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May 23, 2016

Saying Goodbye, Onyx

Today is a very sad day for us. We had to say goodbye to our dog, Onyx.  Onyx is a 2 year old black puggle. (beagle/pug mix).  He over all is a good dog, but had behavioral issues that were beyond our control. Mainly, getting out of the yard. No matter what we did, we have tried several things for the 1.5 years we have had him, we just could not get  him to stay in the yard.

We were tried and overwhelmed and knew it was time to give him to back to the shelter we got him at so that they could find a better suited home from him. A home that would love and care for him just as much as we do, but a home that could curb him of his behavior and give him the proper environment and training. More then we can provide for him really.  We love you, Onyx truly we do. We wish you the best -- honest!

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May 20, 2016

What to blog about?

Part of the issue is I took so much time off of blogging because real life got in the way -- well not in the way -- but my focus and energy was on helping to build, get the word out about a co-op I was co-starting that I got sucked into facebook.

Wow, facebook truly does suck you in once you are there -- I had no clue. Now, that the kids are older teenagers, high schoolers, I feel a bit lost on what to blog about.  I look at all the blogs I have followed, new blogs I'm following and I see all the projects, arts, crafts, hands on activities and while we have had our share in recent years of those things -- life here is well -- boring -- not blog worthy.  That with one in public school (against my wishes) and the other might be going there too (against my wishes) -- I won't have much to blog about in terms of homeschooling and high school -- at least not from a personal experience.  Of course I'm praying, hoping, talking with my husband (the reason public school is even on the radar) and trying to have that changed.  I truly want my kids home, I want to be homeschooling, them and seeing them through until college.

In the mean time it has left me kind of in limbo for the blogging world.  My time off has lost me my steady readership and make feel alone at time -- seeing interaction is next to nothing now.  I feel like readers would want to come here and see posting filled with cute pictures, tips, and other things about homeschool -- every much like how it was in the beginning of this blog.  Oh look we went to the museum today, we did this art project, we did this craft --- etc.

We do things but not weekly -- not at the level that it was -- we have clearly gone more of the textbook type of schooling as the kids have gotten older and honestly there is nothing fun about hey here is a picture of the girl once again sitting at the table doing her math work, or on the computer working on her reading skills,  Just last week we dissected owl pellets and I did post pictures up on my facebook page, but that was the first thing we had done in months -- that was perhaps blog worthy -- or least what I felt was blog worthy.  However, instead of blogging about it. I opted for the easier route of just posting a few pictures up on facebook.

I want to blog, I would like my readership back, I would like new readers to interact with, but I'm lost on what to actually blog about, talk about, do.  Even though my kids are older and actively homeschooling is coming to a fast close for me, homeschooling, parenting, etc is still a huge passion of mine.  I just don't want to fill my time with blogging about all these things that I'm not actually doing myself -- any more -- or blogging about the pass, etc.  Remember that time when my kids and I did this, or that time my daughter threw a tantrum over math.  That is what made blogging someone fun back in the day -- I was able to vent and share and know I wasn't alone and show others hey you are not the only one. Homeschooling is not prefect, there was some bad days, days that perhaps make you want to throw in the towel -- but even then it's still worth it.  We can over come the bad days, the tantrums, and our kids will be great because of it.

So I'm in limbo it seems? What would you want to hear about from a veteran homeschooler. I guess that's what I am now -- someone that has been there, done that -- I still want to be in the trenches. I got high schoolers now, so raising the kids is not done with -- but homeschooling high schoolers is not the same as elementary kids.  Most of the blogging I have done here my kids were elementary age.   High schoolers, at least for us, you give them a stack of books, list of assignments, and they read and do it. If they have questions they come to your or an consult and you check the work over just to be sure they got it and didn't blow it off -- but there really isn't much more to it. Sometimes there is a couple of labs to do in science which you again might work with them or just give it to them and say here you go.  -- sigh. This mama just doesn't know what to do anymore.

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May 6, 2016

Is Tripe Yummy?

This year we have been using an animal science curricula from schoolhouseteachers.com.

With this curricula each week is a new topic. This week topic is: cows/beef.

One of the activities for this topic was to go to the grocery store and find various beef products  and determine what part of the cow they came from.

I, knowing this, decided to take Web-Princess to an local ethnic store. A store that I knew would sell more "exotic" cuts of meat then what she's use to seeing at our typical store.  I expected to see beef tongue, beef heart, beef liver along with the regular cuts we are use to like steaks, hamburger, roast, etc.  

What I did not expect was to see an item called beef tripe.  I did not know what beef tripe was so I took out my phone and googled it right there.  Tripe = the editable lining of the stomach.  I had no idea that the lining was editable.  Web-princess, who won't touch fish, was begging for me to buy some so she can try it!  It wasn't that pricey, but honestly I'm clueless on how to cook it.

Thankfully some of my facebook friends were able to direct me to an recipe that I could try. I pretty much followed this recipe -- I just omitted the mint added noodles and a little bit more water. Over all the dish when done looked good, smelled good, and over all taste was fine. We just couldn't get over the texture issue of the tripe.  It was just very spongy and chewy.  -- the best way I can describe it is chewing on a kitchen sponge -- it was purely a texture issue.

Well at texture issue for Web-princess and I.  We could have eaten the rest of the food in the dish and just avoid the tripe, but my husband wouldn't even touch it. He flat out refused to try it. Superstar, my son, tried -- but he won't eat spaghetti and this was to much like that so he refused to eat too. -- that's why step 4 picture is Italian beef with fries. We decided to order food!

Step 1 is the tripe in a pot of water. This is what my daughter saw in the store and said, "Mom, lets try it!"

Step 2 is the browning of onions and bacon.

Step 3 is the finished dish.

Step 4 is the food we ordered seeing the dish turned out to a failure.

Have you tried tripe? or anything else that would be exotic to you?  Tell me about it!

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March 30, 2016

Politics 2016

It's election season! Of course you knew that --

Four years ago, I had the opportunity to see Romney in person and take the kids to see Santorum in person. Seeing Santorum also meant having a surprise visit; meeting with the Duggars.  They were supporting Santorum at that time and were traveling with him.

This election cycle will be the last one before my own children are eligible to vote. Both of them will be able to vote in 2020 presidential elections -- primary and general. One thing I have tried to do for my kids is when the opportunities arises to take them the rallies of the various candidates or taken them to the capital to fight against bills we don't approve.

We had the opportunity a few weeks ago to a go to a Cruz rally here.

We also could have gone to a Trump event yesterday -- but after hearing about people being arrested the night BEFORE and because I wasn't feeling the best yesterday decided to stay home.  That and reports this morning stated that a teen girl about my daughter's age was peppered sprayed and groped at the event. :smh:

I'm not a fan of Trump. I was only thinking of taking the kids because I have told them for as long as I can remember that when possible you should listen to what the people have to say directly and not listen to the spin that the media gives things.  So going would have been a opportunity to just listen to him in person without the talking heads on TV spinning it. -- it's just sad that his events have become a place for such civil unrest.  I understand free speech, first amendment rights, and those protesting have just as much rights as those that support him.  Supporters or people curious about what he has to say and want to listen to him, in person, should be able to go without fear of being attacked, groped, pepper-sprayed. etc.  Sigh!

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March 3, 2016

Looking Back: The Early Years

My kids are older now 15/14 (well nearly 14 and 15). When you get a chance to look back and reflect you may realize you did somethings good, some things great, and other things ... well you just wish for a do over.

I have a do over wish.

Before I continue I want to make it clear: Your kids, you and only you know what's best for them. You and only you can decide what to do. If you are the type that wants curriculum and formal learning for your 3, 4, 5 year old then this post isn't for you.
If you are on the fence, have doubts, or feeling you have to keep up with the Jones ... this is for you!
This is my 8th year homeschooling. Yes, it's just my daughter now; the boy is at the public high school against my wishes. (Hubby wanted him there).  My feelings about education has changed over the years. If I had a do over ....

If I had a do over I would have never sent my kids to public school for those 2 years. (1st/K for the boy; pre-k/k for the girl) If I had a do over I would have pushed harder to have been able to keep them home and always homeschooled .... or at least waited for the state's compulsory age which at the time was 7 in Illinois (It a few years ago changed to 6). Heck, I didn't even know, back then, that legally I didn't even have to send my kids to school until 7.

I just did what everyone else did .... even though I didn't like it. I truly didn't fully understand my options. I was young 20 something. Now as a 30 something. I get it. If I had to do it over...

If I had to do it over I would have kept my kids home. I would have never sent a 4/5 year old to school. I would have NOT use a curriculum or any formal learning. I would have continued to do what I was doing as MOM.

A good mom. cuddles with books and movies. Library trips, trips to the park. Lots of outdoor play. Always making sure they had access to crayon, pencils, and paper. Taking out the paints, play dough, scissors time to time. Helping them learn self help skills, colors, numbers. All WITHOUT a curriculum.

Help me sort the laundry. I need 3 cans of tuna can you get them? Can't find them they are the small cans with the blue label.  Teaching them our address, phone number, what my name is (real name, not just mommy).  Lets spell your name. All those things that good parents does without the need to use an actual curriculum, books, worksheets.

I would have insisted that formal learning, school, waited until they were 7.

I have realized there is no need to push school any sooner than that! If you do that fine, they are your kids.

I'm speaking to those that are on the fence. Those that have no desire to start formal schooling, but then panic and have doubts because they hear Sally is sending her kids to pre-school or is buying a ton of curriculum to work at home with.  

If you don't want curriculum then don't use it. Do not feel pressure to having to do formal schooling just because that's what the Jones are doing. If you have no desire that is perfectly acceptable! It is totally okay.

God willing if I had younger kids this is exactly what I would be doing today. I would be just MOM. I would be just letting my little kids play and would NOT be doing any kind of school work with them until they were 6.....
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