So has anyone ever…

January 5, 2012|6:47 pm

set the same goal year after year after year? Or the newest version of the same goal? I love the idea of being more independent. Having the chickens and now our bull affectionately known as Dinner around here. He is going to be eaten so no real name for him.

A co-worker of Pat’s blessed us with three little pigs this fall.(fortunately no big BAD wolf followed him!) Two got to the big fat pig stage and are now residing in the freezers. One is still in the barn as he stayed skinny for a while after getting some kind of cold. He is now fattening up nicely and will go in the freezer as soon as there is room. Lovely to know that even though Pat is in his seasonal lay off early this year there is still food “down cellar in a tea cup” as PA Ingalls used to say.

Anyway back to my original question: I have always wanted a garden that produced enough veggies to get through the winter.How do people do that? For the last few years our garden has been a poor excuse for a weed patch despite the work Dané and the other children have been putting into it. I’d really like to have an awesome garden this year. I am just afraid that once again time and money will be poured down the drain on the endeavor. Anyone have any fantastic tips? resources? thoughts?

Tonight’s Psalm of plea and praise:

September 13, 2011|10:12 pm


Psalm 139 (New International Version)


1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. 5 You hem me in–behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. 7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? 8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” 12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you. 19 If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men! 20 They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name. 21 Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD, and abhor those who rise up against you? 22 I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

It’s that time of year again..

August 28, 2011|12:14 pm

Time to organize for Christmas!

HA! you thought I was going to say for school right? Well if you are starting school in September I assume you are almost done with planning your first few weeks. If not use this week as catch up and get it done. I have a day planned this week to make memories with my children, a day to finish most of the projects for co-op and a day set aside to finalize the daily details of our school plans. I will be done before the 1st of September is over!

Now back to the important stuff.. Holidays with our families. Our family embraces the Christmas holiday.. it may no be that Jesus actually has His birthday as December 25th but that is when we celebrate and we do celebrate! I want friends and family to know He is the reason for our joyous celebrations. In order to celebrate in the style I like it takes a LOT of pre planning and the biggest ally I have in that is a yahoo group called Holiday Grand Plan and a website called Organized Christmas .

This weeks challenge is to make our lists.. gifts to make gifts to to be done.. parties to have… and on and on… There are 119 days left until Christmas and don’t forget that there are a few other dates like Thanksgiving before that! So let’s get busy!

Another Life this week blog post.

July 24, 2011|9:14 pm

In my life this week…. having Pat come home was a high light!
In our homeschool this week… working on co-op. Had a family who was teaching drop. Time to re arrange!
My favorite thing this week was…Shopping with my beautiful girls on Monday! I do need to put up a post about all the fun!
What’s working/not working for us…having daddy home for the weekend was a real blessing.  This was his first trip home since the Father’s day week when he was off because of rain.
I’m reading…the Moody Family series to the younger children and various education books for myself and a new series I found on our shopping day. Laura Hayden is the Author
I’m praying for….the looming week (s?) ahead with Pat gone. That I can handle things without getting upset and dumping on him while he is so far away.
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

The Girls and I at Buffalo Wild Wings in the Stillwater area on our Monday trip:

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Awesome Movie!

July 23, 2011|10:21 pm

Tonight my hubby took me to a great movie. Larry Crowne. On a previous blog post I showed a video of Tom Hanks pulling a prank on Julia Roberts. Tonight we went to the movie they were filming at the time. Fun movie.. a couple of swear words and a blazing kiss and a shot of Tom in his tidy whiteys is about as bad as it got. The rest was just pure fun.  Stone Cold creamery ice cream and a barefoot run in the rain. Perfect date night.

Summer time Summer time Summer time!

|12:27 pm

and the smell of fresh peaches. So Nummy!

Take 60 pounds of peaches minus the amount the children can eat in the day and a half that they sat here. Add in one mama and three girls. Results= 21 bags of frozen peaches in the freezer and 3 and a half jars of peach preserves. Like I said NUMMY! Didn’t take too long either  I’ll try and post a picture or two later.

Spring… Spring… a Wondrous Thing

April 22, 2011|10:50 pm

The highs today were only in the 40’s. The sun was hidden by dark gray clouds laden with rain that fell off and on all day. But here on the Hiniker farm it felt like spring. Pat’s goal for the weekend is to make our chickens another condominium. So off to Menards we went with a stop planned for TSC to check out the cost of supplies for feeding a couple of jersey calves if we got them to raise for beef.

Well we didn’t make it very far as there were adorable little bunnies at TSC.. and they just happened to be Satins.. at that just happens to be a kind of rabbit that Bethany is interested in raising,, and they just happened to be within the range of the money planned for her birthday present.

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Their names are Black prince and Princess Snow.. can you guess which one is which?

Well of course, we had to bring them home and then headed back to town after lunch. This time we made it to Menards for our supplies. Hmm not having any supplies left at home is going to make this chicken tractor a bit more expensive than the others. Pat never did get a chance to work on it though as we had to go borrow a live stock trailer and pick up Lunch and Dinner.

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Aren’t they adorable?

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They will need to be bottle fed for awhile and we will introduce them to solid food later as they are only three days old. We do intend to eventually eat them as grass fed beef in our freezer is a luxury we will enjoy. In the mean time Lunch and Dinner will be living a luxurious life here at the farm with much attention from our children and grandchildren.. oh and the horses!

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Goals and goal setting

April 21, 2011|2:58 pm

I asked another mom recently what her goals for her homeschool looked like. What she wanted to accomplish with the curricula she was looking for, as she was ready for a change from the textbook approach she was using. She was quickly able to rattle off several things including “produce scholars” . Her goals and dreams for her children were quite articulate and included enough things that I could suggest a couple of styles of homeschooling and specific items for her to look at.

Fast forward a couple of days and glimpse into my dining room where piles of curricula are growing. I am ready to move forward with lesson plans for our new school year as we have.. for the second year in a row.. pretty much finished up what I had planned for this year. A huge goal met for me!

Yes, there were a couple of things that I modified as we went. My history co-op course was altered as many  (read: almost all) of the parents didn’t follow the curriculum. Which was fine in theory, but I found myself confusing the children as we hopped around on stories and figures from history to which they had no exposure. Plans altered and we went back and talked through more of the basics of the Revolutionary War instead of moving forward to cover the Declaration of Independence. Consequently we will stop here in history for this year. Our last co-op project will be a big one and will hopefully make connections in the children’s’  minds and pull it together for them. We are going to spend three weeks making scrapbook pages of the event the child found the most intriguing about the war. That combined with the cool History cards project from this past month will go a long way in exposing the children.. here at home and at co-op.. to the people and events of the Revolutionary war. The other thing modified in my school year was Math. We chose to spend a section of our tax return on Aleks math. Purchased through it was really quite doable for my eldest 5 and has taken a huge teaching burden responsibility from my shoulders.

Anyway: back to the dining room. My breakfast nook is absolutely covered in various curricula, books and of course lesson planners. There is a box of items loosely organized on the floor next to me and there is a dining room chair across the way that holds many of the shiny new catalogs that publishers of homeschool items send at this time of year. Even the buffet holds a few stacks of papers and books! Quite the cluttered look right now. And I just realized that a bag holdiing my CM planner from Simply Charlotte Mason got left at the church after co-op on Monday. Horrors.. I will need that book. Oh I bought it as a pdf so maybe I can use the back up copy until we are back out at church. With a 20 minute drive each way I wasn’t looking forward to spending the gas to go over there.

I have several goals for this upcoming school year but haven’t taken the time to write them out. So here goes:

1. Continue to school all year so trips, events like our reenacting, visits from family and friends and harvest time do not delay our progress. Yes I do count many of those activities as real life school but I like the feeling of accomplishment of finishing as much of a curricula as needed to cover a subject!

2. Keeping in mind the depression era saying of Use it up..wear it out.. Make do, or do without, I want to pull first and foremost out of the abundant supplies I have here. For someone who started homeschooling over 15 years ago with a borrowed copy of KONOS Volume 1, I have more shelves, boxes and totes of curricula than almost anyone else I know!

3. This needs to be an academic year. While I do believe that there are times and places for unschooling style and child led learning I also think I have done some of my older children a disservice by not requiring more. I know that it flies in the face of TJed style and could be argued against by anyone half way proficient in the understanding of true unschooling homeschooling but I have several children in our homeschool who are looking at colleges that will require strong, quantifiable academic records.

4. I really want to utilize the skills my children have to bless their younger siblings. This is an area we already do well in but not all the children are responsible for someone elses learning.

5. Somehow we have dropped studying God’s Word as a family. It is a high priority to regain this in our school lives.


What do you have planned for next year?

Home is best…

April 14, 2011|6:10 am

I have been home for almost three days now and am just catching up on sleep and hugs from children.

Europe is a wonderful place to visit but I sure wouldn’t want to live there! At least not for any extended amount of time. Visiting there however, gives a person a serious appreciation for what we have here in America. It can also challenge you to rethink some of what we have in America. More on that later.

It will take me MANY posts to share even a few wonderful sights we saw But I thought I’d start with a picture or two from Paris. This was actually the last six days of our trip.


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The Eiffel tower is of course, one of the most famous land marks in France. Word of advice: If you are claustrophobic.. the elevators are packed.  Think Carefully about getting on.

Further words of wisdom: If you are afraid of heights do not listen to the son who says “Mom, you’ll most likely never be here again. Ride to the top.” Just heed your own instincts. That way you won’t make a slight scene as you quickly exit the elevator.. the all glass elevator moving sideways and upwards at the same time .. past steel girders that realize will sway in a slight you exit at the first level. Of course if you do make it this far, you can tell your family to go on without you and they can meet you down stairs on the ground level. I did after calming my racing heart really enjoy the view from the first level up.  I don’t have any pictures from that level because my camera was at the top.. with everyone else.


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My mother in love.. Ruth. Top of the Eiffel tower April 2011.

Joy comes in the morning

March 5, 2011|9:11 pm

(But sometimes we need to force it during the day and evening too.)

I was watching a show recently that used this verse as part of a speech. It was very aptly used in a secular show in such a way that anyone who was hearing it would really have to think twice about the meaning. That even after great tragedy or sorrow there will once again, come a time of Joy.

I think as moms we have to , we really should take time to stop and assess the joy factor in our families. I am not saying that everyone needs to be always happy. Nor am I advocating  making our children happy by whatever means necessary.

I do think however, that a bit of effort on mamas part can have a HUGE effect on the atmosphere.

I know that I for one need to work on this. I need to feed myself a steady diet of mommy culture that allows me to feel joyful in my mama- hood. So that I can pass that along.  I need to stop in my busyness and banish the thoughts that let me get away with being too busy, not in a good “enough” mood, or just plain  lazy. I want to be the mama or grandma that has a kind or supportive word. A helping hand. Or in cases of extreme emergency a great piece of chocolate.Open-mouthed smile

Psalm 30

1 I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 2 O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. 3 O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. 4 Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name. 5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning. 6 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” 7 O LORD, when you favored me, you made my mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. 8 To you, O LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: 9 “What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? 10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me; O LORD, be my help.” 11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12 that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever.

Those of you reading this are most likely having a good laugh at these lofty aspirations of mine. They are just that aspirations, dreams, the me I would love to be. Something to set my sights on while the reality of my oh too often, sinful self  actually lives here. Our God is a God of miracles, right?