Rogue Zahmbie Chickens

A Few More Pics
April 24, 2010, 6:32 PM
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Jonah hanging out.

In the spirit of follow-through… here are a few more pics of the flowers in the yard.  I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but I didn’t take pics of the stuff I planted this week!  So, those will follow on a less rainy day! ♥


Getting Plants Started- easy “greenhouse”
April 24, 2010, 12:58 PM
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Hello Friends!

 This week proved to be an extraordinarily busy one!  LOTS and LOTS of planting done – mostly ornamentals early in the week, followed by starting lots of seeds today!  A quick pic:

I really wanted to get away from all of the STUFF inside the house – the past two years have seen loads of plants and animals (chickens) in a sunroom keeping warm & growing.  I don’t have a greenhouse (although I am considering building a small one!)  so I covered containers with heavy gauge plastic to keep out wind, rain & animals & keep the plants nice and warm!  I put a good layer of newspaper underneath the flats that I have the plants in.   The temps are warming up now, although we still have cool evenings, but the warmer temps, combined with the greenhouses, should give me a nice start for our garden.  Just to show what you can do in a small space, there are over 200 seeds started in the containers shown in this picture.  All will be transplanted to either bigger containers (My container garden will be on this same little deck that is terribly under-utilized) or directly into the garden soil.

  Another Quick Pic for you… baby bunnies are now  2 weeks old…and so cute!

Coming this Week: Eating Healthful Meals on a TIGHT budget! AND Gardening, Gardening and MORE Gardening!
April 18, 2010, 7:33 AM
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Hello Friends!
So, In trying to come up with topics that are relevant and important, one idea kept hitting me in the face and then I realized that even though we don’t have an exceptionally small food budget, I’m still really cheap…errrr… frugal and so I can TOTALLY write about this! I just decided to do this yesterday and am starting to write down the extremely healthful meal plan and will post several days of meal plans within a few days.

In other news… Tis The Season!!! Gardening Season! I’m starting a few more plants indoors today after church and then I’m ready!!! Ready to till up soil, add compost… Oh I can’t wait! Spring on the farm is SO MUCH FUN! We took pictures yesterday of one of our new baby bunnies:

Isn’t it adorable?!?! They were 8 days old yesterday!

We also took pictures of Haidong, ready for prom… a pic of all of my boys (and me)… Daddy is out of town working so isn’t in the picture, but… take a look at this crew!!! 🙂

I will also be posting animal and flower pics this week, documenting all of the wonderful things going on ‘down on the farm’ this week. In other news… I do have one lone rogue chicken out there that we’ve been unable to catch to get back in the ‘chicken yard’… And one did get in the house last week when I opened the door, trying to carry in dinner from the grill… and this, my friends, is where the Blog’s title ‘Rogue Zahmbie Chickens’ came from…

Have a blessed Sunday, Friends. Love, Hugs, Blessings & Bare Feet! Jen

Homeschooling Methods- Demystified

So… recently I’ve been asked by many people about the different methods, or styles, of homeschooling. There was a program on one of the Discovery Channels last week called Radical Parenting and there was a style of Homeschooling called “Radical Unschooling” that was presented in that show. This is a parenting style combined with Unschooling. We use some Unschooling methods (not a whole lot of Radical Unschooling methods, although many people do believe unschooling in and of itself to be radical), along with some Unit Study methods with our boys. When parents/teachers combine methods to come up with a method that works for their family, this is called “Eclectic Homeschooling”. Below are Links to explainations of different styles of homeschooling methods.

an overview of different styles:

Charlotte Mason Method:

Classical Method:

Eclectic Homeschooling:

Enki Homeschooling:

Montessori Method:

Thomas Jefferson Education:

Umbrella Schools:
These are distance learning, virtual schools, independent study programs or charter-type schools that children are enrolled in (some states do not allow homeschooling and so a parent enrolls their child(ren) in an umbrella school and the child is a student of this school but does his or her studies at home.)

Unit Studies:

Unschooling: (I think the name “unschooling” is a misnomer. Unschoolers “reject” traditional grading systems, worksheets and other “busy work” in favor of experientially based learning. For example, Jonah does his math in the grocery store – if these are four for a dollar, how many can I get if I want to pay $5?, or keeping track of how much the bill will come to, unit cost on items (there are 5 ounces in this bottle and it costs $X…. how much is it per ounce and is it cheaper to get this other product?). Jonah has had a difficult time with reading… so, to me, it is important that he learns to read, so when he shows interest in the sports page of the newspaper or in a basketball website… I am going to encourage him to read the sports page and the basketball website… It doesn’t matter to me that he doesn’t care about “See Spot Run.”… the end result is that the child is reading. So, experience is vital in unschooling… which is why the boys are also involved in farm chores, animal care, the garden and other life experiences that introduce critical thinking, problem solving, practical life skills as well as opportunities for math (if we need to worm a goat, and she weighs 100 pounds, how much medicine do we give her? We got 15 eggs today,how many will we have this week if we get 15 eggs on 5 days?), reading (plant seeds to 1/4 ” depth, dosing information sheets for animal meds, feeding instructions for food, etc) and sciences. The primary difference between unschooling and radical unschooling is that unschoolers have some “governing rules” to live by… the boys have restrictions on what they can watch and how long, limited time on video games (and did not play video games until they got a wii for their 9th birthday), and they have chores and things they have to do because they are part of the family and have to help keep things afloat… not a terrible amount of things to do, but the twins are expected to help Sam pour a drink if he’s thirsty, we just help each other get our things done.)

Radical Unschooling: (Below is a fantastic site, I’ve used it as a reference many times. You will see the difference between unschooling and radical unschooling -in radical unschooling, there generally are no rules to speak of. The child(ren) choose all aspects of their lives – what to eat, when & where to sleep, there is no discipline, no restrictions on anything (including video games and television, etc. I am not a radical unschooler but there are several things we “borrow” from this philosophy. I will say that the children and families that I know (and know of) who are radical homeschoolers are content, peaceful and very polite and well adjusted. Some of the aspects of radical unschooling are different, even unsettling, to some, but, as with anything else that is not harmful to a child/family… I think everyone needs to choose what works for them.)

Waldorf Method:

I’m Baaack
March 27, 2010, 7:02 AM
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OK, so, as inevitably happens… life happens. I am so busy (Everyone is!) that I let things go. I ALWAYS let go of things that are for me, though, and I need to not do that quite so much. I enjoy sharing with my friends and so am resolving to improve. I’ve had many requests to get back to doing this… and so… here I am again.

I will be building this up. I plan on having contests, prizes, etc. And this time of year, when there is so much to do ’round here, I have no excuse to not share what we’re doing… granted, you may not want to hear about playing in the dirt, in which case, you could come back later and read more about playing in the dirt… we do play in dirt in the Spring… that is what Spring is for!

As for me, I remembered my login information for the blog. I feel so accomplished and “done” for the day! My rememberer isn’t always the greatest, so if you are in this boat too, you know what a good feeling this is! ❤ .

A brief update: My sister is doing pretty well. She was in the hospital again for several weeks and is on the rebound. We're thankful for this. She's also in pretty good spirits – another praise! The boys have been pretty healthy… We all had the flu over the winter and (although the pediatrician's office told me that "that's impossible" ugh!), the flu (confirmed flu – the boys were tested) lasted only a few days (Jonah was not feeling well for 2 days but was not terribly ill) and Daniel had a bit of a rougher time with it, but even he was only "really" sick for a day, and he did have some respiratory stuff, but it all cleared up and he was better in just 4 days…. So much for that "big, bad" flu… the docs were pretty riled up about it because I refused the tamiflu… crazy how our immune systems deal with stuff and get us healthy again, huh? So, a few rough days and that was better. Sam will be with us at home full time next school year (YAY!!!) and he is already asking to do worksheets for "homeschool"…. he is going to be SOOOO much easier to teach than Jonah! LOL. Things are moving with Jonah's service dog! We are so excited! We are attending a presentation being held on April 21. His sponsor (Milkbone) will be presenting a check to the organization (Canine Assistants) and then we will schedule training. Training will be 2 weeks in Georgia for Jonah and me. Not looking forward to many parts of that aspect of things ( Jonah is terrified of planes ) but I'm sure it will all be fine.

So – that's about it for right now. More to come – I promise! :o)

December 8, 2009, 5:07 AM
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Hello Friends!

 Not even sure where to start here.  I could weave a tale of enabling and codependence, love and hurt…but…well, at this time, I don’t know that laying it all out would help anyone.  My name is Jen and I’m codependent.  I am an enabler.  Rest assured, I do it for “all the right reasons”, but that certainly hasn’t done anything for my once-again-crushed emotions.  *This* time, I do believe it is a bit different (because of witness accounts), but just her words are strong enough to send my world reeling.   The relationship is in such a condition that just a few hurtful words (that she supposedly didn’t say – I adore how the words are TOTALLY something she could say – and HAS said things like this in the past- are enough to push me to being completely, totally done with her.    The only constant with her is chaos.  But, lest I let on that the problem in my life is her, I have yet more work to do.  Well, I have more work to be done.  After an emotional evening, disbelief, crying, I have to find the strength to again give this to God.   The thing I’ve learned from this, whether or not she actually said the things that were told to me, is that this relationship is very one sided.  There is a giver.  There is a taker.  The taker creates chaos, in the ongoing quest for attention.  The giver lives in chaos because she completely allows it.  No other reason.  I allow it.   I’ve been better in my codependency.  I have been.  Putting my foot down, saying ‘no’ when needed, not letting my emotions get the better of me, but until I am willing to stop the enabling, it will continue.  I know this, I’ve known for a long time.  What I don’t know is how to let go.  How do I let someone I love so much continue on a path of  self destruction and chaos.  It affects me, my family.  How long does she really think we’re going to do this?  We’ve given all we have to give.  She has gladly taken.   We can’t speak to her, she gets angry.  Zero accountability, responsibility.  Who gets to do that?  She needs to grow up.  Get a clue.  I can’t make that happen.  Not my problem.  The things I do, at this point…well… I won’t stop helping completely -although, this time yesterday evening, I was completely ready and felt justified in cutting her off 100% – if she really didn’t say those things, I can’t very well make that the straw that broke the camel’s back…right?   I don’t like the feeling that I’m having right now.  Waiting for the last straw.  It feels like an inevitability.  Is it wrong that I just wish she’d do something really stupid, say something hurtful?  Just so I can feel justified in being done with her?  I’m acutely angry right now… trying to not feel the feelings that are ripping at me right now.  Trying to just be.  It is not working.  I’m seeing very clearly right now, which, frankly, isn’t exceptionally pleasant…but I have dug this hole myself.  I’ve allowed it to continue.  The feelings of victimization that I despise in her are not going to creep into my heart.  I am in control of what I say and do.  I am not going to be a vessel of negativity and hate.  I’m not going to be a tool for evil.  I’m relieved that she apparently didn’t say these things, but feeling very uneasy that our relationship is so tenuous that a few little words would end it in my mind.  I don’t want relationships like this.  This is not what I believe is positive or good.  I can’t, for my own sanity, be a part of this roller coaster.  She needs to do what she needs to do.  I’m not, at this point, cutting her off completely.  But I am keeping my distance.  I’ve had my fill of the chaos, but  am having a great difficulty in my heart because I know my head is telling me “she didn’t do it this time, don’t do anything too harsh.”  but my heart is done… going through the motions, waiting for her to understand, waiting on her to get it.  Good luck, right?  Not waiting for her understanding anymore.  It doesn’t matter if or when she gets it.  I need to do what I need to do…. My heart is done doing this, going through the motions.  And my head…while my head says “She didn’t do it THIS TIME”, my head is also just waiting for the ball to drop one last time… waiting, and probably searching, for one last thing that will give me permission to let it all go.

Keep On Keepin’ On!!!
December 7, 2009, 8:35 AM
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Hello Friends!

  OK, so I’m a slacker… whaddya want?  We’ve been so busy around here… joyfully busy, but busy none the less!  Last week, we spend a good part of the week just doing an all over cleaning of the house… stuff we normally do, but added in the things we have to do every couple months as well…. taking comforters out of duvet covers and laundering, steam cleaning the carpets, taking care of cob webs (ugh… how on earth?!?! LOL), so we had plenty to keep us busy.  The week culminated with our annual Christmas parties.  On Friday night, we had a wonderful gathering of friends.  We have a pretty big house, but we had about 50 people all on one level (there are 3 full levels and a partial level… so that many people in a relatively small area… aye!  But, everything turned out wonderfully and it was a fantastic gathering, a great night of fellowship, laughing, singing and just enjoying each other’s company.   One thing that really stood out to me (and, in retrospect, the same thing happened last year), is that (and we’ve all experienced this to some degree, I’m sure), is that the men go into the living room or dining room and chat and the women station themselves in the kitchen… arranging dishes on the countertop so that everything fits, getting serving spoons into the dishes, making the punch, helping with the chocolate fountain, getting ice for the shrimp tray… just anything that needed to be done.  And I love (love love love!) how we just gab the entire time, effortlessly, not skipping a beat, while getting everything done that needed to get done.  And, possibly the best part is the spirit in which it was done.  None of us minded being in the kitchen, none of us felt “it is our place” in a derogatory way… we were joyful and content that this is where we could be, spending time together where we are comfortable.  It was the best gift of the night.  Yes, it was wonderful hearing one particular gentleman sing a solo (one of the party games) – someone who is not one we would have guessed would sing for us.  It was great that the children all got along and played so nicely, it was even joyful seeing the teenage boys waiting for everyone to finish going through the line before they went back and devoured more food…. It was all just amazing and joyful and yet again, another happy memory.

   Then, the following day, mom and I spent all morning cooking for our family get together.   Other than the usual family personality mini-clashes, it was all good… yes, the hubby had to get some work stuff done and was not being too communicative, yes, some shoes got lost (and found! On my child! OOPS!) and there is still a coat missing (I swear I didn’t put it on Sam!), but all in all… it went well.  It was wonderful to see family who we usually only see 2 or 3 times a year, and does make me wish that we didn’t live so far away, but all in all… good times!

   Another blessing?  We woke up to snow this morning.   Not sure why, but the last couple years, I’ve just really enjoyed the snow.  Sam was so excited…I barely got inside from taking Henry out when Sam was in the coat room grabbing snow boots and hat and mittens!  When we went out for the bus, he was running in circles yelling “Its CHRISTMAS!”   granted, he was also yelling something about a scorpion in his mittens… but… well… he’s cute.  Haidong was introduced (by Papa – Grandpa) to a good ol’ American snowball fight… Sam was tickled pink to join in the fun.

   We are all back to being healthy again… This year has been such an amazing blessing.  After the trials of last year, I’m just amazed that God just KNOWS what we can handle.  After the difficult year with health issues last year (ALL YEAR LONG! LOL… first surgery/hospitalization in February, last surgery and hospitalization in November! And 7 or 8 others in between those two!), it has just been a complete blessing that the boys have flourished this year.  They’re doing amazingly well.  Jonah is starting to read (granted all I can get him to read is the sports page and… but I’ll take it!)… I knew he would when he was good and ready, but I was sweating that one a lot!  Sam is coming into his own as well… learning and doing and just having fun.  Daniel is an amazing kid… just very willing to learn and has a great sense of humor and a bit of a sensitive side as well.  I am so blessed!

  So, I guess that’s what we’ve been up to.  Keeping busy, for certain.  Having fun, always.  Loving each other.  Laughing.  Life is good.