Wednesday, September 3, 2014

{In the Garden}

Well it hasn't been a total failure....

I made a quick sauce out of these a few nights ago.  It's super easy.  Roast them in the oven with garlic and olive oil for about 30 minutes, puree and there you go!

A friend of mine gave me the parsley plant and it is doing well.  I've used it a few times in various dishes.
I received a couple of tomatillo plants from the same friend.  I've never grown them or even eaten them to my knowledge, but they are doing well too.  I saw a recipe for roasting them and making a "jam" at A Way to Garden that I think I'll try.


The sunflowers, zinnias and cosmos seemed to take forever to finally bloom, but once they did they looked great!  To the right of the zinnias are some type of teeny little hollyhocks.  They looked really good for a while too, but they are finished now.  Hopefully all their little seeds are falling to fill in that spot for next year since I know the zinnias won't come back.

This area is my attempt at a butterfly garden.  When we moved here there was an ugly propane oil tank here and some over grown bushes.  I saw it every time I walked from the living room to our bedroom and every time we drove up to the house from the East.  It didn't take too long to get ride of all that.  The green plants in the back are called Goose necks.  They are mostly finished blooming, but they have pretty white blooms that are long and curved like a gooses neck and they have filled this spot in quickly.  If you look closely in the middle you can see something "dead" in between the sedum and the goose neck.  That is bee balm that a dear friend gave me this year after it had already bloomed.  Hopefully, next year it will fill in nicely between the sedum and goose neck.  You can also see the same butterfly as you see in the picture below.  I was surprised at how close I was able to get without it flying away!

We've also eaten a few carrots from the garden and more tomatoes.  Kate was very excited about pulling and eating her carrots and Cameron has had a few of his beloved tomato sandwiches so I call that a success.
Now if I can just figure out what to do about the creeping Charlie that is taking over our lawn!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September Day Book

{Outside My Window} Breezy, and cool this morning.  Also, I'm watching a groundhog eat the grass as I type!  We've had a visitor here for the past couple of weeks.  The girls think he's adorable.  I have different thoughts.  I think Cameron's with the girls mostly.  For heaven's sake they just gave him/her a name!!

{Listening To}  My family talking about the groundhog and wishing they could play with it.  Crazy people!

{I'm Thankful For}  My crazy family!  A mostly smooth first two weeks of school,  wonderful, cool breezes.  God's love and care.  It's never ending, no matter all my faults (of which there are many!).  Also, realizing that we have 30 more minutes than I thought between ballet classes!  We may be able to come home and feed everyone after all. 

{In the School Room}  The first two weeks have been pretty good.  We use Tapestry of Grace for our Literature and History readings and they always have such a great book list.  So far we've had nothing much in the evenings and no need to rush or feel rushed.  I'll be doing my best to keep that same sense of calm now that our evenings will be pretty full.

I credit this smooth start to two things.  One, lots of prayer and two, Sarah Mackenzie and her e-book and podcasts.  Teaching From a State of Rest.  No, she doesn't mean with your feet propped up or a perfect nights sleep.  She means the kind of mental rest that comes from trusting in God's grace.  These are so, so good.  I really did not want to start this year.  I was wondering if an 8th grade education would be enough for Callie.  I was feeling totally inadequate and uninspired.  I won't say all those feelings are completely gone, but I will say reading Sarah's book and listening to the other educators talks, (and the prayers) helped put my fears and bad attitude into perspective. If you need encouragement and/or a little kick in the pants, I highly recommend getting your hands on this.  She has a great blog and also free podcasts that are awesome too.

{In the Kitchen}  I made bbq sauce last week.  I used this recipe and would definitely use it again.  I might leave out the chili powder though.  Kate liked it but she said it tasted like chili and I think she was right.  I used a combination of molasses and stevia for the sweetener.  I don't remember how much though.

It didn't take a lot of time.  About as much time as it would have taken me to get in the car, drive to the store, figure out which brand was the cheapest, but the one with less junk in it, stand in line and drive home.  Probably less.  It was great to have sauce that I actually knew exactly what was in it!!  And it ended up being way, way less expensive. 

{In My Thoughts}  This post at Life in Grace cracked me up.  It wasn't necessarily suppose to be funny, but it just made me laugh.  It also made me remember how much I used to love football.  I really liked it.  I even subscribed to Sports Illustrated in college.  {Just for the pics of Joe Montana probably}  For some reason, after getting a house and then having children and homeschooling I just really don't care that much any more.  Well, Joe Montana retired for one thing.  I do like Peyton Manning a lot.  I think I'm more of a player fan than a team fan maybe.  Anyway, I think I've forgotten how to have fun, yell at the TV, hold my breath to help them catch the ball.  I wonder if I can remember how.  Cameron would like it if I could.

Deep thoughts, I know.

{I am Reading}  Not much.  School stuff.  I'm waiting on a book from the library that was highly recommended though, so I'll let you know.

{I am Creating}  Nothing yet.  I have the yarn, I just need the right size needles.

{Plans For the Week}  Ballet and......tap!  Callie has been wanting to take tap for a few years now and Kate has been asking this year.  Thanks to a wonderful teacher who is bartering Callie's labor for tap, they will be starting that Thursday.  They both are really excited.  Kate is practically sleeping with her shoes.

A wedding this weekend and a visit with old friends.  I can't wait!!

{One of my favorite things}  Hearing Kate recite "Paul Revere's Ride" for fun.  She makes up a rabbit version, she says it in a "British" accent and does it while she's swinging.  Not the whole thing, it's very long, but we're up to about 1/3 of it.

And this....

Monday, August 25, 2014


I think we've squeezed about all of the fun out of summer that we can now.

Hanging out with friends,

visiting with cousins,
some sight seeing,


And thanks to $2 Tuesday, the State Fair!

We've started school and next week it will be back to ballet.  The girls can't wait to get back to it, but I'm trying to figure out when we are suppose to have supper with one class at 5:15 and the next at 7:00 two nights a week.  There may be a whole lot of pb & j in our future!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Tradition Lives On

If you haven't read about our First Day of school field trip tradition, you can read about that here. 
Friday was our first day and as usual, we met up with our fieldtrip buddies, the Crumps.  We have been friends since we met in Bradley birthing classes and then had our first born children on the same day at the same hospital.  I couldn't have made it through this parenting and home schooling journey without Mrs. Crump!!
We started out our morning with chocolate chip banana muffins, hot cocoa (it was actually cold in the morning) and a little stack of new books for all.  Well, the principal didn't get any, but all the ladies did. :)

Then we headed downtown to the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and then we walked to the Indiana War Memorial Museum.

The Civil Warm Museum is underneath the monument.  It is small, but very well done and interesting.  It is also free, the monument is free if you take the stairs.  I recommend paying the small fee for the elevator with just a few stairs to get to the top!  Those steps are steep and there is a lot of them!!

Callie had a new bag so Kate wanted to bring her back pack.  I didn't pay attention to what she put in it.  She wore it while we walked almost a mile to the monument, all those steps up to the top and then three blocks to the next museum.  After leaving there, she was very hungry and getting tired and wanted me to hold it.  I took it and was shocked at how heavy it was. She must have had every book she got in there!

The Indiana War Memorial was also free and very nice.  Each war, from the American Revolution to the current war in Iraq is represented with pictures, posters, weapons, etc.  We did not see it all actually, everyone was starving and we knew we had a good walk before we got back to the cars for our lunch.  We plan to go back and see the second floor sometime this year.


We assumed these were relics of the past, we had to take a picture!

After a picnic lunch the kids took a little ride down the canal in a paddle boat.

It was a beautiful day.  Perfect weather, perfect company and a perfect first day.

Monday, August 11, 2014

{In the Library Bag}

Well, there haven't been any "amazing" novels this summer or books that I just couldn't put down, but I did enjoy these books over the last few weeks.  They all came from the wonderful library.

The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to....Daylight:  Managing Your Days Through the Homeschool Years  by Heidi St. John

Cameron brought this one home from the library one night.  Heidi St. John was just what I needed that particular night!  In the first few pages I was crying and then in the next few lines I was cracking up!  If you are a seasoned homeschool mom I would say the organization chapters will be nothing new to you, but the book is so encouraging in general that it will still be worth your time.  She also has a blog that is very encouraging. 

A Little House Traveler:  Writings from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Journey Across America  by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I think I just saw this one displayed at the library one day.  I've always loved the Little House books but I have never read anything else that she wrote.  This is part journal, part letters written to Almanzo while she is traveling to visit Rose in San Francisco, and some writing of Rose's too.  It has been an enjoyable read.  I've enjoyed the letters to Almanzo the most.  Reading her letter about seeing the Pacific Ocean for the first time made me crazy to see the beach again.  I may have even gotten a small lump in my throat.  Just maybe.

     "At Land's End I had my first view of the Pacific Ocean.  To say it is beautiful does not half express it.  It is simply beyond words.  The water is such a deep wonderful blue and the sound of the waves breaking on the beach and their whisper as they flow back is something to dream about.
The salt water tingled my feet and made them feel so good all the rest of the day, and just to think, the same water that bathes the shores of China and Japan came clear across the ocean and bathed my feet.  The ocean is not ugly.  It is beautiful and wonderful."


Oh, and I thought this was funny...."Then I do want to do a little writing with Rose to get the hang of it a little better so I can write something that perhaps I can sell."

I can't even imagine how many copies of the Little House books have sold.

And finally, The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith

This one I had requested and been waiting on for a while.  It was worth the wait.  I really loved this book!  It was a relaxing, fun and informative read.  I'm not sure if it was more about decorating or more about contentment.  Myquillyn has a great blog where you can see her fun ideas and how she makes a house a home.  Whether it's a tight budget or the fact that the home is a rental, you will find inspiration and encouragement.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Garden Confessions

Well, you know what they say about intentions?

Oh I had such grand intentions in the garden this year!!  The reality?  It has probably been our most pathetic garden yet. 

Why?  I wish I could tell you some horrible, awful bugs ate every thing or that the weather was terrible and there was nothing we could do about it.  But, the truth is, well, I'm not even sure. 

There were several tomato plants that I put out entirely too early and they died.  We did get some radishes, but I didn't keep planting more so those were only around a few days.  A few things just never came up and then I found more interesting/important things to do, usually inside.  I just have a really hard time forcing myself to walk away from inside projects or every day chores to get the outside done.

The apple trees that looked so promising in the spring got some kind of fungus from the Juniper tree (which I don't even like!) and so we had to pick all those apples off and throw them away.  We were told how to prevent it for next year, so maybe the third year will be the charm.

On the bright side, flower beds were cleaned up and some new things planted.  We did some rearranging that I think will look really nice next spring and summer.  I still have one more thing, irises, to move. 

The herbs, oregano, thyme and parsley are doing well.  Now, if I would just think to use them more often! 

Kate's garden looks the best, but has been soooo slow to actually bloom.  Probably because of our much cooler than normal summer.  Which I have to say, I absolutely LOVE!!  But I'm sure the tomatoes that have survived (only two Brandywines, plus two volunteer Roma plants) would be doing much better if it were hotter.

I'm not throwing in the towel yet though.  I have plans to do some fall planting so we'll see how that goes.  Somebody just come drag me out there and make me stay till it's all done!