Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wherein one project kickstarts another

So y'all remember a few years back when we bought this house and had big plans for renovation? Well.  Slowly but surely changes are happening and we've documented a few of them in this space.  Sometimes the changes are little, like a new mattress that actually fits our bedframe (thanks, E+J!) or a new vintage picture framed and hung in just the right place. 
Other times the project is so big we have to have help. This time it's a little of both. First, a local contractor is outside, completely replacing the eaves on the entire house (and a good number of the tails). The nests and hives are not being replaced, sorry birds and bees.
The boys are pretty excited to have 3 substitute teachers and subjects they "will actually use when they grow up."
 I am excited that I can sip coffee and bake cinnamon rolls for said teachers and watch the project get done without ever picking up a hammer myself. The H is excited that he has a good job to pay for all this AND that it is being done right (as opposed to several of the repairs done before we moved in that were...mediocre). The dog is the only one not sure what to think.
 We're going with glorified particleboard, otherwise known as LP SmartSide. I really really really hope I do not regret not splurging on real wood later...but the research I did was fairly convincing and the price was right, so there you have it. 
New tails and eaves that will make our insurance company happy. (Side note: can you spot the middle child in his "tree lift" at the edge of our property?)
And on the DIY end of things we have an indoor project several years in the making. When we moved in we knew that the downstairs bathroom had a coat of primer and unfinished trim/door.  The plan was to wait for paint to be really cheap and a nice weekend and spruce the joint up a bit.  Well, it finally happened! Primer Purple has been replaced by Pyrex Yellow!
 I have stain for the cabinets, trim, and door ready and waiting for next week, but wanted to get a pic up now in case I never got around to it later. ahem.

You like?

Monday, October 07, 2013

Meet Sister Agnes Greenie Monster Legs Beetle Eater

 So my mother likes to bring
weirdunique gifts when she comes to visit. This last one was a gift for my garden, but after a day and a half we decided we couldn't risk not ever seeing her again, so...

...after a bit of research (and a few bonus swagbucks!) we brought her in and introduced her to the family.

 We tried to catch Mr. Spider (another family friend) so the two could duke it out, but he had heard rumors of the prowess of the European Mantid and went into hiding.

 Apparently they will also eat small amphibians, but this toad did not seem to fit the bill, so he got a pass as well.

Crickets, caterpillars, and smaller spiders (all caught by the budding entomologist/second grader) seem to satisfy her quite well thus far, and we are thoroughly enamored.

 Here's hoping that giant abdomen is full of eggs and that Sister Agnes likes her new home enough to lay that ootheca somewhere where we can retrieve and refrigerate it for spring.

I foresee lots of mantid printables in our future.

Thanks Granny B =D

Monday, September 23, 2013


 and of course dogs...

...these are a few of our favorite things, and I have been asked to photograph and subsequently post them that YOU might enjoy these small things as much as we do.

Monday, September 02, 2013

back to (home)school v.2.0

It's been a good summer, but I feel fall waiting in the wings. Do you?

My FB stream is full of smiling kids standing by the door in their new school duds, oversize backpack slung over one shoulder. As my boys looked over my shoulder they are quick to inform me that they, too, would like back-to-school pictures taken. OK, I say, as long as you will answer a few questions while you're here.

Boy1(7) is my second grader.

Here's what HE has to say about the year:
 1) Of course you know what I want to learn, Mom.  All about engines, gas, and batteries. Maybe a little about whales and definitely insects.
2) I plan to experience climbing trees. There is a branch in the front yard that I can climb like a possum would. I will probably ask someone to pass up the bow and arrow once I'm up there so I can prastic shooting targets.
3) Mom probably wants me to learn a lot more math. Which is good because then I can count my money for my businesses. I don't think she will teach me about engines; I'll have to go with Dad to the dealership when one of the cars breaks, or Pastor Buck's house if it's the dirtbike. I can watch them do the repairs.
4) Last year we did...a whole bunch of math. With a little bit of history (Egypt) and a little bit of nature science. No, that leaf rubbing wasn't part of school. I did that on my own. Oh yeah I did do reading too. Maybe we can do more of that.
Boy2 is 5 this year. Kindergarten!
This one wants to learn about spying. Maybe a little about reading, but spying will probably take a long time to learn about, so we should focus on that. He already knows that God is good and that sometimes pipes break and people figure out that they won't work until the work crew comes to fix the problem.
my #3boy is almost 3. 
   Boy3 informs me he doesn't want to learn ANYTHING. Just swing. He might be able to eat a few peas if Mom will pick them for him. But really? it is almost time for lunch. and then books. and then bed. and then he will come back outside to ride his dirtbike.
And then there's me. The teacher. Boy1 captured this lovely candid while I was gardening one day.
I'd like my boys to grow in the grace and knowledge of their Lord and Savior. Presumably that will go hand in hand with learning the 3R's, science, music, p.e., art, and, you know, LIFE. We've got our curricula, we've got our planner with plenty of blank space to fill in what we actually learned (as opposed to the little bit of writing covering what I *think* we'll do on that given day), and we've got 180 days of required attendance ahead of us in this our second year of "formal" learning.

It's going to be a great year.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

raindrops are falling on (their) heads*

 *credit to B.J. Thomas for the lyrics

Friday, April 12, 2013

Little House in the Valley

We've been listening to a LOT of Little House on the Prairie lately, thanks to a recent bunny trail I followed on the web which led me to free* downloads of all the Laura books, read by Cherry Jones.

By the Shores of Silver Lake (Little House, Bk 5)

We're up to By the Shores of Silver Lake and I am so glad I gave the boys Wild West and Powhatan Indian Toobs (link is to a friend's amazon affiliate link...if you search toobs a bunch will come up) in their Easter baskets because they are getting a lot of use!   We have been studying early American history in school, so these books and related activities are a great long as I pause every now and then to explain some of the prejudices that I never noticed were there the first time I read the books as a child!

 Maybe it's the stash busting urge I get every spring, maybe it's inspired by this recent artwork by my youngest, but I've been doing a little bit of prairie-inspired work myself. 

 I snapped this picture last week as I was eating my breakfast and my oldest was practicing his cursive handwriting (with a sheet inside a page protector and a dry erase marker instead of slate) and "Laura" playing on itunes  in the background.  I'm about 10 rows further along now.  I hope I have enough motivation and fabric to make a rug large enough for our school room, but we'll see.

 *I really hope I'm not going to get nailed for criminal activity....

Friday, February 22, 2013

we interrupt this accidental blog break to bring you...birds!

I happened to glance out my living room window towards our bird feeder yesterday afternoon, and was startled to see a female cardinal in a nearby tree!

After neglecting to fill the feeder for some weeks, it was looking very abandoned of late, so this was a very pleasant surprise.

Boy1 (who informs me that he'd like his moniker changed to "Rocky Rock Lava") and I were able to watch for about 15 minutes as this pair of cardinals were joined by a few juncos and one woodpecker (sapsucker? flicker? didn't stick around long) joined in the afternoon snack before all of them were startled by the sudden appearance of a pair of binoculars in the window and disappeared.

We were ridiculously excited by the color, song, and activity and as soon as they were gone rushed to our bird books and the internet to make sure our identifications were correct and listen to their songs again. We also confirmed that our feeder was in an ideal location for songbirds, especially now that we are a 2 cat family again (as opposed to 5. oy.). Boy1 was even inspired to copy one of the drawings into his notebook to "help him remember it for next time".

Nature study for the day: complete. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Attention stylish people: help!

so here's the deal.  I took the arms off a huge 100% wool sweater the other day so that the body could become a Christmas pillow.  It was cold, and I'm me, so I stuck the arms on my legs for safekeeping.  Happened to walk past a mirror and think, "hmm....any chance that would work in public?"  I decided to rip the top back a few inches and add ribbing (you can't see from the picture, but it gaps a lot in the back), and now I'm having second thoughts on whether or not I'd be allowed in public with sweaters on my legs.!  what do you think?

Should I
1) knit more ribbing so they're over my knees and try to figure out what footwear to put with my now stylishly warm legs?
2) bind off, do the same thing on the other one, and with them on? (but of course wear them in the house all winter long because they are SO warm)
3) rip it all apart and make normal wool socks instead
4) something else?
5) ps: no those aren't the needles I stabbed myself in the chin with...and you don't know what I'm talking about, pretend I never mentioned it.