My something new for last week (I'm running behind because this was so boring, but it still counts.).
I learned how to do a rolled hem on my sewing machine. That's all.
And also - I've found myself sort of overwhelmed by the computer lately - the blog is one thing, but emails and Twitter (which I'm kind of on, but not really) and Flickr and the 2-3 thousand blogs I read. Whew! It's just a lot. Our schedule is fairly busy lately, so if I'm not here as much, it's not you. It's me. Really. :)
Back in October, I purchased a rug for our living room. I struggled with the decision because I always tell myself that a new toy won't make me happy. The rug, however, has changed our family life more than anything else. We play together so much more in the living room. We are together more. Now that Christmas is behind us, I took a look at the children's rooms and assessed how well they were working.
Last week I rearranged my son's bedroom. He never played in it like my daughter played in her room. I cleaned up and out all the toys, sorting them back into bins by type. I moved the rug out of the walkway and into the center of the room. I left a little hidden corner of sorts for an inviting place for him to play. I hung artwork. I set up a CD for music. I set puzzles and lacing cards on a little table, ready for playtime.
The toys are stashed in that armoire (or under it, so it appears) - tinker toys, legos.. standard stuff. This has made all the difference in the world in his ability to entertain himself while I have morning lessons with my daughter. He has far more one on one time than she does and has never really learned how to be on his own. Clean up is also super simple. Having the toys neat and available makes them far more inviting. None of this is new and exciting, but it has changed our days.
The CD player, in particular is key. He enjoys all kinds of music, but when I'm desperate nothing delights him more than the Imperial March from the Empire Strikes Back (or one of them, I don't know). All my hopes of raising a little pacifist were destroyed when my brother introduced my son to Star Wars.
He also has a small chalkboard that he can write on either in his room or at the table. He practices his letters and draws pictures of the beach - and big! scary! monsters!. He is at a great age for tactile sorts of activities and I'm trying to encourage that.
I'm enjoying this phase with him more than any other. My parenting style with my children is almost entirely opposite because of their temperaments. This preschool phase with him has been a new and more relaxed adventure. We still have several issues - he hates it when I read to my daughter and stands beside us and screams and cries the whole time. He is very demanding at bedtime. I am never able to read to the two of them together without everyone losing their temper. I'm not complaining, just being honest because it's really easy to write here and pretend that everything is always peaceful.
It's almost nine and I still haven't made breakfast - time's up here. Happy Thursday!
I have nothing else to talk about so here's a sample day (today) of our lessons:
For the 8yo.
Math U See - still working on Gamma lesson 25, Multiple digit multiplication - this is more difficult for Lucy, so we are taking it very slowly. Two word problems today and then we ran through multiplication flash cards.
Language of God - I don't remember what page - but it was verb endings. Two pages completed. Or was it one?
Latina Christiana - Lesson 1-V Review (verbal mostly - we are all roaming around the house repeating, "mensa, mensae, mensae, mensam...) She usually beats me in memorization. (Ahh, and I hear the baby in the bathroom other room going down the list too)
Science - We'll watch last night's Nova here in a few minutes and go over our migration numbers from last autumn.
Arts - Lucy is working on a cross stitch project behind me right now.
Reading - The Horse and His Boy - try as I might, I cannot get all that excited about the Narnia books. She's reading them alone because I can't stand to read these aloud.
History - We are reading the Roman History passages from Story of the World at night - alternated with Famous Men of Rome. This has been the longest we've stuck with a more formal History program (2 weeks)
Piano practice, ballet cancelled.
For my baby 4yo:
Intensive football training. 24 years from now when he throws the winning touchdown in the Superbowl, you will see him tap the ball twice with the opposite hand and I will tell you now, I taught him to throw and he picked up that habit from me. He thinks it's mandatory.
Math: Counting the seconds until I get off the computer to resume playing football. Literally, this is what he is doing right now. I will write more about his space tomorrow because he's about to pass to me and I need to be open.
Nina tagged me yesterday, though I'm pretty sure she knows I have a tagging phobia. Only for Nina would I play along (except for actually tagging anyone) because she continually challenges me to be a better person. And I'm in a very good mood today - dare I say, I'm feeling very hopeful (ha, ha! hugs to all my friends regardless of political leanings). Anyway. Here are some things that are making me happy right now.
That I have a real life friend worthy of my precious few yards of "My Folklore" fabric. (You had better comment if you don't like this because if you don't, I'll keeping it for myself).
It is a gorgeous day in Texas. Sunny, but not over bright, warm but with a cool dampness in the air. The smell of dirt and the little hands helping me start 2009's vegetable garden makes me happy today.
The promise of Fair Isle fun this weekend. And on sale, ahhh!
Freesias peeking up out of the soil - a surprise gift from my husband.
Our annual winter garden activities. It wouldn't be 'as cozy as spring' in winter if I weren't telling you to recycle your garbage into miniature greenhouses. These are rosemary cuttings. You can't ever have too much rosemary in your garden.
The Rabbit's Foot fern in my kitchen window and Tchaikovsky on ITunes - OK, I'll tag one person Regan because she helped me out with my Tchaikovsky lessons this week.
cotton classics - I love this yarn. I knit a hat several years ago in shades of blue and it's been worn over and over - even thrown in the washer several times and it still looks lovely. Winter is much more tolerable when paired with pretty yarn.
From yesterday morning - this photo has nothing to do with anything except that I'm hoping it will distract you from me being catty (again). But it's bad to hold things in too long. So -
He's not Jesus! Can we please just get a hold of ourselves America? My favorite late night comedian keeps joking about how Obama was 'born in a manger and rode to school on a unicorn' and on and on. OK, no Bush wasn't necessarily the best president ever but Obama hasn't done a single thing yet. His speech yesterday was mediocre at best and appalling to some. So just settle down everyone. I fully intend to give him a chance and everything but really.
Look at those chubby hands! So sweet!
Puzzles are here - this company makes some great products.
And one more thing, why do I only catch my typos when I see them on Google Reader? Why not before I hit publish?
My next challenge this year is to add orchid grower to my list of conquered domestic tasks. When I worked in a nursery, I spent a good deal of time caring for several different types of orchids so the knowledge is there, if not the experience.
I got a couple of out of bloom Phalaenopsis orchids for free so there's no reason not to stick them in my south facing kitchen window, hoping they enjoy the daily steam bath from my dishwater. Truthfully, I don't much care for tropical flowers of any kind (though the mere thought of the smell of jasmine on an early summer evening is making me sigh contentedly - can you imagine?) Anyway, I prefer mountain flora. But you never know what you might try and love, so I'll do this just because. And the roots are gorgeous. I think I'll take you on a photographic tour of my favorite garden roots someday soon. That will surely send my blog stats through the roof. ;)
Should I wear a hot pink tube top to Mass? I promise to pair it with a stylish cardigan.
At least I'm there
Dear "At least I'm there",
Tube tops are not recommended Mass attire. I admire your attempt at modesty by covering it, but here's the thing: Tube tops, at some point, will inevitably succumb to gravity and then my friend, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do you just let it slide (not recommended) or do you grab it 'round your armpits and hoist it back up. This ranks higher than the dreaded random cellphone ring as distracting to the other parishioners.
If you need a visual (mild swearing to those reading 'as cozy as spring' with a child nearby):
For the garden: Planting garlic and onions today. I've only ever planted garlic in the fall - we'll see how this works! My husband wants to give strawberries another try - Their shallow root system and my forgetful watering habits seem to do them in every summer. My husband also wants to try putting in a sprinkler system. I have to consistently remind him that I never forget to water the children.
Paperwork: All tax documents are in and I'm going to see if I can manage my earliest filing ever on Tuesday.
Sewing: I'm sewing for others a lot lately which is why you aren't seeing any of it. I've given myself deadlines and I'm feeling awfully cute about it.
I finally changed to reusable grocery bags. I held out for a long time, feeling self conscious about the whole idea. It just seemed sort of showy to me. But now that I have made the switch, I'm quite happy about it - if only that those bags carry a lot more than any other which comes in handy when you are trying to hang on to a bouncy toddler in a busy parking lot.
(And I was stocking our pantry here - I put all the vegetables away prior to taking this photo, really I did.)
Another switch that was easier to make: Cloth bags for gift giving instead of wrapping paper, ht Nina. I have plenty of scrap fabric that is perfect for sewing little bags. And the recipient can reuse it as a bag or cut it up for scraps of their own.
Update: Dinner was quite good. That recipe is a keeper. However, I think (and my husband agreed) that if you use vegetable stock, you need to up the garlic and not go light on the salt. The beef stock probably would have made for a tastier dish, but that just isn't going to happen here. My husband also requested more sauce, so I think I'll double the stock next time and reduce it further.
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