7 Quick Takes -Summer End edition

Summer is ending, can you believe it?  I am deep into back-to-school and back-to-homeschool planning. Here's a quick run-down on how our Summer has shaped up:


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Yes, Demi-sky made it into to Orange County School of the Arts!! He was on the waiting list, and then I received THE CALL.  He is over-the-moon excited.  Jose attended this charter school for 11th and 12th grade, Demi will start with 10th grade.  He had to audition for this school, they had more than 3,000 applicants this year for few spots. 

I am super happy for him, but it is bitter-sweet, too. This year, I will have only Amie at home to homeschool. 

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Yes, this happened.... Homeschool Blogger's Night Out, at the CHEA convention.  I was a panelist.  Still not sure why I said yes, except maybe that I knew it would be fun, that I would meet other neat mom bloggers, and that it is good to go do things.  And yet, I am very introverted and yeah, I had to fight with myself leading up to the event to not cancel.  It was really a great experience, I am so glad that I went, I was really blessed.

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Sky and I drove to Seattle and then to Spokane, WA.  It looked like this...(Pike's Market for crepes, to walk around, and lots of snacking)

and it looked like this....

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This is the site of the wedding we attended for Sky's brother.  Long Lake, near Spokane.  It was at a friend's house on the lake.  I think this lake might be my destiny.  I need to live on water, surrounded by birds. Amen.


Homeschool starts next week for Amie.  She will be taking 2 classes with Biola Star, and then 2 classes at our charter school's learning center, and then the rest will be at home.  Things are going to be really different, but I think it will be a good different.  I am looking forward to having more space in my day to pursue my own studies. Mom-school, here we come!


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Amie and I are volunteering with Kitty Devore Cat Rescue.  A few of their cats stay at Petsmart to be seen and hopefully adopted.  Usually, they are at foster homes, but rotate in and out at Petsmart to increase their chances of finding a forever home.  We go once a week to clean litter boxes, feed and play with the kitties.  They are so sweet, I already have favorites.  You can visit with the kitties at Petsmart on 17th and Tustin in Orange County, if you are local.  Seriously, you need a great kitty friend? I can hook you up...


We saw 3 bald eagles on our trip to the northwest.  The first one was almost instantly as we crossed into Oregon, it was carrying a fish!  We also saw one at long lake, and then we spotted one flying above the freeway in Oregon, carrying a huge branch.  I love birds, I seriously envy people who live in places with exciting wildlife.  We have mostly sparrows, crows and the occasional cooper's hawk.  The yellow finches here are the most exciting, and of course, our wild parrots - which seem to be lessening around here. 


We are neck-deep in an "Avatar the last air-bender" animated show with the kids.  I've seen episodes here in there, because the kids like to watch and re-watch.  This month, the kids started a marathon on the series from the very beginning, and I have to admit I am hooked.  It's a cute show, and very funny.  Yup, we are deep people here....  :)

7 Quick Takes (SQT) is hosted over at This Ain't The Lyceum blog, click over to join up!


hope your Summer is winding up beautifully, bloggy friends!

Homeschool Blogger's night out

The Christian Home Educators Association of California (CHEA)  homeschool convention is this weekend. Thursday night, July 16th, CHEA is hosting a Blogger's night out.  I am thrilled to be a part of this.

If you are a homeschool blogger, or have been thinking about starting a blog, join us for an encouraging evening of blog networking, discussion, sharing and tips.  A panel of bloggers will be there to talk about blogging and answer questions and vendors interested in working with homeschool bloggers will also be there. 

Check out the BNO facebook event page, or hop on over to Homegrown mom's post about the event. 

I'll be there, I hope you will come by and say "hi"  ....I'll be the weird, un-socialized, introverted homeschool blogger in the corner :)

Quick Takes


We have our second high school graduate!  Josie graduated from the Orange County School of the Arts, which she attended for 11th and 12th grades.  I have to say, the graduation ceremony was incredible, imagine attending a graduation for the show "Glee" or for the Disney Channel...it was really, really well done!  I was so excited for her, that I took this great photo out in direct sunlight...oops.  Sometimes you forget the things you know how to do, or is that just me?

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I moved my blog over to squarespace.  This is my first post drafted on my new platform.  Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?  --taps mic....er, still getting used to this, it's kind of like having my training wheels on.  So far, the blog is here, it still works.  Yay! 


Dumb Pet Tricks: and no, that is not a commentary on the intelligence of goldfish, which are pretty smart.  ( I was accused on instagram of slamming goldfish) I will pause here and remind readers that Meg did a Science experiment on operant conditioning with goldfish (she taught them a swim routine for treats).  Anyway, Dumb pet tricks refers to a late night segment on t.v. where people would bring their pets on to show off a trick, often making the person look dorkie, not the animal :D 

So, our goldfish has a really bad begging problem.  He swallows too much air while begging at the surface, and then bobs around upside down for a day or two.  At least, that is my theory.  It scared me the first time I noticed it, but then the next day, he is fine.  So, uh, ok.

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Demi-Sky and Amie are taking a creative writing summer class at OCSA, they really, really like it.  Last week, the class had a poetry slam contest and Demi came in 2nd place.  :)  >>>yes, we are big-time nerds here.


Sky finished our walk-in shower.  It's very zen.  It's so zen that it doesn't match the rest of the bathroom.  Sky is now taking out the doors and re-finishing them, and then he has to re-do the vanity cabinet.  It's kind of like that book, "If you give a mouse a cookie" over here.  Sky always has to be building something though, so it works out ok.


Homeschool convention time is here!  I am really excited about Bloggers night out this Thursday at the CHEA convention.  Here's a link-  It should be a lot of fun! 

Simple Porkchops ~ a recipe for the distracted cook

Broiled Pork Chops- an answer for the distracted cook

simple broiled porkchops

Yes, I am the scattered, Bridget Jones -Homeschool mom.  I've accepted it, embraced it.  (sort of)

A favorite story around here is the moment when, Sky asked me what I was planning for dinner -and I gave him this startled deer-in-the-headlights look.  I said something like, "um, dinner?" and he looked at me incredulous and said, "yes, dinner! It's not like it's a surprise to you, it happens everyday!"  So, um, yeah, I don't do well with planning ahead.

We remodeled our kitchen last year, and we put in a stove with a broiler mode.  (um, forget the story about how the old oven had a broiler function on it, but I didn't realize it) One day I tried making broiled pork chops for the family, and I knew, here was the perfect dish for the distracted, scattered cook!  Seriously, folks, pork chops take about 8-9 minutes to broil on each side. That's it!  I've played around with them a bit, and here is my family's favorite version of broiled pork chops:

Simple Broiled Pork Chops (a distracted cook recipe)

  • gather your ingredients:  pork chops (I favor Costco's pork chops) butter, fresh ground pepper, thyme, Lowry's seasoned salt
  • grease your broiler pan, so it will be easy to clean. (you'll be glad you did)
  • spread butter on one side of each pork chop
  • sprinkle each liberally with pepper (it's better with more, not less) some dried thyme and a tiny sprinkle of Lowry's seasoned salt. A hint, really, the pepper and thyme are the stars of this show.

that's it!  Put the broiler pan in the oven and broil for 8-9 minutes. Pull out, carefully, flip the pork chops over, and do the same to the other sides.  Pop back in the broiler for another 8-9 minutes. Look, a meal!

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My family likes rice with these, something green- usually steamed broccoli, and when I'm really fancy, we have hot rolls.

Seriously, this is a great, easy meal to put together on those days when you just don't have a lot of time, or those days you forgot that yes, you are in charge of the food and that, yes, dinner does need to happen every day.

What's your favorite, simple dinner to make?  (cereal does not count)


Friday quick takes -yet another home-improvement edition

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So, what do you do when a circuit goes out?  Grandmother had her room heater on (she keeps that room tropical, I swear) and her big screen t.v. on, I had some lights on, the radio and Meg turned on the blow dryer in the bathroom. The blowdryer was the tipping point, apparently.  Sky was at work, so I did the only logical thing: I texted sky a photo of the circuit breaker and asked him to tell me which one I needed to flip.  Much more efficient than flipping each switch one at a time and having the kids yell to me what went on or off.


Sky is in the middle of remodeling the master bathroom.  He took out the old, small tiled shower and a wall cabinet, and will be replacing it with a larger walk--in shower which will be easier for grandmother to use.  We've talked about enlarging the shower for years, now seemed like a good time.

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it's a blessing that Sky can do all of the work himself, but it stretches the job out, because he has other things to do, like, go to work.  Eventually, it will be done, and then we will be so thankful for the luxury of having two working bathrooms. Amen.


We are ending our official homeschool year.  Amie's homeschool charter ended last week, Demi's will end next week. I am so ready for a more relaxed pace of life. Last year, we did not go to the beach at all, this year, I am hoping to be there a lot.  Josie is graduating next week from the art high school, I am so excited for her!


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Josie has been super busy with selling her feather art. She did really well with her booth at a winter art show, so for a spring art show downtown, she branched out with some dream-catchers.  She had a booth with other art students from her school at the Patchwork festival.  She is really a hard worker, I am so proud of her. :)

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Here is a close up of some of Josie's feather painting.  She amazes me with her talent.



I began filling the bird feeders again, and we have lots of bird-customers.  I was lucky to spot a blue-bird in our yard, which is a first after living here about a dozen years now.  I have spotted them on streets on the edges or our neighborhood, but not ever so close!  With our popularity with the wild birds increased, Oliver (a.k.a. evil kitty) began a brisk business in bird-catching.  After spotting the bluebird, I belled the cat.  So far, so good.


*Seven Quick takes is now hosted over at This Ain't the Lyceum, click on over to join up!

Daytrip with Sky

Recently, Sky and I spent the day in a small beach town near Santa Barbara.  It was for a job interview, and I fell in love with the town.  photo carpenterabeach-homeisblog_zpskpr3ybs3.jpg

this was a beach scene totally unknown to me.  It was almost empty.  And we could park close, for free!  We saw a guy walking his dog, off leash!  We walked around, and I realized, that despite being an OC girl, I did not know the beach the way I had always assumed I did.  The beaches that I know, are not wild.  I think I'd like to get to know the wild, un-tame coastline.

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later on in the day, we headed to near-by Santa Barbara for dinner.  A fun place.

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we had dinner at Mac's fish and chips, looking for a taste of Dublin, really.

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although the entire area was extremely dog-friendly, Santa Barbara was not so parrot-friendly, apparently.

We spent the morning scoping out the small town, had lunch in a bagel shop (yay!) there were signs that said "dog friendly" everywhere, it seemed.  I love my life in OC, I love our house, I don't usually dream of up and moving somewhere.  But, I could totally imagine living here.  Someday, maybe.

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As I edge nearer to the end of my homeschool career (15 + years so far) I am realizing more and more how important my relationship with Sky is.  The kids are already busy with their own interests, the years are flying by, and then, it will be just us two.  I am glad that the years are mellowing us into a more gentle harmony.  He is my best chum, adventures seem a little lacking without him.  I am really, really blessed.

Catch-up post

okay, to sum it up....no, to condense it down for you;  

Lately in Jenn's world:

Grandfather fell, was so badly dehydrated most of his life that his kidneys began failing.  After an E.R. stay, a home-care stay and switching of his board and care home, he passed away two months later.  After the E.R. visit, I re-doubled my efforts to apply for Medi-Cal for him, a process started in October of last year.  After visiting the office an hour away, several times a week for weeks....we received his approval letter the day after he died.  Yay.

Grandmother was visiting Grandfather the day before he died, she passed out at a restaurant and broke her wrist.  Good news, the last 3 episodes like this were not a heart problem, which she was being monitored for, but her previous Dr. had her on both a blood pressure pill and a water pill- which lowers your blood pressure, and she didn't have high blood pressure to begin with.  She is now off those pills and no longer dizzy.  Yay.  She does have a cast on her left arm and she is left-handed. Yay.

Sky had an idea to go into business with some neat people we know.  We researched, grabbed a domain name, looked for a location...and the business partners pulled out.  It would have been both fun and scary, so I'm not really sad about it not happening.

Sky interviewed for a job in a beach city near Santa Barbara.  I went with him on interview day because he was nervous, and I fell in love with the town.  The job was short-term, 8 years, so we were talking of him commuting for a year or two and then we would rent a house.  I was not sure what we would do with the kids and the whole School-of-arts-thing.  Homeschooling is very portable, that would be no problem if we upped and moved...but the school of the arts is a very specific thing, and very hard to get into. We weren't sure what we would do.  He did not get the job, I am mostly relieved, but a little sad.  I never thought I would live in a beach city, and I did fall in love with the area.

Every once in a while, I get the feeling we are not doing enough Science for Amie, so I begin a restless search for a program.  I was considering using "The Story of Science" with her and then I found Wayfarers curriculum guides, which schedule this series for you.

I will forever be a curriculum junkie- yup, I purchased a new curriculum program.  Here, I'll give you a handy little link so you can click over and drool over something shiny and new, too.  Wayfarer's History Curriculum by Barefoot Ragamuffin Curricula ***here

the plan is to use their Grammar/Lit program, the Science, music and Bible portion of Wayfarers.  The kids are finishing up the History programs we selected for this year, which are Veritas Press 1815 to present for Amie and Oak Meadows World History using the Glencoe textbook -for Demi.

I will forever be optimistic that the perfect curriculum guide is just around the corner for me.  :)


I finally asked my Dr. today to test me for A.D.D.

I am reading "King Arthur and the knights of the round table" with Amie for her lit class at Biola Star.  It is truly a bad read.  It is so bad that I tried to find cliff notes for it so we wouldn't have to finish it.  I've sunk truly so low as a homeschool mom.  !!  Could not find one, so we need to finish it this week so Amie can write a book report on it.  Yay.

I am planning to move my blog over from a self-hosted platform to Squarespace.  I'm really, really scared to do it.  I've been busy playing with squarespace and making a new header for the blog and making a side-bar.  The migrating over part terrifies me though.  whimper.

So, bloggy friends, here is a mid-night/ late-night frank post of all that is going on in my world lately.  I'm usually afraid to let it all hang out, but it's all so crazy that it's kind of funny.  The mad parts of my life make such a whirl-wind in my brain, that for months, I haven't been able to slow it all down and articulate it.  I left out the part about the trust my step-father left us and my for real-psycho step-sister....that was not hyperbole at all.


I may or may not delete this post.....


March like a lion

Something in my soul sings when these trees bloom each Spring.  photo tuliptree-march-Homeisblog_zpsvrj2f2et.jpg

Close your eyes
and do not peek
and I’ll rub Spring
across your cheek-
smooth as satin,
soft and sleek-
close your eyes
and do not peek
-Aileen Fisher
*I become the crazy-camera-lady when these trees bloom, stalking through my neighbors' yards, trying to get just the right shot that will do these blossoms justice.  I haven't managed to capture them as I see them, but I get pretty close.
*Spring has sprung here at {Home} we are in the middle of Spring cleaning (maybe, sort of) planning a more drought-tolerant yard, starting a new raised bed garden in the backyard, homeschooling and waiting to hear about Amie and Demi's acceptance into the performing arts school.  (It's a little nerve-wracking).
*Amie and Josie have art on auction for Kitty Devore Cat Rescue *here and *here this week.  Bidding ends April 17th and you need to like the Kitty Devore Rescue FB page in order to be able to follow the auction and see activity.
It's a beautiful weekend in OC!  I hope you are having a blessed and peaceful weekend <3