Showing posts from June, 2020

Homeschool Classroom Decor

We added an adorable pillow to our classroom decor.  It looks like the  library cards  that used to be on the inside of books. I don't really spend much time decorating, but I'll buy something if it's this adorable and it fits this well with what we've already got.  

Creative Day

We have more leisure in summertime.  One thing we like to do is watercolor. We bought a few kits from Let's Make Art and we are following their free tutorials to paint along with them. We've been doing watercolor every summer for at least a few years. In previous years, we had an artist-friend come over and give lessons a few weeks in a row.  But the last few years, we have just been using Let's Make Art tutorials. This one was the sunflower lesson. Our parrot Arcus watched us as we painted.  Isn't he beautiful?  As far as I know, they do not have a sun conure tutorial at Let's Make Art, but I should check.  I may be brave enough and try and paint him without a tutorial someday. While I painted with my younger ones, my oldest chose instead to embroider the Captain America symbol on a scrap of fabric. She worked this pattern out herself by tracing various circular jars and containers onto the fabric. It was a lovely afternoon of le

Stacking Wood

We have a cord of seasoned wood delivered every summer to use in the coming winter. This year, I helped Dwayne stack it and it was done within an hour. In the past few years, I haven't helped him stack it, and obviously, it took him longer. He didn't complain that I didn't help. It was something we had agreed that was his to do. I was always inside doing something else productive. I might have been cooking dinner or reading a book I had to read, etc. It's not like I was in there binging on Netflix while he was out there stacking or anything. But nevertheless, as I was stacking wood this year and wondering why I had not done it in the past few years, something else did become apparent to me. In years past, I was usually too tired to help Dwayne. I was exercising everyday back then, so I had often "used up" my strength or I was "saving it" for the next workout or fitness class. Though I was so strong and fit and lean, I had no

The Great Conversation

She’s reading me quotes from a book she’s reading and we both have goosebumps, because the book is speaking to something we were discussing earlier. Can I testify for a minute? Watching (and participating) in God’s leading a girl into womanhood is a great glory and delight. God joins (or is He leading?) our conversations though books, music, art, sermons, experiences, nature. If I did not already believe in the Spirit’s leading, I would now, because the timing of encounters with certain words in certain books at certain moments is (nearly) unbelievable. We are participating in The Great Conversation, no doubt. I find it is with God Himself!

Another Topstone Visit

We visited Topstone again. Swimming in the pond is, by far, my favorite pastime now. It is simply transcendent. The pond tastes, smells, feels, sounds, and looks so beautiful. As I swim forward and look around me, the light reflects off the water and I think of those lines in The Weight of Glory that talk about beauty. “We do not want merely to see beauty, though, God knows, even that is bounty enough. We want something else which can hardly be put into words — to be united with the beauty we see, to pass into it, to receive it into ourselves, to bathe in it, to become part of it.” Swimming in the pond is like being in Perelandra . I like to do laps back and forth across the deeper swimming area while the girls play in the shallower water. I'll also work with the girls, so that they swim better and better each time. I showed Norah the breast stroke today and she was brave enough to try it. Also today, Adele came out into the deep water where Nora


My hydrangea bushes have multiple blooms this year, because we did not prune them at all last fall or this spring.  After watching a few You Tube videos and reading a few articles, I believe I finally know how to care for these beauties.  This variety of hydrangea grows on "old wood," so the less we prune the better, as far as I can tell. I think we could prune a little and have larger flowers, but I'd rather have so many smaller blooms.

Pick Your Battles

Parent: I wish my kids liked to read as much as your kids like to read. Me:  Well, you should know that we put the television way downstairs out of the main room and they don't watch anything until after dinner. Parent:  We could never get rid of our television! My husband likes to watch his shows.  And we watch the news. Me: I didn't say we don't have a television. We just keep it downstairs, out of the way, and we limit the amount of time the kids are on any screen, actually. Parent: Well, our house isn't as big as yours. We have to have the television in the main room. Me: ... Parent: I wish my kids would read more. Me: I actually make mine read. I hand them a timer and tell them to go get a book. They moan, but they get over it, and they have learned to enjoy it. Parent: Oh, well, I don't have that kind of control over my kids. Me: I'll take something away from them if they don't do what I tell them to do. Parent: But my kids don't even li

Silver Sands

We spent Friday with friends Ligian and Laura. Ligian is another homeschool mom and Challenge A director for our Classical Conversations group. Laura is her daughter, my daughter's best friend and classmate. I'll be their director next year for Challenge 3.  We had ice cream cones at Carvel, sat on the beach, swam, and talked at Silver Sands.

If the fullness of time had been now...

Gabriel: And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him... Mary: How can this be? Gabriel: The Holy Spirit will... Mary: No, that's not what I mean. I know all about how that works from sex-ed class with Coach Craven and from reading teen fashion magazines.  What I mean is I am applying for graduate school. After that, I'll have to intern for at least a year before I start working. Joseph and I won't be ready to make a down payment on a house for at least a few years after that. Right now, we're saving for the wedding. The venue is amazing... Gabriel: ...

Honey Pouring

 We poured our honey into jars. This is what we got from that one frame we processed (minus all the honey comb we kept intact.)   I had given the girls some new sketch books that day, so Avril drew a sketch of the honey jars on the counter. They are quite beautiful.  Notice the container of wax on the counter.  We're saving that to process it later.

Topstone Visit


Processing the Honey

We cut off chunks of comb that we wanted to keep whole and we stored those separately. I gave a piece of comb to my neighbor and another to our piano teacher.     Then you slice off the caps of wax and let honey and wax roll down into the bucket.  Note the tarp. This is messy.  Eventually, you scrap, scrap, scrap with spoons to get off more wax and honey, especially what remains around the edges of the frame. The honey strains slowly, slowly down into the bucket. The bucket has a spout that we'll open in a day or two and let the raw honey pour into jars.  We'll keep the wax in a Tupperware to process it later. We'll use the wax for balms or candles later. The girls really want to make candles, since they've read about that in books. We put the frame back into the hive and bees will eat any honey left on it and use any wax left behind, etc. Nothing gets wasted. Sunlight shining through honey comb is one of the most Heavenly

Mint Harvest

My mint survived the winter in a pot outside and came back this year, so I replanted it in another pot and it's thriving! I was able to harvest several leaves today. I'll put the leaves between two paper towels and microwave them for a little while (30 sec. to a few minutes- careful not to burn them) in order to dry them out, an easy and fast way to preserve them. Then I'll store the mint in a zip-lock bag for making loose tea from the leaves.

Book Nook

We created a book nook in our upstairs hallway.  It took a while to find shelves that would fit in that space and we ordered some bean bags, pillows, etc.  We moved all the phonics books, first readers, and earliest paperbacks to those shelves, which freed up several shelves and half shelves in the living room and classroom.  We can always use more shelf space.

First Honey Harvest

We harvested honey from our hive for the first time last weekend!  My friend is coming over in a few days to help me process it into honey, beeswax, etc.  

Summer Puzzle

It's summer vacation, so we're keeping a puzzle out on the dining room table.  This one is called "The Greatest Show on Earth."  It's appropriate, since we had just had a lunch of Famous Pizza out on PT Barnum Square minutes before we walked over to The Toy Room to pick our first summer puzzle.  We also visited Relay Bookhouse, which our kids like to call Nooks and Crannies, because it reminds them of the bookstore in the Wingfeather Saga books.  

Spray Chalk

The girls got some spray chalk from their aunt and uncle for their birthdays.  They worked together and made this and other cool designs out on the driveway.  

Tree Removal

We had half a dozen trees taken down Friday.  They were dead ash trees that have been ruined by borer beetles, so they had become towering liabilities.


Many people think and feel like they are free when they get to do what they want or get to "be themselves," whatever that means.  But I prefer to be a man, in the broadest sense of that word, as in human. I do not have to make choices based on who I am or what I want.   I've reached a point in my adult life when I often find myself making decisions based on who I want to be.   It's an odd sensation to rule myself, since I did not always do this.  But now I will stand within myself yet apart from myself and tell myself what to do.  Sometimes I reason with myself. Oft times I simply command myself, because I have already reasoned and decided the thing I am choosing many times before I am there making the choice again. And it's ironic.  In ruling myself rather than simply doing whatever I desire or am apt to do at the moment, I find the truest freedom. I find I get to actually be myself and do what I want. In ruling myself, I am set free. &q

Florida Visit May-June 2020

We have been visiting Dwayne's parents in Vero Beach. Every morning, weather permitting, we drag the girls out of bed if they aren't already up and we take a walk on the beach before breakfast. We come back tired and hungry and ready for breakfasts and showers. It's a lovely way to start the day. We have found several treasures that we are identifying and labeling using our book of sea beans and our seashells guide. One night, I didn't sleep well, so I was up early and went out to the beach in prima luca. I found these perfect measled cowreies and considered them a gift divine. We found lightning walks and their egg cases.  We found a mermaid's purse (the egg sack of a skate.) The beach is so dynamic that some days the waves are huge and other days, the ocean is as still as a lake. The surf brings new things in every tide. And things literally come in waves, meaning that you will often find several of the same shells