Thursday, September 29, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} ~ Sept. 29, 2011

I'm on time this week! Hurray! I think things may slow down a bit here now that the rush of starting school and Dave's installation are over. Of course, Christmas is less than three months away . . .

{Pretty}

A storm blew through a few days ago and brought with it some pretty spectacular clouds. I wish there weren't wires going everywhere, though!




{Happy}

Hannah and I are working through Martin Cothran's Traditional Logic Book I. At the start of every chapter we watch the video of Mr. Cothran explaining the material, only he is . . . ahem . . . not the most riveting and engaging of teachers, bless him. Now, I have heard him give other talks where he is much more animated and interesting, so maybe it was just talking into a camera that did him in. I don't know, but I do know that after chapter 1, we decided we needed to do something with our hands to break up the monotony a bit. So Hannah got out this quilt that she's been working on for her grandparents. It's a tied quilt. Once she's finished tying it, all that's left is the binding. We took the idea ~ fabrics, color scheme, etc. ~ from a quilt we saw in an antique shop about a year ago. I'm embroidering pillowcases for Girl Out of the House and That Boy. She started them a long time ago, but they fell by the wayside, so I decided to do them for her. It makes me happy that Hannah is so capable with her hands. (So is Girl 1 but in different areas.) I think it's important that children learn how to work with their hands and feel comfortable with tools of all sorts, whether those tools are scissors, a spatula, a piano, or a hammer. It's an excellent way to give children a sense of accomplishment and the feeling that they are capable people.





{Funny}

Our cat Felix will sit by this door for hours on end and watch the birds and squirrels. They taunt and tantalize him, the saucy things! They know they are safe from Felix's depredations. His tail twitches and he makes hungry little sounds, but it's a hopeless cause.




{Real}

Man of the House began building these shelves in the garage Labor Day weekend, and he has not been able to get back to them since. I'm hoping he can arrange for a couple free Saturdays so he can have the pleasure of finishing them . . . not for me, but for him. Spending some quality time in the garage with his tools would be very therapeutic!




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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2011 Reading Challenge~~Book #34


It's been awhile since I posted about my reading challenge. With school starting and Dave's official installation as pastor of our church this past Sunday, September flew by like a lawn chair left out during a hurricane. I hope to post about the installation soon, but first I want to update you on a book I listened to and found beneficial, Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches by Russell D. Moore.

Though I'm Lutheran and he's Southern Baptist, I've appreciated everything I've ever read or heard from Russell D. Moore. I've read his articles in Touchstone magazine, and I've heard him on Issues, Etc. He is a gifted theologian and teacher, so I had high expectations for this book. I wasn't disappointed. As you might expect, Moore talks a lot about his experiences as an adoptive father and how to navigate the waters of adoption. I thought that last part might be kind of boring if a person isn't looking to adopt a child, but Moore clearly and simply weaves the biblical doctrine of our adoption into God' family through Christ into the nuts and bolts of how to adopt a child so that it is edifying reading for any Christian. Adopted for Life is as much a theology book as an adoption manual. His Baptist take on issues is evident but not so much so that anyone of any denomination could not benefit from reading this book.

Moore spends a lot of time talking about the pain of infertility. He helps infertile couples to look at this hard providence scripturally, and he instructs those who know infertile couples how to minister to them compassionately. He also gives considerable time to the idea of adoption as a means of fulfilling the Great Comission and what you can do if you are not called to adopt but want to help and encourage those who are. These aspects alone make the book worth reading.

I got this as a freebie from ChristianAudio. It was read by Moore himself, which gave it a personal, urgent tone. I enjoy listening to books read by their authors. It's like listening to music conducted or performed by the composer. Moore reads his book in a conversational style so that it feels more like he's in your living room talking to you than reading to you over your computer. And if you like the genteel, understated drawl of the Southern Gentleman, you will like listening to Moore's voice.

I am still hoeing away at Augustine's Confessions, but I expect to finish it this week. Alas, I will nevertheless be two books behind my goal of 52 books this year. With the help of a few audiobooks, I should be able to catch up. With my recent busyness and wrestlings with St. Augustine, I think I will pamper myself with a little fun reading for the next few weeks. Stay tuned . . .

Friday, September 23, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} ~ September 23, 2011

I'm late again this week. *sigh* I teach my two classes on Thursday, and it just seems that between that everything else that happens on a normal day, Thursday is not my ideal time to make a {phfr} post. As long as Leila and Co. at Like Mother, Like Daughter don't mind, I guess it's all right. :-)

I just have {pretty} and {happy} this week.

{Pretty}

A misty, moisty morning:






{Happy}

A second crop of raspberries! I didn't realize they would yield twice until someone told me. What a bonus to have these at this time of year! There aren't as many as there were this summer, but I'll take what I can get.




This is a big weekend for us. Dave is being officially installed as pastor on Sunday, and there are out-of-town guests arriving, including the head of our denomination (The American Association of Lutheran Churches). I'll post about it next week!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Growlery

We've just about wrapped up another room and I wanted to show you pictures. This room is off the kitchen and is intended to be a TV room, I'm sure, but since we don't have a TV, we repurposed it. We call it the growlery (begin at about 6:30 for the reference). In days of yore, the growlery was a room where the men retired after dinner to sip brandy, smoke cigars, and talk politics. We were stumped as to what to call this room, but Dave hit upon "the growlery" and it has stuck. We all knew right away that that was the perfect name! It inspired me to take a more masculine tack in paint, furniture, and decor. See what you think!

The view as you enter from the kitchen:



We bought the chairs brand new. We hardly ever buy new furniture, but we'd used up most of what we already had in other rooms, so we splurged. I'd love to move the exercise bike if we can find a more propitious place for it.

The view from the door that leads to the back patio:



And the view from the utility room:



The wall unit is really deep ~ about two feet ~ so I left the books pulled out from the wall. We could actually store another layer of books back there, but then we'd be likely to forget about them! The storage below is used for games and puzzles and some things I haven't unpacked yet. There is a door to the right of the organ that is a pocket door and leads to the utility room, which is not very exciting yet. So, yes, there are three doors in this small room!

Here's a picture showing our bright blue bookcase which will soon be painted another color that I haven't decided upon yet. We keep Hannah's school things and mine on it. It's a little bit messy because it was in use at that moment. You can see the door into the kitchen (which shows our finished chalkboard!).



I made the curtains, but I took the simplest possible route: I sewed two big rectangles and hung them on a rod with clips. I really like how they turned out. Dave is getting very good at installing curtain rods. He should be! He's done it enough in the last three months! (Nota bene: The ceiling is not dirty; that is paint of umpteen different colors! It seems that everyone who has ever painted this house felt obliged to hit the ceiling with the roller multiple times and not wipe it off [except us!]. We will paint every ceiling in the house eventually. In the meantime, we just avoid looking up. Grrrr . . . )





This little table is one of a pair of Drexel Heritage tables we bought at a garage sale for $15. The other is destined for the guest room. I'm going to paint it, but I haven't decided on the color yet. Ideas, anyone? Opinions?



This picture shows Bruton Parish Church in Colonial Williamsburg:



Bookshelves . . .



This is a facsimile of the title page from J.S. Bach's Bible, translated by Martin Luther. The brown smudge in the lower righthand corner is Bach's signature. Pretty neat, eh?



And more bookshelves . . .



A terribly backlit photo of the back door plus our kitty. He insisted I include him. :-)



So that's it. Thanks for looking!

Friday, September 16, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} ~ September 16, 2011

Pardon me for being a day late. Life has been very busy lately. Online teaching duties began this week, which also means that Dave is now busy with two jobs and Hannah started her online classes this week. We'll be hanging on to our hats for the next nine months!

{Pretty} and {Happy}

I'm combining these two categories this week. The weather has definitely turned to autumn. It's been in the 40's at night and the low 60's during the day, the evenings are turning dusky not long after dinner, and soups and stews are finding their way on the menu once again. We've had several overcast and/or rainy days, which is perfect candle-burning weather. Hurray!



I've been working on these curtains for weeks during little snatches of time here and there. I wanted something colorful that would unify the blue walls and yellow accents. I don't know if these achieved that, but I like them and I'm happy I've finished them. I used six-inch squares of scraps and some remnants that I bought, sewed them together with no particular rhyme or reason, lined them with white muslin, and made tabs for the top. Very simple!





(Sorry for the rotten light. I had to wait until twilight or all I got was a lot of backlighting and no curtains.)

{Funny}

The last two weeks I've shown you pictures of our little squirrel friend and the apple he hid on our trellis. Well, he's still at it! I've found apples all over the place this week. It amuses me to no end to look out the window and see a half-eaten apple perched up high somewhere. Here are some apple-hiding places:







So there you have it for this week! Visit Like Mother, Like Daughter for more {phfr}!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} ~ September 8, 2011

{Pretty}

Chicory is such a pretty little flower. I love its periwinkle color. This lone little guy is blooming next to our sidewalk, though the roadsides are awash with them in mid- to late-ish summer. They are especially lovely paired with Queen Anne's lace.



{Happy}

The first hint of fall color! Lookee! I spotted this tree just down the street from our house.



Chocolate chip muffins. Yum! They are Hannah's favorite; she'll be very happy to come home and gobble some up. The weather was very fall-ish today with cool temperatures and rain. I was definitely in the mood to bake something, and these seemed just right.



{Funny}

How did that partially eaten apple get up there?? It's a good eight feet off the ground. Our guess is that our apple-loving squirrel friend put it there. We're going to leave it and see what happens!



{Real}

This is what happens when you try to take a close-up without knowing how to manually focus the camera. I guess it's time I learned how to do that!



Enjoy more {phfr} at Like Mother, Like Daughter!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Big Plan for 2011-2012


Last year I wrote about our homeschool plan for Girl of the House's eighth grade year. Things did not go exactly as we expected (do they ever?). She had a very challenging year dealing with acute acid reflux, which often derailed schoolwork. She worked hard during the days she felt well, but all told, she missed at least one day (and often two or three days) a week due to illness for all but eight weeks the entire schoolyear. We made up for some of the lost time during the summer, but she still managed B's in her on-line classes, and all essential things were covered by hook or crook. I have more than once thanked the Lord for leading us to homeschooling and never more than last year. I'm also thanking Him that Girl 2 is a thousand times better than she was this time a year ago. So I have high hopes for the coming months of school! Here's the plan:

Math ~ Continue Math-U-See tutored by That Boy. She's over halfway through Zeta and will be moving into pre-algebra during the year. But do you know what she brought home from the library the other day? The entire Demystified series of math books, starting with pre-algebra! You gotta love a motivated student!

Logic ~ This is something that got dropped last year. Using Traditional Logic by Martin Cothran, we picked it up this summer and will slowly work our way through it. Once it's finished, we will study . . .

History and Literature of Late Antiquity through the Renaissance and Reformation ~ Our resident classicist, Man of the House, took her through ancient lit. last year and over the summer. Since he'll have enough to do for the next nine months what with teaching, pastoring, and going to seminary and all, I'll pick up where he left off with Vergil's Aeneid, some Aristotle, on through Augustine, Dante, Chaucer,etc. Details still to follow. We'll cover the history at the same time using Jackson Speilvogel's Western Civilization and Philip Daileader's medieval lectures through The Teaching Company.

Music History ~ I teach this class for an on-line school. Okay, I'll come clean and say that it's The Potter's School. Any remaining anonymity we might have had is now blown. ;-) Not that I'm biased or anything, but I think this class is fascinating . . . at least I find it fascinating to teach! Girl of the House has already absorbed a lot of this through osmosis, but I think she'll find it an enjoyable class.

English Vocabulary from Latin and Greek Elements ~ This is Man of the House's class. (Need I say it's through The Potter's School also? Yes, my dh is Mr. Spotts of international reputation. LOL!) Girl of the House is eager to take it. I know she'll get a lot out of it. I know I did the year I taught it. The development of the English language is another fascinating topic.

Writing ~ The One-Year Adventure Novel curriculum is going to be more like the 18-Month Adventure Novel for Girl 2. Illness is the culprit again, but she's on the verge of actually writing her novel now. We both really like this program, and I know she has learned a lot from it because she uses concepts she's learned to discuss movies and books with us. She will also be taking some progymnasmata tutorials with Cindy Marsch of Writing Assessment Services. I can't speak highly enough of Cindy and her writing tutorials!

German I ~ Even though Girl 2 (okay, let's call her by her name, Hannah) managed a B in this class last year despite everything, none of us thought she really mastered the material well enough to go on to German II. Dratted reflux! Her foundation was too shaky, so she's happy to have a do-over this year. This is another Potter's School class with another excellent teacher, Frau Gilliam.

Christian Philosophy ~ This class is being offered by some on-line friends. One of our goals for both our girls' education is to familiarize them with the foundations of Western civilization. If they don't know where they came from, they won't know where they're going. We want them to be able to discern the spirit of the age and weigh it against a biblical perspective. That's why we spend so much time in the upper grades studying worldview and philosophy. The text is Norman Melchert's The Great Conversation: A Historical Introduction to Philosophy. Hannah seems very eager to tackle this discipline judging by the readiness with which she digs in every morning.

So there you have it! It looks like a full year full of good learning! May the Lord be glorified and His will be done.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

2011 Reading Challenge~~Book #33


It's finally finished! Man of the House read aloud the remaining pages of Sophocles' Oedipus the King to me while I was doing some housework on Friday. He's had an extremely busy time of it lately, including his first funeral on Thursday, so I'm not blaming him for being unable to get to it until now. I'm thankful I have my own resident expert to help me with ancient literature. :-)

So how did I like it? Weeeeellll . . . the story is great, but I find I'm not very accustomed to the manner in which the ancient Greeks tell their stories ~ flowery and long-winded (or maybe that was just the translation?). It did help a lot to have the methods and forms of ancient Greek playwrights explained to me, so thanks to Man of the House for that!

I felt sorry for poor Oedipus, who was desperately trying to thwart the prochecy of the oracle that he would kill his father and marry his mother. He knew such acts were perverse, but despite everything, he was unable to dodge his fate, which brings me to the Greek worldview: a fatalistic belief that a person's destiny is irrevocable and unavoidable no matter what the person does to try to thwart it. Fate can't be stopped. What an awful way to live. The Christian worldview that God, who is sovereign, good, and wise, guides the Christian's life to ultimate good is hopeful and life-affirming . . . and TRUE. One of the benefits of reading books from different times and places from the one we live in is the contrast we see between our own beliefs and attitudes and those of a different culture. Reading old books helps us to think through and define our own thoughts more clearly. So I guess C.S. Lewis was right. ;-)

I didn't finish Augustine's Confessions, unfortunately, though I will keep plugging away at it. We've been so busy gearing up for the start of school and trying to finish some house projects before then that my reading time has been limited. Challenging myself to read a book a week while also moving was not the best idea in the world, but I didn't know that we'd be moving when I started. lol I'll keep trying. I'm only behind by one, which is not too bad all things considered!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} ~ September 1, 2011

Happy September! This month feels like New Year to me and always has. I've spent most of my life on an academic schedule, and September means the beginning of a new schoolyear and all its attendant activities and fresh starts ~ pristine notebooks, pencils with long erasers, books with uncracked spines, new areas of interest, high hopes. January 1st holds less promise to me than September 1st.

{Pretty}

Last week we took a few days to visit my mom. That meant a long drive through one part of the Midwest to another. O the big sky! O the verdant fields! O the open spaces! *sigh of rapture!* Some people think the Midwest is boring, but I've never understood that with scenery like this. Our fifteen years in Appalachia were fruitful, enjoyable, and memorable, but the scenery there can never compare with our native Midwest. Here are the best of the bunch of pictures I took from the car:





{Happy}

Lots of happy things this week. Check out this water tower! How can you not smile when you see this?



Girl of the House is always happy when doing math. Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I'm happy when she's doing math. :-) Anyway, I think doing it on our new chalkboard makes it a little less irksome for her. Here she is working on metric conversions. Doesn't a little metric conversion brighten anyone's day?



Last in the {happy} category is this little guy. I saw him one afternoon enjoying the windfalls from our apple tree. He certainly looks very happy with his afternoon snack! Look how his cheeks are stuffed full of apple!



{Funny}

Girl of the House revealing her true feelings about math . . . or maybe about her mother trying to sneak pictures of her!



{Real}

I was trying to take a picture of a pond but ended up with the rusty guardrail instead . . .




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