Sunday, April 29, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} ~ April 29, 2012

It's time for {phfr}! (Arrrg! I don't like the new Blogger! If anyone has tips for me on formatting, I'd love to hear them!) {Pretty} The peas are up and the strawberries are growing like wildfire! We are dutifully removing all the strawberry blossoms until July, as we've been told, but it's so hard! The plants themselves were just little wisps when we planted them, but not one has died. The peas are far from bearing, but we have three 4'x 8' patches of them, so hopefully we'll have plenty to eat and freeze in a little while. Maybe these plants aren't pretty in the classical sense, but they are pretty to me!
{Happy} Out of the blue, Girl of the House said she wanted to learn viola. Good thing we already have one and her father can teacher her!
Though can't really read it, her T-shirt is {funny}: "Careful or you'll end up in my novel." {Real} This circular flower bed in the backyard definitely needs some help. I don't know what kind of tree (bush??) this is, but I don't think it's very attractive and it also seems to be dead. But the weeds are alive and kicking! We will give the tree/bush a couple more weeks to show signs of life and if it doesn't, it's gone. Hopefully the weeds will be gone before then. I've not been very motivated to do anything about them because April has been damp and cold, in contrast to our hot and dry March! ??)
Joine Leila and Rosie for more {phfr} fun!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Two Links

The first link comes from Valerie of Frugal Hacks. She demonstrates that despite what teachers' unions and educrats tell us, it does not cost a lot of money to educate a child. The title is a little misleading because Valerie actually spent only 69 cents to teach her child to read. The other 30 cents went toward teaching her child math.
The second is from Cindy Rollins on the Circe blog. She waxes wise about assessment, which is one of my pet peeves. Our former state required an annual assessment of each homeschooled child, and I can tell you that that requirement hindered rather than helped our efforts to educate our children. Rather than being given the freedom to pursue the education that was best for each child, we were forced to jump through hoops at least part of the time. Counterproductive.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} ~ April 22, 2012

Joining Like Mother, Like Daughter once again for {phfr}. (And what has happened to Blogger??? It won't let me make paragraph and heading breaks where I want to. Sorry for the weird-looking post! Grrrrr . . .) {Pretty}
These puffs in the churchyard are the remains of the annual early spring burst of dandelion blossoms. The robins bum around that yard all day. I know most people don't like dandelions, but I think they are cheerful, {pretty} little flowers. {Happy} Girl of the House was anxious to visit a quilting shop about a half hour south of us that we were recently made aware of, so we hopped in the car on the spur of the moment yesterday for a visit. Wow! It was more than worth the drive! The fabric selection was fabulous, plus there were lots of quilting notions and accessories. Girl 2 was in heaven. She got some adorable fabric to make a baby quilt for a future baby (probably for the local crisis pregnancy center), but to my eyes the crowning glory was the line of coordinated Beatrix Potter fabrics! I think I embarrassed Girl 2 with my raptures. Already having plenty of sewing to do, I didn't buy any except for two fat quarters (because I just had to own some!), but I will keep it in mind. Here's what I bought:
There is Tom Kitten, the Flopsy Bunnies, Jemima Puddleduck, Mrs. Tiggy-winkle, Squirrel Nutkin, Peter Rabbit, of course ~ all of BP's characters are represented. And lookee! Hunca Munca, my favorite!
Girl 2 and I were very {happy} with our trip to the quilting shop! And something else that made us {happy} was the meal she cooked Saturday night. Here she is scrubbing potatoes~
And the end result was this delicious conconction ccoked in my thrifted Romertopf clay baker. Delicious!
{Real} Here's the sad result of my experiment growing lettuce in a pot~
Not exactly what I had hoped for, but I will try again!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

From My Commonplace Book--G.K. Chesterton Edition

Quotes by G.K. Chesterton~

"A book without a wicked character is a wicked book."

"We cannot teach citizenship if we are not citizens; we cannot free others if we have forgotten the appetite of freedom. Education is only truth in a state of transmission; and how can we pass on truth if it has never come into our hand."

"The chief aim of the Christian order is to give room for all good things to run wild."

"The most important fact about the subject of education is that there is no such thing. Education is not a subject, and it does not deal in subjects. It is instead the transfer of a way of life."

"I am always suspicious of the expert who knows he is an expert. Far better to seek the wisdom of the common, the ordinary, and the humble ~ for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble."

"Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions."



An Amusing Quote about G.K. Chesterton~

"The drowsy stillness of the afternoon was shattered by what sounded to his strained senses like G.K. Chesterton falling on a sheet of tin."~~P.G. Wodehouse

Saturday, April 14, 2012

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} ~ April 14, 2012

Well, I did not mean to be absent from blogland for so long. It's spring break this week and I've been busy with projects and playing approximately 287 games of Settlers of Catan and other important things like that. But it's time for {phfr}, so here goes . . .

{Pretty} and {Happy}

I spent a good part of this week sewing, something which makes me {happy} and which I don't have a lot of time to do. I'm definitely a beginner, but I did finish two things this week and got started on a third.

First I whipped up this little diaper bag for Girl Out of the House and That Boy's baby which is due to arrive in mid-June. Their church hosted a shower for them last night, and we wanted to send some presents along. The nursery is being decorated in Classic Pooh (which I love!). I'm pleased with how this turned out, if I say it myself. We put a few gifts inside and added a tag which read, "A Useful Bag to Put Things In." (I got the how-to instructions a few years ago from Kelli's now defunct Seasonal Delights, but if you email her she might share the instructions with you.)



Girl of the House made a quilt from the same fabric. It was a big hit at the shower and I'm sure her little niece will spend many happy hours playing on it and being kept warm by it. She did a wonderful job!



She used the large polka-dot fabric for the backing and binding. Can't you just see the softness?



Later in the week, I made this skirt for Girl of the House. I've made many like it for her over the past several years. It's her favorite style! I follow the instructions on Anna's blog. It's easy and {pretty}! Here is Girl 2 wearing it whilst setting up a game of Settlers.



{Funny} and {Real}

So yesterday I head out for a walk in the early evening. I was walking along briskly and admiring the flowers in a particularly pretty yard and not really paying attention to the actual walking, being so taken up with the aforementioned flowers. Next thing I knew I was sprawled face-down on the road and feeling like every bone in my body had been rattled from its proper place.

Ahem.

I got up quickly and, seeing no one running out of his or her house to see if I was all right, I turned around and hobbled home under my own steam. The end result was bent glasses and a mighty sore right elbow, but considering what could have happened, I am grateful it's not worse. (And Man of the House fixed my glasses.) On one hand I'm sorry no one saw me and missed the chance at a good belly laugh, but on the other I'm glad to be saved that particular embarrassment. Obviously I have no pictures to share, but just imagine a middle-aged dumpling of a woman suddenly face down on the pavement. I'm sure it creates a {funny} picture in your mind, but the {real}-ity for me is some pain and inconvenience. (And it would have to be my right elbow!)

Join Like Mother, Like Daughter for more {phfr}!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Old Curiosity Shop


I listen to audiobooks while completing tasks that don't take a lot of brain power. Our small town has a small library with a small audiobook collection consisting mainly of bestsellers and Christian romances. It did not take long to listen to the few worthy audiobooks on the shelves. So in January, our family joined Audible, and each month we can download one book at no extra charge plus get significant discounts on other titles. Last month we chose Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop. The longer I read Dickens, the more I like him and his huge casts and intricate plots. I love his quirky characters and the odd names and professions he gives them: Mrs. Jellyby, the philanthropist who ignores her own family in her obsession to help the African natives; Mr. Gradgrind, the nightmare schoolmaster who thinks his student brought up with horses knows less about them than the student who can quote an obtuse dictionary definition verbatim; Mr. Venus, the bone articulator whose lady love objects to the profession; and the crippled Jenny Wren, dolls' dressmaker, to name just a very few. I love Dickens' explorations of various facets of life in Victorian England from the parasitic courts of chancery to dreary London orphanages to draconian schools for boys. So much of what Dickens wrote is still relevant in the twenty-first century.

I enjoyed The Old Curiosity Shop as much as I expected I would, which was quite a lot. I felt sorry for Nell and her grandfather, I detested Daniel Quilp, and I was sure of Kit's innocence. Dickens was a master of weaving the various strands of his plots together at the end and bringing them all to satisfactory conclusion, though sometimes, just as in real life, the "good guys" suffer and are not rewarded according to their deeds. The same is true for The Old Curiosity Shop. It is typically Dickensian.

The recording I listened to was marvelously narrated by Anton Lesser, first known to me as Harold Warne in Miss Potter (a completely delightful movie, by the way). His voicing of the wide array of characters, from the coarse Daniel Quilp to the gentle Nell, was just terrific. He is a truly gifted narrator. According to Wikipedia, Lesser has made many recordings of Dickens books and won an award for at least one of them. When I listen to Dickens in the future, I will seek out recordings by Anton Lesser. I can't imagine anyone doing it better than he.

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