Saturday, May 27, 2017

Picture my Week

The first time the May Apples bloomed after we got married, LV created a lovely bouquet for me. It was the first I had ever seen the flowers, and I really liked them. I think he stored my reaction away for future reference because it has become a tradition. Every May when they begin blooming he will create a bouquet. No two have ever been the same, but I have loved each one. This week the tradition continued when he presented this bouquet.

Steven enjoys what he calls "The Brick" game. In the process of teaching Steven to read I used the same approach I did with the rest of the children. We pretend the floor is water and the pieces of paper are stepping stones. There's a small treat at the far side of the long winding line of stepping stones. To get to it he pronounces the sounds correctly and advances to the next stone. If he gets it wrong he splashes into the water and starts over. I'm not sure how often he did it this week, but I do think I'm more tired of it than he is. He was already asking to do it again today after only being up for a few minutes.

My favorite waterfall picture this week.

The girls and I were working in the kitchen each making our own food item. Granola, bread, and a marinated salad. Steven couldn't decide who he wants to watch the most and after a little while of changing running from one cooking station to the next he opted for a bird's eye view instead.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What color is prominent in your home? Are you glad about that or wishing you could cover it up or remove it?

Downstairs it's white / light. If it were up to me every wall in our house would be white. Unfortunately the upstairs has dark brown paneling which is something I would not choose. It makes everything feel smaller and less clean.

2. What's something you'll NEVER do again?

I don't necessarily care to use the word never, especially after being aware of the many things I've done that I used to say I would never do.

I have no plans though to ever own a horse and buggy again to be used as my main source of transportation.

3. Tell us a couple of ways you fit the stereotypes associated with your gender, and a couple of ways you don't.

Being a wife, mother, and homemaker is something I have embraced and really love that I guess could be thought of as a stereotype.

A few ways I don't fit is that I don't have a lot of clothes, shoes, accessories, and no makeup. I have one outfit to wear out and about. If I need to go somewhere several days in a row I simply make sure to wash it in the evening. I have two pairs of shoes. One for church, and the other for everything else. It will soon need to be replaced though because I've noticed that after six years there is a tiny hole in the toes of the left shoe.

4. May is Motorcycle Awareness Month. Have you ever owned a motorcycle? Ever ridden a motorcycle? If the opportunity presented itself would you hop on a motorcycle and go for a ride?

I have never owned a motorcycle, and really have no desire to. I've never had a ride on one, and again I have no desire to.

5. If someone wanted to understand you, what should they read, watch, and listen to?

Read ... the Bible, Anne of Green Gables, the Lily books, and my blog.
Watch ... cooking shows, and comedians such as Jeanne Robertson.
Listen ... Before the Throne by Selah, How Deep the Father's Love for Us by Owl City, and my various playlists.

6.  Insert your own random thought here.

The rhododendrons are blooming again. We have a giant bush next to our front porch. I love the vibrant splash of color it gives and how it's attracting hummingbirds. I was going to add a picture, but somehow I can't get it to upload this morning.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Picture my Week

A few picture moments from our week:
While waiting at the drive through at the bank the girls were highly entertained and amused by what looked like an Amish apron flapping in the wind, attached to the awning of the building across the street.

Sharon and Steven planted some radish seeds in a flower pot. We're looking forward to having a few fresh radishes to enjoy.

Just as I predicted when we moved here seven years ago. I will be taking a lot of pictures of our waterfall. I'm still not tired of it. This was one of the pictures I took of it this week.

The weather was absolutely beautiful, so one afternoon I decided to take Steven to the park to play. It was a disappointment seeing how much water was standing there. His favorite slide would have ended with a splash, so we only spent half an hour on the swings before heading back home.

The dump truck LV finished rebuilding was picked up. Steven and the girls camped out on the top porch to watch it leave. This was Rosie Mae's "Hey MOM! look when she discovered I was taking pictures of them.
Finally after eleven years of having left the Amish I went through my piles of patterns and threw away all the patterns for Amish clothes. It's nice having that space for things I'll actually use.

When a certain daughter who is really, really afraid of spiders sees one in the bathroom on the curtain, in the middle of the night while everyone else is sleeping, she suddenly becomes really brave and strong. One mighty wallop with a flyswatter killed the spider, and destroyed the curtain.

Waiting for his cue to speak in our homeschool co-op's production of Charlotte's Web. His little fists clenched in careful concentration.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. May 17th is National Pack Rat Day. Sidebar-should we be celebrating this? Hmmm...

Are you a pack rat? Even if you're not a full fledged pack rat, most people have one thing or another they struggle to part with. Tell us what's yours.

I wouldn't say it's a day worthy of having it's own celebration. Exactly how would one go about celebrating, I wonder?

I have pack rat tendencies. Not a full fledged one by any means, but I do have a hard time parting with books, letters, our children's artwork, and other sentimental things.

2. What are two things you know you should know how to do, but you don't?

How to use a hammer and nail. It looks so simple when others do it, but I can't pound a nail in anywhere without hitting my thumb or having the nail get all bent. It's a frustrating, laughable disaster.

Crocheting is also a joke when I attempt it. Not a pretty sight, at all.

3. Do you crave sugar? Do you add sugar to your coffee and/or tea? Do you use artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes? When dining out is dessert a given? Are you someone who has slain the sugar dragon, and if so tell us how you did it.

I don't crave sugar. I used to a lot, but thankfully I got a handle on it. I refuse to use artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes. On the rare occasion we get to dine out I won't order dessert.

4. What's a trend it took a while for you to come round to, but now you can't imagine living without?

I am one of the most untrendiest people you could hope to meet. I can't think of any trends I have followed, ever.

5. What's a song that reminds you of a specific incident in your life? Please elaborate.

Fairest Lord Jesus

I learned how to sing that song the summer I was sixteen. My parents were adding a huge addition to their woodworking shop. While I was singing away happily in the kitchen, the contractors were busy right outside the open window doing the concrete work.

When ever I hear that song I am transported back there again.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I'm fighting with my printer the past few days. Half way through the latest cartridge of black ink, it decided it's time to change it. When ever I need to print something, it refuses. An alert will pop up on my computer screen saying that it won't print because a counterfeit cartridge has been detected. Hello! It's still the same expensive HP cartridge I installed earlier and it had been working great.

I've been taking it out and putting it back in. It will print one page and then go through the whole thing again. Annoying!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Pinterest Woes

I may have mentioned this before, a time or two, or three how I use our curriculum as the base launch pad and then dig deeper in areas where we want to learn more. Especially when it comes to things such as geography, history, and social studies.

Conversations on Facebook during the last Olympics had really bothered me. How sad that so many people were unnecessarily upset that Africa got to send athletes to represent each of its 'states' and we weren't allowed to do the same. When in reality Africa is not a country, but a continent with many countries.

Before all this I had always wanted to do studies on every country, but after seeing those conversations I knew for sure that I wanted to introduce, and study all 195 official countries with our children. And not merely where they are found on a map as many geography curricula do, but dig deeper to learn about culture, customs, food, famous people, plants, animals, and so much more.

I spent hours trying to find things and pinned them to my Pinterest, giving each country its own board. Some countries it's really challenging to find things I'm looking for. With my initial research being pinned I was happy to discover how Pinterest worked. Under each pin there's a number telling you on how many other boards this pin can be found.

I would click on the picture and then click on that number which opened a page with all those boards and I could easily check them out and find new material I was looking for without the headache and time of seeking and searching for hours and still having difficulty finding what I wanted.

I almost panicked when a few weeks ago that option no longer worked. I'm still sad about it. Why change something that worked so well, and make Pinterest harder to navigate and a whole lot less user friendly?

I'm working on preparing the lesson plans for our country studies next year. I'm having a difficult time with it again. For example ... Afghanistan. The very word brings unpleasant images to mind, right? And I challenge anyone to search for educational type things regarding it. You see, I don't want to simply focus on the unpleasant side of the country. There are mother's living there who love their children just as much as we love ours and are busy taking care of their family. What food are they enjoying? How do typical days look for children? What are some popular games they play? What animals might they care for? Hunt? What foods do they raise? What are some of the native trees, flowers, and other plants? What insects and pests are present? What music do they listen to? What are popular instruments they play. What books have been written by them? Who are some famous people in history? What are some popular sports? How many states/provinces? What does their money look like? What would the exchange rate be? What is their national anthem? What's the meaning behind their flag? What holidays do they observe. What are some festivals they have? How does life differ in different areas of the country? What entertainment do they have? What traditions do they keep? What do dances look like? What are some national landmarks? What are some of their minerals and other natural resources? What industries can be found? What crafts and art projects could we do and food could we try to finish out our study?

That wasn't a complete list of the things I look for, but you get the idea. And if you can figure out and tell me how to get Pinterest back to its former self I would be most grateful.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Missing Pineapples Already

Planning a traditional Amish company meal had been fun. The girls especially enjoyed the part when we sat down to plan the dessert menu for it. Just the thought of all those sweets in the house almost gave me a sugar overload.

With some negotiating we all came to the agreement that we really didn't need the full special dessert menu and we crossed off the pudding and lemon bars from the list, but stuck with the rest with the plans to freeze the leftover cookies and bars.

When Saturday arrived it didn't take long to get the weekly cleaning done and then pull out the old Amish cookbooks to begin the baking. We had settled on two kinds of cookies a 'Trash' cookie which is much better than what the name would suggest, and Pineapple cookies. One of my favorites that we hadn't made for quite a while.

By evening we were exhausted, the refrigerator was packed with things, while the cakes, cookies, bars, and pies were all arranged as neatly and temptingly as possible on the one end of the counter top. The girls refused to even taste anything until it would be served the next evening, but Kenneth and Steven weren't shackled with any of that and both enjoyed a few of the Trash cookies.

Sunday evening arrived and we cooked up a big meal. The desserts barely got touched and after supper instead of being able to have a quick clean up and then getting to read or enjoy a fun hobby we were stuck in the kitchen cleaning up and taking care of left overs for a long time. Rosie Mae and Sharon both agreed that while experiencing preparing a real Amish company meal it was something they really have no desire to repeat.

Last evening I pulled a Ziploc bag of pineapple cookies out of the freezer for our dessert for supper. Kenneth politely declined to have one.

"Are you full?" I asked. somewhat amazed that we had finally managed to fill up our hungry teenager.

"You don't have any other dessert?" he asked hopefully.

"You don't like pineapple cookies?" I asked.

"I don't like pineapple in anything," he said.

Wait ... what???? How did I never realize that before? It made me suddenly question my mothering abilities. I mean, surely somewhere in the past seventeen years I should have picked up that he doesn't like pineapples. Am I not as in tune with my children as I thought I was?

I'm fine with our children never wanting to experience another Amish company meal, but to not like pineapples? How is that even possible? I thought of our traditional Thanksgiving pudding, the Hawaiian fajitas I make, the fruit salads, and many other things. I'm just a little sad as I make plans to adjust some of my menus and recipes to not include pineapples. I'm still going to make Thanksgiving pudding though, and if he doesn't like it, it just means I get to have more.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm joining in the Happy Homemaker Monday again today.

The weather..... is interesting right now. The skies have that eerie pre-storm look, and it's really windy. Kenneth came in a while ago and informed me there is a tornado watch for the county just south of us. That's a little disconcerting because we are only a hop and skip from the county line, and the last I heard tornadoes don't necessarily pay attention to county lines. So I'm keeping my eye on the sky, my children nearby, and have the basement prepared in case we need to make a run for it.

Right now I am.... writing a blog post with Steven here beside me doing some school work. The older three are on summer vacation already after meeting our 180 day requirement and completing all their books, but Steven will be continuing school through summer.

Thinking.... that how interesting and funny life is, depends a lot on perspective.

On my reading pile.... I have several different things on my reading pile right now. My Bible of course, and a few magazines my mother-in-law gave to me, a book of science experiments, and the first book of my favorite series. Then there's also a Jen Turano book that I'm reading while waiting on Sharon at her piano lessons. It's really good. Last week I was so engrossed that I didn't even hear the piano in the same room and was taken off guard when the lesson ended and it was time to tuck my book away and go home

On my TV..... beautiful instrumentals. I rather enjoy listening to it in the background as I go about my day.

Favorite blog post last week.... Rosie Mae particiapted in the A-Z Challenge again this year and I always enjoy reading her posts. You can find her blog here.

Something fun to share.... spring is such a lovely time of year for being outside. After the grass dried off the morning Steven and I headed out to make some nature bracelets.

Blog hopping (newly discovered blog).... Sharon signed up for a blog and made her very first post today. You can find her blog here.

On the menu for this week....

Monday ... Poblano hamburgers, layer salad, and for dessert pineapple cookies
Tuesday ... Chicken ~n~ dumplings, homemade dinner rolls, and baby carrots
Wednesday ... Rice casserole, salad
Thursday ... Baked at home pizza and salad
Friday ... Baked chicken breast, broccoli salad, and cupcakes for dessert

On my to do list.... Take Sharon to her piano lesson, cook supper, and work on next year's school schedule.

In the craft basket.... mending. Somehow I always let it accumulate for a while before I sit down and get it done.

Looking forward to this week.... nothing all that monumental. Hoping to have ordinary days of cooking, cleaning, laughing, loving, working, playing, and simply enjoying life.

Looking around the house.... the table in our school room has the curriculum for next year piled on it waiting for me to get through all the books in order to write up the scope and sequence I'll be submitting to our school district along with our affidavit. There are remnants of the girls crafting adventures of the afternoon. Today that happened to be making decorated envelopes to use for their pen pal needs.

From the camera.... This morning the sun was making the water in the creek sparkle and shine so I grabbed my camera and headed outside. After taking a number of pictures I noticed the pair of geese having fun on top of the waterfall. I took some pictures and then included this cow.

I had to laugh when she moved to get into my next shot with this funny expression on her face. (Click on it to enlarge.)
And then posed perfectly for me. Who knew even cows are getting into this selfie culture?!

What I'm wearing today.... An odd purple shirt and one of my favorite dark gray skirts.

One of my simple pleasures.... receiving dandelion bouquets from Steven.