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!

7 Quick Takes Science-fair edition

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I introduced Amie to yoga.  She is enjoying a kids yoga class.  I love this studio, isn't it beautiful?  I can't even remember what this move is called, I think it was the "belly train".  Sky thinks it looks like a bunch of dominoes tipped over :)

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Meg has been dreaming for most of her life to barrel race horses.  We had to sit her down once, a long time ago, and explain that this would not happen, we couldn't afford horse-riding lessons.  Well, fast forward to 17 years of age....and she made it happen.  She has been so tenacious with her desire to be around horses, to the point of calling random stables in nearby cities/counties and trying to arrange to work for lessons.  Which, she did.  And now, here we are... funny, as I went through my photos of this event for editing, I noticed that in all of the photos of Meg competing, she is grinning wildly.

you go, Meg!

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Yes, it looks like, walks like and smells like Science-Fair season!!  Meg had a big project/ Science-Fair experiment/research paper for Chemistry, and Josie had a research paper/Science-fair presentation and 3 D model of a cell.  She did her project on the red blood cell, and here is her cell model.  Can you see the oxygen stuck on the hemoglobin?? I got a kick out of that part!  :)

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In the midst of all this Mad-Science, I opened up my fridge and noticed that Meg's container of 200 blue-bottle fly pupae were hatching.  Just the sort of thing every mom expects to see on her butter shelf....blah!  I requested she go free them.


Went to a new student orientation meeting with Josie at the Performing Arts School.  I was really impressed, I think she is going to have a great year.  She picked graphic arts, animation and piano for her electives - and these classes take place during the academic portion of her day, they aren't even part of her art conservatory portion.  Very cool.


We are on the home-stretch with Farmer Boy.  I am really enjoying this book, somehow I skipped it when I read all the other Laura Ingalls Wilder books.  I'm reading it primarily for my boy, I hope he is soaking up the lessons on hard work and integrity.  As for me, Almanzo's mother makes me feel very, very lazy, I don't think that woman ever sat down! Lazy, and hungry...that book has a lot of good food mentioned.

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Our new kitchen island project is very close to being completed.  Sky completely demolished the old island, there was nothing left but a spot on the floor with missing tiles. He then built this island frame here, from scratch.  Including these drawers.  The bottom two big drawers will hold our pots, pans and lids.  The drawers are fancy/smancy and will finish closing by themselves if you don't close them all the way.  I don't even know what the term for that is...but it's really cool. My new stove-top is in place...drool....and this Saturday Sky will attempt to pour a concrete counter top on the island.  He has never done this before, but I have complete confidence, the man can do just about anything he sets his mind on.  He also has mad-concrete knowledge/skills.  I always found it amusing that he had to take a concrete class in college. Who's laughing now, Jenn, who???  Not me- I will be grateful for my  new stained-concrete counter and will never, ever call concrete "cement" again just to make Sky mad.


hope you are having an awesome week, bloggy friends! 7 Quick Takes happens every Friday at Conversion Diary. Hop on over and join up!

Farmhouse bed {love}

We've had the same bed-set since we were married.  Yeah, we are a little sentimental about it, it was the first nice set of furniture we owned. {However} the bed had a foot-board, that was sort of like a min-bench.  About thigh-high, picturesque and great for sitting on to put on your shoes..but it was also the perfect level to jam yourself in the thigh, in the middle of the night. Or the middle of the day.  Emma-the-wonder-labradoodle even walked face-first into it one night.  (Which began her tradition of not moving through our room if it is dark, she will stand still and groan until I come get her or turn on a light.)  We've had many a bruise and scrape from this bed.

It finally occurred to us a while ago, or so, that maybe we should do something about this night-time terror.

And then we'd forget, until dark time and danger came lurking and then we'd say, "you know, we should get a new bed!"

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But we didn't, then once in a while we'd agree that we should, specially after another midnight bruising incident.... and then it occurred to me that I do have a husband who builds things...

Sky used the plans from Ana White.  And then, Mr. Woodworker/ Civil Engineer/ Building Inspector / former contractor...didn't read the plans, or at least very quickly scanned the plans and built the headboard two-times too big!!  After I questioned the scale, he had to take it apart and build it again.  His favorite quote is "measure twice build once"  {ahem}

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Here it is!  {love it}

We were going to distress it,  but decided we liked a simple white-wash look.

And we skipped the foot-board.


my rustic farmhouse table

I requested a rustic, re-claimed wood farmhouse table, long enough to seat many Bible college boys around.  Sky happened, by luck, upon some spalted maple that was left unloved and forgotten, in someone's backyard.  It had been rained upon, Summered upon, hailed upon, etc.


Sky purchased the wood, thinking he could salvage bits and pieces here and there for fashioning small projects.

For me, it was love at first sight!  I knew my time had come for the table of my dreams :)


We discussed just how rustic, uneven or not it should be.  Would the lines of the separate boards be left as they were, or would Sky sand and finish them into almost one smooth piece?  Would he fill in all the wonderful termite holes and nooks and crannies?


Could Sky convincingly fake a "live edge" on the boards?  The answer to all of these concerns was yes- as long as we could keep the natural charm intact.  The live edge came out beautiful.

love, love, love my table.

Sky said, "Hey girl, whatever you dream up, I will build for you."  And he did.

love that man <3

Our solar Power home adventure

Growing up in a large family, Sky lived in a house with solar panels on the roof. His dad was a John Wayne, conservative-family man. -Very hardworking and he had 7 kids. He believed in doing something the right way, and the best way.

We would have loved to follow his lead, but solar panels are a really big money investment.

So, we talked about it once in a while, but never took the plunge.

Sky heard ads on the radio for Solar City. They offer a lease program. This program takes advantage of some of the green power rebates being offered in California- and by paying lease payments spread out over many years, the price is made reasonable. They have a no money down program, and then an even better offer if you put a certain percentage down. We went with the 2nd option. By leasing the panels, Solar City also monitors their performance- a win/win.

Before the crew could begin their work- they had to power up their tools the old-fashioned way.
Whisper...they used an electrical outlet.....

Our house was built in the 1950's -because our electrical box was one made for a 1950's house, we could not put the maximum number of panels on our house- unless we upgraded our electrical box. We were already laying out cash upfront to lower our lease, we said 'no thanks' to the new box. Instead, we had fewer panels installed.

The panels on our roof will not be adequate to totally power our house. But, they should take our electric needs down to the very lowest and next lowest pay scale on our electric bill.

You know that scale- the one that no one living could you are pushed into the higher rate tiers quickly on your electric bill. Yes, that scale. Now- we will live on the lower rungs of the tier.
Oh yeah...oh yeah...oh yeah!

With our electric rates increased every year, we were very motivated to not be so dependent on our electric company. We don't live in Los Angeles county- where we hear of rates being dramatically increased every year- so thankful we don't have to deal with that...Yet, our increases are still problematic.

Here is our solar power doo-dad...(yes, I'm really tech). It took Solar City most of the day to install the panels. They were a very curteous crew. At one point, they accidently punched a few screws through our vaulted ceiling in the bathroom. They were quick to fix it, patch the holes and repaint. Nice guys, all of them :)

When they were all through, we stood in front of our electric meter and watched it spin backwards.

Yes, it really does spin backwards! I thought that was total hyperbole, but no lie, it really does.

It's pretty satsifying.

This is a totally unsponsored post- but* Solar City does offer referral rewards to current customers for referring new customers- I would love, love, love it if you mentioned I sent you, if you decide to go with Solar City.

Going Solar!

So, I left you all hanging with my post last week, -doings at home*
I gave you all a teaser photo and left you to sorry, things have been really chaotic and busy here with back to homeschool!

Here's the answer to my question....

We took the plunge and installed solar panels on our house. Solar City made it possible.
I'll post all about it later this weekend, stay tuned. :)

Homeschool Scheduling- a chalkboard approach

I've tried many different scheduling approaches for our homeschool planning. After more than 10 years homeschooling, I haven't found a system that sticks. Some have worked well for a year, or a month... but then the look of our school day changes, and my schedule falls by the wayside.

The chalkboard of ultimate power sprung from the clever whiteboard system used at our Classical homeschool group. I realized I was onto something possibly brilliant in execution...and so I asked sky to put up a chalkboard wall for me.

I chose a spot in the room we do most of our school work...the dining room area. Sky simply painted this wall with chalkboard paint.

I write out the flow for our day for my 3 youngest students, so they can see what comes next and what is left to do.

I have a running list of things I need to do. Here's the brilliant part....I erase as they are done.

If it's still on the board, I still need to do it.

It's my board, no one else is allowed to write on it. Ha!

There you have it, homeschool planning/scheduling for the Bridget Jones homeschool mom.