Thursday, September 10, 2015

Changing it up!

We have changed things up.

I thought I had our year all figured out. 

I was about to get on Currclick and buy some lap books for science and an idea struck me to show the girls the website and see what they wanted.  I thought they would pick science.  But they found a lot of stuff they wanted.  So, everything has changed.  And I am happy about it.

Allie's Choices

Allie will also study for her driving permit (driver's ed - half credit).

She is also running the Literacy Circle at e3 and will pick the books, read the books, come up with discussion questions and lead the discussion.  I am counting this as her Lit component and participation in this as Piper's Lit component this year.

Piper's Choices

Together we are going to do Artist's Way for writing for the beginning of the year (I am SO excited about this!), we will fill in any gaps on our graphs of the Presidential candidates and keep up with news stories about the candidates and work on selecting who we like best for the next President, we will also finish Word Up vocab and work on a Personal Finance program that I designed for the girls.

Our Schedule

**This is what I THINK our schedule will look like, it may change as we find what works and what doesn't work.


Mom works all day.  Each girl does three pages of freewriting (Artist's Way) and one page of Math and works on their independent projects that they chose from Currclick.  The girls always have chores on Mondays like cleaning the bathroom, washing floors, dusting, etc. and one girl makes dinner on Monday and one on Tuesday.


Mom works in the afternoon.  We will meet in the morning to do our freewriting (or they may do it in their beds), Word Up vocab, Presidential Politics and Personal Finance and anything else that I think we should do together.  We will also discuss how they are doing on their independent studies.  The girls will do math and their independent studies in the afternoon when I am at work.  One girl will make dinner.


We have e3 all day.  The girls will each do their freewriting and a page of math.

Thursday & Friday

We might do our freewriting together or independently while still lying in bed.  I will meet in the morning to do vocab, check out the headlines for the presidential candidates, work on our personal finance program and discuss the girls progress on their independent studies.  The girls will work on math and independent studies in the afternoon.

**I have been asked a lot what Artist's Way is.  The premise is that God wants us to be creative, but the world puts obstacles in our way.  The author, Julia Cameron, lays out a twelve week plan to tap those creative juices and keep them flowing.  This initially started as something I was going to do, but I was listening to the audiobook in the car when I picked up the girls from somewhere and they thought it sounded cool, so we decided to all do it.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Summer 2015

The Girls BOTH Had Summer Jobs

Allie worked this summer for a friend of mine who is an editor of a website and has to go to Manhattan twice a week for work.  Allie watched her kids on those days and was paid quite well.  We made her put 75% of the money she made into the bank; the 25% she kept was enough to buy a designer handbag and wallet, go to the movies several times with friends, go shopping and out to lunch with friends, etc.  She had a blast.

Piper continued her dog walking business.  She also got into reading.  Thank you, God!  I love to read and Allie loves to read and I had such a hard time understanding that Piper did not like to read.  But I tried to accept it.  Not everyone loves books.  Not everyone loves to sit and read.  But this summer Piper discovered John Green and was hooked!  Then she asked Allie for some recommendations and off she went!  She also spent TONS and TONS and TONS of time with our former homeschool neighbors who went to school last year; I am SO GLAD these girls have stayed close!

...And Volunteered

Both girls volunteered at the library.  Allie helped me with my summer programs and she also volunteered for my boss, arranging displays of Juvenile, Mid and YA books.  She is volunteering in hopes of a paid Page position this time next year that will take her through high school (as long as we don't move).  Piper volunteered to help with a hippotherapy program that we received a grant to run this summer.  It was quite successful and Piper even got into the local newspaper!

We Had Fun...

We went to the boardwalk...because that's what you do in New Jersey in the summer.
We found two new swimming holes with friends (and thought we might prefer swimming holes to crowded beaches).  How did I never know things like this existed before I met other homeschool mommas who are driven to get their kids hanging out in nature??

We had many barbecues with friends on the deck.
We had fun at cookouts at friends' homes.
Allie and Jason went to several concerts.  Piper and I went shopping and out for fro-yo and Starbucks--more our speed ;-)
We saw A Midsummer Night's Dream...outside Shakespeare is AWESOME!

We Accomplished Some Things...

I drove in Manhattan during the day for the first time ever!!  i have driven in the city in the middle of the night with friends 20+ years ago, but there was no traffic, we had no destination in mind, we just cruised around in the middle of the night.  Daytime traffic, looking for parking spaces, parallel parking...quite different.  But I did fine.  I would do it again.  Nothing can stop me now!!!!

I also completed some projects, like painting my bedroom furniture and sanding down a rough finish on this armoire we got from my in-laws, repairing the veneer and repainting it.  Jason and I worked together to turn it into a wine cabinet.

I realized I am not a gardener.  We have tried having a garden for several years now and last year (2014) was awesome.  Otherwise...not much luck.  It may be that we just don't have a great spot for it that gets enough sun (we have a lot of shade from huge mature trees that my tree-loving husband won't cut down) or just that I don't really like weeding...but this summer we had an issue with white flies and I got so grossed out that I threw the kale back in the garden and ran back inside.  A good friend and avid gardener who grows MOST of their own food, told me to try either chili oil or Dr. Bronner's Peppermint soap, both of which I had...and I wanted to try...but I was so skeeved out that I never did.  Moving to a house where we can grow our food may just have to wait until we retire and my husband, who LOVES to work with soil and grow things, can take care of it.  Til then, I am going to stick with learning more about holistic remedies and herbs and essential oils.

I got ALL of our digital photos on Shutterfly.  I made photo books for our Disney Trip and our Jamaica trip and I started working on a 2008 Year in Review photo book, but then I decided to just work on gluing the photos back into the scrapbooks.  It was easier.  I had great hopes and intentions to have our entire lives in photo books...but my interest kind of waned.  At least all the photos are there if I ever want to do it!

And Dealt with Some Health Stuff

I was diagnosed with Adrenal Fatigue in the late winter/early spring.  It's crazy to me how it took going to a holistic health provider to find out about this and it is something that effects me and has affected me in so many ways for so many years.  So many of the different things I deal with (allergies that seem to be getting worse and worse, feeling like I can't keep up with stuff, irritability, insomnia, stomach issues) are all tied up in the fact that my adrenals have been taxed (stuff from when I was a kid, an eating disorder, etc.) and are not functioning properly.  As I am in my early forties and heading into perimenopause (sorry if I am getting too personal) some of the symptoms are being exacerbated and I seriously felt like I was crazy sometimes because of the high levels of cortisol that were being released into my bloodstream for no apparent reason at 11:30 am (heart pounding as I am happily driving somewhere on a beautiful back country road) or 3:30pm as I am sitting with friends by a creek knitting and talking as our kids splash in the water or 9pm as I am giving in to my guilty pleasure and mainlining Friday Night Lights or 1:30 am when I wake up from a sound sleep, heart pounding and can't get back to sleep until 6am (this has been going on for several years now).  Anyway...I am grateful for an HSA that allows me to pay for the functional medicine doc and ASI tests with pre-tax dollars and I hope and pray that someday health care in this country gives us the choice of WHAT KIND of health care we want...because I am tired of putting a band-aid on this stuff, I was on Prozac at 20 and have had a Rx for Xanax for almost ten years and NO ONE ever tried to repair what was wrong, they just put these Big Pharma band aids on it.  Now thankfully, with Vitamin B Complex, Magnesium and Relora (cortisol blocker) supplements, I am seeing VAST improvement.

One of my really good friends, who helped me get the right kind of medical care, also turned me on to essential oils.  I had bought some essential oils at a yoga studio and from another hs mom, but no one really told me how to use them and I did some research online and well, I ended up using them half-assed and didn't see what the fuss was about.  Having someone say, "Rub this on the cartilage above your earlobe when you can't sleep" or "Rub this RutaLava all over you when you can't sleep" or "Smell this lavender oil when your heart starts pounding" made a HUGE DIFFERENCE.  HUGE.  I had been interested in aromatherapy years and years ago but I never took the time to learn about it and understand it, until now.  I got my Member Kit and Diffuser from Young Living, but I have to say that I prefer Aura Cacia oils - you are not paying the MLM prices, the quality is very good, you can buy them at Wegman's, they are not putting down other companies by trying to get you to buy from them, they do not advocate ingesting any oils, they seem more holistic and less like a marketing ploy to me.  A friend suggested I try Whole Foods Oils 365 or something, but I have not had a need yet...although the Lavendar is getting low--we use it for everything!  We made a mist with it to spray our pillows, the girls added it to their coconut oil and put it in little tubs to prevent breakouts, we diffuse it, we use it almost every day.

All in all it was a really good summer! <3