Friendship

Friendship is such an easy word and normally such an easy concept for kids. You take your kids to the local park and usually your younger child will come to you at some point and introduce their new “best” friend. If your kid is anything like mine then the name of the new best friend is usually forgotten or not known for long but while you are at the park these kids in inseparable.

Miranda has never really had this type of interaction with children her own age, this is not to say she doesn’t have friends but it is usually children that are younger or the kids that are older and simply allow her to join in with them. While I am always thankful to the older kids that allow her to join I am always praying that she is able to find a friend that is her own age.

This school year we are part of a new to us co-op for our homeschool year, this group is LARGE and I worry constantly about Miranda being overwhelmed and not enjoying herself or needing to walk away. We have had days that she has needed to miss the chapel portion of the day due to the chaos and noise but we haven’t missed many.

Lunch is always an adventure with finding a table to fit us and another family we consistently eat with, fitting seven people around a table is not the easiest thing. This second semester of the year Miranda has asked to eat with her friends every Friday. I have been secretly jumping for joy and crying happy tears since she has found her group finally. The group that she eats lunch with consists of about five other kids and they are great kids that include her and don’t make her feel less or different.

Mom I need to eat with my friends.

Chickens

We have jumped into the world of owning chickens and have fallen in love with this silly creatures.

I have known that we wanted to own chickens for years and have been doing some basic research on them while we still lived in Japan. My requirements for which breed we would own were pretty simple. These chickens needed to be good layers (we eat a lot of eggs), they needed to have a good temperament, and they needed to be hardy since I wanted them to be free range. I also knew I didn’t want to own a rooster and that I would simply buy chicks and not worry about hatching. This plan could change in the future but for now it is working for us.

On Jaxon’s birthday we headed to the local farm store for some basic needs and ended up picking up seven Rhode Island Reds while we were there. This was not a planned purchase but it worked out for us. A few weeks later we were back at the store and purchased six Barred Plymouth Rocks. Both of these breeds met all of my requirements.

Things we have learned since purchasing chickens.

  1. Have your brooder box set up before bringing home your chicks. We bought everything when we purchased our first set and had to get everything set up once we got home with our new babies. This was stressful and I do not recommend doing this.
  2. Be aware of how fast these cute little chicks grow and quickly run out of space in their brooder. We used a smaller stock tank and having thirteen chickens in there was not the best decision.
  3. Do not have your brooder in the house for more than a few days if at all. We purchased all of our chickens in January and we did not have their coop built outside at all. I foolishly thought we had plenty of time to get it done and that it would only take us one weekend to get it built. The weather did not cooperate and work commitments continued to push us further behind.
  4. Hang the water in your brooder! Trust me! These cute little things are messy and the waterer we had was constantly filled with shavings from them running around.
  5. Once you move your chickens into their coop keep their nesting boxes closed off until closer to laying age so that they do not sleep in the boxes.
  6. We kept our girls confined to their coop once they moved outside. This was done for two reasons, first was their run to the yard was not complete and second we wanted them comfortable with their coop.

We lost one chicken to one of the dogs and are now down to twelve. These ladies are consistently providing us with at least eight eggs a day. I knew that I didn’t want to wash the eggs and use up valuable refrigerator space so I needed to find a way to store them on my limited counter space. I also wanted to be sure I was using oldest first so I didn’t waste these wonderful resources we were all working so hard on. I found a great storage option on Amazon that is narrow, fits under my upper cabinets, and rotates the eggs for me.

This holder has worked wonderfully for us and I have shared the link with everyone I know. If you choose to purchase using this link I do receive a small commission from Amazon. Please know that this is not much but I have had so much fun trying different products and I will only link the items we absolutely love and would purchase again.

https://amzn.to/3j6ZhNS

General Longstreet Museum

Today we ventured out in the rain to visit the General Longstreet Museum while my parents are in town for the week. This was a charming little museum that was a great surprise once we explored the inside.

Building in the back is the museum and to the right is the gift shop

When we pulled into the drive we were all a bit worried about how small the museum building was and how long we had just driven in the rain for this adventure. We were all in for such a surprise when we met the caretaker of the museum. This kind gentleman unlocked the museum and told us to have fun exploring, if the items were out on tables then feel free to touch! What a wonderful instruction for this very hands on homeschooling family and boy did we have fun exploring the museum.

Battle map
Jacket that was out on the bed upstairs
Some of the few pieces that were in cases

After exploring the inside of the museum we headed over to the gift shop to check it out. I am so glad that we decided to stop in the gift shop and not make a run back to the truck in the rain. Once inside the shop we got to chatting with the caretaker and he shared wonderful surprises that were in the back office with us. Amazing things happen when you mention that your family recently moved here from Japan and that we are homeschoolers. (Fellow homeschoolers don’t let me down with the question asking and attentiveness.)

Replica uniform from the Union Scottish regiment
Soldier and son

After we had talked and seen lots of hidden surprises we thought that our trip was done and we were surprised yet again. We were taken into the tailor shop and shown how the replica uniforms are created from start to finish but creating the patterns and then using the different materials and accessories.

Caretaker showing us one of his button collections and explaining the different designs

While in the tailor shop we were given the rich history of the building and many more lessons on the different material types and what uniforms they would have been used for. Zeeva was invited back to take sewing lessons from this wonderful gentleman and we were told to make sure to come back and visit when it isn’t raining.

If you are ever in Russellville, TN please be sure to stop by the museum. http://www.longstreetmuseum.com/index.htm

Tennessee

Our family has finally made it to Tennessee after the craziest move in the history of moves. While the entire world shut down from the pandemic our family was caught in a limbo of moving or staying. This was of course something that the military never saw coming and had no way to prepare, everyone was scrambling for information and instructions. Since Chris was coming to Tennessee for recruiting we were initially told that our family would move on time. AWESOME!! While Japan was amazing and we love the people and country it was time for us to get back to the US after seven years of being overseas. Let the hoop jumping commence and scramble to get everything lined up and scheduled. We had to argue with the local personal property office about packing our stuff out since there was a massive shut down and no guidance, finally got that taken care of and our stuff packed up and shipped off. The afternoon of our final crate being sealed we received the email that our family was extended. AHHH!!! This began our adventure of living out of suitcases and on temporary furniture for three months. After all of this we found out the day we moved into the hotel that our tickets had not been booked and we would be extended another week, not our idea of fun to be stuck in a hotel for a week with the kids plus it was the week that the heat decided to show up. We finally made it on the plane and to Tennessee.

Tennessee has been wonderful for our family, this was a super quick transition since Chris had to get down to Florida for school. We stayed with family in west Tennessee for a few weeks and then made our way east to close on the house. We had done everything for the house online and the first time that we actually saw the house was during final walk through. This was exactly what we originally had said we didn’t want to do but with the market we needed to move fast. We closed on the house on a Tuesday and Chris left for Florida that following Sunday, talk about a fast transition. The kids and I have had a blast settling in to country living and exploring the local area.

We have already had family come to stay for the weekend and help paint some of the bedrooms. More family will be coming at the end of the month and I can’t begin to describe how amazing it feels to know that family and friends are just a road trip away. During all of the transition of settling into our home and figuring out life in this area we decided to adopt two dogs. While I had originally said we will not be getting a dog anytime soon and when we did it would only be one dog my main point was no hounds because i don’t want to listen to the howling. We are now the proud owners of two blue tick hound mixes!

I am going to attempt to keep a schedule for new blog uploads and have them happen once a week. Come back and follow along in our journey of homesteading and homeschooling!

Indian Butter Chicken in the pressure cooker

I have been trying to figure out how to do this for some time now and I think I got it. I have been spending lots of time researching this and building a history unit study for the girls. I have made it further on this than the study but my problem is I want to study Japan since we live here but all the resources I can find are just about the basics that the girls are already familiar with. I think it is time to start digging deeper. If you have any good resources please send them my way.

Here goes I am going to try to share a recipe with you all. I attempted yet again to make Indian Butter Chicken and finally had a good turn out. I love using my pressure cooker which you can find the link for here.

I love this thing and it is on sale right now. I might have to get a second one since my slow cooker gave out on me and I love making my own stock. I whipped up this amazing dinner the other night and today I have had a soup going in it.

So I will try and be better about taking more pictures through the cooking process but this is the end result.

IMG_0291


Pressure Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

2 lbs chicken, I used 4 thin breasts because that’s what I had.
1 stick of butter
4 teaspoons of curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
10 oz (ish) heavy cream, can use 1 can of coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
6 oz tomato paste
1 onion minced
5-6 cloves garlic minced
Salt to taste
2 tbsp corn startch
1 tbsp water

Melt butter in pressure cooker and then add onion and garlic. Cook until about half way done. Add cream, stock and paste. Mix well.
Add spices and let cook for about 2 min. Add chicken and make sure to cover with the sauce. Use the chicken/meat button for 15 min.
Let natural release for about 10 min and then chop chicken if you choose to. Add corn starch and water mixture and let boil until thickened to your liking.

Serve over rice and with some yummy naan.