Living with a larger family full of kids and critters and homeschooling the whole crew, a house can get in disarray and fast.
Here is an age-appropriate chore chart to help get you back on task. We recently re-implemented this with even our older kids as a reminder of what we can all work on together. (We did not add any pet or farm responsibilities here.
Start with taping the googly eyes on the umbrella. Then, tape the battery pack to the umbrella and wrap the string of lights around. Then hang and wrap the ribbons, tulle and streamers to make the tentacles. This is a fast and inexpensive costume. Many items can be found at the dollar store.
Welcoming in the new year at our homestead is a fun event. We are not really “party animals” and do normally spend New Year’s Eve with our kids at home. We play games the entire day and eat homemade finger foods (like homemade egg rolls, meatballs, chips and dips, etc).
This year, we had new games added to our collection including Steampunk Munchkins, Timeline – American History, The Ticket to Ride expansion for 1910 and Oregon Trail. (Yes, I know! Not the standard games that everyone else had in their collections – But we are a gaming kind of family and have all of those standard Sorry and Monopolies too!)
So for hours and hours, we spend time as a family…. What have I learned while playing games with my kids? I have learned that I don’t like playing against Griffen in Munchkin… He is RUTHLESS! Trystan still does not play well with others and cheats his way through every game that he plays. Larry remembers all of the rules to all of the games that we play…. He is filled with folders of useless knowledge too. I know that Rowan and Elwyn are very competitive, but will help you out on teaming up on games. I know that Shelby LOVES to just sit and play any game, anytime with anyone. Berlyn does not always play well with others. Breckin is a good sport and will not only play games with his sisters, but will dress up for one of the princess games with them.
Upon the ringing in of the New Year, we make it outside to bang pots and pans and yell Happy New Year…. then come in and drink “kid champagne” AKA Sparkling Apple Cider.
This morning, we woke up to 2 new baby goats on our homestead! Declan (one of our registered Purebred Nubians) and Ava (a Registered American Nubian) had 2 baby girls…. We are thrilled to have already added to our homestead this early in the season….
“Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving”
— Gail Tsukiyama
Kris Mazy-Fullmer and her husband Larry were married 18 years ago.
“It was not in our plans to have children, but it was it God’s plan,” Mazy-Fullmer said. “I was on birth control, but our first child (Shelby) was born just before our first anniversary. After Shelby came, she was so amazing, she changed our minds instantly.”
The Chino Valley couple now have five biological children, two adopted sons, and are occasionally foster parents too.
“After all our kids were born we adopted our two sons, Breckin and Trystan,” Mazy-Fullmer said. “Both brothers were severely abused both physically and mentally. I know God gave me these boys so we could be loving parents to kids in need. I didn’t realize how much love that we have to share.”
She has homeschooled most of her children, they are also in 4-H and they keep busy with the 400 animals they have on their acreage.
“The kids each have their own animals to take care of,” Mazy-Fulllmer said. “My daughter Elwyn is our ‘goat whisperer,’ she milks the goats every morning and night. Our son Griffin is my engineer, he builds and repairs all of our barns, etc.; Rowan is in charge of all the baby chicks, she feeds, waters and collects eggs; Berlyn (who is autistic) just has a way with horses and he trains with Horses with H.E.A.R.T. for the Special Olympics. Breckin is our 4-H Bunny Boy and takes care of all the rabbits. Trystan is so very intelligent and he is my snuggle monster, and Shelby is now in college and also works full time.
“We live in such an entitlement society these days, and we are teaching our children that it takes a lot of work to live. They all know how to cook, bake bread and raise animals,” she said.
Besides taking care of all her children, through the years Kris still took the time to get a college degree. The family grows all their own food, which she cans and dehydrates. All meals are made from scratch.
“I do all this because of all the allergies, and food intolerance with some of the kids. Elwyn is allergic to red dye; Trystan is gluten, sugar and lactose intolerant; Berlyn and Breckin both have to have sugar and dye free food too. Everything I do, from my photography (to give them memories), my cookbooks (she has written three) is to better their lives, and getting my degree is to help my special needs kids. Your life is what you make it. But my husband is my rock, I couldn’t do what I do without him. He is an amazing husband and dad.”
Mazy-Fullmer shared that she came from a small family so she thinks her large family is phenomenal.
“They say it takes a village to raise a child and it is true, my parents, and my sister and her husband live next door and are very active in our kids’ lives,” she said.
“I think I was put here to be a mom. I love each of my kids differently, they are each individuals, with their own special talents, and personalities, and they are all gifts.”
Welcome to 2016! And Happy 12th day of Christmas!!
This year on our homestead, we are working really hard to get self sustaining and be able to offer more animals, produce and eggs to our friends. It has been a great year! We have pressed the “easy” button and made life simpler which is this busy mama’s long term hope for the family. (And by simpler, I do not mean easier, but rather slowing down the CRAZY and drinking iced tea on my porch, watching chickens peck the ground and kids playing outside.)
What are our goals for our homestead this year? We know that most of these won’t happen this year… but we are all hopeful.
add tilapia to our aquaponics system (right now, we have just goldfish in there.)
add an additional aquaponics system
Add a solar system to the aquaponics system(s)
build another greenhouse
build a smoke house
add 5 more raised garden beds to our garden
build additional quail house to house at least 150 more quail
purchase a second cabinet incubator for all of the eggs that we have been hatching
publish 2 more books
plant and tend our garden
not go to the grocery store from May until October (and we are well on out way! I just got a call that our 1/2 steer will be ready to pick up in mid February from the butcher. Our pigs will be going to butcher in March too. My freezers will be FULL!)
learn to make sour cream and purchase a cheese press to make cheddar
raise turkeys to sell (we have 80 eggs in the incubator right now.)
raise coturnix quail to eat weekly for our family
Continue to homeschool our amazing kids (minus Shelby who is in college and is being joined by Larry in college this spring to get an additional degree)
continue to offer our home as a foster family for kids who need us
It is a beautiful October day up here in northern Arizona. A lot has happened in the last month. We have (as a whole family, including my parents and sister and her family) picked up a steer. TBone will fill up our freezer in about 8 months or so. He is a bit thin, so we are “fattening” him up.
Berlyn is continuing to be homeschooled with the other kids. Autism will not stop this handsome guy! Meet Fern! She is a KuneKune sow to breed with our Wilbur. 3 of the kids joined 4H this season for swine market, swine breeding, rabbits, goats and poultry.
We officially got back the first of the goat’s registrations back from ADGA (American Dairy Goat Assoc.) 4 more to go this season!
I have the most AMAZING kids… Yep, I can say that because I am their mom… But #farmkidsrock is a hashtag that I use often on Instagram.
For years in our house, we make so many of our own products including lip balm, laundry soap, sugar scrubs.
Elwyn has always wanted me to teach her to make goat milk soap… Heck, we have the milk coming right off of our homestead.
Goat Milk Soap BASE Recipe
12 ounces milk (We freeze into ice cubes)
4.3 ounces lye (sodium hydroxide)
22 ounces olive oil
8 ounces coconut oil
1 ounce castor oil
Measure out all of your ingredients before you get started into separate measuring cups .
Wearing gloves and goggles, stir together lye and milk. SLOWLY!!! (Lye can BURN YOUR SKIN!) We put the bowl that we stir together the lye and milk into another bowl filled with ice to keep the temperature down. We also add just a little bit of lye at a time. The sugars in the milk will scorch if it gets too warm.
As the lye is melting down, pour all of the oils in a large bowl. Stir until blended.
Once the lye mixture is melted down and all of the lye is incorporated with no granules left, slowly pour the lye mixture into the oils.
Stir until the mixture begins to “Trace”. “Trace” means that soap batter is thick enough to hold an outline, or “tracing” when drizzled across the surface of itself.
Once the mixture is beginning to trace, you can now add in essential oils, fragrance oils, colors, etc. (We don’t use fragrance or colors in our soap, keeping them as natural as possible.)
Pour the mixture into your soap molds. This recipe fits in our silicone soap block perfectly.
For 24-48 hours, we drop our filled mold into the freezer. It keeps the color as cream as possible.
After 24-48 hours in the freezer, remove soap from mold and cut into 1 inch bars. Yes, these bars will be VERY soft at first!!! It’s OK!
Allow the bars to cure in the open air, on a sheet of wax or parchment paper, for at least four weeks, rotating occasionally. Because of the higher amount of olive oil in this soap recipe, the longer you let it cure, the harder the final bar will be.
I am so very proud of my SHELBY! Shelby, you have accomplished so much! You are an an amazing woman, growing daily into the person that I knew that you would become. You are a hard worker and that shows by working full-time and college full-time. All of the kids in the house look up to you. I honestly can not believe how fast time flies.