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! :)


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, 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.


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!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lazy weekend...

We all need them. Even if they aren't all that lazy. Just some time where we don't have anything scheduled or any place we have to be. That's what this weekend is for us. We have an out-of-state friend visiting for the weekend, but he's easy enough to entertain. ;)

I'm looking forward to the down time.

The week went well for us. The boys have logged into their secular homeschool curriculum a couple of times, and they have worked on some fun special-themed holiday spelling word lists. They enjoyed a Flag Day list, as it made them want to google/wiki more facts about the flag and its origins. They also had fun with a little Father's Day list (granted, it was way too "young" for either of them, but they like working through ALL of the holiday lists, lol).

I have stayed on track with my fitness goals this week. That feels awesome! Basically I am still just walking, but I'm walking as often as I can. Mid-week, the boys and I were able to get some extra steps by hiking at our local state park. That was nice! Different views for a change. :D

Also, I hit a major goal for me last week. Broke 20,000 steps! I can't do that every day (I'm hoping to do that at least a couple times a week though), but it felt so freaking good to see that step count at the end of that day!!

Next week, I am going to start the Couch to 5K program. I downloaded a nifty app, and I am crossing my fingers that I can do it this time. I've tried it in the past, but I'm much more motivated this time around. I just hope my body can keep up my brain's determination, lol. I have decided that I want to do my very first 5K in September. I. Will. Do. This. :)

Okey dokey. Signing off so I can enjoy that downtime I was hoping for. Leaving you with a Happy Father's Day wish for all the dads out there, with special shout outs to my daddy and my husband, who are both wonderful fathers!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Really? June??

June. Again. Already. Geez...faster and faster time flies...

This post will have two parts. About the boys and about school. And then all about me. :)

Part One - Some Learnin'

The boys logged into their T4L this week, for the first time in weeks. I know, homeschooling parent of year award coming right up. Whatevs. We were unschooling. I'm good with that. 

While I used to make them do a set number of lessons a day, I had to change that this year. The high school courses were taking Bailey a little longer to complete, and Braeden would blow through some of his. Anyway, we changed from a set number of lessons, to a set amount of time. 

This has worked out well, but they aren't going to finish the subjects at the same time. Both of them will take whole days and do nothing but science and history. I'm ok with that, because regardless of when they do their english and math, it will get done. But I know they are going to be miserable when in a couple of weeks, they are only going to have english and math to do, lol. Ah well. 

Additionally, I really have to (really, really have to), get them both set up with a writing course. Bailey loved the one he took a while ago, and I have been meaning to have him do another (maybe essay writing), and Braeden do his first one (maybe elementary mechanics), but ya know I'm a procrastinator. Ugh. 

Outside of schoolwork, we had a wonderful play/swim date with fabulous friends on Wednesday, got back into our homeschool group park day on Friday, and had dinner and supahfuntimes with friends on Friday evening. Great week. :D

Okay, all about me now. 

Part Two - Some Exercisin'

I can't tell you how many times I have started a fitness routine of some sort, and then promptly failed. Generally, I fail because I try to start out doing too much. Going from sloth to a marathon, with nothing in between, lol. Duh. 

So when we were in Florida, and Tracy got a swanky new Fitbit Flex for her birthday, I started walking. We started with a little under a mile, then got up to a little more than a mile and just kept moving. I had never really put a lot of stock in pedometers (had one once, hated it...very inaccurate and kept popping off my waist), but the whole "fitness tracker" thing appealed. So I did a butt-ton of research and ended up opting for a Fitbit as well. I got the One rather than the Flex. I don't think either are bad, but I had personal concerns with the Flex. 

I. Am. In. Love. 

It's not just the tracker though. It's the app and how everything works together. I can see how many steps I've taken in a day (this is huge for a work from home/school from home gal - sometimes you don't realize just how little you move throughout the day), how many calories I've eaten, how many calories I've burned and more. I can set goals for myself, and you and other friends that have a Fitbit can be Fitbit buddies. It's fun to motivate each other (and also, I'm a giant immature ass that likes to win). It's absolutely ridiculous how much this one little device has changed me, in such a short amount of time. I walk at least twice a day, and I look forward to walking again. Even if I'm sore or tired, I want to walk. Please believe...those are not words that I'm used to saying, lol. I am logging some serious miles, too! I've had my Fitbit for 10 days, and I've already received a "50 Lifetime Miles" badge. :D 

I'm not selling anything, not promoting anything and I don't get points or anything for referring anyone. I simply wanted to share what FINALLY made a difference for me. Thanks for listening. ;)

My Fitbit One. Teeny tiny and I've clipped it on a shirt collar, a bra strap and facing inward on a pants pocket. Works anywhere!

My best day so far! I've gotten over 15,000 steps several times, but haven't gotten back up to this again. Definitely a good goal to beat this day! 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Post Vacation Blech

It's always so hard getting back into the swing of things after vacation, isn't it? It's nice to be home and to be able to get back into the routine, but "nice" doesn't always mean "easy."

I struggled last week - okay, struggled isn't the right word. Failed is a little more accurate, lol. I think as far as we got with school was me checking out some homeschool book reviews to see if there was something either of the boys wanted to read. Official "schoolwork?" Nada.

You know. I take that back. There was a some music education going on. Bailey went to his very first concert. And it was without me.  But he had SO much fun and has declared himself a concert goer for life!

Who did he see?

Foreigner, Styx and Don Felder.

Yep, that was my 14 year old's first time at a live music event. At least he started off right. ;)

As far as other learnin'? There's always next week...