Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Sorry I have been MIA. Just taking a blog break over the holiday season. Will resume at the first of the year. Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Busy Weekend

Very busy weekend for our household. Two of Grace's friends stayed the weekend with us, hosted a Christmas party for our drama ministry team, participated in a church musical and had lunch with friends after church. All fun but tiring. Grace had a great time with two friends staying all weekend.

At the Christmas party we play Chinese gift exchange with just dollar store gifts.

Also an epic game of Apples to Apples. Eleven teens playing one game. Any chance to play and they take it.

Grace and her two friends before church this morning. Grace performed today in her first adult Christmas musical at church. Only her and one other teen joined the rest of the adult choir to sing. The program went off without a hitch. We also had another family from our drama ministry team come and watch the performance then we all went out to eat Mexican afterwards.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tone Chimes Performance

Today was our tone chimes performance at the assisted living center. The group played two Christmas songs on the tone chimes, two songs on the piano, two songs on the violin and a group song. The women in the audience were very nice and so happy to meet the kids. I think we will try to keep the tone chimes group going through the year and play some hymns. Two of the girls from this group have come home with us to spend the weekend with Grace. She is so excited to have them here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More Christmas Fun

Today was filled with fun. Not only did we go to see the Nutcracker in the morning but this afternoon and evening we spent time with friends. Started with a short tone chimes practice for a performance tomorrow at a nursing home. Followed by pizza and cookie decorating.

Lots of talking, laughing, wii, and having fun. This is a group of Grace's friends that she hangs out with alot (mostly drama kids).

Nutcracker - New Christmas Tradition

Today we traveled to down town Atlanta to see the Nutcracker Ballet at the Fox Theatre. The Fox Theatre is an Atlanta icon. Many Broadway musicals and play visit the Fox each year. Today's performance was a condensed version of the Nutcracker for children. Many schools brought in buses with lots of children. We were there with our home school group.

I think my favorite part was the costumes and music. Very enjoyable.

Scott's favorite part was the set and props. He is our chief set builder when we put on our own dramatic productions. He was fascinated with how fast the props were moved on and off stage and the backdrops. Gave him many ideas for upcoming performances on our end.

My mom went with us. Sorry for the dark picture but forgot my camera at home and had to take with phone camera without a flash. Had to sneak the picture also, no photo taking allowed in the theatre.

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yes Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. But for us gardners out there, the next best time is when seed catalogs start rolling in. Yesterday we recieved three seed catalogs in the mail and should be getting more through the next couple of weeks. After dinner me and hubby sat down to peruse and start selecting what we might want for the garden next year. So many to choose from, it will be very hard to make the final selections. Last night though we used greens and red potatoes from our fall garden and dried potatoes, carrots, green peppers, and tomatoes to make a soup from the leftover roast. But looking so forward to another gardening season.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Giving

Once a month our small church holds a food pantry/clothes closet day. We serve 60 - 110 families each month. In December we tried to do a little something extra. This will be our third year of collecting toys to hand out as well. Each family gets to come in an pick 1-2 items per child for Christmas. I was blown away this year with how much was donated. This is a church that averages about 130 each Sunday.Grace and myself had the privilege to go help today setting everything up. On food pantry day we usually have refreshments for the family when they come in to get food/clothes, etc. On Monday and Tuesday I hope to bake some goodies to take for the pantry day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Where Does It All Go

Money that is. I think it doesn't matter how much you make it still goes fast. We have been living fairly frugal for the better part of two years, but still can't seem to make progress. I think the money sucker in our family is transportation. One car will be paid off in 5 months, motorcycle still has two years, and the newer car still has two years. Motorcycle was purchased because of gas prices and hubby has to drive one hour and 15 minutes to work three days a week. In one sense it did save on gas but for those of you out there with motorcycles the money you spend on maintenance almost makes it not worth it. On a side note hubby's business took a big hit yesterday and lost 25% of their business. Some truck drivers and warehouse employees will be laid off. This will affect us in a shift change back to four ten hour days a week which increases gas prices and wear and tear on the car. But we feel blessed to still have a job. After paying bills today what is left for the next two weeks will have to cover gas and groceries as well as one doctor appt. Hubby did call today from work to let me know his company gave him a $50.00 gift card to Kroger. He had mentioned giving it to me to make goodies for Christmas presents for neighbors, etc., but I mentioned with our low funds over the next two weeks I would rather use it for some meat to stock the freezer. I don't mind staying at home and not spending money. Although this time of the year it is kind of difficult because of the holidays. As I mentioned before Christmas will be on a much smaller scale than previous years. Sorry for all the rambling, I know that many of you out there are going through all the same thoughts and problems. The only thing I wish to encourage you to do is stock up. Times are only going to get worse.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

First Drama Ministry Team Performance

It is great when everything comes together. This group has been practicing since September. On Thursday our practice was pretty bad. The old saying is that if the practice before a performance is bad....then the performance will be good. Today went off pretty much without a hitch. The kids had a great time and the audience laughed and enjoyed themselves. This is a great group of kids and I really enjoy working with them. Next performance will be at my home church in January.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advent Tree

Eight years ago my sister bought this for me for Christmas from QVC. Now it is a treasured Christmas tradition. The cabinet contains 24 small compartparts that hold 24 little ornaments. Each day starting on December 1st Grace opens a door and pulls out an ornament to hang on the tiny tree. On the 24th, Christmas Eve, there is a glass star to put on the top.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Random Updates

Christmas - We have all the indoor decorations in place. Nothing fancy this year. Just the tree and our advent tree. Still need to do the outdoor lights. We don't do outdoor lights every year, but this year I will be having a Christmas party for the teens on our Drama Ministry Team and I want the house to look nice. Shopping is happening slowly. As I mentioned before, there is not alot of money to go around this year for presents. This is the first year in 24 years of marriage that we have had to really scale down. Of course I will say that the last couple of years we have been scaling back just didn't realize it as much. I am having to space out shopping to a few presents each payday which will make me shopping for the last gifts just two days prior to Christmas. I have never been that late. But it is all good. The kids know they are getting three presents each and alot of money was not spent on any of them. They are good with this too.

Chickens - Betty our Americana (sp?) is still laying every other day and the Buffs are all laying 5 out of 7 days a week. So we are still knee deep in eggs. Scott is researching dehydrating eggs. In the early Spring when everyone else starts laying we will be thigh deep in eggs. We are also considering buying a few more chicks in the Spring or letting some of our hens sit. I really don't want anymore game fowl chicks so we will probably purchase.

Garden - The only thing we have left growing in the garden is greens for us and the chickens. Spinach, Romaine, Iceberg and Mixed Greens. My red cabbage never really did much. I requested a bunch of seed catalogs this week so hope to be receiving them soon to start planning for next year's garden.

Homeschool - After taking a week off for Thanksgiving it was slow go getting back to it this week. Now that Robin Hood is over we can focus on some other things. As mentioned before Grace and I joined Jazzercise and this we the first week we were able to go to three classes. We use this as P.E. so it is counted as one hour of school on the days we go. Today will prove to be busy with Art Class, Tone Chimes practice, and Drama Ministry Team practice. Only a little book work scheduled for this morning. Tomorrow will be Jazzercise and Tone Chimes practice again. The Tone Chimes class is preparing for a performance at a nursing home in a couple of weeks and the Drama Ministry Team will have their first performance this Sunday at a local church.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Our library has a cart near the front door with free magazines. I picked up all these small holiday baking guides. You know the ones... at the checkout isle that sell for 4-5 dollars a piece. I have already picked out five different recipes to make for gifts for neighbors and such. I also got a flower/plant book off of the discard cart.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Change in Mindset

Each Christmas my parents give each family some money as well as gifts. In years past as a family we divided the money up and went shopping. Bought items that we would never have a chance to buy otherwise. Sometimes a new wardrobe, electronics, etc. This year if we receive money I am thinking from a more frugal and preparedness mindset. My list so far includes:
Grain mill
Grow lights
Canning supplies/equipment
Oxygen absorbers
Gardening tools
Preparedness books
Wire to enlarge one of the chicken coops
Seeds and more baby chicks in the Spring

I Was One of the Crazies!

This was my third year going out on Black Friday. I know, I know....what was I thinking. A close friend that went with me and my mom last year called me up a couple of weeks ago to go this year. In years past we have gotten up at 3:30 to be shopping by 5:00. This year I really wanted to stay up and go during the night instead of getting up out of a restful sleep. So off we went Thursday night to Walmart at 9:30 because sales were starting at 10:00. For all the Walmart haters out there I have to give some history here. My mom retire from Walmart and Wally World has been a part of our lives for a long time. Of course my mom worked there when Sam Walton was still alive and Walmart was a great company to it's employees - times have changed. I am sure that Mr. Walton is rolling over in his grave to see how things have turned out. But I digress.... my point is I still love Walmart for certain items. In my small town we have two choices to shop for groceries Ingles and Walmart, that is it. No small mom and pop operations, no good farmer's markets, no Whole Foods, no nothing. Again I digress... let's just get on with the story. When we reached Walmart the parking lot was full, Taco Bell and Captain Ds was full, cars were hugging the curbs, and all the grass areas were full. Me and my friend said I don't think so and left for another larger town 30 minutes from us. Kohls was opening at 12:00. We arrived at 10:50 because we never stopped at Walmart. I thought we could visit and talk in the car then a few minutes before midnight we would get in line. Once we arrived we realized we were mistaken in that plan because the line was already long. Off we went to get in line and stood there for 1 hour and 10 minutes in 43 degree weather. Allstate had a booth with free cider, coffee and treats. At midnight everything happened in an orderly fashion, we purchased a couple of items each and stood in another line for 40 minutes to check out. While standing in line my stomach started a rumbling, I had not eaten anything since our large Thanksgiving feast at lunch time. McDonalds conveniently located across the parking lot from Kohls was open and we headed there for some much needed energy. We were thoroughly full and ready for our next stop, Belks. Belks opened at 3:00a.m. and was offering gift cards ranging from $5.00 - 1000.00 to the first 250 customers in the door. Belks is in our small home town and we figured no problem. We were wrong yet again. Arrived at 2:30 and already a line of about 200-250 people waiting to get in. Now the temp was down to 32. Figured there was no way we would get a gift card but low and behold I was the 250th customer and received the last card. I told my friend whatever I won we would split it. Scratched the card .....$5.00. A whopping $2.50 each. Purchases where made and home was next stop. I arrived home at 4:30 and slept until 10:00 in the morning. Would I do it again? Probably. The company was nice and it was fun people watching. Did I spend alot of money? No, just a couple of presents for each of my kids. Do you guys have any funny Black Friday stories? Please share.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

New Thanksgiving Day Tradition

My parents were gracious enough to buy our entire immediate family tickets to have Thanksgiving dinner at the Amicalola Falls Lodge. A huge buffet of turkey, fish, pork, dressing, potatoes, greens, squash, and green beans. Out in the hallway was a small salad bar, fruit, pasta salads, bread, and boiled shrimp. On the dessert table was pumpkin pie, chocolate pie, cheesecake, apple cake, and brownies. All of us were very full after this meal. It was great, no planning, cleaning or cooking involved. Just go in and eat then leave to have some fun.

While waiting to be seated we visited the veranda to look at the scenic views.

This is my dad and niece. Danielle actually works at the lodge while going to college and had to work today. Luckily she worked as a hostess and we were able to visit with her some.

My mom, Grace and nephew.

Hubby and Travis.

Papa bought Grace a very cute stuffed bear from the gift shop. Grace loves any little time she gets to spend with her brother.

It is hard to see but this is the lodge on the top of the mountain where we ate.

After our delicious lunch we decided to walk around the park to get rid of some of the calories and to take in some more beautiful sites. This is a very famous waterfall in the state of Georgia, Amicalola Falls. The temps were great, mid 60s.

This is at the bottom of the trail. The reflection pond and the falls at the top of the picture.

And for a little nature, a snake seen on the trail.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Robin Hood - Final Performance

Another semester of drama is over. Always mixed feelings when a play or musical is finished. Thrilled to have some time off and relax but also sad to perform the last performance. This cast consisted of kids all homeschooled ranging in grade from 3rd - 11th.

We are looking at performing the musical of The Jungle Book or Aladdin next semester. We wouldn't start practices till February. So a couple months to recover from all the craziness of putting a play together.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Health Update

I just thought about the fact that I never came back and let any of you know how it was going with the insomnia. Once starting the new medication almost 4 weeks ago I started sleeping much better. I still wake up in the middle of the night a couple of times but falling off to sleep is very easy now. Of course if it is not one thing it is another. I have suffered with acid reflux for 5-6 years. Been on multiple medications. As soon as the sleeping got under control then the reflux started back. Called the doctor yesterday and they are referring me to a gastro specialist for scoping. So not looking forward to this. I started taking over the counter Zantac today to add to my daily dose of dexilant. Hoping and praying for some relief over the next few days. Consult appt is set for December 14th.

Christmas Preparation

This year has been busy and my mind has been on other things. Personal health issues, insomnia and lack of money have put me in no mood for the Christmas season. Doesn't that sound awful? Right now I am looking at Christmas as just another day on the calendar were I need to spend money I don't have on gifts for the family. Wow, I really do sound like Scrooge at the moment. I hope come next week my feelings will start to change a little especially with all the holiday decorations going up around town. Me and a friend will be going out at midnight Thanksgiving night to shop some of the Black Friday Sales, I know call us crazy. I went last year with this same friend and it really wasn't that bad and I didn't over spend. Friday we get paid and I am hoping to have a little left over to start purchasing a couple of presents for my kids. I have stressed to the kids that money is tight and presents will be limited to three per kid. Luckily my kids are older and completely understand. I would love to hear your thoughts about plans for Christmas spending and such.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Robin Hood - First Night Performance

Sorry for the blurry pics from my blackberry. Forgot to put camera in purse for tonight. Above is Grace with my mom. Grace's character is Salome the Sheriff's daughter. A very silly and comedic character. The play went really well tonight. We had neighbors, family and church members attend.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Okay, Life Just Got Crazier

Let's start from the beginning. As many of you know, Grace likes to perform. Sing or drama it doesn't matter. If she could read music and play an instrument life would be even crazier. We have been preparing for Robin Hood since late August and will be performing this coming Monday and Tuesday. She is also part of a drama ministry team that practices once a week and we start performing at various churches once a month starting in December. Our church is small so we didn't have many volunteers to sing in the adult Christmas musical this year. Grace and another teen offered to step in and help, we perform this musical on the morning of December 18th. Grace's drama teacher knew how much she enjoyed playing the tone chimes and asked her to join a small group to perform at a nursing home toward the end of the December which will require Thursday and Friday afternoon practices for a couple of weeks in December. Well, today the choir director from our church (who is also directing the children's Christmas musical) asked if Grace could come in and do a narrator part because they just didn't have enough kids to fill all the spots. This will be performed on the evening of December 18th with practices on Sunday evenings and some Saturdays. I think we are tapped out. So glad she is young and can memorize all these lines, songs, and music.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Typical Wednesday

Just thought I would share what we accomplished today:

Math - Lesson 56 of Teaching Textbooks
English - One lesson from Easy Grammar and one lesson from copywork spelling
History - Exodus 2:1-10 ( I read an introduction to the book of Exodus also)
Science - Read "A New Way of Looking" from Galileo, Describe and draw in journal the difference between convex and concave lens.
Literature - Finish Chapter 2 of Gladys Alyward and give oral narration
Read Aloud Story - I read several chapters from Peter and the Sword of Mercy while she was drawing.

We also finished her costume for dress rehearsal tomorrow.

Living Books for Science

As I have mentioned before, Grace is not that fond of Science. In the past we have studied alot of nature and animals because that is what she enjoys and understands best. In looking for Science curriculum for this 7th grade year it was tough. I knew I didn't want to go the Apologia route with General Science. I have heard one to many times how boring it seems to be. So to make a long story short I went back to my tried and true mentor, Simply Charlotte Mason, and learned that the curriculum guide now has recommendations for using living science books as opposed to textbooks. I knew that this would be the best path for us now but could change in the future. I would really like to continue using living books for Science all the way through high school. I have her journal or narrate twice a week from the chapters that she reads. If I do not assign a written narration I do have her give me an oral one. So far we have finished "Galen and the Gateway to Medicine" within the last month. Grace learned that he was the first real "doctor", worked for many Roman leaders, treated gladiators, and wrote many books about anatomy and medicine. His books were actually used for 1500 years after his death. She is now several chapters into "Along Came Galileo" and will finish it by Christmas. In January we will start a biography about Blaise Pascal. This just seems like a much more relaxed and interesting way to study Science than through textbooks. Would love to hear your thoughts and comments about what you use for Science.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Time To Get Serious

About exercise that is. I have jumped started an exercise program for me and Grace several time over the past two years and nothing seems to stick. The funniest time I ever seemed to have with exercise was going to Jazzercise, but for the two of us to join was just to expensive. Well this weekend I got a one time deal for this week to join for the year for $199, normally it is $470. Luckily I know the owner very well from church and she let me add on Grace for just $99 for the entire year. So much to Grace's dismay (she really doesn't want to do it) we will embark on this exercise journey together starting at the end of the week. Grace is not athletic and has never participated in any sports so I feel it is important to instill in her the need to stay healthy and starting an exercise routine early on in life so that it becomes a habit. Of course this is not going to be easy for me either. I have gained 20 pounds in the last 1 1/2 years and my health has not been the greatest. Stamina way down. I am sure it will be a slow process to bring me back to speed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Drama Ministry Team Retreat

This weekend was our first and hoping to be annual Drama Ministry Team Retreat. Our time together was constructed for team building, fellowship, worship and fun. I think we accomplished them all. Friday night started with dinner, practicing skits for our upcoming performance and drama games.

We were located at a wonderful horse farm and stable that is run by one of the student's families. Saturday morning started us right off with more practicing, games and worship time. The entire weekend the stable was also conducting their own business of horseback riding and zipline tours. With it being the weekend they were crazy busy. It was alot of fun watching the general public do the zipline. The next couple of pictures are the students actually practicing skits.

One area we were practicing had a small field area full of donkeys/burros.

Saturday afternoon the kids played some team building games. We also started a campfire to roast hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner.

Saturday evenings consisted of drama training, games and worship time. It was so cold outside that we did most of this in the girls bunkhouse. Twice the kids went out to play "barn tag" because at night they let the 40 plus horses out in the fields so the barn and stalls were empty.

In all we had 10 kids most of the weekend, one student had a cross country tournament out of state and couldn't attend. I really love all of these kids. I have worked with most of them for the past three years in other musicals and performances. It was great to be able to keep most of them together to form this ministry team.

If you didn't notice already this particular bunk was the place to be most of Saturday night. More kids just kept adding to the bunch.This morning(Sunday) we brought someone in to do more training and then a local pastor came to give a short sermon to the kids and any parents that wanted to attend. Some of the kids in our group also play guitar and will be leading worship at the different church performances just like they did today. All in all we accomplished everything we set out to do and grew to know each other even better. Everyone had a great time but we are very tired.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

This is What Happens When Paint Meets Cat

It all started with creating a closet in Grace's room. Grace's bedroom is actually a loft area that did not come with a closet, so technically it is not considered a bedroom. When we moved in we built a floor to ceiling wall of shelves to accommodate toys, clothing, etc. Well now that she is older and her clothing is bigger it just doesn't fit well on the shelves. I asked hubby to remove one shelf and create a rod to hang all of her shirts and sweaters up. In the process of removing the shelf a little touch up painting was required. The floor of this area is where Grace keeps all of her shoes and it was kind of dirty after 8 years so hubby painted that part too. After 30 minutes or so hubby went upstairs to check on things and below is what we found.

Little green cat foot prints throughout Grace's room. Of course we immediately knew who the culprit was, Silver the new cat. I have never had a more curious, affectionate, or energetic cat as Silver.

Silver is now in kitty jail until the paint drys. I might also add that when Scott removed the shelf she stole one of the screws and brought it downstairs.