Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The fact that we are homeschoolers and not unschoolers means that at some point today, I'm going to have to make my youngest son put down his book that he is reading and do his math and other school work.  It seems kind of counter-intuitive to stop a kid from reading, but balance is key, I guess.  He does need to do other things.  That's one thing I seem to be lacking in my life right now, balance, as I adjust to working more hours.  It's like a mobile and sometimes I can get it balanced for a couple of seconds, but that's all.  Throwing all these extra work hours onto the mobile of my life has caused it to become quite unbalanced and me to become quite cranky.  While I was supposed to be working this morning, I was doing some reading about education and found this article  from Time Magazine with this quote in it.

"the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll, showed that while only 17% of those asked would grade the nation’s public schools overall as an A or B, 79% would give one of those grades to their oldest child’s school" 

Interesting.  I think I was probably one of those people when we were public schooling.  I thought my local school was okay but I didn't want to send my oldest to the middle school that was further away and that's one of the reasons we started homeschooling. 

Can anyone believe how quickly this month has gone?  Tomorrow is December the first!!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Yesterday was intense.  I left home at 10:00 a.m. and didn't make it back home until 7:00 p.m.  I would have been home an hour earlier if it hadn't been for the rain and the fog and the accident it caused on the interstate.  We made it safely, though I was pretty tired.   We had a good day of fun and fellowship.  We shopped at Hobby Lobby and then Bath and Body works, Hallmark, Starbucks and then a salvage grocery store.  :-)  That was different but it was kind of fun.  I often go to one closer to home, which I like better.   The one I usually go to is run by the Amish and I often pick up gluten free cake mixes and flour blends.  This one had a few, but honestly, I didn't think I had room in my pantry for them, so I passed this time.

When I came home, the kids were mostly done with school and as a surprise to me, they had straightened up the Christmas stuff that had been in the living room and loaded the dishwasher.  That was really nice.  Oh, it was so, so good to be home.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The first official Christmas celebration is

believe it or not, today.  The homeschool group that I'm in has a Christmas shopping and lunch day out for the mom's every year and this year, it's a bit early but it was the only day we could schedule it.  I always have to buy a gift for the 10 dollar gift exchange and that is very difficult as we are all so different.  One of the moms always spends way more than 10 dollars, like 25 or 30 and I feel kind of bad selecting her present because I know that and one always feels bad because she doesn't know what to buy ... and one mom who is very smart and uses coupons and probably only spends a dollar but gives a gift that is worth at least 10 dollars and there's me who bought a Christmas CD for 8.99 and then felt like that wasn't enough so I bought another Christmas CD for 3.99 and put it with it. We all have our quirks I guess.

Before I leave, I'm going to make a couple of small changes to my kids schedule.  They won't like the changes, but the big major chore list is coming back and I'm going to add in a little bit more of everything else, if you know what I mean.  Youngest needs more spelling and writing practice.  I'm not sure what I'm going to add for the girl to make it "fair", but something.  :-)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Excessive sleepiness.

I think I may have accidentally ingested gluten yesterday because today I had a headache all day and then felt the need this afternoon to take a 3 hour nap. My son said that my daughter had dropped some pie crust crumbs from one of the other pies onto our gluten free sweet potato pie, but I did not heed his warning and ate some of it yesterday afternoon.  I should have listened, because it just about wiped me out today.  When I woke up, I still had work to do which I'm finishing up right now at 9:53 p.m. on a Saturday night (not fun) and I still had to go to the grocery.  Ideally, I should be baking the cake for tomorrow and the cornbread, but am I?  No.  As usual, I'm working.  :-(

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday.

I did not venture out shopping any time overnight.  I worked this morning and then went to Lowe's where they had floor tiles on sale and got flooring for my kitchen.  I'm very excited about finally getting that done.  Not excited enough to work on it tonight or anything, but excited.  We had our first of 2 Thanksgiving celebrations yesterday and it was very nice.  I married into a very nice family.   Then Sunday, we will have the dinner with my mom, brother and aunt.  That will also be low key and nice.  We'll probably play some UpWords after we eat a delicious meal.  We're such partiers.  :-)  I'm really getting better at the gluten free cooking.  My stuffing this year was so, so good.  I made rolls that were kind of okay and some really good gravy.  That was my first attempt at gravy, so I was really proud it turned out so good.  well.  yummy.  :-P     I also made a crust free sweet potato pie for my son and I and I don't know about him, but I really enjoyed it.  I don't miss the crust at all.

Today, we put up the Christmas tree and we were going to have a Christmas movie marathon tonight, but we couldn't really find any of them.  I'm afraid we packed away the Christmas DVDs last year in a special place so and now no one remembers where they are.  I don't know where they could be.   We may have to check all of our old favorites out of the library.  We like to watch Home Alone 1 and 2, The Santa Clause 1, 2 and 3 and Elf.  The kids watched "How to Eat Fried Worms" tonight and I started to watch it with them, but I changed my mind not too far in.  That is not my style at all. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm not cooking officially today, as we are going to my mother-in-law's house for dinner.  However, that said, I am baking 3 pies, cooking a chicken and making stuffing.   My mom-in-law asked her daughter-in-laws to handle dessert this year so the kids and I went to the store last night and got the last 2 pumpkin pies.  One is a Mrs. Smith's and one is a Marie Callendar.  One cooks in 75 minutes and the other cooks in half an hour at a different temperature and I only have 1 oven so somehow I'm going to have to coordinate that.  They don't need to be served warm, do they?  I have no idea.  As to the other pie, it's going to be a gluten free, crustless sweet potato pie using this recipe.  This is for me and my son, who is also gluten free.  I find that now that he has joined me on my gluten free diet, I work harder.  I probably wouldn't make a whole pie just for me.   The chicken is in the crock pot right now.  I wanted to have real broth and should have saved some in the freezer from the last time I cooked chicken but I didn't, so I'm cooking a chicken this morning for the stuffing.   The stuffing is going to be made from Pamela's gluten free cornbread mix, which I baked last night and will crumble up today.   It's only 8:30 a.m, but I feel that I should get busy.

Even if it's not Thanksgiving where you live, take a minute and appreciate what you have today!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I don't feel like it.

I'm going through one of my spaced out times.  I do this every now and again.  I feel like I'm just going through the motions here in a daze.  I feel like I work all the time.  Yesterday I got up at 9:00 a.m. and immediately started working.  I had a doctor's appointment at 2:30 for which I had to leave at 1:50, so I did that and got home around 4:30.  I did a quick visit to my mom since I hadn't seen her on Sunday as I planned, then came back home and started work.  I worked until 8:00 p.m. last night.  I realize that there is a significant gap in there, but from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. is the time that I had things to do that had to take precedence over everything else, the housework, meal prep, relaxing ... everything and therefore, it really felt that I worked for hours and hours and hours yesterday.  Today I hope to get done by 3:00.  My heart is really not in it though and this is not the kind of job where you can just kind of piddle around and wait for the hours to pass, you have to do the work and get the lines.  Period.  Sometimes I just don't feel like it.

In other news around here, craft fair prep is ongoing.  My daughter is making all kinds of things to sell at the homeschool kids craft fair.  I hope she does well this year.  This year I'm not really helping her at all.  Last year I gave suggestions and did some assembly of the simpler things for her, but this year, she's on her own.  She's making some really pretty scarves, hats and jewelry.

Thanksgiving is almost here.  It always comes before I am ready for it!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Random Acts.

We kind of heard back from one of our random acts of kindness.  A friend of mine told me this morning, that he had run into a guy who had benefited from one of the envelopes of quarters that we put on one the vending machines at the hospital.  The guy said that his wife had had to take one of their 4 kids to the ER and ended up staying many hours.  They were hungry, so she went to the vending area, only to realize that she didn't have enough money to buy anything, then she noticed our envelope and the note!  So with our 2 dollars in quarters she was able to buy a snack for herself and her child.  I was so happy to get to hear back from one of them.  We're planning to do this again.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Latest Projects.

We saw these pillows on Pinterest and we're trying to make our own.  So far we are still working on the tops so they aren't pillows yet.  Mine is on the left, my daughter's is on the right.  Her projects always look better. Pillow tutorial.

Freckles needed to try this one out right away, to make sure it was comfy.

These owls, we also made from a pattern we found on Pinterest.  I forgot to put a beak on mine, which I am going to try and remedy today.  They have already gotten names, Errol and Hedwig.  :-)  Owl Pattern

15 Minutes Outside, With Mom.

I mentioned reading the book about the importance of going outside a few weeks ago.  I still haven't been back to the library to re-check it.  I think this may be our longest streak in years of just not making it to the library.  We've been busy.  Anyway, last night it was finally cold enough, they said, to have our 15 minutes outside with mom in the cold, drinking hot chocolate.  It was 38 degrees.  So my daughter made hot chocolate and put an old blanket out on the porch.  Then we all got up to go out there and we had to get Lucy the outside dog, off of the blanket.  I'm sure she was thinking how thoughtful we were to put that out there for her.  So anyway, we got the dog off the blanket, sat down and she immediately re-joined us, making me spill my hot chocolate all over myself.  I yelped and told the kids (it was really too dark for them to really see me very well) and my youngest son said "Hey, at least you're warm!"  Then the dog started wagging her tail and made him spill his hot chocolate on himself.  "He was speaking to the dog's back end saying "Be sad, be sad, stop wagging your tail!", but she was undeterred.  Finally, she settled down near my daughter and we had a few moments of quiet stargazing and sipping hot chocolate.  The stars were beautiful last night.  It was fun and I'm glad we made the effort, just to stop what we were doing and go outside.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Every now and then I like to go into the Goodwill store and prowl around for books, movies, games, etc.  We have gotten several of our best board games there for a dollar and several times they haven't previously been opened.  Last night, I scored this science kit still in the shrink wrap for a 1.50.  My youngest son has been having so much fun today with it.  He's made a clock run with 2 potatoes, lighted up an LED with 3 bottles of water and even made a little musical thingy play a tune (very softly, we all kind of felt like Horton hears a Who or maybe the Who marching band...) using, of all things, the mud from 2 flower pots.  Fun, educational and cheap.  Enviro Battery

Car trouble.

I think I kind of mentioned our slight car trouble the other day, but I didn't go into any details.  The details are quite entertaining.  We had started out towards our 4H meeting and there was road construction on our road, so we had to turn back towards home.  Our road is a loop, so we could go out the other way, which is just a bit longer.  As I was turning around, the "Coolant Low" light came on in the car so we headed home.  They asked me to add coolant, but I haven't done that since I got married, back in the dark ages and this urinary tract infection I have was kicking my hiney that day and I felt awful, so I said no.  I told them to look up how to do it.  So they googled putting coolant in the car, suited up with safety glasses (or swim goggles in the case of my youngest, which he always keeps in the bathroom, in case he has to do some deep sea diving during his shower) and gloves and tackled the filling up the coolant reservoir process.  I peeked outside a few minutes later and saw them all 3 standing there like surgeons with their gloves, their goggles and I just cracked up. They were so serious and intent and my youngest was wearing plaid shorts, a striped shirt, Christopher Robin rain boots, gloves and swim goggles.  :-)  I took pictures of course and then went back inside.  A few minutes later, I was wondering what was taking them so long and went back outside to see them all standing frozen in place staring at my youngest holding the funnel.  Apparently, he had touched some of the antifreeze accidentally without his glove (!) and now one of the pets might lick his hand and the pet might die!  They take warning labels on antifreeze containers very, very seriously apparently.  So after I laughed at them some more, good mom that I am, I told them to come in and wash their hands, I'd wash the funnel and we would all be okay.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

There are several reasons.

Our front yard as photographed from inside, through one of the front windows, a few weeks ago.
There are several reasons that my kids are playing the Wii Sports today for exercise.  The first is that it's raining and although they have been out in the yard several times today, they don't want to have to be outside for exercise.  It's different, you know?  Exercise is on their list every day and they have to do an hour, and they usually do this outside but it's deer season and we live in the woods and over the weekend, we heard a lot of gunshots.  People aren't supposed to hunt on our land, but they might wound a deer on another person's land and follow it onto ours to finish it off.  If we do go outside of the front yard for our later "15 minutes outside with mom", I'm going to wear something more bright than my basic normal black.  :-)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A little better.

Today has been somewhat better, somewhat less painful than yesterday so maybe the antibiotics are working.  I got my work done and then we had 4H and someone else was teaching the class, so that's good.  They made apple fritters or dumplings.  We got there late because we had to add coolant to our car and it took us a while, but boy did those fritters or dumplings (whichever they were)  smell good.  Yum.  I have the recipe and I might try and make some tomorrow if I get time, which I probably won't. This new work schedule is making everything like that difficult.  This may only be temporary.  :-(  

The kids didn't completely get done with school before we left, so they are finishing up now.  I guess they are not the only ones because as we were leaving the restaurant earlier, one of the other kids in the group asked her mom if she still had to do math tonight.  Boy did that sound familiar.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Warning: Post contains whining.

This illustrates what I feel like these days.
I've got a urinary tract infection.  Again or still, I'm not sure which.  I have had symptoms and been feverish since the first week of October.   I have been to the doctor 4 times.  Every time I go, the urinary tract infection does not show up on the initial dip or microscopic examination.  The doctor or nurse practitioner will come into the room where I am sitting and say something like "now what makes you think you have a urinary tract infection?" and they give me this look which seems to say "Aw, poor thing, just wants attention."  but they say they will do a culture and see if anything grows in the urine, which is a more definitive test.  Then, inevitably, 2 days later they will call me with the surprising news that yes, I do in fact have a urinary tract infection (told ya!!!) and tell me that they have called in a prescription for me.  This has happened four times.  Four times exactly the same way.  The only difference is that this time, the NP  has given me 2 antibiotics, not just 1 and wants me to come back in exactly 10 days when I have finished them.   I think that means I'm supposed to go in on Thanksgiving, but I guess the day after will have to do.   :-/.  I am so, so tired of this thing.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


That's what my daughter said about our random acts of kindness event.  We spent 2 hours and about 5 dollars each and did 16 or 17 acts of kindness in our community.  We put money on the vending machines at the hospital, gave out crayons and coloring pages to kids in the emergency department waiting room, gave cupcakes to the firefighters and the emergency department staff, paid for someone's lunch, bought someone a bottled water, put money on gumball machines at the grocery store  (with a little note) and bought flowers and took them to a lady who just got out of the hospital.  We also gave out and received some impromptu hugs.  We will be doing this again.

A good notebooking/lapbooking resource.

Dynamic 2 Moms. 

A busy day planned.

We're doing Random Acts of Kindness today with a group from church.  Hopefully there will be a group there and not just me and my kids.  We need some people who are not as shy as we are.  We have all kinds of tiny acts of kindness planned, taking things to hospice and emergency department workers, putting change on vending machines, taking flowers to people, paying for people behind us in the drive through and a few other things.  I hope it goes well.  It should be kind of fun.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

An addition to the schedule.

A couple of weeks I added a small thing to the schedule for the kids.  It says "15 minutes outside with Mom".  That's a new one.  They've had to go outside before, but now they have to go outside with me.  I am getting all kinds of walks in and the outdoor time is good for me.  What gave me the idea was this book  .  It is written for younger kids, but it does emphasize how good going outside can be for all of us and it's got a lot of good ideas in it.  I checked it out from the library and read it and put the item on our schedule and now next time I go to the library, I'm going to get it out again and maybe write down some of the ideas for interesting things to do, other than just go for a walk, although the walk in the moonlight we just took and the walk the other day in the rain were different and fun.  One other thing that I do remember from the book that the kids and I want to do is to take a picnic of hot muffins and hot chocolate outside on a cold day.  I think it's cold enough now in the lower 50s, but the kids want to wait until it is at least 40, maybe 30.  That should be quite bracing.  :-)

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


My daughter has not caught the cold that we all had.  Instead, she has strep throat that presented itself yesterday as an earache.  Her throat doesn't hurt, just her ear.  I don't want to speak too soon, because she might get the cold as well, so pretend I didn't say anything about that.  So anyway, the kids have missed a few days of school lately, taking turns.  If she takes tomorrow off, she'll be as behind as her younger brother because he missed 2 days last week.  We'll get done with school eventually, we always do.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Candle jars we made at 4H.


Our pumpkins this year were star wars themed, Jabba the Hut, Yoda and Darth Maul.  I think the kids did an excellent job.  We printed the templates off of the internet.

A book.

A long time ago when I started doing medical transcription, we used books to look things up (weird, I know) but then the internet came along and now I just look things up on the internet.  With Swagbucks, I even earn gift cards for looking things up.  I have to be careful that the information I am getting is from a reliable site, but I do okay this way.  So anyway, for several years I have been getting a card in the mail telling me that the copy of a certain medication reference has been reserved for me, and if I will just give them my credit card number, they will send it to me.  I've always ignored these.  This year, I actually received the book, not the card.  Then today, I received the bill for the book that I didn't order and didn't want - a bill for 94 dollars!   On the back of the invoice, there was a space for returns and it said that I could visit their web site to print out a shipping label and return the book.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that the shipping label said "affix proper postage here" instead of "postage will be paid by addressee".  Oh I was hopping mad.  I got on the website got into a live chat with a customer service representative and she was very nice.  She said that I could keep the book and that I would not have to pay for it.   Whew.  I guess heads will not have to roll after all.  :-P

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Zipping along.

This month is zipping along very quickly.  It's already the 6th.  I finally ventured out today and got some groceries.  I haven't posted much this week because I've just been working and coughing and not much else.  Youngest son took 2 days off due to the cold.  Oldest son didn't get it very bad.  My daughter still hasn't gotten it yet.  She's probably waiting for next week so she can share the experience with Dad.  :-P   I hope the rest of the family can avoid it.  It's not the worst ever, but it's not fun either.   I did up my hours at work now that I am working at home and I had hoped that it wouldn't be all that bad, but it's been kind of awful.  I feel like I am always, always at work.  Today they are begging for someone to work, but I need to keep my days off as my days off or I will be always at work.  That's one of the hazards of working at home.  Funny, the kids are home-schooled and they never, ever are tempted to do school on a Sunday afternoon.  :-P

Friday, November 04, 2011


I'm having the weirdest experience right now.  I have a bad taste in my mouth, have had it for days and days.  I don't know if it is related to the iron pills I'm taking for my anemia or the antibiotics I'm taking for my urinary tract infection, or the cold that's running through the family (being me is so fun lately!), but something is making almost everything I eat taste like Play-doh.  Not everything, oddly.  The meatloaf I made yesterday tasted fine as did the broccoli and cheese.  :-/   It's weird.  I'm not sure if I know what playdough tastes like from my own childhood or from having my kids shove it in my mouth when they were little, but it is not a good flavor. 

I have been craving those Brach's Peppermint Christmas Nougats for months now.  I couldn't wait for Halloween to be over so I could get some.  Last night I was in Kroger picking up some medicine and saw them!  Finally.  Unfortunately, they have joined the ranks of  foods that taste like

Oh how I hope it goes away soon!  I guess actually it would be good for me if it didn't go away.  I'd just switch to eating healthy foods that taste bad like spinach and liver.  :-(

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Raining on Freckles Parade.

Warm and cozy once again.
Freckles looks forward to garbage day.  On garbage day, I gather the garbage from all over the house, throw it in the back of the Suburban, open the front door and let Freckie in and then drive down to the road (our driveway is long).  While I'm unloading the trash into the trash container, she gets to run around, smell things and pee on them.  Oh, the pure unadulterated doggy joy!  Today, however, it is raining.  She hates rain.  This didn't affect her enthusiasm when I was loading up, but when we arrived at out destination (the end of the driveway) and it was raining there too (!!!) she was upset.  She didn't want to even get out of the truck.  I means, what's the point?!  I made her get out and she made a half-hearted attempt to sniff and even peed once, but then she was oh so ready to get back IN!  Oh well, there's always next Thursday.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011


Cold and flu season has descended here.  My youngest son has a terrible cold and is completely miserable.  I have got it too, but I don't seem to have it as bad as he does.  My oldest son felt like he was getting it yesterday, but today he feels okay.  We all used Cold-Eeze yesterday which sometimes will head off a cold for me, and it seems to have worked a little bit on me, a little bit more on my oldest son and not at all on my youngest son.  Youngest son is getting a sick day off school today.  I, of course, am working anyway, though I don't really feel like it.  I keep sneezing.  I've been on the phone and email canceling outings, field trips, lunches and doctor's appointments to clear the schedule so that we can hopefully recover from this without spreading it too far.  It's not that terrible, but it's not something you want to share.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

November already.

Yes, I know.  I always do this.  I can't believe how fast the time just goes by.  Anyway, it's November and we had a beautiful day today, but everyone at my house feels like they are coming down with a cold.  :-(  Oh well. It's that time of year after all.

I am kind of enjoying working at home again, although I'm not sure where I want to set up.  I used to work in the bedroom, but I kind of hate being separated from everyone for most of the day and sitting in a very dark corner with no view.  Right now I am working in the kitchen, which is good as far as lighting goes and handy for the phone and I can get up and load the dishwasher or cook while I'm waiting for work to download.  Also, I'm right near a major path in the house and 3 times today kids have stopped on their way by and hugged me.  I'm also within great nagging reminding range and I can tell the kids to get back to work on school work or to be quieter without getting up.  I think I might stay right here, but I'll need to come up with some way to make this area look neater.  Right now, it's a mess of computer cords, medical terminology books and various junk.  I also have my computer sitting right on the dining room table, which keeps anyone from sitting here and eating, so I might need to get some kind of rolling desk that I could push against the wall when I'm not using it.  I don't know exactly what I'm going to do yet. 

Today, we had a race to see who got done with work first, me or the kids and I won, even though I do a ton more work than they do.  It motivated them and we were all done by 4 o'clock this afternoon.


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