Friday, October 30, 2009

Updates from the Homestead

 

This week has been busy! Hubby survived his surgery and is being a fairly good patient..  the soft food thing is getting to him.  But he is healing and still has more work to be done.  The cleaning and organizing continues.  The upstairs is done now!  I have my bedroom to tackle and then I am done!  Yea! 


The most exciting news is from my son.  His fiancée Doneza has had her VISA approved!  They will be spending the month of November with her family and then the two of them will be flying home the beginning of December.  Then it will be the holidays and planning a wedding!  We are so excited!!  


My daughter Hannah and granddaughter Elizabeth both are recovering from the swine flu.  But according to Hannah.. it is not as bad as the media is making it out to be.  Which does not surprise me because I think the whole swine flu thing is a lot of hype and you could not PAY me to get vaccinated for it.  Same with Hannah.. she is like me.. a non vax mom..  I think the media and the government would like us to believe this is a horrible thing.. but honestly.. it has been the asian flu, the avian flu, mad cow, etc.. and really.. what is driving this?  Not the facts that is for sure.. ok.. another soap box for me..  (I guess I am on a soap box roll lately..  )


Now as we move into November I am thinking about Thanksgiving and preparing for that.  Unfortunately it looks like hubby may have to work the holiday and we will be celebrating it a day early.  No big deal really except that he wanted a long weekend..   


Plus I am on call for jury duty (AGAIN) for the month of November.  They say jury selection in our county is random .. but.. I don’t believe it for a minute.. in 14 years I have been called 5 times.. my friend who has lived here in this area for 25 years has never been called..  well I just hope I can get through it so I can focus on all the busyness of this time of year. 


Now.. random questions answered…


Shelly asked me if kids doing College Plus can stay on their parents insurance.  College Plus will send a letter to you (on request) that you can send to your insurance company explaining they are doing full time college.  This has worked for our daughter. 


An Anonymous commenter asked who my favorite authors are.  When I posted about my daily schedule I mentioned I love reading fiction..  Well here are a few of my favorite authors (Just to let you know.. my main reading passion is mysteries and crime solving type fiction).. 


Agatha Christie (the all time top author of murder mysteries.. I have read tons of her books and love them all)


Jill Churchill..  My daughter Hannah said her books remind her of Hardy Boys for grown ups..  I agree.. her books are really fun books to read!   She has a series called the Jane Jeffery Mysteries and I have read and enjoyed lots of her books.. just plain entertaining reads… 


Janet Evanovich..  more fun reading.  I love her Stephanie Plum series.. oh man..  I don’t think I have laughed so hard with a book series..  but be forewarned.. there is a lot of swearing in the books.. if you can deal with that and you like mysteries you will love her books.


James Patterson.. very serious crime solving type books.  They are suspensful and will keep you turning pages until the crime is solved! 


Patricia Cornwell ….  I love her Kay Scarpetta novels!!!..  they are intense.. very suspenseful.   They are all focused on the forensic side of solving crime..  this really fascinates me.  But they are graphic so be forewarned.. 


I have read many more.. but that is a list of a few of my favorites.


I had a few questions on homeschooling and curriculum and will answer those in a future blog post. 


That is all from the homestead for now!  Hope you all have a great weekend.. 


Monday, October 26, 2009

The College Plus Northwest Meet Up!!

 

Saturday was the College Plus meet up here in the Northwest.  College Plus kids often meet together in various locations.  Sometimes it is a group and sometimes just one on one.  The students get to know each other on the CP forums and then will start the planning if there seems like enough interest.  This time those who gathered were mostly from Washington State and there was one student from Oregon who joined as well.   


Four kids arrived at our house on Friday night.  They were coming from Eastern Washington and had about a 5 hour drive and wanted to arrive early.  They stayed the night at our house.  In the morning I fixed everyone English muffin breakfast sandwiches and orange juice.  Emily, Leanne and the 4 of them left and headed into Portland and met with the rest of the people at the Portland Rescue Mission for a morning of volunteering.  Some did yard work or organizing supplies and other various odd jobs.





When they were done they caravanned backed to our home and stopped to take a few pics on the way back. The Columbia River can barely be seen on the right.  But the beautiful fall colors can be seen! 


 


When they arrived at my house I had lunch ready for them.   




 


The weather was just perfect that day.  I pictured 20 people all huddled inside in my not so huge house while it rained and stormed outside (as it had been doing ).. but the sun came out and it was a beautiful day!  As soon as the food was eaten the kids all went down near my pond and started a game of Frisbee football..  they played outside all afternoon.   


In the evening some headed home and the rest of the kids ate more food and began a big an intense game of Nertz.. LOL..  then they played spoons and continued into the evening playing Taboo and other games. 



 


The ones that had traveled from Eastern Washington stayed the night again and in the morning I fed them bagels, cream cheese, yogurt and cinnamon rolls (the cinnamon rolls were brought by another mom) and then they left.   


Everyone really seemed to have had a great time.  I had more than enough food.. could of fed 30 or 40! Haa.. haa.. but that is ok..   We have leftovers to eat!  There was talk about doing another meet up in the spring.. I said.. well, just let me know!   


I have chatted a lot here on my blog about College Plus and when I mention them I still get emails and comments from people asking me what it is and wanting more information about it.  College Plus is an innovated educational option to be able to earn a college degree from home for a fraction of the cost.  My daughter Emily is in the last stages of earning her degree and my daughter Leanne will be signing up with them before the end of the year.  And my son Jacob plans on pursuing a computer science degree through them as well and may be starting as soon as next year.  If you would like to read more about them I wrote an article on my site that explains the program and has a link to the College Plus website so those that are interested can obtain more information directly from them.  You can read my article HERE.


 


 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Updates from the Homestead

 


My son, Richard, left last Thursday for Manila.  He arrived safe and sound after 20+ hours of flight time.  He met up with his sweetie and they are having a great time.  She has her interview later this week so we are all praying it goes smoothly.  Then they fly to her home town and he will spend the month of November with her family before they both head back here.   


I have been doing a little pre baking and cooking for this upcoming weekend.  My daughter Emily is having a College Plus get-together for those that live in the Northwest area.  They will be doing a service project for most of the day on Saturday.  They will be volunteering their time at the Portland Rescue Mission and then heading back here to our home.  I will be serving them lunch.  Right now it looks like about 14 people plus my family.  I think it will be a lot of fun.  So far my menu plan to feed this crew is a big pot of chicken noodle soup (I have the chicken stock already done and in the freezer), sandwiches (a tray with the bread, meat and veggies laid out), 7 layer dip with tortilla chips, a veggie platter, apples and dip, and homemade cookies for dessert.  I made chocolate chip cookies the other day and put half of them in the freezer.  Last night Leanne made oatmeal raisin and those are in the freezer and today I would like to get peanut butter cookies made and in the freezer.  Some who have a long drive home will spend the night so I want to get some breakfast preps in the freezer this week too.. I am thinking bagels would be good along with fruit and maybe some cinnamon rolls 


This last week I have also continued my campaign to go through my whole house cleaning and organizing.  I did my dining room/sunroom, my living room, organized all my packing supplies, then over the weekend I tackled my basement storage area.  I went through all my Rubbermaid totes and got rid of a ton of stuff.. out grown clothes, games with missing pieces, items I did not remember I owned and therefore knew I would not use (if I have not used them up to this point then I doubt I will in the future)   If felt so good to lighten up and be organized.  One thing I admire about the Philippine people is their simplicity. The Philippines is a poor country and people don’t have a lot and many do fine with this.  My son made a comment to me while he was here.  He said what he really loved was that these people were into people and family more than stuff.  That warmed my heart because that is how I desire to be..  but in this country we seem to have such excesses that ends up often times being a burden to carry…I think of the hours of time spent storing and organizing “stuff”, throwing away “stuff”, and a couple weeks ago my hubby and I took a load of garbage to the dump and I looked around at the piles and piles of broken and unwanted “stuff”.. I don’t know.. but something just seemed wrong with the picture...  Anywho.. all that to say that as I toss and free up my house I am recommitted to a life of simplicity and determining how much is enough anyway?.  My pastor once gave a sermon on this…  he said “How much is enough?” and the answer… “Just a little more than I have”..  so the goal would be learning to be content with what I have..  and focus my time and attention on the things that matter.. my family and those around me whose lives I come in contact with..  ok enough of my little soap box this morning!  


This week has a lot lined up..  my hubby has to get some surgery done in his mouth.. yuck.. he is not looking forward to this at all.. and he has to have a soft food diet for a week afterwards while things heal..  I have to ask the dr once again what actually is “soft food” for his situation.  So coming up with a weeks worth of food he can eat is also squeezed in with all the other activity going on.   


For my daughter Emily this is finals week on her current accounting classes.. her goal is to get her finals taken today and Wednesday or Thursday so she can help me out with preparations for this  Saturday’s event.  She is taking a college class break and will be focusing on taking a few remaining CLEP and Dante tests that she has and begin working on TCEP tests.. then hopefully by the beginning of the year she will have those done and will dive back into the last of her accounting courses.  If she stays on schedule she should have her degree by spring (that would be 2 years since she started! )..  gotta love College Plus!!  I am a huge fan of them!  Finals week also means..  “stress week” LOL.. actually it is not as bad as mid terms.. so I am saying lots of prayers for Emily and for our household too!  


Well that is all the updates from my homestead..  Time to get my day rolling..  Hope you all have a great week! 


Friday, October 16, 2009

My Finished Quilt



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I started this quilt about 2 months ago and finally got it finished last night!  I am happy with it but boy do I have a lot of room for improvement in this skill!!  LOL..  This is the first pieced quilt I have done.  Usually I just do squares (checkerboard style)..  But this one actually has two different quilt blocks.. one is “rail fence” and the other is “double four patch”..  The quilt is named: Blue Winter and I found the pattern on line here:   http://www.claudiasquiltshoppe.com/Absolute2BlueWinter.htm  I am looking forward to trying another quilting project soon.  
 


The front:


 


The back:


 


 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Schedule..

 


I have had a few people ask about my schedule.  Sooo.. I thought I would share.  I must say a few things first..  One, I don’t have really young kids to teach anymore so my homeschool demands are not what they use to be. My three in school are 15, 13 and 11.  Also my daughter Leanne is 18 and working on her college degree from home, but she also helps me with the homeschooling. So she handles some of the paper correcting and helps with some subjects. Tobin also helps with the schooling.  He handles the math with the kids and has done this for years now.   I am also not a person who requires a ton of sleep.  I sleep 6 maybe 7 hours a night, typically.   So here is what it looks like..  


I get up somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00am..   I have some quiet time, make my coffee, and do most of my web work, check in with my message board, writing, make blog posts, pack orders from my country store, make soap if I need to, etc..  every day seems to be a little different depending on what needs to be done. I also start breakfast for the family if it is going to be something other than granola or muffins from the freezer and fruit.  


At 7:45 my hubby comes home from work (he works nights, 10 hour shifts, 4 nights a week.. he is gone 11 to 12 hours each day).. at that point I get him something to eat and spend some time with him talking about his day and such before he heads to bed.  


8:00 – the kids get up, spend a little time with dad, and start their day: breakfast, household chores, animal chores, clean up the kitchen from breakfast, make sure their room is in order.   


Between 9:00 and 9:30am the kids start school.  I help them get started, if they need me (usually it is just my youngest Isaac who needs the assistance). Then it is time to work in the kitchen.  I get any dinner preps started, baking, or whatever else needs to be done in the kitchen.  I start laundry, and look at my to-do list and see what needs attending to and work on that. 


12:00 is lunch.  Usually my kids heat up leftovers or make sandwiches.   


1:00 they are back at school work and I check in with my message board, check on emails, and do any other web stuff that needs done, help the kids with their school work, correct school work and go over anything with them as needed.  If I am not needed (or when I am done working with them) then I may work on projects like sewing or crocheting or I work on the things that need more time.. lately it has been cleaning, organizing.   


3:00 school is done and it is time get dinner together, move laundry through, pick up the house and hubby gets up around 4:00 and he spends time with the family until he leaves for work.   


5:00 to 6:00 is dinner and packing hubby’s lunch.  Because he is gone for so many hours I pack him a pretty big lunch.  It includes 2 sandwiches, potato chips (somewhat healthy Kettle chips ), the main course of our dinner, salad, nuts, fruit, lemonade, and dessert.   


7:00 he leaves for work, the kids and I clean up the kitchen and finish up any undone chores like laundry or animal chores.  Then I spend some time on the computer with my message board or emails, or facebook, or whatever.  I spend time with my kids.. chatting, visiting and relaxing a bit.  If I have any projects I am working on like sewing or crocheting I may do at this time.   


Between 9:00  and 10:00 – I love to read and I read a lot of books..  I have my non fiction type books that I enjoy at times but my main reading passion is fiction.. I love mysteries and crime solving type books..  I have several favorite authors and seem to always have a book in progress..  so about this time it is time for me to head to bed and read my latest novel.  Kids also head to bed. I make sure the youngest are in bed, the oldest have their own schedules that they keep track of.   


Somewhere between 10:00 and 11:00 – lights out for me.. bed time.. unless I only have a few more pages of my book to read .. LOL..   


Hubby has 3 day weekends (but not on the “weekend” his days off are through the week, by choice.. he likes working the actual weekend), so the above schedule is just an overview of the basic idea because when hubby is home...  many things change..   my schedule does not look so neat and orderly.. LOL..  Him and I have a weekly date most weeks, we head to town, get coffee at Starbucks, sit and visit and catch up with each others week, run errands and just basically spend some one on one time.  I pretty much roll with the flow of his weekends (the actual week).. I like to be available to do whatever he wants to do and most times that is just him working on home projects and spending time helping the younger kids with their math, me doing my regular tasks and kids working on their school work.. but he can suggest that we do something together or that we work on some project around that house.. so I just drop the whole schedule and I pick it back up the next day..  We just move our schedule around and help him with whatever may be needed, after all my (the kids and I) schedule is the one that is flexible his is not.. so I don’t stress over stuff like this.  As long as I can keep up reasonably on the house, the kids can get the school work in and we can eat some healthy food (or at least pull something healthy out of the freezer to eat on the crazy days).. I am a happy homemaker (and wife and mama)..   


 


 

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Fall Cleaning and Organizing

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I have been in a cleaning and organizing mood lately. It seems to happen every fall. The weather changes and the focus is no longer the outside, the garden, staying cool.. but I start thinking about fall décor, pumpkin spice candles burning, baking and cooking.. that is when I suddenly notice how neglected my house has been through the summer. Of course knowing I have 10 to 15 College Plus students coming to my home in a couple of weeks for a CP gathering may have also given me some added inspiration!  LOL..

 

Currently I have attacked my dining room/sunroom and hallway.. that also included a lot of my supplies for my soap making and packing and shipping supplies. I got them organized and moved around, dusted and cleaned off shelves, vacuumed in corners and ceilings, mopped floors, etc..   Now those areas are just clean and fresh feeling and look so much nicer. Today Emily and I are going to tackle the living room. It is in need and I am looking forward to that fresh clean feel in that room.. Then comes my reward.. I will light up a couple of candles, put out a few fall decorations, and make a pot of tea… then sit back and view my clean home! 

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Excitment on our Homestead


There was lots of excitement in my household this week.  My son Sgt.
Richard Miller finished his military time (5 years) and returned home to us on Thursday evening.  He is now out of the Army and heading into a new future.  Richard picked up his brother Jacob in Washington DC and together they began their cross country trip.  The first stop was to see their Auntie Debbie and cousins in Illinois.  They both said they had a great time there visiting with everyone.  They left Illinois and headed home.  They were here in Washington State 3 days later.  There were lots of hugs and excitement when they arrived.   


After all the hugs and excitement the first thing my son wanted was to chow down on some of mom’s homemade lasagna and French bread!   



Richard’s future plans include college and marriage.  He is marrying a very sweet and beautiful young lady.  Here is a picture of the two of them…


 


We are thrilled to have our son close to home again and excited right along with him for what the future holds for them!