Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Featured Treasuries

Last month I showed you some of the lovely Etsy treasuries that had featured my products. This past month I have been featured in several more beautiful collections. I thought you might like to see them. (The "Cotton Crocheted Washcloths"... those are mine!)

 Then the dainty kitchen items in Pastel Chef:
 And then the fun, eclectic assortment of Muted, but not quiet:
A collection of lovely spa items, Pamper Me, Please:
Lastly, my crocheted cuffs are featured in Married on the Prairie:
I just love seeing the collections other Etsians put together!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Catching Up

If you follow my Twitter feed (there on the sidebar, if you hadn't noticed it) you probably realize I've had a terrible cold last week. Dontcha just hate colds? So sneezy and uncomfortable... and just wearying and miserable. My brain has been so foggy I haven't felt like doing much except whining. What? You don't want to hear me whine? Okay. I'll stop now. Besides I'm about over it.

I fully intended to blog earlier this week, but somehow it's been one of those frantic, catch-up weeks-- what with being gone to Colorado one week, then not feeling all that great last week, and knowing that we will be leaving for a road-trip a week from today. Always so much to do.

Homeschool convention season is almost upon us, and for my family that means a series of road trips of various lengths from March through June. Our first trip this year will be to the Spring Curriculum Fair in Loveland, Colorado March 9-10. That's a pretty good distance for us (16 or 18 hours driving, I think) so we decided to combine it with a vacation trip. We plan to leave the weekend before that and drive on down to Arkansas and Missouri to visit our parents for a couple days, then loop back around through Colorado for the convention. We'll be making a stop at the Sonlight offices in the Denver area to pick up my convention supplies for the season, too. It's a lot of miles in a short amount of time, but we do love to travel so we are looking forward to it. I am hoping to be able to blog along the way.

Ready or not, I'm glad convention season is nearly here because that means it's almost spring! I have caught myself looking for tiny buds on the lilac bushes all month. Then I have to remind myself that it's still just February, so they won't be there yet.

In the meantime, among other projects, I have recently re-stocked my Etsy shop with new washcloth sets in a variety of colors, helped Laura get her Etsy shop set up @ Through Laura's Eyes (she doesn't have anything listed yet, but she's working on some tie-dyed t-shirts), and helped Rachel update the look of her blog @ A Romantic Porch.

I guess it's a good problem to have-- so many things you're interested in that you don't have time for all of them! At least I'm never bored.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Literary Heroine Blog Party

Hosted by Accordion to Kellie...

The Questions

  • Introduce yourself!  Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random! I've posted lots of random things about myself before. I aspire to be a writer. I have ideas for a novel formulating in my head, but it's not cohesive enough to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be) just yet. I'm allowing myself time to learn the craft, do lots of research, and think through my story. I still have over 2 years of homeschooling to teach, and then maybe it will be time. We'll see.
  • What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine? A good heroine has a story to tell, a conflict to resolve, and grows in the process. I have enjoyed reading about a very wide variety of heroines. 
  • Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to. Anne Shirley, Rilla Blythe, Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Five of your favorite historical novels? Anne of Green Gables, Rilla of Ingleside, The Blue Castle (all by L.M. Montgomery), Little Town on the Prairie and These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Out of those five books who is your favorite main character and why? I always have a hard time narrowing down favorites to just one, but I think maybe Rilla, because she matures from the "baby of the family" to a self-assured, responsible young woman.
  • Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why? Anne is a secondary character in Rilla of Ingleside (being Rilla's mother), and I love reading about her in that role after following her coming-of-age and young womanhood through the other novels in the series.
  • If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there? I would love to take a road trip all over the continent, lingering in small towns and off-the-beaten-path scenic by-ways. 
  • What is your favorite time period and culture to read about? It changes from time-to-time, but right now I think my favorite time period is the 1940s, with a World War II background.
  • You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of? Definitely recitation. I love to read aloud.
  • If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent? I have no idea!
  • What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate? I can take it or leave it. I'd just as soon have caramel or toffee.
  • Favorite author(s)? Um, yeah. L.M. Montgomery and Laura Ingalls Wilder.
  • Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land? A camera and a journal.
  • In which century were most of the books you read written? The 20th. I enjoy older novels occasionally, but in the 1800s mainstream novels were written to be morally uplifting (preachy) and not just for entertainment. Yes, I prefer wholesome books, but not so much when the sermon overpowers the story.
  • In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is… attentive to the heroine.
  • Describe your ideal dwelling place. I love a house with lots of windows and a wrap-around porch.
  • Sum up your fashion style in five words. Feminine, classic, simple, comfortable, practical.
  • Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name? Yes. I didn't much care for Gilbert's name in the Anne stories. But it did finally grow on me. Just as Lyle's name did. 
  • In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is... I'm coming up with a blank on this one.
  • Three favorite Non-fiction books? The Bible, of course. Beyond that, I can't pin down favorites.
  • Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon? In a hammock, with a stack of books and a journal at hand.
  • Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character. I hadn't much thought of a dream hat before, and time constraints will prevent me from dwelling on this question long enough to come up with a truly insightful answer, so I guess I'll skip this one.
  • Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year. I would have to say it was probably the high school graduation of my firstborn. Things are definitely changing around here.
  • Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8.
  • Tuesday, February 14, 2012

    Demonstrating Love

    It's a good thing the Valentine festivities around here didn't depend on me this year-- what with being gone most of the week last week, and then not feeling well this week. If it had been up to me the holiday would have been largely ignored, at least in the way of decorations. Laura, however, was on top of things. Shortly after the Christmas decorations came down in early January, she festooned the front door with strings of whimsical paper hearts. I've enjoyed looking at them each time I go through the foyer on my way upstairs.

    Then last week the girls made themselves Valentine mailboxes (fashioned of cereal boxes, decorative paper, and ribbon) and hung them in the hall as an invitation for any "interested parties" (i.e. family members) to leave sweet notes or small gifts. Mostly they've had fun surprising each other.

    Laura presented each of us with a thoughtful Valentine gift yesterday. Mine was some yummy-smelling refills for my Scentsy. She got her dad a box of candy and her sister an adorable stuffed puppy. She has such a giving heart.

    Last night Lyle apologized because he hadn't got me anything. I told him that didn't bother me in the least. "Remember the Starbucks you left on my desk earlier in the month? That says 'I love you' better than you buying me something just because the stores say you should!"

    I still don't feel much like celebrating today, but that's okay. When you truly love someone Valentine's Day isn't much different than any other day of the year. We can go out for dinner, or buy candy or flowers... or even a Starbucks... any time we want to!

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    Training Trip

    This week I'm in Colorado to network with the other Sonlight consultants, to learn more about upcoming products for 2012, and to get some fresh ideas for the homeschool convention season. I'll be hosting the Sonlight booth at 5 different homeschool conventions this year. I love visiting with fellow homeschoolers and sharing my passion for Sonlight. That's why I become a consultant. However, sometimes I think it would be nice to get to go to a convention as "just an attendee" again. This training time at Sonlight's headquarters has become that "shot in the arm" that I look forward to each winter. It's always an intense few days but I come away refreshed and excited about finishing out the school year, and traveling to my conventions.

    There's a good bit of snow on the ground, due to the record-breaking storm they had last weekend, but so far the days have been sunny and relatively warm. As always, the mountains are spectacular.

    And now, I'm off to another day of workshops. I'll be back next week.

    My Best Friend

    I love being married to my best friend. He was my best friend all those years ago when I married him, and he still is. Today, on Marriage Monday at Chrysalis, the topic is "Overcoming Boredom and Apathy." e-Mom asked those of us who have been married for 10 years or more to share our advice:
    Keeping family life running smoothly (and paying for it all) takes so much energy that many couples have nothing left over for their friendship. During those stress-filled seasons, boredom and apathy can easily infect a marriage. Have you been there? Are you there now? What are you doing to inject fresh vitality into your relationship?
    Having been very happily married for more than 26 years my advice is to make your friendship with your husband your second priority. (Your first priority should, of course, be your relationship with God.) Our lives are very busy. There are always demands on our time and attention. Lyle usually works 50-60 hours per week, sometimes more. However, we still find time to talk and share with each other every day.
    Here are some things we do to connect on an on-going basis:

    • If he has to work late, I'll go to the print shop to hang out with him. Even if he's so engrossed in a job that he can barely acknowledge I'm there, I still like being there. I take along projects to work on quietly, or if he's working on something I can help with, I jump in to help him. 
    • At least once a week we take 20 minutes for a quick "date" in the middle of the day. It just consists of me riding with him to buy a Coke or coffee to go. Then he drops me off at home and he heads back to work.
    • At the end of the day we relax together in the family room. Sometimes we watch TV or a movie, but conversation always has priority. If either of us has something on our mind we take time to talk about it.
    • We like to go out for breakfast on Saturday mornings. Most Saturdays he has to work, and I usually go with him. In the summer, we get a to-go breakfast and go garage-saling if we have time.
    • We text or email each other during the day. Electronic communication is so much more efficient than phone calls when you just have something quick to say.
    • We run errands together in the evenings. He goes with me to the grocery store. I go with him to Home Depot. When we have time we like to go to Barnes and Noble just for fun.
    We are enjoying this season of life now that our children are old enough to stay home alone. When they were younger we would still do a lot of things on this list, but we took them with us. It was harder to fit in the "just us" time, but we have always had the end-of-the-day conversation time after the kids went to bed.

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    Sports Fans

    Lyle texted me this picture he took at a hockey game he went to last night. His brother had been given four tickets and invited him and a couple other guys to go with him.  It was a first for Lyle-- attending a hockey game, that is. He said it was fun to watch, especially since we had just been ice skating earlier this winter.

    I'm not much of a sports fan myself. I mean, I do know the Super Bowl is tomorrow, but I couldn't tell you who is playing. Except I'm pretty sure it's not the Saints (my dad's team) or the 49ers (Lyle's team). I may or may not watch sit through the game, but if I do I'll enjoy the national anthem and then root for the clock as I crochet... or read.

    But I digress. This post is meant to be about hockey, not football. So Lyle sent me this picture last night during warm-up. I showed it to the girls, and they said, "But Dad's not in the picture!"

    I texted him back that the girls wanted a picture of him with his buddies. "Be sure and lean your heads all together and smile real cheesy for the camera like the girls and their friends do," I told him. Laura thought that was hilarious. She was sure they would get some odd looks if they tried it.

    "Yeah, not happenin'" was her dad's response.

    I guess "their" team (the Spokane Chiefs) won. Lyle got a coupon for a free chalupa from Taco Bell because they scored at least five goals. Isn't that special?

    Thursday, February 2, 2012

    It's the Little Things

     I got to my office at about 7:15 this morning. My office, you know, is just a few steps from my bedroom. I had forgotten to program the coffee pot last night, so I was thinking about going upstairs to make some when I spotted a Starbucks cup sitting on my desk. My first thought was that it was just a left-over cup that I had forgotten to toss, but... I didn't have Starbucks yesterday.

    I reached out to touch it. Perhaps it was just a mirage? Nope. It was still warm.

    I cautiously took a sip. Ahhhh... Grande Decaf Caramel Macchiato Extra-Hot (or at least it probably had been an hour earlier when my sweet man left it there for me). Just the way I like it! Lyle had driven to Starbucks, then stopped back by home to slip in and leave a coffee for me before going on to work.

    I popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds, then sat there sipping my latte and counting my blessings...
    1. being married to such a thoughtful, hard-working, romantic man
    2. an office all to myself (though I've really got to get it organized soon!)
    3. a cute doggy who also adores the man
    4. daughters who are also thoughtful and hard-working to keep up with the house and such while I'm working frantically on project deadlines
    My blessings, of course, are far more numerous than that. But it was time to start my day.