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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Our Winter Vegetable Garden

For those of you that read this blog on a regular basis, you know I have been working on getting vegetables to grow for the past several Summers. Our Summer garden was a bust. I did get to eat one tomato and something else ate the others. Same with the cucumbers. The biggest issue in the summer, is not only the heat, but the bugs that eat the plants. Since I am trying to grow without the use of pesticides it is quite a challenge. So, I decided we could try a Winter garden, when most of the insects and other pests are hibernating. I will tell you about each item below. I did not take pictures of our flowers, but most of them are thriving quite nicely. If I did not mention in previous posts, any natural garbage, like peelings, coffee grounds, etc, I save and then toss around the bases of the plants. This adds much needed nutrients to our awful dirt, without any added expense. Roses especially need extra potassium so potato peels and banana peels are awesome for them. We also have a rabbit, some of you know that, and when we dump his potty pan, we use it as a fertilizer for the plants. This actually works quite awesome.

Those are two of the four largest tomatoes.  I just found four or five more starting, and lots of buds.  Now this is peculiar to me, because tomatoes like it hot, hot, hot.  And while it has been warm here and there it definitely is not hot.  Tomatoes will not grow below 50, so at night I take the whole plant into the garage where it sleeps.  This plant is the same plant I had over the Summer months, and I just keep letting it grow.
That is a broccoli head starting to grow.  It is very small right now, but I am hoping soon we can eat it.  I had two other broccoli plants as well, but they didn't make it.  That too is quite peculiar, because I planted them at the same time, in the same dirt with all the same everything. 
These are peas.  I picked three today, that I will eat at some point.  There are at least ten others that are not quite ready to pick.  These were made from seeds, and peas seem to do quite well here.  No one really likes peas, but me, but these are sugar snap peas and I think they will note a big difference.  Peas will continue to grow, I am told, as long as I keep them picked.
These are carrots, again from seeds.  They are not ready yet, but I am hoping within a couple of weeks they will be.  These do quite well also, and we planted more seeds.  Behind you can see the beginnings of more pea plants that we planted just maybe a week ago.  There is also onions, but I am not sure if you can see them.  Hopefully they too will be ready in a couple of weeks.
That is one little tiny lettuce plant.  They say lettuce grows quite well, but it is very fussy.  It needs to be almost constantly moist in the dirt.  Though I do water every day, it seems to need more.  It is finally starting to grow a bit more now.  We planted these from seeds but only the one plant is growing.  I am hoping to get at least some lettuce.  We eat a lot of lettuce.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Merry Christmas from Melissa's Homeschool!

Whew I am always glad when Christmas is over! The past few years both of the kids have slept in late, and I was able to wake up and get oriented before they got up. Not this year! What is up with that? They are older, it shouldn't be hard to get them to go to bed and sleep in. Caitlin especially did not want to go to bed this year, and they were both up at six.

Here at our house we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but we also do Santa. I see no reason why you can't do both. In honor of the birth of Jesus, we did a Wise Man Christmas. I have said we would do this other years, and just could never do it. This year I stuck to the three gift rule, from Santa parents, and it was so nice. It didn't take hours to shop, wrap, hide and clean up. Plus, to me it is so special when you teach them that Jesus was given three gifts the day he was born, from the three wise men, and that is why you should get only three gifts. Of course, with all the other gifts from friends and relatives, they get way more than three, but from Mom and Dad Santa, there were three. We also did a family gift, which I will get to in another post.

I didn't get my favorite apps posted yet, but I will. And I have some other things to share as well. Things should be winding down now, and I will get to relax a bit. I have a report card to do, for DJ, and I am working on tons of craft ideas. I am also revising some of our curriculum, and I can't believe the school is half over already.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Is Almost Here, Already!

I really can not believe that Christmas is almost here, already. I think next year I will put my tree up earlier. It just doesn't seem like it has been there that long. I love my tree, and all the decorations.

Each year we take the kids to see Christmas lights. Last year we went to a very fancy one, where you could walk or drive, and we went on a horse carriage ride. It was fun, and it was very expensive! So, this year we went to the next city over, which happens to be Gainesville. We ate dinner at Applebees, not inexpensive, but we do that each year, and plan for it. This was my first time eating at Applebees. I think I like it better than any of the other places we have eaten. The Napa Valley Chicken and Portabello Mushrooms were to die for. We even had dessert, which normally we do not. Then off to find some lights. At first it was kind of lame, couldn't find much of anything. Then I remembered a friend of mine had said to go to N Florida Hospital, and walk around the lake. It is just a small lake, probably a pond, but the decorations were marvelous and Christmas music too. It was free, so that is always nice. It was freezing, however. I was the only one who didn't bring a coat, argh! Then we went to a fancy housing complex, trust me it is fancy, and they had a mini Candy Land display with Christmas lights. The kids got to play on the playground and it was nice and cute, small but lovely. Then home for a hot shower for me. After defrosting it was just about time for bed.

My husband and I both got tablets for Christmas. We have been using them though, LOL! I have to say there are some really cool apps, and then some really dumb ones. This weekend I will share some of my favorites that are educational and fun. If you have some apps you love, please share. Right now I am going for the free ones, but I have seen some paid ones that I am considering getting as well. Mostly educational ones. If I forget and do not get back on here, I hope everyone has a blessed and very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Do You Like Boogers?

If yes, then you should have been at my house since Saturday.  Both kids have caught a cold.  Matter of fact, every year in December, they catch a cold.  Wanna know why?  Because other people whose children have excess boogers, fevers, snot, coughs and congestion refuse to keep their kids home.  Then their kids touch all the goodies and utensils at parties and then everyone else gets it too.  So, this week my kids are ill and all the things we were supposed to do are not being done.  Why?  Because we keep our germs to ourselves.  Tomorrow is supposed to be a volunteer day.  I have no idea if we will be doing this either.  Depends on how much, or how little the boogers are.  I also have to finish Christmas shopping tomorrow, and out to dinner Friday and then Christmas lights.  I hope everyone is better by then.  Lucky for me and my husband, we have not caught it.  I did however have a massive migraine two weekends ago, and a killer toothache last weekend, so I have had my fair share.  So, my very crazy week has turned out to be a relaxing, stay in bed and rest kind of week.  I guess I will stop complaining now, LOL!  I hope your week is going well.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Guns and Control

I don't even know what to say anymore.  I have had my own issues with guns, safety and my personal reasons for not wanting my children around them.  Yesterday, in CT, a young man entered an elementary school and proceeded to kill 20 children, and 6 adults.  That was after he had already killed his mother at home.  Now, I believe the fundamental right to own a gun is a right that should be honored.  I also believe that outlawing this right would serve no purpose to keep guns out of the hands of those that wish to do harm to others.  However, I also believe something needs to change.  Every week now there is a new shooting at a mall, movie theater, school or other public event.  This can not continue.  It is my understanding these guns belonged to the mother that was killed.  She owned quite an arsenal of guns.  Last time I checked you can only shoot one gun at a time, maybe two if you are super skilled.  Why was this allowed?  Why should the general public need to own an arsenal of guns?  Why is this not a red flag to someone?  Second guns that shoot multiple rounds of shots at a time really should not be owned by the general public either.  What is the reason for it?   Just because the Constitution says you should have the right to own a gun does not mean it is relevant to all types of guns and weapons.  It is simply absurd, in my opinion.  I can not imagine how these poor children will ever feel safe going to school again.  The trauma and fear they must have.  This school had high tech safety equipment, and the young man was not granted entrance to the school.  So, he shot out windows to get in.  The school tried to keep the children safe, and with his use of his weapons, he gained entrance anyways.  It is all very sad for everyone involved.  Yes, here in America you have the fundamental right to own a gun.  That doesn't mean everyone should own guns or have as many, or any type that they see fit.  Go back to muskets where it takes a little while to load and shoot, then they can't kill a whole room of people within 5 minutes before someone can get to them.  It is still a gun, it is well within the rights of owning it, but mass murder won't be so easy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Charity Garage Sale, Alligators, and Write A Letter To Jesus

We got so much done today! The weekend was a complete bust due to a massive migraine that I was blessed with. But, I got a lot of extra sleep. Not much else you can do, when you can't even keep your eyes open due to light sensitivity.

This Thursday is our 4H Holiday Bake Off and Christmas party. I will share the recipes later in the week, after we get pictures. This morning we went for our morning walk, and stopped by the 4H Extension Office. The kids had entered some items into the N Florida Fair, and we wanted to pick them up. Much to our surprise both kids had one first and second place, and even won some money. How excited they were! Then we took some holiday pictures, well we did have Santa hats on.

I can not believe, in my migraine stupor, that I forgot to tell you about our charity garage sale last Thursday. It was very successful and we raised about 115 dollars for the not for profit org. called 4 Pets Sake. This was done through our Earth Kids group, and the kids all worked very hard. Who knew a garage sale was so much work!

We got in a full day of school today, and at the garage sale a mom had donated a nature journal type education book. I jumped on it, and am proud to say we are already using it. DJ will be doing a writing assignment tomorrow from the view point of an alligator. This was an idea in the book, but you can try it too. Plus, a friend of ours shared a topic where instead of writing a letter to Santa, you write a letter to Jesus. Caitlin already wrote her letter to Santa, but DJ who no longer believes in Santa, will be writing a letter to Jesus. I am interested to see what he writes. He has an interesting sense of humor when he writes.

Well that is it for today. Hope everyone had a fabulous Monday!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A More Normal School Week

Last week was a crazy, yet fun week.  I left off with Wednesday, which was horseback riding lessons.  On Thursday we did some traditional book work schooling.  We still had to catch up, so not a lot got accomplished.  Friday was supposed to be a park day, couldn't do that, and a Christmas party, didn't do that either.  Due to a death, that was very unexpected, with the fire dept family, the Christmas party was canceled.  We did have friends over Friday night, to sit around the fire, a few cocktails and just plain fun.  I could feel a migraine coming on Friday afternoon.  But, I was hoping it would go away, but it didn't.  By Saturday I was suffering a full blown migraine.  I really hate migraines.  I can barely function when I have one, and it just doesn't work for me.  I am in no way used to just lying around and or sleeping all day.  Today it is better, but still there.  I do have to make an appt to be seen, though the last time they were this bad I got no answers, but at least I can get my prescription refilled.  I also have a tooth bothering me.  Why not right?  We do have dental, but it will take me forever to get seen.  So, I am still contemplating what to do with it.  Back to normal tomorrow, I hope.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Horseback Riding Lessons

I had mentioned a couple of months ago, that friends of ours own horses, and my kids wanted to learn to ride. They had a beginner care class, back then, and today was the day to start learning to ride. In return, I will share my knowledge of jewelry making and painting, with them. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm. First they had to brush the horses and get the saddles ready. Since Caitlin does not yet have the strength DJ assisted Faith in carrying and applying the equipment to the horses. You need a lot of strength to properly apply the bridle and saddle. Then some instructions on steering and commanding the horse. Then they were up and ready to ride. Both kids were led around first, then shortly they were comfortable doing it themselves. I was so proud of both of them. Caitlin especially seemed to immediately bond with the horse. She is my reserved, easily scared child, but she acted like she had been around horses her whole life. I did get on, and walk around, led by the trainer, but didn't go on my own. It felt so odd and unnatural to me. Next time I will try to be more brave and do it on my own. Oh to be young and fearless again.

Yesterday, we went Christmas shopping with my Mom and out to lunch. The kids always enjoy this each year.

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