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How does a homeschooler change a light bulb?

(borrowed from a T-shirt, but I love it!)

How does a homeschooler change a lightbulb?

  • First, mom checks three books on electricity out of the library. The kids make models of light bulbs, read the biography of Thomas Edison, and do a skit based on his life.
  • Then, everyone studies the history of lighting methods, wrapping up with dipping their own candles.
  • Next, everyone takes a trip to the store where they compare types of light bulbs, as well as prices, and figure out how much change they’ll get back if they buy two bulbs for $1.99 and pay with a $5 bill.
  • On the way home, a discussion develops over the history of money and also Abraham Lincoln, as his picture is on the $5 bill.
  • Finally, after building a homemade ladder out of branches dragged from the woods, the light bulb is installed.
  • And there is light!

~Author unknown

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A well stocked pantry or just frivolous????

I love food.  Shocking, right?  Growing up we thought the only veggies that existed were green beans, corn, and peas.  They only came out of a can.  It took 2 cans for a side…no matter how many people you were feeding.  Green beans were warmed up (my mother’s idea of cooking) in left over bacon grease.  Corn could be eaten right out of the can and the juice was a suitable beverage.  Potatoes were ONLY white…but we knew that for Christmas and Thanksgiving those magical orange ones would come from someplace.  Peas got nuked…maybe with some “butter”…which was never real butter.  Ok so, rarely, a can of Popeye spinach would show up and was delicious to our deprived taste buds.

Salads were only iceberg lettuce and  tomato.  Seriously, who knew there was a WORLD of tomatoes out there????  I thought cherry tomatoes were made special for restaurants. 

Cabbage was only green and usually only at New Years.  Ok so this could go on and on….  It’s easier to name what my mom DID cook.  Probably 10 fingers would do it….maybe 15.  

“They” say that the average person really only makes 14 meals in rotation.  I don’t want to be that person.  I don’t think I am either.  As soon as I got out of the house I started trying things.  What made me do it?  I don’t know.  Who first said the word “pesto” to me?  Not a clue…but it’s relatively normal in our home now.  I visited my mom a year ago or so and made grilled chicken and whole wheat spaghetti with pesto sauce.  Her husband came in (insert Hank from King of the Hill here) wanting to know what that “green crap” was.  “well I just don’t know about that”  “just don’t think I’m gonna like that” “why’d you make that”  He proceeded to eat 4 heaping plates.  Has my mom made it again?  It would be a safe bet to say “no”.  I didn’t even tell them it was whole wheat pasta.  That would have taken another 30 minutes out of my life to explain to them. 

So I find myself a fan of variety.  ESPECIALLY when I discover something has excellent health benefits.  Today what’s on my mind?  Where do I keep all this variety?  I just bought some Quinoa and it has no spot on my pantry shelves.  What am I going to do with the Quinoa?  Don’t know yet.  Waiting for the hubby to come home and searching for tips and clues on the web until then. 

What else is in my pantry that is normal for us but unusual for back home?  Flax seed, polenta, germade (essentially cream of wheat made from a hard red wheat and takes a little longer to cook), home-made granola, protein powder (5 canisters because I go through 1 a week), soy nuts, soy nut butter, Spirulina, 4 different types of oats (quick, regular, instant, and thick rolled), 3 different types of asian noodles….MREs….yea that one goes without saying with a soldier for a husband. 

It never fails though that there is something I want to make and it involves an ingredient that isn’t typically in our kitchen.  So I find myself wondering if it is worth it to go and get that.  Seriously, Anise just for this cookie recipe I’d like to try.  It’s always been a question to buy a wine for a recipe when I know I’m not likely to drink it. 

So to be or not to be…. to keep it simple or to try it all?

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Are you loving it?

homeschooling….  honestly?  No.  I don’t LOVE it.  I have my reasons for doing it, but I’d much rather have my days to myself.  I can’t get any non-home educating parents to understand that.  My day would be much easier if I took my kids to school every morning and dropped them off.  Then I could have a part-time job (or full-time), talk to adults during the day, dress nicer, maybe hit the gym without having to worry about if the kids are managed, or even just spend the time cleaning the house.  I’d have time for me with no “mommy mommy mommy”.  BUT I can’t think of one single reason to put them in school that isn’t all about me, me, me.  This is not to say that everyone who puts their kids in school is selfish.   I’m only saying that for me it would be a selfish decision.  I’ve made my pros/cons list. 

I read an article the other day that said most home educators are motivated by “fear”.  That lady has it all wrong.  Not liking a lot of what goes on in public schools today is not fear.  It’s disapproval.  Not liking 90% of the other children’s behaviors and 90% of the parents attitudes is not fear.  I’ve dealt with public schools.  Some are great, but too many have a “not my problem” sort of attitude.  I have some wonderful teacher friends, but you don’t always get to know your child’s teacher on a personal level before you let them take part in the molding and shaping of your child.  It’s not always an option.  

Of course I have a lot of unpopular beliefs when it comes to things like that.  I’m used to being judged for it, so go ahead. 

I will not tell anyone that they are wrong for sending their kids to public, private, charter, or religious schools.  Each family has a right to make a choice.  Ask any mommy who has ever tearfully waved goodbye to their preschool baby…making he right choice for you doesn’t always mean it’s the happy choice. 

Just because I don’t blow sunshine and bubbles up people’s backsides about the joys of homeschool doesn’t mean it’s the wrong choice.  If you really and truly know me, then you know there’s not likely to be sunshine and bubbles coming from me about ANYTHING…EVER. 

I remember a discussion I had with a major’s wife a couple years ago about homeschooling.  She said that I was wrong to take my kids out of school because then I was taking some of the good children out of the school system and leaving her child in there with the unsavory.  Seriously, I should leave my kids in school in the hopes of outnumbering the bullies and such?  I, as tactfully as I could (not known for my tact), told her that it wasn’t my responsibility to make schools a better place for her child.  I have to raise my own children. 

There is a bigger picture.  We all have to make our own choices.  Those choices may leave us hacking our way through a jungle with a machete instead of strolling down a well traveled boulevard, but that doesn’t mean the path shouldn’t be traveled.  If no one ever detoured off the beaten path then there would never be change or innovation.  Do I have doubts?  Of course!  I just have to make sure to surround myself with supportive people.  Supportive people don’t have to agree with me, only support that I’ve made my choice and that I didn’t make it lightly.

Posted in homemaking, recipes, Uncategorized

Banafee Cake

Ok so the English pastry is Banofee Pie.  I choose to call it “Bana”fee because that’s how I say it, being from Texas.  Since I made this one up, I can call it whatever I want, right?  LOL

  Ok so you can start this with a typical yellow cake mix.  If you’d like to go from scratch like I did then here you go:

Preheat oven to 350

Step 1) 4 very ripe bananas…mushy even…into the mixer.  Then 1/2 cup butter crisco, 1 1/2 cup sugar and mix well.  Then add 3 eggs and slowly add 1 cup milk (to prevent sloshing). 

Step 2) once that’s creamy as very close to smooth add 1 tsp salt, 3 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp vanilla, and then 2 cups of all purpose flour. 

Step 3) sprayed 9 X13 with baker’s joy, and then pour in the cake batter.  As usual, I didn’t time the baking process.  Personally I think my time would be useless to anyone else because everyone’s oven is just a smidge different.  I baked approximately 40 minutes, until a knife came out clean. 

Step 4) I used a 1/2 inch metal tube to punch holes in the cake…about 12 holes.  So if you’re looking around going “hmmmm metal tube???”, mine was the center post from my Wilton dream mold (the doll cake one).  Go ahead and eat the little bits that come out.  Call it “quality control”.  Set the cake aside to cool.

Step 5) Unwrap 1 whole bag of caramels into a sauce pan with 2/3 cup milk.  Whisk while melting into a bubbly sauce.  OR buy some caramel sauce of your choice…ice cream topping, dulce leche, whatever.  Pour over cake and into holes.  Allow cake to cool completely (about 2 hours)

Step 6) Whipped topping…whip some whipping cream, use cool whip…DO NOT use whip topping from a spray can because it will separate.  Frost cake with this once cake is cooled.  Then top cake with fresh sliced bananas.

Ta-DA!!!!  Banana goodness!

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Motivation and bananas

Sometimes the smell of baking will get me going.  That’s a slightly twisted view, I guess, since one must be motivated to bake.  It’s always some little thing that sets me off.  Today it was brown bananas on the counter.  Actually most days it’s going to be along those lines….me seeing something that needs to be used before it goes to waste.  So I’ve baked a Banafee Cake.  The pictures and recipe to come later (since it’s still cooling and not completely finished yet). 

I completely despise clutter.  It completely overwhelms me.  I walk into a cluttered room and want to leave.  I don’t usually have the urge to clean it…only run from it.  I could go into all the other quirks of my OCD…rugs on top of carpet (bugs me)…furniture creating barriers (drives me nuts…I hate having to walk AROUND furniture)  My favorite time in a new house is when you’re partially moved in and have everything you absolutely NEED but not everything you own, yet.  Then that’s when everything you actually  own arrives and I just want to quit.  LOL  My husband loves to keep things just in case we need it later.  I want to donate it.  We do butt heads on this one.  One of the things I often do while he’s gone is get rid of things.  He knows I do it, but never can figure out what I’ve gotten rid of.  LOL

I still have a hard time getting motivated, though.  Yes, OCD  and lazy can coexist.  I walk into a room and don’t even know where to begin.  Soooooooo  I’m joining in the 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge.  *evil laughter ensues* That means I’ll get most of it done before Robert returns.  Yes, he’ll know it’s gone but he won’t know exactly what.  LOL  Truthfully I think he appreciates being able to actually find what he’s looking for, and I KNOW he appreciates me being more calm and centered. 

And so I’m joining


The rooms most in need are our bedroom, our office, and the garage.  Why is our room always last?  By the time I make it to that room, I just fall into bed and quit.  I actually still have cardboard boxes in there.  So it’s a toss-up which room to go to first.  We shall see how it works out.  Maybe a little here and a little there.  😀

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For the love of want…

There was a time in my life when we didn’t have much.  Go back to my later childhood and there are memories of divorce…rooms without furniture…thin Christmases…birthdays with no celebrating…no cakes…no presents…a house missing window panes that we couldn’t afford to replace…rotting walls…septic that didn’t work…no air conditioning (in Texas)…lots of times we couldn’t afford propane…a pantry that often got empty…years that school clothes that came ONLY from yardsales….Ok I could go on and on.  There’s so much more to tell, worse to tell.  Those stories have only been heard by my husband and aren’t the point. 

Then there are the years after I first married.  Much better than my childhood but still I was embarrassed by my home.  Mismatched furniture…milk crates…crappy cookware….the usual most people go through when they first start out.  And so I wanted.  I’ve always wanted.  One of my favorite things to do was look through the Sears catalog growing up.  That never changed.  Well the catalog did, but my love of catalogs didn’t. 

I still get tons of catalogs.  I enjoy them more than magazines.  I still want. 

Today I look around my home and I don’t see anything lacking though.  No I don’t have granite countertops and wood floors.  Not everything in my home is top scale.  BUT it’s comfortable.  It’s cozy.  We have enough space for everyone in our family.  Everyone has a bed.  No one is sleeping on a secondhand mattress even.  Our furniture mostly goes together.  Everything here is uniquely “us”. 

If I was to try and make a list of things we needed, I couldn’t do it.  We don’t really NEED anything.  Of course I want….I want a better blender, but the one I have works fine….I want a better food processor, but I don’t NEED one…I want new pots and pans so I can discard all my “non-stick” kind, but there’s no rush…I want new clothes, but I still manage to cover my body daily without too much effort…I want tons of cute clothes for my daughters, but they’re happy and excited to dress themselves in what they own…I want cool clothes for my son, but he couldn’t possibly care less how fashionable he is or is not…I want to give my husband his wants, but he has none except to be here with us.  He can’t even make a birthday list…my son either. 

My daughters, however, want everything!  LOL  They see an infomercial and they don’t even have to know what it is (ie, Furniture Fix, Shamwow, eye drops, wart remover, style snaps….everything) and they want it.  It’s funny now, but I worry that they’re going to grow up with my sense of want.  I’ve got to find some way to change that. 

So one of my new focuses is going to be “want” VS “need”.  We’re not hoarders.  We (my daughters and I) love to give just as much as get.  I’m going to try to retrain myself.  Maybe in the process, I can break the cycle.  My children have never known “need”.  They don’t need to grow up carrying any more of my baggage than I can help.  We all pass on a little, but isn’t it our job to try and reduce it as much as possible?

Posted in homemaking, recipes, Uncategorized

Loaded Zucchini Bread (nut free)

Originally uploaded by nehifamily

So I took Paula Deen’s recipe and made a few small changes. My children are allergic to nuts and so changes must always be made.

Step 1 Preheat oven to 350 and I grated 2 small zucchini and 2 small yellow squash. I scooped the seeds out of the yellow squash because it does tend to have large seeds. This gave me 3-4 cups of squash.

Step 2 I sprayed my loaf pans with Bakers Joy and then coated them with a cinnamon sugar mixture. I didn’t have to, but it gives it a nice sweet crust.

Step 3 in my mixer went 4 eggs, 1 cup olive oil, 2 tsp lemon juice, and 3 cups of sugar. I mixed it on the “stir” setting, then added the squash. Then 1 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, 1 tsp ground ginger (I used a roasted ginger), 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp baking soda and mix well on the “stir” setting. Last, I added the 3 1/4 cups flour, 1 cup whole roasted soy nuts, 1/2 cup roasted sesame seeds and mix well.

I didn’t time the baking process. I just watched and checked it until a knife came out clean. Approximately 1 hour.