Saturday, February 28, 2015

Six Word Saturday: Summary in Six Sentences with Six Words

Cold, cold weather, but bright sun.
A full week of homeschool learning.
Long talks, problems solved, moving forward.
Grocery shopping, Steaming Carpet, Folding Laundry.
The gurgling toilets bring financial worry.
Loved ones come, ice skating, cocoa.

Join Cate at Show My Face for Six Word Saturday.

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Follow Friday Four Fill In Fun: Week 202

I'm joining Hilary and her co-host at Feeling Beachie for Follow Friday Four Fill In Fun. Why not fill in this week's 4 statements with your own creative twists and link up?

1. Once I _____.
2. _____ isn't _____.
3. One can _____.
4. I have _____ for the _____.

My Fun Fill Ins

1. Once I got my puffy, movement-limiting winter jacket on, my combination mittens and fingerless gloves, and high top waterproof lined boots I headed out to grocery shop. Again.

2. There isn't enough food in the cupboards to feed my bottomless "crew".

3. One can try to keep up with the nourishment needs of 3 kids, but it an exhausting and financial draining experience.

4. I have a heart full of love for these kids of mine though!

Feeling Beachie

Have fun!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 21 - Looking Ahead

I know this will come as a shock, but we got more snow. I can see SPRING peeking around the corner though...The sun is brighter when it's shining. The sky is bluer. The clouds are wispier and whiter. The chickens are starting to lay eggs again. (I just wish they wouldn't freeze before we collect them.) And we don't have to turn on the livingroom lights until 5:15pm. Less than a month until it's spring! Perhaps we'll see ground again by mid-April! One can hope...

Photo Source

Over the weekend, the kids visited their father and then spent time with their grandparents, going to a hockey game and celebrating birthdays. THIS Mom spent time relaxing and enjoying time with her husband-to-be! Thomas made chili one night and another we had Chinese and DQ, and shopped for wedding bands. Excitement! Only 10 more weeks! We should probably start planning and preparing, don't you think?

It's never easy to get back to THE USUAL after a break, but I was determined to get 5 full days of school in this week. Did we do it? We did! But there were grumbles...

Sam began double digit multiplication. Piece of cake! He's still learning the multiplication facts, sometimes using his grid, but he's getting there. Playing the Grid Game while van schooling during band practice has definitely helped there. What's throwing him for a loop still are missing addends and factors. It's a good thing Saxon spirals!

But because Saxon spirals sometimes the constant review isn't needed. Cati knows her Algebra, so I agreed to let her take the tests until she scored below 85%, skipping those unneeded lessons. Why waste time on problems she understands? She was able to move ahead 20 lessons this week by passing the tests.

And because she's also working through Saxon Grammar and Writing with the same spiraling approach, she decided to see of she come jump ahead in lessons by completing tests as well. She moved ahead 15 lessons this week.

Cati had a Jazz Band Festival Thursday. It would have been cool if Sam and I could have watched her play...To my surprise, the school decided to CHARGE for non-band members to attend. $10 for Sam and I to watch Cati play 2 songs was more than I wanted to pay. I'm sure she did awesome though!

I've started to think about homeschooling next year, planning curriculum, juggling life. Both the kids and I hope that our path continues to be a homeschooling one. 

I have almost completely planned out Cati's curriculum. Since I've saved texts and supplies from Jake's homeschooling, I don't even need to purchase anything new for her. She will have a combined 8th/9th grade year, and I will begin to issue high school credits to her. 

Sam? He's all set with American History (which I'm excited to return to) and Math (as I'm not straying from Saxon). But Language Arts? Science? Nah. Any suggestions on a Science program (grades 5-8) that won't drive a mom crazy with gathering experiment supplies? or break the bank?

As always, special thanks to the these bloggers:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Speeches, Songs and Solving

1. Did you watch The Oscars? How many of the Best Picture nominees have you seen (American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, Selma, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash)?

Er. The Oscars? I don't have cable. Or Netflix. We catch a few shows on Hulu, the free version, here and there. I have not seen ANY of those movies. Am I missing out?

Do you think actors should use their acceptance speeches as an opportunity to promote their political and/or social agenda? Does that sort of speech make you more or less inclined to change the channel?

I've seen some acceptance speeches in the past. It's their time to share what they want as there will always be critics and supporters no matter what they say. I can appreciate a great HUMOROUS speech though!

2. Speaking of the movies... are you comfortable going to a movie alone? How about dinner in a restaurant (not fast food, but an actual restaurant)? The second half of this question was posed by Carrie who blogs over at It's Not Easy Being Queen. Thanks Carrie! 

Why not? Enjoying one's own company is a great thing! I'd prefer to bring along someone for company though.

3. What's the last home repair or home improvement project you had to pay someone to complete? In hindsight was this a project you could have done yourself? 

Well, just a couple of weeks ago I was waiting for hot water in the shower and it never came. It turned out that a pipe had frozen and burst in the garage, spraying that hot water all over the place. I shut down our furnace and called the heating oil company. It's one thing to go without hot water, but another to go without heat in February in Maine. It was a quick fix fortunately, but a furnace is a very important component that I don't think I should tinker with.

4. Have you ever had Indian food? Like it or no? If you're a fan, what's your favorite dish? Have you ever prepared this yourself at home? Is there an Indian restaurant in your current hometown? 

Never. When I hear Indian, I think spicy and I'm not a fan of spicy foods.

5. A song that reminds you of your parents?

Since no songs popped into my mind, I did a random search of things related to my parents: 1960s when the dated and married, a favorite singer of my Dad's, Chuck Berry, and love because they'll be celebrating 45 years of marriage in June. Here's what came up:

I doesn't really remind me of them, but it was a fun search!

6. The 26th of February is National Tell a Fairy Tale Day. What is your favorite, or one of  your favorite, fairy tales? Do you have any childhood memories associated with a particular fairy tale?

I can't say as I have a favorite, but I remember my Mom reading Rumpelstiltskin to me as a child while snuggled in bed. Of all the possible fairy tales, that one stuck with me from early childhood. (I don't remember a sister with us so maybe it was before age 3 1/2.)

7. What's a problem you solved yesterday?

I picked up enough over-ripe bananas on special at the grocery store for 5 loaves of bread. Just $1.30! But even my biggest glass mixing bowl couldn't hold the ingredients for 5 loaves.  Being a lazy cook, I didn't want to do 2-3 batches of dough; I wanted to mix it all up at one time. I ended up transferring the wet ingredients to my BIG soup pot before adding the dry ingredients. It holds about 2 gallons of stuff. Mission accomplished!

8. Insert your random thought here.
'Be all of these things, but most importantly, just be you.
(poster available at: )'

Happy Hodgepodging!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat: Love is in the Air

I'm joining Leslie at Time Out for Mom for Tuesday Coffee Chat. This week's prompt: Love. Amore. What is it? Does it happen at first sight? Do you only get one great love per lifetime? How do YOU know love? 

I'm getting a 2nd chance at love, true love...

I suddenly found myself raising 3 kids as a divorced Mom 2 years ago after an 18 year marriage. Although I should not have been surprised (and I won't get into the details publicly), it was sudden and unexpected and heart-breaking.

But it was the best decision for myself and my kids.

After a year of  deep healing and personal growth, I entered the dating scene. Dating as a young 20 year old and as a :: cough cough :: 42-year-old are very different experiences. I had entered another dimension! I was told on-line dating sites were THE way to go now...

The idea of joining eHarmony screamed of desperation to me. I wasn't desperate. I just wanted to be social, to find someone to have conversation with, to enjoy the company of a man, something I hadn't had in a decade. But a dating site? Really?

After several, er, interesting dates, I joined a friendship and dating "community" website set up much like Facebook, and it wasn't long before I was ready to hit that delete profile button. I seemed to attract either older men, 60+, or young men, 20s, and nothing inbetween. And I won't mention the women...But one day I saw a status of a 40-something man who posted a photo of his chicken salad lunch. It looked good. I commented.

And that's all, folks!

Thomas and I started messaging back and forth, about every day life, about kids, about single parenting, about God, about salads. We met face-to-fact at Dunkin' Donuts 3 weeks later on May 4th. 

We clicked. We sipped. We talked. We waited for AAA to come. Leave it to me to lock my keys in the van within 2 seconds of meeting him. And we shopped for toilet paper together at the store next door. (We use the same brand. Very important!) He will be forever called TP Guy by my friends.

On June 27th, we changed our Facebook statuses to "in a relationship", deleted our website dating profiles and stopped dating anyone else.

We spent a day at a gorge in the summer. Tom carved this into a
picnic table with LOADS of others.

We knew. We knew we were supposed to be together, to be joined forever. I think when you're :: cough cough :: 40-something you just know if someone is "the one". Life experiences have taught you what's important, what you can't live without, and whether someone will drive you loopy over time...

On May 10th, we'll be tying the knot. Oh, happy day!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Six Word Saturday: Spring Ahead

Bright Sun, Blue Skies, More Snow.
A chat with plow-guy in PJs.
School Vacation Week and Interest-led Learning.
Late Nights, Later Mornings, Lazy Days.
What? Really? No Crochet Projects Started!
Quick Meals, Yummy Treats, Dirty Dishes.
Dreams and Plans of Months Ahead.

Join Cate at Show My Face for Six Word Saturday.

Follow Friday Four Fill-in Fun: Week 201

I'm joining Hilary and her co-host this week at Feeling Beachie for Follow Friday Four Fill-in Fun. Why not fill in this week's 4 statements and join in the linky fun?

1. _____ is the _____.
2. Do you _____ on the weekends?
3. _____ is my _____ comfort food.
4. _____ always makes me happy.

My Fill-in Fun:
1. A cozy, comfortable bed is the bomb-diggity for chilly evenings. (Why yes! I DID type bomb-diggity even if it's not cool. LOL)
2. Do you leave the dirty dishes piled high on the weekends?
3. Dark chocolate is my all-time comfort food. Science says it's lifts moods! Seriously!
4. My Thomas always makes me happy. He knows just how to tickle my funny bone with quirky sarcasm!

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 20 - 13 Inches, 90 Days, 26 Candles

Yet MORE snow fell over the week. :sigh: Winter 2015 is shaping up to be one of our coldest, snowiest seasons ever. How many days until spring? 

Snow is AWESOME for some things though! It's the perfect time to wrap up in cozy blankets and read, crochet or watch movies, to bake banana bread to go with hot cocoa, to simmer beef stew in the crockpot for dinner, and take a long nap. Quiet days at home! (And sometimes I NEED those days...)

Cuppa Cocoa

There are just some nights were NONE of us are up for cooking dinner.  Sometimes you just need something super quick-and-easy. Cati and I whipped up quesadillas on Wednesday and served them with chunky salsa and baby carrots. Everyone loved them! And there was little effort or time involved in prep!

Ingredients: Light Whole Wheat Wraps (6), 2 c shredded Mexican blend cheeses, 1 # boneless chicken breast, sliced into thin pieces and sprinkled with taco seasonings, salsa

Directions: Place 3 wraps onto cookie sheets. Sprinkle with cheeses. Add chicken. Top was remaining 3 wraps. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees or until cheese is melted and wraps are just a tad crisp. Serve with salsa.

How about dessert? I found a recipe on Pinterest for chocolate-dipped cherries and thought it would be super fun for us to make. (No, not healthy, but it IS dessert...) But I'm a lazy cook so I took the easy way out...and didn't follow the recipe tweaked the recipe. Both Sam and Cati helped with these yummy creations.

Ingredients: 2 jars Maraschino cherries with stems, 1/3 bag milk or dark chocolate chips, 1-2 T milk (optional), jimmies (optional)

Directions: Drain cherries and place on paper towel to dry. Melt 1/3 bag of chocolate chips slowly in microwave, stirring every 20 seconds or so. Add milk to thin a bit if needed. Dip cherries into the melted chocolate then sprinkle with jimmies. Place on waxed paper. Chocolate will harden after a few minutes.

(And if there's any chocolate left, don't waste it! We smeared the leftovers onto banana slices and froze them. A favorite treat around here!)

Although public school kids are off for February break this week, the younger Mountain kiddos were homeschooling. Somewhat. (Jake worked on finishing up his bedroom redo.) We've taken off a number of days "just because" so our school year is bound to go into June if we don't "buckle down" and get our days in. (Maine homeschoolers are required to complete 175 days of school.)  We definitely like to enjoy as many days possible of summer vacation. So, we did a bit of schooling this week...

Stripe, our cat with a 'dude, likes Saxon too! She joined Cati one morning for Algebra...

It'd been awhile since I read from Story of the World (Vol. 1) so I made a point of getting to it this week. We keep a history timeline on the wall in the diningroom/schoolroom and label maps to go along with our reading. It's our 2nd time through this series, but it'll only reinforce our learning. (Truth be told, I'm ready to study American History. I enjoy it so much more!)

Our wall timeline the first go 'round. We're using the same cards this time too.

Years ago I pulled our library card from the local library. Just 4 miles away, it was frustrating to borrow items from another library further away, but a library volunteer mistook another patron for me and allowed her to borrow under my name. Unfortunately, this patron wasn't timely about returning those items for which I became responsible for. Now that that volunteer is no longer volunteering, I signed up for another card and we're enjoying a "new" selection of books and movies.

Downtown. Yes, DOWNTOWN. LOL Our library, Rec Center and Post Office in WARMER, LESS SNOWIER times.

Not that we didn't enjoy some "off" times this week. My boys celebrated birthdays! All my kids are in DOUBLE DIGITS now. :sigh: Where does the time go? Sam turned 10 and Jake turned 16. (Would you believe that they were due on the same exact day 6 years apart?) We celebrated with a red velvet cake topped with chocolate frosting and Heath, M&M and Kit Kat pieces. And on Valentine's Day, between their birthdays, we went to our local ice cream parlor for FREE ice cream sundaes with Thomas and his kids.

Flashback to younger years! Jake, age 11, and Sam, age 5, at the lake. Look at all that hair!

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

Don't forget to read my other blog posts this week:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge: The Government Edition

1. When did you last have to interact, either by phone or in person, with someone in a government run agency? On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate the experience? (10 being fabulous and 1 being pass the Tylenol)

:: thinking, thinking :: 

Oh! I called the court house where I got divorced to inquire about getting a certified copy of my divorce decree. It's required to obtain a marriage license in Maine. Not long now, readers, and I'll be marrying my wonderful fiance! She was informative, although not particularly cheery, so I'll rate her an 8.

2. The current governor of Wisconsin is considering a run for President next time around. Walker attended Marquette University, but never graduated. In terms of any candidate running for the office of President (not asking here if you agree or disagree with Scott Walker's politics) would the lack of a college degree influence your vote or no? Would that be a factor in your support of any candidate running for public office, even a role less weighty than President?

Just because someone is educated doesn't mean they are knowledgeable. The best knowledge comes from experience and personal growth. And morals and ethics aren't taught at college. My vote would go to whomever is most interested in bettering our country.

3. When did you last visit a place or site named for George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, and what was that place or site?

In May 2006, we drove to Washington. DC for a family vacation. The kids were 7, 4 and 1. We visited the Lincoln Memorial, but didn't make it to see the George Washington one. Our favorite place was the zoo though.

Photo Source

4. February 16th was President's Day in the US, but did you know it was also National Almond Day? I didn't think so : ) Do you like almonds? If so, what's a food/dish/recipe you enjoy that contains almonds? 

Almonds are awesome! Lightly salted and roasted, they are "pop-able". I don't often cook with them as the kids aren't fond of them.

5.The television program Saturday Night Live celebrated it's 40th anniversary this past weekend. Were/are you a fan of the show? If so what has been your favorite (or one of your favorite) skits, sayings, or characters that came out of the program?

I've never really watched SNL. I've seen a few skits here and there and probably some episodes, but nothing jumps out at me. I do enjoy some of the actors that have "spun off" from SNL though. Adam Sandler's entertaining!

6. Anything purple within ten feet of you? What is it?

Yes! Sitting next to me, in my green-and-tan canvas crocheting bag, is a plastic purple pencil case with a snap closure. I got this case from the Dollar Tree. It holds my crochet hooks, small scissors, a pen, paper clips (for markers), and yarn needles. It's worked great for portable storage rather than buying an expensive hook organizer.

7. Back in December I asked you to submit a question for a future HP as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I grabbed this one from those entries, submitted by Zoanna who blogs over at Penchant for Pens. Thanks Zoanna!

She asks, "How often do you make your bed, and how do you like to make it-pull the covers all the way up over the pillows, tuck the covers in around the pillows, or place all the pillows on top of the covers?" 

Er. Sometimes? OK, I'll admit it - not often. There's no one here to SEE my bed, but my kids. For the most part I just quickly lay the blankets over the bed and call it good. When I wash the sheets and blankets though, I take the time to really make it up properly. 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Happy Hodgepodging!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tuesday Coffee Chat: When No One is Watching

I'm joining Leslie at Time Out for Mom for Tuesday Coffee Chat. (Well, in MY case hot cocoa.) Why not link up too? This week's prompt:

Dance like no one is watching. Who are you when no one is watching?


I'm boring.

*I* don't think I'm dull. I'd like to think my kids don't think I'm dull. Or my fiance, friends and family. But I really don't live an exciting life with or without someone watching.

And I'm A-OK with that.

I've had enough "excitement" in the last couple of years, enough stress and anxiety, enough being thrown for a loop. A simple, slow life is for me!

On those RARE occasions I'm alone, I bounce from being productive and being  lazy relaxed. If there's no one to see the dirty dishes, what's the rush in getting them done? After all, my crocheting projects await! 

But I do get my household needs completed, the animals taken care of, errands done, and then it's PJs, a cozy blanket, a movie in the DVD player, and a computer and/or crochet project on my lap.

Wild, huh?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Memory Monday: My First Job

Retired Not Tired Memory Monday
Every week Retired Not Tired hosts the Memory Monday blog hop. This week's prompt is My First Job. What was your very first job? Blog about it and share your memories!

With 3 younger sisters and a Mom who had a small home day care for years, babysitting was the perfect first job for me. Family and family friends started calling for a sitter as soon as I turned 12, and by the time I moved away for college I had cared for over 100 kids. (Don't laugh! Out of curiosity, I made a LIST of the kids I watched.) When you consider I lived on a Maine island, well, 100 kids is a whole town!

Photo Source

The summer I was 13 1/2, I watched 4 kids full-time. The oldest was only a few years younger than I was and a handful at times. He was allowed to have friends over whenever he wanted, so sometimes I was watching 5 kids! (I looked forward to the days when he headed to his friends' houses instead...) The 3 younger girls behaved, but one was a toddler who was in the process of potty-training...Would you believe that I only got $2.00/hour? An exhausting, sometimes frustrating job for $16/day!

Babysitters get between $10-$15/hour for 1-2 kids now!

 Near the middle of summer, the parents wanted me to do housework too! Can you imagine the pile of dirty dishes a family of 6 produces? The house was cluttered. Piles of unwashed laundry! Sticky floors! And they were fighting a battle with fleas...

:: scratch scratch ::

But I found out that I could handle the responsibility of a passel of kids for long hours, learning new "parenting" skills that I'm sure helped me with my future 'sitting jobs, becoming a teacher, and being a Mom. Every experience can be a learning one!

And those 4 kids? They're all married with kids of their own now.