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FOR TODAY

Outside my window…there’s a clear blue sky.  The pine trees are still after swaying back and forth last night during the thunderstorm.

I am thinking…about how nice the cool air felt this morning when I let the dogs out. After a heat index of over 100 degrees over the past couple of days, this is a welcome relief.

I am thankful…to have been able to spend part of my birthday with my sister.  We enjoyed a morning of strawberry picking with Sophia and Olivia, and then visiting a buffalo farm where we all enjoyed a nice lunch together. 

From the learning rooms…the girls and I had a fun week focusing doing the “Smart Summer Challenge.” This week’s theme was “Me on the Map” – so everything we did we looked at from a geography angle – whether it was embroidery, paper cutting, 4-H projects and demonstrations, or visiting different farms. 

In the kitchen…I have two flats of strawberries that will are being eaten fresh.  Later today, I’m going to try some new recipes – for strawberry-lemonade; a salad with strawberries, asparagus, and walnuts; and a strawberry pie.

I am wearing…a hooded sweatshirt and pajama pants.  It’s still early morning and no one is awake yet…except some of the cats.  The dogs went back to bed after going outside.

I am creating…items for The Summer of Color. I just found out about this ten-week blog party this morning, and am excited about it.  I’ve been doing more writing and less creating than last year, and want to get back into doing more of the visual arts/crafts again.  Having a weekly challenge focused on a particular color will be a good motivator to start creating again. 

I want to catch up and do the first three weeks (the colors for each week are blue, green, and pink); while working on the fourth week (July 4th-11th). Yellow is the focus for the fourth week.

I am going…to visit my mom and dad this morning.  Sophia, Olivia, and I will be going out to breakfast with them (they are both home-bound so it’s going out to eat is something they enjoy). We’re going to help weed their vegetable garden, clean the carpets in two rooms, and replace the batting in a quilt I made for my dad many years ago.

I am wondering…when I’m going to sit down and figure out the schedule for next year for homeschooling.  I want to use many of the books and resources I have on hand this year rather than buying as much new curricula as I have done in the past. 

As much as I like Sonlight (which I’ve used for the past few years), it is quite expensive. Perhaps picking and choosing from Sonlight and supplementing it with what I already have will be the best route to go during the 2011-12 school year.

I am readingTwisted Tree by Kent Meyers but didn’t like it. After 92 pages, I just couldn’t get into the book. I found it to be a rather grim book.  There was a review in a book for book clubs, and it sounded intriguing as did the discussion questions.  However, from the onset, the book was more on creepy than what I wanted to read.

The next book I’m going to start reading is Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. According to O, The Oprah Magazine, “Year of Wonders is a vividly imagined and strangely consoling tale of hope in a time of despair.”

I am hoping…that the lawn mower comes back soon. It has been at the repair shop now for over a week and the grass is getting really long.     

I am looking forward to…bringing a couple of peonies and tiger lilies indoors today, and putting them in vases.  I’m going to help my dad (who has Alzheimer’s Disease) cut some flowers that are blooming at his home, and put them in vases as well. He use to cut flowers during the summer and bring them in for my mom and him to enjoy. 

I am hearing…the fan.  Not much of anything else.  It’s very quiet and peaceful at this time of the morning.

Around the house…I’m getting projects done that I’ve wanted to get done for some time now. I went through a basket of “to do” projects and did them as I went through the basket. No putting them aside to work on later. I either did them, helped the girls do their projects, or put them in the donation bag.

Yesterday, I did mending, sewing, and needlefelting. I helped Olivia with another embroidery project; and Sophia with sewing a dress and an embroidery project. 

I am pondering…how nice it was to see several friends during the past couple of weeks, and how I need to make time to stay connected with people. It’s so easy to get wrapped up with caregiving that other aspects of my life are put on hold.

One of my favorite things…seeing all the baby toads that the girls have been finding, observing, and then releasing.  It’s also been so nice to hear the wren singing every day, and watching the parents bring food to their babies.  There are three wren families here this year which is great. I saw a monarch yesterday in the butterfly garden yesterday (it always makes me happy to see butterflies).

A few plans for the rest of the week…visit my parents (today), celebrate the Fourth of July (Monday), take Sophia to harp lessons (Tuesday), take my dad to his quarterly doctor appointment for Alzheimer’s Disease (Thursday), do fun/educational activities related to the theme of “government” with the girls, and start some creative projects this week focused on different colors (most likely doing quilting and embroidery).

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…this is an eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly that Sophia, Olivia, and I saw on Thursday morning. We stopped for a bit at a lake before Sophia’s harp lesson.  As we were walking back from the lake, this butterfly was drinking some water from the road and then was flying around us at eye level. It spent quite a while flying and landing around us.

It was a beautiful butterfly, and the photograph below doesn’t do it justice.  Nonetheless, it captures a few moments in time that were memorable to us.

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly that was
flying and landing right by the girls and me.

To see other people who are participating in the Simple Woman’s Daybook during June, please click HERE.
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FOR TODAY

Outside my window…it’s still dark.  However, the first hint of morning is showing to the east where the sky is a lighter shade of indigo.

I am thinking…about the male goldfinch who kept trying to get into the house yesterday.  He kept flying to and grabbing onto the ledges by the living room and kitchen, and visited the family room and dining room windows as well.  The cats were fascinated by this bird who seemed equally as interested in them.  Wonder if he’ll be back today.

I am thankful…that a respite worker is coming today for three hours. I need to have a few hours to get some things done; and I like knowing that Sophia and Olivia are having fun with Mary.  She’s taught them how to play croquet; and they enjoy playing board games and being outside with her.

From the learning rooms…the girls are getting ready for the county fair and showing some projects they’ve been doing for 4-H.  They’re also practicing their demonstrations (this will be the first year for both of them). Went to the zoo the other day and learned a lot about different animals and Japanese gardens/tea ceremonies (the zoo has a conseratory and Japanese garden which are both beautiful).

In the kitchen…we’re going to be making fresh strawberry pie on Saturday which we’re excited about.  Fresh strawberries are finally ready to be picked.  Making a few salads this week using lettuce and herbs from the garden; and trying some more beverages using fresh seasonal fruit (rhubarb and strawberries) combined with homemade lemonade.

I am wearing…a hooded sweatshirt and pajama shorts.  It’s still early morning and no one is awake yet…except some of the cats.  The dogs went back to bed after going outside and having breakfast.

I am creating…a window star for a customer later on today.  Have been helping Sophia and Olivia with embroidery projects.  This year I haven’t done as much embroidery and quilting as I did last year.  I want to start doing that again.

I am going…to the grocery store today to get some ingredients for food I’ll be making for friends and family who will be visiting during the upcoming week.  Have 3 visits scheduled for the next week – two of which are with people I haven’t seen for a long time.  Saw a friend who I’ve known since the late-1980s on Monday.  It’s been nice re-connecting with people again.  Seems like a lot of time has been focused on caregiving and homeschooling recently.

I am wondering…how I’m going to get the yard and gardens looking more presentable before Saturday’s guests and Monday’s 4-H club tour (with one of the stops here).  Between cleaning the house and the rain, I haven’t had as much time as I’d hoped to work on the gardens. 

I am readingAnother Place at the TableA Story of Shattered Childhoods Redeemed by Love by Kathy Harrison which is an incredibly good book about a woman who was a foster parent to more than one hundred children.  Read 14 chapters yesterday morning…couldn’t put the book down.  Will be starting another book this morning – All That Matters by Jan Goldstein.

I am hoping…that my back pain goes away today…or at least diminishes a bit.   

I am looking forward to…looking at pictures I took earlier this week.  I enjoy looking at pictures and remembering what I saw or experienced. 

I am hearing…Gretel (the dog) taking a deep breath. The fan. Quiet. Complete peacefulness. Birds singing outside…the wren already singing away at 5:20 a.m.

Around the house…everything is off the carpeted floors since I spent the majority of yesterday vacuuming all the floors and then deep-cleaning them with the carpet cleaner.  They look so much better this morning.  Almost don’t want to put anything back down.

I am pondering…the impact that Alzheimer’s has had on my dad over the past year.  I looked at some pictures yesterday from last summer and it’s amazing the effect the disease has had on him in just one year.  I am so thankful that he still knew who I was on Father’s Day…but there were some times when he looked at me with blank stares (which I’ve never seen him do until Sunday) that were quite sobering and sad.

One of my favorite things…watching the wildlife here.  Enjoyed watching the goldfinish yesterday; listening to the baby wrens chirp whenever one of the parent wrens brings in food; seeing the woodpecker at the hummingbird feeder; watching a robin take a bath in a big puddle in the driveway; and seeing a huge rabbit jump in the backyard and hop to the hostas under the apple tree.

A few plans for the rest of the week…getting ready for guests on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (each day are different people/groups of people).  Going to an event that celebrates summer at a local historical museum.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…of one of the peonies that are blooming.  These are ones that have been here for well over 15 years.  The Chinese peonies (that I planted a few years ago) just started blooming this year.  They’re a beautiful shade of red with yellow centers.

Pink Peony
To see other people who are participating in the Simple Woman’s Daybook during June, please click HERE.

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FOR TODAY

Outside my window…it’s dark, but I can hear the frogs chirping loudly in the pond.  They emerged from their hiberation a couple of days ago.

I am thinking…about my mom who was just taken to the hospital at 8:45 p.m. on Sunday night.  She was unable to stand and was feeling light-headed.  Her blood sugar was high, but not at an unreasonable level (she has diabetes).

I am thankful for…being able to live in the country where it is peaceful and quiet.

From the kitchen…took a break from cooking today since I cooked and baked for most of Saturday. 

I am wearing…pajamas (since it’s 9:20 p.m.).

I am creating…several window stars for customers tomorrow.  Had several orders come in over the weekend which was nice!

I am going…to the homeschool conference in less than two weeks now, and am very excited about attending the workshops and getting curricula for next year.

I am reading…a book called “Parenting a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder.”

I am hoping…that after tomorrow’s rain and snow that there will be no more precipitation for awhile.  The pastures are flooded in many areas, and it’s challenging for the horses.

I am hearing…the frogs still chirping away. I enjoy hearing that sound each spring…there’s something relaxing and comforting about the “music” that nature makes.

Around the house…I’m continuing to clean and organize different areas.  Worked on my desk today and am so happy with how clean it is now!

One of my favorite things…is the show “Secret Millionaire.”  I don’t watch much television, but this is one show that I make the time for.  It’s so inspiring seeing people give away large sums of money to those helping people in need and/or individuals who are facing a challenge.

A few plans for the rest of the week….teaching the girls; attending a dance performance at the Ordway (for students during the day); setting goals for the girls’ 2011-12 school year and determining what I want them to learn; preparing for the homeschool conference by determining what I already have and don’t need to purchase and what I do need to purchase for next year; plan the vegetable, fruit, and flower gardens; and continue working on cleaning the home.

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…

Apple Blossom - Close Up

This is an apple blossom that was on one of the trees last year.  It’s hard to believe that in about a month or so, the trees will be covered again with pretty flowers like this one!
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FOR TODAY…

Outside my window…it’s still dark outside, but the trees are now visible against the snow.

I am thinking…I’m going to wait until Wednesday to begin the 30 Day Vegan Workshop.  It makes more sense to begin that day for me since I want to include a lesson about Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras today with the girls and make some food that ties into the day. 

I am thankful for…the quiet and peacefulness of the morning when I am the only one awake in the home.  (Well…I guess some of the cats and dogs are awake.  They go between resting and being awake.)

From the learning rooms…I’ll be concentrating on doing science lessons with Sophia and Olivia this morning. Also will be reading aloud part of The Landmark History of the American People to Sophia.  She’ll be reading aloud Om-kas-toe (a story from the Blackfeet tribe). Olivia will be finishing her unit study on Aesop’s Fables.  We’ll be learning about Mardi Gras and Shrove Tuesday today.

From the kitchen…I’ll be making pancakes for breakfast as a way to celebrate Shrove Tuesday (aka “Fat Tuesday”). According to Wikipedia, “Pancakes are associated with the day preceding Lent because they were a way to use up rich foodstuffs such as eggs, milk, and sugar, before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent. The liturgical fasting emphasized eating plainer food and refraining from food that would give pleasure.  In many cultures, this means no meat, dairy, or eggs.”

I am wearing…a long-sleeve t-shirt, short-sleeve t-shirt, pajama pants, and warm socks.  It’s still morning…only 6:16 a.m.

I am creating…a yellow window star for a customer so I can mail it to her today. 

Gold Sunburst Window Star
This is the yellow window star that I’ll be making.

I am going…to hopefully use some gift cards to purchase a new dishwasher this week.  After doing dishes by hand for well over a month, it’s time for a new dishwasher.  Since I’m cooking three meals a day from scratch, there are a lot of dishes each day.  My time can be better spent doing other things that are more meaningful and have a greater impact.

I am reading…several books are “next in line” on my bookshelf:  Backyard Bird Secrets for Every Season – Attract a Variety of Nesting, Feding, and Singing Birds Year-Round  by Sally Roth; Parched by Heather King; and Home Safe Home – Proecting Yourself and Your Family from Everday Toxics and Harmful Household Products by Debra Lynn Dadd.

I am hoping…that today is a better day for my parents who have had some rather challenging days recently due to my dad having Alzheimer’s Disease and my mom caring for him at home. 

I am hearing…some new bird chips and calls.  I think some of the migrating birds are coming back now!  A sure sign of spring!!

Around the house…are projects that need to be done (as in repairs)…and projects that I would enjoy doing (sewing, embroidery, and cross-stitching). 

One of my favorite things…the land that this home is on.  I love seeing all the birds and wildlife that have made it their permanent or temporary home. 

A few plans for the rest of the week: organize my closet as part of the five-week Project Simplify challenge; take Olivia to the opthamologist for her quarterly appointment; go to the optometrist (for Sophia and me); and take out the bikes after the last snowfall melts this week so we can begin biking since the roads are now free from ice and snow. 

Here is picture for thought I am sharing…about a year ago at this time, there was no snow on the ground and the girls were wearing short sleeves outside.  Here they are taking Eenie for a walk around the backyard.  He was a good sport about wearing a collar and being led around by a leash. I think he was just excited to be out and exploring.

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