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.


Quick update.

At my last midwife appointment, my midwife said she thought I’d be having a baby within a week. Exciting… nervous. I’ve been through labor just enough times to know that there’s no expectation of anything concrete. Contractions, yes, a baby, yes, but time frame? Unknown. Scenario? No idea. I’ve had a baby after 32 hours of labor, I’ve had a baby after half an hour of labor. I’ve had one breech baby via c-section, one who I had all sorts of interventions with, one who was born at home unassisted, without any interventions whatsoever. I’ve had one who followed the textbook scenario, one who did anything but. But… fear and trepidation aside, I can’t wait to meet this baby. I look forward to being on the other side of this, and the knowledge that it has to end. Soon, even.

I washed up a handful of boy and girl outfits from storage and put them in a basket for the baby. They’ve been unfolded, folded, rearranged, and compared to each child’s photo album to see who wore what in recent days. Excitement is building. Pierce has donated many of his pairs of socks, no matter the size. If this is a girl… she’ll be wearing too big boy socks, compliments of Pierce. Time will tell, but I don’t see him being jealous. I hope I can still say that in a month!

TOS Crew Review: KinderBach

My first review for the new year! I was a part of the Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Review Crew for 2013, and am again for 2014. I have several reviews in the works, and my first for the year is for KinderBach. Three of my children, Sterling, age 6, Ruby, age 5, and Charlotte, age 3, have been doing KinderBach for over a month now and LOVE the KinderBach Online Piano Lesson Approach with Teacher Corner approach to piano and beginning to learn more about the keyboard. KinderBach offers 6 levels, each to be worked through four days a week for 10 weeks for a total of 60 weeks of instruction.

Written for ages 3-7, KinderBach had all three of my children in this age range, and my two year old as well, enthralled. The videos are short and colorful, and Dodi the Donkey, teacher Miss Karri, and Frisco quickly became a household phrases, and Kinderbach had them learning a few simple songs just in the first month while we did this review. The kids begged to “do piano” each day and loved all the printables. The printable to do with each lesson are showed during the lesson, so my older children were quite clear on what page they were supposed to be doing each day.

I lined up all of my children to watch the videos each day during our school days. The crowd around the computer became a pushing session, making me think as we continue with our KinderBach membership that one at a time would be a far easier proposition. There’s only so much learning that can go on while you’re getting elbowed in the ribs. Even so, piano quickly became the most-loved subject in Sterling and Ruby’s world. (It was equally loved in Charlotte’s world – it was also her only subject.) KinderBach brags the value of learning piano and it’s long term benefits – and who’s to argue? Learning rhythm, reading notes, and more is a lifelong skill. To begin it so simply, at home, without expensive lessons, on something as simple as a small keyboard, makes this a gentle beginning easy for child and Momma.

For access to all of the KinderBach lessons and levels, the PDF downloadable worksheets, MP3’s and more, the KinderBach website has more information here. Priced at $95.88 a year, which works out to $7.99 a month, it provides a great beginning to piano for homeschoolers and other alike, with lessons that my kids absolutely loved. Their only complaint: the lessons were over sooner than they wanted them to be, so they soon figured out how to watch more lessons and ended up doing more lessons on the computer than they were supposed to. Since the beauty of homeschooling is working at your own pace, I let it go. Those videos were oft-watched and re-watched, while much giggling went on at some of the antics of the teacher and characters on the videos. I did end up slowing them down a bit so they could practice what they’d learned.

A free online trial is available here. Many sample lessons are also available there so that you may better see what the program entails. KinderBach also offers a iPad and iPhone app – I do not have an appropriate device to try out the app, but others on the review crew were able to try that out as well. The Review Crew Blog will give you a chance to read those reviews as well. To read what others on the 2014 Review Crew thought about KinderBach, head over to the Review Crew Blog.


I’m having flashbacks…

Pierce was having fun with my and Blaine’s boots the other day.


It reminded me of photos of yesteryear, with a similarly aged Eden…


Funny how things change, and yet, stay the same. Looking for these photos of Eden was a ton of fun… with six kids crowded around to see photos of the former them. Just fun.


Muddy times

Guest post by Alexandra…

Our part of the world has been pretty dry this winter. Not much rain and not much snow, until last week. It rained for a day and a half and then snowed for an entire night. For what is called the high desert, 1 1/2 inches of rain and another 2 inches of snow on top of the mud is a big deal. We are in the middle of a 2 year long drought right now and so the moisture is greatly appreciated, –except first thing in the morning when it is feeding time.

Feeding the cows has become more of a chore than normal, and what normally takes 2 hours to do now takes 5. It’s not freezing at night and so we can’t feed with the pickup right now because even with chains all the way around the pickup can’t pull the feed wagon through the mud. Every morning we start a tractor, load the trailer and then hook the trailer to the tractor and haul the hay to the cows that way to pitch it off the them.

Yesterday, we buried the trailer to the frame in the mud.

So we unhooked the trailer, unloaded the hay off the wagon with the tractor, hooked the trailer back up, pulled the now empty trailer out of the mud, unhooked the tractor, loaded the hay back onto the trailer, hooked the tractor back up to the wagon, and started feeding from there. Any questions? Smile


The 2 older boys don’t drive the tractor when the ground is so soft and feeding is more challenging, so Gus helped pitch hay instead. Tell thought he should be allowed to help when we stopped moving.

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In a little more light hearted news, Tell loves the dogs and feeds them from his high chair whenever they are available to be fed. Today he reached a new level when he climbed onto the table and got the french toast that was waiting for Matthew’s breakfast and went in search of a dog to feed it to.




My dear husband surprised me last week with a potato/onion/garlic bin for my kitchen, freeing what I had been using for fruit, something that completely thrilled me. I now have ALL my big metal bowls clean, off the counter, and available for other uses. In a completely uncharacteristic never-happened-in-our-12-years-together move, he made me something completely out of the blue. He took an oak pallet, sanded it down, and made this for me:


With a love for the antique look that dominates my kitchen, (and a LOT of cookbooks, that also dominate a good portion of my kitchen…)


I LOVE this. So, so cool. (I also love RADA knives. If you couldn’t tell.)


I just had to brag a little. Thanks, Blaine.


Liberty was struggling yesterday with trying to figure out which way to twist the salt grinder to be counter clockwise. She was feeling foolish, and this story came to mind. It made her feel better instantly.

Blaine and I had been dating a short time. I was 18, he was 24. I was already feeling rather out of my league, mostly as far as age and life experiences go. I’d been living “on my own” as a live-in nanny on Long Island for just a few months, and Blaine had spent a year in France, traveled to England with friends, graduated with his bachelor’s degree, and was working full time and renting his grandmother’s house. (She’d moved into a retirement home.)

I drove to spend one Sunday with him in New Jersey, and we were on the way home from the evening service at church. Since I was driving my boss’ car, Blaine wasn’t allowed to drive it. That left me, completely turned around in a different state, taking directions from Blaine in the passenger seat.

I’d always had a problem with right and left. I found myself turning north to face the direction my class had been facing way back in first grade in public school, when my teacher taught right and left. Problem: driving doesn’t allow you this privilege. Problem: I didn’t even know which way was north on the curvy hilly roads of northern New Jersey.

Blaine gave instruction for my to make a right up ahead. I turned left.

Left turned out to be down some perfect stranger’s really, really, steep driveway, full of cars, with no place to turn around.

Here’s where I should insert a major issue: my boss’ car, that I was driving, was old. Really old. Beat up. Really beat up. Ornery. Specifically, it didn’t like to go into reverse. It was a try, try, try again method to get it to drop into reverse. I avoided the issue by parking in pull through spots.

So there I was, in some stranger’s yard, trying to get the car to drop into reverse so I could back out onto a pretty busy road and head back up the hill the other way.

Somewhere in all of this, mortification set in. My dear now-husband was laughing at my predicament, and I just wanted to shrivel up and die of embarrassment.

Eventually, the car cooperated, I got out of the driveway, didn’t kill us backing out into the busy road, and headed up the other way. I’ve yet to live that one down, though.

Somewhere along the way, in the nearly 12 years since, right and left has sunk in properly and I can give and take directions without messing them up. And now my dear daughters are a bit less mortified about struggling with clockwise and counter clockwise directions.

So glad I could be of service.


35 weeks.

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So you all may be slightly disturbed at just how large one baby belly can be at 35 weeks, a photo.

I have outgrown nearly all my clothes, I’m not quite to my due date, and the email I got this morning telling me of my stage in pregnancy stated that baby “just puts on weight for the next month”. Yippee. My midwife tells me this baby will more than likely tip the scales as my biggest baby. Sterling, Ruby, and Pierce were 9 lbs.-9 lbs. 2 oz., so I’m a bit intimidated by that thought.

Putting socks on at this point is my daily feat. Shoes that tie are out of the question.


My work is not done.

Pierce still wears a diaper to bed. All of his sisters except Charlotte regularly pitch in and put his (cloth) diaper on. Tonight, Sterling offered to help Pierce get ready for bed. Sterling headed to the place that I keep pull-ups reserved specifically for co-op. He grabbed one. I reminded Sterling that those are NOT what Pierce wears to bed. He asked me what Pierce wears, then. I stared at him.

Really? Same routine for all of Pierce's life, at the very least, the same thing we've done for the eight months since Pierce stopped wearing diapers during the day. I pointed him to the diaper shelf... in another room entirely.

He came back with a newborn diaper. Uh... no. Try again. He came back with just a diaper cover. Still, no. Charlotte headed to tell him which diapers Pierce wears to bed. Let's be fair here, though: 80% of the diapers on the shelf are the ones he wears. Sterling was totally set up for success. And yet. His three year old sister had to show him.

When I told Sterling he really ought to pay more attention, he told me it wasn't his fault. "The girls play with dolls and stuff. They know how to do this because of that." Yeah, sure.

I have a lot more work to do before his future wife thanks me for teaching him how to be helpful with the baby. He's been sharing under the radar, it would seem.

After he put the correct diaper on Pierce, with an extra liner for whatever reason, he headed to brush his teeth... and I tightened the snaps on the diaper that failed to cover Pierce's hiney and was headed for his knees instead.

Nope, my work is not done.



How… disappointing.

I stayed home from church yesterday. Self diagnosis: bronchitis. I can’t remember the last time I was in my own house, entirely alone. Probably about 10.5 years ago. There’s usually a baby that stays home with me or a small toddler who isn’t capable of sitting in the pew with children and no parent. We don’t use a nursery, Blaine has duties during the service often, so me not being there means a likely noisy child. But… Pierce went and sat like a pro I’m told when Blaine had to leave. Amazing.

Anyhow. There I am, in a silent house, wondering what on earth I ought to do for what promised to be at least four hours of silence. I took a shower, briefly considered cleaning but quickly nixed that idea, read a chapter in a book, and decided on a nap.

I woke up four hours later when the front door flew open and my children piled back into the house.

Once I was over the adrenalin rush of being woke up like that, I couldn’t help but be disappointed. Alone for what turned into nearly five hours, and I slept through it. How… disappointing.

I do think I’m on the uphill climb though, thankfully. I don’t typically get completely incapacitated by illness, but this one has knocked me down. I love my new recliner, but I’ll be glad if I don’t ever have to sleep in it to keep upright enough to be able to breathe ever again. I’m so glad, if I had to get this, that it’s now, and not with a newborn in the house.

A newborn. Eek. It hit me last night. We’re about to have another baby. This pregnancy will end. Soon. 5.5 weeks to due date. Back to nursing, diapers, a child who cannot walk, and waking up in the night. Life’s about to get more interesting, my friends. I’m excited… and a wee bit curious how this will look. Chaos upon chaos.