Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What's going on?

Lots of things, it turns out.  For someone who is not employed, I feel like I keep awfully busy.  I do more housework than I used to.  I think that's what takes up the slack.  Also, I exercise more and I am available to help with things for my aunt, so I do that pretty often.   I'm still doing the board game group and that amounts to 3 hours a week, not including the drive to and from.   I've been busy the last few days with something I'm very excited about, designing shirts for Amazon Merch.  I've had to learn a new program, called Inkscape and watched videos about how to promote my items and how design my items so that they will upload and display properly.  I've got 7 shirts uploaded but only 1 is actually for sale yet.  Just like it takes a while to get accepted into the Merch team, it takes a little while to get new designs approved.  They don't just let you put anything up there, which I think is a good thing.

 I've also been spending some time volunteering as a moderator for a Kentucky homeschooling board on Facebook, which keeps me active in the community.  I like that.  I'm at the age where I can mentor the younger moms and I guess that's a good thing.  I hate being old, but it's nice to be able to help others with my considerable wisdom.  :-)  

I'm looking for work and filling out job applications, even online, takes a while.  I'm taking a free course through Alison to help me reenter the workplace but right now I have no work leads.  I had a few interviews a month or so ago, but nothing.  It's very discouraging.

We've also got VBS this week.  My daughter and I are doing the crafts.  It's weird this year as they are doing an evening session, which they don't usually do and we are helping in the evenings instead of the mornings.  Since the evening session is different, very few people know about it, so we've had only a few children.  We've probably had more volunteer adult helpers than kids this week.  It's nice though.  It gives me a chance to talk and visit with people that I don't usually get a chance to talk to.  I love talking to people.  I wish I could get a job doing that.  :-P

In young adult news, youngest is trying for his driver's license on Monday (better clean the car out!) and oldest is moving back to Kentucky that same day!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Summer?!

Summer seems like it has barely begun and now there are signs that it will be ending soon!  My daughter starts back to work in 3 weeks and my youngest son will be starting college soon after that.  My oldest son and his wife will be here in a couple of weeks to start their new jobs and new lives here in Kentucky.  Lots of good changes and I'm sure we will settle into a rhythm, but we are just going to get crazy busy, I'm afraid.  Actually, I kind of hate it when I'm not busy so to be clear, I'm not whining, I'm just processing.  My husband will be working M-F ALL DAY as usual and my daughter will be working half days M-F and my son will be going to college M-T part of the day and I'm not sure what kind of work schedule my oldest son and his wife will be doing, but we hope to see a lot of them.  I'm not sure if I will get any job offers -- I keep applying--- but I'm also not sure how to fit it in, especially my need for a car, with all of this other stuff going on.  We have 5 cars but 2 of them are not running at the current time.  This seems like a first world problem for sure now that I'm typing it, but it's true.  If one car is with my husband at work, one is at work with my daughter and one is at college with youngest son, I will be home out of necessity.  I sure wish I could find a work at home job again.

I was able, this morning, to have a problem solved with the board game group.  We had been meeting on Monday afternoons in the library, but with work and school schedules we needed to move it to Tuesday nights. We were not able to do Tuesday nights at the library because they have their own programming in their rooms on those nights.  However, I was able to move the games to a local game based business which is owned by one of the families in our new homeschool group (which is, thankfully, letting us stay in even though my kids have graduated!)  So I had a success this mroning.

Now, onto working on my son's financial aid ....  bleh.
One tiny purple coneflower amongst all the weeds.  I love these flowers but I have a hard time getting them to grow!


Friday, July 07, 2017

Socialization Good News.

I know that sounds weird, but we've had some good things happen lately on the socialization front and I want to share.  First, some background.  Two of my 3 homeschooled kids are shy and they all 3 are introverts. (We sent our oldest introverted but not shy one to college 5 years ago in another state and now he is coming back here and is married).   We have joked about the homeschool socialization cliche through the years, but it HAS kind of been an issue that I have had to work at.  We live in a very isolated area with no close neighbors and our church is very small.  We have joined various (3!) homeschool groups, put together a prom for our kids and I have put together this board game group especially to help my (now) young adults meet other people their age.  It has been an effort and thankfully, we've finally got some regulars who are coming and spending time and some friendships are forming.  With introverts, making friends is a slow process and it takes a lot of time.  This week I was talking to 2 of the moms in this group and found out that their sons are going to be going to the same community college as my son!  I'm very happy and excited about this and I'm glad we didn't decide to send him to the other community college in another town, at least for now.  So anyway, my youngest son will be going to college with a couple of people he knows.

Also, I am thinking that having my oldest son and his wife coming here to live will be good for socialization because I think they will join a church and start networking and forming friendships here and then they will invite my 2 younger, shyer ones to join them.  That's what I'm hoping for anyway.

A third bit of good socialization news is that the youngest two kids have joined a D&D group and are really enjoying that.  It might turn out to be a good way for my daughter to meet young men as she is the only girl in the group, playing right into the Dungeons and Dragons stereotypes.  She, being an artist, drew a picture of each persons character and gave it to them.  I picture them going home and mentioning that a girl in their D&D group gave it to them and having their parents say not "Great art" or anything like that, but "There's a girl in your D&D group???"  LoL.

If you're going to homeschool, remember to join some groups, go to 4H and reach out to others.  If there is something that your kids are interested in, look into starting a group based around that.  Invite others to your home or arrange, as we do, to meetup at the library or restaurants.  Its good for the homeschool mom to meet and spend time with other homeschooling moms as well, so it's a win-win.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Just some funny notes.

The young adults who still live in my home are pretty hilarious sometimes.  They are always working on some project or the other.  Recently, my daughter was working on a castle floor plan that she will use in the novel that she is writing.  She was very intently working on it and had graph paper spread out on an ottoman in the living room.  Freckles, oblivious to this, jumped up on the ottoman to see if she could get her belly rubbed.  She put a claw through the paper, ruining it.   The young adults were very upset and decided to punish Freckles very severely.  What did they do?  They ate ham in front of her.  They didn't even give her a tiny bit.  They are so cruel.

Freckles
Another dog funny, also, funnily enough, involving the ottoman.  My back was hurting and I moved from the position of sitting in my chair with my feet on the ottoman, to sitting up straight on the ottoman in the hopes that it would help.  Cosmo, always interested in everyone's just-vacated seat for some reason, jumped up and sat behind me in the chair.  I said "Cosmo, while you're back there, rub my back".  I then teased my daughter, telling her that she should teach her dog how to rub my back.  She said "He's still working on "sit".  It may have been that I was so tired, why this was so funny to me.

Cosmo.
Our board game group is going strong right now, having a board game meeting or a D&D meeting every Monday this summer.  Our last meeting, this past Monday, they played several rounds of a new game we've got called Superfight.  In this game, you get a character card and a couple of attributes cards and then you challenge each other in a pretend fight and hypothesize who would win.  The other day we had Putin (with agorphobia), Canada (with the power of hypnosis) and Chuck Norris (can't remember what his special attribute was, but does he really need one?).  So to sum up, I heard my son say "Basically, we've got world war 3 and it's Russia, against Canada, against Chuck Norris."  :-)  In this scenario, they chose Canada since they felt this meant every single citizen of Canada with the power of hypnosis.  It's a fun game, especially if you like to argue, which they very much do.  :-)


Saturday, July 01, 2017

Registering for College.

We registered our oldest son for college 5 years ago and at this point, I can't remember very many of the details.  I remember my husband filled out the FAFSA and I applied for scholarships and filled out the application for the school admission.  Then we waited.  When we finally heard that he had gotten the scholarship, we only had about 5 or 6 days until he had to be there.  That was kinda crazy.  Since the college was so far away, all of my input was by phone or computer.  One of the professors walked through registration and registered my son for all of his classes.  Everyone there had to help us because we were here and not able to come down there.

Fast forward 5 years to registering our youngest son for college (our daughter does not want to go, we have been trying to talk her into it!) and it's different.  He is planning to go to the local community college which is about 20-25 miles away and we've been over there 3 or 4 times.  We've had some issues with financial aid and we didn't want to register him until those were resolved.  He was in their system, but he hadn't registered for any classes.  Finally, they called and said that they were having an easy registration event last week, while we would be in the midst of wedding planning.  So we went over there and registered him. We spent about half an hour talking to the financial aid office and we think that he has a decent financial aid package.  I'm really not sure at this point.  He will get 434 dollars in some kind of aid based on his ACT score but otherwise he's not eligible for the KEES money (which is something the state of Kentucky gives out) because he is a homeschooler.

We've also spent some time talking to the learning disabilities coordinator there on the campus and he seems very helpful.  I think he will be a great resource for youngest son.  While we were there on easy registration day, we spoke to a professor about what our son wants to major in and he chose a major - construction technology - only to find that they are not going to offer it any more.  :-(  So we registered him for classes that would work for any major - English, history, digital literacy and math and left it at that for that day.  This week, I contacted another community college which is about 35 miles away and asked them if they still offer construction technology - and they do, so we thought briefly about transferring everything there this summer, but decided that we will let him start where he is with the LD support and all the paperwork done (hopefully) and possibly transfer him in January or even next August to finish up the 2 year degree in construction technology.

Notes for homeschoolers who are registering for college - we didn't have any trouble with his transcript, it was easily accepted and the professor who registered him was thrilled with his math scores.  He said that if there is anywhere that homeschoolers drop the ball, it is usually math.   He kept looking at the scores and saying "this is great!"  and "you are ready".  He said that most of the kids who come to their college from the public schools need remedial classes before they are ready to start college and that homeschoolers generally only need remedial math but that our son was ready to go in all subjects, which made me and his dad feel good.   Now we've got some things to work on before he's ready to go, namely, he has to get his driver's license now - no more procrastinating about that!!!!  He hates to drive and I hate teaching him to drive because it's terrifying, so we are in for a fun July!  Wish us luck!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Hitched, but not without a hitch.

I looked up the origin of the phrase "without a hitch" and I couldn't find it.  I'm not really sure what a hitch is, but I know that we had a few.  The main "hitch" that we had the entire weekend was that nobody's cell phones would work and the cabins we were staying in had no landlines and were pretty far apart from each other, so we couldn't communicate but we also had a few more.

We could see the groomsmen's cabin from our cabin but not any of the rest of them.
First, the bride and groom had a blowout on the way to the park on Friday and spent 2 hours by the side of the road waiting for roadside assistance.  We did have phone service at that time and I was in contact with them and we were getting ready to head that way. (We were coming towards the park from the north and they were coming from the south).  Roadside assistance never did come but some of the relatives that were on that same road stopped and helped them. With 2 jacks they were able to lift the trailer and change the tire.





The cabins were pretty nice.  
Then on Saturday morning when we woke up, we had no electricity in the cabin.  Keep in mind that Saturday evening, I had to serve a meal to 60 people, most of which was in our refrigerator there at the cabin and I was planning to cook it all in electric crock pots.  I had a small panic attack and then got in our Suburban to drive up to the pavilion to see if there was electricity there, so that I could go ahead and put everything in the crock pots there to keep it from spoiling.  There was no electricity at the pavilion, so I walked back out and got into the car.  Then the car wouldn't start.   I tried to call my son at the campground so that he could come and get me. The call went through, but not until an hour later.  So, after a few minutes of sitting there in the car, I got out and walked to the country store of the park.  It was closed but there were 2 park rangers there, getting ready to leave.  I flagged one of them down and got him to give me a ride back to the cabin.  Then I sat down and cried for a little while.  Eventually, our son got the message and came to check on me and my husband was able to get a ride to our car and fortunately, he was able to fix it.  And then, thank God, the electricity came back on.  On Saturday evening, the rehearsal dinner mostly went as planned, but, as I mentioned in my last post, some of my relatives were texting me for directions and, of course, with no phone service, I couldn't reply, so they missed the party.  This made me very sad.

Then, on Sunday morning (wedding day!!!)  we got a knock on our door bright and early.  It was 2 of the groomsmen.  They had all started to get dressed and realized that one of them had misunderstood the phrase "yellow shirt" to mean "a blue and green plaid shirt with a tiny yellow stripe" and so they came over to bring our youngest son a different blue shirt because he was the best man and they figured he could get away with wearing a different shirt. So the shirt we bought was worn by the other groomsman and the groom was in royal blue, the best man in light blue and the rest of the groomsmen were in yellow.   It was fine.  Fortunately, we had an easygoing bride who took these kind of things in stride.  Also on Sunday, it rained right before the wedding and we had to delay it, but only for a few minutes.  I spent a great deal of energy during the wedding praying that it would not rain, but it didn't and the wedding was beautiful and wonderful.  :-)


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Feeding 60 people.





I'm not sure how many people actually attended our rehearsal dinner.  Originally, there were supposed to be around 60 (including out of town and out of country relatives) but right before we left on the trip, as far as I knew, the number was supposed to be 54.  We did have a few extras that weren't in this number, but I think the final number was still in the 50s someplace.  I'm not sure.  I wish that someone had done a head count.

What we served was 5 pork loins, cooked, shredded and with barbecue sauce.
8 bottles of Sweet Baby Ray barbecue sauce.
120 buns.
140 drinks.
3 jars of pickles.
4 containers of Walmart coleslaw.
3 large gallon cans of green beans.
4 large bags of potato chips.
6 cakes.  (I was expecting many people who were not in the wedding to come and have cake with us after the actual dinner.  More on this later.)

What they ate:
2/3 of the pork.
2/3 of the buns (maybe)
Approximately 120 drinks.
2 jars of pickles.
1 container of coleslaw.
1/2 of the green beans.
2 of the cakes.
part of 2 bags of chips.  2 were unopened.

So to feed 50 to 60 people, you'd need
3 1/3 pork loins
Maybe 80 buns.
5 jars barbecue sauce
2 jars of pickles
2 bags of chips
1-2 packs of coleslaw.  (get this someplace other than Walmart, it was not good.)
1 gallon can of green beans.
2 cakes.
and if it is summertime in Alabama, lots of drinks.

One reason we had so much food left over is that, I had this horrible fear that I wouldn't have enough, plus apparently everyone I asked about how much food to bring also had this fear because I bought what they advised and sometimes bought less.  Thankfully, my daughter kept encouraging me to buy less not more and she was right.  Next time I really just need to listen to her.  Another reason we had so much food left over is that no one could find the pavilion where we were.  There are no maps of the park online that anyone could find, just maps to the park and then you're on your own unless you actually find the lodge or the country store and get a map of the park.  Also, there is NO PHONE SERVICE for any carrier anywhere in this park, so we couldn't contact anyone to tell them where we were or to invite them.  It was extremely frustrating.  I hated it because I really wanted several of my family members to be there and they didn't make it.  The wedding photographer and the matron of honor had put together an awesome slide show and I hate that some of my family members missed it.  :-/    Oh well.  That's life.  More about some of our wedding challenges in my next post.  Big events like this rarely go off without a hitch and this one certainly didn't.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Wedding!

Oldest son is married now!
The wedding was beautiful and fun.  The readings were beautiful, the sermon was really nice and personalized to them and then they walked out to Hooked on a Feeling -- the one that starts with oooga chocka.  It was fun and left everyone smiling.  Some of the bridesmaids and groomsmen danced out together and some didn't.  The last 2 did a cute little pantomime where he pretended to ask her and she said no.  It was adorable.  The wedding was delayed for a few minutes because of a little bit of rain, but then it stopped, we dried the chairs off and started the wedding.   It was great.  My daughter caught the bouquet and youngest son was the best man -- but he didn't find out that he was until the rehearsal!  

Speaking of the rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner went well.  We had too much food.  After looking amounts up on line and making too much food for the shower, I, instead asked everyone I knew and we came up with the amounts from local, experienced cooks.  We still had too much food.  My family has been eating barbecued pork loin for 5 days.   Basically, they ate 2/3 of the food that I brought, so we must have had enough to feed 100, instead of the 60-ish people that we were trying to plan for.  I'd rather have too much than too little, but we are all really tired of barbecued pork.  

We came back to real life really quickly when we walked in the door here at home and found out that our roof leaked and our laundry room ceiling had collapsed.  I have been cleaning and doing laundry since Monday night since we use our laundry room as a family closet and all of our clothes and linens are stored in there.  

So anyway, here we are post-wedding, feeling kind of let down and kind of thinking 'what do we do now?"   Probably we need to something like declare a no spending month, clean the house thoroughly and go on a diet!  

I'll catch you all up on what else we've been up to next time I post.  Have a great day!  

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