Do you remember the group Simple Minds? You know, the 80′s rock band famous for the songs “Alive and Kicking” and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” from the movie The Breakfast Club. My husband loves the song “Alive and Kicking” and I have that song stuck in my head at this very moment.
Where has the month gone? I’ll tell you where it has gone, flying by and all over the place! As usual, I have been busy with various things, mostly homeschool, but we were able to enjoy a trip out-of-town during our fall break. Fall break, by the way, is non-existent in the public schools in my area, but we took one anyway…just because we can.
We ended September by entering some items we made in our local fair. My son entered in his pressed penny collection and a Lego construction. I entered in several photographs in different categories and a couple of paintings, none of which placed. The entries that did place were a hand-built pottery piece that won 2nd place, and a handmade book that won 1st place. My son didn’t win any ribbons, but he didn’t mind. He said he enjoys entering even if he doesn’t win. What a good attitude!
In early October, my son and I participated in a beautification project with picking up trash throughout our neighborhood. We made a visit to the North Carolina Department of Transportation office and told them we want to participate in the Fall Sweep program. They were more than happy to accommodate us and gave us nearly 50 orange trash bags, a dozen gloves, and two poking sticks for picking up trash. I told them it was just going to be my son and myself and they said just to keep it. The whole project took about an hour to pick up trash along three streets, and we only collected a half bag of trash and another half bag of recyclable items. Hmmm…I guess I can say our neighborhood and neighbors are tidy people. Now, I’m stuck with a bunch of bright orange trash bags! Maybe I can fill them up with the leaves from my yard and set them around to look like pumpkins.
Around the 8th of October, we headed North to visit my husband’s relatives and we stopped in Washington, D.C. on our way back home. It was my son’s first time visiting D.C., and we rode the Metro which was a bonus adventure for him. There was quite a bit of walking as we toured a few of the Smithsonian museums and the monuments along the National Mall. We took in as much as our legs would allow in eight hours, and yes, we were exhausted by the end of the day. The visit to our nation’s capital was a family trip in addition to a homeschool field trip since we are currently studying the presidents and U.S. history. Visiting D.C. will go down as one of our best family/homeschool trips yet.
As soon as we returned home from our 4 day trip up North, my son and I scrambled to get his science fair project completed. We had three days to prepare the display, and we got it done in two. A couple of weeks prior to our trip, we did the experiment he was going to enter in the science fair, and he wrote his notes and I took pictures of him performing the steps. Wasn’t that smart? All we had to do was type up everything, print it, gather materials and make the display. He won 2nd place in his age group. Yay for Ian!
In my spare time (what there is of it), I have been experimenting with some recipes. First, I made a butternut squash soup. It thought it was tasty, but the other two people in my family did not. So, I just added some extra spices to the soup with some sugar and eggs and made a butternut squash custard pie in a graham cracker crust. It tasted like pumpkin pie, but with a bit more squash flavor. It was actually better as a pie than as a soup, and yes, the other two people in my family ate it, willingly. I also roasted the seeds with a little butter and kosher salt in a 250 degree oven for about 10 minutes, until just toasted. We always roast our pumpkin seeds after we carve our jack-o-lanterns, and I thought the butternut squash seeds could be roasted, as well. Speaking of pumpkin, I also made pumpkin scones and added pumpkin puree to my pancake batter. Ah, autumn!
Last Sunday, my son and I went back to Carowinds one last time before they closed for the season. On the way home, we stopped at IKEA *sigh* and had dinner in their cafe. Total bliss! I love that store! It is exactly 80 miles away from me. To diehard “IKEA-ers”, that doesn’t sound very far away, but for a busy mom like me (and on a budget), it is. It’s a good thing it is so far away because if I lived closer, I think I would go broke.
Halloween is approaching and I love Halloween! Sadly, this year my son doesn’t have a costume to wear. My son without a Halloween costume is like hotdogs without mustard, cereal without milk…it just isn’t right. Something is missing. Last Halloween, he had a hard time deciding on a costume, but gathered enough items together to dress as a soldier. This year he wants to dress as Mario, but the costumes that are available aren’t age appropriate. Truth is, the Mario costumes look too juvenile for him, and he doesn’t want to dress up as anything other than Mario. As a result, he has decided to not dress up this year. It’s a shame because we have always enjoyed buying or making his Halloween costume. All our past Halloween’s were so much fun, and now it seems he is “outgrowing” it against his will. I am hoping there will be a turn of events come Halloween. My son might decide to throw on a gorilla mask with his jeans and t-shirt and go trick-or-treating, who knows. When it’s all said and done, he might resort to give out candy. Regardless, this Halloween is going to be…not the same.
In addition to preparing for Halloween this week, I will also be expecting a visit from my cousin and his family from Florida. They and many others from Florida are arriving for our family reunion on Saturday. I hope to see some other cousins, aunts, and uncles whom I haven’t seen in a very long time. The reunion is in honor of our grandmother, Ruth. Ruth is my mom’s mother and the “matriarch” of our family. My grandfather passed away in 1991, and together with my grandmother, they had 14 children. Four died in infancy, one died in the Vietnam War and there are nine living children of five girls and four boys. There are thirty-six grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren, and even great-great grandchildren. Now, that’s a large family! I’m hoping for a great reunion with some lasting memories of my family, and with my grandmother, whom I love dearly.
Perhaps my next post will have a good report from our Halloween and my family reunion. Maybe I’ll also be able to say that November is slow-paced with less activity, but I doubt it.