Tuesday, May 31, 2011

FPEA Convention 2011 in Pictures

Warning~ There are a lot of pictures in this post. Look at your own risk.

This year we splurged and went to the Florida Parent Educator Association's Homeschooling Convention. We haven't been in about 5 years. Reasons:1) We needed to put more of our money to curriculum use in years past. 2) We didn't have a vehicle that we felt could make it there and back. 3) It was no longer being held at our favorite hotel. 4)I knew what curriculum I liked and have stuck with. This still holds true and I felt a bit guilty going for nothing? Not so.

So here's what we did to stay at the 5 star luxury Gaylord Palms Hotel. We saved moo la every month for a number of months. We saved money out for gas, dinners, and brought everything else from home. Breakfast , lunch, and snacks. I printed out all my curriculum needs and wants with Internet prices for comparison. We also reminded the girls frequently to save their pennies for the trip. Lots of fun goodies for children to buy.

It was so nice leaving on our vacation knowing everything was already paid for. Ahhhh.

We had lots of little blessings along the way. We stopped at our favorite produce stand in Plant City and got peaches for 79 cents a pound, yummy grape tomatoes and peach shakes. We had plenty of fresh fruit with the bananas and apples I brought from home.

Balcony 1

Here are pictures of our hotel room which was another Happy Birthday Blessing for Superman. When we went to check in I mentioned it was his birthday and could they possibly give us a atrium view. Well they did better than that! We got a full suite. It was bigger than our 1st apartment. Dining area, living room, huge bathroom, king size separate suite and 3 balconies. It did cost us $20 which was well worth it.

Balcony 2 with a view of St.Augustine. This is not a village its all under one huge glass roof.

Balcony 3. The little girls said hello to all early morning risers as they passed by. They were a great alarm clock. We didn't miss any of our classes.

LC cleaning up after a juicy peach.

A banana break after a long/short trip, depending on how old you are.

A picture of convention floor. So many vendors, so much to look at. We did buy a stay put exercise ball from Walmart when we got home (they were not selling them there. they should). Just like the ones in the picture. We are hoping it will help our bouncier students to concentrate a bit more.

Here's a view from the Key West side of the hotel. Look what FG caught!

Ahhhh the pool. Fully decked out with an Octopus slide. FG in mid slide.


LC in the kid zone. I saw a lot of "big kids" in there.

Love this turtle shot

So glad she didn't forget the goggles.

Real alligators in the St. Augustine section. We got to see them be fed and the little girlies touched them.

Lounging at an abandoned cabin.

Ahhh the end to a perfect trip. We went to some wonderful lectures from creation to the psychology of colors. I was refreshed at classes just for moms. The girls enjoyed running around and meeting up with old friends and making some new ones. Superman enjoyed the king size bed! (i'm a bed hog)

Stay tuned for the most talked about shirt at convention. Seriously.



FG not excited about going home. Admittedly no one was. What a great way to start summer!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Garden Part 4

I joined the link up party over at Smockity Frocks. Unfortunately I don't know how to put up her gardening button. Please go over and take a look. They have been handling a situation in their home amazingly well.

Our Spring 2011 garden is coming to a close and I still need to draw a map of what I planted from the past fall in to spring.

Our pepper plants seem to be in full bloom so we will continue to let them grow.

I always think fresh eggs in a basket look so pretty and country. I found this basket a couple of years ago at a thrift store. Great for collecting eggs.

These are actually tomatoes from the plants we planted last fall. Lots of vines with very little fruit. We will be adding lime into the ground come late June or July.

We got just over 2lbs of green beans before our plants looked like they had rust all over them. We have some beans left but nothing to speak of.

We planted fresh mint and mulched it with straw. I'm hoping it will fill the whole flower bed. We made Mint Juleps for our first craft day of the summer. I'll post recipes later.

Here are some chives we started in a hanging basket. Other things from fall that are still growing are eggplant, dill onions, and collards.

The dill reseeded itself, so I should have plenty for pickling. The eggplants were on their last leg but seem to have sprung back to life. Lots of purple flowers. And the collards... Well lets just say they take the prize. They are about 4 feet tall and keep producing. The chickens just love them!

I think I'm going to concentrate on getting our yard ready for the fall and winter garden to come. We will be adding a new bed and I'll show you some the improvements we are trying to make along the way.

I'll still pop up any and all great harvests from the spring garden. We have some wonky looking cucs out there right now and getting my onions to bulb!

How does your garden grow? What grows best for you?


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ahhhhh... Seventeen...

I can't believe it, then again I can. I remember when Superman and I would sit on the couch trying hard to imagine the day when I our two year old would be this old. Starting the end of her official schooling in our home and moving into the next step that the Lord has for her.

Pray for her if you know her. She has many wonderful choices and options to consider. She'll be helping me teach our youngest two anatomy next year and helping out in many different
churches with VBS programs this summer.

School Girl and I wanted to surprise her with a themed "cake" this year. It's actually cereal treats. Here is our first try at making chocolate modeling clay. I'll post a recipe soon. We used white and colored it.

Molding the cereal treats into body parts.

See the person with it's legs sticking up?

Here's a half a person. Actually a replica of school girl.

Here's the finished product. It's supposed to be Urban Girl and Superman on a Kayak trip. Can you guess what she got for her birthday?

One of the oars got a bit flimsy, but I think it still turned out pretty cute for our first time. Also Superman is in the back and his legs were supposed to be dangling in the water. Unfortunately when School Girl went to get him out of the fridge one of his feet was missing and No ONE seems to know where it ran off to....

Anyhow. School Girl was in charge of the humans and I was in charge of the boat. Yup, she's waaaayyyyy more creative than me and I'm super good with that!

Here are two of my favorite birthday people. Superman's is in 2 days, so we went ahead and gave him his gifts tonight. We'll be traveling on his b-day.

Surprised about her Kayaking Adventure. All she thought she was getting was a steam iron and organic personal care items. (ALL of which she wanted and needed I might add.)

I think she's going to enjoy 17. So much is happening this coming year and so much to look forward to.

For I know the plans I have for you saith the Lord.... Jeremiah 29:11



Monday, May 23, 2011

Peppers, peppers and more peppers

Last week we had the opportunity to go to our local hydro farm. This past fall we had taken a field trip Co-op there and really enjoyed ourselves. They let each child pick a basket of strawberries as gift. They were delicious. Now they were opening there farm to everyone in our community for one last day of picking and it was free. What a way to be a blessing to so many!

Here is some of what we picked.

Hot peppers (before)

Here is a bunch of chili peppers.

Some purple, red and green bell peppers and jalapenos.

After the hot peppers were done dehydrating I popped them in my blender. Pretty huh?

Mid grind. I should have done three batches because I had to take off the top a couple of times to jostle them around. Needles to say I had burning lips and nose by the end.

The end result. A sweet, very spicy, smokey flavor. I decided to mix the habenaros and the chilies.I can't wait to cook!

Urban Girl will be turning seventeen this week and we will be having stuffed jalapenos to celebrate. Cream cheese, cheddar and maybe some chopped chicken or bacon? We used the colorful baby bells for an Italian salad on Sunday. Yum.

What do you do with a surplus of peppers?



Friday, May 20, 2011

Bug Jar Update

As promised an update to our Bug Jars. The girlies found these cute stickers in the school room and decided to go that route. So easy and no mess.

Can you see the difference in personalities?

These stickers on the sides are to make the bugs happy.... As they drift off into dream land.

Hopefully we'll have some neat bug boards by the end of summer. I'm pretty sure I'll be making new jars at some point. Note to self. No getting upset when/if these break. Get some plastic jars.

Have a terrific weekend!


Bug Jars

Have you ever made a Bug Jar? It's been -- something years since I made one. What, you really didn't think I was going to share how long ago it was did you? Actually it's been since Grade School and then again in Junior High. Do they even have Junior High anymore?

Anyway back to the project at hand. My younger girlies are really interested in nature right now and would like to make specimen boards. Okay they didn't even know what those were until I told them about having to make them in school. They thought that was a really cool idea. (I told them about this months ago and am now just getting around to it. Just in case you thought I was all organized and on top of things.)

So here we go. You'll need:

- 1 jar glass or plastic per etymologist

-plaster a Paris

-nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol

Clean jars. I would have used plastic had I had them.

I don't recommend this brand, but it was given to me free from someone who didn't need it anymore. Any brand will do.

Eyeball the amount you think you'll need.

Add enough water to make it a thick pancake consistency.

Pour into jars and let it dry 24 to 48 hours. Make more if you need to it won't ruin the outcome.

Add your remover or alcohol. About a tablespoon. Let it seep in and cover jar with lid immediately.

Find bugs, pop in jar. The will be asphyxiated and then they can be laid out in a couple of hours on a styro foam card and pinned. Do it sooner than later so that the wings etc are easy to maneuver.

Don't forget to have a classification book on hand. Yeah, I need to get one of those...

I'll post pics of finished jars later today after the girlies have had a chance to do up the lids with sequined bugs. Hey were girls we need to pretty it up a bit!