Thursday, December 27, 2012

Time to talk...

As usual, in the wake of Newtown, there has been a lot of blah blahing on FB about gun control, putting God back into school, and other various "let's fix this" items. And at the risk of losing friends, I have a few things to say about that.

First yes, Newtown was a tragedy. I lost my father in June of this year and honestly, I didn't want to talk about or anything. I still don't. I can't imagine what losing your 6 year old would be like. I don't want to imagine it, but for the love of Pete, please leave those people alone. That's all I'm going to say about that.

The first thing I heard was "get rid of all the guns". Um, I don't think that's the answer. Since only the honest, law abiding citizens would actually turn in their guns. I consider myself to be an honest law abiding citizen and I wouldn't give up mine. So now I'm a baddie with a gun. Not saying I'm perfect - but I don't exactly fit into that category either.

Arm the teachers. If a teacher goes through the training and feels comfortable having a gun around kids I don't see a problem with this. I'm getting my teaching degree, but I wouldn't ever carry a gun to school. There's already too much going on in a classroom of 30 kids. I couldn't imagine trying to keep track of a weapon too. To me, this one is kind of like the abortion question - while I would never have one, I would never tell anyone they couldn't.

Armed guards at schools. Since I just recently saw this one I haven't really given it much thought. I suppose it could work - but how many would have to be there to cover every area of the school? Or are we just putting one in the front to stop anyone from coming through the front door? How's this guy getting paid? From an underfunded school budget? Let's teach the kids less so we can pay for this guy? Yeah, I'll have to think about that one some more.

Put God back into school. I have a problem with this. I believe in God. But I don't think He belongs in school. I homeschool and we rarely talk about God or religion unless it comes up in our history lesson. For too many years, thousands of years, people have been fighting and dying over religion and God. Which I don't think anyone's god ever condoned. I do believe that people need to treat each other with respect and behave like civilized people. Treat others as you want to be treated - the Golden Rule. That falls on the parents (or whomever is raising the kids). We don't go to church, but honestly, my son knows more about being kind than most of the kids who do attend church. Being a good person is not dependent on whether you walk into a building a few times a week.

For good measure - bring back corporal punishment. I never was paddled in school, but my parents signed the consent every year - and honestly, it made me think twice about doing anything out of line. Knowing that whatever the principal was going to dole out was only the start, because I would have gotten it when I got home too!

Is there any one answer? No, there's not. But the reality is unless we can all sit down and talk like grown ups nothing will happen. Well, something will happen, but what that will be may not be what everyone wants, or even the best long term answer. It will just be knee-jerk reaction. And let's face it, that always ends up badly.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

First half of the year

Goodness, I can't believe it's almost Christmas! Our year has been going pretty good though. Some things we're having problems with though:

Getting my boy to remember anything about history. I don't know if we need something more hands on, more heavily invested in writing, or just some books to reinforce. Granted, the Middle Ages is sooo long ago for an 11 year old. To him, the 1980's is more like the middle ages. No computers? No video games? *gasp* how did we even survive he often wonders! One day he asked if we even had cars. Um yeah, no sweetie, we rode dinosaurs everywhere. Or Fred Flinstone cars. pshh

We are backtracking through some missed, or not learned, math concepts from grade 5. He's still struggling with some of them, so I think that is right where we need to be.

The middle of the year also starts the look to the next year. What's working for us? What isn't? What are we willing to change for the next year. After all, he will be in 7th grade next year. Oh my! So, I've been looking at some stuff for next year and some decisions have already been made.

Teaching Textbooks. I've read all the reviews and honestly, since I'm not very good at math, having someone else teach it as he moves ahead is probably better for both of us.

Secondary Spanish. Right now he's using Elementary Spanish from Monarch and loves it. I'll let him do secondary next year and then we'll move to Rosetta Stone or something else. One year at a time!

The history and science is our hang up. The Monarch doesn't seem to be working as I'd hoped. Even his favorite subject (science) is a struggle for him this year using this program. Since I have the Apologia General Science I will probably give that another go next year.

I've also been looking at Ambleside online for next year. I'm not 100% on that though. It seems well thought out, and having books to read instead of textbooks for history might work better for both of us.

I'm back to the curriculum conundrum!

I hope all of you are having a great year!

Ups and Downs


In October, my husband quit smoking. I'm not a quitter though. At least that's what I always said when someone would ask me about quitting. But, I decided to give it a shot after the incessant nagging from my boys (and the always stuffed sinus', and the nagging sore throat, you get the idea). So, I went to my Doctor - he always said "Whenever you're ready call and we'll make a plan." So we made a plan:

Chantix

O.K. I don't know if any of you have used this. One of the big side effects is "vivid dreams". That's the big one everyone talks about. Another side effect, "may cause difficulty sleeping". Bingo! That would be the side effect I got. After a week on them I would have welcomed any dream - vivid or other-wise. Even taking my sleeping pills offered no sleep.

So, off the Chantix - I need a plan B though. I didn't have a plan B. I'm most certainly not a cold turkey kind of girl. Hubby used Wellbutrin (which I tried before but made my heart feel like it was exploding out of my chest). What IS my plan B?

I decided on NicodermCQ. You know, the patches. Which some of my friends say is cheating because they have nicotine in them. I say any help you can get. This is a 10 week endeavor for me, since I was a more than 10 cigarettes a day smoker.

So, on December 6th, I peeled the backing off my first patch and stuck it to my arm. It was still hard not to smoke though. I just wanted one, with no rhyme or reason to my cravings. But I stuck it out. I lasted four days before I broke. I had two or three that day. Then I started again. I lasted a whole week (7 days folks!) and on day 12 I decided I was good - no patch today, I've got this beat. Um yeah, except I didn't.

Days 12-15 were smoking days. Never more than 10, usually far fewer. Except Day 13. I had 5 cigarettes that day and I was so sick on day 14. I knew why - but I had to have those three on day 15 just to make sure. Because hey, you never know - it might not have had anything to do with me completely polluting my body again - you just never know!

So today (December 21) I'm back on the patch, no cigarettes. If nothing else, now I have the "oh it makes me so sick" thing to think about when I'm craving. It's like me and just about any kind of alcohol I've ever gotten sick from. The list is extensive of what I won't drink anymore, but the memory never goes away of why I don't. Even though some of those memories are well, close to 30 years old now.

It's been hard. I've discovered the joys of cherry dum-dums and pineapple lifesavers. I chew gum in very small amounts. Once my sinus' clear up again I'll be able to smell the wreath hanging on the front door without sticking my nose right in it again.

I still have the urge. Even as I type this I want to have a "blog post completed" cigarette. But I won't. Because I know, in the end, it's the best thing I can do for myself and my family.

I just wish those little people would come sing to me every time I resist the urge!


My current step

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Slacker Blogger Returns

I'm not just a slacker because I haven't posted in a while. I'm also a slacker because I'm posting without pictures.

After drinking two glasses of wine and taking my sleeping pill.

And going two days without a cigarette.

Yeah, this is going to be a nonsense post if I ever saw one. Read one, typed one, whatever. You get my point, right? Of course you do.

So we've been doing good. We are about 9 months away from Erik's retirement. He's starting to get a smidge crabby. And by smidge I mean iceberg size crabby. Unfortunately, I'm sure that will increase exponentially as the months move past us.

I'm still trying to talk him into becoming an expat. I thought I might have a leg to stand on after the election, but he's still resistant. When will he realize that I'm like the Borg - resistance is futile? I've even opened the pool to other Central/South American countries, but he's not rolling with it yet.

(I must remember gentle nagging only)

He's so far away from where I am that he nicely pointed out a job may be opening up that I could probably get if I really wanted to. Here. In South Carolina. In the state where I refuse to send my son to public schools because they are horrible. And I'm going to hold a full time job? Who's going to homeschool? Erik? Well, on second thought, that could be interesting..

(Mull that over later, when you are thinking more clearly, Kris)

So, that's what's on my mind tonight. My slightly intoxicated, ready to go to bed mind.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Working Together

I follow Hip Homeschool Moms, both in blog form and on Facebook. I love them. A group of homeschoolers helping out other homeschoolers. Let's face it, we all need that sometimes! If you don't follow them you should! I love how on their FB page they will throw out random questions that make you think, laugh, or whatever. I also love that people message them (I'm just guessing here) and ask questions which get put out there for all the other page fans to see and hopefully help the stressed out, stumped homeschooling parent.

I wish I had a chance to follow all the updates, but if I get on FB then lets face it - my schoolwork doesn't get done! My son's always gets done (um well, usually always). So when I saw an update the other day that said something to the effect of "play nice" it made me upset. I don't usually offer any tips if I have no experience. Sometimes I say 'we tried such and such, but it wasn't a good fit for our family' or whatever. If I actually have a helpful answer I'll say it. I guess I'm mostly a stalker =)!

Anyway - I missed the post that caused the later post, so I honestly don't know what was said or whatever. But I have read a lot of the posts on FB (stalker here, remember?) and I have noticed that when someone asks something like "in your opinion which curriculum is better A or B" or "I have it narrowed down to A and B, which way should I go?" There are tons of people who answer not to use either of those, they are terrible, go with a classical education, and on and on. This makes me mad and a little sad. To me it's showing some kind of homeschool snobbery.

The repliers don't know the family situation. Maybe they have kids like mine, who have to have a completely structured, need to know how many pages, likes the smell of workbooks kind of curriculum. We gave Sonlight an honest and fair shot and knew there was no way it would work for us. So yes, I'm the workbook mom. The 'finish your assignments for the week early and you can have Friday off' briber mom. I use a grading scale. I have rubrics. I do all those things because if my son doesn't have some measure that he did good or bad, he will lose his mind. Seriously. Maybe it's the years he spent in public and private school, I don't know, but I can't just say "you did awesome" because he will always ask "what was my grade?"We still take time to do other things, field trips, service projects, whatever. But we are mostly by the book because it keeps the peace.

New homeschooling moms are just drowning in different styles of curriculum. If they have it narrowed down, please don't throw another one out there at them. If you've used either of the choices say it was good or bad and why. If you haven't but just think a different way is better, please say nothing. The new mom is already stressed enough, making the decision to homeschool, wondering if she can do it. Help guide her in the way she believes she needs to go.

Here's what we use after much trial and error - Lifepac or Monarch for everything except LA. For Spelling we use Spectrum, and we use Evan-Moor Daily grammar and writing skills.

Work together and keep learning!






Sunday, November 11, 2012

When is it Home?

Growing up in the military, spending 20 years in the military, and currently being the spouse of military member makes it hard to have roots. Home was always where we were at the moment. When I was in the military home was either Salt Lake City or Lansing. I've never lived in either of those places - that's where my parents had settled down so 'home' was where they were. Ask any adult military brat where they are from and they will say "I'm a military brat." or in my case I say "I'm a Navy brat." We are rootless nomads.

Since both my parents are gone, home is neither of those places anymore. Home is here - where I live. Not that it hasn't always been that way. I just had some nether world I could call home, while we were in our temporary place. Until the military moved us again.

Now we've lived here, in South Carolina, for over six years. In the same house. At the same exact place. How does that happen? How do you stay in one place for so long? I'm not sure how. I've heard that this base is a black hole - people come here and end up never leaving. I've heard that about a lot of bases though - and we left those - so who knows?

When we are out on our travels if someone asks my son where he's from he'll say "South Carolina" if we're out of state and "Sumter" if we are in state. This is his home, his roots, the place he's lived for over half his life. He's never going to say "I'm a military brat." He remembers nothing about North Carolina, some things about living in Washington, but mostly, this is it for him.

As my husband looks ahead to retirement it's time to think about roots. Our roots. Will we stay here, the only place my son considers home? The place where his pediatrician really knows him? Where my doctor really knows me? We've been lucky enough to see the same doctors for over four years. Is that what makes roots? Are we growing here or are we going to plant ourselves in another place?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I'm Thankful and Sad

A lot of my friends on FB are doing the 30 days of thankfulness (or whatever it's called) and that's cool. I have a lot to be thankful for - my boys, my friends, a roof over my head, etc etc etc.

What I'm most thankful for is the election is over. Although I'm not glad with the results, what's done is done and it's time to move forward. I'm going to be honest though, this was not my first thought. Not by a long shot.

Thought #1 - I'm going to vomit

Thought #2 - Well, the Mayans did predict the world will end next month, so maybe it will end up ok

Thought #3 - I wonder how long it will take to get passports and blow this lemonade stand?

Thought #4 - Montana is pretty big - I bet we could buy a piece of land and fall off the grid.

But, the end, I'm proud to be American. I love this country, even if I'm not sure where it's headed. I know I can't defend my rights if I'm not here. But most of all I know we must all now stand united and make sure our elected officials, all of them, stand accountable for what we elected them to do.

What I'm most upset about is the way we are treating each other over this. I know there are poor losers, but I'm seeing a lot of poor winners too. And while I have some friends who fit into both of these categories I'm hoping that starting out small and working together will be the norm, not only for the next four years, but always. Not just for my circle of friends, but for the whole country.

America is a great country. Do we have room for improvement? You bet, and now it's time to stand together as citizens of this wonderful country and work together to make it even better. Not with pettiness and finger pointing, but by truly working together.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

November?

I can't believe it's November, I'm not sure where October went! Goodness, Christmas is almost here!!

We've been doing good here. Enjoying some unseasonably warm weather for fall.


Getting pictures taken for the school year. 



Hitting up the pumpkin patch where we not only enjoyed the corn maize and picked our pumpkin but also got to make Erik jealous by checking out an old firetruck




We didn't get many trick or treaters on Halloween. Zach doesn't trick or treat. Not because we don't let him - goodness, I'd love it if he went and collected tons of free candy for me - but because he doesn't eat candy, so he doesn't think it's right to take something he won't eat. Sometimes he's too nice!! He is my candy hander outer and likes to see all the different costumes. I guess since that works for him it works for me too. He did ask for a Boo (from Mario) pumpkin, and Erik did his best without a stencil or anything. The picture is pretty dark, but the pumpkin did turn out pretty cool.


Wow! I guess that's our October in a nutshell.

Don't forget to vote on Tuesday!!

Science? Really?

Well, I've been terrible about updating this blog - my other blog also sits on the sidelines waiting for me to update.

We've had some setbacks in the last month. I finally realized my son was missing important math skills, so we've put our 6th grade math on hold and have moved back to 5th grade. We are moving through it pretty rapidly, focusing more on the things that he missed in public school. I'm not sure why this surprised me since I had to do this the first year we homeschooled too. I could just kick myself for being silly enough to put him into public school for those two years. I hope we can get on track and be at grade level by the end of the year.

The bain of my college classes right now is Science. I've never been good at Science. This strikes me as odd since it is the one subject my son excels at. He took one of my pretests (not official, just in the book) and scored way better than I did. A college level test - one that sadly had me stumped. Plus I got the "everyone knows that mom" look. :-) We may not share the love of science, but we do share the sarcasm gene!

We did go on a field trip with our homeschool group. Pumpkin patch and corn maize! Zach loves the corn maize! The day was perfect and we did meet some new kids, nothing that has meshed itself into friendship yet, but this week is the skate day so we are going to go to that too and see if we (he) can click with someone. He's so very particular and choosey - which is good, but can also be lonely. 

So, I leave you with some pictures of our picture perfect field trip day ~





Have a great week!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Welcome!


So, after getting rid of all my other blogs, here I am starting a new one. I must be crazy!

This one is for all our homeschooling stuff. Not just the boys, but also my journey through WGU, where I'm enrolled to get my teaching degree.

Parents can balance working at home, working outside of the home, and homeschooling - I figured I can learn and teach my little man at the same time!


More to come....


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Homeschool Update


I missed connecting with Hip Homeschool Moms this week on their Tuesday Hip Homeschool Hop. Boo!

We are about six weeks into our school year and we've made some changes (who's surprised?), but that's how it goes around here.

Remember this picture?

















Yeah, well the only thing left that we're using is actually the math. And little man is complaining about how it repeats, but we are staying the course with math. I know he needs the spiral approach with math, so he's just going to have to deal.

So, what are we using know?

Well, we are using Horizons Math. It works, and if he gets it, I don't assign every problem. That's helped calm him down a lot about the repetitiveness of it all.

We really love Alpha Omega products. I know a lot of homeschoolers think they are not advanced enough, or whatever. The small sections work great for Zach, who is ADD, so I can't say enough good things about them.

We switched from the AOP lifepacs in History, to their online offering, Monarch. This is working much better for Zach. Still small pieces, lots of videos to make it interesting - it's just his cup of tea. We also switched to Monarch for Science, and since he's asked to learn Spanish he's doing Elementary Spanish on Monarch too.

For spelling we use Spectrum spelling. We actually have used this all year too! Score! I think we've found our spelling. We are using Abeka Gods Gift of Language for Grammar and Writing. I like the fact that they are both in the same book. I don't follow the whole LA curriculum with Abeka. I just have the Grammar book and that's what we use.

So, we have a few subjects that are now computer based, but the rest are still workbooks. It's the best way for us. I've also plotted out the curriculum for next year so I can start saving for it now. The Monarch is great - but it's pricey!


I want to make it clear that Alpah Omega Publications, Abeka, and/or Spectrum have not given me anything. I paid for all my purchases myself, and this is just my opinion of why we, as a homeschooling family, use them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Favorite Things



Hip Homeschool Hop Button


Homeschooling works differently for everyone, which is the beauty of it. Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite homeschool things.



I'm not exactly sure how I managed to keep track of everything before this little wonder. I tried all kinds of planners - online, homemade, you name it. This just works. I balked at the cost at first, but it's well worth it. There's a place for grades, report cards, tear out shopping lists, and of course schedules. Since I have to prove what we taught all year having this in one spot is awesome.


Clipart of a large collection of colored pencils used for school projects, art classes, classroom projects, coloring, outling projects, college work, map outlining or coloring books, Click here to get more Free Clipart at ClipartPal.com





Colored pencils. These are more for me too. I grade with them and sometimes, yes, mom makes a mistake. Instead of crossing it out and making the page look all nasty and sloppy I can erase these. And I can choose any color I want. Yes, sometimes moms need to have some fun too!




A calculator. I wish I had one this big! I'm not a math whiz and never will be, so when figuring grades I have to use this. What a lifesaver!

Also recently I found a free downloadable grade spreadsheet at Five J's. Now that Zach is middle school I've started weighing his grades and this has the formulas all worked out. You can adjust it to make reports worth so much, tests worth so much, etc. Remember, not a math whiz, so I'm grateful that this was offered. I use it to make the weekly grades which I then write in my planner. 

Have a great homeschool week!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ready to Move

I hate moving. I swore this move would be our last and we would just stay here in SC forever. But...

I really want to move. And not just anywhere - there are a lot of places I could go


Arizona, for example. I have family there, a sister, a niece, and a butt load of cousins for Zach. But "it's too hot there" my husband says

Utah - two nieces, some really good friends, and four seasons. "It snows there" says the old man.


Ohio - Hubby's family which means cousins for Zach. And well, family. Oddly enough, the snow here is not a factor. hmmm

And I'm not saying all those places aren't wonderful. They may even be the best states in Union. But I'm thinking I'd like to head someplace entirely new. A wild adventure that the three of us could enjoy. Where to though? Well, I narrowed it down to three places - but can I get hubby on board? Who knows? But here is where I'd like to spend the next four or ten years of my life


Honduras. Hubby has been here, but not Zach or I.
Beach front living, snorkeling, beautiful weather
what could be wrong with this place?


Belize. They speak English here, so that would make things a little easier.
Not as inexpensive as some other Central American countries but still..
this history geek would L.O.V.E. to see some of this stuff


Guatemala. OK, I honestly don't know that much about here
I guess that might be part of intrigue in going there
It would really make it a fun adventure

I know, all of you are thinking "that crazy girl - what the heck is she talking about". I know, we have an almost 12 year old, why in the world would you just pack it up and start a new life. To you I say "Why not?"


Why does everything have to be perfectly planned out? Why can't we just head out and live a new experience someplace completely new? Immerse our son in another culture - have him learn a new language first hand? Slow our roll a little. After being in/around the military our whole lives we deserve a little R&R in our lives.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Knowing what works

 Hip Homeschool Hop Button 



I'm so jealous of the folks who homeschool without workbooks. On our homeschool journey we've spent tried a lot of money on curriculum. Sonlight, Abeka, Unit Studies, Monarch, and on and on. It really can be an expensive labor of love when you are trying to educate your own child.

When I brought my son home again this year after two years in public school, all these missteps really came in handy though. I knew what would work for us, and what to stay away from. I wish I had been given the choice to learn a la Sonlight - I would have thrived, but I'm not the one doing the work. So, here is our curriculum for this year


Yep, as you can see, all workbooks. Workbooks of all different kinds. Another lesson from all our previous mistakes! Sometimes I feel like we aren't doing it right because we are a workbook family. But in the end, it's all about making sure my son gets the best education.

I've discovered that sometimes if you're not homeschooling a certain way, other homeschoolers can be mean about it. The fact is, we are all reaching for the same goals - it's just that our kids get there in different ways. Isn't this why we homeschool? To help our kids get the best education possible?

Trial and error are part of the learning process for everyone. When you find something that works for your family - stick with it! Even if you have to cobble it together from several different places. Don't be pressured to think you need this new or different curriculum. This is my third year homeschooling and I am by no means an expert, but I no longer feel I have to justify my choices to other moms. That alone can go a long way to making a better year.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dear Dad


Dear Daddy,

This month will mark the third month that you've been gone. How is that in less than three weeks you went from alive to gone forever? Why did you keep how sick you were such a secret from me? I'm so mad at you sometimes, I would kick you right in the butt if I could.

You knew you were sick in March when you visited, looking back I know that now. For six years we've been asking you "come down here" but no - Mr. Stubborn had to stay up in MI all by yourself and be all secretive about what was really going on. I'm so angry that your neighbor had to call me and tell me to get home - you would have rather died alone than think you were being a burden to me, your child. Stupid man. You were just going to sneak away in the middle of the night without saying anything to any of us that love you.

Yes, I'm angry at you - you would be angry if I tried to do the same thing. It's not fair that you gave all of us so little time to come see you and help you out. It's not fair that you think we are all so selfish that we wouldn't drop everything to get to you. Most of all it's not fair that your gone.

I love you Daddy - and I miss you so much.

Love, Krissy



Today I'm linking up with PYHO at Things I can't say

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

No More Doubting

Today I'm linking up with Hip Homeschool Hop hosted by Hip Homeschool Moms


I started homeschooling again this year. My husband and I both felt it was the right move for Zach and even though it's been a couple years I still remember what needs to be done. Best of all I know what doesn't need to be done!

Last time we homeschooled for two years (2nd and 3rd) and by 4th grade I had lost sight of the important things. I was so caught up in making it school at home, which honestly, I thought was what I supposed to do. Those parents who used every day experiences to teach their kids weren't doing it right! I wanted my son to be one of those homeschool kids who graduated when he was 16, scored perfect on his SAT/ACT, and got the awesome scholarship to Michigan State. I pushed until my son and I could barely be in the same room. I pushed until out of frustration I threw him into Public School and called it good.

When we started this journey again, I started to panic. "There are 181 math lessons and only 180 days of school." "Oh no, his science is backordered - there's no way we can finish it all this year." I wanted to schedule all the lessons for the year and stick to that schedule. Field trips? Only after all the work was done. Fun time with friends, not this week - we're behind. Ugh. I would want to go to public school and be bullied instead of putting up with me!

Then Friday, as I was scheduling this week, this four day week, and trying to figure out how to fit five days of school in, it hit me. My 6th grader is doing 7th grade science - if we have to finish some of it next year, that's fine. We don't HAVE to finish the math book, how much is he going to lose by missing one lesson? And yes, my 6th grader is behind in spelling (not taught at ps here) and language arts (just a tough one for him), but that's ok. I don't have to squeeze two years into this year to get him on track. He is on track - his track.

Will my son graduate at 16? Nope. Will he get the scholarship and become a Spartan? Who knows? He probably won't even want to go to Michigan State. Will he have a ton of knowledge, know who he is, and be the great person I know he is? You bet.

In the end what matters most is that he is learning and growing every day. The rest will fall into place.


Until next time ~ Kris


 Hip Homeschool Hop Button

Friday, August 31, 2012

Typical American?

I try to keep my political ideas and ideals in my own house. Not because I don't feel like arguing with people (shoot I love to argue!), but because honestly, I don't fit into a category. Now though, some of my FB friends are starting to make their intentions clear about whom they're voting for in November, so I thought I'd give my 5 cents worth on the subject.

1. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms. I believe that I should be able to have guns in my house. I do have guns in my house -all bought legally. I think that if you make it harder to buy guns the only people that will have them are criminals. Which would then make me a criminal because I can tell you I'm not giving up my firearms.

2. I don't believe in abortion however I do believe that women who want to have abortions should be able to in a safe environment. Just because I choose not to doesn't mean other people should think like me. That's just dumb.

3. I believe marijuana should be legalized and taxed. Use the money from the taxes to improve the school system, fund healthcare, or start paying back some of the countries we owe a gazillion dollars to. Just do it already.

4. In some states the school system is broken. We live in one of those states which is why I homeschool. I think that every parent should be able educate their children as they see fit, whether that's public school, private school, or homeschool. My property taxes go into the broken education system and I don't mind that - it's a small price to pay for the future of our country. But honestly, our future is in trouble if the education system doesn't start working better.

5. I believe Senators and Congressmen should make minimum wage. The wage they voted on, and get pay raises every six months if they're performance is good. Just like most working Americans. Oh, and no overtime ~ get it done in 40 hours or less a week or no raise for you buddy. Who chooses if they get a raise - well, the people who elected them of course. Maybe then they'll remember who they really work for and get their act together.

6. I believe you should have to take random urinalysis tests to receive welfare. If you're not working, you shouldn't have any money to buy drugs - if you do you're not spending our tax money wisely and you should have to go find a job. Oh, and don't let them do it in private - nope run it like the military - someone watching the whole time. I've been on both ends of that deal, and it's not pleasant.

7. I believe people in jail have given up their rights to creature comforts that the rest of us have to pay for. They committed the crime, so no cable TV, craptastic food for everyone, no more voting, you get the idea here right? I also believe that our prisons should be run like some of those places I've seen in Locked Up Abroad. Yep, turn them all loose in one big yard, 50 guys to a cell, sleeping on the floor. I also believe strongly in the death penalty but I think it should be by firing squad only. Costs much less that way.

8. I believe everybody should have a Plan B just in case the election in November doesn't turn out the way you want. I've got a Plan B and a Plan C. Nope, I'm not sharing them - they are so awesome everyone will want to do them too! =)

So where do I fit in this political picture? I feel I'm a typical American - I believe in some things on both sides of the party lines. Where is my candidate? How am I going to vote in November? I know who I'm going to choose, but some things are still ok to keep in your own house.


Until next time ~ Kris

Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting it Together Again

It's been a long time. There's been a ton of stuff going on. It's been a hard few months. Quick recap -

My dad passed. Not ready to talk about that, moving on...

I fell short of my required progress for last term. Now I'm on academic probation. I've never been on academic probation - ever. It's nerve wracking. It makes me feel like such a loser. But, at least the VA will cover this terms tuition but I've got to keep it together for sure now. No more crawling into bed for days at a time and just wanting to never get out again.

After a terrible year at school for Zach, I struggled for months about homeschooling again. I decided to go ahead and do it. Surprisingly there was no argument from Erik. I just explained we needed to make him academically competitive with students outside of South Carolina. So far it's been working well. We sit across the table from each other and work on our schoolwork. Plus my science whiz has helped me with my Science class. Yep - my sixth grader knows more science than I do!

We have gone back to our eclectic curriculum. After spending mega bucks figuring out what worked (and didn't) it was easy to decide what we needed to make his year a success. Our biggest move forward was starting him in 7th grade science! I'm proud of him that he's ready for a higher grade and I know he's going to do fantastic!

Finally, my bloggy bestie isn't going to be blogging too much anymore. That makes me sad - but she did finally land her dream job of having her own classroom! That makes me so happy - and I know she's happy and thrilled with the new direction that she worked so hard to achieve! Have a great year Mrs. Mall (future teacher of the year!)

Until next time ~ Kris

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fathers Day

I'm typing this the day before Fathers Day, while I sit at my dads bedside at the hospital. He's resting now, and I'm glad I have my iPad (which means very little formatting folks, sorry). On June 4th I got a call from my dads neighbor. She felt I needed to get home right away. By the 8th Erik, Zach, and I were sitting at my dads house in Michigan, wondering how we were going to force a grown man to go to the hospital. OK, Zach wasn't wondering that, just me and Erik. Last Sunday he finally caved and said he needed to go to the emergency room. It's still touch and go, day by day, and I hope he gets well enough to be loaded in the car and packed to SC where I can take care of him. So, those of you who are lucky enough to still have your fathers please remember to call them. I'm grateful mine is still hanging in there. Until next time ~ Kris

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Watch Out Middle School!

It's official, Zach is a 6th grader. Well, after about three more days of school. Tomorrow he goes on the 5th grade tour of his new middle school, then a couple days next week, and elementary school is behind us. *sigh*  Do you think it was easier when it was Jr. High and parents got to hang on to elementary school for one more year?

I knew it was coming. I just can't believe it's arrived. And I always get a heads up. My bloggy bestie's oldest is one grade ahead of Zach, so when she says "an official 7th grader" I know I have an official 6th grader on deck. The time still goes so fast. But, I'm not here to have my eyes start sweating again - nope I'm here to tell you what a fabulous year Zach ended up having.

To say it was a tough year would be the understatement of the year. At one point I even thought about holding him back in 5th. But after conferences with the counselor, principal, and his teachers it was decided that would be, well, a dumb move.

So this year ends with my awesome son earning:

Accelerated Reader Super Reader AND Advanced Reader
A/B Honor Roll 4th Quarter
A/B Average for the year

I'm so super proud! And he can no longer tell me he hates reading! When will he learn that eventually moms find out everything? =)

The promotion ceremony was awesome blossom. They sang, my eyes sweated, it was one of those happy/sad moments all moms (and dads) have. One I know I'll never forget.

Processional

This is why I think he's too little for middle school!
Someday my silly boy will realize what a catch this one is!

Singing their song I heard ceaselessly for three weeks

Yep, officially a 6th grader!




Until next time ~ Kris

Embrace the Camera 5.24.12





Today is Zach's 5th grade promotion ceremony. He's excited, I'm a little freaked out! We will embrace that next week!

This week we have an awesome shot of my two favorite guys. Mr. Hubby looking all spiffy in his blues (which he NEVER wears!) and my not so baby boy!




And it wouldn't be an embrace without some shots of my boy and I! (me and the boy?) hmmm





Until next time ~ Kris

Friday, May 18, 2012

Time for a Change

It's officially official, my husband will be retiring.

This completely scares the crap out of me for several reasons.
1. Paycheck (I'm not going to lie - we have bills!)
2. Medical (I know we'll still have tricare - but it's different when you retire)
3. I've always been a military something - daughter, wife, active duty - and honestly, NOT being a military something is going to be a completely new way of life for me. After almost 45 years, yes that freaks me out.

We sat down and figured out a timeline (which I will keep quiet about for now because if you say it somehow the military will find a way to change it!) and a monetary plan to keep us afloat "just in case". On a side note here - people, don't wait for this! Even if it's $10 a month put something aside. All the financial guru's say this but I never listened. Here I am, a real person, saying do it!

So we have the when. Now for the where. We are still in negotiations about that. I know it sounds like I hate this place, and sometimes I really do - but in August we will have been living in this house, in this town for 6 years. A lifetime for a military family, and it's become home. I think Zach and I have that feeling more than Erik though. For the last four years we've been out of the military loop. Civilian doctors, civilian friends, getting a feel for this place - and Erik's been deployed, working twelves, having inspections and exercises so it's just not the same for him.

Even though I always said I wanted to move closer to my father, I don't think I do. I love him, and I feel bad that he's up in Michigan pretty much by himself, but the reality is even he says "don't move here - there's nothing". And he pretty much would know. My heart is torn about this because I need to be there for my dad, but we also have to think about our family too. If I could get that stubborn man to move down here....

I even know there are states that have better school systems (or even cities in this state) but Zach excels when he stays focused. And doesn't hate his teachers (yes, I remember hating my 4th grade teacher; it was one of my dark school years!). Besides if it wasn't for this school system I wouldn't have starting pursuing my lifelong dream of becoming a teacher. It would have stayed a dream that I never reached for. I got off my lazy retired butt to get my degree to teach in this district, where I can make difference. Help make it better.

For anyone who's always taken their child to the same doctor year after year, be grateful. This is something most military families don't get to do and the last four years have been wonderful in this regard. The fact that Zach's doctor knew him so well was incredibly important and helpful last October. Zach loves his doctor and has calmed down a lot regarding shots, getting blood drawn, just about everything because he knows the doctor and nurses, and more important - they know him. That would be something hard to find again if we left here. This includes the dentist who believe me, can't believe it's the same child in her chair!

Another good thing about staying here is we know what it costs! We know what our insurance is, how much we have to chunk out every year to register the vehicles, the electric bill, and on and on. If we move somewhere else these things could cost more (or less) but you don't know. After all this time I'm pretty much right on in estimating groceries, gas, and everything else. I can't imagine trying to have to figure that out again. We all know I'm not strong in math! =)

Boy Scouts! Erik has worked toward becoming Scoutmaster of the troop. He put in time while Zach was still a Cub Scout helping to make an awesome troop. Not only for Zach but for all the boys in the pack that we've grown to love over the years. Finding an awesome new troop might be easy - but I'm thinking it's harder than it looks. I have a dear friend who can attest to that!

There are downsides to staying here. We don't live anywhere near family (MI, Utah, and Arizona for my family - Ohio for his). I've missed nephews, nieces, and grands growing up. But see, I always see being away from family as a double edged sword. In some ways it's bad, but in some ways it's good. If you aren't near the drama, you can't get sucked into the drama. It's much easier to stay neutral when you live on the other side of the country! I know this seems odd to a lot of people but I didn't grow up around grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins so to me - it doesn't seem that strange.

In the end we could plan to stay here or move someplace else, but it wouldn't matter. The truth is we will go where there's work for Erik. If that's here, awesome but if it's someplace else that's ok too.

I think for me, knowing when has taken a lot of stress off me. I rather hated being in limbo not knowing for sure which way everything was going to go.

A new adventure awaits us!

Until next time ~ Kris

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Domesticated?

I have been trying to be more domesticated. I'll wait while those who really know me laugh, rolling on the floor. Go ahead - I'll give you a few minutes.

I found a blog, through a friend on Pinterest (I think) called The Virtuous Wife. This lady is awesome. She bakes her own bread, makes these freezer meals, homeschools. Generally all those things I think about doing, but don't. Check her out - she's not snotty about her ways, it's just how she is and that's great.

So after checking out her freezer meals for weeks (or maybe months) I decided to give some of them a shot. Honestly, I get tired of cooking dinner - but if all I have to to do is thaw and throw it in the oven or crockpot, yeah, I'm on that. I made a few of them this past payday. So far all her recipes I've tried have been awesome. Next time we will do a little tweaking, just to suit our tastes, but there were none that we were like "Oh my this is disgusting!". That's a good thing, because there are a couple more meals worth in the freezer =) I think the thing I like most is cooking them in one or two days, during the day when I'm feeling more up to it. It's not only been a blast, but it's saved us from eating out, because everything is already done. So thanks Amanda for not only giving us cool new meals, but saving our budget.

I think I might try to make some bread some day....

These are the stuffed peppers. Delish!
So, on the heels of my two days of meal preps I decided to try my hand at making liquid hand soap. Which was also a day of fun. Or a night of fun, since it had to sit overnight - but I think it was a grand time. I found the recipe on Homestead Revival. This is another awesome lady. She makes her own laundry soap, hand soap, deodorant. Very cool. I took a bunch of pictures of making the soap, but they are still sitting on my camera. When we've used it for a while I'll post about it making it and stuff. It wasn't hard and it's very not expensive!

I am planning on trying my hand at making laundry soap too - I just have to decide between liquid or powder. Since I don't have a place to store a 5 gallon bucket of laundry soap it will probably be powder, but I'm still thinking....

And now for a last random thing. Last Saturday we lost power and spent an hour wandering around Walmart trying to cool down. I took a couple instagram pictures. Here they are with captions!

Thanks for ruining a perfectly good NASCAR display

I think I must be turning into a Carolina Girl
because I think this is cute

Until next time ~ Kris

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Embrace the Camera 5.10.12




Saturday we had one of those Southern storms. You know the kind - 5 minutes of rain, wind, and hail that seems to hit only your neighborhood (and the neighborhood across the street!) and then leaves you without power for 6 hours. Except for the no power I would have loved it - I love storms.

Hour 3 - hot and bored we decided to take a trip to WallyWorld. We ended up spending about an hour there. Yeah, it was hot at the house!

The hubster and Zach checking out the candy aisle

So we made our way home where power should have been restored and waiting for us! Nope - it was still going to be two more hours! So after some more boredom and lots of candles Zach and I decided goofing off with flashlights was the way to go.

Say "Yoshi"

I guess the under the face flashlight look only works when camping!

Now run, get your camera and get your Embrace on with Mrs. Anderson!


Until next time ~ Kris