Friday, August 29, 2014

7 Quick Takes on school, busyness and food (what else??)

Well I haven't blogged all week, so why not do a quick takes to give you a run down on what's been going on; that is, if you've been wondering what's been going on.  Hopefully you have and that is why you are here.  Welcome and happy Friday.
After rushing through school on Monday so that I could go back to bed and sleep off my cold, I woke up Tuesday feeling much better.  It is still taking us some time to get into the groove once we get home from Mass in the morning, but we did manage to get most of the work done before the four kids went off to a friend's house for a meeting the boys were having for their video club.  One of the dads arranged for them to go to a town hall meeting and work with the young man doing the video recording so that was a cool, impromptu field trip that I didn't have to do anything for except drop them off.  Those are the best!
 
Wednesday, after getting through our work, was physical prep time for the big panel discussion I was holding at my house later that day.  We had six moms presenting how they've homeschooled through high school, and we had over 30 parents attend.  Overall, I think the main message we tried to convey was:  1. You CAN do this 2. Trust and pray  3.  God will fill in the gaps  4.  God will not abandon your children once they graduate - He will guide them and direct them if they let Him.  Everyone who attended said they felt much better and were glad they weren't going to have to have any more panic attacks (at least for the time being).
 

If I was successful in my endeavors, I recorded all 6 of the mom's talks so that I can somehow convince my daughter to edit and convert them for me so that I can make them available on my website so that others can listen to them.  That's a lot to accomplish when I don't really know the first thing about any of it so hopefully Ms 22 yo will have time in between classes and work to do this before too much time passes by.
 
Thursday I was just so tired after the couple of days we had that we got through school and I didn't really do much of anything.  Oh...except meal plan, which took hours because I'm still trying to figure out how to feed everyone the right way on the Trim Healthy Mama plan.  This really does deserve a post of its own and hopefully some day it will get one, but I have high hopes for this new way of eating.
 

Except for the fact that I've figured out that I am allergic to Stevia and most other sugar substitutes (like anything ending in -ol).  Kind of frustrating when everything sweet in this plan depends on Stevia and Erythritol.  I'm trying to figure out how to work around this.  Any ideas?
 
It's a 3 day weekend and that is exciting.  We have dinner plans, around the yard plans and swimming plans.  Unfortunately, the weather service is predicting two days of rain.  Hopefully they will be wrong.  Hope you have a wonderful Labor Day weekend!

God Bless!

Monday, August 25, 2014

The First Day of School

Well, today was it...the first day of school for everyone; well, almost everyone.  Ms 22 yo started her "Sophomore/Senior year plus one term".  Not quite sure how she came up with that, but I'm excited for her.  She'll be taking four classes and working part time at two jobs.

Ms 20 yo started her second semester with three classes at the local junior college.  She nannies so she's the only one who has the ability to do homework at work.

Ms 18 yo is starting at a different junior college on Tuesday because she will be starting sign language and our JC doesn't have those classes.  She has to drive farther and into a semi-questionable part of town, but it's only 2 days per week and it's all during the day.  Making sub sandwiches is what she does when she isn't at school.

Then we have Ms 15 yo who started 10th grade and Mr 14 yo who started 9th grade today.  They are excited, because as high schoolers they are banished to their rooms to work in peace and quiet.  They are not excited, however, because they are both doing Teaching Textbooks Algebra I and have to share the computer.  We'll see how long it is before fighting ensues.

That leaves me with Ms 11 yo in 6th grade and Mr 9 yo in 4th.  We're going to be doing more work together this year since there is only two of them.  For the first day I planned a lot of reading out loud stuff and then, yesterday, promptly came down with a whopper of a head cold.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it despite my nasal voice and sneezing fits. 

Not much has changed in the school room except for this wonderful addition:


We school in the "dining room" and it has only one window that opens and shuts properly and very little air flow from the rest of the house, so this fan is a welcome addition to our new year.
 
So there you have it.  We're off on another adventure.  Sitting there today it didn't even seem like we had a summer break.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I'm chalking it up to me not feeling good.  Hope your school year is off to a good start!

God Bless!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

We're About to Embark Upon a Few New Things

Tomorrow is the first day of school for everyone around here:  elementary, high school and college kids alike.  I can say that I'm not ready for summer to be over but I guess it had to end sometime.  My first thought was to not start the same week the college girls started just so I wasn't distracted with any of their issues like time, food and cars.  Alas, I am foregoing that and jumping in with both feet.  Hopefully their stuff will go off without a hitch.

Also, what better time to start a whole new way of eating than at the same time you're all trying to start school and get used to a new schedule?  I mean, why not?  Why not overhaul your meal plan and learn new snacks and try to figure out a new system right now?  After a lot of prayer and a lot of issues (we have a lot of females around here, remember), I have been delving into learning about Trim Healthy Mama and how we can incorporate it into our lives.  However, I don't usually do anything half-way, so again I'm jumping in with both feet and trying to change everything at once...at the same time we're starting a new school year and getting used to a new schedule.  Yeah.  Call me crazy.

This week, too, I decided it would be a great time to host a discussion panel at my house one night.  We have 6 moms who have gradated kids from their homeschool high school and sent them off in various directions, coming together to present how they did it (in 15 min or less) to about 20 moms and dads.  In my living room.  Which means it has to be clean and set up for about 26 people to sit comfortably.  Yeah.  Call me even crazier.

And, if I have time in the next few days, I'd like to figure out how to record it and turn it into a podcast.  Right.  Anyone know anything about this?  Maybe it's easy, I don't know, I haven't started researching it yet.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

So that's where I've been these past two weeks; trying to finish up my summer, plan for the fall and totally change my food stock.  For those of you starting school next week, too, many blessings to you.

God Bless!

Friday, August 15, 2014

An Unexpected Treat

Thursday was a beautiful, sunny, pleasant day.  We were doing our thing around the house (I was knee deep in the middle of planning high school schedules for two of the kids) when a stranger knocked on our door.

I was greeted by a nice lady from down the road a piece who was wondering if she could park her truck and horse trailer on our driveway so that she could ride her horse down the tree-lined road next to our house.

Sure!  Why not?  Cars are in and out of here all the time and our yard has been used as a parking lot on many occasions.  A few hours later she pulled up and brought out a beauty of a horse.  She told us that he is a retired competitive jumper and show horse and that he is about 18 years old.  


As she rode away, she told the kids that when she came back they could get up on him if they wanted to and walk around the yard.  A few hours later, that is exactly what they did. 

Ms 11 yo remembers our horse and remembers riding on him, but Mr 9 yo was a bit young back then so he only has a recollection of seeing a picture of him up on the horse with me holding him.  Boy were they excited.


Our new friend told me to ask you what is wrong with these pictures?  I'll give you a second and see if you can guess.

Ready???

Okay, well,  look at who is wearing the helmet.  Is it the person ON the horse?  No, it isn't.  Oh well, she had just come back from riding and didn't remember to take it off so it looks kind of humorous with her wearing it.

What a nice surprise for a stay-at-home day.  The kids who weren't home were sad that they missed it!  She said she'll be back sometime so hopefully they'll be here then.

God Bless!
 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Celebrating St. Clare

For the past 13 or so years, we've been going to Adoration on Monday evenings at the local Poor Clare Monastery.  Yesterday being the feast of St. Clare, the nuns were in their festive mode (as much as cloistered nuns can be, of course).  

I love special days when they bring out the extra fancy monstrance.
 
I apologize for the quality, I am clearly not good with point and shoot cameras!


For certain feasts, they usually have a statue or some small shrine area set up to commemorate what they are celebrating.



For this feast, according to legend, St. Clare was entertaining a bishop for dinner when he asked her to say the blessing over the food.  She was reluctant but obedient, and when she blessed the food, a cross appeared on the bread.  In that spirit, the nuns put out baskets of blessed buns.


We decided to wait until we left Adoration to indulge in our holy morsels.
 


I know I'm a day late, but...Happy Feast Day, sisters.

God Bless!

 

Friday, August 8, 2014

7 Quick Takes about bikes and a lot of water

Well I've been meaning to write a post all week and here it is, Friday already.  We were on a stay/vacation (a little bit of stay and a little bit of away) last week and this week has been all about catching up and moving onward.  Anyhow, here's some pics from last week.
 

The first day we went on a family bike ride (it was a bit chilly which is why we're all kind of scrunchy here).  We had 2 1/2 hours to ride 16 miles so that Ms 18 yo could still make it to work on time.  It went well until the last 1/4 of the trip.  That part of the trail went through a rather scary unattractive part of town then down a gravel path past the smelly canal and ended up on the side of a busy road where we had to cross multiple on and off ramp entrances for the highway!  Unbelievable.  I just kept praying the entire time that no one would get hit by a truck.  Next time we'll just do the nice, pretty west 1/2 of the trail and turn around and come back instead of making the entire loop.  Thankfully she was only 10 minutes late for work :)


I tried water skiing again last week.  I figured it had been 17 years since I'd skied.  The first day I went for broke and tried to get up on one ski like I used to.  That didn't work, so I added another ski and this is as far as I got.  By then I was sore and tired.  The next day, my husband suggested I try a set of skis about as big as surf boards.  He assured me I'd have no problem with those.  

Guess what?  He was right.  Got right up and didn't even get my hair wet.  

No one was in the boat with a camera, so this is the only proof I have
I decided to take it conservatively and just went around for a bit and then let go.  Not bad after a 17 year break.  Next summer...slalom!

 It's always exciting when you can see your children do something that you enjoy so much.  It took him a few tries, but he was successful and happy. 


Ms 15 yo was the photographer at this point.  This one cracks me up.
 
 These two pictures crack me up, too.  Mr 9 yo (in the middle) wanted to go tubing but didn't want to go alone so his brother and sister said they'd go with him.  The top picture is when they were getting ready to go.  The bottom picture is approximately 5 seconds later, when he decided he really didn't want to go tubing.
.
Since then it's been back to real life.  I've made a list of all the things I still want/need to accomplish before school starts and am trying to pick my way through it.  School.  Ugh.  The older girls start in two weeks and I'm just not ready for that again.  The rest of us are aiming to start the week after that.  Oh glorious summer (and it truly has been a good one!), I shall miss thee.

Have a great weekend!
God Bless!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

River Weaving by John

This is John.




He is:  an artist, a professor, the dean of a department at a university in Iowa, my husband's cousin.

This is his art display called "River Weaving" in the I & M Canal in our area.  



He gave a presentation today and we went out on this beautiful day to enjoy his art as well as the gorgeous weather that God had provided for the occasion.

Here is my gang:



And this is a luna moth.  Apparently these aren't that easy to find as they only live a few days.  They have no mouth so they cannot eat and therefore live only long enough to mate.  God sure makes some incredible creatures!
 
 

While I may have a hard time really enjoying modern art, I did enjoy this display as well as the pleasant afternoon.  Hope you had a good one, too.

God Bless!