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Showing posts from January, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Introducing "Freedom Fridays" (Prairie Primer: Silver Lake Week 2)

This month our Prairie Primer lessons have us memorizing the states and their capitols in the order they were admitted into the union. We work on three states each day. Eli mentioned that he wanted to watch the clips about each state from our dvd set "The States" (History Channel) as we are learning about them. We have watched this series once before, but it is very informative and enjoyable to watch. As it usually takes at least a half-hour to forty-five minutes of our day to watch three clips, I have had to readjust some of what we try to accomplish each day to make room. But they really, really enjoy them. Delight-directed learning is important. Plus, their interest in the states is also helping them in memorizing the capitols and state abbreviations. We are through the 19th state in a week.


We learned all about the history of the steam locomotive by watching "The History of Steam Locomotives" (pts 1-3) on Youtube. We also read The Stourbridge Lion: America'…

Random 5

1. We have officially made our plans for our next trip to Florida .... squeal!!! We haven't been since last Spring and are in desperate need of a trip. I worked out our school schedule for the remainder of the year to make sure we get in the appropriate number of hours. We can take about 10 days to go to Florida at the beginning of April and complete our school year by May 1st. My friend, Jodi, and her kids aren't going to be able to make the trip with us as we had hoped, but my mom is going with us (it is her house, after all) and I am just as happy about that. The kids won't be quite as entertained as when they take friends along, cause they are stuck with just each other, but it sure makes for an amazingly relaxing week for me. I can already feel the warm sun on my face. I am so giddy I could scream!

2. When reading By the Shores of Silver Creek this week, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, we came upon the lyrics to the song "Paddle Your Own Canoe". Here are the lyric…

Science Experiment: Which Surface Has the Most Germs? (Ewwww....)

We have been learning about bacteria, viruses, and germs as part of our Prairie Primer lessons for By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. So we did an experiment.

We did not have any petri dishes or agar so I consulted the web and found an alternative. Our "dishes" were small, plastic drinking cups from Dollar General and our "agar" was 1 cup hot water, 2T clear gelatin, and 2T sugar all boiled and dissolved together. We poured the "agar" evenly into the cups held by an 8x8 baking dish, covered them with Press 'n Seal wrap, and put them in the refrigerator overnight to solidify the gel.

The next day we were ready to set up our experiment. We made a list of the surfaces we wanted to test for bacteria. Our choices were:

Brynne's mouthEli's mouthOur dog Quincy's mouthThe kitchen counterThe dining room tableThe toiletThe bathroom sink handleThe backdoor knob.  We took a clean Q-tip and rubbed it on a surface, then gently rubbed …

Wednesday Hodgepodge

When did someone last suggest you 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell someone (or want to tell someone) to 'chill out'? Or, when did you last tell yourself to 'chill out'?
The only person who ever really tells me to 'chill out' is Kyndal. I normally don't get too wound up to be told to, but her and my personalities are the opposite so I react more to things she is doing and she thinks I am unreasonable. I constantly tell Eli to 'chill' because he is a tad high strung. Rick also gets pretty fired up about some stuff and I tell him to 'chill', as well. I tell Dawson and Brynne to 'chill' for totally different reasons ... they love to wrestle, run, play, scare each other, etc., etc., etc., and this mama who needs quiet has to tell them to 'chill' pretty often! I don't like disorder and chaos and outbursts so needing a good 'chilling out' around me is often necessary. But it's not all about me, and ki…

Tuesday Coffee Chat - To Be Alone or Not to be Alone?

Would you feel ill at ease going to a movie alone? Or to eat at a restaurant? A concert?

I'll start by saying Introverts unite! I am an introvert and introverts typically do not have a problem doing these things alone. I have never gone to a movie alone or a concert, but I would have no problem doing it. Well, the concert maybe. It's more fun to sing and act like a fool with a friend. But I have eaten in a restaurant alone (with no qualms) and like to do various other things alone, too.

A couple of things I actually prefer to do alone? Shop. Yes, I love to shop alone. That way I can shop my way which is a slow wander and not worry about holding someone else up from what they are wanting to do. And I like to go to museums alone. Again, I am a slow wanderer and one of those who likes to read each and every thing along the way. I don't like to feel rushed or feel like I am holding someone back from moving on. I also enjoy doing these activities with others. My mom, Kyndal and…

How We Beat the Flu in 24 Hours with Essential Oils

** Disclaimer: I am, obviously, not a doctor nor attempting to tell you that you should not go to the doctor if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms (especially a child or the elderly). I am also not guaranteeing that any of the things you read in this post will help your family. This is just this family's experience with the flu and how we conquered it in 24 hours. Perhaps you can take something from this post to help your family, too.
On Thursday morning Macie's mom (the little girl I care for) texted me to tell me that Macie had tested positive for the flu that morning. Knowing that we had been exposed the days before, I jumped into action.

I had recently been looking for some non-medication alternatives to severe and recurring sinus headaches (because the sinus medications don't work anyway). I came across a recommendation to use Eucalyptus oil in a diffuser. I don't have a diffuser but I do have a vaporizer that I run in our main living area everyday to attempt …

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Haven't Done One of These in a While (Prairie Primer: Silver Lake Week 1)

I haven't done a weekly wrap-up since early December. That's because we have been on Winter Break. We stopped school the Friday before Christmas Eve and resumed this past Monday. It was some glorious time off! We weren't really excited to start back with our studies, but we had an excellent week! There were no bad attitudes and no transition days to get back into things. I attribute that to us finally having our groove and a schedule we all enjoy. It's a good mix of must-do's and get-to's. All was well until today when Brynne came down with the flu. Our schooling came to a screeching halt, but we accomplished so much that I didn't feel bad at all about us taking today off.

By the Shores of Silver Lake
We have moved on to reading By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. This week had us learning that Mary has gone blind due to scarlet fever and the family has moved away from Walnut Grove and the house on Plum Creek.

We dug into a deep study of …

Random 5

1. Well, darn, the flu has hit us. Brynne wasn't feeling good last night and woke up with fever, congestion, cough, tummy ache, and the "flu eyes" this morning. She is now in my bed sleeping with one of the pups and a vaporizer full of eucalyptus nearby. Hoping the rest of us don't get it!

2. Her only question was, "Do I not get to go to basketball practice tonight?" I said, "Oh no, honey. You're not going anywhere for a few days." She started crying. She has a game tomorrow that she is going to have to miss. That girl loves her sports.

3. Looks like this is going to be a movie weekend for us, snuggled up in the living room trying to get/stay healthy. That actually doesn't sound too bad to me, as long as we aren't feeling miserable. Our weekends are usually pretty packed, so an excuse to stay home and rest suits me fine.

4. I am going to the Amish store today to stock up on more essential oils. I am going to make my own  OnGuard or Th…

Wednesday Hodgepodge

American Idol is back for a 14th season. Are you watching? Have you ever watched? If you were to audition for the show (or were made to audition), what song would you sing? I did watch the show for the first 5 or so seasons. Then when Simon Cowell left I stopped watching until the season that they brought on Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez. After that, with all of the judging changes, it just got too goofy for me. Plus, I felt like the show moved from finding a great singer to all about the "show" ... lights, cameras, lot of action. The focus seemed to come off the singing and all the judges did was tell the contestants how great they were. Early on I would fantasize that I could actually sing (I assure you I cannot!), and the song I would sing at my audition was going to be "Vision of Love" by Mariah Carey.

Mark Twain is quoted as saying, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it's your job to eat t…

Tuesday Coffee Chat

If you could learn any one skill in the world without trying (like Matrix learning style) which would you pick?
I have always wanted to be able to sew. Being able to sew my own curtains and simple clothing would be so amazing. When Brynne wanted a prairie dress I had to pay more than I want to admit, when I wish I could have just sewn it myself. It would be great to be able to make Halloween costumes with more than just hot glue and hem tape (that can be a tad limiting). It would just be really cool to be able to change out the patterns of my couch cushions by sewing some new slip covers any time I saw a fabric I liked.
Now that I say that, I don't know if I have the patience to sit and sew. Brynne and I learned how to knit, but it bored me to tears.
So if I could magically know how to do one skill, it would be sewing, so long as I was perfect at it and it didn't take all my time.

Random 5

1. Actually learning about being an introvert is freeing me from so much. Check back next week when I post about how an introvert likes to go on vacation. This trip to New Orleans opened up my eyes to so much in light of my new understandings.

2. I am reading the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed (excellent, by the way). I loved this part from the book ... (Cheryl had just been charged by a bull on the Pacific Crest Trail) "I considered my options. There were only two and they were essentially the same. I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward in the direction I intended to go. The bull, I acknowledged grimly, could be in either direction, since I hadn't seen where he'd run once I closed my eyes. I could only choose between the bull that would take me back and the bull that would take me forward. And I walked on."

3. New Orleans confirmed that I could eat fish and beans every day of my life.

4. The members of my family are addicted to crack …

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I am joining Wednesday Hodgepodge from my hotel room bed in The Big Easy while I sip Starbucks coffee and watch HGTV. Yeah, life is pretty darned good at this moment.

What's your best piece of advice for a newly married couple? I'm asking for a friend. Set your budget and all monthly living expenses on the husband's income ONLY! That way if the wife wants to work, her income can go for savings, extras, etc. But then if she ever wants to quit work to stay home and care for her family, there is no financial adjustment to be made. This is the counsel we have given our daughter and her fiancé. And it has already worked out for them as she tries to find the right place for herself in her business as a stylist. She has the luxury of taking her time without major stresses of money because her fiance makes enough money to pay all of their living expenses.

Before we're too far into the new year I wanted to post a question Theresa submitted during the December giveaway. Teresa …

Tuesday Coffee Chat

Today's Tuesday Coffee Chat is a fun one ...

Last thing you took a picture of? Why did you want to capture the image? (Show your work.)


Dawson's senior prom is in a couple of months and he desperately does not want to go. It's just not his thing at all. He did not go to his junior prom even though the juniors put on the prom for the seniors and he could have gone. But since he has a sweet little girlfriend, who is on the junior prom committee, who really does want to get all dressed up and spend a magical night with her man, he has been advised (by his very wise mama) that he needs to suck it up and provide her with that magical night even though he is a major introvert who would prefer to stay home that night and watch movies and drink hot cocoa.

Now just because he has (reluctantly) agreed to attend prom, that does not mean that he has any plans to spend a gazillion dollars on a tux and such when he is totally not a tux kind of guy. I told him I thought it would be compl…

Getting (Re)Fit 2015

Lots of people are working toward getting fit this new year. Lots of people usually do, including me. I tend to do really well for a couple of months, then taper off some until summer when we start to get more outside exercise walking and riding our bikes, then completely shut down in fall and early winter. I also go in spurts (always starting at the first of the year) of eating healthier. I get in a groove of doing all of those things that just make me feel better. I am in that groove right now. I don't know how long it will last but I hope it lasts for a long time because I feel great! I am only a week into my new plan, but it is working well and I haven't once been tempted to "skip a day" or cheat a little. The first week I lost almost 2 pounds of my 11 pound weight loss goal and I have felt energized and happy.

What am I doing exactly?

Well, it all starts with a good schedule. I am waking by 6:30 a.m. and getting my exercise done first thing! Since it's been…

Random Friday

1. We have been on Christmas break since December 19th, and it has been glorious! We were planning to start back to school this next Monday, but I am going to go on a trip with Rick to New Orleans next week. So, we'll start back on the 19th.

2. Speaking of New Orleans, I am super excited to get away with Rick alone for a few days. These trips are the best of both worlds for me. I get some recharging and pampered time alone in a hotel room while Rick is at his class, but he and I get to dress up a tad to go out to eat and explore. It is always so enjoyable to go on these trips and I can't wait!!

3. I started back to my healthy living routine this week. I am up extra early in the morning to do some exercise then spending some dedicated time with God doing some study and scripture memorization. I have eaten healthy all week using the philosophies of Trim Healthy Mama and entering all of my foods, drinks, and exercises on My Fitness Pal. This week I lost 1.8 pounds. It is a solid…

Planning for Next Year

When do you start planning for the next school year? I have a general long-term plan to get the kids through, at least, the next 4 years or so. I have a general outline going at all times.

But I do start to seriously plan for the next year by about January. The biggest reason why I do this is so that I can start looking for interesting and inexpensive resources to go along with our studies.

This year we have thrown ourselves into Prairie Primer by Cadron Creek. We have immersed ourselves in the times of the late 1800's and prairie living. The study has been so good for us. Although it is, primarily, a literature unit study, it also covers a lot of science topics. It also leads us down several historical rabbit holes and guides us through many character lessons.

We do math, grammar, writing and reading separately. We pretty much have the curricula that we like and just continue to move through the different levels.

After 5 years of homeschooling I have learned that the best learni…

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I forgot to Hodgepodge last Wednesday! And the host is skipping this week because she has a daughter getting married. So I am going to get last week's answers posted this week and then catch back up next week. And here we go ...

Share a favorite moment from your Christmas holiday celebration. I think our Christmas Eve celebration was my favorite. Spending time at my parents' with my family was cozy and peaceful and enjoyable. I loved watching my two-year old niece Ashtyn enjoy her time and it was amazing to snuggle with my great niece Ellie. It was just family.

What would you say has been the biggest news event during your life so far? The obvious answer is 9/11. But more gripping to me was the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. New York seemed so far away to me when it happened. But the OKC bombing was the first time in my adult life that something hit so close to home. We were living in Missouri, not Oklahoma at the time, but I was just terrifi…

Tuesday Coffee Chat

I am joining Leslie at Time Out for Mom on her Tuesday Coffee Chat. And with how early I am now getting up to exercise, I need my coffee! Today's question is:

One thing I would like to accomplish in 2015 is ...

There are many things, as it is the New Year. I am sure you have many things on your list, too. I have already mentioned some of my plans to budget this year. I want to get fit and eat more healthy. And, of course, I want to be a better wife, mom, friend, daughter, sister, aunt ... you get the point.

But what is one tangible thing I would like to accomplish in 2015?I want for my basement to be purged, cleaned, organized and brightened up. 

Our basement is a "wet basement", as they are called here in Missouri, because they typically take on moisture and leak occasionally with strong rains. Thankfully ours seems to have stopped leaking. But if it does we have an intricate trough system in the concrete floor to navigate the water to the floor drain in the shower. The …

First Day ~ January 2015

Well, I completely forgot to take pictures on our first day of January, except for the three I put on Instagram. We lazed around all day and I nursed a pulled back from too much fun at our Just Dance New Year's Eve party with friends and our kids, so there wasn't much excitement to share. Since January 1st was lame anyway, I decided to take photos of January 2nd instead. It was a busy day. Here ya go.