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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Easy Peasy Homeschool

It is that time of year again. We are one week away from the end of our third semester of school, and my endless decision making for next year begins. There are so many great products to consider. DJ will continue with at least three classes at FLVS, but because 8th grade will be the last year that I get to have lots of fun with his curriculum, I am still looking for fun things for him to do. Once he starts high school, he has to take certain classes in order to get his diploma. I still have lots of time to play around with Caitlin's. She will be in the fourth grade. That is not to say that even when in high school, that DJ can not do other classes that he enjoys. I just can't mess with the curriculum as much. A homeschool friend shared a website called, Easy Peasy Homeschool. I think I have actually looked at this website before, and then forgot about it. I have now bookmarked it, because it looks awesome. Caitlin will still do Saxon Math, Head of the Class and Art class. But, Easy Peasy Homeschool, I might use for History, Science, and extra Math lessons and videos. They even have it already lied out by days. I think I like the Reading too and possibly the Grammar. I haven't had time to go all the way through it yet, but I will. I am also purchasing a World History and Culture book, from the same homeschool friend. This will probably be appropriate for both children, so I look forward to getting it and checking it out. That is as far as I have gotten so far. DJ will be all done with his 4H Photography books, and still has one Entomology book left. So, those will be squeezed in somewhere. As his days get busier, in higher grades, it is harder to squeeze in extra stuff. If you are a Charlotte Mason fan, Amazon is offering all six of her original homeschool books for only 0.99 cents. Get this before it is gone if you want to try the Charlotte Mason method. I am very much interested in doing some renewable energy or something with mechanical stuff next year for DJ. The product below looks very interesting to me.

Tomorrow, we are off to Dudley Farms. If you are in the Gainesville area, they offer classes every Wed. through July. DJ is interested in woodworking and Caitlin will probably do cooking or sewing. Another homeschool family will be going with us. Then we will have a picnic lunch and walk the trails. Don't worry I am sure we will have lots of pictures. Thursday we are having Art and Jewelry Making with friends. Pictures for that too I imagine, lol.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Weight Loss Journey

OK, some of you might be saying, what does weight loss have to do with homeschool blogs? A lot actually. As my journey continues my children learn about good nutrition, proper portion sizing, control of impulse eating and importance of some kind of exercise. So, why the MS book? I have mentioned in the past that I felt I had MS. I am almost 100 percent certain I do, now. As I get older, and some of the symptoms, change or I get flare ups of the symptoms, I have to adjust to my activity schedule. Because MS is a disease that can be debilitating, it is very important to me that I stay active and keep as much strength and endurance as I can. Two school years ago, we began a walking regime, three times a week, nothing hard just getting out and walking. I lost 15 pounds that first year. Doesn't sound like much, but I believe in baby steps. I am not someone who wants to drop 50 pounds in six weeks. Since that time, I have added portion control, less carbs not no carbs, a more intense walking workout twice a week, and some yoga. Yoga is quite wonderful for stretching and relaxation. It helps control pain and anxiety. Yoga is not easy, however, and you have to ease into it. I have lost almost 40 pounds in two years. And while I am not at my goal yet, I will get there. Plus, my kids are training for their very first mile run race in July. This has been very good for all of us. Now if I could just convince my husband to be more active. I don't write this for pity, I don't believe in such things. I write it for knowledge and strength of my inner self. Plus, to hopefully help someone else struggling with a chronic illness. You don't have to beat the illness to live with it. You do however, have to be willing to change your lifestyle and choices, in order to avoid living at the doctor's office, or living on medicine.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Happy Wednesday!

OK, well Blogger has changed yet again the way in which I upload pictures, grrrrr!!!!!! Anyway now that I have that off my chest, on to the real good stuff. Yesterday, was our first painting class, with my mom, since before the holidays. Neither one of us had the time to do it. Even though Caitlin and I still paint, DJ doesn't do much, so it is nice when we all do it. He doesn't paint, he draws,and for some reason his fish he drew managed to not get in the pictures. He drew a pretty mandarin fish. Everyone got to do their own thing yesterday. My mom painted a huge pickle jar, that she will be putting homemade dog treats in to sell at the Farmer's Market. I have been cleaning and then upcycling old salsa jars into candles. First I clean them, paint them and then add the candle. They make cute gifts and reduce waste. I am hoping they will be popular in my Etsy store. I have done two Easter theme ones. One has a brown bunny, and the other this sable colored bunny. On the opposite side of the jar is a cross with a wreath of flowers. To see all the pictures be sure to visit Melissas Jewelry and Gems. Caitlin painted a picture of her very own bunny.

Then, later in the afternoon, we had our Earth Kids meeting. This was our second nature walk, and this time we went to Manatee Springs. They were supposed to be looking for specific leaves, but unfortunately there are not a ton of them out yet. However, we did see Manatees in the spring inlet, look you will see it. And a ton of deer, which are quite smaller than the deer I am used to in NY. They blend in so well with the drab surroundings, you could easily miss them if they were not moving around. Manatee Springs is one of the more dangerous springs to swim at. There are signs everywhere that say no swimming, and swim at your own risk. Yet, people still do it. There are a lot of snakes and even some gators at this particular spring. Last year, because there are diving caves under the springs, a diver got lost and died. We don't swim there.

All in all a good week so far. And tomorrow, which is Thursday, seems to be my day to relax from here on out. The only day we don't have something planned for the rest of the school year, or at least right now, lol! Kids of course continue with their book and course work, and the third semester ends in just a few weeks. Almost over, already!  Oh the first painting is my very first attempt at an abstract painting.  I kind of like it!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Creative Photography and Abstract Art

Ha, two posts in one week, lol! DJ is taking Creative Photography through FLVS. This is a fun class, and while most days we are limited to what we can take pictures of, DJ finds a way to be creative and complete the assignments. The other day his class, and him, had to browse famous photos from the Great Depression. Their assignment was to duplicate images, of children, that would fit into the Great Depression theme. He took the first picture using black and white setting, and setting the timer. I think it is such a beautiful picture even though the title was, two children looking for a better day. The second one is supposed to look like snow and the little girl is waiting for the snow to stop, so she and her family could go stand in the soup lines for food.

Since I have been painting, I have tried to figure out the art of Abstract Art. Honestly I don't usually see anything. Yet, I thought I should expand my knowledge and thinking, and try it. Yet still I thought I better do some research. In my research I learned that it isn't really supposed to look like anything in particular, and you are not supposed to get it. You are supposed to feel it. Huh? Yes, feel it. The image should make you feel some kind of emotion. Matter of fact the one website I was reading on said to paint to music, since abstract art is like music without lyrics. She suggested listening to music and just let your brush flow with the music, or whatever you might feel while the music is on. OK so Hip Hop my painting will be jumpy and hyper, Ozzy agitated and angry, Country sad and lonely, Classical soft and smooth, Opera hmm I don't know because I can't actually listen to it. Every high note will cause me to keel over dead. So, I might actually try this Abstract Art idea, to music. It might be quite interesting what comes of it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mud Puddle Art

Who knew a little mud puddle could be so beautiful? DJ is taking Creative Photography, through FLVS. Today, he had a lesson on frames in pictures. Of course this is not a frame, but Caitlin found the flower on our walk, and DJ added it to the mud puddle. I think it is very attractive. We continue with our Run/Walk Club twice a week, and we all sleep super well at the end of those days. It seems I have other run out of things to say, or am too tired to worry about blogging, lol. I promise I will try to squeeze in some more posts. We are very busy, so I should have plenty to talk about. DJ will finish up his Science for FLVS, this week, leaving him with Photography and Language Arts. Since I am a huge fan of doing Math all year, even over Summer Vacation, I have decided to sign him up for a half semester of Math on FLVS. It won't start until April, so he will be at the end of the other two classes. Virtual School seems to be working well for him, so I really want to continue with it, and it frees up my time to spend more time with Caitlin in areas she really needs to advance on. Plus, DJ can still be supplemented with stuff I choose for him. Academically he has had an awesome and constructive year. DJ and Craig have also started Archery lessons on Saturdays, which they love. Finally something sports oriented that they both can enjoy together. I am so happy.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Earth Kids Nature Scavenger Hunt

Tuesday, for our Earth Kids meeting, we went on our first Nature Scavenger Hunt, along the bike trail in Chiefland. We did not find everything on our list, but the items not found will be added to the next hunt which will be at the next meeting. If you want to try this with your group, or kids, these are the items that they were supposed to find: squirrel tracks, pine cone, flying bird, feather, maple leaf, bird nest, tracks of a mammalian omnivore, twigs, three pieces of litter, cat track, a berry, cardinal, pine needle, oak leaf, and a dog track. The kids can take pictures of what they can and keep a photo journal, circle what they find, or collect what they can of what they find. Since we only have one camera the kids had to share. Everyone saw flying birds, but no one remembered to get a picture, lol. Each child is sharing their photos on our Earth Kids Facebook page. On the trail we did not find a pine cone, feather, maple leaf, cat track, cardinal,dog track or pine needles. Most of these things are in my yard though, lol. We did find human tracks, and squirrel tracks though the sand is so dry it is hard to make them out in the pictures, and we only knew they were squirrel tracks because we saw the squirrel run right across. The kids really loved this activity, I kind of figured they would. We had two new members come, and next time we will be going to Manatee Springs for our Nature Hunt. We might even see a manatee, that would be superb! We are supposed to have our run/walk club today, but rain is coming, so not sure if we are going to chance it. We had two new members join that as well. If you live in the Levy county area, and would like to join either of these, let me know. You do not have to homeschool to join Earth Kids, it is a public group. The run/walk is a homeschool group, but I am sure if you could get there at the 10 time we would be glad to have you.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Superbowl 47 and Picture Editing

Unless you live under a rock, you know the Superbowl is tomorrow. We love football around here, well at least my husband and I do. I think the Niners are going to blow the Ravens out of the water. We have been invited to a friend's house this year to watch the game. Since I work Saturday graveyard shift normally I would decline such an offer. However, these are good friends and I have already warned them that I can be quite cranky and they should just ignore me if I am, lol! I think Monday will be a late start to school as we won't even get home probably until midnight. Caitlin only cares about the Puppy Bowl, and we record it every year and she watches it over and over. If you don't know about the Puppy Bowl, it is two hours of cuteness on Animal Planet. Check it out!

I have been saying forever that I need to add watermarks to DJ's images, and mine too, but I never seem to get around to it. On Wednesday we were supposed to be doing horeseback riding lessons, but it was so windy, up to 70 miles and hour, that it was deemed not safe. So, we hung out and visited, same friends we are going to for Superbowl, and DJ of course took lots of pictures. Poor Honey has been in so many pictures, she is bored of the whole thing. She is a beautiful dog though. Picasa is where I have been uploading and storing my pictures forever, so I choose to stay with them. They have some awesome editing options and I got to play with a few. I need more time, lots more time, if I am going to get to all of them.

So do you watch the Superbowl and who are you rooting for?

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