Thursday, May 3, 2007

This, That, and the Other Thing

Whew. I am spent. I keep telling myself I need to get to bed by 10:00, but I continue to push past 11:00 p.m. every night. *sigh* I know I've said it before, but it is that time of year when I am driven to distraction. We are SOOOOOO close to being done with school, and yet there is still quite a bit to do before we can actually "call it a year."

Next week Eve will have her evaluation by a certified teacher next week. The State of FL requires that homeschooled students either take their standardized test (no WAY), another standardized test, such as the Iowa Basic Skills test, be evaluated by a certified teacher, or... well, they have a couple other options if your child has special needs, but I haven't needed to explore those options. This year and last, Maia (pronounced "Maya," by the way, for any of you that may have wondered) took the IBS, just for the testing experience. Prior to that, she had been evaluated by Miss Kim and we'll do that again next year too. This will be Eve's first year, as she is now of the age that her records need to be reported to the school district.

Anyway, the evaluation is quite low key. I probably make it into more than it needs to be. The State also requires that we keep annual portfolios of our childrens' work in case we would ever need to be, essentially, audited, by the district superintendent. This is not likely to ever happen, unless someone were to report a homeschooling family for neglect. I figure I'm a bit too anal to ever have that happen, but the portfolios are ready just in case. Kim always laughs at mine because they are fancier than they need to be, but that's just my style.

So, next week we will be quite busy with preparing portfolios as well as displays for the following week's last Recitation Club recital of the year. This time the event will be held at my house, so other necessary preparations will ensue. I still am not exactly sure when the last day of school will be for us, because we are traveling up to MN for the birth of my sister's first baby. My mom is buying the tickets, though, and I'm still waiting on a date from her.

So, things feel a bit scattered and all I want to do is just zone out and draw. That and do yoga. :) Obviously I need some centering and the end of the school year just doesn't provide that. But it's coming... slowly but surely.

I've been meaning to report back on some ecological foot shrinking that I've been doing. This weekend I made my own peanut butter, so that was great; no packaging required! No one has complained about it or the homemade mayonaisse, so I figure these two things are keepers and a good addition to the package-free items in our household.

Buying package-free and local is a challenging task, I am finding. I knew it would be, but didn't realize how hard it might be. I realize that I will not be able to purchase everything without packaging (though I'm aiming for big reductions), but even the local Whole Foods Market, which sells many items in bulk, pre-packages even some of their bulk items. Whatever for, I wonder? Like the peanuts that I wanted. I ended up having to go to a different healthy food store in order to get those. So, why can Richard's Whole Foods sell the peanuts in bulk, and WF feels like they have to put them in little plastic containers?

So, the biggest challenge for me, it seems, will be finding which places have what I'm looking for and combining all my trips as much as possible.

Happily, I am finding that I can purchase more organic foods for my family and the cost doesn't yet seem to be a problem. How is this? I think the key lies in purchasing the things and eating them as soon as possible. Instead of planning my meals and purchasing ingredients around those ideas, I am trying to purchase what is available and fresh, and make meals around those things. It is different than the way I have been doing things for a number of years, but it seems to be working well. I will continue to track our grocery costs and report back as to the viability of this plan. Trying to buy fresh and as low on the packaging scale as I can means that I'm not bringing as many canned or boxed goods into the house (which weren't that many to begin with) and so appears to be cutting some of those costs.

I also ordered our new clothesline this weekend!! None of the stores sell them in the actual store (only available online) around here, which is a sad, sad statement on our community from a green standpoint. I am eagerly awaiting its arrival!


I posted around the beginning of April that I was going to try using a shampoo bar instead of purchasing shampoo in a bottle. Well, I am sorry to say that the bar has been demoted to regular soap, because my hair just felt plain funky after trying to stick with it for a little over a week. I tried it with and without conditioner and did not meet with success, so I am looking for other options. My next idea is to purchase the concentrated Dr. Bronner's and try that as a shampoo. I have used it for other things around the house, but not as a shampoo, so I'll let you know on that too.

Finally, I just thought I'd share with all of you some of the work I've done in my visual journal of late. The top is a calendar project that is fun to play with all month with ephemera you can collect as you go about your daily tasks. I can't take credit for the original idea. I found it on Flickr HERE. I'm busy at work on my May one and I'm really enjoying them. They are a nice addition to the journal.

The second piece is was just a fun one I did this past weekend. I wanted to do something "from my head" instead of what I saw around me.

The third is something I made from a prompt from the Creative Mom Podcast. It's okay... not my best, but another page nonetheless.

The last picture is dear to me. It is a drawing I did from a photo of my older daughter, Maia. It was taken on the safari boat ride at Disney's Magic Kingdom last summer. She is wearing a beaded crown/necklace she made and her hair is pulled back in a ponytail. We were all having a terrific time with cousins visiting and I just loved her big, happy smile.

Well, a longer post than I intended. Thanks for hanging on for the ride if you've made it to the end of this post!! I hope you're all having a great week... it's almost Friday!
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