Friday, August 19, 2011

Little tags

One of the fun things about girls is that they love to be surrounded by friends. It seems we're always planning playdates or going to parties. Sometimes I run out of ideas for gifts for all the different parties and holidays. This time we decided on a little purse (what girl doesn't need a new purse) with a bit of a spin.

I love to sew these little tags. Usually I attach them with ribbon. This time I decided to add a ring so that they could be removed and put on different bags. Emma has one that I keep on her backpack but can change it over to her dance bag or even her duffle bag when we travel.

I made this cute 'paperdoll' tag for a baby shower. The fabric was some I'd saved after making a dress for Emma when she was a toddler.

Have I shown you this???

Welcome friends to what I think of as the loveliest room in my home-my little sewing room. Some people call there's a studio but mine is a plain and simple sewing room. I wanted it to feel like you were walking into your Grandmother's attic. My love of old things is evident. I especially cherish those pieces with lots of memories. Around my room you'll find a quilt my grandmother made, a quilt made by Mark's great-grandmother, linens from Mark's grandmother, a table my father-in-law used for years and refinished for us and the christening gown I made.

The cradle at the foot of the wrought iron bed holds years worth of sewing magazines that I just can't part with.

If you happen to be counting, yes there are 3 sewing machines in my room. You see I share this room with my girls. I love to have them come in and sew with me.

I adore having pretty things to store all my clutter in. :) Around the room are hat boxes, baskets-both wicker and metal and an antique armoire that was my grandfather's.

I treasure my little room with the warm, yellow walls and the big window that lets the afternoon sun shine through. It's a perfect space to create in-surrounded by my girls and so many memories.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My favorite place

I serve such a wonderful God. So...why does it always surprise me when he blesses me? A while ago I started praying that He'd help me rise early to be with Him. He's been so faithful. I wake up early, before the rest of the house and the first thing on my mind is being with Him.

I go to our place-my dining room table that has windows overlooking the water, facing the east. Almost always, as soon as I finish my Bible reading, the sun shows it's face above the trees. Just as I begin my prayer time I feel the warmth. I feel the embrace of our Lord who is always, always there for me. This summer has been kind of tough for our family. Over and over again God has shown His faithfulness-in the big things and the small. I still worry about a lot. But, I know that every morning He will meet me there and take the load that I carry. What an awesome God I serve!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First day of school

The public schools in our area started back on August 15. That's a bit too early for us to jump into a full schedule. This year we're easing into it. August 16 was the first day of co-op classes for us. We haven't participated in a co-op in several years. I signed up this time because so much of what they offered was what we were going to be doing anyway. Plus it's just fun for the girls to be with their friends at least one day a week.
So, here's our official '1st day of school 2011' picture:

Emma is 2nd grade, Grace 8th grade and Mary is 9th grade.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cooking Class

Eating happens to be a hobby for me. I just wish cooking was! LOL! I enjoy cooking, it just doesn't come easy for me and doesn't always turn out the way I plan. I'm working on that though.

Recently we had our Spanish tutor and good friend over to show us how to make empanadas. Beatriz is originally from Columbia. I've had empanadas while in Argentina, but these were different.

The fillings were 2 different meats. One was a roast that was boiled, torn and added to a red salsa and boiled potatoes. The other was boiled chicken mixed with red salsa and boiled potatoes. Both were put into a cornmeal dough and deep fried.

She made a yummy green salsa for dipping.

The lesson concluded with a total of 80 empanadas and some very full tummies! I can't wait to try them again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Our Girl's Road Trip

(a barn in Iowa)

Nothing does my heart more good that spending time with my girls. At the end of July we decided to go on a road trip. It's kind of an annual thing for us. This year was a bit different...a bit farther. Usually we travel in our state or neighboring states. For this drive we were heading north, way north-all the way to Brainerd, MN. Grace and I sat on the back porch one evening a couple of weeks prior to leaving to plan the drive. I casually asked Grace, "How many miles to MN?" She hesitantly replied, "14oo". My mouth fell open! Seriously??? I know where Minnesota is. I've flown there many times. I've just never driven there-by myself with 3 children and 1 dog. I immediately decided this was crazy. We would be driving from the bottom of our country almost all the way to the top (within 6 hours of Canada). My hubby came to the rescue and assured me that I could do it and that the girls and I would make so many memories.

(our friend's barn in Ft. Ripley, MN)
So, that Thursday morning we loaded up our small SUV and departed about 7:00am. The first day we drove all the way to Wentzville, MO (just above St. Louis). The following day we made it to our destination around 7:30 pm. Honestly it wasn't as bad as I thought to drive 1400 miles. I love seeing our beautiful country and this was the perfect opportunity.

You may be asking why we wanted to go to Brainerd, MN. Well, it involves a dog...actually 3. Our puppies are up there at a kennel called Pine Shadows for training. They left in June and will return home in Sept. We just couldn't wait to see them. Plus we wanted to see where 2 of our Springer Spaniels were born and meet their 'family'. We also happen to be good friends with the trainer and his family. We visited the kennel, broke bread with our friends and shopped at the nearby town of Nisswa.

(me with one of the many puppies at Pine Shadows)

(our little English Pointer Willow)

(Thicket, our 3yr old Springer Spaniel from Pine Shadows)
Yes, it was well worth the 22 hours and 1400 miles (one way) to see our babies and friends. Now I'm wondering where our next adventure will take us.

A Special Birthday

13 is a special year for a girl. You're right in the middle of wanting to be a girl and wanting to grow up. To celebrate Grace's milestone she decided on a swing dancing/ice cream social.

The cake was pretty easy. I borrowed an old 45 record from my dad, put toothpicks on the cake and set it on top.

We decorated the back porch with old records and balloons in black, silver and red. I set up tables for the food and drinks. We also had the Bose out there to play music. Thankfully the porch is wide enough to swing dance. When everyone was tired of that they played outside games-Capture the flag, sardines, etc. Later in the evening it started to rain so they all came inside and played more games and ate more food. :)

Grace, along with all her friends said they had a wonderful time. It did my heart good to make my baby girl happy and to have all her friends running around our house and yard. Happy birthday Gracie girl!

A family that plays together....

I love having our daughters home all the time. In fact it hurts my heart for them to go to a friend's house overnight. That probably sounds silly , especially since we homeschool and are around each other all the time. I just keep thinking that I may not have that much more time with them. One day they'll go off to start their own families. It won't be the same anymore. So, for now, we're sticking close together-for school, for worship and for fun.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon on the river water skiing-one of our favorite past times. I didn't learn to ski until I met my husband. While we were dating we spent the weekend with his grandparents on Pickwick Lake in NE Mississippi. His grandfather taught me to ski in the same boat Mark learned to ski with. It was a wonderful weekend. Fast forward to about 5 years ago. Mark bought a used ski boat. His idea was for us to make our own fun and keep our family together. The girls were so scared to try skiing. To keep the peace, I agreed to go first-on the original skis I'd learned on all those years ago. Did I mention I hadn't skied since I was in MS? Thankfully I got up the first time! Mary and Grace followed.

(the momma dog! aka me! LOL)
Emma (7yrs old) is the only left to learn to ski. She gave it a good try yesterday. Mark's dream is to pull all of us girls behind the old Master Craft at one time. Sounds good...but I think we'll need a river a bit bigger than ours. Lol!
(Me helping Emma with her first try)


(Grace and Me-my right ski was about to fall off at the time. LOL!)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A new (school) year

Every year at this time I get so excited! A new year-not on the calendar, but for school. At first I have to admit that I stress. What shall we do this year? Last year we took the plunge and totally changed our curriculum. This year, we're changing back. It was good for a while but we prefer the old way. We like the classical approach to homeschooling our girls. I especially love us all piling up on the sofa or spreading a blanket in the yard and getting to read to my girls. I like mixing the 2nd grader with the 9th grader.

So, I've purchased all the supplies for the year. I just love stocking up on colors and paper, pencils and notebooks. Grace and I organized the school room yesterday. Most of the books are back in alphabetical order. The supplies are grouped together all neat and orderly. We bought new maps and have hung them. I got a new binder for our schedule and a new day planner from SCM (I've used these for several years and they're my favorite). Today I'm actually working on our schedule-hope to be finished before next week.

Speaking of schedules, I know some people who don't use them at all. I can't imagine schooling this way. I love to have our school year mapped out. I want to know where we've started and where we're heading. I like to set goals and reach them. If I get it on paper it somehow helps me to organize my mind. I was especially happy one day when our pastor spoke of how our God is an organized God. He plans/planned things out in detail. Just look at the Bible! So....maybe it's not cleanliness that's next to Godliness, but organization! :)

You may be curious as to what we're doing this year. Ambleside Online is my absolute favorite approach to schooling. We've used it for several years. It's based on Charlotte Mason's style of teaching. My big girls are 8th and 9th grade. We'll use some books from Year 8 and some from Year 9. They'll be going to a co-op 1 day a week that will offer IEW (an incredible writing program), Apologia Biology and History (concentrating on documents from the same time period as AO)and Bible. We'll have Saxon math, Latina Christina and Rosetta Stone Spanish.

Emma who is 2nd grade will have English for the thoughtful child, Apologia Botany, All about spelling, Prima Latin, The Story of the World and Rosetta Stone Spanish. At co-op she'll do science experiments, history (Biblioplan), Bible, memory, language, chorus and logic games. I haven't chosen a math program for her yet.

I'll post our detailed schedule and the complete book list later. For now I'm in my element planning and anticipating all the fun we'll have learning together. I'm so blessed to be able to stay home and teach my children. Visit soon...there's more to come.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hello friends

This summer we've checked out for a bit. We've been sewing, going for boat rides, having ice cream on the river and enjoying all the friends who have come for short visits and some for long visits. We just got back from a long road trip-just us girls. It was fabulous! I can't wait to tell you about it. Plus all the changes in our home and plans for a new school year. It's an exciting time.
Tonight I've been catching up with all my friends; all those blogs I follow. I've missed you guys! I love seeing what every one's making and doing and thinking about. It makes life even more fun and interesting. While I catch up with all of you, I hope you'll be patient with me. Come back...I'll post soon. :)