Aug 072018
 

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This morning found us having a wonderfully yummy “Not-Back-To-School” breakfast.  That is right. While all the neighborhood kids were already at school my kids, both of them, were just waking up.  They were not tardy or skipping the first day.  Our first day is not for two weeks.  And that is a cause for celebration at the moment.

After much aggravation this past year, I knew something had to change.  Among other things is the schooling of George.  No worries, he will still be learning.  Only this time it is at home. With no homework all evening. With no early morning bus rides. With no wasted busy work during the day.

Well, that last one depends on what you call ‘wasted busy work’.  There is a lot of things he finds himself doing which I do not necessarily consider productive, but it is not ‘work’ to keep him busy while everyone else is doing something.

His schooling this year will look similar to Jack’s but with a few key differences.  For one, he is getting tutored in math outside of home two days a week.  A wonderful friend has tutored in math for years and already had another kid George’s age who was needing help this year.  By placing them both together there is now a ‘class’ of two plus the teacher.  You can’t get much more individualized than that.

With an added kid but no particular time I have to be home to meet a bus, we are able to stay for all of our play/nature groups, add in an outside class or two, and have an added voice when we talk about books we have been reading.

It also means more organization on my part.  And that, Dear Readers, is what I have been trying to work on these past few weeks.  Currently it looks more of a mess than organized, though it is getting there.  I have sold several things, recycled others, shredded papers to make a mulch for the garden, pulled up dead plants and replanted random seeds from almost empty packets, begun laying down cardboard in order to create a bed along the back fence for trees, added hooks in the attic to hang a quilt frame for storage, and rearranged the attic (still in progress) so the less needed items are no longer right by the door.

Okay, I may have also binge watched all the episodes of a vlog on YouTube. Motivation comes in many forms.

There has also been a lot of thought to my goals for this year.  While they are under the umbrella of our overall education goals, each kid has different needs.  This has helped guide me in decisions about possible activities, curriculum, planners, orders of the days, etc.  There is more to go, but any little step is closer than I was before.

Little steps seems to be the theme for me this summer.  I have accomplished several things, though all have been in little steps.  The new bed along the back fence is a great example of this concept.  First, I considered my goal – block out some of the view of the neighbor’s house.  Then I set about going through different ideas.  Next I did some research, then decided upon specifics.  After that came the first plant, then the marking for 3 more yet-to-be-purchased tress.  Once those were marked I began laying down cardboard as an initial layer for a planting bed.

Layers of cardboard are good for killing grass, keeping moisture in, and decomposing after some time.  Finding someone getting rid of their moving boxes helped the progress of this step immensely.  While doing all this, I also have been earning Swagbucks to use toward purchasing landscaping and concrete blocks to edge in this bed.

Later this week I will begin adding wood chips.  I had delayed this step as I did not want to spend $$$ at the store to purchase bagged mulch.  A search on one of the local For Sale groups returned a result for free wood chips.  Perfect.  Now to haul them to my house a bit at a time every week as I am in that part of town.

It’s that time of the year again! Swagbucks is holding a Back to School Team Challenge to help you earn free gift cards! For those of you who don’t know what Swagbucks is, it’s a website where you can earn cash back on everyday tasks you do online like shopping, answering surveys, discovering deals, and watching videos. You can even earn for searching the web!

If you’ve never tried Swagbucks before because you didn’t know where to begin, their Team Challenges are a great way to learn the ropes and earn points towards free gift cards and PayPal cash! The challenge runs from Monday, August 6th to Friday, August 10th

Here’s how you can join the challenge and the site:  
1. Click here to join the challenge and be assigned to a team.

2. In addition to earning SB, you’ll contribute to your team’s total as you complete different activities on Swagbucks.
3. Check back on the page often to see the scores and what you’ve contribute so far.
All members who participate and contribute at least 600 points to their team’s total will receive a SB bonus in the form of a SB Swag Up Shop Bonus on their next gift card!
Not only that, but if you sign up under me this month and earn 300 SB before September 1st, you’ll get a 300 SB bonus!

Members of the 1st place team will receive a 100 SB Swag Up Rebate, members of the 2nd place team will receive a 50 SB Swag Up Rebate!

Jul 282018
 

 

Regular turning of your compost pile is one of those garden jobs that often is forgotten.  Turning your pile over does several things:

  1. Mixes the new items you have added to your pile with your older items.
  2. Allows air to get to items that may previously have not had it.
  3. Discourages pesky insects (gnats, flies, mosquitoes, etc.) from gathering and laying eggs by covering food scraps not yet decomposed. This is only an issue if your pile is near where people will be, and therefore they will be pesky.
  4. Speeds up the decomposition of your pile.  In other words, you will have compost that you can use faster.  (This is my favorite reason.)

If you are in a cooler climate, or just a down right cold area, you may have to wait till a warmer day. This is especially true if your pile is under snow or otherwise unable to be worked.

Jun 282018
 
Monthly Reminder: turn your compost pile

  Regular turning of your compost pile is one of those garden jobs that often is forgotten.  Turning your pile over does several things: Mixes the new items you have added to your pile with your older items. Allows air to get to items that may previously have not had it. Discourages pesky insects (gnats, flies, mosquitoes, […]

Jun 172018
 
Priorities Can, and Should, Change With Seasons

This post contains affiliate links. Earlier this year I was looking at rain barrels to add to the garden. I was not sure what else I wanted to add to the garden, but I knew my main garden planning goal is to set up a good framework for the future. Rain barrels fit into this […]

Jun 042018
 
Utilizing An Out-of-the-way Corner of The Yard

A small space in your yard, either between buildings or along a border, can become a source of complaining if it requires maintenance yet does not seem to offer any benefit.  Such a space exists between our yard and our neighbor’s.  For the both of us this space is a dead-end, leading only to the […]

May 072018
 
Building a Concrete Block Raised Bed

There is a lot of “new” happening over here this growing season – new zone, new yard, new routines, new plant selections, new places to shop…you get the idea.  Among all the newness there are still some constants which help it all flow smoother. One of the things I have learn while gardening in various […]