Saturday, March 5, 2016

State Archery Tournament

Our middle daughter is the archery "pro" in our family.  The other two kids can't let her do this alone so they participate as well.  Our son is pretty good but archery isn't his favorite sport; baseball is.  Our other daughter loves to shoot for fun.

Archery is a "team" sport in that you will often practice with a team and in some tournaments your team gets points or "credit" for your wins.  Other than that it is very much an individual sport.

Only girl on the line. Respect the pony tail!

We got involved in competitive archery last fall when our middle daughter wanted to shoot competitively.  We got her on a JOAD team in the area.  JOAD is part of USA Archery and is the team that goes to the Olympics.  JOAD stands for Junior Olympic Archery Development.  Basically, the JOAD teams are made up of kids under 20 years old and USA Archery look at these teams as a development program to feed into the Olympic teams.  We have met several kids who go a couple times a year to work with the Olympic trainers.  These kids are being groomed to be on the USA Olympic team eventually.  We aren't there yet.  :)

Anyway, our middle daughter started working with the JOAD team here in town last fall.  Her second practice was a "pin shoot" where they shoot in tournament style for points and they earn pins for progression.  These scores are saved for the team as a way to strive for higher scores.  At this pin shoot, our daughter broke a team record.  A few more practices in and I had a conversation with her coach.  The coach said that she couldn't help our daughter progress any further and that we should look for another coach to help her move further.  After that we began to use the team practices as an other time for practice only.  Her coach there didn't assist our daughter and frankly, ignored her for the most part.

Moving on, we found an awesome coach for her and they began working together in November.  They hit it off well and our daughter has progressed along quite well.  Her first tournament in December, she came in second.

At Christmas the other two wanted bows.  Santa obliged and they all began working with our private coach. (who also happens to have been homeschooled)

Last weekend was the Virginia State Indoor Championships.  It happened to be held not too far from us.  Of course the middle daughter wanted to compete as well as our son.  This would be his first tournament.

Waiting for the tournament to begin.
It was a two day tournament.  Our shoot time was the second day.  Our daughter was pretty confident she would do well.  Our son was out for the fun of it.  Our motto, "Every one (arrow) counts!"

It was a good shoot and both did very, very well.  Our daughter shot the best she has ever shot and our son, as we figured, survived the shoot and didn't quit.  He had fun.

When it came time for the awards, our son's division came first.  We were surprised to hear his name called for 2nd runner up! (That is third place)

And our daughter took 1st runner up! (Second place)

So now you know!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Living among boxes

We are moved into our  new home.  We love our surroundings and our views all around our house.

We love our "neighbors".

Our dog meeting one of our new neighbors.
We are excited to get settled.  The kids have pretty much unpacked most of their things already and are enjoying the space.  The furniture is placed as best as it can for right now.  And we have a TON of boxes to unpack still.

Thankfully, we have a two car garage where we have most of the boxes.  We bring in a box or two at a time and unpack.  It is nice because it doesn't crowd up the house with boxes and we are able to organize and plan where things will go.

We have also been shopping for furniture.  We NEEEEEED new furniture.  Ours is so old and yucky that it just doesn't "deserve" to be in this house.  I want to throw it all out and start over again.  But furniture is so super expensive and we can't afford to buy new all at one time.  It is a lesson in patience.

Oh, and tonight we are supposed to get 3-5 inches of snow.  Tomorrow looks to be a great day to unpack more boxes.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Moving Week! How to Move and Homeschool at the Same Time.... Aaaak!

Wow.  Moving week has come quickly. We have been moving boxes since last Wednesday but we still have a lot to tackle! My husband will be working some this week and he won't be able to help pack the rest of the house and get everything ready for our big move on Friday. We intended to do this move on our own but when it came down to it, my husband didn't want to have to worry about lifting all the heavy furniture and such so we hired a moving company to help out.  They come on Friday.  We want to have it all packed by Friday to save a bit of money and not have the moving company have to help pack.

We also have some other things on our plate.  Monday evening we are having dinner with family.  Sunday, two of the kids have the State Championships for Indoor Archery.  That is an all day event and we are missing church and the kids are missing confirmation class.  Because they have an upcoming competition, they need some good practice time.  We are hoping for at least 4 days of practice at least 1 1/2 hours long.  The closest indoor range is about 30 minutes away.  This means with travel that is a 2 1/2 hour ordeal and really it is more like a 3 hour ordeal 4 times this week. Wednesday, they will practice with their coach and that will most likely be a 2 hour practice.  I am exhausted just thinking about this all.

Practice, dinner out with family, make up for confirmation class, and packing the rest of the house doesn't leave a whole lot of time for school this week.  Instead of declaring it a week long holiday I created a packet of review work for each of them.  They can work on it in the car to and from practice as well as work on it in the evenings or any time they have a few moments.  The work is all review so they won't need much help from me and they can do it independently.  This way I can focus on our business work, shuttling them to and from the archery range and finish packing the house.

I know next week will be a week of searching for every single thing that I need in boxes at the new house so we might need another week of review too.  I am packing the materials I need readily in one box.  Hopefully it won't get lost and we can quickly get organized for next week too.  Thinking about it now, I think I will just plan next week now and get the materials together for their second week of "review" just in case we need it.

Sometimes I amaze myself at how "smart" I am!  Ha ha ha.   Wish me luck!  :)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Fat Tuesday

Or in some churches Shrove Tuesday.  Or in other churches (or even the same churches), Pancake Tuesday.

In our church we "celebrate" with a Pancake Dinner.  Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.  So today is the day to pack ourselves stuffed with, well, uh, pancakes before we do something serious tomorrow.

I usually give something up.  I don't always make it all the way through Lent though.  Some years I don't give anything up.  Some years I add something instead of give something up.

This year I am giving up sodas.  I have wanted to kick the Diet Coke habit for a while.  I don't necessarily call it a habit though.  I only have one or two a day and I can live without them.  I just really like the taste and particularly when I am eating certain foods, like pancakes (no, I am not kidding). So this year I decided to give it up.  We will see how well I do but I am not sweating it.  According to me, Jesus would like to see me happy and healthy.  I am that.

I am giving up Diet Cokes mainly because I want to begin to cut my daily caffeine down.  I am hoping it will help with sleep and actually give me more natural energy.  Again, we will see.  I also don't like reading about how diet sodas actually make you more hungry, mess with your sugar and insulin levels, and eat your stomach lining.  I don't have problems with the last two but would like to see about the first one.

I actually stopped drinking sodas on Sunday so I am already two days into my "no soda" experiment.

Sunday, February 7, 2016


We are moving......again.  This time it will be a much better home for us.  While it only has 3 bedrooms and we would prefer 4, it has plenty of space for our family, AND it comes with a bonus.  A separate 2 car garage that my husband can keep his business equipment in.  We will split the rent of this place between our personal finances and the business finances.

If we don't move we will have to rent a place for my husband's business.  This way we can run the business out of the house with no problem.  This means my husband will be home more.

To fill you all in, back in October we purchased another lawn service business.  We integrated it into our existing business and it is bringing in about $12,000 of additional profit a year. This helps a lot.

Right now we are regularly servicing about 120 customers with lawn maintenance.  We have about 500 total customers who use our services from time to time throughout the year but aren't on any regular maintenance plan.  We will also be hiring another full time worker making our full time employee total 2 and will use our son as part time help as well.

Back to the move.  We love this new house because it has a ton of storage.  It has a huge unfinished space that we will use as attic storage, a two car attached garage with additional storage area in there, a separate two car garage with full attic storage above that. The master bedroom is on the first floor and the kids' bedrooms are upstairs giving us some separation.  Funny, a few years ago we were all living on top of each other in a travel trailer and having little problems.  Now we are seeking out separation.  LOL  I think it is just because they are teenagers.

The two girls will share a bedroom.  It should be interesting to see how that goes.  Right now they are in each other's rooms all the time but I know they do like their own rooms and their own privacy too.

We move the end of the month and then will clean our condo and get it ready to rent again.  The lease isn't up until the end of July but we are hoping that they will be able to rent it before then and we won't have to pay two rents for the next 5 months. Yikes!

We will be moving to "the country".  We will be surrounded on three sides by cow pasture.  We won't have any neighbors in shouting distance.  The kids can shoot their bows and arrows, play outside, and have privacy to be kids again (even though they are teens).  The house has a huge deck and a paved basketball area with a hoop.

I will have space for a garden again!  I have already begun thinking about how big I want it and what I am going to plant.

With the additional storage space and large pantry and attached garage we will be able to stock back up on our food storage and our emergency storage.

Did I mention that big bathtub in the master bathroom? Yeah, I will be spending some time in there.  I haven't had a good bathtub in YEARS!  I am looking forward to that too!

The one thing that I won't have is a space for crafts.  I am not quite sure where I will carve out a little space for my quilting, sewing and scrapbook stuff, but I am sure there will be somewhere.

Monday, October 5, 2015

A Soggy Mess - What to do When it Floods.

This weekend turned out to be a soggy mess.  The hurricane never made it to us.  It turned out to sea before reaching the coast.  The nor'easter we got though dumped a bunch of rain on us but not near as much as South Carolina got.  South Carolina has received 10-15 inches of rain and it is still raining.  They are getting a ton of flooding and this morning all of the highways are closed around Columbia, SC and parts of I-95 are also closed.  This will cause all sorts of issues.  Large trucks with supplies will have a difficult time getting in.  Emergency vehicles can't get around quickly.

We tend to take transportation for granted.  We expect to be able to get in our car and go.  But sometimes we can't.  It drives my husband crazy when he doesn't have the luxury of being able to go where he wants to go.  Even this weekend with the soggy rain he still found a reason to get out and go somewhere at least once each day, even though we had already decided to stay home.

We go to the grocery store or the drug store and expect products to be there.  We expect the shelves to be stocked and if they are empty we just wait a few days and they will be stocked again.  We expect hospitals to have the supplies they need.  When highways are closed supplies can't get to where they need to be.  Food doesn't get restocked at the grocery. Hospitals don't get their regular deliveries.

In an emergency situation, it is so important that we stay put.  Even if we can get out on the roads around our town we shouldn't.  If we were to be injured by rushing floodwaters, an accident, or by a falling tree, it would be difficult for emergency workers to get to us.  This is why it is so important that we do stay put.

It also proves the point that we need to prepare prior to the weather event.

Back to Columbia.  Did they prepare?  Did those who aren't in the flooding zone get enough food and supplies?  Did they think to pack an emergency bag just in case they needed to leave their home?  When the floods began, did they think to go ahead and leave the area for higher ground?

When we thought we might get the hurricane, my husband came to me and asked if we should discuss leaving the area.  We discussed it and decided to wait until the next morning to make a final decision.  At that point forecasters were saying that if the hurricane came on land pretty much all of our state would be affected.  Most of the states above and below us would be affected as well.  It would be difficult for us to go somewhere where the storm wouldn't affect the area.  That still didn't mean we wouldn't make the decision to go somewhere else.  Our current home is pretty much all glass on the back side.  We back up to a thickly wooded area.  It is plausible that trees could fall and hit our home causing much damage. Thankfully we did have the luxury of time to make a final decision.  The next morning forecasters announced that the path the hurricane would most likely take would be out to sea.  So we decided to stay put.

Flooding can be one of the most devastating things that can happen to a home (along with fires).  The damage is so extensive and even though things dry out they still might be damaged.  Their integrity and strength might be compromised.  Flood insurance is difficult to get and can be so expensive.  It is often not recommended for those homes where they are not prone to flooding.  I wonder how many homes in Columbia were flooded and didn't have flood insurance.  Probably most of them.

So what can we do to prepare for a flooding emergency?

1. Protect your belongings.  Check to see if you can get flood insurance.  If not, your savings will be important.  Save a little each month or each paycheck for these type of emergencies.  It may take a long time to get back to where you were but having at least a little something to get you by at first will help.

2. Protect your memories.  Regularly back up your electronics. Your pictures, your videos.  If flooding seems eminent, put the albums and important memories in the highest part of your house.  Keep a copy of your back up files off site and a copy with you in  your "bug out" bag.

3.  Pack a bug out bag with a change or two of clothes, basic toiletries, and important papers. Speaking of important papers, take a picture or scan them to create a digital file.  Then keep them in a safe place and keep a copy with you.  This would include birth certificates, social security cards, insurance documents, medical records, deeds, and other documents.

4.  Have a backup plan.  Don't wait until it is too late.  Get out while you can.  Flooding is no joke.  It can sweep away cars, houses, and people.  Flooding can make the ground unstable can cause sinkholes.  Decide before the storm where you will go and prepare for possible travel to that place. Go when you can.  Don't wait until it is too late.

5. Stock up on the basics.  Food, water, lots of water.  Water may be contaminated for weeks on end after a flooding event.  Cleaning supplies, bleach, basic yard tools, batteries, lighting devices, pet needs, etc.  You may be stuck for a while and even when you can get out of your house stores may not be stocked of the things you need.

6.  Get some cash.  Not a lot but some.  ATMs don't work unless you have power.  Credit and debit card machines use electricity.  After the flooding starts to go down and you can get out again.  Stores may still not have power.  They won't be able to accept your credit cards or debit cards.  Cash will be your main way to purchase the things you need.

7.  Remember it is just stuff.  Yes, it is your stuff.  Yes, you liked it a LOT!  Yes, you will miss it and it will be emotional.  But in the end it is just stuff.  Let it go.  Save yourself, save your family.  Leave the stuff.

Back to Columbia.  Newscasters and weather people are saying that this catastrophic flooding that is happening is a "once in a THOUSAND years flood".  It is not normal.  Therefore the aftermath is unpredictable.  Those who live there will need lots of help rebuilding and getting their lives back to something that resembles "normal".

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Possible Tropical Storm .....

Image from
I heard on the news today that we have a possible tropical storm coming to our area this weekend.  While I had just gone to the grocery store on Sunday, there are a few things that I still need off our weekly grocery list.  I had hoped to wait until later in the week but I think I will go today or tomorrow and get the rest of the groceries on our list.

Where we live now I don't worry so much about flooding or having to leave our home in case of emergency, but I do worry about power outages.  We just got a stand alone freezer set up in our basement and I have started to fill it.  I also worry about having batteries and candles ready.  We have a wood burning fireplace and firewood so we don't have to worry about warmth if needed.  Right now, though it is still warm enough outside even at night that we won't have to do much more than throw another blanket on the beds if we need it.

So here is my checklist for this possible emergency:
____ Check lanterns and batteries.
____ Charge all electronics and spare battery chargers.
____ Back up computer files (just in case.... and is good to do it periodically anyway)
____ Restack firewood on the porch so it is further out of the rain and possibly tarp it to keep it dry.
____ Check deck furniture and put away any outside toys, furniture, equipment.
____ Pull out and check candles, globes, and candle holders.
____ Straighten and clean the house.  Pick up things off the floor, clear the steps of items. (No one wants to trip over something left on the ground at night with the power out.)
____ Check pantry for needed items and add to the grocery list.
____ Make last trip to the grocery store.

While it may seem counterintuitive to add more groceries (particularly refrigerated items) but I truly don't think we will lose electricity. If we do, it won't be for long.  I do know that I will have three teens home all day long and they like to eat.
We are currently out of bread, only have a half gallon of milk, and I like to keep stocked up on eggs.  All three of those will be on the list.  I also will pick up a case of water. One can never have too much water.

We have only one dog and I just bought her dog food recently so she has enough for several weeks at this point.  The only other thing she needs is water and to be taken out from time to time, even in a storm.  The only things I need to prep for her is to make sure my rain coat or poncho is ready for rainy/windy walks.  But I still like to remember pets when prepping for an emergency.  Her leash is hanging by the door and her shots are up to date.

Even though this might turn out to be nothing more than rain, I do still want to be prepared.  It also gives me an excuse to clean the house, straighten things up and begin to think about winter storms and supplies.

It began raining today.  Not thunderstorms but just episodes of torrential downpours!  The lights began to flicker so the kids and I pulled out the camping lanterns and a few candles and a flashlight.  Boy do we need to replace some of our stuff.  Both camping lanterns are so weak in light.  Not even enough to read with.  I will be replacing these both tomorrow.  We also need size D batteries as well as AA and AAA.

So check out your equipment prior to the emergency.  Don't just wait until you need to use them.  Test them out and make sure everything is in working order.  Replace them periodically.  Our lanterns still work but the lightbulbs are low which means that it is probably on its last legs.  Mind you, we will still use these until they completely die but I do want to get some more lanterns that will give us enough light to work by.