Saturday, January 21, 2017

sewing lesson

She wanted to make a new dress for one of her dolls. We wrapped the fabric around the doll and cut it to fit. Now she is working on the running stitch after I showed her how. And she was a nice subject to photograph, sitting so still and all!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Yarn Along

I never really thought about how much I do relies on the use of my hands. That is, until I broke my arm. The simplest tasks were no longer simple. Preparing meals for my family. Cleaning the house. Writing out assignments for the children. But of all those important daily jobs, the one I missed the most was the ability to create. Knitting was not possible. I started knitting as grief therapy after the loss of our son. There are very few days that go by that I do not knit at the very least a few simple rows. I can feel the tension and sadness fade as I take a strand of yarn and transform it into something entirely different.

The joy of knitting is mine again. I finished and sent to my niece a new blanket for her new baby who is due to make her debut into this world any day now. I am also making another stuffed animal for my sister, who is expecting her first baby.

I am sad to say that I only took a finished picture while it was still blocking and only on the Ipad!

While I was recovering, I found I could crochet before I could hold both knitting needles. My daughter Anna and I have been making little squares out of scraps of yarn. The fact that it is a project we are working on together endears it to my heart even more.

As for reading, I just began reading "Signs of Life" by Scott Hahn. I friend back in the states and I are going to read it together and have a mini book club of sorts.

Our current read aloud in the schoolroom is "What Katy Did" by Susan Coolidge. I can tell that they are enjoying it because I never have to remind anyone to be quiet.

Joining Ginny for the first time in ages!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday Musings

The other day, I went to the library in search of specific books that were recommended for Therese's curriculum. I honestly should have gone searching way before we started back to schooling, but I did not. I found what I needed and was about to make my way to the check-out counter, when a book spine caught my eye. It turned out to be a collection of writings of the Ingalls family. It has kindled in me a fresh spark for putting down our days not on paper, as Laura did, but here, in my own little corner of the web.

Immediately upon perusing this book, I read that their family used to have a circulating letter among family members, each one adding the news in their part of the world, and then sending it on to the next family. In these days of instant messages, facetime, etc., it would seem that this would no longer be necessary, but I disagree. There is something magical and exciting about receiving a hand-written letter in the mailbox. Before my mother-in-law passed away, we would receive a weekly letter from her with all the news of the family, along with coupons, comic strips and whatever else happened to strike her fancy that week. I miss going to the mailbox and seeing the manila envelope full of news and surprises. What if I started such a letter? Would it bring those distant in miles closer to the heart?

This morning, we gathered for Morning Time, which I have come to cherish these last months. We pray, we journal, we listen to stories, we sing. Together. Together is hard to accomplish once the day progresses. Today, we began a new story, "What Katy Did". As I read to the kids, I immediately saw part of myself in one of the characters. It was not a part of me that I am proud of, and the kids instantly recognized it too. Oh, how I have been turning this around in my heart all day!

When one sees their faults laid out so clearly in print, one wants to apologize for those faults, fix those character flaws, and then strive toward who they long to be. At least this one does.

In closing, my goal is to record more of our daily lives, those moments that I want to recall with fondness in the years to come.

Friday, December 16, 2016


I picked Anna up from school one day last week, or maybe even the week before. Time is moving too fast for me. Christmas is approaching at warp speed and I have many, many items to check off my list, and miles to go before I sleep.

Anyway, like I said, I drove to pick up Anna and everything was white. Not snow, but days of cold and frost and dew accumulating slowly to produce a world of white. I am not a lover of winter by any means, but even I must admit that it is sometimes breathtakingly beautiful.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Walking in the Cold

It was Sunday afternoon and everyone, including me, needed some fresh air. No one said they did, but it was obvious to me. It was so cold! Maybe 28 degrees, definitely below freezing, and despite being bundled up, I was quite chilled the entire walk. We took the same path as last time, only now we had all seven of us. We did not walk as a group. People ran ahead, lagged behind, went exploring, and so forth, so that we each had our own experience. Me, I took pictures and listened. I love eavesdropping on the conversations between siblings while they are playing in earnest, unaware of the world outside their own imaginings.

This is the season where I struggle to remain upbeat. Partly the weather, partly missing Ben during yet another holiday. I see him in Peter's smile sometimes, that same impish grin.

There has been frost on the shady places for days now. It does not melt with the sun's rays.

This zest for life, I need to take lessons from him.

He also knows how to enjoy every second of his life that does not involve schoolwork.

Just hanging out while waiting for those people in the background to catch up.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Walking in the Sunshine

Here in Germany, when fall comes, the glimpses of sunshine become a rarity. So when it makes its brief appearances, you go outside. The day before Thanksgiving and so much to do? You go outside. Who knows when the next time will be. Even now, a half hour later, the sun has disappeared and the gray-white sky has returned.

And now, as I begin preparations for our dinner tomorrow, I can think and recall our lovely walk and the sunshine, the kids whooping and skipping and twirling the whole way, only stopping to pick up some special ingredient for the stew they were going to make when they got home.

The landlord handed out candy as we left.

The damp path was glowing with sunlight, making it seem like we were on a secret, magical journey.

Jack discovered a tunnel.


He started the walk with candy in his hand. He returned with a bunch of ingredients for a "stew".

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Starting our nature journals

Looking at the forecast, I knew that our only chance for a sunshiny day was right that moment. It would be cold, only 37 degrees. Donning heavy jackets, scarves, gloves, and generally being well bundled, Jack, Therese and I set out on a nature walk.

I have been nervous about starting a nature journal with the kids. Not to mention that every moment is precious in our homeschool day and I struggle with getting all that math and reading in. However in the world would we find time for walking and drawing? You just have to do it, my friends. And it was worth every moment. Cold noses and fingers were a small price to pay for the joy of discovering all that we did.

The sky as we stepped out the front door.

We discovered that the puddle was partially frozen.

These plants still had frost on them in the afternoon, for the sun had never shone on them.

Leaf with frosty edges

The side of the path had no sunlight.

Another puddle, this one thawed thanks to the sunlight.

She may be out of focus, but on the left is her breathe, looking much like a ghost.

The sun quickly began to set and the sky was ablaze with colors.

Jack's frosty branch in which he found out his breath will melt the icy crystals.

They were chanting some crazy words and marching forth in the cold afternoon.

The field where we discovered the unknown vegetable.

Darkness was closing in as we were finishing our walk.
The book we are using to learn about journaling.
Therese's entry

Jack's first page

Jack's second page

My own feeble attempt

The Unknown Vegetable