Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

It's hard to believe another year has come and gone.  We have spent most of the last 4 weeks with one or more of us sick.  This last week has been the worst with the Eldest sick, then our youngest daughter has been sick for the entire week with a terribly high fever.  Now the last two days I have had it.  I am certain that the old saying "coughing up a lung" applies to me.  I just can't stop.  So, Hubby took the 4 kiddos + 1 friend to Grandma and Grandpa's for New Year's Eve celebration.  Bek and I decided to do an Anne of Green Gables marathon tonight, keeping each other company with our non-stop coughing. 

I am looking forward to starting another year, with many plans here at the farm, although some of them may already have been dashed.  Hubby and I found out that our county rules on having animals on our property is quite strict.  We have to have at least 3 acres to have just one goat, and 1 acre for each additional goat.  We don't have that.  We are slightly hopeful that we might be able to work something out with our local ag department, since this is used for my fiber business.  I can't believe with all the "back to the land" movements going on, that I can't have two or three little goats ( they are about the size of our lab) in our backyard.  If anyone has any advice I would love to hear it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!!!!!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Hoping you all have a blessed Merry Christmas!  We are heading to my folks house for Christmas Eve and tomorrow we will spend it here!  Next week we have Christmas with my in-loves.  Hubby is off until after the first of the year!  I love it when we can spend time together during the holidays.  For the first time in probably...forever I have all of my presents wrapped!  Yay!  I will not being staying up until the wee hours of the morning doing that tonight.

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Ultimate Bad Day

Yep, I finally had it.  I am usually known for being fairly organized and put together.  With 5 kids, homeschooling, trying to manage a (very) small farm and home business, and a wonderful Hubby who provides for us, I have to have it all together.  Well, all of that went down the tubes yesterday.  I had the worst day of the year (or at least it felt like it) and as bad days go for some people, this was pretty mild.  I am a women who juggles many balls in the air (like most) and usually does a pretty good job with it.  Hubby is not well known around these parts as having a good memory...at all.  I have heard horror stories from his mom when he was growing up, like the time as a boy that he left his wallet, in a hotel room...in Boston.  There are many stories like that and the day I married him I took the reins as Keeper of the Home, literally.  I know his mom was relived to let that one go.  I have an oldest son, who is now following in his fathers footsteps in so many ways and this is one of them.  So I have had to add Eldest to my "brain list" of keeping track of the important stuff.

Our youngest has been sick most of the week and I was finally able to get him into the doc's yesterday afternoon.  First I had to go to Lansing for 2 orthodontist appointments for the girls in the morning.  I decided I would stop at Target and get a couple of things before heading home to do lunch and then off to the next appointment.  I got all the way home (about a 30 min. drive) and the minute I walked through the door I knew I was missing something.  That something would be my purse!!!  In all the years I have never, ever, left anything like that anywhere.  Hence the start of my horrible, terrible, no good, really bad day (don't you love that book?).  I had 1 hour before youngest son's appointment, I threw him in the car and headed back to Lansing.  I had to, all my cash, phone, license and health insurance cards were needed.  The roads here are still not completely cleared from the snow storm so I had to deal with that too. 

Thankfully someone (thank you! whoever you are) was honest and turned in my purse, from the cart....out in the parking lot!!!  I called the doc's and told them I was running a little late from the last appointment (okay I fibbed a little, my emotions weren't ready to explain I had forgot the purse) and we headed back to town.  We made it to the appointment just a bit late and wait patiently, thankful for some time to breath.

Now, our son has some asthma issues and I was certain they would say that is what it was, refill his nebulizer meds and send us on our merry way.  Boy was I off, come to find out he has pneumonia (insert bad mom intuition here) so after the shock, getting the prescriptions, directions, and getting him something to eat, I ran him home to stay with the Eldest to quickly run to Wal-mart (silly me I should know never to put the words "quickly" and "Wal-mart" together) get the meds, some popsicles and get home.  I was happy when the lady said about 1/2 hour to get the meds filled, they never are that quick.  I went and got food for sickie and something for dinner (I hadn't even thought about it yet) and I hear my son's name announced over the speaker, (by this time the 1/2 hour was up).  Come to find out the dosage was off and they couldn't get through to the office to get it change, with a cart full of food I did the only thing I could, wait.

In the midst of waiting I ran into a dear lady from our previous church, who wanted to talk about why we hadn't been there recently.  It took all I had in me not to break down right there in the middle of the jewerly department of Wal-mart (that would have been the icing on the cake).  I did my best to explain it to her and she gave me a big huge and I went on my merry way back to the pharmacy and check out.  I made it home, got Youngest situated, made calls to cancel all the girls that were planning on coming to our annual gingerbread house making party that was scheduled for today, and crashed.

I am thankful for God's grace to give me a new day today, and to write this post and laugh as I do.  I also realize that compared to others in the world today, my day yesterday wasn't so bad.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Baby it's Cold Outside!!!!


We had temperatures in the 40's on Saturday, this morning the temp. is -11!  We had a winter storm watch on Saturday night with predictions of 1-3 inches during the night and another 2-4 inches on Sunday.  Well, in our neck of the woods in Michigan that could mean anything.  The lakes have quite an effect on what kind of weather we seen in the middle of the mitt.  Yesterday morning we woke up to a dusting and I was disappointed! (I love the snow~)  By 9a.m. the winter storm watch turned into a warning a we were hit big time.  We had to do some major animal shuffling to make sure everything was safe and somewhat warm.  The turkeys were the most difficult, as they love to roost in high places and to get them under cover and out of the elements is almost impossible.  We will be switching water bottles every few hours for the rabbits today so they don't go without fresh water.  We are doing a slow down week for school this week, which means working on music for everyone, baking, Christmas stories and some unit study things for the younger ones.  The girls have their first choir concert tonight (hopefully) and Nolan has his student piano recital on Friday and then we are off for the year!!  We have 5 music teachers this year!  The kids and I made these adorable ornaments this weekend.  They were so fun, quick and easy.  I am thinking you could make all kinds of special ones depending on what kind of scrapbooking paper you can find.  We bought empty bulbs, sheets of scrapbook music paper and cut it into strips and filled the bulbs with it.  They turned out so cool.


Music teacher ornament
 Backyard view
ice on the trees
 Decorating Christmas Tree
 Christmas card photo, check out the youngest's smile....ugh!
My wheel is getting some serious spinning time in right now creating!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Well winter finally hit here in Mid-Michigan this past week. Usually by now we have had several serious snowfalls, so it is late this year!  We have started our usual holiday traditions.  This year and every year for the last 10 or so, I have read Storybooks for Advent to my kids (young and old now)  This is a three part book series that includes; Jotham's Journey, Tabitha's Travels, and Bartholomew's Passage.  These stories in each of the books "intertwines" with the other (each of the characters are in the other books, but it is told from the different points of view of each child)  all the stories are about the coming birth of Jesus, and they are wonderful!  They are set up to read starting on the first Sunday of Advent and each night following until Christmas.  They are sold on Amazon and in making sure they were still on Amazon, I found that there is also an Easter book just like it for Passover called Amon's Adventure...um, I am going to have to check that one out!  I also got a free Advent devotional book (yes I said FREE) from Sarah Mae at Like a warm cup of coffee blog here http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com/home/ The devotional was written by Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience here:  http://www.aholyexperience.com/2010/11/free-jesse-tree-advent-devotional-book/ I haven't had time to roam through her site yet, but the Advent book is wonderful!  Check it out!  I am decorating the house this week and trying some "naturally free" decorations this year A.K.A. "what can we find in the back yard?"  So far we have had great luck.  I will get some pics posted.

 Advent Storybook
Chocolate chip/cream cheese filled bread...Yummy!


Josh ready for the cold...he "Can't put his arms down!!"
 Snowball gunner..looking for trouble.
 Bek and Josh
Bek and Josh again, this is the beauty of homeschool:))

Natural Decorations



These are all from our bushes in the yard!!  The stair way is hard to see, but it turned out beautiful, and the kids added some bulbs to it also.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Blessings

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my folk's house yesterday with all the family and a lot of food!!  I am feeling even more blessed today (and old) as our oldest son turns 17 today!!!  I am just amazed as the kids get older, I look back and remember myself being 17 like it was yesterday.  Time is such a weird thing.  Every year as we get into the holidays, so many things seem like "we just did this a couple of weeks ago".  I realize that with Christmas being on a Sat. this year, it seems like there isn't enough weekends to get all the stuff done.

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that we had some big changes going on here.  Tomorrow morning Hubby, a few of the kids and I are traveling 2 hours to a pygora goat farm to see what they have !!!  Yes, after years of begging, mentioning, more begging and then just giving up, Hubby called the other day and said we are getting goats!!  I am very excited, but nervous at the same time.  This will be the biggest farm animal yet, so there is a lot to learn.  I have been reading and researching on goats in general.  I chose the pygoras, because I am a spinner so I wanted a fiber goat, but they can also be milked and I am also a cheese maker so this breed will cover both.  I am not sure we are picking any out tomorrow yet or just going to pick her brain.

There have been some disappointments here in the middle of joy (isn't that just life?). I am realizing how very different our lifestyle choices are, between homeschooling and now a family integrated home church. We also found out that the closest people to us don't even understand. I am coming to terms with that and realizing that we aren't here to make other people comfortable and happy with our choices. I am going through a lesson in understanding and patience.






 Fruit turkey, made by our wonderful friends!
 Hubby's traditional Thanksgiving nap...weird things always seem to happen to him:)
 B. holding my niece who is fast asleep.
17 year old Nolan and his birthday duduk

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Goodwill Shopping

I read somewhere the other day that shopping at stores like Goodwill and buying items used is the new "cool".  I don't think five or ten years ago this would have been the case.  I can remember back to a time when buying used just wasn't something that a person talked about!  I have been on a mission the last month or two to see how much is possible to buy at stores like this.  I am proud to say that I have done quite well too.  I have re-stock our constantly growing "brood" of five kids with some pretty nice clothing.  I have found items with the tags still on.  I have purchased expensive, brand name clothing for $2.99 or less.  I purchase an expensive winter coat for my daughter for less than $5.00. I am excited!  It has become a challenge for me to see what I can find used.  The only disappointment I have had so far has been a $5.99 VCR that did not work.  That is when you need to be careful to look over the items really well, as I have come home realizing that I purchased a shirt with a rip in it or stain that won't come out.  We also do our part to donate all of our out-grown or un-used items right back to these places, so the circle can continue.  These are some of our latest finds:

 I collect old wooden files boxes (don't ask, I think it may be the wannbe librarian coming out in me:) this cost me a whole whopping $0.99!
I paid $9.99 for the rocking chair!!!  It is so comfortable, once I sat in it, I was hooked.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tis' The Season

Well, it is official, Christmas music is on the local radio stations, and XM started their stations today, so now I can listen without guilt!  I LOVE Christmas music.  I could listen in July if my family would let me.  I don't know what it is but it just comforting to have Christmas music playing in the background even if there isn't snow on the ground (or in the air even) yet.  There is always a lot going on around here, but as the holidays come up fast, I am putting in my heels and hoping for some simplicity this year as I do every year.  Homemaker Ang at http://eclecticculturefarm.blogspot.com/  has a great post on what are we going to do to make changes to make a difference in how we live.  She has a  whole lot more to say too (add applause here:))

I think this is one of the things that I continue to work on in our family.  We are far from being where I would love to be, but we have done the basics.  We have not had cable or satellite in years (and yes we are still okay), we don't watch a lot of t.v. anyways so that helps.  Our kids don't all have cell phones, as I would have to go back to work just to be able to afford this.  We have one cell phone that our oldest uses as he has become a driver this year and does a lot of running for us.  He doesn't have his own car, and probably won't until he can afford this himself.  He is not suffering one bit from these choices.   I love Homemaker Ang's post right now because she is talking about some "insignificant" things that I love to hear about.  She talks about how they save money on things like skin care, and other things like this.

We have some really big things happening in our family right now.  I won't go into details yet and may not on some of them.  One of these is going to affect our family in a big way, but we are being led by God in this and feel that we can't continue doing what we are doing in some things.  The other biggie has to do with our "farm".  If this one happens I will be sharing!!!!! 

As I post right now I am listening to my Hubby's Blog Talk radio show, Christian Devotions Speak Up!  He has Ginny Dent Brant on tonight.  She has an awesome story.  Her dad was one of President Nixon's closest aides and was there during Watergate, but not involved.  He was one of two people who didn't go to prison for this.  If you want to listen to some really neat history go and listen to the show that will continue to stream in the archives at www.christiandevotions.us

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Tuesday on Tail Spin Farm

The weather has been beautiful this week, but I am so ready for snow!!  We have been keeping busy with school and projects.  I have been grooming rabbits and listing angora yarn on my shop for the last week.  Hubby leaves tomorrow for Penn. on a business trip and taking our youngest daughter with him.  He does this once a year with our kids, they love it although my youngest is trying to weasel his way into going on this trip, he doesn't think he will make it until next fall.  My Hubby's birthday is tomorrow so we are celebrating tonight.  It's a big one:) so I am certain that this business trip was scheduled this week on purpose, I think he was afraid of a birthday party.  My "big one" will be coming next year and there is no way that I want a party, so I won't do it to him!!
 Homemade Crème Fraiche
 Kombucha Tea
 My outside boy enjoying the sun
Koko, one of our French angoras

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Birthday!!

Today is our second son's 15th birthday.  I can't believe it.  He is almost as tall as his dad.  We spent the afternoon at Elderly Music looking for a new guitar for him.  He has been saving his money for a while and he got the rest for his birthday today.  He is AMAZING on his guitar and truly loves it! Happy Birthday Cameron!!  We love you!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Crisp Michigan Mornings

Well I think it is officially time to get out the hat and mitten bucket here.  The last two mornings have been COLD.  We haven't gotten any snow yet, but they say there is a chance on Friday.  Things have been busy here and I wish I could say it was doing things here, but it seems the last few weeks have been spent just
"doing".  I always start to re-evaluate the stuff we are doing and wonder if a lot of it is worth the time we put into it.  With the holidays quickly approaching I am hoping to get all of us into a mood of thankfulness for what we have and get out of the rut of what we want or need.  Of course I have to get to the front of the line for that one:)  I am my own worst enemy some days.  The turkeys are getting nice and big and I think we are almost to the point for the hens to start laying, which is what we hope for.  I have one angora rabbit that is due either today or tomorrow.  That is the beauty of breeding angoras, it is almost always 30 or 31 days so we are prepared.  I still am longing (and doing my share of hinting with hubby) for Pygora goats this coming spring.  These animals would be two-fold as they are fiber animals, but they also give milk, which means fiber for spinning, and milk for cheese and soap (which I am making on a regular basis now).  Last Friday I took some time just for me, which can be almost impossible some days, and actually left the house to go and spin with Maple at North Star Alpacas.  She is a wonderful person and so full of knowledge.  If you are a spinner, knitter, crocheter, or just all-around fiber freak you can find her shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/northstaralpacas  I brought her some angora to use and she ended up spinning it with three other fibers from farms here in Michigan and "promoting" me in her shop!  She called it "Michigan Luxury Batts" and it looks like it already sold!  I will be doing a small craft show on Saturday, and with Maple's help I have some ideas for my etsy shop.  I continue to hope that I can at least start funding some of my passions.  I will leave you with some pictures taken here this week! Blessings!

 Sunrise on a cold morning

 Frost on the flowers
Frozen water buckets...ugh!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Wise Words of My Nine Year Old

Here is how the conversations with my nine year old went this morning:
"Mom my penmanship book is really hard this year." 
"Not really J. your just copying letters and words."
"Yea, but my hand has to take a lot of breaths to do it all."

Priceless.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pictures from Maple Valley Farm


                                          Deer comes for a visit.

                                          Out building at the farm


                                         Ladies in waiting...for the hay ride!


                                          Hay Ride

                                          Lunch, isn't it beautiful?
                                         Homemaker Ang and myself

Maple Valley Farm Visit

We had a WONDERFUL time at the farm with Homemaker Ang and her family. I am such a nerd. I was just so excited to meet her and go to the farm. We did a cheese class in the morning, had a hay ride, ate lunch and then did a soap class in the afternoon. There were five of us (one drove up from Kentucky !?!?! and spent the night in the off grid cottage just to do these classes) in the cheese class and then 7 more women joined us for lunch and the second class. One of them was doing a story for a Grand Rapids Women's magazine, and two of the were from the West Michigan Tourist Association(?). If you ever get the opportunity to be in Michigan, make it a point to join them at the farm for a day(or two)! The whole thing was just very peaceful and very homey. Angie is a wonderful hostess. You should have seen her serving all twelve of us and getting her family their lunch at the same time, her kids helped out a ton. 

All of her children were amazing! One thing that struck me was here she was doing classes and feeding people and their kids were all around either helping out or just being a part of....I love that! Biblically we are to train up our children and they are doing that in so many ways. They are celebrating two years on the farm today and just seeing them you would think they had done it for a lifetime.

There were "quirky" things I noticed, such as how quiet it is without electricity. There is no background noises, or humming that you would have with electronics or appliances.

I came home refreshed and renewed. Thank you to Angie and the family for their hospitality and for sharing their home and knowledge.  You are a breath of fresh air!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Maple Valley Farm

I am SO excited!!! Today 2 friends and I are going to Maple Valley off-grid farm to meet Homemaker Ang and her family!!! We are taking 2 classes and having lunch on the farm. If you want to check out her amazing site go here http://eclecticculturefarm.blogspot.com/ I am taking my camera and plan on taking lots of pictures! More to come on this amazing experience~~

Saturday, September 25, 2010

American Heritage Festival

The girls and I spent the entire day in Lansing at the American Heritage Festival. We went as vendors, but it was very, very cold today and the turn out was very poor. We enjoyed ourselves though and I did a lot of spinning demonstrations. People were taking my cards and asking if they could purchase things on-line, which I wasn't sure why until I starting thinking about it. This festival has been going on for years, but only the last two have there been vendors who are selling things, so I think people were coming un-prepared to buy anything. We still got our feet wet and it was a great experience. Both my daughters went with me and they had a blast. Bek took part in a whole bunch of the hands-on things and learned how to weave today and loved it. Her is a picture of her on the horse drawn wagon ride.


Friday, July 9, 2010

GIVEAWAY!!!!

I am doing a "Christmas in July Heatwave Giveaway" I think most of the nation is in the middle of a heatwave right now, although in Michigan we did have a cold front move through. We are in the mid-eighties instead of the nineties!!! I have been wanting to get some more traffic to my blog and yarn/angora shop for some time now. I have been doing some research and decided the best way to start is with a giveaway. Everyone loves to get free stuff, even if it is an Angora stocking cap that is seven times warmer than wool! So from now until next Friday, July 16, leave a comment for me on this post and we will pick the winner next Friday! You will get this 100% hand-spun, hand-dyed knitted stocking cap:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blogging

I am in the process of getting more serious about our farm and so I wanted a consistant name on all of our "stuff" I had originally used the name Fowl Tail Farm and that was my original blog site. I have now started one using the name of our farm and will be doing most of my blogging here now.