Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Free Advent Resource

As we've been studying Ancient Times this year, we've been reading Bible stories that follow along with the chronology of World History. Interestingly enough, as we approach the Advent season we have reached the time of the Roman Empire in our history studies.

This morning I found a free resource that I plan to use along with our history and Bible studies this month. It is the Jesse Tree Advent Devotional Book. You may download it for free by subscribing to A Holy Experience blog. It includes daily devotionals for the Advent season telling the story of the Old Testament leading up to the birth of Christ.

It also includes artsy "ornament" print-outs to go with each devotional. The idea is to put one on the tree each day, or use them however you would like. I think they will be great additions to our Book of Time, as we'll be doing this devotional at the beginning of our school time each day.

Often families take the month of December off from doing their regular school work to focus on holiday activities. I think this could also be the foundation of a very special Christmas unit study, if you wanted to add in some supplemental reading and crafts. Just an idea! Enjoy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Irish Chain Quilt

It's pushing two years since I first posted about my Bedroom-Makeover-in-the-Works. I wish I could announce that it is finally finished... but, no, it's still in the works. I have, however, finished the quilt. My mother pieced it for me and I hand-quilted it. She also made matching pillow shams. It was time-consuming, but we are both so pleased with how it turned out.

Next up, I need to decide on what to put on the window. I did start a crocheted curtain like I mentioned in my earlier post, but I'm not sure if that's really what I want or not. It's been awhile since I worked on it, so I should probably get it out and think about it some more.

I have also considered white-washing the walls, so that the wood grain still shows through the white. Lyle's not crazy about that idea. I think I would like it... but what if I get tired of it? I'm not sure it would be possible to take it back off, and then I'd have to just paint over it. So I think I'll just leave the walls the way they are.

How would you decorate if your bedroom had knotty pine walls?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Crochet Fun

 I recently snagged this "loverly" collection of close to 200 afghan patterns at a thrift store. It's one of those build-a-binder collections, where you subscribe and get so many patterns a month to put in your binder. There are sections for antique styles (my favorites!), mile-a-minute, granny squares, quilt-inspired, geometric, afghans for babies and kids, and more! I have enjoyed poring over the pictures, trying to decide on my favorites. I like the "antique" patterns best. Ahhh... if I just had all the time in the world to crochet... and an unlimited supply of yarn...

 One pattern in particular caught my eye... well, two actually... Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Sam. They made me think of my Aunt 'Lene. Earlier this year she finished a Sunbonnet Sue quilt that my grandma had started. Since then she's made several other quilts, which she posts about on her blog, Meditations and Memories. I happen to know that Aunt 'Lene crochets, too, so I think I'm going to mail these two patterns to her and see what she can make of them. I think it would be cute to make one afghan with blocks from both patterns. Whaddya think, Aunt 'Lene? Up for a little blog challenge from your "favorite" niece? I bet some of your little great-grand-young'n's would like this throw!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Ready or Not...

 I've always thought of Thanksgiving as a fall holiday. Not this year. After a beautiful, mild fall, winter arrived abruptly a few days ago. The calendar says it's still almost a month until winter starts... so what's up with all the snow and cold already?
 We're not talking about a soft, fluffy early snow flurry. It's cold-cold and we experienced a real Little-House-on-the-Prairie-style blizzard earlier this week. The snow piled up and the wind blew it all over the place.
 A couple weeks ago we had a non-snowy wind storm that blew our aging fence over. Lyle was able to brace it back up as a temporary fix. During the blizzard we wondered if it would hold. It did. I thought it was interesting how the wind carved the drifts along the fence as it blew from north to south. It's weird that that there is almost-bare ground in places, and high drifts in other places.
 Finally, the wind stopped... but the snow has continued to fall.
I guess it's time to just hunker down for a Long Winter. We are grateful for health and safety... a happy family... a warm home... and all the food we need.

Hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving, whatever the weather is doing where you are.

Monday, November 15, 2010

November Monday

The weather in my neck of the woods: Gray and damp, and dark very early. Typical November weather.
Things that make me happy: Hanging out with my husband.
Book I'm reading: Too Much Stuff by Kathryn Porter, and When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric and Leslie Ludy.
What's on my TV today: No idea. Whatever Lyle is in the mood for if we have time to watch TV this evening. He enjoys winding down with a show or two before bedtime, and I just mostly keep him company by crocheting and listening to whatever he's watching.
On the menu for dinner: Beef stew.
On my To Do List: Homeschooling, work, packing for a trip this weekend.
New Recipe: My daughter made a wonderful pumpkin cheesecake in honor of our anniversary.
In the craft basket: 4 exquisite balls of mohair and silk yarn that I am crocheting into a formal wrap for my daughter.
Looking forward to this week: Heading to Helena, Montana this weekend to represent Sonlight at the Education Options Symposium.
Tips and Tricks: A small pumpkin makes a pretty nifty "vase."
On my mind: Lyle and I have been reading our pre-marriage letters together, reminding us of decisions we made and experiences we had long ago. It's been a good time to reminisce about the past and plan for the future.
Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
Whoever comes to Me, and hears My sayings and does them, I will show you whom he is like: He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. Luke 6:47-48.

Visit Diary of a Stay-at-Home Mom for more Happy Homemaker Monday posts.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Red Velvet Tote - review

I have to tell you about the gorgeous red velvet embroidered tote I received just before our trip. Yes, it's a review product, and yes, I agreed to post about it in exchange for a bag... but honestly? I love it! The picture just doesn't do it justice, so I wasn't really sure what to expect. First of all, it's much larger than I expected... roomy enough to carry my netbook, knitting, small purse, and miscellaneous other "necessities" that I seem to think I need to take with me most everywhere. It's definitely dressier than the canvas tote I usually carry. The velvet is so plush, and I love having my initial embroidered on it. (I could have had a 3-letter monogram or my first name, but I opted for a simple "K" just because I think it's a pretty letter!) It has a leather strap, so it's pretty sturdy. It is fully lined with a zipper pocket, plus an extra little zippered pouch on a little tether. It closes with a snap, and also has a snap on each side to bring the sides together to make a narrower-looking bag. Oh... and it's red!! I <3 red accessories. Thank you, Simply Bags!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Anniversary Trip Wrap-Up

 We are home from our 25th anniversary trip. It was truly a "second honeymoon" in that we didn't do a thing we didn't feel like doing... just relaxing, sight-seeing, and enjoying being together. It was so wonderful to be able to get away for a few days. Above is a picture of the lane leading to the bed-and-breakfast where we stayed.
 On Thursday we met a friend for lunch, then visited the zoo and the Microsoft visitor center.
On Friday we went back downtown. The change in weather was dramatic. Friday's drizzle was much more typical for Seattle than Wednesday's bright sunshine had been, but we thought it was neat to experience the extremes. We went to the aquarium and took a little harbor cruise that day. (We had bought City Passes which included tickets to almost everything we did in the city. It was a very economical way to see the sights, and we found each one very interesting and worthwhile.)

Now we're home again, pretty much hitting the ground running, as per usual. It was so nice to go away for a few days to celebrate, but more than that we are grateful for the solid relationship we enjoy with each other on a day-to-day basis in real life. We are so glad God brought us together!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Collectorz - review

I have always loved the public library. When I was growing up I dreamed of having an extensive home library. As a homeschooler, that dream has become a reality... and now the problem has become keeping my collection pared down to where I have room for it. Just about every room in our house has at least one bookcase. They are loosely organized in a way that makes sense to me, but I often lose track of which books I own and where they are when I need them.

Recently, as a member of the TOS Crew, I had the opportunity to review the Collectorz software for cataloging books. It is pretty straight-forward and very easy to use. All I had to do was type in the ISBN from a book cover and it would automatically list the title, author, cover art, and other pertinent information for that particular book. Or if you have a barcode scanner, you can simply scan the bar code. I haven't had the time to enter my entire collection, but I can see that it would be a helpful program to have to better organize my library and keep track of my books. Collectorz also offers similar software for DVDs, CDs, and other types of media.

The Book Collector Standard Version costs $29.95, while the Book Collector Pro Version costs $49.95. The Pro Version has extra features for larger collections.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Day in the Big City

We have been enjoying perfect fall weather in the northwest this week. Yesterday was our day to take in the "big city." Seattle has a reputation of being gray and damp most of the time, so we were thrilled when it turned out to be another clear, sunny day. Great walking-around weather!

We spent the day browsing shops and visiting museums, and then went up in the Space Needle in time to watch the sunset. As usual, my camera doesn't begin to do it justice.
The sunset tinted the city and Mount Rainier (in the distance) a soft pink. It was such a beautiful evening.
It was dark by the time we got back to the ferry. We went out on the deck to see the city lights. Again, my camera's limitations, along with the vibration of the boat, makes this picture a poor representation of the actual sight.
It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful day!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Cape Flattery Trail


 We hiked to the "most northwest corner of the continental United States" today. (Does that count as an "uttermost part" of the earth? If not, what is an uttermost part?) The hike was about 3 miles round trip, and the views were spectacular. It was an absolutely beautiful day for November. I fully expected the coast to be fogged in, but it was sunny and clear with the temperature about 60.
 There were 5 different scenic overlooks along the trail. We ate our lunch while we watched the waves and the sea gulls.
The two tiny black pecks in the middle of this picture are sea otters who were floating along on their backs in the waves. A couple of guys we met up with on the trail said they had seen 3 sea lions, but we didn't catch a glimpse of them. It was a fun day!

25 years ago...

...on this day, I married my best friend.
He's still my best friend...
...and I'm more in love with him now than I was then.
What I can't figure out is...
...how could 25 years possibly go by so quickly?
Happy Anniversary, Lyle!
Thanks for choosing me!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Anniversary Getaway

In celebration of our 25th anniversary, Lyle and I are enjoying  a few days away from our normal responsibilities. My mother kindly offered to come "keep the girls company" at home. We are staying at a lovely bed and breakfast out in the country on Bainbridge Island, just west of Seattle. We plan to ride the ferry into the city later in the week, but yesterday we enjoyed a much-needed day of rest and relaxation.

Our hostess has a special knack for creating a beautiful garden and grounds. It's definitely fall in the northwest, so everything is damp and drippy. Actually, that's probably pretty much the norm year 'round... but it's warmer than it's been at home. It's very cozy to sit inside and watch the rain in the courtyard. And the weather is supposed to clear up tomorrow, I think. So we'll probably get out and do more then.
Part of the hospitality committee includes the friendly old dog, Camille, who watched us through the French doors for awhile before curling up for a nap on the mat...
...and the resident horses, Skippy and Harley, who live just beyond the pasture gate (in the first picture). I didn't get acquainted with them very closely yet, but I understand they are also quite friendly.