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Welcome to this week’s You’re the Star Blog Hop!  We actually had a fairly uneventful week here, for once!  This week promises a lot of activity.  I hope you have a great one!  Now on to the party…


by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

WELCOME to the September You’re the Star” Blog Hop!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share from my blog:


Ah, fall is almost here!  Our first cool front of the season rolled through last night.  Outside, the birds are singing, the children are playing, and there’s a lovely breeze blowing.  We’re topping off at about 85 degrees today, which to much of the country, I understand, is still considered quite warm.  However, here in Texas, it’s about 20 degrees cooler than it has been!  With that in mind, I’m going to keep this post short and sweet so I can go outside and get to play a little with the kids.

Now, here in our little corner of the world, we harvest most of our food in June, before it gets so hot that everything dries up and withers away.  So, we’ve had our vegetables picked and put away for a couple of months, now.  However, in much of the country, folks are just now starting to bring in that delicious garden bounty.  

I know I like to have all of our cans in the pantry look nice and pretty.  So, this year, I decided to make some labels to put on the jars to give them a more organized, uniform look in the pantry.  Also, if we decide to give some of our produce as gifts to our friends and family, pretty labels really make those jars look nice!  Just tie a pretty little bow around the lid, and there you have it!  No other gift wrap necessary!

No other giftwrap necessary! Free DIY printable canning labels. Click To Tweet

So, if you have been busy canning all your produce to keep for the year ahead, why not pretty those jars up a little with some nice labels?  At the bottom of this post, you can find the labels I used.  I’m offering them for you to use.  Please feel free to download them, and use them for your pantry.  I only ask that you direct people to this post if they wish to use them, too!  There are several different styles to choose from.  You can print them out on label paper, or on cardstock to tie on with a pretty ribbon.  Get creative!

Download your free DIY Printable Canning Labels Here


diy printable canning labels

__________________________________________________________________________

WELCOME to HOME feature week of the September You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your HOME week Hosts

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHome_zpsvjqg4aib.jpg

This week is HOME feature week
Swing by the Home Hosts’ Blogs:

Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn

Heidi @ Heidi’s Wanderings

This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU!

There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear – this is NOT a themed party – you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month. 
The “theme” occurs in our weekly features:
WEEK#4 HOME – recipes, home décor, antique/DIY &/or travel (this can include anything about your home – even history posts – all while remaining family friendly)


by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg

(All features were chosen from the August “You’re the Star” blog hop)

Easy Barn Wood Book Shelves by Grandma’s House DIY
Easy do it yourself diy inexpensive cheap frugal barn wood book shelves with hidden hardware wood working
July Thrift Polish Share by A Vintage Green

Sweet Balsamic Chicken Skillet by Living on Cloud Nine

 

Two End Tables Get a Sweet Country Makeover by Grandma’s House DIY

Before and after old end tables get a DIY country makeover with white paint and refinished tops

 
If you’ve been featured then please grab a STAR button below:

You're a STAR

*******************************************************
We are in need of more Cohosts (click HERE to view a list of our current hosts/cohosts).  For HOME feature week we  need 2 more Cohosts.
If you are interested in joining us as a Cohost then please click HERE & fill out the form.

*******************************************************

All Hosts/CoHosts will post this blog hop on every Monday of each week.
Please link up your family friendly blog posts below!
It wouldn’t be a linky party with YOU!
(IMPORTANT NOTE: by linking up you understand that you might be featured next month and if so, we will use some of your photos from your post – rest assured – we will always link back to your lovely blog.  We might also share your fantastic posts on social media.  Also, you may link up as many family-friendly posts as you like & YES – other blog hops &/or giveaways are welcome {giveaways and blog hops will NOT be featured though}  Thank You & ENJOY! )



___________________________________________________________________
diy printable canning labels

Ah, fall is almost here!  Our first cool front of the season rolled through last night.  Outside, the birds are singing, the children are playing, and there’s a lovely breeze blowing.  We’re topping off at about 85 degrees today, which to much of the country, I understand, is still considered quite warm.  However, here in Texas, it’s about 20 degrees cooler than it has been!  With that in mind, I’m going to keep this post short and sweet so I can go outside and get to play a little with the kids.

Now, here in our little corner of the world, we harvest most of our food in June, before it gets so hot that everything dries up and withers away.  So, we’ve had our vegetables picked and put away for a couple of months, now.  However, in much of the country, folks are just now starting to bring in that delicious garden bounty.  

I know I like to have all of our cans in the pantry look nice and pretty.  So, this year, I decided to make some labels to put on the jars to give them a more organized, uniform look in the pantry.  Also, if we decide to give some of our produce as gifts to our friends and family, pretty labels really make those jars look nice!  Just tie a pretty little bow around the lid, and there you have it!  No other gift wrap necessary!

No other giftwrap necessary! Free DIY printable canning labels. Click To Tweet

So, if you have been busy canning all your produce to keep for the year ahead, why not pretty those jars up a little with some nice labels?  At the bottom of this post, you can find the labels I used.  I’m offering them for you to use.  Please feel free to download them, and use them for your pantry.  I only ask that you direct people to this post if they wish to use them, too!  There are several different styles to choose from.  You can print them out on label paper, or on cardstock to tie on with a pretty ribbon.  Get creative!

Download your free DIY Printable Canning Labels Here


diy printable canning labels

 


 

grab button for Our Three Peas
Link It Up Wednesday

 

Coffee and Conversation button

 

Think Tank Thursday

 

 

 

 

 Pieced Pastimes

 

 

Welcome to the popular Inspiration Monday Party! Come visit and be inspired with fabulous home decor, crafts, recipes and more!

 
apinchofjoy.com 

 

 

 


Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the path of Hurricane Irma, as well as those who are still trying to clean up in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey this week.

In other news, here at the farm, Bear had quite a spectacular fall at the splash pad Monday afternoon.  She has quite an impressive gash on the back of her head, but thankfully, no concussion!  Also, Baby finally let her first tooth break through.  She’s been working on it for about a week, but yesterday, it finally popped up.  She’s still pretty grumpy, so I think its next door neighbor may be making an appearance soon, too!

Never a dull moment…


 

Last week we were asking for help with Hurricane Harvey relief and now a week later we are dealing with a new storm – Hurricane Irma.  We don’t yet know the full extent of damage from this new storm but if you feel so led – please donate (click button below):

Samaritans Purse

___________________________________________________________________

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

 

Welcome to week#3 of the September “You’re the Star” Blog Hop!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share this post from my blog:

My kids have toys.  Tons of toys.  Toys, toys everywhere.  They have so many toys, they don’t all fit in their rooms at the same time.  Plus, in case those aren’t enough, they get more toys every Christmas and every birthday.  That’s 10 new toys coming into the house every year…not even counting the grandparent contribution!  So, what do they do with all of those toys?

Well…sadly, not much.  Don’t get me wrong, they do enjoy the toys, and they play with them from time to time.  However, most of the time, I note them playing with all sorts of other things…not toys.  It does beg the question, “Why do we bother?”

Here’s my list of some of my kids’ favorite not toy toys.  See if you can relate:

1. Sticks

What is so cool about sticks?  I guess it’s because they can do anything you want them to!  The biggest ones are often made into clubhouse teepees.  I’ve also seen fishing poles, horses, guns…pretty much everything can be mimicked with a stick!  Plus, once you’re done with them, you can throw them in the pond and make the dog chase them…and who doesn’t like making the dog take a swim?

2. Rocks

We have a plethora of rocks around here.  Not only can the kids dig them up from the dirt, our driveway is also made from rocks.  If we go on a walk, our road is made of rock.  So, we have no shortage of rocks.  We go out walking empty-handed, and by the time we come home, I’m carrying a huge load of rocks in the stroller, my pockets, and even in my hands.  Wait, why am I carrying all the rocks???

Once back at the house, they are investigated thoroughly.  Then, the ones that contain the proper level of sparkliness will go on to become eggs in a pretend bird’s nest, or dinosaur nest, or turtle nest…you get the picture.  The ones that don’t make the cut either go back in the driveway (if they know Mommy or Daddy are watching) or they are flung into the pond one by one so that, you guessed it, the dog will chase them.

3. String

Oh, all the uses of string!  Tie some string to a stick, and now you have your very own fishing pole.  If you can find a piece that’s long enough, tie it together at the ends, and now you have a glamorous necklace to use for your next ball (it’s starting in 5 minutes in front of the refrigerator).  Bear once tied several knots on one end of a piece of string to make something that vaguely resembled a dragon.  Everyone else immediately had to have a dragon pet of their own.  We had string dragons floating around the house for days!

4. Cardboard box-small

Ah, the cardboard box…it’s infamous!  Any time we receive a package in the mail, the children immediately claim the box and the bubble wrap (see #6).  Why do children like a cardboard box so much?  We adults will never understand.  I guess all our make-believe magic grew up and moved away…or maybe got packed away in one of those boxes!  Cars, trucks, boats, aquariums…those little boxes can be magical! 

You never know what they’re going to put in the box, either.  Last night, I came out of my room, after having fed Baby.  When I emerged from my room, I was confronted with a highly suspicious sight.  Three out of four of my mobile children had found a box that my dad had sent something to us in.  They were standing around the box, and Bear was hurriedly closing the top of the box.  

“What do you have in that box?” I demanded in my most authoritative Mommy voice.

<Giggles>

Bear flashed me one of her patented sheepish grins and piped up, “Monkey!”

Maniacal laughter from inside the box ensued.  Then all the children started laughing.  Monkey popped out of the box.

Their dad and I started laughing too.  “Alright,” I admitted, “with you four around, perhaps I should have asked who!”

I have no idea what kind of game they were playing, but it sure was funny…especially after it aroused my suspicion!

5. Cardboard box-large

Need I say more?  What parent hasn’t bought their kids the best toy of the century only to have it thrown by the wayside in favor of a refrigerator box?  Shocking, but true.  Jails, castles, houses…the possibilities are endless!

6. Bubble Wrap

Lizard starts jumping up and down any time she sees the delivery truck bouncing up the driveway.  She’s already calling out, “I get the bubble wrap! I get the bubble wrap!” before I even get out the door to claim the package.  I have to meet our drivers at their trucks…they’re scared of Patch (as are all the meter readers, and the guy who works for the county grading the roads).  LIzard’s still bouncing when I come back in, and I can barely make it in the door, because they now all want a piece of bubble wrap.

Oh, the disappointment that ensues when a package comes with brown paper stuffing instead of bubble wrap!  There is wailing and gnashing of teeth!

I have to avoid the shipping materials aisle at WalMart just as meticulously as I do the toy aisle.  At least if I want to keep the “Momma, can I have?”s away.  You should have seen Lizard’s face the first time she noticed the shelf full of giant rolls of bubble wrap!  No birthday or Christmas morning has yet been able to compare to the joy and desire mirrored in those little eyes that day at WalMart!

7. Strangely melted metal

They call this little gem “Rudy”.  When they first found it in the yard, one of the children decided that it looked like the big, bad dinosaur creature from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs that Buck called Rudy.  I’m not actually sure what it really is, but we’re pretty sure it originated from the burn barrel.  Don’t worry…we checked it for sharp edges.

8. Shovels

Yes, my kids play with shovels. Not the toy shovels you find in the sandbox seasonal aisle or the role-play toy aisle, they ‘play’ with real, full-sized shovels.  Every once in a while, someone gets a hankerin’ to dig a hole.  It makes no sense to me, but, hey…they have a blast.  Their Daddy will give them shovels and real jobs that need to be done.  They get a shovel, Daddy gets a fence post hole, and, after they’re done Mommy gets a quiet afternoon nap time since they’ve exhausted themselves digging a hole!

9. Pile of bricks

A few years ago, while we were visiting my parents’ house up in the DFW area, we were over at my grandparents’ house, visiting with them one afternoon.  My granddad had a pile of bricks stacked up next to the shed behind their house.  It was a fairly decent-sized pile of bricks.  Bear found them while playing outside and immediately set to work building a pint-sized castle.  She asked to go back over to their house every afternoon.  My granddad was so amused with her building, that at Christmas (the same Christmas that the giant Lincoln logs appeared), he sent at least half of his pile of bricks down with my parents so that Bear could have bricks at her house too.  Since then, they’ve been castles, walls, chairs, stages, corrals for wild stick horses…you name it!

10. Old coffee cans

Oh, the fun you can have with an old discarded coffee can!  My husband buys his coffee from Sams, you know, the big, giant 2 pound canister.  When he’s used all the coffee inside, the cans (or rather, plastic canisters) meander out to the barn where they are then given a second life as a feed scoop, or egg transport device.  If, however, the children gain control of them first, however, many interesting things can happen to these unsuspecting containers.  They make fantastic sandbox toys or mud pie makers. 

They like to collect rainwater in these cans and turn them into “soup”…the main ingredients of which appears to be water, dirt, leaves, grass, and sticks (to give it just the right amount of texture).

Sometimes, though, their stick horses become stick cows, and the rainwater in the coffee cans is actually milk.  With the milk they collect, they can make cakes or ice cream…both of which look strikingly similar to aforementioned “soup”.  Woe to the onlooker who guesses incorrectly!

I could write an entire post about all the uses for old coffee cans…maybe I will!


__________________________________________________________________________

WELCOME to FAMILY feature week of the
September “You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your FAMILY week Host & Cohost 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarFamily_zps6gnkp7zk.jpg

This week is FAMILY feature week
Swing by the Family hosting team’s blogs:

Miranda @ The Myrabev Life

Linda @ Country Loving Mom

Elizabeth @ Family Farm School

This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU!
There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear – this is NOT a themed party – you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month. 
The “theme” occurs in our weekly features:
WEEK#3 FAMILY – parenting, fitness, health, finances & inspirational (this can include anything about children like: education ideas for children, also self help, beauty etc –  anything family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg



(These features were chosen from the August “You’re the STAR” blog hop)

 10 Ways To Eat Real Food Without Breaking the Bank by Mama Finds Her Way
Real Food On A Budget | 10 Ways To Eat Real Food Without Breaking The Bank 

Master Bathroom Reveal by Grandma’s House DIY
Master bathroom reveal after fifteen months renovating my grandparents' 100 year old farm house diy do it yourself double slipper bath tub

Finally!  Another Family Movie To Recommend: by Ready to be Offered

Sunset on Ft. Lauderdale Beach by Comfort Spring
Sunset on Ft Lauderdale Beach

 

 

If you’ve been featured then please grab a STAR button below:

You're a STAR

*******************************************************

We are in need of more Cohosts (click

HERE

to view a list of our current hosts/cohosts). 

If you are interested in joining us as a Cohost then please click

HERE

& fill out the form.

*******************************************************
All Hosts/CoHosts will post this blog hop on every Monday of each week.
Please link up your family friendly blog posts below!
It wouldn’t be a linky party with YOU!
(IMPORTANT NOTE: by linking up you understand that you might be featured next month and if so, we will use some of your photos from your post – rest assured – we will always link back to your lovely blog.  We might also share your fantastic posts on social media.  Also, you may link up as many family-friendly posts as you like & YES – other blog hops &/or giveaways are welcome {giveaways and blog hops will NOT be featured though}  Thank You & ENJOY! )

___________________________________________________________________

My kids have toys.  Tons of toys.  Toys, toys everywhere.  They have so many toys, they don’t all fit in their rooms at the same time.  Plus, in case those aren’t enough, they get more toys every Christmas and every birthday.  That’s 10 new toys coming into the house every year…not even counting the grandparent contribution!  So, what do they do with all of those toys?

Well…sadly, not much.  Don’t get me wrong, they do enjoy the toys, and they play with them from time to time.  However, most of the time, I note them playing with all sorts of other things…not toys.  It does beg the question, “Why do we bother?”

Here’s my list of some of my kids’ favorite not toy toys.  See if you can relate:

1. Sticks

What is so cool about sticks?  I guess it’s because they can do anything you want them to!  The biggest ones are often made into clubhouse teepees.  I’ve also seen fishing poles, horses, guns…pretty much everything can be mimicked with a stick!  Plus, once you’re done with them, you can throw them in the pond and make the dog chase them…and who doesn’t like making the dog take a swim?

 

2. Rocks

We have a plethora of rocks around here.  Not only can the kids dig them up from the dirt, our driveway is also made from rocks.  If we go on a walk, our road is made of rock.  So, we have no shortage of rocks.  We go out walking empty-handed, and by the time we come home, I’m carrying a huge load of rocks in the stroller, my pockets, and even in my hands.  Wait, why am I carrying all the rocks???

Once back at the house, they are investigated thoroughly.  Then, the ones that contain the proper level of sparkliness will go on to become eggs in a pretend bird’s nest, or dinosaur nest, or turtle nest…you get the picture.  The ones that don’t make the cut either go back in the driveway (if they know Mommy or Daddy are watching) or they are flung into the pond one by one so that, you guessed it, the dog will chase them.

3. String

Oh, all the uses of string!  Tie some string to a stick, and now you have your very own fishing pole.  If you can find a piece that’s long enough, tie it together at the ends, and now you have a glamorous necklace to use for your next ball (it’s starting in 5 minutes in front of the refrigerator).  Bear once tied several knots on one end of a piece of string to make something that vaguely resembled a dragon.  Everyone else immediately had to have a dragon pet of their own.  We had string dragons floating around the house for days!

4. Cardboard box-small

Ah, the cardboard box…it’s infamous!  Any time we receive a package in the mail, the children immediately claim the box and the bubble wrap (see #6).  Why do children like a cardboard box so much?  We adults will never understand.  I guess all our make-believe magic grew up and moved away…or maybe got packed away in one of those boxes!  Cars, trucks, boats, aquariums…those little boxes can be magical! 

You never know what they’re going to put in the box, either.  Last night, I came out of my room, after having fed Baby.  When I emerged from my room, I was confronted with a highly suspicious sight.  Three out of four of my mobile children had found a box that my dad had sent something to us in.  They were standing around the box, and Bear was hurriedly closing the top of the box.  

“What do you have in that box?” I demanded in my most authoritative Mommy voice.

<Giggles>

Bear flashed me one of her patented sheepish grins and piped up, “Monkey!”

Maniacal laughter from inside the box ensued.  Then all the children started laughing.  Monkey popped out of the box.

Their dad and I started laughing too.  “Alright,” I admitted, “with you four around, perhaps I should have asked who!”

I have no idea what kind of game they were playing, but it sure was funny…especially after it aroused my suspicion!

5. Cardboard box-large

Need I say more?  What parent hasn’t bought their kids the best toy of the century only to have it thrown by the wayside in favor of a refrigerator box?  Shocking, but true.  Jails, castles, houses…the possibilities are endless!

6. Bubble Wrap

Lizard starts jumping up and down any time she sees the delivery truck bouncing up the driveway.  She’s already calling out, “I get the bubble wrap! I get the bubble wrap!” before I even get out the door to claim the package.  I have to meet our drivers at their trucks…they’re scared of Patch (as are all the meter readers, and the guy who works for the county grading the roads).  LIzard’s still bouncing when I come back in, and I can barely make it in the door, because they now all want a piece of bubble wrap.

Oh, the disappointment that ensues when a package comes with brown paper stuffing instead of bubble wrap!  There is wailing and gnashing of teeth!

I have to avoid the shipping materials aisle at WalMart just as meticulously as I do the toy aisle.  At least if I want to keep the “Momma, can I have?”s away.  You should have seen Lizard’s face the first time she noticed the shelf full of giant rolls of bubble wrap!  No birthday or Christmas morning has yet been able to compare to the joy and desire mirrored in those little eyes that day at WalMart!

7. Strangely melted metal

They call this little gem “Rudy”.  When they first found it in the yard, one of the children decided that it looked like the big, bad dinosaur creature from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs that Buck called Rudy.  I’m not actually sure what it really is, but we’re pretty sure it originated from the burn barrel.  Don’t worry…we checked it for sharp edges.

 

8. Shovels

Yes, my kids play with shovels. Not the toy shovels you find in the sandbox seasonal aisle or the role-play toy aisle, they ‘play’ with real, full-sized shovels.  Every once in a while, someone gets a hankerin’ to dig a hole.  It makes no sense to me, but, hey…they have a blast.  Their Daddy will give them shovels and real jobs that need to be done.  They get a shovel, Daddy gets a fence post hole, and, after they’re done Mommy gets a quiet afternoon nap time since they’ve exhausted themselves digging a hole!

9. Pile of bricks

A few years ago, while we were visiting my parents’ house up in the DFW area, we were over at my grandparents’ house, visiting with them one afternoon.  My granddad had a pile of bricks stacked up next to the shed behind their house.  It was a fairly decent-sized pile of bricks.  Bear found them while playing outside and immediately set to work building a pint-sized castle.  She asked to go back over to their house every afternoon.  My granddad was so amused with her building, that at Christmas (the same Christmas that the giant Lincoln logs appeared), he sent at least half of his pile of bricks down with my parents so that Bear could have bricks at her house too.  Since then, they’ve been castles, walls, chairs, stages, corrals for wild stick horses…you name it!

10. Old coffee cans

Oh, the fun you can have with an old discarded coffee can!  My husband buys his coffee from Sams, you know, the big, giant 2 pound canister.  When he’s used all the coffee inside, the cans (or rather, plastic canisters) meander out to the barn where they are then given a second life as a feed scoop, or egg transport device.  If, however, the children gain control of them first, however, many interesting things can happen to these unsuspecting containers.  They make fantastic sandbox toys or mud pie makers. 

They like to collect rainwater in these cans and turn them into “soup”…the main ingredients of which appears to be water, dirt, leaves, grass, and sticks (to give it just the right amount of texture).

Sometimes, though, their stick horses become stick cows, and the rainwater in the coffee cans is actually milk.  With the milk they collect, they can make cakes or ice cream…both of which look strikingly similar to aforementioned “soup”.  Woe to the onlooker who guesses incorrectly!

I could write an entire post about all the uses for old coffee cans…maybe I will!

 


Coffee and Conversation button

Wonderful Wednesday

 

  

Wow Us Wednesday

 

Think Tank Thursday

 

Easy Peasy Pleasy

 

 

The Blogger's Pit Stop


Once again, we don’t know how to keep our lives boring here on our little farm.  My  husband stepped on a screw while cleaning out chicken coops on Monday evening.  By the next morning, we were sure it was seriously infected.  My husband was barely able to walk.  So, off to the doctor he went.  He’s doing much better now, and can almost walk normally again.  But, I’ve been busy, busy, busy trying to help him out.  This coming week promises to be busy, but at the moment, rather boring!  So, here’s to hoping for a “boring” busy week!  Now, on to the party!


 

The effort to cleanup and rebuild after Hurricane Harvey will take an unknown amount of time and money.  If you feel so led – please donate (click button below):

Samaritans Purse

___________________________________________________________________by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

Welcome to the second week of the September blog hop called “You’re the Star!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share this post from my blog:


Since it’s been a busy week, I wasn’t able to post anything new this week.  So, in the spirit of the injury my husband received near the chicken coops, I’ve dusted off an old post this week.  My very first ever posted here on Family Farm School:


Six and a half years ago, our lives changed forever.  We bought a house in Middle-of-Nowhere, Texas.  Then we moved from our nice, conveniently located house in town to our new little piece of property that was an hour away from anything.  At the time, Bear was around 18 months old, and we were expecting our second.  I was so sick, and so busy taking care of a toddler.  Andrew had to do pretty much all the moving by himself.  I was useless!  What were we thinking???

Once we got moved in and at least nominally settled, we had to get to work on a way to keep our agricultural tax exemption.  We had always intended to stock the place with animals.  I only had one rule.  One rule, never to be broken, when I agreed to move out to the middle of nowhere: 

NO CHICKENS!!!

No chickens.  How hard is that rule to obey?  We could get anything else…cows, goats, sheep, horses, even llamas.  Just no chickens.  The possibilities were endless.  I always assumed we would get some cattle.  I mean, this is Texas.  Of course there would be cattle.

 But then, my dear husband started with the crazy talk…

He wanted to get…chickens.  Yes, chickens.  I thought I had made myself perfectly clear.  Why on earth would he want to mess with such foul, disgusting fowl which are useless for anything except feeding the local bobcat and coyote populations?  My uncle had chickens years ago when I was a kid.  I was certain that this one experience in my youth made me an expert on the matter.

Unfortunately, my husband did make some good points.  We did eat a lot of chicken.  We ate a lot of eggs.  We would know what was going into our food.  It would be cheaper to raise them than to pay full price at the store.  It was starting to become clear that I was going to lose this argument.  But, I held fast and firm to my decision.  

NO CHICKENS!!!

Eventually, after many conversations about chickens, I finally made my fatal mistake.  Instead of my patented “No chickens!” response to end one of these little talks, I said, “I don’t want chickens!”

“So,” says my husband, smiling mischievously, “You don’t want chickens.  But that means I can get chickens.  You won’t have to mess with them at all.  They’ll be my chickens, my business.”

I was nearly 8 months pregnant, and I was tired.  I finally conceded the loss.  

“Fine.”  I pouted.  “But understand me now.  I will NOT do anything with those chickens!  They are yours, just like you said.  I won’t touch those nasty chickens.  And don’t come crying to me when the coyotes get them!”

We had finally reached an agreement.

A few days later, my husband came driving home from the feed store with a box full of chicks that he had ordered.  Thirty of them.  Thirty!

They were kinda cute.  Even my hard heart had to admit that.  They were all fluffy and yellow, with all the little cheep cheep noises.  But I still wasn’t going to have anything to do with them.  Nope…no way!  Wasn’t gonna happen!

My husband had a big crate in the garage that he turned into a brooder for them.  It was fall, it was actually rather cool, and chicks have to be kept very warm until their feathers come in.  He put chicken wire over the top of the box, and a piece of plywood on top of the wire to keep the heat from the lamp in the box, leaving enough room uncovered for air to circulate.  He weighted down the wood on the top to make sure it wouldn’t come off.

The next morning, as my husband was leaving for work, he asked me to come out to the garage every few hours to check the brooder to make sure the chicks weren’t too cold, and make sure they had enough food and water.  Remember, that I was eight months pregnant.  The walk (waddle) from the house to the garage was no small undertaking!  But, the compassion for these poor little babies in my hormonal pregnant heart was stirred.  So much for being completely hands-off with the chickens!  My resolve had lasted less than 24 hours.

Tragedy would soon strike our household, however.  The third day after their arrival, after my daughter was down for her nap, I went out to check on the chicks.  My pregnant, hormonally-charged brain knew something was amiss the minute I stepped into the garage.  It was too quiet.  There were no sounds of cheeping and scuttling about as I approached the box.  The lid was knocked off, and the chicken wire was pulled up on the corner.  Oh, what a horrible, gruesome scene I found in that brooder!  Something had gotten into the brooder and killed every single chick save one…but when I looked, I didn’t see the live one.  It must have been hiding in the corner under the light.  I thought they had all been killed.  

They had not been eaten.  They had been eviscerated.  The perpetrator had extracted the parts he wanted with surgical precision from each and every chick.  The rest of the parts were scattered about the bottom of the box, untouched.  This MO suggested that a raccoon was to blame.  I cried and cried and cried.  It was too much.  My emotional state was already unstable.  I didn’t even want those silly chicks.  And now I had to deal with this grizzly murder scene.  I called my husband at work, and I cried at him for about 5 minutes before I could make any words come out.  Of course, this resulted in a panicked husband.  Imagine your very pregnant wife who is alone with your young daughter out in the middle of nowhere, calling you at work, unable to do anything but cry.  I finally managed to pull myself together enough to tell him what had happened.  He was also upset, but told me he’d take care of it himself after work.  When he got home, he found the one chick that had survived.  I held and cuddled that little chick while he cleaned out the brooder.  All those poor, helpless babies were just gone!

It was the first of many life and death lessons we would learn about how hard, and sometimes vicious life could be out here.  Andrew fixed the brooder up and made many improvements so this would not happen again.  He also went on a raccoon hunting spree, the first of several.  We got more chicks.  In fact, since there was one survivor, we had to get more chicks the very next day.  Our lone survivor would get too cold without some compatriots to keep him company.  Andrew built coops and fenced enclosures when the new chicks were ready to move out of the brooder.  Since then, we’ve grown our flock quite a bit.  We keep a permanent flock of layers, and hatch out some as replacements for our older layers, and some for meat for our family each year.  

I still don’t like the chickens.  I like raccoons even less.  And, despite all my big talk at the beginning, I was the one crying when predators got to the chickens.  Whatever my opinion on the matter, the chickens are here to stay.  I even have to mess with them occasionally.  Guess who takes care of them when Andrew is out of town?  Yep, that’d be me.  And guess who has to make sure their water misters get turned on every day during our scorching Texas summers?  Yep.  Me again.  I have to admit, I do like the fresh eggs, and producing our own food is pretty satisfying.

So…I deal with the chickens.

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WELCOME to CREATIVE feature week of the September You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your CREATIVE week Hosts 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarCreative_zpsvodufzbt.jpg

This week is CREATIVE feature week
Swing by the Creative hosting Team’s blogs:

Colleen @ Butterfly in the Attic


Darlene @ Let It Shine

Anna @ Cuddlebug Cuties
Angel @ Sew Crafty Angel
This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU!

There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear – this is NOT a themed party – you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month. 
The “theme” occurs in our weekly features:
WEEK#2 CREATIVE – arts & crafts, music, writing &/or dramatic arts (this can include sewing, yarn work, dance, art history, handmade jewelry, painting, computer art, fashion etc – anything creative while remaining family friendly)


by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg


(These features were chosen from the August “You’re the Star” blog hop)

DIY Custom Fabric Rug by Penny’s Vintage Home

Tanzmariechen Marie Crochet by Frau Tschi-Tschi

“Under the Sea” Ornaments by Debbie-Dabble Blog

Star of Felt by Hobby e Creativita
Star of felt

If you’ve been featured then please grab a STAR button below:

You're a STAR

*******************************************************
We are in need of more Cohosts (click HERE to view a list of our current hosts/cohosts). 
If you are interested in joining us as a Cohost then please click HERE & fill out the form.

*******************************************************

All Hosts/CoHosts will post this blog hop on every Monday of each week.
Please link up your family friendly blog posts below!
It wouldn’t be a linky party with YOU!
(IMPORTANT NOTE: by linking up you understand that you might be featured next month and if so, we will use some of your photos from your post – rest assured – we will always link back to your lovely blog.  We might also share your fantastic posts on social media.  Also, you may link up as many family-friendly posts as you like & YES – other blog hops &/or giveaways are welcome {giveaways and blog hops will NOT be featured though}  Thank You & ENJOY! )



___________________________________________________________________

Whew, what a weekend it has been!  As you know, we live in Texas, and we’ve had enough of Hurricane Harvey!  We live quite a bit inland, but are still dealing with a lot of rain.  At the time of writing this post, we’re over 12 inches…and it’s still raining.  We haven’t actually seen the worst yet, according to the weatherman.  They tell us it may not stop until next weekend…yikes!  Fortunately, for us, it was so dry when we started that we were able to take on 5 inches of rain before it even started running off.

We have a lot of friends, and some family as well who live on the coast.  Our thoughts and prayers are with them, and everyone else who has been impacted by this devastating storm.


 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

WELCOME to the September You’re the Star” Blog Hop!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share from my blog:


Since we’ve had such an eventful weather weekend, I thought I’d share a few photos of things here around the farm.

 

This is the pond that sits in our front yard.  I took this picture from the front porch of our house, just a little while after Harvey made landfall (several hours away) on Saturday morning.  At this point, we were only getting  showers from the far outer bands of the storm.  We’ve had a fairly dry summer, and as you can see, our pond was several feet low…hardly more than a mud puddle.

 

Here, you can see a few of the kids running around in their swimsuits and rubber boots.  You see, it’s not really out of the ordinary for me to allow them to play in the rain like this…as long as it’s warm.  They begged (and by ‘they’ I mean Rhino) to go to the splash pad…to which I replied, “In a hurricane?  Of course not!”  I was then informed that there wasn’t any thunder.  That was true.  Then they wanted to know if they could go play in their swimsuits outside.  “Ok, fine.  But if it starts getting windy, you have to come in!”  So, I sat out on the front porch watching my children play in the rain.  They had great fun!  In the end, I was glad I let them.  The weather really was quite tame still at that point,  and I knew we were going to be stuck inside for a while once things got serious.

This is the pond by Saturday evening.  A bit higher, but not extraordinary.  We’d had about 6 inches of rain by this point, and it was starting to run off.


  

This is the view that greeted us on Sunday morning.  We tried to leave to go to church, but the road out was totally impassable.  So, we’re stuck.  It appears doubtful that my husband will be able to go to work tomorrow, and indeed, the university has closed up shop on Monday and Tuesday.  We hope we’ll be able to move freely again by that time.

My kids are getting cabin fever.  One of them is actually sick, though he seems mostly unphased (as usual).  It’s going to be a long week.  Our schoolwork will probably be a welcome distraction!  Kids in our district were supposed to head out for the first day of school tomorrow.  But they announced today that the schools will all be closed.  There’s one more good thing about homeschooling, I guess…inclement weather won’t stop us!

It is still raining.  They say it will keep raining for several more days.  There are a lot of folks who have had MUCH more rain than we have here (and wind or tornado damage as well).  Harvey seems to have taken up residence along the coast, and doesn’t seem to notice that he is an unwelcome guest!  He’s taking his own sweet time leaving.

So, this week, if you get a chance, say a little prayer for us down here in Texas.  We need all the help we can get!

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WELCOME to GARDEN feature week of the September You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your GARDEN week Hosts 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarGarden_zpsmtrqgy7g.jpg

This week is GARDEN feature week
Swing by the GARDEN Hosts blogs:

Angie @ God’s Growing Garden

Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU!

There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear – this is NOT a themed party – you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month. 
The “theme” occurs in our weekly features:
WEEK#1 GARDEN – gardening, homesteading, recycling, outdoor activities &/or preserving (this can include any type of green living,  repurposed ideas, outdoor concerns, posts relating to farm animals etc all while remaining family friendly)



by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg


(All features were chosen from the August 2017 “You’re the Star” blog hop)

Beautiful Surprises in a Small Suburban Yard by Run Ran Fam

The Serpentine Style of Garden Design by Sweetly Dreaming of the Past


If you’ve been featured then please grab a STAR button below:

You're a STAR

*******************************************************

We are in need of more Cohosts (click

HERE

to view a list of our current hosts/cohosts).

If you are interested in joining us as a Cohost then please click

HERE

& fill out the form.

*******************************************************
All Hosts/CoHosts will post this blog hop on every Monday of each week.
Please link up your family friendly blog posts below!
It wouldn’t be a linky party with YOU!
(IMPORTANT NOTE: by linking up you understand that you might be featured next month and if so, we will use some of your photos from your post – rest assured – we will always link back to your lovely blog.  We might also share your fantastic posts on social media.  Also, you may link up as many family-friendly posts as you like & YES – other blog hops &/or giveaways are welcome {giveaways and blog hops will NOT be featured though}  Thank You & ENJOY! )

___________________________________________________________________
Our Favorite Outdoor Summer Activities

It’s summer here in central Texas…and it’s HOT!  But, with four mobile kids, being stuck inside all day, despite the heat, just isn’t an option.  So, today, I thought I’d write about some of my kids’ favorite outdoor summer activities.  Some are childhood classics, some are definitely ‘farm kid’ pastimes, and others will just downright make you cringe!  Keep reading, if you dare! 

1. Playing in the Pool

What kid can resist playing in the pool?  We make occasional trips to the “big pool”…you know, the kind where the water is higher than your ankles.  But here at home, we don’t have anything fancy like that.  We buy a wading pool at the beginning of each summer.  We still haven’t found a way to keep them usable from summer to summer, so we have to get a new one every year.

I spend many an afternoon watching the kids splashing around.  Their splashes keep me just cool enough to stand being outside!  They play all sorts of imaginary games.  Dolphins, whales, “fast fish” (whatever those are), crocodiles, sea turtles, and even the occasional mermaid…my front yard is full of aquatic wildlife when the pool is out.  My husband and I are constantly amazed by the amount of communication skills that go into a single game of make-believe!

Plus, we (and by we, I mean my husband) can give the garden a good watering when it’s time to empty the pool.  Nearly everything – even playtime – has to pull double duty around here!

2. Rope Swing

Sometimes, though, playtime is actually an object’s second duty.  Several months ago, my husband slaughtered a pair of hogs.  I know many who read this may find that horrifying, but that’s just how life out here works.  Meat doesn’t come from your grocer’s freezer…not originally, anyway.  But, I digress…

My husband put a rope up in one of the trees to aid in processing the hogs after they were slaughtered.  The next day, our kids came out and found the rope still hanging from the tree branch.  They didn’t see a hog rope, they saw a fun time!  My kids are weird, remember?  They stand on the side of my old truck, hold onto the rope and jump off, swinging across the yard.

Occasionally, only under proper supervision (they know they’re not allowed unless one of their parents is right next to them), they get to “foot swing”.  They put a foot into the loop in the rope and (usually) their Daddy swings them up, high and fast.  Their ol’ Momma has even tried it a time or two.  It feels like flying…at least until you can’t hold on any longer!

3. Giant Building Logs

The. Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever!

These logs were a collaboration between my dad and my husband.  My husband came up with the idea, and my dad brought them to life.  These are landscaping timbers cut into varying lengths.  Then, Dad drilled holes at even increments along the flat sides of the timbers.  Pipes can then be inserted by the builder through all the layers to make sturdy structures…much like Lincoln logs, but on a much bigger scale.

These logs have built castles, houses, boats, backyard fences, corrals…you name it!  If Bear is missing, you can almost bet that she’ll be outside building something.  The rest of the kids really get into it as well, giving her ideas of new structures to build.

4. Bubbles

What list of outdoor activities would be complete without bubbles?  I usually make our own bubbles at home with a little Dawn, water and sugar…otherwise, we’d go broke buying bubbles all the time!  The kids really enjoy blowing bubbles.  They especially like to chase each other’s bubbles across the yard in hopes of popping them before they fall in the grass or float over the pond.  Occasionally, a bubble will float past a dog who will try to catch it.  Sadly, the dogs never have anything to show in victory, other than a bad taste in their mouth!

5. Catch

I know what you’re thinking when you read that title.  But, you’re probably wrong.  Our Border Collie, Patch likes playing with the kids.  She also likes playing catch.  A lot.  She’s usually the dog that ends up catching bubbles.  But, Patch will try to catch pretty much anything thrown in the air…tennis balls, sticks, dirt, fertilizer (much to my husband’s consternation), and of course, balls of mud.

One of the kids’ favorite variations on this game is throwing small twigs or pebbles into the pond.  Patch will then take a flying leap into the water (what’s not funny about that?) to try to retrieve whatever was thrown in.  If was a stick, she’s usually successful.  However, if it was a pebble. she’ll swim around desperately trying to find it.  Of course, the children think this is quite hilarious.  I wind up with four sets of muddy feet and a dog covered in pond scum.  What joy is mine!

6. Pond Hunts

Our pond starts to dry up in the late spring.  If we’re lucky, we get enough rain during the early summer that our pond doesn’t completely dry out (our first year living here was 2011, and by the end of the summer the pond was bone dry, not even a muddy spot left!).  But, either way, it gets much smaller.  Our children often form a little roaming band and tramp around the pond bed finding interesting critters, or playing some imaginary game.  The game often degenerates into playing mud-ball catch with Patch.

Bear will often bring her nature journal and nature identification guide with her.  She takes great pleasure in finding, drawing, and identifying little creatures and plants that have made their home in the dried-up pond goo!  I’m glad they have fun, and I suppose it’s even a little educational.  But, again, it tends to end in mud-covered shoes, clothes, and dogs!

7. Mud Fight!

Ah, I’ve saved the best for last!  I know this one is likely to make many of you shudder.  But, this is, hands-down, my kids’ favorite game!  They run outside as soon as it stops raining (usually before if there’s no lightening) so they can get to the puddles before they dry up.  As you can tell from the pictures, they get gross!  But, it’s nothing a water hose can’t fix.  I suppose all that fun is ultimately worth the mess!  If you would like some tips on how to deal with kids and mud without losing your sanity, check out this post.

 

And, because you really can’t get a real feel for this last one from just a picture, here’s a little video clip:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/PNGsf47Bs1U” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

 


Easy Peasy Pleasy

 

 

The Blogger's Pit Stop

 

ethannevelyn.com

 

 
apinchofjoy.com

 

Wonderful Wednesday

 

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Homestead Blog Hop will take place every Wednesday featuring real food recipes, natural health remedies, DIY, crafts, Gardening Tips, and more...
 


It is hot, hot, hot here in Texas!  If we’re going to go outside, you’d better believe we’re going to get wet!  I hope this Monday you’re staying cool.  So, put your feet up, take a look at some of these great posts, and enjoy a little air conditioning.


 

 

 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

WELCOME to the August You’re the Star” Blog Hop!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share from my blog:


Recently, something happened that has made me think…a lot.  In fact, it really got under my skin.  I’ve been considering things a lot in the wake of the event.

How it all began:

an annoying, baby-waking dogMy day started out much like my days always do.  My husband got up about half an hour before I did.  When I got up, I was a little grumpy.  It had been raining overnight, and the dog had been acting strange.  She had woken me up at 4 am.  I tried letting her out, but when I opened the door, she didn’t want to go.  She then followed me into the restroom and growl-talked (those of you with dogs will understand what I mean) to me.  After I’d finished in the restroom and started back to bed, she reclaimed her nightly spot on the couch and laid down.  I got a drink of water, and headed back to bed, hoping I’d be able to get back to sleep in the 2 hours I had left.  As I laid back down, here came Patch, running back into our room, growling and squeaking…and waking up Baby.  

I fed Baby and put her back down to sleep, but was faced with less than an hour left before I knew I’d have to be up and ready for the day.  

I was irritated with the dog, and seriously grumpy to start my Monday.  Stubbornly, I lay in bed, seething and rebelliously pretending I still had enough time to go back to sleep while my husband got up to start his day.

Just as he was going out to tend to the animals, I got up, emerged from our room, and was angrily stalking towards the shower.  He noticed, and made a little joke about my being grumpy…which almost immediately diffused the situation.  I was still mad at the dog, and I was still grumpy, but he had made me smile.  I would be able to get myself back under control.

Andrew went off to take care of the animals, and I wearily shuffled off to the shower where I managed to wake up a little.  

By the time Andrew headed out to work, I was still feeling a little “off”, but functional.  We joked a little more about my being grumpy as we were saying goodbye for the day, and both laughing about it.  

From there, our day here at home progressed normally.  It was Monday, so the kids were all off our routine from the weekend…and there was occasional fussing about an assignment, but nothing out of the ordinary.

After breakfast, I sent Andrew a message to tell him that we needed milk and a prescription picked up before he came home…I wasn’t really expecting an answer, so it came as no surprise that I didn’t get one.  

A couple of hours went by.  We were hard at work.  Soon after lunch, Baby started fussing, right on schedule at about 1:15.  Time for her afternoon nap!  I gave instructions to the other kids as to how they should use their time while I put Baby to bed.  Then, I brought Baby in to our room to feed her before she went to sleep.  

I often do a little internet surfing to make sure I don’t fall asleep while I’m nursing Baby before her nap.  It’s dark, it’s quiet, I have to sit still.  If I don’t have something to keep me from it, we’re both fast asleep!  Then I wake up an hour later, while the older kids have been doing who knows what in my absence, and I have a crick in my neck from sleeping while sitting up.  It’s just not good.  So…I play internet.

The news:

my husband's car
My husband’s car

This particular afternoon, I opened up my laptop and checked my email…nothing of consequence.  Then, I headed on over to KBTX, the local news station’s website to check on the weather.  It had been raining off and on all day, and I wanted to check the radar.  But, I never made it.

My heart stopped when I saw the top story on the KBTX homepage.  There was a picture of a small champagne-colored SUV, smashed beyond recognition.  The headline underneath read, “Fatal car accident this morning on Highway 21.”

I couldn’t breathe.

Andrew drives to work on Highway 21 every morning in a small, champagne-colored SUV.  But the one in the picture was in such bad shape that I just couldn’t tell if it was his or not!  I was trying to stay calm so I wouldn’t upset Baby.  I slowly managed to click on the link to the story, desperately hoping that it was the wrong place on Highway 21.

There wasn’t much more information.  But, it did tell me where on Highway 21…and it was not the wrong place.  My husband drives that stretch every single day.

Panic set in.

I realized I had to calm down so I could get Baby down for a nap.  I couldn’t do anything.  There were rocks in the bottom of my stomach the whole time she nursed.  She took 22 minutes.  It was all I could think about the whole time.

“What if it was him?”

“There are thousands of SUVs that color.”

“He should have been at work already.  But how long did it take the news station to post the story?  It didn’t say what time it happened.”

“I texted him a while ago.  He hasn’t answered.  What if he’s dead on the side of the road and I’m sitting here texting him about milk, and not thinking about something important?”

“It can’t be him!  It can’t be him! Please, Dear Lord, don’t let it be him!”

I laid Baby down in her crib and quietly left the room.  For once, she didn’t scream when I put her down.  I walked across the living room to get my phone.  The older kids were in the kitchen, washing the dishes we’d used at lunch.  I picked up my phone just as I received a message…

Was it him?

It was from Andrew.

“Thank you, Lord!”

He wasn’t dead on the side of the road.  He said he thought there were still a few gallons of milk in the garage refrigerator, and asked if we had to have the prescription that day, or if it could wait for a day or two.

“Really?  I’ve just been through the longest 22 minutes in my life!  You’re worried about milk!?!”

But then I came back to reality with a jolt.  He had not been here during my 22 minute panic attack.  He probably hadn’t been on the internet all day, so it was unlikely he had even seen the story.  Andrew was working…blissfully unaware of the emotional roller coaster from which I had just disembarked.

I checked the outside refrigerator…no milk.  So I answered his message, and went on with life.

I talked to him on the phone a little while afterward and told him all about the incident.  He looked on the news page and agreed that it did, in fact, look a lot like his car.  But, the back window (one of the only things left intact) wasn’t the right shape.

Apparently, I need to pay more attention to back windows.

Thoughts

Often, when I’m faced with a scenario, I have a tendency to jump to the worst possible conclusion…just as I did in this case.  I convinced myself that my husband was gone in an amazingly short period of time.  It was only afterward, however, that I started to consider what it might have meant to our family if something like that were to happen.

What if my husband weren’t here anymore?  What if my children lost their dad?

What if my husband weren't here anymore? What if my children lost their dad? Click To Tweet

I know he would be in a better place.  I have no doubt of that.  But, the selfish part of me keeps reminding me how much we would miss him.  He does so much.

husband working on the tractorMy husband keeps this family moving.  He works hard to make money to provide to us.  Then, he comes home and works hard to grow food to provide for us.  Then, he comes inside and often cooks dinner and takes care of the kids while I put Baby to bed each evening.

What would we do without him?

I know we’d find a way to manage…but, how?

Our kids would have to grow up without their dad.

This evening, as I sit here and finish writing this post, I have been alone all day and all evening with the kids (though, in a house full of 5 kids, can one ever really be “alone”?).  Andrew had a rare evening when he had to stay at work late into the evening playing with NMR spectra…extra points if you know what that is!  I often don’t realize or appreciate how much he does to help our family.  But, when he’s gone, it really hits me full force.  I didn’t manage to finish getting all the kids in bed until after 10 tonight.  It turns out you can’t cook dinner and nurse a baby to sleep at the same time.  I need him here to make things run smoothly.  

I need him because I need him.  He’s my husband…the father of my children.

Our kids need him.

We’d be lost without him.  

My heart aches for the family that did lose someone that day.


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WELCOME to HOME feature week of the August You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your HOME week Hosts

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHome_zpsvjqg4aib.jpg

This week is HOME feature week
Swing by the Home Hosts’ Blogs:

Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn

Heidi @ Heidi’s Wanderings

This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU!

There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear – this is NOT a themed party – you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month. 
The “theme” occurs in our weekly features:
WEEK#4 HOME – recipes, home décor, antique/DIY &/or travel (this can include anything about your home – even history posts – all while remaining family friendly)


by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg

(All features were chosen from the July “You’re the Star” blog hop)

Guest Bedroom Reveal by Rickety Pickets
Twin beds in guest bedroom

The Art of Collecting by A Day of Small Things….

Thrifty Decorated New House by Thrifty To Nifty

 

Our First Camping Trip by Mille Fiori Favoriti

If you’ve been featured then please grab a STAR button below:

You're a STAR

*******************************************************
We are in need of more Cohosts (click HERE to view a list of our current hosts/cohosts).  For HOME feature week we  need 2 more Cohosts.
If you are interested in joining us as a Cohost then please click HERE & fill out the form.

*******************************************************

All Hosts/CoHosts will post this blog hop on every Monday of each week.
Please link up your family friendly blog posts below!
It wouldn’t be a linky party with YOU!
(IMPORTANT NOTE: by linking up you understand that you might be featured next month and if so, we will use some of your photos from your post – rest assured – we will always link back to your lovely blog.  We might also share your fantastic posts on social media.  Also, you may link up as many family-friendly posts as you like & YES – other blog hops &/or giveaways are welcome {giveaways and blog hops will NOT be featured though}  Thank You & ENJOY! )



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husband on a tractor

Recently, something happened that has made me think…a lot.  In fact, it really got under my skin.  I’ve been considering things a lot in the wake of the event.

How it all began:

an annoying, baby-waking dogMy day started out much like my days always do.  My husband got up about half an hour before I did.  When I got up, I was a little grumpy.  It had been raining overnight, and the dog had been acting strange.  She had woken me up at 4 am.  I tried letting her out, but when I opened the door, she didn’t want to go.  She then followed me into the restroom and growl-talked (those of you with dogs will understand what I mean) to me.  After I’d finished in the restroom and started back to bed, she reclaimed her nightly spot on the couch and laid down.  I got a drink of water, and headed back to bed, hoping I’d be able to get back to sleep in the 2 hours I had left.  As I laid back down, here came Patch, running back into our room, growling and squeaking…and waking up Baby.  

I fed Baby and put her back down to sleep, but was faced with less than an hour left before I knew I’d have to be up and ready for the day.  

I was irritated with the dog, and seriously grumpy to start my Monday.  Stubbornly, I lay in bed, seething and rebelliously pretending I still had enough time to go back to sleep while my husband got up to start his day.

Just as he was going out to tend to the animals, I got up, emerged from our room, and was angrily stalking towards the shower.  He noticed, and made a little joke about my being grumpy…which almost immediately diffused the situation.  I was still mad at the dog, and I was still grumpy, but he had made me smile.  I would be able to get myself back under control.

Andrew went off to take care of the animals, and I wearily shuffled off to the shower where I managed to wake up a little.  

By the time Andrew headed out to work, I was still feeling a little “off”, but functional.  We joked a little more about my being grumpy as we were saying goodbye for the day, and both laughing about it.  

From there, our day here at home progressed normally.  It was Monday, so the kids were all off our routine from the weekend…and there was occasional fussing about an assignment, but nothing out of the ordinary.

After breakfast, I sent Andrew a message to tell him that we needed milk and a prescription picked up before he came home…I wasn’t really expecting an answer, so it came as no surprise that I didn’t get one.  

A couple of hours went by.  We were hard at work.  Soon after lunch, Baby started fussing, right on schedule at about 1:15.  Time for her afternoon nap!  I gave instructions to the other kids as to how they should use their time while I put Baby to bed.  Then, I brought Baby in to our room to feed her before she went to sleep.  

I often do a little internet surfing to make sure I don’t fall asleep while I’m nursing Baby before her nap.  It’s dark, it’s quiet, I have to sit still.  If I don’t have something to keep me from it, we’re both fast asleep!  Then I wake up an hour later, while the older kids have been doing who knows what in my absence, and I have a crick in my neck from sleeping while sitting up.  It’s just not good.  So…I play internet.

The news:

my husband's car
My husband’s car

This particular afternoon, I opened up my laptop and checked my email…nothing of consequence.  Then, I headed on over to KBTX, the local news station’s website to check on the weather.  It had been raining off and on all day, and I wanted to check the radar.  But, I never made it.

My heart stopped when I saw the top story on the KBTX homepage.  There was a picture of a small champagne-colored SUV, smashed beyond recognition.  The headline underneath read, “Fatal car accident this morning on Highway 21.”

I couldn’t breathe.

Andrew drives to work on Highway 21 every morning in a small, champagne-colored SUV.  But the one in the picture was in such bad shape that I just couldn’t tell if it was his or not!  I was trying to stay calm so I wouldn’t upset Baby.  I slowly managed to click on the link to the story, desperately hoping that it was the wrong place on Highway 21.

There wasn’t much more information.  But, it did tell me where on Highway 21…and it was not the wrong place.  My husband drives that stretch every single day.

Panic set in.

I realized I had to calm down so I could get Baby down for a nap.  I couldn’t do anything.  There were rocks in the bottom of my stomach the whole time she nursed.  She took 22 minutes.  It was all I could think about the whole time.

“What if it was him?”

“There are thousands of SUVs that color.”

“He should have been at work already.  But how long did it take the news station to post the story?  It didn’t say what time it happened.”

“I texted him a while ago.  He hasn’t answered.  What if he’s dead on the side of the road and I’m sitting here texting him about milk, and not thinking about something important?”

“It can’t be him!  It can’t be him! Please, Dear Lord, don’t let it be him!”

I laid Baby down in her crib and quietly left the room.  For once, she didn’t scream when I put her down.  I walked across the living room to get my phone.  The older kids were in the kitchen, washing the dishes we’d used at lunch.  I picked up my phone just as I received a message…

Was it him?

It was from Andrew.

“Thank you, Lord!”

He wasn’t dead on the side of the road.  He said he thought there were still a few gallons of milk in the garage refrigerator, and asked if we had to have the prescription that day, or if it could wait for a day or two.

“Really?  I’ve just been through the longest 22 minutes in my life!  You’re worried about milk!?!”

But then I came back to reality with a jolt.  He had not been here during my 22 minute panic attack.  He probably hadn’t been on the internet all day, so it was unlikely he had even seen the story.  Andrew was working…blissfully unaware of the emotional roller coaster from which I had just disembarked.

I checked the outside refrigerator…no milk.  So I answered his message, and went on with life.

I talked to him on the phone a little while afterward and told him all about the incident.  He looked on the news page and agreed that it did, in fact, look a lot like his car.  But, the back window (one of the only things left intact) wasn’t the right shape.

Apparently, I need to pay more attention to back windows.

Thoughts

Often, when I’m faced with a scenario, I have a tendency to jump to the worst possible conclusion…just as I did in this case.  I convinced myself that my husband was gone in an amazingly short period of time.  It was only afterward, however, that I started to consider what it might have meant to our family if something like that were to happen.

What if my husband weren’t here anymore?  What if my children lost their dad?

What if my husband weren't here anymore? What if my children lost their dad? Click To Tweet

I know he would be in a better place.  I have no doubt of that.  But, the selfish part of me keeps reminding me how much we would miss him.  He does so much.

husband working on the tractorMy husband keeps this family moving.  He works hard to make money to provide to us.  Then, he comes home and works hard to grow food to provide for us.  Then, he comes inside and often cooks dinner and takes care of the kids while I put Baby to bed each evening.

What would we do without him?

I know we’d find a way to manage…but, how?

Our kids would have to grow up without their dad.

This evening, as I sit here and finish writing this post, I have been alone all day and all evening with the kids (though, in a house full of 5 kids, can one ever really be “alone”?).  Andrew had a rare evening when he had to stay at work late into the evening playing with NMR spectra…extra points if you know what that is!  I often don’t realize or appreciate how much he does to help our family.  But, when he’s gone, it really hits me full force.  I didn’t manage to finish getting all the kids in bed until after 10 tonight.  It turns out you can’t cook dinner and nurse a baby to sleep at the same time.  I need him here to make things run smoothly.  

I need him because I need him.  He’s my husband…the father of my children.

Our kids need him.

We’d be lost without him.  

My heart aches for the family that did lose someone that day.


The Blogger's Pit Stop

 

 

ethannevelyn.com

 

 

JENerally Informed

 

 

 photo TWTpictures_zpslz1mzxyh.jpg

 

Coffee and Conversation button

 

Blueberry Dessert Recipes

 

Messy Marriage

 

WW Blog Hop cohosts July 2017

 


It’s hard to believe it’s already the third week of August.  This year is going by so quickly!  It’s been miserably hot here this past week, with triple digits forecast at least through the end of the week.  I’m grateful for air conditioning this week, and praying that our units all keep holding on through the rest of the summer!  On to this week’s blog hop: 

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by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarHopLarge_zpsncuylahd.jpg

 

Welcome to week#3 of the August “You’re the Star” Blog Hop!
Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share this post from my blog:

 

 


Ok, so it’s been quite a while since I posted about my post-partum weightloss journey.  I’ve got to be honest…life has been getting in the way!  I actually gained 7 pounds.  Eek!  I went the wrong way!  Though we’re back to school now, we recently took a month-long break from lessons, which means we kinda took a month-long break from any kind of structure that even remotely resembles a routine.  Things have been totally crazy!  Plus, it’s been so insanely hot outside…it’s Texas, and it’s summer…of course it’s hot!  I have lots of excuses, don’t I?

So, here I am, dusting myself off, and getting back on the fitness wagon.  

What’s Next?

I’m going to keep up with my water intake goal, and try to keep on track with that one.  That’s pretty easy, I can do that!

I recently found a fantastic program for homeschooling moms (though I personally think any busy mom could benefit) called “Homeschool Mom Fitness”.  I have only been through one week so far, but, I feel like I finally have some hope for getting fit again!  I’m back down to 229 pounds after my high of 230.  My biggest problem with getting myself in shape has always been this preconceived notion that I have to find a big block of time every day to “work out”.  I just isn’t there.  I’m always doing something.  I flutter from doing dishes to folding laundry to sitting at the kitchen table teaching lessons to…well, you get the picture.

There just isn’t any extra time in our schedule for a big block of half an hour, or even 20 minutes for me to take on my own.  But, this program is different.   Each week, there are 5 sets of 3 exercises to complete each day.  You can complete them all at once, or just take them a set at a time.  The first week, you only have to go 20 seconds per exercise.  That’s 60 seconds 5 times a day…that’s all.  The second week is 30 seconds per exercise.  It increases each week.  Even I can find a single minute here and there throughout my day.  As I become more cognizant of my extra time through the day, I’m pretty sure I’ll be finding time to squeeze in exercise in spots I thought were totally jam-packed.

How to Work In the Work Outs

Consider this…

How often do you find yourself standing in the kitchen, waiting for something to cook?  It takes a few minutes for those pancakes to cook on each side, but not enough that you can leave them and go do something else.  You’re a captive.  But…why not squeeze in a set or two of exercises while you’re there?  You’ve already started your day out right!

Or this…

You’re sitting on the floor with your baby while she has some tummy time.  That’s a great time to do something a little entertaining for her…why not make it some exercise.  My baby thinks it’s hilarious to watch Mommy exercise.  I get a step closer to being a fit mom, and baby grins all at the same time.  Everybody wins!

If you’re homeschooling…

These would make great P.E. exercises to do with your students.  Work in a few with your kiddos.  Now, you’ve covered a class subject, and you’re all better off than you were before!

We’re back to school here in our house, and our routine is back to normal.  I feel like I have even less time to myself with all of our school work to oversee.  But, I am still going strong, finding those few minutes here and there.  It’s only Tuesday, and the hardest part of the week is still to come…we’ve got a swimming day scheduled tomorrow (how’s that to stay in a routine?).  But, for once, I have confidence in my ability to stick with this program.

To learn more about Homeschool Mom Fitness, hop on over and check out their website.  For one low price, you get lifetime access to all of the materials…there is no monthly fee.  So, even if you do fall off the fitness wagon (it happens to us all), you still have access to the materials to get yourself back on track again.  There is a fitness tracker, access to videos to show you the proper form for all the exercises, access to a Facebook group (which I have really enjoyed so far), and more.  The program was created by a homeschool mom and her husband, who happens to be a certified personal trainer, so you know he knows his stuff!  I really hope you’ll drop by, and check out this program.  Join us, and let’s all get back in shape together! 


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WELCOME to FAMILY feature week of the
August “You’re the STAR” blog hop!
Meet your FAMILY week Host & Cohost 

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/ photo YoureTheStarFamily_zps6gnkp7zk.jpg

This week is FAMILY feature week
Swing by the Family hosting team’s blogs:

Miranda @ The Myrabev Life

Linda @ Country Loving Mom

Elizabeth @ Family Farm School

This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU!
There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear – this is NOT a themed party – you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month. 
The “theme” occurs in our weekly features:
WEEK#3 FAMILY – parenting, fitness, health, finances & inspirational (this can include anything about children like: education ideas for children, also self help, beauty etc –  anything family friendly)

by Angie Ouellette-Tower for godsgrowinggarden.com photo ShopHoppingFeatured_zpsf9fab123.jpg



(These features were chosen from the July “You’re the STAR” blog hop)

 Homeschooling:  It’s Not Meant To Be Easy by Homeschool Insights

New York City – The MOMA & More by Not In Jersey
The MOMA & More

DIY Rustic Tic Tac Toe Board by Welsh Design Studio

Looking After Your Body by Comfort Spring

If you’ve been featured then please grab a STAR button below:

You're a STAR

*******************************************************

We are in need of more Cohosts (click

HERE

to view a list of our current hosts/cohosts). 

If you are interested in joining us as a Cohost then please click

HERE

& fill out the form.

*******************************************************
All Hosts/CoHosts will post this blog hop on every Monday of each week.
Please link up your family friendly blog posts below!
It wouldn’t be a linky party with YOU!
(IMPORTANT NOTE: by linking up you understand that you might be featured next month and if so, we will use some of your photos from your post – rest assured – we will always link back to your lovely blog.  We might also share your fantastic posts on social media.  Also, you may link up as many family-friendly posts as you like & YES – other blog hops &/or giveaways are welcome {giveaways and blog hops will NOT be featured though}  Thank You & ENJOY! )

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