We had a quiet Thanksgiving at home. Typically we have people over, but not this year. Even our eldest daughter was away, so that was sad. We will see her tomorrow, though.

But one topic of discussion came up. We are definitely food snobs. We love good food. We all decided that there is no better Thanksgiving meal than our own. Nobody has a better sweet potato casserole recipe than the one we got from Martha when we lived in GA. Nobody makes a better turkey than my husband who seems to have done away with the common problem of dry breast meat. This meal was so delicious. It was a combined effort: Tall dude made the stuffed mushrooms, dh always makes turkey/stuffing/gravy, mashed potatoes, Pearly made the sweet potato casserole, I made pumpkin pies and cranberry sauce.

Tall Dude's plate (stuffing is missing)

We tried a new cranberry sauce recipe this year: Cranberry Sauce Extraordinaire. When I saw my children shoveling it in their mouths like jello, I knew we had added a new tradition to our feast.

See the cranberry sauce cranberry sauce evidence? He was already asking for more at the point.

And this little boy decided the cranberry sauce made a nice addition to the sweet potato casserole.


Biology and Homeschooling


Looking at mushroom spores

Pearly is studying biology. Some people wonder how we can teach high school level biology if the teacher (ahem, me) has little biology background. We use Apologia science texts (info on Apologia on my sidebar) for high school (and grade school). These were written for homeschooled students and are very readible. We have purchased a nice microscope and also lab kits from Home Science Tools (incredibly fast shipping and great customer service). Once or twice a week, Pearly's friend comes over to do their labs together. This has been working very well. They have a daily schedule to keep up with and come prepared to begin labs on Fridays or every other Friday.

One of my favorite aspects of homeschooling is seeing children get exciting about their studies on their own (let me tell you, this mom is not fond of science, but I've been careful to not let that out of the bag). It has blown me away to see that not only has my daughter caught the science bug, but she has considered pursuing it in college. (Whew - my disdain for science really hasn't rubbed off.) When I think about it, perhaps it wasn't that I didn't like science, but the way it was taught was unappealing to me (don't get me on the subject of history which I now love). Give children the foundation of the love of learning and reading, the tools they need, and they will fly. I love homeschooling. I really do.

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We have a Guest Blogger

NOTE: This is written by Pearly - 14-yr old - assigned by her mean homeschooling mom

Last night as my mom and I were looking up a recipe for chicken pot pie at, I noticed a recipe that they were advertising on their front page: MUDDY BUDDIES!!!! I had these for my first time at a violin ensemble a few years ago and I absolutely LOVED them!! They're made out of Corn Chex (Rice Chex would be really good too), peanut butter, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and powdered sugar. So when I saw the recipe, I asked my mom to print it out and my dad got the ingredients at the store on his way home from work. They are very easy to make and taste delicious!! I guess it's just the crunch of the Corn Chex combined with the flavor of the chocolate chips and peanut butter that makes them so good. Although it was very tempting to demolish them all last night, I decided I would save them and bring them to a volleyball game at PSU that I'm going to with my dad and volleyball team today!!

I took some pictures of them today and asked my mom to post them on

So........YOU HAVE GOT TO TRY THESE!!! THEY ARE THE BEST SNACK IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD!!!! Oh, by the way, they are very, and I repeat very addicting!!! :)

Ok, Jewel's "the mom" comments :

So, this morning, Pearly came up to me and told me I needed to upload her pictures on is a great place to find recipes - you can search by ingredient, read reviews, see pictures, upload your own finished meals/snacks, etc. All good fun for a mom who likes to cook. So, I obliged and uploaded the pics on and thought that it might be fun to post the recipes ond pictures here on my blog. Being a very practical homeschooling mom, I decided to assign Pearly the job of writing about the recipe. I am "the" teacher. I get to assign whatever I want. This is not a traditional school. I get to see what my kids are interested in and base their writing assignments around that using whatever media I choose. They don't have to be at a desk sitting up straight using No. 2 pencils. They can be like my eldest daughter who did some of her schoolwork beneath the baby grand piano (same child who also hid reading books in the bathroom and spent extra time doing her "business" - hahahaha Hannah, you're outed).

So anyway, I thought this would be a cool assignment and I'm glad you could be a part of it. And now if you will excuse me while I proofread her work above.


Three years ago, Orange boy learned how to knit.

He's still at it. It's not something that he does all the time, but November seems the perfect time to knit - especially on a normal wet and rainy day in the Pacific Northwest.

Our tv died about 2 months ago. It forced the kids to do different things - play more games, do more crafts, spend more time together. It was awesome. We recently replaced the tv because we wanted to see the election coverage, but there are a new set of rules.

Every one of us admitted that we didn't miss the television. That it was a time waster. It was nice to see that we all came to the same conclusion and so when we made the new guidelines, they weren't bothered by them. They knew how much fun they had without it.

I"m happy to say that we have been following the guidelines. Orange boy's scarf is getting longer. Pearly has been busy knitting and sewing, too. Brown Eyes has been devouring books.
Bunny and Caboose have been playing and playing (okay and fighting). But I think we have a handle on this now. It feels good. That big box does not rule our house anymore. Amen.

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Pearly's Birthday

We celebrated Pearly's 14th birthday. One thing different from last year is Caboose is getting more into the celebratory spirit these days. If you were reading this blog last year, you may remember this picture where he burst into tears as we started singing "Happy Birthday".

It got pretty bad . . . or REALLY bad as the song continued. Poor baby!

Notice how his siblings are consumed with consoling their distraught brother. (Notice how his mother continued to snap pictures.)

This year, as we started singing, he came out of no where and blew out Pearly's candle before she got a chance. He thinks they are all for him now.

We did light the candle again for the birthday girl. No worries.
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Voting in Oregon

In Oregon, we vote by mail. There are no polls, no lines to wait in. I love it. Here is what our ballot looks like. After we vote, the ballot is put in the secrecy envelope and then inside the bigger envelope. The bigger envelope is signed. We typically drop our ballot off at election headquarters in our city because I like having the satisfaction of knowing that it really got there in time.

Please vote!

PS - My daughter just asked about all of that "political garbage" I mentioned in a previous post. I don't consider this post as political garbage. I'm not ridiculing a candidate or people who might vote for a particular candidate. I am encouraging people to take advantage of their democratic freedoms we have in this great country. Now go vote!

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Do you see this?

Do you see where the end of this PJ shirt lands? Even with my hand on the keyboard, the end is landing in the RIGHT PLACE. Take note - what you see is the very first time I have had a shirt fit me properly in sleeve length. Previously, the way I would get length is by wearing XL (even though I'm a medium) and then the excess width would give me a little extra length in sleeves, but talk about swimming!

I had to laugh today when I was rinsing something out in the sink. Never before have I had to really push up my sleeves when doing dishes - they were already pushed up because there was nothing close to my wrist. Even tall shops don't fit me. My arm/legs are longer than my husband's and he is 2 inches taller than me. So, now I have adjusted the pattern. I have added 5-3/4 inches to each sleeve length and for the first time in my life, I will have long-sleeved PJ tops that fit. WOOHOO (can you tell I'm a little bit excited)?

Oh, see that double seam line - that is from my new coverstich machine. I like it a lot. Next time I will not make the seam so close to the edge. This was my practice piece (cheap $2 per yard sweatshirt fleece).

My PJ pants are cut out and ready to sew. I had to add EIGHT inches to the pattern and hope that I didn't tweak the whole thing out by adding that much length. I will report back later.


I'm having a hard time

dealing with all of the political garbage on crafty blogs.

Just keeping it real here.


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