Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Books Read in June

Continuing with the 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, here are the books I read in June:

54. So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones
55. The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction by Jeff Gerke
56. Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
55. Katy's New World by Kim Vogel Sawyer
56. Missing Max by Karen Young
57. Healer by Linda Windsor
58. Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book by Nancy Rue
59. Boyfriends, Burritos, and an Ocean of Trouble by Nancy Rue
60. Perfectly Dateless by Kristen Billerbeck
61. Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
62. Tomorrow We Die by Shawn Grady

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fern and Shadow Falls

Seasons around here seem to follow the calendar pretty closely. Except for winter, that is. Winter comes early and stays late. But summer is usually right on time. This past weekend we had the first "real" summer weather of the season and we took advantage of it by going camping and hiking.
One of our favorite hiking trails is "up the river" to a small, but oh-so-lovely set of waterfalls. We've had more rain than usual this spring so the creeks were still plenty full.
The sunny, warm day was just perfect for enjoying the cool, refreshing spray of the water and the lush greenness of the moss and ferns along the banks.
Fern Falls is first along the trail. You probably can't tell from this picture, but there are ferns growing upside down on the rocks that form the "wall" and "roof" of the falls.
The kids wondered what it would be like to stand behind the falls. Since the water is pretty shallow, they decided to find out. Look closely at the picture above. You can barely make them out behind the shower! They got splashed a little bit, but they weren't soaked.
Here's another shot with a faster shutter speed. I used the "action/sports" setting on the camera.
Then, there were bluffs to climb and explore. Lots of interesting nooks and crannies.
Shadow Falls was at the end of the trail.
Well, I didn't mean exactly the "end"...It was the end of the hiking trail, but there was a well-worn climbing path up the side of the hill, leading to the top of the falls. So Lyle and the kids went on up. I stayed at the bottom to take pictures, of course. You'll have to look closely again to see them at the top of the picture above. All three got their backsides dusty coming back down, which made me happy about my decision to be the photographer.
According to my daughter, "That was super fun!"

Monday, June 28, 2010

Twenty-five years ago today...

...I was a bridesmaid.
It was a beautiful wedding... and it's been a beautiful marriage!

Happy anniversary, Rachel and Philip
Wishing you many more happy years!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stripeys

For the past several weeks I've been enchanted with the lovely granny-stripe blanket that Lucy @ Attic24 is creating. Her colors are just so delicious... and she's been keeping us posted on the progress as she goes along. When she started it, I was still working on the ripple afghan that I showed you earlier this month. I had to finish it first because it was a gift for my niece's graduation. I was very tempted to go see if I could find some light-weight soft yarn in the colors that Lucy is using, but my frugal side kicked in and I decided to use up some yarn I already had first.
I had just enough of these random colors of cotton yarn to work up a nice little lap blanket. Obviously, I had more of some colors than others, but I was pleased with the result. I really enjoyed working it up, because it's such a simple pattern that I don't even have to look at what I'm doing most of the time. I got a lot of it done as we drove over the mountains coming back from Seattle last weekend. It was too curvy to read without getting carsick, but with this I could keep my eyes forward out the front window.

I'd still love to do a larger light-weight blanket in the bright colors, but I'm not sure when I'll be able to justify more yarn purchases. Maybe I better finish the quilt for my bed first.

For more creative projects visit the Creative Share blog hop @ Trendy Treehouse.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Reading Challenge

As you probably realize, reading is not a challenge for me. However, I've decided to participate in the Summer Reading Challenge hosted by A Southern Daydreamer Reads because I want to read more YA books this summer. You see, I have aspirations of writing a YA novel, and I've decided it would be good to immerse myself in the genre! So... between now and September 21 my goal is the read (or re-read) the following YA novels:
  • Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery
  • Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery
  • Betsy was a Junior by Maud Hart Lovelace
  • The Road to Memphis by Mildred D. Taylor
  • Katy's New World by Kim Vogel Sawyer
  • Katy's Debate by Kim Vogel Sawyer
  • Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book by Nancy Rue 
  • Boyfriends, Burritos, and an Ocean of Trouble by Nancy Rue
  • Perfectly Dateless by Kristen Billerbeck
  • Final Touch by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins
  • Catwalk by Melody Carlson

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Weekend Update

It's been a busy weekend! I didn't have as much time to work on my blog for the Bloggiesta as I had hoped, but I still got a good bit done in little snatches of time. I didn't even try to keep track of how much time I spent. Here are some of my accomplishments this go 'round...
  • Completed the Blog Improvement Challenge.
  • Scheduled some upcoming review posts.
  • Visited some of my old favorite blogs and quite a few new-to-me blogs.
  • Added a Blog Button page to share some of the great blogs I enjoy.
  • Added a Daily Fun page to remind me of some of the "theme" days I enjoy participating in.
You see, for the past few months I have found myself getting caught up in (and wasting a whole lotta time on) the Facebook community. Then I began to realize that rather than being a healthy diversion and an encouraging environment for me, it was actually having the opposite affect. Blogging is much more uplifting for me, so I've decided to let Facebook go, for the most part, and focus more on my writing and the things that truly interest me. Hopefully that will be reflected in better blog posts in the days to come. No promises, but that would be the goal!

Besides puttering around on my blog this weekend, I also enjoyed a lovely coffee date with my sweet husband on Friday evening. Yesterday afternoon we attended our niece's high school graduation along with other homeschooled students in our area. In the evening, we joined in a celebration hosted by her parents in honor of her graduation and her younger sister's birthday. This afternoon our family went for a back-country drive and a bike ride on the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes.

With all that fun and frolicking, can you believe I didn't take one picture? What kind of blogger am I, anyway? I'm going to have to do better than that if I hope to make improvements around here!

Hope you had a great weekend!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Me 'n' Pedro

This weekend I am participating in Bloggiesta hosted by Maw Books Blog. "What is Bloggiesta?" you might ask. Well, it's a blog challenge. A weekend set aside where bloggers focus on maintaining and improving their blogs.

Our mascot is PEDRO -->
Plan.  Edit.  Develop.  Review.  Organize.

This is perfect timing for me... as I have wrapped up a year of homeschool reviews for the TOS Crew, and I'm scheduling in some fun summer reviews. I also want to work in regular "slice of life" posts as well as some vintage silliness.

So that's my goal for this weekend... to get my blogging schedule for the next few months worked out. Another goal is to archive my homeschooling posts on my secondary blog: Roads to Learning. I also have a graduation and a birthday party to attend this weekend, as well as normal family busy-ness, so I won't be at my computer all weekend, but maybe I can get a good bit accomplished. I'll be back on Sunday evening to let you know how I did.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Latest Project

Crocheting is so relaxing for me. I saw this pattern in an ad on the back of a Crochet! magazine this spring, and loved the lacy ripples. I was excited to notice that the pattern was a free download at Bernat.com.

It's called "Then and Now" because it is actually a vintage pattern that Bernat has re-released in modern colors. The original was in very-70's-shades of orange, yellow, and brown. Bernat's recommended colors are softer creamy and peachy shades... but Bernat yarn wasn't available at the store where I was shopping, so I went with shades of pink in a different brand instead. I also chose to leave off the fringe. After all, there is such a thing as being too retro, right?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Backyard Fun

What kind of wild critter is this that has invaded our back yard?
Oh! Never mind! I recognize her... it's just silly ol' Tabitha-the-cat!

I just thought this was a fun couple of shots that I came across when I was downloading pics off the camera one day. The kids had been snapping pictures. It's always interesting to see what they come up with in the way of subjects. Visit Camera Critters to see more fun pics of animals. 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Idaho Homeschool Convention

This weekend I will be hosting the Sonlight booth at the Christian Homeschoolers of Idaho State convention in Nampa, Idaho. I will also be speaking on Friday at 12:45 on Raising Kids Who Love to Learn. As a special "thank you" to conference attendees, Sonlight is allowing me to offer a $15 coupon to each family who stops by my booth! Also, if you bring a friend who is new to Sonlight, I will have an extra small gift for you. Or mention that you read about this conference on my blog! These gifts will be available while supplies last, so be sure to stop by early. You will also have a chance to win my drawing for a nice basket of books and other goodies! If you homeschool in Idaho, I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Truck Repairs

This is the story of the job that consumed our entire holiday weekend.

One day last week Lyle noticed something wonky going on with the steering of his truck. After further research he determined that it was time to do some front-end work before we set off on our trips in June. Memorial Day weekend was supposed to be cool and rainy anyway (not good camping weather), so that seemed the ideal time to get this "little job" taken care. Actually, he knew this wasn't going to be a little job, but if we had known at the out-set that his unseen partner was going to be Murphy... you know, of Murphy's Law?... I think we would have been highly tempted to just take the truck to the nearest dealer and trade it in!

Lyle is a skilled mechanic but it is not what he does for a living so he doesn't have a full range of auto-shop tools at his fingertips. He made a list of the parts and tools he thought he would need for the job and diligently went on "hunting and gathering" trips to the various "man stores" in the evenings last week. He knew it was likely to be an all-day job, and he didn't want to have to waste time on Saturday running after parts. His plan was to get it done on Saturday, and then be able to relax the rest of the weekend.
I know very little about auto mechanics myself, so I can't describe to you the work that needed to be done and the problems he ran into.
However, every step along the way it seemed he needed another tool he didn't have. You see, a 1-ton truck has really BIG parts... and after 100,000+ miles they don't want to come apart!
I tried to be the "gopher girl" but it got to the point where he didn't know what to tell me to get... so in spite of his best planning, he spent 2 1/2 hours driving all over Spokane looking for tools. Tools that ended up not working, or breaking...
By 8:30pm on Saturday it was obvious that there was no way he could finish the job that day. But the truck was up on jacks with a wheel off and it was sticking half out of the garage. We were concerned that someone might just stroll into the garage during the night and take who-knows-what. We live in a pretty safe neighborhood so that scenario was not likely, but still, we didn't like to leave the garage open all night. Lyle thought maybe he could just sleep on a cot in the garage that night. I had a "better" idea! I built a "security gate" of whatever rattly clutter I found laying around the garage... a couple of dollies, a folding table, a rack, a couple of brooms and rakes... and then I bungie-corded it all together on either side of the truck. Yes, I know, any half-wit could move the stuff and get in, but they would make an awful lot of racket doing it and it would wake us up. We laughed at our high security measures, but it did make us feel better!
On Sunday Lyle rounded up a couple more tools, but mostly he observed a day of rest. Early Monday morning he was back at. This u-joint was the main "problem child"... no amount of penetrating oil, banging, or pressure from the hydraulic press would loosen the parts.
Finally, Lyle took a grinder to it, to separate the part he was replacing. Having it in pieces made it easier to bang it apart, but it still took all the strength of the hydraulic press and several mighty blows of the hammer.

We were so relieved to finally begin to make progress... and by 9:00p.m. last night the truck was back together and running smoothly. We took down our "security gate" and thanked God for His help in getting us back on the road!

Books Read in May

Continuing with the 2010 100+ Reading Challenge, here are the books I read in May:

45. Andrea Carter and the Trouble with Treasure by Susan Marlow
46. This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson
47. Never Let You Go by Erin Healy
48. I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby
49. Rooms by James Rubart
50. Sheet Music by Kevin Leman
51. A Love of Her Own by Maggie Brendan
52. Sing by Lisa Bergren
53. Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky

I'm also participating in the What's in a Name? reading challenge, but without deliberately picking out books to fit the categories. I may have to before the end of the year, but I thought it would be fun to see what titles I could fit in just "by accident." Here's where I stand so far...

1. Food:
2. Body of water: Genoa Bay by Bette Nordberg
3. Title (queen, president): Raising a Modern-Day Princess by Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna
4. Plant: Lavender Morning by Jude Deveraux
5. Place name:
6. Music term: Sheet Music by Kevin Leman or Sing by Lisa Bergren