All posts by kmazy

Science for this year in homeschooling

I was struggling to find a curriculum that I wanted to use for Science for my younger crew. Eureka! I have found it!!! 

This hands-on box called the Groovy Lab in a box is available on Amazon as a monthly kit order. We signed up for the auto order. August is all about PULLEYS. There are 6 projects in the 24 page color instructions with a full step by step.

It is going to be a time saver for mom. I don’t have to research or dig anything up to create any science experiments. And I quickly pulled up information on Sir Isaac Newton for a quick lap book (his name and a brief paragraph is on the first page of the book.)

At the end of the month, I will post photos and video on how Grayson, Rowan and Berlyn did building these projects

Homeschooling 2018

 

This is year 14 for our family homeschooling and I personally feel that it has been a huge success. I am often asked, “why?” I homeschool because I can give my children a quality Christian education that the public schools can not.  I can work one on one with the kids that need the extra help ( and the ones who don’t) and we can have more hands-on activities and projects as well as field trips. 

Some years have been better than others. Some books/curriculum my children like better than others. 

One year we did entirely lap books and that was a blast, but not really an option for my high school aged kids. 

Here are some of the curriculum that we are using this year as a family. The first 2 weeks, we start out slow with only 3 subjects: Science, History and Literature. Once the kids get in the mode of schooling again, we add in Math, grammar and electives.

High School History/Literature:   Notgrass Exploring Government: https://amzn.to/2uZA3qL

Elementary History/Literature:   Notgrass Our Star Spangled Story (New and not even here yet) https://history.notgrass.com/elementary/

LifePac Science:  11th grade: https://amzn.to/2mXkoDN

We are using this science book for my littles and altering projects to fit 3-7th grades: https://amzn.to/2O0hE3Y

The one thing that I have learned is that for our family a pre-set full curriculum from one company does not work. I piece together what works best for us. 

Happy Birthday Miss Grayson

Back on May 11, we finally adopted our AMAZING little Grayson. It was a CRAZY journey; One that I will never forget. Tell you about that later.

Happy 8th birthday to this beautiful girl. I love you a bushel and a peck! I am so happy to finally call you “daughter” forever and ever. You are an AMAZING and a beautiful Monkey Tickly Pit Monster.

Maker:S,Date:2017-11-10,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

becoming a VIPKid teacher

This year, our family has made a few changes. I began working as a VIPKid teacher in February. With my ankle still recovering from the September surgery and the doctors telling me that it could be up to 2 years for a full recovery, I have had to “slow down” a few our activities. However, no one said that I couldn’t teach from the comfort of my own dining room. And have fun while I worked.

As of July 3rd, I have officially been a teacher with them for 151 days and taught over 1030 classes to 408 different students. 

The biggest change is my sleeping schedule. As a teacher for Chinese students, I have to work on a China clock, not an American clock.  The best classes for Arizona are from 4-6am. So those are the classes that I teach. I also teach the 3:30 am classes and the 6am-6:30 class. For the summer, I have evenings opened up 4 days a week and teach Friday nights regularly.

I love that most of my schedule is before the crew even gets up and going in the morning. That has made it the perfect job for me. I can still run our homestead, still homeschool and most of all can still spend time with my children who very much welcome an afternoon nap with mom. 🙂

 

Check out my Youtube page with more information / videos on VIPKid Journey

https://www.youtube.com/user/krismazy/videos?view_as=subscriber 

Are you ready to get started with VIPKid? They are always looking for new teachers: 

https://t.vipkid.com.cn/?refereeId=5761972&refersourceid=a01 

 

 

It’s that time of year – Baby goats are coming!

The Anglo-Nubian is a British breed of domestic goat. It originated in nineteenth century from cross-breeding between native British goats and a mixed population of large lop-eared goats imported from India, the Middle East and North Africa. Its distinguishing characteristics include large, pendulous ears and a “Roman” nose. Due to their Middle-Eastern heritage, Anglo-Nubians can live in very hot climates and have a longer breeding season than other dairy goats. It has been exported to many parts of the world, and is found in more than sixty countries. In many of them it is known simply as the Nubian. Information was found on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Nubian_goat

We LOVE our dairy goats. And initially brought them in because my son, Trystan couldn’t drink cow’s milk. However, he was fine with goat milk… And that is where our journey began. 

That being said, we have a handful of goats for sale and new babies getting ready to be born. Check out our craigslist listings for the current for sale…. and if you are interested in the new babies, get on our notification list by emailing is at kris@krisandlarry.com 

Here is our craigslist listings: https://prescott.craigslist.org/search/sss?userid=11413281

 

2017 Kunekunes – favorite pigs

Have you gotten a chance to see our baby “War Pigs”? If you were at the Heights church for the Christmas Eve services, you got a chance to see these little cuties.  Shelby and I (Kris) decided to bring these little guys to share although because they were only 3 days old, no one could pet them. 

Kunekunes are an AMAZING breed of pigs that we have had on our homestead for over 4 years now. (We actually just sold off all of our yorkshire meat pigs last month and only have our kunes again. ) We use them often when people request us to come and share our animals as part of a “petting zoo program.” Mama Pumpkin is one of our most requested animals to share. 

Our family jokes that they are called “War Pigs” because they were (extra buffed out via CGI) in the war scene for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. See the clip below that we found on youtube.

 

Kunes are a very docile and gentle pig, making them a great addition to a homestead. They are more like having big hairy dogs than having pigs.

Originally from New Zealand, the pigs have made a comeback here in the US as well as the UK. Their name means “fat and round” in the Maori language. They come in a variety of colors including black and white, brown and white, solid ginger, solid cream/fawn, solid brown, solid black, and ginger and black. 

These hairy pigs can reach 300 pounds or more however, making them the largest of the miniature breeds or the smallest of the meat breeds. They are a pasture pig that eats primarily grasses and fresh fruits and veggies. We do not feed our kunes any commercial pig feeds and we have rescued a few of our kunes who were being fed dog food. Not a great choice for these gentle giants.  Being that they are pasture pigs, ours like to graze in the same field as our horses. And they love tomatoes, strawberries and other fresh goodies. 

We have 3 sows and 2 boars plus our little squishies that were born on  12/20/2017. Kunes are pregnant for 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days just like other pigs. (So Mama Pumpkin got pregnant approximately August 27th of this year.) 

Our kids raise them as part of a heritage pig breeding program and the sales of these piglets help fund some of their other 4-H and FFA projects. 

We have 6 males that will be for sale in February this year for $200 each. Please let us know if you are interested.  We can either keep them intact or castrate them depending on your needs. 

 

 

 

Raising your own meat – Oathkeepers Preparedness Class,

[sdm_download id=”4910″ fancy=”0″ new_window=”1″ color=”green”]
I love that my children can stand up in front of a group and share everything that has to with their homestead animals and the meat that comes along with it. Shelby and Elwyn had a GREAT presentation for the Oathkeepers. 
by Shelby Fullmer – August 12, 2017

Rabbits

Food – Alfalfa pellets, basic greens like kale, spinach, chard, leaf lettuce (NOT iceberg, cabbage or broccoli), alfalfa, timothy, and bermuda hays, carrots, even small quantities of raspberries, tomatoes and strawberries.  

Shelter – Rabbit hutches or colony living with buried wire with shade/cover to protect from weather.

 

Gestation period – 28 days – up to 14 babies

Male rabbits go sterile in severe heat and all rabbits need a cooling system in Arizona in the summer time. Frozen water bottles, fans, misting systems, in a cooler shelter, etc. are all good ways to keep your rabbits cool.

Uses of Rabbits – Meat, bones for broth, leather, fur, manure

A few of the meat breeds of rabbits for meat, Rex, New Zealand, Californians, American Chinchilla, Silver Foxes, Flemish Giants

Website with more information on breeds – http://theselfsufficientliving.com/best-meat-rabbit-breeds/

 

Chickens

Dual Purpose Chickens are the best egg laying hens combined with the best meat chickens. The truth of the matter is that there are plenty of chicken breeds that are good for both purposes.  Includes Rhone Island Reds, wynnedottes, barred rocks, orphingtons, Jersey Giants – all full sized chickens. For smaller meat and egg production Bantams or (mini chickens) lay smaller eggs and are about half the meat size of a regular chicken.  

Food – Layer, seed, oyster shells/ground egg shells for extra calcium, bugs, produce/greens, kitchen scraps (no meat)

Shelter – Coop to protect, layer boxes with hay, ground shavings/hay

Incubation times – Bantam 19-21 days, Full sized chickens – 20-22 days

Uses of chickens – Meat, bones for broth, feathers, fertilizer, insect control, garden prepping.

Website with more information on breedshttps://www.backyardchickencoops.com.au/dual-purpose-chicken-breeds

Waterfowl

Birds including ducks and geese

Heavy and medium weight ducks typically are raised for meat production. The main breeds are the Pekin and the Muscovy. Around 90 percent of the duck meat produced in the United States is from the Pekin. Commercial producers are able to obtain a duck weighing 7 to 8 pounds in seven weeks.

Food – Layer chow, oyster shells/ground egg shells for extra calcium, bugs, produce/greens.  

Shelter – Coop to protect, layer boxes with hay, ground shavings/hay, swimming pool/pond

Incubation times – 28 days

Uses of waterfowl – Meat, bones for broth/soup, feathers, fertilizer.

More information on raising waterfowl – http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/raising-ducks-geese/ducks-and-geese-zm0z14fmzchr

Quail

Fast growing animals for meat and eggs. In 8 weeks they are full grown and laying eggs between 8-10 weeks old.

Food – game bird chow, oyster shells/ground egg shells for extra calcium, bugs like mealworms, produce/greens, excess eggs – Quail need at least a 25% protein to lay.  

Shelter – Smaller rabbit hutches work great for quail.  Or larger enclosed coops

Incubation times – 16-17 days

Uses of quail – Meat (mainly breast meat), bones for broth/soup, feathers, fertilizer.

Information on Coturnix quail – https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/quail/

 

Game Birds – Chukars (Partridges) and Pheasants

Food – gamebird feed and cracked corn in the winter for all your birds. You can also give them treats like fruit, veggies, mealworms, peanuts, and wild bird seed.

Shelter – Large enclosed pens with coop.

Incubation times – Chukar – 23 days, ring necked pheasants – 24-25

Uses – Meat, bones for broth/soup, feathers, fertilizer.

More information on Game Birds – https://wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD/media/content/PDF/Habitat/Extension%20Bulletins/B33-Raising-Pheasants-or-Other-Game-Birds.pdf

Oathkeepers – Back to basics in the kitchen

Making life simpler

Kitchen tips and tricks

 

Can you imagine living in a world with no or limited power? I can see a future with no power or a limited time/amount of power that each family can use. What are some of the tools that you have in your home that you would need to have that are non-electric that would make your life easier?  We have talked in the past about solar ovens which is a GREAT appliance that is power free to cook your meal.

For our family the essentials for our kitchen are the following:

 

  • Cream Separator
  • Meat Grinder
  • Wheat Grinder
  • Butter Churn
  • Solar Oven
  • Sun Tea pot
  • Sieve or food mill
  • Pasta Roller
  • Cast Iron Kettle
  • Any Cast iron pots including a Dutch oven that can be used over a fire pit.­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­
  • ________________________
  • ________________________

 

Manual Cream Separator

Cream Separator does exactly that… it separates your whole milk into cream and skimmed milk.   The skimmed milk can be drank or made into cheese, added to meals, etc. The cream can then be used to make butter, sour cream or added into your coffee.

A cream separator works via centrifugal force. The machine spins raw milk in a tub or basin. During this process, the lighter butterfat globules are flung to the outside of the container, where they can be siphoned off. The machine separates the cream much faster than the gravity method, and also separates more of the cream from the milk.

 

Hand Crank Meat Grinder

Grinding cuts of meat is easy and is healthier because you can choose your own cuts of meat to go through the machine and not worry about additives into your ground meats.

Attach the grinder to the side of a counter or table. Add specific blades into the machine. Add cuts of meat into the “bowl” and turn the crank. The meat will come out the front and fall into a bowl (that you put in front)

Hand Crank Wheat Grinder

This looks very similar to a meat grinder, only has much smaller blades for the grinding to make wheat seeds into a powder to be used in breads and other dishes.

 

Hand Crank Butter Churn

The agitation of the cream, caused by the mechanical motion of the device, disrupts the milk fat. The membranes that surround the fats are broken down, subsequently forming clumps known as butter grains. These butter grains, during the process of churning, fuse with each other and form larger fat globules. Air bubbles are introduced into these fat globules via the continued mechanical action of the churn. The butter grains become more dense as fat globules attach to them while the air is forced out of the mixture. This process creates a liquid known as buttermilk. With constant churning, the fat globules eventually form solid butter and separate from the buttermilk. The buttermilk is then drained off and the butter is squeezed to eliminate excess liquid and to form it into a solid mass.

(info from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter_churn)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sieve or food mill

The convenience of a stand allows you to walk away and let gravity and the chinois do the work of straining. Use it for straining stock or in conjunction with the tapered wooden pestle as a food press to squeeze juice from raspberries or pulp from pumpkin while leaving undesirable fibers seeds and particles behind. The funnel shape traps the food so you can have at it with a pestle and it also directs the flow to bowl or pot. Note: Also called a a strainer or misspelled as “collander”
Read more at http://www.pickyourown.org/canningstrainers.htm#szMZY2IVLJuR0wmj.99

 

Pasta roller

Starting with one of the narrower, open sides of the folded dough, feed the pasta through the machine, again at the widest setting. Repeat the folding and rolling technique on the widest setting for a total of 5 times. And then adjust the width to the next setting and crank to flatten the pasta until the pasta is at the desired width.

 

 

 

Boule Bread

Boule, from the French for “ball”, is a traditional shape of French bread, resembling a squashed ball. It is a rustic loaf shape that can be made of any type of flour. A boulecan be leavened with commercial yeast, chemical leavening, or even wild yeast sourdough. 

Ingredients:

  • 6-1/2 cups of wheat – plus a small amount of flour to dust bread board) *if you grind your own wheat, you will need to add  a Tablespoon of wheat gluten to get a better rise.
  • 2 Tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 cups warm water (not boiling, but warm to touch) plus 4 more cups of water for the bottom of the oven in a metal pan to “steam while cooking
  • 2 teaspoons salt (I only use pink Himalayan in my house)

Directions

  1. In a glass bowl, add water, yeast and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes or until bubbly. (OR instead, use 1 cup sour dough starter instead of the yeast mixture plus 1-1/2 cup of water – Sourdough starter recipe here)
  2. In a larger bowl, stir together wheat (and wheat gluten if you are adding extra) and salt.
  3. Slowly stir in yeast mixture(or sour dough starter plus water) into flour with wooden spoon.
  4. Blend well until dough forms.
  5. Place dough ball in clean bowl.
  6. Cover with cloth and let rise on counter for 1 hour.
  7. Divide the dough in half and roll out to form either a boule shape (round) or a baguette  (long and skinny) and let rise again for 1 hour.
  8. Using your bread knife, make slices into the tops of the dough about 1/2 inch deep. (I have always done this… I think that it is just decorative.)

 

  • (OPTIONAL – you can sprinkle with cheese or garlic, fresh or dried herbs before baking… (I have 3 kids who LOVE cheese and fresh jalapenos or garlic saon their bread)
  • Place dough in oven and pour 4 cups of water in a metal pan in the bottom of heated oven… this gives a crunchy outside layer.
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.

 

 

Homemade Egg Noodles

  • 1 cup flour plus more for rolling out
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 large eggs

 

  1. Combine the flour and salt in a large shallow bowl. Make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it.
  2. Use a fork to beat the eggs and then gradually start incorporating the flour into the eggs (as you beat them, they will just gradually take up the flour). Keep stirring and pulling in more flour until solid dough forms. The dough will be sticky. Don’t worry, you’ll be working in more flour in a moment.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. With well-floured hands, knead the dough, incorporating more flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the work surface or your hands, until it is smooth and firm and no longer sticky. This takes 5 to 10 minutes for most people.
  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill it for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
  5. Divide the dough into two pieces and work with half the dough at a time. On a well-floured surface roll out the dough to the desired thickness (anywhere from 1/4 inch to paper thin). Be sure to rotate or otherwise move the dough between each pass of the rolling pin to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface. Sprinkle everything with flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking.
  6. Use a sharp knife or pizza cutting wheel to cut the noodles. You can make then as narrow or wide as you like but cut them as evenly as possible to ensure uniform cooking time.
  7. Lay the noodles on a cooling or drying rack and let them sit until ready to cook. Repeat rolling and cutting with the remaining half of the dough.
  8. Boil the noodles in well-salted wateruntil tender to the bite. Drain and serve with butter or cheese, with stews, or in soups.

https://www.thespruce.com/homemade-egg-noodles-2215807

 

                                                                                                                                          

Harvest Right Freeze Dry Machine

TestAfter saving and saving, Larry and I finally broke down and purchased a Freeze Dry Machine from Harvest Right.  Harvest Right has a Medium sized machine… and although it was pricey, I am looking forward to everything that I will be able to freeze-dry. (They do have a layaway program that we took full advantage of!!)

We set up the machine and I have a dozen blended raw eggs on one tray, mozzarella cheese on another and on the last 2 are filled with corn kernels. I make a killer corn chowder that I use freeze dried veggies to make it easier for the kids to take a scoop and add hot water.

One tray of the mozzarella cheese fit in quart sized jar… and the dozen eggs made right into a powder. I originally put in a half gallon jar, but I could have put it into a quart jar. 

On our first try, I had to put the corn back in again for several more hours (I think that i put too much on the tray). This is a learning process.  But, I am excited to have this opportunity. 

I was reading that the only thing that you cannot freeze dry is real butter and real peanut butter in these machines. You can however freeze dry items with butter or peanut butter in them. 

There are so many different foods that I want to try… I want to make soups and full meals and put them in there, I want to try strawberries and raspberries… I want to make hummus and guacamole. 

Our second batch is a tray of potato soup, a tray of chili, a tray of goats’ milk and a tray of yogurt.  

Mini Cheesecakes

My Elwyn made these last night… and added a few slices of strawberries in each mini cake before baking. (We double the recipe and make them in my 12-square brownie pan from Pampered Chef.)

Ingredients 
Crust:

  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon margarine, melted

Filling:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease muffin pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and margarine with a fork until combined. Measure a rounded tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing firmly. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 5 minutes, then remove to cool. Keep the oven on.
  3. Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla until fluffy. Mix in the egg.
  4. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the muffin cups, filling each until 3/4 full. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan before removing.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.