Saturday, February 28, 2015

Homeschool Co-op

Public school was out for holiday this past week. so Matt was either sleeping over his friends or his friend was sleeping over here. His friend was with us for Matt's archery shoot for score. Matt got two indoor pins, but his score was a lot worse than he normally has. I have a feeling his friend was distracting him too much.

This past Friday was our homeschool co-op day. We meet every other Friday for about 5-6 hours. At first Matt didn't want to go because he had been having fun with his public school friend, but when he couldn't sleep over again, Matt decided to go. Last time I spent the day with the little kids, but I wanted to spend sometime with the older, more calmer and quieter big kids. Don't get me wrong, I have a blast with the little kids, but Matt is 14 now and I have been out of the little kid stage for awhile now. Not to mention, it is usually just Matt around.

The first class he has, they have been building bridges. There are rules that they have to follow. Matt seems to enjoy it. I enjoyed watching and of course talking to the mom leading the class, who happens to be his archery teacher too.

He is working on the decking here. Making it more sturdy for when they drive a car over it to test out its durability.You can see the red car that the kid on the left is playing with. That's the test car. It's got some weight to it too.

Matt was working on the legs of his bridge. He has to have a 12 inch span between the legs on each end. I learned a bunch just watching and listening to the kids working on their bridges.

Next up was his cooking class. On the menu was chicken and zucchini parmesan. When I asked the lady who is teaching the class what was for lunch (the kids always make a ton of food) and she said chicken parm, I had to laugh. I had made it for dinner the night before. One of the kids in the class is gluten free and another is a vegetarian, so we made sure there were plenty for all diets.

 Matt breading up the chicken. They made the gluten free chicken and zucchini first because they only had a couple of mixing bowls to use.

I had to nudge Matt to cook up some of the chicken (you can see it all done on the bottom left corner) and some of the zucchini. He cooked both perfectly without me telling him. He loved both. Now if I can get him to cook at home. This coming school year for sure he is going to be cooking one day a week.

After the morning classes was lunch, recess and some free time. At lunch time, I sat at the adult table and Matt sat with one of the other kids. He was one of two older kids to go outside for recess. Of course he didn't have his coat with him (he runs hot all the time so I try not to bug him about it). For free time, he spent the time messing around on his phone playing a game. He gets along great with the kids his age, but sometimes he needs a break from the silliness. He was giving one of the littler kids a piggy back ride for awhile, running (or walking fast because his legs are so long). All I could hear was Matt making his car noises and the little boy giggling. I took a picture of them together because it was so cute.

The last class of the day, Matt chose drawing with most of the older girls his age. All the other big kids were going to start up a Dungeons & Dragons game, but he wasn't interested. Not his thing. Plus I think he just wanted to quiet too. I joined them eventually because the littles were giving me a headache.

He was drawing a car using a picture off his phone as his model. All the girls were drawing cats. The girls was so cute with all their chatter. I think Matt was enjoying it too. He would smile every now and then at them. He is at the age where he is interested in girls after all. The moms and I were chatting too. I swear I need the socialization more than Matt. Finally someone other than a teenager and my husband to talk to.

It was time to go home after his time with the girls. I totally needed a nap and I really didn't do anything. Of course Matt and his friend were scheming and next thing I knew, I was bringing Matt back over his friends house to spend the night. He is still there, spending another night. He is over there every weekend anyway. One night there and one night here. Trade off the boys to give each parents a night off lol.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Seed and plant orders for the 2015 gardens

For Valentine's day most husbands buy their wives rose or other pretty flowers and chocolate. Although I would love to get those things, the flowers just look pretty or smell nice, but eventually die and the chocolate never lasts long. My husband usually buys me a plant that will last me years. One year it was this beautiful red lily. However, when we moved from MA, it got left behind. Something about moving Thanksgiving weekend that had me thinking of other things.

This year my husband ordered me a dozen Super Sauce tomato plants, six California Wonder pepper plants and 100 each of three different types of onion sets, all from Burpee. I won't see them until May, but they will produce a ton of fruits and will feed our family for the year. Much better than some flowers that don't last more than a week.

My order from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds came in last week.It is so sad to see me so excited to get seeds in the mail. My son just shakes his head and smiles at me. LOL. I ordered mostly herbs from them. Thyme, Rosemary, Lavender, and Sage. I also ordered some Ice Queen Lettuce and more Danvers Half Long Carrot seeds. I only have a little bit left of those seeds from last year. I also got a free packet of flower seeds too. I got the same one last year, but never planted them. Guess I will plant both packets this year to bring more bees and butterfly's to the garden.

My order from Territorial Seeds was small this year. I have most seeds I use already. Leftovers from the year before or some saved seeds from the open-pollinated plants I grew. I needed some more Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans and some more Snacking Sunflower seeds. Matt loves sunflower seeds roasted with a little salt. I also ordered some Cabbage that is made for small gardens to try out.

Now all I need is for the snow to go away and the temps to warm up to something other than single digits and we will be all set. Don't see that happening anytime soon though.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Frugal Fabric Softener

I have been looking to get rid of all the toxic chemical cleaners in my house for a long time. I have asthma and it would always kick in whenever I used anything like Windex or other harsh chemicals to clean with.

Another thing I wanted to get rid of is fabric softener. I have always hated the slimy feeling it left on my clothes. The smell was nice, but was over powering at times. Dryer sheets were the same.

I started out by just using half a dryer sheet at a time in the dryer. It worked well and left less of a slimy film on my clothes. But it was still not want I wanted to use.

 I spent some time on Pinterest checking out what others have done. Most just use fabric softener liquid but in less amounts on a face cloth or a sponge and keep using them over and over. Not what I want. Another I saw used hair conditioner and water. I knew how conditioner felt on my hair and did not want that on my clothes. Finally I saw where some people used vinegar. I have that in my house and use it for my cleaning recipes. Only drawback was that I could smell the vinegar on my clothes even after washing and drying. I hate the smell of vinegar and honestly, who wants to smell like it.

I saw some people add essential oils into the vinegar and decided to try that. I have quite a few oils and picked lavender to try it out.

I filled a quart jar with vinegar and added about 15 drops of the lavender oil to it. Put on the jar cap and swish it to gently mix the vinegar and essential oil a bit. That's it. No chemical smell, No asthma attacks, not to mention it is eco friendly.

To use it, I just add it to the fill line in the fabric softener spot on my washer. I do swish the vinegar around a bit to make sure the oils are mixed in and not just sitting on the top of the vinegar. My house smells really nice while the washer is going.

I do smell the lavender on my clothes when they are wet but once they are dried, I don't smell it, but I also don't smell the vinegar. I have also noticed that the vinegar makes my clothes soft and it has stripped off that yucky film left over from the dryer sheets and commercial liquid fabric softener.

There are times when the vinegar/oil fabric softener does not get rid of the static cling though. It gets very dry here in the winter so I need a little something extra. I bought (or you can make) some wool balls. I love the Woolzie brand. So does my cat Abby, she keeps taking them if I don't leave them closed in the dryer.

These do a great job getting rid of the static cling and they fluff up the clothes. Not to mention that they help dry the clothes faster. I use three balls at a time. I bought a six ball pack, not knowing how many balls to use at once or how long they last. They last a long long long time.

Now to get the hubby to get me a nice umbrella clothes dryer for outside so I can save the electricity from the dryer in the warmer months. Not to mention the heat that it gives off to make the house hotter in the summer. I miss having an outside dryer.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Weekend snow

I hope you are all well and warm. I haven't left the house today, don't want to really.

Yesterday I took Matt out to find some nice warm coveralls to keep him toasty warm while snow blowing and shoveling out us and some of the neighbors. Took forever to find something. We managed to find some overalls by Carhartt, the brand I was planning on getting him anyway. Matt freaked out over the cost of them, but I honestly expected to pay more. I want him to be warm and know this brand will do the job.

He's been making some pretty nice money for a 14 year old. Snow is keeping the hubby busy too. He's been making nice cash money too. However, I do miss spending time with him. He's out pretty much every day. He's out right now as I type. His short days turn into 10+ hour days. Some days he doesn't get home until 10 pm after going in at 7 am. Poor guy is so tired when he gets home.

I took some pictures on my phone of Matt in the snow to show a friend of mine in Louisiana how much we have. Matt is at least my height if not a little taller now. I am 5'6" to give you an idea of all the snow we have. He is also standing on top of like 10 inches.

I was standing in the doorway with Abby, who normally tries to make a run for it. She touched the snow, backed away and meowed at me as if she was saying "Aww hell no". Guess both the cats won't try to make a run for it until the spring time.

He was trying to stand on top of the snow. This last storm gave us light and fluffy snow. 18+ inches of it.

Playing around in the snow. You can see my neighbors truck, behind Matt. Well sort of. It's buried in the snow. As is most of the neighborhood.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Snow snow and more snow

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week. After the storm last week, we got another 3 feet of snow. We have close to six feet of snow on the ground right now. We are running out of places to put it all. I am grateful that we don't live where we use to in MA however. There was no place to put the snow in the city. Here, we at least have two empty lots across the street that the park owner has been putting the piles of snow.

The hubby has been working for his cousin doing snow removal, because he can't do it real job. He drives a concrete truck and you can't very well pour concrete when there is 6 feet of snow on the ground. It's nice money too.

We got another 4 more inches yesterday and am expected to get another 12+ inches Saturday into Sunday. Matt had a Boy Scout indoor pool party for Sunday, but it was canceled due to the snow. Another scout event for tomorrow was also canceled.

Thankfully we are fully ready. Matt fixed a cable on the snow blower so it won't run in just high gear now. I have plans to make some more bread crumbs and bake some bread for bread pudding and some banana bread as well. Anything to keep the house warmer. Going to be very cold the next few days. I am so ready for warmer weather.
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