Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Not in the Market

What with Laura being gone for most of the summer and Becky missing her big sister, we have used up our allotted cell phone minutes for the month. So when my phone rang this afternoon I checked Caller I.D. to see who was calling. It wasn't anyone on my contact list but it was a local number. I decided to let it go to voice mail, thinking whoever-it-was would leave a message and I could call them back. A few minutes later I got an email from my friend, Anna, asking about a book. I replied and asked her if she had just tried calling me, explaining why I didn't take the call.

"Yes, that was me," she said. "Next time I'll leave a message." I entered her number on my contact list so I would know it was her.

Half an hour or so later the phone rang again. It was a local number again, but not Anna's. Maybe she's calling from a different phone this time, I thought. Well, she said she'd leave a message, so I'll wait and see.

Sure enough, in a few minutes the voice mail alert tinkled at me. I dialed in to listen, fulling expecting it to be Anna. Instead, it was a man's voice.

"Um. Hello. I think I got the wrong number. I'm calling Bill Barry, but I got Karla. God bless you. Have a nice life. This is Joe."

Please tell me. If you dialed the wrong number, would you leave a message? Why wouldn't you just hang up before the beep?

I betcha Joe is my secret admirer. He called back a little later, but didn't leave a message the second time. I guess he was just devastated that I didn't answer or return his call. I've been noticing ads on my Pandora account assuring me there are nice single men in my area (in the 50+ age range!) who want to meet me. The stock photos of models in the ads would lead one to believe that all these handsome men live right in my neighborhood! One of them is Joe, probably.

I guess Joe (and Pandora) didn't get the memo that I am blissfully married. I'm perfectly happy with the real man who faithfully brings home the bacon and adores me. (Not to mention that he's still in the under 50 age range!)

Sorry, Joe.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Just Average

Today I'm blogging about my "average" kids on the Sonlight Blog. If your kids are "just average" like mine are, I hope you'll be encouraged!

Monday, August 22, 2011

August Monday

The weather in my neck of the woods:
About as close to perfect as possible. We have had an incredibly mild summer this year. Lyle told me he heard we've only had something like 4 days where the temperature got over 90 degrees. We never even bothered putting in the window a/c unit this year. We've just had the windows open for months. I love living in the northwest!

Things that make me happy:
Standing out in the parking lot after church visiting with friends for hours.

Books I'm reading:
  • More Treasures from Grandma's Attic by Arleta Richardson (in the upstairs bathroom)
  • The Old Schoolhouse Magazine (not a book, I know, but it's what I currently have going in the downstairs bathroom)
  • I'm sorta between books on my Kindle. That is to say, I have several started, but I haven't gotten into any of them yet. I just finished Reinventing Leona by Lynne Gentry.
On the menu for dinner:
Hamburgers on the grill, I think.

On my To Do List:
(You really don't want to see my whole To-Do list... but here are a few things I need to do today.)
  • Divide and wrap 40 pounds of hamburger meat we picked up Saturday evening.
  • Package and mail several packages.
  • Work several hours as a Sonlight Advisor.
  • Clean the kitchen.
  • Get some writing done.
New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
I want to try making The Pioneer Woman's Iced Coffee. I've been afraid to make it, though, because I'm very sure I would quickly become addicted to it.

In the craft basket:
Cotton yarn for washcloths. I've been making these up to sell. One of my friends makes soap and has been selling it at the farmer's market. I sent her a batch of washcloths to offer with the soap. I have also set up an Etsy shop. Not many listed there yet, but it's a start.

Looking forward to this week:
Laura is coming home Wednesday evening! She's been gone all summer, and we have missed her!

No words needed:

Lesson learned the past few days:
God is faithful. Always.

On my mind:
Plans for the upcoming school year. (Don't miss my Back-to-School giveaway!)

Scripture:
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. I Corinthians 10:13.

More Happy Homemaker Monday posts @ Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Little Doilies

I have taken a break from my "99 Little Doilies" frenzy to crochet a batch of washcloths to sell. However, I have a few more of the doilies worked up that I haven't shown you yet.
Doily #18.
Doily #19.
Doily #20.
(I worked this one up around the 4th of July.)
Doily #21.
And while I was in the holiday mode I made this one in Christmas colors.

Which one is your favorite of this batch? I think I like #18 best.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Timberdoodle games

Timberdoodle is my second-favorite homeschool company, but really, to say it's second is like having to choose between apples and oranges. I like Sonlight for my main curriculum, and Timberdoodle for fun supplements and thinking games and activities.

A few weeks ago Timberdoodle had a fun contest/promotional running on Facebook. They were giving away all kinds of goodies. I didn't enter every drawing because we already own some of the products, and some were more for younger kids... but there were several giveaways I was definitely interested in. I ended up winning the Word on the Street game! I love word games and I thought it would be a fun game to take camping.

The first time we played it with just 2 players. We could tell it would be more fun with more players as it's designed for 2 teams of any number of players. Last weekend when we went camping with another family we tried it again with more people. The idea is to think of words that fit a particular definition using letters on the board. Your goal is to work the letters off the board, and as the game progresses it gets harder to think of words that use the letters that are left and still fit the definition. The first team to work 8 letters off the board is the winner. All of us thought that the timer was too short. It's set for 30 seconds. We tried flipping it twice per turn. That was better, but probably a 45-second timer would be about right. It would make a great party game.

Earlier this summer I invested in several single-player games from Timberdoodle to give Becky something constructive to do while I was working, with Laura being gone. I was really impressed with the selection of single-player critical-thinking games that Timberdoodle offers. We got Lab Mice, Anti-Virus, Titanic, Hide and Seek Safari, and Color Code and have enjoyed all of them. My favorite is Lab Mice, though Anti-Virus seems to be the most popular among the kids. Some of our friends who have had a chance to play with them while camping have also been impressed and asked where to get them... so there you are!

And just so you know: These weren't truly "review products" as I won Word on the Street and bought the other games, but I may be posting more reviews from Timberdoodle later as a member of Because Mom Said.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Beyond Bedding - product review

We're counting down the days until Laura gets home. According to Li'l Sis it's just 11 more days. We've missed her this summer. But while she's been gone we've taken the opportunity to re-decorate her room. Don't worry. We had her permission.
AFTER
When we first moved into this house 3 years ago, Laura wanted her room to be green and purple and blue. Her PaPa helped her paint it and she had it all fixed up just the way she wanted it. It was very cute for a young teen.
BEFORE
A few months ago she began to talk about redecorating. It seems she has outgrown the "bubblegum" colors and wanted something softer and more feminine. We got her different bedroom furniture for graduation, but she hadn't made any definite choices as to color and theme. As she began to consider what she would like to go with, I was offered the opportunity to review a bedding set from Beyond Bedding. It's primarily a children's bedding company, but as I looked at their selections I saw a few designs I thought Laura might like, so I sent her the link and told her to let me know her choice. She was thrilled!
After considerable discussion and contemplation we settled on a lovely pink-and-brown set. It came with the bed skirt, the comforter, pillow sham, and window valance. We love the toile design accented with the polka dots. My favorite feature is the pink chenille edging. (They also have polka-dot crib bedding, so you could go with this same design for a baby's room, if you wanted.)
So... the design is lovely. Laura and I are both very pleased with how her "room makeover" turned out (though, of course, she has only seen pictures so far). The main downside so far is that the fabric seems to wrinkle easily. It was wrinkled when I took it out of the bag and I had to iron it pretty hard to get it to look nice, especially the valance and bed skirt. I expect that will need doing every time it's washed, which won't be all that often, but still... The overall quality is about what you would expect for the price. Not top-of-the-line, but adequate for children's bedding which they will probably tire of or out-grow before it wears out.

In exchange for the bedding set, I was asked to give an honest review and to mention that Beyond Bedding also carries toddler sports bedding, western cowboy bedding, and zebra print bedding. Something for just about everybody's taste!

P.S. The net "canopy" is leftover from Before. I'm trying to decide how to disguise the splashy flowers with something more "vintage." Any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Montana Camping Trip

This past weekend we went camping in northwestern Montana with friends. Mostly we go camping by ourselves, but this is the second time this summer we've had the privilege of sharing the fun with another family.

Lyle was able to take off at noon on Friday so we got to the campground in the early evening. We got our campsite set up and built a fire. Our friends arrived later, after dark. Then we sat around the fire visiting. Before long the kids and teens wandered off to bed. The adults kept talking. And talking. After awhile I wondered if it was getting to be about bedtime. Lyle looked at his watch and said, "You don't want to know what time it is." We guessed it was getting on towards midnight. "Try 5 minutes till 2:00!" he said. Funny how the kids and teens had sense enough to go to bed at a reasonable hour and it was the forty-somethings who stayed up till the wee hours.

On Saturday, some of us slept in. Later in the day we drove to Kootenai Falls for a hike. Kootenai Falls is the largest undammed falls in Montana.
In this shot I played with the panoramic feature on my camera. It's actually 3 frames "stitched" together. Pretty cool!
Most of our group had the courage to go across the swinging bridge. I was not among them. I expect I could go across it if I had to, but it wasn't exactly something I wanted to do for fun.
And here's a view from under the bridge.
On Saturday evening we cooked our meal over the campfire. It was especially tasty with the birch bark smoke flavoring. After dark the moms and some of the kids played Dutch Blitz at the picnic table. The dads sat by the fire and talked. And talked. We don't know what they were talking about. We were having too much fun slapping our cards on the table and whining about bad hands. We did go to bed a little earlier that night.

On Sunday afternoon, on our way home, we stopped for a hike at Ross Creek Cedars. We have been here several times, but we never get tired of the lush forest and giant trees.

Mikey found a odd growth on one tree and declared it was a steering wheel!
Believe it or not, five kids and one dad crawled into the space under this tree all at one time. They said it was bigger than their tent inside!
The kids had a great time climbing and exploring. It's better than a playground.
We thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Picking Huckleberries

Down the forest path we went...
...in search of the elusive but oh-so-desirable huckleberry.
They don't usually grow quite this profusely, so you can bet we picked like crazy when we did find the bushes loaded.

Three hours of hand picking garnered about a half gallon of the luscious berries. Now I understand why they sell for $40 a gallon. But the morning spend with sweet new friends in the beautiful forest was priceless. And the berries are pretty yummy, too!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

Most men will proclaim each his own goodness,
But who can find a faithful man?
The righteous man walks in his integrity;
His children are blessed after him. 
--Proverbs 20:6-7

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lilies of the field...

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 
--Matthew 6:28-29

How many of these friendly faces of summer do you know? I had to look up some in my wildflower book... and some I couldn't find in the book. Maybe you can help me out with the ones I don't know by name. (Also, if I've misidentified any, please do let me know! I don't like to perpetrate wrong information, you know.)
Bluebell
Giant Red Paintbrush
Nootka Rose
I'm not sure what this pretty white flower is. When I took the picture I thought it was a trillium, but when I got home and compared the picture to the book, I don't think that's what it is.
Orange Agoseris
Sticky Cinquefoil
Can you believe this guy wasn't in my book? Or at least, if he was, I couldn't find him. I'm pretty sure he's a Thistle, though. What do you think?
Twinflower
Yarrow

I couldn't find these last three in my book. Anybody know what they are called?
What wildflowers have you enjoyed this summer?