Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Homeschooling is tougher this year

Our homeschool year started up after Labor Day. All started out fine, but slowly. We got really busy with the garden, you know that time time of year. Harvest time.

Anyway, our homeschool year started out okay. Eventually it started to fall apart. Matt hates the history that I chose. So, instead, I asked him what he would like to learn about. I did the same thing last year, so not sure why I didn't do it this year and forget spending money on curriculum. Now to remember this for next year.

He chose to learn about Ancient Egypt. Awesome! I have a few lapbooks that I had used with my daughter backed up on a portable hard drive, so I printed them up. I had also won a ebook copy of the first Truthquest guide book, so I printed up the list of books for the Egypt section. Now I need to hit the library, get Matt a card (Our town does not let kids get a library card until they are in high school. Kinda odd, but whatever). I did buy a few books to go along with the Mystery of History book to go along with the Ancient Egypt sections.

Math is a chore, like always. Matt say he likes math but gets annoyed with it. I cut out half of the problems for him to do and that seems to be working out for him better.

English is no problem. He does his grammar and vocabulary in like 30 minutes. He is taking an English comp class at co-op this year, so that rounds up what I didn't want to teach him. The mom teaching the class use to be a high school English teacher, so she is in her element with this class.

Science is going along slowly. I have changed a few things, well, taken out parts of what I had planned. I am thinking of changing it a bit more too. He enjoys the labs, not really the labs.

I have been seriously thinking about taking a unschool or child led learning style approach this year and the remainder of high school. Both Matt and I have been seriously stressed out and not enjoying school at all right now.

Friday, August 14, 2015

9th Grade Curriculum Choices

It's getting near that time again. Back to school time. Our public schools start up at the end of August, but we don't start our homeschool year until after Labor Day. Matt was born Labor Day weekend, so we always have family visiting that week.

I began buying the curriculum we will be using when we got our tax return money back. I also used lots of my saved Swagbucks points to buy a nice microscope and slides off Amazon. I am nervous teaching the high school years. My daughter went to public school for high school, but Matt will be home for all four years.

I spend the summer making the lesson plans to fit us. This year it took like 3 months of daily work to finish.

Here is what we (Matt and I) have narrowed down for curriculum:


We are going to be using Mystery Of History. I have added a bunch of required reading, in addition to the activities, map work and timeline work that is included in the curriculum. I did this book with my daughter and Matt (he was 5 at the time though), so it has been a bit since we have studied this time period. My plan is to use all four books in high school as well as the All American History by Bright Ideas Press, the same publisher as Mystery of History.


We plan on using Saxon Algebra 1, but like last year, that might change. He said he enjoyed the Saxon math last year, but it was just way too many problems every day. I have to totally agree. It was taking him hours to do the work and causing melt downs. After talking to both my husband and Matt, we agreed to have him do half the problems (15 total) a day. Then if he has a hard time, he can do the other 15 problems, or if he totally gets the lesson, we can move on to the next. I know the book says to not skip any problems, but it wasn't working for Matt last year that way. He also has the DIVE cd-rom to use with it, so I don't have to teach Algebra. I might have to brush up on it myself though in case Matt has any issues understanding. It has been 20 years since I graduated high school after all.

Language Arts

We will be using Wordly Wise 3000 grade 9 book for vocabulary. I will be changing this book after this year, because I just found out that the newer editions that are coming out are aligned with the Common Core State Standards. We homeschool to avoid that crap. The book I have is one we bought for my daughter to use like 6 years ago, but never used it.

Easy Grammar 180 Daily Lessons will be used to brush up on his grammar. After having grammar every year since first grade, He just needs a little refresher, nothing to deep anymore. Matt will be taking a literature class through co-op, not to mention all the books he will be reading for history and science.


We are going to be studying Biology this year using the curriculum from Guest Hollow. I am doing most of it, just not adding in any additional reading other than what is scheduled in. For the most part it is free and it was almost free for me. I used my Swagbuck points to buy giftcards for Amazon and bought a microscope and some of the books scheduled that are not free online. I am totally excited for this class. Matt stated that he has no desire to do any dissections. I never did them when I took Biology in high school either, but I found a ton of virtual labs online for him to watch and do a lab write up on instead. I may or may not do a dissection myself and have Matt watch.


Matt will be taking a Digital Photography class online through a NH online school. I figured it was one thing that the Common Core Standards were not going to be implemented in and would be safe to have him do. He also has a desire to learn how to use my old Pentax camera as well. That is the camera I learned on back in my high school photography classes.

Archery will be continued as well. He has a four day tournament coming up in September to practice for, so I need to find a place close to us for him to practice more than the scheduled class time.

We will also be joining our local homeschool co-op again. Literature will be one class he is going to take, but we are still working out what the other class will be. There is a co-op meeting coming up at the end of the month.

So, that pretty much sums up our plans for the year. I may or may not change things up a bit as we go. We always seem to do that. It's one thing I enjoy about homeschooling. We can tailor things to work for your child.

Monday, August 10, 2015

What I have been up to

It's been crazy here in the garden and kitchen. It's been really hot and humid too, which bothers my RA a ton, so I didn't venture out to the garden much. The crazy weeds show my lack of attention too.

I've also been canning beans up like crazy too.

This is when the bush beans were almost ready to be picked. A few days later, I was snippin n snappin them.

My small but productive bush bean plot. Got tons of beans from this little bit of plants. Jade bush beans are wonderful.

Abby inspecting the beans after they were cleaned. She likes to take one and bat it around the living room. This was part of the first days worth of beans. I pulled just shy of a 5 gallon bucket that day.

56 pints of green beans all ready for winter suppers.

Pole beans are now starting to come in, so I will be canning even more beans. Tomatoes are starting to ripen as well. I freeze them as I pick them and can my sauce when it is a bit cooler out.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Flowers around the homestead

We have had a rather lovely summer. We are blessed to not have had a ton of rain like some of the other blogs I read have. We do get rain a couple times a week though, just enough for me to not need to water the garden hardly if at all. Weeds are still a major issue, even after having my dad and sister over to help weed.

Our lilies and other flowers are in full bloom in the gardens now. It looks so pretty, even with all the weeds in the front bed. Enjoy! Warning *Picture Heavy*

These are our free lilies. Our land lord dug them up from another plot and just dumped them across the street from me. Steve and I grabbed three huge bunches of them. Two are in wine barrel halves at the street edge and the other is in a huge galvanized steel barrel near the deck and front garden.

My bee balm. I found some purple bee balm in a vacant lot across the street from me. Going to see if the land lord will let me dig them up seeing how all he does is take out all the flowers and bushes/trees before pouring the new pads. 

The pretty red lilies that dad bought be a couple of years ago. They went nuts this year and are still blooming, even with the yellow lilies in bloom. The orange ones dad bought me will open up shortly.

Yellow lilies from dad. These have a nice smell to them. I never noticed it before this year though.

The orange and red nasturtiums from the veggie garden. And a lone petunia growing in a pot that had black ones in it last year. I didn't plant any petunias this year, but this little guy decided to show up for me.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Crazy busy times here on the homestead

It's been one crazy month and a half. Between planting all the veggies, the weeds that came up like nuts in the garden, finishing up the homeschool year and getting our camp all set up, I haven't had anytime to work or type for my blog. I feel so bad for neglecting it. That will be changing starting now.

We have had a ton of strawberries come in that we pretty much ate all. I did give some away to a neighbor though.

I got a few blueberries off one of my three plants. Another is loaded with berries, so I am hoping I am able to have enough to make some muffins or pancakes with. If not, I will be hitting up the farmers market to buy a few pints.

My sugar snap peas are producing a ton as usual. I have had three gallon sized bags picked so far. I gave away half a gallon and still have tons and tons to pick. I go in for my infusion tomorrow, so I may have to bring some in for my nurses. I am also thinking of pickling some. I see all sorts of veggies pickled, but not snap peas, so who knows.

I had to have my sister help me to weed my garden. It seriously got taken over by crab grass and some really tall weed that I have no clue what it is. I have never seen the garden this over taken before. It all started once a new mobile home was put in three homes away from mine. The person putting the grass seed down used some cheep crap that ended up in my garden and it just took over. I lost all my carrots because of it. I will be planting a fall harvest that had better make it or I will be really ticked. Yes, I know that this has gone to seed. It is all gone now, but I had to use loppers to cut the stalks.

My dad has been down the past week and kinda sorta helped me weed the garden. He left lines of weeds unpicked around what he cleared out. Looks stupid to me, so I have been going back in and picking what he hasn't been. He also likes to keep all the picked weeds in the garden bed as well. I don't want them there at all. Kinda the point of weeding the garden is to keep the weeds out, picked or not.

Next up is to fix the tomatoes. The Florida weave way of trellising up the tomatoes is totally not working. My plants are loaded with heavy fruit and they are now laying down taking the twine down with it. No matter how tight I wrap the twine or how many times I wrap it, the plants still fall over. So, I give up. Pruning the bottom of the plants and attaching them all to the stakes that I have the twine wrapped around is on my to do list next.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Strawberries and Blueberries

My strawberries are growing like nuts. Right now they are loaded with a ton of flowers and a ton of little greenish strawberries. I can't wait till mid June when they should be ready to eat.

My "little" patch has taken over the raised bed and now covering my gnomes. There are three there, somewhere hehe.

I am excited this year because two of my three blueberry bushes have flowers and the start of baby blueberries. This has me totally excited. We planted these almost two years ago and they were supposedly already two years old when I ordered them. I hate paying the price for blueberries at the store and sadly at the farmers market. I may not have much this first year, maybe just enough for one batch of muffins, but it is a start.

Top picture shows the flowers on one of my blueberry bushes. They are so dainty and kind of remind me of the top part of a jelly fish. The bottom shows the starts of the blueberry themselves.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Busy times in the garden ~ Tomato and Pepper planting time!

I'm sorry I have been away from my blog for a couple of weeks. It's been busy here between getting all the veggies and seeds planted as well as fixing up some of the flower beds and working on the remainder of our homeschool year.

Not to mention, this past weekend, we opened up our camp site. It is almost all set up, but still need to get the screen house up. It will be our home away from home on the weekends. Can't stay away longer than a few days because of the cats and gardens.

I got my shipment of the tomato and pepper plants I ordered through Burpee a couple of weeks ago. I ordered 12 Super Sauce Tomato plants and 6 California Wonder pepper plants. They came in one big box through UPS. When they were delivered, my UPS guy asked what was in the box, which turned into me showing him the big veggie garden. He was pretty impressed with what I can do in my mobile home park.

The plants are packed 3 to a pack and look like this:

I planted the tomatoes first and then the pepper plants the next day. I did it this way because I was so sore after bending over to plant the 12 tomato plants. Thanks to the RA, I don't push myself unless I want to be in bed for days.

I dig a nice sized hole for each tomato plant and add some crushed up egg shells that I have been saving all winter long.

Then I lay the tomato plants on their side in the hole, not straight up and down. Tomatoes will grow roots on their stems. so putting the plants on the side makes them more stable, stronger and gives them more access to nutrients in the soil.

Then I fill in the hole, being careful not to break the stem. Then I give them a deep watering and surround them with straw. I ran out of straw after planting 8 of the tomato plants. I also have straw covering my onions, snap peas and carrots. I use the straw to cut down on the weeds. What weeds do show up are easier to pull up.

My tomato plants look lost in all that straw, but they will get very tall really soon. My pepper plants look tiny too. Last year they filled out very nicely and we got tons of peppers from them.

I found some random squash or cucumber plants growing while I was planting the pepper plants. I managed to find 12 of them. My dad kept burying the over grown veggies in my garden, which annoyed me. I thought I managed to get them all dug up, but I guess I missed some seeds. I did take out all these seedlings and planted them elsewhere.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Let the planting begin and a few visitors

I spent yesterday and today in the garden planting the spring veggies. I have the sugar snap peas, carrots, onions, parsley, lavender, sage and thyme all planted. I need to plant the beets, spinach and a little more lettuce.

I then spent the next hour or so chilling out in the cool shade (It was in the 80's today!) watching the birds. Lots of them at my feeders. Chickadee's, Downy Woodpecker, Robins, Sparrows, Cardinals and Goldfinches. I texted Matt to bring me my new camera, but to be quiet so he doesn't startle the birds.

I love the zoom on my camera. I was able to sit far enough away to not bother the birds, but still be able to take nice up close shots. My old camera could never get this close. I loved watching the robins tilting their heads before they went after a worm or grub. It was like they were listening for the bug.

Of course now I have to fill up the sunflower seed feeder again thanks to the fat squirrel we have. I need to remember to get one of those cones to stop it from climbing up the pole to the feeders.

My beautiful daffodils are finally blooming. I need to plant more bulbs this fall and move the ones I have around. I can't wait for my lilies to bloom!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Y is for Yarn Bomb

Originally I was going to give you a pictorial and video tour of my yard. However, after going down town and seeing what was going on there for a charity, I knew exactly what I was going to do for Y.

For the past couple of years, the trees, light poles, gazebo and other things in our town get covered in yarn. The first year it was done over night, so when people woke up and went shopping, they were surprised with the yarn bomb. This year I saw them setting up. This is all for a charity and it stays up all April long. Most people like it, although I did hear one person, very loudly, say how gross and messy it made the town look. I think it is cute and the creations seem to get better every year.

So, here is the yarn bombing of Exeter NH, 2015. It all goes to draw attention to Womenade of Greater Squamscott.

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