Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Q: How does a homeschooler change a light bulb?

A: First, mom checks three books on electricity out of the library, then the kids make models of light bulbs, read a biography of Thomas Edison and do a skit based on his life. Next, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles. Next, everyone takes a trip to the store where they compare types of light bulbs as well as prices and figure out how much change they'll get if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a five dollar bill. On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the five dollar bill. Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the light bulb is installed. And there is light. ~Author Unknown

Kinda lame, but it made me giggle.
We continued our weather unit last week and made a tornado in a bottle. For fun, we made it purple. Can you even see it?
The next day (whatever day that was) we learned in our Roman unit that their houses had mosaic floors sometimes, so we "created" our own. Not on the floor, although I HAVE been picking up sticker after sticker from the carpet for a week straight. Maybe I should've just let them do that in the first place. Very authentic.
Yesterday we made Roman bread pudding from a recipe in our book. The first batch was mushy and gross, but luckily we had more. Yum - fried bread with honey!
Today after learning about rocks and fossils during Science, we tried to make our own. Fossils, that is. I followed the directions and made some "fossil clay."
Isn't that amazing? I think we captured the almost-extinct Fingerprint Bug quite nicely. No, really, there's a leaf print in there somewhere. I can't even see it, so good luck.
We cut our cable last week after the price got jacked up to a billion dollars a month and we signed up for DirecTV, but it doesn't get hooked up until the end of the month. While Shawn and I are slowly dying a tortuous death, the kids haven't even noticed. We (and by we, I mean they -- the kids) don't watch a whole lot of tv anyway, but I hate knowing that a football game is being played somewhere and I can't watch it. One. more. week. And, we get a DVR again! Hooray! We haven't had one for about 2 years and I'm excited to start watching 30 Rock again. I haven't watched the last two seasons because it came on so late, and I'm too lazy to find it online after the fact. So now I can DVR it and watch it later! Or, more accurately, keep it on there unwatched until it gets too old and gets deleted.
An ending note - I checked out this Learning Tree: Beginning Spanish dvd out of the library last week for the kids. EVERY NIGHT when I try to go to sleep, I'm singing ridiculous songs about balloons and colors and birthday parties and singing dogs. I am SO GLAD it's due back today.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Weekend Update

I don't know what I was doing this week, but I when I uploaded all the pictures I took, there was only a couple. I thought I had been documenting things well because I knew I was only going to get around to posting once this weekend. Huh. I screwed up.
Anyways, I have no idea what we studied or made in school because I was trusting the camera to remember for me. Something about the Egyptians...? I know for sure the Egyptians because they made these fancy collars like the Egyptians wore, except I forgot to cut out a half circle around their necks so they look really silly. See how well Little Man did?
So yeah. I know we did stuff Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday too, but who knows what it was? Not me.
I DID also complete a felt project that was inspired by a photo on Pinterest. Here's the inspiration wreath:
Here's mine (I think I'll add another circle to the top right where there's kind of a bare spot):
Hopefully I'll do a much better job this week either posting more often so my memory is fresh, or just taking more pictures.

Friday, August 5, 2011

You Can't Do That on Television*

Today was the first day of public school in Valdosta ("real" school in our household... apparently homeschool is not real school). We decided to go to the park this morning before it got broiling and then make a stop at the library before returning home to do a little school. The playground was pretty empty due to the "normal" kids at "real" school (if my kids don't have a complex yet, they soon will! heh heh heh...). When we were all hot and sweaty, we ventured across the street and hung out in the Children's section of the library for awhile. As I was checking out our books, I learned that homeschoolers can get a special library card much like a teacher's card that allows for longer check outs on materials pertaining to school. Score! I love this because the two week limit is just often not long enough.
At home, we did a short Art Appreciation lesson. Bug copied the portrait of Edward VI as a child and pronounced it "perfect." What do you think?
Then we courageously attempted a science experiment from our fun science DVD. We learned that a piece of cardboard would stick to a full glass of water when you turn it upside down because no air could get in. So... we filled a glass with water:
See the bowl underneath? That's supposed to prevent the water from spilling all over the counter, cabinets, and floor. Can you see where this is heading? So the cup is FULL:
We put the piece of cardboard on top:
and turned it upside down:
It is AMAZING how much water one measly little glass can hold.
Take two (with a smaller plastic cup) - water in:
Cardboard on:
hold your breath... SUCCESS!!
So that's that! One week down, 35 to go. Enjoy the weekend!

*The title has nothing to do with the post. I was just remembering that show on Nickelodeon, especially the part with the lockers where they'd tell jokes.
"Hey... Moose."
"Yeah, Alistair?"
Good stuff.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday, Thursday...

Today was so so so much better. I think we're getting the hang of this homeschooling thing! I spent an hour or so this morning preparing and the day went by so much smoother. Is smoother a word? Or should I say much more smoothly? I don't know.
Anyways, I woke up pretty tired this morning. Maybe I should spend less time vegging on the couch late at night watching Storage Wars and Twilight movies reading War and Peace and more time going to sleep. 6:00 in the morning seems to come pretty early when you're woken up by your sweet adorable little 2 year old munchkin who bangs into your room and shouts, "Mommy! Up! Up! Up!" Incessantly. For 45 minutes, or however long it takes you to drag yourself out of bed.
Ahem. Back to school. Today we read about the way people used to cook in the really olden times, like with fire and rocks. Since I don't have any rocks and my kids are too young for fire, we just made cookies.
Delicious, brilliant idea, no? I'm sure they learned tons. They're oatmeal and m&m, in case you're wondering. Don't judge -- it was pretty much all we had.
The girls made a chart about the seasons. Bug got inspired and made additional animals that fit into each season, while Bear... well, at least she drew SOMETHING.
Bear always wants to hurry up and get done with whatever we're working on and move to the next thing. She LOVES her math workbook, though, and asks 50 times a day if she can do more math.
So that pretty much sums up the morning. We are doing a science experiment this afternoon so hopefully that'll go all wrong and I can manage to get some pictures. Tomorrow we're taking it easy and heading to the library and the playground. I think we all deserve it!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Homeschooling: Brilliance or Insanity?

Well, here we are on day 3 of homeschooling. Yesterday I almost went downtown and registered them in public school. Today was better: you know what I learned? I actually have to prepare to teach my own kids! Shocker -- at least it was to me. I don't know what I was expecting. For them to sit perfectly still and actually listen? For the baby to play blissfully with his trucks in his room for three hours so the girls could learn? Ha! Ha ha ha ha on me.
The subjects that the girls learn together (Bible, social studies, science)are interspersed with screams, bouts of laughter, and lots of interruptions from brother. The subjects they learn individually (English, handwriting, and math) are punctuated with brother climbing all over them while they try to work and cries of, "Hey! Stop!" as he colors all over their papers.
Ugh. How long do you think it will take before I get the hang of this? Today we tried something different. I taught the together subjects at the table as we ate breakfast then sent little sister to play with brother while big sister did her work. Then we switched (kind of) and little sister did HER work. It sort of worked, although brother got tired of playing and wanted to see what was going on from time to time.
It took much longer today, and actually we aren't done, but mama still needed her rest time. We can finish up Reading and Science after my break.
Anyways, here's a picture of what we made today: (they are placemats that the girls wove after learning about people making their own clothes and textiles on a loom)
Here's the finished product (you can see that I'm holding the mats - Bug is taking the picture. Around here, we call that the Photography elective):
And check out what Little Man was up to while my back was turned:
Yup, that's an entire roll of toilet paper in the toilet. I think I could start a new blog and call it "Stuff My Son Does." Rest time is almost over and I haven't rested yet, so stay tuned for more exciting adventures in homeschooling tomorrow!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

When life hands you lemons, make marinade

I'm too lazy busy to write about what a fantastic time I had in New York, as I'm packing yet again for another fantastic trip this weekend. Shawn and I leave tomorrow for a quick getaway to Amelia Island to stay at this bed and breakfast . This summer has been especially awesome, as we are not usually traveling people.
Anyways, I wanted to share my favorite kebab marinade with you: it works on chicken, steak, pork, whatever... and once when I was lazy busy I just threw in some whole chicken breasts and grilled them like that.
Totally YUM!

Shish-kebab Marinade
(for about 2 lbs. of your favorite choice of meat)

1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon meat tenderizer (optional)

1.In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, ground black pepper, garlic, and meat tenderizer. Mix well, and add your meat. Seal the bag, and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours.

It's totally delicious skewered with some onion and green pepper, as well as pineapple if that's your thing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Harry Potterphile

Have you seen the new Harry Potter? Did you like it? I have to say that I was a little disappointed. After making the first part of #7 so awesome, I thought for sure the second part would finish strong. Not so much.
What a progression those movies have made. I can't even stand to watch 1-3 as they are so stinky. I like 4 and 5, love 6, and watch 7 part 1 at least once a week. Every once in awhile, I read through the whole series again. My favorite book is 6.
But back to this new movie... it felt disjointed. Some scenes didn't seem to flow together and I think they left a lot of stuff out. Maybe I'm just too critical because I was expecting super fantastic awesome and only got awesome? I definitely want to watch it again and see what my thoughts are the second time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Vacation

My Summer Vacation
by: Summer

Day 1: yummy barbeque from a local joint
Day 2: taco bell, more bbq
Day 3: bacon chili cheeseburger, fries
Day 4: schnitzel, french fries
Day 5: complete country breakfast compliments of shawn, pizza
Day 6: cheeseburger, onion rings, cheese fries, salad
Day 7: pizza

Oh... you wanted to know what we DID? Because what I remember is how horribly delicious I ate. I'm pretty sure I gained 10 pounds, hence starting back on South Beach diet today. Ugh. I feel like a whale.
Anyways, we had such a terrific time with my dad and my sister's family! We got to do an amazing array of activities, including eating, riding the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, going to the town of Helen (an alpine village right smack in the middle of Georgia), visiting the Cabbage Patch Kid hospital, tubing, trout fishing, shopping, and playing endless video games. Our cabin had a game room in the basement and I think my kids (and Shawn) played about 50 hours worth of Hydro Thunder and pinball.
It was wonderful, and I am trying to recover before I head off to New York to visit my friend Kelly for the weekend. I am soooooo looking forward to it!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

Ahhh... July. This year, my favorite month. Rarely am I so happy to be so busy. We kicked off tonight with a fun cookout with some neighbor-friends and the whole family had a blast - including my mom and her husband who are visiting for the weekend. Tomorrow morning, before they go home, we're going to pick peaches. Yum - I think I've picked more fresh fruit this year than ever before!
Next weekend, we head off to Blue Ridge, Georgia for a week with my dad and my sister's family. That should be exciting - 5 adults and 8 kids all in 1 huge house!
Then when we get back, I jet off to New York City for a weekend with my friend Kelly. By myself!! I think that's a new record -- two trips by myself in three months!
THEN, the last weekend, it's our nine year wedding anniversary and Shawn and I are headed to a fabulous bed and breakfast in Amelia Island, Florida for a couple of days.
Whew! The day after we get back, Shawn has to be back at school. Can you believe school starts the first week of August this year? Yuck. Even though we're starting homeschool this year, we decided to stick to the school calendar to make it easier. We'll simply take off whatever days Shawn has off and hopefully finish out the year at the same time. I'm getting excited!
This summer has gone by quickly but I'm glad we've had so many activities to keep us busy. As the kids get older, it's so much easier to do a variety of things and travel more. And I didn't think I would be, but I'm glad. I'm a homebody and like to stay home, but we've had a great break from school and have gotten to spend a lot of time together as a family. Hooray for summer!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Run like the Wind

I am not a runner. I think I run like Phoebe from Friends so I'm pretty self-conscious, but I also just don't like it. However, I know it's good for me and I like the results.
Last May I started the Couch to 5K program and finished it in August, but pretty much quit right after that. Once school started, it was too hard to find the time to run. It was also discouraging because while I could run for 45 minutes, I wasn't getting very good distance. I was nowhere near running a 5K.
We bought a treadmill a couple of months ago and I decided to try again. So it's been three weeks and I'm doing fairly well, and although I haven't SEEN any results yet, I feel them. I started out running 10 minutes. That's all I could handle. Now I'm up to 20 and it feels easier. I know I won't win any speed or distance awards, but I'm proud of myself for doing something I truly dislike. And I prefer running outside, but with the average 100 degree weather and Shawn's crazy schedule, the treadmill is my best bet. I just keep hoping it'll grow on me and I'll stick with it and eventually get faster and farther.
Do you do anything you really hate because you know it's good for you?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Groove is in the Heart

When I was younger, I never understood why my dad only listened to oldies. I would pop in some New Kids, Lemonheads, Mxpx (whatever I was listening to that year) and urge him to branch out and enjoy some different types of music. But nope -- he wouldn't budge from his favorites.
Now I get it.
My theory is that we get stuck in the music that defined our formative years. That's why my dad only (still) listens to the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Motown, and anything else written between 1950 and 1969. That's why my preferred radio station is the 90's one on Music Choice. (The 80's channel is great too, but I can't sing along to every word quite as well.)That's why my CD collection is still filled with the Lemonheads, Mxpx, and yes, embarrassingly, the New Kids. The power of those songs to take me back to a specific moment in time is remarkable. And I like those memories. They remind me of when I was young(er) and I had a lot of really great experiences with a lot of really fun people.
And maybe part of it is that since my oldest was born, I haven't had time to keep up with the current music scene. I mean, I know who Lady Gaga is, but I have no idea what she sings. Katy Perry? Justin Bieber? I only know them from what they DO, not what they sing. We listen to K-LOVE or our heavy rotation of Stellar Kart/ Disciple/ Chris Tomlin in the car... and when I'm alone and have the choice? Well, it's Gin Blossoms/ Morrissey/ Poison all the way.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Snake in the Grass

I'm not afraid of snakes. Really. Except maybe an anaconda. And maybe a king cobra. And, okay, maybe a little black snake when it jumps out of my suitcase and on my arm. That really happened once.
We went on vacation to Orlando with some friends when Lucy was a baby, and when we got home to Valdosta I was unpacking and a snake jumped out of the bag. Like this.
Okay, not really, but isn't that what we all think is going to happen? Spiders too.
I screamed and flailed and grabbed the closest shoe to inflict some serious shoe-smashing damage on that poor thing. Shawn was at work and I was too afraid to touch a dead snake and move it, so I just left it on the carpet in our bedroom. Every half an hour or so I would go back and check on it, just to make sure it was still there. And it was... until it WASN'T. Where did it go? How could it have come back to life two hours after I smashed its skull in (do snakes have skulls?)? We had floor vents in that house, and I guess it slithered its little mostly-dead self into the crawl space below the house. I never smelled dead snake in the vent, so that's my best theory. But you can bet for the ENTIRE rest of the time we lived in that house, I checked the bed first under the covers before I could crawl in.
So today, my neighbor was over and showed me a cicada husk in the tree in our front yard. Then she pointed out a black snake on the next limb. I kinda freaked out and called Shawn over to chop it to pieces. He knocked it out of the tree and then smushed it with a piece of wood from the garage. I was safely about a block away so it wouldn't somehow jump on me. It was all wiggly after it was dead so I made him do an extra chop for good measure, then he threw it in the backyard in the brush.
Isn't that gross, how it's all mushed in the middle? I was a little fascinated, but I told Shawn it was grounds for the D-word if he threw it at me while I was taking the picture. Because I KNOW he was thinking it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Book Review for Money Secrets of the Amish

Disclaimer: I am a book reviewer for I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review.

After reading countless articles on how to be thrifty, I wasn't expecting much out of this book. To be honest, I feel like most money-saving articles and books are written for those who have plenty of money to save. As a stay-at-home mom of three kids and my husband being a teacher, I think we already implement as much money-saving techniques as we can out of necessity. Most articles and books suggest "Make your lunch at home" and "Take coffee to work in a thermos instead of buying at a coffee shop", but what if you're already doing these things? I'm always looking for interesting ways to cut back in different ways.
Money Secrets of the Amish was refreshing in that it gave me a few ideas I can actually implement into our already frugal household. Lorilee Craker visited a few Amish households and came away with handy tips to cut any budget even further. I liked the section on Repurpose, Recycle, and Reuse. I also liked her practical section at the end of each chapter entitled, "My Amish Money Makeover." Craker concisely picks out the main points of the chapter and then gives you a short TO DO list that helps you convert those ideas into reality. I enjoyed her style of writing -- she is pretty witty and I liked the many anecdotes about her time with the Amish.
If I had a complaint, it would be that this book doesn't offer enough fresh ideas. We all know that shopping secondhand, getting out of debt and canning our own food would cut down on what we spend. Sometimes these solutions just aren't feasible or require more effort than the average person is willing to give. However, I do think there was enough advice in the book worth taking. At the very least, it's a good refresher for those of us who really want to cut back.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Life as We Know It

It's been a great weekend, and it's not even over yet! Yesterday Bear learned how to ride a bike sans training wheels -- she was hilarious! I guess like most kids, as long as she thought Shawn was holding on to her, she was fine. But the second she realized he let go, she would start wobbling the handlebars back and forth and cry, "Aah! Aah! Aah!" and then tip over.
Little Man turned a bike over and was trying to fix it
with Daddy's tools:
Then today we went blueberry picking! Know anybody else who waits until 2 pm and 95 degrees to go pick berries out in the hot sun? Me neither. But really it was a lot of fun... too bad I forgot my camera. They told us to eat liberally as we picked, and we looked like Violet Beauregarde when we were done. But we got a GALLON of berries for EIGHT dollars - SCORE!
We got home and I made a delicious blueberry cobbler and we ate it warm with ice cream after dinner (blueberry pancakes, of course).
And Shawn just handed me a blueberry milkshake - delicious!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Here's what I did today:
I think my toes look like little earthworms.
Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Etsy Love

I was indulging in one of my favorite activities today: browsing on etsy. there's such cute stuff on there and i'm constantly amazed at how talented people are. Here's a couple of things I found:

This is called Lab Coat Bling (it's a pin)
And I like this retro-y t-shirt for Father's Day (the date is customizable)
And these cupcake/ muffin papers are really pretty (and not even very expensive!)
And these crazy shoes look like something straight out of 1983... can you see them with a bubble dress with huge shoulder pads?
And this cute little number is a fun wonderland of felt!
What fun stuff have you found lately?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Feelin' Felty

So I was at Hobby Lobby this afternoon looking for a few things and last on my list was felt. My sister and I are doing a craft show in October and we have some good ideas from a book I got on Amazon. Anyways, last time I was there they only had a few basic colors and it was boring. TODAY, I STRUCK GOLD!!! They had the most amazing patterned and textured felt sheets... LOVE LOVE LOVE!
My head is full of ideas and I can't wait to get started! And I can't wait to share the finished pictures with you!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Friends Forever

One thing I loved best about Virginia Tech: no matter who you are or what your interests are, there's someone else like you. I was incredibly blessed to join a fantastic Bible Study my first week of college and we stayed together until we graduated. This past weekend I went up to Atlanta and visited two of my best friends, Karen and Kelli. Kelli lives in Virginia but comes down to visit Karen every summer. We've grown from 3 single college girls to include 3 incredible husbands, 2 sons, and 6 daughters between us. I love the memories we share and the memories we are still making. Kelli and I even have daughters that share the same birthday, born only hours apart.
Here's us in college ( I don't know why it's so rectangular):
Here's us about 2 years ago:
And here's us last weekend (we're at the pool... normally we're MUCH more glamorous):
We had a really good time and I always wish I could stay longer. Maybe one day when the kids are bigger, it can just be the three of us again.
P.S. If you're wondering, only the first picture shows Karen's true height. In the second and third picture, she's standing on a curb and a chair, respectively. Sorry, Karen.