Fine.  I can accept it.  Workboxes aren’t going to work for me.  The system is so far from Workboxes, I can’t even say it’s tweaked workboxes.

What I can say is that I have olders that are independent workers and this system will work for us.  And really, which is more important?  The popular system that everyone has to have, or the one you can commit to longterm?  So, I admit it.  I failed.  But I’m okay with that! 😀

I packed away and/or sold useless materials.  All the books that were so “Disney-fied” or were just wretched, I’m taking to Half Price Books this morning for credit to hopefully spend on books I NEED.   Prayer for guard against temptation would be appreciated here……

With newly cleaned off bookshelves, I was ready to go.  Remember those $4.99 file folder holders I got at Target?  Yeah, these are those.

An organized system

An organized system

Okay, so the plan is to integrate the things that I LOVED from Workboxes into my system for lots of little people.  I desperately NEEDED to consolidate the system.  12 workboxes couldn’t work for me.  It isn’t possible.  That said, MY kids work great off a visual system, so we have weekly charts – the Tapestry weekly plans, but we’re also (together for the olders) breaking those down into daily plans.

I LOVE how she “reloaded” her boxes every night.  We’re planning on following that suggestion with me taking out the days work, checking, and filing into 2.5″ binders for each child (same tabs as the file folder holders) each night and then reloading the file folders with  the next day’s work.

I honestly don’t care what order my older kids work in.  They’ll receive a large block of “school” time and be set free.  I love Tapestry’s attitude that we are train our children to be masters of their time and of their schoolwork.  Ana has always been very independent.  She basked in the short time we did Ambleside because I gave her a week’s plan and she lived in the glory of organizing and managing her time.  Christian NEEDS this training.  He’s a great kid.  You can set anything in front of him and say, “Get it done.”  And he’ll have it done.  It will be perfectly neat, perfectly done, and er, well, perfect.  It will have 200 eraser marks where he redid it to BE perfect, but it will be done and done well.  He has, in the past, needed the guidance of “here is that next thing” BUT he’s never had any freedom or guidance to manage his time.  I’ll admit to this.  This will be awesome for him because he IS one of those kids that handles responsibility well.  And while we’ve always stacked responsibility on the shoulders of the oldest, we haven’t given him that opportunity to really shine in this area.  I’m excited, can you tell?

So, this is what the file folders look like inside:

File folders with tabs

File folders with tabs

Obviously not every child has the same activities.   When you get to the littlest one,  Abigail, it’s just Arts & Crafts and Letter Activity.

Now, the only thing that’s left is getting Mom organized.    I’m getting there… I’ve cut out eight seahorses for my counting board.  I’ve cut out every uppercase and lowercase letter from templates from DLTK.  They’ve been put on cardstock and I take them in for lamination today.  I have my calendar for my bulletin board for the little people.

I feel good.  I finally feel organized, a little.  I’ll admit I’m still in a bit of a fog over Tapestry.  I’m reading, swallowing, and digesting ALL the material.  So far I love the layout.  I AM using Sonlight’s science guides for science.  I LOVE that they sell them separately.  It’s so nice to have that planned daily because I am REALLY lazy and discontent when it comes to science.  And what does discontentment mean?  Well, it means I’m not thankful.  And it’s true.  I have a bad attitude towards science.  I LOVE science, biology, living science, life cycles, rocks, stars, you name it.  I HATE how boring science actually is in the classroom.  Which reminds me…  Guess what little critter decided to form a chrysallis?  I didn’t realize how big he had gotten and couldn’t find the aquarium, so I was ill prepared for him to get to this stage.  He managed without help from me.

Chrysallis - We knew him when he was just an egg.

Chrysallis - We knew him when he was just an egg.

We’ll tape the lid to something from the top so that when he opens his wet wings and stretches them out, he won’t tear them on the container.  We’ve had that happen and there is NOTHING more heartbreaking than a butterfly that you’ve crippled by negligence.

On my To Do list yet –

Organize MY binder
Make MY file folder
Do activities for the preschool ziploc activity swap
Make letter activity sheets for the first nine weeks and any coloring pages.
Hang up my calendar.  Wish me luck.  I didn’t in 2008 or yet in 2009.

That’s it!  Have a great day!

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OMGoodness, it was a long weekend.  I’m completely, thoroughly EXHAUSTED.  Did we get it all done?  Nope.  But, wow, we got quite a lot done.  The barn was gutted and we started over….  We now have three separate chicken pens, so far, with more to come.  The bunnies have an approx. 15′ x 12′ foot area for their little colony.  DH promises me toys for the rabbits.  I’m thinking a tiered platform, a place to crawl under, and a few little wire bottom nest boxes.  This with a few cardboard boxes to chew on should make them very happy.   The hens have their coop back and they seem appropriately grateful.  We’ll see how many eggs we get today. 🙂

Ana made Sarah’s birthday cake and did a lovely job.

Let me tell you, the Amish Division of Duties has a purpose!  On Saturday I worked inside all day long.  DH worked outside all day long.  At the end of the day we’d had three square meals, a clean house, crisp laundry, and an altogether pleasant day.  We had supervised children, good naps, and at the end of the day we rested, feeling accomplished.  Did I mention the rhubarb pie?  Hands down, THE best pie I’ve ever made.  And it had the flakiest crust… I used lard instead, as a good cook should. 🙂  I didn’t know you could make pie with ONLY rhubarb and still have it as sweet and delicious as a rhubarb mutt pie.  But I had nothing to mix it with, and was forced to use only rhubarb.  I think I’m making it again today.  So wonderful!

Fast forward to yesterday, day four of our long weekend.  We got moving fairly early on and headed out to the barn for the reconstruction.  I came in at lunch time and made lunch, but other than that we were flying by the seat of our pants.  Oh, and I admit it, we took a one hour nap.  😛  We deserved it.  We didn’t come in for supper last night until almost 9:30 in a last frantic effort to get it all done.  It didn’t happen.

We were expecting a homeschool group today and so that was our motivation to get it all done.  It didn’t happen.  But, as it rained all day yesterday and it’s expected to rain all day today, the visit by the group has been cancelled.  And that’s for the best.  Because everything is MUD.  And on a farm, mud isn’t wet dirt, it’s wet… Well, you get the picture and the picture isn’t pretty.  I’m a little sad as I really wanted to meet everyone!  However, we had planned on a great little picnic lunch, and as DH is only in the planning stages of our big table, we currently only have four chairs, the computer chair, and one very small dining room table.  At meals, two children sit at the island and two more sit at the Step 2 plastic table.  It works well enough, and I’m really excited about the Amish style trestle table we’ve been planning.  We are using reclaimed barn wood and we’ll have big, long benches.  Imagine it – ALL of us sitting around the same table.  Very exciting.  Even better, DH will have made it.  Honestly, I don’t even care if it turns out ugly…  I just think it will be neat to sit around a table my DH made with his own hands. 

What else was on my list?  Oh yes!  Stake the goats.   LOL!  Well, you can’t say we didn’t try.  And try.  And try.  And the only thing it resulted in was putting Heidi up for sale.  This is Heidi:

buddies

She’s a pretty little Saanen, but what we’re going to spend in aspirin really isn’t going to make her worth it.
She uses the window sill of the barn to vault her over a five foot fence.  No, really, she does.  She can crawl through cattle gate and under a gate that the mini doesn’t get through.  She’s exhausting.  So we staked her.  She managed to somehow get the collar to unclip.  How does a goat pull that off?  Sigh.

Stormy & Sunny

Stormy & Sunny

This is Stormy & Sunny.  They’re CJ’s pigs.  Aren’t they, um, well, lovely?  We cleaned their pen yesterday and MY they are naughty…   And yes, daring.  Yes, they escaped too.  Tim was supposed to keep them away while I did poop removal.  Never trust your four year old to hold back the vicious pigs. 🙂  Who KNEW pigs could run that fast?  I sure didn’t.  I tell you I am going to stay in such good shape, lean and trim, this pregnancy.  Stormy and Sunny have learned to tip their trough and roll it through the poop.  Now, that’s FUN.  And they can also jump in their water tub and splash all the water out until it’s light enough to roll around through poop too.  Smart pigs, hm?  Ha Ha.  I outsmarted them.  And, pathetically, I was pretty proud that I *could* outsmart them.  I think the more I work with livestock, the more easily I take pride in being able to outsmart them.  I can’t decide if that’s a good thing or just really sad.   I took my handy dandy drill and attached BOTH to the wall with really long screws.  And they were still there this morning.  Always a good sign.

A Boy & His Boat

A Boy & His Boat

And because rain has ruined my day, here’s the gratuitious rainy day photo.  Nope, not our farm.  It was our house in town last year.  But isn’t it fun? The cardboard box is his boat.  Our neighbor, Jim, (I miss him!) said he was going to put bluegills in there the next time it rained because Tim was so excited about having his very own pond.  Blessedly, shortly after this, DH and another neighbor dug up backyard and fixed the tile.  Poor Tim, no more pond.  But, let be said, the only thing I miss about moving here is that we couldn’t take all of our neighbors with us.  They were so awesome.

Camping

Camping

I REALLY wanted to take the kids to my Uncle John’s timber this weekend camping.  It truly is “roughing” it as there is NO escape from the outdoors – you couldn’t get a camper, or a PortaJohn for that matter, down there if you tried.  But you could never, ever duplicate the experience.  Yes, it’s never fun getting poison ivy on your more delicate parts from visiting Mrs. Murphy (you’d have to read Cheaper by the Dozen to understand), but at the same time, we hunt, gather, and find more herbs and edibles there than you can imagine. 

Rebecca & Jewelweed

Rebecca & Jewelweed

Thankfully, in that very poison ivy filled timber, there is also jewelweed – a.k.a. Touch-Me-Not.  Rebecca is with pale Touch-Me-Nots, but we were also able to find the more potent orange  spotted Touch-Me-Nots.  This was last year.  I have the frozen syrup in my freezer as the dried herb doesn’t work effectively.  Only fresh or frozen… I’ve been storing it all year long, just hoping to get poison ivy to try it out. 

 

Elderberries

Elderberries

A rather nice haul of elderberries wouldn’t you say?  Now, the only thing I’ve wanted to make this year is Clover jam and Dandelion blossom jam.  I was hoping for a trip to the timber yesterday and a batch, but alas, it did not happen.  Now, if only we can stay motivated to finish the barn today and tomorrow, then MAYBE this weekend will be for fun and playing.  Ya think?

I do believe in God-incidences.  This is where God allows or maneuvers situations and people in your life in order to benefit us in some way.  Now, the “benefit” doesn’t always seem beneficial.  In fact sometimes it seems like unncessary pain, hardship, or difficulty.  But, in the long run, it grows us.

We watched Fireproof last night.  Pretty fantastic movie.  They did a great job and I greatly appreciated what the church, the actors, producers, are doing through this work.  But out of all of it, I most appreciated Day 23.  Indeed, where the journal tells the man of “parasites” in his life.  Things that have taken over love, attention, time……

Now, the Lord has been dealing with me on some things… For literally, a couple of years.  Same scenario, over and over and over again.  Obviously I’m a bit of a blockhead.  So this morning I decided to forgo the computer time and spend a little time with Him as it should be.  And I asked, “Could you show me more clearly? ”  You see what I struggle with is using my time.  My particular parasites are connected – my computer time and True Vine.  They suck time, energy, and attention.  A lot of time, energy, and attention.  Anyone can be a mom.  It takes working ovaries and a uterus.  Anyone can be a wife.  Just say, “I do.”  But it takes time, energy, attention, commitment, and a willingness to serve to do it well.  It is not that I lack in these areas.  The Lord has given me these things.  But I’ve taken these gifts and spread them into other areas so that they are thin in other places.  It’s like having enough pizza sauce, but too much dough.  😛 

And so today, without any idea of what I was going to read, I simply opened my Bible to where a string was in it and read.  It happened to be at John 21.  If you read this story, you’ll see that this takes place after Christs’ death.   The disciples fished, and yet they caught nothing.  Thanks to the goodness of the Lord, their nets became full.  I liken this to our life within Christ.  He gives in abundance that which we need and sometimes even that which we do not know we need. 

And so they came to shore.  They prepared to eat. 

15 –  When they finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you truly love me more than these?” 

“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” 

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you truly love me?” 

He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

 

I’m going to stop there.  There is more and it is relevant, but I’d like to go deeper for a minute.  In my Bible there are notes.  Apparently in this area, the type of love that Christ is talking about is agape love.  This love is translated as true love, the self sacrificing love that Christ showed when He died for us.  It was more than affection.  It was a deep, abiding, unselfish, giving of oneself, the type of love that is committed, that serves others. 

As this applies to ME, I see that Christ does not require a lot from me.   He does not ask as the world asks.  He does not ask for SuperMom.  He does not need me to be soccer mom, run my business, and spin 100 plates.  He does not me to know all, be all, and tell all.  He asks that I feed his lambs.  He has chosen me, at this moment, to be a wife and a mother.  To serve the children and the husband I have been gifted.  Can I truly say that I love them with a deep abiding self sacrificing love?  Can I say I do it in Christ’s name?  Can I say that I am loving (the action, not the warm fuzzy feeling) them each day, not on my own strength, but through HIM? 

Or am I allowing parasites to walk with me, stealing gifts He has given me to use to serve these lambs about me?  Am I allowing weaknesses of character, flaws of the human condition, or situations I’ve allowed, to steal my meek an quiet spirit?  The peace of Christ? 

I’d ask that you reflect today on your parasites?  What has Christ called you for at this very moment?  Not in ten years time, not even tomorrow, but to do today?  As He has put, and is putting, people into your life for YOU to serve (not to BE served) are you choosing to serve?  Are you doing so grudgingly or with the joy that knowing being Christ like is serving in His name?  Reflect on your motives.  Reflect on the parasites.  Make the changes necessary to serve Him by serving the lambs He has given us.  

I hope you have a blessed day.

Because Mondays are BUSY around here.  So, just some photos to share.  We had a great weekend, got to see Grandma and Grandpa, met some sweet folks, and DH started on my laying boxes for my hens!  Hope you had a good one!
Girly Girl and Shortie Pie

Girly Girl and Shortie Pie

 

Sweetest Pea

Sweetest Pea

Big Brother

Big Brother

Little Brother and Boat

Little Brother and Boat

Punkin Head

Punkin Head

Princess

Princess

 

Little Brother and Shortie Pie

Little Brother and Shortie Pie

Big Brother & Shortie Pie

Big Brother & Shortie Pie

As I watched my husband unload wood with our two boys, that there was a more efficient way to do it.  He could have just done it himself.  Hopped up there, tossed the wood to the basement and been done with it.

Instead, he allowed our two boys to help.  Slowing down to alternate throws with them, tossing overtop of them.  Then they had to pick up the ones that Tim dropped short of the cellar door.

He could have done it much faster.  But he didn’t.

And it occurred to me that too often we have a, “Git ‘er done” philosophy.  There’s so much work to do in the day.   So much that presses on our time, so much to accomplish.  But I think perhaps instead of “getting it done” we need to be training hearts and attitudes.

Today, I watched  as my husband took the time to do this hard work with the boys.  And he taught them, through actions, not empty words,  to enjoy their work and to get the job done.  And our boys were proud of themselves.  Christian loaded that load of wood while dh cut it.  Just the two of them, out in the trees. 

My Boys

My Boys

Goat books know nothing about goats.

I take everything back I said about it being WRONG to wean the kids from their mama.  The little theives (the triplets) along with help from Little Lola, have robbed me blind of my milk.

Yesterday morning was a banner day.  We locked the little ones in their dog kennel (5′ sq. chain link kennel in the loafing barn) overnight.  Milked mamas in the AM.

Cinderella – 4lbs even
Gypsy – a whopping 5lbs. 10 oz.

This is a fabulous amount of milk for us!  We were thrilled. 

The children told me yesterday, “The triplets nurse off of Cinderella and Gypsy.”  “Oh no,” I told them, “Cinderella won’t feed any of the babies.  She isn’t their mama.”  Elizabeth pipes up, “And she nurses Lola!”  Now, I’ve caught Lola sneaking milk, so I know this to be true.

Sure enough.  Milk time rolled around last night and Cinderella gave me…

What?  Four pounds?  No.  Three pounds?  Nope.  Not even TWO pounds of milk.  That’s right.  The little milk stealers took almost all of it.  Now, I had some set aside (for my REAL children, not the kids) that I got to feed the other four starving goats.  Do you think I gave Lola her full bottle?  No I did not! 

And so it’s official.  All babies are all weaned as of today.  They’re getting bottles and I’m not letting them back in with the big does until they know milk doesn’t come from UDDERS, it comes from a BOTTLE.  Maybe this way we’ll end up with a little milk too.

Heartless?  Maybe.  But I tell you I’m figuring out this goat raisin’ learning curve.

Ooh, I want these so badly!

Ooh, I want these so badly!

The “kids” (both human and goat) decided to work together on the goat shed today.  We have all ten goats, loose, outside.  Gypsy won’t leave the barn, therefore neither will her triplets.  Cinderella can’t stand to be more than 3 feet away from a human at any time, so we’re not worried about wanderers.  The kids are working on the barn, the babies are working on the brush! 

Sweet Little Heidi - our most beloved

Sweet Little Heidi - our most beloved

Goats HAVE personality.

Gimmee a kiss Baby!

Gimmee a kiss Baby!

 

Whatcha taking a picture of Mom?

Whatcha taking a picture of Mom?

 

Ana & Legend

Ana & Legend

 

I'll jes' nibble on 'yer ear a 'lil.

I'll jes' nibble on 'yer ear a 'lil.

Yes, Legend looks a little pathetic here.  No, he did not get in trouble. 😛
He was asked to look at Grandma instead of snufflin’ whatever was in front of him and he was a good boy when told, “Leave it,” but it sure didn’t make him happy!

On the other hand, Legend is proving to be a very worthy farm pooch.  Despite being “talked” into um, “playing” with the chickens this morning by “that other” dog and getting into very serious trouble, he has been trying to herd the little goats by nipping their tails.  Cinderella takes great offense at this and we have to watch her very carefully as she would love to get in a hard head butt.  All things considered, I think they get along famously!

What a great day!

(And on the school pictures, bah!  It’s too nice to clean my house and do a lot of school.  Maybe tomorrow!)