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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Welcome To The Jungle

The other evening we met our fears and ventured into the dense marshes local to our house. We got a cool picture of this toad and the sunset was stunning.

LOL just kidding. I won't go anywhere near marshes this time of year. The sunset was taken on the opposite side of our home and the toad lives in a old pool pipe in our backyard. This toad is very cool. We have owned this house for exactly four years today. Every summer I hear him down at the bottom of the pipe croaking. We have never seen him in person though. The other evening Caitlin spotted his eyes in the dusk of evening. We got this shot of him peaking out of his pipe. I assume it is the same frog because it is such a great and safe spot to make your home. Now for a Science project I will have the kids look up the kind of frog, or toad that it is, and learn all about it.

The flooding in my hometown in upstate NY is slowly receding. My sister's home was spared, but so many others have lost everything. Even the hospital I used to work at had to be evacuated. I worked there for many years and this never happened. My little hometown is not even recognizable.

Last night, just after midnight, a pipe under the hose exploded. Thank goodness my husband was still up and quickly turned off the water to the house. You don't realize how much you appreciate flushing the toilet until you can't. I feel your pain Anne. Luckily we have the pool and could scoop the water out of there to flush the toilets, which my husband didn't think of. He was able to fix the pipe himself, saving us a boat load of money.

Monday, August 29, 2011

I Am Sad

We basically were unscathed from Hurricane Irene. And even though NYC didn't get hit as hard as they feared, upstate NY, VT, and CT have been hammered and massive flooding has occurred. My hometown, where I spent all of my childhood, is experiencing extreme flooding. My sister still owns a home there, and even had to be evacuated, from an area that is not usual for evacuation. The water has not yet entered her home, but it is sneaking closer. There has been major flooding in Prattsville and Schoharie, NY. Homes wiped out, people stranded, yet the big news channels have moved on to business as usual with regular political BS and so on. It irritates me. To all our friends and family suffering with power outages and flooding, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Last Week Of Summer Vacation

This is our last week of Summer Vacation. It doesn't seem possible already. We have a quiet, yet fun summer. We had a nasty storm blow through last night and ripped to shreds some of the porch screen and pool canopy. It was a band from Irene, that is how big that thing is. My husband starts firefighter classes Tues and we will probably be having a quiet next six months as far as activities go. That is OK though, I am ready for a break from the money spending. I hope everyone is staying safe and dry through Hurricane Irene.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dog Slobber and the Post Office

Those two things sound like they go together, right? LOL! That is Biscuit. I love Biscuit dearly. She is an awesome dog. Biscuit loves to sniff, drool and lick my windows. She also breathes on them when she is excited because someone or something is in her yard. This leaves my window a big mess of dog slobber all combined in one gross mess. Lucky would also love to slobber on the windows, but she is too small. She has to settle with barking at herself in the fireplace door. So yesterday I spent the morning taking down and washing curtains and windows. I love clean windows, they look so awesome. Now if I could encourage Biscuit to not slobber on them, it would be perfect.

I have complained before about our local post office. Since we are a rural community, I really don't have any other options for shipping packages. This morning I heard on the news that the post office, not just mine but all of them, want to save money by making the mail slower. Are you kidding me? Not only slower but you know those packages you pay a lot of extra money for, so they get their faster? Those are the packages they specifically want to make slower. Really, then why do I want to pay that kind of money? This is so frustrating, it makes me see red. Apparently there is a lot of money to be made by making Priority and Express mail slower. Well duh of course there is when you charge what you charge to get it there faster. Ugh!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Come On Irene!

Bleh, here we go again. Yes, I know it is hurricane season, but I do not relish one heading for us or our friends and loved ones. We do need a good deal of rain to help with the severe drought, but any real damage would only hurt the economy more. I suppose if there is one up side it could be that any damaged homes or other structures could spur construction jobs. This one looks like it could turn into a real monster. Even if FL does not take a direct strike the risk of flooding, power outages, and tornadoes are real risks. I will still need to watch closely to be sure it does not veer towards the west and take a different path. One concern is always pets. With two dogs and a rabbit, evacuating could be a real challenge. I am afraid the rabbit would have a heart attack, so I would have to reinforce his room and leave extra water and food. His room is really pretty secure. The dogs would need to be packed up and go with us, if we had to leave in a hurry. Since this storm is probably going to be a Cat 4 at some point, and probably a 3 wherever it lands, I am encouraging all our friends and family members all the way up the East coast to be prepared. Stay safe, and pay attention! If you don't know how to be hurricane prepared there are tons of posts in my archives.

Monday, August 22, 2011

This Has Been An Interesting Year For Me

I am not a shy person, but I do appreciate the quiet non glamorous lifestyle. That is probably one of the things that drew me to homeschooling. I am just as happy being a leader as being a wall flower. It just depends on my mood and the situation. This past year, starting last summer, has been an interesting one for me. We did a lot of socializing with field trips, 4H and playgroups. We have just learned that two families in our playgroup, due to personal reasons, have had to place their children in public school after many years of homeschooling. The kids were real sad, because they knew they wouldn't get to see them as much as we have the past year. It is a big adjustment for everyone involved. So now I need to make some adjustments to the ways in which we socialize. This was going to have to happen eventually, because DJ is going to be twelve next year, and playing with elementary school age kids just wouldn't work. I want him to get more involved in 4H and the community this next year. My husband is starting firefighter classes next week. These are three days a week, plus his regular meetings, for six months. As proud as I am of him, I am already dreading this. Good thing I am strong willed. I have offered for DJ to go to public school, if he wishes, for the past two year. He wishes to continue to homeschool and for that I am grateful. I so enjoy being the one to teach them, watch them learn and grow in a kind and loving environment. I would never ever put someone down who chose to send their child to public school, but I love homeschooling and it works for me. We were supposed to have family coming to visit this next week, but they can not come now due to tight finances. We have not seen them in six years. The kids were disappointed yet again. This economy is effecting us, even if we can still pay our bills, in a lot of negative ways. On a positive note, we are going to Seaworld one more time, in October. We wanted to go two more times before our year pass was up, but it just is not going to be possible. My mother, who can sew with her eyes closed, is going to help Caitlin sew a dress for County Events. I can not wait to see the results. No, I can not sew!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Do You Have A Child That Needs To Learn To Type?

The BBC is one of my favorite educational websites. They have tons of great resources and games, all for free. We have used their site for several different things. Now I just found a free typing course. It is fun and entertaining, and covers all 12 steps of typing. If you have a child that needs to learn to type, this is free, or an adult even check out BBC Typing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Gilchrist County 4H Award Dinner

Tuesday evening was the annual Gilchrist County 4H Award Dinner. Everyone had to bring two side dishes, and of course yourselves. This was our first time and I was surprised how long it took. I assumed, that is why you should never assume, because it was a small county it wouldn't take a very long time at all. The kids were excited, and Caitlin went right up to get her Cloverbud pin without making me accompany her. I was shocked and happy all at the same time. She is my shy child and 4H has done wonders for her. Since she has not completed the Small Animals book, she couldn't get a ribbon for that. But she did get a pin and a ribbon, and boy was she excited. DJ got three pins, and almost got a fourth. He missed the 100% on his Photography one book by two points. I warned him his sloppy handwriting would come back to get him, and it did. He also got a few ribbons as well. If you homeschool your kids, or even if you don't, 4H is a very affordable way to have your kids learn and the great thing is it isn't all agriculture anymore like when I was a kid. Now next year both DJ and Caitlin will have to try to get in more community service time, which is not going to be easy with my husband starting fire fighter classes three days a week, and I work every Saturday. But, I am going to try my best. There has been a whole lot more going on, which I will share in the coming days. In September our 4H meetings start back up again, with a dinner at a local restaurant, another annual event. Even though our county is a very small county, their 4H program is wonderful. Oh, I forgot to mention DJ just finally got his entries into the National Geographic Kids photography contest. There were some glitches that got in the way, but it is done now. If you have a child that loves photography, be sure to check my archives to the link to join that great contest.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Too Busy To Blog

It seems I am so busy, I can not even put up a good post, visit and comment to my fellow bloggers, or catch up on Entrecard drops. I promise after tomorrow I will be able to start to get back to normal. It has been crazy busy!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Squirrels and Woodpeckers OH My!

We are nature loves here in my home, as many of you know. But, nature seems to attacking my trees. I do not chase away squirrels, we love to watch them. But, for some reason, this year they are eating all the bark off of my trees. The have stripped totally clean all the bark from one Crepe Myrtle tree. The tree does still have some flowers, but I wondered why it didn't bloom as much this year. Well it could be from the shortage of rain, but maybe it is from the bark being eaten? I am not sure. Then there is the Oak Tree that has been pecked to death with woodpecker holes. I am not sure if it will have to be removed or not. The White Birch tree has been completely shaved from the top moving towards the bottom, of its bark. I love that tree. I don't know what to do. I do not want to chase away the wildlife but if they are going to ruin my landscaping what good are they? Any ideas? At least we don't get deer, as much as I love watching them, they destroy any plants you have.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

National Geography Kids Photography Contest 2011

Ooh this is exciting! Get your kids together, get their cameras, and get taking some pictures. National Geographic Kids is having their 2011 photography contest. From August 1, 2011- October 31, 2011 you can enter one picture per category, either online or via the mail. Be sure to read all the rules and regs so you don't make a mistake. This contest is for US and Canadian citizens, but it does appear there is some sort of international option. Check it out at Nat Geo Kids.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Let Us Have Some Fun!

Today is my birthday! So, Happy Birthday to me! I am 42 years young today. So at my expense, I thought we would have some fun. Some of you read my blog everyday, and have for some years now. Some are family and friends, blogging friends, homeschool friends, and some info seekers. So if you could ask me one question, what would it be? I have already answered the one for age, so pick another. Go ahead and ask your questions, I will answer them all. Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The List!

One of the things that used to drive me crazy about public school, is the back to school list. The much dreaded list. It wasn't that you had to buy supplies, I still have to buy supplies, it is the absurdity of the list. For example, this would be the required list, for the first day of school, if DJ was entering 6th grade in Gilchrist County schools. Glue sticks, colored pencils, erasable felt markers, white glue, scissors, these are all ridiculous. What 6th grader uses glue and pencils anymore? None that I know of. A pink eraser and a white eraser? What does it matter the color of the eraser? Now to the expense part. 1 Scientific Calculator will cost at the very least 20 dollars and they go up from there. I hate calculators in school anyways. You need to learn the math. I am not sure what a Scientific Calculator does. Then you need a Geometry set. They start at 5 dollars for a cheap plastic set and go up from there. Do you really need a whole Geometry set in the sixth grade, or just a protractor? What about a pocket dictionary? That will put you out about 10 dollars. Why do you even have to supply that to the school? Can't you just have it at home? I was glad to see they didn't make specifics on backpacks and such. There used to be very specific guidelines. I am not bashing public schools, but The List used to drive me crazy, and it still would. What about your schools. What is The List like? Does it drive you batty?

12 #2 pencils,
2 glue sticks,
1 white glue,
1 pink eraser,
1 white eraser,
1 pkg erasable felt markers,
1 pair scissors,
1 pencil case,
10 pocket folders.
1 pkg non lined paper,
2 pkgs lined paper,
4 lined notebooks,
5 blue pens,
2 red pens,
1 ruler,
1 pkg pencil crayons,
2 one inch binders,
8 subject dividers,
1 scientific calculator,
1 geometry set,
1 pocket dictionary,
1 pencil sharpener,
3 highlighter pens

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Homeschool Evaluations Are Done!

Our homeschool evaluations were this morning. It took almost two and a half hours, but both DJ and Caitlin are above grade average this year, so I am very happy about that. I don't usually ask the evaluator that, but family and friends are always curious to know, so this year I asked. I am always relieved when they are over, now I can start to really plan extensively for the next school year. Of course, I have already done some. Maybe I can even relax for a bit. LOL, who am I kidding!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Caitlin's Frog Habitat

You have to click on the second picture to actually see the frog, it is so small. This was not a planned event, but I figured why not make it educational since it was going to happen anyways.

This morning Caitlin went out to go take care of her rabbit, and somehow spotted this tiny tree frog, on the pavement. She put it in her sand pail and proceeded to do her rabbit. She asked if we could keep it and watch it grow. Caitlin has already captured a baby cricket, watched it have a baby, the baby died, but the adult grew to be an adult, then passed after about two months. This is a normal life cycle for that particular breed of cricket. So I told her she had to create a habitat for the frog to grow and live in. I thought I still had a small fish tank, but it appears my husband took it upon himself to throw it away, thanks Craig. So I had been saving these big pickle containers, for what I wasn't sure. It makes a perfect habitat for a tiny frog. So in the container Caitlin put grass, leaves, a stick, a bowl of water, two dead flies and after adding holes to the top, in went the baby frog. So far it has been seen swimming in the water and climbing up the walls. It will be outside for now, since it is a tropical frog I don't think it will appreciate air conditioning. So what did you do today?

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