Monday, March 20, 2017

No Stabilizers!

The Challenge group (grades 7th-12th, though our group only has 7th and 10th graders) from Classical Conversations took a field trip to the Fox Theater in Atlanta to see the Phantom of the Opera. The girls looked so beautiful and grown up! Skylar was in awe of her experience. She would go on and on talking for hours about the opera, the story, the music, and the chandelier. I'm so glad that she was able to have this opportunity to experience the opera with her friends.

March 2nd

Skylar, Somer, Maddie, and Presley

7th grade CC girls

While Skylar was away in Atlanta, we were surprised to find new visitors in our yard, 2 male peacocks! We had no idea where they came from. We checked in with a few neighbors and they didn't know either. I was delighted to have them. I had been begging Mitch for peacocks, but he told me they were too expensive of a pet for us just to admire in the yard. They stuck around for about 3 days before a neighbor would come looking for them. I'm glad he found them, because I knew that if I had bought and raised these peacocks as he did, that I would of course want to enjoy them for myself in my own yard. This was a good opportunity for us to get to know another neighbor whose family is around the same age as ours, with a son close to Maddox's age and another son close to Josiah's age. He collected his peacocks and left, but a few days later the peacocks returned and they haven't left yet. I still don't mind my visitors (as long as they don't poop on my porch!). I love watching them strut around the yard with their beautiful feathers. Our neighbor let us know that they're only 9 months old, and it turns out that peacocks don't mature and get their long train feathers until they're 2 or 3 years old. 

Big news this month! Mason has learned how to ride a bike without training wheels (or stabilizers as he likes to call them! lol). Mitch and I were enjoying a Sunday evening on the front porch, watching all 4 kids play and ride their bikes. I casually mentioned to Mitch that one day soon we would have to teach Mason how to ride without his training wheels. Mitch, still motivated to get things done after working in the yard all afternoon, said lets take off the training wheels now! Wait, what?!?! Just because I suggested it, didn't mean I was ready to teach him now. What if Mason wasn't ready? and even though Mitch was gung ho about taking off the stabilizers, I would be the one who had to train him once Mitch was away at work, I would be the one who would have to hold on to and help balance a frustrated 5 year old everyday while he tried to figure out how to ride his bike with only 2 wheels. But Mitch ignored my protest and took the wheels off anyways. Mason was bouncing with excitement, ready to ride his bike like a big boy, like his big brother Maddox with only 2 wheels, no stabilizers. I sat on the porch to watch Mitch give the first lesson. I figured that he could at least tackle the first day...I would have the days to follow. But Mason blew us all away when he took his bike from his dad and hopped on and took off like he already knew what he was doing! I squealed with excitement for him. Easiest lesson ever, I thought! He couldn't figure out how to stop without falling off, but he was too excited to get frustrated. After his first go, he would wobble and struggle to find his balance, so I would hold on to the back of his seat while he tried to figure out his foot placement on the peddle and then he would take off again. Within just a few short days he figured out how to stop himself without crashing and how to get on and off all by himself. It still blows me away to see him riding with just 2 wheels around the yard.

March 5th

March 11th

March 14th
Mason is still enjoying his piano lessons! and the opportunity to bang on some drums :)

February 2017

February, the month of Mason and Josiah. We celebrate Josiah's birthday in the beginning of the month, Mason's at the end of the month, and we have their combo birthday party in the middle!

Josiah's birthday fell on a Tuesday, which is our homeschool group day, so we started the morning early singing happy birthday and enjoying donuts for breakfast.

This week in art we're studying the great artist Degas, and his painting of ballerinas. Mason drew a beautiful picture of a ballerina with chalk. I cannot get over how impressed I am with his artwork!

On our Classical Conversations lunch break I took the kids to Chickfila and treated the kids to chicken nuggets and ice cream in celebration of Josiah's birthday.

Our closest neighboring town with a grocery store is Fitzgerald. They're known for their wild chickens, and every year they have a wild chicken festival. These chickens are all over this town, you can hear them crowing outside the grocery store, and I can't tell you how many times I have seen a chicken cross the road. This chicken, photographed below, was just outside the bank.

This February we ordered another batch of cornish cross meat chickens. 52 arrived for us at the post office to pick up, and just in time too, since we're about out of chicken from our last batch.

Look at those cute little peeps

Once upon a time my chickens were free to roam my yard, and I truly enjoyed it for a time. But the warm and fuzzy feelings of seeing my chickens free range in my yard slowly wore off when I couldn't keep up with, or grew tired of all the poop on my porch. I was sweeping and scraping poop off my porch everyday, and I had had enough. So now my sweet little laying hens and their mean butt rooster now stay in a chicken run with their cozy little coop. Our meat chickens stay in a separate chicken tractor where they get to enjoy fresh grass everyday as we move their tractor. I like it better this way, my porch stays poop free! Our laying hens enjoy their chicken feed, and the kids and I will pick weeds from the yard to give to the chickens as a salad, we'll also give them scratch (or treats) from the feed store, and whatever leafy greens I have leftover in the kitchen.

laying hens

meat chickens

 Mid month the weather was warm enough to build and enjoy a fire in our backyard. Mitch grilled italian marinated chicken, asparagus, and we baked potatoes inside. We enjoyed our dinner outside, and for dessert we roasted marshmallows and made s'mores.


I know its early, but with this warm weather I'm getting the itch to start a garden. So I planted a few things, such as 3 knock out rose bushes, herbs, a tomato plant, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, and lavender. We would later get a 4 day and night cold snap. My tomato plant may be done for, only time will tell, and a few weeks ago Josiah decided to dig up and shred my herbs to pieces, so they're all gone, but all can be replanted around Easter.

A friend of mine introduced me to the Back to Eden gardening method. I hope to start a large garden in my front yard this spring. We called our power company, and they were more than happy to drop off this load of wood chip mulch to us for free. We were told to call back whenever we want more.

For Valentine's Day night, after all the kids were fed and tucked in bed, Mitch and I prepared and cooked together a special dinner for two, rib-eye steak, lobster tail, broccoli, and a cheesy garlic bread. Even though we were at home, it felt like a romantic night on the town, only it was just the 2 of us and we were in the comfort of our own home.

For dessert we made a chocolate lava brownie, with ice cream and berries. 

A friend of mine (the same one who is sharing her gardening secrets) shared with me her homemade flax seed bread recipe, and I have been baking this bread weekly ever since. I love the way the house smells when I bake bread, and all these little fingers around asking for a slice with butter and honey.

For Mason and Josiah's birthday we celebrated with friends and family at the house. We rented a large bounce house and bounce slide, and did I seriously not take a picture of that thing??? The kids had a blast!

Eating carrots from a friend's garden

Mason's birthday fell on a Sunday this year. We would have made it into church, but I was convinced that Maddox broke his foot the night before carrying and then dropping a large fence post on his foot. Maddox was in a good bit of pain and his foot was swollen and bruised, so we didn't make it into church that Sunday. Maddox spent his Saturday night with his foot iced and elevated on pillows, with lots of babying and attention. Mitch and I would debate whether his foot was broken or not. I had my money on broke, and Mitch was convinced it was just bruised. Fortunately an X-ray from Monday showed that his foot was not broken. By Sunday afternoon, Maddox was hoping around on one foot and in good spirits so, broken foot or not, we celebrated Mason's 5th birthday with donuts and candles for breakfast, loaded nachos for lunch, all day play outside, and cupcakes for dessert that evening. Mason's birthday present from mommy and daddy was a toy chainsaw, weed-eater, goggles, and tools. (Do I seriously not have a picture of that either???)

Mason started piano this year! He has always loved music, and has loved singing, I swear he was singing songs way before he could form sentences! So when he showed interest in Skylar's piano, I knew it was time for lessons. He's doing great! With his very first lesson he could already show us where middle C is,  and play and tell the difference between a whole note, half note, and quarter note. We are so proud, and so impressed!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

January 2017

New Year!

For New Years we headed back to NC to celebrate with Mitch's siblings at his youngest sister's house, Brianna. All four siblings and their kids were able to join in and celebrate. Though I only have pics of our family and Brianna's for some reason :(  Next year I'll do better...I hope.

Me and baby Grayson!

Cory, Maddox, and Skylar

Our fun outing this year (last year was the Carl Sandburg Home) was at a trampoline gym called Launch. Everyone had fun bouncing around!

After a few fun days with Mitch's family in NC, we took a quick drive to SC to eat our traditional black eyed peas and collard greens with my grandma and the rest of the family.

Ashlynne helping grandma with the blackeyed peas

Mason helping mom in the kitchen

Mason and Joe loving the little buggies at the grocery store

Our homeschool days are filled with math, Latin, Geography, History, Spelling, English, Writing, Reading, Science, memory work, and pre-algebra, but we still make time for and enjoy our recesses outside.

Skylar, Cookie, and Boots

Mongolian Beef Dinner

Our homeschool group took a field trip to the Macon's Museum of Arts and Sciences. Fortunately Mitch had the day off from work and was able to join us! We loved the animal show and the planetarium. 

Paleontologist Mason excavating for dinosaur fossils

Skylar and Murray

Josiah and Mason "filling out" connection cards at church. Is Josiah left handed??

The ducks love these yucky rainy days

We have lived out in the country for 2 and a half years and this is the first time we have spotted dear in our yard! We see tracks all the time, so we know they are here, but on this January afternoon we spotted 3 deer in our yard. I was able to capture this picture before they ran away. Mason begged me not to show this picture to daddy, he said, "don't show daddy, he'll shoot the deer!"

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