Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking back on 2014

On this last day of the year, I look back and remember all the changes we had this past year. Some of our goals were not met, which are top priority for the coming year. New oil tank and new windows on our mobile home. Much needed to help keep us warm in the very cold winters here in NH.

We had a few failures in the garden as well. Garden peas and potatoes failed for the second year in a row. No idea what is going on with the potatoes, but grubs and slugs kept eating all the pea plants. Not going to attempt to grow either this coming year. I'll buy them at the farm down the street from me. Maybe I can ask them how they grow their potatoes and peas.

Corn was another failure too. We tried a new kind (to us anyway), Golden Bantam, but it was a bad experience. The stalks didn't grow very high, maybe about 5 feet tall for a couple. No matter how much I added to the soil to help them, it didn't seem to make a difference. I also only saw like maybe 8 ears of corn, which were small and didn't really produce kernels. I gave them to the squirrels to eat, which made them very happy.

Finally, garlic was our last failure. Planted a ton of cloves in the fall, enough for both me and my sister to share. We both use a ton of garlic in our cooking. It grew okay, or so I thought. I read all I could on how the garlic should grow and when to harvest it. So when the time to harvest it came, I followed all the instructions on howto cure it and such. I still ended up with small bulbs and hardly any of the cloves grew. Oh well. I am trying again this year with some Elephant garlic. I have two cloves (it is all that I got for 10.00! Kinda upset about that one) all planted and covered in plenty of straw to keep them warm.

Goodness, let's not forget how the grass and weeds overtook the garden. I wasn't the only one that had this issue. Figures, the one year I decided to not mulch the whole garden in straw. Not making that mistake next year. Going to cover the garden in nice thick layers and make the pathways with cardboard to keep the weeds away from the paths.

We did have a lot of thriving crops as well. As usual our snap peas and beans went nuts. We had our first couple of strawberries. They were soo sweet and so much better than the ones I get at the farm up the street. But because I had just planted them that spring, not many berries grew. Dad told me to snip all the flowers off so the plants could focus on growing. I didn't listen. The plants went bonkers growing anyway. The squirrels and birds planted pumpkins for us that produced 5 pumpkins.

I can't wait till next year. We have so many plans and goals for the new year. Have a few new seeds to try out in the garden. Plans to expand the garden (again) but only a little bit. For flowers, not veggies though, to bring in some bees, butterflies and humming birds to the garden.

Hope you all had a good 2014.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Weekly Menu 12/29 ~ 1/4

Monday ~ Turkey Rice Soup

Tuesday ~ Leftover Soup

Wednesday ~ Turkey Cottage Pie

Thursday ~ Turkey Stuffing Casserole with Mashed Potatoes

Friday ~ Turkey Croquettes, French Fries, Carrots

Saturday ~ Baked Mac & Cheese

Sunday ~ Beans & Franks

Desert of the Week ~ Chocolate Chip Cookies

Linked to Menu Plan Monday

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas

This past week has been crazy busy. Baking, cleaning, spending time with family. Worth it, but so tiring.

We went to a ugly Christmas sweater party last weekend where my hubby took first place. He had a whole outfit going on. That's our niece with him.

I cooked up some blueberry bread for my mom and sister. It was more like pound cake than bread though. It was also a recipe I never tried before. Still was good. I also made some almond flavored butter cookies for my mom. Some Hershey kiss/M&M/pretzel candy things as well as some Rolo/ toasted pecan/pretzel turtles that I gave to everyone. The turtles were sooo good. I have some Rolo and pecans left over so I will be making me up some later on. Pretty much everyone got some of my strawberry and blueberry jam.

I got some cool nutcrackers from my sister, daughter and hubby. My sister gave me the skeleton one, my daughter got me the penguin one (I love penguins) and the hubby got me the elf one that is from the Hallmark Channel movie Northpole. I have a large collection of nutcrackers that get bigger every year. I try to buy one every year but never got around to it this year. As you can see, everyone else got me one LOL.

My sister also made me some pretty sweet dish cloths that I am afraid to ruin. Perfect for any Dr. Who fan. A Tardis and Dalek.

My mom got me some books, one I wanted, The Women of Christmas and another one by Melody Carlson that is now out of print. The women of the Bible fascinate me. My daughter made me some soap and sugar scrub. She also got me some lotion (I love my lotion) a Tomas Kincade mug with some English Breakfast tea. Her boyfriend got me a Tomas Kincade serving plate with some apple cinnamon muffin mix.

It was raining all Christmas Eve, so we kinda skipped driving around to look at the lights. We didn't leave my sisters until a little after 8 pm and didn't get home till after 9 pm. Our tradition is to open up jammies to wear Christmas Eve. This year I got all of us matching jammies. Hubby and Matt rolled their eyes, but still humored me. As you can tell, both the cats were happy to help Matt unwrap the gift they helped to wrap.

We didn't go crazy this year with gifts like we usually did. Matt is getting older and his gifts are getting more expensive. He had about 10 gifts or so, trust me, this is very little compared to what he usually gets from us. Abby had to check out all the new gifts under the tree. She did make a path through the gifts so she could get under the tree.

Once "Santa" came and all the gifts were inspected by Abby, I gave her one of the gifts that Chantelle gave both the cats. A catnip filled fish. She played around with it for a bit then Max took it over.

Christmas morning came way to fast. The hubby and I went to bed around midnight. I figured Matt would be like his normal teen self and sleep until ten or so, but nope, he was up really early. Hubby woke me up at 7:30. We unwrapped our gifts and I made our traditional cinnamon rolls. My sister gave me some, but I made my own up because I don't go nuts with the sugar so the hubby (who is diabetic) could have some too.

Matt took this picture of me (bad picture of me, ignore the mess) opening up the camera case to my new camera. As you can see, the hubby and I are wearing our matching jammies.

My new camera has all sorts of buttons and settings and such to use. The one thing that I love about it is that it has a rechargeable battery. That was my number one requirement for a new camera. I hate to use regular AA batteries. I would go through a ton. This is just the top, but the backside has a ton of buttons and a large viewing screen.

Matt had an idea he was getting the Xbox One, so he was recording a video of himself unwrapping it with his cell phone. I wish he left the sweatshirt and hat off though. He lives in them.

The big gift that he has been glued to all day today. Look how long his hair is getting! I wish his sideburns would grow longer because they are at an annoying length.

Abby enjoying the mess of paper and boxes. Max was hiding most of the time while Abby had to be in the middle of everything.

Matt woke up at 2 am, finally got out of bed at 4 am. Hubby got up at 6:30 am and came out to the living room to find Matt playing on the PS3. Matt was out cold on the sofa at 10 am while he was waiting for the Xbox One to update and download the two games it came with.

We left around noon to pick up my brother in law and headed out to our nieces house to celebrate with the hubby's side of the family. It was a long day. Fun, but long. I took the next two pictures with my new camera.

Matt was playing games on my Kindle and messing around on his phone most of the day. He is the oldest nephew and the only boy on the hubby's side of the family, so he tends to hang out alone at these family things. At my sisters house he is always playing with his cousins.

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. We did.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Wrapping gifts with pets

Everyone who has pets understands how much our beloved pets tries to help us out. Abby is one of those pets. She has to know everything about everything. She has to be part of everything. I love it!

The other day, while wrapping up my nieces and nephews gifts, Abby decided it would be the perfect time to play with the wrapping paper and scissors. I set up on the living room floor because it is big enough to fit the large roll of paper I was working with. Abby started out by laying down on the paper.

She was keeping an eye on the scissors to see what they were doing to the paper. She then set up for the attack, butt wiggle and all.

Then she realized the paper started to roll back up itself.

So she decided to help flatten out the paper by laying all stretched out on it.

I eventually kicked her off so I could get some wrapping done. She started to eat some of the wrapped boxes. Again, it was a gift for Chantelle, sorry. Or was it the gift for Alex, I don't remember. I just remember seeing her nom on the corner so if anyone sees teeth marks on it, Abby sends her love.

The hubby suggested I wrap the gifts in the bedroom on the bed with the door closed. Ya right. Abby sat outside the door, eating it (yes eating the door), until I let her in. We can never keep a bedroom door closed because she will find a way in. So, I started to wrap the gifts again when I turned and saw this.

Perfect bed for Abby apparently. *sigh* I gave up wrapping for the time being and waited until Matt was around to entertain her so she would not be up my butt all the time.

Do you have pets that like to "help" wrap the gifts as well?

Friday, December 5, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

We put up our tree this past Sunday. It always goes up the first weekend of December. I like to be able to look at it and relax every night. Something about the lights on it that soothes me. I sit in the dark every night and look at the lights and relax, pray, meditate. Anything to help me relax and get ready for bed. Sometimes it works, other times it doesn't.

Believe it or not, but this picture was taken at like 2 in the afternoon. I keep the shades open all day and had one light on in the room, but it is still dark at times. Abby keeps playing with the ornaments. I find at least one or two on the ground every morning. We had one casualty so far, but it is an easy fix since I found the head to the poor penguin. One of my kids made this years ago. I am thinking it was Chantelle back in like kindergarten, but not sure honestly.

My little Rudolph reindeer that I have had since I was a child sits under the tree. It use to walk and play music while his nose lit u, but not anymore. I still like to keep him around though. brings back so many memories of when I was growing up.

This year, instead of putting up the count down to Christmas activity cards on the garland like I did last year,I just decided to pretty it up with lights, ornaments and extra candy canes. We have dubbed this garland "Abby's garland".

When I turned it on the first time, she ran into the basket (it's in the lower left hand corner of the picture) and started to check it out. She will lay in the basket and just stare up at it. When I turned it off the first night, she started to cry meow for a long time.

When I turn it on in the mornings, she runs up to me and then starts cooing at the garland. She doesn't have this kind of reaction to the tree, just the garland. It's kind of funny. Of course she has tried to play with the ornaments and the candy canes, but I just call out her name and she leaves it alone.

For the most part, the cats are good around the tree. Max just sleeps under it and will not let Abby stay under there for long, if at all. About time he stood up for himself and stopped letting Abby have her way all the time. Abby likes to nibble on the branches, eat the popcorn garland and of course, play with the ornaments. She loves these ones that my sister made for me. She took some ordinary blue ornaments and crocheted around them in different patterns.They are so pretty. I think Abby likes them so much because she can get her claws on them and pull them off. Most of the other ornaments are either shatter proof or too heavy for her. I do have stuffed animal ones around the bottom that I am okay with her playing with. They are all penguins too. I have a thing for penguins and the hubby gets me one penguin thing a year in my stocking.

This is pretty much all I am going to do for Christmas this year. I usually put out so much stuff that my sister says it looks like Christmas puked in my house. I am not even putting out my tons of nutcrackers. I have one that stays out year round, he looks like a pirate. My two foot one was out all year this past year because I forgot to put him away. I decorated him for Halloween too. I put a white pillowcase over him and made some eyes and a mouth out off felt to turn him into a ghost. LOL. It was the hubby's idea. I am thinking I should put him away this year, maybe make some room for him in our bedroom closet. We will see.

How goes the Christmas decorating in your house?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Hope You Had A Happy Thanksgiving

The snow for the most part had stopped early in the morning of Thanksgiving. We got about 7 inches of snow before it turned to a snow frozen rain mix. It was a very heavy wet snow, perfect for making a snowman. Or in my nieces case, a snow turkey. LOL Isn't it cute?

We had a snow shower all day that gave us about another inch of fluffy stuff. The snow looks so pretty stuck to all the trees. Don't you think so? These trees are at the end of my street. I took it while in the car so it's not the best.

This is my favorite house. It is around the corner from me. It is so pretty in the spring and summer. The roof is all covered in moss. No one lives in it. I think it is being used as storage now. I just hope it doesn't get taken down. I love the old time charm to it. Don't you?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Crazy Weather

Yesterday was beautiful. It was in the low 60's and sunny. Our sunset was gorgeous as well.

Loads of pinks, purples and blues. Love it. Not more than 24 hours later it looks completely different out. It's in the low 30's Started as rain and quickly changed to snow.

It's been snowing for 4 hours now. We have about 2 inches so far with up to 10 expected. We live near the coast of NH, so I expect a little less. This is going to make getting to MA for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow interesting. We won't be driving my new car because it is front wheel drive. The hubby has a big truck with 4 wheel drive.

I had the flash on for the snow picture for some reason, but it makes some of the flakes sparkle like stars. This is the view out my backdoor. I will take more of the trees in the backyard tomorrow. The snow is the perfect snowman snow. I already brought in a snowball for the cats to check out and they ended up fighting over it. Typical kids. LOL

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Getting Ready For Advent

I can not believe that Advent begins in less than a week. Where on earth did November go?

Last year we did something simple for Advent. Just read some verses from the Bible and lite the Advent wreath. This year, I want to do a Jesse Tree. Although I am thinking of making a wreath with little themed ornaments instead of a tree. I'll be doing another post on our Jesse Tree once it is ready to start.

There are a ton of different ideas to use for the Jesse Tree. I found a couple that I like a lot, but finally decided on one. You can find it here at Confessions of a Homeschooler. I printed out the black and white pictures and am spending some time at night coloring them in. I love to color, I find it soothing and relaxing. Matt hates to color. It always ends with me yelling and him crying. Best to avoid it.

I am still going to do our count down to Christmas garland like last year. You can find that post here: Count Down To Christmas Garland and the activities for the garland here: Advent Activities.

If you want to do the daily verses that we did last year for Advent, this is what we did:

Week 1 ~ Hope

  • Sun ~ Isaiah 40:1-5
  • Mon ~ Isaiah 40:6-11, Isaiah 52:7-10
  • Tue ~ Isaiah 11:1-10
  • Wed ~ Isaiah 9:2-7, Genesis 3:8-15
  • Thu ~ Genesis 15:1-6, Micah 5:2-5
  • Fri ~ Deut. 18:15-19, John 1:1-9
  • Sat ~ Psalm 89:1-4, John 1:10-18

Week 2 ~ Peace
  • Sun ~ Zechariah 6:12-13, Luke 1:5-13
  • Mon ~ Luke 1:14-20
  • Tue ~ Luke 1:21-25
  • Wed ~ Malachi 3:1-6, Luke 1:26-38
  • Thu ~ Luke 1:39-45
  • Fri ~ Luke 1:46-56
  • Sat ~ Mark 1:1-3, Matthew 1:18-24

Week 3 ~ Joy
  • Sun ~ Luke 1:57-66
  • Mon ~ Luke 1:67-80
  • Tue ~ Luke 2:1-7
  • Wed ~ Luke 2:8-20
  • Thu ~ Luke 2:21-35
  • Fri ~ Luke 2:36-40
  • Sat ~ Matthew 2:1-6

Week 4 ~ Love
  • Sun ~ Matthew 2:7-12, Isaiah 7:10-14
  • Mon ~ Matthew 2:19-23
  • Tue ~ Isaiah 9:2-7, Ephesians 5:1-2
  • Wed ~ Ephesians 5:15-20
  • Thu ~ Colossians 1:15-20
  • Fri ~ 1 John 4:7-12
  • Sat ~ 1 John 4:13-19

What plans do you have for Advent this year?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Scripture for Thanksgiving Week 4

Thanksgiving is this Thursday! I can't wait. Matt is going to be spending it with friends, Chantelle is working and the hubby and I are going to our nieces brand new built house. Her hubby built it. Even though we are going to be all over the place this year, we are still Thankful for what we have and for each other.

Here are this weeks verses:

Monday ~ 1 Timothy 4:4-5

Tuesday ~ Psalm 7:17

Wednesday ~ Jeremiah 33:11

Thursday ~ Colossians 3:17

Friday ~ Philippians 4:6

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Vietnam War Lapbook

We gave up our history curriculum about a month after we started it. Matt was not remembering anything in it and it was torture for both of us to do it. I asked him what he wants to learn for history. The Vietnam War was one of those things.

I found a couple of books for my Kindle for him to read. One was 10,000 Days of Thunder. It was written by a soldier who was actually there. It is from his point of view, but includes the history of  pretty much the whole war. Matt really enjoyed it. This coming from a kid who hates to read.

We made the Vietnam War Lapbook by Knowledge Box Central. We made a ton of lapbooks when he was younger and first being homeschooled. Of course I no longer have those books. I love how there are little booklets throughout, Matt needs little work at a time. He learns best with small shorter lessons. He retains the info much better. Matt did 2 booklets a day and it took us a month to do the whole lapbook.

The cover of the lapbook. The picture came from inside the study guide in the pack. I made the title using Pic Monkey.

Abby just had to come see what I was doing. I had the lapbook on the sofa opened up to take pictures of it for this post. Little miss "I have to be involved in everything you do" was playing with some of the booklets.

First folder that you see when it opens up.

The second folder. Only thing we did not do was make the recipe that came with the pack. It's the can looking booklet on the right hand side flap. I thought it sounded gross and it used a lot of cans of beans, so I didn't want to waste anything if it was gross.

Last folder. Matt didn't finish the word search puzzle. He has a hard time doing them. I love doing them and can find the words pretty fast.

The back cover. This is also a picture from the study guide in the lapbook pack.

We finished up our Vietnam War unit by watching "Good Morning Vietnam" and "We Were Soldiers" on Netflix.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Why you should always keep a fully stocked First Aid kit

A little accident my son had a couple of weekends ago reminded me why it is a good thing to always have a fully stocked first aid kit. We have one for the house, one in each of our cars and my son has one in his Boy Scout camping trunk.

Matt and the hubby were putting in the storm windows and then wrapping the windows in that plastic shrink wrap stuff. Anything to help keep our 1969 mobile home warmer in the winter. They were in Matt's tiny room putting the storm window in when I herd what I though was a broken light or dish, not the window itself.

Matt had put the window on his bed while he got onto the bed to put the window in. The window is behind his headboard. He must have tripped or loss his balance or something, because the crash was his hand and arm going through the storm window. The hubby was right there and told Matt not to move and slowly helped Matt up and got his arm out of the window with nothing major happening to it.

Yes, he does have quite a few cuts, some that took sometime to stop bleeding. Nothing that needed stitches. He lucked out for sure. No normal band-aids were going to work, so gauze pads it was. Thankfully I had just restocked them after Matt had another accident involving his leg. Boys will be boys. The only thing I could not find was my ace bandages. I had two of them back when my daughter broke her elbow, twice. The paper tape to hold the gauze bandages on only does so much, and seeing how I had a large area to cover, I wanted to use the ace bandages to wrap around the gauze. I just used extra tape instead.

Now to hit Walmart and get some more ace bandages.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Weekly Menu 11/17 ~ 11/23

Monday ~ Chicken Pot Pie

Tuesday ~ Salisbury Steak Meatball Stroganoff

Wednesday ~ Chicken Parmesan, Angel Hair Pasta & Garlic Bread

Thursday ~ Minestrone Soup (crockpot meal)

Friday ~ Homemade Pizza (movie night)

Saturday ~ Smoked Sausage, Potato, Green Bean Bake

Sunday ~ Make Your Own Meal

Linked to Meal Plan Monday

Scripture for Thanksgiving Week 3

I hope everyone is enjoying their time up to Thanksgiving. This year we (me and the hubby) are going over to my nieces brand new house. Her husband built it himself. Matt has been invited to a friends house and they will be traveling to Massachusetts for the long weekend. We said yes, that he could go. If it was Christmas, then no.

Hope you enjoy the verses for this week.

Monday ~ Psalm 145:7

Tuesday ~ 1 Corinthians 1:4-5

Wednesday ~ 2 Corinthians 4:15-16

Thursday ~ 2 Corinthians 9:11-12

Friday ~ Ephesians 1:15-16

Monday, November 10, 2014

Scripture for Thanksgiving Week 2

Both Matt and I have been using the Thanksgiving scriptures for copywork. I like to decorate and make mine look all pretty and girly, Matt just wants to get it over with. The point is for him to use his best handwriting, but he hates to take his time. Says it hurts his hands. We will work on it this week.
On to this weeks verses for Thanksgiving.

Monday ~ Psalm 100:4

Tuesday ~ Ephesians 5:3-4

Wednesday ~ Colossians 3:15

Thursday ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Friday ~ Psalm 107:1

Monday, November 3, 2014

Getting the garden ready for winter

I have been slacking seriously this year with getting the garden ready for winter. Normally by mid October everything is done. With Starting a new homeschool year and still trying to figure out our daily schedule, I haven't really done anything.

This is what the yard looked like last week. So embarrassing. I started to pull the weeds the day I took these pictures. It was easier to pull them when they are dead. The garden was crazy with weeds this year. I decided not to mulch this year. A mistake I learned the hard way. I only got about a quarter of it done before I was forced to stop. My hands were starting to cramp and my hips were killing me. Hate having RA. It interrupts my life.

I did manage to get the strawberry bed put to rest though, thankfully. It is all covered in straw all ready for snow. Speaking of snow, we had our first flakes falling yesterday, but nothing stuck, thank goodness. Its been a rainy snow mix weekend, so nothing got done outside. Figures, when the hubby and I have nothing planned over the weekend (other than scouts on Sunday afternoon), the weather decides to be moody and uncooperative. We were going to pull the rest of the weeds, till and mulch the big bed, the blueberry bushes and all the flower beds.

I don't even have my garlic planted. Not that planting the garlic will take long. I ordered Elephant Garlic to try and all I got was two huge cloves. Kinda ticked me off that I paid 10.00 for two, but if they grow as big as they say they will, I will have more to plant next year. It might be a couple of years before I have enough to keep, unless I want to spend more money and risk it. I really did not have luck this year with garlic, but it was also my first year growing it.

Hoping that the winds die down today so that I can get more yard work done and hopefully finish the big bed. So much to do.

Scripture for Thanksgiving ~ Week 1

Every week day for the whole month of November, Matt and I will be studying scripture that has to do with Thanksgiving. I didn't realize how many scripture there are that talks about giving thanks to God and others. I am going to introduce him to the S.O.A.P method and he will be using the days verse as copywork. This is what I have planned for the first week:

Monday ~ Psalm 28:7

Tuesday ~ Psalm 69:30

Wednesday ~ Psalm 95:1-6

Thursday ~ 1 Chronicles 16:8

Friday ~ 1 Chronicles 16:34

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