Sunday, January 31, 2010

This Weekend

This weekend was fairly quiet. We were supposed to have two families over for games and cards on Saturday night but the weather predicted a major ice storm, so we postponed for another night. The ice storm kind of fizzled out. Branches of trees were covered with ice, but the roads were fine and power never went out. Friday we hung around the house alot and hubby got alot of wood cut up for the wood stove. Saturday we were starting to get a little cabin fever and after lunch decided to go to one of the major libraries we love so much that is 50 minutes from the house. We checked out a total of 35 books. Some of the selections were about the Olympics and Ancient Greece which is one of the studies we will be starting this coming week. Also checked out some materials on taking care of poultry, simple living, bread making, and art. Tried to make bread again in the oven (nothing has been rising for me) added an egg to the recipe and what do you know, it rose. Success!!!! I was so happy, starting to feel very discouraged about the whole bread making thing. I had resolved to use the bread maker, but felt that was kind of like cheating. Also made from scratch cookies for snacking, muffins for breakfast, and brownies this afternoon for the Chili cookoff we are going to tonight at church. Brother-in-law gave us some dry erase wallpaper that someone gave him and will be making a big dry erase board for the school room. Grace has friends over this afternoon and they are designing clothing with her project runway gift that her aunt gave her for Christmas. All in all a calm and relaxing weekend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Past Works

For many years I cross stitched. I thought I would share some of my bigger pieces that are hanging in my house. I had wanted to geet a picture of Scarlet O'Hara that I did for my mom one year( she collects Gone With the Wind), but I forgot. I will try to get one over the next couple of days and post it. Also the lighting in our cabin stinks so this was the best I could do with the photos. The top is one of my favorites that I did about 10 years ago.
This one was actually done about 20 years ago.

My mother in law gave me the pattern and all the materials to complete one year as a Christmas present to complete the above project.

This is hanging in my bedroom. I am working on another angel in this series but can't seem to get it finished. I think it must be all the crocheting. lol.

Just thought I would throw this one in for fun. Angel had the morning hair going on this morning.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Wednesday usually always revolve around mother going to Emory for treatments or tests. Since she is part of a clinical trail we have to go every week for six months. We are about 6 weeks into this cycle. Right now she is feeling good, but that is because we are in the two weeks off of meds section of the cycle. Today had to go and do blood work and a CT Scan. Since Emory is 1 1/2 hours away this is an all day affair. Grace normally stays with her Papa and they do lunch together. Today was the first time I sent school work with her to do. Mostly just stuff she can do on her own. Spelling, Cursive, two chapters for Mr. Popper's Penguins, Math Review pages, and she watched two episodes of a video called Country Mouse, City Mouse and they travel to historical locations. I think today she watched an episode about Big Ben in London and The Orient Express. On the way home from the hospital today we stopped at a grocery store that we don't have close by. It has a great bakery and produce department. I wasn't supposed to be buying anything from the grocery until next Friday, according to my plan, but there were a couple of items I just couldn't resist. I bought some more pink lady apples, gold potatoes (because we are running through them so fast), some pre-packaged Grilled Italian chicken that I like to use for my chicken Alfredo (which none of the stores here at home have),gallon of milk, and some salami for the dinner party this weekend I am hosting. Hopefully I won't have to get anything else until next Friday. So if that ends up being the only extra trip, I spent only 20.00 over what I had planned. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Co-op and Indians

We have been reading The Sign of the Beaver and enjoying it very much. Grace decided that after all her work was done she wanted to do things like the Indians. Here is her and a friend messing around with bows and arrows.
Here is the start of her tee pee.

Today was art/composer co-op day. Our chosen composer was Claude Debussy. Normally I read a bio, we listen to the music, and do some type of craft or art while listening. The seminar I recently attended suggested not trying to put facts into the kids heads (birth date, death, place of birth, etc) and instead just let them listen to the music and start to recognize it and make a connection with it. Claude Debussy was composing during the impressionistic period, so I had the kids listen to the music and paint what it made them feel or think about in an impressionistic style.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Frugal Living Practice

I have mentioned in recent posts that I am trying my hand at new endeavors to live more frugally and simply as a family. Let me start off by saying that it is a slow process. I have tried to start with just a few items and then add on as time goes on. The first things that I really wanted to try hard to do was not use paper towels, napkins, or paper plates anymore. So far that has gone pretty well. The next item on my agenda was baking our own bread. First, let me say that baking bread is an art and I am no artist. This has given me some trouble. Over the past two week I have baked probably 5 loaves of bread (white, wheat, and banana). Nothing has risen like it is supposed too, but it tastes good. I have made muffins from scratch and they turned out well. Going to try another loaf tomorrow and from scratch biscuits on Monday. I already bake alot so cookies, brownies, cakes, and pies are not a problem. Next on the agenda is pizza crusts and making our own pizzas from now on. Going to try that this week also.Something else new I tried today was making my own laundry detergent out of borax, ivory soap, and washing soda. Used it once already and it really got the wash clean. I can't claim this as my own - got it from a friend. Here are some of the other items on our living simply and frugal list to try soon:
  1. canceling cable
  2. raising chickens for eggs
  3. paying off remaining credit card debt (not much left)
  4. going to the grocery store only twice a month
  5. not buying anything new - consignment shopping for clothes, etc.
  6. making all gifts

I am sure there are many more things I will add to this list as time goes on. But I feel like this is a good start. If you have any good ideas of things to try let me know. I would really like to know of a recipe for dishwasher detergent.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Homeschool Heaven

Okay, tonight was like I was in Homeschool Heaven. As I mentioned a couple of posts back tonight was the seminar with Sonya from Simply Charlotte Mason. We went to dinner with Sonya and her husband and daughter prior to the seminar. It was our support group that was hosting the seminar. It was really nice to be able to talk to them one on one for a while before the actual workshops. Attending was 35 woman, mostly from North GA. area. Sonya put together two hours of topics of our choice. The first hour was Discipleship Is and was very encouraging. She showed us how to use the scripture memorization system that works for her and I think we are going to try it soon. In between classes we had refreshments and got to look out all of her books that you could purchase. I have pictures of the three that I decided needed to go home with me tonight. The second hour was Fine Arts the Charlotte Mason Way. Mostly about picture and composer study which we already do in our home. After both classes were finished she had a question and answer session that was very insightful. We went over on time, but no one seemed to care. Everyone was just soaking all the info up like a sponge. Once people started to leave we helped them pack up to go back home. I had so much fun tonight. Could listen to Sonya for hours. It is almost midnight, so I need to get to bed. If I think of more info you might find interesting I will make another post for tomorrow.

This Week

Today we finished The Family Under the Bridge. We weren't really using it for Literature or History, maybe for geography. Learned a little about Paris where the story takes place and the Louvre. I have a video from Netflix about the Louvre that we are going to watch next week. Grace enjoyed this one.
This is my little basket that sits on my island with all my crocheted washclothes. As I mentioned in a previous post I am trying not to use paper towels at all. The only thing I have used them for this week is for drying fried food items on. Below is a close up of a set of washclothes I made this week.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Full Day

Today was a Trinity Day. Choir, handicrafts, and drama. In handicrafts Grace finished her first crocheted scarf and is starting another. In drama we learned the choegraphy for three songs in The Music Man and practiced many songs. Immediately following drama with left for a friend's house for a play date. No real book work for us today. Left friend's house to meet son at Zaxby's for dinner then home to start a fire ( can you believe it dropped 10 degrees from the time we left this morning to 2:15 in the afternoon), it was supposed to be in the high 50's today but went down to 41. Also doing some catch up on laundry and blogging. Hope to watch the rest of The Music Man tonight on disc. In the morning got to wake up and do some more baking for the seminar tomorrow as well as some school,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Baking Day

The normal daily routine did take place. School, lunch, and a library visit. But what took up most of my time today was baking. This Friday our support group is hosting a mini seminar with Sonya Schaffer from Simply Charlotte Mason. So excited!!!!! Our group is responsible for refreshments and set up and clean up. So I baked two loaves of banana bread and a batch of cookies. I still need to make a batch of cookies for here at the house for the kids to snack on and another loaf of bread. Hopefully I can get to that Thursday night or Friday morning, if not it looks like Saturday will be it. We also get to go out to an early dinner with Sonya before the seminar. Looking so forward to asking many questions, etc. She is so my homeschool hero. About to go cook dinner and then teach a class a church. Last night we started watching the newer edition of The Music Man with Matthew Broderick and need to finish that tonight. Also some crocheting. No rest for the weary.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dragon Fest

Grace is obsessed with dragons and drawing. This first drawing isn't completed yet, she has many more scales and shading to do. She hopes to enter this one in a art contest.
These next two pictures are dragons she drew last week to show to a fellow dragon lover at church.

This last drawing she did while listening to the church sermon last week.

What I Accomplished Today

Homemade - Finished a set of three washclothes. Baked muffins from scratch for breakfast. Went to the grocery store and was able to bypass alot of prepackaged items because I plan on making them myself from now on. Went to the local produce store instead of buying at grocery chain. Made chicken salad for sandwiches for tomorrow so I wouldn't be tempted to buy pizza at the school. Went through our storage and pulled out some canned stuff that needs to be eaten.

School - Went well for a Monday. Started Life of Fred - Fractions and I think Grace is really going to like this one. She worked more independently with her lapbook today and we had hardly any whining. Yeah!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Birthday Party and Update on Mom

This week has been the 4th chemo treatment for my mom and all in all she has done alot better than the previous two weeks. But last night she hit a snag, about 2:00 in the morning she called me with unbearable pain in her lower back and stomach. I told her to call the 24 hour on call for cancer patients and they were able to get her back comfortable. Of course it was pretty hard to get back to sleep and I think mom and dad stayed up the rest of the night. Today is mom's 68th birthday and we had planned to cook dinner for her. Me and Grace decided not to go to church this morning and went to mom's early to start the roast in crockpot and just generally check on her. She was much better. To brighten her day we had her go ahead and open up the gifts from us. Later in the day we cooked this rest of the dinner and my sister's family came over to eat with us. They brought an ice cream cake for mom. Mom was able to eat a good dinner and with the leftovers we made a big pot of soup/stew. Hopefully once it sits in the fridge it will be stew to eat over rice with some homemade bread. After dinner we played a card game called nerts. Very fast paced and alot of fun. Now home to rest and get ready for another week to start.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


This morning woke up to go to a yard sale at the local high school. Raising money for the drama department. Didn't get there until 11:30. Very picked over by that point. But I did find a couple of items I have been hankering for. I have recently become a fan of the blog Down to Earth and one of her photos has a wire basket sitting on her counter with knitted washclothes. I wanted one too. Found one this morning that is now holding two of my crocheted washclothes. Also found four wicker baskets for .50 cents a piece. One I am giving to my mom tomorrow for her birthday with a set of crocheted washclothes. One I am keeping for a bread basket and the others holding on to for presents. We also stopped at a clothing consignment shop to find clothes for Grace. She grows out of clothes at an alarming rate. Found one pair of jeans for 7.00, a shirt for church 5.00, and a t-shirt for 4.00. I think we will definitely go back again. I am really going to make an effort to not buy anything brand new for a while and just try my hand at thrifting and consigment shops - especially for clothing and dishware. Still need to find a pizza pan for homemade pizza and some new to me bread pans. I am going to make an effort. Of course today we did get something out for lunch and dinner. Went to a gallery showing tonight of local art, including my hubby's. I think he has some new picks on his blog of his new piece and is working on a really big piece that will look great when finished. Crocheted two more washclothes today and working some on a blanket out of granny squares. About to watch a movie with the family called Keeping a Promise. It is made from the book we are reading for history right now - The Sign of the Beaver.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Things Keeping Me Occupied

There has actually been alot going on lately. I just haven't posted wanting the art giveaway to take first place at the top of my blog. For those of you looking for it, it is the next entry down and you can continue to enter until Feb. 6th. Here are some random things going on in our lives:

Update on Mom- Last week mom had a really hard time with her third chemo infusion. Was sick most of the week and I spent much of my time going back and forth to take care of her and dad. Yesterday we went for her fourth infusion and hopefully she will do a little better this go around due to pre medicating for side effects as much as possible. Her birthday is Sunday and I really hope she is up to a little party. I can't say enough about the nurses, etc. at Emory. They are just wonderful and have taken very good care of my mom.

Frugality- I have been reading a lot of blogs and books from the library on this material. I am changing some immediate things to become a little more frugal. Not shopping! Trying to go to the grocery store only once a week. Only eating out once a week and it be something cheap. I know I shouldn't be going out at all, but give me time I am just starting out. Crocheting lots of pretty washclothes for the kitchen to take place of using so many paper towels. Stop using paper plates. I made my mother's birthday gift and will continue to try and plan ahead for each family members birthdays this year.Bread making is also something I am trying my hand at. It is truly an art form and am still having trouble with some of the rising times. But I will keep plugging along until I get it right. Also want to start making our own pizza dough, biscuits, etc. I already like to bake and bake alot of our own sweets. Also been reading alot about gardening, chickens, and just a more sustainable living arrangement. I feel pretty gung ho about it and will start taking baby steps to try and accomplish some of the items on my list that I really want to try this year, not only to save money but just have a more simply way of life.

Crocheting - I am a crocheting freak these days. Just love it. I have crocheted my whole life off and on but have really taken a renewed interest in it. We have a local yarn shop that has free sit and stitch times every Friday night, went last week with a friend. I have always just learned visually but need to learn how to read a pattern. I would like to do some small purses and a shawl. Have finsihed alot of scarves and washclothes and currently starting on some blankets. I will try to remember to take some photos and get them posted.

Husband's Art - Hubby has been working very hard lately on his art. We currently have a giveaway that alot of you know about. He is in a new showing at a local gallery and we are looking at three art festivals in the spring to attend around the state of Georgia. We really want to start traveling to more of these. He also wants to work on getting into a gallery in Atlanta sometime this year if possible. If you are familiar with the High Museum of Art in Atlanta there is a high priced gallery called The Low that is close by that hubby has his sites on. This Saturday night is the reception at the local gallery to kick of this new showing. Unfortunately I don't think they will let us take pictures.

That is my life in a nutshell right now. Lots of things going on in this brain of mine. I will keep you posted on how everything is progressings. Thanks for listening and letting me bounce ideas off of you.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Art Giveaway

I have written before that my husband is an artist. He has decided to do a giveaway to promote some of his art through my blog and his own blog. This giveaway will be going on until February 6th. If you wish to try to win this piece please leave a comment on my blog or his . He also has many pictures of all his other pieces he has finished. He is currently showing in a local art gallery and will be attending Art Festivals in the next few months. Sorry, only for U.S. residents.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What We Have Been Studying Lately

I thought for those that are interested I would give a recap of some of the things we having been doing lately:

We only have 4 more chapters in Flying Creatures Zoology book so we decided to take a couple weeks off from it and do a lapbook on Oceans. We've just started but Grace doesn't really like it. Mainly because she really doesn't like working independently, which is why I chose to do this now. She needs to start working on her own and learning how to find answers out on her own.

Just finished reading The Cabin Faced West and about to start The Sign of the Beaver. Kind of learning about Indians and Settlers going out west. Grace is reading and narrating a book about Sequoyah and the Cherokee Alaphabet.

Grace has been reading through the Warrior Series and about to finishe the first Percy Jacson book.

Reading The Family Under the Bridge to learn about Paris, France as well as a travel book I have about France. Also some educational games on kidzui.

Review pages daily of times tables and large digit subtraction and addition as well as long division and multiplication. Also fraction. Finishing up Making Math Meaningful and soon moving on to Life with Fred - Fractions.

Language Arts
Still working on spelling, context clues, cursive, writing, grammar worksheets, and reading. Also use

Almost finished with The Children's Story Bible by Catherin Voss. Loved it. Moving on to Greenleaf Guide to the OT. Also doing a Bible study about the book of Proverbs.

Grace has many drawing books that we work through as well as other medias that we do periodically. She is learning crocheting at her handicrafts class. We also learn a new artist through a co-op once a month at my house.

Grace attends chorus at Trinity and we learn about one composer a month through the co-op at my house.

Just start working on The Music Man.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Plan

I really did have a plan today. This morning was Trinity for Chorus, Handicrafts, and Drama. After classes we were to come home around 2 and do some book work. Well, that plan kind of went down the drain. My sister called me first thing this morning and public school was letting out early due to inclement weather. Normaly my mom would pick up my nephew but she is recovering today from her third chemo infusion from yesterday, which just leaves me. I had already planned on dropping Grace off for Chorus and Handicrafts and go to my moms to see if she needed me for anything(she is usually very sick the day after an infusion) then head back to help with the drama class. But of course I really couldn't do that if I had my nephew with me. Drama teacher called and explained that Trinity also followed the public school schedule so drama was cancelled. One problem down. Once I got to my moms this morning and saw how sick she had been I knew I needed to leave the kids with someone else so I could get back to helping my mom. New plan - pick up Grace, pick up nephew, get them some lunch, drop them back off with hubby to watch until he had to leave for work, then I go back to moms. I still really thought late in the afternoon we would be able to do some book work. Then the snow started. To much distractions. To much going on. No book work done. If snow still on the ground tomorrow I bet we won't get much done then either. Breath! Breath! Maybe I should consider unschooling.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Shelving

I took this pic this morning just to show how much Grace is engrossed in the Warriors Series. She started the 4th book today.
My Christmas present this year was a new shelving unit and desk that hubby built for the school room. This top picture is a collage of animal pictures I put on the desk top. Everything was built on a very low budget, so we used mdf board which is not pretty, hence the collage on the desk top.

The shelving on the right was my Christmas present two years ago - we had outgrown it very fast. The desk is new and houses all things computer. The top shelf under the computer has all of Grace' art books and notebooks. She takes her drawing very seriously.

Here is a more close up of the desk.

This is the new shelving unit. The only thing that is missing is the bottom shelf will have a door with a cork board on the front. This will keep all the tall items (easel, posters, etc.) that will not fit on a regular sized shelf.

We already had this shelving which now houses the workboxes.

The Cabin Faced West

Today we finished The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz. I just have to write how much I like this book and even though Grace isn't always ready to admit how much she likes something, she really liked it to. The fact that parts of the book are true and about a real person was great. Grace really like that Ann got to meet General George Washington. He has always been one of Grace's favorites from history. Him and Ben Franklin. In the last chapter where Ann says, "My cup runneth over", I just about cried. Such a sweet story. Just thought I would pass it along.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Today was Back to Business

Much to Grace's dismay we did have to get back to work today. It took us about three hours to do everything we had planned. Eleven workboxes were filled. Today consisted of Bible, Science, History, Geography, Math, English, Blokus, Art, and Spelling. After school Grace started blogging and playing online some. She also started drawing a really big dragon that she might enter into an art contest that will be at a show with her dad. The TV still hasn't gotten turned on. It is almost 10 pm and we are about to go watch Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. We don't miss an episode every Monday night. Then she will come back up and read for about thirty minutes. All in all I think our first day back from Christmas Break went really well.

New Year's Resolutions

I have read alot over the past couple of days about resolutions. I am not one to usually set any for myself. But after reading so many it has gotten me to thinkin maybe I should. I will be working on this post over a couple of days to really think hard about it.
  1. Invite friends and family over for dinners/game nights at least once a month. I really feel this is important for fellowship with like minded folks.
  2. Read my Bible more on my own. Me and Grace read daily together and we are doing a Bible Study about the book of Proverbs, but I feel I should be taking some quiet time of my own and reading also.
  3. Try to perform one random act of kindness each week. I know I should be doing this daily, but lets start with weekly.
  4. Exercise. I have recently lost about 15 pounds and I am happy with where I am on the scale, but I did most of this through watching what I eat. I really need to add exercise to the plan this year.

Great Giveaway

The Homeschool Classroom is having a great giveaway. Make sure you go and visit.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New Purchases

Over the past two week I have purchased some new materials to use when we start back to school on Monday. There is a teachers resource store that I purchased some of the items from. I felt we really needed to beef up our Language Arts materials. Above is a book with a vocabulary word a day to learn and flash cards with a short paragraph and questions for comprehension.
The spectrum books are pretty good. The past 1 1/2 years we used Language Lessons from Queenhomeschool but I thought a small change was in order.

A book for dictionary use.

Another grammar book.

This one actually was a Christmas present with short stories about dragons from E. Nesbit. Grace is crazy about all things dragons.

Love all products from Queenhomeschool. This is the final book in her cursive series. We took a break from cursive for a few months but need to get back to it.

Just about finished with Making Math Meaningful. I have read alot about Life with Fred and now Queenhomeschool is carrying it. It looked very interesting so we decided to try it next, especially since she need more work with fractions.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Catch Up

Thought I would take a few minutes and catch everyone up on the last few days at our house. Mom went to her second chemo treatment on Wednesday. She was very sick all day yesterday. Please keep her in your prayers. She seems to be a little better this morning. Will go by and see her soon. My desktop computer got a bad virus and had to send it off to be scanned and cleaned. That took about three days. My husband's laptop died about two weeks ago and is off hopefully being repairs. I was going a little crazy without a computer in the house and no way to check emails and blogs. Oh my gosh!!! Anyway we were bad and went and bought a new laptop yesterday. It is so nice. Today is building day in our schoolroom. I got a desk and shelving units for Christmas. Looking forward to seeing it all put together. Also looking forward to getting back to a more structured schedule with school on Monday. I will taking pics of the new school room in a couple of days. We are going to put the desktop down there for the family and I will keep the laptop with me. Really didn't do anything last night for New Years. Hubby had to work and my 19 year old was home and asleep by midnight. So that just let me and Grace to ring in the New Year together. Lots of fireworks which greatly disturbed the dogs. Took a while to get them back settled down. I caught up on some crocheting and TV shows. Tonight is dinner at a friends house and Scott will probably be working on his art most of the weekend after the shelving is completed.