Unplanned Spring Break

As year-round homeschoolers we tend to take breaks as we feel like it or as we need it for sick days. I only have official school time with my daughter about 3 hours a day, Monday through Friday. She gets quite a bit of free time mostly spent on the computer playing Minecraft and watching Youtube videos, or on her handheld game system. Now that spring has sprung outside time is more available. I was asked by a public school teacher friend of mine if we were….oh , how did she put it…I honestly can not find the post with her exact wording, but it was along the lines of asking if we were partaking in ‘spring break’ like the public schools were. I honestly didn’t plan on it and I told her as much. We had no real plans to do anything and the hubby’s schedule is a bit wonky for a while.

Franky I got up on Monday morning and I had stuff to do so I let her go outside to play. Tuesday, same thing but a friend of hers (public schooled) biked pass and asked to come and play. We are not too crazy about having people over. It just makes me and the hubby anxious. For our daughter’s sanity I let the friend come to play for a little while and then she could come back later to play (lasting until after dark). Since the wonky schedule allowed I mentioned that she could come again the next day. My daughter was so excited to play with her friend and get good quality time. They even found out many things that they have in common. The next day as promised I set up the shade tent outside for them to play under since they got a bit sunburned the first day. Bug waited and waited and waited, she was getting upset that her friend had not come at the loosely set time of arrival. (She is a stickler about keeping plans like her parents.) Bug’s homeschooled friends finally came out to play (apparently the boys were still schooling through the week). Bug asked if they could come over and I agreed since I was already expecting her company and ‘the wonky schedule allowed’. It was quite warm out so I soon had four kids reeking havoc in my house and waiting on the fifth. The boys had to leave before the other little girl came over, but she did finally ride by and Bug reminded her of their play-date. It was close to dark when we took her home again.

That was Tuesday and Wednesday…The rest of the week is a bit blurry…. I know I cleaned a bit and cooked every day….We did have a bit of a crisis Friday. Thankfully easily navigated around and  good to go. Whew….Saturday we played D&D!!!!! and went out to eat. Sunday was gorgeous!!!!! So we went to the botanical gardens again and wore ourselves smooth out…. It is a good thing we had planned to make a quick dinner and watch a movie. We were seriously tired. My hubby fell asleep on the couch and I was about to. We did not want to cook, but had to so we got up and made quick pizzas homemade-ish. It was a miracle that we watched the whole movie without falling asleep and then went to bed way too late again. Oh yeah! We did stay up way too late watching tv and reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets a couple of nights.

So that was Spring Break!!! We did go to bed too late (around 1:30am) Sunday night/Monday morning and I did planto start ‘schooling’ again the next (when we got up) morning. My daughter was not pleased with this. As I was planning her work assignments she went out to play, but was ignoring me and giving me dirty looks when I told her to come in. I even planned her favorite subjects so that she wouldn’t balk too much. Reading skills, spelling, and math (geometry review worksheets). She had done all of this before nothing really new. ***Don-da-dahhhhh***** It was too hard and harder than usual……   Nope! I’m not buying it!!!! It took quite a while for her to realize that she knew what to do and that she had to take steps to get the answers for math. Laziness had set in. Her attitude/mood this morning was telling her that anything harder than single step math problems were beyond her comprehension. I tell her that we all have things in life that we do not want to do, but still have to. I gave her the example from my current situation: “I do not want to be over here scrubbing dishes with this massive headache just to turn around and cook dinner either, but I have to. You need to learn to stick with it and get things done even when you don’t want to.”

We have this saying in our house to ‘not let something become your dragon’ and sit there doing nothing but pouring bbq sauce on yourself to let it devour you. Bug was letting her math become her dragon…sigh… I am all in teacher mode and getting straight to the point with the steps of the assignment. She looks up at me after the 3rd or so hug and says to me “Mommy, I don’t need you to be my teacher right now. I need you to be my mommy.”

I took a deep breath, changed hats, and continued to give her a hug in a less ridged manner. I softened my tone and gave her the strength and encouragement that was needed to slay the dragon and come out victorious. Yet again another stressful math session ending in a happy dance!

And so it begins!

I have been taking a break for about a week or so from crocheting to give my hands and neck a rest.  Especially with spring cleaning my back and neck are a bit stressed. Anyway, with my plan to eventually start an Etsy shop I obviously need to have items to sell.

Using what baby yarn I have in my stash I have started making newborn beanie hats. They are so tiny and cute and work up really fast. I need to learn how to do some other specific baby items to add to my inventory though.

My goal for this year is to learn many new skills in the crafting area. I am a bit addicted to Youtube tutorials that teach me how to make beautiful useful things. Last year I purchased a set of knitting needles so that my daughter, husband, and I could learn how to knit together. I can be a bit stubborn and when I say ‘I can’t do something’ it becomes a frustrating mental block. Tonight I saw that one of my favorite Youtubers had posted a tutorial of what she has recently learned as a beginning knitter. She seems to understand enough about it to get me started. So I got my needles out! I got started without the mental block this time, and have completed about 6 pretty good rows of whatever stitch I managed to do. I started going off on my own and have no idea what the stitch is called, but I made something and it looks knitted….I will figure out more as I go. With crochet I am not an expert, but do know a bit about it and use all of the correct terms and can read the patterns (for the most part). Knitting was so foreign to me, but I recently ventured into Tunisian crochet (I know 2 stitches) and that helped my mind work toward the direction of understanding knitting. I showed my bit of knitted fabric to my hubby and he seemed rather impressed (he has tried to get me to remove said mental blocking for years for various things). Granted with starting any new hands on activity there is a learning curve and possible pain from creating new muscle memory. This is pretty exciting although I do not have enough skill in knitting to even consider selling any of it.

The adventure of opening an Etsy shop with take a whole lot of work and planning. I have a lot to learn! One thing that I have learned as a homeschooler is that you are never too old to learn and if you try your best there will be progress. So here’s to moving forward!!!!

While the hubby is away….

First off, I want to start by saying that I LOVE SPENDING TIME WITH MY FAMILY! Secondly, if I am constantly with them or needed by them I do not accomplish things like me time, cleaning, blogging without interruption, or reading more then a half paragraph in a “my” book.

Today my hubby had to get into work early so I saw this as a prime opportunity to DO!!!!!! I did not have “school” with Bug today. I told her no book work today and she smiled really big until she heard the word “but…”. She really thought she was off the hook! Nope! The “but” was followed by “you have to help me around the house. Let’s call it Home Ec day!” She was not pleased especially when I sent her off to take care of her own things and pick up all the carpeted floor areas. She was more than happy to help when I asked her to get the cleaning brush for the nooks and crannies to go behind me as I wiped cabinets down. Then she happily vacuumed (1st time ever completely on her own), and she even cleaned the couch cushions without being asked. I let her have at it while I did a serious mopping of the kitchen and bathroom. She put all of her areas back in order and I am still waiting for mine to dry…. soon I will put a load of towels in the washer and prep the kitchen for our snack later.

You see I have had a craving for real fruit and this does not usually happen! But since I started making smoothies I crave them. Earlier in the day I needed to go to the store anyway to pick up the forgotten items on my shopping list to round out dinner. I think I went a bit nuts on smoothy fixins….. I got vanilla yogurt, frozen: mixed berries, blueberries, mango, and pineapple, fresh:strawberries, bananas, and pineapple, also 3 types of almond milk: coconut, vanilla, and chocolate. Hmmmmmm I will not run out for a while and have plenty of flavors to choose from.

That’s right while my hubby was away I did my first bit of spring cleaning , blog,and create some amazing smoothies…. the infamous dusting will come next, but I don’t see that happening tonight. Now where’s a movie to watch?!

Homeschooling Challenge!!!!!

Being a homeschooling parent I obviously know what work has been assigned because I am the teacher. Changing hats I am also the parent that sits beside her to help her complete those assignments. I help her understand the concepts before we move on. I often make notes to come back to it once she has matured and other skills have been learned that will makes said assignment achievable.  So inside this brain of mine is a running tally if you will of where she is at academically. I see daily what works and what is a stress. I help her with a good portion of her work guiding step by step or giving subtle hints that help her find the answer within her own mind.  So I don’t feel that “grading” her work daily is a big deal nor do I influence her by scoring her performance…..I do look to see how well she is understanding the material and act accordingly.
Last night I decided that it was the night to get most of it checked (I also said this a month or so ago and didn’t get very far). I sorted a stack of papers a little more than an inch thick into subjects: math, reading skills, science, health, spelling, writing, test prep, and Spanish. Then I checked the test prep and was quite pleased! Then sorted just the math (since that takes the longest) into work that I had answer guides for, worksheets, and book work that I needed to work through to check answers. Thankfully after a good 2+ hours I got through the stacks for answer guides and worksheets leaving about 7 pages left to grade. It was then after midnight, my eyes felt like I had stuffed bits of cotton-balls just under my eyelids, my daughter was still exploring her world of Minecraft and listening to Minecraft Youtubers that are more like friends to her at this point. If you are the parent of a young Minecrafter you probbaly already know who Stampy, iballistic squid “Squidy”, and Amylee33 are.

Beddddddddd please let me get to bed!!!!!!!

But now we have to read. We finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone yesterday and I had her start writing her first real book report about it since it is HP all the time now. So of course what book is chosen for the next nightly reader but Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Early next moth there is book character day and she will be dressing up as none other that Miss Hermione Granger to attend the scavenger hunt and other activities to celebrate that day with her homeschool group. She can pull off the look with her long wavy brown hair.
Today’s homeschooling challenge was to complete a well thought out and mostly well written book report about the HP book and simplifying fractions (+ other subjects). The book report went surprisingly well, but then we got to fractions. We have been rotating through geometry and fractions for a little while. We have really only begun simplifying as of this past  Monday(it is now Wednesday). We added like fractions yesterday then came back to simplifying today. You would have thought I was trying to force feed her a toad!!!! “Bug, what is this times this?” NO! “Bug, what is this divided by this?” NO!  “Bug…..”  “No! (grumbling) I don’t want to do fractions we have been doing them for a month…..”  (not really! geometry with shapes and lines, and different types of fraction work) Bug, you only have to do half of this worksheet then you will be done for the day….” That perked her up a bit. I helped her with the top row…..then soon after she shouts “I only have 6 left!”  FINALLY! Ending with Bug doing a happy dance around the kitchen!
Hey homeschooling parents what else do you do while helping your child with homework? While all this battle was going on I was washing clothes, getting a roast ready/in the oven, washing dishes, and writing this blog……. By the way this pork roast was beyond huge and I should have cut it in half before cooking it or put it in the oven earlier. Apparently 2 hours was not enough time……. boooo…..dinner is usually being eaten by now……not enthused…..

Shaking off the stiffness of winter and stepping out in Spring….

February and March have been quite cold and produced much more ice and snow than generally anticipated. IT’S FINALLY WARM! We have gotten now  1 1/2 days of nice weather in between too much (albeit much needed rain). We dared to venture out yesterday to visit the local botanical gardens knowing a light rain could cut the open air adventure short. Borrowed garden umbrellas in hand we got to see gushing waterfalls, anxious koi, eagerly sprouting daffodils and tulips, and slippery rock paths. My daughter and I entertained daddy with our funny shaped umbrellas and a walk that imitated jellyfish with animated bobs and weaves. The birds were out in force which I love. A side hobby of mine is bird watching/calls. I felt a little silly when I pointed out one bird and told my hubby what it was and it would make a particular sweet call, then it proceeded to sound like a a sick frog. Obviously not the bird I thought I had so proudly identified….in my defense it looked very much like it *mental note to identify that dang bird!*
Also during our outing we went to the hobby/craft store to find something to use as game pieces for our new D&D campaign (table top game, roll playing adventure, good for working on math/problem solving skills for us homeschoolers). AND………I found some very nice yarn that I plan to get for future projects to sell when I set up my Etsy shop.  I keep looking at my current yarn stash thinking  “I need to make things with this…”

Oh yes! Happy Pi Day!!!!! We celebrated with pie!

Our second outdoor adventure was spur of the moment.The sky was so blue and the sun so bright that our grocery shopping errand (with 1week meal plan, oh happy day) turned into a quick side venture to see how high the river water had risen with recent snow, ice, and rain. The path closest to the water was covered and not safe to walk through. Not that we wanted to get wet with our shopping still ahead. But while we were there it was a chance to take advantage of a teachable moment. We were showing Bug the effects of water on nature. We watched and listened as the waves on the rushing river crashed against the shoreline.  Spring is here finally in the middle of March we get to step out into the sunlight ready for our next adventures. Hiking, camping, festivals……what’s next?

Blog stress…

When I first started this blog my brain went into overdrive! It was all I could think about and I was obsessed. I was trying to make it like a magazine with well planned articles. Hence the main reason why I have not posted in a long time. I needed to figure out how I was going to proceed with this without losing my mind. I have come up with the basic journal idea and loose themes without too much specific info for safety reasons. Blogging is a way to let all these words in my head go. I still worry after I have posted that I may have said something the wrong way and hurt feelings unintentionally.  I live my life the way I feel is right and I try my best to respect that right with other people.  What works for my household is not going to work for everyone, but I am all about “if it isn’t working change it”. You will see that I can be pretty random at times. I do not necessarily want to blog random topics but I do want the process to be more freeing than what I was doing before….I am not sure of what all I will include. I do write poems but don’t really share them that often. One might pop up who knows!

My tween girl’s book list

My now 8 year old has been able to read on her own for a while now so I figured it was time for an updated book list. Some she reads on her own and some we share by reading aloud. She has many book series started and is never sure which to continue when we finish one.

The Sisters Grimm series By: Michael Buckley
The Land of Stories series By: Chris Colfer
The Indian in the Cupboard series By: Lynne Reid Banks
The Dragon Slipper series By: Jessica Day George
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon By: Grace Lin
The Harry Potter series By: J.K.Rowling
The Bailey School Kids series By: Marcia T. Jones and Debbie Dadey

My recent and not-so-recent reads

I will let you know right now that I mainly read for entertainment. I like what I like! I don’t read really deep material. Some things may seem inappropriate, childish, or whatever. My list will be short because I try to stick with series, but to be honest what reading time I do get is reading longer chapter books with my 8yr old. Luckily there are some pretty good children’s books out there that won’t bore you to death.

The Faefever series By: Karen Marie Moning
The Hunger Games By: Suzanne Collins
The House of Night series By: P.C. and Kristin Cast
The Divergent Series By: Veronica Roth
The Host series By: Stephenie Meyer

Update on life….

This momma is still taking care of home and all it entails.  I have however figured out why I hate doing certain household duties stemmed from childhood on….I’ll get into that later. Homeschooling is still on, but has changed direction/location. Crafting (mostly crochet) has become a bigger part of my life, with the possibility of starting an Etsy shop (with more than crocheted items).

Home:For a while I was keeping and using all of the plastic tubs and ziplock bags we used to reuse, but it just got to be too much. Sadly they went into the garbage instead of recycling which I was a little too lax on…but in place of all of that I got nicer plastic ware that I wash and reuse. I also have moved away from my homemade laundry detergent. Even though I tried different combos of soaps and washing soda my clothes began to smell. Not to mention that the smell got worse if I got hot. PU won’t do!!!!!! I am using an inexpensive Mexican brand of washing powder called Blanca Nieves that we now love! It does not irritate our skin like the American brands did. My daughter is now old enough to help with the housework. I have her cleaning the bathroom and her bedroom every week along with her daily pick up and feeding the family pet. Her feeding the dog has gotten comical since we now mix wet and dry food for the old sruffer-duff. She can not stand the smell of the wet food, which I think smells more like corned beef. She shutters and gags but manages to get through it….sigh….I guess I am trying to toughen her up giving her the jobs she doesn’t exactly enjoy. I do have her use gloves and minimal chemicals to clean the bathroom. She finally got the hang of doing it right the first time or else momma sends her back in to try again. Do a good job and get it over with! She now has a sense of pride when she is finished and I don’t hear all of the “Eeeewws” and “This is so gross”. Plus if it gets done right every week it won’t be so “eeewww gross” next time….. Can we say working on the Home Ec knowledge!
Ok, ok back to the things I hate to do (but still do) and why I dislike them…. Dishes! For crying out loud, no more dishes! We generally eat at least 2 meals a day if not three with snacks daily. We are homeschoolers and if I do my job right on payday meal plans help me to not leave the house wasting school time or money to go out to eat. This also means cooking and a lot of it…..I hate doing dishes! I know some people like doing them (like I enjoy laundry, really I do!). But one of my chores growing up was dishes! At one point there were 10 people in our house! It was either mine or my older brother’s job to do the dinner dishes, which left little time for fun or homework for that matter. Finally my brother and I wised up and did them together every night so it wouldn’t take so long. Plus to the amazement of our non-dish washing classmates we learned that rinsing with really hot water helped the dishes dry faster without so much towel drying. Anyway, we told our dad that we needed a dishwasher, but his reply was that he didn’t need to buy one when he already had two. So I hate dishes and my bro is crazy particular about how clean the silverware is….go figure. The other household duty is dusting. I know it would really help with allergies and such if I did this on a regular basis, but yet again a childhood+ chore that haunts me. I think of the deer! Yes, the deer ,two in fact, that have been a staple in my dusting world until I married and had my own home with a lot fewer nick-knacks. The deer figurine with a broken/repaired antler has belonged to my dad since I was about 4 yrs old that I can remember. I was not the cause of the broken antler by the way! I always dusted it with care from age 4 until 21 when I left my parent’s home. The other deer that needed dusting was a taxidermied 8 point buck that my dad killed when I was a year old. When I was old enough and tall enough to get my hands on it, it was my job too and all of my step-mom’s porcelain thingies (I don’t know how important they were to her, but I sure didn’t want to break any, just in case). I like interesting things but I often consider how difficult it will be to dust that sucker once it has sat there a while…..nope!

Homeschooling:Reaching back to an earlier post about our classroom non-functioning situation…. We decided to clean out the room we used for storage and turn it into a classroom. Granted this room is tiny with wood panel walls making it feel even smaller. I cleaned it out and got it all set up, but it makes us claustrophobic and nauseated pretty quick, and she doesn’t like being in there alone if I need to be in the kitchen/laundry area during independent work. We were doing ok in there until winter really hit and we needed to be closer to the gas heater. Then my daughter found Pandora while doing her homework by the computer. She now wants music all the time. I have set limits though for music during school time, it can not have words to distract her. Which is perfectly fine with her because she loves quartets! Thank you Lindsey Sterling!!!!! We have a station set around her fun funky violin music that has introduced Bug to some great music and musicians. Basically if it isn’t country music it is all good, old or new it is on!
Curriculum has changed! We were using Oak Meadow but to be honest I was supplementing way more than I should have to with a premade expensive curriculum. I wish I could say better things about it because it was wonderful for K-1st grades. Later on that outline that was good for simple guided crafty work wasn’t going to cut it for true learning with plenty of practice. It was a glorified outline at best, that cost too much in money and time to fill it out to something useful. Even though it freaked my hubby out I planned to make up my own curriculum, because that is basically what I had been doing for so long anyway. I found some great books at the library and gave them a chance at home for a while. I liked them so much that I purchased them both in 3rd and4th grade levels (used and in fantastic condition! I saved lots of money switching.). So I use these along with learning games and online worksheets. I turn what I can into a writing assignment ( I was informed earlier today when Bug wanted to research something. I gave her a writing assignment to go with it she said “But mom you’re sucking all of the fun out of it!”) All through her research she kept asking me how to spell words that she should know. I told her that all of the reading and writing assignments I give help with these spelling issues…she wasn’t thrilled. Did I mention the spring forward time change?! I am loving the sunshine, but bedtime is messed up leaving the morning…well, it’s just….nope. For one reason or another my darling daughter has kept me up until 2am every night this week. I have been dragging my bloodshot eyed self out of bed and to the coffee pot after 10am and I have had to drag her out of bed between 11and 12! UGH!!!! This can not stay this way considering I have to cook dinner early everyday. Waking at 10 and starting the evening meal at 2pm is for the birds!!!! This really messes up morning school time especially if I have not done my 2week meal plans. I am ready for this work week to be finished so we can reset our sleep schedule.

Crafts:My New Year’s resolution was to be more creative and adventurous with my crocheting. I am learning new stitches, making sweaters, and not being afraid to try new things. That being said, I have realized that I can do a lot of things now and people always say I should sell what I make. So therefore I plan to start making things for an online Etsy shop. I have had a taste of getting a paycheck of my own again recently working with an exchange student program. It wasn’t much but I liked being able to save those little checks to buy something nice for myself. It would be nice to do that more often. I have not worked outside of the home since August 2006! This I can do from home!

One of my earlier posts was about my big girl and it has been a while since then. Oh boy she has grown! Bug is full on tween now! She fixes her own hair, wears a little bit of makeup (as long as I can’t really see it when we leave the house), has her own style (as long as it is decent and doesn’t burn my retinas it is fine), we have dyed her hair (it didn’t turn out the shocking red that the box said it would be, hair is hair and we let her experiment), and she is also planning her future career as a voice actor/game designer. She looks so much like me now that her daddy thought she was me sitting on the couch the other morning. She is going to be taller than me in a very short amount of time….and she keeps telling us that she will be certain ages in only so many years. She is still my baby girl in so many ways but I see that big girl shining through much more often now….

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