Tag Archives: homeschool

Fodder for the small-time farmer – general information

ABM_1413216769We are going to revisit our fodder growing in severeal weeks. We dumped all of the moldy trays (yes, the chickens loved eating them still) and have 2 new methods going – A bucket one that we saw a youtube video on and another one where you water the top and the excess water drips down to the bucket below. 



We were generously gifted chickens after our black labs brought me almost all of my laying hens at the end of the summer. We also hatched some of our own eggs that we had in the coop the day of the “chicken disaster 2014”. Then, last week, we were gifted 16 more chickens!!! We have a TON now (not really a TON, but about 40 or so and to me that is a ton right now.)

 Winter is coming! Yes, I have been waiting to say that for a while now! And we want to be able to keep our feed bill lower for our hens and keep our egg production up. I called my sister, Jen (www.turningcrunchy.com) and she showed me how they are feeding their chickens for the winter (and supplementing their goats as well). When she said that 50 pounds of barley seed can become 200 pounds of feed by sprouting, I jumped all over that!!! SAVING MONEY!!!

I searched high and low for a metal food shelf (the ones with holes in it) at a yard sale to no avail. I am a closet case yard-saler for things for around the Kid Ranch. We are starting small and working our way up. Trystan and Rowan cleaned up one of my ugly greenhouse shelves (yep, another yard sale purchase) and brought it into my dining room for our science experiment fodder growing experiment.

To start out, I bought 9 plastic shoe boxes and drilled 10 holes in the bottom on one side. And because I couldn’t find the correct shelf to allow the water to drain from box to box, we used 9 of plastic shoe boxes that I had here already to catch water too. This will allow the water to drain out so that the spouts are not sitting in water and not forming mildew or mold. (***We do have a little bit of mold growing on Day 6… so I am going to really watch it and see if it gets worse. We will water less and drill more than 10 holes in the bottom of the trays.) We also gathered 9 pieces of wood to put in the bottom of the buckets to make them angle so that the water drained out easier.

Day 4 of Fodder Seeds
Day 4 of Fodder Seeds

I also found recleaned barley at one of our local feed store.  (I <3 Warren’s in Chino Valley, AZ!)It was about $13 for a 50 pound bag (I am hoping that this will give me about 200 pounds of feed. (We buy 4-5 bags of feed a month for our chickens in scratch) I will measure weights as I am going through this process.

I measured out 3 cups of barley and placed it in a metal bucket – not a pretty bucket at all, as a matter of fact, it looks like it has been drop-kicked a few times as well as run over by the motor home at least once. But, there are no holes in it to leak water… so it will work PERFECT!! You can put as much seed feed as you need in your trays, as long as it measures to less than .5 inches so that it doesn’t mildew.

After adding my seeds, I filled water to just above the barley seeds in the bucket to have them soak overnight. I placed the bucket up on my planter windowsill in the kitchen to “soak”t. This is a daily event, because this is the start day for my sprouts for my fodder. And since my birds will be eating every day, I need to start a new batch of seeds daily to make their meals.

The biggest complaint that I have so far is that there are fruit flies on the bins even with a fruit fly trap made and sitting on the shelf. It is the end of fruit fly season… and is already too cold to put sprouts outside overnight. I am going to take a tray down to the greenhouse later today to see if they will grow there with the cooler evening temperatures.

Day 6 Fodder - www.krisandlarry.comList of items that are needed (or at least the ones that we used in our house):

  • A metal soaking bucket
  • 9 plastic shoe boxes with holes drilled in the bottom of one side
  • 9 plastic shoe boxes to catch water drippings
  • 9 pieces of wood (or mall cut PVC pipe to angle the top shoe box for water drainage
  • a bag of recleaned (NOT HEAT TREATED or ROLLED) Barley, wheat or oat (Although, I have read that oats do not sprout as well)
  • Daily water
  • cup or pitcher to water your seeds
  • A shelf with direct or indirect sunlight.


Check out each individual day from our Fodder Growing Experiment

Day 1 – Just soaking the seed overnight

Day 2

Day 3 – Roots are starting to show up on the seed

Day 4

Day 5 – There are finally sprouts  in our fodder!

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Spaceman Word Spacer – homeschooling

ABM_1408404168I am always looking for ways to help my munchkins on writing.  When I was student teaching, the kindergarten teacher had these COOL SPACEMEN word spacers to help the kids learn to space their word when they write.

You will need a clothes pin, white paint, sky blue paint, a red and black sharpie.



  • Paint your clothes pin white.
  • Let dry.
  • Add a blue semi-circle for the helmet.
  • Draw your clothes (follow my sample if you need help) using the sharpie.
  • Repeat on the back side of the clothespin.

This serves as a little reminder that there are spaces between each word while your littles are writing. My 3rd grader just pins it to the top of his paper. My 1st graders use it while they are practicing writing.

To use, have the kiddling write their first word. Please the spaceman on their paper after the word and then start writing their next word. It puts a finger wide space in between each word on their papers until they can remember to SPACE!

Essential Oil Tuesday – Making "Ouchie" Bags

ouchiebags-elMaking “OUCHIE” bags filled with rice or wheat is something that anyone could use. These are also called “heating bags”, wheat heating bags, rice heating bags, etc.

My daughter, Elwyn, LOVES making these now that she learned how to use the sewing machine. {THANK YOU 4-H!!} We love homeschooled kids too!


What do you use these for you are asking? 

These bags can be heated in the microwave to use for headaches or sore shoulders.

They can be frozen overnight in the freezer to help with bumps and bruises.

When warm, they can be put in your pockets to keep your hand warm or in your bed to warm your feet (Tall man appreciates this! I always have cold toes!)

We keep 2 in the freezer and have 2 in the kitchen cabinet to heat when needed.

{Pardon the squawking parrots in the video, they wanted to talk over us!}

Making chalkboard clipboards

chorechartsMaking chalkboard clipboards are very easy and they are usable over and over again. They are great for “in the car” activities, traveling, and chore charts for the wall. Our family uses them for all 3. We are making new ones today for the missing one and for our 2 new boys as well.

We have been using the same clipboards for 3 years – Here is the original post: http://scrapwarrior.com/blog/2010/07/03/chore-charts-on-our-wall


You will need the following:

  • wooden clipboards (These are sold at walmart or kmart or target for less than $2 each),
  • bottle of spray paint (chalkboard) – I found this at our local Ace Hardware
  • blue painter’s tape
  • Foam stamps and paint
  • matching ribbon


Blue tape the “Metal Hinge” and spray paint the entire front of the board. After 24 hours, remove the tape carefully. Stamp your child’s name on the board and tie matching ribbon at different lengths on the hinge.





Homework time

After school can be CRAZY, especially in a house with 7 children. We have 3 homeschooled and 4 in public school this year. They boys get off of the bus at about 3:30 and as soon as they get home grab a snack box snack and homework. We have discovered if we don’t get on homework right away, then they are too tired to complete anything later.

El has taken it upon herself to always sit with the boys and help them with their school work. She normally has her own lessons done by lunch-time.


Afterschool Organization

Over the last year, we have had our ups and our downs with everything. Their therapist and I have been trying to work through the food hoarding and stealing and we think that we have found what is working.

With my trusty Cricut Machine and vinyl that I picked up from www.PickYourPlum.com

I added names to the sides of plastic shoe boxes. These are the SNACK BOXES!!! Each child gets 15 snacks added to it on Sunday night. They can choose to eat them all in one day, or keep them for all week. The very first day, Breckin at 8 snacks, but soon came to realize that he only had 7 for the rest of the week.  The girls are pretty smart. They will eat some of their snacks and then put back what they don’t eat for later.

Now, the first thing that the boys do when they get home from school is ask if they can have a snack… and they know what box is theirs!

We have been experimenting with this for 3 weeks and we have seen no other food hoarding or stealing for that time. YEAH!!!


Getting Kids organized for school

blog-calendar1Keeping 7 kids organized is a task in itself. I am often asked how can I manage to get all kids where they need to go. I have a calendar… actually I have MANY calendars. I have an online calendar that my husband can access through google. This allows him to post to the calendar and it emails me when he does. I have a paper calendar that I carry. I seem to like that one better than the online one. And I have a new one just for kids.

This is a removable vinyl whiteboard that is sticky on the back.  This allows me to write a schedule for all of the kiddlings to see. Breckin gets many anxiety issues with not knowing a schedule and routines are very important to Berlyn.  Since they are both reading now (at least Berlyn can read his name), they can both check each day and know exactly what is going on (or at least that something is going on that day) without coming to mom to check. The kids get so excited to see their names on the calendar for an activity. I tend to write them in color code as well (That reminds me to pick up some new white board pens while everything is on sale)

Having many calendars can often times be a problem if they are not “sync-ed”. Every morning before I get kids up and going, I check my emails and check all 3 calendars just to make sure that they all match for that day and the week. Then,  I adjust as needed.

So, no matter how much I don’t want to go someplace, I still can’t use the excuse that I didn’t know about it… it is bound to be on one and then all 3 calendars here at our house. … Getting there on time? That is a totally different matter. 😉

Summertime activities – Positive Behavior System – Quarters

We have had SO many views of our POINTS AWARD SYSTEM (Click here to see information on this) that I wanted to share another system that we have been using this summer in our home.

Quarter Reward System

On the first of the mquartersonth (or what ever day works best for you), each of you children receive ONE roll of quarters in a jar. Mom also needs to have a roll of quarters as well.

Every time a child in our home is disrespectful or mean to another (and mom or dad hears or sees this happening) then that child owes the other a quarter. If they backtalk mom, mom gets a quarter. Mom can hand out quarters to any kid who is going above and beyond – doing a chore without asking, being extra nice, etc.

If a child runs out of quarters in the month, then, they will have to do an extra chore for each time that they act out.

One the first of the next month, the child will get to keep ALL quarters that they have in their jar to save or spend… And mom starts over with a new roll of quarters.

This has worked AWESOME with our new little boys… They do NOT want extra chores and LOVE to help extra around the house to earn quarters.

Summertime Fun – Find a Local Library Program

libraryprogramsMost children’s libraries put on programs during the summertime. Yes… I am telling you, if you have children, CALL YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY!

Our local children’s library website is: http://www.chinoaz.net/library/childrens.shtml

The library in Chino Valley, Arizona (where the kiddlings and Larry and I live) has an FANTASTIC summer program. We attend the Special Needs one for Berlyn and Trystan. (Autusm and ADHD are interesting things to try and get children to sit still… but the program for the special needs in not terribly busy and allows the kids to move around. The best part is that there are a lot of “get up and dance” . )

Today, the Prescott Heritage Park Zoo visited the kids! They let the kids touch the  snake, hissing cockroach and the tortoises. They also brought a pink-footed tarantula and 2 prairie dogs that were in a rolly exercise ball.

The Chino Valley Library has an AMAZING Children’s Librarian by the name of Darlene Westcott (better known as Ms. Darlene to the kids.) I have known Darlene for 20 years. Her daughters went to school with me. In 2010, she won the 2010 Arizona Youth Services Librarian of the Year because of all of her  phenomenal work with children.

Here is a link to the Chino Valley Summer Reading Program – http://www.chinoaz.net/library/pdf/2013_SummerReadingProgram_Tri-Fold.pdf

Here is a link to the Chino Valley SELF Club (SPecial Needs) Summer Reading Program: http://www.chinoaz.net/library/pdf/2013_SelfClub_Tri-Fold2.pdf


So if you have kids at home this summer… call your local library!

You never know what they have in store for you!



Summertime Fun – A MUST HAVE book

It is not often that I do reviews on books. I actually avoid them because for the most part, I know that everyone is different and has different types of writing so I always feel that I am judging another person’s art.

However, that being said, I have found the ULTIMATE go-to book for the summer if you have kids. Link to the right –> This book has literally HUNDREDS of different games, and indoor and outdoor activities. Every activity has how many players, ages, location and equipment listed along with the riles and ways to play it. There are indoor games like card games, mind games, word and brain game, pencil and paper games, and tabletop games. There are also outdoor games that include categories like blacktop games hide and seeks, relays and races, tag and chases and ball games, water games, party games and more.  There are even ROAD GAMES for the car!! YEAH!

Shelby and El are going to lead our homeschool park day with some games from this book today!!