31 days of sunnyside fun - day 1

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It seemed like fun at the time....
.... to sign up for the 31 day challenge that is.  
I mean when I put very little thought into it 31 days doesn't seem very long.  
However I've sat down & written blog posts ~ many blog posts ~ & I know the time I put in to make sure it all makes sense & looks pretty.  So I should have known better than to say I'd do something like blog every day for 31 days. But I sat down & I signed up & I still think it would be fun!  

Since I really don't have a lot of spare time right now, I didn't want to choose a topic to blog on that would keep me chained to the computer for the next month.  So I thought I'd share here an assortment of photos from this crazy life I live.   I have a lot of photos that are not worthy of a blog post of their own, but are still worth keeping.  They will not always be wonderful photos & often-times it will be just one photo with very a little caption ( & unedited), but I'm going to see if I can do it!  And if I don't...well that's alright as well.  I've always said blogging come AFTER real life & while I could sit down all day everyday & compose posts if I had to (& there are days when it would beat wrangling cranky cows, over affectionate lambs, attacking roosters, crazy sheep & wild children ), it's not as much fun as living this busy, chaotic, wonderful life I live!

We had a fire here!  
Deliberately lit & properly supervised.  We had sprayed out a section of one of our poorer paddocks to get rid of any pasture (which were mainly weeds) and use it as a water shed ( which basically means that it's purpose is to run as much water off it as possible during rain).  Since the dead plants were still able to stop the flow of water and we'd put the sheep in & they'd eaten as much as they could/would, the only option we had was to burn it.  We did & it worked perfectly & water has flowed since!  This water is collected in the big dam so any extra we can get in there before summer time is appreciated!

 When I went out to photograph the paddock on fire, I happened to turn around with camera in hand.  I couldn't resist catching some affection between Boris & one of his offspring!  Pigs are amazing how they live in family groups & Boris is a wonderful Dad most of the time ( unless there's food around, then he's a big pig...!  

 The goat...the goats also happen to think they are pigs & live with the pigs. This is their choice.  They have a very nice home of their own, but they would rather live with the pigs.  We have thankfully found a new home for the goats so they won't be here on the farm very much longer.  Goats & Ducks - the two creatures which we can now say we've tried & won't try again.  (Oh, but Bella is pregnant & it would be fun to see a kid goat around so I hope the new owners don't come too quickly...).  

A few days after, we had my aunty & uncle come to visit.  They are my mother's brother & sister.  Eli just loved spending time with Uncle W.  He has a new hero.  This is the only photo of either of them I took during the whole visit.  Eli & Uncle went catching yabbies together in the big dam.  They all enjoyed eating them that evening.  Unfortunately I am allergic to shell fish so I can't even touch them without breaking out in hives.  Thankfully that meant that I don't have to cook them :)

And I'm adding this photo just because I like it!  
We are blessed every year with a huge bucket of raw honey from the honey man who occasionally puts bees on our farm.  I pour it into smaller bottles for ease of use.

Have a wonderful day friends..  
I'll try to be back tomorrow!

Homeschooling tips from veteran homeschool Mothers! (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

One of my favourite things to do when I have the chance is to meet up with other homeschooling mothers & discuss this lifestyle we have chosen of educating our children in our own homes.  It is always wonderful to sit & share my own experiences, but I especially love to glean from others. I have never met a homeschooling mother that I haven't learned something from.  However the more experienced the mother, the more I find I learn & often I'll grab a pencil & notebook (which I conveniently keep in my handbag for such times) & take notes as my friend talks.  

I have recently been given the opportunity to review a newly launched ebook 60 Homeschooling Tips from 60 years : Inspiring Tips & Ideas from Two Veteran Homeschoolers! by Kathie Morrisey and Donna Reish.  Kathie & Donna are both well-known in the homeschooling community.  Both are veteran homeschooling mothers of large families and together they have over 60 years combined homeschooling experience.  They share a lot of good, sensible advice for anyone homeschooling or considering homeschooling.  Recently they compiled 60 of their best tips for homeschooling parents to glean from and released it in ebook format. This ebook is the result of their hard work.  Reading this is like sitting down with friends & gleaning from their years of homeschooling experience! 

I thoroughly enjoyed reading 60 Homeschooling Tips from 60 years & found it very easy to read in short snippets as I found a few minutes here & there in my busy schedule.  Kathie & Donna have formatted the book so a single tip is at the top of each page with an explanation or example of how they utilised it in their family following this.  This make it very easy to follow for even the busiest mother.  
While I have 5 1/2 years homeschooling experience & know some of the tips to be true, I still learned a lot from this ebook & look forward to including some of their own ideas in our school days!  One area I intend to be more proactive in  is reading aloud to the children each day. Since my husband began reading to the children each evening after family devotions, I've gotten slack & haven't been including it in our school day as much as I should. I really miss reading aloud to them and want to reincorporate this where I can squeeze it in!

60 Homeschooling Tips from 60 years is a compilation of well practised advice that any homeschooling family can glean from. 

60 Homeschooling Tips from 60 years is available from Character Corner for $5.  

Donna & Kathie have very generously offered to give away 60 Homeschooling Tips from 60 years to two of my readers.  
If you would like  a chance to win please enter below:

~ This post contains affiliate links.  If you purchase 60 Homeschooling Tips from 60 years through one of my links I will receive a small percentage.  Thanks very much ~

The Milking Diaries ~ Part 1 ( In the beginning)

Friday, September 26, 2014

It's in my blood, I'm sure about that.  This desire to live on land unmarked by cement & construction.  The endless sky overhead & the waving grass at my feet.  They all seem to call to me, to beckon me.  It sang it's enchanting song even when I was young, skipping around our backyard, dreaming about a cow named Bessy & endless fields. Thankfully I married a man equally smitten with the idea of broad horizons & fresh, pure air.  Even when we dwelt in our little house in the suburbs we would use any excuse to pack up our growing family & drive to the country.  We'd explore dirt tracks & walk along deserted creek beds & always, always there was this dream, this hope, this desire.  

Growing up I had tastes of country life.  My uncle had a farm ~ the bug had bit him too, even as a young man & he'd purchased 40 acres of paradise in a land quite the opposite of here - where they are flooded with rain - too much rain if you ask them! I loved visiting as a child. I noticed the beautiful vistas, the broad paddocks to run around in & the cows ~ oh the cows!  My grandparents lived there too & my grandmother who had grown up on a farm had a milking cow named Cherry.  Even though I didn't really like the taste of raw milk I always, always wanted a cow of my own.  Why I wanted to call her Bessy, who knows?  Something in my little girl heart thought Bessy was the perfect name for a cow!  

After we were blessed to be able to move down here & purchase this little plot of land we call Sunnyside, one of the first animals we bought for our farmyard was a little jersey calf and of course we dubbed her Bessy (after a little bit of negotiating back & forth)!  Milking seemed far off as we fed her the bottle she needed to grow.  Eventually she was old enough to send to the bull & before we knew it she had returned & we were all upon the brink of a series of brand new adventures!  

My total milking experience was practically non-existent.  Just once at a show I was the child chosen to squeeze a teat & even that made me realise how very difficult it is to actually make milk come out of those knobbly, hanging things!  I'd briefly watched a cow being hand milked sometime by my grandparents, but never had I been given the opportunity in life to actually take a turn at actually milking a cow.  No matter that I had absolutely no experience in the milking department, I was determined to make this work.   I'd read a little, but life had already taught me that book-learning doesn't really compare to experience. ( I have twins ~ LOL)  The fact that we had little knowledge, no experience & no people to call on if we needed help didn't concern us in the least.  We were confident that we could learn this new skill that had been used for generations before us.  We were more than happy to push ahead!

 We had our bucket, we had our pregnant cow & we had the Internet.....

Confidently I declared: 
'How hard can it be?'

Sorry to keep this hanging, but if I did it all in one post it would be far too long for even the most determined reader.... Part two coming sooner or later :)

Have a lovely day friends

Sunday Psalms

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lord, You have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
 Before the mountains were born
    or You brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting You are God.

Psalm 90:1-2

Help for building (or keeping) a strong marriage ~ review~

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I was only 20....

....in just two weeks he would turn 21....
...everyone who didn't know us said 'too young'...
...everyone who did happily encouraged....

It's been almost 15 years since that day when I stood in the church  & said my vows to the man who was my best friend.  Who is still my best friend. Our marriage grew from a friendship of two innocent teenagers who shared common interests.  Over time, our friendship budded  & began to grow until we realised that our relationship was far deeper, far stronger than mere friends.  That day, me nervously standing in a white dress, was the day our relationship flower began to open & it has continued to open every day of these years. It was that friendship base & our faith in the God of this universe who created the marriage union, that has held us together through times of intense sadness, unspeakable pain & amazing miracles! 
A month ago I tentatively filled out the application form to be on the launch team for Darlene Schacht's soon to be released book 'Messy, Beautiful, Love : Hope & Redemption for real life marriages'.  I was so excited to receive an email to invite me to join their launch team!  Darlene's writing at her blog The Time Warp Wife has blessed me in the past & I was sure this book would be a blessing again.  Finally, today is the long awaited launch day & I am so excited to share with you about this excellent resource for every married lady ~ no matter how long, how wonderful or how rocky their union may be.

Don't Give Up on Your Marriage

As I read the pre-release copy of this book I was given, in the few spare minutes I could find in this particularly hectic month, I was deeply touched with a longing to share this book with others.  Darlene has bared her heart in the pages.  Her testimony is something I did not expect. She openly shares it, interwoven with some good, practical, Bible based marriage advice.  As you read her testimony you know that much of what she writes about she has learned the hard way.
 This is a book on marriage for every hurting married lady, every happily married lady, every struggling married lady & every strongly married lady.  

I am particularly passionate about the importance of marriage.  Our society seems to be openly opposing marriage more & more.  It saddens me & I have wept many tears over friends who have walked away from the teaching of their youth & lived as if married, but without the commitment.  Sweet, Christian girls who have fallen for the wrong guy, compromised their standards & then ended up living a life that does not hold the joy, peace & freedom that a relationship entrenched in true commitment to one another before the Lord entails. There are others who have walked down the aisle, but when things got hard or when it meant giving more of yourself than you will ever receive,  they decided it was all too hard & just walked away.  Sometimes with little children being pulled backwards & forwards.

Hope for the Best

Ladies, we need to make sure our marriages do not end up like this.  
Never think that because you have a strong, happy marriage that it will always be that way.  Marriage takes work.  Hard work.  Sometimes days of giving & giving & giving without reward, many hours on our knees before the Lord.  It is worth it though.  A strong marriage is worth every heartache, every prayer & every piece of your heart you can possibly put into it.

I personally found Messy Beautiful Love inspired me to work towards making our marriage stronger,  to build our friendship & to pray for our marriage even more than I already do.  I have always struggled with affection.  I am not a touchy feely person.  However, when I read about how important touch is in building relationships, I began to work on this.  I decided to be more touchy even if it killed me.  
Guess what?  
Well...I survived... 
And I also  found that I really like cuddling my husband on the couch, holding his hand & leaning against his arm.  It takes me back to before there were more babies than arms & when the new bride blush still shone on my cheeks.  

Within the pages of Messy Beautiful Love, Darlene gently advises you on how to biblically live your marriage out day by day whether you are handling conflict, being affectionate, appreciating your husband, or capturing that joy we all endlessly strive.  Messy Beautiful Love is a book written for all married women & it shares practical advice that everyone can glean from.

To find out more about this excellent marriage resource & to download a free chapter please go HERE.

Messy Beautiful Love can be purchased from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Worth Fighting For

Ladies, whatever else you do today,  I advise you do something  special for your hubby ( even if it nearly kills you) ;).   Trust me, it will be worth it!! 


Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing it's contents.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions are my own.

Our Birthday Boy & introducing 'Bolt'

Somehow days creep into weeks & into years....

And no, I'm not talking about my lack of blogging ~ I have a good excuse for that! It's more these little ones who are middle ones now & getting bigger every day....

As any mother knows, it seems that time really does take up wings & fly.
This son, the one I held with such awe that I, a young 22 year old woman, could be blessed to hold close & be a mother to, has done what I always knew he would do ....he's equalled me in height.  In fact at the rate he is growing he'll soon be looking down on me.  Looking eye to eye with your own child is strange. They are still your own dear child & need to be treated as such, however being the same height makes you acutely aware of how they are growing up so quickly.  

This one, our dearest Zai,  has recently celebrated a birthday.

It's hard to believe he is now 12.  It seems such a grown up number ( & I'm not even going to consider, not even going to think about the next birthday...no way...I am definitely NOT old enough to almost have a teenager....).

As is Zai's custom, and he is the only one who does this consistently over the years, a few weeks before his birthday he presented us with a list of gifts he would like to receive. I scanned it quickly rather content in the knowledge of what I had planned on getting him for his gift.  Then he gave it to his Dad.  At the top was 'a puppy'.

If you have spent long enough around us you would know that  Dave has been staunchly against a dog here at Sunnyside since our last two failures.  It is horrible having to have to get rid of a dog & we have had little success with the two we have had here at the farm.  Both ended up getting sheep.  Both had to leave.  Saying goodbye to a loved pet is heartbreaking for all involved, especially for the tender hearts housed here at Sunnyside.

So I was rather surprised when Dave approached me with the idea of getting a puppy again.  We'd been offered a kelpie pup from good friends.  I'm fairly sure after our vehement declines of their kind offer they were shocked when Dave rang them up & asked to see the pups. To say he was smitten is an understatement.  The evening before Zai's Birthday Dave snuck in the most adorable kelpie pup.  Intelligence shone from his eyes & since he was loved on by our friends, he is ever affectionate.

The next day Zai was shocked to find a puppy waiting for him at the end of his 'birthday hunt'!  

And that is how Bolt has come to be another member of our chaotic, busy menagerie of animals.

The timing has been fantastic as we are currently feeding poddy lambs.  This means he is around lambs often as he comes to 'help' feed them.  We also have some of last years' poddy lambs which still stay near the house.  These perceive Bolt as a threat & since they love me ( far, far too much for lambs that must be sold in a couple of weeks (sob, sob)) they have tackled him a few times to keep him from getting to close to me.  This has meant he has a healthy respect of sheep.  Not great for a sheep dog, I know, but then he isn't here to be a sheep dog.  He's job is to watch over the house & yard.  He does a fairly good job of watching over any shoes that are left outside too.  

Zai had a lovely 12th birthday celebration & asked for a South America cake which he had designed.  (World cup fever was running riot through the house at the time of his birthday).  

12 years....hard to believe!

Now he's hoping he grows taller than his Dad!!  We shall see!!!


Sunday Psalms

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Lord is the strength of His people,
    a fortress of salvation for His anointed one.

Psalm 28:8
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