Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook

I haven't posted since last week's Daybook entry. I did a whole Wednesday Hodgepodge post last Wednesday and just needed to add a graphic. Then life really happened with Kyndal spending a couple of nights in the hospital with contractions and Dawson taking a trip to the ER with a broken clavicle due to a long boarding accident. Then I just never got around to posting it. And we had family here this weekend and Kyndal's baby shower and a big family dinner Saturday night so there has not been time for posts. Now we've come full circle to another Daybook entry with no posts in between.

Looking out my window ... it's alternated between being sunny and overcast all day, but has been considerably cooler than last week.

I am thinking ... about the upcoming presidential election. Focus should be on the issues for how to make our country great, how to pull us out of this pit we are in, and how to protect us, but instead it is just clouded with corruption, media bias, and lies.

I am thankful ... that Dawson will not need surgery to put a plate in his clavicle and that it should heal okay on its own.

One of my favorite things ... is a morning routine before the kids get up when I can drink my coffee, have my quiet time, get caught up on the computer stuff, exercise, get ready for the day. But I am having an incredibly difficult time making myself get up to utilize that time. I am incredibly tired and can't seem to overcome it. I'm just going to have to make myself, I guess, and hope for the best. I hate feeling sluggish all day and unproductive.

I am creating ... meal plans for our annual lake trip that is next week.

I am watching ... dogs snooze on the couch next to me. They have not been helpful in making me feel motivated!

I am wearing ... a 5K t-shirt, black comfy cotton capri sweats, Nike flip flops. It's my second outfit of the day because I ran this morning and soaked my clothes with sweat. The temps are down but it's humid!

I am reading ... The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain. I haven't made much progress on this one this week because I have been almost too tired to read.

I am listening to ... Where'd you go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. This is my current running audio book. I've only listened to the first 30 minutes, but it's great so far!

I am hoping ... that Kyndal continues to have minimal contractions so that the baby will stay put for a few more weeks. Everything has settled down and she is doing well.

I am learning ... that my favorite wine from the Adam Puchta Winery is only available at the winery itself. But that is a 3 hour drive away. I fell in love with their Dry Vignole but only purchased one bottle while there and it's long gone. Now I can't get anymore unless I order it and the shipping costs are expensive. I'm sad.

In the kitchen ... is my vegetable basket full of zucchini, yellow squash, and spaghetti squash. I need to get it all cut and prepared for use.

In the schoolroom ... This will be our last week of school before our August break.

In the garden ... My husband worked in my garden for me on Friday afternoon and cleaned it all up. It looks so nice!! Thank you, babe!

Board Room ... Starting to Pin some school ideas, especially regarding interactive notebooks and STEM activities. I would like to find a way to incorporate more Legos into our STEM enrichment classes, and this activity looks promising.

Post Script ... 10 Reasons Why You Should Drink More Water. Brynne and I were talking yesterday about how much she loves to drink water. Actually, three out of my four kids are good water drinkers, and the younger two prefer water to any other drink. It's because that's what we have made available to them, with the exception of some occasional apple juice and always milk. I am a water drinker and find all of the reasons stated in the article to be true.

Shared Quote ...

A Moment from my Day ... (not this day, but a day last week)


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Simple Woman's Daybook

It's been forever since I have done a Daybook entry. Tuesday Coffee Chat has taken the rest of the summer off, so I am jumping back into a favorite from days gone by.

Looking out my window ... it's already muggy hot and sunny.

I am thinking ... about my Kyndal and grandbaby Bennett and hoping that he will stay put another few weeks. Kyndal started having contractions and cervical dilation yesterday and spent the night in the hospital to try to get her contractions to stop. She is only 32 weeks and Benny needs a few more weeks!

I am thankful ... for my husband and all of the ways he spoils me.

One of my favorite things ... is that amazing first cup of coffee in the morning. So, when I wake up and I hadn't set my timer the night before and that cup is not waiting to be poured the second I get out of bed, I almost start crying.

I am creating ... curriculum plans for our upcoming school year.

I am watching ... the Kansas City Royals try to pull themselves back up in the standings. We've had a rough few weeks, but last night's win against the 1st place Cleveland Indians should have put a little spring in their step!

I am wearing ... a pink "Gotta Run" tank, running shorts, my beloved Brooks running shoes. Just got done running.

I am reading ... The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain

I am listening to ... The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. I listened to the majority of this one on our road trip to/from Oklahoma this past weekend. Now I am finishing it while mowing, running, etc. I am so glad I am listening to this book instead of reading it myself because I am enjoying the accents of the residents of London and Guernsey.

I am hoping ... and continually praying for the healing of my son-in-law's younger brother, Austin, who was in a serious car accident last week that has left him partially paralyzed. He has had pneumonia and some other complications with his lungs that have set him back. But, he is stable, is improving, and will hopefully be able to be taken off the ventilator and feeding tube soon. He is a strong young man, and is fighting hard!

I am learning ... that when I receive huge gifts from Rick, that I feel I don't deserve, that I hurt his feelings and steal his joy when I feel unworthy of receiving them. He has told me that these things are why he works so hard, so that he can, not only, provide for our family but lavish us with the things that we want. I hadn't considered that and really took that to heart. He does work really hard for us, to which I sometimes feel guilty. But, he actually does enjoy working hard and providing for us and giving us nice things. I will be more appreciative of that!

In the kitchen ... Things are pretty quiet right now, but this weekend we are having a full Christmas turkey dinner. Christmas in July!!

In the schoolroom ... We have this week and next before we take our August break. Each morning we will complete a page out of Learning Bridge 6-7, read aloud out of The Jungle Book, and read out of our personal books.

In the garden ... Oh, what a mess! My berries look good, I've got a patch of sweet potatoes, and I have a few herbs. But, what a jungle out there! I gotta do some work!

Board Room ... I have a private board going now called "Farm Living". We are making plans to move out onto some acreage in the next couple of years, so the ideas are swirling. Here's one of my Pins.

Photo Credit
Every authentic farmhouse needs a boxwood wreath!

Post Script ... 10 Ways to Give Your Kids an Honest-to-Goodness 1970s Summer by Melissa Fenton, Huffington Post. So funny and so stinking right on!!

Shared Quote ...

A Moment from my Day ...


Thursday, July 14, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Summer Week 6

Eli and Brynne did school in completely opposite ways this past week.

Brynne had volleyball camp at the University of Central Missouri from 9-3 Monday through Wednesday. She loves this camp and works hard to improve her skills every year. She did a great job! I always enjoy watching her doing what she loves.

While she was gone each day, Eli was home doing his own kind of schoolwork. He continued to work through Taken Charge by Galvanize Labs. This is a program I received for FREE from Homeschool Co-op. You can also utilize this great program for free through August 31, 2016!

Then he moved onto learning about astronomy with Extreme Phenomena by Home School Astronomy. (I will have a review of this product coming soon.)

He read out of his book Gregor the Overlander: The Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins.

Finally, he watched a recorded episode of Brain Games. (We love this show!) There are four seasons on Netflix.

There is a part of me that misses the sweet, fun schooling activities I did with the kids when they were young students. But there is another part that is so thankful to be able to set up some lessons for the kids, leave them at home to do them, and know that they are getting completed.

If you read my Wednesday Hodgepodge this week, you learned that my son-in-law's younger brother was in a serious car accident this past weekend. Everybody has had to pitch in to help in this situation. While Kyndal and Collin have been at the hospital and with the family, we have been taking care of their dogs and their house. It's been a difficult week for everybody.

We decided not to do any schoolwork on Thursday and to sleep in a little later instead. The kids spent the whole day vegging out, and I went grocery shopping and helped Dawson set up his own cell phone account. Tomorrow the little kids and I are going to Oklahoma for the weekend to spend time with daddy, visit family, and go to the waterpark with our Okie besties on Sunday.

2016/2017 Hours Completed: 101 hours 15 minutes, with 52 hours 45 minutes outside the home.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I'm getting my Hodgepodge answers up late this evening because we have had a crazy week! I'm in bed super early with my book, my crossword, and my computer, just chilling.

Do you find yourself influencing your world, or is it more the other way around?

I am a hermit, and I really do not let in a whole lot of the world. When I am out, I pretty much try to keep to myself. (I used to not be that way, but I totally am now.) My greatest sphere of influence would be my children, so I would say that I am influencing the world through them.

July 14th is National Tape Measure Day ... the device was patented on this date in 1868. When did you last use a tape measure? Do you always know where to find one in your house? Tell us one way in which you feel blessed 'beyond measure'.

A couple of weeks ago I used a sewing tape to measure the inseam of Chad, the friend of Dawson's who is now living with us. He was getting ready to start a new job and we needed to order him some khaki pants. He had no idea what size pants he wore, so we had to measure. That tape is usually in the hall closet or in the basket on my microwave. We have regular tape measures, but they are usually moved around and I don't want to look for them. There are so many blessings in my life, but I am feeling especially blessed as we (and by that I really mean Rick) are making huge strides toward pursuing a dream of mine. It's really going to happen, and without Rick and his love for me it never would have.

The Plaza Hotel (Eloise), The Land of Oz (The Wizard of Oz), Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia), The Hundred Acre Wood (Winnie the Pooh), Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), or Never Never Land (Peter Pan) ... which storybook land (one this list!) would you most like to visit and why?

Definitely the peace, love, and serenity of The Hundred Acre Wood. I don't want to be anywhere hoity toity, scary, mystical, strange, scary, or dangerous. I do anything to create peace in my life.

Where and when do you get your best ideas?

In the mornings, in the shower or when putting on my makeup. I can solve all the greatest problems of the world in those moments.

So what have you been watching on TV this summer? Anything good?

I pretty much watch the Kansas City Royals play baseball every night. I think the only thing I have set to record on my DVR right now is Food Network Star and Chopped. If I am not watching the Royals then I am reading. And when they aren't playing good, which has been a lot lately, I read while the game is on.

'Don't swim for an hour after you eat', 'Dog days of summer', 'Knee high by the fourth of July' ... choose a summer saying from the list or share one of your own, then tell us what image or memory comes to mind when you hear it spoken.

"Don't feed a baby watermelon in its first summer." My mom has always said this because my Grandma Alice always said it. It's an old wives' tale, I guess. I have a feeling Bennett will be getting watermelon next summer because we all love it so much, especially his mama. Sorry Grandma.

In a simple sentence, sum up one life lesson you've learned.

This week I read a quote by Joyce Meyer ... "It changes everything in your life when you know that God loves you unconditionally." This is so true, especially when you realize that a good portion of those in your life, whom you expect to love you unconditionally, really don't. Knowing that God does takes away the pain.

Insert your own random thought here.

Please be praying for Collin's younger brother, Austin, who was in a serious rollover car accident on Sunday night. He received a spinal cord injury that has left him with paralysis from the waist down. He was severely burned on one of his arms, had a collapsed lung, broke his collar bone, and lost some teeth. We praise God that He is alive! He has had a spine stabilization surgery and will have a skin graft on his arm tomorrow. He has a very long road to recovery, but is a strong kid with a positive attitude so we know he will come through this just fine. Please pray that all infections will be kept at bay, that he will continue to heal, and that the poor prognosis in regard to his paralysis is just plain wrong! Also, Collin's sister Paige is due to deliver her second baby in the next couple of weeks. And, of course Kyndal is also pregnant and due in 9 weeks. This family has a lot on its plate right now. We would appreciate your prayers for all of the family .. Tracey and Pam (Collin's parents), Spencer and Paige, Collin and Kyndal, and especially Austin. Prayer works!!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Summer Week 5

We had another perfect summer week of school. We celebrated the 4th of July on Monday with fun traditional activities at the park. Thankfully there was nothing else on our calendar for the rest of the week so starting Tuesday we were able to get our school work done each morning and relax in the afternoons and evenings.

In our Summer Bridge 6-7 we covered the following concepts:
  • Order from least to greatest
  • Ratios as fractions in simplest form
  • Ratios converting measurements
  • Algebra word problem
  • Portmanteau words
  • Map labeling
  • Writing sentences: complex, sentence with indirect object, compound sentence with prepositional phrases, compound subject and/or verb, sentence with two direct objects
  • Reading a graph
  • Correcting sentences with double negatives
  • Definitions in context
  • Creative writing
We even did a little math in our BFG reading because
it was exactly what we have been working on. I made
the kids do the calculations before I finished the sentences.

We finished The BFG and started The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. I cannot believe I have never read this classic. The kids don't like how different the movies are from the book, and I explained that the movies were just adapted from the first part of the book. About halfway through the book, the story of Mowgli ends and it moves onto other jungle stories, including the story of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

On Friday night we took the kids to see The BFG. We thought that it was an incredibly sweet movie, and it was very much like the book. I felt that it was beautifully done and I loved the Big Friendly Giant. He was adorable.

On Saturday morning we attended our first ever kids archery 3D shoot at a nearby archery shop and range. Both kids really enjoyed their time and are looking forward to learning a new skill attending more shoots. We were also connected with a homeschool group that has a weekly shoot so are going to join up with them in the fall.

Personal reading also continues for anywhere between 30 minutes and one hour a day.

This next week Brynne has volleyball camp at the University of Central Missouri Monday through Wednesday. Eli will be home with his checklist of schoolwork to accomplish while she is gone.

2016/2017 Hours Completed: 83 hours 15 minutes, with 43 hours 45 minutes outside the home.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

How did you welcome the month of July, and tell us one fun thing you did to celebrate the 4th.

On July 1st I jumped up super early to go for a run and then head out for my grocery shopping. After getting all the groceries put away I drove the hour to my parents' lake house (alone) and spent the rest of the day there and spent the night with my parents. The kids didn't want to go, and Eli was actually running a low-grade fever, so Rick stayed home with them. Every year our family goes to our local park for 4th of July festivities. The celebration has been going on for over 100 years. We do all kinds of traditional races .. egg races, sack races, egg tosses, softball throws, etc. This year Brynne won 3rd place in the egg race, Rick and Collin won first place in the egg toss, and Collin won first place in the softball throw. The 4th is also Collin's birthday, so Rick and I went with him and Kyndal out to a late lunch, for some browsing at Lowe's, and shaved ice. Then after we got home Rick and I went for a 9 mile bike ride.

Right now ... what's your favorite red thing? white thing? blue thing?

Well this is actually a hard one! Hmmm .... My favorite red thing would be my red paisley chair and ottoman in our living room. It's where I nest. My favorite white thing would be my new-to-me rooster coffee cup that says "Rise and Shine". And my favorite blue thing would be my new KC Royals stemless wine glass. Me ... with coffee ... or wine ... in my red paisley chair. That's says a lot, huh?

Wave the white flag, raise a red flag, fly your freak flag ... which 'flag' have you flown most recently? Explain.

Today I am waving the white flag. Yes I am. In just one night of sleep I had a sinus headache, some indigestion, recurring pain from a pulled muscle in my back, and some womanly stomach cramping. I was hot and then cold and then hot and then cold, and I dreamed wacky stuff all night. Basically I had a horrible night of sleep. I didn't work out this morning. Instead I am sipping coffee and doing this Hodgepodge. We have schoolwork to do this morning, but that can be done from the couch. Eli has speech therapy this afternoon, but that's it for us. Hopefully I'll feel better so I can get out and mow the yard this afternoon. Besides that, it's me and a book today.

According to Cond Nast Traveler these are the seven best places to visit in July: a boat safari in Botswana's Okavango Delta, Riviera Maya Mexico (it's whale shark season and apparently you can swim with them), Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, Pamplona Sapin (running of the bulls), St. Petersburg Russia, the Fuji Rock Festival at Mount Naeba Japan, the Salzburg Festival in Salzburg Austria. If time and money weren't factors would you want to see any/all of these? Which would you most like to see and why?

I have been to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons in July and, yes, I would agree that would be the time to visit there. It still gets down into the 30's at night, so if you are camping make sure you have good facilities to keep you warm. If you know me at all you know that shark season in Mexico would be the last place you would find me. In fact, good tip that July is whale shark season because I will make sure I am never near Mexico again in the month of July, even though I am too scared to go in the ocean anyway (or lake or river or pool at night) for fear of being attacked by a shark. Out of the other places listed, I would want to attend the Salzburg Festival in Salzburg Austria. Austria would be a really cool place to visit.

Grilled cheese, pimento cheese, or mac and cheese ... your favorite from the cheesy treats listed?

Yum, pimento cheese! I love it on a sandwich with tomato or on celery sticks.

What makes you sweat?

Talking about sharks (see answer above). And speaking of sharks, anything having to do with politics. The thought of Hillary Clinton ... well, we'll just keep it there.

Your favorite movie with a 'patriotic' theme of some sort?

Forrest Gump. I was watching it the other night and just thought how all-American it really is.

Insert your own random thought here.

Although I am not working out today because I feel like ick, I have really been enjoying my workouts lately. I always do so much better when I am planning for something. I am going to run in the Kansas City Royals Charities 5K at the end of August, so that has me hitting the pavement even though it's hot most days. Rick and I are planning to ride in the Katy Trail Ride next summer (241 miles in 5 days) so we are riding our bikes more regularly. And now I am planning a trip in January to see a friend and we will hopefully be running in a 5K together and doing some hiking. Knowing I have events coming up helps me to stay on schedule. I turn 45 years old in less than a month (and will be a grandma in about 10 weeks!), and I am very happy with my activity level. Staying physically fit and strong in the last half of my life is important to me.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Summer Week 4

Although I am certainly not glad that Brynne has been having back problems, her need to shut down her sporting activities has sure made this a peaceful week! This was Rick's week to work in Oklahoma, Dawson has been working, Dawson's friend (and our new live-in "son") Chad went back to Oklahoma to get more of his belongings, and Kyndal has been tired this week so has been snuggled up in her own home. It has just been Eli, Brynne, and me the majority of the time with no out-of-the-house activities. We have done school for a few hours each morning, had personal time most of the afternoon and evening, and have turned on the Kansas City Royals versus St. Louis Cardinals games every evening. The kids have played their video games while I have read and watched baseball. Like I said, it was a much-needed very quiet week! Perfection!

The kids actually enjoy doing their Learning Bridge 6-7 activity pages each day. I don't know why I didn't think of using this product earlier. They are covering a wide variety of concepts each week, some things they have done in the past and some they haven't.

This week we covered the following concepts:
  • long division
  • ratio word problems
  • adding and subtracting decimals
  • graphing coordinates
  • proverb sentence completions and meanings
  • subject/verb agreements
  • using glossaries
  • concrete and abstract nouns
  • foreign word definitions
  • reading comprehension
  • anagrams
  • context clues definitions
  • scientist definitions
  • creating cartoon strips demonstrating respect and disrespect
  • creative writing: superpowers
I think the kids are enjoying the variety of concepts they are covering. Any product that gets Eli excited about creative writing is a winner in my book!

This week we read the majority of The BFG by Roald Dahl. We saw a preview for the movie when we saw The Jungle Book a couple of weeks ago. I always like for us to read the book before we see a movie or play based on the book. Brynne said today that she wasn't really looking forward to the book, but she has really liked it! I always do creative voices when I read aloud. I started out speaking in a deep voice for the BFG, but Brynne told me that his voice didn't sound like that in the movie preview. Instead, they have ended up getting something that sounds a little like Yoda. It's been a fun book, and I am looking forward to seeing the movie adaptation of it.

Both kids continue to read out of their personal books, Brynne from the Warrior Cats series and Eli from the Gregor the Overlander series. I have had the pleasure of finishing a couple of different books this week.

I have also spent some time this week doing some planning for fall. I ordered some of our curriculum that will be coming in soon (Greek mythology and astronomy ... FUN!). I mapped out our schedule of educational days for the whole year so that I can be sure to get us our breaks throughout the school year we always look forward to and to complete our school year by the end of April.) We are studying Missouri history this year so I made a list (with tentative dates) of field trips for us to take throughout the state a couple of Fridays a month. We have some really fun things planned!!

And that was our week! Simple. Succinct. Summer perfection.

2016/2017 Hours Completed: 64 hours 15 minutes, with 34 hours 45 minutes outside the home.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesday Hodgepodge

It's officially summer (in the northern hemisphere anyway). Which summer month is best and why?

August. It's my birthday. We take a week trip to my parents' lakehouse with our Okie friends each August. We take the month off from school in anticipation of our fall start date. There is no softball, no camps, nothing. The grass is all dead so no need to mow. It's hot but who cares? I'm in the house being lazy reading my books and doing lesson plans.

Can you swim? How did you learn? June 27th is National Sunglasses Day. How many pair do you own?

I don't remember a time that I could not swim. I have no idea when or how I learned. It was probably the same way my kids learned. They were introduced to water from their first summer, dunked in it, allowed to explore in it, and eventually took some lessons that they didn't really need. All my kids are fish. I have two pair of sunglasses and my goal each summer is to try to still have one of them by the end of the summer. They either get lost or broken or both. I buy cheap ones so it doesn't really matter.

What characteristics do you judge most harshly in yourself? How about in others?

This is something I don't really want to share with others. There are several things God is consistently trying to work out in me and I get frustrated with myself when I fail at doing better at those things. But they are between me and God. I have to remind myself to not be so hard on myself and remember that God is not done with me yet. I will not find perfection this side of Heaven.

Robert Frost wrote the now well known poem entitled "The Road Not Taken." What's a road (literal or figurative) you've always wanted to travel, and where do you hope it takes you?

I wrote about this yesterday. I want to live in the country on a little hobby farm. I want to seclude myself away from the world and all it's yuck. I want to have freedom to do what I want, when I want, and maybe (probably) nothing at all.

Popsicles ... yay or nay? If you answered yay, what's your favorite flavor?

I can take them or leave them. I don't crave them but I don't pass them up, either. My favorite flavor? Lime! Yum! And I see that Snapple has a line of popsicles with Mango. That would be another favorite.

Brexit .. on a scale of 1-10 ... how knowledgeable are you on what's involved here? (1=very knowledgeable and 10=what's Brexit?) Is this news you'll follow or is it something you think won't impact your life any any way shape or form?

First of all I had no idea what this was until I Googled it. It's summer so CNN Student News isn't on so I have no idea what's going on in our world. If Carl doesn't keep me informed, nobody does. That's the only place I get my world news. I started to read an article about it but caught myself snoring so I stopped mid-article. I prefer to stick my head in the sand and pretend that the world is not doing what the world is doing. Rick had told me about the UK leaving the EU but all I heard was "blah blah". I am going to go out on a limb and say this will probably impact us greatly somehow, but I have no idea how. And, frankly, I don't want to know. That road I am wanting to take from the questions above? I'm ready to start running down it now.

Share a favorite song on your summer play list.

I do not listen to music unless someone else is listening to it. I prefer to read or listen to the humming of my own thoughts.

Insert your own random thought here.

Brynne and I have decided to run in the Kansas City Royals Charities 5K Run/Walk. This means I need to switch up my workout routine and get back outside running again. It's been hot so my workouts have come inside doing DailyBurn365 each morning. Since it will just be the two of us and I don't want to leave her behind with thousands of people I don't know, I don't need to train hard because we will walk much of it. But that doesn't mean I don't need to get back out there. Our incentive is a cool t-shirt, a run on the field, and tickets to a game in September. It will be something fun to do with my girl.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Tuesday Coffee Chat

What journey do you most want to take? It can be a geographical place, an emotional or spiritual quest, or even a creative pursuit.

I received a comment this morning from a long-time blog follower I didn't even know I had. She told me that she has followed me for years, that she is from our previous city of residence, that she would often see me at the school and various other places, and how much she has enjoyed the realism of my blog all these years.

I was touched! I also wish she would have introduced herself so that we could have possibly been friends.

But that got me thinking about the journey we took to get where we are now. In August, we will have lived here in our little home in Missouri for four years. I started looking back at blog posts from about the time of our move. We were getting ready to have a presidential election. And here we are again. Some of the reasons we downsized and moved to small town Missouri was because of the likely results of the election. We wanted to hunker down in a safe and simple place and raise our kids with a simple and healthy need versus want mentality. Our premonitions came true as to what our country would be like this year at the end of that administration. And now we embark on the possibility of another 8 years on the same downhill track. Boy am I thankful we are where we are. I feel safe.

I was looking at the before and after photos of just the outside of our house. I thought I would share.

I felt like we were moving into a summer camp cabin.

A little more cottage than cabin.

And we're not done yet. There is always something to be modified in a home that is two years shy of being 100 years old. And even in looking at this most recent photo I see that I really want that dangling branch cut down!

But, dang, I am pretty darn happy and content here.

The journey to contentment is not an easy journey, especially when you have lived many years in the middle of the "Keeping up with the Joneses Show". I hated that show. Sometimes you have to just yank the bandaid off and make that big change. It's certainly easier for some than others. But I think the journey has been a positive one overall.

So where do we go from here. Are we here for good?

Never say never and don't ever say absolutely. You just never know where life is going to take you. Four years ago I certainly didn't believe that we would be packing up everything we could fit in this little house and moving within three weeks.

My ultimate dream would be to move out into the country on a little plot of land into an old farmhouse (or even a newly built one that looks like an old farmhouse) with a small barn, a pond, a garden, chickens, an old horse, and a teacup piggie with lots of room to roam.

This is a journey we talk about with our kids because Collin and Kyndal share the same dream and would even like for us all to move onto the same piece of property. It's something we have begun to discuss a little more seriously and to tentatively make future plans to accomplish. I'm not sure the journey would be as dramatic a one for me as it would be for Rick. He is a big city boy who has not yet even gotten used to living part-time in a small town. But I think the seclusion from the craziness of the world, even a small town world, and the freedom to do as we please, would cater to his needs of controlling his environment. Plus we'd be all set if the world shut down or the zombie apocolypse arrived. I just want to be able to sit on my porch swing with a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine) watching my grandson play with the dogs while the chickens peck the ground. It seems like a pretty nice way to live out the last half of my life.

I've got our compass set in that direction.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Summer Week 3

This was that crazy week.

Rick and I were on an overnight trip to Hermann, Missouri, to celebrate our 15th anniversary (again!), so Kyndal was left to help out with Eli and Brynne. That included taking Brynne to basketball camp at the University of Central Missouri.

Since she was logging school hours ... extreme P.E. ... Eli needed to have some schoolwork to do while she was gone to get in his hours, as well.

Each day he read out of his book Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by Suzanne Collins for one hour. Then he worked on a research project assigned to him by his speech therapist. Finally, he played the game Taken Charge by Galvanize Labs for one hour. He really enjoyed this game because it had him learning about the inner workings of the computer and putting one together. He completed Level 1 this week. When I asked him if he wanted to complete the game this summer (we have a free subscription until the end of August) he said that he did. He really enjoyed it! Video games can be educational!

I was home to take Brynne to her last day of camp. She did a really great job improving her skills. Unfortunately, she pulled her back, again, and was not able to participate in the scrimmage part of the camp.

On Thursday we had a regular school day. We completed Day 7 of Learning Bridge 6-7 and covered Least Common Denominator, subjects and verb agreements, root words, prefixes and suffixes, and solving puzzles. This was fun because it had us doing what the kids have to do in our read aloud Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics. We read out of that book and then the kids read out of their personal books.

We finished Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics on Friday and then spent the afternoon swimming. We hoped that some low impact swimming might be good for Brynne's back after a couple of days of bed rest. She has a softball game on Sunday evening, but we are still unsure whether she will be able to play.

2016/2017 Hours Completed: 53 hours 40 minutes, with 34 hours 45 minutes outside the home.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

An Anniversary Trip to Missouri's Wine Country

Hermann, Missouri, is a quaint little town on the Missouri River. Germans settled there hundreds of years ago and quickly determined that it was the perfect location to grow grapes and produce wines. Stone Hill wine is a popular wine that you can find at most stores, including Walmart, and maybe you have seen it. It is made in Hermann, Missouri. There are many, many wineries in and around that small town.

Staying in Hermann at a Bed and Breakfast, going on a winery tour, and doing some wine tastings was on my bucket list. Rick and I just celebrated our 15 year anniversary so we decided this would be a neat little one-night trip to take since it's just a few hours from our home.

We stayed at a B&B right next to Stone Hill Winery called Stone Hill Overlook. It was a nice little modern bed and breakfast that served our purposes perfectly. Plus it had a beautiful hilltop view of Hermann.

We took the advice of our host Jim and went straight to Adam Puchta Winery. Well, I am now a wine snob. The lady working there did such a great job of choosing wines she thought I might enjoy even though I didn't think I would. She paired those wines with bites of food that brought out their flavors. We bought 3 bottles and a hand-painted Kansas City Royals stemless wine glass.

Next we tasted at Hermannhoff Winery. The wines were not nearly as tasty but the winery property was beautiful!

Finally, we went on a cellar tour of Stone Hill Winery and then did a wine tasting there. The cellar tour was so interesting! I still can't get over the amazing scents during the tour. The guide said he wished they could market that scent in a candle. I agree! We did a wine tasting there, as well, but determined that nothing could beat Adam Puchta.

The town is pretty much shut down on a Monday night but we did find a restaurant that served us a good burger and chicken salad sandwich. A walk around town displayed the most adorable gardens and turn-of-the-century buildings.

Another reason why we chose to go to Hermann on this particular day was to scout out the Katy Trail bike riders as they came through Hermann on the Katy Trail Ride 2016. Rick and I have just taken up cycling. The Katy Trail runs through our town so we made tentative plans to train this next year and ride the Katy Trail Ride in 2017. We were able to track down the riders at their camping spot to see what types of bikes, equipment, gear, etc. We were very encouraged that we will be able to complete this ride next year. It runs from St. Charles, Missouri, through our town and concludes in Clinton, Missouri, a total of 241 miles in 5 days.

It was a nice little getaway for the two of us. This time next year we will be back there sleeping in a tent!!