April 29, 2011

More Birthday Fun!!

Today is my oldest's birthday.  I can't believe he's ... gulp ... 14 years old today.  I remember the day very well.  After hoping for an au naturale birth I had been induced for a few days. Yep...a few days.  *sigh*  But no contractions until the third day when I had some killer contractions that sent his heart rate crashing.  They stopped the pitocin and his heart rate went back up.  A c-section was scheduled.  I was so happy to finally see him!  He was due April 9th and finally arrived on April 29th!  Such a great end to a miserable month! 

Over the years he has brought us so much joy and happiness.  He's got a great sense of humor and a kind heart.  He's so helpful in many areas around the homestead.  He takes care of his many chickens and helps his younger brothers take care of their chicks.  He helps with the goats when needed; unloading straw and hay and staying up all hours of the night to goat sit with me. *smile*  He helps his dad with all sorts of manly things around the house (insert Tim Taylor grunt here). 

He enjoys drawing, ornithology, photography, reading, creating with Legos, and building with wood.  He's a fun kid to be around.  He knows how to make us laugh with his many antics, facial expressions, voices, and quirky dance moves. 

He's such a sweet and caring big brother.  He loves to help his smaller siblings any way he can.  He's helpful in the kitchen, too!  He likes to make french toast and scrambled eggs for breakfast many mornings. 

We love you so much, Noah!  We are so blessed to have you!

Happy Birthday!!

April 25, 2011

Life, Death, and Milk

Last night our Nubian doe, Skippy, started having contractions and some other symptoms of labor so the kiddos were all eyes until the novelty wore off around 8 or so.  The younger ones (with a big kid rotating being in charge) watched a movie while they waited.  Then ended up going to bed.  Isaac (the doe is his) and Noah (our oldest) stayed up a bit to help.  Skippy loved to be petted by Isaac.  She seemed to be more calm with him near her.

At 10:30 we came in and decided to relax for a bit and just let her do her thing.  We hooked up the baby monitor so we could hear her.  Hubby and I went to bed around midnight.  (We were just too excited to sleep!)  And wouldn't you know it...five minutes later she really started making noise!  We waited a few minutes and Nathan decided to go out and check on her.  He'd give me the play-by-play over the monitor and after about 20 minutes of lots of very loud goat noises I decided to join the fun.

A few minutes after I got out there we noticed that she was very ready, but it didn't look right.  We didn't see the white spots of the hooves that are supposed to be seen, no nose part, nothing.  Only black fur.  Hubby examined her but didn't know what it was he was feeling.  I've read everything you can read on goat labor and delivery so I gave it a try.  I pulled on gloves because this pregnant mama didn't think she could handle it au naturale!  All I felt was a ball. It wasn't a head or feet.  Oh boy.  We couldn't maneuver baby around so we just went with it.  This baby that came out was so little.  And lifeless.   We tried everything we could for this little boy, but from the looks of it we think it was gone long before labor. *sigh*

So we prepared for the next one.  We knew she had to have two babies because she was so huge and the first baby was so little.  She pushed a bit and we saw white hooves and a nose!  Yes!!  She came out just fine!  I dried her off with several towels since mama was quite out of it.  I think she was still recovering from the first delivery.  I took her to her mama's side and Skippy then licked and nuzzled a bit.

Then Skippy started pushing. We just assumed she was getting rid of the placenta.  Nope...out came another set of hooves!  This little guy came out a bit smaller than Pixie but a bit bigger than the first so we thought we had a good chance.  It seemed lifeless.  Hubby tearfully prayed for it as he wiped it off and tried to stimulate it.  (Skippy wasn't doing much with Pixie and was quite out of it at this time so we knew she'd not be much help.)  He even tried breathing on it's mouth and nose and nothing.  It was so sad.  Three babies and only one lived.  The two little guys were all black, so different from their sister.

Pixie is so colorful!  She has long, beautiful white ears peppered with flecks of black, and a large white patch on the top of her head.  There are reddish-brown markings near her eyes (her daddy had a lot of reddish-brown markings).  She has a white tip on her tail and a white belly with white and red-brown markings on her legs.  So beautiful!

Skippy was still so out sorts that she seemed clumsy with her and didn't want to nurse so we stayed with them for a while.  Finally hubby had to head off to bed at 3:30 because he had to teach school in the morning.  Noah (our oldest) was so sweet to stay out there with me.  We didn't want Skippy to roll on her (which she would have a couple times if we hadn't been out there) and we wanted to make sure she got some good colostrum from her mama.  Finally Skippy expelled the last of the yuck and then she seemed to settle down into being a mama.  She lovingly tried directing Pixie to her teats, but Pixie went between wanting my attention (cute little bugger!) or wanting to just lay and cuddle with mama.

They seemed to be doing well so Noah and I went in the house around 6 a.m. and crashed.  At 8 a.m. I was woke up by stressed out kids saying grandma needed help with Skippy because she wouldn't nurse.  So off I went.  I ended up milking Skippy a bit and feeding Pixie with a syringe.  We left them alone for a few hours.  I went back out to check on them and Pixie's belly felt like it was fuller than when I had left her.  So she must have nursed on mama while we weren't looking.  Phew!  I'm hoping all goes well and that in two weeks I can start milking her.  Goat's milk soap and cheese....here I come!  *wink*

Edit:  I need to add that my mom was helping with the last delivery.  She also was inside holding down the fort while hubby and I were outside.  She and Isaac also did some goat-watch in the morning. 

This post is part of the Homestead Barn Hop HERE .

Happy Birthday, Honey!

Today is my sweet hubby's birthday!  We are so thankful for all that he does for our family.  He works hard as a teacher and a pastor.  He also works on Saturdays at a power equipment shop, and this summer he'll be at a friend's house working on a construction job for them.  He also finds time to do many things around our homestead; fixing things, building things (recently goat milking areas, chicken coops, a porch swing for me), and most importantly spending time with his family. 

The kiddos enjoy their one-on-one time with him when he takes turns bringing one child along on an errand to the store, to get hay, and sometimes to his job at the power equipment store.  He's very busy, but he always finds time for our family.  He enjoys taking us camping.  Last summer he taught the kiddos how to fish.  They didn't catch much for their efforts, but it sure was fun!

He is very helpful to me.  When he knows I don't feel well (which is a lot lately) he'll bring home something yummy for me as a treat.  He'll stop and get pizza for the third time in a week because I'm not well enough to make anything and it's the only meal that sounds good to me.  He'll let me sleep in in the morning so that I don't have to get up and pack his lunch.  He'll bathe kiddos if I am having a bad day and brush out all the (little) girls' hair if I ask him to (that's quite the task sometimes!).   

He doesn't buy much for himself.  He'll go by with one pair of jeans so that he can pick up a pair of shoes that one kiddo needs.  He'll wear the same dress shoes for over two years and shine them up regularly (even though the soles are wearing down) so that he can buy something else for one of the kiddos.  He goes by with so little so that we can have so much. 

He'll even dress up crazy for his students at school!  He enjoys teaching and is a wonderful mentor to them.

I can't do justice in words explaining how much we all love him.  We are so thankful for all that he does and how caring and loving he is. 

We love you!  Happy Birthday, Honey!

April 23, 2011

Birthday Celebration!

Over the next two weeks we have 5 birthdays in our immediate family!  
We're talking crazy busy!

Today is my middle dude's 9th birthday.  Next year we'll have one more in double digits (Half of our kiddos...wow that makes me feel old!).  
How is that possible?  Where does the time go?  *sigh*  

Isaac, you are a joy in our lives!  
We love each and every silly square inch of you!

 Enjoy your day partying with your friends my little man!

Happy Birthday, Isaac!  We love you!

April 22, 2011

Over at the Patch!

Visit me over HERE at Gooseberry Patch today! 

April 21, 2011

Ugly Duckling

Well they're not ducklings but the title worked.  The chickies are getting older and uglier.  I'm hoping the weather will cooperate soon so that hubby and kiddos can build the coop they're supposed to reside in.  For the last two weeks it's either been raining or we haven't been home to work on it. 

They were so cute just a few weeks ago.

Now they're getting straggly looking.  New feathers are coming in.  They're growing their combs.  Phew.  Only a face a mother could love.  

(P.S....My kiddos wanted me to tell you they had just gotten up and hopped down stairs to visit the chickies...hence the bad hair. *smile*)

April 19, 2011

Good Reads

Hey all.  I have to apologize for lack of content here on the 'ol bloggy.  I'm almost out of my 1st trimester so things should pick back up a bit around here soon.  One of my kiddos asked me yesterday when I was going to cook "real" food again.  LOL!  Lately with lack of energy and nausea I've been fixing easy, quick, and sometimes frozen pre-made foods.  They have big help in making some breakfast items and lunch so that's been a huge blessing!  I have several recipes and things I'd like to share so look for them soon.  (hopefully!)  One of which will be baby goats!  Skippy hasn't kidded yet, but any day now!  I'll be sure to post a few pics when she has those precious babes!  (We think there's two, anyway!)

I thought I'd share a few gems that I found today. 

First go visit Simplebites for a great post on saving money in the kitchen!  

Then go take a gander at Susan Branch's website!  I love her artwork!  Lots of cute things on this site!

Then lastly...the best post I read today!  Over at Aunt Ruthie's!  Go visit Sugar Pie Farmhouse for a wonderful Easter Blessing!

I know I still have yet to post the Queen of the Castle post...perhaps today?  *sigh*

April 16, 2011

Resurrection Rolls

I'm over at Raising Homemakers this weekend with my recipe for Resurrection Rolls.  A fun, inspiring treat to make together with your family!  Enjoy!  Go HERE to take a peaky.

Jelly Bean Easter

A friend sent this to me a while back and I will use it with my kiddos. I thought I would pass it along. Easter Blessings!

I wanted something simple that would show what Easter means, And I found what I was seeking in a bag of jelly beans. In the colors of the candies of this well-known Easter treat We will taste the Easter message, and we’ll know God’s love is sweet.

The people waved green victory palms. “Hosanna, Lord,” they cried, As Jesus entered Jerusalem on His triumphal donkey ride.

The Passover celebration with its matzah, herbs, and lamb Pointed back to days of Moses and the merciful I AM. Jesus used the purple wine and broken bread to help us see That it also pointed right at Him. “Do this. Remember Me.”

Orange flames lit up the garden where Jesus had gone to pray, The fire of the torches burned as the men led Him away. Another flame was burning in the courtyard where they tried Him, Where Peter heard the rooster crow after he had denied Him.

Red was the blood that Jesus shed – from stripes upon His back, From crown of thorns and driven nails – each drop to buy me back.

At noon, that day, the sky turned black. The light refused to shine.
God left His Son to die alone, for your sin and for mine.
Friends wrapped Him in white linen with love and care and tears. Secret followers who had learned true love casts out all fears.

Pink reminds me of the women who had watched Him on the cross. Remembering the burial place and feeling such great loss, They left the tomb prepared the spice, and planned to come again For one final act of worship to this One who’d been their Friend.

The yellow sun rose early on the Resurrection Day For Jesus Christ had risen, too. The stone was rolled away.

The message that was given still cries out to us today: “Come and see; then go and tell.” With us, He’ll always stay.

April 12, 2011

{pretty, happy, funny, real}

I hesitate to commit to this, but it looks like a lot of easy fun.  

Go HERE for more details.

Homemade Dishwasher Soap

Hey there all!  I feel I need to offer an explanation in the lack of recipes lately and since we are now letting the cat out of the bag I feel that I can tell ya'll that we are expecting baby #8 early November.  I've been nauseous most of the time and thinking about food doesn't sound fun at all.  My poor hubby stops at the store for whatever sounds good to me for dinner most nights.  Sometimes I can plan, but most of the time I look at a recipe and it doesn't even sound good.  Not sure what I'm going to post for the Raising Homemakers post that I'm scheduled for on Saturday, but I'll come up with something. 

So...since recipes have been lacking I thought I'd share one that I picked up over at Homestead Revival.  I tweaked it a bit. 

Homemade Dishwasher Soap

1/2 cup Borax
1/2 cup baking soda
3 packets lemon aid

Mix together and keep in an airtight container.  Use 1 1/2 tsp. of it for each compartment.  Really it works!  I use vinegar as my rinse agent so the whole process is even cheaper!  Yes there are a few spots here and there, but I'm not Ms. Stewart, so a few spots don't ruin my day.  *wink*  The lemon aid is in there as the citric acid that helps rinse the Borax off the dishes.  Not sure why but it works.  You can read more about it over at Amy's site HERE.  (The recipe I use is for soft water.  You can add kosher salt for hard water...read more about that on the link I just listed.)

April 9, 2011

Queen of the Castle: Week 13

We're back near the beginning of the book.  We started on week 17 of Queen of the Castle: 52 weeks of encouragement for the uninspired, domestically challenged or just plain tired homemaker HERE (in April of 2010).

In this week's chapter, "Easter, Part 1", Lynn shares some memories of Easter's past.  My childhood memories revolved around an Easter basket from the bunny, a big meal, and just a normal, regular Sunday.  It wasn't until I met my husband (then boyfriend) that Easter was more significant in my life.  I came to know and love the Lord and truly understand the meaning of the day.  I've heard variations of it not being a "Happy" Easter.  Jesus died on a cross for us.  Nothing happy about that, right?  Oh but three days later.  There sat an empty tomb with a stone rolled away.   Rejoice, dear ones!  It is a "Happy" day.  The happiest day we could all possibly experience!  For  He is Risen!! 

I'm going out on a limb here sharing this next bit of info with you, but I feel there is such an expectation for parents to do the following that I want ya'll to know that just because grandparents try to guilt you into doing this "one fun thing" so they don't feel deprived doesn't mean you have to.  You can start your own fun traditions that still focus on the meaning.  O.K. .. here goes.  Our family doesn't "do" the Easter Bunny.  We don't "do" Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy, either.  Our logic behind it?  If we tell our children that the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and Jesus are all real, even though they can't see them and then when they get older and discover that the first three were just make believe...what are they going to do with Jesus?  I know that loving Jesus and living for Him is more than enjoying and having fun with the EB, SC, and TF (I'm tired of typing them out!), but I'm sure it doesn't help solidify the idea of an unseen Savior being real.  There are plenty of things that can be fun and yet meaningful at the same time.  Ya'll catch my point?

I'll share with you a fun activity that Lynn shares that you can do with your family.  Hide one small item every day beginning with the Saturday before Palm Sunday (the 16th this year).  (We have 5 or 6 that will want to find items so I'll probably hide that many.) The hidden items correspond with the story of Easter week.  That evening read aloud the portion of Scripture that correlates with what you've hidden.  Then set the kids loose for the hunt.  After each evening's search, place the found objects in a basket that sits in the middle of the table (I'll put ours on the piano.).  Leave the basket out all week to remind you of the Easter story.

Here's the plan...

Day 1 -- Saturday before Palm Sunday
Reading:  John 12:1-11
Topic: Mary anointing Jesus' feet
Item to hide: bottle of scented oil or perfume

Day 2 -- Palm Sunday
Reading:  Luke 19:28-40; John 12:13
Topic:  Jesus' entry into Jerusalem
Items: palm branch, doll clothes, or a donkey

Day 3 -- Tuesday
Reading:   Mark 11:11-26
Topic: fig tree and money changers in the temple
Items:  coins, fig branch (any tree branch will do)

Day 4 -- Tuesday
Reading: Matthew 24:36-44; 26:64
Topic:  Jesus' teaching on the Second Coming
Items:  hourglass, cloud (cut from paper or felt)

Day 5 -- Wednesday
Reading: Matthew 26:1-16
Topic: woman anoints Jesus' head; Judas' plot
Items: scented oil or perfume, silver dollars

Day 6 -- Thursday
Reading: John 13:1-17; Matthew 26: 17-56
Topic:  foot washing; Last Supper; Garden of Gethsemane; betrayel
Items: towel, bread, a kiss (wear lipstick and kiss a piece of paper), sword

Day 7 -- Good Friday
Reading:  Luke 22:54-71; 23:13-25, 32-43
Topic:  the crucifixion
Items: crown of thorns (we will use a small grapevine wreath), nail, cross

Day 8 -- Saturday
Reading: Matthew 27:57-66; Isaiah 53:1-7
Topic: prophecy and guards at the tomb
Items: white cloth, sealing wax, lamb

Day 9 -- Easter Sunday
Reading: Matthew 28:1-15; Luke 24:1-49
Topic: Resurrection, soldiers paid off, disciples met on the road to Emmaus, breaking bread
Items: empty basket, line it with cloth, then put in silver coins, a pictures of an angel, and bread.  Do this after the kids are in bed Saturday night.  (For the best impact try to do this activity before heading off to church!)

- - -

We spend so much time during the month of December on remembering Jesus' birth, let's try to spend a good amount of time remembering His death, burial, and resurrection.

- - -

"You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ."  1 Peter 1:18-19

April 8, 2011

Rebekah's Pillow

I promised when Rebekah was done with her pillow at Miss. Carol's house that I would post a picture here.  She was so proud when she brought it home.  And she should be!  It's beautiful!

I'm so proud of her!

April 2, 2011

Such cuteness!

My friend Danielle is borrowing a few chickies for her kiddos to enjoy.  She posted this pic on Facebook and I just loved it.  She said I could borrow it. What fun!

Aren't they cute?!

April 1, 2011

Recent Happenings...

I haven't been in a recipe kind of mood lately.  I hope ya'll will forgive me?  I will be posting some soon. Along with some Easter ideas.  My cookbook e-book publishing has been brought to a halt due to the fact that it got accidentally deleted from the computer.  It's nowhere to be found.  At. all.  but...I'm over it and working on getting it cranked out...again.

I thought I'd share with ya'll what we've been doing.  Our latest happenings and so on.

One of our goals with our children is to teach them to be as close to self-sufficient as possible.  Hard work never hurt anyone and if we can make our own things then that's money we don't have to pay someone else to do.  We've been planning our garden, and plotting out where our newest chicken coop will go.  Next week hubby has spring break so we'll be working on those projects and building a goat milking room for our Nubian that's due to kid in a few weeks.

We purchased 50 Buff Orpington chicks last week.  A friend is borrowing five of them for a few weeks to enjoy with her homeschooled kiddos.  We had 45, but lost a couple today.  I hope it's all we lose, but we'll see.  We expect a few of them to die since that's just a part of farm/homesteading life.  I hope we keep the rest.  We'll butcher most of them in the fall.  Home grown roasted chicken sounds delicious!  We'll send the best layers (7 or so...I think I have some kiddos who each want to name one) to the laying coop and start all over again next spring.  If you've ever watched Food, Inc. you know why growing our own food is important (or trying to grow our own food *wink*).  

Aren't they the cutest little things?

 They are so cute when they sleep in their little group.  So fluffy!

Photo credit: Noah Hyde

Part of our self-sufficient goals are to have our children know how to do a lot of things with their own hands.  Our girls have been working with a friend who teaches them quilting and sewing.  I can sew, but it's not my favorite thing to do so I am very glad to have a friend who loves sewing that will teach them.  Here's Hannah with her latest creation.  A machine stitched quilted pillow. 

So proud of our girls and the many items they have made!  (Rebekah's almost done with hers.  When she is done I'll share her picture here.)

We've been mulling over 4-H project ideas.  Foods, woodscience, animals, sewing, arts and crafts are some of the categories I think they'll be entering.   I chatted a bit more about 4-H and the many benefits HERE.  If you're in our county, today is the last day to enroll!

Next week will be our spring break so you might see an occasional post of progress pics of our homesteading endeavors or a cute pic of a chick, but you can definitely expect the Queen of the Castle post on Thursday.  Oh, and we're planning on potty training our littlest gal next week so we'll be busy with pink princess panties, princess potty-time and pastel m&m's for rewards.  I'll be back in blogging action the following week.  Hugs to all!

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