Saturday, April 30, 2016

Words and Wool

I am pleased to report that the wrist braces are helping (I think!). I wear them at night and I seem to have more tolerance for handwork. I'm sure I'll still need to be careful and not overdo.

I finished another tea cozy this week.

And I tried out one of my wool knitting cases with a new idea of using leather at the base. This was a birthday gift for my sister.

The inside was lined with fabric from a vintage sheet. It seemed perfect for April.

A few flowers went into the mail this past week as well. They looked quite festive for spring!

As for reading..... these first two books will be all-time favorites for this year I am sure.

Martha's Vineyard - Isle of Dreams by Susan Branch. I've waited so long for this book and I think it just might be my favorite of Susan's books. This book tells the story of Susan starting a new life on Martha's Vineyard after a painful divorce -- how she found her adorable house, made it a home, and along the way figured out how to turn her artwork into a published book. I loved all the drawings and photos and quotes and everything that makes Susan's books so enjoyable. I also found her story of becoming published very inspiring. I highly recommend this book.

The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World by Melissa Kruger. As for non-fiction books, this just might top my chart for this year. This book is clear, concise, and filled with very applicable instruction on what envy is, how it shows up in our life (yikes! it seems to appear everywhere), how it harms us and others, how we must repent, and how we can foster contentment, generosity, and faith. Highly, highly recommend this.

The Trenches: Billy Stevens, The Western Front 1914-1918  by Jim Eldridge was read with the children as part of our World War 1 studies. I find the "My Story" series to be engaging and informative and this was no exception.

The Middle Window  by Elizabeth Goudge. All my fellow Goudge fans out there take notice that I have enjoyed this book this month. :) It's divided into two parts - the first part takes place in "modern" times (maybe 1930's?) in the Scottish highlands and I did find it a bit dragging and ethereal in a way: not very interesting. However, the second part, which explains the first part, takes place during the Jacobite uprising of 1745 and certainly gives one a picture of the hardship this conflict caused for those living in the highlands. If you are a Goudge fan, of course you will want to read it at some point.

  Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty was read by one of the boys after we visited the Biltmore and I am including it here for reference. This and the book following were both found to be enjoyable. I did not read it myself.

The Mystery of Biltmore House (Real Kids, Real Places) (Real Kids! Real Places! (Paperback)) by Carole Marsh is the other "Biltmore book" that one of the boys read.

Nature's Storyteller: The Life of Gene Stratton-porter by Barbara Morrow was a good choice for reading with the children. It was fascinating to learn about the life of one of Indiana's most famous (and best-selling) authors.

And that's it for now! For more ideas visit Ginny's Yarn Along.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mondays are for Grace

Our spring has come at last with the soft laughter of April suns 
and shadow of April showers. 

~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens

Friday, April 22, 2016

Chasing Rainbows and the Queen's 90th Birthday

 For as long as I can remember I've been crazy for rainbows. My kids can expect a "Christmas morning" reaction when I see one and we always run to wherever we can see it best. I think I'm training them too and they are starting to be on the lookout for them!

Yesterday evening I followed one rainbow for an entire hour! I've never seen the like before! I was driving kids from one part of the city to another and the rainbow kept us company the whole time. We started in field country.

Then we were in neighborhoods (how do you like the Indiana log cabin?).

 And a double rainbow appeared at one time:

 Around every corner it seemed to be more beautiful. Sometimes I feel like this is a driving hazard for me. Also note that this rainbow had puffy white clouds at each end just like in little kids' drawings!!

My journey ended at the Indianapolis Museum of Art where the tulips were in fine form.

And the view from the picture window was perfect! What a beautiful gift!

But there was another exciting event yesterday -- Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 90th birthday!!!!!!

We couldn't let that pass without our own celebration. Scones and tea with marmalade for breakfast!

And in the afternoon I shared a Dundee cake with a friend of mine who spent several years in Britain.

And now I am off to watch "Elizabeth at 90". Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Mondays are for Grace

"He that always has something ahead, need never by weary."

-- Robert Louis Stevenson

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Recent Doings

The month began with a trip to the Goodwill 50% off sale to find Rachel clothes! She was a trooper and spent 5 hours shopping with me, picking out all her own clothing items and even arranging to have a friend meet us so they could shop together. 

This year the daffodils captured me more than ever -- maybe because my garden seemed to have SO many daffodils this year. I think this fall I'm going to plant one or two new varieties as well! I've discovered that they are much better value than tulips because they grow and multiply and stay around for years and years whereas tulips come out with a bang the first year and deteriorate from then on.

Sometimes our dinners look very delicious. Often I feel I have no appetite and don't want to cook but going without food is not an option so cook I must!

Isn't this planter beautiful?! This is at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is no longer free but I discovered you can sneak into the cafe for free and you don't even have to purchase a drink! It's kind of like a free zone!

I can't believe our school year is drawing to a close. It's been very full with trying to cover both American History and Indiana History. Fortunately they often overlap. We took a field trip last week to the Indiana Historical Society and had a great morning. I highly recommend signing up for a homeschool tour (organize your own with their tour office). The tour kept us moving and interested the whole morning. Here we are about to step back in time to the 1950's and the Ball jar community canning center.

These ladies are making applesauce in the community kitchen. All I could think about was how much work making applesauce is!

Next we went over to the L.S. Ayres Department store and talked with one of their models about department store shopping in the early 1900's.  I decided I better not buy that $500 blue suit.

One of our activities was learning to decipher old pictures.

Our last re-enactment visit was to 1816 Corydon where a delegation was drafting the Indiana constitution (we celebrate 200 years this year!). I think this was my favorite room!

Our last activity involved learning how to repair tears on old documents. Lots of fun for the kids.

We popped into Craig and Em's store after our field trip. It's always beautiful there and yummy things abound!

What a festive place to be!

Laura is turning 6 in 10 days! Help! My baby is growing up!

We had our last Institute for Excellence in Writing classes this week. They always end with an Author's Tea. James' class wrote on Narnia topics.

David's class wrote on nature topics.

Rachel is busy with discus and shot put this spring but everyone else is playing soccer!

The chocolate mint is up and ready for the season! And the rest of the garden needs a lot of tending too! I cringe a bit because of all the physical labor it will take but I can't wait for the results!

Andrew's already been in the water this year! It's fun to see him enjoying his friendships. I guess it's time to go back to our Secret Beach and let the kids play in the water.

The weather looks good for the next week -- I think we've jumped from heat to almost air-conditioning over this weekend. Soon the leaves will be on the trees!