Oh My Goodness!

I am sorry I haven’t been keeping consistant with blogging, but the kids have something planned nearly every day!  And, (of course) when the kids have some time blocks unclaimed, Mark fills them with things he wants to do or things that need to be done.   What ever happened to the “simple” life?

Today, Michelle had a date for a tour of a tiny college located on Keuka Lake.  The college is called (rightfully so!) Keuka College and was founded  in 1890 by a man by the name of Dr. George Harvey Ball.  Oh my goodness!!!

Here are a few short facts about this school:

The total number of students enrolled, including adult learners, is about 1,500.  The teacher to student ratio at Keuka is 1:14.  Generally speaking,  the largest classes are for freshmen, where a class might have 35 or 40 students.  The wonderful young lady who took us on our tour today is going to be a teacher and she told us one of her classes consists of nine students.  We were told that when a student is missing from class, the professor will generally call or email the student to make sure everything is okay.

One of the most outstanding features of this school is that students are expected to spend 140 hours for each semester doing “field period” work.  This involves the student writing up a contract in which they specify the type of work they anticipate doing in their particular field of study.  This study can be done anywhere. The student is responsible for their transportation and living expenses, but all work will be credited toward their experience. I am probably not explaining this properly, so I will give you an example our tour guide gave.

Samantha (our guide) will be working this summer during her break on a ranch where disabled children ride horses. Because Sam has an emphasis on Special Ed,  working with the children will be counted toward her degree.  She also told us about another friend of hers who is also working towards a teaching degree.  This young lady went to Russia and worked in an orphanage as part of her field work.

After our tour (which Sam made absolutely fantastic with her enthusiasm) we met with an admissions advisor who told us that 40% of students are offered jobs from companies they have done their field period with.  Of that 40%, only 20% actually take the offer,  while most others find work elsewhere.  The school is recognized as a leader in “experiential, hands-on learning”.

Can you tell that Michelle, Mark, and I were all impressed with this school?

Okay, that is enough…..but maybe not.   What kind of kids attend this school?  Well, let me tell you, they are serious students.  We were told of two specific indicators that substantiate this claim.  One is that the “Emergency” phones that are available on campus (in the event a student is being assaulted or distressed in any way)  have never, ever been used in the history of the college.  The second has to do with amazing artwork that is displayed by a German artist. The artwork is found in a cozy nook in the library and has never been damaged or messed with by students. 

Now for some snapshots…

Keuka College is not a Christian college, but houses an awesome chapel built in 1964.  We spent quite a bit of time there, astonished by how beautiful this chapel is!

Michelle’s heart is set on this little gem located only about 35 miles from our house.  We shall see, but in the meantime, she is thinking about touring even more schools!

I sincerely wish I would have brought my Nikon camera with me today. There was so much to see and in all honestly, I was so overwhelmed,  I didn’t take many photos! The ones I did take inside were disappointing…I needed my faster Nikon lens!

Looking Back

That title might be just a little misleading, but as I thought about Michelle’s tour of Geneseo College on Monday, I couldn’t help but reflect a bit….

We began our homeschooling saga with Michelle when she was age four.  With her birthday being late in the year, (November) we could have opted to begin her schooling another year later, but she was ready and biting at the bit.  To have held Michelle back a year would have been a great disservice.

I will never forget Michelle’s Kindergarten experience.  She whizzed through her coursework with great excitement and ease. She was a wonderful little student….wide-eyed and like a little sponge!  It was a thrill to sit and listen to her reading to me and watching as she neatly formed letters on paper.  It was almost like a dream unfolding!  I never thought I would be working at home, teaching my kids the subjects they needed.

Our experience wasn’t without discomfort. Well meaning friends and otherwise would look at our kids and ask about their socialization.  It was as though people were afraid if we kept our kids at home for their studies, they might become the dregs of society.  Still, we persisted.  There were times when I felt like my feet were slipping some,  but the kids both came through like troopers!

Michelle is now in her second year at our local community college and the only reason she doesn’t have a perfect 4.0 grade point average is because she received an A- in her statistics class.  As she moves ahead, she began to think she might like to continue her education at a four year school.  We have been speaking with transfer people at four year schools to make sure her credits can be transferred toward her four year degree.

We arrived at Geneseo College on Monday afternoon and right away, a young man who attends the school appeared to give the family a tour.  This was complete with vehicle! 

Since the little unit was only big enough for four people, I happily suggested I would wander around a little.

(Yes, taking a few photos!)

I was surprised that there was a main sidewalk/roadway that lead directly to the main street downtown.  It was as though the campus is the town.  In commenting about that, the tour guide said that the population of Geneseo is about seven thousand, with about five thousand students at the college. The population greatly diminishes during breaks!

Here are a few photos I took of the town as I strolled along toward the main street. (Not sure if it is indeed Main Street!)

I spotted these gorgeous but fading purple flowers along the walkway.  My poor Panasonic camera nearly busted a lens trying to capture the intense purple color! And right nearby were some awesome sunflowers!

This next shot had me smiling….so cute!  This is the back entrance to a laundromat located in the town.  The “curtains” above the two ladies are actual fabric.  I think this is just so creative!

Of course, with my insatiable affinity for color,  how could I resist taking a photo of this pretty floral business?  The colors scream autumn!

The next two photos are of a large bronze statue that sits on top of a fountain along the street.  The street is divided in a median of sorts where the fountain sits.  I just read that the animal on the fountain is a bear.  I was guessing a wolf mainly because I think the body is too lean and the snout too long for a bear! Ah well…no idea the significance!

As you can see, the sun was positioned  in such a way it was nearly impossible to capture a good photo.  Add to that the fact that I was not about to stop traffic while taking a photo!  People in this little town are exceptionally polite regarding stopping their vehicles for pedestrians.

And, one last photo looking down the street toward the west.

After the tour,  our family met with a lovely lady who works closely with transferring students.  We met in a conference room surrounding a large table.  I watched as Michelle interacted with the woman while being questioned.  I must admit I was surprised with the ease and fluid conversation…I would say our little homeschooled girl has done pretty well for herself!

We have another tour scheduled on Friday at a small college here in the Finger Lakes.  Michelle and I are both very interested in this tour, as it is at a school that is actually situated on the lake…a beautiful setting!

Thanks Aldi!

I remember when Aldi moved into Canandaigua with their new store.  The store supposedly is a success in Germany and the concept of selling groceries (many not familiar name brand) and having customers box or bag them themselves isn’t a new idea.  Those of us with memberships to the big warehouse clubs have found we can capably pack our groceries!

The thought of no-name or unfamiliar name brands made me somewhat unsure…remember the generic food stores tried to pawn off on consumers in the ’70’s?  Fruit that was tasteless.  Pears that were hard like rocks.  Yuck!  Who wanted to go to a store and buy inferior goods just so one could say they saved a few dollars, after all?

Enter Aldi.  I went into the store, reluctant and feeling like a grocery snob.  I would try a few items just to allay my grocery prejudice.  When I walked through the doors, I was surprised to find many items I did know.  Mixed in were many items carrying the Aldi label on the back. 

I have tried many, many Aldi goods since the store opened and I can pretty much say that the quality is good.  The latest discovery is that I have now replaced my Francesco Rinaldi Super Mushroom Spaghetti Sauce with Reggano Mushroom Sauce with a avings of about $.79 a jar.  When I am purchasing six jars at a time, this savings definitely adds up.  And although I am not the thriftiest shopper,  I really appreciate saving some money.

So, now I must confess. Have you read here long enough, Dear Reader, to discover some of my favorite things?  The color blue. Blue skies and sunshine.  Snow. Winter.  How about almonds? 

Yes, I am an almond addict and have been for years!  I remember when I began making soap about 12 years ago, I joined a soapmaker’s Christmas swap….my Secret Santa provided me with anything and everything she could find that was almond!  Ah, those were the days…

So, to tie Aldi and my almond addiction together,  let me present the most awesome, wonderful, scrumptious goodie….

Yes! I shamelessly eat half of one of these delightful logs every day. That is, after all, one serving.  AND, not only am I satisfying my addiction, but getting the added benefit of eating dark chocolate.  Now, I am not a fan of chocolate, but haven’t we all heard that eating dark chocolate is heart healthy?  And look!  Enlarge the photo and see where this delightful confection is made!  (NOT the US…or China…)

There, I have confessed.  I feel better now. And no, Aldi is not paying for this plug….it is entirely voluntary!

Autumn Continues

The word “autumn” seems to conjure up warm sentiments and memories in my mind.  I think of things like hot cinnamon rolls fresh from the oven,  a steamy cup of tea,  warm colors like gold, orange, cranberry,  brown…all the colors typically associated with Thanksgiving.  And what a warm and cozy holiday Thanksgiving is! 

Our weather has been absolutely glorious the past few days.  It has been so warm, one can comfortably go outside in a sweater or lightweight jacket.   That in itself is rather amazing for nearly mid-November.  Our nights have been cold enough to leave a telltale frost in the morning,  but when the sun arises in the sky spilling down its warm honey like rays,  the days warm up considerably!  We have been forewarned, however, by the local meteorologists that this will soon be only a memory and more “seasonable” weather will ensue.  That’s okay, because we have thoroughly enjoyed this brief but magnificent  reprieve!

Last night I got a brief call from Eunice.  Gosh, isn’t it cool to be able to say my Amish friend calls me?  Anyway, Eunice wanted to let me know that Susanna was being released from the hospital and they were soon going to be on their way home.  She said the driver was there and they weren’t quite ready, so I thanked her for calling and thanked the Lord that the little one is doing okay!  Eunice was not too thrilled that Susanna was being sent home with oxygen in case she needs a bit and that she is to have someone watching her 24 hours a day. Just in case.  Eunice said she will have some young girls come and take shifts watching over Susanna. Hopefully, Eunice will be able to get some rest!  Prayers would be greatly coveted and appreciated, I am sure!

Yesterday afternoon, while Mark shifted trailers around,  I went out with the Nikon and took a few photos.  All botanical.  This was fun!

Yeah, I guess the one big drawback to the season is that all the vibrant colors of summer have gone, but as one studies these stark reminders of summer past,  it doesn’t take too much imagination to see the beauty inside.  Alas,  the remaining stalks contain the seeds for summer yet to come!

To celebrate the lovely weather today,  I emptied the hot tub and refilled it with fresh water.  As the tub was filling,  I climbed up on the rail of the swimming pool and used a five gallon bucket to scoop up rainwater and leaves off the winter cover.  There were tons of leaves sitting on the cover and if they aren’t removed, they begin to compost on the cover.  Not a good thing!

and Rochester Night

For her birthday, Ben bought Michelle a ticket to see a Christian band called Underoath.  Michelle was beside herself, thrilled with the opportunity to see this band.  (Ben also bought himself a ticket)

After picking Michelle and Ben up at school last night,  we headed right to Rochester to take the kids to the concert.  After dropping them off, Mark shopped for a bit, then we headed back toward Rochester.  There are some really great places to get a few shots of the city lit up at night.  We stopped at one (though I cannot tell you where, exactly) and I took these. Pretty proud of myself. No tripod,  only handheld.

I think Mark said this one was taken on the Ford Bridge?  That is what the railing is in the foreground!

The concert ended rather early…shortly after 10 and the kids had a great time.  I had intended to blog last night, but somehow seemed to pass out before my fingers could hit the keys!

Canandaigua Morn…

Once again, yesterday was a BLUR! Argh! This is becoming a way of life!!!

We rushed out the door yesterday to get Michelle off to school.  What a surprise to see a hefty coating of frost all over the Explorer’s windows.  The good news is that it did come off rather easily, so we darted up the hill, knowing the defroster would hasten the meltdown!  The back windows, where there is no direct warm air, took a little longer, but Michelle snapped a photo of the sun beaming in brightly through the rear window.

It was a very chilly morning, but with the meterologist’s forecast of a fantastic sunshiney and warm day, who cared? As we began the descent down the other side of our hill, the scenery was nothing short of awesome.  The low clouds dangling over Canandaigua Lake looked like snow-covered mountains.

Hastening toward school, I noticed something amiss as we approached Canandaigua!

I dropped Michelle off at school, then headed back to the state park marina. Sure enough, the Canandaigua Lady is dry docked; she is sitting cordoned off in the middle of the parking lot!  From the looks of it, there is quite a crew working on her!

As I turned to leave the park,  I had to take one last photo. The sun’s golden autumn rays lit everything up like it was self-illuminating!  Oh my! The geese sitting on the pond with the willows reflecting off the water…

AND, today’s forcast is a “ditto” with only one variation….WARMER!

A Little Humor

Today was another one of those crazy days! 

When I saw that the weather was going to be sunny and nice this morning,  I decided I should try to give the camper a quick “once-over” wash job.  I didn’t have time to do a more thorough job,  so I grabbed a brush made specifically for washing RV’s and quickly brushed off as much dirt as I could.   When I was about halfway through the task, Ben came out and helped….we were done in about half an hour.

Ben made a fabulous salad for everyone for lunch, then it was time to gather all the tools we needed to begin painting Ben’s room.

We started painting at about 3 pm even though I had hoped to begin much earlier!

A short time after beginning our painting, the phone rang and Michelle came into Ben’s room to tell me my friend Eunice was on the phone.  She was calling from Ronald McDonald House and my heart fell to the floor as I wondered if little Baby Susanna is okay.

As it turned out,  Susanna has pertussis and was struggling a bit with breathing. Eunice and Noah called their doctor and she sent them to Buffalo Children’s Hospital. Eunice said the good news is that Susanna hasn’t needed oxygen at all today.  Eunice is speculating that if Susanna doesn’t need oxygen for a certain period of time,  she will be released from the hospital.

I explained to Eunice that Ben and I were painting and asked if I could call back later.  Eunice said that was fine, so I continued to paint.

A little while later,  another call came from the Ronald McDonald House.  This time, Mark answered the phone and Eunice said she had gotten a call from someone sounding like me that needed help. She wondered if I had called and if I was all right.  Mark assured her Ben and I were painting, so I had not called.

After Ben and I finished with the paint project, we cleaned up the brushes and rollers and put things away. I was exhausted, but Mark said I should call Eunice.  I did call and we talked and giggled for probably an hour. 

I mentioned the call she made earlier and she began giggling.  She said when she received the call, Noah was down doing their laundry while she rested in their room at the Ronald McDonald House.  The phone rang and she immediately thought it was me calling her for help!

When Noah returned from the laundry room, she told him what happened….he began laughing and told her it was HIM!  She said he often plays jokes like that.  We giggled some more and Noah got on the phone to tell me he was trying to cheer Eunice up….laughter IS the best medicine, after all!

I’m still chuckling over Noah’s little prank!

Dentist Day…again….

I think I should just take up residence at the dentist’s office since I spend such a large block of time there.  Today was actually an easy appointment as it was just a cleaning.  As I was leaving the office when the hygienist was done,  one of the other girls called me over to a cabinet.  She opened the door and showed me an amazing little gadget…it isa little plastic piece of my upper teeth (from the most recent impressions) with a tiny hole where the dentist is supposed to “roto-root” (the hygienist’s words, not mine!) the stainless peg into my bone.  Now this girl was so excited by this new device while I felt a little shaky  just looking at it!

While I was driving down to the appointment this morning,  I happened to make a mental note of a vineyard that had no leaves on the grapevines…just grapes!  They were so pretty hanging there, so I stopped on my way home to photograph them.  I only wish I would have had the Nikon camera instead of the Panasonic.

Not too sure what the grapes on top are, but in the second photo, my guess is Concord or Sheridan.  That deep purple color kind of gives them away!

Another Celebration Day

Yesterday morning when I took the Scottie boys out, it looked as though it had snowed, but it was actually a heavy-duty frost! It made everything look so pretty…

We couldn’t spend the morning dawdling, though, as we had made plans to meet my parents at Sprague’s Restaurant to celebrate Michelle’s birthday with them.  We were off shortly after 9:30 and the drive was very pretty.  As we drove along the Southern Tier Expressway,  the higher elevations offered beautiful scenery with heavy frost.

Sprague’s Restaurant is located in a small rural community and as we drove along a valley route, the scenery was amazing.  With low lying clouds,  it just added to the beauty.  I snapped a photo with the Nikon (from the backseat of the truck) of this old building with the clouds just above it….

I realy like the way it turned out.

We arrived in good time at the restaurant and once again, enjoyed good food and good company.  We always look forward to these meetings!  As we were eating,  Ben made metion something about bears in canoes.  I was unable to see this from my seat, but when I got up, I just had to snap a quick  shot.  Too funny!

After we finished eating, we all went for a stroll up to the sugar house, located on a hill behind the restaurant.  The walk is short, but strenuous, and it felt good to get some exercise after a delicious but far-too-generous meal! Here are some photos of some things we saw….

This is a Northern Bobwhite Quail.  If you look closely, you can see it looking back at me!

We visited with my parents and Randy for some time before making our way back towards home.  As always, it was hard saying our good-byes!

As we moved along though the small town of Cuba, a couple of things caught my eye and we had to stop.

Those bright red clusters of berries on the tree really grabbed my attention.  It was only in looking at the photos that I saw some nasty looking thorns on that tree!  Ouch!  There were so many birds making noise nearby…I wonder f the berries attract them?

I took that last photo as I always wonder if this is a relative of my mom since her maiden name is Kester.

I don’t know about you, but this time changing thing really messes me up sometimes!  I was in bed early last night because all the fresh air just made me sleepy!  When I looked at the clock,  it said 8:30!  And that meant that I awakened in the middle of the night!  Oh joy!  grumble…grumble…grumble…