Tuesday, August 21, 2012

4-H fun at the Fair

This year the county fair wrapped up our first year with our very own homeschool 4-H club. It was a year for learning the ropes and for having fun in the process. It was our second year showing rabbits and chickens, as well as the kids first year in photography. It was also Mayda's first year participating in Clover Kids! Emma received a purple ribbon for showmanship and Tyler took a silver medal. They both got purple ribbons for their photography and took blues for their animal breed classes.

With the help of 4-H curriculum ,we studied several fun subjects: fishing, trees, poultry, rabbitry, photography, and more. Other subjects in the works for our club include: woodworking, electricity, cooking, and heritage studies.

We also attended the county fair out east where Ben's folks live. The kids had a ball riding the rides and enjoying a typical midwestern county fair. It wouldn't be summer without it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting Ready for Homeschool

One of my goals this week is to get our school assigment charts all made up and filled with assignments. The hardest part is deciding how long our school year should run and how many days off for Holidays and such. This year I had a hard time finding time to get into my favorite teacher store, so I wasn't able to find the charts I normally use. I thought it would save time not to make another trip to "town" to just use a ruler and make my own charts. WOW, that took a bit! But don't they look nice?

Click here to read about how we assign our school work. This year the kids decorated their own charts!

I also got my pushpin board back on the "school" wall (err.... dining room) and filled it with flashcards for our Awana memorization. I am going to add to our Bible curriculum this year, as I think we need a little more history/survey of the Bible.. but for memorization motivation, AWANA is tops. :)

How are you getting ready for school? May I humbly suggest you begin with this "must do before school" list?

2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB) Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Social Networking and Family Ties

Ok, I'll admit, I'm going to brag a little here. My 85 year young grandma has a facebook. She has had one for about 6 years. She lives in a nursing home and deals with a Parkinson's like disease... and yet she has a computer in her room and recently "liked" the rock band her favorite nursing-home-staffer plays in on the side, and has now "friended" half of the band. That's one hip grandma. :)

I used to think facebook was a waste of time... that social networking was just that: social. Just a way for people to hob-nob and waste time chatting online. Don't get me wrong, it can be all that, but it can be more!

Via facebook I am able to share geneological information with long lost cousins and find pictures of my great-great grandparents I didn't even know existed. Try tagging everyone who is a decendent of this person in the black and white sod house photo. Cool. No log in for ancestry.com needed. On facebook our homeschool group can plan events and instantly know who is or isn't available and adjust accordningly BEFORE the newsletter hits the presses. Another great part, aside from events and photo sharing, is the customizable format. I only hear from or share with those I choose. My life is not open to the WHOLE WORLD as it would be on myspace or twitter.... or even this blog.

But here is where I think facebook and this digital age has changed our lives. I think the whole thing had slowly integrated into my life until I had a realization yesterday morning:

I was sitting in the hospital with my grandma, who was recovering from an illness, and we were typing an update for our private family group on fb, so they would know she would be discharged that afternoon. The lady who was sharing grandma's hospital room was equally as old and her smarthpone was going off every 30 seconds with well wishes from friends, and she was using voice texting to keep her son overseas updated on her care... and it hit me.

Grandma's tears of joy at reading all the love on her facebook wall didn't cost us a thing. No flowers needed to fill that tiny hospital room; we have LOVE, instantly communicated with words and pictures, concern and prayers being lifted at a moment's notice. We live in an age where it is impossible to not know, to not care.  Whether it's for a cancer battle or an uprising in Egypt. And we can be up todate with it all, in the time it takes to make one phone call. (unless you get sucked in to a game app, which would be your fault that you didn't block it... )

So many call this technology a loss of privacy, or a waste of time. I say only if you let it. But I could see a couple of old ladies perked up by knowing that so many loved and cared and shared... and I know it matters. Just as any tool that comes our way can eat your life if you let it, or it can free you up to be more effective: in how you plan, care, share, and enjoy life.

Now, my computer time is up, and I'm going outside... :) And later I'm going to visit my grandma, in person.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Garden Update, Early August 2012

I am still in the process of fixing my home computer, but in the mean time I have borrowed one from family. It is so wonderful to have a keyboard to type on instead of my smartphone! (which never makes me feel very smart)

What a different summer it has been from last year! The weather turned warm very early, and it has stayed that way all summer. Coupling that with very little rain, and the garden has been really struggling. My corn didn't come up at all, so my garden seems quite a bit smaller. I did not opt to take vegtables to the farmer's market this summer, so that was ok. We've been enjoying what we've been getting.

The cucumber/lettuce trellis experiment was a bust. The cukes didn't fare well and the guineas ate ALL of my lettuce. After that the dill and weeds took over and the grasshoppers finished it off. I am not complaining. The reason an experiment is called and experiment, is that it's trying something new that may or may not work. I've tilled the whole patch under and replanted fall lettuce and cabbage there, so hopefully it won't bea  wash. I do plan on putting up a screen to keep out the guineas, or give them away, whichever comes first.


The potatoes did well at first but struggled during the July heat and lack of rain. I've doubled my efforts to keep them nice and wet and I think they will come in fine. We have red and russet potatoes planted.

The tomatoes are coming up as bushes! They love this hot weather, so I'm thankful for that. We have only picked one so far. I see a nice crop of romas setting on and am envisioning lots of yummy salsa.

Here are a few more pictures of the garden, and I hope to get more posts up soon:



zinnia's and marigolds
The grapes are setting on VERY well and we look to harvest nearly FOUR times as much this year. Read about the benefits of pruning in this older post.



More about last year's garden:
2011 Garden Overview
2011 Tomatoes
2011 Cucumbers
2011 Spring Garden: Lettuce, Spinach, Onions, and Peas
2011 Green Beans
The 2011 Chickens


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