Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mt. Spokane 2014

We finally made it to the top of Mt. Spokane!  This is an annual outing I thought we might miss, but we've had unseasonably warm weather and finally got a quiet weekend.  Greg spent the Saturday before last catching up on lawn work, but the following day we drove up and spent several hours there with good friends.  We could not have asked for more ideal conditions.  Almost no bugs (unlike this trip two years ago) and no wind.  It's wasn't too warm or too hot, not many people.  Best of all, the colors were turning!  I don't think we've ever been up there late enough to see fall on the mountain.  I savored every single second from the drive up and being there to the drive back down.  I've decided this is when I want to go every year.

 Passing the fields of Green Bluff in route to Mt. Spokane.
 Look at those colors!
 Seeing our own city through the viewfinder.
 Kylen and his friend enjoying the novelty of being on top of the world.
 Oh!  Are you taking my picture?!
 This is a spot Kylen loves.  See a pic of him in the exact same place last year. He looks older!
 The boys heading off for adventure in the wilderness of rocks.
 I asked Greg to stop on the way down so I could grab a quick shot.  I would have loved for him to stop every few seconds, but that just ain't reasonable, now is it?!  :-)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Plum Crisp

This is the recipe we've been enjoying to help us use up some of the plums our neighbor gave us.  We've made it twice, and still have some left!  You can serve it warm with ice cream, but we like it best cold, straight out of the fridge, the next day.  :-)

4 cups sliced fresh, ripe plums
1/2 cup sugar (or less if plums are very sweet)
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 tbsp. cold butter or margarine

In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients; pour into a 10-inch pie dish or 9-inch deep dish.

For topping, combine sugar, oats, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl; cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over filling. Bake at 375 degrees F for 50 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. If overbrowning, cover edges of crust during the last 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Spokane Fair 2014

I was thrilled when Kylen told me this was the most he remembers enjoying the fair!  The only thing we did different was to go later in the day.  It was close to the same amount of time, just shifted by several hours.  Probably knowing most of a day wasn't stretching before him made the difference.  It also worked better for Greg, because he didn't need to leave work as early.

Somehow, I don't think this is the message originally intended!
Thought these cakes were cute.  You can tell little fingers had gotten to them!
This was a very large round table.  It was amazing!  Wonder how long it took to make?
We HAD to try the glazed doughnut cheeseburgers!  This is one hyped food that lived up to it's reputation.  Kylen and I LOVED it!  Greg was, "meh."  I was standing a few booths away while they ordered, and there was a couple standing nearby talking about how wrong this combination is, how gross, etc.  I was amused and couldn't help bragging about how my husband and son were ordering it at that very moment!  Lol!
While we were on the huge wheel, a bag in Greg's backpack flew overboard without him knowing.  I saw it fly out.  Greg actually managed to spot it on the ground from up in the air, and we were able to retrieve it.
One of Greg and Kylen's favorites.
Amusement ride shadows.
Loved the names on the big pumpkins!
Isn't the veggie Yoda cool?
Greg observing bees.
Honey sticks.
My brother introduced me to this ride last year, and it's my fav.  I had to go alone, but Kylen said he might be willing to go next time . . . Keeping my fingers crossed!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Shoshone Base Camp: Kylen's Viewpoint

Well, here I am with my take on the Shoshone camp. It was really fun, with lots of activities, Gaga Ball, and, yes, nature. The counselors were awesome, incorporating humor, fun, and devotions into the experience.
Throughout the weekend several people put on little humorous skits. This was one that we did during the morning meet at the flag pole. I was supposed to inform everybody that we were having a "gravity check," and then several of my friends jumped up and came down again. Logan even made it more dramatic by falling over upon landing!
Here I'm getting ready to be hoisted up for the giant swing.
"Off we gooo, into the wild blue yonder..." WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
This was one of the activities on the challenge course. The idea is for the kids to stand on the slab in such a way so that it is balanced, with neither end touching the ground.
I dubbed this old-fashioned house, "Nick Fury's cabin," after mishearing the counselor talk about it. The actual name is the McPherson cabin, but I like mine better. Apparently, they actually transported this entire structure from another location and reassembled it here. Some of the people had to spend an entire day searching for one log after the numbers were stolen by wild critters!
I heard one of the girls saying how scary climbing this tree was. I shrugged the comment off until actually mounting the thing myself. The climbing hooks only protruded from the tree about an inch or so, and, being a pretty "big guy," it was pretty challenging. However, I did make it to the top, and the subsequent zip line ride was fun. That's one of the counselors up on the platform, who helped the kids through the final steps of getting ready to go. I'm the one clinging to the tree for dear life a few feet above the ladder.
This was possibly my favorite activity: Gaga Ball. The name sounds weird, but it's actually very fun! The players gather on the inside edge of the octagonal playing field. Someone tosses the ball into the center, and after the third bounce it's fair game. Whoever is brave enough swipes the ball with their hands, sending it toward the other players. The object of the game is to avoid getting hit in the legs while attempting to get other people out. My strategy was, for the majority of the time, defensive; though I had a couple of pretty good runs where I got several people out.

Both mornings we got up early to play board games. Risk was the most popular. That's me standing in the background, plotting my next move.
The last day was Sunday, and we had a devotion time that morning. A couple of the dads even led us in a few songs. The simple cross in the background reminded me of Fireproof.

Shoshone Base Camp: Greg's Viewpoint

I was a little nervous when Farrah decided to stay home from Shoshone, because, as she said, it would be her first time home alone. But she handled it like a trooper, though several moms at the camp let me know just how much they missed her.
"Summer Camp" is not really my thing, especially now I'm practically married to my laptop, but Farrah and I both wanted Kylen to experience Shoshone again, especially in the company of some of his close friends. He was essentially on his own, but always in the presence of responsible adults. While I "tagged along" on several of Kylen's activities (mainly to get the pictures that I know Farrah would have wanted), helped out with some of the activities (zip line, gaga ball, and slip'n'slide), and spend time chatting with some of the other moms and dads, my favorite time was sitting in our room or in the car, working on my laptop. Sad, isn't it? But actually, like Farrah, it was the first time in a long time that I didn't have anywhere to be or anything else to do. I got some serious work done on one of my numerous software projects and even started a blog post!
There was no cellular signal for miles, so it was a little rough not being able to check my e-mail or follow the fight against ISIS. But the camp staff were kind enough to let me use their land line to check in with Farrah, who always sounded in good spirits, despite her spooky surroundings. ;)


This is Kylen on the Giant Swing. The contraption resembled a giant slingshot (Angry Birds, anyone?). It consisted of a long, steel cable, whose ends are attached to two tall trees. The rider is harnessed to the bottom of the loop, between the two trees. A rope running through a pulley on a third tree, is used to pull him up, sort of like a parent would do for a toddler, on a playground swing set. I took this picture with the camera (accidentally) in landscape mode. Tracking Kylen as I pressed the button resulted in the blurry background, which makes for a nice effect.

Farrah's always taking up-close shots of weird stuff. As we were walking past some horse stalls, I noticed these trail mile markers just laying there. I thought, "Where else am I going to see so many mile markers, all in the same place?"

This here's Al, and in case ye cain't tell, he's unarmed. I'd leave my arms at home too, if I were told to hang out by a shed full of flammable materials! You may groan now.

Ah, the zip line! It's a staple of summer camps everywhere, and I still remember my first and only truly terrifying experience on one, when I was back in high school. Kylen, though, perhaps emboldened by his friends, bravely climbed up a tree to the 50-foot-high perch and zipped down, with nary a fuss. I was recruited to help get the kids off the line, after their ride.

"Daisy, daisy, give me your answer do...." I had a lot of down time, as I was waiting for the next vict... err... rider to come down the zip line, so I thought I would try my hand at taking some close-ups of the daisies growing all around me. This is totally something Farrah would have done, though with far better results. My problem, other than knowing very little about photography, is that I don't take nearly as many shots as she does.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Shoshone Base Camp: Farrah's Viewpoint

Just before school started, the boys went to camp for three days and two nights with a bunch of homeschooling families from our co-op.  Similar to what we did two years ago.  Greg thought it would be neat if we each did a different post on our experience, and I'm going first!

Things were very different for me, because . . . I stayed home!  Yes, indeedy!  And it was great!  For the most part and . . . weird.  It was the first time I've been home alone at night since Greg and I got married 15 years ago.  All those hours solo - very interesting.  I got a ton accomplished, spent way too much time sitting at the computer (actually got sore from it), had no concept at all of time passing.  I enjoyed my morning communion with the Lord more than I have in years, because my head was completely empty of all responsibility and distraction, and I could just be totally relaxed and focused on Him.  That part truly was awesome.  A surprising challenge was that I wanted to eat constantly.  I got tired of the monotony in my routine.  I definitely missed my boys and had to work hard at not worrying about them.  The worst part was at night.  I was terrified of sleeping in the house alone.  I did lots of praying but was still terrified!  I didn't want to turn lights off and my sleep was fitful.  Overall?  I'd do it again, because it was perfect for getting caught up on stuff right before school, and I really wasn't ready to "rough it" after having just gone camping a few weeks earlier.  I was glad to be in my own bed and not to need to prepare all my food ahead!

I have no pictures, because I was at home, but Greg took plenty.  He and Kylen will share some in their posts.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sermon We Listened to Today: Voddie Baucham

Thursday, September 11, 2014

High School!

And so . . . Kylen has started high school!  I'm finding this hard to absorb even with having spent quite a bit of time over the last few years researching how to homeschool at this level.  I think my biggest concern right now is how to get it all in!  We started last Tuesday and have yet to complete a full day's work.  I'm hoping we've been UNUSUALly busy and that next week will bring better success.

I've learned that 2-3 elective credits per year is typical, although Greg thinks that's excessive.  Each elective credit is about 4 hours each week or 2 hours per week for a half credit.  Kylen's electives are all half credit classes.  His subjects are as follows:

Math ~ Geometry ~ 1 credit
We're using A Beka for math again, which we really don't care for at the higher levels.  I probably should have switched to something else by now . . .

Honors English I ~ Introduction to Literature ~ 1 credit
This curriculum has the student read classics and write papers about them.  It is new to us.  I am considering it an honors course, because he will be doing extra reading and writing stories of his own.

Science ~ Physical Science ~ 1 credit
Our first time trying A Beka for science.  I expect it to be easier than Apologia.  Kylen has never liked this subject.

History ~ U.S. History ~ 1 credit
TONS of reading!!  Kylen is reading BJU's United States History for his textbook, and I'll be doing lots of historical read alouds, as usual.  I am nearly finished with our first one, Miracles and Massacres by Glenn Beck.

Social Studies ~ World Geography ~ 1/2 credit
This is a mishmash of my own making.  I plan to draw from lots of sources and hope to make it a light, fun subject.  We're currently reading from Where On Earth, Flags of the World, and a student atlas.  Will probably watch videos occasionally and play internet geography games.  Also, incorporating current events from WorldTeen magazine.

Foreign Language ~ French ~ 1/2 credit
An independent subject for Kylen, since he is good at learning languages and I am not!  We're using Living Language.

Bible ~ 1 credit
Church on Sundays, evening Bible reading and discussion, youth group, personal Bible reading

Music ~ Piano ~ 1/2 credit
Half hour lesson each week with the same instructor as in the past, plus minimum half hour practice each day.

PE ~ 1/2 credit
As always, this will include any physical activity.  Kylen is presently taking volleyball at co-op for 8 weeks, so that will be part of it.  Basketball is a fairly regular activity.  Bike rides, walks, swimming, tennis, etc.

Guitar ~ 1/2 credit???
Kylen is currently taking guitar at co-op, but whether we can count it as a half credit will depend on whether he stays in the class the whole year.  He has an hour class each week plus 15 minute practice each day.

Quick Summary
I think this is a fairly normal 9th grade schedule for a student planning to attend college.  Co-op is a major outside activity, and it's difficult to do any core subjects that day, so we are essentially down to 4 days a week for school.  I think that's one of the reasons I'm finding it so challenging to get everything in.  But he loves co-op.  It's his main outlet for seeing friends, so we're pretty committed to making it work.  He may need to do school on Saturdays or in the evenings.  One of the perks to homeschooling is having your evenings free, since your school time is so much more productive during the day.  So far, we've always managed to avoid "homework" at night, but we may need to consider that as an option.

I'm also keeping community service in mind.  He's still volunteering at the library an hour each week and will start volunteering with a homeless shelter soon.  More on that to come!  One area I'd really like to explore is contests.  Writing is his greatest strength, and he's only entered one major contest.  I think it would be a good experience, not to mention the potential for monetary prizes.

Lee Binz has been a great source of information for creating high school transcripts.  I'm keeping detailed records of everything to assist in writing class descriptions, and I'm starting a reading list.  Completed schoolwork will be placed in a plastic tub in case colleges request work samples.  Overall, I feel pretty confident that this is doable, and I have absolutely no doubt it is God's will that we homeschool through high school.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Around the Campfire

We had so much fun around the campfire!  Throughout the day and late into the evening we hung out, swapped stories, and cooked s'mores.  It was a great little trip!  Looking forward to next year!

A Walk In the Woods

One of the times my uncle's family went boating, we decided to take a walk in the woods.  I had a great time looking around and taking pics!