Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year's Eve!

I may have posted a similar picture before. I took this New Year's Day 2014 when Rick and I did a little snowshoeing in Glacier National Park. We're playing around with the idea of going up there again tomorrow. The park is just under an hour away from us, so we go up as often as we can. It's been cold, but tomorrow is supposed to warm up to a whopping 21 degrees. Yay!

I apologize for being so rotten with blogging. I've had some trolling issues, and it just took the fun out of it for awhile. It is something I enjoy, so I hope to get back into it. I really miss visiting everyone else's blogs as well. It seems Instagram is where I am the most, so if you want to follow me, that would be awesome. You all know me and my photo addiction!

Looking back on 2014, I realized we've done quite a few things, including two trips to California to visit my in-laws. These past few weeks have been great because Nicole has been home from college. It's rare to have the whole family together, so I've really enjoyed that. I am hoping to get a picture of all four kids together tonight sometime. I hope everyone stays safe tonight and that 2015 brings much love and happiness.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas!

I'm sorry to be posting a day late. I didn't get my laptop on all day yesterday. Our holiday was very nice, especially having all the kids home at the same time. Nicole's been away at college for so long, so it was great having everyone here. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as well.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Montana Grizzly Encounter

We stopped at the Montana Grizzly Encounter on our way to pick up Nicole from college for Christmas vacation. One benefit was that our entry ticket was good for two days. Since we were driving back the next day, we stopped again with Nicole. Here are some photos I took on both days, including of little Bella who is the youngster of the group. I was so happy she was out the first day we stopped by. She's the last three photos. She's growing her first winter coat, so she looks a little rough right now. She's adorable. The other two bears are Jake and Maggi. I've seen them before as well, but now with Bella, I've seen all five bears that are currently living at the MGE. If you are ever in the Bozeman area, I recommend stopping here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Pumpkins

The boys made these little Thanksgiving pumpkins the other day. They're really simple and easy, which is always a good thing for my boys. You can find all sorts of links how to make them online. I had to laugh when we were putting them together because it reminded me of the RHCP logo. I've got a one-track mind, obviously. Haha! Anyway, they were fun to make, so I thought I'd share there here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

PB Fudge

Okay, so I came across another "meme recipe" on Facebook yesterday. Some of those have turned out to be really good—others—not so good. I decided to try this one for peanut butter fudge yesterday. I wasn't sure if it would even work, more or less, taste any good. It worked just fine. It's super sweet, but if you like peanut butter, it's a good one.

I some of it with a glass of unsweetened almond milk, which helped with the super sweetness of the fudge. I'd definitely make it again. Even so, you never know with those memes!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Parking Lot Photography

It's seriously hard for me to get in or out of the car without finding something to take a picture of. Rick's always looking back saying, "You're going to get hit by a car!" and things like that. Seriously, there are cool things to photograph all around us. You don't have to go on a five mile hike to find them. The berries pictured above were taken near Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Above flower by Twisted Bliss Frozen Yogurt.
More berries from Bed, Bath, and Beyond.
Yellow flower near Walmart.
Pink flower by Target.
Yellow flower at Target.
Changing fall leaves next to Walmart.

The beauty is out there. You just need to take a moment to look at it. These were all taken with my iPhone, by the way. I rarely carry my Canon to the big chain stores. ;)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Eight years ...

As of today, it's been exactly eight years since we moved to Montana. We actually left California a few days before, but it was October 26, 2006 when we spent our first night in this house. It's hard to believe we've been here this long. However, some days it feels like we've just gotten here, and other days it feels like we've been here forever. So strange. 

I took this picture of the house not too long ago. Those double doors on the lower level towards the left lead into our classroom. It's a great place for our homeschool room, especially since we get the afternoon sunshine there. Denny loves it. That's also where he begs to be let out to eat grass, or for "recess" as we say. But still—eight years—pretty unbelievable.

Friday, October 24, 2014

CrAzY WeEk!

First of all, thank you to everyone who has visited my blog recently. I know I've completely sucked at blogging lately. I've been even worse at visiting my favorite blogs. I have no excuse. I just suck. I hope to get better though, so please bear with me.

This week has been crazy. Actually, it started last week with a health screening for Rick's work. We do this once a year to get some money off our insurance fees. Then Monday I had a root canal. I was actually looking forward to it because the tooth has been a problem for awhile and it had just started hurting. It already had a root canal done previously, but something was wrong, so I had to have a second one. Turns out the remaining root has a fracture in it, so the endodontist suggested it be extracted. Ugh -- not exactly the news I was hoping for.

Then Tuesday I had a podiatrist appointment for something going on with my foot. I'm not sure if he's making it better or worse. I can barely walk without hobbling now. Wednesday was free, but Thursday the boys had dentist appointments. Those were just cleanings and check-ups. Neither had any cavities, which was good. While I was there, they slipped me back for a consultation about my tooth. My dentist gave me options of what to do--bridge or implant--and then prescribed some stronger antibiotics than what my endodontist gave me. Those darn things cost $40 for 6 tablets.

Today is Friday and I have an eye exam, which is part of the requirements for the health screening I mentioned earlier. To be honest, I'd rather have another root canal than have anyone mess with my eyes ... or my feet, for that matter! It's been a sucky week. I'm looking forward to the weekend. I'd like to think I have all this behind me, but it seems I have more in the future with a foot check-up on Halloween, the extraction as soon as the infection is cleared up, followed by the three month wait before I can get the implant put in, and then ... another three month wait to finish the tooth completely. Sheesh! I hope you are all doing well!

Sunday, October 12, 2014


I finished reading Coraline last night. My daughter, Nicole lent me her book awhile back, and I've had it sitting on my nightstand for the longest time. I finally gave myself time to read it. I've been a big fan of the film for a long time, so the book didn't disappoint at all. It's funny how people call her Caroline Jones in the book. That's my mother-in-law's name. Coraline is such a unique name, just as the story is unique.

Now that I've finished the book, I'll probably watch the movie again. I was going through some old photos recently when I came across the one I did after the movie came out. They used to have the photo thing on their site, but I don't see it now. Talk about The Other Mother ...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Blue Jays

I've really enjoyed seeing blue jays at the feeders lately. We have blue jays everywhere, but they haven't been regulars at my feeders. A pair has been coming by lately, so I've been trying to get some good photos of them. They're really noisy birds, so it's easy to hear when they're out there, but they aren't so easy to photograph. They see the slightest movement, even from inside the house. Hopefully I can get some better shots of them soon.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Homemade Art Supplies

In addition to their regular school work, the boys have been making homemade art supplies all this week. Monday they made birthday cards for their sister, so that day really didn't count. Tuesday they made paper out of bits of torn up paper. We didn't have a very big screen, so basically we just made small pieces to see what the process what like. It was a lot of fun. I'm seriously thinking of scouring the thrift store for an old blender, so I can do more of this. I was a little hesitant doing it with my Ninja, but it didn't seem to hurt it at all.

Wednesday we made star-shaped rainbow crayons. We used broken, small crayon bits we had, so that was a fun way to get rid of of them. Years ago, my mother-in-law gave me this foil star-shaped cups. They're almost like cupcake holders. We decided to use those for the crayons, which worked great because they came out really easy. This would be a great party favor, or even party craft idea for kids. You could use pink crayons to make Patrick Star from SpongeBob. Or red, white, and blue crayons for the 4th of July. 

Then yesterday we made a no-cook PlayDoh. I only had a little cream of tartar left, so we made half a batch. Even so, that was plenty. The boys picked green because they have this unusual obsession with Squidward from SpongeBob. The dough turned out really well and the boys were fascinated just by the ability to make it from scratch. That was more the point of these crafts because we are certainly not lacking paper, crayons, or Playdoh. Today is Friday and we were going to make homemade sidewalk chalk. However, it seems my Plaster of Paris is either all gone, or never made the move with us. So anyway, I'm looking for another project to do today instead of the chalk. I was thinking maybe homemade glue. Hmmm ...

I was playing around with the panorama feature on my phone the other day and got this funky shot of our classroom. It looks weird—and long—but I thought it turned out kind of interesting. If you click on the images, they should show up a little bigger. Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lost & Found

Many years ago—way back in 1998—I created our own health curriculum using the book pictured above. Generally, we use mostly A Beka Books for our curriculum, but that particular year I decided to make my own for the girls. This year I decided it would be fun to go over the same program with the boys. I looked and looked and looked, but I couldn't find the blank worksheet pages. Whenever I make my own worksheets, I usually print up one extra copy to keep blank. I thought I had done that with this program, but it was so long ago.

When it came time to do the first lesson, I ended up going through the girls' binders and finding a copy of the first worksheet. I made a copy to replace in their book, and then I erased all their answers so I could make a fresh copy for the boys. I was DREADING the thought of having to do that for every worksheet, nor was I too keen on the idea of having to recreate all these pages again. After searching through all my books and files, I thought for sure I had tossed them out. That's very unlike me. Then, just out of the blue, I decided to look in a drawer that had mostly Rick's stuff in it. To my surprise, there was a huge 4-inch binder filled with past school records, all sorts of curriculum programs I had created, AND the health worksheets—YAY!

I had this gut feeling I still had them, but I had no clue where they went to. I was so happy to find them because there were over 30 pages of worksheets I had created. The thought of having to redo them was mind-boggling, and I certainly didn't want to have to make copies of the girls' pages and then white them out to make blank pages. I rarely throw things like this away, even when I think I might not use them again. I was thrilled I had hung onto them, even with them being in some obscure spot.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Clearwater River Trip

Rick and I took a spur-of-the-moment trip down to Clearwater River to go kayaking on Sunday. It's about a 1.5 hour drive, but it's a pretty one going through the Swan Valley. The river is slow moving and takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to paddle through.

Since it's so late in the season, the bushes weren't as green as they probably were a month ago. It was still really pretty though, and the water was crystal clear in places.

We saw quite a few Painted Turtles sunning themselves on logs. It was almost 80 degrees out, so they were totally taking advantage of the warm weather.

I only had my little water-proof Olympus Stylus camera, so I couldn't zoom in much. Even so, the river was flowing so slowly that we could just drift by the turtles without freaking them out.

I think this is a yellow water lily, but I'm not sure. Their petals are a little different than the white ones, but they are still really pretty.

We saw quite a few turtles, and possibly one muskrat that jumped into the river before we could get a good view of him.

There were literally hundreds—maybe thousands—of these white water lilies floating around. I got a few close-ups and one shot of a bunch together. I had wanted to go further down to the end of the lake where so many were, but we decided just to head to the take-out spot instead. They were so pretty.

The river let us out in Seely Lake, so I got to see it for the first time. I've driven by countless times, but it's not visible from the road. It was windy on the lake (not on the river at all), but it was blowing in our favor as we paddled to the take-out.

We left our boat by the lake and then we had about a 1.5 mile hike back to the put-in spot. That's where our car was, so we got that and drove down to pick the boat up.

It was a fun trip. We'll have to go back sometime.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Fun stuff ...

Some of our books are still on back order, but that hasn't stopped us from having fun in school. Even though boys are getting older and study pretty complex things in their main curriculum, we still like doing simple things and having fun with them. We did the milk and food color experiment the other day. That was cool. Then we tried it with water and compared the two.

Today we read "The Pink" from Grimm's Fairy Tales. I love those old stories. They're so morbid and creepy, which is right up my boys' alley right now. I don't think I'd read this one before, so it was fun Nathan picked it out for us to read and discuss. I love that we can do that randomly. I see so many of my teacher friends say their hands are tied with what they can and cannot do in their classrooms. That's kind of sad. Since all our materials still aren't in, I'm having the boys do a lot of things together, rather than separated by their grades. We learned about the International Date Line today. We also studied some Australian slang, which is always fun.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

First Day of School

Today was our first official day back to school. I still haven't received all of my curriculum, but I wanted to get started anyway. This will be our 16th year homeschooling. Between that amount of time and the fact that my mother-in-law is a retired school teacher, we have more than enough materials. I could pretty much get by without ordering anything new. Even though our new stuff isn't here, we had a full day. I even managed to get my goofballs to smile a little ...

Then there is the obligatory homeschool-mom-teacher-selfie. UGH! I put the same picture on Instagram in black & white, which I think looks a little better. 

Below are a few photos of our classroom. It's in a walk-out basement. The room is large, so it's a great place for school. However, the pictures pretty much look the same from last year. I'll probably rearrange things in a year or so. That is, if the books don't take over the house.

I often have people telling me what a wonderful classroom I have, how organized I always seem to be, and what a great learning environment it is for the kids. Yeah, I guess so, but usually the room is a mess. We live in it. We learn in it. And in the summer time, it's pretty much neglected. I started working in it last week, but then put off doing anything over the holiday weekend. I had intentions of fixing it up, but never got to it. This is what it looked like just YESTERDAY ...

It's all cleaned up now. I got all the books organized and all the boxes and laundry put away. I was shocked I managed to do it in one day. Anyway, we are excited for the 2014-2015 year!