Saturday, January 31, 2009

It happens to the best of us....

Whether you are a homeschooling veteran or a first year tenderfoot, it happens! What's that? Well, it's the mid-winter blahs!! Ahhh, so you know what I am talking about. Have you hit that wall? Are you looking out your window and daydreaming about Spring? Are you thinking that it will NEVER, EVER get here?

You pick up your math curriculum and wonder just what made you chose that book. It seems like you and little Johnny have been stuck in the middle of it for months and just maybe you'll never get to the end. Spelling, HAH! There's a sore subject. Are you sometimes secretly thinking that maybe history isn't all that? Are you feeling a bit of guilt because somehow you never seem to have the time to fit in art, music, PE, and that foreign language you promised to work on this year?

As February begins, are you trying to remember just why you homeschool? Between all the yuckies that the kids are sharing back and forth, the laundry piling up, your never-ending to do list, the sky-high heating bill and the bleak scenery out your kitchen window, are you searching for the energy to rise above it all? Are you feeling just a little weary? Alone? Stressed??

Well, do I have some good news for you!! Apologia Educational Ministries, Inc has put together their first-ever Apologia Live Conference for Homeschoool Moms!!! It's being held in Maryland on February 27th and 28th. (click on the link for more information) Over the next few weeks I will be sharing more information about this wonderful opportunity for moms all over the area to come together and be uplifted as they fellowship and hear speakers who understand. The theme for the conference is Walking in the Light. Can you think of a better theme for a mom in February?

Apologia would love to see homeschooling moms and even those that are considering homeschooling. Make sure you tell everyone you know and stayed tuned for future Apologia Live posts here. It's sure to be just the boost we all need to renew our vision and set our focus on the path God has laid before us.

How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound!O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance. Ps. 89:15 (New American Standard Bible)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Can I Keep It??

The other day I was minding my own business (read sitting in the back of the house playing on the computer), when I heard Mike calling from the kitchen. He said something about the dog. The dog and a big bone. I listened a little longer and heard "a bone the size of the dog." Finally, it all came together. "Did you give the dog a rawhide bone that's almost as big as he is?" I had to check it out.

We just had to laugh as Dodger walked in the house carrying this bone. He looked like he was quite proud of himself for snagging such a catch. We suspected that somehow the dog next door...that fits this size of this rawhide...had shared his bone.

Dodger was pleading here. He said he got it fair and square and he wanted to keep it. Finders Keepers and all that. Forget the fact that Dodger becomes a paranoid wreck when he has a rawhide. He paces all over looking for a hiding spot, only to hide it and then watch it, pick it back up and start all over. He obsesses, loses sleep, and becomes a candidate for doggie drugs. It's that bad!! So, I let him carry it around the house for about 30 minutes and it wore him out. Then K picked it up and ran over to our neighbors. It did indeed belong to their dog and they said sometimes their dog likes to put his paws on the top of the fence and he must have been holding his bone and it fell out of his mouth. I still like my version that he was sharing!! ;) We saw him sniffing around the fence....probably where he last saw his bone. He was happy to get it back and quickly tore it up like only a big dog can. (it would have taken Dodger years to put damage on this bone!)

Here is the rightful owner....notice the damage on his bone. (probably trying to get the Dodger smell off it!!LOL)

Ahhh, this is more Dodger's size.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Win a Free Blog Design....

Wow, did that grab your attention!! It certainly grabbed mine. If you are interesting in entering to win a free blog design, you need to rush over to Doodlebug Designs. Judi is giving a free design away, but the contest ends tomorrow.

Good Luck!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I'm honored....

I was checking out Smoochie Frog's latest post (and current nail polish color) over at In The Mind of A Thirtysomething Mom when I was surprised to see my blog listed in her post. :) It seems she has chosen me along with 7 others to receive this cute award.

For those of us who don't speak Spanish as well as we used to in high school, it reads:

"This blog invests and believes the PROXIMITY - nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are extremely charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give attention to these writers! Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly written text into the body of their award."

So in keeping with the spirit of this award, here are my picks of bloggers that I feel also deserve this award:

Jerri over at Jerri's Journey

Steph over at Life With These Kids

Dana over at Welcome to Dana's Blog

Kym over at Forest & Stream Club Academy

Dacia over at Our Crazy Homeschool Life

Tammy over at My Life is Truly Blessed

Kerri over at Heartprint Cottage

Jennifer over at Island Academy

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BFS #117 - Say It In Signs!

Memory Verse: Genesis 1:14 (King James Version)
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.

Intro: This week the other Teachers and I want to shake things up a bit! We wanted for everyone to have some fun and have an assignment that would be easy and enjoyable too. This is a creative blogging assignment but hopefully it will offer help to some newer bloggers still trying to learn “how” to add pictures to their blogs and also help learn your classmates names to easily identify them…and it’s just FUN!

Assignment: This week you are to use your Blog Name (or your own pen/real name) and create signs.

This was fun! I didn't have time to get creative, but I did make a few signs using my Blog Name. I'll go back later and play around some more later this week. :) If you want to make some signs or banners check out here . If you want to see what creative signs others came up with for this assignment, check here .

What did you say??

I love children....absolutely love them. I happen to be especially fond of my very own children. Another thing I love is homeschooling. Just having the time to spend with your child and observe their learning process is a true gift. I've been fortunate enough to be able to homeschool my children the past million years. Well, maybe not that long, but it is a really cold day and today it feels like maybe it's been a million years. (I don't like cold)

My four children are all unique in their own way and with that comes different learning styles, different interests, different strengths, different weaknesses, different quirks, different.... Oh, you get the picture. They are...well...different! Over the years, I have laughed, cried, banged my head on the wall and celebrated with them. Teaching them has certainly kept me on my toes. It seems what works to teach one child a subject doesn't always work on the next. Imagine that!

Currently, I only have one student left in our homeschool. She happens to be 9 and she happens to be our only girl. I find myself in a strange, new land. I am only working with one, which is turning out to be quite fun. I am working with a girl, which is turning out to be not as hard as I feared....but not exactly a picnic, either! I am also working with a child that has some auditory processing issues, which is turning out to be very interesting and often a source of laughter.

We are finally moving along in reading and this year her understanding is growing by leaps and bounds. The pace has picked up so much, I am constantly working to keep appropriate level curriculum on our shelves. I look at this as a good thing.

One thing we are concentrating on is her speech. She can say the words, but many times she just doesn't hear the right word/sounds in the first place. So, we stop what we are doing, focus on each other and repeat the word until it sinks in. She keeps a good attitude most of the time. ;o)

There is one area, in particular, that remains a struggle. Remembering new words is a chore. They can even be common words...words that she hasn't used often. The past few days have had some entertaining exchanges and we have laughed ourselves silly.

A few days ago:

Me: "Did you feed Phineas?"

K: "Yes, I fed him 5 pebblets a little while ago." pause from her....because she is thinking that doesn't exactly sound right.

Me: pause from me as I decipher...."Um, you mean pellets?"

K: "Yep, that's it. Pellets, pellets, pellets....." She has made a point to say this word about 50 times in the past few days.

Then, today we were playing a little game of lip reading. I am not sure what even started it, but it was my turn to read her lips. I could only make out, "You are...." So, I gave up and she said, "You are.....(ready for this one?)...... dee-lick-eee-us." Now, as soon as she said it she knew it was wrong. All I could come up with was "delicious", which she quickly assured me was not the word she was looking for. It nearly drove her (and me) crazy as she tried and tried to get the word that was stuck in her brain out of her mouth. She told me it meant crazy, but I couldn't even begin to guess. (probably because she was saying dee-lick-eee-us and many versions of that sound over and over and over) At one point she just looked at me and said, "Help me!!" Yes, this went on for over 20 minutes. We would start getting back to her work and she would start saying the word all over again. This was a child obsessed with figuring out what she wanted to say. Finally....after what seemed like eternity she gave me the clue I was searching for. She said "re-dee-lick-ee-us". AHA!!! That's it! "Ridiculous?", I guessed. "YES!! YES!!", she cried.

She was so relieved. You could see it all over her precious face. She was giggling and sighing all at once. I think I even saw some sweat on her brow. We found the word and I was glad that we could now get back to our lessons. Then... she said it. What did she say, you ask? She said, "Whew, sometimes I just forget how to nounce words!!"

this post approved by K

Friday, January 16, 2009

On a frigid day.....

having popcorn

with a friend

while watching Beethoven



Thursday, January 15, 2009

a few recipes to try...

In the beginning of January, Mike got the itch to cook dinner. Being the good wife that I am, I did nothing to stop him!! ;o) I even went shopping with him! He decided that he would like to make Prime Rib as the main event. We searched and found an incredible deal at our local Safeway and came home with a 10 pound boneless prime rib roast. We invited the kids and my parents over for dinner the next day. Everything was absolutely delish!! I mean.....seriously! So, I'm going to share two of the recipes we used and I can give both of them "2 thumbs up".

Garlic Prime Rib

He pretty much followed this recipe, except he added Rosemary to the mix. It did take a little longer then the stated cooking time to get to the right temp. The slices on the end were more done, which was perfect for some family members. The rest of us just dug into the middle of the roast! :)

We skipped the bacon due to preference of some guests. We could have had it on the side, but due to time and the amount of work involved in the whole meal, we skipped it altogether. They were yummy, even without the bacon.

Leftover Prime Rib? No problem!

When you buy this much at one time, you will most likely have leftovers. We had prime rib for three dinners in a row. (not that it made any of us sad!) The second night we just heated a few leftover slices and ate them....much like the first night. The third night, I sliced the meat fairly thin. Then I melted some butter and added garlic, salt and pepper. I put the meat in the saute pan with the hot butter and just quickly tossed it around in the all that deliciousness. My goal was not to cook the beef any longer....but to heat it up. We piled this onto some incredibly yummy toast and added a horseradish sauce that I threw together. (just horseradish and mayo)

I have succeeded in making myself hungry!! How about you?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

a wonderful thing....

You know what is a wonderful thing? Yes, that question has many good answers and I could probably make a whole list. For now, though, I want to talk about my
Vita-mix. When we remodeled the kitchen and had a budget set aside for stocking the kitchen, we researched and decided that we needed a Vita-mix. (maybe "needed" is a tad too strong of a word here, but it's my story!) The price is a little scary at first glance, but we had room to play with in the kitchen budget and we figured it was now or probably never. I really, really wanted one after watching the demo's of all the yummy things it could do. Fortunately, for us it has not been a regret.

I have to admit that it is not a very attractive piece of kitchen machinery. It's also too tall to slide under my top cabinets. However, since I use it so often I have to just let it hang out there on the countertop. (I try to ignore it if I'm not using it)
But what can it do?

It can do many things and I have yet to test them all out. It makes some insanely yummy mocha frappucinos! Also, I've been making fresh applesauce for my breakfast with just two apples and a dash of cinnamon. ;) You can even make piping hot soup using all fresh, whole ingredients!!! Click here to see video demonstrations, if you are interested. However, my favorite thing to make are smoothies. Let check that process out!

Look at this lovely bowl of fruit. I have some grapes, a couple of apples with seeds, an orange, a sliver of lime, a half of a banana and yes, a few baby carrots.

Let's not forget fresh pineapple.

You can add a slice with the core!

I like to add berries to the mix. Since they are not in season, I keep my freezer stocked with a few bags. You don't need to use ice in your smoothie, if you use frozen berries.

I also added a splash of orange juice. You can add a splash of any juice...or not. You can also add yogurt or any other combination of fruit. Whatever floats your boat. (you can even make a V-8 type of juice) Prepping the fruit is very quick and easy. Stems can stay on the grapes, seeds can stay in the apples and cores can stay in the pineapple. This
vita-mix can handle it all!

This is what happened to all that fruit in just a minute. Think about all the yummy vitamins and necessary fiber all loaded in this drink. Four of us shared this particular smoothie....and four of us said, "YUM"!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Yet another gray day....

Well, I read the forecast and didn't expect anything different. Yet, I was still strangely disappointed to wake up to another gray day. Don't get me wrong...the waking up part was great. Just the having to look out at blah all day was a tad trying on my mental well being!!

Here's our lovely grill looking all sad about the weather. Focus your attention on what's behind the sad grill.

Looks like a little pond in our neighbor's yard. I saw little fishies jumping over there. Ok, not really....but I could see them if they were there.

To make things even more appealing, it was chilly in our school room this morning!


We still managed to get into gear and start school by 8:41!! Two days in a row we have started before 9:00 and both days have been terrific!

Just ask K! Poor thing has a cold, but can still manage a smile while working. Oh...she also decided today was crazy hat day. She wrote it in my planner when I wasn't looking. So, Crazy Hat Day it was. Yes, I even wore a hat....but darn, we didn't take any pictures of that!! ;)

Homeschool Memoirs: Happy New Year!

For this week, since I’m quite curious, post about what you did for New Year’s and what your traditions are each year. Have fun!

Oh, well...we are quite boring people when it comes to New Year's Eve. All our older children (adults) were at various parties. My parents came over to play cards for a while, but left well before midnight. K went to bed and Mike and I stayed up til about 1. We actually wound up playing an Eye Spy type computer game together. That was it!!

On New Year's Day we had everyone over for dinner. Keeping things fairly frugal we decided to have a Mexican fiesta. That is in no way a tradition....just the way it worked this year. We had a taco/nacho/burrito bar set up and everyone made what makes them happy. It was a nice time visiting.

Unfortunately, I didn't take one single picture! Maybe next year!! :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Back to the books....

Even though it's such a grey day,

we are back to the books!

We actually had a wonderful school day!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

CVS trip...

Right before Christmas, I took my CVS gift card and all my Extra Care Bucks and went shopping at CVS. I finished up on all my stocking stuffers and got a few other odds and ends to make the holiday special. Thanks to CVS, I walked out of there with close to $50 in free merchandise. Well, that and they gave me 1 Extra Care Buck!!

Hmm, that sounds like a challenge. With minimal expense on my part, I want to see how that $1 can roll into more ECB!! As long as CVS is still having their deals, I plan to see just how much I can accumulate in the year 2009!

Of course, being an impatient person, I didn't even wait until the clock struck midnight on the 31st! I grabbed a few coupons and headed out.

I picked up Nature's Bounty Vitamin C. It was buy one get one free AND get $3 in ecb's. I decided to hold onto my $1 ecb that I already had for the next deal. So, total out of my pocket was $6.50. It would have been less, but my CVS no longer accepts internet coupons. sigh.... I hope that doesn't last long. I got two bottles of vitamin C and $3 back. A $4 off $20 purchase coupon also printed out.

Next, I bought $21 in Excedrin. Sometimes it is the only thing that will work on my headaches....and the medicine will be good all year. I turned in my $4 off $20 coupon, bringing the total to $17. Then I gave $4 worth of Excedrin coupons, bringing the new total to $13. Next I turned in my $4 in ECB's....bringing my total down to $9. The best part was that I definitely would have purchased that much Excedrin over the year, which would have cost more then $, they turned around and gave me another $4 off $20 purchase coupon AND $10 ECB's.

So, yes...the trip cost me some money. However, that is expected in the beginning. I probably will not spend that much money on any one trip to CVS for the rest of the year. ;) Total spent out of my pocket.... $15.50 Started with $1 ecb, ended with $10 ecb. I think it's going to be a fun year.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Our newest addition.... not a baby!! K had one big wish for Christmas. She has been wanting a Betta fish for over a year and kept asking for a gift card to purchase one. So, on Christmas morning she opened a gift that made her squeal! It was a Webkinz Fish and this special fish was wearing a homemade bowtie made out of a $50 bill!! We told her we would go get the tank and accessories on Saturday and then the fish on Sunday. The weekend could not come soon enough!!

Here is the tank that she picked out with all the accessories. All it needs is a FISH!

And here he is just hanging out in a bag as he acclimates to the water temp of his new home.

Checking out his new place.

Meet Phineas, aka Phin.

Ignore the paper's covering the mirror until we get a background for his tank. Don't want him to worry about the little fishie in the mirror!!