/ / / Q+A: Fall Edition

Q+A: Fall Edition

Throughout the day I’ll be updating this Q+A post with questions that were asked over on Instagram. At the moment, this blog post is only 1/4 of the way done. Check back through the day for more Q+A’s and photos to go up!

I’ll be doing quarterly Q+A’s. If you have a question you would like answered, ask it in the comments below!

Homeschool Questions

Q. Have you ever used ABeka curriculum? I’m trying to decide between The Good and the Beautiful and ABeka.
A. I have not! You can read my thoughts on The Good and the Beautiful here. We are currently using a lot of Sonlight this year and LOVING it! I’m working on writing out a thorough review of it in the next month.

Q. How do you teach when you have a baby getting into all the things?
A. I have a whole blog post written up about teaching with little ones in the home! You can read it here.

Q. I’m thinking about homeschooling this next year, what would you recommend for Kindergarten curriculum?
A. I have a blog post written up with what we have used in past years and loved! You can read it here.

Q. Were either you or your husband homeschooled?
A. I was homeschooled K-12. My husband went to public school K-12. You can read our homeschooling journey story here. And you can read a letter my mom wrote to homeschooling mamas here. It’s so encouraging and I think you’ll love it!

Q. I’m getting ready to homeschool, where do I start when choosing curriculum? It’s all so overwhelming!
A. I have a whole blog post written up on this very topic! Choosing curriculum does not need to be overwhelming. Read through this post and I think you’ll feel a little less overwhelmed.

Family Questions

Q. I would love to see a Day in the Life!
A. It’s your lucky day! I have one written out HERE.

Q. How many years have you and your husband been married?
A. We celebrate 15 years of marriage the end of October! The best 15 years of my life! I love my man.

Q. What is the best thing to do for your marriage in the midst of raising up a young family?
A. I loved this question. And I will eventually do a full blog post on it. For now my advice would be….
+ Make your marriage the number one priority over your children. Your children are a beautiful addition to your family, but shouldn’t ever be the main focus.
+ Make sure to spend time visiting with your spouse daily. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes.
+ Pray for your spouse and be their number one cheerleader.
+ Date your spouse! For the majority of our marriage we couldn’t afford a babysitter much less a meal out. Date night to us meant tucking the kids in bed early and curling up together for a favorite meal or tv show.
+ Stay committed. We live in a world that doesn’t value marriage much less families. Stay committed to your spouse and focus on pursuing them daily.

Q. Are you and your husband from big families?
A. There are five children in my family and three children in my husband’s.

Q. Do you live near your extended family?
A. My parents and 2 brothers (and their families) all live in Missouri. We sure wish we lived closer to them! Both of my sisters live here in Texas. They’re about a 45 minute drive away. I am so grateful they’re both here!

Farm Questions

Q. We are new goat owners in November! What is the best book or website to learn from?
A. We LOVE our Nigerian Dwarf goats! I have learned a ton from the Youtube Channel called Blue Cactus Dairy Goats. I also loved this book and this book.

Q. What kind of pigs do you have? And what is your plan with them?
A. We have Registered Kunekune pigs. Our plan is to breed later this winter. We’ll sell the pigs we register and then harvest (eat) the pigs that aren’t quite up to par for registering.

Q. What animals do you have on your hobby farm?
A. We have Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Kunekune Pigs, chickens, Bobwhite Quail, dogs, barn cats and a horse.

Q. What animals will you be selling?
A. This coming spring our plan is to sell Bobwhite Quail eggs/chicks as well as our registered Kunekune piglets. The boys started their little quail business last year (C+C Quail). It’s been a great little business for them and this next spring it’ll all come to fruition!

Q. How do you ever leave town with all of your animals? I would love to get some farm animals, but am nervous we’ll never be able to go anywhere.
A. Over the past few years we have found some local jr. high and high-school kids who come and do our animal chores if we leave town. If you’re looking for someone, ask around! Chances are someone knows of a responsible teenager looking to make a few extra bucks.

Q. We’re thinking of getting a cat for our kids. What part of pets do your kids do vs. you?
A. Each one of our kids (minus the 4 year old and 1 year old) all have an animal that they are responsible for. We love having animals on our little farm because it has taught each one of them how to be responsible and to care for something else that is living.

Our kids do all of the animal chores. The only thing that we help them with is providing the feed (going to the feed store) and administering vaccines/medications. Besides that, it’s all them!

Having animals is a WONDERFUL way to build character and hard working kids! It also teaches them empathy and care for God’s living creatures.

Home Questions

Q. How do you handle house cleaning? Do you do it on a regular basis?
A. Everyone in our home has daily chores they are responsible for to keep our house picked up. Fridays are our deep cleaning day where we all pitch in to give it a good go over.

Everyone (including the little boys) is expected to pitch in on keeping the house clean. We do a four day school week so that we are able to play catch up on school, house work and errands on Friday.

Q. I have seen you post a Chore Chart before on Instagram. Where did you get yours?
A. I use the Chore Chart I created for my homeschool shop! You can find it here.

Q. I need your laundry tips! Struggling with it over here.
A. Well… I’ve got zero laundry tips ha! Laundry is the one thing I have yet to truly figure out a great system for. We do a four day school week in our home (the big kids will do a little work and a science experiment on Fridays). Leave Friday as an open day allows for me to play catch up on all. the. laundry.
Most weeks I’ll wash a few loads a day, then pop it into baskets to fold later. As much as I would love to fold it as soon as it comes out, that just isn’t happening with our schedule at the moment. On Fridays we’ll all pitch in tackle folding the laundry together.

Q. Do you have a big home for your family? How many kids share bedrooms?
A. Our home is a modest size. Not super large, but not super small. It is 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. We used to live in an 1,1100 sq ft home with 6 of us. You can read more about that here.

We have lived in this house for a little over 4 years and have played a variety of musical bedrooms. Our current set up is my favorite. All 5 of our boys share the big master bedroom and master closet. We have 2 sets of bunk beds set up in there as well as a crib. It has been so wonderful having them all together! The girls share their room. And then my husband and I share the smallest bedroom in the house (I personally LOVE a tiny bedroom). Our 4th bedroom is used for our school room. You can see more pictures of it in this post.

Work Questions

Q. I am wanting to bring in extra income from home. How do you do it?
A. I am actually working on putting together material regarding this. A short answer would be…. I’ve worked on diversifying different streams of income over the years. I bring in income through blogging, my Beautycounter business, Home and Haven Homeschool Community and digital prints.

I’ll be sharing more in the coming month on all of this. I want to be able to write everything out in detail to encourage those of you who are wanting to bring in extra income. It IS possible and I can’t wait to share more!

If you want to know more about how to diversify your income online, make sure to get on THIS EMAIL LIST for updates on a project I’m working on.

Q. Do you have Consultants on your Beautycounter team? How do I join?
A. I do! I have built a team over the past 3 years and am so grateful for each one of them! I am under an incredible downline who provides amazing education and support for Beautycounter team members. If you’re ever interested in joining, send me an email! ashley@thevanillatulip.com

Q. Do you have any help with your businesses? Or do you do it all yourself?
A. Oh my goodness, YES YES YES! I have an amazing team of women who help with different areas of my online businesses. They help with social media posting, creating content, answering emails and more. I am so grateful for them and they’ve been a huge asset to my businesses over the past 2 years.

Q. When do you work your online businesses around homeschooling and family life?
A. This is something that changes and flows with each season of life. I have never been one to have extra hobbies outside of my work. I LOVE to work and create businesses. I’ve always had a love for creating and bringing in income. In the evenings after Travis and I have spent time together, I’ll work for a few hours. I’ll also wake up early some mornings to get caught up on work. In years past I have been able to work online during naptimes. This past year that hasn’t worked as well because my afternoon nap hours have been spent working with my older two kids (8th and 6th grade) on their school work.

I am a big fan of making to-do lists and getting a bunch of work done in segmented periods of time. We don’t have internet at our house (we aren’t able to get it because of the trees on our property), which means I work off of my phones hot spot. If I have a lot of digital products or photos that need to be uploaded, I’ll make sure to plan out time to do that when we drive into town for errands or church. Lots of planning ahead and having a set plan in place!

General Questions

Q. Do you have Dutch roots? Do you speak any Dutch?
A. I do have Dutch roots! My entire side of the family is Dutch. And I do not speak any Dutch (aside from silly phrases my Grandpa would teach us as kids.. like “You dirty rat” ha!).

Q. How do you do it all?
A. This was the question asked the most. And the answer is… I don’t. Most days my “to-do” list isn’t anywhere touched and I’m okay with that. This is a full season of life and I’ve learned to be okay with never being completely caught up with things (like laundry and to-do lists).

My family, their care and their education are number one priority. Work and everything else falls into place after that.

Q. What are some items you would tell someone to stock up on in times like these?
A. I have a whole blog post written up on this question! You can read it here.

Q. What is your favorite fiction book?
A. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Such a good one!

Q. Do you sleep train your babies?
A. I do not. I personally am not a fan of sleep training for my own babies (to each his own! No judgement if you are big on sleep training). With my first I read the book “Baby Wise” and found myself SO. STRESSED. OUT. wondering why my baby wasn’t doing what the book said. I tried it for quite awhile and finally threw the book in the trash. We figured out our own little rhythm and life was grand. With each baby I have found myself relaxing and soaking up that first year. My babies never slept through the night until they were a year old and I didn’t mind a bit. The more babies I have, the more I find myself loving those night time feedings there it’s just the two of us. Again, this isn’t for everyone… but letting the baby do their thing and keeping them close to me in their bassinet has worked wonderfully for me.

Q. Do you breastfeed? How long do you typically breastfeed?
A. I have breastfed all of my kids. Most of them I breastfed for 6-9 months (I’m just not a huge fan… LOVE me a good bottle!). The longest I breastfed was one of the boys for almost 2 years (I still can’t believe we went that long haha!).

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  1. With social media down…I was so happy to see these questions on your blog! Thanks for answering about the pets and kids. Makes me excited to potentially add a kitten for my daughter.

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