Sleepy time

12 05 2010

It is late, and I am tired, but I am not in bed.  I don’t know…just a lot of stuff rolling around in my mind.  Not bad stuff – just stuff I need to do that I’m trying to remember not to forget to do – like adding stuff to the calendar so I don’t forget about it altogether.  Also I keep thinking about a couple of home improvement projects that I’d love to get my hands dirty with but don’t have time right now (like painting the kitchen and stripping the carpet off the stairs).  And of course, there’s the large stack of bags of mulch in the driveway that needs distribution.  By the way, did you know that it is better to buy your mulch in bags than by the truckload/scoop?  A neighbor who works for a pest control company told us that the heat generated by the sun in the enclosed bags kills the bug larvae lurking in the mulch.  Who knew?  I guess he did!  So although it’s a bit cheaper to have a scoop dumped in my hubby’s pickup, we go buy the bags.

Since I last posted, I have completed a semester of college.  It feels good.  It went by much faster than I expected.  I made A’s.  So far, so good, aye?  Summer session has already begun and I have turned in my first Algebra assignments.  It’s not too bad, algebra.  It’s not really math – it’s more like puzzle solving.  And as soon as I can get myself to think of it that way first, some of my anxiety about it will dissipate. LOL.

I just never liked math.  Didn’t stink at it entirely, just never had a good math teacher through elementary and middle school, so I just floated along with bare minimum skills and knowledge.  I took Geometry, Algebra I and II in high school and did fine, but I did have to work hard.  I didn’t really get it, either – I followed the steps and got results, but I couldn’t have explained any of it to a toad!

  Homeschooling my children is where/when math clicked.  I found myself having Eureka! moments constantly – even with simple addition.  The first time was with double-digit addition.  While showing my son how to “carry”, he kept coming up with the answer before I could work through the problem.  He’d blurt it out and I’d be baffled.  Turns out he just “got it” and explained to me that “adding all the 10’s and then the rest is easier than carrying, Mom.”  He had to be, what?  About 2nd grade, I think.  He’s been doing that to me ever since.  So I guess he taught me math, really.  I couldn’t believe such things never occurred to me – I just did it how the teacher said and never thought about the numbers themselves.  So when I get stuck a bit on an algebra problem (yes, it has happened several times already), I call him in to save the day.  I still have those Eureka! moments and think to myself, “Why didn’t I see that?” 

He had to choose a book from a list for English class and guess what?  He chose my favorite author!  I was secretly so thrilled, and I’m really hoping that it inspires him to read more of Michener.  He’s reading The Bridges of Toko-Ri (which is one I haven’t read), and he is enjoying it.  I’ve already recommended The Covenant, but trying not to get my hopes up.

My little girl is so growing up.  It is so bittersweet, too.  She wants to add another sport to her life, so we are checking into it.  Apparently the local middle school is recruiting home schoolers for cross-country.  Soccer she loves.  She is so dedicated.  Last night she was in the yard pushing herself (after an hour of soccer practice) to get her front handspring back.  She could do it a few years ago, but is way out of practice and her rapid physical growth must make it feel quite awkward from when she was able to do it before.  She worked hard at it.  All for soccer, of course.  She wants to be able to do a flip throw-in.  Don’t know what that is?  Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AryIzGfOWIU

This makes me want to video  her next soccer game.  I haven’t done that yet.  Last Saturday, the coach put her on offense for less than two minutes and she scored.  We knew she would by the look on her face when she came through with the ball — sheer determination.  It was nice for her.  She usually prefers being on defense and does really well with that.  Most of her opponents are pretty intimidated by her, and her teammates ask her to trade places with them when they get put up against someone who is bigger or who plays rough.  She is always glad to do it.

Whenever I end a post abruptly, I am reminded of my Grandma, who calls occasionally and says whatever she called to say or ask whatever she called to ask, and then says “Bye” pretty abruptly.  Oh, she takes time to stick in the “Love you” and all, but it is always a mite unexpected when she just up and says, “Well, I love you, honey.  Bye.”   It’s funny.

So here goes…I’m sleepy now.  Bye.

Advertisements




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 🙂

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 🙂  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.  😉

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 🙂  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.





Up to Speed

4 04 2009

To bring you up to speed on a bunch of things I’ve mentioned and left you hanging on…

My mysteriously missing “indoor” letterbox – the owner who was so gracious and seemingly anxious to house my box in the store display case never responded.  I’m giving up and planning to recarve and make another hand-bound logbook to replace the precious plant.  Until I get that done, I’ll have to leave it marked “unavailable”.  As dumbfounded as I am about this whole experience, I’m not giving up on having that box – it was a “planter’s choice”!!!

Newbie boxers recruiting effort – My sister-in-law contacted me to plan a letterboxing outing this time, which proves that they are successfully recruited 😉  This time they came to my town, and I went with them to boxes that I already had logged, so although it didn’t result in any new finds for me, it was wonderful to spread the love of the hobby and a perfect-weather day in which to be putzing along the trails!

Stumped on a stamp image – I finally managed to complete the stamp that conveys what I think is beautiful about KY.  It ended up being a sort of mosaic of images that fit nicely into the basic outline of the state, rather than one single image.  There’s just too much that I think is beautiful to put into one image, and even then, I only concentrated on the natural beauty (because I love nature), but it would have been impossible to express all the beauty in this state…the people, the culture, the history, the tradition… so I had to pick something, and the nature seemed most appropriate. 

It’s a spoiler, but the decision is yours… but first read the insert that went in the logbook – the image will make more sense…

“My task for this stamp was to carve what I thought was beautiful about my state.  The first thing that came to mind was the Red River Gorge area, where I love to hike, with it’s incredible rock formations, natural bridges and acres of deciduous forest.  Then other images immediately followed:  the foothills of the Appalachians where I was raised – making me take a deep breath every time I visit them; Cumberland Falls – a simple falls, but one of only two places in the entire world where a moonbow occurs; Mammoth Cave – the longest cave system in the world; all the lovely rivers and lakes – making up more miles of coastline than Florida.  When I couldn’t choose, I incorporated them all, including the marshes of the western part of the state, whose beauty I have seen only in pictures, but have on my list of places to see.”

My “Beautiful KY” Stamp

 

In other news, I’ve been fillilng my garden beds.  They are home to Rosemary, Basil, Cilantro, Italian Parsley, Plain Parsley, Garlic, Thyme, Chives, Red Bell Pepper, Yellow Bell Pepper, Green Bell Pepper, Jalapenos, Sweet Texas Onions, Scallions, Big Boy Tomato, Roma Tomato, Cherry Tomato and Green Leaf Lettuce!  Oregano to go and I’ll be done with the planting.  I’m having so much fun with it – I hope it all grows beautifully and that I don’t fail to put the roofs on when we have a cold spell…

I planted a Jack-in-the-Pulpit in a shady bed today, and some pink Primrose seeds…tomorrow I plan to plant Purple Coneflower, and two varieties of Poppy, along with about 1/2 a flat of annuals.  When everything’s grown enough to justify pictures, I’ll post some 😉

My “Sensational Educational US Passport Postal:  Kentucky” made it back home this week, after traveling through the ring.  It has visited Alaska, Ohio, Indiana, Texas, Virginia, New York, New Hampshire, and Maine.  Too cool!!  Once the rest of the ring postals have completed their journeys, I’ll most likely use mine as a postal single – my very first 🙂 

Well it is quite past dinner time, and we’ve had none, so I suppose I should mosey on down to the kitchen and see what I can fix…or find dh and see what he can come up with 😀

Adios!





Spring Break Happenings

1 04 2009

I finally got to begin exercising again today, and boy does it feel great.  I had purchased My Fitness Coach for the Wii a couple of weeks ago, after reading some great reviews, but had pain in the area of my surgery from just doing the fitness test, so I had to wait awhile longer.  It’s been very frustrating recovering, because evidently when the Dr says it’ll take “a couple of weeks” to recover, he means that after a couple of weeks you won’t be needing pain pills for the pain you have just sitting on the couch – not that you won’t hurt when you get up off the couch and do something.  Surgery sucks.

Anyway, I have worked in the yard and not hurt, resumed all regular activity without pain, and even did a whole lot of painting over the course of 2 days without anything but some soreness not related to surgery, so I can finally begin to work my butt off again…literally 😀

I did my first workout with Maya today, for half an hour, and it was really the perfect amount, intensity and everything.  It was a good workout – but not too hard or too easy.  I’m going to walk or hike every day as well, and watch my body get back to normal!  Hubby is on board with me, and we are both motivated and excited to get back in shape (he isn’t as out of shape as I am).

It’s Spring Break around here and my dd and I spent the first 3 1/2 days of it with two of my aunts, uncle, and grandma up in Ohio.  The plan was just to hang out and visit, but that changed when a bunch of women congregated in a newly constructed home with white walls in which one aunt was unsure where to begin decorating.  We had a blast, but we did work hard!  We painted the kitchen, dining nook, living room and half bath, and shopped for curtains, rods, dish towels, cloths, heat mitts, and general decor.  It turned out beautiful!  We sat up until around 1 am every night and were up before 8 every day.  Some work was left for my aunt and uncle to do, but we certainly managed to get the bulk of it done.  We filled our bellies with wonderful home-cooked meals and laughed until we cried.  It was great!

One aunt and I tried to find a blue diamond letterbox, but it was a puzzler to which I just didn’t have the time or energy to devote brainpower to once the painting was underway…but I’ll try again on the next visit 🙂

I’m back home and still have a few days left of break, in which I’ll hammer out a fitness routine, do some scrapbooking, begin mailings for the postcard exchange I’ve gotten involved in and finish planting in the garden and do the spring flowerbed/yard maintenance. 

I do love being able.





Country Girl Making Due in the ‘Burbs

23 03 2009

Project garden has been underway around here…Obama’s stimulus showed up on dh’s paycheck, and alas…it won’t be enough to allow us to buy some acreage.  It did pay for a can of stain for the cedar planters I lucked up on last week.  Next week’s will cover the second can I had to buy when one wasn’t enough to do the job. LOL  Ok – that’s enough, I know …”Nobody likes a smartass.”

My neat little home for veggies and herbs (’cause my dh didn’t want “to have to weed-eat around anything else!”:

102_3535

As-purchased, without the roof

I found two of these covered sandboxes at the local garden center.  I just happened to walk up and show interest in using one as a planter (hadn’t looked at the price tag yet), when one of the employees said his job today was to break them down to be sold as planters, because the pulley system to raise and lower the roofs were broken and they weren’t drumming up any interest as clearanced sandboxes as-is.  After speaking with the owner, he offered me a very good deal if I bought two, because they really needed them out of the way for new spring stuff.  I ran home and measured my space, because I wasn’t sure if they’d take up the whole back yard…and I needed to have a phone conference with my honey over the deal.  They fit, and hubby approved, so I headed back to the garden center to pay for them and arrange to pick them up when my honey got home from work with the truck.  As I was excitedly paying for the two veggie homes, the guy who made me the deal walked up and said he’d found a third in the back and that I could have the three for even less each.  My mind was reeling with whether or not they’d even fit in the yard, whether the money was even in the checking account, and thinking quickly, I asked if I could have the same deal if I paid for two now and came back for the third before they closed that day.  He hesitated, then agreed.  He then offered to follow me home to deliver them – for free – because he really needed them out of the way.  Of course, I didn’t argue with that!  And after measuring and consulting with my dh when he got home, we went back and bought the third for less than a nice dinner out 🙂
After staining and placement

After staining and placement

I’ll post more pics later.  I’ve already planted some herbs and seeds, and still have a few places to touch up with stain, plastic corners to put back on (after having spray-painted them tan – they were primary colors).  They look very nice and will provide some growing fun and of course, the satisfaction of plucking something I’ve grown for my family to eat.  The roofs have a green tarp over a cedar frame, and will eventually be stained and have clear plastic instead of green tarp – but I want to do some research first to see if it’s worth it.  I don’t know much about coldframes and hotbeds and such…and don’t even know which is which.  I only know that right now the roofs will serve to protect from frost on nights when it is still possible.

In letterboxing news, a most frustrating situation has materialized.  I’ve been working on a set of 9 themed boxes for months.  Seven are planted, one is waiting to be planted (because the building on the plant site is undergoing renovations and I simply can’t plant until that is done), and the last one is nearly complete.  I recently got an “attempted” message on one of the plants – which could usually mean that the box may be lost…but this one was inside a building, inside a case that only employees can access, and was enthusiastically placed there by the owner.  So, of course, I had to go there and see what is going on!  An employee informed me that it was removed because “it didn’t receive enough traffic” – which I didn’t promise loads of!  Since the owner was not there, I left a message and am hoping with all my heart that they didn’t just throw the box away.  Surely not!  But it is difficult to think of much else until I hear from him.

<Deep sigh>  It was one of my favorite boxes.

The dryer is beeping at me.  And it is time to get the potato salad fixed so it’ll have time to chill before dinner.

Hasta luego.