Monday, November 27, 2017

november as it looks now

"After the leaves come down, the countryside has an open look. New vistas appear, hills unseen when summer's wealth of green is spread, now stand, blue and hazy, in the distance. In the cropped fields the browns and copper and smoky tan make a sober symphony, not as dramatic as the blaze of October but lovely to look at."
                                          Stillmeadow Daybook  Gladys Taber

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

living notebooks

 Nature Study Notebooks were first introduced to me along with Charlotte Mason and her schooling style many moons back, I immediately assumed an "I'm on board, count me in mentality." Thus, the girls and I began a Nature Study Notebook.  We thoroughly enjoyed our weekly afternoon walks, coming home, gathering our colored pencils and simple sketchbooks, to spending time around the kitchen table drawing what we had seen, heard, and delighted in.

I have always liked keeping diaries, journals, and a variety of notebooks of all sorts whether they were used for simply jotting down things such as vocabulary words, recipes, or sewing instructions. What I did not know then were the so- called names for these different kinds of notebooks.

Travel notebooks are another favorite of ours, and my last one has been helpful in the creation of my Maine scrapbook.

But lately my " I'm on board, count me in mentality" has been broadened and taken to new levels. I am fully persuaded these living notebooks have clout in these last years of Charlotte's education, even as she begins her high school years. She too has a natural propensity for keeping notebooks, journaling, and sketching.

  We are delving into Apologia's Physical Science this year, and as science is not a favorite subject of Charlotte's, I think her brain might possibly go "googly-goo" with all the hydrogen bonding and water polarity and so forth in her daily readings, yet I am instructing her to read the material aloud, find recognition in what she is reading, and then talk about what the lesson material is teaching. Then the idea of a physical science notebook took center stage as an additional learning resource. The wisdom of her drawing the figures presented, recording and drawing the experiments, and writing the facts and explanations around her drawings to help her with understanding all the material better came into focus. It is working beautifully! She might not be my scientist, yet she can learn about the wonders and functions of atoms, molecules and science in the physical realm.

I have found several extremely helpful sites to inspire and encourage us as we intentionally embrace  these living notebooks. After Christmas we will be adding a Commonplace Booka Book of Centuries, and an Enquire Within notebook to her high school studies.

These are just a collections of our journals/notebooks, most in use, others with definite plans attached for future use.

 An after lunch Nature Notebook watercolor drawing session.

Here is very enjoyable site, including Youtube videos, of a Calendar of Firsts Notebook.

Friday, November 10, 2017

hiking Sharp Top

We heard the leaves were at the peak of their color, so we grabbed a free day, escaped the normal routine, and hiked a mountain in Virginia.

It was well worth the hour plus hike. And we were humble enough to admit we were tired when we got to the top!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

and we feasted...

...on apple crisp and the Word of God.

Such a cool and cloudy Wednesday, so after a morning of running to violin and piano lessons, we came home to lunch and I lighted a candle. Then I took an hour to make a most delicious apple crisp to serve to the students that would arrive later in the afternoon for Bible study.

So many ways to feed ourselves. God's Word feeds our souls and spirits with its truth  for eternity, apple crisp feeds our bodies and souls with present moments of delight and memory.

Monday, November 6, 2017

a new, happy project

November is here and I welcome its unique light throughout the day, from sunrise to sunset.

This time of year brings a feeling much like turning a new page with blank spaces to fill. Therefore, inspiration has presently taken hold in a new project, a ripple afghan to crochet. The art of crocheting is being revisited and I am once again drawn into its soothing rhythmic pleasures during these shorter daylight hours.

The afternoon was warm and sunny on the day I sat outside , enjoying the warmth, to plan the color arrangement the yarns would take in this afghan.

Of course, the project travels well, and so I knitted during a recent visit to Rose's house. How well the colors coordinated with my dress that day.  That could be a good sign. Right?

After an initial intention of having a consistent color pattern for the afghan, I decided to place the seven colors randomly. The colors I chose have no definite rhyme or reason for being crocheted into this afghan, just happy colors and happy thoughts of being snuggled under its happiness on chilly days.
Colors and moments rippling together, I like that.

Friday, October 27, 2017

bridge and pumpkin cake

Once a month I meet with eight women for about two hours to play bridge. While I am certainly not young, I am the "baby" of this group of ladies. Most of them are bridge players from the 1950's telling marvelous stories of their college days when a game of bridge would always be set up allowing them to play bridge hands between classes or when a bit of free time came their way. As young mothers they would have bridge parties, and even through the working years of some of them they would spare at least one evening a month to get together and play bridge with their clubs.

 For me part of the fun of belonging to this group is hosting bridge club at my house. We always begin with a dessert, cold beverage and coffee. After eating the pretty table settings are cleared, then every one is given a tally card, two playing decks of cards are placed on each table and a score keeper is delegated for each table. Each table plays five hands, then the glasses are refilled and little dishes of nuts and candy are set on the edge of the card tables along with a distribution of pretty napkins as everyone finds their new table or chair for the next round.

I love this older women fellowship, and the brain work playing bridge stimulates is certainly worthwhile. I am learning from the best.
Yesterday I hosted the bridge club at my house. The day had turned autumnal so I could think of no better dessert to serve than this pumpkin cake with cream cheese filling. This cake requires no other side such as ice cream because the cream cheese is all that is needed to make this cake delicious on its own.

Friday, October 13, 2017

the 13th of October

Friday, the 13th, and at last the weather has turned cooler. I breathe deeply as I turn off the air-conditioner and slide open a few windows. An ending to another week...

A birthday dinner for a special friend.

An afternoon walk with Charlotte in a church yard

My husband has customers from Belgium. Their company makes the most delicious cookies,*Biscoff Lotus*. With coffee or tea, they have the most perfect crunch, and I do mean the most perfect crunch.  You should try them...

 These socks were began last November, sheer determination will get them completed before I plan to start another knitting project. The red line is where the after -thought heel will be added. My bay tree will  come inside beside a sunny window during the winter months.

                                                         "Cattails"... Seeing them in a new light.
Back when we had Mr. Putter, the cats had to be fed on top of the clothes dryer, a habit that continues.

Friday, October 6, 2017

what Miss Ivy wears

a brown polka-dotted jumper, for once in a while.

 Sewing little dresses and jumpers for Ivy is a pleasure for me, even if her day to day activity levels might benefit her wearing other clothing styles such as pants and shirts.

But I love seeing her run in little dresses.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

a setting for the Maine Bound shawl

I was seriously thinking this shawl should have been photographed beside the blue/grey waters of the Maine coast and the brown- tinged silvery ash colors of the rocks and stones that line the Maine shoreline.
But alas, I was home, and it was with the ochre hushed leaves and fading summer's greens that  spoke, "Aahh",  much like the clear purr of Louie on this gorgeous day in October.

 Just use your imagination and flip the Maine Bound Shawl onto Charlotte's shoulders! 

Thursday, September 28, 2017

tired, just like my garden

It was not initially my idea, but a heart surging with compassion and with steadfast thoughts of optimism that stated, "Yes, I can do it, at least for a short period of time",  I agreed to do it. I was actually looking forward to spending extended time keeping her, allowing a much needed break for Rose.
What I do not like to admit is how overwhelmed I am with tiredness,  all my usual daily routines completely tossed out the window, hurled as far as the moon so it feels.

But to have her chubby toddler arms circle my neck and feel her wet kisses on my cheek, to delight in her outgoing emerging perrsonality, and to hear her say "Gamma", I am so in love. And I am glad my heart and thoughts made for the right decision.

I do not function in the lofty, I am embarrassingly pragmatic most of the time, and that is even faced  with a certain mien of resoluteness. With that as my future compass, next time I agree to keep her for an extended time it will have different aspects perhaps. But then every month changes with a toddler, it will not look this way ever again.

And as we  enjoyed the late September afternoon yesterday, I noticed how tired my garden looked, and I felt I was in like company.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

roasted chicken

... for supper

 Most of my Wednesday mornings are spent rushing from here to there with Charlotte for violin and piano lessons; I have approximately two hours before Bible students arrive to clean my kitchen, do a moderate straightening of the house, and to prepare supper, because as soon as the Bible study is over and everyone leaves, we eat dinner and head out the door once again.

I try to prepare simple but nourishing meals on Wednesdays. Roasting a chicken meets the bill and is satisfyingly delicious, plus its aroma wafts through your house while it is cooking (promoting being at home).

Here is how I prepare a hen for roasting:

*I always use an organic hen, rinse and  pat it dry.
*Generously salt and pepper the cavity and then stuff the hen with celery (quartered pieces),
       onions(quartered pieces), garlic(whole), and fresh bunches  of parsley, sage,  rosemary and thyme
                     And while I am in the garden snipping those herbs, without a doubt I will be
                                  singing the song in my brain!                       

*Keep a small portion of the fresh herbs to chop and mix with olive oil, salt and freshly-cracked pepper.

* Carefully lift the skin from the breast of the chicken and rub this olive oil mixture over the  chicken,           
                               I slide my fingers as far as I can reach.                                                          

 *Use kitchen string to tie the chicken, start under the back, over the wings, cross over the breast, back under and around the legs, then tie string securely.

* Smear softened butter over entire outer skin and lavishly apply salt and pepper

*Bake 325 degrees for about 1 hour 20 minutes, check for doneness (165 degrees at thickest part of thigh)

Monday, September 18, 2017

orchid nursery

Once upon a time I bought an died.

Years later, someone gave me an died.

I thought there was more to orchid growing success than I was willing to invest at the time, I put it on the back burner of my to do list, the "one day" list.

Revival of the orchids entered this spring when I was gifted  a white orchid for Mothers' Day, and then in early June I inherited my neighbor's pink orchid because she was moving away. These two orchid plants provided me with the most gorgeous orchid flowers until late July. Then they rested...

Some of the information I read online is totally opposite of how to care for them, therefore, I choose to trust several sights that agree and plan to follow their advice. I am a student in the orchid nursery for now, but I am not giving up; I gave in to the temptation and purchased  another one last week, and one of my other orchids is putting out another bloom!

                                                    crecente lacus

Saturday, September 16, 2017

luggage rack success

 I woke up this morning with a thought I could not believe I had not even considered yesterday. Bed, Bath, And Beyond...check it out!!!

My husand and I made the trip this morning and came home with the most perfect suitcase rack of all times, constructed in wood, completely assembled, and ready to be placed in the guest room. Accomodating my honored guests in the simple things .

And I appreciated GretchenJoanna's suggestions about what she uses in her guest room, a desk or lower chest of drawers. All so much better than having to stoop down on the floor.

Friday, September 15, 2017

hosting out of town guests

There is much to be read online about the art of hosting out of town guests in your home, but since I am fortunate to be able to open my home to  guests coming in for a wedding this weekend, I have been busily preparing the room in which they will stay.

Yes, it is easier if you have a guest room already established. But if not, there are still certain things to consider before your guests arrive.

When houseguests leave my home, I immediately strip the used bed sheets to launder and pull the bedspread up over the mattress cover. Then when the day comes that I am preparing the room for my guest(s), I toss the bedspread into the dryer with a cotton ball laced with a tad of lavender oil while I make the bed with clean sheets.

I clean the bathroom thoroughly. This also involves placing clean towels on the racks, checking for fresh soaps both in the shower and sink, setting out toiletries they may need, filling the toilet paper rack with a new roll, while making sure there is another roll under the sink. I like to have a night light  in the bathroom too.

I put out reading material appropriate for the particular guests, sometimes this may include magazines. Recently I have included a little picture frame where Charlotte has written our wifi  passcode on the glass.

 Then last, but not least, I like to set out a tray of small treats I think my guests will like: things such as bottled water, crackers, pretzels or nuts, mints, and of course, a special chocolate bar

Making sure there is a proper place to hang clothes is usually needed. One thing I still lack, a suitcase" tray", you know those things that hotels provide to keep your suitcase off the floor. I am considering placing a small table in the room this weekend for this purpose. Do any of you have something that works for this?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

a Precepts Bible Study...and sea salt brownies

With all my heart I believe we have a responsibility to the next generation, to diligently teach them the ways of God, to know Him, which means the Word of God must be center front in this advancement of His kingdom. I have found that the Precepts Inductive Bible Studies are an excellent resource for leading a group of students to learn how to study the Holy Scriptures in this manner.*
Last year we studied the first book in the  series called Abraham, this year we continue with the study of Joseph. We do our part and the Holy Spirit will do His.

*observation, interpretation, and application

And we began our study this past Wednesday afternoon with a snack, sea salt brownies,  baked that morning with dark chocolate. You bite into the  rich brownie sprinkled with sea salt and your taste buds tingle a bit.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Maine Bound

When the robins returned to my back yard last late winter, I sat at my computer and planned a bucket list vacation. Those many hours of planning became a reality when we traveled to Maine this past August. We traveled up the coast of Maine from Portland, Camden, and many towns in between until we reached Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, then on the way back we stopped at destinations in New Hampshire, and Vermont. Now I am waiting to get the pictures developed so I can create a scrapbook of a wonderful vacation filled with beauty and a load of memories.

                               Frenchman's Bay, Bar Harbor Inn, at sunrise

                                                  Portland Main Lighthouse

                     I was looking forward to a stop at the Swan's Island Store in Camden. Then we were fortunate enough to head to Northport the next day to Swan Island Factory and Showroom.

                             Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park

Crossing the sand bar at low tide to Bar Island

The morning was cloudy, chilly and windy, but we drove to the top of Mount Washington on the Auto Road.

                     In 2008 we only visited the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe Vermont
 and took a photo at this spot. 
This time we stayed there for two nights, in nine years we definitely recognized
 some changes, 
  but still a very peaceful place to stay.
(think Sound of Music...the Vonn Trapps)

Burlington, Vermont

reading and knitting with "small things"

I was pleased to discover Ginny had brought back her knitting and reading yarn along, because frankly I do find myself enjoying  the ...