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.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Survival Training

Scott and Grace have been watching alot of survival type shows on Netflix. I know there is alot of blogs around that are teaching preparedness and such. We do alot of these things at our home. Storing food, raising chickens, soon to be raising catfish, gardening, etc. Well Scott wanted to start a series of lessons with Grace along those lines. Today was the first lesson - how to build a fire. First he taught her what type of materials to collect.

How to use a knife and continue to build the nest of materials.

What a flint was and what type of knife to use that would make a spark.

After three tries she made fire. She was very excited.

Random Updates

Still working on the catfish pond, it is deeper than it looks in this picture. Other projects have gotten in the way of finishing the pond.

Chickens are still giving up 4-6 eggs a day. Mostly from the buff orpingtons. I actually have three dozen eggs in the fridge at the moment. All the older chickens are finished with their molt and some added some colors that were not there before.

This chicken was completely black and I noticed today that she now has grey and some white on the tips of her feathers.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Toccoa Falls

Today while I was attending a board meeting for our home school support group, Scott and Grace went on a little field trip. This is Toccoa Falls one of the local attractions in our area. Very beautiful place that we have visited often over the years.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Hard Week on Our Cars

This week our cars have been run through the ringer. Truly by today I just had to stop and chuckle. I don't remember if I had mentioned before that Travis has two cars. One truck that is his daily drive and one old BMW that he has rebuilt for road racing. Well four nights ago while test driving the BMW Travis ran into a deer. Travis was very upset due to the fact he had just finished putting a new coat of paint on it and now the car will need a new hood and front bumper. Now cut to yesterday morning. I got a text message that Travis had flipped his truck. He was fine but he thinks the truck is totalled. No other cars involved, he drifted off the shoulder of the road then over corrected. Beyond the should was down hill, the tires slid on wet grass then slowly rolled over. Travis drove home the BMW last night to have a car to drive back and forth to work. It was a treacherous ride because it was raining and the BMW has no heat, defrost, and only one windshield wiper. I told him last night that he didn't need to be driving that car on the road so he took Scott's car to work and Scott took my car to his work. Well Scott called me a little while ago to say that he had hit a rock with my front bumper and it was going to need some work. Can you believe this!!!! We are blessed that no one is hurt and that is what I am trying to focus on.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fall Break

Considering we started school back in July and have already racked up 71 school days, we decided it was time to take a couple of days off. All the public schools in our area have had their Fall Breaks we figured it was now time for ours. Yesterday Scott and Grace went on a hike and Grace got some beautiful pictures of all the colors of Fall around us here in the North Georga Mountains.