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! :)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Something Finally Bit Him Back...

I'm sure I've talked about my Moose before. He's one of our four doggies. He showed up one day, almost two years ago. After trying to find his family through our vet, flyers, etc., and having no luck doing so, we adopted him.

More accurately, he adopted us!

He's an 85 pound lap dog that acts like a toddler, ALL the time. :D

What's his is his, and what's ours is his. He takes up half the sofa...
He wanted in my lap. Didn't care that I was in a recliner meant for one person. He climbed up and rearranged and got quite comfy.

He also likes to play with everything. EVERYthing. Animals, people, furniture...you name it. And his idea of "playing," basically boils down to "can I put you in my mouth?" LOL. I don't know how he doesn't get that some things don't want to play with him, but I think he got a little glimpse of that this past week, when something finally bit him back.

A copperhead to be exact.

UGH.

Poor guy. That lump on his muzzle got larger and oozy, before it finally started to get better.

Fortunately, after a coupla trips to our vet, and a butt-ton of medications, he seems to be on the mend. Yay! We love this silly big guy so much.

"Me dog want cuddle. You human let me. Cause cute. Seeeeeee?"

Not a lot planned for this coming week. We are still plugging through project "reduce our possessions by half." It's coming along great. We have tackled, and conquered, all of the rooms in the house except my bedroom (which is the worst...over the years, it ended up as the catch-all for everything that didn't officially have a home somewhere else in the house), and the boys' room. We are starting those this week. Fingers crossed we make real, visible progress.

Side note, because I've been asked by friends - books, movies and tech/gadgets get a pass from this project. I don't generally part with the any of those things, lol, so I'm not even going to try to reduce those.

Probably won't really try and get the boys to do much school stuff, outside of reading and their weekly spelling test online (there's a great 4th of July spelling/vocabulary word list on Spelling City!). Maybe something else will creep in, but I'm going to make them focus on cleaning/thinning out their room so I can get this DONE. :)

Hope you all have a wonderful, fun and safe 4th of July with your loved ones!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Happy Birthday, Nanny!

This is my beautiful grandmother. She turned 80 today. Yep, EIGHTY. And we were lucky enough to spend part of her birthday with her and some other family and friends.


So what does one such as Nanny do when she turns 80? She goes to her favorite Mexican restaurant, gives them hell because they won't serve her a margarita on a Sunday and asks the owner for a lap dance.






If you have ever wondered where my...erm...quirkyness, for lack of a better word, comes from...well there ya go. ;)

I love this little lady a whole bunch, and I'm so grateful that not only do I still have her in my life, but that my boys still have such a spunky great-grandma in their lives!

***********************************

This past week was fun. We signed up for Kids Bowl Free, so we went bowling twice. Tons. Of. Fun. We loved just hanging, the three of us goof balls. The bowling didn't go to badly either! Our goal is to go bowling once or twice a week, until the program ends at the endish of August.






School-lite continued. They did some spelling lists that revolved around the World Cup and the Summer Solstice. They also played some math games. Given how many times I had to correct my eldest about saying "me and so-and-so" instead "so-and-so and I," I probably should have made them do grammar worksheets. Ah well. There's always this week.

I am still trucking along with my walking. I didn't have another 20,000 step day this week, but I did hit my 10,000 step goal every day, averaging between 11,000 and 13,000 steps per day. Yay! :)

This upcoming week we will continue working on our new year's resolution, to reduce our possessions by half. That kinda got put on hold during tax time, but we are picking back up on that. Last week, and this weekend, we finished up the dining room and kitchen areas, as well as our computer/school room. Which means all that's left is my room and the boys' room. Granted, those are the worst as far as hoarding goes, lol...but it's a huge relief to know we have gotten finished with the rest of the house. Fingers crossed that we make real progress on those bedrooms this week!