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Showing posts from July, 2020

Visit to SC Cont.

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Right around the end of our visit to Mom's in South Carolina, her cats were finally comfortable with us. It figures, because cats. Adele drew this doodle of Grandma after the first day. Notice Mom's cats and she's wearing her birdhouse shirt. Mom wore the same shirt again the last day of our visit, so I got a pic of her with her doodle. Adele also left Mom with a black eye.  Mom was showing her how to twirl her old baton throughout the week and one thing led to another. Poor Grandma.  This is incredibly heartwarming and funny to me, probably because I am a bad person.

Eclectic Particular Grace

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I did not have a happy childhood. God knows.  But I must also acknowledge that my childhood was not all bad. It could have been much worse.  So even as I look back at the darkness and pain in my memories, I find gratitude in my heart.   The grace of God works backwards like CS Lewis says and I see my whole life filling up with glory. There are words I might use to help describe my childhood: poverty, disorder, filth, neglect, violence, anger, abuse. But if I had to sum up everything in one word it would be  sin.     My parents' sin  Their parents' sin  And probably their parents' sin, but the stories in living memory only go back so far. My parents' siblings' sin  And my parents' sin in response to their parents' and their siblings' sin  My siblings' sin  And my sin in response to my siblings' sin  And my sin in response to my parents' sin And my own sin was there, is there still.  From

Visit to Grandma's in SC

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We're taking near daily drives through Dunkin.  It's nice to get cold drinks in the southern heat.  My mom was a majorette in college and my youngest is learning to twirl her old baton.  We've been going to the pool everyday, sometimes twice a day.  I added some more photos to Mom's collages.  Mom made homemade vanilla- banana- Nilla wafer pudding.  We hung a bunch of paintings for Mom. This one is a watercolor done by her sister Patty.  My oldest is making Mom a new dishcloth. Note: Croqueted dish cloths are the best.    I've been making three meals a day at home. I'm making stuff Mom likes like beans and cornbread.  

Redeeming My Education

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I'm preparing to direct Challenge 3 next year, so I'm working through Apologia's Chemistry text ahead of time. I got to the part in Module 3 where I had to solve for frequency and/or wavelength, etc. That necessitated knowing how to divide exponents, some of which are negative. That necessitated relearning exponents using my Understanding Mathematics texts. I also had to relearn how to divide with decimals, and use scientific notation and a scientific calculator. There were tears and at one or two points, there was total despair. I put my face in my hands, and cried out to God, and prayed, and questioned everything, especially my calling to direct Challenge 3. Credit to my husband for helping and really struggling with me. It wasn't easy for him, either. I worked for hours and we talked about the concepts all day and now I can say, I've got it. I think. I learned a lot of math today, but I learned some deeply personal lessons, too. I know ho

Vacation Puzzles

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I always put a puzzle (or two or three) out in the dining room during vacations.  Dwayne and Norah worked on it for a while one Sunday afternoon.

New Planners

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The two oldest girls were excited to go to Staples and pick out their new planners for the coming school year. I usually have them fill out their planners on Friday, the day after we meet for Classical Conversations. They plan their school days from Friday through Wednesday of the next week. Then I take a look and I'll ask them to add things or move things around. We often debate about the changes. But I do alot of discipleship through this process. And I save myself a lot of headaches through the week by doing this the day the week begins. The calendar serves me as much as it serves them, since it reminds me what I decided to have them do everyday. And this way, they aren't looking to me to remember what's expected of them every single day. They can look at their own schedule and I can just make sure and keep them accountable to what's there.  

Challenge 3

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I'm directing Challenge 3 for Classical Conversations this coming school year. 

Raising Monarch Butterflies

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It's that time of year again! We've been checking the underside of the milkweed plants beside the pond. We found one monarch egg, so we snapped that leaf off and brought it home. The caterpillar hatched out a few days later. He ate his shell, and is busy now eating the fresh leaves we've brought him. He's still very small as you can see from the pictures. Last year, we raised somewhere between twenty and thirty monarchs, if I remember correctly. This year, so far, we only have this one, but he's still bringing a lot of joy. I like to put the butterfly books out around the caterpillars to tempt the girls to read them.

Trump's Rushmore Speech

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We watched Trump's Mount Rushmore speech with the kids. We always try to watch the President speak. We did the same for Obama and Bush, not because we have always agreed with all of them, or ever agreed with any of them, but because we're trying to teach our daughters how to keep a republic. And we'll keep have an ongoing discourse with them about the complicated issues of history and the present time. 

Fireworks

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We spent the afternoon of Sunday, July 5th with our friends the McCandlesses in our old stomping grounds. We met their daughter's fiancĂ©, talked, swam in their pool, watched the birds come and go from their nests on all sides of the yards to the feeders and birdbath, ate off the grill, played yard games, and shared salads with generous amounts of mayo. It was a lovely summer afternoon! By the time we left, people were gathering near the interstate for Waterbury's annual fireworks show, so we decided to stay and watch. We lived in Waterbury for many years and always enjoyed the fireworks. It was very fortuitous that we were there at the right time to just stay a few extra minutes and enjoy the show before heading home.  

Office of Assertion

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This book is required reading for the Circe Apprenticeship and  graduate school  and it's recommended  reading for Challenge directors and parents, so I was happy to sit down with it one afternoon at the pond and get started.  

Esolen in My Ear

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Norah is a huge Esolen fan and she is often eager to share her favorite quotes with me.  The other afternoon, she read Esolen quotes right into my ear as I sat at the pond, enjoying the scenery, taking a break from our vigorous swimming.  It was quite luxurious.  To me, it was better than being an Egyptian queen fanned and fed grapes. If you've never had words read directly into your ear as you've looked out over a beautiful New England pond in the summertime, you haven't lived.

Summer Afternoons

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After breakfast and chores most summer days, we head over to the pond or beach or pool, where we enjoy a few hours of fun in the sun with a picnic lunch.  Then we come home, shower, unpack, snack, and settle down, pleasantly tired, to read books and practice piano.  I love those moments.

If you don't write it down, you'll forget!

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This flower came from a seed packet I purchased for the girls' Easter basket. We're not always success with seed packets, but this one is thriving. Honestly, I can't remember what this flower is called.  It's so interesting, with blossoms in all shades of pink.  I really wish I could remember what it's called. So I'm calling this blog post, "If you don't write it down, you'll forget."
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If a woman arranges flowers for a living, she earns our congratulations even if she doesn't do anything else either because she doesn't know how or because she is too busy at her flower shop. If a woman cooks fine Italian meals for a living- if her gnocchi, with their wonderful hundreds of calories, are famous all over town- we sing her praises, even if when she gets home she is spent... But if a woman, because she is well versed in all the household arts, can do all these things and in fact does them for the people she loves and for those she welcomes into her home... we shake our heads and say she has wasted her talents. -Esolen, Out of the Ashes We made a flower arrangement with some of the hydrangeas from the bushes in our yard. As you can see, the flowers vary in color from green to white to blue to purple. When I was getting married to Dwayne, I wanted nothing more than a bouquet of big, beautiful, blue hydrangeas.  But I was ordering my bouquet in February for a

The Illiad of Homer

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I'm beginning my third year of the Circe Apprenticeship.  One of the books we read this year is The Illiad .  I started reading Book 1 the other afternoon and it infuriated me. At dinner that evening, my kids were being as sassy/clever as usual, but I had a lot less patience for their remarks.  I got up to leave the room and my husband asked, "Where are you going?"  I said, "I get no honor here."  To which, my oldest daughter, who knew I was reading this book and knows the story really well quipped, "Mom, I think the wrath of Achilles might be getting to you."  I had to admit that she might be right.

Jones Winery in Shelton, CT

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On July 4th, Dwayne took me to Jones Winery.  The weather and scenery were lovely. This picture reminds me of the warm breeze blowing through the patio and gently stirring the grape vines hanging above us.  My favorite of the six wines we tried was their Woodlands White. We purchased a few bottles of various kinds to give as gifts to neighbors and friends.  We ordered cheese, salami, and crackers, but note to self: I definitely prefer to drink wine and drink beer with heavier meals.
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I'm trying to be more deliberate about #1. resting and #2. spending more time out in my beautiful yard. So I've been putting those two things together and getting them both done at the same time.  

Balloon Flowers

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I inherited furniture from my husband's grandmother. Another woman planted the flowers in my garden, too. I don't resent them when I see the balloon flowers bloom. Then my hearts swells and breaks open in praise Of gifts received that I did not chose. If I had had more means, I may have used. I am a steward, not a consumer. God often wills us make room for another's choice. I've heard these called weeds! Do you believe it? I think I do. For I've seen solid maple spurned for particle board, too. So women can be fools, indeed. We uproot what God would plant. What we may then nurture in our flesh instead. I'm told they're moved to make room for preference. But fashions and fancies will choke out contentment. Always buying, she'll never own. Always having my way, I'd never gain. Always grasping, grasping, one wouldn't hold anything long enough to pass it on. 

Quiche

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Broccoli Cheddar Quiche Bake the pie crust: I'll buy a frozen pie crust and follow the directions on the wrapping to cook. (I usually thaw it while the oven preheats, poke it with a fork, and cook it for ten-twelve minutes, while I am prepping the rest of the quiche.) To prep the rest of the quiche: I wash a small bunch of broccoli, cut the heads off the bunch, and boil them in a small pot until they are al dente (approx. five to ten minutes- I poke them with a fork to see if they are soft, yet still somewhat firm) Meanwhile, in another pan, I sauté one quarter to half a yellow or white onion in some butter. In a big mixing bowl, I crack four-six eggs and whisk them briefly. (I usually use four eggs, because the broccoli takes up more space. But when I am making a different quiche, like a spinach and feta, those can take five or six eggs, so the amount varies depending on the kinds of ingredients and how much of the ingredients you use.) I drain the broccoli when

Limiting Screen Time

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Good things happen when you limit the amount of time your kids are on screens.  First, kids get bored. Next, they complain. Finally, they pester you. All this lasts until they know you are serious about them finding other ways to entertain themselves.  Once they know you are serious about them entertaining themselves in other ways, they find other ways to entertain themselves.  Because no one likes to be bored. These pictures were all taken within ten seconds of one another the other afternoon.   Notice that my daughter is on a screen in the last picture.   She's composing music.  I'm good with that use of a screen.  My kids understand that some screen time is allowed, some is not. If they don't understand why something is or is not allowed, I offer them my reasons.   If they disagree, I hear them out, and if I can refute their reasoning, I do.   Ultimately, it comes down to me being in charge and them having to

The Snuggery

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Me: Avril?! Where are you?! Avril: I'm in the snuggery!  The girls have taken to calling the book nook "the snuggery." My friend Lainie sent us the definition and we all agree with her that it's the best word ever. Snuggery- a cozy or comfortable place, especially one's own den Everybody should have a snuggery. 

More Puzzles

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My friend Robin gave us several gently used puzzles the other day.  Her kids are all grown now, so she's slowly going through her stuff and getting rid of things.  I am very thankful to have so many new puzzles, especially since many of them are just the sort I would pick out myself.  We love puzzles in summertime, especially after a long, active day out in the water and sun at the pond or beach.

Homemade Lemonade

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I had to zest a few lemons for the scones I made the other day, so I had three lemons with no skin. To use them up, I made lemonade. I used: one gallon cold water, three little scoops of stevia, the juice of three lemons, and slices/ juice from another whole lemon

Watercolor Hydrangeas

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 We used Let's Make Art's kit and tutorial to paint hydrangeas today.  My painting Avril's Norah's Adele's