I don’t think I’ll go so far as to say that I survived (I’m still completely exhausted and immobile), but we had a wonderful time with Karra’s graduation and party and everyone has declared it a smashing success.

It was a long haul this past two weeks to get the yard and farm looking like a nicely manicured homestead.  The front door and downstairs bath never got painted and only the door trim on the deck doors got painted, but the house was clean – even the carpet.  Let me tell ya ’bout the carpet.

Wednesday night the family took off for church and I moved furniture and vacuumed and prepared the carpet shampooer to do it’s job.  Starting at the point farthest from the worst of the stains, I set to work.  Wow there is a LOT of soap coming out of that carpet, I thinks to myself.  Hmmm, why is there soap going out when I’m not pulling the trigger?  But the small area by the door where Lexi had had diarrhea was sure looking clean.  Wow, that went through a hole reservoir of soap.  So I refilled the soap container and put it on the machine and then took the water container to refill.  All set to go back to work and I moved the machine to find a big white spot under it.  Well, that sure looks clean, I thinks to myself.  Holy Cow!!  The soap reservoir was empty!!!!!!!!  It leaked the whole thing onto one already pretty clean spot on the carpet.  Now what do I do?

Panic quickly ensued.  What do I do?  I have to get this carpet cleaned!!  Ah hah!  Eden Clean to the rescue!!  I called my friend that has a cleaning business (she just happened to have had a new baby a month ago, but oh well).  Can your husband come and clean my carpet tomorrow or Friday?  I’m so desparate – my shampooer died and Karra’s graduation is Satureday – the dogs have totally trashed my carpet and I don’t know what to do!!!  All of this to a voice mail.  I waited two minutes then texted her husband with the same message.  I waited two minutes then called my BFF for sympathy.  She is the best BFF in the whole world!!  Not only did she tell me on Tuesday that she didn’t see any cobwebs on my ceiling, she told me on Wednesday night in the middle of my panic that my carpet (covered with doggie stains) really didn’t look that bad.  What an awesome friend!  While I’m on the phone with her, my friend calls me back and says “Oh, yeah, my husband can come tomorrow morning!”  Oh, good friends are the best!!  He came on Thursday morning, made all of the stains go away, tried one of the graduation cupcakes that Kristen was baking and forgot one of the hoses to his machine because I was giving him a farm tour – 🙂  I took the hose to them when I went out to grocery shop and got to hold their tiny little new baby!  Aw.  I think I’m like my Aunt Connie – I just can’t get enough of holding babies.

Friday was Kurt’s last day of drama camp and his performance.  I was running errands for the 5th day in a row when my parents arrived.  By the time I got home I was an angry exhausted woman.  After going to fetch Kurt I came home and took a nap.  I was a new person for the performance Friday night.  As usual the kids pulled off a funny and entertaining performance after only a week of practice.  It was a lot of fun and we had 6 family members along for the laughs!

Saturday dawned cool, overcast and windy.  Not a good sign for an afternoon party.  The girls decorated the fence and gate and I put up the front door sign.  Karra dove into my BFF’s box of decorations and made the house look lovely.  I kept coming out of my sewing room with a new decoration or something I’d made and she was duly impressed by my creativity.  She even said she had no idea her mom was so creative! (Pat me on the back)  We were all decorated and ready to go by 10:30.  By the time my extra helpers came, there wasn’t much left to do.  By two o’clock the sun was coming out, the wind had died down and I had a house and deck full of people.  We started our ceremony at 2:15 and were done in ten minutes.  Karra’s speech was funny, I didn’t cry and everyone enjoyed the food and fun.  The kids (Kristen and her friends) played badminton and my BFF’s husband and twins and some other folks played corn hole.  Uncle Gray Shirt, bless his heart, made us our own corn hole boards just for the party.

I’ll hush now and share some pictures.


Here they are – all of those first day of pictures.  When my Mom showed up with 1st day of dance and 1st day of 1st grade pictures,  I had to scrounge for 1st day of kindergarten picture.  It was easier to find than I thought it would be.  From 4 year-old dimples to pointe shoes in 10 years.  Oh my gosh, how the time flew by.


The newly remodeled school room with a table moved back in.



The view from the front door.


A close up of the “presentation table”. The paper was her outline of the day’s activities.  Complete with the Belmont Stakes at 6pm.


The words on the front door are her exact quote of the words she said we could put on a banner on the front gate.  I found a banner that said Congratulations! and then had decals to put her name on, so I went with that for the front gate.  I had planned to do a magnet-board type thing at the gate, so I just taped them to the front door and added the hats from the decorations box.  She loved it.  I still can’t believe I surprised her with my creativity.

And at last – the very end of the post – the Valedictorian of her graduation class of 2015!


And That is What’s Been Happening in the Homeschool and on the Hobby Farm!!

College Visit

It wouldn’t be a college visit unless we got lost – but I had the new van with the Navi System so it didn’t matter!!!  And I’ve named the Navi System “Miss Flanagan” because every time she gave a directive I said “yes, ma’am”, but the sing-song in my head wanted to add something.  So, when I finally identified the sing-song as coming from Annie I had to name her Miss Flanagan.

We had a great time, liked the campus (the Rec Center almost lives up to the one at UC), and when we talked to the  department people Karra’s face lit up and she got excited.  Yes!  That’s what I want to do!!  So, we’ve decided to revisit UC to look at the their program in that field.

And the getting lost department?  Such tiny wrong turns we could have corrected them all by ourselves with out Miss Flanagan’s help. 🙂

Sadly, we couldn’t do our traditional stop at Sonic for burgers & shakes.  There are no Sonic drive-ins in NE Ohio!!! WAH!!  So, we ate at Cracker Barrel.  Karra had grilled rainbow trout and I had spicy grilled catfish.  We had steak fries and I had fried okra & Karra had healthy fruit.  And then we had apple dumpling ala mode with carmel pecan sauce. OH MY WORD!  We ate ourselves silly – and it was sooooo good!!!!  The nice gentleman at the next table tried to steal a bite (something my Dad would so do) and his wife had to chastise him.  I just laughed.  He was impressed that we demolished that dessert.  I HIGHLY recommend it – even after fish, fries & fried okra.  So, we walked around and looked at the gift shop for about 10 minutes then headed home.

5 minutes down the road – “Oh, this is bad.”

“What?  Are you sick?”

“I have to go the bathroom!!”

“Why didn’t you go before we left?  We walked around for 10 minutes and I used the restroom again.”

“I didn’t have to go.  I went before dessert.  Oh, this is bad!”

“I wonder where all of those potholes are we passed on the way up.”

“NO!  DON’T.  I’ll explode like the Indian Ocean!”

So, she tries to distract herself reading the information we gathered at the university visit and she’s reading the summer rec center information and you can rent kayaks and equipment for the weekend.  Hey, when the cousins come next week and we go kiyakaking  – and off we go into gales of laughter that didn’t help the girl with the Indian Ocean in her bladder.  Hehehehe.  And then we got stuck in 15 miles of construction that slowed us down and made it even worse and we’re coming up on our exit and she starts begging, “Mommy, please, please, stop!”  Feigning reluctance I turn off and pull into the BP station which she recognizes as a drop off point to meet the church van on it’s way to Elkhart.  I told her it was on the way so it was no big deal.  I Am So Awful!!!!

I have really enjoyed our visits to different colleges and the bonding time with my oldest child.  We don’t necessarily bond over food, but today was extremely enjoyable.  We’ve had such good laughs and been able to really talk about things we wouldn’t talk about at home.  She really is a level headed kid and she’s going to do very well at college.

And That was a Homeschool Adventure off the Hobby Farm.

On a Field Trip

I originally wrote this on Sept. 7 and I’m not sure why it didn’t get published.  Here it is the first Homeschool Adventure I’ve written about in quite some time!!

Hey, she’s finally going to write about homeschool!!   We started school last Thursday and then ran out on Friday for our first field trip of the year.   We went to Springfield to “The Fair at New Boston” which is a Revolution era re-enactment camp.   Kurt was so excited because they were going to have cannons & shoot them off!!  Of course it started to cloud up on the way there and was a little breezy.  We found it with no trouble & got signed in.  The first thing to see was the cannons.  We listened to them explain about the different types of cannon balls & shot that they used.  We wondered off through the half filled “town”.  The best part was the Indian Camp.  They had several different types of Indian houses & lean-to’s.  There were horses & a man with a long rifle & revolvers.  While we were listening to an explanation of how to tan animal hides the cannon went off.  EVERYBODY jumped.  They were supposed to set it off every hour, so we told Kurt we would be up to watch it at the next one.  Well,  it started to sprinkle while we talked to the soap making lady.  And then it really started to rain.  And then it really started to pour.  We were soaked & the wind was blowing.  We bought some candy, a bar of soap, and a set of dominoes for Kurt & exercised our privilege as homeschoolers & departed for dryer parts.  Kurt didn’t see the cannon go off because it was pouring down rain at 11 & they weren’t going to do it.  Karra says the best part of the trip was going to McDonald’s & getting to hook her laptop up to their WiFi.  Modern kids!

We are half way through our second day of book work & it is going quite well.  It is Karra’s day to help with lunch & she made hot dogs & macaroni – except she doesn’t know the difference between a 1/3 of a cup and 1 1/3 cups & so the macaroni is soup (or more appropriately, a wasted cup of milk), no wonder she hates math!

And That is A Homeschool Adventure from the Homestead!

School’s In, School’s In, You’ll Never Hear From Me Again!

Well, that’s what it feels like anyway.  Now that we are officially "in session", I have to stay off of the computer.  So, if you’re lucky, you’ll get a weekly update.

Kristen hurt her hip at soccer last week.  She was playing goalie & dove for the ball & bounced off of the ground.  Beth, the nurse, said it’s probably a deep bruise or a pulled muscle, though it’s in an unusual place.  She limped through 20 minutes of practice on Thurs. & then sat out.  We’re skipping the extra practice on Tues. & hoping we’re ready on Thurs.  They have a big game against Delaware on Sat.

Karra had fun on Friday doing experiments with cohesion (and then getting the paper towel stuck in the 10ml cylinder, but I’m not supposed to relate that adventure).

Kurt told a story about the Pat the Rat (whose store was broken into), and took his first math test.  He needed help with 2 problems, so the teacher had to give him a 96%.  He was not happy.  But he got to do craft day & that totally made up for everything!

And that’s the homeschool adventures for the week.

Commit to be Fit

Well, off we went to the gym this morning to find my waistline and let the kids swim.  20 minutes into my workout with a nice young guy named, Nate, my legs got so weak and shaky that my head thought that would be a good thing to do too.  There I sat, leaning over a trash can, sure my burps were going to turn into regurgitated sausage and eggs!!  They brought me some juice and a cool rag for the back of my neck and I managed to breathe deep and slow enough to keep my breakfast where it belonged.  Once my heart stopped pounding, I was able to stand up and took a very leisurely walk on the treadmill.   Nate told me to be sure and eat carbs with my breakfast before a workout and noted on my card, to do ONE set of exercised until my body gets used to being exerted again.  I am so very tired tonight and will probably be sore tomorrow after the few exercises I did manage to do.

The kids loved their swim time and Kurt behaved himself quite well with Karra helping him do his school work.  WE told him that if he fought with Karra over his schoolwork, he couldn’t go swimming.  Boy, did that work!  We were all exhausted and moving slowly when we got to the library.  WE did pretty good with the food that we packed.  I bought the kids hamburgers at 2:30 (since the girls had dance at 4 and I had run out of cheese – how could that possibly happen, since I practically OWN the cheese case at Kroger!) and Kurt hadn’t had any protein with his lunch.

I am tired and going to enjoy my sleep tonight!

The newest homeschool adventure at the Happy Palace Prep Academy.

Joy in the Journey

I had an epiphany of sorts yesterday.  I had gone to the gym to re-up myself for the long haul (you know, that determined effort to relocate your waitstline?) and then took the kids swimming.  When we decided to school year round regardless, one of the reasons was that the kids wanted time to go swimming and have fun outings and not just school, school, school all of the time.  So, I’m watching them playing in the water and having fun and I realized that in my efforts to put the "home" in our homeschool and homestead, I had destroyed the joy in the journey of homeschool.  It was like doing school at home with none of the fun that we had previously enjoyed.  Not to mention how tired and worn out I’ve felt since I quit exercising on a regular basis.

I got to take two lucious dips in the hot tub & a couple of swims in the pool (Karra called it refreshing; I called it COLD!).  We stayed in the pool for an hour and it was just fun and wonderful.  We were very tired when we got home and wondering how we will pull off swimming on a dance night.  The girls don’t get home until 8pm after dance.  It will be a very long day for them when we’re leaving at 9:30 to drive to the gym.  But, we don’t have to get up in the morning.  The biggest problem will be packing enough food in the cooler to get us through the day!  I’m trying not to think of when soccer starts and Kurt & I will be out until 8pm as well.

As an aside I must describe to you Kurt as he headed for the swimming pool:    He has on his swim trunks, life jacket, adult-sized flippers, swim mask (the strap folds his ears down), and snorkel.  Slap, flop, slap, flop, he walks out of the stall and tries to navigate his way out of the ladies locker room and out to the pool.  The ladies are sticking their heads out of the changing stalls to get a look because he ‘sounds’ so funny!  I just shook my head and said, "that’s his dad, not me!"   I wish, oh, how I wish, I’d had a camera!

That is today’s homeschool adventure from the Happy Palace Prep Academy, home of the Penguins.

Good Morning Blogosphere!!

Well, the computer just ate my entry and I’m not going to retype it.  Suffice to say that the colossal decision has been made to become year round schoolers!  We just don’t feel like we can enjoy the benefits of homeschooling when we’re tied to a "calendar" school year.  Joel is even okay with it.  We’ll do school in the mornings and be able to enjoy other activities in the afternoons.  The more I’ve tried to stay home and "do" school, the more stressed we get.  I want the kids to pursue their passions and interests and not be bogged down by an overloaded life.  So, we’re going back to the gym to swim & help Mom find her waistline (there is nothing like looking at a 10 year old video of yourself to show you just how far you’ve lost it!).  We can do the library again and actually utilize it’s benefits.  Once summer hits school may shift to the afternoon so that Mom can garden in the morning before it gets too hot.  I think the new schedule will be a big help when we have animals to care for.  Since we know that things will get done and it’s okay if they don’t get done today, it won’t put us behind, we should be good.  We’ll still have those weeks off for swim lessons and camping and visiting Grandma and Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I know that a steadier routine will probably be healthier in the long run for all of us.  No time to forget our multiplication facts and our letter sounds.

I’m excited and already feel calmer about how our "check book"s look (that’s what Kurt call’s my Instructor Guides).  Report cards came out this week and everyone is doing fine.  I’m so proud of Kristen and the progress that she is making in spelling/phonics.  She still doesn’t really hear the ng combination, but she’s more aware that it exists.  Her spelling as improved alot and her ability to retain the spelling patterns.  It’s just one of those things that came to her a little later than the "norm".

Well, this is completely different from the entry that the computer ate.  Karra is thinking that she would like to be a nurse and help babies be born.  She’d also like to volunteer at The Columbus Women’s Clinic and give ultrasounds and help save unborn babies.  I’m so proud of her.  She’d make an awesome nurse – or a doctor.  She’s still passionate about animals but has decided that maybe Dad is right and being an animal scientist may not pay as well and have as bright a future.  Besides, there is nothing like the miracle of a baby to put the kabosh on evolution!

And that’s the latest adventure at The Happy Palace Prep Academy.