Guinea Fowl Adventures

Well a little over a week ago we had 17 guinea fowl.

We went on vacation and came home to 9 guinea fowl.

Woke up the next day and found we had 5 guinea fowl?

Woke up this morning to 2 guinea fowl!

Mind you these birds are virtually wild and free to roam on several acres of land.

Clearly we are feeding the predator population a free meal!

So today the kids and I went on a “save the last two guinea” hunt.

After a lot of herding, chasing, and failed attempts to capture, we caught one!

Then a neighbor joined in the efforts.

More herding, chasing, failed attempts to capture, then we caught the other one.

So what do you do with two guinea fowl that have no clear coop or home to go to that is safe? Clearly you put them in the spare bathroom shower…right? Isn’t that what anyone would do? Haha!

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After spending the day in the shower, they felt that was enough! I heard a horrific crash and went to see what took place in the bathroom…

…apparently they wanted a bit more space to roam!

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Which means I need to find a solution to these birds ASAP!

Now that the kids have named the last two survivors (Shizzle and MaNizzle) we obviously must make arrangements to have these two live in peace and happily ever after! (Fingers crossed, ideally they will get along with the chickens!)

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Life Science

We recently had to rehome of our rooster “Storm” because he was a bit too good at being a rooster. He protected his ladies too well and attacked the kids when they were collecting eggs. We were very sad about this and tried to remedy to situation, but sadly we weren’t successful.

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We took Storm back to the breeder and swapped him for Frosty, our new rooster.

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Long story short, we wanted some of Storm’s babies, so into the incubator went some of the eggs fertilized by him.

21 days later we had the best science experiment ever…getting to see life emerge.

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These chicks were half blue orpington (Storm) and half Easter egger (Mama)

26 days later we opened up the unhatched eggs. Mostly we found icky yokes that never really took…

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…but then we discovered two chicks that were well on their way. It was sad for the kiddos and they wanted to bury the chicks.

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You can see one dyed before it’s yoke sack was absorbed into it’s abdominal cavity…but the other chick was ready to hatch and never pipped or unzipped for some unknown to us reason.

It was a good science lesson on how delicate life is.

The kids decided they needed to bury the chicks at the base of a tree, so they can climb up to the top and learn to fly. And because according to my daughter it takes a year to get to heaven and well the flight journey there is a long way. She’s pretty sure heaven is on a planet not discovered by humans yet.

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Each one decided to add some sort of token for their journey before we buried the little peepers.

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Then we came inside to celebrate the life of 8 baby chicks that did hatch.

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Could we be lucky enough to have 8 HENS??? Lol…against the odds, but we are hoping for all hens! Frosty (our roo) doesn’t need any competition. 🙂

It would be nice to add some more grey/blue to our colorful flock.

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Ideally I’d love for the flock to have a plethora of colors and variations. I think when we incubate some of Frosty’s offspring we will get to add even more variety. 🙂

Homeschool Science Rocks…it’s hands on thru the entire process!

Update On Us

We homeschool year round, but I have the summer off to some degree. My kids have planned it all out and will be dictating their routines for the most part. A few things are mandatory they must stick in here and there, drum lessons, horse riding lessons, piano lessons, volunteer work, etc…and they have decided to have specific days. ie: Monday is math day, Tuesday is history day, and so on…they plan to make their tv shows, iPad apps, board games, outdoor play, kitchen experiments, etc revolve around the theme of the day. Example, today is spanish day, so they will switch the language to spanish on the DVDs they watch and instead of their go to Pig Latin kid talk, they will attempt to speak spanish when possible, etc…

I do feel like I need to give an update since it’s been a LONG while since I’ve shared what were up to.

A while back I decided to do an experiment and give the kids what we called a “FREE WEEK”…

…in a nutshell, the kids were responsible for their sleeping times, eating times, food choices, entertainment and education. In a very free willy nilly sort of way. I was here to help them when they asked but overall they were in charge of themselves. I deleted everything from the calendar for a week. (Including canceling lessons they did not want to attend)

The point for me was to get a good idea of what they were capable of, how they handled their choices, where they still needed me to guide them, where they were more self sufficent, etc…

I do think much longer then a week is needed for a true assessment. Because a week does feel in some way like a holiday rather then a time to put on your boots and get to work.

I discovered (and more importantly THEY discovered) there were still many areas mom was very needed! Which is a good thing IMHO!

They were very curious why no friends came over to play. I asked them if they arranged any play dates. Hmmm might be the reason. Planning is needed to make things happen. Good lesson for them to learn.

Why they don’t have any clean pants. I asked if they did their laundry? Hmmmm must wash clothes in order to have clean clothes. Another good lesson…but mostly they just realized mom does the laundry and didn’t this week, so they opted to wear alternative outfits over the favorites until mom washed again. (Which spurred mom to buy separate laundry baskets for each child and unknown to them, they are slowly learning to take over their own laundry washing, drying, folding and putting away! Darn sneaky mom!)

Aside from a few really good learning opportunities/discussions. And great examples of what could be handled better, it was a blissful week for ALL of us.

We all were doing exactly what we wanted all day long for an entire week! Yes I did not hear one single bicker from the kids. They were so happy doing their own thing. I accomplished a ton because they didn’t demand as much of my attention as they normally do.

HOWEVER the amount of Minecraft they played was insane for my liking. (I fondly refer to Minecraft as Mindcrap, even though I know there are lots of great learning opportunities around the game…it’s the intensity of time suck I don’t like)

Since it was free week, I figured eventually my son would have his fill, get a neck cramp, something and stop playing…nope, he played the entire week nearly all day every day! My daughter would stop mid day and go do something else, but come back to it in the evening.

They did build some amazing structures, learned a bunch from tutorials online, took on challenges and played well in each others worlds. But like I said the intensity of the Minecraft take over was not a long term OK thing with me, so we had a little Minecraft detox the following week. We are now back on a healthy level of video games from mama’s perspective.

Aside from free week, we’ve had horse riding adventures, rock climbing adventures, and a bunch if fun with friends. Spring time always sheds away the winter chill and gets us outside and active.

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I think repelling is what they love the most!

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And shortly after this adventure they wanted to practice bouldering (no harness, height they are comfortable with jumping down from)

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Recently, my daughter took some of her girl friends on a trail ride (some of her friends had never been on a horse, so you can see trail walkers near each horse for the riders safety) my son played Mindcrap with his friends (the brothers of the horse riders) it was a perfect day for all involved. Haha!

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While school kids are finishing up their last few weeks of school, I hear my public school mama friends tell me about their busy end of school year calendar chaos. It reminds me how very blessed we are to be homeschooling. We are enjoying all this warm weather having fun with friends and not in a busy chaotic frenzy.

Spring is here…Fuzzy Butts and Bud Fuzz

We are sure seeing signs of spring around here.

Our fuzzy butts (aka baby chickens) are settled into their brooder. We have 13 chicks this spring. We will be eating and sharing a lot of eggs with family and friends come this fall.

This year our flock will consist of a variety of breeds, which will hopefully give us a fantastic variety of colorful eggs. We sure have missed having fresh eggs in the house. Unfortunately two years ago a predator made a dinner out of our entire flock one night, leaving not much evidence behind except a couple of feathers from our more feisty hen…named FLOWER haha!

We are also seeing some bud break in the vineyard

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I’m laughing a bit, because I had thought I finished this draft and posted it eons ago…but apparently didn’t and now I can’t find the photos of our darling little fuzzy butt chicks (who are nearly grown now!) nor can I find the vineyard bud break photos…sooo here is what middle of spring looks like around here haha!

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Homeschooling is apparently keeping me busy, but summer is on the way and schooling gets pretty relaxed during the summer months.

Maybe blogging more consistently will be my summer time goal? ( fingers crossed)

Do Homeschool Kids Miss Out?

Each year we have an annual homeschool cupcake decorating valentines day party. This year valentines day happen to land on a public school holiday (Presidents day) so we were able to invite both our homeschooled and public schooled friends which was a special treat.

We had about fifty people here enjoying themselves. And once again, I look around to find a bunch of kids that are very well socialized and have lots of friends. (Mythbuster #1 – homeschool kids have friends and are socialized!)

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Kids were having a blast all over the place, jumping on the trampoline, zipping down the zip line, climbing trees, digging giant holes in the hillside (apparently just a few foxholes and trenches incase we reenact the war during history lessons, haha!) and decorating cupcakes. It is always such fun to see kids being kids and having a ball!

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It is also great to see so many school kids and homeschool kids getting along. (Mythbuster #2 – that homeschool kids and school kids can’t get along.) They all cooperated and worked well together toward similar goals.

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There were lots of various ages ranging from 2-12 and all the kids seemed helpful and able to get along with their peers, which beats yet another myth…(Mythbuster #3 – who’s a peer? same age? same interest? same capabilities? or someone you just like hanging out with regardless of differences?)

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So as I look around and see an amazing group of kids that are very well socialized busting more homeschool myths I feel happy to know we are a part of it all. I love knowing with time the homeschoolers will show the world just how fantastic they are!

I hope anyone that is considering homeschooling understands that the lifestyle of a homeschooler is not some foreign weirdo world. Your lifestyle is up to you. Homeschooling puts the control back into your hands. Your family, home, life is once again yours.

And the answer is NO…homeschool kids do NOT miss out on anything! They have lots to celebrate!

Homeschool Mornings – A Great Reason to Homeschool!

 

Homeschool mornings make it alllll worth while! 

Every morning all over the place children are woken up early to get dressed, eat breakfast and rush off to school for the day. And every morning there are loads of homeschooling parents wondering WHY? Because as we sip our coffee or tea, our children are waking up naturally when their bodies are ready to rise. They are able to eat breakfast casually and get to their studies in a relaxed state of mind. 

Some mornings are more special then others, for example this morning we couldn’t start our school work because my daughter reallllllly wanted to play reading egg games on the iPad (Readingeggs.com) and my son really wanted to finish reading his book. 

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So we pushed our school work back a bit and I enjoyed an extra cup of tea. 

On this morning the kids insisted on making me breakfast in bed.

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I know…you might be a little jealous of that elaborate spread…haha! But it’s moments like this impressive breakfast in bed and all the sweet sentiments that come with it I would have missed out on if my kids were already on a bus off to school.

or what about the joys of not having to read about weather in a text book, but instead go outside and experience it, taste it, see it, feel it, laugh in it, soak it up fully. 

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Homeschool mornings make the days where math or spelling are challenging all worth while. All the little moments thru the day that are silly, loving, messy, huggable, laughable are far more often then the rushed, crying, stressed moments. If you are having a bad homeschool day, you have the flexibility to take the day off. Enjoy life! Enjoy your kids! 

Have a great day homeschooling today!!! 

Nature Mama in the Technology World.

Anyone else torn between the two worlds? The fantastic ever changing and advancing technology world and the desire to live a bit more like the Ingalls family on Little House on the Prairie? Well I find myself torn between these two worlds often.

Currently we have had to put a limit on technology in our house. We refer to the time spent on any of the many electronic devices available for entertaining ones self as “TECH TIME.” Because my son in particular could happily “tech hop” all day long, we’ve had to set tech time boundaries

Tech hopping is when your child turns off the tv and starts playing a game on the ipad, then sets the ipad down only to start playing a video game on the computer or Wii, Play station, Xbox, etc…And never seems to GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY!

We started a log where the kids can EARN their tech time during the week and spend it allllllll weekend long if they want, then come Monday morning a fresh start, any tech time unused is cleared and they must earn new tech time for the following weekend.

We started off with tasks we wanted to see more of, each family can choose tasks that meet their needs, but this plan is brilliant if I do say so myself! Here’s why: if the kids nag about tech time during the week, they loose time. (so no nagging) if the kids want to earn tech time they can by accomplishing the tasks mom and dad have been nagging about lately. (no mom and dad nagging) on the weekend the kids can happily be plugged in allowing mom and dad to sleep in, read, sip their tea, exercise or do whatever it is mom and dad want to do without interruptions. (I personally like sleeping in on the weekends!)

Some of the tasks we set for our family (to give ideas) were: 15 minutes of tech time earned for every hour spend outside playing (not including scheduled outside time or play dates) Since we home school we added 15 minutes of tech time for every hour of school work without complaints/protests, but rather steady happy work time. 5 minutes for using the Sonicare toothbrush for two minutes morning and night vs their manual brushes, 5 minutes for making the bed in the morning, 15 minutes for noticeable table manners at all three meals, 5 minutes for taking a bath without reminders, 15 minutes of tech time for every hour spend reading a book. (need to give narration for credit) etc…I’m sure you can think of things you need to run a bit more smoothly in your house.

If the kids really worked hard they could virtually earn enough hours of tech time to be plugged in all weekend long, so we capped it off at TEN hours max! Which is A LOT!, breaks down to two hours a day during the work week. This past week my kids earned 4.25 and 4.5 hours, which is wayyyyy less then they were getting previously during the week combined. So that was another bonus. Even if they did earn all ten hours, that still breaks down to the recommended two hours per day max set by some parenting something somewhere…you know some expert somewhere.

Occasionally during the week, I need the kids to watch a documentary for school, or practice an educational app on the ipad, etc…and in those cases, that tech time does not count towards earned time.

During the week, the kids are spending a lot of their days in nature again. They have built projects that sat collecting dust in the past. They are creating their own games, learning old ones, excited about a trip to the library again. They have read to one another and what mother doesn’t love seeing her kids read to each other! So sweet! Melts this mamas heart!

Our weeks are full of joyful natural experiences again and I can live in my sweet natural Laura Ingalls world. Then on the weekends I can be lazy, sleep in, have adult conversations with my husband and know I’m not holding my children back in the technology world by never having them experience the technology world. Currently my kids are very into all the coding games, so maybe coding is in their future, and maybe they will spend all day on a computer in their future careers, but they will also know how to grow food and enjoy the simple natural things in life too.

Finding balance in this fast paced world and holding on to the simple peaceful pleasures life can offer takes work. I’d love to hear how your family balances between nature and technology!