Sunday, 23 October 2011

The Death of our Beloved Fish

Our fish is currently at this very moment dying a slow death. This is truly terrible as she has been sick for the last couple of days and our big vicious algae eater has sensed this weakness and is actually eating her alive as I type. My kids are horrified, I'm horrified, I'm sure the other fish in the tank is horrified but we have searched high and low and cannot find our fish net anywhere in this silly house. Now I would like to claim that I am some sort of wonderwoman supermom but in reality I'm a basket case when it comes to these things, definitely a little green in the face, so my brave, darling, animal loving, McKayla is using an old plastic tub to scoop 'Orangey' out and provide her  with a more fitting death via the good ol' porcelain sink (aka 'the toilet'). I still have not yet ascertained what plans she has for our nasty, cannibalistic, scum sucking algae eater named 'Tiger'.
Good Fish
Bad Fish

Friday, 30 September 2011

The Busyness

In this day and age everyone is just so busy. Some days it feels like you wake, fly through the day and count down the time until you get to go back to bed. Well at least that's what it has felt like in this house lately. The girls and I have been super busy getting back into the swing of things and finding a good pattern to our days. We haven't got it mastered yet, it still needs a little tweaking here and there, but overall I would say it's pretty consistent.

The Schoolroom - 3 weeks in!

7:00am - 8:00am - the girls wake up, climb into my bed and pester me until I finally get up...this usually takes at least an hour

8:00am - 9:00am - we scrounge around for breakfast, usually ending up with a bowl of cereal, although for the past three days we have been on a pancake binge and I have made regular pancakes, buttermilk pancakes and blueberry pancakes to the delight of the whole family (even the dog)

9:00am - 10:30am - now depending on what day of the week it is we either start our school day at home or at Grandma's while mom heads off to work for an hour

10:30am - 12:00 - by this time, one of us has had at least one meltdown (I wish I could say that it was only the children and never me) and we are in desperate need of lunch. Thankfully though by this time of the day we have usually managed to cover most of our core subjects: math, grammar, reading, spelling and Bible work.

The girls 'LOVE' toad in hole for lunch

12:00pm - 1:00pm - lunch, dishes, a good cry, laundry, sweeping, a bit of tidying up and then comes my favourite part of the day..............

1:00pm - 2:00pm - QUIET TIME! Except for Wednesdays when I work again for an hour in the afternoon, everyone in the house has an hour of quiet time in their rooms. I took this idea from 'The Well-Trained Mind' by Susan Wise Bauer and it has truly been amazing. The girls usually end up in one room listening to an audiobook, (currently they are working their way through the Chronicles of Narnia) while quietly playing lego or dolls. I usually start dinner, sit on Facebook catch up on some reading, or do some much needed chores, like washing the floor or giving the basement a good vacuum after the kids have been in the sensory bin.

2:00pm - 3:00pm - The girls come out of quiet time really revitalized and we are usually able to hit 2 more subjects. We cycle through science, geography, history and memory work or more intensive reading.

The makings of a volcano

Our volcano erupting!

Emerson proudly showing off the necklace she made
None of this is schoolroom currently has more acrylic paint on the floor from a lapse in supervision (also known as a bathroom break), yellow peas (current sensory bin) are everywhere, as well as thousands of beads since the girls have been making bracelets and necklaces like crazy.
More acrylic paint on my carpet!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Just Another Manic Monday...except it's Tuesday

Based on last nights sick and crying children, today our 'schooling' looked like this:

'Watching' books on a Read-Along DVD

Looking through this old book of birds and writing down our favourite ones

We also baked this delicious dessert!

Plus we somehow managed to fit in a Bible story, do our devotions and each girl had a math lesson. Some days are better than others...not quite sure where this one falls.

The blueberry crumb cake recipe can be found at:

Monday, 12 September 2011


The girls and I went camping on Friday night with some other lovely families from the homeschooling group we belong to. What a wonderful, crazy, difficult thing it is to camp with three young children for one night. Josh was quite busy working and umping a baseball tournament and despite my better judgement I decided to go ahead and camp without him.

One night worth of camping gear: minus the fishing rods and tackle box
We were sooo loaded up the girls could hardly move!

I really love the idea of camping. Setting up the tent, roasting hot dogs and marshmellows, singing campfire songs and visiting with friends. The reality is that I don't know anything about camping so I was very thankful for a dear friend helping me set up the tent, another friend who lent me the sticks for roasting, another friend who brought a much needed coffee on Saturday morning etc., etc....the list could go on and on of all the ways that I was thankful. However, even with all these fabulous people I have decided that camping really isn't for me. At all. Ever. Never again. End of Story.......I might change my mind in a year from now and only if Josh is available but I hope no one is holding their breath. (Because I'm not)

On a side note the girls had a GREAT time catching all sorts of critters; frogs, toads and snakes. In the end that made it worth all the effort...heartache...back pain...sleepless night...ok I'm done complaining (as McKayla reminds me of Phil. 2:14-15)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Back to School

So it's back to school again here in the Wall house. If you didn't already know, we are one of those 'weird' homeschooling families...okay so I don't really think we're 'weird' but for a lot of people homeschooling is a little out of the ordinary. On Monday Josh and I managed to clean up and reorganize the schoolroom/basement and get everything pretty much in order for the week.

School area - still have to empty the basket of books

Our first couple days getting back to the grindstone have been surprisingly fantastic. The two older girls have been working really hard and have been quite enthusiastic about getting back into a routine. Em, has proven to be a little bit of a challenge (no real surprise there) since she is very interested in doing exactly what the other girls are doing. However, we have come up with some fun ideas to keep her entertained and busy while we work on our core subjects. 

This salt sensory box has been a real lifesaver. Em has loved to mix and pour and generally make a gigantic mess all over the floor! We used coarse salt to fill it which has made it really easy to vacuum up at the end of the day.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Selling our Rooster!

Who of our 'laying hens' is actually a rooster. He is up for sale on please buy him! Seriously best/fastest offer!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

...and then there were two...

We are down to two beloved chickens. We had to take the other four to the butcher so we would not have a repeat of 'dead chicken in backyard' scenario. All the children did really well with this although I was the one who got a little weepy, quite unexpectedly after Josh had left with them. The remaining chickens starting clucking and carrying on so loudly and in the end I had to put them back in their coop because it was only 7am and I really didn't want my neighbours complaining about our illegal chickens after I had promised up and down that they would never even know they were there! After about an hour they were fine and I could let them back out again but it was definitely a sad moment to think that they missed their sisters.

Also of note, the chickens have really grown and since we let them roam around most of the yard they have mastered jumping up onto the deck where they are able to have a free for all at eating my veggie planters, so I then moved the veggies up onto the patio table. Of course the ladies have now managed to find a way to jump from the patio chairs up to the table where they now freely poop on the table and finished eating all my green bean sprouts. Tomorrow morning will involve scrubbing of said table, chairs, and deck and we will have to work out a system to block off the deck. 

Oh and did I mention that they escaped yesterday??? Since it has finally dried up a bit in my backyard and the flood line has receded along the back fence I can now see that we missed placing a board in the far back corner where the fence doesn't quite meet the ground. The ladies decided that the grass looked greener on the other side and decided to go for a visit to Peter, my neighbour's, backyard. This resulted in McKayla and I chasing them around his backyard (after guiltily creeping in since he wasn't home) and trying to catch them. We succeeded and have since made the necessary adjustments to our ever evolving, changing, and slightly diminishing backyard.

Friday, 3 June 2011

... and then there were six

The inevitable has happened...we have lost a chicken. And by lost I don't mean that it has escaped and we can't find it, I mean that we came home this afternoon to a very dead chicken in my backyard. It was one of our juicy plump broilers that must have suffered a heart attack due to its immense growth in such a short period of time. The girls were heartbroken and I must say that I shed a few tears as well. We have learned today that those chickens were not meant for longevity but just for pure meaty deliciousness. Its a shame that she died but even more so that she has gone to waste...well I'm sure the vultures will enjoy her after we dispose of her but I digress. Needless to say we have an appointment at the butcher's first thing Tuesday morning where we will be saying good-bye to the rest of our white ladies. We will keep the two little layers and hopefully should see some eggs out of them by the end of this summer. Oh how the adventure continues...

Thursday, 2 June 2011

More Writings from McKayla

I sent the girls in the backyard the other day to do some of their school work because it was just too gorgeous a day not to. I asked McKayla to write a paragraph about her chickens and she gladly did it (albeit a very small one as she needed to get done to play with them) and then she asked me if I could put it up on the blog for her. She gets such a kick out of seeing her words up on the computer!

My Chickens - by Mckayla Wall

We have seven chickens. They are soooo cute. We have five white chickens and two black and white chickens but they do not live in a chicken coop. The white chickens are so big and they have a red comb. When they walk they strut and they don't cluck loud.

Another addition to our backyard, I introduce to you 'Hopper'
The girls have named three of the chickens that they can tell apart from the other ones. The two little black ones are Buddy and Salty and the biggest white one is Trouble. He is always trying to escape and he seems to be the leader of this group and bosses the other ones around a bit.

Now Josh on the other hand has also named these chickens. His names go something like this: Cajun, BBQ, Fried, get the idea right?

Monday, 30 May 2011

The Ladies Are Home!

 Our coop is not quite finished but our beautiful chickens finally arrived yesterday! We have put them in a makeshift pen for now and a little wooden box is there for them to sleep in at night. The girls were so thrilled to have them home.

 Here they are huddling under my tree that we just transplanted from the side of our house last week in between rain storms. It has survived the transplant but the hens have already begun tearing off the lower branches and eating them! Here's hoping that lets up soon.

  We have introduced our dog Molly to the chickens and that went about as well as could be expected. She chased them all around the yard and when she could, she trapped them to the ground with her paw and gave them a thorough sniffing out. She hasn't tried to eat one yet but she has been seen watching them from the top deck while drooling and licking her chops.

The ladies also survived their first major thunderstorm in our backyard quite well. Me, being the anxious 'mother hen' went out and checked on them a little after 9:00 last night and they were warm and cosy in their box all piled on top of each other. They actually seemed quite put out by my interruption. 

McKayla woke up around 6:30 this morning and her and I went outside to let the chickas out and give them their breakfast. I proceeded to climb right back into bed afterwards but McKayla stayed there all morning (joined later on by Bray & Em) until I dragged them all in for breakfast and school. The older two then flew through their morning work so they could get back outside to see their 'babies'! What a great motivation these hens have been. Breakfast, chores and school were done very well and quickly with the chickens acting as an incentive...I wonder how long that will last?

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Trip to the Firehall

Firefighter Josh (aka Daddy) showing Mick how to spray the hose.

Showing her how to adjust the spray.

Now its Bray's turn!

Emmy too!

Just a little unsure!

Braelyn in the truck.

The girls and I had a special treat the other day when we were able to tag along on a school trip (with the Preschool that I teach at) to the Fire Station where Daddy happens to be a volunteer firefighter. The girls were very excited when we told them that he would actually be one of the firefighters at the firehall that day who would be teaching them all about fire safety and giving them a tour of the new station. They learned lots of great stuff and had a blast sitting in the fire trucks and spraying the hose.
Oh and by the way isn't my hubby smokin' hot  super cute in his uniform?

Monday, 23 May 2011

Daddy Finally Meets the Chicks!

McKayla loves her chicks.
Yay Daddy gets to hold one!

The little brown ones are laying hens, the others are broilers.

In other words, eggs vs. drumsticks
Too cute to resist.

The girls were super excited that Daddy finally had the chance to come over with us to meet the chicks where they've been staying at a friend's house until the coop is completed. We can't believe how big they've grown in the past couple of weeks, how fast they lose their down and grow feathers. We are highly anticipating their arrival at our place hopefully by the end of the day! Well gotta get back to work.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Reading About Chickens

The girls and I have done a lot of non-fiction reading pertaining to chickens so I decided to scour our bookshelves in hopes of finding a fiction book that would also tell us about chickens. Lo and behold the things I can find in our book collection! We've never read this one before and I can't even remember where I picked it up but what a good book so far! We've just started reading it (about a fifth of the way in) but the kids are really loving it. This is what they had to say about it at the dinner table (*spoiler alert):

McKayla: 'My favourite part of the book is when the little red hen tumbles down the ramp! That was soooo funny the way they described it.'

Braelyn: 'I don't have a favourite part, it is too sad when the little red hen loses all her toes. I do like the dog though, the way he crawls on the ground like an army man'

Emerson then yells: 'ME talk toooo' ....she was getting angry that no one was asking her what she thought. So I then proceeded to ask her what she liked about the book....I have no idea what she answered but she went on and on for a good minute telling us about something!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Simply Titled - Rain

I am feeling more than a little washed out by all this rain. I feel blurry, like those watercolours Burt drew in Mary Poppins that slowly blended and faded into a jumbled mess. I am anxious for the sun, craving it from deep within my bones, longing to drain out this excess moisture that is hanging about and replace it with a sun infused warmth. That's the nice's how I really feel....

What I would really like is to get all these plants out of my house, work in the garden, finish my backyard, never see another muddy dog print on my nice clean floor ever again, empty out the garage, have a garage sale to get rid of some junk extra stuff that's lying around and have the kids out from under my feet get some fresh air without tracking in even more muddy prints. K? So, pretty please with a cherry on top?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Our Seed Project {Part 2}

A new seed tray planted today.

Here is our first tray two weeks in.

This year I would like to have veggies over a longer period of time so I decided to try out interval planting. Basically I'm just planting another whole tray or row (for those veggies that go directly in the ground) a week (or two) after the previous one to extend the time frame in which I have vegetables available for eating. I'm also hoping to do a lot more container planting with my peas, beans, tomatoes and peppers to make more space in the garden for all the other veggies (cukes, beets, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, corn) and our single fruit, watermelon. We also might pick up a couple of hanging strawberry plants and possibly two blueberry plants and see how we make out with them. The girls are having a blast with the spray bottle keeping the plants moist at all times. I set the spray very fine, as between the three of them the plants were getting watered about 6 times a day! Can't wait to finish up the backyard and move everything outside.

Monday, 9 May 2011

So I Built a Retaining Wall

The backyard 10am after Josh had battled with the rototiller

My beautiful, level retaining wall!!

More beautiful retaining wall!

Up close with the retaining wall  
Now if you can't already tell, I am deeply in love with my retaining wall. Mainly because so many people laughed at me whenever I would mention my desire to put said wall in our backyard all by myself. Now I know it is not perfect, it could probably use another layer on the top and I still need to finish the one end, but it was a complete labour of love. A back breaking, sandpaper calloused hands, arm aching labour of love and devotion. I will mention that Josh did help but this was 95% my own project and I will gladly confess my sinful nature to one and all, that I am suffering from the worst case of pride I have ever been witness to.

What makes this project even better was that it cost us NOTHING!!! Josh's Aunt and Uncle were redoing their garden last year and were getting rid of the bricks and we gladly took them off their hands knowing that they would be useful to us in the future.  We were also very blessed in using my Uncle's rototiller rather than renting one, which was our original plan, for $70.00 from the local hardware store. So with a lot of time and energy we were able to do all this work for free, definitely my favourite kind of work out there!

On a completely unrelated note, I made these yesterday and they turned out great and I had to share:

Thursday, 5 May 2011

How Fast they Grow

All seven of them!
Braelyn herding them all.
What a wing span!

Em's still a little nervous

Starting to see their feathers.