Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Good, The Bad, And The... Other

The Good

* Enjoying lengthening daylight hours
* Finished Sunday School prep for the next two weeks
* Had a good visit with a friend in the hospital, who expects to go home today
* Went to Thursday night Hymn Sing with cheerful, teenage boys beside me

The Bad

* Coming home late/tired from Hymn Sing and taking the drain apart to retrieve dropped contact lens
* Grumpy boys from too much screen time

The Other

* A quiet house - all boys at CAP/SAR (Civil Air Patrol / Search and Rescue training)
* A quiet house...
* A

Monday, February 23, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, February 23, 2015

Outside my window...  a gorgeous day!  Frosty this morning, but sunny and beautiful :D

Hearing...  birds!  I've been waking up to birds again, and I love it.

Pondering...  Wyatt is having a difficult day.  He still gets up at 3am to call in to UPS, though he's not getting any work.  He expected to be officially laid off today (but is encouraged to reapply in April).  Over the weekend pieces of his braces broke so he started this morning at the orthodontist (after partially disassembling them at home, himself so he wouldn't get poked and could close his mouth). The appointment went longer than he expected, making him late to school.  And he wasn't thinking clearly... came home after the appointment (the opposite direction of school) to get some ibuprofen, not realizing he likely could have bought some on campus.  And it's his long day...  I think I'd better plan some soft comfort food for dinner tonight!

Praying...  for Wyatt!  And work for Kerry.

Thankful...  for this gorgeous day, that my parents are home safe from a two-week road trip, that Wyatt successfully registered for next quarter, we're all still healthy, and for good news from friends who are in the process of adopting!

Wearing...  my walking grubs... time for a shower.

Creating...  thinking baby things for my friend...

Going...  to make sure Gunnar is doing his schoolwork.

Reading...  The Friday Night Knitting Club (a kind of fluffy, friendship book) and Great Expectations.  I figured if I made Gunnar read it, I ought to read it too ;D

Looking forward to... lunch ;D

In the kitchen...  leftovers!  I made a big batch of venison meatballs last night, alongside roasted potatoes.  But I'd better think of something really soft for Wyatt.

In the learning rooms...  Tate, just home from school and working on his homeschool.  He just dissected a giant earthworm.  Ack.  Gunnar is doing math with percents.

Around the house...  brightness, hallelujah.  I love the sun streaming in the windows.  We have so many dark, wet, cloudy days through the winter that I crave the light.  I have a lot of brightly colored things out - pillows, candles, quilt, etc.

The Mother Load... not too bad at that moment, but I still have a pile of papers to sort.

Noticing that...  everything is budding, ready to pop open with new life.

Something to remember for later...  I gave Gunnar a cup of hot cocoa after a cold, early morning walk, and he said, "My chest is on fire!"  Um, maybe your stomach?

Something fun to share...  Ice Music.

A favorite quote for today...
The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.
Elisabeth Elliott  

One of my favorite things...  Gunnar is doing better at doing his math on his own.

A few plans for the rest of the week... hmmm, rehearsal tonight, violin lesson and babysitting (Gunnar) tomorrow along with CAP, the youth group here for dinner and fellowship on Wednesday evening, piano lesson (Tate) on Thursday, hymn sing / dessert social Thursday evening, and the weekend???

A peek into my day...

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cleaning Out...

Cleaning out my office I found some old notes from when I had my tonsils out in 2008.
The boys would've been this age - I think 7, 9, and 12.

So (back in 2008), I was recovering and feeling pretty rotten.  Kerry was stressed and snapping at the kids.  It was pouring and they were stuck inside all day, having too much screen time and not enough fresh air.

It was a bad day.

Wyatt and Tate were playing something on the computer and I heard this:

Taaaaaaate!  (long whine)
This is all your fault!  You made me lose all my coins!  (pause)

I wish I could say a bad word right now.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, February 16, 2015

Outside my window...  sunshine!  Brightness!  Color!

Hearing...  a very, very quiet house.  It's Presidents' Day today, no school for any of us.  The boys went for a bike ride earlier (kind of muddy, but good for them) and Gunnar and I went for our longer walk.  And you know what we saw?

Pondering...  I'm getting RSVPs for my parents' 50th party - so glad people are excited about celebrating with us :D  My mom kind of didn't want a party, but I think marriages that flourish for 50 years, ought to be celebrated publicly.  If your parents (or friends or relatives) have long-thriving marriages, THANK THEM.

Praying...  for our friends in missions in Myanmar and in the Solomon Islands and elsewhere.  Isn't the internet amazing?  I can remember when I was a kid (you know, back when dinosaurs roamed the earth) and you had to wait weeks or months to hear from missionaries.

Thankful...  for technology (like email and Tate's CIs and low-tech crock-pots), that work seems to keep trickling in for Kerry (more please, Lord!), and for the brightness of today.

Wearing...  jeans, long-sleeve black t-shirt, black cardigan... so exciting.

Creating...  I've used the day off to get ahead with preparing for my Sunday school class.  I may have mentioned the age spread in my little class (3 to 8).  The curriculum I have is fine for the 6-8 year olds, but I have several kids who aren't readers yet so I'm always adapting the activities.  Or finding new ones.

Going...  to rehearsal tonight.  I'm not as excited about this season, but I'm trying to go with a good attitude :D

Looking forward to...  well, hoping for a tax refund!

In the kitchen...  made a huge batch (6-quart crock-pot) of stroganoff yesterday - part beef and part venison.  Used the second roast from Tate's deer, and oh that meat was beautiful (hardly a speck of fat on it) and oh-so-tasty.  Enough for leftovers tonight - hurray!

In the learning rooms...  just wrapping up a wonderful four-day weekend.  LOVE IT.  Gunnar currently has three experiments going that we are monitoring.  He'll be studying the human body for the rest of the year in science.  He's been doing a two-year overview of world history while Tate is doing a one-year overview, and I think they're just about coinciding right now.  That's a good thing, but I get a bit scrambled sometimes about who is doing what!  Tate is such a diligent worker.  He's already finished one of his subjects for the year, and all of the extra reading I assigned him to go along with Biology.  Gunnar rarely wants to work ahead, but he stays on top of things... even when he's not particularly enjoying them... like reading Great Expectations.  In his opinion, it would make a great story in about a quarter of the pages.  I hear ya.

Around the house...  more open spaces and surfaces - aahhhhh :D  And primroses, because they're the hope of spring to come.

And speaking of spring... the ducks were going NUTS as we passed the pond on our walk this morning.  Males, chasing each other around.  Yep.  It's spring.

The Mother Load...  got our tax stuff together over the weekend, which is a huge load off my back.  I'm prepping our work list for spring break, though it's still over a month away.  In the mean time...

* run errands but don't spend any more money than necessary (hmmm...)
* mop upstairs floors (they usually just get dust-mopped, but it's time)
* inventory the cupboards and make a plan - so much food!
* if we're going to garden, there's prep to do
* send package to friends in Myanmar (requires a trip to the actual post office - ugh)
* make a Goodwill run (I don't think I could pull off another 40 bags this year, so it might as well go now)
* find the right spot to hang the tree quilt
* and more, more, more.  Sigh.

A favorite quote for today... 
People may not always live what they profess,
but they will always live what they believe.
 - Neil T. Anderson

One of my favorite things...  Kerry and Gunnar found me some Lindor milk chocolate and sea salt truffles for Valentine's Day... thanks!

A Bible verse...  
Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the Lord,
and He will give you the desires of your heart.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  Gunnar's violin lesson was cancelled tomorrow, and the boy he babysits is out of town, so it's a more normal day (get more done!).  I have some writing I want to do before it's due.  Tate will have his piano lesson.  And it looks like the weekend is OPEN.  :D

A peek into my day...  I'm lichen it.  (*Groan*)

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Hurray for Second Saturday, which is to say that we didn't have school yesterday so today feels like a second Saturday.  Why not?  And we get Monday off as well, so three cheers for a mini-break :D

Meanwhile, a few random thoughts.  Today I...

... spent a few hours today getting our tax stuff all together.  At least the part that's my responsibility.  Of course, that involves getting caught up on tracking our checking account and making sure I have a paper trail in case we ever need to prove anything. Ugh.  But what a huge load off my back - yippee!  And as I look back through the year, I'm reminded of God's faithfulness.  Last year we finished one month with TEN DOLLARS in the checking account, but at least it was ten in the black.  Whew.

... packaged up my friends' quilt to mail.  Breanna, if you're reading, it will be on its way to Chiang Mai when the post office opens again on Tuesday :D

... have had time to visit with some of my neighbors.  I'm so glad I have the kind of neighbors that do drop-ins, you know?  I go "practice the art of sitting".  My friend down the alley is recovering from hip surgery (her third) and spending her time of enforced rest by learning to play TWO instruments.  I haven't heard her with her autoharp, but we've had some fun with the hammered dulcimer she has on loan :D  And my next door neighbors (distant cousins) are celebrating their 60th anniversary this weekend.  They're very sweet... and they crack me up.  When I came to the back door, Bea waved me into the kitchen.  It's always warm in their house... so very warm.  Ralph called from the living room to greet me and to warn me that he didn't have any pants on.  (He is NOT a creeper - don't get the wrong idea!  If my house was that hot I might watch TV in my underwear too!)   I stayed in the kitchen ;D

... wrapped up some sweets for all my sweeties :D  And Tate "helped" me make sugar cookies a day ago.  Well, yes, he really is helpful, but ALL the boys want to "help" make cookies, mostly because they want pinch bites - dough.  I think they'd rather have the dough than the cookies ;D

In other news,  why is fish so fishy?

I'd much rather cook fish in the summer.  Outside.  On the barbecue.  Because the smell lingers.

Happy Valentines Day to you all and your sweeties :D

Friday, February 13, 2015

Not-Just-For-Christmas Tree Quilt

With much relief that my mental processes are still largely intact,
I give you my completed

Not-Just-For-Christmas Tree Quilt.

For comparison, here's the model I was working from:

The quilt (above) was featured in Quilter's Newsletter's Best Christmas Quilts (2014 edition). 

In fact, I made two quilts from that particular magazine.
The tree quilt above, and this one I gave my sister:

But I digress...

This tree quilt was going to be a gift for a friend.
She recently moved from western Washington to North Dakota,
and I thought this might be a baby quilt
to remind her of her Evergreen State home :D

Turns out she had something else in mind,
which is fine,
but I had already cut the pieces...

and I'm one of those very linear people.

Some of you creative types have multiple projects going at once,

I can't do that.

First, my head would explode.
Second, I'd have more clutter than I already have, which is more than plenty.
And third, I NEED the completion to enjoy the process.

And this quilt was definitely a process.

Oh, those triangles...
those crazy isosceles triangles nearly drove me to the Cliffs of Insanity.

First, I cut them wrong, thinking I didn't actually need the pointy end at the top,
which would get swallowed up in seam allowance.
And maybe you don't, actually,
if you know what you're doing.

Which I didn't.

So I had to trim a half-inch off Every. Single. Triangle.

Then there was the way you have to line them up wrong  (offset)
to make them finish right  (even)...

I think I sewed the first row about seven times before I
kind-of-sort-of figured it out.
And even then I ended up with more like half-inch seam allowances
rather than quarter-inch, because my points met so far into the block.

The learning curve conspired to make the quilt finish a bit smaller than I had anticipated.
But FINE, I don't care about that.
Since it's not going to be a baby quilt,
it's going to be a wall-hanging :D

Even the back looks kind of interesting,
due to the quilting!

And now?

No more triangles for a looooong time!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Outside my window...  not quite sunny, but brighter than it's been for days.
I should photograph my tree quilt while I have good light.

Hearing...   Tate, practicing the piano ("I know a weenie man...") and the all-fixied dryer doing its thing.

Pondering...  if you live in my county and you need an appliance repairman,

call me.

He didn't charge me anything for the first visit to diagnose the problem
(when the dryer didn't cooperate and he had to go off my description.)
He ordered the parts,
came back today and spent about an hour fixing it,
vacuumed out the inside of the dryer while he was at it,
cleaned up his mess (mostly),
and charged me a whopping...
In case you're not catching my irony,
the "whopping" bill felt like a steal :D

Praying...  work for Kerry.
He's not out of work, I'd just like a bigger buffer.
By which I mean ANY buffer.
For all of us to diligently do the work we have.

Thankful...  my family has been so healthy this year :D

And an influx of food!  First, another jug of peanut butter - free!
(A friend has a friend who works at a local testing facility - they grade peanut butter for all sorts of criteria.  So they take out one spoonful and then get rid of the rest.  Can't sell it.  Win!)
Then another neighbor defrosting her freezer gave us some lunch meat.
And another neighbor, who is drastically changing her diet, invited me to come take whatever I wanted that she had culled.  I thought it might be junk food or lots of processed/prepared stuff, but it was mostly staples.  I came home with four bags full of things like flour, sugar, wheat germ, potatoes, dried beans, vinegar, etc.  Score!

Creating...  an uncluttered space.  After sewing continuously from about September to January, (fabric explosion in my office), and then spending a few days making cards (paper, pens, etc) it's nice to have it all AWAY for awhile.

Going...  to plan my Sunday school lesson for next week.  Or two.

Reading...  Mary Jo Sharp's Defending the Faith.  Why women need apologetics.  Amen.

Looking forward to...  using up all my new food-bounty!

In the kitchen...  fish for dinner (from my friend!)

In the learning rooms...  I think everyone is done for the day - maybe some reading left to do, but I assign that by the week and let the boys pace themselves.

Around the house...  I packed up all the snow/winter stuff, bought some primroses, and dug out a few red things to decorate with - thinking of Valentine's Day.  Time to make cookies :D

The Mother Load...
feels lighter in an uncluttered office :D
But still...
* prep Sunday school lessons
* clean off stove top
* remind boys to clean their bathroom
* clean bathroom walls (ew)
* get ready for taxes
* visit my neighbors - I see them so much less when the weather is cold
* make a plan to eat through our cupboards
* clean upstairs floor
* the "donate" box is full - make a Goodwill run
* make cookies :D

A favorite quote for today...
There's more to life than increasing its speed.

One of my favorite things...  wide open eyes :D

A Bible verse...
I will lift up my eyes
to the mountains - 
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

A few plans for the rest of the week...
since so much of it has already gone by
(like rehearsal, Gunnar's violin lesson,
CAP, etc.)
We still have Tate's piano lesson,
and a clear slate for the weekend... aaahhhhhhh!

A peek into my world...  

Waiting for the trees to wake up again...

... catching reflections (refractions?) with the low sun angle...

... and making the bedroom cozy.

How about you?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Grasshopper Days... Late Edition ;D

Grasshopper Days

For today, Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Outside my window...  cool, misty, rainy... Washington.

Hearing...  a quiet house.  The boys are studying and there's NO laundry running because the dryer is having issues.  Oh my.  It still runs, but it sounds like we're killing a herd of pigs.  You've never heard such terrifying squealing.  (At least I hope.)  Maybe it's just a belt loose?  Something inexpensive to fix?  Please???  The repairman is coming today (hallelujah), but in the meantime...

It's nearly as tall as Gunnar.
I think it's breeding.

Pondering...  The weekend.  It was (mostly) fabulous, but I think I need a weekend to rest from my weekend!  Do you ever feel like that?

A friend from church invited some of us over to make cards (Valentine's Day approaching...) and I offered to bring something to contribute to lunch.  She did most of the work, and I just contributed some fruit and dip, so no big deal, but Food Prep #1.

Of course, after I got home from that fun activity, I made a big batch of turkey taquitos for the monthly chapel game-night-and-potluck.  (More fun!  And Food Prep #2.)

Sunday morning church, and it was our turn to bring treats for coffee hour (green and blue bread, roasted pepper hummus, and brownies - Food Prep #3.)

And then we were invited to my parents' for their Soup-er Super Bowl Party.  (Food Prep #4, chili.)  Which was all fun and fabulous except for the last one minute of the game, which was a Great Tragedy, and we won't speak of it again.  *sigh*

Praying...  work for Kerry - very much a need right now.  And work for Wyatt - not such a dramatic need, but it would be nice!

Thankful...  expecting a check in the mail today or tomorrow which will cover us through this month and into the next.  Hallelujah :D  Thankful to have great friends and family to spend weekends with!

Wearing...  Um, you saw the photo above, right?  Wearing old sweats - gray and navy blue.
Old, but clean :D

Creating...  finishing off that quilt project I mentioned last week.  All done but the binding, and then I'll post photos.  Whew!

Going...  to stay home so the repairman can come.  It's like waiting for Christmas, y'know?

Looking forward to...  we're planning a party for my parents' 50th Anniversary!

In the kitchen...  I think the boys finished off all the chili and other left-overs (yay!) so I may actually make a real dinner tonight.  Maybe egg burritos - that just sounds good to me.  Or taco salad.

In the learning rooms...  Tate is zooming through his year of World History.  I love the way he puts it all together - that's one of his strengths.  And he's doing well in Biology, though it isn't quite as second-nature to him.

Gunnar is reading Great Expectations and I'd better get on the ball, because I said I'd read through it with him (simultaneously, not aloud) and I'm waaaaay behind!  In math, he's doing ratios and proportions.  And he's covering Westward Expansion in history, leading up to the Civil War.

Around the house...  is it time to take down all the snow decorations?  I'm kind of ready, but maybe as soon as I put them all away... it will snow.  (Don't things always work that way?!)  Of course, much  to the boys dismay, I can't use it that way on purpose.  ("Put it all away, Mom, to make it snow!")

The Mother Load... 
* finish binding quilt
* photograph quilt
* hang quilt :D
* catch up on laundry (yikes!)
* pack away sewing stuff
* clean office
* dust mop all of upstairs
* swiffer-mop all of upstairs
* make invitations for party
* help Tate with job-hunt
* clean top of stove (yucky, very yucky)
* put away all the snow/winter decorations
* deep clean living room / dining room
* get primroses
* inventory gift box - plan ahead
* more, more, more!

Noticing that...  as soon as I pack up my sewing machine I'll have a million great ideas of
things-I-want-to-make-right-now.  *sigh*

Something to remember for later... 
We had a very busy night at CAP this week!
The first Tuesday of the month is "Commander's Call" - a time for recognizing achievements and promotions, and giving awards.

Gunnar was recognized along with the other "founding members" of the Cyper Patriot team.
The teams have corporate sponsors, and you know what that means?


T-shirt, pen, pin, certificate, sunglasses, computer mouse, and a challenge coin.

Later, Gunnar was called up again, receiving a certificate for scoring 100% on his most recent aerospace test.  (The one he first "failed" by clicking "submit" instead of "next" after the first question.)

And then he was called up again to receive his promotion to Senior Airman.
Go, Gunnar!

Tate also earned a promotion.
Though he's still addressed as "Chief" (Chief Master Sergeant), he's just one step away from his Billy Mitchell award, and becoming a Second Lieutenant.

They're definitely putting the pressure on Wyatt to pick up his pace!

A favorite quote for today...  If you find a path without obstacles,
it probably doesn't lead anywhere.   - Frank A. Clark

One of my favorite things...  Gunnar and his sharp eyes found me the last package of milk chocolate and sea salt Lindor truffles at Walmart... I'm doling them out sparingly!

A Bible verse...  The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of His hands...  Psalm 19

A peek into my world... 

Guess who?