Week(s) In The Life ( Musical Thrones)

August 29, 2015

I haven’t been feeling up to writing lately. However, I have found that usually means I should. My microlumbar discectomy went well. I still have major nerve pain. I guess I herniated my disk a long time ago (without knowing), because the surgeon said my disk was growing out over my spine. He had to cut through my bone in order to get to where the nerves were pinched.

Movement on my part has been slow. Call me crazy, but for some reason I had the idea I would be up and out walking around the block again within the next few days. I thought all my pain would be gone and could jump right back to where life left off before all this began.

Nope, my body needs time to heal, not just from the surgery itself ,but from the damage the herniated disk caused as well. I need time to retrain my leg muscles to do what they are meant to do instead of spasming to protect my nerves. I can’t even stand long enough to cook a meal without my muscles tightening up. It sucks!! I feel like my house is falling apart all around me and I can’t do anything about it.

I am a very organized type of person, I do not like surprises, I need to know plans ahead of time. I must feel secure in order to relax, and right now nothing in my life is secure.

I also suffer from anxiety that can cause panic attacks. I have never shared this here before. I didn’t even realize I suffered from anxiety until a few years ago when I had a massive, and I don’t use that word lightly, panic attack that landed me in the emergency room. In healing, or finally being able to accept me, I discovered I have suffered from anxiety my whole life. It really is amazing when you can finally forgive yourself, for being you, how much more clearly you are able to see. Life no longer has time for pettiness and games.

I no longer care for arguing or trying to prove one way being right over another. I no longer feel the need to try to be interested in things ,that in all honesty I could care less about, to be liked. I don’t feel embarrassed about what I do like either.

I guess that is why I am able to be open about my anxiety now.  Why I needed to write today even if I didn’t want to because I didn’t have anything positive to say. Life for me right now isn’t positive. Guess what, that happens while homeschooling too. Life for us doesn’t change just because we decide not to send our children to school.

So, what does someone recovering from surgery do? Read a lot. I finished Game of Thrones and started Clash of Kings (I am really loving my Kindle, and I honestly didn’t think I would as much as I do.) Sky and I have had SO many discussions from this series, like honor over loyalty. She keeps updated with what is going on so we can discuss the series together (She is my fantasy genre child, like her mama.).  I think when we start back to our fall schedule I will have her write some of her persuasive essays from this series.

Little Sis finished book 3 of Twilight and while waiting for book 4 started reading the series to Sky (She likes Jacob and the whole wolf story line).


Sky has been creating felt animals being inspired by Game of Thrones,


as well as her drawings.




Little Sis has been drawing too.



Okay, even though I consider all the above a part of home “school”……(For any newbies just starting homeschooling it can be hard at first to understand there is no separation between the two. However, for the sake of “school educators”, I’ve learned how to keep track of what they would be looking for as far as “academics” go. Which is a part of homeschooling too.)

From the schoolroom:

Language Arts

We finished Wuthering Heights. Both girls, especially Sky, enjoyed the book much better. I, myself enjoyed the movie better. After Cathy died the book kind of dragged for me. I am glad I read it, and we learn the back story of Catherine and Linton much more from the book, but that was why I found the story SO boring. The girls also found it interesting the mention of Michaelmas in the story.

The girls took the quiz from SparkNotes,


and Sky recited her poem, Old Ireland. Both girls had until the start up of our fall school schedule, and both girls memorized and recited them before time was up.

Little Sis read aloud Magic Tree House Stage Fright on a Summer Night and I continued with Beatrix Potter stories.


Nothing new to report except, Sky is finally getting the hang of fractions and decimals. Both girls work out of the workbooks by themselves and on come to me if they need help. Then they check their work. Most times I need to help Sky find where she went wrong, and most times it is a simple mistake. Lately, Sky has been finding what she did wrong herself and correcting it without my help.


The Arts

Since we watched Miyazaki’s last movie we also thought to watch his first, The Castle of Cagliostro.


It was so different than his other movies, having more comedy, and I actually really liked it. It would be really hard to pick a favorite, because I like all of them for different reasons. “Which of his movies would you recommend to watch first?” All of them. :)

We also watched a Little Women musical found on YouTube (It has adult and children actors). I actually liked the musical story line much better than the movie we watched.

I introduced the girls to Kate Bush with her Wuththering Heights video and we watched three songs from the musical, Up Here With You, Cathy, and I Belong To The Earth.

Culinary Arts

The girls made gluten free chocolate rice crispy treats.



We received our supply of wood (Hard to believe it is that time already). Both girls had to stack without my help this year, but are being rewarded  with a trip to their favorite restaurant.

We will be taking the next week off with Papa being on vacation, and then gradually get back into our fall schedule.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life ( Moors Please)

August 15, 2015

Well, this week proved to be a little less crazy. Sleeping has become a bit difficult for me. I already had a touch of insomnia, thanks again perimenopause, but with a herniated disk I can’t seem to get comfortable. Atleast it has made counting down the days until my surgery tolerable. Then out of nowhere, Little Sis came down with a 24 hour stomach bug. You never really know just how much you are needed until an injury takes you out of commission. I know one thing is for sure, both girls have a new respect for the role I play in this family. “Will the dishes ever stop!?” A question I have asked many a times. :)

Actually, I am ready to get things back to normal, fingers crossed. At first, besides the horrible pain, I was glad for “having a break”. That lasted about 2 days. I discovered something else out about myself. Though I am considered a homebody, I do like to keep busy. Yes, I like to kick back with a cup of tea and nice conversation, or a book. I need to keep my mind busy. Yes, I am a little bit slower to get my day started. After a while though, I need to move. I never really noticed this before, because, as many parents know, there is always something to do. Laundry, dishes, meals, dusting (seriously, something I don’t think I’ve seen mentioned much with homeschooling, is how dirty your house always seems to be.). “I swear, I just dusted.” Vacuumed, yes just yesterday.”

I am, however, 2/3s of the way through Games of Thrones. I know I will be able to finish it next week while I recover. Though I am reluctant, because I know one of my favorite characters is about to die. I am torn on how I feel about this. It is refreshing to read a story where everything doesn’t end picture perfect. Kind of like real life. Then again, I am like why!? I guess I will have to wait 6 more books to see if the pay off was worth it. (It better be worth it.)

From the garden:


(Yes those are frozen yogurt containers that we have accumulated through the years. They make great all purpose containers, garden containers, but most of all we use them for our indoor compost scraps. Then they can be recycled. No waste. :) )

Looks like a pretty good crop, but considering how many plants we had it really wasn’t. We did manage several jars of tomato sauce, and salads have been daily.

We had another rain free weekend, and was able to enjoy eating outdoors. The girls decorated the table.


From the homeschool:

English Literature

We started Wuthering Heights as our next read along.



The girls agree that the story is better than the movie, and we liked the movie. They have been so immersed in the story, neither can believe the 30 minute chapter is over and have asked to keep reading.

I am continuing to read our Treasury of Beatrix Potter Stories. The girls have asked for them as gifts to have for their own libraries. They have been making a list of all their favorite stories.

American Literature

I have been trying to catch up with Little Sis and her reading series, thinking a 2 book start would be okay. She is more than halfway through book three in the Twilight series (She is taking my challenge seriously), and if that wasn’t enough, she is reading 2 series at once and is halfway through book 4 of the Gallagher Girls series too. (I know she is reading,because she gives me a chapter by chapter narration (all on her own).

She read Book 5 in the series of Violet Mackerel, Violet’s Possible Friend out loud. She flew right through this book.( Did I mention she picked Wuthering Heights as our next story? ) I really, really like this series. Most “girl” series are about quirky girls, like Sky. Little Sis is not “quirky”, she is quiet, does what she is told without me needing to say a word, and is way more mature than her age (she acts like she should be the older sister). Violet Mackerel is a quiet, and more mature kind of gal that she can relate to.


Nothing new to add here. I am really glad to have found the Kumon workbook for Sky as it contains a few things she didn’t learn from the Math Doesn’t Suck book.



Sky, on her own, watched the Hidden Kingdom series.


American History

We watched the American Girl Samantha movie, found on YouTube. We all agree the movie is much better than the books for once. It is what the book series should have been. I personally would bypass the series and just watch the movie.

I printed a Victorian paper doll to represent the 1900s in America for the girls to add to their history of Earth notebooks.


We also watched the Little Women movie.


Of course they had to make changes, I know. Overall, its not a bad movie. We all agree we would rather read the story.

The Arts

We also watched the Anime version of Little Women too. (YouTube). As much as we are fans of anime, we didn’t care much for this one. The added parts took away from the original story, and honestly, just didn’t fit well. If they stuck to the story it wouldn’t have been too bad. I guess we are spoiled with more adult like anime, not talking down to children to make for a more entertaining movie ( like needing to add fart noises just to get laughs). To their credit this anime was made in the early 80s.

Well, we will be taking it easy this week, probably continuing Wuthering Heights and maybe checking out the Little Women musical I found on YouTube. Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life (Immersed)

August 7, 2015

I’m trying to find the positive after my last post, but these past few weeks have been crazy.

For starters, I had my appointment with the specialist and my disk has herniated. So, in 2 weeks I will be having lumbar spinal surgery. (Tuning forty hasn’t been very kind to me.) To say I am a little nervous is an understatement. After all,  this is my spine we are talking about, and my first surgery. I have been put under before, but never cut on. :(

Oh, and I’ve yet to talk about perimenopause ,and walking around the grocery store with a bag of frozen broccoli, that I was purchasing, on the back of my neck, because hot flashes are NOT fun. I never, I mean never sweat before. Now, walking to our vehicle and I am drenched like I worked out for hours in the Sahara Desert.

If that wasn’t enough, our street has been hit with multiple break-ins during day light. If you happened to catch a Wal-Mart video in the news of 2 women fighting, that was just the beginning of a small town reputation going bad. Cops have been called out to this Wal-Mart over 500 times just this year, one ending in a car chase with innocent lives lost. Add this along with our state being number 1 in drug store robberies and a cheap hotel being located walking distance from this Wal-Mart, you can imagine the trash our town has been accumulating. I have lived here before the Wal-Mart and the change has not been a positive one. I am aware our town isn’t the only one dealing with break-ins. I realize it is a sign of the times. This is where I begin to get frustrated (Just Say No, “If we can reach children while they are young.” This IS the just say no generation.). You can only ignore the news so long, eventually it will come to you.

We happen to be lucky, being tucked in between awesome neighbors, we’ve always watched each others backs. Now another member on our street started a private Facebook street watch so, we are able to report anything suspicious. The one thing we do have going for us is our small town community.

All this to explain my need for tuning reality out, getting away from the internet and commercial television, and immersing myself into reading. The idea struck me while ordering book 3 of the Twilight series for Little Sis. Yes, she finished book 2 and is a fourth of a way through book 3. Since we have been home bound this summer, due to my injury, both girls found interests to keep them occupied. I realized I need to stop reading what other people are doing, seeing the happy summer vacation photos that just make me feel worse, and jump back into my love of reading. (And being inspired by Novels and Nonsense and her monthly book haul videos.)

I always keep a “paper” book going, for those times in waiting rooms, park days ext. Being we read SO much for school, I really don’t have much time to read “full time”. Just finishing a series, I was looking for a quick read and something outside of the fantasy genre. I decided on Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, the whole cyberpunk thing catching my eye. Since the book was written in 1993, it’s fun seeing Stephenson’s take of the future. It was just what I was looking for.

I also have a book, or an audio book going on Kindle. Since finishing Tenet of Wildfell Hall, I was ready for a new one. I have been putting Game of Thrones off for a while. One, it being another fantasy series and 2, I wasn’t really wanting to get invested in many character deaths right now. (Trying to stay positive, kittens and puppies.)

Well, while searching for my next read I decided to check the series out,  before I knew it the sample was over and I was purchasing the Kindle version. I am a third of the way through the book, and I started 2 days ago. I have not seen the cable series, being we don’t have cable, but I have seen pictures of characters. I already know I’m not going to like the fate of some characters already. It’s been fun disusing the series with Sky, she’s been watching spoilers on YouTube, and I told her I don’t want to know anything. So, she is pushing me to get to certain parts for us to discuss.

Well with Little Sis immersed in Twilight, and myself in Game of Thrones, Sky, my reluctant reader, has picked up Fruits Basket again.


Speaking of reluctant readers, a few tips, I’m sure to have mentioned before, is watching movies with subtitles on, (We can’t watch a movie without them now.) and reading along with audio books. (Called immersion reading, and the reason we purchased tablets.)

From the homeschool:

Language Arts,

We just finished Little Women this way. I love how it brings the story alive, and Sky didn’t even realize she was reading and finishing a 500 page novel. :)  (She also gets intimidated by the size of books.)

After we finished they took the quiz from SparkNotes. (Reading Comprehension)


Sky finished the American Girl Samantha Series aloud. This wasn’t our favorite from the series. In Sky’s words “After reading Oliver Twist, this series is really boring.” I actually thought so myself ,but wasn’t going to be the first to say so. I thought book 1, and the story with Nellie was good but the other books were just filler. The girls take a lot more notice of how a story is set up and the character development now (Thank you Nostalgia Critic.), and agree this series just skipped around too much. For once ,I really felt like they just came up with something to sell the doll.

The girls have requested reading the Beatrix Potter stories again after watching the movie Miss Potter,


and I printed off a page for the girls to come up with 10 things they learned about her.


I love the dictionary built inside the Kindle and the girls learned what exactly a fortnight means.

Little Sis picked up on the similarities between Twilight and Wuthering Heights with the love triangle between Bella, Jacob, and Edward. She has requested we read Wuthering Heights next.

Sky has continued writing her story that is now 22 chapters in.



Both girls continue XtraMath and working in their workbooks. I have been collecting the Basher Book series for our home library and we have been going over the Math, A Book You Can Count On. I really like this series and though it is geared for elementary age children, it is perfect for my visual learner.




Since I have not been able to take the girls swimming, I thought at least I could hook up the sprinkler. It was fun to get outdoors again, without rain.


We enjoyed watching the golden finches eat from our neighbor’s sunflowers. This is the first time I’ve seen a family of them in our area.

The Arts

Being we love stop-motion animation, we watched The Fantastic Mr. Fox.


It was our first Wes Anderson film and Sky put in a request to see his other films.

Sky continues to draw.


Theater History

We watched Broadway Idiot (Netflix Instant).


It was interesting to learn about the Gypsy Robe tradition.


Being a huge Green Day fan, I would love to see this musical. I know we are going to have lots of fun with this course.

Not much is coming out of the kitchen these days, besides quick meals. I just don’t have the energy to cook big meals right now. I am pretty impressed with how much the girls can cook. At least, I know they will not starve.

From the garden:


Our first cantaloupe. Not bad for not planting them. :)

Peace for the journey

Week In The Life ( “……….Must Go, According to Plan”)

July 25, 2015

“And that’s why everything, every last little thing,
every single tiny microscopic little thing must go…
According to plan,” Corpse Bride lyrics.

I am pretty sure, I am not the only one that experiences things not always going according to plan. Well, that is exactly how our summer has been. Between all the rain, and my injury, you could say our summer has sucked. I feel sorry for the girls and Papa for having to pick up my slack. The girls made 3 dinners this week in the crock pot. That is about all the strength I have, crock pot meals. I could very easily start complaining about why I need to wait 4 weeks to see a specialist (I had to wait 3 weeks to get in to a gastroenterologist), and how backed up the health care in our country is, but I am really trying to make the best of it. It’s been hard though, there was SO much I wanted to do with the girls this year. We were just getting involved with homeschooling activities again.

From the garden:

Well, we did have another mystery crop this year. One child was hoping, fingers crossed and everything, for watermelon. It turned out to be cantaloupes instead.


I am the only one in the family that likes cantaloupes. Like before when we had a mystery crop, it must have been from our compost.

The tomatoes have finally began to ripen, and we have been enjoying the grape tomatoes on salads, not eating tomatoes all year makes for a very special treat when taking that first bite, Yum.

We have also been enjoying a crop of summer squash, which brings me to ..

From the kitchen:

My new favorite way to cook summer squash is sauteed in a pan with a little onion as a side dish. I have also been enjoying summer squash, walnut, and spice, gluten free oat pancakes. They taste just like zucchini bread and I can eat them plain.

It is also that time of year again,


60 ears of corn put back for the winter. We eat it as a side dish as well as add the kernels in soups, and stews. This family loves corn.

The girls made muddy buddies as their treat this week along with a few dinners. I do believe I will be in good hands if surgery is needed.

From the homeschool:


The girls are still working through their workbooks and warming up with Xtra Math.


We watched the video on Apollo 11 and discussed the moon landing, celebrating its anniversary this week.


American History:

I read Louisa May’s Battle by Kathleen Krull. It was interesting to learn Walt Whitman served as a nurse during the Civil War.

Language Arts:

English Literature:

We finished the Bronte Sisters’ book of poetry.

American Literature:

We finished part one of Little Women and started part two (Good Wives). The tablets are working out great for reading along.

Sky read book 4 of the American Girl, Samantha series aloud.

Little Sis finished book one of Twilight and has started on book 2.


Both girls have been inspired to write their own poems (I hope to have the girls post them soon), and both girls are writing their own novels.


The Arts:

Art History:

We watched The Wind Rises, Miyazaki’s last movie.


We really liked it, even Papa enjoyed this one.

Then we watched The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness documentary (Netflix) about Miyazaki making his last movie.


I too feel like a 20th century girl living in a 21st century world. Computers good, yes, SO much is available on-line for school. However, just because we can do CGI doesn’t mean ALL movies need to be made that way. I do like how we now have the ability to bring movies to life in a way that we couldn’t before, but  I also enjoy the artwork of 2D animation. I like watching Hitchcock’s different camera angles, or learning how Howard Hughes got some of his shots.

I believe computers have the ability to make us lazy. I get computers are a tool, and we can do so much now because of them, and do understand that television has the same ability as well as reading books. I am guilty of staying up all night because I couldn’t put the book I was reading down.

I also prefer to read an actual book. I enjoy the way they feel in my hand, the noise truing a page makes, how they can be used as security blanket, but am thankful for the convenience of having a tablet too. There will be some books we read for school, that I know the girls will not want to read again.

I guess the point I am trying to make is, why can’t we have the best of both worlds? Oh well, this is more than I intended to write on the subject honestly. :)


I guess I will just end this post by saying,

peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (My Little Women)

July 18, 2015

Well, here we are again, another Friday with more rain that we don’t really need.

From the garden:

We went ahead and dug out our potatoes for fear of them rotting.


Not a whole lot considering how many plants we had. I am just thankful for any at all considering how the weather has been across the Midwest. I don’t think we will have much of a tomato harvest this year. Our plants are beginning to turn yellow from all the rain. Add this with the outbreak of the bird flu and the price of eggs going up, it doesn’t look like a very good year for farmers.

We actually have stopped eating eggs due to Papa’s high triglycerides and cholesterol (Heart disease is bad in his family, his dad died from it when he was 58.) . We made the switch to Egg Beaters for baking needs months ago, but we only go through a container a week. So, I really don’t see that effecting us much. However, not having tomatoes, Papa will only eat homegrown, and not being able to make tomato sauce will. The family can’t stand store bought spaghetti sauce.

From the kitchen:

Still freezing fruit for winter smoothies. The girls are still mug baking. They tried their hand at mug coffee cake this week.


The one on the left is my gluten free version using gluten free oats that I blend into flour. They turned out pretty good, a little sweet for my taste, so I want to try again next time using half the sugar and half the fat (We also made the switch to everyone using Earth Balance now.). Maybe a little maple syrup for the cake batter, and Splenda for the topping.


We also have been using Splenda when maple syrup isn’t a possibility as we need to watch Papa’s sugar intake too.

From the homeschool:


The girls are still warming up at Xtramath.com. I like how this has helped them with their speed, which is why I signed them up in the first place. Both girls worked in their workbooks, Math Made Easy 3rd grade for Little Sis and Kumon Pre-Algebra book 1 for Sky. I am almost 100% positive Sky will be able to start pre-algebra from Khan Academy at the start of the year. We are heading into percents in the Math Doesn’t Suck book and Sky is already pretty good at figuring them out from living real life mathematics. :)


I gave the girls a general science quiz to see how well they would do, and they actually did good.


I am proud to say, science is not a weak link in our homeschooling. Honestly, I think this is because I have always let them be curious and explore their world. Sky loved Wild America with Marty Stouffer as a child. She actually would wake up early to watch it Saturday mornings instead of cartoons.


The same can be said about their Ranger Rick magazine subscriptions (that they have since outgrown :( ). They both don’t see “science” as a part of school, but as something fun that we do. PBS Nature and NOVA, Sky actually sees what is coming on and marks it in my planner as a reminder.

This is something I want to continue by not bringing in a dry, boring old textbook. Talk about a turn off. Science is the study of the living through observation and experimentation, not reading a textbook, studying and regurgitating facts.

Speaking of reading about facts, we read Science in the news July’s issue.



This helps ignite conversations about current events, and speaking about current events, we talked about NASA’s new photos of Pluto.


(Very excited about Ant-man we are, though I do hope they bring the female superheros in soon.)

Language Arts

As you can see in the photo above, we took advantage of “back to school sales” by investing in tablets this year for the girls. I thought how much we would save, not only money but with space too, by being able to read all the free books on-line. So for starters, Little Sis actually is the one who chose our next read along, we are reading and listening to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.



I read Alcott’s bio from Lives of the writers by Kathleen Krull and printed off a page where the girls came up with 10 things they learned about her.


We also watched a video from Novels and Nonsense (YouTube) about her too.

Sky read and finished American Girl Samantha book 3, Samantha’s Surprise.

We are continuing with the Bronte sisters’ poetry (which the girls can now read along on their tablets) and caught the American Masters episode on Harper Lee.

A Twilight update, Little Sis has two more chapters until she finishes the first book. I see her finishing over the weekend.

The Arts

The girls made Victorian house lapbooks, I printed off color sheets and some paper dolls that the girls used to color and create their houses with.



You can’t see the sides but they pasted stairs on each side.




(They cut this picture in half to use as stairs.)

There has been lots of creating and sewing on the girls part too. (For their Tinnies village.)


It is long overdue for Little Sis to get her own sewing kit.

We have been loving, enjoying The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends.


We have the collection of Potter stories that have been read and reread several times (This series is very close to being tied for the most read stories with Ellen’s Lion.). So, finding a television series that keeps the integrity of the illustrations and stories was big.

Then for me to find a ballet, Britain’s Royal Ballet, was like striking gold I tell you.


Along with more paper dolls.


No P.E. this week, I received the results of my MRI and I have a protruding disk in my lower back that is pinching my sciatic nerve making walking very difficult. My appointment with the specialist isn’t until August. My fingers are crossed I will not need surgery but steroids have not worked. I have been prepping the girls in the kitchen and they have mastered a few meals already in case I do. So, P.E. has been temporarily postponed.


Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“Let Your Colors Burst”)

July 10, 2015

Well, if you live in the Midwest you are already aware of how much rain we’ve been receiving. I am ever so thankful for the sun shiny Fourth of July weekend we had, but did not know it would be the last time that I would see the sun. I am glad I was able to capture it in case there is ever the need to prove that yes, indeed it did truly exist. I am thankful this year I didn’t purchase a pool pass, because with high temperatures in the 60s this week, swimming was the last thing on our minds.

From the garden:

We have yet to water our garden since when we first planted it in May. We have plenty of green tomatoes, thank goodness I like fried green tomatoes, but with current temperatures what they are I’m not sure they will ripen. (I am about to use our last few jars of tomato sauce too.) I am hoping our potatoes don’t rot with all the rain, fingers crossed. I am thankful our garden is on a hill to allow run off. Meanwhile, I have at least been able to use our onions, and do have fresh garlic to look forward to.

From the kitchen:

Thanks to the American Girl Samantha series, we attempted to make pralines.



With cooler temps and all the humidity we ended up putting them in the refrigerator to harden. They were really good, too good. They will need to be kept for special occasions only good.

While waiting for the mixture to reach its hard boil temperature, I explained how really this could count as a chemistry experiment. Basically we were breaking the chemical compound of sugar down by heat and depending on how fast or slow it cools, we are able to manipulate the size of the sugar crystals changing its texture.

From the homeschool:


Speaking of chemistry, we watched a video on the science of making hard candy.

We also learned the science behind fireworks,

the girls colored a worksheet to add in their notebook,


and we finished the PBS series First Peoples.


Both girls warmed up at xtramath.com.

Sky practiced run on decimals and changing decimals to fractions from Math Doesn’t Suck and Khan Academy. I found the perfect workbook to go along with the Math Doesn’t Suck book. Kumon Pre-Algebra workbook 1. It starts with finding common factors and finishes with order of operations.  I just wish I had found it sooner, but it is great review for Sky to work on.

Little Sis continued with Math Made Easy Grade 3.

Language Arts

We finished Sky Island and Sky finished reading book 2 Samantha Learns A Lesson aloud. We continued with the Bronte Sisters’ poetry.

We watched BBC The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne’s novel.


This is considered to be the first feminist novel, and I can see why. I have to say this is probably my favorite story from the sisters, with Wuthering Heights as a very close second.

Yes, we also watched the BBC movie version of Jane Eyre.


I will wait until after we read the three novels before I make my final decision, I prefer to read the authors actually words, but I don’t really like this story. Where as in Wuthering Heights, the emotions seem real, I have been angry, I have felt jealousy, Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester just seems creepy. I felt sorry for Heathcliff, I never liked Rochester. Now in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, well, I love everything about it. I actually am reading it now myself  because I can’t wait to read it with the girls.

Moving on, we finished the miniseries Bleak House.


The girls and I really liked this series. Again, I will wait until after we read the story, but this to me is Dickens at his best.

We watched 15 facts on Dickens by Novels and Nonsense,

with the girls seeing how much they already knew, and they watched a video about him and took the quiz.



We were able to walk around the block once in between rainfalls, and Walked Away the Pounds.


Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life (Wuthering Around)

July 7, 2015

Well, I had every intention to write every week even if we did take a week off. I mean, I have mentioned several times how homeschooling is a lifestyle after all. What does a week off look like for homeschoolers? For me, it is anything but exciting. I caught up with housework and the garden. Oh, and then there was rain, and more rain, and yes, more rain. Add to that my first root canal, first MRI and you pretty much see how I welcomed in summer (Yay 40) . Is there such a thing as needing a vacation from a vacation? What, the week can’t be up already? Thank goodness my planning was ready, even if I wan’t.

I also managed a highschool homeschool webinar, that I highly recommend if you ever get a chance to catch it (I am not the kind of person that just recommends things unless I truly find something helpful. Actually, I stay clear from certain “big” homeschooling blogs because they are pretty much just advertising products, insert eye roll. Which is why I take pictures of what we use instead of including links, unless they are free. And though she too is selling her service, and why not?, I get that, people need money, I found the webinar far beyond my expectations and extremely informative.).


From the garden:


Our garlic and onions were ready to harvest and they are curing as I type. We had another really good crop this year. With all the rain plants have really taken off, just waiting for the tomatoes to ripen.

From the kitchen:

While off, I can’t even begin to count how many mug cakes the girls made. They are in love with the idea of being able to make a personal size cake in a matter of minutes. So, that is what culinary arts looks like for the girls right now.

I have been freezing berries to store during winter. This worked out great last year, being able to have a berry smoothie during winter when I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat one more orange was awesome. This year I am adding sliced peaches in with the mix.

I also made another batch of vegetable stock. We went through quite a lot during winter in soups, and I love adding it instead of water to cook brown rice. Favorite recipe, 2 cups stock, 1 cup brown rice, chopped onion, and 1 cup of fresh vegetable of choice like sliced mushrooms, broccoli, or peas, peas and carrots. Bring to a boil, simmer 50-60 minutes.

From the homeschool:

Language Arts

Our read aloud is Sky Island by L. Frank Baum.


Sky is reading the American Girl Samantha series out loud and finished book 1, Meet Samantha.

Little Sis memorized and recited her poem The Song of Wandering Agnes by Yeats.

Little Sis has also discovered the Twilight series and is halfway through book 1. Yes, she has a bit of mama’s Gothic interest in her after all. I was beginning to think this child couldn’t possibly be mine. She is my “girly-girl” and where Sky fell in love with Nightmare Before Christmas and Lord of the Rings at the age of 2, Little Sis liked Laurel and Hardy’s March of the Wooden Soldiers and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. She doesn’t like Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, or Marvel !! It was being introduced to The Phantom of the Opera that we finally found our middle ground. We recently discovered another common interest as well, but I am getting ahead of myself.

I haven’t read the Twilight books, I’m not really into the whole vampire thing. Shelley and Frankenstein is more my style. Which is why I never bothered with Dickens, but man was I wrong about him. He has some darker stories that are quickly becoming favorites. Besides, I have been in teen fiction with the Inheritance Cycle for so long I am ready for a bit more stimulation.

Which brings me to the Bronte Sisters. How do we turn from studying Ireland back to Victorian Literature? Irish immigration of course. Their father was born in Ireland and changed his name when he moved to England.

I read their biography from the book Lives of the Writers by Kathleen Krull. The girls instantly became fascinated with their lives. We also watched   Brontë Country: The Story of Emily, Charlotte & Anne Brontë from YouTube and I happened to find another homeschooler’s Vlog on them as well.

I love her enthusiasm of literature,because that’s me. I went from Cleary to King, just like Little Sis has gone to Twilight at 9. I recognize her need to be challenged like I did.

I printed out a color sheet and the girls came up with 10 things they learned about them.


We added their poetry to our read aloud, listening to about 3 a day. We read along while we listen.



This has led the girls to creating their own villages


and writing their own mini stories too.


They have made about 20 little books already by folding a piece of paper and their writing is even tiny.


Last but not least we watched the movie Wuthering Heights, that we loved!


Where the hell was I during English Lit class!? How could I have missed this story!? I must have been too metal proud or something to be seen with it because I would have really liked it.I loved my English Lit teacher and her class so I don’t know how I could have missed it.  Anyways, our summer reading list is growing by the hour.


The girls warm up playing at Xtramath.com and Sky worked on converting fractions and mixed numbers to decimals from Math Doesn’t Suck and Khan’s Academy. She did really well, I think she finally gets where the decimal needs to go. Little Sis continued working through her 3rd grade made easy workbook.


We watched the Bill Nye episode on Planets and the new PBS series First Peoples.


Which fit in perfect with an article Papa brought home that I read how 6-9% of our DNA has been linked to Neanderthals.

American History

We paid a visit to our local Native American museum of art , the Eitelijorg


and learned about Belinda Mulrooney and Gold Fever.



With the rain brought cooler temps and walks around the block, as well as walks to our local fireworks,


as well as walks around the canal downtown.


Lots of walking. :)


Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“Because The World Is Round”)

June 19, 2015

Well, this week we brought our regular school schedule to a close, finishing up any loose ends and planting the seeds for our next block of studies. The ironic part is that I had no plans to take the direction in which we a heading, it just kind of happened.

This is why I am not big on planning out our whole school year at once, because I am never fully sure where we may journey to next. I am more of a needing to see the whole picture first type of person, then I am able to start filling in the pieces. It reminds me of my grandmother showing me how to put puzzles together. She would tell me, ” first, we find all the straight edge pieces to put the boarder together, then we can add the middle pieces”. I know what each of the girls need to know before high school, and what they need to know after, which is my boarder, or the foundation. Then I start building, or filling in our blocks, or pieces. I loosely keep track of what is covered each year in school, if ever the need should arise, but stick more closely to the girls’ abilities (like a one room schoolhouse).

I’ve mentioned before how we school year round, 4 days a week leaving Friday as a catch up day as well as my planning day. If we attend something over the weekend, like the SCA gathering last week, I count that day as a school day too. We never stop learning, and if we do something “school looking”, I count it. Homeschooling is a lifestyle, not just something we do.

Our schedule leans more towards a seasonal one starting each new year in January, having a lighter schedule during summer, picking back up during the Autumnal Equinox, and gearing our lessons towards preparing for winter solstice and Christmas to close out the year. I do use a monthly planner, a cheap drugstore one, to help keep me on track of how many weeks we have for each seasonal block, and for our attendance.

I am also not a buy everything at once type of gal. At the beginning of each year, I put aside our budget for homeschooling and buy items as we need them. This way, I have the funds ready to take advantage of “back to school sales”, as well as what we need when the times comes. This also helps me to stay focused on only purchasing items we really need instead of ones I might just want. (There are lots of things I would love to have, but we just don’t have room in our small house.) I discovered when first starting out homeschooling, that we wouldn’t use half of what I thought we would, or interests would change and our studies would take a completely different turn, or I would find what we needed for free on-line or at the library. (If you have internet access and a library card, you can homeschool.)

I’ve also mentioned before how I am a bit radical. So, my choice to homeschool is different than most. I understand why historically schools came to be. After the Industrial Revolution, factories needed workers. Eventually, workers needed to be able to read and write. School is where you went to gain knowledge. Most homes only had 1 book, which more than likely was a Bible.

In 2015, school is not the only place to learn from anymore and here in the United States, factories are not much of an option. We are a different society. I have readers, of my blog, from all over the world, and I can translate a blog from another country into English. In my opinion, schools are outdated and there are way too many hands holding the reins. (I also understand, that there will always be a need for schools. Not everyone can or will want to homeschool.)

We know more today than we did then, but like with any new idea or thought it’s automatically considered bad or wrong, at first. We see it time and again throughout history with all the thinkers who were ahead of their time. My heart saddens thinking of all the scientists, artists, and writers never given the chance to see their impact.”You’ve been given a great gifGeorge. A chance to see what the world would be like without you.”

I, myself am so very thankful for the many people that risked their necks to help get us where we are today, and I have a pretty good feeling about the future of homeschooling.

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

Language Arts

We finished the Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum, and I read both poems, The Sea Fairies and The Mermaid by Alfred Lord Tennyson.


I “tested” the girls spelling and vocabulary of all the words they had this year (words of the week) and we went over the list of Words Every Freshman and 3rd grader should know.




Little Sis managed to block the fox in the game Fox and Geese,


and has taken interest in Chess (which pleases Papa tremendously).

She also did the 3 and 4 times tables and mixed tables worksheets from Math Made Easy 3rd grade.

I enrolled both girls at Xtramath.


Sky continued working on dividing decimals at Khan Academy, and a worksheet from Ecucation.com.


Right now, as I type this they are playing the Sims video game. It is so funny listening to them argue over spending money to purchase items for their home. I remember when they first started playing the game that they never cared about the money part, just what their characters looked liked.


We watched 3. The Universe, Early Man’s View,

5 The Universe Nikolaus Copernicus, and Copernicus, The Beauty of Diagrams (YouTube)

The girls added notes to their timeline.



We watched 6 The Universe Johannes Kepler -( YouTube), and the girls added more notes to their timeline.


(Little Sis)

We watched 8 The Universe Isaac Newton, The Beauty of Diagrams 3 – Newton’s Prism (YouTube), and Cosmos episode, Hiding in the Light.

The Arts


We listened to the History Teacher’s version of Because.

Then listened to Abbey Road by the Beatles.

Artist Study

I meant to add Paul Klee in with our Switzerland block but at the time it just didn’t fit in, this week it did. The girls picked out which painting they wanted to learn about. Sky picked Heroic Roses, Little Sis picked Cat and Bird.



We watched a video of his paintings

and Art with Mati and Dada, Paul Klee (YouTube).


We watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind movie


and a Trip to the Moon.


It was interesting to learn this movie was influenced by Jules Verne’s writings and considered to be one of the first science fiction films.

Culinary Arts

The girls have taken major interest in mug baking. After copying the recipes from last week into their cookbooks, they have made the chocolate cake in a mug daily. They were excited when I told them I found more mug recipes. So, they made a chocolate chip cookie in a mug.



They both give it a thumbs up.

They also made pudding pops.


Follow the directions on how to make pudding from the box, add to popsicle molds and freeze.


This week the girls had homeschool gym, and they Walked Away the Pounds.


Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“Breaking The Law, Breaking The Law”)

June 12, 2015

Another pretty busy week, and I already have the feeling that I’m forgetting something before I even start my post. I hate those feelings. Since turning 40 they have taken a turn for the worst. I am constantly asking the girls, “Why I am going to the bedroom?”, “Do you know why I’m getting in the refrigerator?”. Even worse, “Mom, you left the burner on!” Then there is trying to remember which way to go to get to a certain store that we’ve been to a thousand times. Luckily, I’m still able to locate our vehicle in a parking lot. I guess it’s all just a matter of time.

Well, the warmth of summer has finally arrived. Temperatures have been crazy these last few weeks. Windows open, shorts out one moment. Then the next day truing the heat back on and wondering if plants need to be covered. I think I’ve washed our living room blankets 5 times already to put them up for the season. Honestly, I’m not complaining. I’ve noticed something else about aging is my low tolerance for hot humid and cold temperatures. Migrating south for the winter is beginning to make much more sense.

I have been enjoying watching the bats in our area take flight come sundown. It’s like clockwork, around 9 in the evening out they come communicating back and forth to each other. They are close to our home too, which is great. I’ve always admired bats and never thought them ugly or scary. The way they snuggle their young closely to their bodies is precious. I’m feeling very optimistic about our garden this year, and keeping a lookout for our praying mantis and ladybug friends.

Language Arts

We have started the Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum as our read aloud.


L. Frank Baum is probably my favorite author and even his most boring story can bring a smile to my face. Don’t get me wrong, I have a long, long list of authors I enjoy. I’ve always been fascinated with words and the mind they come from. They can tell you a lot about a person. They can start and end wars, hurt and heal, and I love that. Though, being someone that can be a little too serious at times, most times, I need silly and for things to not make sense. I need to have my imagination stretched and that is what Baum does. He brings both nostalgia and comfort through his stories, and will always get top billing on my bookshelf. :)

The girls copied The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson.



(Little Sis)

This will be their last poem until we start our normal routine back in the fall. They had the choice of poems to pick , from the year, to memorize. Little Sis picked The Song of Wondering Agnes and Sky picked Old Ireland.

We also listened to and discussed the poem.


We listened to the story of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter too.


This is listed as the first “science fiction” story written. The girls really enjoyed it. At first we thought it to be like most fairy tales, then it takes a bit of a different twist.

The girls played Bananagrams and Little Sis’s new Word Shout word she learned this week was nix.


Sky worked on decimals at Khan Academy. Basically keeping it light until after our week off, no sense in starting a new topic yet.

Little Sis did the 2s, 5s, and 10s table worksheets from Math Made easy 3rd grade. The organization in the workbook stinks. It skips from one skill to another and I wouldn’t recommend it as an only math source. However, I do like it as a review after finishing 3rd grade at Khan’s Academy. Little Sis is already familiar with everything in this workbook, it helps her practice those skills  a bit more.

We have played the decimal place value game several times now, it’s actually being requested by both girls, and Papa has even joined in.

The girls played Multiplication Squares as a warm up this week, and thanks to Tennyson’s poem we discussed how much a league is.


World History

For starters, we went to a SCA gathering.




They had reenactments, games, and crafts. It was a lot of fun. We learned a few new games, Fox and Geese,


(they gave us this set to take home)

that the whole family enjoys,

and Nine Man’s Morris.


Papa made a wooden board version for us to play to save wear and tear on the travel version.


The geese have yet to win, but Little Sis came very, very close.

We watched the satire movie The Charge of the Light Brigade.


We had lots of discussion on what satire means, and Sky wants me to add if you are sensitive to horses dying,  give this movie a pass. She did not find those scenes funny at all. I have mix feelings about the movie, but do agree with Sky that the animated propaganda scenes made the movie worth watching and discussing.

The girls added notes of Hugh O’Donnell, The Nine Year War,


and Edmund Halley to their timeline.


Halley is fascinating to learn about, he carries a very impressive biography.


I forgot to add in my last post our discussions from our non Newtonian Fluid experiment we did last year.


We watched episode 4, A Sky Full Of Ghosts, from Cosmos and the PBS Nature episode Ireland’s Wild River.

We did a defying gravity experiment,



and watched videos on Kepler’s Laws (found on YouTube).

The Arts

Art and Animation

We watched the movie The Tale of Princess Kaguya.


The girls loved it and the hand drawn animation is beautiful.


We listened to the Irish folk songs, Hugh O’Donnell, and Molly Malone and Danny Boy by Sinead O’Connor (found on YouTube).


Both girls had their share of drawing.


(Little Sis)



Culinary Arts

The girls have been busy in the kitchen this week too.

Sky wanted to make chocolate covered strawberries,


both girls made Vegan cookie dough for 1,



and we made my, and little sis’s  favorite Best Ever No Bake Bars, and they are the best too.



We added 1/3 cup honey,  2/3 cup peanut butter, and used Earth Balance instead of coconut oil.

I love regular no bakes but they have way too much sugar in them. I’m actually going to try these next time with only 1/4 cup honey because the chocolate chips and peanut butter both contain sugar. We used unsweetened coconut too.


We may have walked around the block our last time for the summer earlier in the week, and both girls requested Walk Away the Pounds when temps hit in the 90s.


Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Lighten Up and Bend A Little)

June 5, 2015

So when does our summer school “officially” start? June 21st, Summer Solstice. Actually, the girls get that week completely off so, really we start the week after. That means 2 more weeks for me to try and finish our block. I think we are all getting antsy though because our calendar is filling up fast of summer activities, and the garden is growing like a weed, literally.


Everything is looking good. Our pepper plants are finally starting to grow,


and so are the strawberries.

Little Sis decided she was ready to get her ears pierced and wasn’t nervous about the piercing at all.


She is the “trill seeker” child, and the one I fear is going to scare the pants off of me. She is the child that flew down our backyard hill siting in the back of a toy Tonka truck at 2, and laughed her head off on her first roller coaster ride.

I’ve never been much of a thrill seeker. I don’t even like to fly in an airplane. My problem is I think too much, I don’t like to be surprised. I need to know the why behind everything. It is one of the things about myself I needed to make peace with. Understanding it’s just who I am. This has helped me to understand that the girls are who they are too, and I do trust their decisions even if I am be biting my lip a little.

Language Arts

We finished Red Hugh, Prince of Donegal. We also listened and discussed The Vagabond by Robert Louis Stevenson.

There was a vagabond character in The Pickwick Papers.

The girls probably will not have any more words of the week until we start our fall school schedule, but Little Sis learned what gat means from playing Word Shout.


Sky practiced dividing into decimals and dividing by decimals from Math Doesn’t Suck. She also watched What is a decimal video (found on Youtube).

Little Sis practiced telling time, tables and graphs, necessary information word problems, number pairs, and the 2 times table from her Math Made Easy workbook.

Math is something I’ve found we need to continue all year.

We played a new game I found on-line called Decimal Place Value that the girls actually enjoyed playing. It helped both the girls (a review for Sky) understand how to compare decimals and all you need is a deck of cards.



This week was all about making rainbows. Our first experiment was Splitting Light from our Science for Fun Experiments book. Then we played around with prisms for a bit and learned about reflection and refraction.


Next we created an optical illusion of a rainbow on the floor,


then on the ceiling.


We watched Bill Nye’s episodes on Light Optics and Gravity.

We watched The Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow and The Magic School Bus Gains Gravity.

Last but not least we watched Cosmos episode When Knowledge Conquered Fear about Sir Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley.

World History

We watched a short but sweet documentary about Isaac Newton called Great Scientist’s Isaac Newton (found on YouTube) and the girls added notes to their timeline.



They added Donegal Bay to their maps of Europe and we watched Disney’s Fighting Prince of Donegal movie (found on YouTube).

The Arts

The girls made their Coat of Arms.



Culinary Arts (It’s no longer called Home Economics)

The girls made Chocolate Mug Cakes in the microwave.


I mentioned my chocolate kick well, besides chocolate oatmeal I have been enjoying this brownie in a mug.


To make mine gluten free and healthier, I substituted oat flour for all purpose flour, Splenda for the sugar, and apple sauce for the oil. It tastes exactly like my favorite gluten free brownies. Now I can enjoy them in the summer without using the oven. Add a dollop of frozen yogurt and dessert is served.



Still enjoying our walks around the block.


Peace for the journey.


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