If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Another Month...

Time sure flies by, doesn't it? I can't believe it is August already!

The Boy is really enjoying his job training program. So far, he's worked on a resume and cover letter; learned about pay checks, deductions, and budgeting; learned about employee rights; gotten his Food Handler's certificate (with honors!); and worked a shift in the on-site cafe. Next week, he'll put in another shift in the cafe, and participate in mock interviews.

The Girl has been reading Ballet Shoes and the original Winnie the Pooh book. She's working, off and on, with her dog -- training does need to be more consistent! I also took her to meet a horse!

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Learning about horse care
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And a riding lesson
It was a good, and fun, experience for her. Since the junior derby league has pretty much fallen apart, I am trying to find other activities she will enjoy, because frankly, she needs to be a lot more active.

I've been working, and trying to figure out fall, when I also start working as a tutor for the Writing Center at the local university. Whole Foods is okay so far. The people are nice, and all that, but it's not my dream job.

I did apply for what seems like a fantastic opportunity, as a "Literacy Paraprofessional" for a small, local, elementary-middle school district. I would love the work -- helping kids with reading -- and it would be great experience for the teaching intern program I'm applying for in January. Fingers crossed!!!

I also watched Minimalism with the kids, and we are determined to own less stuff.

Math is going well! The Boy is working through The Great Courses Algebra 1 still, and loves the professor. He says the explanations are very clear. We're still using Jacobs Elementary Algebra as additional practice. I found a geometry course for him as well, to tackle next! The Girl is back to Math Mammoth to tighten up a few loose ends, and it is working really well.

The Girl decided also to really tackle nicer handwriting, and better spelling, so I am thrilled with that. They are both working on writing, with me bringing in new elements of the Brave Writer Lifestyle bit by bit.

We're reading both The Hobbit and Homecoming (Cynthia Voigt). Two very different books, but we are enjoying both! We're watching a variety of shows: Eureka, The Flash, Sherlock, and Arrow.

I have let exercise slide the last month. I just don't have time, or energy, or even the desire really, for the intensive workouts that group of friends is doing these days, as they prepare for a physique competition. So, to get going again, I'm looking at these workouts... simple, straightforward, doable. I've also really changed how I'm eating. I stopped counting anything... calories, protein grams, etc. I'm really working at eating more intuitively. Sometimes at first, this process has meant too much junky food, but I'm feeling a desire for more healthful fare again. I am really trying to learn to trust my body. And in this process, I have gained back about 4 pounds, which once would really have stressed me out. Now though, I'm okay.

Our Gulf Fritillary caterpillars are back! We didn't have any last year (the drought?), so we were excited to see them out on the passion flower vine.

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I love our passion flowers....

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So that's a sort of run down as to our current state of being. Things are going along, good here, challenging there. Still a good summer though! Tonight we're going to see a free (traveling) drive in movie... The Goonies, to be specific. I'm really looking forward to it, as is everyone else. We've gone to a free concert in the park; spent hours and hours at the beach, in and out of the water; spent hours laughing with friends; played a lot of board games; and just enjoyed time together!

Hope anyone who reads this is having a great summer!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

This and That...

...Job News...
Ugh. So I posted last time about my job at the junior college being frozen due to decreased revenue. No summer work, and as it turns out, no fall work either. So I had to scramble to find something to keep ends meeting. I started working at Whole Foods a couple of weeks ago. At first, I wasn't sure if it would work out, even for the summer, as I was getting very minimal hours, as in about 10 each week. I applied, and interviewed, for a couple of other jobs, with no real success. Thankfully, today I had my first evaluation, which went very well, and I picked up a lot more hours for next week. By the time I got home from work today, they had called to see if I wanted more hours this week too, since they "really like" me. Of course I said YES! Phew!

I also have a job interview next Tuesday for an instructional assistant position in a middle school. If I can get that, and work as a tutor at the local university in the fall, I may be able to quit grocery again. We shall see!

...Job Training News...
I also mentioned that The Boy will be doing some job training soon. He'll be working in the café at the teen club, and will be learning interviewing skills, resumé building, etc. This program is free to club members, and comes with a $200 stipend at the end. He's got plans for that money already... buying an engine for his 1972 Chevy pickup... or perhaps rebuilding the engine it has, though option A seems more likely. He might also use a little of the money for barista training, so he can work on getting a job.

...In Our Homeschooling...
I've asked the kids to take on more responsibility for their schoolwork. I'm making a weekly assignment sheet, and they have from Saturday mornings to the following Friday at noon to get it all done. Of course, I am available for assistance, and we still read our book of the moment and watch documentaries together, but they will be doing their math, other reading, and writing largely on their own. We've also added audiobooks back into our circulation! We're going to finally finish the Percy Jackson series, then listen to The Lord of the Rings. I'm in the process of updating our Afternoon Basket page at last!

...Around the House, Kitchen, and Garden...
Since I'm working shifts that are all over the place, and M puts in 10-12 hour days, I'm working again on actually meal planning. We have a few vegetarian/plant-based dinners a week now, both for health and to save money, and then some meat a few times a week. I need to put my crockpot to good use!

We have a list of things to be done before mid-fall too, like tarring the family room roof to help with leaks, rototilling a big chunk of the backyard and amending the soil, etc. The Boy and The Girl will have to be my primary helpers. Decluttering continues, especially after we've started watching the documentary Minimalism.

We planted several tomatoes this year, along with plenty of peppers and onions, some squash, and some lemon cucumbers. All are thriving! The above-mentioned rototilling is part of our plan to put in a real garden next spring at long last.

...Random Pictures...
Just some recent and random pictures to wrap up this post!

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Waiting for fireworks

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A recent leaf drawing by The Girl

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A trip to the beach on the fourth

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Meet Ted, our new caterpillar!