" Some days we paint with large bold strokes, like when someone finishes a book report or gets a piece of music ready for performing. Most of our days are softer in color. A little dab here a little dab there, following a rough draft, but allowing ourselves to paint outside the lines when we want too. "
~ Deborah Jean

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homestead Barn Hop #1


Homestead Barn Hop

There seems to be a revolution going on! 

A Homestead Revolution! Today is the first Homestead Barn Hophosted by Amy of the fast growing Homestead Revival Blog.  

Her rules to play are: 

Write a post about any homesteading activity you do from keeping chickens, to making your own soap or becoming a Bee Keeper like Amy! 

Go for it Amy! As for us and our little suburban homestead, we keep chickens,  enjoy organic gardening and cooking,homeschooling, and creative re-purposing. We've been keeping back yard hens for 5 years. Our daughter fell in love with the idea of having " baby chicks" and being the curious homeschoolers we are, we decided to try it out. 
Keeping back yard chicken's is pretty easy once you get their housing in order. My husband built a hen house out of reclaimed materials. Once it was finished I couldn't wait to paint it Barn Red. 

My Simple Homemade Ham and Cheese Quiche with back yard fresh eggs. 

We've got a couple of cute little Barn Red out buildings that satisfy my big farmgirl heart! 

Our  girls are " old ladies" now so we'll be adding to the flock this spring. We love the  Araucana, Wyandotte and the Barred or Plymouth Rock laying hens. They have proven to be very hardy through New England winters. They're friendly and good layers too.

 It's just about time to select new baby chicks for this spring. We order ours from a local landscape and farm supply.

One of the first books I read on homesteading was the Self Sufficient Gardner by John Seymour. It's a wonderful guide for learning how to grow and preserve your own food. Of course with the Internet, and now blogs that information is available at the click of a button but I still find comfort having it on my book shelf and refer to it each spring and summer for new ideas and inspiration. 

When I discovered Mary Jane's Farm magazine a couple of years ago it added a whole new meaning to homesteading for me. Now I see it from a farmgirl perspective! It's more fun and every little thing I do different counts and is worth celebrating. 

Going organic and being more mindful of where our food comes from doesn't have to be so serious. It should be fun and a celebration of life! In fact, MJFfarmgirl chapters are sprouting up all over to share homesteading experiences. 

Besides the fact that homesteading is challenging, life giving and rewarding it's also American! 

Thanks for starting the Homestead Blog Hop Amy.  I'm looking forward to seeing how other  homesteading families are living healthier and closer to the land. 

Happy Homesteading!
Deborah Jean  

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Great Backyard Bird Count

             Mr. Cardinal on his perch!
We've been watching our backyard birds all winter as they flit to and fro from the feeder that hangs just in view of our kitchen window. Mr. and Mrs. Cardinal have made regular visits to the feeder along with the house Finch, Chickadee and the occasional Blue Jay.
 If you want to kick up your bird watching a notch or two join in on the Great Backyard Bird Count , February 18- 21st 2011.

Sometimes, we aren't the only ones watching!

 Isn't he handsome?

Grab your bird book and get counting! 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

TEEN MOMENTS ~ Surviving the Terrible Twelve's


Do these phrases look familiar to you too? Whether you are homeschooling or not, most teens/preteens between the ages of 12 and 14 begin their first attempts toward independence and freedom. It's natural! It's part of growing up. I remember spending countless hours in my room playing with make-up, listening to music, and gabbing on the phone with friends and making big plans for when I would be old enough to finally move out and be on my own. I'm observing similar behavior in our home now and it takes me back to that " place" Everything seems so logical but on the inside it's anything but... at least for a teen.

Making this transition is easier for some than others, parent and child. Thoughts of  throwing in the towel on homeschooling may begin to enter your mind and your child's throughout this phase of development.
 In some cases people find this is exactly what is needed in order to preserve the relationship and foster continued growth in their teenager.

  I'll admit, there were times over the last year when I had my doubts and thought we might be nearing the end of our homeschooling journey with one of our children. It was only during those times when we experienced frustration with each other or had had an argument. The rest of life was still peaceful, enjoyable and our daughter was happy with her life, friends, learning and accomplishments.

GOOD NEWS! I think we've just about made it through the roughest waters and I can finally see dry land. I learned a few things along the way.

  • When your teen wants to argue, stand firm and don't over react.( it took me a while to get my footing on this one)
  • Always make up after an argument even if  the words " I hate you " were uttered by your teen. ( they don't really mean it, but they have to try it out )
  • Try and remember that you might have made life temporarily ugly for your loved ones too!
  • Embrace the moments when you are getting along and use those times for talking about his/her changes and finding out more about how they feel about anything and everything.
  • Have the"are you still happy with our homeschooling lifestyle " conversation. Be prepared for any and all answers. Your teen might say they want to go to school and mean it, or they might not. 
  • Give your teen the space he/she needs to be alone.
  • Keep any connections/ interests that you share with your teen alive during this phase. 
  • Use this time to feed your soul with nurturing words, meals, time alone in nature, music, or a hobby.

    The twelfth year isn't really all that terrible but it is challenging at times for us and for them. The waters will eventually smooth out and one day, out of the blue, the child you know and love will re- appear more grown- up, more gracious, and even lovelier than before just long enough to get you ready for the next wave of teen life! The THIRTEENTH YEAR!

      About the lampshade

    Sometimes doing a project together can smooth over rough edges and bring you back to center. 

    You can transform a simple white lampshade with pretty silk flower petals, colorful brads and a glue gun in no time. Just assemble your flowers and attach with brads by inserting them through the center of each flower. Hot glue your flowers to your shade! 

    We purchased supplies for this simple Mother ~ daughter project at Michael's Crafts Store in their scrap booking dept.

    * I couldn't find a photo of the actual brads we used so I'll leave it up to you and your homeschooling detective skills to locate them. 

       Lord knows, I don't have all the answers! Do you have a TEEN MOMENT you wish to share?
    Include a link in your comment below!

    Happy Creative Homeschooling,
    Deborah Jean