Friday, December 31, 2010

The Year in Review - Part 2


August was by far the biggest month of the year for our family.

On August 1st, we loaded up in the van and left North Carolina.

We drove through Virginia to Tennessee, and visited Jeff's parents.

And then headed through Kentucky and Ohio, stopping in Indiana to visit my sister and nephews.

We drove through Illinois, dealt with Chicago traffic, and stopped at the border of Wisconsin to visit my parents. While there, I was able to enjoy some very old family photos.

Attend my 20th High School Class Reunion, and see both of my Aunts & Uncles.

Then we drove on to roads that our family has never been on. The real adventure began. We saw the Mississippi River

A Spam Museum, Jolly Green Giant, strange sculptures along the Interstate, and even a Corn Museum.

We headed through South Dakota and saw Mount Rushmore and did a detour through the AMAZING Badlands.

We headed through Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Washington State.

And then we headed north to Canada!

Going through Canada, we saw amazing views...

...tons of wildlife...

and even more views... more wildlife, and a signpost forest.

We dealt with treacherous roads and lots of rain, before finally arriving in the state of the Last Frontier!

And the end of the Alaskan Highway!

It was a 5,000 mile trip of a lifetime!


In September, we did a little sight-seeing, hiking, fishing, and even panning for gold.

We saw the Aurora Borealis for the first time.

And saw ice on the river, on only the 6th Day of Autumn.


In October, we had another great view of the Northern Lights.

We had a moose run through our back yard.

And saw winter begin.


November brought with it beautiful winter scenery, and a couple field trips. One to a local museum.

And another for some fresh air and fun!

The menfolk did some hunting...

and Jen and I did some sight-seeing around Fairbanks...and North Pole.

This part of Alaska saw some severe weather the week of Thanks Giving, and had to close school for the first time in 37 years....because it RAINED.

And I hosted the 256th week of the Carnival of Homeschooling.


And finally, December.

My baby girl turned 18 years old.

We had a unit Christmas party, complete with dog sled rides.

The boys dug out a snow tunnel.

And we enjoyed a wonderful Christmas in Ice, in the North Pole of Alaska.

It has been an amazing year. We saw things we had never seen before, took the longest road trip imaginable, with 5 people, 2 dogs and a cat in a mini-van, saw breath-taking sights, and began an adventure in the beautiful land of Alaska.

What might 2011 have in store?

What was your favorite memory of 2010?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year in Review - Part 1

The year of 2010 was a very exciting year for our family. I'm going to go through and do a month-by-month replay......


We went on some local field trips to some beautiful places...

We visited a 1700's church out in the country.

Rhodes Pond

And an historical cemetery

We also received word that we would be PCSing for the first time in 12 years. Doing a military move to a dream location.....ALASKA!


In February, we enjoyed not one, but two North Carolina snow storms! We decided God was getting us ready for our new home.

And we took another spur-of-the-moment field trip, to shoo away the hum-drums.


In March, we finished up our school year, and I worked on a very special project.


On April first, I played a very mean and wonderful trick on my children for April Fool's Day.

Daddy came home from Afghanistan.

and I found my 1000th Geocache while on a trip to Tennessee.

Jennifer & Joshua went to the prom.


In May Jennifer's choir performed their Spring Concert.

The boys finished their last season of the Homeschool Football League with a brutal Father-Son Game.

And Jeff and I went to our first Military Ball
in 19 years of army life.


In June we went and picked up our camper. This was going to be our home as we traveled across the country later in the year.

And we enjoyed many things produced by our garden.


We took Daddy to Raven Rock park (which had been another spur-of-the-moment field trip back in March.)

I ripped apart my beautiful garden.

We watched everything we owned get packed up into crates and hauled away.

And finally, we began the painful process of saying goodbye to all of our loved ones in North Carolina.

Another chapter in our lives was about to begin...

The Year in Review....Part 2.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mid-School Year Break

As do most families, we take a break in the middle of the school year. Whether it is a Winter Break, Christmas Vacation, Holiday Break...whatever you call it - this break is very convenient. It gives me a chance to go through my Homeschool Planner, and look over where we are in our lessons. I can see how many lessons we have left in each subject, change my "projected" dates of completion for each subject, and spend time beginning preparations for the next school I mentioned in This Post.

Then I look at my list of items that I will need for curriculum the next school year, and begin finalizing plans for specific subjects.

I also go through all of the school work that the kiddos have done so far. I look at their notebooks - are they falling apart? Are they almost full? We often start the second half of the year with new notebooks for their work.

Sadly, in the house we are currently living, we don't have a room to use as a classroom. I am used to having a room set aside with a classroom table, and all the bookshelves right there with all the books, our school supplies, whiteboards, etc all right at our fingertips. Like this one...

Or this one...

But in this house, the school table is the kitchen table. The whiteboard hangs on the kitchen wall, bookcases are in the living room, and supplies are assigned to a "school closet." It is a shelved closet just off our kitchen, kind of like a second pantry.

I keep the school closet organized with these handy-dandy pencil boxes that you can get at the stores the beginning of the school year for about 50 cents.

Some of these pencil boxes, I have had for years - but they make things so convenient. I prefer ones that are sort of see-through, and I write what the contents are, on the end of the box. It only takes a second to find the pens & pencils, or the science slides.

So I go through the "school closet" and look at all of those supplies. Do we need more pencils? Erasers? Pens? Science supplies?

Needless to say, I take this mid year break to get our second wind, get re-organized, and begin the new calendar year, and second half of the school year refreshed and ready to go!

If you homeschool, do you have special things you do this time of year?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I've Been AWOL

I apologize for being a tad AWOL this week. I have not been feeling too well.

Let me put it this way. When you have a good dentist, it is a good thing! Finding a new dentist in our new location is proving to be very challenging, but it is something I am most assuredly going to have to do, and soon! I spent Monday evening in the hospital ER getting antibiotics and pain killers because what I had thought was just another TMJD episode turned out to be a...

...Abscess in my jaw.

Yes, envision excruciating pain here.

So the antibiotics did their job. Yesterday was the first day since last Thursday I was able to actually eat a normal meal.

Let me also say that I learned that Vicoden is EVIL and anyone who thinks it isn't, just ain't right! I have added it to the list of things I can never ever take, because the side effects are terrible, and it doesn't even help much with the pain. (Did you know people with red in their hair are resistant to things like anesthetic and pain killers?)

I spent a couple days going from bed to sofa to bed to sofa, and never even got out of my pajamas! That is so not me.

Today being the first day that I truly felt nearly normal again, I spent the morning doing some much-needed housework, then ran errands around a CRAZY-BUSY Fairbanks (December 23rd is not the day you want to run normal errands....because the last minute shoppers are in full force!!!)

When I got home, I began baking, and baking and baking.

I made delectable little Spritz cookies, Soft Sugar Cookies and my Chewy Molasses cookies. Tomorrow I am making some more Spritz, a batch of Pumpkin bars, and the chocolate pies for Christmas dinner.

And I am not setting foot out of my house.

I'll add the pictorial and recipes for the Spritz and Pumpkin bars in the next couple days. The Sugar cookies I will add the next time I make them.

And so, this closes out this little monologue of my miserable normal blog programming shall resume.

Are you ready for Christmas?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Wild Olive

I came across this website, and I just adore their shirts!

The website is called "Wild Olive" - as in the wild olives that have been grafted in.

They are having a give-away on their site, and of course I entered. But I thought others might enjoy their creativity as well.

Check them out, and enter the give-away as well!

Wild Olive

Social and Chilly

The other night, I had a social with some of the ladies in our unit. It was a little one this month, because so many people are traveling, but it was a very nice time!

The lady in red was kind enough to host this month's social at her house.

After the social, I had to snap a shot of the drive down her road. How pretty is this!?

Upon reaching the semi-main road, this is what I came upon. One of the ladies in our group ended up in the ditch, and she was going no where! A lady stopped, and called her husband (who was just down the road) and he came with a tow-strap and gave her a tug. Thank heavens!

Because believe me, when this is the temperature (and not even the low) you don't want to be stuck for long!