Friday, November 14, 2014

Stuffs and Randoms

I have a bazillion things running around my brain right now. I want to get several things out, but I know I won't have the patience to try and put them in any sort of order. So....

Bits o' random, coming at you...

What's been going on since I spoke with you last? In my head, it feels like it's been months, lol. Last weekend, we visited our local Medieval Times for the first time. We went with friends, and our little group of 13 had an amazing time!


We were team yellow.

The arena.

Our yellow knight.

Joust!

The kind and his peeps. 

School is going well. Bailey is working on NaNoWriMo for the first time, and enjoying it. He won't hit 50,000 words, but he's sticking with it, so I'm happy. Braeden would have liked to do NaNoWriMo, but only if took the place of his other school work. Ha. He's enjoying school, but would rather be back in his third grade homeschool curriculum, rather than moving forward with 5th grade. 5th grade is a big year...learning a lot of new concepts, instead of rehashing what he's already learned. I am grateful that we haven't butted heads much though, so that's something.

We had another field trip to the history center to learn about WWI. Of course I didn't take many pics...but I did get two.

Learning about trench warfare.

A reenactment of sorts...who started the war, who were allies and who were enemies. Done on a "playground," lol.

I made my very first batch of kombucha! It's currently in its second ferment, so I haven't tasted it yet, but we are looking forward to trying it! I hope to post an instructional for those interested, after we taste the final product and I can make sure I did it right, lol.

Thanks to a lovely friend, this is my "mother" at the beginning of the first ferment. 

The start of the second ferment! Grape! 

Hmmm. What else? I don't think much more is going on. I am working a couple of days a week at the tax office, to get ready for the upcoming tax season. Lots of family visits coming up with the holidays. Tomorrow is my last day of week 6 of the C25K program. Week 6! I really cannot believe I have come that far. And I'm feeling GREAT about it! As of today, I am down 45 pounds. Yep, that's clap worthy.

Go ahead. Round of applause. I'll wait.

;)

Seriously, if anyone out there wants to get started on a healthier path, but you don't think you can, lemme tell ya - if I can do it, YOU CAN DO IT. :)

Alrighty then. I'm out. I wish each and every one of you a fabulous November and a wonderful Thanksgiving with your loved ones! Until next time...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Turning Two, and Other Updates...

I was supposed to come back after the Dragon Con post, wasn't I? Oops. Life, man...gettin' a little crazy up in here! ;)

Long past time for an update, so what's been going on with us?

School has been going well. Both boys have established their routines with their high school and elementary online curriculum programs. We have added quite a few more field trips than normal to our schedule. Some homeschool days at the Atlanta History Center (Villains in History earlier this month, WWI next month), and we are also planning our first trip to Kennesaw State University's Museum of History and Holocaust Education as well.

Family stuffs has been fun. This past weekend, we helped my sweet nephew celebrate turning two! Such a big boy now, yeah? It seems like it was soooooooo long ago that either of mine were two, lol.

He got a brand new big boy bed!

And a tractor/power wheel thingy! ;)

The AWEsome cake. 

The eldest and the birthday boy.

With the princess-slash-niece. :)

My boys. Seriously. They are incredible. And cute, to boot. ;)

More presents!

More presents! 

The hubs and myself. I wubs him. 

My silly wee one. 


The boys and I completed our 2nd Walk to End Alzheimer's. Such a terrible disease...we pray for a cure and will continue to support this organization and it's mission.

Before the walk...

And on the way home, lol. We *did* have to get up really early. Plus, after the walk, we had a yummy lunch with friends. He was full and sleepy.
I know you probably can't see it here, but around his neck is a purple lanyard. Our friend April (we walk for her mother) gave Braeden the "team captain" lanyard this year. He was SO proud of that. Took me daaaays to get it off of him lol.

Uhhh...what else? Oh! One of my besties and I went to a concert that really felt like it was twenty years in the making! We finally, finally saw Garth Brooks in concert. It was AHmazing! I don't even listen to country music anymore, but it was one of THE best concert experiences I've ever had. I had seen him back in 1997 in Reno with my late sister-in-law, so while it was fun, there was a little twinge of sadness too. It was good to remember her, and that experience I was able to have with her, though. All in all, an excellent memory made with an excellent lady. :)

Katie and Katie. Yes we have the same name. :)

The set.

GARTH! :D


How's the fitness thing going? Very well, thank you. As of this morning, I am down 38.2 pounds! I have shed two pants sizes and two shirt sizes. TWO SIZES! I still have such a long way to go, but I am so proud of how hard I've worked to get this far. :D

That's a Large T-shirt that I thieved from my kid's closet. For reals. A LARGE! And those are size 14 jeans. YAY!!! I'm not ashamed to put those sizes out there...like I said two sizes down from where I was 5 months ago! 

Ok. I think that's it. At least that's all I've got at this moment. Hope you all have had a fabulous fall, and continue to do so!

Until next time...

Friday, September 5, 2014

Back to School (and Dragon Con!)

Every year we start after Labor Day...because Dragon Con. Who wants to try and start school before such a fun activity, right?

Weeeellllll. The flip side of not starting before DC, is having to start after DC. We are tired. Exhausted even. We're still excited and talking about what we saw, who we met and what we bought. So getting back to school and into our routine, right this second, is slow going.

Oh well. Homeschooling = flexibility. ;)

I am actually at a homeschool conference this weekend. The inaugural National Alliance of Secular Homeschoolers conference. It's really cool. I know that we have our core...Bailey is taking English II, Geometry, US History II and two sciences this year, Physical Science and Earth/Space Science. These will be through T4L. Braeden is using their fifth grade homeschool curriculum too. Buuuut...I'm always on the lookout for supplements and extras. So walking around a vendor hall chock full of secular resources is super exciting. :)

That's really all I've got. Still recovering from one convention, while attending another conference, is tough. Imma look around, take a nap, then look some more, lol.

Leaving you with some pretty pictures from our Dragon Con experience. :)











Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I have a ... licensed (kinda) driver!!!
A little afternoon bowling to celebrate passing his permit tests. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Gearing up for the 2014/2015 school year...

Dude. I'm getting ready for 5th and 10th grades!

Whaaaaaaaaa? I have no idea when all this happened.

;)

It's really hard to believe that we've been at this homeschooling thing this long. When we pulled Bailey out of public school in the beginning of 1st grade, our initial plan was just to homeschool him for the remainder of that year, putting him back for 2nd grade. Nine years later, and here we are.

As far as curriculum planning goes, I have it easy. I know that both of the boys will be continuing with Time4Learning as their core. It was Braeden's Pre-K and kindergarten online curriculum, and he's still using it, and Bailey has been using it since his 2nd grade year. That means that there is a lot of comfort and familiarity there, for both them and for myself.

We will supplement things as we go along. Science experiments, art projects, field trips, etc. And we always allow for several interest led learning days (or weeks, lol). But that's my plan. Sweet, yeah?

By the way, I'm linking up with iHomeschoolNetwork's 6th annual Not-Back-to-School blog hop this week. Click on the button below for more blog posts and ideas. :)



In other news, we had some birthdays this week! Bailey turned 15 on 8/11 and Braeden turned 10 on 8/13. My babies are growing up SO fast.




I know it's supposed to happen that way, lol, and I'm glad...but double digits and *gulp* DRIVING????

Is it wine-thirty, yet? :/

They are having a little get together this weekend with a few friends, and I will post some pictures after that is all said and done. Hope you all have a great weekend!

To close, I'm just gonna leave this here. In honor of Robin Williams, my sister-in-law Karen, and everyone else who has lost their battle with depression.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

It's been a little while...

You know. Life and stuff. It happens. 

I am going to try and get back into a weekly post, but it can be SO hard sometimes. I kinda thought my summer would have more down time than it has, but it's been packed with things going on!

Mostly fun things. Lots of activities with the boys, that has been great. We went to Six Flags with friends not too long ago. We've kept active with the homeschool group. Play dates (for both the boys and for Mama, lol). We've been experimenting with making more stuff at home. Okay, using the word "we" might be a stretch. The hubs and the eldest have been experimenting with making more stuff at home. Heh. 

Homemade butter that Bailey made tonight.
Buttermilk, strained from the butter making. 
Different flavors of pickles that the hubs is currently fermenting.
Dilly beans. Green beans, garlic and dill, fermented in a brine. SO. GOOD. 

Unfortunately there have been some not so fun things. :/ My dad has been in the hospital for the last three weeks, and has had three surgeries in that time. With a fourth surgery scheduled for tomorrow. Neck and back surgery. Hopefully the one tomorrow will be the last one for a while, and he can finally start his rehabilitation and get better. 

I say it all the time, about how time flies, but I really can't believe we are approaching the end of July. The boys' birthday party will be in just a few weeks, followed by Dragon Con. There is a butt-ton of excitement around those two activities (I will have a 10 year old and a 15 year old! Whaaaaat???), but excitement can sometimes equal high strung and tense for this anxious gal. 

Oh! Also, I attended my very first homeschool convention yesterday. Crazy, that I've been homeschooling for this long, and I've never been to one! It was fun, even if a little overwhelming. I knew going in that our core curriculum was set. As are most of our online supplemental resources. But I was really looking forward to checking out some things like science kits and other "extras." I didn't buy much, but I got a ton of catalogs and brochures. I will have to spend some time this week looking through all of those, but I'm super grateful I wasn't one of the people who were buying their entire seventh grade homeschool curriculum (as an example) yesterday, lol. 

The fitness thing is still going well! I hit the twenty pound mark this week! It may seem like a slow loss (20 lbs since May), but I'm honestly really pleased about that. My goal is to lose the weight at a steady pace, and keep it off. I think losing it more slowly, with lifestyle changes rather than with dieting, is what is going to help me keep it off.  

One of my neighbors that I say hello to, every day on my walks. :)
Today was my first 15,000 step day in over a week! Felt great!

Okey dokey. That's all I've got tonight. We have something planned for every single day this week, so for now, I'm going to put away some laundry, have a glass of wine and hopefully get some sleep. :) 

I hope you all have a wonderful week! 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

You Are What You Eat

I know I've mentioned repeatedly about how we have been changing our eating and exercise habits around here. It's really nuts, the additives/hormones/chemical crap that's in our foods these days. But it's also nuts how big farms and companies are basically killing the little guy. The local farmers.

When we first started buying healthy, and avoided all of the pre-packaged and frozen stuff, we went all (or as much as feasibly possible) organic. We loved it. We ate better, we felt better and didn't feel like we were missing anything that we had given up. We had a lot of discussion about food chains, and why it was important to us to eat grass fed beef, rather than feed fed beef. Same for chickens and eggs...what they ate, we ate. And it's not so much that they only eat a certain thing. It was more that they ate what they are supposed to eat, you know?

Anyway. After a while, and a few more documentaries (seriously with the Netflix!) later, we began to realize that while eating organic was good, we had local farmers near us who were struggling. Our neighbors. People in our community. So we started getting what we could from those around us, little by little. We get the most delicious eggs from a friend, we get produce from a local produce farm (they do have some produce that they don't grow, just so they have some of everything to offer, but we try to only get what they grow there), we get milk from a Ga creamery (it's awesome, non-homogenized and only minimally pasteurized), etc. We have a watermelon farmer about a mile from us (can't get any more local than that, if we aren't growing it!), and he has THE best yellow meat watermelons we have ever eaten.

And the organic thing? MANY small farms actually are organic, but they can't afford to/have no desire to get labeled as organic from the FDA. Lots of money and lots of paperwork, that kinda thing.

We are growing our own food too, what we can. But if we can't get it in our own garden, we want it to come from someone near us when it's possible.

All of this is in my mind because this week we went blueberry picking with friends. We went to a local blueberry farm, and met the incredibly sweet blueberry farmers. My boys and I got to experience getting our own food (I know, it wasn't like we killed a cow or anything, but still...), and we had a really good time doing so!

We also got to do our own comparison. When we got home, we had some organic blueberries I had picked up at the store, and we had the berries we had just picked. We noticed differences in how they looked. The store bought blueberries were a little bigger than the fresh ones, and they were all the same size. It wasn't something than any of us noticed or paid attention to, until we saw the fresh ones, which were all different sizes. It made me feel like the store bought blueberries came off of a factory line, lol. The biggest difference was in the taste test though. All of the store bought blueberries tasted good, but they tasted the same. When we started picking out berries from our own haul, we noticed that some were sweeter and some were more tart. But they were all really, really good.

The local ones won over the organic store bought ones. :D

Bluuuuuuueberry bushes! :)

Yummeh.

The eldest. 

The wee one. 

Why is there a picture of my blue fingers? Those that know and love me, know that I *never* get my hands dirty. This is proof that I did some pickin' of my own. :D


Ok, I'm getting off my soapbox now. I hope you all had a wonderful Independence Day weekend with your loved ones. We did! :)