Sunday, September 26, 2010

I'll jump on the vacation bandwagon

I thought I'd share a few pics from our family trip this summer. We rented a beach house on Topsail (pronounced Topsul) Island, NC. This was our first time to the ocean and to the Carolina's, as a family, so I wanted to go somewhere that was less populated. This location was so, so perfect for us. The house was nice (oceanfront with private walkway to the beach) and the beach was virtually empty. At the busiest point of the day, which might have been early afternoon, the closest people (and by that I mean maybe a group of 4 or 5 at the most) were 200 yards away. It was like being on a private beach. Tons of seashells - nice, smooth ones too, not those broken, jagged daggers that you find in Ocean City! The only "downside" of the island is there isn't a whole lot to do, so if you like to hit the beach during the day and then play on boardwalks or a tackle a game of Hillbilly Golf (Honest, this is a place in Gatlinburg, TN. You play the round on the side of a mountain. You ride an incline to reach the course. I'm a hillbilly, mountain Mama from WV, yes I had to play! I shot a good game that night. I have pics somewhere.), then this island probably isn't for you. Not a lot of "nightlife" happening. It was awesome though...didn't want to leave.

View from the sun deck of our house (well, "ours" for the week. I wish that was my daily view!)

Sunrise our first morning. I love the picture of Julianna standing at the edge. The beauty and power of the ocean will never cease to amaze me.

You could fill buckets of shells everyday if you wanted to.

See? No one. This was close to midday. (Of course, we did go very late in the season, so that probably had a little to do with it.)

Jolly Roger Pier

Another sunrise (I have quite a few. I'll spare you any more.)

Family Pic

Julianna and her first palm tree

Our GPS in the garage at the house. This just got me tickled for whatever reason.

The ocean and surf the day that Hurricane Earl was coming for a visit. He turned out to be a big bust, so I shouldn't even give him any credit!

This chair is the unsung hero of Hurricane Earl. I don't know who it belonged to (was left by someone that stayed at the house next door?), but it buried itself into the sand and it did not budge regardless of how strong the surf got. I was going to write "I survived Hurricane Earl" on it, but thought defacing property might get me banned from the island and I wanna go back! Yeah, the pole? Total sissy. Got whipped out into the waves in no time.

This was taken on the morning we were leaving. My girl, I know EXACTLY how you feel.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Three weeks down and I'm not even counting how many more...

As I was wiping feathers out of my NEW DRYER this morning, (Yes, you read that right, feathers. Um, there was an incident. For your future reference, when bed pillows say "spot clean only" there might be a little wisdom to following those instructions. Jus' sayin'.) I was pondering our week in review. I will admit to driving past the elementary school that she would attend and staring longingly at it's brick walls. I will also admit to thinking about selling her (or trading her if it included some cotton candy and a funnel cake) to the carnies at the fairgrounds, but it was a fleeting thought (we won't discuss the intricacies of how long a fleeting thought should hang around, though.) I'm proud to say she's still a member of our family. The carnival doesn't pull out until Sunday morning. Not withstanding a couple weak moments on my part, all in all it was a alright week.

We started a geography program that was created by another HS mom, It's called Expedition Earth: A Journey Through God's World and so far, I really like it. This first week was a intro into geography (map vs globe, basics of a globe, learning the continents and oceans) We made a paper mache' globe as one of our art projects. It turned out pretty good - as long as you don't look too closely at the actual placement of the land masses. Two negatives of the program so far: I had to buy a good many resources to go along with it and it has pointed out that I am woefully deficient in the area of world geography. Next week, China! Confucius say Kelly will be eating lo mein on Friday.

On Monday, we are going to implement the red/yellow/green light system of classroom management (start out on green/move to yellow with warning/red if continues and that means loss of privilege/toys, etc.) I'm also toying with the idea of using a modified version of Sue Patrick's workbox system with her. I think she needs the visual cues of the work that we want to get done.

That is if she's not in charge of running the carousel at a new fair next week.

Making our globe. Yes, she has a sticky jewel in the middle of her forehead. I don't know why. We did have Indian for dinner that night. Weird coinkydink.

Painting the globe.

Finished product.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mmmmmm, mmmmmmmm

There is no greater smell than the mixture of all the foods there are to consume as you walk through the fair. Have mercy! Oh, and as long as you stay upwind of all the Agriculture buildings, but that goes without saying. :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

First and second week roundups

We're done with our first couple weeks of HSing. WooHoo! I thought I'd summarize some of the highlights (even though we had some low points too, I'm going to focus on the positive.)

Highs of first week:
Enthusiasm on the first day, making cupcakes together to celebrate and giving J a schultute (, getting into the routine of calendar activities, completed a Kindergarten Portfolio, made it through the week with both of us still alive and (pretty much) unscathed, new washer and dryer (Totally not HS related, but it makes me smile and they both play a happy little tune when they are finished. It is a welcome change from my washer which sounded like a jet plane was taking off during the spin cycle and we won't even discuss the scary buzzing that signaled the end of the drying. *shiver* Mama happy.)

Week two was very busy. I hated having to go somewhere all the time. I would say that we teetered on an "unschooling" label this week. Me = creature of habit and homebody.

Highs of second week:
J read (almost 90% independently) the first three Bob books, she is much more interested in the new handwriting worksheets (A Reason for Handwriting is what we are now using.), she started a beginning gymnastics class for 12 weeks - she loved it, it's a very small class (4 kids) and it's 5 minutes from our house - Score!, she went to her first afternoon of classes (art/PE/geography) at the umbrella school, alone - knowing no one in class - that's big for her (I did see her tell her teacher that she was scared while her little chin was quivering (*sniff, sniff* It was heartbreaking.), but, even though I had the option of going with her to class, she took her teacher's hand, gave me a kiss, waved goodbye and went on her own. Bittersweet. She also went to a homeschool science class at a local nature center and learned about Monarch butterflies. She was asked what her favorite insect was and she said "snake". I guess we better focus on some science activities. :) We also took a little family overnighter to stay in a renovated lockhouse ( on the C&O Canal. I love the canal...everything about it. We stayed in lockhouse 6, which is the most "luxurious" (read: kitchen and indoor bathroom.) They have 4 lockhouses that are available to stay in each portraying a different time period along the canal (construction, operation and the fight to preserve the canal.)

Some pics:


Schultute (German school cone)


This was our David and Goliath day. From J's feet to top of Goliath's head is his actual height (9 ft tall). Not sure why Goliath looks like the Incredible Hulk. I blame Dad's artistic interpretation.

Lockhouse 6 (near Cabin John, MD)

Can you guess the Bible character? lol J is currently obsessed with this story, so we did a devotional one morning and made the character. I'm sure he didn't have the snazzy burial clothes that we gave him, but I didn't have any white muslin. Ha.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Favorite Things Friday!

Favorite Cookbook:

I read cookbooks like other people read fiction novels. I don't know why. I'm quirky that way. Most books have recipes that sound good, but I rarely try them.

One cookbook is the exception.

Without a doubt, hands down, I love, love, love The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl.

I adore Pioneer Woman. I feel happy when I read her blog. I feel like she's a sister from another mother. Her cookbook does not disappoint. I have made 4 or so recipes so far and the only reason I haven't made more is because I keep repeating the ones I've already made. PW's stuff is not, um, for the health conscious. Butter and bacon are frequently used in the majority of the recipes. When I say majority I mean every one. The main draw for me is that each step is portrayed in pictures. I will admit that I have probably licked a couple of the pages once...or twice because the final product Side note, no one will want to borrow my copy. I'd be happy to make you one of the dishes, though. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

And we're off....

on this crazy adventure we've chosen called homeschooling. I'm not sure exactly what to expect along the way: times of pure joy, that's my hope; times of pure agony, that's a given. It's guaranteed to not be boring.

I struggled with the decision to HS. Was I doing it because I truly felt called to do so or was it a decision made in response to my own fears of sending my only daughter off to school? Not sure I can still honestly answer that question without saying probably a mixture of both. I did research and went to conventions. I talked (ad nauseum to many dear friends and family) about the pros and cons I was weighing. I seemed to have the hardest time to just say, "Yes, we're going to do it." My husband was totally behind it. Why couldn't I make the decision? Was I afraid of the time commitment involved? Maybe. Was I mourning the loss of the break I would get every day if she were in school which would equate to luxurious strolls though the aisles of Target or Walmart...alone or being able to clean my whole house in one setting? Big maybe. Would I be able to teach her the skills that she would learn just by being part of a group, especially since she is an only child? Huge maybe. Regardless of my indecision, we are in it now and I'm holding fast to the fact that I can only do so much, teach her so much and then it's up to God to fill the gaps. He will honor our sacrifices.

Rambling aside, today was our first day. We took a late family vacation to the beach (Off topic, I'm destined to live on a beach someday.), so we waited until after our return to begin. Of course, even with all of my planning on top of planning (with some planning added for good measure), I still didn't feel totally prepared for our beginning. I taught public school for 5 years in my previous life and was as nervous last night and this morning as I ever was on the first day of school. It's sort of like the anticipation of the arrival of a big, desired event with the splash of a root canal thrown in. As far as first day's go, it was pretty good. I got through everything I had planned and realized that I need to add even more activities to our schedule. We must get some clear cut school rules established and I need to figure out how to cut down on some of the wiggles.

Our motto for our HS this year is, "Duty is ours, results are God's." - John Adams.

Our trust is in him. Welcome to our journey. Might be best to buckle up.