Friday, October 23, 2009

NC State Fair - "A Whole Lotta Happy!"

Our family takes a day off to visit the NC State Fair every year. We might have missed a year or two in the 16 years that we've lived in North Carolina, but that still qualifies as a family tradition, wouldn't you say? Why then does my husband still protest that it is not a tradition? Ah, sometimes I think his middle name is Scrooge. But although he protested and claimed to have to go to WORK, in the end he joined us for "A Whole Lotta Happy"!

It was a beautiful, sunny day with temps in the high 70's - perfect for weaving through the maze of colorful concession stands selling such classic and neo-classic fare as corn dogs, fried dough, gyros, ice cream, caramel apples, cotton candy, turkey legs, fruit smoothies, and deep-fried-everything-under-the-sun; the over-priced yet still irrationally popular carnival games and rides; the livestock barns housing strutting chickens, cuddly rabbits, sleepy pigs, cud-chewing cows, carefully groomed goats, and skittish sheep; the education buildings showcasing hours of painstaking work in the 4H, home ec., horticultural, and agricultural exhibits; the commercial vendors demonstrating food choppers, steam mops, waterless cookware, and brightly colored chamois cloths; the folk festival tent, Heritage Circle, and Village of Yesteryear highlighting gifted crafters, artists and performers.

I highly recommend a weekday morning or early afternoon visit, as it is much less crowded than late afternoons and evenings. And for heaven sake, avoid the weekends if at all possible. We went on a Saturday once - and will not make that mistake ever again!

Since we arrived at lunch time, food was foremost on our minds - so first was a stop at the Bloomin' Onion stand. Jason also needed a corn dog for sustenance. Once fortified with some good fried food, we took advantage of the lack of lines and visited the NC Wildlife Exhibit, where Jason and Amanda took several turns at the BB Gun target shooting range. Then we headed to the far corner of the fairgrounds and began to work our way back toward the exit. We made our way through the 4H & Home Ec. building first, stopping to admire some beautiful quilts and sewing projects, then went on to the Commercial building, where we enjoyed a 50 cent dill pickle, followed by an extremely yummy chocolate covered caramel apple from Miss Debbie's! Next we explored the school art & photography exhibits, and then headed off toward the animal and agriculture barns, to see the blue ribbon heifers and 300+ lb pumpkin, the bees and the baby chicks, a "pig pile" of piglets and the capture of a renegade goose who had escaped and was trying to cause a revolt in the duck pond! whew! such drama!

It was obviously time for more food, so Amanda bought herself a grilled chicken pita ( I think it might actually be healthy fair food!), and then we had to have some NC State ice cream - the biggest, creamiest cup of ice cream you'll ever eat!

Mark opted to lie out on the grass while the kids and I visited the Village of Yesteryear - which he long ago dubbed the Circle of Death. This is probably my favorite exhibit - wonderfully skilled crafters and artisans displaying and demonstrating all kinds of crafts - woodworking, pottery throwing, silhouette paper cutting, weaving, glass blowing, Pysanky egg decorating, tin smithing, basket weaving, guitar making, rug hooking, and more. Thankfully, my children have all inherited my appreciation for things beautiful and artistic, so they are happy to pause and talk to the crafters, watching them create.

Amanda decided to join Mark on the grass while Jason and I wandered through the flower & garden exhibits. I particularly enjoyed the "Where the Wild Things Are" and the "Italian Herb Garden" themes.

One last snack before we left - fried dough. Since we shared, each person only got a few bites... a good thing.

I did take some pics, but my camera and computer arent' communicating right now...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, October 19

Outside my window...I see the sun! It has been missing for several days. But it is 44 degrees, which is January weather here in North Carolina!

I am thinking... about my oldest daughter this morning, who is away at college grieving the loss of a friend who was killed by a drunk driver yesterday morning. So hard to be far away at times like this.

I am thankful for... the opportunity my children have to participate in homeschool sports! We just spent the weekend at the NCHEAC State Homeschool Volleyball Tournament in Winston-Salem. Amanda's varsity team played out of their minds and finished 2nd overall. SO FUN!

From the learning rooms…Week 11 of Tapestry of Grace, Yr.3 - "Jacksonian Democracy"; today Jason has science and Latin with his friend, Nathan - Nathan's mom teaches this once a week, which is a huge blessing!

From the kitchen... my oven has been broken for several days. The heating element in the oven won't turn off unless we cut the power to the whole unit. This is the 3rd time this same problem has occurred, and requires an expensive new circuit board! So we are junking it and have been blessed with a free used stove that a friend has been storing in her garage

I am pajamas and SOCKS!

I am the library this afternoon to pick up another stack of books!

I am reading...The Fellowship of the Ring, by J.R.R. Tolkien to Jason as a bedtime read-aloud

I am get all the volleyball uniforms and equipment packed up in the Rubbermaid bins and stored in the garage, and out of my front hallway!

I am hearing...ESPN Sport Center on the TV; Jason turns this on every morning when he first gets up!

Around the house... there are a number of areas needing my attention; I might need to revisit FlyLady for a while....

One of my favorite things... chocolate covered caramel apples! Thank you, Sarah, for that treat you brought home from your day at the Fair!

A few plans for the rest of the week: 3 baseball games, 5 basketball practices, State Fair on Wednesday, support group Leaders Meeting,

Here is a picture thought I am sharing...


Read other Daybooks or create your own and list it here.

Animal School

Once upon a time the animals had a school. They had four subjects - running, climbing, swimming, and flying - and all animals took all subjects.

The duck was good at swimming, better than the teacher, in fact. He made passing grades in running and flying, but he was almost hopeless at climbing. So they made him drop swimming to practice more climbing. Soon he was only average in swimming. But average is okay, and nobody worried about it much - except the duck.

The eagle was considered a troublemaker. In climbing class he beat everyone to the top of the tree, but he had his own way of getting there, which was against the rules. He always had to stay after school and write "Cheating is Wrong" five hundred times. This kept him from soaring, which he loved. But schoolwork comes first.

The bear flunked because they said he was lazy, especially in the winter. His best time was summer, but school wasn't open then.

The penguin never went to school because he couldn't leave home, and they wouldn't start a school out where he lived.

The zebra played hooky - a lot. The ponies made fun of his stripes, and this made him very sad.

The kangaroo started out at the top of his running class, but got discouraged trying to run on all fours like the other kids.

The fish quit school because he was bored. To him, all four subjects were the same, but nobody understood that. They had never been a fish.

The squirrel got A's in climbing, but the teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. His legs got so sore practicing take-offs that he began to get C's and D's in running.

But the bee was the biggest problem of all, so the teacher sent him to Dr. Owl for testing. Dr. Owl said that the bee's wings were just too small for flying, and besides, they were in the wrong place. But the bee never saw Dr. Owl's report, so he just went ahead and flew anyway.

This original parable was written in the 1940's by George H. Reavis,
Assistant Superintendant of Schools in Cincinnatti, Ohio.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Homeschool Mentors

Last night was a Dessert Social to introduce a new Homeschool Mentors program that our support group is starting. Several "seasoned" homeschool moms are going to host a small group in their home once a month. Each group will be reading a different book and discussing it together. The books chosen so far are Age of Opportunity by Paul Tripp, Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp, Homeschooling at the Speed of Life by Marilyn Rockett, Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson, and Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul Tripp. The inclusion of chocolate in these fellowships was stressed several times !! Just sayin'.

The 16 or so ladies at the social ranged from brand new homeschoolers to experienced ones with a couple of graduates under their belts. The dessert spread was impressive, with a chocolate fountain and all the goodies that go along with it - mini cream puffs, chunks of angel food cake, strawberries, bananas, marshmallows, caramel corn. Thank you to Jennifer D for that! There was a lot of laughter as the group sat in Sylvia's living room and shared bits and pieces of our lives, including some of the reasons why we homeschool. Our support group's large informational meetings are good, but I look forward to more meetings like this.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Smoothies for Breakfast

As my kids would say, I'm on a Healthy Kick again. I occasionally lapse into bad habits because of busyness or laziness, but in general, I try to be a good steward of my and my family's health.
Lately, this means Smoothies for breakfast! I love my blender, and have long been a fan of Fruit Shakes - even before Smoothies were fashionable!

When I was 10 years old, an Italian great aunt introduced me to Fruit Shakes - fresh fruit pureed in the blender with a little water or juice. Peaches, bananas, strawberries, plums, raspberries.... whatever was on hand.

I typically keep a couple of bags of frozen fruit in the freezer and some kind of juice in the fridge. I also add plain or vanilla yogurt for the probiotics and calcium it provides!

Today it was orange juice, Bolthouse Farms carrot juice, Naked cherry pomegranate juice ( about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of each ), a few frozen strawberries, peaches, and blueberries, about a cup of vanilla yogurt, and about 1/2 cup of aloe vera juice! It made 3 good-size servings, for me and my two kids.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Monday, October 12
Outside my window...the morning sun is filtering through the trees in the backyard, which are still green - but spots of yellow and rust tell me the colors will be changing soon
I am thinking... that TRUTH is a very important concept to understand; and I like R.C. Sproul's definition, that Truth is reality from the perspective of God; who else's perspective is worthy of my trust? ( see next item )
I am thankful for... the 7 high school girls who were at my house last night for our first meeting of The Truth Project small group!
From the learning rooms…Week 10 of Tapestry of Grace, Yr.3 - "John Quincy Adams and Political Realignments"; reading Les Miserables for our high school Rhetoric co-op class; still learning about the geography and culture of South America; working on an American Govt. lapbook; a field trip tomorrow to hear a Holocaust survivor speak about her experiences in Nazi Germany ( not related to our current studies, but you grab the experiences when they are available!)
From the kitchen... my daughter brought me three big bags of apples from a NC mountain orchard - have already baked apple pies, apple crisp, and apple squares; maybe today I'll try apple dumplings!
I am pajamas
I am creating...a support group newsletter that is overdue! I NEED to do something fun and creative though - maybe a fall craft project for the house; my creative juices have been stagnant lately
I am Winston-Salem for the state homeschool volleyball tournament this weekend - GO EAGLES!
I am reading... Mommy Diagnostics, The Naturally Healthy Woman, Naturally Healthy Cuisine, and The Naturally Healthy Pregnancy - all by Shonda Parker and all part of the Family Herbalist course that Amanda and I are working through
I am get my TOG Unit 2 planning done in the next couple of days; better late than never
I am hearing...quiet!
Around the house...the kitchen is still half-painted, so I need to get working on that again; also, I am finally getting out my fall decorations today!
One of my favorite things...the NC State Fair starts this week! we go as a family every year and enjoy the Village of Yesteryear crafts, the gardens, the art exhibits, the cloggers, the animal barns, the FOOD - especially the NC State Univ. Ice Cream!
we skip the rides and carnival games
A few plans for the rest of the week: Prom Committee meeting this afternoon;basketball, volleyball and baseball practices; volleyball tournament; ASU Fall Break starts Thurs. so college kids will be home;
Here is a picture thought I am sharing...
Read other Daybooks or create your own and list it here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Where Did the Time Go?

Two weeks has flown by! Alex leaves tomorrow morning to start his trip back to Iraq after 2 great weeks of R&R. I think he has enjoyed himself - he has seemed relaxed and happy, going to the Y each morning to work out, spending hours playing video games and watching movies, meeting old college friends for lunch and a couple of parties in his honor. Sarah and Eric came home each of the last 3 weekends and they enjoyed hanging out with their big brother too - going to the movies, going shopping, going to church, going to Jason's baseball games, & just hanging out.

I think it is harder to see him go this time. I try not to worry, and know that God is sovereign in Iraq as well as here in the U.S.A. But the reality is that he is living in a war zone, and that is hard on a mother. He only has about 4 months left overseas, after which he'll return to his base in TX. Lighthouse basketball just started this past week, and Alex will be back in the States before basketball season is over. So that doesn't seem like so long when you look at it that way.