I’ve always said I wouldn’t be that parent who pushes my kids into too many extra-curricular activities. “They will only have the option to be in 2 or maybe 3 activities,” said The Magic Mama, 10 years ago.
But here we are juggling two activities which could each be considered 3 activities on their own – Cub Scouts and 4-H. Additionally, Pickle’s baseball practice begins in mid-March (the older kids started practicing a week ago – it’s JANUARY and a summer league.) In the summer will be juggling Pickle’s baseball games, Willis’ t-ball games, getting animals broke to lead, 4-H projects ready for the 4-H fair, swim lessons and let’s not forget Cub Scout camp. That’s not to mention baling hay and all of the other tasks that come with farming. The summer will come to an end with showing at fairs and football practice. Then school starts, a new year of Cub Scouts begins along with football games and a new year of 4-H. And, we made Pickle give up playing basketball and Willis playing soccer this winter. Let’s not forget there’s a third child being shuffled in the middle of all of this.
Recently, I’ve been feeling burnt out. It might be that I’m anemic again or the continuous loss of friends and family members. In the last two years we’ve lost three of our own grandparents, my step-dad, both of my sister-in-law’s moms (both from cancer and at young ages), my mom’s neighbor who watched me grow up, a friend from high school and a friend who lost her 4 month old baby. Between Dec. 23rd and Jan. 2nd of this past year, my younger sister-in-law’s mom lost her battle to pancreatic cancer, our next door neighbor lost his mom and a friend who was just married on Dec. 11th, lost his 47 yr old mother-in-law to a massive heart attack. Then three days ago an old friend/acquaintance was killed in an accident. After all of that you start you realize you’re getting old and time is precious. You start to question, is this REALLY suppose to be happening at age 33?
We spend so much time running around, fighting because we’re late and can’t find this or that. I’m questioning if it’s worth it and what is the point? It’s kind of like my favorite line in the Cars movie…”instead of driving for a good time, we drive to make good time.” Where’s the enjoyment and family time?
The irony behind it all is we can only be faulted for saying no. Not for pushing, persuading or even offering these activities. So I wonder are our children in these activities because they really want to be involved? Or, is there a new-age version of peer pressure among kids these days? In which case we really can’t complain.
While reading a blog the other day I was enlightened. It was another mom who had recently made the choice to home school. She had all of these dreamy expectations which I’ve had myself. Those expectations were quickly thrown out the door and replaced with meeting new children. She began to learn things about them that she never knew existed….she was able to spend more quality time with them as a teacher and they had more time for traditional play.
So besides their extra-curricular schedule, what do I truly know about my children? As I try to answer that question I will continue to reassess how we spend our individual time and more importantly, how we should be spending our family time….in extra-curricular activities or at home playing Farmopoly?
Last week I reviewed the Cub Scout Camp out we hosted at The Magic Farmhouse. I’m going to continue with that topic today focusing on our morning activities.
Once they were awake the boys immediately, with a capital ‘E’, ran back to the maze. I didn’t know it could be such a hit. While the kids went crazy the parents were preparing to prepare the meal. Once we had all of our ingredients outside and on our prep table we called the boys over. In groups, according to den, the boys helped make US breakfast!!
In preparation for our camp out I completed the Boy Scouts of America’s Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO). One of the activities was preparing food at the camp fire. We were each in charge of our own meal and then as a group we make a wonderful peach dessert using a dutch oven. For years I’ve listed to my hubby talk about the ovens however, I couldn’t place a face to the name. I really did know what all the buzz was about. Now I do – and I knew what it was all the time, just didn’t know it had a name. The best portion of the orientation was by far the cooking. It reminded me of ‘true’ camping. Since we purchased our camper in 2003, we’ve seldom gone tent camping. Prior to having children we would often boat and then tent camp along a nearby river. Needless to say I came home from BALOO boasting of our experiences talking quite a bit about the dutch oven and tent camping.
It just so happens that my birthday fell the week after BALOO training. Guess what my hubby and boys got me! Guess? You’ll never guess. A Dutch Oven!! I was so super excited! And that brings us back to today’s story…
Now that a dutch oven was available we merged a breakfast recipe from the cookbook which accompanied the oven and a recipe provided to me by another den leader (I will post the cookbook recipe at the very bottom of this post). Due to the size of our oven and the hungry kiddos who I knew would be getting restless we went with something like this…
The Magic Farmhouse Dutch Oven Breakfast Casserole
- 2 lbs. sausage (we used pre-cooked sausage patties which were broken up into little pieces)
- 2 doz. eggs (we pre-scrambled ours)
- 2 cups (approx.) Bisquick mix
- Milk – enough to get the mixture a fluffy consistency
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese – 2 cups or more depending on your taste buds
Rub a bar of soap around the bottom of the oven. According to my instructors, this will help with clean up time and preserves your oven. Pre-season the dutch oven using butter or cooking spray. Add eggs and Bisquick. Stir gently until it’s somewhat mixed. Then slowly add milk and stir. Continue until the consistency is just shy of being able to pour. Cover with cheese. Each den was responsible for adding the ingredients or stirring. It was a great way to incorporate some teamwork instruction. Now comes the tricky part…
Place the top on the oven and cook with 8 coals underneath the oven and 16 on top for 20 to 25 min. DISCLOSURE: We have found that these instructions will sometimes work but you will probably need to adjust things depending on how hot your coals are and what type of coals you are using. To keep things real we used hot coals left over from the fire pit. In the cookbook, they are talking about grilling charcoals.
Ours cooked in about 15 min. Just in time because the kids were turning into animals. Aside from needing salt it turn out very well….nice and yummy! The boys were pretty proud of themselves which was the cherry that topped the cake!
Since the camp out we’ve been trying different recipes, dutch style. We recently made an outstanding pot of Chili. Instead of cooking on coals, my hubby decided to try it out on his grandparents’ old wood burning stove. This made for easy cleanup and a nice history lesson for the boys.
I challenge you to start going dutch with your cooking! I’ve heard it provides additional iron to your food. I can’t verify that as true however, when your anemic like me you are willing to try anything. (Yes, my hemoglobin has dropped again…another topic for another day.)
Happy cooking, dutch style!!
Mountainman Breakfast – taken from ‘Camp Dutch Oven Cooking 101: from Backyard to Backwoods’ published by Lodge 1896
- 2 lbs. sausage
- 2 lbs. frozen hash brown potatoes
- 8 eggs, beaten with 1/4 cup water
- 2 cups cheese, grated
In a 12 inch Lodge Camp Dutch Oven oven full bed of hot coals, fry and crumble sausage. Remove cooked sausage and drain on paper towels. Using the sausage drippings in the pan, brown potatoes, and spread them evenly in bottom of camp oven. Place cooked sausage over potatoes. Pour eggs over sausage layer. Sprinkle top with cheese. Cook with 8 coals underneath and 16 on top for 20 to 25 min., until eggs are cooked.
I keep saying this but here it is again…last week was one of the busiest weeks we’ve had this year. We finished the renovation to the downstairs bedroom. Pickle has ‘unofficially’ moved in and Willis has decided he’d rather stay & share a room with Pudder. Until his 6 then he’ll move. We hosted Pickle’s Cub Scout Pack cookout/campout, we attended the dedication of the garden Memorial built for my mom’s boyfriend who was killed on Christmas day and my sister-in-law, my new nephew and I attended a bridal shower.
For the most part I’ll be covering the Cub Scout Pack Cookout/Campout, so pay attention!! At times it was pure craziness! It was sooo much fun though!! Overall I think everyone had a great time. My personal favorite event was The Treasure Hunt Maze. We had agreed to host the cookout back in March or April. In anticipation for the event we allowed a portion of our ground to grow into mostly foxtail. As it grew we mowed a maze into the grass. I would sometimes get lost but always find my way home again. Seriously. To add an extra ‘bling, bling’ to the maze and to help our Wolf Den accomplish an achievement we added the treasure hunt element. The scouts and their siblings were divided into groups of 3-4.
***We pause this program to add a SIDE NOTE: One of the greatest part of our Pack is how family oriented we are as we organize things to include all of the siblings of each scout. Back to our regular programming….***
At the beginning of the maze there was a sign with a question & three answers. Each answer took the group a different direction…if the the question was answered correctly they found the next sign. At each sign they were also rewarded with a prize. The last prize was really brilliant on my part. **Pat, pat** I purchased glow sticks & bracelets. We knew where they were once night fell. Of course, they spent most of the time in the maze.
We also did some pumpkin decorating, played a little flag football and of course, S’mores and campfire songs!! I have LOTS of favorites in this post…I was a die-hard 4-H Camper growing up. I even volunteered as a part-time counselor and later took a position as a lifeguard & full-time counselor. My absolute FAVORITE song is ‘The Skitters & the Bedbugs.’ I was having some senior moments and could not remember all of the words. I jumped on the wonderful Google search engine and found that there were many, many, many versions to the song. I never did find the version I learned – but something fairly close. This morning as he was getting ready, Pickle had found the version I printed out & edited. So as he got dressed, ate his breakfast, put on his shoes, I listened to him singing the song. All of a sudden I had an out of body experience & I remembered more of the version I was taught!! I’m so excited! So I’m going to share a mixed up version of it with you! You should feel very, very special.
Tomorrow’s post will be about one of the skits several of the parents performed. It was hilarious! I might even include a couple more campfire songs…stay tuned!
Here is the song…enjoy!
I woke up Sunday morning and looked there upon the wall, the Skeeters & the bedbugs were playing a game of ball.
The score was 19-20, the skeeters were ahead, the bedbugs hit a homerun & knocked me out of bed!
Chorus: Singing, eenie-meenie, minie, mynie moe, catch a bedbug, bedbug, by his toe & if he hollers, hollers, hollers, let him go, singing eany-meany, minie, moe!
***This is where I forget the next verse…something about “I see London, I see France, someone has lace on their ___________ I don’t think they say underpants but can’t remember.*** Here is the verse I found online…
I went downstairs to breakfast, I ordered ham & eggs, I ate so many eggs, the ham rolled down my legs!
My mother was a German, my father was a spy & me the little taddle tail I told the FBI!!
We didn’t feel the last verse was appropriate so we DID NOT use it but here it is…
I fell into the sewer, and that is where I’ll die, they didn’t call it murder they called it SEWER-CIDE!!
Happy camping!! Wow, I think I’ve had too much coffee this mornin’!
P.S. For those of you who are keeping track, there have not been any additional deer harvested. :0( I did get a lottery either-sex shotgun tag!! Woohoo!
A Gone-Fish tournament, an addition with a lesson learned, a blind, demolition and finally, a serial biter…
I normally stick to one topic per post. Today, I have a few topics to cover. Feel free to jump in at anytime. I’m starting to get a complex about my low or even non-existent readership. :0) Is anyone out there??
Gone-Fish: Willis & I attended an annual youth fishing tournament on Sat. Last year he walked away with a trophy for largest fish caught. He has always been a patient and dedicated fisherboy. For example, the Sunday before we had Pickle & Willis’ ‘friend’ birthday party at the same pond. Some of the kids choose to fish. He was constantly whispering “SHSHSHSH, the fish won’t bite because you are all too loud.” Not bad for a 4-year-old huh? They never did catch anything. My hubby saw this as a precursor for the tournament & decided to stay at home to build a mobile deer blind. *Stay tuned for an update on the blind.* We probably should have followed his advice because we came home empty-handed as far as fish is concerned. Our Fire Department sponsors the event and every kids leaves with some type of gift. Even though there weren’t any fish, it was some good bonding time for myself & Mr. Willis who suffers from a severe case of Middlechild Syndrome.
An Addition: A week & a half ago we found ourselves unable to keep up with egg demand. Without a product, you can’t make the sale. So a decision was made to purchase 5 new chickens which should begin laying in 2-4 wks. This brought our hen total up to 20…For two days.
A day after the chickens arrived I went down early for evening chores. I wanted to see how everyone was adjusting. My main concern was how the pecking order was coming along…especially since the chickens arrived de-pecked. Once I finally opened the door to the ‘coop’ side of the shed I saw one of the New Hampshires (who I’m beginning to think are really Opingtons but that’s another story) hanging upside down from the roost. With our goal of re-using & becoming innovative with what we already have, we’ve always used a piece of fencing for the roast. My first thought was that she was dead. I ran to her rescue to find her leg weaved in between the metal wires. Once I had her up she wasn’t able to stand. I took her up to the house & got her some water. Long story short….I didn’t check her over well enough & overlooked several large scratches around her bottom area. She stayed in the garage for the night & then I moved her outside. Eventually she was limping around & looking great. By the afternoon I noticed the flies & gnats which wouldn’t leave her alone. That’s when I checked her over completely. I found maggots in the lesions. Several times I attempted to clean all of them out, sanitize her & cover her with triple antibiotic. To no avail, I was unable to save her. Not having a sick or injured chicken before I did the best I could. I’ve assisted in a prolapse surgery on a cow before, I’ve castrated piglets…but when it comes to chickens I’m pretty green. For two days we had 20 chickens and now we are down to 19. Lesson learned…we are re-building the roost.
The blind: My genius hubby is always thinking & creating. His newest creative idea is to build a mobile deer blind that can be pulled with the 4 wheeler out to the middle of one of our hunting fields. I can only post one picture…otherwise I’d have to hunt you down & make sure you don’t try & replicate his TM idea. Just kidding…maybe.
The Demolition: It’s been a while since we made any major changes to the Magic FarmHouse. That changed yesterday. One of the best advantages to my hubby’s job is ‘dumpster diving.’ Well, not really. He works on commercial projects which in my opinion are many times unnecessary renovations – but I’m thankful they are renovating to get him busy working! Last week the job site where he was working was trashing some perfectly nice cabinets and plywood. He took all of it before they could hit the dumpster. The cabinets have been a lifesaver in our new smaller storage room/office. And, the plywood has allowed us to begin gutting & refinishing our downstairs bedroom (old storage room/office)…
My VERY favorite part about gutting a room is finding the magical treasures. So far, there’s one wall left and we haven’t found anything! Bummer!
The Seriel Biter: Finally, my precious little boy who was calm & who loves to cuddle is missing. Instead I have a little maniac who’s running around trying to bite everyone! Where did I go wrong?? He is seriously chasing Willis around the rooms with his mouth open wide trying to bite. This is the first time we’ve encountered this problem…any suggestions?? Oh, wait, I forgot, no one reads my blog!
‘Til tomorrow! :o)
For the benefit of my kids I try to keep track of the day and date. Usually the day of the week more than the date. The weekend is when Daddy is home so the days of the week are important.
Today reality hit like a lightening bolt. This is the last week at home with my kids before school starts. My mom called and asked if they could spend the night during the week before school starts. I said “Sure!” And, as any mom would, I brought out my calendar that I briefly look at once or twice a week (sorry FlyLady!) That’s when it hit. We leave for State Fair a week from tomorrow. It’s our annual workcation at the Illinois State Fair where we show our beautiful Jerseys! The choices for a sleepover with Grandma were bleak but we’ve managed to set a date.
And, now I’m sitting here in shock, reviewing all of the goals I had set for our summer. Where did the time go? I wanted to paint the shed, finish painting the porch, paint the bathroom, sand and paint our welcome fence, sanding and re-staining a new/re-used dining room table, sew curtains for the kitchen, canning, taking the kids to the pool on a regular basis – I BOMBED on that one.
I managed to get the kids to swim lessons every morning for two weeks, we took a day trip to the St. Louis Zoo, Pickle went to Cub Scout camp & several weeks of baseball, Willis went to VBS. But none of my other goals were accomplished. I wonder why?? Oh, that’s right, I have three kids who are boys and Mount Washmore waiting at the steps of my mudroom. That’s Life!
I need to plan something special for this week…off to look for ideas.