"We write to taste life twice - once in the moment and in introspection."

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Latest Project - Five in a Row totes

No time for sewing lately because I've been mostly consumed with the new project of making tubs full of supplemental books for the Five in a Row homeschooling curriculum. It all started with an innocent discussion at a recent Ladies' Brunch at a friend's home.

A newbie homeschooler was asking for advice on teaching her young children and we got to talking about Five in a Row. The premise of this curriculum is that you read certain high quality (Caldecott and Newbery type) books to your 5-9 year olds, reading the same book five days in a row, studying a certain aspect of that book each day. For instance, after reading The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter on Monday, you might focus on the life of Beatrix Potter, how to draw, the science of rabbits and the Velveteen Rabbit. Then on Tuesday, you could look at the geography of England, pinning the story disk to a world map on England, and Mrs. Tiggywinkle and hedgehogs. Wednesday would be for learning about Benjamin Bunny, obedience and germs. Thursday would focus on gardening, seeds and the math of figuring out when the seeds would germinate. Friday you'd look at sparrows and cook something related to herbs or garden foods.

Michelle Miller (of Truthquest History fame) has a children's library near where we used to live and she has set up a tote for each Five in a Row title, putting supplemental materials in the totes so each topic is easily and conveniently studied without having to search all over the library for what you need. With her blessing and help I bought her lists of supplemental books and am now working on setting up totes for use by folks in this area. Mine won't be exactly like hers because I'm substituting some of my already owned books for some of the topics as well as finding similar books in thrift stores around here.

It's been a fun endeavor, though it's turned my sewing room/office into an even bigger mess. :) I got to start using the Peter Rabbit tub (the first one done because I already had some stuff for it) with the Peanut this week, which has been a big blessing since we're battling the flu, wisdom teeth surgery, running to the airport 1.5 hours away, as well has having and giving music lessons. It's so convenient to just grab the box of stuff, snuggle up on the couch and read delightedly. The additional lapbooking will be done a little later when she can sit up again for longer periods.

There are about four other families that hopefully will be making use of these totes and then I hope that my grandchildren will also be blessed by them.

Having fun, enjoying good books and snuggles.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Finished Cats Quilt

I'm excited to report a finished quilt! It's a big finish for me even though it's not a very big quilt because my daughter and I have been working on it for probably more than four years.

Princess pieced the cats, with some help on the smaller ear sections, and then sewed it all together. I hand-quilted it and sewed the binding on for her. She now enjoys its warmth on her bed.

And I enjoy its beauty and the wonderful feeling of a job well-done, as well as the knowledge that she learned a lot about sewing and we had a lot of fun as we made this together.

Hope you're having fun times together.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Missing in Action - at Niagara Falls

It's been a long time since I posted. You probably knew that. But here I am again with some pictures of why I wasn't posting. I was enjoying too much.

The company to which my husband is contracted as a consultant had meetings set up in Niagara Falls, Canada, and paid for wives to come, too. So we spent Friday evening through Monday morning "suffering" in the Hilton overlooking both the American and Horseshoe Falls, eating at fabulous restaurants, walking down to get sprayed by the magnificent falls, watching a movie on Niagara at the Imax theater, listening to a Doug Wilson sermon on the computer and lounging in our beautiful room.
With my darling husband in front of Horseshoe Falls.

The view was spectacular, even from the jacuzzi.

In the mornings, while Lovey was in meetings, I read some blogs, went for walks,  slept late, etc.

Here is some of the "etc." that I did. Of course I had to bring along some quilting!

Sunrise on Horseshoe Falls.
It was a wonderful time of relaxing, reading, walking, talking, loving, meeting some of Lovey's co-workers, gaping at the wonders of creation and I'm so thankful for this gift God gave us. Someday I hope my kids get to go there, too.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Nature Walk

We are so blessed to live in a beautiful area. Our walks are often filled with new discoveries of God's amazing creation. Let me share some of the beauty.

Raccoon tracks. Since the left one was consistently blurry, I wonder if it was injured.

Melting of snow reveals rodent tunnels

Walking on water. A nearby lake. Notice the fishing holes?

Fishing holes close up

We had never seen these beautiful star shapes in the ice before.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Zoe Grace

We've recently had something new happen within our clan and it's been a difficult journey, though a time of fully relying on God's grace and wisdom and power. Sunday we gathered to celebrate and memorialize the very short life of our nephew and niece-in-law's 2 1/2 week old baby girl. She was born with a liver malfunction (the medical name for which I honestly do not remember) which was battled and which baffled for those short weeks (which seemed at times to be forever, especially to her parents). Zoe's five older siblings don't fully understand what happened to their much-desired and loved little sister, so pray for them. Zoe's parents have displayed a faith in their heavenly Father that amazed and convicted many as they shared online updates of developments, their observations, their awful pain in going through this and Scriptures and songs that the Lord used to comfort and strengthen them.

The whole journey has given me a lot of food for thought, the uppermost of which is how I kind of take my children for granted. I assume that they'll pretty much be around. I haven't been giving myself and my time to them in a focused and intentional way like I should. In several of the updates, Zoe's mommy shared how she wished she could be with her older children (they were with loving grandparents), just doing the simple, ordinary things with them like combing their hair and tying their shoes. Instead of seeing those things as another thing on the to-do list, they were connections with her children that she so desired. 

Even as a homeschooling 24/7 stay-at-home-mom, we can lose focus on why we're stay-at-home moms. We can be so busy doing school, or cleaning up the messes, or trying to instill responsibility in our children that we don't look in their eyes, caress them as we teach, snuggle up close as we read those good books, laugh over spilled milk, hug each other as we gasp in amazement at the beautiful sunrise, ditch the schoolbooks and take a hike, make a mess while making cards for others, stay up late because you know the teenager needs to talk, listen to nonsensical 7-year-old jokes (that seems to be the year that all my children have made up real groaners) or just get in to their world instead of mostly insisting that they get in to mine.

On the updates website, I wrote the following to hopefully encourage this dear family:

Our family has been strongly affected by sweet little Zoe's short life and the beautiful testimony that you all had as you allowed us to travel the very difficult journey with you. We have prayed often and pleadingly not only for Zoe's healing (which she received in a different way than we'd preferred), but also for the peace that surpasses all understanding to be yours in Christ (which we have seen in you). We have held each other closer and given thanks for the time that we have had together. I have been more intentional in spending time with my children and have been strongly inspired to make more serious our desire to hide the word of the Lord in our hearts so that we may be equipped for whatever He might send our way. We have seen our church family unite around us and you (though you don't know them) in prayer and concern. We've seen our pastor and his wife feel with and for you as they remember their spina bifida baby's hospital stay and they give thanks for God's continued blessing in her life. We think your kids are some of the most blessed kids in the world to have you two for their parents and know that God would entrust this very difficult path to all of you because He can trust you all to be open to His care and leading, and though you might question His purpose and choice, you will not do so in rebellion, but in seeking to follow Him closely and to know His heart. We love and admire you.

I encourage you to rethink your time spent and relationships with your children (and spouse). God gave our nephew and niece much insight and wisdom as they walked this horrifying path, and they shared a lot of it at Zoe Grace Care Page, if you're brave enough to enter into their heartache. I know my eyes have been opened and I thank God for Zoe, though I never met her in this life.