Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Week in Review

I need to start labeling my posts. I've noticed other blogs have done that and I like the idea. If I'm looking for something specific, I can click on the subject. One friend has great recipes, reads alot, and has great homeschool ideas. She has her posts labeled and I can go just click on whatever category I'm looking for. One friend is very inspirational. When I need to be lifted up, I go to her blog and choose a label. Of course, saying and doing are two different things. I may never get to the labeling thing. Opening monologue over, and on with the show.

Hubby has been working some really good over time. All the rain has caused all sorts of trouble and we are very thankful. He's also on call, so that is a nice little "extra" as well. He hasn't gotten called out, which is a little weird. Hubby contracted for awhile and followed the hurricanes making some pretty good money. We always felt a little awkward that his job depended on really bad weather and misery for others. It's still the same way. We are thankful for all the rain we've been having for more than refilling our lakes. It is helping to refill our bank account so we can dig our way out from under our mountain of debt. Hubby works so hard for us.

Friday was the homeschool convention. It was incredible, amazing, and a few more adjectives that I am not going to take the time to list. My friend C said she was amazed at the diversity of homeschool families. I was, too. There were families of all shapes and sizes. The sheer number of people that were at the convention was staggering to me. I was in curriculum heaven. I could see, touch, smell, hear, but not taste because that would be gross. I managed to pick some things up that we needed, and a couple that I wanted. It was awesome!

The big girl went with and she was so good. She played with C's daughter. They giggled more than two girls should be allowed to giggle. The big girl fell asleep on the ride home. I think the sugar rush was over and she couldn't help it. The girls got their faces painted while we were there. The big girl liked what the lady had on her face, so that's what she got. The lady made it look so easy. It was Am's first time ever getting her face painted, so it was nice to be there to see her reaction. It was good to spend some time with just the big girl. It's hard to give each one of them alone time as much as I would like to. Any time I get to spend with the kids is good time.

Thursday was the Health Fair at church. I worked promoting Juice Plus with my upline and had a really good time. We didn't make any sales, but it was still fun. I did get an interesting offer about another venture. There is a fellow church member that is starting to put a new program together for doctors' offices and he wants to talk medical billing with me. I am really excited about where this opportunity can lead. Not only could this be an interesting side project, but being in doctors' offices will be another opportunity to promote Juice Plus.

This week coming up is our last official week of dance. I cannot believe it is ending. We have recital the first week in June and are so excited. The kids have their costumes and I will post pictures as soon as I can. You'll have to wait until after recital for that. I may take some summer classes while the kids are in vacation bible school. They will all be there, so I'll have a little free time. We'll see what I can get away with.

We had lasagna for dinner tonight. We had to go to the grocery store after church and I asked what everyone wanted for dinner. The big girl said lasagna and hubby seconded the motion. It was so good. We haven't had it in so long. It was cheesy and bubbly and melty and mmmmm. We had home made bread with it. I made a loaf yesterday and some rolls. The rolls are all gone. I'll need to make smaller ones of those next time. They were a little on the large side and a tiny bit doughy, but that didn't stop us from eating all of them. I liked being able to control what went into our bread. That's the next hurdle to conquer- making our own bread and being able to keep it up.

We have really felt like we have made some serious progress in being better to our bodies. We are trying to get away from packaged and processed foods as much as possible. We haven't cut everything bad out, but one step at a time. We are eating organic, are taking Juice Plus, and have cut our milk intake. We are spending more time as a family and less time in front of the TV. We are working more outside and trying to be more active. So far, so good.

I have to tell you about what happened in church today. I had to leave the 8:30 service a little early to get to our 10:00 service. I was greeting today and I had to be there about 9:30. Since I was also teaching Sunday School at 10 (spread a little thin today, but hubby helped), I took the two older kids with me. They had stayed in the service with us after the children's sermon, so we left together. I kissed hubby really quick, told the kids we were leaving and we left. The big girl stopped and went back to kiss hubby goodbye. The boy went back and kissed hubby. This was done in front of everyone in the service. We weren't thinking about that. We were saying bye the same way we always do. I was greeting at our activity center and a couple of people who had seen it stopped and commented on it. It was all positive and nobody was offended. It was a normal thing for us, and we were able to brighten the lives of others with it. That made us feel really special that we were chosen for that.

That's about all I have for now. I have some ideas that have been rolling around in my head for my other blog. Tyler and Lydia have been talking to me, so I need to do that. Who knows what'll happen next.

Have a great day!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Memorial weekend in this part of the country is time for the annual home school convention. Vendors and speakers come in and set up their wares. Families travel from all over the country, and sometimes the world, to come to our convention. I have been wanting to go for the last couple of years, but haven't gone. I got an email at the beginning of the week from a friend of mine that said she really wanted to go and would I go with her. OK.

It was fantastic. I loved every minute of it. There was so much curriculum. We all know how I feel about curriculum. Are you ready for the best part? There were vendors with curriculum that I had no idea existed. As much as I research, you would think that I would know them all. Apparently, I haven't researched enough. We visited every booth and looked and touched and became overwhelmed. We had to take a lunch break at one point to process and get away from the books for a minute or two.

I took the big girl with me, but the boy and the baby stayed with my in laws. Hubby dropped them off on his way to work and picked them up on his way home. My friend brought her daughter, who she recently adopted from Ethiopia. Am understands more English than she speaks, but she and the big girl get along so well. They kept each other occupied and played and giggled all the way there and all the way home. There was an area set up for the kids that had a bunch of inflatables and we let the girls play a bit after lunch. I know they were tired of following us around all morning and they were fabulous anyway. We wanted to let them have some time to play and get their wiggles out before we went back to wander the aisles.

I did finish up our curriculum for next year and got a start on the year after. I wanted a new bible study, and the free ones online always led me back to the one we are already doing. We're a little bored with the same one over and over, so I found one that I think the kids will like. I bought one for each of them, but I think I will do the one I bought for the big girl, and have her and the boy do the one I bought for the boy. The baby's follows along with the other two, but she will have some down days. Those are the days that she will do a color sheet or maze or something while we do the rest of the study. As long as she is involved and sitting with us is what is important to me.

I got the science curriculum we will be using for the human body. I really like the series of books we'll be using. We are using the animal one for next year and I really like the way the curriculum is set up. I also got a really detailed book of the human body that is incredible. The kids and I were looking at it when everyone got home and were amazed at the pictures. A couple in the muscle section are a little creepy. When you see just muscles on a body or a face, it definitely looks different.

We will try to go next year. It is only $40 for hubby and I and the kids can go into the exhibit hall with us for all three days of teh convention. They do have child care, but it is a little expensive for us. At $75 per kid, that would be more money than we like to pay for child care. They do great activities and provide lunch and a snack, but $225 for a day of babysitting is still steep. We would have to find excellent deals on curriculum for that kind of money. I might see if MIL will do an over nighter for us, and we may stay the night. Doesn't that sound great?

That's the wrap up. You know what's next.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Books on Tape

They still make them, but we listen to the ones on CD. We don't have a tape player or we would listen to those. Anyway, here's what we've been listening to, and reading, too.

We just read "The Wind in the Willows". I had read it as a child and decided it was time to introduce my kids to it. It was just as phenomenal as I remembered it being. The kids loved it. They love to have action and adventure and humor and all those things that we all like in a good book. We laughed at Mr. Toad and agreed that without Badger and Rat, the rest of them would have fallen apart.

We are listening to "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix". That is a great book. We are always disappointed when the CD is over and we can't listen to a new one right away. There are 23 discs to this book. I told the kids there was no way that I would be able to read that one after dinner. The books are just too big. We get into unknown territory next. "The Half Blood Prince" is next and I have already ordered it from the library. The movie will be out this summer, but we won't have seen it before we read the book. Super excited about the movie.

We are reading an Animal Ark book right now called "Puppy in a Puddle". The big girl didn't want to read it just because of the title. I read her the synopsis on the back and she said, "I guess that would be good." She's really liking it. I told her to open her mind and expand her horizons. I don't know what we're reading next, but I hope it will be exciting. We are always open for suggestions.

Reading is so important. I think we will go to the kids reading when we are in the van, or even after dinner. I haven't decided yet, but we'll see what happens. It will help their reading skills and give Mama a break for a little bit, a double positive.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Hubby and I have been get off our butts lately, not an easy thing to do, and have been getting the family out more. Sunday we went blueberry picking. And it was fun. One of our homeschool families has a blueberry patch and we decided to support them and fill our freezer. We had talked about doing this before, but we just never did. We realized that time is going way to fast for us to continue in our rut. We are trying to come up with fun and inexpensive things to do. This was one of those. We filled a one gallon bucket and have eight pints of blueberries. The kids ended up playing more than they picked, but they were with friends they don't see very much. That made it worth it right there. The baby even made a new friend. How exciting is that. Enjoy our pictures. We'll be thinking of you as we munch away.

Have a great day!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Tooth Picture

There she is, in all her glory.

Have a great day!

Friday, May 15, 2009


Just a few things that have gone on. Not much, but there is some exciting news. Exciting for us anyway, which for most people wouldn't be that exciting.

It was costume week at dance class. All the kids got to bring their costumes home and they are so excited. I am too truth be told. This is my favorite time of year with dance class. The baby's is a real ballet cotume. Tight beaded bodice and big fluffy tutu. She is so beautiful. She's always beautiful, but you know what I mean. The boy's costume is denim overalls, a red checkered shirt (think table cloth), and a white hat with a red brim. He is absolutely adorable. The big girl's is pretty funky. It's like school uniform gone punk almost. It's red, black, and white and way cool. We had to get these really cool Converse like shoes that she's been wanting for the costume. She just can't wear them out in public until after recital. Right now she can only wear them at practice and recital. I can't post pics yet, but look for them after the 6th of June.

Park day was rather interesting last week and this week. I'm not real sure I can sum it up quickly, but I'll try. A county employee came to talk to us moms at the park last Friday. He asked that we keep the scooters off the equipment (the park was made for wheelchair accesibility) and off the soft material under the equipment. Not a problem, we can do that. Today a park ranger said they could only ride on the sidewalks around the park, not the sidewalks in the park, in the play area. Huh? Ok, but we were told we could, any paved surface. Apparently not, per the park ranger. Thank you very much.

We had the best time at our last JAM lat week. We had an incredible water slide, slip n slides, sno cones, water balloons, and water bombs. We had an area roped off so they could throw the water balloons in the marked areas only. It still took a little while to pick up the pieces, but we got it done. My kids and one of our volunteer's kids were on the water slide from about noon until 8 that evening. They had to take about a thirty minute break when the rest of the kids got there, but they stayed on it until it was almost dark. The baby was so tired she cried all the way home. I asked if she was tired and she sobbed, "Yess!" I just let her cry. They all slept so good, and so did hubby and I. We rode as much as we could. It was 18' tall, had a curve at the bottom and a landing pool. We want one at home.

And, now for the really exciting news: Yesterday was our last day of school. Whoooooo! We are done for a while. We are taking a break until after recital and then back again for a little bit, then another break before we start again for real. We are all in need of a break. It feels good already to know that we don't have to push or rush or anything like that. I can lay around a little longer in the morning, eat more bon bons. Insert laughter here. I have a couple of exciting things planned for next year, but that's not until September. I am not even going to think about it until next week. We all know what a glutton I am. I'll have half of next year planned by August.

That's our news for now. Oh, the batteries for the camera are dead, so they are being charged to get a picture of the baby's first lost tooth. I'll post when I have a chance.

I would like to take a minute to say how much I love and appreciate my homeschool moms. They are the best support system in the world. I thank God for each and every one of them.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tooth Fairy

She's coming to visit tonight. The baby lost her first tooth. She didn't even know it was loose. She came up to talk to me and there was her little toothless spot. She was a little freaked by the blood, but handled it pretty well. I'll post a picture tomorrow.

Have a great night.

Almost Done

This is our last week of school. I cannot believe it. We have done very good work this year and I am very proud of my kids. Here's a quick list of the things we have done and some things we have learned.

The baby learned to read. That was one of the coolest things I have ever done. I thought it was absolutely amazing to hear her start to read. She sat with me yesterday and read a book with me. Every time we do that, I am more and more amazed at her progress. Now that she can read, we reinforce that this summer with summer reading camp at the library. She loves seeing words and reading them to us. It doesn't matter if it's a sign, label, headline, book, whatever. As long as it has words, she's reading.

Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility. That is the key for us. It is so much more important to be able to adjust to our crazy schedule. We were so busy at one point, but we just rolled with it. If there is a ton of questions, if the kids showed me they could do the assignment, then they don't have to do them all. Sticking to what the curriculum says to do is not always the best thing to do. Be flexible for each child so that they can learn. That is the most important thing.

I can overschedule us. So many people want so many things. We have the opportunity to participate in three different co-ops in the upcoming year. We will not be. I am really hoping that we can participate in two of them. But again, with dance and school, I have to make sure that our schedule is at the point that we can handle it, and not do all of our schooling in the car. There is also JAM and the big girl will be in youth. So add two more activities. We may have to school on (shudder) Friday.

Friends are very important. Not just for the kids, but for me, too. It feels so good to have someone to turn to. Play dates are not just for the kids. If you are telling yourself that, you are very mistaken. We all need to have someone that can sympathize and empathize.

Field trips rule. We took three field trips this year and loved them. We got to spend time with our friends and fellow homeschoolers. We went places we probably wouldn't have gone without them. We got to learn about and see things that we probably wouldn't have without home schooling.

The last thing I have learned is that I am blessed. I have always known this, but it really hits home for me since we started home schooling. I get to watch my kids learn and grow every day. It has made me a better parent and made my kids see a whole new way of life. God has touched our lives and Jesus stays with us at all times. I can even teach my kids with a biblical viewpoint and bring Him into all aspects of our lives.

Our year is almost over, but not the learning. Learning goes well beyond our school years. Learning takes place every second of every day. I am blessed enough to get to see it and be part of it.

Have a great day!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ice Cream Cake

This is the cake that I made hubby for his birthday. It is so good. Thank you D for the recipe.

10 Oreos, crushed
1/2 cup milk
1 3.9 oz pkg of instant pudding
1 12 oz container or larger Cool Whip
12 ice cream sandwiches

Combine milk and pudding with whisk. Fold in half of Cool Whip and all of the cookies. Arrange 6 sandwiches. Place filling on top of ice cream sanwiches. Place remaining sandwiches on top of filling. Frost with remaining Cool Whip. Decorate then freeze for at least 30 minutes.

It was so stinking good. Here's the best part: you can do anything you want with this recipe. There are so many flavors of pudding and ice cream sandwiches. You could mix and match different ones and come up with some really great combinations. Klondike Bars would work. I would worry about the chocolate coating melting, so don't leave it out too long. Maybe a layer of wax paper would help.

You can decorate with anything. You could use chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, or butterscotch, or any number of flavors of chips they have out now. You could use fresh berries like strawberries or blueberries or raspberries. There is flavored Cool Whip. There's another layer of flavor.

Here's a couple of hints and tips:

  • The pudding will be extra thick because you only used a quarter of the milk. Just work with it. It gets better after you fold the cool Whip in.
  • If you use a larger container of Cool Whip than the recipe calls for, don't use half of it for the filling. A third would be more than plenty.
  • Adjust the recipe to what you need. We used 8 sandwiches on top and bottom, and the recipe was fine. I did get a larger Cool Whip, but I used a lot for the filling. But adjust it to fit a larger crowd if you need to.

We will definitely be having this again. Next time, I'm experimenting.

Have a great day!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Garden, Part 2

The top one is our potato plants that have sprung up. The middle is the squash. It's sitting on top of the planter we built. And the last one is our tomatoes. The top two I took yesterday and the bottom one today. We are so happy. I started some garlic oil to help make a spray to keep the bugs away. We have been seeing lady bugs, so that makes us feel pretty good.
The kids have been hand pollenating the flowers. Hubby read about a technique using QTips. We haven't seen any bees yet, which always worries us. All the pesticides have shortened the lives of bees. And without them, we don't eat or have trees or anything else that grows. Sorry, went off topic again.
This has beena fun project for our family. The kids have helped plant, weed, water, feed, load, turn, pull, and whatever else is involved in growing a garden. Next to go in is strawberries, and corn. It may be too late for corn, but we're going to do it any way. My mouth is just watering thinking about all the good food growing in my yard.
Have a great day!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Garden Pictures

These are the ones hubby took last week. Wait till you see the update!
Have a great day!

The Garden Project

Hubby has the kids gardening. It has been so much fun for them. The fruits of their labor have done very well. We have yucky soil, so hubby is using containers. We have tomatoes and squash that the kids have planted. We also have potatoes, garlic, and something we're not quite sure of.

The tomatoes and squash are flourishing. Hubby and I spent part of last Sunday working to put together a home made plant stand. We used two wooden pallets and rearranged them. We pulled every other board and turned it to brace against the board we left below it. Then we put them back to back and connected them with a couple of left over poeces of wood we had hanging around. We put the pots with the squash on top of the connecting boards. And the slats we reattached are like steps for the squash to grow on as the plant starts to vine. We need to do another one, but hubby has to get two more pallets. There is a furniture store downtown that has a whole stack for free. Hubby is going to stop by and pick the two best they have. He might have to get four more.

We have the potatoes and garlic coming up in a seperate container. There used to be a tree farm behind us. It has been very windy here for the last two or three months and the containers blow over and through our fence. They are fantastic! We have alternated the filling of those with soil, hay, and horse poop. then we just keep it watered and stuff started growing. We planted organic potato scraps with eyes and some organic garlic that had sprouted before I got to use it. It has completely taken over. Who knew you could grow potatoes in Florida in April and May? Now I need to look up when to pick them.

We moved the compost pile as well. The one we had just was not big enough, specially when we started doing organic produce. We get so much and eat so much that we had more compost than soil. So we cleared out part of what used to be the garden and expanded. It is so good to have some room. Hubby still needs to put up the shade for it, because It gets none. We would have to water it all day to keep it moist. That is not happening. Hubby got a load of horse poop today to put in it and get it really going. Put lots of good stuff in the compost pile. His brother's boss has several horses and doesn't mind if we cart off some of the good stuff.

We have started taking a new supplement. It is whole foods based and has been amazing for us. We don't take nearly as many supplements as we used to because we don't have to. It gives us our fruits, veggies, and grains that we aren't getting. Even as much produce as we eat, we still don't get what we're supposed to every day. They call it whole foods in a capsule. We have two of the kids on it. The kids get theirs for free. I believe in it so much, I have become a distributor. So if anyone needs a good boost for your body, mind, immune system, and such, ask me about Juice Plus.

School is almost over. I cannot believe it. We had a little snafu in our schedule last week, so we did last week's science this week, and this week's science next week. You get the idea. But we have a week long review of our geology book that we used. The kids are dreading it, but they have done really well with a middle school curriculum. I didn't realize it was as advanced as it was until I started planning lessons. But the kids loved it. I did, too.

We won't finish our history curriculum, but we can pick up where we left off. I also have the second and third year it, so we can just start where we need to. We also won't finish the kids curriculum for math. We are going to take a break until after recital, then do a month or so of two day weeks. Then take another big break and start for real in September. I love the flexibility. There is nothing better.

That's all I have to report for now. Hubby's birthday is tomorrow, and I will post the quick easy recipe to make a home made ice cream cake that is yummy, yummy, yummy. My friend D does them all the time for her kids. Look for the post.

Have a great day!