Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stop and Breathe

We are getting ready for a homeschool camping mini-vacation. It is so nice to get away with people who "get it". But the preparation has me busy, busy. I keep telling myself that next time I will be organized earlier, so that I won't feel that rushing feeling. But this is the one thing I haven't been able to accomplish. There are just so many last minute things that can't be done ahead. So I have been rushing around this morning.

But a couple of things have made me pause and just take a breath and come back to the moment, relax for a minute. And that is all I need sometimes, just the smallest of breaks to be grateful in the moment, and be joyful.

Yesterday a friend made me the cutest dishcloth. I love it, it isn't the usual ones I make this one makes you smile. It was spontaneous, and wonderful and I found it in my bag a few minutes ago, and just thought of her, and smiled. Going to use it right now.

Another friend posted a Jimmy Buffett song, A Pirate Looks at Forty, and mentioned living so far away from the ocean. Which in reality we do not, but when you grow up ON the ocean it seems like thousands of miles. I listened to that song, my second favorite Jimmy Buffett, and then listened to my favorite Jimmy Buffett song...One Particular Harbor.

For just a moment I could relax, breathe in the salt air, feel the sand at my feet, and hear the ocean crashing against the shore. So relaxing and rejuvenating. Gotta love it.

So thanks to both dear friends for being there, even though you didn't know it, when I needed a pick me up, a break from the rush. You are loved!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Message from the Universe

What a nice day outside today, sun is out but not too hot, skies are clear. In the mornings I have my "ritual"...take the puppies out, make my rice cereal and chai, have breakfast, take puppies out again, play with Ellis, meditate, play with the puppies, make my todo list for the day.

Well today was no different, I made my todo list and put it in my chair outside while I went to play with Ellis and the puppies, I mean who can resist the energy of Ellis combined with the cuteness and playful personalities of the puppies. I went to sit back down in my chair and meditate for a few minutes in the beautiful sunshine and I saw my todo list, with my pen, and a perfect fall leaf right on top. Like it had been placed there by the Universe. So I intend to follow through with that thought, I think I will see if the boys want to go down to the Greenway in Morganton and go for a nice walk today. Ahhh the messages we hear if we choose to listen.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Public School Agenda

I was reading back in August, on the Governor's blog, the NC governor that is. There is a blog for the state of NC, they call it an "e town hall" but really there is no input from the general public. I keep up to date on this stuff to stay informed about homeschooling and public schooling in NC, just one of many sites I visit.

Anyway I am getting off my topic. Back in August I read about the North Carolina Education Cabinet and what was written said in part:
"Last year, Gov. Perdue reinvigorated the North Carolina education cabinet by naming former State Board Chair Howard Lee as Executive Director and focusing its mission on creating a seamless Pre K-20 educational system that will produce college ready high school graduates and a 21st century work force for North Carolina which is further illustrated in the Governor's education agenda Career and College - Ready, Set, Go!" (bold is their emphasis not mine)

So many things hit me at once, it has taken me a couple of months to mull this over and over in my head trying to decide what exactly was hitting me wrong.

So many people criticize homeschooling, saying that it will not appropriately socialize a child, they have to know how to deal with the real world so send them to school. But do you see what I see. There is NO mention of socialization in the statement above. The complete focus is on preparing kids for work, either blue or white color, just work.

There is absolutely no mention of creating appropriate social opportunities, not a word about coping mechanisms, or problem solving skills. That is not on the public school radar, not an objective, just a 21st century work force. Which I have known is the goal of public education all the while, but I guess seeing it in print, in bold letters, just kind of slapped me in the face in that moment.

So why are we so shocked with all the bullying that goes on in public school, and when did the general public decide that was OK, and part of life as a child? Why are we shocked by the teen suicides, by guns in schools? Why does the drug and alcohol epidemic among the young, surprise us?

People have no problem criticizing homeschool families for something they know nothing about, but don't even think to criticize the public school system. The place where their child spends at least 8 hours a day, year after year. Am I the only one that sees the noticeable absence of things like "positive self esteem", "happiness", "appropriate problem solving skills", "effective communication techniques"from that mission statement.

These are things that homeschoolers care about. Not only do we care about our children's future, we care about their today, we care about positive self esteem, and happiness, problem solving and communication.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Another Shawl for Christmas

OK finished one of the unfinished projects I have sitting here by my desk. So all my friends know what they are getting for Christmas.

This shawl is pretty simple, I used a nice soft, fuzzy yarn, which made this shawl really soft and warm. I also loved the color and the title of the shawl, True Friend Shawl.

You can find the pattern at the web site, it is ranked as "easy", although I thought it was a little more difficult that my other shawls, although still not that difficult. Enjoy the pattern, enjoy the shawl and happy crocheting. Don't ya love handmade Christmas gifts.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cool Science

Phillip, my youngest is really into the hands on science experiments, always has been. When I saw this book, 101 Cool Science Experiments, I had to get it. I thought he would enjoy it and he has, we are having such a great time doing these quick, fun experiments. Most use things you already have around the house, and usually take only 20-30 minutes, instant gratification, we are learning so much, having fun, and really connecting.

Today we did one called "Hot Stuff"

You need:
small glass bottle
food coloring
larger glass jar (has to be big enough to hold the smaller bottle)

You cut a long piece of string and tie each end around the neck of the small glass bottle. In that small glass bottle you put hot water and a few drops of food coloring. In the large glass jar you put cold water about 2/3 full. Then you use the loop of string to lower the glass bottle into the jar of cold water and watch what happens. It was too cool watching the hot, colored water drift out of the bottle, looked like smoke rising.

This isn't the same experiment (although pretty cool too) but explains what happens clearly, in case you want to replicate this at home:

When you heat up water, the molecules start moving around faster. They bounce off each other and move farther apart. Because they are farther apart a volume of hot water will have fewer molecules than the same volume of cold water. The hot water will weigh less and be less dense. When mixed with the cold water, the hot water will rise to the top, cold water will sink to the bottom.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fairy House

I was feeling very frustrated Sunday. We have a hill beside our driveway with a small retaining wall. Small wall but still a significant incline. We have lived in this house for almost 13 years now, wow when I type it out it seems like a very LONG time...LOL. And for almost 13 years we have been battling this hill. It is too steep to mow and really hard to even use the weed eater on it, just hard to keep your balance. The hill is also covered in vines, poison ivy, Virginia creeper and HONEY SUCKLE. I loved honey suckle until I moved here. Now it is everywhere and in everything and I think it grows feet a day, covering anything in its path.

I usually end up out on that hill at least three or four times a year to just pull up the vines, and it is such a job. They all have such huge root systems that sometimes as I am pulling and I swear I feel them pulling back, trying to suck me into the earth. There are some nice bushes on the hill, and some ground cover, but it all gets covered up by the vines, and the vines look terrible, not to mention the reaction my boys have to the poison ivy.

OK back to the story, I was out there on Sunday, trying to weed out the poison ivy and honey suckle, yet again, and I just had enough. So I backed away, I don't want to put such negative energy into anything. I backed away and decided to build a fairy house to add to another garden spot. There is a nice blank area that has just been waiting for ideas. Yes I had thought about adding another plant of some sort, a flowering bush maybe. But that just didn't seem right. I looked at our pile of left over stone and decided that the spot needed a house, a fairy house so all our little friends, that watch over and protect us know they are loved and welcome. I also thought of our friend Kailey's fairy house, hers is out of stone as well.

It turned out so nice, and I used some holly twigs for decoration, we had just pruned that tree a little. It just adds so much to that one spot and is perfect. I love it!!

While doing this very positive, energizing activity the answer to my frustration hit me.

Let's get rid of that hill. The perfect answer. We can move the few bushes that I want to save, move the blueberries and raspberries, they would do better in another spot anyway. The tree that is on the hill needs to come down as it is growing up into the power lines, which could be a problem this winter. Let's back up the retaining wall a few feet, make it as high as the hill. It will add more space to our driveway and we will have a couple more feet around the garden at the top, easy to mow up there. Problem solved and I can't wait!!

Just needed to relax, focus on something else, get my positive energy moving, and I knew the solution would come.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

One More Shawl

For right now anyway. I have two more in the works and picked up the extra yarn I needed yesterday, so who knows when they will be done.

This shawl has been a long time in the making. I was gifted a gift certificate to Purl's Yarn Emporium, a few years ago. Have been thinking about what I wanted to get and make ever since. I wanted to do something for myself....hmmmm. Well I decided on a shawl and some yarn that I would never buy otherwise, just too expensive. I would always think about how many socks I could make for gifts with that same amount of money. But not this time, this GC was going to be spent on yarn for myself. And I will say I thought about the friend who gifted me the GC all the while I crocheted, such a sweet person and a dear friend.

It was a beautiful yarn, and so soft, so I decided to make a shawl, something to keep me warm on these chilly fall morning, and it is complete (and just in time, brrr).

Again another easy pattern, I did use a much smaller hook than the one recommended in the pattern, I just didn't want my shawl as "loose".

I just thought the colors of this yarn were absolutely beautiful. And you can find the pattern, Carmen's Shawl, at this linked web page.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Another Wrap Complete

Here is a second wrap I crocheted. Again a Christmas gift. It is so nice and soft, and again this was an easy 2 day project. I do need to get back to knitting some more socks and hats, but for now am having fun with crochet. And I know everything will be complete by Christmas :-)
I like the nice shell boarder design, so nice and "delicate" looking.

The pattern is called Simply Shawl by Caron, on the Caron site. It says it is an intermediate level in difficulty but I found it simple, and think it should be relabeled. So even if you are a beginner at crochet, if you like the wrap, go look at the pattern.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Crochet Wrap

I have been working on Christmas presents. Yes making socks, but also some different things. This month I have been crocheting wraps and shawls. So I thought I would share the result along with the patterns if anyone is interested.
Simple, simple pattern. It's called My Blue Jeans Shawl, and you can find the pattern, free, at Knottie By Nature.