Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, February 26, 2013  A day late and a dollar short... no time, yesterday.

Outside my window...  nothing like the picture above, much to the boys' dismay.  This may be one of those rare winters when we get no snow at all.  Oh, sure, it's all around us, up in the hills.  We can see it every single day.  But to the boys (and me!), it doesn't count unless you can play in it.

Inside, on the other hand, I left the boys alone to work on their schoolwork, while I was invited to lunch at my neighbor's, and came home to find this on the DE board.  (Not sure how much schoolwork they got done, but at least they made their own lunch and cleaned it up!)

Hearing...  the wind outside, and the furnace inside... both blowing.

Pondering...  Oops!  I accidentally deleted a comment from someone, because it got mixed in with the spam.  It had to do with the clowns, leopard, and cannon, and - whoever you are - I'm sorry I deleted you.  Try again?

Praying...  to feel better.  Aaaaack.  I think I ate something that isn't agreeing with me.  'Nuff said.

Thankful...  for my sometimes-nutso kids.  This lovely corner of their artwork, depicts the youth-group playing their musical instruments (which include a saxophone, a cello, a trombone, a guitar, a ukulele, and a harp).

Wearing...  some old jeans, wool socks, a white t-shirt, and my current favorite sweater - moss green, medium blue, navy blue, and white... from the infamous Value Village ;D

Creating...  still working on the last (for now) baby quilt.  I have most of the top pieced, but it's still a bit small.  Needs a border before quilting it up.

Going...  hoping to go to Bible study tonight... hoping I feel a bit better.

Reading...  a biography of William Carey (missionary to India), Daughter of the Mountains, and a favorite of the boys, Kipling's Just So Stories.  Wyatt even took a break from his schoolwork to listen to How the Camel Got His Hump - best beloved - and we all laughed about the man-of-infinite-resource-and-sagacity and his unforgettable suspenders.

Learning...  hmmm, Wyatt is learning to drive a stick-shift, and good for him :D  I taught him first, on the van (an automatic) and Kerry is handling the stick.  Wyatt had it easy...

I learned to drive on a 12-passenger Ford van, with a stick-shift, and dark privacy-glass windows.  I think my dad must have figured if I could drive that beast I could drive anything.

Looking forward to...  we're planning another LOTR marathon!

In the kitchen...  ack.  Must think of something, and it's hard to think about food right now...

In the learning rooms...  actually, it's not Week 21, it's Week 23, which means we are almost 2/3rds of the way through our school year - hallelujah.  Not that I'm miserable and want it to be over, I just love the landmarks, the progress, the finishing of things and starting new things.

What the "Finger Apocalypse" is, I have no idea.  Random boy output.

Around the house...  got some new books from the library, so the boys are wrapped up in those.  Actually, Gunnar has started re-reading the Redwall Abbey series, so that's not technically new, but it's something fresh anyway.  Tate has a historical fiction series by N. D. Wilson that he's enjoying.

The Mother Load...  laundry to fold, quilts to finish, bills to pay, and long-overdue-shopping to do.  And the yard and garden... it's still early, but I should be thinking about what needs to be done there, too.

Noticing that...  Wyatt is really blossoming in the choir.  When he first started, he was mortified that anyone would actually hear him (individually).  He didn't even want to sing a few notes so the conductor could direct him to tenor or bass.  But now... I can't hear him much, from over in the alto section, I'm told he's doing quite well and his voice has great quality :D  Must take after his grandpa (though grandpa is a tenor).

Something to remember for later...  the way Gunnar chatters endlessly on our daily walks :D

A favorite quote for today...  The average person thinks he isn't.

One of my favorite things...  the freedom to rearrange our schedule at our convenience - yay, homeschooling :D

A Bible verse...  Gunnar is memorizing Romans 16:19,
Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you;
but I want you to be wise about what is good,
and innocent about what is evil.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  just the usual... schooling, CAP, Bible study, and ???

A peek into my world... 

I think the elf was shot from a cannon, but... why?

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Good grief, I'm such a creature of habit.  All it takes is one holiday (President's Day, last Monday) and I'm off-kilter all week.  Tuesday felt like Monday, etc.  Didn't help that I feel like I'm fighting something off.  By the time we got to Friday, a blustery day if there ever was one, with rain pelting the windows all day long, I didn't want to go anywhere.  So I didn't :D

Kerry brought home a movie to watch with the boys, but - in shocking news - I declined to spend my Friday evening with King Kong, preferring to finish John Grisham's The Testament, which was deliciously satisfying.

We got through our school work for the week (okay, I let Wyatt defer his Algebra homework until this morning), and managed to make it to all the right places on the right days, in spite of my general discombobulation.  I even made a lot of progress in organizing (cataloging) a bunch of books that had been stored, and got them onto my "new" (remember, October?) shelves, only to come up with another box.  The local Homeschool Recycle Store (consignment) is closing, and when I went to pick up my stuff, wouldn't you know I came home with a few more things ;D

At the risk of sounding paranoid, with the way the economy is going I find myself wondering how long our amazing libraries will last.  How long before the budgets get cut, and we can't rely on the access to the library we so appreciate now?  Or (hang onto your tinfoil hats), how long before the government decides to exert more control over the content of books and media?  Over what kind of books are available?  While I love to streamline our possessions in general, books are the one thing I hoard :D  Who knows, maybe someday I'll have grandkids being homeschooled who could use our resources.

Speaking of homeschooling, Tate began his short, creative-writing assignment like this:

Two clowns, a leopard, and a cannon.  It was a bad combination.

It's just possible the boys read too much Gary Larson...

So, with that, I'm back to my "work".  I have a Sunday school lesson to finish, and quilt squares that need my attention.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Grasshopper Days, and Gunnar and Naomi

Grasshopper Days

For today, February 18, 2013

Outside my window...  the usual.  Wet, gray, and cold.

Hearing...  blessed silence.  I think all the boys are out in the garage, rotting their brains with the Eye of Mordor (or xbox, whichever).  It's a holiday today - President's Day.  (Which always brings to mind an early Simpsons episode in which Homer fantasizes about all the good he could do if he were in government, "like get Washington and Lincoln's birthdays back as separate holidays").  Anyway, it's a holiday.

Pondering...  we had Naomi for part of the weekend, and guess who was in hog heaven :D

He is a wonderful help with her.  I tell him God is preparing him to be a wonderful daddy someday.

Praying...  for good decisions.

Thankful...  Kerry has a ton of work right now, (hallelujah!) and we're praying that he can do it all.  Also, thankful for a weekend with these big blue eyes.

She was having a conversation with Gunnar... lots of babbling and cute flirty looks.

Creating...  kind of got stalled on the baby quilts, but hoping to make good progress today.  Meanwhile, a gratuitous bath picture :D

Gunnar thought what I did to her hair was both hilarious and horrifying.  I had to convince him it wouldn't stay like that all day.

Going...  to get busy, working!  Well, sewing, which is more like playing.

Reading...  I've been reading through Ann Ross' Miss Julia books.  Hilarious.  I'm on the last one.

Looking forward to...  today :D  A day off.  I've already got our school week mapped out, no urgent errands, and the house is reasonably clean, so I feel like the day is mine.  Lovely.

And here's something else that's lovely...

Naomi, last September...                                           .... and yesterday morning, after her bath.
I think she looks a little bit like Heat Miser with her hair sticking up like that, but cute instead of grouchy.  (If you don't know Heat Miser, he's from an ooooold clay-mation Christmas special, called The Year Without a Santa Claus.)

In the kitchen...  must think of something good for lunch, as dinner will be leftovers (Wyatt and I are off to rehearsal).  Hmmm....  

In the learning rooms...  moving on from China to India, measuring angles (complementary, supplementary, etc.), identifying verb phrases (especially when the verbs get separated by those pesky adverbs), and moving on from squamates (hallelujah, because I hate snakes) to testudines (turtles, etc), and amphibians.

Around the house...  not too much picking up to do, as we cleaned before the weekend and Naomi can't quite crawl yet.  But, oh boy, she's close.

I think this is the first time she's had shoes on, and she was fascinated.  She doesn't walk yet, but it's cold here and she constantly pulls her socks off, so I dug out these shoes I saved from the boys.  Cute :D

The Mother Load...  oh mercy, I'm having a day off, and I don't want to think about all my chores today!

Noticing that...  maybe it's just having a baby around that re-sets my perspective, but gracious these boys are growing into fine young men!

Something fun to remember for later...  I think we got to hear her first word.  You see, Wyatt's voice often sounds a lot like my brother's (Naomi's dad).  Saturday evening Gunnar and I were in the living room with Naomi, and Wyatt walked into the kitchen and said something to Tate.  She whipped her head around in his direction, and very clearly said, "Dada!"

A favorite quote for today... 

Life affords no greater responsibility, no greater privilege,
than the raising of the next generation.
- C. Everett Koop

One of my favorite things...  baby giggles.

A Bible verse...  Proverbs 31:25

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  
Monday - Wyatt and I are off to rehearsal tonight, while the others head to the church for Boys' Club.  
Tuesday we're back to school, Wyatt has an orthodontist appointment, he and Tate go to CAP, and I'm enjoying a women's Bible study (thankfully, a "women's study" meaning it's attended by women and based on a book of the Bible, not some fluffy foo-foo excuse for a Bible study ;D)  
Wednesday Gunnar gets his eyes checked.
Thursday and Friday look normal... schooling, but not much else.  Hallelujah ;D

A peek into my world...  one last look at my sweet niece :D

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Saturday Sunday Brain Dump

There are times I'm going about my business and it occurs to me that I haven't posted anything for days.

Then I think I should (post something).

And then I try to figure out a way to make an ordinary, daily day remotely interesting -  and I can just about guarantee you it isn't - because even I don't want to remember the details of a day whose highlights included scraping candle wax out of little cups,  attempting to identify the little containers of leftovers from the back of the fridge, and washing the floor mats from the mudroom.

Oh, it's just one thrill after another, here at the Grasshopper House.

In other news...

1.  My niece is visiting us for the weekend, and she is cuter than ever.  (I may be a little bit biased.)  I'll post some pictures soon, but she's napping at the moment.  She's had a jam-packed schedule, which included charming everyone sitting behind us in church, testing and confirming that the field of gravity is still working (dropping the toys I brought for her onto the floor), and conducting experiments on texture and density relative to toothless-gums with everything she can get her hands on.

2.  And we got to hear - I think - her very first word :D  As it turns out, Wyatt sounds a lot like her dad - my brother.  When he walked into the kitchen and started talking to Tate she whipped her head around and said, "Dada!"

3.  The boybarians aren't new here, so how is it that they still haven't figured out what I mean when I tell them to clean the family room?  Attention, boys, let me clarify:

Yes, cleaning up includes DVDs, garbage, the shoeshine box, the guitar, books, and those slippers you haven't worn for weeks.  

I think our next memory verse may be Colossians 2:5,

For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit (aka "even when I'm not supervising") and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

4.  I keep debating with myself about reinstating the word verification on comments.  On the one hand, word verification drives me nuts, especially since they added numbers.  On the other hand, the spam is picking up.  Some of it's pretty funny, though.  I mean, I'd be missing some real gems...

Hello, of course this paragraph is genuinely fastidious...

There is certainly noticeably a bundle to know about this.  I assume you created certain nice points in capabilities also....

It seems that you're doing any distinctive trick.  Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece...

... on several of your posts, many of them are rife with spelling problems and i find it very bothersome to inform the reality...

Then, of course, there's the one that asks if I would really like to be a home-wrecker (no thanks), but my favorite is this one,

Very good post.  I'm experiencing a few of these issues as well... from, hair loss treatment for black men.

Um... don't think I can help you.  But there's plenty of fodder for teaching the boys how to edit for "gps" (grammar, punctuation, and spelling.)

5.  It's been... a weekend... and I'm running out of steam, so at last...

If life gives you melons, you might be dyslexic.

And, ta-taa.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, February 11, 2013

Outside my window...  bare branches of the dogwood tree, waiting for spring.

Hearing...  Tate ironing his BDUs for CAP tomorrow.

Pondering...  the sacrifices of parenting.

Praying...  for God's favor on a letter I'm writing.

Thankful...  to have internet again, after a few days without!

Wearing...  in shocking news... blue jeans, a black t-shirt and a black sweater.

Creating...  new covers for the living room pillows (boy are they faded - when did that happen?)

Going...  to try a Jacob's Ladder block in blue, turquoise, and white.

Reading...  Sometimes A Light Surprises for myself, and Homesick with the boys.

Learning...  about China.  I'm trying to make sure the boys notice the admirable things in Asian cultures, like respect for the aged.  So much healthier than our youth-and-beauty obsessed Forever 21 mentality.  (Does anyone else find the very name of that store offensive?  Ugh.)

Looking forward to...  rehearsal tonight.  So often I find myself dragging my feet about going anywhere in the evening.  I'm a homebody - I'd rather stay right here, in my cozy nest.  But our choir director is also a preacher, and good gracious... every rehearsal is like a worship service.  (With a lot of joking around, so not exactly like, but you KWIM, right?)  Every time I come away encouraged and inspired.

In the kitchen...  we just had our third round of French Dip sandwiches from that venison I cooked last week.  (Did NOT realize I was making so much, but boy was it good!)  We're a little dipped out right now, so for tomorrow I'm going to try the Spicy Shredded Pork that Jacqueline mentioned.  Except, well... let the record state that we are Spice-Wimps.  Really.  We go our for Thai food and I get a ONE.  And Kerry gets ZERO.  Yes, ZERO.   He blames chemo and radiation, but I have my doubts.  Anyway, I'll probably have to cut the spices in half.  Or thirds.  Just the word chipotle will probably make his eyes start streaming.  Wish me luck ;D

In the learning rooms...  China, simplifying fractions. auxiliary verbs, squamates, measuring angles, tuataras, part-to-whole and whole-to-part fallacies, and... oh I don't know... much, much more!

Around the house...  I put away all the winter stuff last weekend, but I'm not really ready for spring yet.  Around here, it's too early to start hoping for spring.  It's going to rain for months yet.  You start hoping for spring now and you'll be tired of it before it ever comes.  I don't go overboard for Valentine's Day either (hellOOOO, I have three boys), but I've scattered some red, white and turquoise around.  And the new pillow covers.  Want to see?

I decided to just stick with red and white.  It's not like there's any pink in my house, much less in my fabric stash.  They could be for Valentines, or Christmas, or any time.

And every last bit is from scraps, which I think is kind of cool.

Wyatt - sixteen year old BOY - walked in, saw them, and pronounced them "cool", so they're not over-the-top girly.  (As if I could do anything over-the-top girly anyway...)

The Mother Load...  I'm holding it at bay while I do some sewing.  But (try to hold your applause) I did clean the bathrooms over the weekend.  I even scrubbed the boys' shower, which was DIS-GUS-TING.  There were at least three colors of mold in there.  Eww.

My office still looks like the aftermath of a major storm, but there's no use getting too excited until I finish the next quilt.  And maybe one more after that...

Noticing that...  my snowdrops are coming up by the back door.

Something to remember for later...  Gunnar's sincere and compassionate concern for his cousin's well-being just about breaks my heart.  (In a good way.)  I think he loves her more than just about anyone.

Something fun to share...  if you're in the area, our Easter concerts will be March 22 and 23 (Friday evening and Saturday afternoon).  Let me know if you want details.

A favorite quote for today... 
I will give up every material possession that I own because I know that I can't get to heaven pulling my little red wagon full of all my things.  But maybe, with the grace of God, I can get there with my children.
          - Diane Ferrell
One of my favorite things...  Wyatt and Tate went to an NCO training day for Civil Air Patrol a couple weeks ago.  They were each asked to teach a class at a training day for "Basics", which was two days ago.  This really stretched them.  They worked hard on their material and presentation.  And came home bouncing-off-the-walls excited.  I love to see them push like that, and then to be proud of what they've done.  Not vain-proud, but a good feeling of accomplishment.

They're growing so fast...

A Bible verse...  3 John 1:4
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Monday rehearsal, Tuesday CAP (ooo!  and Dentist Appointments - fun!), Wednesday youthgroup, Thursday ???, Friday Wyatt to the eye doctor, and maybe, maybe we get Naomi for the weekend :D

A peek into my day...  my favorite part of the new pillows are these little dots.  They make me smile.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Crock-Pot, It Torments Me...

... with the delicious smells bubbling out all day long.

Oh yes, it's an exercise in patience, which is not high on my list of qualities.

On our Big Vacation in 2011, the boys discovered a love for French Dip sandwiches.  I think I've always loved them, but there's a problem.  The roast beef at our local grocery store (deli) is heavily seasoned.  Add in the au jus and it's just too salty.  *sigh*

Well, I could make it myself, I mean, how hard can this be?  (Famous last words, right? And I'm using venison, not beef...)

Judging by smell alone, so far so good, but I'll have to tell you later how it really comes out.  I thawed about five pounds of unground venison.  I don't even remember what cut it was labeled, because to be honest it's all pretty much the same... tough.  But the crock-pot is a good friend to tough meat, right?

So this is French Dip, Take #1.

I trimmed the fat from about 4-5# of meat, and put that in my crock-pot.

I mixed
2T dried garlic, and
2t   dried rosemary, and crushed them together, with
a few shakes of black pepper, and
2 bay leaves, and
sprinkled that over the meat.

I poured in about
1/3 C of soy sauce and
32 ox box of beef broth.
(A couple of cans would've been plenty, but 10 oz of beef broth in the back of my fridge would've turned into a science experiment I don't need.)

The provolone cheese and hoagies are waiting to be toasted.

Wish me luck ;D

** Smiles and seconds, all around :D **

Monday, February 4, 2013

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, February 4, 2013

Outside my window...  in Gunnar's words, "It's a dark kind of day."  Thick clouds promise more rain, but it's warm and cheery inside :D

Hearing...  the washer beeping (laundry... it never ends), the furnace blowing, and wind in the trees.

Pondering...  one more baby quilt to think up and make.  I mentioned my three friends, and I've made three quilts.  But one of those quilts I've put aside to save for someone else.  I wanted to try something new, and make some "wonky" stars - stars that are purposefully imperfect.  I ended up making a whole constellation that would be just perfect for another friend.  Who is not pregnant.  Yet.  So I'm keeping that one back, in hope of giving it to just the right person.  Which means, I get to make one more for a friend who's pregnant now.  :D

Praying...  for good attitudes, diligent workers, and a peaceful home.  And for Wyatt and Tate, who will each be teaching a class to "cadet Basics" from our squadron (and maybe a neighboring squadron) this Saturday.  It's a good challenge for them.

Thankful...  Kerry is busy with work (yay!), the boys are working hard at their schoolwork, and Wyatt just finished his first semester of public high school with a 3.9.

Wearing...  blue jeans, blue socks, white T, and a great "fair-isle-ish" blue and green sweater I got at Value Village, because I am oh-so-very-trendy ;D  (Hey, I am trendy.  Frugal is the in thing!)

Creating...  yah.  One more baby quilt.  Maybe a scrappy one.  It's time.

Going...  to throw the laundry into the dryer, make my bed (hard to make it when I get up, as there's still someone in it...) and check on Gunnar.

Reading...  wrapping up Mission to Cathay and starting The House of Sixty Fathers, with the boys, and Winter Birds for me.

Looking forward to...  looks like we're going to have my niece for a weekend this month and next month.  Gunnar is over-the-moon, excited!

In the kitchen...  I love having lots of leftovers tucked into the fridge and freezer, especially with rehearsal tonight (during dinner time).  Kerry can have the leftover Taco Lasagna, Gunnar will want the chicken noodle soup, and there's quite a bit of chili, cornbread, cheese bread, and potato skins from yesterday.  *Happy sigh*

In the learning rooms...  ratios, China, catastrophism and uniformitarianism, price-per-unit, calligraphy, pronouns and antecedents, and a research paper on General George S. Patton.  (One guess who is writing about Patton!)

Around the house...  still all wintery - blue, white and silver - but it's about time for a change.  I don't really decorate for Valentine's Day, though, so I'll hold out a little longer for spring.

The Mother Load...  oh, heavens.  Just check the post below!  I got about two thirds through my weekend list, so I'll be chipping away at that for the next few days!

Noticing that...  I forget how much I like reading for myself.

Something to remember for later...  how hard Gunnar and Tate worked on their calligraphy verses, and how easily they memorize (compared to adults).

A favorite quote for today... 
There is but a certain quantity of spiritual force in any man.  Spread it over a broad surface, the stream is shallow and languid; narrow the channel and it becomes a driving force.    - Samuel Rutherford 

One of my favorite things...  finally hitting on a plan for a quilt that I can do and I want to do, as the two don't always coincide ;D

A Bible verse... 
Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place
and gave Him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

The boys and I are working on memorizing Philippians 2.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  working through the Mother Load, rehearsal tonight, CAP  and Bible Study tomorrow night, helping the boys prepare to teach their classes, walking with Gunnar, and - if I get the time - sewing (fun!)

A peek into my world...  can't show you the big picture yet, but here's a little detail...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Saturday... The Mother Load

Do you ever feel like the weekend starts sort of like...
Gentlemen, start your engines!
Well, I do anyway.  And the Mother Load is growing.  While it's probably more than I can accomplish in one day, I'm throwing it out here, for accountability.  Ready?
  • Process 10# of venison into frozen (uncooked) meatballs
  • Bag in 2# lots - in Big Freezer
  • Bake angel food cake
  • Make topping (so it will be Fiesta Cake)
  • Clean fridge (so there will be room for said cake)
  • Assemble cake, whip cream, and topping - refrigerate
  • Prep and roast 20# turkey
  • Make broth
  • Get the turkey meat off the carcass
  • Make turkey pot pies for the freezer (yum!)
  • Freeze extra turkey meat for ???
  • Prep next school week
  • Sunday school homework
  • Bible study homework
  • Walk with Gunnar
  • Bind quilt (may save for Sunday, during football)
  • Plan baby quilt #4 (no, no new surprise, I'll explain later)
  • Fold clean laundry (three loads, so far) Make that five...
  • Clean upstairs showers (yuck!)
  • Wash our sheets
  • Wash blankets from family room (stale)
  • Boys - Christmas lights down from porch
  • Boys - tidy living room
  • Boys - clean up the family room (lego bomb)
  • Vacuum family room
  • Boys - bring Sonlight books upstairs to "process" (home library strategy)
  • Label books / enter in computer
  • Boys - books back downstairs
  • Books on shelves (!)
  • Boys - clean garage (!!!) and hang chin-up bar
  • Sew (fun!)
  • Oh, yah, make lunch.
  • And dinner. Besides the turkey.
  • Make bread or rolls for tomorrow.
  • Plan soup for tomorrow... it's Souper Bowl Sunday. (Oh, we're so funny around here...)
  • Pick up my parents at midnight-ish, returning from their cruise. (Kerry? *bats eyes and grins*)

So, yes, clearly my expectations are a bit too high.

But I've already got a few things done, so there's hope!

What are you doing this Saturday?

Okay... bedtime.  And 23 of 36 are done, and we'll make that 24, as Kerry is going to pick up my parents.  (I did the 5:30am drop off, so it's a good trade for both of us ;D )