Fresh Start Week

Somehow, with the school year winding down, hubby starting his business, and life in general happening, I have completely lost my grip on just about everything. As the CFO/Admin/Officer/Whatever-Else-I-Am of my husband's company, I'm functioning with an office on three floors. This is what using a laptop can do to a person. I must say that it's not the most efficient way to do this job.

allium even closer

It's also that time of year when I am required by the homeschooling laws of my state to test my 9th grade son. I have the test. I just have not yet administered it. Speaking of homeschool, our year was up and down, which is to say that it was entirely normal. But we didn't cover as much as I believe we ought. Which is also entirely normal. So we'll be doing enrolling in Slacker High's Homeschool Light this summer. Which equates to a few hours of studies per week.

I've hung in there these past few weeks with all the chaos balls in the air, but they're starting to drop. Like ripe pumpkins. And it's kind of yucky and messy. Which does not make for a very smooth-running operation around here. Therefore, it's time for some regrouping, organizing, and purging. Or something resembling that.

the one tulip

To that end, here's the game plan:

Give the boys a list on Monday of what they need to do for school, as well as chores. It will be up to them to manage their time. If they complete all the school work on Monday, they're free for the week. If they procrastinate, there will be no getting together with friends on Friday. Of course, being the mom, I'll offer some brilliant advice, "If you do a little each day, you'll have plenty of free time, and you won't feel overwhelmed by trying to do it all at once. It's important to learn how to balance your time." This, of course, will be rejected out-of-hand, precisely because I'm the mom.

I will also begin working on next school year's plans. As well as administering the test for ClayGuy.

The Biz:
We need a system for handling incoming repair orders, payments, invoices, and other sundry paperwork that my dear breadwinner brings home each day. Right now, he just hands it to me. This works okay, unless I'm cooking dinner, out in the garden, or otherwise detained. Additionally, I've started some files in a file tote, but we will outgrow that system in approximately the next 30 days or so. The files need a more permanent home. On a happy note, I did purchase an "entered" stamp, so I know when the ROs have been entered into QuickBooks. Cause I'm super organized and efficient like that.

Meals & Groceries:
Time to re-implement my meal planning and grocery shopping system. It works really well. When I actually use it. We eat at home more, eat healthier, and eat cheaper. But it's one of those processes where things must be done in a certain order. I don't cook much if we don't have the proper food in our house. But I don't grocery shop if I haven't created meal plans. On Wednesday, I'll be perusing the grocery store fliers and planning some meals.

The Rest of It:
There's a list a few miles long beyond these three things, but if I can complete the three before the end of the week, I'll take care of at least some of them. That's the goal anyway. And by posting here, I will have something by which to assess my week.

snacking chickadee

The photos are SOOC and come from our yard. I'd have done some editing, but I have a cake to bake. It's my mom's birthday today, after all. But it just never seems right to post without something nice to look at.

For something else nice to look at, go to my photoblog and see if you can help solve my flower mystery.


Wordless Wednesday - Bzzzz

buzzing on a dandelion

buzzing two

For more wordlessness, go here and here.


The Lettuce is Growing

When we moved into this house, I was very excited about planting some veggies and strawberries in the garden out back. It's already fenced off and has obviously been used as a garden for some time. We got some seeds, soil, and little peat pots so we could start a few plants indoors while still in winter. I thought it would be wonderful to go pick our own fresh salads this summer, so we started a couple varieties of lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes. We also started some herbs.

I should probably mention here that I'm not particularly good at follow-through. I start out well, but I sure do fizzle out - a lot. I also have zero experience in growing vegetables. I manage some houseplants or flowers okay. Sometimes. Other times, I just kill them.

The garden area is fairly large (about 36' x 16'). I didn't intend to utilize the entire space this year, since I don't really know what I'm doing anyway. So I worked a small section in which I could plant my little salad. I also discovered from my neighbor that this garden plot is actually incredibly fertile and wonderful and had hosted one of the best gardens ever for many, many years. I was excited by the lush and healthy soil and stories of its abundance.

The time finally came that it seemed we should get those plants in the ground. But life happened and they stayed in the house that week. And the next. And probably another week (or two). By the time I got them out there, some were looking a little sad. Maybe getting them in healthy, fertile soil would help out. The lettuce was looking kind of dead already, but I stuck the tiny peat pots in the ground anyway. Of the four tomato plants a friend gave me, one died, two were looking good, and the other didn't look like it would make it. I planted it anyway. Either the cucs or peppers weren't going to make it - I forgot which one that row was. The other one looked good, so it made it outdoors.

So I had lettuce, cucs or peppers, and tomatoes. Not much, but it was a start. The poor lettuce - it was already too far gone. The two tomatoes were hanging in there, but the third was on its way to compost. And whatever that last row is - cucs or peppers, it's doing quite well. I think.

The cucumber or pepper:

We've had quite the abundance of rain this past week, so I finally got out there to assess the potential for our salad garden. In the course of pulling out a few weeds and checking over my veggies, I discovered that the entirely dead lettuce had new growth!! My lettuce is growing! I had no hope for the lettuce at all. Not even when I put it in the ground. But it's growing! I am SO excited!! Now the tomatoes are another story - their leaves are turning a little yellow and I should probably offer them a little better protection or something. Maybe some water walls. Not sure there. The cucs/peppers seem to be thriving, so I look forward to what that will bring.

Sorta sad tomato:

Even though we may not have a huge, bountiful harvest, I'm hoping to have a few salads here and there. And I do have plans of buying some more plants to get out there. Who knows, one day we may have a lovely garden from which we can help feed our family and maybe some friends and neighbors as well.


Fast Bread

The past couple of weeks have been a bit extra crazy. Hubby started his business, which is going quite well, btw, but it has thrown the normal routine off a bit. Not in a bad way, just a different way. A lot of this will settle down, though. Things like setting up a new bank account, getting a sales tax license, setting up QuickBooks, and having business cards printed don't land on the "to do" list regularly.

In the midst of the craziness, I discovered the coolest thing - Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Bread has already been a theme here with Bread Week and its subsequent posts. I've made sourdough for a few years now and it's a pretty low-key kind of deal. But it's still a two-day process.

Artisan bread in five minutes a day? This sounded like one of those things that's too good to be true. It almost is. But in reality, it's pretty amazing!

In a nutshell, you toss your FOUR ingredients into a container, mix them up, and let it sit on the counter. Then you bake bread or put it in the frig. For up to TWO weeks!! Yes, you have bread dough available to bake bread at ANY time for the next 14 days. Sounds crazy. But it totally works. I've made three really cute little boules in the past couple of days. Quite yummy!

I don't think it can entirely replace my sourdough, because it just doesn't have that sour taste (although that is supposed to happen more if you leave the dough in the frig longer). But the ability to have a fresh loaf of artisan bread with dinner? Or bake a couple rolls for lunch? Awesome!

I was able to find the recipe without buying the book - BUT I wanted all the other recipes. I didn't want to only make the plain bread. So I got the book with a very cool Border's coupon. Then I went to my local restaurant supply store and bought a Cambro container for my dough. I'm thinking I may have to get a second one, because I'd like to keep a couple of doughs going - one for pizza, focaccia, etc. and one for either regular bread or sweet bread. The cookbook has recipes for brioches, Indian flatbread, baguettes, and SO much more. I would definitely recommend that you get it.


Wordless Wednesday - Bottles

Go here and here for more wordlessness.


Prayers for Hulcy Family

Many of you know of Jessica Hulcy (founder of KONOS homeschool curriculum). She was in an accident yesterday and I'm helping get the word out so people will pray for her. Her husband is Wade and they have four sons that have all been homeschooled. She is a sweet and encouraging lady who's brought so much to the homeschool community.

From one of her sons last night:

Jessica's Ford Explorer was broadsided in Melissa, TX about 11:30 on Monday morning. We think she was hit by a volunteer fire truck responding to an accident. After a 25 minute extrication process she was Life Flighted as a level 1 (the most severe) trauma case to Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

She is still in critical condition. Here is what we know so far:

1. She is still unconscious but is moving all four limbs and attempting to pull the tubes out of her throat which is encouraging to the doctors.

2. Major Lung trauma, punctures to both lungs. Both were collapsed. One is now working well and they are still draining the other. Doctors are checking for possible damage to wind pipe and trachea.

3. Head trauma. Medium amounts of blood on the brain. Closely monitoring this to see if it improves. Surgery not necessary now, but possible to come.

4. As of now multiple broken ribs on both sides, broken left wrist, broken left arm in 2 places. Will require surgery. Possible broken left leg and right wrist. She has undergone 4 hrs of X-rays, over 1000 X-rays taken so far. They are working the broken bones in the order of most life threatening so there is a possibility of more discovery of broken bones.

Most recent update this morning:

I spoke with Wade a few minutes ago. There is no change in Jessica's status since the report last night. The doctors are waiting for her to wake up. Wade asks that we pray for her mental/brain status.

Thank you for your prayers.


Want to Learn Latin? For Free?

I've heard FABULOUS things about the Rosetta Stone language programs. Of course, when it's really awesome, there is usually a cost associated. You know, the old "you get what you pay for"? Well, this is super exciting, because over at Jen Ig's site, you can win a copy of Rosetta Stone's all new Homeschool Latin Program! Of course, I'd LOVE to win. But if I don't, I'd like YOU to win. So read on, and find out how you can have a chance to win this program.


Rosetta Stone is the fastest way to learn a language and has been the #1 foreign language curriculum among homeschoolers for a while — and you can WIN the *all new* version 3 Rosetta Stone Homeschool LATIN program… FOR FREE! This is the first year you can get Latin in the brand new Version III update.

This is a $259 program (and believe me it’s worth every penny!) This is a computer based curriculum and Rosetta Stone will also include a headset with microphone, and a supplementary “Audio Companion” CD so you can practice lessons in the car, on the go, or where-ever! Students participate in life-like conversations and actually produce language to advance through the program. Rosetta Stone incorporates listening, reading, grammar, vocabulary and writing along with speaking and pronunciation lessons. For parents, the new Parent Administrative Tools are integrated into the program to allow parents to easily enroll up to ten students in any of 12 predetermined lesson plans, monitor student progress, grade completed work (the program grades the work automatically as the students progress- I love that!), and you can view and print reports for transcripts. Homeschooling a lot of kids at your house? This program is designed to enroll and track up to ten students (five users on two computers) and will work for nearly all ages — from beginning readers up to college students.

To win this most excellent Latin program copy these paragraphs and post them in (or as) your next blog post, and/OR link to the contest from your facebook page and/OR email the information to your homeschool support group – Then go to the original page http://Jeneralities.com and leave a comment saying that you’ve posted about, or have linked to, the contest. Please make sure the link works to get back to the original contest page when you post. And good luck!


Wordless Wednesday - Dandelion Fun

Go here and here for more wordlessness.


Leap of Faith

Where to begin? My thoughts are rambling around like so many kernels of corn in the heated popper.

My husband quit his job today (I began writing this on 4/29). Because God is leading him, actually us, into a new direction. He's starting a business. Very soon, obviously. He didn't quit today, he gave his notice. Thursday, May 7th will be the last day. Six days away. Friday will be a celebration with family and friends at an amusement park. That wasn't intentional, but it worked out that way.

My dear husband has worked on RVs for over 23 years now. He's exceptionally good at it. There's really not much he can't do or figure out. During that time, he's worked for nine RV dealerships or service centers. I'm sure that there are plenty of other businesses for whom it can be difficult to work, but I must say that it's been quite the ride with every one of these companies. For probably 21 of the 23 years, he has periodically done work on the side for people. Friends, family, and friends of both. We began discussing the idea of him having his own RV service business many, many years ago. Somewhere around 20 years ago. But it didn't happen. It was just a dream.

Eight years ago, the dream became a reality. A very short-lived reality. He did start a mobile RV service business. Naturally, there are those issues you can't anticipate until you're there. We learned some things. Things that we would handle differently if we ever ventured down this path again. In the meantime, he was offered a position with his previous employer. A position with a promotion and a nice raise. Money was running low, so he accepted. At least we had tried. And we had experience.

January of 2008, we began considering the possibility of him starting his business again. Instead of mobile service, we began looking at facilities. Something with a couple of bays and some office space. Nothing big or fancy. We found a place that looked like it might work. And then we got the $400 utility bill at home that took us down a different path. The path to buying a house. When you are self-employed, you have to be in business, and be profitable, for quite some time to qualify to buy a house. So the business went on the back burner while we spent months looking for a house.

Recently, the thoughts of a business came to the forefront again. We knew it would be a better time of year (last time we started in January - a little early in the season). He already has people wanting him to do work for him right now. There's been a lot of stress for him with his current employer. Enough to make him stay home sick in bed about once a month.

Last week, we sat down and more purposefully discussed the issues at hand. What would we have to do, specifically, to start the business up again? Not really all that much. We had done much of the groundwork eight years ago. We jotted some tasks and numbers. We'd been praying. It seemed that this was the direction God was taking us.

As He is ever so gracious to do, God began to open the doors and lead the way. We were listening to Dave Ramsey's Town Hall for Hope last week. One of the questions? Is this a bad time to start a business? No, not really. Dave actually believes that it's a very good time to start. Because many businesses have already failed, there is less competition. He shared a number of people who began their businesses either near the end of a recession or just following. Companies that have become very successful. It was encouraging to hear.

Update: Today was it. The last day working for someone else. I just wanted to wait and post this after he was officially done there. It just seemed the right thing to do.

We've filed our reincorporation papers, changed the address on our federal tax id, begun the process of getting insurance, printed biz cards, and created a web site (sort of - I just used existing templates. I don't know how to create a web site). We have a couple other things to wrap up on Monday or Tuesday. And he's ready to roll.

Here we go, leaping off the cliff. Into the plans of God.


Wordless Wednesday - Groovy Man

Go here and here for more wordlessness.


While out and about this morning (in cyberspace), I visited Robin, my very fastidious friend, who recently found herself not so concerned about typos. In a good way. Be sure to read about her very recent trip to India with Compassion International.

Which led me over to Pioneer Woman's confessions. While I love reading PW and have spent plenty o'time at her blog, I just happened to catch a link to a bloggy friend of hers this morning - April over at Coal Creek Farm. I figure if she's got the PW Stamp of Approval, there's probably some interesting and fun things to read. Boy, was I in for a treat.

Her first post is about a lovely Mother's Day Giveaway. I would highly recommend checking this out. It's jewelery. Always a good thing.

Her second post? OH. MY. GOSH. HYSTERICAL!!! It seems her family raises bees. Or something. She graciously shares the funniest post I've read in a long time about capturing a swarm. You have GOT to go read this. Actually, it's the video at the end that puts it all into perspective. And April, if for some reason, you find out I'm writing about your video, please know that I am laughing with you, not at you. I really don't do well with bees. I'd have been the same gal behind the camera. Maybe worse. But since I wasn't behind the camera, nor on your property, . . . probably not even in your state, I'm laughing. A lot. Man that was funny. Thanks for keeping it real.

Last year, I had a very small scale run-in with a bee or two. Nothing like April's experience. But the photos are pretty.

After watching April's video, I wondered if there was an actual phobia for fear of bees (like there wouldn't be one?). A quick jaunt over to Wikipedia cleared that up for me.

Fear of bees or bee stings is one of common fears among people. Apiphobia (from Latin apis for "honeybee") or melissophobia (from Greek melissa for "honeybee"), and Spheksophobia (from the Latin Sphekso for wasp) is an abnormal fear of bees and wasps, a kind of specific phobia. (From Wikipedia)

Another fine example of the "why" behind Bunny Trails. I'm so all over them.


Drizzly Day

Here's what my day looked like~

Come on in. It's warm and dry inside.

Across the cul-de-sac

Hope of spring

Patio shelter


Decisions, decisions . . .

Mr. Robin

Nice bokeh

Anticipating apples

Plums to come

How was your day?


Unplugged Friday

Some days, you just need to unplug. For me, that pretty much means from the computer. No particular reason. It's just a very low-key, mellow Friday and if I don't unplug myself, I'll likely be absorbed here all day. So I'm taking this time to say "Later, interwebby peeps!" Have a gloriously blessed Friday!

Do something fun.
Blow bubbles.
Read Calvin & Hobbes.
Lay in the grass.
Notice little things. Like water droplets on leaves.
Watch a Bugs Bunny cartoon.





Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...