Sunday, December 30, 2012


We had a great Christmas! Enjoyed time with family and friends, the boys had was all good.

Until we all got the plague.

Plague may be a strong word, but that's definitely what we feel like we have. Bailey woke up on Christmas morning with a scratchy throat and just feeling "off." By Wednesday, he was coughing and running a fever. Wednesday evening, Braeden was in tears because he hurt "everywhere." And by Thursday, the hubs and I joined the party. We are still coughing, sneezing, blowing noses, running fevers and moaning about our "code milky green" (BBT reference, lol).

On one hand, dear sweet baby Jesus does this suck. On the other hand, we are keeping our fingers crossed that since we all got it at the same time, that once it's gone, it's gone and it won't be hanging around.

Needless to say, not a lot was done with school last week. Or anything else for that matter. :/

This week, I will try to get them to work on the spelling printables that I had planned for last week. But I will switch the Christmas word lists with New Year's Eve and New Year's Day word lists. I will of course, let them play games on the educational web sites and apps that we know and love. Braeden is working on putting words in ABC order and Bailey has found some art games he likes. That will have to be enough for now...

I start the tax thing officially full time on Thursday, so we are going to be working out our schedules and routines for the immediate future. I am in a different office now, on my own, and I'm not sure how that's going to go. I'm worried about being "in charge" (you know me...responsibility shirker extraordinaire), but I'm also hopeful that I will stay busy enough that my days come and go quicker, lol.

I do have holiday photos to post. But no, I haven't even dumped them from the camera yet. I hope to give that another go in the next couple of days.

For now, I'm off to cuddle with that bottle of DayQuil I've been spending so much time with lately.

Wishing you all a wonderful, happy, safe, exciting and blessed New Year! :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

So this is Christmas...

I do love that song. :)

Really, really, REALLY can't believe Christmas is upon us already. For the boys, December is the s-l-o-w-e-s-t month EVER. For the hubs and I, we feel like we just made it through August. Lol.

This weekend saw our first family gatherings. Friday evening was spent with one of my oldest and dearest friends, and her family. Saturday afternoon we spent with my family and then Saturday evening, we got to hang with the hubs' family. Because of a wonky work schedule, we didn't get to have the whole weekend with everyone, so we were squeezing a lot into a small time frame. But we did it, and everyone had a great time! And, *some* time is better than *no* time. So, we're good.

I do have pictures, but I haven't had time to catch my breath, much less try and sort through photos. Since we will be taking more pictures tomorrow and Tuesday, I will just wait and do one big Christmas photo post. :)

Tomorrow we will have dinner with my grandmother, then Tuesday morning will be spent with just the four of us. We love that time. Walter reads the Christmas story from the Bible (Yeah, we're heathens. But we are Christian heathens -heehee-, so it's important to have a few moments where our family focuses on WHY we celebrate the holiday before we get all excited about the gifts), then we see what Santa brought all of us! After our family time, we head over to Tracy's on Christmas afternoon. It's become a tradition, and one that we very much look forward to. One last hurrah with gifts, then board games! So much fun! :)

The boys are still on their break. Or as we have come to call it, their "90% break." Lol. Since I won't let them let go of reading or spelling, they don't want to call it "a break." They crack me up. I will make some spelling printables with some of the holiday word lists on SpellingCity. That knocks out spelling and handwriting, so yay for multi-tasking. Other than that, I don't know that they will do too much in the way of schoolin'.

As January draws near, Bailey will start working with Time4Writing again. That's nice. The online homework help he gets from those courses are a teeny tiny burden I can remove from the hubs while I'm at the tax office. Braeden's normal grade level work isn't so intensive, and believe it or not, Bailey likes to help him when he can. So that's even more that Walter doesn't have to worry about. Fortunately, tax time is relatively short for me; about 5-6 weeks. That's good. While I enjoy the extra money, the less time away from our routine, the better.

Okey dokey. I still have to presents to wrap and sleep to catch up on. And Christmas movies to watch for the _____th time. :D

Wishing you and yours a very, very, merry MERRY Christmas!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

What a week...

As with every other sane person on the planet, my heart aches for those in Newtown, CT. I had to work at the tax office on Friday, and I wasn't at home when I heard the news. I was horrified and sad and wanting to be at home with my boys SO bad! When I came home that evening, it was all I could do not to knock them down while trying to get my arms around them.

I was even more horrified as the weekend progressed. The losses were all so tragic, but what really horrified me was the media's disjointed effort at staying on top of the story. Things were said, then retracted. Every news outlet had a different take (his mom was a teacher, no wait she wasn't) and it was just too much. Personally, I don't think the shooter's name should have ever been mentioned. Why? Why glorify evil? Why make it so every other person who wants to inflict harm and be remembered as a monster has something to work towards? Just... Ugh...

I think what was worse than trying to make sense out the news stories, was trying to avoid all of the political crap on social networks. Really? I applaud that people can stand so vehemently behind something they believe in or don't believe in. But really? You couldn't wait a few days before you started your "screw the NRA" or "screw the liberals" tirades?? GAH! Instead of sharing photos blaming guns, or instead of posting a status that proclaims you armed and ready...why not instead share the names of those innocent lives that were lost? Share THAT. So that everyone has a name, and a family, to keep in their thoughts and prayers. :(

Ok. So beyond that...

Our week was alright. Still on our holiday break, but not having any extra time to get everything ready for Christmas, lol. I'm still trying to finish my Christmas cards. I should have those done and sent out tomorrow or Tuesday, but there's nothing like a last minute greeting, huh? :/

Bailey completed and turned in his first 4-H Junior Portfolio and he's ready for the next step in his DPA. Yay!

This week will see a 4-H Christmas party and our celebration with family over the weekend. Since we live a couple of hours away, and the hubs still has a 5 day work week (he can have Christmas Day off, but he will have to make it up on a weekend day either before or after), we are going down over the weekend. Of course, we are all looking forward to that.

On the learnin' front, the boys don't have a lot to work on. Spelling as usual. But since they can access their spelling curriculum and spelling games on their iPad app, they don't mind. With Bailey constantly working on his creative writing stuff, they are finding themselves interested in synonyms. At least interested at the moment. Heh. Anyway, they can play some synonym games this week while I'm running around like crazy.

Oh, we did see The Hobbit yesterday! We all loved it! The hubs and Bailey said they added A LOT to the film that wasn't in the book, and while it didn't make them like the movie did leave them wondering why, lol.

Hope you all have a great week. Please keep those in Newtown in your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Parade and a Play...

Last week was good. We had a lot of fun throughout the week, getting ready for Christmas. We did a little shopping, and a little decorating. On Thursday evening we went to a local Christmas parade. This is the 2nd year that the boys have been in this play with their Master's Academy group, and like last year, they had a wonderful time!

I love their hats. :)

The theme for the parade this year was A Charlie Brown Christmas. 

On Friday, we went to see A Christmas Carol. A live production put on by a local theatre company, Rose of Athens Theatre. I can't tell you the last time I had been to a play that my kiddos weren't in, lol. It was absolutely fantastic and we all enjoyed ourselves! I took the boys and my grandmother, and we met up with Tracy, her boys and her mom. After the play, we all did Chinese for lunch together. That was followed by a little shopping time with my grandmother. A super way to spend my Friday!

The cast doing their "talk back" after the show.

Over the weekend, our friend Brad came down from NC. He came bearing Christmas gifts, which was supafun. ;) He had some great gifts for the hubs, and the boys. But the bestest gifts? They were mine! No, really. Mine were the best. Don't believe me? Take a look:

From left to right; Christopher Eccleston as The Ninth Doctor, David Tennant as The Tenth Doctor, Matt Smith as The Eleventh Doctor, Nathan Fillion as Malcolm Reynolds (also affectionately known as Cap'n Tightpants!).  
Told you. Bestest.

The hubs commissioned these, so to speak, from Brad and it was a complete surprise to me. Our family loves art, of all varieties, and we are so lucky to have someone in our lives that's all artisty-like. :D

As a side note... here's a little plug for Brad. And my husband. They are collaborators on a project called Southern Fried Inkslingers. Brad slings ink as an artist, and the hubs slings ink as a writer. Head over to their site, where you can check out some of Brad's work, as well as my husbands. Also, if you aren't easily offended and appreciate a weird sense of humor, you can listen to their podcast where they talk to other inkslingers (or those that support the inkslinging, lol).

Okey dokey. Back to me. Heh.

This week I will continue working on my Christmas cards. No, I haven't finished them yet. Ugh. The boys are going to work more on their room, and on their Christmas wish lists. They don't have a lot to ask for (thankfully they don't want every thing they see), but we are making them write out their list. Not type out their list. Write it. Which is probably why they don't have a lot to ask for. Haha.

I have discovered that something as simple as a wish list can help build vocabulary, and even encourage them in learning to write. Braeden is doing good to elaborate more, rather than saying "nerf sword." Bailey is actually listing out his reasons for his wishes. I want to know WHY they want something. They have so much crap, and I say that lovingly, that we are focusing on bringing in less. If they will really, really play with/use something, then I'm all over it. If it's something they want just because someone else wants it or because the commercial looks cool, then they've got some 'splaining to do.

Today is very much a Monday. I'm behind. I'm tired. I have doctors appointments to get to, prescriptions to pick up and haircuts that are much needed.

I need more coffee. more thing... FOUR MORE DAYS UNTIL THE HOBBIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yep. My inner geek is squeeing.

Have a great week, errbody! :D

Sunday, December 2, 2012's December.

Big Bang Theory
There is absolutely no reason for this picture, other than we just love Big Bang. I thieved this from my oldest son's Pinterest this morning, lol.

Yup. December. The Christmas tree was put up last night, and we will commence with our holiday movie watching today. Up first? My annual tradition of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.


Hee hee. I love this movie. I could probably quote something from it, every day of December. Ah, good times. :D

Even though I spent more time away from home, than I did AT home last week, it wasn't a disaster. That's always nice. UPS or FedEx was here 4 different days, which did nothing to quell the whole "she must be having an affair with her delivery guys" thing going around the neighborhood. Makes me giggle. Between Amazon and BestBuy (my amazon prime account and my bestbuy silver rewardzone membership both have free expedited shipping), I am doing most of my shopping from home this year, and spending less! Woot!

This week I don't really have any school plans for the boys. They are mostly where I want them in their T4L (which, btw, I was able to recommend to an online friend who was looking for something for their wee one with learning disabilities...we are so abnormal in our homeschooling, I love it when I can recommend something and look responsible. HA!). They have some holiday word lists for spelling. They will read. And Bailey and I will be working on his DPA (District Project Achievement) for 4H.

He declared his project, which will be a cooking project called Better Breakfast. He will have to cook this, in front of a judging panel, in March. But, the DPA also includes homeschool portfolios which are due by Dec 14th. Those are something that we honestly don't have any experience with yet, but it's good practice for when we start with his high school portfolio next year. :)

Other than that, we will be working on our homemade/handmade stuff. I do my own Christmas cards, and the boys like to do some too. They also want to make something for everyone, like the cookies they did last year. With the new addiction to Pinterest that seems to be plaging not only Bailey and I, but the hubs as well, we are finding all kinds of homemade holiday goodies. So we may do cookies. We may do candies. We may do jar mixes. Who knows what they will come up with...

Alrighty. Off to enjoy my Sunday with my guys. Hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Still full of Turkey and all shopped out...

The boys were with my parents all last week, and I missed them terribly! I know, I know...I need to learn to let go and all. But I hate it when they aren't here. They had a good time though, and that's a good thing. They helped my mom and my grandmother cook for two days. They put up my parents Christmas decorations for them. And they got some extended play time with cousins, which is always happy making. :)

The hubs and I enjoyed a quiet Thanksgiving dinner with Tracy's family and then I went Black Friday shopping with Tracy and Scott. Wanna know what I had on my B. F. shopping frenzy list? 


And I still went! Lol. I was very lucky in that I found the few things the boys had asked for prior to the big event, online. Between Best Buy and Amazon, I got everything I was looking for, at the Black Friday price, shipped right to my door throughout the week. It was wonderful! I still enjoyed going and keeping the shopping tradition going though. We had a good laugh at everyone running around like crazy and trying to get these insane deals on big ticket items like TVs and computers. Scott and I picked through discount movie bins and got some incredible deals on blu-rays (Caddyshack for $3.99 and the Lethal Weapon collection for $34.99! Wooooo!) and we enjoyed our normal IHOP late night meal. 

Saturday morning, the hubs and I headed down to pick up the boys and do our family dinner that evening. It was enjoyable and we came home yesterday. Short trip, but sometimes that's all the time everyone has. :(

We normally start our winter break right after Thanksgiving. We aren't officially on break this week, but I am only making the boys do their core curriculum on the days that I am here this week...which is today and Wednesday. Tomorrow and Friday I will be working at the tax office, and Thursday is their last Master's class until after New Year's. 

Tomorrow and Friday, they are going to play around on the educational game sites we frequent. They like the nature games, and hopefully they will do some math games (although, knowing my boys, I'm not going to hold my breath on that, lol). 

Other than that, they are going to work on their room. It's 500 square feet of chaos and I told them Santa wouldn't be happy dropping off any gifts, if he didn't have room to walk through the room.  While my oldest understands the Santa thing, I still love when the season rolls around and I can use the big guy as a threat. Heehee. :D

Okey dokey. Off to do some work then try and conquer Mount Laundry. Hope errbody had a great holiday, and you enjoy your upcoming week!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gearing up for Thanksgiving...

Whoa. How the heck did the holiday season creep up on me? Every year. Ugh.

The boys are leaving on Tuesday morning to spend the Thanksgiving week with my parents. My grandmother is also going down, so I imagine it will be a fun week for all of them. The hubs and I will join them all over the weekend, and we will have our big dinner on Saturday evening. Looking forward to it!

Since they will not be here, I have to do a little planning ahead of time. Fortunately, their homeschooling curriculum is online and they can access it from either of my parents' computers, or even their iPads (technology is SO nice, lol), so I don't have to worry too much about that. I'm going to use the free word search maker at SpellingCity to make a couple of printable word searches they can work on as well. There are some great Thanksgiving themed word lists on the site that I'm going to use, so it won't be the same old words for them.

Honestly, that's probably all I'm going to hope for. It's hard...trying to enforce "school time" when you are two hours away from them. And it's a holiday. But, at least we are comfortable with the "meh, we'll make it up" frame of mind. :D

Anyone doing Black Friday shopping? I am doing a little. Mostly, I'm finding the few things I want to get online ahead of time. So I can relax and spend my time Friday just people watching, lol. Some dear friends and I kinda have an annual tradition. We hang out. We buy movies (yeah, that's my addiction). We laugh at people who appear to have lost their minds. Then we eat IHOP. Even though there is no "big ticket" item that I'm on the hunt for this year, I still plan on going. I guess that puts me squarely in the middle of the crazies, lol.

I hope each and every one of you enjoy your Thanksgiving with your family, friends and loved ones. I know I have SO much I'm thankful for, and I truly enjoy this holiday!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Sunday!

No whining this time, promise. :)

Last week saw a return to our normal, so I am very thankful for that. We got back on track with work and school, and even had time to visit with my mom each day, since she was up for the week visiting my grandmother. It was a good week.

The boys' fine arts program had been running a winter coat drive for the last few weeks, and this past Thursday was the deadline to bring everything in. They had made it a "boys against girls" contest, with whichever gender bringing in the most items winning a prize. The boys won! There were 120 items brought in, with the boys having 65 and the girls having 55. 120 coats/sweatshirts/hoodies/sweaters donated! How freaking awesome, right?! They will be going to a local Kids' Camp here, being given away after a Thanksgiving dinner. If there are any left over, the remaining will go to a local homeless shelter. I am so proud of ALL of the kids and their families that donated!

We wrapped up our week at the Drive-In last night. We saw Wreck-It Ralph (this one was fabulous and funny and I *loved* all of the old video game references!) and Frankenweenie (this was wasn't as good as the first movie, but it was alright. I generally love Tim Burton films, but this one took a little while to get into. Good thing it was the free movie following the first one we paid for, lol.). It was cooooold, but we had on layers, stayed under blankets/sleeping bags and drank hot cocoa. We always enjoy the Drive-In, but have never been this late in the season. To be honest, part of the fun was being so cold and wrapped up and shivering.  :D

Blurry, but still cute. ;)

This week, I'm giving the boys a break from their extra spelling that I have them do. That's always our "go-to" when I'm down and out or when we don't have anything else planned, and they've spent a lot of time on VocabularySpellingCity lately. It's ok, they can resume next week. Bailey has been interested in Thomas Jefferson. So, between the homeschool social studies lessons in T4L, and the handy dandy Wikipedia, he's enjoying learning more about him. He's also started the online algebra with T4L. No fighting with me about it yet, far, so good.

Braeden is trying to read The Hobbit. It's really too far over his head, but his anticipation for the movie next month is almost too much to handle, lol. He made it a few pages in, but it's slow going. No matter; I am SO proud of him for trying! He has a couple of art and science projects he wants to work on this week as well, so it should be fun for all of us. :)

Today, we are going to spend the day all slothed out on the couch. We are catching up on the TV shows Grimm and Once Upon A Time. Both fairy tale related, but both very different. Loving them both!

Signing off now, saying a very big THANK YOU to all of our Veterans who have fought for me, my family and this country. I am profoundly grateful for every one of you, and the sacrifices you make. Our men in women in uniform, and their families, are always in my thoughts and prayers!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Holy. Cow.

This is going to be a whiny post. I'm sorry, but I did want to throw that out there...

So my week didn't go as planned. AT ALL.

I had dental work/oral surgery done on Monday morning. I knew that it would affect my Monday. Probably even my Tuesday. I would have some pain, but I thought by Tuesday afternoon I would at least be able to sit at my computer for a little while.

I was very wrong.

I opted for oral sedation for the procedure. As it turns out, I had a horrific reaction to it. I had the surgery, and it went fine. But I was completely out of it (they call it "twilight," I call it semi-unconscious) for the entire day, and all night. I woke up at 6am on Tuesday morning, and I spent the next 24 hours being violently ill. I won't go into details. But I will say this...I have never, not once, been that sick. Not even in college. Just saying. :/

By Wednesday, I stopped with the icky, but I still couldn't really hold my head up. I did start to progress, slowly. By Friday I was able to pay some bills and attempt a load of laundry. Yes, attempt. I started it, but the hubs finished it. Ugh.

Speaking of the hubs. He deserves the most fabulous husband and father of the year award! While in the midst of taking care of me, BOTH of the boys came down with something. Just a weather change cold type thing...coughing, stuffy nose, sore throat and some asthma issues with Braeden. But still, he was so frazzled all week, but never complained. We are so lucky to have him, aren't we? ;)

I spent some down time reading some of the homeschool highschool blogs I have found on LHSHS. While I would have liked to have been mobile, and having a normal week, I do have to admit that it was nice to have a reason to spend so much time with my iPad under my nose, lol. I enjoyed being able to take a peek at so many different homeschooling families and how they are handling high school. We still have no idea what curricula we are going to use, and how we want to approach it. But, I am finding SO many resources out there, I don't feel quite as lost as did a few months ago!

The boys had a mostly unschooling-like week, not surprisingly. I had some things planned out, but with me being down and out, and them not feeling well, they mostly picked around in some books and spent time on Wikipedia. Ah well, we can just move the planned activities to this week and keep our fingers crossed that we are all back to normal come tomorrow morning. :D

Hope everyone has a great week. If you made it this far into my whining, thanks for listening, lol.

Oh...did you remember to set your clocks back last night? I *loved* my extra hour this morning!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween fun...

I love that I'm trying to add more photos to my blog. When I set out with the intention of starting a blog many moons ago, I knew I wanted to create a journal of our homeschooling and general family stuff for our family that was spread out, so they could keep up with everything. I can't tell you how many blogs I have started and let fall by the wayside over the years. I have done alright with keeping up with this one, but I always forget or make excuses for not having time to add more photos. I have been really trying recently, and I'm proud of the effort. Yay me. :D

Last night was our annual Halloween party. Tracy and her family throw this every year, and it's always so much fun!

While the boys always do costumes, the hubs and I don't. This year, we wanted to do something together, but not too involved. We found these masks, giant glasses and wigs and thought it was fun!
During a massive de-cluttering, Scott found his old 3DO (?) gaming system and decided to set it up on a big TV outside. There was nothing, not even obstructed views by costumes, that prevented *everyone* from joining in a Samurai Showdown battle at some point in the evening... 
We always love gathering with this group of people, and last night was no different. We had a blast, adults and kiddos alike!

This week will hopefully go well. I am having some dental work done tomorrow that will keep me out of commission for at least tomorrow, maybe a couple of days...but the boys are excited about playing some vocabulary and spelling games with a couple of special Halloween word lists, so that should fill up any down time during the beginning of the week.

Other than that, Braeden has a new Beast Quest book to read and Bailey is continuing on with his 3rd book in a Raymond Feist series he's working through. They are also working out of some Usborne books for Science and World History, which is new and different, and they are enjoying that.

For now, I'm going to finish some work I need to finish, then I'm going to spend the rest of the day trying to mentally prepare myself for tomorrow. Dentists and I...we don't play well together, so I'm a little anxious. And by a little anxious, I certainly don't mean full blown panic attacks. Not at all. Noooope. Not what I meant.


Have a great week, and don't forget next weekend marks the end of Daylight Saving Time, so we get to set our clocks back! I always love that extra hour! :D

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I survived the week!

I told ya...all that busy messes with my mojo, but I made it through the incredibly busy week last week! We were absolutely thrilled to be able to be with the family for the birth of my nephew!

Meet little Lucas Gabriel! Although, at 9lbs 6oz, I bet his mommy would say he wasn't SO little! ;)
Braeden and Lucas.
Bailey and Lucas.
Outside of the new baby excitement, we did manage to get all of the running around (vet appointments, dentist appointments, Master's, soccer games, etc) that we needed to do done.  Shocking, yes. But yaaaaay for us!

The boys' last soccer games are Tuesday evening, so besides those and our normal Master's on Thursday, this week will be slower and we should be able to have a good, full week of learnin' stuff. We have really enjoyed working with the Firefly book, but are reading to put it down for now. Well, they are ready to put it down. Now it's my turn! ;)

I don't really have anything super planned for this week. I just want them to log some hours on T4L and VSC. Without a lot of extras in our schedules, it's a good time for the them to just plow through some of the lessons and word lists. Bailey will need to start T4L's algebra curriculum soon, but I told him not to freak out about it...he can let me know when he feels comfortable. It's included in the cost of the program, but I do need to "activate" it so to speak. He wants to get a little further into the regular 8th grade math before I do that though, so I'm giving him time.

Believe it or not, the one thing he has asked to do is another writing course from Time4Writing. I knew he wanted to take the follow up to the mechanics course he took in the spring, and we were really hoping to do that over the summer, but never found the time. Ah well. Better late than never. We just have to decide if we want him to start it now and work on it through Thanksgiving and the first part of December, or if he wants to wait until January at this point. We are also tossing around the idea of letting Braeden take his first elementary online writing course. I don't know that it's something he's ready for. But...I suppose there's online one way to find that out, huh? :D

We are about to head out to my weekly torture session (normal people call this "grocery shopping"). The sooner we do that, the sooner we can get back and get caught up on our episodes of Supernatural and Haven from last week. Woot.

Hope errbody has a great week. And can I just add...last full week of October is upon us already. Wth? Who has the time-speeder-upper? I'd like to hold onto that for a bit, please.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Apple Festival, A New Baby and Staying Busy...

Last week went very well, scheduling wise. The boys enjoyed working with that swanky new Firefly book I posted about, and they did really good with everything else I've been throwing at them.

This weekend we had some great company stay with us (including a new doggie that found his way here and doesn't seem in any hurry to go home), and we went to the Apple Festival in Ellijay today. Everyone had a good time, and I will try and post some pictures this week. Right now...I'm just too tired. Lol.

The week coming up is going to be ridiculously busy. Tomorrow, I'm taking said new doggie to our vet to see if he's been reported missing and/or he's chipped or anything. If he isn't, then it's back to our house to make some flyers. He's a beautiful baby that's been fixed, is housebroken and crate trained, and loves to play...surely there's a family out there missing him. :/

After the vet, Bailey has a 4H meeting. Then we are headed down to spend the evening awaiting the scheduled c-section of my new nephew on Tuesday morning! We are all SO excited to meet the new baby and we can't wait!

Once we get to greet him and give him lots of love, we are headed back home for two soccer games on Tuesday evening.

Wednesday, I'm out of the house all day.

Thursday, the boys both have dentist appointments at 9am, followed by Master's. Oh, and sometime after the dentist but before classes start, they have to have their "school" pictures made.

Then more soccer. And another 4H meeting on Friday. Aaaaaand more soccer on Saturday morning.

Yep. School? We don't need no stinkin' school. ;)

Lol, at some point in our schedules, the boys will manage at least some school work. We may still focus on the Firefly book for their extra stuff outside of T4L. I can plug some words from it into their SpellingCity flashcard maker. And even though Braeden enjoyed, and did well, with working on his reading fluency...I think he can work on his reading comprehension this week. Really make sure he understands all the big, fancy words he's cramming into his brain, ya know?

For now, I'm going to give myself a few minutes to catch my breath before sleep, and try to psyche myself up for the week ahead. I'm at my best when I'm pretending to be a sloth, so all this busybusybusybusy messes with my mojo. :D

Saturday, October 6, 2012


We are a family of TV watchers. And I have no shame in admitting that. I know, I know. We're homeschoolers! How could we partake of such uselessness?! Pfffft. Not only do we enjoy watching TV shows, we learn from them, and with them, too!

We have every season of Mythbusters, and many of the seasons of How It's Made. We constantly watch nature and cooking shows. We travel around the world, while sitting on our couch.

But, we can take shows that really have no educational value, and use them in our homeschool as well.

How, you ask?

I'm going to use one of our *most* favorite family shows, Firefly (fans will now get the "Shiny" title). It was only 14 episodes (and later, a movie - Serenity), but we have seen every episode half a dozen times, lol. I have several fan tshirts. I treasure my Jayne hat (and thanks to an incredible lady, this past Dragon*Con our group of 12 or so ALL had Jayne hats!!!). We even started watching Castle a few years ago, simply because I wanted to see Captain Tightpants again. :D

This week, my trusty UPS driver delivered to my door a book that made us all have a little geek squee. It's a beautiful 10 year anniversary special.

Besides being 542 pages of YAAAAAAY, this book will provide us with some spelling and vocabulary this week. Cause I'm awesome.

Instead of the spelling lists by grade that I was going to use for the boys, we are going to go through and find words in here to make our word lists! There are actor interviews, producer/director interviews...even the shooting script for every episode!

Outside of spelling and vocabulary, Braeden is going to work on his reading fluency with this book too. No, he's not going to finish it any time soon, lol, but with so much to read, it will be a fantastic reading resource for a while to come.



Big damn book for big damn heroes.

This week will definitely be fun! Go me! ;)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Yay! It's October!

We had a great vacation last week! The weather was absolutely perfect. The beach was great...not too crowded and not too hot. We relaxed. We played. We enjoyed hanging out with my parents. Just wonderful. 

My boys. :)

We went to a couple of educational sites while we were there; Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and Museum and the Museum of Arts and Sciences. The Marine Science Center was one we really wanted to visit, but our time got away from us (all that relaxing, lol) so we just did the two. Oh, and you saw some pics from the chocolate factory we did one rainy day...

Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

Tallest lighthouse in Florida. 175 feet tall, 203 steps to the top.

Looking up from the bottom...before we made our climb !

View from the top. Pretty spectacular, and worth feeling like I was going to die from the effort to get there, lol!

The light signal beacon thingy. The lighthouse is actually a working lighthouse, so the lights still work and everything. It was spinning as I was trying to take the picture...

On the way back down...

We couldn't really take any pictures at the MoAS, except of the Giant Ground Sloth skeleton they had, and of the Mastadon pieces they had. The sloth photos I haven't downloaded from the camera yet. But here is Braeden feeling a piece of the Mastadon jaw.

Quick side note...all of the pictures from the chocolate factory earlier in the week, and these pics in this post, were taken from my phone and uploaded to Dropbox. Why am I telling you this? Because I love technology and I think it's cool that I got some decent shots from a phone, AND that there is nothing to download from a camera. I just open the Dropbox folder on my computer and there are my pictures. Spiffy, huh? :)

So if our fabulous vacation is over, why am I so "Yay, it's October?"

I love this month. The temperature just keeps dropping and there are tons of festivals to visit and enjoy. All of the small towns around us have their fall festivals on their town squares. There's a huge apple festival that's not too far away in Ellijay. Helen is hosting their annual Oktoberfest. There's also pumpkin patches, corn mazes and halloween parties.

Yay! It's October! :D

Last week the boys did well with the worksheets and materials I brought with us. This week, things are back to normal for them. They will plug away at T4L and do their spelling on VSC. We may even find time to create some of our own word lists with words from our vacay. Braeden is going to work on games like WhichWord? Sentences (kinda like fill in the blank) and Speedy Speller (this one is not his favorite, lol, but it's good to try and help him spell a little quicker). 

Outside of T4L and VSC, Bailey is going to be working on 4H stuff. He has decided that even though this is his first year with it, he wants to try his hand at a District Project Achievement. Nope, I have no idea what that is, lol. But, we are learning about all this stuff together, so that's cool. This is something that they work on between now and March (I think), and then they get to compete/present at a weekend event held at Rock Eagle (I think, lol). Bailey wants to do his project on cooking, not surprisingly. He's excited. One of the things that we have to do for him to be eligible is to put together a portfolio. Homeschool portfolios are not something I have experience with (unless you count printed reports from T4L and a box full of pictures, projects, brochures, etc. Heh.) so next Monday we are having a portfolio workshop with the 4H coordinator. That should be good, for both Bailey and myself!

Alrighty. Off to get my Monday started. It's bleak and rainy...fitting for a Monday following a beach vacation, lol.

Hope you guys have a fantastic first week of October!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A few vacation photos...

In a perfect world, these would just be the first of many photos. But we all know how much I suck at posting pics, lol, so I guess we'll take what we can get. :D

Here are a few shots of our week so far (these were all taken with my phone, so my apologies if they look horrible once enlarged or anything)...

Crabby Joe's on the pier at The Boardwalk.

The view from our room! :)

Next to the pool, the hotel has a little fire's been awesome just sitting around it in the evenings.

The other day it rained most of the day so we took a little field trip to a local chocolate factory...

I loved seeing this on the wall, lol. One of the best scenes from the show! :)

A plate of awesome! Candied orange slices, white chocolate "eggs" and chocolate covered bacon! I could eat that for breakfast, couldn't you? ;)

Yuh huh. That's a 15lb chocolate turkey. And yuh huh. It costs $140.00.

Look! I knew chocolate was healthy. *Totally* healthy. :P

Braeden had crab legs for dinner last night, for the first time ever. He loved them! I think he liked the bib and the fact that he needed tools and a special fork to eat it with better though, lol.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Homeschooling on Vacation...

I know, I know...who does that? Well. We do. Kinda. :)

As homeschoolers, we generally find something to do that we can deem "educational" every place we travel. Nature centers, historic sites, local museums, etc. But that's generally all we do because, after all, it *is* vacation.

We are about to leave for a week in Daytona Beach. This is an unusual vacation time for us, and one that is not going to be commonplace. 

Because of the unusual time away, and because we have really only just gotten into our school year, I don't want to risk an entire week off of our normal schedule. If we want to maintain our pace so we can take our normal Thanksgiving-New Year's break, I'm going to have to plan a little more than I usually do (and a little more than I'd like, lol), so we can have things to take with us that the boys can work on next week.

When we are at home, the boys each have their own computer to do their core curriculum. While we are fortunate that T4L travels well...we only have one laptop to travel with. And in this particular situation, they are going to be limited as far as an Internet connection goes (Can you believe there are still hotels that don't have internet in all of their rooms?! Thank God for mobile phone tethering, lol!). So, I need to have activities that one can do, while the other is working online. Even though we don't always use them, T4L has some printable worksheets that correspond to many of the lessons/activities. That's handy, and I have gone through and printed some out of each boys' grade level for them to work on next week. Mostly math, with a little science and social studies thrown in.

Screen shot of one of the math worksheets Bailey will be working on. And I wonder why he looks at me funny when I mention math... :/

They both have iPads, but we are still faced with the limited connectivity issue. Even so, the app from SpellingCity can, and will, be used offline. They just have to go through and click on their lists to "open them" while we have internet, then they are cached and the boys can access them anytime. So I have some spelling and vocabulary covered. Yay! ;)

As far as other activities they can work on, I can use the VSC word search maker and handwriting worksheet maker (for the wee one) to make additional worksheets in case I need them. They are also googling, as we speak, a couple of educational places (There's a Marine Science Center that they both zeroed in on really quickly) that they want to go to while we are there because...well...yes I want them to have school time while we are gone, but I want them to enjoy their vacation too, lol!

Here is a word search I printed for
Braeden using some fall words...can't wait for autumn! :)
Other than that, we're traveling with a stack of paper books, a ton of books on our iPads, a few board games and we are even taking our bluray player and some movies with us. Seems like a lot, but I like to plan on down time and rainy day fun stuffs. :)

What about you guys? What types of things do you plan for/pack when you need to take your school on the road for a little while? Share what you do in the comments below, and have a great week! Be on the look out for some beachy photos...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Feels like Fall...

The mornings have been cooler this week, and I've loved it. Just knowing that fall is around the corner and I will soon be able to pull out my hoodies is awesome.

The boys have been enjoying soccer practice. Their games start this week and for the first time, Bailey's age group will have some traveling games. They've never played any of the other counties before, so this definitely brings new excitement for the season. Braeden's age group isn't traveling though, so we will have some conflicts for a few of the games. But it'll work out.

Looking forward to planning some fall activities. We enjoy Oktoberfest in Helen, and there's a great apple festival in Ellijay. We're also hoping to find a good pumpkin patch and corn maze. We haven't done that in a few years...

School is going really well. Even though we are slackers, lol. The boys haven't fought me this week at all, which is nice. They knew I was studying for a tax preparer test I had to take (which I passed, btw...yay for me!) so they collectively agreed to make things easy on me. ;)

Braeden enjoyed some educational videos (shockingly, they weren't from YouTube!), and will watch some more this week. Both boys surprisingly had fractions in math, and they did well with them. The whole reduced fraction thing is a little hard for Braeden (why can't I just leave it as 2/12...why do I have to make it 1/6?), but after a while, he got it and moved on, lol. I can't say that he enjoyed it, but he did do well with it so I'm happy. Spelling was good; Braeden worked on finishing up some 2nd grade lists, and Bailey worked on the 50 states and their Capitals.

Science is kinda stalled right now. Both of the boys blew through the science in T4L, so we are trying to find a good alternative program for this year. We usually just try experiments we find online, but they've asked for a program with a little more structure, so I'm looking for something. We want to really explore creationism, evolution AND intelligent design, so I guess I will be looking for several programs, lol. It's important to us to teach the boys about our belief system, but we also want to expose them to other scientific theories. When it's time for them to decide what they believe, we want their decision theirs, not ours that we projected on them, lol.

I'm also continuing on in my neurotic freak out about NEXT year. Ugh. I wish that I could put off my worry, and just get through this year, but I can't. I don't know that it's the high school thing that scares me as much as knowing that we will have such a drastic change in our homeschool curricula. We've used T4L for almost six years now, and it's hard to really process that one of them is leaving that behind. :(  Anyway, in that regard, I did come across a new site for high school homeschooling. They have a curriculum directory (YEEEEES!), as well as a forum for both parents and students. Pretty cool.

This week will be soccer, soccer, 4H, soccer and getting ready to leave for Florida. Yes, again! This time we are going with my parents to Daytona Beach. We used to vacation with them quite regularly, but we haven't been able to do so in several years so we're looking forward to next week with them.

I'm waiting until tomorrow to worry about the upcoming week though. For now, I'm going to curl up with a book, with the sounds of the hubs introducing the boys to D&D in the background.

Our geeky life is soooo good. ;)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

It's really hard to follow a D*C post, lol...

This week was hard to manage, time wise. We had a lot of unpacking and winding down to do from D*C, we had soccer practice, we had doctor appointments. Seeing as how I'm not really the best scheduler/time manager anyway, well you can imagine how much we accomplished this week.


The boys worked on SpellingCity on their iPads. They read. They  played some games. Risk counts as educational, right? We really should be on a better roll with our school year, but it's hard for us this year, and none of us can pinpoint why. We also know that we have a week at the beach coming up at the end of September. Yet another distraction, lol.

This upcoming week should be a little better. I have to study for a tax preparer test I am taking on Thursday, and of course there's soccer, but we should be able to get some stuff done. I bought a couple of workbooks (hiss, snarl, boo, gak) recently, just to kinda gauge where the boys are. I don't know that I really needed to do that, but they were on sale at The School Box and they were for transitioning from 2nd to 3rd grade, and from 7th to 8th grade. So I picked them up and showed them to the boys. I tried to pretend to be all excited about them. I failed. And they continue to avoid looking at them every time they walk by them.

I am going to find some homeschool fiction books for the boys. They have so much they want to read. They start a series. Then start another one, lol. I want to say finish one before you start another, but I'm honestly just so damn glad that they are reading because they want to, that I don't want to push my luck. I was browsing the homeschool literature site, and I came across a book that looked good. Banished. Then I discovered that I can "borrow" it for free with a Kindle. Would you believe that as much as I love gadgets, and as much as I love my Amazon Prime account, that I didn't know you could do this?! I can't do it with the Kindle app on my iPad sadly, but they did just bump the price down on the cheapest Kindle model to $69. I see another gadget in our future... ;)

Also, I found a totally free program, Book Adventure by Sylvan, that I can use to find books for Braeden and quiz him on. He's improved so much with his reading, but I don't want to read everything that he's reading, lol. Having said that, I do want to see how he's doing with his reading comprehension. That's where the Book Adventure site comes in. They have over 8,000 books in their program. I have already found several that Braeden has read, or wants to read. They have quizzes already made up for those books, so I don't have to go through and come up with questions. Yay!

Other than the reading stuffs, I am hoping to see a good jump into their new grade levels on T4L. We'll see, lol.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to Reality...

Yep. That's what it feels like when we return from Dragon*Con. Like we've had a little fantasy vacay. We had a fantastic time this year! Tracy, Lisa and I had a blast working together and honestly everything went so smoothly that it didn't really feel like a lot of work! :)

I had a couple of fangirl moments. One of which was getting a hello and a hug from Sherrilyn Kenyon (one of my favorite authors). I listened to Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers) sing happy birthday to a couple of friends who couldn't be there. I sat quietly at a table watching Joe Manganiello (Alcide from True Blood) sign autographs. I was supposed to be listening to a conversation, but I got distracted by his pretty. Hehe. Chatted a couple of times and had a quick photo op with a lovely young man, James McCune (Jimmy from this past season of The Walking Dead). Got a quick glimpse of Adam Baldwin, from Firefly. Lotsa YAYs, lol.

The boys had some big moments, too. They got to meet and get an autograph from Billy Boyd, who played Pippin in LoTR. They also got to meet and get an autograph with Niall Matter who played Zane in one of our favorite shows, Eureka (they got to meet "Sheriff Jack," "Zoe" and "Vincent" last year!). They got to get made up like Zombies from the people who do the Face-Off show.

But they had one unbelievable moment this year. They got to meet, get an autograph of, AND have a photo op with Stan Lee. How awesomely crazy is that??? They were excited, but I think it's going to take some time for them to realize just what an opportunity that was. We are huge fans of the Marvel Universe here, so it was pretty freaking cool for all of us! Thanks to Tracy for doing her magic. And a very special thanks to Hank...if he hadn't have had THE best question to ask Mr. Lee, this might not have happened. :)

Now, we have to get back into our September. Soccer practice for both boys on Tuesday and Thursday, a doctor appointment on Wednesday, Master's on Thursday, and possibly a friend coming down for the weekend. Which means cleaning the house. Gak.

The boys will do some T4L, and will honestly spend a lot of time on YouTube (we have discussed internet safety for kids so often that I'm comfortable leaving them to this) looking up clips from the Con this year. Other than that, I'm thinking we are going to have an unschooling like week. :D

Hope you all enjoyed your long weekend, here are a few pics from ours...

The boys and their Minecraft costumes. Yes, Bailey is wearing a fez on his. :D
Me, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Tracy. It's a crappy pic, but she was picking up her badge and we only had our phones with us at that moment.
4 of the 5 boys. All zombiefied. :)

I loved this pic with the flash, because it made Bailey have red eyes...and it just worked with the make-up, lol.

Braeden's was the craziest. While all the other boys looked like themselves, just made up...Braeden looked totally different to us!
Zombie Braeden, snacking on my face. :D

Zombie Bailey, eating my BRAINZ. :D
Billy Boyd! He was so sweet, and very engaging with his fans. Awesome. Why is it a side photo? He wasn't doing posed photos, so this was the quickest shot I could take with my phone before I got caught, lol.

James McCune, from The Walking Dead. Kinda cool that they looked like zombies with him. 

Niall Matter, from Eureka. This was not my year for remembering my camera, so it's another phone shot. :/ While I loved the boys' zombie look, I was a little bummed that this was our only opportunity to see him. Would have liked a nice photo where my kids didn't look all dead and creepy. ;)
The 5 boys and STAN LEE! It looks weird because this is a photo of a photo, lol. It was too expensive to buy a photo with each boy, so we did a group shot. And we haven't made copies for everyone yet. :)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dragon*Con, Baby!!

Yep, it's that time again. Time for costumes and weapons. Time for fangirl moments and geek squees. Time for people watching and photo ops.

And time for me to let my freak flag fly. ;)

Oh. And also time for me to buy socks because this is the first time all summer that my boys are required to wear tennis shoes instead of crocs and we can never find enough socks, lol.

This is our sixth year going to D*C, and we are always just as excited every time it rolls around as we were the first time.

We are heading down to the ATL Wednesday morning-ish, so I have a lot to do between now and then. Trying to cram in a week's worth of stuff into two days. Since I'm so organized and together (insert mucho sarcasm), that should be a piece of cake.


Seeing as how the boys have woken up every morning for the last week and put on their costume...then vibrated around the house...I think trying to get them to do any type of schoolwork is going to be fruitless.

Bailey has been working on a character/plot outline for a story he's writing. His dad showed him how to download Evernote and use it on his iPad. It syncs with his PC, so he can write from either and have everything saved. Pretty cool. The creative writing help he received from T4W has stuck with him, and I'm really glad about that. Anyway. I'm thinking writing/editing/spell checking/grammar proofing is enough "formal learning" for this week. :)

Braeden is very much enjoying the Beast Quest series he's reading, so if I get him to read for an hour each day, I will consider school successful for him this week, lol. I might be able to get him to work on some puzzle games on VSC, or at least log on to the VSC iPad app, but I won't be holding my breath.

I know. Stellar parenting. But I'm just as excited as they are! :D

Every year I say I hope to post some pictures throughout the weekend, and every year I mostly fail. But I will say it again now...hopefully I will have a few opportunities to post pics and share our weekend with you guys.

Until then, I will leave you with a photo from one of our best D*C moments of last year...

The boys with Colin Ferguson. He's Sheriff Jack Carter on one of our favorite family TV shows, Eureka. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I can tell the summer is almost over...

This week we had our parents meeting at Masters, which starts next week for Bailey and the week after that for Braeden. We also had our first 4H meeting, which is something brand new for us. Bailey really wanted to try it, and he seems very excited about the upcoming year!

They are officially registered for the fall soccer season.

Yesterday we wrapped up the last of our August birthday celebrations with a surprise 40th party for a very dear friend.

Aaaaand...the boys' Dragon*Con costumes are ready!

Once we are through with the birthdays and the extra curricular registrations/orientations, and we start our official less-than-two-weeks-until-con countdown, then we know our summer is almost at an end.

With trying to make sure I got everything taken care of this week, I was really grateful for all of the teacher resources lists that are on SpellingCity. I didn't have to worry about what they were going to work on in spelling - I just picked some random lists from that section of the site (Capitonyms anyone? ... Anyone?).

They also did some independent reading. Bailey is finally starting the Harry Potter series! I know, seems crazy that he's read stuff like The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and hasn't read H.P., but he reads want he wants, in his own order and time frame, lol. Braeden has found a new series called Beast Quest. He's very excited about this because this is the first series he's started completely on his own. This isn't one that we suggested, nor is it one that Bailey read when he was Braeden's age. He found this in Barnes and Noble, while searching through the section that was appropriate for his reading level. :D

As always, we won't have our official back to school (or as homeschoolers like to say - NOT back to school) kickoff until we return from Dragon*Con, so I will post on that later. Since so many other homeschoolers have already started their school year, I'm enjoying reading a lot of blogs and seeing what curricula and resource materials/supplements are being used. Even though we don't usually make many changes from year to year, that doesn't mean I don't find some great information and useful products! :)

Ok, off to grocery shop (gak!) and then come home to sloth in the family room with the boys (yay!). Our shiny new copy of The Hunger Games arrived yesterday from Amazon...can't wait to see it again!

Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

More birthdays and some reminiscing...

This weekend we visited family, and we helped a very special girl celebrate her first birthday!

Birthday girl, sitting with her mommy...

M is as cute as she can be. I loved this outfit...if I'm not mistaken, her mom received the outfit at her baby shower last year, just for this birthday celebration, lol! She seemed to have a good time today, and she enjoyed opening gifts about as much as any one year old does. You know, it's all good until they pull the first bow/ribbon off, then that's ALL they want to play with from then on. :)

She did enjoy her smash cake. It was honestly the best smash cake evah. She was absolutely covered and at one point, we thought she was finally going to get the entire cake off the table and to her face! :D

Not the greatest picture, but it's what I could get in a hurry with my phone...

On the way home, we stopped and had a special dinner so just the four of us could celebrate our boys' birthdays. Yeah, we already had a party. But this was just for us. We enjoyed dinner, and the boys were surprised with sundaes and a song (is there anyone that doesn't hate when this happens to them at a restaurant, lol?!).

Man. Where does the time go? Bailey turned 13 (omgIhaveateenager!!!) yesterday and Braeden turns 8 tomorrow. I could have sworn I just gave birth to them. :/

Not only am I shocked at how fast they have grown, I was also shocked when I realized that this school year, we will be embarking on our 8th year of homeschooling! When I think back about everything we have learned together, I sit in awe.

I remember the first time Bailey and I got stumped on something. It was venn diagrams. You know those moments when you look at something and you go "When in the name of all that's holy is that going to apply to real life?!" Yep. That was venn diagrams. Sure, they're easy enough. But whhyyyyyyyyy?

Braeden and I haven't gotten as stumped, but you live and learn with the second one, lol. I had a different perspective with him that I didn't have with his older brother. With Bailey, I was always scared that people knew I didn't know how to homeschool. That I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and I was just waiting for DFCS to show up and take them away because I was failing.

Sure, Braeden and I have had our battles (handwriting is *still* a bone of'd think he would have given up and conceded to me already, lol), but I learned along the way that there are things and concepts that they just have to be ready for. Like learning to read. Everyone kept telling me that he was behind and I wasn't pushing him hard enough. But I knew better.

And lo and behold, the mommy was right. ;)

Ok, enough reminiscing. If I don't stop, I'll just keep sitting here all weepy eyed. Besides that, I keep trying to grab them as they run by, hoping to fit them in my lap like when they were little. It's kinda freaking them out.

Hope everyone has a great week!