Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

We had our annual Halloween Party last weekend.  The children dressed up and played with their friends.  They had a blast.  The adults mingled and talked.  The night ended with a bonfire and s'mores.  In my mind, Halloween was over.  I have been dealing with a six week-old puppy and well, I'm tired.  So, when I came back to a nonsleep deprived state, I realized we still had the big day coming!

The children carved pumpkins today.  They had been asking all week when they would get to carve them.  I had been putting it off.  Plus, it has become a tradition to wait til Halloween Day. 

I cut out the lid and they did the rest.  It is nice that they are at the age of completing their own jack-o-lanterns. 

Tonight, we will trick-or-treat before the rain sets in.  Little Man is looking forward to the candy.  Maybe, I can sneak in a nap before the festivities begin!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bringing Home Samson

We have a new addition to our house!  Samson arrived last Friday evening.  He is a black Labrador retriever.

Little Man picked him out of a litter of nine remaining puppies.  Both his parents are hunting dogs and come from a line of hunting dogs.  We are hoping the Samson will follow in their paws.

He is quite the little fellow.  Like his momma and daddy, he too is laid back.  Sally B and Missy aren't quite sure what to think about him.  He blends in with shadows and is hard to see.  So, he scares them when he pops out of nowhere.  Our cat, Molly, is in utter disbelief that we have once again brought another dog into her house! 

His favorite napping spot is on the chest of a willing human.  He snuggles his muzzle into the crook of the person's neck and drifts off.  He goes from running around to sleep in a matter of seconds.

Crate training is on going and, like taking care of a newborn, sleep for me can be intermittent.  He wants to cuddle me all night!

His smallness at the moment will be fleeting and, like all young, he will grow.  I am enjoying this sweet cuddle time!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Global Trekking

Home school class at the Headquarters Library was on games around the globe.  Ms. Jane had a wide aray of games displayed around the room for the children to play. 

She introduced the children to a variety of books showing different games played in different cultures.  Some games looked familiar but had different names and rules.  Others were quite different.  A commonality most had were the use of a ball.  In fact, the ball is probably the oldest toy in the world. 

A fellow homeschooler demonstrated the yo-yo and made a presentation to the children about yo-yos. He told them the yo-yo is another toy that dates back to ancient times.  It is uncertain exactly how the yo-yo came about, but it is thought to originate in the Philipines.  Hunters would use a rock to throw down on prey.  Instead of having to climb down the tree or embankment, a rope was tied onto it and pulled back up.  This evolved into a form of the yo-yo.  Another thought is that originated from China, Greece or Egypt.   

The yo-yo has seen its share of modern updates.  The standard yo-yo was made of two discs joined together with an axle.  The string was then tied to the axle.  The yo-yo could be made to go up and down only.  Then the yo-yo string was looped around the axle providing better flexibility to perform tricks.

After the brief yo-yo presentation, Ms. Jane instructed the children on how to play various games in the room.  She demonstrated many of the games.  The children were bursting with excitement to play.

There were games of hopscotch, which started out as a military training game in ancient Rome! Tic-tact-toe (knots and crosses) dates back to ancient Egypt and Medieval Europe. Bowling started as far back as 1300 b.c. in Egypt and has had many forms including 9 pins and bocci.   Jacks, chess, checkers, pick-up sticks, string games, tiddly winks, ball and cup, marbles, etc. were all found in the room.

The children had a wonderful time playing the games.  Not everything has to be high tech to have fun!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Harvest Time for Green Beans

The spring and summer were wet.  This year's garden grew brilliant leaves on the veggie plants, but the veggies just didn't produce.  The rain knocked the flowers off.  My green beans just would not make.  I had given up.

Yesterday, while doing fall yard maintenance, I noticed a few green beans.  I had planted about ten pole bean plants and they were covering the garden fence.  Upon closer inspection, I found bunches of beans.  I went in and retrieved a bag and set out picking.

I ended up with a plastic grocery bag full of beans!

Today, the children and I snapped the beans.  They love doing this and it makes the work go faster.  When we finished, we had two gallons of beans!

I placed them in freezer bags and put them in the freezer.  I will can them later next week when I have time.

Hopefully, I will get one more harvest before frost.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thank Goodness for School?

I find it quite interesting when people say, "Thank goodness there is school tomorrow" or "Thank goodness school starts back soon."  These exasperated individuals are actually thankful to send their children off to strangers!  When they say it towards me and expect a response of agreement, I just look at them and say "Not us, we home school!"  Then a look overcomes their face.  They don't know what to say.  They are facing an individual that doesn't send their children off to strangers to have peace.  Once they overcome the shock, a mutter of 'I could never do that with mine,' is heard.

Why do so many people not want to be around their children all day?  I remember when I wanted to have children.  I wanted to be with them all the time.  My heart ached knowing that I would have to leave my little bundle at daycare when school (work) started back.  I wanted to stay home, but at the time we just couldn't afford it.  I never said, 'Thank goodness, you have to go to school or daycare tomorrow!'  I sacrificed my own schedule to be able to spend as much time, after work, with my children.  Then finally, we got to a point that we no longer had to rely upon my job.  Being at home has made a big difference for us and homeschool was a passion I had wanted for my children all along.

I know that not everyone can afford to stay home with their children.  I understand that two income families struggle to pay the bills.  I sympathize with those wanting to stay home with their children and simply cannot afford it.  However, when I hear the 'thank goodness,' start, I wander why did they have children in the first place.  Did they not understand the sacrifice?  Did they think that children are naturally well behaved?  Do they not want to mold their children into pleasant individuals they would like to spend time with?  Have they thought about how the little darling, that they cannot stand to spend all day with, reeks havoc in a classroom all day?  Oh, yeah that is the teacher's responsibility. 

I feel sorry for the children that are dropped off at daycare when the doors open and not picked up until the last possible moment.  Or the children that are placed on school buses at six thirty in the morning and don't arrive back home until after five in the evening.  There are others that are then hustled to one activity to another and then back home only to be put to bed.  Children crave interaction with their parents.  But with busy schedules and activities, parental interaction is just a brief moment here and there.

So, no, I will not say or agree with the 'Thank goodness for school,' comments.  We say, "Thank goodness we homeschool!"

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Quiet Mornings

We are not early risers now days.  After leaving the hustle and bustle of work and school, our lives changed slowly.  Normally, I would be up at five a.m. and wake the kids at six a.m.  Morning grumpiness abounded five days a week.  The children practically slept walked into the daycare facility at seven a.m. after a thirty minute drive.  By Friday morning, I was ready to crash!

We went to bed early - nine p.m. was lights out.  Because we didn't get to spend time together all day, I allowed the children to fall asleep with me in bed.  Hubby would put them in their own beds when he came in later.  His schedule was a night owl, while ours was early bird.  We didn't spend much time being together during the week. 

Now that we are entering year three of homeschooling, our schedules have definitely shifted.  Hubby rises around seven a.m. and I follow at seven thirty.  The kids wake between seven thirty and eight thirty. Sometimes later, if we had a later than normal evening.  When they do rise, they are not grumpy.  They are refreshed and pleasant.

This morning, for some reason, I woke early at five thirty!  The darkness and quiet of the house is peaceful.  Well, quiet is relative - the dog is snoring at my feet!

Knowing that I can plan my day and not rush off and leave my children with others gives me peace.  Soon the darkness of morning will fade and the pitter patter of feet will hit the floor.  The quiet morning will turn into noise of electronics and silliness.  School work will begin and a late evening of baseball and Aikido will be upon us.

For right now, I will absorb the sounds of the crickets and tree frogs drifting in the open window.  And await, the first glimmer of the morning sun.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Inman Library Homeschool Class - October 2013

The children had a great time during art class at the Inman Library.  Every month is a surprise art lesson.

Ms. Terri planned a festive class using pumpkins.  She had painted them with black chalkboard paint.  Little Man was excited to work with a pumpkin.

During class, the children learned about patterns.  The object was to create a pattern and transfer it to the pumpkin.  After the pattern was transferred, the children could paint the pattern on the pumpkin.

Little Man did not quite get the concept and decided to paint his pumpkin white.  Egee followed directions and made a cute little pumpkin.

They can't wait until next month's class!

Croft State Park Fun

We had a play date the other day at Croft State Park.  We had never explored the park before and were delighted at the chance to go. 

Egee begged to bring Sally B with us.  I obliged and both children and dog were excited to go on an adventure.

We got to the park a tad early and explored the lake area.  Sally B was excited to sniff and explore the unfamiliar territory.  Little Man naturally gravitated to the water's edge.  He was looking for minnows.  Both children spotted the covered boat shed.  They were intrigued at the possiblity of boat rentals.  Not today, I told them.

We drove through the campsites and schemed about bringing the travel trailer down for a weekend camp out.  Sally B hung her head out the window and enjoyed the crisp air and faint smells of campfires. 

We made our way to the playground to meet up with our play group.  Both children explored the set.  Soon, our group arrived and new friends were made.  The children played and the adults talked.  After a quick lunch, we began our trek to the creek.

We made our way along the Palmetto Trail to the Fairforest Creek.  It was a nice easy hike.  The children discovered snails and spider webs.  They shuffled through the leaf litter and chatted.  I found a hatchling snapping turtle lying on its back in the leaf litter.  Poor little guy!  I picked him up to show the children.  The turtle was only a few days old and so vulnerable.  The children passed him around to get a better look and then we release him back to the wild.

After a few minutes, we made it to the creek.  The children naturally flocked to the water.  The creek is quite picturesque.  Although the temperature was not unberably hot, the children still got into the cold creek.  There was a nice swimming hole area and a bridge to cross from one side to the other side of the creek.  They had a blast!

When it was finally time to go back home, they were asking when we would get to return.  I don't blame them for wanting to go back.  We will definitely be making Croft State Park a regular spot!

Oktoberfest at Music Sandwiched In

The children were delighted to find out the Foothills Oompah Band was going to perform again this year at Music Sandwiched In.  They had such a blast listening and singing along last year.

We rushed from the Inman Library program to the Headquarters Library for Music Sandwiched In.  Little Man did not want to miss it.  Egee was just as excited.

We made it with time to spare.  The front row seats that the children love were still available.  We settled in and waited to hear familiar tunes.

Egee was all smiles when they began to play the "Too Fat Polka."  She really gets a kick out of it.  Little Man claps along and has a grand time.

 John Hoppe - Trumpet and Vocals

Vince Demor - Accordion

The audience enjoys the sing along interaction with the band.  Everyone claps to the beat and smiles abound.  It is a wonderful feel good time.

 Kemp Williams Leader and Drummer

 Matthew Hanna - Clarinet and Vocals

Egee participated in the Chicken Dance.  She wasn't going to at first, but was a good sport when they asked her.  She enjoyed it.  Little Man wouldn't budge.  Maybe next year, he will decide to participate.

We hope to see them again next year!

Learning to Catch

The other night the team's catcher took a hard hit.  It resulted in a buckle fracture to his thumb.  The team was left without a catcher. 

Little Man had begged me to let him catch back in the spring.  I was reluctant and did not allow him to catch.  He practiced at home.  Little Man would spend hours throwing the ball high into the air and then rip off the catcher's helmet to ready himself to catch a pop-up.  He really wanted to catch.

His time to catch had come.  The team needed a catcher.  The infield was solid.  So, the next day, Little Man and I began working on catching drills.  We had two days before the next game.

He was ecstatic to catch.  We had all the gear except for a catcher's mitt.  I took him to Play It Again Sports to purchase a well broken in mitt. 

When we returned home, he immediately put on his gear. I threw the ball to him and he caught it.  I threw harder and harder and he caught it.  He, however, was scared to get in front of the pitching machine.  I really don't blame him.  The machine is a bit intimidating.  So, we held off on the machine for the first day.

On game day, we again went out to practice.  I told him he has to get in front of the machine if he was to catch tonight.  He put it off.  We practice pop-ups, fouls, throws to home, etc.  He was ready for everything, but the machine.

Finally, after lunch, he built up the nerve to catch in front of the machine.  He got behind the plate and caught the ball to his surprise.  I pitched it again and he caught it.  He was ready.

The coach had not planned on using him during the game.  He never had seen him catch and another boy had caught a few times during a practice.  However, before the game during warm-ups, they had both boys practice catching.  Little Man did just as well as the the other boy. 

The coach put in the other boy during the first inning.  But, then decided to use Little Man for the second inning.  He did awesome!  No one could tell that he had never caught before.  He looked better than other kids that had caught all season.  Little Man was on cloud nine.

I think I have a catcher now!