Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I got up to run this morning, stepped outside, and it was raining. So, I find myself with an extra 45 minutes. Let's do a Wednesday Hodgepodge!

Do your actions match your words? Explain.

I try. Lord, I try. But I know I fail. Lord, I know I fail. But I pray, Lord do I pray. I have a real issue with inauthentic people. I want to be authentic! I want to be authentic in my successes and my failures. I try really hard not to tell my kids to do one thing while I do another. I wish I could say that I am successful at this at all times, but I know I'm not.

Sick as a dog, dog tired, it's a dog's life, every dog has it's day, can't teach an old dog new tricks ... now doggone it which saying could most recently be applied to your life?

None of these really apply to me right now, but I would say dog tired would fit most. I'm not exhausted exactly. In fact, I actually feel more energized. But I am meeting myself coming and going lately. I have started working part time which has actually been more full time with training. Then I get home and try to get dinner fixed, try to do a few things around the house, try to spend some time with my kids and grandson. Add in working out, church activities, sports practices, a few small trips, Brynne getting ready to start school, homeschool planning for Eli, visits with family, and an upcoming house renovation, and you have a mentally dog tired mama. Starting today, though, I go to strictly part time at work in the mornings and Brynne starts her school schedule tomorrow. So things will start to level out.

Your favorite book featuring a dog in the storyline? What makes it a favorite?

I guess it would be Because of Winn Dixie. Such a sweet story and it was an adorable movie. I love when a dog can change the life of someone.

What's something you hope to one day have the confidence to do?

I would really like to train and compete the Katy Trail Ride. It is an organized 244 mile bike trail ride on the old Katy Trail Railroad. I really, really want to do it to prove to myself that I can. Plus, I think it would be a cathartic experience. And I think I would like to have the confidence to participate by myself, not knowing anyone. I would love to push my body physically, to have all of that time to just think. With working now I don't know that it is something I will be able to fit in, but I really hope that someday I get the opportunity to try.

August 16th is National Tell a Joke Day. So tell us a joke.

A lady was in the grocery store filling a large cart with her 3 year old daughter who was not happy and was throwing fits left and right. An elderly man just happened to be in most of the same aisles as her. Throughout the whole shopping trip the mom stayed extremely calm. In the cereal aisle he heard her say, "It's okay, Sally, we won't be in here much longer and then we can go home." In the bread aisle her heard her repeat, "It's okay, Sally, we won't be in here much longer and then we can go home." He heard her repeating that to her daughter throughout the store. When her daughter would throw another tantrum she would just calmly walk on and say in a soothing voice, "It's okay, Sally, we won't be in here much longer and then we can go home." In the checkout line the man ended up standing right behind the lady and her unruly daughter. He admired her so much and just felt like he needed to say something to her. He said, "Ma'am, I have been following you through the store and have noticed how patient you have been with sweet Sally as she is clearly tired and hungry and unhappy. Most parents would have snapped at their children, yelled at them even, but not you. You just kept calmly telling her, "It's okay, Sally, we won't be in here much longer and then we can go home." The lady looked at him and almost laughed. She said, "Oh! Her name's not Sally, her name is Jane! Sally is my name!!"

Insert your own random thought here.

We are getting ready to start the renovations on our house! I met with our contractor a couple of nights ago to get our ideas mapped out. We are going to look at materials tomorrow night. I have the roofer all lined up to get us a (very expensive but imperative) new roof. And then it's GO time! It's going to be a loud, dusty, chaotic next few months. But I cannot wait to live in my house with all of the new space. Happy 100 years, house!

Monday, August 7, 2017

When You're Only Dreaming

I am not too good at dreaming because this thing called reality always seems to be at the forefront. I am a realist. I just am. Period. That doesn't mean that I don't have dreams, though. In fact, I had a pretty big, deep-seeded dream to own a small hobby farm. I am one of those who might be able to be Amish, sans the hot skirts and lack of air conditioning in the summer. I'm not afraid of work, even hard work. Would I enjoy every second of it? No. I don't enjoy every second of the work I do here around my house, either. But I always do what needs to be done. There is something so idyllic about waking early with the sunrise, tending the small animals, working in the garden, preserving food, baking bread, providing meals for my family, and sitting on the porch in the evenings enjoying the sunset.

About a year ago we took the first step toward that dream. We purchased 17 acres about 2 miles outside of our small town. It was the perfect location and I could see our constructed farmhouse, barn, animals, and the like. We knew we would have a few years before we could start building, but the dreaming definitely started. I even started a Pinterest Board called Farm Living.

Around Easter we realized that going forward with this dream was not going to be a good move for us. We also decided that we were either going to have to put some significant money into our current home (a 1918 bungalow that we bought on a foreclosure 5 years ago for $30,000 and made some cosmetic changes to make it home) or we needed to sell it and buy something a little sturdier and more functional.

So, we put our house on the market and actually found a farmhouse in town, just a block away from our current home, with 2000 square feet for $90,000. We put in an offer and started showing our house.

But as time went by, and with each showing, I started to become more and more sad about the thought of leaving this house. I started to realize that the farmhouse life, even one technically in town, was not for me. Even the farmhouse decorating started to get on my nerves. And the thought started to occur to me that if we were going to pay an additional $60,000 for a different house, that the same amount of money (probably much less) could go into our current home to make it all that we want.

Strangely, the kids confirmed that they did not want to move, either, even though they were going to get bigger bedrooms, their own bathroom, and an upstairs.

So we discussed the renovations we would like to make to this house, started collecting bids for the work, backed out of our contract, and took our home off the market with plans to stay here forever. We are going to replace the roof, tear down our garage, erect an 8 foot privacy fence, put in new central air and heat, buy a nice shed, gut and completely remodel our one bathroom, turn our attic into a 450 square foot master suite with sitting area, add a bathroom in the upstairs suite, move Brynne into our current master bedroom, and do a couple of small updates to our kitchen.

In the meantime, during all of these topsy turvy decisions, two of my friends who have taken on the hobby farm life have expressed to me how much time and money (more than they ever thought) it has taken to make their dreams a reality. I started to realize that my reality is that I was only dreaming when it came to this whole farm life thing.

I want a more simple life as I age, not to add anything else to my plate.

I do not want to take care of even one. more. thing.

I have carved out a peaceful life doing exactly what makes me happy. Why would I change that?

The kids are happy. Why do I want to disrupt them?

We can have everything we want right where we are. I can even get some chickens someday if I desire.

In our society we continually want more and different. I do not want to do that anymore. I want to be settled and comfortable and live a quiet life. Ever since the final decisions have been made, I have been at total peace.

Sometimes we have to move toward what we want to realize we don't really want it after all.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

8th Grade Curriculum - 2017/2018

We are just a couple of weeks away from starting back to full-time school. We have enjoyed a more relaxed school schedule this summer, concentrating on math and reading. But it's about time to jump back into our other subjects.

At the last minute I completely changed what we are going to be studying for social studies/history. I had planned for us to tackle the ancients, but Eli has had a recent interest in cartography. Since he is my only student at home this year, I decided to listen to where his interests are taking him and changed things up to a study of geography and cartography. Plus, I think a year of this will actually make the ancients come more alive the following year.

Eli will be in the 8th grade this year, and he will study the following:


This summer Eli attended and completed a Pre-Algebra Readiness course with Mr. D's Math. In my opinion, Mr. D is the Holy Grail of math and worth every penny. Any math course that leaves my son with dimples showing at the end of a quiz is the one for me. Eli is enrolled in Pre-Algebra for this school year.


Eli and I are both going to participate in his writing program this year and have decided to each make a magazine using Cover Story. I believe his topic is going to be dinosaurs. I am thinking mine may be simple living. It's going to be a fun course!


Every day Eli reads out of a book of his choice for 30 minutes to an hour. He is currently reading the books in the Halo series. I really do not care what he reads as long as he is reading.


We will continue with Fix-It Grammar by IEW. It has been an excellent fit for us, and this will be our third year and volume of this curriculum. It will have Eli very well prepared to take the Structure and Style and Student Writing Intensive B course next year.


Every morning we start our school day by reading a selection out of McGuffey's Eclectic Readers. We will be reading out of the Fifth volume this year.


Eli has expressed an interest in Archaeology. So, we will backtrack a bit and start our science year studying Geology. We will be relying on the Geology Unit Study by Cindy Downes using The Geology Book by Dr. John D. Morris as our spine, along with additional activities from Geology (Thematic Unit). We will also be reading Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry and watching videos from Geology Kitchen and Earth Revealed.


The spine of our Geography lessons will be Mapping the World with Art by Ellen McHenry. Eli will study the history of maps, will draw maps, and then will do other fun activities from that text. Additionally, he will be tracing maps using Scholastic's Super Book of Outline Maps. We will also move through Charting the World: Geography and Maps from Cave Paintings to GPS with 21 Activities (we used a volume of this book in our WWII studies and it was excellent).


Read alouds are still a very important part of our day. We will start by reading several books with a geography spin, including:
The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Wanderer by Sharon Creech
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson


Eli will continue to bowl in his weekly league, will attend speech therapy once a week, and we have plans to join a once-a-month geology club. Here and there we will study other topics, things like the upcoming Solar Eclipse and Perseid Meteor Shower. Later in the year we will pick back up with some enjoyable studies launching off the television shows Timeless (American History) and The Zoo from Animal Planet (animal science). Who knows what else will grab our attention.

This will be a very exciting year for us as it is down to just Eli and me. Brynne will have her own adventures in public school. To everything ... turn, turn, turn ... there is a season ... turn, turn, turn ...