March 28, 2014

Spring Cleaning Time!

Join me on my new blog A Simply Wonderful Life for Spring Cleaning tips that are happening right now!!!

We've already been through the bathroom and bedrooms!!  To catch up on these rooms, and see more to come join me there!!

March 13, 2014

New Beginnings, New Blog!

For years, I have posted on this blog, chronicaling our life on our 10 acre hobby farm.  Well a little over a year ago, our lives changed!  In a good way, don't worry.  But it DID intale a move!  We moved from our 10 acres and home that we loved, sold all of our animals (sad, SAD day), and moved to a new home.

Recently, I have been missing the blogging I used to do (yes, it has been a while!).  So, I decided to start a NEW blog, to go along with a new beginning.  Our new home is on ONE acre, and we have access to a lake.  Life has changed a bit, but it's all good! 

We will be getting a few animals, and gardening.  I will still be sharing recipes, and life.  And we will still definitely be having adventures.

Please go to my new blog A Simply Wonderful Life, and follow!  I've missed all of the friends I made here and I hope to reconnect!  If there are any rough spots on my new site, I appologize!  It's a new work in progress.  Also, don't be afraid to let me know if there's an issue that may need my attension! 

Thank you friends, hope to see you soon!

My 4 boys, in the backyard of our new home

February 28, 2013

Just Back!

This past month (or more!), I have been absent because I was preparing my family and my EXTENDED family for a BIG family vacation!  All 21 of us (yes, 21!) went to Kissimmee, FL for a week!

You can see our adventures as I wrote for another blog HERE

Now, back to normal life! 

January 3, 2013

Homeschool Decision

As I have mentioned previously, I am now in my 2nd year of homeschooling my kids.  I started out 6 years ago homeschooling where I made my own curriculum up and did no regulatory testing to know if I was keeping up on what I needed to for my kids.  My husband and I were uncomfortable with NOT knowing where we are in comparison to other kids their age/ grade level.  So we ended up putting them into public school, until 2011. 

My 2 oldest were struggling with public school.  My oldest son's teacher told us that he was struggling because he (teacher) was holding the class to a higher standard than what other teachers in the school hold kids.  He said that teachers get behind each year and teachers were just trying to catch up all the time, teaching for tests...  He said in his class, he was teaching at the level that kids their age should be at.  Hmmm.... Aren't all kids supposed to be at the same level?  Not just trying to play "catch up" and learning for tests?

I dug further into things, wondering if any other parents had some concerns also.  I found lots of them, and lots of kids that struggled with the cramming for tests.  Lots of teachers who really had no business with teaching (though I have to say my boys had a few teachers that were great). 

I didn't want to get back into traditional homeschooling because we would be in the same situation that we had been in before.  So what could we do?

About that time, I had got a postcard in the mail from a 'public school online'.  I did some digging and made some phone calls.  This 'school' was like a homeschool.  You, as the parent, were with the child daily, helping them with their work.  All of their work is layed out for them on their personal login page...  They have an actual teacher that talks to them every 2 weeks via phone call and at least 2 times a week via online classroom (think chat room meets PowerPoint). The teacher is available at all times during school hours. The books are FREE! 

My boys also participate in all of the required state testing. 

A common worry of people with any homeschooling is that the children are being shielded from things that they need to know...  We are active in church, in sports, and with music lessons, so our kids are around other children a lot.  No worries on not being exposed.  But in the things that they are exposed to, we are able to be there to help explain and answer questions.  This should be a parents job anyways, in my opinion.

IF you are used to the freedom of traditional homeschool, you might not like that you have a start and stop date (first day of school and last day), but you have freedom of hours, you can do school on Saturdays, or can take vacation whenever you want.  They have a "spring break" but you can change that around to have it whenever you want, or skip it all together and get out of school a week or more earlier at the end.  You don't have the freedom of choosing the curriculum, but I don't have much to complain about on the curriculum that they do use.  (PLUS IT'S FREE!!! Did I already say that?) 

For us, this has worked out great.  I love having my boys at home.  I love that when they are exposed to things of this world, that we are with them able to explain things.  I love that we know everything that they are learning.  I love that I now know that they are learning above and beyond what they would be learning in traditional public school. 

I'm sure you will continue to hear bits and pieces of what we do, but if you have questions, I will do what I can to answer them! 

December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

I want to wish everyone a happy and very blessed Christmas! Hug & love on all the family and friends that you can!!!

December 13, 2012

Garden- Are You Thinking About it Yet?

Ok. This will have to be my only post for this week. My wonderful aunt (and really, mentor in homesteading) Debbie has past away from cancer. I am extremely sad, but in the sadness have to remember who she was and what she loved! And one high on her list was gardening!

As I am preparing to order my heirloom seeds (from a place suggested to me by my aunt!), I just want to see where you all get YOUR seeds? Have you saved them from years past? Are you purchasing them, and where from? Do you just buy the plants and bypass the seed rearing? Or do you just desire to have a garden but buy the finished products?

Please share! I always love to hear people share what they are doing!! I will share with you soon!

December 6, 2012

Decorating for Christmas!

My Hoosier Cabinet

I love Christmas!  I love the greenery, I love the shininess (is that a word?), I love the music, I love the giving, I LOVE the celebration and remembrance of the birth of Jesus! 

If you look around my house the week after Thanksgiving (yes, I hold off until AFTER!), you will see a LOT of snowmen appear!  And it's a good thing I have them for inside, because there sure isn't any snow for them outside yet in Indiana!  :/

My Dollar Tree Birdy

This year we got a smaller tree, and yes, we get fresh cut.  We go to a local farm where we can get on a wagon pulled by a team of horses.  They take us out to the fields and drop us off.  You and your family can wander the field looking for that perfect tree... 

And I think we found our FIRST perfect tree!  Why do I say that?  Well, because this is our first tree in 13 years of marriage that HASN'T FALLEN OVER!  All the rest we had to tie it to something, weigh down the base with a large rock, or just straight up lean it onto a wall!  NOT THIS YEAR!  Yay!!! 

The perfect tree at night

Ain't she a beaut? 

Now who else loves the decorations like I do?

December 5, 2012

And the Animals Were Gone...

One of our babies from 2011
The saddest part of our homestead metamorphosis, is that we had to sell/ giveaway all of our animals, with the exception of Girl, our dog. Being in limbo for the summer was not going to allow us to keep anything. Especially when we didn't know where we were going to move.

It was not without tears that we had to decide it... Because we had many beloved animals. But we knew that we needed to be patient and wait. We knew we had to give up somethings to get answers to our many prayers.

Well, now that we are settled in our new place and getting some of those projects completed, my mind is starting to drift towards getting more animals. We are only on ONE acre here.... So that poses a but of an issue, BUT places like the Urban Homestead in Pasadena, California and many others do the same thing, with much less space than we have! So I am accepting this challenge! I am getting my list together for a chicken order and I have my heirloom seed order ready to go also! We are also prepared to get some goats in the Spring, so the boys have their 4H projects.

Homesteading is never an easy journey... But "in all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty." (Prov. 14:23)

Thanks for being on this journey with us!! Talk to you all again soon!!

November 29, 2012

New Heat!

The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so DELIGHTFUL!!

Sorry. Just couldn't help myself!! We finally got our wood burning stove in! There was a fireplace in our new place when we moved here, but it wasn't efficient AND (my biggest worry was) it had a blower that had to have electricity to run.

Now, in the winter at our old place, we probably went without electric 1-2 times in the winter. I remember last year that 2 hours felt like forever just because it was SO. COLD.

But not this year!

I will continue on our new homestead story soon but just HAD to share with you this most exciting progress... Talk to you soon...

November 25, 2012

Change of Homestead...

The view from our back porch

Oh my. First, I am going to apologize for being away so long... Second, I am going to try to make a resolution to keep up at least weekly with our blog.... And third, well, it's great to be back on!! I missed you guys and look forward to sharing the TONS of changes that has happened in just this last 6 months for us!!

There is so much that has happened, that I guess that there is no where to start but at the top!!

So!! About one year ago, my husband and I, after feeling maybe we should sell our home, our most favorite place yet, to help us get out of debt, put our place on the market. We aren't Dave Ramsey people (though I know he has lots of great advise). We just knew that in uncertain times, we just didn't want to be stuck with such large payments on a home. We decided to try to sell and either have NO house payments, or at least a lot lower one. So, in January of 2012, with blind faith that our house would sell in a bad market, we put that sign up in our front yard.

I cried. My husband wouldn't admit to it but I think he probably cried too. We worked hard on that house and raised our beautiful boys for 5 years there... So many wonderful memories... But we felt God wanted something more for us, so we continued to pray. We started to look at repo homes, not finding much but knowing that is where our price range would be... In April, we had an offer on our home, one that offered nearly everything that we asked. We knew God had plans. So, we proceeded. With the buyers financing, we had to be out of our home at the end of June. 2 weeks before 4H fair (ugh!) and 3 weeks before our family was to go on our first mission trip to Nicaragua.

Where were we going to live? How were we going to find a home? There weren't but a few repo homes on the market and we had already put in 2 full offers on 2 homes and got outbid!! The stress was really on but again we knew God must have plans.

My husband's sister and her family were actually going to stay in Nicaragua the whole summer and needed someone to take care of their home and dog. So the day they left, was the day we needed to be out of our house. We took a few things with us and moved the rest into a giant storage garage.

Within the first few days, our realtor called us with a house to check out. It sounded a little higher than our price range but could still be do-able if there was less work to be done... We went and checked it out... And fell in love!! Could God really be answering our prayers with this place? The place came on the market during 4H, we put in another full offer, and heard a few days before we left for Nicaragua that our offer had been accepted!! We had a home!! BUT, all the financing still had to go through... So we got home from 9 days in Nicaragua and had to wait. Ugh!! We absolutely HAD to be out of my sister-in-laws home before they came back mid-August!!

One week before we had to be out of our "summer home", as we liked to call it, we signed papers and had the keys to our NEW homestead.

That only meant one thing... We had ONE WEEK to paint, floor and move our stuff into our new place!

But with help from our awesome friends and family, we did it!! In one week, we prepared the home and moved in! We were close to a lake ( a beautiful blue lake with lots of fishing).  We are now on a SMALLER property than we had before but alot can still be done on one acre.... 

That's about where we are now... 

Next post, I will be sharing with you the BIG changes going on here and what will be coming up next!!

If you are still around, we would love to hear how things are going for YOU!! 

Sunset over the lake

October 20, 2011

So Much to Catch Up On!

I really AM still around!  I can't believe it's been ALL SUMMER since I posted last! 

I guess we kept REAL busy, and now this Fall, we are STILL very busy!  I am actually homeschooling my boys again!  So they get the computers during the first half of the day, the second half, I try to play catch up in my house!  (More on that soon!)

Well, I PROMISE I will be back and share how it went with 4H this year, with our food prep, our farm and more!  Talk to you all soon!  :)

June 20, 2011

Clothesline Challenge!

Alright ~ time to share how much you have SAVED on either your gas or electric bill by using your clothesline instead of your dryer!

This month there was about a week where it RAINED almost everyday.  So I used my dryer at that time, but MOSTLY have line dried everything!  My last bill, I saved $40 off of our usual bill!  We also got a swimming pool during this time and have been running the pump, but we STILL reduced our bill!

Now, how about YOU!?!?!  How did you do?  Did you save?  Tell us about it!!! 

June 18, 2011

Pictures from the Farm

 I know I have been MIA lately....  So I am giving you a few pictures from the last week.  We have been so busy (despite the chillier temps) with weeding garden, strawberries, we even sheered ONE of our sheep...

We are busy, but I am enjoying it.  It is rewarding!  Having those berries in the freezer, knowing that the garden is producing when the grocery bill is tight.  And the harvest, Mmmm mmmm mmmm!!!  Delicious! 

On to the pictures!

Our beef cattle

Our ducks by the pond

Some of our goat babies

Our Jacob Sheep Mommy, Lindsay

Lindsay's daughter, Charlotte

Puck- Before Haircut

Puck- After Haircut

My Jacob Sheep Girls
 Two of our ducks hatched their own babies...  And they are super cute.  So are the boys in these pictures... :)

Boys and Baby Ducks

Koen & Baby Duck

Caden & Baby Duck
Hope you enjoyed these for now...  I WILL be back soon.  I want to hear how the Clothesline Challenge has gone for each of you!  That will come up in the next few days...  Get your electric (or gas) bills out and be ready to share on Monday!  Also, how is your garden doing???  I can't wait to hear AND to show you ours also...

More later!

June 8, 2011


Oh my, I absolutely LOVE this time of year.  The WARMTH has not only appreared (as well as some of the rain DISappearing), but along with all of that rain and now sunshine, we are seeing things spring up like CRAZY in the garden! 

I will share pics soon, I am actually working (volunteering on our church office while many people from our church get to go to Israel!).  So I will add pics when I have time in the next day or 2.  But we are REALLY enjoying the harvest of STRAWBERRIES that we have been getting DAILY!  The last 2 mornings, I have enjoyed a fresh ORGANIC strawberry and raw milk smoothie for breakfast!  Doesn't get any better than that! (Well, maybe with some homegrown raw honey!)

Lettuce is also coming on!  I CANNOT WAIT for that!

Many othering things are Springing up!  Pics coming VERY soon!

What are you enjoying from your garden/farm???

May 26, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away...

....come again in July....

OK, so it doesn't rhyme, BUT, the rain SERIOUSLY needs to go.  I hafta go swimmin' if I want to hang anything on my clotheslines!

Boat needed to hang clothes on line!  ;)

We have hardly gotten much of a break around here.  Besides that, people all across the country can do without the devastation that many of these storms and rain are causing...  WE ARE PRAYING FOR THOSE PEOPLE.  And I can complain about some rain (well, a LOT of rain), but our hearts are really sad for those who have lost loved ones or even property due to this mess of stormy weather...

And we are DEFINITELY earning our name "Muddy Boots Farm"...  Why didn't we name it 'Sunny and warm boots farm', or 'sunny with a pleasant breeze on a beach farm'....???  Live and learn, I suppose...

May 18, 2011

Gardening on Our Farm

Just planted garden

 It's been a while since I have updated much going on here on the farm.  So today  I am going to update you on our garden!

Austin planting potatoes

In Indiana, it has been raining SO much that my garden was just too wet to even till!  My hubby finally got it tilled about 2 1/2 weeks ago (if I can remember right).  And the next day I was planting my potatoes!  I got red and Kennebec potatoes.  About 15 lbs in all...  It cost me less than $2 and will bring us well over 100-150 lbs of potatoes.

Potatoes and strawberries

About 1 1/2 weeks ago, I got a bit more planted.  I got 2 types of lettuce.  I actually planted MORE than I know we will eat, BUT I am hoping to be able to sell some of it.  Hopefully that will go well...  I am going to be planting some Kale also soon (if it stops raining again).  I also planted 2 rows of carrots, two different types.  I had 4 yellow pepper plants, but one died of undetermined causes... Maybe underfoot of a wayward duck...  :(
Lincoln Peas

We also have 2 rows of peas.  3 different types of organic tomato plants, and 4 Roma plants.  I am hoping my tomatoes are better this year.  Last year, my plants weren't very productive and those that WERE, were rotten BEFORE they started to turn red.

I have one cucumber plant.

I thought I had planted my green beans, but looking back through my things I guess I haven't planted them yet.  I will get to those as soon as the rain stops and things dry out a bit.

Large Strawberry blooms

My strawberry plants that I planted last year are doing SO well!!!  The flowers are HUGE!  I can't wait to start getting strawberries.  We JUST ran out of our frozen strawberries, and I am super bummed about it!  We still have lots of jelly left though.

Strawberries with rainy sky background

2 of my blueberry bushes made it through the Winter.  They won't probably produce much for a few years.  I would like to get several more, because blueberries actually absorb pesticides like a sponge and most places feel the need to spray for bugs!  I want to get away from that!

I just got some rhubarb plants from a friend.  So hopefully next year I can get some rhubarb for some nice pies and desserts!  :)  YUM!

I also got some red raspberry plants from her also....  Oh the possibilities!

My apples trees are blossoming right now also.  I have the two older ones and the two newer ones (planted last year), which are looking great and will probably produce fruit!  Not sure how to keep the bugs off this year though.... Last year I lost all of my apples to the bugs.  :(

My good lookin' boys in front of our apple trees

I am also hoping to utilize my herb garden this year.  Last year I let it get too grown and flowered out without a chance to learn how to use them much...  I enjoyed the FEW times I did get to use them, but this year that is more of a priority!  Anyone have some ideas you want to share???  :)

So, how are YOUR garden's coming???  I would love to visit your blogs and see!  Post a link in the comments if you have a post about it!  Thanks and can't wait to see them!!!!!