Happy Birthday, My (Not) Little Angel

October 19, 2014


14 years have passed since your birth, forgive me for my disbelief. My heart is filled with much gratitude at having been able to watch you grow before my very eyes. To see your interests come and go. Where you once needed me to tell you when to hide your eyes, you now repay the favor (thank you :) ).


Week In The Life (Arabian Nights)

October 18, 2014

What a dreary week. I think we had one day of sun, which was today and I took full advantage of it as cooler temps near. The garlic is in the ground and the garden is ready for a winter’s rest. Due to a child’s birthday this week our lessons were a bit shorter and there really isn’t anything new coming out of the kitchen besides more apples and more apple crisp. Thoughts of maybe pumpkin butter this year but then I am also thinking that means more breading so what’s the point? I am very serious about reaching my weight goal.

I received my lab work, for cholesterol, thyroid, hormones, and sugar, and everything was “great”, their words. My cholesterol was 118 which is a little high, normal being 99 or less, so bye-bye coconut oil and butter(except for special occasions of course). I have made most of our meals using olive oil and Earth Balance this week, which I mostly did anyway. Being we purchase a whole hog, from a local farm, to last our family all year we have learned how to make our bacon and sausage last (bacon is a once a month treat) and we already incorporate a meatless night.  I am pretty sure my higher cholesterol is probably from the coconut oil which almost all my baking recipes call for. You don’t really realize our, Americans, dependence on baked goods until you no longer want to eat them. :) I am very much in need of some new breakfast ideas.

The girls did make chocolate snack cake this week. I am really impressed with how they know their way around the kitchen. Sky cooks so much different than myself but she has always done things different, that is just her and it works and that is all that matters.

From the study: Language arts, We are listening to The Arabian Nights Entertainments from LibriVox.


We have found it to be very interesting. The girls continued the Daily Grammar lessons and took the first quiz. Their word of the week was bureaucracy.

Sky is still writing stories and trying to translate them into Latin.


Mathematics: Little Sis did 4 digit addition and subtraction with carrying and borrowing review from Math is fun and Sky continued working on prime factorization.

Social Studies: World History, Continuing with our Mesopotamia studies, the girls copied notes on the Babylonian, Assyrian Empires and we watched a short video about Hammurabi’s code of laws.



(Little Sis)

We also reviewed what we previously learned about ancient Egypt, watched the Crash Course video again and the girls added notes to their timelines.


(Miss Sky)

We Walked Away the Pounds and watched part 1 of Globe Trekker, The Arab Gulf States.

Peace for the journey.


Week In The Life (Please Be Civil)

October 10, 2014

The thought has occurred to me that this will be my last post categorized under 13 for a certain child. Have you tired of my “where has the time gone” yet? Not only is one child about to become 14, another will soon be 9. It seems like yesterday she had just learned to read. Not only will she be 1 year away from double digits, only one more year for me to have a child in single digits, but what a major growth spurt she’s had. She has gone from size 7-8 to 10-12 in a matter of a few months. She has outgrown all of her clothes and with Autumn’s chill quickly approaching I am very aware of her need for some new pants. Thank goodness she has managed to find a few items of her big sister’s that will do for now.

New pants is not the only preparation for the up coming cooler temps. Papa cleaned out our stovepipe and added the compost  to our garden preparing our soil for planting next Spring’s crop of garlic. This year was our best compost ever, wonderful color, texture, and smell. I still get amazed at the process of composting. Earth’s own recycling system. All that is left in the garden to do is adding a cover of leaves when the time comes.

I am still leaving the sweet potatoes to pull last minute and we did manage a small harvest of radishes. Just like tomatoes, now that I’ve tasted a fresh radish store bought will never be the same. So yes, more radishes along with potatoes have been added to the list of what to plant next year.

This week I took advantage of the only sunny day to wash and hang all the sheets and blankets out for what looks to be the last time. I also made 3 (80 ounce) jars of sun tea. In the words of papa, “it’s going to be a long winter”. Time to bring our focus to some indoor projects and getting our home ready for winter’s hibernation (felt supply, check).

From the study: Lessons have been getting longer and I am reminding myself yet again (for future reference) just how perfect this rhythm has become for us.

Language Arts: I ended my post last week with Sky’s fan fiction inspiring her own stories. This week she has filled a whole notebook full of stories and poems.


She has even taken it upon herself to learn Latin, thanks to her interest in the anime Elfen Lied.

Miss Sky: “I keep hearing how Latin is a dead language yet so many of the words we use today originated from it.”

This week we added daily grammar lessons to our days starting with verbs.


First the girls copied verb from a parts of speech poem in cursive then we watched the Schoolhouse Rock video before learning about action and state of being verbs.


Agriculture was their word of the week and their journal topic was describe in detail what you like most about the anime Yu-Gi-Oh.

Science: We watched and discussed Zoo Clue episodes Babies and Everyday Occurrences as well as Crash Course episodes Sun and Earth and Origin of Life.

Social Studies: World History, Moving on from the Ice Age we watched and discussed Crash Course videos The Agricultural Revolution, The Indus Valley Civilization, and Mesopotamia. We also discussed B.C.E and C.E and the girls added their notes to their timeline.


(Little Sis)


(Miss Sky)

We watched a documentary about Mesopotamia

and listened to the epic story of Gilgamesh.

We also enjoyed David Christian’s TED talk about the history of our world.

Mathematics: Little Sis continued the Table Tree Game working on the 9s and 4 tables. Miss Sky worked on prime factorization first by watching Kahn’s videos on prime numbers and prime factorization then reading chapter 1 from the book Math Doesn’t Suck.

The girls made chocolate chip cookies and due to the rain, Walked Away the Pounds for P.E. indoors.


Peace for the journey.


Week(s) In The Life (Quite Quaternary)

October 3, 2014

Last week was interrupted with routine doctor visits where I discovered I was obese. Overweight I knew but I have been working hard and actually went down a whole pants and shirt size since changing my diet. To hear that word kind of shocked me. I am one of the millions of people you hear about in the news, me.

So this past week I have really been paying attention to my portions. I have always been the kind of cook that doesn’t really measure anything, well no more. I especially paid attention to how much oil and salt we use. I measured how much peanut butter is a serving and yep that extra spoon adds up. I wanted to *see* where my calories where coming from. Was I surprised? Actually I was, it is amazing how much I do without even thinking about it and I consider myself a very mindful person.

I have also bumped up my workouts daily. It is time that I put myself first for a change. There was some good news, my blood pressure is 112/ 65. I can honestly say I have noticed a huge change in the way I feel since losing the weight I have. I have already kicked the sugar and caffeine habit and eat lots more fresh fruits and veggies than before so I know it’s just a matter of time. I just need to stay positive and focused. Papa has been such a big support. He himself has lost weight too. His of course much faster and effortless than mine.

So I am writing my goal to lose 50 pounds (yep 50 big ones) here with the hopes I will be more inclined to stick with it. That will put me in the healthy weight range for my height.

From the kitchen: I made apple cinnamon walnut pancakes with my favorite oat pancake recipe and they turned out great just like the zucchini ones. I added 1 chopped apple, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Delish I tell you. The girls made Muddy Buddies.

From the garden: Papa pulled our tomato plants getting the garden ready for planting our garlic.


Here is the last of our crop. I should be able to get a few more jars of sauce out of them once they turn red. Not a bad crop this year it just seemed so short. Everything did good but our bell peppers.

From the study: Science and History, I was super excited, like more excited than a person should when I discovered Crash Course (found on YouTube) was making new videos starting history from the beginning with the Big Bang because that is exactly what I was doing. They are part of The Big History Project.


So we watched the first 2 videos The Big Bang and Exploring our Universe reviewing everything we had learned up to this point. We will be following along with The Big History project as well.


The girls made covers for their timeline and finished their notes on the geological column.


Which brought us to the Ice Age. Little Sis read Sunset of the Sabertooth and I read the Magic Tree House Research Guide. We watched the Bill Nye episodes Caves and Archeology and the documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams about the cave paintings from Chauvet Cave.


So many discussions from my art loving children and their history loving mama. How important music and art have been to humans.

The girls added their notes about the ice age to their timeline.


(Miss Sky)

Mathematics: Miss Sky continued review with Math is Fun worksheets and Little Sis continued multiplication practice with the Table Tree game.

Language Arts: The girls copied the Ghosts of Summer poem in cursive. Little Sis’s word of the week was frigid and Sky’s was radiation. I am starting journal topics this year and this week it was describe in detail things about your mom you really like, which was really fun. :)

Both girls love writing stories and keep a journal but keep most of them private. This way I can see where they are spelling, punctuation, and grammar wise without violating their privacy. It also helps them get their thoughts about a certain topic down on paper that maybe they wouldn’t usually write about building those essay skills.

What I have learned on this homeschool journey of mine for children who don’t like to write, which was Miss Sky, is that they need time to discover for themselves something worth writing. In other words not forced into writing (same with reading).

It has been no secret I worried whether Sky would ever enjoy reading or writing anything on her own. Then she discovered manga, comic books, and fan fiction. Now I can’t get her head out from some sort of reading, including seeing her up in the middle of the night finishing a story. Her love of  manga prompted her to create her own stories and illustrations. Her love of fan fiction inspired her to write her own stories and even character wiki pages. Now she enjoys writing and can come up with a journal topic in a matter of minutes.

The same for Little Sis. She has a journal she writes in daily. In fact she is on her 5th one. With her it was SO much easier because she was never forced to begin with. Now she too has no problems with writing.

I am going to be honest I cringe when I hear a parent say “there will be no “twaddle” in our home” or ” I will never allow that junk in our house” because if it wasn’t for me opening *my* mind to my children’s choices we would not be where we are now.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Diggin’ Up Bones)

September 21, 2014

Well besides a few bumps , all on my part, our first week back was a productive one. We are slowly getting back into our routine.

Our garden is winding it’s way down. I am keeping my fingers crossed temperatures don’t hit below freezing before our sweet potatoes are ready to harvest. They are doing really good but are not yet ready. So next year plant all potatoes at the same time. Next weekend we plan to pull the rest of our tomatoes and get our soil ready for planting garlic.

Not a whole lot coming out of the kitchen this week. No tomatoes for sauce, however walks in the park brought in another batch of apples and the first apple crisp of the season was made (thanks to cooler temps).

From the study: I am incorporating a few new ideas into our days focusing on note taking techniques, starting with a timeline of Earth’s evolution.


(Little Sis)

I am hoping Sky will break off from here working more on essay writing.

Papa also added a dry erase board to our refrigerator where I am writing the girls assignments for each day encouraging more independent work.

Language Arts: Little Sis read Magic Tree House Dinosaurs Before Dark and her word of the week was soar. Sky worked on newspaper jargon.

Mathematics: Miss Sky reviewed long multiplication with worksheets from Math Is Fun. Little Sis reviewed her times tables playing the multiplication tree game on-line.

Science: Besides getting our timeline caught up with everything we learned about our universe while on break,


we also talked about the geological column working our way up to the Mesozoic Era. I read the Magic Tree House Dinosaurs Research Guide, we watched Bill Nye’s episodes on Dinosaurs and Fossils, had discussions about paleontologists, extinction, and the fossil fuels coal and crude oil.

We watched the BBC movie Creation about Charles Darwin as a family and watched the Crash Course videos on Natural Selection and Evolution. Being the girls were already familiar with these topics watching the movie first worked for us. The movie is more about Darwin’s life and his struggles with writing The Origin of Species. If your children don’t already understand evolution I would watch the Crash Course videos first then the movie.

Lots of discussion from this movie, especially how difficult it was to write about science during the Victorian Period.

We also watched the movie Jurassic Park as well as the Nostalgia Critic’s Jurassic Park movie reviews (warning he does use profanity and may not be suitable for all families).


P.E. Continuing our walks around the block.

Peace for the journey.



Week(s) In The Life (Look, A Cave Troll)

September 13, 2014

Falling behind again. It is however beginning to become clear to me that it must be a seasonal thing. The weather changes and I get busier. In this case Autumn is near with it’s cooler temps and outdoor walking becomes much more appealing. So instead of marching in place “Walking Away the Pounds” to a video, walks around the block and at the park have become a regular part of P.E.

From the garden: Our tomato crop started booming with the brief warm up we’ve had these past couple of weeks including more buds and growth. This week however cooler temperatures have slowed growth down and I don’t think we will get much more. I can’t complain though we yielded a pretty good crop this year even with all the pests.

Our radishes are about ready for harvest. We are planting more for sure next year as we enlarge our garden.

From the kitchen: Two more jars of tomato sauce. With the cooler temps and apples coming into season the oven is ready to be fired up for apple crisp. For now I have been enjoying snacking on sliced apples with peanut butter dip.

I mentioned previously how I have pretty much kicked the sugar habit. I still use real maple syrup and coconut sugar as my sweeteners and of course the sugar that’s naturally already in foods but cane sugars and corn syrup are a thing of my past. I can honestly say the less sweets I eat the less I crave sweetened goods like cookies. Then again I am eating lots more fresh fruits and vegetables than before. I don’t feel deprived at all and my palate has majorly changed since making the switch. I tried eating canned fruit and the texture was disgusting. I am really glad for all the berries I froze to get me through the winter.

From the study: Which brings me to the movie Fed Up.


We watched it as a family and had lots of discussion. Both girls mentioned how glad they were not having to eat school lunches. Little Sis can’t even eat store bought meat. I am thankful to live in a farming state with fresh foods readily available at our fingertips.

I do however feel I can’t move on before mentioning we *do not* shame the girls for foods they like to eat in any way. I do not stand over them policing or cringe if they want to eat a Twinkie. Both girls are allowed to add to the grocery cart whatever foods they want. I want them to have a healthy relationship with food and come to their own conclusions. And you know what? They do.

We also finished How the Universe Works with the episode Supernovas.

Papa replaced our wooden fence over the summer and after being inspired by our park walks decided to repurpose our old fencing into simple birdhouses that even the girls could build.


Let’s see, we had the usual games and read Pippi in the South Seas.


I am glad we read the Pippi series as I had never read it before. I can see why it is recommended on most “girl power” lists, especially for the time period it was written. I will even say Pippi’s personality does grow on you after awhile. The girls however thought it was just “okay”. I think maybe because they have been exposed to lots of “girl power” stories already. Besides it’s really hard to beat Ramona in Little Sis’s opinion. So far the Ramona series, Coraline, and the Phantom of the Opera remain the girls favorite read alouds this year.

Next week we start back to our more regular schedule. The break did us all good. After learning about how the universe works and our galaxy, the milky way, we will be moving on to how Earth itself is still a living evolving planet starting with a little geology. Perfect timing to do a little cave exploring with a road trip to Marengo Caves in Marengo Indiana. Being from Missouri I have been in several caves growing up but this was Papa and the girls first time.

The cave was discovered by a sister and brother exploring a small sink hole in 1883.


(The original cave entrance is right under the tree on the left.)

What they found inside brought many visitors just a week later. We learned about the caves sodastraw formations, helicites, and totem pole stalagmites.


We even caught a glimpse of life.


(A salamander)

The cave has a music hall where they held concerts and plays and even a pulpit rock where they held church.


The cave stays 52 degrees all year long making it perfect to visit anytime of year. I definitely see more cave exploring in our future.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Insectmania)

September 1, 2014

Welcome September! And Happy Labor Day.

I think I am beginning to except the reality that Autumn is near. So that means walks in the park and apple cider slushies’ .


2.7 mile walks to be exact. I love watching the leaves turn colors, not to mention all the wildlife we spot along the way.


In my opinion nothing welcomes fall better than having fresh apples just waiting to be devoured, and devoured they quickly become.

From the garden: I tried planting carrots in containers this year. This is what I got.


Not bad for my first try. Next year I plan to do things a bit differently when planting the seeds. We shall see.

I spotted the first praying mantis so far this year, finally.


Fingers crossed there are more hiding about. Our garden spider continues to do well,


(It is tucked nicely away in the little tunnel) and why not there are plenty of crickets to make a meal of. Oh and there is more (besides the stink bugs). While picking tomatoes I found what has been nibbling my Roma tomatoes, a huge grasshopper.


It has been relocated far away from our garden. Speaking of tomatoes,

From the kitchen: 3 more jars of tomato sauce and 8 jars of salsa.


(Another one of my favorite sounds is hearing the lid seal on a Ball Jar) The only veggie I needed to purchase was the bell peppers as our plants didn’t do that great this year (I think due to a rabbit family living nearby). Though now they are beginning to take off with the warm front we’ve had. Who knows maybe a late harvest.

From the study: Little Sis requested a trip to the library where she discovered a new series she loves. Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski. “It is like a girl version of Kingdom Hearts.” She is over halfway done.


Let’s see, Walk Away the Pounds, games, starting Pippi Goes On Board. Finishing the Back to the Future series, continuing Yu-Gi-Oh!, and Sky requesting What Would Jesus Buy.

 I always mention that this is the movie that changed my life. Both girls, while watching it themselves for the first time, seeing Reverend Billy take the screen both looked over at me and replied “Really mom?”. Yes, really. After finishing the movie Sky understood.

It was after viewing this movie that Papa and I cut up our credit cards and started our journey toward a more simple life. It was this movie that started us supporting local business and farmers. It was this movie that brought my focus back to traditions and making memories instead of constantly consuming. It was my “awaking”, when I began to finally think for myself. 

I have learned A LOT since then, that alone could be an entire post itself. :) The short version, the girls have learned to be better consumers by Papa and my examples. I didn’t need to force or shame them for what they chose to spend *their* money on. They came to these conclusions themselves. 

Both girls have much more an understanding of how the world works than I did at their age. I truly do believe because they have not been separated from “the real world” to be trained on how to live in the real world. The longer I homeschool the more clear it becomes.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Universal Truths)

August 25, 2014

Well summer has finally arrived. The air conditioner is back on after a long hiatus. Days of full sun has our tomatoes ripening in mass quantities, like all of them at once. SO this means lots of tomato sauce being made. Which means …..

From the kitchen: first batch of pizza sauce.


Which means family game night and grilled pizza.


Which means our tomato crop is much better than I originally expected.  

From the garden: I have noticed more stink bugs in our garden this year. They haven’t really hurt much of our crop but there is one plant that seems affected. I have been picking the Roma’s right before turning red to see if it helps. If not we will at least save the seeds. They are both good and bad to have as they do eat other garden pests.

We do have a spider that has moved into our bug motel. Papa caught a fly and threw it into the spider’s web. Speedy quick how fast it was on that fly. I am keeping fingers crossed that it might help with our stink bug population.

I have yet to see any praying mantis or ladybugs this year. No ladybugs is really weird for us, we always have ladybugs. The crickets however are crazy in numbers again. When walking outside at night it seems like they are attacking you. Everywhere they are!

From the study: I mentioned family game night.


Yep, the plastic Disney Pictionary hands were dusted off for another fun filled evening. How many times of “keep your plastic  hands to yourself” is too much? Thank goodness we adults were able to set better examples. :)

Reading, Pippi Longstocking and “Why would having a dad king of cannibals be exciting again?”

Watching, Season 2 of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (Which we really like. The 20’s are becoming one of my favorite time periods in history and the animation has an art deco feel at times.), Princess Mononoke again, and the documentaries Did God Create The Universe and Alien Galaxies and Alien Moons from How the Universe Works. Possible life on moons, truly fascinating.

The girls have been drawing more with their 3DS graffiti than with paper right now,




(Little Sis)

at least what they are willing to share, creating characters and storylines.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Getting Back In Time)

August 18, 2014

Did I mention I am glad we are on a break? From a more academic schedule that is not from life. No, life sure has a way of jolting you back to reality doesn’t it?

For my readers not in the states, though I’m sure you are up to date, lots of sadness in our news of late. I have written before how I am not a drama seeker. I try my best to stay away from headlines and media. I carry bad news deep into my core where it tends to stay longer than I would like. Empathy can be both a gift and a curse.

It can be hard sometimes finding where to draw the line of discretion. How involved to be with current events. I do believe we all have responsibility to stay informed with civics and since Papa and I have added the responsibility of educating our children it’s even more important that we are. Most of the time Papa is my “muffler” but he too is only human. And sometimes I think sadness is a good thing, it brings change. I truly feel for those facing sadness right now and offer hopefulness to find inner peace.

From the garden:


Our yellow potatoes were ready. I would say another 10 pounds worth. We have decided to add more space to our garden next year for a larger potato harvest.

The turnips we planted, for a fall harvest, are popping up and tomatoes are more in abundance.

From the kitchen: So that means more tomato sauce, 6 more jars to be exact. We also froze 20 more ears of corn. Staying with preparations for winter, didn’t winter just end? Where has time gone?, we drove out to the farm to pick up our supply of chickens.


From the study: We watched the episode of Extreme Planets from How the Universe Works. We also watched the Disney movie Bolt and Back to the Future. “1.21 gigawatts !? “

We started Ramona and Her Father, are waiting for season 2 of Yu-gi-oh to arrive, played games,


and Walk(ed) Away more Pounds.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Not So Quiet On The Homefront)

August 11, 2014

Enjoying our break we are. Busy we have been. So much goodness coming from the garden and kitchen.

From the garden: Our onions are ready for curing.


The first batch of Roma’s were ready to make into sauce, which we use throughout the year for chili, pizza sauce, and sloppy joe (that I eat over a baked potato or sweet potato).


This year I want to keep track of how many jars I need to get us through the winter. I think our supply will be less this year due to the cooler summer we had. I jar salsa, with our tomatoes, to replace tomatoes for tacos during winter too. Papa will not eat tomatoes unless they are homegrown.

From the kitchen: We froze our first batch of corn.


We go through about 50 ears of corn during the winter and spring.

I tried a new recipe over the weekend that was a HUGE success.


Gluten-free zucchini bread pancakes. They are SO good I am making up batches to freeze for when I crave something sweet. I have reduced my sugar intake drastically. They are good to eat plain, to me they taste just like zucchini bread. I can’t wait to try my hand at pumpkin and gingerbread pancakes.

Okay for the recipe, I used my most favorite gluten-free pancake recipe, which I use maple syrup in place of the honey,


and added 2 cups grated zucchini, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 cup chopped walnuts. Delish!

From the study: Besides our usual game play,


Science: We watched the movie Life of Pi again. This time from the point of views of “science” and “religion”. We had many discussions about evidence verses faith.

We watched the Discovery Atlas Hawaii episode and How the Universe Works episodes Extreme Stars, Black Holes, The Big Bang, and Alien Galaxies.

American History: We watched the movie Summer Story, which is another installment of stories from Jean Shepherd who wrote The Christmas Story. It was fun to see life in the 40s for the average Hoosier family.

We finished Ramona the Brave and started Ramona the Pest. I accidently grabbed the wrong Ramona book reading Brave before Pest but being we have read this series more than once it really doesn’t matter which order we read them. They are a favorite around these parts.

P.E. Sticking with Walk Away The Pounds, I myself am ready for the 3 mile. Sky is too but I won’t push her she can quit after 2 miles if she wants.

Peace for the journey.


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