Sunday, July 28, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ July 28, 2013

How can it be the end of July already?  Summer is more than half over and there is still so much I want to accomplish . . .

{Pretty}

Our backyard in the summertime is pretty.




{Happy}



We dug up all our carrots this week and canned them.  Carrots are such cheerful vegetables!  We are well-stocked in the carrot department for many months to come.


 
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The time had come for Hannah to dissect a shark for her biology studies.  She invited a younger friend with a very inquisitive mind to assist.  They both had a lot of fun and learned something too!  I can't say the same thing for the shark . . .
 
Yes, his face is blurry on purpose.

{Funny}

I would not have chosen this method to wash carrots except that Dave swears his mother did it all time.

 
 
I admit it worked a lot faster than scrubbing them at the sink!
 
 
Go to Like Mother, Like Daughter for more {phfr} fun!
 


Sunday, July 21, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ July 21, 2013

Joining Like Mother, Like Daughter for {phfr}!

{Pretty}

Here is the world's easiest way to sew curtains.  Measure your window, cut your fabric accordingly, adding an inch for seam allowances, and sew up the seams so you have a big rectangle.  If the sides use the selvage, so much the better.  You don't even have to sew those (though this fabric only had one side finished, so I had to hem the sides).  Then get your handy-dandy husband to hang the decorative curtain rods you have already purchased, clip your curtains onto curtain clips, slide onto the rods and hang.  Easy-peasy!

This is the sewing room.


I really love this fabric and wish I had bought more of it when I found it on clearance.  I chose the wall color just so I could use this fabric for curtains.  Isn't it pretty?

 
 

{Happy}


Yesterday I made two big pots and put up seven jars of homemade vegetable/beef soup.  We even grew some of the ingredients ourselves!  It's so nice to have good homemade soup all ready for lunches or when we need a quick dinner.  Just add bread or grilled cheese sandwiches~ and voila!~ dinner is made!  We had enough leftover from the canning for supper last night and lunch today too.  I love killing two birds with one stone, and Dave and Hannah, both soup lovers, are happy to have jars of soup waiting on the pantry shelf.  So am I, come to think of it!

{Funny} and {Real}

We've begun harvesting carrots from our garden.  The carrots are abundant this year! Some of them are picture perfect . . . 


. . . and some of them look like something from the bottom of the sea.


Oh, well. They all taste great!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}~ July 14, 2013

I'm here and coming up for air.  In the past two weeks, Dave has been to Colorado with the church youth for a week, we had an outreach event for Independence Day, Hannah has been sick twice for a total of nine out of fourteen days,  Dave came home from Colorado sick, and we had VBS last week.  I'm looking forward to quieter days for awhile!  But such is life and we must go with the flow.

{Pretty}

I've neglected to show photos since we re-did the bathroom in late winter.  It used to be painted stark white, but it was just too bright for what I wanted, so we painted it a white that leans just a little bit to eggshell.  It is amazing what a slight adjustment of color will do.  I love toile (it's like taking my beloved blue transferware china and applying it to fabric), so I was happy to have a place to use some in this house.

My {real} this week is the utilitarian soap dispenser you see there on the counter.  Until this week I had one I liked very much and that matched the toothbrush holder, but the pump part broke, and since handwashing is really a necessity in a bathroom, I replaced it *temporarily* with this one.
 
 
 
 
I bought these pictures at Aldi (yes, Aldi!) a long, long time ago for $6 each and I love them.  They have hung in a kitchen, multiple bedrooms, a hallway, and now this  bathroom.  With their double mats and wood frames, they belie their humble origins.
 

 
 
A blue toile bathroom is the perfect place for unusual transferware accessories.  Lizzie and Justin gave me the pretty pitcher on the right for Christmas, and I found the soap dish a month ago at an antique shop.  I've never seen another.  At first I thought I'd put soap or potpourri in it, but I just can't seem to cover up the pretty toile pattern!
 

 
(The toilet used to have fifteen or so pink heart stickers stuck all over it thanks to the prior family.  I used a magic eraser on them and within twenty minutes all gooey traces were gone!  Highly recommend method of sticker removal.)
   
So there was this big blank wall and I wasn't sure what to do with it.  After a little while of pondering I kept picturing some sort of metal scroll thingy hanging there, so when Hobby Lobby had this 50% off, I got it.  It looks good, don't you think?   
 
 



Considering that this is a parsonage and there are some elements we just can't change, I think this turned out pretty well. At any rate, it's much better than it used to be!


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I rigged this clothesline in the pantry for drying herbs from the garden.  It's just twine and regular ol' clothespins.  I think it's quite pretty!
 
 



{Happy}

It makes me happy to see Hannah in the sewing room quilting away.  She's opened her own Etsy shop, and this quilt will be in there shortly.  All proceeds go toward her college education. 


 
 
Check out her shop here!
 
 
{Funny}
 
 
My funny this week was supposed to involve carrots, but Blogger has stopped cooperating, so you'll just have to be in suspense until next week.
 
 
 Join the gals at Like Mother, Like Daughter for {phfr} each Thursday!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Hidden Art of Homemaking~ Chapter 3

 
This chapter is easy for my family because we are a family of musicians.  I have two degrees in music, my husband spent a large part of his undergrad years as a music major, and both of our daughters play instruments.  I have a lot to say about music and children. 

We've incorporated music into our home in various ways over the years. When the girls were younger, we sang A LOT, in the car especially.  We sang Raffi songs*, folk songs, nursery rhymes, hymns, traditional children's songs. . .  We also listened to a lot of CD's in the car, but we rarely listened to pop music or music patterned after pop music.  (An aside~ I detest music for children written in the pop genre.  I just can't stand it.  There is so much good stuff out there for children without it!)  It helps that Dave and I can both carry a tune (actually, he's quite a good singer; I am adequate), but even if we couldn't, we'd have sung along with CD's.  Kids need to be singing and getting used to their voices.  Don't tell them they can't sing, and worse yet, don't tell them you can't sing!  Just pop in a CD and sing along.  No one will care, especially the kids!  They'll just remember everyone singing as a family. 

We used to have the occasional evening of making music together, Lizzie on piano, me on flute or piano, Dave on cello, violin, or viola, and when Hannah was very young, she banged a drum or tambourine along with us.  We had lots of fun, especially playing Celtic music.  If you can, set aside some time to play and/or sing together.  If someone plays the piano or guitar, then that person can accompany the rest singing.  It doesn't really matter what instrumentation you've got, just do it.  It's a great alternative to watching a movie together.  I'm sorry to say that we haven't done this in a long, long time.  Maybe it's time to revive it. :)

We start 'em young here.  This is Arane at four months sitting on her
grandpa's lap and listening to Hannah practice the viola.  Look at the excitement
on her face!  She's practically dancing!

There is nothing like a live concert to spark musical interest in a person.  In a couple of the classes I teach for The Potter's School, I require my students to attend two classical music concerts a year and write a short paper about it.  They almost always attend with other family members.  In the year-end evaluations, the most consistent positive comment I receive is about these concerts.  Over and over again, parents tell me that they would never have made the effort to attend a classical music concert if not for these assignments and that they plan to continue taking their families.  Mission accomplished! :)  Take your kids to concerts!

Before we moved to Illinois, we lived in a university town and Hannah and I used to go to student and faculty recitals, which were free.  Also, a community college in a nearby town had an amazingly affordable concert series.  Student tickets were just $5, and though adult tickets were more (I think $8-10), it was still an incredible bargain!  We heard many wonderful up-and-coming world class musicians and also some who were already well established.  The setting was intimate, and the musicians felt free to talk to and interact with the audience.  I particularly remember the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet and the Vienna Boys' Choir.  For several years, Dave or I would take Lizzie to these concerts.  Sadly, the series came to an end a year or two after Hannah was old enough to join us.  We also attended local symphony concerts when we could, but the tickets were usually out of our price range. Now we live in a pretty isolated small town with very few opportunities to attend concerts without driving a considerable distance.  I am so glad we took the opportunity while we could!

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One of my favorite ways to introduce hidden art through music into the home (or car!) is with the CD, The Sprig of Thyme by John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers.  The Cambridge Singers is my favorite choral group.  Their sound is smooth and blended and pure.  Their musicality, phrasing, and intonation are first-rate. I cannot think of anything more beautiful than their rendition of "She Moved Through the Fair."  Not only is their performance first-rate, the arrangement is breathtakingly exquisite.  I've been listening to this CD for two and a half years and I am still not tired of it.  If you would like to introduce something beyond pop music into your home, this is an excellent place to start.  And you and your children can sing along!





*I really like Raffi.  I think his simple, folksy, acoustic sound is just right for young children.  He sings a mix of nursery songs, folk songs, traditional songs, and even a few hymns that I think should be a part of our children's collective knowledge and experience.  He also writes original songs.  When he has children singing with him, they are real children who sound like children, not like Broadway star wannabes or like the overly polished, bland, vanilla children I sometimes hear on CD's published by Christian labels.  (Those are banished from our house!)  Something important about Raffi is that his music doesn't annoy me, unlike anything put out by Sesame Street.  I actually enjoy it and didn't mind listening to it over and over again.  The caveat I have about Raffi is that he is sometimes too much of a tree hugger for my taste.  I should also say that I am not familiar with his later recordings.  My children outgrew him a long time ago, so I have lost touch with his later work.
 

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