Monday, October 31, 2011

School Projects

I thought I would post a few of the school projects we've done this year. James and David have been studying the freedoms we enjoy here in the United States. The televisions were quite a hit for "freedom of speech."

We made stained glass windows for Freedom of Religion and we cut out people from magazines and glued them onto a paper for Freedom of Assembly, and we cut out words from newspapers/magazines and pasted them to look like a newspaper for Freedom of the Press.

Rachel and Andrew experimented with mummifying an apple. (apple on the right was mummified)
And they made edible cells, which were quite the treat being made of jello and candies.

We don't always get to do fun projects but the kids enjoy when I take the time to plan them.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rachel's Knitting

Rachel is an avid knitter, and she rarely talks with me about what she is knitting or plans to knit. She pretty much just goes ahead and does it. She loves to do colorwork (adding in additional colors other than the main one she is knitting with) and makes up her own patterns as she goes along.

She recently finished this sweater out of some Cascade yarn:

She made it for a little baby girl we are friends with. Doesn't she look so cute in the sweater?!

Rachel has also finished her first shawl and is waiting for me to block it.......We'll see what she does next!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I "had" to make a cake this week for a friend's birthday. There is something very satisfying about making a delicious cake and decorating it simply but beautifully.

I didn't have anything food-wise to decorate with so remembered the roses that I picked a few days ago from the garden -- edible food! Voila! That was the answer.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

One Thousand Gifts

This post is about six months late in being written. I'm not sure exactly why except that I think it has to do with my being unsure that I could accurately describe this book.
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You are by Ann Voskamp was given to me by a friend who knew I would love it.

I didn't know what to think at first. Ann's style of writing is unique and very effective. She uses her pen the way an artist uses a paintbrush and the result hits you deep in the heart.

One Thousand Gifts describes the deep pain and struggle Ann had from her childhood to adulthood because of the tragic death of her little sister. The main focus of the book is how she went from hurt to healing, and the path was through thankfulness. The tool she used to grow in thankfulness was to make a list of every little gift God gave her throughout the day: a rose blooming in the garden, a letter from a friend, wind rustling the curtains....

Ann also deals with the tough questions such as, how do we thank God for seemingly bad things that happen to us. I was so glad that she didn't ignore this question because it is something that you must deal with in difficult times.

In the end, I loved, loved, loved the book and have recommended it to many people. I started my own list of "gifts", though I'm not as regular as Ann is. I'm only up to #165.

You can read Ann's blog here at A Holy Experience.

And a picture of one of my recent "gifts". I walked into Kroger the other day and saw in the floral case a vase of 12 long stem white roses -- the arrangement was quite stunning, and so was the price ($30 -- which I guess might actually be good value). I enjoyed looking and went about my shopping but paused in front of the checkout to check the price of the marked down flowers. What??!!! A bouquet of long stem white roses for only $1.99??!!! Well, that was coming home with me!!! What a special surprise it was!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Flowers Before The Frost

I went out to pick all my flowers the other day, seeing a frost was likely. It is always fun to pick flowers with reckless abandon, bringing in as many as you possibly can. I had enough for many different bouquets.

I'm still working on reorganizing my jewelry drawer and haven't gotten things put away yet.

The peony leaves have turned a beautiful color and make such a nice addition to the bouquets this fall. I love having flowers beside my bed.

And these sweet roses are on my desk.

Sage has become another favored addition to bouquets. My plants have done very well and there is plenty to pick.

I planted at least 6 varieties of marigolds this year. Some very short and others very tall and leggy. This bunch created their own, elegant display when placed in a vase.

And there was still basil growing in the garden and a few stray blooms on the huge sunflower.

I love the heavy smell of marigolds. It takes me right back to being 7 and collecting the dried seed heads on the marigolds in the cold of autumn with the smell of leaves mingling with the scent of the flowers.

A friend brought this beautiful chrysanthemum to us -- I haven't seen a two-toned one like this before and I just love it!

My tendency is often to look on the bad side of things, but let me leave you with a few "good" things from yesterday:

-- a large buck running through our backyard, very close to the house, complete with a rack of antlers on his head!
-- finding the clothes we needed to for Michael, and realizing we could get another 20% off plus use the $10 off coupon I had.
-- walking in Eagle Creek with Michael
-- knowing that Laura has met the developmental guidelines for 18 months!!!!
--plenty of things to keep me busy and energy to do them

Friday, October 21, 2011


Laura most certainly enjoys a delightful life. Every evening she gets to spend the last hour of the day in her sister's bed, reading, and being cuddled.

Life is great when you have four older siblings to spoil you.

Usually Rachel feeds Laura her last bottle of the day while she is tucked in her bed.

I hope Laura in some way remembers the fun she had with Rachel when she was just a baby.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Where Is the Time Going?

Somehow it is becoming harder to blog......Homeschooling is taking a very large chunk of time and that is leaving less and less for homemaking, small business-keeping, and computer time. At least I'm still living life, just not blogging about it. :)

Several weeks ago I even uploaded pictures for about 5 posts but then I never even had time to write those posts. Oh well.......

This little owl was made for a friend some weeks or months ago now. A new way to use up felted sweaters and create something out of very little.

Near freezing temperatures have finally come to Indiana. I still haven't gotten the clothes switched over (poor kids) but am trying to dig my way through our finances and new financial software.

I've finished some knitting and can't wait to show you my very own "Greta" (Christina's new sweater pattern) as well as a baby shawl for Laura. And Rachel has a few things to show as well. All in good time......

Thursday, October 13, 2011

James' Birthday and the Apple Orchard

James turned 7 while I was away in New York. I left plenty of surprises and exactly the chosen food for the big day. But, when I got off the plane, we headed directly to the apple orchard for the traditional party.

Auntie C brought along the chocolate cupcakes.

James is getting so big! And he's maturing and doing so well with his second grade work.

Pack Rat came all the way from NYC to be James' special present.

Then we all had a look around at the pumpkins.

Laura was having a great time!

In fact, everyone was!

Everyone got to choose a pie pumpkin.

We did stop for a group photo with Grandma.

And then it was off to the apple trees to pick.

It's always delightful to leave the city and head to the country. The stark contrast with Manhattan just a few hours earlier was quite interesting to contemplate.

Laura was such a tiny baby last year and now she is so grown up!

Kids and trees go together!

Time for apple pie.....

On top of the world, in a sense!

Laura found an apple just her size.

Baby hands are so precious!

We ended with apple cider slushies, just like we always do.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Beauty

Every human is "formed to be a spectator of the created world -- and given eyes that he might be led to its Author by contemplating so beautiful a representation."

---John Calvin in Commentary on Romans 1:19

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Latest Greatest

I promised my friends I would post a few links to recipes here. Last Sunday morning, before church, as I was getting ready for guests, my kids reminded me that it would be fellowship evening at church that night. Once again, I had forgotten, and didn't have much in the house. I decided I would worry about it after church, and after my lunch guests had left.

After our guests were gone, I looked around and saw one leftover apple pie, a bowl of roasted potatoes, and some frozen green beans. That was what I took to church, using the following recipes:

Roasted Potato Salad -- I tasted a roasted potato salad ten years ago on Glasgow's West Side and new there would be a recipe for one out there. This one is amazing!!! I can't wait to have this again: warm or cold (room temp is best I think). You could even make it without the basil. I used red onions instead of scallions, I also just used my leftover roasted potatoes instead of roasting them according to their directions. I also added a few baked sweet potatoes that were hanging around the fridge.

Green Beans with Lemon Vinaigrette -- I have made Alaina's recipe for this countless times. I'd actually forgotten that it calls for walnuts, because I rarely have them and so never use them in this recipe. I usually also forget to put in the onions. I use the base recipe for green beans and for broccoli. My kids love this!!!!

Green Beans with Blue Cheese -- This is my very favorite green bean recipe. You can even make it without the blue cheese, probably without the nuts too -- or with cheese and not nuts. It is very versatile. It is amazing hot or cold or room temp. My kids also love, love, love this! I love to make a huge batch and have extras to eat the next day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New York City Day 4

Monday was my last day in New York. Christy headed back to work and I was on my own. I headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, figuring I would spend a few hours wandering the galleries. However, when I arrived I was informed they were closed on Mondays. :(

But, there were plenty of other museums lining Central Park so I decided to walk north and see which one caught my fancy.

Arriving at the first museum of choice, I was greeted by the sign below. Well, how could I be upset. My New York trip was about a little me time of my own. So, I proceeded down to the next museum and walked in the door to be greeted by a doorman who explained that they were closed just today to fix the handrail. With that, my museum going was over -- all the rest of the interesting museums were also closed on Mondays.

So, I just walked the length of Central Park and headed to the toy store, where I figured I would buy presents for the kids.

It certainly was a place you could spend hours in, and probably lots and lots of money too.

My kids would have loved seeing all the full-sized lego figures.

The Barbie Foosball was certainly a sight!

After choosing presents, I hopped on the subway to find a place I've always wanted to go -- one of my two "must-sees" while in New York: Once Upon A Tart.

I came across the Once Upon A Tart cookbook in the library and found it full of amazing recipes for salads, soups, sandwiches, and baked goods. I even bought a copy as a shower gift for a friend. I really never thought I would get to visit.

It was especially exciting to actually meet one of the owners and cookbooks writers: Jerome.

Take a look at the tarts!!!!!

I chose the peach-blueberry. Isn't it beautiful! And, the pastry was very good. I am fussy about pastry and always analyze shop-made desserts on their pastry. No complaint here except I would have preferred the pastry be made with salted butter rather than unsalted.

My sandwich, a goat cheese with roasted portabellos and radicchio drizzled in balsamic vinegar, was so incredibly good. The bread was good too, which makes all the difference. I would love another one of these!

I enjoyed my food and bought some biscotti and granola to bring home. Then I headed over a few streets to visit the famous knitting shop Purl Soho.

I have enjoyed the Purl Bee blog for so long and I couldn't wait to visit the shop. I think I will have to do another post just on knitting in New York so I don't clutter up this post with 15 pictures. (Christina says to notice the UPS truck in the window since every yarn store knows their UPS deliveryman and eagerly awaits shipments.)

Needing some afternoon refreshment, I stopped to buy some water at a little deli and came out with a few bagels for breakfast. Must have bagels in New York!

There were 12 options to buy for putting on top of your bagel!!! Including, green olive and cream cheese -- my favorite!!!!!

Christy's sister-in-law, Christina, kindly met up with me at 3 to show me around Chinatown. Such a fun place! I did feel like I was back overseas again!

We even went to a Chinese grocery store, where I could have spent hours. I settled on a few teas and some large tapioca pearls for bubble tea.

Our walking took us through Little Italy -- don't you love this picture!

And then we ended up at Mario Batali's Italian Emporium known as Eataly.

Incredible. That is the only word for bistro after bistro, department after department of gourmet food. The espresso bar:

The bakery:

The mushroom selection (and there was a potato selection as well!):

Fresh green selection:

And there was a bread bakery, butcher, dry goods, pizzaria, etc. I then said goodbye to Christina and meandered up to the Empire State Building where Christy works.

We picked up some street food (gyros) and took the subway to the tip of Manhattan to sit and watch the boats on the Hudson River and stare over to New Jersey.

And that was my trip to New York!!!! Fantastic!