What is my blog about? It's about Torah family living. It's about letting Torah affect our daily lives, from mealtime to bedtime, homeschooling to farm chores.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Breaking down a unit study

I love unit studies. I don't care for textbooks, primarily because I like the freedom to teach in the moment, using their interests, following rabbit trails, and moving on when needed. However, I do like the convenience of our language arts books, for example. I open the book to Lesson 27, and we read and copy 4 words. Done! Tomorrow we will open to Lesson 28 and read and discuss a poem. I love the simplicity and ease of use. Well, it occurred to me that perhaps I could apply the same idea to a unit study. So here is what I came up with.

We will be studying weather through the end of this school year, so that is about 70 days. I have about fifteen files on weather on my flashdrive. But many of those files consist of various resources with no order and no lesson plan. I started a document and numbered the left hand side up to 70. Then I started looking through the resources. Oh, here's four poems to copy about the weather. So I spread them out and assigned them to various lesson numbers. Then I found a tornado safety coloring book. I stuck that in. I tried to group by topic, but I didn't do perfectly. I figure that revisiting a topic as we go along will simply serve as review. So I filled all seventy lessons with copywork, crafts, visiting internet sites, experiments, flaschcards, even beginning readers about weather. Each lesson over the course of several days is a little different. Each lesson can be completed in about 15 minutes.

I then went a little crazy. I printed out my list of 70 lessons, and started at lesson 1. I copied everything I needed for lesson 1 for each child. (double sided whenever possible) Then I put a little P by lesson one to show it was printed. I worked through the list, and printed everything, laminated the flashcards, and collected the books we would be reading from. Everything went in a sweater size plastic box with my lesson list on top. Now I can simply pull out our weather box, look at the next lesson, pull out the required materials, and voila! We successfully completed science for the day. The date is then written next to #1.

This is working well for us so far. See, I know myself. If I don't have everything ready to go, it is all too easy to just put it off. I also can be easily scared off by vagueness or lengthy lessons. This method solves all my problems. If unit studies have been a little scary or disorganized for you, why not give this a try? I wrote out the lessons in about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, and took about 2 hours to print everything, but now I am set for the next 70 days.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


So I lost two babies in one night and cried my eyes out. The next morning, our last baby goat was acting sick. He didn't come when called, didn't eat, and wobbled when he walked. Before long, he wouldn't stand at all. I discovered that he was probably infected with a virus that causes nerve damage, paralysis, and eventually death. Traditional vet medicine has no answer. But a certain website that promotes holistic care of animals recommended garlic. That made perfect sense to me. Doug helped me give large doses of garlic to every animal on the property. (The virus is most easily spread from momma to baby through the milk.) Magnum got 3 doses of garlic and spent about 4 hours sleeping on Doug's lap, and then moved to mine. There was a point where he was very close to death, and we were constantly checking for a heartbeat. Doug leaned over him and prayed for a miracle. He basically put out a fleece. He wanted to know that Yah indeed hears our prayers and is there when we need Him.

As the day progressed, we were thankful that Magnum was still breathing. By evening, we put him down on the dog bed to get a snack for the kids. He put his head up, and then stood up! He couldn't even lift his head before. I headed out with the girls to milk the goats, and when I got back, Doug told me that Magnum followed Isaac all the way down the hall!

We took him out to his momma later in the evening, but she wasn't feeling very patient. So he spent the night in our bathroom. This morning I took him out to his momma again, and he has been with her ever since. He is a frisky energetic goat again! Praise Yah!

We also were able to bring a brand new lamb into the house, give him a headstart and a nap, and get him back with his momma.

Elisha liked peeking in on the new baby.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Trying to have a thankful heart

Lambing season can be very rough sometimes.  All the cute little baby animals are so adorable. But sometimes it is hard. It is hard when you hold a baby in your arms and realize that all you did to help them just wasn't enough. You rub and rub, hoping to see some spark of life, but there isn't one. You cry out in despair. Why couldn't we save this one? If only I had been a little quicker. I don't understand.

But I must conclude that there is still a God in heaven. He loves me. Does His heart break every time one of his lambs is lost? Perhaps to truly understand life, we must sometimes experience death. And in the midst of our agony, we must choose to still praise, to still thank.

So, with tears streaming down my face, I praise YHVH.
He has given me so much. I have a wonderful family that is all safe, sleeping peacefully in their beds. My husband loves me no matter what, even when I'm not very loveable. I have eight healthy baby animals out in the barn. It is Shabbat, and I am free to keep it.

The pain doesn't vanish, but I am comforted to know that I am safe in the hands of my Heavenly Father. His lap is big, and He never tires of drying my tears. I know He will comfort you whenever you have a heavy burden.

A cooking education

I have been following Moira's blog for some time, but didn't actually read many posts. Well, I headed over there and started reading. I learned alot! And I only read what was actually up on the screen at the time. If you would like to learn more about healthy cooking, go get an education at Look who's cookin'. You can click right on the picture up there. I plan to make some snack bars this week from her recipe.
Well done, Moira and thanks for sharing what you have learned with all of us.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The sweater

The hoodie is finally finished, but the model might surprise you.  Wasn't this Doug's sweater?  Well, yeah.  But when he tried it on, he decided it just wasn't his style, so he gave it to me!  It is apparently too artistic for him.  So he decided he wants a simple green one, and, to keep my interest, brown cuffs and hem.  He is so silly.  Well, at least this hoodie is fun and relatively quick to knit.  The kids have all put their orders in, and are trying to decide on colors.  Don't worry, everyone, I am still making a purple one for me. 

Quick, everyone go find something to knit!  

If you can't knit, now is a good time to learn.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A long week

It has been a long week and a half, but I have emerged at last, grateful for the ability to somewhat breathe through my nose.  We have had a rough sick week, with no school.  I tried my best to keep us healthy, but sometimes it still gets you.  I think the timing was really bad.  We had warm days and cold days, which never helps.  I also was seriously lacking sleep, between feeding goat kids in the middle of the night and taking on a full milking schedule a little sooner than expected.  My children, believe it or not, spent two whole days on the couch, hardly eating and hardly moving.  You could tell they were sick lol.

But we were able to have a good school day today, and tomorrow I hope to have enough milk to make our first batch of cheese for this season.  We also had five lambs arrive this week, three of which arrived today.  They all seem to be doing well, with their mamas, praise Yah!  The does are doing pretty well with the milking.  I have two newbies that need a bit of training, but I think another week will have them decently workable.  I am getting about a quart and a half a day of milk, which is a decent rate for the time being.  I can't wait to get some cheese made up.  I hope to put up a decent amount of cheddar for this winter. 

I also hope to order my dehydrator next week.  Yah! We have stopped using the woodstove for the season, so I am anxious to still be able to dry food.  Poor Doug was not to sure about the onions I had spread out on a cookie sheet to dry.  They nearly drove him out of the living room.  I dehydrated some orange peel the other day, which made a wonderful citrus cake.  (whole wheat, by the way)

I am knitting the last two rows of the sleeves on Doug's hoodie as I am writing!  Then I just have to put the sleeves and the zipper in, and we are in business!  Good thing, too, because I have decided that I need a hoodie, too.  Mine will be purple, with a fuzzy alpaca hood.

I am trying to keep up with pictures of all the babies around here.  Sometimes they get ahead of me because they arrive so fast.  Keep an eye on my sidebar for totals and pics when I am able to take them.

I am doing research on some articles for the first issue of Torah Family e-magazine.  If you plan to contribute anything, be sure to start sending them in.  Remember that the first issue is due to arrive the beginning of May.  We are especially looking for children's artwork, teen contributions of any sort, and articles or thoughts on Shavuot.  Do you have something special you do for Shavuot?  This issue would be a great place to share it with others.  Thanks!

Shalom for now.  I am actually 31.5 weeks along now, and definitely need my sleep.

Monday, March 14, 2011

My 100th post!

Wow! What a special day!  This is my 100th post!  How shall I celebrate?  I know!  I'll catch a cold and tell you how I'm treating it lol!
Obviously, getting up at 4:00am a few days in a row has worn me down and I find myself with a cold and extreme desire to nap.  Elisha is also not feeling very well, so Mommy must take action.  Herbs are a wonderful thing, so here is how I have been using herbs today.  Sorry, no pics.  I'm not feeling well, remember?

First of all, I made elderberry syrup.  Elderberry is very good at fighting viruses, so everyone in the family gets some.  Here's my recipe.

3 cups water
1 cup honey or vegetable glycerin
dried elderberries, peppermint and yarrow (I don't measure, just get a good mound in your pan.)
Simmer together for about 45 minutes.  Cool and strain out the herbs.
When we are sick, I give a dose about every half hour.  You will have to determine a good size for a dose, depending on the person.

Next, I made a garlic broth.  I chopped up some garlic cloves, onion, celery, and added sage and cayenne pepper, all of which help relieve cold symptoms.  Garlic is particularly good for infection.  I simmered this for awhile and then added elbow macaroni so I could get it in me.  A little salt made it palatable.

This afternoon I plan to make my homemade version of Vicks rub.  Have you ever made your own ointment?  It is a wonderful thing to be able to do.  Here's a general idea.

2 cups olive oil
1/4 cup grated beeswax
20 drops each of eucalyptus oil, lemon oil, and rosemary oil
Simmer the olive oil and beeswax just until the beeswax melts.  Remove from heat and add essential oils.  Pour into little containers, such as a tin or baby food jar.  Let cool and rub on the chest to help relieve congestion.  I find this works very well to help Elisha sleep.

If you haven't started learning about herbs and their usefulness, I would encourage you to do so.  YHVH gave us a wonderful gift in the plants.  We do well to know how to use them.  I learned much from the book Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health
There are also many other books that will get you started on your way.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My lack of a dehydrator

I have a great desire to own a dehydrator.  I have researched and found what I feel is the best balance between low wattage and full features.  I definitely want to dehydrate liquids, so I must be able to get leather trays.  The only problem is paying for it lol.  I really want to pay for it without going into the household budget, so I wait a little longer.  In the meantime, however, my desire to dry everything in sight will not be silenced.  So, once again, necessity is the mother of invention.  Here is my solution until I get a real dehydrator.

A combination of cookie sheets, cooling racks, and my woodstove have given me rather pleasing results.  The kids left out some carrots, celery and bananas, so I grabbed them.  A stray partial onion also got nabbed.  They soon found themselves sliced thin and lined up in rows.  About 8-10 hours later, the bananas disappeared, and the carrots, celery, and onions found their way into a jar now reserved for dry soup veggies.  Next we tried canned peaches.  I put up jars of peaches last year only to discover that my kids don't really like canned peaches.  So we opened a jar and dried them up.  They tasted like fruit rollups.  Yummy!  They also disappeared.  By the way, the woodstove is also very good at drying up sprouted grains that need to be ground.  I used a few soup veggies in a pasta salad this evening, and Doug was completely sold.  "These are like real carrots!"  Well, they are real carrots, but I didn't cook them beyond the 7 minutes I cooked the pasta.  I just let them sit in good warm water for about half and hour and then proceeded as usual.

Obviously, I have big plans.  By the time the real dehydrator arrives, I might just have the hang of this thing!  In the meantime, no abandoned partially eaten banana is safe.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Baby goat update

Our little guys are doing quite well.  All I can say is, I'm glad human little baby boys aren't moving that fast!  They chase the kids around the garage and are already trying to jump.  They are also eating quite well, and they now have names!  The black and white one is Ponch, and the tan one is John.  Anyone watching TV in the 70's might recognize the names Ponch and John.  I am not one of those people lol.  Doug is in charge of naming the boys and he has chosen the theme of old TV cops and investigators.  Have a great day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Busy Day!

Today was a very busy day, because we found two more babies in the barn!  We have two more bucks.  Sorry, they have not been named yet, because we were too busy trying to keep them alive.  I try to avoid it, but we will have to hand raise them.  We tried to get the mommies to nurse, but they just wouldn't pay attention to their babies.  They are first timers, so hopefully they will do better next year.  So I spent the day in and out of the barn, and Doug helped me milk the mommies to get some colostrum.  We have them set up in our garage, and they love to cuddle up with each other.  Now, I will have a little more work for the next few weeks.  Oh, well, I'll just be thankful for alarm clocks and get up at 4:00am.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Torah Family Mini-mag

What is the Torah Family Mini-mag?  Well, I'm glad you asked.  It is an all new e-magazine designed especially for Torah keeping families like yours.  It will have stories, articles, feast ideas, favorite online resources.  But the greatest part is that you get to take part in what goes in every issue.  There will be a children's gallery, for your children to share drawings, poems, etc, and a teen corner for teens to share what they are learning or ask questions about things they don't understand.  Parents and grandparents can share articles or short paragraphs that will benefit readers.  This will be our magazine!

For full details, please click on my new tab at the top of the page titled "Torah Family Mini-mag."  The first issue is due to be published in May, so please start thinking about what you would like to share!  Check it out, leave lots of comments, and be sure to spread the word.  I will be posting a button that you can use for this very purpose.


Saturday, March 5, 2011


I was recently accused of being stereotypical.  I accept that “insult.”

In our house, Daddy does certain jobs, and Mommy does certain jobs.  Daddy defends the home, protects us, guides us, earns the paycheck to support us.  Mommy does the majority of the cooking, cleans the house, and teaches the kids.  We do the jobs we are best designed for.  I would never survive in an outside job, and Daddy couldn’t teach his way out of a paper bag.  We’re okay with that.  We do the jobs we are best at.  It just so happens that we are doing the jobs we were created to do.

Without apology, I will proclaim that Mommy is better at giving out hugs, cookies, and understanding words.  Daddy is better at throwing hay, dealing with colleagues, and chopping firewood.

I don’t want to live in a home where Mommy and Daddy are so afraid of being stereotypical that they end up confused and poorly suited to the jobs they end up with, seemingly by the luck of the draw.  Yes, I know of homes where whoever has a bigger income brings home the money, and the leftover parent gets the kids.

In our home, we are right where we need and want to be.  I can’t think of a greater joy that teaching my children, braiding their hair, fixing a meal they all like, and kissing their booboos.  If that is stereotypical, then make me the poster child!

All hail the mighty mommy!
She who rocks the cradle rules the world!

(As a side note, Daddy does all the grocery shopping, occasionally cooks, and Mommy throws
hay when necessary.)

When will Yahshua return?

Have any of the seals been opened?  Are we the last generation?  When will Yahshua return?  Where are we in end time prophecy?

I will anwer these questions with a question.

Can you tell me when Noah Ephraim will be born?  What time of day will labor start?  How long will the early contractions last?  What will transition be like?  How long will I be pushing?  What will his apgar score be?  Can you put it all in a chart so I can plan?

In Revelation we see the image of birth.
(Rev 12:2)  And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

The earth has been groaning as in labor, and is waiting to give birth to the kingdom.  Does this come without pain?  Does this come when least expected?  Surely we cannot expect to bring forth a child without difficulty.  We cannot know the day or hour when our baby will arrive.  Some contractions make us think we are in labor when we are not.  But eventually the time comes.  Eventually we take on the most difficult work of our lives, and are rewarded with a beautiful baby.

(Isa 66:9)  Shall I bring to the birth, and not cause to bring forth? saith the LORD: shall I cause to bring forth, and shut the womb? saith thy God.

The same goes for the coming of Yahshua.  We are simply told to keep oil in our lamps. 

(Psa 119:105)  NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

We must have Scripture in our hearts, and our trust in YHVH.  Our house can burn down, and our food be all destroyed, but even then we need not despair.  We have YHVH, and that is all we need.

So keep oil in your lamp, and I have my birth kit ready.

Shabbat Shalom.

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