Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Autumn Gratitude

1. Are the leaves turning color where you live? Have they begun to fall? Will you have to rake when it's all said and done? Is that a chore you love or loathe?

Most definitely! The foliage is turning brilliant shades of red, yellow and orange. As I have gotten older I appreciate these special season changes, enjoying the newness of changing weather. When our maples, beeches and oaks drop their leaves, some are raked into the garden for composting, some raked into the chicken and duck run for ground insulation, and whatever is left is mulched up my our push mower to compost over the winter into the lawn. Nature certainly provides in interesting ways!

2. When did you last shake like a leaf?

Oh. Right now! I love cool, clean air flowing into my bedroom at night, but these nights it's getting a bit nippy even with a couple of soft blankets. ::shiver:: But I am still not ready to close my windows! I'll just add another blanket!

3. After 20 seasons with the NY Yankees, Derek Jeter played his last official game Sunday afternoon. Jeter has been described even by opponents as a 'class act', both on and off the field. The NFL is back in action this month too, with several players in that sport also making headlines. What are your thoughts on athletes as role models? Should a professional athlete be expected to act as role model or is that going beyond their job description? What responsibility do the organizations these athletes work for have when it comes to dealing with off the field behavior? Discuss.

Anytime a person puts themselves out as a public figure they are a role model, whether they want to be or not. People will be influenced by them. Why not strive to be inspirational? to be known for good morals, sound judgement, and kind spirit? Oftentimes athletes, actors, politicians, and other public figures forget just how POSITIVELY meaningful they can be to others!

4. What season of the year is toughest for you in terms of your health? Why?

Spring. I love spring, the rebirth of plants, the awakening from winter's cover, but my seasonal allergies don't! Pollen flies around here, coating the van, the driveway, the outdoor furniture, even the lake water with a film of green-yellow seeds that make me stuffy and sneezy!

5. The top six healthy food trends of 2014 according to Eating Well are-

clean eating (more veg, less meat, less sodium, limit alcohol and processed foods)
trash fish (you know those fish that get caught in fishermen nets and are thrown back? It seems chefs are finding creative ways to make them more appetizing)
cauliflower (this year's IT vegetable)
kaniwa (essentially baby quinoa, so like quinoa only smaller)
fermentation (think pickling except with twists on flavor we're not accustomed to)
community supported food (farms operating with community support/membership). 

Okay-so how many of the hot healthy food trends for 2014 have you experienced, encountered, enjoyed? Any you've tried and said ewwww? Any on the list you'd like to try before year's end?

I think it's important that we eat healthy, choosing less processed foods, more veggies and fruits, lean meats, and complex grains. I'm all for getting these foods through community supported farms or markets. Those people are a valuable source of every community! But I have no desire to try fermented foods or trash fish. Ew!

6. In seven words or less, bid September adieu.

Summery September slipped into Outstanding October Ochre.

7. What's something on your October calendar that makes you happy just thinking about it?

Would you believe that I don't have anything on my calendar out of the ordinary? There's nothing wrong with the "every day", but I can't say as it's that exciting. Perhaps before the month is out there will be at least one thing in October that makes wonderful memories.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Random 5 on Friday: Time for Sleep?

The Pebble Pond

1. It's almost 1:00am on Saturday morning. I fell asleep while on the phone with my best friend at 11:00pm. Yes, WHILE he talked. I don't remember a word of what he was saying at the time, but fortunately he has a good sense of humor and didn't take my falling asleep on him to heart. I'm awake NOW, unable to fall back asleep.

Photo Source

2. I'm not the only one awake though. Sam is still puttering around in his bedroom, so much like me in sleep patterns. Just a few minutes ago he showed me a notebook he was writing in. Math! My son is doing his next Math lesson at 1:00am Saturday morning! Can you imagine?!

3. Pop music is blaring from Cati's bedroom as she sleeps. Right now "Me and my Broken Heart" by Rixton is playing. Perhaps I should monitor her music a little closer...

4. Jake is sound asleep. He falls asleep quickly, deeply...and all night. Maybe that's why the cat has decided that sleeping with him is more comfortable? No more wiggly people tossing her out of bed in the middle of the night.

Photo Source

5. Wonder when I will fall back asleep?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 4 - Traditions & Routines

Aren't family traditions the best? Every autumn my family comes together at Wight's Orchard to pick bushels of MacIntosh apples, and reconnect. We had a late lunch at a wonderful Chinese restaurant in town then walked along the waterfront in the misty fog. (What's a little damp, right?) Despite the long drive, these were special moments.

Fall is definitely here! Even are days are crisp now. We've closed up our windows, put an extra blanket on our beds, pulled out the sweatshirts and started baking and making "warming" foods like soups. We're not quite ready to give up our flip-flops though...

Our garden is finished for the season. Cati harvested our 9 pie pumpkins (although they're still mostly green), and I pulled up the vines and piled them onto the raised bed to decompose and add nutrients to our soil. Next, we'll add the aging compost and leaves from the lawn, and let it go until next season.

I started teaching my kids to cook at young ages. They don't always want to cook, but everyone should know the basics. With all the apples we picked on Sunday, Cati made 3 apple pies. (Click here for the apple pie filling recipe and here for the super easy crust.)

We're settling into a routine. My early riser, Cati, gets up before the rest of us and usually has her Math and sometimes Grammar and Writing completed and ready for check before Sam and I meander downstairs for a late breakfast. (In my defense I am up at 6:20am to let the flock into the run and fill their feed, and get Jake off to school, but then doze for a bit after.) Despite Sam's later start, he's getting his daily learning completed without complaint.

Sam started Spelling City this week. I decided to stick with the Beginning Spelling Curriculum and fill in learning gaps while building his self-confidence. Learning on-line seems to work for him and he enjoys the games. I also entered Cati's misspelled words from her daily timed journaling for additional practice as well.

Look at this Kitty Condo!

Sam spent a long time constructing a house for our cat Stripe out of cardboard boxes, Christmas lights and, er, MY duct tape. (I'm going to need yet another roll...) Not only does it have a stuffed animal inside for comfort, but there's a loft with catnip and a covered porch.

Photo Source

We also learned about Pop Art, watched this video and created some Andy Warhol-inspired Pop Art of our own, a project from here. We'll probably continue with other types of Pop Art in the coming weeks.


  • Reviewed Singular, Plural, Compound, and Possessive Nouns & Poetry, Titles, Outlines and Quotation Capitalization & Corrected Misspellings in Daily Journal Writing
  • Completed Prime and Composite Number, Common and Greatest Common Factor & Expanding and Reducing Fractions Problems
  • Learned What Minerals Are, How They Are Formed,, Properties of & the Mohs Scale
  • Learned about Ancient Egyptian Mummification, Great Pyramid and Sphinx & Sargon and Joseph
  • Learned about Pop Art, Pop Art Artists and Created Warhol-inspired Art
  • Phys. Ed. - Hiked up Mountain


  • Studied Alliteration, Syllables and Rhyming in Poetry with William Blake Poems & Wrote a Rhyming Poem with Specific Rhythm
  • Completed Beginning Spelling Curriculum Lists Weeks 1-6
  • Reviewed Odds and Even Numbers, Fact Families, Number Words, Number Lines & Solving Missing Addend Problems
  • Learned What Minerals Are, How They Are Formed, Properties of & the Mohs Scale
  • Learned about Ancient Egyptian Mummification, Great Pyramid and Sphinx & Sargon and Joseph
  • Learned about Pop Art, Pop Art Artists and Created Warhol-inspired Art
  • Phys. Ed. - Walking, Calisthenics

Skyward (Monroe) (Me) • The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Lewis) (Cati) • Captain Underpants (Pilkey) (Sam) • The Story of Davy Crockett: Frontier Hero (Retan) (Sam) •

 •"Mummification Parody" (You Tube) • "Great Pyramid Mystery Solved?" (You Tube) • "Syllables" (You Tube) • "Syllable Skycoaster" (Game) (GotKidsGames) • "The First Sumerian Dictator" (You Tube) • "Joseph's Tome and Palace Found?" (You Tube) • "Introduction to Pop Art" (You Tube) "The NEW Periodic Table Song" (You Tube)

• Apple Picking at Wight's Orchard with Family (All) • Jazz & Concert Band (Cati) • Boy & Cub Scouts (Jake & Sam)  • Bible Study & Fellowship (Me) • Movies & Dinner with Family (All) •


Happy Homeschooling!

As always, special thanks to these weekly link-ups:
 photo 337a3ef2-b881-48f4-8a2c-9c69e457cb5b_zps8b6152cf.pngHomegrown LearnersWeekly Wrap-UpManaging Your BlessingsHip Homeschool Moms

Don't forget to check out my other blog posts this week!
Wednesday Hodgepodge: Welcome Autumn!
Random 5 on Friday: Time for Sleep?

And check out these FREE on-line resources for YOUR homeschool!
Skeletal System Lapbook and Printables (Must Sign Up)
American History Cookbook (Must Sign Up)
Courage of Sarah Noble Lapbook
Cursive Handwriting Curriculum (Expires 10/1)
Ancient History Notebooking Pages
10 Week Poetry Course

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Welcome Autumn!

1. It's fall. Y'all. My favorite season of the year! What's something you love to do this time of year that makes you feel it's officially fall? And unrelated to that, do you ever say-'y'all'?

Warm days, cool nights! Temperatures during the daytime are comfortable. No more sweating! And the cool, less muggy nights are perfect for sleeping soundly. Time for pumpkin and apple everything, soups and baking, and cozy throw blankets. (And no, no one says 'y'all' around here! LOL)

Perfect Apple Pie with Homemade Crust by Cati

2. When did you last have a falling out with someone? Has it been resolved?

Hmm. I can't remember ever having a falling out with someone, but I have fallen away from someone. I have a few friends who have drifted away over the years, moving or going back to work, or concentrating on their growing families. Life continues on and sometimes our friends aren't meant to follow.

3. A song you love with the word 'fall' in it's title?

4. What's something you've recently let 'fall by the wayside?'

Recently? Not exactly recent, but I haven't brought our bulky waste (i.e. heavy and big stuff) to the Transfer Station since LAST fall. Or maybe the spring before? That growing pile is calling to me, "Get rid of us!" But there never seems to be enough time in the day, especially when the Transfer Station is only open 2 days a week and I need help loading it.

5. When did you last attend an event, read a book, watch a movie, try a new recipe, or visit a shop-town-tourist attraction that fell short of your expectations? In what way?

Er. I am totally drawing a blank here...

6. Describe a time you said or thought, 'The apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

Sam is so much like my Dad! SMH. Sam's apple grew on the SAME apple tree as my Dad, 55 years apart! Their personality, level of patience, ability to fix and build things, and even their curly hair and expressions are so similar. My Mom often says, "Your Dad will never die with Sam around."

7. Was today better than yesterday? Why or why not?

You know - It wasn't any better or any worse. I did spend less time taxiing kids from one activity to another though, and the "less hurry" is always better for me. School was less interrupted today, although finished quicker yesterday. Cati made a wonderful apple pie yesterday, and has French bread baking today. Every day can be a good one!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Happy Hodgepodging!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 3 - The One with Changes

It's been a long time since I have worked to earn money. I have stayed home with my kids for 10 years now, but divorce changes routines and needs. So, on Monday I babysat for 3 kids, covering for a friend who went out-of-town. I am hoping to find more babysitting jobs that fit into my crazy schedule as a single Mom juggling house, homeschooling and hobbies. Are there enough hours in the day? If you're a working Mom, what suggestions do you have for me?

I also tackled this, er, horrendous mess in Sam's bedroom. Why didn't he do it? If I clean it up alone he gets no say in what stays or goes. His choice, and he chose not to help. When it's all done, it will be a very sparse bedroom indeed because this Mama isn't going to go through hours of organizing again!

• Homemade Pizza with Pepperoni, Sausage, Onions & Green Peppers • Egg, Cheese and Ham Breakfast Sandwiches & Apple or Banana • Hot Dogs, Baked Beans & Pineapple Chunks • Turkey Kielbasa with Smashed Ranch Potatoes & Carrots •

It's only the end of our 3rd week, but I've already made changes to our Language Arts. I dropped dictation with Cati. Instead, I will highlight misspelled words in her journal writing, then she will look these words up for correct spelling, writing them at the bottom of her entries. Since Sam is enjoying MobyMax, I have switched it to 3 days a week and Easy Peasy to 2. Both my learners need to read more, so everyone MUST have a book to read during car rides. (Fortunately, no one gets motion sick!)


  • Studied Present, Past & Helping Verbs
  • Wrote a Daily Journal, Looking up Misspelled Words
  • Listened to Folklore Literature: Johnny Appleseed
  • Solved Points, Lines, Rays & Line Segments, Angles, Perimeter, Divisibility & Word Problems
  • Learned about Topographical Maps and Made a Model
  • Studied the History of Ancient Hieroglyphs & Created a Scroll
  • Phys. Ed. - Walking


  • Learned Poetry Rhymes, Rhythm & Alliteration
  • Learned Spelling Words with Alphabetical Order, Phonetic Rules, Antonyms & Verbs, Made Inferences Using Text
  • Listened to Folklore Literature: Johnny Appleseed
  • Wrote Number Words, Solved for Missing Addends, Created Fact Families, Added Money, & Played Estimation, Place Value and Solve for X Math Games
  • Learned about Topographical Maps and Made a Model
  • Studied the History of Ancient Hieroglyphs & Created a Scroll
  • Phys. Ed. - Biking, Exercises (Scouts)

Skyward (Monroe) (Me)  • The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe (Lewis) (Cati) • Prince Caspian (Lewis) (Cati) • Captain Underpants (Pilkey) (Sam) • Hieroglyphs for Children (Kamrin) (History) (Read Aloud) • Johnny Appleseed (Moses) (Literature) (Read Aloud) •

• "Rhymes, Rhythm and Alliteration" (Poetry) (Smarttutor) • "Maps and Globes & Their Uses" (Earth Science) (You Tube) •

• Hangin' with the S___ Family (All) • Jazz & Concert Band (Cati) • Cub & Boy Scouts (Jake & Sam) • Bible Study & Fellowship (Me) • Canoe Camping Trip (Jake) •

I know this video is a bit long, but it has a GREAT message.

As always, special thanks to these weekly link-ups:
 photo 337a3ef2-b881-48f4-8a2c-9c69e457cb5b_zps8b6152cf.pngHomegrown LearnersWeekly Wrap-UpManaging Your BlessingsHip Homeschool Moms

And don't forget to check out my other blog posts this week!
Wednesday Hodgepodge: Having Cake & Eating it Too

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Having Cake & Eating it Too

1. I'm celebrating a birthday this week so a question relating to aging feels appropriate. Douglas MacArthur is quoted as saying, 'You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair." Would you agree? If not why not?

As we get older our experiences in life have an effect on our emotions and how we respond to events in our lives. All of us have challenging and upsetting times, and these times cloud our confidence, making us fearful and doubting of ourselves and others. But turning to faith helps us to overcome worry, doubt and fear.

2. What remarkable feat, interesting piece of trivia, or historical event occurred on your birth day and month? Not necessarily in your birthyear, just the same date/same month.

Photo Source

Hold on...let me Google it! Not one thing remarkable or history-worthy to speak of. I guess that day is saved JUST for me! ::wink:: Unless you count The Monkees singer that was born on my birthday...

3. Describe a time or circumstance where you wanted to 'have your cake and eat it too.'

I'm searching for a part-time job, one that has high pay, few and flexible hours, that I can do from home, and I enjoy. Does something like that exist?

4. What's something you do that makes you feel young? Something that makes you feel old?

Young? Just the other day I went to a playground with my youngest son and we used the swings and merry-go-round. Playing with my kids makes me feel young and carefree...and a little motion sick. Old? The continued tendonitis in my wrists make it hard to open jars and lift heavy objects. I feel old when my 9-year-old carries in milk after grocery shopping or I need him to open a jar of spaghetti sauce.

Photo Source

5. When did you last do something that was 'a piece of cake'?

Er, vacuuming the living room...

6.  Beef, wine, and cheese all improve with age. What's something else you'd add to that list? (not necessarily food or beverage)

Being wise. I'm a big believer in that everyone should continue to seek knowledge their entire lives, and when you combine this with experience gained from life then wisdom should deepen, broaden and expand.

7. If I were to have a giveaway when we hit Volume 200, what should I give away? By my calculations we'll hit Volume 200 on November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving, which means whoever wins would have whatever it is in time for Christmas.

Something totally random and unexpected? One pink sneaker to remind us to keep moving forward? A battery to keep our lives "charged"?  A sharpened smiley face pencil...because they're silly and fun?   

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

It's not cake, but have you eaten Honey Nut Cheerios?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 2 - The One With Vehicle Woes, But Gratefulness

Would you believe it - MORE van troubles! It's been a frustrating year of vehicle woes. This time? The van stalled a few times on Wednesday, but ran fine until it wouldn't start for me on Friday. (Ironically the van started right up for the AAA tow guy...) It needed spark plugs, an air filter, a timing belt, and a crank sensor. When you live in the "boonies", a vehicle is a necessity! I'm grateful to have my running van back after 5 days, but oy! the frustration.

Sam and I gathered up the blue and red potatoes, 15# or so. Ever seen blue potatoes? They're even blue INSIDE! We've got 1 more zucchini growing. (I just gave 2 zucchini to a friend.) The kids are waiting for our 9 pumpkins to start turning orange. I have pole beans and lots of grated zucchini in the freezer for winter. Our garden season is winding down.

• Baked Boneless Chicken, Roasted Herbed Potatoes, Pineapple Chunks & Peas and Carrots • Turkey Kielbasa, Blue and Red Potatoes & Corn • Egg and Cheese Sandwiches & Cantaloupe • Grilled Cheese & Tomato Soup • Hot Dogs, Baked Beans, Potato Salad & Tossed Salad •


Have you tried MobyMax? It's a FREE K-8 Language Arts and Math curriculum on-line. I'm using it as part of Sam's Language Arts program this year. MobyMax customized his lessons based on the skills he missed on placement tests. (MM placed him at grade 4.1 in reading and 5 for vocab. My struggling reader has caught up!)  I'm really liking the teacher section to view his progress, and I'll have summary sheets to add to his portfolio at the end of the year. But the best part? He seems to like it! I'm grateful to stretch our learning dollars with free on-line resources. (More free resources here.)


  • Diagrammed Simple Subjects & Predicates
  • Completed Timed Journal Writing, Dictation Exercises, & Vocabulary Building
  • Corrected Spelling in Journal Writing
  • Reviewed Proper, Concrete, Abstract, & Collective Nouns
  • Rounded, Ordered, Multiplied, Divided, & Estimated Decimal Numbers & Timed Multiplication Fact (1-7s) Quizzes
  • Learned about Upper and Lower Ancient Egpyt, the Nile River & Delta, King Narmer, & Cuneiform Writing
  • Labeled Ancient Egypt Map
  • How to Navigate the Earth with Compasses, Maps, Computers & Stars
  • Learned Color Theory Using the Color Wheel, How Stained Glass is Made & Created Stained Glass Project
  • Phys. Ed. - Walking


  • Learned to Make Inferences from Written Text
  • Worked on Vocabulary Building
  • Read William Blake poems, Copied Stanzas & Answered Comprehension Questions
  • Wrote a 3 Line Poem
  • Completed Place Value, Addition Fact Timed Tests (Through 5s), Solve for N Addition, Ordinal Numbers, Fact Families, & Number Sequencing
  • Studied the 4 Spheres of Earth
  • Learned about Upper and Lower Ancient Egpyt, the Nile River & Delta, King Narmer, & Cuneiform Writing
  • Labeled Ancient Egypt Map
  • Learned Color Theory Using the Color Wheel, How Stained Glass is Made & Created Stained Glass Project
  • Cooked Eggs & Pancakes
  • Phys. Ed. - Walking, Biking

My plan is to get Art in this year. It's one of those subjects that the kids do enjoy, but always seems to get pushed aside when we're running low on time and energy. This week we looked at color theory with this video and completed this worksheet before watching a stained glass video and doing a project using markers and photo paper to look like stained glass. Their colorful creations look wonderful in our school and diningroom window!

The Giver (Lowry) (Me)  • The Throne of Fire (Riordin) (Cati) • Captain Underpants (Pilkey) (Sam) •

• "History of Egypt Part 1" (World History/Geography) (You Tube) • Ancient Egypt and the Nile River Valley (World History/Geography) (You Tube) • "Written Word: Birth of Writing" (World History) (You Tube) • "Intro to Color Theory" (Art) (You Tube) • "How its Made: Stained Glass" (Art) (You Tube) •

• Concert Band (Cati) • Cub Scouts (Sam) • Bible Study & Fellowship (Me) • Garage (Sam & I) • Historical Society Museum (Sam & I) •


As always, special thanks to these weekly link-ups: