Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge: A Spring in my Step

1. Has spring sprung in your little corner of the world? Other than the calendar how would I know? What's your favorite thing about spring?

Almost! Most of the dingy snow has melted away. Again. Every once in a while a few inches of new snow falls, but it doesn't stick around long. The road is a muddy mess during the day, but frozen in bumpy tracks overnight. The birds have returned. But the REAL sign of spring is when the peepers wake up and start singing again.

2. Besides the weather, what's put a spring in your step recently?

The camping and fishing season will be here soon! My husband has been readying the skiff, painting and remounting the motor, and I've been packing up the camper, for a new season of outdoor fun.

3. How does Easter impact you?

We haven't made plans for this Easter yet. :: shrug ::

4. I saw this somewhere on Facebook and thought it would make a fun Hodgepodge question. Which of the following would you find most disappointing...

a just stuffed taco shell breaking open and spilling out before you take the first bite? dropping a just-purchased Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts coffee? opening the peanut butter jar and finding it empty? upending onto the sidewalk a just-purchased ice cream cone? a burnt bagel popping up in your toaster when you're rushing breakfast? or cutting into an avocado and finding out it's rotten? 

Ice cream should be taken very, very seriously. A dropped cone is a cause for concern.  It would need to be replaced ASAP.

5. What's something held together with tape at your house? Or a paper clip? Or a wing and a prayer?

My van? It continues to hobble along. Or sputter along? I do need to get it back into the garage again as the RPM gauge sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Otherwise it seems to run just fine.

6. Do you feel underappreciated? In what way?

Sometimes. My husband is wonderful about supporting me and letting me know how much he appreciates all that I do. The kids? Not so much. But isn't that the way it goes? I love them to pieces, and I know someday when they are older and wiser they'll appreciate all the times I washed dishes and clothing for them.

7. What's something you'd build if you knew how?

A little cabin in the woods by a lake. With solar power and a woodstove. And maybe Wi-Fi.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Join Joyce from From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodgepodge. Share in the randomness. Happy Hodgepodging!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Journal Jottings of a Maine Mama: March 21, 2016


Springtime in Maine is fickle! Yesterday we had bright, sunny, high 30s in the mountains. A lovely spring day! Only a few lingering piles of snow.  And today? Snow! Schools cancelled due to slippery conditions. White instead of brown and green.

Yesterday at this time I was in New Hampshire with my husband. We decided to do an all day road trip in the new-to-us campervan, heading north in Maine then over to New Hampshire and making a loop back home. About 2:30pm yesterday, I was looking at this:

Today, I am home. It snowed steady this morning, heavy, wet snow.

It's quiet. Cate and Sam are visiting family this week, enjoying time with grandparents, aunts and cousins, and watching cable. Jake is in his bedroom, watching something on his TV. The dryer is running. Baked beans are in the oven slowly soaking in that molasses. And I'm crocheting.


  • Vacuum
  • Sweep Floors
  • Dishes - In Progress
  • Laundry - Drying
  • Make Baked Beans - Baking
  • Shovel
  • Gather trash

For a while I searched for a traditional bean pot to bake up some Boston Baked Beans. It's really the only right way to make them. Crockpot beans just aren't the same. My sister gifted me a one on Christmas, along with some adorably cute little bean pot serving dishes. I found my sweet husband's late father's baked bean recipe in the family cookbook. So, dinner tomorrow is salt pork and molasses baked beans with hot dogs and salad.

"Amazing Race". Are you watching?

I took a break from my 2 temperature blankets to make a towel holder for the campervan. (Be sure to check out our camping blog HERE.) It was a super quick and easy project! You can find the instructions HERE. I used worsted weight Super Saver and a 3.5mm hook. No more towels on the floor!

I'm sharing my crocheting creations over at Lucy Blossom Crafts (Mondays), Frontier Dreams (Tuesdays), Small Things (Wednesdays), Oombawka Design (Wednesdays), and Lunamon Design (Wednesdays).


There are people who are put in our lives to teach us something. We may not want the lesson or the stress that comes with it, but it grows us spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. As hard as it is sometimes to see, those challenging people in our lives are a true blessing.

Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every  men. (Colossians 4:6)


Thanks for stopping by! I'm linking up to The Simple Woman's Daybook and Happy Homemaker are Mondays. Why not join in? Have a WONDERFUL week!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 23 - The One Marching Forward

I've decided to look for more opportunities to follow "rabbit trails"in our learning. I know that may seem strange, but I find that we often JUST stick to our textbooks, not delving into topics of interest. It would enrich our studies to take some time FROM textbooks. 

One of those "rabbit trails" this week was Shakespeare. Did you know that 2 of Uranus' moons are named after characters in 2 of his plays? It was a great opportunity for me to snag our Tales of  Shakespeare (Packer) book of the shelf, dust it off, and read aloud "King Lear". Unfortunately, Sam wasn't so fond of Shakespeare...

English Grammar 101: Lesson 8 - Verbals and Phrases (98%)
My Life in a Post (blog)
Vocab Test: List 11 (90%), List 12 (100%), List 13 (100%), List 14 (87%), List 15 (100%)
Jungle Book (Kipling), The Fault in Our Stars (Green), Needful Things (King), The Fault in Our Stars (Green)
Khan Academy: Pre-Algebra (90%)
CNN Student News

Cate finished Grammar 101, Vocab Test and Music History for the year! Her year is starting to wind down! As the weeks go on, her (and Sam's) accomplishments and subject summaries will dwindle as things are completed.

Grammar Games: Verbs and Nouns
MobyMax: Language, Math Fluency
Writing: 5 Paragraph Essay - Rough Draft
Cursive Copywork: Ecclesiastes 7:9
The Tale of Despereaux (DiCamillo), Eragon (Paolini)
Saxon 65: Test 4 (95%), Lesson 26 (Long Division), Lesson 27 (Division with Time), Lesson 28 (Number Lines), Lesson 29 (Time), Lesson 30 (Multiples of 10 and 100), Test 5 (92.5%)
Prodigy: Adding Fractions
Timed Subtraction Facts: 4:25:45/100
CNN Student News

In a quest to find a Language Arts program that will work for Sam, I decided to start up Moby Max again. He began with placement tests. Fortunately, he scored at grade level on Vocabulary and Reading, but at grade 3 for Language. I'm not surprised as learning parts of writing and reading such as nouns, capitals, and spelling are things that aren't clicking with him right now. Hopefully this new approach will bring some understanding and retention in these key areas.

Sam built a Lego Transformer, a robot that transforms into a spaceship flyer. 

Sam learned about Uranus and Neptune this week in Apologia Astronomy. Topics included Uranus' poles, methane gas, rings, moons, orbit and rotation, and it's discovery by William Herschel and his sister Caroline, and Neptune's wobbly orbit, atmosphere, rotation and revolution, and moons. He completed a notebooking page for each planet as well as a project page on Making a Cloud and a biography study on Herschel. He watched "Uranus and Neptune: Crash Course Astronomy #19" on You Tube.

Cate finished Module 11: The Human Body: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made this week in Apologia General Science. Topics included the structure of the human body, the skeletal system and skeletal muscles . She worked in her notebook, answering On Your Own questions, and completed an experiment on minerals in bones using an uncooked chicken bone and white vinegar. Her vocabulary focus was on axial skeleton, appendicular skeleton and exoskeleton.

Our history read aloud is History of US: The First Americans: Prehistory-1600 (Hakim). We finished book one. We read about King Charles I ending slavery in Spain because of Bartolome de Las Casas who fought for fair treatment of American Native Americans after being given an Indian as a slave. Unfortunately, King Charles' edict had little influence on The New World and on other Spaniards like Juan Gines de Sepulveda who believed in Aristotle's idea that some people are meant to be masters and others slaves. We learned a brief history of the Spanish Inquisition before focusing on France and it's exploration of the New World, including Canada and land claimed in America for Louis XIV called Louisiana, and the Elizabethan Age in England and Sir Walter Raleigh attempting to colonize the New World in the late 1500s.

Cate completed all 4 years of Music History on Easy Peasy Homeschool. The last 2 weeks she finished weeks 7-36, which focused on Sergei Rachmaninoff (Russian), Maurice Ravel (French), Duke Ellington (American), music of WWII, orchestration, Souza, Ravel, instrument review, musical lab, Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copeland, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and John Williams.

She also went to jazz and concert band practices.


As always, special thanks to these bloggers for their weekly wrap-up blog hops. 
 photo 337a3ef2-b881-48f4-8a2c-9c69e457cb5b_zps8b6152cf.pngHomegrown LearnersWeird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

My homeschoolers will be enjoying some time with family for the next couple of weeks. During that time, I'll be thinking about our summer studies and loosely planning next year. Our next wrap-up will be in 3-4 weeks. See you then. Happy Homeschooling!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Journal Jottings of a Maine Mama: March 14, 2016


Overcast, high 30s.

Piles of dirty, dingy snow have dwindled in the warmer temperatures. Scattered twigs, pine cones and leaves dot patches of brown grass. A trail of frozen mud marks the walk to the coop. The swollen brook rushes by behind the chicken run.

I'm resting. I was quite ill yesterday, vomiting. :sigh: I don't usually get more than a slight cold, but this belly bug hit Cate first, then Jake, and settled on me this weekend. Thankfully my wonderful husband willingly took over household tasks and caring for the kids while I spent the day in bed. But it's Monday and there's things to do...

  • Laundry
  • Dishes
  • Jazz Band Practice
  • Homeschool
  • Vacuum
  • Salvation Army Donation Drop-off
  • Bake Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
  • Work on Camping Blog (LINK)

Chop Suey and Peas

I catch most of my favorite shows, "The Amazing Race", "The Big Bang Theory", "Survivor", and "The Voice" on Hulu and CBS sometime during the week after the newest episodes air. Tonight? I'll be watching "The Amazing Race" and "The Big Bang Theory" from last Friday.

I haven't been sharing updates on my daughter's temperature blanket. It's done in Red Heart Super Saver yarn in red, orange, yellow, spring green, green, blue, navy, and purple with a FPO SC. I started with a chain of 250 using a 3.5mm hook. It's interesting "reading" the blanket for weather! It's definitely obvious that spring has sprung!

Purples are temperatures under 20 degrees, navy 20s, blue 30s, green 40s, bright green 50s, and yellow (up top) 60s.

I'm sharing my crocheting creations over at Lucy Blossom Crafts (Mondays), Frontier Dreams (Tuesdays), Small Things (Wednesdays), Oombawka Design (Wednesdays), and Lunamon Design (Wednesdays).


Our camper is finally home! We bought it February 13th, but it's been at the RV Center for repairs. It was finished over a week ago, but we weren't able to arrange a time to fit everyone's schedules to have a "run through" of all the systems with the RV tech until this weekend. It's been such a blessing to have the provisions to purchase the campervan and have everything repaired! I've started a blog for our camping and fishing adventures if you'd like to see what we're up too (LINK).

But my God shall supply all of your need according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ. (Philippians 4:19)


I'm linking up to The Simple Woman's Daybook and Happy Homemaker are Mondays.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Peace in our Hearts

1. March is National Women's History Month. In that vein, who are three women who've been influential in your life? How so? 
The MOST influential, my Mama. I am always amazed at her knack to read people and know when and how to support them. She's a hard-worker, raising kids, working a job, and keeping up a house. She's a go-getter. It something needs doing, she does it. And even through life's challenges, she perseveres.

2. In what ways do you think women have it easier than men? 
I'm glad that God gave husbands the role of "head of household",  For years I was "head of household", making decisions on my own...and dealing with the consequences. Sometimes they were great outcomes; sometimes they were terrible. The pressure of making responsible choices for several people is a huge one, and I think that it is easier for us wives when we have a Godly husband to make them.

3. What do you need most right now: faith, love, hope, or peace? 
My word for the year is PEACE. I tend to worry about situations that haven't even happened! Those "what ifs". There will be big changes coming up in my life and my family's, changes that will be unsettling. But we are focusing on new adventures together!

4. Do you have a collection? If so, what do you collect and why? 
Does yarn count? :: grin :: It's nice to have a variety of yarns for when I see a crochet project I MUST do from Pinterest or the (numerous) Facebook groups I've joined.

5. Plaids, checks, polka dots, stripes...your favorite?
Polka dots are fun and whimsical, especially in bright colors, but my style is probably more earthy plaids, which are homey and cozy.

6. In what ways are you the same as your childhood self? 
I still LOATHE doing dishes.

7. You're a contestant on the TV game show Jeopardy. What category will you ace?  
Crochet Fiber Arts! 

8. Insert your own random thought here. 

Join Joyce from From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodgepodge. Share in the randomness!

Happy Hodgepodging!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Journal Jottings of a Maine Mama: March 7, 2016


The skies are an overcast light gray. Snow flurries switching to rain may fall later this morning. Or not.

It's that time of year where everything on the ground is dull and brown, frozen by early morning, muddy by afternoon. The old fallen snow is dirty. But the trees are waking up again!

The washer is making a terrible racket with it washes. Wonder if something is caught in the agitator? It's hard to get in there with a full load of laundry and wash. But it still agitates...

  • Laundry
  • Vaccum
  • Sweep and Mop
  • Jazz Band
  • Homeschool
  • Bake Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
  • Pick up Flour


  • Boston Baked Beans, Hot Dogs and Cole Slaw

I'll be clicking on to watch Friday's "Amazing Race" later on when my homeschool, housework and errand-running is finished.

Until I get to Hobby Lobby, my anniversary temperature blanket is on a stand-still. I ran out of deep purple (50s) and can't quite finish up November 2015. But it's just over half complete now! I'm estimating that it will be 9.5 feet long x 6 feet wide with a simple border, and use about 30 skeins of yarn. In the meantime, I'll catch up on my daughter's rainbow temperature afghan as I'm 5 days behind, and make a few quick towel holders for the camper.

As you can see, October and November brought about a BIG temperature shift last fall. Suddenly we went from 60s-80s to 30s-50s.

I'm sharing my crocheting creations over at Lucy Blossom Crafts (Mondays), Frontier Dreams (Tuesdays), Small Things (Wednesdays), Oombawka Design (Wednesdays), and Lunamon Design (Wednesdays).

I guess I'll have to get back to you on this one. I did get to the library and borrow a paperback, but for the life of me I can't remember the title right now. It's in the van still.

A loving, caring, hardworking husband. Fun, unique kids. Supportive family and friends near and far. Furry and feathered friends. 

Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)


I'm linking up to The Simple Woman's Daybook and Happy Homemaker are Mondays.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up: Week 21 & 22 - Brief Peek Ahead

With some topsy-turvy news last Thursday, we decided to take that day and Friday off as Stress Relief Days. Isn't it awesome that we can do that? We were ready to get back to schooling this week with renewed focused!


We've known for a couple of weeks now, but I thought I would finally share with you all. Next year will be the first time EVER that I will only have one student homeschooling. We will miss Cate, but she will be experiencing new adventures in learning! (Jake also attends the same school.)


  • English Grammar 101: Section 1 - Nouns - Lesson 3 (50%/87%), Lesson 4 (65%/65%)
  • Writing: 5 Paragraph Essay - Finished Rough Draft, Edited, Final
  • Cursive Copywork: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 4:8
  • The Tale of Despereaux (DiCamillo), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School (Kinney)
  • Saxon 65 - Lesson 19 (Division Factors), Lesson 20 (Ways to Write Division), Test 3 (90%), Lesson 21 (Equal Parts Problems), Lesson 22 (Division with Remainders), Lesson 23 (Halves, Quarters, Tenths), Lesson 24 (Dollars and Parentheses) and Lesson 25 (Whole Number Factors)
  • Timed Addition Facts - Starting Time/Correct 9:00:17/99, Current Best Time/Correct 4:47:11/100
  • Timed Subtraction Facts - Starting Time/Correct 6:48:80/100, Current Best Time/Correct 
  • CNN Student News

His handwriting has gotten oh-so-better this year. It's not perfect, and sometimes he mixes cursive letters with printed ones, but it's legible and not huge. But the biggest accomplishment? He doesn't dread writing quite as badly!

I also started Sam on math review at Prodigy (LINK). It's a free on-line math game that encourages kids to review math concepts. (NOTE: The game is based on wizards and magic, so if you are uncomfortable with that then this resource wouldn't work for you.) My plan is to use it as a 10 minute or so review AFTER he completes his Saxon math lesson and timed facts test 2-3 times a week or when he needs a break from "the usual" text work. 

(He also has Khan Academy Math 4 where he has completed 45%.)

He also spent some time designing and building a "wheel loader" with front end suspension (as the wheels stay on the ground no matter the "terrain") out of Legos.

Sam and I finished Chapter 10: Saturn this week.
  • Notebook and Project Page
  • "Saturn: Crash Course Astronomy #18" (You Tube)
  • Saturn's Tilt, Seasons, Gas Make-up, Rotation, Rings
  • Cassini Mission
  • Scientist Biography: Christian Huygens
  • Make a Centaur Rocket Project

Cati finished Module 10: Classifying Life this week with a 100% on her test.
  • Experiment: Factors that Affect Bacterial Growth
  • Prokaryotic and Eukaryotic Cells
  • Pathogens
  • Decomposers
  • 5 Kingdom System: Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae and Animalia

Sam and I read chapters 22-28 in  History of Us: The First Americans Prehistory-1600 (Hakim) these last 2 weeks.
  • Hernando Cortez and the Spanish Conquistadors
  • Aztecs, Quetzalcoatl and Moctezuma
  • Rebus, Pictographic Writing, and Codices
  • Mesoamerica: Olmecs, Zapotecs, Mitla, and Mayans
  • Maize
  • Esteban and Fray Marcos Search for Cibola
  • Coronado, De Soto and Cabrillo
  • Onate, Santa Fe and Missionaries

Cati studies Music History with Easy Peasy Homeschool, and finished Year 3 Geography and Cultures last week, and started Year 4 Modern Music this week. Since the lessons are quick, she completes one week per day, sometimes more. This week she completed weeks 23-36 then 1-6.
  • Jazz and Concert Band Practice
  • Percussion, Brass and String Instruments
  • San Francisco Orchestra Historical Music
  • Listen to Identify Instruments Played in an Orchestra
  • Play and Compose Music
  • Hans Pfitzner
  • Das Christ-Elflein
  • Tchaikovsky and "The Nutcracker"

She went to Jazz and Concert band practices this week, and had her Jazz competition last Thursday. Later in March her jazz group will travel to play in the state competition!


As always, special thanks to these bloggers for their weekly homeschool blog link-ups. Click the buttons to see what other homeschoolers are doing!

 photo 337a3ef2-b881-48f4-8a2c-9c69e457cb5b_zps8b6152cf.pngHomegrown LearnersWeird Unsocialized HomeschoolersChaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Happy Homeschooling!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Randomness MARCHes On

1. February ended with an extra 24 hours in 2016. What did you do with your bonus day?

I wish I could share something exciting, but it was the usual kind of day. We homeschooled. We ran errands. We prepared meals and tidied the house. The flock free ranged. I crocheted.

2. What's something in your life that's grown by leaps and bounds in recent days, weeks, months, or years? I'm giving you lots of room to come up with an answer here, so no fair passing on this one.

My faith. I have only been saved about 18 months or so. Although as a child I went to church, I didn't as an adult. Ever. I have a wonderful church family, and a husband who doesn't mind buying me journaling bibles. (They have a new one coming out with preprinted coloring pages on the edges!) I'm a visual, creative person, and bible journaling as become an awesome way to study.

3. Do you read reviews about a film before deciding if you'll see it? Did you watch The Oscars this year, and if so your thoughts on the program? How many of the Best Picture nominees had you seen prior to the broadcast? (Spotlight, The Martian, The Big Short, The Revenant, Mad Max: Fury Road, Room, and Brooklyn) If you watched The Oscars who gets your award for 'best dressed'?

I have only heard of The Martian. (My kids have seen it twice.) But I haven't seen any of these movies. I suppose I'm not much of a movie-goer. I would rather catch them later, borrowing from the library, and watch them in the comforts of home.

4. When did you last have overnight houseguests? Give us your top three tips on being a good houseguest.

My parents visited for a few days in the fall. It was a memorable visit as Dad broke the toilet and flooded the bathroom in the first 60 seconds of arriving. Being a good houseguest? Don't break the toilet! Don't flood bathrooms! And be handy with a toolbox when you do!

5. March 2nd is Peanut Butter Lover's Day. Will you be celebrating? If so, would you prefer a home made peanut butter cookie, a Reese's peanut butter cup, an old fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or shall I just hand you a jar and a tablespoon?

I love PB! I make quick no bake chocolate peanut butter bars that are oh-so-yummy. Think chocolate dipped peanut butter balls without the hassle of dipping...I don't make a lot of PB goodies though as my daughter is allergic. I save them for when she is visiting family.

6. Why is failure important? Or isn't it?

Life is a lot of failure with a little success. We don't usually do things right the first time around, and it's OK. Failure helps us grow mentally with thinking, creatively with problem-solving, and emotionally with self-confidence. It's a great thing! (As long as you don't let fear of failure keep you from living.)

7. Share with us one fun thing on your March calendar.

My daughter and step-daughter both turn 14. Our girls are turning into young ladies!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Join Joyce from From This Side of the Pond for Wednesday Hodgepodge. Share in the randomness!

Happy Hodgepodging!