Thursday, August 28, 2014

This schooling thing.....and some homemaking!

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Oh my friends, I can't believe I didn't post anything yesterday.  I know you forgive me though, after all, we have just started school again and it's taking a little bit to get everyone back on a routine.

It's always like this, you have your 3 months of summer and then school comes around and no one is used to it, so it is like a shock to the system.

Let's just say that this year, all 4 kids will have a very heavy work curriculum with no time to spare or mess around.  Long gone are the days where the boys would be able to get all their schooling done in 2 hours and then get to play for the rest of the day.

Nowadays, they are working consistently for hours on end, and sometimes, even at night.

I think though it is just an adjustment, they are going from 5th Grade to 6th and are no longer little ones, so they are finding it a bit hard to adjust to harder work and longer hours.  We will conquer it though.

Nicholas is still doing really well on his own, he enjoys being in his room in the quiet working.  The other 3 are doing ok as well, though they do tend to get a little distracted at times, so I spend a lot of my time going "sshhhhhhh" and "come on guys, concentrate".  But again, I think it is just these first few days while they get back into school routine mode.

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I am often asked why I do this, why don't I just send them to public school.  I have answered that question so many times.  I don't like public schools, my kids don't do well in that environment and if I am able to be a part of their daily learning and see how they do, then THAT is what I will be doing.

I wouldn't trade homeschooling for nothing in this world, and neither would the kids.

They have all been in public school, and they are well aware of what that environment is like compared to being at home.  Every single one of them has reiterated over and over how much they prefer learning at their own pace and not being forced to go at the same pace as everyone else.

So there may be hard days, there may be days where my head is not in it, or the kids are not feeling it, but that is normal.  We deal with it, we take it one day at a time and we come back the next day refreshed and ready to go again.

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Do you know how cool it is to be able to say that I know exactly what they are doing?

That I know what their strengths and weaknesses are?  That I know who is a visual learner and who is not, who can soak up the information just by reading and who needs to take notes?

It is a feeling like no other, to be able to be that involved in their education.  I absolutely love it.


Now, on the homemaking front,nothing major has been going on.  I'm kind of trying to find my place right  now too.  I have noticed that as I get back into this homeschooling routine, I am having to find ways of getting my housework done when I can.

Remember the laundry that I was so proud of not having on Monday?   Well it's back and with a vengeance, so I have to tackle that today.

I haven't had a chance to sit and knit or crochet either, but I do miss it so much.  I try to do it at night but it's not even worth trying because I nod off to sleep.

Last night I was watching The Great British Bake Off with Jasmine, and within 30 minutes I was asleep on the couch, so I just gave up.  Frustrating!

I am hoping and yearning for the next few weeks where I'll be able to get into some sort of rhythm and be able to juggle the school stuff and the homemaking stuff.  It's always quite the juggling act at first, but I do admit that after a while I am able to do both and not let my house suffer.

I will try my best not to let my blog suffer either, I've been so good about posting every single day and when I didn't yesterday it felt like I was missing something.  I can't have that, no sirree, something will be done about it.

Alrighty, so here is what is happening the rest of the day.........



Not sure what I'm having for lunch.  My husband son had some French Bread Pepperoni Pizzas but I don't feel like those.  I might just stick with a sandwich.  For dinner, I have chicken wings marinating with some Korean Spare Rib Sauce.  I have to get groceries tomorrow and didn't have anything I needed to make my wings, so I am using what I have on hand.  We'll see how they turn out.

I have started the Vikings, we'll see how I like that series.

I just finished The Borgias and really enjoyed those and I also have Rome to watch.  If you know of others along these lines, let me know.  Oh and Game of Thrones, I only watched Season 1 so I guess I could catch up on that one.

I'll also be watching The Great British Bake Off tonight with Jasmine.







Laundry
Clean bathrooms
Homeschooling
Menu planning and grocery list
Budget and paying bills

Slow Cooking Thursday - 08/28/2014


cookingthursday

Good morning everyone :) Well, here we are, another Thursday and time for another Slow Cooking Thursday.

As the weather starts cooling off, I find myself wanting more slow cooked meals, so I thought it would be a good idea to go with the Slow Cooking Thursday as opposed to the Cooking Thursday. BUT, by all means, feel free to share your recipes even if they're not made in the crockpot.

One of my favorite things about Fall is Applesauce and Apple Butter, and this one is so easy to make, plus, the scent in the house while it is cooking, is divine.

Homemade Crockpot Applesauce

Homemade Crockpot Applesauce

5 big apples or 10 small ones (I like using Honeycrisp)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar
cinnamon


Peel, core and cut the apples into small chunks, drop them in the crockpot. Add the water and the sugar. You don't have to add the cinnamon but we love it, so I sprinkle a good amount on top, just according to taste.

Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or until the apples are mushy.

You can leave them chunky if you like your applesauce that way, but we like ours pureed, so I just use my immersion blender and puree them right in the crockpot.

Pour into jars and either process them for canning, or if you're eating them right away, let the applesauce cool down and then place in the refrigerator.

We also like eating the applesauce warm.

Enjoy!

Homemade Crockpot Applesauce

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

You're Late Again, Lord!!!



You're late again, Lord!

It's here....the book is finally here and I've already been reading it.  I actually put aside the book I was in the middle of to start on this one.

I've mentioned before, but just as a reminder, this book is about learning to leave things in God's control and to know what to do when you're waiting for something to happen.  More importantly to recognize that things are done in God's timing and not ours.

I'm so bad in this department.  I put things in His hand and 5 minutes later I snatch them back, because it's just not being done as fast as I want it to.  Over and over I make this mistake, for years now I have constantly questioned Him about the fact that I ask for things that I think I need right away, or I get tired of waiting.  I'm always waiting it seems.

But he doesn't say wait and hope and sit quietly.  This is so huge for me, and such a light bulb moment.

Look, I've read this book before, many many years ago, but like everything else in life, as I've grown older, I've changed.  The way I see life, the way I approach things, the way I deal with problems, is very different from my 20 something old self.  This book couldn't have come at a better time for me, because I feel that right now is when I need it the most.

"What do I need the most?"

"You need ME.  You need to feel Me beside you and know that that's enough for whatever lies ahead, instead of trying to harness Me into your schedule.  You need to renew your spirit first and continually.  Slow down and let Me help you."

That is me to a tee.  Such a busy life, running around from place to place, sometimes too busy for God, and then something happens that forces me to slow down and instead of taking that time to wait, and to listen, really listen to what He has to say.

I've been in the Impatient Woman's Club for most of my life, and from what I gather it is quite a big club. 

It's not always easy to admit our faults and especially do it publicly, but I've always been extremely vocal about this battle I've had with losing control  and learning to wait with purpose.

This book has been a life saver, it has opened my eyes in ways that nothing and no one else, has ever done. 



Does God not know that I need this done, or that I want that by next week, or that I think I really really really need something?   Like it says in the book, yes He does, but thankfully He is smarter than we are.

Waiting purposefully means working while we wait, following God's word and surrendering to his will.  Oh yes indeed.  But, easier said than done, it is by far the biggest and toughest lesson I have had to learn, and am still learning to this day.

I hope to one day be able to say that I've finally learned to let go, that I've finally realized that just because I want something doesn't mean that it is something good for me. 

You know it's almost like when we tell the kids up front that we are going somewhere that they really want to go, and then for days leading up to it happening we are bombarded with "is it time yet?  can we go now?  why do we have to wait until so and so, maybe I don't want to go anymore."

I think that is exactly what I sound like at times when I'm talking to my Lord.  Accusingly, disrespectfully, judging, annoying.....

I'm willing to learn, to mount up and be ready for battle.  Most importantly I am going to read this book again, from cover to cover and really look at it through different eyes.  I am sure that as I read through it's pages, moments of clarity will engulf me and by the time I am done, I will be able to say that I finally get it and that I am now waiting with purpose.


Monday, August 25, 2014

First day of school!!!

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You never quite know what to expect when school comes around.  Today, was no exception.

It didn't run very well, matter of fact, it started off in a really bad way for me and my Nicholas.

See, I have a very independent boy, a boy who is also extremely smart, but at that age where they like to push your buttons and can be quite cocky.

He has always hated school, doesn't enjoy it one single bit and usually we have our days where we butt heads during the school year.  Unfortunately, today was one of those.

It took me 2 hours to get him to start cooperating, all the while, he laughed, he joked, he didn't pay attention, he was a distraction to the other kids and was just downright frustrating.

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It got so bad that I had to walk out back, and stay out there for about 30 minutes, as tears just fell down my face.

In that moment, I felt so helpless and treated so unfairly that all I could think was "this is ridiculous, I don't need to put up with this."

Ahhhh but this is the thing, I was wrong because when the going gets tough, the answer is not to turn away and run for the easiest path.  This is my son, this is the love of my life and I will do anything for him, beginning with finding out exactly what is making him act this way, and what is keeping him from doing his school, aside from not liking it in general.

We sat down in the bedroom for an hour, chatting, crying together and figuring out what the real issue was, and I did get down to the root of the problem.

He can't concentrate with other kids around, it is a huge distraction and he completely zones out of school.

It was like a light bulb moment for me.  All of a sudden the signs became clear and what I had suspected in the past was confirmed.

So, new plans have been made, we've come up with a different way of doing school with him, one that allows him to be on his own, quietly working through his lessons.  We tried it today, and it worked miracles.

I could say, if only I had figured this out years ago, but I would rather say, we figured it out now and can help him.  I am not a person for if's and why's and if onlys, I honestly find it such a waste of time to dwell on such things.

Anyway, we got off to a rough start but I do believe we will work through it and have a good year, yet.

Now to show you some photos I took of the kids, I love how they turned out because you can see their individual personalities shine through.

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Miss Tiffany, she is excited that this is her last year of school so she's smiling through it all. 

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Miss Jasmine. She is an excited 10th Grader, she loves learning but hates school. Go figure LOL

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Mr Colby. These photos crack me up, he wanted to write on the board himself and added (Joy ) and a sad face. He said it is like a mug shot because that is how he feels about school. Hahahaha

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Mr Nicholas. The naughty one, the one who pushes my buttons to the limit. I love his expression because I feel that it so perfectly depicts who he is. His personality really shines through in these photos.

I love these kids and I am so blessed to be able to watch them learn every single year, even in those not so smooth and happy moments of schooling, I still wouldn't have it any other way.

Tomorrow will be a better day, I'm sure of it :)

Happy Homemaker Monday - 08/25/2014

Good morning everyone, how was your weekend????

I had a good one, you know all about my Saturday as I posted about it, but yesterday I didn't get a chance to get on the blog and post anything. We were gone all day to my brother's house for a bbq. We had good food, listened to 80's music and thought about all the good times from our youth, and then watched all the video clips from their trip here to the USA back in 2010.

Great memories, great day, but we didn't get back home until quite late and by then I was exhausted and crashed.

Let's see what this week holds, shall we?

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Breakfast time....what is on the plate this morning::::
A cup of Vanilla Biscotti coffee and a slice of Cherry Cheese Coffeecake.  Hits the spot on this cool morning. 

On today's to do list::::

  1. For once, I don't have laundry....holy moly, I don't know what I shall do with myself
  2. Daily tasks - bed making, bathroom cleaning, dishes and cooking
  3. Homeschooling

Currently reading::::
The Spanish Queen by Carolly Erickson

On the TV today::::
Portuguese Soaps - Beijo do Escorpiao, Mulheres
The Borgias

The weather outside is::::
A cool 55 degrees, cloudy and looks like it rained last night. 


On the menu this week::::


Monday
L:  Cheese Quesadillas

D:  Mini Cheese Topped Meatloaves, Mash, Green Beans
Tuesday
L:  Hotdogs
D: Yummy Hero Sandwiches, Salad
Wednesday
L:  Green chile and bean burritos
D:  Chicken Stroganoff, rice
Thursday
L:  Grilled Cheese and Ham Sandwiches
D:  Fettucine Alfredo
Friday
L:  Sandwiches, Veggie Sticks
D:  Hot and Spicy Lasagna
Saturday
L: Mini Pizzas
D: Portuguese Bean Stew, Rice
Sunday
L:  Bacon, Eggs, Toast
D: Salisbury Steak, Egg Noodles

If I have a few minutes to myself, I will::::
Doubt I'll have any time to myself, we start school today so I'll have my hands full with 4 kids.

New recipe I tried, or want to try this week::::
Haven't really cooked anything new, this past month our budget has been a little tighter due to college registrations and ordering of transcripts and book buying etc.  I've stuck to easy quick inexpensive meals without much room to experiment or try something new.

In the garden::::
I showed you in a previous post what my garden is looking like.  I think I'm most excited for my tomatoes.

Favorite photo from the camera::::
Just love this little area on my shelf

Shelf



Homemaking Tip::::
Wax paper is endlessly useful. Use it: To catch grated cheese, to place under seasoned flour for breading or spices for blackening, to tear into strips to slip under a cake you are icing, to cover a dish you are microwaving.

Visiting with Blog friends (blog you want to share, blog post that caught your eye)::::
One of my favorite places to visit, is the blog of Leslie Austin.  It is a visually stunning blog with so many beautiful photographs.

Praying for::::
First I want to thank you all for the prayers for my husband last week, he successfully enrolled on Wednesday and starts his classes this morning.
For me, I think my mattress is needing replacing as I find that I wake up almost every morning with a very sore back and rib area, it is fine during the day but when I lay in bed at night it is quite sore.
For our schooling year, that everything goes well and that these children soak up every bit of information brought before them.


Bible Verse, Devotional that is resonating with me at the moment::::


PLEASE, don't add links to this list that are not part of the Happy Homemaker Monday. I've asked numerous times, and I'm frankly quite tired of having to remove links to other posts that shouldn't be in this list. Please be respectful of my request!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Such fun things on this Saturday!

Hello friends, come on in and let me tell you about my Saturday.  Now,  I didn't go anywhere, so I'm sure you're thinking that my post title might be misleading, but truly, I did do a lot of fun things today, or at least fun for me.

Want to hear about them?

And I do have some photos too to share, so you get a little of everything.

Laundry dryer sponges

First thing I did this morning, was to replenish my dryer sponges. I keep a jar in the laundry room, when I throw a load in the dryer, I grab one of the little sponges from inside, wring out a bit of the liquid and throw it in. It doesn't ruin the clothes, and it works great. When finished, I remove the sponge from the dryer and throw it back in the jar.

Living room corner

I don't think I have shown you this little area in the living room. I used to have this shelf between the curtains and it held some of my crochet blankets, but I decided to switch things around a bit.

Shelf

I moved this canvas to the wall between the windows....

Wall decor

Also not sure if I ever showed you the stair area? I can't really figure out what I want to put in that corner, but for now it will just stay as is.

Stairway

First thing on the fun list today? My knitting. I love crochet, you all know that, but as Fall comes around each year, I find myself gravitating towards my knitting basket.

Knitted boot cuffs

I finished these last night, they are for Jasmine....boot cuffs for when the cooler weather hits.

On the needles currently, I have a cute little shawl that I am also making for Jasmine, I do fear that I'm going to run out of the yarn I'm using and will need to buy more. I just hope that Walmart still has the one I am using.

Knitting shawl

Noodle head that I am, I threw out the brand name and have no clue what yarn it is.  I might luck out and be able to recognize the yarn at the store, or at least something that is very close to it.

On the list for knitting is also some slouchy hats, some legwarmers and some scarves.  Oh and on the crochet hook, some road trip scarves.

Fun, Fun!

You're late again, Lord!

Second fun thing???? Look what finally came in the mail. I was beside myself, I actually ran to the mailbox every single day, just waiting for this book to arrive and when he it finally did, I may have danced a little jig right there on the sidewalk.

I love this book so much, I talked about it at length years ago and I am sure I will be doing the same again and sharing with you, probably starting tomorrow.

Basil

Before I tell you about the other two fun things, let me show you my veggies....the basil above is just happy as can be.

Lettuce

There's my lettuce. Remember I told you the one outside died? Well I have started it inside and so far it is very happy on the window sill.

Tomato

My tomatoes are finally making an appearance, about time, I say.

Chili

And these two are very very close to being harvested. They are turning a beautiful red.

Ready for the next fun thing????

I sat down for about 4 hours today and did this.....




I have wanted to search for our ancestors for many years, but never got around to it.   Today was the day, I had my parents, grandparents and some of the great grandparents names, dates of birth and dates of death, location etc.

I started entering information, all while talking back and forth with my stepmother who was providing me more information.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go very far with my side of the family, I need more information before I can proceed.....the track ran cold in 1880 in Portugal.  We'll get to that again though.

Then I started my husband's side and went through with the info I had for his mother's and his father's side of the family.  Now this is where it gets interesting.

Tracking his mother's side of the family, we ended up in England in 1582, with one ancestor actually dying in Plymouth, Massachusetts.   As a lover of history this is phenomenal.

Then I focused on his dad's side, and added in the names I knew, found all sorts of death certificates, birth certificates, marriage, census etc.   Guess where we ended up???

Yep, back in England as well, going all the way down to Lords and Sirs, and then back even further to France and Italy where we come across some Counts.  Lots of royalty dating all the way back to the year 450. 

I'm not even kidding you, King Charlemagne also known as Charles the Great or Charles I, was the King of the Franks from 768, the King of Italy from 774, and from 800 the first emperor in western Europe.

Clovis I and Pepin The Short.  Goodness gracious.  I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of this bloodline, but let's just say that I'm in Wales at the moment looking at King Coel of Camelot.

And quickly looking at the end of the line????  Are you ready?????  Adam and Eve.  Not even kidding you....and I don't even know how quite to react to this, it hasn't quite sunk in yet.

For a history nerd, this is like hitting the jackpot LOL

Will provide me material for research for many years to come.


And last but certainly not least......the return of Doctor Who.  Felt like we had been waiting for years for the new series to start, but today was THE day and oh what a day it was.

I will admit that when I first heard that Matt Smith was leaving and Peter Capaldi was taking his place as the new doctor, I was not a happy camper.  I didn't quite know what to think of him in this role, but boy was I pleasantly surprised.

Yes, I believe Peter Capaldi will fit right in.  And as for the episode, I won't say anything to spoil it for all of the Whovians who have yet to watch it....other than it was phenomenal, fun, exciting, and so so good, and went by way too quickly.  I don't know if we can wait until next weekend, this is torture.

So there you have it, my fun things for this Saturday.  It truly has been a wonderful day, I've learned so many new things about the family line, I've received a book I have been dying to get, watched my favorite show on earth and relaxed.

Now if that isn't a good Saturday, I don't know what is :)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Show and Tell Friday - 08/22/2014


Back in 2007, I used to look forward to Show and Tell Fridays which had been created and were hosted by Kelli from There is no place like home.  Kelli stopped blogging in 2012 and I wish she hadn't because I really miss her blog, she was one of my favorites to visit.

Anyway, I decided to bring back the Show and Tell Fridays here on my blog, and I would love it if any of my readers would join in.  You don't have to, obviously, you can just come on over every week and see what item I am sharing with you all and the story behind it.

This is how it works......if you have something special to share with us, dig it out of that special box, take some pictures and tell us your story.  It can be anything you hold dear, where something you kept from school, a piece of jewelry that was gifted to you or passed down, something you collect, something you found, a postcard, a letter, whatever it is.....we would love to see it!

I thought I would start today's Show and Tell with something that I hold very dear to my heart.  I dug through my jewelry box to get these out for you.

I can't even explain the emotions every time I hold these in my hand, they are one of my most treasured possessions and so I thought the right ones for our very first Show and Tell.

Show and Tell Friday 08/22

Beautiful box isn't it?   My treasures are inside, should we open it?

Show and Tell Friday 08/22

This box is exactly 94 years old.  I sometimes sit and look at it and just wonder who made it, who held it and where my great grandfather bought it.  You see this box was given to my great grandmother by my great grandfather, a very very very long time ago.

You can see the aging on the outside as the discoloration splotches the top.

Show and Tell Friday 08/22

When you open the box, this is one of the items inside.  I love it so very much.   This brooch belonged to my great grandmother and it is a picture of my great grandfather Eduardo.

He was 29 years old when they got married, and my great grandmother Ema?  16 years old.

I remember her telling us the story and we always laughed how she explained that on their wedding night she was so scared and nervous, and in her words "I was shaking, the bed was shaking, and I wouldn't let him turn on the light, I wouldn't dare get undressed in front of him".  Oh my wonderful nana how I miss her.

He passed away when my grandmother was still young and for the next 40 or so years, my grandmother kept this brooch close to her side, and a picture of him on her bedside table.  Every single night, she would say her prayers and right before laying down, she would kiss his picture.  It warmed my heart to see how much she adored him and just how she continued to love him even after all those years.

Show and Tell Friday 08/22

The other treasures in the jewelry box, are these two rings.  They belonged to my great grandma, and were given to her by my great grandfather.

I remember on special occasions she would wear them, proudly displayed on her finger.  She would smile and rub them constantly, if she was just sitting there talking to us, she would instinctively reach over with her right hand and just touch them.

She loved my great grandfather more than life and missed him dearly.

Show and Tell Friday 08/22

They now belong to me.  Both items and the jewelry box were given to me when she passed away and I couldn't have been more thrilled.

I didn't want anything but a little trinket that belonged to her, just so I could have something to hold on to.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine having these passed down to me, but it was her decision and I am touched by it.

Sometimes when I miss her dearly, I will slip these on my finger and kiss them, look at them, and remember this woman who had such a huge impact on my life and the woman I have become.

If you know me, or have followed my blog from the beginning, you will know that my great grandma Ema was the single most important woman in my life, for many reasons and to say that I miss her is an understatement.

I do hope you enjoyed my show and tell and the story behind these beautiful trinkets.  Next week, I will show another of my special treasures and I hope you come back to see :)