Sunday, November 15, 2015

update in pictures

So we have been incredibly busy here.  I've already decided next year in Sept and Oct we will only do school four days a week.  There is so much canning and gardening work that needs to be done, I just can't keep up with it all.  Plus, we have to get everything ready for winter.  I'm still not done but thankfully its been really really nice out; in the 50s which is unusual for us. Yesterday it was in the 60s and I opened the windows. 

Here's some pictures from the girls' rodeo that took place in Sept.

Princess Buttercup with her ribbons; two first and two second place

Careful around the cones

Princess Daisy riding Moonshine

Being careful not to knock over the cans

Bug-a-bug riding Windsor; her favorite horse

Princess decided not to participate this time.  The girls have been taking riding lessons since March.  They each participated in four different games.  It was a long but fun day.  They absolutely love Morning Glory stable and so do I.

TL has bought a guitar and started taking lessons.  He's doing really really well and enjoying learning an instrument again.  He did piano and violin when we were in Japan.  Bug-a-bug wants to learn "country instruments" like violin (fiddle), guitar, and banjo.  We'll have to see if we can get something going next year for her.

The youngest three are still in American Heritage Girls.  Princess didn't want to but decided to try it again on Tuesday night.  I'm hopeful that she will be want to join us again.  A lot of really wonderful girls for her to be with.

TL is still in taekwondo although a foot issue had him miss many classes this summer.  He went to Philmont with his scout troop but has decided that he's pretty much done with scouts.  It saddens me that he won't make eagle but I understand that with the issues with leadership and the lack of organization with our troop has changed his attitude towards scouts.  Still he's working a lot and doing okay with his school work so he's a pretty busy young man.  And of course, he's very helpful around the house here.  I depend on him a lot and am very grateful that he does whatever I ask of him without questioning or complaint.

School is going well; although we are a little behind where I wanted to be.  Not too bad considering all that has to be done here to get ready for winter.  We're really getting into some good stuff now and the girls are really enjoying their lessons.  The littles are learning about volcanoes now.  I can't wait to pull out the rocks from our kids from Northwest Treasures.  I'm loving the books that come with the kits.  Full of some really fun things for the kids to do.

We had our two pigs butchered and now our freezer is literally stock full of pork.  I'm excited about that!!  Hopefully the chickens will start laying any day so we'll have fresh eggs once again.  And the pantry is getting full with the sales items I've been buying.  My goal is to have several months worth of food on hand.

I'm busy making some items for Christmas gifts now.  Doing some knitting and making some quilted items.  I hope to get some done for around the house also.  I never seem to have enough time!  After Christmas I will be focusing on scrapbooking;  TL  is graduating and his book is done through age six and hubby retires and his hasn't been started yet.  UGH!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

I'm here! I'm here!

Busy busy first few weeks of school.  Getting back into the swing of things proved harder than I thought.  The big girls volunteer one day a week at our church's free after school program and American Heritage Girls is in full swing.  Plus, the girls have riding lessons one day a week until the end of October.  Last week was their rodeo and it was so much fun!  Thankfully TL drives now so I don't have to run him to taekwondo or Boy Scouts.  He's had a nasty corn on the bottom of his foot from standing at work so much so he hasn't gone to taekwondo the last few weeks.  It is too painful.

We've only done four days of school each week.  That may be the norm from now on in September.  Its still canning season and trying to get it all done is proving difficult.  Last week I canned 10.5 quarts of spaghetti sauce, 6 more quarts of chili, and 20 quarts of applesauce.  I still have 5 more bags of apples to process.  I hope to get 16 quarts of apple pie filling and the rest in more applesauce.

Once the canning is done I need to clean out the barns and garage for winter.  It shouldn't take long but it keeps me very busy. 

I'll see ya'll on the flip side!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First day done!!

I didn't take any fun first day photos.  I should have but didn't.  I had a blazing headache all day long today.  This afternoon it was even worse.  I imagined that I was a pressure canner and just wished I could release the pressure in my head.  Thank goodness its finally gone!

We have quite a successful day today.  Got everything done without grumbling, complaints, and even finished early. 

I need to call the doctor first thing tomorrow thought for TL who has a corn on his foot that is very painful.  We've tried the corn things but it isn't gone and since he stands all day long on his feet at work, it needs to go.  I haven't put our schedule together for tomorrow yet since I don't know when or if I will be able to get him in.  I tried calling this afternoon just to book an appointment but six weeks from now is not realistic.  If I can't get him in I may end up in urgent care and who knows if they will even remove it there.

I was very excited to find Reading Rainbow on Netflix for my littles.  Who doesn't love Reading Rainbow right?  I still loved it in sixth grade when we went every week to the tv room to watch that and some boring science show.  Apparently, Princess Daisy hates's not filled with enough action.  Princess Buttercup and Bug-a-Bug were entertained though so I guess its not ALL bad.  lol 

Take care everyone and have a wonderful week!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

On the homestead:

I'll be finishing up lesson plans tomorrow. I'm excited for this year but I've been really busy with the animals and garden.  Our pigs head off to be butchered this week.  I'll be really glad to have a full freezer again (and very thankful for more bacon!)  The chickens are growing well and we should be getting eggs from them in another six to eight weeks.  I'm happy about that.  I've been buying eggs for the first time in three years and not enjoying these egg prices at all.  The cow should be ready to butcher sometime in April/May.

This week I've accomplished a lot of canning.  I'm glad that the tomatoes are finally coming in because I can a lot of spaghetti sauce and chili to get us through those cold months.  I use green peppers and onions from the garden.  Only the oregano, basil, and garlic are bought to season the sauce.

This week I've canned:
  • 8 half-pints of spiced pear jam
  • 10 quarts of corn (I didn't have anymore room in the freezer)
  • 4 quarts of green beans
  • 9 quarts of chili
  • 7 quarts of spaghetti sauce
  • 6 half-pints of raspberry plum jam
I've added more zucchini to the freezer.   This week I will be pulling up all the onions and carrots.  I have a few more green beans which we will just eat for dinner.  I also grabbed the broccoli before it flowered and we will have it for dinner tomorrow.  We've been also picking a bowl of raspberries off the vines every day this week and just snacking on those.  Too little to can; well probably not but the kids eat them to fast.

On the homeschool front

Last week we did math and literature every day, with some days being more successful than others.  I wanted the kids to have a little under their belts before we jumped in feet first on Tuesday.

I just realized that I didn't post what curriculum we are using this year.

I will do that tomorrow or later this week as time permits.  I'm too tired right now and hot from standing in that really hot kitchen.  Thank goodness we have air conditioning because its been close to 90 everyday with 90% humidity. 

Have a wonderful Labor Day and blessed week!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

How a homeschool parent gets ready for school

Ways that a homeschool parent gets ready for the school:

1.  Shop for school supplies.  Go to the nearest store and wander around the school supply area casually grabbing the needed crayons, markers, glue sticks, pencils, and paper for the year all while watching the moms with the page long list of supplies that their kindergartner needs.  Giggle to yourself while that mom races frantically from aisle to aisle searching for that elusive item on their list.  Your cart totals $30 in supplies for three kids and hers is $100 for just one.

2.  Shop for curriculum.  Take a few friends for a girls’ weekend and head to the nearest homeschool convention.  Go out to eat, relax, sleep, and enjoy yourself all weekend long while public school moms are busy at home shuffling their angels from activity to activity trying to get everything done during summer vacation.

3.  Shop for school clothes.  Well, that really isn’t necessary since most days your kids spend in their pajamas so just stock up on some nice warm flannels and you’re done.  Meanwhile, the other moms are dropping a mortgage payment making sure that their children have the latest fashions so they are not picked on during the year.  You cruise in and out of the store while they circumnavigate the mall three times with three cranky children who never seem to find what they like.

4. First day of school-Gather at the window in your robe and drink your favorite coffee or tea. Watch all the kids and their moms gather at the bus stop.  New clothes, backpacks, sneakers, and everyone is smiling and taking pictures.  After the bus leaves, go rouse your children out of bed and start your first day by letting them wear pajamas for the day.

5.  Week one.  Watch the neighborhood kids get on the bus still smiling because they are enjoying their first few days at school.  You spend the day teaching your child about Michelangelo.  Then you tape paper to the bottom of the kitchen table and let them color and paint just like the Sistine Chapel.

6.  Week two.  The neighborhood kids are now miserable and tired at the bus stop.  The moms are racing after them bringing items that they forgot.  Other sleepy kids are munching on a pop tart.  Bagged lunches designed by pinterest ideas have been replaced by PB&J.  You still watch from the comfort of your window, sipping your coffee, and then rouse your kids after the bus leaves.  This week’s study is on the Oregon Trail and your children are making food that was made on the trail, playing the game on the computer, and packing for their own simulated trip in the house where you’ve set up problems for them to solve in each room.

7.  Week three.  It pours for two days.  Mom are sitting in running cars at the bus stop so their kids don’t get soaked, which unfortunately they do when they tried to leave the car to get on the bus.  You spend one day at the local science museum and the next day helping your kids research a scientist or invention to do an oral report.

If only this were true!!  We have as many struggles as public school parents. 

·        We sharpen pencils every morning only to have them sucked into the void the next morning. 

·        Planning is often difficult and ruined when the flu bug hits.

·        A run into the store after a field trip yields strange looks and the “why aren’t your kids in school?” question.  This produces an entire uninvited conversation on “don’t you worry about socialization?”

·        Most days we want to curl up into bed and pull the covers over our heads. 

·        Leaving the kids to do their school work quietly while you change the laundry around results in a full scale shouting match and eraser war.

·        There is not enough caffeine in the world to make it through the day

·        Pinterest lunch ideas are thrown out the window.  Open a can of ravioli and call it lunch.  Add an apple and you’ve added a fruit.

Best of luck to all my fellow homeschool parents!! 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

New Life

After finishing up a year of going online for my master's degree full time while trying to homeschool, I needed a break.  I still have a year to finish my degree but I'm taking some time off to refocus on my kids and the house.  Things got way to disorganized here and it was driving me a little batty.

This summer, I've been spending a lot of time getting ready for our new year.  Five kids in different levels means a lot of planning, but that's okay.  I'm enjoying the planning once again which tells me that I really really needed some time off.

I've also been busy with our garden this year.  It was the biggest ever but we still had some disappointments.  The carrots refused to grow and I planted them twice.  Not really a disappointment, but I have enough cucumbers to feed an army.  We have a ton of pickles left from last year so I definitely do not need anymore of those!  The tomatoes haven't really come in yet....a few a day.  Nothing to can with.  Its supposed to be cool here today and tomorrow so I'm not sure if these green tomatoes will ever turn.

so far this year I've canned:

7 qts of peaches
9 half-pints of peach jam
25 quarts of green beans
3 pints pickles
3 pints of relish
4 pints of salsa

And I've frozen:

Many many green peppers cut up
Lots of jalapenos to make fresh salsa this winter
3 quart sized bags of green beans
52 quart sized bags of fresh corn cut off the cob
8 bags of shredded zucchini to make bread this winter

and a ton of zucchini and eggplant diced really small to feed the chickens this winter. 

I still have peppers and green beans coming in.  The zucchini and eggplants are still producing.  The onions will be pulled when the tomatoes are ready to make sauce.  We've enjoyed 8 cantaloupes so far this year.  The only two watermelons that came up, my son accidently ran over with the lawn mower because he couldn't see them and we have about 8 pumpkins coming in. 

So, right now, I'm in the midst of canning and freezing.  The two pigs will be taken next month to the butcher so we'll have pork for the year.  My chickens were wiped out by a predator (probably a raccoon) this spring so I got a bunch of new hens.  They won't be laying for a while.  I was going to wait so I didn't have to feed chickens over the winter but it seemed silly to wait with the egg prices as they are.  And the cow will be ready to butcher this spring.  So very thankful for this little homestead!!

I promise to post pics later on.  Right now I'm just busy busy!  Enjoy your day!!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Three months later.....

I am so sorry for not posting in months.  I was taking two online graduate classes that took every ounce of strength and every minute of my spare time.  I finally finished them in February with an A- in my American Indian Wars class and an A in my American Revolution class.  

Since then, I've been extremely lazy.  I have tons to do and just now starting to get some ambition to do stuff.  Maybe because spring is finally in the air!

Here's what's been going on here:

  • TL tested for and received his red belt in taekwondo. Only brown, brown with black stripe and then black.  Can't wait for that one!
  • Our beloved Shadow had to be put down last week.  His legs/hips gave out on him.  We tried for a few days to deal with it but he wasn't eating either so we had to put him to sleep.  It was a horrible day.  THe kids took it hard and so did I.  Even now I'm tearing up.  He was so patient and caring.  We definitely miss him around here.
  • Bug-a-bug is also missed.  She went to grandma's Friday and we will pick her up on Easter when we go down for the day.  She's helping my sister-in-law scrapbook....graduation is in May and she's not ready with the pics yet.
  • I finally finished the wallhanging for the living room.  Now I just need to hang it up.
  • American Heritage Girls is coming to an end for the year.  I'm a little nervous for next year as I will become the coordinator.  I'm praying for lots of guidance and great leadership skills.  
  • I'm working on a Sunday school program for our 6th and 7th graders.  A tour of the year the New Testament and the next is the Old Testament.  I'm hoping that the kids will learn a lot and be ready to enter into our Remnant program for 8th graders with a little more knowledge under their belts.
  • I'm working on some geneaolgy.....just discovered an ancestor that was a life guard for George Washington.  I don't know much about the life guards so I hope to learn more.
  • Of course, looking at curriculum for the next year.  Our homeschool convention is in a few weeks and I'm looking forward to going.  I need to recharge my batteries.
  • And lastly, we took two seven month old pupppies in.  Brother and sister: lab/irish setter mixes.  Its been forever since we had puppies.  Shadow was nine months when we got him....already potty trained but still chewing.  Have to start everything with these two and train them to stay on the property.  They are adjusting well.  Oliver is loving and wants to please.  Jasmine is very very timid but very sweet.  I'm so pleased that we kept them together.  They were the last two and I don't know if she would have done well in a home by herself.  She lights up around her brother and is being more forward with us now.
So that's all that's been going on.  Really not much.  As I said I've been really really lazy....but that's okay.  I figure I deserve it!


Saturday, December 6, 2014


Its December sixth.  The cards are purchased (not addressed or mailed), most of the shopping and wrapping is done, the tree is up.....but that is absolutely all that is done.  I have boxes of decorations that the kids want to put up, hopefully we will get that done tomorrow.

I found myself struggling trying to homeschool and go to college full time so I made a few changes.  I'm getting up a little earlier to try to get some of my reading done before I start their school day and I changed some of our curriculum.  As a history major, I love to design my own curriculum for the kids but it was seriously falling through the cracks.  They hadn't done history in about four weeks so I brought down and purchased a curriculum for them.  Not how I like to do it, but it will work for this year and next.  I just can't juggle it all.

It doesn't help that with popcorn sales in Boy Scouts, I've been really busy with that and thanfully this is my last year being the treasurer.  I'm done.  TL has one more year of scouts and I'll have volunteered for ten years on scouts.  The girls need me with their American Heritage Girls program so that will by my focus.  Christmas program practices have kept us busy also.  I'm hoping to spend more time with the kids but it seems like all I do is housework, laundry, homework, and homeschooling.  We've gotten off of our chore chart schedule so I'm making sure that we get back on track this week.  I'm planning on taking May off this next year (I have two classes right now that end in February and will take one eight week class in March through April).  I'll have five classes after that and will hopefully be done by April of the prize is in sight.  I just have to stay focused and pray alot.  I've been losing my patience with the kids when they interrupt me doing homework.  My other problem is that the little ones need to have a more structured bedtime.  If I get them in bed at a set hour every night I'll be able to do some homework then and not be too exhausted.  Unfortunately, as I get older, I'm finding late study nights are not my thing.  I'd rather go to bed and sleep a good eight hours.  

I'm off to bed for now.  Early day tomorrow with Sunday school.  Have a blessed weekend everyone!