Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Brain Dump and Partial Blitz

1.  This whole thing about boys growing up isn't easy, you know?  Sometimes I miss these days...

Although these days are pretty good too :D

2.  At least tonight the boybarians are all together at CAP.  And tonight is special, because it's a fifth Tuesday, therefore they get to wear civvies, eat pizza, and play games.  (Rather than drilling/marching, attending classes, testing, having a uniform inspection, etc.)  But the older they get, the more they're going different directions, especially now that Wyatt's at the college.

The powers that be (at the college) have - very inconveniently! - scheduled their spring break a different week from the public schools'.  And now that Tate is p/t at the high school, we're tied to TWO different school schedules.  (Good grief, homeschooling is a lot of work, but it sure was a lot simpler!)  So while Tate, Gunnar and I are doing school, I'm trying to motivate Wyatt to work on his own, since we can't have our annual Blitz Week all together.

3.  What's Blitz Week?  If you're new here, let me explain.  During Spring Break, we do spring cleaning and projects.  The minions work for me until lunch, and then they get free time during the afternoon and evening.  Of course, I love that we get so much done!  And my not-so-secret motive (besides that they need to learn cleaning and organization) is that if I work them hard enough, school will seem like a welcome break ;D

Wyatt had definitely inherited Kerry's "allergic to morning" gene.  *sigh*  The whole "work until lunch" thing doesn't work if you choose to sleep late, y'know?  So he gets a daily chore list.  So far, he has:

* tidied up his personal stuff (bedroom, school backpack, etc.)
* done his own laundry (which I no longer do for him)
* scrubbed the ceiling in the kitchen (how did spots of food get up there, anyway?)
* partially disassembled one of the kitchen light fixtures (more about that later)
* scrubbed the boys' bathroom walls (mildew - yuck)
* bleached the walls
* wiped the bleach off with a damp cloth
* vacuumed out the van
* cleaned all the surfaces inside the van
* cleaned the inside of the van windows
* squished down the garbage in the tote (because we missed garbage day two weeks ago - whoops!)
* emptied all the house garbages
* collected all the recycling
* done the dishes
* picked up Tate from school twice
* mowed half the lawn (Tate did the other half)
* made small progress on the book he's supposed to be reading (Sex, Dating, and Relationships)
* spent hours and hours playing an online war game (grrrr....)

He is also supposed to be studying for his next CAP promotion, and LOOKING FOR A JOB.

But in the meantime, if he's not going to work for pay, he can work for me for free.  I've got a loooooong list ;D

4.  This whole "three teenage boys" thing means FOOD FOOD WHERE IS THE FOOD?  I go to the store and buy six gallons of milk, and I'm not even Canadian.  I'll go to Costco and buy six tubs of peanut butter, ten pounds of cheese, and I could buy granola bars and breakfast cereal by the pallet if I had somewhere to keep it.  What I'd like to do about now is thaw out a turkey, but I don't have room in the fridge!  Maybe that's Wyatt's next challenge ;D

5.  We must not forget to put the garbage out tonight.
We must not forget to put the garbage out tonight.
We must not forget to put the garbage out tonight.
Yah.  I have to remember.  We can only do so much squishing, and no more will fit.  Ugh.

6.  Is it a female thing to spend money to save money?  Or do guys do this too?  I know Kerry does, anyway, so he's on board with my latest plan.

It's about the kitchen light.  When we remodeled the kitchen in 2003 we had EVERYTHING new.  (Wow.  That was amazing!)  I picked out this light fixture:

It didn't actually put out as much light as I had hoped, but I liked the blue shades so much I put up with it.  But here's the thing.  It takes halogen bulbs, and they're crazy expensive.  Like, ten bucks each.  Ten bucks!  For a light bulb!  And they don't seem to last very long, either.

So, cheapskate or frugal - call me what you will - that has been driving me nuts for year.  I want a light fixture that takes NORMAL BULBS.  I had thought the fixture we had might be convertible (screw out the special socket to reveal a normal socket, hence the partial disassembling of it) but it doesn't seem to be the case.


So... I've ordered this:

And I'm lucky to have an electrician for a dad who will install it for me - thanks, Dad!

We'll have more light, from cheaper bulbs.  Hallelujah.

7.  And now, to make the master list...  I have three more days to keep Wyatt busy, and then five days to work with Tate and Gunnar.  Wish me luck!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, March 30, 2015

Outside my window...  everything is still wet and drippy from rain in the night, but the clouds are higher and lighter today.  So many trees are blossoming, leaves are unfolding, and it feels like spring, but the dogwood right outside my window is a later bloomer - still just a winter skeleton.

Hearing...  Wyatt working away at his spring break chore list (woo-hoo!), and the dryer tumbling as he's doing his laundry (double woo-hoo!).  Gunnar is working quietly, and we're about to go for our walk. 

Pondering...  life gets more complicated as the boys get older.  On a small scale, Wyatt's spring break is this week, while the other boys' is next week, lining up with the public school.  Obviously, I could put Gunnar's wherever I want, but Wyatt and Tate are both bound by their schools' schedules, and it made more sense to align Gunnar with Tate than Wyatt.  On a larger scale... well, college, jobs, LIFE.  Whew.

Praying...  work for Kerry.  Actually, we're so thankful that several projects have come in.  Enough that he's able to take a figurative step back and evaluate if he may even turn away a project for some potentially very difficult clients.  Yikes.  I kind of hate the thought of turning away ANY work, but I totally get this.  (Sorry, no details.)  Also praying for a friend at church with cancer - praying it's just what's visible and not a secondary spot - revealing something hidden elsewhere.  Praying for the boys' good work habits - heh heh heh :D

Thankful...  for work, yes :D  For a relatively relaxing weekend.  We had our two choir concerts (Friday evening and Saturday afternoon), and I knew that would be a lot of work so I didn't plan anything else.  Of course we went to church Sunday, but that was it.  Had dinner already going in the crock-pot Saturday so I wouldn't get home tired and have to cook, and then Kerry treated us to lunch out (McD's) on Sunday, so it was a real break for me :D

Creating...  chore lists for the boys (!), planning a spring break project for me to work on - can't share that yet.

Going...  to ask Kerry about our taxes.  We gave all the stuff to the accountant a couple weeks ago - why haven't we heard anything???

Reading...  Safely Home, by Randy Alcorn, with the boys.  Realistic fiction about the persecuted church in China.

Looking forward to...  spring break!  And after that, just eight more weeks of school.  And - I just realized - after Easter I only have six more weeks of Sunday school.  Our church takes a break from Sunday school from Memorial Day until Labor Day weekend.  I've always thought that was a great thing, to give all the Sunday school teachers a break, and now that I am one I like it even better!  Well, I enjoy teaching my little class and I'll commit to one more year, and then I'll probably rotate out.  But as much as it is fun, I'm looking forward to the break!

In the kitchen...  I have a big elk steak marinating in the fridge, for dinner tonight.  Maybe I'll even get ambitious and make some more homemade bread.  The boys would sure love that!

In the learning rooms...  while Tate and Gunnar both have school, they have a lighter week - of homeschool, anyway.  With the science curriculum we use there are 16 chapters that each take about two weeks, giving us about four weeks of leeway if we need extra time.  I decided not to start a chapter, then have a week of break, and then try to go back to that chapter, so they both have a week off from science, which is fairly time-consuming because of all the labs we do.

Around the house...  the spring cleaning is starting!  Wyatt is currently scrubbing some walls and a ceiling, preparatory to some much-needed painting.

The Mother Load...  in flux.  I need to spend some time today making my lists for the boys and for me.

Noticing that...  the sun just came out!

Something to remember for later...  Tate tried a new dessert at the social after our choir concert, and he liked it so much he emailed the woman - a friend's mom.  His note was charming. 
Mrs. S, 
I didn't used to like desserts with nuts in them, but now I do.  You could call it a conversion of sorts.  My mom and I are just dying to learn the deep, dark, Dutch secrets of your almondy dessert.  If it's not a closely guarded family secret (and then again, even if it is) would you consider our humble plea and share your recipe with us? 
Sincerely (with hopes set high),
Tate G
And, YES, he got the recipe.  I mean, who could resist?   ;D

Something fun to share...  or funny... I finally "noticed" the orange umbrella that's been in our mudroom since our neighborhood Christmas party, and tracked down the owner.  Genius, I'm not!

A favorite quote for today...    To think of God for who He is, is to lapse into worship. - Dallas Willard

One of my favorite things...  when my hair finally gets long enough to pull up in a pony tail... but not there yet.  *sigh*

A Bible verse...  Psalm 24:7-8

Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.

A few plans for the rest of the week...  lots going on for Holy Week!
We'll have a Maundy Thursday soup and bread potluck on Thursday, then a Tenebrae service on Friday, Sunrise service and regular church and Easter brunch all Sunday morning, and then get with my family for Easter celebration.  All good... but "all" is a lot!

A peek into my world...  Gunnar spotted this after breakfast...

Friday, March 27, 2015

That's Educational... Homeschool Moments

It's a rainy Tuesday and it's time for Biology, so what do you do?

Dissect a frog, of course.

While the raindrops stream down the window.

Looks like he's enjoying it.

More rain... 

That's a photinia bush, in case you wondered.
The new leaves are red.

And... we have a female frog.
Those are eggs.
Lots and lots of eggs.

And that's the last dissection of this round of Biology.
He's done an enormous earthworm, a fish, a crawdad,
and now a frog.

Go, Tate, go :D

Yesterday, with the sun shining, I sent him up to the pond to do his Field Study.
Besides his written description, he brought me this fabulous duck picture...

Yes, it's spring, and the males are competing for females ;D

One more week, and then spring break.


And how's your schooling going? 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today, Monday, March 23, 2015

Outside my window...  everything is spring-soggy from the rain in the night, and the moist air better carries the smell of blossoming trees from the neighbor's yard.

Hearing...  crows (ravens? blackbirds?) whatever they are, croaking from behind the house, otherwise quiet - Tate and Gunnar are doing their schoolwork.

Pondering...  we had a fabulous weekend, celebrating my parents' 50th anniversary.  

My sister went all out and made and decorated a fabulous chocolate/caramel cake.
(I went out to Costco and bought a cheesecake ;D )

We had fun having them cut it - something they didn't get to do at their own wedding.
By the time they got through the receiving line, their cake was GONE.

Not this time :D

Praying...  Wyatt has finals this week and is not feeling completely confident about his pre-calc skills, Kerry is meeting with a couple about a project (house design) today - could be more work :D, and we continue to pray for our missionary friends in Myanmar and the Solomon Islands.

Thankful...  for many things, but here's a kind of funny/sweet one.  I'm so thankful the boys are mature enough now that I don't give a second thought to their behavior at events like lunch at a nice restaurant or hosting an open house (like this weekend for my parents).  It seems not so long ago that events like that required lots of coaching before-hand and close supervision throughout to make sure everyone behaved appropriately, and now it's hardly a blip on my radar.

I really don't care if they use the salad fork for the entree, but it's fabulous that the boys and their cousins all get along so well and pitch in to help, too :D

Going...  to the last choir rehearsal tonight - concerts this weekend.  I enjoy doing it, but I'm looking forward to not having Monday night plans for awhile!

Looking forward to...  spring break!  Wyatt has next week off, and Tate and Gunnar have the following week (after Easter).

In the kitchen...  lots of yummy leftovers from the weekend - pulled pork and rice to make wraps, seven-layer dip and tortilla chips, yam-peanut soup, homemade bread, desserts... woo-hoo :D

in the learning rooms...  Gunnar is already done for the day, and Tate is working diligently at his studies.  I think he's dissecting something today.  After lunch. ;D

Around the house...  forsythia and tulips - bright yellow!

The Mother Load...  I really wasn't thinking ahead past the weekend - not that it was a huge burden, but it was the priority!  Now I'm making plans for spring break, bwa ha ha.  Plans for me and the minions.

Noticing that...  I'm not the only one seeing the changes in Gunnar - getting taller and his voice is getting deeper.  Whew.

Something to remember for later...  while that may not look like good restaurant behavior...

Gunnar had been showing her his tongue-rolling skills and she was trying to imitate him.
And keeping a little-one happily occupied IS good restaurant behavior :D

Something fun to share...  one of the most fun things about the weekend was a surprise for my parents.  They knew we were having lunch out for family and then an open house for their friends, but they didn't know we had a special guest coming...

... my Japanese sister, Chinami.
We hosted her as an exchange student in 1976 and have loved her ever since.
She lives in the SF area now with her family and was able to join us for the weekend.

She's a joy to be with :D

A favorite quote for today...
A party without a cake is just a meeting.
- Julia Child

One of my favorite things...  

the cousins, all together.

A peek into my world...  

When I count my blessings,
they all have a first and last name.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

First Clothes-line Day, March 18


I love the smell the laundry gets,
hung out in the fresh air to dry :D 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Maewyn Succat

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

You're welcome ;D

Monday, March 16, 2015

Grasshopper Days

Grasshopper Days

For today... Monday, March 16, 2015

Outside my window...  see the pics above?  We never got any snow this year.  I give up.  But it's not as "springy" yet as the second pic.  Glad to be headed that direction, though.  Yesterday was so dark and rainy (a perfect day to be inside), and now today is bright and sunny again... at least for the moment.  Spring is very changeable.  We'll take what we can get - like these beautiful blossoms up the street ;D

Hearing...  listening to Vivaldi's Concerto for Mandolin in C Major.

Pondering...  what in the world?  It wasn't even a full moon or anything, but the kiddos in my Sunday school class we're just about bouncing off the walls yesterday!  What's up with that?

Praying...  for the boys in their schoolwork, for everyone to stay well, to flow smoothly through the week's work, for our friends in Myanmar and the Solomon Islands, and - as always -  work for Kerry, Wyatt, and Tate.

Thankful...  for a fun time with friends this weekend, pies for Pi Day, and I started estimating what fabric I need for the next quilt... just some navy blue, I have everything else.  I think ;D

Wearing...  my walking-with-Gunnar "grubs" - about to shower and put on civilized clothes, you know... blue jeans, a t-shirt, and the purple sweater I picked up at Value Village recently - love it :D

Creating...  HA!  Not because of St. Patrick's Day, but about to start an Irish Chain.

Going...  to rehearsal tonight - just two more and then the concerts, and then a break.

Looking forward to...  enjoying celebrating my parents this weekend :D

In the kitchen...  I made a huge batch of stew this weekend and there's enough leftover to have for dinner tonight (easy, since I have rehearsal), and then the boys have CAP on Tuesday, so I'm taking it easy until Wednesday :D  The boys want me to make more homemade bread.  It's not that hard, it just takes so long to rise that I forget to get it going in time.  They LOVE challah bread.

In the learning rooms...  Tate works so independently that I often lose track of what he's doing until it's time to review for a test with him - he does so well!  Gunnar is converting standard-to-metric and metric-to-standard measurements, leading up to WW1 in World History, and learning about digestion in science.  We did a great (gross) experiment this morning with chewed up saltines (comparing physical digestion with chemical digestion).  Cool ;D

Around the house...  my neighbor gave me some forsythia - so bright and cheery!  But I don't think it will last long indoors.  I'll enjoy it while I can.

The Mother Load...  it's not overwhelming, but I have quite a few ducks to keep in a row this week, mostly party-related! Guests, flowers, special dessert, etc.  All fun things, plus the usual round of homeschool, CAP, music lessons, etc.

Noticing that...  while Gunnar and I were walking this morning we saw a couple of woodpeckers.  These two were easy to find because they were making so much noise!  One was on top of a metal streetlight, and the other was on a metal chimney cap, drumming away!  No, they're not stupid.  They know the difference between that and wood (where they find bugs to eat), but they also drum to claim territory and to attract mates, and - you know - it's spring...

Boy were they LOUD!  I wonder what it sounded like inside the house, with one drumming on the metal chimney cap!

 A favorite quote for today...  If you always tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.
 -Mark Twain

One of my favorite things...  spring's explosion of life!

A devotional thought...  apparently President Harry Truman carried this prayer (which he wrote when he was baptized) in his wallet.

Almighty and Everlasting God,
Creator of Heaven, Earth, and the Universe:
Help me to be, think,
to act what is right,
because it is right;
make me truthful,
honest and honorable in all things;
make me intellectually honest
for the sake of right and honor
and without thought of reward to me.
Give me the ability to be charitable, forgiving,
and patient with my fellow men -
help me to understand their motives
and their shortcomings -
even as Thou understandeth mine!

A peek into my world...  by my back door...

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Brain Dump

1.  I couldn't wait for Spring Break.

You know, when the minions work for me every day until lunch and we get a ton of stuff done.  Because that's my idea of vacation ;D  And besides, it was their room that needed attention - the dust bunnies, the clutter, the detritus of three teenage boys.  It was time to take off the flannels and give everything a clean start.

It was a mini-blitz.

Gunnar's area looks 'busy' because of his bulletin board, but it's all tidy and clean.
Of course, it will all look better when we get the clean sheets on and the beds made, but still...

Tate's corner also looks clean and tidy, especially since we got his second set of antlers hung, and all his CAP awards filed in his notebook.

Wyatt's area, on the other hand, still has disaster looming over it.  He was at school while we cleaned (and does he thank us? No...) and his area only looks this tidy because...

... we carefully piled all his clutter into this box.

Can you see the size of that?!  It's nearly as big as a large laundry basket, and it's full of....
what exactly?


2.  Gunnar and I went for a walk around the duck pond.  

Sometimes he's grumpy about me cruelly forcing him to get fresh air and exercise...

... but that usually doesn't last long, and then he perk up and chatters to me the whole time.

The.  Whole.  Time.

And he notices things that are fun, like this CROCODILE in the DUCK POND!

Doesn't it look like a crocodile?
The ducks are even FLEEING FOR THEIR LIVES!
Or coming to beg for a handout.  Take your pick.

We noticed something about the ducks...

Usually there's a big flock of them paddling around the pond, but today...

all pairs.

Three pairs in this next photo - can you see them all?

They were busy making nests under the cattails.

On the opposite side of the pond from you-know-who.

Just to be safe.

3.  And this is why we don't walk in the woods on very windy days.

4.  It seems like time to start a new project.

This fabric has been waiting for years, I'm ashamed to say.

It was going to be curtains for my bedroom, but I used something else

I've been thinking of trying this woven Irish Chain, but it seems too busy of a pattern to use a print.

So maybe this.

 The lighter blue will be the blueberry print, but I think I'll switch the navy (looks black in the photo) and the white.

I think.

Or maybe I'll do something totally different.
Sometimes it takes me forever to commit to a plan and then
cut the fabric.

As if lives hung in the balance.

4.  I love going to the boys' music lessons and listening in :D

I love the concentration...

and the fun of figuring something out.

5.  There were deer in our yard again.

And it's not the first time this season.
They're baaaaaaaack.

6.  The boys had an inspection last week at CAP.

Boys being boys, they much prefer their BDUs (camo),
but I like their Dress Blues :D

Ahhhh :D

7.  Yes.  We have green grass.

Not a single flake of snow this year.
I think Maine got our share - sorry Rebecca!

Have a great weekend, my friends :D