Home School Prep Time……………..

October 5th, 2014 by under Family, Home Schooling. No Comments.

While I had a vague idea about what way to go with Abby’s home schooling. I wasn’t completely sure what programs to go with besides A Beka Book. So I set out to do a little research.

I started with this little book:

How To Teach Your Child: Simple Tools For Home Schooling Moms

It gave some good advise, was easy to read and was well worth the $4.99 Kindle price.

I Face Booked 2 friends that are seasoned home schoolers with kids near my daughter’s age and picked their brains about science programs, they recommended Apologia. I actually ordered my Astronomy textbook and the accompanying workbook from Amazon, can’t beat a good deal! I have found the books to be a little “beneath” my daughter’s reading level but she has learned a few things she didn’t know so that’s what counts.

Did you ever get Scholastic Reader in school? The little newsprint booklet with maybe 4 pages, well it’s grown up a little, boasting 23 pages now and it can be ordered by home schoolers and it ships to your home. You also get online access to supplemental materials with the paid subscription. My daughter loves the print copy. Make sure you call so they know your a home schooler!

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The other thing I decided on was Time for Kids again a little pricey but current event magazines usually are. These also come in the mail on a weekly basis, I called to make sure they knew we were home schoolers so we could access online material, as well as the printed magazine. These are 8 pages long and have lots of small filler articles along with a larger one, a good jumping off point for furthering conversation, beginning writing assignments or just plain fun learning.

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We also got the digital copy of Scholastic Science World (this is not a religious publication and you will likely see evolution etc, so beware), it delivers directly to my daughter’s IPad. She likes to read online so this is also a nice change in the day. I am considering either a digital or hard copy of Cobblestone Magazine as well, I purchased one copy from Amazon Digital and love it, Abby isn’t too sure but it’s American history and we are still finding ways to make that interesting. Again this magazine is not religiously based so beware and it is a little costly for the print issues $33.95 for the year.

I also learned about  Education. com I subscribed to their email list and have access to 12 free worksheets a month. It’s possible to get a paid subscription for a minimal annual fee of either $29.88, $47.88 or $71.88 depending on how many worksheets/workbooks you may wish to download. So far I am working off of the free side and likely will for a while.

Also since my daughter likes computer related stuff I decide to use coke reward points to get a subscription to Popular Science and Popular Mechanics in hopes of finding something that really sparks her interest for further lessons. At the very least we’ll be using them for required reading one day a week with her picking an article and either answering 5 questions or writing a paragraph based on the reading. I’m still working this out.

Let me add that all of the above companies do not know me, have not asked me to review their materials and I’m receiving nothing for linking to or mentioning them. They are just products that work for us and I want to make sure others know these resources are available.

There’s more to come……..Until next time.

Jen

 

 

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Home Schooling…..The Next Adventure

September 8th, 2014 by under Family, Home Schooling. No Comments.

First I have to say I like public school I do think kids need to be in the real world, but sometimes circumstances call for a change of opinion.

When we moved to South Texas I promptly enrolled my 9 year old in 5th grade since we had just had another amazing year coming from Austin ISD, lots of challenges and after school activities. I assumed this district to be similar.

My mistake!

The teachers “loved her” and thought her to be “very smart” but they provided nothing to stimulate her mind. There wasn’t a Fine Arts program, apparently teachers and funding are thin on the ground down here unless it involves making sure the kids are fed breakfast and lunch for free. The GT program we’ve depended on for years (my oldest is also a product of Austin ISD) was non-existent down here. It was done once a week on Wednesday providing the teacher wasn’t absent, when class happened the kids were doing second grade work or making greeting cards on the computer for the nursing home. There weren’t even grade level readers in the classroom so we donated a lot of books my daughter had outgrown/didn’t like anymore to her classroom, the same day the teacher had found some grade level books “in her garage”.

Needless to say boredom had set in well before Christmas but I persisted because we wanted her to have the opportunity to be in band. Well when the district decided the middle school was too dangerous for the 6th graders so they would remain at the Intermediate School for another year with “possible access to advanced classes” but that was “undetermined” before school was out. I began to grow concerned for my daughter’s sanity and her ability to function in a new district if we moved before high school. Folks who worked for the district told me this has happened numerous times over the years so you’d think they would have workable plan in place for such eventualities. Well this was the last straw for me so I said, We’re done!”

I found the Texas Home School Coalition online. Learned the rules for homeschooling in Texas then proceeded to follow the rules to pull her out of district when school ended for the year. I finally felt like I was involved with my child’s education again vs. watching her float, lost through the system.

I got the looks of disbelief from the school, but they rolled with it. I was expected to sign papers at the administration office even though I had sent the proper certified letter to the Intermediate School. No biggie after all it’s one block over from my home. So the process was fairly painless and the good news was that I still felt that I’d made the right decision for our family.

My parents were NOT happy about it, but I decided that keeping their granddaughter in school would actually make things worse so I didn’t listen.

There is more to come……….Next time just what books to use?

Happily Stitching, um, uh……….
Home Schooling
Jen

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Free Puppy Punch Needle Pattern

April 22nd, 2014 by under Punchneedle Embroidery. 2 Comments.

While going through a stack of art work from my second child I ran across this picture.

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I thought it would make a cute pattern for a Christmas gift for my mom so I converted it into this pattern.

puppy-pattern-2   This is full size based on the original drawing. The example finished to 5 x 7.

puppy-pattern-3  This one is a little smaller and would use less thread and much quicker to finish.

Here is a list of the DMC floss colors used for the design:

Dog  781 (3 skeins)

Grass 895 (2 skeins)

Sky 519 (4 skeins)

I used black to outline the design to keep the childish feel. I also moved the nose and mouth a little so that the dog didn’t have the flounder feel to it. I used a #4 setting on my Ultra-Punch Adjustable Needle with a medium needle and 3 strands of floss for the puppy and a setting of #3 for the black outline and the sky.

Finished!

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Enjoy!
Happily Stitching,
Jen

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Repurposing An Old Poster Frame

February 22nd, 2014 by under Household. No Comments.

Our old poster frames (read “cheap”) were falling apart so I bought some new (read “nicer”) frames consequently the old school frames were destined for the trash. I got to thinking it would be cool if the old frames could be re-purposed but not fall apart constantly. Since my youngest girl loves to add cool things to her wall: art work, magazine pics etc. I thought it would be nice if she could put them someplace that was neater and easier to remove since we’ll be painting her room soon. So the idea formed, I may of seen it some place but I really don’t know for sure, life blurs after a while.

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I decide that if the frame was reassembled with a nice piece of paper and hot glued that it would work out perfectly. So we brainstormed and my daughter decide that the white paper in the poster frame was a great background for her to create a duck tape design. She decided to draw lines around the outside of the background paper then duck tape over them.

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After taping, she added a fun design with a Sharpie marker and we reassembled the frame hot gluing the edges well so nothing would fall apart. She then rounded up the things taped to her wall and added them to the new frame.

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All done! Now she has a rotating art gallery that doesn’t have to be taped to the wall and the old frames didn’t have to go to the landfill. That’s a win, win in my book!

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Happily Stitching,
Jen

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Cutting Table Out of a Microwave Stand

October 21st, 2013 by under Quilting. No Comments.

When we got ready to move I realized that I wouldn’t need my microwave stand, so I either had to get rid of it or re-purpose it.

Since I was in desperate need of a cutting surface that wasn’t so low that I was bent in half trying to cut out fabric and the microwave stand was the perfect height I had found the reason to keep it.

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I pulled out my largest cutting mat, popped it on top and realized that with a little trimming it would make a perfect top.

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I took a couple measurements, to get the length and width.

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I flipped the mat over and marked my cutting lines.

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Then grabbed a box cutter and a kitchen cutting board and proceeded to cut the edges off the mat. A challenge since these mats are self healing and don’t like to be cut, but I finally succeeded. Please use your imagination here, as I don’t seem to have the cutting photo near by at this time.

I got two C clamps from WalMart and used them to secure the cutting mat in place on the cutting table.

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I had a drawer organizer from Bed, Bath and Beyond ( I think it was) added it in to keep my spare boxes of pins, rotary cutters, klutz glove and quilting gloves neat and had enough room to stack, by size all my square rulers and of course my camera mini tripod wound up in there one day. Not really sure how that happened………oh well, at least I know where it is!

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Finished! Complete with framed design wall, to keep small pieces in sight.

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Gotta love being able to reuse a good piece of furniture!

Happily Stitching,

Jen

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Carrizo Springs, Texas a few thoughts…………

August 17th, 2013 by under General. No Comments.

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For those of you who don’t know Eddie and I are now living in Carrizo Springs, Texas, a small town, near Eagle Pass, between Uvalde and Laredo. Yep, we are on the South Texas border by Mexico!

This has been a long time in coming for numerous reasons. Most of them coping problems on my part. I have avoided this move for 20 of our 21 years of marriage. We have debated, fought and not spoken over the issue. We have discussed getting a divorce over the issue, even though Eddie knew he could never preach if he was divorced. He held a preaching job for over 12 years outside of Georgetown, Texas, part of that time we were living in Lockhart, Texas, a 60 mile, one way trip the rest of the time in Austin. We made that trip every Sunday, twice and he went back on Wednesday nights after getting off of work.

Finally, a little over 3 years ago, when he was forced into an early medical retirement, which gave him the ability to go to school full time, so I encouraged it. He was lucky and was given, unasked for family financial  support. It was tough, he was up at 4 in the morning trying to get work done.  I was working 9-5, so I was losing sleep because he was awake. He was at school by 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning, to work before the other students arrived. He was struggling to keep up with memory work that was the primary source of grading for the school, he was at his wits end.  He was killing himself and falling short, something he was NOT used to, but he kept going. During his first year he fell down the stairs, at the building one night injuring his back. So thinking he needed back surgery, with a long re coop period he had to quit, temporarily, so he could recover. A short while later, he realized that he would not under go surgery, he went back and asked to be reinstated. The school said ok only if you come back with family support (no longer an option), WE (our supporters) can’t support you because you aren’t serious, you will never preach. NOW most of that  (I’m sure) based on the fact that they felt I’d never consent to moving.

So he came home, fell into depression (something we know he’s pron to) while  I continued to work, trying to support the family. Needless to say the situation between us did NOT improve. I consulted lawyers, I consulted friends (and I am ashamed to say, did NOT take their advise), now most of them won’t speak to me because they are afraid I will get angry at them yet again. Thankfully, my best friend has forgiven me and she still speaks to and encourages me through this transition.  I worked and stayed mad because my husband wouldn’t go get a”real job”. Finally, our financial situation put us in fight or flight mode, I tried everything I could think of, of course nothing worked, so he turned back to the one thing he can do easily, preach the gospel. So against my better judgement, he started looking, yet again for that job he knew could blow the marriage apart. I wasn’t happy about it, tried to fight it every step of the way, got angry with him when he brought up the topic and hoped he would come to his senses when he wasn’t hired yet again. After several failed attempts, and several fights with my family, a good prospect came up. The first meeting went great, he was called back, he had his second meeting and they decided he “wasn’t a good fit”. Major ego deflation!

So we had to regroup yet again. Out of the blue this job appeared, I was able to get off work to come with him. The church was very small but friendly, the pay was fair, but not great, but there was a house and we felt comfortable here even though it is “no where………the middle of”.  So we went back to Austin, elated but worried, we needed the job and the house, I still didn’t want to move, we couldn’t see inside of the house because the current preacher was still living in it. Above all else, we knew my folks weren’t going to like it (putting stress on me and the girls) and our oldest daughter was not going to be able to come with us because she has college in Austin. Our happiness/excitement was put on hold, when all of Eddie’s calls went unanswered later that week. So we had to regroup, yet again, and start finding alternatives that would provide what the family needed. After we started doing that he  got the call to come back. My nerves wouldn’t allow a return trip so I stayed in Austin, he called later that weekend to say he had been hired. I know he didn’t want to make the call because he didn’t want to deal with me being angry again and I had just been offered a supervisor job the Friday before, unfortunately without a much needed raise, so it was much harder to accept this job. Consequently, I had to see reason as much as it hurt because we needed the income and a place to live. So I turned down the promotion, gave my notice, did my best to train new people for my job, tired to pack while working 3-11 shift, and tried not to have fights with family members and my husband.

Eddie started work June 1, he had to commute, taking the only vehicle (aside from our daughter’s) each weekend. My last work day was June 30th. We started packing in earnest,  I had to sort/pack 20 years of stuff. We had moving issues, after all Carrizo Springs isn’t just “down the road” from Austin, long drives and heat do not make for easy days. We officially moved after July 4th it took one U-Haul and several truck loads from my dad (bless him, he wasn’t for this move but has jumped in with both feet to help us get here). We’ve been here a little over a month now. We’ve had no AC,  AC fuses blowing, water leaks, outside faucets that don’t work, a new AC unit installed, Eddie has a cubical for an office and no AC, we hope the electrician comes today to start fixing that problem. He has no internet at the church, we’re still waiting on that man to show. He has a temporary office in the corner of our bedroom, he has as of yet to make a bulletin but has done his first funeral (here). I have threatened to pack it in, because my washer can’t be used because the drain won’t work, Eddie is taking things to the laundry, so I can continue to work things out here. We hope to have that issue solved on Monday, not holding my breath.

So all in all it’s ok here, my oldest daughter is adapting to living with her grandparents until school starts soon, they are adapting to having here there all the time, my youngest is growing quickly and enjoying having me home. My folks are still getting used to us not being down the street anymore, but they are making it. Most importantly, Eddie and I are healing individually and as a couple.  I do still need a job (after all I do have a child with tuition to pay). But we are surviving. It’s currently one day at a time, but we’ll make it.

So if you happen to be “no where……….the middle of” and feel like stopping by we’d love to have ya’ll! We don’t have room in the house to host you but can point you to a nice place to stay, motels we have plenty of what with the oil boom down here!

Happily Stitching,

Jen

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Carrizo Springs, Texas: The Next Chapter in Our Lives

May 20th, 2013 by under Family. No Comments.

This is our new home.

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The Church of Christ.

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The time has come. After nearly 21 years of marriage we are doing something we have never done before we are actually moving so my husband can preach. Now he has held a preaching job before (13 years approximately) when we first got married. But we were unable to afford housing in the area so we spent a good deal of time driving a long distance 3 times a week to take care of church responsibilities, in addition to both of us working full time plus overtime. When that job no longer existed we went back to just having our “day jobs”. In addition to that my husband began running his website to benefit gospel preachers, teachers and students around the world. So for all intents and purposes he has never stopped preaching.

Due to some changes in our world we have agreed that moving someplace that will provide housing and a job for him, is a more viable option than my working and not earning enough to pay the bills i.e:  house payment, car payment, utilities, groceries, gas etc. (you know the drill!).

Consequently, we will be living in the small South West Texas town of Carrizo Springs. The majority of the conveniences of big city living are 45 miles plus away from our new home, no spur of the moment shopping sprees with the kids, or popping by my oldest daughter’s dorm room with food, clean laundry or the quilt she left when she spent the night at home. Thankfully we have the ability to speak on the computer when she needs support and she will be 20 (GASP!) this September, that coupled with the fact that my parents are down the street from her college she will be fine. My parents are learning to cope with the new idea that myself (an only child) and their youngest granddaughter (9 years old) will be 190 to 200 miles away depending on the route we chose to get to our destination. They are tough, as am I, so we will all learn to cope, thankfully mom will use the phone even though the computer is a foreign object to her.

So as we move toward June we begin the countdown to relocating, the house is a disaster, the youngest is trying to finish school, the eldest is dividing her stuff between Carrizo Springs, my parent’s house and the stuff that will be going back to college with her. We are making lists and triple checking them to be sure that nothing slips past us. We are saying goodbye to dear friends and family members reminding ourselves and them that we are not that far away and we are available to return if needed.

So while I will likely have lots to say in the future, some of it even about quilting! I will again be up and down on posting until we get moved, settled in and I find a new job. Hopefully it won’t take that long to get back in the groove of posting informational posts about quilting rather than just pictures of cats! Hope ya’ll are doing well, if you know us and we don’t get a chance to tell ya face to face, LOVE YA! Looking forward to seeing ya’ll later on! Don’t be strangers if you happen to be in the area, I’m sure we can “rustle up some grub” for ya and “sit a spell” and talk.

Happily Stitching,

Jen

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Just Because………..

May 7th, 2013 by under General. No Comments.

Gotta love prickly pear cactus in bloom! Found these in Carrizo Springs, Texas in April.

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Wordless Wednesday

April 17th, 2013 by under General. No Comments.

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Wordless Wednesday

April 3rd, 2013 by under General. No Comments.

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