Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Seeking to Simplify- Doing Family Activities

 One of the ways that we have tried to keep things a little simpler for our family is to as much as we can have family activities instead of individual activities. That doesn't work every time but much of the time that is the way we do it.

None of our kids are involved in traditional age categorized sports but instead we have one of our favorite family activities - Homeschool baseball. We started this around 7 years ago after we had tried out a summer of having the boys in little league. I didn't care for going during the day while Ken was working as sports is more his interest anyway and I also didn't like having to be there 2 different times in the day for my boys of different ages. So we started up this pretty informal baseball gathering that is in the evening (when dads are generally off work) and all ages of kids can play at the same time. We do divide up into older kids and younger kids (and we may soon have a middle kid group too) but every can play at the same time. Dads  help out with pitching/coaching and Moms keep score and keep kids organized and watch over little ones that are two young to play. Everybody tends to have a lot of fun and we have become good friends with many that attend. We meet just once a week throughout the summer (This year we started at the beginning of May and we tend to go through September).
Anyway - that is our current busyness on Tuesday evenings and we are enjoying this simple family time.

Concerning my clutter simplifying....

  As this year has gotten busier (Spring and Summer tend to do that) I have struggled a little to get all my goals met but we are still making a lot of progress and I am happy about that.

I haven't reported on my progress since April 5th! Oh my!
Since then....

I have gotten rid of 207 items in the last 8 weeks. A little over 25 a week which is my goal.
I decluttered/went through 35 areas (box, drawer, closet, etc). That is a little short of my 5 per week goal.
I only did 5 days worth of going through picture folders. It seems like that tends to be a better wintertime activity. Maybe I should spend a little more time working on that then messing around on Facebook.
My e-mail inbox is cleaned out now but I have been slacking on that some.
I did sell 17 items. Hooray!

How is simplifying going at your house? Do you like to make your activities family ones when possible?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Science Circus {Using What I Had in My "Hand"}

The whole circus cast sang the National Anthem to start off the show.
 Our homeschool co-op put on a science circus for our end of year program this year. It was quite a lot of fun and I really enjoyed watching the children do their various parts.
  Since this is a Thursday post I thought it would be fun to share with you ways we used things that we already had to put this production on. I headed up a group of 4 of us parents from our co-op to be in charge of the circus (other parents were in charge of other months). None of us spent much money on this event. I think I probably spent the most and I think it was less than $40. I did buy balloons, popcorn (we popped enough for over 100 people to eat), bags for the popcorn, clown make-up (our homemade recipes didn't work out), skewers and I think that is pretty much it.
I made the ringmasters' jackets using some black fabric that we had gotten free at an outlet fabric store. The gold was leftover from a wedding. I also made the hat above using the same fabric and cardboard. We had two ringmasters and our other ringmaster made his own hat. 

This ringmaster brought a long a snare drum to give some special affects now and then. We collected a bunch of boxes which we turned inside out and the decorated with colorful shapes. We had thought we would use them to make a "ring" but decided that would get in the way so we decorated the back wall with them and stored props in them.
The clowns. My mom and I had made 2 of the clown outfits some years back for a church event (using them we had on hand then as well). The other clown outfit was already owned by the clown. The rainbow wigs were owned by co-op members already. Megan preferred to make her own baldy wig with orange hair around the edges. She also make her pointed hat and put paper mache and paint on an old pair of Aaron's shoes to make fancy shoes for herself. Her very creative idea was for all of their noses. She made red clown noses out of egg carton sections, red balloons, stuffing and elastic string. They worked pretty well.
Mara did her act (kind of in a clownish way) dressed up like an old cook. She also had fun "butting" in to a lot of the circus to keep things moving and lively. Her costume came from clothes that we had one hand.

We had juggling and Hula Hooping. (This picture was taken at a rehearsal).
Another picture of clowns.
We had popcorn to give to everyone who came. I made their little boxes with straps from things we had around our house.

We made a ticket booth out of boxes. I had a whole group of little kids helping me with it one day which was quite fun! Ken had given me these tickets some time back that had been leftover from some event that he had helped with. I have been saving them for some special occasion.
Girls inside took their tickets. I made them little aprons from old t-shirts.

Our program girl. I made programs using some paper that a friend had given us in great quantities. I has a rainbowy edge on it.
Another pop-corn salesman.

I made belts for the acrobats by braiding strips of primary colored t-shirts together.
The kids had fun coming up with acrobatic acts to do. They did a good job.
I missed getting good pictures of a lot of the acts (like "tight-rope" or balance beam walking, walking on eggs, screaming balloons, the bed of nails and much more) but that gives you an idea of our circus. It was a lot of fun and I was grateful to be able to use so many things that I already had to help make it extra special.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Happenings on Our Homestead

Spring has really and truly arrived and you may have noticed that blogging rather took a back seat. There are just so many other things to do too. But I do love blogging so here I am again. :-)

Here are some various things that have been happening around our homestead....
 We tried grafting a bunch of apple trees. We also moved them out of the temporary home in the garden into their permanent locations.
 The rootstock we had bought economically from the county when we first bought this property. The scions we got off of my Dad's trees. I am feeling a little pessimistic about the grafting. I don't know that I really got the hang of how I should be doing it yet.
 Our new layer hens (18 of them) are getting big. They are a lot bigger now than when I took this picture.
 Late April we got another snow. It was pretty but for some reason people were struggling to properly enjoy it. :-)
 I think Kitchi thought it was just fine.
 I moved my cherry trees too and then they bloomed beautifully.
 They are now down by the house and I could look out and enjoy them every day.
 Aaron gave the garden another tilling (Ken had earlier).
 Then we started planting the cold loving plants. We don't do anything that is sensitive to frost until June but other things are great to get going earlier.
 Mara was in charge of onions.
 Megan helped a lot with this mess of potatos.
 Aaron planted peas.
 I found a morrell mushroom in our woods. I was super excited to find one on our property! That is the only one so far. I split it into 3 pieces (for Ken, Mara and I - the ones that enjoy mushrooms) and fried it. Yummy! We have been having rain lately so I am hoping more might pop out soon.
 My brother Luke brought Dad's bobcat over and did a lot of dirt work (we had a bunch of black dirt hauled in) for us and moved some rocks as well. We now are pretty much ready to plant the yard.
 Mara got this lovely clematis plant for me for Mother's Day. Unfortunately Kitchi decided to tear up the trellis which brought the plant with it. I replanted it and am hoping it survives. I love the look or a Clematis. I am enjoying all the other plants coming up which I planted last year.
 We got the lower part of our driveway paved this week.
 It was fun to watch.
It looks so nice now! We are very excited about no longer having mud puddles, being able to get our yard planted and the reductions of dust near our house. Playing basketball and roller blading is also very exciting for the family.

I am gearing up to getting the rest of the garden planted. I have a bunch of seedlings growing on my window shelf. Spring is an exciting time of year!


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