Thoughts for Tuesday, May 21st

Outside my windows… the weather today can’t decide whether it’s going to be rainy or sunny.

Inside my house… I can smell the cookies that Munchkin baked this afternoon.

Counting 1000 gifts… thankful for cookies that someone else baked while I worked!

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… going a bit stir-crazy with all of the rain! These kids want to be outside, but the weather isn’t cooperating.

From my playlist… 50s music. There are some unusual hits from that decade.

From my reading list… Grace, Grit, Guts by Tracy O’Malley

From my needlework basket… either sewing in ends on the shawl I finished knitting, or working on a sweater. Depends on which I feel more like working on at the time.

In the learning room… the three younger kiddos have wrapped up their Math curriculum for the year, and all three of the older ones have wrapped up Language Arts. We’ll be working on things through July, but it’s nice to have a lighter schedule for summer.

Random ramblings… “When life’s flight is over, and we unload our cargo at the other end, the fellow who got rid of unnecessary weight will have the most valuable cargo to present the Lord.” — Nate Saint

Profound ponderings… I found a new podcast! It’s perfect for readers or writers of speculative fiction. I’m enjoying the author chats, and learning a lot from listening. Tune in:

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, May 14th

Outside my windows… the promised nor’easter has amounted to only rain at our house. I’m hoping it stays that way because snow in May is always a little depressing. (This is also why we don’t plant anything outside before Memorial Day!)

Inside my house… Espresso Brownies just came out of the oven. It’s a recipe from Mary DeMuth’s Irresistible Table cookbook. This recipe alone is worth buying the cookbook for!

Counting 1000 gifts… I’m thankful that despite the rain and cold, we have a stove and coal to keep our house warm.

Prayers of the heart… about exciting things on the horizon, and for wisdom when deciding where to go next.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… playing a rousing round of Cheaters Monopoly. Normally, we don’t allow cheating when playing a game, but this one is really funny! It’s hilarious when everyone is trying to be sneaky while keeping an eye on everyone else. Watch out for the quiet ones though, they sometimes take you by surprise and get away with more than anyone else!

From my playlist… Main Theme from “The Right Stuff” by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra.

From my reading list… I’m going back through Tamara Leigh’s Age of Faith series. I’ve read the books before, but every now and then I go back and read through them again because they are an enjoyable and relaxing read.

From my needlework basket… when I feel like quilting, I have another quilt that I decided to hand quilt in a moment of insanity. If I prefer to knit, I’ve got a lovely summer shawl knit out of cotton that’s getting close to being done.

In the learning room… the end of this week will see kids finishing their math and language arts curriculum for the year. We’ll be working on other subjects through July, and doing a few things to practice math and language arts skills. It’s nice to know that we have a somewhat lighter study load for the summer months though.

Random ramblings… writing an author bio is harder than writing actual articles, blog posts, or stories. I don’t know why, but this is absolutely true. My IT Staff agrees that photographer bios are harder to write than the most technical articles relating to advanced photography. Bios are hard!

Profound ponderings… “I have loved the stars to fondly to be fearful of the night.” — Line from “The Old Astronomer”

Caught on film…

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Desk rocket ship courtesy of Camo! #workspace #teishknits

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Thoughts for Tuesday, May 7th

Outside my windows… the sunny skies from yesterday have clouded over, and there may be rain on the horizon. The orange lilies that are beginning to sprout would appreciate the rain though.

Inside my house… Some things are sprouting, and others are not. There’s one thing about my gardening methods that I’m absolutely sure of: I have no idea what I’m doing.

Counting 1000 gifts… thankful for spring, and for the hard stuff.

Prayers of the heart… for wisdom navigating new seasons. I’m praying for wisdom a lot lately.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… Lunch Break + LEGOs + Tub of Water = I’m staying at my desk till the mess has been cleaned up!

From my playlist… “Wolf Totem” by The Hu. I’m fascinated by interesting style of the music, and now I want to study more about Mongolian culture and their forms of art.

From my reading list… I finished Tamara Leigh’s newest addition to the Age of Conquest series: Fearless. I’m glad that she’s exploring some of the roots of the family we met in her Age of Faith series, and it’s sparked an interest in that particular period of history as well.

From my needlework basket… a summer shawl from the current issue of Knit Simple. It’s the one featured on the cover for anyone who’s curious. I’ll have to post a photo once I get it finished and blocked.

In the learning room… I finally nailed down my curriculum list for the 2019-2020 year. I think… High school elective options are seemingly endless, and a plethora of choices is a double-edged sword!

Random ramblings… Listening to the Free to Focus audiobook has been thought-provoking. It’s one of those books that you need to take a chapter at a time. In thinking about what priorities I should focus on, I started thinking long-term. Right not, home educating is a big priority that does take a fair bit of my time. Ten years from now, I’ll be finished with that chapter of my life. Maybe things that I’ll be doing past this current season need a little bit of my focus too.

Profound ponderings…

“Then I made a path. And I succeeded.

And I’m here to tell other visionary authors that yes, you can follow your heart and take your brain with you. You can write that book, finish it, publish it, and reach your readers without burnout, and without marketing taking over your whole life.

Your book does have a valued place in your life and in the world. Don’t give up. Own those unique words.”

— Janeen Ippolito

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, April 30th

Outside my windows… the snow in my yard is gone!

Inside my house… we’re enjoying the room to work on projects or just hang out with the great sewing room declutter, so we’re taking it to other rooms. The living room is first on the list.

Counting 1000 gifts… quilts on the couches and the kiddos who use them.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… Munchkin is working on a reading assignment, Camo is cooking up a project, while Mr. Q and Little Guy are wandering around the backyard and looking so much like my great-uncles that I can’t help but smile.

From my playlist… no music playing right now, just the rustle of LEGOs, the hum of the coal stove, and the rattle of the gerbil running in his exercise wheel – the soundtrack of my life I suppose!

From my reading list… Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt. I’m actually listening to the audiobook, but the chapter assignments are giving me something to think about.

From my needlework basket… I’m hand-quilting another quilt even though I keep saying that I’m not doing another one by hand. I may be turning into a crazy quilt lady.

In the learning room… Animal Farm was recently on Munchkin’s reading list. It was interesting to see what she thought of it as the story developed. High School is challenging, but it’s also quite fun to have some of these interesting discussions!

Random ramblings… I peeked out the window while making dinner and saw two of my boys ambling around the backyard, and in that moment something about them reminded me so much of my great-uncles — Quinton and Way. I miss them quite a lot sometimes, but it warms my heart to see a bit of them reflected in my boys.

Profound ponderings… “Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like and learn to find the joy in the story you’re living.” – Unknown

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, March 5th

Outside my windows… the giant pile of snow continues to grow. It has now covered nearly 3/4 of the window by my desk. Considering that the wind blew out one of the windows in this room last week, I’m hoping that no one finds me buried in an avalanche of snow while sitting at my desk.

Inside my house… The closed plastic container we are sprouting sunflower seeds in appears to have mold growing on the top of the soil. Opinions on what to do about it are divided. One thing is certain: our luck with plants has not improved.

Counting 1000 gifts… blue skies despite the cold temps and towering snowbanks.

Prayers of the heart… for loved ones traveling.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… some are studying, and others are playing a slightly modified game of Catan. LEGOs have come out and what looks like some kind of LEGO robot is standing on the board. I don’t know what the explanation is, but I’m sure it’s creative!

From my playlist… Faithfully by Journey because I’m on an 80s kick at the moment.

From my reading list… Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home by Becky Rapinchuk. My pre-order copy arrived today!

From my needlework basket… dishcloths using up the collected mountain of leftover cotton yarn from my Mom’s basket and mine. I probably can’t gift these ones since they use more than one color per dishcloth, but I don’t mind if the ones I use are colorful.

In the learning room… a few challenges last week, but I’ve yet to have a school year that didn’t include a few bumps along the way.

Random ramblings… So, while reading my new book about having a healthy home, I’ve discovered that the cleaners and personal care products that I thought were safe include ingredients that are not. I tried looking up safer alternatives, which is not as easy as you’d think, and then the price tag! Of course, I do realize that natural does not always mean safe. Arsenic, radium, and asbestos are natural, but that doesn’t mean I care to keep them around my house! It’s really, really hard to figure out what is “safe” to eat, clean with, wash your hands with, etc. I think my plan at this point is that when I run out of something, I’m going to see if I can find a better alternative that’s still affordable. (Sorry, I can’t spend $20 on an 8 oz. bottle of shampoo!) It gets a little trickier since I have to deal with skin sensitivity issues in our house, and I very quickly discovered that natural, organic, and all of those other labels doesn’t mean that someone can’t have a dramatic skin reaction after using the product. Anyone else find it exhausting trying to keep up with what’s safe and healthy?

Profound ponderings… “This world will have you believe so many lies about yourself. But the truth of who you are has already been spoken about you by your creator — you are beautiful, you are valuable, and you are loved.” — Sally Clarkson

Caught on film…

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My kids know me well! 😉

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Thoughts for Tuesday, February 26th

Outside my windows… There’s actually so much snow that I can’t see out the window by my desk.

Inside my house… the daffodils that I picked up last week are wilting a bit. I’m already feeling anxious for spring to come and the flowers in my yard to bloom again.

Counting 1000 gifts… hot tea because it’s been so cold and windy outside.

Prayers of the heart… for an extra portion of grace this week. I always miss Mom even more than usual this time of year.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… some are studying, and the others are playing a game. Re-organizing the shelf that holds board games and card games made them anxious to play some of their favorites.

From my playlist… “Blessed Assurance”

From my reading list… Placemaker by Christie Purifoy. There will be a review coming, so keep an eye out!

From my needlework basket… I’ve been alternating between working on a teal sweater and a pair of socks, depending on the yarn and needle size I feel like working with.

In the learning room… our 2019-2020 planners arrived! The kids and I love to see the new planner designs, and we’re already looking forward to using them come July.

Random ramblings… Mom would have been 64 today. Sunday will mark 10 years since she passed. So much has changed in the past 10 years — and I can’t say that I’d want to go back to the everything exactly the way it used to be. Not all change is a bad thing, and there have been some good changes. There are a few things I miss, and coffee with my mom is one of them I guess I always will.

Profound ponderings… “There is a place called ‘heaven’ where the good here unfinished is completed; and where the stories unwritten, and the hopes unfulfilled, are continued. We may laugh together yet.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, February 5th

Outside my windows… it was crazy-warm today at over 50 degrees! We had to keep reminding ourselves that this does not mean that winter is even close to over.

Inside my house… I gave in an used bleach to clean my dishwasher. I’ve tried every dishwasher cleaner out there, and every DIY trick suggested by Google. No amount of citric acid, vinegar, or baking soda cleans my dishwasher, but bleach works every time. Much as I dislike bleach, it’s the only think that works for that application.

Counting 1000 gifts… the opportunity to write.

Prayers of the heart… thankful for safety when traveling.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… Munchkin made spaghetti for dinner, which has become sort of her specialty. Her brothers all approve, and I’m thankful to have extra help when it comes to making meals!

From my playlist… Chlorine by Twenty-One Pilots. Yeah, I have pretty weird, eclectic music tastes.

From my reading list… Stretched Too Thin by Jessica Turner.

From my needlework basket… I’m working on a couple of sweater projects. One is for me, and one may be for someone else…

In the learning room… Little Guy has been practicing reading to me from one of his Frog and Toad books. I remember reading them when I was his age. Camo borrowed my copy of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel a few nights ago. Yes, it’s absolutely my book, and I bought it long before I had kids because it’s still my favorite kids book of all time. I love Mike Mulligan and Mary Anne!

Random ramblings… Are you telling me that with all of the short story ideas I have percolating, that none of them feature a hero that saves the day? How did this happen, and how fast can I come up with an idea and write it up for submission?

Profound ponderings… “I’ve been tested like the ends of a weathered flag that’s by the sea.” — From Chlorine by Twenty-One Pilots

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, November 6th

Outside my windows… it’s dark so early since the time change this weekend! Can’t say I love that result.

Inside my house… a candle is burning and the hamburger for tonight’s tacos is defrosting in the microwave.

Counting 1000 gifts… houseplants blooming on the kitchen windowsill, despite the cold outside.

Prayers of the heart… for people traveling, and that I’ll write the things I need to this month.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… hanging out in the living room playing games, reading, and working on projects while I type and make dinner.

From my playlist… Main Theme from “The Right Stuff”. I’ve got a thing for epic soundtracks…

From my reading list… Reading? But it’s NaNoWriMo month. I’m still chipping away at The Minimalist Home, and you can look for a review in December.

From my needlework basket… Fingerless mitts and a scarf. Both are easy projects that I can work on while watching TV with Aaron in the evenings. Sometimes simple knitting is best because it lets you unwind.

In the learning room… I’m having fun listening in on Munchkin’s Biology and American History lecture videos!

Random ramblings… I wrote 15 words on my NaNo project today. Just 15. My total is still at just shy of 16,000 words though. I don’t think this project will hit the 50K goal, but the point of it wasn’t a word count, it was telling a story that I’d never dared sit down and write out from start to finish. I wrote some hard chapters in the first five days of November. Now, I’m at the chapter where my best friend became my better half. It’s one of the best parts of my story, so you’d think that it would be easy to write. Maybe I just needed a day to breathe before I switch from writing about some ugly things that happened, to writing about someone who still makes me smile. In any case, I’ll pick up writing more tomorrow. Tonight, I’m going to have tacos and hang out with my kids for a while.

Profound ponderings… “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…” – C. S. Lewis

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday on Wednesday, October 17th

Outside my windows… the leaves hit their peak about this weekend I think. I’ll enjoy the fading color for as long as I can though.

Inside my house… I still haven’t quite gotten the whole seasonal décor figured out, but at least our tissue boxes have pumpkins printed on them.

Counting 1000 gifts… looking over the photos in my phone from the past year. Lots of smiles on the kiddos’ faces!

Prayers of the heart… for friends who are walking through hard things.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… It’s a free-for-all this evening for dinner, so they’re raiding the cupboard and fridge to see what strikes their fancy.

From my playlist… a track from one of the old Mad Onion benchmark demos. If you have a clue what I’m talking about, you’re either a hardcore computer geek, or you’re married to one!

From my reading list… The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker. I’m on the launch team for this book, so it’s not releasing to the public until December. (ARCs are lovely things!) I’ll be sharing a review closer to the launch date, so be sure to check back for that.

From my needlework basket… I’m hand-quilting a Christmas quilt. Really. Every time I hand-quilt something I swear that I’m never doing that again. Every time. Six months later, I inevitably get the idea that I should hand-quilt something. I have a love/hate relationship with hand quilting.

In the learning room… the kids and I have survived the first 6 week block of our school year and so this is their week off. I think we all breathe a little sigh of relief when we get to our week off. It’s nice to be able to rest a bit when you’ve been working hard!

Random ramblings… Guys, I really want to just chicken out on NaNoWriMo this year. I sort of wish that I had never said anything about it to anyone so that I could chicken out and no one would know. That’s actually why I mentioned it on my blog and told a few of my real life friends, so that I couldn’t jump ship. I want to do this. I need to do this. This is important. I’m writing these things down because of the quote I’m sharing this week…

Profound ponderings… “I do not sit down at my desk to put into verse something that is already clear in my mind. If it were clear in my mind, I should have no incentive or need to write about it. We do not write in order to be understood; we write in order to understand.” – C.S. Lewis

Caught on film…

Thoughts for Tuesday, October 9th

Outside my windows… It’s overcast but the leaves have turned brilliant shades of autumn.

Inside my house… the leaky kitchen faucet replacement turned into a kitchen sink replacement which turned into needing a bigger hole cut in the existing countertop. Thankfully, we have a friend who knows what he’s doing when we don’t, and he was gracious enough to help us!

Counting 1000 gifts… the riot of fall colors that I see every time I look outside. It may not last long, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

Prayers of the heart… for a family in my hometown who are going through an unimaginably difficult thing.

What the (not quite so) little ones are up to… finishing up lunch and enjoying an hour break from their studies. Munchkin has been using this time to work on a quilt!

From my playlist… Amazing Grace by J2. It’s an interesting rendition, and it’s been added to my writing playlist.

From my reading list… The Brave Art of Motherhood launched today, so now you can get your own copy of the book that gave me the push I needed to pick my 2018 NaNoWriMo project!

From my needlework basket… I decided to make a Christmas quilt. I’ve pieced the top, and I’m just waiting for the batting to arrive so that I can get to work quilting it. I’ll likely regret taking on another hand quilting project, but for some reason I keep deciding that it sounds like a good idea!

In the learning room… We’re on our 6th week of school, and though it’s gone well, we’re all looking forward to next week’s break.

Random ramblings… Too many things fill my head, my heart, and my soul these days. Much of it, I can’t seem to express with words. I find myself longing to be a painter or a composer, so that I could somehow express all of these things. The closest I can come to either of those is poetry perhaps, but even that seems but a pale shadow.

Profound ponderings… “The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.” – JRR Tolkien

Caught on film…