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.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

No School Today

The plan today was go do our drama performance, come home and eat lunch, then do school. But by the time performance was finished and everything put away, we decided to go out for pizza for a late lunch and one thing led to another. We ended up hiking at a local state park. In the state of Georgia every Wednesday is free to get in. Even better a very frugal afternoon. We needed to get in some exercise anyway. Decided to take my third child with us, Angel that is, and let her get some exercise also. She loved it. The only area we couldn't take her was down the stairs into the gorge. So me and Angel did our own walk and Grace and Scott did the more than 1000 stairs down into the gorge. By the time they got back, Grace said she would never go down that again. Give her a week to recover and I bet she will change her tune. Especially if rock candy is in the picture like it was today.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One Performance Down

Tonight was our drama departments first performance of the year. Two skits were performed by the elementary drama class. Every year it seems down to the wire and we don't think the kids will be able to pull it off. Every year they prove us wrong. We had two kids that struggled a little bit with their lines but nothing major. Believe me this year has definitely been a struggle getting everybody to learn their lines. Tonight was great. Very proud of all of them. Had a good time and all the families were happy to see the fruits of their kid's labor. One more performance tomorrow of the same skits to the school we are affiliated with and then off for a couple of weeks until Alice auditions. Well that is off for everyone else. Grace and a few others still have many practices ahead of them for the high school play being performed in about three weeks.

Today Will Be Busy

Today will prove to be a very busy day. November has proven to be one of those kind of months, where you just seem to be on the move alot. We will hopefully put in a couple hours of school this morning before heading out to Grace's final pottery class. After potter will hang out at that location for an hour finishing up any school work that wasn't finished this morning. At about 3:15 will head to High School drama practice for Les Mes. Drama practice is over at 5:00 but then we have to set up the stage and chairs for the audience for the Elementary performance tonight at 7:00 of Dickens You Say and Daniel the Shepherd Boy. Scott will be bringing dinner to us before the performance, not enough time to go home in between. Tomorrow the Elementary kids will have another performance for the school chapel. We are really looking forward to finishing up this last remnants of drama for this semester so we can move on to auditions for Alice in Wonderland and start practicing. The yearly musical is always everyone's favorite thing to do in drama all year.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fun Day

Here is Grace with her fun day. My mom and Grace hosted a booth at our Church's first Holiday Bazaar. Our booth consisted of scarves, note cards, and goodies. They had a good time, wish I could have stayed. But I had an adult thing to do, want to guess where I went. It was really fun!
I got to go to another Sonya Schafer seminar. To me she is a rock star in the home schooling community. Last January she came and did a seminar for our group about Fine Arts. This go around it was a morning of encouragement with Establishing Habits and Chasing After our Children's Hearts. Great morning. Lots of new ideas. I had purchased the Laying Down the Rails book last time and read through it with all intent of starting, but alas, did not. I am really going to start this time. Each good habit should be worked on for 8 weeks to stick. We will be starting with neatness or purity. I also purchased some new items to spend time with over the Thanksgiving Holiday. The Books and Things Seminar and Sonya's new Hearing and Reading, Telling and Writing. Looking so forward to getting in the thick of things. Sonya is always such a blessing. I would pay to hear her read the newspaper to us. That is how good she is. If you have never visited her website I strongly recommend it. Especially if you are a CMer. www.simplycharlottemason.com.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Something New For School Next Week

I have had this book on hold at the library for forever. Finally got it today. We didn't read the book"The Princess and the Kiss", but opted for the companion book instead. If you are not familiar the story and devotional book is to teach your daughters about purity. There are 21 days worth of lessons on purity and saving yourself for marriage. Very age appropriate because the saving part is referred to as a kiss. Quoted from the book: "These life lessons are packed with a wisdom from God's Word, truths that all young girls need to know as they guard their purity, whether they're six or sixteen."
As CMers most of our writing stems around narrations. This next week we will jump in to our first research paper. Grace will learn about outlines, topic sentences, main ideas, sources, first drafts, revisions, and how to write a bibliography. We wanted to start with something very simplistic and focus more on the logistics of how to actually write the paper. Went to the library and just let her browse to decide what her topic would be. She is an animal lover to the core, so she chose a few books about Pandas.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Baking Day

Today is baking day at the old homestead. Wish I could say I was keeping it all for the family, but not so. The items I bake today will be in a booth on Saturday at our church's first Holiday Bazaar. I will include the above which is home made granola bars, Danish Lemon Sugar Cookies, and pound cake. All to be sold individually. Grace has prepared 10 packets of hand drawn note cards and I have also decided to include about 15 scarves I have made over the past year just for fun. They are not anything special so I will not be charging alot for them. Tomorrow night is set up. I have to work all this baking in around school, a Christmas Crafts class this afternoon and another drama practice.

Monday, November 8, 2010

What a Blessing

I help teach a drama class every Monday and sometimes on Tuesday. Today when I arrived for class the lead teacher told me she had a bag of bread for me. She told me that a truck comes to their church every week with short dated items and drops them off. She brought home three boxes of bread so they wouldn't go to waste. I thought it was going to be just some loaves of sandwich bread. But to my surprise I now have a bag of blueberry bagels, English muffins, hamburger buns and sandwich bread. All fructose corn syrup free and 100 percent whole wheat. I halved everything so that some would be frozen and some eaten right away. I also went to my local produce store today to pick up some honey, apples, bananas, and eggs. I have been visiting the store once or twice a week for about the past month. Most of there stuff is better than from the grocery store, even the cheese they sale. Anyway to make a long story short, when I was checking out the owner asked me if I had ever tried sorghum syrup, I told her I had not, and she sent me home with a pint for free. Now I need some recipes to try it in. If you have any good ones let me know.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Weeknd Happenings

As I mentioned in a previous post this weekend was the first with hubby working. I planned many things to keep Grace busy and her mind of daddy not being home. Actually alot of what we did started on Thursday and ran through today.

Thursday - School in the morning and a little in the afternoon after we got back from a local book fair and visiting a church friend in the hospital. Please pray for Jerry. He is in his mid 70's and has been diagnosed with cancer that has already spread to spine, lung, colon, and liver. I think at this point he has chosen not to do any treatment.

Friday - Went to the podiatrist to do a recheck on Grace's toe, looks normal she said. Went to a thrift store searching for clothing (nothing to be had) so went to Walmart instead. We were actually able to get two pairs of jeans for me, one pair of jeans for Grace, a jacket sweater and shirt for Grace, two shirts and a light weight jacket for me for 125.00. I thought that was pretty good. Went to a friends house for a playdate in the afternoon, out to dinner with said friends and then to the cemetery field trip.

Saturday - Went Christmas shopping with my mother and out to lunch. Was home by 2:30 at which point I began baking (nothing in the house like sweets and such) while Grace worked on a 1000 piece puzzle, read, played on the computer, created some hand drawn note cards and just hung out. So far I don't think she has had time to miss dad.

Sunday - Woke up early to go to the early service at church with hubby then invited a friend home with us for the afternoon. We will all have to go to choir practice at 4:30 and arrive back home for dinner. By then settle down for the evening. I am also currently working on finishing a few more scarves to sell at the church bazaar this coming weekend.

Obviously I will not be able to keep up this pace every weekend. But next Saturday should be busy with my Sonya Schaffer seminar to attend and Grace and my mother doing the Bazaar at the church.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Friday Night Field Trip

A field trip was planned to our local historical cemetery a few months ago and last night was the time to go. Little did we know how cold it would get this soon in this neck of the woods. I think by the time we left it was 39 degrees. Which is cold for us folks down South. What made the event that more interesting was that the historical society has people dressed in period clothes portraying the deceased people in the cemetery. It was interesting to find out a little about our local history and the people who lived her before us.
This little boy that was very cold as you can see portrayed a child that had drowned during a community picnic.

This woman was very good - she had three sons that fought in the Civil War. Matter of fact most of the graves are from people living during the War of 1812 and the Civil War. We also learned that the cousin of President Martin Van Buren (sp?) was from Clarkesville and buried in that very cemetery. Also buried here were a couple of congressmen, the founder of Clarkesville and Cleveland, Georgia, and the first victim of murder in Clarkesville. The murder occurred due to problems during the Gold Rush. Even though it was cold it was great seeing the members of our homeschool group and learning something about our local history.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


After lunch today we went to a local book fair and some thrift stores. My main objective was to find some jeans for Grace and a white shirt to go with part of her costume for Les Mis. I was pretty successful. Brought home two shite shirts, a pair of jeans, jean skirt for me, 5 books and two puzzles for 8.00. Bought a couple of chapter books for Grace at the book fair and some crafty things. On Saturday I hope to go to a bigger thrift shop to find me some shirts and Grace another pair of jeans. Then we should be set for a while. I have been wearing the same shirts for about three years and they are getting pretty worn out in shape and color. Clothes really don't interest me that much. Our church is pretty low key so I don't need really dressy clothes, not to mention that because of my husband's new work schedule we will be going to the early service which is even more casual. I would also like to find a couple more ceramic or class canisters to keep my baking supplies in.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Happenings Around the House

Today was Scott's first day off in the middle of the week. He will also be home tomorrow. Then his new schedule will start Friday and last through Sunday. Very long days so we probably won't see much of him. Grace will miss him being home over the weekends because they normally spend alot of time together. They will just have to adjust to spending more time together during the week after school is finished each day. I have some fun things planned on Friday and Saturday to keep her mind occupied. First off on Friday no school work, at least no book work. We will be attending a history field trip visiting a local cemetery, going over to a friend's house for a play date and visiting a local book fair. On Saturday we hope to go do some shopping in a close by town. A little Christmas shopping, hunting down the new Percy Jackson graphic novel at the book store, and eating lunch out. Looking forward to a little girl time. Maybe on Sunday after church she can invite a friend over for the afternoon.

Baked a new wheat bread recipe today, looks like it turned out well. I get most of my recipes from the King Arthur Flour website. I still need to learn to do hamburger and hot dog buns, as well as dinner rolls. I know I can do it, just haven't tried any yet.

School went great today. When Scott's around the house I can always count on Grace doing her best and no talking back. We are thoroughly enjoying two new additions to our school work. Hey Andrew, Teach Me Some Greek is fabulous. Grace can't get enough of it. We are doing a letter every day. I decided to start her off on the easy book that just teaches the alphabet and we will be able to move on to the second book in a couple of months once she has the alphabet down. Our other new addition is Home Economics from Pearables. Again the first book starts off with very easy cooking and cleaning lessons. But coming from a 11 yr old child that doesn't do anything domestic, we really needed to start with the basics. So far she has learned to peel and cut carrots, keep a food journal, choose healthy food to eat and make cinnamon toast. Tomorrow she will do a lesson on cracking and cooking eggs. This has mostly been my fault because I come from the school of if I want it to be done right I will do it myself and not have to clean up a mess later. But I know that she needs to be more independent and learn more life skills. We are working on it and she really seems to be enjoying it. The books from Pearables has 3 or 4 level books and I hope to get through them all in 1 - 1 1/2 years then move on to a more intense Home Economics and Life Skill course geared more toward Middle and High Schoolers.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cooking and Running Errands

It seems like my life revolves around teaching school to Grace, running errands and cooking. Yesterday I cooked/baked from 9a.m. to 1:00p.m. I boiled some eggs and made egg salad for hubby to take to work for lunches. We were out of anything sweet to eat and that just won't do around here. I baked my tried and true choc. chip blondies but this time I made them a little more healthy by using whole wheat white instead of white flour. Of course my son noticed the difference and asked if I would go back to the White flour the next time I made them. Next I noticed that I had four very ripe bananas and knowing my clan they would be trashed. Thats just wasteful, so I looked up a new recipe for banana bread and made that too. Still need to fit in some time to make some bread. Next week I will be baking alot. I plan on making some baked goods to sell our our church's holiday bazaar. Then today was running errands day: to Holland's for fresh produce (noticed they sale honey at a lower price than the other produce store, will have to get it there next time, I go through alot of honey when making granola bars), took Grace out to lunch, attendance forms to the board of education, library to pick up on hold books and back to the homestead to finish school for the day.

On a side note I didn't know if I had mentioned that hubby did get the new schedule he was after. So now he will be home four days a week and work three long days. We are all excited about this. Also wanted to mention that the chickens are loving their new day run we built over the weekend.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Night

Last night our church had the great opportunity to hold a Fall Festival at a church member's house. Their property is incredible and beautiful. The festival was actually held outside and in an old barn they have refurbished. Also all the homes on the 80 acre tract (which includes three I think) are mostly made from old logs homes brought here from Kentucky. At the last minute Grace and her best friend decided to be cats for the event.
The top pic is of the outside of the barn and the bottom is the inside. Incredible isn't it? Lots of food to be had by all. Swinging hammock chairs, benches, beautiful old antiques. Everyone had the best time.

Here is my niece, Danielle, swinging in one of those great hammocks.
Treat bags were filled for each of the kids to take home. There was a fire ring to sit around and chat or make smores. Of course I had to get a picture of all the stuff to make smores. Yum! Everyone also had the chance to go on a hayride around the property. Great night was had by all.

Top 15 GMO Companies

As many of you know I have been reading alot about GMOs. I recently stumbled upon a pretty good book, "Food Not Lawns" and they had a list of the top 15 GMO companies to try and stay away from. The problem is it would be pretty hard for your average family to stay away from all of these companies all the time. They make so many of the products we know and love.

Campbell Soup
Frito Lay
General Mills
Proctor and Gamble
Quaker Oats