Fabulous Finds!

My youngest son is 3 & 1/2 and I have decided to include him in our lessons this fall. I got rid of all of my preschool material, not knowing I was going to have a 2nd set of kids after I gave everything away. So, I was thrilled when I found the Leap Pad, carrying backpack, and all the games and cartridges you see below at our local Goodwill today for $10. If I had waited until toys went on sale, I could have gotten it for a lot less but I was afraid it would be gone by then so I just went ahead and purchased it. Two of the books are for a Leap Pad Plus, which I don't have, but I am going to try to find one on Freecycle or another Goodwill. It would be wonderful to find one, because the books for that actually use a special pencil that really writes. Very cool!



I was also tickled to find these two Melissa & Doug toys. The puzzle was $3 and the shoe was $2. Not too bad!


My son is so excited that he wants to start school for real NOW. At the rate I am going with organizing what I do have and looking for things I still need, we probably won't officially begin our school year until September. In the mean time, I'll just do things here and there with him so he thinks that school has started! ;)

The Hummingbird

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After waiting and watching for over an hour and a couple of camera malfunctions, I finally got a (not-so-good) picture of the hummingbird that frequents our feeder. See it there on the left?



Here are a couple of more pictures, one is the hummingbird's underbelly and the other is of it feeding but all you can see is part of it's body and the blur of his/her wings flapping. The picture was taken through my window and there is scotch tape stuck to the window which makes the picture even worse!



Hoping to get some better pictures soon. It's such a pretty little bird. Maybe I can get the tape off the window before then and use a little bit more Windex on the window!

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Trying To Get My Act Together

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So, it dawned on me today that it is almost August and I have yet to do anything to prepare for the upcoming school year. Well, I guess that's not totally true. I did mail my Letter of Intent to our school district yesterday. That's a start, right? I set out this morning to organize my school cabinet so I could get an idea of what I have and what I will need to beg, borrow, or buy. This is one task I did not look forward to! Notice the nice messy way I have of organizing. 

Half-way through
At one time, the room that houses this cabinet used to be our school room. It was awesome. I had three "stations" set up, a chalk board on the wall, shelves of books, posters and bulletin boards, and more. Sigh. I miss it. The kids loved going out the front door and coming around to the school room door to enter and start their day. They still talk about that as being one of their favorite parts of school. Sadly, our dedicated school room is now a bedroom and "school" takes place all over the house. Which isn't entirely a bad thing, it's just that we really have no place to store all our books and supplies.

After working on the cabinet on and off all day (in between taking care of 5 kids, driving my oldest to a friend's house, cooking supper, blah blah blah), I managed to get most of it organized.



After


I ended up organizing the shelves by subject, which is good because I realized how very few math books I own. However, I also realized that I had another pile of binders and lap books still to put in the cabinet and now there is no room. So, I either have to move things around, or find someplace else for the rest of the stuff. Still not sure what I'll do. Looks like some purging is in my near future.

Would love to hear what Math curriculum people are going with this year. I have kids in 6th, 7th, and 8th and I'm really not sure what we will use this year for my 7th & 8th grader. My 6th grader is in OHVA, so she is taken care of. Anybody know of any great online math courses? Any free ones? I'll be googling a lot over the next couple of weeks and will be sure to post any sites that look promising!

Milestones & Musings

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This past week, "Baby Sista" has totally weaned herself from nursing. I knew it was coming, because she really only nursed once or twice a day anyway but I was surprised at how easy it was to transition to regular milk in her sippy cup. She had a bit of trouble with the Vitamin D milk that her pediatrician wants her to drink, so I switched to 2% and she seems to be able to handle that ok. I'm sure I'll hear at her next check-up that I need to give her supplements, but I personally think she is getting enough Vitamin D from daily sun exposure so I'm not really worried about it.


Another awesome milestone is Mr. B falling asleep by himself. I am beside myself with excitement over this one. Boo has always had trouble falling asleep by himself, but over the past few weeks he has decided that at 3 & 1/2, he is a "big boy" now and willingly climbs into bed, gets tucked in, rolls over, waits a few minutes for me to come back in and check on him, and then is out like a light. Between that and Baby Sister sleeping better through the night since she stopped nursing, my sleep quality has improved dramatically! Who knew sleep could be so exciting!



At 15 months old, Baby Sister has learned how to draw on the chalkboard and to erase to start all over again. She gets so excited about her "creations", but I really have to watch her to make sure she doesn't eat the chalk. I'm thinking about breaking out the finger paints and seeing how she does with those. Might wait until the weather cools down just a bit though, and do it outside. Less mess in the house is always a good thing, especially when it comes to paint. Some of that so-called "washable" paint is anything but washable. Several years ago, one of my kids decided to use some of my white cloth napkins as a paint rag, and even after bleaching them, they still have vibrant smears of blue and green.




I finally cleaned and refilled our hummingbird feeder and am hoping to get a picture of the beautiful tiny green hummingbird who frequents it. We have a feeder like the one pictured above hanging by our bedroom window and for several weeks, we've seen the little bird stop by to feed only to find it empty. It's amazing really, because the same birds will come back year after year. I don't know how they remember where their feeding sites are, but they do. I think I feel a unit study coming on! That would be perfect for Mr. B. The two of us lie on the bed and look out the wall of windows on one side of my bedroom, and just watch the birds and squirrels. He really gets excited when the hummingbird stops by. If anybody knows of any studies geared for the younger child, please let me know!

We've had some awful storms here in Southern Ohio today. I am hoping that they are over with for the night so that everybody will get a good night's rest. Speaking of which, I guess I'll head off to bed myself. I am so NOT a morning person, and my youngest one has decided that 7 a.m. is the perfect time to wake up every day and 7 a.m. comes way too early for me. Night all!

Bees, Bees, and More Bees

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A few months ago, we realized that all of our bees had died. They were doing great and then all of a sudden, gone. We aren't really sure what happened to them. Possibly a wax moth or maybe a mouse. When my friend Amy called to tell me her bees were swarming again, my husband jumped at the chance to go get them. Luckily for my husband, the bees were still there when he got home from work and they were fairly accessible in a pine tree. We ended up with 3 or 4 swarms from her and they are doing great!

I was trying to post a video of my husband transferring them from the box he collected them in to the hive, but I am having trouble loading it. I will update this post if I ever get it uploaded because it is definitely worth seeing! Until then, here is a picture of him using a white sheet as a "bridge" from one box to the other. The bees just crawled right into their new home! It was very cool to watch.


Today here in Ohio the temperatures reached about 111 with the heat index. Because of that, the bees needed access to extra water so my husband set up a watering hole for them. We didn't have any packing peanuts to float in the water for the bees to land on, so I think he ended up using rocks instead. I'd like to get a picture of the bees, but frankly, these scare me a bit. They are quite a bit more aggressive than our former honey bees because wild bees have been mixed in with them. They definitely do not like the lawn mower either!

I'm not certain, but I think we might be able to rob some honey from them this year. I am anxious to see how much we will get, and to taste it. The honey from our last bees was absolutely delicious! Also thinking about possibly making some things with the bees wax. If anybody has any simple ideas or recipes for newbies, feel free to post them in a comment! I'd love to hear them.

Busy, Busy, Busy

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I don't know how, but the summer is just flying by. I have so many things that I want to do (too many) and it seems like I am getting nothing at all accomplished! I had my homeschool assessment in May, got around to getting it ready to mail in June, and although I had good intentions, it is still sitting in my "mail me" pile. I think I have found my new calling: procrastination!

At the moment, my littlest one is in bed asleep already and my other four are outside in the backyard, camping! They are getting ready to make S'mores. I hope they think to make me one! It is nice that they are outside running and playing, rather than holed up in the house on their computers.


 My oldest son discovered that we actually have grapes again this year. Hopefully, they can be picked before the birds get ahold of them. That job will have to fall to my husband for two reasons: 1) I am highly allergic to the poison ivy that is near the grapes and 2) I am only a little over 5 ft. tall and cannot reach the grapes. The funny thing is, they grow in some trees in our side yard!

It's been several years since we've had grapes!


This time last Friday, I was at a hotel for a mini "me" getaway. It had been 6 years since I spent the night away from home without the children, and since then, there was the addition of two more. I didn't go far, just a hotel about 20 minutes away from home, but it was nice. Actually, the hotel was VERY noisy (I was right near a stairwell, the office, AND the POOL) but other than that, wonderful. I actually had a hair "appointment". First time in years, and let me tell you, it was glorious! I love my new stylist and I love my new do. I shopped at the mall for a couple of hours, rented some movies from Redbox (isn't Redbox the greatest?), and stopped by a local grocery store for junk food. I didn't have to be home until 4 the next day but by 12:30, I was bored and didn't want to shop anymore (I really dislike shopping), so I actually ended up going to the grocery store. Kind of lame, but hey, I hardly ever get to do that by myself either! It was nice getting a break from the kids, but I really missed them and was glad to be home.

A King sized bed all to myself!

Whirlpool tub, just for me
Since beginning to write this post, my baby has woke up once, I got my s'more, the kids have run in and out at least 2 dozen times, and I've had to get pj's on my 3 year old who is also going to sleep outside. I have my doubts that he will stay outside all night, but who knows. Hope they all get some sleep! Tomorrow is shaping up to be a busy day with golfing, shopping, and visiting family.

Gotta love summer!

Angels4Epilepsy: Hernando: Angels4Epilepsy's New Mascot and How You...

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To read full post & for pricing, please visit Angels4Epilepsy by clicking on link below!


Angels4Epilepsy: Hernando: Angels4Epilepsy's New Mascot and How You...: "A very special person reached out to Angels4Epilepsy and offered us a wonderful opportunity.  TG Bears has created this custom, hand made bear with Angels4Epilepsy embroidered on his right paw.  The purple ribbon is for epilepsy and altogether, he makes up Hernando!  Hernando is available for purchase and can be shipped directly for you.  Portion of the proceeds will go to Angels4Epilepsy (a 501c3 charity) so your purchase is tax deductible."

For more information, please click on link above or email  angels4epilepsy@yahoo.com.

Angels4Epilepsy: Tutus for Angels

Please take a moment to visit the link below. Angels4Epilepsy was started by my cousin's daughter Jamie when she was 7 years old, to help other children with epilepsy. Jamie's sister is making tutus to help raise funds for the non-profit organization. They are absolutely beautiful!

Here are just a few that she is selling in her etsy store:



Visit link below to read the entire post and to see more pictures!

Angels4Epilepsy: Tutus for Angels: "Jamie's sister is making adorable and affordable tutu's to help raise money for Angels4Epilepsy. All proceeds, after cost of material, will..."