Mothers Day Tip

This afternoon the girls asked if they could put on their swim suits and play in The Blue Bucket in the back yard.  The Blue Bucket is the proper name of a bucket Heath bought a couple of years ago for all the backyard toys to go in.  It was used for that purpose for about 2 days.  It has been used to hold water for making mud pies ever since.  The toys continue to clutter our yard displaying all of our broken pink plastic tea pots and a variety of watering cans, shovels and several jump ropes.

I said yes.  Yes, they could put on their swim suits and play in The Blue Bucket.  And this, friends, is what, according to them, makes me the best. mom. ever.  Now you know the secret.  You’re welcome.

The bucket is just deep enough to come up a little over their knees. Who knew it would be so fun.


Proper Tuck In Technique

Heath and I tuck our girls into bed every night.  We go in give them kisses and chat a little about the day.  Heath is really good at it and sometimes stays and “chitter chats” with them for a long time.  I don’t mess around.  I give kisses and hugs and say a few words about how people should not live in rooms as messy as theirs.  The end of tuck in time is like the finish line for me and I like to sprint to the finish.  I like to get in, and get out.   There is usually a drink at the finish line and sometimes a tv show.  I can be very business like when it comes to tuck ins.  Like its a job whose pay off is in efficiency rather than quality.

I’m doing an 8 week work out/health/fitness plan with some other moms.  Its sort of like a boot camp but sort of not.  Two days a week I work out with this group of moms at 5:15. Thats AM my friends. I am not really a morning person.  My bodies natural rhythm is to go to bed around 1 and get up around 8, sometimes 9.  I really can’t go to bed at 1 and then expect to do a decent work out at 5.  So I’m making some adjustments.  Natural rhythms don’t die easy though.  I am always sleepy in the mornings after I work out that early.

This morning when I got home from working out I decided to have a cup of coffee with Heath before I took a shower.  Its a tough work out and we ran a lot today and I was not really at my freshest.  But the longer I sat on the couch the sleepier I got despite the coffee I was drinking.  Eventually Heath went to work and the girls came down for breakfast.  At some point I laid down and with the dog at my feet, I was feeling sleepier and sleepier.  Ava came over to me and said “Mom, since you tuck me in every night I’m going to tuck you in this morning.”  And she did.  She smoothed my hair out of my face and kissed my forehead and patted my back.  It was such a sweet feeling.  I closed my eyes and dozed off to the sweet sounds of sisters arguing about how much milk a person should put in their rice crispies.  I woke up about an hour later feeling rested (but sort of gross too because I was still in my work out clothes).

Ava’s tuck in was really good.  She didn’t have to stay long but she was all there while she was tucking.  She didn’t hurry so she could get to her breakfast or mention how much better off I’d be if I showered.  She just offered me a simple gesture of love before I fell asleep and it made my sleep nicer.  I’ll be doing my tucking in a little slower tonight and with a little less discussion about how you can’t even see the floor in their room.  It was a good lesson in tucking in technique.

I Never Thought I’d Say That.

Every now and then I find myself shouting things out the windows to the back yard that I just never would have thought I’d shout to anyone.


Earlier this week I said “Don’t put that around your neck.  AND YOU! Don’t pull that until she gets it off her neck!”

Yesterday morning a conversation before breakfast went something like this:

Ava: Dad, we saw a squirrel in the front yard from our bedroom window but don’t worry.  We threw rocks at it to scare it away.

Heath: You threw rocks from your bedroom window?

Me: Isn’t there a screen on that window?

Heath: There is a pretty big hole in that screen.

Me: hmm.

Ava: Yeah, the squirrel was on the car so we scared it off with the rocks.

Heath: So you were throwing rocks at the cars?

Ava: Yes. Are you so proud, Mom?

Me: …Um… Yes.  Thanks, Ava.  The squirrels can do a lot of damage… maybe not as much damage as a rock thrown at the cars… but yes.  I am always very proud of you.

One question that did not come up in the  conversation is why exactly are there enough rocks in their bedroom to scare squirrels from the front yard.  I’m sure it will come up in a future conversation I never thought I’d have.

We need to talk.

Here’s the thing.  There is only so much a person can say about chickens and homeschooling.  Sometimes I think of clever or interesting things to write about on this blog but then I realize there are no chickens or homeschooling involved.  SO.  Let us now broaden our horizons.  Certainly chickens and homeschooling will continue to be discussed when natural and appropriate.  However other things of interest (at least of interest to me) can now also be found here.

As it happens, today I am in fact here to post about the chickens.  They’re gettin’ the work done.


Do you see this? And this is after we used 2 for peanut butter and jelly bars yesterday.

These came from these fine ladies.

Thank you, Ladies.


I thought you’d like to know how cleaned up your house is.

I painted the girls room a few weeks ago and of course before I started I had to move some stuff out of their room.  A snow shovel would have been the right tool to use for this job but this is Central Arkansas and our very occasional snow days make snow shovels not that practical for actual snow. Stores would do well to market them as toy shovels that can also be used the one time a year you might also need to move snow.

Every room in our house that we have not yet painted is the color of concrete cinder blocks.  I understand why the previous home owner did this- they were going for something neutral but it is really pretty depressing.  We started with the rooms we spend the most time in and we’re working our way to less used rooms.  We’ve been here for nearly 2 years so I figure by next year the only concrete room will be the guest room.  Sorry guests you’re not here enough for your opinion to count.

Here is the before I painted pics.  This is after I’d already removed most of the offending toy and trash debris.  





It all had to go away to some where.  In this case it had to go away to 3 somewheres.  The guest room, our bedroom and a room we built specifically to hold all the toys and things the children had been hording in their room, the playroom.  This is what happened in those rooms:

guest room disaster

master bedroom disaster






This is not a landfill. It is our playroom.

I wish I could say we only lived like this for a day or two.  I can only say that if I’m lying.  And, if you had come to visit our house during this disaster I would have lied and told you I just painted yesterday and that I just hadn’t had a chance yet to clean it up.  It took about 2 weeks to deal with this.  All to get this one room to look like this:

Yep, this room is mostly white now. The other wall you can’t see is “sparking brook” blue.  It is a really happy room, like a sunny spring day.  The beds do actually have sheets on them now  and I’m going to make new curtains and  bedspreads but thats no quick project.  Look for that post in the fall, possibly of next year.  Some new laws are in place to help the people live better lives.  They include a monetary penalty for clothes not put away.  There is a total ban on notebook paper being removed from notebooks within the walls of the bedroom.  If I pick up your shoes, they go into an old bird cage until the owner is able to purchase their freedom.  The toys have to go to the play room.  A ROOM FOR PLAYING IN, for goodness sake.  I hope you feel good about the tidy nature of your home now.  If not, I’m sure its because you just painted yesterday too.

school, chickens, projects, expectations.

Hi readers.  Sorry for the extended absence.  I’ve had some projects that have been time consuming.  Plus, I’m not very reliable in the winter.

Here is whats happening with the homeschooling:  We’re over half done.  Next week begins week 26.  We are required by the state to have 36 weeks of school.  So yeah, I’m counting.

The chickens continue to generously lay 1 egg or less a week.  Thanks Ladies.  We recently had an encounter with a chicken hawk that has somewhat restricted their yard time.

My projects have been mostly related to homekeeping.   I painted a room last week and the rest of the house has almost recovered.  I came up with a way to know what to eat for dinner most nights (this is another post to come).  I cleaned up part of the yard and planted some vegetable seeds.  I wouldn’t exactly say I’m a great home maker but, you know, people are living here with me and we’re mostly clean and we don’t ever miss meals.

Here is what you can look forward to from me this spring (I’m alot more reliable in the spring than I am in the winter):  the before and afters of the one painted room and the destruction it brought to the rest of the house, my great menu plan, homeschool testing and I’m sure that any day now the chickens will start laying an egg a day each.  As soon as we start getting 14 eggs a week you can also expect posts on custards, souffles, ice creams, puddings and egg frying.


this is one of the art ones

Remember back to my first post where I said that sometimes I would write about art stuff?  This is one of those times.  I really like to see where other artists work.  You can tell a lot about a person by their work space.  Sort of like seeing the inside of another persons refrigerator.  Very revealing.

I make pottery.  Mugs, cups, bowls, plates, platters, vases, jars and occasionally sculpture.  I love pottery because it is an art form that is accessible to every one.  Even if you don’t “get” art, every one “gets” a great coffee mug or beer stein.  You are a pottery connoisseur.  You chose your favorite mug because you like what it says to you or because the handle is perfect for your  hand.  If your family eats off something other that paper plates, you chose that dinner ware because it was the right weight, it was lovely to look at or because you suspect it will be difficult for your child to damage.  You are already so into pottery.

I’m working out of a small place in my garage right now.  Here is the tour de studio de Andrea.

This is my work table with work in progress. The pool noodles are just for decor and because this is also the garage. I don't use them in pottery.

This is my wheel.  I know it looks muddy but its actually pretty clean in this pic.

I share some space with the other artists who live here.  They’re primarily working with a red clay so we keep our work separate.

I’m working with a new clay this year that is white when its fired similar to porcelain but stronger.  I’m testing some new techniques with black slip over the white clay.  Heres my unfired test cup.  I am really excited about it.