Sigh of Relief. Again.

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Show me the person that is homeschooling children and is totally, without any doubt, confident that they are learning what they will need for the years ahead. I dare you. That person does not exist. If you do meet one then I believe they are lying.

At this point in time I have two children still at home. Three others have flown the nest. I cannot say the three that have left knew it all. They did not. They have had times of struggle. I have had times I wished that I taught them this or that. Over all though, they are fine. They all went to high school and did very well. They all got into college. One graduated. The other two have decided that it was not worth their time. Or money. They are working, living, having fun. They are bright and relatively happy.

Recently we have come to the point in my eldest daughters life where she desires to meet new people and do something a bit different than homeschool. This happened with all my sons as well. She will attend 8th grade at the Jr. High School in the fall. She already knows a few of the kids from Strings class and from softball. I believe socially she will be fine.

I had a meeting with the guidance counselor to see what classes she would be taking and to gauge the level of study from these classes. My daughter wanted to see how behind she was. This is typical too. I do not us a curriculum. My children do not want one. They are very happy with the way we do things here at home, that is until they are about to go off to school. Then they start to question whether they have gotten enough.

The guidance counselor was very nice and sent me a link to get into the curriculum of all the subjects for 7th grade. With the exception of a Holocaust unit and Poetry she was at grade level. Hmmmm. Not too shabby! So as I did with the first three I blew a sigh of relief. Again.

We will most likely read about the Holocaust more in depth this summer. We will also study some poetry. My daughter will finish her math for the year. She will be fine.

The other day I was walking with my youngest daughter out in the woods behind the school while her sister was in Strings class. I started thinking how this youngest daughter has not had the academic attention she needs or thrives. I started doubting my abilities. Again. But then I stopped. We were walking in the woods. We were seeing fungi, and flowers, and trees. She was telling me what certain trees were. We stumbled upon a hole in the ground and uprooted a woodchuck. She immediately tried to follow it and discovered five other holes around the knoll. She told me that tunnels were probably all underneath us. She is fine. She will be fine. I will still have my doubts every once in a while but for the most part, this homeschooling thing really is working.

 

 

Here, There, Everywhere

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The busiest time of the year is here. No other time during the year am I being pulled in so many different directions. I am appreciating each morning here at home because by 10:30 I am out of the house and sometimes don’t return until night time. Suppers are a real challenge. They must be easy, quick and healthy! We did have hot dogs last week though. Sometimes it is the only way. One day this week we may have to grab something out!

I went to visit my son last week at the Carpenter’s Boat Shop and spent the night. It was so nice to see the things he is working on. I even worked on one of the boats!  Everyone was very welcoming and I was quite comfortable.

I went on a knitting retreat in Portland. I had the best time. Who wouldn’t? Yarn, knitting, wine, chocolate. We went out to eat. We knit. I learned how to double knit. We had a party with door prizes and yarn swaps. We knit. We had cocktails together and knit. It was really fun to be around so many like minded women.

Softball season has begun. The girls are on different teams. One is playing through the school, the other through the recreation department. Pretty much every night there is softball. One in the afternoon, one in the evening.

This is gardening season too. I have been out planting early things like greens and peas. I went to the Fedco tree sale and picked up some tomato seedlings. I wanted to get blueberry bushes to replace the ones that were damaged this year but they were all out! My asparagus is up and the garlic too. Next week strawberries are being delivered! So excited about that.

We are trying to keep up on our homeschooling too so we don’t have so much to catch up on during the summer. Both girls are on the last parts of their math. We are reading about the ancient empires right now. Just finished reading the Iliad. Now we are reading the Odyssey. We still have to finish biology. Waiting a bit for that. It is all the summer things like caterpillars and frogs. I went for a walk in the woods last week and found some owl pellets. The girls couldn’t wait to dissect those!

We have started our daily walks again. Last week we even got a bike ride in, dodging all the rain drops. Boy has it been rainy!

This weekend all my sons came home for a visit. One had just got back from a road trip out in California! I wanted to see pictures. I did and it looked like he has a wonderful time. Another son helped me put my flower garden back together. It got ripped up during some pipe work. That is how the blueberry bushes got damaged too. He helped me see that it is still pretty and all will be well.

In between all the running around I have put together a quilt block. Quilted a block or two on the picnic quilt and finished a sweater. I will show that in a future post. I have to make time for my crafts. It is for my mental health.

So things are pretty busy. I know it will settle down after softball ends. And the garden is all planted. Then I can sit outside, with a glass of wine or a cup of tea and relax.

Yea, right.

Nesting

As it is Spring, I have felt the urge to clean, organize, tidy up, and beautify. Many times this hits me in September. It may again. I guess it makes sense, every 6 months or so I need to restart.

I ‘Spring’ cleaned the house. It took me four days. I was battling some kind of virus but that wasn’t going to stop me. It was time. I don’t think I have cleaned the house this well in a few years. I still have to do the outside windows but that will wait until it is a bit nicer out. For now though, the curtains, floors, walls, cabinets, and inside windows got a good cleaning.

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When I say beautifying I mean switching things around, putting out new candles and changing where the plants go. I went outside and found some early blooming flowers and trees to bring in. Every year I fill little vases with small bits of flowers from outside. I love seeing them at the kitchen window. There isn’t that much color outside right now but when I see it at my window it tricks my mind into thinking that flowers are blooming everywhere.

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Dean brought out the table and chairs for the deck. I put out a vase of Forsythia that is just about ready to bloom. It really is quite inviting of a space now. I think we may eat our lunch out there today. Spring really has arrived here in Maine now. I have been in that nesting mood even though there are no babies on the way!

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The girls and I planted some flowers and broccoli last week and many of them are up and thriving. It is time to start the battle of the broccoli! I have a history with broccoli. I will not quit trying to grow it by seed. We eat a lot of broccoli and my dream is to grow enough to freeze it like I do green beans, tomatoes, peppers, and squash. I will succeed!

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I harvested my first batch of spinach last week. I topped pizza with it, put it in a salad, and added it to smoothies. More to come this week. Gardening season has officially started here. I may even plant some peas soon.

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This blog can’t have enough pictures of pizza! One of my favorite foods. I have a lot of favorite foods. By the looks of the pizza I also like cheese.

I feel quite energized right now. Probably because of the warmer weather, I am over my cold, and I have a very clean, beautiful house. Seize the day!

 

 

 

Inside

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It has been very cold lately and it snowed here all day. It is beautiful and I am so happy to have snow on the ground. I hope to go snowshoeing tomorrow and take some pictures of all the white. But today we have been staying inside where it is cozy and warm.

I am happy about getting this blog settled in its new place. It was so much easier than I thought it would be. I can’t say I enjoyed talking to the lady at Hostgator. She was very rude and actually laughed at me. I did have a lot of questions, but I have been paying them all year and I guess I figured I deserved to be given some time. I guess she didn’t think that way. Glad I am done with them.  So far, things have been easy and working with WordPress.com is very clean and understandable.

I made Brussel sprouts the other night. They came out so good. I used to eat them as a child and hated them. They would be frozen or come out of a can. Eww! Then I decided to serve them fresh to my family and would roast them with salt and pepper and olive oil. The family ate them but I never got a great response. Then I cooked them in a crock with the lid on and generously salted and peppered them. Sprinkled a bit of oil and baked at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes. My family raved over them. They love them that way. I asked what was wrong with the other kind and they said that roasting them made some of the skins hard. I love it when they are honest with me. Constructive criticism is a good thing.

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Before Thanksgiving I made some lard. I explain how to render lard here. I used small mason jars rather than large ones. I found out the hard way the lard is very hard to get to when it is deep in a jar. The jars I used this time are 16 oz jars and that is exactly what I need for my pie recipe.

Here is my weekly menu. Hope it helps you decide what to make. I always love different ideas. I would love to hear your ideas!

Monday:  Honey Garlic Chicken with thai veggies and rice

Tuesday: Squash soup and crackers or bread

Wednesday: Homemade mac and cheese with side of broccoli

Thursday: Taco night

Friday:  Potluck in afternoon, leftovers at night

Saturday: Chuck roast with homemade cream of mushroom soup and mashed potatoes and carrots

Sunday: Chicken Soup and crusty bread

Have a great week!

 

 

 

Photo Op Our Way

Quick post – The photo I picked for my card! Also a funny one. It was really hard to get everyone to smile at the same time. Or stop making funny faces. Or stop complaining. Hard to believe three out of the five are adults.

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The next picture has only 4 of them because he was ready to quit. Thankfully he came back in time for the good picture. I keep thinking back when we tried to take the three oldest boys to Sears for a photo. Crazy!

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I am thinking of moving the blog to a free hosting site. I have paid for this last year and I don’t see any differences other than I have much more spam than I ever did with blogspot. I will be in and out while I figure it all out. I know my look and theme will be different. Good timing for a new year anyway but I hope all my content will move over easily.

Thanks for reading!

 

Before December

So here we are, three weeks before the December and January holidays. Three weeks before I see all my boys again. It was a very fun, relaxing, loving visit with everyone. We didn’t go anywhere. We had one friend come over. A single man without family in the area. We ate well. Played Ticket to Ride and Dutch Blitz. There was singing and guitar playing. There was talking and discussing. There was some political/social talk that sneaked in but it was calm and cool. I am always educated when we all get together that is for sure.

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I requested a picture of all five of the kids for my New Year’s card. It got done on the morning everyone was leaving. Just in the nick of time. It took a while. It isn’t easy getting a good shot of five kids, even though three are adults. The sillies got started and then the tiffs and then finally we got a few good ones. I will share them after I go through them all. There are a lot.

For now, we are all cleaned up and back on track to finish our homeschool projects and then move right on to the gift making and decorating for the holiday season! I do have a menu to share!

Monday:  Pork chops, brussel sprouts and cubed yellow potatoes

Tuesday: Beef roast, red potatoes, and broccoli

Wednesday: Slow cooker beans and bread and veggie

Thursday: Oven baked chicken with brown rice and delicata squash

Friday:  Shaved veggies over pasta with teriyaki sauce

Saturday: Turkey Soup (of course!)and crusty bread

Sunday: Red curried vegetables with Jasmine rice

Have a nice week!

 

Thanksgiving Week

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Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. I am not posting a menu this week. We are pretty much grabbing what is available while I prepare for Thanksgiving. My two sons will arrive on Wednesday some time. One may not get her until the day of. One son is home already and of course the two girls, my husband and I.

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I will serve a turkey and all the fixings. Pretty traditional. Mashed potatoes, squash, chuck wagon carrots, apple cider, stuffing, rolls, and gravy. I plan to make two pies, apple and pumpkin. I have a strawberry-rhubarb in the freezer made in the summer. I may take it out, maybe I will save it for Christmas.

It isn’t all about the food though. There will be catching up with each other. There will be music, games, fun. I am sure there will be an occasional spat. Can’t avoid that when you put family together. There will be naps, and walks in the woods.

I know this is the season for being thankful and finding gratitude. I will enjoy my family and will as always be thankful I have one. I always stop and think at this time of year why we all don’t make a bigger deal about being thankful at other times of the year. We should always be thankful. We should always show gratitude. We should always think of others who are not as fortunate as ourselves.

I know I am fortunate. I am never hungry. I am never cold. I am never thirsty. At least not in the way that many people in this world are. I do not live in fear of anyone or anything. I am free to say or do pretty much anything I want. If you are reading this you are one of the fortunate ones too. People who are cold and hungry are not thinking about blogs or the internet.

Maybe Thanksgiving is the kick off for the rest of the year of thinking of how fortunate you really are and being thankful for that. I will try and carry it with me the whole year long.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.