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September 2012
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November 2012

sons of thunder academy l homeschool schedule

last week i got very frustrated at the boys' not finishing their school work before dinner. and had to come home from church and spend more time on school work. all because they were wasting time and not staying on task.

this is typical. but, lately they have been taking more and more time to complete their work. i have had to adjust their schedule in ways that is giving less time for some 'home' lessons. such as not scheduling literature or geography, or vocabulary every day but just two or three days a week to accomodate their co-op classes. this is leaving me concerned.

will they be able to accomplish what i think they need to accomplish in the allotted time frame. but, i do have to remind myself of the overall requirements and plug in reality.

the reality is they are in good standing - even with our adjustments.

but, i still needed to deal with the ongoing issue of staying on task and wasting time.

so last week, on thursday, i didn't just schedule their days work i scheduled tasks by time.

beginning at 8:00 and scheduling each hour with an assignment. vocabulary gets 1/2 hour; Spanish 45 minutes - an hour (plus study time later); Math: 1 1/2 hour (plus finishing up time), etc.

when i came home from bible study thursday afternoon the boys had lined through all of the scheduled assignments and where heading into lunch with only the after lunch assignments to accomplish. they loved it so much that they asked me to schedule their assignments by time every day. hopefully this will teach them deadlines, scheduling of personal time, time management, etc.

obviously at some point we'll need to sit down together and have them work out a schedule for themselves - and see how that goes. but, i think this is a good start.

boot camp l drill #12

boot camp is over. i choose not to do three of the drill's because they were crafty sort of drill's and i would have to purchase something to accomplish them. so i stuck with the photography slash scrapbooking-type drills and i'm very fine with that.

drill #12 was sort of a compilation of of drill's 10 - 12. drill #10 began with journaling and the prompt TODAY YOU (or in my case TODAY I). today could me today literally or today as in now, or this season, or this year, or a span of time, etc. totally up to the journaler - which was me.

i went with today, literally. i began jotting down my day and realized i was begin each sentence with an action word, so i stuck with that (and made it 'past tense') - as in this is what i did - today.

drill #11 had us expand on the journaling. adding facts and feelings. this added information surrounding the action word. it is a wonderful journaling technique.

then, drill #12 was make a scrapbook page. our drill instructor, ali edwards, provided a template we could use and a today you png. file. since i went with today i i dug into my digital supplies and found an ali edwards word art that i was able to use.

today i: scheduled, studied, ate, reviewed, teased, processed, struggled, talked, and read...pretty cool.

i like the short, couple week format. plus completing the drill's of the various instructors offered insight into whether other classes by the same might be in the future. i would love to take a cathy z class and i'll certainly take more ali edwards' classes.

the ultimate l family movie night

about one night a month we sit in front of the television eating pizza and watching a movie as a family.

while we are well aware that eating and watching television as a family does not a family make our one, sometimes two, nights a month actually blesses our family instead of harms it. ever since hoosier man created his amazing pizza we have been having movie night. you just can't eat pizza at the dining room table. we've always watched an age-appropriate move suitable for the youngest in the family.

our latest movie night we watched the avengers.


and ate hoosier man's homemade pizza. depending on what is going on in our life and what day of the week we are actually having our pizza and a movie on we may prep the pizzas in advance (i.e. make the crust, fry up the sausage, chop the onions) then make them when we are ready for eating. sometimes movie night is friday evening and we've had nothing else on our plate for the evening so it's everything goes. but it might be saturday evening and we attend bible study slash serving plus church on saturday evenings so pizza and a movie makes for a late night.

but, we're cool with that sometimes.

sometimes i get my pizza, watch half the movie and hit the sack because i have an early work call. or sometimes i get my pizza, watch half the movie and am walking out the door because i have a late night work call. i really don't like scheduling pizza and a movie on those nights.

typically, we know well in advance when family movie night is because i schedule them on my monthly menus. we prepare the pizza, always making two so we will have leftovers. when the first pizza comes out of the oven pipping hot the boys set up their tray tables at the couch, get drinks for everyone while hoosier man slices up the cheese-infused homemade spicy pizzas with our succulent, packed-with-flavor homemade store-bought organic sauce. the second pizza should be almost done but we all sit down to begin watching a new movie or a favorite oldie but goodie.

for a family who sits down together at the dining room table every night for dinner, except date nights with my hoosier man, our family movie nights bring another level of family togetherness that we love. i would never want to watch television and eat dinner together regularly. how could you talk, or share, or laugh together, or even enjoy the meal.

as is family movie night is the ultimate!

red grapes and herbal essence

PickedTints605                                                            source

it's an obscurity.

i love red grapes.

i was at a women's conference this past weekend and they had a mid-session snack with red grapes and bananas, pretzels, nuts, pieces of chocolate on our chairs, etc.

i passed over the bananas because i just don't like the taste of bananas anymore.

my taste and smell changes have really been wrecking havoc with some foods.

not least of all - chocolate.

so i tried the red grapes.



perfectly sweet.

so, when i was shopping the other day i picked up two bags of red grapes. i pull off a big pile of grapes and devour them. so good. so wonderful i can eat fruit.

i found cantelope actually tastes better now; red apples are gross. i can still eat granny smith's, pears are still good and pineapple is ok - edible.


when the hurst's were visiting i scooped blake up in my arms and gave him a big hug and kiss - none of the kids shy away from grandma susan. he wrapped me up right back.

anyways, his hair smelled soooo good. yep! shampoo smelled good.

i couldn't believe i actually smelled a shampoo that smelled yummy! mel thought it was a herbal essence shampoo so that's where i started.

and i found it! so so excited! i can actually wash my hair and enjoy the smell.

boot camp l drill #6

big picture classes - boot camp

drill #6   l   symmetrical squares

cathy z's third drill, drill #6 was on symmetry, more specifically symmetrical squares. she provided us with a template to use for this drill. i kept it very basic, very black and white. since the title was to be apart of our drill, and i find happiness to be very black and white - happiness is a choice: you either choose happiness or you don't - i stuck with a black and white page.

sort of a method to my madness.

so far i have only not done one drill but i still plan on completing it before the class is over. this has been a great class. it was also a pretty smart idea of big picture classes to give us a preview of the 4experts' classes for 2013. i am actually considering heavily taking cathy z's class because i have enjoyed learning the design skills and completing the drills associated. i may even take ali edwards just because i love her style too.


we just said farewell to these three and their momma, melanie, as they join their daddy mark in germany - as they go where the military sends them. will miss them immensely. but we've agreed that i'll get many pictures and journaling so i can scrapbook their time in germany.

this is our surrogate family. the kids call us grandma susan and grandpa jeff. we love them so much and miss them when we are not near.

boot camp l drill #4

i'm still in boot camp.

havin' fun too!

i skipped the third drill for now but may go back and complete it. it wasn't something i wanted to tackle yesterday, plus yesterday i was super busy visiting with my surrogate family - the hurst's. mel and kids were here before headin' to germany for a couple years. i'm hoping she'll take me up on the offer to scrapbook their time in germany (she sends pictures and journaling and i put pages together); it would mean we keep in touch regularly!!!

anyways, drill #4

i really wanted to use pictures of mel's kids for this drill but my camera's are not uploading to my computer and i'm very frustrated.

so for this drill by cathy zielske it was all about common margins.

i'm assuming it's a graphic design term, which i've never heard of before today. i use so many templates and realize that those who create the templates know all about common margins.

but, for this drill i was determined to learn for myself. so no template here. common margins refers to the evenly spaced photos on the page, the side margins with common margins, the top margins with common margins. everywhere on a page can have one or many common margins. this unifies the page and make it look RIGHT.

cathy z commented in the gallery at big picture scrapbooking and she said, "This is great!"

so i guess i did good!

really enjoying boot camp. and i'm definitely considering cathy z's class next year.

seven degrees of randomness

1. so, i read somewhere that the television show Alias is now offered on Netflix. i guess that would get me excited if i had Netflix because Alias used to be one of my most favorite shows. it really was because sydney bristoe kicked patookie. so, i'd be deliriously happy if i had all 5 seasons of Alias in my dvd repetoire.

2. john and i organized the homeschool shelf this past sunday and the two pen and pencil holders. when all was said and done, one of the, quite large holders was just enough room for all the pencils. crazy amount of sharpened pencils, now only inches long, some with erasers, some ground to the metal. the boys will happily use the pencils until they are only an inch long. i, however, see the need right now to go buy another box of brand-spanking-new pencils.

3. i finally broke 250 pounds. when i randomly weighed myself this morning after my shower, and breakfast, and two cups of coffee, i hopped - ok - i grudgingly climbed onto the scale and watched the numbers increase. but today they didn't go above 250. just 249.6 pounds.

4. as i sat at the end of the dining room table doing my precepts bible study on Ezekial and my other study that is in the book of nehemiah, my sons sat at the table, furiously tackling their schoolwork, accomplishing a great deal by 9:30 a.m. then i went to the scraproom/computer room. and i heard talking. so much for furiously tackling their schoolwork...

5. i finished reading an american assassin by vince flynn. it is the first in the american assassin series by the same author. i previously had read kill shot. and like it. and i liked this one too. enough that i'll probably buy them because they aren't all at the library. although maybe i should considering asking the librarian's if they can get it from somewhere. make use of the opportunities afforded us through the library system.

6. i read everywhere that people enjoy handmade items as gifts. do they really? or is it more how expensive something is? this year, in part out of necessity, and part out of 'i just want to create and make for others' my family is getting 'mostly' handmade - even john and jarrod are getting 'mostly' handmade from me. do people appreciate handmade or do those handmade items just get put aside somewhere? just wondering is all...

7. God provides.

boot camp l drill #2

big picture scrapbooking boot camp

boot camp   l   drill #2: curiosity and your muse

i have wanted to learn my camera's manual mode forever. our assignment today was to find what we are curious about, regarding photography, and let that be our muse for the day. so i did just that. i pulled out the manual on my camera, i visited websites, and found i was curious about depth-of-field. more particularly when a subject up close is crystal clear and the back ground is blurry but identifiable.

i tried.

i failed. well, there was one photo that wasn't bad, but just not what i'd hoped for.

am i gonna give up?

no way?

but for today i moved onto another curiosity.

i have wanted to learn how to apply PSE actions to my photos.

and i've been afraid. silly fear isn't it? just fear that i won't figure it out. or it would be something hard.

so i found some free actions: Pioneer Woman Action Set 1 & 2 and found some tutorials on how to upload them to my photoshop elements and how to use them.

while some of the steps were difficult to follow. i hung in there.

i did it!

i used the various actions on this 'original' photo and got some interesting results.

my original

my favorite. PW's Soft and Faded Action

then, i took my tree from yesterday's assignment and ran PW's second set on them.

my original SOOC

PW's Colorized

PW's Dim the Lights

PWs Sepia Tone

PW's Seventies

PW's Sunshine

my favorites here are a toss up between sunshine, seventies, and colorized.

there are many actions available for free online at reputable sites so i hope to find more amazing actions to apply to my photos.

while i was disappointed at my first failure with my camera. i am very happy that completing a drill was enough to motivate me to learn actions.