Friday, July 30, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Homeschool Top Tip

For the families that use paper-bound workbooks or worktexts, try this:
Go to your local copy place and politely ask them to cut the binding off the book and either rebind the book with a spiral binding or three-hole punch it. Avoid comb binding if possible, since the combs always seem to pop out. If you choose spiral binding, take your newly bound book home to enjoy. If you've had it three-hole punched (as I have), ask for the spine back and get yourself a big enough three-ring binder.


I didn't think to ask for the spine, so made due with an index card. I'll be asking for the spine next time!

Put the front and back covers in the sleeves and the binding in the spine. Load your pages into the book and enjoy the flexibility that comes of being able to remove pages from workbooks while still having a home for them and, best of all, avoid all the sin issues that come from an open book not lying flat!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Just read

"Read great Christian writers who know God deeply and saturate their writing with the Bible and take you deep into its spirit.
They are like reading the Bible through the mind and heart of great knowers and lovers of God. Don't let long books daunt you. Finishing the book does not matter. Growing by it matters. But finishing is not as hard as you might think.
Suppose you read slowly like I do—about the same speed as you speak—200 words a minute. If you read 15 minutes a day for one year (just 15 minutes, say just before supper, or just before bed), you will read 5,475 minutes in the year. Multiply that by 200 words a minute and you get 1,095,000 words that you would read in a year. Now the average book has about 360 words per page (that's what Carson's book has). So you would have read 360 words into 1,095,000, or 3,041 pages in one year. That's 13 books the size of Carson's book, or reading his in 21 days. All that in 15 minutes a day.
The point is: the words of Jesus will abide in you more deeply and more powerfully if you give yourself to some serious reading of great books that are saturated with Scripture. "
-John Piper
Check out the full message here.

We went horseback riding!

Toby works with a sweet gal who loves her horse and is kind enough to share, so she very kindly invited us all out one Sunday to enjoy a ride on Sunny.
It was so fun! Now all us girls want a horse. Again. Still.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Embellishing onesies

You can do this in one of two ways (actually, there are more, but whatever...):
You can search through your scrap material and cut said fabric into some sort of recognizable shape and stitch it on.

Or you can swing by a store that sells iron-on embellishments, pick out one that rings your bell, and get to ironing.

Either way, your cherub is cute and you look cool.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reading "styles"

I remember reading my books like this once upon a time.
Now I know why my parents didn't get it, either.

More stitches!

I suppose Abigail was serious when she declared that she wanted stitches like Anna's, because she got 'em - in spades!
This past Saturday, she was playing "Doggies" - you know, that game where you crawl around on all fours as fast as you can? No, me neither. Anyway, her hind quarters must have been going too fast for her front paws to keep up with, and she hit the floor.
We thought we'd try Urgent Care this time, since it was closer and we could compare for next time (because there will, of course, be a next time, considering the family in question). She got twice as many stitches as Anna for three times the cost, so for the locals, go to Patient First. The care was fine, but would rather pay $15 than $50.
So, Saturday has been declared Stitches Day in our house, which means:
I can't take my eyes off them for a second
and
Noah's being locked in a cage this weekend.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Judgment Day?

I saw a billboard the other day claiming to know when Christ is due to return.
Now, I'd like to make clear that since Jesus said that no man knows when He will come again, I'm inclined to believe Him, and you should, too.
Having said that, the advertised date is May 11, 2011. Isn't that right around Mother's Day? Bummer.
The thing that caught my eye was the background scene of someone writing down the date in a "two to a view" daily planner, which made me think of what the true test of faith is: you might write it down, but how many would be willing to then tear out the rest of the planner's pages, since time should then be no more?
It sure is hard to take seriously the person who has callously made a lunch date the week after Christ's return. Or is that just me?

As before

So, the only "Anna's sixth birthday" photos we got look like this:
The book is really cool, and being used to identify all sorts of creepy crawlies. She also received a little field scope with which to view all her new creatures. To encourage the budding entomologist in her pursuits, Daddy has taken to bringing home dead bugs from work (though he does take care to only bring home the interesting-looking ones). He's nice that way.
And the exploding Sigg bottle? Here it is:

I gotta tell ya, I'm pretty impressed. I do understand the basics of freezing things and thought I'd left enough of a head in the bottle for expansion, but it appears that I was mistaken.

What makes me laugh, though, is the claim that this type of bottle is supposed to be "indestructible". It figures that it would be me who could destroy the indestructible.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Knitting for Babies

There's been quite a bit of knitting going on recently, as there are a lot of babies being born in the summer/autumn seasons. So here are some of the things I've actually finished, with patterns but without destination details - don't want to spoil any surprises too much!
The Baby Boy 5 Hour Sweater. I made it to be unisex and I'm pretty sure it took longer than 5 hours. Made some changes, noted on my Ravelry page.
Love, love, love this shoes. Doing them in the variegated wool means they kind of match.
Terrible picture, but I couldn't seem to get the light right for a better one. This is based on this pattern, in terms of basic construction, but I omitted the eyelets and I-cord for speed. Notes here.
I'm still finishing Dan's ribbed sweater - it's been sitting around for ages, waiting to be seamed up - and there's a couple other things on the needles. Haven't given up on the tea leaves dream either, but I'm working on patience. I'll get to it, eventually!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Little sisters

Toby's Aunt Val is a very talented lady. Case in point: the Raggedy-Ann-style dolls she so loving crafted and sent to us, complete with passports!
The girls love their new "little sisters" and cart them around a fair ole bit. Visit Val's blog to get better photos than mine (passports, too), and see the other nifty stuff she gets up to.

Thanks again, Val!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Book Review

To start, a confession: I have deviated from my book list. For a good cause, mind you. Abigail started reading The Mistmantle Chronicles: Urchin of the Riding Stars as part of her schoolwork, and I figured I'd need to read it, too, just to know what she was reading and be able to discuss it with her.

It didn't take long - maybe a couple chapters - before it went from reading it for Abi's monitoring to reading it for fun! Yes, it's a kid's book; yes, it's about an orphaned squirrel fulfilling his powerful destiny; yes, it's got talking squirrels, otters, hedgehogs and moles. I don't care. The writing is wonderful, the story is well-developed, and it's just good. Plus, there is continuous reference to prayer to and reverence of "The Heart", which seems symbolic of God, something rarely found in children's literature (at least, that I've seen).

We found the book in the library, plus the audio book - we all enjoyed listening to the narration by Andrew Sachs (Manuel of Fawlty Towers fame!) to the point where we were all listening to it over meals just to hear what happens next! Even Toby enjoyed it and is on to reading Book 2 to the kids - which is high praise from a man who normally can't stand the humanization of animals...

So, for those who are looking for summer reading that's fun and a little different, this is a good way to go. Get the book for bedtime reading, or the audio book for long car rides. If you don't like it, then...I can't help you.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Breakin' da face

Well, it was bound to happen at some point.

Though Toby never had stitches growing up (quite shocking, considering), I have had enough for both of us. Considering how accident-prone I alone seem to be, it was really just a matter of time before someone else in the family experienced the joy of the stitched-up wound.

It's just a shame that it had to be Anna - the one least able to cope with any discomfort.

A rainy Saturday afternoon had the big three kids wrestling on the couch (a game they, for some reason, call "baseball"). Being in another room, I could occasionally hear yells and giggles, peppered with Toby's "Be careful!". Suddenly, there was a thud, a cry and a yell of , "Kell!!!". I run in to find Toby holding Anna's chin together with this declaration: "This is going to need stitches." Now, Anna was doing pretty well until she heard the word "stitches". Then, abject terror filled her eyes, calming her down was a significant effort, and I wanted to punch Toby (poor guy).

In the end, a trip to Patient First (for the Brits, it's a sort of cross between doctor's office and A&E - a bit more efficient than the local hospital) provided her with 3 stitches on the chin and a neat story to share.She's been coping admirably, though she was pretty anxious about people noticing her stitches. Of course, that was short lived, since she started pointing them out to pretty much everyone in a matter of minutes.

And for the record, I have no idea how her fall could have resulted in such a cut in such a spot. I can only assume she fell directly on her chin, in which case she's fortunate she didn't do more damage. Praise God for small (and great) mercies!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Good intentions

So, I wanted to post some pictures of Anna's 6th birthday - the cake, the gifts, the girl. It would seem, however, that some little urchin got to my camera and deleted everything before I could download the pics. Little stinker, whoever it is.

Then, I was going to post some pictures of my exploded Sigg bottle - a little lesson learned on which water bottles can and cannot go into the freezer. But I haven't yet figured out how to transfer the photos from my phone to the computer. Apparently my clever phone is more clever than me.

So now, some old photos of some of the cool bugs my kids find in the yard and squeal over.
I have no idea what these things are, but I'm sure that if I (or you) went onto bugguide.net, I (or you) would surely find out.

And for all those inquiring minds who want to know what Noah and Eleanor do with themselves when the rest of us are doing school - if it's not making a big, fat mess somewhere for me to clean up, it's this:
Playing forts. Under the picnic table. In the rain. Just because.