Lost Blog

9 07 2013

Well, it looks like my blog got lost from my life for a couple of years. That’s ok. In that time, lots has happened! Here’s the skinny:

Earned my Associates’ Degree in Science and decided that I didn’t want to go to school any more.

My son did not leave home for college…he is going locally for now ūüôā

My hubby got a new job. Jury’s still out on that one. We’re thankful he has one at all ūüôā

My postcard trading and letterbox hobbies have fallen by the wayside, and quilting has taken the place of both ūüôā

I still love to garden, cook, read, hike, camp and sit in the sun! (Not that we’ve had enough sunshine this summer in KY for me to feel satisfied.) “Rain, rain, go away….”

I think that’s about it! I took a quilting class midway through my AS and got hooked! I haven’t put an album of my creations anywhere but FB so far (so family can keep up with my projects), but I guess I need to do that, since I’m going to give quilt swaps a whirl and feed my obsession while meeting others who “get it” with the whole quilting thing!

Lots of quilt pics to come, and maybe I’ll move this whole blog somewhere else. First, I’m going to search the net to see if there are any places with tools that I’d love. I’m sure lots has changed since I’ve blogged regularly.

Off to start dinner! Today, it’s Mediterranean Pizza, with homemade thin crust, basil pesto (No it’s not fresh, even though there’s LOTS of basil in the herb garden right now.), feta cheese, red onion, sliced roma tomatoes, and black olives. Yum! And I’ll make a cheese pizza for my daughter, who doesn’t like the Med style pizza! And we’ll enjoy that fresh banana nut bread I made this morning ūüôā

And of course, since the sun is shining today, we may eat on the patio!

Starting up the Presses…Again

12 02 2010

I just read my last post, and it doesn’t seem possible that it was from this fall.¬† It seems like that was ages ago so much has happened.¬† It is certainly time to get back into the habit of writing – I have missed it.¬† I’ll attempt to fill in the almost six-month gap that I have managed to create.

We still have jelly, and frozen apples.¬† They are being pulled¬†from the pantry and freezer, respectively, as we need them, but there is still enough to last a while.¬† The jelly is just as yummy and the apples are being used¬†most often in Apple Cake.¬† (Although I’ll probably be making Amish Friendship Bread for a while in place of the cake, until we get tired of that.)

School with my daughter has become much, much easier.¬† I think she¬†must have¬†been going through a phase…or maybe it was me.¬† But she doesn’t hesitate to come to me when she has finished her independent work or when she needs me.¬† She has matured a lot in other ways, as well, and has taken to doing some of what needs to be done without being asked (like putting the clothes in the dryer if she is closer when it buzzes), and has a better attitude in general.

The biggest change around here is that I am going to school myself full-time now.¬† It’s a long story, so you may want to grab a snack ūüėȬ† I didn’t finish college the first time around, and I didn’t think I’d ever go back.¬† For almost 20 years, I had not thought of one thing that I was interested¬†enough to want to get a degree in and work at every day.¬† Since my oldest started middle school (he’s in 10th grade now), I’ve been praying from time to time that God would give me direction, because for the first time, I fully realized and accepted that I would not be homeschooling forever, and would not feel fulfilled staying home after that phase of my life ended.¬† At first, I thought that I would volunteer full-time, either in one place, or several places, on different days.¬† This plan seemed like it may be right for the next year or so, as I came upon many places that I would like to invest in.¬†

It was sometime during October that I feel like God revealed to me his plan for me.¬† He made me realize that I have always been interested in¬†food and health, and how food affects health and how food can make health issues worse, cause them, or help manage them.¬† I have always taken¬†a multi-vitamin and¬†other supplements, given them to my children, modified recipes to make them healthier, and just generally been interested in diet.¬† He revealed to me through my own high blood pressure and family members’ health issues that peoples lives¬†can really be affected by the way they eat.¬† So I am working toward a degree in Dietetics!¬† ¬†It can’t be my plan, because I would never¬†have thought of it myself, even though in retrospect, I remember my sister jokingly saying once, “You should be¬†a Dietician.” when I was casually suggesting to my mom that she could make a recipe much healthier with a few changes.¬† I would also have never had the confidence¬†to enroll in college again.¬† My first go at that was such a nightmare.¬† I was young.¬† There just seemed to be so much pressure to declare a major – and nothing interested me that much!¬† I was trying desperately to take the advice of my advisor, and just take “basic” classes until I figured out what I was interested in, but I got a “C” on an English II paper, and it just simply sunk me like an anvil in a pool.¬† I had never received a “C” in writing!¬† And I couldn’t handle it.¬† I dropped out of every class – unofficially, which means my GPA is laughable.¬†

After that, feeling pressured to do something, I went to cosmetology school.¬† I liked playing around with it, with friends and family, but I knew pretty early on that I was not going to do¬†it for long.¬† I¬†stuck with it about 2/3 the way through, and got put on¬†bedrest¬†early in pregnancy and had to quit.¬† Frankly, it was a relief, because it gave me an excuse to quit¬†that¬†I didn’t have to feel guilty about.¬† My biggest problem was that I was trying to please others instead of following my path, and I didn’t have the relationship with God then that I¬†have now, so I didn’t know how¬†He could direct me if I’d just ask.

Homeschooling was His plan, too РI had never heard of it when He placed it in my path as an option, and compelled me to do it.  I have been oh so content following His lead since then, because He was very, very spot on!  I have never doubted for a moment that I was supposed to home- school.

I feel that way about this now, too.¬† It just amazes me that He didn’t reveal¬†it to me until it was time…I’d have messed that up somehow, I’m sure, probably by either trying to take a few classes to “get started” before His timing came, or by chickening¬†out totally and not going through with it.¬† As soon as I was sure that I was hearing¬†God right, I¬†sent for my old transcript (15 hours I won’t have to do over) and applied for admission.¬† When I got my transcript in the mail and my acceptance letter, I immediately made an appointment with an advisor, applied for a student loan and enrolled full-time.

The¬†week¬†before classes started, I felt a bit panicky¬†about having¬†a full class load and wondered if that was a mistake that I’d regret.¬† Of course, I alternately prayed and cried and¬†believed.¬† But 5 weeks in, it is going very well.¬† I’m keeping up, doing well, and enjoying it very much.¬† Some days I still feel a little overwhelmed, but my super-hero family kicks in and does some of the non-school stuff that’s contributing to my insanity and all comes back to a balance ūüėČ

It’s about¬†time to pick up my daughter, and that’s about as thorough an update as I can manage tonight.

Life and Jelly

9 09 2009

Why is it that there can be so much going on in my head, but when I place my fingers on the keyboard they sit motionless while I struggle?¬† I suppose it’s just hard to know where to start sometimes…

“What have I been up to?” you ask.¬† Ok, so you haven’t ask, but for posterity’s sake, let’s pretend.¬† I need someone to ask today, and since there’s no one around, I shall indulge myself in imaginings ūüôā

I’ve been up to lots of things.¬† I’ve been trying to be a full-time teacher to my sixth-grade daughter, for one.¬† I have found it easy, as a home educator, to leave my children on auto-pilot for a few hours each day, while I¬†keep other responsibilities under control, but I’ve discovered that this approach doesn’t work quite so well with this child as it did with the first.¬† Siblings can be so different!¬† That’s another conversation entirely, and I’ll stay on the current one.¬† Staying near my daughter as she works, being available to answer questions (she won’t search the house for me like her brother did), asking about her progress regularly (to inhibit daydreaming – or whatever it is her mind turns to), and moving her from one task to another (to eliminate the time wasted when she fails to come to me when she has completed what I have given her) is sooooooo difficult some days!¬† In case you haven’t concluded so yet, today was one of those days.¬† By the time we finished the school day, it was 4:50, and I truly thought I would implode before dinner was cooked.¬† Some momma-chosen tunes and self-control, along with the cooking assistance and companionship offered by my love helped put out the fuse!

I’ve really slowed down in the hobby area, simply because of the lack of time.¬† I’ve set up and made only a handful of postcard trades since school began a month ago, and letterboxing was completely ignored¬† through the entire summer (although I did think about it many times).¬† Hiking is not happening, either, but I have probably spent more time dreaming/planning about where and when I can hike than any other single pleasurable think I have been able to allow my brain to escape to these last few weeks.

My mom and niece came for a visit over the weekend, and it so happens that I had been planning to make apple jelly on Labor Day for two weeks.¬† My daughter expressed a desire to know how jelly was made, and see the process, so the homeschooler in me delighted at the chance to indulge her curiosity and delight in her eagerness to learn something new, and I forged ahead with it!¬† Although my mom had made jelly many times when I was growing up, I don’t remember ever helping past the point of helping gather the fruit,¬† so I had no experience making¬†jelly from fruit.¬† In college, I made jelly from canned fruit juice once, but that was the extent of my experience with jelly-making.¬† So, I became excited easily about the prospect of going through the entire process using fresh apples from a local orchard.¬† That my mom just happened to be here to see the process along and share in the fun, was just perfect.¬† The jelly turned out great, it is delicious, and though not a requirement, it is¬† absolutely gorgeous!¬†¬† But out of the whole experience, I was most excited to learn that you don’t have to have whole apples to make apple jelly.¬† It may not be a surprise to you, but I was elated to learn that all you need to make apple jelly are the apple scraps!!¬† The cores and peelings alone result in wonderfully tasting, beautifully colored jelly!¬† The first batch we made was made from whole apples,¬† We left on the peels, but tossed the cores and the result was a very flavorful, light peachy-pink jelly, perfect in sweetness.¬† When I looked at the¬†huge bowl of apples remaining and began to discuss making another batch with my mom, she suggested that I freeze or dry some of the apples for other uses, since there were really enough apples left for two more batches.¬† It was during this discussion that she revealed that all we needed were the scraps from the apples we¬† would freeze or dry to make another batch of jelly.¬† I couldn’t believe it at first, and then it sunk in as we discussed the ‘old way’ and how it would never have allowed for the ‘waste’ of good fruit just for jelly.¬† True.¬† And I couldn’t wait to try it.¬† I am still ecstatic with the result ūüôā¬† And I still think it’s so cool that you can make lovely, sweet, scrumptious jelly from the parts I usually throw away!!!¬† And to make my new knowledge even more amazing, the ‘scrap’ jelly is much deeper in color – never again will I think of peelings and cores as garbage!

Check out the difference in the color…(the taste is pretty much the same, I think, but my tastes of each weren’t within moments of one another, so there could be a slight difference).

Apple Jelly  Apple Jelly

This jelly still needs a name.¬† I just haven’t been able to come up with something creative enough – it’s one of those “I’ll know it when I hear it” sort of things…suggestions are very welcome!!

In case it helps, the apples used were Empire, Jonathon, and Cortland.¬† “Think, think, think.” says Pooh.¬† ūüėČ

We also canned two whole pints (hee-hee) of the jalapenos growing so well in the garden.¬† I promised you pictures when it was all in full green…sorry about that; I never took photos and now it’s in that not-so-lovely stage, where the lettuce is gone, the tomatoes and bell peppers, some scallions and herbs are still green and producing, but mostly just the jalapenos are thriving!!¬†¬†Maybe I’ll get pictures during it’s peak next year.¬†

I’m also getting ready to start back volunteering in the children’s ministry at church.¬† Not writing for them as I had hoped, but God has other plans for my writing ūüôā¬† I’ll be teaching Kindergarten boys – such cute little bottles of energy and curiosity, and I am very excited about it and implementing the changes that have been made in the progression of the hour we have them.¬† I am working on a postcard-sized newsletter to send home weekly to update the parents on what their boys are learning and encouraging them to help reinforce it at home.¬† I need a few creative group activities to use with them in a whole-family group setting, so if you’ve got any ideas or suggestions, they are welcome!

Even though the preceding barely touches the surface in attempt to tell you what I’ve been up to, I’ve sat still long enough and have to move on to something else.

Speeding Through Summer

8 07 2009

I can’t fully comprehend how it is that I find myself nearing mid-July, when I have little recollection of the preceeding summer months.¬† To say that summer is speeding by would be a simple enough statement.¬† This July 4 was spent relaxing with extended family at Cherokee Lake in Tennessee.¬† It was very nice.¬† The weather was warm and sunny, with only a little rain on the last day, so I can’t complain about the weather, for a change ūüėȬ† It’s always so great to have all the cousins together, playing and to listen to their conversations.¬† I find it absolute pleasure that they seem to just pick up the relationship in all it’s ease, even if it’s been months since they’ve seen or spoken to one another.¬† Wouldn’t it be nice if adults were so free in their meetings?¬† We always hold back, wary of the possible judgement or hidden agenda held by the other.¬† That’s what comes from experience with people, I suppose.

I’ve neglected my site here to lavish time and effort on the postcard trading hobby – it is very enjoyable, and affords me the chance to meet peoples from all over the globe, who have similar interests and agendas for our dealings.¬† It does take quite a bit of time of organizing, having to keep my online trade album updated with what I have in stock, keep up with addresses, preferences, and such, but it is fun.¬† I’m indulging myself with more time to spend with the hobby right now, because I know that when school begins, I will have to seriously cut back.

Speaking of school, I am elated that our school district has decided that middle and high schools should begin school an entire hour later than in previous years, but still release at the same time!¬† I can’t exaggerate the good things that means for our household.¬† This past school year being the first that we’ve had to deal with considering “out of home” school schedules in 9 years, was quite an adjustment for all of us.¬† Since I will not send my son, who never seems to be full of belly, out of the house on a meager, cold breakfast, I raised myself from the bed every morning (there were about a dozen exceptions – most exusable because of surgery), to cook his meal at 6am.¬† Now, you may consult any home educator about this – 6am is early!¬† Three to four mornings a week, I went back to bed after my son and husband left, which meant that I slept later than I would’ve¬†if I¬†had¬† not gotten up to cook and laid back down, which meant that home school for my daughter started and finished later than we’d like.¬† For my husband, this change of schooling type meant that he got a hot breakfast every morning, which he loved, but it also meant that he had to take our son to school and deal with traffic he could otherwise avoid if our son missed the bus.¬† Even though our son managed the earlier beginning and later ending to his day quite well, he will savor every minute of that extra hour he gets to sleep!

I am also researching Kentucky and its history, which has taken me away from regular hobbies and things.¬† Right now I’m particularly looking for quirky facts and quotes by Kentuckians.¬† It is particularly difficult to find quotes from KY women in history, so if you are interested and would like to help me out, it would be greatly appreciated!

Gettin’ on the Soapbox

12 03 2009

For a quick update on the last post, the stamp illustrating my opinion of what makes Kentucky beautiful is coming along.¬† My son did know someone who is an excellent artist, but I wavered and then changed my mind about getting help.¬† I determined to do it myself for two reasons, the first one being purely sensible:¬† my son pointed out that I couldn’t very well ask this person to design a stamp for free.¬† I hadn’t thought about that – my only thought had been getting help ūüėȬ† Then after I had agreed to compensate the artist and tried to convey to my son what I wanted, I struggled to believe that I had a great chance of being 100% happy with the work, and could end up paying and still not having a stamp image, not to mention that I’d be pushed for time with the days spent depending on someone else (and I am not good at that).¬† So I commited myself once again to the task and am on the verge of having on paper what I had in mind.¬† Most importantly, the work will be entirely mine, which was the other reason I changed my mind about getting an artist – I really want it to be mine, even if the artwork may not be noteworthy.

I have lots of little errands to do today which will do much to clear my to-do list of¬† nagging interruptions in regular duties.¬† Though I typically put such things off till the last minute, it is always completing them that makes me feel most satisfied with the day’s accomplishments.¬† So why don’t I just do them as soon as they go on the list?¬† Pshaw, if I knew that, I could council others on their procrastination!

I got an email this morning directing me to a news article about a North Carolina judge forcing a homeschooling mother to enroll her children in public school this fall.¬† Without recapping the story or expounding on the apalling comments he made (because you can google it yourself if you’re interested) I must say that I am utterly disappointed in the increasing incidence of loss of rights in this so-called free country.

Now before you go making assumptions about my views on every aspect of freedom, let me say that this is just one more area, like gun-control and socialistic tax reform that some people’s views on are seriously off – and it ain’t mine!¬† This is America –¬†a country that was founded on rebuking unreasonable control by government, and we are inching closer and closer to becoming exactly what our founding fathers were rebelling against!¬† It will be a dark, dark day in the Land of the Free when law-abiding citizens can’t buy guns, while the criminals would continue to get¬†them the same way they always have,¬†when wealth earned by hard-working, motivated tax-payers is “spread” to those who refuse to get off their butts and realize that the world doesn’t owe them jack, or when families who spend¬†their own money¬†on their own curriculum, often sacrifice a second income so one parent can teach,¬†strive to offer their children an educational advantage in a competitive world, and commit themselves to being solely responsible for their children’s morals are told that they cannot choose this path.

Parents can beat, molest, neglect, and/or mentally and emotionally abuse their children and the government carefully tiptoes around their “rights”, often to the detriment of the child; but parents who choose to homeschool, which is in no way easier than plopping them in a government school where books, food and transportation are all free and if the kid doesn’t fare well in life, responsibility can be blamed on someone else to boot, are being targeted.

What is this country coming to?

I’m gettin’ down from the box now ūüôā¬† I feel better!


29 06 2008

Yeah, I’m inconsistent.¬† I’ve said that before, but it is quite true.¬† I’m not aplogizing for it….I don’t mind it most of the time ūüôā

I’ve just been so busy with life that I haven’t had the time or mental energy to keep this up.¬† It’s fun.¬† It’s therapeutic, but it requires consistency, which I only seem to have when someone is counting on me for something ūüôā

Well, I’ve been on a beach vacation, been doing some letterboxing, have been trying to get some “extras” done as far as housecleaning is concerned, trying to reconcile/rearrange my duties with my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop, and trying to prepare to send my oldest to public high school.¬† Now don’t make assumptions…you know what that does!¬† I have been willing to educate him all along for as long as God directed, and although high school at home requires more of me, I was prepared to do it.¬† Each year, I pray for direction, and ask my children and hubby to pray about it as well.¬†¬†I believe that God not only directs us by telling us what to do in our spirit, but also makes His desires our own.¬†

My son has expressed a desire to go to school twice before, but each time, returned to tell me that after prayer, he felt like God was telling him to stay home.¬† This time, however, he feels that it is time to go, and after my own prayers about it, I agree.¬† I will miss him, every single day, but we are both excited (and yes, a bit nervous, too) about the upcoming year.¬† We are getting the paperwork in order, and I have been surprised and a bit curious about his insistence¬†on taking honors classes.¬† Not that I don’t think he can handle it, but I have not yet seen this desire to challenge himself academically.¬† I guess it’s just that up to this point, I have chosen curriculum for him, which has always been academically rigourous, and I have done my best to convey to my kids (and other kids in the family, and those of friends whenever the opportunity arises) that working hard in school is not something you should do for someone else….that what you put into your studies is just that – what you put into it – no one can do it for you, but that it benefits¬†mostly you, as well.¬† (Well, ok, parents get some benefit in the form of pride, and their spouses and children will benefit someday, as well, in various ways, but I’m not getting into that much detail.)¬† I suppose that my surprise in his selection of diploma goals and courses for the year comes from the fact that for the first time, I’m seeing evidence that he gets it.¬† He isn’t taking these classes for anyone else.¬† That’s cool.¬† That’s nice.¬† Whew!¬† He gets it!

Of course, it was also nice to have him ace the placement test given by government education, too (94 on LA, 96 on Math).¬† Not that I ever doubted the quality of the education I’ve been giving my children, but we don’t test a lot,¬†so it was nice to see that choosing¬†not to use testing/grades was not a detriment according to government standards.¬† Again, not that I think those standards are important, except for the fact that¬†whether we like it or not,¬†our kids¬†do have to be measured¬†against them at some point.¬† We home educators may all agree that public education standards are seriously lacking, but I think we all have this deep-seated worry that our kids’¬†abilities won’t be recognized for what they are, because we don’t use their standards to shape what we teach.¬†

So J will enter the throng of public educated kids with less of a stigma on him because of his test scores, I think.  Some teachers hail home education, others abhore it, so his performance on this test will only serve to help him.

Don’t know what we’ll do next year – that’s up to God ūüôā

For this year in our home school, though, I’m looking forward to being able to give my daughter some serious one-on-one, for which the timing is great, because she’s blossoming into a young lady, has entered puberty full force, and seriously needs to learn to make choices as an individual, because she is always following her brother’s lead rather than thinking for herself ūüôā¬† He’s certainly a good¬†example to follow, but I want her to learn to make decisions without the influence of others.¬† She wants to learn to cook; I want to learn to slow down, and we are both looking forward to the special year together.¬† Her studies this year will center around the Eastern Hemisphere, and we both really love learning about other cultures, and maps are a passion we have shared since she was two:¬† “Mommy, let me see.” from the back seat always expected whenever I pulled out the road map ūüôā¬† She has expressed the desire to double up and take two Science courses this year, which surprised me a little, but at 10, she hasn’t yet hit the part of puberty that moves social life to the forefront, and she’s been listening to her big bubby’s plans to push himself academically this year, too, which I’m sure has some to do with it.¬† We’ll push to begin with, and if she decides during the year that she’d like to back off, we can do that.¬† I love the freedom we have in education.¬† I love this country.¬† And, oh, that makes me think of Obama, and his lack of true love and unbridled patriotism for it!¬† I won’t get political – it’ll ruin my mood.¬† I’m going to go distract myself.¬†

ta ta!