Friday, May 29, 2009

setting sail (sort of )

I am thrilled that the boy and I will be part of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew for 2009 – 2010. We will be reviewing a variety of homeschool curricula and products and posting the reviews here. Those who participated last year say this will bring a year loaded with fun. I know we hit points during the school year when a little diversion is needed and I think this will fit the bill. We can’t wait!

here’s to the next 20 years


We have landed squarely back in the real world, but our time at Biltmore Estate was wonderful – it exceeded our expectations. If you need grown-up time away, this is the place.

Most people think of George Vanderbilt’s home (above) when they think of the estate. The house is gorgeous, with new rooms open since our last visit. We soaked in every detail of the tapestries, lush fabrics and ornate details. We actually spread our house tour over two days, which was perfect. I think we really came away with a sense of the family who lived there.


Ahh, the Inn. Do stay at the Inn. Our room was spacious, immaculate and luxurious, with an incredible view of the winery and the mountains. The staff went above and beyond the call of duty to make our stay memorable. (The sparkling wine, above, was waiting for us in our room on our anniversary.)

And when you stay at the Inn, do eat in the Dining Room. While the vegetarian and the carnivore had very different meals, we agreed they were magnificent. Few places do both equally well, but in this case, the chef (and our server) were perfect.


Biltmore Estate has become a destination in its own right. We spent quite a bit of time touring the gardens and walking some of the many trails. We also toured the winery and sampled some of the estate’s wines (er, twice). One of our favorite things was the Chocolate and Red Wine seminar, where we became amateur sommeliers. (I liked the merlot. He preferred the red zinfandel. We know that now.)



We had long walks, morning coffee on the veranda and a leisurely vacation pace that we haven’t experienced in years, if ever. And I had him all to myself.


We can hardly wait to go back.

(More photos here.)

Monday, May 25, 2009

happy anniversary


Crazier about him than I was when I married him 20 years ago this week – and very thankful for every day – we are away celebrating. But we celebrate all the time, really. I am the luckiest woman in the world.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

first step to knowing

I hope you will check out the May issue of WNC Parent. My column on learning to be still is running, which sounds ironic, right?

women who encourage

Ladies, I hope you will visit these women online. I am privileged to call them my friends.

Amy and Judy at Kardia Ministries are doing great things. Amy’s latest blog entry, “I am strong? I am invincible?” is a must-read.

Kipra Anderson of Let There Be Mom continues to make an incredible difference in the lives of terminally ill parents and their families. You can support Let There Be Mom through the end of June by hosting a group for Dine In for Mom. Click on over to learn more.

Monday, May 18, 2009

“michael, we are not a codfish”


What a teenager looks like when she realizes her dad is dangling car keys in the background…keys that go with the (used) car parked surreptitiously at the neighbor’s house…and that we still have dad’s truck and mom’s van parked at our house…and that she really needs to drive herself to school next year.

But we are not a codfish.

Friday, May 15, 2009

homeschool: the sixth grade version

(This is a note to self. Apologies to those who don’t homeschool. You will be bored to tears. I’ll try to make up for it later. Here – I’ll post some sleepy dog photos to ease the pain.)



Fifth grade wraps up soon and while we still have ITBS testing next week and the glorious end-of-the-year paperwork extravaganza to look forward to, sixth grade is on its way.

Here’s what we have on the agenda:

History (Social Studies): Sonlight Core 6 with hands-on enrichment

Literature: Sonlight Core 6 (I bought stronger reading glasses. No joke.)

Writing/Composition: Sonlight Language Arts 6 (but I am looking at IEW Student Writing Intensive B – It’s pricey, so I’m looking for it used. And maybe it’s boring, I don’t know. Thoughts?)

Grammar: Grammar Ace (mainly as reinforcement and review)

Math: Math-U-See Pre-Algebra

Science: Prentice Hall Science Explorer: Weather and Climate, Animals and From Bacteria to Plants; TOPS Science Electricity.

Spanish: Taken at co-op. We will also use Rosetta Stone for our regular classes at home. I have the workbook and textbook for Destinos, which we will eventually do. The boy is freaked out by total immersion, so we’re going gently into that goodnight with Rosetta Stone.

Art and Music: Taken at co-op – guitar at home, as well as Drawing: The Complete Course.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

God's Love

I feel like I need to go see what kind of battery I have in my car.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

back in time


(Scroll down for the HOTM curriculum sale info. Thanks!)

Another wonderful field trip – This time to the Mauldin Cultural Center and the Gosnell cabin. This cabin (in some form) was originally on property now owned by our local Boy Scouts council. (The property is the site of Camp Old Indian, the subject of lots of previous posts here.) When the cabin was donated to the city, the good folks who moved it did not number the logs, so we don’t know if the reassembly was accurate. We can safely assume it was frustrating. :) In any event, there were quilts and a butter churn. Need I say more?





The Gosnells are pictured below. Sorry for the cruddy photo. It was way over my head (literally), so I couldn’t do anything about the weird light.

I bet the Gosnells were not nearly as angry as they appear.


Monday, May 11, 2009

homeschool book sale at HOTM

Time to clean the shelves! Heart of the Matter is facilitating a used book sale today. My listings are here. Visit Heart of the Matter for more links.

Friday, May 8, 2009

there are primary sources…

and then there are primary sources.

It was such a treat last week to visit the local American Legion War Museum with a group of homeschoolers. The displays were great, but they couldn’t compare to the stories and enthusiasm from the veterans who came just to speak with our children. God bless them.


That’s Mr. Bryant – above, and below as he appeared during his service in World War II. He was an absolute delight and though he is well past 80, he showed no sign of slowing down. In fact, I am pretty sure he could take me in a foot race. I could have talked with him for hours.

65 years later, World War II veterans still cry when they talk about the horrors they experienced. We have no idea. No. Idea.




The boy enjoyed it almost as much as I did.


Love this sign:


and in other news

Lydia over at Little Blue School very kindly included me on her list of Top Homeschoolers to Follow on Twitter. She “ruthlessly categorized” us, which is cool. I came in as “writer.” That works. :)

the tale of despereaux


OK, I am late to the party, but my review of The Tale of Despereaux is up at Heart of the Matter. This was a sweet, sweet story. It might be scary for wee littles, however.

Monday, May 4, 2009

beauty with ease

Pardon the shameless self-promotion, but I thought you might enjoy hearing about one more story in this month’s Upstate Parent and Palmetto Parent. I interviewed some moms who know more than a thing or two about beauty and I got their tips for all of us who feel a little challenged in that department. Lela Barker, owner of Bella Lucce, even gave me some wonderful recipes for homemade beauty treats.


cut (or clip) that grocery budget

I hope you will check out my story on couponing in this month’s Upstate Parent. Two local women have taken this to levels that are just incredible.