this week

there was some napping in the sun….

 

Napping

 

a whole lot of homebrewin'….

 

Brewing

 

some quilt top dreaming….

 

Quiltdreaming

 

soup making (for dogs, yes)…

 

Soupmaking

 

and some "owling"…… (the in house owl expert says it's a Barred Owl)

 

Owling

 

busy

good

creative

fun

 

a good week

 

wishing you a lovely weekend…. hopefully taking in some glorious sunshine

 

Shmarmellow {marshmallow} Magic

We have tools here.

Oodles & oodles of tools.

Tools for fixing house stuff, vw buses, broken toilets, water heaters & tree trimming jobs. I think one of Joe's most famous lines is "but it's mutipurpose". To which I sigh and shake my head… laughing a bit. He can spend just as much time in a tool/hardware store looking as I can in a yarn/fabric store looking. 

Sometimes I think we finally bought this house so he finally had a good excuse to buy an air compressor. Which by the way is worth it's weight in homebrew when you replace ALL the baseboards in a house.

So the other day….

I was sewing and I smelled something strange.

Sort of sweet & yummy. Sort of burnt. I was headed down the hallway to see if my little man had caught something on fire.

 

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Upon arrival into our kitchen, I see a smallish boy waiting unpatiently at his daddy's feet with the biggest smile EVER. And a daddy with a freshly toasted marshmallow in one hand and a blowtorch in the other.

 

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"Daddy made me a shmarmellow," says my boy. At which point the whole toasted gooey mess is popped into his mouth and he waves and runs out the door into the backyard. Sticky fingers and all.

Joe flashes me his multipurpose grin. 

"You wanna shmarmellow mama?" he asks.

 

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"Yes, but let me get my camera." I tell him.

And I spend the next few minutes trying to get in the right spot of our dimly lit kitchen to capture this goofy moment of the blowtorch marshmallow man…. all while laughing. 

Just as finished up the perfect marshmallow…… I finally got a decent picture….

 

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He just might, quite possibly, be my new hero. I mean, a toasted marshmallow can add a little magic to any day, right?

 

on reading

It's funny. I can share an embarrassing moment, my own shortcomings and other seemingly personal tidbits here on this space. But the school thing? The homeschool thing. It's a tricky thing to portray in a virtual setting. And though I am finally at a point where I am happy with what we're doing….. I sort of keep it to myself.

 

serious stuff

 

I guess it's partially because we have this eclectic-Waldorf-unschooling-smorgasbord learning going on. Yes we do math workbooks and (loosely) keep main lesson books, but we play with plastic legos while we wait for the whole wheat bread to rise and everyone uses computers. Phonics? Spelling? Well, uhm. So how's the weather in your neck of the woods? 

When my oldest girl was in public kindergarten, she was learning to read. She didn't want to. But we pushed her. Her teacher pushed her, and we had this "reading at grade level" kid. Good right? She comprehended well. Did her schoolwork well. But here's the sad part. Reading was work. It wasn't fun. She didn't read for fun. Ever. A million caldecott paperbacks wouldn't budge her. It seriously broke my bookworm heart. In fact she didn't begin reading for fun until last year

When we began homeschooling, I vowed to not push my younger girl. I taught her letters in the Waldorf style. Answered her questions about letters, words, pronunciation, rules to be followed and when to break them. Our language isn't completely phonetic, the rules are broken often and eventually we all get to point that we mostly sight read. So I mostly skipped phonics, held onto a whole lot of John Holt reading and waited, read tons of books to her, and waited.

Kindergarten passed, first grade passed, we got a little nervous, second grade started and our nearly 8 year old girl began reading Dr. Suess, on her own. She painstakingly sounded things out, asked for help when she got stuck. We neither ignored nor celebrated the fact that she was beginning to read on her own……

 

owl lover's book

 

And then it just took off. Frog & Toad, Little Bear, Magic Treehouse and now Guardian's of Ga'hoole. From October to February we went from a beginning reader to a voracious chapter book reader. We've eaten dinner with a few books that were just too good to put down. I'm still sort of standing here with my mouth hanging wide open. 

I'm not saying this is the way to do it. Nor am I taking credit for anything, she gets every bit of that. But something just clicked for her. Reading became extraordinarily important to her life at this moment…. and somehow along with that the basic grammar began to make sense too. Punctuation and spelling and all of that. There it was. Her handwriting got better, she started writing tons of letters to everyone she knows and even helps with pantry organization. Yes, I do think all those count as writing lessons. Again, I'm just sort of in awe.

 

life writing lessons

 

And while I think there is a lot of good in every type of learning, be it homeschool or public style, I feel strongly that each child has their own path. We know that average is a mathematical term, not an actual child. A whole lot of real children on different levels make up this average. And non of them is better or worse with where they're at. As the Buddha would say "they just are".

I once read somewhere "teaching to the middle, is like teaching to no one." A good teacher may plant their feet in the middle but they've got a fishing net and a watchful eye to catch anyone that might, that will slip away. I know this, I've met these teachers. And by teachers I mean all of us, every one of us that has children in our lives. Embracing children for who they are and having the patience to let them bloom just when they need to, when they're ready. Even if we silently hold our breath out of worry for them. It's a beautiful thing to watch them evolve and grow and I'm feeling awfully grateful, and even more humbled, to do so.

 

should have been….

I should have been doing some work…. sweeping the floors…. tidying up the house… folding the monstrous pile of laundry….

 

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But instead I looked outside at the sunshine and nearly 70 degree warmth and figured the laundry would wait for me…. the 3 pet household dust bunnies too…. so we headed to the water…. and played with friends…

 

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It's taken me a long time to make these kinds of choices…. to leave the unimportant work and head out on a whim…. but I'm getting there. Slowly but surely…. choosing mud pies over housework…. sometimes I wonder why it's even such a hard choice after all?

 

A Valentine

{I've got a post pulled together with last week's fabulous Good Thing pictures….. but you'll have to come back this evening to see it. (I'll post it this afternoon) Right now however, I have a little something for that man of mine…. who tends to peek at my posts on his work computer. Shhhhh.}

You see, we met on Valentines day 14 years ago. Sort of a 14 on the 14th we've got going on today. And before you all say "awwwwwwwww……" too loudly, here's the funny twist. It was at a Christmas party. Are you totally confused? The ship he worked on at the time had some sort of emergency dry dock that got them stuck far away from home for repairs over the holidays and pushed the annual holiday party into February. I often joke that I should have known then what I might have been getting myself into. But I was just a girl…… and he was (is) this super hunky guy in a darn good looking uniform…. and as they say….

….the rest is history.

 

To my Joey….

Fourteen Years! How did that happen so quickly? I laugh out loud looking back at all we've been through. The ups and downs and unexpected twists. We somehow managed to take it all head on…. side by side… and usually, most often with a hearty laugh. There's no one else I'd rather sit and linger over a cup of coffee with. Oh my, how I love you. 

xoxo

Steph

 

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(ps : yes, those are the loooooove carrots. Before they became Luke's snack!)

 

random gardening bits….

And here is the great, the incredible, the EPIC potato harvest of winter 2010…….

 

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Are you surprised? Laughing? I think we got a half cup of the tiniest potatoes, ever.  Mostly blue and one yukon gold which my littlest popped into his mouth and crunched a little before spitting it out and declaring that potatoes were far better warmed up. I agree. We dug through a huge pile of dirt to find these tiny things….. which resemble blueberries more than potatoes. Too much rain perhaps? I don't know….. but someday when we have that farm and more potatoes then we know what to do with I'll look back on this and laugh. For now a small *sigh* will suffice and we'll move onto the carrots.

Please meet, the love carrots.

And you have to say it like this………… "the loooooooooove carrots".

Come on, say it. It will bring a happy little smile to your face. I promise. And you know what? The said potato cruncher in the previous paragraph, well he ate the loooooove carrots too. When no one was looking he nibbled up one love carrot. He just couldn't help himself. And the next morning, upon discovering this, Sophia thought it was only right that the love carrots be in the same tummy. So she gave the second carrot to her little brother for breakfast.

Yes, we're silly, I know.

 

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and here are the love carrot's friends……

 

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Aren't they just gorgeous? Their fantastic colors totally make up for their tiny stature. Most were about 2 inches with a few bigger ones thrown in there. It seems that my children could not wait a second longer to uproot these lovelies after discovering the crimson tops peeking up out of the dirt. I so wish I had the camera in hand to capture my boy declaring "they taste good with the dirt on them" as he ate them right out of the garden. 

 

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I couldn't agree with him more. 

And while we certainly aren't feeding the masses with a harvest like this, we are getting our hands dirty, learning a lot and relishing each bite of what we do manage to grow. That's really what it's all about anyway, right?

Which brings me to the next photo. Something I know a whole lot of us are doing right now….

 

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Planning & dreaming for the next epic (or not) harvest.

My it feels good to have your hands in the earth, doesn't it?

 

Our week has been very full…..

 

Secret codes were cracked.

 

1codes

 

The shop was hopping. Outgoings & new sewing. I am very grateful my sewing spark has returned and I've had a lot of fun with some new items and reworking of some old… a huge update planned for the first of March to welcome spring!

 

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We added two art classes to the all ready busy days we have here. And they were fantastic! Jade & I both are enjoying ourselves very much, and it was just the first of our six classes. I can't wait to share some of our projects with you all.

The eldest got two "snow" days….. though no snow flurries were seen here, we are getting very cold temps and freezing rain making the roads very dangerous. The schools here have hurricane days slated, which were used as "snow" days this year… I'll take the latter anytime. 

I made the best pancakes ever. Really! Multigrain mix adapted slightly from a favorite book of ours. Blueberries from Bayfield. Maple syrup from Duluth. They were so good. (feeling ever grateful for friends that travel & bring back food goodies) And since the man of the house did not get a snow day, he missed out on the epic pancakes. I think a Friday night dinner of pancakes and fruit is in order, don't you?

 

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Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

 

The Sweater

F I N A L L Y ! ! !

It took a week to get a combination of sunshine, charged camera battery and no afternoon plans to get a sweater photo shoot. Thank you to my sweet man for snapping every single one of these.

 

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Oatmealback

 

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Sweaters

  

I have worn this sweater several, several times since I finished it up. Maybe even every day. It was very easy to knit and fits beautifully…. I totally adore it.

I have wide shoulders & I'm petite…. so I used the measurements from my favorite long sleeve t-shirt to slightly adjust the sleeves and overall length, plus long sleeves seemed much more practical, you know for when I'm feeding the chickens in the wee hours of the morning on that someday farm. (details in ravelry) This yarn is fantastic too! The yummiest retro shade of yellow….. *swoon*… I just love it!

I have my eye on this little sweater for the next cast on…… perfect for the upcoming trip to the north east don't you think? What? It's a whole four months away you say? Oh yes, I am counting down all ready…. plus my mama & I have made plans for a little road trip north after the workshop is over…. I am quite hopeful of a stop in here to see all the glorious shades of Quince & Co's yarn in person…. oh my.