Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Learning and Lounging in Florida

No time for sight-seeing. No time for fun. It's just all been work, work, work.

Too bad "work" can't be this relaxing every day!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Ramblin' Update

It's been a busy week!

Today is the last of the 6-week ski lessons that the girls have participated in this winter. They have made wonderful progress, thoroughly enjoyed it, and are already looking forward to next winter!

Tomorrow I get to go to Florida for a few days! I am very excited! Some of the other Sonlight consultants and I are getting together for a few days to do some training/brainstorming for the upcoming homeschool convention season. We usually do this about every-other year, but other times it's been in Denver. I've never been to Florida before... and with big piles of snow still surrounding me, I am really looking forward to warmer temperatures and sunshine for a few days.

I posted a list of homeschool conventions where I will representing Sonlight on my sidebar. If you homeschool and live in the northwest, I'd love to see you at one of the conventions. Stop by the Sonlight booth and tell me you read my blog! That would be fun!

My husband and his brother are hoping to finish up their construction project tomorrow after I leave. Someone asked what "we" are building and someone else wanted to know why we needed to put a beam up. They are expanding the print shop to make room for a very large piece of equipment that they are in the process of buying. They are extending the current press room into an adjacent garage, and so they needed to put in a ceiling, insulation, and drywall. The beam is to support the ceiling joists. My brother-in-law has construction experience and my husband is a pretty handy electrician, so they save a good bit of money by doing their own construction. When my granddaddy visited us several years ago he said they reminded him of his "boys"! I took that as high praise, indeed!

And now some "shout outs"! A few people took me up on my invitation to post the "Getting to Know You" quiz on their blogs. Check them out:

Dori @ A Moment in Time
Katey @ Crazy Homeschool Mama
Ramona @ The Rose in Winter

Nicol @ Classy and Sophisticated honored me with the Premio Dardos blog award. Premio Dardos means “prize darts” in Italian. It is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. Wow!! Really?Thanks, Nicol!

My aunt, Aliene @ Meditations and Memories, is celebrating her 100th post today. She started blogging last March. She loves comments, so pop over and say hello!

I guess that's it for today. I hope to have internet in Florida, so hopefully I can post from there! Stay warm!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

"Getting to Know You"

A good friend sent me this quiz by email recently. You're supposed to put in your answers and then forward it to all your friends, as well as sending it back to the person who sent it to you. You know, one of those kinda deals. It works better for me to just post it to my blog. Then those who are interested can read it here. Feel free to copy and paste if you want to do it! And be sure and let me know if you do, so I can come read your answers, 'cause, yes, I'm interested!
  1. What is your occupation right now? I'm a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, and I also wear several hats as an independent contractor for Sonlight Curriculum.
  2. What color are your socks right now? Khaki.
  3. What are you listening to right now? Nothing. It's quiet.
  4. What was the last thing that you ate? Popcorn.
  5. Can you drive a stick shift? Yes, I can! Remember this post? My current car is a stick shift.
  6. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My husband.
  7. Do you like the person who sent this to you? As if anyone is going to say "no" to this question! Yes, Barbara is a good friend!
  8. How old are you today? One day older than I was yesterday, but a day younger than I'll be tomorrow.
  9. What is your favorite sport to watch on TV? Do we have to watch sports? If that's all that's on, I'll read a book.
  10. What is your favorite drink? Starbucks' Caramel Macchiato or Thomas Hammer's Carmella DeVille (virtually the same drink, I think)
  11. Have you ever dyed your hair? Nope. I never have. I like the color it is naturally. Either that, or I'm just a frump.
  12. Favorite food? Salad. Or popcorn. Or maybe pizza.
  13. What is the last movie you watched? Fireproof
  14. Favorite day of the year? Vacation. Holidays can be stressful. Vacation days are low-key.
  15. How do you vent anger? Hmm... I dunno. Cry? Pray?
  16. What was your favorite toy as a child? My mother usually made us girls rag dolls for Christmas, and I always liked those. But really? I enjoyed books way more than toys!
  17. What is your favorite season? Spring! Lovely warm air and sunshine. Pretty flowers.
  18. Cherries or Blueberries? Cherries. I like cherry cheesecake... and cherry-lime Coke.
  19. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back? Actually I think it would be more fun if they'd post this to their blogs.
  20. Who is the most likely to respond? Oh, I hate these! I dunno. Laura?
  21. Who is least likely to respond? Good grief! I have no idea!
  22. Living arrangements? I live in a house with a man and 2 children! Oh, yes, and a cat, a dog, and 2 fish.
  23. When was the last time you cried? I can't remember. Maybe last summer? I don't cry often.
  24. What is on the floor of your closet? Organizer thingys for clothes and boxes of shoes.
  25. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are sending to? Let's see, of people who read my blog, Mother and Rachel have known me all my life, so I guess it would be them.
  26. What did you do last night? Visited with my husband. (You know, that man I live with!)
  27. What are you most afraid of? Scary stuff I don't want to think about.
  28. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburger? Plain, but with lots of veggies... lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles.
  29. Favorite dog breed? Hmm, right now it would probably be border collie.
  30. Favorite day of the week? Sunday.
  31. How many states/counties have you lived in? Just one country... I think 11 states.
  32. Diamonds or pearls? I don't wear either, but I like to look at pearls.
  33. What is your favorite flower? Do I have to pick just one? Daisies, violets, pansies, roses, carnations, lilacs. Old-fashioned fragrant garden flowers.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Construction Work

When Lyle told me that he and his brother--just the two of them--would be raising a 400-pound beam on Saturday, I was completely baffled as to how they would achieve such a goal. He tried to explain it to me, but I'm a visual learner and just couldn't comprehend how such a thing would work. He invited me to come watch.

Here's the beam positioned on the floor with the pulley system on one end. The challenge was that they only had pulleys for one end of it...
...so they raised it a few feet at a time, one side at a time.
Here it is braced in place, about half-way up.
Lyle was stabilizing it while his brother went to get something...
...and I couldn't resist the opportunity to get a cute Kilroy was Here shot!
As the beam went higher, they discovered that an extra set of hands came in... uh, handy!
I was practically holding my breath the whole time, and praying that the beam wouldn't slip and hurt someone.
This picture makes me look really strong, doesn't it? Nope. I was just bracing it after it got too high for my daughter to reach.
Finally! It took about 2 hours, but they did manage to get the beam installed.
I praised the men for their ingenuity and resourcefulness. My daughter flat out told them she thought they were crazy!

Maybe a little of both?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ski Report - Week 5

Our skiing adventure this winter has been so much fun. I have been so amazed at how much progress the girls have made in just 5 weeks! No more fear of the chair lift...

In fact, the whole "never ever" class went all the way over the mountain! When I looked at the map of the mountain to see their route, I couldn't believe it. (If you click on the map, you can see it bigger.) Lodge #2 at the bottom of Ego Flats is where I hang out. Chair #5 goes to the top of the bunny slope, so of course, that's where they started 5 weeks ago. This week they took Chair #3 to the top, skiied all the way down the other side (I'm assuming on the "blue square" run to the right, not the "black diamond" run down the center) and took Chair #4 back up to the top and then back down the front side of the mountain from there. Impressive!

I've also enjoyed seeing the varied weather on the mountain from one week to the next, and taking pictures of the valley from the parking lot. This week I took a morning and afternoon shot of the same view. This first picture was about 8:15 a.m. ...

And here's the same view at about 3:15 p.m.
The girls say the views from the ski runs are "really pretty", too.

Makes me want to take up skiing!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wishing you love...

And now abide faith, hope, love,
these three;

but the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:13

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Workbasket (Installment #10)

Here we are in 1952 with plenty of handy "Ideas for the Bazaar, the Home, Gifts, Sparetime Money Makers, with Many Articles, Easily Made and Inexpensive, that find a Ready Sale." How's that for a tag line? And with plenty of capital letters, too!
The first ad that caught my eye was this "glorious, inspiring gift" for Mother, because, of course, Mother's Day is coming up... and what could show your appreciation for all the sacrifices your mother ever made for you better than a plastic tablecloth? It has a "big, special Love to Mother design and poem in the very center. In color, this work of art is surrounded by a graceful border of roses." They don't quote the poem. Maybe we don't really want to know what it says.
I've recently taken up tatting, and so far I haven't progressed beyond making dainty little circles marching down a thread. This pattern assures me that is simple enough for a beginner, but I'm thinking it needs to be a more experienced beginner than I am.
I'm tempted to make up this little cutie just to see if my "young lady" would exclaim, "Oh! Mother!! Such a darling bag for my new spring outfit!! Thank you." Nah. I think she's probably about 50 years too young to "so exclaim."
Here's a "new style craze" that must not have caught on. Have you ever even heard of such a thing? Can't you just imagine how noisy the "flexiclogs" must have been? Not to speak of uncomfortable. The selling point was, "It actually flexes with your foot!" Uh-huh.
Once I master tatting, I think I'll take up bobbin lace. I'm serious. I have seen this demonstrated and it looks like something I would enjoy. The thing is, in my current needlework catalog the price is $40 for a starter kit, rather than $10. Sigh!
Since I don't really need another hobby I guess I'll pass on this one. I dunno, though. It would be an inexpensive hobby! "What's new in newspapers? Why, using them to make such useful articles as trays, bowls, vases, wall plaques and any number of interesting things. It is surprisingly easy to do, and at such a low cost anybody can afford the equipment." Yup. I'm gonna get right on that.
Such pretty dress patterns... from back in the day when women had teeny-tiny waists. If you don't believe me, just scroll back up and look at the cover model. Oh, well. I comfort myself that they probably wore corsets, or very restrictive girdles to achieve that girlish figure! If that's not the case, don't tell me. I don't know want to know.
What was so shameful about being hearing impaired? These old magazines are full of cleverly-disguised hearing aides. Makes me think of secret spy equipment!
Here's a fun ad! Talk about time travel... way back before MP3s... before CDs... before cassette tapes... before 8-tracks... before LP records... there were 78 rpm records. They played "up to 10 full minutes"! If I remember correctly that's about 5 minutes a side. "These amazing records are 6-IN-1 records--6 songs to a record!" You had a choice of "Newest Hit Tunes," "Hill Billy Hits," or "Most Loved Hymns"-- 3 records for "only $2.98"!
For more Vintage Thingy Thursday posts visit Coloradolady.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

While the earth remaineth...

The hollyhocks were beautiful in September. As I look out my window this February day at the ugly piles of old snow still lurking around from the snow storms we had in December, it seems as if spring might never come again. I'm so glad we can rely on God's promises!

[For more Word-filled Wednesday
"scripture photos" visit The 160 Acre Woods.]

Monday, February 9, 2009

Simple Hospitality

Growing up in a country preacher's home, we often had people over for snacks and fellowship after an evening service. Invariably, Mother made popcorn. Usually we had something sweet, too-- cookies or cake or maybe pie. But always popcorn.

The nice thing about popcorn is that it is very inexpensive to make and practically everyone likes it. Mother had a battered old skillet with a lid that was the "popcorn pan." I don't think it was designed to be a popcorn pan, but I never knew of it to be used for anything else. She'd heat a little oil in it, then add the popcorn, and shake-shake-shake the skillet over the burner. If there were a lot of guests she would keep popping corn until everyone had all they wanted.

These days I use the microwave to make popcorn. But I don't use pre-packaged microwave popcorn (usually). Instead, I have a plastic microwave "popcorn popper" that uses regular popcorn. I know microwave popcorn is not terribly expensive, but this is even cheaper... besides, you can flavor it or season it the way you like! My husband likes some of the popcorn seasoning blends that are on the shelf in the grocery store right above the bags of popcorn. Me? I'd just as soon have it with melted butter (not margarine!) and plain ol' salt.

And guess what? If you come over to my house for Wednesday night Bible study, I'll serve you popcorn! Along with something sweet! I guess it's just a family tradition.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Inhabiting the Moment

Wintertime is rough. For me it's not so much the cold and snow as it is the darkness. The hours of daylight seem so short through the winter, and even during the day the light is usually muted with overcast or foggy skies. That just gets depressing after awhile.

It's not just the short days and the cold, damp weather that get to me either. It's a well-known fact that February is the hardest month of all for homeschoolers. We're past the holidays and the semester break and it seems forever until summer break. Enthusiasm is waning and that school bus going down the street looks awfully tempting.

Any way you look at it, it's just not a very cheerful time of the year.

In spite of all of that, I've been trying to be aware that every day is a precious gift from God. Just because the sun isn't shining and I'm feeling a little burned out is no reason to crawl in a hole and wait for spring! Oh, yes, there are times when I think I'd like nothing more than that. But the truth is, I really don't want to fritter my life away wishing for tomorrow.

I want to inhabit this moment and make it into a memory to treasure if I can. I have been trying to make a conscious effort to not complain about the weather or the darkness or the mundaneness of school lessons, but rather look for the little things that make this day like no other.
We have this moment to hold in our hands,
And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand;
Yesterday's gone, and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

OTR Cat

I've mentioned before that I enjoy listening to old time radio shows, from the days before television when there were dramas and comedies as regular programming on the radio. It's been probably close to 12 years since I started collecting old-time radio shows, just about the same length of time we've been on the internet. For several years I swapped shows with other collectors via cassette tape or CD. Then high-speed internet came along and it became possible to download the shows I wanted in MP3 format, and then burn them to CDs myself. But... that's time-consuming, and it's been a few years since I've had time to do that, so I haven't added to my collection in quite awhile.

That's where "OTR Cat" comes in! Jon has a very extensive collection of Old Time Radio shows, and he makes them available at the very reasonable price of $5 (or less) per CD. And with the MP3 format, there is about 50 hours of programming per CD! Yes, you can definitely still download the shows you want, and burn your own CDs... but if you're like me and just don't have the time, this is a great source. Jon also offers a free daily download on the OTR Cat site, and includes a free OTR Sampler CD with your order.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Flower Garden Throw

Back in December when we were getting so much snow, my aunt wondered what I did to keep myself busy indoors. To be honest, the snow didn't keep us in all that much... well, maybe a little... but in any case, I never get bored! Life is so interesting to me... and I have too many hobbies!

One thing I enjoy in the evenings (and when we travel) is crocheting. I also like to knit, but lately I've been crocheting... oh, yeah, and trying to learn to tat. But mostly crocheting. I finished this Flower Garden throw a few days ago.I am working on another similar afghan called "Wheels". It's circles of random colors (rather than "flowers" like this one) and doesn't have the green in it. I plan to make it bed-size, though, rather than a lap throw.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Interviewing Mrs. C

One of my favorite current jobs is moderating the student forums for Sonlight Curriculum. Interacting with the kids is a lot of fun! Earlier this week some of the younger kids decided to start a "newspaper" and one of the reporters asked to interview me. I thought she came up with some very good questions, and I decided to share my answers here.

Do you have any hobbies?

I have lots of hobbies! I love to read. I like to go camping, hiking, bike riding, and on road trips with my family. I enjoy listening to old time radio shows and audio books. I also enjoy a variety of needlework. I like researching my family tree. I always find lots of interesting things to do. I rarely get bored!

Do you enjoy writing?

I do enjoy writing! I published a monthly newsletter for my mother's side of the family for quite a few years, until everybody got email and Facebook and cell phones, and then we didn't really need it any more. Some day I'd like to write a book.

How would you describe yourself?

Hmm... I'm tall. I have long brown hair. I've always been a bookworm! I'm friendly, but not real outgoing until you get to know me.

What are your favorite foods, or types of food?

I like salty, savory foods better than sweets usually. I love pizza... and popcorn!

What are your favorite things to do?

Probably my absolute favorite is to go on road trips with my family.

Are you an outgoing and social person?

Not really. I can be when I need to, but usually I'd rather just spend a quiet evening at home than go to a big party.

What types of books do you like reading?

Fiction! Almost any kind of fiction! (Not horror, though.) I do read a lot of non-fiction, too... but I love a good story!

Do you like sports?

No, I'm not much of a sports fan at all.

If so, which ones are your favorites?

I usually watch the Indy 500 with my husband every year because he's a big auto racing fan. And I don't mind going to a baseball game once in awhile, but I actually enjoy watching all the people rather than the game itself.

Which is your favorite season, Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter?

Spring! I love the warmer weather, and the flowers, and the soft colors. And it's just so refreshing after the drab, cold winter!

Whats your birthday (month and day, not year)?

November 24.

What is your favorite day out of the week?

Sunday.

Why?

It's a quiet day of rest and relaxation, a break from the busyness of the week.

Do you like to watch movies, and if so what kind?

I like watching movies with my husband once in awhile. My favorites are classic movies or movies based on classic books.

Do you like taking quizzes?

Sure! They're usually fun!

Are you registered on lots of websites (Howrse, Club Penguin, Millsberry, Neopets, etc.)?

No, I'm not registered on any of those.

What types of music do you like?

I like sacred, classical, some classic country, some easy listening. I actually listen to old time radio or audio books more than I listen to music.

Are there any particular series of books that you like (that people on the forums may have read)?

Oh, lots! I told you I am a bookworm! Let's see: Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, Betsy-Tacy, Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, Childhood of Famous Americans, Elsie Dinsmore, American Girl, Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings... I could go on and on!

Do you like chocolate?

I like it, but I don't love it! I actually like caramel better.

What is your favorite dessert?

Cheesecake!

Were you homeschooled?

No, but my husband was for his last 2 years of high school.

Do/Did you homeschool your children?

Yes, I do!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bedroom Makeover in the Works

It's been over 10 months since we moved into our "new" house and I still haven't decorated our bedroom. All the downstairs rooms are paneled in knotty pine, which I love. We've gone with a retro "road trip" theme for the family room, and a "north woods" theme for the bathroom. Neither of those really suit me for the bedroom, though. I want to go with more of a "pioneer cabin" feel, I think, but I'm having a hard time coming up with what that would look like. Maybe y'all can help me?First of all, here's a "before" picture. My mother made the pink and teal drapes and quilt top for me about 8 years ago, and I like them okay... but that was 4 houses ago. They don't suit this room, and besides, I'm kinda tired of them. When it comes to home decorating I try to pick things I won't get tired of before they wear out... but in this case, the fabric was given to me, and I liked it well enough for the house we were in, so I used it. But now I'm ready for something different.

I asked my mother if she would be willing to make me another quilt top, if I bought the fabric and picked a pattern she could do with the strip-piecing method. See, she loves to sew on a machine... and I don't. I do, however, enjoy hand-quilting, so if she will make the quilt top for me, I can quilt it.

She was agreeable to that, so we started looking at quilt patterns. I found a quilt on an Amish quilt website that I just loved. I "borrowed" this picture to show you what I have in mind. I decided on sage green, rather than the blues... and I probably won't quilt the flower outline in the white squares, so mine won't be exactly like this.

Mother emailed me a picture of the first block she made:
I think it's going to turn out very pretty!

For the window, I'm crocheting this:
And yes, I'm sure it will be a year (or more) by the time I get the quilt quilted and the curtain crocheted!

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what to put on the walls. No, I will not be painting them. I love the natural knotty pine! I was thinking of dried flowers (lavender maybe?) tied together with string, and maybe some framed vintage photos. Also, there's a 6-inch wide ledge about half-way up the wall along 2 walls. That feature lends itself to creative decorating, too. Any ideas?

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ski Lessons - Week 3

The girls are half through with their ski lessons. In case you missed it, I posted about the first week here. Last week was foggy and frosty, not a good day for taking pictures... well, except for the frosty trees. Each week the view of the valley from the lodge parking lot has been different. This past week it was clear and crisp.
The girls are enjoying their lessons. I'm amazed at how much they have already learned. Here they are headed for the fenced area where they meet their instructor and the other kids in their group.
The first week R had problems with the chair lift, and was just sure that skiing was not for her. But it didn't take her long to get the hang of it...
And here they come confidently skiing down the "bunny hill"!
L even got up her courage this week to try a different chair lift on a "blue square" (medium difficulty) slope. For only having 3 lessons, I was impressed that she was willing to try it! She said it was steeper than she expected, but she did great... and I'll just bet she'll be back up there this week!