Friday, March 30, 2012

Good Morning!!

This is really more of an update blog. I've been making notes about blog topics, and marking them out as I write about them. Some of them just keep popping up. Some of this is kinda new. Some of it is for the other blog. Yes, Big Sis, I'll get to it as soon as I can. Ready for bullet points? I am!!

  • You should see out garden! We are so happy! Our tomatoes are flowering like crazy. Our pepper plants have tiny, tiny peppers on them. The onions are getting huge. Sweet potatoes are vining. The eggplant and cucumber plants are crazy big. I took pics from the beginning and I'll try to get new ones today or tomorow so you can see for yourself. I do not have a green thumb, so all of this is new to me. We planted several different types of tomatoes. My favorites are the Cherokee Purple and the Lemon Boy, but we also have Roma and Mortgage Breakers and Mr. Stripeys and a cherry variety called Chocolate Cherry. I have always liked the odd balls.We would like to make salsa and tomato sauce and have some to can and put away. My grandmother used to make the best tomato juice. Gosh that stuff was awesome. I had a friend say that maybe we should have a fajita party when the tomatoes and peppers and onions come in. I like a party, so you never know with me. Now to build a netting frame to keep the stinking birds off my strawberries.
  • There is a bible curriculum called Grapevine Studies that a couple of friends reviewed for a homeschooling magazine. It's learning the bible using stick figures. I have a few samples and mini lessons that I downloaded for free. We love them. I've used them at home and for Sunday school. They are just fun. Anyway, I was looking for something to use for Easter. You would think with all my freebies that I could find something I liked. Yeah, no. I did come across the teacher's guide for their Easter study that I had gotten as a freebie. I broke down and bought the student book. It wasn't expensive and we enjoy them. Oh my giddy aunt, you should see our stick figures! We are having the best time!! It's keeping our attention and we're laughing and we're learning. It fits right in with our cartooning as well. Too fun!!
  • Speaking of our art study, my big girl is quite the artist. She has always been very artistic, but this has been awesome for her. She would take hours to get her drawings right if I let her. We are down to just one day a week for art. I may go back to two days since the kids like it so much. And they have a cartoon to draw and we only have six more weeks of school. Guess we better get a move on. 
  • I printed objective sheets for school for next year. I will have a high schooler, middle schooler, and elementary schooler. I need some help. No. I really need some focus. The older I get, the more scatter brained I become. I think it's because I fly by the seat of my pants. When I printed the sheets, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to accomplish next year. I printed a sheet for each subject and one for general objectives. I had to drag out all the curriculum for next year and group it by subject. I sat and read through the teacher guides and part of each text book. Then I formed a plan, by subject. It felt good to put some goals down on paper. I feel more accountable that way. And with a high schooler, I really need to make sure I am on top of things. I want her dual enrolled when she gets to the last couple of years in high school. And as I go back and read this bullet point, I realize that I am a big freak. Like I didn't already know that.   
  • The chickens have been ordered. The chicken wire has been layed out and measured. The fencing we are using has been ordered and shipped. We are getting closer and closer to the big day. The pretty ladies will be here by mid April and we need to be ready. The closer it gets, the more nervous and excited I get. We picked a nice shady part of the yard that isn't too far from the house. We should still be able to see them from the house. My concern is picking them up from the post office. As long as all ten chickens aren't in one huge box, we'll be ok. We did order started pullets. We didn't want to take a chance with chicks yet. The ladies ship when they are about 17 weeks old. They should start laying eggs a couple of weeks after they arrive. Once we get the pen up, we build the nesters and the coop. So much to do still, but at least things are progressing.
  • We spent yesterday at Disney for the baby's special day. Loving these passes! We fast passed the Winnie the Pooh ride and got surprise fast passes to Philharmagic, too! The line for that is always long. It was a great surprise for us. And the baby got to ride her first roller coaster. She got to ride Splash Mountain. Hubby rode with her and taught her the death grip on the handle. She loved it! He said she was a little scared, but it was her first "big" ride. Hubby wants to take her on Space Mountain. I'm just not ready. She's just not big enough, the poor petite thing. And for the first time, I was all by myself while everyone was on a ride. That was odd. Leave me alone too long and I'll go shopping. Good thing we fast pass almost everything. 
I guess that's about all for now. I need to get my achy, tired kids out of bed. Yeah, I'm mean that way. One day, they'll appreciate it. Like, when they're parents and can do that to their own kids.

Have a great day. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

This Close...

We are headed down the home stretch of another school year. Whoo hoo!! As much as I love homeschooling my kids, I also love our summer break. Come on, summer break!! I like to be done before recital week. That is a crazy week with lots of time in the van and it's just easier to not worry about school. I feel bad for our public schooled, dance friends. Normally, recital is after school is out, but the last couple of years the venue has been booked and we've had to have it earlier. The year before last it was during finals week.

I want to be SuperWoman, but I'm That's-All-I-Can-Do Woman. We've even had to make new rules abut school work being completed and electronics. You don't get it done, you don't get your iPods or phones or DSs or whatever. They all have to be turned in by 9 every evening and they may or may not be returned the next day. We've had to make new rules about chores and bed times and all kinds of stuff. For the first week of the new rules, I was the meanest mama ever. Yup, wanna see how mean I get? I didn't think so. Of course, that means that I have to change how I do things as well. Dinner has to be on the table before 8 o'clock. Because of dance a couple of years ago, we became late eaters. We just have a hard time breaking the habit. I have to make time during my day to get my own chores done. Have you seen my stove? You don't want to. That's on my agenda for tomorrow. It doesn't help that if I get my nose in a good book, I lose all track of time. Or get in the middle of a big project.

Lately, big project has been getting the garden ready and planted. We have two 4'x4' square foot gardens. We have tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant and sweet potatoes. It took a little more work than we thought to get it ready. We also used all organic soil for them. Go figure, right? For the sweet potatoes, we did use the compost out of our pile. They are vining like crazy. We are very excited about that. We thought that sweet potatoes were cold weather veggies. Nope, they like it warm. Warm is certainly what they're getting right now. We got strawberry plants in the tower. They look so good. We are trying to wait patiently. They've already started producing berries. Oh, yummy. And we also put in purple and green cabbage. I wanted bok choy as well, but we filled most of the spaces with the strawberries. The ones that are empty now are going to be lettuce and kale. Now on to major project number 2.

We are cleaning up for chickens. We plotted out the run and where we want the coop. So very excited. We already have chicken wire and fencing that we're going to bury for predator defense. Then it's a matter of getting the supplies to build the coop. We order chickens on Thursday, so we better get our butts in gear. When the chickens get here, they need a place to live and it's not my living room. We might possibly go in with a friend on meat chickens. Just need to talk some things over first. OMGA, I've become a country girl!! I need a trip to the mall, STAT!!

I made a chocolate cake today. It is so stinkin' good. Except for fresh fruit and a little honey here and there, we haven't had anything sweet since Lent started. It hasn't been that bad. I do miss sugar when I have coffee in the morning. I like my coffee sweet. I did find a brand of lunch meat and turkey bacon that doesn't have added sugar, nitrites, or nitrates. And it's good. Finding ketchup took some doing. There is added sugar in so many things. Try finding cereal. I did and it's expensive, but the kids are happy. Crackers have sugar. Why do you need sugar in a cracker? To make it taste good. I'm going to try my hand at making crackers, hopefully this weekend. It's been harder on hubby and the kids than it has been on me. At one point, shortly after we started, I told them not to complain one more time. I just could not listen to it anymore. They stopped at the threat of mutiny on my part. They have it easy and they know it.  

I've been doing a little planning for next school year. The curriculum I was given can be quite the heavy work load. As I was plotting and planning, just to see where we stood, I started to have a little panic attack. I just kept wondering how we were going to get everything done. Oh, yeah, I don't have to. The boy will be working on a book study. It could take 4-5 weeks just to complete all the work for each chapter. It would take him a whole school year to complete one book. The big girl will be doing literature. Just looking at the amount of reading involved with that was enough to make me shiver a little. Then I took a breath. I feel much better knowing that I don't have to do it all. I don't have to be SuperWoman. I can, but I don't have to.

The baby got two boxes of clothes. Big Sis sent a huge box of pretty, froufrou dresses. You should have seen the baby when I started pulling dresses out of the box. She wanted to dive in and just swim in pretty dresses. She had the best time trying them on. She even had a great time playing in the box after we got them all sorted out. She asked if she could text Big Sis and tell her thank you. She already has them planned out in what order she's wearing them to church. She gets her crazy from hubby. Then at the park, a friend had a box of clothes that her daughter had outgrown. It was like Christmas for the baby girl. You should see the sparkly high top tennis shoes. The baby canNOT wait to grow into those. I like them, too. I thought about trying them on, but if they fit, the baby would never get them back. Talk about a city girl...

Alright, I guess I've rehashed all I can for now. I feel the need for a little Just Dance 3. It's time to get my dance on.

Have a great day.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Field Trips, In Pics

We have taken a couple of field trips this year. We count any activity that takes us out of the house and books and away from our studies as a field trip. Because we can.

For instance, hubby had a day off and I had a coupon. So we went bowling. Gosh, coupons rule! This one included food, drink, bowling for 2 hours and shoes for about $30. We can't bowl or eat without a coupon for that price.

The shoes the big girl and I got had the shoe strings tied together. Nobody else's were like that. We shuffled around and were actually going to try to bowl that way (because we're crazy), but they came untied. We thought about tying them back together, but we were discouraged by hubby. Probably the smart thing to do. I still don't like being told no even when I would probably end up on my face. Grrrrr...

The boy wanted me to get a picture of the bowling ball coming back to us. Ok. It took me a couple of times to get one I liked. It is a phone after all and not a camera. I thought this one looked cool.

Just a shot down the lane. We were done and I had been so busy having fun that I forgot to get pics of us actually bowling. Oh, well, at least I got the bowling ball pic!

We also went to the annual Pow Wow that comes to our area. We missed it the last couple of years, but I was bound and determined to go this year. It just so happened to fall right at the end of our Native American study. It wasn't as elaborate as it has been in years past and I think the kids were a little disappointed. I was. They normally have a grand entrance of all the tribes represented. They parade in their finery and it is pretty awesome to see.

This is the boy and the baby with some of their friends hanging out circle side. The boy wanted to get closer to the action and the baby was having trouble seeing so up they went. If they had gotten any closer, they would have been in the circle.

This is one of the dancers preparing for exhibition. He is 11 and is in training for competition. He made me tired just watching him. He was really good. We wish him well.

There is an eagle rescue group that is always there. This is one of their eagles. Beautiful!

We had a great time. Again. We had friends there and that always makes it better. I would like to take the kids to a huge pow wow. There are some awesome ones in New Mexico and Arizona. One day, one day...

A fellow homeschooler set up a field trip to a place called Sky Zone. It is all trampolines. You can bounce off the walls if you want. They had a place for little kids, big kids, and a dodge ball court. Dodge ball on trampolines. I know you want to play. Hubby took a day off to go with us. You know it was a good time.

Yeah, the baby was the one that got hurt. Hubby was trying to teach her how to do a flip. She didn't quite make it all the way around this time. Oops...

Hubby ain't right. I could kick him. Yeah, just keep doing back flips. And double back flips. Whatever...So jealous, can you tell?

It didn't take the baby long to recover. She just needed a mama hug. Then it was off again. She gets that from her father.

Even the big girl jumped. And jumped. And jumped. This is her with her friend S. I'm just glad I got her in mid-air. Now I have proof.

We love field trips. We are about to be super busy (duh), but now it's at home. We've been working on our square foot garden and need to get the strawberry plants in the tower. We had strawberry plants that we bought in a kit, but they were DEAD when we went to plant them. We are very unhappy about that. We put them in the tower anyway, hoping, but nothing. They come out today and our living plants go in. We are also adding cabbage, and then lettuce in a week. I'll post pics when it's all done. We also have to work on cleaning up the area designated as our chicken coop. It's time!! Then it's time to build the coop and the nesters!! Whoo hoo. Like we need something else to do.

Have a great day.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chicken Class, In Pics

Just a couple, because they were funny. I'm not sure the baby knew what she was getting into. Her look after the pics was "Someone come get this thing!" Hehehehe.


Have a great day.

Round Up

Love it when I plug the iPod in to blog and Metallica comes blasting through my headphones!! I'm awake!!! Who needs coffee? I do, but I like sugar in mine. I can't have it right now, but we'll get to that. You get a random blog today. Lots of little things.

We got Disney passes!! Thank you, Uncle Sam, for holding our money for us and not letting us spend it. We have had the best time. We have been to all the parks this year except Magic Kingdom. We have been there before and wanted to spend some time at the other parks for awhile, see what they had to offer. We have been on safari at Animal Kingdom, we have traveled the world at Epcot, and been treated like stars at Hollywood Studios. The boy and the baby get to pick a park that they want to visit for their birthdays. Hubby and I went for our anniversary. The kids spent the night with friends and we headed out to the Boardwalk, then Epcot, hopped the monorail to Magic Kingdom then back. It was awesome! We picked up the kids the next day and headed to Hollywood Studios. It was super crowded, so we left after a couple of hours and went to Epcot.

This is hubby and me on the monorail. We like the park hopping thing. The park's too busy or you've seen everything you want, just go somewhere else. Lovely!

 This is us after the Nemo ride. My phone rocks. OMGA, I like being able to take pics and post them to Facebook, because I am ate up that way! This is the observation deck of the aquariums. Fun!!

 We did a Kim Possible mission. If you don't know, she's a teenage spy in a Disney cartoon. You get cell phones that give you clues on how to accomplish your mission. You take it country to country and stop bad guys. Fun! We've decided we have to do on each time we go. It's fun being a spy.

 We call it the golf ball. Sure wish I had figured out the zoom on my phone when I took this. Still pretty, though.

 Mr. Potato Head at the Toy Story Mania ride. That was fun!! The big girl whooped us all. I threatened to whoop her if she beats me again...

 This is outside the Movie Magic ride at Hollywood Studios. Groman's Chinese Theater. I liked the way it looked.

 I rode Dinosaur. It wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was kind of jerky and it was very dark. Would I ride it again? Only if I had to. I was nervous about my back, and I'm not sure I would survive another trip through time.

    This is, by far, the best family pic we've taken. Funny, isn't it? We've met characters galore and princesses out the wazoo. One of the first things we did was buy an autograph book. It was also one of the best things we did, too. That has been so much fun. I know you've seen the pic of the baby hugging Pooh Bear. The smile on her face is just way too precious.

The problem with having passes is that we are always heading to Disney when we have a few hours to kill. You should see my poor, neglected house. Pure filth!! We did spend a couple hours cleaning on Sunday. I no longer have to compare my bathroom to a gas station bathroom, thank goodness! You should have seen the kids' bathroom. No, I take that back. Hubby even cleaned our room. I can walk through it and not have to follow the path through the junk. There is still plenty to do, trust me, but at least some of the grime is gone.

Lent has started. For Lent, hubby and I were going to start the Maker's Diet. Hubby was looking at the eating plan and what you get to eat the first couple of weeks. He was afraid he'd starve to death. If you know hubby, he shouldn't lose any weight. He has a hard time putting weight on, so losing is not good for him. He was looking at the Hallelujah Diet. We've decided to combine them. I need to get on the website and print some of the recipes. We've had vegetarian meals before, but not raw foods. That's interesting. We'll see how we do.

We did, through all this, decide to give up sugar for Lent. That has been hard. We are sticking with natural sugars in food, like fruit, just not added sugar. My friend K and her family have done this. You thought HFCS was in everything! Why do you need sugar in turkey lunch meat? Crazy stuff. I can't even put sugar in my coffee. Do you know what that's like? It's yucky. Hubby has been using honey. I don't like it with honey (insert super whiny voice here). Just want a good cup of coffee. Of course, we blew it right away. We had a dinner at church. That's what the flyer and message said. Only it wasn't dinner. It was dessert. What?!? How can I tell my family no when they were starving and looking like they could keel haul me with no problem? We all got two. Lovely.

Our other give up for Lent is going to restaurants. Except the baby's birthday. She was due a dinner and she wanted to go to Cracker Barrel. We went after the church dessert dinner because we all needed solid food and I needed something to soak up the sugar. We ended up getting our food to go because the sugar decided it was not going to be my friend. Fine, be that way. The chicken and dumplings were ok, but they sure weren't my mamaw's. Great, now I want my mamaw's chicken and dumplings. Gonna need to make a test batch of dumplings with alternative ingredients. Hmmmmm...

We bought kits for our square foot garden. Between the overtime starting again and trips to Disney, hubby just doesn't have the time to build them. My project today is to get the kits together. We are already behind in planting, so we need to get a move on. Maybe those passes weren't a good idea. Who am I kidding? They're awesome. We did come home one evening and the tower was on it's side. The wind had been blowing something fierce and over it went. I lost most of my brussel sprout plants. So unhappy about that. I still have two or three plants. It's about time to clean it out and start new stuff anyway. Hubby and I are thinking a tower full of strawberries. Oh, yeah. As soon as we get it cleaned out, we'll get it moved over to the garden area. Now if I can keep Big Sis from raiding the strawberries. And the boy. And the big girl. And hubby. And me. Uh oh, maybe not.

We took a chicken class! It was fun. Now the hard core research starts. We need to decide what kind of chickens to start with, how many, what kind of structure, and all that good stuff. We do know we are only starting with about 5 or 6. And we aren't doing chicks. Too much effort and time. And we aren't doing meat chickens until we know we can raise egg chickens. I am so stinking excited. You should see the kids.

I guess that's enough for now. I'll post the pics of kids with the baby chick and the boy with a chicken on his head. Why do I think that may be a normal occurence?

Have a great day.