home skills

While the Boys are Away…

The first few days of this week were a little different around here, mostly because all the ‘men’ were away on the annual ‘men’s camping trip’. Meri and I had movie night, ate too much popcorn, and worked on a giant baby to-do list. Although we didn’t really make a dent in the list, we did get many things done, and had fun doing them. I finally repainted our bedroom, and hung up some art. We built the co-sleeper and put a headboard on the bed. bedroomAmerica was a huge help in organizing all the baby clothes by type, which is wonderful because up until now they have all just been jumbled into the wardrobe with no rhyme or reason. We packed the baby’s hospital bag, as well as mine! wardrobeThe big news is that we are scheduled for an induction on September 8th, one week from today. I am truly hoping that she just decides she is done ‘cooking’ before that, since the idea of being induced is something that I do not relish. At least I know that it won’t take longer than one more week, which is a comfort because all of a sudden, everything hurts and is exhausting. mantisWe caught a praying mantis for the boys to examine after camping. He is gigantic, and seems fairly angry, but at the same time, he is fascinating. Our first Art & Science lesson is on insect anatomy, and the ‘scientist as illustrator’, so the timing is perfect!meri ice creamMeri and I also exercised some of our most important skills in the kitchen, and made ice cream.

Our book orders have been rolling in, and I have been typing syllabuses like a madwoman. I think there are only one or two left to complete, and then I can just sit back and fill in my teacher’s plan book with a cup of coffee!

Today was the first day that the end of summer seemed like it was getting closer, although I still haven’t smelled an autumn morning yet. I’ll believe it when it gets here. Until then, it’s shorts, and swimming, ice cream and sprinklers…after our studies of course!

Hanging up our pull down map, Shelley


Farm Day

axel_treeOne of the things we are ‘studying’ this year, is Home Skills, and one of those Home Skills is gardening.

I remember being given a little area of the yard that was my very own when I was in about third grade. We went to the nursery, and after very carefully picking out some hot pink fuzzy looking flowers, I took them home and set about planting them. Over that summer they wilted and died, under my forgetful care, but I will never forget how much fun it was to have my own outdoor space. It also instilled a love for working in the yard in me at a young age, a little ownership goes a long way.

Our backyard is the perfect place for each of our kids to have their own space, but it will require some elbow grease. Enter Farm Day.

This book, and the photos of edible estate projects always gets me excited to start working on my yard!
edible-estates-lead0151b99c56fb04d62de20019b0._w.540_s.fit_51b99c4c74c5b6622e001864._w.540_s.fit_{all via apartment therapy}

During the summer, the backyard gets full sun. During the winter, it gets no sun. So, from fall to spring, it is a gigantic mud pit that grows mushrooms. This is not the most inviting type of place to play or work.  While the sun was still shining back there, we began our plan by planting a row of raspberries, which Elvis has been wanting for years. And while we were working, we started talking about all the different ways we could use our backyard. The kids were all very enthusiastic about having some garden space, and a fort, and room to run….so a small shred of a ‘map’ began to form. In the back of my mind was always ‘but what about the MUD?’ and, ‘but it’s so horrible and cold all winter!’. farm_day_lia_vegas

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 8.09.54 AM

{via Farm Fresh To You} I imagine a yard like this…but we have a long way to go! Maybe if we read this book:TheQuarterAcreFarm_web

{also via Farm Fresh To You}

{on a side note, in the age of internet domination, I am still thankful for the abounding resources that I would have never been able to get my hands on, even 10 years ago. We have access to never ending gardening tips, plans, ideas, inspiring stories and pictures….as long as we don’t get lost online, and get outside!}

Then we talked about having chickens. Boy was there a resounding “YES!!!” to that suggestion. So we made a deal. I would grant their chicken wishes, if they would help me prep the farm all winter. They totally agreed, and here we are. farm_day_chip_pile

After months of waiting for Chip Drop, we ended up getting a full load of wood chips from craigslist, for free. The load contained about half long pine needles, and half chips, but I am not even close to complaining, because it smells like a christmas tree farm in my yard right now. All the cousins came over and we spent a full day carting loads of chips to all the muddy areas of the yard. We put them under the swings, and on the paths…the backyard is in need of a complete overhaul anyway, so anything we didn’t love, got covered in wood chips. I am hoping this puts a damper on the mud carnage that usually occurs during fall….and winter….and spring.


Farm day was a success, we had cocoa, hot cider, pizza, sore backs, and a ton of fun.

Hoping we keep working all winter! Looking forward to chickens in the spring!

Planning an aquaponics project,