Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cue the Curtain

Tomorrow brings us to the end of our summer stay in Tahoe. Just as autumn is beginning to beckon the leaves to start thinking about changing color, to urge them to desert the home they knew so well, so must we leave this place of comfort and continue along the journey of life. So often it seems that I am simply not ready to move on to the next thing life has in store for me, although the fact of the matter is that the very thought that life is fleeting makes me live it more fully.

I just finished reading a book called Song of the Lark that speaks of goals and ambition, of art and self-expression, of family and memories. Willa Cather expresses, at times painful in how simple and perfect it is worded, the necessary passing of time and the loss of things so familiar and dear. This quote is a good example:

"So it went; one loved a quaint little girl, cheerful, industrious, always on the run and hustling through her tasks; and suddenly one lost her. He had thought he knew that child like the glove on his hand. But about this tall girl who threw up her head and glittered like that all over, he knew nothing."

And so change is come. Autumn, if anything, brings change to my mind. It is the putting away of a job well done, and the initial foundation of another time of growth. Goodbye to my lovely quiet forest; stately trees that are my confidant, beautiful rocks fairly bursting with praise for our King, joyful brook gurgling with joy. If you insist it must be so, we will move on, continuing to strive for growth, certain to meet again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Organizing School

I love getting things organized. I'd rather organize than clean--it seems to stay done for a longer period of time (an important factor in a house with kids!) Not only that, but it also makes whatever you are doing so much easier to do. Whether it is changing the sheets and doing the laundry, making dinner or coffee, paying bills or homeschooling, it is always more efficient--and for me it also grants peace of mind--when it is well organized.

The paperwork associated with the last two years of homeschooling has been fairly easy to organize. This year, however, I am not only adding a kindergartener into the mix, but I am also trying to give my other children more practice at independence. Having a lot of schedules and subjects to organize has had me reevaluating how to organize everything. The following pictures show how I've decided to attempt to keep myself blissfully organized this year.

The first influential factor is that I love binders. Well, I kind of love all office supplies actually...truth be told...but I especially love binders. They are, or can be, very easy to use. Binder #1 is my master binder. In it are my attendance sheet (one of the few things required to homeschool in CA) and calendar, my booklists and schedules. I have year-long schedules that give me an overview of weekly topics, and weekly schedules with checklists, assignments and notes. Binder #2 (not pictured) will hold book comprehension notes, answer keys and other teacher helps. Here's my Master Binder:
The numbered tabs are for each week, each of which has a checklist, followed by detailed schedules and notes.

I also have file folders for each week that contain each child's worksheets, maps and timelines figures.

Each of the kids have their own binder for their current work:

Andrew and Melinda also have their own schedule to reference:

Hopefully this will all work well, and not be tear-inducing. If it ends up being stressful for the kids, I may have to reassess. The only major thing I still have left to do is write out weekly prep lists--something that will tell me at a glance what supplies I need to have ready for the next week. I'm excited for school to begin!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Close Encounters of the Wild-Animal Kind

In the [nearly] 5 weeks since we've been in Tahoe, our cat--Juno--has treated us to:

1 mouse--brought inside alive, encouraged to run amuck, and eventually assassinated (hours later, mind you) by means of a well-aimed pellet gun. Poor little critter.

1 chipmunk--found by Timothy in his bedroom near a pile of legos, in the process of being munched and devoured by a ferocious bone-crunching giant feline. Only the tail and random vital organs remained. Apparently the long tails on these chipmunks aren't too tasty.

1 lizard--brought inside alive but slightly injured, nonchalantly picked up and returned to The Great Outdoors by my dad (aren't dads great?).

1 mouse--brought inside alive (presumably) but discovered somewhere in-between its passing into mousie heaven and its passing into Juno's stomach...also discovered somewhere in-between Andrew's and Timothy's dining room chairs.

1 chipmunk--brought inside alive (of course) and immediately abandoned by the cat so that said cat may enjoy watching a house full of humans alternately chase and run from the poor terrified rodent. Turns out a towel is the secret weapon to trapping chipmunks indoors...just in case you've ever wondered.

1 HUGE lizard--intercepted whilst being brought inside alive (really, would you have expected otherwise?) and successfully restricted to the fresh mountain air OUTSIDE my house. This poor guy lost his tail, but I think he escaped with his life. ooo...maybe not. on second thought, perhaps he got eaten and that's why the cat puked later. Sorry, I know--Too Much Information. Don't worry, Juno ate it all back up so we didn't have to clean very much. (SORRY--Really this time. I'll stop being a brat--promise.)

All right. So--as if we haven't had enough wild-animal-drama--last night was the icing on the cake (let's just hope there are no sprinkles or candles in the works). It was just before midnight and I was chatting with the boys in the living room (we're night people, in case you hadn't guessed--Timothy made the comment a couple of days ago that our house is more alive at 11pm than at 11am). Suddenly, Timothy stops, eyes widened, and points at the front window and says "BEAR!". Sure enough, there was a black bear with his nose Pressed Against the Window Screen. I stood up, yelling at the top of my lungs, stomping, waving my arms, banging on things, marching directly towards the bear. He eventually decided to back away--no doubt having a bit of trouble maneuvering through the open windows, bushes and planter boxes he's finagled his way into.

The gall! The audacity! I was busy texting Chris (as he was away from home) when I heard more rustling and bumping outside the windows. Sure enough, the little* stinker had come back! (*little comparatively--like how China is little compared to the Pacific Ocean.) He was probably only a couple hundred pounds. I scared him off again, and not taking any more chances, closed and locked all the windows, lowered all the shades, and locked all the doors.

I didn't turn out my nightstand lamp until 3am. Didn't really get fully to sleep until around 5:30am. I'm hoping that tonight is a little less exciting, I need some sleep!

Friday, August 21, 2009

We Seem to Have Been Designed for Each Other

I love having a cabinet full of mismatched coffee mugs. I adore being able to pick the mug that best suits my specific mood. I'll take a 30-year old coffee cup off your hand any day...unless it's pink with flowers, then I'll pass (as long as my girls don't find out!).

This evening I opened up my cabinet and saw this mug:

"We seem to have been designed for each other" ...and the first thing I thought was "You seem to have been designed for a cappuccino". And so off I went:

Thank goodness for espresso machines!

This mug was made by my friend Brooke, who sells her lovely Pride and Prejudice inspired items (the one on the mug I'm drinking out of is a quote by the most diverting Mr. Collins) on her Etsy site, Of course, this is an immensely talented girl, so don't expect her shop to be limited to P&P. Check out some of her other things and some of her specialty shops (links are in her shop announcement at the top of her main page).

I wasn't planning on blogging about her super cute things...but who can resist talking about a Mr. Collins mug begging one to make coffee? Not I.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fruitless Tree Bears Fruit

I've heard rumors that this could happen, but nonetheless I was shocked to find a small plum on my fruitless plum tree whilst gazing off my deck today. I proceeded to practice some balance beam exercises on my fence rail in order to capture my prize (don't tell my dad, I might get the headshake-sigh-rolling eyes-"melody"). Of course we had to taste the fruit. It looked oddly beautiful, and tasted fantastic. It almost made up for having to mop floors today.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Road Trip: day three

We had a wonderful Sunday morning--admiring God's amazing creation. Fern canyon is incredible, beautiful, inspiring. We could have stayed there longer but we had other things to do.

We drove to the beautiful town of Ferndale and went to the Humboldt County Fair. We missed going to the Orange County Fair or the Plumas-Sierra Counties Fair this year. I got to look at some lovely quilts!

After the fair we made the crazy drive down hwy-101 to hwy-1. We drove the Avenue of the Giants and were amazed by the incredible redwoods (the kids wanted to live in the forest). We made it to the coast near Fort Bragg just in time to see the sun set over the Pacific Ocean.

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Road Trip: day two

After a crazy morning with girls all over the place, and me crying that I just wanted to go home, I was able to find coffee and we got on with our trip. We went to the Shasta Caverns and then drove across the state to Coastal Northern California. The caverns were super cool, and The drive over was lovely--beautiful mountains and trees--what a beautiful state we live in!

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, August 14, 2009

Road Trip: day one

This weekend we are taking the kids on a road style. Today I got to introduce the rest of my family to sweet little Lucy (who is growing so much already!) and then we meandered around Sundial Bridge and Turtle Bay in Redding. We didn't make it up here in time to see the Shasta Caverns today, but plan on making it there tomorrow morning. The boys finished off the day with one last wrestling match in the car.

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lovely Handwork

I love hand-crafted items. I love making hand-crafted items. I have a love/hate relationship with's either heavenly (quilting fabric, yarn, books & paper) or horrid (flat paint, fish eggs, super glue). Since I've been up in Tahoe, I've spent more time with fabric and yarn rather than books and paper. This is how my spare and stolen moments are being spent:

This mini-basket was made from old corduroy pants and some great quilting fabric...I'm trying out a pattern for a bigger tote/basket. It turned out great, was quick, easy and fun!

I'd purchased a case for my Kindle and was unpleased with the bulkiness of it. I decided that all I really needed was a sleeve to protect it when I put it in my purse. This was the result.
In order to use up the remaining yarn I'd purchased for dishcloths, I whipped up these little guys:
I FINALLY finished the binding on this cute little quilt...I love the reproduction vintage fabrics.
And this is what I'm working on right now...a Trip Around the World quilt for my uncle. Lovely.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Blankie Surgery

Audrey's blankie is slowly being loved to death. It has that soft muted texture and look that prove that this girl knows how to LOVE. It has needed surgery before...when all the edges were wearing out it received some extra border support, and when a corner disintegrated it got a prosthetic corner. Tonight it had two holes patched. My munchkin is thankful that her mommy knows how to fix the blankie that her MeMa made for her.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Continued Creation

We had some pretty amazing weather yesterday. I love weather. It makes me think that God is in the mood to be creative. He's up there painting or something, and stuff is flying everywhere. He's cooking up a storm with a dash of hail and a handful of rain. He's definitely got a big grin on His face. It Is Good.

I can't help but take pictures. I'm more than inspired. I feel an art quilt coming on.