Sunday, November 28, 2010

How was your Thanks Giving?

We had a wonderful Thanks Giving. But it was more than just the national holiday in our house, it was also Jack's birthday!

We had LOTS of food, and invited over a couple that Jeff's family knew when they were stationed here in the 70's. That couple retired from the Army and stayed here.

On the table, was.....

Herbed Stuffing
Corn Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Sweet Potato Casserole
Smashed Potatoes
Giblet Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Pumpernickel Bread
Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Pie
and Ice Cream Dessert

My camera was sitting out on the tripod, so Jack took lots of pictures.

Carving the Turkey.

Another Jack up and putting away food. Don't you love these kind of pictures?

How was your Thanks Giving? Did you have company? Did you try any new recipes or stick with the favorites?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

School's Closed on Account of.... Rain?

Well, here in Alaska, we are seeing something unusual. Rain in late November. Many people would think that was perfectly fine. But we saw our first snow in late September, and haven't seen grass, nor above freezing temperatures in weeks.

And yesterday morning it began to sprinkle.

Drizzly little bits of water falling on below-freezing ground equals VERY dangerous roads. Especially when many of the roads are never plowed, and you had about a foot of snow land on it a few days prior. What was a 3 inch layer of packed snow on a road swiftly becomes a 2 inch layer of ICE.

There is an article today, that it is the first time in over 30 years that the Fairbanks area has called a full day of no school due to weather. And not because of a blizzard like you might expect in Alaska....but rain. You can see that --> HERE.

So I braved the roads today, because the roads are mostly just really slushy, and I HAD to go to the store and get some groceries to begin my Thanksgiving preps.

When I came home, I decided to take advantage of the warm weather...a balmy 35 degrees, and move some of those huge piles of snow, so that the next snow we got, we could have a place to pile it.

Along the driveway, I packed the snow down in the middle, creating a trough to hold the next snow.

I did the same by the garage.

But take a look at this driveway.

That pretty, shiny blackness is not water, because our driveway slopes.

That is a 1/2 thick (or more) sheet of pure ice.

When I came out of my garage with the shovel, I took ONE STEP and swiftly landed smack on my hip and elbow. It has been years since I fell on ice. Needless to say, it took me about 1.5 milliseconds to go in the house and put these on.

I grew up in Wisconsin, and never wore these until now. I felt like a mountain climber in my driveway, hehe! (Although mine are a brand called "Kahtoola - Microspikes." and not "YakTrax")

But take a look at our road.

Tonight it is only getting down to 31 degrees, but tomorrow night the low will be 22, and a high Thursday of 10 degrees with a low that night of 2 degrees. On top of that, the rain is to continue, and turn into snow, continuing through the weekend. That standing water is going to be NASTY.

On the upside, I now have a naked snow man in my front yard, because for the first time, we can really pack the snow!

The Carnival of Homeschooling: Our Great Nation

Welcome to Week 256 of the "Carnival of Homeschooling!" This issue, I thought it would be fitting to have a theme of "Our Great Nation."

This is a week of remembering the many blessings we have, and giving Thanks to our Creator for every one of them, great and small.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, here are a few blogs about that very topic.

Barbara Frank has a survival plan for a Simple Homeschool Thanksgiving.

Jen is thankful for her Two Korean Girls - which demonstrates the blessing of our nation being a "melting pot."

At "Sage Parnassus," you can see one of their favorite books for reading aloud at Thanksgiving time. The Pumpkin Pie Procession

This year, we had the opportunity to drive nearly 5,000 miles from one end of the country to the other. We said "goodbye" to the sandhills of North Carolina....
The sun setting on Smith Lake, Fort Bragg, NC - our last evening in North Carolina.

...and the next morning began our long drive west and north. We visited family in several states along the way, and then saw many states we had never laid eyes on before. In addition to new places, we saw many amazing, interesting and unique things. Many of these highlighted the creativity and imagination of Our Great Nation.

Some of the "things" we saw on our trip were man-made.

The Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois.

Hundreds of wind turbines throughout the midwest and beyond.

A museum dedicated to the "Mystery Meat" of SPAM in Minnesota.

A Museum dedicated to Corn in South Dakota.

A larger-than life sculpture of four presidents.

Great sources of energy.

These blog posts also demonstrate the creativity, imagination, uniqueness and perseverance of homeschoolers.

How about creating a Cranberry Playdough to inspire imagination? That's what what Maureen did at "Homeschool Mo."

Or how about creative ways to teach math with "And the Baby Is . . ." at "Let's Play Math."

At "Home Spun Juggling," we see how music can be used as a great teaching tool for many subjects with a Musical Learning Playlist.

Miss Nirvana creatively teaches a cooking lesson by creating art with spices The Spice of Life.

Sharon shows us how teaching sometimes means stepping back and letting them explore on their own with Simple homeschool science.

Susan Ryan shares how Homeschoolers go out on the town into museums to learn and socialize at: Out on the Town.

At "Our Domestic Church," we see the fruits of pushing through when our lives bring us challenges in Our CLEP adventure hits another snag

At "Why Homeschool," Janine shares her joy of her daughter passing their state's High School Proficiency Examination in Passed the CHSPE

And Jamie also shares that being dedicated doesn't mean every day is fun, but that you push through the tough times anyways with My Dirty Little Secret

At the "Five J's" we see the value of music in homeschools with Should Parents force their Children to tkae Piano Lesson?

Sometimes our creativity means going back to the basics. Remember chalkboards? Mrs. White at the "Legacy of Home" shares how this classic teaching tool can still be used today with Chalkboard math for Teenagers

(We utilize whiteboards in our home in a similar manner)

But we would have to say that our favorite sights were not made by the hands of man. The Father and Creator of all, will forever be the greatest sculptor and painter with a scale and creativity that could never be matched.

Three weeks later, our trip ended in the 49th State of Alaska...

...where God's paintbrush at times, seems to have worked overtime.

The greatness of our nation does not stop with its natural beauty nor the creativity and inventiveness that it inspires. One of the greatest attributes our our nation is our freedoms. Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Thought, Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Religion and so much more. Just like the physical blessings we have in this nation, these blessings of freedoms should be exercised, protected, and never, ever taken for granted.

These posts demonstrate our right to exercise our freedoms, and remembering our priorities and values.

Janice Campbell discusses the impact we have on our children's lives, and not just with homeschooling, but everything else as well with Making Time for Things that Matter: Where’s the Impact?.

Lisa at "Spring Meadows Academy" discusses the importance of knowing what your goals and achievements are with homeschooling in Overachievers?

Rose at "Learning at Home" compares a traditional classroom to the heirarchy of the barnyard with Socialization on the Farm

At "No Beaten Path," we see our freedom to make the choices to educate our children in the way the suits our family best with Home Education - What do you do all day?

And our "educational" choices don't end with the school books, as "Six at Home" shares with Kill your T.V.! And your Video Game System Too!! (Or Take Back Your Child)

Denise writes an open letter to her homeschool co-op blogging students about copyright and plagiarism at Warning: Don't Copy! posted at Blogging 2 Learn.

And last but not least, Linda at "Parent at the Helm," shows us the importance of being educated about the educational system. It only helps us make better choices about the education of our children at The Public Schooling Revolt Continues

Thank you to all of you creative homeschooling bloggers for your submissions! I pray you have a very blessed and wonderful Thanksgiving!

Carnival of Homeschooling

All submissions for the Carnival of Homeschooling were reviewed with the Carnival expectations in mind. Any submissions that did not relate to HOMESCHOOLING, were not included.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sunrise, Shovel and Sunset

I am continually amazed at the colorful sunrises and sunsets here in Alaska.

This morning, just as it was getting light, I headed out to shovel the 4 inches or so of snow that we got over night. Here is what it looked like, around 9:30 am.

A little bit later, Jack came out and assisted with the shoveling.

Then this afternoon, at around 3:45 or so...this is what the sky looked like again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Carnival of Homeschooling

The next Carnival of Homeschooling is up. This week it is being hosted by The Nerd Family. You can see it ---> *HERE*

Carnival of Homeschooling

Just a note! I will be hosting next week's Carnival. My theme will be Our Great Nation. I think that is fitting for the week of Thanksgiving, don't you?

This will be the second time I have hosted the great carnival. The first time I hosted it, was back in May, and it fell on my wedding anniversary. You can see that post --> HERE.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's the Little Things

Sometimes we get so busy in our lives that we forget to take the time to be thankful for every little blessing.

This morning, after shoveling the snow, I checked my mail because I realized it was never checked on Saturday.

Inside was one little envelope.

It was a letter from Kenya. From my "adopted daughter" Jeniffer - who just turned 8 on November 2nd. (You can see her picture on my sidebar.)

In the letter, I heard updates about her schooling and her family. Then I read something that brought home the reality of how easily we forget the little things to be thankful for.

She thanked me for her shoes.

She said her shoes made her feel "smart" because she now has shoes that she can wear to school because of me.

How often to we take for granted things as simple as shoes? In this season of isn't just about turkey and stuffing, pies and potatoes.

It is about every little blessing. Even our shoes.

Snow, Snow and More Snow!

Well, over night we got somewhere around 4 or 5 inches of snow (depending on the part of the yard.) So I got up this morning and went out to shovel.

You'll notice that the piles along side the sidewalk and driveways are getting mighty high.

Pretty soon, I may need to get a wagon to haul the snow around the side of the house to dump it!

After shoveling the snow from the sidewalk & driveways, I headed around back and re-shoveled the "doggy-run."'s for the canine portions of the family to do their "business."

And I no sooner finished the shoveling, when this happened.

Yep, it started snowing again.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Alaskan Hunter-Men

Yesterday the "Menfolk" in the family went on a little hunting expedition. They were after small game, rabbits, fowl, etc.

They spent most of the morning hiking around the woods, being snowed on.

But they did come home with one Spruce Grouse. It has been cleaned, vacuum-sealed, and is in the freezer awaiting more to join it to make a meal.

This is what a Spruce Grouse looks like. (Photo courtesy

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A View of the Valley

On the way back from our outing near the pipeline, we stopped at the Scenic Overlook along the Steese Highway.

It was only 3:30 or so, but already the sun coming through the atmosphere, was beginning to take on the colors of sunset. Enjoy.

The large mountain in the below photo is Denali/Mount McKinley.