Friday, January 16, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 15 - Searching for the Elusive FULL School Week

I don't know if I have shared or not, but Cati has asthma. Over the last 2 months her asthma as been QUITE a challenge. She ended up in the GP's office on Friday, needing another nebulizer treatment, her 3rd in 2 months. Her lungs were struggling. We now have a Plan of Action for getting this under control, and she is feeling so much better. No longer can we hear her breathing from a room away!

On Saturday the kids spent time with their Dad, so I spent time with Tom, my fiance. I made a chicken tetrazzini (RECIPE) for dinner, for the first time, with tossed salad, and chocolate peanut butter bark (RECIPE) for dessert. Yum! We watched NFL football, and sometimes even the cooking shows *I* liked when we had cable here at the house. A relaxing weekend!

Photo Credit

But the household cleaning - laundry! - didn't get finished until Monday.

We spent some of our "free time" organizing and purging more unused items. Our entertainment area was in serious need of a thorough dusting and organize. We removed the old speakers and stereo system (with cassette players), keeping just the small flat screen, the (unused) Roku, TV antennas, a DVD player, and XBox.

And I went through the kids' school drawers, throwing away all flashcards (from curriculum I no longer have) and plain ol' trash. I removed non-school items to be put where they belong (such as the bubble bath in Cati's drawer) and manipulatives that are for younger learners.

❄ Pinewood Derby Clinic (Sam) ❄ Library (Cati, Sam & I) ❄ Concert Band Practice (Cati) ❄ Cub & Boy Scouts (Sam & Jake) ❄ Bible Study & Fellowship (Me) ❄

My plan was to complete 5 days of school this week, but you know what they say about "best laid plans". Cati had a follow-up GP visit Friday morning.

To ease our "van schooling" during band practices, Sam and I have been playing the Multiplication Game (FOUND HERE) using grid paper, 2 different colored highlighters and 0-9 dice. It's a super easy way to learn multiplication facts AND pack along with us! But you know what else? He's also learning about area and perimeter at the same time!

Cati finished up her Earth Science for this quarter early, so it's been a perfect time for her to work on her Maine Studies project, a tri-fold board filled with facts and images. (Maine Studies are required by law.) If only the printer worked better...

English - Indirect Objects, Abbreviations Proofreading, Coordinating Conjunctions, & Compound Subjects & Predicates, Wattpad, Created a Blogger Blog
Pre-Algebra - Exponential Expressions & Radicals, Fractional Equations, Surface Area, Scientific Notation, & Decimals
Earth Science - Water Cycle, Surface Water & Watersheds, Underground Water, & Wetlands
Maine Studies - Facts of, Famous People, Assembling Tri-Fold Board
Ancient History - Ancient Greece, Spartans, Athenians, Persia, Marathon
Current Events - CNN Student News
Fine Arts - Band
Phys. Ed. - Walking

Language Arts - Spelling Weeks 5-10, Grammar Ninja, Commas & Quotations, Main Ideas, Recounting Information, Reading Comprehension
Math - Square Numbers, Elapsed Time, Number Words, Expanded Form, Rounding to Nearest 10, Fractions, Multiplication Doubles, Square Roots, Money, Area/Perimeter & Regrouping Multiple Addends
Earth Science - Soil Formation & Composition, Types of Soil
Physics - Constructed & Tested a Catapult
Ancient History - Ancient Greece, Spartans, Athenians, Persia, Marathon
Current Events - CNN Student News
Fine Arts - 
Phys. Ed. - Walking

❄ Divergent (Roth) (Me) ❄ Percy Jackson series (Riordan) (Cati) ❄ The Hunger Games (Collins) (Cati) ❄ Ben and Me (Lawson) (Sam) ❄ Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (Kinney) (Sam) 

"Geography and Early Greece" (You Tube)


As always, special thanks to these weekly link-ups:
 photo 337a3ef2-b881-48f4-8a2c-9c69e457cb5b_zps8b6152cf.pngHomegrown LearnersWeird Unsocialized HomeschoolersMy Joy-Filled LifeHip Homeschool Moms

Don't forget to check out my other blog posts this week!
Six Word Saturday: Brrrr!
Tuesday Coffee Chat: Words
Wednesday Hodgepodge: Words

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Words

1. What's your best piece of advice for a newly married couple? I'm asking for a friend.

Open, honest, non-judgemental, and frequent communication. So many disagreements and misunderstandings can be avoided by talking. listening, understanding, and compromise. Words are meaningful; use them wisely, with kindness.
A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger - KJV Proverbs 15:1
2. Before we're too far into the new year I wanted to post a question Teresa submitted during the December giveaway. Teresa blogs over at Being Refined As Silver, so everyone go say hi.

Teresa asks, "What were you doing on December 31st, 1999?"and "Did you or your family make preparations for Y2K?"

Oh, I don't remember. We had just moved back to Maine with a 10-month-old a couple weeks before. I bet we didn't even make it to midnight! But we never made any special preparations for Y2K as neither of us felt that anything devastating was going to happen.

3. According to Global Language Monitor, the most used word of 2014 isn't a word. It's the heart emoji. Huh? How can something that's not a word be the most used word, but I digress. What do you think was your most used word in 2014?

A heart emoji! LOL Yeah, I did use it a lot. Those emoji can say what words just can't sometimes. And they're cute, right?

4. Speaking of words, it's that time again. Time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, and general uselessness) in 2015. You can read more about the decision making process here, but this year's top vote getters are-

bae (before anyone else), polar vortex, hack, skill set, swag, foodie, curate/curated, friend-raising, enhanced interrogation, cra-cra (as in crazy), takeaway, and -nation (a suffering sports suffix).

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?

Cra-cra! SMH. Why can't people just say crazy? It's the same number of syllables so it's not like cra-cra is any shorter to articulate. It doesn't even sound cool! I felt the same about vacay (vacation). Say the whole word, people!

5.  January is National Hot Tea month? Are you a fan? Do you like flavored teas? How do you take your tea? Have a favorite cup or teapot? How many cups of tea do you consume in a given day?

I love hot and iced tea! Green tea, black tea, flavored tea - it's all good! I just like a touch of sugar or honey for sweetness, no milk. How much do I drink? A few cups a week. 

Photo Source

6. Whatever happened to _________?

Photo Source

Do you remember this light up memory game from the '80s? I was, like, totally awesome at Simon.

7. What is one book on your must-read list this winter? 

Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant trilogy by Veronica Roth. I'm told (over and over) that they are not to be missed, but I keep forgetting them when I am at the library...

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Happy Hodgepodging!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat: It's a Blur!

I had to giggle a little at this week's Tuesday Coffee Chat prompt. You'll see why...

The last thing you took a picture of - Why did you capture this image? Show off your work!

Do you know how hard it is to do anything BUT call or answer calls on my, er, cell phone? It's the MOST touchy android I have had the frustration to own!

(It's a Samsung Galaxy BTW...)

It froze up 3 times to get this photo off my gallery onto Facebook so that I could save it onto my computer and share with you all.

Is there an easier way without a computer connector?

It takes terrible photos under even the best lighting conditions, but I wanted to send a "quick" snap to my fiance via text message showing the cowl I had just finished crocheting.

But it took SOOOO long to take the photo that I started moving!

What do you think? Frame worthy? LOL

Happy Chatting!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 14 - Back from Break with NEWS

Welcome to 2015! (Where did 2014 go?) I wish all of you a year of spiritual growth, good health, contentment with life, and laughter and love...

I got engaged! Eek! On December 20th, my BF asked me to marry him! I am SO blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life (and my kids'), one who is Godly, hard-working, selfless, giving. Despite life's bumps along the road, it IS good!

We all - my fiance and his kids too - spent 6 days with my family to celebrate an early Christmas. Weather was unseasonably warm and we took the kids to the Atlantic beach. No, not to swim, but to climb rocks, wade in the salty water with "muck boots", explore. It's not too often you can go to the beach in December in Maine! (Compared to this week when the Polar Vortex descended upon us and we had some -20s or so at night with wind chills. Vehicles were hard to start. Pipes froze. And schools closed.)

Photo Credits T. Skehan

We did some organizing, decluttering and rearranging in the bedrooms and closets. Sam is super happy to have a "livingroom" in his bedroom now. (He and Jake moved an extra sofa and coffee table into his bedroom, making a perfect area for him to build Legos or use his new Physics science kit.) Jake's bedroom went through BIG changes; a downsizing of stuff and a change of furniture placement. It took us a whole, exhausting afternoon, but so worth it!

We rang in 2015 with board games, an "Ice Age" marathon and yummy munchies.

And I whipped up a number of crochet projects (of course)! I created headband "ear warmers" (PATTERN) and a hat (PATTERN), with and without flowers (PATTERN), dishcloth scrubbies in greens and blues (PATTERN), and mid-sized mesh bags in sherbert ice cream and blue, mint green and white colors (PATTERN). I finished a cluster stitch bag for my daughter in harvest colors and another in orange, peach and white (PATTERN). I finished a cowl for me (PATTERN). And, finally, I am working on some coasters (PATTERN). Yeah, I'm obsessed. But my stash of yarn is getting low...

Check out this link to see why crafting, knitting and crocheting, is neurologically AWESOME for us

❄ On the Island (All) ❄ T__  Visited ❄ Lego Club (Sam) ❄ Jazz & Concert Band Practice (Cati) ❄ Cub Scouts (Sam) ❄ Patrol Leader Meeting (Jake) ❄ Bible Study & Fellowship (Me) 

It's always a challenge to get back into our every day activities and learning after a break, but especially so after 2 1/2 weeks of indulging in late nights and later mornings with unscheduled days. But we meander on. Our year is not quite half over.

Cati was blessed this Christmas was a MacBook. She spent a lot of time over the break writing stories on Wattpad. Have you seen Wattpad? I love seeing her delve into her creative writing with focus and excitement...and now she doesn't have to wait until my laptop is free!

Sam received a GREAT physics science kit as a gift. He has spent hours building and exploring on his own, but I thought it would be a great week for him to delve into the experiments provided by the booklet included. So, I replaced most of his Earth Science with Physics experiments this week.

It was also a review week for him. Those of you with unique learners know that sometimes a skill just needs repeating...and repeating...Sam reviewed multiple digit and multiple addend regrouping and alphabetizing with this game. Alphabetizing several words proved to be a visual challenge for him, one that not only worked his reasoning skills but his visual tracking. I came up with an adaptation for him: Write down the beginning letters then place them in order. All those letters needed visual "management" to avoid frustration and cognitive shut-down. I think he's got it now!

  • English - Wattpad Creative Writing and Editing, Transitive & Intransitive Verbs, Active & Passive Voice, Adjective Prepositional Phrases, and Indirect Objects
  • Pre-Algebra - Order of Operations with Fractions, Exponential Expressions & Radicals, Surface Area, and Scientific Notation
  • Earth Science - Energy Resources, Fossil Fuels, Renewable Resources, Nuclear Energy & Energy Conservation, The Water Cycle
  • Ancient History - Cyrus the Great, Sparta and Athens, Greece Around 500 BC
  • Current Events - CNN Student News
  • Phys. Ed. - Walking
  • Creative Arts - Jazz & Concert Band, Minecraft


  • Language Arts - Spelling Weeks 36-40 (1st grade) / Weeks 1-4 (2nd grade), Fables & Moral Copywork, Alphabetic Order, Grammar Ninja 
  • Math - Addition Regrouping, Elapsed Time, Solve for Missing Addends, Multiplication Facts
  • Earth Science - Rocks & Weathering
  • Physics - Center of Gravity
  • Ancient History - Cyrus the Great, Sparta and Athens, Green Around 500 BC
  • Current Events - CNN Student News
  • Phys. Ed. - Playing in Snow
  • Creative Arts - Minecraft, Kinetic Sand

❄ Pigs Can't Swim: A Memoir (Peppe) (Me) ❄ Quartet (Lowry) (Cati) ❄ Ben and Me (Lawson) (Sam) ❄


Happy Homeschooling!

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

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat: That One Resolution

It's that time again! Last year has concluded and the next one has begun. No doubt that a new year can be a new beginning, a fresh start to something wonderful (hopefully). Did you make resolutions? and how are they going? I always say I don't make any, but in my "mind's eye" I have a few floating around, focusing me through the chilly Maine winter months (because they don't usually last much longer than that).

Leslie from Time Out for Mom asks: One thing I would like to accomplish in 2015 is ________. 

Now, I could say the ol' stand-by. This year is going to be THE year I lose that 50 pounds. I've lost some over the last couple of years, but that 50 wasn't much of a priority in 2014. You know what they say about falling in love...Fortunately *I* haven't gained any!

Or I'll save more money, pay off more bills, do more with less. Or I'll get to all those home improvement and repair projects. But really? Who am I kidding? It's a good thing my fiance doesn't mind fixing things...

No, the ONE thing I would like to accomplish in 2015 is to have more fun with my family. Fun doesn't have to be expensive or complicated, but it does have to be relaxed and together. It has to be filled with laughter! And maybe some new experiences. When it comes right down to it, family is the best thing we've got!

As a suddenly divorced Mom, life got complicated. There was healing to do, both the kids and I. I became responsible for...well, almost everything! Managing a home, keeping up with 3 busy kids, homeschooling, caring for a mish-mash of pets, and stretching those few dollars took most of my time and energy. Not that we didn't have fun, but life became more stressed, more serious, more exhausting. 

But this year? This year will be different! Let the silliness begin!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Memory Monday: A Sticky Situation

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday
I'm linking up to Memory Monday at Retired, Not Tired today. This week's writing prompt is: A Vacation Memory. If you would like to share your favorite (or not so favorite vacation memory) head on over and link up too.


Have you ever camped? in a tent? with extended family? during a major thunderstorm? I think you see where I am going here...

Jake, Cati, Sam, and I headed out to a campground resort nearby with my parents. Although a campground resort has awesome extras like boat rides around the lake and a mini waterpark, sites are eensy-teensy (to squeeze in as many campers as possible). The 6 of us shared a postage stamp-sized camp size with a firepit, wooden picnic table, 1 vehicle and a 6 person dome LL Bean tent. (Our 2nd vehicle was parked in a nearby lot.) There wasn't much walking room between anything on our site.

At least until my parents camper van broke down and had a couple of overnights at the garage instead. Guess where we all slept (kind of)?

Now, our tent was rated for 6 people, but the rule of thumb around these parts is to divide that number in half for more comfortable quarters. Add in air mattresses, a busy box for Sam, clothing and personal toiletry items for 6, and it was cramped cozy.

Our neighbors, in a HUGE 5th wheeler big enough for 10 and encroaching onto our site, were kind enough to warn us of an incoming violent thunderstorm racing across from New Hampshire. Worried about the predicted high winds and downpours, we staked down the tent, covered it with a large tarp and staked that down as well in a chaotic, unorganized panic with 3 active kids, er, helping. Why we didn't just pile into our one working vehicle and head home or walk down to the rec hall and hang out is beyond me. We were going to "ride it out" though!

When the storm arrived we were all piled into the tent like sardines in a tin can. Fortunately, the storm wasn't that bad and we got through the night. (Unfortunately, a tree did come down on a pop-up camper in New Hampshire, killing two.)

But our night wasn't without mishaps. 

My Dad had staked down the tarp so well that getting in and out of the tent was like escaping a straight jacket, only a lot of wiggling and twisting was it possible. And I had 3 young kids, including a toddler who needed frequent trips to the potty (under the "cover" of  an umbrella HE insisted on holding). Stumbling around multiple air mattresses, too many people and STUFF, and crawling out a partially opened tent door without getting muddy was exhausting (and a wee bit frustrating).

With the mesh ventilation covered, we got mighty hot and muggy inside that tent. It was summer. Although not particularly hot temperature wise, that many soggy people in a 10x10 tent made for a sticky situation.

And then air mattresses started deflating. Have you ever slept on hard-packed ground riddled with tree roots? Yeah.

But did we laugh! We shared stories, growing up ones, other mishaps and adventures (that you only see the humor in years later), embarrassing moments, and snuggled together as one big happy (sweaty) family onto the 2 inflated air mattresses. Sometimes you just need to make the very best of a sticky situation!