We made it!

Through two milestones actually 🙂

First there was recital. 

It was HARD.  Seriously.  Although I appreciated having everything condensed into one weekend it ended up being one hell of a weekend!  K and I were at the venue for 12 hours and 15 minutes on Saturday and then we were all there for 4 1/2 hours on Sunday.  If you include an hour commute that is one busy weekend! 

In the end it went well!  The kids did very well and the whole thing just had such great energy!  Our director can be proud for sure 🙂  I sure am proud of my kiddos!  B and K were both sick and dealt with it like professionals.  M held it together despite a change of venue and much more chaos then in years past.  I wish I had more pictures of them but these will have to do!

K doing her Trio-The Cave

My beautiful girls dancing The Finish Line for Lyrical

B doing his Hip Hop-Work and Party

K cheering-Push It Mix

Secondly we had end of year assessements.  We passed!  I never had any doubt (well, maybe a little) 😉  I had a nice time listening to what other homeschoolers did this year and got some good information about B and his reading and planned for next year. It was a little strange to just be handing over grades for K instead of explaining what we did…..kind of bittersweet “sniff”   Despite that, I really enjoy this opportunity every year and this was no different!


We did a few other things as well….K and B took part in a science fair and we attended Graduation and Awards night for the small private school K attends…but I’ll have to update those later!

He!! week (X 2)

It’s certainly going to be a busy couple of weeks here at The School Down the Lane! 

This week is pre-recital week which includes the following:

-regular dance classes on Monday and Thursday
-extra classes for finale on Wednesday plus an extra cheer class
-M has to sing at Graduation on Friday
-Saturday we have 1. Dress rehersal 2. Pictures for Hip Hop and Cheer 3. Evening Recital
-Sunday we have 1. Pictures for Modern, Lyrical and Trio 2. Afternoon Recital

Then next week is also going to be packed!

-Tuesday we have assessments and then maybe the homeschool used curriculum sale
-Wednesday K will start summer tumbling
-Thursday there is the E——-Academy Science Fair plus K’s regular classes
-Friday K is taking her English Accuplacer at the community college
-the following Monday we have Geography Fair

This weekend especially is going to be insane but I am actually looking forward to it!  I love recital with all it’s chaos and frantic energy (I know, I’m a little nuts!) and adding in photos is only going to make it crazier 🙂  It’s all good though and it will be so nice to see my kids on stage.  I’m especially excited about K’s trio which was entirely self choreographed by the dancers. 

Hopefully I’ll be back with pictures on Monday!

Time for Review

Portfolio review that is!! 

I find myself more unprepared then usual this year…gee, that seems to be a theme this year doesn’t it?  Anyway…..I have spent the last week or so trying to figure out what exactly to put into my presentation for end of year revieiws.  I managed to come up with something I think is pretty presentable.

Here it is for your viewing pleasure!

11th Grade

U. S. History
1 History Credit

Literature Study
1 English Credit

Intro to Early Childhood Ed
1 Science Credit

Photography 101
1 Art Credit

Competitive Cheerleading
Senior Satellite, level 2
½ PE Credit

½ PE Credit

Algebra 1
Life of Fred Beginning Algebra
1 Math Credit

Cheerleading Coaching
1 Early Childhood Ed credit

 That gives her a total of 6.5 credits and a GPA of 3.8

Her total credits for High School are 18.5.  Next year she plans on using dual enrollment to take College Comp and Environmental Science first term and a History course (undecided) and Sociology 101 in the second term.   At home we will concentrate on Math with Algebra 2 as well as filling in her history with whatever he feels she is lacking in. 

Grade 5

Kumon workbooks:Z
     Geometry and Measurement, Grade 3 and Grade 4
     Decimals and Fractions, Grade 4
     Word Problems, Grade 3

Apologia Zoology, Swimming Creatures
     Freezing Salt Water
Science Fair-Excellence Academy
     Gummy Bears in Various Solvents

Story of the World, Volume 1
Greek Myths
Map-work booklet

Hooked on Phonics, grade 1
Nightly Reading Aloud
Jump Start

Hip Hop and Breakdancing-Head 2 Soul
Indoor Soccer -Academy of Basketball
Homeschool Gym-Paul Nolette

Play Doh
Free Drawing

I don’t grade B and won’t until he hits high school.  At this point we review until mastery so he’s be getting all A anyway ;) 

So that’s it!  I will also be bringing a photo collage for each of them and whatever projects they want me to showcase.

Easter and the Farm

I decided to combine my posts on these two subjects because they were on the same day and plus I don’t have a lot of pictures from Easter so it would make kind of a boring post on it’s own.  Hey, it’s my blog!  Just roll with me here!

So…..wasn’t prepared at all for Easter this year because M was in the middle of chicken pox and I wasn’t able to get out of the house to shop without her.  I did manage to get some baskets together by sneaking out one night after peeling her off my hip leaving her with W.  I also picked up a couple of egg decorating kit so the kids could at least color eggs. 

Here are their efforts:

We had dinner at my parents as we usually do……I brought cupcakes from a local bakery

After dinner the kids opened their baskets.  They got some at home too but Grandma had the good stuff this year.

Notice how happy K looks?  She got very good news in her Easter basket this year.  Inside it was a note telling her that She, I and her Grandmother will be going to Orlando to visit Harry Potter world this September for her 18th birthday!!!!!!!  (I was pretty happy too, although I’ve know about it for over a month and was about to burst).

BTW M for a gift card to Amazon and B got a super fancy automatic water gun. 

And then we were off to the farm where we saw the new chicken coop……

and the flock

We also visited the new lamb Teague

and lots of the other animals

Oh rats!

 As I mentioned in the ketchup post, we had our own little lesson in biology here at The School Down the Lane when K’s new pet rat Willow unexpectedly gave birth to 10 babies.  We were singularly unprepared but luckily Willow was an excellent mother who allowed us to handle the babies without trouble despite barely knowing us.  She actually seemed to look at our daily play session with the  babies as a break, using the time to groom herself and do a little interior decorating in her cage. 

For the record, handling baby rats is a good thing.  It will help them get used to being handled and make them better pets.  Mama will not abandon them or eat them if you pick them up.

Here is a little rundown of their development!


Day two:  Still hairless and helpless but their colors are showing more.

Day three:  Coat colors are showing even more and their ears are standing out more, although ears and eyes are still closed.  They are squirming around a lot now and sometimes escape the nest.

Day five:  Fur is growing in now and they continue to escape occasionally.  They are quite active but ears and eyes still closed.

One week:  Coats are almost fully in now, they move on their own and often try to nurse off each other if removed from mama.  I believe their ears are open but the eyes are still closed.

Day 11: Their eyes are looking like they might open any time now!  Ears are definitely open. You can easily tell Rex coats (curly fur) from smooth (this one is a rex).

Two weeks:  Eyes are open!!  They are fully mobile and running in and out of the nest much to mama’s dismay!

At three weeks we noticed some of them were a little thin so we introduced some solid food.  We fed them baby cereal mixed with kitten formula. 

That perked them up for sure much to Willow’s dismay it gave them enough energy to get to her hiding spot 😉

Of course, although I found them all completely adorable and sweet (well, most of them LOL!), there was no way we could keep all ten babies.  We decided to keep two boys to live together and one girl to stay with her mama.  Luckily for us a local rat rescue group stepped in (after I e-mailed them asking for advice on what the heck to do!) and offered to place the extras.  Rats mature quickly, so at five weeks we bid goodbye to all but three of the babies 😦 

The boys;  Peter (the champange) and Quincy (the white patchy one)

The girls; Willow and Daisy

End of the Year Ketchup Post

So much went on this year that I was unable to keep up!  I do, however, want to record it all for posterity as it were.  Sooooo….here is my ketchup (or catch up LOL!) post!


K celebrated her 17th birthday! 

As per her request, her grandmother and myself took her to Salem, MA for the day.  We toured “Witch City” and she got herself a tatoo!

Ok…it’s just an airbrushed tatoo 😉

This is also the month that K and I started coaching a local rec football cheering team. 

It was a lot of work but we enjoyed it for the most part.  We did decide to stick to running the program next year and leave the coaching to others!


This month we started up our all-star cheerleading program for it’s second season!  We had a great turn out and we really enjoy working with the kids!

Our little dog Mr. Biscuit had to have surgery this month to remove a lump from his head and have his teethe cleaned.  He was less then happy with the whole thing! 

This was also the month of our favorite holiday….Halloween!

K dressed as Medusa, M as a Dark Fairy and B and a ninja.  Our friend C dressed as a Zombie Prom Queen which ws awesome!  We did not attend trick or treat at the living museum, instead going to a Halloween party at our dance studio.  We also had our annual Halloween party where we served breadstick bones,  Mummy dogs,  Mummy pizzas, cupcakes and candied popcorn. 


This month K, our friend C and I attended the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 midnight premier.  K was Deatheater Bellatrix, C was Azkaban Bellatrix and I was a dementor.

We also celebrated Thanksgiving and got to visit with our little neice and nephews.


December was a big month here! 

M celebrated her 15th birthday..

K finished her first college class and recieved an A!  Here is her final project 🙂

B had his at home birthday (he will have his party on his 1/2 birthday in June).  Here he is playing with his silver playdoh that he got as a gift.

Of course we also celebrated Christmas by making lots of cookies…

and by having our annual Christmas Eve celebration of celebrating another culture.  We did Chile this year and had Empanadas, Chilian salad, Chilian rice and roast chicken. 

We had Dulche de Leche for desert.  We made that by cooking the cans in the crockpot….it was a  bit messy 🙂 



Some exciting things happened this month!

Our studio moved locations

K and I took our tiny team to competition..

and we did some animal tracking in the snow

K started her 2nd college class (photography) and we did a house wide frugality study where we learned to make a lot of stuff homemade from what we had around the house….like this chex mix.

and homemade Chinese food.


This month revolved mainly around cheerleading as we not only took our youth team to thier first and second competitions..

but K also competed herself for the first time in several years! 

We did manage to get some fun in though and we attended a sledding party!


This month we spent a lot of time trying not to lose our minds because it would. stop. snowing.  Our cheer season ended with a 1st place win for both our tiny and youth teams and a fun end of year party.

it was a nice way to end an almost unbearable month.


Oh April!  What a month!  On our very first day we were presented with this sight when K went to pick up her new pet rat Willow.

for those of you unfamiliar those are newborn baby rats….10 of them to be exact.  It was the beginning of an adventure I will elaborate on in a seperate post but suffice it to say we got quite a bit of hands on biology this month!


(you will understand this picture in a minute if you read on)

A few days after that I felt quite uwell and then broke out in blisters on my neck and ear.  I get cold sores fairly frequently, and not always on my lips, so I thought that was what it was.  Wrong!! I in fact had shingles.  Not only that but due to the fact that it took me a bit to get to the Dr (teach me to self diagnose!) I infected both M, B and C who broke out in chicken pox about two weeks later.  We all survived with the help of benedryl, advil and the odd anitviral (for B and myself).  Yay for natural immunity!!  K managed to dodge the bullet, probably because she had the vax when she was 4.  Of course I should probably knock on something wooden since she could still come out with them.

And if that wasn’t bad enough….after spending a rather large amount of money we didn’t really have to travel and stay overnight in order for K to compete at a big name comp at a certain amusement park…it was cancelled before she got to perform 😦  Cancelling was the right decision, it was pouring down rain and kids were getting hirt slipping on the mats BUT the park refused to refund our money when we had only been in the park about 45 minutes AND we had asked if the comp was still going several times before we paid to enter.  I am NOT happy about that…..in case you couldn’t tell LOL!   It wasn’t a total bust as we managed to visit the Forest Park Zoo on Friday night as well as the two floor Barnes and Noble on Saturday but K was hugely disappointed, as was I.  Here is the only picture I got of the whole trip, taken as we waited for the session before K’s to get done and minutes before we heard the news 😦

It was not all bad news though….B managed to do some playdough art

We also had  lovely Easter and our annual trip to my brother’s farm…..both of which will soon have thier own posts.

Oh, and the baby rats got a lot cuter!

I think that is it for now!  I’ll be back later with those other posts I promised!

Homemade Pumpkin Muffins

and I mean completely homemade!  Seriously, I even ccoked a fresh pumpkin! 

Apparently there is a canned pumpkin shortage (who knew?) and when W heard I thought he might have a panic attack at the thought of not having pumpkin pie this year.  I had recently read a tutorial on how to cook up fresh pumpkins and figured it was worth a try….especially when I saw pie pumpkins on sale at my local mega-mart for 73 cents! 

So basically you are supposed to cut them in half , wrap them in foil and bake for 1 hour at 350.  Sounds easy right?  Um…yeah…not so much.  First of all “cutting” the things in half was nearly impossible.  I ended up spearing the tings with my sturdiest kitchen knife and repeatedly banging them on the counter until I managed to spllit them in half.  Then I realized you have to break the stems off too if you want to wrap the top half in foil.  Good thing there was nobody else in the kitchen or someone might have lost an eye!

Anyway….here they are in their foil jackets.

This is what they looked like after they were cooked…you could easily scrape out the meat with a fork or a spoon.

A bowl full of fresh pumpkin mush!  It had a few chunky bits but really didn’t need pureeing in my opinion.  I just mushed it up and used it as was.

a tower of empty pumpkin shells…they were very hard after baking.  Who am I kidding, they were very hard before baking 😉

and finally a finished pumpkin muffin!

Ummmmm…..I have no idea who took that bite *brushing crumbs off shirt*

They were very good if I do say so myself!