. 

I think the first thing we learned was we had to be confident and firm in our reasons for homeschooling our children. If you don't know why you homeschool, you won't be confident in answering the skepticism that comes your way. 

I used to have a problem telling people that education isn't the only or main reason we are homeschooling because people would gasp and say how horrible we were for not putting our children's education first. I guess back then it was a thing I knew in my head, but it wasn't really in my heart.....and time has made me understand how true this statement is. The main reason we homeschool our children in not so they get a good education. Rather the reason we homeschool, and I mentioned this in previous posts, is so that we can be the primary influence in our children's lives and in doing so, we can deal with character issues that come up during the day. And our goal is that they would develop a love for learning and most importantly that God would be the focus of our lives, not education.

I have alway disliked the stigma that is out there of a child needing to be in a certain grade at a certain age. Who thought this up? For one things there a big difference between individual kids and even between girls and boys and the way they learn. So putting an age on this seems somewhat unfair. The great thing about homeschooling is that if I see my child is having a hard time in the level he is at, or it's too easy, I can either push them forward or hold them back! And I am not into starting my child in school or putting them in the next grade just because they are a certain age....rather I wait until they are ready. In doing "school" this way, we have found that our children come away with a love for learning! An example would be with Nathan this year in school. I started to teach him to read. We got over half way through his book and I could tell he was getting overwhelmed and frustrated. Now the teacher in me would have said, "Push through, keep him going, we have to finish the book"! But instead the homeschooling mom in me said, "Let's give this a break and come back to it in a few days, weeks, or even months, when he is ready. And here is what happened. We took a break and in the last couple of weeks he has been coming to me with books, wanting to read to me. I can almost guarantee this would not have happened if I had pushed him through the book. He would have turned off and maybe even turned out to dislike reading. But now I can see a love for reading and books developing in him. 

Now in saying this, as much as we don't believe it is right to push a child when they are not ready, it is equally wrong to allow a child to give up just because it's "too hard"! Because we all know that in life that there are times when we have to push through and persevere when things get tough. And I believe this attitude can be fed or broken at a very young age, and schoolwork is a great tool to bring this about. So it takes watching your child, knowing their personality and using your judgement if your child is really overwhelmed or just plain lazy about their schoolwork. Often a child who is lazy in their schoolwork will also be characterized by laziness in other areas around the home as well.

As Christians we know that it is not man's measuring stick we are to measure ourselves up to, but rather God's. So we need to know His Word to us and what He asks us to teach our children. There are everyday things in life that God tells me to do and it  may be different than what He tells you. And that's OK! Our children all have different talents that God has given them. So it would be unfair for me to say to you, "This is the WAY to do it." Rather I encourage you to seek out God's will for your family and how He would have you teach your children.  

In saying that I also would say that there are absolute values in teaching our children. One absolute would be that we teach them to love God with all their hearts, soul and mind.
(Deut. 6:7) We believe God gave our children to us to train, disciple and nurture them day in and day out rather than to send them away for hours in a day to be taught by someone else.

Now people will tell me that they can't homeschool for one reason or another. For example, I know that there are some wives who want to homeschool but their husbands do not agree to it. And I believe that the wife should honor her husband in this. (BTW....More often than not,  I find that the husbands do not want to put an extra burden on their wives because they hear how frustrated, overwhelmed and tired the wife is as they walk in the door from work. So sometimes (not always) I think this may be the case of a husband wanting to protect his wife) Another reason people give is, "I don't think I would have enough patience to teach my kids." Well let me tell you, when I wake up in the morning I don't know if I will have enough patience for the day either.  But I see this as an opportunity to grow in Christ and have Him refine me. Honestly, there are times during homeschooling our kids where I feel like I want to pull my hair out!!!! But God gave us our children and I am so thankful that they have, in so many ways, forced me to grow out of my selfish, self-seeking ways. 

Then there is always the argument, "If we don't send our kids to school, who will evangelize to the lost in the schools?" Really???? Is this really what is happening? Every time someone says this to me I think of a situation that I had when I was in high school. A friend and I were witnessing to a girl and over time she accepted the Lord. We were elated!!!! And for a few months we continued to disciple her. But one day we got a note from her in which she said she couldn't be a Christian anymore because it was too hard to be a Christian when her parents weren't. We were crushed, how could this happen. Well many years later I think I know how this happened. God has ordained it that the parents would bring up their children in the ways of the Lord, not peers, not teachers, but parents. So I wonder what would happen if we would put all of the money, time, and resources we put into schools and instead put them into developing relationships with families and reach them together. I know again that some will tell me that they witnessed and converted someone in school and it worked out, and to this I say great! But I think this is the exception rather than the rule.

Anyway, looking back on Lori's question I see that I kind of went on a rabbit trail. Sorry :)
I hope this answered your question Lori!

May 17, 2011

How We Do Things Series: Rooms to Share

Often when people find out how many people live in our house they say something like , "Wow, you must have a huge house!" I think they are really computing....11 children, a bedroom for each one....wow, you must have a big house!!! While, in fact, we only have 4 bedrooms. A master (with a nursery), a spare room, one boys room and one girls room.

Here are the reasons we have chosen to have one room for the boys and one room for the girls:

1. We believe that when you focus on giving each child their own "space" it can cultivate an attitude of
me-ism. A need for 'my space' to function, think, play. A desire to be alone. These are not the attitudes we want to encourage in our children.

2. There is accountability in numbers. It is hard to get away with doing naughty things when your siblings are keeping you accountable.

3. Our children, for the most part, only use their rooms to sleep and dress in. Therefore they don't need a lot of space. Their rooms are not huge. Basically enough space for their beds, a closet and a small space to move around! And that's ok, because they don't spend their days in them. They spend it together with the whole family.

Here are the benefits we have seen of rooming this way.

1. It's like a slumber party every night with the most important people....family! I just love listening to our kids giggle and chatter as they get settled down for bed. It often makes me wish that I had this opportunity when growing up. It looks like a lot of fun :) We always tell our kids that they are each other's best friends. And when they are grown, most likely what will be left is each other. Think about it, how many close friendships do you still have that you had when growing up? For most people it is not very many. So why do we spend so much time and energy focusing so much on our kids friendships outside the family, rather than cultivating the ones that will be there forever....family? We purpose to make sure our children have a strong bond with each other and rooming together is one tool that encourages exactly that. 

2. It builds character. As many good times as the kids have together, there are also times that test and grow their character. And we don't see this as a bad thing, it is a good thing! Issues come up when you are in close quarters!!!!

3. If you are scared or lonely and need someone to cuddle with, you can just crawl in the bed next to you :) How cool is that!!!!

Now just in case you are wondering if our kids really dislike rooming together and wish they had their own rooms, here is what happened in our home a couple of days ago.

Josiah has been in the girls room ever since I was pregnant with Jaden. We move the babies to the girls room, which has worked out the last few years to be little baby girls, but this time the baby was a boy. When Joshua was the 'older, responsible' brother, rooming with the boys, we would put the boy babies in the boys room. But since we had a younger, rambunctious bunch in the boys room this time around, we thought it would be best for everyone's sleep and sanity that we would put Josiah in the girls room for a while.

The other day we decided that it was time to move Joey into the boys room. They have been asking for this arrangement for some time, and we felt now would be a good time. As soon as I told the boys, they ran down to their room and started getting everything "ready" for Joey to join them. They were so excited and bedtime could not come soon enough!!! It was so neat to see the excitement as they added one more to their room. No attitudes of selfishness, greed or apprehension. Just pure joy and excitement!!! It was so refreshing to watch!

So bedtime came and then something happened that I had not at all planned for. In fact I was shocked at what happened next! Somehow during the day Brooke had missed out on the news that Josiah would be moving on to the boys room. And when she found out that evening, she was absolutely heartbroken. I will never, ever forget her sweet little voice and quivering lips when she said to me, "You mean Joey isn't going to be in our room anymore?" I tell you, my heart sank for her. I hadn't even thought to prepare her for this. But of course.....this was one of her rooming buddies for a few months now, and naturally she was going to miss him. Let me just say there were many, many tears from a sad little girl that night. She didn't know how she was going to make it through a night without her little Joey.

And this is when I realized again how valuable this arrangement of one boys and one girls room is. They don't dislike it at all, they love it! And they are growing in character, love for each other and cultivating life long friendships. All just from rooming together!!!

May 10, 2011

Mother's Day

I had a great Mother’s Day, thanks to my wonderful husband and kids.

We had a nice day enjoying family and friends and of course eating together.

And I also got many great gifts. Flip Flops, CD, book, hummingbird feeder, chocolates :), a beautiful bouquet of flowers and 3 roses.

As great as all those gifts were, my favorite is the one I will receive in November (Lord willing). Check out here to see what it is!!!!

Hope you all had a great day celebrating motherhood!

May 8, 2011

25 things about the best Mother in the world

Hey all!
It's Kerri here hacking Moms blog. (for a very good reason of course:)
As you know it is a very special day for all our wonderful mothers today.
So I am going to tell you 25 random things about the specialist mother in the world!

1. She can talk like Donald duck
2. She is an amazing singer who taught us to sing
3. She has been pregnant appox. 108 months which is, 3,240 days or, 77,760 hours or you could look at it as, 4,665,600 minutes or, 27,993,600 seconds! (that is if I got all my math correct :)
4. She is not a fan of peanut butter
5. She has 12 kids, 1 daughter in law, and one grandson
6. She plays hockey and two touch football with us
7. She likes to ride horses
8. She likes shopping at garage sales and thrift stores
9. She really likes chocolate
10. Her favorite dessert is Rice Crispie Cake
11. She enjoys riding horses
12. She would rather clean the house than work in the garden
13. One of her favorite verses is, As for me and my house, We will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
14. She plays guitar
15. She can act like a teenager when she wants to (in a good way :)
16. She is an amazing teacher
17. She is not afraid to share her faith and stand up for what she believes in
18. She is such an amazing example to all of us
19. She is not a messy person
20. She NEVER yells at her children (okay....maybe sometimes:)
21. She has a few strands of grey hair here and there
22. She is good at fixing kitchen drawers and lazy susans :)
23. She got married at 18 years old, and had her firts kid at 19
24. She is selfless
25. She never complains about all the sleepless nights and tiring days she goes through

Mom I love you so much and want to be just like you when I grow up.
you are such an amazing example in how a woman should act, you are the best mother in the world and I love you so much!

Love Ker Ker

May 7, 2011

Tied Down

I have had this poem in my drafts for a long time, just waiting for the right moment to post it. It describes how I feel about being a mother quite perfectly! So what better time to post it than for Mother's Day :)


Happy Mother's Day to all my blog friends! 

by Edgar A. Guest

“They tie you down,” a woman said,

Whose cheeks should have been flaming red

With shame to speak of children so.

“When babies come you cannot go

In search of pleasure with your friends,

And all your happy wandering ends.

The things you like you cannot do,

For babies make a slave of you.”

I looked at her and said: “‘Tis true

That children make a slave of you,

And tie you down with many a knot,

But have you never thought to what

It is of happiness and pride

That little babies have you tied?

Do you not miss the greater joys

That come with little girls and boys?

“They tie you down to laughter rare,

To hours of smiles and hours of care,

To nights of watching and to fears;

Sometimes they tie you down to tears

And then repay you with a smile,

And make your trouble all worth while.

They tie you fast to chubby feet,

And cheeks of pink and kisses sweet.

“They fasten you with cords of love

To God divine, who reigns above.

They tie you, whereso’er you roam,

Unto the little place called home;

And over sea or railroad track

They tug at you to bring you back.

The happiest people in the town

Are those the babies have tied down.

“Oh, go your selfish way and free,

But hampered I would rather be,

Yes rather than a kingly crown

I would be, what you term, tied down;

Tied down to dancing eyes and charms,

Held fast by chubby, dimpled arms,

The fettered slave of girl and boy,

And win from them earth’s finest joy.”

May 5, 2011

How We Do Things

It's come to my attention that people are interested in the way we do things around here. Day to day things. To me life is just life and we live it every day....pretty much normal. But I do remember being kind of fascinated of other large families when I was a young mom and so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that people are curious about us. I know I have mentioned this before, I don't often think about the size of our family. In fact sometimes I will look at a photo of our family and I am kind of taken back and say "Wow, that's a lot of kids" :) Yup, this is just what normal is to me!

On that note I plan to do a few posts on how we do things around here. Again, if you have any questions, I would be happy to answer.

Lets start with daily chores.

Our oldest three girls take on either laundry, meals or helping with kids each week. When the week is up, they rotate. I try to help them out when I can, but most of the time they are on their own. It is a great help for me to know that these major areas of our household chores are taken care of. In the afternoon they do their house cleaning jobs. We deep clean 3 rooms of the house every day (except the weekend). I used to have Saturday as our cleaning day but I like this better as it doesn't feel like the house is so messy by the weekend. And of course now that our girls are older, they take personal responsibility to tidy up throughout the day and see what needs to be done and do it (and they also get the littles to pitch in).

In the summer the work load doubles as we have 2 big gardens to take care of, a yard to maintain and flower gardens to make look pretty! Not to mention helping out their Dad when he needs an extra hand around the farm.

Our girls also take care of the milking chores morning and evening. Jen most often milks and Meg and Kerri take turns going out and feeding, watering and cleaning out.

Caleb, Zachary, Jesse and Nathan take care of our laying hens, turkey, goat and broilers (when we have them). They do most of the chores in the morning, except for picking eggs till mid afternoon. They also have to clean their room, organize their clothes (we have them on shelves in a closet), put away their laundry, make their beds, comb their hair, brush their teeth, take out the garbage, plus do some tidy up jobs around the house. This is all to be done by 8:30 am. After meals they clean up the dishes, put food away, tidy our mud room (yes, needed to be cleaned twice a day. I think it's part of living on the farm!!!), and sweeping or shoveling off walkways and the deck.  After dishes are done, they help the older girls do their house cleaning job, and anything else that they need help with. I dodn't make this a rule, but they just kind of keep helping!!! Most of the time they are more than willing to lend a helping hand and are often asking, "Is there anything I can do?" Now they don't always like the job they get, but they are learning if they are faithful in the little things, they will be entrusted with the bigger things! And now that things are getting busier around here with seeding hopefully starting soon, the boys will be helping their dad and doing yard and garden work as well.

Brooke cleans her room, makes her bed, does her hair, brushes her teeth and organizes her clothes before 8:30 am. After lunch and supper she wipes down the bathroom and the laundry room (which is a half bath) and washes all of our white doors in the house (man they get dirty fast!!!). And throughout the rest of the day she pretty often sticks by my side, or the older girls and helps out where she can.

Mikaya doesn't have any structured jobs right now. She of course is expected to clean up after herself and is often found being our go-pher-it! 3 year old legs can save these old legs a lot of steps :)

Some of the goals we have in teaching our children to work:

-That they would do all their work as unto the Lord
-That they would have a cheerful attitude while working
-That they would do their jobs quickly, thoroughly and completely
-That they would develop the ability to see what needs to be done and do it
-That they would know that work is 'not' optional
-That they would feel a part of the family because they help out
-That they would be in training to someday, Lord willing, be a godly spouse, father/mother and/or employee
-That they would know that "a little hard work ain't never hurt anybody" :)
-That they would get their work done before play

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23

May 3, 2011

How to Clean the House

Are you always looking for new and innovative ways to help in your housecleaning? Well the other day I was emailed this tip. I thought is was very helpful.....What do you think???

1. Open a new file in your PC

2. Name it 'Housework.'

3. Send it to the RECYCLE BIN.

4. Empty the RECYCLE BIN.

5. Your PC will ask you,

'Are you sure you want to delete Housework permanently?'

6. Calmly answer, 'Yes' and press mouse button firmly...

There......housework done :) You can thank me now :)