Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

My Homeschool Day: Success or Failure?

As homeschool moms we are tempted to compare our daily lives and, our children’s lives, with others, and may be naggingly tugged to feel guilty about it, or even a twinge of failure every now and then.

Take today for example.  Or, this week even.  We are winding down after a long 9-10 months in school, and trying to finish up the last things.  The last math unit, the last spelling units, the last grammar concepts… and it’s like pulling teeth!  Has anyone else noticed that it is beautiful outside?!!   Does anyone else remember that soon after these beautiful days called spring, that we will be brave to step outside for more than 5 minutes any time after 10 am because of the stifling heat?  I remember.  And when I look out my backdoor and see my children playing to their heart’s content, lapping up God’s creation, joining with Him in creative play… I can’t bring myself to strap them to the chair and pin their nose to a workbook.  Call me crazy, I just can’t do it.

Today my children helped with family chores – feeding and watering chickens and rabbits.  They rode their bikes and showed me how fast they could go.  They accompanied me on a farm supply trip and my son proved his manhood by loading heavy bags of wood-chips into the car.  My daughter beat all the odds and strengthened her emotional stability in the stores, holding it together when she wanted to fall apart.  They sat down together with both mother and father for a wholesome lunch of beans and cornbread.  After lunch, they descended upon the sandbox, where they played in harmony and lost track of time.  When it came time for Judah’s nap, Jeremiah finished up a while in the sandbox, then took a break to make some homemade fresh squeezed lemonade.  He brought me out a sample twice while I watered the garden.  He then put 3 cookies into a baggie and rode his bike across the field, along the “secret pathway“, to Nini’s house.  They shared the cookies (1 for papa, too), and hashed over the day’s events.  Then she invited him to ride over to my sister’s garden to fix a piece of tubing for their irrigation.  They hopped in the car, and in a while he’ll be back here, content and full from his day of unhurried, uncontrolled, non-structured learning.

So was today a homeschool success of failure? 

If you’re looking from a purely academic stand point, there may be room for growth; however when the entire year of academic and developmental learning is considered, I am certain that even with days like today, they have learned and grown an entire year’s worth of growth.  And there will be other days for spelling words and math problems – probably when the oppressive heat locks us in our home.  That’s what we did last summer.

I think that this homeschool day – popcorn at the farm store, lemonade in the garden, cookies with Nini, and unhurried creative play… can’t be beat.  I’d be willing to wager that they grew and learned more from today than they would have if I had cracked open the books.    And for that reason, I love homeschool.   



Our Very Own Oklahoma Land Run!

The final family swim of 2011 was a success!  Just last night we were swimming and relaxing by the pool at Aunt Linda’s house (and now we are wearing sweatshirts!).  And it was a lot of fun!  The kids had a blast, and my mom and dad had a mini-vacation from their busy week.  Altogether, I’m glad we did it.  It was wonderful to see Linda and Steve as well.  What a blessing!

Jeremiah enjoying the pool

Today the kids and I had a great day.  There wasn’t anything particularly exciting about our day – we stayed home all day until around 5 pm.  But that’s just it – we are quite happy at home.  All three of us love the routine, the enjoyment of being in the space that is our own, and the peace of a day at home.  We sorted through toy boxes, did household chores and farm chores, and shared lunch together.  The kids played together and we shared an hour in

Judah LOVES the water!

fairytale land with the Indian in the Cupboard.  Jeremiah and I enjoyed the 2nd grade this afternoon, journeying through the adventures of “who” nouns and “what” nouns.

Around dinner time we went over to Nini’s house to stake our claim in the Oklahoma-Kahle land run, where we will put our mobile home when we get it.  It was sort of like the 1904 land run here in Kay County all over again!!  🙂  Think “Far and Away” with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.  We rode our horses over the hills with the wind blowing our hair this way and that, racing for our piece of grass ahead… well, sort of.  Actually, we rode our pick up truck out over the terraces and jumped out when we found the right spot.  By the end, there were four stakes in the ground, marking the place where our home will sit sometime this fall.  We’ll have a breath-taking view of the sunset, which was gorgeous tonight, a beautiful back yard with trees in the distance, and plenty of acres behind the house for our animals.  It’ll be our own little piece of paradise…   God is good to us!

Today I looked at the blocks scattered all over my living room floor, and I smiled.  I even took a picture.  I thought to myself how glad I was for those blocks on the floor.  Those blocks mean that there are precious children here living life in my home.  What joy!  Truly, children are a blessing from the Lord!

Well, that’s all the gushing from northern Oklahoma that you need to hear for tonight.  Until next time,


75 baby chicks + 15 baby turkeys + 3 huge rabbits = a great start to the Haugan Farm!!

75 baby chicks + 15 baby turkeys + 3 huge rabbits = a great start to the Haugan Farm!!

Chicks galore!

First of all, what you see below is our real life.  Is this amazing or what?!!!  The best life ever!  🙂  We of course also have less sacred time spent in line at the grocery store, in the car driving to and fro, and doing laundry and dishes.  But the pictures you see below are what we savor in life, and we are so thankful to the Lord for where He has brought us in life!

Are these baby chicks cute, or what?!  We have 75 Cornish Cross chicks, 4 Rhode Island Red Chicks that will lay eggs in 4-5 months, and one black mystery breed chick the haterchy sent as a bonus.  🙂  If you could hear them cheep, cheep, cheeping, you’d all sigh together and say, “awwww, they’re so cute!”  And they are.  I like them pretty good so far.  They don’t bark all night or jump on me when I walk out the door.  They don’t require a litter box in my house or shed fur all over the place.  Altogether, they are far superior to dogs and cats in every way.  🙂 And in the end, they’ll make a lovely chicken dinner for many a family.  Every morning we do morning chores these days (what farmers we are!) – filling up the waterers and feeders, adding bedding to their brooder, as you can see they needed some more in the photo above – sorry :O.  They’ve got another 10 days in this brooder with the heat lamps, then they move out onto the pasture in the chicken tractors.

Turkeys at 3 wks old

The turkeys are in the “chicken tractor”, so Keith is working on a 2nd tractor to put the chicks in when they’re ready.  He put together the frame last night in just a few hours.

The turkeys were pretty skittish at first, piling up on top of each other and virtually smothering the ones on the bottom of the pile.  It’s amazing, the turkeys three layers under don’t even protest.  So turkeyish.  But they’ve calmed down and seem relaxed in their chicken tractor.

chicken tractor #2. Don't we have a great landscape out here? It's country livin'! And beautiful sunsets!

We’ve been running around the last 3 days and are glad to be back home now and in routine.  Friday Keith and I left for an overnight away (A big thank you to Mom and Dad for keeping our lovely offspring!).  The purpose was two fold:  to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary (yay for us!) and to check out a mobile home we are hoping to buy.  We saw the mobile home Friday afternoon.  It was in great shape and though it is not new, it looks like new.  It’s a great price and a lot of space, and we are really hoping we can buy it.  They have a unique situation going on with them and we should know Sept 20th if we can buy it from them or not.  Here’s hoping.  If we get it, then within a month or two we’ll be living in it on my parent’s land about 15 miles from where we are living currently.  There we can expand our animal operation to include MANY more chicks next spring, as well as goats, pigs, and various other varmits.  It’ll be a full blown meat business by the time we’re in full swing.  Get some when you can, a freezer full of healthy grass-fed hormone-free chicken, turkey, pork, and goat for my family and yours! (Yes, we do pre-sell!)

We are trying to nail down our new business name for our meat business here pretty soon.  If you have any suggestions, post them in the comments! Perhaps we’ll take a poll to get some feedback to help us narrow it down.  I’ll finish this post with some photos from around the farm.  Until then, happy day to you!

Judah enjoying chore time! So fun!

Judah and I hanging clothes on the line. As I mentioned in my last post, you don't see MY clothes on the line, but no one else seems to mind the "mostly clean" clothes on occasion.

We have been fully enjoying the beautiful weather 'round here the last few weeks. We've eaten our meals outside quite a bit! Fun times!

We stayed in a state park cabin on Keystone Lake near Tulsa, OK. Beautiful place!

Keith got me a KitchenAid Mixer for our anniversary! Great gift!!

The turkeys have grown so much after only 10 days here! Now at 4 1/2 weeks, they are starting to get quite feathery!

Cute baby chickens!

I have ordered my homeschool curriculum for Jeremiah’s 2nd grade!  It took lots of thought and reading to decide what to do, to weigh the options between kinds of curriculums with various focuses, but I finally decided.  It should arrive in the mail any day, and I will look forward to sharing it with ya’ll.

Muddy farm boys!!

Jeremiah and I making an edible arrangement!

The finished product for Nini...

Jeremiah and his farm buddies surprised us one day when we found them completely covered in mud!  They were having so much fun, and though it was a mess to clean up, we enjoyed seeing them fully loving farm life.  These are some true farm boys!

We were in Oklahoma over Mother’s Day and we made my mom a fun gift – an edible arrangement!  It was a fun activity, and Nini loved it!

She loved it!! Happy Mother's Day!

I’m going to just follow this short post with a few recent photos from spring on the farm.

Enjoy your Labor Day plans!


Fun times baking bread together!

This was just part of the harvest one morning!

Jeremiah and Judah hunt eggs

Judah's easter hunt

Jeremiah and friends working in the garden

Farm Day, The Perfect Life For Children, and A Prayer of Thanks for Days Such as These

Judah likes duckies...

They sure are cute!

Three weeks ago our new baby ducks arrived on the farm.  They really are so adorable.  When we first got them they were so small that it was easy to hold them.  The kids really enjoyed it.  But now they are getting a lot bigger (in just 3 weeks – it’s amazing how quickly animals grow!) and we don’t hold them as often.  But Keith feeds and waters them twice a day and the kids like to get in the pen and play with them.

Awww... cute little duckies... he lets me pet him!

We also got to witness two baby goats being born.  It was an amazing event, one I am glad the kids got to experience – but the camera batteries were dead.  😦


"That'll be .25 sir. :)"

Two weeks ago was World Hunger Relief’s bi-annual event called “Farm Day”.   We had over 1100 people come by the farm that Saturday and see what WHRI is all about.  We had the bunnies out for children to enjoy, there were milking demonstrations with the opportunity to give it a try yourself, and there were hayride style farm tours.  There were lots of vendors and activities, including pony rides, live music, a great mexican lunch, and camel petting.  Jeremiah and Ben (Nathan and Amey’s oldest son) teamed up to run what was the best popsicle stand ever.  They sold hundreds of popsicles, learned the rewards of hard work and dedication, and ended up with some loot.  We were very proud of both of them.  Jeremiah also learned some business skills that day.  Rather than “I’m ready for my money”, he learned the more professional phrase, “That’ll be .25 sir.”  🙂  It was hoot, for sure.

"I'm ready for my money."

I think that the life we are living right now on the farm is the perfect life for kids.  Jeremiah and Judah are so happy.  Jeremiah is free to roam all over the farm on his bicycle.   They both get to gather chicken eggs almost every day.  They get to bottle feed baby goats and play with baby ducklings.  Jeremiah plays army guys in the gravel and cowboys and indians in the dirt.  They play with their friends at least every other day, and get to spend time with Dad doing farm things.  This journey has been amazing for all of us, especially our kids.

Jeremiah front and center for the milking demonstration.

Last week I happened to be up at the dairy when the goats and cows all got out of their pens.  There were lots of people there trying to get them back into the pens.  I had Judah in one hand, and dragging a goat with the other hand.  She and I both loved it.  🙂  In the end, all the goats got back to their proper pens, but the cows had their own way and got moved to another area where they had roamed.  Cows are a bit more fussy than goats.

Keith doing the milking demonstration (not praying for the goat).

Keith has not only gotten to do the fun parts of animal care such as witnessing the births, bottle feeding baby goats, and milking goats, but he has also gotten to take part in the rest of the cycle of raising animals – castrating as well as slaughtering and butchering.  He said that cleaning and butchering deer from hunting with his family growing up helped prepare him for it, and it wasn’t as hard as it might have been.  We’ll see if that’s the case when it comes time to slaughter our favorite baby goat,

He enjoys his goats. Really, he does!

Charlie.  😦

My Farm Girl Apron

I have continued on with my cooking and sewing endeavors, as well as helping Keith and taking care of the children.  I made an apron this month, copied from one a girl on the farm was wearing.  I am enjoying the whole foods style of eating that is encouraged on the farm.  We are eating much less processed food and that is a good thing.

Judah loves the baby goats! They really are cute.

Living in community and in a tiny shared apartment took a bit of transition at first.  But we are really happy now at the farm, and we are all enjoying the life we are living there.  In fact, coming to our house in Lindale this weekend for a visit, there was a part of all of us that just wanted to stay on the farm.  Leisurely lunches with friends, learning more each week, working hard on the farm and then watching the sun set as the children play together… it’s really a great life.  In the evenings we stroll over to the bunny pens and let the kids feed them grass or hold them.  And we take a sit together and whisper a prayer of thanks for days such as these.

"Smile, Judah!"

So we’re learning a lot here.  We’re learning the details of raising animals and we’re starting to learn more about raising a garden.  We’re learning what life is like as a family living this lifestyle.  We’re learning how wonderful life can be.  We’re learning a lot about ourselves, and what we really enjoy.  We are so thankful for the opportunity to live on the farm at WHRI.

Until next time ~

Try #2: "Smile, Judah!!" We tried.

Lacy – down on the farm

The First Days of Spring… this must be like Heaven!

Judah's blue skirt with ribbon trim 🙂

Judah's new blue skirt

I made Judah a second skirt this week.  I am really enjoying making them, and she LOVES them.  I have some fabric that has been given to me, so I have been using that.  Free clothes!  If I tried to buy Judah a long skirt, I wouldn’t be able to find one.  They just don’t make ’em!  So I made one myself, and she looks beautiful in it.  I like that this one is blue – she can play in it even outside and it doesn’t look dirty.  But I’m making a pink one next, which she’ll love.

I am learning to crochet this month.  I bought some yarn and a needle, then I asked the older lady next door if she knows how to crochet – she didn’t.  😦  Of course my mother could have taught me – she has made beautiful blankets for all her grand-babies… but she lives 7 hours away.  So I consulted the internet, my pseudo-mentor, and found a few pages that were clear enough to get me going.  No picture yet – I’m still on the 2nd row.  In fact it might take a few months before I get a picture up on that one.  Crocheting is a delayed gratification project, unlike cute little girl skirts.  Both have their place in life.

Judah in Grandma Lois' Pink Satin Dress

What a treasure to hold onto! Thank you Grandma Lois!

My grandma Lois and I spent an afternoon elbow deep in pink satin fabric, picking out and cutting out the perfect princess dress for Judah.  After we cut it out together, Grandma made the dress in time for Christmas.  Isn’t it beautiful?!  Thank you Grandma Lois!  This will be a keepsake for many years to come!

I thought I’d end today’s blog with some precious pictures of my children.  This week of spring weather has been like water to our thirsty souls after weeks of cold and snow (even here in Texas!).  We had a picnic a few days ago and the kids really enjoyed it.

Picnics are fun!

Enjoying being outside together!

She melts my heart...

To you and yours… if the first days of spring weather are outside your doors, don’t miss it!  These are the best days of the year!  And they’ll fly right by before ya know it.  Get outside and laugh together, watch the birds, sit in the swing together, and drink it in.  These are the best days of my life!


Snow Day Projects

The last few days have been too cold for this southern woman, so I have burrowed in my warm house.  I have spent time doing a variety of things – baking bread, doing crafts with the kids, reading alone and also to the kids, cooking meals, doing laundry, cleaning, etc, etc.  I also tackled Judah’s right of passage in growing from a todder into a preschooler:  POTTY TRAINING.  🙂  She has done great!  I am excited about her success, and so is she!

I have also been working on my circle quilt.  I am really pleased with the way it is coming along.  The last few days I spent some time laying it out on the felt “wall”, which was really a huge job.  Tonight I stitched the top row of blocks together.  Things always look so different in pictures than they do in person, but here are the photos!

Tuesday I made a little skirt for Judah.  It was a simple pattern I found at  I bet some red rick-rack would really finish this strawberry skirt out.  She loves it! (Can you see the snow outside?)

Here’s my favorite photo from our sledding adventure Tuesday.  Snow days are thankfully rare treasures ’round these parts! These two had a blast sliding down the big hill!  Judah loved it too!  She’s so brave!

I have been thinking some more about learning the old ways.  I have a list going of skills and crafts that I would like to learn to do.  Some of these things are:

quilting, knitting, sewing clothes, baking bread, pie making, canning, gardening, raising animals, soap making…

I have various levels of experience with each of these and with a few of them no experience (knitting, soap making, canning).  But there are also things that are not necessarily skills, but more just ways of life that are to be learned.  I’ve been thinking about these areas and doing some reading.  It is easier to blog about the things I am doing.  Blogging about the deep thoughts I’ve been pondering is not as easy.  In time…