Friday, September 12, 2014


I missed you! ("I know, I missed you, too!")
I run towards my blog, through a field, with the wind blowing through my hair.
My blog runs toward me, letters billowing in the breeze, and we meet. We hug. It's such a sweet reunion...

Yeah, sometimes it seems like that.
I'm out of touch.
Life is good, but hectic.  I sink into bed exhausted each night.  I vow to blog tomorrow, when there's more time. Tomorrow doesn't offer more time.

But the kids are being schooled, the laundry is getting almost-sort of- washed (wash-ish), the puppy is being fed and played with, and everyone gets 2 or 3 meals a day, and the occasional snack...

So things are going well!  A quick update:

Our summer, in bullet points:

  • wood chopping, poison ivy scratching fun (goes with the territory)
  • puppy!
  • new siding on the house
  • weed-garden, where some acorn squash, summer squash, and zucchini played hide-and-seek (the onions are still hiding.  Shhh, they're in the front few rows somewhere)
  • Lots of CC training, meetings, studying in prep to become a Challenge A tutor, and then the program did not take off in our area.
  • I trained, instead, to be a Foundations tutor for 6-7yos.  What a change in perspective! lol.
Our school year, in short paragraphs:

The 13yo began Challenge A at another CC campus, 40 minutes away.  It is fantastic!  I love this program! It is exactly what we needed.

The 11yo began a new chapter in her life, as well: youth group at church (graduated from awana last year).  Foundations Masters class and Essentials class at CC.  The church musical practice will start tomorrow.

The 5yo began Kindergarten at home.  We started 100 Easy Lessons over again, but only some days.  Other days, she's reading Bob Books to me or anything else she pulls out of the phonetic readers pile.  She's doing some Handwriting Without Tears and interest led writing on a white board.  She's doing BJUP Kindergarten Math 3rd edition and loves it!  Some days we skip it and then the next day she does a few lessons in a row.  She began her Foundations Abecedarian class at CC, 2nd year.  "5" is a world of difference from "4" in maturity and ability.  She's still super cuddly, so I'm really enjoying this age!  It seems like the best of both worlds (baby + big kid rolled into one).  She also began Awana Sparks (graduated from Cubbies).  

Everyone began Co-op today!  Everyone loves their classes.  Here's what they are taking:

A (13):  Creative Crafters, Debate, Papering with Pinterest, and Microsoft Office
Z (11):  Odyssey of the Mind, Chess, Off the Cuff (improv acting class), and Portrait Drawing
G (5):  Patriotic Symbols, P.E., Elementary Art, and Kids' Concoctions (messy things that they make, that's fun and sort of science-ish)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Home Economics Pizza

I had CC tutor training all day today. When we got home, I made a (delicious) deal with the 13yo: I'll give the puppy some much needed exercise if she made dinner.

By now, she's mastered the Art of Baking with Yeast. She not only cleaned the kitchen counters and made homemade pizza from scratch, she also employed the help of the 5yo. I think I got a good deal on that puppy / dinner trade!

In 1 pic, she made a pizza dough blob monster. Blarh blah blarg!

In the other 2 pics are the end results. Fantastic! A+

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Bye bye, Bunny

I'm a secret hoarder with emotional attachment issues:) But I've learned how to keep my attachments digitally, instead of letting it all physically pile up in my house. It's much easier now to "let it go". Isn't modern technology great?

Case in point: this bunny. This bunny belonged to Abacus's mom in New York (Abacus is our Irish Water Spaniel puppy). It was given to her for her first few nights away - it would carry her mama's smell and offer comfort. But now (sniff) Abacus ripped it (sniff sniff) and it must go in the trash. Her connection to her mom thru that bunny is gone (wahhhhhh!)

But we still have this: a photo of a bedraggled, mangled, gross bunny (awwww). It's gone but not forgotten.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Lame Mom's CC Tip

Other CC moms post beautiful photos of their organization of CC stuff. Their stuff looks so wonderfully organized and pretty. I am NOT one of those moms.

One such item is the glorious CC Timeline Cards and the Science and Art/Music Cards (which add up to a small fortune). I've seen moms punch holes in various locations on the beautiful, (gulp) expensive cards. One hole punches in a left corner, two hole punches at the top corners, three hole punches down the side. I sort of envy those moms but I just.can' it.

Tip #1: Lame Mom Organization of CC Cards:

1. Buy mini storage crate from dollar store.
2. Unwrap cellophane from beautiful, expensive cards (and thank your husband for letting you purchase these gems).
3. Stick in mini storage crate.
Viola! Done.

Someday I hope to create cheap dividers for my cards. I'm quite happy with this system and no cards were hurt in its creation. Come back for more Lame Mom tips, because I'm sure I have a ton of them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

School Planning Checklist

This year promises to be a bit busy and intense.  I have a tendency toward getting overwhelmed by little things and spinning out of control:)  I'm hoping to create a little bit of space, margin, and peace for us as we enter a new school year.  In an effort to get a good headstart, here is my checklist to get us ready:
  • Work folder for Z with schedule and all materials needed to get'r done (I'm envisioning the workboxes system, but in an easy to use binder)
  • Menu planned for Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday dinners
  • Lunch menu planned for Monday and Thursday, and every other Friday, when some of us will be gone all day.
  • Scan A's remaining Algebra lessons and print, have ready and accessible for her
  • Read through Z's math and spot any potential trouble areas that will require my help
  • Clean up rooms/house
  • Laundry plan in place: 15 mins per day
  • Co-op checklist, laminated and magnetized
  • CC Monday checklist, laminated and magnetized
  • CC Ch. A Thursday checklist, laminated and magnetized
  • Prep ahead for the CC class I'm tutoring - Keep It Simple! Stick in Sand!
2 Bonus Items, if I can get around to it:
  • Work ahead in Algebra, so that I'm prepared for Anything!
  • Create a binder for A, similar to Z's, except she might organize it herself and decide what she needs in there once Ch.A starts
What will go in Z's workbox-like folder?
  • Memory Work Flip Book (if you are on CC Connected, it's found under username melodystroud, Cycle 3)
  • Maps & blank paper, tracing paper
  • Grammar charts & blank paper
  • IEW writing checklists (may need to wait until 1st day of CC)
  • Math assignments listed by page and scrap paper for working problems
  • Math charts for reference
  • Main checklist at the beginning of the binder that list each subject
  • Dividers with pockets to separate each subject
  • A pencil case with everything she needs to work: small calculator, pencils, pens, colored pencils, markers
Z is my free-as-a-bird, dreamer child that doesn't like checklists:)  So, I'm hoping to make this binder simple and dreamer-friendly.  If I'm successful, I'll post pics!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Home Economics Strawberry Frozen Pie

My oldest daughter found this recipe in a magazine, made some fat-free to full-fat alterations, and baked it for us. 

My 13 year old's strawberry freezy pie, once it was finished

30 chocolate wafers (she used chocolate graham crackers, 1 sleeve)
5 tsp unsalted butter
1 large egg
pinch of salt
cooking spray
1 lb strawberries
1/4 cup strawberry jam
1 tsp lemon juice
2/3 c sweetened condensed milk
4 cups thawed whipped cream

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Finely grind wafers in food processor (or, graham crackers, like she did).  Add butter, egg, salt.  Process. Press into 9.5 in deep dish pie coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10mins.  Cool 10 mins on wire rack.  Freeze 30 mins or until well chilled.
3. Slice 1 c strawberries, place in large bowl.  Add 1 TBS strawberry jam and lemon juice: gently stir.  Stir in sweetened condensed milk.  Gently fold in whipped topping.
4. Spoon into crust, smoothing top.  Freeze 4 hours or overnight.
5. Quarter remaining strawberries lengthwise; combine with 3 TBS jam.  Rearrange mix over pie.  Serve immediately.

It was a good pie, but I would've just had a chocolate graham cracker crust (minus the egg and the baking).  I also would've chopped the strawberries very fine or processed a few whirls in the food processor.  Other than that, it was a good pie and worth revisiting.  Grade for this "assignment"? A :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

These Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars taste like sweet caramel bars, soft and yummy.

Cream together: 1/2 c. sugar, 1/2 c. brown sugar, 1/3 c. peanut butter, 1/2 tsp. vanilla.
Add: 1 egg and 1/4 c. milk.  Beat well. 
Sift together: 1/2 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp. salt

Add to creamed mixture and beat just until well combined.  Stir in 1 c. oatmeal. 
Spread on greased 13 x 9 in pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 mins.

Note: there is a frosting recipe, but either it's wrong or it's terrible.  I never use the frosting part of the recipe.  Here is the recipe, though - I suggest you ignore it.

Icky Wrong Frosting:

Sift together: 1/2 c. cocoa powder
Quickly stir in: 2 to 3 tbsp. boiling water, 1/2 tsp. vanilla.

Spread quickly over cooled bars in pan.