Friday, June 22, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday: Catching Up

What better way to catch up on a bunch of neglected posting, than with 7 Quick Takes, right?  Maybe I'll take care of all the things I meant to say in one fell swoop, and then we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Way back on Friday, June 8th, we joined up with the thousands of other people in nearly 200 cities across the country, to rally for our religious freedom.  It was kind of a huge undertaking for me, being in the heart of a big city which I am not accustomed to navigating (especially on my own, in my gigantic van with a brood of kids in tow), but I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do, so we went.  It was educational, motivating, and a true display of faith and patriotism, and the older boys will not soon forget it.  I'm so glad we participated.  We even came home with a souvenir:

Our gardens are growing nicely.  The strawberries that we planted last year have multiplied, and are giving us bigger berries and more of them.  I love to see the boys head back to the berry patch and just pick and eat.  Makes me forget we live in the city.

The blueberry bushes that did nothing last year did produce some fruit this year, but we're still waiting for it to ripen, and what's there seems to be getting eaten a little at a time by something.  I know blueberry bushes are slow to become happy in a location, and develop over a period of years, so I'm still hopeful that we'll get fruit from them in the future.

We also planted one raspberry bush last year, and it is spreading like crazy!  We have yet to see any fruit on them, but it's early yet and they are covered in flowers.

We also have roma tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, green onions and sugar snap peas, all coming along.  The boys planted their own garden with pumpkins and watermelon.

My (current) baby is TWO!  Sebastian turned two on Father's Day.  This is what you look like in your birthday pictures, when Grandma and Grandpa gift you with a water table minutes before you blow out your candles:

Two days later it was Isaac's turn, now he's four.
He is a very happy four-year-old.

Last weekend I attended our local Catholic Homeschool Conference.  It was such a good experience, and I feel refreshed and ready to plan our coming year.  We've wrapped up this year for the most part, and are enjoying our summer break.  I've got 6 weeks before this baby comes, and I plan to use every minute of that time getting ready (for baby and school!).

Oliver.  Just Oliver.
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Not Because I Meant to...

...take a break, that is.  Just a whole lot of everyday life going on over here.
It's all good, and I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Getting Crafty: A GPS Holder

Before our recent vacation, we decided it was time to invest in a GPS.  I know next to nothing about electronic devices, but I know this thing is worth its weight in gold.  It's been so useful, not only on vacation, but for getting around town to sporting events at unfamiliar fields, etc.
I figured out, after leaving it in the car during a track meet on a hot day, that it shouldn't be left in the car during anything on a hot day.  It had shut down, and gave us a "due to extreme and dangerous temperatures" warning when we turned it back on.  I'm sure this is somewhere in the directions for usage, but I probably didn't read those thoroughly...
Anyhow, I figured it should come with us when we get out of the van, but it didn't come with any kind of case, and my purse can be a treacherous place.  So I decided to make a simple holder that we can slip it into when it's not in use.
I had a little bit of this vehicle fabric in my stash, and thought it was perfect for a navigation device :).
I sewed it to this gingham with two layers of batting in between, for cushioning the GPS.  The two scraps of blue gingham are from an old curtain valance, and it already had the hem in it for a rod, which saved me a step.
From here I quilted each piece with simple diagonal lines.
And then sewed them right sides together, just around the green fabric.  I stopped short of the blue, to preserve those openings in the hem, and left the top open.  I turned it right side out and added a length of ribbon from my stash for a simple closure.
 It worked out great!
This was a satisfying little project!

Monday, June 4, 2012

We had such a good day today, and it all started with my morning declaration:

"Boys, we are unplugged.  Until further notice."

No t.v., video games, computers, or hand-held devices of any kind.
(Wait, what?  Oh no, that doesn't count for me and my computer!  That would be cah-razy.)

It's not that they spend a whole lot of time doing those things anyway, it's just that they spend too much time asking about doing those things.  They are boys afterall, and there are six of them.  I can easily be asked a dozen times in a day about electronics in one way or another.  It gets old.

So that was that, they knew better than to even ask, and then they forgot about it altogether.
They played outside.
They made a model of a Roman Road.
They concocted their own formula for cement.
They produced journals and drew comics.
They read.
They rode bikes.
They threw around a baseball.
They played kickball.
They practiced piano.
They revisited their old lapbooks, reminiscing about the making of each one.
They ate ice cream.
Owen taught Sebastian to say "shovel" and "shoe".

I can't wait to see what they come up with tomorrow.  This ban may last longer than they realize.

Friday, June 1, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday


Two things happened here at relatively the same time:  The weather got warm, and Sebastian started wanting milk in his sippy cup.  These two things wouldn't be related, if almost-two-year-olds were capable of reasoning and would take care of their sippy cups and place them in the sink when finished.  Not the case though.  They wind up under toddler beds, behind my desk, under the couch in the basement, and just generally spread all over the place.  It never seems to be less than 12 hours before I find it, and by then it's all over.  One of them was so far gone that when I opened it to wash it, I put the lid right back on and it went straight to the trash.  Could. Not. Bear. To. Smell. It.
Yet still, I fill it up and watch him toddle away with it tucked under his arm...


I had kind of a bad day today.  When I'm this pregnant, my motto becomes:
When all else fails, take a nap.
So I did.


Have y'all read these books?  The Mr. and I are reading our way through them now.  He's finished the first and on to the second, I'm just a quarter or so of the way through Pierced by a Sword.  So far, we're both loving them.  I'll wait until we're finished to write a full recommendation, although I doubt we'll be disappointed.


If you're in the mood for a miracle (and if you're not, what the heck is wrong with you?!), click on over to this blog for a few minutes.  I've been following the events that have transpired over the last two weeks, since their baby boy had a terrible accident.  Truly uplifting:  Both the strength of their faith, and the story of his amazing recovery.


So I mentioned last week that we were looking into an addition on our home, and I think I indicated that it could be a possibility in the near future.  Well it's not, and that's totally okay.  It's one of those things that would have been really exciting if it had worked out, but once it was clear that it wasn't going to, we were both a little relieved.  Good, responsible, grown-up decisions are our goal these days, and this was one of them :).  Even though doubling the size of our house as we welcome this new little one would have been awesome!  All in due time.  We'll get there, and we'll do it the right way.  Eventually.


Another quick plug for something I'm excited about right now, but will eventually get into more detail on:  The Institute for Excellence in Writing PAL Program.  I'm doing this with Oliver right now, and we both love, love, love it.  (Okay, that might be more me.  He likes it and sits through it, which is saying a lot!)  We've only been working on it for a couple of weeks, and we're kind of moving like molasses through the lessons, but I love what I see.  I'm planning on purchasing more IEW products for the older kids at our local Homeschool Conference this month.  I can't wait to dig into those materials too.


My absolute favorite picture of the week, and I didn't even take it.  I'm so glad that Mr. Smith grabs the camera when I'm lazy and/or distracted.

That's an upside down/backwards batting helmet that he found and put on himself.  He was ready to go (and quite proud of himself.)

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