Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Day story


Outside my window, lawn littered with crunchy maple leaves, acorns and oak leaves. I mulched them up with the tractor, and a windy day dropped a new layer. Thick and giving for kicking up leaves.

Giving thanks for the autumn smells, frost on shingles, the hum of the heater, the warmth of cherry pit bags and pumpkin spice coffee with cream.
frost on the shingles and that view!

In the school room, laughter and peace. Good times. We are making great and steady progress. Erin is thriving. Lanie and I are growing so close. There is time for rabbit trails and curiosity. There is time for undercover read alouds. There is time for sleeping late and breakfast together and play. So thankful for this time. A friend recently texted me asking how my school year was going. And perhaps I should have been more reserved, but my reply was an exuberant, "It's the best!"
"Little Women" lit discussion. Middle school. Good stuff.

These kids goofing during a read aloud.

From the kitchen, pumpkin breads and hot chocolate.
Hot chocolate on a Tuesday

And my dog

Gluten-free pumpkin bread

I don't want to forget Lanie's thank you note to me, nighttime rides with Erin running errands, the underscore of no rush and the peace in the days. I don't want to forget happy hearts over hot chocolate, and the laughter. How things fell together and community blossomed--returning to service at church and time to invest in others. This year is the richest gift to me.

I am reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Entrusted by Beth Moore, and Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.

I am hearing the background music of our vintage radio, the dog crunching kibble, the kids playing downstairs in the basement. Home sounds. Life.

Around the house, the Holiday Home Sweet Home candle burning, wood stacked and waiting for winter, photo sessions with friends this month, and finishing edits. Our family shoot this weekend. I got a plaid shirt.

A view of my favorite things:

At the table, Lanie celebrated her birthday (the other week) with an old friend and a new friend. Birthday song. Dinner chatter. After dinner talks with my man. Outside it's darker sooner, and the chandelier lights glow warm over our table for four.


Sewing is not my thing. I bought a sewing machine at our other house with grand goals of making two-story long curtains for the family room. That never happened. (Oh gosh, the time I tried to make curtains for Zach's room as a surprise when we decorated his space. Those curtains were a mess. He actually hugged me and thanked me sincerely when I bought store curtains and hung them up later!) Shane helped me to make Roman shades for our bedroom. It turned out, he did all the measurements and figuring for me, I pushed the fabric through the sewing machine.

I'm truly ok with this. He has his strengths (math things and figuring to name a few), I have mine. So, enter The Best Homeschool Year Ever, (I mean that part! That's another story.) and my grand goals of teaching the girls how to sew. Which means I have to learn too.What I lack in ability, I more than make up for in enthusiasm and perseverance. Lanie's project: a tote for music. Erin's project: the tea cozy. 

I found a good tutorial online that had pretty clear directions and pictures. I need that stuff. I wrote out the directions, as I usually tend to skim them and wing things. I made myself, painstakingly, follow the directions. I did. Well, to a point. And I tried not to get frustrated when the girls talked to me about all kinds of things that had nothing to do with tea cozies, measurements, or pairing right sides. They obviously don't understand the quiet and focus I need in tedious tasks. (As for the math part, I winged it when it came to seam allowance. Mostly because I didn't have my readers on. And because I might not have cared about being exact.)

Template cut. Fabrics cut. Things pinned. Lines sewn. Iron out (snicker). Pieces ironed. And then the assembly. It turns out that I mostly made the tea cozy (really, there was lots of stuff that happened with turning and stuffing and things, that it is truly an enigma this thing turned out, and turned out to be functional in my hands), and Erin wants to practice straight lines and understanding pedal speed before we do the next one.

There's always room for another cozy.

First try.

straight edge

this little mouse

first try

It fit!

Ready for tea! But first, coffee.

We're certainly not going into business over this because fabric is costly. And MATH and intense CONCENTRATION and DIRECTIONS. Although with one down, I suspect any future cozies won't take nearly as long.

I see fall and Christmas prints. And maybe something deep red and floral for Valentine's Day.

Truly grateful to women who put up step-by-step instructions with pictures. I admire their great talent and patience. Bravo to them all! Kudos! Godspeed! Amen! And truly grateful to my kids who waited patiently for weeks for me to get myself together to pull out the measure tape and sewing machine.

Monday, October 24, 2016

And still counting (9533-9567)

three women with large-print bibles
shopping for readers with Erin
Erin picked the last two

pumpkin bread

Friday morning online dates
the doctor who delivered my babies
windows-open weather
the moment the piano teacher began to play "Carol of the Bells"
Christmas music

history videos in the afternoon (Mozart, Abraham Lincoln)
this homeschool life
literature discussions with teens
and how Lanie wants to continue the talks throughout the week
the writers on 66 Books

Little Women
and limes at the table
the laughs and puckers
hospitality, blooming
Cindy's prayer

God's answer
video team community
cookies at Wegmans
my shopping girl

Wegman's cookies, as big as a hand


a flame, fanned
a calendar filling with community
woods walking with Erin
cooling autumn winds
a hound
Hound Love

Friday wines

the smell of the wood stack
puffy vests
this wonderland
the crunch of fall leaves under foot
sounds of my childhood

no place like home

I love all the seasons here

Lanie's hugs
friends to photograph