Saturday, January 25, 2014

My Happy Little Trees

You know how one project leads to another project, which leads to another project? Yeah, it's been one of those kind of weeks. I started off experimenting with black gel stain over our ugly, worn pickled bathroom cabinets. Love!

Well, once the stain was on there, the walls looked icky. So I got out my leftover gray bedroom paint and went to town. Once the walls were all fresh, and everything put back into the room, I decided that the wall behind the never-used tub (we haul water, you know) was big and blank.

That led to an evening painting my very own happy little trees.

First, I freehanded the trees on the wall.

Next, I started tearing off little pieces of masking tape and randomly affixing them to the trees for that lovely aspen/birch look. (Not the greatest photos, but you get the picture.)

Then, I very tediously painted the trees. This took many hours, but I love the result. Oh, and a note to all the lovely and talented builders out there. People really don't like odd-shaped windows as much as you think they do. Just don't.

I love how my happy little trees turned out!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

K5 Academy - 2013/2014

The kids all started back to school this week, and I wanted to take a few minutes to let you all in on our course schedule this year. This is our third year home schooling, and I have to say that this is the very first year that I have been pleased with all of our curriculum. Well, science was a stressor for me for a bit, but we got that all worked out.

And without further ado . . .

Growing with Grammar 7
Jacob's Algebra
The Write Foundation: Sentence to Paragraph
Ham Radio Science (Physics and Electronics)
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Story of the World: Early Modern Times
Fly Fishing (through 4H)
Woodworking (through 4H)
Poultry (market turkey, market chicken, show)
Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowshoeing

Growing with Grammar 4
Singapore Math 4A and 4B
Writing Tales
Vet Science 1
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Story of the World: Early Modern Times
Fly Fishing
Poultry (market turkey, market chicken, show)
Mountain Biking, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Soccer

Little Miss
Growing with Grammar 2
Singapore Math 2A and 2B
Cursive Writing workbook
Science: The Human Body
Rosetta Stone Spanish
Story of the World: Early Modern Times
Cloverbuds (Oceans and Seas)
Ballet, Skiing, Snowshoeing

We have finally found a grammar curriculum that I like. G-Man and H-Man are usually self-instructed with their grammar. They read their texts, then complete their workbooks.Little Miss needs a bit more teaching time, of course, but she picks up on things quickly.  I feel like other grammar curriculum was just overkill with the amount they were trying to shove down the kids. This curriculum seems to take the teach it and move on approach. I like that. This will likely be the last year that G-Man takes a separate grammar course, as his writing course is a 3-year course, and the next year will be amping things up a bit.

We are loving our writing programs. There is quite a bit of work for G-Man to do when using The Write Foundation, and we work on writing every day. We have loved the program, though, and plan to continue through the next two years. H-Man adores Writing Tales. He is able to use his imagination in re-telling stories, and that is his very favorite part.

G-Man's science program makes me giggle. I have to admit that both the hubs and G-Man had to convince me that this would be a good science program. We bought a workbook on Ham Radio Operation, and it is full of physics and electronics. G-Man will be working through the book, as well as reading a text on Ham Radio, then taking an operator's test in April. The joy of homeschooling is being able to align an interest with a class! H-Man is super excited about his Vet Science course through our local 4H program. While all the kids love animals, H-Man seems to have more of an affinity for all animals.

Through 4H, G-Man and H-Man are taking their second year of fly-fishing. The kids spend the winter learning to tie different flies indoors. Once the thaw hits, the instructors take the kids out to local lakes for fly fishing. My boys loved this class last year! The boys are both also taking woodworking through our 4H program. Their teacher has awesome talent making period furniture, and we are excited to see what they boys learn. Both boys will once again participate in the poultry group, raising turkeys and chickens for fair. Little Miss will be participating in a study of the Oceans and Seas with our local 4H Cloverbuds group.

All of the kids continue with our fabulous violin teacher. The hubs has been going through bass guitar lessons with G-Man also. He has a talent there, just like his Daddy. H-Man received a drum set for Christmas and has begun a beginner lessons video. He will take formal lessons with a local musician in the summer. Little Miss continues with her piano lessons also. We seriously have fabulous local music instructors here in our tiny town!

As far as physical education, both boys have fallen in love with mountain biking. During the winter, we participate weekly in either skiing or snowshoeing. Once things thaw out in the spring, the hubs will find some local trails to explore with the boys. They are excited for that adventure! Little Miss has weekly ballet classes that she adores.

Our schedule looks like quite a bit, but the kids get up and get their work done (usually) without too much prodding from mom. Certain classes, like Spanish and History, are only three days a week. The kids are usually finished with their schoolwork by 1, and then free to romp and roam the land! Each child has to read for at least an hour a day. I am not too picky about their books, as they all love to read and I never have to force the issue. We are regular fixtures at the library.

That's our story!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Somebody's Got Some 'Splainin' to Do!

The package very clearly states 'Bun Length.' Apparently, they don't necessarily mean every bun.

I feel cheated.

The Christmas'Didn't Quite Get to it' List

All who know me well know that I love the holidays. I love the decorating, the gift-giving, the baking, the eating, the everything. This year, we have been busy with this and that, and Christmas has kind of snuck up on me in many ways. We did get our trees up and - not to worry, loved ones - the gifts are mailing out this week. But, some things on the usual list just did not . . . and more than likely, will not . . . get done.

Outdoor decorations . . . you know, lights and inflatables and such. We have them . . . in the attic. I even looked at them and brought them out of the attic, then immediately walked right back up those stairs and redeposited them in the attic. I just couldn't face it. My excuses? It was cold outside. Frigid, really. Like the negative degrees kind of frigid. We live on the dead end of a dirt road, with the nearest neighbor a few acres away. Who is really going to see our lights? I have since decided (upon decorating our living room tree, which stands in the window) that the living room tree is all the decorating we need for outside. As you can see from the above photo, eight strands of bright blue LED lights will absolutely light up the exterior of one's home, making it seem to the distant eye as though we have indeed lovingly strung lights around our home. The blue glow is something to behold indeed.

In previous years, the holiday baking has already begun. Sausage balls, white chocolate cranberry shortcake cookies, pies and yumminess have always been happily munched on throughout December. Not. There. Yet. Oh, I have thrown in the odd pre-formed cookie dough into the oven, but no baking has happened in awhile. The ingredients are there, and I smile at them as I open (and shut) the pantry door. Must. Bake. For. Christmas. Can I just mention right now that I have found the time to feed the self-proclaimed starving children each day. As they are starving ALL DAY LONG and I am shoving food into them ALL DAY LONG, there is no time for excess baking. That's my story . . .

We have a collection of Christmas CDs that we typically have playing around the house all December. Well, yesterday, I dragged myself up the attic steps once again where a tremendous and eclectic collection of CDs is stored and grabbed a few Christmas discs. I've yet to pop them in, but - by golly - they are out of the attic. In my defense, every so often as we drive to town, we pick up a Christmas station on the radio, so we do tend to get a daily dose of some sort of Christmas fun. For that matter, Christmas recitals for violin and piano have been on the schedule, so there HAS been much practicing of both. There. That makes me feel way better.

Monday, December 16, 2013


"Mom, can I give you a makeover?" she said.

"Sure," I said.

Definitely feeling made over . . . and shell-shocked.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

O Christmas Tree . . . Poor, Abused Christmas Tree

In my home, alone time for Mommy is almost unheard of. Rest time is even rarer. Believe me, there is a reason for this . . . a well-earned, can't quite turn my back reason. Now let me tell you why that is. Shortly after giving birth to my third child, my husband noted my hair standing on end and the dark bags forming under my crazed eyes. Really, I was downright scary! He kindly offered to take care of the children while I took an obviously much-needed nap. I jumped at the chance, locked my bedroom door (on the off-chance any little people came calling), and promptly fell into a blessedly deep sleep.

The next thing I knew, my husband was standing next to the bed poking me (and yes, I said poking me) to wake me up. Holding our newborn daughter and looking somewhat nervous, he explained that he had some bad news. Now, having heard this same thing before, I was immediately in stress mode . . . until I followed him into the living room where I was greeted with complete chaos and stress turned to horror.

I must take a moment here to tell you that I love the Christmas season. I mean I really love everything about it, from the chilly weather, to the smells, to the beautiful decorations that I lovingly put up around the house. On this fateful day, however, my beautiful pre-lit Christmas tree looked like it had been mauled by a particularly nasty bear! Turning to my husband, I asked what on earth happened.

Apparently my husband had needed a wee little nap himself and, while holding my newborn daughter, he fell asleep on the couch, leaving my sons, ages 5 and 2, to fend for themselves. That would be mistakes number one, two, and three. He awoke when the banging and crashing finally penetrated his deep slumber. And what through his sleep-encrusted eyes did appear? Two young boys wielding light sabers and attacking the Christmas tree!

By the time I entered the living room, the pre-lit lights were nonfunctional and ornaments – glass, wooden, plastic and everything in between - were broken all over the room, including a hand-painted eggshell that my father brought me from a business trip. Tell me this . . . have you ever seen how wonderfully and tightly they string the lights onto pre-lit Christmas trees? Fun stuff my friends . . . fun stuff.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When Life Hands You Lemons . . .

You grab your sandpaper, stain, fabric stash and tape, and you make lemonade!

My parents brought this little chest to our home this past week. It had been sitting in a garage, having garage-y things on it, and was kind of a mess. The piece had never been finished, so the raw wood was screaming for some love. The backer board was white and stained also. But, I knew this would be the perfect little piece for our entry to organize all the gloves, hats, scarves and blankets that I have yet to find a home for. I found some old stain and, after sanding all sorts of gunk off, gave this baby a new life. I dug through my seemingly never-ending fabric stash for something to cover the backer board with, and I came up with a nice neutral shade. I am LOVING this thing! Thanks Mom and Dad!!