Friday, February 27, 2015

The Goats Are Here!

Over the last week, we have purchased our goats for this 4H season.

Meet Charger.

This is Nutsy's goat, and she is thrilled to be doing goats for the first time this year.

Dasher and Bookworm saved up money from last years' auction to buy better goats this year.

This is Dasher's guy, Duke.

And here is Remus, Bookworm's goat.

Bookworm is actually the owner of two goats; she has been really saving her money and has enough for a state fair goat too.

Her other goat will be coming to the farm where we are next week.

Any guesses as to his name? (The hint is in her other goat's name.)

And this is not the end of the animals coming......Mr. Lego and Bookworm are also taking lambs to county fair as well.

So we are out at the farm at least twice a week, working with our animals and cleaning out stalls.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

{Schoolhouse Review} ~ In Freedom's Cause

History is fascinating to me.

And I love making it come alive for my kids.

And one way that I can do that is with some help from Heirloom Audio Productions and their audio theater In  Freedom's Cause Single Package.

What It Is:

I received 4 things in this package:

In Freedom's Cause Audio CD Review

This 2 CD set runs for approximately 2 1/2 hours. This is audio theater at its best, and is the dramatized story of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Wallace and Bruce were leaders that fought bravely in the Wars of Scottish Independence against the might of the English army and King Edward in the early 1300's.

 The cast is impressive as well. There are a few well known actors that give their talents to this dramatization: Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings), Skandar Keynes (Chronicles of Narnia), and James Cosmo (Braveheart) to name a few. The production is quite impressive; it really felt like we were sitting there watching this story unfold in front of us. The sound quality was excellent; there were appropriate background noises and the entire story was well told. And the Scottish accents were so lovely to listen to! My kids have been walking around the house the last few weeks, trying out their best Scottish brogue.

This story is based on G.A. Henty's novel In Freedom's Cause. If you are unfamiliar with G. A. Henty, he was a writer who wrote historical novels in the late 19th century. His books are adventure stories, each book being based on a different  historical event. As a homeschooling mom who loves making school come alive for my children, I really appreciate these books. And having this wonderful book dramatized by Heirloom Audio is such a lovely addition to our library.

What You Get:

The In Freedom's Cause CD set is high quality and comes in a sturdy case that unfolds to reveal both discs. The case has lovely artwork on it, depicting Scotland in the Middle Ages.

The In Freedom's Cause Study Guide came as a digital, downloadable, Adobe document. It is 49 pages long and is meant for all ages. Each section of the guide corresponds with a chapter on the CD. There are three types of questions asked

  • Listening Well - simple listening comprehension questions.
  • Thinking Further - these are questions that dive deeper into the content and meaning of the story.
  • Defining Words - this is a short list of words to define. These words include intriguing, monophonic, glade, melee, and envoy. There are between two and  eight words listed per section.
At the end of the Study Guide is a Bible Study to do with your children, which draws out more of the spiritual aspects of the story.

 The In Freedom's Cause Soundtrack is an MP3 download. I do love listening to soundtracks and this one was excellent.

And finally I received a digital download of The Prayer Of William Wallace to print out. This beautifully written prayer is taken from Psalm 23 and is recited on the CD.

How We Used This and What I Thought:

When I first got the CD, we sat down one afternoon and put it on. The girls were either drawing or crocheting, and we became so captivated with the story that we sat and listened to the whole first CD together! The next day I began to explore the Study Guide and realized we could move at a slower pace and discuss the storyline. Listening to it a second time was very helpful and we understood the story even better. I verbally asked the questions and we discussed the vocabulary words; you could very easily turn some of the questions into a short writing assignment for older children.

I really liked the discussion that came out of the questions in the Study Guide. We sat and talked about how Wallace's words caused other to follow him, and how we can influence others. We discussed the different battles, and how things would have changed with a different outcome.

Some of the questions dealt with Wallace's faith, and his trusting in God. He does quote scripture throughout the CD and the study guide does draw out his faith.Other questions are more historical, such as asking what a drawbridge is, or why Wallace used certain techniques in his fighting.

I liked some of the questions and did adapt them for my older children; in one of the chapters it mentions 'Caledonia'. The study guide explains that this is another name for Scotland and asks the student to research why this is.This was a perfect one-paragraph writing assignment!

One thing I did notice is that the chapters seamlessly change on the CD and are not obvious; since we went through this chapter by chapter using the guide, I did need to watch the CD player to see when we should to stop the story and discuss it.

If you know the story of Wallace you know that he is tortured to his death. This audio drama does a great job of showing his death in a way that is appropriate for younger children. It is very sad, but you see Wallace's faith especially during this part; he recites Psalm 23 as he is dying.

I really enjoyed this product. My kids love dramatizations, and while there are many fictitious books that are dramatized, few historically based ones are. And in our co op we are studying the Middle Ages this year, and just finished up the Crusades so the timing of this CD set was perfect. I can see us listening to this CD set over and over; the story is a classic one and should be heard many times.

And just last week I found out that Heirloom Audio Productions is set to release another G.A.Henty book With Lee in Virginia. My children really enjoyed reading that book and so I would love to get the audio version of it as well!

You can follow Heirloom Audio Productions on Facebook too.

Check out what other Crew members though about In Freedom's Cause by clicking below!

In Freedom's Cause Review

Crew Disclaimer

Friday, February 20, 2015

Random 5 on Friday ~ February 20th

I am trying something new! I am linking up with my friend at Pebble Pond for Random 5 on Friday.

1. The weather is lovely here today. Right now it is sunny and 61 degrees. The rest of the nation, you have my sympathies.

2. I just put 500 pounds of goat and sheep feed in my car. Tomorrow we get our goats and the car is stuffed full of pen supplies, feeders, buckets, halters, and so many other things. The crazy part of the year begins.

 {halters and chains}

3. Yesterday was a fun day! My mother in law came for a visit with one of our cousins and we had a blast relaxing with them, playing games, and being outside. Another plus to homeschooling; taking a day off to be with family.

{football at the park}

{scrabble, tea, and Obachan}

 4. Tonight we are having 25 to 30 youth in our house. Our church's monthly youth study is here tonight; a few of the moms are planning to stay to have a glass of wine with me out on the deck.

5. I love cooking for my family and this last week made something so yummy......roasted bell pepper, mozzarella, turkey, and pesto paninis.


Friday, February 13, 2015

My Week In Images

This mug full of tea......

 because it reminds me of our vacation this last fall.

These beautiful tomatillos....

because they make a killer salsa verde.

This online video series.......

because it makes science super interesting.

This fun evening with family.....

because I am thankful they live close enough to come for a visit.

This weather......

another reason why I love living in California.

Friday, February 6, 2015


Today my son, my firstborn, is 18.

Pinch me, because I really don't believe it.

Where did the time go?

When did he go from this:
(Click here to read more about when he arrived...)

To this?

Like it or not, it is here, and he is now considered an adult.

And in honor of that occasion, I decided to do a little internet research about turning 18 in the state of California.

It is a big deal, actually, and is officially called the Age of Majority.

Here are some things that an 18 year old can do:

  • Rent your own apartment
  • Buy or sell property
  • Buy a car on your own
  • Enter into a legal contract without parental consent
  • Vote in elections
  • Marry without parental consent
  • Join the military without parental consent
  • Can smoke
  • An adult in the eyes of the law
  • Assume liability for traffic accidents and violations
  • Serve on a jury
  • Can buy a rifle or shotgun
  • Can be sued

The only thing I can think of that he can't do is drink (age 21) or rent a car (age 25).

This is a big list.

My first thought when I read it was that it was a scary one.

But then I thought again. This list is made up of responsibilities.

The responsibility to vote. The responsibility to be totally and completely responsible for any traffic violations or accidents. (Before 18, parents can be held legally responsible for damage.) The responsibility to be MARRIED. (That is a big one.)


And then I thought, have I given him the tools for this?

Have I trained him to be responsible with his time, resources, and finances?

Questions, that to some I can say "yes"; and others, I say "I hope so".

And that is where God's grace comes in for sure. I can look over my years of parenting and see so many places where I messed up. Where I wasn't consistent enough, wasn't patient enough, and maybe didn't push him hard enough at times.

But that is one of the reasons I did homeschool him, engage him in conversations about his faith, require that he attend church, and push him to do things; like get a job, and take a college class.

But in the end, I can only show him the way, not make him walk there.

And it is up to him, and the grace God will bestow on him.

And I can pray. (As I have done since the day he was born!)

Pray that his heart will remain soft towards Christ and His mercy, and that he would cling to Him on the many paths he is to go on.

Happy Birthday, my son. I know I have not been the perfect mother, but know I love you so much, and want the best for you. Cling to Christ and His gospel, and know that He is there for you always.

{Why I don't have too many photos of this guy.}