Annie

Archive for the ‘Farm and Family’ Category

Danger, Will Robinson!

In Farm and Family, Musings on January 29, 2014 at 12:20 am

I’ll be honest with you. This week, I was kind of in a panic about my post. I had one written out, but it just wasn’t clicking. Then I saw this video suggested on my Facebook news-feed.

Dear Mom,

Thanks  for letting me do most of these things. I don’t think you ever let me drive a car, but I remember when my best friend and I accidentally became pirates with those CD copies, and you didn’t freak out. Thanks for letting dad teach me how to make fire. I wouldn’t be the one and only Fire-Breathing-Pigeon if you hadn’t let your baby strike that first match. I bet you’re pretty glad I never got very good at making throwing spears with my hand-me-down Swiss Army knife. I’m sure it was kind of annoying to find things I had “fixed”.

I realized a while back when I was babysitting, that play like this is nerve wracking. I hadn’t ever been on this side of it before. Play is really a scary thing. It’s so worth it though. When we made see-saws with a brick and a board and then jumped on them, it was the coolest thing ever. Hey look! Physics! Now when I see kids doing the same thing, I’m thinking “Is the board going to snap? What if it slips and they hit their head on the brick?”

I know it feels like yesterday that I was the one of those kids with wide eyes, taking their own lives into their hands. I had a marvelous time. You know that I learn things best by doing them, and you knew that you couldn’t teach me some things. Basic physics, cause and effect, problem solving, simple engineering and mechanics. Playing dangerously and hours of playing Gizmos and Gadgets are the basis of all my understanding of physics and a big part of my love of science.

So Mom, thanks for putting up with me. You taught me more that way than you ever could have with a book. Thanks for learning to be brave. I have a feeling you are going to need to keep being brave for a long time yet. I love you Mom. I hope I can be you when I grow up.

Beginning Blogging

In Farm and Family on December 4, 2013 at 12:21 am

I frequently see homeschooling moms using the blogosphere in writing assignments. I think writing is fantastic, and blogging is a great way to share what you write and get better. On the other hand, I don’t think blogging should be a school thing. If it is made into one then it becomes a chore. Writing a blog should be encouraged, but not forced. Talk to the child and ask if they want to start a blog. If not, leave it there. If you want them to try writing, have them write a short essay about a topic they like.  If they end up liking writing then maybe your could revisit the idea of a blog.

But let’s say your child is wanting to start a blog. How do you help them get started? Well first you will need to get them set up on a blogging site. The two main ones are WordPress and Blogger. I started out with Blogger and now use WordPress. Both are good, both have different strengths.

For a beginning blogger I would suggest using Google Blogger. It is simple. It is customizable, but not overwhelmingly so. There are more privacy settings. You can make it a public blog, an invite only blog, or a blog that only “authors” have access to. For someone who is relatively good with computers  I would suggest WordPress. Both are great and easy to use, but WordPress can be overwhelming.

Once you have a website set up, just let them write. As often as they want, whatever they want (within reason). I have imported almost every single blog post I’ve ever written to AndieBelle (I lost a few when my website crashed a few years ago and I moved over here). Every so often I go back and read my old posts. There are pages of bad poetry, vague recipes, run on sentences, spelling and grammar worse than what I have now, and content gaps that stretched for the better part of a year. It may not be the best content, but it is what got me started. If you pay attention, I actually still write about the same things, the quality is just usually better now.

Now all you have to do is hand them the reins and enjoy the ride. Don’t forget to comment on their posts and share it with everyone. Comments from adults are the most encouraging to a kid.

Change of Plans

In Actions in Activities, Farm and Family, Short on October 24, 2013 at 8:05 am

As I have mentioned a lot lately, I am very busy. And, what that unfortunately means is, I need to cut some things down. I’m not staying up as late looking at Pinterest or watching Youtube videos, and now, I am not staying up late to work on my blog. Honestly, I’ve tried! I start to fall asleep at the keyboard! Mom says I’m on a grown-up’s schedule now. The scary thing is, I’m getting used to it. I actually tried to sleep in yesterday, the one day this week I’m not working, but I couldn’t sleep past 9.

Enough prevaricating about the bush. I’m cutting my blogging. *runs in circles screaming* NO! No. Not completely! I’m just cutting it back a bit for the sake of quality and sanity. Starting next week I will go back to posting every Wednesday. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been posting twice a week for very long. It’s only been seven weeks, but I think it served it’s purpose. I have been writing much more than I was before I gave myself a deadline. I think that is a key to getting things done sometimes. Giving yourself a good hard deadline and sticking to it.

I was discouraged about quitting. It seems like I’ve done that more this year than ever. I hate that. I don’t quit! But, in looking back, I noticed something encouraging. I have been posting every week since July 2nd, and either every Tuesday or Wednesday since July 23rd.

So, I’m not quitting, I’m just changing plans and reprioritizing.

New Beginnings

In Actions in Activities, Farm and Family, Short on October 22, 2013 at 12:27 am

It was a big weekend  on the farm. It was super busy, but in the few spare moments I had on the computer, I found a new favorite band!

We had our first calf! Around noon on Friday (ok, not quite the weekend) Bunny calved. Around two on Friday it started sleeting. That would be just like Bunny. So guess what I did from around 2 to around 3? I tried to move a cow and her newborn calf.

I tried luring Bunny with her favorite feed treat, but she was not about to leave the calf, who wouldn’t follow, and she just wasn’t interested in it. I tried this for a while, and then called mom to see what she thought. We decided to try to move the calf. I was kind of worried about this, Bunny is pretty unpredictable. I picked up the calf and started walking up to the microbarn. The mama was the least of my trouble. Bunny didn’t really even seem to notice much. She followed a little and went back to eating. The calf, on the other hand, was very opposed to being picked up and moved. She flailed around, kneed me and whacked me in the face with her head. She is her mother’s daughter, that’s all I can say. I ended up carrying her a little and then herding her a little.

Once I finally got to the yard Mom helped me get the calf in the shed. By this time Dad was almost home from taking the kids to Co-op and I was pretty well soaked and freezing. Of course, Dad was able to get Bunny up to the shed right away. If she is capable of love, Dad is the only two-legged she has eyes for.

Bunny is actually a really good mama, despite how it might sound. Apparently cows can become attached to the place the calf in. It is so sweet to go out and hear mama and calf softly mooing to each other. A couple winters ago we got Bunny a molasses lick and she absolutely loved it. We decided that if she had a girl calf we would name her Molasses, because Bunny loves Molasses. Welcome to the world Lassie. Your name is very fitting, except you are anything but slow.

On Saturday Claire and I had a Bible Quiz. Neither of us placed as well this month as last. My team didn’t do as well as last month either, but Claire’s did quite better. This month we only have 3 weeks between quizzes. This will be interesting. I’m determined to get more memorized, even though there is less time to get it done.  Like my tag line in my email says:

Discipline is remembering what you want.

David Campbell

 

It’s Working!

In Actions in Activities, Books and Movies, Farm and Family on October 15, 2013 at 12:27 am

Or rather I am. I am so tired right now. This is the fifth day in a row that I have worked somewhere.

There is a corn maze just up the road from our house. Last year they sent an email to our homeschool group looking for teens to work there. I talked with the owners and we were all set, but because of the drought the maze wasn’t very good and they didn’t end up needing my help.

Saturday we were just sitting around talking and…  I don’t really know, doing our Saturday morning thing, when my friend’s mom (this is their second year working there) called saying they needed help at the maze. I jumped up, got out of my pajamas, and drove over there. The owner, Mrs. S asked how old I was and got excited that I was 19. “Can you drive an ATV?” Yeah, about 10 years ago I drove my great uncle’s for a few minutes, but I remember how and I’ve had my drivers license for 3 years, so sure, I can probably drive one.

Guess what I did for about 5 hours Saturday afternoon? I drove a four-wheeler pulling about 8 barrels-turned-train-cars. My thumb felt like it was going to fall off and I now have a fantastic sunburn on the backs of my hands. Once the sun went down and the train was put away, I worked in the concession stand for a few hours. I was surprised how many people came to do the maze in the dark.

Mrs. S asked me what time I could be back on Sunday, and basically, I have a job. I always knew this was how it would have to happen. All of my previous attempts had been fruitless.

It is so strange working this much. I’m hardly ever home anymore. I miss Josh and Hannah. I feel like they are growing up in my house as me, but I’m never home. I get up at 7 most days. Anyone who has seen me right after I wake up knows how big of a feat this is. I am not a morning person. By any stretch of the imagination. The sad thing I’ve found is that I can’t drink coffee in the morning. It makes me so jittery it ruins my day. My body is awake and my mind is not, or vice-versa. No bueno.

The only day I “have off” this week is Wednesday, and even then I volunteer at the library for a couple hours. Now, it would be logical to cut this out of my schedule. It isn’t an actual job, and it is my one and only day off. But I just can’t do that! I have thought about it, but only very briefly. I just love it too much. It’s quiet, relatively peaceful, and, basically, I get to be around books. Nope, library stays.

I know this isn’t my normal kind of post, but it’s what’s been on my mind. I am exhausted, but every day I am in such awe of how God has worked things together in a way that I never could.

 

Tradition!

In Farm and Family, Musings on October 10, 2013 at 12:02 am

Like most people, our family has traditions. We don’t have many, but we have a few. When someone has a birthday we put them in charge of the leftover cake. We might eat cake for a week, or just eat it all in one day, it depends on the birthday girl (or boy, as the case may be). When Dad leaves for work in the morning he comes to everyone’s bed and says goodbye, even though it is around 5am and everyone is asleep.

Everyone has traditions, whether they realize it or not. You may just see it as a habit, like showering before bed, but we all have them.

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Some traditions just happen, like the birthday cake. Others have a genesis, like Dad’s goodbye hugs.

Our journey as Christians can be that way too. If we aren’t careful, we just get into the habit of doing Christian things. It’s what our parents did, so we do it too.

I have grown up in a Christian family. In fact, Christianity goes back many, many generations and my grandfather was a campus minister. I became a Christian when I was around 5. There really wasn’t that big of a change in my daily life. I didn’t cuss or drink or anything like that. I was 5. I was childish, but I wasn’t demented.

I know there are many people with a beginning like mine, I’ve talked with several. It can be easy to have a “grandchild” mentality. You become a Christian because that’s what your family does. I’m noticing a lot of “Grandchildren of God” mentality in the homeschool community. Teens grow up, and don’t really know what they believe. They don’t have an original thought in their heads. They just regurgitate what their parents say on any given subject or issue. They have a birthday cake mentality. This is what we do. Why would we do it any other way? They haven’t come up against any real opposition yet, and when they do, they are shaken, sometimes to the point where they disregard everything they were taught.

Sorry parents, but this is your fault. Unfortunately, you don’t realized what you are doing. You are just trying to teach your children their faith, but what you are actually doing is teaching them yours. I know you really do mean well, so may I make a suggestion? Give them the tools and the raw materials, then let them build their own ideas. Give them guidance and an atmosphere where they feel free to ask questions. If they come up with something that you feel is off, ask them questions about it. How did you come to that conclusion? Start up a conversation with your teen. Please, remember this little bit of wisdom I’ve learned from my parents. Once a child turns 12-13 you can no longer tell them what to do. You can offer tips, but, unless it will harm something or someone in your charge, they really can’t be stopped (barring extreme force and police involvement, and in most cases that really isn’t necessary). Let them own themselves.

A life built on personal beliefs is a much more rewarding one than a life built on someone else’s. That’s what you want for your children. You want them to have “goodbye hug” traditions, not “birthday cake” habits.

Beautiful, Bald, Baby Sister

In Camp, Farm and Family, Pictures on October 8, 2013 at 12:32 am

Sixteen years ago I my life changed forever. My little Meglet joined the family. My incredibly comfortable life as an only child came to an end. I had no idea what it meant to be a big sister, in fact, I only recently have been learning what it really means.007

It has been amazing watching Megatron this past year. This practically bald three year old has become such a powerful young lady. She’s always been more of a lady than I am. She liked pink, horses, playing house and girly stuff like that. I liked climbing trees, making mud holes, playing surgeon, hiking, and wrestling. I dragged her along and she learned to like my stuff too, but she’s always added a touch of flowers and sparkle (we seriously were the Powerpuff Girls, even though mom wouldn’t let us watch the show).006

I was quite happy being an only child, and I did my best to get rid of her when we were little (subconsciously of course). As she was learning to walk, I used any opportunity to make her fall on her face. Mom was pretty sure that her 4 year old was going to be a convicted criminal (hasn’t happened yet…). When she was about 4, I covered her in mud from head to toe. And, not just a light coating, I caked her in mud. Oh, by the way, I think it was maybe March or something? It was cold outside. I guess it was when I was around 8 years old that I accepted that she was here for good. That’s when all our best stories are from. When we started working together to create our mischief.

Megara has always learned faster than me. When I was 7 years old and struggling to learn how to ride a bike, she stole my bike and rode away. She is the only one of my siblings that I didn’t teach how to ride a bike. She learned to read pretty much at the same time as I did. She watches me do something and fail, takes notes and then does the thing better than I ever could. That’s how it’s always been. Meg can do pretty much anything extremely well. She gets frustrated if it doesn’t work after 2 tries. This drives me crazy. If I get it within 2 tries, I’m shocked, and it probably was just a fluke.008

This summer at camp I was so proud of my baby sister. Her counselor and DD, both ladies that I love and look up to, would talk about her. They told about how she was helping the other girls in her cabin and how she was so mature. Every single time I heard them talking about her I started crying. My little Meg, blossoming into such a leader. I just can’t help but think of how fantastic she is going to be as a CILT and then on staff at camp.

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I love you my creative sister.

Megan, Megara, Megatron, Meglet, and most of all, Meg.

The Best is Yet to Come

In Books and Movies, Farm and Family on August 21, 2013 at 12:31 am

Have you noticed it? That fantastic chill in the breeze every once in a while? The sudden shiver running up your spine, down your arms and out your fingertips? Ah. It’s coming. Given, it’s still a ways off, but every once in a while…

Fall. Autumn. Harvest.

It’s almost time for hot chocolate, plaid flannel, bonfires, hoodies and jeans. I’m so ready. Fall is, in the words of Lola, “my favorite and my best.”

I’m so ready to snuggle down with a book and a cozy blanket and do nothing. In reality I’m not going to get to do that very often. I am doing Bible Quiz again, which will take up a bunch of time. I have my doula stuff. I’m trying to get a job. But reading is on my list of things to do.

It’s such a relief to not have schoolwork hanging over my head like an anvil threatening to drop at any second. I do need to take the ACT/SAT (not sure which I’ll do), but I don’t really have a deadline for that.

I’m sitting here in my flannel shirt I found at the thrift store. It is red and white and very cute. I don’t really care that it is the middle of August (Although it has been an extremely cool one). I really can’t put into words how excited I am for the fall. I just love the “ber” months. Have you ever noticed that the months that end with “ber” are chilly, but not icy (for the most part, end of December excluded). It’s cool and fresh feeling. It’s like the new beginnings of Spring, but without all the pollen and allergies.

One of the books I plan to read, or rather finish, is “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars- Verily, a New Hope.” Meg, Claire and I were at Target last Saturday and we wandered into the book section. I must say, even though it still has all the junk that Walmart does (You know the ones, the serial authors who won’t shut up and already have 25 books) Target has a lot of cool stuff that Wally world lacks. We were walking through and saw a set of books directing you to “Wreck This Journal.” We opened them up and started reading the instructions. They are basically busy books for grown ups. Stuff like “completely color this page”, “get this page dirty” and then some really bizarre things like “Tongue painting” which instructed you to eat a colorful piece of candy and then lick the page in the designated circle. Next to these awesome titles we saw “Shakespeare’s Star Wars” and had to open it up. I stood there and read the first page out loud in the store. So you know the opening credits of Star Wars? In a galaxy far, far away? And you know Shakespeare’s famous prologues? Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean? Yes. This book is such an awesome representation of my tastes in entertainment it’s not even funny. I may even do a new header to include it. It is the whole story of the classic and fantastic Star Wars, episode IV, a New Hope, in verse. Complete with 20 line long soliloquies and Stormtroopers. I am totally geeking out about this book! It has some really awesome potential also. It would be a great introduction to Shakespeare. You could know the story without reading the modern english or the side-by-side versions.

Other books on my list for this fall include (other than books for my training):

The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare (The real one)

Life The Universe And Everything, Douglas Adams (third in the Hitchhikers Guide series)

Entreleadership, Dave Ramsey

I wish my list could be longer, but I’ve got 5 others to read for my certification.

Well, I haven’t done a random, newsy sort of post in a while, so I hope you enjoyed this little taste of my life.

Smile

In Farm and Family, Pictures on May 12, 2013 at 9:03 am

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Yes, I’m going to get sappy on Mother’s Day. I’m sorry Mom. Thank you for all you do for us, even when we drive you nuts. You give us the benefit of the doubt when no one else does. Thank you for talking to us when we don’t want to hear it. You really are right pretty much every time. You are the voice of reason.

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You underestimate yourself. You expect that we will do great at everything we do, but then you don’t realize we got everything from you and Dad. Thank you for seeing the best in everyone, but not sugar coating it. Thank you for trying to be fair, while still explaining that life isn’t fair and that’s not what we really want.

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Thank you for introducing us to a wide variety of music. You have taught us to love everything from bluegrass to big band to Bach (and for teaching the usefulness of alliterations).   You are the reason we listen to Nat King Cole, Mozart  Elvis, Lil’ Richard, Mendelsohn, Frank Sinatra, The Piano Guys, Chuck Berry and Billy Joel all in one day. Even if you don’t personally like all of those, you broadened our horizons.

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Thank you for exposing us to art. You have given us the chance to see beautiful things. Thank you for teaching us how to make art in our own ways. Whether by teaching us yourself, like with our writing, or by having us take lessons. Thank you for encouraging me in my music and for teaching me everything I know about playing piano.

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Thank you for not just schooling us, but educating us. You have taught us how to learn. Thank you for recognizing that some things we will have to learn on our own and at our own time. Thank you for teaching us to teach ourselves and nurturing a desire to learn.

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Thank you for putting up with me and pointing out when I’m being unreasonable. Thank you for yelling at me and getting upset, but then apologizing. You’ve showed me that you are not perfect, but you point me to the one who is. Thank you for admitting when you are wrong, even though you don’t get much practice at it.

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Thank you for passing on a love of reading and encouraging us to read the good books. You have allowed us to read books just for fun, but also gotten us hooked on classics, even ones you haven’t read. THank you for instilling a love of language.

I know you don’t think you are doing a good job, but that is one of the few things you are wrong about. I really can’t think of anything you could do better.

DSCF9664 I love you Mamacita (or Short Boss).

Freedom!

In Farm and Family, Musings, Pictures on March 22, 2013 at 10:41 pm

I started doing the Snoopy Dance early this month. I went in to take the GED. Since I took it on the computer I got my scores back right away.  I didn’t quite dare to hope to expect to pass math. I nonchalantly looked at my scores and asked a couple questions about scoring. Then I went out to the car. Then I started  Snoopy Dancing. Well, not actually dancing, at least I don’t think I was…

I passed math! 54th percentile! Then I started dancing  even more. I only missed a couple of the science questions! 99th! The more scores I read the more excited I got. All but math were in the 90s!DSCF9467

I didn’t get my writing score right away because it had to be graded by someone, but I added my scores up and as long as I passed I would have over 3000 points.

The freedom of not having math looming over my head is amazing. I really can’t describe how wonderful it feels to not have school work (other than reading that mom and dad want me to do)

I got my diploma in the mail a few days ago.DSCF9498

My online teacher recommended that I apply for scholarships. I never thought I could go to college. I’m not sure why, it just wasn’t ever something I had considered. I think part of me thought I wasn’t book smart enough.

To be brutally honest, this is the first year I’ve really done any school. Mom taught me to read for about 3 years and once it finally stuck I just read stuff. For science I read science books, all the way from basic anatomy place mats to dads college textbooks, and stuck anything I could find under our microscope. Social studies is the hardest to pinpoint. You just kind of pick it up. Math is, was and probably will always be my worst enemy. I truly just didn’t do it. I learned to add and subtract and the basic principle of multiplication and that was enough for me. DSCF9505

I think a key to this style of schooling is fostering curiosity. We’ve always had all kinds of books around the house, but the microscope has always been one of my favorites. What does this type of leaf look like compared to this other one? What happens when it is cut, torn or crushed? How are they different? Comparing different people’s hair or fingernails.

Curiosity is what pushes you to read a book you may not have otherwise. It’s what pushes you to build thing and unwittingly learn the physics of a pulley or a fulcrum. Life may be a classroom, but curiosity is what keeps you from falling asleep during class.

I’m certainly not saying I’m done learning or that our relaxed style is THE best one for EVERYONE. It would be hypocritical. Learning is not a one size fits all thing (scarves are about the only thing I can think of that are).

I can’t believe I’m done.

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