Monday, March 12, 2012

I really should be uploading pics from my camera and chatting about some of the stuff that's been going on lately, but I'll be honest.  I don't want too.  There I said it - uh - whined it.  

I can tell Spring in Texas is almost upon us.  Don't get me wrong, I love Texas.  I think God made it sorta special, you know.  And I feel blessed to call the Lone Star State my home.  But Spring, now I don't feel quite so gushy about Spring.  Grant it - those Texas Bluebonnets take my breath away and the month or so that they bloom on the Texas roadsides and beautiful hills - well I just feel all the more blessed.  But let me tell you I think that is about the only thing I like about Spring!  I am so thankful for all this rain...but the blooming - well I could do without that part.  Sometimes I wish flowers could bloom without the pollen, you know?

Spring for me = itching and headaches.  Wow - what a pretty picture.

So I am sitting here with a headache, nursing my coffee.

But my day will go on and the allergy meds will kick in and the itching will slow and the beauty of my Texas will win out.  Thank you Lord for making Texas so pretty.  I might not be able to make it through Spring if it wasn't.  LOL  It just hit wonder Davy Crockett was so keen on coming to Texas.  ;)

So I was sitting here updating myself on the plans of the week and such and thought I would write for a moment or two.  

Soothing - you hydro-cortisone cream.  ;)

Anyway, back on track...

Going over the family calendar for the week, it looks like we have lots to accomplish and lots of fun to have.  Yeah!

I wonder if back in the pioneer days - back when towns had 30 people, a mercantile, a boarding house, a dressmaker, livery and saloon - if they had to "check their calendar".  LOL  probably not, huh?

I just remembered I had a mystery shop scheduled today, so I had to stop and submit something real quick. 

Back to my ramblings...I have to admit I am enjoying my writing this morning.

In our years of homeschooling...which have been many it seems, I have tried a lot many tons of various methods, organizational techniques, curriculum, equipment, mind sets...oh the list could go on forever.  About a year or so, well probably more than that, ago I read a blog about a homeschooling family (sorry I can't think of which one it was now,) and it really switched on the light for me.  ****Every family is different, they have their own rhythm and life goes more smoothly when you I stop worrying about what everyone else thinks and focus on what God thinks and what my family needs!****

Now, many of you know, I LOVE to plan...I mean really LOVE IT!  But sometimes my "planning" gets in the way of living!

Our family is not the get up at 5 am - 3 course breakfast at the table fully washed, dressed and bright-eyed, in the school room at attention by 8 am type of crowd.  We just don't function at that time of day that way.

Scoff if you want, but I am just being real here.  Must be the coffee kicking in.  LOL

We are night owls...I mean REALLY NIGHT OWLS.  When you have a DH that works 3rd shift and has for 1/4 of a century, well you just get into to certain routines and sleep patterns and "normalcy" of 8-5 days just throw us for a loop!  

You should have seen us a few weeks ago when DH had school for a week - oh my goodness - what a mess!  

No this is not the main reason we home school - so stop judging us!

But anyway, the kids bedtime is 10 pm. During the week I am pretty good about making sure they are in bed by then because I get a little "me time" before DH gets home.  I try to make sure the kitchen is cleaned up before he gets here.  Call me domestic!  LOL  

Me time = washing dishes, perhaps I should rethink that one.  LOL

The weekends are a different story...Friday nights are pizza and smackdown with DH home.  Saturdays DH is off again so we are known for late nights of gaming, movies and family fun.  

Maybe we have a strange rhythm, but you know what it works for us.  Most mornings we don't even start school until DH leaves for work.  It just works better.  We don't school 8 hours a day - it's just not needed.  Let me rephrase that - we don't sit in our classroom and school 8 hours a day.  I have two boys, not 30, and we just don't feel like we need to drag it out that long.  Some days take longer than others, but for the most part we get everything done in 2-3 hours.  I have to tell you though that around here school is part of life, we school all day when you get down too it...math in the kitchen, reading, life skills, science and nature study, we all love history so that comes in through reading, play and various adventures.  

Being the planner that I am, I have gone through various stages and phases of implementing my need to plan with what really works with my kids.  I have relaxed a great deal over the past several years of home schooling and man oh man am I different now in my approaches than I used to be. LOL  I look back and laugh at myself on many days.  :)

I am a list maker...I love lists...I ALWAYS have some sort of list...somewhere...for something.  I blame (commend) my Mom for teaching me this skill.  An avid list maker herself, I learned the art of "checking things off" at an early age.  Sometimes it's the little things that build self-esteem, you know?  Accomplishment comes in small packages sometimes.

In the past few weeks I attempted a new "goal planning" type of thing.  I am not really sure how to term it.  I suppose if I had a "regular" classroom it would have worked well and fine and been a great resource, but honestly, it just didn't work out so well for us me.  

I don't move the boys forward until something is mastered.  I don't have too - I do not have 20 other kids waiting for me to move on or a set of TEKS demanding I move forward and "finish" the year before June.  Does that make any sense?  We get to set our own pace.  For example - in the last two spelling units I notice there were six words that Bug has struggled with.  So this is our focus right now - mastering those six words.  We will not move on to the next unit until those are mastered.  I feel that is important.  

So knowing this - I was looking at my "goal planning" and thinking - hmmm, well we are going to "fall behind" in spelling because I am moving this unit here and this unit to here....and WHAT?  Fall behind - WHAT?  Bug is a year ahead of his "age level" and WHAT?  Am I kidding myself, really, Wendy, s-l-o-w d-o-w-n!  Okay focus...what is really important, learning to spell or finishing the curriculum at the "recommended pace".  

So I have decided to put aside my whole "goal planning".  

My "lesson plan" sheet for the the week is more open-ended, open-minded and just plain old open.  I think it will allow for more "adding in" stuff when we need to move on and for reviewing and working toward mastering when we need to stall.  (Without my feeling like a failure because I didn't get to check it off.)

So I have to say that I am looking forward to this week.  I think we will accomplish much and learn more!  Yeah!

So, ahhh...I am really enjoying this cup of coffee and my writing this morning...

In my life this week - I am going to enjoy this sunshine, praise God for his goodness, write some old fashioned letters, have fun with my GA's and get the oil changed in my car!

In our home school this week - we are going to study multiplication using thinking logs and addition using various games! We will be reading A LOT, do some science about the life cycle of a plant, master spelling words, work on sentence structure and nouns and verbs.  I also plan to learn how to draw a dog with the boys and work on our library research/finding books skills.  

Helpful home school tip - sometimes the goal planning and lesson planning and lists can take over your original thoughts and ideas.  At times they can literally undermine what you have in mind for your children.  Sometimes it's better to just sit back, put the list in a drawer (under lock and key) and just let the learning flooooowwwww.

Things I am working on - reorganizing my corner of the garage and cleaning out accumulated school/teaching "stuff".

I'm cooking - You know I haven't actually decided yet...I need to head out to the freezer and pull out some stuff for this week.  I do think I will make some more home made dog food for the babies - they love it.  And chicken and rice for us- that's always yum!

I'm grateful for - my new coffee pot and the 1 1/2 of rain we got last weekend!

I'm praying for - family members that I don't get to see very often, my boys and DH, Grace, strength and patience...

It's gonna be fun...well I had better get off here...the trampoline and the sunshine are calling our name and I do believe the books and work can be transported easily to that shiny bouncy black surface for school today.  

Until next time...hug your babies and love one another...


Sunday, March 04, 2012

So February has left us in the dust.  Even with that extra "leap year" day it didn't last long!  I can't believe how quickly 2012 seems to be moving along.  Well I figured I had better get started on my February update because you know, well, March will be over next week I am sure!  AUGH!  I am beginning to feel very very old.  But anyway, enough babbling - on to the highlights!  LOL

I made Valentines for my GA girls...I found this post on pinterest and thought what a cute idea!  And of course I have tons of Kool-Aid in my storage pantry (I stocked up when I had some Buy 10 get $1.25 off and it was on sale for 10 cents each.  Yeah!  LOL)  The girls thought they were great because they got a packet of Kool-Aid.  Funny!
Check out all the cool Birthday cards the girls made for me in class.  What a great class they are.  Laine's Mom brought a cake for me to share with the class - how sweet!  So the girls sang me Happy Birthday and we ate cake!  Yum!
On my birthday weekend we traveled down to Uncle Pickle's for some R&R.  On the way by the land we own in West - we saw where the state (who's working on widening the highway right now) had dumped some fill dirt and ground up old road in a HUGE-O mountain on our property (yes, we gave them permission).  This of course was much to the delight of the Bubbas.  Who immediately had to exit the car and climb the mountain.  LOL  
Kings of the mountain!
Playing Davy - even though they didn't have their guns.  The imaginations were wild!  
Chicken Foot - Bug learned to play in RA's a few weeks back and now he wants to play all the time!  LOL  He's actually pretty good, but Momma has many-a-year of Frazier family chicken foot battles under her belt and he couldn't quite get me yet.  
While visiting Uncle Pickle's we did some rural cemetery hunting.  We found this cemetery way out in the boonies, but boy was it cool.  LOL  The boys were excited about the "tree fort" and "small mountain" they found over in one corner of the fenced cemetery yard.  We also found a geocache hiding in a  tree while we were there!
We decided to try and hunt down a cache that we had looked for on a previous trip.  It was funny last time we trekked along the road side for 1/2 a mile in either direction, this time Bug walked right up to the sign and plucked it off.  LOL
Have you seen the Banana "Ice Cream" post on Pinterest?  Well since Red is allergic to Dairy products ice cream has been pretty much non-existent around here.  So I was quite excited to try this one.  I finally got around to it down at Uncle Pickle's.  Well when I began this adventure I didn't realize he didn't have a food processor.  Well actually he does have a small one, but I couldn't find the blade, so that didn't help.  So I resorted to the smoothie maker.  LOL  It was a little picky, but once it started blending it worked awesome!  Let me tell you it was so easy and Red was so excited.  He loved it and let me tell you it was quite yummy!
I considered using this thing!  LOL  Uncle Pickle's style of blender!  ;)
Another appliance in Uncle Mikes kitchen that I love...his new "Chicken Fryer" we got him for Christmas...what a great thing.  I need one of these...Oh Sannnnttttaaaa....
Here's Red's Chocolate, Peanut Butter Banana "Ice Cream".
Here's a funny story - the boys and I went out cemetery hunting one afternoon...our last stop was a cemetery located on private property.  Well after stopping to ask a man on a tractor and two women in at a local winery we finally found the right gate.  We headed in and after wandering around on someone elses property for about 30 minutes we decided to head out.  Well as we were driving back to the gate I spied it, way off to the left...about 100 yards from where we were searching.  I was so excited!  So we went over to check it out.  It's an older cemetery and there are quite a few really old graves, but it's kept up and still in use today.  There were lots of family fences inside and many small trees and odd placed bushes.  
Last time we visited Uncle Mikes, one of our friends little boys came to play and he stayed for a slumber party.  The boys were so excited to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags.  LOL
My GA's group was very very busy throughout the month.  For Valentines day the girls decorated their own cookies - that was fun.  They each had their own bag of icing and lots of decorations to choose from.  They had a blast!
Sugar Induced Laughter!
Check out how hard Kaylee is working on her cookie!
Ayden, Keegan and Victoria decorating away!
Some of the girls were quite creative!
Brooke enjoyed her cookie!
Arianna's creation!
One afternoon the power went out...they were working up the street and apparently it knocked out our power for a bit.  It was quite dim in the house so we decided to take our lessons to the sunny outdoors.  
It was a trampoline school kind of day!
And this is how we read books at our house!
We also decided to have a picnic.  One of the requirements for Red's Discoverer One badge (for RA's) is to plan and go on a picnic - what better day, right?  First we made a plan, then Red helped me pack out picnic box and off to the trampoline we went!
Sadie joined our picnic for a few chips!
On one of our weekly trips to the library, we saw the contest they were having to celebrate Black History Month.  The winner gets a $25 gift card, so Bug decided he wanted to join in.  So we signed in to use a computer and Bug was off.  I can't tell you how proud I was of him.  There was eight questions and he typed in each one and read through the responses until he found the right answer.  He did so good. 
Sadie Meets Orange Kitty - apparently the front porch and the back porch are not closed in underneath and Big Orange decided to venture out into the back yard (via the deck).  LOL  Sadie was taken aback by him, but surprisingly didn't chase him!?!?!?!?!
He walked across the back yard - even pooped - what is that?  And then headed over to the this time Lady Bug figured out a cat had invaded her yard.  Well she would have nothing to do with  She immediately chased him back under the porch.  Here is Big Orange peeking out.
Check out this sweet little goodie package that we found in our MOW bucket the Thursday after Valentines.  It said we deserved a HUG for all our "heart"-work.  How sweet, right?  It has Hershey's Hugs in it.  Awww!
So while we were at the library, I was sitting with Bug as he worked on his contest questionnaire and Red was browsing for books.  I was quite surprised by his choices.  He brought this book (French Cooking???) and said, "Here you go Mom so you can have some new recipes".  Ummm, Thanks...I think.  
And this book on Baking - which I'll tell you is quite awesome!
So you might ask why there is a bag of open sand on my living room floor?  My GA group was working on their Senior Friends badges this last month.  We made "vases of flowers" for the MOW clients in Red Oak.  The girls decorated construction paper sleeves for vegetable cans and they also made flowers and tags to go in the cans.  So what's the sand...well to go in the cans of course!  ;)
Here are some of the precious cans the girls made!
I added bows to each can for a pretty look.
Bug needed to make a canteen for his Discoverer Two badge, so I gave him a roll of duck tape and said "What can you come up with?"  
He added a clip and a sting for easy carrying.
Here is the box of flower vases all ready to take to NECO.
My GA group went to North Ellis County Outreach (NECO) for a tour of the facility and the opportunity to learn all about what they do and how they do it.  I was so excited to see 22 girls and their families show up!
Denise was so patient and really helped us to understand how NECO supports the community and spreads the word of God throughout Ellis County.  What a blessing!
It was a bit windy and a little Chilly, but the girls enjoyed hearing about how the garden and the fruit trees and the food pantry helps families.
Checking out the food pantry!
Here's my group that visited NECO that day.  What a blessing these girls are to me!
Oh and who doesn't love peanut butter cookies!  LOL - I found a new recipe book at the library that has tons of recipes that use a basic cake mix as the base of the recipe.  Well these easy sneezy pb cookies are a snap and so delicious!
Well that's February!  Whew it was flash of a month.  We had a lot of fun, studied hard and enjoyed lots of family activities.  I am so blessed!