Monday, February 25, 2013

Homeschool Days

I don’t often take the time to grab the camera and get a few shots of school in progress here.  Mostly because I don’t think about it.  I’m busy teaching, encouraging, or exhorting.  But one day last week, I happened to walk in the school room after working with one of the older kids for several minutes, and I perceived things looked slightly different than they had when I left the room.
Actually I can’t say for sure that Olivia didn’t already have on her yellow ballet recital tutu from 3 years ago while she practiced her piano songs
But Noah seemed to have changed quite a bit.  What’s that he’s wearing?  And Kate looked somehow different, too.
They told me what they were up to, and I knew I had to stop for once, and get some pictures.
Kate and Noah had just finished reading The Unaborted Socrates  for our Omnibus course.  If you’ve never read it, maybe these pictures will convince you that you should.
So Kate and Noah decided to do one of the optional activities found at the end of the lesson.  The one where they pretend to be Socrates and his followers, plus one brave Christian trying to help Socrates see the errors of his thinking.  They may have made that part up themselves.
Here is the poisoned drink before being given to Socrates.  Along with a farewell cookie to sweeten his exit.
I think it must have been one of his loyal pupils who penned the thoughtful note.
Here is the faithful Christian and 2 of Socrates’ students talking with him as he lay calmly awaiting his end in this world.
And at last, after much debate and discourse about the importance of the physical body, and something about Opposites..
The Jailer arrived with the tray of poison and the cookie.  If you look closely, you can see “Jailer” written very importantly on her… clown hat.
There… can you see it?
The poison is delivered.
The followers are much distressed.
Socrates quietly drinks the poison while one particularly anguished follower watches.
Socrates dies quietly, surrounded by his faithful students, a concerned Christian, and one interested Jailer.
In the aftermath, there was a lot of sobriety.
Hope you have a great Monday! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Gallery Wall

I’ve been wanting to do something to the bathroom hallway for a while now.  I saw this Pinterest picture which looked a lot like our hallway:


and it inspired me to try something similar.

I already had several frames, many with pictures in them already, but I knew I really needed more to get the look I wanted.  So I “advertised” on Freecycle for frames.  A very nice woman who lived close to my parents responded that she had several she could give to me.  There were some that wouldn’t work, but there were a few that were perfect!  All my frames were white-washed wooden frames, plus one dark wood. The ones she gave me were either lightly white-washed or stained wood. 

Here’s what they looked like when I laid them out on the floor in our room.


I arranged them in a kind of haphazard way, but so they would still look unified.  I also tried to stagger the different shapes and sizes and colors to achieve some semblance of visual interest and balance.  When I was finally satisfied with the way they looked, I traced around each frame with a pencil onto some left-over Christmas wrapping paper. 

I cut them out and taped them to the wall in the order I had them on the floor.  It was easy to move the paper frames around on the wall so I could check the spaces in between them with my eye.  I wasn’t looking for precise distances between them, just something that would make me happy when I looked at them all.

I should have taken a picture of the wall with the paper frames, but I didn’t. Oh well!


Finally, Luke helped me put the actual frames up.  Here are some before and after shots:







You can probably tell that not all the frames have family photos in them.. yet!  But they will.  I think picking them out is going to be the longest part of the project.  But we’ll get them all filled eventually. And hopefully add some more to the wall as we go!

And that was my big Saturday project!

Saturday, February 16, 2013


We did a Cousins-Swap today!  Jennifer and I met halfway between our homes, and she took all our girls back to her house for some girl time.  I brought the boys here for some boy time.  I’m not sure what the girls were doing over there…. but the boys had pretty much one thing on their collective minds.  Electronic entertainment.

Here they are trying to best each other…


They had a great time together and I was really pleased to hear how they encouraged each other and tried to make sure that Evan, the youngest, felt particularly included.

Lunch was left-over homemade pizza, chips, and some Chex party mix I made for them.  Aunt Jennifer had sent along cupcakes, which were gone (save the last one) in just a few hours.

We had to laugh when we tried to imagine what the girls had been doing all day.  We’re all pretty sure it was a very different choice of play time.  Avery observed that the girls tend to be more creative while the boys had a hard time coming up with acceptable alternatives to the computer games.  We considered outside – but 20 degrees is uncomfortably cold.  Chess and checkers and cards don’t include all of them doing something at the same time.  Reading is fine when you’re alone, but not when you’re with cousins and supposed to be doing fun and memorable things!  So they gamed, and ate, and laughed, and had a ball.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Beautiful Things


The Landis’ came over for dinner a few weeks ago, and Elizabeth brought me this beautiful hyacinth.  She was careful to pick one that was just getting ready to bloom, so I could fully enjoy its fragrance and beauty.  I love how it looks in the sugar bowl!

Today it’s in full bloom and smells heavenly…


And although it’s snowing outside, which still excites all of us – even in late winter! – the flower is a hint of the blossoms which will soon be bursting out all around us.



It is also a sweet reminder of my friendship with Elizabeth.

In fact, God has blessed me with many sweet friendships, both in my family and outside of it.  I’m so thankful for each one.  Each son or daughter, sister or friend has given me something that I can’t put a price on, but which I value far above any material thing I could ever want.

In a few weeks, we’ll be remembering another Dear Friend.  One whose death, burial, and resurrection has a value which can’t be matched in any way. I love to contemplate His friendship, and think in amazement of what He has given me; “Blessings all mine with 10,000 beside..”

So as I look outside at the fluffy snowflakes falling gently, and down at the ground around the apple trees where already I see the green shoots of some of the narcissus just waiting for their chance to be noticed, I think of Jesus. How His life and death brought change to everything.

And how Winter changes into Spring, brown grass changes to green, and seeds become flowers.

I think about my little children changing as they become young people… and how He continues to change me in ways I need to be changed. Ways in which I want to be changed. 

Year after year, season after season, day after day.

And all the while, He gives blessings, like friendships and family and beauty.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Gilding a Frame


We’re planning to do built in bookshelves in the front corner of the family room someday.  But until then, the wall looked a little too bare for me.



So I’ve been checking in occasionally at Goodwill to see if I could find something.  I was picturing two gold framed prints here, with a hazy idea of what kind of prints might work.  One day a few weeks ago, I found something!  I wasn’t completely sure I really loved the prints themselves, but I thought the frames were very nice and maybe I could gild them.


You can see on the bottom right side of the frame a little strip of metal.  It bears the name of a hospital in Zionsville, and so I assume that’s where the prints have been living for a while.  I’m pretty sure it’s been a while, although I don’t know exactly how long, because the backs of the frames still have the original manufacturer’s stamps on them. And they look pretty old!

At any rate, I had some MS bronze gilding already, so I painted two coats on the frames with a little artist’s paintbrush. After they dried, I used an old rag to rub on some gold Rub-n-buff.  Two coats seemed to be just right.  What do you think?!



I love that they give a balanced look to the room now.  And they add a touch of brightness against the neutral whites and the brown trim of the doorway and windows.



And the scenes themselves have really grown on me.  I think they’re very restful! 


So I’m off to snuggle with Glenn, have a cup of coffee, and put my feet up on the ottoman.  I might even check out Pinterest for a little bit…. maybe

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Big Birthday Boy

Last week, Luke celebrated his 17th birthday! 

He and I went for our usual birthday lunch at Five Guys.  Here we are just before setting out.


I love my time with the kids on their birthdays. Just them and me for a few hours.  Because Luke is practically a man, our conversations are very different than they used to be.  Time has flown by!  Some of the things he used to be interested in when he was a boy have fallen to the wayside as his interests have changed.  But some things have stayed the same.  Like his love for being outside.  And his love of digging. 

This year, to his delight, he received 2 shovels!  The one from us was a particular request of his. 

A Fiskars shovel.


   He opened it at breakfast.

I guess maybe there aren’t too many things more thrilling at breakfast on your birthday than the shovel you’ve been wanting. I’m so glad he was that excited!

And then there was the second shovel!  Grandpa and Grandma found this really cool camping shovel for him.  The handle folds up to make it easier to stow in a backpack.  Luke loves backpacking.  He has been several times with Glenn, sometimes with friends and siblings, and I think maybe once it was just the two of them.


Because Mom wasn’t quite up to traveling yet since the car accident last year, she and Dad skyped with us while Luke opened his gifts.  It was the next best thing to them being here in person.


Birthdays are exciting stuff around here – as you can see by the celebrating going on in the family room just before singing, blowing out candles, and opening gifts.



We love you Lukey!!  Happy Birthday!!