The great “CON”- Mari

Well, I suppose the title of this blog post is a little harsh. I don’t think Konmari is trying to bamboozle anyone. I have finally read the book that everyone is talking about. What??? They’re not talking about it anymore. That was so last month? Well, I just read it, so let me talk about it for a bit. I was hoping for something fantastic, something astounding. Because, believe me, we have a clutter problem. A major hoarding problem around here. I often accuse Jeremie of it, but he is not the only one who suffers with this ailment. I am guilty also. As are many of my children. HELP US!!! But I have to admit. Marie Kondo did not really resonate with me. I wanted her to. I’ve read tales of my friends freeing themselves from the prison of clutter. I wanted to like the book. But first of all, I have to recognize the culture she is coming from. Japan. Not exactly known for it’s child friendliness, eh? On the contrary, Japanese families often only have 1 child. And they place a heaviness emphasis on academics, which means that children often spend the bulk part of the day at different “academies”. I am not striving for a sparse, minimialist, white subway tiled home, empty of all signs of life. I know I’m exaggerating. But that’s what comes to mind when I picture a house in Tokyo. I want a house full of life, noise, children, crafts, mucks, blanket forts, yarn, instruments and books. The first assignment from Mari is to write down why you want to simplify and what you hope to attain, what you want your end result to be. Well, my goal of nurturing creativity and productivity in  a gaggle of children of all different ages doesn’t leave much room for getting rid of “stuff”, does it? IMG_20160119_185626422I like being able to do crafts spontaneously because I have packed craft shelves. I like being able to whip up a dress or skirt or super hero cape at the drop of a hat because I have a generous fabric stash. And I like perusing my bookshelves on a snowy evening and picking something I haven’t read yet. I like keeping toys in rotation so the kids have something “new” to play with during bad weather. And maybe we really don’t have all that much clutter after all. Maybe it just seems like we do because we have a lot of people with varied interests and “loves” living in a small space. I can’t go around chucking things into the garbage or donating to goodwill because they don’t give me joy. Most likely we have the item because it gives someone joy. And I would hate to make my kids or husband feel as if they were living simply in my home. This is HOME for all of us.
Edited to add… there are some components of Konmari that I think will be useful to us. I am sure she has helped numerous people and this post was written in good humor.

Jeremie's workshop. Are you horrified??!! No one can accuse me of not "keeping it real" here on the blog now :)

Ok, so maybe we need to purge just a bit. Jeremie’s workshop. Are you horrified??!! No one can accuse me of not “keeping it real” here on the blog now :)

Lunatic Dog

Help us welcome a new addition to our Funny Farm! Meet Kit Kat, our adorable purebred Australian Shepherd. Yes, she is a dog. Yes, she is named Kit Kat. What did you expect from a lunatic farmer after all?? She already shows signs of being a quick learner. Jeremie plans to use her to work his cattle. No more running up and down hills chasing cows. A mere word will send Kit Kat on her way to herd them for us….well, we can only hope! IMG_20160123_112604574

Another year..

January sees us celebrating three birthdays! Susie started off the celebrations by turning 12 on the 11th. Roo followed by turning 2, two days later. Then Tommy turned 1 on the 23rd. How blessed we are! IMG_1942Susie is a ray of sunshine. A hard working quiet young lady. She often seeks out a peaceful spot to enjoy a bit of calmness in our rowdy house. She is diligent about her chores and quick to spot ways to be helpful. She loves to roller-skate, read and get her school work done. She is a very independent worker, often going above and beyond what is required. She inspires us all to be more like that. IMG_20151110_183221780Ruthie is still our little darling. She loves to be a “big” sister to Gloria. She loves to ride the horses and be outside. Roo, also, is a very hard worker, wanting to be a part of whatever the big kids are doing. She has learned to load her own dishes into the dishwasher and she loves to clean the bathroom. She is getting very good at playing by herself and it is quite comical to hear her “conversations” between baby dolls, or dollhouse people.IMG_2163 Tommy is a wonderful young man. He is an immense help around the homestead, both inside and out. He is honing his skills with computers doing programming and robotics. He also spends a lot of time working on projects for dad. His younger brothers all look up to him and he is very patient in teaching them all about what he’s doing. We are so excited to see what God has in store for this special son of ours.

Slides and Forts

IMG_20160125_112646794So what do my children do when they’ve been snowbound for a couple weeks? Makes slides out of my furniture and forts out of blankets. I’m pretty relaxed about their rowdiness. This coffee table was rescued from the dump back in Jeremie’s college days. It has proven it’s sturdiness. IMG_2080The kids tap dance on it, jump from it, flip it to make a “boat”. And today, they were sliding down it, and jumping onto the couch. This rowdiness is not really a result of being “snowbound”. They have been outside a lot, sledding and such.IMG_2085 They regularly play like this in the house, I must admit. We used to keep a “Little Tykes” slide in the house, but there is not enough room in this house for that, so we must improvise. I’m pretty relaxed about it normally. As long as nothing gets broken and everything is put to rights by dinner :)IMG_2093

Let it snow, let it snow!

Baby it’s cold…..

We’ve enjoyed a downfall of snow around here lately. Lots of sledding going on. Snowman building. Wet clothes. 4 socks at a time. Forts. Wool hats. More wet clothes. It may be the only snow we get this year. Public school has been called off for the last 5 days. But, shhhh, don’t tell my kids that!  Schultz ALA has still been going strong :) (We call our homeschool Schultz Abundant Life Academy). The snow makes everything so beautiful. And life seems so cozy, and warm on these long winter evenings. Jeremie has been reading the “Kingdom Series” by Chuck Black out loud to us all. We’ve not ventured out at all for over two weeks. Except to enjoy the snowy activities mentioned above. Happy winter!!! IMG_3585

Update

Did we just have a baby?! You’d never know it because I’ve been so remiss at posting baby pictures :) SO, here you go! IMG_1995 IMG_1912 IMG_2000Yes, Gloria is a baby that loves to be held. She can be sleeping so soundly, but the minute you put her down…wailing. Good thing we have lots of willing arms to cuddle her. She is changing so much every day.

Anticipating

I. Just. Can’t. Resist.

All the gardening catalogs stuffing my mailbox. Enticing me.

The rich, loose soil of the garden, albeit freshly tilled. Calling me.

The high piles of leaves and wood chips. Taunting me.

I must give in. I dream of planting. Of fresh greens. Of rows and rows of tall corn. I dream of cover crops. Of new ways of beating the ‘coons to my sweet corn. Of weed-free vermicompost. I dream of soil-blocking seedlings. Of brewing compost tea. Of row-covers.

IMG_1980So today, the girls and I started making homemade seed tape. The tiny seeds of carrots and lettuce are so difficult to spread evenly in the soil. And so many of the precious seeds are wasted. I hate to thin. To cut down tender new plants. You can buy seed tape from any garden catalog but it is pricey. And so easy to make it yourself. Seed tape is a bit of a fussy job. But a fun way to spend time, when it’s still too cold to be outside in the garden. An appetizer of garden work, if you will, before the real season begins. Using just a dot of glue (or a flour/water mixture) and toothpicks, gently place one or two lettuce seeds on a length of toilet paper. I placed my seeds rather close because I prefer to harvest my lettuce as a salad mix/baby head mix. So, the work is done now, inside. And later, when the soil warms, the tape is quickly laid out and gently covered with a thin layer of soil. I also plan to start some seeds in the greenhouse. Very, very soon!IMG_1981