Posts Tagged With: kids

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

If you haven’t heard about KonMari, you’re probably not on Facebook enough.  (Congratulations!)  Marie Kondo wrote The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanses Art of Decluttering and Organizing a few years ago, but the phenomenon recently hit the US.  She teaches you how to have a tidier house by getting rid of the clutter, i.e. everything.

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

I can’t really explain the book, so you have to read the real thing if you’re interested.  But you start with clothes, hold everything you own, and instead of choosing what to get rid of you choose what to keep– only things that bring you joy.  The distinction is surprisingly more important than you’d think.

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

When I started I thought I didn’t have a lot of clutter, since our house is an older home with little storage space.  I was wrong.  Using Marie’s criteria I’ve gotten rid of more than half of each category I’ve “KM’ed” (that’s KonMaried).

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

But, #farmmomproblems, I don’t have good place for a yard sale.

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

And I have So Much Stuff.  (That’s crafts, not scrapbooking.)

The Japanese Art of Getting Rid of All Your Stuff

Homeschool.  Not this year’s curriculum.

So what every country girl needs is a friend in the city.  Hopefully a super great friend with prime garage sale real estate.  And then you’ll need a couple of pick-up trucks to haul everything down and a few days to sit outside with your laptop while writing blog posts and re-pricing items that lost their stickers.

Japanese Art of Tidying

And you’re set.


Now if only I could get rid of all the dishes so I wouldn’t need to wash them…

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments

On the Farm Quiet Book

Let’s face it: farm life is cuter in felt.  The cows are easier to handle, hay isn’t itchy, nothing smells bad.  Plus felt is quiet and good for keeping future farmers and ranchers busy during church.  Which is why I’m back with quiet books!

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

I found a pattern for a barn with finger puppets at Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows.  Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

It worked really well and I loved not needing to measure all the white strips.  Her pages look like they were made for a 8 x 10 inch book and mine are 9 x 9, so I changed the size to 80% before printing.

My other change was that I cut double of everything and sewed them together for strength.  The chick’s wings are a double thickness, as are the ears, etc..

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

This particular gift is for my nephew.  Since my brother’s family raises Charolais cattle I made my cow all white.  Unfortunately that makes him look like a sheep to the rest of us, but Xander will get it!

My next two pages are a backdrop for the puppets, as well as a few other farm essentials.

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

Because I must have crazy, I bought a sheet of thin metal at Hobby Lobby and cut it to 8 1/2 x 8 1/2 and sewed it between the pages, making these backdrops magnetic.  This was a struggle, since I don’t own the right scissors and I forgot to cut out notches for the eyelets the first time.  Also, don’t bother with the pocket on top.  The metal is too sharp for little fingers to be reaching down between the pages and the felt is already stretched too tight for storing.

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

I made some double-thickness fence pieces with magnets between the layers.  You’ll need the tiny, super-strong kind.  Cheap magnet tape won’t hold through all the felt.  I like to sew everything but there wasn’t room to get my needle around the magnets, I wasn’t doing this by hand, and magnets stick to the sewing machine.  So hot glue.  I also added a pick-up truck with magnets to run the errands. 😉

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

My last page is a hay field, baled and ready for eating.  The tractor is green, but I will learn to live with that.  Again, the hay bales and the tractor are magnets stuck to the background.

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

The last page is a pocket for storing the fencing, truck, and tractor, as well as any other pieces that can go to future pages.  I like to make my quiet books with eyelets and rings so pages can change as the child grows.

So now you’ll have something to do if you’re bored this weekend- lol!

Ideas for "On the Farm" quiet book from felt.

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Will It Work? Helping my Hyper Active Son

First I should explain that my son, Brett, has never been diagnosed as anything but a red-head. Spend a few minutes in his presence, however, and I think you’ll agree that a prescription for medication would be easy to get.  And while meds have their place, this isn’t a route I want to take for my son.  We chose homeschool and I tell myself this is how little boys were meant to be.  But I worry.

Will it work?  My journey to help my hyper active son.

Still a red-head!

So the first time I looked at a poster from the Brain Balance Achievement Centers it felt a little too good to be true.

I should first explain that Brain Balance is a program designed with the theory that ADD, ADHD, Aspergers, Autism, Dyslexia and other childhood disorders are actually the results of the same problem– an imbalance in the development of the right and left brain and their ability to communicate with each other.  At the center they test each kiddo, find the weak side of the brain, and unlike other programs that build on a child’s strengths, they intensely build up only the less developed areas.

The literature they gave me, the YouTube testimonials, even the mom in the lobby all assured me that Brain Balance had made a life-altering difference in the lives of children with even severe disorders.  But the program isn’t covered by any insurance and the cost is not cheap.  Plus the nearest center to our house is 90 minutes away, one direction, and the investment in time and money for driving, in addition to the daily homework exercises is a little overwhelming.

Which brings me to why I’m writing this post.  If you’re parent you’ve been there, the I would do anything for my child if I thought this was the right thing, but IS IT? feeling.  We’ve signed the paperwork, written the check, and been to the center a few times and I’m still not sure how I feel about it all.  Maybe cautiously optimistic?  Perhaps I feel a little scammed.  Can there be an easier target than a desperate mother?  I think time will tell.  And my plan is to tell you.

Will it work?  My journey to help my hyper active son.

He’s totally worth it– but is the program?

If you’re struggling, wondering, hoping like I am, I’ll be writing occasionally to let you know how this journey is going.  I’m hoping you’ll see how I went from fearing to believe to another one of those enthusiastic YouTube moms, but if not then maybe I’ll spare some of you some hard-earned cash and a whole lot of time and frustration.

I will tell you we’re going all in.  We’re doing the exercise every day, following the nutrition guidelines, providing lots of time for rest and recreation, and generally giving this 100%.  If it doesn’t work it won’t be because I didn’t try.

Here’s just praying it works.

Categories: Family | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Little Help Holiday Recipe

Easy.  Fast.  Kid-Friendly.  Healthy.  Best snack ever!

I kid you not, the nutritionist at Hy-Vee said you could eat as much of this chocolate as you want.  So of course I bought the two ingredients necessary to make this snack, and upon discovering my children can make this almost completely on their own, we have made it for five different events.

It’s nutritious, fast, easy and kid-friendly.

Best. snack. ever.

First, buy chocolate.  Dark chocolate.

And while you’re at the store, get those little clementine oranges.  Some of you probably know them as Cuties.  And get diapers.  And probably eggs and maybe shampoo.  Just trying to help…

Easy.  Fast.  Kid-Friendly.  Healthy.  Best snack ever!

Melt the chocolate in a double broiler, microwave, or in a glass measuring cup hooked to the side of a pot by its handle for your own double-broiler-in-a-pinch.  Whatever works for you.  Just remember that water is the enemy of melted chocolate so make sure whatever you use is perfectly dry and that no water can splash into it while you’re working.  If you get water in the chocolate you will need to throw it out, which is tragic to say the least.

Then spread out a sheet of wax paper, peel the clementines, and remove the glass from the hot water if you are letting your kiddos do this.

Next, dip!

Easy.  Fast.  Kid-Friendly.  Healthy.  Best snack ever! Easy.  Fast.  Kid-Friendly.  Healthy.  Best snack ever!

They take an hour or so to set up on the counter, but if you put them in the fridge or in your freezing cold garage, they’ll be ready in minutes!

Categories: Family, Food | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What I Now Know About Goats

.Bottle-fed baby goats join us on the farm!  {}

Okay, so we’ll just start with the fact that I know I’m crazy.  Because if the 33 laying hens, 5 banty hens, 3 cats and a dog weren’t enough work, I’ve really gone and done it.  I’ve added 2 bottle-fed diary goats.

Bottle-fed baby goats join us on the farm!  {}

Currently I’m waffling between thrilled and overwhelmed.  We’ve already discussed crazy.  I’d thought about goats.  I’d pondered the value of goats’ milk.  I’d even vaguely planned for goats.  In a theoretical kind of way.  But then there they were and I was bringing them home in a box that just happened to be in the back of my van.


They are one and two-week old Nubian dairy goats, meaning that in another year or so (maybe two years if they don’t grow fast enough for breeding this fall) they will be ready to be milked.  But for now we had to run around to get milk for them and bottles and the whole bit.  I spent some time this morning searching and researching and this is what I now know about goats.

The the best milk-replacer available within a 30 mile radius is Doe’s Match by Land O Lakes– don’t they make butter?  Goats need mother’s milk for at least the first day, but after that you can give them milk replacer for any of several reasons; mine was to create friendly goats.  Oh, and I don’t have a mama goat 😉  The kids should be fed 15-25% of their body weight in ounces of formula.  The only way to weigh a goat on a bathroom scale is to weigh yourself, pick up the goat, weigh again and subtract.  Goats getting less milk will switch to grain and hay quicker and be easier to wean, goats receiving more milk will grow faster.  I’m going for grow faster, since these were late-season kids and I’d like to breed them sooner rather than later. The milk replacer in the bottle should be just like human baby milk, warm enough so you can’t feel it on your wrist.


Horns can be problematic for domestic goats, since they catch in everything!  De-budding within two weeks, or as soon as you can feel a pea-shaped bump, is painful, but quickly over and is much more humane than allowing them to be caught in a fence by their horns all day.  And my most important lesson was to make a friend in the goat world who will help me de-bud these little does tomorrow and has already offered to come help me any time I get in over my head.  Thanks goodness farmers seem to love helping others do what they do!

Bottle-fed baby goats join us on the farm!  {}

And although family and friends who have known me for years will be shocked to learn I’ve adopted goats, few will be surprised that matching pink and purple collars were priorities, as was finding ideal names.  Ms. purple collar with more white on her backside is Fanny Price.  The gal with the pink collar and more brown towards the end is Harriet Smith.  (Characters from Mansfield Park and Emma, both by Jane Austen.)  I thought Fanny and Harriet were good goat names and it leaves me Lizzie, Elinor, and Maryanne from Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility for the lambs.  🙂

Categories: Animals | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

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