Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fencing

I scheduled a demo with a fencing instructor in Morganton, for this past week. It was a homeschool activity, and we were anticipating the instructor, Matt, to give a demo and answer questions. We were so pleasantly surprised when he took the demo in a whole different direction, and really ran it like a class. Dh, Jackson, and one of our sons, Dallen, really liked this. Our other son attended to watch, but was really not that interested in participating.

The instructor started by showing, all those that wanted to participate, how to stand, walk (not sure the fencing terminology), then suited them all up and gave them sabers and before I knew it they were challenging each other, it was just amazing. He was very helpful, and we had all ages participating together.

I really enjoy it when a member of the community gives of their time to let our homeschool families try something new. He didn't charge us, we were there for 2 hours, with no obligation to participate. I enjoyed watching, they really enjoyed participating. Not sure if this will be something my son wants to continue or not, but just the exposure is something he will not soon forget.

So if you live in or around Morganton, NC here is the info. I really want to give this instructor a plug because he was so nice and understanding. His studio is on Union Street, it is The Knights of Malta Fencing Academy. He charges $50 per month, which he explained for more experienced students is usually once a week. But he encourages his beginning students to attend as many classes as they can, so they advance quickly. Sessions are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6:00 pm-7:30 pm. Just show up if you are interested, and he provides all the equipment needed. If you stop by, even just to watch a session (which I highly encourage...you will really enjoy it) please just mention that the information about his studio was shared by a homeschool mom.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Slime in the Park

Last week we made slime in the park, it was a Science Day activity that my son was eager to put together, so he and I planned it for our local homeschool group. It was so wonderful. Watching the kids stir and mix and in the end make slime, then watching them manipulate the smile, and watch what it does and it oozes through the holes in the picnic tables, or absorbs the food coloring to form new colors with each added drop. Kids of all ages, making, playing, talking, having fun. It was awesome, it was an ALL day event, even though the actual making of the slime took maybe 15 minutes, it was a fun, relaxing time!! I love my friends of all ages and so enjoy their company.

Here is the recipe, adapted it from the recipe on this site.

1- 4 ounce bottle of school glue (I purchased on the back to school sale for $0.25 each)

Empty the glue into a cup and then refill the glue bottle with water and add that to the same cup. Stir well.

In another cup mix 1 cup water and 1 TBSP borax, mix until the borax is dissolved (or almost all dissolved we found it hard to get it ALL mixed), add a couple of drops of food coloring to this cup and stir.

Now add the contents of the borax/water cup to the glue cup and stir immediately. You will have a blob of slime in the water mixture.

I had everyone take the cup over to the grassy area and dump the mixture into their hands, letting the excess liquid just run off. It will be wet. Then start working the slime in your hands. As you work the slime, back and forth in your hands, it will become dryer and in a few minutes you will have SLIME.

You can find the explanation at the web site. It was so much fun, really easy, in expensive, and I recommend this for a fun time at the park!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Straight Out of the Camera


This photo is not from this morning, this morning we had clouds, rain, thunder. This photo was from earlier in the week. A picture from our front yard as the sun is rising. Such a lovely sight, and I get to wake up to that picture in real life. No alteration, just straight out of the camera.


Home

One of my all time favorite songs by one of my favorite artists. I remember playing her cassette over and over and over, on the drive back and forth from home to college. I am grateful for the talent of Karla Bonoff.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Expect the Unexpected

Grocery shopping, not my favorite task, but with the boys help in creating a menu for the week and having a list, it is at least tolerable, and perhaps almost enjoyable. Yesterday was no exception. The day flowed nicely, and I had only a few items on my list this week. Ahhh, will be out in no time.

So coming out of the store, large store but in a rural area, I see a gentleman staring at the back of my car. OK nothing exciting. People look at the back of my car all the time, I have a variety of bumper stickers that make a person think. Have never had a negative encounter, yes even living here in the south. This man does look like a *good ol' boy*. Could this be my first negative encounter. What exactly was catching his eye; "World Peace Begins at Home, Be Nicer to Your Kids" or "Schools Are For Fish" maybe "Loving Kindness is my Religion". Oh man not looking good for me. Could be "Grades are for Meat and Eggs" or "The Truly Educated Never Graduate".

OK this could go one of two ways. Either he is a *good ol' boy* who also goes against the grain, opposing government intervention in anything, all for individual freedoms, OR he is a *good ol' boy* who believes everything the government has to say and is opposed to individualism. Either way I do need to get to my car, why won't he read the bumper stickers and go away, I so do not want confrontation today. But then again I have never had a negative experience, even the most conservative homeschoolers find common ground in the bumper stickers, *a fellow homeschooler*.

So I just plug on, thinking only the best and with a smile, graciously say "hi there" to the gentleman. And he says "hi" back, and then quickly responds with "is this your car?" Why yes, yes it is. [OK so far so good...what was that question for....here it comes...] "Where did you get this *hauler*, I like how it folds up out of the way when you aren't using it."

OK so all that dialogue in my head for nothing, LOL....I mean I was laughing out loud. "I can't remember where I picked that up, it has been so long, but I can say that I LOVE my *hauler*. I use it all the time."

Quick conversation and we said our "have a nice day"s and were on our way. Just goes to show a person, expect the unexpected. I smiled all the way home....THIS made my DAY!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Choice to Homeschool

I recently was in a different situation. For us, being a homeschool family, we are surrounded with other homeschool families. But this time it was a bit different.

A mom was having a difficult time with her preschool age child, the youngest. Her older children are in public school. This young child has been coming home from preschool crying, and not wanting to go to school. The mother's heart is telling her something isn't right. She can feel that tug. Several friends responded with the "it will get better, she will stop crying".

Why is that OK. It is becoming more and more acceptable in our society to say, with our babies, that it isn't OK to let them cry it out. More and more we are encouraging parents to pick up their babies, that crying is a sign that there is an unmet need, that something isn't right. So why can't we extend that same thought to children (and adults but that isn't what I am talking about in this moment). Why would we encourage a mom to ignore her child, ignore her heart.

Of course I had to chime with with the homeschool thought, just to plant a seed.

I could have let it slide by with no comment, but it just struck me as odd.

We made our decision to homeschool pretty much in a vacuum. No real input from the outside. I don't know how people, with this much outside input, make that decision to go against the grain and pull their kids out of public school to homeschool. I commend you all that have done so. Who have followed your heart and gone against the wind, with all those people encouraging you to stick it out in the public school system. Telling you it will get better. What a hard place to be.

I ended by encouraging all parents to follow their hears and listen to their children. Why is that such a novel idea LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN! Don't let them cry it out, crying is a sign that something is not right!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Community

"We don't need an emergency or disaster to come together as people in community, this can be now."
I just loved that thought. The thought of building community. It is from the Daily Om today. And I think I have done just that. I have sought out people of like minds and formed community on a daily basis. People I know I can call any minute for help with anything. I did this yesterday.

I was headed out the door to mow, just a lovely day out. As I was walking toward the garage I could hear my chickens out by the barn squawking. And I could see two dogs chasing and catching my poor chicks. They are still only 4 months old, so not even laying eggs yet. They were in our pasture enjoying the grass, grubs and sun when out of nowhere these two neighbor dogs (I am assuming they belong to a neighbor) interrupted their peaceful day. I chased the dogs and one husky left with a chicken in his mouth. But this other dog, a basset hound, would not leave. He did drop the chicken he had killed when he saw me coming. I tried thrown rocks at the dog but he would NOT GO HOME. Every time I turned my back he would go after another chicken, when I approached him he would just cower down. So I took this basset by the collar (of course no tags) and put him in the tack room of our barn. But WHAT DO I DO NOW!! That was my question.

Animal Control was only in Monday through Friday and here it was Saturday. I couldn't let the dog out I needed to assess the damage, get all my living chicks back in the coop. So I called two friends. One to help me locate the other. The second operates a dog rescue. My thought was that if I had to hang onto the dog until Monday maybe I could get it into rescue but didn't know if a rescue would take a dog knowing it was a neighborhood dog. But they BOTH called me and gave me advice, and offered to come help.

~What a wonderful feeling to know that I can call a friend if I need help. That I have resources even though I am hundreds of miles from family, that I HAVE community, not just in a disaster but every day is a day for community. Community is family. You can build it, you can have it every day.~

The one friend advised me to call the Sheriff as Animal Control is part of law enforcement. So that is what we did, and the Sheriff called Animal Control and they came out and got the dog. The Animal Control officer was VERY nice, and I know in Burke County they work with a rescue so if the owner doesn't come forward the dog will have a chance at a good life.

But now I have other issues about protecting our chickens. hmmmmm.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sweat Lodge

It is about time for a nice sweat. The days are getting a bit cooler, evenings are beautiful. I am feeling like I need a cleansing and what better way than a sweat lodge.

My husband Jackson and my sons made me a sweat lodge for my birthday a couple of years ago, I will have to take pictures of my sweat lodge and post at some point. I am so grateful for them, and for my gift, so blessed.

It is a nice time to relax and just be present in the moment, to feel connected to the earth and the ancestors, to meditate and feel cleansed. Not sure if the boys will want to sweat this year, they have not shown interest yet, maybe someday. This is a great web site for an overview of the process, the basics.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Yoga Socks

I finished the yoga socks, really cool. Will try these out this winter when the house is chilly :-)
The pattern was a free one from Michael's, a friend gave me the pattern with the yarn. But searching on the Michael's web site I could not find the pattern online so I am going to type it out here in case anyone wants to try them:

Gauge: 28 sts and 36 rows = 4 inches in stocking st.

Cast on 64 stitches loosely. Divide into (20,20,24) sts on 3 needles, join in round. Place marker on first st for beg on rnd.

Work 10 rnds in (K1 P1) ribbing
1st round: knit
2nd round: *K1, P3. Rep from * around
3rd and 4th rounds: As 1st and 2nd rounds
5th round: Knit
6th round: *P2 K1 P1. Repeat from * around
7th and 8th rounds: as 5th and 6th rounds.

Repeat last 8 rounds for texture pattern until work from beg measures approx 4 inches, ending a 4th or 8th round of pattern.

Next round: Knit, inc 8 sts evenly around. 72 sts. Divide into 24 sts on each of 3 needles.

Work 5 rounds in (K1 P1) ribbing.

Shape heel opening:

Next round: Cast off 36 sts loosely in ribbing. Rib to end of round.

Cast on 36 sts loosely. Rejoin in round. Rib to end of round.

Work 5 rounds in (K1 P1) ribbing.

Next round: Knit, dec 8 sts evenly around.
64 sts.

Beg on a 2nd round, work approx 2 1/2 inches in texture pattern ending on a 1st or 5th round of pattern.

Work 10 rounds in (K1 P1) ribbing. Cast off in ribbing.
ENJOY!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Knitting

OK so August was such a hectic month, conference and all the preparations that come with it, as well as a trip to the beach. And despite my best intentions I never really get any knitting done at the beach, just hear those waves calling my name and must respond by SWIMMING!!

But I did eek out a couple of washcloths for the house, needed some. Just a pretty cotton yarn.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

School has Started

Oh the start of the school year has hit me smack in the face this year, not the usual gradually figure out that public school is back in session. It started this week and first thing Monday morning, returning from a dentist appointment with my oldest son, we ran into the after school pick up line of cars, lined up for at least a mile down the street, and NOT MOVING. We sat there for a couple of minutes and decided, since we weren't moving anywhere, to back up just a tad and turn around, take the longer way home, longer but undoubtedly quicker.

I often think about those lines. Parents must wait at least an hour, minimum in that line...twice a day, drop off and pick up. So glad we are not in that line, at least not intentionally, and surely not for the rest of this year now that I am painfully aware that school is open for business. I often wonder about those lines, do parents use that time in the morning to get to know their children. Having a few friends with children in the public school system, I know there is not much time otherwise, the day is filled with school, then after school activities, then supper, homework and bed. So do parents use this valuable time to talk with their children, find out their hopes, dreams, concerns, likes, or dislikes. Is the time put to good use or do they sit there complaining about the line, how slow it is. Do they ever wonder about homeschooling, about doing away with the line altogether. Do the children wait in the line eager for school or dreading the day ahead, do they use the time to talk with their parents, share their thoughts, opinions and ideas.

So many hours they spend in line at the school, 2 hours a day, 180 days a year. That is 360 hours, or 15 days a year spent in line for school. So GRATEFUL for the time at home, so GRATEFUL for the connection I have with my boys.