Thursday, March 1, 2018

February

My goal this year was to get back into blogging more regularly....like once a week.  Here's its been a month.  A short month in the number of days, but very long and busy.  

  • I'm still working part time retail.  I'm back up to 2-3 days a week.  I hope to work three shifts a week, which will give me our spending money for the week and pay for banjo lessons and riding lessons, which start up again next week.
  • American Heritage Girls is very busy.  We are gearing up and planning our summer activities.  As the troop coordinator, its my job to spearhead everything.  We have some fabulous leaders that really step in to help but we have to remain organized.  
  • We had Life Groups at Church every Wednesday this month.  Our last one is next week and then we'll start again in a few weeks.
  • Homeschool co-op is fantastic.  We are absolutely loving it.  I am so glad we are in this group.  The 50 minute drive to get there is totally worth it.  I taught 2 classes, both on the Iditarod.  One to the 4th/5th graders and another to the 6-8th graders.  I'm teaching them both again this next session-The Oregon Trail.  It should be a blast.  Next week, we have a field trip to a Maple Syrup farm and then we start the last 6 week session the week after.  
  • We have managed to get quite a bit of schoolwork done but I haven't gotten back into the geography plans I had for the littles, which was to study a continent a month.  So far, we've only done Antarctica and Australia.  We are starting South America next week.  I'll have to really plan well and kick it down to 2-3 week studies instead of a month so that we can finish up the continents this year. 
  • I'm trying to get some spring cleaning and organizing done.  Really, its purging.  I'm so happy to get rid of some stuff.  We've been here for 5 years which is the longest we've been in one place in a long time so I really need to purge.  We don't have many closets here and can't put any storage in the basement so its a challenge.  Working on it though!!
  • Princess went to a dance at the high school with her friend.  The girls had a great time.                
    Princess also celebrated her 17th birthday.  I cannot believe that she is that old already! We celebrated at a steakhouse.     
  •  After the birthday dinner, we went to Cabella's which is right next door.  The littles pretended to be frightened by the animals. 
  • And here is some of the photos of life on the farm.  We'll be getting chickens again next month (yeah, I really despise the store bought eggs after enjoying the fresh for so many years).  The three "bacon seeds" are getting bigger.  They should be ready to butcher late summer.  And the horses are enjoying the warmer weather.  I didn't have the phone with me to take pictures the other night during chores.  Somehow one of the goats got himself stuck in the arm of one of the plastic yard chairs.  It was hysterical.  I really wish I would have gotten a picture!!

     
  • And our homeschool co-op, we had a huge Valentine's day party.  It was a blast for the kids!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Trying to get caught up

My goal in January was to return to blogging.  I've felt out of sorts with homeschooling and then I realized I've been missing a very important element: blogging about our weeks.  I was going to start in January catching up and getting back to a weekly routine.  Well, life never happens the way we want.

First, we had a broken water line.  Our pump sits in a well house in a hobbit sized hole in the ground that is not only small to get into but small inside.  The sides of the wellhouse were lined with stones when it was put in 80 years ago.  Both the house line and the line to the little barn ran underneath those stones.  Apparently, the stones shifted and either pinched or broke a line....and we never did figure out which one.  There was a small hole in the wall where another line had been put in (the automatic cow waterer) which conveniently did have a shut off valve.  The other two lines did not, so not only could we not figure out which line wasn't working, but we couldn't shut off any line at all, which meant no water anywhere on the property.  Its bad enough not having it in the house, but we have 3 horses, 3 pigs, 4 goats, and a bunch of cows out there. Thankfully we have great neighbors.

After three days without water, it was finally fixed.  We opted to make the hole in the side bigger and put all the lines through there.  Then we moved the pump above ground and now each line has a shut off valve.  Here we are in MN in the middle of winter though so we have to quickly build a casing for the pump and put heaters in there so the line didn't freeze.  Yeah, good times.


The week after this adventure, the colds hit the house.  Kevin, I, and one of the girls are the only ones that didn't get it.  Unfortunately, now Kevin has it.  I'm sleeping on the couch....he can keep that all to himself.  lol

We also had a lovely snowstorm....17 inches of the white stuff.  We were all stuck home one day.  Thankfully, we had some new puzzles to get us through.  I've found 4 pack puzzles (500 pieces each) of Thomas Kinkade's Disney puzzles.  We got the first for Kevin for Christmas (okay the girls were more excited about disney princesses than he was, but they all love puzzles).  I picked up two more boxes at Walmart for 13.97 each.  Score!!  Here's the first four done.
 And here's the snow:
We did manage a field trip to the RAD zoo early in January.  Its close by and we love going there.  The Reptiles and Amphibians are awesome! The girls love the alligators.  We were able to hold an alligator that day.  It was great!


 Have a wonderful weekend!


 

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Homeschooling high school

This year I decided to get some video lessons for the girls.  I just can't keep up with teaching every subject on four different levels, and its so important to help the older girls out with some of their subjects.  I reviewed Abeka videos but they seem so outdated, and quite frankly boring.  The teacher presents the material in front of a live class and asks the students to respond to the questions.  Unfortunately, they have to move the mic around so you're sitting there with dead space.  I don't have the patience for that type of teaching and neither do my girls, so we choose Bob Jones video classes.

9th Grade

History-Bob Jones Geography video lessons

Science-Bob Jones Earth Science video lessons(we didn't cover it last year and I thought it would be more fun than physical science)

French-Bob Jones video lessons also Mr. G's French class on Currclick

Math-Math U See Algebra (she has a few lessons of pre-algebra to finish up first)

Language Arts-Abeka grammar, Write Shop for writing, Wordly Wise and different novels to read including:  poetry, Animal Farm, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island, the Glass Menagerie, The Hound of Baskervilles, and a video of one of Shakespeare's plays.

Keyboarding

Home Economics

11th Grade

History-Bob Jones American History video lessons

Science-Bob Jones Biology video lessons

Spanish Bob Jones video lessons 

Language Arts-Abeka grammar, Write Shop writing, Worldly wise different novels to read including: Swiss Family Robinson, Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, poetry, a story from Poe, Scarlet Letter, the Outsiders, and a video of one of Shakespeare's plays.

Keyboarding

Home Economics 

ACT prep 

I'm excited about this year because I'll be able to focus more on the areas that the girls need help with instead of trying to cover every single subject.

Monday, July 31, 2017

New Year....

I still have pictures to post from our vacation, but that may be a bit before I do that.  

I finished up my papers and classes yesterday.  I have one week off until I start my next two classes.  I'm on the run trying to get cleaning and yard work done.  I also have to start lesson planning.  Canning season is right around the corner and I want the lesson planning done before that starts.

This year, I have a 3rd grader, 5th grader, 9th grader, and 11th grader.  Here is what the two littles will be doing this year:

History-Homeschool in the Woods time traveler series.  We'll be starting with the colonies.  I really enjoyed this program when I did it with the older girls.  So many fun activities to do.

Science-Elemental Science physics.  I cannot wait to start this program.  I've always pushed off physics but thought it would be a great change for us this year.  

Geography-Passport Club with some country and continent studies thrown in there. We did this club years ago with the older kids and it was a lot of fun and they learned a lot.  I'm happy that they have once again started selling to homeschoolers.

Math-Math U See

Reading-All About Reading and Explode the Code workbooks

Spelling and Grammar-All about Spelling and Bob Jones grammar

Writing-different levels of Write Shop.  I've always struggled with teaching writing and I think I may have finally found a program that is fun and engaging.



We will be continuing riding classes through October and then we'll be doing some ice skating sessions.  I'm toying with some winter swimming lessons also.  

This year we are joining a co-op about 45 minutes from home.  I'm hoping, especially for the older two, for the kids to make some more homeschooling friends.  We have lots of young homeschoolers at our church but not many teens.  I also like the idea of the kids having a teacher different than me.

Michelle

Monday, July 3, 2017

Trip to NY

Because of the size of our family and the expense of travel, I haven't been home in ten years.  We've lived overseas twice and on the west coast most of that time.  The last few years, hubby was stationed in another state so our funds were spent getting him home to us to visit.

This year, I decided that I was going home.  Ten years was way too long.  So the girls and I took the two day drive and we went home!!

Here are some pictures from the Buffalo Zoo.  We went today with my mom.
At the dino dig

Enjoying the merry go round

Got some face paint

The girls and my mom


Another fantastic thing is getting to visit some old friends.  One of my best friends, Glen, joined the Navy after high school and just retired from the Navy the year before Kevin did.  He moved back home with his wonderful wife.  His kids and my kids got along famously....navy brats that they are, they were best friends in a few minutes.  Here is my mom, them,and me (in the blue shirt).  We had such a good time.  We spent four hours there and even though we haven't seen each other in ten years, it was like we had just talked yesterday.  Wonderful!
 
The rest of the week will be spent with family and friends.  I cannot wait until I see some of them.  It has been way way too long.  I am also taking the girls to Niagara Falls this weekend.  We can't go to the Canadian side because I didn't get our passports renewed, but we'll have fun going on the US side.  

Have a wonderful Fourth!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Almost to the finish line

I haven't posted in weeks.  Mother's day weekend was the weekend of terrible things.  We received a call Friday night that Kevin's aunt had passed, Saturday morning I woke up to a wet, soggy bedroom carpet (bathroom shower pipe busted and flooded the bedroom and bathroom), and Sunday night my brakes started grinding in my truck when we went for ice cream.  Needless to say, as nice as Mother's day was, I was happy for that week to be over.

We took off to Iowa for the funeral.  It was very nice.  Aunt Suz was a wonderful lady, full of energy and life.  She was loved by our entire family and will be missed.

Last weekend, we went to Iowa again for Kevin's sister's surprise 50th birthday party.  She was definitely surprised.  It was a wonderful night and lots of fun.  We had a great time.  We got home Sunday night and Kevin spent Memorial Day smashing apart the tiles on the bathroom floor.  Our bath has a step up in the middle of the floor and is covered with 4 inch tiles from the 80s.  The fixtures are all solid gold 80s.  I fully expect Culture Club to break out into song when I go in the bathroom, lol.  We've decided to try to fix as much as we can as possible so that we can redo the entire bathroom and make it more user friendly.  We hope to bring down that step and make the floor one level.  Kevin's father has lost a leg and this will make visits to our house much easier on him.  

I'm still desperately trying to get my garden in.  Hopefully this week.  I got some done but we've had so much rain this month (over 14 inches) that the weeds in the garden beds are over a foot tall.  All the beds I had cleared out already are filled with weeds again.  I hope to have this all done soon!!!  

This week I'll be working in the garden and taking the yucky wallpaper off of the bathroom walls.  I have to clear out the bedroom too in anticipation of getting new carpet.  It was the nicest carpet in the house too......so sad that we had to replace that one.  Oh well.  

We finished up American Heritage Girls last week.  It was nice to have that finished up.  Next year, I'm only doing advancement coordinator.  This will be much easier on me.  We're looking for a new troop coordinator now.  I'm excited because I've been lucky to have wonderful women step forward to lead different levels so that my current leaders can step down from doing two jobs and only do one.  How wonderful is that!!  Yeah!!
 

The littles will be doing spelling, math, and reading four days a week this summer.  The big girls have another two weeks of science left and then I'll have them do reading and math this summer also to catch us up some.  I'm hoping to have that done by the end of June and then start again mid-August.  We'll start full days back to school after Labor Day when my dad leaves.  

Have a wonderful week!!!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The end of the year always seems like a race

This time of year is always busy on our little homestead.  The raised garden beds are overflowing with crab grass and dandelions that need to be cleaned out.  The grass seems to grow about 4 inches a day.....or so it seems.  The barns need to be cleaned out. Its a busy time of year here. 

This year is not different around here, with a few exceptions: horse and goats.  The horse has been a lot of fun for the girls to ride.  Shiloh is a pretty good horse after working with her for a bit, we got her retrained on her lead rope.  (She hadn't been worked with for over a year so she wanted to do her own thing.)  We have a fairly large ditch in the front that is pretty steep and a pain in the rear to mow, so Kevin put up a movable electric fence for her that opens to the pasture so she can go out there and eat to her hearts content.

 Kevin also finished up the goats' pens.  We have several areas on the property that can only be pushed mowed.  They were set up that way, why we'll never know.  They could have easily extended a fence here or there so that it could all have been cut with the rider mower, but oh well.  We have goats, so we're putting them to use.  Above you can see what our fencing looks like around the pastures but the goats could escape through the holes, so last weekend hubby put wire fencing up along the posts to keep the goats in those areas.  Well, he ran out of time during the weekend so he just put up a flimsy fence.   By Thursday, we had to keep them in the barn as they got out of all three areas.  Hopefully, we'll be able to save up the money to buy fencing for two of the pastures, so that they will have a ton of room.

Above, is the littlest at riding lessons.  Their instructor has been placing her on bigger, stronger horses this year (ones with more spunk) so that she is used to riding ones that are similar to ours.  Here she's riding Charlie.
 
I have been missing Japanese food, so I looked on Amazon and was able to purchase some Yakisoba sauce and made homeade yakisoba this week.  It was delicious and we gobbled it down.
 
 Trey had to take and art class this semester at college and he chose ceramics.  I don't think he realized how much work was involved.  Above, is just one of the really neat creations he made.

The year is coming to a close for American Heritage Girls.  I'm the troop coordinator but also serve several other areas as well.  I'm glad that the year is almost over.  Below is Bug-a-bug serving refreshments at a Stars and Stripes ceremony for one of the girls in our troop.  Bug-a-bug had to organize, set up, serve, and clean up as part of her level award.  She did a fantastic job.

Although Princess is no longer a member of AHG, she came to the Stars and Stripes ceremony to celebrate with her friend, Amy.  It was a wonderful event.  We are all super proud of all Amy did.

Part of being a member of AHG, involves service to the community.  Here a few girls from our troop, including two of mine, are helping to clean out the local history center's buildings for the spring and summer.  We were in charge of dusting and sweeping out the medical building.  It was certainly interesting to see the tools of the doctors and dentists.  Interestingly, the undertaker had a corner set up in the back. 

I'm still working online and have started to work two mornings a week at the greenhouse that Princess and Bug-a-Bug are working at.  Its been a lot of fun.....and a lot of work.  I didn't realize how badly I'm out of shape.  Some stiff and sore muscles.....and  most  all of my paycheck will be buying vegetables and flowers.

I'm also getting ready to start school up in June.  I need to get on tomorrow and order my textbooks.  Fun!!

I think I've laid out the plans for next year.  The oldest are going to be doing video classes for history, science, and language arts.  Math will be a dvd also for Math-u-See.  It will free up a lot of time and stress for me.  I'm also looking into a co-op but its almost an hour drive away.  I'm not sure if we will do that or not.

Have a wonderful weeks!

Friday, April 28, 2017

So busy....

I started working again this week doing online scoring for the next few weeks.  Its interesting and fun but the first week is always a struggle; trying to figure out how to squeeze work into my daily routine.

The big girls are working part time at the local greenhouse.  I'm going to help out two mornings a week also.  I can't wait to learn more about some of the plants and spend my paycheck buying plants!!  lol  It was warm here up until this past weekend and then it dropped back into the 40s.  We even had a little snow this week.  I haven't been able to finish weeding out my garden and with all the rain the last few days and with what is expected this next week, I may need to mow it.  I did manage to trim the raspberries up and weed out the strawberries. 

Our year is almost to a close with American Heritage Girls. Tonight we had a celebration to honor our newest Stars and Stripes recipient (which is comparable to an Eagle Scout project).  It was a lovely ceremony.  This week is our last regular meeting for the year and then we will be holding our end of the year awards ceremony in a few weeks.  Bug-a-bug is leveling and moving up to the highest level that AHG has.  I'll be curious to see if she decides to do a Stars and Stripes project after seeing the ceremony tonight.

I've been  working on finding homeschooling material for next year.  I think that we are going to do a few dvd programs for the big girls.  I just can't teach them everything; there just isn't time.  I'd like them to do language arts and science with a dvd instructor.  I've decided to do Homeschool in the Woods for the littles.  We have not been great with history this year so I decided to start with the colonial period and start it next week.

Our easter was very relaxing.  We enjoyed staying at home that day.  I was wiped out from everything going on.  We did manage to color eggs, which was a lot of fun.  I realized that we haven't colored eggs in so long that the littles didn't even know what to do.  Bad momma moment!  I've been too lazy to color them and didn't want to purchase eggs when we have eggs from our chickens.  Our eggs are brown though and not great for laying.




We have two new goats on our little farm.  These girls are 100% boer goats.  The little red one is Little Lady and the black headed one is Moonlight.  They are very sweet indeed.

Have a wonderful week everyone!!