Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas Planner and Christmas projects

This year I put together a Christmas planner.  It has several sections: address book for cards, elf on the shelf ideas, items to make, and my recipes.  The items to make include quilts, table runners, stockings, wallhangings, scarves, and headbands.  Obviously, I will never make everything that is in there, but its nice to have it all in one place without having to search for patterns every single year.

I've also really enjoyed having all the tried and true recipes and new recipes to try, all in one place.  I was able to put together a nice shopping list that I've been working on for several weeks.  I'm happy that I'll have all the items on hand before I start baking.

I toned my card list alot this year.  I'm tired of sending out 80 or more cards and only receiving a few dozen back, so I've cut the list way back to almost half of that.  I feel much better and not so stressed about getting cards out.

I've made several table runners and wallhangings for our house this Christmas.  I'm finishing up a few and then I will put some pictures up.

I've also finished two cowls and am starting the third tonight.  I really enjoy knitting while watching all of the Hallmark Christmas movies.  My teen girls really love all those movies so we watch one almost every night.  My DVR gets filled up with Christmas movies that we will continue to watch throughout January.

I hope everyone is doing well!!  

Michelle

Monday, November 21, 2016

Catching up

I honestly meant to post every single week this year but life has been very busy.  Right now, I'm in full swing to make some Christmas presents to save a little bit of money this year.  

  • Riding lessons ended for the year freeing up Monday nights.  Unfortunately, that is payday and the only night I have to grocery shop so I'm usually out and about.
  • We have our Christmas party for AHG the first Tuesday in December and then not until January.  I will enjoy the break.
  • Wednesdays were very busy with the after school program, play practice, and Life Groups.  Life Groups have ended for this year so I get a little break.  I just have to drop off and pick up kids now.
  • Thursdays have started another gymnastics session.  We have three more classes left.  This one is a class instead of a playgroup.  A little more money but well worth it for the little girls to get the instruction they need and desire.  So, I drive up into town in the morning and then evening for banjo lessons for Bug-a-bug.
  • Friday nights are still busy with the teens.
  • The big girls did a nice unit on elections and learned quite a bit.  They were actually interested on election night and even followed some of the results as they came in.  
  • The littles just finished up a big unit on Space and will be working on two short units before Christmas: Mammals and Fish.  It should be interesting and fun; not too involved since we'll be doing a Christmas unit too.  I'll take a few days off after our Thanksgiving unit this week to regroups before starting our Christmas unit.  We will be working on American Indians in history until Christmas break and then dive into the colonies and revolution after the New Year.
  • Bug-a-bug doesn't enjoy her science very much as there isn't many experiments for her.  I need to work on that and challenge her some more.  She seems to really enjoy her history this year
  • Princess is doing okay in history and science.  She doesn't seem to be bored stiff like in previous years

I've already decided what to do for history and science next year for the big girls.  I will be writing my own curriculum for 1800-1900 world history.  They will be doing a lot of reading and writing on their own.  For science, I've decided that we will take a year and a half to get through biology.  I really want to take my time and make sure that they really understand it all.  I'm hoping that they can take the clep test when they are done and not have to take a college science.  For the second half of the year, I hope to work on an introduction to chemistry.

I pray that you all have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving!

Michelle

Friday, October 21, 2016

Busy Busy schedule

Until the end of this month, we've been busy running around five days a week.
  • Mondays is riding lessons for the youngest three.  This ends next week.  I'm amazed at how well they ride after two years of lessons.   This is an expensive activity but well worth it to see their improvement and confidence rise.  And they all love it!
  • Every other Tuesday night is American Heritage Girls.  We also have other activities scheduled such as service days and fun events so sometimes we're headed out on a Friday or Saturday also to an event.
  • Wednesday the little girls go to the church after school program.  From now until our Christmas play, the older girls will also be going and helping out with the practice.  I arrive at 5:30 and we eat dinner at church and then do the Wednesday night bible study at 6:30.
  • Thursdays are a little crazy right now.  The littles are in a gymnastics class in the am with other homeschoolers.  That ends next week.  It's almost turned into more of a playgroup so it wasn't really what I wanted.  They would love to do lessons though, so its been a good intro for them.  Later on that day, I run Bug-a-bug up to banjo lessons.
  • Fridays are for the teens.  Our church runs a teen program open to the community Friday nights from 7-10.  They have a ton of fun.

We've all been getting used to hubby's schedule.  He leaves about 5am and gets home between 6-8pm.  He has an hour drive each way to work, which he does not enjoy.   A trucker is a much more relaxing job than being in the Navy.  He's really enjoying not having that responsibility anymore.  

We've been getting ready here for fall/winter.  I have to go out and finish up the garden tomorrow and rake leaves.  Today I have to make some caramel apple jam and do something with the squash and pie pumpkins.  (this means bake and puree the pumpkin but I'm not sure about the squash yet).  

We only did three days of school this week.  MN takes Thursday and Friday off and we do also.  I usually find that I am finishing up fall or canning projects and use those days wisely.  Plus, our church is doing the fall cleaning so I was there for five hours yesterday.  The big girls are at the MN Youth Conference with our church.  They are having a blast.

Enjoy your weekend!!

I'll be outside cleaning out the chicken coop, getting ready for the arrival of some pigs, and raking!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Week five under our belts

This week was pretty busy with different activities.  Monday and Tuesday were normal school days and Wednesday we went to Oxbow Zoo and Park to see the animals and play.  They don't have many animals there; about twenty different kinds but its fun to view them.  We arrived right at feeding time so it was fun for the kids to see the different kinds of animals and what they eat.  They also have a nice sized buffalo herd and it was fun to see the animals up close.  Last time we were there, they were off in the distance and it was difficult to see them.  I of course, forgot my camera.

Thursday was gymnastics and library for the littles.  The big girls stayed home and did their assignments. Friday we went to the Mankato History Fest.  They have re-enactors from different time periods.  It was a ton of fun.

It is very important for your dragon to also have armor during medieval times. 
This guy was the best.  MN's own Captain Jack Sparrow.  He was absolutely fantastic with the kids and put on a neat show.  He's a historian at heart and gave us a ton of information about pirate history.  Makes me want to run out and get a book on pirate history to read.

Captain Jack and his wife took a picture with the girls

Civil War-they shot off the cannon several times.  Very loud and smelly but neat

Trying on some chain mail

Princess was arrested when trying to enter the saloon.  It took this poor boy quite a while to get those handcuffs on.  They have to be screwed in. 
They hauled her off to jail and I told them to throw all the kids in.

Civil War cannon is very loud!

And we had to get a little face painting in.  We waited for all the school buses to leave and we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  It was great.


 It was freezing yesterday when we went but warmed up a little during the day.  It was in the 40s/50s the whole time we were there and the sun was blowing but it wasn't too bad.  There were a few building so we could come in and get warm at the stoves.

The re-enactors spend Wed through Friday night at the campground; camping out in old fashioned tents.  The frontier men were literally laying in the ground with a clothe over top of them held up by a few sticks.  It poured the night before we went, almost an inch of rain, but the frontier men said that they were dry.  Everywhere they were cooking over campfires for their meals also.  Smell of campfire smoke everywhere.  It was great and we will definitely head back there next year.

Friday, September 30, 2016

A very successful first month

2nd grade
This first month back to school has been very busy indeed.   American Heritage Girls has started up, riding lessons continue through October, the littles started a gymnastics class with a co-op, Friday night teen nights started at the church, and soon the Wednesday night programs start.

I've been tweaking some of our lessons this month but for the most part have stuck with my original plans.  It certainly helped having everything ready to go at the beginning of the year.  I feel so much more organized this year!

Here's some photos of my girls this year:
10th Grade

8th Grade

Fourth Grade  

S

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A very busy summer indeed.....

What a crazy busy summer!!  We started off with a graduation party for this handsome guy.  It was so much fun!!  My mom, uncle, dad, and Kevin's family came in for the event.  I was glad we were inside....it was plenty warm out.




TL is off to college now.  He's attending the local community college to save some money and in his words, "why leave home with free food and rent?"  He's doing pretty good in school, although my OCD is twitching because he tends to wait on his assignments.  He'll learn on his own and waiting may work for him.  I was always too stressed to wait until the last minute.

The week after the graduation party, we headed to my stepson's wedding.  It was a wonderful and fun event.  We met so many wonderful people.  We have a fabulous time.

Then in July, we headed to Tennessee to hubby's retirement ceremony.  It was sooooo hot and humid.  100 degree temps with high humidity.  It was awful weather wise.  We were blessed that we had so many friends and family come into town for the event.  We were so surprised at how many made the trip.  We went with family to the zoo (did I mention how hot it was?) and also to the Bass Pro Shop.  The rest of the week was spent spending time with our family and friends.  

 The rest of the summer has been just as busy.  We had hiking, archery, and camping with American Heritage Girls.  We came home at the end of July to a garden bursting with goodies.  I've been canning up a storm.  Spaghetti sauce, chili, pickles, jams, pizza sauce, and beets.  We've also cut up and frozen 50 dozen ears of corn and more zucchini than I can count.  

This week, life has moved back into a routine; although I still have tomatoes to can and next week apples will be in.  School is much easier this year.  Last year, TL suffered senioritis and I had to stay on top of him all year.  This year, I work with the littles in the morning and then the big girls in the afternoon.  Day two was completed today and we were able to finish both days by 2 and I had all the grades recorded.  Not too bad.

I'll be posting school pics and our curriculum later this week!

Have a wonderful and blessed day!

blessings, 
Michelle

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Last year: Blogging Bust

I didn't blog at all last year.  Homeschool mommy burnout was in full swing.  On top of that, the senior was being a bit difficult in getting his work done.  It seemed that I was always dealing with him instead of focusing on the girls.  In retrospect, I really wasn't but it sure seemed that way during the year.

Our graduate celebrated his homeschool finish with a small graduation party.  Family and friends came from all over to celebrate with us.  It was a wonderful day.  We are truly blessed!  The graduate starts at the community college in August.  He really wanted to go off to school but after looking at the cost, he determined it was better to live at home which is free and have homecooked meals.  I think he thinks his favorite, chicken pot pie, will be on the menu often.  
The week after the graduation party, we celebrated my stepson's wedding to his beautiful and very sweet bride.  It was a wonderful event and we had a fabulous time.

My garden wasn't quite finished this year.  I never did plant the green beans.  I made some other areas larger but that meant building a new green bean bed and I literally ran out of time.  I have been sorting and dumping all kinds of junk in the house and was busy painting for the graduation party so it was never done.  I'm disappointed but there's nothing I can do about it now.

Another major even this month, is hubby's retirement ceremony from the US Navy.  We are very excited and I'm busy working on his scrapbook for this event.  Did I mention that I had to do over ten years of scrapbooking photos for the graduate's event?  ugh, Never again.  I plan on starting to work on the girls this winter.  I don't want to go through that again!

I am just starting to work on lesson planning this week.  I gave myself a much needed and well deserved break from homeschooling.  I have found that I am now more interested in getting creative.  The last two years we've been doing textbooks and workbooks.  Homeschooling was accomplished but not really fun.  I plan on amping up the fun this year.  

As usual, I am utilizing Homeschool Tracker for my lesson plans.  I really really love Homeschool Tracker.  I can insert all of my lesson plans and then move them over to the assignment grid when needed.  It is so very nice!!  This year, I will include chores on their daily schedule and give the older girls a login to check their assignments off when completed.  No more printing out the daily schedule.  I'm excited about that part.  

Enjoy your summer!!  I'll be back soon after the retirement!!  I'll be busy finishing up lesson plans and canning!

 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The days that we pioneered.....

So last Saturday our water starting come back up into the basement.  Everytime we used a sink, tub, or toilet.  Thankfully, I discovered it after one toilet flushing so it wasn't too bad and it went down the drain in the basement.

So for the entire weekend, we used a bucket or the great outdoors as our bathroom.  Showers were done at a friends or we washed up in a little tub we emptied outside.  Good times.

Thankfully Monday afternoon I was able to get the guys out to pump out the septic.  We had it done last year and knew that our septic was on its last legs so I assumed that was the issue.  I was wrong.

On Tuesday, the plumbers came and discovered that there wasn't a clean out valve down in the basement so they took a line through the bathroom toilet.  It worked and we were good to go.....for about six hours and then it happened again.

On Wednesday the plumbers were able to come back and cut all the pipes downstairs, clean it out, and put in a new clean out valve.  There was feet of gunk in the pipes.....apparently its never been cleaned out since the house was built 80 years ago.  The previous owner also used to pour grease down the drain which added to the gunk.  Last year we had to replace the kitchen line because it was filled with grease. 

So after five days of using a bucket as a latrine, we finally are able to flush and use the sinks and tubs.  Thank goodness!!  That was exhausting and yucky!