Flying Squirrels in our Goat Barn!

Last night while milking, my husband suddenly exclaimed, “There’s a CHIPMUNK by my head!”

What an odd exclamation!

He happened to be standing by our “safe shelf” – the on that is high enough that the goats can’t reach. That is where we keep a bag of food for Allie, and little baggies of food for the little ones goats. The big buckets are in the loft, safe from little intruders.

Well, the bags certainly weren’t safe from intruders! What I saw when I jumped up to look was a funny little creature with flappy skin, a flat tail, and huge eyes, sitting on our shelf, munching happily away! A flying squirrel!

Southern Flying Squirrel

Southern Flying Squirrel

I’m not sure how I knew what it was, but when it ran away we started googling to confirm what it was. Yes, it was a flying squirrel for sure. Then we watched, waiting to see if it would return. It certainly did, and it brought a friend!

I ran inside and woke up the rest of the house to see if they wanted to come see these funny little creatures. Soon we were all crowding around, watching. They didn’t seem to mind at all. What they wanted was right there on the shelf – the little goat pellets they had nibbled through my bag to get… a yummy, free (stolen) meal!

Upon further investigation, flying squirrels are nocturnal, so that is why we had never seen them. They also tend to change their nesting areas frequently, so I don’t know if we will have them in the loft for long. We just happened to be fortunate enough to have them as visitors, for now. We’ll see how long it lasts!

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The Worst Lunch Ever

Today happened to be one of those busy days, where you’re “running” for 12 hours straight. It was a great day, actually. We got a lot done, we had a lot of fun, and everyone is still smiling. 🙂

Lunch wasn’t so good though.

Every other Friday we have a co-op with the homeschool group in the mornings. The kids have a classes where they learn about various things from art to biology. Then in the afternoon, there is organized gym.

Today the gym activity was soccer. We thought it would be great to just eat lunch at the park between co-op and gym. So, we arrived with our cooler full of food and spread out on a pretty yellow picnic table.

I wasn’t feeling well, so I told the kids to each make their own sandwiches. We had a favorite, peanut butter and jelly, and also meat sandwiches.

As we started putting sandwiches together, yellow jackets (which seemed to be EVERYWHERE) found our business very interesting. Once they caught the scent (or sight?) of the jar of jelly, they became like little magnets. Obviously, we had a problem on our hands.

We stepped it up into high-gear. I started slapping the pb&j sandwiches together as only an experienced mom can, and handing them out as quickly as possible. These bees were more annoying than the sea gulls at the beach when we tried to take sandwiches there!

By the time I was done with the pb&j, there were at least 3 bees that had already found the jelly jar, and they wouldn’t budge from the jar. While peeling them off the jar, I’m telling the kids, “Eat quickly, we have to get the food put away!” I got the stuff put back in the cooler, hoping that would deter the bees, but they were still after the sandwiches. (Jelly was really not a good choice today!)

The next thing I know, my 7yo looks at me with big, serious eyes and says, “There was a bee on the bite Becca just took.” By the time we got her to spit it out, the bee had already stung the inside of her mouth, and out the chewed-up bite came, chewed-up bee and all!


I knew we had just lost our grip on lunch. The 4yo was in tears, and all I could say was, “I’m so sorry, Honey,” over and over as I’m gathering everyone and everything together to get ourselves to the van. No one was going to be happy eating with bees everywhere now that one of us had been stung!

We got to the van, a trail of mom, kids, and sandwiches, but those bees beat us into the van. Next thing I knew I had 2 screaming girls in the backseat, and a still-crying Rebecca who was saying we needed to buy a new car because the bees were in it!

So, I did what any thinking mom would do at this point (though I hope no other mom ever GETS to this point!)… I banished all pb&j sandwiches to the garbage can, and we tried our luck at the park again. If we have to eat with the bees, I’d rather it be in the open, not in a closed-up van!

But these must have been bees with a big strain of “determination”, because they kept bothering us, even without the jelly! We ended up throwing the rest of the sandwiches that we were carrying out. I figured, at that point, we could just eat another time!

Poor Rebecca played on the playground equipment with her finger in her mouth, holding the place where she was stung:

bee sting in mouth

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Hershey’s Chocolate Dream?

Rebecca (age 4) woke up this morning and said, “Mom! I was having a Hershey’s Chocolate dream!”

I love it!

Apparently it was about Hershey Park though, not the actual “chocolate”. 🙂

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Chocolate Chip Cookies, Made by my Boys

During the summer months, kids have more time. This is a good thing! But sometimes they have a hard time knowing what to DO with all of that extra time.

Today when my oldest two wanted to make chocolate chip cookies, I could have JUMPED on the idea! YES! This was a GREAT way to spend time: fun, educational, and good for the rest of us too! (…or not, depending on how you look at it.)

I did learn one thing. When my 11 year old asked if he could fill this little plastic gumball-machine-prize-holder with cookie dough, I should have asked more questions before saying “yes”. It was also a good thing I checked on the pizza that was cooking along with their cookies a few minutes later… because he had it baking in the oven! He was trying to make a “round cookie”!


It would have been a “melted mess”!oopsThe best part was at the end, when my sons brought out this cookie made special, for me:Benjamin with Heart Cookie
It says, “I Love Mom.” 🙂

Making chocolate chip cookies will definitely be at the top of our “boredom-breaker” list this summer!

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Making Paper “Doodle Dolls” with the Kids!

Grandma brought a new book called Doodle Dolls with her for her last visit! As soon as I saw it I knew it was something Emily would love. Not only is she artistic to the core, even at age 5 she has this “fashion sense” about her. Paper dolls (especially make your own paper dolls) would be perfect.

Doodle Dolls Book

Grandma was right on in her book selection:

Emily Coloring her Paper Doll OutfitsDoodle Dolls comes with 2 paper dolls and over 300 outfits. Each outfit is printed on both sides. (I didn’t count to see if that meant 150 or 300 separate cut-outs.) The clothes are themed by page with everything from princess to pajamas. With so many clothes to work with, I’m thinking that Emily will make paper dolls and outfits to her heart’s content, easily spending many hours doing it. (Can you say, “Play Value?”) She takes her time and puts creativity into each outfit, so, as I suspected, these are “just perfect” for her.

The Paper Dolls Themed Clothing

The only thing I didn’t like about the book was that the pages were not perforated, so getting a sheet out was a “mom job”.

Grandma had the excellent idea of tracing a paper doll inside the cover, so that if the girls loose the 2 paper dolls that were included with the book, they can just trace a new one onto card stock. Also, I can see where laminating the paper dolls would help them not wear out before their outfits!

My 5 year old is not up to all of the cutting yet, but thankfully I enjoy that type of thing!

We are getting quite the assortment of clothing. Here are some that the kids have done:

Paper Doll ClothingThey will clean up very nicely into a ziploc bag, one of my favorite organizational tools!

If you are looking to buy a book full of all sorts of wonderful paper dolls outfits to decorate yourself, this book is worth looking into. With a list price of $12.95, Amazon’s price (and free shipping) is hard to beat!

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Too Much to Do… Busy Day Time Management

This is one of those days where I finally get to stay home all day. We had something going (outside of the house) every day last week, so Saturday is the first day we get to be home all day!

Now that I am home, both looking around at what all there is to do, and thinking about what all there is to do… I am not sure WHAT to do!

It is certainly more than can be tackled in a day!

So, after praying for wisdom, I came to the conclusion that this is one of those days where it doesn’t matter WHAT I do, as long as it is accomplishing something!

So, I am working on the home and business, in 1 hour time rotating time blocks. We’ll see (at the end of the day) what can be accomplished! My main goals are simple:

  • Work on the banking
  • Cut the boys’ hair
  • Clean the hamster cage
  • Clean out the refrigerator

Of course I have to stay “on top” of the regular things too, like spending time with and taking care of my 6 precious children… but at the end of a busy day like today when I have too much to do after a week of “running”… whatever I DO accomplish will be good.


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What do Muffins Without Baking Soda Look Like?

I made a double batch of pumpkin muffins tonight. A single batch makes a lot. A double batch fills up my bosch mixer! It made 2 loaves of pumpkin bread and about 5 dozen muffins. The kids are very happy. 🙂

After baking up about half of the batter, I finally figured out why the muffins we not looking like they usually do: I made them without baking soda! Oops!

At least I caught it in time to add it for the last half!

In case you are wondering, this is what muffins baked WITHOUT baking soda look like, compared to the rest. And, yes, they started with approximately the same amount of batter as the rest of the muffins!

Muffins without baking sodaInterestingly, it appears that muffins CAN be made without baking soda and baking powder.

Also, worthy of note, my children ate down two entire loaves of pumpkin bread baked without it as if they were eating candy. 🙂 Apparently the taste wasn’t affected. 😀

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Dog Eats ______

It was a (rather usual) day around here. We were home all day, so “lots of things” happened at home. That usual type of stuff happened to include a broken clay pot with the associated aloe plant and dirt all over the floor! It also happened to include a broken plate. (And a bowl of frosted flakes – thankfully plastic – spilled all over the dining room floor, but that is not part of my story!)

We also happened to eat baby-back ribs for dinner, which is a family favorite. It is also a favorite of our dog’s… though she is almost never allowed to have any.

Maddy Watched us like a hawk, just waiting for the right moment to claim a bit of it. I could tell she was thinking, “BONES IN THE GARBAGE CAN.” As a dutiful child, who has a bone-eating dog in the house, does on such occasions, Benjamin placed the garbage can on the counter for the night. I laughed when I stood up with my plate, because Maddy followed me step for step.

She is really very good at this type of thing. She actually waits (I can imagine how hard that must be for a Dog Like Her) until we leave the room to steal the bones out of the garbage can. But she was obviously quite excited about tonight’s potential “haul”.

As I was standing there with my plate, Rebecca finished and stood up to take her plate out to the kitchen… but the plate did not make it that far. Out of her hands it slipped, bones, left-over food-scraps and all. It was instant tears (on her part) because breaking a plate (after one has already broken a big clay pot on the same day!) is really quite stressful for a sensitive 3-year-old like her. So my first duty was to assure her that it was okay. Then Benjamin “rescued” her and got her little bare feet away from all of the glass shards. (!)

Then I realized with alarm that this silly dog is looking at those bones and food-scraps littered amongst the hundred shards of glass ALL OVER my dining room floor as if she will go eat it all up at any moment. (And she is just dumb enough to eat the glass along with it!)

Obviously, as we were pulling ourselves together inside of these few intense seconds, we included getting the dog out of the house while barring the way to the dining room.

So, the evening proceeded from this point in a more “usual” way again. We cleaned up the mess (depositing the glass shards safely in the dining room can), cleared the table, had baths, watched some TV, and then it was bedtime.

At bedtime, we go upstairs. (all of us)

Except this time no one noticed that the dog didn’t come up with us.

After brushing teeth, reading, and getting everyone settled down into bed… I had to go back downstairs for something.

THAT DOG, once again, had gotten into the garbage can. She has this thing for meat, bones… and generally anything tasty. She will literally REMOVE THE USED NAPKINS FROM THE GARBAGE CAN, so she can lick whatever barbeque sauce, or whatever it is she can find on them, off. Gross.

I was annoyed, because she had done it again. Stuff was all over the floor from her little escapade.

I actually considered waiting until morning, to have one of the kids (who dearly love their dog and wouldn’t much mind) clean it up. But, no, it was better to clean up NOW, tonight. I might as well tackle it head-on, and have it done.

Imagine the SHOCK as it registered that the white stuff all over the floor was not ripped up napkin… but the glass pieces to the broken plate!!! UG!!!!!!

Maddy out-smarted us. Again.

Only this time, it might be to her own detriment. Hopefully none of the glass made its way down… or perhaps her tongue and digestive organs are made of steel? I really can’t figure dogs out.

I think caged animals are MUCH easier. 🙂

I am having vague, unsettling thoughts of a potentially large vet bill in our near future!

It couldn’t be much worse than the porcupine encounter, could it?

Maddy, our dog

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The Red-Eyed Tree Frog (a Conversation between Sisters)

Emily: “Becca, this is a red-eyed tree frog.”

Rebecca: “It’s evil.”

Emily: “Mom! Rebecca says a red-eyed tree frog is evil!”

Rebecca: “Because it is.”

red eyed tree frogThese girls and the things they say are TOO funny! Apparently a creature with red eyes is evil by nature. 🙂

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Crayola Glow Sand EXPLOSION!

When your 5-year-old asks you for the tenth time if she can try out her “Crayola Glow Sand Kit” she got weeks ago, and you feel like you really need to answer with a “yes” at some point in her life… keep in mind that it might be a good idea to specify that the person who “helps” her be more than 8 years old… or this might be what happens:

Crayola Glow Sand Explosion

It was an EXPLOSION, all right!


Glowing Hands

Look at all of the glowing hands! (There are 6 total, though not all of them made it into the picture.)

Their hands were literally like living flashlights!

Flashlight Hands!

Flashlight Hands

Yes, I certainly agree with the “explosion” part of this products title!

It’s handy that to clean up… all one has to do is turn on the light…

Crayola Glow SandOf course, just turning the light on doesn’t really satisfy a mom. We’re doing baths, a change of clothes, and a full sweep so that when I turn off the lights, I’m not going to have a glowing room again!

This was one amazing (EXPLOSIVE) present. Thanks, Dad! The kids had an absolute BLAST rolling around and playing in their Crayola glow sand! (And they even managed to fill up the bottles so they have their “sculptures” to remind them of all of the fun!)


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