Day to Day Adventure: 11/7/10 - 11/14/10

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mending & maintaining

Our house has been in mid remodel for several years.  We’ve taken an unusable bathroom and made it lovely & peaceful.

100_2493_edited-1   P1060281_edited-1

However remodeling is messy.  We are only now finding things that have been stashed since the beginning.  The school supplies are accessible.  Nothing is under my bed except blankets & summer clothes.

This morning I found the time to mend clothes that have been in my sewing machine for 2 years.  They will be ready for Megan when she needs them.

We were able to clean house and put things AWAY!

What joy.

I never thought I would be thankful for my sewing machine and places to put things in my home.

But I am.

Frantic Fall cleanup!

I cannot believe the last few days we’ve had!  It is November right? Well it was close to 80 Tuesday.  I figure it is going to turn ugly really soon so we took the afternoon on Wednesday to tackle those leaves our sycamores have been dropping.  The kids have been out in the leaves playing several times but I have been avoiding all the work it takes to clear our yard of leaves.  This year it wasn’t as bad because we had our trees trimmed in the spring so there weren’t as many branches this year.

The kids helped by laying in the leaves.  P1090882We used the largest tarp we have to put loads of leaves on and then pull them to our branches/leaves pile outside our yard.  I was really missing Michael’s help on this job but everyone jumped in to help.  Steve was home and he even did a couple of loads after he finished his jobs in the garage!  Wow what a workout.

We had some huge weeds and the two littles tackled those—with bungie cords?  P1090892I am still not sure how that game worked out but I didn’t card because they pulled them up & took them all to the pile.  Joshua was especially diligent in removing all the marigold plants.  He is a hard worker!  Elizabeth has been mowing the yard all summer and she stepped up to day to do the final mow.  It was pretty easy as she was mostly just mulching the leaves.  There wasn’t a lot of tall grass but it will be so much easier in the spring now that she has done that. 


We cleared the tomato cages/fencing & put all the stakes away in our newly cleaned out garage.  I almost didn’t recognize our neat and tidy front yard when I pulled in to the garage.  It is like all the hard stuff has been done & now we can just hibernate & wait for the cold.  Is that like harvesting, putting all the food in the cellar, and cutting enough wood for the winter?  Probably not but it is still a nice feeling to have that project done before the rains come later this week.

Friday, November 12, 2010

BBQ Meatballs

BBQ Meatballs--I like to do a double or triple batch & freeze these to have on hand.

2 lbs ground beef or turkey

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

1/2 cup water or milk

1 cup grape jelly

1 small can tomato sauce

3/4 tsp oregeno

1 tsp chili powder

1 1/2 tsp cumin

Mix first 3 ingredients and form into balls.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.   Mix remaining ingredients in crockpot.  Gently place meatballs in crockpot & stir to coat.

Cover.  Cook on low for 6-10 hours.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pirates Stew

Pirates Stew—based on the Fix It and Forget It cookbook recipe.  We basically clean out the refrigerator to make this.

1/2 cup to 1 cup chopped onion

1-2 lbs ground beef or turkey, cooked

3 cups diced raw potatoes

1 cup diced celery

2 cups canned kidney beans, drained

1/2 cup frozen corn

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 cup tomato sauce

1/2 cup water

1/4-1 cup cooked brown rice

Mix all ingredients except brown rice in crockpot.  Cover. Cook on Low for 4-6 hours or until the potatoes are cooked.  Add rice at the end to avoid mushy rice.

Variation:  We also often add 2 cups sliced carrots as well.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

High School at Home Part 2

After we laid out a basic plan we then took a look at what Michael had already done in junior high. 


He had tackled Algebra I in his 8th grade year so here is what it looked like for High School

Algebra II—9th     

Advanced Math(Trig & Geometry)--10th-11th      


Language Arts(various)

In his elementary/middle years we used Rod & Staff English to solidify our grasp of grammar, so we felt it was time for some more writing.  Since the outside class wasn’t available we chose Wordsmith to begin a writing program. 

Composition & Grammar                          9th  Wordsmith

Literature in American History             10th Beautiful Feet

Literature in World History                     11th Beautiful Feet

Advanced Composition & Grammar    12th Outside Class

Physical Education

100_3319_edited-1It is necessary & important, however, we decided we couldn’t make it happen in one year or semester.  So I kept track of his exercise time over the course of 4 years and counted a full credit at the end of high school.  This was a huge relief for me!  We also looked for ways he could be involved in sports in a coaching capacity because that added a new dimension to sports for him.  It also looks great on college applications!

My slave in the kitchen

My happiest & easiest days are days when my slave is working in the kitchen.  I can forget about supper because she is working away all day in there making my family a hot dinner.  She was wonderful gift from my husband a few years ago so she is definitely not new.  Age spots decorate her white exterior.  Of course I am talking about my crock pot.

I was having a chat this morning with a dear friend and was inspired to include a couple of good recipes for this colder weather and busy time of year.  With it getting dark early there is nothing better for me & my family than to have a hot meal ready at 6 p.m. without a lot of fuss or preparation.  So easy is the word for these!  Some of these I don’t know where they came from but if I do I will site the book or website.

Slow-Cooker Chicken with Cashews—

Pulled Chicken BBQ—not sure where I got this from!
1/2 cup molasses
1 cup ketchup(we like Hunts no HFCS!)
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup mustard
2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Place chicken in crockpot with enough water to cover the bottom of the crockpot, so the chicken doesn’t burn.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until the chicken is cooked all the way through.

When chicken is finished cooking, remove from crockpot and allow to cool slightly.  Shred the chicken with two forks.  Set aside.

Mix the top 6 ingredients together on medium heat in a large sauce pot.  Add the shredded chicken and stir to heat through.

Our family eats this on whole wheat buns with corn on the cob & steamed broccoli.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

High School at Home part 1

4 years ago when my oldest entered the 9th grade I had a panic attack.  How am I going to give him a high school education?  After all he needs to be prepared for college or the work place in order to succeed in life.  This is my responsibility.  I don’t want to fail after all this time & effort we have put in to school for the past 9 years.  Wow what a burden and responsibility!
Sort of makes you break out in a cold sweat doesn’t it? 
Our motto at the beginning was just one year at a time.  We weren’t set on homeschooling at first.  It was an experiment that we wanted to try and we would take it a year at a time.  This would be not different(hear me trying to convince myself?)  So we sat down and laid out a basic plan.  First stop our states graduation requirements & the local universities application requirements.  That was logical and pretty much laid out the basics for us.
So at least there was a plan—I felt much better about that(why I don’t know). 
100_1777Since Michael LOVES science, math & history. 
He chose to do more of those items than were required & the qualified as some of his electives. 

Our problem came with English.  We expected to be able to take a class taught by a local professor but the professor didn’t offer his class until Michael’s senior year. 
So often that was a last minute decision on our part each year when we found out that it wasn’t being offered. 
However, I do believe it is important for home school students to take a writing class outside the home their junior or senior year.  We found when it is only Mom or Dad reading the papers & essays it is hard for the student to really get a good idea of how they are doing.  More people will be reading high school students papers as they head to college so this is a good time to start that transition process.  It really gave confidence & showed Michael he COULD write even if he didn’t enjoy it.

My helper

Pain is not fun.  I never really thought about how I would handle pain when I grew old.  I am not old but daily I battle continual nagging pain.  It usually isn’t enough to reach for the aleve but some days I should reach for it instead of just gutting it out.  Thankfully my family knows the signs.  Each of them has a way of helping.  The littles just ask for hugs a lot & those help.  But more and more my oldest daughter, Elizabeth, has been stepping in to the role of my helper.

P1090171_edited-1At 14 she could be the whiner.  She could give me the eye roll & sarcastic responses.  Mostly though she just says “Go sit down.  I will do this”  She’s blunt and bosses me around but I think that I know where she gets that.  There is a soft heart hidden under that gruff exterior. 

So yesterday when I came home from an afternoon of errands(which she let me run alone while she watched her younger brother & sister) & I needed to just sit.  When I asked her to put away the groceries she did it alone with out complaining.  I know this is unusual.  I am SO thankful for my helper who isn’t so little anymore.

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