Friday, July 24, 2015

July {shortened} Daybook

{Outside My Window}  Sunny and warm.  This may actually be a week without rain.  I don't remember the last time we had that.  Maybe it hasn't been that long, but it feels like it has and the ground sure is soaked.  (I started this Monday, and Yay!!  No rain)

{Listening To}  Right now the dryer. ;)  But earlier this week I listened to this recording of a speech Andrew Pudewa gave .  It was fantastic!  If you have high school students I strongly recommend listening to it and having them listen too.  Callie hasn't yet, but she will and I know she will enjoy it.  He is such a great speaker!

{I am Thankful For}  I could list so many things and just go on and on, but I'll stick to just a couple of things. 

First of all, Kate's first 4H judging experience went really well.  If you know her, you know how quiet and shy she is out in public.  Talking to strangers is something we practice and talk about before hand.  Even when she does talk, people can hardly hear her.  Anyway, the judge was so, so nice and even though Kate had a major allergy attack of sneezing and snorting, I think it actually helped a little.  It helped break the ice and was kind of funny.  People were offering essential oils and drug advice! 



And Callie's project did well too!

 
I'm very thankful for this summer.  It has been a pretty good balance of a restful break from homeschooling and full of play and fun and getting together with friends.  The girl's friends and my friends too.  It's not over yet, there are some fun things still to come.  I do feel the clock ticking though! 




 



{I'm Reading}  A few weeks ago I read Design Mom  How To Live With Kids: A Room-By-Room Guide.  What a fun book!  Well, if you're into that sort of thing. ;)  It's full of all kinds of great ideas for each area of your home.  They are fun, practical and still nice to look at!  What I really loved about this book was the way it made me think of ideas for our house to "work" better.  Ideas that she didn't even talk about, but it just really got my creative juices flowing.  I made a whole list of small things to do or change around.

Last week I read Belle: The Slave Daughter and the Lord Chief Justice.  We watched the movie several months ago and it was sooo good!  The costumes, the setting, the story.  I highly recommend it.  Callie saw the book at the library and brought it home for me.  It's the true story behind the movie.  I always read what she brings me and I've never regretted it.


{In the Kitchen}  Callie and I  made a gluten free blueberry cobbler/crumble this week.  It was pretty good.  I don't usually like cooked or warm fruit desserts, but I'm expanding my horizons.  The home made whipped cream helped! ;) 

{I am Creating}   First Day of School plans, book lists, schedules, and just a wee bit of panic. ;)

{Around the House}  The general chaos of summer is showing right now.  I'm hoping in the next couple of weeks to make it even worse by painting the school room before school starts.   We'll see.  I'm getting a few little projects done here and there.  Spray painting a chair (ran out of spray paint though), mending things that have been by the sewing machine forever, and trying to clean out and get rid of some things.

{One of my Favorite Things}

 
When they are arguing, I want to throw them out to the barn and lock the door.  When they are giggling and having fun, I want to squeeze them to pieces!!

Monday, June 29, 2015

When Life Hand You "Lemons"

I realize that out in California and other places that too much rain would be an oxymoron.  Our overabundance has caused me to pray for those states, so I guess that's good.  Admittedly, that wouldn't usually be foremost in my thoughts.

So our "lemonade" was an evening with friends.  Of course the older girls were watching movies while the little girls were having a good old time outside!  I wish I would've gotten a picture of the six older girls all in the living room watching "Once Upon A Time".  They were so cute I even shared my bag of chocolate covered almonds with them.  And they put up with my commentary of the show.



If you only look one direction and don't think about the state of your poor, pitiful, waterlogged plants, you can pretend for a few moments that you are in England waiting for Mr. Darcy to ride up at any moment. :)


This little guy is actually loose.  Somewhere in my house!!  Don't even ask me how that happened!  I'm sure he's already dead of a heart attack.



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Things


A "brand new" living room.  At least it feels that way!  The only thing purchased was paint, but rearranging just about everything along with the paint, makes it feel like a whole new room.  It actually took me a few days to be sure I liked it.  It was so different!  Which is what I wanted of course.  There are a few things I would like to purchase, curtains for one, but for now, it's good.
 



 

 


There is only one picture that just totally does not work now but there were some smaller ones I was able to bring in from our bedroom.  I'm hoping to paint the dining room, sooner rather than later, and then I think we can switch the one picture that no longer works with a hanging that we now have in the dining room.  That's my hope anyway. 


 

 
Last day of school celebrations.  I thought Dunkin' Donuts had gluten free donuts.  I was wrong! Apparently only certain locations have those.  Kate was a super good sport though and happily chose chocolate milk for her treat. 



 
Summer organizing sheets, free from here.  They are colorful, fun and will hopefully help us have fun and get our work done too.



 
Peonies.  I love them!  {Kate thinks I'm saying "panties" so now guess what she calls them}  I wish I had a yard full of them and that they bloomed all summer long.



 
This little gadget was given to me by a friend of mine at church.  Everyone thinks the hot chocolate tastes better when I make it in this even though the ingredients are exactly the same.  Hershey's and only Hershey's. {trust me, I've tried other brands}  I love the fact that I don't have to stir forever and ever.  Thanks again Nina!!



 

Lessons from "The Good Earth"

A few weeks ago I read The Good Earth by Pearl Buck.  Although I had heard the author's name, I knew nothing about her or the book.  In reading about the author of a book that Kate and I had read, Understood Betsy, it was said that that author had loved this book and so I was intrigued.  I requested it from the library and I was hooked right away.  {FYI, the two books have nothing in common}

The Good Earth is a story of rural Chinese peasants around the late 1920's.  A young man and his father own a small piece of land which they farm and in the first chapter Wang Lung is going to pick up his bride.  He's quite happy at the thought that he will no longer have to start the fire in the mornings and make food for his father because now he will have a wife to do that.  He's never met her, it has all been arranged by his father.  The family has very little. There is no electricity, none of the amenities of the 20's in America.  Wang Lung and his wife work from sun up to sun down and they do manage to save some money.  He is very careful and his wife never wastes anything.  I loved this...."And what he did for the farm implements, his wife, O-Lan, did for the house implements.  If an earthen jar leaked she did not, as other women did, cast it aside and talk of a new one.  Instead she mixed earth and clay and welded the crack and heated it slowly and it was as good as new."  I was reminded of the Proverbs 31 description of a wise woman and how she brings her husband wealth and honor.  O-Lan did that for Wang Lung, despite how she may have been treated at times. 

This is a story of their life, from beginning to end.  There are times of wealth and times of want.  And there are many decisions made by Wang Lung based on his desires for land and wealth and pleasure.  Some are good decisions, many are not.

During the time that I was reading this book, one Sunday our pastor was preaching from the book of James.  I noticed these verses and thought of Wang Lung.  From James 1:9-11...
 
                   "Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.  For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; it's flower falls and its beauty perishes.  So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits."

I was close enough to the end of the book that I could see how his riches had not brought him happiness, but rather how they were "fading away" and how they had brought him luxurious comforts, but not true comfort.

Of course, I was fascinated and somewhat horrified by the language used to describe women and daughters.  It was nothing that I had not heard of, but it had been a while since I had thought about such things and about how those beliefs and feelings in that country have played a part in us having a daughter adopted from there.

Kate was asking all kinds of questions tonight.  Whether she had brothers and sisters, why the people in China can only have one child, and then she said that of course she probably did have a brother and  that's why her Chinese parents couldn't keep her.  With my heart in my throat, {and dry eyes, thank you very much!} I told her not necessarily, but maybe.   I told her that if they were very poor, they may not have been able to keep any children.  I realize there are other scenarios that are possible, but she's 9 and I'm not ready to discuss all of the possibilities nor do I think she should hear them at this point.

Anyway, it was a fascinating book!  Now I'm very curious to read some of Pearl Buck's other books and the history of foot binding too.  I mean, who comes up with things like that?!




Monday, June 1, 2015

{In the Library Bag}

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet--I don't read very many of this type of book.  I'm not sure what that says about me, but often I just can't get into them.  Lately it's been different.  I think mostly it was just God's timing.  This one followed on the heels of one borrowed from my pastor {I can't remember the name now!} that was very good and helpful.  This book is about how God takes the bitter things in our lives and even though he may not take away the bitter, he changes us in such a way that we see the sweetness in the same.  I want to read it again, but slower and look up all of the scriptures.

Understood Betsy--This book was for Kate.  It was on her reading list for school.  I had never heard of it, but right away we both really liked it.  Elizabeth Ann is being taken care of by two aunts who think they are taking good care of her by making sure she is never uncomfortable, never sad or scared, etc.  Until one of them becomes suddenly ill and she has to go live with the country cousins who "make children work!"  We loved it so much that when it had to be returned to the library before we could finish it, I kept it anyway.  Then, because for some reason we still couldn't finish it and the fines were racking up, we ordered it!  I have never done that before.  Kate had already been wishing aloud that we had it "to keep" and I liked it so much too, that I just bought it.  She was so excited and asked to keep it in her room.  When she's more confident reading on her own, I'm sure she'll read it to herself.

The Good Earth--Very interesting!  More to come later on this one.

Of course there are stacks of picture books that Kate picks out and Callie has quite a stack of her own books going too.  I can't keep up with her!