Jeneric Jeneralities ~ by JenIG
December 28th, 2006
What Will You Remember?

I think this may be the quickest year I’ve ever lived.  Over the last couple days I’ve been trying to go over the year and see what mentally pops out about it.  There was so much!

But I think what will stand out the most is the Great Chicken Massacre of 06, the Great Goat Massacre of 06, the Tree Swing Debacle of 06 and on a positive note, it was the year we moved onto Curry Farm (beginning of Feb) and also the First Annual Barn Dance in Abingdon (boy oh boy was that fun.  I hope you’re making plans to come to that! It’ll be in mid October).

On another note, this was funny to me, last night me and Geoff the Great were laying in bed and thinking about whether or not to let one of our kids do something that they were invited to do.  Anyhow, Geoff was mainly silent, so I kept accusing him of falling asleep, to which he’d always answer, ‘no, I’m not sleeping at all.  I’m thinking about our decision”.  I asked him to think out loud so I could keep up with him and he told me that he couldn’t, because he doesn’t ‘think in words’.  Now that is just plum funny. Who doesn’t think in words?  Maybe he thinks in cuneiform or hieroglyphics… or more likely: html.  What a corker. See why I love him so much?

Lastly, this is cool.  When we got our sacrificial goats (this is just a joke for anybody who did not read the traumatic goat posts), we also purchased about 30 chickens (half were roosters — those were thrown in for free) anyways, they started laying eggs (not the roosters) on Christmas morning.  And if that is not exciting enough – we’ve been putting the new eggs into this incubator thing that Geoff and Ryann bought.  So in 23 days we may have baby chickies.  I will definitely be posting updates on that.  Is that not the funnest thing ever??

So what stands out about 2006 for you?

December 28th, 2006 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

December 22nd, 2006
ZuZu's Petals

Despite my growing cynicism of Christmas, the night before last we all cozied up and watched, It’s A Wonderful Life.  A long time ago that movie meant a lot to me.  Now I relate more to, The Grinch.

Anyways, the theme at the end of, It’s A Wonderful Life, implies that the value of a life is measured by the friends one has, i.e. people who love you. The movie is right on track in the way that the main character lives a life of continual self-sacrifice.  He puts others’ happiness and well being (his brother’s, his uncle’s, the townspeople, etc) before his own.  In that sense, for a Christian, that would be a blessed life.  But most people today expect to have a load of friends and people who love them ‘just for themselves”.  “I just want to be loved for who I am”– translation: they expect others to see their worth thru their layers of self-absorbed, self oriented, self-centered ways. 

But the movie gets it wrong in the end, because the value of a life is not measured by how much other people love you, but rather, it is measured by how much you love God and how you live that out by loving others. 

 And, a completely unrelated thought… is it just me, or do diamond commercials make you dry heave?  They are always playing these diamond commercials on the radio that convey the idea that ‘getting your girl a diamond will make her go weak-kneed’ or that ‘if you don’t get your girl the right diamond, she’ll be crushed’.  Surely I can’t be the only girl in the world who thinks jewelry is worthless, pointless and bothersome to wear.  Do any of you really go ga-ga over a ruby bracelet or diamond earrings?  

PS Chickadee is our winner for the sewing book contest.  yay!

PPS Thanks for your sweet comments on our week long goat-opera.  Belle is doing very well and we are all in love with her.  She is such a sweet goat.  I will have to post a picture soon.   

December 22nd, 2006 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

As promised, here is an email exchange about training six month olds: 

Hello Jen!

I have a quick question if you don’t mind. My husband
and I have a 9mo and we have asked many people about
teaching our child to cry quietly. You mentioned a
book by Susanna Wesley that helped you? The name of
the book would be a great help, or if you have the
time to share what age you teach your children to cry
quietly, ect.  So far we have taught our son many things, he is a joy
to be around because he knows his boundaries.
I love your list!

Thank you and God bless!


Hi Ashley,

Honestly, i think kids are so different it really is going to be different
with each family.  But we really found that ‘alone time’ in their crib (if
they were doing the ‘out of control / shrieky type of cry) was helpful for
us and also for them.  They were able to realize pretty quickly that people
did not want to be around them if they were shrieking.

I would tell my little ones ‘hush, cry quietly’ in a very calm voice (it
helps if you are smiling or have a pleasant voice that shows you are *not*
angry).  and if they would not be quiet I would calmly take them to their
room and say again, ‘you mustn’t be loud, hush’ and then I’d come back when
they were quiet (while I was training them to do this I’d generally wait
right by the door).  When they were quiet I would come back in with a smile
and say, ‘oh good! You’re being pleasant! Let’s come out now" and I’d lift
them out.  If they’d start crying again (throwing a fit because they were
mad we left in the first place) I’d tell them, gently, ‘hush, be pleasant (or cry
)" and if they did not, they’d go back into the crib and we’d leave the room.
We’d do this multiple times until it clicked and they connected that loud
crying or fits equaled boring crib time.

hope that helps! it’s hard giving advice by email, so i hope this made

 I also really like what Jacque wrote in the comments of the last post.  She said it well:

I read a few years back (don’t remember what book) about letting children wail and carry on when they cry and how unnecessary and "fleshly", I guess, for lack of a better term, it is. My children never wailed, but I did just start telling them to close their lips together and cry qietly. They showed me that they had control over it and did it. I then had to let them know when they had ‘cried enough’, sometimes. Of course, as parents, it does take discernment, not a nominal "cry quietly" or "stop now". Sometimes their pain is really deeper, and I am sensitive to that, too.

On a side note not related to teaching six month olds to cry quietly, I’d like to point out  that even the inherent laws of nature display that pain is not an “abusive” form of training—it’s just life.

Why do very little children keep their fingers off of bumble bees?  They also learn very quickly not to grab hold of electric fencing, not to shut their fingers in doors, not to bite themselves, not to slide their hands against splintery wood, not to pull the cat’s tail, not to put clothespins on their tongues, etc.  Why? What teaches them not to do these things?  Even in nature, God gives us the gift of pain to shape our behaviour.  How silly to think “pain” is abusive when God Himself has given it as a tool to help keep us safe.  If it is used the way it was intended — not abusive, or rageful anger – or murderous (as in the case of abortion), it can be a beneficial means to bring up well rounded, healthy, happy children, who don’t live in a unnatural bubble that pretends that consequences are not painful.

December 19th, 2006 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

December 18th, 2006
Ok… I'm better now

Three years ago Geoff and I had a dream that was fun to talk about, but seemed impossible to achieve.  We wanted a simpler life, we wanted him home, and we wanted to live on a farm.  His 17 hour days were draining for all of us.   California was busy, liberal and *so* expensive.  Miraculously – and I truly mean miraculously—God brought us to Curry Farm.

Yes, it’s been a lot of work – but it’s work that we’ve all been able to do as a family.  All eight of us bumbling around and being able to feel triumphant when we stumbled in to something good: green beans, a lone solitary squash, an over abundance of tomatoes, getting ducks – who knew they would solve our mucky pond scum problem? Buying chickens, losing chickens, painting bedrooms (our bedrooms, we are no longer renters!), building fences, being zapped by electric fences, figuring out you can rig up a wire to the electric fence and jam it into the ground and worms would come squiggling out of the earth, rowing a boat, building shelves, making applesauce and apple jelly and apple pies from fruit we pulled off our own tree, grinding wheat, dehydrating and freezing stuff, chopping our own wood…. We’ve learned more and done more things over the last year and a half as a family, than all the years before we came here (put together!).

Yes, last week was hard.  After the little goat was killed (and Belle was mauled) the following day our awful dogs got untied and forced their way back into the pen again and killed two more goats.  I’m embarrassed to even admit it.  Me and Geoff were gone at the time, we were on a date.  Coie and BoBo heard a commotion and ran out (it was late at night) and together handled the dogs, found wire to secure them and saved the chickens.  It reminded me of a chapter in Little House on the Prairie.  My kids are learning how to survive on a farm and are rising to the challenge of the hard work it takes.  Coie has also been tending to Belle, giving her shots twice a day and mucking out the area in our basement where we set up a makeshift animal hospital.  We have two goats left out of the five we bought last week.

This morning I work up grateful.  SO grateful  Yes, farm life is surprising and new to us.  We feel like morons for not cluing in to things that should be obvious. But we are doing this together.  There are ups and downs, for sure… at least we can share the ups and downs together.  I am extraordinarily thankful for that.  

You guys are *so* kind and encouraging.  Thank you very much for your prayers and all the encouraging comments you left.  I shared some of them with Geoff, and he was thankful, too.  I am so thankful for my friends here.

Lastly, I haven’t forgotten about the  candy/sewer contest… and coie has been making candy like a crazy woman.  We’ll announce those winners soon.  AND, I think I’m going to post another child – training entry.  I got an interesting letter from a lady wondering how I trained my six month olds to cry quietly.  On a side note, apparently there are some anti-spanking, abusive, extremists who read my web pg.  I will not be put off by their tactics, nor will I allow them leave anymore of their nasty comments (I’ll delete them soon as I see them) – especially since they lied, putting up false fronts and pretending to ask genuine questions publicly and then turning around and spewing furious rants. 

So, anyhow, I’ll try to post the question and answer sometime tomorrow.  This blog is not meant to be an open forum for debate.  It’s just a generic web pg where I’m able to stay connected to my friends, and a place to make new friends and for general friendly discussion.  I don’t have the time or the will to go back and forth with angry people who have an agenda.  I mean that in a nice way. If you hate my blog and hate my entries and think I’m an idiot, please save yourself the stress and visit blogs like the Daily Kos. Bottom line, I’m going to continue to post about what I feel like posting and will not get dragged into fruitless online battles.  After all, I’m a busy girl who gots a farm that needa a tendin’ to.


December 18th, 2006 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

I cannot fully express what a horrible morning this was.  Geoff left at six am with our four big kids to witness a hog being butchered (that’s not the horrible part).  I stayed home with the two little boys.  

Anyhow, I woke up to a very sick Dippy who had been puking all night (he still doesn’t look so good); after I stumbled into the kitchen to make coffee I heard this really awful barking, right outside the dining room window.  So I went over to see what was up, and Coie’s brand new goat named Belle (yes, that was the ‘G’ from her contest), was cornered by one of the dogs and looking stricken.  She bolted past the house and actually ran thru the carport and down the basement stairs.

I jammed my feet into some shoes and ran out to get her (I still have no idea how she got out) and brought her back to the barn.  When I got there I saw one of our brand new little goats (we got five) half dead on the ground with our other 3 dogs tearing into her. I flipped.  Somehow I got Belle back into the pen and got the dogs out and then bolted to the house and in a pure panic called Paul and Gena.  Paul, and her son Paulie, flew down here and we got the little goat wrapped up and brought inside the house. 

While we were trying to figure out if she could be helped I heard this awful panic stricken bleating, so I bellowed to Paulie to run out and see what was going on.  His dad followed him out, and right when they left the little pregnant goat starting thrashing and bleating and then just DIED.  And then Paulie came running back to let me know that the dogs had gotten back into the pen and had mauled Coie’s new goat, Belle, and that its intestines were hanging out.

And all this time I could not reach Geoff because his cell was out of range. My word, I tell you the truth, I probably would have lost it if Paul and Paulie hadn’t been there. Gena came down and kept me (somewhat) sane.  They were able to get Coie’s goat loaded into the van and took her to the vet.  She was stitched up and we think she will be ok.  The poor thing is pregnant; we’ve got her downstairs in the basement.  Coie has to give her two shots a day; hopefully she will heal and the little babies will be all right.

This has been a very rough week.  Pray for us if it comes to mind.  Who knew that losing animals would be so traumatic?  We will have to get rid of BoBo’s dogs.  That is going to be very hard for him.  Ugh.

December 15th, 2006 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

Finally I’m able to get back into HomeschoolBlogger.  That upgrade took too long for my liking.  I was thiiiiiiiis close to demanding a full refund as an unsatisfied blogger.  Heh heh heh.  Actually, I did lodge a complaint with the Operations Director.  He told me, “Honey, stop complaining, those web guys are working hard to make things run way better”.  And then I kissed him.  How’s that for scandalous?


So did you hear the news? Coie is having another one of her Famous Christmas Candy Concoction Give-aways. Trust me, you will definitely want to enter.  They are gourmet.  I hate the word gourmet on account of my sister’s over-usage of that word.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think she realizes that me and Geoff the Great have a running joke about it. 


Anyways, she (coie, not gena) is sending three winners a whole big old box full.  I don’t know where that kid got all her domesticated skills.  It certainly tweren’t from me.  So anyways, head over to Coie’s blog and enter.  And, in the spirit of contest giveaways and ‘being domesticated’…. I have TWO books for one of you to win.  One is called Stitches and Pins, A Beginning Sewing Book for Girls, and the other is Buckles and Bobbins, A Beginning Sewing Book for Boys. 


These two books are a $50 value and are NEAT!  Perhaps if you are a non-sewer like me – hang on, did I type that correctly?  Is sewer (one who sews) spelled the same way as ‘sewer’, as in my ‘sewer is backing up’?  sick.  Anyhow, all you have to do to enter my contest is let me know that you entered (or will enter) Coie’s contest and that you’d like these sewer books along with her chocolates.  One random winner shall thus be chosen when Coie’s contest hath ended.  Is that easy or what?

December 13th, 2006 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments

December 8th, 2006
Is Your Kid A Monster?

I had some neat emails that came in about an article I wrote, called How To Make A Monster In Three Easy Steps, which was recently posted on Crosswalk (originally posted in the Fall 06 issue of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine).  Here is one of the emails(printed with permission):


Hey Jenefer, I got this email [article] in my inbox from Crosswalk Parenting and thought it was fantastic.  Read some entries on your blog and LOVE what you have to say.  My question is, do you have any practical ideas or tips as to how to avoid making a monster?  Simple stuff I can try to implement with my kids?  Or do you have any books you can recommend that go into more detail?  Thank you so much for your help.  I also love your recent post about Christmas.  Made many things a little clearer in my mind.  I can finally release some guilt!  Thank you!!

Crystal Malek

Mom of 3 (11 months, 29 months, and 49 months….hoping for more) in Corpus Christi, Texas


It got me thinking about my own general parenting philosophy.  So here is a list. Not necessarily posted in order by ‘most important’.


  1. Be a dedicated Christian who knows God and loves God and start your ‘good behaviour training’ by age six months.  By six to eight months, kids are already incredibly smart.  They can totally learn sign language to communicate – I am not kidding – like ‘all done’, ‘bye bye’, ‘yes’, ‘no’, ‘please’, and ‘thank you’.  They are more than able to learn what can and cannot be touched, bitten or stepped on.  Truly, this is a perfect age to start molding your kid into a non-monster.  You are able to teach them how to be content and how to cry quietly (I learned that from reading a book about the life of Susanna Wesley – she had about 70 kids and realized really quickly that a house full of screamers could turn a perfectly normal brain into a lump of creamed spinach), they are also old enough to learn that throwing fits never ever ever ever never ever without a doubt never ever works.  Monstrous behaviour should be quickly associated with unpleasant end results.  If you reward kids with bad behaviour (crying, fits, kicking, screaming, pouty sad little faces, etc) you will pay for it – and so will they when they are older.  


  1. Pray your head off.  I’m not kidding.  God is much bigger than bad parenting skills.  Honestly… everybody always says, PRAY, but I wonder how many people take that seriously.  Pray constantly.  Pray for your kids, pray with your kids, let them see you praying earnestly for them and for yourself.  I’m always praying, “Lord, help me to be a better example, please help me to be nice and a good mom to these kids”.  When they know that I realize that I’m far from perfect, it makes them trust me more and love me more.  Kids cannot stand a phoney.


  1. Be sweet, pleasant, fun and kind.  Do not be a hypocrite.  If you are a whiney, self absorbed, manipulating, screaming/yelling, cry baby, your kids will not only hate you, they will have the secondary curse of inheriting this monstrous behaviour. Never scream or yell.  There is never a reason to do it.  I think Woodrow Wilson said, “Speak softly and carry a big stick”.  Brilliant.  


  1. Never apologize for spanking your kid.  That gives the assumption that YOU did something wrong.  You can feel badly for your kid (who likes a spanking?) but they CHOSE the spanking by their bad behaviour.  Apologizing, or acting like you’re all torn up inside, for a spanking that they well deserve sends the wrong message and will cause them to become manipulators.  Never spank your kids when you’re angry.  It will do more harm than good.  Spanking is a tool that is very helpful and should be used… but if your kid does not want to hug you afterwards, or even worse, if you do not want to hug your kid then the whole thing was counterproductive.  Remember, you are after their HEARTS, not just after their actions.  If you don’t have their hearts then nothing else matters.


  1. Delight in your children.  Do they see your face light up when they come in the room? Or are they a bother?  Your relationship with them will determine 95% of their behaviour.  Do they love you? Do they like you?  Are you fun to be around, or will they get out of your house and away from you as fast as humanly possible?


  1. Real training will be done during ‘non conflict’ times.  When you’re in the car, or snuggled on the couch together, or tucking them in, or teaching during the day… THIS is the time you will win their hearts and instruct them in righteousness.  This is the time to give them the ‘why’ behind the questions.  When they are little they should learn how to obey right away without question.  As they are older, they will learn when and how to ask the ‘why’.  Here’s a quick example.  When Coie was five she went swimming in her Gramma’s pool.  She was bobbing and paddling around with her little life jacket on.  Geoff and I were at the edge of the pool when all of a sudden we noticed a water snake that had slipped into the pool and was heading towards her.  I’m sure it was harmless, but it was scary looking!  Her dad said, very calmly, “Coie, come here, swim towards me and take my hand”.  Without asking why, she paddled over to him and he pulled her out.  It was a monumental teaching moment that was never forgotten.  We turned her around and pointed at the snake in the water, which was now right where she had been swimming, and told her, “you are a very wise girl to come quickly when we call.  If you would have been a brat and turned around to swim away, you would have been face to face with that thing”.  We practice Immediate Obedience all of the time.  I’ll tell Ryann, “Hey Ryann, stand up and put one hand on your head”.  And she does it – all my kids think it is funny.  They know I want them to learn Immediate Obedience and they know why.  If they fail to immediately act out one of my commands I tell them, “you totally flunked.  I was testing you.”  These little silly lessons help reinforce a core belief.  Practice makes perfect.



  1. Teach your little kids to practice sitting still by having them sit in a chair for a set amount of time.  Give them a book or a toy.  This is great practice for church or doctor office visits.  If they throw their toy down, they don’t get it back.  If your kids refuse to sit in the chair then stick them in their beds.  Stay sweet and gentle during any sort of training exercise otherwise the whole thing is worse than worthless. It’s counterproductive. 



  1. Treat your spouse with kindness, love, gentleness, compassion, and with a ready spirit to help (I’m bad at that last one).  Your kids will treat you (and someday their spouse) exactly how you treat their dad (even if he doesn’t deserve to be treated nice — lucky for me, mine does!).  What’s more, they will judge you by how you treat their dad and if they ever hear you make excuses about why you treat him badly, they will lose respect for you. 



  1. Do not allow them to be sulky, pouty, sullen.  Tell them to be pleasant.  If they don't, have them go to their rooms and come out when they are cheery.  My one year olds were able to learn the command, “Be pleasant”.  They would give these sort of strained smiles with their eyebrows up, and within seconds they would lose their bad attitude.  If they could not or would not be pleasant they would spend a goodly amount of time in their boring crib.  They soon learned that it payed to ‘be pleasant’ and to let bad attitudes go.


Ok, so there you have it.  This is a very loose list and I cannot imagine it really being beneficial because there is so much more to anti-monster inoculations.  But anyhow, I was asked for a simple list, and this is what I  came up with at 3:14 am.



PS Thanks to all of you who left a comment on the ‘Christmas Post’.  Those were highly interesting to read.

December 8th, 2006 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 21 Comments

Christmas has always seemed forced to me.  Like we’re supposed to have this ONE day during the year where we are to remember and celebrate the birth of God.  And it is always heavily mixed with cultural nonsectarian sentiments – not necessarily PAGAN sentiments, but just definitely not CHRISTIAN ones, you know? 


And that’s where the rub came in.  I have never been able to reconcile this grand and ‘holy’ event with all it’s other elements, like Christmas trees, getting presents, having big dinners, watching movies like Miracle on 34th street, It’s a Wonderful Life, Frosty the Snowman, and good old Rudolph; singing songs like Deck the Halls, Jingle Bells,  etc.  These things are enjoyable and FUN, and they are definitely part of what makes up ‘magical special’ feel of Christmas – but then there’s this nagging thing in the back of your mind saying “I thought this was supposed to be all about Christ – where is Christ in this part?”


And so you end up with a majority of traditions and song and movies and memories that are warm and cozy but void of Christ – not sinful mind you, but just not Christ-centered – thus the urge to always remind each other ‘the reason for the season’


Ok, thanks for sticking with me for so long… so here’s what I am thinking.  There is no call to celebrate Christmas anywhere in God’s Word.  Nor do you find any example of Christians ‘doing Christmas’.  Now there is a call to celebrate and remember the death and resurrection of Christ and to remember what that means for us (and it’s not called Easter, it’s called communion).


SO, here is my take.  The Christmas that is celebrated today in America (and the way most people celebrate Christmas with all it’s added non-Christian elements) is not a ‘Christian’ holiday, but it can still be celebrated without guilt by Christians, just like other non Christian holidays are celebrated by Christians – like the Fourth of July; my family LOVES buying fireworks and making a big dinner and having a big party.  It’s fun!  We are simply Christians celebrating the Fourth of July.  See where I’m going?


Christ is first and foremost in every aspect of our lives – every day — and not with just a focus on one certain day (a day that is not even *the* actual day that Christ was born – God’s word never tells us the exact day nor does he tell us to celebrate it). 


And if you think about it, we don’t have any holidays commemorating Christ’s first miracle.  Nobody celebrates ‘Water into Wine’ Day.  Nobody celebrates ‘Walking on Water’ Day, or ‘Feed the Hungry Multitudes’ Day, or ‘Choosing the 12 Apostles’ Day, or ‘Got Left Behind in the Temple’ Day, or how about ‘Flipping Over the Money Changer’s Table’ Day?  There is no call in God’s word to do any of that, nor is there a call to celebrate His birth – is it not all just as incredible and important?    


So yes, we will celebrate Christmas as Christians this year.  But we don’t look at it as if it is a ‘holy event’, or even as a ‘Christian event’.  We will have fun and get a tree, and sing and cook and give gifts and receive gifts with gratitude, but it will be with the same every-day steady Christian dedication that we have as we celebrate Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July or Labor Day, because our entire lives are already centered on Christ – we take Him with us everywhere and give thanks to HIM for every good thing we have.  We are already living Christ every day (or we should be), and remembering all parts of His incredible life on earth. Did this make any sense what-so-ever?

December 5th, 2006 - Posted in Uncategorized | | 0 Comments