Saturday, August 23, 2014


We decided to go on a hike today. My children enjoy doing new things and places but I have also learned that they like the familiar. When J and I looked at the map to decided where to hike he picked the area where we had stayed in May.

We have a very detailed map of the park that includes the public footpaths. A hike to J means going straight up a mountain. His family is not always able to hike that way. He found a path that went up a mountain. We decided to try it.

There are footpaths all around. There are gates and steps to get over. These are designed to keep the farm animals from wandering from one field to another.

Last night Miss K did not want to go. She kept asking if she could stay home or stay in the car. Then this morning on the way she said, "I love hiking." I did say I was going to remember that. She did ask for a piggyback ride but did quite a bit of hiking as well. Here she is climbing over the fence. She enjoyed that climbing.

The weather has been cool and a bit rainy but today was beautiful. It was warm and didn't rain. The feels were so green.

It was a hike up the hill but it was gradual enough that we didn't notice that we were going up the hill.

We walked along amid the sheep in the fields. Miss K greeted them as we passed, "hello, Shaun".  I think she might have watched too many episodes of Shaun the Sheep.

Miss K did get a bit of a piggyback ride. Her brother does love her and will give her a ride as long as she doesn't hold on too tight.

We saw a number of fields of heather. It took Miss K a bit of time to understand that Heather can be a person and it can be a flower.

It was a nice hike. We didn't quite make it to the top but that was fine. We did get a nice view of the valley and get some good exercise.

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Week in Review - August 22, 2014

The week the kids did sports camps.

We started back to school last week. We had a break which I think we all needed but we were ready to get back to school and that routine.

I love my new planner. There are no coffee spills (generally the rule is coffee is to be in a travel mug if it is near books) and the pages are not wrinkled. It is still my favourite planner.

This year we are using Mystery of History Volume III. We started with the War of the Roses and today we read about Portuguese explorers Bartolomeeu Dias and Vasco da Gama.

J is doing First Form Latin. I can't decide if he likes it or just puts up with it. He did tell me this week that I should review his vocabulary words with him throughout the day.

I am switching back and forth for Miss K's math. I feel like Saxon has somethings that I think would benefit her but I also like Math-U-See. Hopefully this will work for her.

This Tuesday to Thursday the kids did a sports camp. Miss K did football (soccer) and enjoyed it though she had a bit of a cold. She just stayed for the morning which was enough for her.

J decided that he wanted to try something new, gymnastics. I was proud of him for trying something new. I had originally signed him up for a half day but he didn't want to come home as he was enjoying it so he did the full day program.

The kids had a short performance on Thursday showing some of the things that they had learned.

J has been a climber. Usually he is climbing trees but found something new to climb, the ropes. He made it halfway up only using his arms.

Today was back to school or maybe I should say back to routine and the book learning. This is what the table looked like when we paused for lunch -- Saxon Math, Latin, Miss K's Frozen watercolour book, my planner and some other things all crowded the table.

That wraps up our week here. We are enjoying getting back to the books.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Q is for Quilts

Q is for quilt. 

I enjoy piecing quilts -- finding fabrics that match, planning the pattern, and then putting it all together for a quilt top. I have done some hand quilting and have learned to machine quilt but my favourite part is the piecing.

I remember cutting up scraps of fabric and sewing them together. It has a bit of an old fashioned feel because I look at it and remember that was a skirt or that was a dress. I don't think that ever got finished as a quilt.

One of the first quilts I made and finished was a baby quilt for a friend. I actually bought a McCall's or Simplicity pattern. The things that I have learned since that quilt.

I took a quilting class with my mom and a friend. We made sampler quilts which is just a quilt with various blocks and you are learn how to make the different blocks. It was in that class that I learned to use a rotary cutter and that has totally changed my quilting. My grandmother had an Amish friend,  Anna, who did the quilting on a number of my early quilts. My grandmother would then sew the binding on for me. I was spoiled.

One of the easy or maybe I should say easier ways to make a quilt is using charm packs which are five inch squares pre-cut in coordinating fabrics. You can use a few packs and make a quilt or even with just one pack you can make a nice lap quilt if you add some extra fabric.

Buying a fat quarter pack gives you a number of fabrics that coordinate and again it is amazing what you can do with just a fat quarter pack. I think this fabric was called California Dreaming. I love the bright colours in this quilt. I still have some scraps from that so maybe I need to make something else with that fabric.

This is one of my husband's favourite quilts. It is in our living room. He told me yesterday that he wants to adopt that quilt. I think he likes the coffee theme as well as the colours. That was just a simple square with rectangles around the edges. I had someone machine quilt it for me. 

I have a box of fabric for more quilts. Sometimes the hard part is deciding what pattern to use for the fabric and then that first cut as you are committing to that pattern. It is hard to visualise what it is going to look like. I recently made a quilt top and didn't like it that much until I saw a photo of it.

Quilting is my creative outlet.

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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Our School Space

We don't have a room that is school only. Thankfully we have a large dining room and so we use that for school.

There is a nice wall as you walk into the room the other walls have the radiator and are split to smaller walls where the fireplace would have been. We have a shelf from Ikea there. I like having the side of the bookcase for our memory verse for the week.

The apples have some of our goals for this school year. I am not sure why the turkey got up there but he is staying there for now.

There is the shelf full of books. I have the books somewhat organised. The baskets on top hold my supplies, some extra supplies for the kids and some activities.

We have a nice cabinet that has some of the larger books that we are using this year as well as storage space below. In there I have some of the things I use for Miss K's therapy, a few puzzles, and other manipulatives (manipulatives sounds so much better than saying junk or stuff). I love having he CD/iPod player right here where we can play a CD when we need to or just have some classical music in the background.

We have two bookshelves in the living room that are filled with books.

This little cart sits just inside the door and holds our study buddies, timeline cards, and brain breaks. The drawer has extra pencils. J sits near this so the shelf has some of his books. We continue to use our LL Beans bags for books.

We have our nature shelf on the window sill. The weather has been cool and it doesn't feel much like beach weather. Maybe it is time to change it.

Our walls are all an off-white. We discovered it is difficult to hang things We needed some colour and so I made a banner from an old book. I might start making banners so I can change the look.

That is our school area. It works and gives us space for learning.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Sew a Needle Pulling Thread

A sewing box just for Miss K

Often when I get my sewing machine out, Miss K wants to sew as well. I love the fact that she wants to do it both for learning the skill and also for just her desire to try things. She doesn't find much that she isn't willing to try.The challenge is often how to adapt it so that she can do it. I need to put it on her level, something that she is able to do. 

I saw a few ideas online and decided that I needed to create a sewing box for her. I filled it with things that I thought she would enjoy and also be able to use.

An embroidery hoop gives the stability to the fabric which reduces one thing that she needs to do. 

I gave her some counted cross stitch fabric that I am not using. The holes in that make it a bit easier to poke. We used embroidery thread as well. The counted cross stitch needles are a bit bigger so it makes it easier for her little fingers.

Cutting fabric or ribbon seems to be one of her favourite things to do it. I included some scissors and both ribbon and old fabric that she can just cut up as much as she wants. I get the Hoover out when she is done.

She was working to sew a button on and then did some free sewing as well.  I think she did a great job.

The basket includes
an embroidery hoop
counted cross stitch fabric
embroidery thread and needles
a zipper just to play with

This has given Miss K an opportunity to sew and work on building her sewing skills.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

P is for Parents

2 people
4 children + 2 spouses
11 grandchildren


My parents celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this week. That is worth celebrating. I remember parties for both my grandparents' 50th anniversaries. My parents didn't want a party. My mom had mentioned it would be nice to have all four children together but she knew that would not happen (two live nearby and one lives in TN and then there is me). What she didn't know was my brothers and I had been talking and planning. I feel in the same time my brother from TN came to visit. I knew they would be home. It was a surprise. The family that was local stopped calling my parents a day or two before I came so they didn't spill the beans.

My mom stood there speechless when I got out of the car. She didn't know what to say. She did ask my dad if he knew anything. No, we didn't even them him.

We had a family picnic and of course cake. We took some photos. My parents still have the knife they used to cut their wedding cake. We used it for years to cut bread and so it is the "bread knife."

I am thankful for their love for each other, their love for their family and their example in so many ways. I love you, dad and mom, happy anniversary.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Praying for the Heart - A Servant's Heart

Praying for a Servant's Heart

A servant is one who serves others. Servants need to obey, be loyal to the master or calling, be listening, and be faithful.

There are numerous examples of Jesus serving others while here on earth. Washing the disciples’ feet was an act of service. This required him to humble himself and get dirty. On two occasions Jesus fed the multitudes. He was meeting the needs of those around him.

Having a servant’s heart could require sacrifice. Christ came to serve, and for him that service meant giving up his life as a sacrifice. (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45) He was obedient in that act of service. (Philippians 2:5-7). He did something for us that we could not do for ourselves. A servant meets the needs of others, which might not be the same as their own needs.

We need to serve with the right heart attitude. Martha was distracted from Jesus while she was busy serving. (Luke 10:40) We need to guard that our service doesn’t distract us from worship.

Having a servant’s heart requires that we put aside our own selfish desires. Servants cannot be selfish.

There is not much written about Epaphroditus, but from the little we see in Scripture we know that he was serving Paul by meeting some of Paul’s needs. It was not easy for him, as during this time he became ill and Paul describes it as “near to death.” (Philippians 2:25-30) He is an example of a believer who has a servant’s heart.

A servant’s heart is a heart that is aware of the needs of those around him and uses his gifts and talents to meet those needs. A servant’s heart is marked by compassion, giving, and loving. A servant’s heart knows that his reward is not necessarily here on earth. 

Do you look for opportunities to serve others? It might be small areas or it might be big areas. Are you willing to get dirty to serve others?

For others in this series:

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