Friday, August 29, 2008

"More Catch Up"

It is the beginning of a four day weekend. I am ecstatic. I am tired. I do not feel very well physically. I do not have classes on Friday. Since I don't, I use it as a day for catching up on household duties such as grocery shopping, laundry, bills, and planning for the week ahead. I still got up at five a.m. My body is used to that now.

I got the kids off to school with the last one out of the door around 7:45. I made a phone call, and then I showered and headed out. As thankful as I am that I get to go to the grocery store and am able to get enough food to feed us, I HATE GROCERY SHOPPING!!! It is one of THE most taxing things that I do. I have always been very budget concious. Sometimes, having to be on a budget, I am always asking myself if I could have shopped better, or smarter. But with today's prices, I am just happy to come out with something in the cart. It is not time for my general stock-up yet, but with the kids back in school, and being back in school myself, I have to do "fill-ins". I look forward to the time when I can stock up enough to not have to go back to the store for a while. I am pretty close, but not totally there yet. I'll get there though.

On the bright side, I did get some re-useable grocery bags thanks to a fellow " Greeny".(Someone has GOT to show me how to link in here).

 I often have an overflow of plastic bags and end up throwing them away. But research has shown( I would have put it here if I knew how to link) that these bags end up in landfills and can become mobile, and  cause major chaos to wildlife and sea creatures. The results are heartbreaking. So while it might not seem like a lot, I hope to get more re-useable bags if it means getting one step closer to helping with this problem.

In Other News.....

Last night my little one was recognized for being a "Good Egg" at school. It was nice to see the children recognized and cute to hear some of the little introductions. Isn't he tall?



My little man is also struggling with math. Hmmm, wonder where he gets THAT from? I sat with him while he did his homework this week. It wasn't pretty. He is REALLY having a hard time. Each homework session ended with him in tears from the frustration of not getting it. Oh do I know how he feels!!! But, the school has recognized his problem and is giving him help, and I will continue to help him in the evenings.It is amazing how he gets high grades in everthing else, but the math; crash and burn.  I am going to look for some software that he can do on the computer, and I bought him a small dry erase board. I know that for me, sometimes working out problems on the board or seeing them, in the manner that they were introduced in class helps. This way he can erase over and over if he needs to, before putting the answers on paper. I am also going to improve our study area while we have this long weekend. I have a larger dry-erase board, a cork board, and some other supplies to use in that area. I have some reorganization ideas that I want to implement in that area.

On top of that, his first Science Project came home today. He has to do something on the Habitats of Georgia. I'll have to get him to the library and get supplies,not to mention find the time to fit it in, with working with him on the math and other homework. I am tired already. I know, I know; Just Do It!!

 My math is heating up and I am already having trouble as well. College Algebra is much more intense than the math that I just finished. But I study it, and work on problems every night. I have a tutor, and two math-labs that hopefully will get me through it. Fingers crossed.

So far, my history class is pretty easy. The lectures are getting better and a bit more interesting. Good thing that I enjoy history.

And speaking of seems that some of my tomato plants and peppers are heading in that direction. I have found what looks like scalding or something. After the heavy rains from Fay, several of the peppers had this. On the tomatoes is something similar but not quite as bad. Plus, something has begun to eat what is left of the summer produce. New peppers and tomatoes are still growing but with the weather having been so cool for a few days, I don't know how much more they will grow. We'll see. The fall crops are starting to sprout and hopefully will be ready for planting soon.

It felt good to get outside today. I hung out several loads of laundry and walked around the garden. Unfortunately, my lower back, left leg, ankle, and foot have been giving me LOTS of trouble lately. Sometimes the pain radiates into the buttock and hip area. I went to the doctor and was told that it was "probably" Sciatica, but I am going to make another appointment with the foot and ankle doctor to get another x-ray done. I really want to spend at least one day in the garden since we have a long weekend, but don't want to push it. I'll play it by ear.

Other than being extremely tired, I am in a good place mentally. I am doing whatever is necessary to stay focused and just keep going and pushing past whatever I am feeling. I have a good study schedule in place, but with little man's issues, I am going to have to adjust it. But we'll do it. My mantra is: I am a strong, capable woman. I am determined, I am focused. I can handle it.

 I have been trying to get everything done on Friday and Saturday, so that I can have at least one day off on the weekend. This worked well for me last week. So tomorrow, Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I plan to put in a full day of chores and plotting out the wee one's Science project. I have several pounds of meat to cook for the week, and Sunday's dinner to prepare. The boys will help with the cleaning and this weekend the grass MUST get cut. So I have a full weekend planned and look forward to the extra day off on Monday. I am "dreaming" of getting in some extra sleep or maybe even a movie. It is amazing the joy that I get these days from just the little things.

I hope to have more pictures the next time I write, but until then, everyone enjoy the long weekend. If you will be spending the Holiday with family and or friends, embrace it, and them. If not, still make it count.Till next time.....




Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Catching Up Again"

Wow, I had no idea that it has been the 13th since I left an entry here. I was under the impression that I had written one last week. Not!!

So I am making the time to do a brief catch-up, and to say some thank-yous.

When I logged onto my computer on Friday evening, imagine my surprise when I saw more comments. I didn't know what was up because I usually have three regular readers and they had already commented on my entry. After reading further, I realized that "Deb"( sorry I don't know how to link properly) was "Guest Editor" on Friday, and she was gracious enough to choose me as one of her picks. It was a very nice surprise. Thank you Deb!!! I would also like to thank each person that stopped by to check things out and leave very nice comments. It was most appreciated and I would welcome a visit anytime.

On the catching up trail, of course I am back in school and have set my focus on my classes. I had three but dropped down to two so that I had room for intense tutoring. I have always struggled with math and am in College Algebra right now. I wanted to hit it running and have been coming home from classes and immediately getting started on my homework instead of procrastinating. This attitude is serving me well thus far. This enables me to get my work done, and to be prepared, and it clears up enough time for me to supervise the homework of my children. There a backpacks to check, agendas to sign, and still paperwork coming home. This Thursday, my youngest is being recognized at this year's first PTO meeting. He is a "Pride of the Patriots". Here is the schools definition of the program:

Pride of the Patriots is a character education recognition program. Students are recognized for their integrity and positive character, which are exhibited on a daily basis in the classroom. Positive character traits include, but are not limited to, responsibility, respect, trustworthiness,willingness to help others, loyalty, honesty, and courage. Each month, homeroom teachers select one student based on the following criteria; Citizenship;Positive daily interaction with teachers and peers;Respect for others and self and Respect for school policies and procedures."

So my young man was chosen as the August Patriot of his classroom. He will receive a T-shirt, and will be called up to the stage and introduced. Way to go "Young Un".

The teenager is taking French and seems to be enjoying it thus far. I worried about this particular class at first but so far he is taking to it. C'est Bon. Which I hope means "good" in French.

Besides Algebra, I am also taking World History to 1660. I have always enjoyed history as a subject. There are 210 people in this lecture class. I was a bit overwhelmed at first not being a big fan of crowds, but found myself a nice little seat out of the way. A plus of the class is that the teacher is funny and the information is interesting. Of course it is more interesting, and she is much funnier if I am not tired or sleepy.

On the garden front, some of the seedlings are already pushing through. I have been harvesting the peppers and using them in recipes. There are still green tomatoes on the vine, and a few hot peppers still budding. The watermelons are still babies and I really don't expect full size melons. I think they have become a novelty item in the garden. I just love looking at them. Next year, Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I will plant earlier in the season. This garden has definitely been  a lesson and has taught me many things. It has been a Godsend, therapeutic, and an absolute joy.







Today it is rainy and I think we are getting the tail end results of "Fay" over in Florida. But I don't mind. As stated here before, I simply "adore" rain. I was tempted to go and spend some time with my youngest in the tent. But, the rain cover had blown off and it was just too wet and messy. The wind is a bit high on and off, but I don't care. As long as my house stays put and a tree doesn't fall over, I am going to happily enjoy this wet, quiet, afternoon. Today is a sneak-peek into the coming of Autumn. I am so looking forward to Autumn which is my second favorite season only after Spring.

I worked all day yesterday to ensure that I could have today off. I read a bit earlier this morning, had two phone calls come in, and my little one wants to hang out for a bit. I cooked today's dinner yesterday and until around six, I don't intend on doing a single thing. Around six, I will start the week's preparations. I will iron my outfits for the week, set out what I will wear tomorrow, have the boys do the same, and then I am planning on taking a long, hot, bath and turning in early.

So that is pretty much it for this "Homestead". I hope that everyone has a great upcoming week and I will see you..Next Time.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Catching Up"

It has been a few days since I have posted. With school back in session for the children sometimes, there is just not enough time to sit down and write something that feels worth sharing

I have also been spending the past couple of days de-cluttering and getting things back in shape for my own return to school on Monday. I have a LOT of things to tend to once I get back on campus.


Mercifully, the past couple of days have also been much, much cooler. We had some much needed and welcome rain last evening on through to the earlier part of this morning. I sat in the rain when it first began yesterday for a bit.


I cannot think of anything quite as peaceful as sitting outside listening to and watching the rain cascade from the heavens. Those are some of my favorite kind of moments. This was my perch for that special moment.




NO!!, I did NOT get so excited by the rain  that I wet myself!!! I SWEAR that is rain in the seat of the chair!!! I SWEAR!!!


I did some cooking as well and spent a lot of time just deep in thought.


 Skillet Cornbread


 The makings of Spicy Chicken used for tacos.


The rest of the week will be quite busy. I was told to expect what I call a “pass-through” visit( A visit when someone is heading somewhere else, but needs a place to sleep. Sadly, this is true) from the boys other grandmother anywhere from tomorrow to Monday. I just love it when I know the exact date or time, someone will be coming to the house, and how long they intend to stay. There is nothing that I like better than to have to entertain a houseguest when I do not even know when they are coming, Plus, I had planned to get everything out of the way by Friday, so that I could have a nice relaxing weekend before I am thrown into the school mix. Nevertheless, life is full of the unexpected and one simply has to learn to “roll” with it. Iam in “roll” mode. I will simply work around it.


Things in the garden are still looking good.







 Look at "Big Mama" Woot!!!






 This one is really doing quite well.




 These potato plants continue to push through no matter how many time I cover them with soil. No more room so I guess I will have to hope that a good crop will come from them.



 More Peppers.


 Look at this "little darlin".


 Watermelon plants originally planted in-ground that were re-transplanted.

Memba Them?




 They have come a long way!!!


I plan to begin seedlings for the fall crop on Friday.




I already have the seeds and will fill in the raised bed and use some containers.


 I look forward to when the temperatures are steadily cool. Especially is this favorable when trudging around the college campus and you do not have an 18-year-old body.


 I almost forgot. I finally was able to get a shot of my “Guardian Bee-Angel”. I have been trying to sneak up on him/her/it, but they were too nimble and I was not nimble enough. So I finally caught this wonderful little insect drunk out of it’s gourd on watermelon nectar. I  hear ya’ bee.




Can you see my new best friend? He/She/ It/ is sacred to me.



So nothing, much else is going on around the old Homestead except anticipation of the fall garden, and constant dreams of one day having lumber, chickens, goats, and maybe even a cow. There are also hopes that this coming school semester will have a little mercy on me, the boys will do their homework without starting a civil war, and that I find a way to just get it all done. Fingers crossed.


Till next time…





Saturday, August 9, 2008


I enjoyed most of the afternoon in the garden. Mercifully, it was a much cooler day than the previous temps that we had been experiencing.

I have been in a pensive mood today. When I wasn’t in the garden I was inside writing and doing a bit of reading. I have basically been craving quiet and solitude today.


I think of all the things that I had on my “to-do” list for today. There were errands, and a major cleaning, and papers and agendas to sign for the boys. I had supplies to prepare to send to school and menus to plan. I even had meat in the fridge to grill.  I had a bookshelf to re-stock and carpets to shampoo. But I knew that I did not have the energy to do much of anything. I didn’t sleep well last evening and was basically running on fumes. I had just decided to steel myself today and do what I had to do. However, that changed.


 So instead, I gave myself a mental health day and did some of the things that I “wanted” to do. Now granted,  I know that a person can’t always do just what they want to do, but sometimes we have to make room for that in our lives. I made room for it today.


I spent some time outside with my nine year old explaining to him why I love gardening/farming. He told me what I said was interesting and that maybe he would think about being a farmer too. I thought that was sweet.





I “babied” Pumpkin for a while and we played tug-o-war with one of her toys.


Several times, I just went out and overlooked the garden. There was no particular reason. I just wanted to be outside and enjoyed taking in the wonder of nature.


Things in the garden are really coming together. Every day that I go out there, something has changed in one way or another. I have a special “Bee” that has been coming around to pollinate the flowers in the garden. I can never get close enough to get a shot of it though. I call it “The Bee Fairy”. It usually comes around when I can’t see it, leaving behind the makings of some wonderful, fruitful plants.


The Hibiscus looks beautiful today.





I love color and they are in full bloom.





Some of the Marigolds that I planted from seed are sprouting, as well as some of the Zinnias. I can’t wait until they make their full appearance.




The tomatoes are looking great.







 These are the "Triplets"


And this little beauty came off the vine today. Isn't she lovely?



Several new flowers are opening up on the pepper plants and the beans are still doing well in both spots.




Something is still eating the collards. I have some in different spots but all leaves seem to be compromised.


I just love the smells that come from the garden. Here is another little baby melon that I noticed today.


 See her big sister behind her? She's got her back. ::whispering:: "Don't tell the other "Kidetables" that their melon siblings are my favorites."


I wonder if the cantaloupe plant is just going to flower and not produce this year. I might have planted way too late in the season. Either way, it has come a long way



 and the yellow flowers still add some nice color to the garden.




I also picked up a jar of this today.


 I am sure that it is not as good as homemade, but I wanted to try it after hearing so many good things about it.

 I have never had Pesto before. I am not one that has ever really used many herbs while cooking. But, I do like to try new things. As for the results, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. It is definitely something that I will make again. It is interesting and something that I think with time I will acquire a taste for  So Pesto is a new addition to my kitchen. Thanks for the suggestion FM.


 Since I took today off, tomorrow, rather thangrill, I am going to slow cook the meat in the oven. I am going to concentrate on the living room and bookshelf as my main areas of attention. I am delegating some of the smaller tasks to the children, and I am setting aside thirty minutes to one hour, to take care of the school needs. I will plan to knock out one thing on each day of next week so that the weekend can be spent preparing for my return to classes.


Tonight, I am going to take a nice hot bath, and try to get to bed a bit early. I need some sleep and the boys will be up with their father. I can feel the bubbles cascading around me now.


Happy Saturday evening to all. Make it count.

Till next time…….

"In Memoriam/Life's Little Reminders"




Today, the comedian Bernie Mac died. He was only 50 years old. Honestly, I was not that much of a fan of his off color humor, but I did enjoy watching his family oriented show that was on Fox. It was a show that I could watch with my children and that my boys enjoyed. While I am not one to be crazed over “celebrity”, the affinity that I had for Mr. Mac comes more from his life story than his celebrity status


Mr. Mac and I are roughly 3 years and 9 months apart in age. We both grew up on the South Side of Chicago, and were reared in environments that contained little joy. Both Mr. Mac and I took in the children of relatives that made bad choices. For him it was a sister-in-law,  for me a sister. He took care of a niece and her daughter, and I, two nephews.  One of my nephews now lives with his father. The other, I  adopted and have raised since he was one. He is now a teenager. Even with resources, Bernie Mac could relate to how difficult such an undertaking is at times. I enjoyed the way he tried to inject humor into the situation, and his tough-love approach.


 Bernie Mac also spoke of how being in a joyless environment compelled him to try to make other people laugh. I understand this as well. I have often depended on my wit to make up for what I feel are my insecurities, and to bring a smile to someone else's face.


 Although the dynamics of our relationships with our mothers were different, we both lost our mom’s at early ages. He lost his mother at sixteen when she died of cancer; I lost my mother to depression,though she didn't pass until last November. However, I believe that we both came out stronger individuals through our respective experiences.


 I am saddened for his family and by the fact that he died at such a young age. Whenever someone dies, and especially far too young, my first thought is always; Did they find any happiness in their life? Especially when I know that a person struggled in life, grew up without the love of family, or faced any kind of hardship. Did they find any happiness in their life? I just think that is so very, very, important to do. It is my fond hope that Bernie Mac did.


Each day we are constantly reminded of just how short life is. There are so many things that we have to do, take care of, resolve, correct, and tend to. But we still have to remember that none of those things will matter if we are no longer around.


I did not feel well when I retired last night and  today I amstill not feeling the best. I hit the door running this morning with errands and MUST do’s and I had a list of things that I felt had to be taken care of today. In the middle of it all, I turned on my computer and learned of Mr. Mac’s death. I went into my garden instead. Those things will keep. I needed the reminder.


Rest In Peace Mr. Mac.

Friday, August 8, 2008


 Thank God, It’s Friday!!!  We have the second day of school under our belts before getting  back fully into the swing of things next week

 After getting the boys off this morning, I started with garden duties. The garden is looking good and there is a continuation of color. I cannot wait until the red peppers turn red and a few more tomatoes ripen.  I know that a mother is not supposed to show favoritism, but I am in love with my baby melons. They have melted this mama’s heart. I find myself pampering them every morning. I am just in awe of them. I guess when you witness the beginnings of something you have only ever seen in a grocery store it is just fascinating.


After garden duties, I cleaned up after my cow Pumpkin. I filled her trough with food and sat out her water. I showered and dressed, grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed out for errands.


I  almost broke my neck on the stairs on my way out. A piece of the carpet that is on the steps came loose and my shoe got stuck under it. I took it off(the carpet, not the shoe)  and added the steps to the long list of other things that need attention.





I had several stops to make and two stock-ups to complete. I started with meats and lunch supplies. I did pretty well and stuck to my budget. Upon getting home, I realized that a bag of my lunch supplies remained at the store. The cashier and bagger were talking so much that they forgot to put my purchase in my cart. I called the store and had them tag the bag and I will pick it up tomorrow. I would have gone back for it, but after arriving home realized that something didn't smell right about my car. Thank God, I had the wherewithal to notice. My car is out of oil. I don't want to think about what would have happend to my engine had I not checked it. The frustrating thing is that  I just recently had an oil change. Obviously, the individual who did my oil change did not put enough oil back in. There are no leaks and the oil light didn't come on.  For the sake of public decency, we shall call it an oversight. I also did some comparison shopping on car batteries. I have narrowed it down to two places for the purchase. After using the coke to clean off the corrosion, I think that I will be able to hold off on the battery for the time being. I don't plan to put it off to long though.


I think I did pretty well on rounding up the school supplies. Here is what I came back with:




In the photo is:

4- Spiral 1-subject notebooks

18- Packs of 150 sheet paper at 3/1.00

2- 1” Poly-Binders

30- 2 Pocket, prong folders

1-Pink Girly folder for me with a suede cover.




6-Composition notebooks

1- Bottle hand sanitizer

2- Packs mechanical pencils

2- Packs dry erase markers

1- Water color paint

1-Box of 12 coloring pencils

20- Bic Cristal pens

6- Large pink erasers

1- Zippered pencil case

1- Box 64 crayons

48 pencils

2-Packets notebook dividers

2- 3 pack boxes of Puffs tissues

And, a double box of Excedrin.  Yes, I needed this item and will continue to need it in the future.

After coupons and Buy one get one free, it all came to


 ::Drum-Roll Please:: 



 $ 32.76 Not too bad.


Later in the day, I spent some time doing a walk-through of the house and figuring out what needs to be done. I made a list of things that are a priority like my car, laundry, shampooing the rugs a good general cleaning, and a hair appointment. Next, were things like fixing the carpet on the steps, the mailbox, finding a way to clean up the weeds growing out front and working out a good yet flexible schedule to accommodate some changes that will go into effect when I begin school. Plus, there is the garden to look after.


 I thought I started classes on the 15th, but instead it will be the 18th.  I need to head to the campus on the 15th to drop my British Literature class which I really dread doing. But with the intensity of the College Algebra plus World History up to the year 1600 I am afraid to overload. There will be lots of reading in conjunction with the History, as well as papers and possible projects. I will also need to tutor for several hours a week and will have to spend as much time as possible in the math lab. Not to mention all the homework.  I will be so glad to get math behind me finally so that I can carry at least five classes and catch up on my hours again. It will be a crazy time but I would like to finish school before my children are my classmates.


I  was able to get a head start on laundry today and had more school forms to fill out. Thanks to my goat  Pumpkin, I also had to get a headstart on the vacuuming. There was paper torn up from the living room, to the hallway, and  through the kitchen. Thanks Pumpkin! Love you....


 I took everything out of the freezer and re-stocked it with the newer things on bottom. I still have to divvy up the supplies and plan menus for the next couple of days. I want to grill some meat so it can stretch a few days. I already have to be out of here first thing in the morning to tend to my car, and to finish picking up the staples for stock-up. I have backpacks to check, agendas to sign, and a bookcase to restock.


On top of all that, I had the mother of all headaches today. Excedrin FINALLY dulled it, but after the Excedrin, I got a stomachache. Oy!




 Still,lots to do, but it must get done. And it will.

Hope everyone has a great weekend. Make every second count. And don't take too many Excedrin.


Till next time….