Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Too Many Clothes!

Too many clothes! What do I really wear?

Ever since living in Europe, I have separated my clothing by season. I try and keep my closet as clutter free as possible. I've been trying to do the one item in, one item out but have been failing. I just counted my short sleeve/sleeveless shirts and I have 62! 62 shirts that are hanging in my small (for American standards) closet. This is not including my winter shirts or my dresses. 

62 shirts hanging
My minimalist side would love to pair down to about 15-20 great shirts. I've been trying to embrace the minimalist lifestyle for a few years now. I still have a ways to go. When I designed my closet in my new house, I decided to go with a larger shower, door to the laundry room, from the closet, rather than a larger closet. I truly want to only have what I love. I want to only see shirts that I would love to wear no matter what. Shirts that if my husband ever surprised me with a weekend getaway, he could easily pack my clothing and I would not dread wearing a single thing he packed. And if I'm really honest with myself, 15-20 shirts is still too many. I probably wear the same 5-8 shirts most days. So that's allowing me to have a few extra shirts. 

So how is my weed out plan working? Every time I wear an item and wash it, I hang it on the very left of the clothes line. Slowly, items I haven't worn in a long time get pushed to the left. You can even flag the shirt on the left and move the flag over if you end up wearing that shirt. I've done this a few weeks now and I'm going to give myself another month to see where I'm at. Then it's time to purge! 

Last weekend my husband asked if I needed any jeans. I looked in my closet and realized I have 5 pairs. So really, no, I'm good. I need to try on all my pants, especially before going into Fall and see what I love and don't. What fits and doesn't fit me. I do this about once a year. Below is a picture of my pants and shirts. I think I'm done to one skirt which I'm about to give away. I tend to wear more dresses than skirts and tops.

How to you organize your clothes? What do you think is a good number of clothing items to own?

Friday, July 28, 2017

3rd Grade Homeschool Schedule and Curriculum

The rest of our school books arrived tonight! I was one happy lady! I love getting back into the swing of things and watching my kids continue to learn and grow. This year we're changing a few things up and adding new things in. Since we moved, we have decided to not do Classical Conversations this year due to the distance. We're on a waiting list for one really close to our house but it's doubtful space will open up this Fall. We are continuing with our Thursday co-op, but not doing the morning classes. My son loved them but it's further from our house and it would mean I'd have to find something for two hours to do with my youngest every Thursday morning and we'd be gone from the house all day Thursday. Which is HARD to do, when you have little kids. I'll be sharing what I'll be doing with my younger ones in another post.

Our schedule is somewhat flexible. Meaning, it's really up to my son on how long it will take him to complete his assignments. I allowed 30 minute blocks for most subjects. Some will take 10-15 minutes to complete, others may take 45 minutes. It also depends on his willingness to get it done and whether or not he's being challenged in a particular area. We should be done by lunchtime, except for reading, which we'll do after lunch during our quiet time. I give him the option to work ahead if he's loving a subject or we'll do extra work when we know we have a field trip that week. One thing I LOVE about homeschooling is the flexibility of it. Our core schoolwork will be done Monday-Thursday. Every other Thursday afternoons my kids have co-op classes and Friday mornings my kids have co-op classes. They will be doing school work daily, but the bulk will be done 4 days a week at home. I'll go through our day(s) and what we're doing for each subject as I talk about it.


I Can Learn the Bible by Holly Hawkins Shivers (52 scriptures every kid should know), will be our reference book for our memory verses this year.

Know Your Bible for Kids by Konna K. Maltese goes over all the books of the Bible and highlights key events from each one.

Because I Said So by NotConsumed, is a Bible study we're doing on obedience. We'll do one of these each week. I also bought a few of her other studies and will do them once we're done with the others.

We'll start our day off with Bible. This is also when we eat breakfast most days. Some days my son will already be done with breakfast. He usually feeds the animals sometime between 6:30am and 7:30am. So this allows him time to get back and get ready for school.


Math U See Gamma (we have the blocks, not pictured)
Learn Math Fast System Volume 1 & 2
Life of Fred books for fun - not pictured but have

By 8:30, everyone should be done with breakfast and while I'm cleaning up, my son will start on math. I found the Lean Math Fast System and ordered it due to the great reviews. However, after reading through it, I realized it will take a good amount of my time to teach each day. We used Math U See last year and are going to continue with Gamma this year. He watches a 5-7 minute lesson on Monday , which explains the week's lesson. Then he gets to work. If he has any questions, I'm here to help. He mostly can do this on his own which is great! We'll play games using Learn Math Fast as time allows as well as continue reading through Life of Fred books.

Language Arts

Spelling: Spelling You See: Americana
3rd Grade Language Lessons for Today by My Father's World
Dude Diaries
Daily 6-Trait Writing

I scheduled language arts to take approximately 45 minutes. This is not including daily reading. We are going to continue with Language Arts for Today. We're adding Daily 6-Trait Writing, and for free writing, we're using Dude Diaries, which is perfect for boys. It has good writing prompts, and comes with a lock and keys. Once we get through LA, we'll take a break and go outside for morning recess.


Geography and Health/Social Studies

Health Safety and Manners 3

Daily Geography Practice by Evan-Moor
Health, Safety, & Manners 3 by Abeka

After our morning recess, we'll continue with Geography and Healthy/Social Studies. My son will be taking a Geography class in one of his co-ops, so we're not going to spend excessive time at home on it. That makes Daily Geography a perfect fit. There are just two questions a day, four days a week. I really like Abeka's Health, Safety, and Manners books, so we'll continue with grade 3 this year. We should be able to fit both in, in the 30-minute time frame.

History and Science

Teacher's Manual

Adventures in U.S. History by My Father's World
Magic School Bus Science Kits

Last year we did not finish our history. So we'll continue with Adventures in U.S. History by My Father's World. We have all of the supplement books that go with this curriculum and are looking forward to continuing learning about U.S. History. 

Since we only have half a year's worth of history, we'll be doing science for the other half. I'm hoping to do history twice a week and science the other half. My son will also be taking a science, technology, engineering, and math class on Fridays.

For Science, we'll be using an online science curriculum called Mystery Science. We'll also be doing some Magic School Bus Science Kits.

Handwriting and Typing

Handwriting Without Tears Cursive
Typing: (unless I find something better)

We used A Reason for Handwriting last year but are going to go back to using Handwriting without Tears this coming year. This is the series he used in 1st grade. He got really frustrated with cursive last year and we ended up having to put it aside. This one looks like a better fit for learning. Since he's writing so much already, we'll only do handwriting twice a week and the other two days he'll be learning how to type using a free online typing program such as 



On our bookshelf:

I Survived Series: There are 10 books in this series based on true historical events and kids who survived them. We're currently reading I Survived Hurricane Katrina. 
The Imagination Station Books: There are 6 books in this series by the same authors of Adventures in Odyssey.
God I Need to Talk to You About series by Dan Carr and Susan K. Leigh - he'll be reading these to me as we continue to work on character traits 
Who Was Ronald Reagan? by Joyce Milton and other Who Was books.

We're going to continue to get readers that are a good fit for him as well as read several series together. I noticed this last year that he retains more when he's read to. He seems to be an auditory learner. I also noticed longer books, while he could read the words, he wasn't comprehending the story-line as well when he read it. So we'll be working on reading comprehension a lot this year. There are also novels and other books we'll be reading as part of our history curriculum. It should be a good year full of interesting stories. 

In addition to the above schoolwork, my kids attend a co-op. For the co-op classes, my son will be taking: Geography, Gameschooling, PE, STEAM, Art, and Legos. He will also continue with Trail Life, as this will be his 3rd year. I'm hoping he'll get into piano lessons and he will continue to play basketball when the season comes around as well as tennis when we can make it in town. He's also showing an interest in swimming, so we might try and fit that in for a season. We have a very busy school year ahead of us!

Daily Schedule 3rd 
8:30MathMathMathMathMorning Co-op
9:30LA Today;Dude DiaryLA for TodayLA for TodayDude Diary
10:00Daily 6-Trait WritingDaily 6Daily 6Daily 6
12:30OutsideOutsideOutsideAfternoon co-opOutside

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Homeschool Goals and Update for 2017-2018 School Year

Pencils, Case, Coloured, Draw, SketchI cannot believe I'm about to have a 3rd grader! Since we homeschool, we can decide when we go back to start. We decided that we're going to start next Monday, July 31st. A local co-op is going to meeting at our church this coming year and we joined it. It starts back up the first Friday of August, so we decided we'll start the same week. My daughter will be in preschool and my youngest with tot school. It's going to be a great year!

I don't talk about the challenges of homeschooling much. But trust me, they exist! There's a reason more people don't homeschool. Spending everyday, all day, with your children, can be quite challenging. Last year was rough! I am not going to lie. There were more days than I would like to admit that I was ready to throw in the towel and enroll my oldest in the local school. If it wasn't for my husband's encouragement, I may have! My darling son, whom I dearly love, decided to have quite an attitude and made teaching him not as fun as in the past. He started complaining and wanted to be lazy. That and having two really young kids made homeschooling very challenging. To top it off, we decided to buy an old house, have it renovated, and sell our first house that we rented out for 8 years, plus sell our house we had lived in for 5 years. It was quite a year! The whole process took a little over 6 months. We've been in the farm house now almost 3 months and are finally settling in. 

Here are my goals for this coming year:

Put my children's hearts first. My biggest goal above all is that my children grow in love and the likeness of Christ Jesus. That they know they are loved by God and are loved by their parents. I'm a pretty strict teacher, which is great in a classroom full of kids, but might not be as great when I have just a few students, who are also my children. This coming year, I'm going to try and look at the heart of the matter the most. If we're having a really bad day or a super hard day, I'm going to pray about it and see what else is going on in our lives and adjust accordingly. My kids' hearts come before academic success. My children NEED to know I LOVE them. I feel like I didn't express that enough to them last year.

Keep it fun! This was my goal when my oldest was younger. Then I got all serious and probably just worn out from all the things that come with having baby after baby and dealing with the doubling of housework. It's a shame really. School should be fun. I mean why not, right? My oldest son's personality includes wanting to have fun and wanting to make sure EVERYONE is having fun. He's a big includer like his mom and dad. A friend of mine brought up looking at gameschooling. Not gameschooling as in just playing educational games online but actually playing more educational games with one another. Games like Uno and Monopoly, but there are a ton more. Make games and songs out of the schoolwork and keep it light and fun. So I'm planning on making our school days more fun.

Host more playdates. We started inviting more people over toward the end of summer and have really enjoyed it. I'm hoping to get together with our friends more outside of co-ops than we did last year. Pretty much we stopped having people over, apart from life group, while we were getting our house ready to sell and through the selling part of it. We enjoy having people over and we want our friends and children's friends to always feel welcome when they come over.

That's pretty much it! What about academic success? That's definitely an important thing and we are going to be learning a ton. I honestly don't fear that my children won't gain all the knowledge they to succeed in life and more! I'll update you with what we're doing for each kid in a few days. And just to be extra clear, I do love homeschooling, even with all of the challenges that come with it. Each year we pray and talk about what we should do the following year. And for now, we're going to continue homeschooling.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Goat Attack

Monday morning, one of the dogs we're keeping on our property, attacked our female goat. My older kids were playing with the goats and dogs in another pasture near the stables. My husband and I were getting breakfast ready, it was Memorial Day, so he was off. When we heard and saw the donkey, heehawing and rearing up and down! She was having a fit! I saw the kids were still in the pasture they were in so I knew they were okay but noticed a few dogs in with Ellie. My husband ran outside and I followed shortly behind him. Some dogs got a hold of our female goat and she was in a corner of the stables covered in blood and limping. Our neighbor and friend, was thankfully home. She ran over and got her horse trailer hooked up to her truck. She called the emergency vet to meet her at the office. She helped us load her up in her horse trailer and she took her in. Praise God, Penny is fine! The vet cleaned her up, gave her antibiotics to take for a week and we're keeping the dog out who went after her. We have six male dogs on our property. All of the dogs have done so well with the other animals but something must have startled Penny and she took off running and Pirate and a few others followed. I'm just glad Penny is okay. We realized on Monday that it's just as important that we have a vet's number handy. We also really need to get a truck and a horse trailer. We are also very thankful for our friend, who helped us with Penny. She's become a good friend of mine who has taught me and the kids so much about large animals and farm life.

She got bit on both sides of her body.

They got her pretty good under her left ear.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Farm House Kitchen - Before and After

I'm going to do a series of posts featuring some of our farm house renovations. If you're new to my blog, we bought an older house on a little farm and had it completely renovated. The process took 3 months. Thankfully, we didn't move in until a few weeks before it was completely finished. First up is my new kitchen!

The kitchen in our new house is one of my favorite rooms! This is my dream kitchen and has everything I have always wanted. When I first saw our house, I saw so much potential. You can change almost any room in a house and create a space you love. When we bought our house, the kitchen had a peninsula and short cabinets hanging from the ceiling. I knew instantly that if we tore that out, moved a door over, we could create a large island. I always wanted double ovens, a pot filler, and an appliance garage. When I met with our contractor's carpenter, I walked with him along each space and I described exactly what I wanted, including pot drawers. You can never have too many drawers! I also wanted the cabinets to reach the ceiling. We also wanted white shaker cabinets, dark gray quartz counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms. I think the kitchen turned out great! You'll notice the old kitchen was narrow. The old water heater took up some of the space behind the old cabinets and wall. We bought a tankless and put it in the attic. Then we pushed back the walls and it really opened the kitchen. We had them install can lights throughout all of the living areas except for the pendant light above the sink and the chandelier I found on a really cool website. What do you think of our new kitchen?


Small but functional kitchen

We moved the door in this picture over to the left.

There was a lot of wasted space.

Maximizing all of the space! All of the appliances we bought new.
I decided to go with a french door fridge and will say I love this one.
It's a Samsung, has a lot of space, can fit party trays, and is setup nicely for organization.

Lots of storage, double ovens, gas stove, and pot filler.

We have a 12' island. I'm planning to get bar stools, eventually.

There used to be a wall where you see the table in the background.
We added a room, I'll explain this in another post.

5 burner gas stove top

Closeup of the island.

Notice the wider walkway 

Appliance garage

Thursday, May 18, 2017

We Moved!!

About three weeks ago we finally moved into the farm house. It wasn't quite completely ready yet, but we sold our other house and needed to move in. Our first night here, our fridge was plugged in and sitting in the middle of our kitchen. The ovens and microwave were not installed yet. Now the inside of our house is done! We are LOVING it! We still have some curtains to hang and window treatments to purchase and either install or have installed. But overall, it's great! Country life is quiet at night, peaceful during the day, and just lovely. 

We had our housewarming party last Saturday and were blessed with a little over 70 friends and family members who came through our doors. Our kids are adjusting. The younger ones seemed to adjust really quickly. Our oldest is taking a little longer and isn't completely adjusted yet but is getting there. The first two days we were here, he sat in our van wanting to go back to our old house. I think having so many of his friends come over, he's feeling more at home. His favorite place is the hay low in the stables. He found a secret passage way up to his hideout. 

Being busy is an understatement. Haha. Lets just say, I really don't like moving. It's HARD and with three kids, even harder. But we're here and it's almost all done. My three favorite rooms are my kitchen, bathroom, and breakfast/homeschool area that we added. Those three rooms have transformed our house! I'm also loving our new laundry room, den, and half bath. Really I like everything about our house. I'm looking forward to hosting friends and family and having hosting our kids' parties here. It's such a special place to raise our kids.

Here are a few pictures of our house and from our housewarming party. I'll do some before and afters soon.


Living Room. We finally decided to spend money and get built-ins.

Dining room, we added that extra window.

Breakfast/homeschool room. We added this room and it has transformed our house!

We got our jungle gym put together

Play house!

I've always wanted a pot filler and let me just say, it's awesome!

Master shower and built-ins in the bathroom/closet

This shower is huge! It's so nice!

Vanity and storage, also a sitting area. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Llamas getting sheared!

Even though we have not moved into the farm house yet, there's still always something going on there. Yesterday we hired our vet to come out and help shear the llamas. He had to sedate them to shave them. Our friend, who also gave us the llamas, helped shear them. Dolly was quite scared! Llama Llama seemed to be okay, but Dolly cried and cried. It was really sad. They both look so nice with their winter coats off. I'm so thankful this only has to happen every two years. The kids loved seeing the llamas getting sheared, petting them and Princess even got to kiss them. It was sweet. I love that our kids are getting to experience life with animals. 



They had to put the llamas in this hold to get them their shot.

A llama beard!

Big llama beard!

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