Wednesday, July 31, 2013

How's the Weather This Year?

Have you ever seen this idea for knitting the weather?  (Quick click; you don't have to read the whole thing!)  It's a really fun idea, and I look at all those shades of blue lined up for knitting the gorgeous sky every day, and I get really excited about it.  All the shades of blue are my favorite!

I'm so glad I didn't start it this year.  It would be gray.  Gray.  Gray.  Gray.  White.  Gray.  Blue.  Gray.  Gray.  I don't think I'd get my pretty scarf of lovely blues.

Did you figure out that it's raining, again?  Again.

On the plus side:  all the lawns and trees are green, and the people who get paid for mowing lawns are happy.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Quiet Summer Days


Outside my window...
Another sunny day.  We seem to having a streak of sun after so many days of rain this summer.

I am thinking...
About how all these other bloggers blogged for 7 days in a row, and I seem to have gone on strike and did the opposite.    I'm thinking a lot about what I have to say here and whether or not to keep saying it.  Or not saying it, as the case may be.  Lots of times I feel like ranting about something, but I don't think anyone wants to hear me rant.  What do you like to read about?

I am wondering...
If Meg is enjoying summer camp.  She's at a new AHG camp this year, but a couple of our most awesome leaders went, too.  I'm sure she'll have a great time, but I kind of wish I were there, too.

From the school table...
School starts one week from tomorrow for Tom, and then the rest follow the week after.  I can't believe the summer break is almost over!

In the kitchen...
I need to get organized with menus.  I haven't done menus in a while; I got in the habit of simply choosing a different type of meat and adding whatever veggies I had fresh, or that needed to be eaten, and cooking meals that way.  I actually like to do that most of the time, but planning is good too, and I'm ready for a change.

I am wearing...
Still in my nightgown.

What I’m doing with fiber...
I'm hurting my hands, that's what.  I need to do a whole post on my spinning adventures.

I am going...
To rehearsal tonight, and every night this week.  Our parish is doing a show---3 nights of song and dance---and it's a lot of work for the 4 songs I'm singing!  Most of the time is spent with my fellow "Andrews Sisters" as we practice "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy."  That's a difficult song. The show is going to be really fun, though.  And I'm going to be really tired after this long week.

I am hoping and praying...
For all the mom's beginning their homeschool year.  Our group is praying a novena now.
For friends who are ill.
For Thomas Peters, the American Papist

I am looking forward to...
Celebrating 27 years of wedded bliss on Friday.  I'm telling you about it now, because there's no guarantee I'll be back this week.  ;-)

I am hearing on my ipod...
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy".  On constant repeat.

Around the house...

Still needs a couple of coats!

One of my favorite things...
My pretty red door.  :-)

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Rehearsal, helping my daughter move out of her apartment!

Here is picture thought I am sharing...
We were playing with Shrinky Dinks for Meg's SWAPS for summer camp.  The lips and mustache turned into a pair of earrings for her!

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Good Summer Read: In Name Only

"1876, Philadelphia. Caroline Martin's life has finally taken a turn for the better. After years of hard work, she has met a virtuous and wealthy man whose love seems to promise the kind of life realized only within the comforting novels she keeps on her night table. Tragedy, however, will teach Caroline of the complexity with which God Himself authors the lives of those who turn toward Him."

Don't you love it when a book surprises you?  I started this new book on my Kindle the other night; I couldn't remember where I had heard of it, or who had recommended it.  I probably got it when it was free for one day in the Kindle store!   I was not favorably impressed by the writing or the stilted characters who were too perfect, too polite.  For the first couple of nights, I read only a little bit, but then I got into it a little more.

Yesterday morning, I decided to read a little bit with my coffee while I "woke up".  When I looked at the clock, it was 10:45!  In Name Only had definitely grabbed my attention and held it!  Though I had been reading for 4 hours (!) already, I didn't bother to stop until I had finished the book around 1:00 p.m.  (It's summer, right?  We had nowhere to go.)

I couldn't remember the name of the book I was reading, but I had discovered along the way that it is a Catholic novel.  I've read Catholic novels before that spend a lot of pages hammering you over the head with Church teaching, and while Ellen Gable does explain certain teachings, I thought they flowed better with the story.  The interesting part was how the couple, married in name only, tried to live up to these teachings, sometimes failing, and then having to live with the very real consequences of sin.

Coincidentally enough, this is a perfect book for NFP Awareness Week!  It takes place in the late 19th century, but there is still plenty of discussion of contraception as it existed at the time.  I found myself thinking about it for the rest of the day.  To me, a book or a movie is a success if you keep pondering it for a couple of days.   Not the most well-written romantic novel, but definitely a good summer read.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The 13th Sunday

This post is a few weeks late, but I find myself unexpectedly alone on Sunday morning, waiting for painters to come finish the house.  Conveniently, I went to Mass alone last night, so maybe now is the time to write this post.

June 30 was the 13th Sunday in Ordinary time.  As I drove to Mass that morning, I wondered if it was a special feast day for a Saint, but nothing came to mind.   My husband wasn't there to ask since we were in separate cars that day.  I thought nothing more about it, until we were listening to the readings, and then I knew.

It was MY Sunday!  (I obviously had not been listening to the lector when he said, "Today is the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time.")  It was the (18th?!) anniversary of  day when I could no longer deny that Christ was calling me to the Catholic Church.  All my philosophical doubts had already fallen away, and the only thing stopping me from converting was the opinions of my family.  I knew that to continue to sit on the fence would be the equivalent of telling my Heavenly Father "No".   And that was something I didn't want to do.

The tears started flowing when I realized what day it was.  Even when I thought I had pulled myself together and wiped my eyes with dh's hankie, they continued to flow.  Those tears of joy for the gift I've been given.

The day was made extra special when I went to pick up Meg who had slept over at a friend's house.  Her mom must be one of the few people who know the story (well, outside of the internet), and she said, "It's your special day, isn't it?"  She had shed a few tears of joy for me at Mass, too.

R.  You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.”
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence
because you will not abandon my soul to the netherworld,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Friday, July 19, 2013

7 Quick Takes on a Hybrid School


Someone asked recently if I am selling all my homeschooling books (since I'm not home schooling anymore).  But I am home schooling, still.  We're just using a hybrid school.  What's that, you ask?  A hybrid combines the best of school and home, where the students attend 2 or 3 days per week, and paid teachers teach them the concepts they need for the week's work.  We do pay for this:  more than just staying at home, but much less than the local Catholic schools.


Is it the same as a co-op?  No.  From my perspective, a co-op is when a group of moms get together and share the teaching of a couple of classes, usually at the high school level.  The costs are lower, or nonexistent, and the moms who are science or math experts can provide valuable services to their friends who aren't.  A hybrid uses paid teachers who are experts in their fields.


I've been homeschooling for 19 years, why do I want to use a co-op now?  The first 4 children all got farmed out to Catholic high schools which have been very good, on the whole, but not perfect.    We missed out on a lot of time with our kids, and I have a big problem with paying lots of money for a not-stellar education and a nominally Catholic environment.  

The Hybrid has grown from my friend's basement into a lovely environment with 200 students, pre-K - 11!  Though she's tried to get me to join for years, I never felt compelled to pay money for teaching anything below high school, because I can handle all of that just fine.  Now that Pip is entering high school, we thought this might be the time.


This hybrid is using the Kolbe Academy curriculum for high school, which would be my choice at home, but too challenging for me to teach without a lot of stress and/or help, so this is perfect!  Meg lucks out and gets to go "to school" in 6th grade because she would be too lonely at home with me---and I can send the 2 of them for way less than the cost of Tom's school!


I will still be overseeing my children's education and making changes to their workloads, as needed.  Spending plenty of time with them at the kitchen table, knowing what they're doing and helping.  


What about Socialization?  That all important subject which I, generally, think is a load of malarky.  Home schooled children get plenty of socialization in playdates, group activities, field trips, and it's all in mixed-age family-style groups.  Ideal in my book.  However, I will acknowledge that most teens do need to be around their peers.  No, I don't think they all need to be the same age, but they need to be around other teens in safe environments.  Large groups going to the movies, or hanging out eating pizza and playing games.  I know myself well enough to know that I would have a very difficult time arranging suitable activities for my at-home teens that would meet their very real needs.  The Hybrid will be great for that.   He'll be able to develop friendships in his class of 20 (at last count)---more than he would if he just went to the monthly teen activities with our home school group.


Is the Hybrid going to be the perfect school?  No.  It's going to be awesome, with some wonderful families that we know and love.  It's going to have vexations because it's full of sinners, and it is always hard to give up some control to The School.  It's going to be thoroughly Catholic where the students will be taught why we believe what we believe and how to respond in society.  

The education will be a good one provided someone puts in the effort.  It will be better than I could provide at home, but not flawless.  None of them are.  It takes a combination of a smart, dedicated student, and excellent teachers for the best education.   A motivated child can make great strides where the teachers are lacking, and a smart student can waste opportunities if he doesn't do the work.  And excellent teachers can bring out the best in average or less-than-average students.

We are looking forward to this new stage in our home schooling!  Not the driving.  Getting up early and getting out of the house.  Ugh.  We are never excited about the driving, but we'll save that for another time.  :-)

Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Spinning Along

~Joining Ginny, today. Stop by to see what everyone else is knitting and reading.~

I just finished spinning the last of my Full Circle Roving from KnitPicks.  I didn't know what to expect from an all recycled product (not that I have much experience with roving as yet), but I like this wool.  It was fun to spin and I like the final product.  The skein you see on the floor, there, just came off the back of the chair and seems to be the least twisty skein that I have spun, yet.  I'm working on not overspinning.

Now I have about 500-600 yards of this yarn that I have to decide what to do with!  Suggestions welcome!  It's not evenly spun, so some sections are close to laceweight and most are thicker, but it's not quite a worsted.  I may knit a swatch and consider socks, as much as I loathe knitting 2 of the same thing in quick succession!  

As for reading, I finally got Meridon on audio, so I listened to it quite a bit today while walking the dog and last night while doing a tedious, mind-numbing project on the computer.  Other than that, I'm mostly reading school supply lists, book lists, and uniform lists.  I hope you're reading something more exciting!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Summer Days


Outside my window...
Beautiful blue sky and sun, for now.  Afternoon thunderstorms in the usual forecast.  We've had so much rain in the past year it's crazy.
We had some heavy rain at the beach, too, but it didn't dampen our fun!

I am thinking...
About all. the. things. on my to-do list.  It seems like the middle of the summer by the calendar, but we are rapidly winding up our summer already!  Tom has Jamboree, then Meg has camp, and then we have to get our acts together!  Tom starts school the first week of August (I know!), and then the next 2 start the next week---the 13th?  But they have orientation on the 10th which is a half-day.  I have a lot of pap.......Oh, never mind.  Trust me.  Long list.  :-(

I am thankful...
For a safe and fun trip to the beach last week with most of the extended family.  Lots of cousins and aunts and uncles.  We had lots of fun and togetherness, long walks on the beach, food, playing in the pool and in the ocean, crazy hair dying with coffee and was great!
Currituck Sound
From the school table...
Double-checking the booklists this week and finishing the ordering.  Plus, I'll be ordering some books for the hybrid school.

In the kitchen...
I need to go to the store, but meals need to be simple and smaller-than-usual since TMax is away at the Boy Scout Jamboree.

I am wearing...
White denim capris, coral v-neck.  Looks awesome with my tan!  ;-)

What I’m doing with fiber...
I'm spinning some lovely espresso-colored recycled fiber from KnitPicks, which I'm almost finished with.  Then I have to figure out what to knit with it!  I also have an ombre tote on the "hook" that I'm crocheting in the car.  Since the long car ride is over, I'm not going to be making much progress anymore---unless I can get the rest of my work done and find a new series to watch on the tv!

I am going...
To run a bunch of errands today.  Get as much done as I can while I'm out!

I am reading...
The Catechism.  I picked it up again, and I figured I need to read 12 paragraphs per day to finish by the end of the Year of Faith.  (Trying really, really hard to start my days with prayer and spiritual reading instead of blogs and news.)

Meridon by Philippa Gregory.  I found it at the beach house in their "library".  I couldn't find the first book in the trilogy, so I figured I'd read the last one to see how it ends.  Lol.  I didn't finish, though, and now I'm waiting to check out the audio book on Overdrive.  The wait is killing me because I was really enjoying it.  I'll have to get the first two books, also!  I've never read any of her stuff... have you?

I am hoping and praying...
For a safe trip to the Jamboree, lots of fun while he's there, and a safe trip home!
Putting on the Jambo neckerchief
I am looking forward to...
Checking things off my list.

I am hearing on my ipod...
The usual podcasts....and I'm really thrilled that the short-lived "video-only" version of Catholic Weekend is over.  I do spend a lot of time at my computer, but I don't spend it watching video, and I dislike having video on while I try to read or work----then I can't give either one the appropriate attention.

Around the house...
I was very happy that we came home to a clean house (patting myself on the back), but there is a little clutter from the trip that needs to be picked up.  Plus, I noticed that Tom left for Jambo with his room a disaster!  I think I'll have to clean that up----even with the door closed, I know it's there!  And he would probably prefer not to come home to that mess, himself.

Also, the painters are supposed to come this week to pain the exterior!  Yay!  I can't wait for it to be done!

One of my favorite things...

A few plans for the rest of the week...
Summer camp paperwork
Background check paperwork
Ordering my schoobooks
Ordering the school's schoolbooks
Buying school shoes
Returning school shoes (different pair)
Buying school supplies
Buying school pants
Chorus rehearsal for church "Theater" production
+ the usual

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Hosted by The Simple Woman's Daybook

Friday, July 5, 2013

Looong Weekend Takes


The Pioneer Woman's Strawberry ice cream recipe is amazing.  I'm not sure if the eggs curdled a little in my custard, or if I took it off the heat before it quite jelled.  Either way, the taste and texture were unaffected.   I put in extra strawberries, too.  Because they were there.  Oh!  And I used milk for the half-and-half, and half-and-half for the cream.  Because that's what I had.  If I had had 6 cups of heavy cream, I would have used that.  :-)


I need to use my ice cream maker more often.  Because there's this.  Do you have any good ice cream recipes?  I try to stay away from anything chunky because it always seems to seize up in the ice cream maker.


While we're talking about food...I threw together the Independence Day feast based on what we had in the house.  The only thing I planned for in advance was the ice cream.  Because priorities.  We had the traditional burgers, roasted redskin potatoes, and cabbage.  Let me tell you, I think there are LOT of people missing out on the wonder of organic, locally grown cabbage cooked in bacon fat, with lots of crumbled bacon!  Seriously, it's one of the most wonderful things ever.  Try it.


Did you know that you can send documents to your Kindle?  I had no idea.  But I just sent Pope Francis's first encyclical to myself to read on kindle.  If you go to Brandon Vogt's blog, you can see all the ways to read Lumen Fidei.   Or not, because the USCCB told him to remove them.


My Quick Takes were interrupted by serious household chores, and now it's 10:30 p.m.!  I really like that 1:2 Dawn to Peroxide for cleaning my shower.


I've had just about enough rain.  It rained all winter, and now, it's raining pretty much all summer.  I try to be grateful, whatever the weather, but it does get to be a bit much!  I could use a week at the beach.  How's the weather where you are?


We just got back from our weekly trivia game at a local Sbux.  We had to borrow chairs from a kind stranger because it was packed and all the chairs were taken.  We, ahem, stupidly did not bring our chairs.  We had to sit outside where it proceeded to alternately pour and drizzle.  Everyone else managed to squeeze inside, but we moved too slowly for that.  It was quite pleasant outside when it wasn't raining heavily accompanied by blowing winds.  :-)  And we dropped from first place to next-to-last on the final question, and came home with our wet, bedraggled tails between our legs.  But we enjoyed it, and that's what matters.  Right?  Right?  

Have a great weekend!  
Join the fun at Jen's for more 7 Quick Takes!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Fourth!

round button chicken


Marge (that's Meg, sometimes) and I started the day with a nail-painting party.  This design is actually pretty simple and fun to do.  Her's was much more complicated.

It has nothing to do with July 4, and everything to do with the fun swirls her hair made on the floor.  Isn't she a cutie?

There are no photos to prove it, but a few of us went to the pool today.  In the rain.  For some reason, there was no neighborhood pool party for Independence Day, this year, but DH didn't want the day to pass without a "ritual dip".  We were aiming for 'between showers,' but it didn't work out that way, and there was a gentle shower occurring during part of our time there.  We had the pool to ourselves (surprise, surprise!), and had fun playing catch in the water!


A local Boy Scout troop has a new fundraiser where they sell a subscription flag service:  They'll bury a pvc pipe in your yard, and, on 5 national holidays, they come around to post a flag on a 5' flagpole.   The one cul-de-sac where the Boy Scout lives looks great because everyone bought a subscription! Unfortunately, he didn't make it all the way around the neighborhood, but it's a nice effect.   I'd love to see the whole neighborhood looking much more patriotic;  flags are pretty sparse around here on holidays.  It makes me think that's why we're losing our freedoms little by little, because people don't really appreciate their country.

Have a happy day celebrating our country!  Stop by LMLD to see what everyone else is doing.  Hugs!


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