The Scrabble letters worked out so well for spelling and reading lessons, I made some numbers for math. Just little wooden disks from the craft store and a paint pen. My son uses them for number recognition and addition. My daughter uses them for multiplication review; randomly choosing two numbers from a jar. It's fun and simple. Perfect.
I spent the weekend in bed watching Sarah Richardson remodel homes (love her!). This is so bad for me. I start thinking, "I could take out that wall...I could replace that door with a window... I could upgrade all our windows...and if I'm going to do that I might as well..." In reality, I can't do any of these things. But I can declutter and clean up a bit. An autumnal spring cleaning before we enter the busy Christmas season. Our biggest problem is books and where to put them. A bookshelf that would be big enough to hold all of our books would not fit in our home, so they are stuffed in armoires, bulb crates, wooden wine boxes, under beds. Needless to say, I misplace a few here and there. I pulled out all of our autumn and American history books this weekend, but what to do with the rest? Perhaps Sarah could come by and add a library on to our home?
And yes, I am expecting an Amazon order this week.
I love how the sky changes in late September. I never can tell if it's deeper or brighter, more silvery or more saturated, but I love it just the same.
OK, just a wrap up today:
I don't know the full story as I missed the news yesterday, but I would like to say "Thanks and well done!" to the FBI.
My husband made me vegetarian chili this week. I gave up eating beef 20 years ago (yikes!) and chicken shortly after that. I still miss tacos, frito chili pie, and Arby's cheddar melts. I found it oh so romantic that he made me a vegetarian chili and made it super yummy. He has not yet given me the recipe. If anyone is interested, I'll harass him for it tonight.
We had to rescue our caterpillars this week from wasp attacks. There were wasps and some other evil flying insect. The horror! I brought four of them inside and they are thriving. It's been fun to watch them up close, but I do feel as if I'm running a little butterfly prison and I prefer to watch them outside in their natural habitat. It is awfully cute to hear my son say chrysalis without the r and l.
I think that's all, except for all the things I'm forgetting. Happy Friday - I'm going back to my knitting. I'm almost done with the body (Bookworm and I are knitting the same thing, how fun!) Hopefully, I'll have the sleeves done before October 1.
The days grew shorter and the moon shone bright and cold as a silver coin, cutting little grey shadows in the pine branches and telling all the forest creatures that summer really was at an end.
-Children of the Forest, Elsa Beskow
Happy Autumn! We had the most perfect first day of autumn I can remember. We wore cardigans (because it was cool!) and hunted mushrooms, had hot cocoa and coffee in the car, made miniature apple pies and roasted tomato soup, played football with my baby, and watched two of our baby caterpillars form brilliant green and gold chrysalides (I had to look up the plural form of chrysalis - do you ever wonder if some web site is just messing with you? Like giving you a very wrong answer just for kicks? I do. Because I think that would be hilarious).
We had a lesson in chopping with a real knife. Do you see how she is holding the knife in the photo? She was shocked at how much easier it was when she turned her hand around.
In the end, it was exhausting. My husband is home today and I hope to fit in a large portion of nothing this afternoon.
Summer is my least favorite season and I started out today thinking "Yay and good riddance!", but as I looked through all of my summer photos while putting this post together... well, it was quite lovely in the end. And sometimes I really hate that I don't post photos of my children's faces because 1) They're super cute and 2) My son has adopted this practice - think Calvin and Hobbes Christmas Photo attempts - and he is making a ridiculously goofy face in all my summer photos. I can't be annoyed about that. It just says a lot about who he was this summer.
I'm thinking barbecued chicken and grilled corn for dinner, blueberry crisp for dessert. Farewell summer, I'll actually miss you a bit this year.
This is mostly for me. It's probably boring to read, but some of this needed to be noted. Particularly concerning my baby boy!
From this week:
My baby 5yo son (not quite kindergarten ready, but slowly...):
Started reading! He made his way through the first two Bob Books. Some of it is memorization or sight recognition, but he's understood the concepts of left to right and different letters resulting in different words (Sam vs. sat). Big step forward. As a game, I had him spell out each word with Scrabble letters everyday. He loved this and I think it will definitely help put it all together.
Switched out seasonal picture books, yay autumn
Learned about seashores/hermit crabs in science
played football together, sweet.
Realized he could count to thirty after I requested 25 kisses from him, also sweet.
My 9 yo daughter:
Finished lesson 10 in MUS Delta
Reviewed Lesson 16 in Latina Christiana (need to test still but she knows the vocabulary)
Lesson 10 CHC Spelling C (I think?)
Possessive/Plural in Language of God - still needs work on it's/its
Independent Reading The Secret of the Ruby Ring - a sweet surprise from a friend - My daughter is very much enjoying this story. She narrated it to me on a walk on Wednesday.
Rereading together - Little Women. We started to pick up Little Men this week but I realized that we would have to go back and finish Little Women. I can't say I'm bothered by this. This book is wonderful to read aloud. I caught my daughter at 10:15 last night huddled by her tiny night light reading it by herself. I couldn't decide whether to be angry or not.
Put together timeline sheet on Christopher Columbus with maps and copywork. Read about Vespucci and Magellan in Story of the World II. Continued to read about the Mayan civilization. I got to show her photos of her daddy and I exploring the Mayan ruins in Mexico on our honeymoon.
First nature walk through the Botanic Gardens earlier this week - cloudy and cool, only one butterfly sighting - a black swallowtail. Found plenty of snails and fungi which is her latest obsession. I need to get an ID book.
Visited art museum, discussed Renaissance
Listen to King Arthur CD in the car
Geography pages for - Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina
Ballet auditions today*
Piano every day
Worked on left side of cable cardigan, going together far more quickly than I expected. If my thumb would stop bothering me, I could probably finish it next week.
working on clearing stuff out - resold box of books and filed a bunch of paperwork, yay me.
In the interest of simplifying Christmas, I caved on these ornament kits in about 30 seconds. Oh my cute.
Made a sweet little Halloween party dress for Samantha with tiny spidery bows. More importantly, I made my daughter very happy.
Goals for next week:
Make a great tomato soup and rosemary bread
get started on Halloween costumes for real people (my daughter wants to dress as Felicity - inspired by Diane (found the pattern on ebay) and my son wants to be a pumpkin)
Yard work, clean up back yard, prune crepe myrtles and loropetalums, plant spinach.
OK then! It's almost 6:00am here and I need to finish the ironing before the children wake up. Happy weekend!
* I was trying to prepare my daughter for the possibility that she won't be cast. I needn't have worried. Her idea of what an audition will be like comes from (this is hilarious) American Idol. She is totally prepared to have some Simon Cowell-like figure tell her she's absolute rubbish. I never thought I'd be grateful that she watched that show, which strikes me as just plain mean, but I can safely say that she'll be pleasantly surprised at how civil her auditions will be.
These popped into my head yesterday and I made them this morning. Yikes, they are dangerously good and so very easy to make. They are going into the permanent collection. Recipe found here (towards the bottom). Perfect for a quiet afternoon at home.
We're enjoying the win column and I'm knitting. I was on blog break when I finished up a little cardigan this summer, but it really needs to be mentioned because I love this pattern! It's Chloe from Alana Dakos. There are so many reasons why this is a great pattern:
The construction is super simple and seamless, yay!
It's a great stylish fit for little girls
It's sized from newborn to 12 years old - so I can knit a few for my daughter and plan on giving some as gifts as well.
It's a quick knit. I lengthened the torso several inches and used a dk weight yarn (the pattern is written for worsted) and it still only took a week.
It's so functional. I was eager to use up some dk weight cotton and adapted the pattern for a more casual look (using every color in my stash). My daughter layered it while we were camping. And she wears it as a cover up for ballet as well. And she sleeps in it (she really likes it too). But I am going to knit a dressier version with the bottom ruffle for her to wear to Mass - because 1) It would be lovely paired with a sleeveless dress and 2) Our churches are always ridiculously cold in the summer - this is a bit more appropriate than a blanket.
Anyway, the pattern is well written and I'm so glad I have it in my pattern folder because I'm going to get a lot of use out of it.
I didn't get many good photos - my daughter is ever so tired of modeling.
I'm being called away from the computer for cuddles, no proofreading today!
Kristen wrote about not wasting gifts last week. This is sort of why I love blogging. You never know how your words will affect your reader. This is the very simple solution to a lot of the mental struggles I've had lately. In short, thinking about what I don't have and not taking care of the gifts I've been given. It's hard to write that! Complacency. Taking my blessings for granted. I'm not well known in my family for providing good meals. I am absent minded at the grocery store and very frugal, only buying the bare minimum. But I can cook well when I put my mind to it. To my husband's delight, I've decided to put good, healthy family meals a little higher on the priority list.
I've been trying a few new recipes from my favorite food blog, smitten kitchen. Last week I made the cranberry walnut chicken salad and the roasted tomatoes and cipollini. I love anything combining tomatoes and cannellini beans, but the latter dish didn't really hit the spot. It was oddly bland. Alas, that could have been due to the store bought tomatoes. I will try this again next June when our garden overflows.
But! I made the most of the situation. For the longest time I've ignored the idea of homemade chicken stock. The last thing I want to do in the kitchen is deal with spare parts, so to speak. I used a rotisserie chicken for the chicken salad and had plenty of onions and celery left over as well. I added lots of water, a few bundles of herbs and six hours later I had the most amazing chicken stock. And instead of tossing the roasted tomatoes, I put the leftovers in the blender with my super awesome chicken stock and made super awesome roasted tomato soup. This, I will definitely make again.
Does anyone else have a good use for really good chicken stock? (I don't like risotto) Favorite soup recipes?
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