Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's Been Far Too Long

I've gotten a few comments and emails saying, "Hey, when are you gonna update?" or "Your blog is a blessing. Hoping you'll update soon." These comments are, of course, encouraging. After all, even a mediocre and amateur blogger likes to hear her work is read. As a preface, I'd like to say that this post can't be comprehensive and I can't let myself write that long. So I'll be hitting the highlights and hoping for lots of comments!

We went with Jeremy's parents on Labor Day weekend to Pigeon Forge, TN. Naturally, it's required that all homeschooling families have educational vacations. We took the kids to Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, North Carolina. It was very interesting to see how the native Americans lived 250 years ago.

Cherokee women making beaded art and jewelry.

John wanted to stay the night in this Cherokee home replica. Always the outdoorsman.

Climbing on the side of the mountain.

The biggest kid!

They all wanted to get out when we reached the path to Clingman's Dome. I was about to have a heart attack because it's straight down about a billion feet just passed that wall.

Helping, Mom!

We also visited the Ripley's Aquarium. This would have been much better if there had not been 10,000 people in there and not a speck of light anywhere. But we did eventually get through it and we didn't even lose a single child.

We've had two birthdays in the family. Josiah turned 3 in August and Noah turned 1 in September. We'll be celebrating Ethan's birthday just next week. Autumn is a busy time of year. Check out these cuties!

How about that curly hair? It completely matches his personality.

The whole crew!

Josiah is a complete joy. What a ham he is! He is such fun: cuddly, spunky, and full of personality. Did I mention he loves Thomas the Tank Engine? Can't you tell??

Then we had another birthday boy a few weeks later....

Guess who's one!

I was pleased with how Noah's turtle birthday cake turned out. I'll spare you all the story where I misspelled Noah's name.
hmmm...something tasty here.

Maybe someone could offer a bit of help for me. I have been on Blogger since something like 2002. My profile doesn't reflect that long because I used to publish with a different profile, but I've since deleted it. So I said all that to say that I guess you can't teach an old dog new tricks, I guess. I could work with the old blogger interface very nicely. This one feels like I wrestle and wrangle with it constantly. I've thought about using a different publisher, but then that means putting time into it. Time to learn new software...time I just don't have. So, am I crazy? Is the new interface cantankerous or is it just me?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Summer Synopsis

It really is high time I write a proper blog entry, isn't it?

Let's start with May. Our school year ended at the beginning of the month. The children's evaluations went well and I was also happy with their progress this year. I also watched my grandmother deteriorate rapidly after a hip break. It was so heart wrenching to see her go through it. It was amazing to see my mom, an only child, be there for her mother every step of her journey. Mom was such an example. We made lots of (long) trips to Pensacola, but it was certainly worth it. We also had time for other summer things.

Like lazing in the trees...
...and working in the garden
After her long struggle, my grandmother, Nannie as I always have called her, went on to heaven in June. Funny how when she was a phone call away all those questions that only she could answer would elude me. Now that I can never ask them, I can think of a zillion. She could crochet or sew anything. I can sew pretty well, but I can't crochet a stitch. And not for lack of trying. We also had a rather disappointing year in the garden. We had a good harvest, but with so much distracting, we simply were not able to gather all of it. I did, however manage to can FIVE GALLONS of tomatoes.
Keep out of the reach of children!
Don't know exactly, but I'm guessing around 80 pounds of homegrown, organic tomatoes.
All cut up and ready for cans.
We lost all of our second planting of corn and most of our peas. But we did manage to get several quarts of green beans put up. June was also sort of heart breaking since the youth group went off to camp without us for the first time in nine years. We also decided to expand our back patio. We spend a lot of time outside and our 10x12 patio was way too small. A huge shout-out goes to our friend, Marcus, who used to do concrete by trade, and made this possible for us. Now we have a great spot for birthday parties!

Helping Dad pour concrete.
The finished product, in large family size!

One of those perks of having a family business is bartering. Jeremy was also able to somehow barter two pallets of sod grass from a man to patch up the holes in the yard. Oh, and he also bartered all the sand and to have the old patio concrete removed. :-) Like I said, perks!

Now, I suppose that brings us to July. For the first time that I can remember, we decided just stay home for Independence Day. Can I just say that it was the best, most relaxing holiday we've ever ever had?! It's been 10 days ago and I'm still looking back with a smile! We did the typical: swim, eat watermelon, make homemade ice cream, grill, shoot our own fireworks, and go to the community fireworks display.

The gang, all suited up for swimming. I was first sad that I couldn't find a baby-sized rash guard for Noah, but got over it quickly when I saw how kissable his baby rolls are in the water!!


Watch me jump in, Mom.

Baby tubing.

Then the rest of the day....

Grilling hamburgers

Look at my fireworks!


"You see dat one, Ma?"

I guess that brings me to mid July. I had something strange going on that I couldn't exactly put my finger on. Tuesday I had to go to the doctor and it turns out that I have shingles. Have you ever had shingles? After 5 c-sections, I'm no stranger to pain. Let me just say that having shingles hurts... and I mean hurts!! I'd say it in some ways compares to post-surgery pain. I'm hoping that I'm on the mend, but I'm not too sure. I'm supposed to teach VBS next week, but I've already returned my materials to Pastor because I just don't see it working out for me to be well enough.

Looking ahead, we hope to start school Tuesday. I had it on my calendar to start last Tuesday (the 10th), but since I could barely move that didn't happen. I also decided that the children having individual desks to do school was just not practical nor space efficient. I'm not going to add pictures, but hope to in the next post.

And I hope that it won't be months before my next post! :-)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dusting off the Blog

Okay, really I have so much stuff I could blog about. And I should since it's been nearly three months since an update. I really just wanted to post a fantastic laugh I had at myself today. See, I'm one who is always saying the wrong thing at the wrong time or doing something embarrassing. I've always been like that. Therefore, I am not embarrassed easily. For me, doing stupid stuff is just part of living. But today even I was mortified.

I was in Brewton, AL today attending a function at a local restaurant with the ladies at my church. Afterward I went into Walmart to grab a few things. The weather here has been super hot (heat indexes >107F) and there hasn't been a cloud in the sky (somewhat unusual). So the instant I walked out of the store I was fishing for my sunglasses. While walking I stuck them on my face and started looking for my car (cus I always forget where I park). When I put the sunglasses on I felt very slightly disoriented, but nothing unusual. I mean, we all get spells where we get barely dizzy and don't know why. As I walked to the car, I noticed people sort of staring. I wasn't sure why. I was sort of dressed up; everyone else that I saw in the store was wearing t-shirts. I figured that was the reason for the stares.

So, next stop was the gas station ... because gas is always cheaper in Brewton ... way cheaper. I pulled up to the pump and waited for the man who was currently pumping gas to finish. He kept staring too ... like over and over. I waved at him. He didn't respond. I thought, "People just aren't friendly these days." He finished up and I hopped out of my car and began fueling. Now really, the place is crowded. Well, crowded for Brewton. I finish up and hop back in the car. As I pulled off I caught a glimpse of myself in the rear-view mirror and *gasp* I discovered why all the people were staring. And I discovered why I'd felt sort of disoriented when I put my glasses on.

I know you're dying to know what it was, aren't you?

Well, it's because THIS is what I looked like!!!

Yeah, that really happened.
I really want to get back to blogging. I have been checking in on the blogs I follow, although I seldom comment. There are so many things to share. Hopefully, we'll get to that soon!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

What You Never Knew About Me

Today is Easter Sunday and is my birthday. Yay, happy birthday to me. I read this article this morning that told me that this year coming up going to be the best yet.

  1. I have never eaten a food that I didn't like. The only one that comes close is that I will not eat liver. I've never had it, but there is something unnerving and unhealthy sounding about eating a giant filter.
  2. I have only been out of the south once, or three times depending on how you count it. 
  3. I have never flown in an airplane (and now won't. Thanks TSA); I've never even been inside an airport.
  4. I am pretty good at Scrabble.
  5. My parents sometimes call me the nickname Buffy. (dear God, did I just tell everyone that?!)
  6. The first instrument I learned to play was the guitar.
  7. I really, really love to sew. Alas, I don't have to time to do it as much as I would like.
  8. Homeschooling was something that I always wanted to do, after I got saved and learned about it. Hubby and I were like-minded on this before we got married.
  9. I was in color guard in high school and completely lived for winter guard. I even continued this after graduating from high school briefly.
  10. I am completely into Star Wars and Star Trek and have been ever since I was little.
  11. I want a Nissan NV3500...but if I got my choice, I'd really dig a red 1979 Jaguar XJ6. Just like this one. So awesome.
  12. I have never broken a major bone. I may have broken a toe and my nose related to high school color guard.
  13. I have always lived in north Florida, except for 10 months after I got married. At that time we lived in Alabama, but it was walking distance to the Florida/Alabama border.
  14. I can't remember learning to swim. It's like I have always known how.
  15. I attended a secular college, nearly completed an Associates degree, but hated every moment there. I nearly enrolled at Pensacola Christian College, but got married instead. :-)
  16. My most favorite, #1 place of all time to shop is ... Amazon. I could spend hours shopping there!
  17. I cannot read lips....AT ALL. Don't even try to "mouth" something to me.
  18. I have had varicose veins since I was 16.
  19. I have a very loud, very dorky sounding laugh. It is so distinctive in fact, that I recently met up with some cousins of mine who I have not seen since I was about 6. Once of the first things said to me was, "Wow, your laugh hasn't changed a bit."
  20. I very much love to read, especially classic fiction.
  21. My favorite grain is the very obscure quinoa. YUM!!
  22. I hate doing to dishes with a purple passion.
  23. I read the encyclopedia and dictionary for fun.
  24. I always said that when I grew up I wanted to be a lawyer, but I never really wanted it deep down. The only thing I ever really wanted to be was a mommy.
  25. I have 3 different flowers that I love and I can never decide which is my favorite: gardenia (its smell is intoxicating and lots of nostalgia there), zinnia-the pompom type (looks so happy), and magnolia blossoms (so iconic to the south...smells good too).
  26. Had I been a boy, my parents would have named me Adam.
  27. My first job was as a grocery store cashier. My first full-time job was a bank teller.
  28. I am insanely terrified of cockroaches...especially of the American Cockroach, like this one. They literally make me nauseous.
  29. We switched to Apple products in 2005. We have iPhones, an iMac and a MacBook. Hubby uses Apple products at his business also. I don't think I could switch back to Windows OS. However, I wouldn't mind becoming a Linux user. After all, Tux is quite cute!
  30. I have a problem with my sacrum which has caused all 5 of my children to be breech. All of them have been born via c-section. I labored only once and it was such an amazing experience.
  31. If there were ever a place I would want to visit abroad, it would be London.
  32. I would never, ever want to move from where we live now. However, I would love to build on to our current home.
  33. I have to control my tendencies to be a grammar cop. Then I vent all of my self control on my poor husband. ("Honey, read this! Can you believe this?! This sentence has subject/verb agreement issues. How first grade is that?!?")
So there you go.  Thirty-three things that you never knew about me. Or maybe you did know them.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pinterest Monday

Pinterest Monday From Musings From A Stay At Home Mom

You may notice that my latest favorite place to find helpful hints, tips, fun things to do, and pretty much anything under the sun has been Pinterest. I recently have "met" Amber both in the blogosphere and in Pinterest. She features a recurring feature called (you guessed it) Pinterest Monday. So this just seems all up my alley, especially since the past several posts have been Pinterest highlights anyway. So here Pinterest Monday contribution. Enjoy!

Oh, a little how-to on how I have this set up. Click on the images below to take you to my pin for more info. Then click on the same image on the Pinterest website for more info. Maybe you didn't need that extra info, but hey, just trying to be helpful. :)

One of my favorite boards that I have is my healthy eating board. Healthy, in this case, being defined by me as any food that uses healthy ingredients. It maybe the that my healthy eating board may feature a dessert, but that dessert will contain real trans fat, no HFCS. Lots of made-from-scratch here.

This one was a huge hit! We eat some form of muffin every Friday morning. But what could be more convenient that opening the box, adding vegetable oil, egg, milk and about 20 minutes? Plus, lets face it...I haven't been able to make a muffin that actually looked good. Mine usually have very low crowns and they just don't taste as good as the box or the bakery.

Those days are in the past.

The kids flipped out about these blueberry muffins. They were a work of art.

My other pin to share is a passenger van that I actually like. Yeah, I said it. I like this one.

A Nissan NV3500. 12 passenger max. Super-duper nice interior. Plus it looks like a Nissan Titan on the outside.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Homeschool Happenings

Few words today, just photos... (taken from my cell phone so pardon any poor quality)

Working, working

Our end-of-the-year countdown. Snip off a paper link for each completed day! (thanks Pinterest)

Josiah colored the sun.

I decided to write the lesson day and the number of days left on each link.

A side note: I grew up a light golden blond, bordering on platinum in the summer. Then I had kids. Then I started getting darker-headed. Then I turned to the hydrogen peroxide bottle to preserve that blond. Then I got tired of having to keep lightening my roots. lol. So here I am, the natural me!

Hubby and I have been dieting since January. I am also proud to say that I am 18 pounds lighter!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

February and March

One post a month is the norm these days I suppose. :-/ My apologies for that.

I started off by writing "things have been 'status quo' on the home front." As I reflected upon the past month, really the opposite is true. Let's catchup on everything...

  • The biggest news was that as we have had very little cold weather, the pollen came in with a bang, sending everyone into allergy mayhem. Ethan, my little allergy-induced asthma patient, had a very very acute attack and ended up hospitalized for about 36 hours. He went from having barely puffy eyes to having a respiratory rate of 42 breaths per minute in about 12 hours. He is doing much better now, but we have never every had an attack like that before!
  • Today Noah is 6 months old. He finally started sitting up. Cute, cute.
  • We are not new to the homemade baby food scene, but I have tried something different this time. Homemade baby cereal! It is so easy and cheap. However, what's funny is that the first time I made it I ground up the brown rice, added water...and didn't cook it. LOL Silly me. I was thinking that since the sto re-bought stuff doesn't need cooking, mine wouldn't either. Poor baby. The mess had the texture of sand. Got it all worked out now and he LOOOOOVES it! Yay!
  • Lydia turned 5 at the beginning of February. I am excited because she's always been very ... ummm ... spacy. I promise, the girl lives in her own little world. Lately though, she has come out of the clouds a little bit.
  • John turned 9 three weeks after Lydia's birthday. He's getting into t hat in-between stage: not quite a kid and not quite an adult.
  • I made both Lydia's and John's birthday cakes. Lydia wanted Hello Kitty. John wanted a very plain ice cream layer cake. I was able to talk him into a few icing decorations.
  • We began Christian Apologia Astronomy recently too. Love, love it. Soooo fun. We have a "solar system" hanging from the ceiling of the school house we're working on.
  • John was not impressed by the reigniting candles on his birthday cake.
  • My husband and I are working on shedding a few pounds. My husband is so amazing. He has lost almost 40 pounds in just 8 weeks. Sadly, I have only lost 13. The plus side is that I feel better and have gained a lot of tone. I've been doing a lot of body weight resistance.
  • Our green beans have begun to sprout!!
  • I love the variety of green beans we have been planting. Unfortunately, they don't freeze very well. I am hoping to be able to get a pressure canner this year and cold pack the beans. (We always use frozen veggies) I am no rookie when it comes to ca nning, but I've always canned high acidity foods using the water bath canner. Don't even have a pressure cooker or canner!
  • Amazon Prime seems to be the best thing that ever happened to us. Since we live out in the sticks, about 35 miles from any city, it can be problematic when we need something. For example, we needed more paint to finish our solar system mentioned above. No where for miles around sells art supplies other than crayons. We also have been checking out buying wholesale stuff from Amazon too, since the nearest Sam's Club is nearly 50 miles away.
  • Hopefully we will be putting the wraps on this school year in the next 7 weeks. Double yay!
  • Something that I always get a laugh out of (speaking of end-of-the-year stuff) is this: when you talk of end-of-the-school-year the public school parents mil dly groan and can't wait til the school year starts back. Homeschooler parents are the opposite; the y do the happy-dance when school is out and mildly groan when school starts back. Not saying that all public or homeschoolers are like this. This is just my personal observation amongst my circle of friends.
  • Josiah is learning the color names with the help of Thomas the Tank Engine. He knows that Thomas is blue, Percy is green, and James is red. Lydia is trying to teach him pink. lol

P.S. I apologize for the layout of the images. I am not getting along well with the new blogger interface. The images won't "stick" where I stick them. Using the interface is not the problem. I like to type out my post and then add and arrange my images. Can add them very easily. Arranging them throughout the post is a different story...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Reinventing Everything

It seems to me that today, people are doing just that. Taking every great and nifty invention and making it better. Here are one of those new-and-improved items that we love in our house.

I have had toddlers. Three to be exact.

I have a toddler.

I will have a toddler soon.

Most people can claim at least one of these statements. All of the above statements are true for me all at the same time...which is great! Along with having a toddler always comes potty training. Here is an example of our typical and more classic toddler potty seat that we have always used.

Yes, I suppose that this one gets the job done. I always hated this seat though. Pee gets everywhere with this seat. And in a matter of a few months they start to stink. And you sure can't clean them. So my sister-in-law, who is great at finding all things practical, discovers this little gem that we now have in all our bathrooms.

Big deal. It's a toilet.

Open the lid and ... hey, what is that under there?

Look! A built-in toddler seat!

Closer examination shows that the toddler seat is held into the adult seat by a magnet. Also, you'd see a slow-close lid. One of my toddlers would drop the lid when they got "done." WHAM!!!! every single time.

The toddler seat pops off for easier cleaning or for when you don't have a toddler anymore. (Could take us a while to get to that point)

And the whole seat just clips off for easy cleaning!

Anyway, the only con to this seat, in my opinion, is that there is no "boy-flap." Oh, don't pretend like you're all confused. Anyway, Josiah (a sitter, for now) has been taught to aim downward, if you get my drift. It wasn't too difficult.

Interested? It's a Bemis NextSteps toddler toilet seat. Here is one similar on Amazon, but I don't think it has the slow-close feature.


Would you like to see some more of the ideas I've implemented from Pintrest? Ah, sure you do!

Remember a while back I shared the ice cube tray sorter for earring and bracelets? This is for helping more of my jewelry overflow.

Homemade necklace hangar.

Couldn't stop with just one!

The how-to on this was pretty simple. The hooks are shiny brass hooks from the hardware store. The wooden frames were $2 a piece from Dollar General. The "art" is doilies I bought from Etsy for $3 each and the denim background was scrap saved from an old sewing project. I actually originally saw this project done with a 11x13 frame in distressed wood and the hooks were several different and unique cabinet pulls. I didn't want to put that much money into it. haha

Part two...

Here we have the inside of one of my cabinets. The same brass hooks are screwed into a piece of scrap 1x2 from the hardware store where we got the hooks. (they even gave it to us for free). Oh, and the index cards are of Bill Gothard's Operational Definitions of Character Qualities And while I think that not all of Bill Gothard's material is spot-on, I think a lot of it is very useful. Most of the character quality definitions are great. Not all of them are.

Seems like 2012 is the year that everyone has chosen to get organized. Maybe that's true for me also.