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.


Poor, poor monkey.


Poor monkey. It’s like Pierce knows I made it. And when I make him mad and put him down for a nap when he doesn’t want one…


poor, poor monkey. Momma made Pierce mad. Again.

Pictures: what our homeschool looks like.

Every homeschool blog I look at looks idyllic. Orderly, labeled, color-coded shelves of perfectly graded schoolbooks, desks free of pencil marks (and dust), and charts on the walls to tell each perfectly groomed student which minute of which hour they should be doing their 3rd grade Geometry.

Oh, to be so organized. But I’m not. So, without further ado about what I don’t have, a look at a day in the life of our homeschool:


Sometimes, they sit where they are supposed to: at the little table, in front of our less-than-organized children’s reading bookshelf. (Do I get points that the kids’ books have their own shelf, and 95% of them are on the shelf or on top of the book on the shelf? Please?)IMG_4233

Or they work in the middle of the room, on their laps. Because that’s super comfy. (?!)


Younger siblings sit and soak up the instruction as well. The way I figure, they’ll know half of what they need to know before the age of five at this rate.


The floor is a popular place to be.


But it has it’s risks.


And in the end, it usually works something like this.


I attempt to keep children on task and distractions to a minimum. But it doesn’t always usually work.


Our school shelf screams for someone, anyone, to do something. It started out the year organized, and each child’s books were together, youngest to oldest, left to right. Now, they are all on the shelf, and when room runs out, they are on the books on the shelf. It’s success so long as it’s on the shelf, I’m afraid. As long as the encyclopedia set is in alphabetical order, I tell myself there’s hope.


When a dear child fails to maintain their proper schedule on time, penance must be paid. It’s rough.

But they are learning. And one day, when they are older, they will thank me for their ability to concentrate despite extreme circumstances.

At least, that’s what I tell myself.

**Just for the record, Pierce was napping during our photo session this school day. If he hadn’t been, the camera shake would have been considerable and the learning level greatly diminished.



You know you live in a crooked house when you play Jenga on the coffee table and Ruby, not quite understanding the laws of gravity and physics and whatever it is that requires balance for stability, does this:


and it stands. And stands. And it takes five more turns before it’s Ruby’s turn again and


she’s the one who knocks it over.


What joy.

Life can be crazy sometimes. In many worlds, this life of mine can be considered crazy all the time. If there isn’t someone leaning on me, pestering me, waiting for me, or whining at me, it must be midnight. If someone isn’t hungry, tired, or desperately needing to use the bathroom while we’re 5,000 steps from the closest bathroom, it’s a large miracle.

And yet.

I get hundreds of kisses a day. I tried to count one normal day. I gave up and lost count.

I get to see the light in my son’s eyes when he reads “churning” for the first time.

One little girl told me today that I must think her family is lucky, because they only have three kids.

I don’t.

This craziness, the moments when I am at my limit and supper’s late and babies are crying and the floor just got a cup of cooked rice spilled, I’m still glad this is my life.

There are six little people who call me ‘Momma’. God’s given me them to teach, train, to show them my sin and His grace, and to tell them they can have it too.

It’s a privilege. I’m glad He’s called me to this purpose, these children, this life. What joy.


Lamb feeding photos.

Falkena's on the farm 020Falkena's on the farm 021Falkena's on the farm 005Falkena's on the farm 006 (2)Falkena's on the farm 014Falkena's on the farm 007Falkena's on the farm 012Falkena's on the farm 019 

I’m not sure words are needed here. They had fun. The got to experience lots of things. It was really, really cold. Really cold. The difference in temperature between there last week at this time and the temp today here is 90 degrees. It’s pretty incredible.


Edited to add: Boy, the qualities of Borax must be under appreciated! I drew numbers and Laura, Lanita, and Sharilyn, your entries were randomly picked for the coupons. Congrats!

Borax and I have been good friends for a long time. I originally bought it to make my own detergent, and since then I’ve found it to be helpful in adding to the wash when clothes are especially dirty, and I even tried using it to clean my bathtub. (That one wasn’t my favorite use. But it was worth a shot.) With hard well water here, it’s been a clothes-saver.

Borax is a natural mineral from the earth. It’s the common name for sodium tetraborate. (If I can remember that long term my husband would be impressed. I’m not counting on it though.) Nothing is added to it; it’s just cleaned, dried, and boxed. It naturally softens hard water by attaching to some of the compounds and settling to the bottom of the machine – and then draining out. All that to say, I didn’t know all of this. But 20 Mule Team Borax sent me a box to try out (it’s identical to the box that I already was using…) and they also sent me three coupons to give away to my readers to try.

Want one? Leave a comment here, like this post on Facebook, and comment on my facebook page to win three chances. Three winners will be drawn at random on Thursday at noon CT.


One of those mysteries...

The kids got to see a lamb born. As far as I could see, one potentially awkward future conversation just got a whole lot easier.

I thought. The question about how the lambs came to be was next. I mentioned rams. They said Grandpa didn't have any rams out there. I assured them he must have had some sometime in the very near past. The notion of ewes simply birthing yearly without ram assistance was mentioned. The rams that recently went to market were mentioned. Mystery solved.

And so the awkward conversation came full circle. I believe I threw something in there about our goats, both male and female, and understanding dawned.

I am so not ready for this.


South Dakota days.

My dad has long made up words for old songs. The "Oh Christmas Tree" song with a line in there about green teeth instead of a green tree comes to mind from my growing up years.

Not much has changed. As "The weather outside is frightful" got it's line change yesterday, Ruby was present and listening yesterday. My four year old was singing later something about Grandma's kiss being delightful. It still has me giggling.

The high for today was -1 degrees. I wouldn't know firsthand, however. It was a balmy 70 degrees inside the house. I didn't leave it.

Pierce is getting molars. And I thought he was crabby before.

When Pierce wanted to drink my coffee, I tried to encourage him to stop whining and sign. "More. Coffee. Please." I had him signing each one, and then encouraged him to try on his own. He made a valiant attempt, and followed it up with "Amen!" both with the sign and a pretty clear shout. He got the coffee.

One dear child has taken to sighing when told to do a job. The others don't mind a bit though. Said child then had to do the jobs alone. The laundry was folded and put away without assistance from anyone. The others are all encouraging more sighing.

Ruby's been practicing saying the "ck" sound. It always comes out "t" instead. She's getting better, but tonight I had her trying to say "kitty". After giggling at her mispronunciation, Grandpa wisely suggested "cocoa" instead.




Sterling is a horrible looker. Horrible.

He comes to the house, upset, because he'd lost his glasses in the snow.

Perfect. I pried the rest of the story out of him.

He'd been playing in the snow, realized he was going to get snow on his glasses, so he took them off and, when he got to the house, realized his glasses weren't in his mitten any longer. With that information, my right to be upset with his failure to maintain knowledge of his glasses' whereabouts diminished, I headed outside in the snow to help him look.

He was down in the pasture, traipsing through the snow. We looked and looked and finally I asked if he was sure he lost his glasses down there.

"No. I took them off up by the barn."

Then why are we in the pasture looking?! At this point, I had fallen through the snow crust and ended up to my knees in snow multiple times. With backless shoes on, I had snow in my shoes and snow in my pants. Fun times.

We headed up to the barn and resumed our search. Upon finding nothing, I asked him exactly where he'd been standing when he took them off. "Over there." He pointed some distance from our search area. Oh good grief. How about we go over there?

We looked some more. Now a good half hour into our search, I was cold and I had more snow in my shoes than I'd care to deal with. I questioned him further. "Where did you realize you lost them?"

"Behind Grandma's car."

We decided to look there and work backwards. Many minutes later, he muttered, "I dropped them right here. They have to be somewhere."

Wait. a. minute. You know where you dropped them?!

Oh yes. He dropped them behind Grandma's car. And there they were, feet from the car, unbroken and now very snowy.

I still haven't gotten to the bottom of why we were searching in the pasture and by the barn when he knew where he was when he dropped them. I'm not sure I want to know. Next time, I'm prying for all details before I give my toes an ice bath.



I don't have a clue what I'm talking about.

I'm a big fan of language. Proper English and spelling are requirements in my home school. Last week Liberty's English had her studying possessive nouns and pronouns and I drove a point home. "Possessive pronouns never have apostrophes. Never. Ever. Ever. Do not ever, ever put an apostrophe in hers, his, ours, its... The contractions have an apostrophe but never if they are possessive."

At this point, the poor girl's eyes were glazed as she nodded, hoping that I'd quit driving the point home. She doesn't realize I'm saving her from some really important, grievous error. You know, an improper usage of "it's" in a Facebook post or some such thing. Grievous.

Two days later, as Liberty handed her report on a Missouri state park to me to be proofread, I said, "You spelled "its" without an apostrophe, Honey. It's possessive."

She looked at me in confusion. "Yes..."

"It needs an... oh good grief. Who lets me teach you these things?!"

(Just for the record, I had to fix four English grammar mistakes in proofreading this post. Two were apostrophe errors. I doubt I even caught them all at this point. I'm not cut out for this, it would seem. Or I need a nap. Or both.)

Weary travelers and a cold, frustrated momma.

You know you've been up for a long time when Ruby asks for lunch at 9:19 am.

We're in South Dakota. The drive took 10.5 hours and we stopped twice. It doesn't get much better than that with six kids. No one peed their pants and there was minimal crying - and none of it came from Pierce. They are growing up, my friends. Fast.

We were well over halfway to South Dakota and I'd been freezing the whole way because the kids were hot and sweaty and I couldn't figure out why they weren't getting the cold air that was blasting at me, when Pierce's cheeks were redder than any boy ever ought to have and I asked Liberty to adjust his vent. The poor sleeping boy looked like he was wearing an obscene amount of rouge, and his hair was wet with sweat. She opened the vent. Really?! It's 19 degrees outside, I all but have the A/C running trying to cool the back of the van for them, I'm freezing and they have the vents closed and the windows open?! Oh. my. HELLO! Liberty asked Eden about the vent further back, to which Eden replied, "Oh, I closed those because I was cold." She didn't mention that to me, who is shivering in the front, still blasting the cold air for all it was worth.

My children are no longer allowed to adjust the vents without permission.

Pierce was up in the night, trying to find me. He was in a sleeping bag with all the kids and I was in the next room over. I found him in the bathroom, feeling around on the sink and hollering for me. Talk about confusion. I thought him in a sleeping bag might be interesting. He fell asleep without fuss about 25 seconds after I laid him down. Yep, they are growing up.



A little road trip in the planning…

We’re planning a trip to South Dakota. My parents have a little sheep farm there, and this week they start lambing.

Can anyone say what a good life experience this is for my kids? It’s a homeschool field trip on steroids!

So, we pack. We’ll head up for a week and a half, the kids will get to experience real winter (Because the 70 degrees we experienced here last week was most definitely not winter-like.) and lambing and Grandma and Grandpa and snow. Likely, lots of snow will be available to be experienced.

It’s home. I love it. I’m a bit of a baby these days after living south of South Dakota, but I’m looking forward to it. I dug out snowpants and boots and hats and gloves and we’re off, headed to freeze our behinds. Our travel has been moved up a day, with one little girl showing classic cold symptoms, making her unfit for co-op. With any luck, she’ll sleep the day away. I’m hoping.

Just for the record, I hate packing. I cannot be organized, because no matter how hard I try, it all falls apart anyhow. I gave up. I gave each kid their backpack, told them to pack four shirts, four undies, six pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, church clothes, and let them have at it. The only ones I know for sure have what they need are Charlie and Pierce and me. Everyone else I’ve deemed old enough. We’ll see when we get there exactly what was packed. This could be interesting. Their bags are full though – either with what they were told or bricks – that remains to be seen. I’ve already stated I will not be purchasing anything that they were told to pack and forget. I may regret that statement.


Dial Complete Foaming Hand Wash

Purex sent me Dial Complete Foaming Hand Wash a few weeks ago to try out. It’s been a fun thing to try! As a bar soap die hard (becoming such after computing how much we were spending on liquid hand soap with 16 hands being washed numerous times each day) I rather looked forward to the pump. Amazingly, it lasted a lot longer than the liquid we’d used in the past. Foaming is the way to go, it would seem. If your kids are more easily trained to use one pump and not six, you might be able to make it last a really long time. Mine cannot get it through their heads that less is more.

While I’m not certain I’ll switch over from my own hand made bar soaps that I’m having fun with, I really appreciated Dial’s scents and the fact that it lasted several weeks. That’s a lot longer than anything we’d used in the past!

No giveaway with this one. Bummer. But keep an eye out. Borax is up for grabs soon – and that white box and I are good friends in the laundry room!

Diets, physicals, and being stared back at.

Sterling and Ruby had their yearly physicals yesterday. Sterling was one inch taller and 2/10 of one pound heavier than Ruby. He didn’t care how much; he just wanted to know he was still bigger. I think Ruby passing him up is his worst fear. The look on his face when the doctor told him that she would eventually pass him up, for a season, confirmed my suspicions. It’s hard to be a little guy. Both got shots. Sterling didn’t even flinch and was oh so proud of himself for that. Ruby sang what we commonly refer to as “the owie song” around here. It was a strange moment, watching my two middles acting so big.

I’ve gone on a no-carb no-sugar diet. Once I got past the first few days of not having a clue what to eat and choosing nothing as a good option (effective in the weight loss category, but it makes for one very crabby me) I’m finally figuring this out. So far, so good. I’d have a hard time eating like this long term, but it’s fun to watch the scale drop. Having never really attempted anything like this before, I’m seeing why people don’t stick to it. It’s just not that fun.

Our new fridge is in the garage. It is, at the moment, full of vegetables. Full. I look all healthy or something.

The girls all got owl necklaces for Christmas. Ruby’s owl promptly broke in half, just below the eyes. She still wears it. There’s something eerie about two bright blue jewel eyes staring back at me from my daughter’s chest.


Discovery Center

We went to the Discovery Center in town on Friday. We…

wore the kids out on a giant gerbil wheel,
played with a bit of static electricity,


played doctor,


used the blood pressure cuff as a doll diaper changing pad,


and attempted to anchor the evening news.


It was a fun day. The kids were really tired. Really, really tired.


Pierce: 15 months

IMG_4161One dear boy, fresh into the world of walking

practices his steps every chance he getsIMG_4167

IMG_4164 hauls toys around to prove brute strength

and busts a bronc or two in his spare time. IMG_4175

It’s a hard life.