17 in 17 Homesteading Goals ~ Update

We are officially over 1/3 of the way through 2017. Can you believe that? I’m happy to say, we have made some progress on our list of 17 goals. I am hopeful that over the upcoming weeks we will be able to check some more things off the list. But this is where we are currently:

  1. Get our feet “wet” with aquaponics
  2.  Start all of our own bedding plants – We purchased a few bedding plants, so we will have to keep working toward this goal next year.
  3. Have a more productive garden than last year
  4. Can and/or freeze 500 quarts of produce
  5. Finish mulching the area between the raised beds with wood chips
  6. Finish the grape arbor
  7. Learn about other varieties of mushrooms and their cultivation and put that knowledge into practice.
  8. Develop more of a market for the products we raise on our farm
  9. Get our bunkhouse up and going
  10. Finish our new apple press and publish the plans for it
  11. Build or buy a chicken plucker
  12. Seed more of the farm down into perennial grasses and legumes
  13. Plant 4800 shrubs for wildlife (oh my!) – DONE!
  14. Get the livestock water lines and tanks installed for the new paddocks – DONE!
  15. Replace the old, leaky windows in our living room – DONE!
  16. Install more insulation to make our home more efficient
  17. Replace the back door which also leaks air

I have found that it is sometimes nice to look back at a list and see how much work has been done. I get so busy with the what has to be done today that sometimes I lose sight of the big picture.



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All Around the Home and Homestead Blog Party 28

All Around the Home and Homestead

I just love the weather we’ve been having! Around here life is never boring or dull but I love it all the same. For example,  yesterday morning when I went to milk the cow, I was met with pigs who were tearing up the calf feed sacks. The pigs that we are fattening out managed to make a hole in their fence and escape and one of the kids had left the gate open to where the calf feed is.

Then when a couple of the kids were putting the fishing poles in the van, so they could go fishing at the grandparents’ after church, they discovered that one of the tom cats had been accidentally shut in the van overnight. He decided to pee, poop and shed all over the van. UGH! Scott and the girls cleaned it as best they could but that smell! We were sporting the wind blown look when we got to church. 🙂

This morning I started filling a water tank and then went ahead choring. After I was back at the house, our renter/neighbor texted and asked if we had a water leak because she had very little water pressure. Whoops! Thankfully it hadn’t run over yet! I am so glad she checked!

Then as she was getting ready to leave for work she saw our dairy cow out for a stroll on the highway! Mary, the Jersey cow, decided she should go for a 1/2 mile run this morning. So then she got to turn around and walk/run the half mile back. I’m so thankful for our renter/neighbor!! She saved the day, twice! Thank you, Carrie!!

I tell you all this to say as much as I love this life, I think I need gates that automatically shut when the kids leave them open. And this “simple” life isn’t always so simple. I hope you have a blessed week and all the animals stay where they are supposed to be.




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Algebra for Breakfast ~ Review

As many schools and homeschools are winding down for the school year you may be worried about your kids losing some of their skills over the summer. We had had the opportunity to review a fun math supplement for the past several weeks. For this review, we received 9 months of access to Grades 3/4 and the Grades 5/6 Lessons from Algebra for Breakfast.

Algebra for Breakfast
How Does it Work?

Algebra for Breakfast is an internet based supplemental math curriculum. In addition to the videos, there are worksheets to download and print. There are also games to play and skip counting songs to listen to.

Algebra for Breakfast is very hands on! The math manipulative blocks are essential in this program. I cannot emphasize enough how hands-on this program is. Some of my kids love math and find it easy while others find math boring or hard to understand. Because AFB is so hands on it has made math much easier for Mr E. He’s a very hands on kid so being able to work with the manipulatives has been good for him!

The skip counting songs are cute, there’s just one small problem they get stuck in my head. Ha! Truly though the skip counting songs are good because they do get stuck in your head which means they also get stuck in my kids’ heads.

Algebra for Breakfast Continue reading

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IEW High School Essay Intensive ~ Review

I am excited that we have had the opportunity to review the  High School Essay Intensive from Institute for Excellence in Writing. Especially since we are fast approaching Mr. B taking the ACT test with it’s new optional essay section. Did I say that out loud? I must have blinked because I’m sure that we shouldn’t be ready for that yet! Although when I look UP to him I am reminded that the years have flown by.

Institute for Excellence in Writing High School Essay Intensive

We have always enjoyed the products that we have reviewed from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) in the past so I felt confident this review would also be a good fit. (Previously we have reviewed: Teacher/Student Writing Package Level A with Fix It Grammar 1 & 2, Poetry Memorization, and Phonetic Zoo.)

High School Essay Intensive 

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Starting Sweet Potato Slips

Not only are sweet potatoes packed with calcium, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C; they are also delicious! If you haven’t grown sweet potatoes before, I encourage you to add them to your garden this year. They really aren’t hard to grow.

Most sweet potatoes are grown from “slips.”  I saved back three sweet potatoes from last year just so we could grow our own sweet potato slips. Slips can also be purchased from local nurseries or through these Amazon Links:

Beauregard Sweet Potato Slips / Organic

Centennial Sweet Potato Slips – Organic

Georgia Jet Sweet Potato Slips – Organic

How to Grow Your Own Sweet Potato Slips

I select sweet potatoes from the year before that are still in good shape and place them bottom end down in a jar or glass of water. When you select your potato you might be able to see some initial shoots like this: Continue reading

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