Friday, May 31, 2013

The Tea Trolley

One afternoon this week I had several ladies over to visit. Out came the tea trolley and the teapots and one of my friends brought all the tea. We chose Jasmine Green with Pomegranate, Alpine Berry, and Decaf Earl Grey. (I served the tea hot with both mugs and glasses of ice so we could have the choice of either.)

We had some lovely treats to accompany the tea and of course great conversation, much of which centered around children and education. 

 Bible study was at my house this week and I had my lovely peonies to decorate! Andrew is a pro at making gluten free banana bread these days and thankfully I had some hanging around!

Rachel and I walked in a store last night and found ourselves confronted with peony china! Oh my! I couldn't resist a photo, even if I did resist the temptation to buy something!

The weekend has begun. Cooler weather is in the forecast for next week and that means even better tea drinking weather! Have a lovely weekend!

The Tea Trolley Link Up:
-- Any post that is tea, coffee, or hot drink related
-- Link to this blog
-- Paste your link in the Mr. Linky below

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Peony Love

My peonies are in bloom right now and I can't get enough of them. I go out to observe them several times a day and then pick them, bring them inside, and carry them about the house. And then I can't resist photographing each bunch that I pick. Their beauty is just amazing!

We found a dead bee in a vase today and he makes the perfect little prop for adding to the bouquets.

On other subjects, we are adjusting to our non-school schedule. I had great ideas of what I'd like to get done this summer and it's taken me two weeks to realize that extra housework is not a wise plan for this summer. UGH. Oh well. 

The pool is open and we've ventured down there twice. This will be a regular activity throughout the summer. It's a nice chance to catch some white space and I love looking at the pool and using my imagination to feel thousands of miles away from regular life.

Little by very little I am getting work done in the garden. I think this is the sixth year for my perennial garden? It is looking wonderful and I know we will enjoy lots of flowers from it. Also am planting numerous zinnia, cosmos, and similar types for picking.

My everyday hot drink of choice is decaf black tea with fresh mint thrown in. I pick the mint from the edge of the patio and it is Chocolate Mint.

The kids are settling into their new chore charts. Things have been added, as well as divided up, so I think more is getting done but no one feels overworked. I see one extremely thirsty plant in the dining room so I need to check and make sure that I put water plants on the schedule!

I can't believe May is almost over already! Michael only has three more weeks until he leaves us for his summer studies. When he returns, the neighbor kids will have been back in school for two weeks!

My favorite moments of the day are always reading with the kids: sitting with Laura before her nap, listening while on the road or in the evenings, or checking out new library books.

I think it would be nice just to have a space of time each day to sit and look at the peonies! I can't even imagine how to capture them with paint and brush. They just blow me away. And now I must get on to my other work.....

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Words and Wool

I finished my latest Garter Leaves Shawl last night while sitting at Archery in perfect summer evening weather. I need to get it blocked out now. It is the perfect color for fall!

I've been very busy sewing flowers so that has eaten quite a bit out of my knitting time. I need to have these finished by Friday. They always make me happy.

As for reading, the floor beside my bed is incredibly embarrassing at the moment but I have such fun collecting stacks of books on various subjects and hoping I will get time to read through them!

Here are a few:

Walking with Beatrix Potter: Fifteen Walks in Beatrix Potter Country was recently recommended to me by a friend and I am so excited to know about it! It's an adorable little guidebook for the English Lake District and gives 15 suggested walks around areas Beatrix loved, worked, owned, visited, and used in her drawings. I plan to make good use of this book!

A History of the Scottish Reformation by J. D. Mackie is part of my research for our summer school classes in preparation for our Scotland trip.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. I'm in the thick of lots of non-fiction right now, preparing for some summer school with the kids. Thus, I am not in the middle of a fantastic novel. So, I thought I'd have this on hand to read a chapter or so when I want something nice and relaxing and light. Plus, it is fun to read alongside watching this:

  All Creatures Great & Small: The Complete Series 1 Collection (Repackage)

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle was recommended by another friend and I am really enjoying her reflections on her writing, life in general, family, etc. I'm so glad this is just the first in a series!

Check out Ginny's Yarn Along for more ideas on Reading and Knitting.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

Mondays are for Grace

"Humility is not thinking less of yourself.
It's thinking of yourself less."

-- C. S. Lewis

Happy Memorial Day!!!!
We are grateful for all those who sacrificed for our freedom, thinking of themselves less.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Tea Trolley

It's been a much fuller week than I anticipated. One always forgets that not only does life require physical activity, but also emotional stamina as well! Between doctor's appointments, lovely visits with friends, processing news from old friends, and adjusting to life without homeschool, I think I'm in need of lots of tea!

Rachel asked to bake something on Sunday afternoon and chose to make a gluten free cake. It took me a moment to recognize the Eye of Sauron. Everyone loved the cake and it made for a nice little family moment to have everyone sitting around the living room eating cake and drinking tea (and, sadly, I did have to scrub off red icing from the carpet later on).

A friend handed me a teabag of Roasted Dandelion Root tea to try. The steeping requires 15 minutes! Wow. My mom declared she could "drink this all winter." I had a harder time with it and decided it would take me awhile to get used to it.

First day of freedom from school required a bit of tea therapy and so I made up a tray to take upstairs for a few minutes. Always a treat!

 One morning this week John and Christina came over for a visit -- much easier to do without school! The weather was perfect for sitting outside and while the little children played in the playhouse, Christina and I sipped Indian tea and talked about the garden and knitting.

One of my neighbors organized a trip to the local Indian grocery store this week. There were four of us in the car and we were all of different nationalities! How fun is that!  Check out just a portion of the tea shelves at the store:

At the monthly Mug 'n Muffin gathering last night there were 11 of us seated around a friend's kitchen table. I enjoyed decaf earl grey and lovely fruit. several of us knitted, others flipped through magazines, and we all laughed!

One thing I couldn't resist at the Indian store was a stalk of sugar cane for the kids to try. When we lived in Uganda we watched kids chewing and spitting sugar cane all the time. My kids thought it was delicious fun!

Last but not least, I was gifted with two different teas this week. A thoughtful friend who no longer lives in town brought home a huge package of Ugandan tea for me after her recent trip there. I was so surprised and delighted. Then, after walking one morning with my Indian neighbor, she insisted I have a package of the black tea that she brings over from her home town in India. Both of these teas are amazing! So dark and smooth and the Indian tea even seemed sweet.

At the moment I am basking in the cooler weather we are having, along with some sunshine. Any reprieve from the high heat of summer is good news to me. The weekend is ahead, with a graduation to attend, hamburgers to cook, and I hope plenty of tea to drink. Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

The Tea Trolley Link Up:
-- Any post that is tea, coffee, or hot drink related
-- Link to this blog
-- Paste your link in the Mr. Linky below

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Words and Wool

Part of my summer goals involves a good bit of knitting! Not only will the knitting provide relaxation, but also give me some necessary items for our trip later this summer.

I am making good progress on Ronnie the Fox. All pieces have been knit and I have begun sewing him together, which is always the fiddly, annoying part, but also very rewarding. Maybe by next week I'll have him finished!

I've also started a Wee Black Faced Sheep and he was super fast to knit so I'm actually already working on a cabled jumper for him. I just need to take time to sew him up!

And I'm back to sewing flowers for summer sales.

At our homeschool group's year end program my Knitting Club organized a sale to benefit World Vision and Voice of the Martyrs. They raised over $100! I'm so proud of them! And I enjoy our club times so much! I love working with girls.

As for books, here's what I've been reading:

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish is a great, practical book on interacting with your kids! Why have I never heard of it until now? (And thanks to Catherine for recommending it!) Some of the major points covered are: empathizing with your child's feelings, how to get cooperation, letting your child experience consequences, encouraging autonomy, praising your child, and avoiding labeling your child. The book is filled with helpful scenarios and ideas. I took notes and it is the kind of book that wouldn't hurt being read every year. Most certainly an aid toward raising your kids in love and nurture rather than frustration.

We Are Sisters (Dee Brestin's Series) by Dee Brestin was a follow up book to The Friendships of Women. The book not only applies to friendships among women in general but also specifically to female siblings. I would certainly recommend it.

The Second Mrs. Gioconda by E. L. Konigsburg is a children's book focusing on the life of Leonardo da Vinci from the viewpoint of one of his servant boys. It gives a good description of what life was like in Leonardo's world although I felt the plot was quite thin. However, the children still seemed to enjoy it and I think it served to etch Leonardo into their memories.

  Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat. Thanks to my friend Jess for recommending this book! I LOVE it! I think I will plan to cook from it all summer long! Each meals consists of some sort of delicious meat/protein and a variety of vegetables. Our family adds one starch to our meals. So far, I don't think I've had any real complaining from the children and I've loved every recipe we've tried. The Czech meatballs are especially delicious!

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. I've started showing the children this television series in preparation for our travels and so I thought I might pick this up and read it again. Who can resist heart-warming animal and people stories from the Yorkshire Dales!!

For more knitting and reading ideas, hop over to Ginny's Yarn Along.

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