August 28, 2014

Our visit to a backyard farm

 We were invited to my dear friends backyard farm. She has chickens, goats, ducks, birds, cats, bees, veggie gardens, irrigation systems, fruit trees, and her farm is overflowing with lots of love.

When we arrived she was busy extracting the honeycomb from her bee hives...

 My son was fascinated! Being this close to a honeybee hive & watching an extraction is something he has wanted to do for like EVER! And yesterday we got to see it up close! Amazing.

My other son, who is more easily distracted, found bugs near us that he could play with...

Just look at that amazing honeycomb all covered in bees!

My friend taught us that when we remove some honey it is good to replace it with some food for the bees. She showed us this pollen cake and talked about how it was made out of the pollen from flowers (it smelled amazing!)...

 When she gave the bees the pollen cake and got everything ready to close up the hive she asked Ethan to help by bringing her some cinnamon. The cinnamon keeps the predators away, like wasps and ants. I was so proud of Ethan for getting so close to all of those bees!! 

Look at all of that AMAZING honeycomb!!! It smelled divine!

The bee keepers and the Bishops :)

 The boys were especially fascinated by the smoker, so she showed them the kindling inside...

My daughter and I snapped a quick shot together...

And I snapped this shot of my eldest (so handsome)...

We brought my friend some grubs for her chickens and the boys went around and fed the chickens, and they were ready and SUPER happy to eat them...

Grubs for everyone... 

Even sister joined in and threw in a couple grubs...

 The boys loved feeding the chickens...

While the boys were off feeding the chickens the goats waited patiently while their bottles were being made. This looks just like my house when I am cooking, except replace the goats with children climbing the table and chairs and counter-tops to get their food...

Ava learning how to feed the goat a bottle...

Owen loved feeding the goats, just look at his smile!

Ethan was so very careful to not spill the milk...

Bottle #2 - such happy goats...


Owen loved the ducks and when they went into their little pool Owen ran over and hugged the pen. Goodness he is sweet. I love him.

When we were leaving the kids were blessed to be able to taste some yummy honey. She shared with the kids about how our words can be like honey when they are kind.
"Kind words are like honey~
Sweet to the soul and healthy for the body."
Proverbs 16:24

And, they even learned about utilizing the wax from the honeycomb to make their own candles...

As a parting gift, my friend gave us 2 dozen of the most beautiful eggs I have ever seen...
 We may or may not have already eaten a dozen today :)
Yum!

You know, starting out this week I was super overwhelmed with the thought of homeschooling another year, I admit it. I have seen that by simply trusting the Lord with this journey He brings us the most amazing blessings! In just this first week of school we have learned about magic sand in science, gone paddle boarding & kayaking, learned how to sort and determine if something is the same or different in kindergarten math, explored more complex word problems in 2nd grade math, used our imaginations and creative sides in art time, visited a backyard farm, and the boys started music lessons today (guitar and drums). God is all over this!

I am tired, but blessed that the Lord was so faithful to FILL THE WEEK TO THE BRIM!

God is Good.
Homeschooling is a blessing.
On to bigger and better things...

Blessings,
The Bishop Bunch


August 27, 2014

Back To {Home}School!

Our summer is over. Boo! We had such an amazing summer, chock full of adventuring, family bonding, new friends, sweet time spent with lifelong friends, and lots of fun in the sun! 

We started back to school this week and this year we'll have a 2nd grader, kindergartner, and preschooler. Transitioning back into a schedule has been rough, on all of us! I am not a morning person but I am purposing to be in bed before 11 each night. I am also trying to wake before the rest of the house to grab some time with Jesus before the chaos and busyness ensues (I failed this morning but the last 2 days were a success). 

Our first day of school was super hard on my 2nd grader. He did not want to go back to being on a schedule and had a breakdown over the anxiety of starting back to school. He had convinced himself that 2nd grade was going to be so much harder than 1st grade. I had to spend a good amount of time on Monday reassuring him, staying firm, correcting him, hugging him, praying with him, and ultimately building his confidence that he can do this! He finally calmed down, took a deep breath, and we got through the schooling for the day!

After our first day of school I surprised the boys and took them paddle boarding and kayaking with our homeschool group.
It was the PERFECT way to begin the school year.

I totally spaced on the whole 1st day of school photos, so I took 3rd day of school photos :)

My BIG kindergartner...

My handsome and silly 2nd grader...

My preschool princess photo bombed our time and gave her brothers some "love". Haha!

Our main theme verse for our homeschool classroom is:

2014-2015 School Year, Here We Come!
The Bishop Bunch

August 4, 2014

Book Give-Away: "Interrupted" by Jen Hatmaker

I have been reading Jen Hatmaker's book titled "Interrupted" and it is speaking to me RIGHT WHERE I NEED IT! Wow!


In this book Jen shares such a powerful testimony of the Lord coming in, interrupting her comfortable Christianity [she was a pastor's wife, author, speaker, church-goer, wife, mother, etc., etc.] and giving her a heart for the last, the least, and the poorest of this earth.

I am blessed by Jen's example (and deeply challenged) to continue to throw off religious duty and give love, grace & ministry to the lost.

The entire chapter "Tough Crowd" was like flashes of lightning to my soul! Just check this part out...
"Jesus came to the foulest, filthiest place possible (earth), a place full of ungrateful, self-destructive people who would betray Him far more that they'd love Him (a whole planet of Judases). He broke His body for rich people who would curse Him the second their prosperity was endangered. He poured His blood out for those who would take His Word and use it as a bludgeoning tool. He became the offering for people who would slander His name with ferocity, yet His grace was theirs for the asking until they drew their last breaths, even if all they could offer Him was a lifetime of hatred and one moment of repentance."

I am still praying through this deep and challenging chapter. I can't stop thinking through all that the Lord challenged me with and all He called me to lay down before Him.

The message in this book is definitely fitting with the title - it will INTERRUPT your life and bring a refreshing challenge to your Christianity.

My husband and I have recently opened our home to our neighbors for a bible study. We invited everyone. I was terrified to reach out, and yet the Lord filled me with faith, compassion, and love every step of the way. At the same time as our neighborhood bible study beginning Jen Hatmaker sent me her book to read and review here on my blog. It was NOT an accident that this was one of the banners that she sent me...

God fully knew that this book "Interrupted" would be perfectly placed in my lap right when I needed it!

So, have I given you a desire to read this book?
I am giving one copy of "Interrupted" away! Enter to win...

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Please note: The winner of this give-away will need to provide their name and address.

Blessings!
Janiene

July 18, 2014

Gardening in a Small Spot

Today I am going to share with you how we are able to maximize our small garden plot.

We have a 45" x 240" gardening area...

We make sure our soil has a ton of nutrients. We stir in some organic garden soil each year along with some epsom salt to boost the magnesium levels...

It may not seem like much when you first plant your garden but remember, your plants will grow BIG and they need proper spacing...

We use a drip hose to water our veggies. The rocks help it stay where you want it...

We have a carrot patch that we started from seed. Drip hoses are essential if you are starting your veggies from seed as they help keep the soil moist...

Here is our garden a couple of weeks after we planted everything. The big bush in the foreground is a sunflower that sprung up from last years crop. We let it stay there and put the carrot patch right next to it...

Here is our garden plot today. If you are wondering what I use the ladders for, the one by the tomatoes is supporting my heirloom tomato branches. The heirloom tomato bush grew to an enormous size and I needed to have to climb up something. The ladder on the right was for the cucumbers to climb {click here to see how I used a ladder as a trellis last year} but I decided to bring the vines out onto the wood chips instead. I am so happy that I did that because when a cucumber is growing it now rests on the wood chips and does not discolor or get rotten from resting on moist soil. If you have some extra space next to your cucumbers I would recommend bringing the vines out of the garden like this...

It may look like a crazy jungle but everything just works well together this way! Here is the photo again with notes...

In our small spot we are able to grow enough to give us a bowl of fresh veggies daily. There is even enough to share with our neighbors which we try to do weekly (here is my son helping me prep some veggies and a sunflower for a neighbor)...

No matter the size of your plot, you can start growing fresh veggies. When I first started, I would grow my veggies in containers on our back porch. I have slowly expanded our garden year upon year. Next year I hope to expand my garden to a larger plot that runs along the back side of my house, but I will need to remove some of the soil, stir in some nutrients and compost, and weed it thoroughly. It needs A LOT of work...

So, no matter the size of your plot, I encourage you to start a garden. I guarantee you will be so blessed that you did!

Blessings,
Janiene

July 17, 2014

The County Fair & My Moms Birthday

It has been a family tradition to take my mom to the OC Fair every year for her birthday since as far back as I can remember. Last year we went to the fair and I blogged about it {click here}.

This year we kicked-off our time together by celebrating her birthday with the kids singing (loudly) Happy!! Birthday!!, and with yummy giant donuts, and with homemade cards (isn't my mama beautiful!?!)...

When we got to the fair we were greeted by the most talented and kind clown EVER! She made the kids amazing balloon creations that cost nothing but a smile (which my kids gave to her in abundance, lol)...

This year all of the Bishops (except for Dad) entered something into the fair competitions.

I entered my giant sunflower head and won 1st place for overall size (it was approx 20" in diameter!)...

My eldest son entered his veggies into the kids competition and won blue ribbons on all of his entries. We are already in discussions about what we will be growing next year! He wants me to plant some blueberry bushes, which I am totally down for! My husband wants me to plant corn - yikes! Seems hard to grow??? I want to stick with what I am comfortable with but I know I won't grow as a farmer (urban farmer that is) unless I am challenged :)

Top left: carrots, top right: largest cucumber, bottom left: heirloom tomatoes, bottom right: cherry tomatoes...

My 5 yr old entered his lego biplane masterpiece and he won a blue ribbon. He was so very excited but he also commented on how amazing all the other entries were. He especially liked the one that had the Hulk and other superheros on it...

My 3yr old daughter got in on the competition fun by creating a butterfly using recycled materials. She helped me cut out the wings (an old pizza box), she painted and decorated the wings, she laced the wings, then she filled the bottle with shredded purple Easter basket paper and glued a head, eyes, and antennas onto the butterfly. She got a blue ribbon or her entry...

We stopped by the farm stand and saw the biggest lemon EVER!! Just look at it...

We decorated doggie treat bags for Grandma's dogs...

The kids stopped to get their feet massaged...

We got to see the All-American Alaskan Pig races and it was a total crack up! Just look at those piggies...

Out of all the amazing food options my son chose roasted corn on the cob. Such a great choice. I love him!...

We ended our day at the splash pad. My kids look forward to this fountain every year! I think they played in the fountain for over an hour...

The perfect way to recharge my batteries after a long day at the fair was to make a delicious iced double shot of espresso! I made my mom a double shot for her drive home and when I handed it to her she asked for 2 more shots to top off the glass. She is my espresso-drinking hero! I love your love for coffee mom!

We had an awesome time celebrating my moms birthday at the OC Fair!! Perfect day :)

Blessings,
Janiene