I have moved to a new blog: Nikki's Thoughts On


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November 6, 2016

Animals --- Rescue

The weather here has been great. It's been more like middle September instead of early November. Today we went out to the local wildlife rescue, the same rescue Web-Princess has been working at the last several Mondays. Today the rescue had an open house for the public. We walked around, had some treats, and looked at the some of the animals. Pictures from our day:

Many of these animals are the same animals that Web-Princess has been feeding and caring for... Some of them she knows by name, others not so much. Many of these animals when she's there to take care of them she actually gets into the enclosure with them. Tomorrow will be Monday, so you know where we will be.....

Happy Sunday!

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October 30, 2016

Leaf Disk Lab

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Better late than never, I guess. Followers of Catholic Christian Homeschooling Facebook Page saw a preview of this post with the statement: I would update the blog later today or tomorrow. Well, today and tomorrow came and went -- they are long gone, the post wasn't done within the promised time frame, but it's here now.

This year our science focus has been biology. The topic this past week was photosynthesis. I try to have her do hands on labs as much as possible to go with the course work -- I still need to get a decent microscope, but we have found other labs to do that don't require a microscope. One of them has been the leaf disk lab. When you google search and look on youtube there are several tutorials on this lab.  The two videos we based our lab on was the following videos:

The second video talks about adding detergent to the mixture. We did not do this! We did use spinach leafs and soaked them overnight like the first video suggested. We pulled the oxygen out of spinach leafs according to the second video (it looked easier to do) and dumped them into a contain of more solution -- we also felt this was easier to do -- seeing we didn't have a real good way to keep the syringe in an upright position.

If we were to do the lab all over again we would have done a second patch of leafs without the light. So time could be compared between having the light and NOT having the light.

Our Lab:
  • 2 Measuring Cups (2 cups and 1 cup)
  • Baking Soda
  • Water
  • Spinach Leafs (left to soak overnight)
  • Container To Soak Leafs In
  • Oral Dosing Syringe
  • Hole Puncher 
  • Light
  • A Means To Keep Time (we just used the timer on my daughters iPod touch -- but any device that has a time would work)

I went to the store and bought a package of spinach leafs. I soaked a handful of them overnight in some cold water. -- we used the rest of them for a dinner. :D

After the leafs soaked overnight we used a hole punch to punch out leaf disks. We punched out about 20 of them. We then put them in an oral dosing syringe with the solution of baking soda and water.

For the solution, we mixed 2 cups of water with a dash of baking soda. I actually own measuring spoons that say drop, dash, pinch, etc.

After the leafs and solution were mixed we followed the instructions on the second video and started to extract the air, oxygen, from the leafs; as we did this we could see them fall to the bottom of the syringe.

We then dumped them into a 1 cup measuring cup that had more of the baking soda and water solution and turned on the light! We actually did the whole process several times and after about 5-10 minutes we had at least 5 disks floating on top of the solution.  -- like I said if I could have done it again I would have done it without the light too so we could compare time with the light and without the light.

This is a pretty straightforward lab and I believe it to be good hands on experiment on how photosynthesis works. Of course, it requires talking about photosynthesis and what is going on with the leafs and why the change from floating and not floating. :D

This also lead to the discussion on how different labs are set up to test or show different things. Doing all of this reminded her how long ago when she was younger we did labs that showed mass by floating and sinking -- What a fun discussion that was too!

Oh, and the very first picture was just Web-Princess being silly and goofy. She was hamming it up some for the camera -- especially seeing she knew it was going to be posted here.  She may still ham it up for the camera, but her being a teen matters -- she changed clothes before I was allowed to even snap pictures. She didn't want her in her other clothing, her lounge at home clothing,  mind you just a tshirt, to be on the blog.  She didn't want to people to see her in this tshirt. It's just a tshirt. :D

October 9, 2016

Temples, Tombs, Hieroglyphs

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This year for history I decided to use Train Up A Child's: World History Course.  This world history course is a literature base course. Luckily for me most of the books needed can be borrowed from my library.  Currently we are studying Ancient Egypt and working our way through the book: Temples Tombs, & Hieroglyphs.

This is a bit of a slow read for us, slower then I would like, but we are making progress and working our way through it.  In the course of reading we learned a little bit about James Henry Breasted. Breasted is one of the first American Egyptian Archaeologist that made a lasting impression on Egyptology, his work is still used today.

Web-princess took a special interest because she learned he was born here. I learned Thursday night that his remains were actually buried here too. So Friday morning we took an impromptu trip to the cemetery to hunt down Breasted's grave marker.   -- what makes his grave marker even more unique is that it's made from a block of granite from Egypt.  I think this is the closet she'll or even I will get from touching something from Egypt.

Smiling and standing next to Breasted's headstone.

It's always nice when a bit of what you are talking about can come "alive". Sure it was just a tombstone. However, it connected us personally to this archaeologist that we are talking about and his discoveries and work.

Under this granite block from Assuan, Egypt lie the ashes of James Henry Breasted

How has your homeschooling going? Any impromptu trips? impromptu activities?

September 21, 2016

Science: Biology

This year we have been working on biology. So far it has been going well.

Our topic has been cells. Earlier this week Web-Princess decide on her own to research cells and make models.

Research is a little formal. She actually just looked up pictures and made models out of silly putty. It was interesting to see her just dive in the subject of cells and just make models just because she wanted to make models.

It actually made me feel good about homeschooling to see her use her free time to look up cell pictures and make models. Something she didn't have to do, but did because she wanted to. It also showed me that she, even though she was using images, was retaining what she was learning during the day. I know because she spent time on her own to make cell models she will remember this better and retain it.

She was looking things up and learning because she wanted to, not because she was studying it or trying to memorize it for some test. This is why I homeschool. Have your children shown you in unexpected ways they have been enjoying what they have been learning?

September 4, 2016

Labor Day: Weekly Update

All is quiet ---

Actually is has been nice. We have had a break in the heat. Thank God. The AC has been off and windows have been opened now for the 5th day in a row. Even though tomorrow like today is suppose to get up in the 80s we might be good to keep the AC off. Mainly, because we have one of those whole house/Attic fans and the nightly temps have been in the high 50s/low 60s. We turn that fan on at night and it's instant breeze throughout the whole house. In the morning we turn it off, it stays off during the day, and our home stays on the cooler side. Just when it starts to get uncomfortable, the sun has gone down and the outside temps have started to cool off so we turn it back on.  If the night time stays on the warm side like 70s it doesn't do as good of a job cooling the house the whole day -- so with the project forecast we most likely turn the AC back on on Tuesday or Wednesday. Time will tell.

Despite the pleasant weather I haven't been able to enjoy it -- totally -- I have been dealing with a nasty head congestion, cold.  This prevent Web-Princess from doing all of her work on Friday. She did most, but not all. She, even though it's high school, still needs my help time to time. Some things like Spelling Power I have to do simply with her. It can't get done otherwise.

Other things she prefers my help. For example when it comes to biology she reads her text orally to me. This is mainly because reading is still an issue for her! NOTHING like it use to be. She can read but some words still trip her up -- so reading orally to me is to help her make sure she's reading properly. It also gives her the opportunity to ask me questions right then and there if she doesn't understand something.  (We made the most process with her reading when we starting sight phonics.)

She did what she could and what wasn't done will be moved to Tuesday. I'm counting Friday as a half day of school. We are taking tomorrow off for Labor Day. At least she had some school and me being sick didn't mean no school day. When she (and Superstar) were younger mom being sick meant no school at all! -- so glad those days are behind us and she can do a lot of the the work, even if I'm down and out, by herself.

I'm still feeling nasty. The head congestion alone is enough to bug anyone -- add vomiting, ear aches, -- it's not pleasant. I still have to make all of my lesson plans for this week. I will do that tomorrow even if I'm still feeling like crud so Web-Princess will have what she needs for this coming week. Hopefully, regardless of how I feel I will be well enough to help her for those areas she needs help.

This Tuesday will start week 3 for us! (3rd week, but not 3rd full week. Our first week we only did school on Wed to Friday). I can't believe 3 weeks in already.

We have been doing:
  • English
  • Algebra
  • Biology
  • World History
  • PE/Health
I will be adding some Bible/Religion to the list. I just don't know what yet.  What I was going to use has proven to be beyond what Web-Princess can handle. So I have been looking for an alternative but haven't found anything I'm happy with. Do you have any suggestion for Bible/Religion for High School/9th grade (from a Catholic prospective of course)?

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August 27, 2016

Hot Ice

Yesterday, if you like our Facebook page you would have seen a few status updates about our attempts to make "Hot Ice".

We were following this video from YouTube:

We didn't realize the boiling down would take forever -- it took nearly 2 hours.  So WP wasn't to thrilled. It made her school day much longer because I refused to let her do anything else while it boiled down.

We boiled it down, placed it in the refrigerator, and after 2 hours still no crystals. We assumed we did it wrong; so while she did her school work I did up another batch. I mixed it, boil it down -- let even more crystal form then the first time -- thinking that was our mistake.

Let it sit in the refrigerator for several hours -- nothing -- no crystals.  So we left it overnight and the majority of today. I was cooking steaks on the grill and WP came out asking if she should just dumb it seeing it was just a liquid with no crystals. I told her yes. She asked where, because Daddy was washing dishes at the kitchen sink. I told her just take it out front and just dump it. It's just vinegar and baking soda and wouldn't hurt anything just dumping it out front. (Even though it was just vinegar and baking soda I didn't want her dumping it in the back yard because of Puggy the Puggle).

A few minutes later -- WP came running out the back door towards me -- Mom, mom, look what happen?  What happen you wonder -- well the liquid mixture turned to a solid on her as she was going to dump it. She asked if this was the "hot ice"? I told her yes it was -- but didn't understand why it didn't work like the video, or why it turned to a solid on her when she went to dump it.  -- Other then it must have had some crystal or dry residue on the side of the plastic container and when the liquid touched that it made the rest of it turn into a solid.

I wish I would have thought to snap some pictures of our failed experiment.  Failed because it didn't go exactly like we thought it would.  However, it was still cool we got the hot ice to form -- even if it was accidental. One interesting thing about the "ice" was that it actually was hot, warm, to the touch. Much, much warmer then you would expect seeing it was just in the refrigerator.

Have you tried to make hot ice before? How did it go? Did it work like this video? Or did you do something else? Have you had experiments that have failed or didn't go as plan? Tell us more? Leave a comment.

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August 23, 2016

High School. Here we are.

8 years in and here we are: High School!!

I'm given my years what many would consider an veteran homeschooler. Many have come to me looking for advice, tips, help, but yet here I am in uncharted waters.

I was robbed, yes strong words, but how I feel from being able to do high school with my son, but overjoyed and overwhelmed to be doing freshman year, here at home, with my daughter.

Freshman year.  I many moons ago bought homeschool tracker plus edition. This year I am honestly using it. For real. I have used it on and off over the years among other various tracker, record keeping programs. I just keep coming back to the homeschool tracker.  So with it being high school now I'm using it completely, for real, fully and being sure I honestly record things within the program. That way when needed with a few clicks I can generate report cards, transcripts, reading logs, materials used, etc. The more info you put in the better the generated reports will be.  One thing I do like is the plus edition (along with the free basic they still offer) is local to my computer. It's not online or some cloud.

Don't get me wrong. I use cloud things to store thing many things. I do use Google drive, facebook, etc. However when it comes to my education records for my kids, especially seeing my state is a low regulated state and does not require records, I like that it's just local to my computer. It gives me a sense that it's just for me and my kids only. our eyes only.

Although, the down side is that it's only on my computer and while the program can be loaded on multiple computers only one computer is going to have the up to date information unless I put the file on a flash drive and manually upload/download it between the two computers. Also, seeing it's on the one computer only, even though the plus edition allows for separate student login it has to be in that one computer. Hence sharing a computer. Which is not horrid, but over the years it's been nice not having to share and why I tried my hand at a series of online programs and apps when the kids go their tablets.  I wanted them to use their tablets and me my computer and have us "communicate" that way in terms of what to do for school, if the work is done, etc.

The only online programs I haven't tried are ones that cost money including homeschool tracker online. Mainly because I refuse to pay monthly or yearly for something I paid for 8 years ago as a one time fee.  Homeschool tracker plus edition, which is no longer available, was a ONE time fee of $50.

So back to schooling. It has only been 5 days so far. 3 last week; 2 this week. So far I seem please and so does WP. We have been doing Algebra 1, some English and Biology.  I ordered yesterday what I needed to complete our English course and World History. Once I have them we will start. We will also be doing a full years worth of PE/Health and Bible/Religion.  I haven't done PE/Health yet because she's been fighting a sinus infection. I also didn't start Bible/Religion because what I was going to use for her prove to be to advance when I took a closer look.

However within a a month we should be running on full steam.

How has your year started out? Have you even started? How has it been going? Already making adjustment?

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July 26, 2016

Spreading Her Wings ....

Over the weekend my daughter, Web-princess, 14 now went on her first away from home trip. It was a weekend trip with venture crew.

They went to BayJammers in the UP of Michigan. Her weekend was spent doing a series of competitions: First Aid, Sawing, Lip Syncing, etc. Honestly, I forget everything she did and signed up for; I know her first night was rough, she had a bit of a hard time, but the crew she was with was nice and helpful.

She came home with a blister on  her hand from the sawing, laughter over sharing some of the silliness that happened, bashful over dancing with a guy for the first time. (Which she described as awkward!)  Oh, what a weekend it was.

She's unsure she will go again, but I'm glad she did it.  She the night before leaving us up crying and scared about going. I know she's 14, but this is hard for her. She is my bashful, shy child. She's reserved, rather be the on looker, not the center of attention.  She is my I rather be home -- child.  She has always been this way -- even the early years when she was in Public School this didn't changed about her -- Heck, I remember the teacher calling me one day because she was bashful -- this was her.

Homeschooling didn't make her this way; homeschooling has allowed her to try things on her terms and when she was ready. Even if it was hard; even if she was doubtful, crying, it was still on her terms.  She is the one that came to us and asked to do venture crew this year. She is the one that came to us and told us she wants to go to BayJammers. As it approached she got scared about going, but I would have gladly told her she didn't have to go if her anxiety tipped over the edge.

Thursday night I spent the night cuddling with her and calming her. Friday morning she was still on edge some, but considerably better. I would have told her she had the option to stay home if she was as bad as she was Thursday  night.  She wasn't - so I just reassured her as needed and when the time came she was okay.  The first night, she told us when she got back, was rough, but over all she had an okay time.

The adults that went made a point to talk to my husband and I after they got back and shared that she did well, she fit in well with the rest of the group, and that if you didn't know any better you wouldn't have known this was her first time away from home and that she had anxiety about going, etc.

See -- letting her do it on her terms, when she was ready, even though she was scared, has helped her over the years.  I'm not sure (public) school or any school for that matter would have been good for her all this time.  She would have done it, but I know that over the years the anxiety would have grown and perhaps manifest itself into some horrid thing.

I'm very proud of my teenager and that she went and had a good weekend.

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June 14, 2016


As I shared yesterday we had plans to go fishing. We went, fished for about two hours, and over all had a great time. We are going to go again later this week.

Well, perhaps. It was good, but the kids were upset we got nothing, not even a bite. I told them we would try a different spot.

I did indeed get a license this morning. Getting the license gave Web-Princess and I something to talked about. We talked about how you have to pay for the license and how the state needed my driver license and social security number.  This shocked her some. She didn't understand why the state needed both.

I explained to her it's to make sure you don't owe the state any money, don't owe child support, etc.  I think mentioning child support triggered something in her. She immediately thought about parents taking care of their kids. I think she misunderstood somewhat what child support meant. However, her thoughts were thoughtful.

She said, "I think it's horrible the state charges people for a license and would stop people for getting one.  People can feed their kids if they were able to fish. Why stop them from being able to fish?"

This is how I know she misunderstood what child support meant.  She didn't realize it meant a parent giving money to the other parent for the child. She thought it meant caring for the child: food, shelter, clothing, etc.  She was horrified to think the state would stop someone from being able to fish and provide for their family, food, for "free" or cheap.

She knows enough to know catching fish is cheaper then buying fish.

June 13, 2016

15 On The Horizon

It's hard to believe that the boy, Superstar, will be 15 in a little over a week!  Where has my little boy gone? Gone is the sweet boy that worried about his "Toby Mommy" and here is the 6 foot and growing young man that *may* still may worry about his "Toby Mommy", but his truly isn't a little boy anymore.

Today, I had to do some traveling, because the one of regional park districts does not take reservations over the phone or online.  The parks closest to our home were already booked. The other ones that are maybe a 30 minutes drive from our home are owned by another park district and they only do reservations in person at their administration office.

We had 3 different shelter locations in mind that was owned by this park district. We did not get our first choice, but we got our second choice.  I think Superstar is happy. He wanted a playground near by for his younger cousins and something he could do.

His original choice had a sand volleyball court and tennis court.  His second choice was adjacent to the river so they can fish.  His second choice also has a splash pad so we told everyone to bring something to get wet in.

I spent the afternoon dusting off, untangling, and making sure our fishing gear still worked. We haven't used it in years!!! Many years!! It appears it is in working order.  Tomorrow, I will be taking the kids fishing and seeing.  They will do all the fishing themselves.  Seeing they are still both under the age requirement for a fishing licence and I frankly don't feel like getting a license tomorrow. Maybe I will -- they don't cost much. I will see how I feel about that tomorrow morning.

Oh and want to know what "Toby Mommy" is all about? You should ask me! Drop me line, leave me a comment below.

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June 11, 2016

LIttle Boy: Friday Movie Night

We have done family game night, family prayer night, family --  Besides prayer night, especially during the certain church holidays like Advent and Lent -- the only thing that has stuck is family movie night.  It's pretty much always a Friday Night (except for a few Thursdays here and there because Friday wasn't going to work).

We actually did family night this week on Thursday, because the boy is camping right now, but yesterday we went to the library and got some movies.  Love the library for this!! Our library only charges 25 cents to have the movie for 7 days and they do have a mix of old and newer movies.

Last night we watched "Little Boy".

It was a heart wrenching movie so if you do decide to watch it be sure you have tons of tissues on hand! Over all it was a good movie and acceptable for older children to adults.  There are some war scenes and while mild as far as war scenes go they may be to much for the younger audiences.  Kids In Mind has pretty good review on what's in the movie if you are unsure.

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June 3, 2016

Summer is here! Thank-you!

Summer is here. Yay! It's so nice to have BOTH my kids home all day long. I missed my boy so much sending him to school daily. I'm still praying and hoping that I can bring him home for the 2016-2017 school year and that my daughter will never have to go.

My daughter has expressed that she wants to be homeschooled so we will see what hubby has to say.  -- we are going to address and talk it over in the next up coming weeks.

In, the mean time summer is here and the kids are home.  Our days have been spend playing Catan, riding bikes -- Puggy has really been enjoying the bike rides. Our start to summer didn't start well.

First, we had to give up our dog Onyx. He was a good lovable dog and we miss him, but he had social and other traits we could no longer ignore and didn't have the resources to properly deal with -- so we had to give him back to the shelter.  We however got good news, from following the shelters FB page: We learned Onyx was adopted. So his stay at the shelter was very short lived. one week. We hope and pray daily that his new mom and dad were told about the struggles we had with him and will have the resources or skills to deal with it.  What he needs is training, social training, that we were not able to provide for him.

Second, our car broke down. It's always something. We have struggled this last 1.5 years with transportation issues.  -- I would be thankful once that is all behind us -- and it scary because the boy is months -- scratch that it's already June -- days away from being eligible to get his permit. YACK!!! That just hit me was I was typing this! I don't realize until this very moment we were so close. Wholly Smokes!!!!! That's unreal.

Now that it's summer the river market is open! Yay! Our local town has a river market every Wednesday all summer long.  It's in the park adjacent to the river --hence the name.  The market is a mix of ready to eat foods: ice cream, coffees, pizza, humburgers, donuts, etc, fresh produce, bake goods, and other goods like home made doggy treats. Besides the vendors there is live music. various local bands play.  It's all free (unless you buy food, drinks, goods) and you are welcome to bring your own drinks. We don't always buy things, mostly don't -- but we always go, bring our chairs, water, and enjoy the music.  The boy was disappointed because his favorite band from last year is playing the week he's at BSA summer camp.

This last Wednesday was the first market of the year -- We decided even though the car was still broken down, at that point, we were going to go. We were all set to walk the 2 miles to the park, but hubby showed up last minute at home (got off early); so we took his car.  We don't like to drive his car, unless it's to work and back.  His car is having issues to and we are trying to get by with just him driving it back and forth to work -- no extra driving around.

I have been reading Trim Healthy Mama this week too.  I have been curious about it for a long while now. Quietly stalking, lurking, in the various facebook groups, their official facebook page, blog, etc. I decided to go ahead and get the book and see. The book I'm reading is the new book that just recently came out. I guess from what I'm reading they updated the book with newer information and made 2 books. The plan book the explains how it works and the cookbook that just has various recipes.  I have not looked at or have seen the cookbook so I have no opinion on it. I don't even have an opinion on THM right now -- but check back later.

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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!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something. See our full disclosure policy for more details.

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!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something. See our full disclosure policy for more details.

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.....

February 27, 2016

Organ Concert

One thing I have learned over the years is to take advantage of community events, especially if they are FREE events.

Friday we had the opportunity for one such event. A local community center once a month does a program called Organ Concert at noon. This is a free program that includes a free, light, lunch.

It just happened to be a no school day for my son (against my wishes we sent him to the public school this year) too. It was awesome to have him around while we went to this event.

As for the concert it was nice. We listened to several pieces many classical pieces like Bach and one by a new composer. The composer was even there to listen to his piece being played. It was the first time it was played for the public.

At the lunch the organist approached us and thanked us for coming. No questions about why we weren't in school, no questions about school, just a simple thanks for coming it so nice to see young people at these events.

It was a great afternoon and I look forward to this event next month and the months to follow.

A note about the photo: My kids were actually happy to be there I just took the photo at a bad time.

January 29, 2016

Traveling down the road of socialization

What about socialization? If you have homeschooled for any length of time you know this is always asked.

Having to send my son to public school this year, against my wishes, I realized socialization was easier when we were homeschooling exclusively.

Why? Simple? You know your kids friends, you know the parents - or at least be able to recognize them in a crowd. You most likely have at least have said hi to the other parents, hi to the kids, and feel comfortable with being able to talk to the other parent if there is a need.

The boy has been in school now for 5 months. I have met no one. I know of names, he talks about them, but have met no one.

Tonight he was invited to a party, not by the host or the host parents, but by someone else that was invited. He was told about it today and came home asking can I go?

What was I to do? The party was to be at a local pizza place in just over an hour from when he told me. I do not know the parents, the kid who the party is for, and unsure if he really was welcomed.

Did the parents paying for the food really plan on my kid being there too? I have no one to call. The only contact info the boy has is the friend that invited him.

What about socialization? What about it? At least with homeschooling I knew parents, truly knew who my kids talked to. Not because I want control of that, but because I can say I know and with them being teens can say at least I feel like they are with good kids.... when they do things with their friends  I or another parent is not around.

I understand, with my 5 month exposure, how parents can know nothing about their child's friends. I dropped my son at the pizza place. However I did not do a drop and run. I am sitting here, alone, eating my dinner (and blogging) while my son is in the party room. It's been several hours now and seeing my son is in the party room I guess it was cool he's here ... but I still have not met anyone.  And I seriously don't think I will.

It blows my mind. If it was my kid's party and a child I never met showed up I would be asking is your mom or dad here? Is it possible to meet them? I would welcome the child, even if I didn't plan on having them there, but I would be looking for the other parent to at least say hi, introduce myself, and let them know how long the party would be.

January 21, 2016

Free Number Charts

I have noticed that a few people in a number of groups I belong to have been asking for FREE number charts. I made two of them. One with the evens highlighted and one plain so that the child could color it in if you desire. They are nothing fancy, but will serve your needs.

I have also included links to these on the FREEBIE tab above so you will be able to find them again easily if needed. :D (Click on the text for printable version)

Number Chart 1 to 100 highlighted.

Number Chart 1 to 100 plain for child to color if wanted.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase something. See our full disclosure policy for more details.
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