Saturday, February 25, 2012

An Early Start on Spring

Hubby is sprouting seeds. He decided to use lots of things we had laying around the house. The photo above is pea sprouts in a fish tank. Last year our peas did not do well. This year hubby soaked the seeds and started them inside.

Next up we have grass growing in another fish tank. Why are we growing grass you ask? Well for the chickens of course. Just testing some waters here. They need greens and we are experimenting with everything we can to give that to them. Their runs are bear and if we throw the seed out they will obviously eat it before it sprouts. Also I cannot let them free range due to many dogs and hawks in the area.

Last but not least is the herbs growing in a hermit crab tank.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Digital Photography

A few nights ago I stumbled on to Amanda Bennett's website of unit studies. We did her gardening study last year as part of our science curriculum. I had forgotten about her study of digital photography. I downloaded it and we started it today. Thought this might be something Grace could be interested in because of her background of loving art. I also bought a study on the Elections for 2012 and a study about Germany.

Today we sketched and learned about the main parts of a digital camera, the meaning of focus, frame and effect, Aristotle's contribution to photography and who was credited with the very first photograph. The fun part was starting a book about colors through photographs. Today Grace picked green and took four pics of items that are green. Once we have all the colors photographed we will put the book together.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ponderings Purchases for The Next School Year

Okay, I already had in mind what I wanted to do this next school year as far as curriculum purchases go. We are kind of different with some of the things we like to study. This was the original plan:
History - Living History of Our World and Student Journal from Angie Odell
Science - Nutrition 101
Math - Teaching Textbooks
English - Language Lessons for the Secondary Child Book 2 from Queen Homeschool, Essay Writing class for middle school from an outside tutor
P.E. - We will continue going to Jazzercise
Fine Arts - Drawing Classes outside of the home, drama groups
Elective - Herbal Remedies from

All of these items would need to be purchased and would be a total of 582.00 for the year. I was really pretty okay with my choices. That was until I looked at my shelves and saw what all I had that could be used without spending hardly anything. I am really trying to live a frugal lifestyle and using what we have would be the wiser choice. For History I have a book about presidents until Ronald Reagan that I would really like us to go through, a Greek Mythology book, America The Story of Us DVD and study guides, as well as lapbook about American Government and the Elections of 2012. For Science I have a nutrition book already here and I might look to my home school support group to see if anyone would let me borrow one of their apologia books from Jeannie Fulbright. This would leave me with only three items to purchase: Teaching Textbooks, Language Lessons, and Herbal Remedies which would bring the price down to - 222.00. This way we would have more money to spend around the homestead and still have plenty of educational possibilities around the house.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Random Highlights Of The Last Few Days

Sunday was all about the kitchen. After church I spent the afternoon in the kitchen making some treats for the family to indulge over this week. I tried a vanilla wafer recipe which mainly taste like a shortbread cookie. Good all the same. The special treat though was the tree bark. Made from semi-sweet chocolate chips, butter, saltines, brown sugar, and baking soda. Very good. Later in the afternoon I baked home made pizza for dinner. The adults at sausage, pepperoni, banana peppers, and baby spinach. Yum!

Today is my 45th birthday. This past year has really been a struggle with aches and pains and other medical issues. I am hoping for a better year. Our son Travis got a new job with Toyota that he will start on Monday. He has worked for a window and door company for almost four years. The job is okay but no possibility for any more raises or moving up in the company. Travis has alot of experience with cars (body work and mechanical repairs). This is the foundation to get to dream job for him. The only down side is that the job is a 50 minute drive from home. He and three of his friends are discussing renting a relatives home to cut down on expenses and drive time. It is very said to think of my first leaving the nest.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Let's Talk "Economy"

Friday I went to one store to purchase groceries (meat, staples, produce, etc.) at the cost of 162.00. Yesterday I shopped at Wal-mart to get other items at a cheaper price (dog and cat food, toliet paper, birthday present, etc.) another 190.00. Everything I bought should last us 2-3 weeks with the exception of bread, milk, cheese and produce. I did make a menu out for the next 14 days to help utilize everything I have on hand. Dinner choices will be chicken and rice fajitas, enchiladas, whole chicken, roast, tacos, home made pizza, breakfast, fried noodles, meatless meal, grilled cheese and soup, spaghetti, chicken tetrazzini, black bean burgers and a couple of more I can't remember. Anyway this whole ramble is to prove just how bad the economy has become. A couple of years ago we could get by with spending 100.00 a week on groceries, etc. for a family of four, totaling 400.00 a month. Now we are lucky to get in under 650.00 a month. I will mention that we are eating better, less processed and more organic and whole foods. So I know that some of our new eating habits have increased the grocery bill. Another budgetary item that is killing us is gas. Since hubby has been moved back to a five day work week (he drives 1 hour and 15 minutes one way to work) our gas consumption has increased considerably. I am usually able to spend about 30.00 a week and not need to refill until the following week. Hubby needs to fill up nearly every day. So roughly we figure between the two of use we are spending over a 100.00 a week in gas. When you add the gas and food bill each month your are talking about 1100.00 dollars. That is very close to one entire two week check. Just one example of the inflation of food prices, Kraft Mac and Cheese was .60 a box at Wal-mart and now is .98 while Ingles (who has always been high) is 1.48. Will the craziness every end. In my humble opinion I don't think so.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A History Change for Next Year

Last year it was a tough choice between following the history recommendation on or A Living History of Our World Series that I can purchase through . Ultimately SCM won out and I had all intentions of following through with the six year cycle until graduation. After spending the last chool year on Module 1 Creation - Ancient Egypt I feel that it wasn't very interesting for Grace. She seems to be more interested at moment in American History which would not show up in the history cycle until 11th and 12th grade. I think next year we will change to A Living History of Our World Volume 2 which starts with The Civil War and goes through the early 1900s. It will still be a Charlotte Mason approach to history with a notebooking journal. The volumes that are currently available are :
Volume 1 Ancient Americas Through the Gold Rush
Volume 2 The Civil War Through the Early 1900s
Volume 3 1900s Through Modern Day
I believe Volume 4 will come out in 2012. Hopefully a new volume will come out each year and if she really likes them we might be able to finish all but one of the planned volumes. Luckily Queen Homeschool will be at GHEA convention in May and I can see the books again before purchasing and make sure it will meet our requirements.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Literature Unit

For Literature Grace is reading Christian Heroes: Then and Now Corrie Ten Boom, Keeper of the Angels' Den. This is actually the second book in the series that she has read. The first was about Gladys Alyward and her missionary work in China. Obviously in this book there are many references to World War II, Adolf Hitler and The Holocaust. We have not studied much history about this time frame because I was waiting on Grace to mature a little and be able to handle it. So much tragedy and sorrow. I decided to buy another book to go along with it for me to read to her to give some background information on Adolf Hitler and what was going on in Europe at the time. I think it has been very eye opening for her to hear what actually happened during the awful time in our world's history. The Corrie Ten Boom book came with an unit study booklet. We are only using it for the chapter and discussion questions.

The Craziness Of It All

Life has been plum crazy lately. We have been over run with doctor's appointments. As many of you know I have been struggling with what I thought was joint pain in my elbows and muscle pain in my forearms. I visited my regular doctor multiple times and they came up with zero. My neck started bothering me about a month ago so I broke down and decided to visit a chiropractor. Low and behold there is nothing wrong with my elbow joints I actually have myofacisitis in my muscle and tendons in my arms. So now I am visiting the chiropractor two times a week for my neck and arms. When I went to have a regular eye exam the doctor found a retinal scar in my right eye which means today I am off to a specialist to do a retinal scan to see if the scar is old and needs no treatment or new and needes treatment. Grace had some minor surgery done on her big toe about a month ago at the podiatrist and had a reaction to some of the medication involved so the toe has been pretty painful. That required a couple of visits back for rechecks and now anitbiotices. Two weeks ago I had a horrible respiratory virus that required two visits to the regular doctor. Two days ago Daisy the pug start with gastro problems and has been at the vet for the past two days. Needless to say we are all doctored out. It will be nice when we can go one week without any doctor's appointments.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Grace's New Designs

Of course anime still rules over all. But she has started a drawing class that is broadening her mind some also.

Sorry for the poor quality on some of the photos.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Happenings Around the Homestead

Tried to upload some pics but blogger not corporating tonight. Anyway, remember our experiment of growing greens in side with a grow light. It is slow go but we do have some spinach and oak leaf growing. Hopefully blogger will allow me to get some pics up soon. Our sprouter is working great. Already been through three sessions of sprouting. Some for us and some for the chickens. I bought some non treated or coated grass seed from the feed store a couple of days ago and hope to plant it soon for the chickens to graze on. Their runs are barren at the moment. Normally because of the non option of free ranging them I supply them with greens but with groceries becoming so expensive that is just not an option at this point. When the garden is up and running again we will have plenty to share with the chickens. On payday we will order the remainder of our garden seeds and will start planting the greens in April. On the cooking front we are trying to incorporate more meatless meals. Not vegan or vegitarian meals just meatless because of the economy and the more I read about feed lots and such I just don't want to support that. A couple of weeks ago we tried our first Bocca soy burger and liked it. But of course then we did research and noticed all the problems with eating alot of soy ( GMO, and the processing part with chemicals) and that kind of turned us off of eating alot of soy. It is really hard to find organic soy products other than milk in our town. Last week I prepared our first black bean burger, it was also pretty good. I have purchased some soy crumbles to use in spaghetti and a newer product made out of fungi to take the place of chicken. I will let you know how that works out when it is cooked. Something else I am looking at is bartering. I have a friend about a hour from us that has a cow and can make her own butter and cheese. I have sent her a message asking if she would like to do some bartering this spring and summer for produce from our garden. I emailed another friend that bakes really good bread (which I am awful at) and asked her about trading loaves of home made bread for our eggs. We are getting about 4-7 eggs a day and soon that number will go up to 5-10 a day which is more than we can consume. Hoping both of those endeavors work out. The fish pond has been put on hold a bit with Scott now working 5 days a week and preparing for a bit art show this weekend. Hope to get back to that soon.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Up and Running

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. LOL. Life without a computer. Or should I say life without my computer. Grace, Scott and Travis still had their computers. But Grace doesn't like to share hers, Scott's is on life support at this moment, and Travis isn't home much. I didn't realize how much I actually use the computer until it was gone for over a week. Now don't get me wrong, I didn't go throw withdrawal or anything. But between school, paying bills, blogging, etc., let's just say it was missed. Today I finally got it back. I've missed checking everyone's blogs and talking with some of my online friends. Hopefully tomorrow things will be back to normal as far as blogging goes.