Sunday, October 19, 2014

Birthday Gifts

Sometimes I'm reluctant to post photos of things I've made... like it's bragging.  

Um, I'm not that fabulous.

But I get lots of ideas from other people, so posting my projects is kind of passing it on ;D

I've made myself a couple of bags from a free pattern by Monica Solario Snow (pattern here).  For my mom, I adapted the pattern a little to fit the fabric I wanted to use and came up with this.  Just right for church or Bible study :D

Don't remember if I posted this before - sent it to my sweet friend Rebecca, at High Maintenance Aspirations.

My SIL Allyson seemed to like this Christmas table runner.  Got the idea from the fabulous Amanda, at Crazy Mom Quilts, but chose a different color scheme and added an asterisk/star in the center.  So simple, yet bold and graphic.

And for my sister, a wall-hanging.  The green and red could be Christmas, but would work with her colors any time of year.

 The appliqué is raw-edge.  Probably wouldn't be a great idea for a quilt that would get a ton of use and lots of washing, but fun for an art piece.


And I have one more I can't share yet ;D

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Brain Dump and More Fall Photos

Yes, I may be going overboard on the fall photos, but I'm thinking of you, Joanna Choate!  

1.  So glad I took my camera out yesterday, because today the weather is changing.  Rain.  But yesterday... gorgeous.  Even the leaves falling on the driveway were pretty.  And Gunnar and I went out for a walk.

2.  And speaking of changing weather...  blame any typos on the weather.  Because we're approaching the need for central heating.  So I got up this morning and cleaned the furnace filters.  And cut my finger.  My right, pointer finger.  Every dang time I clean the filters I cut my finger!  But the filters are in the bathtub, drying.   And this may be the latest we've gone without turning on the heat.

3.  The boys are not here.  They're out at Aunty Tami's having a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon. Yay for them, yay for Aunty Tami, and yay for a quiet house ;D  My sister isn't married and has no kids of her own, though she's a high school teacher, so she's around kids a lot!  She is a GREAT Aunty for the boys - does fun stuff with them in the summer or on her breaks, babysat for us occasionally when they were younger, and kind of spoils them occasionally (special treats at Tami's house).  And I'm so glad :D

Kousa Dogwood

4.  The portal.  Gunnar has noticed this access trail to the pond (swamp) where we walk, and thinks it looks like some kind of mysterious portal, the way the branches frame it.  Good eye, Gunnar.

5.  Did you see the lunar eclipse?  We didn't.  Coming, as it did, the night after the Bangor Tour when the boys had been up at three a.m., I wasn't inclined to wake them.  And when I woke up to check, it was foggy.  Nothing to see. But I love the fog in the morning...  Do you see Gunnar?

6.  We're lucky to have some great trails near us, for walking.  Gunnar and I got out early yesterday morning, while the sun was still low.  At our house, we were in the clear - sunny sky.  But up on the ridge... the fog was creeping up from the other side.  Beautiful!

And the ducks.  Who couldn't care less about the fog and the beauty.  But food?  Yah.

7.  And this is why I took my camera.  SPIDER WEBS.  Because they're so amazingly beautiful in the fog.

8.  Gunnar "caught" this one.  Take a picture RIGHT HERE, Mom!

So I did.  And we looked up... waaaay up... and saw more spider webs.  I wonder if they catch any bugs way up there?

9.  And here is where Gunnar began to lose patience with me...

... my favorite web of the morning... COOL!

10.  And here's where you don't see Gunnar, because he has gone on ahead.  Home.  To put the kettle on for hot cocoa.  But I couldn't just walk by this sumac tree, with the Virginia Creeper on the fence.

Or this crazy web in a dying pine tree.

Or our dogwood tree, back home in the yard.

Should I have the boys rake it up?  Nah... it's too pretty like that.

11.  And now?  I'm making final preparations for our getaway!  We leave on Monday, and Grandma Grasshopper will be staying here with the boys, keeping track of their comings and goings.  We could leave them home alone - we trust them - but I'll relax better knowing she's here :D

Happy Saturday :D

Kitsap Bangor

Our CAP group, along with a nearby squadron, had the opportunity to have a fairly unique tour earlier this week.  Naval Base Kitsap (known to most of us as "Bangor" - because two bases joined together) is just a few hours' drive and a ferry ride away, and the home of the US Navy's Pacific Submarine Fleet.  If you've seen Hunt for Red October you've heard these subs referred to as "Boomers".  They're HUGE - 560 feet long and over 40 feet wide. As you might imagine, the cadets were not allowed to photograph most areas on the base, but snapped a few (permitted) pics outside the Keyport Naval Undersea Museum, where they began their tour.

The cadets from our squadron are in front of the "sail" from one of the big Ohio-class "boomers".  Gunnar is front row, right, and Tate is back row fourth from right.  Wyatt made the tough decision not to go on this activity due to his college workload.  Ironically, we joke with him, he has been on this tour before.  Sort of.  Kerry and I did this tour when I was eight and a half months pregnant.  They were a little reluctant to let me (good thing I had a note from my doc!) because of the 30+ foot vertical ladder you have to climb in and out of the sub, but it was no problem.  (And I was the only one on the tour who got to use the "head" on the submarine!)  But back to the boys...

Gunnar told me that this submarine has been down in the Marianas Trench.  He's the short guy, just about right in the center, and Tate is on the left.

And... I have no idea about this one, and the boys aren't here to ask.  But Kerry is in it - red jacket - because he went as a chauffeur/chaperone, or "Cadet Sponsor".

Since the cadets were not allowed to take pictures, I snagged these from Uncle Google - photos the US Navy has allowed to be published.  It's hard to get an idea of the scale of this photo, but remember that the big subs are about as long as TWO football fields.  The dry dock is on the left.

This one shows sailors on deck for some perspective.

Love this one.  Looks like the sub is returning from a tropical tour and wearing a lei ;D

 And apparently the "Seal Team" is on board here...

And... just because we live in such a gorgeous part of the world, one more...

The cadets had a great time, but boy were they tired!  Ours were up at 3am to pick up another cadet, get to the Guard Building and leave town by 4:30, and didn't return until dinner time.  Totally worth it :D

Monday, October 6, 2014

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, October 6, 2014.

Outside my window...  an absolutely GLORIOUS fall day.  I can't believe it's so warm.  We've had no need to turn the furnace on yet, and for that I'm grateful!

Hearing...  a quiet house.  Gunnar and Tate are both doing their school work.

Pondering...  Tate rode his bike again today - probably gets to school quicker than he would on the bus.  Soon, though, it will be too dark in the morning to ride.  Well, he could see, but I'm afraid that drivers won't see him.

Praying...  for work for Kerry (at a meeting with a client now :D), for Wyatt to stay on top of his reading for the college and for his job application, for Tate to continue to do well at home and at the HS, and for Gunnar to continue well at home and to manage his moods/emotions.

Thankful...  by the grace of God, the boys are all doing WELL.  Not perfect, but WELL.  The problems we have are things we can deal with.

Wearing...  lightweight jeans and a t-shirt.  I could put on a pair of shorts, it's so nice out, but I'll be at rehearsal tonight and the temp will be dropping.

Creating...  working ahead to make lesson plans / activities for my little Sunday school class.

Going...  to have a fun day with my mom tomorrow, while all the boys are busy.  Kerry and the two younger boys are leaving at oh-dark-thirty to tour the Bangor Naval Submarine Base (think Hunt for Red October) with their Civil Air Patrol group.  Wyatt (sadly, but maturely) decided he probably shouldn't miss school and opted out.  But he and a handful of others who couldn't take the whole day off are getting together for pizza and something (video game? movie?) so he'll get to do something special.  So... my mom and I will go out to lunch and have a fun day :D

Reading...  just picked up Defending the Faith: Apologetics in Women's Ministry  by Mary Jo Sharp, but I've barely cracked it open, so no comments yet.

Looking forward to...  next week!  Twentieth Anniversary Getaway!  Three cheers for Grandma Grasshopper, who's coming to stay with the boys.  Yes, they're old enough to leave alone, but I'd like them to eat something besides Top Ramen and frozen pizza while we're away.  And I'll relax better, knowing she's keeping an eye on their comings and goings.

In the kitchen...  leftovers for everyone, while I'm at rehearsal.  Creamy chicken/turkey and rice, carrots from the garden, and butternut squash soup, also from the garden :D

In the learning rooms...  Tate diligently plugs away at his Biology, World History, and Logical Fallacies, as well as keeping up with his HS homework.  Gunnar and I just finished the review for chapter three of Apologia's General Science and he's doing some language work before lunch.

Around the house...  more tomatoes ripening in the windowsill, and a heavenly smell.  Can you guess?  It's that time of year again.  The season of pumpkin spice candles - mmm mmmm!

The Mother Load...  I have a bunch of birthday presents to wrap.  We're about to celebrate five birthdays, combining October's and November's.  That includes my sister, brother, SIL, Tate, and my mom.  Whew!

Then it's time to start preparing for Christmas gifts.  I collect gifts all year round if I see something wonderful.  And guess what.  That usually ends up being for the women of the family.  They're so much easier to buy for!  But all the men?  That requires more thinking and planning.

And I'm trying to get ahead with my Sunday school class, knowing I'll be busy next week, and we have a women's retreat coming up as well.

Noticing that...  the one thing I don't like about this time of year?  The bees.  Or, more accurately, wasps/yellowjackets/hornets, etc.  THEY'RE SO MEAN THIS TIME OF YEAR!  So watch out.

 Something to remember for later...  these beautiful, bright fall days.  *happy sigh*

A favorite quote for today...  from Keats' To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  rehearsal tonight, the big CAP event tomorrow for the boys and girl-time for me with my mom, a doctor's appointment for me, the boys going to my sister's for a Pirates of the Caribbean marathon this weekend, and... seems like there's something I'm forgetting, though that's enough!

A peek into my world...  or my dogwood tree ;D

Friday, October 3, 2014

Chinese Lanterns

In a happy surprise, today's weather is much nicer than the forecast predicted (clouds).  Yet Gunnar and I are slogging through some deferred work from earlier in the week.  In my heart I agree with Nathaniel Hawthorne, who said,

I cannot endure to waste anything
so precious as autumnal sunshine
by staying in the house.

May we finish quickly and move on to more pleasant things!

In the meantime, I'm bringing in as much fall color as I can, against the darker days to come.  I love these Chinese Lanterns that grew right next to the front porch, and somehow escaped the marauding deer.

In the right light, they really do seem to glow :D

Even the ones that have begun to die are fascinating.

We will go pick more carrots, and more tomatoes.  These ones are finishing their ripening in the sunny front window.  (Bananas do the trick.  They give off a gas that helps the tomatoes.)

And what are you doing this fine, fall weekend?