Sunday, August 30, 2009

school room redo!

It all started off innocently enough...I just needed to touch up the cabinets because the knots in the wood had begun to show through. After I painted the cabinets, the woodwork looked off. So I gave that a quick swipe with fresh paint and stood back to admire my work. Well, as you can guess, the walls appeared quite dingy next to the freshly painted woodwork. This led to the ceiling needing painting and by then I knew it was time to just do it all and freshen up the whole room! So, here's peek at what it looked like before (and I really mean just a peek). I'm kicking myself that I didn't take a bunch of before pictures. But I guess I didn't see the need, I was only going to repaint the cabinets!
The walls had cranberry ticking wallpaper on them about 3/4 of the way up. The kids and I took down the wallpaper and I painted the walls green (after we scrapped, soaked, peeled and primed them). I added a new curtain and some accessories. We love it! It has made starting school even more of a fresh start.

The paint is a Duron custom color in semi-gloss, but I found the color at Lowes. It is called Homstead Resort Pale Olive. Sometimes it looks more seems to change with the light. I did some sample colors on the wall before I committed to this one. The family was split on whether or not they liked it. But now that it's up and completed everyone really likes it. I wonder if this new look will inspire us to greatness this year? Hey! A mom can always hope!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

what works...what doesn't

We started school on Monday. I was wiped out by Monday night. This first week of school is always one of tweaking and figuring out what works and what doesn't. For example: leaving math until the end of the day doesn't work. Getting the dishwasher unloaded before lunchtime - does work. Here's some of things I've figured out:
Mckenzie practicing the piano while Maggie and I edit writing is a bad combination.
As soon as John Samuel and I sit down to do some reading, Molly will have to go outside.An early breakfast requires an early lunch...which in turn requires a mid afternoon snack. (school just makes you more hungry!)
I need to take a break and do something outside for just a couple of minutes during the day to recharge myself.
Logic is not something that comes me.I will not handle everything right throughout the day, I'm better to just ask for forgiveness as soon as I realize I've blown it.
Ipods and reading history are not compatible.I'm sure I'll be learning as much as the kids do this year. I always do. So, what have you figured out today?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

lesson learned

I've been trying on and off, from time to time to get a picture of a hummingbird all summer. We have a feeder on our deck and the tiny birds come often to drink. I also have lot of flowers on my deck and they love the bright colors. So the other day I decided to sit down with my camera and stake out the feeding area. I got my settings on the camera all ready and began to wait. I was on a mission. Well, the hummingbirds must have seen me waiting in the shadows because they never came. I waited and waited and waited. I was sure they were over in my neighbor's yard slurping on her nectar. (you know the hummingbirds always buzz more on the other side of the fence). She's got beautiful red mandevillas and I was sure the hummingbirds were dining on her deck; but the hummingbirds weren't there. So I went back to my perch determined to wait a bit longer. Well, while I waited, I looked through the lens of my camera and this is what I saw:
I eventually got a picture of a hummingbird, but what I really captured was a lesson learned. As I was waiting there was so much beauty to enjoy. I must remember to look through the lens of life and capture the beauty that is around me. Too often I miss it as I wait for the elusive hummingbirds of life to show up. I didn't need to get up and go anywhere, I just had to look around me to see all the wonders and beauty that were there all along. So I hope this weekend you'll see the beauty around you and that you'll take the time to capture and enjoy it!

"The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance" Psalm 16:6

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

the clock is ticking....time's running short

School officially starts for us on Monday. (cue ominous music) I say officially, because we've started to ease into some of our subjects. Maggie started her Logic course yesterday and Mckenzie is going to start some of her history this week. I like easing into makes the transition from vacation to school a little less jolting. As I've been looking at the calendar, I've taken stock of the projects that I have undertaken (either physically or mentally) within the past couple of weeks. I know that I won't finish them all before the clock strikes 8am on Monday. So for me, it's good to look at what is left and what will remain undone before reality hits. I'm easing into what is realistic.
Currently, here's my project lineup:

Painting the school room {I know I shouldn't have waited til the week before school starts!}
My log cabin scrappy quilt {the blocks are the quilt top needs to be sewn}
Provence Broken Rib Yoke sweater {this needs a new name...blah - but I'm loving the pattern}
some little zipper totes from Sew Pretty Homestyle {these will only take an hour or so to finish}
an autumn cross stitch that is ready to be started {but I'm not starting this until some others are done!}
girlfriend scarf {yarn purchased...nothing started}
textured shawl {yarn purchased...nothing started}
So, here's where I have to draw a line in the sand (for myself). I will finish the school room, probably today if not tomorrow. As for the remaining projects, I need to purpose that my school time with the kids is just that. school time. I'll pick up a project to work on in the evenings and on the weekends. I know my tendencies and if I'm not specific (and perhaps public) with my intentions I tend to lean towards picking up too many things and stretching myself in too many places. John and I were talking about that last night. He's so good at helping me stay within the bounds of what is sane for me. So these are my therapy projects as I head into autumn. Everyone needs therapy right? What's on your therapy list?

Friday, August 14, 2009

as the days slip by....

As our summer silently slips by, we've been busy enjoying each other and our days without schedules. We've been:
jumping for joy:: {john samuel got new bedroom furniture - you can see it here.}
finishing a memory keeper:: {kristyn and i got these last summer as a souvenir from our trips to hilton head, island - i finally finished mine this week!}
delivering the news:: {the kids took on a paper route for some friends who were on vacation}
re purposing a shelf:: {i spray painted an old shelf for a new purpose, and i love how it turned out!}
watching 2 stars:: {maggie and her friend sarah were in a play, it was awesome to watch them on stage}
marvelling:: {kenzie and i spent part of the morning finding spider webs and enjoying their beauty}enjoying the company of loved ones:: {my grandma spent a couple of days with us, we really enjoyed her. she and john samuel loved playing play-doh together}
reading:: {this is my stack, some are finished, some are in process, some are pleasure, some are necessity...they've all been good reads}
drying out:: {swimming with friends requires drying out later...}
enjoying our harvest:: {my honey's topsy turvy really worked! tonight - tomatoes on burgers!}
Hope your getting the most out of your summer days...they seem to slip away so quickly!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

and the winner is....

...Missouri Mommy! Congratulations Michele! Thanks to everyone for the wonderful comments and all the love. It really made my day to see all those kind words. You guys are the best! I really wish I could have picked everyone. But I couldn't ...however, since I was so blessed by all the kind words...I picked another name. Actually John picked it for me...he was quite disappointed I didn't use a high tech random number picker. I told him, I would and then I asked him to pick a second name for me. He's a high tech as they come around here! Congrats Christina! I'll be sending you a pincushion and a fabric covered notepad! Send me your addresses ladies and I'll be heading to the post office this week! Thanks again to everyone who left a comment....I'm still smiling!

Friday, August 7, 2009

got zucchini? {+ a giveaway}

If you have any friends, family or neighbors that have a garden, or if you yourself have a've probably got some zucchini on hand. {snicker, snicker} Here's a great zucchini muffin recipe that comes by way of our good friends. Rebecca made these when we were over for dinner and none of my kids would try them. (I think the green flecks scared them away) When we got home, I made a batch and had the kids try them. (I thought it wouldn't be very mannerly to strong arm them in someone else's home!) Anyways, they loved them - so much so that in church the other week, our Pastor had tons of garden produce lining the pulpit area for people to take home. There were about 300 ears of sweet corn, squash, cucumbers, peppers and zucchini. It looked great all spread out on the alter. My little guy kept elbowing me saying, "Mom get the you can make more muffins." Who knew? I've never seen a 7 year old boy so intent on me bringing home zucchini!
Becca's Zucchini Muffins
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl:
3 cups flour (I used whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar ( I used Demerara Cane sugar....but you can use white sugar as well)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP cinnamon
Stir in:
3 eggs
1 cup oil (I used 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce)
1 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini ( I usually have leftover, so I freeze it in 2 cups amounts, for another time)
Place in muffin cups and bake at 350 for 20 minutes! Enjoy!

The muffin cups I use are a brand new find for me. They are 100% unbleached baking cups by If You Care. I love them. My muffins just slide right out of them. They are environmentally friendly too. Seriously. I feel about these muffin cups the way my boy does about the zucchini. I bought an extra pack to share. So, in honor of my one year blogiversary...I'm doing a little giveaway. Just leave a comment by Tuesday and I'll enter your name for an opportunity to win. Here's what's up for grabs! Some of my favorite things. [a handmade project tote in blues, yellows and greens, a dishcloth knit in my new favorite waffle knit pattern, a skein of baby yarn, a candle, a tissue holder, and some baking cups] I can't believe it's been a year since I started this blog. Thanks Kristyn for the encouragement to jump in! (August 5th, 2008 was my first blog post) I've met so many wonderful people and been inspired so often. It's been a great year and I want to thank you for joining me on my new adventure. If you'd have told me all the blessings that were to come just from starting a blog, I'd have laughed at you (politely of course) - but it's so true. This blogosphere is a wonderful place. Have a great weekend...I'll be back with a winner some time on Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

dishcloth diversions

No major knitting has been going on here. I'm busy with so many other things that I don't have the concentration for a long term knitting project. But I'm on the prowl for one. Have you seen Leslie's new sweater? Gorgeous! In the meantime, I've been working on knitting some dish cloths that will become gifts for family and friends. I started the Circle cloth on our way to Hilton Head and finished two of those. This was a very easy pattern. As I was knitting these up it was fun to watch the colors peek through the contrast color. I'm just not real happy with the side edges...they look kinda wonky. The second pattern I've been knitting is my new favorite. It is the Waffle Knit Dishcloth from Homespun Living. It's a classic. You could knit it in one solid color or add some stripes for contrast. I added stripes. This pattern is easy to memorize and I love the fabric that it produces. (My favorite blanket when I was a bitty girl was a waffle weave one) This pattern is fast and a great way to use up your leftovers. You can effectively put the stripes in wherever you want. I knit the yellow and white set up for a friend who just redid her kitchen. Two dishcloths and a container of nice kitchen hand soap makes for a great present. Both dishcloth patterns are free which makes them even better! Thanks to Hakucho and Deb! In between shucking corn, making pickled beets, cleaning out my boy's room to make room for new furniture, doing laundry from the beach and putting up green beans not much knitting is passing through these hands. Hopefully I'll get some sitting down time towards the end of the week. My grandma (who is 91) is coming to stay with us for a few days and I like to sit and visit with her.....she's got some great stories to tell. (never mind that you hear the same one over and over! LOL) So, while she spins her tales, I'll knit and listen. It'll probably be another dishcloth. I guess the two of us aren't really so different.