Monday, February 22, 2016

It's that time of year again

It's that time of year when I order any seeds and plants I need for the next year. Abby just had to help me while I was going through all the seeds I have.

Like I have the past few years, I will be ordering the Super Sauce Tomato plants from Burpee. I ordered 12 plants last year and am thinking of getting 18 plants this year. I'm going to get my green pepper plants at a local farm this year however.

I believe the only seeds I need this year are herbs. I need more Oregano and Spearmint. For some reason my Spearmint never survives through the winter. That's okay, seeds are cheap.

I already bought some more Butter Bush Squash seeds. Hubby loves butternut squash and this seed makes the perfect sized plant for small spaces. I've had good luck with it the past few years.

I also went through my garden journal binder and printed up some new pages and took out all of last years notes. I still keep the past years notes just in case I need to look up something like the weather patterns or germination and harvest yields.

Now I just need the garden to thaw out and the temperatures go up a little more.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Looking back at 2015

As I was looking back on posts from 2015, it made me remember how much of a crazy trying year we had. Between issues with tons of weeds in the garden, having a hard time homeschooling and trying to keep on top of the harvests and preserving, it is a year we will learn from.

We didn't get to do anything on our homesteading to do list last year, so that list is still on for this year. We need to add a new furnace to the list now though. Ours is not running correctly, even though we had it looked at already. We were told that the furnace will last for a few more years. At this rate, we might as well just buy a new mobile home because it will knock out a few things on our list at once. We would just have to deal with a mortgage then. Something we haven't had in over 6 years. I like not having a mortgage and owning our home out right.

We have been talking about ways to help prevent so many weeds. I want to lay down some plastic mulch, red for the tomatoes and peppers and black for the rest of the garden. This is after we till up the garden in the early spring. I want to make sure all the big bits and as many small bits of the weeds and what not are not left in the garden.

We are now unschooling Matt. So much less pressure to do things he does not like or doesn't really need to do. I just have a requirement of math and reading. He wants to go to our local tech high school for welding and auto mechanics, so he needs to finish algebra and start geometry in order to meet the prerequisites for welding. He spends his days watching videos, reading online and playing this "game" online where he builds a vehicle from scratch. Every little thing going into the vehicle is made. He has learned so much about engine building from this "game". He has still been fixing up lawn mowers and weed whackers to learn more hands on stuff.

We are still part of our homeschool co-op, so we still have to deal with him there. High school age kids do not have a choice of class to pick from like the younger kids do. He has to take English comp and he hates it. He hates to write. Although, he did pick a topic he is passionate about for a thesis paper for the class. It's about how the Toyota Prius is not an eco friendly car, all because of the battery.

Now that the seed catalogs are slowly trickling in, it is time to start to plan this years garden. I love this time of year! Just hate the cold hehe.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Homeschooling is tougher this year

Our homeschool year started up after Labor Day. All started out fine, but slowly. We got really busy with the garden, you know that time time of year. Harvest time.

Anyway, our homeschool year started out okay. Eventually it started to fall apart. Matt hates the history that I chose. So, instead, I asked him what he would like to learn about. I did the same thing last year, so not sure why I didn't do it this year and forget spending money on curriculum. Now to remember this for next year.

He chose to learn about Ancient Egypt. Awesome! I have a few lapbooks that I had used with my daughter backed up on a portable hard drive, so I printed them up. I had also won a ebook copy of the first Truthquest guide book, so I printed up the list of books for the Egypt section. Now I need to hit the library, get Matt a card (Our town does not let kids get a library card until they are in high school. Kinda odd, but whatever). I did buy a few books to go along with the Mystery of History book to go along with the Ancient Egypt sections.

Math is a chore, like always. Matt say he likes math but gets annoyed with it. I cut out half of the problems for him to do and that seems to be working out for him better.

English is no problem. He does his grammar and vocabulary in like 30 minutes. He is taking an English comp class at co-op this year, so that rounds up what I didn't want to teach him. The mom teaching the class use to be a high school English teacher, so she is in her element with this class.

Science is going along slowly. I have changed a few things, well, taken out parts of what I had planned. I am thinking of changing it a bit more too. He enjoys the labs, not really the labs.

I have been seriously thinking about taking a unschool or child led learning style approach this year and the remainder of high school. Both Matt and I have been seriously stressed out and not enjoying school at all right now.

Friday, August 14, 2015

9th Grade Curriculum Choices

It's getting near that time again. Back to school time. Our public schools start up at the end of August, but we don't start our homeschool year until after Labor Day. Matt was born Labor Day weekend, so we always have family visiting that week.

I began buying the curriculum we will be using when we got our tax return money back. I also used lots of my saved Swagbucks points to buy a nice microscope and slides off Amazon. I am nervous teaching the high school years. My daughter went to public school for high school, but Matt will be home for all four years.

I spend the summer making the lesson plans to fit us. This year it took like 3 months of daily work to finish.

Here is what we (Matt and I) have narrowed down for curriculum:


We are going to be using Mystery Of History. I have added a bunch of required reading, in addition to the activities, map work and timeline work that is included in the curriculum. I did this book with my daughter and Matt (he was 5 at the time though), so it has been a bit since we have studied this time period. My plan is to use all four books in high school as well as the All American History by Bright Ideas Press, the same publisher as Mystery of History.


We plan on using Saxon Algebra 1, but like last year, that might change. He said he enjoyed the Saxon math last year, but it was just way too many problems every day. I have to totally agree. It was taking him hours to do the work and causing melt downs. After talking to both my husband and Matt, we agreed to have him do half the problems (15 total) a day. Then if he has a hard time, he can do the other 15 problems, or if he totally gets the lesson, we can move on to the next. I know the book says to not skip any problems, but it wasn't working for Matt last year that way. He also has the DIVE cd-rom to use with it, so I don't have to teach Algebra. I might have to brush up on it myself though in case Matt has any issues understanding. It has been 20 years since I graduated high school after all.

Language Arts

We will be using Wordly Wise 3000 grade 9 book for vocabulary. I will be changing this book after this year, because I just found out that the newer editions that are coming out are aligned with the Common Core State Standards. We homeschool to avoid that crap. The book I have is one we bought for my daughter to use like 6 years ago, but never used it.

Easy Grammar 180 Daily Lessons will be used to brush up on his grammar. After having grammar every year since first grade, He just needs a little refresher, nothing to deep anymore. Matt will be taking a literature class through co-op, not to mention all the books he will be reading for history and science.


We are going to be studying Biology this year using the curriculum from Guest Hollow. I am doing most of it, just not adding in any additional reading other than what is scheduled in. For the most part it is free and it was almost free for me. I used my Swagbuck points to buy giftcards for Amazon and bought a microscope and some of the books scheduled that are not free online. I am totally excited for this class. Matt stated that he has no desire to do any dissections. I never did them when I took Biology in high school either, but I found a ton of virtual labs online for him to watch and do a lab write up on instead. I may or may not do a dissection myself and have Matt watch.


Matt will be taking a Digital Photography class online through a NH online school. I figured it was one thing that the Common Core Standards were not going to be implemented in and would be safe to have him do. He also has a desire to learn how to use my old Pentax camera as well. That is the camera I learned on back in my high school photography classes.

Archery will be continued as well. He has a four day tournament coming up in September to practice for, so I need to find a place close to us for him to practice more than the scheduled class time.

We will also be joining our local homeschool co-op again. Literature will be one class he is going to take, but we are still working out what the other class will be. There is a co-op meeting coming up at the end of the month.

So, that pretty much sums up our plans for the year. I may or may not change things up a bit as we go. We always seem to do that. It's one thing I enjoy about homeschooling. We can tailor things to work for your child.

Monday, August 10, 2015

What I have been up to

It's been crazy here in the garden and kitchen. It's been really hot and humid too, which bothers my RA a ton, so I didn't venture out to the garden much. The crazy weeds show my lack of attention too.

I've also been canning beans up like crazy too.

This is when the bush beans were almost ready to be picked. A few days later, I was snippin n snappin them.

My small but productive bush bean plot. Got tons of beans from this little bit of plants. Jade bush beans are wonderful.

Abby inspecting the beans after they were cleaned. She likes to take one and bat it around the living room. This was part of the first days worth of beans. I pulled just shy of a 5 gallon bucket that day.

56 pints of green beans all ready for winter suppers.

Pole beans are now starting to come in, so I will be canning even more beans. Tomatoes are starting to ripen as well. I freeze them as I pick them and can my sauce when it is a bit cooler out.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Flowers around the homestead

We have had a rather lovely summer. We are blessed to not have had a ton of rain like some of the other blogs I read have. We do get rain a couple times a week though, just enough for me to not need to water the garden hardly if at all. Weeds are still a major issue, even after having my dad and sister over to help weed.

Our lilies and other flowers are in full bloom in the gardens now. It looks so pretty, even with all the weeds in the front bed. Enjoy! Warning *Picture Heavy*

These are our free lilies. Our land lord dug them up from another plot and just dumped them across the street from me. Steve and I grabbed three huge bunches of them. Two are in wine barrel halves at the street edge and the other is in a huge galvanized steel barrel near the deck and front garden.

My bee balm. I found some purple bee balm in a vacant lot across the street from me. Going to see if the land lord will let me dig them up seeing how all he does is take out all the flowers and bushes/trees before pouring the new pads. 

The pretty red lilies that dad bought be a couple of years ago. They went nuts this year and are still blooming, even with the yellow lilies in bloom. The orange ones dad bought me will open up shortly.

Yellow lilies from dad. These have a nice smell to them. I never noticed it before this year though.

The orange and red nasturtiums from the veggie garden. And a lone petunia growing in a pot that had black ones in it last year. I didn't plant any petunias this year, but this little guy decided to show up for me.

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