Thursday, May 7, 2015

New Babies! At Pepperwood Rabbitry

New babies are always cause for celebration! My two does, Iroquis and Partulah, have never let me down when it comes to providing litters with a total of 26 kits born since September 2014.

While Iroquis’ babies (with Hyperion as sire) are predictably albino, grey or brown, Partulah’s litters (sired by Hopi) are more interesting.

Her first litter consisted of 6 white albinos, all of them completely identical, and 1 brown and white Dutch.

 Partulah’s second litter is 8 Dutch kits, all with their own unique patterns, 6 are black and white and 2 are blue-grey and white.
I love new babies and I am super excited about these newest ones! 

People always love the interesting colored rabbits as pets, while I love the solid colors of white, grey or brown for their meat and fur. I already have plans for these new kits and I’m hopeful that they’ll all survive.

Hopefully one or two will be healthy does to keep for breeding, three or four will find forever homes and a few will find their way to our freezer. My hope is that by this time next year I will have 6 does, including my mother doe, two of her daughters and three of her granddaughters.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Homeschooling in Peace

Keeping Toddler Busy so Older Kids Can Learn in Peace

One of the biggest hurdles we have encountered in the two years we’ve been homeschooling is keeping Lovebug entertained or busy while we try to do lessons. The boys are at the age now where they are able to work independently, but there are still many times when they need me there with them. When she was a small baby, it wasn’t so bad, I would just put her in her carrier or swing or sit her on my lap.

But as she’s gotten older and she learns more, she wants to be involved in everything we do. She’s not ready to read from textbooks or cut and paste yet, but she is getting very close. Here are a few things I threw together one afternoon, which have managed to successfully keep her amused and happy so I can teach the boys without constant interruptions.
      First is the pretend paint. This is the easiest thing we’ve ever done and whoever first came up with this (I got the idea from Pinterest) should be given a Noble Peace Prize. Lovebug is very good at not making a mess, when she wants to be. She loves painting and especially eating the “paint” off the brush. 
     Since it’s only water, I don’t have to worry and she doesn’t have any meltdowns because of being told “no”. Just a lid with a little bit of water, I reused an old peanut butter jar lid. I got a pack of 20 paintbrushes at the dollar store so no shortage of those.

   I’ve tried to get creative with things she can “paint” on. Of course there’s colorful construction paper. I also framed a piece of cardboard with fuzzy yarn and when she paints on it with the water, it’s visible. I found an old wooden crafting plaque and she enjoys coloring on it as well. This is her most favorite activity.
      Next is stringing beads on pipe cleaners. I wasn’t sure if she would have the dexterity yet to string the cleaners through the beads but she did very well. And she enjoys it. Inevitably the beads will get thrown on the floor, or at her brothers, but for a while she enjoys it. This activity is one of her favorites, along with sorting Q-Tips into a recycled Parmesan cheese container through the holes in the lid. 


In a variation of this, I cut a hole in the top of an old formula can (I still have a bunch stored away from when Lovebug drank it) and collected water bottle lids that she could put inside. 
I searched for tiny cookie stickers, I was going to make the can look like Cookie Monster and put the stickers on the lids. She could then “feed” the cookies to Cookie Monster. I haven’t been able to find any yet, so this idea is sitting on the back burner. 

I did find these adorable little kitty and doggy stickers at the dollar store, though and she loves to say their names, “dog” and her current word for cats “meow”, as she puts them into the container one by one. The container isn’t pretty right now, but she enjoys it, even with its lack of aesthetic appeal.

I’m always trying to come up with new, fun, creative things for my daughter to do so she can be included in homeschooling. It’s not easy having such a large age gap between my children, but with a little inspiration and a lot of grit, we’ve been able to make it work.

Do you have a toddler in your homeschool classroom? How do you find time for everyone? How do you keep your younger ones occupied while you’re helping your older kids with lessons? I’m always looking for new advice, tips and inspiration! Thanks!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

April A-Z Blog Challenge Reflections


          This was my very first time participating in the A-Z Challenge, and there wasn’t very much that I didn’t like about the whole experience! I had a blast! Now, let’s be honest, in a way I seriously failed, because I didn’t post each letter each day, on time, every time. I think E-G went up on the same day. I did my best, but truth be told, I have so many priorities that come before my blog and there were days where I just said “heck with it, I’ll post tomorrow, I’m gonna hang out with my love before bed”.
No matter the method, I was very happy with the end result and I can’t help but be proud of myself. I finished! I posted all 26 letters of the alphabet, I learned a lot about myself, my blog and changes that I want to make in the future. I also read a lot of interesting blogs, met new people, joined new groups and discovered that there are so many different types of blogs and blog content and reasons that people even have blogs. 
            I think my favorite part was the themes. There were so many interesting themes out there! Here are some of the blogs that I checked in on, on a regular basis: S. L. Hennessy, The Mommy Rant, The Character Depot, The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment and The Insecure Writer's Support Group
            I also liked that there are co-hosts and minions that reached out, because it made me feel more included in the challenge, like I was part of a group. When a co-host or one of their minions would stop by and say “hey, I like your posts, you’re doing a great job!” it may not have seemed like much, but it really did help out.
            I never thought about quitting. I never said “this is too hard, why am I doing this?! I’m insane!” Sometimes I would get to the end of the day and realize that in all the mayhem that is my daily life, I had forgotten to do anything with my blog! I didn’t post or check comments or read any other blogs. And I would feel a little frustrated and overwhelmed, cause like I said, there’s a lot going on around here. But then I would get my posts up and I would read something interesting or funny and falling a little bit behind didn’t seem like such a big deal anymore. 
            I wouldn’t change a thing about the challenge, I think it’s wonderful just the way it is! I had so much fun that I started looking for other blogging challenges that were creative and fun. And I found nothing that even comes close to the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. Heck, I even got my sons involved! They guest posted in Letter X, for Xtreme Riding, my youngest son’s letter theme idea. Maybe some day they’ll be blogging in the challenge alongside their mama!
            Thanks so much to everyone at the 
A-Z Challenge! I had a blast, I hope everyone else had fun and maybe learned something interesting about our little California mountain community during my Kern River Valley themed month. I sure did learn a lot! And grew to love this place even more than before and I learned that there are more possibilities for adventure around us than I realized.

 My A-Z Blog theme was The Kern River Valley: