Two days before spring break the schools in our area shut down for the Coronavirus pandemic. March 16th we got the notification that our district would be closed through at least April 3rd. Yesterday our Mayor gave the “Safer at Home” order meaning we are supposed to stay at home as much as possible. So today is supposed to be our first day (in a different world) back at school. My daughter is a senior in a public school so education is taking a turn for her at the moment. She expected to be back in her routine today. The last week she has been meeting up with her school friends through Google Duo and being creative. Actually she and my son did their first Youtube video together. It is called Tiny Food Fight.
Since we were already homeschooling our son the major difference for him is that his tutorial class is taking place on Zoom instead of in person. Last week he only did Spanish and Science since those are his tutorial classes. This week we are back on track with the rest of his subjects.
My daughter has always been very self directed and very organized. She has excellent study habits which she must have gotten from her daddy. She has heard from three of her teachers so far. Her AP English teacher is actually really organized and has a schedule all ready for the kids. Her AP Econ teacher from last semester has loaded information to the library so they can study. And her band director has posted some good resources and has been in touch. At the moment my daughter is working on AP Lit homework and will work on AP Spanish weekly work in a little while. She is also planning to help my son with his Spanish vocab later today. Then she has some reading to do.
I am really thankful for technology as that has been a lifesaver. It is pretty amazing that the kids can stay connected with everything they need to do!
For us and homeschooling, our district requires so many specific types of classes to graduate. For my son we have our curriculum for the year and have been happy with that. I have already started looking at curriculum for next school year and only have a couple to choose as he will take Health, Spanish 2, Biology, and Drawing through his tutorial. That leaves English, Geometry, and Bible.
For younger kids things are much more flexible as far as what you teach goes. Here are a few resources that we like:
Brave Writer for writing skills
Cathy Duffy for reviews on curriculum
Virtual Field Trips
Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems
We always love Rhett and Link
Of course there are a billion documentaries on Netflix, and you can never go wrong with just reading a book and letting imaginations run wild.
I hope those resources are helpful and that things go well for you as you homeschool your kiddos!
Yesterday my grandparents were on my mind. My Grandma has been gone two years and my Grandpa almost two. They lived out in Amish country in Michigan and we would try to visit and stay with them out on their farm. My Grandpa was an extrovert. He would talk your ear off if you let him and he and my Grandma knew everyone in their little town. One of the things we thought was so funny was that each morning they would open their blinds and sit together at their little dining room table and watch up the road. As soon as a car or wagon came into view the excitement began. They had all of the questions. Who was that? What kind of car? Where are they going? If they knew the person they could tell us a bit about them. We always thought that was so funny but also endearing.
Yesterday when I opened my blinds I thought “Ooh! Who could be out there?” I wondered what people were doing and who I would see. We often don’t open our front blinds because it causes a glare on the photos and television but since we have been avoiding people I just want to see what is happening in the world. If I know the person going past I can tell you a little bit about them. If I don’t I have all of the questions.
Do you know your neighbors and the people who come and go on your street? Since you have been cooped up during this pandemic are you more interested in what your neighbors are doing? Is your neighborhood like Italy and singing from the porches or are you hiding away in your house? As for me, I am opening my blinds to see what’s happening and also sitting on the porch in anticipation of the conversations I could possibly have with total strangers.
This weekend my kiddos were out of town on a church retreat. You might think my husband I would live it up and party. If your definition of party is fix the shower and install a new vanity you are correct! We did party!
In my last post I talked about the struggle bus we were on when it came to replacing the cartridge in our downstairs shower. Well, the part came in the mail so we made another attempt to fix the leaky situation. Everything went exactly as it was supposed to until I was done and the water continued pouring out of the faucet. I got my flashlight and discovered a tiny piece of rubber blocking the cartridge from being able to sit correctly. Our brilliant idea was to pull everything out, turn the water back on full blast and see if we could get the piece out. IT WORKED!! Not only did that piece come out a second piece flew out as well. Aside from flooding the bathroom due to the shower curtain being out of the tub we were quite pleased. Once it was out everything clicked smoothly into place.
Our next DIY project for the weekend was to install a new vanity. We have had a pedestal sink the entire time we have lived here and it has never been terribly steady. The hot water tap has been leaking for awhile so we MacGuyvered it to make sure the water stayed at the sink. I took it apart a couple of months ago and could not get the tap out. Even the Facebook hive mind generated suggestions didn’t work. Our plumber told us it would be cheaper to install an entire new vanity than to replace the cartridges on a sink that is at least 30 years old.
We removed the pedestal sink, scraped off the old paint and wallpaper, filled the holes and sanded everything down. We also primed the area and took measurements. I have to say, my hubs did an incredible job measuring and cutting everything. I am a hands on person who sometimes might skip the directions just to get my hands dirty. He wants to do a project once and he wants to do it right. In this case I was completely on his side. We did need to make another trip to the hardware store so we decided to get lunch while the primer dried. Patrons at the restaurant we went to were robbed later in the evening by a guy who grabbed purses and ran out the door. I’m glad we went for lunch.
Later in the evening we placed the vanity, hooked up the faucet and all of the pipes…and it leaked. After another trip to the hardware store, bruised knees and sore backs my hubs was able to overcome the leak! So far, so good. When our kids got home they were very surprised! My son is not a huge fan because all four of us can’t stand around it and spit toothpaste at the same time…not that we did that anyway. That would be weird.
You might think that is the end of our plumbing drama but alas, it is not. The other day I paid off the powervent that was installed on our HVAC. The same day we discovered a leak to the basement from the upstairs bathroom. There is a giant crack in the cast iron pipe that leads from the upstairs bath to the sewer line. We are not even going to attempt a DIY project. While we worked well as a team on our projects this weekend, replacing the cast iron is being left to the pros.
Have you replaced plumbing or done major projects on your home? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Do you remember those old commercials? I pretty much thought when I was a grown up I would get to take baths and all my troubles would melt away. Alas, as an adult I am actually fixing the tub so I can use it at some point.
My sister and her husband recently sold their house and bought a fifth wheel to live in so that they can hit the road and start traveling in a couple of years.They are both quite handy so it didn’t surprise me when she posted on Facebook about all of these things she had fixed on her home after a massive water leak. I was feeling inspired! Yes, little sister, you inspired me to try to fix my leaky bathtub faucet.
I watched a few YouTube videos and was convinced I could take care of the pesky leak myself. So, I stopped at the big orange home improvement store and looked at all of the cartridges for the shower. I chose a Danko that said it was compatible with the Moen 1225 cartridge.
Still feeling like Superwoman I headed into the abyss under our house to turn off the water, came back upstairs and was able to remove the old cartridge without any trouble.
I then placed the new cartridge. It took me far longer than it should have to get it in place. When I finally got it put back together and the water turned back on…..it leaked worse than when I started…plus I hadn’t lined everything up correctly so the hot and cold were in the wrong places.
Back to the spider filled darkness to turn the water back off where I smacked my head on the very short door, and back to the bathroom to remove the cartridge…which I managed to break and could not remove. Are you a person that does crossfit? I am imagining something like pulling a tractor or doing those big rope things or maybe flipping tires. What I attempted in that bathroom to get that cartridge out counts as a crossfit workout. And I couldn’t remove it. Neither could my husband. We called in a local guy who had an actual cartridge remover and it took him about 15 minutes to get it out.
At this point I had gone to another local home improvement store and purchased another of the same exact cartridge which I then managed to place correctly. Unfortunately, it is still leaking but not quite as much. So, I called our regular company to come take a look at that and our upstairs sink to see if he could fix it. I paid him seventy bucks for him to tell me to call Moen and see if I could get a part from them. He said it is still leaking because the knockoff isn’t quite right. As far as our sink goes he suggested getting rid of our pedestal sink and putting in a vanity because the price of fixing the at least 25 year old stems would not be worth it.
Aye, yai, yai…I have called Moen for the part and it is being shipped, we are going to look at vanities soon, and I have learned my lesson. I don’t need to be Superwoman when there are talented, trained people out there who can fix the things that need to be fixed. But, I am still proud of my Superwoman sister and myself for trying.
Today is National Pizza Day! We have been training for this our whole lives! Or maybe not training but eating pizza on the reg.
In honor of this special day we tried out Longhollow Pizza and Pub in Goodlettsville. I’m not sure what we were expecting but it was much bigger than we anticipated and much brighter. For some reason I figured it would be dark and greasy.
It was a little busy but our server got our drinks pretty quickly and left us to mull over the menu. There are many items on the menu that looked enticing but we decided to stick with pizza since that was the whole reason we were there. Next time we may check out sandwiches, wings, or calzone type sandwiches.
We started with a spinach bomb. It came out and actually looked kind of terrible. It was like a weird colored hockey puck However, we cut into it and the spinach, cheesy goodness exploded out and it was quite tasty. Next up was our pizzas. I do not like red sauce because it kills my stomach so my daughter and I got “Pretty Fly for a White Pie”. Chicken, white sauce, tomatoes, garlic, and a delicious crust. My hubs and son ordered a cheese pizza with several toppings. Both pizzas had plenty of toppings and tasted great. We finished our meal with a funnel cake. I have to say, that was not the highlight of the meal. It was a bit too dense for our liking. I guess we will have to try the cannoli next time.
I hope you got the chance to eat pizza today but if not I am sure you can make it up sometime this week.
One of my very favorite waffles in America was at a hotel in Texas. It was shaped like….you guessed it! Texas! I like waffles but my husband LOVES waffles. I heard the other day the the popular food truck 615_Waffles was opening a brick and mortar store tonight. My husband and son had been to the food truck before so we thought it would be worth a trip to the shop. As luck would have it we were the very first customers for their opening night!
We got to East Nashville about 3:30 so we had a little time to wander around and see what shops had opened and closed since the last time we were out there. We found a little tea and coffee shop called International Tea and Coffee Company. All of the tea is loose in jars, you choose what you want, take it to the counter, and they weigh it out for you. My daughter chose a tea and got an ounce to bring home.
The first thing you will notice when you walk in the door is the glorious scent of fresh baked waffles. You can choose from a regular liege waffle, churro waffle, bubble waffle, or vegan/gluten free waffles. You can choose your ice cream (supplied by the Pied Piper Creamery) and then choose your toppings. Or you can choose from their suggested menu. My husband and I both chose the Waffle Boss but I asked for no extra peanuts and substituted M n M’s instead. My son chose S’mores, and my daughter chose The Birds and the Bees (this is lavender and honey ice cream with fresh berries). When asked what the Birds and Bees meant my son said….uh birds and bees? It might be time for a little conversation.
While we were devouring our delicious ice cream topped waffles we had the opportunity to talk to Aisha, the owner of 615 Waffles and her business partner from FlyBoys (another popular food truck). They make everything in house and are hoping to try and get a vegan oreo icecream in the near future.
If you get a chance to get over to East Nashville 615 Waffles is located at 1100 Fatherland St St 102. You won’t be sorry. Plus they have a super cute Instagram worthy spot with waffle print pillows!
My son has been in public school since PreK. He has done a great job in school even though he has had to work twice as hard as other kids because he has some learning challenges. He is sweet, kind, generous, and his teachers have all told us that they love him. He also has a rare disorder called Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. It’s a mouthful and he knows all about it. He even did a powerpoint with one of his teachers in seventh grade to share with his peers. If you didn’t know that he had a rare condition you might think he is on the autism spectrum but he is not. He does get very excited about certain things, he tends to get along really well with younger kids, and has a speech delay. I have been asked before what kind of accent he has. Over the years he has had fantastic teachers. You may be asking yourself why we chose to homeschool this year since it sounds like he has had such a great experience up to this point. Well, I will tell you.
Over the last several years I have been a substitute teacher at the elementary and middle school levels. I have gotten to bear witness to how schools have changed since I was in high school. There are wonderful teachers in our districts and there are many, many wonderful kids in our district but it only takes one bad apple to ruin the bunch. Unfortunately for our teachers this means they spend so much time having to discipline “that one kid” that the 26-30 other kids in the class miss out on instruction time. I have a child with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). He needs the extra help. Since out district is pretty much one hundred percent inclusion that means that the kids that have IEP’s for emotional disturbance and other diagnosis for harmful behaviors are included in all classes. In the last few years In School Suspension was taken away so even if a kid is sent to the office for “restorative discipline” they are back in class ten minutes later with a sucker and pat on the head. I have seen a kid body slam another kid, go to the office, and come back in ten minutes. The victim then has to continue sharing space with the attacker.
When the time came to start thinking about where my son would go to school I started subbing at the high school level so I could see things from the inside. You can go to all of the open houses you want but you don’t really see the school from the inside. I went to our zoned school for two days. Kids were vaping in the halls, I walked through a group of kids making plans to beat someone up later, and saw a kid screaming in a teacher’s face. I went to an artsy magnet school, when I told the office who I was subbing for they laughed in my face and gave me directions to the Dean’s office. I went to an early college high school which was pretty good but you have to meet certain test requirements. I went to a school that had internships that I thought would be amazing but they wouldn’t let the freshmen in the hallway with the sophomores because there were too many fights in the halls. Honestly, if my son was going to be in honors classes I probably would have let him go to our zoned school. The classes are smaller and there are fewer behavior problems. But, he has an IEP so he is in inclusion classes with the general population which means he misses out on actual learning time. I should point out that my daughter goes to public school but it is a magnet school with test requirements so it is hard but she is thriving there.
When homeschooling started to become more of an option I was terrified. I want the very best for my kids like every other parent. For him, this is the best option at the moment. He gets the extra time and attention he needs to up his skills. He gets to spend time with other kids at tutorial.
For our homeschooling we have an Umbrella School that takes care of maintaining his transcript and he goes to tutorial for Science, Spanish, and Band. At home we do History, English, PE, Bible, and Algebra 1. First semester went pretty well. All A’s and B’s. We are changing a few things up for second semester and I hope they are helpful for him. I realize everyone does not have the option to homeschool and I am thankful that we get to be on this path!
We live in a neighborhood that is often referred to as Mayberry. We have lived in this neighborhood for quite some time and have pretty great neighbors. I can jump on the group page and ask if someone has a roasting pan and someone will come through. We have had the same neighbors to the left of us the entire time we have lived here. These neighbors have always been good and kind to us. They also love animals. They rescue dogs and make sure the dogs are well loved. Often our dog will run up and down the fence line with one of their dogs. Most of the time it seems like they like each other and are playing.
Yesterday their newest dog had Houdini’d himself into our back yard. My neighbor was actually already out shoring up the spot but I didn’t know their dog was in our yard when I let our dog out. I came out to horrible barking and crying and broke the dogs up. On first inspection everything seemed fine so I took our girl in the house to settle down. That is when I discovered she was bleeding…at four on a Sunday… Since we have never had to take our animals to the emergency vet clinic I wasn’t sure where to go. I went and found my neighbor and let him know that our pup was bleeding and asked if he had suggestions about where I should take her. My neighbors did the same google search I did and then handed me their debit card. I just about cried. Like I said we have been neighbors for a long time. They were as worried for our dog as we were.
My daughter and I loaded our old lady into the car and took off for the emergency clinic. Quite a few cars filled the lot when we got there so I figured we were in for a bit of a wait. We arrived at five and left and 1:15. Everyone in the waiting room was quite friendly and wanted to talk about what was going on with their pets. Several others dogs were brought in with more emergent cases than ours. Apparently open wounds are priority two. The vet had to sedate our dog so she could find all of the wounds because being fluffy makes finding wounds more difficult. Before the sedation she asked if we wanted them to do CPR if our dog’s heart stopped. uh…. My daughter and I have been watching a lot of Grey’s Anatomy so she realized I was basically being asked about a DNR. The vet was very good at giving us information on how expensive it was to do CPR but also that it only works in 3-5% of dogs and if they are as old as our dog they do not go home well. So I said no. My daughter held it together until the vet left the room and then let her tears take over.
My daughter was reassured when we could hear our dog in the back being a very unwilling participant in her care. We did recommend a muzzle because she is 75 pounds and has puncture wounds. After they finally got her sedated we were able to watch an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and an episode of Boy meets World before they came back to tell us they were trying to wake her up.
Our pup finally woke up enough that the vet was able to get her in the car but she was still groggy. We were able to get her out of the car when we got home but her back legs seemed to not be working so when we got to our front steps she just sat down and wouldn’t go any further. After pushing, pulling, getting treats, and cajoling I had to get my poor hubs out of the bed to help. He has been feeling terrible the last few days so I felt awful about getting him up but my daughter and I could not get her in the house. If it was summer I would be tempted to leave her out in the backyard. But it is not so we had to get her in. My hubs managed to make a sling out of our heavy duty picnic blanket and carry her into the house all the way to her bed. It took a good 30 minutes to actually get her in the house.
Now we are dealing with medicine. This is the dog that over the years has accumulated an impressive history of things she has stolen and eaten. She loves peanut butter (xylitol free of course) so I put her medicine on a spoon with peanut butter but she will not touch it. She is still very groggy but my hubs said that when he came down this morning she got up and went to the door to go do her business. So she can get up it just might be later today before I can get meds into her.
Back to neighbors. If you don’t know your neighbors go meet them today. Plan an event, go to coffee, take treats. This could have gone a very different way yesterday and I am thankful we have wonderful neighbors and that know us and love our animals and kids as much as we do.
Each year I have been challenging myself to read more books. A few years ago it was 50. Last year it was 100. I beat last year’s goal by 3 books! I read a combination of the PopSugar list, Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club, and the books for my neighborhood library book club. This year I will likely do the same but have added the free reading list from Modern Mrs. Darcy. I think often of writing my own book but with so many on the market to read I get overwhelmed wondering if anyone would take a second glance at a book by me. I know, stop with the excuses already! What is on your list to read this year? I would love to hear your recommendations! Without further ado, here is my list from 2019. May you find some inspiration for your reading goals.
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