18 November 2013

Monday Musings

The weather outside is... warm, warm, warm.  We may have to close the windows and turn the a/c on again.

I am reading... DragonLight by Donita K. Paul.  I'm finding even though I love this series I am being slow about reading this particular book.  I think it's because I know it's the last in the series and I am not in a hurry for the magic to end.

I am thankful for... our furry children (pets).

In the kitchen... I am trying to regain my love for baking.  Going gluten-free really knocked the wind out of my sails in that respect.  Yesterday I made the German Apple Pancakes recipe at Civilized Caveman.  I subbed almond flour for the coconut flour and used a stoneware muffin pan because I don't have ramekins.  Mine turned out darker than the photo on the site - I mean apples sauteed in honey, nutmeg, and cinnamon are not going to be light in color - and they cooked way faster than the time given, but all was fine.  As far as taste, they were just okay in mine and my spouse's opinion, my youngest refused to even give them a try, and my teenager said they were nasty (his exact word).  I doubt I'll make them again as it was too time consuming, in my opinion, for something we all just didn't go crazy about.

A pet peeve... drivers who don't use their blinkers.  I really hate this.

I've been working on... cleaning and decluttering, decluttering and cleaning.  I really want to get everything out of my house that we just don't need.

I'm looking forward to... three days off homeschool for Thanksgiving break next week.

A favorite thing of mine... is silence.  Peaceful silence.  No tv, no music, no noise from outside other than birds chirping, squirrels chittering, and tree limbs and palm fronds blowing in the breeze. 

I'm delighted by...having found a drawing book my teen isn't complaining about reading.  There will be a future post about our adventures in "Drawing 1" this year.

A thought... I really wish my children got along with one another better.  The arguing, fussing, name calling, picking at one another, etc. breaks my heart.  I'm an only child though, so I've never been in their shoes.

A goal... is to try the 30 day plank challenge I've seen floating around online.  I injured my deltoid muscle a few weeks ago - my second taekwon-do injury - but I believe it's healed well enough now for me to give this a go.

An inspirational quote... Always laugh when you can.  It is cheap medicine. ~Lord Byron

A photo... 

 Taken in the rookery at Gatorland

15 November 2013

Substitute Experiments ... It's Okay!

Don't have the supplies you need on hand?  Tight budget?  It's okay to substitute experiments ... really! 

I found myself in this very predicament this week.  Specifically, experiment 7.1 in Apologia Biology (involving extracting DNA from split peas) calls for meat tenderizer.  Guess what I didn't have on hand because it's something I don't use?  You got it - meat tenderizer.  Rather than go out and spend money on something I won't use again, I subbed the experiment.  I had my son extract DNA from a banana instead.

Straining the mixture

Waiting for the liquid to drip through (the glass is 'foggy' due to hot water being used)

Waiting for the DNA layer to clump between the banana liquid and rubbing alcohol

Stirring, stirring, stirring

DNA!  You can't see it in the photo, but I promise it's there.

There are a variety of sites with instructions for this particular experiment online.  I used the one from Scientific American.  It's easy, doesn't require difficult or expensive supplies, and didn't require a lot of prep work or time.

11 November 2013

Monday Musings

The weather outside is... bright and sunny with a slight breeze.

I am reading... DragonLight by Donita K. Paul (last in the series)

I am thankful for... the brave and heroic men (including my hubby) and women who have and are serving our country.  THANK YOU!!!!!  You know freedom isn't truly free.  Your service and sacrifice is deeply appreciated.

In the kitchen... menu planning needs to be done!  I am the worst about this.

A pet peeve... people who don't keep their word.

I've been working on... trying to figure out which curricula I'll be using for each subject with my high schooler next year for 10th grade.  I know, I know ... it's awfully early to be concerned with that, but $$ is tight and I need to make sure I'll have enough funds set aside by late next spring to make the necessary purchases.

I'm looking forward to... not having to go anywhere today. 

A favorite thing of mine... Thousand Foot Krutch's Welcome to the Masquerade cd. Love it!

I'm delighted by... finding organic extra virgin coconut oil at BJ's (wholesale club like Sam's and Costco) even cheaper than another decently priced source I'd been purchasing from.

A thought... my spouse and I are wrestling with many feelings about our church, especially after yesterday's sermon.  It would have been fine as part of a special marriage seminar for couples only, but I'm not at all happy with some of the things that were said and presented (and I'm far from a prude). I'm also very unhappy that pre-teens and teens had to be sent out of the service because they weren't of age to hear much of what was stated and the message was hurtful to others in attendance.  Add to that the sting of them not even bothering to recognize the current and former military members in honor of today being Veteran's Day ... ouch! This is just the latest in a continual string of dislikes we have with this church.  It feels as though we'll never find one that fits or feels like "home."

A goal... to go as paleo as possible.  I don't foresee being completely paleo.  I mean, no beans?  No peas?  No peanuts?  No rice?  Ack!  However, with my youngest's dairy issues of late it seems the way to go from that standpoint.  It's going to be a tough road.

An inspirational quote... Only dead fish go with the flow. ~Unknown

A photo... 

 Lion Country Safari

07 November 2013

High School: English 1 (Grammar and Vocabulary)

As I've mentioned previously, I homeschool through my state's option of being registered with an umbrella school.  The umbrella school I use does have requirements as far as high school goes in regard to English credits.  Four credits must be earned and each year must consist of writing/composition, literature, grammar, and vocabulary (with a heavy emphasis on the first two components).

We made the switch to IEW for writing/composition last school year in the middle of 8th grade, and I have been so impressed (not to mention deliriously happy) that I chose to go with Fix-It! for grammar.  Specifically, my son is doing The Little Mermaid ... yeah, he wasn't overly thrilled when I made that announcement on the first day of this homeschool year, however, he's doing wonderfully with the program and has commented time and again how much more he is enjoying this than anything we've ever used before.  Although each Fix-It! lesson does require the student to define specific vocabulary words, I wanted something more in-depth and opted to use an additional resource to cover that need.

For vocabulary I was honestly at a loss when planning for this year back in the spring.  Throughout the years we've used probably three different vocabulary curricula, none of which were met with much enthusiasm.  This year my son is working his way through Vocabulary for the High School Student.  He does a short lesson daily and loves the book.  I mean really loves the book, as in he is finding it highly amusing to work the vocabulary into our conversations and then proudly announces to me with much laughter which words were from his recent lessons.  The book is lengthy enough that it will take him through a significant portion of 10th grade as well.

04 November 2013

Monday Musings

The weather outside is... windy, dull, and extremely overcast.

I am reading... DragonFire by Donita K. Paul - almost finished!

I am thankful for... my spouse spotting a water moccasin (venomous) that was blending in very well with its surroundings as we were traipsing across part of our yard yesterday.  We've had way too many of them in the yard this year.

In the kitchen... leftover homemade vegetable soup awaits.  My spouse made a huge batch in the slow cooker yesterday using odds and ends of leftover veggies from meals we've frozen. 

A pet peeve... neighbors who blare music too loudly.  Seriously, they don't bother to think that it might disturb someone else???  It was thumping so badly yesterday while I was washing dishes that I had to close the windows and turn on some music of my own.  No, that didn't even drown it out.  *sigh*

I've been working on... a new budget.  Times are tough and business is slow.  My spouse is going to have to start paying himself weekly instead of bi-weekly.  I'm not happy about it - I liked my budgeting system the way it was, but it's a necessary change right now.  Part of the fun of being a one-income, self-employed family.

I'm looking forward to... watching the remainder of a season of Doctor Who on dvd (from the library) the rest of this week.  We don't have BBC America or Netflix, so I'm working my way through the episodes as fast as I am able to get the dvd's from my library system.  Some seasons have a massive wait list, and others are just sitting there on the shelf for the taking.  Odd.

A favorite thing of mine... Merry Hempsters vegan hemp lip balm.  I developed an allergy/intolerance to beeswax a few years ago (it makes my lips and eyes swell), so this lip balm is awesome.

A thought... I strongly dislike the time change.  Darkness so early in the evening is downright depressing.

A goal... is to drink more water.  I know better, but I far too often reach for the oj, chocolate almond milk, or cranberry juice instead.

An inspirational quote... There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. ~Nelson Mandela

A photo...

Observing onion cells (Apologia Biology, module #6)