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Posts Tagged ‘homesteading’

Had a beautiful day today so the kids and I went outside to start garden seeds in the seed starting trays.  It is still too early yet to plant in the ground but this will give us a head start.

Little Miss planted some corn and pumpkin.  She hopes to get enough pumpkins to sell some next autumn as a fund raiser for a church camp she attends.  She also planted sugar pod peas, which we love to snack on.

Pookie helped me to plant various types of squash, cucumbers, tomatoes for canning, and some grape tomatoes for salads and snacking.

After we were done, Little Miss found a few flower pots to plant marigolds, morning glory, and lavender into. 

Having the kids helping to plant the seeds was a fun project.  I intend to transplant a sugar pod pea and grape tomato plant in their yard for them to enjoy.  As soon as the weather is warm enough, we will plant some climbing green bean plants as well in their yard and maybe a strawberry patch.  I remember as a kid, going over to the family garden and picking a handful of green beans, peas, or some other treat to snack on.  Having a mini garden in their yard will encourage the fun and healthy snacking.

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Just when it seemed that summer was starting, here I find myself watching the fast approaching end to the season.  It has been an eventful one.  One major change was the new job that my hubby has. He is once again working for an OTR (over the road) trucking company.  It has been a bit of an adjustment for the kids especially, but everyone is doing well with it.

We decided to take the summer off after all and will soon be restarting the new term.  With the summer’s warm temps, I found it too difficult to keep the kids focused on schooling when the beautiful day was waiting for them to come outdoors to play.  So, we have been spending time outside or going on outings.  It has been a great decision.  We will be starting up our school term after we get back home from our vacation.

After vacation, I am going to be getting internet set up at home.  So looking forward to that.  It has been a long time. It will be a dial-up service but that is so much better than not having any internet at all.  I currently only have the internet on my phone, which is why it has been hard to get the blog posts done.  Now, it will only be a matter of getting time scheduled to actually work on and post to the blog.

AmTryke

One really exciting event that took place over the summer has been Little Man getting a much needed AmTryke.  This is a specially designed large tricycle made for special needs children.  It has a feature that allows the child to “pedal” the tricycle not only with their feet but with their hands as well.  Little Man doesn’t have the leg strength to pedal a tricycle with his legs alone.  He also doesn’t have the balance needed for a bicycle.  So, in his physical therapy sessions, they have had him ride the AmTryke from time to time.  At first, they had to push him using the handle on the back of the AmTryke to help propel him across the gym floor.  Now, he is able to propel himself if the surface is flat and smooth.  In our yard, we have to push him a bit over the inclines and rough areas, but otherwise he is doing it on his own.  AmBucs is the resource we used to get the AmTryke.  The physical therapist sent in the order with his measurements and they contacted us via mail.  AmBucs has a fundraising site that they use called Crowd Rise.  On this site, we were able to list Little Man and share a little about him.  It works a lot like the other fund raising websites.  You share the link and others donate to the fund.  As soon as the money to pay for the AmTryke is raised, they ship it to the physical therapist for assembly and final fitting.  This is a great resource for families with special needs children who cannot afford to buy the AmTryke themselves.  The cost for it was $735.00.  We were able to raise the funds within a few weeks.  What a blessing!!!  Little Man rides the AmTryke 30-45 minutes a day.  It is going to do so much to help him build strength.  Though Hypotonia is a neurological disorder that cannot be cured, the effects can be lessened with time and exercise.  In the past two years since beginning the therapies at the center we take Little Man to, we have seen a huge change in his strength and stamina.  He is also making a lot of progress in others areas as well.

Little Miss is such a great big sister.  She is so compassionate and loving towards her brother.  We have been seeking out opportunities for her to shine as well.  She is now involved with a church youth group and is signed up for 4-H.  She was in the 4-H Cloverbuds program previously.  This will be her first year to be in the actual 4-H group.  We still need to decide which of the local groups to have her in, but she is enrolled with the organization.  She is really excited about it.

 

 

 

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With spring in the air, it is only natural here on the homestead to start thinking about gardening.  Being homeschoolers, this is also the perfect time to start a unit study about plants.  The unit study is mainly covering science only, with a bit of art and reading thrown in.  I have added this onto our current Heart of Dakota curriculum.

The main resources that we are using are:

Ecology for Every Kid by Jan Van Cleave

Organic Gardening for Kids by Elizabeth Scholl

Sprouting Seed Science Projects by Ann Benbow & Colin Mably

Kids Pumpkin Projects by Deanna F. Cook

Discovering Science Plants workbook by Franklin Schaffer Publications

 

Our first project is to soak about 4 seeds each from 4 vegetable varieties.  We chose pumpkin, sugar peas, corn, and green beans.  The seeds are soaking overnight so that tomorrow Little Miss can dissect a seed from each variety to compare them.  Some seeds are monocot, meaning that they have 1 first leaf.  Others are dicot, meaning that there are 2 first leaves.  She will be charting which seeds are monocot and which are dicot.  Her are project will be to draw the cross-section of a seed showing it’s various parts.  Pookie is also doing the project but will be coloring a picture of a sprouting seed that I drew for him today.

Jan Van Cleave’s book has activities that demonstrate the connection between animals and plant life through habitats.  She also has a section on the definition of a weed and what use they are in nature.

Organic Gardening for Kids teaches children about composting and basic garden skills.  There are many terms that the children will learn as well as how organic gardening benefits us.

Sprouting Seed Science Projects contains 10 chapters that go through the entire process of how seeds are scattered, growing conditions, and the process of how they sprout & grow.  Each chapter has it’s own science experiment to go along with it.  All look fun and very educational.

Discovering Science Plants workbook is an actual unit study complete with the worksheets to go along with the lessons.  I happened upon this gem at a used book store.  The front of the book has the lessons, which are all very short, with the worksheets following.  It is rated for Primary Grades.

Kids Pumpkin Projects is the book I was so excited about last year.  We found it at the library, but sadly it was too late in the growing season to reap the most benefit from the book.  It starts out in spring with kids planning out their pumpkin patch and goes through the growing season from the planning stages through harvest.  Throughout the book, there are recipes and activities that are both educational and fun for the kids and mom!  Little Miss is wanting to grow her own patch of pumpkins to sell next autumn.  This is the perfect book to help turn her “cash crop” into a homeschool project.

Little Miss is especially excited about this unit.  She is still doing the science lessons in her Heart of Dakota curriculum, but wanted to do this additional one.  Her proud moment today was learning about monocots & dicots.  She is making a poster using plant pictures to classify them as a monocot or dicot.

On a side note, Little Miss is also using this time to work on her plant color wheel that she wanted to do earlier.  The color wheel is based upon the various color families that vegetables & fruits belong to.  Each color family provides specific nutrients to our diet.  She is making a wheel that shows which family each of the fruits & vegetables we eat belong to and what nutrients they provide.

This is one of the reasons why we love homeschooling.  While she is getting a sound education through her curriculum, we also have the freedom to pursue these other areas that interest her the most.  By giving her that ability, we are able to teach her far more than if we made her “stick to the program” and not allow her to reach out to other things.

 

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We have been in the Catskills area of New York visiting family for the past week.  What a fun time it has been.  My Father-in-law is feeling better now that they have increased his medication dosages.  Yesterday, he felt so good that he took me for our much anticipated ride on his motorcycle.  What fun! 

It has been a trip that has me reflecting much about our chosen lifestyle.  The more that I see how the economy’s effects on family and others, I am becoming more convinced that we are being wise in our decision. 

Prices are going up.  There is no indication that they will go down again anytime soon.  I am convinced that our Grandparents and earlier generations were right.  Having the ability to grow our own food and be as self-reliant as possible is a path of freedom.

In any area of our life that we become dependent on outside sources for our needs, we fall into bondage to those sources.  If you doubt this, try going without electricity.  How would you manage?   Take a look at everything that you have in your home that requires electricity.  Appliances, lighting, heat, air conditioning, fans, computers, clocks, radio, and TV all require electricity.  How would you store your food?  How would you prepare it for your meals?  Pretty basic, but a necessity.  Now, here is where the bondage comes in.  Unless you are able to get solar, wind, or some other alternative source for your electricity you are stuck with having to buy your electricity from a single source.  You can’t shop around and compare prices with other power companies.  You are forced to buy from the local company.  This is a form of bondage.  Not the slavery of old, but whenever you have a loss of basic freedoms to choose for yourself you are in a type of bondage.

Joe and I are trying to be as self-reliant as possible.  This gives us the freedom to do things our way.  We don’t have to pay the higher costs, because we have the freedon to choose what and where we buy what we need.

It is heartbreaking to see others struggle, working full-time but still barely making ends meet.  Having to make choices between groceries or heating bill is a decision that no one should have to make.  The hard part is when they make more than the limit for getting aid, but not enough to make ends meet.  They fall through the cracks.  Many are renting their home/apartment in the city to be close to work.  Because of renting, they are unable to garden and grown their food.  Housing costs and other basic expenses are higher due to the presumed convenience of living in the city.  Yet, their income does not match the cost of living rate.  Why don’t they move to a cheaper area?  If you don’t have the money to meet your basic needs, how can you afford to move?  They are stuck.

I am so grateful that we live where we do and have the ability to live a lifestyle that allows us to be self-reliant in as many areas as possible.  Yes, it is more work, but the blessing and peace of knowing that we are able to meet our family’s needs without depending on others makes the work worth it.

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