Monday, August 16, 2010

Just Peachy

A bad day canning is better than the best day shopping! Can I tell you that I have been going crazy wanting to can! But unfortunately there has been absolutely nothing available to stock up on and can. That is until these fabulous peaches went on sale for 69 cents a pound. That is a terrific price for where we live!

It's been years since I've done peach jam. So I read up on all the procedures and on how to can peach slices. I made sure I had plenty of lemon juice, clean jars, lids, rings and sugar. I also watched Homestead Blessings, Canning addition. The Chickadees really enjoyed watching the West Ladies and I got a little braver about trying my new pressure canner. (I still haven't used it.)


Scoring peaches for their hot tub time.



Boiling for about a minute to loosen skins. Some of them just didn't want to loosen. I let them sit in ice water next to help even further. Some still were persnickety!

Farm girl stopped by from the pool to help out. You can see some of the lovely finished product on the side. We used lots of lemon juice to keep the beautiful color.



Yummy canned peaches after a 20 minute hot water bath. (I just can't bring myself to try my pressure canner.)

It was a lot, I mean a lot of work to produce 17 quarts of peaches. I was a bit bummed when I pulled them out of the canner and I had peach juice leaking from more than half of my jars.I really thought I had given them enough head room so that wouldn't occur. They all sealed, but I have them stored in our dowstairs fridge to be on the safe side. They can live there for at least 6 months. Maybe longer.(The reason for the dark color is that I used molasses crystals with honey in place of white sugar. )

I had planned on making jam over the weekend, but I was pretty bummed about the peaches and how long it took. My girls all got in on the act and made things go so much quicker. So today I hope to do some jam!

I'm trying new pectin. Pomoana. Has anyone used it? I read it doesn't work in the same fashion as the general pectin's. Let's just pray we get some good results. My pantry shelves are getting bare and need some beautiful color!

julie

We also tried making fried peach hand pies with another family. The were yummy!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bible & Beach

A beautiful thing is taking place here. Every once in a while the Lord just puts something ever so precious in my lap. Right now that something is Bible & Beach. About 13 young woman and a couple of us moms are meeting weekly at the beach. We're digging in deeper to what the Lord has for us and fun fellowship.

We are working our way through Eric and Leslie Ludy's book, When God Writes Your Love Story. For some it's a new concept and for some it's confirmation. While for others, it is a helpful reminder of all the beauty that awaits those who seek after His heart.

The main reason I highly recommend this book is because it places the reader in the "driver's seat". It's not just what parents, grandparents or even what pastors say we have to do or should be doing. Its not about rules, regulations or the "perfect" way to date. Just an invitation to invite the Lord into all parts of our lives including our romance life. Heavy and rich. Better than any chocolate I've ever tasted.

I'm being reminded of my own romance and asking the Lord some 21 years ago (almost) to guide it. I see some of the errors of our ways and I'm reminded of His forgiveness and mercy. I'm just so grateful that I have an opportunity to share it with my daughters and other young woman. I'm also grateful for other "20 something" women who are willing to wait and who are wanting to share their struggles and achievements with those younger woman coming up behind them.

I know some of you reading this must be thinking, "what a crazy woman this is". Well, crazy I am but all for the Glory of my King.

Happy in Him,
julie

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Swagging

I'm really getting excited about SWAGBUCKS. If you look over in my side bar you see the icon to join. I'm saving for Christmas gifts and I'm well on my way. I have one high ticket item (i can't disclose) that I hope to purchase in full from Amazon.

A $5 e-certificate is 450 swagbucks and I've got a tidy little sum building. Swagging is super easy. Set up a tool bar and start searching. Swagbucks will appear as you search and go right into your account. You can also do surveys, purchase items from real online stores, and find codes to earn lots more SB's.

Interested? Click Here and join or go to my side bar. Have fun swaging and saving for gifts!

julie

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

a bit of fun

Bakerella and the Cake Boss we are not! But we sure enjoy pretending we are and acquiring some new skills a long the way!
I really have to make an effort at times to just let my chickadees do it their own way. So I set a morning a aside a couple of weeks ago for them to practice there cake decorating skills. The white and chocolate cupcake pictures are from that day.

Farm Girl concentrating...
Isn't she sweet! Farm girl learned to make this and the flower cookie below. She had a great time at a birthday party with friends creating and decorating.

I thought she did a terrific job on these little flowers.


This was the Little Chefs first experience. It was all about squeezing hard and getting as much on the cupcake as possible. More chocolate please!




Some of the finished product.


Here is a beautiful cake that was created by a friend at Country Boy's . She loves to make cakes like the Cake Boss. What neat birthday gift for the Little Chef who really wanted a Pink Castle Cake and had a Mom who was to wiped out to make one. Roddie used rice crispie treats for the two top layer and the towers. Ice cream cones and home made fondant. Unfortunately it had to be eaten fast because it was melting from being out in the heat (feels like was 112 degrees) during transport. No worries though, not a bit was wasted! I couldn't believe how everyone wanted seconds and I heard of a couple of thirds. Ooooo and the inside was also pink and was made with strawberry jam! (I know what you're thinking, it just had to be healthy!)

So we this week we have a cookie decorating party planned for younger girls. It should be very creative and sweet.

julie

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

While the Cats Away




Ever wonder what happens when "the cats are away"? Ah Ha! I found these on my camera.











I'm pretty sure she is the Ring Leader. I mean she just bought a stir fry cookbook at Ikea. The evidence points to her.











Have they gone deep sea fishing?



This must be the Right Handwoman or maybe the girl who does the dirty work!








Something looks like it smells good.






WaLa! Stir Fry ala Urban and School Girls. Love the crinkle cut texture on the carrots. Fancy they must have picked that up from me.




Someone really enjoyed themselves. Next sauces!








julie























Monday, August 2, 2010

What We Use

School has "officially " been back in session for a week here at our house. I frequently get asked why we start so early. I'm not a very eloquent person and usually fumble on the spot. I use words like,"uh", and " that's what I was meaning to say". But, the reasons we start back so early are:
  1. It's SUPER HOT here!
  2. I like to be done with the bulk of our studies in April so that I can start planning in May before the Homeschool convention.
  3. Usually 3 out of the 4 chickadees are begging to start.
  4. We still have summer fun, take days off and so it isn't straight school, day in and day out. A little crazy on my schedule, but doable!

So these are some of my reasons. Catch me on any given day and I could have more or less.

I spoke of scheduling. I'm a real nerd when it comes to scheduling. I micro manage our individual and daily schedules down to the last minute. Then I feel totally relieved that I have this wonderfully organized schedule and super curriculum to start us on our path of learning. After a day or two, maybe even a week we start to veer from my masterful schedule and get into a steady rhythm that works well for everyone. I make my school plans out for 36 weeks and we check off a day at a time. When everyday is checked off and all the books and tools are used we are pretty much done for the year. (I then have grandiose plans of what we'll study over the summer, but that's for another day).

So everyone is happy. My state and I, that is. I need to have proof of records in case there is ever an issue and I still feel I can veer and swerve at our own pace if need be. as long as we get it all done!

So on to curriculum. I use a bit of everything. I enjoy a bit of Charlotte Mason, Classical and Unschooling Styles (this is used during the summers and holidays). I've used most everything out there trying to find what works best with visual learning disabilities. I've come across a tremendous amount of wonderful curriculum that just doesn't work with our styles, issues and numbers of people. But the curriculum is soooooo good you just want to keep it because you never know when you may be able to implement it! Weird, I know...Or maybe even my grandchildren will be able to use it (someday)!

Here"s a list of what were using this year:

1st Grade

  1. Saxon Math 2
  2. Draw Write Now Books 1 and 2
  3. Handwriting Skills Simplified- Learning Cursive (Ding,Ding,Ding)
  4. Rod and Staff reading
  5. All About Spelling (ding, ding, ding WE HAVE A Winner)
  6. Apologia Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day, audio (tapes I made this summer- Ding,Ding,Ding) and online note booking pages for beginning writers
  7. Tapestry of Grace year 2 Fall of Rome to the Colonies- Lower Grammar

4th Grade

  1. Saxon Math 54
  2. Handwriting Simplified- Cursive
  3. Abeka Health- On her own
  4. All About Spelling
  5. Rod and Staff 3 grade reading and workbook- we pick and choose from the workbook
  6. Scripture memory writing
  7. Apologia Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day, audio and note booking for writers(ding,ding,ding)
  8. Tapestry of Grace Y2 and Writing Aids- Upper Grammar

7th Grade

  1. Saxon 87 with Saxon teacher- ding, ding, ding! Most bang for the buck out of all the math programs with a "teacher" component.
  2. Abeka Health 8th grade- free read
  3. Rod and Staff 8th grade reading comp.
  4. Rod and Staff 6th grade English
  5. Artistic Pursuits Junior High Art 1- Ding, Ding, Ding- a real art instruction program.
  6. Apologia General Science- She's playing with the big chicks now!
  7. Tapestry of Grace and Writing Aids Y2- Dialectic
  8. FLVS- Typing- would not recommend!

****Tapestry of Grace has TONS of Literature, we also use Streams of Civilization , Story of the World with this program and everything else I can get my hands on about the time period from the Library and friends. Our 2nd year using this curriculum. Daunting but very rich!

11th Grade

  1. Life Of Fred Geometry- We've tried everything and seems the most understandable. Also like Teaching Textbooks, Math U See and Saxon for other students. 1 credit
  2. NotGrass American History, Literature and Bible-DING, DING,DING! Very pleased with program. Everything is laid out for your Highschooler. I read the literature also, so that we can have in depth discussions. We also used the World History program and will use the American Gov't and Economics. 3 credits
  3. Rosetta Stone French-1 credit
  4. Apologia Marine Biology- 1 credit plus lab
  5. FLVS Computer Programming- 1 credit
  6. Work Release- 1 credit (not sure if we can still count this one towards graduating total, but still earned)

total 8 credits

So that's what I'm attempting to teach my children this year by the Grace of My Lord.

Any questions?

Maybe tomorrow I'll pop up my glorious schedules!!!