Primarily written by Adrienne, a homeschooling mother of seven, ages 10 and under. She chronicles life, laughs, struggles, and lessons learned as she raises a larger-than-most sized family and tries to figure out what she's doing day by day.

With occasional posts, Alexandra, Adrienne's older sister, writes of her ranch life in Nevada and raising four sons, ages 5 and under. Life is never dull and her boys have given her some pretty awesome stories to tell.

Stick around awhile, and you're sure to laugh, nod, smile, be encouraged, and see what life is like with a big (little) family.


Purex BABY Giveaway!

Purex has, once again, come out with a new product for your review. New for babies is Triple Action Purex BABY. Hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested, Purex BABY is gentle on baby skin and great for baby stains.

 Purex Baby Detergent

I’ve been using Purex BABY for a couple weeks now, and while the smell is definitely baby and I’m strangely lacking a baby at the moment, the clothes are clean. I’m happy with it, and with the price of Purex beating the price of it’s competitors, that’s pretty cool too. If you’d like to try Purex BABY, leave a comment below for a chance for a free bottle of Purex coupon. An extra comment saying you “liked” this post and leaving a comment on my page on facebook will earn you a grand total of three entries. Drawing is on Thursday at noon.


Liberty and Eden were sent up to the woodpile in the pasture to put a week’s worth of wood in the back of the pickup.


They were pretty excited to hear that the amount they threw in the pickup would last at least twice that long.


Christmas monkeys.

I sewed 17 sock monkeys in the last month and a half. Ten of them were for my kids and their cousins who were here for Christmas.


Fun stuff.


Need? Or want?

Yesterday, after much deliberation and trolling Craigslist, we bought a new-to-us refrigerator. The one we’ve had for the last five years is 18 cubic feet. Small. We measured our space available, and headed out. We bought one that’s 25 cubic feet, water and ice in the door… in short, everything the one I’ve had isn’t. With plans to put that in the kitchen and move the small one to the basement, we headed home.

And then. Those 35 inches we have for our fridge aren’t. With an old and somewhat (or significantly, depending on where you check) malformed home that wasn’t built exactly square, the fridge, despite removal of trim (Trim that was finally nail, caulked, and painted just mere weeks ago, mind you.) and trimming of kitchen cabinet, it. won’t. fit.

And so the new fridge goes to the garage. That was a hard pill to swallow. It’ll serve us just fine down there. The little one fits great upstairs. It’s just not what I wanted. No ice, no water, no freezer that the kids can easily reach.

It’s an extra fridge. We got it for a good price. We have food abundant to put in it and more than we ever deserve.

But it’s been a painful lesson.


Temper, temper.

Pierce has a fierce temper. I know this. Still, I was surprised to find this when I went to get him out of bed after his nap that he refused to take. Instead, he spent the time displaying his anger, not only verbally, but also physically from the evidence:

IMG_4778 low

Poor monkey lost his mouth. The stuffing was everywhere. His eyes were only saved because I must have sewed them on stronger than he could pull, from the looks of them.

I’m a little bit afraid.


Book Review

I was recently asked to review the book The Reunion by Rachael McIntire. It was published by Elisha Press.

The Reunion is a novel meant to be read aloud to your whole family or enjoyed by readers around age ten and up. My kids were clamoring for me to read “just one more chapter” each time we read, and they were hanging on the edge of their seats. Characters Rebecca, Sarah, and Amanda became household names and were frequently discussed among the children. Each of my kids age 4 and up were thoroughly engrossed, waiting to find out what might happen. The story begins as baby Sarah was left on the doorstep of a Christian family. Sarah becomes Rebecca’s sister and the story details the growing up years of Sarah and Rebecca together.

Amanda, also adopted, but to a distant and unchristian home, was raised by nannies and most definitely not in the church. How she grows and how Sarah grows was much discussed as my children realized that not all children have the home life they do. Tender topics were discussed with grace and the story had a fun twist that I have to admit was somewhat predictable for me – but my kids did not see it coming. They were thrilled and excited and I have a feeling we’ll be talking – and re-reading The Reunion for many years to come. Both of my older daughters, age 9 and 7, have already re-read it once. It was well written and, while the Christian family seems nearly too perfect living how we all ought but struggle to, it made a positive impact on my kids. Thumbs up from this momma!

If you are interested in buying a copy for your family, use code REVIEW-FALKENA at for $2.00 off until the end of February. After that, the discount reduces to $1.00 off.

I was not paid for my review. I did, however, receive a free copy of The Reunion. All opinions are mine and my family’s. Read excepts of this review and the reviews of others at


Grit your teeth and smile.


My favorite photo out of the Christmas bunch – she just looks so tolerant, doesn’t she?!

IMG_4113I think she likes her new backpack.

IMG_4107He couldn’t stand it, he was so excited.

IMG_4110He loves his sister.

IMG_4119Feigned glee over a gift she helped me pick out…IMG_4118

IMG_4151Dawning realization that the pile of tubes they were looking at actually makes a 15 foot trampoline…

…and Pierce got crabby and missed the photos. Oops.

Merry Christmas!


Christmas numbers.

There are 17 people in my house this Christmas. All family, crowded together under one little roof. Ten little people, all having the time of their lives and making memories that will last a lifetime. Seventeen people, one bathroom, 51 meals a day to prepare, and more games played than I can count.

One Christmas trampoline, gifted early, being well broken in by 20 little legs (and a few adult ones too). Two black dogs, unsure about being friends, tolerating one another and joining forces when it’s time to tree the cat. One Christmas tree, decorated in tinsel in the name of making it less homely, now decorating seventeen people with it’s tinsel. One baby boy, unsure of the level of noise in his home, raising his level of crabby to an all time high. One little girl, bossing around the dogs in her big girl voice, fully expecting to be obeyed and becoming indignant when she’s not. The same little girl, asking numerous times if the visiting dog is a dog or a cat. Our cat shares the same name. The visiting dog is the size of a cat far larger than any I would consider safe and welcome in my home. And she can bark. It’s so confusing.

What a wonderful life.


Neighborly update.

Just a follow up to the story of our backyard neighbor. Today we made cookies and took those and some homemade soap over (Does that totally give the wrong message? I hesitated. It’s lovely soap, but does that scream, “You need a shower!”?) and knocked on their door. He recognized me, I got to meet his wife, and other than a minor mishap involving water and a Ruby-sized propelling a rocking chair far to vigorously, we had a lovely, short visit.

He has yet to attempt the sewing machine, I got his phone number, and plan to take them supper after our holiday plans calm down. Their life story would make you want to cry, and I rather feel like adopting them. I mean really, who wouldn’t want six small children and one stretched-thin lady dropping by and helping out and… okay, I’m not so sure the adopting thing is the best plan. We’ll have to see. Either way, I’m glad we went.

Please. Don’t make me yell this.

Last Saturday, I was introduced to a delightful lady who told many stories of the years past, raising her own children. She led a fascinating life, and we had a great visit.

As she was leaving, she rubbed my belly and told me how blessed I was to have another one coming. I grimaced, unsure how to proceed, when she asked me when I was due. Okay, forget ignoring it and moving on. “Umm… I’m not pregnant.”

“What?!” She couldn’t hear me.

Louder. Heads turned. Yes, thank you very much. I’m not. Now that the whole room knows, I’ll go do some sit ups and attempt to curb such comments.

(Just for the record, it wasn’t exactly upsetting. I mean, really, if I didn’t know better, I’d think I was pregnant. But no, it’s just fat. Six babies and no time to exercise and a smidge of lack of self control kind of fat. Here’s to determination to more sit-ups and less excuses.)


Blue is boring.

Ruby’s my daughter with a flair for color. The more colors and patterns, the better. I regularly have to remind her that striped leggings do not, merely because they are striped, match a striped shirt. Color has to weigh in there too.

Last week, when the kids had to model for the company my husband works for, I got her jeans out.

Poor, poor girl. No stripes. No flowers. No butterflies. No colors! Just a plan pink sweater and ordinary blue jeans. Her protestation went something like this:

“I don’t really like wearing jeans.”

“I know honey, but today, you have to wear jeans.”

“I like leggings and skirts a lot better. Or a dress! I could wear a dress. I could even wear my blue jean dress. Would that be okay?”

“No, honey. Jeans. Just wear your jeans.”

“I know! I have jeans with flowers on the leg on one side. I could wear those! They are pretty.”

“No. Plain jeans. Those jeans.”

“I don’t usually wear jeans. They are just blue. No other colors. Blue is BORING.”

“Duly noted. Tomorrow, you can wear a dress. Today, you wear boring blue jeans.”

She sighed, gave up and walked away. The next day, she got out jeans again. These had rhinestones, leopard print, stars, and butterflies.

She was happy.


Kitchen update.

IMG_4102 (427x640)IMG_4101 (427x640)

After painting the cabinets this summer, the whole kitchen slowly underwent a paint overhaul. It’s almost finished – it needs a new window and a new curtain above it, but overall, it’s done. I love how it turned out. I didn’t plan on using these photos for anything other than sharing them with my mom, so you’ll have to excuse Pierce in his pj’s from this morning, but I’m too excited about it all to not share. :) With a few antiques to decorate with and my new-to-me butcher block, it’s become a pretty useable space despite it’s shortcomings.

It’s so fun to say finished.

Gives me goose bumps kind of cool.

Last week we were in Walmart. I was searching for elastic for a Christmas project, and an older gentleman in a motorized cart was trying to get information from a store employee who had none.

“Is this the right thread to hem my blue jeans? Are these needles the right ones?

“Umm… I’m sure they would be fine.”

Yeah, right. They were knit needles that would break in a heartbeat and thread that wouldn’t hold up. So me, minding my own business as I’m prone to do, dove straight in.

“Can I help?” The Walmart ladies nodded and bolted, and the man and I headed off to find the proper supplies. In the course of conversation, I, again minding my own business like I ought, offered to hem his pants for him. What is it about watching older people struggle? It kills me. I just want to jump right in and help, but I always wonder how I’ll feel when I’m there. Want help and wish someone would? Wish people would see I’m not so old and feeble as I look and wish they’d just mind their own stinking business? I just don’t know.

Anyhow. I offered help. I gave him my phone number and told him if the sewing machine he’d purchased at an auction for $10 to hem his jeans that are suddenly too long now that he’s 81 failed to perform, I’d gladly help him out.

He asked where I lived. I told him, and through a bunch of incredulous questions from him, found out our pasture behind our house backs up to his property.

What are the chances?!

We walked away, both shaking our heads at the improbability of it all, and out of an adjoining aisle comes yet another older person, this time a lady, who came over, hugged me, thanked me for helping the man, and told me she’d been listening the whole time and couldn’t stand how cool it was, all that had just happened.

It was a great trip to the store. Far better than most. I couldn’t help but be reminded of this story and remember God’s providence in it all – even meeting friendly neighbors in a stand-offish neighborhood – and making a good first impression, even before I knew he was a neighbor.

That was just cool.

12.11.2012 review

As a new member of the 2013 The Old Schoolhouse Review Crew, my first assignment was to review the website. Oh. My. Fun.

From the publishers of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, it’s written to be a whole curriculum in and of itself, or can be used as a supplement to the books you’re already doing. With a long list of authors who contribute, I love that I can use the gifts of another to round out my curriculum.

With more topics than my computer time allows me to explore, I've been digging around in there for days. Math helps. Reading. Guitar! History. Spellings lists. The list of kid-friendly crafts has me itching to carve out time in our week to try more of them out.

Realizing Sterling, my kindergartner, does not have a Spelling curriculum this year (waiting for that boy to read fluently seemed wise) I was picking through the age-appropriate spellings lists for him and was glad to find out he was still able to spell the words they had listed for this week. With a full range of curriculum available for K4 through high school, there’s an abundance of topics and subjects I had yet to consider studying. offers downloadable planners as well. Planning isn’t my strong suit – I hope to get better at that with these!

The reading list was something I really appreciated. With two elementary daughters voraciously devouring books, I’m excited to add those to our lists and hopefully find some new favorites.

The subscription rate is $5.95 per month, but the first month is just $1. You can also purchase a full year for $49.

The Everyday Explorers U.S.A. section in the Dailies was pretty fun. The author’s excitement for history was contagious. It’s certainly more fun – and memorable – when history is made interesting! I’m planning to jump into that for history for the rest of the year. They really liked what we've done with that so far.

When I had a quiet moment, I went through This Month’s Menu. How fun to have a section on there for me – and my older girls who can help me cook. The Music – Voice section was fabulous. With several of my girls looking forward to the year they are old enough to participate in the Jr. High/High School choir in church, I think this is a great way for them to prepare themselves. It has great lessons from behind the people and music and offers ideas and instruction. Maybe I can learn a bit along with my kids!

I love this site. I plan to get much use out of it in the coming year, rounding out our school year and remembering it next year, before I buy curriculum. As a homeschooling mom that would rather my kids not be in front of the computer too much, this brings a nice balance and encourages family-involved learning in many areas. Much recommended!

Check out what other members of the Review Crew thought HERE.

Disclaimer: I received a free subscription to this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.


Catch up.

Having very nearly disappeared after the laptop took it’s little coffee break and the old dinosaur roared to life rather protestingly, I have a long list of catch up to play. We’ll start with Sterling.

He announced he doesn’t like salad. “It’s just leaves, Mom.”


Tonight he informed me you have to have an odd number if you’re going to have a middle. Where that boy gets his math brain, I don’t know. It’s scary.

A friend told me that when asked if he was hoping to have kids when he’s grown, he matter of factly announced “No.” When pressed for more information, he said, “My wife will have them!”

He told me he says “Shhh” a lot because he really likes it when it’s quiet. Like father, like son. Problem is, eight people in 1200 square feet doesn’t exactly allow for silence.



Last week, I began one morning by frying what turned out to only be the keyboard of our laptop (An $18 fix if all goes according to what I think. Not holding my breath on that one though.) Today, it was my pajamas.

Yep. I squatted down to change Pierce’s diaper first thing this morning and my 6 year old much-loved pajama pants split up the backside. Whether they were trying to tell me something regarding my backside or if it was just their time, I’m leaving alone.

Just all agree with me that we are so, so glad they gave up now, and not three weeks from now when I had a houseful of Christmas company.