Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lessons From the Hen House

I was extremely honored and excited when Carol emailed me about reviewing her new product. Being beginning homesteaders put us in a unique position to go all out with this type of lesson. Of course you don't have to own chickens to have fun and learn with Lessons From The Hen House. Lessons From The Hen House incorporates lessons for Elementary, Middle and High School level students. Many subjects (math, science, language arts, home ec, geography and art) are included in this wonderful ebooklet. Some of Grace's favorites were the hands on activities. She loved picking out chickens to order (for pretend) and filling out the order form, making deviled eggs and researching diseases of the chicken. We loved putting the other academics away for a few days and working on something that is near and dear to our hearts, our chickens of course. Carol already has more ebooklets in the works with studies on seeds, gardening, tree houses, dairy farms and so much more. For more information visit . At $3.99 Lessons From The Hen House is a bargain.

Disclaimer: I received a free ebooklet of Lessons From The Hen House for my honest opinion.

Working with Colored Pencils

As of late Grace has been passionate about working in colored pencils. Most of her drawings and sketches have centered around a character she has created "The Magician". She is strongly considering creating a graphic novel. This character is a cat/man that can transform back and forth.

Her anime has dramatically improved over the last several months. I guess that is what drawing in your room 3-6 hours a day will do.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Nightly Tradition

I tried this a few years ago but Grace wasn't interested. At the time her attention span was still just mainly interested in watching cartoons. Times they are a changing.... I decided a couple of weeks ago that I really wanted her to start watching programs from my childhood that I would consider wholesome entertainment. Grace is at that age where she spends alot of time in her room (drawing, reading and on the computer - no real tv watching) and it has been hard to get her to come down at night and do something with the family. I put Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons on our Netflix queue. This first night of an episode of Little House she complained about coming down. But the very next night she asked are we going to watch another episode and she was excited. So now the nightly ritual is to watch one episode of the two series I have picked for us to enjoy. I think in a week or so I am going to get us a puzzle to put together while we are watching each night.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Starting The Lending Library

As many of you know from a previous post our family is starting a lending library. Of course it will probably be a year or more before I actually have families coming to borrow. I have alot of work ahead of me. I guess one of the reasons I considered this huge project is that the way the economy is going and government issues I feel anything could happen in the future. No funds to continue to have libraries open, government rewriting history, etc. So today we started this endeavor. First a feed store in town shut down and today they were having a warehouse sale. We purchased a floor to ceiling bookcase for $15.00. This book case will stay in the tv room and house alot of our personal books that we won't loan out.

Next we were off to a friend's house to pick up three free book cases. They are downsizing to a much smaller house and had lots of stuff for free. Two bookshelves were placed in the "official" library and the third in the kitchen to house gluten-free products and cookbooks. So we are well underway on this great adventure. In May I will be attending the state home school convention and hope to pick up some great deals at the big used book sale.

Midnight Show of Hunger Games

Thursday night our local theater had a midnight showing of Hunger Games on four screens, all sold out. The ministry drama team went as a group dressed in character. Yes that is Bob the Tomato from Veggie Tales front and center. One of the group wanted to be really different and dress up as veggie tales. Actually the green costume on the end is supposed to be Larry the Cucumber. Crazy kids. They all had a wonderful time. This is a very close knit group. Two adult chaperones were present at all times. After the movie the group went to Waffle House to eat and discuss the difference between the movie and book. Grace is on the front row dressed as Prim. She got home about 4 in the morning.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Special Diets

Okay things are getting a little crazy around here. I have read about many families with multiple food allergies, etc. and often wondered how they handled all the craziness. I am now having to keep up with three different diets for me, my son, and my mother. So here goes:

Me - I am still following a gluten and white sugar free diet. I do feel more energy, less stomach issues and just brighter and clearer. Joint and muscle issues are still present. I will start on Digestactive (natural digestive aid) in a couple of days and start weaning myself off the dexilant. Really praying I will see some improvement then. Also waiting for test results for vitamin d(which was low), iron (also low) and thyroid. Any of these could also be contributing factors.

Son - Our son has been plagued with ADD most of his life. Diagnosed in 4th grade, originally we did try medication which kept him from sleeping and eating. Don't want to go down that road again. Up till now with maturing he has learned ways to keep himself focused. Recently he started a new job with toyota that requires lots of concentration and not missing anything with fear of being written up. He is staying stressed because it is hard for him to focus. Hubby did alot of research about diet and supplements in relation to ADD and came up with a list of items that our son needs to change. He agreed to start using the supplements (B complex, magnesium with zinc, and fish oil) as well as start some changes in his diet. Low caffeine, no processed sugar, eat more fruits and whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dark chocolate.

Mother - Recently after a year of every three months testing we discovered that her cancer has started to grow again which means treatment. Mom does not wish to do any more radiation, chemo or clinical trails. She is 70 and has alot of trouble with side effects from all three. So yesterday I did lots of research for her about changing her diet to hopefully slow down cancer growth before our next test in May. There are many things that she will need to slowly incorporate into her diet. Lots of raw fruits and vegetables, flax seed oil mixed with cottage cheese daily, almond milk in place of cows milk, giner and tumeric sprinkled of veggies, green tea three times a day and lots of carrot juice. This is just to name a few. If we can start this diet and see some progress by May with no growth or even shrinkage of the tumors we could then prove to the doctors that diet and supplements do help with managing cancer. Of course most doctors don't even want to hear you out about alternative means of treatment. In 9 years of mom's cancer not once has anyone recommended changing her diet. Do you realize that sugar feeds cancer cells yet no one ever told her not to eat it.

I will give updates as information arises.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


My first donated box of books for my future lending library. A family in my home school group is moving to a smaller home and needed to get rid of some things. I was blessed to receive this box of books for free. Saturday we will also go to her home for three free bookshelves and maybe a desk.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Nursery Coop

This is what I like to call the nursery coop. We set this up last year when Speckles sat on two eggs then hatched to females. They went 0ut to this pen at about 6 weeks of age. Betty went broody about 2 days ago, so I collected a couple of eggs each day until I had five for her to set upon. Last night after dark we put the eggs in a plastic nesting box and moved her to it. This morning when we woke up she had moved the eggs out onto the ground and built her own nest and is sitting nicely. As you can see from the photo just a little too much sun though. Tonight we will put up a shade so she won't get so hot. This afternoon now Peacock has gone broody. I have called a friend to to hopefully get some Buff eggs from her to put under her to hatch.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Catching Up

This past weekend was very busy. Grace's drama group had a performance at a church on Saturday and then we attended my brother-in-law's 40th birthday party. Yes he was born on St. Patricks Day and is named Patrick. Anywho since we attended church on Saturday we decided to stay home on Sunday and get some items checked off our "honey do" list. I worked for three hours in the school room getting shelves of books organized and cleaning out items to go to recycling. Which leads right in to my next adventure. I have read a couple of blogs of home school families that have started lending libraries out of their homes. This really impressed me and set my brain in motion with wanting to do something similar. Instead of selling used books I will keep them and over the next couple of years continue to purchase books to hopefully open a lending library out of our home for home school families in our area. This actually lead into another adventure we are considering. If families were to come to our home once a week to check out books/materials then maybe they would like to stay and see the chickens, ducks, garden, mushroom growing etc. that we have going on at any given time. We would really like to start educating the public in all aspects of a self-sustaining lifestyle. In order to do this the yard and surrounding areas need major over hauls. So obviously this will be a process over a couple of years. Two more interesting items to share....Betty has gone broody so we saved 5 eggs and put her in the nursery with them this evening. If everything goes as planned we will have baby chicks in 21 days. Number two item of interest is we bought a big chest freezer for $75.00 from a moving friend. Very excited about this. Hubby was not so excited to realize it would only fit in our kitchen/dining room. He thinks it looks awful, a big white appliance sitting in the against the wall. So I came up with a brillant idea. Most of you know he is an artist. I asked him to paint a huge country scene on the freezer. Something that has a big red barn, chickens, ducks, and a pond that will wrap around the entire freezer. Now when someone visits instead of seeing a big white appliance they will see a work of art. He thought this was a great idea and is feeling much better about its location. I more thing, he gets to go back to his old weekend schedule next week which gives us plenty of time to implement all these wonderful ideas.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Grocery Shopping

Grocery shopping is a whole new experience now. Every purchase's ingredients need to be investigated for hidden gluten, HFC, sugar, and GMO corn. I just returned from the store where a normal visit would last a hour and now takes 1 1/2 hours. Hopefully it will get easier with time. Buying lots of organice and gluten free products these days as well as produce and vegetables. The budget has not really changed that much because I am not buying as much processed food and replacing it with higher priced organic so it basically evens out. I have had a couple of folks ask if the gluten trail has helped. I will say that I have more energy and feel brighter and clearer. There are some digestive systems that it has also helped with. The next step is getting me off the proton pump inhibitor (dexilant) which I feel is causing most of my joint and muscle issues. I have an appointment with my GP on Tuesday to hopefully devise a plan to wean off the dexilant and use more natural remedies.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Two times a month I barter two dozen eggs with another home school family in our support group. I was getting home made dinner rolls, hamburger buns and loaves of bread. But of course that had to stop with a gluten-free diet. Luckily her daughter eats gluten-free and she bakes loaves of bread from rice flour . She even grinds her own rice flour. I have to say that the bread looks pretty good. I asked her to include something else in the deal since the rest of the family was eating much bread at this point. I got home made blackberry jam. I have another friend that wishes to do some bartering this spring. On that note, Betty the easter egg layer, has decided to go broody today. If she continues, I will collect 5-6 eggs over the next two days to let her sit upon. I am not fighting the broodiness again this spring. Just let her sit have some babies and get over it. Plus I wouldn't mind some more hens for laying next year. If any roosters show up in the mix they will be butchered at 4months of age and go in the freezer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gardening Updates

These are our sugar snap peas that hubby started a couple of weeks ago. The other side is full too. Hoping we can transplant these soon. Yesterday we got in the mail the remainder of our seed. Scott is concentrating intently on enlarging our herb garden this year with 10-12 new herbs for food and medicinal purposes.

Growing mung bean and buckwheat sprouts that hopefully I will include in our omelettes for dinner tonight. In our seed package I received a large bag of mixed seeds for sprouting. The directions call for rinsing the seeds with a 1 part bleach to 9 parts water. My question is this really necessary? I am not real hip on rinsing the seeds with bleach water. Yech!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Gluten Free Lunch

After jazzercise I was starving. Wanted something filling and nutritious. Chicken salad with organice mayo and rice crackers. Salad with mixed greens, carrots, green peppers, mushrooms, almonds and a little cheese. It was fab!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

What I Accomplished Today

Planning to start a new unit tomorrow for school. The digital photography kind of flopped. I knew if it was boring me, Grace probably thought it was torture. I already had on hand an American Government lapbook from Hands of a Child in my computer plus I had some visuals that would make it easier to understand. Grace is not a cut and paste kind of girl so we don't actually do the lapbook pieces, we read the material then answer the questions. This go around I will also prepare a quiz for her to take at the end of the unit. I thought it would be a really good time to study how our government works with the elections coming up. In the fall I have an Elections Unit Study to go along with the Presidential elections.

This afternoon after church I made some gluten-free waffles for breakfast this week. Three days a weeks we go to a Jazzercise class and a piece of toast and banana just doesn't give me enough energy to get through the hour long class. I froze the waffles and will heat them up in the toaster before class. Scott tried them and said they taste kind of gritty, probably from the flax seed. But with butter and syrup I am sure I can choke them down. lol.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Updates From the Homestead

Second seed order has arrived from Seed Savers. Two more to come.

Scott's new endeavor for the spring and summer will be growing mushrooms.

My first gluten-free recipe. Peanut butter granola bars. I am waiting on them to set before tasting. So far I have been impressed with the gluten-free products that I purchased. The cookies, pizza crust and bread taste good. Gluten-free rice krispies was not good, but that may be because I don't like rice krispies anyway. Today is one week without gluten but have not noticed any changes with the joint and muscle discomfort. Two more weeks to go in the trail. I would also like to mention that 8 out of 12 hens are now laying. Hoping to incubate some of Betty's eggs this spring and purchase some ducks. We are already bartering 4 dozen eggs a month with a friend for bread products (now it will have to be rice bread for me) and another friend has approached me to barter also. She normally has a wonderful strawberry patch each year so I am hoping to get some strawberry jam from her.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Products from Amanda Bennett

We love the unit studies from Amanda Bennett. Last year we did her garden unit study and right now we are working our way through the digital photography. This new series is not a unit study. The Heroes of Today series is actually stories that Amanda rewrote in today's English from older living books. I was thrilled to see these because we do most of our learning from reading and discussing. I purchased the Heroes of American History, America and Inventions to use next year. Go to for special prices until 3/13/12. Normally each unit sells for $10.95 but the special is for $7.00. If you would like to buy the entire set the special is $30.00.

Monday, March 5, 2012


What to do with an over abundance of eggs? Now that I have started a three week trail of gluten-free foods I am not baking goodies. That means I have extra eggs. So tonight me and hubby made omelettes for dinner. Most of the omelette would be considered fairly local with the eggs and spinach coming from our garden and backyard chickens. The cheese came from South Carolina. The omelette was very tasty. I will be trading two dozen eggs for gluten-free bread next week but with receiving 5-7 eggs daily (the production will only increase once time changes) I will for sure need to come up with some other uses.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Today's Accomplishments

Scott went down to the garden today to pick clover for the chickens and found so much more. Red cabbage, kale and baby spinach. Now we have spinach in the fridge and kale chips drying. We placed all the seed orders this afternoon and Scott plotted out on paper where we would plant everything.

After church I did the rest of my grocery shopping and picked up agave nectar for my iced tea and truvia for some other uses. Chicken coop cleaning - getting 5-7 eggs a day right now. Went through four gluten - free books from the library and collected recipes that I might need. Prepared Grace's school work for tomorrow. Did two loads of laundry. Brought wood up for the wood stove for the next few days. Discussed purchasing and incubator for chicks this spring.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Guess Where I Went Today

We live in the boonies. Country life is great but leaves something to be desired in the shopping department, especially with food. Today we drove 1 hour and 15 minutes to the Whole Foods that is closest to us. It was like a food wonderland. I had visited another Whole Foods in the past that was smaller and different offer as much variety. The main purpose of this visit was to purchase some gluten-free products to get me through the next couple of weeks for my 2-3 week trail. I was happy to find tortillas, pizza crust and loaf of bread along with some munchies. On the way back home we got to stop at Barnes and Noble (one of my favorite places on earth) and do some book shopping. Scott got three books about herbs and their uses and I picked out to art books for Grace plus a magazine about the new Hunger Games movie. Our last stop was to an educational store, but didn't really find much that I needed. It was a great date day for me and hubby because we went by ourselves. Something that rarely happens.

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Recap of the Week

I have really really neglected the blog this week. My only excuse is a really crazy schedule. So here was my week in a nutshell:

Monday - Slept in due to Grace not feeling great. Did a full day of school. Took Grace to her drawing class in the afternoon. The weather was so pretty that we took a walk before the art class. To kill time during Grace's class I went to Wal-mart and picked up a few items.

Tuesday - We actually got to stay home all day today. Lots of school work accomplished and we both rode our bike for exercise.

Wednesday - Grace stayed with my father while I drove my mom to Emory for a doctor's appt. The previous week we had also traveled to Emory for blood work and a CT scan for her quarterly check up. Grace took school work to do and her computer to keep her entertained. This trip is always an all day affair. Three hour travel time (1 1/2 hours each way) plus a two hour wait to see the doctor for test results. The past year has been really good in that mom hasn't needed any treatments, her tumors were not growing or changing. This time one of the tumors in her lung changed by a few milimeters and her blood numbers went up. The doctor feels in the next 3-6 months we will have to look at another surgery or another clinical trail. Mom seems to be handling it well. This has been a 10 year road with thyroid cancer that doesn't respond to normal treatments.

Thursday - Chiropractor appt for me in the morning. This makes a month of treatments with no improvements. He feels my joint/muscle issues may be from something else. He wants me to try a gluten free diet for 2-3 weeks and see if I have any improvement. I had also decided on my own to try white sugar free also. Maybe detoxing my body will help. We did a little school then another art class in the afternoon as well as drama ministry team practice . I had a headache when I got home from no sugar today.

Friday - Jazzercise in the morning with lunch at Blimpie ( I had a salad for a gluten free lunch) afterwards. Home for a little school (math, digital photography and Bible) then off to drama (Jungle Book musical) practice for 1 1/2 hours.