Thursday, December 30, 2010

Day Before New Year's Eve

Couldn't really think of another title, so that one will have to do. Not much went on today. Me and Grace did get out for a 40 minute walk to get us moving, that makes three days this week that we did some moving. Got to see the new piglet up the road from us, incredibly cute. Grace went to an art class this afternoon, starting a section on the basic of drawing portraits. I did go online and found to small books about drawing comics and perspective that we will add to the school day and two Bible studies. Tonight I went out with other moms from our home school group for dinner. I think we just about closed the restaurant. Lots of talking and laughing. Hubby and Travis spent all day out looking for a new car for Travis. Not alot of luck. He wants a Jeep Liberty. Travis has been without his own car for the last 7 weeks, since he broke down and became unfixable. Everyone is ready for him to get a new one. Errands to run tomorrow and more exercising. Probably going to my parents for a pizza dinner and cards. Won't be ringing in the New Year, more than likely asleep by 11:00. Hubby has to get up early and go to work on Saturday. No partying around here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Frugal Clothes Shopping

New Balance tennis shoes, flats for church, workout outfit, waterproof boots for snow, pair of jeans and jean short, sweater, and a short sleeve shirt - all for the cost of zero dollars. My niece had cleaned out her closet and was donating some items. So we took a look and came up with some clothes and shoes that would fit Grace. Can't beat the cost! As far as my new year goals are going, I have only spent 11.50 in the past three days and have worked out twice. I will keep you posted on how it all goes because this will keep me accountable.

Monday, December 27, 2010


I got me some of those. Isn't this the time of year to declare your goals for the New Year? Almost afraid to mention them, setting myself up for failure. There are two main goals I want to set for the New Year:

Get Moving - Exercise has just not been at the top of mine and Grace's priority list and you can tell. Packing the pounds on to say the least. Both of us really need to get ourselves moving. I think some sort of physical activity would be good for us maybe four times a week. If we can get that established and to become a good habit we may be able to do it more.

Stop Spending - We really spend more than we should. It's not like we have electronics and stuff galore, but we do spend too much. Our biggest culprit is eating out and convenience foods from the grocery store. I would bet that we spend between 400-500 dollars each month for groceries and maybe 200.00 a month on eating out. Again we are not going to big time restaurants, mostly fast food. Not good for us and money we don't need to be spending. I really feel we should try having no spend weeks during each month. The only thing allowed will be gas for the car. Still thinking on how to accomplish this. Also want to pay down some of our debt, mostly vehicle.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Snow, Snow and More Snow

We left Pigeon Forge about 11:00 this morning and arrived home in Georgia at a little after 4:00. That is actually pretty good time. Normally this is a three hour trip, but the roads in Tennessee and North Carolina were awful. There was a couple of times I thought maybe we should of gotten stuck in our cabin in Pigeon Forge. Once we crossed the Georgia state line it was much easier. It is snowing here too, and predicted to be anywhere from 4-8 inches. That is alot for this area. Just so glad to be home and not stuck out on the road somewhere. God is so good! I didn't have a chance to say it earlier, but hoping all my bloggy friends are having a very Merry Christmas!

Christmas Morning and Happenings at the Cabin

Christmas Eve. Look at all those presents.
Opening presents early Christmas morning.

Hubby painted this for me for Christmas. I gave him a picture that I found in a local Chikfila that I wanted and he was able to reproduce it for me.

The snow has just started in these photographs. We are having to to leave for home early. Here in Pigeon Forge they are predicting 6-12 inches of snow and at home 4-8 inches. So we decided it would be better to go ahead and get on the road early especially with all of these mountain roads.

Papa with his two favorite things - Kentucky Wildcat jacket and a scarf I crocheted with Georgia Tech colors.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Snow Tubing and Fun

Early this morning the family got up to go snow tubing. So early in fact that they saw the sun come up from behind the mountains. They all had a great time, but cold.

This is What I Got For Christmas

My parents purchased a destination Christmas for the entire family to Pigeon Forge, TN. This is the view from our back deck in the cabin. So this includes my sister and her family, my family and my parents, plus puppy of course. We all get to wake up on Christmas morning together, which hasn't happened since me and my sister were living at home. The cabin is wonderful. Four bedrooms, four bathrooms, living area, big kitchen, game room with pool table and two hot tubs.

The cabin is named "It's a Wonderful Life" which is very fitting for Christmas. Plus it came completely decorated for the holidays. We arrived yesterday and went to dinner then to the grocery store for some supplies. This morning everyone got up mucho early to go snow tubing, except me. Today we will go walking and shopping in Pigeon Forge and probably out to dinner again tonight. BIL brought all kinds of pre-cooked B-Cue for us to eat on Christmas Day. Only one thing we have to worry about, snow. It would be great to have a white Christmas but not getting snowed in. We have to leave tomorrow afternoon because Scott has to work on Sunday. Predicting possible good amount of snow and we are high up in the mountains which complicates things. More pictures to come of the trip.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It is Getting Close

Christmas that is. Just enjoying the Holiday season around here. Yesterday Scott took us to lunch at Chili's and Grace got to use a gift card that her grandmother gave her for Christmas. Today we woke up early to help fill 1300 bags of food to be given out tomorrow to needy families. After filling the bags Grace went home with some friends and played the new Kinect game most of the morning. Me and Scott brought pizza over for lunch and we all just visited. This afternoon cleaning house, computer time and some TV watching. Also lots of baking. Something very interesting happened yesterday - our young rooster finally crowed for the first time. Very exciting. Looking forward to having baby chicks in the spring. The next two days will be very busy getting ready to go on our big Christmas adventure. More to come about the adventure. Hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Life Has Returned to Normal

At least in blog land. I got my computer back yesterday. It was down about a week and a half but seemed like a life time. I know need to get back in the habit of checking my favorite blogs and writing on mine. Now time for a little catch up:

Yesterday performed in the adult musical at our church, went very well. I have always loved performing in a choir. I did it for two years in high school and for the last five or six at our church. We have a small church so normally the choir comes together just for a Christmas and Easter program. Went out to lunch after church with my sister, her family and my mother. Good time was had by all. Grace went home with my sister afterward and stayed at their house for the afternoon. Thursday was our last day of school, now on Christmas Break. So nice to just do what we want each day and not have school looming over us. Grace is over the moon that she has two weeks off from school. Travis finished up his college classes for the quarter with a B in his math class, not sure yet what his grade is in the computer class. He has had a run of bad luck lately. His car died (cracked motor) about 5 weeks ago. Decided it wasn't worth putting in the 800-1500 to get it fixed, so has been selling it for parts to various people from Ebay, craigslist and various BMW forums. Hoping to save enough money for a down payment on a new car in January. In the meantime having to use his dad's car. Luckily with Scott's new three day work week this is very doable. Travis' IPhone also died and was now out of warranty. So he had to buy a new phone also. You know young people, their cell phone is everything these days. Travis already gave me my Christmas present present, a Blackberry Curve cell phone. I had been using an ancient phone for a couple of years. Great new phone, loving it. Today planning on using a gift card to go out to lunch with Scott and Grace and do a little walking around the stores. Also getting ready to leave for our destination Christmas in a few days with the rest of our family. I should mention how great HP was about fixing my computer and getting it back to me so fast without any charges. So great to be able to watch live streaming video again without the computer overheating. On the list today is buying one of those lap pads to sit my computer on so it is not sitting on my lap all the time, which is my choice spot for working on the computer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Computer Troubles

Sent my computer to HP to be repaired (still under warranty) and won't have it back for a few more days. Probably won't be putting up many posts until it is back. Hoping everyone is having a great Holiday Season.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Brutal Cold

Down here in the South we just don't see this kind of weather and especially not at a sustained pace. The entire month of December has been cold. Temps ranging from the teens to the thirties every night. We are going through the wood like crazy in our wood stove. This morning went down to 14 and had to light up the big daddy stove that runs us out of the house pretty quick. It jumped 10 degrees in the house in less than 30 minutes with running the big stove. Which is why we don't use it very often. Tonight the temp is to dip down to 9. I don't know that I have ever seen it go that low before. Glad Scott is home from work over the next four days to help with all the cold weather stuff. Was worried about the chickens last night but like little troopers they are all out there eating and scratching around. I think I am ready for Spring to come.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Books and Things Seminar

Over the past few night I have been viewing The Books and Things Seminar from Simply Charlotte Mason. At $33.00 it is a great deal. This is the fourth seminar I have watched from Simply Charlotte Mason and it is probably my favorite. There are four discs and I spread them out over three nights so I could really let the information sink in. The seminar is broke up into four sessions: Choosing Books, Using Books, Using Things, and Four Ways to Destroy Your Child's Desire for Knowledge. Very enlightening seminar. Full of wonderful information for us CMers out there. Plus loads of encouragement. In the first session Sonya Scafer discussed Characteristics of Living Book and Finding Living Books. Second session involved How Charlotte Mason Used Books and Five Key Points. One of the most fascinating pieces of information in this session for me was learning how many books Charlotte used in a term and how many pages a day were read by each student. Session Three Consisted of discussing things other than books that we use to teach our children, such as : Physical Exercise, Handicrafts, Nature Study, Art, and items used in science experiments. Session four enlightened us in the four way a mother/teacher can squash the child's desire for learning. This is a fabulous seminar for all you CMers out there, but it is really great for anyone teaching a child. As I said before and will continue to say I would pay to watch Sonya Shafer read anything or talk about anything, she is that good.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Few Changes to School Time

I have made a few changes over the past couple of days to when and how we are schooling. Over the past couple of weeks Grace was starting to take advantage of my easy going time schedule each day to get her school work finished. She started taking alot of breaks in between each subject and was not finishing until sometimes 3:00 in the afternoon. No attention to her work or desire to get items accomplished without alot of prodding from me. It was just getting unacceptable. So me being the teacher instilled a new rule that all school subjects must finished by 1:00 in the afternoon or she would loose privileges to the TV and Computer for that day. This new rule has worked wonders, today we were even finished by 12:00. With the remainder of the day to do as we wished.

One thing that really sets her back is on the days she needs to do written narration. She just despises it. So I have taken a couple of steps to help remedy this situation. I have allowed her to start typing instead of writing her narrations. This has helped a good bit. Also I ordered the tests for The Story of the World book Vol. 2 that we will be starting in January after Christmas break. We will still do written narrations, but this will alleviate some issues with comprehension issues she may be having.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Auditions Complete

The audition for our highly anticipated Alice In Wonderland Musical are complete. Over Monday and Tuesday we auditioned 30 students for various parts. Each student was to come prepared with a song to sing and a monologue or poem to recite. Some students were prepared more than others. Some had done the auditioning process before and others this was the first time. Each student also had to tell us three parts they were interested in and we would try to place them in one of their favorites. It was hard. Nobody wanted to be Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. All the girls wanted to be either the Queen of Hearts, Medium Alice or Caterpiller. The drama director and myself were the deciding votes, except for medium Alice. Grace mainly wanted the medium Alice role and I let the director decide on her own for that one. Didn't want any favoritism/bias going on. I am pleased to say that Grace was very prepared for her audition. She chose to sing Gary Indiana from The Music Man and her poem was The Crocodile by Lewis Carroll. She nailed both of them. When I came home last night I was able to tell Grace that she did indeed get the part of medium Alice. The director not only thinks she will be great at the part but she was very complementary of Grace because she always knows her lines and is very dependable. Now we get a few weeks off and then start the grueling process of preparation again on Jan. 10th. The performances won't be until April for Alice.

Monday, December 6, 2010

What I Am Busy With Today

Christmas sugar cookies. I haven't purchased cookies or sweets from the store in 6 -8 months which means I must bake something at least once a week for the family.
Homemade pizza for lunch. I have only had to purchase a frozen pizza maybe once or twice in the past year - homemade tastes so much better.

With Scott being in Kentucky for nearly a week all the chores have fallen to me. We are trying very hard this winter to not use the electric heat. Starting a fire in the mornings and keeping it going all day is work. Especially right now, we are going through a cold spell. At night the temps have been 19 - 29 degrees. Today won't get above 40. That cold for us down here in the South. This brings me to my next chore.

If we have freezing temps the chickens require a little extra care. Their water freezes overnight so each morning I need to go out and break it apart as well as give them some fresh warm water.

A couple of days ago I started cooking some plain oatmeal for them to give them something warm in their bellies. They think it is the best thing since ice cream.

Of course school is still going on through all this also.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Our high school cast of Les Miserables. Today was our 2nd and final performance. The kids did really great. It was exhausting but fun. Grace is on the front row third from the right. There were five 6th and 7th graders that were brought in from the elementary class to help fill in roles. Even with doing that many of the kids had to play multiple characters. Looking forward to audition on Monday and Tuesday for Alice in Wonderland.

Super Busy

This week has been really crazy busy. School was accomplished Monday - Thursday. The craziness stems from lots of drama rehearsals. Monday was our big dress rehearsals 3:30 - 8:30. Lots was accomplished. Wednesday afternoon held another practice and yesterday (Thursday) was the big day. Arrived for more practice at 3:30, everyone broke for dinner around 5:00, then on to makeup and costumes to prepare for the performance at 7:00. One of our stage hands was running a temp. so I had to step in and help set up all the scenes. This drama group consisted of 6th - 12th graders. They really did a great job. We have one more performance today at 1:30 then we are done for awhile. Of course we do have auditions on Monday and Tuesday of next week for Alice in Wonderland, but practices will not start until after Christmas. On a much sadder note we got word yesterday that my husband's uncle died in a very tragic work related accident. Scott left early this morning for the out of town funeral and probably won't return until some time next week. We are hoping to talk his mother in to coming back with him for a visit to get her mind off of everything that has just happened. She was very close to her brother and this was such a shock for everyone. Her husband died about 12 years ago and she lives alone. Please pray for comfort and understanding for their entire family.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Christmas decorating has always been a big deal around our house. In our first home we lived on a somewhat busy corner lot. Due to the traffic that came by our house we put about 5,000 - 8,000 lights outside on the house for everyone to enjoy. Hubby made big spheres to hang in the trees, Christmas trees out of lights, ponds with deer drinking out of them, etc. Hubby loves Christmas lights. I on the other hand love ornaments, as you can probably tell from the above picture. At one time we would put up three different trees in our home. One would be decorated in read and only Santa ornaments, another blue and silver with snowman ornaments, and the third would be all handmade ornaments. Seven years ago we moved to a much smaller cabin and really didn't have the room to do three trees. One tree was given to a family in need and the other was donated to our church. Now we have just the one with all the ornaments. This year I have even made things more simple. The only items we are putting out are the tree and the decorations that go on the mantle. The reason for this is we will be traveling out of town for the holiday with my extended family and we are not having any parties this year at our house. It feels good to not have to carry everything from the shed and rearrange our entire house for the decorations.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Busy Weekend

Saturday - Went to get groceries and run a couple other errands and made doughnuts with the new doughnut maker, great success. Prepared to go to a long drama practice from 5:30 - 8:30 but got the call from my mom right before we left that my dad had another TIA episode and needed to go to the hospital. Dropped Grace off at drama rehearsal and left to meet mom and dad at the hospital. They kept him for observation and was able to come home on Sunday. They just added a baby aspiring each day to his blood thinner that he is already on.
Sunday - Went to the early service at church. Travis played in the praise band again, this time the electric guitar. So proud of him. Right after service picked up some breakfast for mom and dad and headed for the hospital. Stayed until lunch and meet Travis to eat. After lunch went to my sister's house to help her decorate for Christmas. I offered to do this because all of our extended family is coming to her house this coming weekend for Thanksgiving/Christmas get together. While there Grace and my nephew played in the leaves. Leaves were all in her hair and shoes. But they had a great time. Four hours of decorating and headed home. Now contemplating working out. I have put on too much weight lately and haven't exercised in a couple of days.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What Grace Has Been Up To Lately

More than anything else in the world, Grace loves to draw and create. Dragons are still a big pass time and draws them often. But here lately her passion has been creating characters and giving them back stories. Her current character that is being drawn alot is Suzy.
Twice a week I try to get Grace to draw something out of her element to challenge her. Most of the times its is birds, chickens, animals and still lifes. I think this week I might challenge her with a landscape or a house.

This is Suzy.

One of Grace's comic strips of Suzy.

Suzy as a teenager.

Again, Suzy.

Black Friday Shopping...An Adventure

Normally I do not relish getting up before the crack of dawn to go shopping. But Black Friday is different. Last year my sister introduced to me to the concept. It can be a good time to do a girl's day out. I really wasn't going to go again this year but my mom really wanted to and talked me in to it. The first thing we did is pour over all the ads after our Thanksgiving Day meal to see what was available and map out our route. My friend joined us this year also. So, up at 3:20 to be at Walmart at 4:45. Really was not that crazy - me, mom, and friend got what we needed and was out by 5:30. Headed to a town thirty minutes from us that held more shopping possibilities and hit Target, Best Buy, Family Christian Book Store, Books a Million and Belks. I got The Action Bible for Grace (not for Christmas) just to read because she loves graphic novels and comics so much. By this time it was only like 8:30. We really wanted to eat breakfast at IHOP, I could really hear the french toast calling me, but so did everyone else. Not a parking spot to be had. Decided on Chickfila instead and had a great chicken biscuit. Next back to the hometown, on the trip home, me and mom decided we still needed to get some items for Travis (very hard to shop for). Dropped of friend in Walmart parking lot to get her car and my sister calls wondering where we were and what we would do next. We told her we were going to another city about 40 minutes away to do some more shopping and she said she would meet us in the Walmart parking lot. While waiting for her to show I had to go potty and was walking down the parking lot to get to the store on go to the bathroom and ran in to my sister's best friend. Asked her if she wanted to tag along, she did. So now we had four of us headed to the Tanger Outlet center to shop. Lots of people at the Outlet Center but great shopping was to be had. Got what I needed for Travis. Also found something completely unexpected. There was a great kitchen store that I will for sure revisit, and purchased a doughnut maker. The kids are really looking forward to that. After all the shopping hunger had set in again. This time we got to go to Ruby Tuesday for their great salad bar and Cheddar fries. Got home about 3:00 in the afternoon and was actually able to stay up until about 9:30 in the evening, then crashed. It was good to sleep, actually very tired by that point. Every year after it is over I say I won't do it again, but I think I will. We had a great girl's day out.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Well today is the day. Looking forward to ham, turkey and dressing at my parent's house. Did you ever wonder why some people call it stuffing and some dressing. Either way it is one of my favorites. We finished up most of our school work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, including Grace's first real research paper. She chose to do it on Giant Pandas. Did you guys know that the Atlanta Zoo just had a new panda baby born. I think this is our third since they started the panda program. I think I will have her do another research paper in a couple of months. Maybe about a famous person. Much of this week was taken up with drama practice. We are getting down to the wire to performing Les Mes. Tuesday was practice from 1:30 - 5:00, Wednesday was 1:00 - 4:00 and Saturday will be 5:30 - 8:00. Dress rehearsal is on Monday 3:30 - 7:30. We perform next Thursday and Friday. Looking forward to getting this one put to bed so we can move on to Alice in Wonderland. Which all the kids are so excited about. Tomorrow is Christmas shopping with my mom and a close friend. Nothing big just out for a few hours in the morning then a big breakfast. Mostly I need to get Christmas for my son. He is always the last one I purchase for because he is hard to buy. I also need to get a little something for my dad to add to what I already have and hubby too.

Happy Thanksgiving and Many Blessings to You and Your Family

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cherokee Indian Presentation

Today our local library hosted a group of women that do a presentation on the Cherokee Indians. The are that we live in was once inhabited with various clans of the Cherokee Indians. It was a very well put together presentation. Four of the women played instruments and sang for us including singing Amazing Grace in the Cherokee language.
They explained how the families lived and what their daily lives were like. One woman told old folk tales about nature handed down from one generation to another. Another woman spoke about The Trail of Tears and why the Cherokees were taken from this land.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Looking Forward

Even though we are only half way through our 6th grade year, I can't help but think about what our plan will be for high school. You know all those hard subjects. The state of Georgia requires 23 credit to graduate. Here are those requirements:

English = 4 credits
Math = 4 credits
Science = 4 credits
Social Studies = 3 credits
P.E. = 1/2 credit
Health = 1/2 credit
Electives including Foreign Language = 3
Electives with one being in Fine Arts = 4

A couple of them I may have to pay someone else to do, especially the higher math and science. I was doodling around the other day and at this is what I came up with:

9th Grade
English - Easy Grammar, Vocab and Literature
Math - Algebra 1 with Teaching Textbooks
Science - Physical Science with Apologia
History - Middle Ages/Renaissance through Simply Charlotte Mason
P.E. - ?
Health - ?
Fine Arts - Drama and Art
Elective - ?
Bible - unfortunately cannot be counted as a credit

10th Grade
English - Easy Grammar, Vocab and Literature
Math - Geometry with Teaching Textbooks
Science Biology with Apologia
History - Early Modern Times 1550-1850 through Simply Charlotte Mason
Elective - Drama and Art
Elective - Foreign Language
Bible - Unfortunately not counted

11th Grade
English - Creative Writing, Literature, Grammar and Vocab
Math - Algebra 2
Science - Marine Biology with Apologia
History - Modern Times 1850 - present through Simply Charlotte Mason
Elective - Drama and Art
Elective - Foreign Language
Bible - Unfortunately not counted

12th Grade
English - Essay Writing, Literature and Vocab
Math - ?
Science - Chemistry through Apologia
History - Government and Economics
Elective - Drama and Art
Elective - Personal Finance with Dave Ramsey
Bible - Unfortunately not counted

Please let me know if you have any ideas for the items I have with question marks.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Great Find of the Day

We were stopping by the library just to pick up some on hold books. Went to the free cart which usually only holds free magazines that people have dropped off. Today there was this little treasure of a book. Homes and Habits of Wild Animals. We love old books around here. I didn't realize till we got home that it was published in 1934. What a find. Mostly because the book is just so sweet and it was great to get it free just for the illustrations alone. The binding is pretty shot but that's okay. Sorry for all the pictures but just wanted to share some of the great illustrations with you.