Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Winter Photos

Here is Josh with his new friend.

I took these photos today. We have had a couple of days break in the snow, it was actually pretty nice out today. There were a few snow flurries and we are supposed to get more snow tonight and tomorrow - anywhere from 1 - 6 inches depending on where in the Puget Sound area you live. My sister and her family are supposed to come up tomorrow, I hope the roads aren't too bad.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Homemade Snow


I don't usually bake very much because I eat too much when I do. At the holidays I do try to bake some Christmas cookies and some other treats to help make the season special. This year Galen and I baked spritz, lemon cream cheese spritz, chip & dip, and Russian tea cake cookies. I also baked Fruit Cocktail Pound Cake and Kuchen. Kuchen is a pastry that has a sweet dough crust with a custard filling and you can add fruit to it also. I make peach and apple and we usually eat it on Christmas morning. The Fruit Cocktail Pound Cake was my mother in laws answer to the traditional fruitcake that so many people don't really like. I will try to add photos of the pound cake and kuchen later.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Time

Like many people, we have been busy during this holiday season. We started by celebrating Thanksgiving with my mom and then my sister and her children joined us for shopping and gingerbread house and cookie decorating. My children have also made paper snowflakes of many shapes and sizes, so that we could have snow inside the house as well as outside. One of our annual traditions at this time of the year is to go out and cut a christmas tree. Although it has become an expensive tradition, it is one that holds a special place in our hearts.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Winter is Upon Us

Once again I have let the blog go by the wayside while attending to other activities. Winter has hit very hard here in the Pacific Northwest and it is just now officially arrived. We have had snow, more snow than we have had in a very long time and colder temperatures than I EVER remember. It was 3 degrees at 8:30 yesterday morning and I have never seen that temperature. I was born and raised here and am well into my 40s - so you can see how long that has been. There is even a possibility of a white Christmas this year and I don't remember ever having one of those, at least not where the white came down on Christmas. I know that people in other parts of the country get this kind of weather every winter, but those of us in Western Washington don't see much snow and most of us don't get much experience driving in these conditions. Due to that, driving around here has been a bit tricky. We are supposed to see a break in the snow tomorrow before more snow on Tuesday. Even with the difficulties the snow and ice brings, I must say that I think it is beautiful especially since I haven't had to get out and drive in it.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Our Mitten Kitten

Mitten Kitten likes baskets. Isn't he cute. He also likes Rusty Kitty.

More Kitty News

Star - Oreo - Splash
Star is a very friendly kitten, playful but also loveable, our friends adopted him. Oreo and Splash are great kittens, both are very playful. Splash is rough and tumble and loves to play fight with his brothers and him mom. Oreo is a purr baby and will cuddle up with you. Yesterday they both went off to an adoption event and if they didn't get adopted there they will have been placed into one of three area pet stores. I had mixed emotions about them leaving, I was tired of having and taking care of so many cats but they had become part of our family after living with us for so long. I hope they find loving forever homes.
What have I learned from this whole experience? It is hard for me to foster, I get emotionally attached to the little kittens. I have learned how important it is to have your animals spayed and neutered. Ignoring stray animals around your neighborhood can endanger your own animals through disease and fighting. Would I do it again? Possibly, if we had an extra room that we didn't need regularly - such as a spare bedroom. I won't be volunteering anytime in the near future, especially since we now have three cats of our own, one of whom is not keen on other animals - including the two she lives with.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Kitties, Kitties, Kitties

This is Rusty, our 16 year old furry boy.

This is Jasmine; aka: little momma; aka: Mean Kitty. She is actually a pretty good cat and would be a great pet for a family who has no other pets. She tolerates the kittens most of the time, but absolutely hates my Rusty kitty. This has been a big challenge.

We train them early to love books. This is Skitters, the petite and only girl of the bunch. She has gone to live with my sister and her family. I will post about the rest of the group later. Blogger photo uploading is just too slow tonight.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Our life . . . Random events - not so minor

So much has happened in our lives since I posted months ago. I have already shared about the kittens - I will post more pictures in a later post. My husband is a Boeing employee who just went back to work today after a 57 day labor dispute. It was great having him home, but stressful watching our savings dwindle. Although we prepare for a strike every contract year, we always hope it won't come to that. We are very thankful that this contract is for four years and we gain an extra year of breathing room. Our daughter moved from Washington state to Nashville, TN and you can read about her adventure on her blog, The Joyful Student . We are excited for her but at the same time will miss her greatly. After an extremely growing year with our next child in line, things have come around and we are doing much better with our relationship. He is a senior in our homeschool and will graduate in May. He is in process of joining the Navy and will probably ship out to boot camp sometime in June. I think it will be a time of growth and self exploration for him. We have had a busy fall with our third child in football, his first year at the high school level. It has been tough competition, but a growing experience for him. He still loves to play, but is glad that it is drawing to an end this week. A blessing to my husband being on strike for so long is that he was able to see our son play in almost all of his games, due to his working swing shift he usually misses all of the games. As you can see we have had a very busy few months.

Crazy Cat Lady

This is Splash before we brought the kittens inside. This is oscar right after we brought them inside and he was the first to be adopted.

Recently, I have been called the “Cat Lady”. You know, one of those people who has WAY too many cats. It all started one day many, many years ago when we acquired a young cat named Rusty who was about two years of age from some friends who were moving out of state. He has been our furry family member for the past 14 years. A year or two after his arrival in our family, we got an all black kitty for our daughter, which she named Velvet. Velvet lived with us for many years until she died of kidney failure a few years ago. And now the story continues:

One day in early August we discovered 3 kittens on our front porch, the next day there were three more. Where did they come from? and where was the mother?, we wondered. We were soon to wonder no more as the very skinny, all black mommy, who looks almost exactly like our daughter’s prior kitty Velvet, showed up. She was not much more than a kitten herself and she evidently found under our porch a safe place to have her brood of 6 kittens. At first I thought she was wild but she had on a very tight flea collar, thus we knew she had been a pet to someone at one time, although we could not find out whose. It didn’t take too long and she started to trust me and come to me when I called, but the kittens would run anytime we tried to get near to them. I contacted Purrfect Pals, a local no kill cat shelter and found some help there. I proceeded to trap all 7 cats and bring them into my house for safety. Once they were all trapped we took them up to the shelter for an examination, they all were healthy. When the kittens were big enough, I took them up to the shelter to be altered and have their vaccinations. We decided to keep one of the kittens and take care of the mommy as she was still a little wild and not likely to be adopted by anyone. I surrendered the other kittens to the shelter, but kept them at my home as foster kittens. Our family has worked on taming them so that they can be adopted. Purrfect Pals hosts adoption events at major pet stores in the area every Saturday and the foster parents bring their little wards to these events so people can see them. The first time we took our kitties to an adoption event they became stressed and hissed at everyone. Even so, one of the cute little guys got adopted. The remaining babies caught an upper respiratory infection and I had to give them an immune booster so that they could get over it before they went to another event. In the meantime they became more and more tame and used to us. Soon three of them were well enough to go to an event. They became so stressed while there, they had to be removed from the display and thus none were adopted and they came back home with us. The fourth little guy was adopted by a friend of ours and now happily has a family of his own. We were down to three kittens, 3 months old and thinking they belonged with us. We tried taking just two of them to an event (thinking they were feeding off of the third one’s stress). They still were stressed and hissed and thus came back to our home. So then I tried taking the mellowest one to an event by himself, he did better but still hissed. Who wants to adopt a hissing, snarly kitten when there are 13 sweet loving kittens nearby? It is very frustrating to have these sweet little kittens in our home and then see them get so stressed that everyone thinks they are snarling wild cats. My sister came and her children came to visit and fell in love with the kittens, now we only have two extras that need homes. A further complication that we have is that mommy kitty HATES my Old Man Kitty and causes a bit of chaos around here. Most of the time, foster parents don’t have their wards this long, we are just having a time with stressed out kitties. So while those at the shelter try to figure out what to do, here it is November and I still have 3 kittens and two adult cats and thus the name cat lady.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Online Surveys - My experience

Recently, I posted about some things that I had been spending my time on. One of those items is online surveys. I started exploring the possibility of doing online surveys to make a little cash to help our budget shortfalls. My experience has been mixed, but has for the most part been pretty positive. I have found that some survey sites seem to make better sense for me to spend my time on than others and that I won't make a fortune, but can make a little bit here and there. There are many types of survey sites, some reward you with an entry into their latest sweeps, others reward with points that can be cashed in for prizes or money after a certain number have been accumulated and others that just pay cash. There are also sites called GPT sites that have surveys and other offers that you sign up for to earn cash. My experience with the GPT sites have not been very positive and therefore I won't spend time talking about them.

When you sign up for a survey site, they usually have you complete profiles on different subjects so that they can better match you to surveys that you will qualify for. When you are invited to complete a survey, many times there are a few qualifying questions to see if you meet the profile that they are looking for. Sometimes you qualify and sometimes you don't. My favorite site is www.mysurvey.com . They don't send me a ton of surveys, but I seem to qualify for most that they do send. They reward with points that can be redeemed for cash after you accumulate 1000. I started doing online surveys in June and have cashed out with them twice. Their surveys are usually fairly short and so I feel that the time spent is worth it. I also like www.surveyspot.com . A lot of their surveys are rewarded with a chance in their sweeps, but they also have some paying surveys and I have gotten most of my paying surveys from them, including a $20 online focus group participation. When you answer their qualifying questions you get a chance at an instant win, while most groups give you nothing for the qualifying questions. Most survey sites have a minimum cashout balance, meaning that you have to accumulate a certain amount of points or dollars in your account before you can get paid. When I first started looking into doing surveys, I signed up for as many panels as I could find. After doing so, I started looking at what the rewards were and found that a couple had nothing that I wanted and they didn't redeem for cash. I also found that many survey panels used the same survey companies and then you wouldn't qualify because you had already done that or a similar survey. My advice to others is first look over how they payout and if it is in prizes, make sure there are items you would like. There is nothing worse than spending lots of time doing surveys and finding out that the rewards are not worth it. As a rule, I prefer those sites that pay cash and don't really spend time on those that are only for sweeps entries or prizes. My exception to that rule is for surveyspot and NPDOR. I already mentioned survey spot. NPDOR is a site that awards points for surveys and then you can bid on their prize board. I have only done a few surveys with them, but they were interesting and it was kind of fun bidding, even though I haven't won anything yet.

Here is a list of panels that I am somewhat familiar with:

www.mysurvey.com - reward with points that can be cashed in for money or donated to charity.
www.greenfield.com - Athough they pay for some surveys they mostly reward with sweeps. I haven't qualified for many surveys and I have found that a lot of other sites use their surveys and then pay for them. I am probably going to drop this one.
www.globalopinionpanels.com - they reward with points for cash, 5000 minimum cash out. They also give some points for qualifier questions even if you don't qualify for the survey.
www.surveyspot.com - some for instant win chances, some for sweeps entries, some paid. I like this one a lot.
www.zoompanel.com - points for prizes. I dropped this one because they didn't have anything I really wanted.
www.opinionoutpost.com - points for cash. 50 point minimum cashout - 10 points = $1. I have cashed out once since April and I like this one, I don't always qualify, but they pay decent points for those surveys you do qualify for.
www.globaltestmarket.com - points for cash. Points = $.05 ea and you need 1000 to cash in. I haven't cashed in on this one yet.
www.uslightspeedpanel.com - points for cash or prizes. They pay via paypal and I just cashed in my first time. You need at least 575 points. I get quite a few invites from them.
www.pineconeresearch.com - paid surveys. They pay for each survey automatically. I have completed one survey and promptly received a $3 check in the mail. I don't get many invites.
www.npdor.com - points to bid on their prize board.
www.your2cents.com - paid surveys. Registered in June, no invites yet.
www.valuedopinions.com - paid surveys. $20 minimum to cash in. I have $8 total and haven't had any invites since June 22.
www.opinioncentral.com - points for prizes. The prizes, in my opinion, were not worth the effort to receive them. I dropped this one.
www.americanconsumeropinion.com - paid surveys. I haven't qualified for one yet.
www.harrispollonline.com - points for cash, 800 minimum for $5. I haven't had many invites yet.
www.testspin.com - Amazon gift cards. Minimum $10 to cash out. I haven't qualified for much - but will keep trying on this one.
www.clearvoicesurveys.com - cash, mimimum $10 to cash out. I haven't qualified for one yet. They did credit $.25 to my account for screener questions.
www.surveysavvy.com - cash - I have only done one survey so far.

Surveys are an interesting way to earn some extra cash without having to leave home.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Get Smart - Lighthearted end to Tough Week

Yesterday afternoon, 1st Mustang and I had some alone time and so we went to see the new Get Smart movie. Steve Carell, of Office fame, stars as Maxwell Smart and was perfect for the part. Anne Hathaway plays Agent 99 and does a wonderful job as well. It was SO FUNNY! I don't think I have laughed so much at a movie. Get Smart will appeal to most people who like a good comedy. The movie is fairly clean, although there are some sexual innuendo and one bare bottom scene, so it does warrant its PG-13 rating. Seeing this movie was a welcomed, lighthearted end to a tough week.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Fourth of July

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty , and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. . . . .

. . .The Declaration of Independence

I am thankful for the freedoms we have here in the United States of America, but I can't help but wonder how biblical the revolution was. I have not studied the Declaration in depth, but the copied portion, on first glance, appears to be contradictory to the scriptures. I think this calls for a little more study. What do you think?

My Favorite

This little pot was given to me by 1st Mustang's aunt. It came from his grandmother's farm and I love it. This year I potted it up with an ornamental grass, English Daisies, Marigolds and some cute trailing flowers. I am pleased with the result.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Back Yard Birds

Today 1st Mustang and I saw a Spotted Towhee in our backyard and we observed that the Goldfinches have discovered the birdfeeders. I have never seen the Spotted Towhee in our yard before and so it was an exciting discovery! Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of it.

The To Do List

I have been trying to work on my productivity this week and so I made a To Do List and tried to keep to it. Here is what was on my list:

Change out the hummingbird feeder food
Add America's Godly Heritage to our Government Lesson Plan
Go Grocery Shopping
Go to Costco
Clean the Downstairs (with the boys help)
Weed Front Flowerbed
Do the invitations for Boy #3s birthday party
Clean the Cobwebs
Mail a Package
View writing lessons and email observations to IEW elist.

Not yet Finished
Go through Boy #2 and Boy #3s grammar books and see where they are on their summer reading.
Make Jello Salad
Make Macaroni Salad
Make Strawberry Pie

I have accomplished alot this week and it feels good! These items were on top of the regular housework, cooking and laundry that gets done during the week.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Flowerbeds and Yard Work

One of the things that has captured some of my time and attention lately is our yard. We are slowly trying to fill the flowerbeds and make the yard more appealing to us and the birds and butterflies.

The flowerbed in the above photo was my main project for this year. I have had trouble keeping things alive in this bed as there is an overhang and it doesn't get much water even when it is raining. I am trying to be more diligent with my watering this year. The bed has a Yellow Oriental Lilly of some sort, two daylilly plants, two Penstimon plants, Shasta Daisies and Delphiniums. The blue flower is a delphinium, and the pinkish one is a penstimon. Penstimon are supposed to attract hummingbirds, although I haven't seen any yet. I also have a few marigolds in the front of the bed. There is still room and so I would like to add a couple of taller plants to the back row. All in all, I am happy with how it looks for now.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Deadliest Monster, Prologue & Ch. 1

In preparation for the upcoming school year, I am currently reading the book The Deadliest Monster by J.F. Baldwin. This book is an introduction to worldviews and utilizes the novels Dr. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson to illustrate the two main positions that people hold on mans' condition. In the prologue he gives a brief synopsis of the two stories and then in Chapter 1 he asks the question, which monster do we see when we look in the mirror. Either Shelley or Stevenson are right, but both cannot be. Either man is good and can save himself or he is sinful and in need of a savior. Christianity recognizes that the good news starts with the bad and thus recognizes sin and the need of the savior. Also in chapter 1, Mr. Baldwin presents a survey of the 10 most influential non-christian worldviews in hopes that it will enable the reader to be more prepared to fulfill the Great Commision found in Mathew 28:19 - 20. So far I am finding this book very engaging and thought provoking.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Scattered Thoughts and Attentions

Once again I have left this blog to itself for a very long time. I have had my attentions elsewhere and unfortunately have not stayed focused on any one thing long enough to make real progress in any area. I have spent time trying to learn enough html to do a simple webpage for my family history, got a bit frustrated and didn't finish. Then the little bit I had finished caught the attention of a cousin in another state and that has provided me with the new motivation that I needed. I even fell off of the menu planning wagon and although we have had decent meals in spite of it, I really need to get back to being organized in this area. I have been working on school planning, which involves more teacher training and pre-reading of books. Currently, the teacher training involves rewatching the Teaching Writing Structure and Style DVDs from IEW and discussing them on the e-loop for said program and prereading The Deadliest Monster by Baldwin. I have one son who will graduate next year and so I am trying to figure out what items I feel he still needs before he leaves our nest. In addition to our soon to be senior, we also have one son starting highschool and one going into 7th grade. Another area that has captured my attention is our yard. There is pruning and weeding and planting of new flowers. Summer is finally bringing in some warmth and so my attention moves outside. And lastly, with rising gas prices pinching our budget, I looked for ways to earn a few pennys to help stretch the budget. I have been experimenting with doing online surveys and have had varying success, it is definately not going to make us wealthy, but it brings in a little to supplement the gas budget. I hope to expand on each of these areas in later posts over the next few weeks as things progress in each of the areas.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Intiman Theatre - Anne Frank

On Mothers' Day we went to see the play Anne Frank done by the Intiman Theatre group in Seattle. They did a wonderful job portraying the emotion of the time and the struggle that those in hiding went through and the risks that those who hid them faced. Although I was familiar with the story, I didn't realize that Mr. Frank survived the concentration camp and learned that fact from the play. The younger two boys and I are studying WWII and our oldest boy is trying to finish his art appreciation credit, so although the story was heartwrenching, it fit the bill for where we are in our schooling right now.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Tonight boy #3 and I were home alone together and so I rented Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium for us to watch together. It is a magical sweet story about a magic toy shop and learning to believe in yourself and your potential. Dustin Hoffman did a wonderful job at playing Mr. Magorium and Natalie Portman did well as Mahoney, his apprentice. I give this one a big thumbs up for the whole family.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Fireproof - Movie preview

Awhile ago I reviewed the movie Facing the Giants on my blog. It is a christian based movie about football. Well one of the members of the PR team for that movie commented on my blog tonight that they are coming out with a new movie called Fireproof in the fall. I just watched the trailer for it and it looks interesting. You can check it out at www.fireproofthemovie.com . I like to support movies that are clean and teach a good lesson as this one seems to do.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Menu Planning and Shopping

During the almost 28 years of my marriage, I have constantly struggled with making sure that we have good meal daily. Cooking is not my love, but I do love my family and want to give them a variety of healthy menus. The other thing that I struggled with on and off is keeping the grocery bill to a minimum. When you don't plan well, you end up with many trips to the grocery store - which wastes money, time and gas. I recently read America's Cheapest Family by Steve Economides and learned a couple of things that may be common knowledge to others,but I found very helpful. One was a reminder to limit your grocery shopping trips, his family goes shopping once a month. I used to shop once a week, but because of my poor planning ended up shopping several times a week. In his book he suggests you begin where you are and start reducing your trips, if you shop several times a week - change to once a week, if once a week change to once every two weeks. In order to accomplish this, they freeze their milk and they make sure they eat their produce in the order that it gets ripe. This may be a "duh" for those of you reading this, but it was great for me to hear. I worked to reduce my trips to once a week and started freezing milk. This has worked out great! I am now working to reduce my trips to once every two weeks and once a month to Costco. My husband asked why we still had grocery money left, so it must be working.

Menu Plan Monday - Week of May 4th, 2008

This week I chose to use the BBQ Banner as we grilled burgers today. This week looks to be a good stay at home week - I hope it turns out that way. Here is our menu.

Monday: Grilled burgers (some turkey, some beef), baked beans, olives and orange/pineapple jell-o salad

Tuesday: Oven Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Stir Fry Veggies

Wednesday: Corn Chowder and muffins

Thursday: Sausage, Macaroni & Cheese, California Blend Veggies

Friday: Spaghetti & meatballs, Salad

Saturday: Spanish Rice, Green Beans
Sunday: Mothers Day!

Click on the banner to check out the other menus hosted at Organized Junkie's blog.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

Although I have been pretty consistent over the past couple of months in planning menus, I haven't posted one for awhile, so I thought I would try to start up again. Here is our menu for this week:

April 27, 2008

Sunday: Sandwiches
Monday: Eggs & Bacon
Tuesday: Soup or ??? Refrigerator Repairman coming
Wednesday: Salmon, Broccoli, Rice
Thursday: Salisbury Steak, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
Friday: Oven Fried Chicken, Macaroni Salad, Stir Fry Veggies
Saturday: Baked Oatmeal, Sausage, OJ (1stmustang working)

I am leaving Tuesday to be a flexible, grab whatever day - two family members have medical appointments and the refrigerator repairman is coming. Our refrigerator has been on the blink since Friday evening and the soonest the repairman could come was Tuesday morning. Luckily, we are a camping family and have many coolers and a large freezer in the garage. Also, when 1stmustang works on Saturday, he starts at a weird hour - he leaves the house at 11:15 am and returns about 9pm. This makes having a regular dinner pretty much out of the question and so I try to cook a big breakfast. Click on the image at the top to see what everyone else is cooking up this week.

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

Yesterday, my husband, our two oldest boys and I went to see the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. It was well put together and exposed the censorship that goes on in the scientific community, specifically against those who are coming to the conclusion that there must have been an intelligent design in the creation of life. For a field that is supposed to encourage questioning, it is certainly being discouraged, especially if that questioning seems to go against the conclusions of darwinists. The oppression seems to be so bad that some scientists will not go public with their findings for fear of losing their research grants and even their jobs. This is a must see, no matter what your beliefs are concerning the origins of life. I would say that those in their teen years and up could learn a great deal from this documentary.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A Glimpse of Spring

Yesterday and today the weather has been so beautiful! Yesterday it was around 60 degrees and partially sunny. I was able to work out in the yard most of the day and made a dent in the weeding of the flower beds in the front yard. My poor body is telling me that it has been a very long time since I did that. Today it was in the 70s and I want to soak up all of the sun. Our area is known as the rainy Pacific Northwest - and this year we have had an extra dose of that rain, along with colder than normal temperatures and so these past two days of warmth and sun are especially appreciated. The 10 day forcast for our area shows showers, rain, and snow - SNOW in April - come on, so much for global warming in part of the country. Hmmmm

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What the Future Holds

We are plugging away at our schooling, making changes here and there. I am constantly tweaking our schedule and our materials, trying to find the right fit for our family. It has been a delicate balancing act for boy #1 to work a part time job along with completing his school work and he is looking forward to being completely done with high school. One item that we found last school year that has worked extremely well for us is the Notgrass history curriculum. Boy #1 is finishing up the Exploring America through history, literature and Bible and then we will start Exploring World History. I love the readability and thoroughness of this curriculum and it is laid out in a fashion that is so easy to use. At this point in our schooling, I am all about easy to use. We have also had success with Institute for Excellence in Writing materials and we started using Teaching Textbooks for Math, which has also been a blessing. Boy #1 is working through the geometry text and Boy #2 has started the Algebra I. I have been using Homeschool Tracker to keep us organized and that has also been a big help. Currently, I have been looking ahead to what we want to finish up with Boy #1 so that he can be graduated and next year looks to be mostly Life Skills and Language arts for him. Boy #2 starts high school next year and so I have been looking over what I did with our daughter and Boy #1 to see what I want to repeat with Boy #2 and what didn't work. I get a bit more organized with each child - so by the time Boy #3 hits high school, we should have everything down pat. This year Boys #2 & #3 and I were reading through This Country of Ours for American History. It was going slow and they wanted to study World War II, so I decided to jump ahead (we did a timeline from where we left off to about 1940). We are reading a text together and they are each reading a book set in the time period. We will spend the rest of this school year learning about the 1940s, the countries involved in the War and various other aspects of the war. This unit will be a bit free flowing as that is what seems to be needed at the moment. I will post more about how next year will look for us, as I pull it together.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Remodel Projects

This is the nook, this is where I keep a kitchen table that I use as a school desk and I have several small bookshelves with current school books and other resources.

Boy#2 is playing a video game on the xbox and boy#3 is on the computer. The green to the right of the photo are vertical blinds on our sliding glass door. The nook is just off of the family room and I was standing in the kitchen to take this photo.

Since the fall we have been busy doing some upgrades to our home. First, we replaced our carpet on the first floor and up the stairs and in the hallway upstairs. Then we put in laminate flooring in our diningroom, kitchen and nook. The next project was to better utilize our small family room - we had several large older pieces of furniture in there and it was not a comfortable room for our family. We gave away what could be given, and dumped what was beyond saving, of the large furniture and slowly replaced the items with smaller scale items. The goal was to have enough seating that all us could comfortably sit and enjoy a movie together. Although the walls are still empty, the project is nearing completion and I must say that I am pleased with how it is coming along.

Moving On

Today we finished moving our daughter's last few things out of our home into her new home. She has been staying with some of her friends that live about 45 minutes south of us and now they have purchased a new townhome and she will be renting from them. I must say that it is with mixed emotions that I watch her move on. I am very proud of her and excited for her to start this next stage of her life but also miss having her around just to chat with whenever. Her new home is just minutes from her work, instead of the 45 - 60 minute commute that she did have. It is also closer to church and a lot of her other activities. This move will save her time and money and also bring a bigger sense of independence. Along with this move another move will be happening soon. Boy #3 will move into Big Sister's room (after a paint job, of course) and thus Boy #2 and Boy #3 will have their own rooms for the first time ever.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Are you of the Curious Sort?

On our trip to Seattle this afternoon/evening we first went to the waterfront. I wanted to take the boys to a funky touristy spot, The Ye Olde Curiousity Shop . This shop has been open for over 100 years and sells all kinds of tourist items - but the real appeal is all of the stuff that they have on display. It is sort of like a museum of oddities. They have two mummies, one male and one female, real amazon shrunken heads, large puffer fish, many stuffed animals - not of the cute cuddly kind but the real dead kind. Two headed calves and even a supposed mermaid. Their collections are not all weird, they also have a great collection of foreign coins that you can view and then there are all of the dollar bills folded into bow ties, shirts and flowers. It is a great place to visit, especially if you have teenage boys. Their website has photos of some of the curious oddities. If you visit Seattle, be sure to take in the waterfront area. The area includes the aquarium, Maritime Museum, many shops and eateries.

The Romans Have Come!

Today we went to visit the Seattle Art Museum to appreciate the visiting Louvre exhibit of Roman art. The large exhibit contains a great variety of artifacts, including marble sculptures, mosaics, jewelry and more. It tells a story of the rulers and also the everyday life of the Roman people. As you start through the exhibit, you first come to the rulers, then the everyday citizen, women and children, the home and the foreigners, soldiers and religion. It was well thought out and very educational. What a great way to spend an evening!

The exhibit will be in Seattle through May 11th and then it will move on to the Oklahoma City Museum of Art starting in June. I don't know if it will be hosted by any other museums after that or if it will go back to the Louvre. If you look at the Seattle Art Museum website there is a moving picture on the main page that gives you a sneak peak at some of the art.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

First Mustang's 7 Random facts

My husband was tagged by flying solo to do the 7 Random facts meme too. Since he doesn't have a blog or want one - I am posting his 7 random facts, dictated to me this morning before church.

1. I like Mustangs (cars)

2. I like fruity flavored ice cream

3. I am restoring a 1965 mustang.

4. I think global warming is a farce.

5. I am looking forward to Christ's return.

6. I wish I had a bigger shop.

7. I want a big screen 1080p TV.

He also decided his nickname should be First Mustang.

So there you have it, my husband's first post on Tootlestime. We are tagging anyone who hasn't already been tagged. Let us know if you post your seven random things.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

7 Random Facts About Me

I was tagged by my friend Shiloh Mom with this Meme - First here are the rules:

7 Random Facts... now these are the rules:
-Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
- Post these rules on your blog.
- List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
- Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
- Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog

Here goes:

1. I am only 4'10" tall
2. I am researching my family tree
3. I enjoy reading Mrs. Pollifax mysteries by Dorothy Gilman
4. I have four children
5. I have one sister and two step sisters and one step brother.
6. I live in a bright yellow house
7. I drive a Black Cherry Chevy Suburban.

I am tagging Ladybug at Christian Life in the 21st Century, Artax at his new An Inconceivable Blog, Waldo Pepper at his new Flying Solo blog, Our friends the Reddings at
Redding Mountain . I know that isn't seven but it will have to do. Have fun!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

School has Begun

We started back to school yesterday and so far so good. We haven't added everything back into the schedule yet - slowly but surely. I hope to have everything back on for next week. Here is what we have to start:

Boy #1 (11th Grade):

Notgrass American History
Reading: Christy
Teaching Textbooks Geometry
Devo time: Bible reading and In His Steps
PE: Choice of activity (will get more of a schedule later)
Drawing: Barry Stebbing video
Art Appreciation: "The Arts" by VanLoon
Boy 1 also has a part time job at a local fast food restaurant.

Boy #2(8th Grade)

History: This Country of Ours, Colonial Living and other resources
Saxon Algebra 1/2.
Bible Reading
PE: Choice of Activity
Biography: George Washington's World
Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science
Geography: The Complete Book of Marvels
Easy Grammar
Literature: The Story of King Arthur and His Knights

Boy #3 (6th Grade)

History: Same as Boy #2
Saxon 87
Bible Reading
PE: Choice of Activity
Biography: Carry on Mr. Bowditch
Nature: Pagoo
Geography: A Child's Geography of the World
Literature: Heroes
Easy Grammar

We will add our IEW curriculum back in later this week or at the beginning of next week. I haven't had picture study at all this school year and so I want to get that started again. I would also like to have a group geography time to play games and read through "You Can Change the World" and "Material World". Both of these books show the vast differences between our society and those around the world. We will also add our typing software and geography drill software back into our schedule. Auto shop is on hold for now, as my husband has another project he needs to finish before he can get back to it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Busy Holiday Season

I am finally able to grab a few moments to post about how the rest of our December and the first part of January went and is going. After celebrating Christmas with my side of the family, we helped with a teen Christmas party, celebrated a birthday, cut down and decorated a Christmas tree, finished up our Christmas shopping and purchased our new laminate flooring, went to our friends' Christmas Concert, moved my mom to her new apartment (on Christmas Eve Day), had my sister, her family and my mom stay over night Christmas Eve and open gifts together on Christmas morning. Due to illness, we were unable to have our friends up for our traditional pizza dinner. The day after Christmas we started ripping up carpet and linoleum to prepare for our new laminate flooring. A good friend from church came up on Thursday and Friday and helped my husband lay 300 sq. feet of laminate in our diningroom, kitchen and breakfast nook. Our boys helped tremendously in the demolition and the men did a beautiful job in laying the laminate. It was a huge job and my husband says that it is my Christmas present for the next five years. We celebrated New Years Eve at friends along with many other friends - it has been a busy few weeks and we are capping it off with two of our sons catching the stomach flu. My husband went back to work today to rest from his vacation.