Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last of the Summer Garden

Scott went and worked in the garden just about all day yesterday. There were many weed that needed to be torn down and everything straightened up for the Fall garden. We had two batches of tomatoes to harvest and two batches of bell peppers. Also a huge harvest of banana peppers that were all dried in the dehydrator through the night. I hope to make some more pasta sauce with the tomatoes tonight or tomorrow.

The Fall garden will be much smaller. We will replant our greens, adding purple cabbage. Also Scott replanted some potatoes with hopes of a Fall potato harvest. We have many ideas for next year's garden but are unsure about where the garden may be. As I mentioned before the space we are using now will be sprayed with a an herbicide in the Spring. With 5 other groups of families gardening on this patch and us not having in rights to the land we really can't say anything. We want to grow organically, which is what we did this year. No sprays at all for bugs or weeds. We are looking at a community garden in a small town 10 minutes down the road from us. Of course it won't be as convenient as what we have now but if the community garden won't be spraying that may be our only choice.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pizza Bake

My family loves pizza and spaghetti, so tonight I tried a casserole with a little of both. You can tell from the picture that half was made without Italian sausage because one kid in the family doesn't like it. Here is the recipe if anyone is interested:
2 boxes of whole wheat penne pasta
2 jars of Ragu homestyle pizza sauce
generous amount of mozzarella cheese
pepperoni and Italian sausage
dash of Italian seasoning

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Then add all the other ingredients and mix. Maybe add some extra mozzarella on top. Very easy.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Buying Local

Went to the local produce store to see if the local apples were out yet. Found boxes of local apples, yeah! Buying from Tiger, GA is alot closer than Washington State where most of the apples in the grocery store come from. I bought a variety to see what we liked best. Mutsu being the only variety I had never heard of before. Right now the local apples are .89 a pound but last year toward the end of the season was marked down to .49 a pound. Another choice would be to buy a box for 26.00 which is 40 pounds of apples. In the grocery store apples are running 1.78 - 1.98 a pound and in our local produce store .99 - 1.39 a pound. Everyone in the house eats apples and they go pretty quick. We also hope to score a deal soon and dry a bunch.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Books On My Bedside Table

This is probably my favorite home schooling/Charlotte Mason book. The Charlotte Mason Companion by Karen Andreola has everything you need to start putting in to practice Charlotte Mason's methods. I picked this one up at a used sale a couple of years ago. I think this is my 3rd or 4th reading.

What He Must Be....if he wants to marry my daughter by Voddie Bauchman Jr. This man is amazing and I love to hear him speak. We purchased this book at the state home school convention and had him sign it. Hubby has already read this book and I have just started.

A Practical Guide to Living On An Acre The Self-Reliant Life. So far this one is pretty ho-hum. About half way through it and not learning anything new. May not even finish it.

I am always looking for great books, fiction or non-fiction. If you guys have any suggestions, please send them my way.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Preparing for Fall

Starting to build a cold frame to house our strawberry plants up here at our house as opposed to the neighbors field where we did our garden this summer. We started with 8 plants that did not produce alot and have ended up with probably 30 plants. We still have more down at the garden to transplant. The plants we have brought up are already producing runners trying to get into the ground. That is a good sign. Hoping next week to build another cold frame beside it to plant greens.

Corn from the neighbor that we are drying to crack for the chickens. Just learned from the neighbor that lets us garden on his property that he will be spraying the acreage for weeds next spring before everyone plants. We are very disappointed because none of the other families that garden down there tend to be growing organically like we are. Not sure what we will do at this point.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Getting Back To Normal

Life has been a whirlwind of drs appts in the past three weeks. My acid reflux is not wanting to behave, the new medication that I am on for the reflux may be causing side effects with my joints and muscles, and had the outpatient surgery yesterday. At this point I am awaiting test results for the joint and muscle pain which started a couple of months ago. They are testing me for auto immune disorders like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis before deciding that the reflux medication is causing. Our church family has been very good to us bringing meals yesterday and today. I should be good as new by Monday. I haven't been sedated since I had my wisdom teeth removed twenty years ago. It is a very surreal experience. To be in the operating room and looking at the clock then waking up in a different room with no memories of anything that happened in between. Looking forward to no future hospital visits.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sorry About the Lapse in Posting

Dealing with some medical issues and had a minor surgery today. Hope to get back to posting in the next couple of days.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Picture Study

Picture Study has always been one of those things I wanted to do but just didn't seem to get around to it or since I do not know much about art history we just kind of fumbled through it. That all changed this year when Simply Charlotte Mason started offering Picture Study Portfolios. I purchased two a couple of months ago and it has mad our lives so much easier. We spend 10-15 minutes one day a week doing Picture Study. For the past five weeks we have used the portfolio of Rembrandt. What I love so much about this is you are given multiple paintings to choose from and discussion points about each painting.

This is our artist study wall. Each Friday we add a new painting to the wall. Typically with Picture Study you study one artist's work for 6 weeks but I really enjoy looking at all the paintings and getting to know each particular artist, so we will use all the paintings provided in the portfolio before moving on to another artist. Below are my two favorites so far:

Jacob Blessing Joseph's Second Son

The Return of the Prodigal Son

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Art Entry

Grace's entry in a local kid's art contest when the fair starts in September. I think she titled it "

Keep Believing".

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Field Trip

Monday I had a half day doctor's appt so Scott and Grace headed off on a field trip. The highest point in Georgia is Brasstown Bald. There is a shuttle available for to take you to the top or a steep, paved 25 minutes walk. They choose the walk. They had alot of fun and Grace got some well needed exercise in the process.

Thomas Edison

Currently we are studying in Science about Thomas Edison and solar energy. Today Grace picked four of Thomas Edison's inventions to include in her science journal. I find that keeping a science journal keeps Grace interested more than just answering questions from a textbook. So far her journal is filled with illustrations, pictures, and journal entries from the summer study of hermit crabs and our new study of Thomas Edison.

  • Telephone - He improved the telephone by adding carbon particles which allowed people to talk longer distances.

  • Incandescent Lamp - He did not invent the first light bulb but did develop a carbon-thread filament that could burn steadily for more than 40 hours and was safer.

  • Phonograph - First machine that recorded sound and played it back. This was his favorite invention.

  • Stock Ticker - An instrument that transmitted the constantly changing stock prices.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Better Temps

Finally it looks like the oppressive heat has left. After almost two months of above 94 degrees every day we are down in the upper 80s. I am now able to start walking again. Last night the breeze and low humidity with a temp of 80 at 7:3o made it a very pleasant walk. The 10 day forecast has us down in the 60s at night and mid to high 80s during the day. My chickens are much happier campers. All but two of my hens have started molting and stopped laying eggs. The young Buffs should start laying any day and of course Betty is still broody. This afternoon hoping to visit a small farm down the rode for fresh eggs. This will be the first time since February that I have had to purchase eggs.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

An Opportunity

Some posts back I spoke about the possibility of Grace taking voice lessons. Well I am not to keen on the contract you have to sign to start this process or the fees involved. So as a family we discussed it and decided it might not be the best choice for us right now. Fast forward to today... I have a website on my favorites for home schooling activities that take place in a larger town 50 minutes from us. Rarely does anything really peak my interest, but you just never know, so I continue to look at it off and on. Today I pulled the website up and low and behold there is a acting/talent studio that has just started offering classes for home schoolers during the day. These classes focus on work in front of the camera as well as auditions, etc. Even better is the price - day classes are half the price as night classes. We would have to reschedule one day a week to attend. It would take place on a Thursday which is also the day that she takes a group art class and in the evening will be attending practices for a drama ministry team. So more than likely Thursdays will just be counted as fine arts days with outside of the house classes. The timing will be very close - 50 minutes drive to class, 1 hour class, 50 minutes drive home eating lunch in car to arrive at art class exactly one hour after the acting class ends. But I really feel like this will take it to the next level for her and that she will really enjoy it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Some Good News

Scott has not had a traditional work schedule for the past 8 months. He is at home with us Monday - Thursday and works 12 hours days Friday - Sunday. This is a schedule we actually campaigned to implement into our lives. Since we home school Grace gets to see dad all day long four days in a row. A couple of months ago some issues were happening at work and we were worried that Scott would have to go back to a 5 day a week work - week/10 hours a day plus 2 hours drive time. Today we found out that he gets to keep his position supervising the weekend shift. This means we can still heavily garden this Fall and start putting more of our homesteading ideas in action. If the position continued to stay on the weekends through next Spring and Summer it will be even better for more gardening. We are all so relieved. Life can go on as we know it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Future Plans for Our One Acre Homestead

Today over lunch we discussed some plans we hope to implement over the next couple of months as well as some longer term plans.

  • Our garden down at the neighbors has just about come to its end with the exception of tomatoes. In September as long as the temperature cooperates we will be planting more greens and cabbage. This will come in handy for us and the chickens.

  • Today and tomorrow hubby hopes to start building a cold frame to transplant our strawberries. Also building a raised bed to try growing some greens here at the house. Once the leaves start falling we should have a little more sunlight throughout the day for gardening.

  • Within the next week or two we will start digging the area in the backyard for our pond. We have an entire 3ft deep pool set up that we will utilize to start a pond for backyard catfish farming. This will start off on a small scale and hopefully if everything goes well there is a large island area in the front of our house that would accommodate a larger pond dug in the ground. This pond would be more ornamental due to neighbors seeing it but still functional for growing catfish to eat.

  • Putting gutters back up on the house and setting up a rain barrel collecting system.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Struggling To Write Blog Posts

Days have been very ho-hum around here. Not much to write about. At least not anything that my readers would find interesting, amusing, etc. Garden is winding down in the sense that we are only harvesting tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers at this point. Hoping to replant all the lettuces for the fall in the next month. Still too hot to put in seeds in the ground for that. Today is actually the first pleasant day in almost 6 weeks with a high temp predicted of 87 and breezy. I am sure the chickens will be thankful for this. I have felt so sorry for them this summer. So ready for Fall. Of course if the same thing happens with the seasons as last year we will be looking at an early Winter. Just got our electric bill and it was the highest I have ever seen it, 263.00. Our house is entirely electric including our water because of the well pump. Our lowest electric bill this past year was 130.00. I haven't even been able to hang the clothes out to dry because of the humidity in the air. Even if I start at 9 in the morning the clothes are still damp by 5 in the afternoon, then you have to start watching for pop up storms so the clothes won't get wet from rain. Betty the hen has gone broody again. I am not to concerned about it at this point because all of my adult hens will be going in to molt soon anyway. The Buff Orpingtons are almost 20 weeks and on laying pellets. Hoping they will start laying in the next month. Built there nesting boxes last week and put some fake eggs in them. School is moving right along. In the next couple of week I have multiple doctor appts coming up. Recheck for my acid reflux, the dreaded mammogram, and a minor out patient surgery. Hubby having dental issues - one tooth extracted last week and two major deep fillings yesterday. So I guess this updates folks for a while.

Friday, August 5, 2011

New Smoothie Recipe

That is, new to me. I got this off the Internet today, not sure where. Tried it this afternoon and it tasted pretty good. I am trying to find ways to get my fruit and veggie servings in each day. I typically am not the type of person to just go and pick up a carrot, etc. to eat for a snack. I am also trying to including items in my diet that will help my acid reflux. I was recently put on a medication, Dexilant, for my acid reflux and I am having some side effects but tried to come off the medication and back on to my Nexium, but the burning came back double. The only thing I am worried about is the calorie content in the smoothies. I am sure this one has at least 300 calories. To off set the difference I will be eating salad and a boiled egg for dinner.

3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup yogurt
1 banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon flax seeds

The recipe did mention if you are not accustomed to alot of fiber in your diet to start off with 1 or 2 teaspoons of the flax seed until your body adjusts to the 1 tablespoon.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

School Schedule

It is that time of the year where any self respecting home school mom is posting their daily school schedule. I worked on tweaking this schedule all summer and it still might need more tweaking as time goes by, but this is what we do all week.

Mondays - Math, History, Bible, Literature, Spelling, Poetry, Cursive, Written or oral narration, Read aloud story. Monday afternoons starting in September will include a group middle school chemistry class 1:30 to 3:30. Monday evenings Grace will take part in a drama ministry team.

Tuesdays - Math, Science, History, Bible, Literature, Spelling, Poetry, Vocabulary, Written or oral narration, Read aloud story. Drama practice in the afternoons for Robin Hood 3:30 to 5:00.

Wednesday - Math, Science, History, Bible, Literature, Map Drills, Poetry, Cursive, Written or oral narration, Read aloud story.

Thursdays - Math, Science, History, Bible, Literature, Spelling, Poetry, Vocabulary, Written or oral narration, Read aloud story. Art class 1:30 t0 2:30.

Fridays - Math, Picture study, Personal development, Story starters, Nature Study, Spelling, Emily Dickinson poetry readings, Read aloud story.

We are still working on getting Grace set up with voice lessons. The only individual in town that teaches voice is always booked up. We will know by mid August if anything is available. This is also a pretty expensive endeavor. Time will tell if this will work out.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Science for the Next Couple of Weeks

For the new school year we have actually started with two science units, Thomas Edison and a solar power building kit. I am handling the Thomas Edison unit and Scott is handling the solar power building kit. Physical science is so above my pay grade. Monday they discussed turning solar into energy and today it was about gear ratio, sprockets, etc. By Monday of next week they hope to start building one of the vehicles that will run on the solar powered batteries.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Prayer Request

A family from our church is going through a very difficult time. The adults in this family are grandparents and guardians of their three grandchildren. At one time it was five but two have graduated and moved out of the home. The grandfather who is 62 was diagnosed with metastasized pancreatic cancer a month ago. He has been sick for much longer but was not diagnosed until recently. The doctors say it is just a matter of weeks. He is ready to move on but is very worried about the family he is leaving behind. Both of the grandparents have been on disability for quite a while. Once he passes on she will loose what little income he brought in. They are very worried about losing their home and and meeting the monthly bills as well as continuing to support three grandchildren. It is enough to sit and watch someone die as he is on hospice at home but to also have all these financial worries. Please pray for Larry (grandfather), he is in so much pain and nauseous constantly, unable to eat. Please pray for comfort and strength. Please pray for the family.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happenings From The Kitchen

A co-worker gave my husband a case of whole wheat spaghetti and a case of whole wheat penne pasta. This should go great with the home made pasta sauce we have been freezing.

Today Grace is attending a Star Wars party. Each attendee was to bring a snack that went along with the theme. Last night we made candy coated light saber pretzels and at the party we will prepare Yoda Soda (sprite and lime sherbet).

This morning I cooked a pot of tea to mix with my new stevia sweetener. Also prepared a pot of fruit green tea to chill in the fridge.

My wash clothes have been looking a little grubby plus I only use one each day then clean them. Recently I purchased some new yarn to make 4-5 new wash clothes.